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.

Share the Word

It’s February and National Heart Month in America and other countries throughout the world. And I’ve got some info for you–no matter where in the world you live.

Health data compiled from more than 190 countries for the 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Report show heart disease remains the No. 1 global cause of death with stroke remaining as the No. 2 cause of death in the world.

This is a global burden.

In this reading from my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fvu9cBfs8Sk&t=4s) I share some of my personal journey in dealing with heart disease–particularly, congenital heart disease. My mission is to inform that things can go awry in life, but that we can be strong in the storm. That we should never, ever give up on life or ourselves. We can find the tools to be resilient in the worst of situations–sometimes because we simply have no other choice: life happens.

With this monster heart disease, sometimes as in my case, there are no explanations or reasons for the seasons, but I do know that although income, education, family history, ethnicity and age certainly play major roles, the fact is that we can control some of our biggest risk factors that feed this monster–like diet, smoking, inactivity, stress, anxiety, and yes, even depression.

So here’s my presentation to make a difference in our community. You can do yours too by being aware of your lifestyle and spreading the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encouraging everybody around you to live heart healthy lives. We’ve only got one! Let’s use this month to really raise awareness about it and how we can prevent it. This prolific killer affects men, women, children and babies throughout the entire world.

A global issue indeed–get informed because what we don’t know can definitely harm us. Have a Heart–to–Heart. Take care of it–it takes care of you everyday.

And remember: “It ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out”.

Here’s to Life everybody. Share the Word.

Amazon link English : https://www.amazon.com/Incompatible-Nature-Tracie-Frank-Mayer/dp/1537201298

Amazon link German: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057

How Sweet It Is!

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!

Thank you Dr. Buhlbecker! What a night!
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Resolve to be Grateful!

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OK Peeps! We made it through the first month of the New Year- New YOU!
How are those resolutions going?
It is said it takes 21 days to form a habit.
Now that it’s February 1, let’s take a look back on the past 30 days.
Are you hitting the gym? Have you put down the booze? Started a path to finding new work, new love?
Oh the resolutions are indeed endless…
I truly try to live with intention every day and I actually celebrate my new year on the 26th of each month as I was born on the 26th of August and that is my 30 day calendar to rewind and reflect.
However, this year, on January 1, after my meal of BEEF CHEEKS at the celebrated Herb Farm, (still can’t get that texture or taste out of my mouth or mind), I decided to join my boyfriend and tell the cow to moooooove over literally.
I haven’t decided if giving up red meat is a resolution I will keep. I also can’t say I feel particularly better without the protein. I can say, I have found a whole lot of ways to cook a chicken! I can also say, I will never join my guy in finding tasty tofu alternatives, and that a late night Dick’s burger will probably win! And Lord knows, nobody beats the Met for a great steak!
But, I can attest, I have enjoyed having the fortitude and determination to stick to my goal and just say NO when the baby back ribs have been passed!
Last night, I had dinner with dear friends Heidi and Lisa. I asked them what resolutions they made and they said none. They shared they have a gratitude jar which they fill throughout the year of anything and everything that brings them joy. From the simplicity to the surreal and then they open the jar on New Year’s Day and they are reminded of all the blessings they had throughout the year.
Daily, through the grind, negative news, trials and tribulations, we have so much to be grateful for and that is something we can resolve to remember!
I may be a month late, but I’m filling the jar!

Something for Your Toolbox

Two days back in Germany and I find myself in the most talked about Cologne Party of the season! All about Professor Hermann Bühlbecker and the sensational Lambertz party coming soon.

Tomorrow I’m off to Wetzlar to discuss my book, Einen Herzschlag entfernt on Bibel TV. More on that coming soon, too.

For now, here’s Something for Your Toolbox from me: “It ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out!” “Gebt niemals auf!”

Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story:Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Incompatible-Nature-Tracie-Frank-Mayer/dp/1537201298

Einen Herzschlag entfernt: DE Amazon link: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057

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Satisfied…

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“A picture is a poem without words,” Horace

It is said that art as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Admittedly, I have never been an art curator. I appreciate the artistic renderings found in friend’s and my family’s homes, however, over the years, I most often filled my walls with beautifully framed family photos from my ancestors to my children.

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I went through my phase of Sid Dickens tiles filling my walls to antique mirrors to cover empty spaces.

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I have always been drawn to color, rich, deep tones that warm the insides, especially during Seattle’s gloomy winter months. I have collected and framed oil renditions from street vendors on my travels, The Piazza Navone in Rome, to New York City scenes.

This past summer, my boyfriend, Eric and I were dining at St. Clouds Restaurant and my eye fixated on a feature artist on display.
It was a portrait of a couple dancing, perfectly choreographed in tones and intimacy. “A picture is a poem without words.” Eric shared that the artist was a local talent, Willow Bader and seeing that he is an accomplished guitarist and jazz enthusiast, he had a few of her musically inspired pieces in his home. I immediately sensed the familiarity and recalled one he has in his office of a band at El Gaucho restaurant.

I visited Willow’s studio and commissioned a piece, I named, Satisfied. Willow came to my home after a dinner party this past December celebrating Michelle Peacock’s 50th birthday and recreated my table. I am beyond thrilled with the final product. The napkins spent on the china, the gold rimmed water glasses, polished off bottle of Rombauer, colorful glassy baby candles, pencils from a game we played, called How Well Do You Know the Birthday Girl?, all set upon my crimson table cloth, which now hangs in my dining room. I fondly recall the night and this reminds me that life is a banquet, so be satisfied.

If you visit Willow’s website willowbader.com you will learn about her encaustic paintings and art of the Good Life. Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting involves using heated wax to which colored pigments are added. Willow’s work includes paintings about dance, music, food, wine, lovers, flowers and more… Each day as I walk past my commission, I am satisfied! And somethings are too good not to share.
Thanks Willow

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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