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.
you with your gentle smile
and artistic eye
attention to detail
without having to try
natural light or silhouette
to sit or to pirouette
all to achieve the desired effect
of people, places and things
in a variety of settings
negatives, prints, images
a certain scene
you knew that with perfection
there is no in-between
the visual value of exposure
the curves, the contrast, the color
shape, size, and space,
or figure to ground
saying so much
without making a sound
in the sky
and for you, we sigh,
you with the gentle smile
and artistic eye
Ah, the ABC’s.
You know, it is said that we can begin to teach our children the alphabet when they are around 2 or 3 years of age. It is also noted that the longest word in the English language has 189,819 letters and would take you three and a half hours to pronounce correctly. Seriously you can google it, but before you do, consider this:
We have some other notable mentions of our ABC’s. Just those three letters have such potential and for different people, professions and obsessions, they are an abbreviation for various matters.
For some folks, ABC stands for “Anything But Chardonnay,” while for those in the medical industry, ABC denotes “Airway Breathing and Circulation.” And for you deal makers out there, “Always Be Closing”– you know what I’m talking about.
And shoppers the world over know that online or in the brick and mortar houses, in one form or another we’ve got to “Always Bring Cash.”
And I could never forget everybody’s favorite gum–you know the one that’s “Already Been Chewed.”
So here’s the deal.
The clock is one of the oldest human inventions and at midnight on December 31, 2019, this big beautiful thing chimed in a new decade. A DECADE!!! I think we all want to to jump into this new decade with the intention of making these years our roaring twenties. We’re pondering new horizons and expanding our territories–even if that just means learning how to self-love and create daily rituals that will make us feel better. My sister and co-blogger Dana shared a post yesterday about resolutions and promises we make and fail to keep. It is challenging indeed.
I just want to tell you this: if you fall off the resolution wagon, don’t beat yourself up by trying to make up for it doing a 14 day cleanse in 4 hours and ten minutes. Whether you’ve made long term resolutions or have decided to take it all day by day, remember this: above all believe in yourself, have no doubt, have no fear and no matter what you do or where you go to do it,
Don’t hold back! Make these your roaring twenties!
P.S.: What does the clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
Last weekend, I was at a dinner party with some of my closest friends. As we shared highlights and lowlights of 2019, we transitioned to discussing New Year’s Resolutions. We laughed aloud as one witty girlfriend (O.K. it was Fredda Goldfarb), popped a salted chocolate carmel and downed it with vino, saying “I gave up sweets and alcohol, what did you give up?”
Not surprisingly, the 10 most common New Year’s Resolutions are:
Exercise More, Lose Weight, Get Organized, Learn a new skill or hobby, Live life to the fullest, Save more money/Spend less money, Quit Smoking, Spend more time with family and friends, Travel more, Read more.
I am generally one that believes in writing goals and holding myself accountable. As I look back on things I had resolved to do last year, some ambitious – like work out daily, some challenging – like better time management, some mundane- like limit social media time, I recognize that a 12 month adherence to anything is just plain TOUGH. So, this year, as they say in AA- I am taking it one day at a time and I decided I would commit my resolutions to 1 month at a time. I’m thrilled to share as of this writing I am 13 days into no alcohol! I elected to join several of my friends who do dry January. It was not easy sitting at my girlfriend’s beautifully dressed table watching friends imbibe on some of the most exquisite bottles of Quilceda Creek, Avennia, Sea Smoke and Rombauer. But knowing that this sacrifice is temporary- In my best Arnold Schwarzenager voice, I said to myself, “I’ll be back.”
I felt powerful knowing I had the will power, grit and determination to accomplish my resolution. For February, perhaps I will resolve to work out x days a week or give up my beloved candy for the month. I just know that 30 days of a commitment is much easier than committing to something for 365 days. I gave up red meat two years ago on a bet with my fiancé. After I stopped eating red meat, it was something I did not miss and chose not to go back to. So, try temporary abstinence – you never know where it might take you, and you just might decide it’s a resolve you want to keep.
Love my tribe!
Christmas has officially left the building. The brittle tree, once so fragrant and bodacious is gone. The beautiful ornaments stored for another 12 months. Lights, wreaths, and decorations removed. But, the spirit of giving continues to live on.
In that spirit, last Wednesday I hosted a small gathering for some of my favorite December babies whose birthdays get robbed sharing their special month with The Reason for the Season.
I purposely waited until January so all sights and sounds of the holidays had dissipated. I decorated my table with hues of pink and yellow and no signs of the traditional Christmas tones of greens and reds. I requested that my celebrants wear pajamas. I didn’t want fuss or stress that generally accompany a celebration. I along with my sister and co-blogger, Tracie and Trina are doing dry January (yes.. it’s killing me) so I stacked the fridge with Perrier, and savored the smell as I poured my beloved Rombauer for my other girls. I ordered from my favorite Greek Restaurant, Vios, and we indulged on Chicken Souvlaki, Dolmas, Hummus, Pita, and Tzatziki plus Greek salad. The cake was crafted by my very favorite bakery, Madison Park- they never disappoint in flavor or design! Seeing that my Winter Babies are all colors of the rainbow- Black, White, and Asian – the characters reflected each. Shari, who has the best sense of humor laughed at the yellow face painted in her honor.
Even though I attempted to erase all elements of the holidays, for the gift giving, I borrowed a favorite Christmas exchange and had each recipient pick a number and then open a wrapped book. Each book was one that I had read last year and thoroughly enjoyed. I had them pick numbers in the game exchange, so that if they had already read the book they could swap them out. As luck would have it, each birthday girl received a book and chose to keep it. The books included:
Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson – Movie Just released as well and it is must see/read.
Where The Crawdads Sing- Delia Owens
Educated – Tara Westover
Hilbilly Ellegy – J. D. Vance
Talking to Strangers- Malcom Gladwell
Of course, each book came with a laminated book mark from my sister Tracie’s inspirational story, Incompatible with Nature.
I chose these books, because like my sister’s https://TracieMayer.com, we never know what someone has gone though. Personally, I love triumph over tragedy real life memoirs. And that is my hope for all reading this and as my Winter Babies read these titles that they all understand and remember, “In life, if you’re going through Hell.. Keep on going.” May reading and sharing other’s struggles and triumph, I pray that it will inspire you to know that Impossible begins with I’m.
Happy Reading and Happy New Year to all!
It is said that Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History. In my sister, Tracie, today’s birthday girl’s case, – it’s Herstory. When Tracie walks in any room, people’s attention is just automatically redirected as they ponder, WHAT’S HER STORY?
She’s never been a
follower. PERIOD. Please don’t ask her what she’s wearing to an event… I guarantee you have nothing comparable in your closet.
She makes every venture and adventure. Literally, after leaving a podium presenting her award winning book, Incompatible with Nature in Dubai, she jumped on a camel ride and this was just all in a days work.
She’s fiercely convicted- when she arrived home for the holidays this year, I popped the champagne and she declined saying she is off all alcohol – just because. But WHY, I wailed and waited for her to weaken. She never did. We partied all through the season, and now that dry January has arrived and I attempt to join her 3 days in… I can attest, the struggle is real.
Daily she reads and works out in a constant effort to be aware and absorb this vast world she travels. And travels she does.
Last year, we went from L.A. to Tennesee to Germany to Switzerland and Sun Valley and those were just the trips, I was on with her!
She is determined. Last summer she broke her ankle, but that did not stop her from hobbling through Montreux and swimming in Lake Geneva.
She also hobbled our sister, Patti and me through the historic cathedrals and sights of Germany on her accessorized crutches.
My sister will continue to make her story and remind those she loves and inspires to write theirs.
And Herstory is part of the legacy I am proud to witness and share as an example for my daughter
Be original. Be brave. Be determined. Be fearless. Be smart. Be informed. Be kind.
When I think of my sister, this post comes to mind…
Be original. Be brave. Be determined. Be fearless. Be smart. Be informed. Be kind. Be beautiful. Be bold. Beautiful Tracie! Happy Birthday, I couldn’t love you more if I wanted to!
Another decade–we made it!
That in and of itself is more than enough to be thankful for.
2019 was good. Some of my highlights:
I received an overwhelming response from my oral presentation at the World Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Congress in Dubai in September from an international assembly of brilliant cardiologists and surgeons. Thrilled me to my core. Riding a camel through the desert a couple days later was simply divine.
In March, I had the pleasure once again, of moderating the Golden City Gate Awards presented by Mr. Wolfgang Huschert at the ITB– the world’s leading travel trade show in Berlin, Germany.
Honored that my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story, won six awards: The 2019 New Apple Award for Excellence, The Reader’s Favorite Award, The Elit Award, The Global Ebook Award, The IndieReader Discovery Award and the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
My book was also welcomed into two prestigious Ivy League University libraries : Harvard University’s Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Library. My hometown also welcomed my book into the Seattle, Washington Public Library.
In June, I was the Honorary Chair for the Seattle Adult Congenital Heart Association’s Walk for 1 in 100. My sister and co-blogger Dana walked with me and along with 250 other participants, we raised over $35,000 which will go towards advocacy, research and education for those with heart defects, their loved ones and the medical community that cares for them. Helping our heart warriors not only to survive but to thrive! Yay!!
I continued to feel fulfilled with my volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House as well as the Parents’ Initiative for Children with Heart Disease in Cologne. I am thankful down to my very soul that I have reached the point in my life where I have the strength to see the agony that I recognize in the eyes of these parents and do what I can to lift them up.
One of my greatest challenges occurred in Wittenberge in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, in north-central Germany. I had been invited to speak before the Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Wittenberge e.V., an organization within the Protestant Church. I could not wait to share my message of perseverance, determination and never giving up. In the audience was a young man with his wife and two children. Both of the children were seriously physically and mentally challenged; both confined to wheelchairs. One of them made an uncontrollable outburst during my presentation. It broke my heart. The parents approached me for hugs when my presentation was over. “How could I possibly console them?” I remember thinking. I fell back on what I know to be true and that is that having pity on ourselves will not help us. I needed to encourage these two people to hang on; to pray for the strength they will need to care for their children and to never give up hope and to believe that a miracle could be on the horizon. If we believe it, we can see it and if we can see it–we can live in hope that it will manifest itself which will give us the clarity of mind we need to survive the daily.
Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, most of friends and all of my family members remained healthy in 2019. Unfortunately, I lost a dear friend–a crushing blow. However, I am on the positive side of confident that those few who are struggling with health issues will soon be back to a better version of their former selves. You know who I’m talking to, and you know “it ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.”
And last, but as they say, certainly not least, I am thrilled to share that many readers of my story have reached out to thank me for sharing it; that it provides comfort and most importantly them GIVES HOPE!! And that was my intention all along. I cannot express in words how grateful I am because of this.
And my speaking engagements were met with overwhelming enthusiasm!
This has inspired me tremendously and confirmed my belief that to support and inspire others dealing with their challenges is my calling. Sometimes we ultimately find our purpose through our pain. And I have found mine: namely, to help those dealing with adversity; to comfort them based on my experience of walking through fire, as they plow through their difficulties and learn to LIVE while navigating the road to personal victory.
After all, if I, just a normal girl, could move to a foreign country, not speak the language, know no-one, give birth to my only child born with only half of his heart, conquer my own fears, and rebelliously fight against doctors who didn’t believe my son could survive–and win (my son is 35 years old today and with that officially older than me!) I believe that we all have the tools we need to deal with any circumstance we are confronted with. If you’re feeling like you’re needing help coping with a problem, visit my updated website to see how you can schedule a heart to heart with me.
In the meantime, Happy New Year everybody! Let’s all sharpen our 20/20 vision and enjoy the view!!
20/20 Vision – Frohes Neues Jahr!!
Ein weiteres Jahrzehnt – wir haben es geschafft!
Das allein ist schon mehr als genug, um dankbar zu sein.
2019 war gut. Einige meiner Highlights:
Meine mündliche Präsentation auf dem Weltkongress für Kinderkardiologie und Herz-Thorax-Chirurgie in Dubai im September fand bei einer internationalen Versammlung brillanter Kardiologen und Chirurgen eine überwältigende Resonanz. Das hat mich zutiefst begeistert. Ein paar Tage später auf einem Kamel durch die Wüste zu reiten, war einfach göttlich.
Im März hatte ich erneut das Vergnügen, die Golden City Gate Awards zu moderieren, die von Herrn Wolfgang Huschert auf der ITB – der weltweit führenden Reisemesse in Berlin – verliehen wurden.
Geehrt, dass mein Buch, Incompatible with Nature-A Mother’s Story, sechs Preise gewonnen hat: Den New Apple Award for Excellence 2019, den Reader’s Favorite Award, den Elit Award, den Global Ebook Award, den IndieReader Discovery Award und den Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
Mein Buch wurde auch in zwei renommierten Bibliotheken der Ivy League Universität aufgenommen: in der Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine der Harvard Universität und in der Biomedizinischen Bibliothek der Universität von Pennsylvania. Meine Heimatstadt wurde auch mit einem Buch in der Seattle, Washington Public Library willkommen geheißen.
Im Juni war ich der Ehrenvorsitzende des Seattle Adult Congenital Heart Association’s Walk für 1:100. Meine Schwester und Co-Bloggerin Dana begleitete mich und zusammen mit 250 anderen Teilnehmern sammelten wir über 35.000 Dollar, die in die Interessenvertretung, Forschung und Aufklärung für Menschen mit Herzfehlern, ihre Angehörigen und die medizinische Gemeinschaft, die sich um sie kümmert, fließen werden. Wir helfen unseren Herzkriegsteilnehmern nicht nur zu überleben, sondern auch zu gedeihen! Juhu!!
Ich fühlte mich weiterhin erfüllt mit meiner ehrenamtlichen Arbeit im Ronald McDonald House sowie der Elterninitiative für herzkranke Kinder in Köln. Ich bin von ganzem Herzen dankbar, dass ich den Punkt in meinem Leben erreicht habe, an dem ich die Kraft habe, die Qualen zu sehen, die ich in den Augen dieser Eltern erkenne, und zu tun, was ich kann, um sie aufzurichten.
Eine meiner größten Herausforderungen fand in Wittenberge in Sachsen-Anhalt, in Nordmitteldeutschland statt. Ich war eingeladen worden, vor der Landeskirchlichen Gemeinschaft Wittenberge e.V., einer Organisation innerhalb der evangelischen Kirche, zu sprechen. Ich konnte es kaum erwarten, meine Botschaft der Beharrlichkeit, der Entschlossenheit und des Nichtaufgebens weiterzugeben. Unter den Zuhörern war ein junger Mann mit seiner Frau und zwei Kindern. Beide Kinder waren körperlich und geistig schwer behindert; beide waren an den Rollstuhl gefesselt. Eines von ihnen machte während meines Vortrags einen unkontrollierbaren Ausbruch. Es brach mir das Herz. Die Eltern kamen auf mich zu, um mich zu umarmen, als meine Präsentation vorbei war. “Wie könnte ich sie nur trösten?” Ich weiß noch, dass ich dachte. Ich habe auf das zurückgegriffen, was ich als wahr erkannt habe, und das ist, dass Selbstmitleid uns nicht helfen wird. Ich musste diese beiden Menschen ermutigen, durchzuhalten; für die Kraft zu beten, die sie brauchen werden, um für ihre Kinder zu sorgen und die Hoffnung nie aufzugeben und zu glauben, dass ein Wunder am Horizont geschehen könnte. Wenn wir es glauben, können wir es sehen, und wenn wir es sehen können, können wir in der Hoffnung leben, dass es sich manifestiert, was uns die Klarheit des Geistes gibt, die wir brauchen, um den Alltag zu überleben.
Zum Glück, zum Glück, zum Glück sind die meisten Freunde und alle meine Familienmitglieder im Jahr 2019 gesund geblieben. Leider habe ich einen lieben Freund verloren – ein vernichtender Schlag. Ich bin jedoch auf der positiven Seite der Zuversicht, dass die wenigen, die mit Gesundheitsproblemen zu kämpfen haben, bald wieder zu einer besseren Version ihres früheren Selbst zurückkehren werden. Sie wissen, mit wem ich spreche, und Sie wissen: “Es ist kein Aufgeben und kein Herausgeben.”
Und zu guter Letzt, aber wie sie sagen, sicherlich nicht zuletzt, bin ich begeistert zu teilen, dass viele Leser meiner Geschichte die Hand ausgestreckt haben, um mir für das Teilen zu danken; dass es Trost spendet und vor allem, dass es ihnen HOFFNUNG GIBT! Und das war die ganze Zeit meine Absicht. Wie dankbar ich dafür bin, kann ich nicht in Worte fassen.
Und meine Vortragsverpflichtungen wurden mit überwältigender Begeisterung erfüllt!
Das hat mich enorm inspiriert und meine Überzeugung bestätigt, dass es meine Berufung ist, andere bei der Bewältigung ihrer Herausforderungen zu unterstützen und zu inspirieren. Manchmal finden wir letztendlich durch unseren Schmerz unsere Bestimmung. Und ich habe meinen gefunden: nämlich denen zu helfen, die mit der Not umgehen; sie zu trösten, basierend auf meiner Erfahrung, durch Feuer zu gehen, während sie durch ihre Schwierigkeiten pflügen und LIVE den Weg zum persönlichen Sieg gehen.
Denn wenn ich, ein ganz normales Mädchen, in ein fremdes Land ziehen könnte, die Sprache nicht sprechen würde, niemanden kennen würde, mein einziges Kind mit nur halbem Herzen zur Welt bringen könnte, meine eigenen Ängste überwinden und rebellisch gegen Ärzte kämpfen könnte, die nicht daran glaubten, dass er überleben und gewinnen könnte (mein Sohn ist heute 35 Jahre alt und damit offiziell älter als ich!) – dann glaube ich, dass wir alle die Werkzeuge haben, die wir brauchen, um mit allen Umständen fertig zu werden. Besuchen Sie meine aktualisierte Website, um zu sehen, wie Sie mit mir ein Herz an Herz haben können.
In der Zwischenzeit: Frohes neues Jahr, alle zusammen! Lasst uns alle unseren 20/20 Blick schärfen und die Aussicht genießen!
Today, his passport would reveal that this Trailblazer is 88 years old, but his heart and soul would still have the vigour and passion for life of a man half his age. I’m sure of it.
He’d still be operating under his M.O. of “You got to get up and get on it!” And if it was 8:30 in the morning, if everything and everyone was not in position to roll, he’d shout out: “What the hell is wrong with you? It’s 8:30–the day is half over!” Which surely would be followed by: “If you don’t do nothin’ only one thing is gonna happen: not a goddamn thing!”
How I miss this man! The man whose accomplishments also included having one of the first civil rights lawsuit to go to Superior Court in the state of Washington–and win–because he and his fellow soldiers were not allowed to eat at the same restaurants as their white comrades.
Unfortunately for me, at the time I treaded tumultuous divorce waters in Germany and wasn’t sure if I’d sink or swim, the Trailblazer was no longer with us. Time and time and time again I’d ask myself, “What would Daddy do?” He always, but always had the answer. In fact, my baby sister and co-blogger Dana gave me a pin with his initials, GF, that I keep next to my laptop on my desk. The visual helps me channel him when I need his help.
There was only one time in my life that Daddy didn’t know the answer to the question. (He was human after all.) I had just received the devastating news that my son had been born with only half of his heart. I was in Germany, my family in America–a world away. I’ll never forget me screaming into the phone, “Daddy, what should I do?” His answer silenced my screams. He said, “Baby, I’ll be damned if I know what to tell you.” He couldn’t tell me how to navigate that treacherous terrain and despite the fact that I’d been inundated with information from specialists and cardiologists and surgeons–it was AT THAT MOMENT that I knew I was in trouble.
After watching him get arrested for having a loud mouth and standing up for what he believed in, being hassled by authority, having to fight for his rights and facing it all with a certain brave and bold fearlessness, I truly thought that my Trailblazer could make pigs fly.
And today, back in Seattle for the holidays and walking the streets where I grew up, I reminisce. I look down this block and remember holding 2×4 planks while daddy nailed them into place for a fence; I remember picking up cigarette butts and dog poo from around that yard. I look at the stained-glass window he installed in that house as a matter of his expression; I remember loading the truck at Perkins Glass Company, and picking up drapes from Seattle Curtain; picking up day laborers from Pioneer Square and carrying picket signs with those laborers around local Central Area banks because of their red-lining practices. Cleaning apartments in that building. How I remember!
And now, the city landscape has changed. The homeless crisis here is all too real–it even has it’s own Wikipedia page; people of color are being forced out of this beloved area they’ve called home for years–for generations–because they can no longer afford to live here. I can’t see downtown or the mountains when I walk up Jackson street because there are cranes and raw construction blocking my view. From my lens, my cherished neighbourhood is losing it’s charm; it’s character. Where have all the Craftsman homes and midcentury single-family houses and bungalows gone?
As a major investor, player and creative force in this area, I keep asking myself, what would the Trailblazer say about this suburban-urban flip? About those displaced? Somehow, one way or another, I do believe he would have made an impact–even if it would mean helping one person-just one person figure out a way to save his or her home.
And I know FOR SURE he’d say, “There ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.” ©
And before he’d know it, it would again be 8:30 in the morning. “Time to get up and get on it!”
Happy Birthday Trailblazer. Miss you madly!
Here’s hoping Santa is good to you! Wishing you all the peace, love and joy of the holiday season,
Here is a cute little Christmas story for you with a message to last you a lifetime–my gift to you.
This tale took place when I was 8 years old. I had bloomed into Tracie Little Miss Know It All.
Our parents had set up a beautifully decorated tree in the living room as they always did and my younger sisters and I were über excited about the dolls and playthings that we would find beneath it on Christmas morning.
Well, one day, unbeknownst to us, Mom overheard a conversation between me and my sister Robin that went something like this:
R: I can’t wait to see what Santa is going to bring me!
TLMKIA: Don’t be silly! Mama and Daddy buy the presents!”
R: “No they don’t! Santa Claus makes them at the North Pole and he brings them down the chimney!”
TLMKIA: “No he doesn’t! He’s not even a real person!
R: “Yes he is and he brings the toys!”
TLMKIA: “No he doesn’t and everybody knows it!”
Shortly after this little exchange, the big day arrived.
My sisters and I sprang out of our beds and met each other at the top of the stairwell. We tip-toed down the first few stairs giggling and as we turned on the landing we could see the tree all tinselly and brightly blinking and–there was nothing underneath it.
Confused and frankly scared to death, we raced down the remaining stairs and stood in the room staring dropped-jawed at the tree. There was NOTHING underneath it!! NOTHING!!
What had happened?
We screamed for our parents who came rushing in from the kitchen.
“What’s the matter?” they asked us in unison.
“Santa didn’t bring us anything! There’s nothing here!”
“Well now, don’t get upset,” Mama said. “He must have been here!”
“Come on,” Daddy said “Let’s go look in the other room where the fireplace is.”
Our hopes soared.
“Santa must have been here,” Mama said.
She and Daddy looked around the room and suddenly had another idea.
“Let’s go look downstairs in the basement!” they said.
The basement? We never went in the basement! Mama just went down there to do the laundry and daddy would store construction materials in the back rooms.
Daddy and Mama descended the stairs first. My sisters and I followed and lo and behold there was another tree with all the presents underneath!
This is a story we still laugh about and cherish, but as a teenager I told our parents that this was just a perverse thing to do to us kids. They explained that there is a moral to the story that they wanted to instill within us as children; one that we would have forever and that is:
When you stop believing, you stop receiving.
And now I have shared it with you.
So whether it’s your hope of a healthy outcome, of achieving a certain success, a principal thing you’ve got your heart set on or even finding a parking place–believe it will happen, own it and have faith! Our faith will bring us to it.
Faith produces what we believe: it is the confidence in what we hope for and the belief in what we cannot see.
Don’t give Santa a reason not to show up!
Here’s hoping that you and your family will always cherish your memories of faith, hope and love.