November 26, 2023

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 26, 2023

I used this photo for my Blog headline last week and said CPappy Thanksgiving!  Since I didn't have a 2nd photo of me in the mask I didn't bother writing anything about it.  This upset a few people who told me I was shirking my blogging duties by leaving people hanging.  So here goes.  I was recently diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  The person who set me up with my CPAP machine suggested I go with the nasal mask which hasn't been the most successful for me.  Apparently I'm more of a mouth breather, so I struggle to sleep through the night with it only blowing in my nose.  I'm going back this week to get the full face mask and will try again.

Luke had a bit of a bummer of a week.  His wrist had been bothering him so we went to see the surgeon who had performed his hand surgeries.  She said one of the bones in his wrist is having some vascular problems and not getting enough blood to it.  She recommended he immediately start wearing a cast for the next month and this should help stabilize it and get the blood flowing to it again. He was a good sport about it and now has a club to use in case anyone messes with him or his father.

After the trip to the hospital in St. Paul, we drove over to the other Twin City and ended up in Target Center to watch the NBA leading Minnesota Timberwolves!

Their opponent was the Philadelphia 76ers.  We were excited for the match-up because they also had one of the best records in the league.  Unfortunately we learned before the game that their All Star center, Joel Embiid, would be sitting this one out.  I supposed you could look at the bright side and say that means it's more likely we'd get the win, but I'd still rather see them play against a team with all of their best weapons available.  

  At least one of our favorite former Timberwolves would be playing.  Patrick Beverly was a huge part of our team two seasons ago before he got traded away.  I think he's on his 4th team since he left us so even though he's a fan favorite, apparently he isn't very popular with teams' owners or coaches or both.  He's just a bit controversial.

 We were excited to get the game started and cheer for the home team.

I always make it a mission to get our picture up on the big screen.  Mission Accomplished!

Hey, there's Justin Jefferson in courtside seats!  I'm glad he's a big Timberwolves fan and wish I had the opportunity to sit next to him to watch the game.  I just think we probably have a lot in common.

It was an exciting game.  Our favorite player, Anthony Edwards, lit up the scoreboard going for 31 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists.  He's fun to watch and this team is really becoming quite competitive against the best teams in the league.

The Timberwolves won the game by a score of 112 - 99 and ended the evening with the best record in the NBA at 11 and 3.  I've been a Wolves fan for about 30 years and don't ever remember this happening before so could this be our year?  We're certainly due for a great run in the playoffs.  We'll see if they can make that happen!

Avery spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta so it was going to be just the 3 of us for the holiday.  Luke's roommate Jackson and his parents were kind enough to invite us to spend the holiday with them.  I'm so glad we did because they had some really good food!

We've been hanging out with the Walters family for more than 10 years now, so we looked forward to spending the holiday with them.  Plus, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, they had really good food!

On Saturday night, we were invited over to dinner by our good friends, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz.  We had more good food and good fun with good people.  Plus we played pool and darts which always makes for a good time for me!


November 19, 2023

CPappy Thanksgiving!

CPappy Thanksgiving!
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 19, 2023

Avery & Abby are spending Thanksgiving in Atlanta with her family, so we brought the kids and Grandma Linda out to dinner for an early celebration.  We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and families!!

We had a pretty uneventful week.  We did have the opportunity to hang out with these fun fellows when we received tickets for an advanced screening of the new Hunger Games Prequel.

Our family was big fans of the original Hunger Games trilogy and read all of the books.  We were pretty excited to have a chance to see this version a few nights before the official opening.  In general, we felt pretty underwhelmed.   We enjoyed the first half, but then the story meandered and just felt unsatisfying.  Without the magical Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, there just weren't any characters we really found ourselves caring about.  Kind of a bummer.


November 12, 2023

When the Saints Come Marching In


When the Saints Come Marching In

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 12, 2023

Miss Sheri went to the farm to be with her mom this week, so I had a taste of the bachelor lifestyle.  On Friday night, it was the Marine Corps Birthday so I called up one of my favorite Marines, Dan Walters, and said we need to celebrate.  We headed to the American Legion in Savage while Luke, Jackson, and several of their friends decided to join us.  It was a nice birthday party.

Dan and I then headed to the newly re-opened VFW in Prior Lake who were also having a wing-ding to mark the occasion as well as Veteran's Day.  We saw our good friends, Ted & Marsha, shortly after we arrived along with several other fine people.  They completely re-decorated the place so it's a bit strange being inside as it kind of looks like the old place, but more modern with a much bigger bar.  Good call.

On Sunday, we headed to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to cheer on our beloved Minnesota Vikings.

It was Avery's turn to join me for a game.  The home team had been on a 4 game winning streak so we were hopeful to see it continue.

We've had a lot of injuries lately so a variety of unfamiliar faces have had to step up and contribute during the recent wins.  It seems we have pretty good coaches to help be able to make that happen and put the new guys in positions to succeed.

Because it was Veteran's Day weekend, the Vikings had many tributes to the US military throughout the game.  It made me feel pretty darned patriotic!

Last week's game in Atlanta was a barn-burner.  We were excited to see our rookie quarterback, Jaren Hall, take over after Kirk Cousins went down with a season ending injury the week before.  Jaren started off pretty good, but as he was going for a touchdown, he got knocked in the head and ended up leaving the game with a concussion.  Joshua Dobbs had been with the team for only a few days and had to take over.  It was shaky at first, but then he started balling out and helped win the game for the Vikings.  We were anxious to find out if he could do it two weeks in a row.

Derek Carr & The New Orleans Saints were in town.  They had the same 5-4 record as the Vikings and have been a challenging team for us historically.

  Joshua Dobbs was so impressive.  He threw for 268 yards and a touchdown and ran in another.  This is his 7th team since he's been in the league, but it feels like he may have found a new home that can last for awhile.  The team played a little too conservatively in the second half and almost let the Saints back into it, but held on for the eventual 27-19 win.  That's 5 in a row and the longest current winning streak in the NFL!  Skol Vikings!!  

November 5, 2023

Trick or Treating in Boston

Trick or Treating in Boston
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 5, 2023

It was my sister's 60th birthday this past week.  Her family decided to surprise her with a trip to one of her favorite places.  Boston, Massachusetts.  They then decided to surprise her again by inviting us to join them.

We flew in a day after they arrived and went to a restaurant near our hotel.  We then waited for them and surprised her when she came to our table.  She appeared to be pretty shocked.

We were so happy that Luke, Avery, and Abby were able to join us for the trip.  We have a good time together.

Luke and Avery always love hanging out with their cousins, Lauren & Brittany.  We don't get to do it often enough so make the best of it whenever we get the chance.

We spent a good amount of our trip walking around the streets of Boston.  It's a beautiful city and we found ourselves visiting all sorts of interesting locales.

We walked between 5 - 7 miles a day and were a bit paranoid about Grandma Linda being able to keep up with us for a trip like this.  We decided to rent a wheelchair for her.  She resisted the idea at first, but I think she appreciated it once she realized how much of a challenge it would have been without one.  She didn't like it much when we teased her and said we were going to park her by a pole for an hour or so while we visited more bars.  She's a pretty good sport though and didn't stay angry about it for too long.

Whenever you visit Boston, people tell you must get Cannolis in the north end.  We went to Mike's Pastry where there is a perpetual line to buy these sugary treats.  I gotta be honest, I don't understand the attraction.  They just don't taste that good to me.

We visited many excellent bars & restaurants and had lots of laughs.  Not necessarily in that order.

I'm not a big fan of silly rules, so when we were at one meal and I had to stare at this door for awhile I decided to find out why entry was prohibited.  Turns out it was just a dark room with a sprinkler system inside.  I thought for sure they were hiding a secret passage of some kind.  Such a letdown.

Eventually Ben was able to join us and we took the train to Salem. It's an excellent destination for Halloween with all the witches and other scary stuff they have there.

  We lost Grandma shortly after we arrived.  We were getting kind of tired of pushing her around anyways.

We had breakfast at a place called Red's which was really good.  We didn't get to meet Red, though.  Not sure if he still works there.

We were warned that the crowds in Salem during Halloween were huge.  It was busy, but not unbearably so.  Since we went on a rainy day, that may have helped us a bit in that regard.  It was quite the fun experience even if it was a wet one.

It rained quite a bit of the time while we were there.  I thought that meant we'd spend more time inside, but my sister and her family don't think that way.  We walked a lot in the rain.  It was still fun, but walking with wet socks gets to be a bit annoying after a few miles.

On Halloween day, we went to Beacon Hill which is a historic neighborhood in Boston originally built in 1795.  There are steep streets lined with Federal-style and Victorian brick row houses lit by antique lanterns.  The city closes off some of the streets so the kids can go trick or treating without fear of being run over.  There were so many people out and about and all I kept thinking was I'm so glad I didn't have to pay for all of that candy being given away.

Some of the houses went all out with the decorations.  We really liked the Harry Potter house and the Taylor Swift house decorated with the gravestones of her former boyfriends.  Travis Kelce's was labeled TBD.

On our last day in town, we took the trolley around to stop at neighborhoods we hadn't had a chance to visit yet.  We visited the USS Constitution which is the oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat in the world.  It originally launched in 1797 and earned the nickname Old Ironsides during the War of 1812 when cannonballs seemed to bounce off of it's thick oak hull.  That's strong.

  We ate at the Pier 6 restaurant which gave us a private room to oversee the harbor while we dined.  I think they might have had suspicions about how loud we can be while we eat.

When we came home to Minnesota we decided we didn't get to enough bars and restaurants while on vacation so we reached out to our buddies, Karl and Tina, to do it again on Saturday night.  A good time was had by all involved.