Newest Blog Entries


Part IV: Dumped Divorcee

February 26, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

On a dark summer night, Beamer wearing all black—turtleneck and Eileen Fisher (baggy) pants, an oversized pair of sunglasses that covered most of her face, and a midnight black knit stocking cap pulled down to her nose that made her look like the senior version of a cat burglar, rented a Mini Cooper and drove the 250 miles to Sam Tate’s gated community. She waited for someone else to open the gate then followed fast and entered his million- dollar modernist condo complex. She parked, checked the door, which hadn’t been locked—he was always so confident, walked gingerly across his...


Part II: Coats of Too Many Colors

February 19, 2016 Barbara Ballinger

Part II: Coats of Too Many Colors

Everyone says paint is the easiest change artist and cheapest in your decorating tool box. It’s just paint, for heavens sake. That may be for the folks at Farrow & Ball, Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, and all the other paint companies that mix colors so effortlessly, debut a new paint color or two every year, and get to stay up all night drinking wine at focus groups and coming up with clever monikers–Bunny Gray, Heartthrob, Lucky Green, to name just three. However, don’t think for one second that selecting a paint color is an easy magic bullet. It can be a...


Ode to a Proficient Contractor

February 12, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Ode to a Proficient Contractor

“‘Beauty is truth; truth, beauty’–that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” When John Keats wrote his famous “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” these two iconic lines affirm the equation of beauty and truth, and in doing so, acknowledge the geometry of superb and lasting art as the urn. Although this blog is not a poem and it certainly isn’t about art, per se, my prose and praise is analogous to Keats’ sentiments vis-à-vis the way I feel about my new bathroom… and the skilled craftsman, Jason, who transformed it from old, ugly, and dark...


Part III: Dumped Divorcee

February 05, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Patty was constantly rearranging her days like a room full of furniture. Yes, being married had been hard work and being left behind and alone to create a new life was even harder. This was probably why one half of middle aged women who can afford to go off to spas to get rid of gray, wrinkles, and flab and the other half get fat feasting on cheap Hershey chocolates and thin mint Girl Scout cookies they bought to be charitable to their neighbors’ kids. Oh well, what was she going to do with her time? And then it hit...


Part II: Dumped Divorcee

January 29, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

 Once Patty found a job teaching first grade at a public school near the condominium they bought, they joined a temple to meet other young Southern Jewish couples. But she missed her hometown with its simplicity and familiarity–the independent movie theater that served popcorn with real butter, her family physician who was a childhood friend, the dress shop where she could walk in and they knew her size and taste, and the semi-annual sample shoe sales she attended where, because of her tiny sized-5 ½B, she would buy dozens of pairs at bargain-basement prices. She’d come home from those sales...