Zeitgeist: Of Climate and Ptica


Mike Ham
 

Zeitgeist Magazine
Edition: December 10th, 322 AP.

Utania's highest highlands experienced heavy snowfall in summer this week. It isn't a sign that the climate is cooling

As Utania counts December 1st as the beginning of summer, the past week's snow-dump in Utania's Savana highlands was not historic, but certainly unusual. The country's highest highlands are normally dry and devoid of snow during the hottest months, though temperatures don't often exceed ten celcius, making the mountains perfect for driving (highland-capable) flocks through good pastures. Yet, Utania's weather and disaster-monitoring agency, HUMOC, has warned for months that cooler-than-usual water temperatures in the western Cisgronkian ocean would lead to cooler and wetter seasons in Ishrakan, and 322ap has certainly matched that prediction.

For those in the north of Ishrakan, the news of fewer hurricanes was welcomed, but the result has been heavier rain all around. Mudslides due to months of soaking rain in Rovens and Mennan have claimed hundreds of lives so far this spring. Heavy rain in Guwimith has turned badly-needed croplands into swamps. Floods in Utania and the DSSB have also devastated crops, overloaded rivers, and lead to the famed Sarigerl lake to lap menacingly at Lochboer's flood protection barriers and erode her famed beaches. The Sarigerl river that drains the lake has also been flowing at full-rate for months, meaning that hydroelectric electricity production might, for the first time in DSSB history, account for over 40% of electricity production.

None of this is particularly historic, not even that this is the third such year of a cooler western Cisgronkian. However, this the third occasion this century while Vexillium's third century had only six such records. So, skeptics conclude, Vexillium is cooling, not warming as scientists claim. The recent collapse of the Halistrea glacier in Kreposti Stolitsa territory attests otherwise. Yet, HuMOC admits it does not yet understand the mechanisms that are leading to the cooler Cisgronkian water temperatures, but think deep-water currents from Glaciaria may be the cause.

To monitor these, the Utanian government has once again requested -- and been denied -- access to Ptica's highest peaks to monitor air movements and temperatures at high elevation outside Utania. The Ministry of External Relations even took to diplomacy over social media, using 140charactersorless.com to badger the Ailati authorities to explain why, to no avail. The attempt is the thirteenth in recent years, and Armatirion's ambassador to the UNV has explained that monitoring equipment is welcome, but not Utanian scientists or monitoring staff.

As for the mountain snows in summer, Savaj and Viranan herders certainly find the snow surprising, but not disruptive. Utania's highest plateaus, with villages tucked between razor-sharp, snow-capped mountain peaks that seem to touch the sky itself, produce a way of life that has little changed for centuries, untouched even by the occupation. Summer snow doesn't worry them, but the more rapid erosion of mountain glaciers certainly does. Some have, ignorantly and full of suspicion of "Futuronian technology", blamed the renewable-energy geothermal plants that have begun springing up throughout the highlands to take advantage of tectonic opportunities. HuMOC has also been eyed-suspiciously adding monitoring equipment to glaciers, but paying locals to keep them running has assuaged most. Locals won't damage the source of anothers' income. Climate change may be the only change that finally affects Utania's highest valleys.

(c) 322ap, Zeitgeist Magazine.

<TECH>
(c) Mike Ham, 2022. All rights reserved.

I'm still alive. How are y'all?


Bernard
 

Interesting read! I had missed that climate change affected Vexillium too; I'll have to find out what potential consequences for Smalik and Northwestern Eras will be.
More snow is always good; we had a 4% chance of that today and it seems that the snow took it (just a few flocks so far though).

I'm still alive too. Since last January we have a house guest (and his diva chihuahua), which was supposed to last only until he passed his exams in the summer ( = winter on Mike's side of the equator), so that he had a quiet place to study, as his father's place was kind of hectic with noisy neighbours and his father not contributing to any peace either. But then his father died in April, and due to the shock and aftermath he failed his exams, so he is staying for a little while longer. I don't really mind and the chihuahua is nice company too (and quiet; I have heard her bark only twice so far); I just hope that our landlady won't make a fuss of it at some point, as we are not really supposed to have pets, and having a guest for more than a year may be the cause of questions regarding the amount of people that actually lives at our address.

Work goes fine too, although switching from Customer Service to a planning/project/organisation position (since September 2021 already) has realigned my workload from a fixed amount per day to a more project based approach (my department organises mostly financial training courses for 'countries in transition' = former poor countries, former dictatorships, and former Soviet republics, as well as one or two countries that don't fit those descriptions but are just in our portfolio for political reasons), which means that there are many days that there is very little to do. As we get our budget from the government, and inflation and the return of our trainers travelling to our partner countries (so more flight tickets and hotels to pay for) has increased, there will be less projects next year, so there will be more of those empty days. On the good side I may get to go on business trips abroad too :D

As for geofiction: I am currently organising my time in a better manner to gain more time for the worthwile projects (including Vexillium); I already scrapped 5.5 of my lesser developed NationStates nations to this purpose as they ate too much of my time while the communities ('regions') in which they were didn't really deserve it. I hope it will work out this way. The ideal solution would of course be if I could use my empty days at work for geofiction, but my bosses will probably frown upon that.

~ Bernard


Op zo 11 dec. 2022 om 09:07 schreef Mike Ham <mikeham@...>:

Zeitgeist Magazine
Edition: December 10th, 322 AP.

Utania's highest highlands experienced heavy snowfall in summer this
week. It isn't a sign that the climate is cooling

As Utania counts December 1st as the beginning of summer, the past
week's snow-dump in Utania's Savana highlands was not historic, but
certainly unusual. The country's highest highlands are normally dry and
devoid of snow during the hottest months, though temperatures don't
often exceed ten celcius, making the mountains perfect for driving
(highland-capable) flocks through good pastures. Yet, Utania's weather
and disaster-monitoring agency, HUMOC, has warned for months that
cooler-than-usual water temperatures in the western Cisgronkian ocean
would lead to cooler and wetter seasons in Ishrakan, and 322ap has
certainly matched that prediction.

For those in the north of Ishrakan, the news of fewer hurricanes was
welcomed, but the result has been heavier rain all around. Mudslides due
to months of soaking rain in Rovens and Mennan have claimed hundreds of
lives so far this spring. Heavy rain in Guwimith has turned badly-needed
croplands into swamps. Floods in Utania and the DSSB have also
devastated crops, overloaded rivers, and lead to the famed Sarigerl lake
to lap menacingly at Lochboer's flood protection barriers and erode her
famed beaches. The Sarigerl river that drains the lake has also been
flowing at full-rate for months, meaning that hydroelectric electricity
production might, for the first time in DSSB history, account for over
40% of electricity production.

None of this is particularly historic, not even that this is the third
such year of a cooler western Cisgronkian. However, this the third
occasion this century while Vexillium's third century had only six such
records. So, skeptics conclude, Vexillium is cooling, not warming as
scientists claim. The recent collapse of the Halistrea glacier in
Kreposti Stolitsa territory attests otherwise. Yet, HuMOC admits it does
not yet understand the mechanisms that are leading to the cooler
Cisgronkian water temperatures, but think deep-water currents from
Glaciaria may be the cause.

To monitor these, the Utanian government has once again requested -- and
been denied -- access to Ptica's highest peaks to monitor air movements
and temperatures at high elevation outside Utania. The Ministry of
External Relations even took to diplomacy over social media, using
140charactersorless.com to badger the Ailati authorities to explain why,
to no avail. The attempt is the thirteenth in recent years, and
Armatirion's ambassador to the UNV has explained that monitoring
equipment is welcome, but not Utanian scientists or monitoring staff.

As for the mountain snows in summer, Savaj and Viranan herders certainly
find the snow surprising, but not disruptive. Utania's highest plateaus,
with villages tucked between razor-sharp, snow-capped mountain peaks
that seem to touch the sky itself, produce a way of life that has little
changed for centuries, untouched even by the occupation. Summer snow
doesn't worry them, but the more rapid erosion of mountain glaciers
certainly does. Some have, ignorantly and full of suspicion of
"Futuronian technology", blamed the renewable-energy geothermal plants
that have begun springing up throughout the highlands to take advantage
of tectonic opportunities. HuMOC has also been eyed-suspiciously adding
monitoring equipment to glaciers, but paying locals to keep them running
has assuaged most. Locals won't damage the source of anothers' income.
Climate change may be the only change that finally affects Utania's
highest valleys.

(c) 322ap, Zeitgeist Magazine.

<TECH>
(c) Mike Ham, 2022. All rights reserved.

I'm still alive. How are y'all?






Winfried Schrödter
 

> I'm still alive. How are y'all?

Can confirm that I'm alive, too. But power is fading. The more I need to do, the less I do.

I keep my Facebook blogs "80 / 75 Years Ago" running in which I present my dad's diary from wartime and Soviet captivity, day by day.

I can't find enough power to continue my military historic study about cartography in German air forces.

Also, I don't continue my ancestry research or other major hobbies.

So there should be space enough for Vexillium. Where I get lost in useless detail while deploring the absence of other players.

My wife is still working but her power also fades. Only difference, nobody asks her. She has to keep her enterprise running, replace any employee ill or on leave, fill all gaps in the shift plans. When she comes home, which normally is at 9pm, she cooks dinner (doesn't like what I could produce), turns on the TV, and after some time sleeps in.

Greetings from ūüá©ūüá™
Winfried 


Randy Young
 

[TECH]

Well, while we're checking in, I'm still mostly alive here, too. It's just... well, it's been a true Hell of a past couple years.

Quick recap. Cue flashback...

In April 2020, was sent home for COVID-19 precautions and spent the Spring and Summer trying to figure out how to work from home. As in, what kinds of work are even possible from home for someone employed by the US Defense Department? How do you keep track of your time so you can get paid? What happens when your boss decides he's going to take the easy route and continue to go into the office, while appointing you to figure not only figure out telework for yourself but manage it for the other 15 people in your office? What do you do amidst all this when your then-12-year-old daughter starts having near-psychotic episodes that lead to her withdrawing from everyone, sleeping in her closet, increasing paranoia, and verbally and physically attacking her little brother, and the medication she's placed on makes it worse? That took more than a few months to sort out. Then all three kids started the 2020-21 school year, which was 100% virtual and online for us here, and I started going back into the office.

In January 2021, all five of us came down with COVID-19, and it was terrible. We caught it from a family member that we had visited with over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Kelly and I had it the worst, and the kids got off fairly light. The symptoms lasted about 2-3 weeks for us, and ranged from flu symptoms to a loss of taste and smell to my wife losing the ability to speak properly (switching out random words in a sentence without realizing she was doing it) to an episode of severe depression that I found myself in. Got pretty dark there for a bit. After surviving COVID-19, I came down with my second bout of cellulitis in my lower left leg. It took three weeks of intense antibiotic treatments, during which time I was nearly hospitalized and was at risk of losing my leg to the disease. Nearly two years later, and that part of my leg is still discolored and there's an actual dip you can feel along the shin where tissue was consumed by the disease and will never come back. Fun. We finally got our then-13-year-old daughter into counseling and psychological therapy after nearly a year of waiting due to insurance issues and the general lack of psychological services in this area. The kids finished the virtual school year as quite possibly the worst school year of their short lives. In the Fall of 2021, my wife went back to work fulltime and the kids physically went back to school. Christmas 2021 saw a major fight and a complete break between us and Kelly's mom and stepdad. Years of verbal and emotional abuse came to a head, exacerbated by their increasingly far right politics that they were trying to foist on us and our kids. Thankfully, we've had no contact with them since that time, though that has also come with a price, as you'll see next.

The 2022 calendar year started off looking good. Kelly and I both working and enjoying our jobs (my old boss had gotten promoted and moved on to other things, and I was really enjoying working with the new temporary boss), the kids were back into the swing of "normal" school, our daughter was still in therapy and improving. Things seemed good. Sometime around March or April, Kelly's last remaining aunt died, likely from COVID, while in a nursing home. I don't have an actual date here, because we don't know for sure. We didn't find out until May, because Kelly's mom had only told my wife's twin sister about the death, with explicit instructions not to tell us because we "don't care about the family anymore" and we "don't deserve to know." We only found out because my sister-in-law mentioned it in passing to their dad, who then passed the word to us. In May, we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary with a beach trip for the two of us, and promptly came down with COVID-19 for the second time. This time wasn't nearly as bad as the first time, probably because it was a different strain and we'd both already been vaccinated. Still, the anniversary gift of the early 2020s, right? June saw us get a new boss at work, and a new boss' boss, the latter of whom just did not work out well for us. Luckily, she was also promoted and moved on to another position within a couple months, but we're still dealing with some of the fallout from her time there. Then we got a new boss' boss, who immediately deployed overseas. In July, we started taking our oldest daughter to visit some colleges since she'll be applying for college admission this coming Summer. August was back to school for my wife and kids, and a busy month supporting military exercises overseas and dealing with personnel issues at work stemming from posturing to deal with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Then September happened.

In mid-August, Kelly's dad ended up at his doctor, dealing with a chronic shortness of breath. The doctor diagnosed a continuing upper respiratory infection and put him on antibiotics. A couple weeks later, and it still wasn't clearing up. Then he started coughing up blood, and went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with at least two pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and other clots throughout his cardiovascular system. They monitored him for a couple days, put him on blood thinners, and sent him home with instructions to take it easy and let the medication do its work. We had dinner with him and his wife that first Sunday in September, and he was in great spirits. Taking it easy, but still with that sense of humor, cracking jokes all through dinner. We went home figuring he'd take it easy for a few days and we'd bring the kids over to see him when he was feeling better again. Three days later, he was back in the hospital coughing up blood again. They found more blood clots instead of fewer, and began running more tests to find out what was going on. By Thursday, they'd discovered cancer on his liver. That Friday they ran more tests. Kelly and I went to see him in the hospital that Saturday afternoon. His wife and sister were there with him. We got there about 15 minutes after the doctors had told them that his condition was terminal. The cancer had already taken more than half of his liver and had spread to at least four lymph nodes. They estimated he had about 3-4 days left. His skin was already turning yellow from liver failure and he was in and out of consciousness. We stayed for a little bit, then went home to break the news to the kids, planning to go back and see him each day until the end. Breaking it to the kids was one of the hardest things we've ever done. And then, just after midnight that night, he was gone. It was all so fast and completely unexpected, and we're all still dealing with it. Kelly still breaks down crying at nearly anything that reminds her of her dad. Our 9-year-old son has bad dreams about trying to find family members, only for them to be dead. Our oldest takes after Kelly, and our now-14-year-old daughter seems to have just entirely compartmentalized it and pushed those thoughts and emotions aside. The therapist is still trying to get her to really deal with them. And I haven't really dealt with it, either, honestly. I've been trying to take care of my wife and kids and get them what they need to get through this, and keeping an eye on Kelly's stepmom to make sure she's getting the support she needs, too. Obviously ended up missing a lot of work and falling behind on stuff, but what's new there, right?

Oh, and in September, our second floor bathroom flooded straight through the floor and into the living room below it, damaging both rooms and forcing us to take out a loan to cover repairs and renovations, which just recently finally got under way. Should be finished sometime in January, we think.

October brought death #3 for us when one of my aunts in West Virginia was found dead. She'd had a psychotic break about 25 years ago, and had been in and out of homeless shelters in the city. Apparently, she was found dead in a parking garage by another homeless person. We have no further information about the circumstances of her death. We also, unfortunately, weren't able to go to her funeral because we all came down with a stomach bug that weekend, trapping us here at home. In October we also got confirmation that the cancer that killed Kelly's dad was colon cancer that had spread. It's the same thing that took his dad at the age of 46. We know that it's a genetic thing, and that Kelly and her dad both have the genetic mutation for it, meaning that there's a virtual guarantee that the same thing will eventually catch up to her. And that means that each of the kids now has a 50/50 shot at it, too. Yay. Talk about a great year for us, huh?

So, unfortunately, there has just been no possible way for me to concentrate on doing anything with Zartania, Caledon, or any of my other territories. I'm still here, still plugging along, but it's been Hell the past couple years, and I apologize so much for leaving Vexillium hanging like I have. It's just been a struggle here.

Anyway, I just felt that I needed to chime in to let y'all know what's been going on and to apologize for not being as active as I should or would like to be. Thank you all for bearing with me and putting up with my countries' virtual isolationism (Oh, do you see what I did there, completely by accident?! "Virtual" isolationism?!! Wow! Sometimes, you've just got it, right?)

Take care, everyone. I miss you all and I miss Vexillium. Hopefully I'll be back once Life decides to leave us alone for a little bit and we can all catch our breath. Thanks, guys! And Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to y'all if I don't talk to you again before then!!

-Randy

[/TECH]

On 12/11/2022 4:33 PM, Winfried Schrödter wrote:

> I'm still alive. How are y'all?

Can confirm that I'm alive, too. But power is fading. The more I need to do, the less I do.

I keep my Facebook blogs "80 / 75 Years Ago" running in which I present my dad's diary from wartime and Soviet captivity, day by day.

I can't find enough power to continue my military historic study about cartography in German air forces.

Also, I don't continue my ancestry research or other major hobbies.

So there should be space enough for Vexillium. Where I get lost in useless detail while deploring the absence of other players.

My wife is still working but her power also fades. Only difference, nobody asks her. She has to keep her enterprise running, replace any employee ill or on leave, fill all gaps in the shift plans. When she comes home, which normally is at 9pm, she cooks dinner (doesn't like what I could produce), turns on the TV, and after some time sleeps in.

Greetings from ūüá©ūüá™
Winfried 



Bernard
 

Wow Randy, with such a series of tragic events no apologies for inactivity are necessary at all, as far as I am concerned!
I hope that things will calm down for you and your family.


Op ma 12 dec. 2022 om 11:40 schreef Randy Young via groups.io <young.r=verizon.net@groups.io>:

[TECH]

Well, while we're checking in, I'm still mostly alive here, too. It's just... well, it's been a true Hell of a past couple years.

Quick recap. Cue flashback...

In April 2020, was sent home for COVID-19 precautions and spent the Spring and Summer trying to figure out how to work from home. As in, what kinds of work are even possible from home for someone employed by the US Defense Department? How do you keep track of your time so you can get paid? What happens when your boss decides he's going to take the easy route and continue to go into the office, while appointing you to figure not only figure out telework for yourself but manage it for the other 15 people in your office? What do you do amidst all this when your then-12-year-old daughter starts having near-psychotic episodes that lead to her withdrawing from everyone, sleeping in her closet, increasing paranoia, and verbally and physically attacking her little brother, and the medication she's placed on makes it worse? That took more than a few months to sort out. Then all three kids started the 2020-21 school year, which was 100% virtual and online for us here, and I started going back into the office.

In January 2021, all five of us came down with COVID-19, and it was terrible. We caught it from a family member that we had visited with over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Kelly and I had it the worst, and the kids got off fairly light. The symptoms lasted about 2-3 weeks for us, and ranged from flu symptoms to a loss of taste and smell to my wife losing the ability to speak properly (switching out random words in a sentence without realizing she was doing it) to an episode of severe depression that I found myself in. Got pretty dark there for a bit. After surviving COVID-19, I came down with my second bout of cellulitis in my lower left leg. It took three weeks of intense antibiotic treatments, during which time I was nearly hospitalized and was at risk of losing my leg to the disease. Nearly two years later, and that part of my leg is still discolored and there's an actual dip you can feel along the shin where tissue was consumed by the disease and will never come back. Fun. We finally got our then-13-year-old daughter into counseling and psychological therapy after nearly a year of waiting due to insurance issues and the general lack of psychological services in this area. The kids finished the virtual school year as quite possibly the worst school year of their short lives. In the Fall of 2021, my wife went back to work fulltime and the kids physically went back to school. Christmas 2021 saw a major fight and a complete break between us and Kelly's mom and stepdad. Years of verbal and emotional abuse came to a head, exacerbated by their increasingly far right politics that they were trying to foist on us and our kids. Thankfully, we've had no contact with them since that time, though that has also come with a price, as you'll see next.

The 2022 calendar year started off looking good. Kelly and I both working and enjoying our jobs (my old boss had gotten promoted and moved on to other things, and I was really enjoying working with the new temporary boss), the kids were back into the swing of "normal" school, our daughter was still in therapy and improving. Things seemed good. Sometime around March or April, Kelly's last remaining aunt died, likely from COVID, while in a nursing home. I don't have an actual date here, because we don't know for sure. We didn't find out until May, because Kelly's mom had only told my wife's twin sister about the death, with explicit instructions not to tell us because we "don't care about the family anymore" and we "don't deserve to know." We only found out because my sister-in-law mentioned it in passing to their dad, who then passed the word to us. In May, we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary with a beach trip for the two of us, and promptly came down with COVID-19 for the second time. This time wasn't nearly as bad as the first time, probably because it was a different strain and we'd both already been vaccinated. Still, the anniversary gift of the early 2020s, right? June saw us get a new boss at work, and a new boss' boss, the latter of whom just did not work out well for us. Luckily, she was also promoted and moved on to another position within a couple months, but we're still dealing with some of the fallout from her time there. Then we got a new boss' boss, who immediately deployed overseas. In July, we started taking our oldest daughter to visit some colleges since she'll be applying for college admission this coming Summer. August was back to school for my wife and kids, and a busy month supporting military exercises overseas and dealing with personnel issues at work stemming from posturing to deal with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Then September happened.

In mid-August, Kelly's dad ended up at his doctor, dealing with a chronic shortness of breath. The doctor diagnosed a continuing upper respiratory infection and put him on antibiotics. A couple weeks later, and it still wasn't clearing up. Then he started coughing up blood, and went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with at least two pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and other clots throughout his cardiovascular system. They monitored him for a couple days, put him on blood thinners, and sent him home with instructions to take it easy and let the medication do its work. We had dinner with him and his wife that first Sunday in September, and he was in great spirits. Taking it easy, but still with that sense of humor, cracking jokes all through dinner. We went home figuring he'd take it easy for a few days and we'd bring the kids over to see him when he was feeling better again. Three days later, he was back in the hospital coughing up blood again. They found more blood clots instead of fewer, and began running more tests to find out what was going on. By Thursday, they'd discovered cancer on his liver. That Friday they ran more tests. Kelly and I went to see him in the hospital that Saturday afternoon. His wife and sister were there with him. We got there about 15 minutes after the doctors had told them that his condition was terminal. The cancer had already taken more than half of his liver and had spread to at least four lymph nodes. They estimated he had about 3-4 days left. His skin was already turning yellow from liver failure and he was in and out of consciousness. We stayed for a little bit, then went home to break the news to the kids, planning to go back and see him each day until the end. Breaking it to the kids was one of the hardest things we've ever done. And then, just after midnight that night, he was gone. It was all so fast and completely unexpected, and we're all still dealing with it. Kelly still breaks down crying at nearly anything that reminds her of her dad. Our 9-year-old son has bad dreams about trying to find family members, only for them to be dead. Our oldest takes after Kelly, and our now-14-year-old daughter seems to have just entirely compartmentalized it and pushed those thoughts and emotions aside. The therapist is still trying to get her to really deal with them. And I haven't really dealt with it, either, honestly. I've been trying to take care of my wife and kids and get them what they need to get through this, and keeping an eye on Kelly's stepmom to make sure she's getting the support she needs, too. Obviously ended up missing a lot of work and falling behind on stuff, but what's new there, right?

Oh, and in September, our second floor bathroom flooded straight through the floor and into the living room below it, damaging both rooms and forcing us to take out a loan to cover repairs and renovations, which just recently finally got under way. Should be finished sometime in January, we think.

October brought death #3 for us when one of my aunts in West Virginia was found dead. She'd had a psychotic break about 25 years ago, and had been in and out of homeless shelters in the city. Apparently, she was found dead in a parking garage by another homeless person. We have no further information about the circumstances of her death. We also, unfortunately, weren't able to go to her funeral because we all came down with a stomach bug that weekend, trapping us here at home. In October we also got confirmation that the cancer that killed Kelly's dad was colon cancer that had spread. It's the same thing that took his dad at the age of 46. We know that it's a genetic thing, and that Kelly and her dad both have the genetic mutation for it, meaning that there's a virtual guarantee that the same thing will eventually catch up to her. And that means that each of the kids now has a 50/50 shot at it, too. Yay. Talk about a great year for us, huh?

So, unfortunately, there has just been no possible way for me to concentrate on doing anything with Zartania, Caledon, or any of my other territories. I'm still here, still plugging along, but it's been Hell the past couple years, and I apologize so much for leaving Vexillium hanging like I have. It's just been a struggle here.

Anyway, I just felt that I needed to chime in to let y'all know what's been going on and to apologize for not being as active as I should or would like to be. Thank you all for bearing with me and putting up with my countries' virtual isolationism (Oh, do you see what I did there, completely by accident?! "Virtual" isolationism?!! Wow! Sometimes, you've just got it, right?)

Take care, everyone. I miss you all and I miss Vexillium. Hopefully I'll be back once Life decides to leave us alone for a little bit and we can all catch our breath. Thanks, guys! And Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to y'all if I don't talk to you again before then!!

-Randy

[/TECH]

On 12/11/2022 4:33 PM, Winfried Schrödter wrote:
> I'm still alive. How are y'all?

Can confirm that I'm alive, too. But power is fading. The more I need to do, the less I do.

I keep my Facebook blogs "80 / 75 Years Ago" running in which I present my dad's diary from wartime and Soviet captivity, day by day.

I can't find enough power to continue my military historic study about cartography in German air forces.

Also, I don't continue my ancestry research or other major hobbies.

So there should be space enough for Vexillium. Where I get lost in useless detail while deploring the absence of other players.

My wife is still working but her power also fades. Only difference, nobody asks her. She has to keep her enterprise running, replace any employee ill or on leave, fill all gaps in the shift plans. When she comes home, which normally is at 9pm, she cooks dinner (doesn't like what I could produce), turns on the TV, and after some time sleeps in.

Greetings from ūüá©ūüá™
Winfried 



Paul Nicholls
 

I echo Bernard here and take care of yourself and your family.

On 12/12/2022 18:00, Bernard wrote:

Wow Randy, with such a series of tragic events no apologies for inactivity are necessary at all, as far as I am concerned!
I hope that things will calm down for you and your family.


Op ma 12 dec. 2022 om 11:40 schreef Randy Young via groups.io <young.r=verizon.net@groups.io>:
[TECH]

Well, while we're checking in, I'm still mostly alive here, too. It's just... well, it's been a true Hell of a past couple years.

Quick recap. Cue flashback...

In April 2020, was sent home for COVID-19 precautions and spent the Spring and Summer trying to figure out how to work from home. As in, what kinds of work are even possible from home for someone employed by the US Defense Department? How do you keep track of your time so you can get paid? What happens when your boss decides he's going to take the easy route and continue to go into the office, while appointing you to figure not only figure out telework for yourself but manage it for the other 15 people in your office? What do you do amidst all this when your then-12-year-old daughter starts having near-psychotic episodes that lead to her withdrawing from everyone, sleeping in her closet, increasing paranoia, and verbally and physically attacking her little brother, and the medication she's placed on makes it worse? That took more than a few months to sort out. Then all three kids started the 2020-21 school year, which was 100% virtual and online for us here, and I started going back into the office.

In January 2021, all five of us came down with COVID-19, and it was terrible. We caught it from a family member that we had visited with over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Kelly and I had it the worst, and the kids got off fairly light. The symptoms lasted about 2-3 weeks for us, and ranged from flu symptoms to a loss of taste and smell to my wife losing the ability to speak properly (switching out random words in a sentence without realizing she was doing it) to an episode of severe depression that I found myself in. Got pretty dark there for a bit. After surviving COVID-19, I came down with my second bout of cellulitis in my lower left leg. It took three weeks of intense antibiotic treatments, during which time I was nearly hospitalized and was at risk of losing my leg to the disease. Nearly two years later, and that part of my leg is still discolored and there's an actual dip you can feel along the shin where tissue was consumed by the disease and will never come back. Fun. We finally got our then-13-year-old daughter into counseling and psychological therapy after nearly a year of waiting due to insurance issues and the general lack of psychological services in this area. The kids finished the virtual school year as quite possibly the worst school year of their short lives. In the Fall of 2021, my wife went back to work fulltime and the kids physically went back to school. Christmas 2021 saw a major fight and a complete break between us and Kelly's mom and stepdad. Years of verbal and emotional abuse came to a head, exacerbated by their increasingly far right politics that they were trying to foist on us and our kids. Thankfully, we've had no contact with them since that time, though that has also come with a price, as you'll see next.

The 2022 calendar year started off looking good. Kelly and I both working and enjoying our jobs (my old boss had gotten promoted and moved on to other things, and I was really enjoying working with the new temporary boss), the kids were back into the swing of "normal" school, our daughter was still in therapy and improving. Things seemed good. Sometime around March or April, Kelly's last remaining aunt died, likely from COVID, while in a nursing home. I don't have an actual date here, because we don't know for sure. We didn't find out until May, because Kelly's mom had only told my wife's twin sister about the death, with explicit instructions not to tell us because we "don't care about the family anymore" and we "don't deserve to know." We only found out because my sister-in-law mentioned it in passing to their dad, who then passed the word to us. In May, we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary with a beach trip for the two of us, and promptly came down with COVID-19 for the second time. This time wasn't nearly as bad as the first time, probably because it was a different strain and we'd both already been vaccinated. Still, the anniversary gift of the early 2020s, right? June saw us get a new boss at work, and a new boss' boss, the latter of whom just did not work out well for us. Luckily, she was also promoted and moved on to another position within a couple months, but we're still dealing with some of the fallout from her time there. Then we got a new boss' boss, who immediately deployed overseas. In July, we started taking our oldest daughter to visit some colleges since she'll be applying for college admission this coming Summer. August was back to school for my wife and kids, and a busy month supporting military exercises overseas and dealing with personnel issues at work stemming from posturing to deal with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Then September happened.

In mid-August, Kelly's dad ended up at his doctor, dealing with a chronic shortness of breath. The doctor diagnosed a continuing upper respiratory infection and put him on antibiotics. A couple weeks later, and it still wasn't clearing up. Then he started coughing up blood, and went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with at least two pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and other clots throughout his cardiovascular system. They monitored him for a couple days, put him on blood thinners, and sent him home with instructions to take it easy and let the medication do its work. We had dinner with him and his wife that first Sunday in September, and he was in great spirits. Taking it easy, but still with that sense of humor, cracking jokes all through dinner. We went home figuring he'd take it easy for a few days and we'd bring the kids over to see him when he was feeling better again. Three days later, he was back in the hospital coughing up blood again. They found more blood clots instead of fewer, and began running more tests to find out what was going on. By Thursday, they'd discovered cancer on his liver. That Friday they ran more tests. Kelly and I went to see him in the hospital that Saturday afternoon. His wife and sister were there with him. We got there about 15 minutes after the doctors had told them that his condition was terminal. The cancer had already taken more than half of his liver and had spread to at least four lymph nodes. They estimated he had about 3-4 days left. His skin was already turning yellow from liver failure and he was in and out of consciousness. We stayed for a little bit, then went home to break the news to the kids, planning to go back and see him each day until the end. Breaking it to the kids was one of the hardest things we've ever done. And then, just after midnight that night, he was gone. It was all so fast and completely unexpected, and we're all still dealing with it. Kelly still breaks down crying at nearly anything that reminds her of her dad. Our 9-year-old son has bad dreams about trying to find family members, only for them to be dead. Our oldest takes after Kelly, and our now-14-year-old daughter seems to have just entirely compartmentalized it and pushed those thoughts and emotions aside. The therapist is still trying to get her to really deal with them. And I haven't really dealt with it, either, honestly. I've been trying to take care of my wife and kids and get them what they need to get through this, and keeping an eye on Kelly's stepmom to make sure she's getting the support she needs, too. Obviously ended up missing a lot of work and falling behind on stuff, but what's new there, right?

Oh, and in September, our second floor bathroom flooded straight through the floor and into the living room below it, damaging both rooms and forcing us to take out a loan to cover repairs and renovations, which just recently finally got under way. Should be finished sometime in January, we think.

October brought death #3 for us when one of my aunts in West Virginia was found dead. She'd had a psychotic break about 25 years ago, and had been in and out of homeless shelters in the city. Apparently, she was found dead in a parking garage by another homeless person. We have no further information about the circumstances of her death. We also, unfortunately, weren't able to go to her funeral because we all came down with a stomach bug that weekend, trapping us here at home. In October we also got confirmation that the cancer that killed Kelly's dad was colon cancer that had spread. It's the same thing that took his dad at the age of 46. We know that it's a genetic thing, and that Kelly and her dad both have the genetic mutation for it, meaning that there's a virtual guarantee that the same thing will eventually catch up to her. And that means that each of the kids now has a 50/50 shot at it, too. Yay. Talk about a great year for us, huh?

So, unfortunately, there has just been no possible way for me to concentrate on doing anything with Zartania, Caledon, or any of my other territories. I'm still here, still plugging along, but it's been Hell the past couple years, and I apologize so much for leaving Vexillium hanging like I have. It's just been a struggle here.

Anyway, I just felt that I needed to chime in to let y'all know what's been going on and to apologize for not being as active as I should or would like to be. Thank you all for bearing with me and putting up with my countries' virtual isolationism (Oh, do you see what I did there, completely by accident?! "Virtual" isolationism?!! Wow! Sometimes, you've just got it, right?)

Take care, everyone. I miss you all and I miss Vexillium. Hopefully I'll be back once Life decides to leave us alone for a little bit and we can all catch our breath. Thanks, guys! And Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to y'all if I don't talk to you again before then!!

-Randy

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On 12/11/2022 4:33 PM, Winfried Schrödter wrote:
> I'm still alive. How are y'all?

Can confirm that I'm alive, too. But power is fading. The more I need to do, the less I do.

I keep my Facebook blogs "80 / 75 Years Ago" running in which I present my dad's diary from wartime and Soviet captivity, day by day.

I can't find enough power to continue my military historic study about cartography in German air forces.

Also, I don't continue my ancestry research or other major hobbies.

So there should be space enough for Vexillium. Where I get lost in useless detail while deploring the absence of other players.

My wife is still working but her power also fades. Only difference, nobody asks her. She has to keep her enterprise running, replace any employee ill or on leave, fill all gaps in the shift plans. When she comes home, which normally is at 9pm, she cooks dinner (doesn't like what I could produce), turns on the TV, and after some time sleeps in.

Greetings from ūüá©ūüá™
Winfried 



Winfried Schrödter
 

Hi Randy,

you lived through a terrible time indeed. And I didn't notice before because just that mail didn't arrive.

I wish you and your family power to overcome the situation. And use your time wisely, life is so short.

Greetings! 
Winfried