Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Doing the most good


IMG_0015You know it's the Christmas season when you hear the sound of bells ringing.

The well-recognized Salvation Army "Bell-Ringer" program is back for the Christmas season. Bell-ringers staff the Salvation Army donation "pots" around most cities in the US at Christmas time raising funds for the less fortunate.

Ruth Mirana works with the Salvation Army to "do the most good" staffing the donation pot at the Post Office on Firestone in Downey. I think we owe a big THANKS for these hard-working, caring individuals.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Everything's gotta go

Alin's Party Depot

Alin's Party Depot in Downey is closing, so everything is on sale. (See the article in the Downey Patriot for more information.) This young man was fighting Sunday's strong winds to hold up his sign and draw people in. Notice his hat — I assume the front side says "Naughty."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The prep work


Today, I stopped to watch Liz and her husband setting up their Santa display in their front yard. Yesterday Joan showed the first of the neighborhood Christmas lights.

Neighborhoods are transformed the weekend after Thanksgiving, as everyone takes advantage of the long holiday weekend to set out their Christmas displays.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas


One of the unofficial signs that Thanksgiving is over is when the you start to see Christmas lights go up on houses in the neighborhood. These were the first ones I spotted. I love the look of the sparkly lights. It makes everything look magical.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, November 26, 2010


Thanksgiving leftovers

There are two traditional activities that take place on the day after Thanksgiving.  One of them is shopping. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year.

The second tradition is eating Thanksgiving leftovers. I hate dealing with crowded shopping centers, so my choice is the leftovers. In a scene that I suspect was duplicated all over Downey today, we pulled out the Tupperware containers, heated everything up in the microwave, and settled down to a second Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks Drea


The day of Thanksgiving is filled to the brim with laughter and delicious smells and people in every inch of the house. The love and merriment is palpable and the holiday season is in full swing. I took so many pictures of the beautifully dressed table and the turkey and the candles. But as I turned to get a better angle of the mashed potatoes, I stopped and saw Drea, still working on the food preparations while we were all sitting around waiting for the turkey. She was up this morning before the sun was, preparing the meal for us. Sometimes, we forget to be thankful for the people right in front of us. So Drea, and all the others, thanks for all your hard work as I played around this morning.

"Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds." ~Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Through the pane

rain in window

The rain on my dining room window had such a glow that I had to take a picture.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Acting squirrelly


The squirrels in our neighborhood are not the shy creatures you might expect. They make themselves at home wherever the mood strikes them. I'm not sure if this guy is eating a walnut from a neighbor's tree or one of the few lemons that was left on my patio lemon tree, but he brought his "prize" over to eat in one of our pine trees this afternoon.

Clearly I pushed this bold one past his comfort zone and he decided to take his snack and move to a more secure location. He actually looks irritated at me!


Monday, November 22, 2010

A taste of Downey

Dine in Downey

Dine in DowneyLast Friday night was the first annual Taste of Downey event in front of City Hall. For $10, you could sample food from over 20 Downey restaurants and enjoy the live music presented by "The Answer." I left my camera at home so that I could more easily juggle and enjoy the food. These iPhone photos show just a small portion of the event.

According to the city, over 1,500 people attended — and it felt like it! It was so crowded that I could only use up 1/2 my food tickets. I'm already planning my strategy for next year's event, so that I don't miss a thing!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Function wins out

Rio San Gabriel Park Dog Park

The Rio San Gabriel Dog Park opened a couple of weeks ago, while I was away on vacation.  This week marked my first opportunity to try it out, and to see the improvements the city has made since we first reported our concerns about the nearly completed dog park in September (see Form without function).

I was impressed! The double gates put my mind at ease about entrances and exits. There's water for dogs and humans alike. The city provides bags for cleanup and well-placed benches for relaxing.

The only thing wrong was the lack of dogs! The first time, I took Ivan on Wednesday morning around 10 a.m. No one else was there. After about five minutes, Ivan looked at me expectantly. "What now?"

So, thank you everyone who supported us in encouraging the city to make the final necessary changes. There's just one more task left for you — tell everyone you know that the Downey dog park is now open for business!

Rio San Gabriel Park Dog ParkRio San Gabriel Park Dog Park

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good morning Downey!


The best photographers get up before dawn to climb to the mountain top and wait in the cold for the light of day to appear with the magical mist so they can get the perfect picture. I, on the other hand, went to Porto's at 7 this morning (almost the crack of dawn). And, once again, the line was to the door. It took us an hour of waiting in line to order our breakfast, but that just gave us more time to read the menu and figure out what we wanted to eat.


No, I did not one eat the beauties above, I had an egg and chorizo breakfast sandwich (on Cuban bread, of course)...but I did take a tiramisu to go!

It has been exciting to see Porto's open up and be so successful! Porto's, along with Tropicana, gives us two great options for a Cuban food fix!

Friday, November 19, 2010

If the boot fits...


Trying on boots at Marshall's in Downey Landing is lots of fun.

Getting the boot off again is pretty funny!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cool sunrise


Put the coffee on, slip on the slippers, tighten your hoody and step outside to the cool of the sunrise coming over the cookie cutter neighborhoods. This is just one of the many trees the city planted a few years ago to add a tree to every front yard on the block.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas is just around the corner

11 06 10_6557 copy

As the holiday season rolls around, I'm seeing so many new family photos. My fridge will soon be filled with them. I took this photo for a family at Wilderness Park, which apparently is a favorite spot of mine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Go speed racer!


I love old things, things you would consider 'vintage', things with a history. This car caught my eye, parked in a restaurant parking lot. It has such an appeal, the lines are classic. Someday I would love to own a car with this much character.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers. ~Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tank cars


I'm not sure what it is about them, but I never get tired of trains. This string of tank cars was sitting on a railroad siding.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The fire hydrant

Fire hydrant yard art

If this hydrant were by the curb, I might not have noticed it. But this hydrant is yard art, rusted and unconnected to a water supply. I wonder if it's still just as appealing to the neighborhood dogs...
"Never stand between a dog and the hydrant."
- John Peers

Saturday, November 13, 2010

House beautiful


One of the things I like about the older Downey homes is the variety of house styles. This house has a unique design for it's neighborhood. It looks so polished and peaceful; all at the same time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ready, willing, and able

Day workers

A common early morning sight in front of the Home Depot is the group of men hoping to get day work from contractors picking up the day's supplies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Splash of colors

fall colors

In front of City Hall.

"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life." ~P.D. James

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Porto's is here!

Portos Bakery

Porto's Bakery is finally here and it looks like the whole town knows it. We've been waiting for months for this and the line was unending.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bloomin' confusion


It's been unseasonably hot in LA over the past month. I believe the
heat has IMG_8493confused my plants.

My tomatoes have begun to bloom again and my bell pepper plant is full of both blooms and little green peppers. I've picked two eggplants and I have tons more blossoms on the plant!

I'm always amazed anything grows in my little kitchen garden, between me forgetting to water and Ivan, my dog, helping himself to whatever interests him: tomatoes, eggplant, beans, you name it. But, I love pottering around in the yard. And, I never cease to be excited when I find something new growing.

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." --Aristotle

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dollars accepted here

Mambo Grill

It looks like dollars (and people) are welcome from near and far at the Mambo Grill. I like the personal notes written on each bill.

Mambo Grill

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Second time around

Second Tyme Around Thrift Shop

Window-shopping at the Second Tyme Around Shop.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Angel in the yard


I'm back at it again...taking pictures of yard art. I love seeing how people decorate or personalize their yards. This house is a beautifully bold-colored Spanish style, and a lyre-playing angel seems the perfect addition.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~Michelangelo

Friday, November 5, 2010

The boys of fall


It's funny, coming back on the field of a high school football game. The rivalry of the teams, the cheer leaders exercising their spirit fingers, the team moms with little ones running around, and the ASB taking their jobs too seriously. Only half the people in the stands are paying attention to the game. The rest is there as a social event because in high school, on a Friday night, that's where everyone is.

The band is playing the second verse of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." The weather isn't cold enough to see your breath although the bleachers are cold where people aren't sitting. The energy is high. Then all of a sudden, the quarterback of the opposing team throws just a little off balance and our star safety jumps a little too high and catches INTERCEPTION! The crowd goes wild! Everyone's eyes are on the game now... Home team wins! This is what high school is all about. Monday, he'll rule the halls.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Flower power


As I was on a walk, I saw these flowers in front of an abandoned warehouse. They didn't look exactly taken care of but there wasn't a wild look to them either. Beauty grows even when we leave.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The evening commute


TrafficThis is typical weeknight traffic on the Santa Ana freeway. It's about 7 p.m. The worst of the traffic is over, and cars are moving along at a moderate rate.

These shots were taken from the same overpass as in Conquering the great divide.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

100 Strangers: #4, Rekki making her vote count



Elections were held today in the US. These midterm elections are significant. They will determine whether Republicans or Democrats will run the House and Senate. They are also a gauge of how the nation feels Obama is doing in his job as President

On a local level, I went to our local polling precinct and met Rekki - who qualifies as my 4th stranger in the 100 strangers project.

“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

- Lyndon B. Johnson (American 36th US President (1963-69)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Local politics

Campaign 2010

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill coined the phrase "All politics is local."

If you watch TV, you sometimes get the impression that elections are just state and national events. But as I walked around my neighborhood the other day and looked at all of the campaign signs posted on the lawns, I thought, you know, politics really is local. The names represented on those signs live in my city and most likely will not become well-known outside of it.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!