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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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The creative process: Something to muse on

I learned an old thing in a new way recently, that when applied could be transformative for anyone who struggles with harnessing creativity – and taming the ego. Here’s the thing: “It’s not about me.” Success – or failure, for that matter – doesn’t have to define you.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert (see the book review below) gave one of the most insightful TED Talks I have ever heard, discussing the origin of inspiration in creative writing.

Gilbert was motivated to find a way to understand and contain her surprising success after penning the best-selling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia” (Viking Adult, 2006), without succumbing to the doomed realization that her best work might be behind her. She looked to history for the answer and discovered a way to do her work but detach herself from the outcome. She found her muse.

I encourage you to listen to her 18-minute TED Talk on her creative process. It is a delightful yarn and can be applied to many areas of life. (Visit ted.com and search for “Elizabeth Gilbert: your elusive creative genius.”)

The heart of her insightful presentation is that prior to the Renaissance, it was common knowledge that writers and artists received their words and plots, paintings and carvings, from a source outside of themselves. The Greeks referred to this helpful presence as a “daemon” and the Romans called it a “genius.” A more common reference in our day is that of a “muse.” These inspiring “others” got much of the credit for the creative works of that era. The author or artist was simply the conduit. This worked perfectly, alleviating the mere mortal of the angst he or she might feel in pursuit of exceeding his or her greatest work or at the prospect of being crushed by a lackluster performance.

Then came the Renaissance, when suddenly the human being became the center of the universe and any magical assistance from outside was dismissed. You no longer had a genius, you became the genius. The malleable human ego was constantly being judged and always found wanting.

Moving forward, our artists and writers frequently came to a sad demise, often at their own hand, because they could not contain their successes or failures. Our fragile human psyches were not designed for this kind of pressure. Gilbert describes it as “trying to swallow the sun.”

“Maybe (artistry) doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you,” she said. “But maybe, if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished … it starts to change everything.”

I’m just saying … not to brag, but I have always known how tragically deficient I am on my own. My dear mother did not try very hard to divide me from my imaginary friends, who still today are a source of great entertainment and wisdom in my inner landscape. I am never quite alone in that way.

Now, if you will excuse me, my daemon/genius/muse is telling me to button this up before everyone wants her attention. (She just can’t take that kind of pressure.)

Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives and works in Los Altos. For more information, visit sharonlennox.com.

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