How has the ICT department been staying busy in personal time during the last couple months of self-quarantine?
Brian von Knoblauch
I’ve been keeping busy doing projects around my house; a lot of re-organizing and cleaning. I’ve been playing my drums and learning how to play guitar, thanks to YouTube videos and some online resources. I enjoy cooking and baking and have been experimenting with different types of bread and cookies. I worked on a couple fun home-computer projects such as setting up a Pi-hole server (https://pi-hole.net/), attempting to recover data from an old ESDI hard drive that I had in high school, and a short lived squirrel cam (ants invaded the camera and shorted it out). I have also been enjoying Skype calls with my nieces and nephew. 😊
I knew being isolated at home for so long would be a challenge. Being at Maxwell and having so many meaningful interactions with such a diverse community is one of my favorite things about my job, so I decided to make a commitment to be proactive and stay healthy by doing things that would keep my spirits up, as well as satisfy my desire to go places and interact with people.
I have been riding mountain bikes for years. Typically, in the summer I frequent various bike parks where you can go to lift service mountains and load your bike on a chair lift, then ride down trails built specifically for bikes. Since most of them have been closed, I decided to go to a bunch of local places that I haven’t made it to yet. One of the unintended benefits of this sport is that it’s easy to social distance but still ride with others in small groups. In fact, when I was on one of my local rides with a friend, I had the pleasure of running into David Van Slyke on a hiking trip. I have been able to meet up with a number of friends at various locations to ride together so it’s been great to have a healthy activity that has allowed me to safely travel and interact with people. This has also given me a new appreciation for what Central New York has to offer and the natural beauty of the area.
My family and I have tried to make the most of the pandemic and being stuck at home. We’ve spent extra time doing game nights, movie nights, taking walks, etc. The highlight that I can think of has been going to get ice cream, lol! Unfortunately, our trip to Disney World and my youngest daughters birthday were cancelled, but we still were able to spend some quality time together. At the end of the day that’s what our trips are all about anyway. Nothing really stands out as being a specific fun activity, just the overall time we have been able to spend together as a family has made this situation bearable.
Now that my kids are 16 and getting ready to drive, our 12 year old above ground pool had run its course. We got rid of it last year and had a neighbor help us build a little garden in the back. So my family had fun during the home time to populate it. It’s not filled in yet but I love our stone dog, angel, and frog 😊. We always had something in the front, but this year, instead of planting all flowers, we did a couple of baskets. Much easier to maintain! The roses were pure luck! I have no idea what I did or didn’t do, but it really blossomed this year!
I’ve been doing weekly virtual movie night with a group of friends using https://www.netflixparty.com/ and https://meet.jit.si/ for video chatting. I also used my time stuck inside to build a binary clock. For getting outdoors I’ve been exploring new areas by going to google maps and searching for nature preserve and visiting the new places I find.
Any time that you get to spend on the water is a good time. This is especially true when you’re able to explore some new lake, river, or stream. This year my family and I were able to explore Canadice Lake which is one of the “minor” Finger Lakes in western Finger Lakes.
While smallest of all Finger Lakes, Canadice Lake (as well as Hemlock Lake) is unique in that it is surrounded the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. Both Hemlock and Canadice Lakes are used as the water supply for the city of Rochester. As such, these lakes are protected and largely undeveloped. Kayaking on Canadice feels very much like being on a remote lake hidden in the Adirondacks!
Canadice being only three miles long is the perfect size to explore by kayak. While the day we were there was windy, the size of lake did limit the size of waves on the water. Having driven through the village of Skaneateles on our way to Canadice and observed the size of the waves at the north-end of Skaneateles, gave us a new appreciation for the serenity and ease of paddling on some of the smaller lakes in our region! And there’s also certain satisfaction of being able to traverse the entire lake and experience its views from each end.
Since we were recommended to stay home beginning in March, I utilized the time during the cold weather to research dog training and “attempt” to apply what I learned to my two Boston terriers. The classic saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks seems to be accurate (ha!), as my 3 year old, Lucia, wasn’t interested in changing much of her routine. On the other hand, Cisco is still a puppy and a new addition to my home as of last fall. He had learned an impressive amount of tricks by the time he was 8-9 months old! He can sit, down, stay, duration place, dance (oh this is a cute one!), high five, spin, and rollover! I have yet to comprehend how he can do a plethora of tricks, but still refuses to come when called, LOL! After the weather warmed up I took on the project of cleaning out my in-ground pool and decorating my back yard to create the closest resemblance to a resort experience at home.
I’ve gone geocaching to explore area parks and show kids uses of GPS – wearing gloves while touching things, of course. As the weather got nicer, we set up our tents to do some backyard camping. My wife and I are involved in the and are taking the time as a group to review many of our organizational operations and made plans to expand community involvement. We also go away to attend a small drive-in concert over the summer, my car is closest to the camera. And work-from-home means plenty of recovered time from commuting that is now spent catching up on the honey-do list.