Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! (update Wayden Transportation Ladies Grand Slam - Abbotsford BC)

I probably should have put up an update upon my return, however I have been distracted since getting back.
I will start with this. Abbotsford BC, what a BEAUTIFUL place to be. When I arrived on Thursday afternoon to a very small and intimate airport, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and the weather was simply lovely and refreshing. I was the first of the four of us to arrive and was met at the airport by our driver George. A very pleasant and obliging fellow who drove me around and showed me the town. He even went as far as to stop in at a fruit market so that I could get some apples and oranges to prepare for a lot of curling and a lot of sweeping.
I arrived at the hotel and located a room and made myself comfortable. I was pretty hungry and went to the restaurant attached to the hotel to grab some grub. I didn't realize just how busy it was as there was a waiting list to get a table and an extended wait. So I went back to my room, order some take out and watched some TV. After dinner I decided to have a soak in the hot tub I discovered along the way to the Restaurant. Ahh...it was great! I also discovered the bath and body products of
Bath & Body Works. These were the complimentary items of Shampoo/Conditioner/Soaps and body lotion the hotel provided to it's customers. What a wonderful product. I have heard of it before, but never plunged further into it to find out what it was all about. Until now, the Body Shop had been a place I frequented. Not anymore. What a wonderful product and I could go on, but I will digress for now.

My curling experience in Abbotsford with Team Rankin was fantastic regardless of the outcome. We were out after three games, but they were hard fought battles and I continued to learn during and after each game.

I had the opportunity to have a couple of very good friends visit me while I was out there. My very good friend Eunice who I haven't seen in over 10 years since I worked and lived in Montreal, and her fiance Les drove out to see me. My childhood friend Terri also came out from Vancouver and for a visit and took some pictures as well. It was fantastic to see them both!

Unfortunately this was the last curling experience I would have this season. Shortly upon my return from Abbotsford and through many emails and many phone calls, the team I was so excited about playing on came to it's demise. My skip finally came to conclude that she simply could not commit to the rest of the season. It was understandable without a doubt. My concern lied with the two remaining members. I would have hoped that the motivation to continue on and plug away the rest of the season may have been refocused to simply keep on keeping on and get familiar with each other for the meantime focusing on next season.

This was not the case. Finding another player and switching up positions and trying different options was not an option. It was disappointing. I was disappointed. What can I say? I thought that a team as reputable as this would have just kept on moving forward and simply change the focus for the season. Too many underlying issues and I believe the fate had been decided before I came on board.

So, now, my focus has changed again and I still believe things do happen for a reason. My family, my Dad, need me as I need them right now. It's been a rough couple of months without a doubt and I wouldn't change anything at all. I'm enjoying my family, my old friends, and my new friends, there company and am very thankful for the experiences and people have met thus far in my first year of being back in Manitoba. Yes it was 1 year last Monday December 15Th. Hard to believe already, and as I reflect back over this time there has been a lot of sadness. I lost my Uncle Albert, Chayse, Meeka, and Sniff. All of whom impacted my life and my family in many great ways. There has been many, many happy moments as well. Painting the Deck with my Dad and sister Jacquelyn while singing at the top of our lungs to the Beatles, 'GET BACK' and making my Mom and Dad laugh so hard that they were doubled over from the pain. All from the antics of my new roommate Ribit, my cat. Not knowing why she yelled at me all night long and the constant battles and arguments I had with her and apologies to her for shouting at her, only to discover that she was simply hungry. The realization, 'Hey, I'm not dead' after being asked out by three younger guys in a small town like Pinawa. Who would have thought? I'm thankful for my genes that allow me to look younger than my age. Yeah for me!

It's been a trying year without a doubt but the good out weighs the bad and the new memories and experiences I am thankful for. What will 2009 bring? Probably a bit of everything.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Summary of the Colonial Spiel Saskatoon and on to Abbottsford Wayden Transportation Women's Grand Slam

The Wayden Transportation Women's Grand Slam event is the next event I will be attending and sparing for Heather Rankin's team. I leave tomorrow and we play our first game @ 2:30pm on Friday. I'm very much looking forward to it as I had a wonderful time in Saskatoon. What a great experience and what a wonderful group of girls I curled with. They are very humble and very grounded. It was an absolute delight to play for them. Although from my perspective I thought we did very well, on a hard core curling team doing well isn't all that great. We won our first 3 games against P. Roy(SK), T. Ursel(MB) and Kelly Scott (BC) to reach the A side qualifier against World Champion Jennifer Jones from Manitoba. We had a good game against Jones, but needed to be better and lost 3-2. From there we played Michelle Englot (SK) and Leslie Rogers (AB) and lost two straight which ended our run in Saskatoon.
This was by far out of all the events I've participated in, in previous years one of the bigger ones to date. I learned a lot about the competition, the level of competition required to compete at these events and a WHOLE HECK of a lot about myself. Playing with a team that share the same goals, the same fire, and the same passion will get you where you want to go.

I want to firstly thank Team Rankin, Heather, Chrysta, Lisa, Kyla and Mo, for welcoming me whole heartedly to the team for these two events. It takes a lot of trust and faith to bring someone on board that you've never seen play before or ever even heard of before. They did with only the direction of Heather Rankin and Chrysta Lewis - Rankin without question to even my surprise. Even when things continued to go wrong or when things continued to go in different directions we stood together as a team and never gave up. What an experience and what an inspiration to me. Each of these team members has touched me in there own way on so many different levels and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for such a gift. I don't think I can express just how grateful I am for the opportunity to play with these ladies. I know, I know, I'm getting kind of mushy, but for someone who has never played in a Grand Slam event at this level of curling before and someone who has only dreamed of being able to....I am absolutely ecstatic to have the opportunity. This also isn't something you simply sign up for and hand in a cheque for. These girls have worked hard over the past years to accumulate enough points to be invited to participate in events such as this. No average Joe can simply walk off the street to participate in events like this. So for that I am graceous and will do whatever it is they require without question.
Again ladies, thank you so much for the opportunity and here's hoping this weekend is even better than the last!!

Also a shout out to the best shuttle driver in Saskatoon, NEIL!!

Monday, November 3, 2008


So this week begins a potentially very busy 6 weeks of curling for me. I'm very excited. I did play one game at the Casino's of Winnipeg and was happy with how I played considering the mental doubts I'd had and lack of practise etc. The girl that I spared for decided she wanted to play and that was fine..however I wouldn't have taken 1/2 a day off of work with the understanding that I would have played the entire weekend. Nonetheless I played well and am content with that. I threw rocks at the Pinawa club after work today. My observation is simply that I've been spoiled living in the big cities and having ice makers with great reputations to accommodate me and all the other competitive curlers you'd find on the world curling tour. I was about ready to get back into a lift delivery and was quite discouraged quite frankly. I decided to go back to basics and worked on my delivery and balance. 'Look Ma! No broom!' :)

I leave for Saskatoon Thursday evening. I don't know the draw yet and who we play first, but regardless I'm very excited to see my friends again and enjoy some hard core curling. I can't say that I've actually played at this level and although I'm a little nervous I welcome the challenge. I have a great role models to guide me in Heather and her team, so I know I'll be OK.

Although curling has occupied my mind and will be on my mind the majority of this week, I have another project that is challenging my creative side. I'm attempting to illustrate a children's book that my friend has written. It is a challenge and I am rusty, but I know once I get going I'll be fine. It's simply finding my style again. I've been programed to adapt to other people's styles and in the process let my own style disappear. That's why I can draw Franklin and Arthur with my eyes closed. Admittedly I can sing the theme songs too. Eek. Nothing wrong with that I suppose lol.

Once I complete some work of my own not related to the children's book I will start to post them on my blog. It will be difficult with my schedule, but who knows maybe it will inspire me. :D
Until then, follow our progress at the COLONIAL SQUARE LADIES CURLING CLASSIC.
I will be sparing for HEATHER RANKIN'S Calgary team.