January 21, 2018

Ice Fishing on Spring Lake

Ice Fishing on Spring Lake
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 21, 2018

I've been making an effort to connect with old friends lately and was lucky enough to get Dr. David Bollig to meet me for a couple of hours at Buffalo Wild Wings.  We haven't seen each other for awhile so it was nice to catch up.

Following on the same theme on Tuesday night, I had dinner with a couple of ex-Oracle friends, Orlando & Evan, at Buffalo Tap in Savage.  These guys are both doing awesome and it was nice to re-connect with them as well.

We've been having extremely cold temperatures the past few weeks in Minnesota, so Blue has been feeling pretty depressed.  He's always complaining that we never take him anywhere any more.  So when the temperatures hit 40 degrees this week, he insisted we go to the dog park.  I'm glad we did, because it ended up being gorgeous outside and we all had a nice walk.

On Friday night, we were lucky enough to see our old friends, Jason & Jennifer, at the newly renovated Mystic Lake Casino.  We had a great time playing the new machines and we even won a few bucks which always makes for a great evening!

On Saturday, we were invited to go ice fishing with our old buddies, Dan & Jen Walters.  It was 39 degrees outside so perfect weather to be outside on a frozen lake and sticking our poles in the water.  

We may not look like veteran fisher-people, but we we can slay the fishies when needed.

Last year when we went ice fishing with the Walters, we admired a couple of bald eagles on a nearby tree.  I was surprised when we arrived there that this bald eagle was perched on what appeared to be the exact same branch as the two we saw last year.  I'm fascinated by bald eagles.  I find them to be very majestic and we ended up taking 20 - 30 pictures of this guy until we got this one which looks pretty darned good to me.

After we spent some time ice fishing, Miss Sheri and Jen thought it would fun to do some ice spelling and pay respects to our favorite NFL team.  Technically, Jen & Dan are from Florida and root for the Bucs, but this year they have been showing some love to the local team also.

It might not look very complicated, but it took them awhile to get this to stand-out the way it does.  First they walked a path with their feet and then used a snow shovel to scoop out the snow.  Finally, we all carried about 20 buckets of water to get rid of the remaining snow.  Skol, Vikings!

On Saturday night, Miss Sheri and I went to see the Minnesota Timberwolves take on Demar Derozan & the Toronto Raptors.

We've been seeing a lot of Wolves games lately after buying a "Holiday Pack" of games.  

The halftime shows always seem to have a former "America's Got Talent" contestant.  This time it was Tyler Scheuer who can balance all sorts of things on his chin.  I'd be more impressed if he had a guy climbing the ladder while he did this.

The Wolves had lost a couple in a row coming into this game and the Raptors have the second best record in the Eastern Conference so we were a little nervous about how we'd do.  But the home town team rallied nicely and ended up winning 115-109.  That's a fun way to spend a Saturday night!!

Minneapolis Boat Show 2018

Minneapolis Boat Show 2018
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 21, 2018

On Sunday, we went down to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the boat show!  

Luke was home from college for the weekend and we connected with our old buddies, the Zigglewitz family to drool over the latest & greatest water craft available on the market.

I'm not really looking to replace my boat at this time, but I do keep getting tempted to buy a jetski.

I figure this is exactly how I'd look on the lake this summer.  Except maybe I wouldn't be wearing jeans when I do it.

We love going on the really big boats.  I always ask the people that work there if the bathrooms are working because "I really gotta go."  I think they enjoy my sense of humor.

They had some new technology available to showcase various boating experiences.  I'm always up for some good virtual reality.

It's a great way to spend a winter's day hanging out on boats and imagining being on the water in the summertime.  Then we have to back outside in the Minnesota winter and life sucks all over again.  Oh well, only a few more months to go until summer.

January 15, 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 15, 2018

On Monday night, Miss Sheri and I went out on a date to City Works and then to see the Timberwolves game.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were in town so we were excited for what would hopefully be a great game.

I was especially excited because I had never had the chance to see Lebron James play in person.  It was also my first time seeing Kevin Love play against the Timberwolves.  He was our star player for several years before he forced a trade because he didn't want to play for us any more.  We were ready to set the Boo Birds free!

Our seats were near the broadcasters which is always challenging for me.  Whenever I see people live on TV, I'm always tempted to try to get in the shot.  Lucky for me, my wife was there and she led me away from them so I didn't get myself in any trouble.

Karl!  Karl!  Karl!

The home team is now 26-16 and playing some of the best basketball they've played in years.  We were hopeful they'd be able to take down the former champions.

Every time Kevin touched the ball, the place rained Boos down at him.  We almost started feeling bad for him.  Almost.

The Wolves started out really hot.  They were leading by 14 after the end of the first quarter and 27 at the half.  The place was going crazy seeing the home team control the game like they did.

We did see some glimpses of what an incredible player that Lebron James can be when he completely scored at will a few times.  Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, we didn't see that side of him too often throughout the game.

A little more than 20 years ago, Violet Palmer became the first woman to be a referee in an NBA game.  There's currently 2 female referees in the NBA and we were lucky to see one of them in action.  It was fun to see her calling fouls on the fellas.

I kept waiting for the Cavaliers to go on a big run, but the Wolves absolutely dominated them.  The final score ended up being 127-99.  One of the funnest NBA games we've been to in a long time!

Avery went on a trip to Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois this week with the College of Science & Engineering at the University of Minnesota.  These are a couple photos he shared with me from the trip.

He and some of his fellow computer science students went to visit several different companies including Accenture & Google to meet with their recruiters and get a glimpse of what life is like working there.  I thought it looked like a pretty cool trip!

On Tuesday night, I connected with my old buddy, Jay Erickson.  Jay recently started a new job and so we got together to celebrate his success.  It was great seeing him again.

The Prior Lake Empty Nester Club had our monthly get together on Thursday night.  This month we thought we'd check out Applebees.  Those unlimited riblets were just too much temptation for some of us.

The get togethers keep getting to be more and more fun.  This month, we had a record turn-out of 17 empty nesters and empty nester wannabes.  If you're interested in joining us next month, be sure to like our Facebook page to see where we'll be going next:  https://www.facebook.com/PriorLakeEmptyNesters/

On Friday night, we went to our favorite restaurant, Benihana, to wish our boys farewell as they both head back to college for their second semester.  It was great having them both home for a month, but it's back to life, back to reality again.

Afterwards, we went to the Legion in Savage to join our good friend, Jen Walters, to help her celebrate her 50th birthday.  

Happy Birthday, Jen!!

January 7, 2018

Happy 2018!!

Happy 2018!!
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 7, 2018

As we've done the past several years, we rang in the New Year with a bunch of friends at the Zitzewitz House.  I think 2018 is going to be a really good year!!

We went to Mystic Lake Casino and bumped into our old buddy, Jason Hornbuckle.  Luke and Avery love going to the casino, but it's always a bit of a challenge because Luke constantly gets asked to show his ID to the security folks.  Miss Sheri gave him this T shirt for Christmas that says "This is my Casino Shirt and Yes I'm Over 18."  Sadly, the security guards don't believe the shirt and still make him show his ID.  Oh well, some day he'll appreciate looking young.

On New Year's Day, Luke and I went to a Minnesota Timberwolves game.

They were playing the Los Angeles Lakers, but unfortunately Lonzo Ball was injured and wasn't in the building.  We were hoping to see his dad, but apparently there were no Balls in the building.

Of course, the Wolves have enough stars for us to enjoy like Karl Anthony Towns.

And Andrew Wiggins...

And Jimmy Butler...the home town team looked great winning the game by a score of 114-96.  

Our old friend, Louie Anderson was in the crowd.  Many of you may remember when Luke and I got to do stand-up comedy with Louie back in 2009.  Here's the video:

America's Got Talent Daredevil, Gary Sladek, performed the halftime show by balancing on a whole bunch of chairs.

I'm sure this guy had done this act 10,000 times in his life, but it still looks pretty dangerous.  I sure wouldn't want to fall off this many chairs.  It hurts me bad enough when I fall off only 1.

On Tuesday night, we celebrated a late Christmas with Grandma Linda.  For some reason, she really appears to be shrinking lately.  I don't know what it is.

On Saturday night, we hung out with our good friends, Karl & Tina Zigglewitz.  It's actually Zitzewitz, but my mom could never pronounce that and so now they will forever be referred to as the Zigglewitzes by my family anyways.  It's fun when my mom mispronounces things.

We bought a bunch of Timberwolves games this season and thought it would be fun if they joined us.  It was.

The New Orleans Pelicans were in town and we thought it was going to be a good game, but it ended up being kind of a blow-out with the home team eventually winning it by a score of 116-98.

We thought it was a pretty neat coincidence when Derek Ashland the son of our good friends, Tim Ashland and Katie Ashland, happened to walk by our seats.  It was good to see him.

Karl Anthony Towns is a Beast.