Susan Sorensen



C-VILLE Kids! Book deal: Must-reads for 6- to 9-year-olds

C-VILLE Kids! Book deal: Must-reads for 6- to 9-year-olds

(File photo) I spent most of the summer between fourth and fifth grades in the Long Lake public library. It was hot in Minnesota that year, and the library was one of the few air-conditioned buildings I got to visit. The librarian, who played bridge with my mother, was quite good at suggesting books I’d […]

Graduates head to colleges thanks to the I Have A Dream Foundation

Graduates head to colleges thanks to the I Have A Dream Foundation

National Honor Society member Joey Wright will study electrical engineering at Old Dominion University in the fall. (Photo by Nick Strocchia) If you saw Joey Wright on the Downtown Mall, you probably wouldn’t give him a second look. Just shy of 6′-tall, brown-haired, and wearing the ubiquitous teenage uniform of jeans and a North Face […]

Greg Thomas wins hearts, trophies at Albemarle High School

Greg Thomas wins hearts, trophies at Albemarle High School

From where he stands on the Albemarle High School football stadium bleachers, band director Greg Thomas has a good view of about 80 teenage musicians. Gathered in a haphazard semicircle on the track below, the Marching Patriots have just completed their final run-through of “Pursuing Red,” a show they first clumsily attempted at the beginning […]

November 2010: Inside out

November 2010: Inside out

Blame it on the empty room. That’s what designer Kelly Witt does when she recalls the momentary panic she felt the day she hung “a wire and crystal atom-shaped chandelier, lit from within by large holiday lights” in the furniture-less dining room of the brick colonial she and her artist husband, Clay, have spent the […]

An offer they can’t refuse

An offer they can’t refuse

You’re no dummy. You peruse the local newspapers and pore over real estate websites. Then there’s the TV news, always rife with reports about a bleak real estate market. And it’s hard to miss the plethora of For Sale signs—very few of which have the words “Under Contract” tacked onto the front.   So you figured […]

How You Can Succeed in the Housing Market

How You Can Succeed in the Housing Market

For the past couple of months, Gini Carl’s mornings have consisted of seemingly endless rounds of bed-making, dishwashing, vacuuming and trailing after her 11-year-old daughter “to pick up everything she drops.” No, Carl’s not some Type A, neat freak Martha Stewart wannabe. She has, however, been playing one since early April. That’s when she and […]

Book ’em

I like to get stuff done. Most mornings, before my feet even hit the floor, I’ve composed a mental to-do list for that day. Mail the taxes, buy some milk, write a book review, bathe our dog, read to my daughter’s first-grade class, pick up a fifth of vodka. You get the picture. Some days […]

How you can succeed in the housing market

How you can succeed in the housing market

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sign on for an adjustable rate mortgage and get more house for less of a monthly payment. Heck, you weren’t planning on staying in the place for long anyway. By the time the initial 4.25 percent loan hit 6.25 percent, you’d be history.  Seems you forgot […]

Back Porch: Call of the wild

Back Porch: Call of the wild

Nobody’s ever accused me of being a nature girl. It’s not that I have anything against the great outdoors, but my idea of a killer hike consists of trekking from book store to coffee shop to shoe sale. I can identify almost no varieties of plant, tree or bird. And gardening is a pastime I’ve […]

Get Real: How You Can Succeed in the Housing Market

Get Real: How You Can Succeed in the Housing Market

Buyer’s market. Buyer’s market. Buyer’s market. Seems to be the real estate mantra these days. So buy already, why don’t you. But maybe if you hold off for another month or two, housing prices will drop some more and you’ll get a better deal. Or will you? “I certainly wouldn’t recommend that someone sign a […]

Back Porch: Color me nervous

Back Porch: Color me nervous

My friend Erin has a real knack for color. Whenever I’m at her place, I marvel over the fact that not only did she paint the walls in a high-traffic downstairs room deep pink, but that they don’t look completely ridiculous. And then there’s a green room, which flows seamlessly into a yellow space. Once […]

Get Real: Rising tide

Get Real: Rising tide

If you’re looking to put a positive spin on the recent hike in property values, try this one out: What’s arguably your largest asset—your home—is a lot more valuable today than it was last year. According to County and City assessors, properties are worth almost 16 percent more in Albemarle than they were in 2005, […]

Get Real: Breathing easier

Get Real: Breathing easier

The place is perfect. Right size, great neighborhood, fair price. It’s spotless. The walls are freshly painted and the carpet’s brand new. Close your eyes and you can imagine the entire family gathered ‘round the spectacular fireplace on cold winter evenings. Where do we sign? you ask the real estate agent. Slow down there, partner. […]

Back Porch: Cleanliness is next to craziness

Back Porch: Cleanliness is next to craziness

The largest and most elaborately wrapped box under this year’s Christmas tree had my name on it. It was from my husband. And on December 25, I opened it with as much gusto as our 6-year-old. I turned positively giddy when I glimpsed what was inside: a vacuum cleaner. Not any old vacuum cleaner. It […]

What about next year?

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up on Black Friday and know you have more than $2.78 to spend on each person on your holiday gift list? Barring an unexpected inheritance, a decent weekend in Atlantic City or a call from “Deal or No Deal,” odds are good that this year isn’t that year. But […]

Present danger

Present danger

‘Tis the season to buy. And buy and buy and buy. Who cares if nobody on your gift list needs anything? And never mind that you don’t have the means to pay for all those overpriced goods anyway. But hey, we’re not here to talk you out of giving. We like presents.

Take charge

Spend some time in Tom Henzey’s dojo, and you’ll quickly realize that the message he imparts to women in his self-defense classes at 7 Tigers Tae Kwon Do is a simple one: Protecting yourself should be instinctive, reflexive and as natural as breathing. “Your instincts will keep you alive,” says the straight-talking black belt. “Unfortunately, […]