Wed11262014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit alo...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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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

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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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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