May 29, 2017

Prior Lake Farmer's Market 2017

Prior Lake Farmer's Market 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 29, 2017

My sons Luke and Avery are graduating high school in a couple of weeks so we continue to experience our "last times" at certain events that have been a regular part of our lives.  This week it was watching Luke perform at his last high school band concert.  He's been performing percussion since the 6th grade so we've been coming to see him perform for more than seven years now.  I thought to mark the occasion, I'd share a couple of minutes of video from the event:

He's not really happy with me for putting this video on YouTube, but it's the last time he'll have to worry about that also.

We continue to get our house ready for their graduation party.  Last week we had to clear out the main level to get our wood floors re-surfaced.  This week we had to clear out everything upstairs to get new carpet.  It's been a major pain in the butt, but now that it's done we're really happy having fresh new floors throughout our house.
It feels so squishy on my toes.

My old, buddy Orlando Mazzolini, picked me up to go exploring the woods of nearby Jordan, Minnesota.  We picked up quite a few ticks along the way.

Orlando always takes me on a new adventure whenever we get together.  I really trust the dude so I just have to keep the faith whenever I see signs like these.

The high school robotics season is over so we had our year end celebration banquet at the Legends.  This year's seniors had the seats of honor.

I've been the president of the Prior Lake Robotics booster club the past couple of years so I had the chance to say a few words to open the awards ceremony.  It's always a little dangerous to give me a microphone, but hopefully I didn't embarrass my kids too much.

Luke was one of the captains this year being responsible for mentoring the elementary school program, so he had the chance to say a few words also.  It's always fun watching the kids do public speaking.

Avery received several awards for his work as the head of programming.  There's so many talented kids on this team and it's a lot of fun to see them all being celebrated.

On Saturday, we stopped by the Prior Lake Farmer's Market.  It was a beautiful morning so the streets were packed with people.

I don't know how many Farmers are actually selling their wares here, but there are several people selling various food items and other goodies.  I always find something that makes me want to pull out my wallet.

It was fun to see one of the mentors from Prior Lake Robotics, Mark Glewwe.  He was there supporting his company, Glewwe's Castle Brewery.  The city will only let him sell root beer at the Farmers Market so we will have to go to his place some time to try the good stuff.

We always enjoy stopping by this food truck to buy breakfast.  They have fantastic egg sandwiches, burritos, and other yummy items.  Well done, El Jefe!

These guys were playing pleasant music all morning.  You know life is good when you're playing guitar while wearing socks and sandals.

Our neighbor's daughter, Jill, surprised the boys with early graduation presents.  Jill is an ex Minnesota Golden Gopher and has been so excited to get Avery his Gopher bibs ever since she heard that's where he was going to college.  I think he looks good in them!

May 21, 2017

2017 Minnesota State Robotics Championships

Minnesota State Robotics Championships 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 21, 2017

Some of you might remember a few months ago when I was on a Podcast called Desire To Inspire with Manny Patrick.  Here's a link to the video if you missed it:

Manny came to town this week so we had the chance to meet in person.  We went out to dinner at Cowboy Jack's and then to a Twins game together.  It was a great time!

Manny is an aspiring inspirational speaker and was in town for the Minneapolis Small Business Expo so I went to the convention center to see him speak.  It was very motivating and I was happy to see him doing so well inspiring audiences.  He's a rising star on the speaker circuit.

It was fun going to Target Field to watch the Minnesota Twins play the Colorado Rockies.  The hometown team have been a surprise this year so far and are leading the AL Central after a horrible season last year.  Unfortunately they lost this game, but we still had a great time watching.

We are planning for a graduation party in a couple of weeks so have decided to take on some last minute re-modeling projects which have been pretty disruptive to our lives.  This week we had our wood floors re-surfaced so had to remove every stitch of furniture and accessory from the main level for a few days.

Our floors hadn't been done in more than 20 years, so it ended up being quite the project.  Four men were here from 8:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night the first day.  It's a little weird having to turn over your house so completely to strangers, but seeing how hard they were working made me really appreciate them!

We have been so pleased with how the floors turned out!!  It's like they are brand new.

The guys who came over the next two days were real nice and talked us through all the rules for our new floors.  If you live in or near Prior Lake and need work on your floors, you should check out  Unfortunately they're not paying me for the plug, but I was real pleased with the work they performed so thought I'd give them a shout-out!

Poor Blue is so dang confused with his life.  First, he lost his adopted brother last weekend, then he had to stay out of the main level of our house for several days, and finally we made him wear socks to walk on the floors for awhile.  I think he's going to need doggy therapy soon.  

On Friday night we went to our friends, the Bolligs, to help celebrate the graduation of their two oldest, Andy & Lindsey.  Both graduated from St. Thomas and have awesome jobs and awesome futures in front of them.  We've known these two since they were born and are very happy for them & their accomplishments.

The Bolligs were our first friends when we moved to Minnesota back in 1993 and it's great that we still get to hang out with them some 24 years later.  Where the heck did all that time go?

On Saturday, we went to Marriucci Arena for the Minnesota State High School League's 2017 Robotics Championships.

There were 36 teams here from around the state of Minnesota who won a regional championship to earn the right to compete at State.

 We were there supporting Prior Lake High School team #2169 KING TeC as they battled throughout the day.

The team was excited to cheer on the robot and spread their KING-TeC spirit throughout the arena.

This was to be the last robotics tournament of the boys' high school career.  They've had an incredible time participating in robotics for the past 6 years, but they will now have to find their new passions to pursue when they go to college in a few months.

We're going to miss robotics as much as the boys.  We've met so many good friends through this program and it's kind of sad that we won't be going to tournaments any more.  We've had tons of fun going to them over the years.

The season ended on a high note.  KING TeC advanced to the finals and lost a close match earning them a second place ranking in the state of Minnesota.

It was a great year for a great team of a bunch of really great kids.

These are the graduating seniors of KING TeC's 2017 squad.  We wish them all the absolute best luck with their future endeavors!

May 14, 2017

Minnesota Monthly Grillfest 2017

Minnesota Monthly Grillfest 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 14, 2017

On Saturday, we joined some friends at the 2017 Minnesota Monthly Grillfest at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It was 80 degrees and sunny so the place was jam-packed.  I guess everybody likes to spend beautiful days sampling beers and tasting various meats being grilled.

There were all kinds of different types of beers to be tasted.  

And all sorts of friendly people willing to share in the fun with us.

There was a burger contest where several local restaurants competed for who would carry the title of Best Burger.  We really liked the one from B52's.

Surly has been my favorite local brewery for the past few years, so it's fun to test their latest flavors.  I wasn't a big fan of their 2017 Pentagram which is probably a good thing.  That one just sounds dangerous.

Fogo De Chao was our favorite meat booth.  They have really good sausages.

We went with a bunch of fun people who's futures are so bright, they gotta wear shades.

After several samples, we thought it would be nice to relax in the grass and just enjoy the day for awhile.

Soon enough, we were ready to go again.  Troy said let's go to the Baked Potato bar!  So we journeyed over there.

They had a pretty good system for creating incredible baked potatoes.  You had to scrape out the center of the potato, mix it with a bunch of yummy ingredients, and then put it back in the skin before placing it on the grill.

Miss Sheri was challenged with scraping her potato and was chastised by the instructor for being too rough with it.  She eventually figured it out, though.

All in all, it was a great day at Grillfest 2017!

Happy Mother's Day, Miss Sheri, and to all the wonderful mothers out there!!

On a sad note, we lost a member of Miss Sheri's family this week when her aunt, Marian Timmerman, passed away.  She was a very sweet lady and died at the tender age of 92.  Here is a link to her obituary.  Rest in Peace, Marian!!