Julianne’s Blog

this is my blog. this is the only blog there will be.

New kid on the block, again 8 February 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 7:28 AM
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I wrote this post back in August and never published it for some reason. Well, better late than never. Tomorrow Jason and I are packing up the Volvo for the drive back to New Orleans, where we’ll be until the end of March. See you all soon!


I’ve been back on Wilson Drive for a week now, and it’s been wonderful. My neighbors here are simply amazing! I’ve always known that they are all special people, but since I’ve been back in NOLA I’m continuously amazing and humbled by their openness and generosity. I am so luck to be surrounded by such wonderful people! Of course, I also love my apartment. There isn’t much in it now, but it’s all mine. If I want to have a crazy awesome dance party with my iPod speaker, well then it’s on, and there’s plenty of space for jamming but no room for embarassment. Luckily my upstairs neighbor seems cool. We’re going to put an access hatch with a rope ladder through my ceiling, although we haven’t quite decided which room it should go in.

I’ve come across a new job, and it’s wonderful. Galatoire’s doesn’t accept reservations, so on Fridays rich people pay people like me to wait outside and hold a table for them. All I have to do is give the maitre d’ the name of my party and then sit in a lawnchair in front of the restaurant on Bourboun Street for 3-4 hours until my party shows up. I walk about with $60-75 cash and a lovely sense of self-satisfaction. This past Friday I ran into my third grade teacher Ms. Covington out to lunch with her husband, the principal of my elementary school Mr. Theriot. It was pretty cool seeing them again after so many years, and they seemed impressed by my schmoozing.

Just about every day I run into and old friend. I’ve reconnected with school chums, some I’ve known since 1st grade, others who I met a couple years ago at UNO. At the same time I’m making plenty of new friends, and there’s always my regular buddies to spend time with. I have a great time on the town, but I also love being in my home, alone and mellow. I’m so happy with whatever I’m doing and it doesn’t get old.


California dreaming 22 January 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 6:06 AM
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I feel so lucky to be able to live my life the way I do. I’ve been traveling for over a year now and I’ve seen some amazing things. Now I am “settled,” if that’s what you call moving between two amazing cities on opposite sides of the country. But most wonderful of all is that I get to do it all with an incredible man. He loves me as much as I love him, and we make each other blissfully happy. What more could anyone ask for?

the dancing bears

Their colors may fade and one of them has been decapitated, but those bears just keep on dancing!

We’ve been having a great time together in Los Angeles and have developed a lovely routine. Every Tuesday we go to a nearby theater for a movie and $1 popcorn. That night a few of Jason’s friends come over for gaming, and I work on sewing projects in the bedroom. Often when we have local errands we walk, as much for the exercise as a chance to observe the fabulous greenery in the warm California climate. Many yards feature native plants that I’ve never seen before, but there are also the largest geraniums I’ve ever seen. I love identifying as many plants as possible, and I always take samples of the different lavender species I find. We cook some delicious vegan meals and find cool things to watch on the 62″ TV. Throughout the week we meet up with friends and usually see Jason’s brother Jeff, along with his two wild girls, Arden and Eryl. Sunday’s main event is ultimate frisbee in El Segundo, the town Jason grew up in (his dad was even the mayor!). This is followed by lunch at Veggie Grill, where we get amazing vegan nachos, mac&cheese, and kickin’ wings with ranch sauce.

Buying bulk at Costco with nieces Arden and Eryl

We spent our Christmas at home together, laying in bed and laughing with the universe. After a nature walk through the empty streets of Mar Vista we joined some friends and family at a theater to see Sherlock Holmes. New Year’s Eve was also spent in the dark quiet of the apartment, but the next night we visited the Griffith Park Observatory. I’d never been to an observatory before, and although it was crowded and we didn’t have much time there before it closed my mind was sufficiently blown.

One of our most exciting days was our venture to the Fashion District in downtown LA. Jason’s been telling me about it for months and finally the stars aligned for our visit. There were tons of stores selling ready to wear clothes, from tackily fabulous satin and sequin gowns to T shirts in every color, but of course the main draw for me was the fabric stores. Not only were there so many fabrics I’d never seen in stores before, but also they were cheap! We went in less than 10 stores but the selection seemed endless. I was gleeful when I got a few yards of two different lycra jerseys to make dresses (one of which I’m wearing now, look for it on MadeByJulianne soon) and some stretch fabric that will make up to some faaabulous new pants once it’s properly dyed. We also got supplies for our current craft project: Mardi Gras masks! The most memorable store was Michael Levine, where Jason got some corduroy for new pants and I pined and panted over the amazing array of cotton prints, all fantastically out of my price range. Another day, my pretties, you will be mine…

In two weeks we will neatly arrange our things in the back of the Volvo and head east. There’s talk afoot of stopping in Las Vegas for some fun times, and then it’s on to New Orleans. We’ll be there in plenty time for Mardi Gras and the Endymion parade, and we’re staying put until my birthday at the end of March. I’m planning a unicorn themed birthday party, so mark your calendars for 27 March! I’m excited about getting back to my city and seeing my friends again, but it’s strange to think about leaving this place that has become my new home.


OK, November deserved more than one sentence. 13 January 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 8:25 AM
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November was a good month, and should be appropriately represented in the almost defunct blog.

I gathered together a rag-tag team of girlies off Craigslist and we all set off for the West Coast. Two of the girls were actually only going to Houston, which is why I agreed to let them bring their dog. I’m not a huge fan of dogs, and when I spend any amount of time with them in enclosed spaces my allergies react in new and unexciting ways. So when the girls’ plans in Houston fell through and they decided to ride to Pheonix, I had mixed feelings. I mean, yeah, that was a little bit of extra gas money (although not at all an equal share), but on the other hand, I’ve had red blotches on my chest that are just now starting to fade away.

the rideshare team

But the point is I got to Los Angeles! Even though Jason knew I was coming, he was still surprised when he turned around in his kitchen and saw me standing right in front of him. He jumped about three feet in the air and yelled out “HOLY SHIT!” We were still laughing about it a couple weeks later. Our time together in LA was spent mostly in his apartment, where we read, ate a lot, watched season 3 of Californication, and pretended to work. But we went out to see a couple movies, had a picnic on the beach, rode around on bicycles, and went to his niece’s 5th birthday, so see, we aren’t total bums.

November 21 was Jason’s birthday, so a couple days before we had a party. I’d brought 2 packs of Abita Beer from Louisiana, plus Camelia redbeans and some spices. I made a huge pot of beans and 10 or so of Jason’s friends came over, we had a screening of Jason’s short films from the past 15 years. It was a great evening.

I’d been planning on giving Jason his present on his actual birthday, but it worked out better to give it to him the day before. There was a lot of symbolism in this gift and he loved it just as much as I hoped he would. I don’t want to brag, but he’s told me a few times that it’s the best gift he’s received, and I think it’s the best gift I’ve ever made.

The next day, on his actual birthday, we piled into my Volvo and headed east. It was midnight by the time we pulled off I-40 in northern Arizona. Following the signs for a camping site down a dirt road, we found ourselves in the middle of a state park. It was 17 degrees but there were no artificial lights, and we spent a while looking up at the stars. We made a bed of sleeping bags and blankets in the back of the station wagon and fell asleep.

I was freezing, Jason was wearing shorts!

In the morning we were only 2 hours south of the Grand Canyon. After grabbing some breakfast at a Flintstones themed restaurant we entered the park. Neither of us had ever seen the canyon before, and it was amazing! We spent hours walking along the south rim, peering through binoculars, interacting with park wildlife, and taking Polaroids. We watched the chilly sunset and got back on the road.

We slept in the car again that night. Since there were no pitch-black state parks available, we made do with an abandoned adobe building in New Mexico. As we set up our bed in the back of the car we heard loud, angry barking, that got closer and closer. I shone out a flashlight and the wild dogs were close enough that we could see the reflections of their eyes. I jumped in the car and Jason was right behind me. It was scary, but we felt safe… until around 3AM, when we were awakened by a knocking on the window and a flashlight in our faces. I hid under the covers while Jason explained to the cop that we were just passing through, that we were too tired to drive and that this was the only quiet space we could find. The officer was nice enough about it and we drifted back to sleep. The sun had already risen when the next cop woke us up, so we climbed into the front seat and got back on the road.

Our Thanksgiving plans took us to St. Louis to visit the Blakemores, relatives on Jason’s mom’s side. I’d met Uncle Pat at Burning Man and it was great to see him again. The family had rented a cabin outside of the city and we met them there for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. The next day we stopped at a thrift store and Jason’s cousins picked out some great finds for me.

relaxing with the Blakemores: me, Uncle Pat, Jamie, Uncle Bug, and Jane

Our next stop was Russellville, Arkansas, where we spent the night at my dad’s house. My younger brother Andy was visiting for the holiday, and the four of us made some delicious pizzas and played a great game of Scrabble. I think that will be the only time I’ll beat Jason at that game! The following morning Jason and I dropped Andy off at the Little Rock Airport for his return flight to Cleveland and set our sights on New Orleans. The interstate took us right through Memphis and we decided to visit Graceland. Four hours later we were Elvis-ed out (although I had reached my threshhold after about 1 hour…) and resumed our roadtrip, finally and absolutely New Orleans bound.


December’s adventure 10 December 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 7:31 PM
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Another month, another trip to California. In November I put about 5,000 miles on the Volvo, or rather I would have if the odometer weren’t broken. But since it is broken, it doesn’t count, right?

Well December’s mileage will be only about 2,000, because this time I’ll be staying in Los Angeles until the beginning of February. I’m bringing some paintings to work on, my sewing machine, and a few projects so that I’ll be able to set up some sort of un-vacationy routine, maybe even find a little job in LA. I can’t help but be a little nervous, but only because this is something new and different. I’m crazy excited about spending so much time with Jason. After our time there, we’re heading back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. March is unclear, but I know that for my birthday at the end of the month I would like to be in New Orleans with my friends and Jason. Also, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! is going to be in NOLA on 11 March, and I am so super psyched about that.

Another notable entry on the iCal is Allia’s grand debut as a ballerina, this weekend in The Nutcracker. She’s going to be a mouse, and I haven’t seen any of her costume or dance steps, so I’m pretty excited. Last week while Jason was in town the three of us saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I had a great time hanging out with them both.

So, to summarize: I spend all day hanging around the apartment, painting and sewing, with occasional outings on the bicycle, but now I’m going to do it in LA the city, not the state.


A happily uncertain place 3 November 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 5:49 PM
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It’s been 3 months since I moved into this little apartment back on Bayou St. John, and almost 2 months since Burning Man. I’m not sure exactly what my life is doing right now, but I can tell that it’s really good. I’m getting pretty settled.

Friday night Lorraine slept over at my place. It was great to have some casual time alone, something we haven’t done since we lived together a year ago. Saturday was Voodoo fest so we dressed up in some bodysuits I just happened to have lying around and hit the park. My mushroom costume was fabulous and I felt like a star! People kept coming up to me all day with compliments, my favorite of which was, “I’ve heard about your costume and was hoping to find you!” I was in a ton of pictures and an interview for Fuse TV. When the camera would scan over the crowd at the Gogol Bordello show, it was real easy to see exactly where I was.

Halloween in NOLA

We were ready for anything

I’ve been very busy sewing lately. Soon I will have a page to show all my projects. I’m also painting again. Money is definitely tight but I am supporting myself with my hobbies. When I have a lot of projects going on I can move around on a whim, and I get to stay home all day. But even better than that is being able to travel.

Next week I am going back to California. I was there for about a week last month, and Jason and I had a wonderful time together. We drove up the Pacific Coastal Highway to San Francisco for the Burning Man decompression and spent the evening in a park in our matching red velvet costumes. Oh, it was fabulous. So in a few days I am driving there in my Volvo. After a couple weeks in LA Jason and I are heading east, spending his birthday at the Grand Canyon before continuing on to St. Louis to be with his family for Thanksgiving. Then we will stop at my dad’s house in Arkansas on the way back to New Orleans in time for Kami’s big 28th birthday. A few days later Jason will fly back to LA, but I won’t be too far behind him, chasing his plane in my station wagon.

SF Decomp
After the party, without our hats and wigs

So here I am, starting to feel settled in my life, when in reality I am just as divided as I’ve ever been. On one hand I have my pretty little home in my city, but on the other hand my mind is always on the west coast. Looks like the next year might be just as unpredictable as 2009 has been.


The Rocket 14 September 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 12:24 AM
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Burning Man was so incredible. I was very close to not going, but once I was there I realized how inevitable it was that I attend. Cosmo, one of the most amazing of the people I met there, said that the second is strong in Black Rock City; knowing for someone 5 days in the desert is equivalent to 9 months in the default world. When old Jason came back from Burning Man last year I was frustrated with his inability to explain what it was like (as well as for other reasons) but now I understand that there’s no way to communicate that experience unless you are actually there. And once you are there, you will have a completely different story than I did but you will understand.

But there is one event that sticks out in my memory. I’ve told this story but I know it’s impossible to really tell. It was magical, unbelievable, and inevitable all at once.

The Raygun Gothic Rocket

The Raygun Gothic Rocket

On Tuesday I met a man named Jason (not to be confused with old Jason). Wednesday night we ran into each other again, which is pretty amazing considering we were in the desert with 41,000 people all having a party, so to make a long story short after that we stuck together. Thursday night we rode in his art car to the Raygun Gothic Rocket, which after waiting in line and climbing up a ladder you could explore. Jason went up first while I had some deep soul sharing with his friend Rick. By the time we got up Jason had finished and gone back into the dark desert. I noticed one of the flight crew struggling with his flashlight, so I offered to hold it while he prepared a mini rocket to fire. After explaining the process, he asked me to launch the rocket. After years of temptation, I finally had an opportunity to push that red button labeled “DO NOT TOUCH.” With much gusto, I made the most of it.

After launching my rocket into what I supposed was oblivion, I climbed down the stairs and found Jason with his crew. They were all talking about the fact that Jason had caught the rocket mid-air and that he was the first person to do this. I couldn’t believe it–I thought it was pretty cool that I had launched the rocket, and it was great that he was the only person to catch a rocket, but it was pretty amazing that he had caught MY rocket… and then gave it to his ex-girlfriend so that she could skip the line for the rocket. Jason described it as “a great focus for entropy. I don’t know what it all means, but it’s certainly got me thinking.”


Something old and something new 27 August 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 12:28 AM
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Another Katrina survivor

So here it is, the end of August. It’s inevitable to remember August 2005 as a landmark in our collective memory, but I had my own personal hurricane in August 2008. A year ago I had a job I loved, was plowing through my last semester to my degree, and, most important to me at the time, spent my time with someone who filled me with so much happiness and love that I always sped up the closer I got to home in order to see him a few seconds sooner.

Now I’m a year older and I  feel I can say that I’m at least a year wiser. My heart got stomped on, I quit my job, sold most of my possessions, finished school, traveled around Europe, met Rick Steves (that’s become a mantra to me), and eventually found my way back to NOLA. I feel like I’m living a richer life now. Not financially of course–the painting is going OK but I’m going to have to work very hard to make it pay off. I whir up the Singer sewing machine at least 4 times a week. I see at least one friend every day and go out with other friends several nights a week. I go on dates and while nothing looks very promising I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. When I first returned Kaden had forgotten me and was afraid when I tried to hold him, but now we both enjoy walking around the neighborhood and smelling the flowers.

My pillowcase from Budapest, the bed we built, and a photo of my Grandma

My pillowcase from Budapest, the bed we built, and a photo of my Grandma

I am so happy being in my home, because everything in it tells something about my life. It’s like living in my own storybook with no set ending. Everyday I make a choice to stay, not because it’s easy but because I always find a new reason to be happy: introducing friends who come to eat redbeans with me, hearing palm fronds scrape against a car roof as I ride my bike down Esplanade, seeing my dishes gently drying on their wooden rack. That last one has always made me happy and I hope in 30 years I’ll still be satisfied with it.

In a couple days I’ll be heading out to Burning Man. I didn’t go last year but somehow this party in the desert has been responsible for most of what’s happened in the past year. I can’t help but be nervous about how actually attending while effect my life. But at the very least I will be appropriately dressed in my teal and green spandex bodysuits.