April 29, 2018

Battle for the Vox 2018

Battle for the Vox 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 29, 2018

Last week I said that we hadn't seen our first Robin to tell us that Spring was here yet.  This week we saw it.  Sadly, there's still a little bit of snow behind him, but it's all gone now.  Thank God.

I flew down to Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday to go see some customers.  It was my first trip to Arkansas.  I thought it looked quite pretty from the plane.  Much greener than what I've been used to seeing in Minnesota lately.

After flying into Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, I went to my hotel on President Clinton drive.  OK, I get it.  The Clintons lived in Arkansas.  They are a pretty big deal and deserve to be honored I guess.  After checking in I walked around the neighborhood a bit.  I didn't catch the name of the park I entered or the river I was looking at, but guessing Bill River and Hillary Park.

I did like the pig fountain I stumbled upon.  I'm not sure why they have a pig fountain here, but I thought it was very nice.  I've always kind of thought that we don't do enough to honor pigs in Minnesota.  We gotta change that.

On Friday night, we had our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters, over for a hot tub party.  We always have a good time getting wet together.

It's so hard to believe, but Luke & Avery are already finishing up their first year of college.  Luke moved home this weekend and Avery will be home in a couple of weeks.  That time sure flew by and we are very excited to have them both home for the summer.

We grabbed Luke & Grandma Linda and headed up to see Avery at the University of Minnesota.  We had a special event planned for the evening.

We headed to Northrup Auditorium for the 2018 Battle for the Vox!  We were so excited to be there.

The Battle for the Vox is a competition between a capella singing groups from the University of Minnesota & the University of Wisconsin.  It's a play on the Battle of the Axe that occurs between the two university's football teams.  Although I have no idea what a Vox is.  Short for Voicebox?  I don't know, but that sounds good to me.

If you've ever seen the movie Pitch Perfect, then you know what the competition is all about.  Different teams perform their version of popular songs using nothing but their voices and funky dance moves.  There were 9 teams in the competition some were all male, some all females, and some were coed.  They were all pretty dang good and we had the joy of sitting through 28 songs in 7 rounds each with different themes.  

We were there to root for the Enchantments.  They are an all female team from the University of Minnesota.  They competed in 3 of the rounds and were pretty awesome.

Avery's girlfriend, Emma, is a member of the group and is just a joy to watch.  She's only a freshman, but has all the confidence in the world.  We were so glad she invited us to the show because it was a whole bunch of fun.

The event lasted about three hours and in the end, the University of Minnesota pulled out a victory over their competition from Wisconsin.  I don't think the trophy was that big of a deal, though. All the groups were great and it looked like everyone was having a blast performing.  

Emma had a pretty big cheering section there to support her.  

We had a lot of fun at the Battle for the Vox.  I highly recommend coming next year if you're in the area.

April 22, 2018

Spring is Finally Here! Time for a Hot Tub Party.

Spring is Finally Here!  Time for a Hot Tub Party.
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 22, 2018

Even though the yard still has way too much white and not enough green, the temperatures have finally started rising to the point that it feels like Spring has finally arrived.  Thank God, because I really thought it was going to skip us this year.

Miss Sheri keeps telling me she's waiting to see a robin because that's supposed to be the first sign of spring.  I asked her if a lady cardinal would qualify.  I guess not.

Blue is so happy to be able to start getting walks again.  We tend to avoid them when it's so cold outside and that makes him go a little stir crazy.  It won't be long and he'll be able to go swimming again!  That's like heaven for him.

Part of the lake is exposed where the stream feeds it from Spring Lake.  The water birds have been all over it.  

The mommies and daddies are probably ready to start getting frisky again so it won't be long for us to start seeing all the babies.  Lucky Ducks.

We were a little surprised to see a couple of fishermen out in the middle of the lake.  I'm sure if I questioned them they'd tell me there's nothing to worry about because the ice is still really thick.  But there's no way you'd catch me out there at this point of the year...

On Saturday night, the Browns and Zitzewitzes came over for dinner and a movie.  We had all gone to see Pitch Perfect 2 together, so we thought it would be fun to watch Pitch Perfect 3 together also.  It wasn't.  It was great seeing our friends, but that movie is pretty bad.  They should have ended the series after the 2nd one.

We ended the night by taking a bath together.  It was quite a bit of fun.

The other thing I did this weekend was stop by Mystic Lake Casino to watch my very first esports tournament.  It was pretty interesting.  Row after row of millennial warriors competing against one another for prizes and glory.  

I bumped into Luke's roommate, Jackson, and another of their friends, Noah, who were competing in the tournament.  I heard they ended up doing pretty well and took 3rd place in their category.  Way to go, Fellas!

April 15, 2018

April Blizzards Bring May Lizards

April Blizzards Bring May Lizards
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 15, 2018

We don't see Avery much any more while he's away at college, but occasionally I guilt him into sending me some photographs to stay updated on his life.  This week it was pictures of him and his girlfriend, Emma, at last weekend's formal for his fraternity.  I think they look so cute together.

It was a college reunion of sorts for Miss Sheri this weekend.  Her friend, Kim Hohensee, was in town from Colorado and needed a place to seek shelter during the massive blizzard we had coming our way.  We were glad to accommodate.  Cathy also came down and the ladies had a great time reminiscing about the old days.

Jeff and I weren't there during their days at Wartburg, but we did our best to stay involved in the conversation.  We all had fun while the snow started building up outside.

Luke decided to come home for the weekend from Minnesota State Mankato University.  He told us he only has a couple of weeks of school left before he's ready to move back home for the summer.  It seems so weird, because it sure doesn't feel like anything close to summer around here!

We stayed inside for most of the weekend.  We've had a "Historic" Blizzard that dropped the most snow Minnesota has ever seen in the month of April and it just keeps coming down.  We've had something like 15 inches of snow already this weekend.  This winter is never going to end!

There was a break in the snow on Saturday morning, so we thought it would be fun to go to lunch and a movie.  That ended up being a bad idea.

The roads weren't too bad in the morning, although reading road signs became pretty much impossible.

By the time we were done with lunch, the snow came back with a vengeance so we decided to skip the movie and just work our way back home again.  It was pretty scary as visibility became nearly impossible.  Lucky we weren't too far from home.

So we spent the rest of the weekend bird watching.  We keep adding more and more feeders around our house because the little birdies are just so much fun to watch.

Although, they also seem to be pretty pissed about the weather.  I kept thinking this guy was annoyed with us because we were sitting inside and not opening the door to let him come in and join us.  Silly bird.

I did feel kind of bad for them and started wondering if this group of birds just got in town after flying north for the summer.  If so, they are probably pretty annoyed with themselves that they didn't stay down south for a few more weeks.

Blue is getting pretty sick of not having full access to his yard with all the snow he has to navigate.  But he figures it out and still seems happy, so we got that going for us.  Which is nice.

April 8, 2018

Minneapolis Home & Garden Show 2018

Minneapolis Home & Garden Show 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for April 8, 2018

It was Empty Nester Club Get Together Time again and this month we met at The Pointe in Prior Lake.  A good time was had by all.  At least I think a good time was had by all.  I didn't see anyone crying or anything.

Sue and Ron showed up a little late because they were out celebrating their 21st anniversary.  Happy Anniversary, Sue & Ron!!

It's April 8 and we still have way too much snow on the ground in my backyard.  Even worse, we still have snow coming down with more in the forecast as far out as next weekend.  Maybe we just won't have a Spring this year.

In order to get our minds off the crappy weather we are experiencing, we thought we should go to the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show to brighten our moods.  Karl & Tina Zitzewitz were happy to join us.  At least I think they were happy.  I didn't see them crying or anything.

I noticed right when we arrived that there were a lot of pretty flowers and things made to look like we were outside in nice weather.  I started thinking maybe we made the right call.

Tables with fire-pits built into them seem to be gaining in popularity.  There were quite a few displays featuring them.  Maybe we should invest in one of these if that snow isn't going away soon.

This show was pretty huge with tons of different businesses showcasing their wares.  We were determined to visit all of them.

We already have an outside bathtub at home, but it's still fun imagining taking baths with new people in different kinds of tubs.

I'd like to have sheet metal decorations in my yard, but then I remember that I like to run around a lot and am kind of klutzy.  With my luck, I'd run smack dab into the side of one of these things and cut myself in half.

Not sure why these guys with bows and arrows were hanging around at the home and garden show.  People must hire them if they have real bad bunny and squirrel problems.

I'd like to get a closet like this, but I just don't have nearly enough shoes to fill it up.

Karl and I spent a lot of time together just sitting there and admiring all the pretty flowers.

There were pink ones, purple ones, and a whole bunch of green ones.  

I need to crash an old car in my backyard and then build a waterfall out of it.  This looks really nice.

Miss Sheri asked me to buy her this dress.  I told her we should wait a week or so for the flowers to die because I'm sure then we could get a real nice discount on it.