"In gratitude to those who served... in sorrow for those who lost their lives."
This morning I attended a Memorial Day ceremony at the Downey Cemetery. It was an incredibly moving experience. The ceremony honored the memory of veterans past, and the lives of the veterans who were present.
The veterans stood as their war was listed and remained standing while the audience applauded. They were men (I didn't see any women today) who had served in wars ranging from World War II up through the current fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was humbling to stand among them.
The ceremony closed with a 21-gun salute and the solemn notes of Taps echoing across the graveyard.
This weekend I felt like summer has finally arrived. And today is my daughter's birthday. So she and I strolled around Downey Landing, stopping for a treat at Jamba Juice and then just window shopping.
I couldn't help but laugh at the intense interest this family showed in their ice cream!
We often have squirrels in our yard. They are a common sight in Downey. We even have a feeder for the squirrels. It is filled with unsalted, unshelled peanuts. Evidently we ran out and this squirrel was not okay with that. Here he is in a bird feeder, eating the bird seed. If you look closely, or enlarge, you can see a seed stuck on his nose!
Since we started this blog, I've become aware of all kinds of communities out there in the blogosphere. Of course, there are our fellow "city" bloggers. (Some of our favorites are listed in the sidebar to the right and bottom.) And there is the 100 Strangers community, who make a point of reaching out of their comfort zone by asking permission to photograph strangers. I've been inspired to start my own list of 100, by some of the city bloggers who also photograph strangers (Paris and Tucson, to name a couple). I started a couple of weeks ago, with Fabiana. Today, meet numbers 2, 3, and 4.
I met these people this afternoon while I was "commuter watching." The cars go by quickly, so what mostly caught my eye (and my camera) were the people taking advantage of slower means of transportation. Melvin Tyler, above, was riding his bike. The two guys to the right, who declined to give their names, were waiting for the bus to take them home to Los Angeles.
I think all three of them thought I was a little nuts.
I have always loved this building. It was once a house that was transformed into a business (as it was directly on Paramount Blvd.). It is a beautiful adobe style surrounded by enough plants and color to make it look appealing, very mission-style.
I sometimes go to the park in the afternoon to walk my dog, Ivan. It's fun to see all the fields taken up with softball games. Of course, I can't resist taking a few shots. The kids look so serious and cute at the same time.
Downtown Downey has always had a lot of stop signs. But many years back, when the Embassy Suites hotel was built and 2nd Street no longer went through, these two stop signs were removed. There wasn't enough cross traffic to justify them anymore.
But we locals couldn't adapt. Too many drivers on 2nd Street just couldn't remember that the cross traffic no longer had to stop. There were accidents. After just a few months, the stop signs were back.
"Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans."
The weather has been quite odd lately in Downey. It can't seem to make up its mind. One morning it's blazing hot with the sun shining on everything in its path as if its life depended on it, and one day, the sun sits back and won't penetrate the clouds the entire morning. As fun as it is to never know if I should wear a sweater or a tank top, it is hard on the gardens in Downey that depend on a consistency in rain and shine.
My favorite thing about spring is the color it brings to my yard. Whether hidden, like the strawberries, or in plain site, like the brilliant flowers, or chameleon-ized, like the not-yet-ripe tomatoes, color abounds throughout the green. Trees have their leaves again and are letting go of their flowers to produce peaches, apricots, limes, and cherries. The herbs are tantalizingly spreading their aromas. Even the gardenias are in full bloom right now. It's a wonder I get anything else done.
I love old-fashioned tin signs. This one on the bench outside the Coca Cola Bottling Company sales office caught my eye the other day. When I stopped to take a picture, I noticed the silhouette of the Coca Cola bottle on the door. Nice touch...
Usually, the only wildlife in my back yard are the sparrows scrounging my garden for tasty six legged meals, but on occasion, we get a different set of searching eyes dropping by to say hello. This squirrel was looking like she was ready to pop (or just had) and went high and low in my backyard looking for food and safety for her young. Whatever she was looking for, she didn't find it. She took off and I haven't seen her since.
In June of 2000 (if I'm remembering right), I stopped by my pediatrician's office at Gallatin Medical Group to pick up a prescription for my daughter before we left on vacation. Imagine my surprise to find the entire center vacated and closed. The entire staff had left in a single day, over a dispute with the owners (Whittier Presbyterian Hospital). I finally tracked down my doctor in very temporary digs near the hospital.
My doctors have since moved on to various offices in Downey or nearby towns, where I still see them. Records have been transferred, and life has gone on.
Ten years later, the Gallatin buildings are still boarded up and vacant.
The Columbia Memorial Space Center opened in October 2009, and my daughter and I finally visited it today. (It's amazing how long you can put off going to see something that's only five minutes away.) It was well worth the $5 admission fee.
The museum is filled with interactive exhibits, and my daughter had a blast (pun intended!) launching paper airplanes, putting marbles into orbit, and landing the space module in the designated landing area. I can't wait to go back.
For more pictures, see my post on our Downey-ish blog.
I love character in houses and this one was just adorable from the street view. Clearly, someone has poured their heart into making this front porch so alive with color and charm. It was a tiny house, less than 800 sq. feet (circa 1940). But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in appeal. Now I'm curious to see if the inside is just as fun.
Tonight I ventured out of my comfort zone. While out running errands after work, I was keeping my eyes open for red. Nothing appealed until I stopped at our local McDonald's to pick up a fast dinner. And there was Fabiana, with her bright red hair!
Since I didn't have my camera with me (will I never learn?), I asked her if I could come back and take her picture. (I figured there was no way I was going to sneak a shot in that small area, even with my telephoto lens.) When I returned, she didn't want a candid shot of her working, so I took her picture next to the
Lesson learned — it never hurts to ask, and I think we both had a few minutes of fun.
Calvary Chapel Downey has one of the coolest DON'T DO THIS signs. It is painted on all the red curbs surrounding the store and I laugh every time I pass it. I'm not sure I've ever seen this in the Ten Commandments, but maybe I just have to read between the lines.
I was taking pictures of my friend's kids at the park when all of a sudden, they saw the playground over a hill. I let them run over and choose where they wanted to play and of course, the older one chose the big, red monster truck. They were night and day. All the younger one wanted to do was sweep the sand.
While I was out on a walk this evening, I spotted this little guy doing his best to go up the slide. Clearly, for him, it was as much fun to go up as to go down. It took a little time and eventually some help from Mom, but he made it to the top. I love watching kids at play in the park. They live in the moment and sure look cute doing it.
It reminded me of a C.K. Chesterton quote that says something to the effect of "The true object of all human life is play. "
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company is located smack in the middle of Downey, conveniently close to our favorite railroad tracks. (See Train tracking.) Most of the facility is hidden behind plain but high block walls. Except for a couple of discreet signs and a suspicious abundance of red trucks in the area, you'd almost forget that the company is here.
I love the architecture of this church. Built in 1931, inspired by St. Francis Assisi Church in Italy, it has such a sense of history and grace. It is the same church that has the garden area and statue in a previous post.
According to Dave Barry, “Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.”
For this dog, the news is all on our side of this gate. He is one of many dogs that Ivan and I encounter on our morning walks. (See Neighborhood pooch and What the dog saw for more.)
Everywhere you turn in Downey, you can find a new house being built. And when you see a large 2-story house under construction, you can count on finding an oversized 2-story entryway to go with it.
Old homes in Downey are gradually being replaced with what are often referred to as McMansions. According to Wikipedia, the term first appeared in the 1990s, and usually refers to an oversized and often pretentious house that is typically too large for its lot. For the last 10 years or so, the McMansions in Downey have often sported huge bronze entryways. Even the 1-story remodels have their scaled-down versions.
I went to the Downey Street Fair yesterday too. (See Joan's previous post from the street fair here.) Not being a true car aficionado, one thing I really like about a car show is all those shiny exteriors creating reflections. This hubcap is reflecting the D. Mark Morris Hall at Downey High School, which I showed in a post from last month.
Today was the Downey Street Fair. After wandering around the booths for a while, I noticed there was a car show. The cars were fun, with lots of character. I liked this shot because the headlights look like eyes, complete with eye lids.
I must admit, though, they did not measure up to the cars I've followed lately on Monte Carlo daily photo (no $1 million luxury armored car here).