It was a good day. Mom and dad returned from their 5 month motor home trip earlier this week and came to visit this afternoon. It was nice to see their smiles…well dad took a while to smile because of the shock of seeing me with a beard. LOL! I guess mom hadn’t shared the picture that I had McK send with dad. *chuckle* It was not too busy in visiting so it was pretty quiet until they turned on the TVs and started playing a kids’ movie (The Lorax) even though there were NO kids in visiting at all. We were seated directly under one of the TVs which made it impossible for dad to hear so we had to move but luckily there were plenty of open tables. The new female CO in visiting (Torres) eyed me closely as we moved since I’m not supposed to stand let alone walk to another table but she didn’t complain. However, at the end of the visit, when we all stood to hug, I remembered a quick story I wanted to tell mom which took about 30 seconds before we hugged and said goodbye. After everyone was gone she came over and reprimanded me for continuing to talk after standing. *rolls his eyes* She’s the one that was talking to someone’s visitor, within ear-shot of an inmate, and warned them to watch their children because there were sex offenders in the visiting room. The inmate nearly stood up and confronted her physically, but he showed great restraint and didn’t. I don’t know that she has the attitude that a visiting CO should have. They apparently wrote a grievance on her so I am surprised to see she’s back in visiting after that.

Since my last post I have graduated MRT. *cheer* I am over half-way done with the MCC class on Employability skills too. This past Monday we did mock interviews. I was second to last. We were interviewed by a panel of 4 students plus the teacher (Beethe) and the rest of the class did evaluations of our performance. Having watched nearly the whole class do their interviews I knew everything I needed to do to check off the requirements on the evaluation. They were things like greet the interviewer by name, shake hands with them, ask when they will make a decision, thank them for the interview, etc. So I was easily prepared to cover every point on the evaluation form. Additionally, as per the text book’s instructions I had come with copies of my resume (blank pieces of paper with “Resume” written at the top since we can’t print anything for ourselves) and several business cards (pieces of paper with “Business Card” written on them *chuckle). At the start of the interview I asked if everyone had a copy of my resume and offered one of my “copies” if they didn’t and at the end, as I was thanking them for the interview, I gave each a “business card” and asked for theirs. Black was one of the ones interviewing me and under his breath he jokingly whispered “kiss ass.” LOL! Also, when I was asked if I had any questions for them, after a couple of job related questions I ended with “When can I start?” Black had said he was hired at his last job for asking that question because it showed confidence so I “borrowed” it. Hahaha. I used humor during my interview, was prepared above and beyond expectations and emphasized my qualifications that exceeded each of their requirements so I would hope I got the job…or an A for the assignment. *smile*

Oh yeah, last week we got our TABE (Test for Adult Basic Education) scores back. That’s the test that Black and I had competed to see who could complete it first. Well, he finished some 30 seconds before me but my scores beat his. *chuckle* There was one exception. My spelling score reaaaaaaallly sucked, mostly because I was rushing and my dyslexia kicked in big time. I was in the 99th percentile for every other area but my spelling was in the 33rd percentile. Yikes! I really should work on my spelling though and for that I will need a better dictionary than the pocket one I got in Platte county.

At last week’s Toastmasters meeting I had volunteered to be the grammarian. As the grammarian I got to choose a word of the day which was on the whiteboard at the front of the room and everyone was supposed to try and incorporate it into their speech. I chose equanimity. *smile* It turned out to be a fortuitous word choice because 3 of the 4 speeches were about acceptance and overcoming adversity. I, however, failed to incorporate it into my table topic speech, impromptu speeches that we get randomly called on to give on quasi-random topics. Mine was on how do we protect our civil rights from governmental limits. Now the best topic to argue for equanimity. *chuckle* Though I suppose I should have negated it. We can’t accept limits on our civil rights with equanimity; we must do something about them. That’s the challenge of an impromptu speech. You don’t have time to plan it out and make the best arguments. You have to learn to think on your feet and do the best you can on the spot.

As the grammarian I also had to listen carefully to everyone elses’ speeches and give a report at the end on grammatical errors. It’s almost as if the role of grammarian was made for me. LOL! I started with self-deprecating humor by pointing out that I failed to use my own word of the day in my speech and then I went on to point out 2-3 errors in each. Most were actually enunciation errors like “gonna” instead of “going to” but there were also the common good/well, who/whom, real (adj)/really (adv) issues too. For the latter ones I avoided technical grammatical terms like adjective/adverb or nominative/objective forms and tried to explain the rules in plain English with examples. The biggest problem with my critique was that I didn’t realize (and no one told me) that the meeting was running out of time and I was making us late. I should know enough to check a clock before I start any speech. *shakes his head*

The next day the president, secretary and I met to discuss the logo but the first thing on the president’s mind was berating me for being overly critical, scaring people away from Toastmasters and taking too long for my grammar report. The secretary eventually joined in. I agreed that I should have paid more attention to the time and conceded that I could have started off acknowledging that all the speeches were clear enough that they were understood but that there were a few fine points that could be improved on. But I defended the detail with which I addressed the grammatical error even in the face of their united criticism. Eventually, Gigstat, the club coordinator at TSCI, spoke up and said that she thought that my grammar report was just fine. She was in the back of the meeting and had watched the room and didn’t think that anyone was offended by the corrections plus the Toastmasters volunteers expect us to follow the Toastmasters rules and procedures closely so they would have thought my report was appropriate too. So I at least had her on my side. *smile* But as McK likes to point out, she’s not the one who might shiv me for correcting their grammar. LOL!