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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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