Six Years

This anniversary is not one that I wish to celebrate, but February 27th is a day that I want to notice, remember, and savour as much as I can. Six years ago, my mom passed away. It was a choice that she made. She died of MAID (medical assistance in dying). I did not realize at the time but my mom was a MAVERICK or TRAIL BLAZER. The nurse said that about her before the “ritual” of dying was about to occur. The nurses were prepping her for her moment. We we waiting in “her room.” It was the same room that she was admitted to after we went to the emergency room on Friday, February 9th. I was there and that day was one of my biggest regrets. I wished I had stayed overnight with her at the emergency room. Everyone in my family wanted to leave and she insisted. After that day, I never wanted to do that again. Sadly, I did (sort of). The next day, I went to a conference/workshop at SFU downtown. I remember sitting in the auditorium listening to the speaker, then networking with folks from BC Education. My family insisted (again) that I should just go on with my day and that they would see mom at the hospital. On February 10th, my mom was admitted to the hospital and stayed on the 3rd floor at Burnaby General. I remember what the emergency doctor said, the paramedics said, and my mom next door neighbour said to me on February 9th… she has cancer of the liver. No one wants to hear this or even think about this over Family Day weekend, but my mom was admitted. I think she was resisting this very moment for years. OMG… my mom was sick for a very long time.

I remember the day that she died as if it happened just hours ago. I was so committed to write about my mom and the 20-days she spent in the hospital. A wonderful way to be inspired to honour my mom, but each time I took the pen to paper, I cried. I could not help myself and I tried for a few years. Each time, tears would dribble down my face. I could not do it. Since her passing, I’ve endured many changes and still try to learn the lessons she was trying to teach me during her last 20-days on earth. Now that I am writing this blog post in memory of her, I am realizing that I am ready to write about her. It’s almost perfect timing, much like my mom’s decision to die. During family weekend, she was not going to be seen by the doctor because it was the long weekend. She was just at the hospital to be taken care of and to manage her pain. She was anxious to leave. We tried to take care of her. I insisted staying overnight with her. Someone had to be with her. My family took shifts that weekend. During the week, my brother and sister had to work. My dad focused on strata council work??? Everything seemed off. If anything, I would be my mom’s advocate at the hospital (and I loved warming up my hands under her back).

Damn, I miss with woman. She was so strong. Monday, February 12th was family day. We made it through the weekend and my mom was not so restless. On Wednesday, February 14th (i.e., Valentine’s Day), my mom decided not to have any more needles. She had invisible veins (like I do) and she wanted the needles to stop. They always took a few tries and she just a hated it. With this decision, she was basically telling the hospital and oncologist that she did not care to find out where the cancer had started from, thus cancer of the liver versus liver cancer. Then on Friday, February 16th (Lunar New Year), our family met with the oncologist to learn about next steps. My mom had a choice between palliative care or MAID. My mom had “Stage 5” cancer. Is that possible? My family started to make plans about palliative care, but my mom was pretty certain what she wanted to do. She wanted to do MAID and she was researching this possibility for more than a year. She knew what she wanted and where she wanted to do it. At the time, the hospital would not perform MAID and she had to pass the cognitive test. She said, “fine,” send me home, but I’m not going to die in my home. We planned another location. It was a care facility just down the road.

For 10-days, my mom lived in her dining room on a special bed, and she clearly passed the MAID test. Ironically, during her time at home, something changed and the hospital said that they would perform MAID. I could not believe it. My mom asked me to go with her in the ambulance back to the hospital (another story to tell, re: number one). I remember driving with her. Talking with her. Taking care of her. I am flooded by lots of memories as I am writing this and believe that this is the beginning of the book. I also talked with a colleague the other day talking about my conversation with my aunty on my dad’s side of the family and she suggested that I should consider doing an autoethnography. YES. I Googled that methodology and it’s perfect. I can capture some of the memories I have of my mom, how that impacted my identity, and to learn more about my family and ethnic identity. I remember being in that room that I started this blog post with. My mom is a MAVERICK. She just new that the catheter was out of place (another story, re: JoLo). She asked me to ask the nurse to fix it. My mom just wanted things to be “right.” I did not appreciate her discretion, high expectations, and attention to detail. She died on the third floor of Burnaby General with grace, agency, and dignity. For that, I am so proud of my mom for her strength, clarity, and willpower. She paved a path for others to follow.

I love you, mom.

A Tipping Point

February 25, 2024 – A Critical Conversation

As much as I would like to say that I’ve celebrated the Lunar New Year with a mini-family reunion in Vancouver last weekend, but I got sick and spent my time isolating myself in a hotel room with hopes of feeling better to fly back on my return flight. Not the best way to spend my time or money, but I did have one critical conversation with one of my aunties that served as a tipping point to move forward with my research program investigating my heritage, family history, and ethnic identity. In doing so, how does this understanding impact my understandings and implementation of policies in BC education relating to anti-racism, decolonization, and curriculum.

I’ve just celebrated 5-years of service at the university. The last 5-years entailed many ups and downs, personally and professionally. In all of that, I had to learn more about myself. I never thought when I had left teaching over a decade ago, that I would be on a pedagogical journey that extended beyond life as a doctoral student and school trustee. It’s almost like I had to unravel in a way to find myself again. Now, I’m in a place where I want to learn more. My co-author and I will be returning to a recently submitted manuscript on our ethnic identity as second-generation Asian Canadian women growing up in northern BC and becoming BC educators to make revisions.

That writing experience opened a pandora’s box. There’s a part of me that is very interested in Chinese immigrants to BC and understanding how Chinese people are perceived in BC. After George Floyd’s death and the pandemic, Chinese people are racialized and marginalized in ways that I’ve never seen before. Even as “advanced” as we may believe that we are with racism in Canada, I have experienced lateral violence, micro-aggression, and hate that I have no words to rhyme or reason why it would happen. I learned in the last year that I’ve been living my life as a model minority and that people don’t get recognized for doing good deeds for others.

That said, I also struggled with the idea of being assimilated into Canadian culture (by my parents) through policy such that I have no language, no culture, and no understanding of what it means to be Cantonese. I was also positioned in my family as “number 3” of three children where I had always perceived my older sister as “number 1” and my twin brother as “number 1a.” Even though I felt this way for more than half a century, it was sadly confirmed by one of my aunties at this mini-reunion I missed most of last weekend. She said that she noticed this “mistreatment” and had once approached my dad about the issue when I was young. It did not go well.

What I know for sure is, this is a journey I need to pursue further. This conversation I had with my aunty was instrumental to understanding that this feeling within my family (and my identity) was not in my head. It was real. My deep desire to seek approval from my father was real and that need sadly transcended into everything else in my life which essentially meant abandoning my values and beliefs to seek the approval of others. This is not belonging. It’s taken me some time to realize that true belonging is to belong to oneself, to love oneself, and to accept oneself. I am now determined to learn more about my family as part of my research program

A Curling Mindset

February 11, 2024 – One day into the Lunar New Year

Gong hei fat choy. The Year of the Dragon. I welcome the new year wholeheartedly.

I am not sure if I want to start my blog post with situations of stress or moments of inspiration. I actually have both such that one interplays with the other If anything, I feel the ship turning as we approach the Lunar New Year. Yes, I begin and end with curling. I recall last week that I’ve deliberated whether or not to talk about curling on this WordPress site or the one I use for work. As it turned out, I wrote it on my work WordPress site. The Science of Curling. The blog post was inspired my science project I did in Grade 9 and a curling game I had a couple of weeks ago. Writing about curling was inspired by a shot a made a few weeks ago to win a game. What I have learned last week that I would like to unpack in my blog is the MINDSET for curling. Again, I am learning about very complex ideas from my expertise and understanding of the game of curling. I did the same association to learn about “the goods internal.”

Where to start…

THE PERFECT CURLING SHOT. The new year begins with my skip injuring himself mid-game and me picking up the skip’s role after the 5th end. I took the 6th end to figure out the ice. The 7th end to figure out my game. And, the 8th end to assure the team of my new role as skip. The end got a little crowded with lots of rocks in play and we had one shot hidden behind a few guards sitting in the four foot. I can remember the house. There were many rocks in play and the ice was tricky. The opponents throw their last rock and it sits as shot in the 4-foot just above our rock which was second shot. They thought we won the game, but really, they tied the game. I had my last rock to throw. Again, the ice was unpredictable and we had to go around a few guards to tap back their rock and hit it in such a way that would have to curl around the guards enough to hit their rock on the inside. I called the shot. The second held the broom and the lead was ready to sweep my rock. No questions asked and we were all on board. We were playing the 8th end during the first draw. This timing meant that we had an audience. The two teams were waiting to play next and stood behind the house to watch our shot. I remember the CLARITY, the silence, and certainty. I threw the stone, I called sweeping, and we made the shot… perfectly. It was amazing. We ended up winning the game by 3-points. 8-5. It was an amazing moment. We celebrated and winning the game was a great way to start the year.

PICKING UP A SPARE. The next game we picked up a spare to play third. This player normally plays skip on other nights but can play any position. I was grateful that she was willing to play third. Deep down inside, I wanted to play skip. It was a humbling game. What I mean by that was, the spare had a lot of things to say about the game. It was a good thing. I called it “curling school.” My comments were not meant to make fun of what was being said, but we were learning a tonne about the game in terms of strategy, ice, and execution. I really appreciated this help and we won that game 12-3. Although our team needed this support and nudge to focus more on the game, I needed to learn how to listen to my voice too versus feeling tempted to second-guess my calls or ask for input for every shot to prevent myself from second-guessing. In the end, it does not become “my game” by doing that. The spare understood this.

BEING CONSISTENT. My skip remains injured and we continued playing with the spare as third. The spare took a step back from being the instructor of “curling school” but they remained focussed and competitive, which was healthy for me and the team. There was a healthy balance between calling our own game and asking for help when we needed it. One shot at a time. One after the other, we established an amazing FLOW as a team. It was not a matter of making or missing the shot, but more about playing the game. We were focused on every moment and making the most of every shot. We were still figuring out the quirks of our “new team” in terms of the amount of ice, how we throw, and communication. Our opponents were equally in the game and every shot for them mattered too. We played a full 8-ends and played every rock. I even threw my last rock even though we had already won our game. It felt amazing to end the game by making both of my shots, which were take outs to clear the house and maintain our lead. We won 8-4. We shook hands and one player on the other team said to me, “you were consistent.” That was a nice compliment.

YOU’RE NOT MAKING THIS GAME FUN. I held that compliment into my work week. I was reflecting on how this mindset could be translated into my everyday life. Be consistent. Focus on the game. One shot at a time. In the end, no one is trying to miss their shot or lose the game. There is definitely a synergy in every shot and being consistent matters. I tried to transfer my CURLING MINDSET to my life and way of being. By the time we got to this week’s game, I was exhausted, distracted, and discouraged. I could not let my work interfere with my curling game. My curling mindset was enacted. I had a cup of coffee before the game and had a “different song in my head” to ground my thinking. One rock at a time, we started the game. We stole one point in the first end, then stole two points in the second end, etc. We stole every point for 6-ends, the buzzer went, and the opponents shook hands after the 6th end. We won the game 8-0. There was no way for the opponents to win in the 7th end. It was an amazing game. I stayed focused. I stayed calm. I did not let things distract, annoy, or disappoint me. We just played the game. Every end, the skip’s last rock for the opponent were very difficult to make. They kept chasing us. We did not waiver.

I was so proud of myself and my team. I did not feel sorry for the other team. I had not malicious or ill intent. We were playing within the rules of the game to win the game. That’s it. We were just playing the game. We were focused and had fun. I had some really nice compliments from the other team, like “nice shot” or “you’re not making this game fun” or “you had an excellent game.” I don’t expect those comment, but I do expect etiquette, respectful play, and a good game. We got that. Apparently, the other team has not been shut out this year. What I am so impressed with is, we stole every point. Statistically, it’s very challenging to achieve. It was never the goal, but it’s an achievement that is worth noting. We have won every game I’ve skipped so far this year and we won one game during the first half of the season. I played third. Maybe it’s not my position. I don’t mention the win-loss record to nourish my ego, I say it to affirm the importance of mindset and intention. The wins and loses are only by-products of how we play the game. This idea is the lesson learned from curling.

Being Happy

What’s hiding behind the trees? Is this what’s it’s meant about seeing the forest through the trees? I’ve spent the week recovering from the week previous. I did not expect to need so much rest, but apparently I needed it. Today, I feel 1000 times better than I did yesterday and a 1000 times better that I did the day before. Repeat the sequence to the beginning of 2024. Wowza. You do the math!!

I also thought I would have been blogging about “beading with the kid” but that will have to wait as well. It’s not the right time or my inspiration. Today, I am going to be plowing into writing about teacher leadership and building up my momentum by writing in my blogs to recognize and appreciate the joy I feel. Admittedly, the joy comes from the little things and that’s what I’m holding on to. Right now, I’m rested.

Gosh. When I’m not feeling happy, I’m distracted by looking at places to live on MLS, looking at jobs at other universities, or deliberating returning back to teaching mathematics in K-12. Looking OUT (where the grass may be greener) is not an effective way to find happiness. What I am learning is, being happy comes from within… and feeling rested helps. LOL. I am reminded about what’s important to me. Do what you love. The little things make the difference. Just enjoy and savour.

My friend called me last week. She’s in the middle of some major treatments and dealing with a condition that has transformed her life beyond one’s imagination. Her life pivoted in a moment and it has never been and never will be the same. She had a “good day” because she was not able to engage in a treatment that day and felt well enough to give me a call while her family was out. I was honoured and humbled. She wanted to talk about the ordinary, but truth, the ordinary is not extraordinary. I loved connecting with her again and miss our long conversations we used to have before. If anything, the phone call was more about enjoying and savouring the moment.

I am brought back to my curling game. Do what you love. Be in the company of good friends. One moment at a time, in the zone, and not in the grip of worrying about outcomes, people’s opinions, or the perception of high stakes and risk. I love that feeling. I imagine myself “throwing the rock.” If you’re lucky, you might see me doing that in the hallway, in my office, or at the mall. I do that to remind myself of the “good feelings” of the game and being in the zone. It’s this place, curling as a metaphor, is what’s really important to me. Also, it’s a place where I am happy. Curling continues to teach me life’s lessons… including Alasdair MacIntyre. Yes!! The goods internal.

Feeling Energized

January 30, 2024 – Finding My Flow, Finding My Jam

BREATHE. That’s a nice reminder. I took it slow this morning and got my 2-step authentication device resolved this afternoon. Gradually, I got back into the rhythm of work with an online conference with BC educators. That was good. I appreciated their enthusiasm and learning intentions for K-12 learners. Initially, I intended to write about my experience beading with my kid last Thursday at the Art Gallery, but that will have to wait another time. Right now, I’m inspired to write about REST, finding my flow, and finding my jam. Last week was INTENSE for me and I almost burned out.

At times, I feel like that I am working 1.5+ jobs and I need to remember what sparks my fire and complement that with a healthy dose of REST, good food, good company, and exercise. There were some key deadlines for the end of the month and it took the wind out of me. I’m keep up with the day to day, but I am super behind on other aspects and tapped out on the demands of this month’s timelines. Luckily, I got an extension for one project. One week, hence, I’m still in the grind. Consequently that serendipitous gesture gave me a brief moment to breathe… and sleep. I needed it.

I spent the entire weekend resting. I did not have the will or strength to work. I was exhausted. Even the day to day activities were tiresome, hence no blogging this weekend either. Monday was a full 12-hour day and today, I spent my time taking it slow. I feel more like myself today, but that second deadline looms as well as all of my day to day work and things I’ve parked for the moment. It can get overwhelming bu tall i can do is take it one step at a time. I can give my best (of that moment) and that’s all I have to give. The thing is, I am ok with that. I have to be. I am doing my best.

In that hectic week, filled with a lack of sleep of over burden of tasks and timelines, I ended my week with a game of curling on Friday. I was so tired. My skip is currently injured and I am skipping the team and the spare is playing third (aka. my position on the team). Oh man… as soon as the game started, I was awake. I had a zippy tune in my head to keep me on-task and focused, but I was so attuned to the game. I just love playing skip and playing with my team. We won 8-4. A full game of 8-ends and we played our last rock. I was so jazzed and “in the moment,” I ended the week HAPPY.

I want to notice this feeling. I was so tired before the game (during the week). I was so tired after the game (during the weekend). Being on the ice, skipping, and we were having a really good game… what was that? I was so in the flow. Curling is my JAM. I’m not going to play professionally or competitively, but there is something about the game I need to learn from. I love working with others, with the same goals, mindset, and vision. I love getting feedback from my teammates and compliments too. I love the skill required and strategy of the game. I love the competition. I felt energized.

Begin with Beading

January 20, 2024 – You have to start somewhere

One of the things I remembered from my doctoral studies was one really innovative academic (and also doctoral student) gathered data from those who anonymously contributed to a blog as feedback to some public performances and not having to get ethics to use that information. It’s not to say that I would not be seeking ethics for my self-study, but I just want to start somewhere with my reflections and understanding. I am driven by the work of Parker Palmer, Alasdair MacIntyre, David A. Kolb, and K. Anders Ericsson, and John Dewey. Self-knowledge, the goods internal, experiential learning, and deliberate practice are principles I want to know more about but also I embed these principles into my pedagogy and practice. It guided my practice and I am more aware of them as a teacher educator.

What I want to focus on this blog post is looking at what it means to develop this self-knowledge as a teacher leader. I am writing about teacher leadership for a potential chapter submission and what I am learning is, the literature is not definitive or straightforward. Make sense… there are so many perspectives on what teacher leadership is, and if there is no formal positions, policy, or literature that can clearly define what teacher leadership is, the scholarship and notion of teacher leadership cannot develop. It’s not to say that I am going to accomplish a succinct definition of what teacher leadership is, event though I believe all teachers are leaders. I want to start my journey of self-discovery though my 2024 commitment to beading and my #oneword2024 of HAPPY. My first beading class of 2024 was with my daughter.

The lessons are at Two Rivers Gallery. I have been to a couple of beading lessons before, but this year I wanted to commit some time for ME and my personal growth. As a result, I signed up for every beading class during the winter term. It’s 3-hours every week on Thursdays. It’s humbling and rewarding at the same time. in the image, the silver pendant is my daughter’s beading and mine is the eye drop pendant. I love the outer edge and the middle was a strong attempt on beading a circle around a central bead. What I am going to focus on is the beading journey and what feelings it may bring me. I am planning to submit an ethics application soon to engage in a self-study. My chair advised me that this would be the best first step for me in my research program. In 2023, I was deeply invested in learning more about my ethnic identity as a BC educator. I am also stoked about returning back to my dissertation on math education, professional learning, and subject matter acquisition. But, the real work begins with me and my story. I look forward to this journey of discovery.

Staying Indoors

January 16, 2024 – Shifting Gears and Finding Momentum

If you notice carefully, the snow is accumulating rapidly on my patio’s edge. This photo was taken this morning and there is more snow now. It snowed all day and I stayed home all day, working from home. I feel like I have finally overcame the obstacles known as the CCV (the Canadian Common CV), which was a good learning experience. There were a few administrative bits to handle this afternoon and now I am transitioning into writing. So, why not blog? I am grateful in many ways to have a job that is highly dependent on my computer. I’ll be back on campus tomorrow.

This image is a common photo I post daily on my Twitter/X account to share “today’s #patiopic” that is complemented with a thought of the day or pleasant commentary of what is. The weather started warming up a bit to -8 degrees Celsius, but will be cooling down again to temperatures close to -19 degrees. At least it’s not -40 degrees like it was last week with the windchill factor. That said, I do appreciate the blue sky and sunny days when its super cold out. As you can see, it was a cloudy and snowy day today. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect. Hence, I’m inspired to blog.

I am brought to the idea of what’s important to me. Here we go again… not to belabour the issue, but really it’s more about figuring out the nuances of what’s important to me. I am noticing. I am wondering. I am deliberating what action to take. Ultimately, I need to trust my instincts and right now the arrows are pointing towards my doctoral research and investigating mathematics education, out-of-field teaching, and teacher professional development. My heart and spirit are alive in mathematics and assessment, so I need to explore that further as part of my research program.

In the meantime, I will direct my attention to teacher agency, teacher leadership, and climate change education. I am working with a research group and we had the opportunity to learn more about the writing process,  teacher leadership, and knowledge dissemination. Admittedly, there has been a tonne on my plate and I advocated to continue with this chapter writing. Now, I need to follow through on it. In hindsight, I should have advocated for myself and put my work first. I am learning, no doubt. And, I have no regrets. Things happen exactly how they should happen.

Onwards and upwards.

Stay in the Zone

January 14, 2024 – Remember the Feeling

The lingering of my good curling shot last week is one feeling that I cannot let go of. I know that it was only a moment, but that very moment was the feeling of FLOW and “being in the zone.” I had such a busy work week and extended my time to meeting timelines and address perceived pressure and expectations. Luckily, I can say that I am satisfied with my performance from last week, I am not going to sweat the small stuff. Admittedly, my performance was not “perfect” and there is always room for improvement, I had moments of flow that I can be proud of. I’m focussed on that.

Part of being in the zone is having moments that honour my mental and physical health. I have always lived life living in “the hustle” but in 2024, I am very aware when life is getting away from me. For example, one day I did an (almost) an all-nighter and that night I went to bed at 6pm and slept for 14-hours. It made sense to me. It was like 2-sleeps in a row. LOL. I felt so rested that day and ended that day with a beading class at the art gallery. I just loved that. It filled my cup to bead, be with my kid, and be with my friend. I had to stay up late again to prep for my class, but it was Friday.

It’s not the best balance, but it’s getting better. That’s what matters. I am HAPPY. Saturday was amazing!! During the week I am so focused on brain-work, that having Saturdays that is focused on the tangibles balances me well. I can just BE. What I am also focused on is being myself. In doing so, I am honouring myself. I am respecting myself. I love myself. WOW. That was an unravelling, but this is how I feel. I’m not worried about the future or what other people think. I am happy to just do what I feel is right. I do get unsolicited validation and honestly, it’s unexpected and appreciated.

Hence the heart mug. I need to do the same for myself. On Saturday, I recycled, got the mail, spent time with my kid, food shopped, cleaned the fridge, and cooked dinner. Of course I am watching Hallmark movies throughout the day to end every 2-hour interval with a happy ending. Saturdays is an opportunity to rest, restore, and revitalize my joy for my life. How does this relate to teacher leadership? Be happy. I will get to that draft chapter writing, my CCV, and manuscript. Saturdays is about ME for me. I finally get it. ME-days are important to me and effective leadership. Yay!!

Teamwork and Leadership

January 6, 2024 – Correlating with Curling

I’m not sure why curling is my sport… but it is. I was in the curling rink as a young child… a rink rat, shall we say, but curling style. I loved going to the rink. I have fond memories of hot chocolate, cinnamon Dentyne gum, and bugging my dad on the ice for more money to get a bag of Cheezies. No wonder I was wooed to the sport as a teenager. I started curing in Grade 8 and started skipping my own team in Grade 9. I was such a novice skip and player. I remember playing in the McCracken Bonspiel, a spiel for junior players. I was playing in the finals in the B-event and we were playing a Grade 11/12 team. A long story made short, we gave up an 8-ender and our opponent won a trip to Hawaii. They even brought me back a souvenir T-shirt.

I stayed in the sport and became a provincial champion and runner-up in Grade 12. I enjoyed the sport and considered continuing to play during my university years and young adulthood, but the flow and commitment were not there. Over time, to be a “competitive curler” became an unattainable dream. The year I was pregnant, I closed that door. I’ve curled on and off since having my kid. I loved playing ladies night and I played mixed in a bonspiel or two. Bonspieling was the extent of my competitive play for the next decade or two. I’ve won a few prizes and trophies with my teams and I loved the comradery, travel, and teamwork. We always had a tonne of fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I am competitive too. I remember one curling team I skipped with my sister, her friend, and my friend. We were kind of a “meatball team” but we just gelled. My sister’s friend was a beginner. She played lead. My sister played second and my friend played third. We were playing in a local cash spiel and we were playing in the finals against Nora’s team. I loved Nora. I considered her to be my curling-elder. She was amazing and fierce as a curler. I remember it was the last end and there were a tonne of rocks in play. We had last rock and I had to make a miracle shot. It was a double raise take-out. The raises were long, thus a low percentage shot. That’s all we had. Win or lose… make the shot or not. What I loved about this team was, they were all in. GO FOR IT and we did. We made the shot and won!!

I remember that feeling. We called the shot, the team was on board, and there was no self-doubt. Clarity, really. The praise or celebration afterwards did not matter (despite winning the cash and the game). It was a good feeling. My team was amazing!! It’s tough to find that gel on a curling team. You change one player and you change the team. I remained on and off curling throughout the years and gradually I become more recreational. When I first moved to Prince George, I did not curl for a few years. Post-pandemic, I opted to sign up. The rink changed from 8-sheets to four and I threw my name into the hat for Friday nights (aka. the fun league. I joined a team with a couple and another woman. It’s an open league. I play third.

Joining this curling team in 2021 was serendipitous. We decided to play together last year and now this year. Last night was the first game of 2024. Our win-loss record this season has been our worst with only one win in 2023. Normally in past seasons it was the reverse (at least over 0.500). Doesn’t matter. We are having fun. I was feeling grateful for our team. I had a huge appreciation for the unconditional “love” for teamwork and doing our best one rock at a time. Then, I thought about my love for curling. In grade 9, I won a science fair on “the Science of Curling.” I remember using a spring scale to measure the force of rocks in Newtons sliding up and down the ice. A random memory during the 5th end, but I was brought back to my love for the sport.

My skip last night injured himself in the fourth end and stopped playing after the 5th. Guess who stepped in as skip? We were now a team of three, but the game must go on. It was weird because I have not skipped in years and I had to learn the ice in the rocks remaining in the game. We kept with a draw game so that I could learn about the ice and in keeping with the 5-rock rule. The opponent’s skip was making amazing shots during the game and me stepping in did not change her momentum. We gave up one-point in the 6th and one more point in the 7th. We still had the hammer coming home with a one point lead. The score was 6-5. We got one rock in the house and we spent many rocks trying to guard it, and the other team trying to get it out. My first rock was a dud. I took the other turn and hogged my rock. The other skip made an amazing shot, got around the guards, and was just shot rock. OY. Miracle shot. Tie the game or win? Here we go. Hack weight, around the guards, and hit the opponent’s rock on the inside for 2-points. BOOM. We did it!! We won the game!!

I had that feeling again. There was an audience and everything. Players were waiting to play the next game but we managed to squeeze in 8-ends during the first draw. I was not distracted by them and told my lead before I got into the hack that they could wait. “We have a game to play.” Again, we put the broom down, we were all on board, and we made the shot. CLARITY, again. It was an amazing feeling. Although my teammates would say that I made the shot, I believe that WE made the shot. It took all of us. My lead swept the rock, I called the line, the second was there in the house to sweep and assist. We all had a part in our success. To me, this is leadership.

Looking Ahead to 2024

December 30, 2023 – Returned from Puerto Vallarta

We just got back today from Mexico. We took a direct flight from Puerto Vallarta to Prince George via WestJet. It was a short trip with my daughter. We went to an all inclusive (adults only) hotel. It was a WestJet vacation. She paid for her share and I paid for mine (of course), but I also paid for any extras like an ocean side room, overnight stay at the Fairmont Hotel at the Vancouver Airport, and hotel transfers. The extras were my needs. The Fairmont was a beautiful hotel and we flew out of YVR early the next morning. We had a couple drinks in the lounge and Christmas dinner at my sister’s place. It was a great way to start our vacation. In Mexico, we had an oceanside room and the view was spectacular!! We started the vacation strong by going to Centro (or downtown Puerto Vallarta) via public transit. 10 pesos… that’s it!!  My kid pushed me out of my comfort zone. We loved going to the Oyster Grill, visiting friends in Bucarias, and spending time at the resort. Going to Puerto Vallarta was the first trip that my daughter and I took together. It was a trip we both wanted to do.

Much like the Mexico trip, there were some amazing and wonderful moments in 2023 that I will definitely do again. There were also some things that I would do differently. Were there some down moments? Yes. For example, I totally wore the wrong shoes to Bucarias and for the remainder of the trip, I had huge blisters on my feet. They were super painful. I went to the Farmacia and bought many bandaids and spent time for the rest of the vacation maintaining these wounds. No more beaches for me. The sand gets everywhere. A poor decision on my part with natural consequences, but no regrets. I will do better next time. I’m still wearing the bandaids and my feet as I write this blog post. My blisters need time to heal. It feels better everyday and I could not let them hold me back from making the most of my vacation. I adapted. This is experiential learning. As my mom would say, I always like doing things the hard way. I don’t think that has changed. My twin brother researches and plans, and I depend on others and learn from experience. What I do know is, there is no perfect.

What’s important to me and why does it matter?

I’m back at this question which I believe 2024 will be the year. I’ve been pondering since the pandemic about what’s important to me and I’m brought to a memory I had when I was giving birth to my daughter 20-years ago. The nurse said, “you’re not pushing hard enough.” Oh… I was pissed, but she was not wrong. I needed someone like that to tell me the truth in a wholehearted way. I was even more annoyed when she said that the baby had to make it around the corner then reminded me that it was the third lesson in the prenatal series. I did not need that, but she made a point. I pushed. I pushed so hard that I blew a dozen blood vessels in my eyes, I had plenty of stitches, and I was unrecognizable to friends and family. Giving birth was the toughest thing I every had to do (and my dissertation is a close second). In essence, in 2024, I’ve just got to push harder, meaning, give it my all. I keep playing it safe, take partial risks, and shy away when the going gets tough. I have a goal and I need to get there.

In terms of short term goals, I need to redraft my dissertation to be an article. It was done once with my supervisor a few years ago. One rejection and I could not look back at that work. It reminds me of how fragile I was at that time and where I am today. I looked at that work before leaving for my trip to Mexico (which by the way, my friend would not let me bring this work on my trip) and realized that the feedback was fair and that much of my literature review was edited out in the 10000 word version. I thought it was me, when really, it was what we sent. There is a literature review, but now, my mindset has shifted as well as how I self-identity as a “math educator.” I need to revisit my work with new eyes and get this paper down to 5-6000 words. Maybe it’s two articles… who knows? What I am realizing is, my research program is PIVOTING towards identity and identity development. I see this now. And thinking about it makes me very excited. Hello 2024!! I am READY. Let’s do this!!