Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mr. Opportunity

Today, Joan's daughter decided she wanted to buy a car so we all headed over to Honda World to test drive a few. She had talked before to one of the Sales Associates, Vince, and so we looked for him but he was a little busy. We were introduced to Shahan,

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who asked us a few questions, let us test drive a few cars, offered us a soda and ushered us into a great deal that she couldn't refuse. It was actually a great time laughing with Everest,

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and not feeling like we were in a dealership at all. Andrea happily signed the papers

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and received her very own set of keys.

Whenever I am in the market for my next car, I am definitely going to them. They were professional, friendly, well-informed and confident.

They were definitely the "Helpful Honda Guys in Blue" and I was really impressed with everything today.

Oh, and the car is great too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What do they feed these flowers?

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Okay, so these flowers are really yard art and seem to be popular right now. I keep seeing them all around Downey. The petals spin when the wind kicks up, which just adds to the fun. And, they come in all colors.

It reminds me just a little of my Mom's front flower bed when I was growing up. My mother was a firm believer that you should always have "flowers" in the flower bed. So, she would stick plastic flowers in the planter across the front of the house when nothing was in bloom. These flowers seem like a better alternative to my Mom's plastic.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Off we go into the wild blue yonder

Helicopter yard art

Watching airplanes always makes me antsy to travel. Living with these miniatures would leave me in a constant state of daydreaming about my next trip.

Airplane yard art

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's stopping you?

Cactus and razor wire

Along the river walk, you see all kinds of fences to discourage casual riverbed traffic from wandering through the bordering neighborhoods. In this area on Downey's island, various kinds of cactus grow up, through, and around the fence.

What do you think is the greater disincentive — the razor wire at the top of the fence or the cactus needles?

For more pictures taken around the island, click here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garden door

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This is another picture from "the island." I love doors, so I couldn't resist.  Somehow doors always represent a kind of mystery to me.

I often just like the look of them. But, I'm also so curious as to what lies behind the door. My guess is that this door leads to a sanctuary, a garden of some kind that is beautiful and serene.

Friday, June 25, 2010

This old house

Victorian cottage

At the very very end of the road on the far side of Downey's island (see Tuesday's post The Island) sits a cute little country cottage. Susan bought the little house thirty years ago, when it was just a run-down white house with lots of peeling paint.

Ever since, she's worked on the house to turn it into this appealing little home. She has done all the stripping and painting herself, and added the extra touches like the Victorian decorative wood things (I'm sure they have a name, but I don't know what it is...) along the top of the porch.

Cat mailboxSusan regularly sees hawks, possums, raccoons, and squirrels in this secluded section of Downey. She says that on one of her first nights out in the garden of her new home, a giant white owl flew right past her ear. She wasn't sure who was more startled!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let's go Lakers!

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I guess I will jump on the band wagon of cheers. The last game was unbelievably anticlimactic and yet so full of tension that the only obvious release is to sell/buy as many purple and gold colored merchandise as you can find and clothe even your wee little ones in Mr. MVP's number.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting around...

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I'm not even sure what to say about this one.

We were at Stonewood Mall, when my mom noticed a few stragglers hanging around the receiving area of a store.

Update:
This post is just begging for a real zinger of a title. Any suggestions? We'll update the post later with our favorite.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Island...

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For a relatively small city (less than 13 square miles), Downey is diverse. Tonight I went to an area we grew up calling "the island." It is a small area that is bordered on one side by the Rio Hondo Riverbed and on the other with a "wash" — a sort of overflow riverbed. The Rio Hondo bike path follows along both. There is a little semi-private street that dead ends at the wash. The whole area feels like you've stepped back in time or place. It was along this street I spotted this house. I love it. It reminded me of many of the houses I saw in Ukraine. I love the detail on the screen door.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweet land of liberty

Statue of Liberty

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Nearly every day, I walk past the little cottage with this statue tucked away in the corner. In the daylight, the statue almost disappears into the background, and the flowers and other decorations grab all the attention.

But at night! I rarely go by at night, so I was almost startled tonight when I drove by and saw Lady Liberty aglow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My summer flowers

Echinacea

I started some echinacea plants from seed this year, and they started blooming just in time for the first day of summer tomorrow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I wanna play!

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I love to see the kids playing at the park. This little guy wanted to play so badly, he kept sort of wandering out onto the field.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Change is the only constant

Graduation signs

Today is the last day of the 2010 school year in Downey. For the seniors, that means graduation, and change, and a wide-open future.

I like how Dr. Seuss put it.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
Congratulations, Downey graduates!

And by the way, go Mexico!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Will crawl for food...

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One of the things I love about Downey is the freedom of children. Last week at the Greek festival, a child literally crawled into my lap and hung out for a while while I took pictures. Another kid wandered around as the dancers performed and watched the audience. And this one was oblivious to how cute he was and how he was distracting the audience from the actual show as he begged his mom for more of her Greek Fries.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Patriotism all year round

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As with a lot of the front doors in Downey, these proudly display our love for freedom.

"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."
Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So what's for dessert?

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I passed this cat on my walk the other morning. He looked like he had just eaten a bird. Either that or he was sticking his tongue out at me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Conquering the great divide

Santa Ana freeway


Pedestrian overpass with runnerOne of Downey's selling points is "we're freeway close!" Downey is bounded (and slightly intersected by) the 605 to the east, the 105 to the south, the 710 to the west, and the 5 to the north. (You'll notice I don't refer to the "I5" — we don't call it that in southern California.) In Downey, I don't think I've ever been more than 5 minutes from a freeway on-ramp.

But the 5 freeway cuts off a small section of Downey. This pedestrian overpass was a fun place to check out the Sunday afternoon traffic. It also provides access to runners and bicyclists between the big side and the little orphan side of Downey.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

All worn out

1953 Chevy BelAir

I'm accustomed to seeing gatherings of classic cars in Downey. The cars are well cared for, shiny in the extreme. This '53 Chevy, on the other hand, looks and probably feels her age. I hope someone is going to take care of her and get her all spiffed up and ready for a night out on the town.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

He ain't just whistlin' Dixie

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This is the second of a set of three busts I spied while on one of my walks around town. Clearly he lost whatever instrument he used to "play." I love these guys, they are unique and I find it so interesting how they were carved as intentionally incomplete. As if they were ghosts of bygone days, appearing only partially when the light is right.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Moving on

Mailbox

With our current economic woes, it's not uncommon to see empty houses around town. The house behind this mailbox has been empty for quite a while.

You have to wonder, did these people leave because someone lost a job? Were they sad to leave? Or is this a good sign, a sign that someone found a new opportunity, a new job, or just a new house?

Either way, this mailbox looks too forlorn. I hope it finds a new family soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When I get older...

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This little girl was so proud of her older brother while he was dancing at the Greek Festival this past weekend. She was dancing around to the music and as soon as he was done, she ran up to him and I shot the picture.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When the trumphet sounds...

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This is one of a collection of musical "busts" on display in front of a house in Downey.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Play ball

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This past weekend I went to Furman Park to watch the Major Dodgers West Downey Little League because a friend's son is on the team. I was surprised that both girls and boys can play on the same team. But, it was fun to watch them. The kids were certainly intense about their game.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Pretty in pink

Dress store

I've noticed this "Weddings & 15 A├▒os For Less" store numerous times lately. The bright pink dresses really pop out at you. And they're very pretty dresses.

Unfortunately for me, I just can't see them without remembering the the Friends episode where Rachel appears in a bright pink bridesmaid dress and says, "I cannot believe I have to walk down the aisle in front of 200 people looking like something you drink when you're nauseous!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A casualty of the instant download

Bernice

Hollywood VideoOur local Hollywood Video is going out of business, now that its parent company has declared bankruptcy. Bernice, one of the store's employees, was taking a quick break from the hectic atmosphere of the close-out sale. Her job will soon be over, and she's faced with finding another job (a tough task in today's economy), applying for unemployment benefits, or maybe going back to school.

Good luck, Bernice, and thank you for being #5 in my 100 strangers project. (Click here for other entries.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's Greek to me

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Today we attended the 25th annual St. George Greek Festival. We decided to walk because the weather was perfect. While we were still blocks away, we began to hear the traditional Greek music and smell the amazing scent of roasting meat. Roasting the lambs was no easy job. You could see the heat rising as this man stirred the coals with a long-handed shovel. Of course, we had to have something to eat.

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And then the dancing began with the littlest kids first. They were adorable!

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But, I have to admit, these guys were my favorite. They had so much energy and were really fun to watch!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Which way?

21 Gun Salute

On Monday, I watched seven veterans prepare to fire a 21-gun salute. (See Monday's Memorial Day post.) As I framed this photo, I heard the leader shout, "Face left!" Pause... "The other left!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something went bump in the night

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There are sometimes when I don't want to go to bed because of the beauty of the night. There is just something that can't be captured in the day time. The shadows are softer and everything melds together as one.

But sometimes, the same shadows can betray you. The ones that seem to move without wind. The night can play tricks on the mind and when you wake up, you realize how foolish you had been.

One of my favorite authors sums it up nicely...

"In my age, as in my youth, night brings me many a deep remorse. I realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race - never quite sane in the night." ~Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ready for play...

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Downey residents go to Apollo Park for various reasons. It could be a family picnic, a day on the swings, or a pick-up basketball game.

I always think of Apollo Park with my association with D.J.A.A. (Downey Junior Athletic Association). As a kid the summers seemed to last forever playing baseball (sometimes just excited for the snacks afterward).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

By the light of the moon

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I was getting ready to head out of town a couple of days ago. As I packed my car so I would be ready to leave the next morning, I noticed the moon breaking through a layer of clouds that had managed to hide its bright light from me. It reminded me of an old Irish blessing.

“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.”