November 17, 2019

Minnesota Vikings vs Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings vs Denver Broncos
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 17, 2019

I bumped into my old buddies, Heather & Alyssa Hornbuckle, the other day and enjoyed our brief conversation.  I don't get to see these ladies nearly enough so it was nice to have a few minutes to catch-up.

I was working at my desk the other day when I looked out my window and was surprised to see two different albino squirrels eating at out feeder.  This is the first time in months I've seen more than one of these at the same time.  I recently had a friend in Minnesota tell me they've never seen an albino squirrel in their entire lives and we've been having them come in our backyard every summer for 20 years...across two different houses!  We consider them to be our guardian angels so we are always excited when they come around.  I was curious how rare they are and did a Google search and found this site.  You know these are albinos because they have the pink eyes and this site says that albinism occurs in mammal births only 1 in 100,000 times.  Yet I have been documenting photos of them on my site for at least 15 years and remember seeing them for several years before we ever captured a photo of one of them.  Weird.

Keep reaching for what you want!!

We took off a month from the Empty Nester Club, but thought we'd fire it up again this week and had a good turn-out of friends. We had another couple arrive and finally had to forget about trying to squeeze more people in the booth.  Some of us were at risk of having our ribs broken.

Luke is my fantasy football buddy so we stay in touch on almost a daily basis strategizing about different line-ups.  So when he told me he would love to go to a Vikings game this year, I thought I should make that happen.  And what a game we chose to attend!!

Our friends, The Browns and The Zitzewitzes, were at the same game, but on the exact opposite side of the stadium.  Lucky my camera has a pretty good zoom so I was able to track them down and then sent them a text to smile for the camera!

Pretty soon the game was ready to begin and the players were all fired up.  Stefon Diggs had an amazing game with 121 receiving yards and a touchdown.  It was probably because of the way he pumped up himself and his teammates during the opening ceremonies.  

The game included a celebration of the military and had a half time show featuring a bunch of WWII veterans.  A couple years back the NFL was having a lot of controversy around the American flag, so I thought it was a pretty classy move when Eric Kendricks came running on the field while waving it proudly.  Good stuff.

The Denver Broncos were our opponents today and I was thinking before the game that the Vikings would be a lock for the victory.  Their record for the season before the game was 3-6 while the Vikings were 7-3 so naturally it would be an easy win for the home team.  Wouldn't it?

Apparently the Broncos didn't subscribe to my logic because they absolutely crushed the Vikings in the first half and we went into halftime facing a deficit of 20-0.  Unbelievable.  I didn't think the Vikings had a chance to win after that shellacking.

But lo and behold, our men in purple pulled off the biggest comeback I think I've ever personally witnessed and ended up coming back to steal the victory by a score of 27-23.  Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith JR, and Stefon Diggs all scored touchdowns for us and Kirk Cousins threw three of those to make most people in the stadium quite ecstatic.  They go into the bye week with a pretty decent margin of victory to make the playoffs.  You gotta love those Vikings!!

November 10, 2019

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Golden State Warriors

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Golden State Warriors 
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 10, 2019

Miss Sheri and I thought it would be fun to go watch our favorite NBA team play on Friday night.

We received a couple free tickets for Miss Sheri's birthday from the team.  Turns out they weren't the greatest seats.  But we don't get to complain about a birthday gift from an NBA team so Thank You Very Much Timberwolves.

The Golden State Warriors were in town.  I wasn't expecting much of a game considering the fact that they are playing without their 4 best players from last season.  But they came in guns a blazing and almost walked out of the building with the victory.  Almost.

D'Angelo Russell appeared like he was going to be traded to the Wolves in the off-season but at the last minute he was traded to the Warriors instead.  I don't know if that put a fire in his belly, but he played out of his mind Friday night scoring 52 points in the game and almost leading his team to victory.  Almost.

This is Ryan Saunders first full season as our head coach.  We are rooting for Ryan to be successful because we were big fans of his father, Flip Saunders.  He's off to a pretty good start this year with a 4-3 record going into this game.

I was excited to see our new rookie, Jarrett Culver, who played for the Texas Tech Red Raiders last year and was the #6 overall pick in this year's draft.  I've heard great things about him.  He had only a couple of points this game, but I'm expecting big things from him in the future.

We always love rooting for our superstar Karl Anthony Towns even though I wish he didn't always be so straight faced all the time.  Show some emotion, man!

Actually, come to think of it, KAT shows a lot of emotion on the court.  I found it kind of funny going through our pictures of him it seems he has a crazy expression on his face in nearly every picture.  He gets into it!

Andrew Wiggins gets a lot of crap from the fans who don't believe he's lived up to his potential or his contract.  But he was in the zone on this particular evening finishing the night with 40 points.  We still love you, Andrew!

The halftime show was pretty neat.  This guy did all sorts of tricks with his big wheel thing that he had here.  It must be really tough to get that through baggage claim at the airport.

Everybody was excited about the Timberwolves.  At least they appeared to be.  I suppose like any job, some days you gotta fake the enthusiasm.  But if any of them were faking, I couldn't tell.  They seemed to be genuinely excited about the Timberwolves.

So the Warriors almost won, but in the end the home team prevailed by a score of 125-119.  Although they did have to go into overtime to seal the win.  In any case, we had a bunch of fun rooting them on.  

On Saturday, we took a bunch of boxes of old records to get shredded.  I never know how long to keep these things, but we figured 20 years worth of utility bills and medical records was too much crap to have jammed in the basement so it was time to do something about it.

We went to see Dave at Veteran Shredding in Burnsville.  He was about half the price of the UPS store and let us watch our stuff get shredded so we know it is destroyed.  Plus, Dave and his boys are all veterans so it was nice to give them the business.  If you're looking for shredding of your own, you should check them out.

It's getting really cold in Minnesota lately.  The windchill had it down to 20 degrees today and Alexa told us it would feel like 2 degrees later tonight!  That's too cold for this early in the year.   It's going to be a long winter! 

November 3, 2019

Minnesota State vs Bowling Green Men's Hockey

Minnesota State vs Bowling Green Men's Hockey
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 3, 2019

Our leaves are almost completely fallen off the trees which means winter will be here any day and we'll have to say "So long" to our albino squirrel friends again when the snow starts rolling in.  I'm not ready for it.

Blue was very excited for Halloween this year so he could break out his new costume.  Miss Sheri said he was Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother, but we all asked shouldn't his scarf be red then?  She said Red Riding Hood wore red, but the Grandma wore Blue.  However, I couldn't confirm that via Google so it appears Blue's costume was just all wrong.  I didn't have the heart to break it to him, though.

The temperature was 33 degrees out on Saturday morning, but that didn't matter to Blue as he was ecstatic to have the opportunity to go swimming.  I wasn't nearly as ecstatic when he exited the water and proceeded to shake his drippings all over me.  I can't handle the cold like he does.

On Saturday, we drove down to Mankato, Minnesota to see Luke for Minnesota State's Parent Weekend.  We like spending time with him.

Luke lives with Jackson Walters so we were looking forward to spending the day with him and his parents as well.

We also had a chance to see some of their other friends so it was just a great day in general.

We even had the opportunity for some musical intermissions throughout the day which kept us all feeling pretty peppy.  We love playing cymbals on lady skirts.

We had dinner at the Loose Moose.  Not sure how the moose got loose in the first place, but the food was pretty good.

We thought it would be fun to go see the Minnesota State Men's Hockey team take on Bowling Green.  They lost their first game of the year to the same team the night before so we figured they'd be pretty geared up for some revenge.

Suddenly they all started attacking their own goalie for some reason.  Not sure what he did, but it must have sucked to be him.

The big bull with the devil horns seemed to calm everyone down, though.  They stopped beating on their goalie after he showed up and seemed ready to play some hockey.

The game was well played and the home team took an early lead.

The Mavericks ended up dominating pretty much the entire game and won by a final score of 5-1.  I guess they figured out what they were doing wrong the night before and were able to get back on the right track.  

Needless to say, we had a bunch of fun with these people and look forward to the next time we can all get back together!

October 27, 2019

Minnesota Golden Gophers Football vs Maryland

Minnesota Golden Gophers Football vs Maryland
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 27, 2019

Our week started out with a rousing round of Bingo at The Pointe with our good friends, The Korkowski Family.  I didn't win which made me very sad.  I just really love yelling Bingo!

On Friday night, Miss Sheri and I had fun at our favorite restaurant, Outback Steakhouse.  Right after the bartender took this picture, some really big guy down the bar said to me "You're lucky.  She makes you look good."  Naturally I responded with a smile and something like "Yeah, I know she does."   But as I sat there for awhile, I started to think about his comment.  Was he trying to tell me I'm ugly?  And why does he care if I'm ugly?  People are funny.

This guy didn't care if I'm ugly.  He was happy to see me regardless!

It was Parents weekend at the University of Minnesota this weekend so we headed down to see Avery.

Avery is living at his fraternity house this year and this was the first time I had a chance to see his place.  I was really looking forward to spending some time at a fraternity house on a Saturday game day for awhile.

We met several of Avery's friends and they were all very nice and welcoming to us.  By the end of our time we were there, I started feeling like I want to go back to college and be in a fraternity again.  Time for some Old School!

Our good friends, Guy and Jeanine Perera, have two kids in the Gophers marching band so they go to every game.  We had fun hooking up with them for awhile before the game started.

Avery normally sits in the student section at games but was kind enough to spend time with his folks while we were there.  Such a good boy.

This was our first time seeing the Golden Gophers play this year.  We were pretty excited to watch them since they were undefeated at 7-0 going into this game.  They'd also won 9 in a row dating back to their defeat of the Badgers last year and a Bowl game win.  That is their longest win streak since 1941!  We were hopeful we'd get to see them extend it to 1 more.

The stadium was electric as everyone was going nuts throughout the game.

I was pretty impressed with how well the students stay in unison when they were announcing when the Gophers scored a first down.  That must take a lot of practice.

This is head coach PJ Fleck's third year.  Of course he's highly responsible for the program's recent success.  I really like him, but was a bit nervous for him at first with his Rah Rah attitude and Row the Boat philosophy.  He obviously can walk the walk of his talk the talk though which is pretty cool.  I like inspirational people.

The Gophers started off dominant and never let off the gas.  They put on a clinic for how to play football against the over-matched team from Maryland.

These guys really like to run.  You'd think they'd get tired after awhile.  This was them heading to the locker-room at half time.  You'd think they'd want to rest for a minute.

We enjoyed watching the band at half time as we always do.

The final score ended up being 52 for the Gophers and 10 for the Terrapins bringing the Gophers streak to 8-0.  The big test will be coming their next game when they take on undefeated Penn State in 2 weeks.  Ought to be a fun game to watch!

On Sunday, Grandma Linda invited us over for a family meal and we decided to drag Avery along with us.  Everyone loves spending time with Grandma Linda!