Q. I’m a single mother living in a small apartment building. A young woman, who I suspect is also a single mother, has just moved in with her toddler. I think she has a job, and the times I’ve seen her, she has looked very tired. We’ve never met. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask her if I could be of help?
“It would be very appropriate for this woman to reach out to her neighbor, especially since she thinks the neighbor might be isolated and alone,” panelist Denise Continenza said.
Q. My 11-year-old son has not seen his father in 10 years after I divorced his father when I learned he was a drug addict. I am happily remarried. My son has a stepbrother. As my son enters his teen years, should give him information about his biological father? I am also worried about awakening a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
Q. My daughter has children from a previous marriage. She has recently remarried. Her in-laws are buying expensive and not necessarily age-appropriate gifts for the grandchildren on birthdays and holidays. I don’t want to get into a spending war with them, but ’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t want to become the cheap grandparent.
The first question asked by the panel was: “What does the daughter feel about this situation?” It may not bother her and-or she may not be aware that it bothers her parents.
Civic Theatre of Allentown is presenting a winning double-header of parodies for the 2019 holiday season, with “A Christmas Carole 1944” on the main stage, based on Charles Dickens’ sublime classic “A Christmas Carol” and, just across 19th Street, the adult comedy “Who’s Holiday!,” with the main character borrowed from Dr. Seuss’ delightful story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
For the past 20 years, the professional acting ensemble of Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, has presented its “Christmas City Follies” to help audiences celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, while satirizing the commercialization and human foibles that continue to distract from the true meaning of the holidays.
Directed by Jp Jordan, and utilizing original vaudeville-style sketches filled with humor, music and shopping carts, the “Follies,” through Dec. 22, is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of shopping, package-wrapping and party-going.
Q. My 12-year-old daughter’s best friend has a 16-year-old sister who just got her learner’s permit. My daughter told me that they went on a long highway drive with the older sister driving and the father in the passenger seat. I am furious that my daughter was in a car driven by someone who has little experience, and hasn’t even taken driver’s ed yet. Should I confront the parents, not let my daughter go over to her friend’s house, or just let it go?
The immediate response from panelist Denise Continenza was “None of the above.”
If you are a fan of classic Hollywood movies, you might have seen the 1949 Technicolor film, “In the Good Old Summertime,” starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. It was the musical version of the 1940 Jimmy Stewart movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” which in 1998 was adapted as “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
In all its transformations, the plot is about two individuals who despise each other, unaware that they are the secret pen pals whom they “met” through lonely hearts advertisements. They know each other only as “Dear Friend.”
Civic Theatre of Allentown’s holiday show, “A Christmas Carole 1944,” through Dec. 21, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown, is a refreshing departure from traditional productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
The good thing is that nothing is lost in this stylish adaptation. Scrooge is just as miserly and mean, spouting, “Bah, Humbug!” at every opportunity.
Only “He” is a “She,” living in a high-rise apartment in New York City, the country is at war, and in place of workhouses there are taxes, welfare and FDR.
Q. My four-year-old is starting to ask a lot of “why” and “how” questions: “Why is the sky blue?” “How do birds fly?” “How do babies happen?“ I am not sure what and how much to tell her. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I know how things work. Should I just make up what I don’t know?
“Four-year-olds are just starting to learn social interaction, and part of that is asking questions,” panelist Chad Stefanyak said. “This four-year-old is trying to find out how to have a conversation, so practice that. Ask her a question.”
Q. My 15-year-old stepson told his dad that he doesn’t want me to tell him what to do. He would rather his dad (my husband) tell him. I try to make sure homework and chores are done before his dad gets home so they can spend time together. I understand that being a stepparent can be thankless, but I am a maid, chauffeur, chef, scheduler, and more, and now don’t have enough authority to ask my stepson to take out the garbage. What can I do?
“The stepmother needs to take a step back and think about what her goals are,” panelist Mike Ramsey said.