Tag Archives: China

Non-Travel Diary 4

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While my husband John is in China on business for Huawei, I am keeping a non-travel diary. This has been a relatively quiet week. In addition to working full-time at Huawei:

  • There was a small amount of progress on our home construction projects. The painter spent a half day painting the wrong color stain on the baseboards.  When I pointed out the error, he spent about the same amount of time sanding that color off and re-staining. Nobody was happy.
  • Thursday, I joined the monthly Board meeting of the Santa Maria Urban Ministry. We said an appreciative goodbye to our summer intern.  The SMUM Tech Team (of which John and I are members) was assigned some new projects by the Board.
  • My newly-assigned 2012 TechWomen mentee from Lebanon and I made first contact. We exchanged introductory emails and are starting to make preparations for her visit to the Silicon Valley in September. Her background is impressive – I very much look forward to working with her in person.  TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
  • I communicated with the 2011 TechWomen mentees with whom I am presenting a panel at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in October 2012 (Baltimore, MD).  I am the moderator of the panel called “Technical Women in the Arab Region: Challenges vs. Aspirations”. We have travel funding confirmed for three of the panelists and we are working on support for our fourth. The ladies are traveling from Algeria, Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon for GHC12.  I am very eager to see them again!
  • Paul and I took our Wood Shop basic safety and equipment introduction at TechShop San Jose last night.  We enjoyed learning to use the miter saw, table saw, band saw, electric sander, and drill press.  The scroll saw is being repaired so we will learn how to use that later.  I made a heart for John and Paul started work on an infinity symbol using the band saw.  One of the other students laser-engraved the heart for me.  I want to take a TechShop laser class next!
  • This morning, we had a community yard sale. Despite being on Craigslist and putting signs up on nearby corners, it was very poorly attended. However, it was fun to hang out with the neighbors. Our neighborhood apparently has 7 boys and 1 girl aged between 6 and 12 years old – who spent the morning rocketing from sale to sale comparing stuff and giving updates.
  • John comes home Tuesday morning!

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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Wedding Ceremony – Shaodong County, Hunan Province in China

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John and his boss Jim Hughes were in Shaodong County, Hunan Province in China for a wedding of friends this week. See the first part of this story for more.

The big day started at the bride’s family’s home (or hotel room in this case) where the groom was locked out and had to negotiate with her family and friends through the closed door while she sat on the bed – with good humor all around.  He eventually got in and picked her up without her shoes.  Then everyone drove to another hotel for the ceremony and reception.

The food was set out during the end of the ceremony so lunch started immediately after.  During the meal, the groom visited each table to drink a toast while the  bride and bridesmaid passed out two cigarettes to each guest.  There was singing and speeches and much joy.

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Images Copyright 2012 by John Plocher

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Non-Travel Diary 3

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While my husband John is in China on business for Huawei, I am keeping a non-travel diary. This weekend has been packed with activities:

  • Saturday morning, my mother and I picked up our new glasses from Visual Eyes Optometry in Willow Glen (San Jose CA). She was fitted with her new lenses and frames (and I got new lenses for my sunglasses).
  • Saturday afternoon, my son Paul and I went to the amazing Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival, then took an evening class from Jeanne Fishback at TechShop San Jose on the wood lathe. We had a great time – and will take a second TechShop wood class this coming Friday night.
  • This morning at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Channing Smith announced that next week is Backpack Sunday – we will collect school supplies and backpacks for the children of Santa Maria Urban Ministry (no red or blue – gang colors).
  • Paul and I went to the Clay & Glass Festival again this afternoon. In the last two years, he has taken most of the ceramics classes offered by the excellent Foothill College art program.  So, Paul was fascinated to see the finished work of so many superb creative potters. The artists also had fun talking to Paul – many of them know his teachers at Foothill. I bought some amazing pots. After seeing the art, we went to see the latest Ice Age animated movie.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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Wedding in Shaodong, Hunan, China

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John and his boss Jim Hughes are in Shaodong County, Hunan Province in China for a wedding of friends. John and Jim just called me (early morning my time – late tonight their time) to tell me about their high speed rail ride (ShenZhen to Changsha) and the rehearsal dinner. John said that the telephone poles went by the train window so fast that they blurred – he got car sick unless he looked directly at or looked away from the window. John and Jim were in the premier car in the back of the train with six other passengers – who got their own steward to serve juice. Hunan is famous for its spicy food. At the rehearsal, there were two dinner rooms – one for people who like really spicy food (like Jim) and one for the wimps (everyone else).  John is taking many photos but web access is poor at the hotel so he will not upload until he returns to ShenZhen.  The pictures here are of the happy couple during our Napa Valley California wine tasting trip in May.  The wedding is tomorrow.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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John’s Pictures from China 2

My husband John is in Hunan Province, China, by now – he took the high speed train there this morning. Yesterday, he went shopping for electronic parts on the Hua Qiang Bei shopping street in ShenZhen, China. In some of John’s pictures, buildings have signs like:

  • ShenZhen LED International Trading Centre
  • ShenZhen SEG Communication Market
  • SEG Technology Park

John was mostly looking for a small selection of model railroad electronic parts but he also found some good warm-white-color LED strips to illuminate our stained glass window in the dining room.  All of the LED strips he had found in the US were a colder blue-white-color.  Here are some of John’s photos:

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Images 2012 Copyright by John Plocher

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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.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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John’s Pictures from China

My husband John Plocher is traveling in China for two weeks: on business in ShenZhen for Huawei – and to go to a wedding next week in rural Hunan. Here are some of his first photos from the trip:

Chinese Coke:
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Flying into Hong Kong:
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On the Huawei headquarters campus, ShenZhen:
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Lunch:
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Images Copyright 2012 by John Plocher

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