All posts by marlenedotterer

Science Fiction and Fantasy writer

Asking the right questions…


This article gets to the elephant in the room, especially the last paragraph. My entire childbirth course revolves around teaching couples how to “get around” the medical system. Yet, how wonderful it would be to actually fix that system!

Originally posted on Talk Birth:


A couple of weeks ago a list of sexual assault prevention tips made the rounds on Facebook. Containing reminders such as, “When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone” and “Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone ‘on accident’ you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do,” these tips are absolutely perfect and so very appropriate. I spent several years working in domestic violence shelters answering the hotline. The number one question/comment I used to get from people about this work was, “why doesn’t she just leave?” And, we always used to reply that that is the wrong question, “the question isn’t, ‘why does she stay?’ but ‘Why does HE do it?!'” And, why, as a society, do we accept it? The same website that created the SA Prevention Tips poster…

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Respected Medical Journal Sold To Scammers Willing To Publish Anything… For A Fee | Techdirt

Here’s another problem with almost no solution. This one can destroy our civilization: if it become impossible to know which scientific studies are legitimate and which are not, we will flounder and drown in a sea of conflicting, nonsensical information.

Respected Medical Journal Sold To Scammers Willing To Publish Anything… For A Fee | Techdirt.

Plan for “Record-Setting Bedsharing Deaths”? Same Old Thing (And It Doesn’t Work) | Evolutionary Parenting | Where History And Science Meet Parenting

Plan for “Record-Setting Bedsharing Deaths”? Same Old Thing (And It Doesn’t Work) | Evolutionary Parenting | Where History And Science Meet Parenting.

The Most Awesome Present Ever™

I believe I hinted at this in an earlier post, but I just realized I haven’t shown it to you yet. My kids gave me this for my birthday in June:

Memory Jar

I can see what you’re doing. You’re nodding to yourself and muttering, “It’s a jar.  Her kids got her a jar for her birthday and she’s all excited. There’s no accounting for taste.”

Ah, but it’s not just any jar. Not this one. No sir. This is a jar of…


Can you believe that? My genius kids took time out of their busy lives to sit down and write up a year’s worth of Memories of Mom. Then they cut them up into separate pieces, glued them to colorful paper and filled this gorgeous jar with them! Every week for the next year, I get to pick ONE card and read the memory.

I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. Here are a few I’ve already picked out:





You can see the memories will span the years. I never know what I’ll see when I pull a card out. The only thing I’m being careful about is to peek at the name and make sure I get a different child each week.

As I started removing cards, I realized I needed some place to keep them. So I created a scrapbook to hold them all:



Each child has a section with his/her picture and name. I’ll fill up the sections as the year goes by. Here’s the note they gave me with the jar:


I’ll tell you – this gift nearly has me blubbering. There isn’t a luckier mom than me in the whole world!

I love you, my children!









Food Politics » FDA’s food label proposals: comments on Vitamin D

The floor is open for debate. Personally, I think the first two points say it all:

  • “Vitamin” D is not a vitamin; it is a hormone synthesized by the action of sunlight on skin.  For this reason alone, it does not belong on the food label. (and may I add: it doesn’t belong in food, either! – Marlene_
  • Vitamin D fortification must be understood as a form of hormone replacement therapy.   As such, it raises questions about efficacy, dose, and side effects that should be asked about all such therapies.

Food Politics » FDA’s food label proposals: comments on Vitamin D.

To The Gates of Dreaming: Using Guided Meditation to Help Young Children Sleep

Here’s a post that might interest some of the parents around here, or my childbirth students. I may try some of these things on myself!

In my classes, I use a rainbow technique for relaxation, but I think I like this version better. In class, I just have the couples visualize the colors, as if on a movie screen. The technique used here seems much softer and dreamlike…

You feel yourself floating on a red cloud, a beautiful red cloud. Red surrounding you, red all around.  Touching red, feeling red, tasting red.  A beautiful red cloud.  Drift down through the red, deeper and deeper, sleepier and sleepier, until you reach an orange cloud.  A beautiful orange cloud…

Yes, I’m going to try this! 

To The Gates of Dreaming: Using Guided Meditation to Help Young Children Sleep.

Smashwords: Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors?

Normally, I’m all for subscription services, but I’m unimpressed with Kindle Unlimited for a couple of reasons.

As a reader, it doesn’t impress me because a great many of the books I want to read won’t be available. That’s the fault of big publishers, who won’t  put their books in the program. As a writer, I am NOT going to sign a contract to sell my books exclusively with Amazon. I want my books in as many venues as possible.

Hmmm… I wonder if Amazon is demanding that the big publishers sell exclusively with them, and that’s why the publishers won’t enroll their books?

Smashwords: Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors?.

A Cooking Post: Odds and Ends, or Cooking with Depression

Let me hasten to assure you that I’m not really depressed. At least not today. Yesterday though…

I’ve been struggling for the last few weeks with side effects to some of my medicine. We (my doctor and I) had agreed I should try a higher dose on one of them, as my symptoms were showing up more often. So I added an extra pill and never really thought about it again. It was only 10 more milligrams.

Then things started getting weird. Loud ear ringing. Dizziness. Loss of balance. Sleep worse than usual. I could function, but couldn’t enjoy anything much. After about a week of this – I waited longer than I should have – I went back to the doctor. After making sure that I wasn’t having a stroke, she said it was probably the medicine. She wanted me to cut back and she would consult with the neurologist about using a different drug.

Okay. I cut back that night and within two days most of the symptoms had receded to barely noticeable. Then ensued several days of pharmacy mix-ups as I tried to get the new drug. I finally got it on Tuesday and worked out a complicated plan of reducing the old medicine while increasing the new one. So Tuesday night, I took the first pill of the new med.

Holy cow. I woke up about two, so dizzy I could hardly walk straight. And the ear ringing was back, although not as loud. No more sleep for me. Wednesday (yesterday) was a Lost Day. I was glum and whiny, had no energy, no desire to do anything, and didn’t give a damn about any of it. I couldn’t believe it. How could one pill do all that?

So I cooked. It’s the only thing I could make myself do. I made Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers for dinner, a vegan meal of brown rice, chickpeas, bell peppers, lovely spices, lemon and mint. Oh and of course, lentils. I can’t link to the recipe, but it’s from The Slow Cook Book. Before I could make it, I had to cook a batch of chickpeas. I thought that since I had to do that, I might as well cook a big batch and can them.

So I got out my nifty pressure canner and filled a few jars with water to heat them up while I cooked the chickpeas. Best-laid plans… my 32-year-old stovetop was every bit as cantankerous as I was, and the big burner (there’s only one) decided to stop working. If I’d been feeling better, I would have worked around it, but not yesterday. I was Not Dealing With It. At all.

So the chickpeas ended up in my freezer, which I wanted to get away from doing. That’s why I bought the pressure canner. But the ghoddess has spoken – it’s time to get this stove fixed and that’s all there is to it.

I added the chickpea fiasco to my grumpiness and finished making the lentil dish, which was very good. No complaints there.

The other thing I made was Fresh Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce.  I made them without the shrimp. I love these things and it was fun to serve them as an appetizer with a glass of cold chardonnay. Yes, you might have noticed I was mixing cuisines with the spring rolls and the lentil dish. Shrug. We survived, and both dishes went with the chardonnay.

Wait – I cooked even more. I made these. Banana Oat Bars with no sugar or flour. At last, a nearly guilt-free snack!

So my depressed day was not really lost after all. I just felt like it was. And boy, was I scared to take another pill at bedtime! But I agreed with Himself, who didn’t feel that one data point was sufficient. Okay, if it had knocked me unconscious or I’d swollen up with hives or something, one data point might have been enough. But it didn’t seem that dire, so I took another pill.

Not a single problem. I slept all night and I feel darn fine today. I even did an hour of yoga. And more cooking. We started the day with a new batch of waffles, made with my special blend of whole-grain flours and flaxseeds. Here they are, all stacked up for the freezer.

Banana Cinnamon Waffles (Cooking
Banana Cinnamon Waffles (Cooking

I got to have the extra spring rolls for today’s lunch. I didn’t take pictures of them because, trust me, my rolls are not quite… rolled. No dexterity.

Then I made Italian Meatloaf with Fresh Basil and Provolone. I haven’t made this in ages – it was a favorite of my clients back in my personal chef days. And of Himself. He gets it for tonight’s dinner, along with fresh corn on the cob and steamed green beans.

Oh! I thought I was done, but I forgot about the honeydew melon. I’ll give you a break for now, and show you about that tomorrow.