Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or treat...again


Well, it's Halloween again. Time for ghoulish displays, candy, and the best part of the day, kids dressed up in costumes. It's a day for kids to imagine they're that hero or heroine they watch in the movies, read about in a book, or heard about in the news. The young man in this picture dressed up as Neil Armstrong to honor the first person to walk on the moon. I remember dressing up as Roy Rogers. Man has always had a vivid imagination.

DSCN0149Sometimes helped by our parents.

Who did you imagine you were?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trunk or treat at Bob's Big Boy

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Tonight, Bob's Big Boy was having a Halloween themed cruise night sponsored by the Reflections Car Club of Southern CA.

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It was a fun event, with lots of classic cars on display. Many of the cars were decorated, their trunks full of scary stuff.

IMG_9137 as Smart Object-1Bob was even in a costume!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Practice makes perfect

Furman Park tennis player

After hitting a bucket of balls, it's time to evaluate and see how you're doing. Or maybe it's just time for a rest.

Furman Park tennis ballsFurman Park has four tennis courts that are available, first come first served, to anyone who wants to play.

On weekends, you'll see parents playing with their kids. On weekdays, you often see adult lessons or single players just practicing, like the man above.

Furman Park tennis plaqueThe Downey Tennis Club, started in 1966, was responsible for getting the tennis courts built. "This group wanted to provide the people in the community a club where people with a common interest in playing tennis could meet and play. At that time, the only tennis courts available were found at the local high schools. By 1972 (six years later), Sam Dunkin, the president of the DTC, proposed that tennis courts be built at Furman Park. Some members who worked at Rockwell International were able to get some plans for building courts and persuaded the Downey City Council to construct the courts. Eventually four courts were built." (Downey Tennis Club history)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Watched like a hawk


I was startled this morning to find a hawk in my backyard. It's such an unusual sight that I thought perhaps he was sick or injured.

He caught sight of me almost as soon as I saw him. He watched me ("like a hawk!") while I shot a few pictures of him. But when I tried to walk a little closer, he flew away—successfully, so I guess he was OK after all.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Eat, drink and be scary"

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Halloween is only a few days away and more and more houses in our neighborhood have been "decorated." It's been fun to notice the temporary "yard art" popping up all around us.

IMG_9125 as Smart Object-1For me, Halloween time usually makes me think of shorter days, cooler weather, and drinking hot apple cider. It's kind of hard to get in the mood for drinking cider when today was back up to 90 degree outside.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Who called for the electrician?

Birds on a light pole

You see them all the time—birds lined up on the light poles, evenly spaced out. They sit so smugly, safe from all the dangers below. Or so they think...

Imagine their surprise when the electrician suddenly appears!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good neighbors


Every city has people coming and going and Downey is no different. My long-time neighbors recently moved away. The husband and I would ride our bikes together each morning before work and talk about life along the way. Now I have new neighbors and I wonder what the future holds, I wonder what kind of neighbors they will be? This bench is probably for their young son. It's a little small for the dad.

As I was writing this though, I thought the real question for me is, "what kind of neighbor will I be?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Advanced carvings


Following Pam's theme of pumpkins this week, I thought I would show some neighborhood pumpkin carvings. When I was young, you were a Jack-O-Lantern artist if you could carve out triangle eyes and nose plus a crescent mouth. You got extra points if you could put square bumps in the crescent for teeth. Now they have kits to help you carve all kinds of shapes into pumpkins. The best ones I've seen use the shape of the pumpkin to accent the carving. What are some of your memories of pumpkins/Halloween?

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tailgate party anyone?

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Tailgating has become a national past-time for some, becoming an event in itself.  I thought it was funny that the Urban Dictionary defined tailgating as  "The act of going to an event venue with absolutely no intentions of seeing the performance or game. Only the sheer intentions of partying hardcore with random tailgaters."

This car was set up for some serious tailgating.IMG_8604

Monday, October 22, 2012


Pumpkin patch gourds

The other surprise for me at this year's pumpkin patch was the incredible variety of pumpkins and gourds. There were fat gourds, skinny gourds, mushroom-looking gourds, and some that looked like outlandish sea specimens.

For the more traditional at heart, there are always the standard pumpkins, in smooth and nubbly varieties. Which do you prefer? I think I need some of each.

Pumpkin patch traditional

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin patch photo ops

Pumpkin patch kids They go together like milk and cookies!

Pumpkin patch signThis pumpkin patch has strategically placed bales of hay in front of painted backdrops, perfect for the family photo of this important holiday tradition—picking out the perfect pumpkin (or more) for the Halloween jack-o-lantern.

The pumpkin patch has expanded its offerings over the last few years. Now, there is a huge bounce house with slide. It's off to the side, but it must have been crowded, judging by the shrieks of laughter coming from it. And of course, like any good business, the pumpkin patch is cashing in on the photo opportunities.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Noche de Ninos

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You know it is going to be a great evening when you get to have dinner with Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, and Heidi Klum, along with some of your closest friends. Last night was an enchanted evening, set in a forest scene on the event deck at LA LIVE. It was Children's Hospital Los Angeles Gala "Noche de Ninos." The event was hosted by Tom Bergeron (of Dancing with the Stars and America's Funniest Home Videos fame). At one point, the room was having a hard time quieting down, so the ladies got up on stage to give Tom a hand!

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Our group was honored to be seated with Melanie, Antonio, and Heidi. At the table next to us was Melanie's great friend, Jamie Lee Curtis (who sits on the Board of Trustees for the hospital). Melanie was so friendly and gracious. She made a point of greeting everyone at our table, introducing herself and chatting with us for several minutes.

As the evening progressed, some of the conversations moved into politics. It was fun to watch the lively interaction between Berto and Antonio.

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IMG_0547 as Smart Object-1During the gala, CHLA presented the 2012 Courage to Care awards to The Walt Disney Company, Heidi Klum and Pau Gasol. (Pau is a professional basketball player for the Lakers)

The evening was magical, with great food and wine provided by Wolfgang Puck. We had a great time and can't wait until next year's event!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm a big kid now

Kindergarten backpacks

The only thing I ever remember taking to kindergarten class was a sweater—and I wore that. Even if school backpacks had been available, I didn't have anything to put in one.

By my junior and high school years, it was a different matter. I still remember the aching arm muscles from lugging home my books. I would have loved a backpack to carry my homework in.

Kids now have a dizzying array of backpacks to choose from, with new choices and favorite characters added each year. For the kindergarteners, getting their first backpack for school must seem like their initiation into the world of big kids.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three sweet words

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When my wife got home this evening, she said those three sweet words that every man loves to hear, "Let's go golfing." Playing a round of golf has become a great way to share time together, walk for a while in a park-like setting and learn patience with each other.

At our level of play we seek out the par three courses around here. Downey has two excellent golf courses but they are both 18 hole and well beyond our capacity. So, we go over the river to Bell Gardens' Ford Park and play. There are no sand traps and no water hazards to frustrate us, just 90 minutes of a relaxing stroll through the grass and trees trying to find that little white ball.

How do you get closer to your loved ones?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012



This is another "People of the morning" post. I met Isaac (on the right) and Jesse (with the apple) while they were walking to Downey High School. They do this each morning to get to the weight room by 6:00am. Isaac is on a Downey High football team and Jesse just wants to build some muscles. On the way though, I think they are building a strong friendship. How did you build your high school friendships? I remember my friend and I worked at a pizzeria. Every Sunday after getting paid we'd go get a sundae.

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.
Jim Morrison

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Bay


I'm up visiting my daughter for the week in Northern California. On Monday, we went into "the city"  for the day. (In northern California, San Francisco is "the city.") The weather was perfect!

I found a fun view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio. As I waited to see a huge cruise ship pass under the bridge, I noticed this Oracle catamaran, which looked absolutely gigantic in the bay.

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I never realized until I watched the news today that this "Oracle" was a multi-million dollar 72-foot contender for the next America's cup—two years from now. (Oracle, the sponsor, is also the current America's cup holder.) Unfortunately, while on a test run today, in choppy seas, the catamaran capsized on the Bay! No one was injured, but the 131-foot-tall rigid wind sail was damaged pretty badly. It took hours before they got the craft back to the pier.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just three more weeks

Downey election

With the 2012 elections just three weeks away, it's hard to avoid the signs (pun intended).

Signs seem to focus on local races. There are city council seats up for grabs, along with a state assembly seat, and much much more. You can't even stop at the patio for happy hour at Randy's Mexican and Seafood restaurant without being assaulted by the signs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bustling downtown

Busy downtown

When I went to the Stay Gallery grand opening on Friday night, one of the most striking things (outside of the gallery) was the vibrant, welcoming feel of downtown Downey at 9 at night. People gathered on the sidewalks, and there was actually traffic!

This is in contrast to January of this year when Allison wrote about Lonely downtown, when the nighttime streets were empty. The mix of new businesses and eateries are turning this into an area that people want to hang out in.

Not so lonely anymore.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saffron sky


Sunset is my favorite time of day.

“Bursts of gold on lavender melting into saffron. It's the time of day when the sky looks like it has been spray-painted by a graffiti artist.”
― Mia Kirshner, I Live Here

Friday, October 12, 2012

At last, the grand opening

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Tonight was second night of the grand opening event for the Stay Gallery, the new art gallery in downtown Downey. (Click here for previous posts about the gallery.)

Stay Gallery grand openingThe walls are covered by the work of 20 local artists, which includes paintings, photography, and more. It was fun to be part of the crowd viewing the wide variety of artwork.

The two-day event is the kickoff for a fundraising campaign, whose goal is to raise $20,000 for further renovations in the gallery. Future renovations include a loft for office and conference room space, and outdoor spaces in the front and back of the gallery.

Stay Gallery viewing 2

Stay Gallery viewing 3

Stay Gallery viewing 4

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Early morning necessities


Yesterday I shared with you the story of Hector, one of my "people of the morning." I also met Rocio and Israel that day. They work inside the AM/PM mart and start early, getting it ready for others that need some liquid for their car or themselves. Looking at these gas prices some of their patrons might have had to choose one or the other.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Early morning delivery


This is Hector, who had to get up at 3am, to get his truck by 4am, to get to this AM/PM by 5:30am just so someone else can stop by on their way to work to pick up some chips to snack on later. Sometimes we forget about all the people that had to be there before we got there just so we could have some conveniences.

If you're a "Hector", thanks. You probably don't hear it enough.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oh my deer!


Today I was about 50 miles south of Downey in the Mission Viejo area at a golf tournament. At the end of the day, a herd of deer just appeared. They were calmly walking on the course, eating the new grass (while golfers were still golfing). They were not friendly, but they didn't run off either—unless I got a little too close.

IMG_8808 as Smart Object-1This one was funny. He shied away, but as I waited, his head popped up over the rise of the hill. It was as if he was looking for me.

I'm pretty convinced this guy was intentionally sticking his tongue out at me!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Long-leggedy beasties

Halloween costumes

As surely as April showers bring May flowers, October causes the city to blossom out in Halloween costume stores. There are the year-round stores, and then there are the little hole-in-the-wall stores that seem to spring up out of nowhere.

Halloween skeletons in a coffinThis little shop on Firestone Blvd. (the sign said Halloween Store Spooky Shop) is one of the latter. The scene out front seems to offer a choice: vamp or vampire.

Inside, there are the usual supply of costumes, scary masks, and fun decorations.
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Unfair advantage

Yard art turtle

If you've followed Downey Daily for any time at all now, you probably realize that we have a penchant for yard art of all types.

So when I saw this turtle, I had to stop. He's life-size and looks almost real. But what made me laugh were the two posts connected by the green tape in the background. They remind me of the setup for a game of limbo. The turtle looks ready to play, and I thought, What an unfair advantage he has!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

From our eyes...

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People were gathering and the final touches were just about done. It was time for another Art on the Vine event... and we get to participate!

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Tonight's monthly gallery show was a black and white photography event that featured multiple artists.

A special tribute was made to the late James Arthur Morris who was recognized as a community leader and philanthropist. Special presentations were made to Morris' son by Andrew Walquist and Downey's current mayor, Roger Brossmer.


It was a fun night! If you missed it, you can still stop by Mari's any evening through the month of October.

For more Downey Arts Coalition events, click here.