October 29, 2017

University of Minnesota Homecoming 2017

University of Minnesota Homecoming 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 29, 2017

It was back to TCF Stadium for us last weekend as we attended the Minnesota Golden Gophers homecoming game against Big 10 opponent, the Illinois Fighting Illini.  Not sure what an Illini is, but it sounds pretty intimidating.

We didn't do any tailgating at this game so we didn't have a chance to connect with Avery before hand.  He was kind enough to take a break from sitting in the student section to come over and say Hi to his parents.  He didn't say too much more than Hi, but it was nice to see him for a couple of minutes in any case.

Goldy Gopher must have been in the Halloween spirit or something because he kept coming out wearing different costumes.  I've never seen a Gopher walk like an Egyptian before, but he had it down pretty good.

The week before we were soaked while watching the game because of an ongoing storm, so we were nervous when we heard rain was also in the forecast today.  We got pretty lucky, though.  It was gloomy and cloudy, but the water pretty much stayed in the sky and didn't really drop on us too much.

There was a huge BandPile at half time which was pretty cool.  I'd have to think it's hard to keep playing music when you're jumping on to your fellow band-mates.

The Gophers had not had much luck against Big 10 opponents so far this year, but they gave us a good performance and ended up winning the game 24-17.  Which was nice.

After the game, we rushed back to Prior Lake to go to a pizza party hosted by our friends, the Brown Family.

Troy built a really fancy pizza oven and enjoys using it to cook delicious pizzas for his friends.  We really like to be invited to these parties, because that's some really good pizza! 

Plus we always enjoy the company when we're hanging out with the Browns and Zitewitzes.  They're a bunch of fun people.

And I did I mention delicious pizza?  There were a bunch of them!  Even one with shrimp on it which I can't say I've ever had on a pizza before.  So good.

The only sad part of the evening was watching the Browns Dog, Chunk.  Apparently he's not supposed to drink alcohol, but you can just see it in his eyes that it's hard for him to fight the temptation.

We also had a chance to get together with our friends, Jeff and Cathy.  Which was nice.  We went to Old Chicago for pizza, which I'm starting to notice may be a common theme in our lives.

We went to Mankato Family weekend to see Luke and his roommate, Jackson, a couple of weeks ago.  We just received this picture from the official Mankato photographer which I thought was cool so I'm sharing it now.

October 22, 2017

University of Minnesota Family Weekend 2017

University of Minnesota Family Weekend 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 22, 2017

Krazy Kory and his daughter, Krazy Harli, came up to visit us this weekend.  Well, technically they came to Minnesota to go to the zoo and the Mall of America, but I'm sure if you asked Harli what her favorite part of the weekend was, she'd say it was seeing me.  I'm way more fun to be around than the zoo and the Mall of America!

It was Family Weekend at the University of Minnesota!  This means that we could go visit Avery at college and he was contractually obligated by the school to spend some time with us.  At least that's what we told him.

We were kind of surprised that there weren't more organized activities involved in the weekend.  We were already planning on going to the football game, but they also had a class for us to attend on how to find student housing for next year and there was a chili supper before the game.  It was originally supposed to be a pancake brunch, but then the game time was announced at 7PM at night, so they switched it to a chili supper.  Which I realized after the fact was kind of a ripoff. We had to pay $15 each for the three of us and that ended up being for 3 bowls of chili, some corn muffins, and lemonade.  That's some pretty expensive chili!

It was raining outside, so tailgating was kind of a drag.  We hung out in a tent behind Buffalo Wild Wings along with about a thousand other people.  We chatted with Avery while wedged in the crowd and it was fun to see him.

It was fun to see Avery for a short while that is.  Suddenly one of his friends appeared out of nowhere and whisked him away to go to the game.  Family Weekend was fun while it lasted.  Then it was back to just being a Todd and Miss Sheri weekend again.

We did bump into our good friends, Guy & Jeanine Perera, and hung out with them in the rain for awhile.  That was nice.

We also saw our old buddy, Ticket Tim.  He's the hardest working guy in the ticket business and wasn't going to let a little rain stop him!  He had a new sign that he was excited to be promoting.

By the time we arrived at our seats, the rain had really started picking up again.  Then there was an announcement that there was lightning in the area and they asked us to evacuate the arena.  So we got to stand in the hallways with a few thousand other people who were all nice and wet and happy to be there.  After a half hour rain delay, we were finally able to go to our seats again.

 Our good friend, Jill Fischer, was there and she's a die hard Gophers fan.  She wasn't going to let any silly old rain slow down her excitement to cheer on the home team.

We are not quite that die hard.  We stuck it out up to half time and since the Gophers were losing the game 17-6 and the QB just threw an interception, we decided to call it a night, go home, and dry off.

Apparently we ended up missing what almost was an incredible comeback.  Demry Croft came off the bench and threw three touchdowns in the 4th quarter to barely lose the game by the score of 30-27.  By that time, I was already home in bed.  I was a little sad about it the next day, but not that much.  

October 15, 2017

Last 2017 Boat Ride on the St. Croix River

Last 2017 Boat Ride on the St. Croix River
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 15, 2017

We had the second monthly meeting of the Prior Lake Empty Nester's Club.   I keep thinking nobody is going to show for this event, but another fun group of people were there to spend the evening with us.  We'll see how month 3 goes...

On Friday night, we showed up on the St. Croix River to go for an overnight boat ride.  The boat was all set to be winterized on Sunday, so we knew this would be our last boat ride in 2017 on the St. Croix River.

Karl was pretty excited to see us and greeted us on the back of the boat.  Well, he was pretty excited to see Sheri.  He made me pay a huge entry fee just to be able to set foot on the boat.

The river was very high and the normal staircase was under water.  They had this little gangplank bridge set-up.  It may look sturdy, but it sure doesn't feel that way when you're walking across it with a suitcase and a full cooler in your arms.  Add to the fact that it had been raining all day, so it was pretty wet and slippery.  Needless to say, I was pretty thankful when I actually was able to set foot on the dock.

Soon enough, we were ready to set sail.  Karl and Tina like to snuggle up against each other when they're driving the boat which can be pretty cute to watch.

Our original plans were to go up to Stillwater, but the rain and high water caused us to reconsider.  We decided to go up to Hudson, Wisconsin and see what kind of trouble we could find there.

I had never been to San Pedro Cafe before, but Karl & Tina assured us we would love the food.  They weren't just Whistling Dixie, either.

I can't remember what this dish was called, but it was the first time I enjoyed eating brussel-sprouts.  Paired with a couple of Habanero spice infused Angry Mules and my palate was feeling pretty darn satisfied.

I think we were all pretty happy with our meal, but the night was just getting started.  We were ready to turn things up a bit.

We went across the street to the Agave Kitchen and hung out for the rest of the night.  We had a lot of pleasant conversations and even a couple of inappropriate jokes.  

We went back to the boat and had a very nice sleep being gently rocked back and forth by the waves of the St. Croix River.  I suppose it might have also been Karl who could have snuck in my room and just shook my bed for awhile until I fell asleep.  I guess I don't know for sure.

As we pulled away from the dock, I noticed we had spent the night tied up next to the Grand Duchess from Hudson Afton Cruise Lines.  I'm not sure why I noticed that.  Probably just because it's a really big boat and kind of hard to miss when you're pulling away from the dock.

On our drive back, I noticed the river was pretty abandoned.  Not a lot of people like to go for rides on the river when it's raining and the weather is about 45 degrees outside.  They just don't know what they are missing!!

We saw a loon on the way.  It looked like he was busy trying to make the moves on this seagull, so we didn't bother him much.  We didn't want to be Loon Blockers or anything.

October 8, 2017

Tailgating Before Minnesota Golden Gophers Vs Maryland Terrapins

Tailgating Before Minnesota Golden Gophers Vs Maryland Terrapins
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 8, 2017

We woke up bright & early for tailgating before the Gophers Big 10 debut game against Maryland.  Our friend Jill Fischer invited us to hang out with her crew before the game and we were delighted to join them.

This is Dave Herbeck.  He is one of the main organizers for this particular group of tailgaters and they put on a great party.  This week's theme was German food and they challenged everyone to create a pretzel necklace to wear for the day.  I just love eating pretzel's from my wife's neck.

It was a potluck style event and I was pretty impressed with the wide variety of German food that we were able to eat.

The main course were bratwursts and I saw them being cooked up in this stew.  Not sure what was in there, but I'm sure it came straight from Germany.

There was a bunch of meat being grilled which gave me quite the appetite.  I was ready to get a big plate, find a nearby car, sit on it's tailgate, and pig out.  Because I think that's what you're supposed to do while tailgating.

The game started at 11am, so after we filled up on German food and some tasty beverages we headed to TCF Stadium.  I wish I had a big flag like this guy because I would have started waving it around also.

The cheerleaders must not have thought we were participating enough because they kept shoving these signs in our faces telling us to get up and noise.  Seemed kind of bossy to me, but I eventually obliged them.

We bought season tickets to see our son, Avery, who is a freshman at the University of Minnesota.  I texted him to join us at the tailgating event but he responded he was going to the game with friends.  We couldn't find him in the student section, but I'm sure he was in there somewhere.  

We had high hopes for the Gophers.  They were 3 and 0 up to this game, so we were curious how they would do in their Big 10 debut.  Maryland was playing their third string quarterback so we thought they had a pretty good chance.

They have a brand new coach this year named PJ Fleck.  He's a highly motivated guy who has already really placed his mark on this team and all over the stadium.  He has a motto of "Row The Boat" and it's posted all over the place.

 Goldy Gopher even likes to participate with the theme.  I kind of feel bad for the guys carrying him around because I keep thinking he's going to smack them in the head with an oar while he's rowing.

The Gophers played well, but fell short in the end.  Their defense just couldn't stop Maryland's run game and it cost them.  They lost the game 31-24.  It made us sad.

Luke and Avery both go to college relatively close to home.  Avery is about a 45 minute drive and Luke is a little more than an hour.  So we occasionally get to see them.   They both decided to come home on Sunday to watch some football and spend the night.  I thought they missed us, but it turns out it was primarily the dog that they wanted to see.

My co-workers and I left work a little early to enjoy Happy Hour at a new bar in Minneapolis called Hopcat.  They're a fun group of people to Hop around with.

On Saturday night, we were invited to dinner at our good friends, Dr Bollig and his lovely wife, Cynthia.  We always have tons of laughs with these guys, although many of them are R rated laughs so I'm not allowed to share their content here.  Sorry about that.