Tag Archives: CMU

All things are ready, if our minds be so

My daughter Jessica’s wedding is in three days. 125 people are joining us in a lovely State Park on Saturday to celebrate the happy union under the redwoods. I am sure there is much which we have forgotten or neglected or mislaid but I trust in King Henry V: “All things are ready, if our minds be so.”

The Holmes and Dickinson families got together on Sunday for a pre-wedding pizza dinner, check-in, and games night. We played Munchkin – a fun game based on Dungeons and Dragons with silly cards such as

  • Curse! Duck of Doom (“You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon”)
  • Swiss Army Polearm
  • Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment
  • Nasty-Tasting Sports Drink
  • Pantyhose of Giant Strength
  • Squidzilla (a monster)

We first played Munchkin when we visited Jessica last year in Qatar. Several of her professors at CMU-Q were addicted to the game.

Holmes Dickinson Game Night . Munchkin card game

Paul and Matt went together to get their hair cuts earlier this week (supervised by Jessica).  The soon-to-be-brothers-in-law look very handsome.  Last night, Jessica and Matt and I went to Costco to buy two shopping carts-full of wine, beer, champagne, sodas, and bottled water for the wedding reception.  Jessica has given us a written timeline (15 minute intervals) for The Day Before the Wedding and The Wedding Day.  I do not expect everything will go as planned but all will be well at the end.

Wedding Shopping at Costco Jessica Matthew . Wedding Shopping at Costco Jessica Matthew

Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson

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American Land Forms

land by Katy Dickinson . land by Katy Dickinson

Crossing America by air is always impressive. Our country is so big with quiet wonders everywhere. Here are some pictures from flights from California to Texas and then to Pennsylvania (for the CMU commencement) last weekend.

land by Katy Dickinson . land by Katy Dickinson

Images by Katy Dickinson Copyright 2011

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Daughter of Earth and Water

cloud by Katy Dickinson . clouds by Katy Dickinson

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

From “The Cloud” by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

I love clouds. On our trip to the CMU commencement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last weekend, I was delighted to see some wonderful clouds both from the ground and looking down from a jet window.

cloud by Katy Dickinson . cloud by Katy Dickinson

Images by Katy Dickinson Copyright 2011

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Jessica Graduated from CMU with Honors!

Jessica Graduation CMU . Jessica Graduation CMU

My daughter Jessica was graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with honors last weekend. Ten of her proud family flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Boston, Pasadena, San Francisco, and San Jose to celebrate the occasion. My father, Wade Dickinson, who attended Carnegie Tech before graduating from West Point was particularly proud to see his granddaughter graduate from his alma mater.

Jessica majored in Ethics, History, and Public Policy (that’s one major offered by CMU in Humanities and Social Sciences). You can see a video of her advisor talking about Jessica’s accomplishments. Jessica was presented with a blank diploma folder because she will return to CMU as a 5th Year Scholar next year, to work on a special project and also complete her Minor in Vocal Music and concentration in Arabic. Jessica got to wear what she calls “commencement flare” in addition to her simple black robes:

  • A red stole for being an Andrew Carnegie Scholar
  • A maroon stole for spending a semester studying at CMU-Q in Doha, Qatar
  • A purple cord with tassels for being an honors student

Unfortunately, Jessica’s fiance Matthew was graduating at the same time from William and Mary hundreds of miles away, so we did not get to attend his commencement. The family did get to spend an afternoon visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of architecture, Fallingwater, which is like touring an lovely modern sculpture. This is the 75th anniversary for the house built on a waterfall.

Jessica is packing up her house this week to return home to the San Francisco Bay Area for the summer. She is getting married in August, then she and Matt will live in Pittsburgh next year.

Jessica and Paul at Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Wright

Jessica and Paul at Fallingwater

Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson

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Very Busy Christmas

Christmas has been particularly busy this year because my daughter Jessica and son-in-law-to-be Matt are home from college and there is much to do to get ready for their marriage next summer. She will be returning to CMU in ten days and not back until May. Matt will be returning to Willam and Mary. They are both in their Senior year.

Jessica and Matt visited Mount Madonna Park where they want to be married. We bought her wedding shoes and had the first fitting for her wedding gown – the second fitting is next week. (She will be wearing my gown.) Jessica and Matt are shopping for rings and scheduling tastings at the various candidates for wedding caterers. This is in addition to our usual holiday activities and John going to rehearsals for his role as the Magus Melchior in the Epiphany church pageant next Sunday.  Some of what we have been doing:

  • Shopping in San Francisco’s Chinatown with Sally and Lorene for our 28th year – including our annual visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley
  • Going to craft fairs, seeing holiday lights, and going to parties hosted by other people
  • Silicon Valley Lines model train club holiday party at our house. The highlight of the party is the guests creating a model layout on our living room floor with my G-scale track and trains.
  • Christmas caroling on the cable car in San Francisco
  • Huawei’s holiday party
  • Visiting the Dickens Christmas Fair
  • Christmas eve service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Saratoga)
  • Christmas dinner at our house
  • Ladies’ Christmas tea at our house

Paul enjoyed his first quarter at Foothill College. He made us large ceramic Christmas presents, including a large and charming Hedwig the owl which Paul made for Jessica and Matt.  Some pictures:


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Silicon Valley Lines holiday party

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Dickens Christmas Fair

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Singing on the San Francisco Cable Car

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Wedding Dress Fitting

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Christmas Eve at St. Andrew’s

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Christmas Day

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Ladies’ Christmas Tea

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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My Famous Daughter

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Last week, CMU’s student online newspaper “The Tartan” featured a photo of my wonderful daughter Jessica working on her summer internship application workshop. This week, “The Tartan” reprinted one of her blog entries with photos from Qatar, called “Tales from abroad: Doha”. It tells the story of a stray budgie she cared for the night before coming home from a term at CMU-Q.  Jessica called me this morning, so excited!

Images by Katy Dickinson, Copyright 2010

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Academic Honors

My daughter Jessica has recently received two academic honors:

  1. Selected as a 2011 Andrew Carnegie Society Scholar – an award given annually to 40 seniors from across Carnegie Mellon University
  2. Accepted as a CMU 5th Year Scholar – this program provides an opportunity for a small number of exceptional students to remain on campus for one full year following the completion of their normal course of study

Jessica is an Ethics, History and Public Policy major, with a minor in Vocal Performance, and a concentration in Middle Eastern Languages.  You can see Jessica’s introductory video about what she plans to do with her 5th undergraduate year on her blog. She recorded it from Qatar where she studied during her Junior year while taking classes at CMU-Q and the Georgetown University of Foreign Service. Did I mention I am proud of my girl? Did I? Did I? (I bet you guessed…)

Here is Jessica with the awesome and inspiring Dr. Duy-Loan Le (Texas Instruments’ Senior Fellow) at the the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing last week:


Image Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson

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