Newest Blog Entries


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...


Dumped Divorcee Finds New Career that Rises to the Occasion

January 22, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Patty Tate, 52, was feeling better, but it took almost two years to reach that benchmark. She could finally say that she had rejoined the land of the living—most days. Yet, there were still many mornings when she’d wake up in a cold sweat and remember that her husband of 30 years had cheated and then dumped her, leaving her almost penniless and certainly alone. Even now, that shroud of loneliness surfaced periodically like a bad smell that nothing could shake. Her initial anger had subsided, however, from when he had said, “I’m leaving. The passion’s gone.” Back then, she...


Best Buds Forever: My Fitbit and Me

January 15, 2016 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

Best Buds Forever: My Fitbit and Me

When my internist suggested I get a Fitbit, a personal tracker, I had never heard of it. Fast forward two years, and it’s become the hottest accessory–more than that double strand of pearls for a cute black dress or a high-end scarf in a variety of prints that can be worn multiple ways, and always looks chic. Initially, I balked, but I begrudgingly bought one to track my steps in hopes of shedding some extra pounds I had put on. I went for the cheapest model, a clip-on in perky green. I programmed it–well, the beau did, so results would...