Newest Blog Entries


Pet Peeves: You’ve Got to be Kidding!

November 01, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

We are here to complain and are taking this directly to our readers. We’re referring to pet peeves, you know, those little things in life that get under our skin. They slip in and can join us any time of day. There is no warning and nothing dangerous about them. However, they are as annoying as an itch that can’t be scratched.   To wit, consider these.  -Listening to people get competitive about grief. Scenario: Three women having lunch who prattle on about losing their husbands. Conversation: My husband left me. Well mine died. Mine died in a flash. Mine died...


Want or need a second (or third) career? 50-Plus-Year-Olds are Reimagining Themselves

October 25, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Amy E. Gerwitz At a time when many of her contemporaries are winding down, Amy E. Gewirtz, 62, felt that some of her most interesting, fulfilling days were still ahead. From the time she was a teen, she was drawn to theater. After receiving a law degree, Gewirtz practiced entertainment law. However, after her first daughter was born, she segued into law school administration, initially joining Cardozo Law School as a career counselor and admissions counselor for 10 years. Subsequently, she went to work at Pace Law School, where she started as a career counselor, and then created and directed...


Pass It Forward Now Rather than Make Your Heirs Do It Later

October 18, 2019 Barbara Ballinger

 I live alone in a charming two-story frame vintage home, originally built in 1797 with an addition completed in 1865. The bills keep mounting. It’s not unlike the scenario in The Money Pit, a movie starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long about a couple who buy an old house that needs so much work it sucks their money like a parasite. I can relate and frequently joke, “I work to maintain my adorable home with its picket fence at the front, hydrangeas all around and pretty backyard.” Many of my generation are in the same boat. They get hit with soaring...


Cooking to Preserve a Spoiling Food Connection

October 11, 2019 Barbara Ballinger

There is something substantial, comforting and, I thought, enduring about the sweet side of the food connection between my mother and me. For decades, food has occupied a place in our collective memories: We talked favorite restaurants, new cookbooks, best new food authors, latest vegetable stars—beets! kale! cauliflower! We weighed the merits of cream-cheese versus all-butter dough as well as the importance of nuts in cookies and brownies, and then went deeper to decide if they should be pecans or walnuts.  Little that related to food missed our culinary dissection—both criticism and praise. And through the years, the symbiosis between...


Desperately Seeking Sugar

October 04, 2019 Margaret Crane

  I salivate thinking about confections of spun sugar and butter cream, fruit pies with a crisscrossed crust on top or tarts crowned by glazed fruit—apricots, raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi that look as if they were lifted from a Renaissance painting. I also adore gooey butter cookies, assorted French designer chocolates, thick custards, puddings and decadent multi-layer chocolate cakes with ganache icing.  Sweets are the enemy of our bodies. I know that, yet when they beckon, I feel powerless over my need to consume a handful of chocolate covered nuts or a big chunky double chocolate brownie. I know it’s reached...