Dec 23, 2009

Pre-Christmas Christmas fun

Merry Christmas Eve Eve. 2 more days til the big day, and I have already had quite a full Christmas. How is it that I am so lucky to get to have 5 Christmases??? And my family is still all together, hehe. Here are a few photos from my Christmas festivities so far

The girls in my Sunday school class have an annual Ornament swap. I got a beautiful snowy church ornament, and found out that 2 of my great friends are expecting! Congratulations Lygia and Joanna! I am so happy for you. This is a pic of my BFF Rebecca and I. We have a tradition of taking a photo together at every event. Aren't we precious? hehe.

I have seriously been in the baking mood lately, and have had some serious successes. Grandma Smithee's home made Chicken and Dumplings recipe is seriously amazing, and I had so much fun making it. I am thinking of making some of the dumplings tomorrow and freezing them to take to Missouri. I also made a batch of Peanut Butter Blossoms. So very tastey.

Saturday was Locke family Christmas at Meme and Papa's house. As usual, it was crazy, but we really had a good time getting to spend time together and open each other's presents. I got a really pretty cashmire sweater from Meme and Papa. I think it might be the first piece of clothing I have gotten from a family member that I have liked since I was a child, haha. It is super soft and has an argyle pattern on the front.

Here is a photo of the grandkids... well, the ones that were able to be there, in front of the Christmas tree and all the presents. We have so many people in the family now that Meme and Papa decided on a super small tree to save some space in the living room. I think though, that we ripped through presents in about 5 minutes and I am not sure that I saw everyone open the gifts I had brought. For all my adult, female family members, I made these:

A reminder to us all to never settle... to always try our hardest, and to always remember that we CAN do it because we are well educated, strong, capable women. I have one of these on my desk at school and it does me good to look at it every once in a while.

And of course, the funniest photo of the evening... Annabel and I. I am not going to begin to guess what she is thinking at this moment, but it makes me laugh every time I see it. So for now, may your days be merry and bright... see you after the holidays!

Dec 8, 2009

Don't Slip on the Icy Patch

Ever wondered what the absolute best Christmas movie of all time was? Well, I am here to tell you that it is "A Muppet Family Christmas." The premise of this movie is that the Muppets and the characters from Seaseme Street are hanging out at Christmas time and take a road trip up to Fozzy Bear's mom's house to celebrate. Fozzy's mom doesn't know they are all coming, so she is on her way to some warm weather destination to spend her holiday. Turns out, everyone ends up staying and having a wonderful Christmas. Kermit's son runs into the Fraggles (from Fraggle Rock), Ralph sings with a snowman, Miss Piggy makes it just in time for the festivities and everyone slipps on the icy patch outside the front door as they come in the house. How could there possibly be a better Christmas movie? It was out of print for the longest time, but this year, Amazon finally had it for under $80 (way under, don't worry, I'm not crazy enough to spend that much on a dvd). It just arrived in the mail yesterday, and I can not wait to watch it! Did I mention that the Swedish Chef prepares Christmas dinner? Yeah. He does.

I think I mentioned in one of my last posts that I am hoping to make some fun, unique gifts this year for my friends and family. Beyond tshirts and scarves, I decided quite a while back to try my hand at home made vanilla. It is an interesting and involved process that takes quite a bit of time. I started this in about September, and I think it still could use a little time to infuse. It is actually quite simple to make. I took 3-4 vanilla beans, cut them in half, scraped out the seeds and put them in a small bottle of rum. Then put the seed pods in too. Shake well and place in a cool, dark location. The key is to shake the bottle every so often - I usually remembered to shake it about once a week. It smells like vanilla now and I am going to try it out in my upcoming baking. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I absolutely love the magic of it - the decorations, the frenzy of the shopping, seeing your family, giving the people you love a little something special, the food, etc etc. I read a quote lately that said something like "Don't worry about the size of your Christmas tree because in the eyes of a child, they are all 30 feet tall". That kind of encompasses how I feel about Christmas. I love to decorate my house, and often find myself walking by the tree remembering special people that gave me some of my ornaments. I have this horribly tacky ornament of a bride and groom that Aunt Jana gave me as a gag on top of a wedding present, and under most circumstances I would probably hate it, but it is so incredibly special to me that I put it right front and center of my tree and laugh everytime I see it.

Here's a photo of the tree this year. I love how you can use the same tree with the same ornaments and make it look different every year. I did find a Tree skirt this year that I absolutely love. And I am super excited about the wrapping job I have done this year for all the presents. I loooove to have a wrapping paper theme, yes I am that much of a dork. This year, I went with brown butcher paper and fun bows. I think it looks so classy and I am really loving the package of ribbon I found at Target of all places. I don't know what I was thinking spending $15 on a package of 5 types of ribbon, but my goodness they look good, haha. It is so hard to wait to let everyone open their presents!

Dec 6, 2009

Quick, What's the number for 911?

If you didn't already know, the title of this blog is a reference back to the Little Rascals. I had to start out this post with a little humor, because the events that I will be writing about aren't humorous at all.

Friday night, we had big plans to go over to a friend's house for a party. It had been a long week, so we decided to get take out and come home and watch some tv and eat dinner before we went. When Drew got home from picking up dinner, we smelled something a little unusual. We thought it was because we had turned on the heater for the first time and it smelled a little like dust burning. We didn't think much of it, and started watching an episode of Fringe (which we never finished, btw). About half an hour later, the room started filling with smoke. We were looking for the source, and moved a bookshelf out of the way to see smoke pouring in the room through one of the outlets. We called 911 and they said to get out of the house. We had enough time to throw on some shoes and a jacket (it was about 35 degrees outside) and grab the cats and get out before the fire trucks arrived. They were so fast! At one point, we had 4 fire trucks, the fire chief truck, and an ambulance in front of our house. I came to my senses as everyone was leaving and snapped this photo:
At any given time during the period they were at the house, there were at least 10 firemen filling my kitchen and den. Turns out, the outlet had caught fire because it was too old and there was too much of a power draw on the room. I was standing outside and saw a fire man dash out and grab an ax from the truck - never a good sign. They had to hack into one of the paneled walls in the den to get to the small fire and make sure the insulation and dry wall didn't catch.

This is the main damage. The floors also need to be redone from the ax and the firemen equipment. All in all, we are INCREDIBLY blessed that we were at home and were able to catch this quickly. Come to find out, the wall is lined with tar paper which could have caught fire very easily. We are thinking now that this room must have been an add on to the house and must have been built by the owner or someone who was using one of the "Add on to your house for dummies" books.

So far, we have had an electrician come out and put in a new outlet and check all the other outlets in the room to make sure there were no other problems. And we have had Tim, the guy that redid our garage, come out and look at the damage so we can get a quote for the floors and the wall. It is really looking like we might have to redo the entire room since it would be nearly impossible to match the stain on the paneling to the existing wall. That is kind of exciting, and kind of horrible all at the same time - money out of our savings at this point is never a good thing! It was definitely scary, but God definitely had control of the situation and took care of us. We are so blessed to have our house, each other, our kitties, all of our Christmas presents, our photos, and relatively small damage to take care of.

We were able to clean up the house, put a pillow over the damage and have our Progressive dinner last night for our neighborhood. I am exhausted now, but glad that we got to meet some new neighbors and have a little fun. And, I was nominated to be the Social Coordinator for the neighborhood! I hope next weekend is a little less eventful!

Dec 4, 2009

The Quilt

Here it is - The Quilt. Hand made by Juanita Smithee. She is amazing. You should see the stitches on this quilt, there have got to be at least 10-12 stitches per inch. Pardon the random assortment of crap on the shelf above - the cats somehow got up there and knocked a bunch of stuff down and this photo was before I could rearrange. Everything was just shoved back up there so it didn't get carried off to a closet (the cats tend to do that). Yes, I do have a container of salt on my shelf. It was a wedding present from my Meme. Apparently there is an old wives tale that says that you will never run out of money if you always have salt in your home, so that salt will stay on my shelf until I die, hehe. The shelf was an amazing antique store find in Missouri. Diane helped me refinish it. Wish we had photos of the before - truly an amazing transformation!

Happy December

Well, as usual, it has been quite a while since my last update. I have tried to theorize why it takes me so long to update, but I am at a loss... I really don't know why I am such a blogophobe. I am no longer apologizing for my lack of dedication to my adoring public (I actually found out the other day that I do have an adoring public, and that they are let down by my infrequent writing, haha). But there have been some interesting things going on lately, like... SNOW!

This is a photo of the snow where I work in downtown Dallas. I wish I could have captured the real beauty and magic of it... it so rarely "snows" in Dallas that when it happens, it is a major event, even if it's so wet you have to use an umbrella and it melts before it hits the ground. Not only were the students excited, but I heard a few squeals of delight from a few teachers as well. It only lasted about 2 hours, but it was nice while it lasted and helped bring a little excitement to an otherwise dragging week. With only 3 weeks between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, it is so hard to get back in the swing of things when all you really want to do is sleep in and watch TV all day under a warm blanket. The school has been so cold during this week that I feel like I need gloves when I type up stories and ads for the Yearbook, haha. It's really hard to help your students with printmaking while you are wearing 2 jackets!

So, Christmas is in 22 days... I am super excited about giving gifts to my friends and family. I tried my hardest to do some hand mades this year for most of my list. I hope that there are a few people that won't check my blog for the next couple of weeks so that i don't ruin any surprises! I made my BFF some fuzzy bunny slippers for Christmas (I think I might have already posted a photo of some others I made in a previous post). I am giving my cousin one of my awesome paintings, a couple people will get hand made scarves, and my favorite thing: screen printed tshirts. I am so excited that I learned how to do this, and I have just been close to obsessed with this process lately. Here are a couple of shirts that I made:

I bought some really nice recycled organic cotton tshirts from my friend, freelisa. Who also prints really nice tshirts that you can find here, or at Make in Bishop Arts District. I originally made the screen for the black shirt on the left for my hubby since he is a scientist extraordinaire, but I ordered the wrong size shirt for him, so instead I made one for myself, haha. He will get his eventually, just have to order a new shirt. The one on the right is for my seester (that's sister in Locke family speak if you didn't know), and also made a more kid friendly version for my cousin, Gillian. I have had to tell some people (though I am sure that if you are reading my blog, you are much more intellegent than the average joe on the street!) - it says "Courage My Dear". The reason I made this is to be a constant reminder to have courage and strength. My family has gone through a lot over the past few years, and we all need a little reminder to keep our chin up. I think I might also screen some posters of this as well and give them to friends and family - I would like to have this right above my desk at school to remind myself to stay positive and strong! I already have a cut out from a magazine that says "Attack this like the wild, crazy, yet highly intellegent woman you are". Hmm... maybe that will be my next shirt idea! Yay blog!

In the next post, I will show you my beautiful new quilt that Grandma Smithee made for me. Also stay tuned for Christmas decoration photos!

Oct 20, 2009

Local Celebrity, Haha

So, yours truly was recently interviewed by the Oak Cliff People newspaper about an art show I have a piece or two in at Boomstick Comics right now. Here is the story, written by Georgia Fisher.

Staff Photo: Christina Barany
Marcie Dodd created this gouache print of Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire as seen in the original Rocky

So if Rocky Balboa fought a zombie Elvis, who would win? And for that matter, which tough guy would get the girl?

“I tried to think of something really iconic that people would recognize,” says Beckley Club Estates artist Marcie Dodd, whose entry in a new show at Boomstick Comics catches Rocky’s Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire) with her head nuzzled against the boxer’s neck.

Dodd, 26, used black and white gouache for her ode to the 1976 flick, which will share the red carpet Saturday night with a zombie Elvis and a reel of other icons from cult movies such as Ghostbusters and Night of The Living Dead.

The exhibit, dubbed “They Won’t Stay Dead,” is primarily paintings and screen prints of “a lot of horror, sci-fi, and pop culture characters from movies and television,” said Jonathan Kimbrell, art director of the Soda Gallery, which shares space with Boomstick.

“They’re just campy, and most of the time those movies are so bad that they end up being good,” he said, later adding that “it’s mostly just an excuse for us to be geeks.”

Call it what you will; Boomstick owner Bryan Kluger says he’ll dress as cartoon character Darkwing Duck at Saturday’s opening reception, where attendees are encouraged to come costumed as their favorite film icons and take part in a raffle for vintage comic books. Dodd may make an appearance as Batwoman, she said — “probably the Wal-Mart version of Batwoman, anyway.”

Saturday’s event won’t be the first cult rendezvous for the site. Throngs of people turned out in August for a Star Wars-themed exhibit called “These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For.”

“People came from all over,” said Dodd, an art teacher at First Baptist Academy, whose husband, Drew, moonlights at Boomstick on weekends. “There was so much excitement, and that’s what got me interested.”

In addition to the Rocky still, she’ll also hang a monochromatic screen print of the McKenzie Brothers from Strange Brew at the upcoming show.

As for the kickoff, Dodd said, “they really know how to throw a party here.”

Sep 28, 2009

Yeah Yeah, I know...

Ok guys, I get the message. Like I have said a hundred times before, I get busy, I forget to update, and then it gets to be too long since I have updated which in turn makes me feel overwhelmed and I never know where to start so I just put off updating until it has officially been almost 2 months since the last post and people start calling me to make sure I am still alive. Yes, I also know that was a run on sentence. All this to say, thank you all for loving me enough to me upset when I do not update. I will try to do better.

Well, school is in full swing. I had the most amazing summer of my life, and going back to school, I think I expected to feel something different... like maybe I would walk into my classroom never having looked at my notes and be able to impart all sorts of profound knowledge on my students and they would all leave my classroom with smiles on their faces thinking "wow, I feel so much more well rounded because of Mrs. Dodd". In reality, it feels exactly like it does every year. I am not saying this as a bad thing, just a fact. Whether a high school student understands or is lost in la la land, you get the same reaction - blank stares. My favorite project is coming up though, and this is one that I always get surprised exclaimations from my students - portrait drawings. I think so many people are so frightened of drawing a person, which I totally understand. But if you know the rules and let go of your inner editor, you can do it!

Probably the best story I have about something that has happened to me in the past two months happened about 3 weeks ago. Drew had parent night at school, so he was there late. While he was at work, he asked me to water the yard (looking back, it has rained nearly non-stop since this day, so I should have just stayed inside, watched tv and ate bon bons or something). Our regular sprinkler for the front yard broke, so I found one in the junk room that is the "industrial strength" variety - one that the ever popular sprinkler dance was fashioned after. I had moved it a few times in the front yard for maximum coverage and finally at around 8:30 went outside to turn the water off. This sucker moves fast, and of course Drew was on his way home and I didn't want to get wet while turning the water off. So, I did what anyone would do, I did a run/jog thing to get to the faucet so that the water wouldn't pelt me in the mean time. You know where this story is going, don't you? Yes, I fell. HARD. It all happened so fast. I did not even have time to brace myself. I landed flat on my chest and stomach - knocked the wind out of myself and bent my big toe nail all the way back. I had scrapes on my arms and thigh, and since I knocked the wind out, I really couldn't move for a while. I just laid there in my dark front yard, covered in mud, getting sprinkled on. It really was horrible. Looking back on it now, it is a very entertaining story, but at the time, I was really in pain and feeling fairly hopeless. I finally mustered up the energy to crawl to the faucet to turn the water off, and made it to the house by the time Drew got home. I wish I had a picture of what I looked like - mud from head to toe - in my hair, on my clothes, arms, legs, face, feet, etc...

Go ahead, finish laughing and then I will move on.

My favorite season of the year is here - State Fair of Texas. I love this almost as much as Christmas. For those of you who aren't teachers and don't get a free fair ticket (don't be too jealous, we get paid crap and work the equivalent of 10 full time jobs to get that fair ticket!), here is a blog which details some ways to get discounted admission: GO HERE.
Drew and I plan on going on Sunday. I'll try to post some awesome photos of our adventures.

Also coming up in Dallas, the Urban Street Bazaar in Bishop Arts District. Although I have already bought a few Christmas presents so far, this is where I plan on doing a lot of damage to the shopping list! So many amazing local artists selling their work - everything from baby to dog to gifty things to pottery to jewelry to everything in between. If you have never been to the Urban Street Bazaar before, GO!

Just about every day, I say "I should blog about that". So, now after 2 months, I have forgotten all the things I have reminded myself to blog about. Hope this will hold you over until next time! Which will hopefully be in less than 2 months!

Aug 9, 2009

So Long Sweet Summer....

Well, here we are at the beginning of August. School starts for me this week, and as much as I hate to get back to the grind stone, this has seriously been the best summer EVER! Drew and I did a lot of traveling, a lot of bonding and a lot of laughing! They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I can't imagine anything making me love my husband more than this trip did this summer!

We started out our trip with a few days in New Orleans, Louisiana. Neither Drew nor I had ever been before, and we were really excited about the opportunity to see the sights and EAT! I have decided to never again plan a vacation around "the sights"... no no, forevermore, I will plan vacations around what there is to eat in that area! It worked out so perfectly for us! I won't post my millions of photos, but you can check them out on my facebook page if you wish. But I will post one photo of the best thing I ate all summer long:

Hello, my name is Beignet. I come from the land of Cafe du Monde and I will make all your wildest dreams come true.

Seriously guys, we saw a big truck delivering the powdered sugar for this place. They had probably half of this giant truck full of 50 pound bags of powdered sugar... and one of them went on each plate of 3 beignets! I highly recommend this place to you. If you are a fan of doughnuts, or sopapillas, or anything fried, eat here! And their Cafe Au Lait is really yummy too, even in the middle of summer!

We did see some really neat things in NOLA besides the food, though. We went to the Aquarium of the Americas, on a Swamp Tour, and on a tour of a rum distillary. The Aquarium was so-so. I have to say, I am a bit spoiled because ours here in Dallas is so amazing! The Swamp tour (by Louisana Swamp Tours) was really awesome! Reggie, our tour guide, even let us hold a baby alligator. The Old New Orleans Rum Company offers tours of their distillary. It was really interesting to learn how they do it, and to see all of their "experiements" brewing.

After 3 nights in NOLA, we boarded a Carnival cruise and headed to Mexico! The day we left, it rained SO hard. It shut the power and the AC down in the terminal, and there were about 2000 grouchy guests trying to get loaded on the boat in the heat. Drew and I kept a smile on our faces because we were so excited to be going somewhere, we didn't care if it was hot. The cruise was awesome, and the food was great. Seriously, everything you have heard about cruise food was true. There is something for everyone, there is food 24/7, and it is wonderful!

Our cruise only made one stop, to Cozumel, Mexico. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to going there again! We were only in Mexico for 9 or so hours, but we had such a great time! Drew and I took a 4 wheeler tour through the jungle (which ended with 3 blisters for me, but Drew really loved it), went Snorkeling in clear, beautiful water, and shopped til we dropped! We came home with Mexican blankets, sterling earrings for me, an awesome Mexican shirt, Mexican vanilla, a very pretty hand painted glass, and... something else I can't remember... plus lunch and tips for our tour guides for under $100! It was so fun!

We were able to come home for 2 days, and then headed out again with our friends, Jeremy and Rebecca to head to Missouri to visit Drew's family and make our annual Dodd Family Kayaking and Antiquing Adventure. The name is a bit misleading, because the "Dodd Family" only includes the girls when we go antiquing, and doesn't include Diane when we go kayaking, haha. We have so much fun when we are in PB. I am beyond thankful to have such an amazing set of in-laws. My mother-in-law is the coolest!

And now, after being gone for about 3 weeks, we are finally home. This week marks the return of school for FBA, which means my summer is officially over. Still so much I would like to get done, but I am so thankful for the chance to get out of town and have an adventure with my wonderful husband!

Stay tuned for updates on re-doing a bedroom!

Jul 3, 2009

Makes Me Melt Like a Popsicle on the 4th of July...

Yes, that is a quote from the Little Rascals. And a fitting one, I think.

This has certainly been another very busy week in the Dodd household. Being the last week of work for me, and the last week of school for Drew, we didn't have much of a free second, but I think we are both pretty used to that. Drew had a TON of homework this week. Thankfully, he was able to get it all done and make A's in both classes. Did we expect less? Of course not.

Art Camp ended with a bang. Monday, I took the kids outside and we drew landscapes. They were quiet, attentive, and did an amazing job. I was really impressed. Wednesday, we had a film crew come out and film us busily doing mosaics for the Office of Cultural Affairs. It was a little crazy, but I think they got what they wanted. And Thursday was our last day. We wrapped up with a culminating event where the students were able to show off their dances they learned over the past 4 weeks, and also we filled the gallery at the Bath House with all our wonderful art work. It was really great. I enjoyed these 4 weeks, but it makes me thankful I do not teach elementary school on a regular basis. They just about drove me crazy with all the questions and not being able to sit still for over 2 minutes! I definitely would like to do this again next summer, though. Definitely was a success.

Tuesday, Rebecca and I went and finally finished our pottery pieces we started in DECEMBER!! We were able to paint them with glaze and Rebecca can pick them up once they have been fired. Once it is in my hand, I'll post some photos.

Last night, one of Drew's old friends came by and hung out. It was nice to sit outside and visit, but we ended up staying up WAY too late. It was our first official day of summer vacation though, so we deserved it, haha.

This morning, we woke up super early and went and had breakfast with Jeremy and Rebecca. We borrowed Jeremy's dad's tiller and created a beautiful start to a wonderful garden. I am excited to see our bountiful harvest! Once this post is finished, my plan is to go out and do some watering. It was super hot while we were working, but I think I got a little more of a tan (well, my freckles just connected a bit more I suppose).

This week, I found a really awesome chair on the side of the road and picked it up. My plan is to paint the wood black, and re-upholster the chair. I have a feeling once it is done it will look dynomite!
This is a funny picture I took of Lois this week:
Shows her true evil. I'm serious, she looks cute most of the time, but this is the REAL Lois!

Well, I'm tired and a bit grouchy due to Reliant Energy right now, so, I am going to end this post and hopefully tomorrow post again with some photos of our Fourth of July Celebration!

Jun 22, 2009

So many things to think about...

So many things to think about today:
Like: why does the government want to charge me to cancel my tax id number, even though I have never used it once. And, why doesn't nail polish dry shiney anymore? I have to buy an extra top coat and that is lame. Also, why do I look at a dish, know full well that I need to rinse it and put it in the dishwasher, and then leave it by the sink? So many great questions. Here's another. Why is it nearly impossible for me to complete a load of laundry without forgetting about it in the washer and leaving it overnight and having it smell bad the next day and having to re-wash it?
I can honestly say that I do not WANT to be a bad steward of what God has given me. In fact, quite the opposite. I want to use what he gave me well... but alas, I can not seem to do that. I even make myself notes and stick them on the fridge (because I am for sure to look there, right!). Frustrating.

In other news, next week is the last week for art camp. Today, I had a mere 9 students! I would like to say it was a quiet day, but it wasn't. We made hand made paper and had a great time being wet and messy. It reminded me of the awesome class I took at the Poplar Bluff Art Museum a couple of summers ago. So fun. Today, I got on their website to see about any upcoming classes, but they only have one in January listed. I emailed them off their website asking for info, and I got an email saying something like "thanks for sending your message, if you do not hear from us in 48 hours, cyber aliens have intercepted your email". I thought that was funny coming from a museum... but I guess all people involved in the arts are a little weird, huh?

I tried to replicate some yummy home made spaghetti sauce that my dad used to make last night, and it turned out OK, but not amazing. I don't know how to make it taste like dad does! Tonight is probably going to be hamburger night. Sounded a lot better to me yesterday.

Jun 20, 2009

Best Friends Forever!

I am trying to update my blog a little more often... a) so that my familia will know what is going on in my life since I don't have time to update them as I should, and b) because I think it will be neat to have an account of what I have done... even the small things. My Meme has a set of journals that she writes in every single day. Even little things like "we went to Costco and got a loaf of bread" but it is so neat to see how life progresses and how you change and grow. Sometimes Meme's journal has come in very handy because she was able to tell the exact date that they bought an appliance to see if the warranty was still in effect, or tell when a particular event happened so she can send a card next year, etc. So, that is my goal. I have a feeling I will not be able to write every day, but I definitely want to start writing more than once a month!

This was a pretty good week.

In art camp news, we made paper mache masks this week. I do kind of wish we had a little more time so that we could have done more layers of paper mache, but all in all, they turned out fantastic! I can't wait to get pictures of all the kiddos wearing them. Grace and Annabel went with me to Art camp all week, and I think Annabel's mask might be my favorite of all. She was absolutely maticulous about her paper mache, and it turned out smooth and nice. She decided to make a dog mask, and since we only had bright colors, she chose yellow and blue. It looks great. I was excited too, that so many of the boys really got into it and did great jobs!

Friday at Art camp, Gillian and Darcey got to go with us as well. I was so glad to get to spend a little more time with them. We made several interesting discoveries: Vienna sausage is disgusting, Annabel is the craziest out of everyone we know, and loud, disobedient children make Marcie "almost lose it" as Gillian said, haha. Lunches for the kiddos everyday is provided by Central Dallas Ministries. One good thing about them is that they are definitely a complete meal... but that is where it ends. They are the grossest meals I have ever seen, and I am glad I don't have to eat them! Friday, the meal was a boxed lunch with a can of Vienna sausage, a bag of baked dorritos, a juice box and an applesauce cup. I think the kids were mostly curious about the canned meat, so everyone at least tried it. One little girl spilled some of the juice on herself and said "oh man, now I smell like meat!" I had to hold in the laughter! I tried to convince Annabel that she loved it, but she wasn't having it. All the girls thought it was just about the grossest thing they have ever had. But amazingly, none of them were hungry afterward. I was amazed, too, that Grace went to sit at the table with all her friends, rather than hanging around me and the rest of the girls. I am not for sure, cause she would never admit it, but I am thinking she MIGHT have a crush on this boy named Joseph. So funny.

Wednesday night, Drew and I went to movie night at the Belmont. It was definitely not as fun as the first time because I forgot my bug spray, and we sat in front of heavy drinkers that wouldn't shut up the whole time about vodka and red bull. gross.

Thursday night was week 3 out of 4 of Girl's Bible Study. We are currently watching the video series of Lies Woman Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It is really good, and I wish that so many of my friends and family could hear her great words. One thing that I have really discovered in full is how great of a husband I really have! I never have to worry about him doing something that would hurt me because he loves me and even more so, he loves God. It is so amazing how much I have been blessed!

Friday night, Drew and I went to Gloria's with Macy and her husband, Chris. Macy is my very bestest friend since Kindergarten. No matter how much time is spent in between our visits, we always will be BFF's and we always have so much in common. It is so funny how connected we are, even when we don't know it! We ended up back at our house for some dessert and talking, and had a great time filling each other in on our crazy lives. I hope that we have kids at the same time so maybe they can be as great friends as we are!

Drew and I just got home from getting some Tacos at Jerry's Supermarket. They are yum.
Tonight, we are headed over to Meme's for Father's Day dinner. Which means, I must be off to make a "home made" (kind of) Italian Cream Cake... which, in our family, thanks to Drew, is also known as Man Cake.

Jun 14, 2009

Weekend O' Fun

Fresh out of a very cold shower, trying not to touch my slightly burnt skin, and still trying to catch my breath, I will recount the events of my ever busy weekend.

Friday: June 12
Went to work as usual and had a pretty good day with the kiddos. There are a couple of them that I particularly enjoy, and there are a couple that I wish my dad's invention of "spray Ritalin" was available for. One little boy named Michael is the funniest. He seriously has an answer for EVERYTHING! And he sounds so very matter of fact when he says it. Then there is Polly-the-vegetarian. She is cool because she totally sticks to her beliefs and checks the label on any food that is offered to her to see if it is ok to eat. My co-worker, Bonita, brought some lanyard string on the first day for the kiddos to play around with. They LOVE it! It is hard to get them to do anything else because all they want to do is make lanyards!
Friday night, Drew took me out on "date night". We started out at Half Priced Books where I picked up a sweet DK book on New Orleans - complete with awesome photos, and a book on CD - The Historian. I have always wanted to read it, and now I can listen to it on our approximately 36 hours we will be spending in the car during the month of July (this is not a complaint, I am looking forward to it!)

Saturday: June 13th
Spent quite a bit of the day on Saturday cleaning house. Having guests was a good excuse, because it really needed to be done anyway. I am always amazed at the amount of cat hair and dust I can sweep off our floors. It really doesn't matter if it has been a day or a month, I can get a full dust pan in each room... I know... more than you wanted to know! I mopped the Hardwoods with Orange Glo Hardwood Floor cleaner. I think I have talked about this before, but just in case, I absolutely LOVE it! If you have hardwoods, you need to buy this product.
I also tried some tile cleaner that did not work at all. It just left streaks on my marble floors in the kitchen, and really made it look worse than when I started. Anyone have a recommendation for tile floors?
Saturday evening, Nikki and David, our new neighbors, came over for dinner. We had a great time eating and talking and getting to know each other. Drew grilled BBQ chicken, and we had mashed potatoes, zuchini and mushroom skewers, salad (made by Nikki and really good), and the ever famous Apple Dumplings. Once you try these, your life will be complete.

Sunday: June 14th
Happy Birthday Grandma Dodd! I know she doesn't read this, but if you know her, you can tell her Happy Birthday too!
I hate to even admit this, but I slept through my alarm this morning and missed church. You will be amazed when I tell you what time I got out of bed... 11:30!!! I looked at the clock and thought maybe it was wrong and the power had gone out, but no, I really had wasted half my day!
This afternoon was the Summerfest at Eno's Tavern in Bishop Arts District. It was sponsored by Eno's (of course) and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. In honor of BFOC, we decided to ride our bikes down to Bishop Art's. It was a great idea, in theory, but with it being currently 93 degrees outside, with a heat index of 5,000,000 - perhaps we should have rethought that. My hands hurt from the bike grips, my butt hurts from the seat, my face hurts from the burn, and my thighs hurt from peddling, but all in all, I feel very accomplished. I certainly don't look like it, but I feel as though I might have lost about 45 pounds on the ride, haha.

Some fun things happening this week:

Monday, the little munchkins and I will be starting paper mache. So fun and so messy and I can't wait!

Wednesday is Movie Night at the Belmont Hotel. Starts at sundown and this week, they will be playing Caddy Shack! Drew and I will be there with bells on (never really understood this saying).

Friday night, Drew and I get to see Macy!! Macy is my BFF from elementary school, and I definitely do not get to see her as often as I wish I did! I think we should commemorate this event with photos, what do you say?

More soon!

Jun 11, 2009

Braving the Storms

Last night and this morning were nothing short of an adventure.

This week was my first week to work at the Thriving Minds summer art camp at the Bath House Cultural Center near White Rock Lake. It has been good so far... great kids, fun art projects. I feel, however, more tired than I think I ever have in my life!! I have come home every day and taken a nap on the couch... although I have to admit that it is hard not to fall asleep on that couch (thanks Jer!)

Last night at around 8, a pretty severe storm rolled in to Dallas. It was lightening, thundering and the wind was blowing like crazy. It looked like the images you see on the news of the hurricanes around the gulf with the palm trees nearly bent in two from the wind just looking out our back door. The lights flickered a few times, and so ended the TV watching on the big tv. I went in the bedroom to catch the news, and ended up falling asleep at around 8:30!! I guess I really was tired. The storm woke me up around 3 (the night before, the phone woke me up at nearly the same time with a man looking for "Sylvia"... jerk). Waking up at 3 sure does make it hard to get up the next morning... especially when it is extra dark and stormy.

Evan rode with me to art camp today, and the poor thing did not witness my best side in the car. People drive like absolute morons when the weather is bad, and I was nearly run off the road by 2 separate vehicles, one being a Dart bus! God has a little bubble around me though, and we arrived safely and with not even a scratch! Once we got to the Bath House, we were amazed to see the Lake was beginning to slowly rise over the concrete barrier. The rain never let up, though, and by 11, the water was nearing the building, wrapping around into the parking lot and threatening to carry off a co-worker's car! We made an executive decision at that point to call parents and ask that they come get their kids. It was a good decision, in the end, since we found out later that many of the local roads were closed and parents had a hard time getting to us! So glad that everyone was safe and no damage occurred. I'm fairly sure we will be having camp tomorrow, just depends on whether or not it rains tonight!

This morning, Drew and I were happy to have insulation installed in our attic. Hopefully that will really help, and apparently we get a tax credit for doing it! Bryan's Conservation came out to our house and put in 9 inches of insulation, bringing us to... well, 9 inches in some places, and 13 in others... I guess. I haven't been up there yet to check it out, but my mom and dad were here when it was installed and I am sure they double checked for me. My kitties have been going nuts because of the weather, and apparently Lois got herself up in the attic and freaked out when she couldn't get down. Mom had to climb up there and get her!

Congratulations goes out to Amy and Rocky and their new baby Brinley! I am on my way up to go see the new little family.

May 31, 2009

Likes and Dislikes

Things I LOVE:
+ My most amazing, wonderful, intelligent, good looking husband. Drew is the best!
+ Early summer evenings with the grill going, a beautiful back yard of a beautiful house, and a comfy chair on the patio.
+ Good music that fits perfectly with my mood.
+ Having a plan... for the day, for the week, for vacation, for my summer job, etc.
+ A good dinner, with great guacamole, home made limeade, and freshly baked cookies.
+ My summer job - I think it is going to to totally rock.
+ Having a good book to read.
+ The end of school! Heck yes!!
+ Good friends whom you are so very thankful for and proud of... Congratulations Jeremy for graduating, Congratulations Amy and Rocky on your soon to be born beautiful baby Brinley (alliteration much?), and so thankful for so many others.
+ Being alive and feeling alive... celebrating every day.
+ Having a clean house, even though I don't much like cleaning it. (but I guess that point will come later)

Things I don't like so much:
- Paying bills
- Money in general... what good did it ever do anyone?
- Hearing my A/C on. It needs to just be cool in here without costing me so much money!
- Cleaning house, haha - specifically dishes and sweeping

Oh yeah, I love blogs too.

May 23, 2009

The Photo Entry

Here are a few photos for your enjoyment... and also a few for me to hopefully find out information...
My peach tree is growing peaches. They are so cute and fuzzy, but I want to know what I should do to ensure that no bugs or birds eat them. Any organic suggestions?

Anyone know what this tree is?

The other day, Drew was working in the front yard, and I got a little crazy motivation. So, I proceeded to cut down 3 horrid Holly bushes. I can not begin to express my level of detest for Holly bushes. They are ugly, and they stick you, and they grow like CRAZY and take over your pretty yard and make it where it hurts to get through gates... but I digress. This photo shows the future home for our new deck. I really don't know what I mean by "future" except that it is what I would like to do one day. And when the deck decides to build itself, haha, all of the dreadful holly bushes will be gone *insert mad scientist laughter here*

This is our "harvest" hahaha. We were actually able to grow 4 beans. Perhaps next year I will know to plant a few more plants and then we might actually have enough for a meal. Nevertheless, Drew is grilling steak tonight, and I plan to cook our 4 beans for us to enjoy. I'm sure they will be yummy.

Here are some more of our crops so far. One day, we might actually be able to have a salad. Looks tastey!

And, one day, we will have a cantaloupe. I LOVE cantaloupe.

I wasn't really able to get a good photo of our new garage star, because the weather was kind of crappy, and the grass wasn't mowed (Drew is outside doing that right now and it looks BEAUTIFUL!) But here is one of the things I bought in Canton when I went with the girls a few weeks ago. I love it!

And here is a photo of what Drew lovingly refers to as the "Tex Mex Garden" because it is just that... a mix of native texan and mexican plants. I have Mexican grass, Lantana and Bluebonnets growing and it looks so pretty! The bluebonnets are on the downfall, but I can't wait to see what they do next year!

May 14, 2009


How has it been so long since I have updated? Especially with all the fun things that have been going on lately!

Let's start with Adventure Camp. Sadly, I do not have any photos of this, but I still have quite a bit of good old Texas dirt caked on my shoes, on my car, on everything I own that I took with me, just about. It was a pretty good time... lots of hiking and playing football, four square and various activities. I am glad to have gotten to know the 8th graders.

Then there was Canton. I don't have any photos of my treasures either, but maybe my next post can be photos with no text and you guys can play the matching game and see which picture goes with which paragraph of my blog, haha. Canton was awesome. It was especially nice this time since there was the threat of rain which held a lot of people at home. It didn't rain on us until we got in the car, which was perfect! I got a really neat Iron star to put on the garage, and some amazing soup and dessert mixes. I had a great time with Rebecca, Liz, Sarah, Lygia, and Kelly! Those girls are awesome!

And some news that I am really excited about: you know the frustration from my last post? Well, I am here to tell you that God really does answer prayers. I got a job working with a non-profit called Big Thought doing summer camps for Elementary and Middle School kiddos at the Bath House Cultural Center near White Rock! I am so excited and can not wait to meet to discuss details!

And another excitement: school is out in a mere 2 weeks! Juniors and Seniors are done officially tomorrow, with their exams being next week. Freshman and Sophomores have one more week of class before exams. So, I will be up here another 3 weeks, but it is definitely on the down slope and the end is in sight. I am finally being able to take a deep breath and relax a little. I don't think Drew and I have spent one evening at home together in a few weeks, so, I am really excited about the opportunity to spend some time with him.

Well, lunch break is over, so I must get back to teaching Art I how to do grid drawings. They are looking great!

Apr 28, 2009

Trying to think happy thoughts...

Well, the garage is finished. It looks absolutely beautiful.

I am trying my hardest to think of other happy things to write about, but I am feeling incredibly down at the moment. What better place to blab than on my blog where I don't have to be an emotional leech in person, right? Yeah, I know, false logic... but its my blog and I am going to leech anyway.

It all started with a case of the Mondays. Wait, rewind... lets start on Friday since there actually was some goodness during the weekend.

Friday, I did not have school. You would think this was an awesome thing, but I woke up that morning with a migraine like I have never had before. I spent all day on the couch trying to watch house, but having to turn it off and take frequent naps because I couldn't focus on the tv any longer. By the time Drew had gotten home, the nausea had taken over and I got pretty sick for a minute. And then, like magic, I felt all better.

Saturday, I was still feeling pretty exhausted. I slept almost 12 hours, and then took several naps on the couch during the day. Drew finally woke me up at around 4 because the Oak Cliff Art Crawl was taking place that night. Like the wonderful man he is, Drew took me to many many different galleries and tried to encourage me about art... which is a point I will bring up further down in this blog. Then he took me to Gloria's for dinner... my favorite. He treated me to shrimp nachos and made me laugh, and I can not tell you how much I appreciate the awesome man God chose to bless me with.

Now, back to the case of the Mondays. I woke up Monday morning feeling like I hadn't had much of a weekend since I slept through most of it. Then the day just kept right on going down the toilet. When Drew and I left the house for work, it was raining so hard I could barely see out of the windshield. I know you folks in Colorado will probably laugh at this next statement, but I am convinced that it was far more dangerous to drive yesterday morning than on our last "snow day". I spent most of the morning at school putting away all of the supplies that were left in my room from the Fine Arts Festival, and sorting through art work. I started my students on a really neat project that I THINK they are all pretty in to, and tried to be encouraged and uplifted.

I have been really down the past few weeks because I (and I really hate to admit this) kind of feel like a failure in the art realm. I can teach, and I'd like to think I am really good at it, but I have had no time to myself to maintain MY art, or to practice or take classes. I honestly miss college, because I was constantly surrounded by people working on art that they were incredibly passionate about. I drew from that energy and created some great work. It is so hard to be inspired when all you want to do is go home and sleep. I want to feel that magic of inspiration again, but in reality, I know Drew and I could not afford to live without my meager salary, and there really is no niche in Dallas that is not totally saturated for my kind of art. So, my prayer lately has been for God to show me how I am supposed to use this talent that he so obviously gave me. I feel so very much that he called me to be at FBA, but I do not feel that He would want me to feel so overwhelmed that I could not be what He called me to be... I believe it was my mom who once told me that God would never put you in a situation that he didn't already know you could make it through. So, I have confidence that He has a plan for me, and that in the end, it will all be perfect accordingly, but I really really wish I knew what that end goal was.

So, Monday after school, I talked to my mom and found out that my "puppy", Reggie, died Monday afternoon. With all the stuff I already mentioned, plus a few things that I do not care to share on the internet, this hit me unusually hard. I loved Reggie very much. He was a very good dog. But he hadn't lived with me since I got married, and I am not used to having him around every day... still I expected him to be around for quite a while longer, and it makes me sad that there wasn't something else I could have done to make him a healthy and happy dog.

Today started out on a good note. I wore my flowey white skirt and was feeling good, and then.. I dont know. I heard news about a really close friend of the family who is in the hospital, and my most favorite co-worker/boss/advocate sent out an email with his resignation. I was absolutely crushed and can not figure out what that means... I know we will carry on, but he was honestly one of the few people that really encouraged me as a teacher and as an artist. I will definitely miss him and his wisdom and encouragement in the hallways next year.

Well, enough of my blubbering. Hopefully the rest of this week will pick up and start to show a bit of improvement. Thursday, I am off to adventure camp with the 8th grade class at FBA. That should prove to be interesting and bloggable.

And... this weekend is Canton! See, I do have things to look forward to. Whew!

Apr 22, 2009

Garage, Earth Day, Etc.

Happy Earth Day, everyone. By coincidence, I planted some beautiful herbs and edibles yesterday, which I will take photos of soon. I planted a corn plant, lettuce, cantaloupe, beans, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, etc. They look great. Does anyone know if any of these have to be cross pollinated? Do I need to buy doubles of anything?

Here is the latest from the Garage update. Doesn't the door look AMAZING? I am so happy with it. Tim has one more door to go, and a few odds and ends and then we are done and will save up some money for the next project. Drew and I are thinking about some insulation pretty soon, maybe some drywall in the old hot water heater closet, and a deck.

This weekend is the Oak Cliff Art Crawl with many galleries in OC participating. Admission is free, and it is Saturday, April 25th from 4-9pm. Drew and I plan on taking part in the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff part of the evening... biking from gallery to gallery. Hopefully I can keep up! You can find more information at

Next weekend, Saturday, May 2nd, the girls and I are heading to Canton. Anyone interested, leave me a comment! We would love to have you come with us!

Apr 13, 2009


I have the cutest kitty in the universe. Just thought you would all like to know.

Garage Update

A LOT of work has gotten done on the garage the past week or so. Here are some photos to show the progress. As you can see, the garage is actually level. Once Tim got to work, he realized how horrible it actually was. Originally, the owners had built the garage on the dirt, and then someone poured a foundation inside the garage. So, there was no support on the walls, and the garage eventually sunk into the ground about 7 inches or more. Tim was able to use a hydraulic jack to jack up the garage, build it up a bit, and pour new foundation around the perimeter to support the walls better. That is all done, and he has run electricity out to the garage. We now have a light inside, beautiful lights outside donated to our cause by Jay and Lynda Martyn, and plugs inside in case one of us gets the urge to go out and learn to be handy.
Drew and I had Friday off for Good Friday, and so I started the tedious process of painting the garage. So far, i do not have a very good track record for finishing this type of project, but I would really like to see the finished product, so, maybe I actually will finish this one. I got the garage scraped and sanded, and thus far, I have finished painting the sides and the front. I also finished the trim on the front. Now I have to paint the back, and finish the trim on the other sides and then the painting is done.
You can't see in these photos, but the "man door" has been hung on the side and stained. It is beautiful! It is so fun to actually see the progress. Now, all we are waiting on are the custom carriage doors that Tim is building. Once the whole thing is finished, I will post before and after photos.

This photo is to show Mike what I am talking about when I say the garage was built up and supported. You can't see the new concrete, but he said he went through 11 bags!
Side of the garage. He built this up, enclosed part of the opening to create a space for a regular door, and has since installed a door in that hole. I did the painting, and we also put up trim on the top on this side (to match the other sides).
This photo shows the level front. Take a look at the last post to see how crooked this garage was. It was insane! I also have this side painted, and the lights are installed and working.
This is an example of what we are having built, only ours will not have windows. So, imagine the bottom part of these doors, and that is what ours will look like. I am so excited to see the finished product!

Mar 31, 2009

My weekend... in backwards order

As you can probably tell, I had a very eventful weekend. It looks as though my next few weekends are going to be eventful as well. Since blogger for some reason inserts the photos in the opposite order that you prefer, I will go in backwards order to describe all that the Dodd family has been up to lately. First of all, we are getting a "new" garage. Actually, it won't be a new garage at all, but it will be straight, pretty, and actually have doors! Woohoo! Work got started yesterday, and as it progresses, I'll post photos. Here's the garage from another view. Here, Tim is building two Carriage style doors out of Cedar. It is going to be SO beautiful!

For my birthday, Meme and Papa bought me a tree! We brought it home on Sunday afternoon and Drew dug a hole for me to plant the tree. I am so excited! Our very first tree. One day, 20 or so years from now, we can show our children the tree we planted, haha. It is a magnolia tree, and it has several blooms already!

Saturday night, Drew and I had our Sunday school class over for a cookout and game night. We played Pictionary and Taboo and had a great time. As much as I hate to admit this, the guys did triumph this time. It won't happen again!

Friday night, Drew and I went to Grace's 11th Birthday Bowling Bash. It was pretty fun until I fell and cracked my head against the floor... ouch! It reminds me of that news story where the girl had to have brain surgery because of the same thing... yikes! Happy Birthday Grace!

Mar 25, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

Seriously, I have the best friends a girl could ever ask for...

Today is my birthday. I am not too fond of birthdays, and haven't been for a while. I think my mom did too good of a job with them when I was a kid (balloons and crepe paper on the chair at breakfast, special lunch, special dinner, etc), and therefore, since I have been an adult, I just want to feel special on my special day... but it is a lot harder when you have work and responsibilities. Plus, there is now that morbid thought that I am now older and closer to not being young and fabulous, and *dun dun dun* closer to the end of my life. Oh man, you guys are really special that I just admitted something that secret. Whew, that was too deep, let's move on...

Anyway, I have to hand it to my friends, family and co-workers today... they made it a very special day! I woke up tired and a bit grouchy, and went to work. Jessica showed up in the office with my very favorite Starbucks for my birthday. Just what I needed, since the coffee in the office was tasting a bit burnt (ew). Then, Mr. Hines announced my birthday on the loud speaker. That was pretty cool (especially since that hasn't happened in 10 years or so, haha). During 3rd period, Tucker came in my room and gave me a card and a Pez dispenser from him and Jessica. The card told jokes, and the pez dispenser is Jack Sparrow! And inside the card, along with very sweet notes, were 2 tickets to Medival Times!! Jessica's brother is a knight... how cool is that? The day goes on... my 5th period class greeted me by singing Happy Birthday (even though it did not successfully get them out of working), and after a long, grewling Faculty Meeting, I was able to come home to see Drew.

I left my phone at home today, and had a couple calls from Meme and Papa, so, I returned their call to find out that their Birthday present to me is a new tree for my yard!!! I can't wait to see it so that I can post some photos.

I had plans to meet Rebecca for dinner, and when I got to the restaurant, all of my wonderful friends were there to surprise me! Lygia, Lindsey, Crystal, Joanna and Rebecca helped me celebrate being "on the late side of 21" as the waiter said. It was so special, and I really enjoyed myself! I haven't laughed so much in ages.

I am SO blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. If you are reading this, Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I love you all and hope that you know it!

Mar 17, 2009

Backyard Spruce Up

Drew and I were able to take some time today to work on our backyard. As I mentioned in my last post, Drew's birthday present to me was some wonderful things for our yard - including the chiminea above, and the flowers. Just wanted to show some photos of all we got accomplished today. I dug out all the old flower beds on the "patio" as we have been calling it, and put in fresh dirt and some plants. Today, we got some BEAUTIFUL blue bonnets (yay Texas!) to plant in the patio. We also have some lantana and some Mexican Feather grass to plant as well, but we need some more dirt before we can plant those. I didn't get a chance to take any photos of the front. Maybe tomorrow! I have crafting to do!

Mar 16, 2009

New Items for Sale

Just updated my etsy site and wanted to give you guys a preview of things you might find there (new stuff will be added daily this week (hopefully)). You can get to my page by following this link: Hope everyone is having a wonderful Spring week!