Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We Three Kings

Taking notes from parodies Adam and Julie Daniel are singing:

We three kings of Orient are
One in a taxi, one in a car
One on scooter tooting his hooter
They didn't get very far

We three kings of Leicester Square
Selling ladies' underwear
So fantastic, no elastic,
Only a penny a pair

While shepherds washed their socks by night
While sitting round the tub
The angel of the lord came down
And they began to scrub

While shepherds washed their socks by night
While eating fish and chips
The angel of the lord came down
And charged them one and six

While shepherds washed their socks by night
While watching ITV
The angel of the lord came down
And turned to BBC

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas letter 2014

I sent out two batches of cards, and most had this. The first few didn't. Mostly, now, I want it for my own records and memory.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

A Dodd Christmas update for the outgoing 2014, and happy hopes for 2015!

Early in the year, I was in Australia, and I had fun, learned a ton, but it was too far, too long, and I declared I was through travelling and would stay home forevermore. Immediately, I went to Austin and attended the first Texas Unschoolers Campout, where Kirby and I were speaking. Destiny and Devyn went, too, and we shared a cabin. I was aready scheduled to go to Rochester, Minnesota, to put on an unschooling symposium with Alex Polikowsky and Pam Laricchia, so I did. And I was scheduled to speak at the California Homeschool Association's conference in San Jose in August, so Holly and I went there, and I did.

I was SO GLAD TO BE HOME, when I was home this year—more glad than I've been to be home for a long time.

Kirby is planning to move back to Albuquerque with Destiny (his girlfiend) and her five-year-old daughter Devyn, who started living with them full time in January. I went to help with the transition, and played a lot of PlayDoh and Tall Bird, Short Bird for a couple of weeks. Kirby will be leaving his job at Blizzard where he's been for eight years, but he misses Albuquerque more than he loves Austin, it seems. They plan to come to look for a place in early February.

Marty married his girlfriend of six years, now Ashlee Dodd, on November 20, in Las Vegas. They honeymooned in Puerto Rico and went by kayak into a bioluminescent bay at night and... well ask them if you see them. They tell it well and it sounds magical. Earlier in the year they were made Baron and Baroness of al-Barran, which is mysterious gibberish to people who aren't in the SCA (that's fine), and Very Cool to those who know what it means.

Holly lived away from home for a while, and came back for a while, is now in India for a while, and will be in England for a while in January before coming back again. She's planning to move to Socorro but that's 2015 and it hasn't happened, so it doesn't count yet. She's taking an art class in India that she's excited about and has been shopping (and shopping). I'm glad we can communicate easily at that distance.

Keith is still involved in the SCA, still putting his armor on and fighting, but not always as for long as he used to. He's been happy to support the new baron and baroness (see the Marty paragraph above, if you skimmed down to the Keith portion). He's retiring early from Honeywell, where he's been for nearly 30 years, since it was Sperry, but that's next year, so...

I hope this year will have some warm memories for you, and that next year will have some happy surprises!

[Sandra (signed in green)]

The letter didn't have photos, but I can include some recent things for my blog souvenir.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twenty-year-old Christmas card

In 1994 my kids, our friend Lilly and I "assembly lined" the production of some Christmas cards. They were printed with a Riso Gocco screen printer I used to use quite a bit. The inside was printed first, and the credits were in there instead of on the back, because of Step 2, the cover.

The cover (tree art by Kirby) was printed second, and with the ink still wet, powdered with "raising powder," and each card (two at a time, I think, on a baking sheet) held under a gas broiler until the plastic melted and the lines were "embossed" (like a business card with raised letters). Those raised plastic outlines made them EASY to paint.

This was high tech, 20 years ago, when people couldn't print their own photos at home, or create beautiful full-color art with a computer and dot-matrix printer. This was the old days.

The inside verse had been done with a computer font, and printed off on a home B&W laser printer, then taken to a Xerox copy machine, copied with a piece of plastic that had a grid of small white dots on it, between it and the glass, to keep it from being solid black (so the next step would work).

The red and green (and gold of the credits) came from ink sqeezed onto a cellulose screen created by the battery-powered flash of strong flash bulbs. That's the way Riso Print Gocco works. :-) The colors were separated by a sort of foam tape.

I did most of the painting, kids helped some, and something happened that year that kept me from sending out as many cards as I had expected to, in 1994. I don't remember what it was, now—that's how stressors or emergencies can look from twenty years away. So a stack of cards, some partially painted, some still flat from printing, were wrapped in plastic in the back of my Christmas file drawer, and this year on their anniversary I have mailed a few out, and scanned a couple to share.

The credits say:

Tree art:
Printing Crew:


Kirby Dodd (8)
Sandra Dodd (41)
Lilly Hankins (9)
Marty Dodd (5, nearly 6)
Kirby Dodd (8) and Sandra
Holly Dodd (3)
Keith Dodd
Sandra Dodd
Marty, Sandra,
and a 1956 Westinghouse broiler

The verse (for those who can't read the font or the printing) says:
Abundant joy,
   a special toy,
      warmth and firelight,
         carols at twilight;

Memories of old,
   children to hold,
      comforting food,
         and hearts renewed.