Thursday, 20 October 2016
They can take everything we have, and they do it. It takes one swift move, inconsequential on their part, but devastating on ours.
What they can't take away are the lessons we've learned.
So let there be many lessons! Then let them fight us for the rest.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Thursday, 11 August 2016
Monday, 1 August 2016
Sunday, 31 July 2016
My father passed away six years ago, several weeks after going into cardiac arrest on Valentine's Day as a result of massive kidney failure.
We didn't know his kidneys had been failing. Our family doctor did, and he knew that my father hadn't once seen the nephrologist to which he'd been referred in all the years that he'd had the opportunity. It took me years to accept that he was a grown man and knew exactly what he was doing through the time that he had ignored it. He had been a pre-med student, after all.
For years, I felt like I should have seen the signs and daily beat up on myself for failing him. I also harboured a lot of anger and resentment toward our former family doctor. The truth is that my father was not in good health, and between the excema, gout, several strokes and various other ailments, we just didn't see the symptoms. We couldn't have, and he lied about it. My mom had taken care of him on her own that whole time. We were there, but she bore the brunt of it. Knowing now how truly unwell she was, I become overwhelmed with guilt whenever I think about it. I wish I had helped more. And though it was always a priority for me, I had my own cross to bear at that point in time in my life, a story for another blog post.
I still harbour a lot of anger and resentment toward our former family doctor. He retired a year or so later. My father's situation aside, I am just disappointed with his treatment of our family and the loyalty we gave him in spite of it.
It wasn't long after my father passed away that my sister and I started paying really close attention to my mom's health. It, too, was quite poor. It had always been. We had always accompanied our parents to their medical appointments but we trusted that they were listening to the doctor. My father's passing changed that. I learned that my dad refused treatments and medications for anything and everything. Accordingly, we began to watch our mom's health like a hawk.
I learned quickly that she didn't like to take her blood pressure medication because it made her nauseous, that she requested but was never given an alternate drug, and that she had been almost blind in her left eye for and indeterminate length of time and was due for a vitrechtomy. She did manage to take sufficiently good care of her diabetes. She really liked her endocrinologist and enjoyed visiting him.
But my father's passing really affected her. They had known each other since they were little children, growing up in their small town of Atimonan during WWII. They were there through each other's other relationships, friends, family, school, and first jobs. They watched each other grow into adulthood before they got involved and married. They remained strong while my mom came to Canada for work seven years before my dad followed in the 70's. They started a whole new journey having me and my sister in the 80's. I watched my parents weather rough storms where we didn't know if we would have a place to live, or food to eat. I watched every disaster and the closeness that ensued. In old age, I watched them go for walks together; enjoy morning coffee; watch Raptors, Leafs, tennis; stay up all night playing Scrabble trying to beat each other. They were life-partners; through anything, they knew they'd be by each other's side. And although she never said it, I know she missed him. For all her femininity, she is the toughest lady I know--there's what I saw as her daughter, but also what we had heard about her life before us.
It was only months after we lost my father that she suffered a series of strokes and was put into critical care--incidentally at the same hospital where my father had been admitted earlier that year--and I would learn what it truly meant to be a caregiver. Up to that point, we thought we had been really active caregivers for our parents, having watched them both come in and out of the hospital for various health concerns since we were little children, but it was only the start. This was the hospital stay where we learned that my mom's kidneys, too, had been failing and were already down to 15% functionality. This was when I learned the consequence of not managing your blood pressure. This was the event that robbed my mom of the dexterity in her fingers, preventing her from being able to administer her insulin shots. This was the stay when I learned simultaneously how superior the hospital's medical team was to the team composed of our family doctor and series of specialists to whom she'd been referred, and how immensely important it is to have family at the hospital to advocate for the elderly for everything from preventing doping patients with morphine to shut them up, pushing back on pressure to admit family to nursing homes, and demanding more information and tests. All of this was foreign to us; we had no other family here in Canada or friends going through this at the time. Our parents were old enough to be our grandparents. I was 27 and had to learn quickly how to manage this, getting my education, paying all the bills and my own mental and physical health.
To be continued.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Monday, 18 July 2016
Months passed, and I stopped asking. I just always laughed whenever he did it.
Then one evening, when I was feeling really sad about something, he poked me on my nose and said, "Boop. It's your smile button. It never fails. Push the button ... Boop!"
This was cute for a couple of reasons. One was that he had kept it to himself for perhaps over a year. Second, that it worked infallibly and I'd had no idea.
I wonder how many more smile buttons I have, and how I'll find them.
Friday, 15 July 2016
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Sunday, 5 June 2016
It's only 8:38 a.m. on this Sunday and I've had the chance to check in with four really close friends this morning.
I woke up this morning thinking about being single and how at times it feels as though I have this endless well of love and no one to shower in it. Then my friends remind me that this is not true.
I love and care so much, so deeply. And the reciprocation from all of these wonderful people makes me feel so grateful that it brings tears to my eyes.
I wish everyone could feel this.
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Through all the walls you'd built.
Entrapped by all the suffering
And pain and all the guilt.
I climbed to the top to reach you.
To extend to you my hand.
Unwilling, you declined and I
Wanted to understand.
I dove in, I did not tear down
All the walls you'd built.
I surrounded myself with all your pain
And suffering and guilt.
And when I had my answers
To what brought your walls about,
You still had not taken my hand
And I could not climb out.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
Nick taught me so much about life and love. I thought I knew what I wanted and needed, but he showed me I was wrong. So much was immaterial.
Now I know, and knowledge is power.
Monday, 11 April 2016
There was much more to that night, I know, but I mention this story for one very important and seemingly insignificant reason: he sang to me. Like every (every?) teenage girl, I fantasized about being serenaded, or at the very least, singing a duet with the boy of my dreams. That night, he and I were slow dancing through some fast song when he sang "Kiss The Girl" from The Little Mermaid into my ear, and then we kissed.
I was so impressed with Daniel from that evening. Daniel is by no means (no offense, Daniel) a singer, nor does he even like to sing for fun. He had the courage to step outside his comfort zone and do something that he really didn't want to do for me because he knew it would make me happy. It was better than any song anyone had ever sung to me.
Because of the sincerity and symbolism of it, this is one of the best gifts I have ever received. I knew then the way I know now that it wasn't something that he'd do for just anyone, and that is what made it special.
Perhaps it helped that I knew him well enough to know how special the effort truly was: it's hard to assess the meaningfulness of a gift when you aren't very well acquainted with the giver.
Friday, 8 April 2016
There was a time when it was daunting. We felt lost, alone, and very confused. Now that I see my friends beginning to embark on this journey, I realize that all this experience will help me help them.
We are only alone if we don't let people in.
Friday, 25 March 2016
Looking back at older versions of myself through the lens of age and experience makes me feel content. It's been an interesting tale. I wonder what the next three years will bring.
Friday, 11 March 2016
presented as proof that time does not exist. The latter term describes an order and directionality
of events in time. The former adds to that a dynamic quality, that of a moving “now” through
the series. In his argument, McTaggart aimed to show that attempts to clarify the understanding
of each series leads to absurdity, namely that the B-series is incoherent because it lacks a
dynamic quality, thus requiring the A-series; and the A-series contradicts itself by attributing to
each moment all three mutually exclusive properties of pastness, presentness and futurity. His
conclusion was that time could neither be an A- nor a B-series; that it is unreal. Since it is
questionable that the B-series requires a dynamic element, that such an element be supplied by
“nowness”, or even that there is contradiction in the attribution of pastness, presentness and
futurity to all moments, there are good reasons to question the soundless of McTaggart’s
argument. What we do gain from McTaggart are terms and a framework for looking at time, and
the question of passage. What is not at issue is the ordering or directionality, namely the features
of the B-series. The question is whether or not there is reason to believe in a moving “now”, as
described by the A-series. I believe that there is not.
In “The Myth of Passage”, Donald C. Williams supplies a case against passage. He writes that
“as soon as we say that time or the present or we move in the odd extra way which the doctrine
of passages requires, we have no recourse but to suppose that this movement in turn takes time of
a special sort: time1 move at a certain rate in time2.” That is, assuming an ordering of events in
time, if there is a present moment that moves through the series, it does so at some rate, namely
that “the moving present slides over so many seconds of time1 in so many seconds of time2,”3 It is
clear to see that the rate of the present through time2 would need to be defined. This line of
thinking leads to an infinite regress, never yielding an answer to the question of at what rate the
present passes. It is on this basis that Williams discards the notion of a present. A response might
be that it is absurd to think of time as something that moves with a rate through time. The
confusion could be linguistic.
To show the necessity of an A-series, one might instead try to identify an absurdity in a B-series
conception of time. One such example could be the intuition that it entails a strict determinism.
This would be unappealing to anyone who has the sense that we have choice in the future; that
the future is not fixed. However, under careful examination, we will find that a B-series account
of time does not entail a deterministic universe. Let us define a world W as deterministic if and
only if every world with the same physical laws as W, and the same initial conditions as W, all
have the same history as W. Let us further define a world W as non-deterministic if and only if
there is a world W’ such that both are subject to the same physical laws and initial conditions,
but W’ has a different history from W. Consider the world within which in the next hour I opt to
go outside and to enjoy the day. Now consider the world within which I choose to sit inside and
finish this paper. Up to this point, both worlds are the same. Looking at the two options ahead,
we can define the world where I go outside as world W, and the world where I finish the paper as
W’, both worlds are subject to the same physical laws and initial conditions, but with different
histories. That I will experience one of these worlds (likely the latter), does not preclude the
non-existence of the other. It means that we can interpret these options as different worlds that
are subject to the same physical laws and initial conditions. Since we defined W as non-
deterministic in the event that there is a W’ with these conditions, then we can say that W is non-
deterministic. In this way, it makes sense to say that a B-series timeline, one in which there is an
order and direction of events without a “present”, does not entail a strict determinism. A B-
series account of time permits freedom. If it is to be considered insufficient, then it has to be on
Finally, an A-series proponent might want to point to experience as proof that the present exists.
We experience time. It is possible that it is illusory, that the experience of the passage of time
suggests that time could be a secondary property of matter. For example, we consider mass and
charge primary proprieties, and colour, flavour and smell as secondary properties. After all,
physical laws seem to have no requirement for a ‘now’4. Just because we perceive it doesn’t
mean that it exists objectively.
The conception of an “absolute” A- or B-series is built in a Newtonian model, where absolute
simultaneity is defined and an absolute ordering of events is possible. According to Einstein’s
Special Relativity theory, there is no such thing as absolute simultaneity. That the speed of light
remains constant in all inertial reference frames has consequences as the relativity of
simultaneity. A distinct ordering of events is possible within each inertial frame of reference.
There is no privileged frame of reference. Although an ordering is preserved in each reference
frame, without absolute simultaneity there is no absolute order. Without an absolute order, what
is the ‘now’ that moves through time? Does the present that we are searching for also become
relative? If there is no such thing as absolute simultaneity, then there cannot be objective facts of
the form “t is present”. But recall that this is the concern for inertial reference frames. The Earth
rotates on an axis, revolves around the sun, and the sun through the galaxy. In what sense are we
ever measuring in an inertial frame of reference? Unfortunately, when we look at time dilation
in Einstein’s General Theory of relativity which takes into consideration time within non-inertial
reference frames, the matter only appears to become more complicated.
We started out this journey trying to answer the question of whether or not there was reason to
believe in an A-series account of time, and where I’ve ended up is with concern that the problem
of passage as a question between the A- and B-series accounts appears to be more of a false
dichotomy. Neither the A- nor the B-series can give a full account of time.
Kosso, Peter. 1998. Appearance and reality : An introduction to the philosophy of physics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Savitt, Steven. 2014. Being and Becoming in Modern Physics. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-bebecome/.
Williams, Donald C. 1951. The myth of passage. The Journal of Philosophy 48 (15) (-07-19): 457.
Friday, 5 February 2016
I can see so many parallels between what I experienced and the accounts described - anonymous and not - by Jian's alleged victims. Well, Jian just lawyered up with one of the best. Forgive my cynicism but I have no faith that he could be charged as the criminal that he allegedly is in the eyes of the law ... any more than any of the other predators out there who haven't faced penalty or reprimand.
I shared my allegations; he backlashed. It resulted in my having to endure 6 full days of interrogations regarding the events in question, and one full year's worth of attacks on my character that took the form of several hundred page documents "supported" by "testimony" and pedaled off as "evidence".
I documented everything thoroughly and supplied my extensive evidence. I did my part. The rest is on their heads.
I feel satisfaction knowing that my account brought it to a shade of grey. Without it, it most certainly would have been painted black and white. I can't control how the shades of grey are perceived. I am giving you my account of the story. That is all I can do.
Monday, 28 December 2015
I don't meet many anymore. Perhaps I never did. I haven't thought about it. I haven't had the time.
One of the last discussions we had was about time. He warned me that it would pass ever more quickly with age, and I retorted that I had found the solution. I related a story about how I had received that very same warning when I was twenty-five, a warning I very diligently heeded. In fear of passively watching the years slip past me, indiscriminately melding into an indiscernible collection of past events, I decided to take action! I would make each moment memorable. What better way to slow down time than to ensure that each moment was filled with memorable things, places and people. It was logical. I spent the following years refining the process, taking on exciting new opportunities, trying a variety of new activities, and getting to know a lot of interesting people.
It's eight years later, and I believed I had worked out the kinks. The years have been discernible. Each had a character; or, at least, I retrospectively assigned it one. It's hard to say which is the case. This should have felt like success. But the other day when this kindred spirit kindly warned me that time would pass ever more quickly with age, and I proudly regurgitated my usual logical solution-as I've so done since first formulating it when I was twenty-five, something felt amiss. I remember everything, regardless of any interesting characteristics; with or without any prejudice. I remember it all.
It was a gross miscalculation. I understood the concern to be that I would lose track of all the details. Accordingly, I formulated a solution centred on slowing down the perception of the passage of time, namely making it memorable. But my thinking was fallacious! Effort to make each moment memorable is required assuming that without it, I would forget. It's so striking. It's so obvious an implicit premise. It's so pessimistic. It's so ... disappointing.
I didn't need to go out of my way to make each moment so special that I'd remember it. I was going to remember it, anyway. Problem solved. So why was it still so unsatisfying?
Though it wasn't good-bye, if age has taught me anything, it's that it probably was. We parted ways on book recommendations that would "trouble" the other. By "trouble", I mean "afflict intellectually". It has been a long while since I've been "troubled" by a book. It's been even longer since I've been excited to read one recommended to me. I wished I'd told him that. Instead, I blamed the work environment for how rare it was. The truth was that even in environments where it was expected to have been commonplace, it wasn't. It meant a lot to me that I could inspire someone to be excited about a book. It meant a lot to me that I could be excited. Most importantly, why have these final exchanges been troubling me?
To 2016! I hope this year is filled with lots of peace, love and happiness.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
My grandfather on my father's side fought and died during WWII during what has come to be known as the Bataan Death March. I was born 40 years later in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The destruction of the records made it almost impossible for anyone from that town to emigrate to Canada. My mom and dad did, but no other member of our family was able to join them.
Since that time, Japan has issued an apology to the Americans for their losses. I don't think they did the same for the Filipino POWs who lost their lives in that death march.
When I think of Remembrance Day, I think of this.
Thursday, 6 August 2015
This mini-vacation comes to mind for two reasons: it conjures up fond memories of time with my late father, but also because of how we all planned to but chickened out of riding the cable car over the Falls.
We're a family of chickens, and when are all together, such chicken-ry is magnified to incredulous proportions.