Thursday, September 30, 2010
My employer hosted the Area contest for humorous speech and evaluation contests. A coworker entered and won the humorous speech contest! I was thrilled!
I came in second in the evaluation contest and later learned that it was a tie. The speaker cast the tie breaking vote. I probably should not have told him that his topic made me feel squeamish! (he spoke about urinating)
The other day I blogged about the fact that pizza was going to be served at the contest. I bought a salad from the cafe at lunch time and saved it. To that, I added some imitation crab meat. The salad had a few grapes, walnut halves and mixed greens. I had my salad spray with me. It was very good! I had also filled up on water, though carefully because I knew it would be a long meeting.
Turns out they had sandwiches (halves) and cut veggies. I grabbed the only sandwhich made with wheat bread. It was a veggie sandwich. Not fresh because it was pretty wet. I ate it when I got home LATE! But I am ahead of myself.
Members of my Toastmaster club filled various roles. Toastmaster, judge, timer, registrar. And I knew that some had done the prep work - getting the signs up so no one would get lost, arranging for security so we could have the meeting at work after hours. They really made it happen!
It was really as if there were two meetings because they had a different Toastmaster (emcee of the meeting) for each contest. Same chief judge. The Area governor was there. He spoke so softly and with an accent that he was hard to hear and understand. I sat in the 2nd row, so, if I had trouble, certainly those in the back of the room were really lost. I did not know any of the Toastmasters from any of the other four clubs, even though two of them are company clubs on the same street.
This was my first time to attend an Area contest, much less compete in one. The order of speaking was determined by drawing lots. I was last, so I did not get to hear the other evaluators. I actually could hear #4 a tiny bit because the sergeant at arms left the doors open. He was a bit sloppy in his role and I tried to remind myself that he might be doing it for the first time or without sufficient instruction. I am really trying not to let my naturally critical self surface so much. Wanting to curb that trait was one of the reasons I decided to really focus on developing my skill as a speech evaluator.
For the uninitiated, the evaluator does not evaluate the person, merely the speech. They give feedback to the speaker. Did the speaker meet the goals of the speech project? Did they use the speaking skills learned/practiced in previous speeches? Those skills include: an organized speech (opening, body, conclusion), body language, vocal variety, using audio visual aids, persuasion, story telling, etc...
The evaluator should share observations about what the speaker did right and suggest some areas of improvement (with examples).
People at work asked me all day long if I felt nervous. I did not. Towards the end of the day, I was excited, but not nervous. When the sergeant at arms escorted s to the other room to write our evaluations, then, I felt a bit nervous. When I met the other contestants, I felt sized up and found wanting. Oddly, the guy who sized me up with that look is a very new Toastmaster but is in sales and does a lot of presentations. The guy who won apparently also won last year. He spoke for 3.29 and, had he gone on for 2 more seconds, I would have been the winner. I wish I could have heard his evaluation. Everyone was talking about it!
I got a lot of really good feedback. Apparently I made observations that no one else made and my evaluation was constructive and tactful. Interesting choice of words...
At the end, I hung around and helped take down the meeting room. The lady who had set out the food let me take home all the fresh veggies! I had 3 containers of carrots, broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce....
I brought one container to work today and a frozen dinner for lunch. I ended up deciding not to have the frozen dinner and walked to the cafe. I bought a bowl of lentil soup, large, and combined half of it with the fresh veggies. I microwaved that together and had an absolutely tasty lunch. I will do the same with the other half tomorrow.
A department had a meeting this morning and put leftover bagels in the coffee room. I grabbed the only wheat one and set it aside. I ate half of it with my soup with some peanut butter on it (I'm not wild about cream cheese). I won't mind having the same thing for lunch tomorrow! It might sound strange, but the veggies were still very crunchy and included the cucumber. It was a delightful taste!
I'm writing in a free association kind of way (fatigue, I guess). The meeting did not start on time, ran late and, when I got home, I still had to get my Spark points in. Short night. Work is very, very, very busy.
When they called my name, I walked in the room thinking to myself that I needed to walk in as if I owned the room. I walked in with confidence and I SOLD it! I am happy with my 2nd place silver trophy! Not bad for a first attempt!
And, as a PS. I put a new battery in my pedometer and my step count skyrocketed. I did almost 12K yesterday it said and I felt as if I had not walked much at all!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
My club is hosting the area contest tomorrow evening so our normal noon meeting has been cancelled. There are five clubs in the area, so there will be 5 contestants for the humorous speech contest. I hope my club entrant wins. He is a wonderful speaker! I am one of the four contestants for the evaluation contest. I've never been in an area contest, so this will be a new experience.
We are having pizza brought in. I have not been feeling well this week and, with nerves, I may not indulge. I do, however, need to have a backup plan in case the scent reawakens my appetite.
I have had an even harder time than usual getting work done. I find myself crying at odd moments, staring at the wall. One of my sparkfriends suggested I find time and place for a good cry. I have not been able to cry. I suppose that's why it seeps out at odd moments.
I am so tired, but it is too hot to sleep. The cycle continues!
Today was Yvonne's birthday and I brought in her favorite Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the team. I skipped the group lunch. I know she was disappointed, but we are having lunch tomorrow, so it will be ok. She did not want me to give her a gift and preferred I make a donation in her name to an animal charity. When I did that, I did order something for her. They did not send it and I learned today that it is still in the office! So her birthday celebration will continue.
Thanks, everyone, for the blog comments, the page comments and Spark Goodies. Your support really, truly, honestly helps!
Monday, September 27, 2010
I have not blogged since learning about Gayle's death. Saturday was the long ago planned lunch in honor of my fried Ruby who died this summer. Her birthday is in a few days, so a bunch of us wanted to get together and eat in her honor. It was at Fresh Choice. I piled on all the fresh goodies and avoided the prepared salads. I added some chicken (3 oz at almost $3) just to make sure I got some protein. I added a side dish of a couple of nearly microscopic baked sweet potatoes. I added some fat free sour cream and chives and was that ever yummy! I followed that with some grilled zucchini and about a half cup of cut fruit. Dessert was some fat free chocolate yogurt and not a ton. I was so proud of myself. I DID remember to bring my salad spritzer so I cruised right past the buffet of salad dressings and opted for water instead of my usual diet soda.
Valerie was there with her two daughters and youngest grandson. I've known her since the older girl was about 6 months old, nearly 30 years! I used to work with both husband and wife. She was laid off from that job and got a job at a luxury car dealership and was instrumental in getting me hired there part time. I worked there for about 14 years until I was laid off last fall. During the lunch, Valerie launched into her list of aches, pains and loss. I know she is like that, but I was completely unprepared for it at lunch. I did not have my guard up and when she mentioned Sally, apparently forgetting that I am also mourning her loss, I felt as if I had been knifed, it hurt so badly. I know the feeling was intensified because the sorrow at losing Gayle was not even 24 hours old.
I came home to find my home had been burglarized and my laptop stolen! Of course I had to replace it. So much for debt reduction. Now I am in the process of changing passwords and doing what I can to protect myself from ID theft.
Sunday was HOT and I was wiped out. Couch potato. I could not remember my email password, so I had to wait until getting to work today to retrieve it. So I am WAY behind on responding to emails, notes about SP blog comments etc. It will take a while for me to catch up.
I told Yvonne at work today about my weekend - the news about Gayle and the theft. She made a comment about the number of people who've died around me this year (7) as if I am Pigpen of Peanuts fame. I brushed it off, but...it was tough. Late in the day, the director of the paralegal program sent out an email about Gayle's death and how she will be missed, what an asset she was to the program...The two schools will work together to do some sort of joint celebration of her life. I've been given permission to take time off to attend, whenever it is. Somehow, reading his email, the black and white, made it seem so much more real. I had to step away and cry.
The lady who made the snarky comment on my FB page did not say a word to me at all today. I said nothing to her, either. Early in the day, I was silent because I did not trust that I would be able to speak nicely and, later, our paths just did not cross
until she was leaving. At that point, a third person said something and the moment passed. Sigh.
I am ending the day WAY up in carbs. My stomach is KILLING me! Stress, probably.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Charlotte - coworker job #1
Chris - coworker job #1
Raymond - coworker former part time job
Ruby - coworker former part time job
Richard - coworker former job #1
Sally - coworker former job #1
Gayle -teacher, mentor
All these people have died within the last few months.
Charlotte had an undiagnosed heart defect and leaves a husband and young children
Chris died quickly from cancer
Raymond died from complications with diabetes
Richard - I don't know how he died, only that it was suddenly and unexpected
Ruby committed suicide
Sally died unexpectedly from diabetes complications during heart surgery
Gayle committed suicide after killer her estranged husband Thursday night
A friend sent me the news link about Gayle early yesterday afternoon. We thought at first it was a sick joke. We were in the paralegal program together and Gayle was one of our teachers. Dee now works in the law office of the attorney who runs the program. He called Gayle's law firm and learned that it was not a joke. She was supposed to teach the ethics class last night. The paper said the couple leaves 3 adult sons. One of the sons was still in high school when I had her as a teacher, so I know he is still rather young.
Gayle had been a paralegal for many years, long before some of the current statutory requirements came into being. She worked herself up to being a manager of a virtual army of paralegals. The paper said that she managed a team of 200! She also edited texts and taught at a couple of different schools. She was part of the local paralegal association and the last time I saw her was at a seminar earlier this year where she gave a talk about ethics. She traveled across the country speaking to paralegals adn other law office staff.
She said one of the reasons that she taught was to recruit new paralegals. I had hoped to work for her some day - I respected her that much. I could not sleep last night because my head was filled with the newspaper article and the shock of the news.
I weighed this morning but have not put it in my tracker. I did not weigh last week because of the carbo binge and today's number is .2 above where I was two weeks ago. It is also TOM, so I am not worried about it. I have been eating better this week, walking a lot more and doing a tiny bit more ST, so I am pleased.
Today is the lumch at Fresh Choice with former coworkers to honor Ruby. Ruby's birthday is later this week, so we are gathering a mile or so from where we all used to work with Ruby. I am going to walk all over the shopping center and make careful food choices. Fresh Choice is primarily a salad place, but they also have soups, pastas, pizza, breads and desserts. Even some of the salads are real calorie traps. I am going to pile on the fresh produce and skip the other salads, which is my norm. I may even bring my wish bone salad spritzer so I am not tempted by their salad dressings. I will pay the extra $ to add shrimp or fish or chicken to my salad and, thus, be less tempted to load up on unhealthy carbs.
I am the organizer for this lunch and, with yesterday'snews, am approaching this with mixed feelings. I was looking forward to the gathering, the fellowship and the chance to honor Ruby, but the fact that I am mourning another friend and they both died the same way is just a bit heavy.
When I posted comments about Ruby's passing on FB, without mentioning how she died, another former coworker posted a rather snarky comment about her suicide. A current coworker who did not know Gayle made a very similar comment on my page last night. I probably should have left off her last name and this coworker would not have found the newspaper article. Whatever your opinions are about suicide, passing judgment on the act to those who are grieving only makes it hurt worse. It goes back to the old adage: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I don't know the story behind the newspaper article, I don't know what was happening in Gayle;'s life. I did not walk in her shoes and, while I have my own thoughts about her choice, I cannot judge her for that choice. Nor would I add to the pain her loved ones feel by saying anything other than words of condolence.
The coworker who posted that snarky comment outranks me and sits very close to my office. I have not said much to the former coworker who said this about Ruby and I don't know how I will deal with her when I see her on Monday. I will probably compartmentalize and just interact with her professionally and not even broach this subject. I have discovered that people who post these kidns of judgmental comments are not open to other points of view, that they feel very "right" or justified in what they said. They may be right, but I counter that infliction of additional pain is, at the least, unnecessary.
I am a bit off today, but less so than yesterday. I will be able to function at work. I left early yesterday, so I will probably go in today to make up the time...Thus, the pressure continues.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Yesterday, I wore a huge sweater all day. I overheat easily, so I rarely wear a long sleeved shirt let alone another layer. I was not cold, though the weather is starting to be changeable, so it did not appear odd in the morning. Why the sweater? I had a limited choice of clothes to wear and did not like the way my clothes fit, felt and looked. I was trying to hide!
It reminded me of a former coworker, Edna. Edna was an older woman who had had a very hard life. While she worked with me, she became a US citizen (I think she was from Alberta, Canada, but I don't remember now). We became friends and often had dinner together. She always wore a huge pink coat. At the end of the year, she quit and left the state. Only after she died a couple of years later did we learn that she quit because she was diagnosed with MS. She had moved to Montana and cut off contact with everyone who'd known her before. Only after her funeral did I learn that she wore that pink coat because she felt so badly about how she looked. She was not FAT, but she was a tall, big boned woman who did have some weight to lose. She probably would have been surprised to learn that I probably weighed more than she did. I am really short, but I weigh a lot more than most people could guess.
So I thought of Edna and how sad I felt when I learned all this about her too late to try to make her feel better!
There are lots of swirling thoughts about Mother, but I am not ready to explore those today. Her birthday is next month, so that makes the swirling thoughts come up...
It has been a long time since I have consciously dressed to hide...sad!
I remembered to wear my earplugs last night and that made such a difference. I did not sleep longer, but I did sleep more deepl
Today: work is even more crazy than yesterday. I had no energy to put in any overtime, though I have the work and need the money. Both heels are very sore, so I decided to come home and rest. On balance, I am not sure I accomplished a lot, but I was busy all day.
Today was our Toastmaster meeting and I was the General Evaluator. In this role, I give feedback to the Toastmaster of the Day, the speech evaluators and some general observations of the meeting. I was much more relaxed than usual, though I did have moments of nervousness. I was able to move around, add some vocal variety, body language and humor. My speeches don't go that smoothly some times! I really enjoyed the role for the first time ever! Our district humorous speech and evaluator contests are both next week. I am our club's entrant for the evaluation contest - a first for me.
It was an interesting day in that I handled a lot of different things - tax certificates, renewing authority to do business, some revenue contracts (I am being cross trained and the lady who handles them was off today so it was a chance for me to go solo and see how far I get), prepared a couple of spreadsheets for my boss. I had a meeting with the director of the meeting planners group and she has asked me to make a presentation to her team early next year.
At the end of the day, a coworker asked me to notarize something for her. It was a document in another language, so I called the hotline to make sure I can legally notarize it. The answer was that I may do the notarization, but it's risky because my lack of literacy in this language means it could be fraud. The other thing I had to do was attach the California All Purpose Acknowledgment. This was the first time I'd called the hotline and, while I did not learn anything, it did confirm what I thought. I did the notarization and she was so thrilled! She was so grateful! I explained that her being able to have that done at work and at no cost is one of her perks for being an employee. She still wants to buy me lunch next week because she did not have to leave the office to get it done! I know her only because we are both in the Toastmaster club. She is a nuclear scientist and our paths would not otherwise cross. I love her effervescent personality and was honored to fulfill her request. NOTE: I would not have done this particular notarization if she were not a coworker. I am pretty risk averse. The company carries Error and Omissions insurance on my notarizations, but I have no insurance beyond that. That is why I don't advertise my commission nor do notarial acts outside of work unless there is something really unique about the situation. I love doing personal notarizations for my coworkers because we talk about what is going on and I get to know them a little better than I would in any other way. Most of the time, it's associated with a happy event such as buying a house, so those are fun conversations!
Over the weekend, after having had the carb binge, I started looking for reasonably sized containers for my lunches so that I could have measured amounts of food more easily. Everyone carries these jumbo containers! 2.5 cup size was about the smallest I found! No wonder everyone is so heavy! Talk about portion distortion! I ended up ordering some online. Not SP, unfortunately. SP products are too expensive. I received an email this evening saying the order has shipped. I am looking forward to receiving and using the containers! I suppose spending the money on something for ME was a counter measure to all of the negative thinking, though I did not recognize it as such at the time.
This was a first! I did so many exercises today, I lost track! Not a lot of any of them, but I took full advantage of the elevator, the time waiting for the microwave and Achilles tendon stretching waiting for the elevator. I also ended the day with just a few steps under 10K!
I changed my breakfast. I had half as much cereal and added imitation crabmeat as a protein along side. I got hungry for lunch earlier than normal, but I walked past the pretzels. I walked past the homemade coffee cake TWICE!
for your feed and blog comments! I will be rereading those notes as I work myself out of this valley!
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