Monday, July 31, 2017

Relaxing at the park

A day at Furman Park

Sometimes you relax while watching the kids play. Sometimes you take a break while walking the dog. Whatever the circumstances, these park benches are a nice place to stop and sit a while.

"There are “bus bench” workouts and “park bench” workouts. A bus bench and a park bench look exactly the same, but your expectations sitting in them are radically different."
~ Dan John 

Editor's note: We'll be taking a break for the month of August. See you in September!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Montreat hike


Today was our last day on Black Mountain. We headed just about 20 minutes down the road to Montreat to a hike up the mountain. It was lush green forest with little water for the kids. It ended up being a fairly strenuous trek, but worth it for the view at the end.


"In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, -- he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Friday, July 28, 2017

A trio of waterfalls

High Falls

I like hiking and I like waterfalls, so one of the delights of the Smoky Mountains has been the number of hikes to waterfalls. This day, we managed to walk to three of them, all in the same afternoon. The one above is High Falls. Below left is Hooker Falls, and below right is Triple Falls. All of them are on the Little River in North Carolina.

Hooker FallsTriple Falls

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Humans of Downey - Marisa


"I think this year of being a Miss Teen Princess is changing me. It is a pleasure to work these events, and the community service activity is helping to build my confidence. It also helps my ability to speak in public, to help others, and to be a more well-rounded person. Currently, I'm a junior in high school and being a part of this pageant will help me to do well in classes, to graduate, and get into a good college. Two of the goals I am thinking about pursuing are nursing and anesthesiology. These both fit into my desire to help and serve others.

"It will also allow me to enter and succeed in larger and more competitive pageants such as Miss Los Angeles or Miss Orange County. This pageant has helped me build my relationship skills so I would like to expand and improve even more by competing in larger pageants.

"In preparing for the pageant, we have had to practice our speaking skills and interacting with new acquaintances. At the Stay Gallery, we had to socialize with the mayor of Downey and other officials of the city. We had to introduce ourselves, tell what position we were running for, and introduce our sponsors. We got to meet new people and interact with people we may never have met otherwise. Meeting adults of authority was somewhat intimidating, but I think I did very well. My mom recorded my talk and it was a proud moment for my family."

~ Marisa

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Family concert in the park


If you were one of the several hundred concert-goers that attended the Downey Symphony concert at Furman Park this evening, you enjoyed an hour of beautiful music in a peaceful atmosphere. The theme of the night was "Broadway Film Tunes." As always, Downey Symphony was superb in its delivery of these familiar tunes.

DSC_0516They also performed their usual tribute to service men and women by having audience members stand if they or a family member was in the branch for which the theme song of that branch was playing. An audience favorite.

DSC_0518The concert was made more enjoyable because of the family atmosphere, which was demonstrated by another standard of these concerts. Sharon Lavery, the music director, announced that she had run out of energy and needed the help of the children of the audience to come up and conduct the symphony for the last tune, which was a John Phillip Sousa classic march.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A little more of the Smokies


As we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, every few miles or so there was an overlook pull out—more beauty to stop and enjoy. We ran into a local man who had spent hours photographing butterflies at one of our stops. They were beautiful and seemed to be everywhere.

IMG_2679-1One of the things I just can't get enough of is that it is so lush and green everywhere.


"Although I do love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with the sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. They keep me continuously wanting to know more, feel more, see more To become more."
~ Victoria Erickson

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Great Smoky Mountains

I'm in North Carolina this week, visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. They're called "smoky" because of the natural fog that often hangs over them. The mountains fade into the distance, with each ridge becoming a little more faint.

On this day, we're driving across a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are lookouts every mile or so, and we're checking out pretty much each and every one. Since we're driving along the ridge of this particular ountains, some of the views are to the right and some to the left. The weather adds to the beauty, as the conditions constantly change, from sun to fog and back again, and then some rain, with thunder and lightning thrown in to boot.

"If you drive to, say, Shenandoah National Park, or the Great Smoky Mountains, you'll get some appreciation for the scale and beauty of the outdoors. When you walk into it, then you see it in a completely different way. You discover it in a much slower, more majestic sort of way."
~ Bill Bryson

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Wiseguys are back!


This past Wednesday night, we were swinging to the sounds of the Wiseguys—an 18-piece big band orchestra. The lead singer did a great job of keeping the show going—he has a Frank Sinatra sound, it felt a little like we had stepped back in time. The whole band was fun to watch—clearly all the band members are having fun up there.

One cool thing was the live feed on Facebook. It would be a great way to catch their show if you couldn't make it to the venue.



"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." 
~ Victor Hugo