Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

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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Brat Packer packs his bags: Traveling helps actor find himself, settle down


Photo By: Eren Gknar/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Eren Gknar/Special To The Town Crier

Actor and author Andrew McCarthy shares how travel changed his life at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show. His new book, “The Longest Way Home,” chronicles his adventures.

Travel transformed actor and director Andrew McCarthy from someone who wandered his entire life into a man who embraced family life and a new career.

Previously divorced and engaged to his fiancee for four years, McCarthy was unable to fully commit when he set off on multiple trips, including one to Patagonia. His wife-to-be remarked, “I’ll see you at the altar, I guess.”

He had an excuse – he was on assignment for National Geographic Traveler magazine. He also wanted to confront his inner demons. McCarthy’s lifelong struggle became the focus of a book, “The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down” (Free Press, 2012).

McCarthy found himself at a crossroads, “trying to come to terms with getting married, one foot in and one foot out,” he told a standing-room-only audience at last month’s Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara. “Travel is about intimacy and separation, it’s about sitting in the back of the room.”

Many in the audience probably remembered McCarthy from his days starring opposite Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink” and in 1980s Brat Pack movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Now 50, McCarthy still projects amiability and retains his boyish good looks. Solitary by nature, he credits travel with helping him break out of his shell.

“It makes you vulnerable,” he said. “You go someplace, you get lost and you’re forced to ask someone, ‘Please, can you help me?’”

As a writer, he also needs to get quotes for his stories, so he has to engage the bartender or whoever is around for more information.

He hopes to persuade travelers to set off on solo trips.

“That’s the quickest way to find out who you are,” he said.

He confesses, however, that beach vacations make him panic.

“I always say I need a vacation after that, because a change is better than a rest,” he said.

McCarthy, like most of us, occasionally likes the “mai tai” trip, but “I don’t do all-inclusive, big-walled resorts, because … experiential travel is about getting beyond the walls.”

For example, he said, seeing the Trevi Fountain in Rome for the first time: “Now that’s insane – that brings about the sense of discovery, kind of like we see things only once as children.”

A life-changing trip

McCarthy read “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain” (Simon & Schuster, 1994) by Jack Hitt and wanted to do that trip.

He set off on the 500-mile walk and soon found he was miserable, suffering from bleeding blisters.

“One day, I’m sobbing, saying all the things that were against my Catholic upbringing, and at the end of my tantrum, my bus/limo doesn’t come to pick me up,” he said.

Amazingly, the next morning, McCarthy said he woke up “without the fear that had consumed me my whole life, which was such a shock to me that I skipped across Spain.”

When he returned home, he wrote down scenes from his travels and called magazine editors to sell them destinations.

“Travel changed my life and it will change yours – I drank that Kool-Aid,” he told the audience.

Only 30 percent of Americans have passports, according to McCarthy.

“If Americans traveled more, we would loose our preconceived notions,” he said.

A woman in the audience raised concerns about solo travel as a woman.

“The world is a much safer place than we believe,” he said.

McCarthy recently traveled to Namibia – “a really spiritual place,” he said – and recommends catching the glaciers of Argentina as well as Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Travel is not an indulgence – it’s an imperative,” he said.

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