Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

San Diego Opera's Cav/Pag

Though I had to bow out of the last two opera's of San Diego Opera's season due to our move next week, I am definitely going out on a high note. Right now we are performing Cavelleria Rusticana and Pagliacci (two short operas - a double header and Cav/Pag for short). They have very fun and active choruses, great music and beautiful costumes that were built just for us!

We have TWO world-famous tenors singing the lead roles, Richard Leach in Cav and José Cura in Pagliacci. Oh my goodness. They are both amazing, but Cura is maybe the best voice I have ever heard live. It is what I imagine Fanco Corelli, one of the best tenors that has ever lived, would sound like live. Cura has performed Pagliacci over 100 times all over the world and has even conducted at some of the great opera houses and symphonies, too! He is obviously an amazing musician and sings so confidently and freely. Then add the fact that he has a perfectly built instrument, is handsome and a wonderful actor. I can't believe that I get to stand inches away from him as he sings - I can literally see down his throat!!! I almost can't concentrate after some of his high notes. It's has truly been a defining moment in my singing career. He does have a great website:

Anyway, it's a wonderful way to end my time in San Diego. Here are a few backstage pics.

The banner hanging from the Civic Center theater showing Richard Leach and José Cura.

Hanging out in our dressing room - we each have our assigned mirrored spot and "closet" where our costumes hang.

My good friends Julia and Courtney - all of us in our Cav costumes.

My full Cav costume. Looks like Mary Poppins, huh? Like the wig?

Courtney, me and our good friend, Victoria, in our Pag costumes.

My full Pag costume. I love this one - reminds me of Jane Seymore in Somewhere in Time.

A Visit with the Moss Family!

We were so blessed to have Cori, Pat, Olivia and Jacob Moss make the trip from L.A. to San Diego to spend a day and night with us. Our families go way back - I nannied for Olivia (a.k.a. Osha to me) back before Brad and I were married and then some during our first year of marriage. Cori, Pat and Osh even made the cross-country trip to our wedding in 2003 so that Olivia could be our flower girl! Our families have always had a special place in each other's hearts.

It had been years since we had seen the Moss family - since before we moved to San Francisco in 2004! But it was like a day hadn't passed. Olivia has grown into such a beautiful, sweet and intelligent 7 year-old (!) girl, and now there is the adorable and rolly-polly baby bro Jacob, too! We had so much fun hanging out at the house, playing with the dogs and then a fun day at San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.

Thank you, Moss Fam, for a great visit!

Olivia and I were first up and had a lovely breakfast together. Brad and I got her this horse and Olivia introduced her favorite toy, Cherry Bear, to her new friend, Fudge the Horse.

Happy Baby Jacob! He has just learned to walk and was very excited about his new independence.

The dogs were SO great with Olivia. We had a lot of fun playing ball. Then we took some pictures for Olivia to turn into a book about her experience. (She's quite the writer!) This is Luke, who we nicknamed "The Chomper" due to him chomping on tennis balls.

We dubbed Cal "The Kisser" thanks to a nice sloppy kiss Olivia received up the back of her head.

And Gracie is known as "The Boss" because, well, she is! Olivia's book was titled: The Chomper, The Kisser and the Boss and she dedicated it to us!

Olivia kept a list of "Animals and Things" while we were at the Wild Animal Park. When we left she was up to somewhere around 70.

Jacob was very helpful in pointing out where we should have lunch on the map!

Sleeping Lions - note the cubs inside the truck!

Daddy lion and one of the cubs - they have seven cubs right now!

One of the HUGE Asian Elephants that put on a great show for us.

Olivia LOVED the fans that sprayed cooling water on us in the 90 degree heat that day.

The Moss Family

Me, Brad and Osh

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Favorite Photos of the Last Week

Here are some fun pictures from the past week, or so. It's been a busy but fun one. We're also getting closer to our move on April 5! I'm sure we'll have more to share of our last few weeks in San Diego coming up.

I've made some great friends here in the San Diego Opera's chorus. We've spent almost every evening together since mid-Dec., so it's a good thing we like each other! Some of us went out Sat. night to celebrate an early St. Pat's Day.
This is Courtney, Todd, Me and Julia at my favorite martini bar downtown.

Courtney, Me and Julia laughing, as always. I can't believe that the chorus master at the opera hasn't separated us in rehearsals.

Our wonderful chorus friend, Victoria, and her husband, Simeon, who is doing a great job as a principle in Pagliacci.

Julia was a big fan of the Almond Joy martini - every last little piece of coconut had to be retrieved from the bottom of the glass.

She'll probably kill me for putting this picture up, but it was too funny. This is now what I see when Julia calls me on my iphone.

Brad was lucky enough to be in San Fran for business at the same time his good friend, Keith, was also there. They both met up with Meghan Boots, one of my Butler Alpha Phi sorority sisters, to root on the Bulldogs in the Horizon League tournament. Here they are at our favorite San Fran Italian spot, Ristorante Milano. I'm so jealous! I dream about their homemade noodles and lasagna.

Cal fell asleep with his head on my feet the other day. I managed to turn the computer around in my lap and take a picture with the camera on our Mac. So cute. I rarely make a move without two-three German Shepherds flanking me. Sometimes Luke even steps on the backs of my shoes he's so close!

Poor, sweet Luke. I had to take a picture that shows how terribly skinny he is right now! His appetite is just unbelievable now that he is comfy in our house. He definitely needs some fattening up and can't seem to get enough food! Hopefully, you'll be able to see a difference in months to come. Cal was 20-25 lbs underweight when we got him and it took him a good 6 months to fill out.

Vicious Gracie! Gracie and Cal just LOVE to wrestle. They sound and look so vicious when they play (look at that face!) and then stop and wag their tails. It's so funny.

The also like to stand and fight sometimes. I tried to capture my favorite pose when they put their paws on each other's shoulders and look like bears, but this one is pretty good, too.

On Sunday Brad and I got In-N-Out Burger. Now that is something I will miss from our time on the west coast. If you've never had In-N-Out, next time you're out here you have to see if there is one near you. Everything is very fresh, never frozen and SO good. And I'm not even a hamburger lover. I had to take a picture to remember it after we leave.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Luke's first week...

You know, all dogs are very different from each other. In the week or so that we have had Luke we are already getting a preview of some of his "quirks". He is a very, very good boy. Lovable and energetic when playing, calm and curled up at your feet when relaxing. Just great. Then, just when you think he is normal, he breaks out the quirks.

It's a bit hard on poor Luke when you leave him alone. After all, he's been through a lot in his three years. But even just in a week he's become more comfortable being left alone. Now he tends to focus his nerves on items around the house. His favorites are placed on a counter, table or shelf. Seeing as he is almost as tall as me, this is hardly an obstacle.

Now, being the good boy that he is, there really isn't destruction or chewing involved. (Save for a butter dish that he knocked off and broke. Then all three dogs seem to have eaten the butter inside - wrapper and all! It simply disappeared!) He just really likes to "place" things. For instance, the blanket in which I'd been wrapped up, he lays on his bed; the box in which we place our mail is thoughtfully carried into the living room - all mail still nicely intact within the box. But tonight when I got home from rehearsal (Brad is in San Francisco) he had really outdone himself. I'm beginning to look forward (with only a mild sense of dread) to the surprises that await me when I walk in the door. See the visual aids below for Luke's latest, um, statement.

Luke, Cal and Gracie all had a bath this weekend, as well. I wasn't sure how that was going to work at the do-it-yourself dog wash, but we've got a good system, I think. We stuck Cal and Gracie in one tub and Brad washed them together, much to Cal's delight. It was as if he'd been wanting that all along. Gracie really didn't care either way. Meanwhile, I washed Luke in his own tub and he was fabulously calm.

The sad part was getting TO the dog wash. When I lead Gracie and Cal into the garage on their leashes, Brad following behind with Luke, Luke just FREAKED out! It was like he thought Cal and Gracie were going away. Makes sense when you think about all the dogs he probably saw come and go at the breeder's, shelter and rescue. I'm sure he thought they were being taken away or he was going to a new home. He got himself so worked up he was almost hyperventilating, poor thing. He was making the most awful doggy sobbing sound. We just stood there and waited for him to calm down, which took probably about 10 minutes.

The sweetest thing was when we returned home. You could tell that Luke was surprised to arrive at the same house and we were all still together. He was like a joyful puppy the rest of the day. I think it is starting to click for him that he isn't going anywhere, but he has a bit more to go. I remember the same process with Cal. That's the wonderful thing about a rescue dog. They are just so incredibly grateful.

So, enjoy these few pictures. I hope you are all well! Less than a month until our move to Indiana!

Curled up and innocent:

What the bottom shelf of our "pantry" typically looks like:

Luke's work for the night - I didn't touch a thing before taking this picture:

Threw in some dish towels for good measure...

Handsome boy:

Goofy boy:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Dog!

On Saturday we added a new German Shepherd, Luke, to the family! Like Cal, Luke was rescued from the Westside German Shepherd Rescue in L.A. and he's fitting right into the family already. Hard to believe he's only been here since Saturday afternoon. I can already see how they are going to all be best buds. Seeing as Gracie went through a transition like this when we got Cal she has been completely unconcerned. Cal started out being a little protective over Brad and me, but he also has relaxed and frequently invites Luke to play. Today they both spent the entire morning "clomping" around together and letting me know that they wanted me to get up.

Luke, like Gracie, is about 3 years old. Cal is the youngster at about 2. They are all, thankfully, pretty much out of puppyhood and are nice, calm dogs as long as we get some good ball sessions in. They pretty much sleep all day - life is hard for a dog.

We can't wait to see these three running in a giant yard in Indiana. They're going to be very happy!

Below: Adopting Cal from the Westside German Shepherd Rescue in L.A. He was bounced around from a high kill shelter, the kennel at the rescue, a foster home and now finally home with us. He also must have spent some time tied up outside because one of his ears shows signs of being fly-bitten. You can tell he thinks he's hit the jackpot here with us!
(He has a breeder tattoo and looks to be from German import lines, but no one wanted him 'cause of his floppy ear! Crazy, huh?)

Testing out his new bed on the ride home from the rescue

The view from the dining room table as I work on my taxes

Gracie and Luke cuddling

Luke with his new toy

A backyard portrait

Worn out after a busy day

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So much news, So little time

As many of you may have heard:


I've been holding off on another Blog entry for over two weeks as we waited to see what would happen. We are so excited to be moving back to the Indy area. Brad got an offer from a wonderful recruiting firm in Keystone this past Tuesday and we accepted it. (Thanks Ryan Metzing for making the introduction!!!) So, after I finish my last performance with San Diego Opera on April 2 we will load up both cars to caravan across the country. Hopefully, we will be arriving at our new home! Brad is spontaneously heading to Indy tonight through Sunday to begin our home search. It is all so exciting!

I have so much more to tell all of you, and one of MY goals for the weekend (since I have to stay in San Diego for rehearsals) is to give you a complete update with visual aids. So, be sure to check back soon and often for all the news and highlights.

Can't wait to spend more time with all of you in the Midwest and on the East Coast. For those of you in California, thanks for a fun 10 years for Brad and almost 5 for Meagan! We certainly wouldn't trade our time out here for anything.

More to come....