May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Memorial Day Weekend 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 28, 2018

We've been having a great time so far this summer having our boys home.  Oftentimes that's just doing stupid stuff like walking the dog, but it's just so much better when you can do it with the whole family.

On Tuesday, Avery's girlfriend, Emma, came up to visit from Iowa City.  We were very happy to see her and have her spend some time with us.

We've had a heat wave this week in Minnesota, so getting the boat out and going tubing seemed like a good fix.

I figured the kids must be really hot so I did everything I could to help them by getting them in the water.

I was able to spin Sydney off a couple of times, but all the rest of the kids were able to hang on for the duration of the rides.  Their loss.  I'm sure that water was quite refreshing.

The geese seemed to like cooling off in it anyways.

On Friday night, we joined some friends at the American Legion in Savage for a little karaoke action.

Saturday brought us to the St. Croix River for some cruising.

Our old buddies, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz, invited us out for their maiden voyage this year.

Responsible swimmers put on their sunscreen.  I was happy to do so.

It's always fun to see Bald Eagles fly overhead.  I just hope they're not sizing me up as potential roadkill.

Considering the temps were getting into the nineties, going boating seemed to be a pretty popular activity.

We eventually cooled off by jumping in the water.  It was quite refreshing.  Unfortunately, Avery lost his right arm on the way down.

It's always a fun day on the river with Captain Carl behind the wheel.

On Sunday, we met up with our good friend, Orlando Mazzolini, to go hiking by the Minnesota River.

I felt pretty good knowing that I was being led by a Mazzolini down Mazomani Trail.

I felt like we are on an episode of Little House on the Prairie being out here.  Where is Michael Landon when you need him?

We like going on guided tours with Orlando.  He always shows us little gems of adventures not far from where we live.
Occasionally I get a little nervous following him, especially when he decides to start venturing off the trails.

He thought we could get down to the river this way, but it was pretty obvious no human being had ever traveled here before.  I was glad when he finally decided we should just turn around and head back to the trail.

Eventually we found the main overlook and had some beautiful views of the Minnesota River.  A nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday morning.

 On Sunday night, we headed over to our old pals, the Walters family, for a bonfire.  We were joined by several other good friends also.

Whenever we get together as a group like this, Dan always wants to give everyone piggy back rides the whole night.  He actually gets a little bit insistent about it.  Eventually we all just decided to climb on and enjoy the ride.

May 21, 2018

Encore Karaoke and Sushi Lounge

Encore Karaoke and Sushi Lounge
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 21, 2018

On Saturday night, we were invited to celebrate one of our oldest friends, Kim Bailey, as she celebrated her 50th birthday.  Miss Sheri said I should probably call her one of our long time friends rather than oldest, but I think you all know what I meant.

Better yet, they were having the party at Encore Karaoke & Sushi Lounge.   Karaoke & Sushi are two of my favorite things!

I had never seen Mike Bailey sing before, but I guess special things happen when it's your wife's birthday.

Kim's parents, Dick & Vic, just came back to this part of the country from their winter excursion to Arizona.  It's always good to spend time with them.

It's always a good time to spend time with all of the Hornbuckle clan!  We missed Chad, though.

Chris played DJ for the night.  He said the club had their own set-up we could have used, but most of those songs weren't in English.

It took awhile for people to warm up to the singing and the night started off with people preferring to sing their songs from the safety of their chairs.

Eventually people warmed up, though, and the real performances began with everyone putting on a show!

I'm not a very good singer, but I'm pretty loud so that seems to help sometimes.

Eventually every song became quartets & quintets & sextets and more.  I think people just like singing together.

The night really became fun when the whole room started singing as a group.  

I think a good time was had by all.

We had a pretty sizable group, so lucky we had the big room!

It was a fun night with a bunch of fun people!!

Happy Birthday, Kim!!

Here's a couple of clips of our friends singing together.

May 20, 2018

I Love The 90s Concert

I Love The 90s Concert
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 20, 2018

On Friday, we headed to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to get a CT scan on Luke's liver.  Here he  is with his hepatologist, Dr. Leise.   You may remember a year ago when we had a scare that Luke was going to need to get a heart and liver transplant.  Here's the post on that.  We were very happy to hear that the nodules on Luke's liver have shown no signs of growth since his last CT scan.   This means that we should be able to enjoy a drama free summer without worrying about any new health concerns.  We found out he's going to probably have his liver checked every 4 months indefinitely.  We always know that every day with good health is a blessing and we try to live each of those days to the fullest!

On Friday night, we connected with our good friends The Zitzewitzes to go to the "I Love The 90s" Concert at Mystic Lake Casino.  We were so excited to get our Hip Hop on!

The "I Love The 90s" concert features a bunch of awesome rappers from the 1990's.  This era was for me was after college and before kids.  It was a time in life when I loved to party and often times that involved dancing to the songs of the people who were performing.  Young MC opened the show.

Young MC may not be quite as young as he once was, but he sure still knows how to "Bust A Move".  I was very impressed with how his rhymes still flow with ease.  Although it was hard for me not to notice that this picture kind of looks like how I imagine he looks when he's going to the bathroom.

Next on stage was Tone Loc.  He had us bouncing to his classic tunes like "Funky Cold Medina" and "Wild Thing".  He sounds just as raspy as he did 20 years ago.  I loved it when he invited a bunch of ladies on the stage to dance with him and things just kept getting wilder the rest of the evening.

We danced and sang all night.  It was so much fun.  I was kind of impressed when I checked my Fitbit at the end of the night and had about 8000 more steps for the day then I usually do.  So I know my fat butt was moving!

Color Me Badd was great, but I noticed one of the lead singers wasn't dancing as much as he used to.  I guess we are all getting old and not in quite the same shape we were 20 years ago.  

They were still awesome to hear and I loved listening to their hits like "All 4 Love" and "I want to sex you up."  Good stuff.

Rob Base was one of my favorites back in the day.  Probably because I loved to rap back then and it was easy to switch his lyrics from Rob Base to Todd Swank.  Like "I want to rock right now, I'm Todd Swank and I came to get down!"  Classic.

I was so impressed with Salt-N-Pepa.  In my opinion, they stole the show and probably should have been the headlining act.  I had forgotten just how many hits these ladies have.  They were so good and we jammed along with them to "Push It" "Shoop" and "Let's Talk About Sex."  I didn't want their set to end!

I remember not too long ago when cameras were banned at concerts I'd go see at Mystic Lake Casino.  That doesn't appear to be the case any longer as there were cameras and phones everywhere!  I guess the Selfie era has really changed things.

Of course, when I found myself standing next to Tone Loc on stage, I had to get a Selfie of my own!  I just wish my arms were longer so my dang head wouldn't appear so big.  I also made a note to myself that when I take selfies, I need to change my expression.

Vanilla Ice was the headliner and he was awesome.  Unfortunately, he really only has the one hit song so he covers some others and spends a lot of time just getting the audience all pumped up and shouting back and forth to him.  By this time of the night, I was ready to get on stage and engage with the performers.

I had tried earlier in the evening to get on stage, but was unsuccessful.  I was able to make it happen during the final performance with Vanilla Ice and Tone Loc.  Unfortunately, this was as close as I could get to Mr. Ice as the security guard in front of me decided it was time to start clearing the stage.  I did have fun up there for the last 10 minutes of the show or so.

Vanilla Ice doesn't look anything like I remember him from the 90's, but he sure still attracts a crowd around him.  The ladies were loving him like crazy!

All in all, we had a fantastic time in our flashback to the nineties!!

Miss Sheri and I got really carried away with pictures and videos for this one.  I ended up with 600 different files and nearly 5GB worth of content!  I edited most of the videos together here and it's almost a half hour!  We hope you enjoy it!