Tag Archives: John

Learning with TechWomen Team Tunisia

TechWomen Team Tunisia in San Jose, CA 2022-10-1
TechWomen Team Tunisia in San Jose, CA 2022-10-1

I am honored to help mentor five TechWomen Emerging Leaders from Tunisia during their visit to the USA. The U.S. State Department – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs – TechWomen program connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by providing them the access and opportunities to advance their careers and pursue their dreams.

So far, our team has spoken online, been to a kickoff event hosted by Twitter at their San Francisco headquarters (I got to wear the embroidered cape I bought in Tunisia in 2015), and enjoyed dinner together at my house in San Jose. We are learning about each other, and working on the project again online, Tuesday night! This term, I am happy to be a TechWomen Co-Mentor with Darpana Pendyala (Hardware Design Engineer, Marvell), and Priyanka Sahay (Director, Product Marketing, LinkedIn).

TechWomen Team Tunisia 2022-09-23
TechWomen Team Tunisia 2022-09-23
TechWomen Team Tunisia in San Jose, CA 2022-10-1
TechWomen Team Tunisia in San Jose, CA 2022-10-1

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Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Last Day of Beatles Year

The lyrics of “When I’m Sixty-Four” by Paul McCartney of The Beatles start, “When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now, Will you still be sending me a Valentine, Birthday greetings bottle of wine. If I’d been out till quarter to three, Would you lock the door? Will you still need me, will you still feed me When I’m sixty-four?” Tonight, I end my Beatles Year!

I start my new half-decade tomorrow. Such a delightful adventure!

Jessica and Matthew wedding 2011
Jessica and Matthew wedding 2011

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2 Summer Trips

John Plocher, Katy Dickinson, Loon Lake, Wisconsin June 2022
John Plocher, Katy Dickinson, Loon Lake, Wisconsin June 2022

Our family went on two short trips this summer. John and visited the Plocher family at Loon Lake, Wisconsin, in June. At the end of August, John and I and our kids took a road trip through Northern-Northern California, including a ride on the Skunk Train from Willets. John and Paul and I were in one car and Jessica and Matthew were in another.

Loon Lake, Wisconsin

Plocher family, Loon Lake, Wisconsin June 2022
Plocher family, Loon Lake, Wisconsin June 2022

California Road Trip

Dickinson family, Willits, California, August 2022
Dickinson family, Willits, California, August 2022

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Filed under Caboose Project and Other Trains, Home & Family

Fixing What Doesn’t Show

Starting construction, 19 July 2022
Starting construction, 19 July 2022

John Plocher and I are in the process of fixing up our 90-year-old Spanish Mission style home in Willow Glen (San Jose, California). One of the duties of homeownership is maintenance, particularly fixing what does not show. We just completed Phase One of a maintenance project, including adding new French drains to redirect water away from the house, repairing some rocky tiles on the side porch, replacing a front porch post, adding better support for the ground floor so that the front door opens all the way, and replacing a walkway-with-a-step with a ramp. This work will not meet the realtors’ goal of “increasing the value of your home” for resale, but since this is our family’s forever home, it is enough that the work increases its comfort and value to us. We got virtual tours of the ongoing work under the house using FaceTime.

Some of maintenance challenges come from ours being an old (if well-built) house, and others from the land being part of the original Willow Glen swamp of the Guadalupe River. The ground shifts annually with seasonal moisture changes, causing stucco cracks and sometimes making doors stick. The most unhappy person with the construction has been Princess, our porch cat, who resented the disruption of her royal domain. Phase Two is being planned now!

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Reached My Weight Goal!

Katy Dickinson, 17 July 2022
Katy Dickinson, 17 July 2022 (with earrings erased by John‘s iPhone Portrait setting)

As I wrote in April, I have been using the  Noom program for weight loss and wellness. I am proud of myself that as of today, I met my 145 pound weight goal – hooray! Changing my eating patterns, losing over 60 pounds, and reducing my size from extra large (XL) to small (S) was not easy. There were many frustrating weeks when nothing seemed to happen. When I started in October 2021, Noom’s original estimate for my completion date was months ago. Nonetheless, today I am in the new phase of weight maintenance rather than loss. I had fun buying new clothes for my changed figure, since nothing but my shoes and scarves still fit. I have discovered by trial and error that I am now a Talbots size 8, Chico’s size 1, t-shirt size small, Gloria Vanderbilt size 10, Land’s End size 12 swimsuit but size 10 shirt, and Zuri medium size dress (but small shirt).

Read to the end of this post for a funny poem by my Grandma…

Katy Dickinson, 11 Oct 2021-17 July 2022 Noom Weight Graph
Katy Dickinson, 11 Oct 2021-17 July 2022 Noom Weight Graph

Weight management is a family problem, as illustrated by the following poem written by my Grandma, Evelyn Van Gilder Creekmore. I expect to work on maintenance for the rest of my life but am happy to have reached today’s milestone. Thank you to friends and family who have patiently supported my journey toward better health.

Visiting Grandchildren

Katy came first, a slender girl
Afraid to gain one ounce of weight,
Her diet worried me no end –
Grapefruit was almost all she ate.
But next came Pete, a teenage boy
Who loved roast beef, and cake, and pie,
Milk by the gallon, ham and steak –
(We gained a few pounds – he and I)
Then after Pete his brother came,
I stocked the freezer well with meat,
But Mark’s a vegetarian now –
So I fixed salads and cracked wheat.
Then after Mark came Rip whose diet
Consists of steaks (by choice T-Bone)
So we lived high on rare cooked steak,
(I couldn’t let him eat alone.)
My budget fluctuated much,
As likewise did my weight,
In matching menus day by day
To choice of food each grandchild ate.

(p.58 in Day’s Journey by Evelyn Van Gilder Creekmore, Copyright 1985. All Rights Reserved.)

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Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Graduations

GTU Commencement 7 May 2022
GTU Commencement 7 May 2022

Spring is graduation season and this year, I joyfully walked the stage in-person for my Graduate Theological Union – Master’sTheology degree, as well as graduating three of my own student-mentees from the University of the South – School of Theology – Education for Ministry (EfM) extension program.

My GTU – MA and Master’s hood were officially presented online last year* but GTU offered the 2020 and 2021 pandemic-years graduates an opportunity to walk in-person this year. I was hooded by Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Wendy Arce in a ceremony at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley. I was also awarded the Interreligious Chaplaincy Certificate, as only the second person to complete the new GTU – ICP program. Part of ICP is completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which for me meant working part-time as a Chaplain Intern for five months at Stanford Hospital during a pandemic surge. Several of us from Stanford Hospital – Spiritual Care Services graduated from GTU together this year. I was happy that my family which lovingly supported me during my long educational journey was present for my graduation.

Co-Mentor Karen LeBlanc, with whom I have led EfM seminars together for over twelve years, celebrated with me the graduations of Joel Martinez (graduated 2020, diploma presented 2022) and Beth Hopf at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Saratoga, CA), and Mark LeBlanc (Karen’s husband) at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church (Cupertino, CA). Joel, Beth, and Mark faithfully completed four years of EfM study and theological reflection on the Bible, church history, theology, and ethics.

*Read my thesis here: “Range of Chaplain Engagement with Prisoners”

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Filed under Chaplain, Church, Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

Pandemic-motivated Weight Loss

Weight loss was a decision that came out of my experience as a Chaplain Intern at Stanford Hospital (September 2021 – February 2022). I worked there during a COVID-19 pandemic surge and as part of my duties, provided family support and decedent care for a number of patients whose comorbidities (including obesity, diabetes, and asthma) seemed to contribute to their early death. I decided to act on my doctor’s long-standing advice and do what I could to reduce my own potential for a similar end.

The most I have ever weighed was 212 pounds, in 2007. Starting in October 2021, I followed my son Paul‘s good example and started using the Noom program for weight loss and wellness. Paul and John are also losing weight and we find that doing so as a family is easier. So far, I have lost over fifty pounds. I have about fifteen to go before I reach the weight that my doctor recommends. I feel better and am enjoying getting new clothes (and having more choices in the smaller sizes). Attending a deathbed may seem like an extreme reason to lose weight but it made a big impression on me.

Read the updates: posted on 17 July 2022, posted 22 September 2022

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