Goodbye old pepper

New maple tree
Our neighborhood sadly said goodbye to what was probably its oldest tree this month. Despite regular arborist care, the California Pepper split in half on 30 March. It had lived 81 years (1935-2016), and measured at least 162 inches in circumference and 51.59 inches in diameter. When it fell, my son Paul said that the light into his room got noticeably brighter.  The old pepper was wet enough inside to be home to a Aneides lugubris, the Arboreal salamander, a species of climbing salamander native to California. The cut wood pieces were pink-orange and were quickly picked up by local wood workers.

Neighbors Gary and Linda hired more arborists to try to save what was left but an ultrasound test said that the remaining trunk could not survive and might fall on their house. This month, after four honey bee hives (and their honey) were carefully relocated, the rest of the tree came down and was replaced by a hopeful new Autumn Blaze Maple tree.

September 2014 – Thanks to Google Maps!

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose Sep 2014

March 2016

31 March 2016 California Pepper tree fallen San Jose CA

31 March 2016 Gary and Linda with fallen California Pepper tree San Jose CA

Salamander inside California Pepper tree San Jose CA March 2016

pink wood from California Pepper tree San Jose CA March 2016

May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree stump, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Pepper Tree chips, Belmont, San Jose May 2016

Linda and Gary with new maple tree

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson – with thanks to Google Maps for the 2014 image

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Willow Glen Road Diet Failure

Willow Glen Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Failure San Jose California 17 May 2016

Our family has lived in Willow Glen for almost twenty years. It is a comfortable and neighborly area of San Jose, California with large gardens, good restaurants and shops, and charming architecture. Lincoln Avenue – the neighborhood’s downtown – is part of what makes Willow Glen a “San Jose Treasure”. Unfortunately, during the last year Lincoln Avenue has been inflicted with a “Road Diet” which has increased traffic and accidents while discouraging customers from shopping and dining in its otherwise-attractive small businesses.

I first wrote about the “Road Diet Controversy in Willow Glen” about a year ago and the situation has not improved.  On 21 March 2016, there was a debate among seven of the candidates for the Willow Glen District 6 City Council seat at which the Road Diet was a major topic.  Julia Baum of the Mercury News reported on 29 March 2016 reported:

“Candidates answered questions about eminent domain, job creation and the city’s widespread homeless population, but the discussion about the Lincoln Avenue road diet highlighted the evening. Most of the candidates supported permanently keeping Lincoln Avenue to one lane each way and not returning to the original four-lane configuration.”

I do not understand why the failed Road Diet is so popular with Willow Glen’s political leaders (and candidates for political leadership).  During this last year, I have spoken regularly with Lincoln Avenue small business owners who are to a person upset at their loss of business due to heavy and dangerous traffic combined with too-little parking.  One small business owner told me that in her own observation, Lincoln Avenue accidents have more than tripled this year (eighteen accidents since the five reported by the San Jose Department of Transportation “SJ-DOT” at the 18 June 2015 public hearing).  The SJ-DOT web page has posted no more current information since “Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Trial” slides from that public hearing.  I have a call into the SJ-DOT office to see if I can get better information.

The SJ-DOT reported on 18 June 2015 that the Purpose of the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet is:

  • Improve safety for all users
  • Create a calmer traffic environment
  • Enhance travel for people walking and biking

As you can see from the photos (taken this week), big trucks routinely park in the Lincoln Avenue middle passing lane to make deliveries, reducing what was a four-lane road in early 2015 to a two-lane road with two bike lanes now.  Neighbors have told me that traffic on side streets around Lincoln Avenue (between Willow/Minnesota) is heavier and often dangerously fast – because drivers are trying to get around the traffic jams downtown.  I walk down Lincoln Avenue most days and dodging bicycles on the sidewalk is a frequent hazard.  I have been told that many cyclists do not want to use the bike lanes because they are too dangerous with all of the traffic.

Considering its stated Purposes, the Road Diet seems to be a complete failure.

Willow Glen Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Failure San Jose California 19 May 2016

.

Willow Glen Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Failure San Jose California 19 May 2016

Willow Glen Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Sign 2015

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

TechWomen Alumnae Resources

Mai Temraz Gaza February 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page is now available, presenting recommendations and references to materials helpful to technical women stuck in place because of politics or personal circumstances. So far, TechWomen Alumnae Resources topics include:

More topics are being developed.  This resource was created as a result of discussions on 12 February 2016 during the TechWomen Jordan Delegation’s Unconference at the Dead Sea.  The session I lead was called “Supporting TechWomen Fellows in Conflict Zones”. A group of nine TechWomen Fellows, Mentors, and supporters from the Middle East and USA started by discussing how to support TechWomen Fellows in conflict zones – especially Gaza, Yemen, and Libya – but we soon expanded our scope to consider those stuck at home because of severe family illness or other care taking responsibilities.  That is, these are ideas / resources / programs to benefit TechWomen Mentors and Fellows who are stuck in place.  This was not about getting them out but rather helping them remain professionally active where they are.  The five categories in which we felt that support could be offered / maintained and would be most helpful are:

  1. Entrepreneurship – training, startup feedback, recommendations to funding sources.
  2. Outsourcing – recommendations on finding / developing professional work that could be done where they are.
  3. Starting and managing local mentoring programs.
  4. Professional visibility and volunteerism:
  5. Recommendations and introductions:

The top photo shows my 2014 TechWomen mentee, Mai Temraz, with her Grace Hopper Conference bag and gifts in Gaza City, in February 2016.  We carried these gifts to her because she could attend the October 2015 GHC15 conference in-person to accept her award as 2015 Change Agent ABIE.  Being stuck in place is part of life in Gaza City.  Remarkable technical leaders like Mai are the inspiration for the TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page.

Image Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Videos from Jordan, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan TechWomen Delegations

Cathy Simpson Evelyn Zoubi TechWomen Delegation mansaf April 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Council held a reunion for the Jordan, Zimbabwe, and Kazakhstan Delegations on 26 April 2016, hosted by AOL in San Mateo, California (in the Silicon Valley).  TechWomen Director Arezoo Riahi  reported that the three Delegations (of 37 Mentors from the US and almost 50 Fellow from 13 countries) together reached 1,925 girls and women.

John Plocher taped the inspiring personal and professional reports by IIE staff and Delegation members: the set of 11 videos is now available.  You can also watch the individual videos:

  1. Arezoo Riahi – opening, Delegations report, update on 2015 and 2016 TechWomen cohorts
  2. Audrey Simpson, Cindy Cooley, Cathy Simpson, Evelyn Zoubi – update on TechWomen Alumnae Council, and how to make Jordanian mansaf
  3. Katy Dickinson – Jordan, Palestine, Zimbabwe, and update on TechWomen Alumnae Resources
  4. Rekha Pai – Kazakhstan
  5. Rebecca Biswas – Kazakhstan
  6. Teresa Zhang – Kazakhstan
  7. Molly Pyle – Zimbabwe
  8. Sarasija Parthasarthy – Kazakhstan
  9. Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries – Zimbabwe
  10. Zhilan Zweiger – Zimbabwe, Kenya
  11. Mary Karam McKey – “All Protocols Observed”

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Rebecca Biswas TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Mentoring and Diversity Talks

Katy Dickinson at University of Central Florida May 2016

This week, I enjoyed presenting about mentoring and diversity for the Summer Faculty Development Conference – University of Central Florida, in Orlando:

I was graciously hosted by Dr. Linda Walters, Professor of Biology and Director of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty.  UCF is a huge school by many measures, with 63,002 undergraduates on a 1,415 acre campus.  It was a day of interesting conversations and good questions!

UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty books

UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty books

University of Central Florida

UCF Summer Faculty Development Conference 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

“First Mentors – What We Learned” report now available

Mentoring Standard 72 Mentor Collage 8 May 2016

Mentoring Standard‘s 16 page report on the first 72 Certified Mentors is now published: “First Mentors – What We Learned” (by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher).

Executive Summary
This is a baseline report on mentors certified by Mentoring Standard during its first year in business. Subsequent reports will expand on this material. This report presents demographic, geographic, and professional information about the first cohort of 72 Certified Mentors, plus information on mentoring as a practice that has demonstrated consistent and remarkable benefits. Nine conclusions are made but understanding of other patterns will need to wait for a larger group to analyze. Detailed comparisons are made with one of the few large sets of data published on professional mentoring – that of Sun Microsystems Engineering.

The information in this report is drawn from an interconnected worldwide community of dedicated mentors – not a general population. In this first cohort, there are far more women, highly educated and technical professionals represented among the Certified Mentors than are in the general public.

The top three conclusions in this report are:

    1. Mentors report great satisfaction from working with mentees. Most reported being mentors for years and seem to want to continue mentoring and improving as mentors for the foreseeable future. Mentors write about formal and informal mentoring being a regular part of their personal and professional lives.
    2. Participants report that mentor certification gives immediate benefit in increased confidence and recognition of their own accomplishments, and may also yield professional visibility and better advancement as well.
    3. Mentoring works well for a wide diversity of nationalities and ethnicities. It seems to be an accepted practice in all 17 of the countries where Certified Mentors live.

The intended audience for this report is current and potential Certified Mentors, customers of Mentoring Standard, academics and professionals interested in how mentoring actually works. I look forward to your comments and questions!

Mentoring Standard Formal Programs bar chart 8 May 2016

Images Copyright 2016 Mentoring Standard

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Caucus for Hillary Clinton

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Our whole family came out on Sunday as volunteers to support my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman who was the Convener (with Steve Preminger) for the US Congressional District 19 Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton. The Caucus voted for who may go to the Democratic National Convention (25-28 July 2016, in Philadelphia) to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic Presidential Candidate. The number of elected Delegates who actually go to the convention will be based on the result of the 7 June Presidential Primary election in California.

I spent most of the time managing the Ballot Box (doing my part to be sure this was a free and fair election).  It was a long day but fun to spend time with so many enthusiastic supporters of Secretary Clinton – especially Larissa Shapiro (my sister TechWomen Mentor) and her daughter Rose, who was our speech timer.  There were many more female candidates for Delegate than male – everyone wanted to be there to vote for the first woman to be US President!

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Omar Torres, Katy Dickinson at Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Steve Preminger at Democratic Caucus for Hillary Clinton 1 May 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews