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Food & Wine

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Champagne Moutard Rosé de Cuvaison Brut screams “Valentine’s Day,” with pink bubbles fit for an evening with chocolate and loved ones.

I didn’t plan to have the incredible female friendships I have. As ...

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Your Health

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun


Courtesy of the Sorenson Family
Cipriana Sorenson, right, with brother Kai and parents Holt and Beth, maintains an active lifestyle despite her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Studies show that approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Typ...

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Your Home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home


Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and m...

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On The Road

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Having a dog face forward in a car can help with car sickness.

With winter travel in high gear, many people plan to hit the road with their pooches. However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean up...

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Senior Lifestyles

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Lloyd Lettis, 96, of Mountain View plays tennis three days a week at Los Altos High School.

Ninety-six-year-old Mountain View resident Lloyd Lettis seems to have a gene for longevity. And one for farming. And another for t...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Water's the star in Rewa's garden

Town Crier Correspondent

I'm a Pisces - March 14 - born in the Year of the Dragon, and I've always loved fishponds and swimming," said Rewa Hulden-Hodges.

In Hulden-Hodges' small garden near downtown Los Altos, there's a remarkable amount of water, not to mention scores of pelicans and hundreds of interesting plants. It's a garden like many people remember from their childhoods, an entire universe of different planting areas, a sundial, fountains, birdbaths, cactus and succulents with abalone shells, comfortable upholstered chairs, generous overhead shade - there's even a new-millennium hot tub from which to view a nearby mini-fountain.

Hulden-Hodges' first gardening memories go back to the early 1920s in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where, as a schoolgirl, she helped her uncle grow vegetables. Then she was sent through a nearby tourist campground to sell the fresh produce to people passing through on sightseeing trips.

"Business really picked up after they opened Mount Rushmore," Hulden-Hodges recalled.

Hulden-Hodges also built gardens - all with fishponds, of course - on sand dunes in San Francisco's Sunset District, in San Carlos and off Summerhill Road in Los Altos Hills. Her downtown Los Altos garden began with a large double fishpond she designed soon after buying the property as an investment in 1959.

"This was the contractor's own home; he built three other houses, as well as this one in 1949," Hulden-Hodges said. "The garden was just grass and ivy when we bought it."

As a widow, Hulden-Hodges moved into the house in 1972. First, she filled the dry ponds with water and covered them with a wooden arbor, creating a restful and shady corner of tranquillity in the backyard. Then, she took out the lawn in front, planted trees, including a now-towering redwood, and clivia, nandina, Burmese honeysuckle and baby tears. An ancient native American grinding stone points the way to the front door.

Next, Hulden-Hodges laid out a rose garden along the driveway, installed another small fountain, and started creating numerous garden rooms, making a mosaic of planting beds throughout the back of the property, which measures about 50 feet by 100 feet in all.

With a rap of a small rock on a larger one beside the double pond, she called her many backyard goldfish for a snack. A miniature water wheel, a gift from her son, turns gently and adds to the watery ambience. Birds dart everywhere, sipping flowery nectars and feeding from the many stations Hulden-Hodges stocks with seed.

"Everybody just goes straight out here when they come to visit," she said. "We live out here in the summer."

From the shady front garden, visitors pass first through a west-facing side garden that has been planted with desert-loving ice plant and shelves of cacti and succulents. Pots of geraniums scramble in front of "old man" cactus, tall yucca and volcanic rock collected in Arizona.

"This is a real sun trap," Hulden-Hodges said.

Her good friend and fellow gardener Desmond Lillie has made a wooden sign for the gate into the back garden: "Love Grows Here."

Alstromenia in bright color, potato vines, impatiens, tiger lilies, azaleas, Japanese arched bridges, Japanese irises, fuschias and statues are just a few of the bright spots that attract attention. More retiring, but equally fascinating, are the sparrows, hummingbirds and orchids that shimmer in unexpected places.

"I like bright-colored flowers, not white ones," Hulden-Hodges said.

At the very back of the property, down a camellia-lined path, there is still another garden area, which she calls the "Back Forty." Here she grows winter chard, summer vegetables, irises, lavender, clematis, a Cecil Bruner rose, a fig tree, a 10-year-old white angel's trumpet and a "tomato tree" from Australia.

"When we sit in the back garden, we are in our own little world," Hulden-Hodges said.

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