Category Archives: The Future

Making Predictions

I was happy to wake up on September 24 and find that the world hadn’t ended as David Meade, biblical numerologist, had predicted. I believe he recalculated after he found things were still the same on the 24th as they were on the 23rd, and predicted another date for our demise  on  October 15th.  The rogue planet Nibiru, violating all physics principles, is predicted to collide with earth and set in motion all sorts of rannygazoo.   We shall have to see what happens. I believe that is the date of  Blevin’s book club.  At least you will all be together.

It isn’t easy to make accurate predictions.  Our world is so random that people search for certainty and cling to the idea that we can make sense of the universe. Consider poor Harold Camping,  the evangelist and radio host who made multiple predictions of the Earth’s end in 2011,  and who finally admitted in 2012 that he was sinful for even trying to make such predictions, falling back on Matthew 24:36 “of that day and hour knoweth no man”.

I am often asked as part of my work to make predictions regarding human behavior.  Psychologists have a myriad of tests and ways of making such predictions, but it is never completely 100% accurate. I know that people who score certain ways on tests of cognition and memory probably have dementia.  I know that people who score in certain ways on tests of emotions and personality probably have certain  mental health diagnoses.  I feel pretty certain predicting that parents with drug and alcohol use disorders  who previously neglected and abused their children will probably do the same thing if they continue to abuse substances.   I can  predict, however, with almost 100%  certainty, that if people are allowed to purchase machine guns, those guns will fired off.  That is probably the easiest thing to predict, and you don’t need an advanced graduate degree to do so.

When have you been able to say “I told you so”?

Waiting For The Smoke To Clear

The header photo was taken September 12, mid afternoon,  in New Town, ND. The site is the Four Bears bridge over the Missouri River, and the haze is smoke from Montana and Canadian forest fires.  It has been a long, smokey summer.  I believe that the smoke made it all the way to the Twin Cities, too. Tonight the visibility here is predicted to be about 2 miles, which is quite reduced from normal. I can’t imagine how awful it must be for people living in western Montana. All we can do is wait,  and hope for precipitation.

A friend of mine from the Flathead Reservation in Montana says that the only thing that will put out the fires is snow. I am happy to report that snow is predicted in the higher elevations out there tonight. It rained here today and it didn’t dissipate the smoke at all. All we can do is wait it out.

This has been a summer of waiting on the weather-waiting for rain that never came, waiting for it to cool down (it was 98° here yesterday) and now waiting for the smoke to go away.  It is a lesson in human insignificance and the power of nature.

What are you waiting for?

What Were We Thinking

We have lived in our house for 29 years. During that time we reared two children, and coped with two Welsh Terriers, one Fox Terrier, and 4 cats.  It is a modest, ranch style house of about 1200 square feet with an attached garage. The basement is finished.

Over the years we have upgraded the kitchen and done some cosmetic flooring changes.  We made the house and yard functional for our needs without much thought about the future. Well, the future is upon us, and I feel daunted by the things we need to undo and change in order to sell the house when I retire in 4 years. My main thought as I survey the house and property is “What were we thinking?”

The terriers dig up and consume the asparagus? Put a fence with steel posts and hog panels around the asparagus bed. Who cares if it disturbs the flow of the yard space and makes the back yard ugly.  Don’t worry how you will remove the posts and haul away the hog panels when it is time to dismantle the fence.

Need more garden space? Just dig up the front yard and grow veggies there. Who cares that no one else in the region will appreciate that scheme and will want a grass covered front yard to mow.

Need book space? Just attach brackets and shelving to an entire wall in the basement family room.  Then fill all the shelves with books. Don’t worry one bit about what you will do with all the books, or the damage to the walls when the brackets are taken down.

Closet doors in the entry way don’t slide well and get the way when you want to access things stored there? Don’t hire a carpenter. Just remove the doors and store them in the furnace room for 20 years. During that time, cannibalize the door slider hardware from them to repair other closet doors. Now, figure out how to put the entry way closet doors back on and find replacement parts for the missing hardware.

I figure we are looking at remodels of two bathrooms, wall repair and new carpets in the basement, lots of yard restoration, and the help of a patient carpenter who can just bite his tongue and not judge. I am glad we have several years to put things to rights.

What have you done, or what trends have you followed, that made you say “What was I thinking?”

Am I Old Yet?

Yup, I am officially an Elder. It was announced in the last couple weeks. First a young waitress called me “Sweetie.” Then when handing me my annual fair gyros, the vendor said, “Here you are, My Dear.” And yesterday when I called to make a doctor’s appointment, the nurse ended the call with “Honey.”

No one (much less a stranger) in my previous life as an adult has ever used such endearments to address me. I can only attribute it to my being 75 and it’s “safe” (or is it patronizing?).

P.S. When I was in pre-op before hip surgery a nurse told me I was a “poor imitation of a 75 year old.” Have I aged that much since May?

How do you mark the various stages of your life?

August Garden Update

  • Oh my! the Baboons have been busy in the garden in July and August. Here are some recent submissions of garden activity.

Barbara in Rivertown sends these beauties:



Reneeinned sends these:

Here is what is growing for Anna:

Here is what is growing for Jacque:

LJB sends these lovely photos:

These are photos of August gardens.  What are your plans for next summer’s gardens? What gives you hope for the future?



Verily’s Geek Adventure

There hasn’t been a total solar eclipse anywhere near my location since before my birth and the geek inside me was thrilled to realize that I would be driving distance from the epicenter of the eclipse path this week. I started making my plans about 3 months back when I was arranging my summer schedule.  Although folks knew I was going, I resisted any “hints” that maybe I needed a travel companion.  I also resisted a concerned neighbor who thought I would be safer if his adult son (who was also traveling to see the eclipse) went along with me.

I headed out on Sunday morning with directions, a cooler full of food and drink, several books, two GPS systems and two eclipse apps on my phone. I35W was its normally fun summer mess of road work with no work happening, but I eventually made it to Osceola where I roomed for the night.  Relaxation, reading and an early bedtime were the only things on my agenda.

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. – not knowing what traffic into St. Joseph would be like, I didn’t want to take any chances. Was on the road by 4:15 and made it to the East Hills Mall at about 6:30 a.m.  I chose that location as it was right in the middle of the epicenter as well as being on the edge of the city (hoped that would help with traffic after the eclipse).  There were people already parked in the lot, but not too many.  As the morning wore on, more and more people showed up and vendors got their tents all set up.  There was music inside the mall and most of the stores were having eclipse discounts. Parked near me there was a family from Sioux Falls who had painted their van, a guy from Jordan with a SERIOUS camera, a young couple from Texas who played cards while waiting, a woman who had flown in from California the day before and an older gentleman from Iowa wearing his safari hat.

It rained twice before the first stage of the eclipse happened and both times everybody scrambled to get their camp chairs and equipment back into their cars. In between the showers the sun came out, making the humidity jump.  When C1 began (when the moon begins its trip in front of the sun), the clouds were still breaking up a bit so we could see the progress.  It looked like a big cookie with a bite taken out of it.  Due to the clouds (and me just using the camera on my phone), I never got a good photo.

Then about 25 minutes before totality, the clouds closed up and it started to rain again. Just like folks who can’t wait until the end of the 9th inning, folks started to pack up their stuff and head out.  By the time of totality, it had stopped raining, but was still cloudy, so while we didn’t see the total eclipse, it did get very dark and cool.  Then, like a little miracle, about 2 minutes after totality, the clouds broke up for a minute and those of use remaining got to see the sun covered 90% – just a little bitty sliver of light.

I had said several times that I would be skedaddling back home after the eclipse but the non-construction zones on 35W with the extra traffic made the 6 hour drive into a brutal 10½ hour drive. I tried to get either of my GPS systems to re-route me, but nothing worked out.

Even though the driving wasn’t great and the weather wasn’t great – I had a great time! I’m glad I got to see what I got to see and if I’m still around in 2024, I’ll try to get to Indiana or the boot heel of Missouri.

What makes it an adventure for you?

Mushroom Surprise

It rained here last  week, a welcome respite to our drought.  Rain here is usually delivered in short bursts of showers that pop up briefly, followed by sunny skies. Last week, though, we had a whole day of light rain, fog, and mist that seemed to heal the earth and encouraged the unusual proliferation of mushrooms all over the place.

We rarely see mushrooms growing here. It is too dry. After the rain I noticed a proliferation of mushrooms in our front yard all around a dead tree stump.

I think they look like something you would see on a coral reef.  Their appearance gave me hope for us, that the drought will end and that the Earth still has lovely surprises for us.

What are you noticing in your yard these days? What surprises do you hope lurk there, hidden?