... 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.

STOP While Your aHEAD.


While visiting the African American Museum in Washington D.C., I most enjoyed the history and footage of comedic greats, such as Redd Fox, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor and Moms Mabley.  I recall as a child spying and hiding as my parents, aunts, and uncles gathered around the stereo cracking up in raucous laughter to Richard Pryor, “That N**ger’s  Crazy.”

Those were the years my love for laughter and the understanding of discovering humor with the complexity of timing, delivery, and intellectual knowledge came together to alleviate some of life’s most painful circumstances.

Over the years, I have always used my sense of humor to medicate pain.

I continued to study comedy for many years.  I have laughed until I cried with Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, Eddie Murphy and David Chappelle.  As I write this, I am chuckling at memories such as  Joan Rivers saying she didn’t like Asians in yellow… Too matchy matchy.  I visualize my dad mimicking Redd Fox faking a heart attack, claiming the big one was coming or Flip Wilson dressing up as his female counterpart, Geraldine.

I recently watched an HBO special on comedians and what a rough life they lead.  The sound of an audience roaring with laughter is addictive, but the silence or bombed jokes can be devastating.

This morning, I finally took a look at Kathy Griffen’s apology and photo of President Trump’s severed head.  Admittedly she apologized, but as I weigh in on this taste-less footage- I wonder who approved this joke. Kathy’s handlers’ should have told her to STOP while she’s aHead.

Enjoy this footage of Richard Pryor’s debut- RIP and laughter!


Set on the peak of Petersberg, one of the Seven Mountains (Siebengebirge) near Bonn, Germany, and overlooking the countryside as well as the Rhine River, this castle-like structure is situated on . . . prime property.

I’m talking about the Steigenberger Grandhotel Petersberg.

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting yesterday with Mr. Wolfgang Jo Huschert, president of the Golden City Gate, the world’s number one touristic film, print and multimedia competition and his wife Ute.

We were there to personally present the director of this magnificent hotel, Mr. Michael Kain, the awards that the Steigenberger Group won at the Golden City Gate competition held at the ITB in Berlin March 9, 2017; an event I once again moderated and also presented the English version of my book to the international audience.

There were 121 contributions from a whopping 26 countries–so many that the awards had to be nationally and internationally categorized. The Steigenberger Group won the 5-star award for their film, German Hospitality and the 4-star award for their film, JAZZ Hotels. (See Menopausebarbees: Travels, Journeys, and Destinations, March 15, 2017).

Driving up the serpentine hillside driveway to this GRANDHOTEL is even luxurious. The grounds are meticulously manicured and one would never, ever guess that a major renovation is underway. Hats off to Mr. Kain–all of this activity is under his direction.

After the presentation of the awards, we were escorted into the dining room for an exquisite meal. Beyond the panorama windows, one can see the castle ruins of the Burg Drachenfels which was built on the summit of Drachenfels (Dragon’s rock hill which has an elevation of 1053 feet) between 1138 and 1167. Close by is the Castle (Schloss) Drachenburg, built between 1882–84. Baron Stephan von Sarter (1833–1902), a broker and banker, planned to live there but never did. I’m curious and will research to find out why not–but that is another story.

Today, tourists come from all over to take a look inside this castle, visit the ruins and step for a moment back in time.

The breathtaking views really make me wonder what the original settlers and wanderers here thought. There is, after all, evidence that humans were already living on the Petersberg in 3500 BC!

I love this kind of thing. If I could have had my choice, I would have studied journalism and archaeology, but as I mention in my book, my dad was paying my tuition fees and he insisted I study business so that laid that issue to rest.

Mr. Kain was great company! I asked him for his recollection of the worst hotel visitors he’d encountered over the years. He thought for a moment and then said that there are different kinds of ‘worst’. Usually, all the hilariously funny/imaginative/unbelievable tales he shared ended up with visitors trying to weasel out of paying their hotel bills.

I’m so looking forward to a spa day, trek to the ruins and castle visit! Thank you, Mr. Kain for the invitation! And congratulations again.

. . . But for, now it is back to work.


Sweet 16!

We’ve come a long way, baby!

Sixteen sweet years ago today, my life was forever changed when my hysterical, dramatic, compassionate, athletic, wise beyond her years, sassy, chore challenged, fun-loving and fun seeking daughter was born.

I’ve said it before, she’s gone from being an easy pregnancy (not one sick day) and womb-mate to my modern day Odd Couple roommate.  We have the normal mom – teenager moments where she reminds me that although she doesn’t always clean to my standards, I’ve got it easy as she has never caused me an ounce of heartache.

In fact, she’s right.  Taryn, my mini me is often the adult in our relationship.  I learn from her daily as she lectures me on compassion, and having more patience.  She tolerates my wicked sense of humor as we spend countless hours watching our favorite Netflix programs, skiing, dining at her favorite, Din Tai Fung,  working, sporting events,  traveling and hanging out.

My most fondest treasure is that we laugh heartily everyday!  This photo of us reflects the joy Taryn has brought me over the years. We are an open book and discuss everything from morality to brutality as we watch 13 Reasons Why.

We also discuss, everything from vitality to frugality. Last week while we were at a favorite Pizza joint, we were discussing dating, and I told her to never date a cheap man.  She asked me to give an example, and I replied. “If he starts doing the Macarena when the bill arrives, acting like he’s padding himself for his missing wallet, that’s your key it’s over!”  We laughed until we cried at the visual, and I was reminded to change the d in daughter to an l and you get laughter.  Laughter for life!

I love you so much baby girl!

Time to get that motor runnin…. Sweet 16!

Farewell to dollies,
blankies and bows
Welcome to make-up
telephones and beaus

baby taryn and mom


taryn and mom 15




Cannes 2017

Riding along the Boulevard de la Croisette–the prominent road in Cannes, France it seems that one needs a swivel head that turns in 360 degrees because there is simply too much to see on either side of the roadway.

The boulevard stretches along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and is about 2 km long. The Croisette is known for the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, where the Cannes Film Festival (Le Festival International du Film de Cannes) is held. Many expensive shops (Prada, Gucci, Hermes, Longchamps, Burma, Chanel, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Harry Winston), restaurants, and hotels (such as the Carlton, Majestic, JW Marriott Cannes, and Martinez) line the road. It runs completely along the coastline of Cannes. And it is gorgeous. Several of the building facades have the faces of well-known actors painted across them.

There are many shops, bars, restaurants or just seats where one can sit and people watch. You can stroll along the harbor to watch luxury ships, or watch the sports cars parade on the roads. Take a walk on the red carpet at the La Croiset–the experience of a lifetime.

I would dare to say that this street is created for the ultimate glamor and maybe a twinkling of hedonism.

My girlfriends and I, Nora Kahn (journalist for the Austrian news Channel Oe24) and the visagist Azer Günes ( were in Cannes for a private party held by Nana Domena and powered by Lambertz. Engaging in conversation, dancing, meet and greeting, swimming, hot tubbing, celebrating life–there was something for everyone there. Connect and celebrate was the motto of the evening. I tip my hat to Nana for putting together this amazing event. (Nana Domena Media Agency in Cologne, Germany) I personally met some very creative people. One of them being Daniel Newman who writes for the European Cardiology Society Foundation. This is wonderful for my book, Incompatible with Nature and especially now with it being published in the German language; Einen Herzschlag entfernt.

One of the guests here in this gorgeous villa set high in the hills of Cannes was the one and only Jermaine Jackson. Yes, that Jermaine Jackson. Nana introduced us and Jermaine warmly welcomed me, saying that he was with Uncle Q just last week. We carried on our conversation and not wanting to take up too much of his time, I asked him if he would allow my girlfriend Nora to make a short interview for her news station and he generously accommodated her. He is quite the charming and I might add, soft spoken man. He shared with us that his book has recently published, You are Not Alone, Michael Through a Brother’s Eyes. It was written in part with the intent to clear up the misconceptions about the brothers and the family. Sure to be a fascinating read.

It was truly an evening to remember with among other guests Dr. Herman Bühlbecker, Zartha Griffin stem cell business developer, beautiful models, athletic trainers, artists, artistic directors, writers. A wonderful mix of movers and shakers and folks who are making things happen.

Best motivation for a Monday Morning! Thank you again, Nana!

Here’s to Life everybody! Make it happen!

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As Memorial Day approaches, I am sharing one of my classic favorite Daddy stories.

This one is called Daddy and the Million Dollar Cadillac

dana daddy mama  white caddy


While visiting the new African American Museum in D.C. last month, of all the multitude of items on display, Chuck Berry’s shiny red Cadillac caught my attention.

As my daughter prepares to turn 16 next week, we are researching all the popular four wheelers of today, such as Ford Escapes, Jeeps, and  GMC SUVs.  I recall my first car, a white mustang convertible with a hood scoop!



Oh how times have changed.  I’m a Menopausebarbee, and a child of the 70’s,  there was something special about a Cadillac.  Growing up, my mother had a white Brougham convertible and on a long summer family trip to Mexico, my dad stopped in Ontario, California and adorned the vehicle with white wall tires.  My siblings, and neighbor besties, Carrie and Sandra and I spent many a day scrubbing those white walls to keep them pristine.  We had the perfect concoction of Ajax, Ivory Liquid and hot soapy water.  That car was an extension of my Mama’s being.  We spent countless hours driving downtown, to family dinners, the Gilt Edge Cleaners, Dirty Brother’s BBQ or simply to Lucky  Grocery store.  I recall at Our Lady of Mt. Virgin, I was the fortunate name pulled from Sr. Beverly’s box with the honor of crowing the Blessed Virgin. This was a May Day tradition, where the school and community paraded around the block singing, “Oh Mary we crown ye with blossoms today.  Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.”  Mama had bronchitis, but even her cough and sore body could not keep her and her Caddy from driving around the block at 1 mile per hour, until I placed the crown of flowers on the statue of Mary. Yep, Mama and her Caddy in tow. Just like today’s American Express, Mama never left home without that car.

One day, Mama came barreling down the stairs and out the house on a sunny afternoon, and to her dismay, her shiny white Caddy was no where to be seen.  She rushed back into the house to find Daddy sitting at his desk in our home office, where she exhaled, “Gerald, where’s my car?”

Daddy beamed that he had just sold the car in a trade for a view home in our Leschi neighborhood.

He proudly held up the signed title to our new purchase.  Mama screeched as Daddy dismissed her.  The purchaser, P.J. thought he made a great deal as the car could move but the house couldn’t.

Mama was inconsolable, and it took a lot of years for her to get over her rage at yet another one of Daddy’s creative financing deals.

I think about that car often, and it especially comes into focus today on my flashback Friday as nearly forty years to the day, when P.J.  the purchaser drove off in his new ride, we still own that rental today.  Oh how I hoped P.J. enjoyed that Caddy as much as Mama did!  Daddy, may you and that Caddy RIP, I think Mama forgives you.

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

Dim the Lights

And now the children mourn the children…The menopausebarbees dim the light today for Manchester.



Kirkus Book Review –one of the leading voices in book reviews– evaluates over 10,000 books a year, and they have given my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story a stellar review!

I am THRILLED to share this review from this prestigious company!

In part, they said: “There is linguistic richness to be found throughout the text…a parent’s inspiring memoir, full of love, humor, and heartache.”

Read more here:
And go over to Amazon books and see what readers are saying!


Something for Your Toolbox


Motherhood… Some of my favorite memories in photos


It was once said, “Most people will tell you that it is the hardest, most rewarding, rollercoaster job you will ever have- there’s no pay, you are on duty 24/7 and, at times, it seems like there are few rewards.”

So true are these words, however, I would say the rewards are bountiful and the payoff is worth every sleepless night.  When I open the vault of photos and look at the years of  soccer games in the rain, long ballet recitals, swim meets, graduations, dates, love notes, homework, movies, reading, travels, love and laughter- it’s the BEST job I could ever imagine.

The Menopausebarbees wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day!2016-02-26 06.40.16hawaiitbasketballsun valleygrandma helenbrett-in-bluebrett-littlebrett-and-mama-chicagoimg_9803

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One of the wonderful things about writing a blog is that I have the opportunity to showcase some of my very talented friends, of which I blessedly have quite a few.

The light and beauty that these musicians I’ll share with you today are in such contrast to the dark and depraved spirits who conjured up such evil things as baby handcuffs that are on display in the African American Museum that my sister blogged about yesterday: Slavery to Bravery to Beautiful and Beyond- Come with Me!

It’s difficult to even write about them both in one article but I must, for that is just how infinitely immeasurable the contrast really is.

When Sabine van Baaren, whom I refer to as She with the Lovely Smile, invited me to her and pianist Mark Joggerst’s concert, I didn’t know what to expect. Sabine entered the room with a chant that came from somewhere deep within her soul. Could it be Hebraic or the echoes from an ancient Mayan civilization? Before I had time to consider this, Mark began to accompany her on his piano. Everyone sat back, relaxed, or as did a few of their fans, stretched out on pillows on the floor.

This soul sister sings music for the soul. Seriously. She is a healer, a songwriter and has the voice of an angel. Her harmonies are consistent and clean and light and inspiring and make you believe that the world really is a good place. Mark’s mastery of his craft compliments Sabine in such a way that he seems to make the music emanating from the piano keys, float all around her while gently yet at times strongly, telling his own story.

Open your eyes, open your mouth, feel and taste the joy of living”. Lyrics and music composed with the key to all that’s good in life and all the wonders life has to offer–a far, far cry away from a baby handcuff key.

Bravo You with the Lovely Smile and Marc. Thank you for the invite! Looking forward to the next time!