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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Taking care of Grandpa

By Grace Acosta

 

I had always assumed that I would take care of my mother in her old age, but at 80, she’s still going strong – in some ways, stronger than I.

My dog, Parker, however, just turned 14 and is fading fast. But in my mind, he’s no less a member of the family than actual blood relations, and merits the same degree of care I would give any human. Perhaps that’s an anthropomorphic point of view, but that’s just how it is. So while he’s never been neglected, in his current decrepit state, Parker’s getting more attention than normal.

The important thing is that he’s made it this far. However, along the way he’s lost some hearing and developed a cataract, arthritis and several visible tumors. He doesn’t walk well and staggers around with little control over his stiff hind legs. My new nickname for him is “Grandpa,” as in “Come back in the house, Grandpa, time for bed,” or “Ready for your meds, Grandpa?” or even “I think Grandpa needs Life Alert – he’s fallen and can’t get up.”

Grandpa has become something of a stubborn old buzzard. After years of his cooperation, allowing us to walk with him in safety, he’s suddenly decided that he can cross busy intersections in whatever fashion he chooses. As I navigate him through proper crosswalks, he’ll veer toward the actual corner he wants to reach, even if that means heading toward it at a diagonal. He strains against the leash; I attempt to hold him back without making him topple over completely. He’s like a senior in a wheelchair, waving a cane at his ultimate destination, yelling, “Dagnabbit! I’m going over there! For heaven’s sake, point me in the right direction!”

At home, Grandpa is prone to ignore me when I call, partly because of legitimate hearing loss, partly because it’s a nuisance for him to respond. He refuses his vitamins (even enveloped in a thick wad of cheese) and water – in a bowl, that is. Twice daily, he hobbles painfully out to the yard, stands by the garden hose, and stares at me to signal that he’s thirsty and would appreciate the water released at this time, thank you very much.

It all sounds so adorable, this eager-to-please puppy turned recalcitrant geezer. Some realities, however, have been less so – like when a sudden muscle spasm in his neck caused him so much pain that he actually ran away from home and couldn’t be located for several minutes. Or his new habit of sequestering himself in the farthest corner of the house to escape what he used to live for and thrive on – being in the midst of our family.

There are days when I get tired of looking after him and worry about getting him outside because it’s become difficult for him to lift himself up and walk. There have been times when I got there too late to assist and had to clean up the mess he left behind. But I’m mostly OK with it all. I chuckle over his certitudes and self-assertions because they’re harmless enough. I exercise patience and compassion. I respect his frailty: I know I’m vulnerable, too.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for health and vigor, for irreplaceable memories of a bygone day and for those small, dwindling moments that still remain – more precious now because I know we’re at the end. Taking care of Parker has afforded me these valuable, important lessons.

All that from a lumpy, limping, fussy old hound. Who would have thought?

 

Grace Acosta is a Los Altos resident and longtime contributor to the Town Crier. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . n

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