Monday, February 28, 2011

Not just any tiled wall

Terry Schoonhoven mural

The Downey Depot Transportation Center has two claims to fame. First, the center was built at the site of the old Downey train station. (There was an unsuccessful effort at the time to save the old station as a historical building.) You can see a picture of the old station here.

Second, this mural on the front of the center was created by artist Terry Schoonhoven. Schoonhoven, who died in 2001, is considered one of the country's premier muralists. This particular mural depicts Downey's history from the 1800s up through the modern space age (not shown here).

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Edison workers

Edison noticeToday our house was without power. Due to scheduled maintenance, the Southern California Edison company shut off our power at exactly midnight last night, and it didn't come back on until 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Edison sent out a notification, which I left with the mail so that my household would be aware. For those who paid attention, the shutoff came as only a slight surprise. For those who weren't paying attention, the shutoff meant that the term paper due tonight had to be completed at someone else's house today.

Being powerless is a good reminder of all the things we take for granted: lights, phones, hair dryers, heating, refrigerators, charging batteries, signals, and much, much more.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Downey Arts Coalition


Today was the inaugural meeting of the Downey Arts Coalition. The meeting, at Xela Cafe, was to discuss ideas for building support for local artists, and to explore what could be done to create a shared vision for the arts in Downey.

One of the possible areas discussed for a potential arts forum was the old art deco auditorium that stands on the abandoned section of Ranch Los Amigos. The auditorium is currently part of the area of Rancho that is boarded up and fenced off - as you can see from the sagging barbed wire fencing in the picture above.

IMG_1222The meeting was good and it was exciting to see such a variety of people interested in working to develop Downey as a vibrant art community.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Helping out


Seeking shelter from this storm, a tiny worm crawls through my backyard. I pick him up and put him under the tree and out of the rain.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On the level

La Barca construction worker

Downey is getting another new restaurant, called La Barca. The site, which formerly housed Szechwan Chinese Restaurant and then (for a very short time) Portofino’s, is now considered part of the downtown Downey area. The restaurant, which will include patio dining, is supposed to open in April or May, just in time for summer evenings. Currently, it's getting a complete facelift, which of course includes making sure everything's on the level.

For more information, see the Downey Patriot article La Barca opening restaurant downtown.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An entry a day...


I've always wished I could be a journalist. Not so much for a newspaper; more of a daily journal sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee and the morning quiet surrounding you. This is my mother. A calm picture of tranquility. Daily.

journal and traySometimes, when I have an hour or two, I'll pick a journal by year from the shelves of them and sit and read literally every entry of the year. I remember things I did years ago but from someone else's view. And then I go and put an entry in a journal I've had for years thinking I'll start up again. I'm so glad I have Pam and Joan to push me to do this blog so many times a week.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A view of the cross


We've posted several pictures of OLPH, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. I liked this angle, looking up at the cross. For a previous post of the garden area click here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three-wheeled bike


I spotted this bike (or do you call this a tricycle?) behind Downey Billiards this afternoon. I liked how the shape and color of the bike echo the sign behind it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Neighborhood watch

Neighborhood watch

Downey's Neighborhood Watch program encourages neighbors to look out for neighbors.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The hope of spring in February


It's been raining back and forth for the past few days. This morning it was clear and, even though it was chilly, the crisp air motivated me to work in the garden. It's been a while since I've spent any time there and it needed attention.

After a while, the sun came out from behind a cloud for a brief moment. I looked up from my task to see my nectarine tree (which I thought for some time I had killed). There were new pink blossoms "lit up" with the light from the sun. It was beautiful.

Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!
                                     ~L.H. Bailey

Friday, February 18, 2011

In case of emergency

Fire truck and ambulance

In 1999, the Downey Fire Department implemented the Basic Life Support (BLS) program, which provides ambulance service for Downey residents for an annual subscription of $48 (the current rate). This service can come in handy when an emergency arises at home, as a neighbor recently experienced.

According to the city's EMS history web page, "Today, the Downey Fire Department proudly continues its delivery of the highest level of medical care to the community.  Since the Department’s inception of Paramedic services in 1974, 84 firefighters have been trained as Paramedics.  Today, 80% of all calls for service are EMS related, and in 2009, Downey Fire Paramedics responded to 6,791 emergency medical incidents."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

double oops

Brenda Feb 12 2011 298
I just thought this was a funny thing to see on the side of the Downey Studios building. Looks more like computer art than a tarp covering a wall boo boo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Take a break

Brenda Feb 12 2011 272

In a little back area behind the Space Center on Downey Landing, there is a little picnic area that I would just love to go and hang out one day on my lunch break.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shadows in light

I pass this house almost every day and have always admired it. But as I passed it this day, the sun was low in the sky and deeply orange. The color of the light along with the shadows it made on the house, made me hurry home for my camera.

The smaller picture shows another view of the house.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Twin palms

Downey palm treesDowney palm trees

Yesterday, I showed you Tweedy Lane lined with palms, giving the street a very stately look. But what about the backyard palms, the ones that don't line a street?

I've often wondered about this pair. I'm guessing they're nearly 100 feet tall. They must have been planted long ago, possibly before the house was built in 1936. I'm not sure how you're supposed to appreciate your tree where you have to drop your head completely back before you can see the fronds...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lined with palms

Palms on Tweedy Lane

Palms on Tweedy LaneI've read that Paramount Boulevard, a main thoroughfare through Downey, used to be lined with palms. They are long gone, but palms still line Tweedy Lane near the entrance to the James Tweedy Ranch. In this one short block, there are 27 palms on one side of Tweedy and 13 on the other side, planted about 20 feet apart.

The palms, probably at least 100 years old, give a very stately, elegant look to the street. And they can be seen from quite a distance, providing a useful landmark.

Extensive research (that is, I googled "extremely tall palms") tells me that these are Royal Palms. (Please correct me if you know better.)

The palms below, spaced a little further apart, are a little further south on Tweedy.

Palms on Tweedy Lane

Saturday, February 12, 2011


BP-19 outside

Last week, BP-19 moved to its new location on display behind the Columbia Memorial Space Center. You can see a picture of it being moved into location on the Space Center's Facebook page.

BP-19 is a test (that is, "boilerplate") version of the Apollo space capsule that went to the Moon. BP-19 was constructed in Downey by North American Aviation in 1963 and was used in many parachute drop tests.

BP-19 inside

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three coins in a ....


Yard art has a charm of its own. I like to see the how people adorn their yards and create a sense of beauty in their personal space.

"Few peole know so clearly what they want. Most people can't even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain." - Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, February 10, 2011

But wait, there's more!

shuttle downey

Okay, the Downey Studios doesn't just hold a dozen celebrities at any given time. It also holds a few space capsules that were on the Apollo 11 mission. To see more history, click here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The celebrity station

downey studios

So many celebrities have been to Downey. Do you know why? Because we actually have a huge studio where people like Jim Carey and Robert Downey Jr. star in their movies. Here is a smidgen of the list I got off of Wikipedia of the movies we've filmed in Downey.

Iron Man 2 (2010)
Couples Retreat (2009)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Pineapple Express (2008)
Cloverfield (2008)
Zodiac (2007)
Van Helsing (2004)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
The Italian Job (2003)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Daredevil (2003)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Spider-Man (2002)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yard art


IMG_1265Okay, okay, I kinda love yard art. There is something personal and compelling about the fun things you find in people's yards. It's like seeing a little piece of another person's idea of beauty, or their idea of funky- color and texture. I appreciate the variety that is out there and enjoy finding the intentional creativity.

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

- Elie Wiesel

Monday, February 7, 2011

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Electric trolley

It's amazing what you learn about Downey when you just drive around the side streets. It turns out that Downey is the home to E-Bus, a manufacturer of electric buses and trolleys. This 22-foot electric trolley, which accommodates 22 seated passengers and 10 standees, caught my eye with its old-fashioned good looks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Judgment day

Downey Municipal Court building

If you've ever filed a small claims suit or, more likely, had to pay a traffic ticket, you're familiar with the Downey courthouse.

Downey Municipal Court tile

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blue glass spheres


I saw this tree as I was driving the other day and fell in love with the colorful blue glass spheres hanging from these amazing, outstretched limbs.


The entire front yard was charming and eclectic and appealed to me in many ways. You may see one or two more posts in coming days!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Painted lady

Victorian cottage

According to Wikipedia, a painted lady is a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings that are painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details.

I've admired this painted lady for a long time. She's a cute little cottage built in 1925, and all dressed up in Victorian colors. But what made me finally stop to take her picture was seeing her filtered through the almost bare tree in front.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Right in the middle of everything

Baseball Diamond
I can just picture it: the committee is sitting around the conference room table, deciding what to do with the new "Downey Landing" acreage.

"We should have a Downey Studio with a Space theme," says Janet.

"And a Space Center," says Jorge.

"And a statue tributing to the space shuttles," offers Steve.

"And a baseball diamond!"

Everyone turns to the guy in the corner who never says anything. He just might have something...

relaxingHere, two people enjoy an afternoon relaxing after playing catch on the field.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reflections on the wall


Walking around the Downey Landing has a different effect when no one is around. It is quiet, peaceful, and serene. And I started to notice things I hadn't seen before. Like this reflection of Kaiser Permanente and the baseball diamonds reflected in the Space Center window.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reading garden


I pass this house every now and again when I am running errands. It is such an appealing setting, surrounded by lavender and roses. It seems like the perfect place to spend the day, sitting in this chair with a really good book.

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
- Chinese Proverb