February 24, 2019

The Snowiest February in Minnesota on Record

The Snowiest February in Minnesota on Record
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 24, 2019

Miss Sheri and I were quite interested in this photo when we saw it.  As you can see from the title photo, we were attempting to capture me next to the tall snowbanks in our driveway.  For some reason, the first time we took it the camera captured these weird glitches that makes it look like my neighbor's house was being struck by lightning or something.  Not quite sure what causes a glitch like this, but do find it pretty cool.

Our Golden Retriever, Blue, has been pretty miserable the past 6 weeks or so.  The reason being is we hardly ever leave the house because the dang snow just keeps falling down on us.  This weekend we officially hit the Minnesota record for the snowiest February in history with a total of 31.5 inches since the month began.  We still have 4 days to go until the month is over so who knows what the final tally will be.  The previous record was 25.6 inches.  We are SOOO ready for Spring!

During the times it's not snowing, we have a stampede of animals hitting all of our feeders.  Our albino squirrel friends have been consistent visitors along with a bunch of beautiful birds.  They all need to stock up because they have to spend so many nights in hiding from the wind and snow. 

We do find them quite fascinating and love to observe them as they feast on our seeds.

The squirrels are relentless to get access to the so called Squirrel Proof bird feeders.

They're greedy little suckers and grab every bit they can carry!  Hold on to your tits.

Blue did have a little bit of joy in his life when we celebrated his 4th birthday.  I'm not sure if he completely comprehends the concept of birthdays, but he definitely understands the concept of muffins.

He was muffin drunk for the rest of the night.

On Friday, we hung out with Grandma Linda for 24 hours as she recovered from her eye surgery.  She was supposed to keep her head down the whole time, but she did take quick breaks for eating and pictures.  She had the patch removed the next morning and the doctor is quite pleased with her prognosis.  We're so glad she's on the mend and hopefully will eventually regain her full eyesight.  Thanks so much to all our friends who kept her in their prayers.

On Saturday night, we went to St. Mark's Catholic Church in Shakopee for their Winterfest celebration.

It's an event with games, songs, chants, a feast of German food and even polka dancing.  A good time was had by all!  

February 17, 2019

Our Vacation to Miami, Florida

Our Vacation to Miami, Florida
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 17, 2019

We flew to sunny Miami, Florida this week for a vacation.  The weather has been horrible in Minnesota for the last month with snowstorm after snowstorm and temperatures staying well below zero for weeks.  Some 70 degree weather was just what we needed!

Miss Sheri and I were celebrating the 25th anniversary for our wedding on February 12.  She's put up with me for a long time.  I like telling people that she is repenting for sins from a previous life while I must have done something pretty special to receive such blessings!

We actually hijacked the vacation idea from our good friends, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  They came down to Miami last year for the boat show and had told us they were going down again.  We said let's do it!

We rented a condo from Air BNB together which had a pool on the roof.  Unfortunately it wasn't heated so I was the only one actually willing to get in the pool.  The rest of the condo was pretty nice, though, so it all worked out for the best.

And yes, I know I have very beautiful cleavage when I fold my arms in like this.  Note to self:  I should probably stand up straight when posing for pictures while in the pool.

Our condo was really close to Ocean Drive in South Beach so we spent almost every day down in this neighborhood.  It's kind of a crazy area.

We enjoyed taking walks down to the beach.  We were surprised when we stumbled upon an actual Beach Bunny.  I always thought those were a myth.

One day we rented bicycles to cruise around South Beach.  I was proud of my fancy looking basket, but Miss Sheri told me it wasn't making me look nearly as attractive as I believed it was.  

We saw a couple of huge iguanas during our ride.  People say these are invasive species, but they seem pretty cute and friendly to me so who wouldn't want them around?  I say let them take over and be everywhere.  

Our Lyft driver was from Cuba and he told us to visit Havana 1957 for some good authentic Cuban food.  I had a Cuban sandwich which I really enjoyed, but honestly I couldn't tell if it was authentic or not.  They could have slipped me a forged Cuban Sandwich and I'd have never know the difference.

We went to Cibo wine bar to enjoy some Italian cuisine for the night of our anniversary party.  Tina won the contest for selecting the best looking item off the menu when she bought some kind of whitefish that came complete with his original head.  Tina entertained us all at the end of the meal by performing a little ventriloquist routine using that same head to express some witty banter.  Way to go, Tina!

On Wednesday it rained which killed our plans to go kayaking with the manatees, so we had to scramble to find some indoor activities to enjoy.  We discovered the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science which boasts a planetarium, an aquarium, and a Science Museum.  Sounded good to us!

It was a really fun way to spend the day.  We saw sharks, alligators, stingrays, and a bunch of other critters.  We learned about a program the museum is supporting to replace coral reef that is being killed off and we saw an exhibit that showed how the feathers of dinosaurs somehow could be associated with the future of flight by man.  Not sure how those two were related, but I'm certain it made sense if I would have only had the patience to read more about the exhibit while I was in there.

Best of all, they had a really angry looking owl.  I'm not sure what the person did who pissed him off, but I wouldn't want to be around when he gets his vengeance.

I loved the movie we saw in the planetarium.  First of all, the screen was amazing occupying the domed roof of a sizable building attached to the museum.  Then Whoopi Goldberg started speaking and we saw how stars are born which was illustrated by the birth of our very own sun.  That universe out there is pretty big.

I've always been a fan of shark tanks and theirs is quite unique with viewing areas across multiple floors and through this amazing 31 foot Oculus lens at the bottom of the tank.  It's really a fascinating portal into the world of marine life.  

Here's a video that shows how the Oculus Lens was added to the tank:

On Thursday, we boarded a water taxi to make the journey over to the island that was hosting the Miami Boat Show.  I love traveling on the ocean because you just never know what you are going to encounter.

We weren't disappointed when about 5 minutes into the trip, the captain announced that he saw dolphins off in the distance.  We were excited to watch them for the few minutes they swam near us.

We also saw some pelicans sitting on part of the bridge.  These are fun birds to watch when they are diving into the water to catch fish with their big beaks. 

Karl made the observation to me during our trip that I'm more of a dog and he's more of a cat.  I didn't know what he meant by that so he explained I tend to be friendly and go up and talk to anybody while he remains more reserved and needs to observe people before deciding to engage.  I wasn't sure if I should believe that, but then I saw this picture and thought that maybe he does have a point.

Eventually we arrived at the Miami Boat Show and spent the day walking down piers and visiting all sorts of incredible, multi-million dollar boats.  With more than 1400 boats on display, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Jeep was there and had a massive sandcastle being made in their area.  I offered to help, but they said they had it covered.  I'm sure it was pretty incredible by the time it was completed.

All in all, we had a great time crashing the vacation of Captain Karl and Tina!

February 10, 2019

Todd & Sheri's 25 Year Anniversary Party

Todd & Sheri's 25 Year Anniversary Party
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 10, 2019

It was time to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary so Miss Sheri and I rented out a room at the American Legion in Savage, Minnesota to throw a party.

So hard to believe it's already been 25 years since we've been married.  It sure doesn't seem that long.  Well, maybe for Sheri it does.

We had a great turn-out with so many of our good friends in attendance.  We found it interesting that not a single person who came actually was at our wedding.  Of course we've been in Minnesota for more than 25 years now and were married in Iowa, but we actually had several people who were at our wedding and for different reasons, none of them were able to make it.  Interesting coincidence.  It's also interesting having a party like this because we had friends from different eras in our lives show up.  Most of this group were friends we made while the boys were in cub scouts and boy scouts.

These are friends we made while I was working at Nor-Tech.

More Nor-Tech friends.

These are a couple of our friends from my current job at Oracle.

We became tight with this group mostly from the boys adventures in the robotics program at school.

More robotics friends.

We go way back with Portia when our boys joined Cub Scouts together.

We've been friends with our neighbor, Jim, since we moved across the street from him back in 2001.

We first met Kirk and Debbie through Robotics, but Tom and Kellie go back to elementary school when the boys were playing basketball and Tom was their first coach.

We know Tom & Lynn mainly through Karaoke which makes them officially our first karaoke friends.  So we got that going for us.  Which is nice.

All in all, we had a pretty great time at our party.  Our only regret is that throughout the evening's wonderful good time and pleasant conversations, we forgot to get a picture of Miss Sheri and I together.  Oh well.  People know what we look like.

I think everyone knows how much we love the albino squirrels who come in our backyard to visit us.  However, this week one of them did something to get on Miss Sheri's naughty list.  He figured out how to get on our hanging bird feeder!  We had to let the dogs out to remind him this is a no no.


  Here's the video!