What’s new for us in pandemic times

Wow, 2020 has been… a year, hasn’t it?

My heart goes out to everyone that has lost loved ones due to this horrible virus, to the folks struggling due to lost jobs and lost income, to the front line healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to take care of our sick, to our critical workers who are still staffing our grocery stores, shipping companies, etc, and to everyone else struggling during these trying times.

Shifting to school at home

With in person schooling shut down, it has been a big shift getting our 8 year old boys to do school work at home, which has required the use of a lot more online resources. The first few weeks required just about constant help, but they did settle in after awhile and have adapted well to using Google Meet, Flipgrid, Canvas, and other online tools for their assignments.

We’re fortunate that Tera has been able to dedicate time to helping the boys, and I can’t see how a household with both parents working full time could possibly juggle this.

What else have we been doing?

We’ve been doing family walks and/or bicycling around the neighborhood, getting out just about every day.

Dylan left, Ashton right, getting ready for take off on another bicycle ride around the ‘hood.

It’s been amazing to see the boys progress and get more confident on their bicycles. We’ve had a few crashes, scrapes and bruises, of course, but nothing major, thankfully.

We’ve been playing a lot more board games, like Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Catan, Monopoly, Rummikub, and others. Dylan’s favorite is Monopoly (adult edition) and Ashton’s is Ticket to Ride, although Ashton is not a huge fan of playing board games in general. I’ve really been digging Splendor.

We’re doing more outdoor activity now that it has warmed up. Other than bicycling, we get out on the trampoline, play corn hole, tennis, croquet, and we’re always looking for new outdoor activities to try (we still need to put our pickel ball equipment to the test!).

Pausing for a break on one of our neighborhood walks

I’ve been doing 100 pushups/day and ~60 “air squats” per day, attempting to increase my strength. Tera’s still working out on the elliptical, doing some HIIT workouts, yoga, and meditation.

I’ve been trying to learn to play the guitar and also doing a lot of reading.

My ever growing list of in-progress books includes; Designing Data Intensive Applications, This is Lean, The Imposter’s Handbook, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, Accelerate (second time through), and The Stormlight Archive. In addition, most nights I read a chapter out of “The Chronicles of Narnia” to the boys.

Authoring & community involvement

I recently completed the process of creating a new Pluralsight Curriculum instructional plan on Salt Open (SaltStack), which was an interesting experience. Next up, I’m working on a Pluralsight Cloud Lab on AWS CodePipeline!

Pluralsight Marketing asked me to do a webinar for Australia folks, based on my video course (DevOps on AWS: Getting Started). That occurred on April 29th at 9PM MT. I had a minor demo fail, but it was still a good experience for me as my very first webinar presentation!

On May 12th, I presented on the AWS CLI and shell scripting at the AWS PUG (Portsmouth User Group) Meetup, based in New Hampshire.

The genesis of my invitation to this is interesting. The meetup organizer (Chris Williams) saw my bio in the book Python for DevOps ( I was a technical reviewer on the book ), and reached out asking if I’d be willing to present.

The meetup went well and resulted in some fun Q&A and conversations. Getting involved in meetups, conferences and other events is rewarding for me. I really enjoy being part of the Tech community and interacting with my fellow industry professionals.

What’s new with you?