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.
I’ve known far too many..
I can’t recall the first one… The horrific loss of a precious life taken by the deepest depths of despair and mental illness. We are human, and thus analytical beings, so we try to make sense of the surreal reality. GONE too soon.
A business partner of my then husband got way over his head in debt and when my brother in law found him, he had shot himself in the head. Another acquaintance chose the same route, although he ended his life in a hotel room in Vegas, after placing one final big bet that didn’t pay off.
A childhood friend found her husband having multiple affairs and she overdosed to kill the pain, leaving her two children motherless.
A friend’s successful husband who seemingly had the world at his fingertips, he was handsome, and charmed, but also lived in a darkness until one morning he decided he couldn’t battle the demons and took his life at home.
Being in the residential real estate business, I have witnessed a lethal gun shot by a college graduate unsure where her future was directed. There was a hanging by a young man too depressed to even leave his apartment to take out the trash. For one year, he was literally paralyzed by his fear and stayed in doors as his family fed his basic needs, while he morphed overweight and rot with despair.
There was my handsome high school friend who was molested for years and couldn’t drown the memory, so he ended his life.
My friends have lost their children, spouses, siblings, children have lost their parents. Sisters, Brothers, Friends- we are all affected by this tragedy called suicide.
In the wake of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, who can no longer be awaken, I hope we all WAKE UP and take a moment to understand – depression, and mental illness do not discriminate.
As a Menopausebarbee who has lost loved ones, been through divorce, and life’s hardships, I too have suffered with depression, anxiety and fear of what tomorrow holds. I keep this sign on my refrigerator given to me by a wonderful counselor:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Take a moment and listen… If you are in despair, please call the number below.
Suicide is a major national public health issue in the United States. In 2016, there were 44,965 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday
I simply love this picture of my sister and I embracing after running into each others arms from the opposite side of a bridge in Venice a couple weeks ago.
I just love it. I’m sharing this embrace in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight and you will in a moment see why.
After this hug, she, my future brother-in-law Eric and I strolled around the town for a while until we came upon a restaurant on the sea and decided to settle there for lunch and drinks.
Well, we’d been talking and marveling about any and everything and especially just being thrilled to be with each other when about midway through lunch Dani and I decided that nature was calling. We set off to find the restroom.
We find it after coming upon a room with a cross over the door (weren’t we in a restaurant or had we wondered into a church somewhere or was there a church in the restaurant? That’s the wonderful thing about traveling to different countries and cultures: you get the opportunity to be privy to the unexpected.)
So while we’re standing there underneath this cross, Dana tells me a story and then starts doing an Elvis imitation where he, at the end of his shows always said, “Thank you very much” as he left the stage during his performances and I mean, she had his voice, his movements, everything down and we were CRACKING UP! Crying!
We were still laughing so hard that after we’d finally found the toilet Dana couldn’t figure out how to flush it and I said don’t worry I got this for you. That’s a beautiful thing for me, knowing that I will always be her big sister and will take care of her anyway I can as long as I live-even if it means flushing the toilet.
Well, not being one to waste water, I urinated on top of hers and just the mere fact that our urines were swivelling down into the secrets of the Venice sewage canal together gave me peace–it’s one of those funny kind of things about sister love that you cannot explain. In my mind, we will always be together in Venice. When Dani came out of the bathroom she was still laughing so hard that an employee asked her if she was all right.
I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so hard in our lives together, ever!
Love, laughter and life. Three essentials to survival. They say that silence is golden. But the snuffing out of this sound of laughter rooted in love as families are being ripped apart from each other at border crossings is not one of them. And to do so in the name of the Bible is a sin in and of itself. It is unconscionable. It is unthinkable. It is unacceptable. I could not even imagine being ripped out of the arms of my loved one. Can you? Just think about it. I’m sure you can’t either. There are big brothers and sisters wondering about their little sisters and brothers, parents worrying about their children, cousins, friends, loved ones, period.
Please show your support for these families anyway you can. These are real people. Use your social media, speak with your neighbors and friends–do something, just please don’t do nothing.
Now is not the time to be silent. Now is not the time to laugh. 2000 children have been separated from their families within a 6 week time period and are being held in detention centers wondering where their families are and what will become of all of them. Everybody has the right to live, to laugh and to love. Do whatever you can, great or small, to bring a smile back to the faces of these families. Make some noise!
*DE Amazon link: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057
*DE Amazon link: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057
Yesterday we celebrated National Loving Day. I recently got engaged, and yesterday was yet another reminder that I never take for granted or forget what a privilege it is to have freedom of choice, and the road that was paved before me.
Love should always win!
National Loving Day is observed each year on June 12. National Loving Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia. This decision struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states citing “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.” Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage.
Childhood friends, Mildred and Richard, met when she was 11, and he was 17. Over the years they began courting and in 1958 when she turned 18, they married in Washington. They returned to their hometown north of Richmond and two weeks later, not realizing that interracial marriage was illegal, they were arrested. Mildred and Richard Loving pleaded guilty and to avoid jail time; they agreed to leave Virginia.
The Loving’s moved to Washington D.C. and started legal action writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case on to the American Civil Liberties Union. The Warren Court unanimously ruled in their favor, and the Loving’s returned to their Virginia home where they resided with their three children.
Eve Chats With God
“Lord, I have a problem.”
“What is it, Eve?”
“I know that you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, especially that hilarious snake, but I’m just not happy.”
“And why is that Eve?”
“Lord, I’m lonely, and I’m sick to death of apples.”
“Well Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you.”
” A Man? What is that Lord?”
“Someone bigger and faster than you , who will like to hunt and kill things for your food so you’ll be eating more than apples.”
“A flawed creature who will often lie, cheat and be vain, but I’ll create him in such a way that he will satisfy your loneliness and your physical needs.
” He won’t be as smart as you, but I’ll create him so he will sometimes take your advice to think properly.” ”
“And, he will often be witless and will revel in childish things like playing cards and knocking a ball about.”
“Sounds great,” says Eve, sarcastically.
“And there is a condition.”
“What’s that Lord? ”
“Since he’ll be proud, arrogant and self-admiring, you’ll have to let him believe that I made him first. …
And it will have to be our little secret; you know, woman to woman.”
*DE Amazon link: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057
Today, the Menopausebarbees celebrate our friend, Rob Angel
This is an ode to Rob
Who only has had ONE job
He crossed the boarder
And went from a student waiter taking your order
To co-creating Pictionary
And that’s when things got really merry!
He moved to the house on the Lake
Where many a girl’s heart he would break
Like Hefner he held court
Seafair parties, hosting charities, and trips to every Port
6 decades have been grand for this original Burning Man
He’s on fire
all the guys aspire
To be like Rob
It’s a tough job,
But somebody’s gotta do it! Double vodka soda, ask Rob, there’s nothing to it!
In Black or White…This Angels alright!
Love you Rob- here’s to 60 more!
I have been promising a detailed rewind of our recent sojourn through the Mediterranean. Although my memory and insights can not fully capture the details of this 8 day fantasy excursion, in the following blog post, I will do my best.
When we arrived on the Oceania Cruise line, I couldn’t help but hum the theme song to the Love Boat, all the while expecting Captain Stubing, Julie, Gopher, Doc and Isaac to welcome me aboard. Just like the popular television show, the 1250 passenger cruise line came equipped with a grand staircase, as well as modern day conveniences such as casino, movie theater, cooking classes, Canyon Ranch Spa, swimming pool, pickle ball court, ping pong table, library, multiple dining areas, and a office.
When we arrived at our suite, we were delighted to find A plus accommodations and of course our Stacy and Greg Lill supplied plenty of D2. The bathroom had a tub and a shower. The seating area contained a couch and a prime view deck with breathtaking views heading into each port.
On board, our crew took no time in getting comfortable. We took advantage of everything all inclusive, including unlimited cocktails, cooking class, deep tissue massage, singing along at the piano bar, hitting the blackjack table and even entertaining other passengers who were left to ask us to STOP in the name of LOVE!
Our land excursions were as follows:
Our land excursions included Positano Amalfi Coast, Catania, Argostoli, Montenegro, Split, Croatia, Slovenia and Venice.
We spent many days hiking hilltops, exploring churches, paper mills, museums, and history. We learned fascinating insights such as ties were originated in Croatia. In Kotor, Montenegro cats are sacred . One local shared they believe the felines saved the city by early warnings of an earthquake. I opted in to every church we walked by. Our Lady of Health in Kotor costs 8 Euros, but the hike and the fee was worth it.
A huge treat was my sister and co-blogger, Tracie who resides in Germany joining us in Venice.
After all, we all know Venice is for lovers…
and sisters! Buongiorno!
In memory of Anthony Boudain, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”
In honor of his birthday, I am retelling the story of the night he turned the city of Cologne chocolate!
How Sweet it Is!
So…about last Monday night.
This wasn’t just any ol’ Monday night in Cologne, Germany. It was THE Monday night–the sweetest Monday night of the year: the annual and this year twentieth anniversary of the “Lambertz Monday Night”.
The brainchild of Dr. Hermann Bühlbecker, this spectacular evening was indeed, a night to remember. Dr. Bühlbecker is the proprietor of the Lambertz Group established in 1688. Yes, 1688! With a staff of over 3500, Lambertz is the oldest chocolate factory in Germany and is the world market leader in seasonal and Christmas cookies and chocolates.
In Germany, they say that the “eyes eat too” and I can promise you that a visit to the Lambertz website and eyeing the vast array of delicacies they produce will have your mouth smiling and watering. For my English speaking friends the web address is http://www.lambertz.us.
Premium ingredients and traditional recipes have no doubt ensured that these chocolates, cakes, cookies and pralines, have made this company a leading producer of a treasure trove of sweet delights for hundreds of years. But the vision of Dr. Bühlbecker, who holds the Federal Cross of Merit of Germany, takes this art of couverture to a whole new level with…haute couture.
An array of people, maybe 700? 800? from politics, show business and the sports world gathered to meet and greet and see a spectacular show of 40 models dressed in chocolate outfits in an extravagant fashion show; there were dancers who danced! Singers who sang! (Shout out to girlfriend Pamela Falcon!) And magic filled the room when sorcerer Hans Klok took to the stage and magically made actress Pamela Anderson appear. Even the sultry burlesque dancer Dita von Teese and actress Andie MacDowell were spellbound. And the buffet stations with savory everythings and the drinks of your choice flowed all night without interruption–I left at two A.M. and the revelers were still revelling.
I’ve shared just a few pics here–but take a look at some of the amazing pictures my friends the photographer journalists Svetlana Schuster: Lambertz Monday Night 2018; Ali Rahn: https://www.facebook.com/topkoelncom/ and Paul Schuette from Koeln-Deluxe all shared on Facebook.
And while you do that, I’m going to indulge in a few coconuts chips, a couple cookies and just in case I chip a nail while eating I’ll mend it with the SOS kit for broken nails–just a few of the treats in the goody bag. And just in case I can’t resist further temptation, I’ll think about using the 3 month gift certificate for training at a McFit studio–also in the goody bag.
How sweet it is… We can have our cake and eat it too!
Einen Herzschlag entfernt DE Amazon link: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057
Incompatible with Nature A Mother’s Story
Buongiorno! Seeing that my sister and co-blogger, Tracie lives in Germany, I have been fortunate to visit her neighbor, the historical Capital city, Rome over the years. As old as it is, it never gets old to me. Rome’s history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The food, the people, the history, museums and monuments…
It’s always fascinating to hear stories and perspectives. One of our crew, Susan Kropp shared the history of cats that live in the Coliseum. There are estimated to be some 300,000 feral cats in Rome. The city council supports the cats as part of Rome’s ancient heritage. In 2001 the cats living in the Coliseum, the Forum and Torre Argentina were officially named part of the city’s “bio-heritage. Susan, who I affectionately call Bridget Bardot for her love of four legged “anything”, was not satisfied with the explanation that the cats were removed to a farm in the outer skirts of Italy. Thankfully, time did not permit our excursion to Feral Island.
While our crew split up, some spent time at Vatican City,touring the square at Piazza Navonna, The Trevi fountain and shopping near the Spanish Steps, there was truly something for everyone to devour.
Those that know me, know I call myself a cheap date- AKA – I am NOT a foodie. I’ve actually ceased eating red meat since the New Year, so my palate which most liken to a five year old is now sincerely limited. So, at a 5 Star restaurant in Rome, I glanced at the pre-fix options, and was immediately thankful that Italians love their bread and olive oil! I was even more grateful when a jelly jar of white fish arrived in front of each of us and we were instructed to take the raw egg and shake in the contents in the jar together. Perhaps, I am just a good Catholic girl, as the wine and bread were delicious that night!
Too much wine, too little time!
Buongiono! Until next time, Rome!
Well she was just 17 if you know what I mean… I cranked up Alexa and played this Beatles tune this morning, as I awoke my daughter, Taryn.
I used to sashay to that tune. Foot loose and fancy free literally.
But as my child turns 17 today, I’m reminded that music as life carries a whole new tune.
I marvel at Taryn’s tenacity, to march against gun violence, stand firm with the “Me Too” movement, put in countless community service hours at a school for underprivileged children and support Pink Bandanas the Guild she has been with since inception which had raised over 100k for childhood brain cancer. Daily she watches the insane tweets and social media platforms play out. She just says “NO” to drugs, alcohol, and now other legal substances. She “Just Does It,” as she works out and participates on swim team. She’s taking on leadership roles as upcoming president of the Black Student Union and as a peer mentor.
The song keeps resonating, but she is just 17…if you know what I mean as she lives in these chaotic times.
As Taryn studies preparing for her SAT and the competitive college applications, most nights when I am fast asleep and the house is quiet, I am confident that although she is just 17… she will march on making moments matter out of madness.
Last year, Taryn lost her father suddenly and unexpectedly.
Each day she strives to honor his memory and make him proud. Every day, she makes me proud.
She is just 17.. and to borrow from another song, “She’s beautiful and she’s mine.”
Happy Birthday, Taryn!