June 20, 2022

Happy Father's Day 2022


Happy Father's Day 2022
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 20, 2022

We had a very pleasant Father's Day weekend.  Luke & Avery took us out to my favorite restaurant for dinner.  I'm a pretty lucky man.

On Saturday we helped celebrate our friend, Jacob Korkowski, celebrate his graduation from high school.  We had a great time at his party, but unfortunately didn't spend much time with Jacob himself as I realized when I checked my camera and didn't have a single photo of him.  Glad I snapped this one shortly before we entered the house.

I did get a picture of his brother and sister along with Luke & Avery & Lizzy.  We all had a bunch of fun together.

We also enjoyed meeting members of their extended family and had plenty of nice conversations that went well into the evening.

It's been really hot in Minnesota this week so when the party was over and we heard some people were going to jump in the pool we jumped at the chance to join them.  We don't get a lot of hot weather in Minnesota, but this is my favorite activity when we do!

Avery continues to take my boat during our weekends.  One of these days I'll get a turn with it again.

Our other excitement of the week was several visits from this possum who walked across the top of our fence at dusk for 4 nights in a row.  I posted the following TikTok video and received quite a few comments from friends and relatives.  They educated me on Possum habits and on the wisdom if I should try to pet it or not if he decides to visit again.  I'm still deciding.

@toddswank Possum in my backyard. #possum #minnesota #critter #fencesitter ♬ Send Me on My Way - Guy Meets Girl

June 12, 2022

A Night in Orlando

 A Night in Orlando

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 12, 2022

For the first time since the pandemic, I had an official work trip to visit one of my new clients at Oracle.  I flew to Orlando, Florida for an evening of trying to make new relationships.

My client was having a Happy Hour at the Disney Swan Hotel.  I went there and tried to introduce myself to a bunch of people I'd never met before.  It's always a little awkward at first, but I was pretty pleased with the number and quality of conversations I was able to have with people.  Well worth the trip.

Miss Sheri also was having fun in my absence.  Her friend Robin was in town from Hawaii and they were all set to go out on an adventure of their own.

They drove to Northern Minnesota to do some sightseeing as well as visit some of Robin's relatives.

They also stopped to visit Split Rock Lighthouse while they were up there.  I can't believe in all my years in Minnesota I haven't had the chance to see this yet.  Maybe next time I'll get to join them.

On Thursday night, our friends Doc & Portia Vogt invited us to have dinner with them at their new house out in the country.  We had a marvelous time with great food, wonderful conversation, and Doc even let me fly one of his drones around a bunch of fields.  I gotta get me one of those.

Luke and Avery have been doing quite a bit of golfing this summer so they both decided to go out and splurge on some new clubs.  Now they really crush me, but it doesn't disappoint me as much because now I can just blame it on my old clubs.

We took turns taking out the boat on Saturday.  Blue was quite excited they let him join them for their turn.

I saw this egret this week.   That's about it.

June 5, 2022

Eighties Night with Electric Avenue


Eighties Night with Electric Avenue
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 5, 2022

My buddy, Jimi Gilbertson, asked Miss Sheri and I to join him and his friend, Teri, for a night of eighties music.  We were happy to oblige.

Prior Lake Horse & Hunt Club has been hosting a bunch of interesting acts lately.  They have a nice tent set-up outside so people can spread out, enjoy some cocktails, and listen to good music.  

This was Electric Avenue's first performance in the state of Minnesota.  They were really good and played a unique mix of eighties song that I can't say I've heard many other bands perform.  

On their website, they describe themselves as follows:   

We don’t get to repeat even one minute of our time here, but what if you could relive all the youthful energy and sonic celebration 
that was 1980s New Wave & FM Radio Pop: right here, right now? Every sound. Every nuance. Every time.

Jimi always makes the evening extra entertaining.  He had the bright idea to bring along several decks of cards which he proceeded to hand out to everyone in the crowd.  He told them he was doing a drawing for Brett Michaels tickets.  He forgot to mention that the tickets were already used from a concert in 2019.  I thought when the manager and two security guards asked him what he was doing that it would slow him down, but nope.  He assured them he wasn't charging any money for the drawing and that seemed to ease their concerns.  Unfortunately he didn't get to deliver the punchline after asking the band to announce the winner of the drawing and they seemed to miss the cue.   But it sure added a little extra excitement to our evening in any case.

On Saturday, we headed to Best Buy's headquarters to attend Minnebar 16.  Minnebar is the nation’s largest and longest-running technology unconference. Like other unconferences (or BarCamps), Minnebar is a user-generated conference that is participant-led. There are no keynote speakers or formal workshops, and all sessions are led by people from the tech and business communities. We were excited to get our Learn On.

We attended a few sessions including this one on 3D Photography.  It was an interesting overview of the history of the technology covering everything from the Viewmaster to Virtual Reality.  

Our favorite session was 
Misconceptions of MVP (Minimum Viable Product).  It covered many of the concepts discussed in the Lean Startup and we found it interesting learning strategies for launching new products.  We sure know how to have fun on a Saturday!

We also enjoyed exploring Best Buy's headquarters and snacking on the free food provided by the event's generous sponsors.  Good times.

Saturday night we connected with our good friends, Dan, Jackson, and Andy, for a little fishing excursion on Prior Lake.

This was the second time I had Andy out fishing and the first time he was shut-out.  I'm not saying he did too much better this time around, but at least he caught one!

The highlight of my trip was seeing an albino squirrel on the shores of Candy Cove.  I haven't seen one in my yard for a year or two now, so it was good to get a glimpse of one again.  They're my favorite.

May 30, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend 2022


Memorial Day Weekend 2022
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 30, 2022

We had a pleasant visit this week with Grandma Linda when she stopped by to show off her new car for us.  Hard to believe a little  lady can handle such a huge machine like this, but she seems to be able to get around with it pretty good.

We had a surprise encounter with this little fox during our walk this week.  I feel like we saw this guy last year because I remember wondering why his eyes were closed like this.  Or is that just a thing with foxes?  

We also saw our first pair of sandhill crane this week.  These birds normally fly south for the winter so it's good to see we're warming up enough for them to decide to come back.  Next year I'm going with them.

We bumped into our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters, as they cruised around town with some of their old buddies from Florida, Sherry and Karen.  We've met them on previous visits so we asked if we could get together and shake a leg this weekend.  Happily for us they said Yes.

We invited them over for a boat ride on Saturday morning.  The water is still too cold for a swim, but we had fun cruising around to some of our favorite sights.

Prior Lake has been as shallow as I've ever seen it this spring, but we pushed through to Mud Bay in order to get a peek at our favorite  breeding tree.  We almost got stuck in the weeds a few times, but it was worth it to get to visit our bird friends.

I was kind of thinking with all the inflation we're seeing this year, that some of these guys would take a pause on having a family but they seemed to be as reproductive as ever.  I guess it's as they say, there's never a good time, so it's always a good time.

On Sunday, I hooked up with my pal, Orlando Mazzolini.  He told me he wanted to take me to a place where I could Sleep with the Fishes, but honestly I just wasn't that tired.

Luke & Avery had the boat reserved for pretty much the rest of the weekend, but we were lucky enough to be able to help them put it in and take it out of the water.  That's really fun to do also.

May 22, 2022

From The Bottom To TopGolf

 From The Bottom To TopGolf

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 22, 2022

On Tuesday night, we drove to Brooklyn Center for my first visit to TopGolf.

The first thing that jumped out of me was how dang high the nets around the field are.  They must really value their golf balls to spend this much effort to make sure they don't lose any.

During college, Avery had visited TopGolf and told us it was a good time.  He's a much better golfer than I am so I was skeptical if I'd have the same assessment about the place.  Although I was somewhat intrigued hitting the balls into the big holes scattered throughout the field.

I was excited to see the display screens tracking our shots and keeping score for us.  I found it to be a lot more like a video game than I realized.  Unfortunately I still had to use my own physical body to hit the balls, but other than that I really had a good time playing.

As usual, Miss Sheri got the hang of it really quickly and soon started crushing my dreams for winning the game.  I still really like her, though.

At the end of the game, we all received stats on our game with our longest drives included.  Although I'd always expected that my drives were the worst in the family, it was a bit jarring to get scientific proof.  Luke out-drove my best shot by almost 25 yards.  This is the motivation I need to start developing a new swing or go to the doctor to see if can buy some new arms.  

We had new pickleball courts suddenly appear near our neighborhood.  We'd been interested in Pickleball for some time after hearing it's the fastest growing sport in the US.  So we went out and bought some paddles and whiffle balls and headed to challenge each other in a new sport.  This one I was bound to dominate!

I actually found it to be a lot of fun.  It's kind of a cross between tennis and ping-pong and is relatively easy to play since the ball just doesn't move around that fast.  I still have to get used to the physics of the ball, though, as I did have a bit of an accident charging the net and ended up taking a tumble.  I smashed into the net pretty hard and was disappointed to find out it doesn't have nearly the give that you'd think it would.  Luckily my injuries were only a couple of knee scrapes and I'm looking forward to getting out there again soon!

To add to my embarrassment this week, I spotted this "bald eagle" out of the corner of my eye while stopped at a stoplight.  I tried to snap a quick picture, but ended up getting honked at by the guy behind me.  Later upon my drive home, I was surprised to catch another glimpse of it still standing there protecting it's babies is what I assumed.  The next day, I was having lunch in a nearby neighborhood and remembered the eagle's nest and wondered if I'd still be able to see it.  This time, I actually pulled into a nearby parking lot and walked across the busy street to finally get a picture.  Right when I arrived with my camera in hand, I realized it was a statue.  I had a good laugh at my own expense which is fun to do sometimes.

On Sunday, we went to St. Paul for the 10th annual Minnesota Monthly Grillfest.

We went with our friends, Troy, Rhonda, and Renae.  They're a fun crew to walk around a baseball stadium with tasting a variety of adult beverages and grilled meats.

We did two full rounds and received our fill of the finest burgers, steaks, beers, and other goodies from around the Twin Cities.  My belly was ready to leave after a couple hours of tasting things.  Good times, though!