Tag Archives: John

Presiding Bishop Speaks in Salinas

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was featured at an all-day event at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, California, on Saturday, 7 January 2017. I was on the panel that asked questions after his keynote presentation. I was also on the Tech Team that helped to create the event – with my husband John Plocher and the Rev. Stephenie Cooper.

With the “PB” on the stage was our own Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers.  On the panel with me were Dave Mora (former Salinas City Manager), and the Rev. Ian Dellinger (Rector of St. Stephen’s, San Luis Obispo).  The moderator was Joe Heston (President & General Manager of KSBW).  A video of the event is in development.  About 650 attended the event.

Thanks to my EfM Co-Mentor Karen Carlson for the photo of me on the stage!

John Plocher, Clay Whittington, Rev. Stephenie Cooper, Canon Stephanie Spellers, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Dave Mora, Rev. Ian Dellinger, Joe Heston, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017, photo by Karen Carlson

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Joe Heston, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson and Karen Carlson

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Ideas? Getting My Mother to Drink More

Coffee cups painted by Eleanor Dickinson 1995

About every six months, my 85-year-old mother Eleanor ends up in Urgent Care or the Emergency Room with extreme dehydration. On Tuesday night, she was again given two full liters of intravenous (IV) liquid. Dehydration is very dangerous and makes her dementia worse – it muddies her thinking and judgement and makes her act even more independent than usual. For the last four years, our family and caretakers have tried everything we can think of – including working our way through all of the ideas on web lists – to get her to take more fluids.  She just does not want to drink.

Early Tuesday afternoon I got a call from the MedTech at my mother’s senior residence asking for help. After breakfast, Eleanor had pushed her way into another resident’s apartment, sat on his toilet and refused to leave. By the time I got there, she had been sitting for an hour – calmly saying “no, no, no, no” to everyone. She did not seem to be in pain. My mother said she was conducting an artist’s protest and planned to write a paper about the power of saying “no”. Eleanor has been a fine artist and politically active all of her life.  She was a Professor of Art at California College of the Arts 1971-2001.  Years ago, writing a protest paper would have been a normal activity for her.

Something in her mind told her that what she was doing made sense. Several caretakers tried sweet talking her while the owner of the bathroom threatened to call the cops to get her out.  My husband John finally wrapped her in a towel, picked her up, and walked her to her own apartment while she protested loudly.  Then we drove my mother to Urgent Care.  As usual, it took over seven hours for her to get evaluated, tested, and rehydrated.  We got home just before midnight.

Eleanor’s primary caretaker said my mother was very tired the next day but that she was cooperative for the rest of the week – eating and drinking more than usual.  Intravenous fluids fix dehydration for a short while but are not a long-term solution. If you have experience in this area, new ideas are welcome!

Eleanor Dickinson 2016

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Honoring Jail Ministry

Katy Dickinson's Simple Servant-efm-elmwood Jail Award, 4 Nov 2016

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves honored dozens of jail and prison ministry volunteers last month, among them, myself. Since 2007 Bishop Mary has served as the third bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) in California. Since 2015, she has also been the Vice President of the House of Bishops. Some years ago, Bishop Mary created the Simple Servant Award to honor those working as faithful ministers in the community.

I was out of town – in Sewanee, Tennessee, renewing my Education for Ministry Mentor Accreditation, and being trained as the Diocesan Coordinator for EfM – so I missed the Simple Servant presentation at the ECR annual convention on 4 November 2016. However, my husband John Plocher helped Bishop Mary prepare her presentation slides, so I was able to contribute photos and information in advance.  The Reverend Peggy Bryan worked with two of my student inmates on the artwork for the certificate.

Jack Fanning and I received our certificates the following week.  Jack helped me to start the first EfM program at Elmwood Correctional Facility (Milpitas, California).  There are about 25 EfM seminars in prisons in the USA but ours seems to be the first class in a county jail. We just started our second EfM term inside Elmwood. Our seminar includes have six men in Year-1 plus four continuing to Year-2.  Thanks to the University of the South, The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, CIC Ministries, and Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church for their joint and generous support of this program!

If you are interested in volunteering in a Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) jail, please contact the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC).

Katy Dickinson and Jack Fanning with Simple Servant Awards, 13 Nov 2016

Two photos taken by Elrond Lawrence of the 4 November 2016 presentation in Salinas:

Simple Servant Award by the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, 4 Nov 2016 - photo by Elrond Lawrence

Simple Servant Award by the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, 4 Nov 2016 - photo by Elrond Lawrence

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Top Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson, 2 Lowest Images Copyright 2016 by Elrond Lawrence

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Driving, Rafting, Hiking, Spelunking, and Trains

Jessica, Matthew, John, Paul in Caboose 12, Railroad Park Resort, Dunsmuir CA, August 2016

Our family took a short vacation together this week – a road trip from San Jose to northern California. Jessica and Matthew and Paul and John and I stayed for two nights at the Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir. John and I got to sleep in wooden caboose 12.

On Monday, we went on a white water rafting trip with Living Waters down the middle Klamath River, followed by a drive then a hike to 8,050 feet on Mount Shasta (elevation 14,179 feet above sea level).  On Tuesday, we took a boat across the lake to tour Lake Shasta Caverns and then drove to Portola, seeing a train at the famous Keddie Wye junction just before full dark.

Portola is home to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum (WPRM), of which we are long-time members.  WP668, our own backyard caboose, has four sister cabooses of the same age and design in Portola: WP679 (owned by the City of Portola), WP645 and WP646 at WPRM, and Sacramento Northern 1642 – also at WPRM.  When we bought WP668 in 2006, it was housed at the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco along with WP646 and SN1642.  We enjoyed seeing these again on Wednesday.

In a variety of places during our trip, we saw signs, flags, and bumper strips for the State of Jefferson. Those supporting this proposed new US state seem to do so as a way of expressing dissatisfaction with our current government, or its representation of them.

Railroad Park Resort, Dunsmuir CA, August 2016

Log Truck at Black Butte CA August 2016

Klamath River Rafting, CA, Matthew and Paul, August 2016

Klamath River Rafting, CA, Jessica, John and Paul

Klamath River Rafting, CA, Katy and John, August 2016

Mount Shasta Buckwheat August 2016

John and Paul on Mount Shasta August 2016

Mount Shasta Volcanic Rocks August 2016

State of Jefferson hay August 2016

State of Jefferson sign August 2016

State of Jefferson stuff August 2016

Rainbow water tanker trucks on Interstate 5, August 2016

Family dinner John Katy Jessica Matthew Paul August 2016

Jessica, Matthew, Paul, Caboose 12, Railroad Park Resort, Dunsmuir CA, August 2016

Lake Shasta CA August 2016

Lake Shasta Caverns CA August 2016

old ladder Lake Shasta Caverns CA August 2016

John Katy Jessica Matthew Paul at Lake Shasta Caverns CA August 2016

modern steps Lake Shasta Caverns CA August 2016

Jessica at Battle Creek Vista August 2016

Katy and John at Keddie Wye, Plumas County CA, August 2016

Keddie Wye, Plumas County CA, August 2016

Portola CA, Western Pacific Railroad Museum - WP917-D diesel engine, August 2016

Portola CA, Western Pacific Railroad Museum - WP645 caboose, August 2016

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Images Copyright 2015-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Lighting a Stained Glass Panel

Detail stained glass panel by Vince Taylor 2004

Lighting a big stained glass panel is tricky. You want the light to be warm and even across the surface to show off the colors and and patterns. Museums like The Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass at Chicago’s Navy Pier feature custom light boxes to present their masterpieces. Those of us with stained glass built into our homes as windows need another solution that addresses inside/outside light and darkness.  The glass should look good from both inside and out: a gift to the street.

Our architectural stained glass was created by Vince Taylor, starting in 2004 with a big panel in the dining room plus a smaller panel in our front door. In addition to being lovely, the panels provide privacy from the street and help reduce the heat and glare from direct sunlight on the hottest side of the house.

John tried lighting the big panel in a variety of unsatisfactory ways until he settled on LED strips around the edge. These work the best of the options we have tried – providing a warm and inexpensive light source – but the strips become brittle in sunlight in about five years. Today, John replaced the set.

This is Vince Taylor checking up on the big panel in 2012:
Vince Taylor with stained glass 2012

New LED strips going in:
LED strips

John installing new LED lights on stained glass panel 1 Aug 2016

5 year old LED strips in the trash:
degraded LED strips

Detail stained glass panel by Vince Taylor 2004

Front door stained glass panel by Vince Taylor 2004

Added 2 August 2016: night picture from the street:
Stained Glass Panel from outside at night

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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How to Display Stones in Earthquake Country

Sea Lily crinoid fossils Scyphocrinites elegans from Morocco on wall plaque

Displaying stones can be a challenge, especially in California where we regularly have earthquakes. If you are lucky, a decorative stone will come with a suitable base. Or, if the stone is small, a store-bought plastic stand may work. However, for large, heavy stones custom design and fabrication are needed for the best presentation. If you are handy like my husband John, you can make stands and pedestals yourself.

Here is what we are avoiding. This is a large cloisonné metalwork vase John and I bought in China which was flattened in an earthquake when it fell to the floor:
Chinese cloisonné vase smashed in an earthquake

Example 1: Small Fool’s Gold Sphere

iron pyrite, fool's gold sphere 1 Aug 2016

Basic hoop: My son Paul gave me this pretty iron pyrite (fool’s gold) sphere along with a clear plastic hoop for a stand.  The hoop keeps the sphere from rolling but it is only held in place by gravity. In an earthquake, this heavy sphere will probably smash something.

Example 2: Ruby Crystals on Quartz

Ruby Crystals on Quartz on a stand, from China
Simple pedestal: John brought this rock to Paul as a present from China some years ago.  It is ruby crystals on quartz, on a custom pedestal. The quartz has been carved away from the crystals to show them off. You can see in the photo below that the pedestal it came with has a trough or fitted hole carved into it the exact size and shape of the stone.
pedestal or stand for a rock

Example 3: Zimbabwe Shona Sculpture

Large fitted pedestal: I carried home this Shona sculpture of carved serpentine for John when I was in Zimbabwe with the 2016 TechWomen Delegation. I asked the sculptor, Martin Chirenda, to sign it before before wrapping. The sculpture weighs over sixty pounds and is top-heavy. We were concerned that it would break or hurt someone falling over in an earthquake. John made a low oak pedestal by carving a trough and then filling it with epoxy to fit the stone exactly. The stone is fixed to the dried epoxy with a thin pour of Karo (corn sugar syrup). Using Karo is a museum display trick that does not damage the art but keeps it firmly attached to its base.

Martin Chirenda 2015 Shona Sculpture Zimbabwe Harare, 26 Feb 2016 . Martin Chirenda 2015 Shona Sculpture Zimbabwe Harare, 26 Feb 2016

Martin Chirenda 2015 Shona Sculpture Zimbabwe Harare

sculpture stand

Martin Chirenda 2015 Shona Sculpture Zimbabwe Harare on pedestal 10 July 2016

Example 4: Sea Lily Fossil from Morocco

Mounted on a Plaque: We bought this ancient double Sea Lily or Crinoid fossil at Consolidated Rock & Mineral in Vacaville for our anniversary. It was found in Morocco originally. The stone is heavy but the fossil itself is fragile. We wanted to display it so that it could be admired but not broken. John just finished making this wood plaque with hooks. The plaque is mounted to the wall with a French cleat.  These are the best flowers John has ever bought me!
Sea Lily crinoid fossil from Morocco

Sea Lily crinoid fossil from Morocco on wall plaque

Sea Lily crinoid fossil from Morocco on wall plaque

Sea Lily crinoid fossil from Morocco on wall plaque

Sea Lily crinoid fossil from Morocco on wall plaque

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Scary Crazies

Scary biker in Willow Glen CA 13 July 2016

Twice this week, I have been threatened by scary crazy guys. On 13 July, when John Plocher and I were driving home, we witnessed a bike rider threatening a woman and child on the street with a utility knife. Here is the story John posted on the Willow Glen Neighbor‘s group to warn people:

Just witnessed some really scary behavior driving home from dinner – a bike rider was threatening and swearing at a woman and her child waiting at the crosswalk at the Bird and Willow intersection, a man stopped his truck and got out to support the woman – at which point the bike rider threw down his bike and pulled a knife on the 3 of them. My wife called 911 as this was going on; I pulled out my phone and aimed it at him, telling him to drop the knife – at which point he hopped on his bike and rode away eastbound along Willow before dropping his bike at Tina’s and running. Nobody physically hurt – though I’m sure the woman and her child were terrified. San Jose Police Department is on it.  Here’s a picture of the bike rider – please be careful if you see him.

Then, on Saturday, 16 July, Laura and Jessica and I were driving to visit the San Antonio de Padua Mission near Jolon and stopped to look at some interesting rocks. A little way up the road, a crazy middle aged white guy in a parked white sedan started shrieking obscenities at us. When he got out of his car and started running toward us waving his arms violently and screaming, we went back to our car and locked the doors. He then returned to his car and drove off.

It is hard to know what to do during such events – trying to stay safe and keep others safe – and it is surprising how hard it is to describe someone when making a police report later. The incident is so upsetting, details like the color of the man’s shirt and backpack slip away. Somewhere between 4% and 18% of the USA is mentally ill – and about half of those who have a substance abuse disorder are also mentally ill (see “Mental Health by the Numbers” for details).  I think I met two of the more violent ones.

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San Antonio de Padua Mission near Jolon CA 16 July 2016

Katy Jessica Laura 16 July 2016

Image Copyright 2016 by John Plocher and Katy Dickinson

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