Pastime changes with the cold - Updates going into a "slower" season

Well, it's winter. 

The fish have all but stopped biting, the weather is more frequently wet and windy, and the warm, cozy insides of buildings have us locked away for the season. Getting sick all the time doesn't help at all either.

Despite the cold and wet conditions of late in the southeast, a good friend of mine that I met on the Appalachian Trail this last season wants to plan an overnight trip, or 2-day hike. We may go do a loop of a trail in The Great Smoky Mountains, but neither of us is dead-set on doing anything epic. We just want to get out, use our gear, and reminisce about the time we spent on trail.

I definitely still want to spend time outside this winter. Day to day time spent outdoors, though, is invariably going to be on the decline. It is supposed to be a very cold winter. I guess the last few years of somewhat mild winters is catching up with us. January and February are supposed to be very cold here this year.

So as my attentions turn more frequently to indoor activities, I'd like to think about how my habits are changing.

First, I'd definitely note that I'm eating more frequently. Being inside more frequently as it gets colder means being closer to the fridge. 

Second, I'm not getting as much exercise. I'm less inclined to go on long walks in the cold for exercise. I'm going to need to start an indoor exercise regimen. I have a few ideas of things that I can do every day just to stay active. I miss being able to get out and swim so much. There is a place that a lot of people swim in the river, and it isn't too far away, but it is too cold now to really enjoy it. I'm really just going to need to get myself out of the warm house and make myself go on a walk a couple of times a week.

I'm still reading on my kindle when things are slow. I'm not reading near as much as I was a few weeks ago. I got a new book for Christmas called The Name of the Wind. I am really excited to read it, but I'm going to finish the book I'm on right now first. 

Video games! Every so often an old game my best friend and have played for a very long time "resets" and people race to level up and acquire wealth for trading. It's a cool thing, because it forces you to start over with everyone else and it encourages you to try different types of characters and play-styles every reset season. Despite the games advanced age at 18 years, and the fact that there is a new installment of the game with its own servers and fanbase, our game is still going strong with a dedicated player base and the company that made the game is still working constantly to improve the game experience. I'm super impressed with it, honestly. It's a heck of a lot of fun, and I don't need a gaming computer to play it. My laptop runs it well, in stark contrast to all the new titles that keep coming out. My friend and I have been playing together for a few hours a week since the latest reset just happened. 

Investments. This isn't really a pastime, but I have been spending a lot more time dealing with my investments since it has gotten colder outside. One downside of the warmer months is that I never manage to keep a very close eye on my portfolio. I think I trade more frequently and aggressively in the colder months, since I have more time to watch everything. Before I go out for several months of hiking, I always ensure that my portfolio is in a strong place. I get rid of stocks that need to be watched closely, and either bank the cash or reinvest it in something that I can hold for a while longer without worrying about it. I can, obviously still check on my accounts when I am on trail. I have to wait for when I'm in town and have cell network internet or a WiFi connection, but it's possible. With a few exceptions, like the smaller towns in Maine, most small towns have good cell coverage now. Having a smartphone is pretty incredible when you need to manage your finances on trail.

Writing and working on my book has taken a hit to productivity lately. I feel like I keep getting sick. After visiting everyone for the Christmas holiday I think I've gotten some kind of bug. It stinks having all your motivation and energy just sapped from you seemingly overnight. Right now I'm feeling achy and gross, and I don't want to do any work at all on my writing projects. I've had to force myself to get up and deal with things that need to get done the last two days. My fiancee has been sick as well for the last day and a half. She had to call off work yesterday along with several of her coworkers. Something got passed around at the hospital on her last shift. She did not feel good yesterday. I felt awful, not being able to do more to make her feel better. 

Brewing Kombucha! My aunt gave me a "mother" (aka a "SCOOBY"). I had no idea what it was when she first showed it to me, but my fiancee flipped out. It turns out my fiancee has been drinking a lot of these $4+ bottles of kombucha from the organic market near work. I did some research and started brewing our own batches. I made a strawberry basil kombucha first, and everyone seemed to really like it. I blended fresh strawberries and basil together and let the bottles ferment for 4 days before putting them in the fridge. They came out nice and bubbly. I think it will be tough to match the tastiness of that first batch, but I'm going to try. I'm telling my fiancee to pick out the flavors she wants and I'm going to make a couple of bottles of each flavor she wants. I'm going to need to get my hands on some more mason jars and bottles for secondary fermentations, I only have two real bottles right now and we run out really fast. 

Apparently my newest pastime is speaking with call-center employees. I have been on the phone for hours the last few days trying to get my health insurance set up for 2018. I purchased a plan through a health insurance marketplace. My plan didn't register with the provider for over two weeks, and my payment is still not showing up as having been received by the insurance provider. It's been pretty frustrating, and even though I've done everything I've been told to do my payment still hasn't seemed to go through. It may just be a waiting game at this point, though the new year is coming soon and I may not have coverage for a month or two. At least, it seems, my continued efforts to get my plan going have earned me an exemption from any penalties that may be incurred for not having a plan.

Agh, I feel pretty crummy. I'm hoping that once the weather stays cold, and we are out of this change of season sickness phase, I'll stop getting sick so much. I'm going to go drink a big glass of water and sit down for a while.