Newest Blog Entries


To My Children’s House I Go & Stay: 10 Commandments of How to be a Good Guest

December 07, 2018 Margaret Crane

Dear Son, This is going to sound gutsy, but I need to get away. And I have decided to visit you in Montreal. May I stay at your place? I hope you’re not cringing. You’re probably wondering why I won’t book a hotel room, but you did offer to let me stay with you. So, I’m taking you up on your kind offer.   Does this sound familiar? Many of you are probably nodding “yes.” So, it got me thinking, if you’re going to be a house guest in your children’s homes, what are the rules to follow? First off,...


Do unto Others: Where have all the Good Manners Gone?

November 30, 2018 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

What is something that is free and will last forever? Manners. And it seems logical that we should use them generously. But in some circles, good manners have become an endangered species. What are manners? Showing someone else that you’re respectful and considerate of their feelings and actions. Getting down to basics, it can be as simple as saying “please” and “thank you.” It makes the other person feel verified and appreciated. And when you do so, you expect nothing in return other than a big smile. Recently, we came across this headline in the Boston Globe newspaper: “Don’t be...


Mother-Daughter Slow Dance

November 23, 2018 Barbara Ballinger

I have stopped counting the questions. My mother asks me once again whether I will bring food for Yom Kippur, the recent Jewish holiday of atonement. I explain yet again that I am taking the train into the city from my home in the country two hours away rather than driving, so I can’t carry food easily. I repeat to her that I will buy groceries near her and make holiday meals for us to share.  Barbara's mother as a young woman.  Sadly, the repetitive questions often annoy me. I try to keep my cool. And when I’m calm and...


Bah Humbug to Tradition @Thanksgiving: Time to Change it up a Bit

November 16, 2018 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Editor's note: Read to the end to see recipes and to learn the correct technique for carving a turkey.  The younger generation and especially Millennials are supposed to be the ones who are shaking up the universe—moving on to new jobs more often than boomers did and often starting their own ventures; not rushing to buy a home since they’re content with apartment living which they’ve helped to make more luxurious; cooking up a storm, photographing every morsel and posting the images on Instagram for all to see; and rethinking how to stay in touch by bidding landlines goodbye, eliminating...


Is Silence Always Golden? It Depends

November 09, 2018 Margaret Crane

For more than 15 years, I have gone every month to the same beauty shop and to the same colorist. And after I go through the process of a single process to cover the gray in my once dark hair, I am sent to the shampoo section. That’s where a newbie, in training, is assigned to soap and rinse my tresses. And it’s invariably a different person each time. I’ll call her (sometimes a he) Shampoo Person. While Shampoo Person scrubs away, my tongue starts wagging. I have fine-tuned a standard repartee that I use with each new person. It...