2018? Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

A crashed computer is not the way to begin the new year. Neither is having to cancel two Toastmaster Club meetings because of illness! The computer crashed last week after a Microsoft Windows update, slowing down my ability to post this blog. Fortunately, a friend came over and fixed it.

The computer wasn’t the only thing sick. I belong to two Toastmaster Clubs and we had to cancel a meeting in each because of illness! So, I’m wondering just where 2018 is taking us. We’re also below normal rain fall. But, it’s supposed to rain this weekend and next.

We need the rain and more water brings more waterfowl to the wildlife areas. Laura and I went up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SWR) and Gray Lodge Wildlife Area recently and spotted three bald eagles, lots of hawks and other birds. We had a great day. In this post I’ll show you most of SWR and continue in my next post with the remainder and some of Gray Lodge.

It’s only midway through January, so thinks could get better. The computer could continue working and it may rain a lot through January and February.

Toastmasters teaches in many ways: Jepsen Prairie Preserve, Solano County, CA

Toastmasters changed my life, and I now call it the 12-step program for shy people. Because of this, it has been a passion of mine since 1989. Here’s a summary of my story: I started a business with a friend, needed to promote it, couldn’t stand up and give a 30-second commercial, went to Toastmasters, and within six months my friend and I were giving seminars at the chamber of commerce!

When I retired and started photography, another passion developed. So, I decided to combine my passions and started a specialty club that focused on photography. We are All About Photography, and everything we do pertains to photography. Little did I know that our District would ask us to be the official District 39 photographers. I soon learned how to use my flash and shoot events!

This past weekend, we were at the District 39 Spring Conference in Anderson, California, and I was amazed at how much at ease I was shooting the event. What a big difference from the first event!

Yes, Toastmasters has helped me in many ways and continues to enrich my life.

Now for Jepsen Prairie Preserve. Do you remember me lamenting about coming here and sneezing my way through the prairie? Well, here are the images from that visit. Looking back on the May 16 visit, I’m pretty sure it was allergy. While it did put a damper on the visit, I did get some nice photos. On the way home, Laura took me to shoot the Burrowing Owls in Davis, CA.

Have a look at the images, and if you want information on Toastmasters, a worldwide organization, contact me.

Toastmasters and the rest of Capay Valley

Confession: I’m shy. I’ve always been a leader, but could never announce anything before a general meeting of any organization. Toastmasters changed all that. In fact, it changed my life. I went from being totally freaked out when speaking before an organization to giving workshops and seminars.

People join Toastmasters for all sorts of reasons. Some just want to punch up their speaking skills, some came because they got a new job that requires they speak before groups, and some need a self-esteem boost. Whatever the reason, I have seen, during my many years with Toastmasters, amazing growth in both speaking skills and leadership, and it fills my heart with joy.

Where else could you go for continued support in developing speaking and leadership skills for around $50. per month? Probably nowhere but Toastmasters.┬áIt’s now contest season for Toastmasters International, and I’ve been lucky enough to be the Toastmaster at two contests. And, I loved it! It’s wicked good fun to interview someone whether it’s for an article or at a contest.

I’m still shy, it doesn’t go away, but Toastmasters has taught me how to handle it. Yesterday, at a photography meetup in Old Sacramento (You’ll see some images soon.) I was able to go up to complete strangers and ask them to help me out with a picture.

Confession: I’m so happy to be involved with Toastmasters. And now for the last of Capay Valley.