Buttterflies, a sign?

Sooo I’ve been seeing monarch butterflies everywhere lately. Its been about 3 months and no joke I’ve seen at least 10 butterflies in my normally butterflyless life. I live in a city and work on a construction site. There should be very minimal butterfliesin my life. Usually I see a few a year. Yet a few weeks ago I literally saw 3 butterflies just casual flying together over our construction site right in downtown Toronto! Like 5 minites from union station, the downtown downtown core. Where would they even come from? There is barely any grass, let alone plants.

It all started when I was on my yearly camping trip with my boyfriend. We went a little farther in the bush than usual and we were both kinda wondering if it was worth the long trek. We had heard there were usually moose in the area but even afyer a really long frustrating portagewe saw none. So when we saw a few butterflies I felt comforted that at least there was something beautiful to see. Like maybe they were a sign of good luck. I dont really believe in signs but it just felt like our luck was turning around. Then on our way back, at the last possible spot in the area before the portage we saw moose. A mom and its baby. They were beautiful and shockingly not very shy either.

The trip was still not as fulfilling as usual though. Honestly lately I’ve been having a lot of doubts in life. There have been a lot of decisions to make about where to work and what car to buy and where to live. Its hard to know if you are making all the right decisions. As I write that sentance I realise that I’m dumb for strssinng so much becuase there is no one rogh hit decision for anything. Butlately it feels like there should be an that mmaybe I’m not choosing it. Maybe I missed my opportunity along the way. When I start feeling like this is right about when I’ll see another butterfly.

I know, it’s ridiculous. It’s definitely just coincidence. But I don’t know,it deinitely does not feel like coincidence. It feels like some higher power is cheering me along right when I need it and sending a butterfly to exactly where I should be at that moment in life. Every time I keep meeting them it feels like it more and more. I know that maybe that’s just what I need right now. Maybe I just wat to feel special and confident and this is a mind game with myself. Who knows.

This week I saw two. One on wednesda when I was having a horrible day. My grandma has been vey sick lately and the news was soundng worse. Plus work has been crazy with high upper management breathing down our throats. I was stressed and tired and about ready to give up over the stupidest thing of not having a ride. Uber exists, I was just beng lazy and looking for an excuse. I forced myself to go to head office because I had to get an employment letter before my boyfriend and I tour paces to rent. On my way from the subway station, walking the half a block to the office, I noticed some beautiful wildflowers. And of course, on them was a beautiful butterfly. As I walked by it lifted of the flowers and flew right by me.

Today we finally got through the rush a work and we are all burnt out. I feel relieved but also exhausted. This thankgiving isn’t much to look forward to. My grandpa on my dad’s side recently passed away and this will be our first thanksgiving without him and my grandma is in the hospital afyer having a stroke. I went to the washroom trailers and walk out to see a butterfly fly right over my head.

Its crazy, I know. But the way my heart feels so comforted every time I see another one, my heart definitely does not know that signs don’t exist.

Future Memories

My grandpa passed away a few days ago and even though it was his time and I can accept that I’m still left with these clear projdctions of him in my future. I can picture him writing corny jokes in the card for my graduation. I can picture him joking with my in-laws at my wedding. I can imagine us going out and him talking to strangers and becoming friends. You couldn’t beat his friendly smile and sense of humour. I can picture him being so proud of my brother going into the trades and them sharing work stories. It’s as clear as if it happenned and I don’t know how to let my brain know that it will never happen.

He just barely made it past when I finished school and my brother got in the union but by the time it happened his Alzheimer’s was so bad that he couldn’t remember us.

I sat with him a few days ago and just held his hand and fixed his oxygen mask every few seconds even though no matter what it would always slip down as he tried to cough or sometimes looked like he was trying to sleep. I saw my grandma sad for the first time in my life she stayed with him the whole night after he died until they picked up his body in the morning.

These are my mangled thoughts right now. I feel more worry for my father and my grandma than I even feel sadness. I miss him for sure, but in many ways I already had to say bye. I had to say bye when he couldn’t remember how to play checkers anymore. I had to say bye when he forgot our names. I had to say bye when they told him he couldn’t leave the hospital and go home anymore. I had to say bye when he stopped being present in reality. I had to say bye when he stopped talking. Now I guess I still have one final goodbye of his body. Of his big smile and strong hands and comb over white hair.

The shelf he made me only a few years ago

Black hole… so?

Well I definitely can’t be the only one underwhelmed by the first photo of a black hole. More than being underwhelmed, I couldn’t help but wonder why this was so important? Why does everyone seem to be so excited? Why could so many countries team up to work together over this?

Well if you were thinking that too. Or if you are wondering why the hell I’m not excited then read this article. Sums it up perfectly.

https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/3005860/why-pour-billions-black-hole-and-distant-galaxies-when

Reflection on Abundance: The Future Is Brighter Than You Think

If I keep up this pattern of only posting about my Ethics class I’ll practically have practically to change the title and theme of this blog (Not that I even have a very strict list of topics I stick to already lol). I can’t deny that the topic of ethics is wildly interesting to me and I tend to get riled up and ready to argue which is one of my favourite moods for writing. It definitely helps that I have been super busy this year and writing for ethics with marks attached has some extra motivation. Well here goes nothing, another rant on ethics and the state of the world. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book, I may not have fully read it either 😉 . This post is 100% readable without having read the book and brings up some interesting thoughts either way.

In the book, the argument is made that we will be able to solve the biggest problems of our society, and so there is no need for pessimism about the future. Do you agree?

No, I do not agree. I think arguing against pessimism is like arguing against the existence of evil or asking why there are bad things in the world. We cannot have all positive or all negative. Things need to be in balance. Being pessimistic is just a way of having our balance out of whack. It is a reminder that something is wrong and things need to be changed. It is a wake up call and neither should we ignore it than we should run screaming.

I understand that he thinks people tend to lean more on the side of worry and pessimism than the positive thinking he advertises but maybe that is a sign that things need to be changed in our culture. Now we can’t overcome our amygdala, but I think it is about time the news stops blasting horrible news day in and day out, only leaving time for interviews with celebrities or little dance breaks between (if you don’t know what I’m talking about just turn on CP24 on a Friday). Or heck, maybe it is time to get off our couches, turn off the news and do something about the state of the world if you are so freaking worried about it. At least that I can agree with him on.

Suppose you were to play devil’s advocate – what might get in the way of society achieving these lofty goals? Citing several examples from the book, explain how the barriers or challenges you think of could hold back progress, or otherwise interfere with creating a world of abundance as described in the book? What do you think it will take for society to surmount those challenges?

I think that plain and simple people and politics will get in the way. I do not just mean government politics either, even office politics. For example, he speaks about how once we eradicate malaria then all these other good things will come out of it. But how exactly do you ensure that you eradicate malaria when, the major barrier, finding the cure has already been done? See it isn’t always as simple as the technology. Even if the right technology exists you need to make sure that it is in the right hands and that people believe in it. They have done studies in Africa and some people still do not believe it is curable. Others are afraid of conventional medicine. This is probably the point where Peter would argue that the internet will change all of that. Give it a few years and suddenly they will have all the access to all the same information we do and will believe us, is what he would argue. But would they? There are still people across North America who do not believe in vaccinations and they have access to the internet. Whose to say that all of Africa having the access to the internet would not just allow the people who do not believe in conventional medicine to share and grow their belief.

Also, Peter argues that all the resources that we claim are scarce, often are not if looked at through the lens of technology as they are only inaccessible. He gives the example of clean water and how all of the oceans water is inaccessible. However, if we come up with a large scale technology to be able to use all the water in the ocean then water is not actually a scarce resource. But I believe this is just dragging out the problem. The population is only bound to grow more at the pattern we are in and eventually even the oceans water will not be enough. Plus, we do not know the unintended consequences of draining that much water from the ocean. See the world is in a fine balance to stay healthy and each time we come up with more creative solutions there are unintended consequences. Take the Hoover Dam. It was built to allow the southern states to have good farm land which would not flood over every few years. The scientists and engineers of the time believed that they understood the water systems and were capable of controlling them. They believed they knew enough. Maybe they knew enough for the short term small picture problem. But in the big picture they disrupted the natural habitat as well as the lives of many fish and animals. Studies are now showing that: “while many dams and reservoirs are built, or expanded, to alleviate droughts and water shortages, they can paradoxically contribute to make them worse.”[1] This is due again to us humans and the weird way our brain works. See once the supply of water increases the demand increases as well, to levels higher than before the dam was built. So if something as simple as a dam can increase the demand for water, imagine if the entire ocean was available.

More work needs to be done to change people’s ingrown beliefs and our cultural beliefs towards abundance. Sure, maybe our amygdala is a bit of a problem with causing us to worry. But I think the rest of our brain deserves some focus with the world problems as well.

[1]      “The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs – Uppsala University, Sweden.” [Online]. Available: https://www.uu.se/en/news-media/press-releases/press-release/?id=4512&typ=pm. [Accessed: 08-Apr-2019].

The Ethics of Food

So I had to write about what impacted me most about my engineering ethics course and I may have gone on a bit of a rant. But it is a rant that I think needs to be shared with the world, because everyone should know what is in their food.

The most impactful part of the Ethics course I took was the books. Not surprising to me as I always feel that there is not enough time to read while in engineering. Extra bonus was that one of the books on the reading list was the Omnivores Dilemma, which is a book I’ve been meaning to read anyways. See I had heard a few times that this book convinced someone to become a vegetarian, which intrigued me. It scared me a little too because I really really love meat and was scared of what I might find out. So, even though this book was a bonus assignment due at the end of the term I checked out the book from the library and started reading it the first week. After weeks of staying up late reading in the only free time I could find from engineering, and then ranting to anyone who would listen about my new passion for food, I finally finished the book.

Now it has been weeks since I finished the book but I have still not stopped socially kidnapping people and taking over the conversation with my new obsession about ethically eating. See the book wasn’t what I thought it would be. It wasn’t an argument against meat, it was a journalist on a journey to discover where food comes from (he was not thinking of the grocery store). He was thinking of how we know that most of our food is not grown on large farms with rolling hills and cows grazing, BUT we don’t know what has replaced the farm. We all know the new “farm” isn’t as romantic and pretty as the original but turns out it is even uglier than we expected. No wonder they aren’t advertising it.

What I learned is that food was greatly changed after WWII. There was a lot of petroleum leftover from all those super important but now not needed gas bombs, and of course a use needed to be found for this new industry. What better place than food! Well in fertilizer to be precise, but more than close enough for my liking. Turns out corn and soy really like this special fertilizer. I know you are probably thinking at this point, “oh okay the problem is just corn and soy, that’s easy!” Well I wish. Except that all of these newly sprouting ingredients in our food are made of corn or soy:

CORN

  • citric acid
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • corn flour
  • corn fructose
  • corn meal
  • corn oil
  • corn syrup
  • dextrin
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • lactic acid
  • malt
  • mono- and di-glycerides
  • monosodium glutamate
  • sorbitol
  • starch

SOY

  • bulking agents
  • emulsifiers
  • guar gum
  • natural flavors
  • shoyu
  • soy beverages
  • soy flour
  • soy lecithin
  • soy miso
  • soy protein concentrate or isolate
  • soy sauce
  • soybean oil
  • stabilizer
  • tamari
  • tempeh
  • texturized vegetable protein
  • vegetable broth
  • vegetable gum

reference: https://www.strongertogether.coop/fresh-from-the-source/soy-and-corn-healthy-choices-or-hidden-ingredients

Maybe you do not recognize most of these ingredients. I sure didn’t. But if I start to look at the ingredients in my food then I notice them more and more. Personally, I want to start cutting the foods with these ingredients out of my diet. Just cause the government wants to support these ingredients does not mean that I do. Actually, that’s a whole ‘nother story and I don’t have time for it on top of everything else so please research away if you have time (search government promoting corn, read this article http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/how-the-government-supports-your-junk-food-habit/ or even better just read the whole book. You can even cut out that last chapter where he just cooks a fancy meal).

As if it is not already hard enough to memorize that list, it get’s even more complicated. See the fancy new farms have been feeding corn and soy to all the animals you eat. Which is why the new label in the meat market is “free range”. Those are the now the very expensive cows which actually still eat grass… and can walk on grass instead of a mess of their own poop and mud… and have space to walk cause they aren’t crammed in tiny fenced lots where all there seems to be is corn and poop for miles. But enough about poop.

Lets also note that cows are not supposed to eat corn. Their body was made to eat grass and while they could maybe eat corn for one meal and have a stomach ache, they were never made to live off corn. So these fancy new farmers mix the corn with some other stuff including medicine to treat the now sick corns and none other than beef (not only disgusting but this led to e coli outbreaks which caused the practice to be cut back, yet still not eliminated). Which led to the sprouting of another new food term, “free of antibiotics”. Funny thing is, antibiotics are actually amazing for when humans and animals are sick of natural causes. They are not so great when they are a band-aid solution to feeding your animal the wrong food. Also not so great when they are being so heavily used on animals that humans are eating the medicine through their meat and it is contributing to the superbug problem of humans being immune to new medicine.

Essentially, what I learned is that the food industry is much, much worse than I could have ever imagined it. It is horrible for our health, horrible for animals and horrible for the planet (spreading petroleum all over the ground in fertilizer does not lead to good things among other things the book mentions). I was completely ignorant of this for my whole life, but now I cannot unsee it. I can’t eat anymore without thinking of ethics. I feel bad every time I eat corn and that was not even the point or the main issue of the book. The issue is so complex that it feels hard to change, but I cannot in good conscience remain the same. I have to change, so I’m starting small. Trying to cook without meat or order vegetarian when there are good options. Trying in vain to recognize if my food has corn or soy in it, giving up, and then just buying the least processed things I can find. Recognizing the free range beef and the meat counter and planning to buy it when I start working and actually have enough money. Doesn’t feel like much, but it is a million times better than nothing. And if we all did this little it would be a billion times better than nothing.

Interconnection… good or bad?

Ah engineering ethics class, keeping me thinking. With the world being so interconnected did we loose something in research?

Sure researchers can work together and find each others research easier, but we have lost the automatic verification of multiple people working seperately discovering the same thing. Instead we run so quick with ideas sometimes that we dangerous adapt them and change our behaviours before they are properly verified. Just look at the whole generation of babies who were not held becuase they should self soothe. Or the open office space.

It is like we are so excited about new ideas and we can search for people who think similiarly so easily that it seems like there is tons of proof. Before the internet you had to speak with people and read books and maybe even critically reflect more on how ideas from throughout your life connect instead of automatically googling the connection.

Not to say the internet hasn’t done wonders. But maybe it has a bit too much power over us. Maybe it’s too easy to just go down one train of thought. I guess everything has it’s positives and negatives

Fighting bitterness

I’m watching a TED talk by William McDonough, an architect who believes in the concept of cradle-to-cradle design or the idea of design things not just for their purpose and profit, but to also limit the environmental impact they have. Or even better, design them to improve the environment or leave no impact. Heck he didn’t even print his book on paper because he wanted to conserve trees.

Mid-talk he mentions how the word competition means to strive together. All I could think was, damn why don’t we create an environment competition. Then I realized, I’m sure competitions like that do exist. But they are small and I have never even heard of them. Why in the world have I heard of the friggin olympics where people see how athletic they can become but I’ve never heard of a single environmental competition. What kind of world do we live in. What positive impact on the world does the olympucs even have? Unifying countries? I’m sorry but we needed sports to do that? It’s just imaginary lines people! Get over them!

This speaker seems so bitter throughout the whole talk and I have to admit, I can relate. It seems the more you know and see of the world the more it beats you down.

I was just watching a talk by Jane Goodall and she was speaking about her foundation Roots and Shoots. It is for kids to make a positive impact. But why just kids? Couldn’t adults not do even bigger and better things? …but they don’t. Not usually at least. We all get so bitter that we don’t even believe we can make much of a difference. Kids don’t think like that though.

Sometimes I wonder how I can keep myself from becoming more bitter. It’s something I’ve been fighting for a while because I don’t want to just block it all out and give up. I want to know the truths of the world but still believe in goodness. The best I can do is fight other people’s bitterness when I’m not too busy fighting my own. That and read this quote like it’s a lifevest.

You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been delt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.

-Josh Shipp

Valentine’s Day and Love

Happy Valemtines Day everyone!!

I hope that no matter your circumstance you are able to feel loved today. Even if it is just you loving who you have become as a person.

I hope you go out of your way to make others feel loved. Even if it might be awkward or hard. I hope you remember your friends, and family and not just your significant other.

I hope you think of how others are feeling and what they might be going through. I hope if you are dating someone or married, that you don’t make single people feel less than. And I hope if you are single that you don’t envy others or make your coupled friends feel guilty for their happiness.

I hope you remember that it is just another day. That you have people who love you every day, not just today. That it is not about how much of a show someone puts on. That everyone has different love styles. That you should have healthy communication with your significant other if you are dissapointed. That complaining will definitely ruin the day.

That you can show extra love any day of the year. That some people are in long distance relationships. That some people have commitments. That everyone celebrates differently and no one way is right or best.

And if no one has told you yet today, then I’ll say it. I love you! You deserve to be loved for who you are and nothing less.

Love takes work, but it shouldn’t be all sacrifices. Love can’t be forced, even if it is the year you want to be married. Or they have some of the right qualities. If you have a lot of doubt, there might be reasons why.

Don’t settle. This is the person you will spend most of your life with. In my opinion, who you marry is one of the most important decisions you can make. So don’t rush it.

Enjoy today. I hope you are all happy and can enjoy a day that is about love, no matter it’s origins.

Who the hell am I if I don’t even try?

As a soon to be new graduate of university I have had to muster up a lot of courage for the shear amount of unknowns about to crash down on me. Where will I work? Where will I live? What will I drive? What is my 5 year plan?

Don’t have a damn clue, thank you for asking. Wish I could say that at an interview. This is going to sound ridiculous but I am so sick of interviews. I am so sick of the bullshit questions politely fishing for bullshit answers to get some sort of glimmer who a person is in under an hour. Heck, I feel like a random stranger on a bus with me could get a better idea of who I am than they do at an interview. It doesn’t help that I’m sick of answering the same 5 questions. Almost every single interview goes the same:

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. Tell me about your past work experience
  4. Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with someone in the past
  5. Do you have any questions?

I’ve always been the type to answer honestly and briefly so my interviews are typically pretty short. But as I get more bored of the same 5 questions my answers seem to get shorter and shorter which I’m sure isn’t good. But see, the problem is that I don’t care. As much as I know I want the job I don’t really care if they are stupid enough to judge me wrongly during our brief conversation. I want to scream at someone that this was all I could muster. My grandpa is sick and I want to go see him but instead I’m bussing all over God’s good earth to get to another bullshit interview. But no one likes the sad girl.

Well I am the sad girl. I’m walking around with this little weight and it makes it heavier to hide it. I have to hide it from my dad because he is already sad enough about his dad being sick. I have to hide it from my mom because she is already jealous that we are more sad over my grandpa on my dad’s side than we were with her father when he passed away. I have to hide it from my brother because he barely knows how to make conversation with me when I’m happy let alone when I’m sad. I have to hide it from my boyfriend because he always wants me to be tough and strong and happy for what I have. I have to hide it from my friends or else all I hear is empty sympathetic check ins where they ask how he’s doing and I have to retype out how he is not doing good yet again. I have to hide it at school because he is not dead yet and there is only so much slack they can give. I have to hide it at home because my roommate is already worried about me.

So I hide it. Well as best as I can, until it slips out and I break down crying. Sometimes I can feel the tears at the edge of my world, just kind of slowing wearing in on me. Last time I broke down I was on the phone with my boyfriend at my parents place. My mom thought we were fighting and then asked why everyone wasn’t so melodramatic over her dad. “Sorry mom, I was only 13 and didn’t fully feel it as strongly because I didn’t fully understand and wasn’t part of as many conversations,” is what I say. “Sorry mom, I wasn’t as close with your dad because he didn’t spend as much time with his grand-kids but this isn’t a competition and doesn’t mean I love you less than dad,” is what I think. Inside I’m mad. Mad she always expects my boyfriend has done something wrong and that she could be so selfish when my grandpa is dying.

So I try to listen to songs that get my courage up. Songs that remind me how much is ahead that I need to care about instead of being numb to. But it’s not numbness exactly. It almost feels like some minor form of survival mode. School isn’t important when your family is sick. Your whole perspective shifts to the essentials that you need in life and the bullshit of higher education was barely making that list as it is.

One song that is still working is of course from the Mamma Mia 2 sountrack that I can’t stop listening to. But if you watched the movie you may not know it because they cut it at the last minute. It is called I Wonder (Departure), and the one line always get me. It goes:

But who the hell am I if I don’t even try

I’m not a coward

Oh no I’ll be strong

One chance in a lifetime

Yes I will take it,

It can’t go wrong.

It’s been my mantra. I sing it in my head sometimes. Just gets stuck in my head for sometimes a whole day or more. And really I don’t think there is a better thing to be repeating to yourself when your whole life seems to be a little upside down both with good and bad. Definitely motivation when you are expected to try and you old self would have wanted to try but your new self just needs a little kick in the ass because it is too busy thinking about if you could be playing checkers with your grandpa again.

La La Land Review

I really need someone else’s opinion on this movie because I feel like I need to question my whole life after finishing it. This was my second time watching it and it still brought back such strong feelings. It makes me feel this discomfort and anxiety that is so unpleasant but at least it is making me feel so much. The first time I kinda hated it for making me feel that way but this time I kinda love it for making me stop and feel and think about life and the big decisions we are forced to make. If you are worried about spoilers or haven’t watched it, don’t read past here. Even if you think you won’t watch it I really think you should. Whether you like musicals or not, if you like a movie that makes you reflect on life almost in the same vein as ‘Life of Pi’, then don’t even risk spoiling it. Heck, I want to get my boyfriend to watch it but it’s not his type of movie so it will definitely take some begging and maybe even manipulating but I would just kill to know what he thinks of the ending.

See maybe my problem with the movie comes from the fact I’m in a serious relationship with a very ambitious guy. I can tend to be ambitious too but not to his level. He is a bit at the level that the main characters are at. Head in the clouds and stubborn about it.

Now really what this movie makes me ask myself is what is more important, your dream or love? In the movie they choose their dreams. But they don’t just end the movie there. Oh no, they continue on to show us a glimpse of their lives when they end up crossing paths. They both get to see that they have both acconplished their dreams and at one point they give a little head nod to each other which I interpretted as saying,”Congrats.” But see they never actually get the chance to talk. So the first time I watched this scene I thought the head nod was meant as a nod saying, “So this is the life you are living now. I miss you but we missed our time so enjoy your path.”

On top of what would already be a very loaded scene they put a montage of what their life would have or maybe they had dreamed could be. The first time I took it literally as if they were just more open and jad believed in love that was how their lives would have played out. They looked so much happier and in love in comparison to who she ended up with. This time I took it as an impossible future that lived only in what they dreamed of their perfect life being. And even though I still thought they looked so much happier and it made me extremely sad, I took it as an impossibility that it could have ever played out so perfectly. Life doesn’t play out perfectly. You can’t get everything you want and if you think you can you are living in, quote ‘La la Land.’

Ironic but maybe that is what they were going for. This is a movie that had them sing a whole song about how it was a shitty night when it was actually beautiful. I just don’t know what they actually were going for or if there is even one answer with this movie and that’s why it reminds me of ‘Life of Pi.’ There is no right answer. It is meant to be interpreted. What scares me is that maybe I don’t have a strong dream and maybe being in love is enough for me. But then if my boyfriend’s dream is stronger than our love… then what?