September 16, 2018

The 2018 Cabin Classic Golf Tournament

The 2018 Cabin Classic Golf Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 16, 2018

I keep trying to get braver with my drone and to test that I'm flying it over the lake more and more to try to take pictures.  It's definitely a bit stressful because the wind seems to be more powerful over the water and I find it drifting from time to time while I'm trying to get the shots.  But somehow I've kept it from going into the water so far, so hopefully I'll be able to avoid that fate.

On Friday night, I drove down to Clear Lake, Iowa for the 2018 Cabin Classic Golf Tournament.  It's named after Jason Alexander's cabin and the fact that's where we stay for the weekend.  It was good to see the old gang again.

Krazy Kory was even able to join us this year which definitely helped amp up the Kraziness Factor throughout the weekend.  He usually has that kind of effect on things.

All in all there were 13 of us golfing and we decided to go to the course in Sheffield, Iowa for the event.

We did a 2 man best shot tournament and played in groups of 6 so I got to hang with these fellas for the day.  Normally courses frown on sixsomes, but the course was pretty quiet while we were there.  Kind of odd because it was an absolutely beautiful day.

I think your ball went that way.

This course has some unique features, but the thing that stands out the most is "The Ruins" in the middle of hole number 4.  There used to be an old brick and tile company that had stood on this land and these remnants are leftovers from the kilns.  They can be a pretty tough hazard to deal with if you get stuck in the middle of them.

Your concentration can be broken pretty easily when the train comes barreling down the railroad tracks that run alongside the course.  Nice flag, though.

 I tried to explain to Chris that he wasn't using this right, but he just kept smiling and going on with his business.

At night, we like to relax and play some Texas Hold 'em tournaments.  I even managed to win a couple of rounds this year which was a nice change of pace from the usual results.

Chris broke the record for the largest stack of the evening so we had to deal with him rubbing that in our faces all night.

Miss Sheri had a fun week getting the chance to re-connect with her college friends again.  It's always good to see these ladies!

September 9, 2018

Kangaroo Crossing at the Minnesota Zoo

Kangaroo Crossing at the Minnesota Zoo
Todd Swank's Diary Update for September 9, 2018

We went to see our friends, Cathy and Jeff, on Monday.  They have a big pizza bash every year on Labor Day and we like to go to eat our share.  Jeff is a good pizza chef!

The kids are back in college, so our Empty Nester Club had it's best turn-out in months.  We even had some new empty nesters which I guess is probably likely to happen in the Fall.

This will probably be our last gathering at Charlie's on Prior this year.  For some reason, sitting by the lake isn't nearly as much fun in Minnesota when it's fall and winter outside.

We bought season passes to the Minnesota Zoo earlier this year and realized we better go out there again since it's going to expire soon.  We also realized that there's a new attraction called Kangaroo Crossing which we hadn't experienced yet.  I was surprised to see that once you entered the attraction, the kangaroos were basically  able to come on the path to interact with the humans.  I wasn't surprised to see that pretty much all of them were sleeping just beyond the barrier where the humans are not supposed to go.

Miss Sheri tried to tell me that all of these aren't kangaroos, some of them are actually Wallabies.  I don't know the difference between the two, but they kind of look like really big rats to me.

After seeing the claws on these guys, I realized I didn't want to mess with them.

I couldn't tell if she was pregnant or he had some testicular issues.  I'm hoping it's the former.

Another new part of the zoo is back in the swampy area.  They added some walking trails over the top of the water which allows you to get a pretty neat view of the ecosystem.  I just love unique ecosystems.

I felt kind of bad for the turtles.  You'd think they'd get sick and tired of being this dirty all the time.

This funny looking bird had the right idea.  Stay above the green goop and it won't mess up your yellow feet.

It actually ended up being quite the lovely day for a walk around the zoo.

The bears were being kind of frisky.  Probably gotta get it out of their systems before settling down for their long winter's nap.

We had never seen the camel this close to the fence.  He was so wanting to get that sweet, sweet green.

We'd also never seen the moose this close to the fence.  He's got a bunch of crap all over his antlers which really bothered me.  I kept beckoning him to come up to me so I could help him clear it all off, but he ignored me.  His loss.  

After the zoo, we stopped at the Burnsville Fire Muster which is a community festival where they bring in all the fire trucks and let people play with their hoses.  Seemed like a lot of wasted water to me.

One of the food trucks had a unique system for gathering tips.  I guess this settles it.  The Vikings are winning the Super Bowl this year!

We continue having fun with our new drone and haven't got it stuck or dropped it in the lake yet.  I can imagine that will be happening soon.

I keep thinking our albino squirrel friends will disappear for awhile and then look in the backyard and there's another one.  They must really like us.

September 3, 2018

Minnesota Renaissance & The Minnesota State Fair 2018

Minnesota Renaissance & The Minnesota State Fair 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 3, 2018

We debated going to the Minnesota Renaissance this year.  It seems like every year we go and say it feels like we've done this before.  But then when you get there and meet fun people like this, you're quickly reminded that this is always a unique experience.

The Kamikaze Fireflies were a new group performing this year.  I believe they would be classified as a "Danger Act" were they to go on America's Got Talent.  The guy balanced himself on top of a bunch of chairs and also juggled fire sticks while standing on the shoulders of an audience member.  I'd like to say that I could do those kinds of tricks, but I can't.  

The Minnesota Renaissance is one of the largest events of it's type in the country attracting more than 300,000 visitors each year.  The festival has been held in the same place for the past 48 years, but is being forced to find a new home starting in 2020.  It's kind of sad because this location has so many unique spots that won't be able to be re-created because they've been being developed for nearly half a century.  It's truly going to be the end of an era.

I like watching the guys blow glass.  Hard to imagine people figured out how the heck to do this nearly 2000 years ago.

I didn't remember that alligators had a big presence back in the Renaissance days, but they must have been quite the nuisance.  I wouldn't want to mess with them.

I spent 2 nights in Lincoln, Nebraska this week for work.  They sure have a pretty sky down there.

On Saturday, we dragged Grandma Linda out of the house and down to the Minnesota State Fair.

We didn't do a great job on timing.  Turns out we chose the busiest day in the history of the Minnesota State Fair with more than 270,000 people in attendance.  Not a good call on our part.  It was wall to wall people the whole day.

At least we had a bucket of chocolate chip cookies to help us deal with all the people.  Cookies make crowds much more pleasant.

We like watching the dog show that occurs every year.  Mainly because there's always some of the dogs that will not obey their masters which causes all sorts of shenanigans to ensue.  We like naughty doggies.

We thought we'd take the sky ride to go from one side of the fair to the other and maybe that would get us away from all the people.  Not so much.  Turns out the people knew about the other side also.

I thought I was being pretty rebellious experiencing the Sky Glider when the sign so clearly spelled out that Physically Handicapped people shouldn't do so.  Seemed kind of discriminatory to me, so I stuck it to the man and went on there anyways.

Apparently there's a whole bunch of naughty stuff happening on the sky glider judging from the amount of undies sitting on the rooftops underneath.  Not sure what gets people so frisky up there, but I have to imagine they have quite the challenge making it work.

After the Fair we had some friends over for a BBQ and Boat Ride.  I thought it would be fun to get a picture of our group with my new drone.  Turned out to almost be the last drone picture I took as the winds above the lake are stronger than they appear.  My new drone almost got away from me, but luckily I was able to navigate it back to the boat before it fell into the lake to join our last drone.

We did see a cool bald eagle while on the lake.  It looked like he was trying to tell us something but tough to know for sure.

We got to see Jason and Jen a couple of times this weekend which is always nice.  We had breakfast together then spent some quality time with one another at the casino.  Good wholesome fun.

August 26, 2018

Empty Nesters Again

Empty Nesters Again
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 26, 2018

It's hard to believe this summer is already coming to an end.  It was confirmed for us on Thursday when Luke moved back to Mankato to start his sophomore year at Minnesota State Mankato University.

Two days later, Avery followed suit when he moved back to the University of Minnesota to start his sophomore year as well.  Miss Sheri and I are officially empty nesters again!

Both boys are trying something new this year.  Avery has moved into an apartment with three other guys.  They have a really cool location right across the street from Stadium Village.  I'm sure game days are going to be pretty wild and crazy in this place.

Luke decided to stay in the dorms but has chosen to forego having a roommate and is now living by himself.  Every time we call him, though, he seems to be out and about with friends so I doubt he will get lonely.   Good luck Luke and Avery at school this year!

We found it pretty cool when we were pulling out of the driveway on our way to drop off Avery, one of our albino squirrel friends showed up in the yard to wish him Good Luck!  They always seem to show up in our lives at just the right times.

Last weekend, we had the joy of going out on the St. Croix River on the Zitzewitz boat with a bunch of friends.  That's always a recipe for a good time.

The Browns brought their jet ski which was very entertaining.  It's lighter than other ones I've driven, so it seems to make you fly much, much higher when you go over the big waves.  It made me a little nervous to go that high, but the boys sure seemed to like it.

We had all sorts of fun toys to play with in the water!  Which is a good thing because it helps me keep my mind off constantly worrying about being attacked by a river shark.

Pretty soon, Captain Karl took controls of the jet ski and pulled out a tube.  He was ready to start giving rides!

I watched him give the kids rides for quite awhile and thought, "Well, that doesn't seem so bad."  It's been awhile since I've been on a tube, but it's just like riding a bike, right?

Eventually, I hopped on the tube and was ready to go for a ride.  I figured it would be easy.

It wasn't easy.  I held on for dear life while he swung me from side to side and had me jump the thing over waves.  I held on as hard as I could, but eventually succumbed to the G Forces that seemed to want to send me into the water so badly.  Then the fun began.  Getting back on that tube was much harder from the water then it was from the boat.  Lucky for me, Karl is big and strong and was able to give me a boost else I'd probably still be out there bobbing up and down on that river.

Next up was Rhonda and Tina who were ready to give it a go.  They didn't say anything but I'm sure they were thinking "If Todd can do it, then it will be no problem for me!"  I probably would have thought that if I were them.

I watched their ride and was impressed that they held on the whole time and never flew off like I did.  I'd like to think that's because Karl took it easy on them, but I'm more sure it's because they are also stronger than I am.

Another sign that summer is almost over.  Our annual fantasy football draft was on Friday night!

As always, Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy and his lovely wife, Melissa, hosted an incredible shin-dig and auction draft that lasted several hours.  It's always a fun time!

I saw on the championship trophy that I haven't won the league since 2010.  So I think I'm due!  Although I'm not in love with the team I drafted, so it's time to start working that waiver wire to find the diamonds in the rough!  Are you ready for some football??