... 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.

Take It Easy in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

Happy Monday everybody.

You know, I normally don’t suffer jet-lag, but yesterday when my mom and sister and co-blogger Dana announced they were going grocery shopping, I just couldn’t get the wherewithal together to go. I just wanted to stay in my pajamas in bed and that’s what I did.

Good thing.

Mom and Dana said the store was packed with hurried and harried shoppers. It’s that hustle-bustle time of year. and I know it’s a part of the deal, but it does have the tendency and capability to stifle the true meaning of what the holiday season should be about.

This conversation with my two favorite girls in the world, gave me pause and I realised I had the perfect blog for this menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight. The idea stems from a picture an acquaintance I recently made in Egypt sent to me. His name is Omar. Omar sent me a picture of his uncle and his form of desert transportation.

A picture speaks a thousand words and in looking at this picture, I hope you will clearly interpret my message shining in the Spotlight today: Take It Easy. You’ll get it done by noon or 5 P.M. or whenever.

And just think–it’s only Monday, we have the whole week ahead of us. We don’t have to dilly-dally or lallygag, just unbend and breathe. Un-overwhelm ourselves. Get on our mental camels and ride.

We’ve got this.


Tough Times Never Last… Tough People Do!

It’s the first day of the last month of the year. Sweet 2016 is officially coming to an end. For many it was truly succulent, and the past 11 months you have feasted with gratitude. Perhaps you got married, had a new addition to the family, your business flourished, or as my sister and co-blogger did completed and published a book! To you all, we say congrats and continued prosperity!

However, for many near and dear to us ’16 wasn’t so sweet. We’ve lost loved ones, faced health challenges, relationship and financial woes. Today, we want you to remember this: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Robert H. Schuller.

O.K. admittedly I’m biased, but after completing my sister’s book, I would be remiss not to encourage all to read it. The reviews are fantastic! Looking for the perfect holiday gift- a read everyone on your list will enjoy!

Order your copies today on

World, It’s My Baby’s Birthday and Here’s His Gift to You

It’s my son’s birthday!

My kid.

My greatest achievement.

My pride and joy.

Mouse, I love you. That’s a noun, verb and everything in between.

These are the thoughts he shared with me for our recently published book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story.

His gift today for you.





Giving Thanks

It was a feast in the truest sense of the word.

Last Thursday, families and volunteers celebrated Thanksgiving in the Ronald McDonald Haus here in Cologne. Acquaintances were warmly greeted, new friends were made and by the time the evening was finished, hugs were passed around along with the dessert.

I was on the committee to prepare the vegetable cream soup with a base that consisted of parsnips, carrots, parsley roots, rutabaga, beets and leeks. The colors of this beautiful bounty was reason alone to give thanks.

Rounding out the meal was a mixed salad accompanied by a choice of honey or chive dressing; Asian pumpkin spears, sliced French bread with chive butter and Zwiebelschmalz; Serviettenknödel with Kürbis, red cabbage and Brüssels sprouts. There was an actual oh my goodness sigh from the guests when it was announced that goose as well as beef Roulade would also be served. And then, in case anyone still had room after this feast–as well as wine and soft drinks–coffee and brownies and chocolate chip cookies were available.

A feast indeed. All prepared by us volunteers with tender loving care to provide the families with children lying in the clinic a repose from the stress of their day. Because there is nothing like making someone smile, making someone else happy.


And to make a great evening even better, fresh vegetables and fruits that decorated the dining tables were ‘sold’ and raised €1100.00 which will go towards future meals.

So proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.

Giving Thanks. Once again.






Santa Clause What’s That? Who’s He?

They say as we grow older, time flies. Yesterday at our Thanksgiving feast, as I looked at my two children, I felt as if my life was on the fast forward button. When Brett arrived from his flight from Chicago, we sat around the kitchen table and reminisced looking at old photographs. I cherish our hard copy photos. Birthdays, Daycare memories at Nan Stephens, Travels, summer fun, Halloween costumes over the years, Easter Bunny and egg hunts and of course Christmas!



Thankful. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my job, my most important purpose as parent has paid off. I’m also cognizant of the fact that through the help and guidance of my mom, my father’s teachings and legacy, my sister, my aunts and uncles, my children’s father, friends, Kumon, Ms. Jeanne Reading before School programs, and their education, Sports, Coaches, and and and… it truly has been a village to raise them. Again, I am THANKFUL.

By the same token, I believe we must be the Village for ALL children. One of our favorite plays was Annie. When my kids were young, we owned every version with Carol Burnett, to Bernadette Peters. We knew every song by heart and loved the jingle, but the words truly bite:
Empty belly life!
Rotten smelly life!
Full of sorrow life!
No tomorrow life!


Santa Claus we never see


Santa Claus, what’s that?
Who’s he?

On December 12, I along with Dani Ackerely are hosting our annual Treehouse For Foster Children Shop for a Cause at Canopy Blue!

Please bring an unwrapped gift for any child in Foster care. A toy, a sweater, a doll, a tonka truck… Aside from meeting some of Seattle’s finest designers and getting discounted stocking stuffers for everyone on you shopping list, you can just join in the spirit with your gift and know that at least one child won’t be singing,
Santa Clause we never see!

December 12, 5 pm Canopy Blue 3121 East Madison Street Seattle, WA


The Fabric of Our Lives

His name is Farid.

He sells everything under the desert sun in a relatively large store in Hurghada, Egypt.

I didn’t plan to buy this table cloth. I didn’t plan on walking into his shop. It was 10,000 degrees outside, I was sweating, in a hurry and my stay was unfortunately quite limited in the city. There was so much that I wanted to see on this splendid afternoon in Hurgahda, I just didn’t have time to stop inside every shop the merchants all tried to lure me into.

Farid spotted me before I spotted him. He, like the others, stepped outside his store and beckoned me in. For some reason I couldn’t say no. Even though I had been accosted by every shopkeeper along the street, there was something about Fahrid and his store that beckoned me inside.

And in between his showing me EVERYTHING he had for sale, I saw the table covering. It’s woven cloth tells an ancient story; a story which somehow connected me to this Egyptian man and his forbearers and mine. The shared history that we, as mankind, despite all of our differences share–simply because we are all human.

So this little piece of Hurghada and Farid rests on my dining room table now. And every time I glance at or simply walk over and stare at it, I think of a section in my recently released book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story. It’s in the chapter entitled, ‘In a Tizzy’ and recalls the first time I took my son home to meet our family:

This was a memorable moment, underlined. It signified a salutation to “ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out” and to “gettin’ up and gettin’ on it” and to guts and grit and survival, all the stuff Daddy’s grandmama had taught him and what her forbearers had chiseled into her and how with single-minded intent, no matter how frayed his edges, he’d done his best to bequeath unto me bits and pieces of that inherited quilt, providing me with a pattern to weave my way amongst life’s silk and bristle…

Fabric. Sometimes it’s so much more than material.

Here to life!



When I poll my friends and family, without fail, the majority list Thanksgiving as their favorite holiday. I believe it’s more than just a time to “consider it a blessin’ you are here to eat the dressin’. Take a moment and reflect on all you have to be thankful for. First off, you woke up! Today, I want us all to take a moment and just be in gratitude for all our blessings. Particularly those blessings that don’t cost you a thing. The love of true friendship. A brisk walk. The feel of the sun or the sound of a rain storm. Listening to your favorite song. A tantalizing read. The exhilaration after a workout or any job well done. A movie that you can relate to. Savoring a glass of your favorite vino. Laughter with those you love. Raising amazing children. Dreams and keeping them alive. A card, email or text from a special someone. Community service and bringing a smile to those in need. Health, family, and keeping hope alive for the betterment of our future.

The Menopausebarbees are especially thankful for the outpouring of love and support with the release of my sister, Tracie’s book, Incompatible with Nature- A Mother’s Story. As my sister so poignantly states, “life is full of disappointments and none of us is immune. The improbable seems a lifetime away, but the truth is that we win some, we lose some, and sometimes we lose a lot. We struggles daily to navigate existence and regardless of the magnitude of our challenges, we seek inspirational stories of faith and hope, especially when courage is tested. There is no greater gift to share all year round than the gift of love.”

So with Love and Thanksgiving

Now get ready to Gobble til Ya Wobble! Happy Thanksgiving!


Something for Your Toolbox


It All Began with a Pen

I’ve been receiving such wonderful reviews and comments on my book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story and from the bottom of my heart, from the very bottom, I thank you all for that.

You know, I didn’t plan to write this powerful book with all its elements of love, adventure and drama. It actually all began as I started taking notes to help me remember everything that was happening with my son after his diagnosis. As you might know, I was a foreigner in a country where I knew no one aside from my son’s father; neither could I speak the language.

One day it dawned on me that it was so extraordinary what I was dealing with and that it required such strength and diligence on my part, that I realized that I should write it all down and share it and by so doing, perhaps help someone else face and climb their own mountain of adversity.

And so this is another dream that has come true for me. Since the publication of my book, so many people have reached out to me seeking support with my thoughts on their battles which THRILLS me because there is nothing more powerful than having an impact on someone’s life; of being able to move someone emotionally, to inspire them to keep moving forward to reach the wonder that is waiting for them in their life.

Life is full of disappointments and none of us is immune. The improbable seems a lifetime away, but the truth is that we win some, we lose some, and sometimes we lose a lot. We struggle daily to navigate existence and regardless of the magnitude of our challenges, we seek inspirational stories of faith and hope, especially when courage is tested.
And here is mine for you.

Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit. My fight with adversity is a tale that will give hope and encouragement to anyone facing any battle not of  their own choosing.
If you read my story and are inspired to draw upon the love, the passion and the will to fight one more day to save a child’s life, or even your own, then I believe I will have helped to change the world for the better. I can’t think of anything more rewarding.
It’s Wednesday. Feel good.

Here’s to life.


Life… It’s A Beach or A B—-h… But The Sun Will Still Rise

My Situational Tourette Syndrome improved after last week’s election result when my guy asked me to join him in Miami Beach.
I was surrounded by pure luxury at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It was a blazing 90 degree day, as palm trees danced in the picturesque backdrop of an infinity pool looking out on the Biscayne Bay.
My sentiment went as the saying goes, “Why couldn’t America think like me, so we could all be right?”
But, I am one of those people who truly believes, when life serves you lemons, and it WILL, you gotta find a way to make lemon aid.

As I was contemplating how terribly much sugar I needed to add, to the bitter taste of my loss, I resorted to people watching. I wondered amongst those who sun bathed beside me, who voted blue and who voted red. The election results so clearly and consciously divided our country. My personal poll when engaging mere strangers was proof of this divide and people were adamant in their stance. As daddy would say, it’s either black or white, sometimes, there just ain’t no gray area.

I discovered the dark area, or as for today’s post reference, Life is a Bitch side after we left our confines of 5 stars and hit the streets. Miami Beach is a very diverse place. It is estimated that there are at least 150 ethnicities as well as over 60 different languages spoken there. While I reveled in the cultural diversity, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the hardships. We visited a family run cigar shop and watched the painstaking process of a man ripping tobacco leaves for hours on end. Across the street, live music played from the Ball and Chain, a restaurant that had only opened 2 years ago after a 60 year closure due to the poor economy. We joined the locals at a domino’s park where for years men and now a few women meet for daily games. The poverty was palpable, as we strolled Miami Beach and saw several homeless men and women perched on sidewalks, sleeping sound and apparently oblivious to the melting pot of locals and tourist that walked by. There are more than 800 buildings that feature Art Deco Architecture in Miami Beach. This makes it the largest collection of this type of architecture in the entire world.
Miami contains the largest cruise ship port in the entire world. Many cruise ships go in and out of this port on a daily basis. Miami Beach is a very diverse place.

On our return from our excursion, while on the freeway, rushing back to the “less diverse” side of life, our UBER was stopped in deadlock traffic. We elected to walk rather than wait out what would most likely be a several hour detain. To our surprise, we found ourselves in the midst of an anti-Trump protest. The chants grew stronger and louder, “NO Trump! No KKK, No Racist USA!

I realize that sometimes life just deals us a crappy hand. For some, just the daily process of navigating food and shelter are the focus. But for those of us that have a choice and a voice, make life a beach, not a bitch and carry on!

I’ll leave you with President Obama’s message on the eve of this historical election. “Whether your chosen candidates win or lose tonight, let’s all agree , not only to stay engaged, but push ourselves to do even better,” he said. In closing, he added, “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.”