My Mothers Day Win!

13 05 2012

Well, I had an early Mother’s Day gift yesterday in that I won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest at the District level, which means I will go on to compete nationally at the Toastmasters Conference in August in Orlando. There I’ll compete in the semi-finals against the 81 other District winners. If I win this (which granted, is a long shot) then I go on to compete worldwide against the nine top International Speech Contest winners IN THE WORLD. That means I’m only two competitions away from the very top spot. Even if I get eliminated in the semi-finals I can’t believe I’ve come this far.

What was particularly sweet about this win is that my speech is about when my son Derrick met his hero, legendary jazz trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. It’s so nice to be able to take such a poignant piece of my personal history and deliver it in such a way that touches others. Every time I write something close to my heart, I’m always amazed by how many people can relate.

Also, it was a thrill to have my family and several members of my Park City Toastmasters Club there to cheer me on. I was speaker number four out of five, and when I finished my speech, my son, Derrick, Read the rest of this entry »





Toastmasters Will Save My Memory (Unless I Forget to Go to Meetings)

25 03 2012

Stacy Dymalski (left) and Cathy Barker win first place respectively for Area D3 Toastmasters International Speech and Table Topics competitions on March 24, 2012, in Park City, UT

Well, the Toastmasters International Speech Competition for Area D3 in Utah just happened this past Saturday, March 24, at Olympic Park in Park City, UT, and lo and behold I won. I took first place with my speech “Wynton Marsalis Had My Back,” a poignant, yet humorous account of when my saxophone-playing son got to meet his hero, legendary jazz trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. Winning this contest brings me one rung closer to the top level of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, which takes place later this year.

The thing that really amazes me when I win a Toastmasters competition is not that I’m able to write a speech that a smattering of people find entertaining, it’s that I can memorize anything longer than a three-item grocery list when half the time I can’t even remember why I walked into a room in my own house. Honestly, it’s a challenge for me just to get my kids’ names right when I call them. I have a 50/50 chance I’ll match the right child with the correct moniker and most of the time I get it wrong. Read the rest of this entry »





My Win at Toastmasters (Or Why I Prefer Toastmasters Over Smokey Bars)

5 03 2012

I have a bit of good news to share. Recently I won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest at the Park City, UT, Club level, which means I go on to complete at the Area level on March 24. Then if I win there I’ll compete in (and have to win) four more increasingly BIGGER levels to get to the final International competition. It’s a lot of steps to climb to get to the top, but it’s fun because it allows me to get in front of sober audiences without first having to arm wrestle other comedians for valuable stage time.

Ironically, public speaking (especially comedy) isn’t something you can perfect alone. You need an audience to let you know if you’re good or not (and believe me, they let you know). Read the rest of this entry »





The Versatile Blogger Award

14 12 2011

Me when I found out I won the Versatile Blogger Award

Just in case you missed the sky-writer I hired to spread the word, last Friday I received the Versatile Blogger Award from the always-entertaining blog, Shoes on the Wrong Feet (which I’m proud to say I follow). The ironic thing about winning this award is that until recently I’d been a blogger on the higher education websites Careers & Classes and Yellow Brick Road since summer of 2010, and as such I received about as much attention for those blogs as a runny nose in a kindergarten classroom.

So after both higher ed blogs were politely “put on hold” (translation: “buh-bye”), I decided to start my own humorous blog (this one) about raising kids, a feat not unlike shoving a boulder uphill with your nose while your hands are tied behind your back. In short order my blog has caught on with a select group of like-minded and extremely intelligent people with handles like Mommy Needs a Pinot and My Adventures in Chaos. Who knew that writing about potty training songs and using my property tax notice as a baby wipe would get me noticed? Read the rest of this entry »








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