Writing Challenge Day 20: Today I Tried...

Okay, okay… I know this is one of the hardest topics ever, because when you’re quarantining (does anyone else say this like martini? Just me? Okay...), or sheltered in place, or trapped at home with your entire family, trying something new is legitimately hard. Not only has 2020 stripped us of all the fun activities, like travel, movies, concerts, PLAYGROUNDS, it has also stifled some creativity. Because creativity comes from trying new things and exploring the world around you—some days my biggest exploration is from the upstairs bedroom to downstairs office.

After months in quarantine, I quickly realized this wasn’t going to end any time soon so binge watching every new show wasn’t going to give me the fulfillment Tiger King did back in March/April. As I Zoom’d my way through calls, I started listening to the new things people were trying. What was working? What got them away from their desk (and maybe their kids)?

Here are the things I honestly (hand to the sky) tried since March 2020. These aren’t earth shattering, but hopefully a reminder that you can find something new even in the simplest of ways.

Juice cleanse – The quarantine 15 is real y’all. After trying to restart the economy by ordering out lunch and dinner All. The. Time. It was officially time to kick start the metabolism. I did a three-day juice cleanse. And, honestly, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The juice flavors were mostly good, some were slightly traumatizing. But overall it helped shed some weight and prepare me for the next thing I tried.

Peloton App – Almost every workout company or app was giving away a month, but Peloton stood out because they were giving away 90 days free to access their app earlier this year. Now, I don’t own a Peloton bike, but I do have a treadmill that was dusty and used to hang my clothes that can’t go in the dryer. So, I started with their treadmill workouts and went from walking a mile(ish) to now running over three miles. Eventually I did cave to an Amazon deal to get a stationary spin bike and those workouts live up to the hype.

Walking the dogs for a break – Ah, yes, the days of walking around the office and chatting with co-workers. Before you knew it, 15 minutes had passed, you mosey on back to your desk, work for a bit, then do another walkabout. Well, walking your dog (and venting to them if you need to) is the new walkabout. Not only do they become super spoiled, yet extra healthy with all this walking and love, you get away from your desk. My dogs have always been crated when we’ve gone to work, now they’re couch-surfing bums who get two walks a day.

Outdoor yoga – A friend invited me to try this before daylight savings time hit and ruined everything. I’m not a yogi because if I don’t sweat, I don’t feel it counts as exercise. However, this was mesmerizingly great. Not only did it get me outside on a beautiful fall-like day, I felt more relaxed after a long Monday of work, in the same place I’ve been for 8-plus months. And, I was legitimately sore the next day. The cost was minimal and worth it.

Meeting a friend for outdoor lunch – Remember helping to drive the economy? For a brief moment in time during 2020, it was nice to meet someone for some outdoor dining. I tried restaurants I wouldn’t have tried before because they came up with a cool outdoor setup. The one-to-one in person interactions are something everyone needs right now. There’s just something to be said for venting over an appetizer than via a planned Zoom/Facetime call.

Cooking – Did I buy an air fryer this year? YUP. Is it life changing? YUP. I don’t cook and I say that with genuine sincerity. The beauty of the air fryer is its bar food made healthy.

Building something – I took some old Adirondack chairs, sanded them down, and repainted them. Which spiraled into me asking my husband to build a new dinner table. Which then spiraled into I need to reconfigure my office/dog room and I need a new desk for that.



Online grocery orders – I had heard about this for a while, and many people even go the delivery route. But, having two kids home during the shutdown quickly led to me throwing my credit card info into this platform and ordering, and ordering, and ORDERING. Time saver, germ avoider, and gave us a reason for a “drive” when pick up was ready.

Tell me, what’s something new you tried? How did it go?

  • I have been buying things to make things faster, easier and more enjoyable.  I have been buying new kitchen gear, outdoor tools and now I'm buying ice fishing equipment.  The K-drill auger should arrive today!

  •  no secrets, just eating less, snacking less, eating better.   Cooking at home is key, and cooking healthy.   Gone are the days of needing meat, potato, veggie, etc at every meal.  No food after 7 PM, popcorn as a late even snack if needed.  Lots of water, stay away from soda.  Oh and only protein shakes for breakfast at least 4 days a week.   I also fast every Sunday morning from dinner saturday night to Late lunch Sunday.   I find it helps keep me focused at church.   I do take my vitamins and recommend you take any medication or if you have a health condition only fast with a permission from your Dr.   

  •  parking lot take out! Yes! Did this too... super fun for a change of pace. 

     whoa! Enough discipline for 24lbs of weight loss is ah-mazing! Teach me your ways! 

     bar + deck + summer... where’s the invite?!

     whatever level up is better than zero, right?!

     investing time in yourself and new skills is the best use of 2020. 

  •  Your goal is admirable, and one I've flailed at for decades. Qapla'! Hatzlacha! I have found that taking extra time with the Koren Sacks siddur helps me, not that I've made much progress.

    I would not say I've tried anything completely new during the pandemic, I have tried to brush up on things I've been wanting to do:

    Smoking (food, not tobacco) - As I've written about elsewhere in this month's challenge, I investigated smoking (low and slow cooking) on something more suited than a Weber kettle grill.

    Rebalancing my portfoilio - I had a lot of my 401(k) and IRA accounts in a small number of stocks. I did get some time to research (Thank you, Motley Fool) places to move some of that so my nest eggs are spread across more baskets.

    SolarWinds Training - I went back and reviewed old labs and ThwackCamp sessions, in addition to on-demand training. It brought up several insights to share with colleagues and customers.

    Investigated Related Technologies - I finally had the opportunity to look at other networking and automation technologies, including Ansible, Palo Alto and F5 (partially to better grasp the benefits of Network Insight), and update my Powershell skills to be better able to use the SWIS API.

  • While it's a blog post (or 3) of it's very own, I took some steps toward smart home technology and automation (I hinted at this previously: https://thwack.solarwinds.com/t5/Geek-Speak-Blogs/Writing-Challenge-Day-8-My-New-Hobby-Lessons-Learned/bc-p/612306/highlight/true#M36559 ).

    That said, what I've really focused on more than anything else during this pandemic is my Hebrew reading skills. (This will warm the cockles of 's heart.) Being separated from a regular minyan (quorum of Jewish folks needed for communal prayers; not to be confused with minions, who are cute and useful but sadly do NOT count toward a Jewish quorum.) has forced me to make do with what I have. Which, if I'm being brutally honest, are the reading skills of your average 1st grader.

    But over the months, and under the sometimes-supportive-but-often-gleefully-strict children, my reading skills have improved.

    That's something, right?

Thwack - Symbolize TM, R, and C