Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

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.

The San Diego Fires

Thank you to all of you who have called, texted and emailed to see if we are okay. We really appreciate it! We just returned this morning from a long weekend in Indy/Zionsville for Jason Brown's wedding. Flying into San Diego County was truly unbelievable. It seemed wrong that we were able to fly right over these incredible fires. The plane was completely silent as everyone stared out the windows in disbelief. Seeing the lines of flames creeping over the mountains and towards large subdivisions was horrific and sobering.

Thankfully, we are quite near downtown and so far very safe where we are. There is a large fire north of us which seems to pose no threat to where we are, but is causing mass destruction. This fire, unfortunately, is devouring beautiful Palomar Mountain where we vacationed recently (see a recent post in our archives). There is also a huge fire southeast of us about 10-15 miles away. This is the one that makes us a bit nervous. As many of you know we sit on a beautiful canyon of very dry, desert vegetation. It would certainly only take an ember for our entire canyon to be in serious trouble.

That being said, we are certainly not in any immediate danger. We are going to take a few precautions - gather some important things together just in case - but there isn't any reason to worry. But please keep everyone in the city in your prayers. Some of Brad's coworkers have been evacuated or are awaiting possible evacuations. Almost all schools are closed, and the northern mandatory evacuations are only three miles from Brad's work. It is all very real and scary at the moment.

The pictures below illustrate our biggest problem. There is a brown haze hanging over the entire county giving us all headaches and asthma. While we are 10 - 15 miles away from the fire, downtown (see below) is more like 20 miles away. You can see the vast difference between a normal day and our current situation in these pictures.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers!

A picture of downtown taken a couple weeks ago when Mom and Dad were visiting:

A picture of downtown taken today from the airport:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sharon and David visit San Diego

We had the most wonderful time with Mom and Dad this past weekend. They were only here for about 4 and a half days, but we packed it full of fun and food, as you will see from the pics below.

Come visit us! We'll show you a good time here in SD!

We started with an AMAZING brunch at the famous Hotel del Coronado in the Crown Room. Not only was the room amazing, but below is just one of five giant tables holding every amazing food you could think of, sushi and chocolate fountain included. Mmmmmm.

Mom and Dad standing in the patio bar at the Hotel del Coronado.

Having dessert at our absolute favorite dessert spot, Heaven Sent. The Dutch Apple Pie is to die for!

I highly recommend the South Harbor Cruise with Harbor Excursions if you come to San Diego. You sail past all the Naval ships docked here in San Diego, second largest Naval port only to Norfolk, VA. They tell you all about each ship, how many sailors it holds, what its purpose is, when it got into port, where it was, etc. It is really fascinating and mind-boggling. This is a ship in "dry dock" being repaired. To see a ship this big completely lifted out of the water is amazing.

Mom and Dad as we started out on our Harbor Cruise.

We took Mom and Dad to get THE BEST burrito, possibly the country's best, at Cuatros Milpas. It's a tiny little hole-in-the-wall that has been there for 70 years. The tortillas are like crepes made with lard. Mmmmmm. And the carnitas tastes like it has been braised in beer for a couple days. Oh my. I love this place.

Mom and Dad standing in front of the first tee at Torrey Pines. New sod and lots of watering going on - getting ready for the '08 open!

Fun trying to take a timer picture with the dogs. Cal and Gracie were big Grandma and Grandpa Searles fans.

Humans only, finally.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Man of La Mancha, Continued

Here are a few more pictures that I promised. We started our second weekend of performances last night to another standing ovation. I'm getting spoiled!

My Mom and Dad arrive tomorrow and we are very excited for them to come. More pictures to follow!

This is the inside of the theater, which doesn't do it justice at all as the lights aren't on. If you get a chance check out this link:
It has some really beautiful pictures of the place. I feel so blessed to get to perform in such a gorgeous theater!

One side of the theater

The theater is right by the neighborhood sign for North Park. All the old neighborhoods in San Diego have these neat, old signs in the middle of their main streets. And, naturally, there is a Starbucks in the corner of the theater building.

The front of the theater (another view of the picture above) with Man of La Mancha in the Marquee. Right underneath the Marquee is a bar and restaurant called Hawthorne's. It opens into the lobby of the theater, so we all often head straight into it for a drink after the show. Every theater should have a restaurant and bar in the lobby!

Me in my full Antonia garb. Pretty Shakespearean, huh?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Man of La Mancha, Opening Weekend

Hello, Everyone!

I had promised an update of the opening weekend of Man of La Mancha. I took a few pictures on Sunday, and there are a couple below. I'm going to try to get some of the set, etc., this weekend and have some more for you. I may have the opportunity to buy professional shots at some point. If and when that happens, I will scan them and put them up, as well. Those are always the most fun to see (like the ones on my website - you get a feel for the whole show). I also need to get a few pics of the theater - it is an old, restored movie theater and is GORGEOUS inside. A great place to see a show.

The show has been going SO well. Each performance is close to sold out and we've received four standing ovations in a row! I've been surprised how much I have come to really like Man of La Mancha. The cast is truly top notch, and the directing/choreography is great, too. It is perhaps the most polished show I've been in; by the time we finally had an audience we were so ready! It is also a really small cast, and there are only 5 girls in the show. We've all gotten to know each other pretty well over the past month. The cast party on Sunday was really fun!

You can visit to see more about the show and company.

Next weekend my Mom and Dad are coming all the way from Florida for a visit and to see the Sunday matinee. We are so excited! Dad hasn't seen our house yet, and neither of them have met Cal. I'm sure we'll have lots of fun pictures to share after their visit.

This is me as Antonia and Mike Dooling, who plays my fiancé, the somewhat evil Dr. Carasco. It's so fun - I get to play a very selfish, kind of mean character for once! We are standing like this because it has become our "go-to" pose on stage, haha. Mike is also going to dog-sit for us in a couple weeks when we head home to Indy for Jason Brown's wedding. He had a shepherd/collie mix growing up, so he'll feel right at home with Cal and Gracie!

I sometimes wander into the guy's dressing room during the show (after they are all done changing, naturally!). The girl's room is up on the 2nd floor and takes way too much energy to get to, and the boys talk about sports! On the left is Chris, who is the baritone soloist at our church. He's looking up the Colts' score for me on his phone in this picture. On the right is Willie. We recently had a lively debate about the pros and cons of the draft system. (Charger fans are still a bit bitter about Eli shunning them years ago.)

Always wonder what the performers are doing during intermission? Chatting in the Green Room. Pretty exciting, huh?