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.

MAGICAL!

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.” –Christopher Morley

Saturday evening, October 13, 2018, I had the honor of witnessing this statement come to life once again at the 9th VITA Charity Gala, which was held to raise support, funds and awareness for the VITA organization. Over one thousand guests from the political arena, and the entertainment and business worlds gathered at the Wiesbadener Kurhaus, the breathtakingly beautiful spa house in Wiesbaden, the capital of Hesse, Germany. The Kurhaus serves as the city’s convention center, and is the social center of this spa town. In between dinner, drinks and entertainment, well over €400,000 was raised–one donor alone giving €250,000!

The VITA organization was founded eighteen years ago by Tatjana Kreidler, who has over the years developed methods (the Kreidler – Method) to train Golden and Labrador Retrievers to help physically challenged children, adolescents and adults meet the difficult tasks in their daily lives. What she has accomplished is nothing short of amazing.

During her speech, she told of a young boy who was out with his dog and fell out of his wheelchair and couldn’t get up. He said to his dog, “Go get Mama” and the dog did. Within minutes the mother was there to pick up her child–this is simply astounding!! Just astounding!! 

One young child with severe autism came on stage with his dog and drew huge applause. He almost spoke, but almost is good enough for now; without the confidence this dog has brought into his life, being in public wouldn’t even be a consideration.

These 4-pawed helpers amazingly offer comfort, self-confidence, promote the willingness and the ability to take over responsibility for one’s self and build bridges to society. It doesn’t get too much better than that. 

I am honored to support this organization. It is quite an emotional event and I was just thrilled when one mother approached me and said that she’d read my book, was thrilled to meet me and how I inspired her. She then took me by the hand and introduced me to several of her friends. Magic. 

Tatjana, thank you for having the vision, the heart and the pure dedication. 

Event manager Mr. Edward Priewe, the evening was once again magical! More than beautiful! Thank you for your generous invitation and your commitment to this organization.

What selfless people with a heart and a mind can do! 

It’s magical.

with Mr. Erhard Priewe

Ms. Tatjana Kreidler

here with friends Liane Wirzberger and Nestor Perez and Frieda and her assistance helper

with the lovely Katerina Gottesleben

REMINDER

I Remember… A ME Too Memory

Look at these two photos-

 

My daughter, Taryn  and my niece, Erin on my daughter’s 2nd birthday and again this past week on my nieces 18th year.

Taryn and Erin- Innocent, beautiful, untainted, smart, funny, hopeful, spirited, spontaneous, curious, happy go lucky… all adjectives that come to mind as they embark on the next few years into adulthood.

As promised in yesterday’s blog post, Silver Lining, today, I’m sharing, I Remember.  I am compelled to share the below account of a 15 year old girl who too was once all the adjectives I describe above.  15,  Innocent, beautiful, untainted, smart, funny, hopeful, spirited, spontaneous, curious, happy go lucky, until one dark day.  My friend was robbed of a  special moment that should have been a precious memory.

Connie Chung recently shared the horrific nightmare at the hands of her Doctor, (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/connie-chung-says-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-doctor-who-delivered-her/)

I too want to raise my voice, to protect all our children.  As I said, the rapist can be your family member, minister, friend’s father, doctor, neighbor or drunk classmate.  Innocence is being stolen every day – let’s unmask the predators.

Thank you to my friend for reaching out and sharing this account.  Unfortunately the circumstance is  all too familiar.  I’m certain many of us REMBEMBER.  We might not have the voice to release our rage, or courage to face the embarrassment which is not ours to bear, but we do have the memory to recall.  And SHAME on all who don’t have the wherewithal to acknowledge and apologize.

 

I remember the color of his shirt. Red
I remember the texture of his skin. Sticky
I remember his skin coloring. White with red blotches.
I remember his body type and weight. Gross.
I remember his age. 18
I remember what I said. No. Please… No. Please don’t…. Please. Then I just cried.
I remember what he said when he was done. I won’t repeat it ever. But I remember.
I remember the style of the house. Split level.
I remember the time of day. Afternoon
I remember the weather. Sunny. Cold
I remember the faces of two of the other people at the house. It wasn’t a party.
I REMEMBER HIS NAME.
I never told my parents.
I never called the police.
I told no one for awhile. I was a new student in the school and I didn’t want anyone to know. I was embarrassed.
I then told one friend. She believed me. I later told my best friend. He was a boy. He believed me.
He asked how he could help. I asked him to have sex with me so I could rewrite my first time and have a better story. He did. It didn’t help.
I remember the year the statue of limitations came up. I had always thought someday. I didn’t.
The rape changed me. I lost my power. I lost my voice. I lost my dreams. I became numb to the emotion of sex and only saw it as a tool. A meaningless activity to gain traction in a relationship. Or was I actually chasing that magical moment dreams are made of? I became promiscuous. I was changed. Forever.
I WAS 15.
I DON’T remember the exact date. I know the year and season.
I DON’T remember his exact address. I hated that house. Only was there once.
I DON’T remember exactly what I was wearing.
I do remember where my clothes were after it was over. I remember walking upstairs. I remember the faces in the kitchen. I remember the girl asking if I was ok. I remember nodding and trying to smile through my tears. I remember walking outside.
My rapist drove me home. There was no Uber. No cell phones. I couldn’t find the strength or voice to change the facts.
We didn’t speak. How could I speak through the tears? He knew he was wrong. I don’t think he cared but I do know he knew because when I got out he threatened me. He said he could ruin me.
I believed him.
I still have a visceral reaction to his name and his face would likely bring tears again. Although I would hope it’d bring me anger and my voice, I think it’d bring tears. I am afraid I’d revert back to 15. I hated that day. I’d walk through fire to avoid that day again.
I’ve told a version of my story over the years to people that mattered. Some friends. Both of my husbands. My brother. My psychiatrist. My kids. I’ve stopped saying his name. I usually left out the details above. It wasn’t their burden to carry the details and I wanted to stop giving away my power to a name.
It is for that very reason that I would never go public with his name. Ever.
UNLESS … he was about to be put into a position that could impact the future of my life and my children’s lives.
I would then scream it for everyone. I would spend every breath I had left to make sure that in no way possible could this human ever touch our life. I would take a lie detector test. I would go on the news. I would humiliate myself. I would expose my 15 year old innocence. It would be worth it.
People need to remember that the 80’s and earlier were different. Most girls didn’t tell.
I am not a political person. I am just a girl who didn’t tell. I know I’m not alone.

 

Thank you to my beautiful, brave friend who has endured the silence for 35 years.  No, you are not alone, my sister xoxox

The Silver Lining – ME TOO – Silent No More!

I was raised to look for something good, even in the most dire of circumstances.  If you search, hopefully you will find a silver lining.  You may find peace after a loved one passes, knowing they are no longer suffering.  A failed job promotion may lead to a better opportunity. Heart break transformed into happiness after a failed relationship brings the partner of your dreams.

As I pondered the Silver Lining after the outrage I felt after sitting glued to the television watching the  bravery of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s  recollection of a sexual assault, I struggled.  My shocking reality is that I, like Dr. Ford am a Menopausebarbee, born in the same era, and recall those late night alcohol infused Keg parties on Fraternity Row.  I paid witness to far too many young women left in the shame of their abuse.

Silence.. Time will pass and heal the shame… Silence.

As my daughter and her friends prepare for college life, I am terrified of the reality of what she and they will face.  How do I reiterate as my mother shared with me, the blatant reality of the predators she will come into contact with?

Then the Kavanaugh hearings took place and I found my Silver Lining…

Silent no more.  Tomorrow, I will share a story – a true story, sent to me by a friend who was shamed by her rape at the tender age of 15.  Her innocence stolen as well as her voice 35 years ago- until now.

This is the Silver Lining- for our children, and their children to know.

Just as the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Just Say NO had a campaign, we now have the ME Too, so women everywhere know they are not alone.

Last weekend, my uncle, Federal Judge Richard A. Jones at the request of my daughter, President of Black Student Union, spoke at Seattle Prep for the African American Student Summit.  As he shared the trial he oversaw of Gary Ridgway the notorious murderer who admittedly took the lives of nearly 50 women in our region, (estimates are over 70), we were reminded he was a husband, a father, soccer dad and friend.  He was a Navy man. He held a job for 30 years. He went door to door sharing the Bible.  He was the predator next door…

The important take away is that your rapist doesn’t have to be lurking in a dark alley with a hooded sweatshirt.  He can be  your family, your minister, your neighbor, or a high school drunk you thought was your friend.

Brigitte Christoph and Thirty Years of the Cologne Ball

Thirty years is a long time.I men, everything is relative, but for what this selfless woman has done in this length of time is truly outstanding! Ms. Brigitte Christoph has raised 6 million Euro in various children hospitals for life-saving medication, equipment, as wells the furnishing of the Cologne Ronald McDonald House in Cologne where I volunteer.

Her passion is also finding a cure for cancer. In the group “Experimental Oncology”, the target in the tumor of a young patient was found. This young patient is the first in Germany to undergo this treatment and with success!

This was truly a passionate, heartfelt evening. There  was particularly fine point for me, as I had donated ten of the German versions of my book for the event. And just as I was about to gather my prize, a man next to me said, What a beautiful book!” I leaned into him and said, “It’s a great read, I wrote it”. He was amazed and I signed it for him and we made pictures. 

And I hope that all of my books landed in the hands who need some inspiration and share with their friends and maybe, just maybe, give someone the encouragement they may be needing right now. Saving one person at a time…

Madame Brigitte Christoph,(in gold)thank you for allowing me to be a part of this magical evening. God bless you for all you do. Thirty years. Six million Euro. Saving lives.

Amen.

 

Que Sera! The Best is Yet to Be -Happy 25th Birthday Brett

I recall the day I captured this photo.

This photo, my very favorite.

 

I use the word captured, as the word defined is to take into one’s possession. I wanted to capture this moment and freeze time.  You my toddler boy, with a mane of untamed hair, wobbly legs, a limited vocabulary, and a pure, yet bountiful curiosity as vast as the ocean your father led you to for the very first time.  Daddy led and you shrieked with delight as the waves roared to meet you.  You toyed with the water- four steps forward, two steps back – but you kept progressing.

As I watched you with unbridled pride and so much love my heart could burst, I wondered where those first steps on the sandy beach would lead you.  Doris Day sang in my head, Que sera, sera whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see Que sera Que sera.

What I have witnessed over the past 25 years, has become a handsome, determined, smart, athletic, solid, funny, loving, generous, honest, fair, hardworking partner, and best friend.

I’m reminded of this quote by Jack Welch:

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others”. —

Thank you for loving and leading not only our family, but your extended family and friends.

Once, we led you…

Now you’ve taken the lead, and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mom.

 

 

Que sera sera- Happy 25th Brett! The Brett and the Best is Yet to BE!

Screaming Eagle… How Did I Get Here?

How did I get here?
> That’s truly what I thought as I rode on the back of a golf cart in Amelia Island, Florida.

I chuckled to myself thinking what my father would say if he knew where I was headed. He raised my sisters and I with the saying, “Just because it’s on your ass, doesn’t make it an asset.”  I’m going for Liquidity- I laughed aloud!  How did I get here, I pondered again as I sat in the private dining room of Capital Grill, surrounded by 9 people getting ready to indulge in A Screaming Eagle Wine Tasting.

> When my fiancé invited me to the Screaming Eagle Tasting which his business associates and friends purchased at an auction, truth be told I had no idea what the rage was about. For all I knew Screaming Eagle could have been a band, charity to save the Bald bird or new fowl dish.
>
> After consulting my wine bestie, Stacy Lill (Chateau Lill),  I learned about this cult wine and that I was about to experience a once in a lifetime extravaganza.
>
> How did I get here? I thought again as I perused the menu:

Amuse:  Alaskan King Crab/Citrus/Chili Vinaigrette

First Course:  Kumamoto Oysters/Golden Osetra Caviar

Second Course:  Pan Seared Sea Scallop/Husdon Valley foe Gras/Balsamic Caramelized onions

2011 Screaming Eagle

Third Course:  The Capital Grill Gumbo/Black Pepper Coriander Crusted Tuna

2009 & 2014 Screaming Eagle

Fourth Course:  Herb Marinated Lamb Loin (we traded for Salmon) Toasted Pistachio Gremolata  2013 Screaming Eagle

Fifth Course:  Trio of New York Strip (we traded for Chicken)

2005, 2012, & 2010 Screaming Eagle

As we sipped the different bottles  my table-mates  and I took turns and all shared what we smelled and tasted. Descriptions such as lavender, bold, nutty, and blackberry were used to express the 100 point bottles.  Damn, I found out from Stacy after the fact, I should have thrown out words like, nasturtium seeds, sweaty leather, and barnyard.    Classic: a great wine 90-94  Outstanding:  a wine of superior character and style 85-89.  Very good: a wine with special qualities.

How did I get here?  This was a long journey from the Honey Mead Wine, my mother used to enjoy and I drank in my 20’s.

> My swallow became more palpable realizing our extravagant experience was supporting Mica’s Place, a shelter for women and their children escaping domestic violence.

It is said, if any wine exemplifies the California Cult Wine phenomena,, it’s Screaming Eagle, which made its debut in 1992.  Within 2 years, the wine quickly shot to the top of the hot, must have collectible charts.  In fact, the current price for the 1992 Screaming Eagle has soared to over $7,000 per bottle.  That’s per bottle, not per case!

By the end of the evening, I was reminded of  the quote…

“Wine is the answer.  What was the question?”

Why did it take so long to get here?

The Last Laugh or Saving Face

You know, I make a concerted effort not to discuss religion and politics on this blog–but I’m throwing in the towel. Everybody knows that I was raised in the Catholic faith, I love God and Jesus and believe in the Holy Spirit. 

So now we’ve got that out of the way.

According to Wikipedia: The high regard for diplomats is also due to most countries’ conspicuous selection of diplomats, with regard to their professionalism and ability to behave according to a certain etiquette, in order to effectively promote their interests. Also, international law grants diplomats extensive privileges and immunities, which further distinguishes the diplomat from the status of an ordinary citizen. 

The UN Charter sets out four main purposes: Maintaining worldwide peace and security. Developing relations among nations. Fostering cooperation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems. (Feb 10, 2016.)

Now, can somebody please explain to me–as if I were three years old, how in the world the President of the United States can get on a stage and address these trained diplomats, these world leaders and make such a foolish statement by touting that, “His administration has accomplished more that any other administration in the history of the country whereupon these foreign diplomats proceeded to laugh at him. They laughed at him. These diplomats are no joke and this was not the comedy club. I have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Srgjan Kerim, the President of the UN General from 18 September to 2016 September 2017Assembly and presenting him with the English and German forms of my books. I can’t wait to hear about what he thinks about this–he is so refined he probably won’t even tell me and understandably so.

There must’ve been something in the water or in Mr. Trump’s private schools that he had to do or drink everyday to make him become a man of such egotism; the belief that everything he touches turns to gold and that he is the greatest and the smartest and just an all around downright amazing human being. We might say, otherworldly. They say he doesn’t drink alcohol, but I would suggest some humble pie be in order.

And what’s with Rosenstein–is he in or out of a job? 

The Burden of it all…

 

 

The Last Laugh

You know, I make a concerted effort not to discuss religion and politics on this blog–but I’m throwing in the towel. Everybody knows that I was raised in the Catholic faith, I love God and Jesus and believe in the Holy Spirit. 

So now we’ve got that out of the way.

According to Wikipedia: The high regard for diplomats is also due to most countries’ conspicuous selection of diplomats, with regard to their professionalism and ability to behave according to a certain etiquette, in order to effectively promote their interests. Also, international law grants diplomats extensive privileges and immunities, which further distinguishes the diplomat from the status of an ordinary citizen. 

The UN Charter sets out four main purposes: Maintaining worldwide peace and security. Developing relations among nations. Fostering cooperation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems. (Feb 10, 2016.)

Now, can somebody please explain to me–as if I were three years old, how in the world the President of the United States can get on a stage and address these trained diplomats, these world leaders and make such a foolish statement by touting that, “His administration has accomplished more that any other administration in the history of the country whereupon these foreign diplomats proceeded to laugh at him. They laughed at him. These diplomats are no joke and this was not the comedy club. I have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Srgjan Kerim, the President of the UN General from 18 September to 2016 September 2017 Assembly and presenting him with the English and German forms of my books. I can’t wait to hear about what he thinks about this–he is so refined he probably won’t even tell me and understandably so.

There must’ve been something in the water or in Mr. Trump’s private schools that he had to do or drink everyday to make him become a man of such egotism; the belief that everything he touches turns to gold and that he is the greatest and the smartest and just an all around downright amazing human being. We might say, otherworldly. They say he doesn’t drink alcohol, but I would suggest some humble pie be in order.

And what’s with Rosenstein–is he in or out of a job? 

The Burden of it all…

 

Sentencing Day…

As we all know, things are  often are not what they appear.

I awoke this morning and turned on the news to the reminder that today is sentencing day for Bill Cosby.

When I look at these photos, again, we are reminded that things are not always as they appear. In one, the family man I grew up loving and then the predator who under oath said that he had given Quaaludes, a now banned sedative to women in the “same way a person would say, Have a drink.”

 

I thought about the countless hours I watched the Cosby Show.  I reflected on the pride the show gave me as a young black girl representing an upper class African American family with a doctor father and community minded mom.

For years, I too watched The Brady Bunch, and their idyllic life and searched for programming which reflected my experience.  As a Menopausebarbee, I recall shows Good Times (inner city Chicago housing project family trying to survive), Sanford and Son (a widower junk dealer in Watts, California), What’s Happening (working class family also residing in Watts), and Benson (a Butler/house manager for a widowed governor).  Although I truly appreciated the comedic value in those shows, they did not reflect nor resonate with my experience.  I was laughing hysterically with my friend, Patti the other day, after having a particularly bad hair day, I compared myself to Flip Wilson as Geraldine.  Although Patti had no idea who Geraldine was, she too found the comparison of this cross dressing man sidesplitting.

I will forever treasure those programs and recall the laughs from my parents, and aunts and uncles sitting around the living room television console laughing until tears flowed from their eyes.

But today, the laughter stops, and the memories are tarnished as Bill Cosby gets sentenced.

  The name of his album, It’s True, It’s True with the title track,  It’s The Woman’s Fault – what sad irony.

“If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.” – Bill Cosby.

How will he answer his own words today?