November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 at the Farm

Thanksgiving 2018 at the Farm
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 25, 2018

We celebrated Thanksgiving early with my mom and Mike since our plans were to spend the holiday at the farm this year.  We had a nice time eating our pre-Thanksgiving roast together.

The boys both came home from college which is always my favorite part of the holidays any more.  We have such a good time together.

It turned out to be a pretty chilly Thanksgiving as our temperatures have been in the twenties the past couple of weeks.  The lake is getting close to be frozen, but you sure wouldn't want to be out there walking on it yet.  Even if it does look like there's some pretty clear walking paths out there.

On Wednesday night we headed to the farm to hang out with cousin Joey and family.  It's always good to see these guys.

Sunny loves going to the farm because it means we go on all sorts of interesting walks and he gets to chase the kitties.  He goes crazy just hearing that word.  I'm sure the farm cats absolutely hate when they see our car pull-up because they know they are going to be hunted for a few days by a big slobbering beast.

For the second visit in a row, we spotted an owl while out on one of our walks.  This guy flew right in front of us after the dog ran near his tree.  We stalked him and was able to capture this picture from a distance.

We tried to get closer to him to capture a better picture, but he was way too smart for us and took off long before we could get close.  I don't know why these dang owls won't pose for us.

We had a wonderful Thankgiving dinner with Miss Sheri's family.  It was very festive and we spent a couple of long nights bonding while playing cards.  We create good memories on the farm.

We came home Saturday night and had an unusual discovery on Sunday morning when we discovered this fish laying in the middle of our deck.  Our best guess is that an eagle or hawk caught him in the lake across the street, was flying over our house, and dropped him for some reason.  Either that or one of our neighbors is trying to send us a very strange form of message.  Who knows?

November 18, 2018

The 2018 Minne Mini Robotics Tournament

The 2018 Minne Mini Robotics Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 18, 2018

I spent much of the week in Kansas City along with my team attending a very intense & powerful sales training.  We worked hard and played hard together.

On Saturday, I attended the 2018 Minne Mini Regional FRC Robotics Tournament.  The tournament consists of 36 robotics teams from Minnesota & Iowa competing in a game called First Power Up.

Basically each match consists of 2 alliances with 3 robots per side competing to score points by performing various tasks including lifting large blocks onto a scale to gain control away from the competing alliance.  It's 2 minutes of chaos on the field and a lot of fun to watch.

I was one of 8 judges observing the tournament and interviewing the teams to determine which ones would win various awards for showcasing talent in engineering, spirit, and gracious professionalism.  It's hard to judge because there are so many worthy teams to be considered and a ton of great kids.

It's also fun spending time with my fellow judges.  These are a bunch of great guys.

After the tournament we went out to dinner with the Korkowskis and one of Sue's best friends from childhood.  We had a nice dinner before heading back to the high school for a late night event.

We went to see the Prior Lake High School performance of Sister Act.  If you haven't seen the movie, the story is about a night club singer who witnesses a murder and has to go into hiding so she pretends to be a nun in a local convent.  Hilarity ensues.

We were there to support Grace Korkowski who was one of the nuns.  It was fun seeing her sing and dance throughout the various performances.

There are a lot of talented performers at Prior Lake High School.

There were more than 120 students involved in the production which seems pretty crazy to me.  That's a lot of kids.  But you could totally see the amount of passion and hard-work they put into the production.  It was a phenomenal show!

November 11, 2018

Our First Curling Lesson

Our First Curling Lesson
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 11, 2018

We had our first curling lesson this week.  Our friend, Guy Perera, is getting certified to be a curling instructor and needed some really pathetic participants so he could practice giving lessons.  Miss Sheri and I were more than happy to volunteer.

I've always wanted to try curling, but never really had the opportunity.  I had concerns if I'd be able to do it, but after some practice, great instruction from Guy, and special Short Arm Guy adaptations I was able to hurl the stone down the ice.  I have a long way to go before that sucker travels straight, though.

Miss Sheri is a natural at curling.  She was getting it going straight very quickly and will probably be a pretty competitive player if we ever get to play an actual game.  She did fall on her butt, though.

I did my civic duty and voted this week.  I'm not sure why they make me go to this polling place, though.  Seems kind of discriminatory.

On Saturday night, we had the Browns and the Zitzewitzes over for dinner and a hot tub party.  The temperatures were down in the teens so we figured it was a perfect time to go outside and get in the water.

Ana celebrated her birthday this week, so we were pretty excited to get the chance to sing her a song.  The song was called Happy Birthday to You.

It was Rhonda's birthday this week as well so she also received a celebratory cheesecake and her named mentioned in the song.  It was in the third line where we substituted the word You and instead said "Ana and Rhonda".  I thought it all came together pretty good.   

November 4, 2018

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Minnesota State Mavericks Hockey

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Minnesota State Mavericks Hockey
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 4, 2018

Blue likes to swim with the ducks.  He actually likes to swim without the ducks also, but I enjoy it more when they are out there with him.  They actually let him get amazingly close to them when he's chasing after his ball.  I guess they must think he's not coming after them, but I have no clue what he'd do if he actually caught up to one of them.  He'd probably fetch the duck and leave the ball.

We had another get together for the Prior Lake Empty Nester Club on Thursday, this month at Bowlero in Lakeville.  We actually had pretty light attendance this month.  I guess a lot of people don't like bowling alleys.

We did have some new friends show up this month when Tom and Kellie Wolf stopped by to see us.  Tom is the local county commissioner so it's always interesting talking politics with him and getting the inside skinny about what's going on out there.  

On Friday night, we went to Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

We went there to attend the first meeting of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers vs the Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks in Men's Hockey.  We were excited to see a good match. 

Avery goes to the University of Minnesota while Luke goes to Minnesota State Mankato so we had to root for both teams while we were there.  We can't take sides between our boys.

The Gophers were ranked the #10 team in the country before the game with a record of 1-1-1.

The Mavericks were ranked #4 with a record of 5-1.  You can tell that hockey is a pretty popular sport in the state of Minnesota by the level of competition we were getting a chance to see.

The excitement levels were high going into the game and the cheerleaders worked the crowd into a frenzy.

Goldy Gopher was dressed extra special for the event and impressed us all with his smooth dance moves.

In the end, the home team got whooped by the visitors.  Mankato won the game by a score of 5 - 1 including an impressive short handed goal late in the third period to seal the victory.  The family really enjoyed the game.  We all decided to make going to this rivalry game every year a new tradition for us.

Our albino squirrel friends keep visiting our yard every day.  We've actually seen three of them running around but still haven't been able to capture all three of them together in a single picture.  But we keep trying.