Meeting Minutes – 11.14.2020

Hi Everyone,

It was our special, pre-Thanksgiving meeting last night and, as you can imagine, thoughts of food were front and center leaving us ready to head for the nearest pie shop when all was said and done. Even though our thoughts were on food and it was the 6 o’clock hour, we avoided any hunger inspired kerfuffle and focused on the task at hand; public speaking. Joke Master Alex Bello kicked things off with an update on his friend Pepito then Laila Aitken gave us a terrific thought for the day:

Girl in a jacket

The affable Alex Schams was our Toastmaster and he had the privilege of introducing our two speakers. First, it was Evan Pawelk’s Ice Breaker speech and he set a great example of how one should perform when they first take to the virtual stage. He delivered an organized, well written, well deliver story of his journey from an ivy-less, Connecticut school to his dream job of managing big money. The message was clear. He was able to make the trip not because of his resources but because of his resourcefulness. Good advice for us all.

Next, Lauren Clayton showed us how to rewire our brains and hold a funeral for our bad thoughts which, when you think of it, would be a great exercise before gathering with our colorful relatives around that Thanksgiving dinner table, either in person or virtually. Lauren’s speech was very professional and full of great insight and advice. I don’t think any of us would be surprised to see Lauren appearing, soon, on one of the afternoon talk shows being interviewed in the self-help segment.

The speeches were followed by insightful and constructive evaluations by yours truly and Armando Yee, then it was time for Table Topics Master Len Kung who is looking forward to eating pie between now and the end of the year (back to pie). Len’s questions centered on the upcoming holidays, food, of course, and we learned a few things:

Joelle Johnson’s favorite holiday movies are White Christmas which she likes because the snow is on TV and not in her driveway. And, she’s also looking forward to the Love Actually Drive Inn showing at the Santa Monica Airport December 5th. For more info, click here.

Laila Aitken has fond memories of free-form cooking with her Italian mother. Unfortunately, nothing was written down in the form of a recipe so now she doesn’t know how to recreate any of that culinary magic. That said, she can prepare a mean dish of rock salt fish in a pinch.

Kenzi Rose isn’t crazy about Christmas but the costumes, candy and overall craziness of Halloween gets her excited.

Shar McBee, once again, entertained us with a great story about spending the Christmas of 82 in an Ashram in India singing in the choir. It was there that she had a one of a kind, spiritual experience which lead to a deeper understanding of her Presbyterian upbringing. I think we’d all agree, Shar leads a very interesting life.

Jaclyn Lineback likes to focus on one holiday at a time and goes all out to make the most of each one. Which is to say she’s very busy, ultra-focused and may be hard to get ahold of from October through December.

Maryam Ashouri will be spending her first Thanksgiving in SoCal this year. Thanksgiving isn’t a big holiday in her home country of Iran so she’s looking forward to turkey, gravy and her first food coma on the big day. Welcome to the dinner table Maryam!

It was a terrific meeting, the last before our Thanksgiving hiatus. Here’s the line-up for our next meeting,
  • Toastmaster – Armando Yee
  • Table Topics Master – Laila Aitken
  • Speaker #1 – Jaclyn Lineback (Ice Breaker)
  • Speaker #2 – Blake Bolger
  • Chief Evaluator – Kenzi Rose
  • Evaluator #1 – Li Xin
  • Evaluator #2 – Lauren Clayton
  • Timer – Sam Nazarian
  • Grammarian – Maryam Ashouri
  • Ah Counter – Evan Pawelk
  • Thought for the Day – Len Kung
  • Joke Master – Shar McBee
Steve Evans
Secretary / VP Education