September 8, 2019

Cabin Classic 2019

Cabin Classic 2019
Todd Swank Diary Entry for September 8, 2019

It was a great week for seeing old friends.  It started on Labor Day when we had the opportunity to spend time with Miss Sheri's college friends, Robin and Cathy.  They're such nice ladies.

On Thursday night, we had our Prior Lake Empty Nester get together at the Buffalo Tap in Savage.  We had a fun time together, but I never did see any Buffalo in that place.

On Friday night, I headed down to Clear Lake for our annual get together hosted by Jason Alexander called the Cabin Classic.  We've been doing this event since 2007 and I think I've made it to everyone of them but twice.  They're such a fun group of guys, I look forward to this weekend every year.

Greg Olson showed up on his boat, so Krazy Kory and I asked him to take us for a sunset cruise on Clear Lake.  He was happy to oblige.

It was such a beautiful night and the lake looked like a still mirror reflecting the sunset and then the moonlight.  So pleasant.

My favorite part of the weekend is playing Texas Hold 'Em until the wee hours of the morning.  The games can get pretty serious, but nobody leaves crying or anything like that.

I love waking up to this view of Clear Lake.

We went to a golf course in Sheffield, Iowa.  It's a beautiful course, but not very busy at all.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I saw any other golfers outside of our group the whole day.  People just don't know what they are missing.  I also don't think there are very many people who live in or near Sheffield, Iowa, so that probably has something to do with it as well.

I'm a terrible golfer, but these guys are all really nice and don't hold it against me.  Well, maybe they do hold it against me, but just don't tell me about it.  But when you think about it, that's also really nice that they don't tell me about it if they do hold it against me.  

We played a "Best Ball" tournament and I was paired up with a superstar.  We almost won the whole tournament. We discovered that Krazy Kory and his partner were the only ones who could beat us, but they had to par the last hole to do it.  We were secretly hopeful when their drive landed in the deep rough and they had to clear a pond as well to get to the green.  Krazy Kory stepped up to the plate and whacked an incredible shot that put him dead center in the middle of the green with only a two putt needed for victory.  Which meant no prize money for Toddy.  Dang Krazy Kory.

Win, lose, or draw didn't matter.  We all had a great day of golfing with good buddies.

Saturday night brought us back to the cabin for a grilling exhibition and more Texas Hold 'em.  All in all, it was a dang good weekend!

September 2, 2019

The Minnesota State Fair 2019

The Minnesota State Fair 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 2, 2019

On Thursday night, we had dinner with our friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski!  Sweet Corn & Steak coupled with a moonlight swim makes for a pretty fun night!

On Sunday, we headed to the Great Minnesota Get Together.  Every year I think the crowds won't be so bad and every year they're worse.  Maybe we need to start going on a week day.

We were joined this year by Luke who thinks the fair is well worth a reason to come home from college to attend.  We also had Miss Sheri's college roommate Robin in from Hawaii along with her niece, Amanda.  It was their first time at the Minnesota State Fair so we were excited to show them all our favorite spots.

We had to endure some rain in the morning which sent the crowds inside.  Nothing like fair buildings packed with wet visitors to give the newbies the full fair experience right out of the gate!

We stopped at the coliseum to watch the young ladies compete in their barrel racing events.  I always like cheering for strangers  and booing for the ones who just don't seem like good people.  Lucky I haven't seen any of them who appeared to be bad people yet.

We ran into the DNR building after the rain started again and nearly bumped into this wise old owl who was perched on some guy's arm as we squished into the room.  Glad he didn't think any of us were field mice else it could have become an ugly situation.

I was squeezing through the crowd with my camera in my hand when I bumped into Smoky the Bear.  His handler saw the camera and assumed I wanted a picture with him when actually I was just trying to pass them.  But I had to be polite and request a picture which in hindsight was one of the highlights of my day.  This guy told me once that only I could prevent forest fires which kind of scared me because I don't even live that close to any forests.  So if I was the only one who could prevent them, I may need to move closer to a forest which I never did.  I guess I haven't heard of a lot of forest fires lately, so maybe he was wrong and there was someone else who could prevent them as well.  Needless to say, I didn't bring it up to him while we stood there together.  I'm just hoping he doesn't blame me for shirking my forest fire prevention responsibilities from way back when.

After the rain stopped, we went outside.  The DNR fishpond is one of my favorite spots at the fair.  They have fish from all over Minnesota deposited in the water here.  Not sure what they do with them after the fair, but I'm guessing there's some lemon and butter involved!

We went into the horticulture building to see all the pretty flowers and gardens on display.

Being in Minnesota, it's hard to walk too far without seeing something inspired by Prince.  At least I think this was supposed to be that weird prince symbol.  I never really understood what that thing was anyways.

The first time we went into the flower exhibit we were prevented access because they were being judged.  I was always told that man shouldn't judge and we should leave that up to a higher power, but I didn't feel like lecturing any of these people about how they should be spending their time.

I later judged these flowers as being very pretty, but then later felt guilty about passing judgment on them.  I really shouldn't be doing that.

Follow the yellow brick road!  Is it just me or did they make Dorothy's skirt just a little too short?   It's kind of uncomfortable to look at.

As you walk through the fair, you see different bands playing all over the place.  We stopped and watched Matt's Family Jam play a couple songs.  I wasn't sure which one of them was Matt, but he sure does seem to have a nice family.

We went into the Arts & Crafts building and again were welcomed by Prince.  I thought that would be a nice quilt to have especially to cover me should it ever start Purple Raining.

I used to love the Muppet Show so I felt a special attachment to seeing Animal and his band mates turned into Yarn Dolls.

I loved this painting of First Avenue highlighting all the Stars on Stars that adorn the building in Downtown Minneapolis.

Not sure where this guy is skating to, but he seems excited to get there.

I even bumped into a Barragy while I was there!  I hadn't seen Mick in quite a few years, but it was super fun getting to spend a few moments together at the Pet Pavilion.  Not every day I get the opportunity to do that.

Our tradition is to buy a bucket of Martha's cookies before we leave the fair.  It's by far the most lucrative food sold at the fair each year generating more than $4 million worth of revenue in 10 days!!  I'm in the wrong line of work...

We covered about 5 miles of walking through the day and the gang felt like we had seen everything we wanted to see, so we decided to head home.  All in all another great trip to the Fair!

August 25, 2019

And Summer 2019 is Coming to an End

And Summer 2019 is Coming to an End
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 25, 2019

It's August 25 which means summer is soon coming to a close.  It has just flown by as it feels like my kids just came home from college and now the second one is going back tomorrow.  Kind of crazy.

All right, I want all ducks to face the left and turtles to face the right.  Go.

We thought it would be fun to have one more boat ride with the boys and some of their friends before they left.

We even pulled the tube out for one last hurrah before going back in storage.  This dang tube appears to be un-patchable because the darn back keeps deflating and no matter what we do to fix it, it still loses all it's air.  The kids don't seem to mind though and still have fun when I whip them around the lake until one of them goes flying in the water or they conk heads.

The best part about summer ending is it means that football season is ready to start firing up.  And that means Fantasy Football is back in Season!

My buddy, Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy is an incredible league commissioner and throws an incredible party for our draft night.  It's an auction style draft and we even have an auctioneer who we affectionately call Curtis.  I'm pretty sure that's actually his name also.

This year was personally special for me because it's the first time my boys attended the draft.  Luke is a pretty big fan of fantasy sports and we are waiting for an opening in the league to get him in there.  This year he & Avery drafted a team for a player who couldn't be there and it appears so far at least that they did a pretty darn good job.  

This is the trophy that we're all playing for.  Sadly, my name hasn't been added to it since 2010, but I think this is gonna be my year!!

4 hours later, our draft was complete and a good time was had by all.  Now we're ready for some football!

Happy end of summer to all of you!

August 18, 2019

The Countdown For The Return To College

The Countdown For The Return To College
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 18, 2019

The boys are almost ready to go back to college so we need to wrap all of the things we need to get done in the summer.  That includes a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for Luke to get his 6 month check-up on his heart and liver.  We are pleased to report that Luke's check-up went excellent with no new concerns about the nodules in his liver and his heart is still working as well as someone with a regular heart!  So we get another 6 month hiatus before we have to go get things checked out again.  It's like music to our ears!

I'm always fascinated with new technology.  So despite Luke's protests of taking his picture during blood draws, I was so impressed by this new device they were using that I couldn't resist.  Both Luke and I are considered to be "tough sticks" which means the nurses always have difficulty finding veins in our arms when drawing blood.  So multiple pokes are often inevitable.  This time, though, the nurse pulled out a new "Vein Finder" which uses infrared light to make the veins appear highlighted on the surface of his skin thus easier to get the needle in there on the first attempt.  Pretty cool stuff!

To celebrate the good news from Mayo, we went to our favorite restaurant, Benihana.  We just loves that Teppanyaki Cooking!

We're big fans of sushi.  This week we discovered a new favorite....Chili Shrimp Rolls!  Loaded with crab-meat, cream cheese, seaweed tempura in a spicy chili sauce topped with crab, shrimp, and a jalapeno pepper, it tastes like someone flew over your head and dropped a little piece of heaven in your mouth.  Which is what I look for in an appetizer.

Continuing through the checklist of things we wanted to do one last time before summer was over, on Saturday morning we thought it would be fun for a family foursome of golfing.

Sadly for me, most of my family beats me in most sporting types of activities.  Really any activities that involve moving your body I find they have the upper hand on me.  But that doesn't stop me from getting out there and giving them a go in the competition!

Miss Sheri is never a very flashy competitor, but very consistent in her performance.  She just wears you down until you start slipping and then she goes for the throat.  Needless to say, she pretty much beats me in everything we do.

No matter who won or lost, we all had a great time being together and enjoying the beautiful day.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Avery crushed us all as usual.  But it was nice to be able to enjoy the beautiful day

On Saturday night, we crashed the bonfire and birthday celebration of Luke's room-mate, Jackson Walters.  Now that's a fire!  Happy Birthday, Jackson!