November 28, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021


Happy Thanksgiving 2021
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 28, 2021

I took the week off of work to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with my family.  We visited some local hot spots like the Mall of America.

We didn't really do much while we were there other than walk around and reminisce about stores we liked that were now gone because of Covid.  We did eat at the Shake Shack, though, so we had that going for us.  Which was nice.

We did several walks throughout the week including one at Lakefront Park in Prior Lake.

I was particularly excited to have the opportunity to observe a group of Muskrats frolic around the dock area.  The lake was partially frozen which always seems to get them to the surface to eat seaweed for some reason.

I don't know why I enjoy watching them so much since they're basically just big ole water rats.  They have large claws, pointy tails, and huge teeth, but I still find them to be pretty cute.  I'd like to cuddle with one of them.

On the night before Thanksgiving
, we drove to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for the great Minnesota Holiday Get Together, GLOW.

The website describes GLOW as a holiday festival that features over a million lights, a sElfie Plaza, three-story ice palace, bike-powered tree, State Fair Food Court, Sky Glider rides and so much more! I have to be honest with you, I really don't think there was "So much more". I think the other items pretty much covered it.

We actually did this festival last year during the Covid-19 restrictions and it was a drive-through event. It was pleasant being able to sit in our warm cars as we drove by the various holiday displays. We were kind of expecting the same thing this year so we didn't bundle up as warmly as normally we would have for an outdoor event when it's 20 degrees and breezy. It made for a bit of a challenging evening.

It was still really fun to see all the holiday light displays, just much colder than we would have liked to be while doing it. We fit right in with the penguins!

It was even too cold for Santa Claus. His moose was just pulling around an empty sleigh all night.

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner at home. Grandma Linda joined us. The boys and Blue were very happy to spend time with her.

We even had one of our neighborhood fox stop by for a visit. He didn't open his eyes the entire time he was here, so not sure what that was all about. Maybe he needs sunglasses?

The Korkowski Family invited us over on Saturday night for a family game night and a Chinese Food Feast. One of our favorite combinations!!

November 22, 2021

Minnesota Vikings Win Vs The Green Bay Packers


Minnesota Vikings Win Vs The Green Bay Packers
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 22, 2021

On Sunday, we headed to US Bank Stadium to see our beloved Minnesota Vikings play another home game.

We were ready for the border battle with our most hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Luke joined me for the game and we were jacked up for the contest.  We play Fantasy Football together and both had our own individuals in the game we wanted to do well and others who we secretly wanted to not do so well even though they're on our favorite team.  Fantasy can make being a fan so confusing sometimes.

We braced ourselves for the fact that the Vikings Packers game always seems to attract many cheese heads we don't normally have to endure at home games.  At least some of them dress in a manner that directly reflects how we feel about them.

Our seats are directly above where the players enter the field.  We love cheering on the players as they come on the field through the dragon smoke.  It used to be dragon fire, but another team had a pyrotechnics mishap last year and our dragon fire has been banned.  It's not quite the same, but we still like to scream for the home team.

It seems like every game now has an amazing number of tributes to the military.  I think that's great and we should honor those who sacrifice themselves for our country.  I just notice it seems games now pay tribute to our service-people and the American flag way more often than they used to.  It's almost like they're making up for something.

Before the game started, they highlighted the stats of both quarterbacks on the big screen.  I think many would be surprised that Kirk has out performed Aaron so far this season.  The sports media surely doesn't seem to treat them as though they are on the same level professionally.

Of course in Minnesota, we've had years and years of pain inflicted on us by Mr. Rodgers.  We know all too well that no lead is too safe and no amount of time on the clock is too little when he gets the ball in his hands.  He proved it again to us late in the 4th quarter,  when he tied the game with a 75 yard bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  Luke and I looked at each other after that happened like "Here we go again".  

However, the Vikings remained aggressive the whole game and just kept pouring on the gas to stay in front of them.  Cousins put up impressive stats including 341 yards passing and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.  Dalvin Cook added 86 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

Our Minnesota State Mankato favorite, Adam Thielen, had a solid game with 8 receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown.

However it was our 2nd year super-star, Justin Jefferson, who left the game as the Big Hero.  He had 8 receptions for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Which was awesome.  Except that I was playing against him in Fantasy which just ends up making the whole dang thing bitter sweet!

Despite another incredible performance by Rodgers who passed for 386 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions, we ended up in a position to win.  The Packers fans will certainly blame a controversial call by the officials that proclaimed a suspected interception to instead be an incompletion, but for once it seems a call went our way.  Cousins then marched the team down the field and set-up a win with a 29 yard field goal by Greg Joseph as time expired.  We thought it was a great victory!  

 Coach Zimmer appears to be thinking "This isn't my playcard.  Who's playcard is this?"

I caught this photo of Aaron Rodgers and Sheldon Richardson chatting while Packers Offensive lineman, Elgton Jenkins, was being treated for his injury.  Rodgers had also been slammed to the ground pretty hard on the same play and had spent a couple of minutes walking around and shaking off what I'm guessing had been pretty painful.  I then wonder, "what are these guys saying to each other?"  We'll probably never know.


November 14, 2021

Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey & Dueling Pianos


Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey & Dueling Pianos

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 14, 2021

Now that Daylight Savings time has happened and most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, it's really starting to feel like we are deep into autumn and winter is coming.  I'm not very happy about that.

On Wednesday night, we stopped by the VFW to help celebrate the Marine Corp's 246th birthday with one of our favorite Marines, Dan Walters.  Happy Veteran's Day and Thank You to all who served!

On Friday night, we headed over to the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club in Prior Lake for a unique night of entertainment.

We were there to see a performance by Sweet Keys Dueling Pianos.  Kevin and Nick are two impressive musicians who had the crowd rocking and rolling in tears with their unique blend of music & comedy.  We had so much fun at their show.

 It certainly helped that we were there with a bunch of fun friends.  We had dinner downstairs at Trigger's early and then headed upstairs to make sure we could get good seats at the show.

It was a pretty good crowd for a Friday.  And the manager gave them a smile.  'Cause he knew that it was them we were comin' to see, to forget about life for a while.

The performers pulled several people out of the crowd for various acts of public humiliation in between songs.  It makes for a good time to laugh at one another.

Shocking enough I even made an appearance to show off some of my dance moves with some new friends.  I think I was pretty impressive.

We put in a request for them to pull Sue & Ron on stage to help them celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.  It was really funny and just a tiny bit naughty.  I'm sure they will look back on it with good memories when they celebrate their actual 25th wedding anniversary at some point in the near future.

On Saturday night we headed to the University of Minnesota campus to watch the Golden Gophers hockey team take on Ohio State.

Our neighbor, Jim, is a big Gophers Hockey fan.  He had a couple of extra tickets and asked Miss Sheri and I to join him for the game.  We were happy to oblige. 

The Gophers had also played the Buckeyes the night before and had a rough loss.  They had been leading the game by a score of 3-0 when the visitors went on a run and scored the next 4 and won the game 4-3.  We were hoping not to see a repeat of that kind of action.

We like to cheer on the Zambonis between periods.  It's so neat to watch them  go around in circles wetting the ice until there's just that one little strip left in the middle.  The Zamboni that gets that last strip is then declared the winner.

In the end, we watched a riveting hockey match that saw the home team Gophers win by a score of 2-0.  Good times!

November 7, 2021

Darkness Falls on US Bank Stadium


Darkness Falls on US Bank Stadium
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 7, 2021

Halloween Night brought us to US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis to watch the Minnesota Vikings take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Miss Sheri and I were absolutely focused on doing whatever we could from the stands to support the home team.  We were ready to cheer our way to a Victory!

Our Smoke-Breathing Dragon roared the Vikings to the field giving them a carcinogen filled path to run out to the screams of their adoring fans.

Halloween brought out a lot of crazy characters.  I'm pretty sure I went to high school with this guy, but still seeking confirmation.

The game started off good enough when they marched down the field and scored a passing touchdown to Adam Thielen.  We thought this would be the start of a great win for Minnesota!

A hush fell over the stadium when Cowboys backup quarterback, Cooper Rush, took the field.  Something about him just brought a sense of impending doom for the Vikings.  A foreshadowing that would soon add to the annals of Vikings disappointment.  We've had so many great moments of sadness throughout our team's history so it was nice to be there for one more of them.

We did get a few moments of inspiration over halftime when Steve Hutchinson was honored with his Hall of Fame ring ceremony.  He was an amazing guard who played for Minnesota for 6 seasons from 2006 to 2011.  He was a lot of fun to watch back then and the Vikings sure could use a player of his caliber these days!

Another of our Hall of Fame players, Cris Carter, was in attendance to help Hutchinson celebrate.  We were all excited to see him.  The guy behind him looks downright turned on by him.

The Vikings kept the game close, but the power of Cooper Rush proved too much when he led a game winning drive down the field to win by a score of 20-16.  I'm so glad I bought Vikings season tickets this year.  The pain of losing feels so much more powerful in person.

All was not lost on the day, however.  Coach Zimmer beat his personal high score on Candy Crush during the fourth quarter.  

I saw several old friend this week including Will and George who were my co-workers at Oracle.  We get together for lunch once a month which is something I always enjoy.

Luke and Avery and I hit Happy Hour at Kona Grill on Friday night.  We just love their Bama rolls.  Miss Sheri chose not to join us as she's not much of a sushi girl.

My buddy, Orlando, came over on Saturday morning for one of our adventures.  We're like Lewis and Clark together.


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