... 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

“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.”





Music Memory Lane…


Think about your earliest music memories.  Was it  sitting on bended knees in a group circle shaking a tambourine while your neighbor to your left beat a triangle and the one to your right saturated a flute?  The ringing, clink, clank, tweet- you felt the rhythm.

My daddy was a talented musician, and I can vividly recall riding in the backseat of his car with Les McCann blaring on the 8 track and the album, Swiss Movement  with the hit, Compared to What.  Still to this day, that funky beat takes me back and makes me feel good.  Also at the tender age of 5, I could sing along,  G’ dammit! and not get any repercussions.

Music is a tonic and it feeds the soul.  Last week, I shared about our dear family friend, piano prodigy, Emily Bear who can literally make a piano talk.  All children should be exposed to the wonders of music and that is why I am pleased to share today,

First Note and The Bridges Benefit Gala

Please join my friend, Rourke O’Brien and support the arts with this extremely enjoyable evening of talent and music tribute.

While your ordering tickets,  let’s take a listen down memory lane….

Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

Yesterday, (April 23, 2017), was world book day and I am honored to be a contributor to this world with my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story, the inspirational drama of my personal challenge of surviving overwhelming adversity in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language and knew no one.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t intend on writing this book. It evolved from the notes that I took during a time in my life when I realized that my ‘norm’ was not normal. It slowly dawned on me that if I, just an ordinary girl, could survive the extraordinary circumstances happening around me, then it was my responsibility to share this story with others. To help someone else get through a sticking point in his or her life; to find a way to heal their pain and find the stamina to face their own struggle.

We all need stories of inspiration because oftentimes the gist of survival is simply coping. We live for inspiration. People love reading about other people’s problems in order to put their own problems in perspective. We struggle daily to navigate existence and regardless of the magnitude of our problems, we seek inspirational stories of faith and hope, especially where courage is tested. Join me on my journey inside another culture. Become acquainted with the simple life affirmations that got me through the toughest times and apply them to your own life.

The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

Life is an unexpected journey from which we learn, grow, and are shaped from our experiences and their lessons. Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story will tap into a part of your humanity. It will inspire and confirm for you that we might indeed be ordinary people, but we can do extraordinary things.
Available in the German language October 2017

incompatible with nature front only

Mama Bear

Being a parent when done properly, is truly the most self-less act. I recall as a young mother, my son’s best friend and his mom would spend an hour nightly reading and then Ann would devote 2 more hours to each of her other two offspring. I felt guilty as I snuggled under my covers willing my child to sleep. However, as parents, hopefully at the end of the day, we can all say, we do the best we can do. Be it exposure to sports, music, art, charity and the value of hard work, and being your child’s advocate, it’s our most important job.

I had the extreme pleasure of catching up this week with a mom who demonstrates the rewards of successful parenting on so many levels. I marvel at her commitment, brilliance, patience, and dedication to raising three remarkable human beings. I always joke that like Forrest Gump said, “Kids are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Truth be told, some are nutty, some are sweet, some are hardened, and some are salty, but with the art of dedicated parenting, I see, as my friend has proven, you can create a box of the finest.

Today, I’m talking about my inspirational friend and Mama Bear, Andrea Langs Bear who along with her husband, Brian has raised three amazing teen-agers including, piano extraordinaire, Emily Bear.  (Check out early footage on Emily Bear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.)

Over a private piano jam session in our home, I asked Andrea to share with me some tips on how she has accomplished so much more than her Facebook description – Busy mom, new puppy, 3 kids, lots of music, rowing and skating.  She said it simply – follow through and mean what you say.  Every action has a consequence. I’m grateful my son now living in Chicago spends quality time and gets the Bear family values.

I say, hard work, really does pay off!  Not only am I a fan of Emily and her talent- I’m a fan of her mama- Mama Bear – thanks for the lessons!
So, for all you parents, when you get weary treat yourself

emily and taryn
My daughter Taryn hanging with her friend, piano prodigy Emily Bear


andrea bear

Andrea Langs Bear far left next to our mom where she orchestrated and hosted my sister, Tracie’s book, Incompatible with Nature, in Rockford, Illinois at the Go Red and American Heart Association.

Playing by the Rules

Usually we menopausebarbees reserve our menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight for
outstanding people, places, somethings and sentiments for Mondays. But today, I’m making an exception because I just read the news yesterday.

She is a designer.

Her philanthropic endeavours are far reaching and highly lauded.

Aside from that, this woman became the world No. 1 female tennis for the first time on July 8, 2002, and achieved this ranking for the seventh time on January 30, 2017. Some render her to be the greatest female tennis player of all time.

She is powerful. Forceful. Courageous. Unapologetic about how she plays by the rules.

And she won her record 23 Gram Slam while pregnant!!! What??? No tiredness, extreme fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting here! She knows the true meaning of the menopausebarbee father’s refrain, which I repeat time and again in my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story: “You got to get up and get on it!”

Serena Williams is just brillant and beautiful in the menopausebarbee Spotlight! We congratulate her and her fiancé, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.

On point!


What’s the Most Fun You Can Have?


Easter Sunday, as I was riding the scenic aerial Tram ride up to 11,000-foot to the summit of Snowbird in Utah, I felt God’s grace and embraced the beauty, serenity and wonderment around me. The 10 minute trip (along a 1.6 mile cable and up 2,900 vertical feet) provides views of snow-capped slopes, Alta and the Salt Lake Valley.


Heading down the slopes, feeling the cool air pound across my face, gaining momentum and a comfortable rhythm, I thought of the sign I had just seen in the lodge and agreed…

skiing fun

But for now… Bye Bye winter… this girl is ready to trade in her ski boots for flip flops! Happy Spring.

Something for Your Toolbox

In keeping with the celebration of Easter, here is Something for Your Toolbox today.


Symbolic Service

It’s Holy Thursday, generally recognised by Christians around the world as the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. During this ceremony, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, thereby setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility. A perfect day for me to cook, serve dinner and clean up tonight for the families at the Ronald McDonald House in Cologne. For me personally, it will be symbolic of this timeless celebration and a blessed evening indeed.

Here is a memory from 2016…

In these days of uncertainty, the snuffing out of innocent lives, plagiarism, narcissism, coup attempts and the global sentiment of ‘Je Suis Sick of All This Shit’, it’s relieving to know that good things are still out there. Specifically, truth remains in the fact that when we do something good for someone else, we feel good. It is truly a win-win.

And this is exactly how I feel when I, along with my co-volunteers bring our evening to an end at the Ronald McDonald House here in Cologne.

There are currently 322 Ronald McDonald’s Houses in 63 countries and regions. These ‘houses’ serve as a home away from home for the parents and family members of seriously ill children who don’t live within the vicinity of the hospital. They didn’t exist here in Cologne thirty years ago when my infant son underwent the first of his heart surgeries. I can’t even imagine what it might have been like to have had this kind of comfort. It’s a beautiful thing.

This is no doubt the reason that I give of my time, my cooking skills and desire to help a parent feel lifted, to see him or her smile if even only for a short time, because I know what it is like to feel otherwise. But . . . for the longest time I didn’t know if I would be able to do it: I wasn’t sure I could bear up to seeing the anxiety and worry and fear that I know so well etched on the faces of these parents.

I am so thankful I could jump over my own shadow.


There were four of us on hand for last week’s dinner service. We met in the kitchen promptly at 6 P.M. and gathered around the menus. It was quickly decided that Nicola and I would prepare the main course of stuffed cannelloni with fresh spinach and Astrid and Annette would arrange the assorted olives, prepare the bruschetta appetizers and a colorful mixed salad. Dessert would come in the form of a delicious chilled tiramisu. Nicola, the house direction assistant, had decided the menu for the evening and done the shopping. As we began cooking, the ingredients were multiplied by six–we weren’t sure how many parents would be attending–but it’s always better to have too much than too little and because I’ve been cooking for 10,000 years, the issue of exact measuring, thankfully, isn’t an issue for me.

In between our appointed assignments, we all pitched in to help chop or grab something out of the refrigerator for someone else, set the dining table, light candles and carry the drinks up from downstairs, all the while cleaning as we carried on.

The most beautiful thing to witness in all of this is to see how these women really care about what they do. They really care. I believe it was Astrid who called out, “Does anyone know a special way to fold the dinner napkins?”

Dinner would begin at 8 P.M. By 7:50, we were all quiet as we bustled about making sure all was in place. And then the parents started trickling in, one after the other, eventually twenty altogether. They greeted us with smiles and “Good evenings” and “Umm, it smells good in here” as they took their seats around the table. We served them their meal, pored their drinks, served them second servings and cleared their plates–the point is for them to come in and do nothing but try to relax and get some good nourishment with an enjoyable meal. We sat and ate with them. A couple of the parents shared their circumstances with me. I listened, shared my story with them and offered encouragement.

It’s a wonderful thing to know you’re not alone.

Shortly before all the dishes had been washed and put away and the kitchen had had its final wipe down, a mother who had eaten earlier and shortly thereafter dashed back to her baby, came rushing back in saying that the cannelloni was so good, she’d love to have another serving, if that was ok. We were thrilled that we had a bit left over and could give her something to smile about because that truth remains: when we do something good for someone else, we feel good.

There’s nothing better. It has no boundaries, no limitations. It’s a win-win.



A Tuesday Truth


Hot Flashes or Nun?

Yesterday, we celebrated Palm Sunday. With Easter just a week away, here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather was pleasant and sunny and it finally felt like Spring might have sprung! As we Catholics near the end of our 40 days of fasting and offerings, I thought of all the nuns who helped raise me. I think of days when Spring fever hit and we ran buck wild, and they as Menopausebarbees were cranky and pulled out the ruler to scold us. As I approach the next phase of my life, I finally understand. Hot flashes or nun?
sr mary menopauseri