December 29, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 29, 2019

The boys are home for Christmas break so all is good in the Swank Family's world again.

We've dealt with some cold and icy weather over the past week or so, but Santa was nice enough to bring us all some new winter clothes.  We like to bundle up and go face the elements.  For a few minutes at least.  It's really cold out there.

We've had the good fortune to see some good friends and family over the holidays.  I had fun with my buddy, Mike Miller, munching on the new boneless chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings.

 For Christmas Day, we drove to Iowa to see Miss Sheri's mom and brother.  We celebrated family togetherness with puzzles and card games and other wholesome activities.  I really love being so wholesome this time of year.

Blue loves going to the farm.  I take him on "Kitty Hunts" where he terrorizes all the wild kitties that live on Grandma's Farm.  Most of the time, they run all over the place and come to the door when it opens because grandma gives them food.  Things are pretty different when Blue is in town for them, though.  He loves to barrel out the door and chase down any of them that gets in his path.  I have no idea what he'd do to one if he ever actually caught them, but I'm pretty sure he'd just try to give them kisses.  Not like he has a chance to ever actually catch one.  They have a million places to hide so mostly he runs around the farm whining and wondering why none of them will come out to play.

We had a great time with Grandma and Uncle Jerry's family.  It was a very nice Christmas for all of us.

Krazy Kory and Harli came up to spend the weekend in Minneapolis so we hung out with them quite a bit.

We sushi'd it up on Friday night at Kona Grill.

We spent Saturday at the Mall of America creating mischief and generally just having a good ole time.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

December 22, 2019

2019 Swank Family Christmas Letter

It’s the end of the Twenty Teens and we feel fine!

Todd & Sheri celebrated 25 years of marriage this year.  That means we’ve now written 25 different Christmas letters and have officially run out of clever things to say.  Our apologies for what is certain to be pure crap going forward.

Todd still works from home as a cloud solutions sales rep for Oracle.  When he’s not out visiting clients in a suit, he’s usually at home working in his underwear.  This wasn’t a big deal until Zoom video conferences started being a thing.  At first he was afraid of scaring customers, but now he’s developed a pretty good gig selling wiggle dances on the side.  It’s pretty lucrative.

 Sheri’s most significant accomplishment of 2019 was correctly identifying the Rottweiler on The Masked Singer as being Chris Daughtry.  We tried to tell her this wasn’t that big of a deal, but she keeps poking us all in the chests and exclaiming “Even the judges didn’t guess that one!”  Hopefully she stops rubbing it in our faces after the new year rolls around.

Avery is in his junior year at the University of Minnesota and doing well in his studies in computer science and works at Trimble as a software developer in his spare time.  He also lives in a fraternity house which we thought was cool until we stopped by to visit.  We forgot how disgusting bathrooms can be when they are utilized by dozens of young men.  

If I lived there, I’d never poop again.

 Luke is also a junior at Minnesota State Mankato and is doing well studying business.  He’s moved into his first apartment where he lives with a couple of good friends and a rowdy dog.  He’s still obsessed with fantasy sports, loud trash talking while playing video games, and sleeping in as late as humanly possible.    We’re hoping he can find a good job that accommodates those traits, but are having some challenges identifying exactly what that would be.

Our golden retriever, Blue, really hates the winter.  He’s so sick and tired of our excuses for not taking him out on walks any more. Every time we try to hold a conversation with him he just stares at us like he doesn’t know what we are saying.  It’s pretty sad.

 2019 was fine and we feel extremely blessed that we’ve made it through another decade of relatively good health and prosperity.  We are so thankful to have so many good friends and loving family in our lives.   

Our resolutions for 2020 are to get healthy and get our children financially independent.  This way we will have extra money to spend on getting unhealthy again.

God Bless Us Everyone!

  The Swank Family

December 15, 2019

Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Clippers

Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Clippers
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 15, 2019

I was in Milwaukee for work this week for a customer event which was really exciting.  If you count hanging out in hotel conference rooms as being exciting that is.

On Friday night, Miss Sheri and I went to watch our favorite NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, take on the Los Angeles Clippers.  The Wolves were sporting their new baby blue MSP uniforms which makes them look pretty tough.

Before the game started we checked in with the local Fox Sports crew to see if they needed any help announcing the game.  The blonde lady really seemed to be thinking about my offer, but after 5 minutes of her staring like this we just walked away.  

Former Timberwolves point guard, Chauncey Billups, was on the court before the game which I found kind of interesting until I realized he was part of the Clippers broadcast team.  Then I thought it wasn't nearly as interesting as I'd previously been thinking it was.

We were looking forward to watching reigning NBA finals MVP Kawhi Leonard take on the home team.  We were not disappointed watching him play.  

Of course, no NBA superstar plays by himself any more and the Clippers also have Paul George who is another amazing player to watch.  As a matter of fact, Leonard and George combined to clobber the Wolves by scoring 88 points between the two of them.  They really put on a clinic for how to score.

Kawhi is amazing and can hit shots from anywhere on the floor.  Kind of reminds me of watching Jordan back in the day.

I'm not real good at reading body language, but I think Andrew Wiggins was a little intimidated by him.

We had some celebrities in the building for the game including Nick Swardson from Reno 911 and a bunch of Adam Sandler Movies.  He was tossing T shirts at the crowd and certainly looked like he had some intensity while winding up.

We saw multi-platinum recording artist 311 on the big screen, but couldn't find them in the crowd.  Probably for the best since I've never heard of them before anyways.

The highlight of half time was the performance of a local Minneapolis band called Polica.  I had never of Polica before, but they were pretty good.  

The Wolves were down by as many as 27 points, but eventually made a big attempt at a rally and gave us a pretty exciting 4th quarter.  Unfortunately they eventually lost 124-117.  Not the result we wanted, but still way better than sitting at home on a Friday night.

My old buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, stopped by for a visit on Saturday morning.  He's always up for some adventure so I know it's going to be a good day when he arrives.

Going outside this week has been a bit brutal with temperatures hovering right around zero, but we still give it a shot every now and then.  It's dang cold.

December 8, 2019

Christmas By The Lake 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa

Christmas By The Lake 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 8, 2019

We had our Prior Lake Empty Nester Club get together on Thursday night at the Meadows and had a good turn-out of fun people.  I always like hanging out with fun people.

On Saturday, Miss Sheri, and I drove down to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Christmas by the Lake Festival.  We connected with our old buddies, Krazy Kory, Ron "Sugarman" Myers, and Joel Anderson along with their families.  A good time was inevitable.

Kory's dad Gene was one of the original creators of the Christmas by the Lake festival and is currently the Chairman of the event.  It's nice knowing people with connections.

I had never eaten real chestnuts roasting on an open fire before but must admit they were pretty tasty.

There were plenty of horse-drawn carriages we could ride.  Ron's kids even earned a few bucks by walking around town behind the horses to pick up their Christmas gifts to the community.

We bumped into a lot of old friends including the Clear Lake Mirror Reporter's photographer extraordinaire, Chris Barragy.  I always enjoy seeing his photos of various North Iowa events so asked him if I could take a photo with him to return the favor.

Soon enough, we were treated to a beautiful sunset and then we knew the real party was about to begin.

The parade was pretty incredible with all sorts of festive floats rolling around in front of us.

We were all pretty much worked into a frenzy by the time it was over.

There were some fears that the fireworks would be cancelled due to high winds, but we were lucky enough for the show to go on and were treated to an awesome show.  There were a couple of big explosions that blew us all away.

After the show, we stopped by our good buddy Jason Bradshaw's birthday party which was being held at Rookie's.  It was a great chance to connect with a bunch of good friends.

There was a lot of milk and cookies to be enjoyed by all.

We didn't make it too late of an evening since we were driving back to Minnesota, but the time we did spend there was quite exciting.  

We had to get back to town so we could take Grandma Linda out for her birthday breakfast on Sunday.  This wonderful lady is celebrating turning 77 years old this week.  I told her I swear she doesn't look a day older than 76 which I think she really appreciated.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

December 1, 2019

A Family Vacation in Dallas 2019

A Family Vacation in Dallas 2019
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 1, 2019

My sisters Tammy & Tracy both moved to Texas many years ago, but we are still lucky enough to get to see each other on a semi-regular basis.  Mostly we go see them rather than they come see us, but who's counting?

I grew up in a household with these three ladies.  They shaped me into the weirdo I am today.

My boys and their cousins love spending time together.  Grandma Linda likes seeing her grand-kids and great grand-kids just as much.

We get to see my sister, Tammy, and her fun family.

Tracy and the Mohars were kind enough to host us for the 4 nights we were in town.

Mallory's entire family wasn't able to join us until the next day, but it's always so cool seeing all of them.  The dang kids just keep growing so fast that it's starting to make me feel a little old myself.

Bailey and her husband just bought a new house and we were able to see it the day after they moved in.   It was great to see them doing so well!

We're getting to be a pretty big crew so getting everyone together for each activity can be tough, but we love to try.

When we flew out of Minneapolis, we were literally minutes away from a major blizzard which dropped about a foot of snow on our house over the next few days.  I must admit, it's pretty nice walking outside in November and only have to wear a sweatshirt.

Especially when getting the opportunity to go out and interact with Happy Christmas trees like we did in downtown grapevine.

On the first morning I was there, I was still trying to close a couple of deals at work.  I had to stay close to my phone and computer.  I was really bummed when I didn't get to join my family for their Camp Gladiator workout.   Really bummed.

I was happy to join in the hot tub with them afterwards, though.  That's much more my speed.

We spend a fair amount of time just standing around taking pictures of each other.  It's fun to see what we look like in different poses.

We tried to sprinkle in some fun activities like Karaoke.  That didn't work out so well, though.  Unfortunately, we are all just so shy when we have microphones in our hands.

Grandma Linda loves to go bowling even at 77 years old.  I forgot what an Ace of the Alley she really is.  She was dropping bombs and knocking down strikes left & right.  The PBA sure missed out with this one.  

Thanksgiving came and we regaled ourselves with stories, laughter, and tales from our mutual histories.  We were literally in tears as we went around the room and everyone told each other what they were thankful for in life.  We're not the most functional family all the time, but generally we self correct and support each other through life's tangles.  Generally.

We love to play games and seek out adventures with one another.  Giving advice and making each other laugh is usually included in there somewhere as well.  And every now and then just a wee bit of drama sneaks in there.

We're all very blessed to have one another in our lives, though.  I can't wait until I can see all my family together again soon!