May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day 2013
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 27, 2013

On Friday night, I fell asleep on the couch watching TV.  When I woke up early Saturday morning, these two strange ducks were staring down at me.  I literally took this picture from where I slept in my house.  I think they were watching me sleep.  Probably because they were about to get busy and didn't want me to disturb their privacy.

On Monday, another one of our favorite visitors stopped by our backyard to see us and steal the food we put out for the birds.  Long time readers of my blog will know that I had never seen an albino squirrel in my life before my twin sons were born.  Then they started showing up all the time and we especially noticed them whenever one of our boys had to have heart surgery or were enduring another scary trial of life.  We've always considered them their guardian angels.  Thirteen years and a second house in a different city later, we still have albino squirrels showing up in our yard every summer.  They make us smile.

Memorial Day arrived and once again Luke and Avery had the honor to march in the Prior Lake Memorial Day parade.  For several years they've participated with the scouts, but this year they had the chance to go with the Middle School Marching Band!  You can see Avery waving on the right side of the photo.

Our long winter just won't leave us as we had to sit in the rain and endure temperatures in the fifties.

Eventually, our friends Mark and Heidi Wojahn arrived and so we told Grandma Linda she couldn't sit with us any more.  I'm sure she didn't mind.

The parade started and we all stood to pay our tributes to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

Eventually the band walked by.  I wasn't able to get a picture of Avery because he was on the other side of the street from me, but I was able to snap this photo of Luke playing the cymbals.  For some reason, he wouldn't look at me.

Suddenly the band stopped so I ran down there to get my boys to pose for a picture.  For some reason, I could never catch Luke's attention, but then I noticed something else did that made him laugh.

I looked over and saw this cute dog had broken ranks from his family and ran out to see his big sister playing the clarinet.  He didn't want to leave either.  He rolled over on his back until his dad came out and carried him away.  I now see why Luke was smiling.

Before the presentation began, I ran over to where Avery was standing to get his picture.  I think he was pretty glad to see me!

Then the flag was raised in honor of those who gave their lives for our country and the service was set to begin.

It was a cold, rainy morning, but the audience sat in respectful silence as the speakers shared stories of servicemen and women who gave their lives for the United States of America.  As they read the names of the fallen, I was amazed by the number of people that gave their lives just in this small section of the country.  We should all be thankful to our service people for the sacrifice they made for our freedom.

May 19, 2013

Minnesota Twins Vs. Boston Red Sox

Minnesota Twins Vs. Boston Red Sox
Todd Swank's Diary Entry

So our sons went camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend which left us at home by ourselves.  Since we couldn't figure out anything fun to do together at home, we decided to go to a baseball game!

We went with Miss Sheri's college buddy, Cathy Klimek, and her friend, Jeff.  They're Twins season ticket holders and also appear to shop at the same jacket store.

Cathy had told us that as season ticket holders, they could invite us to eat at Target Field's Metropolitan Club.  It was awesome!  A great buffet that we could eat while watched the game.  What a great experience!!  Until we received the bill.  I had no idea I was going to need to take out a second mortgage on my house in order to go out on Friday night, but I guess it was worth it.

The reason we decided to attend this particular game was because my co-worker, Tim Poor, said he would be there with his family.  He's a great guy.  I thought it would be a good idea to go over and say Hi and introduce my wife to him and his family.  Until I discovered that he was seated on the exact opposite side of the stadium from us.  I was literally exhausted by the time we arrived.  I gotta get in shape.

The Poor Family was there because two of their daughters were invited to sing the National Anthem before the game began.  We had no idea which ones were theirs when we took this picture, but they looked great any ways.

The game was very exciting and went into extra innings.  Unfortunately, the Twins lost in the end, but it was darn close.  Perhaps if Justin Morneau would have done something when he was up to bat in the 5th inning with the bases loaded.  But this is what happened instead:

On Saturday night, we took Grandma Linda out for dinner to celebrate a delayed Mother's Day.  I gave her a picture of her with her grandkids which seemed to make her happy.  Either that or she just sat on a live animal.

When I was in Seattle last week, a friend showed me an app called Photo Funia which does really cool things to photos.  Here's a few examples I made:

May 12, 2013

A Trip to Seattle and then the Farm for Mother's Day

A Trip to Seattle and then the Farm for Mother's Day

Todd Swank's Diary Update for May 12, 2013

It was off to Seattle again this week to visit the old friends at Microsoft and learn more about their upcoming plans for Windows 8, Office 365, and all the exciting server products we're working on with them.  

We had some excellent meetings during the day and then a great time at dinner together on Wednesday night.  It actually turned out to be a bit rowdier than usual, which I very much appreciated.  There was a lot of weird chanting for Justin Bieber throughout the evening, but it would take me way too long to explain to you why that was funny.  Please just take my word for it that it was.

We stayed at a hotel on Lake Washington that was right next to a beautiful marina.  I hung out on this dock for awhile trying to hitch-hike on one of the big boats, but didn't have any luck.  I think I need to get a longer thumb.

I came home from Washington late Thursday night and headed to Grandma's farm in Iowa right after work on Friday.  There's just no rest for the wicked!  

It was well worth it, though.  Grandma Leona really likes seeing Miss Sheri and the boys for Mother's Day.  And maybe even me a little bit. 

As usual, the boys had a blast going on Uncle Jerry's 4 wheelers, even though we're still dealing with some long lingering wintry weather.  The 4 wheelers are awesome when it's 70 degrees outside, but when it's down in the 40's, it's just not quite the same.

May 5, 2013

Raccoons, Ducks, and Carp with Holes in Them.

Raccoons, Ducks, and Carp with Holes in Them.
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 5, 2013

We had a pretty mellow weekend at the Swank household, although we did get out out to see Iron Man 3.  So much better than the second one!  One big thumb up from me!

Spring is finally in the air which is bringing the critters out all around our house.  Luke was excited the other day when he noticed this raccoon camped out in the hollowed out tree in our backyard.  Not a very playful creature, though, because when we went outside to get more pictures, he crawled inside the tree and wouldn't show himself again.  We were hoping he'd come down and let us pet him.

We also have ducks coupling up all over the neighborhood!  These two were getting frisky right on the side of the road near our house.  It's like "Get a room!"

To top things off, they leave the results of their actions laying right next to the curb.  We have to be careful when we're walking our dog, Sunny, so he doesn't step on one of these and get baby duck guts all over his feet.

Luckily, for this little guy, nobody stepped on him.  When we walked by the egg again the next day, it appeared he had escaped.  Hopefully, our raccoon friend didn't find him.  

On Sunday afternoon, Miss Sheri went to do some shopping and drove by the stream down from our street.  She said some men were down there with bows and arrows and they were shooting fish.  The boys and I grabbed our cameras and our bikes and shot down there as quickly as we could!

These guys were professionals and we saw many of their kills along the shore.  It was impressive seeing them Getting Ready, Aiming, and Firing.

Got Him!  One less Asian Carp invading Prior Lake!

The boys thought it was really cool until they started noticing all the dying fish along the shore of the creek still gasping for air.  They asked me if the guys ate these fish and I told them "No" but it's good that they kill them because they're an invasive species and they kill off the game fish and other native species that are found in the lake.  They then turned their attention to "Hey, can we buy a bow and arrow!"  Uh, no.

Here's a video of the guy shooting a fish: