Cuts for everyone!

Hair cutsMonday night Tom and I both arrived home around 8:00. We ate dinner together and then both went about doing our own things. Tom was working on his homework, and I was research and organizing the information I found on Grad schools into an excel spreadsheet. For feminine reasons, I was particularly frustrated at this time of the month, and Tom was surprised by my outbreaks and frustrated exclamations. I couldn’t get things to format the way I wanted. It was silly but it had been a long day and I was exhausted. Sensing my need to relax, Tom left his homework and suggested we do something, go for a run, watch a Good Eats episode, or perhaps cut his hair. I went for the last one as it had been on my “to-do” list for weeks. I cut his first and it turned out nice. I then asked if he would cut mine. I am the type of person that doesn’t cut their hair for months- six in this case, and then all of a sudden realizes it must be cut. When that happens it doesn’t matter who or how it is cut, just that it is cut.

My philosophy has aways been, “I can go and pay someone a bunch of money, just to get a cut that is either so conservative that it wasn’t worth it (though it was what I asked for); or end up with something that I hate and then be frustrated about spending the money. Or I can cut it myself. Then if I mess it up, I can’t be too mad because all I have to blame is my own stupidity for cutting my own hair.”

So after my pleading Tom agreed. I told him the methods that I have used, and watched others use, to cut straight, measure for evenness, and layer. He did all three- and very successfully! He was precise and mathematical about it. He cut the back and I layered and added some bangs in front. All in all I like it.

So there you have it- if you want a haircut, come on over. We’ll set out a chair on the porch, and you can endure the hair falling all over you- because we don’t have a cape!

“So, just you and him live there?”

Yesterday, a couple of friends stopped by to see the house and chat, later that evening another couple of friends were driving by and saw me walking in front of the house talking on the phone (because I hardly get reception inside) so they stopped to ask if the house was ours.

Tiffany asked, “So you have that whole place?”

“Yeah, the bottom floor is ours.”

“And just you and him live there?”

She sort of blushed and giggled as she said this, as if doing so- for me. I think she was surprised when I looked back completely at ease and answered yes.

Shelly and Evan had had the same reaction earlier in the day when they had stopped by. The whole school seems unsure of how to respond to the fact that the “innocent, pure, virtuous, untarnished” Kjirsti is living with someone.  They seem confused when I don’t seem embarrassed by it.

I can only hope, that they will understand that that is the joy of marriage- that you don’t have to hide it, talk your way around it, blush about it, or declare it crassly, rather you can openly enjoy it!


Kjirsti has been doing such a good job at this blog, I thought it was about time I added my own thoughts.

My work has been going quite well, I’ve been working with monkeys and computers, a hysterical mix. It is surprising how smart they are. You just need to be two steps ahead of them in everything. I love feeding them bananas and apples. They sometimes store the food in their cheeks when they are satisfied, and want to save it for later.

Oberlin is still a lovely place to live. As you’ve probably already read, we’ve been having a great time cooking, decorating, and setting up this website. We like how our sister in-law changes her theme every season, and we’d like to try the same.

I met an astronaut a few weeks ago, and it really inspired me. I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, and though it’s more likely I’ll become the next tsar of Russia than become an astronaut, it inspired me to not write off my dreams that easily. Did you know the average astronaut candidate is ~40? I was surprised. My friend Brady informed I’ll probably have to part with my appendix and spleen. I say, “Good Riddance!”

tutalemmaI’ll try to add a picture to each entry. This comes from the Astronomy Picture of the Day . It is an annalemma; a picture of the sun taken every few weeks at the same time at the same place. This one was made in Turkey, and if you look closely, you can see an eclipse. Pretty cool!

I love you all!

Uh Tom?!

So I knew that Tom hadn’t eaten dinner last night, but that didn’t stop me from being more than a bit surprised when I woke up to find Tom like this:

Tom's typical breakfast

Okay, not for real. Tom did a bounty of pancakes but not quite that many! As it was conference today and we don’t have church until 12:00 we decided to make pancakes. We have actually not made them once since being married. The last time we made them together I guess was at the Foutzes! Anyway, I found a recipe on my all time favorite website: I guess it is pretty obvious that I am obsessed with trying new recipes. I have the new updated Office 2007 that comes with a new program called “OneNote” I love it! It’s like having a stickie pad on your computer, but much better. It is set up to easily save and organize, journal entries, recipes, lists, class notes, etc. I use it extensively for the recipes that I discover on Allrecipes. I love Allrecipes because it comes with comments, so you can see how many people have tried it and if they liked it. You always know when something has 5 stars and has been tried by 200 people it must be good! These pancakes were this type.


That’s the recipe if you are interested. I added as other reviewers suggested 1 tsp of vanilla, and 1tsp of cinnamon. I used all egg whites, half applesauce, and half walnut oil- because we had it. We also added chocolate to a couple of them and raspberries to a few others.



Oh, and for those wondering, the stuff he is pouring is a new syrup we tried when our friend Renee made it for a waffle party we attended. It is crystalized sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and pureed banana- it’s excellent!

Shorn by Ms. Horne

So perhaps the title is dramatic, but it accurately describes my feelings after my recent lesson with Ms. Horne. After my difficult year last year with my voice I had only recently been regaining my confidence, when it was completely stripped. I don’t feel the need to go into the specifics of the lesson, more than to say I couldn’t give her the right sound nor enough of it to please her. She is an easily frustrated woman, and rather tactless. All in all after a bout of sadness, (and some chocolate chip cookies)  my pride took over and I felt a powerful drive to prove her wrong. I guess the majority of my frustration in the lesson was my inability to please. Marilyn likes a very forward sharp sound. Her methods involve stuffing it in your nose and then raising your soft palate. I could do neither, at least no at the same time.
(I write this second portion several days later than the first)

Sometimes a slap in the face is the requisite motivation to  invoke change. Tom always liks to quote that “fear and guilt are the best motivators” as demeaning as they may be. (Tom isn’t a proponent of either but rather finds the statistic fascinating.) I guess Marilyn sort of freaked me out. She said quite frankly that I had little chance of a career in either singing or teaching if I didn’t get my act together and “Learn how to sing.” As a result I have demanded much more from my practices this week. I have focused on having resonance on every note, of being supported on every note, and making sure my diction is clear. I thought I actually made a few break throughs, and that was confirmed in my coaching on Thursday when Mr. Bandy said, “Wow. Your sound is so great today. You really sound l ike you could project over an orchestra throughout. What are you doing so differently.”

So, maybe Ms. Horne’s harshness was just what I needed to take the next step in my vocal studies. I guess sometimes sheering is vital to freeing us of our old tattered wool and letting us grow it back anew: clean and strong!

From now on- Tom’s the Lasagna maker!

Tom and I have been talking about making lasagna for three weeks. The first week we realized we didn’t have the noodles, the second week we bought the noodle, and the third week we made it. We’ll Tom made it, I didn’t do anything.

Tom is the kind of cook who doesn’t feel the need to cook often, he is content to eat left overs, peanut butter, tuna fish-whatever. BUT when he cooks, he cooks well! He doesn’t wash the mushrooms in water because it makes them soggy, he read, and so he rubs each one of them softly with a paper towl. If the tomatoes would be better roasted he roasts them. Time saving techniques are needless- he enjoys every perfected step. He cuts the carrots a uniform size and the olive oil must never be cooked too long. He makes his lasagna the Italian way. Which means it is free from the abundance of cheese that so pleases us Americans. Rather, it’s sole cheese is a little Parmigiana-Reggiano (No- not Parmesan) cooked into the bechemel sauce. In otherwords “a basic rue sauce.” (wink at Mary!)

Tom’s secret ingredient this time, happened by mistake. One day he called me from Walmart- asking what groceries we needed! I told him, “Well we wanted to make Lasagna so whatever you need for that.” I had been complaining the day before about how unhealthy I had been eating and how I needed him to help me. So, being a considerate husband he bought meat, but the fat- freeist meat he could find. It looked like ground beef, but it was actually ground beef STEAK! It was some tasty meat and really classed up the dish. Tom’s other signature ingredient is a trace of nutmeg.

It was by far the best Lasagna I have ever eaten. Thank goodness for Italian missions!

Luscious Lentils!

Tom and I watched the Alton Brown episode on Lentils and thought this soup recipe looked good, I made it earlier this week and it was not only good it was spectacular. Make it- it will change your life. Okay not really, but it will spice it up! Don’t skip the coriander it is a crucial ingredient. I only had whole coriander, so I just emptied out my pepper grinder and ground the coriander it worked perfectly.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed

1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.


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Consecration thy Performance

The title of this talk rang out to me, as a result of the obvious connection of “Performance” in my life. It is an incredible talk, the kind that really can not be taken in in one read. Maxwell always leaves me truly inspired, if not overwhelmed. Here were some of my favorite quotes:

“Brothers and sisters, our individual worth is already divinely established as “great”; it does not fluctuate like the stock market.”

It’s easy to feel that we are more loved by the Lord when he is blessing us. However, we are always loved equally my the Lord- even in trial and hardship.



“The surrender of the mind is actually a victory, because it then introduces us to God’s stretching and “higher” ways!”

I love this quote because it is so un-PC. Surrendering ones mind is exactly what Oberlin fights against. If our faith is sufficient however, we will feel comfortable giving our mind to one more competent than we.



“If we desire fullness, we cannot hold back part!”

This is a good summation of his talk. He instructs us to ask in our prayers, is it this that I am holding back. What is it that I hold back from the Lord, that I claim as my own. I have to admit last years vocal struggles taught me in a very forceful way that things I thought were mine weren’t at all. I have little control over my body- it is not mine.  What else am I holding back? Do I hide behind habits that I claim has being “part of my character?”


How grateful I am for talks such as this that raise my thoughts to a new level, and challenge me to become more.



Source: Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Liahona, Jul 2002,  39–42



Biking through the Beautiful

With our piano came Shani’s generous gift of her bike! I was very excited to get it. Finally Tom and I can go on all those bike-rides we’ve thought up over the years.

Yesterday, we biked to Miller’s Homemade Ice cream Stand. It is a good distance away, probably 10 miles, the perfect biking distance. The route is through beautiful country roads, we enjoyed discussing the houses, and commenting on the yards and open fields. Unfortunately several of the roads were busy and, as is typical in Ohio, had little shoulder, requiring Tom to ride behind me. So we couldn’t talk as much as I would have liked, but we still had a lovely time. It was a gorgeous fall day, chilly enough to require a sweater but sunny enough to be gorgeous. The ice cream was as to be expected- Delicious! Key Lime was both of our choices this time.

I fell a little more in love with Tom on that ride. He looked so handsome on his svelte road bike. His long lines matched the lines of the bike and they seemed like one. His confident smiles accompanied by the wind blowing through his thick hair and the rosy-ing of his cheeks left a vivid impression on my mind- of how good it is to be young and in love!