Jessie's Smoke-Induced Summer Camp

Fires suck. Every time I want to complain about the air being intolerable, I remember why it’s so bad and my heart goes out to our friends in both the north and the south. Our Earth is burning and our people are hurting for it. As always, we rise to the occasion and help each other out. If you are looking for ways to help, here are a few options:

Opportunities to find and offer shelter.

Information on monetary and material donations, as well as options for volunteering.

Updates on progress and specific needs near the areas effected.


The air is too smoky to play outside and those of you who work “normal” hours may be looking towards the weekend and realize that you are facing a couple solid days of being cooped up inside. What to do, what to do?? Luckily for you, I’ve had a lot of free time, as well as a lot of coffee, and have come up with LOTS of fun ideas for you. Since we are practicing not complaining, we might as well make the best of our situation. Get ready to reconnect with your inner child as you step into Jessie’s Smoke-Induced Summer Camp. (Winter camp? Same same.) 

First, might I suggest doing a little tidying of whatever space you are spending your time in. I purchased a small air purifier for our bedroom and have been spending most of my time in here. I did a little vacuuming and dusting to make the space a little cleaner and happier feeling before I hunkered down. A little cleaning goes a long way. Of course, my cleaning led to some reorganizing, which led to some DIY and small craft projects- shelves are neat!

This created a lovely space for some Journaling. New to journaling? Try setting a timer for 10 minutes and try letting out a stream of consciousness. Nothing is too dumb or too silly to put on paper in a stream of consciousness. Just write every single thing that passes through your mind. Prefer a prompt? Try one of these.

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Have you been on YouTube Lately? You can learn nearly ANYTHING from YouTube. The key is to have a mission, otherwise you get sucked into the clicking vortex of Harry Potter secrets and America’s Got Talent videos. Not that I know from experience or anything…

My favorite has been YouTube Yoga sensation, Yoga With Adriene. She offers MANY options of levels, styles and lengths of videos. Unroll your mat and choose your magic.

If you have a deck of cards handy, see how many games of solitaire you can win. And if you cheat a little? No one will ever know. My record is two games in a row, with minimal cheating.

I looked for a website with card game rules and found this. It was much funnier than the boring site with all the rules. Enjoy.

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I’m sure all this activity has made you hungry. Why not try cooking a new dish? This might necessitate a quick trip to the store. If you have one nearby and an N95 mask to wear, find a recipe first and then complete your hunting and gathering mission. Otherwise, see what you can create using the ingredients you have on hand!

Here is a website where you can enter what you have in your kitchen and it will generate recipe options. I chose this one because these were the first two options that it offered after I entered my ingredients:

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Very helpful. Thank you, Internet.

After lunch, I would suggest a nap or a meditation (aka guided napping). I prefer to use the app Headspace for my guided napping. I have a subscription, but there is a free version! Give it a whirl, your brain will thank you. (And so will your belly, while it digests peacefully).

 Image borrowed from Headspace.

Image borrowed from Headspace.

How many of you have a guitar sitting in some corner gathering dust and looking sad from neglect? Well, tune that puppy up and get playing! Choose your current favorite song, find the chords (unless you prefer tabs, both are available) here and get playing!

Don’t have a guitar? Turn on your favorite jams and have a dance party! If you want to take it to the next level, jump back on YouTube and find a new dance to learn. Like I said, you can find anything on YouTube:

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It’s all about your attitude.

More of a follow-along type? Hang out with Napoleon.
And a reminder to use discretion when you choose videos from the World Wide Web: “It’s important to Woo.”

Be careful with the YouTube, kids.


Phew. You might need some refreshments after all that activity. It’s a good time to make some tea, settle onto the couch and pull out a good book. Or call your Grandma. Or catch up with your roommates. Not the reading or chatting type? Check out Jane Fonda’s Documentary on HBO. What a woman!

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspires you to play and make the most of your time inside. If this isn’t enough, hit me up, I have SO many more ideas. Don’t forget to revisit the top of the article and help as you can. And let me know what you get up to, I’d love to hear your creative ideas!

Many thanks to:

Molly and her newsletter from the Assembly. Thank you for listing links of ways to help and the Scarlet Sage herb suggestions.

The Artist’s Way, for reminding me to journal every day and for the Week 3 challenge of no reading or TV, which inspired me to remember how many fun things I can do in a day.

Steph for suggesting this article into existence.

Carl T. for his patience and for allowing me to turn our bedroom into my summer camp den.

YouTube. DUh.

Jessie Hernandez2 Comments