Susan WonderStone's Blog

Quick Thinking
July 8, 2015, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Laughing, Toastmasters | Tags:

I originally joined Toastmasters in 1995. Toastmasters is a speaking club. You get to prepare and give speeches and get feedback from the other members. I had already been competing in bodybuilding competitions and thought that since my dad had been pestering me since middle school to be a speaker, it was time. After all, bodybuilding posing suits are made out of about 6 inches of fabric. If I could be on stage posing and doing a routine in that tiny suit, hiding almost nothing, in front of lots of people and a camera later playing on ESPN, I could speak!

I completed my first 10 speeches, then took about 15 years off. I’m back in the same club I originally joined, “Early Opinions”, with 2 of the original members. One of my favorite things about the weekly meetings is “Table Topics”. The person in charge asks each person a different question. You get to stand up and answer the question in 1-2 minutes. You don’t have time to prepare an answer. Immediately, it’s show time.10991501_10206061689687293_807100334396687224_o

I’ve been told that the ketogenic diet helps with brain function, along with the multitudes of other things it helps. I have no way of knowing if my diet has anything to do with it, but my thinking has gotten quicker over the years.

Earlier today, my phone rang. It was from an unavailable number. Since I started going to Mexico in 2006, I usually answer the phone “Bueno”.

A man said “Susan, do you know who I am?”

“Do you shave your balls?” I asked.

After a short pause, he said “Ummmmm…yeah.”

“No. I don’t know who you are.” I said and hung up the phone.

He didn’t call back and I have no idea who he was.

I’m still laughing!

Love, gratitude and blessings!

I’m Still Alive! What’s Next?!
Toastmasters International Speech Contest 2nd Place

Toastmasters International Speech Contest 2nd Place

Yesterday was the 2014 Toastmaster’s International – Division Speech Contest.  I had already won my club contest, and the Area contest.  This was the first speech I had ever written.  I don’t know how many times I read it out loud, but I do remember once to my son Cameron before the Area contest and once for Bert before this one.  This series is the only time I’ve ever given the same speech more than once.  I’ve done it for my home club “Early Opinions” 4 different times.  When they gave me feedback, I added it into the speech,  but only having 5-7 minutes, if anything was added, something had to  be taken away.   I changed the ending, but they didn’t like it.   I added something for someone, but forgot something someone else suggested I add.  I totally forgot that part in the speech.  Would that have won me 1st place?

The timing of the speech is critical for a contest.  It has to be at least 4 and a half minutes to a maximum of 7 and a half minutes.   One second short or long results in disqualification.  Kinda like skydiving, where EVERY second counts.  There is a green light to alert you of the 5 minute mark, a yellow light for 6 and a red light for 7.5.  My goal is to stop during the yellow light.  I still didn’t have my newly planned close when the yellow light came on, so I wrapped it up.  My plan should have only taken 15 seconds, but when the audience responds with laughter or even just their facial expressions, I make my pause a little longer.  That extra pause could mean the difference between placing and getting disqualified.  If I had risked it, would I have won 1st place?

This was the first time I’ve had someone videotape me speaking…that I was able to watch after.  For some reason, I’ve never gotten copies, or something happened and never gotten to see myself speaking.    We borrowed a video camera from my friend Jim.  Thank you Jim!  Bert took the day off work so he could be there, but also to hear my speech.  He knows me better than anyone, but hadn’t heard it as a speech yet.

During the speaker orientation, we had to give the Toastmaster (the emcee) our speech titles.  The guy standing beside me titled his speech “Let it rip”. I leaned over and told him “I did that in the car on the way here.”  He and the contestant beside him, had confused looks on their faces.  I’m guessing they were wondering if I really said what they thought they heard.


Continuing the theme, at the end of the break before the actual contest, I went to find a bathroom.  There were lines at all the bathrooms, but the one in the basement only had one woman going in there.  I waited in the hall.  Not seeing anyone else around, I did bodybuilding poses while I waited.  A bodybuilding contest I wanted to compete in is next week.   I let the cancer become an excuse and didn’t prepare for it like I needed to.  Oh well, I can pretend.  There will be more opportunities.  I took my turn and returned upstairs for the contest.  Later, the woman I had waited for told me I should’ve told her I was competing so I could go first.  I promptly blurted out “I just went in to fart.  I wouldn’t have felt good about it knowing you were waiting to come in.”    She tilted her head and looked at me like a confused dog.

My turn… I’ve never memorized a speech.  This one was no exception.  It’s so much of my life, I just talk.  It was supposed to be an inspirational speech.  I’m pretty sure I was successful.  After watching the video, I know several things I’ll change for my next “inspirational” speech.  Having a shorter speech would have made it easier to lighten things up.  A friend told me I made it sound like getting thru the cancer and the broken back were easy.  One sentence could’ve clarified that.  Someone else told me that it’s great I’m in remission.  I’m not sure how I left out the fact that all week, I doubled up on all my treatments, in an attempt to be able to wear a shoe on my swollen, tender left foot.  One of the tumors was so painful, rubber crocs were the only footwear option I had in my closet.  I finally found a pair of slip on heels that was open on the back and didn’t touch either of the tumors.  Things to improve on.

And without further ado…

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Love, gratitude and blessings!

~Susan Story