... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Something for Your Toolbox

Horses Give Us The Wings We Lack…

It is said, to ride on a horse is to fly without wings.

I have loved riding ever since I was a wee one and my dad would take us out. Be it in the open fields of Wyoming or the easy gallop along Ocean Shores, there is a magical feeling exploring from up high on these gorgeous animals. I recently learned a significant history about horses and today I am compelled to share.

First a question, how did you sleep last night?  Were you warm enough? Did you have ample covers?  Perhaps an electric blanket?  Did you drift off with the television on, or your favorite novel resting on your chest? Perhaps you chatted on the telephone or fixated on the season finale of Dirty John as I did.

Surrounded by my creature comforts, I can’t help but imagine what life was like for my ancestors who were forced to reside on the Belle Meade Plantation,  in Nashville, Tennessee which I visited last weekend.  As my sister and co-blogger, Tracie shared yesterday, last weekend we enjoyed the music, food, Honky-Tonks, and southern hospitality.  We are both history buffs, so our trip would not have been complete without exploring the journey of the African American’s brought to Belle Meade starting in 1807 and who for over 100 years built an equestrian legacy from enslavement to freedom.

The temperature was frigid as we walked the estate on 30 acres of property owned by the Harding-Jackson family.  In the late 19th century, the plantation encompassed roughly 5400 acres.  Since 2004, the managers of the plantation have begun to concentrate on how to share the stories of 136 enslaved African Americans who were held at the plantation.  I stared at the photos of these handsome faces who were nurses, caretakers, laborers, and their mainstay of breeding thoroughbreds, as well as racing them.   At the end of a long day, when the horses were fed and put to bed, a typical slave cabin as shown below held two families to retire in.


“The most famous African American jockey of the 1800s was Isaac Murphy, who is thought to be one of the greatest jockeys in American racing history.  He won thee Kentucky Derbies and forty-four percent of all races he entered, a record that has not been rivaled in recent history.  Unfortunately, Murphy died at the age of thirty-four of pneumonia, cutting his successful career short.”

Isaac Murphy slept in the dank, darkness with inclement winters, and raging heat of the southern days.

Tonight, as you nestle in your covers, think of Isaac Murphy, the horse whisperer.  My prayer for Mr. Murphy is as the saying goes…


Hey Y’all!

For y’all who don’t know, Nashville, Tennessee is the Country Music Capital of the world and the top destination for country music fans. It is also home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the world famous Grand Ole Opry. It is a city of lights and action. Music is everywhere and that’s why it’s also known as music city. I even enjoyed a gardener singing his heart out while he was cutting the neighbor’s lawn. I mean, he was singing!

The Honky Tonks are an essential part of the downtown scene and a must visit. On a recent visit there, my sister and her fiancé and I headed out of suburbia that direction. Once we reached the area, my sister told the driver he could let us out anywhere. Lights and fun and action were popping on both sides of the street. Looked so exciting! I opened the car door of the relative silence of our taxi and was assaulted like a heatwave of blaring live music coming at me in all directions. What??? Totally unsuspecting this, the first thing out of my mouth was, “Wow!” The taxi driver started laughing and said, “Welcome to Nashville! Y’all have a great time now, you hear?” 

They don’t call it southern hospitality for nothin’.

The first honky tonk we stepped inside sits on a prime corner piece of downtown real estate and has three floors. Live music on each one. The natives were drinking, dancing and just having a grand ol’ time just cause it was Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. 

We had a drink and hit all three floors. Before we left, we did the right thing and put some cash in the buckets placed in front of the performers–they are after all paid only in tips. And then we headed out to the next one. And the next. There’s some real talent in Nashville. 

One thing that I loved and got a deeper appreciation for during this jaunt was the lyrics to the songs that were sung. Love and life, heartache and hope, alcohol and advice, intimacy and inspiration–it’s all there. Life in chords and harmony.

Hope y’all get a chance to slow your roll and visit this Athens of the South. Go Honky Tonkin and maybe grab a plate of Meat and Three.

Maybe the Menopausebarbees will see y’all there!


The One Year Challenge! Bottoms Up!

I must admit I am really enjoying the current trend of the Facebook 10 year challenge.  But as we look at how we have blossomed in the past decade, let’s condense it and see how we have grown in the past year and where we will be in the next.

As Menopausebarbees, physically we all fight looking like this:

Often times our goals droop like our asses.

I recently had the great fortune to spend an overnighter at the Salish Lodge with two of my best girlfriends, Stacy and Patti.  The pajama party which included fireside wine, dinner and a foot peel, was our chance to sit down and get real.  With pen and paper at hand, we did some hard soul searching on what I call the who, what, why, where and how we are going into 2019 and beyond.  It was more than an exercise in writing down goals.  It was a session really questioning how we want our lives to manifest over the course of the next 365 days and after and what tools we plan to incorporate and  what issues to eliminate to make it happen.  We are creatures of habit, thus change is hard.  Elimination of any and all hindrances were even written down and burned in the fire.  This was such a freeing experience to really give voice and thus pen to saying goodbye to anything blocking your happiness.

For those who have written down goals 99% include working out, eating better, and not drinking alcohol.  All of these sacrifices will certainly benefit your physique, and hopefully keep your ass perky, but what will you do this year to benefit your soul and the core of who you are to live your best life?

Some solutions might include to read a book a month.  Challenge yourself to speak up and speak out against injustice.  Visit someplace new – even in your own city.  Expand your territory and make new friends.  At the end of the year, imagine how much more evolved you will be through reading, enlightening, protesting, and getting to know people who may just be acquaintances.  Really when was the last time you be-friended a stranger?

Stacy,  truly is one of my hardest working friends. Between her career in the wine industry, her family, plethora of friends and her charitable endeavors and volunteer schedule, (I joke, but it’s true) I have to have a phone appointment to talk to her.  I asked her how she managed to juggle it all.  Stacy said every day she really recognizes each moment she gives doing something- whether it’s being counsel to a friend or working, she is trading in precious moments that she could be doing something else.  That was a powerful take away from me.  If I truly calculated the hours I spend idyll on the phone, watching senseless television, or zoning out on Facebook, I could be so much more productive.  So, if I don’t ping you back immediately, don’t take it personally!

My take-away from Patti was legacy.  Patti has been a passionate advocate for conservation of species.  Last year we went through massive shenanigans to get a gorilla to Ellen DeGeneres (read menopausebarbees post Gorillas in our Midst…Ellen Let’s Go Ape!”  Patti desires, and I know she will leave a legacy and a voice for these beautiful creatures.

Last year, I gave up red meat and I’m proud to say after a lifetime of eating steak, hamburger, and bacon- I still have not gone back and it’s two weeks into the new year!  I appreciate a good challenge, and I’m making some personal sacrifices now. Don’t ask me for a drink Monday- Thursday please! But this year, the real challenge will be to spend my time more wisely.  Time is a commodity we can only spend it and not get it back- so spend it wisely.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Bottoms up!

How’s that for a Facebook Challenge? Me at 10!!!


His soul must be on fire.

This is THE most horrendous story I’ve heard since the beginning of the year.

This crime is unspeakable and much to my disbelief, really happened. The incident occurred at a healthcare facility in Phoenix, Arizona where a twenty-nine year old woman, who has been in a vegetable state for the past fourteen years, gave birth to a baby boy on December 29, 2018. 

Happy New Year.

Due to the unfathomable shock and outrage at this violation of their defenseless daughter, the suffering family is understandably not willing to be interviewed–but through their attorney that they would like the world to know that their grandson has been “born into a loving family and will be well taken care of.” 

Let’s hope so.

The chief executive officer of the Hacienda healthcare facility resigned Monday. That’s the least he can do.  How could this possibly happen under his watch when it is his responsibility to ensure that every aspect of how his facility performs is working efficiently? 

We don’t know if this villainous vile act was carried out by an employee (all of whom  are being given DNA tests) or a visitor, but one thing is certain: this animal needs to be found and put away and out of his misery.

Patients in a vegetative state do not respond to what is happening around them. They show no signs of conscious awareness. But the question that is troubling me is: I wonder if she cried out somewhere deep down in her soul when she was being violated?



Beyond asleep… another #MeToo wake up call.

Smile! It’s 2019!

So, another year has come and gone and we’re already into the first week of a new year. 

I’m a year older and hopefully wiser. Perhaps not as wise as I’d like to be, but I am wise enough to know that I am extremely thankful for all of my blessings I received in 2018. I am especially grateful that I and all those who complete my circle of  gladness maintained our health. You know, wellness is happiness–it supports our ability to welcome the goodness in the universe. Trust me.

I am so very thankful for all the special moments in 2018–and there were many. One that immediately comes to mind is the moment I ran into the arms of my sister and co-blogger Dana on the Croce Bridge on the Rio Dei Tolentini in Venice. This picture speaks a thousand words.

Goodness! So many things! A stand out was my Anthony Bourdain moment I had on the island of Sardinia where I met some of the nicest people in the world. I am certain that this one of those times when I discovered EXACTLY what it means to be in someone else’s shoes. You can read all about it here: August 8, 2018.

And of course I received immense pleasure and look forward to future engagements with my volunteer work with the Ronald McDonald House in Cologne, Germany as well as the Parents Initiative for Children with Heart Disease, also in Cologne. There is absolutely nothing like doing something for someone else and putting a smile on their face–just because you can.

And I’m especially grateful for the opportunities I had to share my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story. I am honored by the accolades the book has received. From book presentations to television shows in Germany; winning two book awards and having a second German publishing house publish a pocketbook edition of my story, all of it has all been extremely rewarding.

But nothing has been more satisfying than all the correspondence I’ve received from people who tell me that I have affected their lives, that I inspire and encourage them. This amazes me, I am deeply humbled and I want everyone to know it.

Visit my website at to read the comments about my story from renowned doctors Dean Ornish, Alex Gillor and Aldo Castañeda and Ms. Sonja Klima, the president of the Ronald McDonald House in Austria. And if you have read my story, I would really appreciate if you would leave your thoughts about it here: And if you read and write German, you can leave your thoughts here: or here: Thank you!

Yes, 2018 was a busy year. As you know, Dana and I share our stories/adventures/escapades/highs and lows here on our blog at menopausebarbees. We hope that you enjoy them; find a little something that you can keep for yourself. When you come down to it, we should all be about lifting each other up–life is hard enough. So with that in mind, I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019. Did you make any resolutions? I didn’t because I don’t want to set myself up for failure in case I can’t hold my word which will only frustrate me and I do not want and or need any unnecessary frustrations in my life. But what I DID do was set myself some goals. One of them is to awaken each morning and smile. First thing. And in that moment I will be cognizant of the fact that I am thankful for all of my blessings and that I am thankful to be able to be thankful. And I will pray that those suffering will be freed of their pain and that those who are not will continued to be blessed. This is wonderful, don’t you think? It makes me feel good just thinking about it. 

And then I’ll “Get up and get on it!” as Daddy used to say, because “It ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out!” Happy New Year everybody! Make it rock!

Happy Birthday to my sister, Wonder Woman!

With my sister, it’s Christmas everyday!

Today as we celebrate her birthday, I am reminded that Tracie is a gift to all blessed to know her.  She listens, she supports, she volunteers, she’s well informed, funny, fun, well traveled, compassionate, spontaneous, creative,  and well loved.

As I sit here trying to express all that Tracie means to me, she’s best described as a security blanket.  Ever since I was a baby, Tracie has been my fiercest protector.  She is the perfect combination of our parents.  Tracie has Daddy’s wit, wisdom and wonder.  As she has faired more years in Europe than in our safety nest at home, her travels, and ability to go it alone have served her well. Daddy would be beyond proud.  She has been blessed with Mama’s beauty, brains and culinary skills.  Tracie figured it out early on to take notice and she is the best example of emulating our Mama who is only described as perfection. 

Like our parents, Tracie is a pioneer, who has established her own rules against often times challenging odds.  But as our favorite Daddy quote goes, Tracie defines, “Ain’t no given in and no given out.”  I truly wonder how she does it all?

I’m Inspired  by Tracie’s joie de vie!  Her laughter is infectious and contagious.  We have been so fortunate to see the world, laugh until it hurts, and cry until it doesn’t.  “Thank you, Thank you very much!” In Elvis voice- a moment, I will never forget.  Tracie gets me like no one else…

As described above, Tracie wears numerous titles- Daughter, Mother, Sister, Niece, Cousin, Aunt,  Friend, Business Woman, Volunteer, Traveler, Author, Speaker, Mentor, Teacher.  One word best suits her- FIERCE!

If you haven’t already, treat yourself to the gift of a mother’s love and her story.  You will be amazed with wonder!

Incompatible with Nature – an award winning book available on Amazon

And as our grandmother taught us, age ain’t nothing but a number, and Tracie’s (like mine) is unlisted!

Happy Birthday to this Wonder Woman!


Breaking News!

Dear Menopausebarbee friends,

I have just received the news and I am proud to announce that my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story has received the 2018 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award! I am so very honored!

Here is a short synopsis:

In the summer of 1984, I, a young black American woman married a German man and moved to his country. Several months later, a delightfully uneventful pregnancy resulted in the birth of our son. Thirteen days later, a cardiologist explained to my husband and me that our beautiful thirteen day old baby was “born incompatible with nature and would die. At any minute.”

     “There is no surgery to save him,” the doctor explained to my husband in German.  “Let your son die,” he said to me in broken English. 

      Our son Marc entered this world with Heterotaxy Syndrome. Essentially, he drew each precious breath from a heart comprised of two chambers rather than four, an extremely rare and fatal condition. Adjusting to life in a foreign country and preparing myself for motherhood were challenging enough, but when my husband Helmut and I received our newborn son’s prognosis, my psychological balance plummeted utterly into despair. 

     Battling my own fears, an array of naysaying doctors, Marc’s innumerable infections, and struggling with a foreign language, I nonetheless instilled within him a sense of invincible confidence and the courage to believe that he could move mountains if he so chose. 

         Life is fragile. People are strong. Passionate, emotional and at times humorous, this story is an unflinching account of love, loss, rebellion and resilience. An inspirational story of one woman overcoming her deepest darkest fears while holding on to her faith as she fights not only for her son’s life and helps him win his battle, but ultimately for her own and survives.

My story will indeed give hope and encouragement to anyone facing a battle not of his or her own choosing.

Read it and be inspired! 

It is available in German here: Amazon link:

And here: Weltbild:

The English version is available in all book stores and online at Amazon where you can also leave a book review, which I hope you will do:


Thank you everyone and all the very best of wishes in 2019.

Backstory-Reason in the Season

Their fragrance reminds us of that certain happiness permeating throughout the house that comes only once a year. We hang them. Adorn them. Sometimes we light them up; hang them in any room in the house–indoor or outside. How we enjoy them. Right now, they belong.

Christmas wreaths. 

Admiring the breathtakingly beautiful wreath in my mother’s living room, I thought that there has to be a backstory here somewhere–I mean after all, everything has a meaning, right? I’ve always just associated Christmas wreaths and their glory with Christmas without wondering why. 

I am thankful for so very many things, and particularly at this moment, I am thankful that I am relaxed enough to wonder about a traditional staple–at least in our family, that I’ve never wondered about before. So before you take yours down, I’ve got some news for you. 

History and symbolism regarding wreaths go back to ancient times. From a Christian perspective, when the thorny branches of holly are used in a wreath, they represent the thorn on Jesus’ crown when he was crucified. Bright red holly berries symbolize Jesus’ blood that was shed for us. The circular shape represents eternity, for it has no beginning and no end. 

Now, the evergreen foliage which is most frequently used in making wreathes, symbolizes growth and everlasting life. This is because this plant is a survivor–it endures the toughest winters and always maintains it’s leaves; it’s always green. Strong. And THIS is what I love about this plant that I didn’t recognize before: it reminds me of Daddy and his, “it ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out attitude” that affects every aspect of my life and keeps me on my feet; the wonder, the real wonder of Mama, with her out of the ordinary beauty and the ability to see beauty in every moment. She’s a wise one, my Mama. And the pure unadulterated joy, the downright happiness I feel from just being around my darling baby sister and co-blogger Dana. 

So much more than just decoration–I knew there was a backstory somewhere. . . 

I am home. And it is


Peaceful weekend everyone.

In Memory of Daddy and Yesler Street

  – Charlie James

Last night we had our annual dinner with the Singlers and Bowns.  These are truly life-long family friends, I have known since birth.  Our families were neighbors and with their kids, Carrie and Sandra sandwiched between my sisters ages, we became “siblings.”  Our colorful, often loud conversation spans the fifty plus years of Central District history.  Joan, my other mother and Ed her husband and a surrogate father, were  anomalies as a white family living in the heart of the segregated CD, fighting for racial equality.  Their fight included pickets, and boycotting establishments that would not hire minorities.

Inevitably, our conversation flowed to one of Joan’s neighborhood nemesis, today’s birthday boy, my daddy, Gerald Frank.  These two had the most hysterical relationship, it is hard to put into words.  Daddy, always pushed the envelop, and one morning, Joan woke up to a bulldozer on her property line, where he was expanding his ever growing real estate empire.  Not one to consider housing regulations or codes, Daddy developed as he desired and took on the consequences with adverse possession once the project was complete.  Joan had fought greater monsters and would march down the hill, screaming “GERALD FRANK what gives you the right?”  Daddy would smile and tell her she wasn’t being neighborly.  And thus the battle would begin until they came to a resolve.


Daddy always took the law into his own hands.  My absolute favorite story is the deadbeat tenant that refused to pay rent one December.  As the inclement weather raged, Daddy showed up at the single family house on 22nd off Union street and removed the front door at 5 AM.  When the tenant awoke and called our home screaming his front door was missing, Daddy replied, “Ain’t that a coincidence, so is your rent!”

As we laughed and shared memories of Daddy, I decided to share insights recently posted on Charlie James, a community activist page.  What I want you to ask yourself is 22 years after you are gone, will people still be talking about you?  Love him or leave him… Daddy left his legacy.

Charlie James
Charlie James Says it all accept he would put money behind promoters, other business people and was the person who publicly said he would finance the MLK Park and got the ball rolling to raise the funds Finally a lot of people got their first rental opportunity from him because he was willing to go the extra mile to get you in. Got my first apt management job with Gerald..…
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Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald Frank Has Left His Mark On Central Area | Seattle Times Newspaper
Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald…
Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald Frank Has Left His Mark On Central Area | Seattle Times Newspaper

Got my first apartment with him…..

TaRessa Stovall Good article…thanks! My roommate and I were 18, living at 419 19th Ave next to Kitten…cops always outside the building. Woke up one Saturday to see Gerald and some of his guys walking around our apartment—two 18-year girls sleeping. I cussed him all the way out and he apologized and left. We learned of his propensity to randomly evict folks, so broke our lease and moved south. Fascinating obviously brilliant and complex man. Worthy of a book and/or movie. Oh and that million-dollar House was gorgeous!

Ivory Joe Harris I got to know him

Carmen Jones
Carmen Jones Yes, Gerald Frank was quite a character in Seattle history. While I was working with the Seattle Human Rights Department, we frequently came in contact with Gerald Frank during investigations of housing complaints. He holds an esteemed place in our history . . . quite the business man.

Robert F. Gant
Robert F. Gant Yes he would. he helped me finance numerous projects. We as a community are missing his type of commitment to black entrepreneurs.

Andre Wooten
Andre Wooten When I was an assistant City Attorney in the late 70s my job was to enforce the Seattle building code. Gerald Frank would by buildings needing repair, but he needed the rent to make his numbers work. So that put him in conflict with the City whic…See More

Harriett G Walden
Harriett G Walden I lived in of his place with Gas leak and we had to call the fire Department on him if we had been smoker we would have died.

Lillian Quarles
Lillian Quarles He was Good and Bad but He saw the worth in owning properties in the Central Area

NW Facts We Miss that era of Black Power within our community.

NaaSira Adeeba Ashe! Ase! And, putting it Politely; some people forgot, To Keep paying forward! “Kujichagulia!” 😴

Roberto Jourdan
Roberto Jourdan He WANTED all black folks to get a head in life!

In honor of Daddy’s birthday, today, The Menopausebarbees are asking all of you inclined to make a donation to Charlie James  Black Community Association Account in Bank of America #138118645960.

As a part of Daddy’s legacy, we know, we still have work to do!  And as he said, “There ain’t no given in and no given’ out!