Saturday, October 22, 2016

Discovering downtown Downey


Today George Redfox of the Downey Conservancy led a walking tour of downtown Downey. What a treat.

20161015_222026 as Smart Object-1As we passed by one of the old shops that now houses Palardy and Miller Auto Paint Supply, one of the workers saw our tour group (of almost 20 people) and invited us to come into the shop and see what the rest of the original building looked like.

The old skylight and windows looked like there was chicken wire inside them, and all of them were still intact—the original windows from the 1920s. I loved the painted original brick wall that was an adjoining wall for the next business.

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All in all, it was a fun 2-hour walk around our city. I learned a few tidbits I had never heard before—like did you know we had an underground speakeasy int he 1930s? It is supposedly hidden underground, possibly under the Masonic Temple? Someone must know...

Friday, October 21, 2016

If you've come as far as Downey...

Sea World killer whale

When you have friends who've come all the way from the Midwest to visit you in Downey, what's another 2-hour drive to go see the wonderful animals at SeaWorld in San Diego? Especially when the Shamu show is ending after this year?

After the death of a trainer in 2010 and a lot of protests by animal rights activists, "SeaWorld has ended its killer whale breeding program, making the orcas in our care the last generation. Our whales are still here, and they will still be here for many years to come, living and thriving under the best veterinary care. While the animals are with us, we will be changing their habitats and their performances. The all-new orca experiences will soon take place in more natural looking habitats, and with a focus on the whales’ natural behaviors." (SeaWorldCares)

Even now, the Shamu show we saw was a lot different than the one I remember from 10 years ago. The whales still jump and spin and spray people with water (and seem to enjoy every minute of it), but there's no in-the-water interaction any more. Still, the orcas are beautiful creatures, and a joy to watch.

And then there are the sea lions, who pose and bark for fish. Since the last time I was there, SeaWorld has installed special portals through which you can slide the fish directly into the sea lion's mouth. This is fun for everyone except the snowy egrets, because they used to be able to snatch thrown fish right out of the air before the sea lion could get it.

And there are also the polar bears! They seem as cute and cuddly as panda bears (or as lazy as sloths on this day), but it's all a facade—polar bears are among the most dangerous animals on earth.

All in all, very worth the 2-hour drive!

Sea World sea lionSea World polar bear

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Humans of Downey - Karen

Karen 10-6-16

"I am most thankful for the abundance even in the midst of difficulties. I had a very poor childhood, but my brothers and I have fought our way up and are all very successful. When I was 12, I won a writing contest. The grand prize was a trip for almost two weeks to Florida for my mother and myself.

"The little town we lived in, without telling us, took up a collection to buy me clothing because I didn't have clothing that was good enough for the trip. They surprised me by having the school principal give me a day off from school to go shopping. We were a small farm town of 500 people and we were 64 miles from the nearest city. In our town we had a lot of lumberjacks and people who worked in the mills. When they would go to the bars during their time off, they would have to contribute to the clothing fund every time they were buying drinks.

"I knew nothing about it nor did my mom. It was a secret until the day they took me to the city. They told me they were buying clothing for my little friend so they had me try on the clothing first. I ended up going home with a whole bunch of new clothing. The town was proud of me for winning the contest and they wanted me to represent the town in Florida. It was a very sweet and appreciated gesture."
~ Karen

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Humans of Downey - Nora

Nora 10-6-16

"I would be afraid to change the house I've lived in for the last 40 years. My husband died last year and my children want me to move into a smaller home. This has been my family home. My husband and I sort of built it together. I am very reluctant to change my address at this time.

"Everything about my home keeps me there. First, my husband built most of it. It was half the size it is now when we first moved in. He was in the construction business and over time he doubled its size. His stamp, his work is in every room. Every room reminds me of him. When I look at the brick sidewalk, he put it in. In addition, all my children were raised there. It was their home, it's still their home. They can come back anytime they want to. So, I think I am quite content and I don't think I'll be changing where I live.

"The day may come when I will have to move to a smaller home but I'm only 84, so not just yet. When I do, I think the fear I'll feel will be about a change in the familiar. What I'm accustomed to, what I'm used to, my neighbors are all familiar to me. I would be afraid of these unknowns. I think I would rather get a caretaker into the home."
~ Nora

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All at once...

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"And all at once summer collapsed into fall."
~ Oscar Wilde

It seems like I had just passed this house only a week before, but this day it was transformed into a field of "fall" and Halloween all at once. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Two views


Looking southward down the Rio San Gabriel Riverbed, you can see the stately pillars and wavy connecting lines of the redesigned Firestone bridge.

Below, you can see a homeless village. See Volunteers canvass Downey streets to inventory homeless for information on how Downey volunteers have helped to tally the homeless population for the last two years.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The ABCs of Halloween

Halloween decorations

Halloween decorations have popped up all around town. Most are traditional. But some are a little harder to interpret than others. I'm still puzzling over the meaning of this display—any suggestions?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Courage to Care"


Tonight I was so grateful to be able to attend the Children's Hospital Los Angeles Gala at LA Live. CHLA is ranked as one of the top children's hospitals, and the event tonight was to honor and celebrate those who have given so much to the children—at CHLA and around the world.

20161015_222308 as Smart Object-1Honored tonight were The Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Foundation, Drew Barrymore, and the Los Angeles Kings for their "Courage to Care." I was reminded of how much I like Drew Barrymore—her acceptance speech was down to earth and genuine.

The final highlight of the evening was a performance by Katy Perry.

"I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, 'cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar, louder, louder than a lion 'cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar." 
~ Katy Perry, from "Roar"

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