Friday, August 31, 2012

Elegant in gold and red

Dress shop

Once again, the "Weddings & 15 AƱos For Less" dress shop has drawn me in by the colors displayed in its window. Previous displays have been pink and red. But the elegant gold and red of the current display really caught my eye. I have to admire the person who dresses up this window.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

In with the blue


It's a blue moon tonight! (Technically at 9:58 tomorrow morning, but it counts.) If you're like me a few years ago, you'd be looking for the moon to have a blue color to it.

"In fact, 'blue moon' refers not to color, but to rarity. Blue moons are defined as either the fourth full moon in a season, or, more recently, as the second full moon in a month. It's the second definition that covers August's blue moon; the month's first full moon was on Aug. 1.

"Blue moons happen because our calendar months don't precisely sync with the moon's orbit. It takes the moon 29.5 days to wax and wane from full to new to full again. With the exception of February, months are longer than that, meaning that once in a while the timing works out so there are two full moons in one month."

If you miss this one, the next chance you get will be in 2015

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out with the old

I've noticed around Downey more "for sale" signs on business properties. In a weird way, I'm kind of glad. It's time for a rejuvenation in Downey and I'm ready for some new businesses to come and light our fires. If you had a piece of land and had to use it to enhance the community, what would you build?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rainbow surprise


Tonight there was a beautiful sky at sunset. I love this time of day when the sun is low and gives everything a warm glow.

I particularly liked how the light was shinning on the front of this church and the way the palm trees shadows were caught by the sun.

I did not even notice the little piece of rainbow right in the middle, behind the church.

"May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”
~ Irish blessing

Monday, August 27, 2012

Soft hands

Warren football team picnic

Soft hands. That's what football coaches tell you is a must-have skill. Soft hands means moving your hands along the path of the ball, so that when you catch the ball, your hands act more like a pillow than a brick wall.

Warren football team picnicI guess an egg toss is a pretty good way to reinforce the soft-hands technique. If you don't have soft hands when catching an egg, you're likely to end up with egg all over your face—as some of these boys discovered last week at the Warren High School football team's get-to-know-the-families season kickoff picnic.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yard sale


Every weekend, all the signs come out. Garage Sale! Yard Sale! Open House! For Rent! Now Hiring!... This is by far the cutest and most creative sign I've ever seen in Downey.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weather "flag"


Weather vanes are both ornamental and functional since they can be used to show the direction of the wind,. Vanes are designed and balanced to point into the wind. So any observer could tell which way the wind was blowing.

In Medieval times, weather vanes designs were often derived from pennants or flags. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the word "vane" is the old English word for fane, meaning flag. 

To see examples of other local weather vanes click here

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." - Mark Twain

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stairway to window

Stairway to window

Downtown Long Beach, less than half an hour away from us in Downey, is full of night life. After a nice dinner on E Beverly, I was walking down the street tonight when I saw this stairway. I want to go up and see what is up there.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Behind the scenes

Boy and gun

I know, a concert is all about the music. No music, no concert. But as a photographer, I often find that I am more drawn to what goes on behind the scenes.

Near the stage at last night's concert by the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band, several military vehicles were on display. This jeep with its mounted weapon (don't ask me what kind!) was like a magnet for all the young boys in the vicinity.

Soldier and girlA different kind of magnetic appeal was going on near the jeeps. What could be more appealing than a man in uniform? How about a princess? (Past and present Miss Downey participants are on hand every week helping to fundraise for the Downey Rose Parade float.) These two were sharing a mutually enjoyable moment.

And last, I was drawn to this backstage display. Of course the band members wore their caps. And of course, they must remove them while playing. And artfully stack them amid their trunks and water bottles.

Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band caps

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The last of the bands

Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band

The end of summer is getting closer. I know, because tonight was the last of the summer Concert in the Park series. Tonight's performance was by the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band. The band is stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego (yes, the base that Tom Cruise immortalized in Top Gun).

The band led the crowd in the Star Spangled Banner, which is always more moving when played by a group of soldiers who are serving their country. This was followed by John Williams' theme from Star Wars, and much, much more.

Third Marine Aircraft Wing BandYou can read more about the band here.

Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yard art revisited


I like the incredible variety of yard art that can be found in our city and have had fun looking for how each family or person expresses themselves through the "art" in their yard.

I discovered this statue while driving through North Downey. It is certainly the focal point of this front yard. For more yard art, click here.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Handmade and human

Julian Park and Joseph Kim

Last night's documentary Bumblebeelovesyou, about street artist Bumblebee, was the work of videographer Julian Park. He and his friends, through their company,, believe that everyone has a story to tell and that sharing those stories brings us closer and tears down the walls we sometimes build. "Handmade, human stories."

Audience at Bumblebeelovesyou screeningSome stories start back when you least expect them. I first met Julian over a year ago, when I was taking pictures for another Downey Daily post. I was poking around the church I used to attend as a child when he saw me with my camera and struck up a conversation. He was such a friendly guy that I ended up enjoying a lunch with him and his friends.

Downey Daily wasn't particularly well-known back then, but he was already a regular follower. In fact, he told us last night that it was our posts about Bumblebee's work around town that started his interest in Bumblebee and eventually led to last night's documentary.

And so we come full circle. Last night was exciting, in many ways. A packed house was there for this screening, which was a great encouragement to Julian and his crew. The audience spanned all generations. Interest in the arts continues to grow in Downey. And Downey Daily played a small part.

Audience at Bumblebeelovesyou screening

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kids and bees and yellow and black stripes

Bumblebee works 1

Tonight was the screening of the Bumblebeelovesyou film documentary at the Epic Lounge in downtown Downey. (More on filmmaker Julian Park tomorrow.) Bumblebee is a street artist from Downey, whose work we have posted about several times over the last year.

Bumblebee girlIn addition to the screening, Bumblebee had numerous small works on display and for sale. (His street art is not small—his latest is 18 feet tall!) The works were done on a variety of surfaces, and they were all intriguing, as you can see by the close attention paid by the man above.

Bumblebee's work usually portrays children and nearly always includes his signature stripes of yellow and black—and of course some bees. The young girl at left certainly came dressed for the occasion!

Bumblebee says that he overcame his family's initial skepticism to become successful as an artist. He views his street art as a gift to the community, and his art sales help finance this gift, according to this article in the Downey Patriot.

I'm glad to be one of the lucky recipients of that gift.

Bumblebee works 2

Saturday, August 18, 2012



I like archways. There is something both beautiful and magical about them. They give you the sense that you have stepped back into the past.

IMG_6377The first one, above, is a new archway on a home still in the midst of construction. The smaller picture is the entry to one of the older, Spanish-style homes in our neighborhood.

Friday, August 17, 2012

An old paddle wheel

Downey Studios paddle wheel

What are an old paddle wheel and part of a river boat doing in the middle of a nearly empty lot miles from the nearest river?

This is the backlot of what used to be Downey Studios. The company is gone now, and the buildings are being dismantled. The residential street that I recognized in a scene in Christmas with the Kranks is demolished. But this paddle wheel, which was turning freely in the breeze, remains.

I wonder what they're going to do with it. I think it would look great in my back yard.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making a pretty picture


What should one do with a blank wall? There is a vast nothingness hanging along the side of the house... Oh I know! Make a tiny landscape of succulents and desert foliage so that when you forget about them, they can make it on their own. What this homeowner did here was just that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Palm trees are not for everyone


The palm trees that basically line every street in Downey aren't even indigenous but they are everywhere. As much as I can see the appeal of similarity and clean lines throughout the neighborhoods, I really don't like the look of them.

463I wish Downey would pick Japanese cherry blossom or birch trees.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

True colors


I noticed this flag on a house this morning and it got me to thinking about what it means to each of us. It's a symbol of freedom for all Americans. Displaying it demonstrates support for our nation and our troops. I was reminded that I have so many choices and so much freedom that I don't want to take for granted.

"And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me."
~Lee Greenwood

Monday, August 13, 2012

As rare as a four-leaf clover?

Pine needle

Wandering a little off track today...or maybe not. This isn't a Downey landmark, but it was Downey, after all, where I saw this pine needle with its cluster of four needles. I've never seen anything but three-needle clusters before this. Have you?

I hope it brings good luck!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Toucan gate

IMG_6131 as Smart Object-1

Another of my fun neighborhood gates...

I often walk past this one and have wondered,  "Why the toucans?" I still don't know, but recently came across this poem that I thought was fun.

The Toucan by Shel Silverstein
Tell me who can
Catch a toucan?
Lou can.

Just how few can
Ride the toucan?
Two can.

What kind of goo can
Stick you to the toucan?
Glue can.

Who can write some
More about the toucan?
You can!

BTW - if you look closely at the bottom of the gate, you can just see a nose and a set of paws guarding the entrance.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Beach bonfires and marshmallows

Bolsa Chica beach

Our current hot spell makes us really appreciate our proximity to the beach. This is Bolsa Chica Beach, which has fire rings available for evening bonfires and cookouts.

Bolsa Chica beachThe roaring fire was necessary to keep us warm until the afternoon winds died down. By then, the fire was perfect for roasting hot dogs and s'mores.

Bolsa Chica beach

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another way to remember the fallen

Flags at half mast by Steve Mansell

The flags at Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), where I work, have been flown at half staff this week. I inquired as to the reason and learned several new things.
  • First, LACOE will fly the flags at half staff only by order of the governor of California.
  • Second, this occasion of flying the flags at half staff originated from a presidential proclamation in honor of the shooting victims in Wisconsin. 
  • Third, the website has the information regarding any national or state occasion of flying the flags at half staff.
  • Fourth, has a great article detailing the history, current usage, proper procedures and symbolism of flying flags at half staff.

Yesterday I knew the general principle of flying a flag at half staff, but today I know why, and where to find to whom to pay honor.

by guest blogger Steve Mansell

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kids save the night


During another part of the Concert in the Park last night, the conductor announced that she was too tired to go on and she needed help. She asked if any of the children in the audience would like to come up and conduct. A line formed almost immediately and kid after kid with smile after smile went up for his 15 seconds of fame. Most of the time, they just turned around and watched the conductor, but it was so cute to watch all of the kids jump off the stage like they had won an award.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thank you for serving


At the Concert in the Park tonight, there was a lot going on. For me however, the most moving part of the night was when the conductor asked everyone to stand who had served or is serving our country in the different services.

As she announced Army, my dad stood up. As she announced Navy, this man stood up. All the men and women standing were so calm and matter of fact about serving. It's our country, and they fought to preserve our rights and freedoms. We all clapped for them but I really just wanted to go and hug him.

They didn't come tonight to get recognition, but I'm glad they got it anyway. I'm so thankful for people like my dad and this man and the sacrifices they made for me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What's behind the gate?


It's what I always wonder about when I find an interesting door or gate. What is on the other side?

I don't know how I've missed this gate before. I must have passed it a thousand times. But seeing it today, it gave me a feeling of timelessness. Even the bell mounted on the wall seemed at once perfect and yet not what I would expect to see. I could almost imagine an entrance to Narnia...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Not so magnificent desolation

Downey Studios demolition

As desolate as the surface of the moon that we eventually landed on, the buildings that were the home of Downey's space history are coming down piece by piece.

Downey Studios demolitionOriginally this was the site of Vultee Aircraft, then North American Aviation, later North American Rockwell, and still later Rockwell International. During the 1970s and 1980s, four of the space shuttle orbiters, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis, were constructed here.

More recently, the site has been the home of Downey Studios. And next, this site will be the home of the Tierra Luna Marketplace.

Things change, the world moves on. We can't keep everything. But still, it's sad to see this bit of Downey's history disappear.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Twenty-four artists later

Art on the Vine first anniversary

Art on the Vine, the monthly art show at Mari's Wine Bar, celebrated its first anniversary with new works by the artists who have been showcased here over the last year. The festivities included complimentary food and live music with saxophonist Sergio de la Trinidad.

The monthly shows have been put on by a team of Downey Arts Coalition members. Congratulations and thanks for all your hard work!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Farmer's Market on Downey Ave.


Today we got up early to check out the Farmer's Market that is now located on Downey Ave. I like the new spot and the new setup. It is fun to visit the booths and check out the various fruits and vegetables available. The samples are generous and tempting.

IMG_6155 as Smart Object-1This lady was out to share her delicious nectarines with anyone passing by. It was enough to convince us to buy a few.

IMG_6154 as Smart Object-1

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kabobs to go

Green Olive kabobs

A couple of weeks ago I told you about a restaurant called Green Olive, but I only showed you a couple sitting outside. Tonight I had dinner there.

Green Olive platesI had the chicken and beef (filet mignon) kabob combo with both kinds of potatoes: home style spicy and Mediterranean style. My friend tried the kafta kabob wrap. Both were delicious!

No wonder the place was packed and the phone kept ringing with orders!

Sneak attack


These two dogs were standing on something, peering out over the top of their fence when we walked by the other day on our walk. They were strangely silent as opposed to all the other dogs in the neighborhood who bark as soon as they smell or hear you. They were cute and goofy just staring at us so I took a picture of them.

Little did we know how stealthy they really were. As we passed the back corner of their yard, there was a hole that one of them could squeeze half of his body through. Gave us quite a fright I'll tell you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sharing the beauty


On our walk this morning around the Orange Estates, we found this beautiful flower blooming in a neighbor's front yard. This is one of the many reasons I love walking in this area of Downey. Thank you neighbor for having this in the front to share with all of us!

Orange you glad...


As the sight of a Sunkist packing plant, the downtown area of Downey was once covered in orange groves. Although in the 50s and 60s the orange groves were replaced with homes and businesses, many old orange trees remain. Where I live in Orange Estates, orange trees are still common for many of the properties.

Here is a "taste" of what you might see walking around our neighborhood.

IMG_6128IMG_6127 as Smart Object-1