July 31, 2022

A Swim in the St. Croix River


A Swim in the St. Croix River
Todd Swank’s Diary Entry for July 31, 2022

Luke had his 6 month checkup at Mayo Clinic so we had the chance to visit with his cardiologist, Dr. Johnson.  He’s a good dude.  We had a good visit and should be good for another 6 months which is always what we’re hoping to achieve.

While we were in Rochester, we thought it was be fun to stop by a local nature center and look at one of their swamps.  That’s always a fun activity.

We caught a glimpse of these 2 plotting something, but they shut up real quick after they saw us listening.

On Friday night, Mystic Lake Casino was hosting the Midwest Ribfest with a free outdoor concert headlined by Pat Benatar.  We thought that was definitely worth a visit!

She has so many great classic songs we love.  It was awesome joining the crowd and singing her incredible anthems along with her.

During one of the breaks she told a story where she stated she was 26 years old in 1979.  If my math is correct that makes her 69 years old which is hard for me to fathom.  She still sounds great!

She belted out classics like Hell is for Children and Love is a Battlefield.  It would probably be better if those songs would be titled Love is for Children and Hell is a Battlefield, but who am I to judge?

Here’s a few clips Miss Sheri captured while we were there.

On Saturday, our good friends Karl & Tina Zitzewitz invited us out for a boat ride and a swim in the St. Croix River.  Naturally we jumped at the chance.

Avery was in Wisconsin golfing with friends, but Luke was happy to join us.  He’s always up for some fun in the sun.

It was a beautiful day to get on the lily pad and hit the water.   By the way, that’s a noodle I’m holding in case any of you were wondering.

July 24, 2022

A Weekend at Fish Lake


A Weekend at Fish Lake

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 24, 2022

I celebrated my 52nd birthday this week at Crave in the Mall of America.  My family came with me to join in the party and we had a bunch of fun.

On Thursday night, we went for a boat ride with our old friend, Heidi Wojahn.  

When I saw Heidi recently, she said she really wanted to see Bird Island on Prior Lake so I said I'd be happy to take her for a trip out there.  The lake is really shallow this year so it's a bit tough to get to but we made it without having to get out and push.

The last time we were out here, I remember the egrets and cormorants pretty much living in separate trees.  It's nice to see them getting along so well now and integrating their families into the same tree.  This is the way it should be.

We stopped by Charlie's on Prior for dinner.  It made for a very pleasant evening!

We drove up to Clearwater, Minnesota on Friday night to spend the weekend with our good friends, the Korkowski Family.  It was a weekend of swimming, playing games, and relaxing.  Just what the doctor ordered!

  The lake was called Fish Lake, but we didn't see any fish.  Did see this guy, though.  Maybe they should change the name to Loon Lake?

Ron spoiled us with breakfast from the griddle each morning.  Two flavors of hash-browns?  Yes, please.

Sue grew up in St. Cloud, so she took us for a tour of all her childhood favorite places on Saturday morning.  The Suer Tour brought us to the Munsinger Gardens next to the Mississippi River.  I'm still not sure what a Munsinger is, but it seems to make pretty flowers.

We liked the fountains.  And the benches.  And the sidewalks.  

We took a long dam walk to see the St. Cloud Dam.  It appeared to be broken.  We call that a dam disappointment.

July 17, 2022

Rockin' on Reeds 2022


Rockin' on Reeds 2022
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 17, 2022

I had a week full of visits with good buddies.  Krazy Kory was in town on Tuesday night and we went to Whiskey Inferno in Savage.  Fun times.

It's been a year since I'd seen my old buddy, Tom Gray.  Tom recently went into full-time retirement so we went out to dinner to celebrate.  It was great catching up on our past adventures.

On Thursday, Luke and Avery had their 23rd birthdays.  Naturally one of the top things they wanted to do on their special day was have a visit with Grandma Linda.  These boys have their priorities straight.

Since they both had to work, we didn't get to do too much celebrating together.  They chose Benihana for dinner since it's one of our favorite restaurants and a nice place to be festive.

The chef honored their birthday by cooking our rice in the shape of the number 23.  It's also possible he's a huge fan of Michael Jordan, but I'm sticking with the birthday honor story.

On Saturday, the boys celebrated separately with friends.  Luke went off with some of his pals while Avery had his buddies down for a boat ride.  It was a beautiful day to be on the lake.

 We planned on spending the day being productive, but then my buddy Ted texted me and asked if we wanted to go out on the boat with them.  We said, "What the heck?"

I wanted to get out on the lake because there was a concert on one of the islands called Rockin' On Reeds.

I was pretty impressed with all the boats circling the island listening to the music.  We arrived after the concert had already started so we had to park a ways away from the action.  I thought about swimming to the island but realized that was going to be a lot of work.  So I just swam around with Ted instead.

The acoustics were a little rough so we had challenges hearing the band, but what I could hear sounded pretty good.  They were called Good for Gary and played Top 40 type music which is right up my alley.  Next year I'm getting there early and partying on the beach!

On Saturday night, we connected with our old buddies, Jen & Dan Walters, and went to see a St. Paul Saints game.

It's been a few years since we had been to a Saints game, but I always remember them to be a good time.  It used to be less about baseball and more about fun, but last year the Saints became the Triple A Farm Minor League Club for the Minnesota Twins, so the quality of baseball has escalated quite a bit.

This became evident when we learned that Twins slugger Miguel Sano who is rehabbing from an injury was playing in the game.  He hit two homeruns which was pretty exciting to witness.

It was a beautiful night for a baseball game and we had a bunch of fun being there!  Thanks to Ross & Robyn Thompson for the tickets!

July 10, 2022

Prior Lake's Lakefront Music Fest 2022


Lakefront Music Fest 2022
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 10, 2022

On the 4th of July, we attended the boat parade on Prior Lake.  Top Gun was the favorite theme of the year with three different boats decorated as if they were part of that movie.  Tom Cruise was nowhere to be seen however.

I spent 3 days in Atlanta to meet with my new team from Oracle for our QBRs.  Our meetings went great and I had a lot of fun getting to know my colleagues.

I arrived at home at 4pm on Friday and then hopped in a car to join my family at Lakefront Music Fest.  A two night concert held at Prior Lake's Lakefront Park.  It was rock night and we were ready for a good time.

We joined the Korkowski family at the event.  They're always fun to be around!

 We enjoyed walking around and connecting with old friends.

Some friends like Heidi and Deb we haven't seen since before the pandemic began.  

We made some new friends like Todd Krieger who told me not to be a Todd.  I told him I'll do my best.

I normally don't see Chris Barragy outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, so it was fun seeing him in my hometown instead.  He was here doing photography of the show.

Uncle Kracker was the first performer of the night.  I really enjoy his songs Follow Me and Drift Away so it was fun to hear him perform.

Collective Soul were next.  I really enjoy their songs Shine and The World I Know so it was fun to hear them perform.

Sammy Hagar was the Headliner.  I really enjoy his songs I'll Fall in Love Again and There's Only One Way to Rock so it was fun to hear him perform.

Saturday night was country night.  I'm not a huge country music fan so I was much more excited to see old friends like Lisa Maldonado than sitting and listening to the music.

My old buddy, Jimi Gilbertson, was working the gate at the VIP Tent but said he couldn't allow me in.  I feel like a VIP, but I guess I need to figure out what I need to do to be seen that way in Jimi's eyes.

  My old friend, Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy was at the show with his lovely wife, Melissa.  They had bought Pit Pass tickets so were able to enjoy the show from a closer vantage point than I was allowed.  Good for them!  Bad for me.  Actually good for me as I'm not a huge fan of country music.

Ned LeDoux was the first one to perform.  I was really confused because he looks so young however I swear I saw him on an episode of HeeHaw once.

Randy Houser was next.  He sounded pretty good, however I've never heard one of his songs before so it's quite possible it didn't really sound like him.  I'm not a huge fan of country music so it's tough for me to know for sure.

I was excited to hear Alabama because quite honestly it was the only band that I'd even heard of on country night.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not, but I'm not a huge fan of country music.  It was the 50th anniversary of their band being in existence which seems like a long time especially if you have had to spend most of it playing country music.

  My buddy Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy sent me this photo he took from the Pit area.    I thought it turned out pretty nice.  I had fun listening to Alabama and learned a lot from them.  Primarily, if I'm going to play in Texas, I gotta have a Fiddle in the Band.  I need to write that down in my reminders book.  Normally it's pretty rare for me to play with a fiddle in the band, but it just sounded like good advice.