Category Archives: Home & Family

Shakespeare Sonnets – Virtual

2020 Shakespeare Sonnet Reading, 18 April during pandemic lockdown
Since 2012, Shakespeare reading group has been meeting every two months to read a play and enjoy a potluck meal. At Christmas, we usually have a special reading of the entire Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. There are 61 in the group; our youngest regular reader is 10 years old and our oldest is 96. We take turns hosting the event in various cities in the Silicon Valley.

Last month, because of the corona virus lockdown, we had our first virtual meeting, to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets. We spent a lovely two hours on 18 April reading sonnets 2, 5, 8, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 43, 47, 51, 59, 65, 67, 73, 116, 121, 124, 130, 135, 138, 143, and 144. Fourteen of us  each picked and read two poems. It was delightful to see everyone, even if only online!

My husband John sweetly dedicated his reading of Sonnet #25 to me, and then made this video of his reading – followed by my reading of Shakespeare’s Chicken Sonnet (#143).

I am the group mentor and assign parts, Melita Thorpe manages this as a ministry of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Stephenie Cooper analyzes the roles in advance – to be sure we don’t speak over each other. John Plocher hosted our first online meeting to be sure the technology worked.

2012 Katy's Shakespeare books
2013 Dickens reading, Christmas Carol
2016 Shakespeare reading and 90th birthday party
2019 Dickens Christmas Carol reading

Shakespeare's 456th Birthday, April 2020

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Images Copyright 2012-2020 by Katy Dickinson.

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Making a New Vegetable Garden

Katy Dickinson San Jose backyard April 2020

Inspired by my daughter Jessica’s gardening efforts, I am branching out. I have always been a serious gardener but mostly focused on flowering plants and cactus. Jessica’s enthusiasm for gardening edible and native California plants is infectious. We have lived in the San Jose neighborhood of Willow Glen for over twenty years – on the bank of the Guadalupe River. Chuck and Kathleen Purdy who owned our house before were great gardeners. They passed on to us many fruit and nut trees, including a small orchard.  Some of the fruit trees have died over the years, leaving space for my son Paul to store his curing logs for woodworking, and for me to create a market garden next to the prickly pear and yucca hedge.  Paul and John used some old steel beams we had for the six foot by eight foot raised border. Jessica brought over some of her seedlings and 12 bags of garden soil with fertilizer which I have dug in to create a good planting bed. Paul also took the wheels and handles off of two old wheelbarrows for small beds. (Other than the new soil, plants, and mulch, this new planting area was created with materials I already had.)

So far, I have planted:

  • Three Sisters (a gift from Jessica): corn, beans, and squash (with a sunflower) – 6 sets
  • Cherry tomatoes (“Husky Cherry Red” and “Cherry-Red”) – 3 plants
  • Marigolds for edging

I am getting ready to plant carrots, potatoes, snow peas and snap peas as well. I bought seeds from Plants of the Southwest – and added a 3-sided trellis to support the pea and bean vines. A Meyer Lemon I planted many years ago is thriving next to the apricot, apple, and white peach trees. I added a brick border for the lemon trunk and tossed in all of the stones I dug out of the planting bed for decoration. Three garden cats (only one of whom is actually ours) – Princess, Ketchup, and Charlie – help us manage the property. I am concerned that the raccoon marauders will dig everything up – I may have to add a wire cover to the planting bed like that of our neighbors.

Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
lemon tree - Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Princess cat April 2020
Ketchup cat April 2020
Charlie cat April 2020

22 April 2020 – everything planted!
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard 22 April 2020

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Images Copyright 2020 by Katy Dickinson.

Updated 26 April 2020

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Redesigned WP668 Web Site

2007 WP668 over trees by Danek Duvall

I just redesigned the WP668 caboose website. I am still reviewing and posting old photos but the basic structure is done. It is restful during the coronavirus lockdown to make progress on a project I have been wanting to work on forever. After reviewing hundreds in our online family archive, I keep discovering wonderful photos I had forgotten.  I have finished 2006 and am about half done with 2007 now. More about WP668 :

WP668 is a historic Western Pacific Railroad caboose being restored by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher, a private family in San Jose, California, USA. More information and pictures are added as WP668’s story evolves.

For a summary of the WP668 story, see Katy’s May 2017 Western Pacific Historical Convention slides: “The Story of Western Pacific Caboose 668”. WP668 is the office for Mentoring Standard. Please join the WP668 Western Pacific Caboose Facebook group. WP668 was originally built as a boxcar in 1916. In 2018, the Mayor said that WP668 was the coolest office in San Jose!

As always: Please tell me if you have pre-1960 photos of our WP668 caboose. Thanks to all who have already contributed historic caboose images – especially Don Marenzi.

Thanks to John Plocher and Jessica Dickinson Goodman for technical web support!

2006: SN1642 and WP668 cabooses, at the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco
2006 WP668 moving from GGRM in San Francisco2006: WP668 caboose on truck
2006: WP668 on Highway 101
2006 WP668 on 4 May in San Jose2006: WP668 in storage in San Jose
2007: WP668 in the air over the trees
2007 John Paul Katy Jessica in WP668 caboose2007: family on WP668 in their San Jose backyard
2007 WIllow Glen Resident 25 May WP668 story2007: WP668 on the front page!
WP668 in 2020

Images Copyright 2006-2020 by Katy Dickinson, John Plocher, and Danek Duvall

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Solitaire game with Notable Women playing cards


Solitaired Notable Women card game, Screen Shot 2020-03-17

Solitaired just published a new online card game featuring the Notable Women playing cards! Play it here. I am glad to see our project featured in celebrating Women’s History Month. Jessica Dickinson Goodman and Susan Rodger and I created the project in 2014 and it is now in its 4th edition. In the original version, 25% of the 54 world-renowned honorees did not have a Wikipedia page and some had no known photo – now they all do! See the whole list of honorees.

Notable Women playing cards are associated with the long-term “CRA-W and Anita Borg Institute Wikipedia Project – Writing Wikipedia Pages for Notable Women in Computing” project.  We encourage you to use this information to inspire students and teach computer science, and write or improve Wikipedia pages – especially creating new pages about remarkable women who have none. Please watch our 2014 Kickstarter video about why we picked these 54 women from among all of the remarkable technical women.

See the Solitaired announcement for more information

Solitaired Notable Women card game, Screen Shot 2020-03-17

The Notable Women project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

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Willow Glen Garden Redesign, 5 Years Later

Willow Glen Garden Redesign Plan 17 June 2015Redesign Plan 17 June 2015

Five years ago, I redesigned our front garden for water conservation. Partly as a result of my recent experience with a Pacific School of Religion class project helping to plant a food garden for The Village curbside community, aka homeless encampment, in Oakland, I was inspired to replant some of my own garden in Willow Glen (San Jose, California). John Plocher and I had to reroute the watering lines. I also had to remove couch and Bermuda grass volunteers, and relocate the many big pink worms that get mixed up in the work.

My 2015 plant list included:

  • Achillea tomentosa – woolly yarrow (yellow/grey) – still thriving
  • Agapanthus inapertus (purple) – still thriving
  • Bearded iris (red and purple and yellow and white) – still thriving
  • California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica, orange) – still thriving
  • Dymondia margaretae (yellow/grey) – removed, could not take the heat
  • Helictotrichon sempervirens – Blue oat grass – removed, could not take the heat
  • Lantana (purple) – still thriving
  • Lavender (Lavandula – purple, of course) – still thriving
  • Muhlenbergia rigens – deer grass – removed, got too big
  • Narcissus – daffodils (yellow – full size) – still thriving
  • Verbena lilacina (purple) – replaced twice and finally removed, could not take the heat
  • Verbena peruviana (red) – replaced twice and finally removed, could not take the heat
  • Phormium – flax (purple/brown) – died and was replaced with a similar plant

What I have now includes more California natives, which I hope will handle San Jose’s increasingly hot summers better.* New additions are in bold:

  • Achillea Millefolium “Sonoma Coast creeping yarrow”  (California native, white)
  • Achillea Tomentosa – woolly yarrow (yellow/grey)
  • Agapanthus inapertus (purple)
  • Bearded iris (red and purple and yellow and white)
  • California Poppy (California native, Eschscholzia californica, orange and yellow)
  • Ceanothus hearstiorum “Hearst Ranch buckbrush” (California native, from San Luis Obispo County, purple)
  • Ceanothus megacarpus “Bigpod ceanothus” (California native, from the Central Coast and Channel Islands, white)
  • Echium wildpretii “Tower of Jewels” (red)
  • Lantana (purple)
  • Lavender (Lavandula – purple, of course)
  • Manzanita “Emerald Carpet” (California native, from Mendocino County, Arcostaphylos, white flowers, red fruit and bark)
  • Narcissus – daffodils – full size (yellow)
  • Narcissus “Tete Tete” – miniature daffodils (yellow)
  • Penstemon baccharifolius “Rock penstemon” (a Texas plant, but the only red bloom that day in Yamagami’s Nursery natives section)
  • Phormium – flax (pink/brown)

On 9 February, I took out three of the lantana and replaced them with low-growing manzanita, which is a California native that I hope will be less bushy and aggressive. There are still two of the lantana, much pruned back.

* “San Jose will go from having 7 days a year on average above a heat index of 90 degrees between 1971 and 2000 to 24 days a year by mid-century and 53 days by late century, at the current rate of emissions.” – Paul Rogers, “Bay Area likely to see more 100+ degree days in coming years, new study finds,” The Mercury News, 16 July 2019.

Willow Glen Front Garden, San Jose, California 10 Nov 201510 Nov 2015
Willow Glen Garden, San Jose, California 4 Feb 20204 Feb 2020
Willow Glen Front Garden, San Jose, California 10 Nov 201510 Nov 2015
Willow Glen Front Garden, San Jose, California 4 Feb 20204 Feb 2020
Willow Glen Front Garden, San Jose, California 9 Feb 20209 Feb 2020
Daffodils, San Jose, California, 29 Jan 2020Daffodils, 4 Feb 2020
Princess Cat, 29 January 2020Princess, the Garden Guardian, 2020

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Images Copyright 2015-2020 by Katy Dickinson.

9 Feb 2020 – added a photos of 3 new manzanita

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22 Bishops Celebrate Lucinda Ashby (not counting Bishop Barbie)

Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020
Bishop Lucinda Ashby was ordained and consecrated the fourth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real on 11 January 2020, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Saratoga, California. Twenty two bishops participated in the consecration, ten of them women. Bishop Lucinda is the sixth woman to be consecrated an Episcopal Bishop this year. She is the second Episcopal Bishop ever to succeed another woman bishop. Like Bishop Mary, Bishop Lucinda is bilingual in Spanish. The ordination and consecration was conducted in English, Spanish, and Tagalog. The sermon was by the Rev. Dr. John L. Kater, Professor Emeritus, Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

24 of the 127 active Episcopal bishops (diocesan, suffragan, assistant or assisting) are women. The Episcopal House of Bishops has nearly 300 active members and comprises half of the governing body of the Episcopal Church. All bishops of the Episcopal Church, active or retired, make up the House of Bishops.

My husband John Plocher lead the team that livestreamed the event. John created 41 pages of notes and directions and the team practiced for months. By the end of 11 January 2020, more people had watched the event online than had attended in person. During the service, I was grateful to be able to see the live online high view of some of the more intimate parts of the service, especially when the 22 bishops laid their hands on Bishop Lucinda in blessing. They prayed together:

Therefore, Father, make Lucinda a bishop in your Church.
Pour out upon her the power of your princely Spirit, whom you bestowed upon your beloved Son Jesus Christ. with whom he endowed the apostles, and by whom your Church is built up in every place,
to the glory and unceasing praise of your Name.

Full text – Service bulletin:
Episcopal diocese ECR, part one consecration 11 Jan 2020 (pages 1 to 26),
Episcopal diocese ECR, part two consecration 11 Jan 2020 (pages 27 to 52)

In addition to the traditional presentations of the stole, chasuble, cope, mitre, pectoral cross, episcopal ring, festal crozier, and Bible, Bishop Lucinda was given a special gift, her own Bishop Barbie. The first Bishop Barbie was presented to Bishop Mary at our 2010 women’s retreat. From my blog post about that event:

Leslie Butlar and the Rev. Maryellen Garnier worked with a team to create this event… We were honored to spend part of an afternoon with our own Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves in open conversation. Maryellen presented Bishop Mary with a token of our regard, the first Bishop Barbie doll. Maryellen had the doll’s custom robes created because of a story she had heard. Recently, a little girl who was much taken with Bishop Mary, asked her why there was no Bishop Barbie. Well, now there is one.

Here are the 22 bishops who participated in Bishop Lucinda’s ordination and consecration:

The Rt. Rev.
Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev.
26th Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Navajoland
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Northern California
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Eastern Oregon
The Rt. Rev.
7th Bishop, Los Angeles, Suffragan
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Cuba
The Rt. Rev. Dr.
Bishop, Central New York
The Rt. Rev
Bishop, Hawaii
The Rt. Rev.
3rd Bishop, El Camino Real
The Rev.
Bishop, ELCA – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Sierra Pacific Synod
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Rio Grande
The Rt. Rev.
6th Bishop, Northern California
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Alaska
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Colorado
The Rt. Rev. Dr.
Bishop, Spokane
The Rt Rev.
Bishop, San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev
7th Bishop, Eastern Oregon
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, San Diego
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Tewksbury, England (suffragan bishop, Diocese of Gloucester)
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Idaho
The Rt. Rev.
Bishop, Northern California

Thanks to Timothy Gee for this list!

Signed consecration certificate.
John Plocher and video crew, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020John Plocher and crew, 9:10 am.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Diocesan choir.
Interpreters, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Interpretation team.
Ed Jacklitch sound technician, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Ed Jacklitch, sound.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020St. Andrew’s altar.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Cantemus Filipinas Chorale.
Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Bishop-elect Lucinda greets her family.
Parish banners, Consecration of Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Procession of diocesan banners.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 11 Jan 2020Bishop Michael blessing congregation.
Consecration of Bishop Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Ordination and consecration of Bishop Lucinda.
Mary Ann Gee, Consecration of Bishop Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Mary Ann Gee and diocesan choir.
22 bishops at Consecration of Bishop Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 202022 bishops consecrate Bishop Lucinda, 12:25 pm.
Consecration of Bishop Lucinda Ashby, 11 Jan 2020Presentation of the bishop’s crozier.
Presentation of Bishop Barbie to Bishop Lucinda.
Bishop Lucinda’s husband Bob Ashby with Bishop Barbie, 2020.
Bishop Mary with the 1st Bishop Barbie, 2010.
1st and 2nd Bishop Barbie, 2012.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 11 Jan 2020Bishop Michael gives communion.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church video crew, 11 Jan 2020Reviewing the video, 1:45 pm.
Bishops Katharine, Mary, and Lucinda.
Bishop Lucinda Ashby, John Plocher, Katy Dickinson, 11 Jan 2020Bishop Lucinda Ashby, John Plocher, and Katy Dickinson.

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Thanks and acknowledgement of copyright to Mark LeBlank and Elrond Lawrence for their photos of the Bishop Barbie, consecration certificate, and Bishops Katharine, Mary, and Lucinda, all other Images Copyright 2010-2020 by Katy Dickinson. Continue reading

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Paul’s Badè Museum Visit

Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology sign, Berkeley CA 21019 Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019

As a potter and ceramic spatial artist, my son Paul D. Goodman was very interested in my recent archaeology class at Pacific School of Religion with Dr. Aaron Brody, Robert and Kathryn Riddell Professor of Bible and Archaeology, and Director of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology. Professor Brody generously agreed to let Paul visit the museum archives yesterday to see some of the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and later artifacts found during 1926-1935 by Professor William F. Bade at Tell en-Nasbeh, Israel.

Paul particularly loved being able to touch the ancient ceramics and tools. He said it was the first time since our 2010 trip to Egypt that he had been able to hold something with that much history in it. Professor Brody and Paul discussed the chemistry and mineralogy involved in potting and firing, and the geology of some of the museum’s stone objects. A fun visit!

Professor Aaron Brody and Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Katy Dickinson and Paul D Goodman at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020

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Images Copyright 2019-2o2o by Katy Dickinson.

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