Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Best Video?

Mom sent this to me. The subject was "Best Video of the Year...Or Any Year for that Matter". I was skeptical, but they were right. Absolutely unbelievable. Why don't we get to see more news like this?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Birthday and More

Hello, Everyone! Below are some pics from my 30th (Yes, the big 3-0) birthday, which was Jan. 12th. Considering that I had five hours of rehearsal that day, it was a pretty good birthday! Brad and I celebrated the Thursday before, which is my only free night these days. We had a great dinner at a new spot, The Guild, and then had drinks at a favorite bar in the Gaslamp district of San Diego. On my actual birthday that Saturday we went to my favorite brunch spot, Park House, and then I was on to rehearsal.

As you will see, my new opera chorus friends came through for me and helped me celebrate during our dinner break that day. We went to a San Diego brewery, Karl Strauss, and had a really fun dinner. Even some of the leads from Tannhäuser joined us. It was fun to have a bit of a birthday party!

I also threw in a couple pictures of some of us grabbing drinks after a recent rehearsal. We opened Tannhäuser this past weekend and am already rehearsing the next show. It is all going well, though busy! Nothing too much else going on - lots of teaching and Brad is up in SF this week for work. He's looking forward to a trip back to Indy in a few weeks for a visit. I can't go due to rehearsals, but plan on living vicariously through him. I believe he and Bob are even going to take in a Butler game!

Miss you all and hope you are well.

Ready to go out to dinner. The pups had to stay home, but paused for a picture:

A "self-portrait" while having drinks at a favorite bar, Bittersweet:

Out to brunch at Park House before rehearsal. Homemade chorizo - yum!

About 15 of us out to dinner at Karl Strauss for my birthday during our dinner break:

Out for drinks after rehearsal - my old bud Nick Hartley is in his second year as an apprentice with SD Opera and is also singing in the chorus. It's been fun to catch up!

Some of my new chorus friends, Julia and Courtney:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Long Overdue

I know, I know - way behind. But in my defense, we didn't have high speed over the holiday in Vermont, I've been sick (twice! ugh!), then our home internet didn't work all this past week AND I have rehearsal almost every single day at SD Opera. But enough of my excuses. Here is a complete update of our December. It was a lovely Christmas. And thank you to all of you who sent cards and adorable pictures of you and your families. They are still covering our fridge and making me smile.

So, enjoy the following five entries from today. I'll post again later this week to catch you up on January and my 30th birthday, too!

All the best,
Meagan (and Brad)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Christmas at Home

Christmas began with our own celebration here in San Diego on the 23rd. We had a fun night of wine, cheese and opening presents from each other and the Todds before taking off for Vermont on Christmas Eve.

Cal and Gracie got their own presents before leaving to spend the holiday with our wonderful pet sitter, Heather.

All set up for our Christmas - We've never gotten a big tree! We always end up with little rosemary bushes from Trader Joe's. It's become somewhat of a running joke.

I finally have a Crock Pot! This will come in handy as I have rehearsal almost every night for the next 5 months. Thanks Bob and Bonnie!

Bob and Bonnie brought us back some beautiful glasses from their trip to Ireland last year.

Christmas in Vermont

We arrived in Vermont to spend Christmas with the Searles family late on Christmas Eve after driving to the San Diego airport, taking a 6 hour flight to Boston, then a two and a half hour shuttle ride to NH, and finally a drive from Hanover, NH to Woodstock/South Pomfret, VT where my parents live. I joked to Brad that it felt like our epic journey would end with a mule ride. But it all went remarkably smoothly. For those of you who know our travels well, that is quite unexpected.

Christmas in Vermont was everything a Christmas in Vermont is supposed to be: constant fire in the fire place, a postcard view outside, mountains covered in snow, bundled up drinking hot drinks and eating good food - all around fabulous. How can people not love at least some cold during the year?! When else do you get to feel that cozy? We kept joking that it was too bad we didn't have a white Christmas, haha. (As you will see from the picture below, a white Christmas was not lacking in any way.)

Sitting down to a wonderful Christmas dinner - got to do the timer picture!

One of our presents to my parents and also my sister, Jen, were scrapbooks of our trip to England in May. It was fun to sit and relive all the funny stories.

My mother is quite the walker. Mom and Dad have their very own side of a small mountain to hike up and down with the dogs, and Mom has been known to get a bit lost. Dad's solution? A walking stick with a compass on top. She was quite excited, as you can tell.

Jenny got Dad a perfect gift - chains for the bottom of his shoes to aid in walking on the snow. He was also quite thrilled. As he likes to say, "it's a product that works."

The view out Mom and Dad's front door. Everything a girl living in San Diego could want!

Mom is standing right next to that pile of snow so that you have some perspective on how giant it was! Thankfully, they have someone to plow their steep driveway after the big snow falls, hence the enormous mound.

Mom and Dad's 15 year-old American Eskimo, Liza, is like a puppy again in the snow. She bounces around eating it every time she goes out. We call her the "snow dog." Not very original, but fitting nonetheless.

Even I had to get right in the front yard to play with the dogs. (Odie the Schnauzer is also a fan of the snow, but was a little intimidated by how deep it was!)

Christmas with Gershwin

My former cat - now my parents' cat - is a giant, 18 lb. Maine Coon named Gershwin. He never fails to provide plenty of entertainment, especially when there is a lot of paper and boxes involved. He LOVES to lay on any of these, like the trash bag of wrapping paper below:

Barely fitting in a Banana Republic box (at least he has good taste):

These pictures occurred all in about 1 minute as we sat around opening presents. By the end of Gerswhin's little show we were all crying with laughter.

Proudly sitting on a big box and staring lovingly at Brad (who is deathly allergic):

Something going terribly wrong:

The result of his 18 lbs.:

A Visit to Aloha Camp

Our first introduction to Vermont began in 1989 when we started attending Aloha Camp for two months every summer. (I know - "Aloha" Camp in Vermont? It was founded by a couple in 1905 who had been missionaries to Hawai'i. It's not a church camp however - an all-around summer camp.) I continued to go until the summer after my Junior year of high school in 1994. It was really fun to finally take Brad there. He remembers writing me letters there when I was a camper and we dated in high school (no phones or electricity at camp! - we even live in platform tents and wear uniforms). Jenny and Mom have stayed active with the camp until as recently as last summer, and have both run the music program there. It will always be a very special place for us. It certainly looked quite a bit different in the dead of winter!

Brad and Jenny posing by the Aloha sign in the main house:

And in front of the main house:

Part of the big tradition at Aloha is unveiling the nameboard for that summer before everyone heads home. They have nameboards all the way back to the beginning of the camp in 1905. For some reason, the Art department asked me to paint the design on the 1993 nameboard. So, there is my handywork, as well as Jenny's and my name that year.

We took a moment to pose out by the lake in a special spot where they sometimes do evening ceremonies during camp. The Searles Girls, as they used to call us, together again:

Fun in Vermont

Brad and I went out for a New Year's drink at a favorite restaurant in Woodstock, Bentley's. They had tons of ornaments and streamers hanging from the ceiling. And guess who was sitting right behind Brad's shoulder? Martina McBride and her family! I was hoping that they guy who took our picture would accidentally get her, too, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

The beautiful little church where Mom and Dad attend. We just love the preacher there! Delivers his sermons like Dr. Phil and has the absolute best things to say. So great.

One of the main corners in the lovely little town of Woodstock. It has a lot of great shops and restaurants and we did a lot of wandering around there. We even found a great little tavern where we watched Butler's amazing game against Southern Illinois. (And the girl who sat next to us has a brother-in-law who plays lacrosse at Butler! What are the chances?!)

One of the local breweries, Long Trail. Brad was a huge fan - especially of their "Hibernator". If you ever see it, give it a try.

Both Brad and Dad (!) got the sampler at Long Trail when we went for lunch. Very cute - served in a muffin tin.

While eating lunch at Long Trail this was the window by our table - piled with snow! At one point more snow from the roof fell on the mound and about gave us a heart attack. It sounded like someone threw a massive snowball at the window - or maybe they did. We still aren't sure.