COVID-19 weekends are not terrible. There, I said it. I fully appreciate the fact I am still gainfully employed, am in good health, and that my children are old enough to entertain themselves. Aside from going a little stir-crazy from time to time, I’m learning to appreciate my weekends.

But when the weather doesn’t cooperate, leaving me without the option to be out in the yard, on a trail or riding a bike, I tend to get fidgety. Games help pass the time; so does a movie here or there. And yet, on those inclement days, there’s still a void. Maybe this is the prime time to pick up a new hobby.

Knitting it is, then.


Knitting it is not, then.

I cannot tell a lie: I went into the making of this video knowing that I wasn’t going to be a knitter. I did it just for the bit. If you came to this video thinking you would learn to knit, then I apologize. Better just Google “how to knit” you’ll find more than a few helpful (or not) videos and articles out there. Actually, I did just that and Google reported 1,090,000,000 results in 0.83 seconds.

Aside from taking a crack at knitting – which clearly wasn’t the right pastime for me – I have discovered some other activities I can bear when I find I have more time than I know what to do with. My solace is your solace.

1.) Puzzles – These days, it seems like every time I scroll through my Facebook feed, I’m seeing someone posing for a photo next to a newly completed puzzle. Don’t have any on-hand? Ask around. You’re bound to find a friend with a closet full of them.

How long will the table be scattered with these pieces?

2.) Board games – A family favorite is The Game of Life, particularly this version that I grew up with. The annual salary for a teacher is $10,000, while a physicist is pulling in a whopping $18,000 a year. It’s a good excuse to bore your pals with talk of inflation.

Those kids’ hairstyles are going to be what we’re all sporting when we emerge from sheltering in place.

3.) Coloring books – These are all the rage, with their intricately designed pages meant for adults with a steady hand. Looking for some free, printable pages? Look no further.

4.) Bird watching – Get to know the feathered friends flocking in the yard. A bird feeder will help draw them in, but during the spring in Minnesota, birding is pretty easy. My favorite is the black capped chickadee.

Get to know your own backyard.

5.) Journaling – Grab a notebook and start jotting down some thoughts. I have a feeling our grandchildren may want to learn what this period in history was really like.

6.) Cooking – Find one new recipe to try per week. Whether made with whatever mystery ingredients you have in the pantry, or if it’s worthy of a trip to the grocery store, expanding your repertoire will be appreciated. Bonus points if you include any young people in your home. Our new family fave, courtesy of my 15-year-old daughter, is vegan fried rice. Tofu isn’t that bad. There, I said that, too.

7.) Exercise – There’s no better time to find your inner Rocky. Think of Rocky IV. That’s the one where Sly finds himself in someplace that looks like Siberia. He’s lifting logs and high-stepping through the snow to train for his fight with Drago. You probably don’t have 40-pound logs laying around, but get creative; do some strength training with five pounds of flour, a gallon of water or a laundry basket filled with books.

Easy lifting. Bonus: No mirrors.

8.) Crossword puzzles – Find them in the daily newspaper or online. Some are easy, some are difficult. Either way, crossword puzzles are a good way to kill an hour, or in my case, a few minutes before I get frustrated and stop. What’s a nine-letter word for “a right of passage”? I have no idea, either.

If you’ve made it this far through the article, then you probably don’t have young children asking you the myriad things a young child can conjure up. If you do have young children, please allow me to apologize for this video and article. I realize the concept of free time is…well…ludicrous. Hang in there.


Want to get to know Twin Cities Producer Luke Heikkila’s 15-year-old daughter? She’s funny. So you should watch her tell jokes to neighborhood passersby.

Despite your need to find things to do, you may be feeling pretty serious about tending to your yard and gardens due to a little extra time on your hands. Put down the rake and read this before you head outside.

If you need a solid distraction in your life – and who doesn’t – then discover the dubious roots of both King Kong and Nintendo’s Mario to Minnesota. They’re basically from here.