Category Archives: The Brave Little Toaster

The Edge of Your Seat

I know that’s where you’ve been since Friday when I posted my August goals and they included (10) going swimming immediately and (7) not vomiting in front of a room full of doctors.

I know you’re super excited to find out that I did swim on Friday. Not immediately, but fairly soon after posting. So yay! 2,000 yards in the pool on a Friday afternoon is not too shabby.

And this morning? I did not pass out nor did I vomit at the 7 am meeting in which I was to talk (for less than 2 minutes). Because we ran out of time for me to talk. I was both disappointed (my information was important!) and relieved (I could barely sleep last night due to a combination of heat and nerves and when I did sleep, I had nightmares).

But, the Chair, in his infinite wisdom, declared that my information was Too! Important! to not share and said I had to come back and present at a later date. My boss (who is hilarious) said maybe I should have an entire 45 minute meeting all for me. Fortunately, she said that quietly. So that means that at some later date, I have to do this all over again! The nightmares! The nerves! The sleeplessness! (But it really is very important information.) I just need to remind myself that I am a Brave Little Toaster and I should be okay.

Speaking of brave, check out my Bean climbing at the playground on Friday:

It took three tries, but he finally hauled his body up.

It took three tries, but he finally hauled his body up.

The brave one here might be me. I watched and recorded (take picture, mommy, I brave!) and did not intervene.

The brave one here might be me. I watched and recorded (take picture, mommy, I brave!) and did not intervene.



Three (3!) Things Thursday

1. I desperately need to go shopping. I am still a bit too big for my pre-pregnancy work clothes, and the one pair of pants I bought developed a hole in the butt (which I did not notice until the architect pointed it out at the end of a long work day). Yesterday I actually wore maternity pants to work so I could have something professional-ish to wear.


2. I really need to drink more water.  Hydration should’ve been part of my AGGRESSIVE HAPPINESSTM goals. Perhaps I will add it as AGGRESSIVE HAPPINESSTM goal #4.


3. I have not been to Toast once this year. Isn’t that crazy? I was a Toast evangelist. I did contests! And was the President! And then 2012 happened to me, and it was all too much. I needed to cut things out of my life, and that was what went. I keep thinking I’ll go back (I’m two speeches away from being a Competent Communicator). I was so into it! I wanted to be a Distinguished Toastmaster! And now I’m back at work (where my club meets), and I haven’t been back. I haven’t renewed my dues. And I feel guilty about it. But only a little…I really don’t need another thing right now, and Toast really did serve its purpose. I can write and give good, entertaining speeches now. I am no longer terribly nervous when speaking in front of a group. My graduation award acceptance speech was not so good, but it could’ve been if I’d practiced (ahem!) and not brought my baby (or ignored him). So – do I need to return to Toast? Maybe. But do I need to return right now? Not so much.




  1. 30 minutes of movement by 7 am every morning. (2 successes in the 2 days since I started!)
  2. One social engagement/week. (nothing yet – but I do have a social engagement tomorrow!)
  3. In bed by 9:30/lights out by 10 every night. (1 success in 1 night!)
  4. Three full bottles of water/day (1/1)

Better Late than Never

I was at the District 7 Toastmasters Leadership ’11 conference all day today. It was pretty awesome – I feel like I learned LOTS.

BUT – I didn’t want to miss my daily gratitude!

Gratitude Journal

November 5, 2011: I am grateful that I was able to discover enough courage to join Toastmasters. I know this sounds super cheesy, but it’s really made a HUGE difference in my life. I am a MUCH better person for the last couple of years as a Brave Little Toaster. AND I will achieve Competent Leader status by the end of November, and Competent Communicator status by the end of 2011! Also, there are days when I think I might need to find a job that involves more public speaking. Who am I?

November 4, 2011: I am grateful for the internet, which gives me the ability to work from home, in my pajamas, this morning.

November 3, 2011: I am grateful that I have a good job that is challenging & interesting, if not necessarily catering to my life interests. I have the opportunity for professional development (weekly leadership seminar today!), have a decent salary, good health insurance, and a bunch of people who are excited for my pregnancy and not at all worried about my maternity leave (in fact, they’ve told me to not even THINK about being available in May – i.e. budget season – and that they’d get through it without me, as long as I do all the prep work before I leave…)

November 2, 2011: I am grateful for the architect, who is simply wonderful. He picks up the household slack when I’m busy with schoolwork, brings me chicken fingers on his way home from work, and is simply the most wonderful husband I could ask for…

November 1, 2011:  I am grateful for my (so far, knock on wood) easy and wonderful pregnancy

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday was the last full day with the in-laws. To celebrate, I took the day off work and we went to the Coast range for a hike. We hiked along an abandoned railroad, through two tunnels, over a few trestles (which I was not actually warned about ahead of time; a perhaps wise decision on the part of the architect, because I may have actually gone to work if I’d known I’d be crossing abandoned trestles), to our destination – another trestle. For someone with a fear of plunging to her death, this was an interesting hike. Also interesting? Apparently hiking along rail lines & having to step on rail ties, thus rendering the gait jerky and uneven, causes great soreness. Ow. (The last photo is more of a dramatic re-enactment; the other photos are from yesterday’s hike.)





Dramatic Re-enactment


2. I know everyone’s been on pins & needles about my Toast contest.  It was an interesting contest. There was the humorous speech contest for two areas (5 contestant, 2 winners) and then the Table Topics contest for the same two areas (6 contestants, 2 winners).  My club had one contestant in each category. The contest itself was one of the most disorganized things I’ve ever experienced.  What should’ve taken no more than 90 minutes took 2.5 hours. We had to fill out bio forms before the contest, but they lost a few of them in that 2.5 hours. There weren’t enough certificates for everyone, and the names on the program were incorrect. CRAZY.

So – the humorous speech contest. The other area’s contestants went first. As they spoke (it was three men), I found myself wishing I was in their area – I would’ve kicked ass.  Then, it was my area’s turn. There were only two contestants from my area. Me and another woman. I drew first speaker. My speech was about overcoming fear, and was pretty funny.  Near-death experiences always make an audience laugh (seriously!). It was my best delivery of the speech EVER! I sat down knowing I had the contest in the bag.

And then, the other woman got up to speak. I’m not sure if her speech was better than mine, but it was definitely funnier. When she sat down, I knew it could go either way. We’d both delivered excellent speeches. Hers was funnier – and it was a humorous speech contest – but mine was both funny AND inspirational. I had a feeling that she would probably win. And I was right. I did get 2nd place, but since there were only two of us, that wasn’t as meaningful as it could’ve been!

But – at least I know that I didn’t lose because I did poorly, but rather because my opponent did better. And even more awesome? Although I was nervous as the speech time approached, the second I got on stage, even though I was speaking in front of more people than I’ve ever spoken in front of before (and lots of people I didn’t know, as well as my husband and in-laws), I felt fine. No nerves at all. I stumbled over a word in my introduction & skipped the 2nd line of my speech (I only memorize a brief intro and conclusion, and the middle parts are outlined, but I don’t try to memorize the entire speech).

So – I didn’t win, but I think I’m kinda sorta still a winner, and all that crap! 🙂

3. Tomorrow night I am hosting a fancy (more or less) dinner party (see #17). I am very excited. Because of limited space (and the number of plates I own), I had to limit the number of people I could invite, so if I didn’t invite you, it’s not because you’re not the awesomest person I know! You are! I promise!  Anyways, I hope I remember to take lots and lots of pictures, I hope no one notices that my table settings don’t all match, and I hope the wine is delicious and no one leaves hungry (my greatest fear!).

It will look just like this....I just need to pick up the extra chandaliers