Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun around Indy

The rest of our week has been full of fun. On Thursday I got to have a nice, long lunch with Polly and Baby Oliver at a new, very quirky restaurant called Zest. I can't wait to go back and try more of their food. And lunches with Polly and Oliver might need to be a regular event. He's such a good baby! Just sits and looks at everyone, taking in everything, and then falls asleep for a nap. Such a sweetie. And it was so lovely to get to talk one on one with Polly. As much as we love having the husbands around, girl time is a necessity.

Miriam invited Brad and me to join a group of her friends for "Welly Night" on Friday. We all met at The Wellington, a cute little English Pub-style bar in one of my favorite Indy neighborhoods, Broad Ripple. This is an every-other-week ritual for this group of friends. I think it's a great idea. Everyone was so nice and funny. We had a lot of fun telling "embarassing moment" stories and laughing until we cried. We should write a book. Everyone had some really unbelievable stories to reveal. Brad and I are looking forward to becoming better friends with everyone and being "Welly" regulars.

Today, Saturday, Miriam and I had a great lunch at a chi-chi restaurant called Meridian. Then we went to IRT and saw probably the best play I've ever seen, Looking Over the President's Shoulder. I've always been impressed with IRT productions, and this was truly exceptional. It is a one-man show based on the true story of a man who was head butler of the White House for 21 years. He served under Hoover, FDR, Truman and Eisenhower. It was about 90 minutes long and the actor was unbelievable. If you ever get a chance to see it, I would highly, highly recommend it. And for those of you who live in Indy - go! You won't be sorry, especially if you love history.

Just a few visual aids. I wish I had taken pictures at lunch with Polly and also at Welly night, but there will be other opportunities, I'm sure!

Driving home from lunch with Polly (after I stopped at my favorite new dessert spot, The Flying Cupcake - Oh my, the Red Velvet Elvis is SO good!) I spotted this house. I turned around to take a picture. I mean, there it is in the urban, renovated houses of Broad Ripple in all its glory. I'm a Colts fan and all, but this is some serious devotion.

If you know this man, tell him that Miriam and I love his handlebar mustache! We were eating our lunch today at Meridian and saw him out the window. I used the zoom on my camera to sneak a picture. Amazing. I don't think I've ever seen a mustache like that, save in period films. Fabulous. (Click on the pic for a larger view.)

After the play today Miriam and I spied this chair in the mall. It was crying out for us to sit in it.

Indianapolis Indians Game

On Wednesday Bob (Brad's dad) had a great idea - we went to a day game for the Indianapolis Indians, Indy's AAA minor league team. I'd heard that Victory Field is supposedly the nicest minor league venue in the country and knew that it was built about 10 years ago. I was so impressed! It's just as nice as a major league stadium, though smaller, and is situated with the city just behind it. It was a gorgeous day, the nachos were excellent (pretty much my one and only requirement at a baseball game) and though the Indians lost, it was an exciting game towards the end. And quite the bargain, too! Our seats were right behind home plate and a total steal. I may just become an Indians fan.

Walking up to Victory Field in downtown Indy. A beautiful spring day - 85 degrees!

Brad and Bob enjoying the game.

The view from our seats. Probably the nicest baseball seats we'll ever have.

A glimpse of the new Lucas Oil Stadium (a.k.a. "The Luke") where the Colts will play starting this coming season. They closed the roof for the first time the other day. It's a beautiful stadium - very different. I'm crossing my fingers we get to go to a game somehow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ESPN names Colts #1!

This is very cool...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chicago with the Girls

This past weekend Miriam, Nina Barcha and I headed up to Chicago to visit our friend, Kat. All of us were in the same Alpha Phi pledge class at Butler. It was so great to catch up with Nina and Kat, who I hadn't seen in years! We had a wonderful visit, as you can probably tell from the pictures. Lunch on Saturday, followed by a lazy afternoon of wine, giant desserts, naps and Sex and The City DVD's. (That's so much fun to watch with the girls. Brad and I watch it sometimes, but with the girls you laugh at completely different things.)

Saturday night we got all cleaned up (and it turns out we clean up pretty well, haha) and had a fabulous sushi dinner at Coast, followed by drinks at Fulton Lounge and Richard's. We didn't turn in until 3 a.m.! It was quite the fun evening.

Sunday was a beautiful day, so we ate brunch outside. Then Nina, Miriam and I headed back to Indy. This might definitely have to become a regular event. It was such a great welcome back to the Midwest, that's for sure!

Out to lunch. Our waiter Tim took very good care of us - we kept ordering extras: another side of fries, three massive desserts, more sauce in which to dip the fries...We may have driven him a bit crazy.

Waiting for a cab on our way to dinner...

Drinks at Fulton Lounge

A friend of a friend gave a bunch of us a ride to Richard's. Nina may have broken his Elvis in half. Whoops.

Drinks at Richard's.

Dinner with the Jones

I was so excited to FINALLY get to join Polly, Andrew and their new baby, Oliver, for dinner. Oliver just turned 4 mos. and we had never met him! He was just as precious as in his pictures. I wanted to gobble him up. He's everything a baby should be - a smiley, rolie-polie bundle.

Polly and Andrew treated Brad and me to wonderful grilled pork tenderloin and cheese grits, which we dubbed "grits crack". I had to have thirds! Brad and I contributed a great wine from our time in CA and Black Forest Cherry crepes. Not too shabby! We've always loved to eat together, that is for sure.

Thanks, P and A for a great evening!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Home in Zionsville, IN

Since returning to Indiana we've been making our home at Brad's parents, Bob and Bonnie Todd, until we get settled. I know, most people can't imagine moving in with their in-laws, but I happen to have the BEST in-laws in the world. They are just so sweet - cleaning out closets to make room for our clothes, fixing up the garage for the dogs, and Bonnie even turned Brad's old room into the cutest sitting room for us. We've been very comfy.

The dogs LOVE the giant yard they have to play lots of ball. I was worried they would take off and rum into everyone else's yard, but they have been perfect. Even when other dogs are out in their yards, Luke, Cal and Gracie keep chasing that ball with a lot of focus - they are working dogs, I guess. Otherwise they have been hanging out on the Todd's large deck, which they seem to love. It has lots of room to play and is a perfect place to sit and watch the neighborhood.

The dogs have definitely been a lot more hyper and "bark-y" since arriving here. I've been wondering what happened to those sleepy dogs that used to just follow me around the house and hang out at my feet. But there are lots of new noises, smells, people here, and a new home on top of it all. We're also having to go through a bit of patio and garage "housebreaking". They seem a bit confused if these areas are inside or outside, which is logical. I guess if some extra energy, barking and a few accidents are the worst that happens, we're doing pretty well.

Poor Luke also had a vet apt. the other day. I'd noticed that his stiches from his neutering were looking really irritated and bleeding some. We've had him for over a month now, and the stitches didn't seem to be falling out or disintegrating. Guess what the problem was? The vet, Dr. Wasem - the best vet in the entire world; I love this guy - discovered that they were METAL stiches! No one told us! I bet they didn't even know at the rescue. The stitches looked like little pieces of barbed wire when they took them out. Poor Luke. But he's feeling much better now. He was so sweet while at the vet. He got very shy and hid behind my legs just poking his head out to look around. But he let Dr. Wasem poke and prod with no trouble at all. Luke's such a gentle giant.

Last night I got to finally go out with one of my very best friends, Miriam. It was just like old times. We went to our very favorite clothing story, Anthropologie. Then we headed to our favorite Greek place, Hella's, and ordered what we always used to get. (See picture below - yes, I took a picture. I've missed this place!) It was like not a day had passed and I had never moved away. There was even the same belly dancer with the same moves when we walked into the restaurant! Next weekend I'm heading to Chicago with Miriam to spend time with a couple sorority sisters, Kat and Nina. Should be fun!

Right now we're sitting and watching the Masters. Later on I'm looking forward to some of Bob's grilled venison for dinner. Brad and I also grabbed some BW's for lunch. I can't believe I can get that any time I want now. Gosh, that hot sauce is so good!

Posing in front of their favorite new spot, Bob and Bonnie's sloping backyard.

Handsome Luke on the deck.

Tired pups after playing ball.

Happy Gracie - she's a big fan of the Indiana spring so far. She even liked the warm rain and she always HATED rain before!

Miriam in front of her Prism. She's about to get a new car, so I had to take a picture when she came to pick me up at Bob and Bonnie's. We've gone a lot of places in that Prism!

Ah, the Meagan and Miriam special. We don't like to share either, so don't try and sway us from our regular order - a platter of Greek dips, calamari and a Greek salad.

Back at Hella's after all these years!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Road Trip Back to Indiana

What a crazy week! It started on Friday the 5th with loading the truck ourselves. I don't know how professional movers get that done in only a couple hours. It took us 10! We were so grateful that Sam, Nick and Todd (friends from San Diego Opera and family friends, too) came over to help for an hour with the heaviest stuff. We certainly couldn't have done it without them!

On Sat. the drive began. We loaded (and I mean LOADED) up the cab of the truck and the Jetta. Luke road with Brad in the truck and Cal and Gracie shared the Jetta. I managed to recline the front passenger seat all the way back, cover that seat, the back seat and the seat wells with cushions, tarps and blankets. It turned out to be perfect. There was not an inch to spare, but the dogs and I were quite comfy. (When I got in the car that morning I couldn't find a spot for my can of Diet Coke or my purse, which had to ride in the back window the entire trip!)

Our trip took four days. It's definitely possible to do it in about two and a half, but with the truck being a bit slow and our stops needing extra time for the dogs, four days made it comfortable. We got quite the routine down. I drove about 15/20 minutes ahead of Brad. We would drive for about 4/4.5 hours until I found a truckstop with a Subway attached, or something. Then we'd meet at that exit, get gas, walk the dogs and shove in some food. We'd go another 4 hours or so until we got to that evening's Super 8 (most of them take pets). Then Brad would go get us takeout while I stayed with the dogs in the room.

Things went surprisingly smooth. The dogs loved the car ride and slept the entire time. Poor Luke was a bit scared every time we would leave the car or hotel, not knowing if he was going to be dropped off somewhere along the way. A couple times he even refused to get out of the cab of the truck! Kind of sad - still a bit scarred from whatever he went through before his life with us. I think the trip was good practice for him though.

Let me say though - four days in the car, during the spring, with large dogs? Not so good for keeping things clean. Brad was wearing his black fleece most of the trip, which shows every piece of Luke's blondish-red hair. Brad walked into a truck stop in Arizona and the cashier said to him, "You either have a dog with you or a really wild woman." Classic. Definitely quote of the trip.

Enjoy the following pictures! I'll post again very soon about our arrival here in Zionsville.

The dogs became very adept at using all the space in the Jetta to spread out and sleep.

The first two days it was too hot to leave the dogs alone in the car with the windows rolled down so far. So, we would pile them all in the Jetta and then eat our lunch - Taco Bell, here - on the hood of my car in the shade. Fancy.

Crossing the AZ/CA state line! That definitely made the move feel real.

I love these fields of giant cacti in Arizona - I always feel like I've entered a Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon.

The landscape is so interesting as you drive across AZ/NM. Over and over again it goes from totally flat to huge, rocky mountains that you go up and over. I've done this drive a few times, and it still surprises me.

Huge desert sand dunes in New Mexico. You may be able to see tiny, tiny little dots on there - those are people on four wheelers. Just shows how huge those dunes are!

I love these pictures of the sky in Oklahoma. A storm was coming in and it was so beautiful. So many people in CA ask me if I miss the mountains when I am in a flat place like Indiana (they don't realize that Indiana isn't completely flat, but whatever) and I always say that I actually miss the FLAT land when I'm around mountains all the time. There is so much beautiful sky! Imagine this sky completely surrounding you and uninterrupted. I love that. And, of course, a clear, starry night is the best.

Oklahoma claims to have the biggest cross in the world. Don't know if that is true, but the sky around it made for a pretty picture.

In San Diego we would constantly see commercials for Sonic though there isn't one there. Very frustrating. Why do they do that? The same was true of Papa John's in San Francisco. Anyway, we got Brad some Sonic for lunch on day three - Oklahoma, I think? Not sure.

It was so strange to see places we recognized after driving for so long in strange landscapes. Here we passed the exit for Brad's family's lake house in Greenville, IL, just an hour outside St. Louis. From there on, it was a drive we knew very well.

Finally back in our home state on day four of the drive!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mom Visits San Diego

I like to tell my mother that she is toying with sainthood. She came all the way from Florida to help us pack. Then when she got here she was like a little southern tornado throwing things into boxes as I taught voice lessons and sorted through everything in the house. I think she ended up packing about 35 boxes just herself! Not to mention the fact that I would drag her into every lesson to work her voice teacher magic. The students were quite in awe of her.

We tried to make it up to her by eating our way through our favorite San Diego spots. We had plenty of very authentic Mexican, visited our favorite farm-to-table restaurant, a great Moroccan place, two brunch spots that we love, and a great dessert spot, too! Good thing that packing and loading up a moving truck is such a workout!

(The dogs were also in awe of "grandma." She could barely move without three German Shepherds herding her up. They just LOVE her. I think they can tell right away that she is related to us and part of the family. It's taken a few days for them to calm down after realizing that she has left. They were not initially pleased at her absence, that is for sure. They are also not pleased about the boxes. Life is hard for a dog, I guess! I keep telling them that soon they will be Indiana dogs and have a giant yard. They are skeptical. Anyway...)

Mom got to come and see a performance of Cav/Pag at the opera. Afterwards we grabbed a drink and caught up with Nick, who studied voice with her at Butler! Small, small world.

Finishing off the week at our favorite dessert spot, Heaven Sent. Their bourbon bread pudding and dutch apple pie are unbelievable. Even mom couldn't stop herself.

Friends in San Diego

As you can tell from some of our recent blog posts, I've made some great friends through San Diego Opera. We will all be going our separate ways sooner or later, but it has been very fun to have time together these past few months. Julia is so sweet. She threw a going away party for Brad and me at her house after our matinee on Sunday. Excellent lasagna made by Julia and Victoria, a lovely setting at Julia's parents, great drinks and fabulous company. What more could you want? It was such a fun evening.

My old friend, Mike Hartley, had just arrived to visit Nick Hartley, who is finishing as an apprentice with the opera. It was so great to see him and catch up!

The boys - Sam, Todd, Nick (all apprentices with the opera) and Brad

Julia had some tables and lanterns set up outside. It was a lovely place to enjoy our lasagna. (I had three servings.)

Michelle makes the best drink - we call it Mango Madness. It has vanilla sugar around the edge. Mmmmmm.

Julia rounded up some help in the kitchen.

My good friend, Courtney! We have been in assigned seats next to each other at every rehearsal and also in the dressing rooms. That's a lot of quality time. Brad likes to say that when I get home I'm 3/4 Meagan and 1/4 Courtney, haha.

Victoria and Crystal joined us for dessert and playing a really fun game. I can't remember the name, but I must teach it to you all. We played boys against girls and the boys just barely won - whatever. But we were still quite the cute group at the end of it all.