Social Distancing Journals: Katie Zins '04

The world looks very different today from when spring break started at the end of February. Instead of students returning to campus this week, faculty and staff are working to develop online curricula in the face of this rapidly changing global pandemic. Everyone is also adapting to this new normal of staying home and social distancing to help stop the spread of Covid-19.  We asked a number of our faculty for their recommendations for reading and watching, as well as other creative ways that they are spending their time; we will be sharing these over our spring term of distance learning.

Katie Zins, humanities, and her husband Steve have been keeping busy by cooking lots of comfort food recipes and reading a lot of books. They also are juggling their toddler Isaac and newborn Elijah.

I like to do crossword puzzles and watch the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. The hosts are funny, the contestants are great, and the treats look delicious! If you are brave enough, you could try to make one of these recipes yourself! Or if you want something easier, my family loves to make pizza. You can buy pizza dough at most grocery stores or bakeries. You can freeze the dough for up to a couple of months. Once it’s thawed in the fridge, put it out on the counter at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Then start working the dough with flour into whatever shape you want - circle, rectangle - and roll out the crust however thick you want. Cover both sides with a light coating of olive oil then bake it in the oven at 450 till it starts to turn golden brown. Then add your toppings and put it back in the oven till the cheese is melted. My favorite is a thin-crust Margarita (fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and sliced tomatoes); my husband likes Barbecue Chicken (shredded mozzarella, chicken, barbecue sauce) and my son Isaac likes a thick crust pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

There are all kinds of cool, well-done nature documentaries on Netflix like Our Planet and Night on Earth (I just came across this one, haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds awesome - documents the “hidden lives” of animals using special technology). If you are missing sports right now, you can stream ESPN’s 30 for 30 films (on Hulu and ESPN plus). Some of my favorite sports movies are Rudy (on prime), the Mighty Ducks, and Hoosiers (available for rent). There’s also the tv show Friday Night Lights (on hulu), which Steve and I have already watched three times from start to finish, and might start a fourth time by the end of the month

If I’m looking for an easy-to-read, entertaining thriller, I like books by Dan Brown. Another great choice is Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose - a murder mystery set in a 14th century Benedictine monastery in Italy. It weaves together history and theology into a captivating story.

Another idea is to learn a new language with the app Duolingo. I am brushing up on my Italian!