September 29, 2019

Busy Week at Work

Busy Week at Work
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 29, 2019

We didn't do much this week.  Work was crazy busy for me and we just didn't get out a lot.  I was very excited when the boys both decided to come home for the weekend as we hadn't seen them in a month or so.  We still didn't do much, but it was more fun to not do much together.

Working from home I never know what I might stumble on my wife doing in the middle of the day.  This week I was impressed when I found her replacing boards on our front porch.  I didn't know she was going to do that, but I'm glad she's willing to do it.  I don't think I would do very well with those kinds of projects.

It's amazing how many bald eagles we see around us any more.  It's almost every day it seems.  Still fascinating to me every time I see one.

Blue was excited to spend some time with his mother and brother this weekend.  They are so cute when they all get together.

The albino squirrels are also still frequent visitors to our backyard.  Although this guy seems just a little bit sinister.  It appears he was filling his hands up with mud and then burying his face in them.  It also appears he was pretty excited to be doing it.  

This picture is actually from our trip to Duluth last weekend.  Miss Sheri and I took special notice of these mushrooms because we thought they looked like hamburger buns.  Imagine my surprise when reading the local paper this weekend, they had a picture of almost the exact same thing and called them part of a group that contains some of the most toxic and deadly mushrooms on the planet!  I guess I'm pretty glad I didn't eat them.

I like hanging out with these people on boring weekends!

September 22, 2019

A Weekend in Duluth, Minnesota

A Weekend in Duluth, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 22, 2019

It was time for a weekend getaway with our good friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski.  We thought it would be cool to drive up to Duluth, Minnesota to do some sight seeing and hiking and have some fun together.

Our hotel bar had live music so we thought we'd go check it out.  It wasn't very crowded, but the singer Hannah Rey was phenomenal.  She sang a bunch of classic favorites and finished the evening with my request, White Rabbit.  She had the place Rocking!

We woke up bright and early on Saturday and had breakfast at a local favorite called Betty's Pies.  We don't normally have pie for breakfast, but Hey....When in Rome...

The weather forecast wasn't on our side to start the day, so we loaded up the umbrellas and headed to our first adventure of the day, Glensheen Mansion.  It's a 20,000 square foot house set on 12 acres of waterfront property on Lake Superior.  It was built in 1908 and has 39 rooms.  It's old, but still pretty dang impressive.

The house was built by Chester and Clara Congdon.  Chester built his fortune in the Iron Range of Minnesota.  The house cost $854,000 to build in 1908 which is equivalent to about $22 million in today's dollars.  Chester died in 1916 but his children lived in the house until the last one of them was tragically murdered by her adopted daughter's husband in 1977.  The house was given to the University of Minnesota Duluth who opened it up for tours in 1979.  The family's story is pretty interesting and touring the house gives you a unique glimpse into their lives.

The house was named after this bridge and the water that flows underneath it.  Apparently this kind of bridge is called a Glen and the sheen of the river brightly illuminated the house so they called it the Glensheen Mansion.  At least that's what they tried to tell us.  They might have just been kidding.

I loved the boat house.  Just a cool old building where they used to keep their boats.  They recently opened it up for a different tour, but the tickets for that one were sold out already.  Maybe next time we'll get to see inside.

Apparently this old diving bell had been stored in the boat house until it was recently pulled out and put on the land.  I guess someone in the family used to go down in the water in this thing which seems like a pretty stupid idea to me.  If that cable were to break I doubt getting out of it would have been very easy.  Probably why we don't see a lot of diving bells being sold any more.

  There's many rumors that the mansion is haunted, but I can't confirm that.  I didn't see any ghosts anywhere and I was looking pretty hard.  I even called out to them a few times, but didn't get any responses.  

After lunch we walked around downtown Duluth for awhile.  I was surprised when I saw a store selling furs and even more surprised when we went inside to check it out that most of the products included the animal heads still attached.  I can't imaging business is all that good because I've certainly never seen someone walking around in one of these things.  Although I kind of wanted to buy one just to wear it home to see how my dog would react to it.

During the afternoon, we went hiking at Congdon Park.  It's a beautiful set of trails that take you alongside a bunch of waterfalls and a creek.  It's located right in the center of town, but you'd never even know it was there which probably makes it even more unique.  Fun stuff.

On Sunday, we went on a bigger hike to scale to the top of Ely's peak.  Sue and Ron's son, Mason, is on the Iowa State Rock Climbing team and comes here quite a bit to climb stuff. He was kind enough to come with us to show us around.

We had the opportunity to watch Mason as he climbed up and down some of the bigger walls in the area which was nerve-racking and exhilarating at the same time.  

I was a little worried that I was going to have a tough time getting my fat butt to the top of Ely's Peak.  But 3 miles of hiking and 1133 feet of climbing later, we found ourselves looking down at the world around us.  It was a pretty neat feeling being up there.  Until I realized I had to climb down again and that was just about as challenging as climbing up was.

It was beautiful to be able to look around and see the color of the trees as they are just starting to turn into the hues of autumn. Pretty soon they will drop their leaves and fricking winter will come again.  On second thought, it wasn't that beautiful.  

September 15, 2019

Minnesota Vikings vs Atlanta Falcons

Minnesota Vikings vs Atlanta Falcons
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 15, 2019

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to go see the Minnesota Vikings home opener.  We're huge Vikings fans so we were very excited to be there.  US Bank Stadium is an awesome venue to watch a game.

My boss was kind enough to give us his tickets which were incredible seats and the best spots from where which we'd ever had the chance to see a game.  Thanks, boss.

The place was rocking and the explosion went off to signify the game was about to begin!

It was the defense's turn to be introduced which makes sense because they are an elite unit and one of the best in the NFL.

The Atlanta Falcons started with the ball and Matt Ryan was sacked on the very first play.  We were in for a great game.

Our offense played well for the way the game set-up.  

Kirk Cousins only had 10 passes, but the run game and defense were going so well that's all he needed to do.

Dalvin Cook was unstoppable.  He had 111 yards and 2 touchdowns.  I'm so glad I drafted him for my fantasy team.

The game was going so well even Cousins had the chance to run one in to the end-zone.

Coach Zimmer had to be pleased with how the game was going with the possible exception of the 11 penalties for 100 yards.  Coaches never seem to like that kind of stuff very much.

We've had a lot of drama at the kicker position lately, but Dan Bailey has seemed to be pretty consistent.  He didn't have any field goal opportunities this week, but was 4-4 on extra points.  So we won't cut him this week.

Everyone was pretty excited when the Vikings ran the score up to 28-0.  The Falcons did come back to make it a final score of 28-12, but it was pretty obvious the Vikings dominated.  I can't wait to see how they do next week in Green Bay!  I'm sure Kirk Cousins will be dominant in that one.

This weekend we stayed close to home.  The weather warmed up on Sunday so we thought we'd better get the boat out again because who knows how many more chance we'll get before the lake freezes.

We brought Blue with us even though he stresses Miss Sheri out quite a bit.  She keeps thinking he's going to jump off the boat into the water.  He does do some pretty stupid stuff like climbing on to the back and the sides of the boat, but he hasn't fallen in yet.  Besides, he's a really good swimmer.  

We wanted to see what kind of nature we'd see and weren't disappointed.  This was one of three bald eagles we saw while we were out there.

Our favorite nesting island seemed pretty abandoned and we figured all of the birds had migrated away for the winter, but then we saw this great blue heron just standing there all by himself.  I'm sure he's looking for a party.

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!