Archives for April 2013

Scent-Free Canada

Scent-Free Canada Pinterest Page

Scent-Free Canada Pinterest Page

Today, while procrastinating over my latest assignment for Industry Overview II (a module that’s class that is fragrance chemical free), I came across this amazingly informative Pintrist page: Scent-Free Canada. I like how they have the informative byline:

“Resource for fragrance-free, scent-free products available in Canada. Share with Coworkers/Family/Friends! Note: If you’re sensitive to synthetic ingredients some products may not be suitable for you.”

Nowhere is this more true than in the life of people who are effected by fragrance chemicals. The nature of the condition, whether it be fragrance allergies, chemical sensitivities, irritant induced asthma, or one of the many other immune disfunction disorders that leave the sufferer experiencing physical reactions to fragrance chemicals, is the vast amount of differences in the types of products that people can use, and the reactions they (may or may not) have to the ingredients (natural or synthetic) used in the manufacturing of them. Ergo, this Pintrist page is a great place to start if you are looking for products that won’t cause or exacerbate illnesses. It is totally awesome that once people are educated about the harm that can be caused just by wearing them into a room where there are people whose health will be effected via the inhalation of fragrance chemicals, that they then go and look for products that won’t cause harm! And it’s so great that people are kind enough to spend their free time making pages like this.

And just in case you are thinking: What about the people who we try to educate about this issue, the ones who won’t give us anything except for a facial expression that looks like a puckered cat’s arse under a full moon? What about all the people who try to wear products that won’t harm others, and then the few who don’t care, keep on wearing their ‘designer’ fragrances into public places? What about them? What can we do? Well, my dears, what we can do is nothing… But just know, people are followers. They run with the pack. And eventually, they will follow. These people don’t want to be the ones left out. They don’t want to be the person wearing fragrance, standing out like dog balls on a kitty-cat because they are the only one wearing it in a room where everyone knows (and has known for sometime because management keep telling them: please try not to wear it. It’s a Health and Safety issue) it will cause so-and-so to get ill. They won’t want that. (Just imagine someone lighting up a cigarette in a restaurant, or worse, a school? It just wouldn’t happen. Anymore!) So, everyone out there, keep up the education; the gentle persuasion; and the fragrance free gift giving!

So, yes, please, check this page out, embed the image on your blog, or send it out into your social media sphere:

“Where do I find Scent-Free products in Canada? If you work in a scent-free environment or have sensitivities, you can find hundreds of scent-free products available in Canada. Follow on… – Share with coworkers, family and friends by liking this pin on Facebook, Tweeting or embedding this pin on your blog. #fragrancefree#unscented#scentfree#mcs

Source: via Scent-Free Canada on Pinterest

(Homepage: Perfume bottle’s image sourced from

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Hansel and Gretel

A Modern Tale with a Twist

Source: via The-Labyrinth on Pinterest

(Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1909)

The January 2013, The Asylum movie, Hansel and Gretel, directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, written by Jose Prendes, staring Stephanie Greco as Gretel, Brent Lydic as Hansel, and Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch, is based on the original fairy tale first recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but with a chilling distortion:

This modern-day tale of Hansel and Gretel is a horror take on the original fairy-tale where Hansel and Gretel, two young children, brother and sister, adventurer and adventuress, get lost in the woods, come across a cottage made of candy, and in turn with stuffing themselves, are sought to be eaten by the cottage’s inhabitant: an evil old witch.

Ergo, this version does have Hansel and Gretel, and candy, which is laced with evil medicine; it also has fine feminist antics, supported by the acting of Stephanie Greco as Gretel: her character is not another Tinseltown dumb bimbo about to be chased and massacred, while running through the woods part naked and screaming; no, here is a strong female character. One that has to save her brother who is held down in the dungeon, where teenagers are fattened up on candy (definitely containing corn syrup) (naturally, what else is going to fatten up teenagers in this modern day tale?) and then fired up in the oven along with some nutritious organic looking veggies.

The common fairy-tale rule of three, runs rife throughout: when Hansel is thrown in the dungeon, there are three other prisoners who are all dealt the same fate. This repetition of slaughter, sets the tone for what will happen to Hansel and Gretel if they don’t escape.

Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch steeped in sugary malice, reminding us of Carol Brady—on methamphtamines—cooking up a storm to rival that of Nigella Lawson’s, except with delicious looking candy, home-baked fruit pies, and her special: meat pies, made with human-teenager mince, (As you do.) makes a nightmare of a host, especially when Ken and Bobby Kennedy come along: her personal human butchers.

During Gretel’s gruesome discoveries upstairs, Hansel, while shackled down in the Dungeon, is holding onto his own, saving a damsel in distress, played by Sara Fletcher reminding us of a German backbacker, unloved in her own home, not missed by anyone, finally getting to believe in herself as a worthwhile person: the old *you’re-to-good-for-this-life-baby* line works in a plotline once again!

Gretel, a vegetarian, is forced to eat human flesh, even though it’s cooked the Lilith-special homemade way with roasted garlic and capsicum, she literally can’t stomach it, spitting it in Lilith’s face, putting up a fight worthy of the best of feminine heroes. Thrown into the bowels of the pit of hell, along with her brother, Gretel persuades Hansel to stay and save the damsel in distress, who ends up tied up in typical Hollywood fashion: part naked, booty on display, abs defined to within an inch of a Hollywood career:

Female victimisation scenes involving near naked beautiful woman (the damsel in distress), involving bondage and sadomasochistic antics of the deadly—but the always degrading—kind is the only drawback of this modern-day-horror-intensified version of Hansel and Gretel. Don’t watch this movie alone. A young woman begging for her life and then being punched in the stomach while shackled to a wall, is a scary event to watch. Witnessing a man do that, leaves the viewer feeling icky: like they are guilty by watching such an act take place: the point of the scene I’m sure, but not one Hollywood needs to portray.

And what, with live worms falling in her mouth, as Gretel is forced to hide, along with Hansel; dirty feral psychotic hillbillies, who specialise in carving up a feast out of their young commodities, using chainsaws; bow and arrows flying through the air towards escaping victims, are all part and parcel of this gruesome horror flick.

Young men being drugged into eating their own flesh, proclaiming: “Gee! I taste awesome.” Perhaps, carrying a deeper metaphorical message over our generations’ perceived narcissism and over consumption. Fat girls are eaten first; skinny girls survive longer, an aid old cliché alive in Hollywood and in the modern-day Hansel and Gretel! Even extending the metaphor into society eating it’s youth, right up to the explosive ending where… I won’t ruin it:

I’ll let you see for yourself.

(The allegorical aspect of this story: Don’t take Candy from Strangers! And, Corn Syrup is fattening.)


~ Movie review by Michellina van Loder

(Homepage image source:


The Hansel and Gretel Complex. Divorced Fathers Abandoning Their Children In Favour of Pleasing New Partners


Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Prozac Kennel

My Bella, a Boxer dog, is 3.2 years old. She has just come into being an adult dog, and into standing her own ground as a confident dog, safe in her own world. She has been on Prozac for a while now. Prozac for dogs that is. It’s a brand called Lovan, which may be a generic brand; but it’s also exactly what some human beings who are depressed, or suffering from some other psychological or mental illness, might take to help with symptoms.

When she was a pup she was so frightened of us, she would roll over and pee all over herself. So sad, really. But I relished the challenge to show this little munchkin that she was going to be okay. Besides, I’m not one for putting up with the smell of dog pee in the house, so I jumped on her behaviour quickly. The first thing I did was to behave like a dog, rolling over onto my back, into a ‘doggy’ submissive pose. I let her climb on me, chew at my clothes, and generally explore her environment without chastising her. She stopped peeing inside. Once she realised we meant her no harm, she stuck to us like we were her security blankets: she was always leaning on us or sitting on our feet. The problem was, when we went places, she would totally freak out; even in the car, looking at people through the window, she’d growl and act aggressive. We thought it was funny; we had no idea that this little puppy was totally loosing it. Eventually, we figured that because Bella was the runt of the litter, she must have had a hard time with the other dogs and, hopefully, she would just grow out of it. Instead she grew into part clown (playing most of the time), part monster (fearfully aggressive, the rest of the time).

Photo 1-01-13 7 46 11 PM

Bella really suffers with fear-aggression, erring more on the side of fear, than aggression. Until lately that is. You see, when she was first diagnosed (by an animal behaviourist and vet), she was so wrapped up in her own internal fear, that it had manifested into everything around her: the wind, people, cars, most noises, other dogs: they all frightened her. The only things that didn’t, were her own family members (the humans that are her pack now, not the family pack of dogs, from which she came), and strangely, thunder. Thunder doesn’t upset her. I find that odd. Visiting people that she doesn’t know, freaked her right out; walking down the street, with the wind blowing at her heals from behind, hunched down into her haunches, tail between her legs, looking from side to side, as if she’s about to be attacked (by wind?); walking at the beach, or on a track, passing others, and she was snapping and snarling and somersaulting and salivating, she was a mess. Once, when I tried to stop her ‘tantrum’, she turned, all wild eyes, and bit me (I took this personally, and I cried. And cried. My baby bit me and her tooth went through my fingernail; but the pain in my heart was what hurt the most. This ‘incident’ turned out to be a good thing; the shock of it strengthened my resolve to be stronger, more assertive: the dominant leader that she needs.) She really was a nutty dog. I say was:

She’s been on the Prozac for nearly a year. At first, she was also on Catapress, a blood pressure medication also used for panic disorder and symptoms of anxiety, which made her so drowsy, it was awful. She is an active dog; a jester; a ball addict; an entertainer. Loves to play. We’ve worked out that it’s a security thing too. She can be really freaked out, we throw a ball and she’s off after it. Release from her fears. (So, just like for humans, exercise can act as medication too!) After a month, when the Prozac kicked in, we took her off the Catapress, and, like the doggy version of Sleeping Beauty, she awoke from her drowsy, lazy slumber. We’ve kept her on one Prozac tablet per day for the whole time since.

Then, two weeks ago, we were running out of them, had no repeat prescription; were down at the Beach House, away from her vet. She had three days without them, and ended up a jumpy, drooling, frightened pooch who wouldn’t eat her food. I had to wonder what I had done. I would never take these tablets myself. (I can’t say never. If the problems in my life called for it, perhaps I would. I don’t know. Generally speaking, if a doctor suggested I take antidepressants for the stuff I have to deal with now, I’d slap them. No, I’d walk out, like I did at the beginning of my journey into the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities, here.) But with Bella, we had tried everything: dog schools, dog trainers, dog DVDs (thanks Mum), and, we’d tried every piece of advice thrown our way. She’s ended up one clever dog. She can sit, beg, bow, fetch, get in the car, play dead, pretend to attack family members (playing), even play with a soccer ball (I mean really dribble the thing), all on command. She understands what ‘look’ means; and follows the direction we point in; she knows what some of our conversations are about: anything with the words, ‘beach’, or ‘walk’, or ‘car’, in it. And, her aggression has not been a total lost case:

There’s a method we were taught at dog school where we could introduce new people to her and her environment. This was where, using cut up pieces of cheese (or meat), we would bring the person in, ask them to sit on a stool, while not making eye contact with her (she doesn’t enjoy eye contact, finds it threatening). [Picture a growling, snarling, barking dog, jumping back and forth like it’s going to nip at you] Then, we’d get them to throw a piece of cheese at her, and when, if she took it, we would say: “Yes!” [In a tone of praise. The type you use for very young children] This would go on for 20 minutes and a whole block of cheese, or so, then, finally, Bella would be close enough to sniff them. By this time, we’ve told the person to say: “Yes!”, too. And a very cautious display of sniffing would go on, while we all stood around praising her, together: “Yes, Bella” [Sniff, sniff].”Yes!” Then, either my daughter or I would hand, said, brave visitor a ball, and tell them to throw it. And that would cause Bella to loose her cookies in a good way, running after the ball, and bringing it back to one of us. We would refuse to take it, and ask the visitor to call her. When Bella realised this person was a friend, someone who wanted to play, well, she adored them. And she never forgot. Each time they arrived, it was like she thought: Oh great. Here’s that person who loves to play ball as much as what I do! This worked for all family members and close friends. Except for the ones who were frightened of dogs, that is. For those people, we left her outside. And for children too. We’ve never trusted her around children. If she hears a child scream, she becomes fearfully aggressive, which is a scary thing for a responsible dog owner to witness! Hence trying to get her some professional help…


Us on holiday at our first Beach House together: Airlys Inlet

So on this day where she was obviously suffering either withdrawal symptoms and/or a return of her original symptoms, and, horribly, something else on top of those: her original fear was back, increased tenfold. Like a junkie’s mum out to score for her child, I had to get some more tablets for her. I rang our vet, drove down to the city and picked up the script. Since then, Bella has been on just half a tablet, and for some reason, this dose sits better with her. It makes sense: a 22 kg dog on an adult dose of Prozac, goes down to half a tablet, and her ‘mental health’ improves. I think that the vet who prescribed these must think she is a lost cause because why else give a dog medication and no follow up behavioural modification?

So that’s my new mission, to find her someone who can take her that extra kilometre, so that she can walk past people without freaking out. Now, when she walks down the street, her tail is out behind her (not between her legs), she is light on her feet (kind of walking on tiptoes, like she’s excited). Like I’ve said, she is so much better. The Beach House is on a one acre block, which agrees with her (and me). People can walk past and she just watches them. There is no growling or barking; it’s like she’s finally worked out that maybe, just maybe, she is safe in this world! (Going for a walk, past people she doesn’t know, is another thing.) She’s no longer fearfully aggressive; she’s just plain aggressive. I think, although I’m not sure, an aggressive dog is easier to handle than a frightened dog. I know that some of my readers must think I’m awful for drugging my dog, but hey, what else can I do?


Prozac Kennel

(Doggie mansion kennel source:

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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