Summer Update

I thought summer was going to be the time when I would write a lot of blog entries. I thought I would have the time and the motivation but apparently it was quite the opposite. My old laptop was giving me a hard time and therefore made it difficult to get online. When I wasn’t at work, I preferred to spend my time outdoors. Summer is also my time to catch up on my reading. And of course summer went by much too fast, with only about two weeks remaining. So here’s a little update . . .

First, I graduated. Got up early, spent a lot of time standing around and listening to people give speeches. I walked across a stage and shook hands with someone wearing a funny robe. And then it was over.

I spent most of my mornings at work, pouring an endless amount of coffee. Because what else are you going to do with a University degree? Get a real job? Ha.

Most recently, I spent a week at my cottage with my family and boyfriend. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of our lake and cottage by swimming, waterskiing and hiding from the rain. I took over one thousand photos that week.

This past weekend, I witnessed the Hamilton Tiger Cats continue their losing streak (8 games) at the Tim Hortons Field. Despite this, there were some good plays and it was a fun night out with friends.

I’ve also seen a number of movies this summer – Spiderman, King Arthur, The Dark Tower, Dunkirk, Planet of the Apes, Wonder Women, and probably some others that I can’t remember. And of course I read books. I started with the Inheritance Cycle and then moved onto the King Killer Chronicles. I also devoured Tolkien’s newest publication – Beren and Luthien. Next I was going to work my way through Dan Brown’s books, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

In two weeks, I start school again. Contrary to most, I’m so excited to be staying in school for at least two more years. I feel like I finally have it figured out. I already know my way around campus, and although I will not know anyone in my new program, I feel more confident and open towards meeting new people.

Overall, I don’t feel like my summer was very productive or eventful. I did not follow through with many of the goals I made for myself and although I didn’t digress, I definitely have not improved. So here’s to starting fresh as the summer comes to an end.

My goals for the fall are:

  1. Produce Less Garbage –
    1. Use reusable bags/containers, travel mug, etc.
    2. Buy less packaging
    3. Recycle and Reuse
    4. Stop junk mail
  2. Health –
    1. Eat vegan more often
    2. Limit sugar intake
    3. Increase protein consumption
    4. Improve posture
  3. Personal Growth –
    1. Spend less time on social media/phone
    2. Shop local
    3. Make conscious/growth choices
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Bee Pollen

About a year ago, I was at home (my parents’ house) for the weekend when my mom asked me if I knew anything about bee pollen. Besides the fact that it was made by bees, I didn’t. She gave me a small container of it and told me I should add it to my morning smoothies as a natural supplement of protein and vitamins. I did this a few times and then kind of forgot about it. There’s no flavour or notable difference to the smoothie and I didn’t know or care much about it at the time. It wasn’t until last week that I began to take interest in it again – thanks to my mom, who suggested I do some research on it.

The first site I came across was ‘WebMD’ (http://www.webmd.com/balance/bee-pollen-benefits-and-side-effects) which I honestly thought would be much more informative than it was. It claims to address the benefits and side effects of the human consumption of bee pollen. Even without any prior knowledge on the subject, the website seemed useless, uninformative and biased. It gives off the vibe that one should be careful when using a ‘natural’ product such as this, and consult a doctor. WebMD claims that it is dangerous to consume bee pollen for long periods of time and that it can stimulate allergies and other health problems. Clearly this website is geared towards medicalization, and claims that this product has no health benefits and could in fact be harmful… especially to pregnant or breastfeeding women. It gives no explanation for why it might be dangerous or cause health problems and makes no mention of the nutrients the pollen contains.

The next site I found was much better (http://www.mercola.com/article/diet/bee_pollen.htm) and has a highlight sections which outlines the articles main points. It explains that bee pollen is what bees make, collect and eat. It takes them an incredibly long time to make enough for humans to harvest. However it is considered a superfood, containing nearly all nutrients required by humans (proteins, free amino acids, and vitamins, including B-complex and folic acid). In addition, it claims that bee pollen has incredible health benefits such as increasing fertility, treating allergies (in opposition to WebMD), and stabilising metabolism. I would definitely recommend checking out this site and exploring the subject in more depth. I have also found additional sites that confirm these health benefits and propose additional ones (https://draxe.com/bee-pollen/ | http://www.beepollenhub.com/bee-pollen-benefits/ | http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/bee-pollen-benefits.html). Basically every site that a google search brings up confirms health benefits… except for WebMD which appears first, is the least informative and is quite obviously biased (and funded).

Now that I know a bit about it, I am definitely going to start putting bee pollen in my smoothies again (mainly for the protein benefits). Which means I need to find a place to get it. There are plenty of online stores from which it is available, but I am going to check my local health food store first (Goji Berry Health Foods in Westdale). I’m not certain about prices, but one site shows that a regular 1 pound bag of pollen is about $20. However, half a pound of organic pollen is also $20. It seems safe to assume that the price ranges by brand and quality. In addition, there are a ton of products made with bee pollen (such as soap) that are great for your body as well (which can be found here https://shop.bee-pollen-buzz.com/collections/bee-pollen).

**If you are going to purchase bee pollen, please make sure you are buying it from a cruelty free producer. WeSaveBees.org sells a large variety a bee related products including pollen and skin care products. This page – https://www.wesavebees.com/buying-bee-pollen/ – explains the importance of protecting the bees and harvesting the pollen in a safe way.

4Ocean

This site popped up on my Facebook page a couple months ago and I thought it was super cool (https://4ocean.com/). They make bracelets out of recycled bottles found in and around the ocean. Buying a bracelet pays for the trash to be removed and recycled. The beads are made of recycled glass bottles and the blue is plastic.

I bought this one for my boyfriends birthday and had a hard time giving it up. Their website shows nearly 3000 reviews, equaling 5 stars, which I would agree with. They also show that they have removed nearly 50000 pounds of trash and where it has been taken from.

I would totally recommend getting one of these. They support the clean up of our oceans and give you something to show for it.

5ocean

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

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By J.R.R. Tolkien, with illustrations by Pauline Baynes, edited by Christian Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, first published in 1962.

Written in verse, this beautiful little book has many stories from The Red Book. It focuses on the character ‘Tom Bombadil’ from the Lord of the Rings, who is particularly mysterious. He is perhaps the oldest being in Arda, and has complete power over his chosen domain, where he lives with his wife Goldberry.

Most (I have not read the whole book) of the poems are rather nonsensical as Tom is known to be. It is a fun, light read that helps shed some light on some of Tom’s history and activities.

Lavandula officinalis

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Lavender is an herb that has many different forms and uses. My interest in it, is as an essential oil. Lavender essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and is a known remedy for headaches and migraines (I am hopping this will work for me), as well as stress and muscle pain.

Many sources recommend that the oil be added to a bath or used with a compress on the forehead. Although I have not tried it yet, I am a little bit skeptical because I think the main source of my headaches is neck pain/stiffness. I will try different methods though, including a compress on the neck of the neck.

I picked up this little bottle from Goodness Me for about $15. There are cheaper and more expensive bottles based on the quality of the lavender (organic).

I will be testing this method over the next few days/weeks to see how it works in comparison to common chemical pain killers.

Beren And Lúthien

100 years after being written, Beren and Lúthien is being published as its own story after being edited by Christopher Tolkien. I’m so excited to get my copy (the book is released June 1st) and I pre-ordered it yesterday.

I already know how the story goes from reading the Silmarillion but I’m hoping there are some differences. I am especially looking forward to the illustrations which have been done by Alan Lee, one of the conceptual artists who worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and whose work I have loved for years.

Beren and Lúthien is the tale of an elf maiden who falls in love with a man and is based on Tolkien’s relationship with his wife. They even have the names engraved on their tombstones.

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I decided to add this page because the environment is something that I am really passionate about and I want to do what I can to raise awareness and explore new ways that I can become more environmentally friendly. I also just love nature – trees, flowers, animals, bodies of water, wind, rain – so I’ll probably be sharing photos as well.

I’ve already talked about this a little bit under other sections so I will link you to them. A few months ago I looked into global warming a bit and human’s responsibility for creating greenhouse emissions. This is particularly related to our mass production and consumption of animal products, which you can read more about here – https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/global-warming/

Although not made explicit in ‘Natural Living,’ (https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/category/natural-living/) if you read between the lines, it is clear that all of the chemicals we use in our daily routines cannot be good for the environment. They aren’t good for our bodies, they take a long time to get out of our system, and you can think of the environment in the same way – they are harmful for the Earth and end up in landfills where they take a looooong time to decompose. Not to mention all the packaging that these products come in.

For now, here is a picture of me from last summer under an enormous Willow tree (one of my favourites) that I found while hiking with my brother. You can find this beauty in the Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area.

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The Dictionary of Imaginary Places

the dictionary

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, Illustrated by Graham Greenfield, Maps and Charts by James Cook, published in  1980. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I might have picked this book up a few years ago at The Book Gallery (see previous post – https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/the-book-gallery/).

This book is seriously the coolest. It is literally a dictionary of imaginary places (that existed before 1980). That doesn’t just mean it has ‘Middle Earth,’ it has every location in Middle Earth, complete with a description of the location, and the people who inhabit it, where it is located and a reference to the literary work in which it is from. Some entries even have maps, sketches and charts. I have found entries that are from literature from the 14th century, right up until 1980.

middle earth

One thing I think is really cool is that if the imaginary place is on Earth, there is a map showing where it would be in relation to the real world. In addition, the book shows more than just cities, it has individual buildings or landmarks and often includes floor plans of buildings as well.

I only recognize a fraction of the places listed in this book and most of the ones I do are from Tolkien’s mythology. But it’s cool to flip through and find Emerald City, and Narnia. I would love to see an updated version of this book published just so I could see some of my favourite books/places included (Kingkiller chronicles, Harry Potter & Inheritance Cycle, the Maze Runner) that were published after 1980.

I have some books that are similar to this – two dictionaries of Tolkien’s mythology and a Tolkien Bestiary. The former being a dictionary of every person place or thing that exists in the Tolkien universe and the later focusing on the beasts (which includes people, elves, etc.). I find them all fascinating and the one’s that focus on Tolkien are essential if you are going to take on the Silmarillion or other background texts.