Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Tools For Life day! Woke up a bit nervous, but anxious to do my presentation with my friend Sterling. Ate a little breakfast, and got dressed to look the part of a presenter.

Why do I dress up? Well, I feel that if one takes pride in looking presentable, the audience will hopefully appreciate the effort that went into it and will know that you, the presenter, are serious about the presentation. I enjoy "dressing up" - how often do you get an opportunity to wear a tie in Hawaii?! So I took full advantage of it.

Arrive at TFL, Sterling, "Gee, are you trying to upstage me?!" No, not at all...I realize that YOU, Sterling, are the established one in the community and I'm striving to get to where you are at! So, in no way was I attempting to upstage anyone.

Presentation went great! Sterling did a fantastic job sharing his knowledge on the causes of speech impairments and what strategies are available. Then it was my turn....In life, you NEED people who support and believe in your abilities, even when you might not. I am so very fortunate to have this in Sterling. In the two opportunities I've presented with him, he has taken it upon himself to make sure I "shine" as best I can. I am forever grateful for this. Other people who make me "shine" so very brightly, of course, include my parents.

I felt proud being able to present today. I put in a lot of effort into making my presentation be the best that I could make it. Did it go off without a hitch? No! Did I overcome the minor glitches, most definitely. It's called keeping cool while in the middle of a fire storm. For a moment, I thought I might have made a mistake in my recording the second MP3 file. It turned out to be a unexpected pause, that somehow happened. Luckily I was able to simply unpause it and continue on. A simple shrug on my part summed it up well!

After my presentation, I went to watch and support my mentor's presentation (Dr. Jim Skouge). He always, always gives awesome presentations that are so very informative and thought-provoking. Shame on the schedulers for giving him the last slot of the event, but hey, this lends credence to the saying "saving the best for last!" Sometimes in life, you wonder why certain people enter your world, but I've figured out Jim entered to take me under his wing and teach me to take my abilities to a higher level. As I mentioned to Jim the other day, I am grateful each day that I am able to spend with him, and am even more thankful that he HAS entered my life. He says he gains a lot from me, but I gain a whole lot more from him. His passion for his career is something to behold; some might view it as being too involved in one's job. Hogwash! If everyone had the same passion as Jim has, the world would be such a better place.

Once TFL concluded, my friend, Aletha and I decided to go have some fun together. We made a joint decision (don't argue, just go with it Aletha!) to eat at the Dixie Grill. During our time together, I made a comment that I've begun to try and model my work ethic after Jim's. I truly mean this. My night out with Aletha was just awesome! Her company is so much fun, and we actually can co-exist well, which is a bonus! We both enjoyed some beverages, and the fun that comes along with that! But, throughout it all, we both maintained our wits and had great conversation. I ordered ribs, and a breakthrough of sorts happened! I communicated MYSELF that I'd like my ribs taken off the bone to our waiter, who was very receptive and said, "sure thing!" I think this was the FIRST time I used my talker in a public place to communicate with a complete stranger, and it went fine!

During dinner, Aletha and I talked about a whole range of topics! Very good conversation and I'll leave it at that. Sometimes people have an ability to make you feel comfortable and at ease...Aletha is such a person. Larry's a lucky person...nuff said.

After Dixie Grill, we walked on over to Ward Theater Complex. Unforunately, Anchorman was filled, and I made a quick judgment call (Aletha, you gotta give me props for being decisive!!) to forgo the movie and just hang out at Dave & Busters. D&B's Roof area was supposedly closed to the general public, but what fun would life be if you always listened to rules?! So, up we went to the roof level....Aletha hesitantly behind me. Did we get busted? NO! In fact, we enjoyed almost a full 2 hours of simply sitting down and enjoying each other's company. Who needs a movie when you can see a marriage reception going on, with a bunch of happy guys and girls frolicking in the darkened corner of the rooftop?! And there we were, taking all of this in visually...thinking, "why would anyone choose D&B's for a reception!?!" Ah, to each their own.

Feeling a bit drained, and sensing Aletha was ready to call it a night, we headed on out. Caught "Mom's Taxi" and dropped Aletha off at the parking lot...hopefully she wasn't locked in! If she was, I give her my full permission to beat me up!

Thanks Aletha, for a wonderful night out. Thanks Sterling for a great presentation experience. Thanks Jim for being a guiding presence in my life. Thanks Bruce, of Dynavox Systems, for providing me with the power of verbal communication - should I CHOOSE to use it, and believe me I am! Thanks Mom and Dad for just doing what you do, day in and day out!

Sleep awaits me now!


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