Crystal Wash 2.0

I’ve decided to add a new category to this blog: Calling Out Bullshit. I see enough bogus claims online to want to set people straight, so I’m going to start here.

Some of you might remember the 90s, specifically the fad of using “laundry balls” instead of detergents to wash your clothes. I’m sure we had some in our home when I was a kid. I didn’t know much about them then, but seeing them re-emerge in the form of this Kickstarter project prompted me to investigate.

crystal washThe Crystal Wash is a plastic device filled with little ceramic balls. The theory is that these balls somehow change the chemical make-up as they swoosh around in the wash and turn your water to hydrogen peroxide. They can thereby clean and disinfect your clothes without the use of harmful detergents!

The problem is, the whole idea of restructuring water like that is a well known scam and has been thoroughly debunked. Science simply does not support this claim. Studies have also shown that using laundry balls gives virtually identical results as using conventional detergents on your clothes, and sometimes even worse results.

The makers of Crystal Wash 2.0 also claim that this product can save you energy and water: less rinsing is required in the absence of detergents, assuming you have a setting on your washing machine to accommodate this; and cold water is more energy efficient, but their own pamphlets – and their precursors’ from the 90s – advise using hot water.

If you want to be more environmentally friendly with your clothes washing, your best bet is to use less detergent, and wash in cold water. Don’t support the woo.

New year, new places

About a month ago, Elspeth started school and Evelyn started kindergarten. 

20150216_084308Evelyn spent last year sitting in on classes at kindergarten with her big sister, so she’s an old hand at this. Her teacher describes her as “perfect” and “a model student”. No surprises there, she’s a sweet and obliging little person when she wants to be! She’s very happy and having a great time.

I was worried about Elspeth; she tooks months to settle into kindergarten last year and I don’t think she was ever really happy there. I anticipated similar problems with beginning school. However, with the help of some people in her class who she knew from kindergarten, and a fantastic teacher, she’s actually doing really well. I think the tighter structure of school suits her, she’s gaining confidence and doing really well. I knew she could read pretty well, but she’s further ahead than I thought, and she’s found it in herself to stand up and read books aloud to her class, so I’m very proud.

Of course, all these new activities result in tired kids, which often means grumpy kids, but I think I can put up with that! I’m really pleased with both of them.

Depression and anxiety

I haven’t blogged in a long time, partly because I’ve been busy, and partly because I’ve been dealing with some mental issues. I’ve seen a doctor, I’m on medication, and things are a bit better. But I wanted to talk about something that happened today which, I think, exemplifies what I’ve been going through.

This morning I got a text message from my husband who was out with the kids. He told me that two ladies I know vaguely through mutual friends had invited me out to a concert tonight. My initial thought was “That sounds nice”. But close on its heels came the next thoughts: “Why have they invited me? They hardly know me. Do they pity me? What if I go and then can’t find them? What if I can’t think of anything to say to them? I have no mutual friend there to lean on, and no escape route if I’m not comfortable.” The more I thought about going, the more anxious I felt. The greater my anxiety, the more I thought I was being silly for feeling anxious. The sillier I felt, the more depressed I got about my own emotional reactions.

One simple invitation from very lovely people who seemingly just wanted to spend some time with me ruined my entire day, because of my mental problems. It’s ridiculous. I think I need more help.

Prince Philip Outraged At Demotion To Knight

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stace8383:

I wish this were true!

Originally posted on :

'I'm not riding a bloody horse.' Prince Philip has expressed dissatisfaction at his demotion to knight. ‘I’m not riding a bloody horse again.’

Prince Philip has expressed profound disappointment at his recent demotion to a knight, advising that he intends to fight the appointment. “I’m taking the matter to Fair Work Australia,” he said. “I’m a prince goddammit, not a knight. Am I seriously supposed to ride a horse again?”

The Prince has been reeling from the news at Windsor Castle surrounded by his closest bottles of gin. “I’ve worked hard all my life attending party after party after party dealing with an eye-crossingly dull wife, stupid children, horny staff and patting poor people’s babies and what is the thanks I get for it?” he asked whilst putting up a sad-face on his Facebook page. “A mad colonialist telling me I have to be his chainmail bitch.”

Australian prime minister and leading satirist Tony Abbott announced yesterday that the Prince be appointed his knight. “He’s a…

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The last year

pulling-your-hair-out

There’s a lot I haven’t said about the past year. Lots of things have happened to make it quite a stressful year in lots of ways. But now that it’s over, I think I can talk about it with a laugh instead of a scream!

I’ve been the president of the kindergarten committee of management for the last year. When I volunteered for the job, the description was basically “Know about everything that goes on, and sign lots of things.” What they never said anything about was the ongoing problem with a specific staff member. This staff member was on two warnings when I arrived, close to being terminated, and she continued her poor behaviour for the first half of the year. Fortunately for my stress levels, she resigned in August. Unfortunately, she continued to haunt me, wanting to come back and visit, and claiming that the way she’d been treated was bullying and illegal and all sorts of things. I stood my ground, with the support of the rest of the committee, and she’s left me alone for a while now. Phew.

They also never said anything about the tendency of people to gossip, backstab, lie, manipulate, and generally be awful. We had more than one committee member leave us under somewhat dubious circumstances. We also had parents squabbling amongst themselves and then looking to kindergarten staff to sort out their childish problems!

The up-side of all this is that I’ve been inspired to start writing a new book. It is going to be a highly fictionalised account of the year. I think I’ve got quite enough dramatic material to make it interesting!

Three weeks in Europe

London

 

Italy – Pisa, Florence, Rome

 

Edinburgh