menopausebarbees
... 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.

What’s The Title to Your Life’s Story?

Can you think of a book that was life changing or defining? I would love to hear your suggestions.  Personally, I’m drawn to the memoir/nonfiction category.  I relish in stories of people’s lives and how they navigate life, especially in the most challenging of circumstances.

Some of my favs include:

The Glass Castle: The incredible tale depicts Jeanette Walls’ childhood, where her family lived in poverty and sometimes as squatters.  Her father descended into alcoholism and her mother became homeless by choice.  Jeanette became a celebrity gossip reporter and best selling author.

Angela’s Ashes: Frank McCourt was an Irish American author who graphically shared details of his life in Limerick, Ireland and the abject poverty he rose from.

The Color of Water, I’m Down and Hillbilly Elegy- This blog does not allow time for me to delve into the countless tombs which have resonated and moved me.

Now that I have access to Audible, my book intake has increased triple fold.  I recently finished Somebody’s Daughter, and I’m currently obsessed with Spilled Milk and started a hard back copy of Crying in the H Mart.

As I review even this small sample of my library, there is one common theme and that is SURVIVAL. All of the families in these stories are dysfunctional nonconformist.  On the exterior, their lives may echo normalcy while underlying there are deep family secrets. But the powerful message is they rise.

My sister and now many dear friends are published authors.  They all have sat down and painstakingly shared their journeys.

I recall the hours my sister and co-blogger wrote, re-wrote, and re-wrote every sentence of her award-winning memoir, Incompatible with Nature. It is a gift that my nephew’s story can lend hope to others.

In Shari Leid’s series The 50/50 Friendship Flow and Make Your Mess Your Message, I learned a lot of the hardships of women I personally know, even though I didn’t know their history.  Mayumi Mueller shares life changing habits in Fcking Fab and Fit After 40.  The alterations Mayumi made in her life are a testament to her healthy lifestyle, and the benefits are evident, however, it was a major adjustment in diet and exercise which all women going through midlife should consider.  Cindy Benezra recently penned Under the Orange Blossoms.  Although I have known Cindy well over a decade, I could not fathom what her early years taught and brought her. In Carmen Best’s book, Black in Blue, I learned more than her lessons in leadership. I was able to see from her foundation and upbringing, the tools that prepared her for the task as Police Chief under the most challenging times our city has ever faced.  Rosemarie Francis- A Better Life Book, is a must for all young people trying to figure out life.

I could go on and on…

If you had to name your book and story of your life, what would it be?

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving  everyone!

I’m sharing some pictures of the very last Thanksgiving dinner I prepared here in Germany as a married woman. As I think many of you all know, the marriage didn’t last, and not all of my dreams came true, but the most important ones did and for that I will always be eternal grateful.

Let us remember as we give thanks for all of our blessings today, that it all begins with our first conscious breath of the day. We are alive! And where there is life there is hope and where there is hope there are limitless possibilities to manifest the beauty, love and happiness we all deserve. 

So as you raise your glasses today, I hope you’ll think of me and say: “Here’s to life!”

86 Veedel in Cologne

Something for Your Toolbox

#createeveryday #createyourreality #createcontent #createyourdestiny#createyourfuture #createopportunities #aintnogivinupandnogivinout

 

This Girl is on Fire!

So, last weekend, I was at a friend’s house for a “Sexy Scorpio Birthday Bash.”  Although, I’m a proud Virgo, I attended to give the 8th zodiac astrological signs some love.

The affair was festive indeed with a Belly Dancer, bar tender, delectable nibbles, and after a vaccination check at the door, everyone was just ready to let their mask down.

I am always chilled, so I was elated to see the burning fireplace, and literally parked myself in front of the heated flames.  In addition to the warmth of the blaze, I was not conscious of the candles lit on the hearth. As the Belly Dancer was in ensemble, and wiggling her full belly, I leaned back in raucous laughter and smelled burnt hair.  Thankful to my friend, Judith, we aborted a disaster as she swiftly grabbed my pony tail and put it out!

So after being the brunt of jokes – yes, this girl is on fire… I came home and washed the smell right out of my hair!  When I told my daughter, she shared this tik toc which I find hilarious.

 

Enjoy!

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Cousin Confidential

I had a much needed catchup dinner with my cousin QD3 while visiting California this past week.  We laughed and reminisced of our childhoods. In my mind’s eye, he is still the cool natured, curly toe headed beautiful boy we call Snoopy.  He said he still envisions me as a gymnast who didn’t know up from down always walking on my hands. We marveled at how the years have flown and now we are both parents to two young adults, a son and a daughter each who are embarking on their own futures and discovering their emerging talents.  We discussed staying in shape, the benefits of Merlot wine vs others with higher acidity, projects we were working on, and he gave me an education of the No Go Zone.

Both of our fathers told us, ‘You gotta go to know.’  We have lived by this message and taken it to heart.

Sweden, where QD3 was primarily raised is the largest country in Northern Europe. I shared that when I visited there, I found it clean, orderly and was surprised that it was a cashless country. I couldn’t even use cash to pay for a $2 cup of coffee.  In 2023, Sweden is proudly becoming the first cashless nation in the world.  So if you plan to visit, literally don’t leave home without your plastic.

But what was even more intriguing about our conversation was the under belly which exists in Sweden’s No Go Zones. I was sharing about our homeless crisis in Seattle and how prevalent it still is in Los Angeles.  We talked about the economic struggles that effect so many of our marginalized communities and the need to level the playing field.  I have worked, traveled and witnessed the suffering of people from Newark to Memphis, all eagerly trying to improve their circumstance.  However, I had no idea from my brief visit to Sweden that they had the same devastating issues facing our inner cities domestically until my cousin enlightened me.

When I think of Sweden, like many of you, I think of what it is known for- scenic beauty, sea sides, and the Northern Lights.

According to several surveys, Sweden is also one of the countries in Europe where the highest share of population experience problems with crime, violence and vandalism.  I learned that these areas often have a high concentration of people of foreign descent.  The police reject the media’s reports calling this the capital city of segregation, however,  after delving in and researching, I definitely  see there is much more to view than my brief visit.

O.K., so I called this post Cousin Confidential, but I think my cousin would agree, some stories need to be shared!  Thanks for the education and memorable evening.  No time, like family time xo

Family time in the 70’s that’s QD3 on his dad’s lap and me wishing I could get out of the Pilgrim attire (my mother made me wear) and back to tumbling.

 

 

Last week, I received a message from the founder of the Fontan Heart Organization in Germany, a non-profit voluntary association for children/affected persons born with only half a heart of which I am a member of. It had come to her attention that the father of a newborn–he is German, and his wife–of Japanese descent, were the new parents of an infant born with a complex heart disease. The mother, I’ll call her Niko, doesn’t speak German but does speak and understand some English.  Could I help them I was asked?  I immediately messaged the father who connected me with his wife.

“My baby is one week old,” Niko told me. “They want to do surgery tomorrow and I am afraid. I don’t really understand what is wrong with her and I don’t know if it is the right decision to do surgery, I don’t know what will happen in the future. I just want her to have a long and healthy life with us.”

I spoke with Niko for about 20 minutes, trying to get everything out of her about the baby’s condition that I could. I did my level best to assuage her fears;  the baby was in a leading German hospital–my son also had surgery there and the doctors would not say that the baby’s condition was critical and she needed surgery if she didn’t. I closed our conversation telling her that she had to BELIEVE that her baby would be fine, her fears were absolutely normal, that I would gather as much info as I could to help her understand the situation, and to get some rest if she could and try to stay calm and transfer that calmness to her baby because she will be able to sense it.

She thanked me over and over and over again and I told her over and over and over again that was not necessary. She and her husband then went into the chapel to pray.

The following day, she messaged me: “…our daughter’s operation is done but the surgeon was sick and different doctor did it (they didn’t even tell us before even we asked) and now they are saying they are not sure if she can survive tonight…

IMPORTANT NOTE: The surgeon scheduled to do the operation has done 3500 pediatric heart surgeries and the surgeon who actually carried out the surgery–400.

The baby had to be placed on an ECMO machine, used for patients with life-threatening, heart-related conditions; it acts like the heart and the lungs.

Niko tried to speak to the cardiologist whom she said was short-tempered and had no time to discuss the life-threatening situation her week-old baby was in. “Would you get this kind of treatment in Japan?” he spat at her. Now, I am a passionate person. I have stood knee-deep in Niko’s shoes having a critically ill baby, not understanding the language of the country I was in, and not having any friends or family around for support so the only thing I could possibly think was

how dare he?!

Clearly, this was not working for me. I told her to call his secretary and make an appointment for her to speak with him the following day. I would go with her. I canceled my appointments and that’s what I did. 

He hesitantly allowed me in on the meeting for which he said at the outset that he only had 30 minutes for. I kept checking the clock on the wall behind us. With about 10 minutes left, I interrupted Niko’s husband, who understandably so, was stumbling over asking questions and getting answers for which he could not possibly understand–which was taking up precious time. 

Lesson: When speaking with a doctor, have your questions written down with space in between for answers. You can study and research later if necessary.

I asked the cardiologist to tell me as briefly as possible what the situation was with the baby. I told him one of the deeply troubling problems was that a surgeon unfamiliar to the parents carried out the operation. One word led to another, and I had to remind myself to stay calm because the baby was still under the care of this clinic. A quote from my mother in my book, Incompatible with Nature came to mind: “You’ll get more with sugar than you will with shit,” she said. 

Sugar can bad for you and I honestly thought I would gag, but I had no choice.

Niko and I have been texting morning, noon, and night since. 

She has said that each time she asks someone a question she gets a different answer and doesn’t know “how I can save my baby.” 

I told her to WRITE down WHAT she asked WHOM and WHEN and to keep those notes which very well could be quite useful in the future. She said she will. 

Her husband has since told her to stop asking the staff so many questions because they are tired of her. As you can imagine, that’s not working for me either.

Saturday, one of Niko’s messages was: “Can you let me know if you have time for coffee next week? I want to talk with you again more and need power charge for next step.”

I’m just a message away I told her.

I will do everything within my power to help this young mother hold onto the rails and get across this bridge of fear, helplessness, and confusion. There is nothing I’d rather do.

It’s Monday. Whatever you’re doing for yourself or someone else give it your all. 

Make it rock!

Something of Your Toolbox

Something for Your Toolbox

Black in Blue Carmen Best: Lessons for All

On Sunday, September 19 at 11:39 AM I sent a text:

“Hey hot trotting Mama! I just preordered my copy.  Let’s discuss a book party.  I’d love to host you for my crew. xo Dana”

She responded:

“Dana, thank you so much! I would absolutely love it!

So, last Thursday, October 28, my living room was transformed into a meeting hall where vaccinated friends eagerly packed in to hear from the Best herself, Carmen Best read from Black in Blue; Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Racial Reconciliation.  University Book Store set up shop and we sold out of the 100 copies they had on hand.

As a life-long Seattle resident, I paid witness to the chaos that erupted in 2020.  I watched as our police precinct on 12th Avenue was under siege. The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest or the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), originally Free Capitol Hill and later the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

We waited in fear and distress as the graffiti, homeless crisis, and riots left long standing businesses  on the edge, some unfortunately did not withstand, and our  Mayor said, “Let’s make it a summer of love.” All the while,  people were murdered.  Large demographics called to defund the police, while crime continued to be on the rise. As evidenced by George Floyd’s murder, the police department needed evaluation and stronger accountability. But after Seattle City Council voted to reduce funds to this department, in Best own words, this “demoralized cops and fueled crime.”

As I read Carmen’s book, I am humbled by her poise, dedication, and commitment to survive and thrive under the most unpredictable crisis our city has known.  Carmen’s grace under fire can only be described as first lady Michelle Obama wrote, “When they go low, we go high.”

I hope you get out today and Rock that vote, so we can truly return to real Summer of Love! And in the meantime, read Black in Blue available wherever books are sold!

Black in Blue: Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers, and Racial Reconciliation: Best, Carmen: 9781400230617: Amazon.com: Books

Special thanks to all my friends who supported this launch!

With special gratitude to Leslie Coaston for the Veuve Clicquot, Linda Lowry for the designer cookies, and Bibi Restaurant for the delicious catering! And Carmen’s besties, Salisa Wood for flying in from Atlanta and Pat Hayes one of Carmen’s cherished mentors for being present.