... 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.

The Prescription is in… RX Seattle is Dying

The diagnosis is clear, and the resounding response is it’s time to take action.
Seattle is Dying… What is the RX?

Many blame the City Council and our Government:
“It’s about time someone spoke the TRUTH! We need to vote out these socialist lawmakers” and
“Dana thank you for speaking out. Our city counsel has failed us miserably. Seattle has become a cesspool. Everywhere one looks you see homeless encampments riddled with garbage. It’s heartbreaking to see our beautiful city become this.”

There is resounding anger that our police force is not able to do their job:
“Many policemen and women are resigning in frustration because they aren’t allowed to do their jobs”

I have come to the resolution as my friend, Leslie shared, “
The film speaks to the power of our citizenry to make a difference when our public officials won’t.”

Steve posted,
“The irony of the two richest men in the world living a stones throw away from each other.” And another respondent replied,
“I was sharing this topic with a friend last night. The irony of living in one of the wealthiest areas in the world with some incredibly brilliant human minds… and we can’t figure this out? I’m baffled.”

Granted, we have a drug and mental health problem, which we should allow the police to police illegal substances on the streets. WE MUST VOTE for representation!!!

We must support affordable, sober housing! We need more programs and to support such as Plymouth,
Plymouth Housing’s mission is to eliminate homelessness and address its causes by preserving, developing, and operating safe, quality, supportive housing and by providing adults experiencing homelessness with opportunities to stabilize and improve their lives.

We must support our shelters- Go out on a tour with Union Gospel Mission and walk the streets and see for yourself the plight that exists.
UGM states, “To end homelessness, we must go beyond free meals and safe beds to the underlying causes. Join us as we affirm each person’s value and offer a pathway to a different life.”

Yesterday, I attended one of my favorite charitable luncheons, Treehouse for Foster kids. I am a proud member of their Advisory Board. Our youth, who by the misfortune of their parental circumstance need our intervention to stop this cycle! Volunteer, Donate, Give be it your time, resources, tutoring, clothes or capital.

In the meantime, what WE can address is OPERATION CLEANUP! Just as the Adopt a Highway Program exists, we need companies to underwrite Adopt a Camp. Sober homeless could be employed as a part of the cleanup. When I see a mattress dumped on public property, I call Booker at Junk B Gone to remove it! As a community, that’s a start- let’s get Spring cleaning!

Please keep your ideas coming, and lets put them into action. It’s TIME, it’s time, it’s past time! Get in IN-involved!

Something for Your Toolbox: Picture Perfect

Seattle is Dying… What is the RX?

I finally took an hour and watched the painful, sad KOMO Special report, Seattle is Dying. As a native Seattleite, I can attest, these are not the streets I was raised on. Our beautiful city, with historic streets running from Elliot Bay to Lake Washington, flanked by picturesque mountain ranges has a new nickname- Free-attle. There is no denying, the Emerald City is green, but the symbol may as well be Mr. Yuk. The homeless camps have invaded every neighborhood, freeway, and even disrespected cemeteries. When I entertain out of towners, I too am embarrassed. I explain as I drive over the I-90 freeway, that this is a new Seattle- not the one I was raised in. It’s incredulous to out of towners that one can just pitch a tent and call it home.

We should be outraged as well. This is NOT the norm, nor should it be tolerated.

The issue at hand is this is not only a homeless problem, Seattle has become a welcome mat for drug addiction and the mentally ill. We witness it everyday as crime is on the rise and needles and drug paraphernalia are visible on every sidewalk.

As a landlord, I have to police the halls of my apartment buildings and have added security cameras to cease homeless from creeping in and sleeping in the hallways for shelter. Just last week, I was called as a man had gained entry and was sound asleep with his tattered belongings, startling the residents with his pungent smell. My maintenance supervisor and I awoke him and fortunately without incident he went on his way.

Last weekend, my fiancé and I spent a staycation at the new State Hotel on 2nd Avenue. We woke up Saturday morning and the sun was shining, so we ventured one block to the Public Market. The vibrancy of the beautiful day became somber with the plethora of pan handlers and homeless tucked in store fronts. The smell of urine and garbage was prevalent.

Two years ago, I shared this post:

Addiction Does Not Discriminate…

Twenty plus years later, and he still stands on the corner of 4th and Pike panhandling. As I walk by and look at his pock-marked skin, soiled raggedy clothes, and deteriorating teeth, I recall a glimpse of my former contract laborer. He was young, ambitious, and quite talented when my mom and I hired him over two decades ago to be a part of our maintenance crew. He came from a well off Mercer Island family. He was educated, and privileged, however, addiction does not discriminate and his parents put him out. I shake my head as I approach. S, I say his name as I don’t have the heart to sneak by and avert eye attention. “Dana! hey, come on now. Help me out.” He shakes from withdrawals as he shoves the dirty warped Starbucks cup in my direction. His face is smeared with dirty residue and I can only imagine the last time hot water and soap embraced his skin. His body is a testament to the strength of the human body. He’s still in his 40’s, but after 2 decades of life on the streets without medical attention, proper shelter, and nutrition, I marvel that he is still alive. It is said the eyes are the key to the soul. I stare at him, and I recall the soul of the diligent young workman who offered and stayed in a vacant house we were remodeling to protect the tongue and groove cedar from potential bandits until we could get it hung. “S, You know, I won’t give you money,” I lament. I can’t fathom participating in the addiction. It’s agreed I would return with a bite of food.

The saga continues and it is real. Just take a drive through downtown Seattle where homeless tents are launched next to new construction. Often the honey buckets temporary toilets are shared laboratories for workmen and homeless. The irony of the disparity is disturbing. For those in the suburbs, please don’t think this is just a Seattle epidemic. This disease is contagious and very well could soon be at your doorstep.

SEATTLE and vicinity- our region is sick. If someone or something you love is dying, you fight to save it. We can no longer afford to turn our heads and briskly walk past this crisis. What is our RX to remedy this disease?

Monday Meringue in the Menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

Ah…there she is. Smack dab in the middle between Cuba and Puerto Rico and bordering Haiti: the most visited destination in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic. 

On behalf of The Golden City Gate Awards at the ITB  in Berlin last month, I was honored to present this country with three awards for their film submissions for the 2019 GCA  international multimedia competition. Take a look at my opening remarks about The Golden City Gate and meet Mr. and Mrs. Wolfgang Jo Huschert the founders of this event here:

With it’s idyllic–downright spectacular–beaches, rich colorful culture and astounding nature, the Dominican Republic is an island paradise for vacationers and tourists. Having never been here, I wanted to know more about this land and her vivacious people, so I did some research.

To that end, keeping it on a sunny note this Monday morning, I thought I’d share a few fun facts that I discovered about this country.

The Dominican Republic: 

*rum. Enough said.

*has been enjoying strong economic growth in recent years and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region

* has world-renowned golf courses–talk about teeing off with a view! Do google pictures!

*is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

*has the only flag in the world that uses the image of a Bible.

* is a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons.

*the only place in the world where the blue, semi-precious stone called larimar is found. It most closely resembles turquoise. 

* is the birthplace of the famous fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

*is home to the world’s largest salt lake, Lago Enriquillo, commonly graced by flocks of pink flamingos.

*is the most visited destination in the Caribbean and 

* is also known as the place of the ‘Endless Summer’ 


Ok! Back to reality! It’s Monday morning and as Daddy would say, “It’s time to get up and get on it!” In other words: MondayMerengue everybody!

Nonetheless, Monday Merengue everybody!

Something for Your Toolbox

Blown Away!

When we arrived for senior photos taken by our dynamic professional duo team, Jerry and Lois, I was blown away. Jerry and Lois have captured every milestone in our lives and although Lois is battling serious health challenges, (prayers are lifted at this moment), memorializing Taryn’s graduation would not be sacrificed. After all the timeless captures which Jerry and Lois have taken, I should not have been surprised, but these shots had me blown away. (Note- these are not finished proofs- I couldn’t wait to share!)

Blown away by the confidence my baby girl, Taryn felt with the camera. It was bitter sweet as we celebrated her acceptance to Chapman University on the eve of what would have been the two year anniversary of her father Steve passing. I was blown away at how in the past twenty four months, Taryn has kept her promise to him to stay grounded, study hard, make the grade, stay determined, grow and succeed.

I was blown away as I reminisced of my “mini-me” when I left her as a toddler at Nan Stephens Day Care stare me down with the confident command and uncertainty with the question, “YOU be right back?” I thought of our weekly travel through the 45 minute drive to and from The Ms. Jeanne’s program, Reading Before School, Kumon Math lessons, ballet, swim meets and so much more to arrive at this moment.

Chapman, I send you the best version of myself- be prepared to be Blown Away!

Taryn has that effect….

In the Eye of the Beholder

One thing I absolutely love about my participation in the Golden City Gate Awards at the ITB in Berlin–the world’s largest tourism trade fair–is that over the course of a few days, you can literally go all around the world. Over 180 countries are represented at this fair which offers a truly opportune time to discover distinctly unique cultures and because I am as curious as I am adventurous, this is right up my alley. 

Take the “Ring Ladies” for example.  I’d never seen women like them before.

Because they were sitting right next to the people representing Terengganu, a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia, who were also in their colorful native dress, I assumed they were also Terengganuan. The Terengganuan folks said that they weren’t and didn’t know where they were from. 

Well, somebody had to tell me something. I’d been observing these women  for a while and saw that they neither spoke to each other nor to anyone else. Fortunately I found someone, also a Malaysian native who could speak a bit of English.

“Why do they wear the rings on their legs?” I asked him. “It is a sign of beauty,” he replied. Their legs looked to be no larger than my arms–the lower than my elbow part of my arms. “Are they happy?” I asked him.  “Yes,” he answered. They didn’t look happy. With some gestures and smiles, I got both of the women to smile. Their teeth were jet black. Jet black. All of them–at least the ones a smile would afford me to see. They do this intentionally with the aid of resin from plants. It is also considered to be beautiful.  I didn’t mean to stare, but how could I not? I had to find out more about these women; where they came from and the reason for this jewelry. Briefly, this is what I discovered.

Sarawak is located in northwest Borneo Island, which is the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. Home to tropical rainforests, a huge array of different plant species (for example, over 1000 (!!) different variety of orchids), as well as a highly varied animal species–the state is the habitat of endangered animals, including the borneo pygmy elephant, proboscis monkey, orangutans and Sumatran rhinoceroses. The Matang Wildlife Centre, Semenggoh Nature Reserve, and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuaryare noted for their orangutan protection programs.

Sarawak is also home to the Ring Ladies. The coiled rings these women wear look golden but are actually a mixture of copper and brass. And they’re not cheap. Ladies started putting on the rings at various ages–some as young as ten years while others are older, depending on their parents’ financial standing. When barter trade was still in practice, a mature pig was needed to exchange for a set of these rings so they are indeed a symbol of status as well as beauty.

And you know, this is a very curious thing because it is initially quite painful to put the rings on and all the Ring Ladies grow up with atrophied limbs. Nonetheless, the rings and the women who wear them are considered to be beautiful and therefore the pain worth it. 

This practice, which has been around for centuries, was actually paganistic in nature. Back in the day, according to pagan customs, only girls with the rings were allowed to attend festive ceremonies and do the rejang–the eagle dance. It was considered shameful for a girl without rings to dance and that was why the girls wore them even though no one forced them to.

Furthermore, as wearing the rings was a symbol of beauty, “ringless” girls would have difficulty finding a husband, so the girls of the village chose to wear the rings due to social pressure. 

Appealing? Attractive? Abhorrent? Fascinating for sure. 

And as Margaret Wolfe Hungerford used the centuries old phrase in her book, Molly Bawn in 1878:

 “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” 

And indeed it is. All around the world…

BE -Coming

The energy was intense and palpable. As my generous friend, Dr. Michelle Terry who treated us along with her friend Dr. Leslie Walker ushered us into the Tacoma Dome, Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” blared over the sound system followed by The Jackson 5 ABC song. I held my mother’s hand and we took our seats, and I was reminded of when we attended The Oprah Live Your Best Life Series. The crowd was said to be the largest for this speaking engagement yet, and I’m certain The Dome was filled to it’s 23,000 seat capacity. We watched the flock of attendees- some with familiar faces, old, young, and of various races.

Images of this history making woman rolled on the projector, reflecting her youth and childhood. The photos progressed to her morphing from a Chicago South side precocious, piano playing little black girl, Michelle Robinson to BECOMING First Lady Michelle Obama. I was curious as to how this would present itself. The story of the First African American woman and family of our country. I have listened to the book on tape and am familiar with the journey of this woman, my contemporary in age, ethnicity and motherhood. This daughter who like me lost her father and loves her family immensely. This woman who relays stories of riding in the back of cars when seatbelts were optional. This lady who is a Princeton and Harvard law School graduate, who bravely stated that as we have seen lately in the news, Degrees can be bought. She was REAL.

She was real as she shared her last night in the White house when 8 little girls stayed over and had to be ushered out before the Trumps came in the next morning.

She was real as she shared one of her first home cooked meals after 8 years of a full service staff was a cheese sandwich that she prepared.

She was real as she shared her mother’s hesitancy to move in the White House and how she refused to let staff do her laundry as she didn’t want anyone touching her underwear.

She was real as she talked about the current politics and said, “I miss us too.”

I enjoyed the banter as Jimmy Kimmel asked questions such as, did The First Lady and the President make love the night Osama Bin Laden went down?

But my biggest take away was as I captured on this screen, “You gotta do the work. You have to practice every day who you want to be.” So today and everyday ask yourself, WHO ARE YOU BECOMING. Become and stay REAL. And Always remember… ‘When they go low, we go high.’ Thank you, Michelle Obama!

Arrested Development

My sister and co-blogger Dana brilliantly shined a light on the disgrace being dumped on the late great King of Pop. Since we’re on the topic of disgrace, I’ll keep the ball rolling today. 

As you must know by now, actors Felicita Huffman and Lori Loughlin were arrested for trying to cheat their kids into prestigious universities. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of agreeing to pay $500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters designated as recruits for the USC crew team despite that fact that neither one of them participated in the sport. They were released on a million dollar bond. Huffman released on a $250,000. bond. In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation which involved celebrities, CEOs and other rich and famous folks. The investigation went by the name “Operation Varsity Blues.” 


We see from this that entitlement, power and money can steal from the less privileged and more deserving. I mean, using photoshop to impose pictures of your kid doing what he or she is NOT doing? How low can you go?

I would do anything within my means to help my son, but what I know for sure is that the life struggle is REAL and when it comes down to it, we need to teach our kids to LEARN to RUN THEIR OWN RACE and LEARN LIFE SKILLS. Oh, and did I forget HONESTY? Let’s add HONESTY too.

So my question is, what would be worse:

  1. getting CAUGHT in a CHEATING scandal involving your children?
  2. or KNOWINGLY admitting to yourself and your son or daughter that you DON’T BELIEVE in THEM?

Billie Jean was NOT his lover… But was Billy?

I watched the documentary Leaving Neverland. Trying to keep an open mind to the hideous accusations placed upon my childhood icon. I was sickened and outraged and left to wonder…

Billie Jean was not his lover… but was Billy? “Billy” could be any young innocent child at the hands of this “Smooth Criminal”, sacrificed by their own family for fame on a “Thriller” of a lifetime experience. Could these parents really be told to “Beat it!” when he professed, “They don’t care about us?” Because, ” I Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” “You are not alone.” “I want to Rock to with you.” And “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough.” “Cause your a “PYT.” And it’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

So, today, The Menopausebarbees ask you- when the accused looked at “The Man in the Mirror,” was he guilty or innocent? Was it “Human Nature?” or Just “Bad?” “Say, Say, Say.” What Say you?