Newest Blog Entries


It’s the Most Wonderful (and Unhealthy) Time of the Year

December 25, 2015 Barbara Ballinger

It’s the Most Wonderful (and Unhealthy) Time of the Year

Have yourself a “Merry little Christmas” or a “Happy Hanukkah.” It’s that wonderful time of year when holiday music junkies take note! You can get in the holiday spirit while listening to “Jingle Bells” or “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and other iconic holiday songs or sing them—gathering family and friends, bundling up and heading out into the brisk winter night armed with your voice to do some caroling. And to further fuel the holiday fires, there will be parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting, according to crooner Andy Williams, and candy canes…aglow, if you add in Bing Crosby’s Christmas ditty....


Computing Your Regrets

December 18, 2015 Barbara Ballinger

Computing Your Regrets

We all have regrets. Perhaps not marrying your college sweetheart, bungee jumping when you were young and agile, traveling around the world before settling down to a 9 to 5 job and raising children, or going up in a small plane so you feel like you’re almost flying it. One of my biggest regrets was never mastering those train word problems in algebra class that pop up regularly in Marilyn vos Savant’s “Ask Marilyn?” column in Parade Magazine. When I see them, my eyes and brain glaze over.  I could blame my lapse on Teen Talk Barbie, who pronounced to girls...


Gifts that Keep Giving

December 11, 2015 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Gifts that Keep Giving

It’s nearly holiday time and the ritual of gift giving rises to the occasion like a freshly baked bread. The clichés about giving abound: It’s better to give than to receive. You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. So when we’re celebrating any milestone or holiday, it might be prudent to fall back on the messages embedded in these truisms to be more benevolent and creative in our gift giving. Fortunately, we have picked up...


The 9 Days of Thanksgiving Past

December 04, 2015 Barbara Ballinger

The 9 Days of Thanksgiving Past

Magazines, websites and TV food shows tell us how to get ready for big holidays with lots of food, multiple courses, gorgeous table settings, and invited folks from near and far. But here’s how it –or at least was for me–is in real time and without the sugar-coating! Day #1: Read cookbooks, food magazines like Bon Appetit and Saveur, and The New York Times online for recipe ideas. Roast beef brined? Potato latkes with caviar (the Russians after all are now pummeling ISIS and on our side, maybe)? Faux gravy without the giblets? The voice inside your head screams: “That’s not what you had last year. You can’t...


Write It!

November 27, 2015 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Write It!

Dear Friends and Family, Call us old-fashioned, and we are in many ways, but there are times when emailing and texting just don’t seem to be proper decorum. Yes, it’s better to email or text than do nothing, but more prudent to call, and best to write that old-fashioned note.  Think Jane Austen–or any of your favorite authors and epistolary novelists…who took pen to paper to share their kind, heartfelt words. Make them your muse. Writing a note doesn’t mean composing a Ph. D. thesis, but a few meaty sentences whether you’re writing to say how sorry you are for...