Posts Tagged ‘San Jose’

It’s time to prepare for 2017-2018 Opera San Jose!

Opera San Jose has been busy preparing for its new season, and it’s time for us to start marking our calendars.  Opening night is September 9, and the first show is Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Thinking himself worldly and experienced, Don Alfonso decides to relieve his young friends, Ferrando and Gugliemo, of their faith in sexual fidelity. He challenges them to a bet, promising that within 24 hours their fiancées will prove unfaithful. Outraged, they accept, but find the challenge too painfully revealing and too difficult to withstand. Dressed in clown’s clothes, these young men break their own hearts and the hearts of their fiancées. A comedy that is a tragedy underneath is the perfect stuff for the uncanny genius of Mozart, so clearly revealed in this dazzling score.

There will be only six performances of this amazing show at the California Theatre, so check your calendar and buy your tickets now! Prices range from $10 for students, ages 25 and younger with a current student ID, and $56 to $176 for adults. Box office phone: 408-437-4450 or go to

Can’t make the show? Check out the preview!
Così fan tutte Preview: August 29, 2017 from 12 – 1 p.m., California Theatre, 345 S. First Street in  downtown San José; Free vocal preview with members of the cast. For information, call 408-437-4450.

For opera beginners (and pros!) there’s never a need to feel like a novice:
Introduction to Opera
: General Director Larry Hancock will present a free 45-minute talk to ticket holders about the opera at the California Theatre before each performance of Così fan tutte. The talk begins at 6:30pm prior to evening performances and at 1:30pm prior to Sunday matinees. No reservations required.  

Così fan tutte
Opera San Jose
September 9 thru September 24
California Theatre
345 S. First Street, San Jose

Tony Hawk and the Birdhouse Left Coast Tour 2012

Want to see past, present and future skating legends in action? Lake Cunningham Regional Skatepark will be hosting Tony Hawk and members of the Birdhouse team this Sunday, July 15. Demonstration from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. The event is free but the standard Lake Cunningham parking fee of $10 applies.

See skating demonstrations by Tony Hawk, Kevin Staab and Willy Santos, members of the Birdhouse team, including Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, Shawn Hale, Clint Walker, David Loy, Shaun Gregoire, Clive Dixon, Michael Davis and Elliot Sloan.

Also, a halfpipe event will also feature guest appearances by Mitchie Brusco, Neal Hendrix, and Lincoln Ueda.

Lake Cunningham Skatepark
2305 S. White Road
San Jose, California 95148

Sunday, July 15. 2:00pm to 3:30pm.
The event is free but the Lake Cunningham Regional Park parking fee of $10 applies.

700 Turkeys for the Needy

Yesterday, my husband John and I were at Britannia Arms pub (5027 Almaden Expressway, San Jose CA) with a crowd of other wet volunteers helping with their 8th annual “Brit Turkey Drive”.* Michael North and John McKay and pub regulars collected enough donations to buy 700 Thanksgiving turkeys to distribute to the hungry of our community. The turkeys and other food will be given out through the programs of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and Santa Maria Urban Ministry (SMUM) of San Jose. Dignitaries helping with yesterday’s delivery and distribution included The Very Reverend David Bird (Dean of the Cathedral), San Jose Vice Mayor Judy Chirco, and SMUM’s Executive Director, Rev. Lawrence Robles. Channel 7 ABC news was there to film the story.

There were several dozen individual turkeys waiting in the freezer of the Britannia Arms but the morning’s drama was provided by the arrival of four large pallets of frozen birds emerging one by one from the frosty mist of a large delivery truck. Within minutes of the last touchdown on the parking asphalt, individual turkeys and boxes of turkeys were passed from arm to arm into the backs of cars and trucks driven by volunteers to the programs waiting to distribute them. Three cheers for the generosity of the Britannia Arms!

The Channel 7 cameraman said that they might be back to film SMUM serving a full turkey dinner to 200 homeless people under one of San Jose’s bridges – later this month.

* “The Brit Almaden is your authentic neighborhood San Jose British Pub, restaurant, live music venue and Sports bar.”

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

$1,453 Refunded for FEMA Mistake


Hooray! Today, after over a year of protesting, we were finally refunded the full $1,453 for flood insurance we had to buy because of a FEMA map mistake. Sometimes, you can fight City Hall and win!

On 7 July 2009, my husband and I received a letter from our mortgage holder that FEMA (the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) had changed their FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) such that our house was now in a high-risk SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area). We were required to buy annual flood insurance for the life of our mortgage loan because of FEMA’s map change.

Our house was built around 1930 next to the Guadalupe River, also known as the Lewis Canal in what is now the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, California. The Lewis Canal is named after its engineer, Frank Lewis (who was husband to Martha “Patty” Reed Lewis of the Donner Party). The canal was built about a hundred years ago. The property line behind our house runs down the middle of the river and includes a steep embankment that rises five feet above ground level and then drops twenty feet to the river water.

How did the FEMA map of a hundred-year-old canal and eighty-year-old house change? FEMA maps used to be drawn on a plain background. Some clever person decided to take the old maps (as is – with no change) and superimpose the lines on a background of satellite photos. The resolution of the original map and the satellite map were different. The old map was drawn on square grids and the satellite photos were taken with a round lens – so there was some mismatch and alignment error. A flat picture of the round Earth will always have such errors.

The creation of the new map caused the mortgage company’s flood area determination company (LPS National Flood) to review the situation of the mortgaged properties which might be effected. Although FEMA’s new FIRM did not include any new information with regard to the relative location of our house and the river, the new picture’s misalignment appeared to make the line indicating our house touch the line of the river. That our house is ten feet from the edge of the embankment’s retaining wall did not matter. Taking the most conservative approach, the mortgage company required us starting immediately to pay $1,453 annually for flood insurance for the duration of the mortgage.

We talked with our mortgage company with no good results. We contacted FEMA with no good results. We contacted LPS National Flood with no good results. We talked with the insurance company with no good results. Everyone said that even though the new map did not correctly reflect the physical circumstances of our house and the river, the mortgage company could require us to buy flood insurance in perpetuity based on the map. We signed up for flood insurance and continued to fight.

We eventually hired J.P. Tanner of Scotts Valley to work with FEMA to correct their map. We learned in the process that hundreds of other San Jose home owners along the river were in the same bureaucratic map-insurance mess as we were. Eventually, in April 2010, FEMA issued a LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) formally removing our house from the flood zone. It took until today for our mortgage and insurance companies to issue paperwork and send a refund check.


What happened?

They lost to a better team.

We now follow off-season trades/signings.

Then we start all over again in October.


Favorite Falafel

Long ago when I was in college, I had a summer job selling falafel. This does not make me an expert but gives me enough experience to have an opinion on this delicious Middle Eastern fast food. I either eat falafel just as I used to serve it – in a pita pocket with salad and tahini sauce – or as part of a sampler platter with Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and other lovely stuff. Some of my favorite places to eat falafel in the Silicon Valley:

Ziba Persian Cuisine (4628 Meridian Ave., San Jose)

Golden Falafel (883 Hamilton Ave., Menlo Park)

Dishdash Restaurant (190 South Murphy St., Sunnyvale)

Chelokababi Persian Cuisine (1236 Wolfe Rd., Sunnyvale)

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Images Copyright 2010 Katy Dickinson

San Jose: Easter Activities

Participating Willow Glen merchants will make Easter memories for the family this Saturday. Weather forecast is for a mostly cloudy 61°


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Location – 1202 Lincoln Avenue Parking Lot.

Time – 12noon to 2pm (Ages 3 to 12)

Register to participate, contact or call 408-280-0110 or call 408-279-5800

2010 Women of Vision Awards

The Anita Borg Institute has once again announced its annual winners of the Women of Vision awards. The 2010 winners are:

For Innovation:
Kathleen McKeown, Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University

For Social Impact:
Lila Ibrahim, General Manager, Emerging Markets Platform Group, Intel Corporation

For Leadership:
Kristina Johnson, Ph.D., Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy

The 2010 Women of Vision Awards celebration dinner will be:

May 12, 2009- 6:00 – 9:30pm
Mission City Ballroom – adjacent to the Santa Clara Convention Center
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Until this year, the award ceremony was held in downtown San Jose but parking is easier at the Mission City Ballroom in Santa Clara. Here is an excerpt from my article about these awards in the February 2010 Anita Borg Institute “Call for Action” email newsletter:

Why I’m Glad I Attended the Women of Vision Awards
by Katy Dickinson

The Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision Awards Banquet is a moving and thought-provoking annual event.

The WOV night itself is fun: meeting new women and getting to know others better. The long-term benefit for me comes from learning about the honorees and hearing their acceptance speeches. I go to the WOV for mental and spiritual refreshment. In some cases, I know the honored women personally but most are new to me. For months and even years after, I find myself thinking about what the Women of Vision have said. I sometimes go to YouTube and listen to the speeches again to refresh my memory.

I have referred dozens of young women to the 2008 WOV talk by Helen Greiner. Any girl geek who feels too alone in her love of technology will be encouraged by the amazing founder of iRobot saying that when she was young “not one person told me I should be an Engineer” and “we need diversity of perspectives … more women’s life experiences influencing our directions and designs”.

Here are some of my photos from the 2008 Women of Vision event:

Helen Greiner

Helen Greiner, Women of Vision Event San Jose 2008  photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Susan Landau

Susan Landau Women of Vision Event San Jose 2008         photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Program, Keychain, Badge
Program, Keychain, Badge Women of Vision Event San Jose 2008          photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Diabetes Society Camps Filling Up Fast

The Diabetes Society in Willow Glen is offering a great variety of educational and fun camping programs for Summer 2010 for kids, teens, and families living with type 1 diabetes. Because the Diabetes Society recently went through a fiscal restructuring, fewer camps are being offered; however, available camping dates and locations are filling up fast. For more information, check out the Diabetes Society web site.

Since 1963, the Diabetes Society has been providing public education and one-on-one consultations to individuals with diabetes. The Diabetes Society (1165 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 300, San Jose, CA 95125)  is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization with no regional, state, or national affiliations. Its operations are funded through donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, service clubs, special events, fees for service, and membership dues.

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Photos Copyright 2008 Diabetes Society

High School Speakers

The new Willow Glen Lions Club held its first annual high school speech contest on 21 February. For more about that event, read my blog entry called Willow Glen Lions Speakers’ Contest.

Our club champion, Sara Cois of Presentation High School in San Jose went on to speak at the Area-level contest, at the Saratoga Library. Here is Jim Isaacson’s description of that 5 March contest:

The contestant from the Willow Glen Lions Club contest, Sara Cois, competed very well with three other students but did not place first. The four contestants were very close in the scoring and gave interesting perspectives on the topic of “Universal Health Care, How Will it Affect Us?”. Their variations in speech styles added to the challenges the judges faced in scoring the contestants. Three speakers, including Sara, are Seniors and the fourth is a Sophomore. The speaker advancing to the Region 1 contest is from Leland High School and initially won at the Almaden Super Lions club contest.

…The next competition level, Region 1, Student Speakers contest will be held Tuesday March 23, 6:30 PM, at The Atrium at San Jose. All contests are open to all Lions and the public.

The Lions Youth Exchange Program and Lions International Peace Poster Contest along with the Student Speakers Contest are all efforts where Lions make a difference, and in addition, we are helping youth develop into adults who will also make a difference.

Pictures from the Willow Glen Contest

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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