... 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.


ARETHA. Period

WE are what We Eat…

How do I feel?

After sharing the below cartoon about Pooh missing Piglet, and my sentiment that I felt his pain after not eating red meat or pork for the past 8 months, many Facebook friends asked two questions:

1  How do I feel?

2 Will I continue to forgo eating mammals?

To answer those questions, I thought about my diet and the mental and physical components of what I consume.  My mom shares that when I was a baby, she couldn’t get me enough milk.  I joke that this photo was laced with vodka, but truly my demand was for- milk, Milk, MILK!


On a 1st grade field trip to the Dairy Farm, Sister Eileen Marie at Mt. Virgin for some twisted reason thought we should all milk the cow and learn where we got the precious white liquid we enjoyed. In my 6 year old brain, I was disgusted – and seriously have not had a full glass of milk since that day!  My cereal has enough just to moisten it.  Fast forward 4 plus decades later, last December, I took my fiancé – )who hasn’t eaten red meat or pork in over 25 years) for his birthday and we dined at the famed Herb Farm Restaurant. The Herb Farm is one of his favorites, so he called ahead and had his menu chosen.  Carnivorous me, chowing down on the succulent beef, the waiter appeared and said she hoped I was enjoying the Beef cheeks. Beef cheeks are the actual cheek muscles of a cow. The beef cheek is a lean cut of meat that is rather tough. Suddenly the visualization of the  succulent chewy substance coming from the cheeks of a creature I had just passed in the pastures on the drive out to the farm resulted in the same disgust I felt squeezing the utters of the cow 45 years before!  I am not nearly as brave as my sister, and co-blogger who recently blogged on bringing out her inner Anthony Bourdain:(

I looked at my guy and his special order plates of chicken, fish, and glorious veggies, and proclaimed, I can forgo red meat.  It was just before New Years, and I love challenging myself to new commitments. I have even gone a full year without candy! For those that know me, giving up my beloved sugar was a SACRIFICE!   I won’t lie, during the past nearly nine months, I have missed those late night stops at Dicks for a burger.  Ordering salmon from the Met just doesn’t quite hit the mark, when my family’s sizzling steaks arrive.  I have turned into one of those “Ill take the veggie dish” at charitable functions.  I long for those lazy Sunday mornings of frying up my eggs in bacon fat.

On the flip side, my fiancé is an amazing chef.  He has opened my palate to wonderful healthy alternatives such as this shrimp and veggie stir fry he whipped up.  I draw the line at Tofu and told him, don’t EVER try again to sneak it in my meal.

Aside from the mental sanctity of knowing as Russell Simmons wrote, ‘I’m not eating most things that can run away from me,’ I can’t say I really feel better.  Long ago I read a book, Eat Right for your Type.  I’m B positive and therefore per the book, I m supposed to eat red meat.  I can say when I was on a high protein diet, I ate less carbs, and my weight was more easily maintained.  But overall, I feel my digestive system is better.  Will I go back to red meat?  Let’s wait til Fall and mama puts on some of her delicious Red Beans and Rice cooked down in ham hock and buried in ground beef.  Pooh, I hear you!  We will see.

Something for Your Toolbox

It’s Monday–still don’t forget to find your favorite spot to relax…

Shark Attack!!!

Wandering through the ancient city of Cagliari, I stumble upon a restaurant named Su Cumbidu which features specialties of the sea. I am absolutely not hungry, but I’ve been walking for hours and it is so very hot and muggy. So why not–it’s lunchtime as my sister and Co blogger Dana would say. There are seven tables outside with menus on them and I pick one up and I read it. Seafood, pasta. Looks good. So I sit.

I remember that one of my tour guides suggested that I definitely should make it a point to eat Burrida – a typical food native to this area. Shark fish cooked with walnuts.  And so I order.

Good grief. Anthony Bourdain I am not. This  specialty cold fish appetizer –tastes overwhelmingly tart due to the vinegar it’s cooked in. And it just doesn’t look right. Kind of like octopus and fat and pork meat all in one. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do this.

I take a sip of white wine which is cold and dry and tastes refreshingly good . . . and I try again. “Pull out that Anthony Bourdain in you Tracie,” I tell myself. I think I’m going to gag. Sitting alone outside in the Sardinia heat facing palm trees and the Mediterranean Sea gagging would not be a good look.  I think if I google what the hell the tour guide has suggested for me to eat, it might help me out.

I discover that this dogfish is oftentimes a bottom dweller of the sea. Not exactly a bottom feeder like the crab and lobster and cray fish and shrimp that I love, this hunter of the sea will sink it’s teeth into anything that it can. Hm. . . I look at it. It still doesn’t look right. It’s just not gonna work. The waiter and waitress are so kind I hate to tell them that I just don’t like this at all but I must.

By now, in my mind I’m hungry so I order the menu–pasta is always good. I push the Burrida away. I ask the waitress what her favorite pasta dish is. She points out a dish with mixed seafood that I planned to order anyway. It arrives. It’s beautiful. Its going to work. When I finish, I ask for the check. Before it arrives, a dessert that I didn’t order does: a fat, moist glazed cookie with currants and walnuts and a chocolate pastry with figs (which are homegrown) and it’s really quite lovely, but again it’s not for me. At least not right now. I push it slightly away and the waiter comes out and looks at me and says, “Signora!” in exasperation. It’s like they just can’t make me happy-even though I’ve eaten more than half of the pasta dish.

He brings me a digestif. Grappa. It’s about 3 o’clock now and 5000° outside with just as much humidity. Can’t do it, push it away. He brings me another one: this time it’s a Limoncello–sweet and lemony and just as strong. I push it away. But it was just so thoughtful!

After I pay my check I get up to go to the restroom and I find that the restaurant is packed with people who have the common sense to eat lunch inside sheltered from the scorching heat. I leave the restroom and walk past the kitchen–it’s open–I just have to make a quick picture. My waiter notices me and pushes me inside and takes my iPhone from my hand and prepares to snap a picture. There is suddenly a wonderful pandemonium in the kitchen as the owner welcomes me in and picks up a plate.  “Where are you from? Did you like our food?”  he enthusiastically asks me.

Just the friendliest people on the planet! And as I thank them profusely and they thank me, I walk away from this special restaurant and my stomach and heart are full. There’s nothing like serving kindness on a scorching summer day.  Or any day for that matter: After all, we are all sweating . . .

I do think I’ll skip the dining tour though. I’m just not the one. This meal has taken my respect for Anthony Bourdain to a whole new level. 

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What’s New Pussycats??

I found an article about black people and cats.  There are only two black women I know who absolutely love little furry felines; one is my aunt Margie, the other is my lifelong childhood friend, Metre.  I’m not trying to stereotype, but seriously, my friends tease me mercilessly as I fit in to the general population of which the article below stated clearly:

7. Black people don’t do cats

“Don’t ask them why because they’ll look at you cross-eyed. We’re okay with you having pet cats but please, please do not expect us to cuddle, kiss or love them. In fact, black people don’t really do pets at all, dogs belong outside and are there as a matter of necessity, there’s no love lost between me and Spotty.”

I have to say, when my fiancé Face Timed me from the pet shelter asking my agreement to adopt not one, but TWO black little Panthers, I thought I was in  a Wakanda nightmare.  “I have allergies!”  I shrieked.  “I’m never cleaning the litter box!”  “What about when we travel?- who is gonna watch them?”

Looking at their sweet little faces, caged, lonely, and afraid, I gladly welcomed Winston (as in Churchill) and Ella (as in Fitzgerald) into our family.  I might have questioned my sanity when I arrived late last week at our home in Nashville.  Ella took an immediate liking to me, so much so, she crawled all over my head all night, purred, pawed, and meowed as I tried to sleep until I pet her.  Aren’t cats supposed to be quiet, snobby, sneaky and aloof?  What was I missing?

We made a truce and agreed to put the feline out of the room for sleep sake and over the next few days, but I have to admit, we bonded.

Although the popularity of the movie Black Panther has black cat adoption on the rise, historically black cats have been denied opportunities to find a good home.

As we prepare for August 18, when animal shelters around the U.S. and Puerto Rico waive or reduce adoption fees, it may be a good time to consider a furry family member.  Trust me, if I can do it… anyone can!  Meow!



Start Off on the Right Foot!

I had a feeling that the San Benedetto Market, the largest city market in Europe, would be an experience and I couldn’t wait to get there.

The sun bore down and the heat was relentless as I walked there from my hotel and I couldn’t wait to get some shade (the market is indoors). Nonetheless, excited for the journey and wanting to take in everything, I couldn’t help but to stop and peer inside the shops along the way. It’s very interesting because most of the storefront windows are treated–darker than usual–and it can be difficult to determine if the stores are open or not (unless you read the opening hours signs). Having treated windows makes real good sense in this city fondly referred to as, The City of the Sun. And though from the outside, the widths of the stores appear to be narrow, giving the impression that they are small, once you step inside, you’re amazed at how large the stores actually are. 

Anyway, I finally got to the market, stepped inside and was accosted by colors and faces and foods and a breeze provided by ceiling fans and the passionate tongue of one of the world’s most romantic languages–it sounded as if people were singing and some of them were! 

After a time, I discovered that I’d seen some of the friendliest vendors in the world selling everything from apples to zucchinis and all kinds of meats and cheeses–but no fish. Hmm. Public market. Island. There had to be fish.

And there was. I found all kinds of seafood downstairs where it was, at that particular time, even livelier than it was upstairs. 

Before I left, I ran into a couple I met at the hotel. I’ll call them Fearless (her) and Afraid (him). That’s another blog. 

Anyway, my lesson of the day (here with a couple market vendors): Happiness is a universal feeling that needs no translation so be brave, bold and free to share a smile! It doesn’t cost a thing and does wondrous things for the soul!

It’s Monday–hope you start off on the right foot!

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Something for Your Toolbox

“Look to each day for the goodness it brings,

for living life is to believe in all things.”

–Tracie Frank Mayer

*English Amazon link:

*German Amazon link:


A picture is worth a thousand words…


Say no more… After 28 months, 9 hrs and 48 seconds, (whose been counting)  He’s back #love you forever, like you for always as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be!

Brett Frank-Looney welcome home!!! xoxoxo

Impatient Optimists

This past weekend, I played tour guide for my fiancé’s company visiting from Nashville, Tenn.  As I considered all our beautiful city has to boast about, including Pike Market, Chihuly Glass and Gardens, one important destination was the Gates Foundation Discovery Center.  The sign at the entry said it all:

I was humbled and chagrined that I had not taken the time to visit this treasure in my own back yard.  The works the Gates Foundation has done to eradicate Polio and diseases I had never heard of such as Guinea Worms left me curious and inspired indeed.

But the sign I stared at over and again said,  “We are impatient optimist.”  That resonated and so today, I want to optimistically ask you to support my friend, Shal Foster on her climb to fight cancer.  Please read below and remember, whether you are working globally or locally – let’ s work together and make a change!

“I can’t sing but I’ve got soul
The goal is elevation”
U2 / Elevation
As you probably all know, I spend nearly all of my time at sea level, so this year I’m shooting for some elevation! 19,341 feet to be exact… back to Tanzania in September, but this time to the SUMMIT of Kilimanjaro. Oh my gosh. I’m terrified, thrilled AND motivated!
You’ll all think that this is some crazy new year’s resolution, but, after a conversation with two of my besties, we decided to up our game and raise nearly $40,000 for Fred Hutch by marching up this magnificent mountain.
This is more than a resolution, this is a game changer for so many people battling cancer. Like many of you, we know and have watched people we love affected by this terrible disease. I would be very grateful for your support and consideration of a donation to this amazing place that is right here in our backyard!
Your donation to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center supports critical life-saving research. In past years they’ve funded T-Cell therapy and the breast cancer vaccine.
If you’d like to make a donation, please click on the GREEN button on the left side that says, “Donate to Shal in 2018.” Thank you so very much!  Shal Foster


Met on a Monday, Married the Next Sunday and Stayed Together Fifty Years: Ms. Patti Austin in the Menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

She can sing, she can sing, goodness gracious can she sing!

Her voice is like velvet, silky smooth, strong, delicate and sultry all at once.

I’m talking about the Grammy Award winning singer Ms. Patti Austin.

Thinking back on her concert with the WDR Big Band at the sold out Philharmonie Hall Friday not too long ago, I’m remembering my moments of befuddlement. And yes, I mean moments as in plural, for this happened a couple of times. The concert featured the songs of the late great Cole Porter. My confusion happened at certain moments during Patti’s renditions when I couldn’t distinguish her voice from the note being played on the trombone. They were fused. I honestly couldn’t tell where one instrument started and the other stopped. This not only held me spellbound, it amazed me. She told me that her father, a jazz musician, had encouraged her as a young girl of 4 years of age to sing what she heard as he played the trombone.

Indeed, her love of music did begin at a very early age. Her doting parents who met on a Monday, married the next Sunday and stayed together fifty years, were very hands on, never allowed her to have a baby sitter and constantly encouraged her creativity. Music was played from the moment she woke up until she went to bed at night and she got it all – from Stravinsky to Ellington to Patsy Kline.

An average day saw a little Patti playing in the garage, which had been renovated into her playhouse, with her dolls and toys, singing along to the songs from her parents’ vast music collection –her favorites were hits from Broadway shows, like ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’. She was no bigger than a doll herself at the time! Think about that!

Patti studied opera between the ages of seventeen and twenty – that’s about the extent of her formal training so one can safely say that she is simply vocally blessed. She surely works at it, but she is nonetheless blessed. She is also fortunate to have had among her mentors, the one and only Ms. Dinah Washington, Sammy Davis Jr. and Menopausebarbee uncle music maestro Quincy Jones.

Whether it be Rhythm & Blues, Pop, Soul, Jazz, or classical music, Patti delivers, crossing all the music genres and she doesn’t just sing songs – she interprets the lyrics in such a way that you believe her when she sings. She puts what I call that ‘Patti Pizzazz’ on it. And thankfully she needs neither theatrics nor stage woo hah to distract you from savouring her talents. It’s a purely pleasurable experience.


One of the kindest and most engaging people you’ll ever meet, I asked Patti what message she’d like to share with our Menopausebarbee readers and she said, “Be who you are because you are magnificent. . . Women can only spread goodness and kindness. . . We have got to get inside ourselves and understand the power we can truly have over people. . . We shouldn’t just raise our children, we must elevate them.”

Amen to that.

You can see a recent posting on youtube of Ms. Austin’s interview talking about her recent project here in Cologne at the Philharmonie Hall with the WDR Big Band. Type in ‘Patti Webster interview Patti Sings Porter’ and you’re there.

I would highly recommend getting your Monday off to a good start and youtube her singing one of my favorites, ‘Quincy Jones featuring Patti Austin Razzamatazz’ .

While you’re at it just go ahead and get your groove on with ‘Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me’ and then you must listen to her duet with James Ingraham – that classic love ballad ‘Baby Come to Me’ and then there’s ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, ‘Anyway You Can’ and the list goes on and on.

Start your week off on a good note. Enjoy!