January 23, 2022

Another Week Stuck in the Freezer


Another Week Stuck in the Freezer
Todd Swank's Diary Update for January 23, 2022

The winter blahs have set in the past couple of weeks.  Temperatures have stayed below zero for the most part so we need to really motivate ourselves to go outside.  Blue doesn't seem to be affected by the cold and continues to demand we take him out for walks.  As a compromise, we take him for games of fetch on the frozen lake.  We don't last very long and the ball gets lost in the snow a lot, but it's better than nothing.

 One of our fox friends wandered by the house the other day and I snapped this photo of him in our neighbor's driveway.  I'm not sure why he's keeping his eyes closed, but guessing he's squinting from looking at the bright snow.  Poor guy needs some sunglasses.

One of the way we get out of the house is by attending Timberwolves games.  On Sunday night, their opponent was the Golden State Warriors.

Minneapolis has re-instituted a mask mandate for all public events so Miss Sheri and I were excited to have the opportunity to wear these again.

The Wolves used to always play a game on MLK day, but not this year.  So we were lucky to be part of this year's celebration the evening before.

When I bought these tickets, I was excited to have the opportunity to watch Steff Curry play.  Naturally he was injured a few days before and wouldn't be in the line-up for tonight's game.  Draymond Green was also not available to play.  We should get some kind of refund from our ticket prices when this happens.  Like that will ever happen.

At least we'd get to watch the other member of the Splash Brothers Duo.  Klay Thompson was playing again after being injured for 31 months.  We were excited to see if he'd make a big impact in the game.

We were also looking forward to the return of Andrew Wiggins.  He's a former TWolf and one of our favorites when he played here.  He seemed pretty happy to be on the court as the game started.

Warriors Coach, Steve Kerr,  didn't look quite as happy to be here. I'll always remember Kerr as a player on the Chicago Bulls during their championship years with Jordan.  He was an awesome 3 point shooter.  

I'm not sure what Karl was explaining to D'Angelo, but he certainly seemed to be considering it.

He might have been explaining to him the proper way to shout out things before taking free throws.  I can't be sure.

The Timberwolves played really well and ended up winning the game by a score of 119 to 99.  They're a good young team and I'm hopeful this may be our year to return to the playoffs.  Go Wolves!

January 17, 2022

Fishing Atop A Frozen Lake


Fishing Atop A Frozen Lake
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 17, 2022

Luke and I attended the final Vikings game of the season.  It wasn't nearly as exciting as other games because they'd already been eliminated from the playoffs so the game was kind of meaningless.  

We had many high hopes for the season and a lot of really exciting games that went down to the wire.  Unfortunately the Vikings ended up on the losing side of the wire too many times to be eligible for the post season.

Andy Dalton and the Chicago Bears were our opponents for the day.  They had an even tougher season than we did.  They looked to have the Vikings number during a lackluster first half, but the home team came back in the second to win the game 31-17.  It also made our draft position in next year's draft go from #9 to #12.  So even in a victory the Vikings somehow ended up screwed.  Guess it's time for a change in regime.

The game ended up being the last for Coach Mike Zimmer.  He was fired the next morning along with our GM, Rick Spielman.  Here's to new adventures next year!

The highlight of the game came when my high school buddy, "Dancin" Dave Hansen, stopped by to pay Luke and I a visit.  Our season tickets are only a few sections away from one another, but this was the first time we met during a game this year.  Another thing we'll have to do more of next season.

On Thursday night, we had dinner with our good friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski, at a new restaurant in Shakopee called Texas Roadhouse.  It was muy bueno.  

We've had several weeks now of sub-zero cold, so we're finally feeling brave enough to go driving around on frozen lakes.  This time it was a visit to nearby Cedar Lake.

We were invited to go ice fishing with our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters and jumped at the opportunity.  Luke loves to fish so he decided to join us for the occasion.

There's something oddly therapeutic about waiting by a black hole in hopes of slimy critters to come out and pay us a visit.  It's probably not very therapeutic for the fish, but we really enjoy the tranquility of it.

Jen & Dan's ice house is very cozy.  Despite the fact that it was about zero degrees outside, we were nice and warm and had a few hours worth of spirited fun.

It probably helped that we were actually catching fish this time!  Luke led the way by bringing in 4 crappies to bring the group total to 8.  A fun time was had by all!  Again, with the notable exception that the fish probably didn't enjoy it nearly as much as we did.


January 9, 2022

The Holidays 2021


The Holidays 2021
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 9, 2022

We had a very pleasant Christmas and New Year holiday season this year.  We spent Christmas down in Iowa visiting with Miss Sheri's mom, Leona.  It's so nice that we're able to go visit with her again.

Christmas dinner with Grandma Leona and Uncle Jerry's family was excellent as usual.  Luke missed the memo that our family would be wearing red shirts this year.

We call this photo "Hawk Flying Near Farm."  
It just seems like an appropriate title.

Blue told us he would be happy to join us for opening presents, but said there's no way he's going to pose for any pictures.  1 out of 2 isn't bad I guess.

Luke and Avery are getting to the point where the only clothes they will wear have to pay some sort of homage to Minnesota Sports.  We're hoping that some day Minnesota sports will repay us for their loyalty.

Avery and I went to the Vikings game the day after Christmas.  Matthew Stafford and the Lions....I mean the Rams were in town and all the Vikings had to do was win this game and they would be in the driver's seat for making it to the playoffs.

It just wasn't meant to be this year.  The Vikings played tough, but in the end they lost the game 30-23.  I was confident they'd have much better luck the following week in Green Bay to save their playoff hopes.

The Bachelorette, Michelle Young, made an appearance at the game. It ended up being a set-up for one of the cheerleader's boyfriends to propose to her.  It was pretty sweet.  If I were into that sort of thing.

Since we didn't get to spend Christmas with Grandma Linda, we took her out to dinner a couple nights later.  Poor thing can never stay awake more than a couple minutes at a time, but we still love being with her all the same.

As we have for the past quite a few years minus a Covid time-out last year, we spent new year's with our friends, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  They had fun glow lights and everything!

Due to Covid, they had a lighter turn-out than expected, but those of who made it partied our socks off until at least 12:15 or so.  Then it was nighty night time.

  Game night with the Korkowski Clan is always fun.  Even if it does have a tendency to get a little violent from time to time. 

Krazy Kory and Harli came to town for a visit so we hit up the Mall of America for a night of adventure.  That is if you call dinner at a restaurant and a little bit of shopping adventurous.

Luke had his 6 month check-up at the Mayo Clinic.  We found out he's going to have to come in for another test in February, but all in all the visit was a positive one which always makes us thankful!  

We hope 2022 is off to a great start for all of you as well!

January 2, 2022

Todd Swank's Favorite Moments of 2021


Todd Swank's Favorite Moments of 2021
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 2, 2022

I started off 2021 with a year in review post of 2020 so thought I'd do the same thing to kick-off 2022.  We were in Texas and Oklahoma for New Year's last year spending time with my sisters and their families.  The weather was so much more pleasant than the 20 below zero temperatures we've been experiencing in Minnesota this week.  

February was a tough month for us when we lost one of my oldest friends, Scott Barragy.  I first met Scott when I moved to Clear Lake, Iowa in 1985 and Krazy Kory introduced us.  Scott and his family were very good to me throughout high school and even convinced me to join the wrestling team which was a big stretch for the mouthy 90 pound kid that I was.  We stayed in touch over the years and would connect in the summer for golf and chat on the phone every few weeks or so.  Scott was a great guy and I miss him dearly.  May he Rest in Peace.

My family received the vaccines in March.  I asked the nurse if the government starts taking control of me immediately or if I have to wait awhile to sync into their system.  She didn't really respond, but I think she was happy when I was leaving.  

I'm not going to weigh in on the vaccine controversies that have ensued since, but doing this gave us the confidence to fully re-enter society and resume many of our favorite activities which we were nervous about previously.    Hopefully this horrible pandemic will officially become an endemic at some point in 2022 and we can all start getting along again.

That would be so nice.

In any case, we started getting together with friends and loved ones a lot more than we had been previously which is our favorite thing to do.

 Avery graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Computer Science and is currently working for Rocket Mortgage.  

Luke graduated from Minnesota State University in Mankato with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and is currently working for Wells Fargo.  

Both boys graduating and finding full-time jobs was definitely a highlight of the year.

We used the boat this summer probably more than any other year before which was a definite plus for 2021.

Reviewing my blog from the past year, I find that I share a lot of critter pictures.  We had a family of fox in our neighborhood this year, so we captured many shots of these cute little guys.  Some of our neighbors found them to be a nuisance, but we sure enjoyed having them around.

We had a family reunion in Lake of the Ozarks as Grandma Linda had been wanting to do that for quite some time.  Now it's been checked off the list.

We celebrated my 51st and Luke and Avery's 22nd birthdays in Las Vegas.  Krazy Kory & Young Ben joined us for the celebration.

Blue wishes he had a more exciting year.  Hopefully we can meet his expectations better in 2022.

We stepped in there and bought Vikings season tickets for the first time.  The team hasn't done quite as well as we would have liked but we did get to watch a lot of good games.  It was fun even if we did lose a bunch of them.

We had an opportunity to spend the day with Uncle Cliff back in September.  Unfortunately he was in town to attend his sister's funeral, but we did have some time to enjoy his & Bailey's company which was great. 

In October, a group of us went to see comedian Bill Burr perform at Mystic Lake Casino which ended up being a pretty crazy night.  He's a funny guy.

Grandma Linda joined us for Thanksgiving which made Blue pretty happy.

It certainly had it's shares of ups and downs, but all in all we were very blessed in 2021.  I have a good feeling for 2022 that it just could be our best year ever!  

I hope you all have a fantastic new year!!