All over Social Media I see posts by people stressed out over the numerous power outages in California. There are plenty of reasons to be upset, angry, concerned, and many other emotions. But this post is not about that. I grew up with frequent and long power outages in winter, and still experience regular outages, usually when we get heavy snows. There are ways to prepare in advance, and there are plenty of fun and productive things to do that do not require electricity or internet.

In no particular order:

Go for a hike or bike ride!  Most of us experiencing outages live within a short distance of State Parks or National Forests with a multitude of beautiful trails. (Don’t drive too far – gas may or may not be available.) If it’s too far to drive, walk around your neighborhood or town.

Read a book – If your Kindle is charged, you may get up to 28 hours of reading. Even better is a good old fashioned paper book. Visit your local library and stock up before the outage.

Write a letter – yes pen and paper type of letter! Write lots of them! Write to friends, family, or your elected officials.

Draw, Paint, Create – Grab a pencil, pens, brushes and paint, whatever you wish. Draw from reality or your imagination – something that often withers in the powered world. Need inspiration? Checkout Inktober!

Yardwork – I realize some may not see this as fun, but it can be relaxing and good exercise. The Black Oaks are dropping lots of leaves, and the Ponderosas are dropping old needles… I desperately need to rake. The forecasted winds may make this more of a challenge than I want to deal with though. But if the power is still out for a while after the winds have calmed down… then I know what I’ll likely be doing.

Visit Neighbors Do you even know them? I used to live in sorta suburbia where I rarely saw my neighbors. Here I know them better. The last outage there was talk of a Block Party. It never happened, but if the outages keep happening I’m sure it will at some point.

Stargaze – I’m looking forward to this to be honest. With so many without power and it being near a new moon, the skies will be extra extra dark here. The last outage was near a full moon and it was bright enough to read by outside. 80% of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way because of light pollution. This may be the best time to view it for many. Also take a look at Dark Sky Organization – they do a lot of amazing things and have tools to help you realize how much light pollution is affecting where you live. Doing a comparison between blackout and powered pollution levels could be eye opening.

Clean out the Junk Drawer! This might not fall in the “fun” category, but it’s a great time to clean out junk drawers, closets, pantry, even your garage.

There are many more fun or productive things to do that don’t require electricity or internet. First and foremost keep yourself safe. If you require power for a medical device please reach out to your County emergency services, they have resources to help. If you’re using a generator, use it properly and in a place far from combustibles or where it’s exhaust will blow into your home. If you bought a whole house generator, make sure it was installed by someone licensed and qualified to do so. Food safety is also a concern – this is a great guide to what you can keep or should throw.