Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pretty science


One of my favorite parts of the Griffith Observatory is the Wall of Elements. I love the colors lit up and the different elements displayed so orderly. My favorite part, though, are the elements "missing" from the glass cases. They are either a gas or not here on this planet. I love the reminder that there are things in this world that we just can't see, but still exist and play a huge roll in our lives.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sneaky vs. successful


There is a fine line between creative, unabashed photographer and "creeper with a camera." Its hard for me to carry a camera and especially aim one in public with people looking at me as if I'm a tourist that lost her way from Hollywood or Las Vegas. The camera phone has definitely helped me make that step into getting used to casually taking pictures of things inside of stores, like this pile of plums in Ralph's, without looking like I'm taking an art class in school. I haven't perfected it yet or even mastered the focus but I'm getting there. The more comfortable I am with this little guy, the more I can start carrying my real one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Man cave extraordinaire


Tonight we met the cutest couple, David and Lilly Betts. We were driving by one of Downey's industrial areas looking for some picture ideas and were surprised to find this building with these beautiful  restored cars in it. Of course, we kinda invited ourselves in and they were so welcoming.

The building is officially for David's business, Western Landscape Management, but it is unofficially so much more. It's actually charming, with tools hung neatly on the walls amid memorabilia mixed in. They even have two cats who roam the place.


Married for 40 years, with lots of stories, these two were fun to chat with. They had a stereo playing and they talked about how nice it was to be able to have the music as loud as they wanted without any concern about bothering neighbors, since they effectively have none. They also told us how friends just drop by and before you know it, they are playing music and having a great time. Did I mention they also had workout equipment and a BBQ grill here?

It was a fun visit. I'm even thinking I should plan to drive this way more often. I might just get lucky and catch them firin' up the grill.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bargain time


On any weekend morning, it is typical to see yard sales setting up as early as 6am around our town. I think it's a great way to get rid of those things you don't need or simply aren't using any longer.

And, there's no telling what you might find—it might be someone's old junk or it might be the bowl you have been trying to find forever to match your set.

If it's something you think you want or need, get ready to bargain. That's the beauty of a yard sale. There are generally no set prices, it is all really much more of a guideline.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vibrant in red

Dress shop

The "Weddings & 15 AƱos For Less" dress shop that for so long was filled with pink dresses (see Pretty in pink) is now filled with vibrant red.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farmers market morning


It was a beautiful summer morning, a perfect day to hit the farmers market for some fresh fruit and the veggies.

IMG_3540I guess everyone had the same thought because it seemed more crowded than usual.

One of the things I enjoy about the market is that you just can't rush it. I like to take my time and walk around, try the samples, find the best tasting items. And, I usually go through the entire market before I buy anything so I know I'm finding the best items at the best price.

The tomatoes looked amazing, as did the berries. My backpack was full by the time we left.


Friday, June 24, 2011

The old Verizon building—now and then

Old Verizon building in Downey
Downey, California
Photo courtesy The Downey Conservancy/George Redfox

Part of the mission of the Downey Conservancy on Flickr has been to track down and save pictures of the old Downey. I thought it might be fun to compare the old photos of these locations with what they look like now, so I'm starting a new series of "now and then" pictures.

Windows on old Verizon building in DowneyThe old Verizon building, on 2nd Street near downtown Downey, currently stands abandoned. It is going to be demolished soon (the contract has recently been awarded) and is expected to be redeveloped into a 50-unit affordable housing complex.

Before it was Verizon, it was a "modern building"  that housed the offices of the General Telephone Company. I think the building was much more appealing before all the windows were covered up. I imagine that these coverings let in some light, but they completely block the view for those working inside. Why do you supposed they did that?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beach Boys


With everyone flocking to the beach these days, I am reminded of oldies such as "Little Surfer Girl" and "California Girls." I want to drive down Main Street with the top down and crank up the radio. I want to grab an ice cream cone and my towel and lay out. THIS is why we live in Southern California. For days like this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Get your shoes on!


It's swimsuit season here in Southern California! Now is the time when everyone scrambles to find their gym memberships from the bottom of their purses, the hidden pockets of their wallets, and the back of their closets under the gym bag with the tag still on. Jump on your bike, dust off the weights, clean off the workout bench stacked with laundry and old mail. Let's finally lose those fifteen pounds we all swore we'd lose back in January.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Keep on truckin'


I like old cars and trucks. I'm always on the look out for ones with some character. This one fits the bill. It looks like it has had a good life. It's got the little bits of rust and the scratches from years of use, but the bones are good and it looks like it is still in running condition.

Monday, June 20, 2011

French doors and windows

House front door

I often walk past this house, built in 1923. This is the entrance to the house, with a welcoming front porch. I wonder what room lies beyond the door. I imagine it must be a pleasant room, with lots of light provided by all those windows.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

With a red hat which doesn't go

Red Hat Society Rosy Reds

Meet some of the Rosy Reds, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society. The ladies were killing time, as I was, in the beautiful lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel until the start of "Funny Girl" at the Downey Theater next door.

Red Hat Society Queen Aloha Lindi
Queen Aloha Lindi of the Rosy Reds
In Society parlance, the woman who starts the local chapter is known as the queen. The queen of the Rosy Reds is Queen Aloha Lindi.

The Red Hat Society gets its inspiration from the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph, written in 1961. Here is an excerpt:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

You can read more about the Red Hat Society at  How it started.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Funny Girl


Tonight we went to the Downey Theater for the Downey Civic Light Opera's performance of Funny Girl. It was a fun evening that began with being greeted at the door by the Executive Producer/Director, Marsha Moode. She was beautiful and dramatic as she greeted each person entering the theater.

IMG_3442After the intermission, Marsha took to the stage to plug the next seasons' show and talked a little to the audience. She charmed us all with her humor and had me thinking she was the real Funny Girl!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Windows within windows

Krikorian reflections

The entrance of the Krikorian Theater provides an interesting reflection of the office buildings opposite.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Think before you jump


So, funny story.

Yesterday, I got to my work parking lot and saw a man working tirelessly under this hood. His battery had died. I felt so bad for him because every time he tried to start the car, the alarm went off, he had to manipulate the wires to turn it off and start all over again.

Well I had gotten to work almost a half hour early so I thought I'd help him. Since I had jumper cables in the back, I pulled up beside him, and popped the trunk.

As soon as I stepped out of the car a police car showed up and asked what was going on because he had heard the alarm sound so many times.

I turned to the guy for him to explain but he took off.


Took off.

Into the mall.

I almost helped someone steal a car.

So who's ever car this is, I'm so sorry. Next time, I'll ask for license and proof of registration before helping out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


downey daily photos 001

A week ago, an amazing dog was taken away from this world tragically, prematurely, and terribly. He was hit by a speeding car and died forty minutes later in the hospital, licking his human's faces and wagging his tail, still loving them to the end.
Heart broken doesn't begin to cover the feeling of loss. Kodi won the heart of anyone close enough to see his tail wag. His face was always smiling, even during his tantrums when we wouldn't throw the ball for him. His fur was the perfect place to muzzle your face after a long day of being with people.

All he wanted in life was to be with his humans. Playing, sleeping, running, barking, he lived to love them. He loved without conditions.

He was a good dog.

He went with them everywhere. Stores, parties, in-law's houses, vacations, etc.

I mourn. Not in a way of a human death of course, but in a way that I have never felt before. Never again will I see his sweet face cocked to the side like he is trying to understand me. Never again will I hear his bark as I'm walking through the door. Never again will his tail wag ceaselessly for those he loved.

"One last word of farewell, dear master and mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loves us and whom we loved." No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail."
Eugene O'Neill

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No more bee problem


Maybe it seems odd for me to take a picture of an unattractive vacant lot with this newly painted half wall.

IMG_1379A few months ago we posted a blog about this wall because both sides contained charming pictures of a little girl dressed in yellow surrounded by bees. And, it caused a lot of buzz in town due to people stopping by to see the pictures after an article came out in the local Patriot newspaper.

Originally, we thought the pictures might be the work of Banksy—a British street artist. After further investigation, we found it instead to be credited to "Bumblebee," a Los Angeles street artist. Now, I know this is private property and the owners clearly have the right to paint over something they might consider to be vandalism or graffiti. But, I have to admit, I was disappointed to discover that the charming stencil artwork of the little girl had been removed. Somehow for me, the bee artwork humanized the ugliness of the half wall left standing in this lot. In fact, I went out of my way just the other day to see it. I guess it's another reminder that all things change...and therein lies the sting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What would we do without the internet?


The buildings have been pretty much abandoned for more than 10 years now. But the caduceus symbol still remains on the wall as a reminder that these buildings used to be part of the large Gallatin Medical Group near downtown Downey. There's some talk that the site is poised for some potential redevelopment. (See I wonder who won this dispute? for more information about why these buildings are abandoned in the first place.)

The caduceus has an interesting history as a medical symbol. The caduceus is actually the staff carried by the Greek god Hermes and is a symbol of commerce and negotiation. According to Ask Yahoo!, the U.S. Army medical corps adopted the caduceus as their insignia because of its similarity to the staff carried by Asclepius, the god of medicine. But the staff carried by Asclepius has only one snake and no wings. Asclepius' staff is the emblem of the American Medical Association.

If the medical corp had just had the internet, there wouldn't be this mixup.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Before the show starts

Downey Civic Light Opera

When you're waiting for the play to start, you need to check your ticket for your seat information and make sure that your glasses are clean.

The Downey Civic Light Opera is currently presenting "Funny Girl" at the Downey Theater. I went by last night to see what might be going on, and Executive Director Marsha Moode kindly let me wander around to take some pictures.

Next week I'll be back to actually see the show. Hopefully, I'll have a few more pictures to show you then.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

California Historic Parkway


Coming home from Dodger Stadium late in the afternoon, we drove along a quiet street that crosses over the freeway leading into Los Angeles. It gives an interesting view of the LA skyline. The 110 Freeway (shown below) connects San Pedro with Pasadena. This section (from the 101 to Pasadena) is the historic Arroyo Seco Parkway, the first freeway in California.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A girl can dream

Greek Festival toddlerGreek Festival dancers

Dressed as she is, I have to imagine that this young girl (or her mother) is dreaming of her future performance with the other Greek dancers at last weekend's Greek Festival at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Downey is in many ways a small town. I didn't know when I took this picture, but it turns out that this child is my friend's niece.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day of the Dog


Saturday, at the "Party at the Dog Park" event, we met lots of new dogs. This one was one of my favorites due to his being what I have heard referred to as bi-eyed—one brown, one blue eye.

IMG_3038We also listened as Council Member David Gafin, who is credited with the establishment of the dog park at the Rio San Gabriel Park, talked about plans for a second dog park in Downey. Yay! We love having a dog park and look forward to a second....maybe closer to our neighborhood. Hmmm...Furman Park could be a great choice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Duke K-9 at work

Meet Duke, the Downey Police Department Canine Unit.

Duke K-9 with partnerDuke and his partner, Officer Chris Kurtz, demonstrated Duke's abilities at the Dog Party in the Park last Saturday. Duke quickly passed by the decoy containers and zeroed right in on the container with the contraband. He scratches on the surface to indicate that he's found something.

Duke is a 2-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever. He joined the department and started training last August, and was certified (along with his trainer) as a narcotics dog in September. In his short career, he has already uncovered several million dollars worth of drugs for the Downey Police.

For Duke, it's just walk in the park.

See Downey police adds canine to force for more information about Duke, from the Downey Patriot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Everybody wants to be Greek!


Every June, St. George Greek Orthodox Church holds a Greek Festival where there is food, dancing and pure enjoyment. Who can resist the smell of roasting lambs, greek fries, moussaka? Certainly not me. I look forward to the festival every year.
After we finished eating (I had a lamb gyro with greek fries - YUM), we took a tour of the church, led  by one of the parishioners. He did a great job of explaning some of the history of the church; along with the significance of the iconography that is displayed on the interior of the church.


And, of course, there was dancing!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Mod Pawd


SaberMore animals from this past weekend. Meet Azura (above), a 3-year-old Siamese cat. She loves a good belly rub. And Saber (right), a 1-year-old cat who is full of energy and will keep you entertained for hours!

CatSaturday I attended an orientation for volunteers for the FoundAnimals organization. FoundAnimals partners with local animal shelters to help reduce the number of shelter animals that are put to sleep. At SEAACA (the South East Area Animal Control Authority) in Downey, FoundAnimals runs the Cat Adoption Center, affectionately known as the Mod Pawd. Volunteers are needed to clean and to play (and maybe to fall in love and take a new friend home with them).

If you're looking for that purrfect companion, check out the LA Adopt-A-Thon on June 18. Click here for information and locations near you.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Puppy raisers


Meet Braylee, Tommy, and Austin, puppies-in-training for the Guide Dogs of America program. They were happy participants in Saturday's Dog Party at the Park at Rio San Gabriel Park.

Austin 2Braylee is a 14-month-old female yellow Labrador Retriever. Tommy, at 7 months, is a male black Labrador-Golden Retriever mix. And Austin is a 9-month-old Golden Retriever.

These dogs live with foster parents, or puppy raisers, for the first year or so of their lives. A puppy raiser is responsible for socializing the dog and exposing it to as many different types of situations as possible. These three are well on their way to being well-behaved animals who take all the commotion and attention in stride. At about 18 months old, the dogs return to Guide Dogs of America for formal training before being presented to their permanent owners.

One could argue that it's a pretty laid-back, contented life for the dogs.

This was a busy weekend for Downey events. Still to come—the Greek Festival, volunteer opportunities at the Cat Adoption Center at SEAACA, and more about the Dog Party in the Park.