August 29, 2021

A Cruise to Treasure Island


A Cruise to Treasure Island
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 29, 2021

The end of August means that Fall will be here soon and in Minnesota that means the end of our boating season.  We've been trying to get in as much time on the water as we can before the dreaded cold weather starts smacking us around.

We hooked up with the Korkowskis on Thursday night for dinner at Dangerfield's in Shakopee and then a knock down drag out battle of Settlers of Catan back at our house.  We might not all look it in this picture, but we all get pretty mean with one another in that silly Catan game.

It's Fantasy Football season again and we had our big draft on Friday night in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy is our commissioner and he does an incredible job with our league year after year.  He and his lovely wife, Melissa, also throw a great draft party.  We were looking forward to it for weeks!

I made it to our Super Bowl last year and ended up in 2nd place.  I really think this is going to be my year to win it all!

On Saturday we once again headed over to the St. Croix river for an overnight excursion to Welch, Minnesota and Treasure Island Casino.  We were excited for our 3 hour cruise to get there.

Captain Karl is a seasoned veteran for navigating these waters.  

We had a lot of laughs along the way and throughout the evening despite the fact that thunderstorms were threatening us the entire time we were there.  We dealt with a fair amount of rain, but didn't let it slow down our fun.

I'm always fascinated when we pass one of the massive river barges that carry cargo up and down the Mississippi River.  They are just HUGE!

We also love tracking down the bald eagles that can be seen up and down the river banks.  So Regal.

We made it to our destination and had good times at the casino.  Of course we didn't actually win any money or anything because that would have made it a great time!  But we did enjoy each other's company a lot which is almost as good as winning money.  Maybe next year we'll get to do both!

August 22, 2021

Saturday Night on the St. Croix River


Saturday Night on the St. Croix River
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 22, 2021

Miss Sheri spent the past week at the Farm.  She went down to help her brother add a new roof to her mom's garage.

I can't say I know a lot about adding roofs to garages, but from the pictures I've seen it looks like they did a pretty nice job!

When she came home we took her out to McCoy's Copper Pint in Shakopee, Minnesota to celebrate finishing her second round of being 27 years old.  Grandma Linda even joined us which made it extra special!  

On Saturday morning, my old buddy Orlando Mazzolini stopped by to go on one of our adventures.  I always have a good time with the Big O!

On Saturday night, we were invited out to dinner with our old friends, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  We always have fun hanging out with these guys.

We took their boat for a ride on the St. Croix River from Afton, Minnesota to Hudson, Wisconsin.  Along the way we saw one of Stanley Hubbard's boats called Mimi.  According to this story, Mimi is a $10 million 130-foot long yacht.  I tried waving a couple of times to see if they'd be interested in picking me up, but no luck.

We arrived at our destination at sunset and were ready for an evening on the town.

The ladies love riding Karl's Dinghy.  He's just lucky like that I guess.

We ate at the San Pedro Cafe in downtown Hudson.

It is a Caribbean-themed restaurant and I enjoyed the Chicken Chile Penne.  It's a bit spicy, but Muy Bueno as they say in the Caribbean!

We had a romantic moonlit cruise back to the home base.

Well at least it was romantic for me.  The others weren't really talking to me because I kept making bad jokes about Karl's Dinghy.

August 15, 2021

NFL Preseason Week 1 - Minnesota Vikings vs Denver Broncos


NFL Preseason Week 1 - Minnesota Vikings vs Denver Broncos
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 15, 2021

On Friday night, Avery and I went to the driving range to work some kinks out of our games.  Avery seems to have made progress, but my kinks run pretty deep and never seem to improve much.  Beautiful day, though.

On Saturday, Luke & I went to Downtown Minneapolis to US Bank Stadium.  It was a nice day for a stroll through the city.

We were there to see the highly anticipated preseason battle between our beloved hometown Vikings and those crazy horses, the Broncos.  A mighty battle was expected.

I've been wanting to buy Vikings Season Tickets for awhile and finally added myself to the waiting list in early July.  On Friday, I received the call that a pair of seats became available so I jumped at the chance.  I'm really happy with our seats!

Olympic gold medalist and Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA National Champion wrestler Gable Steveson opened the game by blowing the Gjallarhorn.  We all cheered Louder as he requested.

Preseason games are typically brutal, but we were excited for this one since it was our first opportunity to attend a football game since the pandemic began.  We were excited to participate regardless of what kind of game it was.

Of course we're still a little Covid paranoid, so I decided to buy out all the seats around us as well.  Good technique for social distancing.

The Vikings decided to rest 30 players for the game leaving Defensive End, Stephen Weatherly, as the only projected starter making an appearance for the Purple & Gold.  It's nice of the team to still charge full price for preseason games even when it's barely the second string that is there to play.  

Former Texas A&M Quarterback & 3rd Round Draft Pick, Kellen Mond, made his first appearance as a Viking during the game.  

He almost ran in a touchdown and almost threw a pass for a touchdown, but it's still a work in progress.  I think Kirk Cousins' job is safe for a little while yet.

We also cheered for former Viking, Teddy Bridgewater, who is trying to win the starting job for his team.  Teddy had a tragic injury during training camp in 2016 and never became our starting quarterback again.  He was such a good guy, though, that we still like to cheer for him as he tries to make his way back to success in the NFL.

We didn't get to cheer for our stars this week but did get to see many of them including running back, Dalvin Cook.  We spent a lot of time trying to figure out his fashion choice with the hat.  At first I thought it was a play on a chef's hat with his last name being Cook, but later figured it's a style thing.  He has a lot of hair that needs to be contained to keep it looking fancy like.

We also saw former Viking, Brian Robison, working the stands.  He was a superstar defensive end for us for 11 seasons and still looked pretty good doing his sack celebration.  One of these days, I'm going to come up with my own sack celebration.

In the 4th quarter, I was shooting pictures with my phone and suddenly saw we made it on the big screen.  I always have the desire to do something really clever when this happens, but by the time I snapped this photo they'd moved on to other people.  However, one of these years I'm going to be dancing on that thing.

Our old buddy, Troy Brown, saw us on the big screen and sent me a text which led to this picture.  It's always good to see him and Rhonda even from a distance.

The game ended up being a blow-out with Denver crushing Minnesota 33-6.  I tried not to worry much about it since the Vikings used almost none of their starters.  Hopefully we'll get to see more of the first team during their next preseason game against the Colts next week.

Coach Zimmer didn't looked very pleased about the results.  I'm pretty sure he knew he wasn't playing his starters, so he'll just have to figure out a way to get rid of the grumpies and focus on the positives in life.

Luke and I had a lot of fun at the game and looking forward to the regular season!  Let's Go Vikings!

August 8, 2021

Fish Lake in Clearwater, Minnesota


Fish Lake in Clearwater, Minnesota

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 8, 2021

We spent the weekend on Fish Lake in Clearwater, Minnesota with our good friends, The Korkowski Family.  

Sue grew up in a family with eight brothers & sisters and they have all been coming here since they were young.  Sue & Ron were kind enough to host our family and we had a wonderful time with them and their extended family.

I must admit I did get a little nervous when I thought there might be some Voodoo stuff going on around here, but I'm pretty sure it was decorative.  At least they didn't ask me to put on a grass skirt and dance around the campfire or anything.

I did get the opportunity to finally break out my Ninja disguise which I've kept hidden for quite awhile.  I mostly use it for sneaking around at night while fighting crime, but I thought this would be an opportunity to share  my alter identity with good friends.

Normally people shudder in fear when they see me dressed up like this, but they were all pretty relaxed after I revealed myself.  I must admit, I wasn't showing my dangerous moves or anything because I really didn't want to scare anybody.

Blue was in heaven spending so much time at the cabin.  He is ecstatic to be able to jump in the lake whenever he wants.  The people he rubbed up against shortly afterwards were not quite as happy as he was, but wet dogs tend to have that effect on folks.

We spent a lot of time playing and relaxing in a variety of ways.  Luke was ready to do some high diving, but we warned him that we should probably pull the raft out into deeper water before he made his first attempt.

We had the chance to play a game that was new to us.  I don't know the actual name of it but it was basically a mixture of volleyball and 4 Square.  It was a ton of fun!  Even if I didn't get to spend much time in the king square, I think they all felt the power of my game by the end.

We have hummingbirds at home, but I never seem to be able to catch photos of them.  They always fly away before I can get out the camera.  However they had a ton of them here and they didn't seem to be afraid of me standing nearby snapping pictures.  Next time I'm going to actually capture a shot of their wings as well.

We saw a pair of loons on the lake during one of our rides which is always a thrill.  It brought us to make a lot of references to the movie, On Golden Pond.  The Loons, Norman.  The Loons!

In the end, we had a lot of great times connecting as friends and family, playing games, enjoying the lake, and having lots of laughs.  All in all, another pretty good weekend.

It may be the dog days of summer, but we're still ready to rock!