Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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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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Tips for practicing the art of souveniring

The clutter on my desk includes souvenirs like mini-Eiffel Towers and a vinyl Longchamps change purse I grabbed at the duty-free shop at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

They seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once I returned home, I had second thoughts, wishing I had purchased leather wallets instead. The guidebooks suggested buying $40 Ladurée china cup and saucer sets, but how silly – just one? Lingerie is easier to pack.

In French, the verb “souvenir” means “to remember,” a nicer take on the word than, well, “useless trinket.” Travelers want meaningful objects to spark stories and to represent the countries they visit: wool from Ireland or handmade terracotta bowls from Italy.

And to remember happy times.

In our rush to make the train or plane, we end up buying the cheapest things in volume. Converting currency under deadline pressure can also be daunting. How much is that 50-lira canary in the window, really?

Once I start shopping for handicrafts to take home, my husband, ever the consumer watchdog, points out that we could buy Majolica bowls in North Beach.

While it’s true that the dramatic masks purchased on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio could just as easily be found in upscale Napa shops, I won’t come home empty-handed. Gifts for our kids, friends and something special for us, that’s my mantra, in between absorbing UNESCO sights. If I’m under the gun, I’ll pop into a souvenir shop and load up on trivets printed with famous cathedrals or kitchen towels stamped with the London underground map.

Don’t do what I do, though, do what I say:

• Buy something classy, like a flea-market chandelier in Paris. If you have to, hand-carry a one-of-a-kind item that will make you feel like you’ll always have Paris.

• Splurge on one big item – unless you’re backpacking. It can be tricky to think quickly about what something costs in dollars, but practice makes perfect. It’s better to carry fragile items, but many shops will ship bottles of wine or even china sets.

• Research before you leave home to find out what’s good to buy where. For example, several outdoor stands in Istanbul sell massive colored lanterns that you can get imported here – but for a lot more money.

• Stop at museum gift shops. With treasure troves of unique jewelry, prints, bags and scarves, museum stores have something to please discriminating tastes. We once found a Phaistos Disc at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Even the Northstar Mining Museum in Nevada City had some great gemstones and canyon pieces for sale under cloches.

• Buy gourmet food. I learned this from an Italian friend who returns with all kinds of deli meat whose quality surpasses anything you can get here. She has the butcher freeze-wrap it with cold packs for the long plane ride. Italian coffee and French artisan chocolates are great gifts for friends.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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