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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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