Earlier tonight, I gave my first Toastmasters speech. Known as an “icebreaker”, this 4-6 minute speech gives new members a chance to introduce themselves to the rest of the group (and for them to get to know you). I am shocked that I won best speech of the night. Shocked, I tell you!
Good evening, Toastmasters and guests. I don’t like talking about myself, so tonight I wanted to tell you about a few friends of mine instead. These are good friends that I have known for several years and I thought you all would appreciate hearing about them.
[put on glasses]
1. So, I know this woman. Growing up, she was one of those kids who was always doodling in class, or writing and illustrating stories. She has an AA in art and BA in visual art. While she was getting her degrees, she took a few computer science-type courses. Well, eventually she became a Webmaster – isn’t that such a great title? Web. Master – at the local credit union, and she makes web pages all day long… but it’s a little more involved than that. There are project plans that she writes, and procedures, and photos and graphics that she has to create, and maintenance of the systems, and sometimes a little tech support. She also maintains the employee intranet, makes graphics and “other duties as assigned”, like, for example, next Friday there will be costume contests going on, so she will be spending pretty much all afternoon posting Halloween photos on the employee intranet.
[put on bike helmet]
2. I know this lady whose son goes to my son’s school. Her son is an only child, so weeknights after he does his homework, they have lots of one on one mother-son time, and will do things like watch like four Schoolhouse Rock videos on the internet before bedtime, like the “Adjectives” song, or “Magic Three” or “Figure Eight”. On weekends, if he doesn’t have anyone to play with, she will grab one of his Razor scooters and a helmet and go scootering with him. For his birthday, she baked a chocolate cake, which she then decorated with dark and white chocolate chess pieces she made from candy molds. Oh, and she’s hand-making his Anakin Skywalker Halloween costume.
[put on Day of Caring hat]
3. I know this woman… when she was in eighth grade, she started just volunteering for various random things. First, there was the Special Olympics. Then over the years, she moved on to the ASPCA, the Humane Society, the North Bay Italian Cultural Foundation, the United Way Campaign Fund drive, and the Day of Caring. The last couple of years, she’s walked at the Relay for Life and been the team captain for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk.
A few months ago, she signed up for Bay to Breakers and got all excited about a costume for the event. It just happened to fall on her birthday, and she was really excited about it. A week beforehand, she fell and broke her arm and walked the race anyway, in costume, with her arm in a sling. Crazy, I tell you!
[Pull out beer stein]
4. This woman I know is always busy doing something… right now, she is working full-time and taking a class at UCLA Extension. She plays pub quiz every other Tuesday (“Who invented the internet? Tim Berners-Lee!”), she has her son, her husband is always busy, AND she says she tries to exercise a few times a week. I think she’s nuts, personally. About once a month, she gets some people together and they go to Rita’s over in Rincon Valley for karaoke night. And she gets up on stage! Crazy, right?? She finished her bachelors when her son was a toddler. She’d literally get home from work, cook dinner, take care of her kid, then stay up late doing homework, for 3 years! Yeah, she graduated… I saw a picture of her in her cap and gown with her five year old on her hip.
[put on cute gray hat]
5. There’s this lady I know and she is a total hippie! She’s vegetarian… what’s up with that? I mean, she feeds her kid tofu! She lives in this little house in Sebastopol and of course she drives a hybrid, and of course she’s always walking or biking around town on the weekends (well, except when it rains; then that kind of falls by the wayside). The weird thing is, she doesn’t wear a lot of tie dye or Birkenstocks or anything like that. She really doesn’t look the part – she likes fashion, and she has a closet full of cute dresses and sweaters and whatnot.
I know all these women well, and I’ve known them all for a long time. Amazingly, each and every one of them had exactly the same upbringing, grew up in the same city, and each one is named Nora. And that’s me.