... 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.

Love… At What Cost? A Test for You!


Cartoon reads: “I suppose every girl dreams of someday getting a big divorce settlement.”

Watching the morning news, seeing anchor, Charlie Rose is now added to the growing list of potential sexual predators, I’m left to just shake my head. I call them predators, as the dictionary defines one as a person or group that exploits others. When these allegations come to light, I immediately find myself looking up the women in these deviant men’s lives. Not the accusers, but the predator’s lovers, wives, and girlfriends. Those now exposed to the public humiliation, shame, and not to mention sexually transmitted diseases.

The cartoon above, I found in Barrons. Yes, it’s funny, but at what cost?
Would Bill Cosby’s Camille, or Harvey Weinstein’s wife, Georgia Chapman, or Charlie Rose’s longtime companion, Amanda Burden, to borrow from her last name, choose this BURDEN?

When I counsel my 16 year old daughter on dating, I always joke I am parking her on the steps to the Medical Department of Harvard University so she can land a brilliant mind. But, as these allegations are coming to light with the likes of John Conyers, Congressman accused of paying a victim $27,000, to silence her, I’m thinking I might land her on the steps of a nunnery.

I recently attended a book reading, Winter’s Love, by Kay Oliver. The story is about two people who found love in the winter of their lives. As a Menopausebarbee, who can’t relate? I particularly enjoyed the workshop session of the reading, where we were assigned the task of Needs vs Wants with a budget of $10 and each trait varying between $1-$3.

What is your priority in a relationship? Wants come and go, but needs are must haves!
For time sake, pick 5… This is not a gender sensitive test- please weigh in!
Confident, Cook/Clean, Employed, Faithful, Funny, Good Listener, Good Lover, Groomed, Handsome, Integrity, Passport, Physically Fit, Spiritual, Romantic, Communicates, Smart, Swag, Tall, Wealthy, Well Dressed.

What was your Most Memorable Christmas gift?

O.K., so I publically posted after the Medic One raise that I would get off my knees and stop begging for the rest of the year. Well, put me on Santa’s naughty list, cause I told a little white lie… But, I can attest this will REALLY be my final plead of 2017!!!

Hopefully, all of you reading this have warm fuzzy childhood memories. Those of the sights, smells, and feasts of family gatherings, egg-nog, and hot coco with stockings hung by the fire with uncontrollable anticipation of St. Nick making a visit to fill your wishes and not with coal!

lite-briteeasy-bake-oven-1970stop-90s-toysamerican girl

Take a moment and recall your most fulfilled Christmas memory. What was under the tree? If you are a Menopausebarbee of MenopauseKen, of my era, it could have been a Six Million Dollar Man figurine, a Skate Board, Lite Brite, Magna Doodle or the coveted Easy Bake Oven! If I didn’t get that Easy Bake Oven, Santa was gonna have to get a new gig!


For my children’s era, it was the Pokemon, Furby and Tickle Me Elmo. My son, now 24 was addicted to Legos. He spent countless hours assembling and marveling at his creations. My 16 year old daughter was raised during the American Girl Doll phenomena and the story books that accompanied.

I’m getting so nostalgic as I reflect, but I would be remiss not to acknowledge the thousands of children who wake up without. WITHOUT a parent, the resources, economic or emotional support to have these memories. I marvel at those in our community committed to making a change for these young at risk lives.

Treehouse helps 7,000 youth in foster care each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs and provide important childhood experiences.

So, today, I’m asking- no lets be real, begging that you join us December 6th at Canopy Blue for our annual Toy Drive for Treehouse, and Shop for a Cause! We will have some of our finest vendors offering amazing discounts and gifts for everyone on your shopping list. But most importantly, we will be collecting gifts (unwrapped please) to give to Treehouse to make spirits bright!

What was your most memorable toy? Think of that and bring it!
With love and gratitude, see you…

December 6 starting at 5 pm
Canopy Blue
3121 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112



Something for Your Toolbox

Hang in there. . .





We all need it!

I got a good dose at the 10th Anniversary of the Frankfurt Style Awards Friday evening, November 10, 2017. This international contest for fashion and design recognizing innovative achievement and ideas was a pure celebration of creativity!

I was thrilled at the invitation from, and delighted to present the German version of my book, Einen Herzschlag entfernt, to Creative Director and mastermind of this year’s extravaganza, Alexander Ackley. Alexander, thank you again! It was truly an amazing evening…all the way down to the last bite of my cranberry sauce at the American After-Show Party which featured Thanksgiving Butterball Turkey “Pret-a-manger”!

The categories for the coveted FRANK trophy award which itself combines the two longstanding traditions of art and fashion were:

#working: “Follow/break/make the rules?…Be unconfined.” Love this!

#sporting: “…the sportswear of the digital age.” Imagine. Let your mind take you there…

#dating: “A perfect outfit doesn’t make the perfect date.” Right?

The angles, poofs, unexpected color combos and fabrics only limited by the designer’s imagination were not suspiciously different, rather deliciously different–an experience of the designs of tomorrow today.

Designers/creationists from 19 countries participated in this competition and though everyone didn’t carry home the Frank Award–there were no losers–that word doesn’t even fit into context here. Let’s say for clarity’s sake, that though not everyone carried home the Frank Award, everyone was a winner.

And here’s why: everyone had a vision.

The minds of these young talents are so open and free to pull up their creativity, to believe in themselves and DARE to DARE! This is what life is all about. And this is an important message I share in my book: Let the naysayers stand on the sidelines. They’re doubtful. We never know when we will find our own miracle in life but we have to believe, be open to the unexpected, have faith and not give up!

Never give up! Happy Monday everybody! Make it work!

Incompatible with Nature-A Mother’s Story:

Einen Herzschlag entfernt:ämpfte/dp/3775158057




Pictures:Svetlana Schuster

Something for Your Toolbox


Living Your Best Life…

Now that we have officially turned back time with Daylight Savings, my internal clock is still askew. I don’t wake to an alarm, so I found myself in a reflective mood, in the wee hours before sunrise as I snuggled under the covers. I read the news and caught up on social media. Friends battling cancer, divorce, loss of family, and loved ones, work hardships, and troubled times for so many. As I was scrolling through my Facebook, this post, Living Your Best Life, appeared in my “On This Day”, timeline, and I’m re-posting as I believe we all need spiritual awakenings, especially during these trying times.

Since I wrote this, my children’s father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in March. We never know what tomorrow brings, so take a moment and forgive, and as my sister shared our Mama’s favorite line, “Let Go and Let God.” My sister, author, Tracie Mayer, also shares this unwavering faith as she has taken the life altering, harrowing birth of my nephew, who has survived an extremely rare heart condition and penned her journey in Incompatible with Nature. This is the story of endurance and love Remember… “If you are going through Hell, Keep on Going!” See post for other Tools to help you live your best life!


The only thing I can liken the experience to was church. It was a Sunday, a day of reflection and rest and for those so inclined church. I felt as if I was in church this past weekend. I’m not talking the Roman Catholic ritual which my grandmother, RIP attended every Sunday at St. James Cathedral. I’m talking the kind of church which resonates in your soul, from the music to the message and you can’t contain yourself in your seat kinda church. This past weekend, I had that spiritual awakening and opportunity for growth along with an estimated 14,000 plus eager attendees at the Oprah Live Your Best Life Weekend. Today, and this week, I want to reflect on the powerful take-a ways for those not in attendance and offer a platform of sharing for those who found it, as I did, life changing.
When I escorted my mother into the pumped up arena with a D.J. playing all my favorite Old School tunes from Stevie Wonder to Whitney Houston, I marveled at the energy of the crowd standing and dancing. I marveled more at the fact that these 14,000 women and (a few good men), from all walks of life, extreme wealth (I personally know some of you) to the ones that could barely afford the cost of the ticket (know some of you as well), had all converged and we all wanted the same thing… The answer to LIVING OUR BEST LIFE. The panel which was a team of Oprah’s handpicked “Trailblazers” all resonated the same truth and that is, each of us born has special gifts, talents and a purpose, and we are co-creating our lives by every choice we make. Right now, we particularly as women are poised in a position that our mothers, grandmothers and the generations before never had the opportunity to even conceive of such a life. Oprah shared how as a poor child being raised in Mississippi by her grandmother, she was told to pay attention to how to boil water as they had no indoor plumbing to wash clothes and hang them out to dry. Her grandmother looked at a 5 year old Oprah and said, “Honey, I hope when you grow up, you too get good white folks to work for like I have.” Oprah knew better than to voice her thoughts, but inherently knew that was not to be her calling. The audience audibly laughed as Oprah shared her grandmother would never believe or conceive that Oprah had indeed found “good” white folks, but in fact, they work for her. It was in those moments of hilarity and irony that I. as well as all the participants reflected on our own upbringing.
I looked at my own mother seated next to me when Oprah shared this story. My maternal grandmother was a life-long domestic. She was a stunningly beautiful woman who raised my mom and her successful siblings on meager means along with her carpenter husband. Based on the time and her circumstance, she didn’t have the opportunity that we as women have today to ask the question, WHAT IS MY CALLING AND WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?
I learned for those of us fortunate enough to be ALIVE at this present time, our PURPOSE is our spirit seeking ways to express oneself. When you don’t know the answer, get still, get silent, listen to your gut until you hear the answer. When the personality comes to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic empowerment.
This week, I will continue to share highlights and notes from the experience, however, today I wish to leave you with this.
We all have daily trials, bouts of hardships and mountains to climb. Often, people tend to look at my life and think I live on Easy Street. I have a successful business, healthy, beautiful smart children, an amazing mother and business partner, I have hobbies, I have a bounty of friends I more than love, I travel, I give back to the community, I am a member of amazing organizations, serve as a board member on charities near and dear to my heart, and I get to express myself daily in this blog with my best friend and sister. God has indeed been generous and I am grateful. As Oprah said, I’m living a life my grandparents could never imagine. But I have had my share of heart break, sadness, and pain where as one of the Trailblazers, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) describes leaving you on the bathroom floor at 2 AM doing the Ugly Cry. Been there… done that! I had a divorce after 22 years I endured several years of care in health decline and then physical loss of my mentor, my father after years of alcohol abuse. I have endured the loss of dear family members, Uncles and Aunts, a step daughter, cousins, financial trials of rebuilding a business that was on the edge of bankruptcy after my parents War of the Roses Divorce and loneliness and fear looking at an unknown future. It all came together at the O Weekend when we built this diagram:
Success Failure
Good Bad
Right Wrong
Victory Defeat
When you look at the two columns- it is the one on the right that has transformed us the most and shaped who we are.
So with that, I choose to embrace the pain, as I know it will help me with my gain.
The best is yet to come!
Stay tuned…..

Words to Live By

Along the onset of my journey in motherhood, trying to keep my son alive in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language and knew no one, two refrains rang in my head and in my heart. Constantly. They were familiar to me as I had grown up with them. Thankfully. I’d like to share them here with you. I am convinced that one or the other or both for that matter will help you too one day.

From my beauty queen mother, the bedrock of our family: “Let go and let God,” she’d always say when I was worried, befuddled or afraid.

And from my father, a temperamental, courageous, successful businessman: “Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out,” he’d always say when I would complain of being tired–and he convinced me that I wasn’t even as a nine year old girl when he would awake me shortly after dawn on a Saturday morning with the news that I had to get up and go to work cleaning an apartment or yard at one of our family held apartment rentals.

I never imagined the day would come when these mantras would sustain my spirit when I faced life and death adversity. The doctors in Germany told me when my son was born that, “he was born incompatible with nature, that he could not survive, and would probably die any minute.”

Well, as the pictures in this IN October 2017 magazine article reveal, this is my son today. He’ll be thirty-three years old this month. It’s been quite a journey indeed, far from an easy one. And today I remember all those times when I spent hours around the clock in the hospital willing my son to live, beyond the point of raw fear and exhaustion and I would hear my parents’ voices.

And I say, Mama and daddy, you were right.Thank you.

Our story, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story is also now available in German: Einen Herzschlag entfernt. Die Geschichte einer Mutter, die für das Leben ihres Sohnes kämpfe. (Translation: A Heartbeat away-the story of a mother who fought for her son’s life.)

Read it and get inspired!

Here’s to Life!

*Amazon link:

*Amazon German link:


City Council…Can I get some help here too? Hello???

I am a second generation landlord. It’s the only job I have known and I take pride in property ownership and the responsibility that comes with providing quality housing for residents. My family has residents that have resided in our buildings in excess of 5 decades!

My parents, a young black couple, started investing in the Central District in the 1950’s and I have watched the area morph from undesirable to a flat bed of progressive growth. I recall my father having my siblings and I put pickets on banks so that we could stop redlining and get funding for section 8 rentals on Cherry, MLK Way, Alder street and throughout the ‘hood.” During the rough times, such as when Boeing hung signs saying the last person to leave Seattle turn out the lights, to the stock market crashes, we landlords have had to survive. We have fought the gang crisis, crack addictions, and starred down loaded guns after calls from domestic abuse in rentals. We have found ways to pay our escalating property taxes, utility bills, rental housing registration fees, and I even recall periods getting loans when rates were over 20%. We have had to purchase high ticket maintenance items such a new roofs, replace siding, carpet, paint, re-do electrical, plumbing, landscape and refurbish parking lots. We had to keep the momentum without receiving concessions. We had to offer “specials” and discounts and sit out vacant units, worse yet, non paying residents, still with an obligation to cover our mortgages and operating costs. We have had to borrow money to make ends meet to cover emergency plumbing disasters, and winter storms, where trees have landed on roofs. We pay for extermination when residents have brought in roaches or bed bugs. We pick up trash and litter and haul couches and furnishing left outside. We pay exorbitant legal fees to go to eviction court after residents refuse to pay. This process can take months and often time the judgements are granted to no avail. We paint over graffiti and try to preserve a neighborhood that you would want to call home.

I personally, as I’m sure many a landlord can attest have had tenant negligent fires which forced insurance rates to escalate, and the claims were not enough to restore the damage. We’ve had units destroyed due to hoarding and poor housekeeping.

I truly object to the classification that Landlords are greedy. We have a job that doesn’t stop at 5 pm when the hot water tank overflows. We have a job that often goes 24-7, with interruptions on holidays or Seahawk games, we are on call for lock outs with lost keys, and loud music being played by neighbors. We have to deal with nervous break downs and tenants such as the one I previously blogged about who had a pee pee fetish and continued to urinate in the common halls until a hidden security camera caught him with his pants down literally. So I ask our city council, what concessions does a Landlord receive? Who is gonna pay for this?


If I can’t pay my mortgage, can I get some help here? 3 months would really help!

Imagine! The VITA Charity Gala 2017!

A dog is more faithful than most other animals — and more faithful than many people.
–The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.

We’ve all heard that common phrase, “Dogs are man’s best friend”.

Saturday evening, October 28, 2017, I had the honour of witnessing this statement come to life once again at the 8th VITA Charity Gala, which was held to raise support, funds and awareness for the VITA organization. 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, an astounding €435,000 was raised!

One donor even anonymously gave €25,000!!

The VITA organization was founded fifteen 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. The freedom and independence these loving and loyal animals offer their charges is amazing.
It is documented that children who before had never uttered a word are now laughing and enjoying a zest for life.


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.

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

Event manager Mr. Edward Priewe, the evening was brilliant! Thank you for your generous invitation and your commitment to this organization.


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

Read more about this spectacular evening in English and German at

Picture with Edward Priewe courtesy of Svetlana Schuster (Svetlanas-Kunstwelt & Fotowelt)









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Please Don’t Ignore!

Please DON’T IGNORE- read and contribute #team Rock Stars.
For the past two weeks my partner in fun, Patti Savoy and I have blogged, shared a hysterical video, posted, tweeted, and blasted out to social media for support. The issue is simple- our Medics are the best and one call away, the life they save could be your own.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”.
For all our friends who have supported this mission, thank you for hearing us!
“It’s takes a village” everyone- as you read these accounts, babies, pregnant moms, children, healthy adults, and grandparents have all made the call and lived to tell. 60 percent resuscitation in our region. My father was one of those statistics when he flat-lined at 56 years old.
Today we ask you to make call $10 per vote! Share with your friends- we can do this!
Team Rock Star

Life-saving Stories