May 7, 2019 Meeting Minutes




Brookdale Paulin Creek


Start Time: 12:12 pm

End Time: 1:12 pm


10 Members: President MeL Konrad, VP Education Brian Buckman, VP Membership Bert Rangel, VP PR pro tem Holly Young, Sergeant at Arms Kelly Cunneen, Treasurer Mark Burchill, Secretary Frank Moraes, Christy Helvajian, Stephanie K Thatcher, Steve Domkowski.

3 Gusts: Bosten, Gabriel, and Gabriella.


  • President: MeL Konrad
  • Toastmaster: Steve Domkowski
  • Educational Minute: Bert Rangel
  • Table Topics: Orlando Kai O’Shea
  • Grammarian: Frank Moraes
  • Ah Counter / Timer: Stephanie K Thatcher.


MeL Konrad: “Speech Organization and All That Jazz”
      Evaluated by Frank Moraes.

Stephanie K Thatcher: “Adventure” — Ice Breaker for Dynamic Leadership
      Evaluated by the club.

New Buisness

Officer elections coming up next month, June 4th.

Next Meeting

21 May 2019



Committee Reports



Last meeting, Kelly was gone so I read the club mission. But before this meeting, we couldn’t find the sheet with the mission on it. As a result, I learned something interesting: Kelly’s been holding out on us. It turns out she has it memorized. Not that she knew that!

So it was actually good that I lost it — even though we found it before the meeting.

President’s Remarks

MeL announced that we were having an election. Holly has stepped up and taken over the position of VP PR that Anna left vacant. Having a physics background, I can’t help but see some general law in the fact that Anna and Holly are both in real estate. Conservation of real estate professionals, perhaps?

Everyone was to mark their choice for either Holly or Not Holly. Given that Hot Holly hasn’t shown up for a single meeting, Holly is a shoo-in.

Speaking of “shoo-in,” did you know this is widely spelled “shoe-in”? In fact, it is so commonly misspelled that an apocryphal original story has risen up. According to it, once upon a time, there were corrupt jockeys who sold out to bettors. Thus a particular horse would be a “shoe-in.” Of course, if you think about it for a moment, you will see that this makes no sense. Jockeys ride horses and horses have shoes. That’s like saying movie stars make lots of money and that’s why “greenback” means attractive.


MeL introduced our guests: Bosten, Gabriel, and Gabriella. Gabriel announced that he was joining that day.

She also highlighted our club’s Area Director review which was very positive.

Toastmaster Steve

It’s Steve Domkowski’s world; the rest of us just live in it. At least, that’s my philosophy. So I was keen to see what our club’s most colorful character would do as Toastmaster. In the year I’ve been in the club, Steve has never been Toastmaster even though he is an experienced member of the club.

It shouldn’t have surprised me that Steve performed a bit of a bait and switch by claiming that the theme of the day would be “air.” I mistook this for the word of the day and got prepared to wax poetic about Talking Heads. But it was not to be.

Educational Minute: Bert

Instead, he introduced Bert with the Educational Minute. Bert discussed his position as an officer and encouraged other people to take on the role.

I could make a joke here. I could talk about how he was just trying to trick new members into ruining their lives. Or that he forgot to mention that there is an open bar at the executive committee meetings

But the truth is that it’s fun to be an officer. I don’t think Bert was lying when he said that his work as an officer is something he looks forward to. I feel the same way. Of course, for me, it’s been tough going, but I feel like I’ve grown into my role. So it really is a good thing to be an officer. And in a fundamental way, it is an important part of the educational program.

So I would be thrilled for other members if there is no room for me as an officer this next year — just as I will be thrilled to serve for another year. I really do hope everyone gives serious thought to being an officer. And remember: I became an officer after my second meeting!

And now I return you to my usual snarky tone.

Word of the Day: Insouciant

When Steve announced that “insouciant” would be the word of the day, everyone laughed in my direction because it sounds foreign and I have been on a campaign to shame all Toastmasters who use foreign words.

Insouciant isn’t really a foreign word. But it is a recent one. And I doubt it will surprise anyone we ripped it off from the French. It came to England in the 18th century from soucier, which means “worry.”

The whole thing got me thinking about the purpose of the Word of the Day. I’ve tried to use simple words because of my still active trauma of trying to use poetry for Table Topics. But really, what kind of a society do we have where no one knows this:

Because I could not stop for Death

He kindly stopped for me

But fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m just going to move into a cave until the rest of our civilization decays and I don’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous comments like, “Romeo and who?!” Not that I’m that into Shakespeare; I’m just saying I’m not … about it.

Some of our club’s use of this very French word:

  • Gabriella: “People with frontotemporal dementia seem to be insouciant.”
  • Mel: “Cats are the epitome of insouciance.”
  • Stephanie: “My family is very insouciant about what they are going to eat for dinner.”
  • Mark: “I’m a little OCD, which means I am insouciant about nothing.”
  • Holly: “After days of door-knocking, I find that I am insouciant.”
  • Christy: “I’m quite insouciant about looking for a job.”
  • Kelly: “My brother is not insouciant but rather light-hearted.”
  • Brian: “My wife was insouciant about my agony about the Warriors consecutive losses.”
  • Bosten: “I hope to become more insouciant about public speaking.”
  • Gabriel: “Before going to see Endgame I was insouciant about it.”

Speaker One: MeL

MeL spoke about “Speech Organization and All That Jazz.” In it, she talked about using a mind map. She related it to a recent jazz cruise that she had gone on. How do you approach that? Well, not from the core but rather from one of its branches.

It’s a little hard to explain here. But luckily, MeL is going to write a blog post about this.

This is an example of my using guilt to get my way. Even though I’m going meta here, I’m sure that it will still work. And if it doesn’t, I will still manage to bring it up every time I see MeL over the next two months. Then I’ll just look dejected until she finally writes it.

Speaker Two: Stephanie

This was Stephanie’s ice breaker, but it was not her first speech. Back on Feb 5th, before she was a member, Stephanie gave a speech to us in preparation for a speech she was going to give to a group of pharmaceutical companies.

This speech was called “Adventure.” She talked about how she got her sense of adventure from her father every bit as much as she got his DNA. And she went on to discuss how this has been a driving force in her life.

Buhatan River Adventure

Table Topics

We were running long on time for reasons that are not quite clear to me. But if history is any indication, it was Mark’s fault. And by that, I mean that I have a history of blaming everything on Mark. It just so happened that Mark ran Table Topics.

Tell me about your experience when you met a celebrity.
Gabriel: I met Robin Williams in 1998 when he was filming Bicentennial Man. He was just as you would expect: funny and polite.
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, what advice would you give?
Gabriella: I gave my very first speech at age 20. I would tell myself, “Relax!”
Describe your life as if it were an object somewhere in this room.
Bert: I like to think of myself as the air conditioning system. Always being interrupted.

Speaker One Evaluation: Frank

This was the first time I’ve done a speech evaluation in which I felt like I knew what I was doing. That doesn’t mean it was a good evaluation. But those Toastmaster documents for doing evaluations are really helpful.

We have such documents for just about everything. They are available on the website. But they are all in ZIP files. I’ll try to remember to make them more easily available. If I forget, bug me. As good as I am at pushing guilt into the world, I’m even better at absorbing it.

Speaker Two Round Robin

Everyone was really impressed with Stephanie’s ice breaker — both its writing and its performance. I don’t recall anyone having much to say about things she could have improved.

Grammarian: Bert

Bert mentioned a few things that stood out to him:

  • “Air — Can’t live without it.”
  • Jazz cruise is better than a blue cruise.
  • “Adventure flows in my DNA.”
  • “Don’t worry; there’s always Toastmasters.”
  • “Give the audience a present — wrap it up.”

Timer/Ah Counter: Holly

The times were:

  • MeL (5-7): 8:10
  • Stephanie (4-6): 6:54
  • Table Topics (1-2)
    • Gabriel: 0:32
    • Gabriella: 0:13
    • Bert: 0:27
  • Frank (2-3): 1:15.

The Ahs:

  • MeL: 1 ah, 2 oks,
  • Frank: 1 um, 3 ahs
  • Stephanie: 0
  • Bert: 1 well.

Wrap Up

Steve wrapped up with, “Peace brothers and sisters.”

MeL took the meeting back over. If anyone is going to District Conference, let us know. We are going to have an Open House at the next meeting so please spread the word.

Mark came up and encouraged everyone to become an officer. The elections will be during the first meeting of June (4th).

Brian came up and mentioned the open roles for the next meeting.

MeL polled our guests. Gabriella said she was very happy to be back. Bosten said he was impressed with the group and hoping to become better at speaking.

She also welcomed back Christy who we haven’t seen for a while.

And the meeting was adjourned.

Our next meeting is May 21th.

Jockeys Racing! On Horses! by Colin Knowles. Licensed under CC BY 2.0. Buhatan River Eco-Adventure by Norfolk18 and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

1 comment

    • Mark on May 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm
    • Reply

    Even more entertaining with the embedded videos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.