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.
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).
Images Copyright 2015-2016 by Katy Dickinson
On Saturday, we celebrated the 100th Birthday for WP668, the railway caboose where Mentoring Standard has its office in Willow Glen (San Jose, California). Many friends and family and train enthusiasts joined John and me in cheering on our old train car. You can read the history of WP668 on her website.
There were balloons and a cake and we distributed WP668 Caboose Con-Duck-tors (a rubber duck toy dressed as a train conductor) as party favors. John gave tours of his N-scale model train layout in our former garage. WP668’s birthday present was new night lighting along her roof line.
Images Copyright Katy Dickinson 2016
Lovely to sit in my office in WP 668 (the 1916 railroad caboose in our San Jose backyard) and listen to spring rain. Lovely to have spring rain in the middle of California’s big drought!
Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson
Thanks to Don Marenzi for identifying this photo of WP668 (the caboose in our San Jose backyard). The picture is by Eric Bracher, published in the January 1974 NMRA Bulletin (p.12). This is the first picture of WP668 we have found in her Western Pacific orange and silver colors! Here is a more current photo:
Images Copyright 1974 by Eric Bracher, and 2013 by Katy Dickinson
This morning was our annual backyard Easter Egg Hunt – a very popular event among our friends, family, and neighbors. About 15 children (ages 18 months to 21 years) joined the search for hundreds of plastic eggs filled with chocolate candies. For the adults, there were two specially hidden eggs: gold and silver. Only the following poems gave clues to their locations:
I know a bed where the wild thyme blows,
Where iris and nodding rosemary grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious lemondrops,
With sweet musk-roses and with nasturtium:
There sleep sweet bees sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there snake throws her cold enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
I have 3 guards for my home-place
The same number of eyes and legs between them
They keep for me in a safer space.
One would walk if he were fitted for a mind-Chem
but instead keeps me in the cool.
One is anxious but smiles except when asleep
One at ball’s drop can only drool
One was born only to be buried down deep
Can you find my comfy ark?
Or will you get lost in the barks?
Thanks to the Associate Easter Bunny, my daughter Jessica for her contributions to the poems (from Washington DC), and thanks to Paul and John for helping create today’s festivities! Clara and Paul and Dan teamed up to find the gold and silver eggs – and were rewarded with Peeps Chocolate Eggs for their hunting prowess.
Each Spring, I work for weeks to make our garden a demi-paradise for this event – full of flowers and rock borders suitable for hiding eggs. Easter coincided this year with the seed storms of the cottonwoods on the Guadalupe River in San Jose. Fluffy white seeds blow over everything like dry snow – so much spiderweb removal was needed, especially on WP668, our backyard caboose.
It is such a joy to watch the children filling their baskets, then re-hiding eggs for each other once the hundreds of eggs hidden in the morning by the Easter Bunny have been collected. A delightful celebration of new life and renewal!
21 April 2014 – On the day after the Easter Egg Hunt, I am still finding eggs in the garden (some after the dogs have chewed them)…
Images Copyright John Plocher and Katy Dickinson
Part of my enjoyment in traveling is eating local dishes, seeing what people wear and use in daily life, and shopping accordingly for gifts to take home to family and friends. During my recent visit to Morocco (6-15 March 2014), I purchased a 4’x6′ red kilim vintage Berber rug (in Fez), ceramics (in Rabat), a silver bracelet for my son Paul (in Rabat), and cinnamon spice (hotter than what we get in America), silver earrings for my mother and me, a geode for my nephew Daniel, and leather slippers (in Fez). I also brought home two Fez hats: one for my brother Pete and the other for Jill Finlayson’s husband – since she could not find one before she had to travel home. I am happy with my momentoes and, in the case of my big rug purchase, will enjoy seeing it every day in my WP668 office. I was also a member of the TechWomen delegation to Morocco in 2011, at which time I also bought rugs in Marrakech. I am now on a rug diet!
Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson
Last week in Kigali, Rwanda, I was one of the TechWomen delegates who bought a painting at the Inema Art Center gallery. Since my mother, Eleanor Dickinson, and son, Paul D. Goodman, are both artists, I have very little free wallspace. However, I very much liked “Positive Women” by Sam Kambali. The painting is a collage of carefully-selected strips of African cloth forming the bodies of women, many of whom are raising their arms in salute. “Positive Women” seemed appropriate to the subject of our delegation (encouraging women and girls to pursue careers in STEM fields) and to the energy, enthusiasm, and remarkable professional success of the delegation members themselves. Part of its charm is that this painting incorporates the delightful variety and color of cloth we saw everywhere we went in Rwanda.
I had the gallery take the painting off its stretcher bars so I could transport it rolled up. Today, I brought “Positive Women” home from being re-mounted: my new painting is now hanging in WP668 (my office in our backyard caboose in San Jose, California). Here I am in Kigali with Sam Kambali, the artist:
Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson