Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Death becomes me: No Shoes, Please

Last month, my husband – apropos of nothing but the day itself – announced, “Dad would have been 98 today,” to which I nonchalantly replied, “Oh, wow, really?”

If I were a cartoon, the thought bubble hovering over my head would have read, “So? If Abraham Lincoln were still around, he’d be 204; and if my dad hadn’t smoked so much, he might not have gotten cancer and died, therefore he’d be 92. Once a person is dead, you should really just stop counting.”

I understand it’s only natural to think of any loved one alive or dead on birthdays and how tempting it is (if the person is deceased) to imagine what it would be like if he or she remained among the living. But age carries so many weird burdens as it is, I think it’s nonsensical to continue tallying it after – particularly long after – the dearly departed have escaped the cycle of degeneration the rest of us are currently experiencing. I mean, why bother?

The beauty of death is that a lot of things don’t count anymore: age, good looks, material wealth, bad habits and mistakes, even long-standing grudges both held by and held against the deceased, which is exactly why I enjoy funerals. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t waltz into the proceedings happy-go-lucky, ready for a good time. But I do expect to be moved – to witness a level of respect and appreciation that might not have been readily or publicly offered during the lifetime of the person being remembered.

I expect to be surprised – perhaps to learn of some heretofore unknown aspect of a person’s life history during the eulogy. And when mourners offer a final word, their memories and stories can reveal as much about the individual speaking as the one who is being spoken about. After just about every service I’ve ever attended, I have felt enriched in knowledge, connection, understanding or awareness.

But these rituals don’t work for everyone. I once heard a man complain after his sister-in-law’s funeral, “It makes me mad that all those people stood up to say nice things about her when all she really was was a big, fat pig!” OK, point taken.

Maybe death diminishes the bad and embellishes the good to a point of willful deception. But I’d like to think that death or tragedy is also a moment in which you’re given an opportunity to drill down, to look at someone with your own blinders at least temporarily removed or to acknowledge valuable, meaningful contributions that had been previously ignored.

When someone makes the transition to another reality, the responsibility of surrendering to the new normal lies with the living, too. I know another woman whose parents both died at ripe old ages under appropriate circumstances, and on the anniversaries of their respective deaths, she commemorates her orphanhood.

My thought bubble on that one is, “Can you consider yourself a real orphan if you were 59 years old when your parents died? Isn’t there a statute of limitations on that?”

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