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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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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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