Response to…. The Death of Conversation

I just watched this here TEd Talk, that is worth watching:

In case you didn’t go watch it just now… it’s a guy talking about how he took photographs of people who were next to each other, at dinner, on the street, wherever, but they were interacting with their phones rather than each other. The pictures are gorgeous, by the way. He uploaded them to a website called Bored Panda, and people fell crazy in love with the series.

It’s not really a secret that I hate what Smartphones are doing to us… and I get why people sometimes think I’m crazy. I even get why so many people say their phones aren’t a problem because they know how to make good choices with their phones. But I still think Smartphones are detrimental to human interaction and intelligence. I don’t think that because I hate technology, although I’d totally move to a society without any technology if it made any financial or survival sense in my life. Anyone want to pay me to live for a year without any technology, by the way? Depending on the paycheck, I might just do it.

Regardless, there was this one brilliant idea in the TEd talk that I want to implement in my own life… all cell phones go in the middle of the table at dinner, and whoever touches his phone first picks up the bill… anyone want to accept that challenge? 🙂


The Glacier, the Lake, and Our Camp


Lori sent me this one, and I figured that even though it’s about time for me to look through all my photos from Peru, I’m far too lazy. Therefore, here’s one that I didn’t take, and I don’t think Steve or Lori even took it. In the upper-left quadrant, you can make out the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in real life, which is a lake formed by glacier water. The middle-ish is where we camped the first night of our trek. 🙂

Picture Book Kitchen #1: Pasta Plus Leftover Spaghetti Squash Plus Homemade Sauce

Essential Stats

*No recipes consulted/no exact measurements/vegan

*An hour and six minutes commencement-to-couch, including dish-washing that should have been done the night before.

*Pasta sauces are the best for using up Bountiful Basket ish. They can also be reincarnated as pizza sauces, and it’s really difficult to ruin them.

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New Hobbity Series Here on the Blog… Picture Book Kitchen????

Cooking Background: I feel the need to disclaim a difficulty I foresee in this plan. I feel a compulsive concern right now for others’ perceptions, mostly because some people talked about me behind my back not too long ago, and have ignored my attempts to address this conflict… so my feelings are still hurt.

I am not a kitchen guru, but I’m also not a cooking Padawan, though there are people in my life who see me as both extremes. I’ve cooked. For years. I’ve also not cooked. For years. I don’t think I know everything, so don’t get all, “Katie’s on a kitchen power-trip.” (That’s similar to the thing the people were saying about me).

In all frankness, I’d rather folks not think about me in the kitchen (or really at all in life), because the point of posting these things isn’t to showcase myself. The point is to have fun and display some kitchen whimsy. Recipes are often anxiety-inducing. What if I can’t find the exact right product, or what if my measuring spoons are dirty and I don’t want to wash them????? My idea is to post some things that are the opposite of that. My idea is to help myself and others love cooking, regardless of the outcome.

On that line of thought, like running, the kitchen and life can be ruined by others’ opinions. According to The Cool Impossible (written by somebody whose name I can’t remember at the moment), “The hardest thing in the world is for a runner to run at her own pace when she knows someone is watching.” Cooking and running and life shouldn’t be about the opinions of others.

That said, I’ve been cooking a ton lately, and I care a lot about food right now. I don’t currently have much of an income, so I’m cooking to save $. I purchased the Thug Kitchen Cookbook, which is miraculous in the accessibility it provides to vegan cooking. Everyone should own it. Also, I’m becoming more vegetarian/vegan ish… though not fully either vegetarian or vegan yet.

To support my new cooking habit, I started doing the Bountiful Basket thing, which I’m enjoying immensely. All of that is where this post finds its origins: several people have asked me if I’m capable of using an entire Bountiful Basket, and how I go about cooking it all.

True Answer: I haven’t ever found a limit to how much I could eat, so I’m definitely capable of eating an entire basket. However – and don’t judge – using the entire thing isn’t particularly high on my list of priorities.

My Personal Philosophy on the Basket: I want to use most of what’s in the basket, and I want to experiment. A little waste doesn’t bother me.

My Personal Philosophy on Cooking: I don’t think cooking or eating should be stressful or even structured. Cooking to me is art. It’s creative. It’s relaxing. It’s fulfilling. I consult recipes rather than following them; Shasta once said that I’m really difficult to cook with because I basically do what I want in the kitchen. I eyeball or completely reject measurement recommendations. I usually feel like my hand is a much better measuring device than spoons or cups. I substitute what I have or desire for what’s “supposed” to be included in a recipe.

So… Idea: I’ve decided to start a series in which I combat the Instagram by posting real pictures of things I cook… without much explanation of anything, and without discarding 82 photos before getting a beautiful one that’s post-able. Sometimes the pictures will be blurry. Sometimes the food will turn out bad. It’s okay.

I’m going to call the series Picture Book Kitchen.

The End.

My New Duckies!!!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted, but mostly, I was just waiting for the moment when I could post this:


That’s right, I got ducklings!

One of the science teachers at the school I work at had his students hatch and then observe ducklings in his class, and when it was all over, these guys needed a home. I have named the dark one d’Artagnan and the yellow one Anne, because I wanted to be super literary. d’Artangnan is the name of the protagonist in The Three Musketeers. During the story, he gets mixed up with Queen Anne, and in between that book and The Man in the Iron Mask, they have a great, but secret, love affair. Basically, they commit treason, but their baby later inherits the throne of France because no one knows he isn’t the son of the king.

Problem: there’s some question as to the ducklings’ genders. There is a terrible process called “sexing” them, during which people put fingers in terribly private areas, but I’ve determined that it’s really no one’s business. After much speculation and SmartPhone research, my friends came to the conclusion that d’Artagnan is actually a girl and Anne is a boy. However, I don’t think we’ll truly know until one of them lays an egg. If, indeed, d’Artagnan is a girl, her new name will become Minerva. I don’t have an alternate name for Anne just yet, but if they are both one gender, I guess we’ll never know and they can keep their original names.

FaQs: Yes, they generate an inordinate amount of poop.

They eat duck food that I buy from a feed store.

They live in my bathtub for now, but will be relocated to a small side yard as soon as the weather heats up or they get big enough to withstand the cold. The area will be completely covered with netting to keep out the hawks and other predators (like neighbor cats). They will also have a nice little dog house and a kiddie pool.

Yes, if they lay eggs, I will give them a try.

Yes, if they end up being super high-maintenance, I will eat them. That is not my current plan, and I don’t really like talking about them as food most of the time. They’re more like beloved puppies at this point in time.

No, they aren’t particularly loud unless I take Anne somewhere w/o d’Artagnan. He worries.

Yes, they are beginning to follow me around a bit, and seem to like me relatively well. I don’t believe they’ll ever fully imprint on me because I wasn’t there when they hatched.

No, I don’t let them walk around the house much because they really do poop all the time, but I will probably try the diaper thing at some point when they’re bigger.

Yes, there are diapers made specifically for ducks, but baby diapers supposedly work just as well.

Yes, they really like to swim. They went for their first full-bathtub dip today, and d’Artagnan was quite the diver. Anne isn’t as comfortable in the water, but I think that’s probably God’s way of evening the score. She’s quite the bully to d’Artagnan on land, and she’s pretty chunky from taking all of his food. It may also because she has a slight foot injury from destroying their heat light last night and then walking around on the broken light bulb fragments. She’s doing just fine, but there was blood, so I bet it hurts to use it very forcefully.


I will post more pics later.

Some Pics I’ve Been Saving Up


That, there is a snake. In my house!!!!

That, there is a snake. In my house!!!!

So… I may have panicked a little when I saw this guy slithering around my bathroom. Then, I may have called everyone I could think of who might have the magic help I needed. Then, Amy the Dentist may have come over, declared it a harmless little guy, then picked him up with her bare hands and relocated him to the backyard. I may also have been like, “Shouldn’t we kill him?” to which she may have responded, “No. He’s harmless. And he’ll eat rattlesnakes for you.”