Tag Archives: Pete

Moving Day for Mom

IMG_7912

Yesterday was tough. About 12 of us (5 family members plus a great team of professional movers) spent 12 hours shifting my mother from her Independent Living apartment to a new Assisted Living apartment across the parking lot on the same campus. My kids took their Grandmother out for the day (to breakfast and church and to visit the Cantor Arts Center) while my brother, husband, and I moved her stuff. She did not want to move but her family and doctors all see that with progressive memory loss, my mother needs more help than we can provide with less-than-fulltime caregivers. We hired movers who took photos of everything and did their best to set up the new apartment in exactly the same arrangement as the old. Her cats were unhappy to be kept safe in carriers all day – and are probably still hiding under the bed.  We moved everything: furniture, kitchen, art, more art, art supplies, her big easel, electronics, and an entire deck-full of heavy plants and planters.  The point in reproducing the old place in the new was that she would not notice – and she didn’t.  Success meant that our day of sorting, heavy lifting and tricky decision-making went largely unrecognized.  Hooray?

A few years ago, I was touched when my younger brother sent me this poem about difficulties in taking care of our mother. My two brothers live much farther away, so I manage her day-to-day business, caretakers, and medical decisions. My brothers and I confer on resolving larger issues.  Sometimes it feels like having another child myself – but one who gets less mature as time passes.  No matter what, we love her as she is.

The Guardian
by Joseph Mills

I don’t think my brother realized all
the responsibilities involved in being
her guardian, not just the paperwork
but the trips to the dentist and Wal-Mart,
the making sure she has underwear,
money to buy Pepsis, the crying calls
because she has no shampoo even though
he has bought her several bottles recently.
We talk about how he might bring this up
with the staff, how best to delicately ask
if they’re using her shampoo on others
or maybe just allowing her too much.
“You only need a little, Mom,” he said,
“Not a handful.” “I don’t have any!”
she shouted before hanging up. Later
he finds a bottle stashed in her closet
and two more hidden in the bathroom
along with crackers, spoons, and socks.
Afraid someone might steal her things,
she hides them, but then not only forgets
where, but that she ever had them at all.

I tease my brother, “You always wanted
another kid.” He doesn’t laugh. She hated
her father, and, in this second childhood,
she resents the one who takes care of her.
When I call, she complains about how
my brother treats her and how she hasn’t
seen him in years. If I explain everything
he’s doing, she admires the way I stick up
for him. Doing nothing means I do nothing
wrong. This is love’s blindness and love’s
injustice. It’s why I expect to hear anger
or bitterness in my brother’s voice, and why
each time we talk, no matter how closely
I listen, I’m astonished to hear only love.

“The Guardian” by Joseph Mills, from Love and Other Collisions. © Press 53, 2010.

IMG_7922

IMG_7926

IMG_7935

IMG_7953

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

San Juan Islands, Washington State

IMG_3310

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!

IMG_3262

IMG_3308

IMG_3865

IMG_3859

IMG_3894

IMG_4029

IMG_4249

IMG_4332

IMG_4444

IMG_4501

IMG_4520

IMG_4602

IMG_4644

IMG_4829

IMG_4886

IMG_5118

IMG_5339

IMG_5665

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

2 Comments

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Art Trust

1975.Eleanor.portrait

My mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, has been an artist all of her life, including teaching for decades as the Professor of Life Drawing (and Gallery Management Program Director) at the renowned California College of the Arts (in Oakland and San Francisco). She has been creating in one medium or another pretty much daily since she knowingly composed her first photograph in 1941 at the age of ten. Even though she sells pieces regularly, this still makes for a huge collection of artwork – many thousands of framed and unframed works (mostly on paper or fabric). After my father Wade Dickinson passed away in 2011, we moved Eleanor and her art from San Francisco to San Jose.

For the last year, I have been working with my mother and brothers Pete and Mark, advised by an Estate CPA and an Estate Planning Attorney as well as experts in art, to set up a charitable Art Trust to maintain and manage my mother’s collection. Art is very complex in terms of taxes and valuation, and we want to get this business sorted out while our mother can be actively involved. I was very happy to finally get most of the Eleanor Dickinson Art Trust paperwork signed last week.

In addition to managing the business side of Eleanor Dickinson’s work, we also want her art to be exhibited – to be seen and enjoyed and not just kept in storage. However, even setting up a small local art show takes weeks of work for both the artist (or her family) and the gallery, museum, or exhibit space. Many shows require special framing, shipping, documentation, and insurance, all of which take time and money. We know from experience it can take many years of negotiations to donate an art collection to a museum or university. Within my mother’s larger collection, there are many sub-collections, including: Old Testament drawings, dream pictures, crucifixion velvets, animal portraits, plus drawings and photos and artifacts associated with Revival! and her other big traveling exhibits. We have set up the new Art Trust so that sales of art can pay the insurance and exhibit costs for the collection long-term.  We hope that our mother will be creating new art for many years to come.  We are doing our best to care for it!

P1100015

IMG_4420

Images Copyright Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson 1975, and Katy Dickinson 2013-2014

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

21 Years at the Lair of the Bear – Camp Blue

P1240634

Last night, we celebrated Paul’s 22nd birthday at the University of California’s Lair of the Golden Bear Camp Blue. We have been Lair campers since before Paul could walk! We started in 12th Week and have slowly moved to earlier weeks as school start dates crept back into August. This is our second year as 9th Week campers. My niece and nephew start classes on Monday. Paul starts at San Jose State University in a few weeks.

My brother Pete, sister-in-law Julie and kids, with friends Steve and Olivia and their son are also with us. This week, other members of the family have been going on hikes, running, and swimming in Pinecrest Lake. We also went rafting on the Stanislaus River out of Knights Ferry. Our immediate family has mostly been playing board games and enjoying Advanced Lounging with Electronics. Jessica and Matthew celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary with pinatas full of candy and little plastic dinosaurs.

Jessica and I have been in email communication from Camp Blue Lodge with Susan Rodger (Professor, Computer Science at Duke University), collaborating on the design and content of our Notable Women in Computer Science and Wikipedia poster for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, to be held in October 2014. GHC14 is almost sold out – as it has been every year since at least 2009.

P1240667 . P1240674

P1240613

P1240631

P1240643

P1240119

P1240571

Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Home & Family, Hopper - Anita Borg Institute, News & Reviews

Tolkein in Ethiopia

P1210275

I did not expect to find Tolkein in Ethiopia but he was there, in sound anyway. I grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkein classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. My brother Pete Dickinson once won a bet that he could identify any single line in any of these four books by chapter and scene. I could probably still win that bet.

In the year that I have worked with the Ethiopian diaspora group People to People, I have tried hard not to think of Tolkien’s city Gondor when I hear the of the Ethiopian city of Gondar, or of Sauron’s evil fortress Barad Dur when visiting Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar. Flying home to San Francisco yesterday, I was delighted to meet a Swedish professional who lives in Bahir Dar who confessed to having the same problem. When he said he and friends had gone to Ethiopia’s lava lake to throw in rings, I felt comforted. I was not the only one to think of Mount Doom when hearing about Erta Ale.

I will not even start on how being called “Forengi” (foreigner) by kids on the street in Ethiopia made me wonder if I had somehow developed the big ears of a Star Trek Ferengi

P1200534

Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

Pete Dickinson on Front Page

P1110576

More recent Dickinson family news… my brother Pete Dickinson (aka Peter S. Dickinson, Partner at Bush Gottlieb in Glendale, CA) was pictured on the front cover of the Los Angeles Daily Journal in the lead article “Health Law Unfair to Unions, Lawyers Say” (by Laura Hautala).  The news photo caption says: “Peter S. Dickinson, an attorney with Bush, Gottlieb, Singer, Lopez, Kohanski, Adelstein & Dickinson who represent labor interests, says unions are not happy with a provision of the Affordable Care Act they say is unfair to them.”

The LA Daily Journal articles are not online, so Pete is pictured on the left above with two Thanksgiving friends.  Since Pete does not read my blog anyway, he will not mind this silly picture. I am very proud of Pete!

Image Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

2 Comments

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

“Old Lovers” by Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson

Untitled

Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson has a new art exhibit called “Old Lovers” at the Peninsula Museum of Art (1777 California Drive, Burlingame, California), 5 January – 16 March 2014. The opening reception was yesterday – with many colleagues, friends, and family attending. Love between older people has been a favorite subject of my mother’s large-format drawings on paper over many decades, and this is her second exhibit dedicated to that theme.

This show was curated by Robert Flynn Johnson (Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) and created by Ruth Waters (Founder, Chair and Executive Director, Peninsula Museum of Art). My brother Pete and I worked with Ruth and Robert for many months to support their development of this interesting exhibit. In the photos below, you can see how the drawings to be included were picked last year. I was on a business trip, so John and Paul went to the reception yesterday and took many pictures.

Untitled

Untitled

P1100025

P1100041

Images Copyright 2013-2014 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

2 Comments

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews