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The Flint Journal

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sponge: Detroit band at Machine Shop. PAGE c2





LINT — Chris Mick loves being an understudy.

The 27-year-old native of Rochester Hills has played almost every character from Sesame Street in his four years with Sesame Street Live, a traveling performance based on the popular television show that will soon be at Perani Arena. “Oh, yeah, I absolutely love it,” he said of being called upon to play a different role. “It’s a great adrenaline rush anytime you go in. “It’s like bungee jumping or anything. You get that rush.” Mick’s usual character this season is Grundgetta, Oscar the Grouch’s equally grouchy girlfriend, but when the situation calls for it, he can play Bert, Ernie, the Count--almost everyone but Big Bird (he’s too short for the suit) and Elmo (he’s too tall). Which he said doesn’t bother him...but it would still be cool. “There’s a big gasp at Big Bird, and of course everyone cheers when Elmo walks in,” he said. And Grudgetta? “Silence,” he said with a laugh.

Still, he said dressing up like the characters and performing for the kids is a blast. But even inside the suit of a monster, it’s not as easy as it looks. Mick was studying theater at Oakland University when he saw and ad for auditions in the paper for Sesame Street Live. “It was definitely not what I had in mind,” he said in regards to his theatrical career goals, but it sounded fun. Auditioning, he said, was like trying out for any other show — he needed to be what he called a “triple threat,” able to sing, dance and act. “You have to have a good knowledge of and be pretty talented at each,” he said. And being a monster — especially a female one — brings its own challenges, like making the mouth of his outfit move with a device he said reminds him of a bicycle brake handle. “It’s like choreography for your hand,” he said of making Grudgetta’s mouth move to the prerecorded show. “One of the hardest things is being a guy and playing a girl character. I feel more at home in the boy character like Ernie. It definitely tests you,” he said, adding that Ernie is his favorite character to play. “He’s just so lovable and goofy and a practical joker. If you have areally good connection with (another actor), Bert

and Ernie can be the funniest ones on the stage,” he said. The upcoming show at Peranie Arena is called “1-2-3 Imagine.” After seeing postcards from all over the world, Elmo wishes he could visit all of the places. Samantha, the mail carrier, tells him that he can-just by using his imagination. The characters then take imaginary trips to places all over the world. Mick said he particularly likes shows at arena’s, like Perani, because he gets to interact more with the kids sitting in the front rows that he would being on a stage. Mick said this is the closest he’ll get to home during the roughly 10-month tour. He’ll have time to see his family and his parents are driving up to see him perform--but it won’t be the first time they’ve seen the Sesame Street gang live. “I’d seen it as a kid, with my parents,” he said. “They said, ‘Oh you used to love going to see that,’ and I said, ‘I did? I don’t even remember that.’ So it’s kind of cool how it comes full circle.” Sesame Street Live 1-2-3 Imagine will be performed March 21 at Perani Arena. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. To get tickets by phone call Ticketmaster at 800-7453000 or visit the Ticketmaster website.


Grundgetta, Oscar the Grouch’s equally grouchy girlfriend, is Chris Mick’s usual role.

“There’s a big gasp at Big Bird, and of course everyone cheers when Elmo walks in.” — Chris Mick, an understudy for many of the Sesame Street Live characters

Smooth Operation presents Jazz Walk at The Loft BY WILLIAM KETCHUM III WKETCHUM@MLIVE.COM

FLINT — Smooth Operation will present a Jazz Walk performance at The Loft on March 29. The multitalented jazz band has been serving and representing Flint for years. Drummer Steven Banks had abandoned music to focus on a basketball scholarship at Mott Community College until seven years ago, when his cousin Rico Lewis — lead drummer for George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic — inspired him to return. He and guitarist Brent Cimbalik put out ads for musicians in 2008, and they ended up forming two groups: Smooth Operation Quartet and Smooth Operation Funk Band. The former (which performs at The Loft) focuses on different genres, while the latter (which will perform at Encore) keys in on the natural, smooth jazz element. “The Funk Brothers from Motown, they were jazz musicians like we are. But in order

Drummer Steven Banks, above, and keyboardist-vocalist Gerald Blassingame Sr., right, return with Smooth Operation for Jazz Walk on March 29.

for us to do our thing with jazz, we needed to do R&B music, because Flint is an R&B and church music town,” Banks explains, noting that the members can read music — something not all bands can boast. “A lot of clubs want dance music, and we’ll display our versatility by playing that, but we’ll do a jazz gig if they ask for it. We use the other per-

formances to finance the jazz.” Right now, they’re putting together a CD, entitled “Ah Yeah,” to help shop them to festivals. Years past have seen them perform in the Flint Jazz Festival, headline the Saginaw Black Arts Festival and Keep On Keeping On Festival, and the City of Green Festival in Akron, Ohio. They also nabbed six

performances at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, a legendary jazz club that has housed performances by luminaries like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Some report Baker’s as the world’s oldest operating jazz club. Banks is hoping that the album, which should be available for sale by June, will continue the fruitful results. “You can be a bar band, there’s nothing against that,” Banks says. “But I got into this music business to create music that people love, and to

entertain hundreds or thousands of people.” Those crowds, Banks says, are primarily aged between 30 and 70 years old. For that reason, he is excited to have their next performance at Encore, 3503 Beecher Road, instead of downtown like many of their other performances. “Old folks are afraid of going downtown. I know it’s safe, and I would like to thank all of the downtown vendors who have given us a chance to play at their establishments. But

Encore! is off of the ‘forbidden area,’ so some people are more comfortable being there,” Banks explains. He adds that Encore has had renovations, and that other bands’ performances there have built in a mature audience. “We have an older crowd that remembers good feelings when they played Motown music, and heard Miles Davis and some of these other guys. They just want to go to a place where they can relax and enjoy themselves.”


C2 SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012



Detroit band headlines Machine Shop party IF YOU GO


A multitude of bands ranging from Adelitas Way to Morbid Angel have graced The Machine Shop’s stage during the establishment’s 10 years. So when Vinnie Dombroski and the rest of Sponge were asked to perform in honor of that anniversary, they were flattered. “We’ve known Kevin (Zink, co-owner) for years,” said Dombroski, whose band held a CD release party at The Machine Shop in August 2003. “To be brought out there to do the anniversary show, I was kind of blown away. That’s awesome to be asked. I honestly thought we were going to be one of the bands on a multi-band bill. But to headline the show, I thought, ‘I have to call Kevin Zink up to thank him.’” Sponge is headlining the special show on Friday, March 23, with special guests Koffin Kats, Westfall and 151. Hailing from Detroit, Sponge gained widespread notoriety with its debut album “Rotting Piñata.” Hits like “Plowed” and “Molly (16 Candles)” fueled massive airplay on radio stations from coast to coast and were in heavy rotation on MTV in the late ’90s. After “Rotting Piñata” went gold, the band toured internationally, and followed up with the critically lauded CD “Wax Ecstatic,” garnering additional hits and the title track “Have You Seen Mary?” Sponge now is touring in support of its latest EP, “Destroy the Boy,” which is available on iTunes and at shows. Those shows included a recent gig opening for Guns N’ Roses at The Fillmore in Detroit, something that came as a surprise to Sponge. “Oh yeah, that completely came out of nowhere,” he said. “Axl’s had several guitar players in his band; one of the fellas is Richard Fortus. We were on the road with Richard Fortus in ’95, I’m thinking, when we first met him. He was playing guitar for Richard Butler in Richard Butler’s band Love Spit Love. We were on the road together. Richard Fortus is a great guy. Richard Butler’s a great guy, too, for that matter.” Long story short, he said,

Sponge with special guests Koffin Kats, Westfall and 151 When: 7 p.m. March 23 Where: The Machine Shop, 3539 S. Dort Highway, Flint Cost: $15 in advance for the 18 and older show Tickets: 810-715-2650 or the band tried to get Fortus to play guitar on a song by Dombroski’s side project, The Orbitsuns. After months of discussion (and the breakdown of Fortus’ ProTools gear), Fortus said he still was interested in lending guitar to the track. “Then he was like, ‘Do you want to play a show with us?’ I thought he was just joking. ‘I’ll play your show. Just let me know.’ And all of his sudden, his agent called my agent and there we were on the bill. Go figure, Guns N’ Roses at the Fillmore.” The Orbitsuns’ song has yet to see the light of day, as has many new songs Dombroski has written for Sponge. “We’re always working on something,” he said. “We’re always recording in general. We’re trying to get our heads wrapped around the idea of doing a full Sponge record. We certainly have songs but we haven’t quite committed to actually saying we’re going to finish it up We got the ‘Destroy the Boy’ EP; we may round that out and make a full record out of it. We may do that before the summer, I’m thinking. I love to record, It hasn’t been focused on Sponge stuff. It’s been Orbitsuns stuff, Crud stuff. “ Crud is another Dombroski side project. He said he finds it difficult to keep all his acts straight in his mind. “That’s the problem,” he said. “It’s like shooting a gun but not aiming. Someday, when I grow up, I’ll start focusing a little bit more. It gets kind of messy every once in a while. When we go to do a Crud show, we’re playing Orbitsuns songs and we play Crud songs at Orbitsuns shows. They seem to work in both environments. It’s hard to tell. Whatever seems fun at the time is what we do.”

SAGINAW — Author Jeffrey Vande Zande finished writing his novel “American Poet,” a coming-of-age story of a young man who finds himself while fighting to save Theodore Roethke’s Saginaw homestead, in the same second-story sun porch where the Pulitzer Prizewinning poet wrote many of his own works. And even though an overnight stay at the Roethke House left him eerily unsettled, it’s rather fitting that Vande Zande would return on Thursday for a book signing that could bring welcome attention to the Saginaw poet’s work and the restoration of his home. “The house is the focus as Denver Hoptner returns to Saginaw,” said Annie Ransford, president of the Friends of Theodore Roethke. “And there are so many parallels between Denver and Theodore Roethke; I can feel Roethke in the book. “After 14 years, we’re still running into people who don’t know about the Roethke House or even Theodore Roethke. This book could reach a lot of people.” Roethke, who died in 1963, tried to write prose himself, Ransford said, “but he excelled at poetry. The book has definite parallels to that, being about poetry and the house and the history that makes Saginaw unique.” Though Vande Zande, a Delta College instructor, never lived in Saginaw — he lived in Bay City befo re m ov i n g to Midland — teaching at the Ricker Annex in Buena Vista Township and following the Saginaw Spirit hockey team drew his inter- Theodore est to the Ro- Roethke ethke project. Even so, he said, “I didn’t set out to bring attention to it. It’s just the more I worked on the book, the more contact I had with the organization, the more familiar I grew with Roethke and his homestead, the more I realized that, unlike some other books, this is one that could actually do something.” And it was a learning experience, he said, telling how the extent of Roethke’s mental health issues came as a surprise and an inspiration as he realized how the poet refused to be debilitated by his illness and even wrote while in asylums. “It was almost as if it fueled his work,” Vande Zande said. He likes Roethke’s poems, “but they’re not super-accessible,” he said. “He seems like he was a very smart guy, a very intellectual person, and his poetry is not simple, even on the surface.


Jeffrey Vande Zande works inside the sun porch where the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke wrote many of his own works. Volunteers help restore the Theodore Roethke House, 1805 Gratiot, in September 2008.


“Personally, I like his range, and how he re-created himself with every book. I don’t know if I’ve pushed myself to grow like that. There’s something of Saginaw in all his works, too. It makes you think, is it because of Saginaw that he became the poet he was?” Vande Zande immersed himself in Roethke’s world when he spent the night last fall at the restored home at 1805 Gratiot. “In the daylight, it was great,” he said. “My wife took pictures in the different rooms while I went on the old second-story porch where he used to write. It’s where he felt at peace, in his own area.” But that sense of serenity disappeared with the sun, he said. Disheartened by ghost stories and a bed that sank to the floor, he drove his wife home and returned with a cot from his camping gear. A bottle of red wine and a radio playing throughout the night calmed his nerves, at least until one of the room’s lights started going on and off by itself. “Essentially, you’re in a fishbowl, which is an uneasy feeling at night,” he said. “Then that light would go out, and as soon as I got up, it would come back on. I felt pretty silly when I found out it was on a motion sensor.” But the insights brought an authenticity he wouldn’t get any other way. “It was important to have the experience, and I’m glad I did,” Vande Zande said. “It was a long night that I don’t want to

relive, but now I can say I did it, I was really there. “I’m really happy with the way it turned out, even though I take some artistic license. It’s much better than I anticipated.”

The reception is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Roethke House, 1805 Gratiot in Saginaw, with refreshments and a chance to meet the author, followed by a 7:30 p.m. reading from “American Poet.” At 8 p.m., Vande Zande will sign copies of his novel, on sale that night for $15, with a portion going to the restoration fund. The Friends of Theodore Roethke also will sell T-shirts for $15, printed with the cover of the book and “Save This House.” “American Poet,” published by Bottom Dog Press, is also available on, and

Flint 732-4700 • Fenton 750-4200 Grand Blanc 232-4600




The band Sponge will perform at The Machine Shop’s 10th anniversary party on Friday, March 23.

ENGAGEMENT Linari-Stevenson

Dave and Linda Linari of Alanson are announcing the engagement of their daughter, Jamie Linari of Alanson, to Jason Stevenson of Grand Blanc, son of Jim and Connie Stevenson. The bride elect is a 2001 graduate of Alanson Public Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Central Michigan University in 2005 and her teaching certificate in middle and high school English in 2011. She is currently an eighth grade English teacher at Byron Center West Middle School in Byron Center, Michigan, is the country music reporter for Revue Magazine in Grand Rapids, and coaches varsity competitive cheerleading at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. Her fiance graduated from Grand Blanc High School in 2000. He is a 2005 graduate of Michigan State University’s packaging engineering program. He is currently an engineering group leader at Flex Fab in Hastings, Michigan. Jamie and Jason are planning a 2012 summer wedding at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. 4352987-01


in n m usiical minutes



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SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012 C3




MAR. 29

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney / Flint Institute of Arts / Thru Apr. 15

“35th Annual MARVAC Flint Camper & RV Show”, Perani Event Center, 3501 Lapeer, Flint. 11 am-5 pm. 7 Ages 13 and up; $6 senior; free children 12 and under. Info: 517-3498881.

COMMUNITY “Internet Skills: Beyond the Basics”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. 1 pm. Free. Info: 810249-2569.


MAR. 30

“Disney’s “Mulan”, Powers Catholic High School, G-2040 W. Carpenter Road, Flint. 2 pm. $8 adults; $6 children and senior citizens. Info: 810-591-4741.

“Universal Kidney Foundation 3rd Annual Bowl-4-Life”, B’s Bowling Center, 750 South Center Road, Flint. 7-9 pm. $20. Info: 810-744-1117.





MAR. 31


“Make a Glass and Copper Hummingbird Feeder”, J.J. Cardinal’s Wild Bird & Nature Store, 12830 S. Saginaw, Grand Blanc. 11 am. $6. Info: 810-695-8733.

“Flint Regional Science Fair”, Kettering University, 1400 W. 3rd, Flint. None. Contact for details. Info: 810 762-9583.



“Armchair Traveler”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. Tue, 12:15 pm. Free. Info: 810-249-2569.



“Spring Home and Garden Show”, Perani Event Center, 3501 Lapeer, Flint. Sat & Sun, 10 am. $5. Info: 810-7440580.

APR. 3



“Super Saturday Storytime”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. Sat, 11 am. Free. Info: 810-249-2569.


“IMA Friday Fish Fry”, IMA Brookwood Golf Club, 6045 Davison, Burton. Fri, 4-7 pm. $8.95 Adults, $4.95 Children 6-12, Children under 5 are free. Info: (810) 742-2169.



“Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney”, Flint Institute of Arts, 1120 E. Kearsley, Flint. Sun, 1-5 pm; Mon-Wed, Fri, noon-5 pm; Thu, noon-9 pm; Sat, 10 am-5 pm. $7 adults, $5 senior citizens and students with I.D., free for children 12 and under and FIA members. Info: 810-234-1695.



“Performance Anxiety Workshop”, Flint Institute of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley, Flint. 6:30 pm. Free. Info: 810-238-1350 ext 3.

“Flint Symphony Orchestra Classical Concert Series”, The Whiting, 1241 E. Kearsley, Flint. 8 pm. $8 - $57. Info: 810-237-7333.

MAR. 22

“Kearsley Hornet Races”, Knights of Columbus Hall, 8428 Davison Rd., Davison. 7 pm. $10 in advance. Info: 810-244-7000.

“Dr. Richard H. Cox, Trumpet Master Class”, Flint Institute of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley, Flint. 4:30 pm. Free. Info: 810-238-1350.

“Punk Rock Rummage Sale”, Churchill’s Food and Spirits, 340 S. Saginaw St. , Flint. 8 pm. Free. Info: 810-238-3800 .


MAR. 24 - 25

MAR. 22 - 31



“An Evening of Gratuitous Sex and Violence”, Good Beans Cafe, 328 N. Grand Traverse, Flint. ThuSat, 8 pm. $10. Info: 810-237-4663.

“Radio Hour Variety Show (Dinner Theatre)”, Mary Crapo School Auditorium, 8197 Miller, Swartz Creek. 6:15 pm; Sun, 3:15 pm. $18. Info: 810591-4388.


MAR. 23

MAR. 25

“Art exhibit”, Genesys Health Park, 1420 Genesys Pky, Grand Blanc. Free. Info: www. Contact for details. Info: www.

“Faculty Concert”, Flint Institue of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley Street, Flint. 7 pm. Free. Info: 810-237-3112.

“Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra Bon Voyage Concert”, The Whiting,

MAR. 23 - APR. 1

GRADUATION Chrystal Alayna Caldwell




““Little Women: The Musical””, University of Michigan-Flint Theatre, 303 E. Kearsley St., Flint. Fri & Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2 pm. $10$15. Info: 810-237-6520.


“A Flint Festival of Choirs”, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 9020 S. Saginaw, Grand Blanc. 4 pm. $10. Info: 810-687-2854.


“Computers for Beginners: Part 1”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. 5:30 pm. Free. Info: 810-249-

“Armchair Traveler”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. Tue, 12:15 pm. Free. Info: 810-249-2569.

100TH BIRTHDAY! Anna (Weber) Rawley

“Spring Clean Your Life!”, Flint Farmers Market, 420 E. Boulevard, Flint. 9 am-5 pm. $35. Info: 810-2014944.

“Monthly Book Talk”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. 1 pm. Free. Info: 810-2492569.


APR. 3 - 24


Elsie Jerisk celebrated her 90th birthday at a gathering of family and friends at Friendship Anna will be celebrating her Missionary Baptist Church. 100th Birthday at Wallis’ Elsie has three daughters, six with family and friends. Anna was born March 20, 1912 in grandchildren and seven Saginaw, MI. She married great-grandchildren. Howard in Saginaw, MI in Happy birthday Mom! 1935. He died in 1962. She was a member of St. John Vianney. We love you! Anna had one child, Diane, who is pictured with Anna. Diane died November, 2005. Anna and Diane enjoyed traveling, and often spent the Christmas holidays in Williamsburg, PA. 4362940-01

ENGAGEMENT Bailey - Weber

“3rd Degree Burns Concert/ Fundraiser”, Lapeer Country Club, 3786 Hunt, Lapeer. 6:30 pm. $5. Info: 810-441-6672.

Chrystal Alayna Caldwell of Clinton Township, MI received a master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in Dec. 2011. Ms. Caldwell is a Flint Northern High ANNIVERSARY Norman and Carole Carlson School graduate (2001) and Kettering University graduate (2006). She is the daughter of William and Cecelia Caldwell. She is currently employed with General Motors Customer Care and After Sales.


“Birthday Brawl: Flint City Derby Girls Double Header Season Opener”, Perani Event Center, 3501 Lapeer, Flint. 6-9 pm. $12-$15 dollars. Info: 810-744-0580 .

MUSIC “Guest Artist Classes”, Flint Institute of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley, Flint. 4:30 pm. Free. Info: 810-2381350 ext 3.


ENGAGEMENT Sleva - Imperial



Norman and Carole (Coffman) Carlson of Flint are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Steve and Toni Sleva of Flushing are pleased to They were married at the First announce the engagement Presbyterian Church of Flint, of their daughter Ashlee, to March 21, 1987. They have a Geoffrey Imperial, son of blended family of eight children, Drs. Gregorio and Alicia spouses, many grandchildren Imperial. The bride-to-be is and great-grandchildren. Carole a graduate of GVSU and the worked in the antique business future groom is a graduate for 25 years and retired from of Aquinas. A summer Kettering University. Norman wedding is being planned. retired from Buick after 42 years and also ushered for U of M basketball for 25 years and U of M football for 40 years. GO BLUE!


Doug and Tami Bailey of Grand Blanc and Roxane Valentine of Swartz Creek would like to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jacee Melissa Bailey to Matthew Philip Weber, son of Dr. Gary and Marcy Weber of Fenton. The future bride is employed by Hospice Advantage and the future groom will graduate from the University of Michigan in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in business. The wedding will be held in October.

Anna and Dave Bartels of Grand Blanc announce the engagement of their daughter, Justine to Mr. Paul Burdette. Paul is the son of Barb and Bob Burdette, also of Grand Blanc. Justine and Paul are both 2004 graduates of Grand Blanc High School. Justine graduated from Roosevelt University and Paul graduated from Robert Morris College. Both work in management for Caribou Coffee in Chicago, IL. A September, 2012 wedding is planned. 4361406-01

ENGAGEMENT Battles - Hiz


“Fiction Only Book Club”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. noon. Free. Info: 810-2492569.

Randy and Laurie Misekow of Clio are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Amy Jo Misekow, to Michael James Sherman. He is the son of Walter and Teresa Sherman of Burton. The bride-to-be is employed at Clean Cut Dog Grooming. Her fiancé is employed at VG’s in Davison and is a student at University of Michigan-Flint. They will be united in marriage on March 31, 2012.

ENGAGEMENT Bartels - Burdette



ENGAGEMENT Misekow-Sherman

90TH BIRTHDAY Elsie Jerisk

MAR. 24

MAR. 21




“Discover Dinosaurs”, Sloan Museum, 1221 E. Kearsley, Flint. Sun, noon-5 pm; Mon-Wed, Fri & Sat, 10 am-5 pm; Thu, 10 am-8 pm. $9 adults, $8 senior citizens, $6 students, free for children 2 and younger. Info: 810-237-3450. Info: 810-237-3450.

MAR. 27

“Meg Hutchinson Concert”, Greater Flint Arts Council, 816 S. Saginaw St, Flint. 7:30 pm. $15 general admission; $10 members; $5 students. Info: 810309-3951.

“Flint Youth String Orchestra and Flint Youth Philharmonia”, Flint Institute of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley, Flint. 7 pm. Free. Info: 810-238-1350 ext 3. “John MacFarland, Percussion Master Class”, Flint Institute of Music, 1025 E. Kearsley, Flint. 5 pm. Free. Info: 810-238-1350.


Flint. 4 pm. Free. Info: 810-249-2569.





1241 E. Kearsley, Flint. 3 pm. Tickets: $12 adults, $6 students. Info: 810-2377333.

“Urban Book Club”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley, Flint. 6:30 pm. Free. Info: 810-249-2569.

“Universal Xpression Concert”, Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley,





“March Art Exhibit”, Fandangles, G-6429 W. Pierson, Flushing. Free. Contact for details. Info: 810-6592700.

ANNIVERSARY Michael and Cheryl French Michael and Cheryl (Johnson) French of Flint are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on March 18th. Michael and Cheryl were married at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Flint on March 18, 1972.Through these 40 years together, they have had two sons (Jason and Adam) one daughter (Lindsay), and have been blessed with 7 beautiful grandchildren. Michael is currently enjoying retirement from Flint V8 Engine Plant and Cheryl works for Complete Reality out of Grand Blanc and at Hurley Medical Center. Both are still avid bowlers in the Flint area. 4349327-01

Dawn Lee Battles and Matthew Frederick-Hecht Hinz are pleased to announce their engagement. Parents of bride-to-be are James Battles of Lapeer and the late Judy Runyan. Parents of the future groom are Frederick Hinz of Mt. Morris and the late Linda Hinz. Attendants of the couple will be Carissa Battles, Christine Durant, Alia Hinz, Courtney Battles, Shaun Harrison, Jennifer Boros and Anglea Slater, Casey Schaub, Brian Witte, Ryan Gillette, Garret Little, Matthew Campbell and ring bearer Diego Garcia. The June 2, 2012 wedding will take place at the Lapeer Wedding Chapel with a reception to follow at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church Family Center, Davison. Dawn is currently attending Mott Community College pursuing a degree in nursing and works at Rite Aid. Matthew currently works at General Motors Corp., Saginaw Metal Casting Plant. A honeymoon in Hawaii is planned.



C4 SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012


‘Expats’ excellent spy novel







ant to impress the flight attendant on your next trip? Make eye contact. Say “please” and “thank you.” Remove your earphones when asked a question. Be nice to your fellow passengers. Want to alienate him or her instead? Borrow a pen and don’t give it back. Complain that the passenger ahead of you has reclined his seat. Snatch newspapers off the top of her crew bag. Stand so closely behind her in the aisle as she serves beverages that when she bends over, her rear end rubs against you. Yes, they notice that stuff. Those are some of the lessons a reader learns from “Cruising Attitude,” a tell-all by veteran flight attendant Heather Poole. She has seen the good and the bad in a lot of passengers, from

‘Cruising Attitude’ Author: Heather Poole Publisher: William Morrow Pages: 272 Price: $14.99 Poole’s blog: hpoole.wordpress. com rule

the elderly man who made origami birds for all of the kids on the plane to the guy who grabbed Poole’s Egg McMuffin off the jump seat and ate it without apology. Poole loves her job, and her account of it here is fascinating. She writes about her training, in which the topics included not only balancing six wine glasses on a silver tray but also recognizing dozens of weapons and throwing hot coffee at lunging terrorists. We read about the perils of dating in that line of work,

including guys who turn out to be a bit too interested in a flight attendant’s uniform or in sharing her flight perks. A conscientious reader can pick up some tips for flying, such as why you shouldn’t recline your seat too quickly (it smashes laptops), why you should wait until after takeoff to take a sleeping pill and why nervous fliers should sit toward the front of the plane (the rear tends to fishtail during turbulence). “Cruising Attitude” is a fun and breezy read. I’ll remember it the next time I fly. Especially when I order a Diet Coke, which Poole calls “the most annoying beverage a flight attendant can pour for a passenger in flight.” Why? It takes so long. It’s unusually fizzy in the glass, and she has to keep pausing for the foam to subside so she can pour in some more. Thanks to her book, from now on I’ll just ask for the can.

An adopted son returns to Bogota to find his past THE JACKET


On a rainy evening in a small Colombian town, 16-year-old Rita Ortiz gets up from bed to close her bedroom window and meets the eyes of a young man dressed in fatigues. He smiles, and she freezes in panic. Quiet and studious, the main character in Leila Cobo’s “The Second Time We Met” isn’t one to seek out trouble. Rita’s parents warn her not to talk to the guerrillas armed with rifles and lurking along their streets. But Lucas hardly seems dangerous: He’s a boy dressed in a warrior’s clothes who took refuge among rebels after being abused at home. The brief glance they exchange by her window quickly develops into a clandestine affair and ends abruptly when the guerrillas decide to leave. Lucas wants Rita to go with him, but she refuses. It’s only after he is gone, leaving her with just a leopard tooth necklace he kept

‘The Second Time We Met’ Author: Leila Cobo Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Pages: 384 Price: $13.99 rule

for protection, that Rita learns she is pregnant. She is taken to an orphanage, where she gives birth to the child, whom she never sees again. Cobo’s second novel is a graceful, skillfully woven tale of Rita and the son who comes to find her more than two decades later. By then, their lives are remarkably distant: Asher Sebastian Stone is the adopted son of a Jewish couple from California whose search for his biological mother is sparked after nearly losing his life in a car accident. Rita, meanwhile, has seemingly disappeared since giving birth, doing everything

in her power to erase a painful part of her past. Through Rita, Cobo explores the human toll of a violent chapter in Colombia’s history. It isn’t just taboo to bear the child of a guerrilla; it could put the livelihood of her entire family in jeopardy. Her rigid parents also give her little choice but to hide any

interest she has in boys and flee as soon as her pregnancy begins to show. Lucas, meanwhile, is in many ways twice a victim, first to his father’s unrelenting blows and then to his country’s civil strife. The guerrillas take him in like family, but they are both his savior and his torment. Asher’s life is seemingly untouched by such hardships. He is a college soccer star with successful, doting parents. He does not speak Spanish and has never been to Colombia. But while recovering from the nearfatal car accident, he begins to ask questions about his past. His journey compellingly tells of the hardship of trying to find and connect with a past and roots one does not know. It is equally trying for his adoptive parents, who welcome and encourage his search but who also worry about the effect it will have on their relationship with the son they love. Cobo is the executive director of Latin content and

Robotham puts ordinary man in danger BY MARY FOSTER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

As if Joe O’Loughlin doesn’t have enough troubles — he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has split up with his wife and still longs for her return — now, his teenage daughter’s best friend is suspected of murdering her father. Sienna shows up at O’Loughlin’s house hysterical and covered with blood. She quickly disappears, sending police and neighbors looking for her. O’Loughlin joins the search and finds the girl barely alive and unable to remember what happened at her house that night. Tests confirm the blood on Sienna is that of her father, a celebrated former policeman who is found stabbed to

death on the floor of Sienna’s bedroom. O’Loughlin, a psychologist, is asked to help with the case, something he is reluctant to do — and his wife is adamantly against. But he hopes it will help his relationship with his daughter, and he wants to help Sienna. Sienna is very troubled. She certainly has motive for murdering her father, and she has been coping by cutting herself — shallow cuts on her arms and legs just deep enough to let blood flow and relieve the pressure she’s feeling — hence the book’s title, “Bleed for Me.” The book offers a complex plot and well-developed characters. It also allows O’Loughlin to examine his life, which grows more and more complicated as


‘Bleed for Me’ Author: Michael Robotham Publisher: Mulholland/Little, Brown Pages: 432 rule

he tries to hang onto his career and dreams of being reunited with his family. O’Loughlin also is dealing with Parkinson’s, or as he calls it, “Mr. Parkinson,” which he describes as “a progressive, degenerative, chronic but not contagious disease that means I’m losing my brain without losing my mind.” It causes him to have difficulty controlling his arms and legs, especially if he doesn’t

programming for Billboard. Her debut novel, “Tell Me Something True,” traces similar themes of the relationship between mother and child, self-discovery and a search to uncover a secret past. “The Second Time We Met” is a beautifully well-told second novel that will captivate readers once again.


‘The Expats’ Author: Chris Pavone Publisher: Crown Pages: 336 Price: $26 rule

BESTSELLERS FICTION 1. LONE WOLF, by Jodi Picoult. (Atria Books, $28) 2. VICTIMS: AN ALEX DELAWARE NOVEL, by Johnathan Kellerman. (Ballantine, $28) 3. KILL SHOT: AN AMERICAN ASSASSIN THRILLER, by Vince Flynn. (Atria Books, $27.99) 4. CELEBRITY IN DEATH, by J.D. Robb. (Putnam, $27.95) 5. PRIVATE GAMES, by James Patterson, with Mark Sullivan. (Little Brown and Co., $27.99) 6. WOLF GIFT, by Anne Rice. (Knopf Publishing Group, $25.95) 7. DEFENDING JACOB, by William Landay. (Delacorte, $26) 8. CINNAMON ROLL MURDER, by Joanne Fluke. (Kensington Publishing Corp., $24) 9. A PERFECT BLOOD, by Kim Harrison. (Harper Voyager, $26.99) 10. I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, by Sophie Kinsella. (Dial Press, $26) 11. 11/22/63, by Stephen King. (Scribner, $35) 12. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS: A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, BOOK 5, by George R.R. Martin. (Bantam, $35) 13. DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY, by P.D. James. (Knopf Publishing Group, $25.95) 14: TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS: DOCUMENT #5, by Lisa Lutz. (Simon & Schuster, $25)

NONFICTION take his medication. Robotham is a first-class storyteller, delivering a novel that, although melancholy, appeals as both a thriller and a literary read.

Chris Pavone channels spy-fiction superstars Robert Ludlum and John le Carre in his amazing first novel, “The Expats.” Kate Moore leaves her double life as a wife and mother and a covert operative in the CIA when her husband, Dexter, gets a new job in Luxembourg. She tries to be a stayat-home mom (her husband had no idea of her job working for the CIA), and though her former bosses aren’t concerned, she’s worried her past will come back to haunt her. Soon, her new life as an expat begins to unravel. Kate meets a friendly pair from America, and the two couples start spending time together. Dexter practically lives at the office and becomes increasingly obsessed with work. Bored — and a bit concerned — Kate reverts to old instincts, and she begins to investigate her husband and their new friends. It doesn’t take long for her to discover Dexter’s job isn’t what she thought it was and that he might be responsible for the theft of a huge sum of money. Kate also discovers evidence that the American couple are assassins — and that she and Dexter are their next targets. “The Expats” is a skillful and atmospheric descent into paranoia. Kate’s journey as her life falls apart is compelling, and the novel is impossible to put down. Pavone invokes memories of the great writers of spy fiction of the past, and he has the chops to be mentioned with the best of them.


FOR LOSING WEIGHT, PREVENTING DISEASE, AND FEELING GREAT NOW, by Bill O’Reilly, with Martin Dugard. (Holt, $28) 3. KILLING LINCOLN, by Bill O’Reilly, with Martin Dugard. (Holt, $28) 4. POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS, by Charles Duhigg. (Random House, $28) 5. END OF ILLNESS, by David B. Agus, with Kristin Loberg. (Free Press, $26) 6. STEVE JOBS, by Walter Isaacson. (Simon & Schuster, $35) 7. BECOMING CHINA’S BITCH: AND NINE MORE CATASTROPHES WE MUST AVOID RIGHT NOW, by Peter D. Kiernan. (Turner, $27.95) 8. WISHES FULFILLED: MASTERING THE ART OF MANIFESTING, by Wayne W. Dyer. (Hay House, $24.95) 9. INDIVISIBLE: RESTORING FAITH, FAMILY, AND FREEDOM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, by James Robison, with Jay W. Richards. (Faithwords, $21.99) 10. LET IT GO: FORGIVE SO YOU CAN BE FORGIVEN, by T.D. Jakes. (Atria Books, $25) 11. WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY, by Jessica Fellowes. (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) 12. UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand. (Random, $27) 13. AMERITOPIA: THE UNMAKING OF AMERICA, by Mark R. Levin. (Threshold Editions, $26.99) 14. BRINGING UP BEBE: ONE AMERICAN MOTHER DISCOVERS THE WISDOM OF FRENCH PARENTING, by Pamela Druckerman. (Penguin Press, $25.95)

— Publishers Weekly


SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012 C5

Social worker can use ‘gift’ for insight D

ear Abby: I will graduate from college in June and be a social worker. I am psychic, although I dislike that word because it conjures up visions of crystal balls, quacks and scams. For legitimate psychic individuals, it can be overwhelming to live this way. I �rst noticed my ability when I was young, but I repressed it because my folks thought I was imagining things. It began to resurge in college. This school is haunted, so I have become used to daily interactions with ghosts — often in the dead of night. I also notice that during client counseling sessions images will pop into my head. I’m concerned about my psychic ability in relation to my clients. If I pick up on abuse in the mind of a child, for example, am I obligated to report it? Being psychic is as natural


phillips deAr Abby to me as my having blue eyes. I must now �nd the means to manage it. Can you offer me advice? — Gifted in New York Dear Gifted: Instead of using your visions to form JUDGMENTS about your clients, use them to guide you during interviews. If you do, you will then be better equipped to provide concrete proof of the need for an intervention than revealing you “saw” something that others can’t see or wasn’t disclosed to you. It is possible that your gift will give you insight into the individuals you will serve. I wish you success. Dear Abby: My wife has


tell me About it


ear Carolyn: In two months I’m due to be married. I’ve been with my �ancée for �ve years. I do love her. She is a wonderful person and she’s sacri�ced so much for me. She moved when I asked her to, far away from family, friends and career. She took jobs that were beneath her and supported me while I �nished my legal education. She’s always been the giver; I’m the one who takes. Last year she (jokingly, I think) asked me if I would ever marry her. On impulse I bought an engagement ring and proposed. Inertia is leading me somewhere that, for some inexplicable reason, I dread going. I don’t want to be married to her. The horrible thing is — especially for someone who writes and argues for a living — I can’t articulate why. There is no one else; I’ve never been unfaithful or even interested in other options. Sex is still great; we still have fun. I can’t think of one good reason not to marry this beautiful, intelligent, passionate, sel�ess woman. I know I’m doing neither of us any favors by going forward when my heart’s not in it, but I can’t force myself to tell her the truth. I suspect you’ll say I’m still the bad guy for being less than completely honest with her. Your thoughts? — Anonymous

Since the truth is that you don’t want this wedding to happen and you don’t know/ can’t articulate why, that’s what your �ancée needs to hear. She will be hurt, confused, angry — and right. But, remember, you’ve already hurt her; this is just noti�cation. In avoiding that last step, you’re not protecting her, you’re protecting yourself. If she doesn’t dump you upon recognition that she has been a complete sucker for the past �ve years of her life, and instead promises to do whatever is necessary to keep this wedding/marriage on track, then be clear that the wedding is off. And if your truth-telling mechanism fails you, get yourself the most excellent shrink you can �nd to help you sort this out. There’s no virtue in marrying someone you don’t want to marry. Any always-been-the-givers out there who feel a stab of recognition? Please take heed. Write to Carolyn Hax at Tell Me About It, Sunday Source, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071. Email:

Dear Living in Hell: The marriage you have described isn’t “living,” it is existing. Insist, as a condition of staying in the marriage, that your wife have a thorough physical and psychological evaluation. She appears to be depressed, withdrawn and possibly not in touch with reality. Her physical health is also at risk. Not every medication works on everyone. Your wife’s weight gain may have made the dose she was taking ineffective — or she may need a combination of drugs and talk therapy. Clearly she isn’t happy in your marriage anymore either, if she’s escaping into romance novels instead of having a relationship with you. Please get her the help she appears to so desperately need. Write Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or

Friend tires of delivery duties


Tell fiancée the truth

turned into a bona �de slug! We have been married 30 years. For half of them she stayed �t and trim, but over the past 15 she has put on 100 pounds and refuses to try to lose any of it. She also refuses to cook. I have to cook my own meals or we eat out. She no longer cleans (we pay a maid) or has sex with me. She is obviously depressed and has taken several medications over the years to no avail. She has had lab work done, but nothing shows up. Because she doesn’t have a job, she sits around in her pajamas all day playing on the computer or reading romance novels. She’ll do laundry, but only after a month, when there’s nothing left to wear. I have tried everything I can think of to help her. I dread going home every night. Advice, please? — Living in Hell in West Virginia


ear Harriette: My friend always asks me to pick up things for him when he knows I’m coming over. It’s always something small, like a coffee, and he always pays me back, but he asks me to do this whenever I come over. I’m starting to �nd it kind of strange. What should I do? — Tired of Fetching, Chicago Dear Tired of Fetching: Guess what? You don’t have to agree to all of your friend’s requests if they bother you. It’s perfectly OK to say, “This time I’m just bringing myself!” You may want to dig a little deeper. Is something going on that would make it dif�cult for your friend to take care of simple tasks on his own? Is he homebound or relatively immobile? If you aren’t sure, why not ask him? If your friend is dealing with some kind of ailment, I’m sure you would be happy to continue fetching things for him. If it turns out to be an act of manipulation, you can �gure that out by talking to him about it directly. And



sense & sensitivity if that’s the case, you can put on the brakes. Dear Harriette: Do you think it’s wrong to meddle in a friend’s potential divorce? Last week I received a phone call from my friend, saying he is no longer happy in his relationship and he wants to divorce his wife. After he �nished discussing his problems, my friend asked me to walk him through the process of divorce. (I got divorced a few years ago.) I told my friend that I was uncomfortable and would not help him with the process to break up the marriage. Do you think I did the right thing in saying no? — Concerned Friend, Memphis, Tenn. Dear CConcerned Friend: It’s one thing to actually help someone get divorced and another to talk about your own experience.

Since you went down this path already, why don’t you just tell your story? You can explain how the divorce came to be — including the messy details, emotional drama and any other discomforts or regrets you may have. You can talk about the relationship that you have with your ex now and whether it works for you. You can also tell your friend that you choose to remain neutral about his choice. Explain that you know how uncomfortable and challenging divorce can be and that you don’t want to be in the middle of his marriage or divorce, should that happen. Tell him that you care about him and support him, but that you intend to stay out of the details of his business. The one thing you can do before stepping away from the divorce story is to give him your divorce lawyer’s contact information, IF you thought the lawyer was good. Write to Harriette Cole at United Feature Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Email:

Wife’s ‘friend’ worrisome Q

I recently discovered that my wife has connected with an old �ame through Facebook. She keeps telling me it’s not a big deal, but I think it is. Do I have a right to be angry and to tell her not to talk to this guy?


This has become one of those gray areas that aren’t exactly seen as “cheating.” As innocent as it may seem to reconnect with a high school sweetheart, it’s a recipe for disaster and it can devastate trust in marriage. The deeper motivation behind connecting with someone from the past is to �irt with the question, “What if?” It’s the stuff romantic comedies are made of. What if I had chosen differently? Would my life be any better? I certainly believe you should be alarmed. You have the right to defend your marriage and to have a “healthy jealousy” for your wife. However, instead of getting angry, you may garner her attention more readily by expressing your hurt and concern for your marriage. If you react in anger and demand that she break off communication with her old boyfriend, she’s likely to feel controlled or threatened. Even if you succeed in convincing her to sever ties, you haven’t really addressed your marriage problem. The real issues are trust and �delity. Her rekindling an old �ame opens a door

JIM DALY DR. JULI SLATTERY FOCUS ON THE FAMILY that can easily lead to an emotional or sexual affair. Even if it never develops past playful banter, it can undermine intimacy and con�dence in your marriage. What cracks are there in your relationship that might be prompting the “What if?” in her mind? Instead of reacting emotionally, view this incident as you would the “check engine” light on your dashboard. The light isn’t the problem. It’s just a warning that something far more threatening may be developing.


Our teenage daughter spends hours late at night on Facebook with her friends. She’s not doing anything inappropriate, but we feel like the sheer amount of time wasted in the wee hours is problematic. What do you think?


It’s encouraging to know that your daughter isn’t doing anything inappropriate during those late nights. Even if they don’t go looking for trouble online, trouble may �nd them, in the form of a predator or an offensive link. So remain vigilant. Regardless of her activity online, you have reason to be concerned about the hours

your daughter’s keeping. A study of 20,000 youths in the journal Sleep found that those who slept fewer than �ve hours a night were three times more likely to become psychologically troubled in the next year. And much of that lack of sleep can be attributed to late nights on the computer, instant messaging, gaming and Facebook. Less sleep was also associated with longer-term mental health problems, especially depression, later in life. Researchers think a lack of sleep may explain a rise in mental illness among young people in recent decades. The teenage years can be full of anxiety already. If you add sleep deprivation to the mix, the results can be disastrous. Some experts believe that this combination can even contribute to major depression and bipolar disorder long after adolescence is over. The most straightforward solution is to place limits on your daughter’s computer time. Make sure she’s getting plenty of sleep every night. Let her know that, for her own sake, using the computer into the early morning hours isn’t permissible. The same goes for smartphones and other devices. She may be surprised at how much better she feels! Send your questions to Focus on the Family, P.O. Box 444, Colorado Springs, CO 80995.

The struggle to use up gift cards M

y love-hate relationship with gift cards has intensi�ed. What a pain, really. I’m one who just forgets to use them, and when I remember, I try to �gure out how to use each one to the last cent. I was reminded of my situation recently when I cleaned out my wallet and found a small collection of cards in need of action. First up was a Verizon Visa Rebate Card. Why on earth does a Verizon rebate have to come as a debit card? I did recall �nding a way to use up some of its credit, but now what? I called the number on the back of the card, and after a very long wait-on-hold, a snippy operator informed me of my 37 cent balance. How am I supposed to use that up? What a scam. Next in my collection is a HomeGoods gift card. It’s so old, I can’t remember where I got it or what it’s worth. And forget about calling to �nd out. This card reads, “For balance inquiry, please visit any of our store locations.” How sneaky. That company knows me. I can walk in perfectly satis�ed and in a matter of minutes have an overwhelming need for hotel-quality linens and crystal stemware. They’ll do anything to get me through that door. And if there’s only $1.73 left on this card, I’m toast. Look, I am not ungrateful.


hunt everydAy cheApskAte Really. I love the expression of love these gifts represent. That’s why I have made a decision to use them up, thoughtfully. I’m planning to unclench my teeth and calmly visit Nordstrom, The Container Store and several restaurants soon. And I’m going to enjoy every moment. Which prompted my husband and me to stop for dinner and use the $25 gift card for Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina. My goal was to see just how close we could come to using it up to its complete value. The sizzling enchilada plate was amazing and more than enough for us to share. With drinks, chips and salsa, I estimated that we’d come close enough to feel good about the experience. And grateful for the gift. When the bill came, we placed the gift card in the little folder along with enough cash to allow us to leave with our heads held high. Our server paused for a moment, then placed the folder back on the table. “I’m sorry ma’am. This is El Torito.” Write Mary Hunt at Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723, or Email her at

DHEA, a help or harm? D

ear Doctor: I am a man in my 60s. A few years back, a male friend said he had discovered a supplement called DHEA that helped his brain �ght diminished thinking associated with aging, and improved male sexual desire. I purchased it and still take it. I don’t know about brain function, but I do get increased desire. The downside is a slight headache that goes away in an hour, and I feel more angry with people. The feeling leaves as the supplement wears off. Is DHEA OK to take? How does it work? — L.G. DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone precursor made by the adrenal glands. It’s converted into male and female hormones, the male hormone being testosterone. It actually contributes a rather small amount to the body’s total testosterone level. The bene�cial claims for DHEA include: an antiaging effect, a psychological boost in the feeling of wellbeing, increased muscle size, increased muscle strength and increased energy. I have not listed all the claims. These are claims only. They’re not rigorously proven effects. Peak output of DHEA takes place between the ages of

dr. pAul

donohue medicAl Advice 20 and 25, and declines with advancing age. DHEA is widely marketed to and used by bodybuilders. It’s considered a supplement. Therefore, it doesn’t come under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration. That means its claims are not closely monitored. Studies on DHEA yield contradictory results. In older people, it has not shown a great effect on increasing muscle size or strength. It appears to increase bone strength. A bit of evidence suggests that it decreases abdominal fat. The only group that demonstrates positive results is women whose adrenal glands aren’t working well. I’d like to say that DHEA is safe, but long-term safety hasn’t been de�nitely established. If you’re getting bene�ts from it, I don’t see any reason for you to stop using it. Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Write Dr. Donohue at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Dividing skeins of yarn


ear Heloise: One pet project I enjoy involves equally dividing one skein of yarn into two. It’s dif�cult to do, I found. Then I looked at the kitchen counter and saw a scale I use for measuring food. Voilà! Problem solved! Even delicate amounts of yarn come out equally when weighed on the scale that I use daily. Bet I’m not the �rst to discover this clever use for a nutrition scale. — Robin H., Hershey, Pa. Dear Heloise: This is something my mom told me

heloise hints from heloise a long time ago. When you have something in a plastic bag that doesn’t have a zipper, cut the top off and use that piece to tie the bag shut. Works every time! — Maureen Canton, Ohio Write to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, by fax to 210-HELOISE. Email:


C6 SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012





n the Panebianco house, sharing a bedroom is about more than saving space. Gerri and Sam Panebianco have chosen to put their sons — J.P., 3; and Eric, 2 — in the same room because they want them to become good friends and develop social skills.

“We want them to understand what it’s like to navigate shared space and to be happy sharing space,” said Gerri Panebianco, an owner of Little Crown Interiors, which specializes in designing children’s rooms, in Orange County, Calif. Through her work, she has seen many parents making a similar choice, deciding that having kids share a room is good preparation for college and marriage.

“This is a skill that they feel children should be learning early,” she said. Of course, in many families with more children or smaller homes, sharing a bedroom also is a necessity. Today’s tough economy has caused many families to stay in smaller homes longer, said Jim Badgley, managing broker of Windermere Real Estate in Kirkland, Wash. “I know they’ve outgrown their house,” but they’re not moving, he said. Stefanie Nieves and her husband, Eddie Morales, have no plans to sell their two-bedroom starter home in Perth Amboy, N.J. — even though they now have two children. “We can’t really move, so we have to make the space work,” she said. Her children — 3-year-old Elias and 18-month-old Mia — share a bedroom. The kids have responded well to the arrangement, she said. “They have the best relationship,” she said. “They love being in their room.” Pairing a boy and a girl hasn’t been an issue at their age, she said. But as children approach middle school, that arrangement can be more challenging, said James Crist, a psychologist at the Child and Family Counseling

Center in Woodbridge, Va. Parents should make accommodations — such as having kids dress in the bathroom — to ensure privacy for older brothers and sisters who share a room, he said. Whatever the reason for putting children together, a shared bedroom is a good opportunity to learn about negotiation and compromise, Crist said.

Bonding and boundaries

There can be other benefits, as well, he said. When kids are in the same room, they may have an easier time going to bed, and can become closer with their siblings. “It can strengthen the relationship,” he said. Children may find it reassuring to have a sibling there to keep them company and talk with them before falling asleep. “Some of the kids really prefer sharing the space,” he said. “They choose to stay together.” Gus Dreher, 6, loves sharing a room with his big brother, Abe, at their home in Peterborough, N.H. “I’m not scared when I’m with him,” Gus said. Sharing a room has been good for the boys, said their mother, Tonya Dreher. The boys, who used to share a


Gerri Panebianco’s children — Eric, 2, left, and J.P., 3 — play in their room at their home in Huntington Beach, Calif. For many families, having kids share a bedroom is a necessity. But even when space isn’t an issue, some parents have their children share a room to encourage them to become closer and to teach life lessons about how to get along.

room with their now 10-yearold sister, aren’t interested in separating, even though the family now lives in a fourbedroom home. Tonya and her husband, Steve, like the closeness that has developed between the brothers. “They’ve always been together,” Tonya Dreher said. “I feel like when they’re in there, they’re allies.” Crist suggests a few guidelines for parents to help kids

share a room happily: � Sharing a room doesn’t mean sharing everything. Provide each child with a place to store their prized possessions. � Give children a role in solving problems. When conflicts arise, let the children offer solutions. � Teach kids respect. Help the children develop rules about taking or using their siblings’ belongings.

We want them to understand what it’s like to navigate shared space and to be happy sharing space.” — Gerri Panebianco, an owner of Little Crown Interiors

Slender and graceful THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Building up instead of out allows for a remarkable amount of living space in the relatively modest footprint of this home, plan HMAFAPW00653, from

The home features 4,439 square feet of finished living space over three stories. An unfinished basement adds 1,701 square feet to be finished or used as storage.

The foyer opens through decorative columns to the formal living room, which offers a fireplace framed by built-in cabinetry. Past the formal dining room, the generous island kitchen offers a snack bar and plenty of counter space. For unhindered conversation and interaction while preparing meals, it opens fully to the conversation room, a cozy space with a bay window (a good



place for a dinette set) and a hearth. The nearby desk lets you check email conveniently. Upstairs, the master suite has its own fireplace, a bumped-out bay window, seated vanity, and a lavish bath with a whirlpool

tub and separate shower. Two family bedrooms, one of them quite large, share a full bath with twin sinks. An impressive guest bedroom shares the third floor with a huge library or playroom. Other ideas for this space include a gym, art studio or home office.

Bedrooms: 4 Baths: 31/2 Third floor: 1,061 square feet Second floor: 1,677 square feet Main floor: 1,701 square feet Total living area: 4,439 square feet Standard basement: 1,701 square feet Garage: 484 square feet Dimensions: 50’4” by 70’2” Exterior wall framing: 2x6 Foundation options: standard basement, crawl space


To build this house, order a complete set of construction documents or call 866-772-1013 and reference the plan number.


Lifestyle Flint Journal - MPA