Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best Pie East of the Mississippi

Just a quick note:
I get emails from a website called They focus on great organic, natural, seasonal, sustainable (etc. - all the "good hippy stuff", as Brad and I would say) farms in the US. They've been doing a pie theme lately, travelling all over the country tasting all the best pies. They finally came out with their "Best of" list. For Best Pie East of the Mississippi it was a bakery in Hobart, Indiana! Just thought I would share incase any of you get to take advantage of it. Below is the website. Let me know if it's really that good!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Annual December NY Trip

Every December (and frequently other random times of the year, as well) I descend upon the home of one of my very best friends, Elizabeth, and her husband, Keith, in Queens (Woodside), NY. These are fabulous visits. Technically, I am there to do opera auditions. Unofficially, I am there to sleep in late, hang out in my pj's around their apartment, shop with Elizabeth, talk and eat a lot of food. By the time my auditions roll around I am surprised that I actually have to do something productive.

This trip was as fun as promised. There was a lot of sleeping in, pj-wearing and excellent eating, plus a trip to Macy's one-day sale in Manhattan (we lived to tell about it), we saw Keith's first basketball game with his new league, had drinks afterward, and rooted on the Colts to a fabulous victory over the Ravens. Here are some picture highlights. Thanks, Elizabeth and Keith for being fabulous hosts, as always! Can't wait for the next trip. (Oh, and the auditions went well, too. That's always a bonus.)

The beloved daybed that is always synonymous with Elizabeth in my mind. She slept on it while we were Seniors at Butler, with me sometimes sleeping on the trundle below, she slept on it during grad school, and now I sleep on it every time I visit (under a Cubs blanket, naturally).

Saturday night we ordered a huge NY style pizza while we watched Superbad in our pj's. What more could you ask for?

Anyone recognize this man? I took his picture while showing Elizabeth my iphone on the subway. Ha!

This is Patty, one of Elizabeth's good friends, and Elizabeth in the bar after Keith's basketball game. Patty's fiance, Shaun, is also on the team. They looked pretty good, especially for their first game!

Keith and Elizabeth had just gotten their tree when I arrived. While waiting for the pizza Saturday night, they got a jump start on the decorating.

We had such a fun little party for the Colts game. They spoiled me with fabulous game-worthy food: Buffalo Chicken Dip, Pepperocini braised pork, homemade guacamole and pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Sports Guy

As some of you know, Brad is a (somewhat reluctant) fan of Bill Simmons, a sports writer for and the magazine. Bill is known as The Sports Guy and is a HUGE Patriots fan. He also happens to HATE the Colts and Peyton, in a somewhat good-natured sportsmanlike way. But he really doesn't like them. (His wife threatened to name their new baby "Peyton Manning Simmons" if Bill tried to find sports channels in the hospital room while she was in labor. No word on how that worked out.)

Brad sent me these snippets from The Sports Guy's mailbag last week. Hilarious. I wish I knew who "Adam from Indy" was, but he's our new best friend. And Simmons' response is great. Just thought I'd share. See below...

P.S. Some of you may also know that we love The Sports Gal too. Bill Simmons' wife writes little blurbs once a week during football season, but she's on maternity leave. We greatly miss her. If you ever see her column, definitely read it. Laugh out loud funny.
Adam from Indy writes, "Congrats! You and the rest of New England are rooting for the '04 and '05 Colts: record-breaking offense, iffy defense and no running game. The Colts, on the other hand, have had some tough losses, a great running game, a physical defense and they're completely out of the spotlight. Sound familiar?"

SImmons' response:
The 10-2 Colts continue to chug along toward a first-round bye. I hate everything that's happening with this season -- my beloved Pats look completely worn out by the quest to go undefeated, the fallout from CameraGate and three straight months of the media's glare, and on the flip side, the Colts are quietly biding their time for a home playoff game in Week 19 and a cold weather war in Foxboro in Week 20. Everything about this scenario makes me nervous. Everything.
Here's a link to a great recent article Simmons wrote about taking his 2 1/2 year-old little girl to her first NBA game. Hilarious! I love it when he writes about his family. He really is very witty, even if he is a Pats fan.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving / Update

I'm so behind! I hope you will forgive me. I spent last weekend in Washington D.C. for an audition and this weekend I go to New York for more auditions. Then, of course, there is our trip to Vermont for Christmas in a few weeks, too. That makes three cross country trips this month, my normal teaching load AND I start rehearsals tomorrow with San Diego Opera! (Plus the little things like Gracie throwing out her back last week! We are supposed to keep her from any activity. Try that with a 3 year old German Shepherd sometime. Not so easy.) Needless to say, I'm just trying to keep up.

With that said, here are some of our Thanksgiving pics. We had another lovely vacation at the Ritz. (I'm telling ya' - keep an eye out for these packages they have there in Lake Las Vegas. It is so worth it if you can get a cheep flight or are close enough to drive!) We seem to be developing a bit of a tradition as we travel to the Ritz. We again left a day early to stay at Buffalo Bill's in the border town of Primm, NV (aka "Fakey Vegas") and stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch on the way (the only one in SoCal). It seems to be a fail safe plan, save the fact that we always have way too much hot sauce at BW's. Oh well. It's so worth it. We also managed to get to Buffalo Bill's in time to watch the Butler/Michigan game. That night we sat on our hotel bed, eating McDonalds (the only thing open on Thanksgiving eve that late) and rooted on Butler to a great win. Excellent start to the vacation.

While in the Vegas area we enjoyed our Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet at the Ritz, played some slots, blackjack and placed a bet on the Butler/Virginia Tech game. All in all I believe we came out about $20 up! Not too bad. We also had an AMAZING dinner at Medici, the restaurant in the Ritz. They had a six-course mushroom-themed tasting menu with wine pairings. Wow. Brad also wanted to try Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa, on the strip to see what all the fuss was about. He now claims that sandwich is the best sandwich he's had in years. Definitely lived up to the hype. And guess where we ate on our final night? A place called Todd's! It is a little, gourmet spot in nearby Henderson. It was so very good.

Obviously, food played a large part in our Thanksgiving weekend. We did do something other than eating, such as walking some trails in the National Park of Lake Mead, working out at the Ritz (to balance out the massive amounts of food) and shopping some in The Forum at Caesar's Palace (poor Brad). All in all, a great vacation.

We will say, however, that next year must include family, friends and a home-cooked meal. The Ritz and Vegas are fun and all, but nothing beats a traditional Thanksgiving.

Well, wish me luck in New York! I get to stay with one of my very best friends, Elizabeth, and her husband, Keith, which I look forward to every year. I'm sure I'll have some pictures to share! Till then...

Our favorite part of the vacation was the room we got. Somehow they gave us one of the few rooms with a balcony overlooking the gorgeous garden, which was all lit with Christmas lights. I don't know how we got so lucky. We sat out on the balcony drinking coffee or wine, and on Sat. night there was a wedding happening down below. It was so pretty, especially with the string quartet playing.

The view from the lobby showing Brad's favorite part - the huge tree! It was very cold while we were there and we stopped one night to sit by the big fire pit in the center.

Part of the Thanksgiving buffet at the Ritz, complete with all the standard favorites, as well as some unusual stations like bufalo mozzarella being made right in front of you. Mmmmmm.

The dessert table. Oh my. The chef standing behind it was making brandied cherry crepes with a Grand Marnier sauce right there. No wonder I didn't eat again that day.

View around Lake Mead as we walked a trail.

The trail we were walking used to be a railroad track. There were huge tunnels through the mountain.

About to dig into our cobbler dessert at Todd's we had to stop for a picture. How appropriate that the name of the restaurant is on the plate. The waiter laughed when he saw the name on our credit card!

Driving through the Lake Las Vegas resort/golf course you can see Vegas in the distance. (It's those buidlings right in the middle against the mountain in the distance. You may need to click on the picture to see it clearly.) What is amazing is that it is 20 miles away from where we were standing! The dessert air is so crystal clear that everything seems so close.

Hey, Butler Fans....

Here are two more great links. One is an article that appeared on Yahoo Sports a few days ago, which we really enjoyed. The other is a video interview with Brad Stevens. (Good job Brad! Very eloquent.);_ylt=AvMTJxqWyz.cVESp9yO8w3w5nYcB?slug=dw-butler113007&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs

Back to Meagan, here!

We could not be more excited for Brad (Stevens, that is) and our Butler Bulldogs (now ranked #16)! In a beautifully played game this past weekend they defeated Texas Tech and Bobby Knight (unreal!) to win the Great Alaska Shootout. As Brad Todd mentioned below, this makes for their second Thanksgiving tournament win in a row! And to see our childhood friend, Brad (in his 6th game as head coach, nonetheless), so assuredly taking on the winningest college basketball coach in history made us about as proud as we could be. Not to mention the fact that Butler is my alma mater, my sister's alma mater and where my Mom taught for 27 years! Talk about worlds colliding; it was truly an amazing game to watch.

But you know what the best thing was? As we drove home from Vegas Sunday night Brad Todd got a call from Brad Stevens right after his return from Alaska. All Brad Stevens would ask about was how OUR Thanksgiving was! Brad Todd had to interrupt him to get him to talk about his experience at the tournament, what Bobby Knight said to him, how Anchorage was, etc! He couldn't be a more humble guy, that's for sure.

Below is the blurb from, which was very complimentary, a bit of an article from the Anchorage Daily News with some good Knight quotes and a link to a great article covering the entire championship game. Brad also has a radio show today at 6 p.m. (Indiana time) at this address:

And for those of you lucky enough to live close to the fabulous Hinkle Fieldhouse - get to a game! We must live vicariously through you.

More to come very soon of our Thanksgiving in Lake Las Vegas. I just had to post this congrats asap.

Team of the Week: Butler Bulldogs

by Andy Katz

Last week: wins over Michigan (79-65), Virginia Tech (84-78) and Texas Tech (81-71)

Better find out where Butler is going to be next Thanksgiving and pencil in the Bulldogs for the Team of the Week honors. A year ago, Butler won the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York, and this season, it was the Great Alaska Shootout. Boyish-looking Brad Stevens beat Michigan's John Beilein in the first game and then Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg. And then he only had to take out college basketball' s all-time winningest coach, Texas Tech's Bob Knight, in the final. Butler, with the return of Mike Green and A.J. Graves, is a legit Sweet 16 contender again and the clear favorite in the Horizon League. No one should be surprised by Butler's title in Alaska, which will keep this team in the national discussion all season long.

Mid-major top 10

1. Butler
2. Southern Illinois
3. George Mason
4. BYU
5. Xavier
6. Miami (Ohio)
7. Saint Mary's
8. Saint Joseph's
9. Western Kentucky
10. New Orleans
And from the Anchorage Daily News:

Butler’s senior-dominated team made it to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 last year and is 8-1 in the past nine games against BCS conference schools. As Butler moves up, it’s making fans -- including opposing coaches.

“If I were just a fan,” Knight said on Saturday, “I’d love watching them play.”

Who wouldn’t?

Butler buried 47 three-point shots in its three Shootout games - eclipsing the previous tournament record by 13.

“That is a really, really well-coached team,” Knight said.
Check this out for more quotes from Brad, Knight and a recap of the game:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Butler vs. Texas Tech

This is Brad (believe it or not) making my first post on our blog.  We are currently near Las Vegas at the Lake Las Vegas resort for the long Thanksgiving weekend.  We are having a great time, but have also decided that there is absolutely nothing that beats a home-cooked meal with family at Thanksgiving.

We want to send all possible good wishes to the Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team and specifically our good friend, Head Coach Brad Stevens, as they face the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Head Coach Bobby Knight in the Championship Game of the Great Alaska Shootout tonight.  This goes beyond the good friend facing off against one of our childhood heroes.  The good news is that while this kept me laying awake in bed last night, I am nearly certain that Brad is taking it completely in stride.  I hope he enjoys the experience and I have no doubt that he's got a great gameplan in his head that he is laying out for the team.

The game will be tonight at 12:30 AM EST (9:30 PM for those of us on the left coast) carried live on ESPN2.  Should Butler win, it will be their second straight preseason tournament championship.  Go Dawgs!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Colts Weekend 2007

This morning the last of our guests, Chad and Kate, left after what turned out to be quite the weekend celebration. I actually got a little teary as I drove away from the airport! We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends who traveled all the way across the country to spend a weekend with us. Thank you so much to all of you who came out.

We figured that since everyone was coming such a distance we better show them a good time! There was A LOT of homemade food (including Sharon's famous Rum Cake, Bonnie's famous Christmas Casserole, Meagan's marinated olives and Sweet Potato Soufflé, and Brad's Pumpkin Pie. Mmmmmm!) and some excellent drink options. Brad realized his dream of having a keg of San Diego's own Red Trolley Ale on our porch. We also introduced everyone to the Bellin's wonderful Tom and Jerry recipe - Christmas in a Cup! That recipe was passed out a lot. Thanks, Bellins!

Then, of course, there was the Colts game. That heartbreaking (HEARTBREAKING!) loss to the Chargers. Ugh! However, no one could say it wasn't exciting until the very, very end. I just about had a heart attack. I also have the sweetest husband who gave me the best ticket in the bunch. (We manned the computers months ago to buy up as many of the single seats left in the sold-out stadium that we could. So, none of us got to sit together, but there were some excellent seats in the bunch.) Brad, Jenny, Chad, Kate (and, after half-time, Nate) and I were all in the Club Level, but Brad gave me the seat right on the 50 yard line. Awwww. Now that's love. And also probably the very best seat I will ever have for a pro football game. I did take a moment to soak that up!

Even though the Colts lost, I did relish being able to commiserate with my fellow Colts fans that evening and the next day. We rehashed the game, went over the "what if's" and consoled each other with high hopes for the rest of the season (or at least the playoffs). This is a luxury Brad and I never experience out here in the land of Charger/49er/Raider fans!

So, below are some favorite pictures from the weekend. And for those of you who were able to come out for the fun - send me your pictures, too! I'll be sure to post some of them in the blog, as well!

We planned so many drinks that I had to make a list. There was no way I could remember them all to tell everyone!

To accompany the alcohol we also got to use the pretty champagne glasses and martini glasses that rarely see the light of day. So fun to get to use all those wedding presents!

Literally five minutes after Nate arrived, fresh from his redeye, he had a Red Trolley in one hand and a Tom and Jerry in the other. By the way, I absolutely love that Nate sports a Freeney jersey. That seems right for some reason.

Breakfast is served! The party started at 9:00 a.m. and went through appetizers and lunch until the cabs came at 4:00 p.m.! Bonnie's Christmas Casserole was a hit and made Brad and me feel like it was Christmas morning.

Brad and Jen posing proudly by the beloved keg o' Red Trolley, one of Brad's "Top Five" beers.

Chad, Nate and Jen look on as Brad experiments making a Nuts and Berries martini. (And uses our shaker for the first time in four years! Finally!)

A proud moment: Kate, Chad's fiancé, who is from Australia, put on her first Colts' jersey (Brad's Harbaugh jersey). She is officially initiated. Note Chad beaming with pride to the right.

Lunchtime. Chad had been waiting with bated breath for one of Brad's grilled brats, boiled first in Red Trolley, naturally. (I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of Brad hard at work at the grill! He did a great job.)

There was a lot of relaxing, munching on snacks, chatting and watching football to get in the mood for the game.

The whole group (minus Jen) right before the cabs came to cart us away to the game. As well as our Indy friends, two of Jenny's singing friends and some friends of Chad's joined us. Certainly the more the merrier!

Jenny and me in front of the stadium.

Walking proudly through the tailgaters into the stadium. There were A LOT of Colts fans there!

The view of the Colts' first possession from my excellent and primo seat in the stadium.

After returning from the game and having dessert, Nate decided that one more beer and one more brat was needed before turning in for the night. Nate was the trooper of the weekend. He flew in Sunday morning after a redeye and was the last to go to bed Sunday night. Quite impressive!

All of us gathered for a farewell and birthday brunch for Jenny Monday morning at a favorite neighborhood spot.
Happy Birthday to Jen, Brad and Marry, who are all celebrating November birthdays!
Around the table clockwise - Me, Nate, Jenny, Mike, Mary, Brad, Chad and Kate

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Visit from Blair and Gina

Last night we had so much fun catching up with Meagan's fellow Butler Alpha Phi, Gina, and her husband, Blair (a former Butler baseball player). Blair is now a pastor, and the two of them are in town for a Christian outreach conference. I think the last time I saw Gina was when I sang for her wedding seven years ago! She's just as sweet as I remember, and we're so glad they could spend the evening with us. Stangely enough, we also discovered that Brad and Blair share the same birthday tomorrow (Nov. 9)! Happy 3-1 to you both!

Just another cute pic - Cal and Gracie received some fun new squeaker toys after I returned from Florida. Gracie obviously loves hers!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Meagan Goes to Florida

So, I (Meagan, as opposed to Brad who actually never authors these posts), just returned from singing a recital on a concert series in Florida with my Mom. It is great fun whenever we get to sing together, and it went really well! I am quite mad at myself for not taking more pictures while I was there, but I did get a couple. My favorite part of my Florida visits is eating at our favorite spots and then bragging about it to Brad! As you will see, I started off my trip at Cracker Barrel, which we lack out here in SD. Along with lots of other good food, we had a lovely day shopping in St. Augustine, which is near where Mom and Dad live. If you've never been there, I highly recommend it for a fun vacation. It's America's oldest continuous city and has a small, European feel with many great shops and restaurants.

Meanwhile, Brad had a great "guy" weekend. He rented movies he knew I wouldn't want to watch (Transformers anyone?), ate late-night Papa John's and even went to an SDSU football game. He almost left at half-time, but then SDSU rallied from being down 21-0 to beat Wyoming. Not bad for a $5 ticket.

Looking ahead, Brad and I are extremely excited for this weekend. Our friends Chad, Kate, Mike, Mary, Nate and my sister Jenny are all coming out for the Chargers/Colts game. We managed to get a handful of single seats in the sold-out Qualcom stadium. It promises to be quite the party! Definitely stay tuned for pictures of that event.

And as for the Colts game this past Sunday (Ugh! I forgot how it feels to lose!), I can only refer you to our good friend Tyler Smith's blog. I couldn't sum it up any better. Visit:
He also happens to be an excellent writer. Below I have a couple pictures describing how we root the Colts on out here in CA.

After arriving in Florida at 6:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. CA time!) we headed straight to Cracker Barrel for provisions.

While I didn't manage to take pictures of our other outings, I did manage a couple of my cat Gershwin, who has been my parents' cat for about five years now. (Brad is VERY allergic.) Gershwin is extremely happy in his Florida home and constantly rolls over to show me his massive, white belly. (He's lost a bit of weight though - down to 17.5 from 20 lbs.)

When the Colts aren't on TV or in town, we like to go to JT's Pub to watch the games. Not only is it a nice place to catch the game, but also the people watching is priceless.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Wild Animal Park and the Fires

Just a couple weeks ago Brad and I spent an afternoon at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. This is a different park than the famous San Diego Zoo. The Wild Animal Park is located quite a bit North of the city and is 1800 acres. By contrast, the San Diego Zoo is 100 acres and is located downtown in Balboa Park. The Wild Animal Park is set up like a giant safari with many different species of animal roaming freely together. (Don't worry - the carnivores are housed in their own free-roaming enclosures!) It is a wonderful park, and I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Unfortunately, the Witch Creek Fire burned 600 acres of the park this week. Thankfully, only two animals were lost due to the stress of the evacuations - none to fire. This was mostly thanks to the staff that worked for two days to evacuate any animals that were in danger. Many of these species are endangered and the animals in the park represent a significant portion of those animals left in the world! Not to mention the fact that many of the employees themselves were evacuated from their own homes, 10 of which lost their homes all together in the fires.

Thankfully, the large portion where the animals are held was safe - mostly due to the design of the park, which keeps fire prevention in mind. Below there is a link to an article from the San Diego Union Tribune that talks about what was done to save the amimals - pretty amazing. The park is already open again. I also included some of our pictures from a couple weeks ago.

As for a fire update, life seems to be returning to normal a bit. The weather has cooled thanks to the change in wind, and we even had a cloudy day today! The fires are still burning though - they are between 20-50% contained. An unbelievable amount of acreage and homes have been lost. Now we are starting to hear the stories of people returning to their damaged or lost homes. It is all very sad. But there have also been amazing stories of the generosity throughout the city. Some evacuation sites had more donations than they could even handle. I thought that was pretty amazing.

Enjoy the pictures and the article!

Here are a couple views of the expanse of the park. If you click on the picture you can see a larger version. In the photos you'll notice various kind of animal roaming together.

A lion asleep on top of a "broken down" safari car. All you see behind him is part of the park, as well.

One of the many giraffes that came to see what our "safari" car was all about.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fire Update (See Original Post Below)

Hello again, everyone.
Things are still going okay and there is a glimmer of hope here. They've lifted a few of the evacuations, so some of the half-million people (hopefully including some of Brad's coworkers and my students) that were evacuated will get to go home. The fires are not under control, but the winds are changing. So, that is the good news.

We still woke up this morning to the smell of a campfire, however. I don't know if these pictures do it justice, but you can probably see some of the difference in the look of the canyon behind our house.

This is how it normally looks - crystal clear and blue sky.

I took this photo this morning. The sky is white instead of blue and you can see the cloud of smoke hanging down into the cayon.

Back Home Again....You know the song.

This weekend we had the most wonderful time in Indiana catching up with old friends and celebrating Jason Brown's wedding. Jason is a friend from our days at Zionsville High School, so it was also a chance to see some people that we haven't seen in years! In some ways, it was the 10-year reunion we missed a two summers ago.

As soon as we walked off our redeye, Bob and Bonnie greeted us with Bob's famous grilled venison and a selection of Wisconsin cheeses and condiments. Mmmmmm. God bless the Midwest! If you haven't had Bob's venison, insist on an invite a.s.a.p. We then had a wonderful time at the rehearsal dinner, held at Jason and Lauren's beautiful new home, and the following day a wonderful time at the wedding. Sunday we met Tyler Smith, another Zionsville alum who teaches at Illinois State, for brunch and then spent the rest of our visit hanging out with friends and family.

We were blessed with a couple gorgeous 70 degree fall days, as you will see below. Even the rainy day that followed felt cozy and "fall-y". And getting to see the leaves beginning to turn was especially wonderful. We really miss the change of seasons!

Following are some picture highlights. I wish that I had remembered to take a picture of Miriam, one of my dearest friends, and me during our day hanging out. We were just too busy talking! You will all just have to take my word that she looks gorgeous and we had a great time. And thanks to everyone who spent time with us and made it a great visit!

P.S. Below there is another post from today about returning to the San Diego fires.

Brad and Tyler having brunch at Brix in Zionsville:

For those of you who have never been to Zionsville, IN, here is our lovely main street. It's a great little town!

Meeting Polly, Andrew and "Baby Jones" for dinner at Bravo:

And some favorite pictures from Brown's wedding...
Bob Todd got this line dance going during the reception! (White shirt, yellow tie, right in the middle....)

Just like high school - Brad, Bill and Louis:

Larry Metzing had the great idea for tequila shots. Crazy! I was doing a shot with Ryan Metzing's dad. Ha!

Like father, like son:

Heather, Louis's lovely wife, and me. It was so great to catch up with Louis and Heather. We miss those guys!

The four of us in one of Meagan's famous timer pictures.