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.
We are coming up on a year that we have been forced to quarantine at home. At first, it was somewhat enjoyable for us all. Rolling out of bed and lounging in sweats as we virtually worked, while multi-tasking on home needs became the norm. Joking that after dinner, we would meet for Zoom drinks in the Puerta de Livingroom, we got creative to deal with the madness. But after 365 days of looking at the same walls, they truly have begun to close in. Did you find yourself, like me, asking when we return to the “real world” and exchange our Lulu Lemons for those pre-Covid 19 lbs once favorite denims, would you ever really wear those again? Hell, you didn’t wear them much before the extra Covid weight. Did you look at your closet and find that your sweaters piled in complete disarray were shoved in without rhyme or reason, color or season and needed to be cleaned out? Did you watch Marie Kondo as you looked at far too many items that once gave you joy, but now just take up space?
Personally, I discovered my Anti Qs as my fiancé calls my antiques had to go! As Eric pointed out, these were not family heirlooms, but left the rooms looking like error looms. I couldn’t part with my grandmother’s clock, even though it had long stopped telling time. The Bombay chest had been a real find at the Pacific Galleries Auction house and thirty years ago, I was thrilled to be the winning bidder. Nope, not a chance I was willing to part with the matching marble topped end tables, even though the drawers ceased to function and the wood was cracked.
I finally broke down and called my friend, designer, organizer extraordinaire, Michelle Peacock and asked her opinion. Michelle has an ability to visualize and compartmentalize. She looked at my book shelves filled with treasured reads and cleared the cases completely as she re-stacked according to size and simplicity. The eyes eat too I reasoned after looking at the finished product. After a visit to Crate and Barrel, we updated my picture frames. Gone were my golden embossed Henry VIII gilded frames, replaced by clean, contemporary mountings. So I decided why stop now as we headed to the kitchen and organized everything from my vitamins, cook books, to pots and pans. Next up those sweaters, handbags, and an ornate mirror in my closet were replaced by a full length cut glass which are both functional and eye appealing.
I can’t express the good feelings of walking through my home with the chaos, and trinkets which were really dust collectors being gone and now giving someone else pleasure.
If you are in need of someone to give you the courage and commitment to change your surrounding, I strongly encourage you to ring or ping Michelle Peacock 425 941 1440 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Before I pay tribute in this post, I’d like to share that the Kindle version of my book, Incompatible with Nature–Against the Odds:A Parent’s Memoir of Congenital Heart Disease as of this writing is rated:
#2 in emergency pediatrics
#4 in Heart Disease
#4 in Cardiology
To bring awareness to Congenital Heart Disease this week (Feb.7–14), and in honor of all of our all heart warriors, I am GIFTING my multiple-award-winning book until tomorrow Monday February 8, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST). And with this, to all you Heart Warriors, MY HAND IN YOURS.
Now, to the post.
With it being national Black History month AND National Heart Month, it is THE opportunity to celebrate the life of a grandson of a slave who rose up against poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer–one to whom thousands and thousands of people, including my son, (and me) owe their lives.
Vivien Theodore Thomas, born in Louisiana in 1910, had aspirations of attending college and becoming a doctor, but life–in part due to the Great Depression, job lay-offs and the stock market crash of 1929–got in the way.
Thankfully, thankfully and I say it again, thankfully, through a friend, Mr. Thomas got a job as a surgical research technician assisting Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. On the first day of work, Mr. Thomas assisted in carrying out a surgery on a dog. Within weeks, he was performing surgeries alone.
This fact deserves a chapter of its own: Thomas was classified and paid as a janitor, despite the fact that by the mid-1930s, he was doing the work of a Postdoctoral researcher in the lab.
In nearly two years of laboratory work involving two hundred dogs, Dr. Mr. Thomas was able to replicate two of the four cardiac anomalies involved in tetralogy of Fallot, a form of congenital heart defect–and correct them. Just in case you don’t know, an anomaly is an abnormality– I had NO idea what is was when the doctors first said it to me in my son’s case. Among the dogs on whom Mr. Thomas operated, was one named Anna, who became the first long-term survivor of the operation and the only animal to have her portrait hung on the walls of Johns Hopkins where he and Dr. Blalock were working; Dr Blalock as Chief of Surgery.
Through his brilliance, (Dr.) Mr. Thomas eventually came up with a surgical technique in 1946 for improving the circulation in patients whose great vessels (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) were transposed. Viewing the almost undetectable suture line, Dr. Blalock was prompted to remark: “Vivien, this looks like something the Lord made”. (Thus, the title of the 2004 film, Something the Lord Made).
Despite the deep respect Dr. Mr. Thomas was accorded by renowned surgeons like Denton Cooley and Rowena Spencer who credited him with teaching them the surgical techniques that placed them at the forefront of medicine in the United States, as well as by the many black lab technicians, (Dr.) Mr. Thomas trained at Hopkins, he was poorly paid. He sometimes resorted to working as a bartender, often at Dr. Blalock’s parties.
To say their relationship was complicated would be putting it quite mildly. It would remain that way until the passing of Dr. Blalock in 1964.
Finally, in 1976, Johns Hopkins University bestowed Dr. Thomas with an honorary doctorate. Because of certain restrictions, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws, rather than a medical doctorate, but it at least allowed the staff and students of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to address him as Doctor. After having worked there for 37 years, Dr. Thomas was also finally appointed to the faculty of the School of Medicine as Instructor of Surgery.
What I know for sure is that sometimes life is not fair. Living suppressed under systematic racism is certainly one of the most injurious, damaging and detrimental pitfall of life.
As I say in my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story in the chapter named Defiance:
…sometimes the best-laid plans go awry and life isn’t going to allure you or anybody else with one come hither look after another and there will be days the sun won’t shine goddamn it! But what are you gonna do?
“There are cloudbursts and cloudscapes and both will take your breath away. And no matter how sorry you’re feeling for yourself, you’d better believe that nobody, but nobody makes it from A to Z in this life in a vapor of frankincense and myrrh. Sometimes we have to damn near squeeze our noses so tight they just about pop off our faces because life reeks like stinking rotten eggs. Don’t stop shaking your fist at them! The nonbelievers. The naysayers. The he-will-die sayers.
…they don’t know that you come from a long line of warriors: ‘Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.’
Dr. Thomas, because of your skin color you were suppressed and treated so very unfairly, nonetheless you maintained your humility, persevered and became a magnificent example of the contributions people of color can make to society if they would only be allowed to.
Dr. Thomas, Marc and I, and all the heart warriors of the world THANK YOU for not “givin’ up and not givin’ out.”
I urge everyone to watch the film based on this story on YouTube. Something the Lord Made. You don’t want to miss it.
Also available in German: Einen Herzschlag entfernt: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/3775158057
a young Dr. Thomas
my son, Marc
This month as we continue to post about Black History, today I am sharing an interview my son and partner, Brett Frank-Looney did on KUOW The Record this past week. Listen to the link below as Brett discusses the effects of the Pandemic on Housing Providers. He does so with compassion, insights, and foresights, and revelations about the impact of the City Council and new restrictive rulings such as moratoriums on evictions, and the effects that non-payers also known as bad actors who have means to pay, but electively choose not to have on our “mom and pop” business. This business which Brett’s grandparents, Gerald and Theresa Frank, as Black trailblazers started 70 years ago, with zero means, and fought redlining, improper lending practices, and sweat equity has been my life’s work , and is now a third generation legacy. With a strong work ethic, and knowledge instilled by his grandparents, despite the hardships, with local politics, and Seattle’s drug, unsheltered population and lack of leadership, I’m proud of my son for speaking up and carrying the torch.
“My job is to provide quality and affordable housing. I’m not in the business of evicting residents. I work with each of my residents on a case by case basis. We are all in this together.” Brett Frank-Looney
Building named after Gerald Frank in Seattle’s historic Central District.
Housing providers and their residents are still trying to figure out how to balance a lack of work and aid with the costs of rent and mortgages. Bill Radke spoke with two local housing providers, Brett Frank-Looney and Morris Groberman, about how they are dealing with tenants who can’t make rent and the support they need.
WITH his incisive observations, he has been described as “poetically unfiltered and sociopolitically introspective, with an ability to illuminate and interrogate agonizing and poignant topics.”I started reading the Narrative of Frederick Douglas last weekend, not because of February being Black History Month, but because of what the multi-award winning comedian Dave Chapelle replied in answer to a question from the audience during one of his performances. (Yes, I was having a Netflix binge.) Dave is considered amongst his peers as one of the best stand up comedians in the business.
Wikipedia:With his incisive observations, he has been described as “poetically unfiltered and sociopolitically introspective, with an ability to illuminate and interrogate agonizing and poignant topics.” In other words, he is on point.
Rolling Stone has ranked him No. 9 in their “50 Best Stand Up Comics of All Time.”
Anyway, an audience member asked him what his favorite book of all time was. Without missing a beat, he replied, “The Narrative of Frederick Douglas.” I knew about Frederick Douglas, but not intimately. I wanted to know what Dave knew, so I pulled out my Kindle, downloaded and began to learn about the life of this American slave–in his own words.
At my present location, page 958, I have been overwhelmed by several things.
One of the enslaver’s caught his wife–a kindly woman, (initially), teaching the child Frederick how to read. Her husband forbade it immediately, saying “..if you teach him how to read…he will become unmanageable and of no value to his master…” At that point the child Frederick knew that his only way to escape slavery and find his way to freedom was to learn how to read. Teaching himself with the bit of foundation he’d received, that’s what he did. I parallel this to all the years black people have been denied the right to vote, even in this last election. And the repulsive lengths taken in some states–including removing voting boxes.
Another is how the enslaved, these innocent people were starved and savagely whipped with cowhide until their skin shred; th, the Master would go have lunch and then return to whip again the torn, raw and bleeding shreds of remaining skin.
I ask myself: how can a human be so cruel? I mean, how???
In any event, this magnificent man did indeed escape and went on to become a statesman, orator, champion for the abolitionist cause, women’s rights, peace, education and equality for all people, regardless of skin color. Asked by an African American how to survive in the world, Mr Douglas relied, “Agitate! Agitate!” Sounds like, “Good Trouble” to me. The history of it all.
As daddy would say, “Ain’t no givin up and no givin’ out.”
Courage…What we are capable of achieving!
Mr Douglas wrote the Narrative in 1845. It’s not too late to read it.
Roz Brewer, will be the only Black woman serving as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Read that line again!
Roz Brewer, will be the only Black woman serving as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
I’m so beyond proud to know this woman and celebrate this monumental achievement. Roz recently hosted a celebration and conversation with our friend, former Seattle Police Chief, Carmen Best as she left the Department. As I participated in the zoom gathering of all my incredible sisters of color and accomplishment, I recognized more than ever, our time is NOW!
Please help me celebrate Roz Brewer as she paves the way. She “Brewed’ for Starbucks, and now she’s filling the prescription for our futures at Walgreens. Beyond Bravo Roz!
Finally February is here…
January is always a let down for me as I pack up the holiday decorations, clean out receipt files, prepare for end of year taxes, and essentially exist in the frigid cold inclement weather, where I’m too lazy and chilled to go out for a walk.
But, as February arrives with it’s shorter calendar pulling us closer to March, Spring training and Summer, there is a lot to celebrate.
I bet many of you were unaware, that February 18 is National Drink Wine Day! Why do I know this??? Head to Chateau Lill in Woodinville for outdoor wine tasting. The heaters and fire pits will keep you toasty and the charcuterie plate and great wines will definitely delight!
February we also celebrate Black History Month. As I recently blogged, two worthy picks are on Netflix, The Two Killings of Sam Cooke and One Night in Miami.
It’s Heart Health Awareness Month, and as my co-blogger and sister, Tracie shares in her award winning book, Incompatible with Nature, she gets to the heart of the matter.
Although February is always celebrated for Valentine’s Day, for all of you who call it Single’s Awareness Day, look at this link which has something to celebrate every day of the month!
So join the fun, read, learn, cook and explore even during quarantine. From Pay a Friend a Compliment Day, on February 6, to clean out your computer day February 11th. Of course, ladies, you can’t forget your Galentines on February 13th and give your furry friends an extra treat on February 20th National Love Your Pets Day.
February- Crank up the love songs and your favorite love movies.
Ya gotta love it!
This past week marked what would have been Sam Cooke’s 90th birthday. I have long been a fan of the treasured music and that angelic voice left us. For years, my playlist has included his sweet offerings of Cupid, Bring it on Home, and Another Saturday Night. However, after watching Netflix’s Documentary, The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, I was struck by the timeless power of A Change is Gonna Come. It was and is such a poignant offering that is just as present today as it was in 1964.
That sad musing was also reflected in the Netflix film, A Night in Miami. The relationship between Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Jim Brown, and Malcom X explore the responsibility of being high profiled successful black men during the civil rights movement. They lived daily in fear for their lives fighting to seek an end to the Jim Crowe Laws that allowed them to perform for white audiences while black fans were relegated to the balcony or not allowed attendance at all.
A Change is Gonna Come…
Jim Brown was named the greatest professional football player ever, winning an NFL Championship, leading the league in rushing and shattering records.
Muhmmad Ali, nicknamed The Greatest, was a professional boxer, activist and entertainer and is still celebrated as one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th Century.
Malcom X, was a minister and human rights activist during the Civil Rights Movement and was best known as a vocal spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
Sam Cooke was a brilliant entrepreneur, influential as a composer and producer and commonly known as the King of Soul for his vocal chords.
After watching the film and reflecting on their mission, message and sacrifices-including the ultimate sacrifice, their own lives, I share this quote by Dr. Martin L King, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
As Sam Cooke sang, A Change is Gonna Come…
But like Ali in the rink, The fight must go on…
The Menopausebarbees in Memphis visiting the hotel where Dr. Martin L. King was killed.