Tani Wolff

My favorite sayings: I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final say in reality. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. Don’t drive onto a railroad track until there’s room to drive off the other side. ~ Daddy

They want a bio that tells who I really am?  “How?” I ask.  “Try a favorite quote.”Okay, these two quotes came to mind.

Interesting! One idealist, one pragmatist.  Pretty accurate actually! My daughters gave me the first.  It is printed on parchment in beautiful calligraphy and framed in leather and it sits on my desktop every day. The latter is ingrained in my psyche.  Funny, Daddy was really talking about trains; I apply the railroad analogy to life.

I’m an MBA and an opera fanatic.  I had a long corporate career, while raising two daughters. Lately I have turned my attention to raising two impish golden kittens.  Believe me, the daughters were easier! I was married for thirteen years and have been divorced for twenty-seven.

I love murder mysteries and algebra. (I was the one who did well on both sections of the SAT.)  My horoscope (Cancer) typically says I am someone who will be conflicted between money and family.  Cancer people, like the crab they are named after, have both a hard shell and a soft inside.

I grew up playing the piano, cello and violin; taking voice, dancing and drawing lessons; and devouring every volume of the Hans Christian Anderson’s and Andrew Lang’s fairy tales.  In college I majored in Economics at Middlebury College in Vermont and went on to get my MBA at Harvard…at a time when only a handful of graduate business schools even admitted women.

I love numbers!  I do algebra and geometry problems, Sudoku and LSAT logic games for fun. I adore words.  I once spoke five languages (oh how such skills die if left untended!). I have researched and written papers on everything from Alice in Wonderland and religious architecture to Shakespeare and Roosevelt’s International Policy…also for fun.

Today I devote my writing skills to a college admissions blog, Acing College Admissions to marketing materials, and to preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season.  The latter is my true passion.  I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together articles that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community.  It is truly a labor of love.

In these pages I will be trying to convey some of that love and the excitement of opera in English to you.
I hope you will enjoy my posts.

Grandmother Frederiksen’s Indian Corn Pudding

If you’ve been reading my recipes you probably guess that I am big on holiday traditions. Many years ago, shortly after my divorce, a good friend invited my two young daughters and me to spend Thanksgiving with her extended family. Knowing my preference for pies she asked me to bring basic apple and pumpkin specimens […]

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Veggie Heaven

Growing up at our house (Whitebread Ohio in the 50s) was all about meat and potatoes. Spaghetti was exotic and only came with tons of tomato sauce and meatballs. “Pasta” was a foreign concept. I was married for several years before a friend convinced me that I could make spaghetti at home (with the help […]

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Foodie Fall!

Fall is in the air.  No, forget that, fall is here! After an outrageously hot summer, the nights are finally in the 40s and 50s. Time to bring back the comforting things in life: sweaters, flannel sheets, toasty robes, hot spiced cider and meat. Admittedly, I am a meat person.  In the summer I tend […]

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Retail Therapy Works .. Research Confirms!

Shopping as “therapy” is effective at elevating mood, and it doesn’t lead to buyer’s regret. All of the shoppers in a research sample said they had bought themselves a treat during the past week—ranging from a fishing reel to a kitchen magnet—and 62% of the treat purchases were motivated by a desire to repair a […]

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The “Hoffsicle”

I’ve never been a television person. I can go years without using my TV (when I have a working one) for anything but watching VHSs and DVDs.  (The exception: the Ohio State-Michigan game, if I can’t find friend or family with an available big-screen TV that afternoon.) I never watched Baywatch or Night Rider, so […]

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Daddy’s Tomato Garden

My father spent most of World War II on Attu, a frozen, treeless dot in the northern Pacific at the end of the Aleutian Chain. Although he spoke little of the experience of flying bombing missions over Japan, Daddy often reminisced about the weather.  It is estimated that there are 8-10 precipitation-free days a year […]

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An Opera Picnic

June is opera season in St. Louis.  Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the premiere festival companies in the world.  It is dedicated to nurturing young talent in both performing and production and to presenting opera in English.  As our late, great Artistic Director Colin Graham said, “No one composer ever lived who […]

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Carrot, Radicchio & Ham Salad

Somewhere years ago I read that the way to a balanced diet was to make a rainbow out of your plate. What a concept! I’d always been suspicious of the college dining hall meals  that started with (white) coleslaw and went to chicken (white meat), mashed potatoes (white), cauliflower (white), bread (white), and milk (white) […]

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200 Years of Being Female In America

A couple of weeks ago I happened on two articles, published the same day in the New York Times. Each addressed the challenges, triumphs and failures of being female in America – 200 years apart. The first, “Poor Jane’s Almanac”, told the story of Benjamin Franklin’s sister Jane. It contrasts the lives of these two […]

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Mother’s Day Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is a Mother’s Day tradition at our house, not because my mother particularly cares about it, but because I do, and this will be my 35th Mother’s Day as an actual mother! The reasons behind the tradition are twofold:  1) I love strawberry shortcake, and 2) I’m the cook! Somehow I’m always the […]

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In the Kitchen with George and Joe

I admit to a very un-feminist yearning.  I would love to have a man around the house who would cook for me.  Growing up, we were always thrilled when Daddy decided to cook.  He did something delicious with pork chops in gravy that I’ve never been able to equal. He was also a king of […]

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In Praise of Green

Back when I was working 60-hour weeks in the corporate world and my friends were stay-at-home moms, we were nevertheless included in “buffets”, to which everyone was expected to contribute a dish. The phone call usually went something like this, “We know you are working and don’t have time to cook, so why don’t you […]

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Thinking…About Boxes and New Clothes

This morning I was thinking.  Honest!  I was lying in bed and a kitten was curled up on my stomach purring her heart out.  I didn’t have the heart to disturb her so I lay there with nothing to do but think. I thought about thinking and the different ways people think.  Most people think—except […]

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Norwegian Christmas Breakfast

Feeding people, although always a big part of my life, has evolved over time. Young, married, two incomes, little time: we grilled filet mignon, sautéed veal piccata and served Dover sole.  Divorced, two young kids, no time, little money: frozen chicken patties and Minute Rice.  Now, in my empty nest, most meals are made up […]

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Sizzling Creativity .. Ouch!

FEBRUARY 22, 2011 A Little Zap of the Brain Yields Fresh Insights * Research subjects who received electrical stimulation of the anterior temporal lobes of the brain were 3 times more likely to come up with the fresh insight needed to solve a difficult, unfamiliar problem than people in a control group, according to Richard […]

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No Surprises

An evening at the opera is rife with emotions: love, hate, jealousy, despair, anger, joy and wonder. It should not, however, be an evening of white-knuckle suspense.  Let’s face it, the endings of the great warhorses are known. I’m not giving away secrets when I tell you Mimi dies, Lucia goes insane (and dies) and […]

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Bittersweet

She was young and fresh and beautiful when we welcomed her into our home with joy and anticipation. But now, she’s faded and brittle; her day is done and she must go. Once again it’s time to take down “the tree”. Yes, I recognize that “organized” girlfriends took theirs down long ago, but in the […]

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