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.
Maya Angelou said, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
This quote reminds me of my dear friend who shines in the Menopausebarbee spotlight today. Ever since I met Maria Brunner nearly 3 decades ago, she has asked the question, how do we keep helping each other? A mutual friend of ours moved from Seattle and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in Scottsdale. Maria was her new neighbor, and she opened up her home to the overflow of guests who came to visit our dying friend. Maria ran errands, dropped meals, and supported this family, all in the midst of running her company and finding time to rescue pets, do dog washes, serve bagels after church and serve her communities at large. I say communities because Maria makes a mark wherever she goes be it Nashville, Puyallup, Montana, or Arizona.
So, today, I’m honored as we prepare for another major event Maria does for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital called Songwriters Showcase, to share this timely feature on my friend who is indeed a rainbow in many people’s cloud.
Bravo Maria! I’m proud to call you my friend.
There’s a nastiness spreading through homeless camps in King County.
It’s a bacterium called shigella and can lead to an infection called shigellosis, which can leave a person helpless with diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Last week, I rushed through the Safeway on 15th Avenue and witnessed a homeless man enter from the “tent housing park” across from the grocery store who I presume was suffering with this condition. It sickened me as I waited in the checkout line and watched as the checkers all rushed to enforce the mask rule, literally throwing the face shields at him as this man bawled up on the floor near the entry in a fetal position holding his stomach and bellowing in pain. The only item he was offered was a mask. What else could they do?
The Seattle Times reported;
142 cases have been confirmed in the county since October and of that 110 are said to be people experiencing homeless. Hayes said of all the cases, 91 percent are in the City of Seattle and 63 percent needed hospitalization.
“The disease is clearly transmitted in unhygienic living conditions, close quarters, poor access to sanitation and hygiene” says Seattle/King County Public Health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.
Although the checkers were ill equip to offer a more than a mask, today I am sharing what we ALL can and should do.
Compassion Seattle is a group of civic and community leaders working to address Seattle’s homelessness crisis. Our mission is to make an immediate and tangible impact for people experiencing homelessness. We have launched an initiative to direct the city to address this crisis, which has increased dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. We do not believe people should have to live in encampments in our parks and on our sidewalks, which is why this measure supports increases in, and access to, emergency and permanent housing, and mental health and substance use disorder treatment and services for people experiencing homelessness and to keep public spaces clear of encampments.
Supporters can download the petition form directly from Compassion Seattle’s website, obtain signatures of friends and family and return it by mail to Compassion Seattle P.O. Box 21961, Seattle, WA, 98111 or drop it at the Compassion Seattle office. The petition must be printed double-sided in black ink. For further directions on downloading and signing the form, visit compassionseattle.org.
Endorsed by these establishments;
Alliance for Pioneer Square
Chief Seattle Club
Downtown Emergency Services Center
Downtown Seattle Association
Evergreen Treatment Services
Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County
Public Defender Association
SODO Business Improvement Area
United Way King County
Let’s add your name to the list. It is crucial that we gather 33,060 signatures of registered Seattle voters by Friday, June 25 in order to qualify Charter Amendment 29 for the November ballot. We don’t have much time to reach our signature target and we need your help.
No one should have to call this home.
I strongly believe that misinformation is the root of too many political, social, and economic issues we face today. I also respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion once they have researched facts.
Some case in points… To vaccinate or not? “Experts say several diseases are avoidable and making a comeback due to anti-vaxxers who refuse to vaccinate their kids.” I know people of my mother’s generation who had polio, and thankfully, the United States has been polio-free for more than 30 years, but the disease still occurs in other parts of the world.
Google QAnon and it is something out of a sci-fi film- a discredited American far right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles run a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotted against former U.S. president Donald Trump while he was in office.
As a Menopausebarbee, I have had too many conversations with peers on the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy. The benefit-risk ratio must be accessed for relieving symptoms vs an increased risk of certain breasts and uterine cancers.
Daily, we must dig in and get educated on decisions which affect our lives and our futures. KNOWledge. Those who know got the edge!
So, ponder this… Shall the City of Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant be recalled from office for misfeasance, malfeasance and violation of the oath of office based upon allegations that she violated the city charter, city code and state law when she:
(1) Used City resources to support a ballot initiative and failed to comply with the public disclosure requirements related to such support;
(2) Disregarded state orders related to COVID-19 by admitting hundreds of people in City Hall on June 9,2020 when it was closed to the public.
(3) Led a protest march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s private residence, the locaMtion of which Councilmember Sawant knew was protected under state confidentiality laws.
Do the research District 3
And for the record, even though I’m vaccinated, I still mask up! Thank you Sonia Wooten- Gill!
I recall the pure exhilaration my parents expressed watching the legendary Lena Horne perform Believe in Yourself from the movie, The Wiz. They were so moved by this production, feeling the words, and embracing the lyrics as a way of life.
“If you believe within your heart you’ll know
That no one can change
The path that you must go
Believe what you feel
And know you’re right because
The time will come around
When you’ll say it’s yours”
This past weekend, I enjoyed a documentary on Netflix with my mother entitled ‘In Our Mothers’ Gardens’, which showed how maternal lineages have shaped generations of Black women.
One line and lesson that caught my attention in the show was, Imposter’s Syndrome. I shared with my mother how blessed I felt that even though she and my father were not of an era of social media, paid influencers, and reality television, they were their own trailblazers, and never imposters. God really did throw away the mold when He created them. They were never afraid to claim it and say, “The time will come around when you’ll say it’s yours.”
One of the biggest gifts our parents gave my siblings and me was to own our own flavor and not to have Imposter’s Syndrome. I am reminded of this every time my sister and I are together. We are so very much alike being born into the same household with the morals, judgements, and faith based beliefs, yet our styles and interest do not mirror each other. Whereas Tracie is definitely more flamboyant in her attire, I’m more refined. Tracie finds bliss in her solitude, I am more social. A perfect afternoon for Tracie may be exploring catacombs in Europe, where I might find bliss taking a tennis clinic.
We learned early on to study those we admire, however, to always know we were qualified to do whatever we desired, without stealing someone else’s identity. Imposters are insecure.
As my sister Tracie blogged yesterday- Stay in your lane, there’s less traffic there. Or as I like to quote, “Watch when following the Masses, often the M is silent.”
BElieve in YOUrself and BE YOU! After all, looking back each day, you don’t want to have regrets.
She is the epitome of what every woman should be.
She is classy, smart, industrious, hard working, funny, intuitive, confident, caring, nurturing, patient, generous, humble, well read, informed, positive, beautiful, a faithful soul who prayers daily, and is age defying in every way.
She is… our mother.
Growing up, my sisters and I nicknamed our father “Pressure” and Mama, “Precious.”
Today, we celebrate this Precious woman’s 89th year.
As we reflect on the lessons from this woman, our very best teacher in life, they are as vast as the ocean is deep.
She does not believe in boasting. She just IS and she lets her essence speak for itself.
She does everything with passion. Be it a home cooked meal – she says, “the eyes eat too”, as presentation is as important as the taste. The laundry must be folded properly, after all these years, I’m personally still trying to get those fitted sheets aligned as she does.
She doesn’t believe in complaining or having a pity party. She is optimistic, and constantly reminds us to have faith.
She is our counselor, and has been a selfless confidant, and co-parent of our children. She was literally a Queen- for the Seattle Parade, commonly known as Seafair, and a model on the runway and in life. She has traveled the world from Amsterdam to Africa. She is wickedly wise and honest. She will tell you the truth, even when it is painful to hear. How many days have I heard, “Your mama ain’t gonna tell you wrong.” As I head back to my closet to put on Spanx and change my attire. She doesn’t suffer fools, and just has no tolerance for intolerance or as she says, “Common Sense ain’t so Common.” She has wiped our tears and allayed our fears. She’s tough, and there isn’t much that she hasn’t been through in these nearly 9 decades. Divorce, loss of loved ones, health battles, disappointments, a Pandemic, business recessions, and life’s concessions when things just didn’t go as planned, however, she soldiers on. Because She IS. And today we celebrate all that She IS to all of us blessed to know her.
Daddy was a musician, and many years ago, his band wrote a song, called Love is Theresa. She Is…LOVE
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, I recall being a new mom wishing my newborns came with instructions. We weaved through our getting to know each other and non-verbal communication. There was the deciphering of was that a cry of hunger, or a tantrum of wanting to be held? Through the “terrible twos”, time-outs, teenage years and now adulthood, the poem, Children Learn What They Live has been my instruction manual. Our children are born to love and to learn to find love in the world.
The World Lost One of My Heroes a couple of days ago.
Marc, my son, sent me an image of the social media announcement.
And I cried.
Tears of sadness, tears of happiness, and tears of thankfulness. This man whopassed away saved my son’s life.
Dr. Aldo Castañeda joined the angels in Heaven on May 1.
Dr. Castañeda is known as the father of neonatal corrective surgery. He ushered in a new era of procedures for the primary correction of complex cardiac defects, rather than further reliance on palliation.
A pioneer in pediatric cardiac surgery, Dr. Castañeda honorably held the position of 74th president of The American Association for Thoracic Surgery and was the 8th recipient of the Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He established a premier training center for young surgeons, more than 40 of whom are now chiefs of pediatric cardiac surgical programs around the world. His relentless search for better ways to manage even the most complex defects defined his program at Boston Children’s Hospital as one of the most innovative and influential programs in the world. And this is where I had the profound luck to find him: at Boston Children’s.
I came across Dr. Castañeda 27 years ago at a time when I had no internet, no social support groups, and no idea that I should do any of the things that parents are advised to do today when prepping their children for surgery. Armed with only a prayer, I simply hand wrote Dr. Castañeda a letter asking if he could help my son.
Excerpt from Incompatible with Nature-Against the Odds: A Parent’s Memoir of Congenital Heart Disease:
“Dear Dr. Castañeda,
my name is Tracie Frank Mayer. I am an American living in Cologne, West Germany. I have read in an American magazine that you have been named as one of the outstanding heart surgeons in America. I have, therefore, forwarded my son’s medical reports to you in the hopes that you can, if you will, with this limited information, give me your opinion.
At this time, Marc is nine years old. As you can see in the medical reports, he has had two palliative surgeries. With his hemoglobin values rising the past years (now between 18 and 19.8) and his oxygen saturation between 77 and 81, the doctors here in Cologne believe the time is again approaching for us to once again prepare for surgery.
With this limited information here, Dr. Castañeda is it possible that you could suggest a particular operative procedure that would be beneficial to my son?
I am sincerely grateful for your time and attention, and a healthy happy new year from my family to yours,
January 14, 1994
A week later this happened:
“Yes, hello,” a voice said through the telephone. “May I speak with Tracie Mayer?”
“Yes, this is she speaking,” I said.
“This is Dr. Castañeda calling from Boston.”
There was a stunned silence as I felt my skin pimpling into gooseflesh.
“Dr. C . . . Castañeda?” I glanced at the receiver. Had I heard correctly?
“Dr. Castañeda? This is the Dr. Castañeda, the heart surgeon from Boston, the one I wrote a letter to, that I’m speaking with, right now?”
“ Yes, I do think we might be able to help your son.”
Dr. Castañeda was awarded the World Heart Foundation Humanitarian Award and has been named an honorary member of more than 20 professional societies around the world. The reverence in which his trainees held him resulted in the creation of the Aldo Castañeda Society, which has subsequently transformed into the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.
Over the years, I kept in touch with him, exchanging letters. That he actually took the time to answer my letters still stumps me.
I am extremely grateful for all the awards I have received for my book, and I am so very humbled by the appreciation and thanks from the families who have reached for our story for support on their journey.
And then this:
When I immediately googled images of Dr. Aldo Castañeda upon his passing, I was shocked to see numerous pictures of Marc and me, my books in English and German–even a picture of Mama and Daddy holding Marc alongside his pictures. To be on the same page with this great surgeon, this great humanitarian, this great man is simply overwhelming, and it takes my breath away.
May his soul and spirit be eternally blessed. To say thank you would never, ever, ever be enough.
My baby sister and co-blogger Dana wrote a post yesterday, “And the Beat Goes On” about our dad yesterday that took me way back. Way, way back.
I remember a wall…
At the time I was a little girl. The house we lived in at the time was two-storied. We occupied the upper floor while the rooms, community kitchen, and laundry areas on the floor below were all rented out. Whenever any of Daddy’s musician friends came to town, he or she would be welcomed to stay in one of those rooms downstairs. Mind you, this was at a time when people of color were not often allowed to stay in hotels and be treated to the basic common decency offered to their non-colored counterparts, so they would stay with us. It was more fun with us anyway. Those friendships were cherished. Everyone whom I can remember became family and things stayed that way– forever. Legendary entertainers one and all.
Carmen McCrae, LaVerne Baker, Esther Phillips, Little Richard, Dizzy Gillespie, who while swimming with me in a pool, kept dunking me underwater. I don’t remember where the pool was, I do remember thinking he was going to drown me. Many folks stayed with us, Dani, you’ll have to ask mom who else she can recall. I’m very curious myself.
Anyway, back to The Wall.
The Wall lined the hallway of the entire lower floor of the house. Daddy had pencil sketched triangles and squares and circles and prisms –all kinds of shapes along its entirety. Then, he painted his design in all the colors he could find. Abstract, free and bold and avant-garde, Daddy’s masterpiece became more and more animated as each of the musicians who stayed there signed it leaving behind great big scrawling messages.
How I would love to have a picture or even a tiny piece of The Wall today!!
Dani this picture of the Gerald Frank Trio–is one of the treasures of my childhood. Ask Mom, who the other two members are and if they’re still alive.
The Beat Goes On my sister, always in our hearts…