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