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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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Comfort food: No Shoes, Please

Everybody has some version of it – an idiosyncratic, precise recipe from your grandmother or a plebeian grocery store munchy. We can all name something edible that really hits the spot in our emotional bellies. I, for example, often turn to potato chips, while my mother relies on numerous cups of hot water. That probably says something meaningful about us as a pair, but my main point is that food (and drink) can replenish us in more ways than one.

The classic comfort food for many is chocolate – and I get it – but being more a salt and grease person myself, sugar isn’t really my thing. The exception to that rule would be ice cream, the only dessert I truly love and the only one that holds some sway over my emotions. If I’m stressed, a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio can be a kind of sweet solace trickling down my throat. I know that sugar as a mood enhancer is an illusion at best and at worst a crutch that creates more problems than it solves. But in a pinch, it can work miracles.

For me, a book title like “Joy of Cooking” sounds oxymoronic, but I know what the term “comfort food” means. As a healing elixir, as a stimulant for pleasure and conviviality, as an emblem of a bountiful life – food is rich, enticing and potent. That’s why I’m surprised to discover that it has less pull on me as I age, a process which seems to go hand in hand with the fact that I can’t tolerate as much of anything – grease, salt, sugar, you name it – as I used to.

Nowadays, if I had to choose, I’d rather sleep than eat, and when I go for those chips or that ice cream, it really does feel like I’m consuming empty calories – not nutritionally empty, though that’s true enough, but emotionally empty as well. Plus, I come out on the physical short end of the stick – a pudgy middle or a canker sore – much more quickly to boot.

I still enjoy eating. But the experience is much more emotionally rewarding to me when I’m actually hungry. There’s something about identifying a true need, satisfying it easily and then getting immediate relief that makes life itself seem like a pretty uncomplicated exercise.

The relative ease of life, by the way, is a new concept for me; I’ve been characterizing it in completely opposite terms for the last, oh, let’s say, 50 years. But eating only when hungry is straightforward and clear. Meet your needs, period. Keep calm and carry on. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Maybe that’s the way life should have been for me all along. Maybe all the “have to’s” – have to have, have to do, have to be – weren’t requirements that needed fulfilling after all. Maybe life is meant to be simple and stress-free, managed by relaxed effort. And maybe you can be nourished by something as undemanding and trouble-free as a cup of plain old hot water. My mother may have had it right all along.

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