Wed11262014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit alo...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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