April 14, 2019

Just what we needed. Another Blizzard!

Just what we needed.  Another Blizzard!
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 14, 2019

We were just starting to get pretty used to the Spring weather we'd been experiencing.  We were taking nice walks outside every day and had even pulled the bikes out of storage and started hitting the trails.  It turned out to be a Bluff Spring, though, which Minnesota likes to give us from time to time.

The ice seemed to take forever to leave this year.  We had big openings, but there were sections of the lake that just didn't want to drop.    Dang ice.

I did see my first Loon of the year which is always a nice sign of Spring.  Whenever I see one I can't help but to hear Katherine Hepburn screaming in my ear "The Loons, Norman.  The Loons!  They're welcoming us back."  I wish I could get that lady out of my head.

Of course, winter wasn't done with us for 2019.  On Wednesday, we were walloped with another blizzard that put about 6 inches of snow on the ground for us so we could stop looking at all that ugly grass and see a beautiful white blanket instead.


I don't think the squirrels were prepared for the new snow either as we found several scrambling around to find food.  They're pretty hearty critters though, so I'm sure they'll be fine.

Driving was pretty crappy and we heard about all sorts of accidents happening on Minnesota roads.  Hopefully this dose of winter is our final one for the year.

On Thursday night, we had our Prior Lake Empty Nester Club get together at The Pointe.  We had a great turn-out and a good time was had by all.

Liz and Joel Volm joined us.  Joel had the coolest story of the week.  This article appeared in the Prior Lake American talking about a local classic rock band who has been gaining popularity and booking more gigs throughout the Twin Cities.  The name of the band is Volm which was in honor of the band members favorite high school science teacher.  The coolest part of the story I found to be was when Joel told me that he didn't know the band was named after him until he saw it in the paper!  I thought that had to have been an interesting surprise to discover.

Tom and Kellie Wolf joined us at the end of the evening.  It's always great to see them.  Our next get together is Thursday, May 9 at Harry's in Lakeville.  We hope you all can join us then!


April 7, 2019

The Hot Seat of Spring

The Hot Seat of Spring
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 7, 2019

April is a deceiving month in Minnesota.  It feels like Spring is here, but it's also cold and gloomy enough that you just have the feeling that another blizzard may be just around the corner.  The ice continues to disappear from Prior Lake, but there's still a big section that is covered.  I'm sure it will be all gone in another week.

These guys weren't going to wait for all the ice to thaw, they were ready to get their jet-skis out.  That water has to be dang cold!

This wood duck must have been scared of the jet skis because he was camping out high in our tree.  Poor wood duck.

We saw this friendly blue heron while out on one of our walks this week.  Just kidding about him being friendly.  He barely let me get close enough to get this picture before skedaddling out of there.  

I was lucky enough to have lunch with my old buddy, Mike Miller, this week.  He likes to laugh and pray a lot.

I won some free advance screening movie tickets on Wednesday so I dragged Grandma Linda out with me to stand in line to see it.  I think she likes standing in lines.

I was excited to see the re-make of Pet Semetary as I read the book in high school and have always been a fan of Stephen King.  Unfortunately, it was pretty stupid.  Just too many things that the characters do which made me think people would never do that in real life.  Can't we get a realistic movie about a haunted Pet Cemetary?

On Saturday night, we checked out Lakeville Brewing Company and were quite delighted with the food and beer choices.  Judging by the crowd that was there throughout the evening, it seems to be a pretty popular place.

We were there with our old buddies, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  They're always fun to hang out with on a Saturday night.

March 31, 2019

The Open Water Is Getting Bigger

The Open Water Is Getting Bigger
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 31, 2019

I feel like I've been posting too many pictures of my dog lately.  We just had such a brutal winter this year that I continue to be excited with every sign of spring that I see.  The open water in the lake continues to get bigger and bigger, even though we still have way too much ice out there yet.  Blue is so happy to be able to get out there and swim for awhile.  He was so sick of being stuck inside for the months of January and February.

We've also been going for a lot more walks the past few weeks which he needs to shed the extra 10 pounds of winter weight that he put on.  I need to do the same thing...

Now that's a happy dog.  He also appears to have a Rooster Tail.

We've had some interesting looking ducks in the neighborhood this week.  They kind of look like hippies to me with their long scraggly hair.

I've looked online and believe these are Merganser Ducks.  They are known to migrate through Minnesota but they don't usually live here year round.  So this week Prior Lake was kind of like an Air-BNB for them.  I wonder where they make their reservations?

We also put the trail cam in the backyard this week and caught some interesting footage.  Here's the video:

Last year my friend, Tim Hoel, suggested I get a trail cam to take videos of the critters in my Minnesota backyard. This is the first spring we've had it in place and I was pretty pleased with the results. We got our first shot of a raccoon, a curious little mouse, some bunnies frolicking, and a passing shot of some 4 legged beast.

I was downtown Minneapolis having lunch with a client the other day and stumbled upon this real life March Madness Bracket by the IDS Tower. The Final 4 is coming to Minnesota next weekend! I probably won't get anywhere near it...

On Thursday, I flew down to Omaha to see a customer and was shocked when I dropped out of the clouds to see how bad the flooding devastation was. It literally looked like an ocean in Nebraska. Prayers go out to those affected.

Luke surprised us with a visit home on Friday night. Turns out he was having some car problems and wanted his parents to pay for the repairs. At least we're still good for something to these college kids!

On Saturday night, our old buddies, Jen & Dan Walters, came over for a hot tub party. We also spent a lot of time hugging each other in a group for some reason.

I'm sick of having to fill Blue's water bowl all the time so I've been working on teaching him how to drink out of a straw. It hasn't been going all that great.

March 24, 2019

Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 24, 2019

The temperatures started rising this week and we actually saw that big ball of fire in the sky for a change.  The snow has melted quite a bit and the backyard is full of land mines that the dog has deposited over the past several months of not being able to get back there to pick anything up.  Bring on Spring!

Like every Golden Retriever we've ever had, Blue was anxious to get in the water the second there was an open hole for him to access.  I screwed up and threw the ball in the water thinking it was wide open.  Turns out there was still a thin layer of ice that he discovered after sprinting down there and diving into it headfirst.  It was a bit of surprise for him, but he quickly turned himself into an ice barge and started cracking through all the ice to get to his ball.    As you can see, he was pretty proud of himself for his accomplishment.

We've been walking by this stream the past couple of weeks and have been watching as the water gets stronger and stronger as the temperatures rise.  It also has been providing shelter to an inordinate amount of ducks who are waiting for the lakes to start opening up as well.  Signs of Spring are everywhere!  Knowing Minnesota, that means the blizzards will be starting again very soon.

We spent a lot of time in restaurants with friends and family this week.  Avery was home this week and what college boy doesn't love spending time with his grandmother for Spring Break?  So we made his wish come true.

I had some work going on in Downtown Minneapolis, so I was fortunate enough to have lunch with my old buddies, Will, Chris, and Mike.  What a good looking crew of dudes.

On Friday night, we went to one of our new favorite restaurants, Whiskey Inferno, in Savage.

We connected with our old friends, Tom & Kellie Wolf.  Tom had received a recommendation from a friend to order the Butcher's Feast which was basically a huge bowl of meat and other goodies.  It was delicious and so much food we probably could have had another couple to help us finish it!

On Saturday, we went to the Mall of America to Wahlburgers to be part of the Funky Bunch with Marky Mark and Family.

Chris Wagler and Matt Amos were in town dropping off a friend at the airport so Jason, Jen, Miss Sheri, and I met them for dinner and some laughs.  Not necessarily in that order.

March 17, 2019

The Boys Are Back in Town 2019

The Boys Are Back in Town 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 17, 2019

My high school buddies, Joel Anderson, Ron "Sugarman" Myers and "Krazy" Kory Madson, all came up to spend the weekend with me.  We were supposed to go skiing, but that fell through for various reasons.  So we were just going to have fun instead!

Luke And Avery were also in town for the weekend.  Avery's Spring Break started on Friday and Luke came home to spend some time with him.  Their friends, Josh and Jenni, came over to go out with the boys and I believe a fun time was had by all.  At least I'm hoping that's what happened.

Not one to be left-out, Blue said if everyone else was having friends over, he insisted on having a friend over his well.  Eventually he invited the neighbor dog over to play.  They sure had a good time together.

Even the albino squirrels weren't leaving each other's sides this weekend.  Everyone appreciates having good friends!

I've been playing cards with this group for more than 30 years.  It's nice for my boys to get a chance to get to play with us for awhile.  Until I realize that ultimately I'm bankrolling half the table.  Probably not a good idea on my part.

We thought it would be fun to take the light rail  to Downtown Minneapolis.  It was pretty fun, but we did almost have a big fight break-out in the car behind us which was a little surreal.  We were on the crazy train!

Being it was the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day, there were all sorts of people downtown being festive and having fun!  We like hanging around people like that.

We capped off the night at Benihana having one of our favorite meals.  We had a bizarre coincidence occur when the other couple at the table with us who were randomly seated ended up being the old boss of Krazy Kory.  Weird how things like that work out sometimes.

This guy likes to blow his own horn about his cooking.  I must admit, it was pretty dang good!