Monday, May 22, 2017

Spirit Lake, Iowa

Spirit Lake, Iowa

Too many enchiladas
last night for dinner
at that really good Mexican place
after golf at Emerald Island golf course
in Spirit Lake, Iowa,
led to pretty restless stomach
as I tried to get to sleep,
but eventually, and after
four or five mint-flavored antacids,
my stomach settled down,
and slumber ensued.
Remind me not to eat five
enchiladas and have a large beer
and three glasses of water
late in the evening again.
We played 27 holes today at Brooks
and will order a pizza tonight,
watch a basketball game on tv,
and hope for playable
weather tomorrow before heading
back to Omaha for work on Wednesday.
I disturbed a little black critter,
maybe a small rat,
as I was looking for a golf ball in
some tall grass on one hole,
heard the usual geese and ducks,
and enjoyed the day.
A golf course employee was out
on his mower cutting the grass
while his dog was having a great
time following him in large looping
back and forths
clearly in great dog joy.
And right after I made a birdie putt
on the 26th hole of the day,
we saw lighting to the northwest
but were able to finish just as
rain started. We congratulated ourselves
on our excellent timing.
We've done this golf outing
for many years now, and
I hope to do it for a few more.
I think I made $4.50 on that birdie putt.
That rat, I suspect, hunkered
down in its little rat nest during the storm,
and that dog probably took
a pretty good nap afterward,
as did I.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Robin

The Robin

I saw a robin bathing
in a rain filled pot-hole
on the drive home today.
It seemed quite pleased.

Saxophone Underwater

May 20

I don't know if I could
play a saxophone underwater.
I probably never will know.
But the thought of it is intriguing,
and there is a swimming pool
outside my window
in which I could try.
That possibility is there.
Like many.

Living Fahrenheit in a Centigrade World

May 20

I’m in the center of my little
world this Saturday morning,
sipping coffee, watching tv news,
reading news on my laptop, and
sitting here, writing this.
It’s 52 F outside and the rain
has moved on to the north.
If I say it’s 11 C outside, that
sounds so much colder.
I try to mentally calculate
Fahrenheit to Centigrade,
and wonder if anyone is calculating
the reverse in another country.
You know, someone
living in a Centigrade world
calculating what the temperature
must be in a Fahrenheit world.
I’ve got a few reference points in the
conversion, in that 82 F = 28 C.
I like the number swap mnemonic.
The boiling point at sea level
is 100 C. Water freezes at 0 C.
The conversion formula is:
°C x 9/5 + 32 = °F;
(°F - 32) x 5/9 = °C.
But for me, temperature
has not been internalized
so that I walk outdoors and think,
it must be 25 C out here.
I do walk outdoors and
think, it must be 82 F out here.
To get to Centigrade,
the warmth or coldness
of the air must be processed
intellectually. And I absolutely,
don’t think in Kelvin at all.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I’m watching “Justified,”
season 5, no. 11, Amazon Prime
on my Roku tv,
sipping some Clan MacGregor
blended scotch whisky.
That’s whisky with no “e” by the way,
and I just noted lightning out the
west window and heard the distant rumble
of the thunder, a gentle tympani,
out there in the symphony
going on at this moment.
I just checked the weather radar
and this system is different than the
other night which was a series of
cells moving toward us from the south.
This one is about the size
of the Ogallala aquifer, extending
from Texas to South Dakota and
appears to be of a gentler nature.
I golfed today with one of my golfing buddies,
and surveyors were measuring the erosion
on the Papio Creek that runs through
The Knolls golf course at 120th and Maple
along its western boundary using
a GPS system of some kind.
A bright orange safety fence has been
erected along the western side of hole #6 where
the creek has eroded more and more
over the years so golfers don't go looking
for an errant shot on that steep weakened slope.
You’d be surprised
the lengths golfers will go to avoid
taking a penalty stroke,
so the safety fence is probably a good idea.
In Florida, and other southern states,
special rules have been promulgated
so that golfer do not approach alligators
to play a shot. Like I said,
you’d be surprised the lengths to which
golfers will try to avoid a penalty stroke.
Season 5, episode 12 of "Justified"
is now running, and my whisky glass is empty,
all in the space of one poem.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sitting on my Patio

May 16 Sitting on my patio

I was sitting on my patio this morning
on the shade side of the building
sipping coffee,
enjoying the blue sky view,
when two mallard ducks flew by,
honking all the way,
heading northwest,
in a hurry, it appeared.
I tried to imagine what the
urgency might be about.
Black Tuesday at the duck mall?
Family emergency?
Late for an appointment?
Or work?
Duck police responding to a call?
I couldn’t come up with a good answer.
Maybe that’s just how ducks are on a
pleasant Tuesday morning.


It looks we are in for storms tonight.
Pea sized hail with the occasional
pearl onion is knocking on my
living room windows right now
like a bird pecking at its reflection.
The radar shows a train of storms
some 300 miles long coming our way
from Kansas about to ride
on its rails through
central and southeast Nebraska.
It can take hours for these
to pass, one cell after another,
in varying intensity.
First you hear the thunder,
a soft rumble for a while,
then it gets louder and sharper,
and wind gusts blast through,
and rain falls heavier and heavier
and then eases.
That cell moves on
and a cooler quiet settles in
for a time and then
you hear that distant thunder rumble
again. Right now, it's quiet again and
I'm watching the radar trying to
determine what's coming next --
listening for the next thunder.

Monday, May 15, 2017


May 15
As I drove north on 36th street the
other day by the Field Club
Elementary School,
I heard the children on the play ground
enjoying their recess.
And I noticed how green
all the trees looked and how much
less I could see with all
those leaves filling the spaces.
They arched
over the street from both sides
and almost touched in the middle,
almost held hands as children do
in a game of London Bridge.
Later in the summer those
children will be gone
and those branches
will droop and sag from the weight of
the summer heat.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Black Squirrel

A black squirrel scampered up
one of the maple trees
lining Cary Street outside
my bedroom window as I
walked by today heading to my
garage to look again for a grinding wheel
I need to do some repair work on a
rusting metal door at my church.
I finally found it in a tool box,
about the tenth one I looked through.
It scampered up to the first branches
about six feet off the ground and
clung to the bark like they do
and eyed me as I walked by.
I wonder if it thought I couldn’t see it.
I was about four feet away
and adjusted slightly as I passed to keep
more of the tree between it and me.
A genetic mutation
causing the black fur,
these squirrels are a “melanistic” subgroup
of Eastern gray squirrels, the most common
squirrel in the Midwest,
according to Wikipedia and
are not nearly as numerous as their
gray/brown cousins.
Evolutionary theory says the mutation
developed to give the squirrels
more protection in the dark, dense,
forests which at one time covered much of
the eastern US.
The coloration doesn't help much in Papillion, Nebraska.
I looked up into the branches
of the several trees on my street
but didn’t see a nest.
It might have out on a
squirrel walk-about though.
There’s a park about a block away
and I’ll see if I can locate its nest there

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Turkey Vulture

May 12 The Turkey Vulture

I saw a turkey vulture at Benson Park
municipal golf course today.
It was up in the sky,
not that high, 200 feet maybe,
riding the day’s slight breezes
along the tree lined creeks on
the course before heading east
into a neighborhood.
I’d estimate its wingspan at about 6 feet or so,
and there was another smaller black bird flying along
with it, darting and pestering the larger bird.
Turkey vultures are not at all rare around here,
but it is still fun to see one in the city.
More often, I see hawks and an occasional bald eagle.
Two Baltimore Orioles were engaged in
spring time dalliance on another part of the
course before heading off to consummate
their bird love, I suspect.
Ash trees with large blue Xs marked on them
still stood in certain areas along one of the creeks.
But a number of ash trees have been removed
already due to the Emerald ash borer
leaving only the stumps.
We noticed one pine tree not doing well
on hole #18. The needles on its entire western half
are brown. We call that Bob’s Tree because
he has hit his drives into that tree more than
a few times. I’m guessing tens of thousands of golf
balls have crashed into those branches,
perhaps causing it great harm.
One of these times, Bob’s tree
will be gone, too.