Category Archives: Lions

Lions Environmental Photo Contest


The Willow Glen Lions Club voted to submit my January 2013 backyard photograph of a California native Arboreal Salamander mother with eggs to the Lions Environmental Photo Contest.  WGL Club member Carol Worthington-Levy generously made a professional-quality print of the image. This is the first time I have submitted a picture to a national contest. Wish me luck!


Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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Non-Travel Diary 2

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John is still in ShenZhen, China.  He takes the high-speed train to Hunan Province tomorrow. Here is what I am doing at home in San Jose, California, while my husband is traveling on business for Huawei:

  1. Wednesday night, I went to the BarBQ dinner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Saratoga, CA. I was partly there because it is a fun summer event, and partly representing the Board of the Santa Maria Urban Ministry to introduce our new Executive Director, Omar Torres, and Operations Manager, Alfonso Mendez, to St. Andrew’s parish. The parish has always been very generous to SMUM and the new staff wants to become better known.
  2. Thursday was the big concrete pour day at home. The floor is now flat and smooth, the dry rot is gone, and my son Paul has a new pad in the side yard for his potter’s wheel. Everything is still drying today.  Thursday night, I went shopping for jeans and summer clothes at Coldwater Creek.
  3. This morning I got my hair cut – at the Scandalous Salon in Willow Glen.  My meetings ran into each other at work, so I missed lunch.
  4. Tonight, I went to a surprise birthday party for Mary, one of the most vivacious members of the Willow Glen Lions. Mary’s sister Sylvia planned the event in deepest secrecy.  Mary was pleasantly shocked when a crowd of friends sang Happy Birthday from her doorstep.
  5. Tomorrow, I am running errands with my mother in the morning.  After lunch, Paul and I are going to the Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival, then taking a wood working class together at TechShop San Jose.

John and I are encouraging each other to exercise by comparing number of steps registered on our Fitbit activity trackers. Thursday was my high day with 13,640 steps and 24 floors climbed. Today was my low day with just 5,468 steps and 16 floors climbed.  The Fitbit also tells us about our daily sleep patterns.  Once we have a month of data, it will be interesting to see what patterns emerge.


Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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Last After School Session

SMUM Studio kids with backpacks

For the last three years, my husband John and I have been after-school teachers on Thursday afternoons for the Santa Maria Urban Ministry (SMUM) Studio program. There is another group of volunteers who offer Studio on Tuesdays. During the summer, the Studio kids enjoy monthly activities.

Last week was our final session for this school year. My daughter Jessica is home from college so she was able to join us. We had a party with cake and pizza. The kids posed with backpacks for a picture for the SMUM Canticle Newsletter. In 2010, over 800 backpacks were distributed at the end of the summer to grade school, middle school, and high school students in the SMUM community of inner city San Jose. Backpacks and their contents are donated by churches and community service groups like the Willow Glen Lions.

SMUM Studio cake . Jessica at SMUM Studio

Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson

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Trick-or-Treat Trail Crossing Guard

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Yesterday, I was one of the Willow Glen Lions who were volunteer crossing guards for the Trick-or-Treat Trail put on by the Willow Glen Business Association. This is our Lions Club’s second year serving our community through this school-day-before-Halloween safety project. It was fun but I have much increased respect for the difficult job of a crossing guard. I was last a crossing guard when I was in 6th grade. As John Plocher wrote:

What’s scarier than vampires, ghosts and dragons? Drivers on cell phones making left turns and jockeying for parking spots as thousands of kids and their parents descend on downtown Willow Glen for the WGBA’s annual Halloween trick-or-treat event!

The children and families and school groups paraded around Lincoln Avenue in two two-hour shifts (10 am – 12 pm for little kids, 2 pm – 4 pm for bigger kids), collecting candy from businesses. There were clear categories of costumes:

  • Super heroes (Iron Man, Buzz Lightyear, Spider Man, Superman and Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Mario Brothers, Batman, ninjas, Star Wars)
  • Fantasy characters (Dragons, fairies, elves, wizards or sorceresses, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tigger, jack-o-lanterns, clowns, cowboys and cowgirls, pirates, knights and medieval ladies, Roman soldiers and ladies, aliens, robots, devils, Disney princesses)
  • Storybook characters (Dorothy and the Witch from Oz, Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Cat in the Hat with Thing One and Thing Two, kings and queens and princesses, Alice in Wonderland with the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter)
  • TV characters (Sponge Bob, Rust-eze Cars, Power Rangers, Sesame Street)
  • Animals (Cats, Dogs, Dinosaurs, Tigers, Zebras, Giraffes, Lions, Bugs, Cows, Skunks, Monkeys, Rabbits, and one small elephant)
  • Food and plants (pumpkins, grapes, bananas, hot dogs, flowers)
  • Horror (ghosts, witches, vampires, murderers, zombies, skeletons, werewolves, Munch’s Scream, Death)
  • Unique costumes (a marionette puppet, outfits on real dogs, hippies, a Lego block, Mustard, a mime)
  • Sports costumes (Giants, Raiders, Sharks)
  • Work costumes (police, firefighters, army and navy, ballerinas, prisoners)

Some costumes were store-bought, some were home-made, many were a combination.  My favorite pair costume was a big sister with ghastly bloody-looking makeup on her neck and face walking with a smaller boy all in black. When I asked what they were, she pointed and said: “He murdered me!” at which he smiled happily.

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher


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Willow Glen Lions Visit San Jose City Hall


Five officers of the Willow Glen Lions Club went to visit Council Member for District 6, Pierluigi Oliverio, this afternoon at City Hall. Willow Glen’s representative was a judge in our High School Speakers’ Contest last year and has sometimes visited our booth at the Farmer’s Market. Club President Rick Loek, with Sami Asfour, Robert Cortez, Katy Dickinson, and Myra Talavera wanted to ask Pierluigi’s advice on what more our new club could do for our community.

The Mayor and City Council offices are on the 18th floor at the top of the impressive City Hall tower. Our conference room had distractingly interesting wrap around views of the Silicon Valley. Pierluigi said how much he appreciated the community work done by San Jose’s service clubs. We had a good meeting and hope that Pierluigi will again be a judge in next year’s Willow Glen Lions speaking contest.

In the lobby on the way out, I saw the controversial Christopher Columbus statue which was smashed in 2001 by a Native American activist. Despite all of the discussion, the 1958 statue has been repaired and seems to be generally ignored.

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson

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Dead Elvis Stolen

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Halloween is a big celebration here in Willow Glen, California. A month in advance, otherwise stylish houses start growing nasty encrustations of orange and purple lights, plastic bats, black birds, and hairy spiders. Formerly well-kept lawns sprout tombstones and coffins, and spooky sounds drift from artfully concealed loudspeakers behind the well-trimmed bushes.

The Trick or Treat Trail is hosted by the Willow Glen Business Association (with the Willow Glen Lions among the volunteer safety monitors). Thousands of kids show off their costumes parading up and down Lincoln Avenue while collecting treats from local businesses. This event will be 10 am – noon and 2 pm – 4 pm on Friday, 29 October.  Many of the costumes and decorations are shown off as-bought but some of the scariest are home made.

But there is a dark side to Halloween in Willow Glen… Someone has been collecting other people’s scary displays from unattended lawns. One of the protest signs in a temporary graveyard reads


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Images by Katy Dickinson, Copyright 2010

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Willow Glen Lions Projects


I am in my second year as the Secretary to the Willow Glen Lions Club in San Jose, California. A Lions Club Secretary is the administrative officer – making monthly membership and program reports to Lions Clubs International, managing the club roster, keeping minutes of meetings, serving on the Board, etc.

Our club was chartered just over a year ago and we have made good progress. Willow Glen Lions  is now in our second year of community service projects which include:

Last night, the Club Board voted funding to begin a new Leos Club for teens in Willow Glen. My husband John and I just created the club’s first business card – preparing for our club’s second Fall Mixer (at Chase Bank on Lincoln Avenue at Minnesota in Willow Glen, 6:30-8 pm on 10 November), and other upcoming activities.  It arrived today!

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Images by Katy Dickinson, Copyright 2009-2010

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