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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?

Level 11

As a family we loved going out to eat. Even with the limited seating or outdoor that is allowed we are still staying away. We have been trying take out from our favorite places, but some aren't doing very well at it. Those that have done take out before had the process down and food would be warm when I get home. Others, the food is cold when I get there. They still try to tell me 20 minutes and when I show up in 10 the food is ready and majority of the time wrong. 

2020's todays were filled with trying new things.  This year I tried:

  • Telecommuting.  It worked well!
  • New pickup truck & 5th wheel camper (well, new to US, but used equipment to reduce depreciation costs).  Both worked well!
  • Losing my job due to COVID-19's financial impacts to my employer.  Totally was successful at that.  Hmph.
  • Cutting trees, designing & installing a new circle driveway to facilitate using/parking the new 5th wheel camper while it has the boat trailer on behind it, expanding a parking pad to better accommodate the camper, pulling stumps, renting 10-ton dump trailers to move Class 5 gravel for the driveway & parking pad, moving the big propane tank to accommodate space needs (well, I had the gas company do that--but TOTALLY successfully), moving a shed, and more
  • Using the app called Telegram to track where interesting birds were being seen around me (it works as well as the people sending the messages, plus it's easy to provide a pinned location through Google maps)
  • Visiting State Parks in Wisconsin (they're almost all new to me)
  • Photographing new vistas, beach scenes, rapids & waterfalls


I have to admit that it's been a good year for accomplishing things away from work.  So many things that had been relegated to the back burner over the years have been dealt with nicely, and I'm happy about it all.


Good one @danielle.livy 

Post COVID since March 2020 lifez changed completely, initially a month of two things were fine but it kept on getting worse 😞 , everything around me had changed, life was monotonous but then i kept pushing it.

Things were just crazy in India and its kinda scary to even step out, i then decided to start cycling, booked a bicycle online and somehow managed to assemble it lol 🙂 and since then every day i cycle for about 5-6 kilometers, it takes out the stress from you and i am enjoying it. 

Level 8

@rschroeder we’ll need an update on more camper adventures! Maybe a blog with awesome camping photography is your new for 2021?! 
@EBeach it is definitely hit or miss on the to-go options, but so worth trying to support them! cycling (even indoors) is such a great way to break up the day! Kudos to you on sticking with it! 

Level 11

2020 has taught me even more than before, to carpe diem!  Life is short, so enjoy it whilst you can.

Level 13

This year... I tried....

  • Parking Lot Take Out - my dad took us out to dinner. He paid and had them delivered to our cars. We parked near each other (a space between us) with our windows down and vehicles off and chatted from a safe distance while eating together. It was weird and fun! (Just like my family) We have plans to do so again soon.
  • Crafting...more than my average year... I was more ambitious with my son's Halloween costume this year (even though it didn't leave the house) adding shield creation to my repertoire - I am working up the confidence to build a full armor of foam for next year - he wants to be Master Chief... I also made tutu skirts for his sisters for Christmas, and am working on backlighting in my office (which is sort of crafting lol)
  • The biggest NEW thing this year has been my new role as a Head Geek. I have done so many new things this year because of this job from writing blog posts to recording videos. Every month it seems has brought some new wonderful challenge to me. Keeping things interesting in a good way.

So I stink at this.   I was thinking about this year I have done......   And I thought hey self, you freaking slacker....

1. New truck, so yes I did that as well, but since It was purchased in September there are not even 2000 miles on it at this rate it wont even be broken in before I need to sell it off because the world no longer supplies gasoline.

2. I built nothing.   I did replace my mailbox.   The wooden treated 4x4 which was in the ground under the plastic formed mailbox has rotted after 15 years in the florida ground, and a LOT of rain.  I replaced it with a new all wooden pole and metal mailbox.   

3. I did go to St. Augustine FL.   Granted I do live in Florida so going to a tourist trap is a given right?   No I seem to go nowhere.  I am not sure how living someplace everyone else wants to be, drives me bananas.

4. I have lost 24 lbs, but its not due to anything cool, I simply was more disciplined at home, didn't buy junk.   One thing about online shopping, you are not walking the isles and grabbing useless calories.   

5. I already worked from home, so there was no transition.   We use MS Teams thankfully.   We are pretty mature in our organization with teams, and we all have dial in numbers so it works well.   

That is about all its not exciting but it is what it is at this point.

Level 14

New for 2020:

1. Telecommuting for over two months! Nice!

2. Telecommuting from my travel trailer in the campground I have a seasonal site in near the beach for 4 weeks straight... (awesome). @rschroeder (when this clears.... We are going to do a long road trip...)

3. Finished my bar area

4. updated my deck.

5. Enjoyed my summer. 

Level 18

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: ).

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 @yumdarling'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?

Level 11

@adatole 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.

Level 8

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

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

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

@adatole whatever level up is better than zero, right?!

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

@danielle.livy 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.   

Level 11

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!