Did my first Avery Drill with the speech today- it was a beautiful day so I took Meg to the park so she could play and I could practice.  Remembering Avery Drilling from the fall contest?  It’s where you go out to a public place and give your speech.  It’s to make you uncomfortable and still have to say the speech.  There are constant distractions, the hardest actually being YOUR OWN BRAIN.

Because your brain keeps jumping in and saying “Hello!  You look like an idiot!  Everyone here thinks you are a lunatic.”  I named it after 2012 World Champ Ryan Avery since that’s where I heard the idea.  He went all over to give his speech too, in the malls, saunas, prison, you name it and the whole idea really excited me because I KNEW it would push me hard out of my comfort zone.  That’s something I need.  I need to be ready for anything.

Hardly anyone at the park on a rare sunny day.  WEIRD.  Anyway, I drilled it about 10 times and felt pretty flustered because that’s the point of Avery Drilling.   I don’t just sit down and say the speech.  I stand up, give it and act the whole thing out.   A few times I used the soccer goal posts as my stage area and I had my black gloves on because although it was sunny, it WAS cold.  Some guy thought I was the goalie and said “Hey, did your team stand you up?”  Other than that, uneventful.  Probably good to start slow.

The club contest is tomorrow and as I’ve said, I am likely our only contestant.  We had another but he forgot he was going to be in San Francisco so unless someone volunteers at the last minute, it’s just me.  Against myself.  I hope I win.  Of course there IS the clock which is everyone’s mortal enemy.  Must stay under 7:30 or all is lost.  I wasn’t at ALL worried about that because when I was drilling outside today I was at 6:46 with lonnnnnnnng pauses.  Wasn’t worried at all until tonight.

Rich and I made more changes yesterday that sliced a good TWENTY beautiful unnecessary seconds off the speech.  Making changes so often lately I’m getting mixed up.  Tonight while I was practicing I totally blanked on my next line twice and I believe it is because I am past the point of exhaustion.  I’m so tired I feel physically like crap.  I am going to sleep now and I will get up when I WAKE UP.

This is it folks.  Here we go.  Wish me luck, or better yet, pray.  🙂


This was a freakily scary and very exciting day.  Only 4 people have experienced this speech so far.  Rich, my husband and daughter and a dear Texas Toastmaster friend.  🙂  I sent Micaela the youtube link and she watched the speech for the first time not knowing what to expect.  It was SO helpful to have the feedback of another Toastmaster who is seriously dedicated to making herself the best she can.  She watched purely as an audience member and WOW,  I discovered a possible gaping hole in the speech through her.  We hashed it out and found an exciting idea that shifted the paradigm of the speech to one of HOPE.   This was the direction Rich was encouraging me to go in earlier but I couldn’t seem to do it then.  I guess I had to find the way organically and in my own time.   You can’t pull the petals of a flower open, you have to wait for the sun to hit them and they’ll do it on their own.  Damn, he’s good.  Micaela and I finished the call around 11:30 this morning.

Then, I had to freak out and figure out.  How the heck was I going to make these major changes happen IN A TIMELY FASHION so I could drill it enough to shoot the filmed speech to Rich so WE could then make any MORE changes and then still have time to DRILL it this weekend??????

Well, I absolutely had to clean my nasty looking house to some degree because I couldn’t find Meaghan in it and these people I live with keep insisting on eating at least 3 times a day so I had to get groceries as well but other than that, it was the SPEECH all day and night.  I thanked Meaghan for being so understanding and helping mummy out and promised her we’d hike the Skookumchuk Trail the day after the contest.

Thank you God.

I’m SO SO SO SO tired.  Drilled the speech in thirds because it changed quite a bit from yesterday.  Focused on the middle and last thirds.  Drilled the whole thing probably, I don’t know, 10-15 times?  who knows.

I recorded it in high resolution which means you can see my expressions properly but it also takes 2 hours to upload an 8 minute recording to youtube which is why I’M STILL UP RIGHT NOW at 2:24 a.m.

Ok, I know I’ve said this before (several times!- do I sound like the boy who cried wolf yet?) but I think we’ve GOT it.  I even found a call back ending!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I need this to be it for now because I really must put sleep back into my life or things are just going to get UGLY.


I need some sleep

I need some sleep


So I’m waiting for the kid to fall asleep.  Story of my life.   🙂  The goal is to Miller Drill once, rehearse 5 times, do the ending 20 times, pack and go to SLEEP.

So it turns out that I have a lot less to do tomorrow than I thought but we already have sitters worked out and places to stay so I’m still going into town early and staying overnight.   Going to relax and take it easy…maybe take in a rival Division contest!

I heard from my Uncle Frank tonight.  He is a main character in my early childhood, someone who gave me great joy and an appreciation and love for humour.  He was the funniest man I ever knew for decades.  My memories of him are almost exclusively of laughter, hugs and fun.  He is also one of the gentlest, lovliest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I haven’t seen him in a very long time.  My brother’s wedding I think.  7 years ago?

Anyway, Uncle Frank has a primo cameo in my speech and my mom sent him the link to it.  Can I tell you how warm and absolutely content I felt when he messaged me?  It is such a pleasure to be able to share this with him.  Thanks mom.  🙂

The plan is to Miller Drill tonight and Avery Drill tomorrow.  On the ferry!!!!   In town!!!!   And have some more fun the next day.  Hey, the Tigers swept the Yankees in 4 to go to the World Series.  I have a home to live in for the rest of my life.  My Uncle Frank still loves me.  All is RIGHT with the world.


Yes, I really AM this happy:


My brain has started working again!  Hallelujah!!! and all I had to do was not sleep for a week!!!

Since my e-critique with The Champ, I have really felt at a loss.  I really wanted to compete in the humorous speech contest but felt like I had nothing to go with anymore.  I had put so much into it so soon that when the Champ burst my bubble (and I most graciously thank him for doing so) it took all the wind out of my sails.  I started to feel like I was getting too close to write anything of quality, make it funny and memorize it in time for the 19th.

I have been slogging away, trying at least 5 or 6 ideas (which I WILL be able to use in the future so definitely NOT a loss) but unable to develop them to my satisfaction.

Writer’s block?  Anxiety?  Who knows?  All I know is that I was starting to feel panicky.

I have had trouble sleeping at night, turning my brain over and over (and though I ordered it early, I thank GOD our curriculum hasn’t arrived in the mail yet so I don’t have to feel guilty about not starting SCHOOL yet) searching for the right thing.

Finally, this morning in the dark of my bedroom, sick of looking at the time (3:14 a.m.) being projected on to the ceiling, I threw the covers off and flew out of bed.

I had to write something.  I had to.  I can’t live like this.  I had to get this thing OUT OF MY HEAD so I could get other things IN!!!!!!!!!   It’s only Toastmasters for crying out loud!  Nobody’s DYIN’!!!!!!

So, I slogged.  yes, I slogged.  I really did SLOG.  Isn’t that a magnificently muddy word?  SLOG.  And a few jets of inspiration flew through my coffee-addled sleep-deprived brain.  It may not be that inspiring without coffee and with sleep, but I, for now, am satisfied that I have a foundation and a direction. (Up)


Español: Logo del sencillo Hallelujah de Paramore

Español: Logo del sencillo Hallelujah de Paramore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)