July 14, 2019

Beating the Heat 2019

Beating the Heat 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 14, 2019

Last Saturday night we were thrilled to celebrate the 30th wedding anniversary of our old friends, Kim & Mike Bailey.  They threw a beautiful party complete with a renewal of their vows to one another which brought a lot of tears to the eyes of the audience.  Here's to another 30 years!

We always have a good time with these people.  They had a DJ and microphone that we passed around a bit so I'm not sure if their neighbors were having as much fun as we were.

We always enjoy seeing Maddison and Victoria.  They should become professional models because every picture we take of them turn out stunning.

This was our first time seeing Dick and Vic since they came back from Arizona.  They always seem so sad all the time.

We sneaked in to see Luke while he was working at the deli at Lunds & Byerlys.  We like to stand there and have him give us free samples over and over again.  Just nice to take from him for a change!

Our Prior Lake Empty Nester Get Together for July was a bunch of fun and well attended.  A beautiful July night at Charlie's on Prior will tend to do that.

On Saturday, we spent the day on the St. Croix River with our good friends the Zitzewitz and Brown families.  It was HOT so we spent most of the day in the water.

The Browns brought their jetski which was really cool, but accelerated way faster than I was expecting.  Turns out there are two modes to run it in and I had it in the wrong one, so we were flying all over the place.  It was great until Luke tried to do some sharp turns which sent us both rolling over and into the water.  It's a lot harder climbing back onto one of these things then it looks when you are in the middle of the river!

Ryan and Avery showed us the proper way on how not to throw or catch a football when jumping 15 feet off the top of the boat.

Luke and Avery turned 20 years old this week.  I can't believe they are no longer teenagers!!  Where the heck does the time go???  Happy Birthday, Boys!!

July 7, 2019

4th of July 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa

4th of July 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 7, 2019

We headed to Clear Lake, Iowa to celebrate the 4th of July holiday with friends.  We started the day with a round of golf at Oak Hills golf course.  It was dang hot so we ended up only playing 9 holes.

We decided to cool off at the OP and enjoy one of my favorite sandwiches:  The Grinder!  Avery says that word means something else to his generation, but I'm not sure what that means.

We went downtown to the carnival where we bumped into current presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke.  He was nice enough to take a picture with us.  I found it kind of funny that he apparently had been standing outside in the carnival in the rain.  Now that's dedication to meeting people.

The carnival was actually pretty quiet given the weather, so we had a lot of time to watch Beto while he was there.  I found it interesting that he brought his family with him for what I'm guessing is considered a campaign stop.  He met with people in between spending time with his family playing carnival games.  That has to be a tough life going from town to town meeting people one on one to try to get your message out there.  Especially when there's another 22 democratic candidates trying to do the same thing.

One of our favorite things to do at the carnival is to gamble with the locals in some intense games of BINGO.  We bumped into our old friend Holly Krieger during the competition and had fun playing the game together.  Even if she did Hush us several times.

We went to the VFW where we met up with a bunch more old friends.  That's my favorite part of Clear Lake at the 4th.  You just never know who you're going to run into...

We're always excited to watch the parade on the 4th of July.  Miss Sheri tells me I'm too old to be going for the candy, but I still sneak a few that come my way.

During the parade, celebrating America was on full display.

We always appreciate the opportunity to honor some of our veterans during the holiday.

We were expecting to see some of the current crop of presidential candidates at the parade since there's so many of them and they all want to make a name for themselves in Iowa to gain momentum for the race.  But for some reason, none of them showed.  US Senator Joni Ernst was there though and drew a lot of cheers from the crowd.

Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb is always real nice to me.  He usually likes to remind me of some the shenanigans I was up to in high school which gives us both a good laugh.

I enjoy watching the Shriners fly around the streets in their little cars and usually find myself with a pang of worry that they are going to slam into someone in the crowd.  Once again, though, they made it by us without incident.  They must be professional little car drivers or something.

We came home to Prior Lake for the weekend and took the boys and a friend out tubing on Saturday.

I keep thinking they may be getting too old for tubing, but they still seem to have a great time with it.

Avery and I really know how to use our noodles.

Blue had the best time over the 4th because he was able to go spend the holiday with his mother, brother, and brother on the lake.  We're pretty certain he was sad to see us when it was time to come home, but who could blame him.

June 30, 2019

Hot Days, Boat Rides 2019

Hot Days, Boat Rides 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 30, 2019

We bought a new toy for our albino squirrel friends.  It's a bungee cord where we can hang food.  The squirrels love it because they can get some of that sweet, sweet corn any time of day.  We love it because they have to bounce around all over the porch while they eat it.

Work brought me to the exciting city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week.  Sadly this was the most exciting picture I was able to capture while I was there.  I was working.

On Friday night, "Krazy" Kory came to town with his daughter, Harli.  When Kory comes to town, it usually means I need an extra weekend day to recover from the days I spend with him.

We went to dinner at Bonfire in Savage.  That's about it.

We were joined by our good friends, Jen and Dan Walters, for some pool and debauchery that turned it into a late evening.

Dan and I thought it would be fun to re-enact some scenes from Game of Thrones.  I wanted to play Jaime Lannister while Dan thought it would be fun to give Hodor a try.

Jen wanted to show us what a card shark she is and started dealing us Blackjack.  Hit me!

The next morning, the temperatures were supposed to be in the nineties so we thought it would be a perfect day to spending on the boat on Prior Lake.  My old buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, even stopped by to join us for awhile.

We wanted to play a game of Duck, Duck, Goose but it ended up being more like Goose, Goose, Goose, Goose, Goose....

We went to Mud Bay to see our favorite nesting tree.  We were pleasantly surprised at seeing some egrets feeding their babies.  I never knew that baby egrets had such crazy hair!

We've enjoyed this purple house on Prior Lake.  Harli called it Barbie's house which I guess is as good of a name as any.

We had an intense sun beating down on us and all we wanted to do was be in the water.  Candy Cove is always a good place to do that.

We had lunch at Charlie's on Prior and had fun with our waitress, Bella.  Such a nice young lady.

After lunch, we thought a round of knee-boarding would be a fun way to spend the afternoon.  

Kory said it had been years since he was last on a board, but you'd never have known it.  He was doing twists, and flips,  and all sorts of crazy tricks.  A couple of them even seemed almost intentional.

You gotta love Summer Time!

June 23, 2019

First Boat Ride on the St. Croix River for 2019

First Boat Ride on the St. Croix River for 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 23, 2019

On Monday, we were treated to a visit from my old pal, Ron "Sugarman" Myers and his son, Lance.  Naturally we had to celebrate the occasion with some succulent chicken wings.

Lance is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox.  They were in town to play our smoking hot Minnesota Twins and help douse out some of their flames.  They ended up taking 2 games in the 3 game series including the one we were were attending by a score of 2-0.   Lance continued his perfect streak of getting a ball for the 3rd time in 3 MLB league games he's attended which was fun to watch.  Even if we did have to see the Twins lose to watch it.

David Ortiz was honored before the game which I thought was a pretty classy thing to do.  He had recently been shot in the Dominican Republic and was still in intensive care while we were at the game.  Ortiz spent the first 6 years of his career with the Twins before spending the next 14 with the Red Sox and winning 3 world championships with that team.  Hopefully he completely recovers and gets out of the hospital soon.

It was Unique Turtle week for the Swank Family as we encountered many interesting turtles throughout the week.  This guy isn't exactly rare, but we don't see his kind around our house very often so we  get excited when we do.  I believe he is called a soft-shell and is a very popular menu item at Taco Bell.

I believe this guy is also a soft-shell, but not sure what the heck that huge lump on his back is from.  Maybe he was sneaking another turtle around with him?

On Saturday, we drove to the St. Croix River for our first boat ride of 2019.

We were joining our good friends, the Zitzewitz Family, for one of their first big rides of the season.  The river has been so high all Spring that it had no wake restrictions which makes it difficult to go very far so we were glad to be able to join them when they could really open up the engines.

The ladies had fun riding on the front of the boat while the fellows and I kept Captain Karl company up top.

Avery talked me into jumping in the water and going for a kayak ride even though it was kind of chilly.  He made it up to me by  carrying my weight for the most part on the kayak.  I'm not a real strong rower.

We ended our evening at Mallards in Bayport which was very pleasant.  We always have a good time with those Zitzewitzes!

On our way back to the boat, we saw our third unique turtle of the week.  This little guy was only 2-3 inches long and sat on a log while we watched him.  We figured he couldn't have been more than a few days old.  He was adorable.  We contemplated adopting him as a new pet until Karl pointed out to us that they live to be thirty five years old which is a bit more of a commitment than we were ready to make on a Saturday night.