Sunday, July 31, 2011

Win a gas clothes dryer—now and then

Downey house

Downey, California
Photo courtesy The Downey Conservancy/George Redfox
If you picked the winning name for this Downey home back in 1962, you could win an automatic gas clothes dryer.

This home must have been a Southern California Gas Company showcase. It offers gas air conditioning, a built-in gas range, and gas lighting outside. However, even the gas company has to give a nod to electricity: "... it's equipped with Balanced power—both Gas and electricity, for the jobs each does best."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The suite life

I have always liked the architecture for the Embassy Suites on Firestone. It has a charming appeal both inside and out. This view is from a couple of months ago befoe the leaves were back on the trees, but I thought it was a fun perspective.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Windows and doors


Do you remember how you drew houses when you were a child? The windows always appeared like a couple of eyes, unrealistically high on the wall. This building in Downey's industrial area reminded me of a kid's drawing. Are the windows too high? Or are the doors too short?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another hot rod

hot rod

A collection of our posts seem to have a theme. Apparently we like the old classics that other people have taken the time to transform into works of art. This one is no different.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rural Ukraine


We are about at the end of our trip, and I thought it might be fun to share a few pictures of how beautiful and rural it is in Ukraine.

It was typical to see horses, cows and goats tethered to the grassy shoulder of the road. I'm assuming this is "free" grazing area for local farm animals.

There were several times when we either waited for animals to cross the highway on their way home, or we just drove around them on the shoulder.



But, by far my favorite was this wagon. The amount of hay this horse was pulling was amazing, but I couldn't figure out how these guys got up on the wagon once it was full...


Afternoon chores

Tending the geese

The next time your suburban Downey kid gripes about taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher, remind him that he could be in rural Ukraine, herding the geese home after a day of grazing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Breaking the ice

Strangers in Ukraine - family

Today we walked along the highway in rural Ukraine, so that we could get pictures of the chickens and geese that are regularly grazing there. Along the way, some young girls saw my camera and struck a pose, so I started shooting.

Strangers in Ukraine - apricontsFairly soon, an older lady came out and started scolding me. But when she found out I only spoke English, something changed. Things became a little friendlier. We "talked" for a bit, then started on our way. Next thing we knew, we were being called back and led into her backyard, where she shared the bounty of her garden with us. (Best apricots I've had in years!)

Strangers in Ukraine - PaulinaIt's hard for me to chat up the strangers that I photograph, in the best of circumstances. But children, even without a common language, help break the ice. Paulina was the oldest of the young girls. Her grandmother is Tatiana. Paulina's mom, whose name I couldn't quite catch, spoke a little bit of English.

So, to Tatiana, Paulina, and "mom", if you're reading this:
Спасибо за Ваше гостеприимство! Мы любили видя ваш сад и обмен вашими абрикосы. Вы обратились случайная встреча в прекрасной памятью нашего визита в Украину.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ukrainian Banksy?


We left Russia and are spending a few days in Ukraine, in the Khmelnitsky region. It has been 18 years since we were last here and we were trying to walk a part of the city and see how much things had changed. Walking along one of the main streets, we came across this graffiti on one of the buildings. Since I did a post on Banksy earlier this year, it seemed a fun connection.

I have no idea of the true artist. I did find a reference on the intranet to a Ukrainian Banksy. Perhaps it was him, but usually there is some kind of political statement attached to the graffiti. For more examples of Banksy art, click here. In the meantime, I'll be looking for more street art.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Learn to dive


The ball fields next to the Columbia Memorial Space Center are used by multiple teams for both practice and games. As I was riding my bike by last week, I noticed this softball team, the SoCal Warriors, a 10 and under girl's team, doing an unusual drill. The coach would roll the ball a few yards from the girl at the head of the line. The ball was thrown far enough away that each player would have to dive in order to stop the ball. The encouragement from the coaches was that by stopping the ball the player had kept the ball in the infield and therefore stopped the other team from scoring a run. But diving for a ball on gritty dirt is not an easy thing to persuade your body to do. This girl did though.


And so did this girl. I was very impressed by both the ingenuity of the coaches and the bravery of the players. I would be interested in seeing one of their games to see if the drill produced the expected results.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In N Out

Okay, so it isn't a good picture at all. But it wasn't even supposed to look like this. I got my phone out in the first place to show how much Downey loves our In N Out while the line was out the door. It was after 10 pm. By the time I clicked however, I was second to next in line. Speed, efficiency, and really good food!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Locks of love


St. Petersburg is an amazing city. We have been exploring, walking all over, and loving it. You are always close to water hereit's been called the Venice of the North. Peter the Great built the city out of what was then marshland and created a series of canals. It is very beautiful and adds to the charm of the city.

IMG_6099One of the things we discovered as we explored the waterways was the "marriage locks." We actually learned about these from our friends at Moscow Greeter, but didn't actually see any when we were in Moscow. The locks are mostly heart-shaped locks that newlyweds hang on the bridges in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It is a tradition to show that their love is sealed forever. Once the couple is married, they go with the wedding party to their favorite bridge and put the lock in place (they add their names and the date on the lock). Then the bride takes the key and throws it into the river below.

Such a romantic and beautiful custom.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Spilled blood and white nights

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg, Russia. With its colorful onion domes, it reminds me of St. Basil's in Moscow. If you've followed Downey Daily Photos for any length of time, you'll know that we like to photograph old churches, so these beautiful churches in Russia have been great fun. This church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881.

St. Petersburg is so far north that it doesn't get dark until at least midnight. (It's 11:30pm as I type this, and it's still dusky out.) The nearly-round-the-clock daylight is called the "white nights" of St. Petersburg. The weather has been in the 80s (Fahrenheit), but somehow the sun feels much warmer than that. These men were enjoying the sun along one of the St. Petersburg canals at about 6pm this evening.

Sunbathing in St. Petersburg

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pardon our mess

Kremlin construction crew

Construction is international, and there's a lot of it going on in Moscow. And where there are construction workers, there are breaks. I laughed at these guys taking their breaks on different levels. When they're not taking a break, they're working on the facade of the Cathedral of the Assumption, one of the cathedrals inside the Kremlin walls in Moscow, where we're taking a break from Downey.

On a side note, I felt a real connection with the Moscow greeters who took us on a tour. (See yesterday's post about the Moscow Greeter program.) They are part of a community of "city" greeters, in the same way that Downey Daily Photos is part of the larger "city" daily photos community. They share our passion for sharing their hometown with others, and I'm glad we got to meet them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moscow Greeter


This is the Cathedral of Christ our Redeemer in Moscow (while it was raining). It was our first stop on the free walking tour we arranged with a group known as "Moscow Greeter". I initially learned of this group through What a great experience! And, it was so simple. I filled out an interest form on the internet and received a response in less than a day. Shortly after that, I was emailed by Zola, who scheduled to meet us at our apartment.

IMG_4486_1We were met by three Moscow Greeters, Zoya (pictured here), Alex and Alexi (who I believe started the Greeters in Moscow). Moscow Greeters is part of the Global Greeter Network, whose purpose is to match tourists up with volunteer locals who love their cities and want to share their favorite spots with visitors. It is an amazing opportunity for residents to help visitors"see" the city through the eyes of the people who really live here. For more information, click here.

We walked miles around the city, seeing things and exploring areas we would not have done on our own. In addition, we had a unique opportunity to chat with local Muscovite who gave us not only history, but a real feel for "their" Moscow.

Although it had begun to rain while we were in the cathedral, it soon cleared up. We climbed to the top of an area called Sparrow Hills and had an amazing view of the entire city. Overall, it was a good experience and one we would highly recommend. As you can see, the day cleared up and ended up quite beautiful.


Did I mention that we were also part of an interview done by the Moscow News? They were doing a two-page feature on the Moscow Greeter program. I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Editor's note: Joan and Pam are in Russia and Ukraine for a couple of weeks and will be writing occasional posts about their trip.

Friday, July 15, 2011

All in a day's work

file folders

Some LACOE employees have worked for the company for over 40 years. LACOE is required to keep all records for all employees even after they retire in case there are any changes needed. Older records are sent to Record Retention for storage, others are kept in boxes close to the working area.

old files

And some are kept on people’s desk.
papered desk

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Going inside LACOE

This is the Los Angeles County Board of Education Board room. In 1852, the state legislature enacted laws that stated that each county would have its own Board of Education and that the County Assessor would be the de facto Superintendent. Since then however, the law has changed to allow each county to choose their superintendent. In LA County, the Superintendent is chosen by the County board of Supervisors. Once a week, the LA County Board of Education meets here to carry on their business of managing the education of over a million K through 12th grade students - a daunting task.

On other days, this room and several others within the building are used by LACOE staff and others as training rooms. Anywhere from training business staff in the new retirement reporting laws to presenting the latest research in child development/learning; from training teachers and paraeducators in the use of video conferencing to providing a central place for several charter schools to come together and have an award ceremony, LACOE uses its building facilities to enhance the education provided by the 84 school districts and over 100 charter schools in LA County.

(Guest Blogger Steven Mansell)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Education of the people

07 12 11_7927

The Los Angeles County Office of Education, LACOE, is located across the street from the new Kaiser hospital on Imperial Hwy. This building is the main office for the Los Angeles County Board of Education but it also houses many of the departments that serve the districts within LA County.

Payroll handles over 100,000 checks each month, Technology Training educates teachers to use technology in the classrooms and the Retirement department makes sure that every employee correctly receives the retirement benefits they have earned. The main goal though, no matter the department, is “education of the people” of the Los Angeles County.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!”
Derek Bok (1930 - ) Harvard University president
(Guest Blogger Steven Mansell)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer time sitting


I've passed this house many times. Each time I think how homey and cozy the porch and front yard look. With the summer finally here, it seemed time to share this little retreat-like front yard.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Tacos—now and then

Don Chiente's

Downey, California
Photo courtesy The Downey Conservancy/George Redfox
This fast food restaurant has gone through quite a few owners. When this newspaper ad appeared in the 1960s (I'm guessing based on the prices), the place was celebrating its first anniversary as Taco Rosa with a 2 for the price of 1 offer (limit 12 per person!). Originally, the place was a Taco Pronto. Somewhere along the line, I remember a Green Burrito. Currently, it's a Tacos Don Chiente. The prices have gone up a bit, but the one thing that's stayed the same is the Mexican theme. Yum!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A girl can dream

Pink convertible

“A girl in the convertible is worth five in the phone book.” ~Mae West

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Porto's "sidewalk cafe"


As you can see, everyone is welcome at Porto's Bakery outdoor dining. This cutie joined the table next to us last week when we were enjoying a beautiful summer evening dinner outside. It felt a bit like the sidewalk cafes you see all over Europe where everybody brings their dogs. It's a nice feel to have in our little town.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sidewalk cafe

Dessert at Porto's

Eight months after Porto's opened last year (see this post), I figured the crowds had finally died down enough that I could get a table on a Saturday night. This dessert was my reward.

Enough said.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's so hot!

dead plant
I now understand that, like people, plants can overheat, and might need watering more than once a day in this heatwave we've been having. Lesson learned. Too bad I had to learn it by the destruction of this little guy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fuschia in summer


The garden colors are some of my favorites right now. Coral Gerbera daisies, purple lavender and the fuschia best of all! The only problem is the bugs love them too...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More celebrations


The USA wasn't the only one celebrating a birthday yesterday. Jack, a Golden Retriever, celebrated his ninth birthday with family and his new playmate Sammy, 12 weeks old.

SammyJackSammy never really held still long enough for me to catch him fully in focus. Jack, on the other hand, was pretty laid back about the whole thing. In fact, at times he looked like he'd had more than enough celebrating!

For more pictures of Jack and Sammy, click here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Presidents and precedents

Sweet Land of Liberty

Over two hundred years ago, George Washington refused to run for a third term as President of the United States. He had run unopposed the first two terms. He was held in such esteem that he probably could have continued to serve as President until his death. Instead, he chose to set a precedent that continues to this day.

(I know, we had a brief detour when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for and won third and fourth terms during WWII. But the precedent was of such importance in people's minds that, following Roosevelt's death in office, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment to limit U.S. presidents to two terms.)

Today, our world is filled with evil or foolish old men who refuse to let go of power once they have it. On this 4th of July, our 235th birthday, I'm grateful that I live in a country where we can take for granted this peaceful transfer of power.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shopping for fireworks


A father and son were shopping for some fireworks. It was fun to watch them look at all the different choices. The son wanted the big package.... Dad obviously had a different thought.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The fundraisers

Rose float fireworks sales team

You probably aren't expecting me to talk about Downey's New Year's Day Rose Parade float in July. But here we are, at the Downey Rose Float Association's 4th of July fireworks booth, where these girls are working to bring in the crowds to purchase their fireworks.

Rose float fireworks boothDowney allows only the "Safe and Sane" fireworks to be sold (and used) inside the city. Nearly every organization in town staffs a fireworks booth to raise funds for their group. The booths are allowed to open only from July 1 through July 4, and someone must be on the premises around the clock to guard the goods. So typically, next to each booth, you'll also see a mobile home where the "guards" stay during their night shifts.

Last year's float won the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for most beautiful entry from a noncommercial sponsor. Next year's float has already been designed, with the theme of "Enchanted Paradise." Volunteers are always welcome (especially in December).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Don’t be trashy. Recycle!


The Downey Area Recycling and Transfer center, affectionately known as DART, processes waste every day except Sundays.

These pictures might give you an idea of the piles and piles of trash—but they don't begin to convey the smell!

DART trash