If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Images Copyright 2021 by Katy Dickinson, John Plocher, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and Paul D. Goodman.
To celebrate my finishing writing my Master’s thesis, John surprised me with a large tapestry from the Wissa Wassef Art Center, Giza, Egypt. Normally for a big family celebration, we would go out to dinner or maybe on a trip, but during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, that is not possible.
In 2010, our family visited the Wissa Wassef Art Center outside of Cairo (in Harrania Village, near Giza) where we bought a small tapestry and two books. I am glad to have a second of these lovely works of fabric art!
Our first Wissa Wassef tapestry is a small master work called “Around the Pond,” woven in cotton by Mohamed Achour in 2010. It presents fish and birds with palms and flowering plants around a small body of water.
Our new Wissa Wassef tapestry is undated but is probably much older than the first, even though John just bought it from a store in France. It was woven by Reda Ahmed in wool and cotton. Looking at our 2010 pictures, I realized we saw Reda Ahmed weaving during our Wissa Wassef visit. We hung the tapestry last night and it may take months for the textile to settle into its new home above the stairs. The weaving presents a large blue tree with red flowers, with a smaller tree and bushes as well as birds, weasels, and a lizard. I am thankful for this lovely and generous gift. The lively images and cheerful colors make me happy!
Note: Nothing pictured is for sale. Please do not ask.
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Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, and terrible air quality, my cactus garden has been happy this year. Several species which usually only flower once a year have bloomed again. The local honeybees are delighted to roll around in the pollen of huge flowers. There was enough prickly pear cactus fruit that my daughter Jessica made syrup from it, and John made pancakes to celebrate!
We have four old family clocks, two of which work and one of which chimes. The sound of the two ticks and the chimes fills our downstairs with small comforting noises, even when everyone is silently interacting with their computing devices. The clocks keep time but not with each other. It is somewhat like how Terry Pratchett describes the clocks in his fictional city of Ankh-Morpork on the Discworld,
“Noon in Ankh-Morpork took some time, since twelve o’clock was established by consensus. Generally, the first bell to start was that one in the Teachers’ Guild, in response to the universal prayers of its members. Then the water clock on the Temple of Small Gods would trigger the big bronze gong. The black bell in the Temple of Fate struck once, unexpectedly, but by then the silver pedal-driven carillon in the Fools’ Guild would be tinkling, the gongs, bells and chimes of all the Guilds and temples would be in full swing, and it was impossible to tell them apart, except for the tongueless and magical octiron bell of Old Tom in the Unseen University clock tower, whose twelve measured silences temporarily overruled the din. And finally, several strokes behind all the others, was the bell of the Assassin’s Guild, which was always last.” (Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms, 1993).
The Junghans chiming mantle clock was a wedding present in 2000 from John’s parents. It was purchased by John’s great-grandfather Johannes Plocher in Holzhauzen, Germany. Joannes and his wife Anna gave it to their son (John’s grandfather), Karl on his wedding Adelia, in 1930. I love the art deco design on the clockworks inside the case.
I bought the Gilbert wall clock in 2008 as a birthday present for John. The clock itself is from about 1915. The Western Pacific glass is not original but is one of the reasons we like it, since we own WP668, a Western Pacific caboose. John winds up his Junghans and Gilbert clocks every week.
The two clocks which have stopped working are from my family. One is a gilt metal Rococo style clock that my father’s mother, Gladys Grace Oakes Dickinson, loved. The other is an ornate horseman clock that my mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, had since I was young. Surprisingly, even though they are from different parts of my family, both were made by the New Haven Clock Company, probably over a hundred years ago.
Update: I have been looking for more information about the New Haven Clock with the ornate warrior horseman figure. I found that a version of this clock with the exact same horse but no rider is relatively common. All of the versions I have found on the web have a top piece above the clock that is missing on ours. Sometimes the horse is on the right and sometimes on the left of the clock on the pedestal. I still have not found an exact match. My Aunt Louise Creekmore Senatore read my blog and wrote that her father (my grandfather), Robert Elmond Creekmore, was once its owner in Knoxville, Tennessee, “the Ornate Horseman clock was on my Dad’s bureau for years when I was a child. It traveled with us to Windgate (1964), stayed on his bureau, and Eleanor asked Mom for it when Dad passed away (1976).”
I found this tiny, blurry thumbnail photo on the web of a gilded variant of our clock but it is on a dead website. Still hunting for more information!
(None of these clocks is for sale – please do not ask.)
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For our 20th wedding anniversary, John and I had planned to go on a fancy international trip; however, the Covid-19 lockdown prevented that. So, we spent last weekend on driving tour of the local Santa Cruz area instead. Traveling during a pandemic requires more planning, expense, and a willingness to be flexible and change your mind if circumstances do not feel safe. We stayed at Chaminade, a resort with a well-designed social distancing plan, including disinfecting and sealing rooms between guests. It is a pretty location with a great view but expensive (over $60 for breakfast for two, take out style in plastic containers on the deck). There were so many unmasked kids and parents running around we did not feel comfortable using the pool, and there was so much poison oak we did not feel comfortable using the trails. So, we went driving to find more secluded locations.
Some places we tried were clearly too crowded for comfort, so after admiring the beaches, and Roaring Camp steam engine from the car, we went for a walk along the Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific rail line, in Felton. An almost-never-used rail line is a great place to walk, away from both people and poison oak.
Capitola Felton Felton Felton Poison Oak More Poison Oak
Some of our memorable meals included dinner in the redwoods at Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond, and a delicious lunch at the The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz in an outdoor room with glass bottle walls. We had fun drinking Barbera wine in the glasses made for our wedding twenty years ago. We particularly enjoyed lunch at Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola, the only place where we ate indoors. We arrived early in the afternoon and were seated in a very large room which was empty when we arrived and had only two other tables filled by the time we finished.
The Crepe Place Casa Nostra Casa Nostra Cheers! Shadowbrook Shadowbrook
John and I are looking forward to our 20th wedding anniversary this weekend. Thinking back on some of our adventures and looking forward to many more. It is fun to be married to your best friend!
2020 virtual family dinner 2020 Mother’s Day 2018 family vacation 2018 Paul SJSU graduation 2018 St Andrew’s 2017 Reno 2016 Ashland 2016 Ashland 2016 Dunsmuir 2016 Klamath River 2015 Amtrak trip 2015 St Andrew’s 2014 Lalibela Ethiopia 2012 St Andrew’s 2012 Natural Bridges 2012 Jessica CMU graduation 2011 Jessica + Matthew 2011 Jessica + Matthew 2010 Lair of the Golden Bear camp Lair of the Golden Bear camp 2010 2010 Teatro Zinzanni 2010 Teatro Zinzanni 2010 Teatro Zinzanni 2010 Egypt 2010 Cairo, Egypt 2008 Flying to Baja Mexico 2008 Baja 2007 India 2007 India 2007 WP668 Caboose move 2007 WP668 move 2006 Dead Sea, Israel 2006 Dead Sea, Israel 2006 St. Peterburg, Russia 2006 Russia 2005 Beijing, China 2005 China 2000 2000 wedding 2000 wedding
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Since 2014, my husband John Plocher has been running the Video Ministry for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Saratoga, CA. What started out needing a few hours a week using spare equipment has grown vastly since the Covid-19 pandemic took over our lives this year. John now routinely spends 12 or more hours a week creating and editing videos of music and worship services using sophisticated software and hardware. (Some of which were paid for by a 2018 St. Andrew’s Opportunity Fund grant.) John has been mentoring Youth Group members for over a year to develop their technical skills and extend the Video Ministry. In the hope that recruiting and training even more helpers will reduce his own load, John has written these process documents.
John has developed a chat and video best practices exchange group – contact me if you want to join. He publishes stand-alone videos of the classical and folk service music on Saint Andrew’s Sings. Go there to hear “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” the “Navy Hymn,” a folk Taizé “Jesus Remember Me,” “Rest in the Lord,” “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise,” “We’ll Meet Again,” and other favorites. Or, hear the music as part of the weekly worship service videos. (More in my blog post New Music for Quarantine Times.)
I have been helping John by reviewing videos during development, finding memes for the end, and providing photos for preludes and postludes: