Saturday, July 31, 2010

Folklor Pasion Mexicana


I have to admit, it was a lot of fun to watch these dancers. They were fun even before the show began. They were animated and clearly ready to enjoy themselves. I found myself drawn to both the colors and all the activity.


They put on a great show.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Twilight Summer Concert Series, part 3


MariachiThis week's summer concert was put on by the Mariachi Monumental de America and Folklor Pasion and Mexicana de Los Angeles. (Say that three times fast!) Both the band and the dancers were great—enthusiastic, talented, and a lot of fun to watch.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some however...

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As much as I want to love all dogs, some of them do not want to be loved by anyone but their own master. This one ran as soon as I walked up, and barked fearlessly from behind his owner.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New faces


As the other contributers of this blog are out looking for new people to meet, I apparently have taken on the awesome task of meeting new dogs. This one was in the park while I was trying to be a serious photographer and blog about concerts. She kept coming up to me and rubbing herself on me and looking up with the sweetest eyes. Her owner showed me that she loves to kick both her back feet while her belly is being rubbed. Maybe I'll start hanging out at the park more often to meet new friends and their owners.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Clearly, we are currently obsessed with yard art. As I passed this house today, I realized that not only the beautiful and huge sun flowers were metal, but also the palm trees! I had to share these. But, as I drove on, I realized someone had come out front and was watching me drive away. Of course, I had to go back. I explained I was taking pictures for our city blog and loved her metal yard art. Then she insisted I had to see her back yard as well, because they had animals too.

Her yard was beautiful, filled with a variety of metal "wildlife". It was at this point I realized we had already posted one of her metal animals. See the monkey from a previous post. Once again, I realize what a small world we live in.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The sculptor's task

Yard art

Yard artEvery block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.

We've done a lot of posts lately about yard art. So I didn't go out looking for yard art yesterday. Really. But there it was—such a fun mix that I had to stop.

I like the mix of statues on the front porch, above. The smaller picture to the right gives you the bigger picture. I'm really curious to try out the hand—I mean, chair—to see if it's as comfortable as it looks.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crushing the head of the serpent

Trampling the serpent

After astute reader and Sydney Eye blogger Julie commented that Mary was actually stepping on a serpent in Friday's post, I had to go back to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and see for myself. In the bright afternoon light, Mary is clearly claiming victory over this snake.

Many statues of Mary show her treading on the serpent's head. These depictions are based on a mistranslation, in an early manuscript, of Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." (For a more complete explanation, see the Internet Question Box.)

I feel a bit funny now about entitling that post "Heaven under our feet." Maybe some convoluted logic can make that title work, but I'm no longer thinking about the pleasure of going barefoot. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To catch a fish...


Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting. ~Dave Barry

If you look closely, you will see a hook and part of a fishing line in the duck's mouth. I'm not sure what he was doing with it, but it was a funny sight to me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Heaven under our feet

Statue of Mary

Statue of MaryHeaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
~Henry David Thoreau

As I walked past Our Lady of Perpetual Help tonight at dusk, I noticed the statue of Mary. She looked so serene in the little garden at the front of the church. But as I got closer, what really caught my eye was her toes peeking out from under her gown, and the roses that nearly covered them. I love the feeling of bare feet! I hope she enjoys it as well.

Click here for a picture of another statue at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home, sweet home


I love this house. I don't drive past it too often, but every time I do, I look at it with a sense of  longing.

It's a beautiful old house, built sometime in the early 1900's with lots of property around it. It has this huge rounded porch off to the side, that gives you the feeling it would be the perfect place to have a leisurely cup of coffee in the morning.

I will never own this house, but I can dream and maybe even pretend...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Confusing directions

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07 12 10_Ernesto_4933There is this mural that I absolutely love that's by the railroad tracks near the new Fresh and Easy store. The funny thing is though, there is a sign right next to it frowning upon it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sculpture yard art


IMG_5963Lately I have noticed more and more yard art. The kind of "art" varies dramatically. For some other examples of "yard art" in previous posts, click here.

This particular yard had an amazing number of statuary that filled the yard. It was really fun. I wonder if an artist lives here who continues to add to the collection. I saw at least 20 pieces in the front yard.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A view of the Mediterranean

Opa Cafe

The Greek festival last month introduced my daughter to lamb, so tonight we went to the Opa Cafe for another taste of that Greek specialty. (Click here for more about the Greek festival.)

The Opa Cafe has great food, reasonable prices, friendly service, and no crowds (it was a week night). But what I really liked was the view out the many "windows" that surround the dining area. Oh, and the poster personally autographed by Nia Vardalos.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bring back the movies

The Avenue Theater in Downey

When I was a kid, you could go to the Saturday matinees at either the Avenue or the Meralta theater, both on Downey Avenue. Both theaters showed double features, and if you wanted to, you could just stay in the theater and watch them again. I remember seeing Love Story at the Avenue in the 1970s. (The picture below, from the Downey Historical Conservancy, shows the Avenue in the 1960s.)

Avenue Theater Downey Ave. between Second and Third St.  1960's

Eventually, the Meralta closed down completely. (I forget the exact sequence of events, but I think earthquake damage was involved.) With the advent of multi-screen theaters, the single-screen Avenue was turned into a discount theater, where you could still see two movies in a single night, for just a couple of dollars.

The beautiful old theater with the full stage became run-down, the floors were sticky, and going to the bathroom brought back memories of that scary scene in The Witness. But you didn't have to worry about the lack of stadium seating, because there was always plenty of room to move if some guy with a hat sat in front of you.

Now, the Avenue is closed down completely. The city is talking about gutting it and putting in low-income housing as part of the downtown revitalization program. And of course local residents are petitioning to keep the Avenue, opened in 1922, and turn it into a theater for indie films, festivals, lectures, and so on.

I'm hoping the Avenue stays, and turns into a walk-worthy downtown Downey destination again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Plant graveyard


I was having a snack, sitting outside in the conservatory one evening, when I noticed all my flowers in the flower bed had died. All that was left were weeds. It was about that time I also realized that all the little "flower markers" looked a little like gravestones... So, here is my plant graveyard.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twilight Summer Concert Series, part 2

The Alley Cats

Concert in the parkThis week's concert starred the Alley Cats, a doo-wop group from Orange County that have been singing together for more than twenty years. Their great a cappella harmonies, humor, and energy kept the audience at Furman Park laughing, clapping, and singing along.

Concert in the park

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Twilight Concert in the Park

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The lawn chairs appear hours before the concert begins. The picnic blankets are spread as a sign of friendly territorial claims and the first of the crowd hunkers down to wait. The hum settles and even the dogs quiet to listen to the unseen voice announce the hamburger stand is open and the Downey Princesses are glad to serve you up a slice of cake or some popcorn or maybe a chili dog...

Another Downey Princess is smiling and waving to the parade of cars crawl through the small parking lot hoping for an overlooked parking spot.

The two Princesses that caught my attention, though, were the girls giggling and whispering under a white tent full of serious, focused, fast-paced adults. As seriously as the girls were taking their assignment (taking the money for the donations for food), they seemed to be having the most fun out of the whole group.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't play in the street


The alleys of Downey are filled with trash cans, dogs barking behind tall fences, and often, a couch or coffee pot someone has left out for the garbage (but somehow disappears before trash truck day). Sometimes though, you get to see kids racing up and down playing on the less dangerous roads. Traffic goes (hopefully) a lot slower back here so there's not much to look out for.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talk about a picture window


I love reflections. I noticed this one just the other day. It's especially fun because I like both of the houses (the reflector and the reflectee?) I'm sure you know what I mean.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Art...or not?


Graffiti dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. To some, it is art; to others, it is vandalism. In Downey, you can call the Graffiti Hotline to have the graffiti painted over within a day or two.

We found this graffiti, along with the tools of the tagger trade, on a recent walk along the San Gabriel riverbed as we passed under the Santa Ana freeway. The Color Place brand of spray paint appears to be a favorite brand.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In search for the perfect Gazpacho.


While visiting my daughter in Arizona a few weeks ago, I had the most divine Gazpacho (from a tiny cafe in Bisbee). I hadn't thought about it much since then until I was at the Downey Farmer's Market this past Saturday when I saw a recipe for it at one of the produce booths. Then I saw their incredible hybrid tomatoes and just knew they would make the perfect Gazpacho. Now, I just have to wait for them to ripen (as the recipe calls for dead ripe tomatoes...).

Wish me luck. Any one out there have a favorite Gazpacho recipe?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dining with her "best friend" Sammy


While we were eating outside at Granata's, Toni arrived with Sammy. Toni was obviously a "regular." I was surprised, but pleased that dogs were allowed to join their families when dining on the patio.

Sammy was so well behaved, I was impressed. (I kept thinking, nobody would want me to bring my dog here.) As we chatted, Toni talked about having a goat in her back yard. Somehow in one of my recent walks, I had not only passed her yard, but I had taken a picture of her about 6 degrees of separation.


Toni is my first in my 100 strangers project. To see pictures from Pam's and Ally's 100 strangers click here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You're making me hungry


Granata's waitressGranata's menuJoan's mention of Granata's the other day (click here) made me hungry for Italian food. So a couple of days ago, we walked to Granata's for a wonderful Italian dinner. I had the lasagna (my favorite, Joan had the bruschetta and Portobello Ravioli, and Erinna ate the deep-friend jumbo shrimp. We chatted briefly with the owner and his daughter. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Unknown sign

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I was walking a few days ago and I passed a group of businesses inset behind a small community parking lot. I drive by this place almost daily and have never noticed it before. One of the signs caught my eye because I didn't know what it meant. No further details on any windows either. Does anyone out there know? It's on Paramount just south of the train tracks and Firestone.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Something's missing

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Ever since I can remember, the lights have been out in these two letters. It's more like this is more familiar than if they actually fixed them.

To read more about the inventors of the first electric starter, click here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Granata's Italian Villa


Granata's has been the best little Italian restaurant in Downey as long as I can remember. It used to be on Florence Ave, but with the revitalization of the downtown area, it is now smack in the middle of downtown Downey. The atmosphere is old world and the food amazing.


Growing up my favorite was always the hamburger pizza. Now I love the Chicken Marsala. But, the best part is that this iconic Downey eatery is still here. Family owned and run since 1954, and continuing the tradition started over 50 years ago. There is something magical about that!                                                                                        

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meet Max

Max the pug

In the spirit of one of my favorite bloggers, Jilly of Riviera Dogs, meet Max, a three-year-old Pug out for a walk at Wilderness Park. Max's owner told me that Pugs become short of breath very easily, and Max already seemed ready to head for home and bed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating the pledge

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Over 200 years ago, 56 men signed their names under these words, declaring the independence of the country we now call the United States of America.

Buying fireworksToday, we celebrate each 4th of July with fireworks. You can go to the big fireworks show at Downey High School, above, or you can buy your own "safe and sane" fireworks at one of the many fundraiser fireworks stands around town. At this stand, the Downey High School cheerleaders are there to encourage you.

Downey High School cheerleaders

Saturday, July 3, 2010

God bless America


IMG_5584It's July 3rd, the day BEFORE we celebrate our Independence Day (the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence). It was a perfect time to visit Meribeth's patriotic home, which we recently wrote about in another post.

Meribeth recently retired from teaching American History  for Downey Unified and her home is a living history museum of Americana items. She even has a "Lincoln" bedroom and a "Washington" study.


Meribeth loves America and has taught students over the course of 40 years to love America too. I think her front steps sum it up pretty well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

No parking within 15 feet

Yard art hydrant

This fire hydrant doesn't work. It's just another example of unique yard art in Downey.