Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Edition - 22 November

Dear members,
It’s been one of those weeks, with mark deadlines and he who shall not be named piling menial jobs on us, and so this blog is very late. It’s also going to be the last one for this year, and so it seems appropriate that we should have celebrated in Christmas fashion at our last meeting. Well done to Colleen Love, Santa’s elf, Leann Roos, and the rest of the stalwarts for decorating the venue so splendidly. Our turnout this week was 23 members and 3 guests: Johanna Swart (Liandra Schoultz’s mom, come to listen to Liandra’s CC3), as well as Dxy Madikizela and Deon Basson. As Colleen put it, “This is the last time they will be welcomed” – no we didn’t mean that!! Both Deon and Dxy have submitted their applications. We look forward to inducting them in the New Year.

We were delighted to welcome Roger Ah Kun back from his American travels, as well as Ricky Woods, Alan Hunter and Angie Kivido. A special appearance was Geoff Coomb Davis who has been a (now honorary) member for 48 years! Although Geoff has latterly taken a back seat in club activities, we are grateful for his ever-present advice.

District 74 is having competition to see who has been the longest serving member. Our other “old” member, Tom, has entered. He has been a member for 42 years and is as active today as he ever was.

Several of our members are going to be away over the next few weeks. Leann Roos has been selected to umpire the U/19 girls in Kimberley, while several of our high school teachers will be away serving King and Country as matric markers, and Plaxcedes Ndlovu will be enjoying Christmas in Germany with her family, while Denise Pudney is in New Zealand. We wish them well in their travels.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the following Christmas babies:
13th December – Ayanda Ngcwabe; 21st – Rosemary Sampson; 26th – Marianah Lourens; 28th – Antoinette Baatjies. We hope you are spoilt rotten, in between family festivities.

Congratulations to our rookie Toastmaster for the evening, Rhona Murchie, who kept a gentle hand on the sleigh reins with her appropriate Christmas theme. Something that perhaps you didn’t know about Rhona: she says she enjoys reading, eating and sleeping when she’s not being a mom, teacher and theology student.

Some interesting trivia about Christmas
The name comes from Christ (the anointed one) and mass. The date was chosen by Constantine, the 1st Christian emperor, who changed the festival of Saturnalia – the birthday of the “unconquered sun” (because days started getting shorter) to the “unconquered SON (of God)”.

Tanja Gauss as timekeeper sounded the times with jingle bells in keeping with the Christmas theme. Angie Kivido, as the um and ah counter, asked forgiveness, since this is the silly and forgiving season, as she forgot to count. Grammarian was Marianah Lourens who chose commiserate (“to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathise with”) (used by many people) as the word of the day.

Table TopicsAlmost everyone participated in Glenis Whitehead’s brilliant festive Christmas theme. She had wrapped each topic (a title of a Christmas song) in a Christmas cracker, which created quite a buzz!! Some interesting ideas raised by speakers included:

Just how many Fathers Christmas are there – since there seems to one on each corner. Tom has the perfect gift-receiving strategy for women. All you say is “Guess what – I saved you the trouble of shopping – I bought this perfume for myself – all you have to do is wrap it”. Plaxcedes is really dreaming of a “White Christmas”. She’s off to Germany for Christmas. The girls just can’t contain themselves (and it’s children, really, who bring the magic of Christmas back to us). . Did you know that Candy canes (made by elfin fingers) is where the idea of Jingle bell rock comes from? And finally, Father Christmas must be a woman. After all, who ever heard of a man being in 6 places at once!!!
On a more serious note, Alan Hunter reminded us of the meaning of Black Tuesday. As educated people, we should not give up the fight to protect our freedom.
The Prepared Speeches
Liandra Schoultz – CC3 (get to the point) – gave us food for thought with her speech entitled “Life as we know it”. From Timone and Pumba, who believe that the stars are “fireflies stuck to that great bluey-black stuff up there”, to Carl Sagan who advised us to think about this: “somewhere, something incredible is waiting to happen”, surely we cannot be complacent about the miracle of science and nature.
Alison Immelman delivered her CC10 (inspire and motivate) titled “Let me be a little kinder” – about the malignancy of stress, chaos and bullying that our children face daily. We can work as a community to eradicate this menace to show our children – and each other – that we love them.
Marianah Lourens (making progress with her AC) entertained us with a folk tale “Waarom olifant a slurp besit”. Marianah is a natural raconteur and this was indeed her milieu.
Quinton Jacobs has been working on a possible new web page for “Future Toastmasters”. He reminded us that nothing is as constant as change. Toastmasters has changed their logo and slogan for the 1st time since 1924. So... now for something else completely new: “Easyspeak”. On this site, one can change personal details, track one’s speech history, and request a speaking slot or to carry out one of the other duties. He says there are three kinds of people: technophiles, normal or technophobes!! If you fit into the 3rd category, don’t be afraid! Requests can be made on your behalf, or you can do it the old-fashioned way! Watch this space to read about more of the benefits. Quinton suggested that we should run a parallel system until at least the AGM, when we can vote on the system.

The Toast of the day was offered by Reinhardt Botha. He had thought of singing us a song in the Christmas spirit but fortunately the secrecy bill was passed to protect us! Instead, he told us of one Christmas when the pipes burst and the municipality dudes came out. The technician estimated that he would be home at only 7 that night. Yet he was still cheerful. A most fitting tribute: “To those who work on Christmas day”
More good advice from our evaluators:
From Nicholas Mitchell (the king of evaluation): slow down to allow your audience to digest facts and figures. Make sure that the purpose of your speech is clear. Summarise your own conclusions, rather than relying on someone else’s quote. From Ricky, one of our DTMs: motivate and uplift, perhaps by including a success story. Antoinette Baatjies reminded us that every cloud has a silver lining, which is probably the reason that we tell and enjoy folk tales.
Tom Horne, also a DTM, (early morning mass and 4 generations of backyard cricket characterise his family Christmas) suggested that we should not try and make excuses for what has gone wrong, but should rather focus on the positive spinoffs. A proposal speech should make us feel “Yay! – that’s the way to go!” When using the data projector, one can check on the laptop for the next slide, rather than turning to look at the screen.
DID YOU KNOW: Father Christmas used to wear green until Coca
Cola got on board – A sure testament to the power of advertising!
And, The Christmas pud traditionally has 13 ingredients representing
Christ and his 12 disciples. Everyone stirs it from east to west to
symbolise the Magi coming to visit Jesus.
And, Mistletoe was seen as the
union of heaven and earth – because mistletoe fell from heaven and
landed on a tree that grew from earth.

Louise Solomons gave us the General Evaluation for the evening. She highlighted the fact that the theme was communicated to us early, which meant that everyone was able to participate, and this helped to raise the tone and spirit of the meeting. She reminded us of Ricky’s maxim: “Proper Presentation Prevents Poor Performance”.

In closing:President Colleen Love presented the Advanced leader (Bronze) to Glenis. Just goes to show that it is never too late to learn (even though she is already a DTM).
Congrats were again due to our top Table Topics speaker. Once more it was a case of the duelling banjos between our regular stars Chenielle and Reinhardt – but tonight it went to our friend Chenielle with her hilarious story about her Christmas without her two front teeth... we’ll certainly miss your humour.
Top toastie was awarded to a gentleman and a scholar – Tom Horne, for his wisdom, encouragement, and all-round spirit.
It just remains for this blogger to wish you and yours a fabulous Christmas season. Travel safely, eat wisely, and show your family that you care.

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