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.

The City that Begins with the Letter B!

Sharing a meal and laughing over memories is a good thing thing. It’s a grand thing as a matter of fact and that’s just what I and four of my girlfriends from high-school did the other night. We’ve been friends for forty six years and though we only see each other once a year, when we get together, we pick up right up as if we’d seen each other yesterday.

During the course of the evening, we shared highlights of 2017. I said that two of mine were meeting Tom Jones in Montreux, Switzerland and having a fish pedicure in Budapest. I was having a brain freeze and could only remember that wherever these fish were nibbling on my feet, it was in a city that begins with the letter B. Aahh, the menopausebarbee memory!!! Budapest ladies, it was Budapest! Here’s that post from that wonderful time I had in that city that begins with the letter B!

Heal Me, Feel Me

Budapest isn’t called the ‘City of Baths’ for nothing.

Hungary is a land of thermal springs, and Budapest remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal waters with healing qualities. I’d heard so much about these baths that I couldn’t wait to try one out on my recent visit.

I’d never been to a thermal bath before and really had no idea what to expect, I did know, however, that I didn’t want to be surrounded by a lot of people. I was looking for peace on what I anticipated to be a peaceful experience.

I found it at the Rudas Baths which sprang to life in the 16th century. (!) The location just happened to be perfect. To get there, I just walked from my hotel situated on the Pest side of Budapest, a block or so until I got to the Elizabeth bridge (one of several bridges that join this city), to the Buda side. The imposing bath house is located just at the foot of a small hill beneath the bridge.

The day I went was men’s day which meant that I wasn’t allowed into the thermal bath area, so I went instead to the wellness area. In this area there are four pools: 16 C. (60.8 F), 32 C. (89.6 F), 36 C (96.8 F) and 42 C. (107.6 F).

The hot spring feeding the Rudas Baths is rich in calcium, fluoride ions, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulphate and sodium. The water is used for therapeutic purposes for illnesses like joint degeneration, chronic arthritis and calcium deficiency to name a few.

I walked past the pool that only allowed for breast stroke swimming and stepped carefully inside the hottest pool first. I eventually tested all of them, except for the cold plunge pool where crushed ice occasionally toppled inside from a shaft in a wall. The best I could do here was to dip my hands inside and rub my arms. The two pools with the moderate temperatures were the most relaxing. I stayed for a couple hours, slowly meandering from one pool to the next. I was so relaxed that my arms just floated in the water and it took effort to keep my mouth closed and not just buoy about slack jawed in the water.

Oh, it was wonderful just to take the time for myself and not think about the myriad of things in my head and heart and not feel guilty about it–because after all–other people were relaxing and buoying too. In this case, follow the leader was a good thing.

And then, with my spa day at an end, I leisurely headed back across the bridge to my hotel marvelling at the cityscape and breathing in the smells of that great watercourse the Danube river. And then I saw it. And because it was there, I just had to try it: a fish pedicure. Truly the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done.

Sitting there watching fish nibbling away at my feet, well, let’s just say the experience brought me fully, but fully back to my senses.

And that’s a good thing.

Ahh. . .

The city that begins with the letter B!

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Babe… Where Ya Going?

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Last weekend, Deep in the mountains of Jackson Hole, I went thrill seeking in search of wild-life.
The frigid temp was a brisk 23 degrees and as I bundled in attire which made me resemble the Michelin woMan including heat warmers in my rented boots and mittens, helmet snug on my head and a shield over my face, I braced myself for this new adventure.
My business card reads Every Venture Should be an Adventure, so living by my words, I along with our group of 40 listened intently to the operating instructions. This is the break, this is the accelerator.

This was my first visit to Jackson Hole, although I vividly recall childhood trips to Yellowstone National Park.

I joined my boyfriend on a business/ pleasure ski trip. The conditions were fantastic, as many of the ski communities are lacking snow this year. I discovered Jackson Hole has one of the lowest base elevations of any ski resort area in the Rocky Mountains, at just 6,311 feet. Most other ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico have base elevations between 6,900 and 9,500 feet.

This gorgeous mountainous terrain is home of wild sheep, deer and elk. The elk, one of the largest species in the deer family weigh 500-700 lbs.
The National Elk Refuge, located just outside the town of Jackson, is the largest established elk preserve in North America. Up to 9,000 elk winter on the refuge and visitors can enjoy close-up views on daily rides from December through April.

Over 60 species of mammals, over 100 species of birds, and a half-a-dozen game fish can be found in the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area. Most notable are big game such as elk, moose, bison, deer, antelope, mountain lion, grizzly and black bears, coyote; rare birds such as the bald eagle, trumpeter swan, blue heron, osprey, and native game fish such as the Snake River cutthroat trout and mackinaw lake trout.

I was gonna see it all!

Although there were enough snowmobiles to ride single, I was intimidated and road as a passenger behind my guy. For an hour and a half, we rode gloriously along in tandem. 40 snowmobiles riding with snow pellets smacking our windshield, gripping the heat warmed handles, and truly being in awe of the creatures and landscape.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I decided to switch seats and take over the helm. As my boyfriend traded seats with me, coming down a hill, the instructions of accelerate, and break evaporated like the melting snow and I plowed us straight off a cliff speeding directly for a tree! My guy calmly said, “Babe, where ya goin?”
After finally coming to a screeching stop, the humiliation as our 40 friends rode past went into high gear. I found the Hole in Jackson Hole! Call me, Calamity Dane!

This Menopausebarbee melted… and this cartoon shows exactly how I felt.

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A Changing Day in Your Life

I don’t know how many of you are fans or viewers of the Dr. Phil show, but I’ve been a fan for years.

From the abject to the zonked and everyone in between, Dr. Phil begins his show everyday by saying: “This is going to be a changing day in your life.” His mission is to help people get on the right path towards directing their lives to a better place.

This is fascinating to me, so needless to say, I was thrilled and totally caught off guard when I found out that my sister and co-blogger Dana arranged for us to visit two tapings of his show day before yesterday.

It was extremely interesting to watch the show live–it is exactly as we see it on television. All the elements of what have made this show so popular for sixteen years were there: the stage, the excitement, the anticipation and participation of the members of the audience, especially when prompted by pure emotion, they shook their heads and sighed and of course clapped their hands when in agreement with Dr. Phil or a guest.

First taping: a mother is raising her 4 year old grandson. She doesn’t want this parental duty at this stage of her life but feels she has no other choice because her daughter–the boy’s mother–is a young prostitute. Neither your average grandma nor an unattractive woman, she came out fiercely defending her position that her daughter was just an awful person . . . basically because the daughter wasn’t giving her any financial support for her grandchild.

She was serious.

Dr. Phil hit it to the core when he immediately asked: “Aren’t you concerned that your daughter is selling her body for money?”
Well, of course she was, but still. . .

Then the daughter came on stage and the banter began. Before the segment was over, the mother was shamed and sobbing. It was revealed that she was in part, the reason why her daughter was selling her body.

The second taping began with two sisters walking onto the stage. Their mother, an intelligent, professional, God-fearing woman who walked in faith, believed that she was married to Tyler Perry–she had after all, hundreds upon hundreds of texts from him via Facebook and messaging. She even believed in fact, that Tyler Perry was the father of one of her adult daughters on the stage and that she had a son with him. This son was born by the fact that she had given up her eggs for in vitro fertilization–but she couldn’t explain how or when this process actually happened–but that didn’t matter because she walked in faith. She’d even sent ‘Tyler Perry’ $100,000 to support his various charitable foundations and to help him with his private airplane repair. . .
One of the addresses she had forwarded money to, was revealed to be a spot on an open field. If Tyler really wasn’t Tyler, she would forgive Tyler.

She was serious.

It was amazing to watch Dr. Phil listen to these people and put their situations into perspective and help them hopefully find their way to the corner of happy and healthy.

To view these shows go to: https://www.drphil.com.

What you might learn could be the spark of “a changing day in your life.”

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L.A. Confidential in 48 Hours…Girl’s Trip

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I couldn’t decide which Hollywood Movie to title this blog after.
48 Hours came to mind as we truly did accomplish all I will share in fast paced two days.
Girls Trip, as it was indeed!
Down and Out in Beverly Hills? Nope, we were more UP and Out.
But then I decided to play on Hollywood Confidential as all who know me know it’s ironic, as I live my life out loud!

I have had a love affair with LA since I was a child. As I’ve shared previously, growing up Daddy would load us in the car and we would hit the road. Most often, the destination would be unknown, but more likely than not our excursions would take us to L.A. Home of Sunshine, Palm trees, Disneyland, and Stars.

Saturday evening in celebration of Tracie’s birthday earlier this month, Mom, Taryn, Tracie and I went on our girl’s trip.
We took some family time and visited Uncle Q. As mom and he reminisced of their early childhood on Prairie Street in Chicago before moving to Seattle, all we could do is marvel at how far they’ve come. One of the greatest joys and blessings in my life has been to know my uncle and his genius. His brilliance, compassion, humor and work ethic are wonders I will never comprehend. A special treat whenever visiting at Uncle Q’s home is you never know who is popping by. Although my 16 year old Taryn was bummed best new artist nominee, Khalid was there the night before, and she missed him, I was thrilled with my cousin QDIII rolled in. It was late, but the night was still young for Uncle Q, and he was going back to work. As we hugged, I told him – you just inspire me. He said remember this – 2 words YOLO KOKO. I knew Yolo was the acronym for You Only Live Once, and I said but what about KOKO?
And he said, “Baby, Keep on Keepin’ ON!”

Sunday, my cousin, Martina picked us up and she played tour guide. We hit areas that my Menopausebarbee self didn’t even realize were hot spots. We snapped pics in front of the Paul Smith Pink Wall and the graffiti alley Art Row on Melrose where I found truth in art on so many levels. I had to laugh aloud to the tribute to President John F Kennedy and his poignant words underscored by President Trump’s comment. We made it to the Hollywood Blvd. Stars and found Uncle Quincys. We shopped at Fred Seagal. Then we headed to Manhattan Beach for dinner to meet the newest addition of our family, my cousin, Pohaku and wife Gloria and their children including a precious seven week old baby boy . There I got to catch up with my stunningly beautiful God daughter, Gracie who calls me Fairy Godmother as the distance keeps me fictional in her eight year old mind.
The sun was shining, it was 80 degrees and the strip was packed. This post could have been titled, Pulp Fiction, as we wondered into a convenience store and I looked at the meat soiling in the heat albeit stuffed non-functioning cooler, I quipped, Today’s Special E Coli. The store manager did not take kindly to my joke.

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On our final leg, we went to Dr. Phil Show for two tapings where I will allow my co-blogger and sister to share these details. They are juicy, so stay tuned for tomorrow.

Family Matters… We met strangers who just like us have stories. We met aspiring artist, singers, performers, and talent.

We all have stories…This LA Confidential that happened in 48 Hours was the best Girl’s Trip.

The Lesson… Remembering Wayne Melonson

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The year was 1978, and I sat cockily on the bench waiting for my name to be called for the starting lineup of the St. Theresa All Stars basketball team. Our squad was for lack of a better description – Bad Ass. We ruled the courts, often beating opponents by multiple digits.

Angelina – our star center, Tonya our power guard, Trina my bestie, a strong forward all stood center court as their names were called. I assumed, I would be next, adjacent to Trina, after all, that’s the way it had always been. My palms were pressed against the bench ready to run and slap hands with our starting lineup, however, my spirits were shocked and deflated when another classmate, Teresa’s name was called for MY position. As we labored through practice, running lines, layups, and free throws, our coach, Wayne Melonson could see my dismay. He pulled me aside and offered me a ride home after practice. I recall climbing into his Vega ready to burst in tears. I was feeling jaded, betrayed, and just flat out angry as any 13 year old would be. He could not make this right. I was tall, always have been and I was already over 5’7 by 8th grade. I had always been a gifted athlete, receiving trophies as a gymnast, and swimmer, as well as ball player- so why was I humiliated into sitting on the bench???

I will never forget the lesson that Wayne taught me on that ride home. At the time, the Seattle Sonics were a viable contender in the NBA and were the Western Conference Champions. They actually won the Championship the following year. Wayne looked at me and said, do you know who the most valuable player on the Sonics is? I whimpered and stammered, Slick Watts, staring out the dark rainy window, fuming. After all, Slick was the showman dashing down the court, his trade mark head band soaking up the sweat of his bald head as the crowd roared and cheered.

Wayne, paused and said, in his opinion it was Downtown Freddie Brown. Freddie didn’t start, so how could that be? Wayne went on to explain that Freddie was the smartest and most valuable player, because he sat on the bench and accessed what was happening and then when he entered the game, he cohesively coached and instructed his team mates on what action was needed for victory. Wayne shared that I was his Freddie Brown, and he entrusted this important position to me.

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I’ve had the pleasure of working with All Star, Downtown Freddie Brown on numerous charities over the years, and I still cannot look at him without thinking of this early lesson.

Wayne restored my spirit, and made me feel empowered. As the years went by, this valuable lesson has resonated on so many levels in my life. My uncle Q has a saying
“Observe it, figure it out, put it to the soul and science test and say, I Can Do this.” Wayne’s lesson taught me humility, patience, perseverance and most of all, you don’t have to be a starter to be a winner.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to Wayne and this photo of him speaks volumes as in his eyes, he truly did SEE each and everyone of us. We were blessed to be touched by this generous soul.

He was my math teacher, my homeroom teacher, my coach, and friend. Sometimes in life, your at your best, observing, figuring it out, putting it to the soul and science test and coming off the bench.

Thank you Wayne… Forever in our hearts and spirit.

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What a Ride it’s Been- Happy Birthday My Sister!

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Last night on the eve of my sister, Tracie’s birthday, as I made dinner (chicken fajitas), and we enjoyed glasses of Rombauer, Mom shared the story of Tracie’s delivery. Mom’s first born wasn’t an easy birth, nor was the recovery, however #@!%*# years later, we all celebrate the miracle and joy of her labor.

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I truly cannot fathom what my outlook or existence would be without my sister, one of my biggest champions and supporters in my life. We laugh, and love without abandon. Tracie paved the way through her intellect, independent, creative, go against the grain joie de vive. Like Anthony Boudain, she has literally traveled to parts unknown and carried us on this amazing ride.

As I sit down to write this post, I am reflective that each and every day, we all give birth in some unique way. We not only give birth to children, but our hopes, dreams, projects and aspirations. We have all heard the phrase, ‘No pain, no gain.’ For those of us waiting for our gestation period to end, the pain can feel eternal. Yet, in the end, we know how sweet the fruits of our hard work taste.
We celebrate the miracle and joy of labor.

My sister, whom we celebrate today, has given birth a magnitude of times in the evolution of her years.
She moved to Germany not speaking the language and gave birth to a new mother tongue. She has given birth to a unique style, confidence, and explorative journey through the world that only most could imagine. She has visited catacombs to cathedrals on her excursions.

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Second to her giving birth to my nephew, Marc, Tracie also has given birth to her book, Incompatible with Nature, A Mother’s Story. I recall our late night conversations, as she penned the life altering events, where she carefully sculpted every word like ingredients going into a 5 Star meal.

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Tracie, so gifted with her words. So today, as we celebrate the GIFTED, there is not a present she would like more than for you to be present and I invite you to join us on Thursday January 11, 2018 at 3rd Place Books 5041 Wilson Avenue South 98118 at 7 pm. Together, we will explore the journey of a young girl who moved from Seattle, Washington, and after an uneventful pregnancy, the doctors told her to let the baby die, as he was born Incompatible with Nature.

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I’m at lost for a better description than to simply say, Tracie’s moving recount of the process of giving birth and trusted doctors saying to let your baby die, will leave you questioning and change the word IMPOSSIBLE to I’mpossible.

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So, let’s give her the best gift and be present!
We Look forward to seeing you all!

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Something for Your Toolbox

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Keep Rolling…Reflections for 2018

As we literally slide into the New Year, I can’t help but ponder what 2018 will bring. Little did I know 2017 would present with the loss of loved ones and strike home as it did with the untimely passing of my children’s father.

Steve and I spent many years discussing when and how we would want to be remembered. I’m confident Steve lived and was loved large.
Steve’s legacy will continue as we endowed the Steve Looney Scholarship Fund through his is alma mater, Seattle University. A worthy athlete will have their education funded in his honor as his legacy. Steve’s children and I are beyond grateful to all who contributed and supported this endowment. As “The Loons” would often say, he was doing better than most, but not as good as a lot of people. We will forever miss his character, presence, and Joie de vivre.

When I experience such loss, it is a tangible reminder that life is indeed short and we must live every day as if it’s our last- as Sinatra said, one day you will be right!

So as you are making your resolutions, in addition to all the things you are giving up- (fast food, sweets, alcohol, not working out) make a list of additions.
Resolve to try something new.
Go someplace you’ve never been
Make a new friend- invite someone random to coffee
Be spontaneous
Discover your hometown – new neighborhoods
Love without abandon
Say I Love you to every day

I know many reading this are going through rough times- be it financial, health or heart break. I have lived through it all and I remind you of one of my favorite quotes, “If you’re going through HELL, keep on going.” Hard times hit us all, and when I reflect on those challenges, I now see them as gifts which made me stronger. I genuinely don’t believe I could appreciate where I have landed if I didn’t know the pain and struggle.

Someone recently said I live my life on roller skates. As I reflected on my travels this past year alone- Park City to Punta Mita, Austin to Amsterdam, Half Moon Bay to many cities in between, I must say, I’m embracing the ride. Every day finding more ways to live, laugh, love and give.

2018 get your skates and let’s keep rolling!

Taste Like Paradise

Some would say I’m cheap date. I’m not one that gets intoxicated on fine dining. My guy on the other hand is a foodie to the deepest degree. Give me ambiance and atmosphere and I don’t care if it’s a burger on the menu, I’m a happy girl!

But last night, I gave one up for the team, and secured a several month waitlist reservation to celebrate one of my favorite Capricorn’s birthday. I had of course heard the rave revues of the historic Herb Farm, but last night was my first excursion into this 9 course meal extravaganza with wine pairings to match each morsel.

The kitchen was well informed, I don’t do cheese, so they accommodated my palate with a terrine of winter squash, coated steelhead, brazed wagyu beef cheeks and other delights that I most likely will never indulge again.

I was beyond impressed by the staff, chefs, and wait team. As they were introduced, this culinary genious crew hailed from Harvard to the finest cooking schools.

It is said the eyes eat too. The ambiance could not have been more intimate and perfect.

But the message is what is paramount in my mind…
“What is paradise, but a garden, an orchard of trees and herbs, full of pleasure and nothing there but delights.”

Sometimes, we need to taste, feel and enjoy paradise

A Celebration of Life!

A celebration of Life is on the horizon for January 11, 2018, at 7 P.M. at the what will soon be your favorite Seattle area bookstore, Third Place Books Seward Park–the presentation of my true story: Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story.

Thank you to my sister and co-menopausebarbees blogger, Dana and Third Place Books Seward Park for hosting this event. Third Place Books is in a word:awesome! In-house restaurant Raconteur will be offering 20% off its restaurant and bar menu for this event!

So come and enjoy this special story hour with us as I bring several important passages of my book to life. Imagine how it would feel to live in a foreign country and fight the battle of your life in a language you don’t understand. Hear my core message that will get you through 2018, 2019 and indeed, the rest of your life. Let–no, make my favorite 2 “C” words become your daily mantra in everything that you do. Ask me questions and I will give you answers.

This my friends, will be a celebration of life you won’t want to miss. Join us!
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Incompatible with Nature is available in all major bookstores and Amazon:*Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Incompatible-Nature-Tracie-Frank-Mayer/dp/1537201298

And in German: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057