Mon09152014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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