Humor, Lifestyle, Toastmasters

At a Toastmasters Meeting

At a recent Toastmasters meeting, an interesting discussion broke out about a certain location.

I had never heard of the place.

But apparently everyone else had.

The conversation turned in a hilarious but slightly inappropriate direction.

Well, I couldn’t just let that pass me by.

I had to Google it.

And, oh my, it certainly is inappropriate.

But in an entirely different way than the conversation would have led me to believe.

Some of our Toastmasters members have some explaining to do!
ESL Teacher, Lifestyle, Toastmasters, Video Conference

Six Tips to Improve Your Video Conference

I work online, and I do video conferencing every day. Now that we are well into our quarantine, and we are all communicating online, I want to give six tips to improve your video conference.


Make sure your camera is at eye level. If it is anywhere else, it is going to give an odd perspective. If your laptop is set up on a low coffee table, it is looking up at you, and your audience sees you distorted. They see huge knees. They see up your nose. They see the underside of your chin. Perhaps they are even getting a crotch shot. A downward view is equally distorting. Raise or lower your camera so your image is at eye level.


Position the top of your head to the top and center of the screen and make sure your image covers more than 50% of the screen. Stay there for the entire conference. To keep yourself from skooching down, sit in a secretary chair or a wooden dining room chair. Chairs with arms and upholstered furniture lend themselves to slouching on camera. Check yourself often so that you continue to sit up straight and occupy more than 50% of the screen.


Do not put your back to a window. You will be seen in silhouette.


Keep your background clean and clear. A blank wall is best. If you don’t have a blank wall, then position your camera for a close up shot so that your face takes up most of the screen. This will lessen the distraction of the background.


Sit still. If you use a standing desk, stand still. The camera doesn’t know what to focus on when you are moving about. I have seen many people on video calls this week with their bookcase in focus rather than their face because they are moving around, and the camera doesn’t know where to focus.

  1. SOUND

Mute yourself when you are not speaking. Small sounds that you don’t notice in person can be heard by everyone else. Keyboarding, finger tapping and dogs yapping are all very loud on the mic, even if they are not loud in person.

Let me know if these six tips to improve your video conference have been helpful.

Dog, ESL Teacher, Family, Home, Mostly True Memoirs, T1Diabetes, Toastmasters, Writer

From Facebook to Blogging

Facebook is easy.

We’re already friends.

I don’t have to explain myself.

I write my goofy stories.

And everyone knows what I’m talking about.

I don’t have to explain a thing.

Blogging is different.

People don’t know me.

I have to explain.

But explaining ruins the rhythm of the story.

It’s kind of like explaining a joke.

If you have to explain it, it’s not funny.

So I will write this first post to introduce myself.

After that, I’ll just write.

I am a mom,

and an empty nester.

I have two grown sons.

Both of my children are diabetic.

Diabetes is a nightmare.

But it is also our completely new-normal status.

I have a wonderful husband.

Who fixes things around the house and generally makes himself useful.

And is occasionally the subject of some hilarious stories.

I have a dog.

She is lazy but very cute and cuddly.

The family is often reminded that the dog is my favorite child.

I teach English as a Second Language

to adults, on line, around the world.

I am a Toastmaster.

A Distinguished Toastmaster.

Being a Toastmaster has definitely made me a better English teacher.

I love to write.

I’ve been reading and writing as long as I can remember.

My favorite toys, when I was a kid, were my books, a spiral notebook and a pencil.

A pencil, not a pen.

I’ve always preferred a pencil.

I was born and raised in Southern California.

We recently moved halfway across the country to Texas.

This move was not nearly as traumatic as I anticipated.

I have made lots of new friends in Texas.

I am keeping touch with my old friends through social media.

I plan on making lots of new friends through blogging.

Why am I starting this blog?

Because I’m tired of Facebook.

I’m tired of all of the ads.

I’m tired of all of the political wrangling.

I’m tired of the algorhythms that may or may not be connecting me with the people I want to be connected with.

I want to control my own platform.

I want to control my own intellectual property.

Although I use the term “intellectual” loosely.

Why do I write?

Because, to quote someone whose name I can’t recall, but I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism,

“I write because I can’t not write.”