May 19, 2019

Not Today

Not Today
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 19, 2019

We've had an extremely busy week so not many fun pictures from the Swank household today unfortunately.  I have friends who make fun of me when I post pictures from the dogpark because they know I'm reaching for content for my blog.  I don't get it.  How could people not love seeing me and my beautiful dog Blue in various poses at the dog park?  I think each and every one of them are fascinating.

Both of our boys are officially home from college and settled back into their lives at home.  Now they won't leave their rooms until it's time to go back to school in August.

Of course I'm kidding.  We do take the occasional stroll across the street to the lake to take the dog swimming.  These pictures are also always amazing.

Luke's NBA dreams are still in full effect.  He has a ways to go talent wise, but I think his passion is definitely strong.

I'm still blown away every time I see a new kind of bird at the feeder that sits just beyond my desk where I work all day.  When I did a search for this guy, the description I get says he's an American Goldfinch.  The only problem is I swear I heard him have a slight British accent, so who knows.

The only sad thing at our house this week was one of our albino squirrels has discovered the hummingbird feeder.  He's become obsessed with it as we have witnessed him attacking it multiple times.  He's torn-off the yellow flower and ravenously sucks out the sugar water inside with a violent fervor.  Does anyone know if Alcoholics Anonymous accepts albino squirrels?

May 12, 2019

Happy Mothers Day 2019

Happy Mothers Day 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 12, 2019

The week started with a visit to Grillfest 2019 in St. Paul.  We all loaded up our bags with goodies while walking around testing various grill treats from local restaurants and beers from local breweries.  A very nice way to spend a Sunday.

There was a wide variety of meat on the menu.  For some reason, it's hard for me to eat things that still seem like they have the ability to look back at me.  I'm just weird like that.

 We had this month's Prior Lake Empty Nester Get Together at Harry's in Lakeville.  Not as many people showed up as last month, but we still had a bunch of fun.

We went to the Dakota Curling club in Lakeville where we had the chance to play some goofy game involving flicking little discs into one another.  It got pretty competitive, but I was glad when it was over because my flicking finger started feeling a little sore.

We spent the weekend at the farm seeing Miss Sheri's mom for the holiday.  The heavy rains this Spring has caused planting to be delayed, so we walked the empty fields for awhile.  Hopefully it dries up a bit so the farmers can get in their crops.  

We didn't stay for long, but it was nice to get the chance to spend Mother's Day with Grandma Leona.  Even if she does have the tendency to blink while I'm trying to take a picture.

On the drive home, we saw a herd of deer with somewhere between seven and ten of them just standing on the side of the road getting a drink of water from the ditch.  They spook so easily so I was only able to snap this one shot before they all scattered back into the woods.  Neat seeing them for a minute, though.

We saw a lot of different critters this week.  I remember a time in my life not so long ago that I'd never seen a wild turkey before.  Now the dang things are everywhere.

The turtles are out in full force every time the sun comes out for a spell.  They like to get turtle tans.

This guy stopped by to say Happy Mothers Day today.  We hope all you awesome moms out there had a marvelous day!

May 5, 2019

Kentucky Derby Day at Canterbury Park

Kentucky Derby Day at Canterbury Park
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 5, 2019

We were lucky enough this week to see two albino squirrels at the same time in our backyard.  We always wonder if we're seeing the same ones, but supposedly the average lifespan of a squirrel in the wild is only 11-12 months and we've been seeing these critters for years.  Must be something in the water.

We've always assumed these creatures were good spirits, but after seeing this photo I'm not so sure.  This guy looks like he could be a little evil.  And do those hands look identical to mine?  It's kind of creeping me out a bit.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a bald eagle nest near my neighborhood so Miss Sheri and I took a hike out there to see if they were still around.  They were!  One of the eagles was still in the nest, but it was tough to get a clear shot of that one.  This guy was about 20 yards away keeping lookout.  Hopefully, we'll be able to get a shot of the babies one of these days.

On Friday night, we went out to dinner with our old buddies, Jeff and Cathy.  We had a lot of laughs and a really nice time together.

Saturday brought us to Canterbury Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby.

In years past, they've only shown the Derby on a simulcast, but this year they also had a day full of live racing as well which made it a bunch of fun to attend.

The derby fashion show was quite impressive this year.  We saw so many people who really pulled out all the stops to dress up for the occasion.  One of these years I gotta get a hat like this.

We were there with the Wingness, Bailey and Hornbuckle clans.  We always have a great time with these people!

Victoria is getting so big.  It's really fun to see her and her mother Maddison playing together.

Between races, we were entertained by one of our favorite local bands, Boogie Wonderland.  They're awesome.

This is Vern.  This was only his second day with the band.  I told him he looks like a cross between Prince and Rick James.  He told me he gets that a lot. 

The Kentucky Derby race happened and it ended with a bunch of controversy.  The supposed winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified and the second place finisher, Country House, was eventually declared the victor.  Considering Country House was a 65-1 long-shot, it also meant that nobody we were with won any money which quickly brought the good times to an end.  So we left.

We went out to El Loro for some Mexican Food.  It was a bunch of fun until the ladies suddenly pulled out fake mustaches and insisted we all treat them like they were men for the rest of the evening.  Things just got kind of weird after that happened.

April 28, 2019

Another Week of Monkeying Around

Another Week of Monkeying Around
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 28, 2019

We didn't have much happening this week other than the opening of  the greatest movie of all time*. (*Per Avery)  We bought tickets to Avengers Endgame for the opening night on Thursday so there was no way anyone could get us with spoilers.  The boys both came from college so we could all see it together.   We did have a good time watching it even if I'm getting really, really burned out on superhero movies.  I mean it was fine, but goodness you need an encyclopedia to keep track of all the characters and subplots happening in these movies.  Can Endgame please be the end of it for awhile?  I doubt it.

Our old buddies, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz, invited us over for dinner on Friday night and we were quite excited to join them.

Karl was very happy to have the opportunity to show off his meat.  I actually must admit, I found it to be very pleasant.

Tina is quite the snake lady.  I don't mean anything derogatory or anything.  I'm just saying she has a pet corn snake.

They were nice enough to wait for us to come over to feed their snake.  It eats mice which in general I find to be pretty nasty.  These were very hygienic dead mice, though.  They come in a little box and everything with a label that says dead mice on it.  

It was quite the sight to witness.  She held the mouse on some tongs and the snake snatched it out in a second.  Then it unhinged it's jaw and slowly worked the rodent down it's throat.  I'm sure glad I'm not a mouse.

We were happy to see one of our albino squirrels this week and apparently he was pretty happy to see us also.

We had our first turtle sighting of the year.  Poor thing looks like he was born without front legs, though.  Must be tough climbing up that log with just his neck.

We saw this pretty bird in the lake which I believe is a Great Egret.  They are known to develop a green facial skin during breeding season.  I'm sure glad that doesn't happen to me every time I'm feeling frisky.

The best thing that happened to me this week was while doing some cleaning in the basement.  We're destroying old boxes of archives and in one last opened in 1995, I discovered a letter from my dad who passed away almost 11 years ago.  I was 24 when he sent me this Richie Rich comic book with a note saying "Some of my best times was getting Richie Rich for you...I know you have outgrown these, but I never did, so hope you enjoy it.  Love, Dad"  I thought that was pretty nice.

April 21, 2019

My Spring Golf Game is Not So Strong

My Spring Golf Game is Not So Strong
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 21, 2019

President Trump was in town this week.  I had to work, but Miss Sheri thought it would be fun to go down to the business he was visiting to check out the scene.

Turns out, it was actually pretty challenging to catch a glimpse of his vehicle.  There was an amazing amount of military and police presence and they routed his vehicle along a path where all his visitors weren't standing.  Pretty impressive how they do that.

Not that there weren't plenty of people trying to get a chance to say Hi.  There were a whole bunch of supporters and non-supporters there to try to greet the president which made for a pretty interesting couple of hours of people watching.

I'm guessing these guys were excited to send the Donald their best.  That mask always kinds of freaks me out a bit.

But there were plenty of these guys around which kept all his greeters at bay.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be the president and have this kind of a crowd around everywhere you go.  There were people singing songs, yelling praise, and plenty of cuss words and insults being tossed out there as well.  It was a more interesting thing to witness than what she sees on a typical Tuesday afternoon.   

Later that evening I was driving around the neighborhood when I saw an eagle land on the ground and then fly back to his nearby nest.  I zoomed in and caught these two bald eagles doing something in there, but I couldn't tell if they were still building it or were actually feeding their babies.  In any case, I found it to be pretty cool.

It was Easter weekend so the boys both came home from college and Grandma Leona came up from the farm for a visit.  It's so nice when we get the family together for a weekend.

It was set to be 77 degrees on Saturday, so Avery thought the guys should all go golfing.  I thought that was a great idea so we hit Cleary Lake golf course nice and early.

I thought the boys played really well for their first game of the year, but my Spring Golf game is not so strong.   Usually around June or July is when I really like to get out there and play.  Although to be honest, my golf game really sucks in the summer as well.  Fall ain't much better.  It sure is fun getting outside to play, though.

At least I got to see a red squirrel playing with his nuts.  That's always a fun thing to witness.

From our family to yours, we hope you all had a very Happy Easter!