May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend at the Cabin


Memorial Day Weekend at the Cabin

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 29, 2023

On Sunday night, we went to see Bill Mahar perform at Mystic Lake casino.  He's a funny guy.  Naturally they scare the crap out of people about taking photographs during the show, so we wait until the closing moments and usually fail to get a good shot.  Next time I'm just going to risk being tackled by the security guards instead.

Miss Sheri's aunt & cousin & her family lived in Minnesota up until about 20 years ago, then they moved to Arizona and California.  They moved back to Minnesota during Covid, but we hadn't been able to connect until Wednesday.  We shared many good stories and laughs and I hope we get to see them more often now that they're home again.

We don't get to spend much time with little ones these days, so we had fun meeting young Carson.  He's a cutie!

On Friday night, we drove about an hour north to Clearwater, Minnesota to visit our good friends, The Korkowskis.  They invited us to spend the holiday weekend with them so we jumped at the chance to hang out at the lake for a couple days.

Luke joined us for the first evening.  He's been getting more and more into fishing these days so he was excited for the opportunity to try out a new spot.  Unfortunately he didn't have much luck this trip, but even a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!

Sue & Ron have a pontoon boat so we go for frequent cruises throughout our stay.  We'd planned to go swimming, but the water is still pretty cold.  I jumped in for a while on Saturday, but it was pretty frigid so nobody joined me for the adventure.  Little did they know that I just had to go pee.

The Swanks & Korkowskis get pretty competitive with one another on the Settlers of Cataan board.  There's a lot of wheeling and dealing as well as a fair amount of backstabbing while we try to build our roads, houses, & settlements and trade various bricks, sheep, and wood with one another.  Unfortunately it wasn't my weekend.  My settlers were ambushed, sacrificed, & enslaved by Ron & Grace during our two matches.  It's a pretty rough game.

Blue joined us for the trip, but we don't see him a lot as he pretty much stays in the water the whole weekend.  He also barks at us to throw him the ball from time to time, but we try to discourage that kind of behavior.

Our bags game are about as competitive as our board games.  Sheri & Sue dominated the rest of us, but I'm pretty sure they had some kind of foreign object advantage embedded in their bags.  I couldn't get any cornhole officials on the phone to confirm anything so we just let it slide.

Sue's brother Ron and his good friend Janet joined us on Saturday afternoon for the festivities.  We always have a good time when they're around.

 On Sunday morning, Miss Sheri & Sue took out the kayaks in the morning.  I tried to follow them on the pedal boat but that thing is a lot more work than it looks.  I gotta get in shape one of these years.

Eventually Grace joined me and we did a tour of the nearby area.  We saw big carp at the surface of the water in these weeds near Turtle Island.  Grace said she'd never seen any turtles in this area and there isn't any island so we're really not sure how it got that name.  Seeing the carp was cool, though.

We knew Blue would try to follow-us on the boats if we was outside while we launched them, so we put him in the cabin.  Somebody let him out while we were out on our adventure.  He didn't look very happy as we pulled back up to the dock.  He eventually jumped in the water to join us and that seemed to make him happy again.

It was a nice date weekend with my wife!

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!

May 21, 2023

Springtime Fun! Boating, Bowling, Fishing & Golf


Springtime Fun!  Boating, Bowling, Fishing & Golfing
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 21, 2023

I had a 22 hour visit to California this week which didn't give me much time for sightseeing.  This was my view of the Bay Bridge during my Uber ride to my hotel.  Is it just me or does anyone else imagine a massive earthquake hitting while driving over bridges in California?  I'm kind of twisted that way.

I spent the night in Walnut Creek taking a prospect out to dinner.  We went to Fleming's which was great food.  It was a productive visit all the way around.

  I was able to spot Oracle's former headquarters in Redwood Shores shortly before landing in San Francisco.  It's a fun office to visit, but unfortunately I didn't have enough time to do so this trip.  
Next time...

Friday night brought us to Shakopee Bowl and it was right up our alley.  We spared no moment for boredom.

Miss Sheri crushes me in most sports, so she was a bit surprised to find herself behind me going into the 10th frame.  I'll save one of us the embarrassment of sharing how her final rolls ended.

On Saturday, I took Luke and his buddies out on the boat to go fishing.  They're a good crew of dudes.

Bird Island was very active, but I'm still not seeing a lot of babies peeking out from the nests.  I guess the mommy and daddy birds are still trying to figure things out.  We need less flirting and more beak to beak action!

It was nice to see the turtles out in full force sunbathing.  It looked like there was a bit of a logjam on the old turtle turnpike.

   We didn't have much luck fishing, but Luke did spend an hour or so trying to land this monster.  Lucky for us it was a beautiful day, so nobody was too disappointed by our lack of results.

On Sunday, we connected with the boys for a round of golf at Cleary Lake Golf Course.  

It's pretty obvious that God didn't intend for me to be a golfer in life as my game continues to be pretty awful.  I used to think I had a chance to improve, but I'm starting to realize that every time I play I'm just making Him angrier and angrier.

May 14, 2023

Our first boat ride of 2023


Our first boat ride of 2023

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 14, 2023

We started the Prior Lake Empty Nester Club get togethers again this week and had 15 people attend for an evening of drinks and good times.  This was our first meeting since before Covid so it was great to see some old friends and have some laughs.

The weather has been getting warmer so we thought it was time for our maiden voyage of the boat.  It ended up being a rainy night which cut our trip short, but we made the best of it.

Our first stop was out to bird island to see how our feathered friends were doing.  Every nest was full and we saw several others being built so it seems like we're heavy into baby bird making season.

The island is occupied by a large number of cormorants, heron, and egrets like this guy. 

I always wonder if they keep the same nests from year to year or if it's first come first serve.  I'm not quite sure who runs the bird housing authority, but I'm sure it's a very busy role.

Blue was excited to have his first opportunity to go swimming and chase the ball into the lake.  It doesn't take much to make him happy.
@toddswank Blue is so excited for the long Minnesota winter to be over so he can finally go swimming again! #golden #goldenretriever #dog #crazydog ♬ That's Just My Crazy Dog - RxckStxr

On Friday, we drove down to Iowa to see Miss Sheri's mother and brother.

We went to a new restaurant called Chud's to celebrate Mother's Day.  It had a unique menu with really good food.  It's always nice to spend some time with our Iowa family.

On Sunday we took out Grandma Linda for Mother's Day to complete the circle of Mothers in our lives.  

We hope all of you awesome moms out there had a fantastic Mother's Day celebration!


May 7, 2023

Storming Into Spring


Storming Into Spring

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 7, 2023

One of our favorite things to do in springtime is to go on hikes to the various lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers in the area.  Lucky for us in Minnesota, there is no shortage at all for places like these to visit.

I guess we're getting old because birdwatching is one of our favorite activities.  We get so excited whenever we see a new breed of bird although egrets like this guy are a regular encounter.  They think they're so sneaky though so I still like to stalk them.

Osprey aren't as common of a sight, although this is the second week in a row we witnessed this guy hunting his prey in Prior Lake.

I uploaded my osprey picture to the AI Image Generator tool Midjourney and asked it to imagine the bird as a Pixar character.  I thought it turned out pretty fun.

We've been seeing the pelicans again this week although we're pretty sure they're still just passing through town.

A couple of days later they stopped by again with even more of their friends.  It was a pelican party!

The carp are spawning in the stream by our house, so the birds of prey have been regular visitors.  We don't get to see Golden Eagles very often so we had fun tracking this guy down a few times this week.

I saw a lump of brown something off in the distance on the other side of the creek so I zoomed in and snapped this picture.  I didn't look at it and dismissed it as a rock or bush or something.  Only when I went though my photos did I discover that it was actually a beaver I captured.  For as long as I can remember, I've always loved a good beaver shot.

We hadn't seen the kids much this week so we invited them to breakfast at iHop this morning.  It was a nice time catching up on their lives for awhile.

It was a pleasant week for us and hope it was for all of you as well!