December 4, 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 4, 2022

This is the view out of my office window and pretty much what I stared at all week.  Pretty depressing.

Friday night was fun after we met up with Tom & Kellie Wolf at Legends in Prior Lake.  We always have a good time when we get together.

On Saturday we stopped at the Holiday Fest in Shakopee.  There was a street party with vendor booths and various events for the family culminating in a tree-lighting ceremony.  It was only about 6 degrees as we stood outside for a half hour for them to turn on the colored lights.  I was pretty glad when they finally did it.  Not because the tree was that special, but because it meant we got to leave and get back in our warm car.  It was darn cold!

After Holiday Fest, we drove to Target Center in Minneapolis to watch our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves.  It was much warmer in here so that was much appreciated.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder were in town.  The Wolves had already beaten them twice this year so we were pretty confident we'd get to watch another victory.  
We were wrong.

Miss Sheri and I always get a bit giggly when we dress alike.

We laughed even more when we saw our picture on the scoreboard during the game.  That always makes me extra happy.

The game started off well enough.  Even though Karl-Anthony Towns is injured and out for a month or so, we were happy to see that Jaden McDaniels was back in action this evening.

Normally losing Karl would be a major blow for this team, but things are different now that we have Rudy Gobert.  We figured with him and Anthony Edwards we still have a solid core that will allow them to keep winning games.

That theory was great until Rudy Gobert got ejected from the game for kicking one of the Thunder players.  It was an especially spicy night for the home team as they generated 5 Technical fouls across the team during the game.  They went on to lose to the Thunder by a score of 135 to 128.  Kind of a bummer.

It might just be me, but I'm starting to think all these years of owning the Timberwolves has started taking a toll on Glen Taylor.

Sunday brought us back to Minneapolis to see our beloved Minnesota Vikings.  They had a record of 9-2 but pretty much every game we've watched this year has been a nail-biter.  We were hoping they'd have a convincing win today with a big lead at the end.

Avery joined me for the game.  He even let me get a picture with him which is a hit or miss proposition much of the time.

The 7-4 New York Jets were in town.  Their quarterback, Mike White, had debuted the previous weekend and beat the Chicago Bears in a pretty impressive fashion.  We knew it would be a competitive match-up.

In true Vikings Fashion, they built up a big lead in the first half going into the locker-room up 20-6.  They let the Jets come back into the game and get the score within 5 points by the middle of the 4th.  Naturally the end of the game was a nail-biter, but lucky for us the defense played real tough in the red zone and they held on for a 27-22 victory.  Maybe next week we'll get that convincing victory we've been seeking, but in the meantime the team is still 10-2.

The Vikings brought the kid who dressed up like Kirk Cousins at the Thanksgiving game back for an encore performance.  
It was pretty awesome.

This Week's Tik Tok Videos

@toddswank Didnt know I could move like that. #chilllikethat ♬ Chill Like That - Sunday Scaries & PiCKUPLiNES
@toddswank Shakopee Holiday Fest #shakopee #minnesota #holidayfest #christmas2022 #treelighting ♬ It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas - Michael Bublé
@toddswank Minnesota Vikings Opening Ceremony. #skol #minnesota #vikings #nfl @Vikings ♬ original sound - Todd Swank
@toddswank Captain Kirk meets his doppelgänger. #Vikings #captainkirk #kidkirk #minnesota ♬ original sound - Todd Swank

November 27, 2022

Over the River and Through the Woods


Over the River and Through the Woods

Todd Swank's Diary Update for November 27, 2022

We didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving this year.  Due to the Vikings Game and work schedules, we had to delay our trip to Grandma's farm until the weekend.  We all discussed how we wanted to celebrate the holiday and pretty much unanimously agreed to eating at Benihana.  It's our favorite restaurant for celebrations.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I remember hearing in history class how much the Pilgrims enjoyed Teppanyaki style cooking back in the day. 

This is our second year being Minnesota Vikings season ticket holders and their first year ever to host a game on Thanksgiving Day.  It was a night game and the atmosphere was pretty electric.  Being the only nationally televised game that night probably contributed to the excitement level.

Miss Sheri joined me for the game.  Technically it was supposed to be Luke's game, but he had to work early the next morning and his mom was gracious enough to trade him for another one of her games.  I was excited for a fun date night with my wife and 66 thousand of our closest friends.

We were very excited to learn that Yung Gravy was going to be opening the show singing his hit song Betty (Get Money).  That song is my jam.  My lady jam.

I was a little nervous how the Vikings would perform after sitting through the brutal loss against the Dallas Cowboys in these same seats only 4 days earlier.  I worried they wouldn't be able shake off a 40-3 loss and prepare for a nationally televised game.

Bill Belichick and the 6-4 New England Patriots were in town and they have had our number in the past.  It ended up being a really exciting game and another nail biter going down to the wire.  We were thrilled when the Vikings pulled off a 33-26 victory and brought their record to 9-2 on the season.  Hopefully we're back on track for a good playoff run!

On Friday we drove down to Iowa to see Grandma on the farm.  We hadn't been here for awhile so it was great to get the chance to spend some time with Miss Sheri's side of the family.  Blue was also excited to see how many kitties we could find while we were there.  

It's always good to see Grandma Leona!  

We also enjoyed seeing Uncle Jerry, Aunt Laura, cousin Karli, and her friend, Marie.  We had spirited conversations during our meals together and competed in fun games against one another each night.  Good times!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season!!

November 20, 2022

Winter is Here 2022


Winter is Here 2022

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 20, 2022

We had a pretty warm autumn in Minnesota and October was actually pretty pleasant temperature wise.  Winter caught up with us with about 4-6 inches of snow in my neighborhood and temperatures dropping into the teens for much of the past week.  Blue is annoyed with us because his walks outside have been greatly diminished.

We connected with our old buddies, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz, for a night of adventure in Shakopee.  It started at Bravis Modern Street Food which is a unique Mexican restaurant with yummy burritos.  It was our first time there, but I'm quite certain it won't be the last.

We then walked over to Mana Brewing Company which is a fun brewery with yummy beer.  It was our first time there, but I'm quite certain it won't be the last.

On Sunday we headed back to US Bank Stadium to watch our beloved Minnesota Vikings take on the Dallas Cowboys.  The Vikings were undefeated at home, so we were expecting another win for the home team.

Luke hadn't been to a Vikings game with me since we watched a victory against the Detroit Lions.  We were excited for more of those kind of feelings again.

The Vikings had a very emotional win last week in Buffalo, so we weren't too surprised when they started off kind of sketchy when Kirk Cousins lost a fumble on 3rd down during the first series of the game.  We figured they'd settle down and get competitive again quickly and felt better when they held the Cowboys to only a field goal.

That was pretty much the highlight of the day.  For the next couple of hours we witnessed a complete dismantling of the 8-1 Vikings.  They ended up losing the game by a score of 40-3.  It was the worst football game I've ever attended in person.  We have to go back there in 4 days and watch them take on the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving.  I really hope they figure out what went wrong today so we don't have to witness something like that again.  It was brutal.

November 13, 2022

Winter is Coming 2022


Winter is Coming 2022

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 13, 2022

Luke and I had Friday off of work for Veterans Day.  We decided to explore Burnsville a bit to see if we could find anything new and exciting to do.  We couldn't.

We had lunch near Burnsville Mall so thought we'd stop in for a visit.  We haven't been here much since the pandemic, but it's about as depressing as it's ever been.  Something like 70% of the store locations are now vacant and it feels more like a cemetery than a shopping center.

I think it's relatively common knowledge that brick and mortar retail has been struggling in the era of ecommerce, but it seems Burnsville Mall has been especially hard hit.  I've heard it called the emptiest mall in Minnesota.  It's so bizarre to me because growing up in Iowa, Burnsville Mall was a special travel destination when we were kids.  We even had field trips in school where we'd take a bus on the 2 hour drive to the Twin Cities and spend the day shopping at an actual mall!  However, it doesn't seem like many people are willing to even travel across the street to go there these days.  Pretty sad!

On Sunday, we were invited to our friends Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy and his wife Melissa's house to watch the Minnesota Vikings take on the Buffalo Bills.  Not sure if you heard or not, but the Vikings Won!!!  They're now 8 - 1 and on a great roll.  SKOL!

November 6, 2022

Empty Nesters Again

 Empty Nesters Again

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 6, 2022

Another milestone passed in our lives when our twin sons, Luke & Avery, moved out of our house for the first time since they graduated college in the Spring of 2021.  

We're really impressed with their new house!

They're only moving about 10 miles away so I'm sure we'll still see them regularly.  They're rooming with a couple of buddies from high school.  They are fine young men from good families. I hope they all have the times of their lives. The last few years have been some of the strangest in my life and they all deserve to go back to some normalcy.

Will this be the last time they live with me? 

I don’t know. 

Who knows what the future will bring? 

I’ve loved having them in my house every night they were there and would certainly welcome more opportunities. But sometimes in life, we go our separate paths. And that's a good thing.

It makes me sad and happy at the same time.

On Friday night, we went to Target Center to watch our favorite NBA team in action.

Avery was supposed to join me at the game, but was having more fun moving his stuff so he traded his ticket for one of Luke's games.  So I had the honor of going to a game with Luke again.

The game was being televised on ESPN, so it didn't start until 9pm.  We ended up arriving an hour and a half early.   I was impressed when we walked in that Anthony Edwards was the lone player on the floor working out with one of his trainers.  The kid knows how to work!

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in town with the undefeated Milwaukee Bucks.  We knew we were in for a long night.  Especially when I saw that half of the arena was filled with Bucks fans.  I felt like I was at a Vikings Packers game and braced myself for the unpleasantness that was sure to follow.  I just hoped the Wolves would be competitive and come out on fire.

I was glad we had all of our starters on the floor as there were some rumors that Rudy Gobert may have had to miss the game.  

One thing I like to do is see if I can get my picture up on the big screen.  You have to tweet your picture with the hashtag #PackPix and then they play a selected few at various breaks in the game.  I've been able to get up there 2 of the 4 games I've attended!  I don't have a lot of excitement in my life.

The game was kind of a bummer.  The Wolves never really felt like they were in it.  They did have a couple of rallies that were exciting, but the Bucks were shooting the lights out with the ball and Giannis ended up with a Triple Double.  The home team lost the game 115 to 102.  But, hey.  At least we still have those Minnesota Vikings!

On Saturday night, we had our first official re-designation of being Empty Nesters Again and went out to celebrate with our good friends, Dan & Jen Walters.  We always have a good time with them!