September 19, 2021

15th Annual Cabin Classic in Clear Lake, Iowa


15th Annual Cabin Classic in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 19, 2021

It was a golfing week for the Swank Family.  The family and I played 9 holes on Monday and they roughed me up quite a bit.  Story of my life.

I did get an Eagle, but none of them seemed too impressed.

On Friday night, I drove down to Clear Lake, Iowa to connect with a bunch of my high school buddies for a weekend of fun and debauchery and the 15th Annual Cabin Classic Golf Tournament.

Technically, it's been 16 years since the first Cabin Classic Golf Tournament hosted by our good friend, Jason Alexander.  We couldn't do it last year because of the pandemic, so now we'll always have to have an asterisk next to the tournament title to explain why there's a missing year.  Curse you, Covid, and all the problems you  continue to cause in our lives! 

We played a 4 man best ball tournament and this was my team.  They would have had a really good shot at winning if they didn't have the unfortunate luck of drawing me.  Maybe next year they'll have better luck.

This was the foursome we played against.  They only beat us by 1 stroke, so it wasn't like it was a shellacking or anything.  More like a Vikings game that could been won by a game ending field goal.  Like that will ever happen!

 We played at Ridge Stone Golf Club in Sheffield, Iowa.  It is unique in that on hole #4 lies the remains of the Sheffield Brick & Tile Company.  The old kilns lie in the middle of the fairway and can provide a pretty challenging hazard if you land in them.  No free lies out of the brick oven!

There's also a nice stream that cuts through the course.  I like streams.

We spent most of the day golfing.  The other team was pretty humble when they found out their victory was confirmed.  It's a gentleman's game.


The weekend also consists of late night poker tournaments.  I'd like to say I had more success here, but sadly it was a weekend of lessons learned from losing.  You'd think at age 51 I'd have had enough of those lessons in life already, but instead I just try to continue to be thankful for the opportunity to learn.  Better luck next year.

I snuck down to the dock in the middle of the night.  I thought the full moon looked beautiful and tried to capture a picture of it with my regular camera, but it just came out as pitch black.  I was ready to give up when I remembered my iPhone is supposed to take better pictures at night.  I was pretty pleased with the result.

September 12, 2021

Edina Fall Into The Arts Festival in Centennial Lakes Park


Edina Fall Into The Arts Festival in Centennial Lakes Park
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 12, 2021

As one of my favorite shows used to say, Winter is Coming.  I love a lot of things about Fall including the changing colors of the trees, Halloween, and Football season.  However, one thing I don't really like is the inevitable cold weather that will hit Minnesota and also marks the end of boating season.  We are trying to pack in as much fun on the water as we can before our time is up for the season.

On Wednesday night, we invited the Korkowskis and the Walters over to come sailing away.  Although I don't think riding my boat can really be considered sailing since it has a motor and no big cloth thing that hangs up in the air to capture the wind.  However, I don't think Styx ever had a song called I'm boating away and I've really had a thing for Styx lately.  So I tell people to come sailing away even if technically that's not accurate.  I just hope they don't leave too disappointed because of my poor choice of words.

Ron is a good sport when I ask him to smile for the camera, but deep down I really don't think he enjoys doing it.  Miss Sheri is always willing to smile for me which probably helps explain why we've been married for so long.

Our last couple of visits to bird island have been a bit of a disappointment.  Most of our feathered friends have already flown south for the winter and there's only a handful of cormorants hanging around still holding down the fort.  All of the herons and egrets seem to have abandoned their nests.  You'd think there'd be some kind of airbnb thing happening to rent them out for cheap, but I guess birds just don't make great entrepreneurs.  Unfortunate.

We did see this heron hanging around the goop near our house.  Guess he didn't get the memo that it's time to get out of dodge.

We took a trip to Sweeney Park in New Market Township to check out their frisbee golf course which was nice.  It's a good family activity.

Who am I kidding?  It's a horrible family activity.  Mainly because like everything else lately, my family crushes me on the scoreboard.  It's really starting to give me a complex.  I mean how hard is it to throw a stupid little disc down a field of grass and stick it in the basket.  Yet they all seem to be able to do it better than I do.  There may also be some kind of collusion happening that I just haven't figured out.

On Saturday, we drove over to Edina for their Fall into the Arts Festival at Centennial Lakes Park.  We were excited to Art It Up.

I love going to art festivals.  I've always secretly wanted to be an artist myself, but haven't yet found my hidden talents where I can best express myself creatively.  I keep looking, but haven't found where they are yet.  But they're in there.  I'll find 'em.

A lot of other neat people have found their hidden talents though and put their creations out for the world to enjoy and purchase.  They had more than 225 exhibitors & artists there peddling their wares.  Photography, jewelry, pottery, sculpture and a bunch of other media were represented.  I love to see what people imagine & the handiwork they produce.  It's very inspiring for me.

Saturday night brought us back to the St. Croix River for dinner with friends.  It was a beautiful night in the seventies which is somewhat of a rarity in Minnesota in mid-September.  We'll certainly take it, though.

We had the opportunity to hang out with these cool cats as we cruised up to Hudson, Wisconsin for dinner.  It was relatively smooth sailing other than one set of errant waves that made some glass shatter pretty loudly and caused a couple of us to nearly tumble off the side of the boat into the river.  Karl quipped "I could only get reservations for 6, so 2 of you got to go!"

Parking on the pier was full, so Karl had to pull out his dinghy again which always makes the ladies smile.  

We dined at the Postmark Grille in Hudson which was quite pleasant.  We had some great appetizers, drinks, and the entrees were delicious.  I was also quite pleased with Miss Sheri who was feeling quite adventurous.  She tried clam & calamari when normally she shuns anything that close to seafood and also tasted their extra spicy buffalo sauce which is usually a big no-no.  It just always fills my heart with such joy when my wife is willing to experiment.

September 6, 2021

Labor Day Weekend 2021


Labor Day Weekend 2021
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 6, 2021

I took an extra vacation day for this Labor Day weekend and headed down to Clear Lake, Iowa to go golfing with a couple of my buddies.  Miss Sheri came along to keep us all in line.  She's good like that.

We  hooked up with my old pals "Krazy" Kory & Ron "Sugarman" Myers for just a little bit of Monkey Business.

Ron said Miss Sheri could drive his Dodge Charger so we cruised around the lake with her at the wheel.  She likes to go fast!

We always love going back to Clear Lake.  I have so many great memories from my youth in this town and it seems like there are always new things to see there.   

Miss Sheri has always wanted to eat at Northwestern Steakhouse.  For some reason, we've never been able to make it work in the past, but we finally were able to get there on Friday.  They have been in business more than 100 years and it's considered the "Most Iconic Steakhouse in Iowa".  They serve literally the best steaks I've ever eaten in my life.

On Saturday, we had the joy of hosting my ex-Brother-in-Law, Cliff Nelson, and my niece, Bailey.  Cliff has been part of my family since I was in elementary school.  We don't get to see each other very often, but I absolutely treasure whenever we get a chance to spend time together.

Unfortunately, the reason for Cliff & Bailey's visit wasn't a pleasant one.  Cliff's sister, Linda Holman, passed away recently and we all attended her funeral in Mankato, Minnesota. It was a lovely ceremony.  She was a wonderful lady and will be missed by many.

Linda's three daughters each delivered a eulogy for their mom which were so well done and spoken from the heart.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house as they told tales about their mother and the impact she had on their lives as well as so many others.  
Rest in Peace, Linda.

We arrived back in Prior Lake close to sunset, but we were able to give Cliff & Bailey a boat ride for about an hour.  Cliff had never been on my boat before which surprised the heck out of me since I've had it for more than 17 years.  Where the heck does that time go?

Blue was pretty excited to see Cliff & Bailey also, but probably a bit more excited to pretend he was Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.  He kept saying "I am the Dog King of the World!"

On Labor Day, we spent a few hours at the Great Minnesota Get Together.  The crowds are down quite a bit from years past, but it's still great that we could have it this year unlike last summer.  

August 29, 2021

A Cruise to Treasure Island


A Cruise to Treasure Island
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 29, 2021

The end of August means that Fall will be here soon and in Minnesota that means the end of our boating season.  We've been trying to get in as much time on the water as we can before the dreaded cold weather starts smacking us around.

We hooked up with the Korkowskis on Thursday night for dinner at Dangerfield's in Shakopee and then a knock down drag out battle of Settlers of Catan back at our house.  We might not all look it in this picture, but we all get pretty mean with one another in that silly Catan game.

It's Fantasy Football season again and we had our big draft on Friday night in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy is our commissioner and he does an incredible job with our league year after year.  He and his lovely wife, Melissa, also throw a great draft party.  We were looking forward to it for weeks!

I made it to our Super Bowl last year and ended up in 2nd place.  I really think this is going to be my year to win it all!

On Saturday we once again headed over to the St. Croix river for an overnight excursion to Welch, Minnesota and Treasure Island Casino.  We were excited for our 3 hour cruise to get there.

Captain Karl is a seasoned veteran for navigating these waters.  

We had a lot of laughs along the way and throughout the evening despite the fact that thunderstorms were threatening us the entire time we were there.  We dealt with a fair amount of rain, but didn't let it slow down our fun.

I'm always fascinated when we pass one of the massive river barges that carry cargo up and down the Mississippi River.  They are just HUGE!

We also love tracking down the bald eagles that can be seen up and down the river banks.  So Regal.

We made it to our destination and had good times at the casino.  Of course we didn't actually win any money or anything because that would have made it a great time!  But we did enjoy each other's company a lot which is almost as good as winning money.  Maybe next year we'll get to do both!