Tag Archives: Dogs

San Juan Islands, Washington State


We are just driving home from a week with family in the San Juan Islands at the north end of the State of Washington, just below Canada. This is about a thousand miles driving each way from our home in San Jose, California! All along the way, we saw the looming background presence of some of the largest California-Oregon-Washington mountains: Shasta, Baker, Rainier – part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean.

As this was our first visit to the islands, we also saw many of the tourist sights: Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, Pelindaba Lavender, whale watching with San Juan Excursions, Orcas Island Pottery, the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Lime Kiln Point State Park, etc. There were a great variety of wild and tame animals along the way: foxes, orcas, a great horned owl, deer, a camel, a black snake, salmon, seagulls, harbor seals and dolphins, sea anemones and barnacles, bald eagles, turkey vultures, quail, honey bees and bumble bees, raccoons and alpacas – and of course, horses, cows, sheep, pigs, cats and dogs. We enjoyed two Shakespeare performances: Much Ado About Nothing (at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR), and Cymbeline (at Island Stage Left, Roche Harbor, WA). A delightful trip!



















Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson


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Loon Lake, Wisconsin


Last week, John and I visited his Plocher family at Loon Lake, Wisconsin. We were last there in 2009 for his parents’ 50th Anniversary. We re-painted the orange and white window trim on the front of the cottage and spent much time in boats, enjoying family and the lovely peaceful surroundings. In addition to Cassie the cocker spaniel and our human family, there were animals (mostly birds and bugs) with us everywhere. The Osprey fish eagles, Bald Eagles, and Loons were the most spectacular but the variety of dragonflies was fascinating. My least favorite were the swarms of biting mosquitoes.


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Images by Katy Dickinson Copyright 2013


Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Local Animals

I was suggesting images to my artist son Paul for his current animal series of water colors and thought that a blog with pictures of some of our local Willow Glen, California denizens would be of interest. Not pictured is the horrible towhee bird who is flinging himself repeatedly at my caboose office window as I type.

My cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus), Guapo and Sparky, eating a dried pepper:

Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus) in the side yard:
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Big garter snake (Thamnophis) in front of our house:
(picture courtesy of neighbor Jamie Lynch)

Alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea) on neighbor’s sidewalk:

American swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) on fennel in the front yard:

Redda the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) trying for a lick through her kennel fence:

Beggar dogs hoping for a handout:

Cat (Felis catus) dominating the neighbor’s car:
Garter snake picture Copyright 2013 by James Lynch, other pictures Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Mentors Lunch

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16 TechWomen 2011-2012 mentors (and potential-2013 mentors) gathered at my house in San Jose California last weekend for a potluck lunch and to hear Conference Chair Taghrid Samak tell us about EgyptNEGMA (Entrepreneurship for Development in Egypt – to be held next week at MIT).  One of our own TechWomen mentees, Heba Hosny, is an EgyptNEGMA-2013 finalist. My guests enjoyed the new porch and a tour of WP668 – the backyard caboose where I have my office.  Three had also been mentors in my SEED mentoring program at Sun Microsystems.  It was such a pleasure to be able to host this remarkably talented and energetic group of technical women!



Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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Filed under Caboose Project and Other Trains, Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business

Dog vs. Stone Cat


Last weekend, I picked out a cement-stone cat as a garden ornament. While I was shopping, it became an object of great concern to a small dog in an adjacent cart.

Image Copyright 2013 Katy Dickinson

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Family Feast


Since our dining room is still full of stuff pushed out of the way by our porch construction, my friend Laura Biche generously welcomed both of our families for Thanksgiving dinner this year. No matter how organized the hostess, potluck dinners are always a little surprising: we ended up with three dishes of baked sweet potatoes and a vast selection of desserts but only enough biscuits for about half of us. Laura’s dog Cassie (who, from the size of her ears, seems to be part bat) was overjoyed with all the friends who came to visit her. She did her best to entertain all of her guests.





Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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Non-Travel Diary

When I travel, I usually keep a diary, sometimes in a bound blank book and sometimes on my blog (depending on web availability and performance). My husband John left yesterday afternoon for a two-week business trip to China, so this is my non-travel diary. John texted me when his San Francisco – Hong Kong flight landed about 3 am this morning, then he called me at 7 am to say he had reached his hotel in ShenZhen. As usual, John is staying at the Hasee Paradise Hotel near the Huawei campus. I have stayed at the Hasee myself and it is a pleasant place – although the limited breakfast buffet every morning gets boring quickly.

  • Last night, a friend and I had dinner at the Great Khan’s Mongolian stir fry and then went to see the movie “Brave” which we both enjoyed. The Pixar animation, music, and story are all good. Paul (my usual movie-going partner) did not want to see “Brave” so Stephenie Cooper and I went.
  • This morning, the construction guys were outside the house early working on the new concrete base.  The pour is scheduled for later this week. We are fixing some dry rot and a floor that shifted out of level in John’s model train room and workshop. Also, we are pouring a pad for Paul’s potter’s wheel – see picture below.  This is part of Paul’s new clay studio in the side yard. See Paul’s ceramics at: Paul’s Element.  I am in charge of construction oversight while John is traveling.
  • I noticed that one the Cereus cactus has a bloom bud (which now looks like a small black ball of fuzz) – see picture below. I will enjoy watching it develop during the next week – the spectacular flowers are often ten inches across.
  • Tuesday noon at work, Yingying Lu holds a class for us English speakers in conversational Chinese.  In addition to working on basic vocabulary and pronunciation, we are collecting suggestions for helpful software.  My suggestions so far include the following iPhone applications:
    • Eng-Chi Pro (English to Mandarin Pro – talking translator phrasebook) by Medianet
    • KTdict+ C-E, Chinese-English dictionary by Klaus Thul
    • QingWen Chinese Dictionary by Karan Misra
  • John called by Skype during my late afternoon when he woke up – before he went to work in ShenZhen.  He said it is raining and hot in China.
  • I noticed going to dinner that Tavistock Freebirds – a beer and wine bar – is replacing the (now being demolished) Baskin Robbins – Togo’s, formerly near the Pasta Pomodoro Restaurant on The Alameda in San Jose, CA.  Business must have been very bad for someone to tear out an ice cream shop during the 95 degree San Jose summer.
  • I took one of the dogs for a walk in the neighborhood after dinner.  Redda enjoyed her walk but I could hear Gilroy whining a block away – he did not want to be left behind.  I can’t manage to walk two energetic dogs at the same time.  Maybe I will walk with Gilroy tomorrow.
  • I am almost done reading The Night Circus, a fantastical novel by Erin Morgenstern. I have enjoyed it but the book could have been a third shorter to better effect.



Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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