September 27, 2020

Discovering the True Meaning of Fall


Discovering the True Meaning of Fall
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 27, 2020

Last week I spent some time belly-aching about the changing colors on the trees.  It's a mixed bag for me because although I think the leaves are quite beautiful, it's hard to not look at them and recognize the inevitable.  Winter is coming.  This week, though, we had the opportunity to discover the true meaning of fall.

And by Fall, I mean this silly changing of the season caused Miss Sheri to have a nasty Fall which required a trip to the emergency room and 6 stitches in her kneecap.  Let me explain.

 Since April, we have been taking a 2 mile walk nearly every day.  For the most part, we follow the same path through our neighborhood including this quiet little cemetery that sits nestled next to Prior Lake.  We were walking the dog down this path, deep in conversation, and not really paying attention to the walk that we've done many, many times before.

But Fall is here and with those leaves changing colors, also comes an incredible number of acorns and sticks that fall to the ground.  We believe she stepped on a group of acorns just right that then acted like marbles and shot her right foot up into the air.  Her momentum brought her entire weight down onto her left knee onto the cement.   On top of that cement was a stick which I think pierced her kneecap.  When she showed it to me, I was surprised to see that her kneecap was split wide open, but not bleeding.  I could see a bunch of white stuff in there I didn't recognize which I'm assuming is some kind of cartilage.  Just gross.  So now she’s laying on the path and can’t move. And we are 1 mile into our walk.  I contemplated calling 911, but it wasn’t bleeding so I’m going to get the car.  I try to run. I get maybe 500 yards before I’m like screw that.  So I start fast walking the dog home, dragging his butt because now that I’m in a weakened state from the running he wants to stop and smell things.  Anyways, I eventually get the car, pick her up, go to the ER and she gets 6 stitches in her knee.  Other than that, it's been a pretty mellow week at the Swank house.

We have a new albino squirrel in our yard who has been visiting us quite often.  I think we've seen him every day this week.  We like to think of these guys as our guardian angels.  Although one could argue that it was unfortunate that Miss Sheri had a fall like she did, we prefer to think of it as a blessing.  Because ultimately it could have been much worse.  It doesn't appear she will have any long term damage to her knee, so we are certainly thankful for that.  We hope you all have a great week as well!  

September 20, 2020

It's a Puppy Party!


It's a Puppy Party!
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 20, 2020

Blue's mother & brother came to spend the weekend with us.  It makes the house a little crazier than normal, but we're always up for a puppy party!!

To top it off, Luke decided to come home for the weekend giving us our first overnight visit with him since he went to college more than a month ago.  We were ready to get nuts!

For us any more, getting nuts means we're going to a restaurant to have breakfast at night!!  If you live in Prior Lake, be sure to give Ze's Diner a try.  Great food and great service!

This is a street Miss Sheri and I use every day on our daily walks.  Something sad happened this week and the dang colors of the leaves changed from green to red and yellow.  That can only mean one thing.  Winter is coming.

We're having the boat winterized this week so thought it would be nice to take it out for one more spin before locking it up for another season.  The weather was actually pretty nice, so we had a pleasant ride.

We rode past our favorite bird island, but discovered the whole place has been abandoned.  I guess we're not the only empty nesters out there.

Since all our favorite birds have apparently gone south for the winter, we had to resort to taking pictures of the seagulls.  We normally don't pay much attention to them, but I did like how a few of our pictures turned out.  

There were a ton of them gathered around the throne called Poop Rock.  Although I think the one who actually stands on this shouldn't get to consider it an honor of any sort.  His feet must feel disgusting.

The next time we drove by the gulls, they were all flocking to a spot in the middle of the lake and diving down into the water for some reason.  We drove over to the spot to see what all the fuss was about and of course we didn't see anything in the water.  Silly birds.

I must admit, even though it means that summer is over, I do find it beautiful to see the changing colors.  It looks like God tripped over a shelf full of paint buckets and spilled it all over us.

On our ride home, we heard someone shout my name so we stopped to see who it was.  It was none other than Prior Lake Mayor, Kirt Briggs, and his wife, Heidi.  They have a really cool boat.  I told him we were excited to support him in November and he responded that he is running unopposed.  I guess that should make things easier, but please vote for him anyways!

It was a beautiful ride on the lake!  How long until next summer?

September 13, 2020

Back to Boring - 2020 Edition

 Back to Boring - 2020 Edition

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 13, 2020

Our second child has flown the coop.  Avery went back to finish his senior year of college at the University of Minnesota and was quite excited to be getting out back on his own again.  

Miss Sheri and I had become quite accustomed to being empty nesters, but then the pandemic brought our boys home to live with us again for the past 6 months.  Sure there were some issues with us being secluded together for so long, but we also had more family time these past several months that was priceless.  Now that both boys are have moved out of the house, it's Back to Boring for us!

Since this was our first time through Minneapolis in months, we thought we'd drive over to see the George Floyd Memorial.  Unfortunately, the streets are blocked off so we couldn't get close enough to see it.  We considered parking, but we had a big trailer attached to our truck and couldn't figure out where to park it.  So our visit will have to wait until the next time we're down there.

We drove around the city and saw some of the remains of the destroyed buildings.  It was sad to see, but nothing you haven't seen on the news for the past few months.  

We are back to doing our daily walks for excitement.  The dog is in better shape than he's been in years.

Blue is happy to be the center of attention again.  It gives us more opportunity to take him swimming which he is always ready to do.

We're also spending more time stalking the critters that we encounter in the yard.  Is that a red-headed woodpecker in your grass or are you just excited to see me?

"I gotta tell you.  You guys have the best nuts in all of Prior Lake."

The highlight of my week was going to Mystic Lake Casino and bumping into my old buddies, the Hornbuckle Clan.  What a pleasant surprise!

I haven't seen the Hornbuckles since Kim and Mike's going away party back in February.  I miss these people.  We always have such fun together.

September 7, 2020

Fun Times in August 2020


Fun Times in August 2020
Todd Swank's Diary Update for September 7, 2020

I spent the month of August posting photos from our Colorado vacation so this is my post to catch up on the fun things we did and the neat things we saw last month.  Like these adorable baby ducks!

I got to see my buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, who is always up for a Saturday morning adventure!!

We spent a lot of time going on various boat rides including a nice one with Grandma Linda.  She's such a colorful lady.

We were halfway back to being empty nesters when Luke moved back to Mankato for his senior year in college.  It was so nice to have the boys home for our "Surprise" 6 month quarantine, but they were both very ready to get back to living their own lives.  It sure is a lot quieter at home since they've been gone.

Luke moved back in with his buddy, Jackson.  I think they've been having a great time together, but wouldn't know since he really hasn't been home again since he left!

The hot tub has been pretty much unused in the heat of the summer so when we wanted to get in there, we thought we should clean it out a bit.  Turns out the spiders had made the gazebo their new home including this monster who I was surprised to see had more hair than I do.   I guess we're going to need to clean it out a little more often in the summer.

Luke did come home one night to celebrate Miss Sheri's birthday with us.  It was nice to have the whole gang together for one last summer hurrah.

We've hardly seen our buddies the Zitzewitzes and Browns since the quarantine began, so it was great to have the opportunity to spend the day on the St. Croix River with them.

2020 has been a tough year, but one nice part about it at least in Minnesota is our summer weather has been phenomenal.  We had a great day playing in the water and laying out in the sun.  Not necessarily in that order.

I love cruising around the river on Karl's jet ski.  It's so fast and fun to go wave jumping.  I really want to get one some day, but this is not the year to do it from what I hear.  They're sold out for hundreds of miles...I guess it's a good activity for social distancing!

We also had the chance to go visit BoatHouse Brewery in Prior Lake together.  I was so excited to be able to say it was Open again that I decided to sit in the shadow of their Open sign the entire evening.

My old buddy, Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy, had his Fantasy Football draft in August which I was ecstatic to attend.  There was talk of it being cancelled this year, but lucky it went on as scheduled.  Football wouldn't be the same this year without our Fantasy Football league smack talk to lead up to it.

Sadly, my smack talk is getting weaker and weaker each year since I haven't won the trophy in quite a few seasons now.  I really think this is my year, though!!

Covid-19 haven't affected our albino squirrel population from frequenting our yard.  These pleasant little fellows still stop by from time to time.

Blue was in dog heaven when his mother and brother came over for a sleep-over.  I'm quite certain none of the squirrels hung around our yard on this day.

Miss Sheri and I have still been doing our daily walks and are constantly looking for new hiking trails to explore.  Cedar Lake Farm regional park in New Prague used to be a working farm, but it has been converted into a park.  It has some nice trails that we navigated one Saturday morning.

Late in the month, we had the opportunity to go on a boat ride with our old friends, Scott & Jennifer Fowler.  This was another crew we hadn't seen since before the quarantine began so we had a wonderful evening catching up on the good old days.

We also knocked out another 4 puzzles including our new favorite which was the boys high school graduation photo that Avery gave me for my birthday.  It's exhilarating putting together pieces of your own face for some reason.

September 5, 2020

Herd of Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Swank Family was driving down from the top of Rocky Mountain National Park when we encountered a herd of elk. Listening to the mama elk call her babies was the highlight of the trip!