So, many of you have heard through the Toastmasters grapevine already and many of you haven’t that I placed second to Sharookh Daroowala.   Sharookh’s name was on the District Cup 13 years ago so I’m not embarrassed to have lost to him.  I also know he worked very hard on his speech and I consider him a very worthy competitor.

I’m still considering pulling a Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan on Sharoohk so he might want to watch his back for the next 2 weeks until District.

I feel pretty flat right now, flat as a pancake.   I feel like all the air has been let out of my tires.  I didn’t even want to go to church this morning but they say those are the best times to go.

Not really sure what to do with myself as I really hadn’t planned for this. I had envisioned my summer of working on this and my new speech.  I knew I was going to go to a Reds game in Cincinnatti, I knew my parents would have driven from Windsor to come and see me.  I really truly and honestly thought it was going to be my year.  Is that cocky or just stupid?

I guess I’ll give you a review of my day yesterday because it was interesting up until the losing part anyway.

I Avery Drilled on the ferry and it was really awesome.  I wasn’t freaked out or afraid.  I just enjoyed it.  And each time I went a little louder so as to challenge myself.  People walked right in front of me, some stopped to watch, some watched out of the corner of their eyes.  Some completely ignored me.  Some teenaged boys smoked some BC bud and hung out for a while and I’m pretty sure I tripped THEM out.  lol

creating the illusion of insanity

creating the illusion of insanity

I felt happy and grateful to be doing what I was doing and thought about where I was 11 years ago and how this never would have even entered my mind as a possibility of life then.

I drove to my spiritual director Bernadette’s house to have a chat with her since it’s been a VERY long time and it was wonderful to be with her.  I performed my speech for her and she was in alternating laughter and tears.  She really identified with the subject matter and told me she thought it was an important message for people to hear.  She also thought it was the best speech I’ve ever crafted and she appreciated the nuances of it.  Since I have lost my last 2 Division contests immediately after performing my speech for Bernadette, I have decided to NEVER SPEAK TO HER AGAIN.  lol

So, I got to the venue.  Nice and big.  Very big.  Probably about a 100 people there.  Greeted people, used the bathroom 50 times, found someone to record my speech.  I looked around at my competitors.  Ian Cunliffe.  He beat me last fall in the Humorous contest.  Sharoohk, limping with gout.  One of my competitors pulled me aside and said “You’re going to win.  You’re gonna go to District.”

We drew numbers for speaking order.   I was there to compete in the Evaluation contest as well as the International speech contest.  Pulled number 4 for Eval and pulled DEAD LAST for International.  Yes!  It was meant to be, see? 

My stomach was doing serious gymnastics.  Waves of nausea came and went.  A couple of times I thought I might be sick.  It was worse than any District contest I’d been in.  (and this is my idea of fun, mind you)   I was glad to get up and give my Evaluation so I’d have a chance for my nerves to dissipate a little, to project my voice and use the floor a little before my “real” speech.   (no disrespect meant for the evaluators who are the backbone of Toastmasters)

I watched my speech competitors one at a time, enjoying the speeches.  Knowing what I’d have to do to be the best.  Knowing I was capable of doing so.   The poor guy who went before me blanked on his speech and quit in the middle of it.  I felt terrible for him.  He left and never came back.   I wish I’d had the chance to talk to him.

It was my turn next and YES, I was able to power pose for a minute before beginning.  I got out there and it took me a couple of minutes to really connect.  It wasn’t my best.  It was good, but not the best I could have been.  I was not as present as I would have liked to have been.  Tell you what.  You can watch it for yourself.  I’ll post the text below it in because the volume is too low to hear in some parts.  So, for the first time ever in blogland, here is Paula Howley with her speech entitled ” I Love You”

Here is the text:

I love you!  Have you ever wanted to say those life changing words to someone?……But couldn’t get up the nerve?

If you’d been in my house while I was growing up, you would have heard conversations ending like this:

“I love you Dad!” 

“Thanks Paula”

Thanks???  You say “Thanks” when someone passes you the salt, not their heart. 

But love, in all it’s forms, isn’t always a walk in the park is it?. Sometimes it’s a terrifying trek complete with fire-breathing dragons that incinerate your heart.   Madam Contest Chair, fellow travellers, this is my dragon tale. 

My dad is 70 and he’s British too. That stiff upper lip makes saying “I love you” physically impossible.  But my dad is an emotional, expressive man who cries during Toy Story.

He says “I love you” to my mom, all the grandkids, the dog, and complete strangers after enough beer. But for some reason, that stiff upper lip still applies to me.

I love you dad.

Thanks Paula.

Heart versus fire breathing dragon.  After being burned countless times I stopped offering my heart to anyone. I wasn’t even sure I was worth offering. 

That mindset interfered with boyfriend after boyfriend…..  After boyfriend.

And it almost stopped the most important relationship I’ve ever had. 

I wish you could have been there the night I met my husband Lloyd.  So romantic.  It was a dim, smoky bar that smelled like stale beer.  We had a love at first sight experience, slightly enhanced by alcohol.  We talked for 7 hours!  It was like finding a long lost friend. Then, at the end of the night, out of nowhere, he looked at me with his beautiful bloodshot eyes and said “I love you Paula!” 

It was the craziest thing I’d ever heard.  But even crazier, I felt the same way!  I wanted to say it back!….. but I couldn’t.   Offering your heart means it might get burned. 

I spent the next few days agonizing over what might have been and realized that I was turning into my dad.  I was becoming a fire breathing dragon. 

I had to decide if Lloyd was worth fighting for. 

Actually, I had to decide if I was worth fighting for. 

So I collected my courage, took the chance of my life and offered my heart to Lloyd.  In a letter.  Hey he lived 3000 miles away. 

“You were so brave” my letter said – “And I believe that you love me….  You should know that I love you too.” 

Ten years and one amazing child later we’re the Howley family complete with fire insurance.  

When your heart gets burned it’s tender and tentative.  When your heart lets the dragons win, it’s never offered at all and that’s tragic. 

Some burns take time to heal.  I stopped telling my dad I loved him.  We’d see each other, it would be fine, and being older, I assumed that of course he loved me, but I couldn’t stand the thought of hearing one more “Thanks Paula”. 

Last year though, I started wondering if I’d get another chance. Lloyd’s father passed unexpectedly and he was the same age as MY dad.  What if?  I didn’t even want to think of it. 

Dad’s visit months later was the last straw.  At the end of his stay, Dad hugged our daughter and said “I love you”. 

Then he turned and said it to Lloyd.

Really ? I thought. Really Dad?  You can say it to Lloyd????

He was coming towards me.  What should I say? I wanted to say nothing but what if….?

“Dad, I love you.”

I know dad loves me whether he says it or not.

“Thanks Paula.”

Yes it burned.  But I still said it.  I decided that I was worth fighting for.   And so was my dad.  And so are you. 

I love you!  Have you ever wanted to say those life changing words to someone?  Do it!  You are worth fighting for!   And so are your loved ones.   I love you.  And I’m not afraid to say it anymore. 

So, I have only watched it once and that was enough for me for now but I can see why I didn’t win.  I was not the best I could have been.  HOW am I ever going to get there????

So we finished and had to sit through the agonizing interviews of the contestants wherein I realized that I don’t have much of a life outside of homeschooling my child and Toastmasters.  I need a meaningless hobby big time.  If for no other reason than I will have something ELSE to talk about.

So they called up the Eval winners, 1,2,3 and I couldn’t have cared less that I was not up there.

Then they called Third place for the speech.  Ian Cunliffe.  I took a deep breath.  Then they called my name for Second place and I may or may not have said the word “shit” under my breath but loud enough for Al Piran next to me to hear.   Smile, I thought to myself.  Don’t be a jerky loser.  They handed me a lovely piece of paper that said “You Are Not Going To Cincinnati- however the fuck you spell it”.   I wanted to take that piece of paper, ball it up and toss it over my shoulder.   But social constraints were more powerful than the urge, thank God.

So they called Sharoohk’s name and up he came, double winner.  He’d won the Evaluation contest too.  I gave him a hug and congratulated him (incidentally, I had prayed for him on 3 occassions to heal so he COULD compete as well- think I might have been regretting THAT move?  lol)  then I shook Ian’s hand and congratulated him too.  I briefly flashed back to a time a few years ago when I placed at Division for the first time (3rd) and how thrilled I was to do so then and how different it was now.

Some friends who knew what I’d been trying to do did their best to comfort me and I am grateful for them.  For their perspective and their caring.  I just wanted to leave.   I had a terrible post-contest pounding headache.

I had dinner with a couple of the ladies who’d come over from the Sunshine Coast for contest and I have to tell you, YES, I WANTED A DRINK.  No, I did not have one.  Nothing will ever be that bad.  We hashed things out a little, talked about the speeches and of course I discussed how grave the miscarriage of justice was.  lol  Hey, don’t tell me YOU haven’t done the same thing.   Truthfully, the thing is, I lost to a good speaker.  The second thing is, I could have made it so much better and now I won’t have the chance to.  That really sucks.

I didn’t want to go up on the deck on the ferry so I mostly stayed in my car on the way home.  I watched the mountains and the beautiful waterfalls and tried to care about them and thought about the people in Boston and tried to care about them but in the end, I only cared that I was a big fat loser.  I felt like “The Biggest Fool in the World”.  Hey, I’ve claimed that title somewhere earlier in this blog, haven’t I?  I guess I really get to wear it now.  HEY!  Let me have my little pity party, ok?  I’ve been KILLING myself over this damned speech.

I picked up Meg from our friend’s house and she told me the most important part of the day and that was that she had gone on the BIG KIDS’ area of the bike park.  I agreed that it was pretty awesome and probably the most important.

Came home to my awesome husband who was already talking about next time (I can’t believe he’s willing to go there again) and that I have many more great speeches to write blah blah blah.  I told him how foolish I felt having made such a fuss, having put this blog out there, announcing my big dreams to everyone and then flopping on my face.   I wish I could remember all the wise and beautiful things he said but I know he said he is proud of how hard I’ve worked on this.

And how hard have I worked on this?  Well, you all have a pretty good inkling because it’s been documented for the most part.  I wrote a letter to myself a month ago using to read AFTER the Area contest.  I forgot about the letter until last night and reading it helped me put things into perspective.  It was actually an exercise my friend and life coach Micaela encouraged me to use.  Here it is:

Dear FutureMe,


This is after the Area Contest.  You have almost certainly put in more time and effort than anyone else Paula.  No one has outprepared you. 

This is why you have won:

A) Preparation: To reiterate: No one has out prepared you. 

1. Spiritual:  You have prepared yourself for this contest in every spiritual capacity that you can think of including the scariest one of all: facing dad and asking his blessing.  You have been working with Micaela since the end of January, you have prayed, you have written, you have talked to God and you have learned a TON about yourself.  Rich has been a part of your spiritual process too and God is using this to make you an amazing and effective speaker.  He is also teaching you so much about yourself.  You have dug very deeply.  You have asked the scariest questions you can ask yourself and you have touched the darkest parts of your heart as well as the most hopeful.  You are focusing on seeing yourself doing an amazing job and seeing yourself victorious.  You are sending energy to the right places.  You are tackling every issue you can THINK of Paula!  You have people pulling for you and PRAYING for you!  YOu are a totally different person than when you began.  Even your attitude to your life is different.  You know you have big goals to pursue when this is all over.  This is just the beginning!!!!  The goal is not the goal. 

2. Mental:  As of today, March 23, you have put in at least 100 hours of preparation JUST ON THIS SPEECH.  Since then, easily 30 more.  You have Avery Drilled all over town so you can get over any discomfort and practice connecting with people!  You have Miller Drilled.  You have dissected the speech and looked at every aspect.  You know it and feel it inside and out.  YOu started training for this at last spring’s convention when you spent a thousand dollars in LaCroix products to begin investing in your future self.  It paid off girl.  You have also gone to dad to tell him what’s going on and left the ball in his court.  You have been respectful and asked for his blessing.  YOur head is IN THE GAME.  YOu are leaving no stone unturned. 

3. Physical:  You have been eating healthy for the past 3 weeks and getting more exercise.  You have been going to bed on time and getting enough sleep.  You are strong and you care about your body being strong enough to deliver a strong message.  YOu look great and feel great. 


B) You are proud to share the content of your speech with the audience because:

It is well written. 

It is funny. 

It is tough subject matter that everyone deals with at some point. 

It is true. 

It was a scary thing that happened to me.  Dealing with my dad has always been somewhat scary and uncomfortable.  Taking that chance and saying “I love you” was VERY hard for me.  It represented a change in thinking for me.  My thinking became more outwardly focused.  Less focused on me.  I was able to overcome- literally push PAST my very tangible fear and say what I NEEDED to say to dad just in case it was the last time and to show that I COULD. 

I am proud because I have worked with one of the best speech writers in the business, Rich Hopkins, and he has helped me write my best speech so far.  He thinks it is a great speech.  He thinks I am a star.  I am proud to share it as a Work of Toastmasters.  As a work of my heart. 

I am proud to share it with my friends who are getting to know me better.  I am proud to share my failings, my successes and my process with Toastmasters of all levels. 

I am proud because I truly think this speech could spur people on to life-changing action.  Even weeks later. 

I am proud to share this content because it is meaningful and heartfelt.  Because I have lovingly combed it and shaken it for more.  I am proud to share this content with my audience because it is an important, intimate and real part of me that can help my fellow human beings.

C) This content is uplifting for my dad because it will help him think about things differently.  I know Dad is being affected by my prayers and the very ENERGY of this speech.  His blessing to give this speech is proof of that.  All the energy I am putting into understanding and loving him and forgiving him is changing the energy of who he is, who I am and who I am with him.  This speech will give dad courage to be more than he thought he could be. 

This speech is uplifting for my dad because it represents his daughter taking the greatest leap of her life, working on something truly great and I know he wants that for me.  I know he wants me to succeed.  I know he loves me.  It would be a release for him to release to me.  This speech is uplifting for my dad because it is a tribute to my love for him.  That I do love him after all is said and done.  This speech is uplifting for my dad because he will learn from it.  He will glean much.  This speech is uplifting for my dad because it can set him free. 

Let me explain a few things.  I thought I was going to Cincinnati.  My folks live nearby and I KNEW they would come.  I didn’t want my dad to be blindsided by this speech so I sent it to him and asked for his blessing.  It was SCARY AS HELL.  3 days later he sent me a message back:
“Paula, I love you more than you will ever know and you always have my blessing.”

This gesture from my father is, as far as I’m concerned, the greatest act of love he has ever shown me (though he would probably disagree and say that feeding, housing and taking care of me was his greatest act of love).  This speech displays one of my father’s shortcomings and it took humility for my dad to bless my efforts to disclose the effects of this shortcoming.   I think my dad has an inkling of how important this has all been for me and him giving me his blessing was the biggest “I love you” I’ve ever gotten from him.  It meant I was free to give this speech without fear or guilt, without reins.   This, has probably been the greatest effect of this speech.  Nothing really, could have been more important.  It’s unfortunate that I have this tunnel vision that has a tall lucite trophy at the end of it.

When I visited my spiritual director Bernadette yesterday, she talked about how prevalent this trait is among the British.  This stiff upper lip.  Where did it come from?  How many are affected by it?  She recognized the importance of overcoming it in her life too.

After giving my speech yesterday and after the awards ceremony,  a lovely, lovely man named Mike approached me.  Mike has one of the kindest faces I’ve come across in the entire world.  He is a person that one feels instantly attracted to because of the warmth emanating from him.  I don’t know him very well but I like him a lot.  Mike congratulated me and then he said:

“Paula, I’m 70 and I’m British too just like your dad.  I’ve really been thinking about what you’ve said today.  I never thought about how important it was but I am going to go home today and call my daughters and tell each of them that I love them.”

Why does it make me cry to write that?

That’s what it’s supposed to be about, isn’t it?

Someone else is going to be the World Champion of Public Speaking for 2013.

Big fat juicy cuss word.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next.  I think for a while, I’m just going to do nothing.  Not sure if I know how to do that but I’ll figure it out.  Just gimme a second.

you are not going to Cincinatti

you are not going to Cincinatti


Tomorrow, Saturday, is the big day.  The Area 73 International Speech Contest.  Right now I feel good, happy and confident and not at all freaked out.  I feel eager to share my speech.   Of course the contest is about 36 hours away yet so ask me how I’m feeling ONE hour before the contest.  The aim is to still feel good, happy and confident and not at all freaked out.  To feel excited and honoured that I can give a message that has already made a difference in MY life, to a room full of people.  I can’t wait.

Would it sound cheesy to say I love my speech?   It is the best speech I have written yet.  I have put in a zillion hours, more than a few tears, sleepless nights, and a small fortune considering the investment of programs to improve my speaking from last year.   This speech now feels like a very comfortable piece of clothing that I really love wearing because it looks good on me.   The key now, is to remember to respect my audience by just telling them the story in the most honest and engaging way I can.

Yesterday,  I taped the speech one last time and sent it for a look-over from coach Rich Hopkins.  That brought a few more helpful tweaks that I was able to incorporate and remember on the first go.  VERY EXCITING to be able to do that.

Today, Friday, after I go to bed and get up again, (and after home school, which goes without saying) I plan on drilling 10 more times, Avery-style if possible, going for a hike to get good and tired and then getting a good night’s sleep.  I have a great outfit that I feel confident and pretty in but is not distracting.   And I have a new pair of awesome killer GOLD shoes that are lower heels than what I am used to so they will be ridiculously easy to walk in.  I had been fantasizing about wearing a pair of ruby slippers in Cincinnatti at the World’s.

These are the precursor.Speech Bubble

There is some real competition at this competition.  One competitor has even been to District finals before.  She is an excellent speaker.  She has also had the advantage (?) of having seen my speech at the club level whereas I have not seen hers.  I take nothing for granted but I am truly as ready as I can be.

I want to remember to enjoy the process and be aware of it; to remember my POWER POSE for 2 minutes before I go on so my body physiology is optimal and also to remember to record it!

I want to do my very best, which for me means connecting in a genuine way with my audience and giving them a hard-fought-for, important piece of myself.

And I want to move on to the next level to do it again.   Four more times. 


So the speech feels like it’s becoming mine again.  Thank God for that.  The blanking on lines wasn’t much fun folks.   I do have a different feel for it now though and that’s a benefit.  II drilled it 10 times yesterday and recorded it for Rich and company to look at.  This morning Rich gave me a couple of exercises to do to speed it up and to look at it differently.  One exercise was one I’d read on his blog and that was saying the speech as fast as you can.  Hard not to trip over your tongue on that one.  The other, and I’d heard this through Patricia Fripp once, was to sit down and say the speech like you were having a cup of coffee with someone.  THAT one was really beneficial because it really helped me see what needed to emphasized and what was just automatic dramatic.

Tomorrow I’m heading to a TEDx event – totally stoked- my first ever.  Hoping to learn a few things!!!   Hoping to see what I will need to do to give my own TED speech one day.

I am also staying with a friend tonight- the friend is an accomplished Toastmaster so I’m happy to have to opportunity to give the speech to her and the friend who is coming with me.  I will have a few opportunities to give it publicly this week and I’m grateful for that.  One week today until Area.  This week is going to FLY by.

We all get miracles, we just don’t all consider them as such.  I get miracles.  Lots of them.  Big ones, small ones, weird ones.  I consider them as such.  Heck, waking up in the morning is a miracle.  Or at least it used to be back in my drinking days.

I’ve been breathing at half capacity waiting for my blessing, my miracle, from the one person I needed it from to give my speech.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it.  And I wasn’t sure I could run this speech at full capacity without it.  I was sure as hell going to TRY!  But my strongest and greatest gift according to me, my spiritual director and my old writing teacher is my ability to be completely honest, especially with myself.  So if I had not received this blessing, it would have been in the back of my mind, or maybe even in my subconscious pulling ever so slightly on the reins telling me that I was not doing the right thing.

I received that blessing, that miracle, tonight.  I sobbed with relief, I really did.  I marvelled at it.  And I thanked God for it.  I am free to be me without reservation.  What a tremendous GIFT that is!  I can step right into myself now.

Earlier today I did some Avery Drilling around town.  Went to Hackett Park first and drilled while Meaghan played.  VERY shaky.  A bunch of teenagers walked by me staring and then of course giggling when they got just past me and yes, it threw me RIGHT off.  Couldn’t remember where in the speech I was.  Drilled about 5 times there and recorded it once.

Later we went to Rotary Friendship Park and again I drilled while Meg played.  It was a beautiful sunny day yes, but windy and FREEZING on the oceanfront there.  Meg was running around with no shoes and socks, no coat, totally fine and I thought my hands were going to shatter and break off my arms.  I drilled only 3 times there in public because of the cold and retreated to the warmth of my car for a few more.  Recorded once.  It wasn`t as difficult at that park but only because there were less people there!!!!    Bok!  Bok!  Bok!!!

When Meg got to sleep I was able to do it about 7 more times- was going to record it but I`ll wait until tomorrow and send it to the coach.  I think I am in love with my speech.  Is that ok to say?

I wrote a letter to myself using  that I will receive the day after the Area contest, a hundred freakin`years from now.  It`s actually only 3 weeks but as far as I know, many Area contests have been done already.

Anyway, the letter told myself why I was proud to share the content of my speech with my audience, why the content is uplifting for my blessing person and the reasons why I would win- spiritual, mental, and physical.  I am putting that energy out there and I am going to walk into it.  I am going to own my speech, own the stage, own my life.  The rest is up to them.  But as LaCroix says:  no one will out prepare me.  I don’t mind helping miracles along a bit.


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 sent the speech from my last post to coach Rich and he was able to see things that I could not.  Namely that although the 2 stories in my speech had the same message, the 1st story was a fun anecdote and the 2nd story, while being humorous was rather tragic.  They were “mismatched” he said.  And I could see it as soon as I read that but without his perspective, not sure I would have seen it at all or at least in time.

He said that either of those stories could stand alone so that’s what I did.  I took story one and made it a speech on it’s own.  I have to tell you, I LOVED, I mean absolutely LOVED it.  So much so that I will probably enter it in the humorous speech contest this fall.  It has a message but I felt it was a little light for International.  I mean, let’s get real here:

Last year’s winner Carol was battling cancer in her story.

The year before, Mustapha’s father was abandoning him in Sierra Leone.

My little story, though well written, couldn’t compare.

Rich felt that my instincts were correct and encouraged me to write the 2nd story to see what would happen.  That was my intent tonight but it didn’t happen.  I am so absolutely wiped I didn’t even get much needed groceries tonight so Meaghan and I had a somewhat strange supper of pork chops, bananas and garlic bread with cheese.

So I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and spend tomorrow on the speech.  I feel pretty prolific these days.  Pounding out speeches like there’s no tomorrow!  And I also have to say how much I enjoyed writing that speech last night.  I laughed out loud and really relished the process.  Man, this is what it’s all about eh?  Doin’ what you love.  This has SUCH a different feel from last fall.  Or ever, really.