... 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.

Man Cannot Live Without Music or Water…

Approximately five years ago, we were at the Montreux Jazz Festival as a segment for the taping of Quincy, which premieres on Netflix tonight was being filmed.  

I, along with my family was fortunate to attend a pre-screening in L.A. last week.

Watching the footage of all the tremendous musical genius minds gone too soon, such as Rod Temperton pictured with my family, Uncle Q’s words resonate, “We cannot live without music or water.”  As you watch the film, you will see legends such as Temperton who passed in 2016, and is credited with songs from my childhood – Heatwave, Boogie Nights, Always and Forever to Thriller, Off the Wall and Rock with You.

It is incomprehensible to imagine a life so full, so blessed, so creative.  From Ray Charles, Leslie Gore, Frank Sinatra to Emily Bear – Bebop to Hip Hop and Beyond!


With Emily and Andrea Bear

As a child, I recall climbing the steps to this 2 bedroom house in Seattle’s Central District where at one time my mom and her siblings shared. From that kitchen, Papa Jones taught us all  – “Once a task is begun, never leave it til it’s done.  Be the labor big or small, do it well or not at all.”


Thanks Papa Jones… Lesson learned.

And we will continue to teach  this for the next generation.

Congrats Rashida- Amazing Job!!!


Something for Your Toolbox

“Prepare your mind to receive the best that life has to offer.”

–Ernest Holmes


The Power of ZERO

I placed an ad in my usual hotspots- Craigslist, Zillow and Trulia for a two bedroom apartment and I received over 500 calls.  I’m not exaggerating.  My voicemail was full, and my phone rang non stop.  Why had my skills of artistically selling my available units  resonated so powerfully, I pondered?  I re-read my post, before I anticipated the myriad of phone calls to return. The unit, a spacious 2 bedroom was in the great walking score of Columbia City neighborhood and near the Lite Rail.  It boasted new granite counter tops, wood floors, the exterior was under complete renovation with new paint, new windows, private balcony, new elevator and access to parks, shops, restaurants and night-life all for $195!  WAIT read again $195 – the power of zero – no I shrieked its $1950!!!

I immediately corrected the error and as I got through the myriad of phone calls and texts, I had the most engaging call with residents seeking affordable housing.  I talked to young men in the military, families waiting on the Section 8 waitlist (which is as long as 10 years), and new transplants to the area.  I talked to people who are driving Uber all night and working all day to make ends meet.  I even had several calls from residents looking to rent and then sublet to Air B n B.

There is without a doubt a very critical homeless problem in Seattle.  As I travel frequently, it has become more alarming to look at the families living under freeways, parks, and without shelter.  A local news segment in Seattle caught my attention a few weeks ago.  Local citizens are using homeless camps as a dumping ground for items they no longer desire.  SHAME on anyone who would stoop this low.  Who do you think is going to remove your old couch, television, and trash?  Rather than sticking the  plight on the homeless, I suggest organizing a neighborhood and homeless camp cleanups~

I hire Junk B Gone Hauling Services  to remove abandoned furnishings weekly, whether they are on my property or public.   Call Booker 206 722-4285

In an attempt to bridge the divide, I will share some insights which are common sense, but then again, we can always use reminders.

As landlords, we face a lot of criticism with the escalating costs of rental housing.  I can attest, as landlords, we do a lot of deficit spending.  Because my family has been at this for so long,  we run a near zero vacancy factor, because we keep rents below market and honor long term residents.  From the landlords perspective, please take a moment and look at these two photos:

  This is the exact unit after a hoarder moved out and we renovated.

As a life-long landlady, here are some of my tips for potential residents and to help keep costs down.

You only get one chance to make a good impression.  Applying for an apartment is like interviewing for a job.  As Mr. Rogers said, “Won’t you be my neighbor?’

  • If your car is a moving trash can, clean it up- no one wants Sesame Street Oscar as neighbor!
  • Maintain timely rental payments.  Find responsible room mates – you don’t want your credit affected by a deadbeat co-habitant.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “But I paid my half.”  We don’t rent rooms.  If you split a meal at a restaurant, you can’t pay for 50% of the steak!
  • Clean up after yourself.  If you smoke outside, the cigarette fairy is not coming to dispose of your habit.   This is definitely not the most glamourous part of my job:(
  • Report plumbing leaks, and problems as they occur.  If there is a no dog policy- don’t try to sneak in a visiting pooch!
  • Don’t leave broken down cars on the lot.

Trust me your landlord notices.  And when you go to make that move, your references and history will speak for itself.


The Menopausebarbee Spotlight on Rashida Jones!

I just had to repost this blog on this amazing young woman who just produced the Netflix documentary/film QUINCY! Dana, my sister and co-blogger and mom and niece and nephew and uncle and aunt were there for the L.A. screening–I know Dana will have more invites to the event later. Can’t wait!

She’s a living, breathing Quincy Jones Production: one of his beautiful daughters and – this grown woman who reminds me of a little girl – is just adorable. Her name: Rashida Jones. Her mother is the actress Peggy Lipton.

I take the simply back lest confusion sets in. There is absolutely nothing ‘simple’ about Rashida Jones.

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of listening to her rock her singing chops live as she shared the stage at this year’s special program celebrating fifty years of the Montreux Jazz Festival with her nephew, popular California-based music producer Sunny Levine. They performed their make you want to get up and get your smooth groove on latest production entitled “Flip and Rewind”.

Good thing I was already standing up!

Although Rashida is one of those terrifically multi-talented people, this could be diva if she wanted to be, keeps all of her equipment in check. There is nothing high-nosed or untouchable about her. Her accomplishments and contributions to the entertainment industry as well as her charitable community work (Stand Up to Cancer, Peace First, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital amongst them) are outstanding.

Aside from singing, Rashida, a Harvard University alumna, is an actress, film producer, screenwriter and comic book author. 

On the television screen she is well known for her roles as Ann Perkins on NBC’s comedy Parks and Recreation, Louisa Fenn on Fox’s Boston Public, and Karen Filippelli on The Office.

She has had film roles in I Love You, Man (2009), Our Idiot Brother (2011), The Social Network (2010), The Muppets (2011), and Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012), for which she wrote the screenplay. She now plays the lead role in the TBS comedy series, Angie Tribeca which is HILARIOUS and just got renewed for a third season. Congratulations Rashi!

I so enjoyed writing this post because just thinking about her makes me smile. She’s not only an intelligent, accomplished and lovely woman – she’s got a kind spirit. Good people. And so today, I am thrilled to share her shine in the menopausebarbee Spotlight!

There’s nothing better than starting your Monday off on a good note! Flip and Rewind everybody!

Love you Rashi!

Come to the Theater!

I am so looking forward to sharing my story and my message this Sunday, September 16, 2018 at the Hansa Theater Musik Werkstatt in Dortmund, Germany. In part, this is what I will share with my audience and I’d like to share it with you too.

We live for inspiration.

Life is full of disappointments and none of us is immune. The improbable seems a lifetime away, but the truth is that we win some, we lose some, and sometimes we lose a lot. We struggle daily to navigate existence and regardless of the magnitude of our challenges, we seek inspirational stories of faith and hope, especially when courage is tested.

Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit.

My message in English: “Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out! (In German: “Aufgeben gibts nicht!”

It is my hope that Marc’s and my story will encourage you to never give up when you have to fight for something in your life–whether it be a health issue or or any other challenge! Hang in there! Be courageous in your conviction and be convinced of your courage.

To achieve our highest potential in life, sometimes we have to be fighters. So be driven. Push. Understand that character is developed in difficult times. Life is too short and too valuable to be nonchalant.

We can defy adversity. We can develop our ability to be resilient in the storm. EVERYTHING  is possible because, as my daddy used to say, “It ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out” and that is the heart of everything!

My fight with adversity is a tale that will give hope and encouragement to anyone facing any battle not of  their own choosing.

Here’s to life.   Never give up!”

Gorillas in our Midst… Ellen DeGeneres Let’s Go Ape!

If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO!  I reminded myself of this phrase as I sat across from a life-sized stuffed gorilla and his baby at the new Wild Ginger near Lake Union.  We had caused enough ruckus when we exited the Lyft and carried the gorillas from the passenger seat into the new hip eatery.  Upon arriving and getting situated at the restaurant, patrons stopped eating and approached our table to inquire what we were up to.

Over the years, I have received a tremendous education from my sister and BFF, Patti Savoy about animal conservation.  In 2015, under Patti’s tutelage, she assembled 11 of our tribe and we raised record breaking funds of over 2.4 million for Jungle Party, the Woodland Park Zoo’s annual fundraiser.  Our focus was on big cats, where I learned there are less than 3200 Tigers left in the wild.

Patti is passionate about wild life and her work with over a dozen trips to Africa to witness up close and personal is a testament to her commitment.

So, when Patti called me screaming, ELLEN IS COMING!  ELLEN IS COMING!  It came as no surprise that I found myself seated in the second row of Benaroya Hall with a t-shirt that said, Ellen, Let’s Go Ape!

(Note Patti in the audience to the left of Ellen  from her recent studio show).




Ellen had been gifted a gorilla sanctuary in Rwanda by her wife, Portia for her 60th birthday.  Ellen’s mission is to raise awareness and vital funds necessary to carry on the works of Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Midst.)  Dian Fossey was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her death in 1985. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda.  As a Menopausebarbee, it is shocking to realize she was only 53 when she was tragically killed protecting these beautiful creatures.

When Patti and I arrived at Benoroya Hall, security scoffed at us with our life-sized stuffed furry friends.

Our cell phones were confiscated, locked in pouches, our bags which could be no larger than the palm of our hand were searched, and so the odds of us carrying in VIP (Very Important Primate and his baby Yola)  as cute as they were was zero to none.  “They are a gift for Ellen!” Patti exuberantly exclaimed.  “Sorry but we can’t allow them.” While sitting at The Wild Ginger,  I had already overcome the objection and had purchased a seat for the Very Important Primates.  “But he has his own ticket.”  The attendant was admittedly overwhelmed as the line bustled with eager attendees to see the live taping for Netflix. So as we whined and waned, “Ellen is saving gorillas.”  “He has his own ticket!” “We are supporting Ellen’s efforts!”  “He has his own ticket!”

The manager took pity on us and sent us to the artist entrance to deliver our offering with a detailed message that not only did Patti hear the cry for attention, she wanted to help!   “We want her to know that we and the City of Seattle support her efforts,”  Patti said.  Looking at the decked out gorillas, Patti had styled them wearing Ellen underwear, gold lockets with Ellen and Portia’s name, an invitation for private and behind the scenes tour with our group of gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo.


As we sat and listened to Ellen’s hysterical routine, tears pooled around our eyes from her antics and life stories.  After the show was taped, she took time for questions and answers.  I stood and asked of all the people who have had an impact on her life, who had influenced her the most, comedic or otherwise.  Ellen took the mike from my hand, and thoughtfully shared, “Steve Allen, Wood Allen before he married his daughter and Dian Fossey.”

Ellen, you are definitely on our list of influencers.  Thank you for your efforts, the laughs, and always using your platform to do good.

Oh, and a very important post script- Patti received a phone call from Ellen’s assistant.  VIP (Very Important Primate and Yola ) are sitting in Ellen’s office and she loves them.  May they be a daily reminder to keep gorillas in our midst and on our minds!

Something for Your Toolbox

A beautiful thought to begin the week and to keep in mind always…

Holding the Bible in One hand and the Devil’s in the Other

I just have to address this. 

This incident took place at the Greater Grace temple Church, Detroit Michigan during the ceremony to celebrate the home going and the life of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. 

For all the details and to view this event you all know where to go. I just have one question and before I get to it, I have to lay it on the table that some people thought that Ariane Grande’s black dress was too short or that she needed a choir robe cover up or whatever. Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion. But everyone does NOT have the right to grope another person-period, and that is exactly what Bishop Charles H. Ellis III did to this young woman. There are videos about this all over the net. This is beyond abhorrent.

Do I need a penis to understand this behavior?

What say ye my brethren?


I for years have joked that when my friends come for a drink, they all become Buddhist. My co-blogger and sister Tracie and I still laugh after a late night party, I was flicking the lights on and off aka the party is OVER style.

But, truth be told, there is no one that likes a party more than me.  I’m still reeling from all the birthday shout outs, calls, treats, texts, drinks, eats, love, and laughter!  My week of celebrations ended when my life-long BFF, Trina Gill Beatty brought me the above kitchen towels.  The message is simple and clear.

The gratitude I feel for each one of you who took the time to show me love is immense.

So if you try to leave, know that…Namawantutostay!

Thanks Shari Leid for this rare candid shot – that’s the look of me over-served, over joyed! xoxoxo

Labor Day 2018

In 1894, Congress made Labor Day a national holiday, to be celebrated annually on the first Monday in September.

Did you know, that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the government even told citizens how to celebrate it?

“A street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations’ of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.”

Now with that in mind, while many of us celebrate Labor Day weekend with barbecues and get togethers and revel in having “Monday off!” let us keep in mind those of us who will have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off, as well as the following week and unfortunately the unforeseable future.

Though by some reports it appears that the economy is on the rebound, don’t kid yourself: for many it is still a challenging prospect. Inequality still exists and wage growth is slow. This is especially frightening because of how it has the ability to change our perspective-employer and employee alike. You don’t have to participate in the rituals of a special denomination to say the following prayer:

“Let us really, really hope that our attempts to reenter the folds of employment are no longer (or will not be) met by companies that shun hiring us- especially us long-term unemployed, out of fear that our skills have eroded or because there is a false belief that our talents are no longer up to par. And let us not let joblessness suck us so deep into a rut that we can not find the wherewithall to get up one more time and try again.”

My father used to come into my bedroom when I was a kid, wake me at the crack of dawn and say, “Come on now. It’s time to get up and get on it. It ain’t no givin’ in and no givin’ out.” I had to clean yards and apartments on the rental properties he and my mother were slowly acquiring. I was tired but I got the hell up. Had to earn and respect my keep. I don’t know if he was aware that he was also giving me the mental munitions I would need to survive in this world. Heirlooms.

And in those days prior to this time, when he and Mama were deep in the struggle and couldn’t even afford hotdogs, he’d go and wash windows for strangers in Seattle’s wealthier neighborhoods and when he finished he’d give the owners of the residence a bill. Of course they’d say that they hadn’t hired his services, but their windows were clean…and so they paid.

Things haven’t changed in the 50 some odd years since then. They haven’t changed in the sense that for most of us, there is still an overwhelming need-demand to be creative to survive.

This is still a tough economy with some of us working two and sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet. And that’s the truth. And the truth is the damn truth.With many living in economically distressed areas, it is still for them, a problem of mammoth proportion. Obviously we are having a difficult time finding a general cure. The only condolence if one can refer to it in this way, is that we are all in this together.We’ve got to respect and encourage and lift each other up. If me sharing one of my Family Heirlooms will inspire you to help yourself and someone else, then I can turn off my laptop. Please pay it forward.

Have fun this Labor Day. I hope the weather cooperates.

If you see a lemonade stand–buy a glass or two. We must support each other in every way we can. We are in this together, we really are.

“It ain’t no givin’ in and no givin’ out.”

Incompatible with Nature-A Mother’s Story
English Version available at:
Einen Herzschlag entfernt
Deutsche Version erhältlich bei:
Deutsche Version erhältlich