Category Archives: Erica’s Post

The FrostyShirts’ 2013 in review

Here is what our year looked like.  I’d say 2013 was a pretty good year for us.

We got into this:


I did this to my hair (it was fun while it lasted, but probably never again)


We went to our first drag show with these people:


We went to Nashville, TN to visit the Lovejoys and Nemelkas and ate really good and really spicy chicken


I played my last recital at the Jacobs School of Music at IU:


I taught these awesome kids (plus more not pictured!):


Jake got into an awesome program in in Analytics (business statistics) at this school:


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Grandma Maxine Shirts’ 90th Birthday: Amazing stories of her ancestors

On July 25, 2013, my grandmother, Dorothy Maxine Baird Shirts, celebrated her 90th birthday in Cedar City, Utah with a bunch of the Shirts clan.  For those interested, here are the PowerPoint slides with pictures of her ancestors and maps showing where they lived etc:  Maxines90th

and the text for their narration  Maxines90thTEXT

For Family:  If you have corrections or stories about our ancestors that you could contribute to their histories, please email them to my father at

Wrapping up in Bloomington: Erica’s Performer Diploma Recital

As our time in Bloomington comes to a close, I have been reflecting on all of the exciting, engaging, uplifting, difficult, stressful, inspiring, and life-changing moments I’ve experienced here.  Maybe one day I’ll write more about them, but for now I’ll just post the video to my last recital at the Jacobs School of Music as some family members and friends have requested me to.

The day of my Performer Diploma Recital– March 22nd 2013–Jake found out that he got into his top choice for graduate school in Analytics and Statistics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.  March 22nd was a day full of excitement for things to come, but also a day full of emotional grasping for what we had as we realized what little time we had left in Bloomington.  I felt so loved and supported by all those that attended the recital and watched via the live stream (with brief messages from Subaru and and insurance companies…).  And I felt really proud of Jake for achieving what he had been working for all year.

Below are links to the pieces I played.  I hope you enjoy watching/listening to them as much as I enjoyed playing them.

Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47.  Written in 1904, the Sibelius Violin Concerto is one of the Finnish Romantic Composer’s most famous pieces.  You can read more about here:

Spiegel im Spiegel, Arvo Pärt.  This piece is a minimalist piece in the Tintannabular style written by the living, Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt.  He is one of my favorite composers.  Check out all of the many variations another of his pieces called Fratres.

Mozart Violin Sonata in G Major, K.379, written around 1765, is also known as Mozart’s 11th sonata for piano and violin.  The stormy Allegro in the first movement seems like it is more in the style of Beethoven than in the style of Mozart.

Short films for your perusal

Here are some short films for you and yours to peruse.

This is a stop-motion animation film that my sister, Caitlin, did for her MFA at the University of Connecticut.  It’s a little dark, but a lot of awesome.

This is Jake’s submission for the Arrested Development competition.  It’s a short film based on an episode where the Bluth family holds a charity function for a cause, but since they’re terrible people and can’t agree on a cause, they hold it in the name of TBA.  Jake didn’t win, but he should have because one of the winning videos was LAME.


From 5k to half marathon- how you can too!


  • Good running shoes from a legit running store. Try on a bunch.  Run on a treadmill for at least a mile on them.  They should help you run corrently (ball–>heel, not the other way around)
  • Friend/s to train with.  Waking up early on Saturday mornings to do a 10 mile run by yourself just begs for your snooze button to be hit multiple times.
  • Water
  • Ibprophen
  • running pants/shorts/capris that don’t make you chafe

Preparation time: 10-12 weeks.

Before the run- looking ready to go (but really scared inside)

The following is what I did to go from running a 5k to 13.1 miles without walking in 10 weeks.  There are lots of websites with advice and training programs, but I think this is a pretty simple way to go that worked for me.

The Process:

  • Run 2-3 miles 2x/week up until the week of the race
  • Schedule 1 day and time that you will run your long run every week. (Mine was Saturday mornings).
  • Each week add one more mile to that long run to build up stamina. Por ejemplo: week 1- 3 miles, Week 2- 4 miles, Week 3- 5 miles…. Week 10- 12 miles.  Week 11: race day.
  • To be safe, you can have 2 weeks of cushion in case something comes up a couple of the days you set aside that make it so that you can’t run or have time for the full run.

Things I learned the hard way:

  • If your race is on a road- run on the crown.  If you don’t, you will most likely be running on a slant –> uneven distribution of weight and later pain in the ankles.
  • Look at the map before hand. This seems obvious, right? Well not to me, and the starting and the finishing lines for the Geist Half Marathon up being 5 miles away from each other.  Jake ended up walking the distance to find me and missed me crossing the finish line by 20 minutes. #LongStoryIncludingBaffledPoliceMan.
  • Get there in time to go to the bathroom.  There were medium-length lines for the portapoties when I got to the race, so I ended up hearing the National Anthem from the bathroom, and had to sprint to the line just in time to hear the gun shot.

    This is your view when you get there late…

  • Don’t drink water at all of the stations, pick a few.  If you drink all the water offered, you will probably feel waterlogged, like me at mile 9.  If you don’t drink any, you will probably have leg cramps like my friend at mile 10.
  • Take Ibprophen before runs longer than 5 miles.  At first, I thought this was for sissies, or maybe that if I was in pain, I should know about it and drugs shouldn’t dull it.  Then I ran long runs and I quickly changed my opinion.  Your muscles/joints swell when you run for a long time and they just start hurting.  Ibprophen can counteract that a bit and make for much more pleasant runs.
  • Bring an iPod in case you don’t stick with your running mates and you need to stay entertained. Pretty self explanatory.

    The great women I ran with

    After the run #righteousbabestance. Final running time: 2:05:09.

The Great Summer of 2012

We’ve been bad about blogging.  Or good about not spending too much time online.  I can’t decide which one… Either way, here are the highlights of our summer.  We hope you enjoy the retrospective adventure.

Graduating: the plan.  Jake and I have graduated from IU! Jake finished his undergraduate degree in Economics (with Honors) and I finished my Masters degree in Violin Performance with Violin/Viola pedagogy as my outside area (kind of like a minor).  It was great having the support of my parents and Mama Frost for the occasion.  However, it’s really not all that exciting that we graduated because we’ll be studying at IU for another year.  Jake will be taking a couple prerequisites for applying for  Masters in Statistics (Yay!! No more Law School plans! = huge sigh of relief due to the current law market), and I will be getting another 1-year-degree called a Performer’s Diploma.  It’s really just another year tacked on to my Masters; I’ll be doing most of the same things–private lessons with Mimi, orchestra, chamber music–but I’ll also be able to take viola (very excited) and orchestra repertoire to prepare for professional symphony auditions. #takingadvantageofJacobsSchoolofMusicwhileIcan.

The Carolinas: attack of the nephlings.   After graduation (and a $1,200 car repair) we took the 13 hour drive to Greensboro, NC to visit Jake’s sister Jennifer and her husband, Jared, and 6 kids.  It was a whirlwind of running around with 5 girls under the age of 9 (and Gibb when he wasn’t busy being a teenager) and eating delicious food.  We even managed to convince the triplets that I was once a mermaid but decided to become a human to marry Jake.  I think they still believe it.  In Greensboro, we also visited the former Woolworth’s diner–now turned museum–where the first sit-ins happened.  It was sexy.

After Greensboro we headed to Charlotte where we visited Jake’s brother Paul, his wife Tracie, and their 4 kids.  I didn’t know 4 kids could seem manageable, but after hanging out with 6 for a few days, 4 seemed like a piece of pie.  We took a tour of the financial district of Charlotte (which apparently is a big deal, I had no idea) where Paul works and visited a couple of museums on civil war history/history of the South.

We then traveled with Paul and Tracie to the beach in South Carolina.  It might have not been the most beautiful beach, but it had cool wildlife: dolphins, horseshoe crabs, a bobcat, and….

“What is that weird smooth thing?” You might ask.

Don’t worry, it’s just a huge 60 lb sting ray that someone just happened to hook while they were fishing off of the beach.

And the condo we rented had awesome burnt orange shaggy carpet (I forgot to take a picture of that).

Bird poop in the shape of a sea turtle- which were laying turtle egg nests all along the beach while we were there.

We also visited Charleston on the way back.  I could spend a week there.  Just off of the shore of Charleston lies Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.  I probably learned this at one point in Ms. Mackay’s AP US History class, but I had since forgotten it.  The architecture of Charleston is something of a mix between colonial and New Orleans.

The Beehive State:  the newest Katherine addition.  As many of you know, my mom is named Kathryn.  I also have a relatively new niece named Katherine (Katie), and now I have a sister-in-law named Katherine.  And she’s great. Peter and Katherine’s wedding was very classy, and very very very well organized.  Peter gave out schedules that had every activity down to the minute 8:30am-9pm.  We had a great time making fun of him for it, but it was actually pretty helpful. (Shh don’t tell him that.)  They got married in Provo and had a grand reception in the Springville Art Museum.  Now they are in North Carolina.  (Another reason to go back and visit? Sure! We’ll take it!)

The other two Kathryn(rine)s.

I forgot to mention.  After the wedding, we celebrated by cutting off William’s (Bill) hair.  Bill has been one of Peter’s best friends since forever and he had been growing out his hair/beard for… well probably for forever.  And finally that night he had had enough.  And he trusted me with the honors.  Here’s how it turned out; and yes, the two pictures that follow are of the same person and within 2 hours.

Nauvoo; GGGGG uncle/grandpa.  Hyrum Smith is my great great great great great grandfather.  Which means that Joseph Smith, the illustrious Mormon prophet, is my GGGGG uncle.  While I enjoy thinking about that fact, I had never really gotten into church history to learn about how these dudes influenced the early LDS church.  So this summer I took it upon myself to read Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman (LDS scholar) and No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie (ex-LDS woman and historian) to get two well-different but well-informed accounts of the beginnings of the Church.  If you have a lot of time on your hands, and the patience to read pretty dense historical accounts, these are interesting reads!  I found out all sorts of totally crazy, as well as awe-inspiring, things about the early Mormon church.  But that is perhaps for another post.

In the middle of this, Jake and I were invited to join our church’s youth program as the leaders from our ward (or congregation) to go to Nauvoo: the central established LDS city from 1839-1849ish.  We mostly pawned our kids off onto other groups with their friends and did our own thing.  Our favorite was the Community of Christ tour (formerly called the RLDS church).  We saw where Joseph and Hyrum would hide for days/months when officials came looking to arrest them, all sorts of original pieces of furniture and Smith family heirlooms, the room on the top of the Red Brick Store where many of the first religious ceremonies were held, and the final resting place of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma (Joseph’s wife, who later re-married and stayed in Nauvoo.)

Upper room in Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum were killed.

Emma originally buried Joseph and Hyrum under the shed in the back so his enemies wouldn’t come dig up his body. He was buried in a hidden, unmarked grave for 50 years before they moved them under the stones they are buried under today.

One little nugget: The owner of this van, parked at the Nauvoo Temple visitor’s center, is keeping the Mormon dream alive.

Olympics: I have a crush on Rupino/Wambach. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the Olympics go by this year so I made US women’s soccer my sport to follow.  And I was not let down.  In the semifinals, the US pulled off a 4-3 win in what is one of the best soccer games I have ever watched.  Here are the highlights.  Watch them.

Anniversary: 2 years and counting.  The title of this one is pretty self-descriptive.  We have successfully made it through two years of marriage.  And it is crazy to think about that.  On to the third!

More Midwest: KY, IL.  After another $400 car repair (Reggie: if you drain any more money from us we’ll take you to the dump, just like all of the appliances in The Brave Little Toaster),  we went to Louisville, KY to go see Mumford and Sons in concert with some friends.  Here’s the thing about M&S.  They only really do 2 kinds of songs.  But they do those 2 songs really really well.  So we had a good time.

I also went back to Illinois–this time to the Windy City– to visit Kellee, my longtime friend from high school.  I love that I’m still in touch with a handful of my best friends from Timpview.  Especially when one of them lives right in downtown Chicago-2 blocks from Millennium Park and every shopping center that you could ever want…Can someone say hole burned through my wallet?  Kellee and her husband, Harold, also have a RIDICULOUSLY CLEAN apartment.  The minute I touched down in Bloomington I bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and organizing bins.  We’re not quite living in filth, but we have some improving to do.

That’s all, folks.  If you’re still reading, it must be 3 am and you must be finding any excuse not to go to bed.

Erica’s Master’s Violin Recital, Jacobs School of Music

A few weeks have passed since I played my Master’s recital and I am finally fulfilling promises made to put it on YouTube.  I am very grateful for all the friends, teachers and family members who showed up for the event–either in person or via the internet– and to all of you who have supported me through the years.

As Jake will use the year to get things in order to apply for Masters programs in Statistics, I will to take the opportunity to keep plugging away at the ol’ violin.  I have accepted the IU’s offer to continue my formal violin studies for 1 more year at the Jacobs School to work towards a Performer’s Diploma Certificate.  I will continue teaching as an Assistant Instructor in the IU String Academy and I look forward to getting all of my students into Suzuki Book 2! (We can do it, guys.)

Bach Partita in B minor, mov’t I.  Allemanda–Double

Bach Partita in B minor, mov’t II.  Corrente–Double

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 19, mov’t I, Andantino

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 19, mov’t, II Vivacissimo

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 19, mov’t III, Moderato–Andante

Brahms Scherzo from the FAE Sonata, Sonatensatz

Thanks to Mimi Zweig for dealing with me for the last 2 years (and for 1 year to come), and to Victoria Chan for being a great friend and accompanist!

Now off to re-Hoosierize myself.

Bessie Kathryn Gibson Hanson 1908-2012

Bessie Kathryn Gibson Hanson was born April 20th, 1908 and passed away February 7th, 2012.  During her life the first Model T Ford was built, the Titanic sank, the 19th Amendment was ratified and and the women took back the right vote, both World Wars were fought, twelve men walked on the moon, and the internet was invented.  And she lived through it all with grace, and a dash of sass.  Here are just a few pictures to commemorate her extraordinary life.  Love you, Grandma.

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Just a tad late: Christmas/Holiday Season

This holiday season was filled with all of the important holiday events including:  a virus knocking down one family member at a time, a monstrous gingerbread Occupy Wall Street, an engagement, a nativity reenactment (including miniature donkeys and wild sheep), a birthday, the burning of 2011 Man, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.

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1. The virus.  We think the pathogen began its rampage in the Salt Lake Shirts household, and it made its way down to Provo by minivan to rear its ugly head on Christmas day itself.  I was the next to get it, followed by Papa Shirts, Caitlin, Peter, Kristen, Patrick, Jake and then finally it broke down my mom’s placebo-ly built, iron airborn wall.  Jake and I were home for a full 15 days, so we had enough time to get sick, get better, and go home.

2. The Creation.  Next came our (8th?) annual gingerbread “house.”  In the past, our family has created various things such as the Michigan Big House, The White House, The Moon Landing, and an aquarium.  This year we decided to tackle Occupy Wall Street.  The structure included the New York Stock Exchange building with Pez dispensers acting as the columns, and white chocolate santas for the marble casting.  We also had gummy bear protesters, a drum circle, and a library surrounded by tents for the sugary protesters to sleep in.

Brian even built a gummy Wall Street bull, but it didn’t stay standing long enough to get a good picture of it.   We also had Wall Street big wigs drinking martinis inside the Stock Exchange (notice the red and green M&Ms notating the up and down stocks for the day).  But the most impressive, was probably a recreation of the “casual pepper spray” incident.

3. The Announcement.  While most of the family was working on all of the minute detail of the gingerbread thing (for lack of a better word), Peter and Katherine came home.  They looked around sheepishly and then said “We got some bread at the bakery.  And then we got engaged.”  We all looked up from our candy creations, gave each other looks to see if we heard right, and then started hollering for joy.  (Katherine is the best.  We’re very excited for her to join the Shirts clan.)

4. The birth of Jesus.  Some time around these festivities, we loaded up the car with the chitlins and went to our neighbor, DeLynn’s, barn.  In the barnyard, we dressed up in various bathrobes, fabrics, and dresses, and wrapped our plastic baby Jesus in swaddling sheets.

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Should the Government stop investing in Green Energy?

In the October 10 New Yorker, James Surowiecki succinctly delves into and responds to the federal government’s investment in Solyndra here.

“Solyndra’s failure isn’t a reason for the government to give up on alternative energy, any more than the failure of during the Internet bubble means that venture capital should steer clear of tech projects.”