Tag Archives: John

Shakespeare Sonnets – Virtual

2020 Shakespeare Sonnet Reading, 18 April during pandemic lockdown
Since 2012, Shakespeare reading group has been meeting every two months to read a play and enjoy a potluck meal. At Christmas, we usually have a special reading of the entire Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. There are 61 in the group; our youngest regular reader is 10 years old and our oldest is 96. We take turns hosting the event in various cities in the Silicon Valley.

Last month, because of the corona virus lockdown, we had our first virtual meeting, to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets. We spent a lovely two hours on 18 April reading sonnets 2, 5, 8, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 43, 47, 51, 59, 65, 67, 73, 116, 121, 124, 130, 135, 138, 143, and 144. Fourteen of us  each picked and read two poems. It was delightful to see everyone, even if only online!

My husband John sweetly dedicated his reading of Sonnet #25 to me, and then made this video of his reading – followed by my reading of Shakespeare’s Chicken Sonnet (#143).

I am the group mentor and assign parts, Melita Thorpe manages this as a ministry of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Stephenie Cooper analyzes the roles in advance – to be sure we don’t speak over each other. John Plocher hosted our first online meeting to be sure the technology worked.

2012 Katy's Shakespeare books
2013 Dickens reading, Christmas Carol
2016 Shakespeare reading and 90th birthday party
2019 Dickens Christmas Carol reading

Shakespeare's 456th Birthday, April 2020

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Images Copyright 2012-2020 by Katy Dickinson.

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Making a New Vegetable Garden

Katy Dickinson San Jose backyard April 2020

Inspired by my daughter Jessica’s gardening efforts, I am branching out. I have always been a serious gardener but mostly focused on flowering plants and cactus. Jessica’s enthusiasm for gardening edible and native California plants is infectious. We have lived in the San Jose neighborhood of Willow Glen for over twenty years – on the bank of the Guadalupe River. Chuck and Kathleen Purdy who owned our house before were great gardeners. They passed on to us many fruit and nut trees, including a small orchard.  Some of the fruit trees have died over the years, leaving space for my son Paul to store his curing logs for woodworking, and for me to create a market garden next to the prickly pear and yucca hedge.  Paul and John used some old steel beams we had for the six foot by eight foot raised border. Jessica brought over some of her seedlings and 12 bags of garden soil with fertilizer which I have dug in to create a good planting bed. Paul also took the wheels and handles off of two old wheelbarrows for small beds. (Other than the new soil, plants, and mulch, this new planting area was created with materials I already had.)

So far, I have planted:

  • Three Sisters (a gift from Jessica): corn, beans, and squash (with a sunflower) – 6 sets
  • Cherry tomatoes (“Husky Cherry Red” and “Cherry-Red”) – 3 plants
  • Marigolds for edging

I am getting ready to plant carrots, potatoes, snow peas and snap peas as well. I bought seeds from Plants of the Southwest – and added a 3-sided trellis to support the pea and bean vines. A Meyer Lemon I planted many years ago is thriving next to the apricot, apple, and white peach trees. I added a brick border for the lemon trunk and tossed in all of the stones I dug out of the planting bed for decoration. Three garden cats (only one of whom is actually ours) – Princess, Ketchup, and Charlie – help us manage the property. I am concerned that the raccoon marauders will dig everything up – I may have to add a wire cover to the planting bed like that of our neighbors.

Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
lemon tree - Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard April 2020
Princess cat April 2020
Ketchup cat April 2020
Charlie cat April 2020

22 April 2020 – everything planted!
Katy DIckinson San Jose backyard 22 April 2020

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Images Copyright 2020 by Katy Dickinson.

Updated 26 April 2020

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Redesigned WP668 Web Site

2007 WP668 over trees by Danek Duvall

I just redesigned the WP668 caboose website. I am still reviewing and posting old photos but the basic structure is done. It is restful during the coronavirus lockdown to make progress on a project I have been wanting to work on forever. After reviewing hundreds in our online family archive, I keep discovering wonderful photos I had forgotten.  I have finished 2006 and am about half done with 2007 now. More about WP668 :

WP668 is a historic Western Pacific Railroad caboose being restored by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher, a private family in San Jose, California, USA. More information and pictures are added as WP668’s story evolves.

For a summary of the WP668 story, see Katy’s May 2017 Western Pacific Historical Convention slides: “The Story of Western Pacific Caboose 668”. WP668 is the office for Mentoring Standard. Please join the WP668 Western Pacific Caboose Facebook group. WP668 was originally built as a boxcar in 1916. In 2018, the Mayor said that WP668 was the coolest office in San Jose!

As always: Please tell me if you have pre-1960 photos of our WP668 caboose. Thanks to all who have already contributed historic caboose images – especially Don Marenzi.

Thanks to John Plocher and Jessica Dickinson Goodman for technical web support!

2006: SN1642 and WP668 cabooses, at the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco
2006 WP668 moving from GGRM in San Francisco2006: WP668 caboose on truck
2006: WP668 on Highway 101
2006 WP668 on 4 May in San Jose2006: WP668 in storage in San Jose
2007: WP668 in the air over the trees
2007 John Paul Katy Jessica in WP668 caboose2007: family on WP668 in their San Jose backyard
2007 WIllow Glen Resident 25 May WP668 story2007: WP668 on the front page!
WP668 in 2020

Images Copyright 2006-2020 by Katy Dickinson, John Plocher, and Danek Duvall

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Christmas 2019

Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

May this blessed Christmas season bring you and your family joy! It has been a busy Christmas, starting even before I turned in my last (16 and 18 page) term papers at the Graduate Theological Union. So far, our adventures have included:

Reading group for Dickens Christmas Carol Dec 2019
train, railroad ornaments Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Tenzin at Islamic Networks Group lunch Christmas 2019
Paul Katy Sally at Chinatown Christmas 2019
Katy Dickinson with TechWomen US State Department certificate Christmas 2019
Jessica Paul Katy at Dickens Fair Christmas 2019
Christmas candle 2019
Jessica Matthew Katy John Paul Star Wars movie Christmas 2019
Paul D. Goodman with reclaimed hardwood cutting board Dec 2019
John at St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
Katy John at Elmwood jail Christmas 2019
Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson.

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Mentor Accreditation, EfM, GTU


My second year of classes at at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley starts early next month. Before that, I need to finish registering six students for the Education for Ministry (EfM) seminar for which I am a Mentor on Mondays, September-June annually, hosted at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. I have been an Accredited Mentor for EfM since 2011, with about fifty students having taken the course with me. Accreditation is by University of the South – School of Theology, which sponsors the EfM extension program from Sewanee, Tennessee.

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a unique four-year distance learning certificate program in theological education based upon small-group study and practice. Since its founding in 1975, this international program has assisted more than 100,000 participants in discovering and nurturing their call to Christian service. EfM helps the faithful encounter the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition and bring it into conversation with their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection together. – From Education for Ministry (EfM)

A requirement of being an EfM Mentor is re-accreditation every 12 to 18 months. As the EfM Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real since 2015, I am responsible for arranging mentor training, including my own. This month, six of us participated in the training, with an EfM Mentor Trainer coming from Boston and mentors from churches all over Central California: Los Osos, Salinas, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Mountain View. The Diocese hosts our training weekend at Sargent House, its elegant and historic headquarters in Salinas.

In addition to the Monday night EfM classes, I am also a Mentor for faith-based classes on Wednesday and Friday nights in two men’s dorms at Elmwood Jail. I used to present the EfM program at Elmwood but EfM’s nine-month cycle did not work well for the inmates, so in 2018 we shifted to the Transforming Literature of the Bible (TLB) materials that I revised to fit the jail setting. TLB can be offered in two three-month terms. My Co-Mentors are Karen LeBlanc, Joel Martinez, and Diane Lovelace, with my husband John Plocher as our backup.

Today, I registered at GTU. I was glad to sign up for classes that do not conflict with my own teaching / mentoring schedule. I am very much looking forward to taking:

  • Christian Theology & Natural Science
  • Archaeology of the Lands of the Bible
  • Research Methods

I forgot to take group pictures at this year’s EfM Mentor training, so these are of the 2018 mentor cohort.

Diocese El Camino Real Sargent House Salinas CA August 2018

EfM Mentor Training Salinas August 2018

Pictures Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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New SmartCar with Flames

Katy Dickinson 2017 SmartCar with flame wrap

In 2010, I bought my first SmartCar and gave it a vinyl wrap with a multicolored ribbon design called Kite Strings. Since I have been commuting to Berkeley to earn my Masters at Graduate Theological Union and my car was growing noisy and bouncy, I decided to upgrade. I bought a used 2017 SmartCar and just had it wrapped in flames by Vinyl Ink Custom Wraps. 2017 is the last year that SmartCar made a gas-powered version – and my commute from San Jose is too long for an electric car. The eye-catching wrap makes my tiny car more visible in the Bay Area’s heavy traffic. My “new” car gets 37 miles per gallon of gas and is very easy to park, even in Berkeley!

John Plocher 2017 SmartCar with flame wrap
Katy Dickinson 2017 SmartCar with flame wrap
Katy Dickinson 2009 and 2017 SmartCars with wraps
2009 SmartCar with Kite Strings wrap in 2010

Pictures Copyright 2010-2019 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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Jail Classes Thriving

The two classes I mentor at Elmwood Jail are thriving. The Education for Ministry (EfM) class has been going since 2015, and the Transforming Literature of the Bible (TLB) class started this year. Both will be recruiting new inmate students this month for the next sessions.

The Rev. Canon William Barnwell created TLB in the early 1980s at the University of New Orleans, and continued its development for many years at National Cathedral. Between May and August 2018, in consultation with Canon William, I revised the 36 sessions in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament, kept some of the original literature, and added more diverse selections appropriate to jail ministry in California. The literary selections are included to provide a diverse context in which to understand some of the major themes in the Bible passages under consideration. In May, I started the first TLB Hebrew Bible pilot class in a minimum security men’s dorm. This TLB program is in addition to the EfM program also presented weekly, in a medium security dorm at Elmwood.

We finished the first full (two term) TLB pilot class in October – graduating our first students. The overall rating for the class is 93% Excellent, with 93% of students reporting that they would Definitely recommend the class to others.  One student who just graduated turned down an early release date so that he could finish the class. Thirteen signed up for the third TLB term that started in October.

I am grateful to my Co-Mentors Diane Lovelace and Joel Martinez, and my husband, John Plocher (with the Rev. Peggy Bryan as backup). This program is supported by the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy  (CIC), St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and the University of the South – School of Theology, EfM Program. Thanks to Collette Lynner of CIC for supporting TLB production.

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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