- ... the tales of two sisters
... 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

This Will Put You in the Spirit

This past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday and at MoPop’s Founder’s Award, the tribute artists GAVE IT UP! This year, we honored Seattle hometown girl, Brandi Carlile. She was the most nominated woman at the 61st annual Grammy Awards and a three time Grammy Award winner.. Watching the tribute artists which included Dave Matthews, The Indigo Girls and Tanya Tucker, Mike McCready, Ruby Amanfu, and Beth Ditto, it was evident the nominations and awards were rightly deserved.

Brandi Carlile dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, teaching herself piano and guitar. Her debut major label album was released to critical acclaim. Her 2007 single, The Story was awarded gold status in 2017 having sold more than 500,000 copies to date.

As a MoPop Board member, I was thrilled to watch our young musicians from the Residency Program and hear how our programs helped shape Brandi Carlile’s foundation and future as a musician. Although at this writing, numbers are still being calculated, we raised the most money ever to keep these vital programs going!

As always, auctioneer extraordinaire, Fred Northup kept the crowd in stitches. Bravo to Founder’s Chair, Leslie Chihuly- yes, girl, we finally went Country in such a grand way!

Daddy’s Consolation

It’s here! Holiday shopping time! 

Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Free shipping! Online specials! Online brochures! 75% off for 24 hours only! Scoop up big ticket items! Available now! Get it while it lasts! Best deal! Last chance sales! Doorbuster sales! Discount sales! Shop early and often!

Huh? Shop early and often???

Shopping mania. Before we know it, we’ve shopped until we–or our wallets–have dropped and it can be mighty difficult to get up after the fall. So, if you find yourself in a financial pinch after the frenzy, let me share with you another Daddy Quote. The man lives on.

For those of you who know this menopausebarbee or have read my book, you are familiar with a couple of my favorite daddy quotes: “Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.” © and “You got to get up and get on it!” © 

You also know that I began working in the family business when I was nine years old cleaning apartments, vacuuming hallways and picking up dog poop and cigarette butts out of the yards. 

By the time I graduated from college, my status had elevated to working full time in the office. The list of work I did is much too long to list here; let’s just say that I opened the office at 7:30 in the morning, made sure the crew had their equipment and list of to dos and were out of the office by 8 because by 8:30, as Daddy would say, “The day is half over!!”

A portion of my office responsibility was paying bills. Better said: robbing Peter to pay Paul. Every. Damn. Day. The bills just wouldn’t stop and Daddy would buy another building or buy another truck, or overspend on remodelling…

It warms my heart as I write this, remembering how he would drive down the hill and walk into the office and sit down next to me–a grin on his face and a mountain of bills in front of me. Our conversation would more often than not sound like this:

“Daddy, can you please explain to me why you ordered all these supplies from Welch’s hardware store?”

“Baby,” he would say, “we needed the stuff. Got to keep the program rollin’.”

“And just how do you expect me to pay these bills?”

“Baby, just get more money.”

“Just get more money??? Just where do you expect me to get it from? We owe everybody and their mother!!”

To this he would say–and here is your Daddy Consolation in case you have fallen down and are trying to get back on your financial feet:

“Baby, don’t worry about it. As long as we owe ‘em, they’ll never be broke.”©

It’s  ridiculous, but true actually. 

Something to keep in my mind in case you’re frazzled from your shopping frenzy. 

Happy hump day everybody!

With my parents college graduation day.

Christmas Cliché

My kids say I live by cliché’s. The definition of cliché is source site a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Well, truth be told, I admit I do use cliché’s a lot as often times, they are the simplest concepts to comprehend.

So today’s cliche is Live to Give. It’s Giving Tuesday and I want you to take a moment and reflect on the last time you have truly done something for someone who cannot repay you. I’m not talking about a family member, friend or loved one. I mean someone you might not know. Someone who may never know they are the recipient of your kindness. It might be giving by financial means, your time, a meal, or gesture- whatever it is, today is the day we are reminded to GIVE

As many of our readers know, children in Foster care are near to my heart. I believe children did not ask to come here and for those whose parents abandon their obligations for whatever the circumstance should not be neglected. I once heard, ‘Children are not a deck of cards, and therefore they should not be shuffled around.’ Janis Avery, CEO of Treehouse taught me years ago that we can help kids in the system by giving them a better hand than the shuffled cards they were dealt.

I’m thrilled to share I am turning in a bounty of gifts today which I have gathered from my generous tribe for local children at Treehouse for Foster Kids. We have collected dolls, toys, my sister, Patti Savoy invested $500 in coats to keep their little bodies warm and generous checks such as Kimberly Carney owner of FashWire (awesome fashions in Magnolia) who sent $250. So whether it was $5 or $500 I called and my community answered. Together, we are making a difference! Come Christmas morning, the thrill we all know from opening packages will be alive in these deserving children’s hearts!

So today, I know there are many organizations vying for your giving. Bottom line…pick one and just give. Another cliché I taught my own kids is that you can never receive with a clinched fist. So in cliché form, I will leave you with this, ‘There is no time like the present.’

Breaking News! Aktuelle Nachrichten!

My son, Marc, is 35 years old today and that makes him officially older than me! And it’s a good day!

In his honor, I am sharing his golden rules for staying strong, taken from my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story.

Mein Sohn Marc ist heute 35 Jahre alt und das macht ihn offiziell älter als mich!
Und es ist ein guter Tag!

Zu seinen Ehren teile ich seine goldenen Regeln, um stark zu bleiben, entnommen aus meinem Buch Einen Herzschlag entfernt.

1) Believe in God.

2)  Trust your inner gut – you know your body, soul

and spirit the best.

3) Have a positive mindset – this helps the body to recover quicker.

4) It seems as if people have lost sight of whatreally matters. Be grateful for your life. Stop looking at what you don’t have and start being thankful for what you do have.

5) Have a dream or a goal and stick to it. Everyone must have a dream, no matter how impossible it may seem to reach.

6) Cherish your life, really cherish it.

7) Time and life are precious. Nobody knows how much of it we have left, therefore we must make life worth living.

8) Live in such a way, so that at the end you can talk about all the things you DID instead of about all the things you MISSED out on.”D

1) Glaube an Gott.

2) Vertraue deinem Bauchgefühl – du kennst deinen Körper, deine Seele und deinen Geist am besten.

3) Denk positiv – das hilft deinem Körper, sich schneller zu erholen.

4) Mir kommt’s so vor, als hätten die Menschen vergessen, was im Leben wirklich zählt. Sei dankbar für dein Leben. Hör auf, nach dem zu schielen, was du nicht hast, und fang an, dankbar für das zu sein, was du hast.

5) Hab einen Traum oder ein Ziel und bleib dran. Jeder braucht einen Traum im Leben, egal wie unerreichbar dieser Traum auch scheinen mag.

6) Schätze dein Leben. Schätze es wirklich.

7) Die Zeit und das Leben sind wertvolle Ressourcen. Niemand weiß, wie viel er davon noch übrig hat. Deshalb müssen wir das Leben lebenswert machen.

8) Lebe so, dass du am Ende über all die Dinge reden kannst, die du getan hast, und nicht über die, die du verpasst hast.

And one more thing everybody: Look to each day for the goodness it brings,

for living life is believing in all things…

Und noch eine Sache für alle: Achte jeden Tag auf die Güte, die es bringt,

denn das Leben zu leben bedeutet, an alle Dinge zu glauben…


Something for Your Toolbox

Something for Your Toolbox

A Woman of Courage

I’ll preface this post with three quotes from the menopausebarbee dad. Words that live on to this very day. My favorite and the motto of my book and my life is: 

“Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out!” 

Another is: “You got to get up and get on it!” (just in case you thought about sleeping in until 8:00 on a Saturday or Sunday morning if a rental unit had to be cleaned). 

And another of my favorites: “A sucker ain’t got no heart might as well be dead!”

Well there you have it. Daddy’s words to live by. 

Now let’s get to the woman of courage referenced in the title of this post. I’m NOT talking politics here–I’m talking character and I’m talking about the character of former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie (Masha) Yovanovitch. 

This woman’s extraordinary record speaks for itself. Her accolades and awards include her receiving the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award purchase Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium six times (!) and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award purchase Capture One Pro 12 five times (!) as well as the Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award. She was further promoted to the rank of Career Minister in 2016. She has a stellar 33 year career that has never had the slightest suggestion of impropriety.

This decorated foreign service officer with over three decades of experience has served throughout six presidential administrations (four Republican presidents and two Democrat). You do not get these distinctions by sleeping in and hoping for the best because–after all–tomorrow is a new day. 

No, “You got to get up and get on it!”

 And you don’t become accomplished by not having the determination and the grit and the drive and the will to succeed–despite often times being the only woman at the table. I don’t need to point out that the State Department has throughout history been a male WASP establishment. 

Nope. She had to make her way because failure did (does) not fit into the equation of her life and to reach her goals she knew (knows) that it “Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.”

And I am loving this about Ms. Y: She put on her gold loop earrings, clasped a gold necklace around her neck, attired herself in a suit with a US flag brooch on the lapel, and draped an oversized silken Hermès scarf designed by Joachim Metz around her neck and got ready for action–again. And if you look carefully, you can see the gold military references in her scarf design. In the center of the red border, there are eagles and crowns and references to sabers. But it’s not a violent representation–it is rather, a declaration of military might, of a willingness to fight for one’s honor and the importance of respected traditions. On point!

And DESPITE being threatened and under attack, Ms. Y complied with a House subpoena in defiance of the White House – the first current administration official to do so to speak to House impeachment investigators. Yes she did; she took that stand, raised her hand and spoke her truth. 

Ms. Y didn’t waver. She didn’t cry. She faced them all head on. “A sucker ain’t got no heart might as well be dead.”

I have the utmost respect for strong, independent, fearless women. And men.

And this is what I say to my audiences and to my clients I console and support in my Talk with Tracie sessions. And I mean this from the bottom of my heart: 

To achieve our highest potential in life, sometimes we have to be fighters. We have to be driven. We have to push and understand that character is developed in difficult times. Life is too short and too valuable to be nonchalant. Whether we are fighting for life, for justice or for peace of mind, we can not avoid tough challenges. Everything is at stake.

I am sure Ms. Yovonovitsch would agree.

Sometimes we just have to have big balls everybody because #sizematters


Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

How The Rent Stole Christmas

It’s that time of year again, where many tenants turn into Houdini and make the rent check disappear. As we approach December, without fail, the most outrageous circumstance leave residents with a condition called “Fundus Minimus”.

So when my son, Brett sent me this cartoon, How the Rent Stole Christmas, it was a sign for me to share one of my favorite Daddy the Landlord tales.

Daddy, hailed from the school of hard knocks in Detroit, and he was not a traditional landlord in any sense. He had heard of every trick and every game in the book. On too many mornings to count, my siblings and I arose to Daddy turning deadbeat tenants into maintenance crew as painters, carpenters, and cleaners to work off the rent. I even received tennis lessons from a pro. But in December, do to Daddy’s expected rent being spent on the holidays, the “extra” staff supply often over met the demand.

However, Daddy refused to let someone suck up his heat, utilities, and occupy his property all the while the mortgage and taxes had to still be paid! One resident, we will call him Mr. Johnson, was notorious for being delinquent, and December was certainly not an exception. So on the very week of Christmas, with the rent three weeks past due, and Mr. Johnson doing his best Houdini, Daddy showed up with one of his “carpenters” at his centrally located home. It was a typical rainy Seattle morning at the wee hour of 4 AM, when Daddy instructed his crew to removed the front door and put it in the back of his Diesel truck.

By the time Daddy arrived back at our home office, the phone was ringing off the hook. Mr. Johnson was on the line screaming, “My front door is missing!” Daddy swiveled in his chair and chuckled, ” What your door is missing? Ain’t that a coincidence. So is your rent!”

And that my friends is how the Rent Stole Christmas!

Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence

Don’t you just love a good story about us people doing something good for someone else simply because it is the right thing to do? 

Well, I do too, I really do, so let me tell you about the SISTERS OF THE PERPETUAL INDULGENCE.

Here’s what happened.

Mingling in the crowd at the Artists Against AIDS Gala in Berlin this past Monday evening, I looked up to see the most interesting “nuns” I have ever seen in my life. I had to talk to them, find out their “gumbo” as Uncle Q would say. I needed to know who they were, what they did and the meaning underlying the extravagant makeup and clothing they were wearing. The friendliest group, and because I’m nosey and curious about the world, I fell easily fell into conversation with them, particulary with Sister Rosemary Chicken and Sister Daphne Maria Ospi who manages the Berlin Order.  

Sister Rosemary Chicken had just arrived from San Francisco. He had decided to make Berlin his home. We fell into deep conversation about San Francisco, his  hometown. He shared with me that the housing crisis in San Francisco’s Bay Area is a major, major problem as affordable housing has dwindled, thanks to the mass of tech companies and well-paid workers pushing out low-income and middle-class workers. Seattle are you hearing me? They even have put into effect a law that the rent for teachers has a limit because they are all leaving town as they can’t afford the escalating rent. There is a big fear that there will no educators around to teach the kids of the wealthy taking over the city. Wow. That’s another story.


Established in 1979, they are “an international order of sisters of the 21st century, consecrated to the proclamation of universal joy and the eradication of internalized feelings of guilt. “Our ministry is based on public presentation and everlasting detachment. Stop the guilt!”

They believe in the freedom of expression_which I just love. “There can and should be only a few restrictions or regulations regarding our artistic creativity… Now, although rare, all novices and sisters are obliged to wear traditional costumes at large S.P.I. events or on certain important occasions. The traditional S.P.I. costume, however, can be created with buttons, jewellery and make-up in the individual taste of the novices and sisters. Most of the time we can all wear the costume we find the most suitable for us. We attach great importance to the fact that all novices and sisters can fully realize their outward appearance as long as the traditional S.P.I. characteristics of the white make-up and the Sister’s veil or the Sister’s cap are included in the costume on important occasions.” The white-primed face symbolizes death in relation to the AIDS epidemic, but life and joy are set against it by the individual and colorful accents. Creativity outside of the box. 

The S.P.I. are open for people of all sexes, young and old, rich and poor, gay and lesbian, hetero- and bisexual, as well as beyond the traditional gender identifications of androgyny. “Every person is an individual and every situation is unique. That is life,” they say. In other words: Everybody is welcome.”

 But–they do have a long admission process and it is totally understandable:  some people come to join with a motivation that is incompatible with their order rule: namely egoism (“I want to be a star”) and partying verses having the real and fundamental interest in their philosophy, and having no ability to work and lacking the interest to collaborate with people. Rules are guidelines. Amen to that one. 

There are SISTERS OF THE PERPETUAL INDULGENCE groups on 4 continents: Europe, North America, South America and Australia; a world-wide phenomenon. And for all my Seattle peeps, we have an organisation in Seattle: The Abbey of St. Joan, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization comprised of men and women dedicated to the support, education, and development of the community. “Over the years, we have grown, but our mission has remained unchanged. We continue to educate the public on safer sex issues, we fight for queer rights and visibility, we address women’s issues and the needs of homeless youth, and support other community organizations that share our vision.

We are often asked, “Why are you mocking nuns?” Well, we ARE nuns, silly! We recognize what “women of the cloth” have done over the centuries. They raise money for the needy, we raise money for the needy. They tend to the sick, we tend to the sick. They build their communities, we build our community. They have taken vows of celibacy, we… we have raised money for the needy. We are nuns for the 21st Century!”

Currently there are about 2000 Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence worldwide who are dedicated to serving the community, spreading joy and awareness, and especially to the fight against AIDS – and of course all other sexually transmitted diseases. Over the years, the international sisterhood has collected millions of US dollars for HIV and AIDS projects worldwide, and they have seen to it that tons of informational brochures and an indeterminate amount of condoms and other safe sex items have been distributed to men and women.

This, my friends is a good story and I hope I have introduced you to something you did not know before. Remember that December 1, 2019 is World Aids Day. 

Let us not hate–let us celebrate…LIFE.

Peaceful weekend.

Sister Daphne Maria Ospi to my left and Sister Rosemary Chicken to my right

Sister Ospi’s pins– there is even one from the Seattle organisation.

Let us not hate–let us celebrate…LIFE.

Peaceful weekend.