Newest Blog Entries


We’re the Ladies Behind the Bars, Cookies & Other Sweet Treats

November 02, 2018 Barbara Ballinger

Sweet stuff can have a less than sweet reputation. It can be bad for us, all that sugar and carbohydrates. But who can resist a spongy, cakey, buttery Madeleine cookie dipped in rich dark chocolate, a spicy Aspen cookie with cinnamon, raisins, mace and other flavors reminiscent of Fall, or the best American chocolate chip cookie, a hot circular crisp of butter, flour, sugar and chocolate (sometimes nuts, too) that’s delicious and flavorful. Though we’ve written together for 30 years and discussed everything under the sun, we never initially shared about our mutual love for cookie baking and eating that...


Seeds of Change: Moving On

October 26, 2018 Margaret Crane

I live in a little hermetic world in an urban/suburban enclave in St. Louis County, Missouri. Now that I live alone and write from home, most days are fairly routine—writing in the mornings (and some afternoons), taking a 30-plus minute walk outside or on my treadmill in bad weather, saving most afternoons to interview sources for articles, set up meetings or lunch dates, going to the library, and doing volunteer work. Evenings are relegated to staying home, reading and watching old movies, happy hours with friends, going to concerts, or attending lectures or plays. Yet, life is never really that...


Get Out of Your Comfort Zone…and Go!

October 19, 2018 Barbara Ballinger

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone to try something outside your usual routine? Perhaps you prepared a new recipe that required a new skill, tried a new ritual to observe a holiday or volunteered for a project you knew little to nothing about but which you hoped would help others. Did it feel a bit, somewhat or very uncomfortable in the beginning? Was it a disappointment in the end or a way to celebrate that you could venture far afield of what you expected of yourself? It’s so easy to stay with the tried...


A Single’s Surprise Comes as a Trifecta of Random Acts of Kindness

October 12, 2018 Margaret Crane

On an excruciatingly hot, muggy St. Louis afternoon, the kind of heat that causes the sticky black tar on an asphalt driveway to bubble, I succumbed to my independence--temporarily.  It happened when I had to contend with a dead car battery in the parking lot of a day care center where I read weekly to underserved preschoolers. Although there to teach kids to love books, I was the one who learned the bigger lesson.   Since suddenly single seven years ago, my new mantra, “I can do it myself,” was in danger of dying just like the battery in my car...


New Parts for Our Aging Bodies

October 05, 2018 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Just like our cars, appliances, and other electronics, parts wear out and need to be replaced. People are no different as the wear and tear on our bodies often mean time for new parts-- although these do not come with warranties. Even if we didn’t run marathons, we’ve climbed thousands of stairs, hills or mountains and walked miles either for our own good health, pleasure or chasing kids and grandkids. We know because some of us have a record of how many steps we take thanks in part to Fitbit and other health-oriented devices. Each of us has also done...