Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Toastmasters: Picnic Table Topics

Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and Honored Guests…..

Table Topics is the time when we practice extemporaneous speaking. 
We do not prepare speeches or even know in advance about what we will speak.

This can be frightening. Extemporaneous feels like “unprepared”. To dislike being unprepared is not a bad thing.

But, my friends and fellow Toastmasters, extemporaneous speaking is something we have all done. Our first words ... "mama" or "papa" or - in the case of my 3rd ex, "forsythia" - were all unplanned. 
And ever since, every day we have spoken extemporaneously with family, friends and co-workers. 

You are good at this.

For example, at last Saturday’s Toastmaster’s picnic I heard brief talks - chiefly stories - by everyone there. None seemed rehearsed or prepared. Each arose spontaneously and organically from the inspirations of the moment.

(Maybe John had something prepared, I don’t know …)

Drawing on the happy success of that event, I bring this bag of picnic inspirations. 

I ask you to bring out of this bag a picnic object. Then, talk for one to two minutes about a memory it may evoke, a plan it may inspire or simply about what it may be.

Come step up!

Who will take the first picnic table topic? 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Weekend Update: Toastmasters Picnic, Pegasus Books

This week was packed with obligations and opportunities that all seemed to come together at about the same time, but with the aid of my trusty Planning Chalkboard I managed to be on time for everything and get everything done.
Saturday starts with a class at the Y. For the past couple of years it's been a barre class, which has been excellent for my core. I'm actually stronger than I was 10 years ago, using objective measurements. I don't seem to be getting ahead in the gradual appearance of aging, but that's the Tao I suppose.
The weekly DAV meeting was dominated by a re-reading of the Bylaws, which had been given some minor charges at the Departmental level. An under appreciated reason for brevity in Bylaws (and accomplishing as much as possible through Standing Rules under the Bylaws instead) is that the waste of time of 30 grown adults listening to a re-reading which they will do nothing about and will promptly forget.
I slipped out shortly after noon to take Arthur in to the doctor for his monthly eye drain. It has to be done at the office because the whole point is maintaining a sterile environment - the slightest infection in his eye would be Very Bad. This is really not much of an inconvenience now that he's accepting the procedure without a majorly fight, so he doesn't need anesthetic.
Then it was off to the Toastmaster's picnic, atop a building in West Seattle. Great company, nice views, roasting sun. I really do enjoy this group of people and feel grateful to be admitted to their company. I heard great stories from around the world and shared a few aphorisms or cryptic comments that seemed to amuse.
I went home and took a three hour name. I'm really not made for direct sunlight.
Sunday I went to Harbor Freight to get  brush chipper. My yard generates branches and blackberry vines; my choice is to pay for a yard waste bin or to chip them to use on the gardens. Let's try the localizing solution first.
I met with a former pro bono client and we discussed the possibility of further action using some new whistleblower legislation. This is entirely new to me and the big problem seems to be figuring out what is in the best interest of the client and of the client's interests  - which are not always the same thing.
Finally I went to the last day of the West Seattle fair (or whatever they call it) at the Alaska Junction. Pegasus was donating its leftover books to the Hospital if I could move them. Nate came through with his SUV and the load took less than half an hour!
I also addressed the financing issue for the heat system. I had put off actually filling out the paperwork because of the usual reluctance about major fina commitments, but I feel good about this decision having chewed it over thoroughly.
I feel I got a lot of things done - and am now ready to go back to work!