Thursday, February 28, 2013

Connect the dots

fountain 1

The new Downey Gateway, with its multiple eating facilities, has been designed to be a pleasant and refreshing entrance to the developing downtown Downey. As part of this refreshing and pleasant atmosphere, there are several fountains in the walkways.

I was fascinated by the water arch that this fountain created so I took two different views of it. This view shows the fountain as you and I see it in real time. The perfect parabolic curvature of water coming off the slide seems so smooth, almost soft.

The view below is a quicker view and shows the flow of water as a jumbled mess of unconnected droplets that don't form any kind of normal structure or shape. It's amazing what our mind does with a series of unconnected dots. It turns them into something beautiful, pleasing and peaceful. Look around you today and see if you can see the beauty of the pattern.

fountain 2

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A new taste

yougartland 1

I went out again to see the night life in Downey. I thought I would go back to see how Downey Gateway is coming along. I discovered that the first establishment to open is YogurtLand.

Once inside, I was treated to multiple samples of flavored Greek yogurt that tingled every one of my taste buds. I tried Peach tart, Strawberry/banana, Strawberry lemonade and even plain. The way it works is you fill a cup with any and all the flavors you want, and then go to the toppings bar to complete your dessert and have it weighed.

I need to go back and split a cup with my wife. I highly recommend this latest addition to the culinary arts in Downey.

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This is Rachael who helped me maneuver through the myriad flavors and toppings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Riverwalk Downey

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Last week I posted pictures from the "riverbed" area by my daughter's home. I love walking and have always enjoyed adventuring in the outdoors. The setting along the water helps to make the experience more enjoyable.

IMG_0589 as Smart Object-1These pictures are from one of our riverbeds in Downey. This is the Rio Hondo riverbed, that we have renamed "Riverwalk." Although this riverbed is lined with cement, it still has a charm of its own. Along the side of the Rio Hondo riverwalk is a community garden (actually in Bell Gardens). The vegetables looked beautiful and delicious!


The bare tree

Tree silhouette

One of the things that I like about winter is the pattern that the bare tree branches make against the background of a solid wall. This tree is located in downtown Downey.

The long and winding road

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After my long weekend up north, I headed home on the 5 freeway.

IMG_0575Not too long into my drive, I learned the interstate was snowed in at the Grapevine and my alternate, Highway 58, was also closed (due to weather conditions) at Tehachapi. My only option left was to head west and find a road that would get me over to Highway 101.

IMG_0574 as Smart Object-1I ended up on the CA-33 that took me through tiny towns I've never heard of and past this quaint property filled with fun relics.

After driving through a fair amount of desert, I ended up in the mountains behind Ojai, where there was enough snow to require a snow plow, but luckily for me, no road closures.

It was a long drive home, but it was also a reminder that sometimes the journey holds adventure and beauty despite the unanticipated detours we encounter.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hidden treasures

DMOA at Rives Mansion Boris Deutsch

The Downey Museum of Art (DMOA) has one of the largest collections of works by Boris Deutsch, a 20th century Lithuanian-American painter. In addition to the works of local artists, last night's art show at the Rives Mansion included a display of several Boris Deutsch paintings. (Click here for more information about the artist and his works.) These paintings have been packed away in storage for the last several years, and are only recently being displayed again.

DMOA at Rives Mansion kitchenAnd as I mentioned yesterday, part of the appeal of the event, at least for me, was the opportunity to experience once again the feel of another century through this historic house. The picture to the right shows the window and work area of the butler's pantry next to the kitchen. According to Wikipedia, "A butler's pantry or serving pantry is a utility room in a large house, primarily used to store serving items, rather than food. Traditionally, a butler's pantry was used for storage, cleaning and counting of silver...In modern homes, butler's pantries are usually located in transitional spaces between kitchens and dining rooms, and used as staging areas for serving meals."

Wouldn't it be nice these days to have the luxury of a separate room to store all your dinnerware?

Friday, February 22, 2013

The arts in Downey

DMOA at Rives Mansion art

Tonight the Downey Museum of Art (DMOA) sponsored an art exhibit at the Rives Mansion, which featured the works of Calixto Shibaja, Hector Beltran, and other local artists. The event was free (donations benefited the DMOA) and included food and musical entertainment.

DMOA at Rives Mansion musicThe event was a big success. By the time I arrived, the crowds had thinned out, but those in the know reported huge crowds just an hour earlier.

Of course, a big draw was an opportunity to see the inside of the historic Rives Mansion. Click here for past Downey Daily posts that show the Rives Mansion, inside and out.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Downey Gateway

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Today I want to show you the project that yesterday's water pipes will service. "Downey Gateway is located at the southwest corner of Downey Avenue and Firestone Boulevard. It will be an approximately 26,000 square-foot cluster of restaurants and outdoor dining that will provide a great place for Downey and the surrounding cities' residents to gather and dine." It is planned to open within the next month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Protecting our water

hand digger 02-20-13

I was out driving through downtown Downey and noticed some street construction going on. I pulled over and started to investigate why they were digging holes in front of the almost completed Downey Gateway project. What I found was the Downey Water department overseeing the moving of the fire hydrant water pipe down 10 feet so it won't be underneath other pipes.

The above picture shows some of those pipes, one of which houses the high voltage lines for the street signals. The Downey Water personnel were there to protect our water supply and make sure the project's results turn out as if they had done it. This worker gets to use the hand tools.

chainsaw 02-20-13These workers get to use the pneumatic chainsaw to cut a section of the 10" water main.

measure twice 02-20-13These workers are measuring the new "T" that will fill in the cut out part of the 10" pipe. Each worker has his own tape measure so they probably adhere to the old adage, "measure twice - cut once".

It's amazing what we drive over.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

After the rain...

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Today was my last day in Northern California. It poured for most of the day so I was stuck inside.

IMG_0523 as Smart Object-1But late this afternoon, the sun popped out from behind the clouds, the rain stopped and the afternoon was almost instantaneously beautiful. I couldn't resist a little adventure along the trail. The ducks were clearly ready to enjoy the sun too. It was a beautiful end to the day. IMG_0083 as Smart Object-1

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dirt piles

Tierra Luna Marketplace

This used to be the Downey Studios back lot, and before that, the Downey home of the Apollo space program and Vultee Aircraft. Someday, it will be the Tierra Luna Marketplace, a mix of retail and big box stores, restaurants, office space, movie theaters, and a hotel.

For now, it's 77 acres of dirt.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's beach February!

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I'm up north today at Pacifica, in the outskirts of San Francisco. We met some friends at the beach. Clearly we weren't the only ones who had this idea. There were families everywhere flying kites and digging in the sand. Even the family dogs got into the fun. It didn't matter that it was cold and windy, the water was inviting.

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"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ear appeal

Farmer's market musician

In the last couple of weeks, I've posted about how the Farmer's Market appeals to the eyes, the mouth, and the nose. It also appeals to the ears.

This is Russ Lewark. The last time we saw him was at a local fundraiser. He's a regular at the weekly Farmer's Market, where he still entertains with some of my favorite songs from the 70s, this time Cat Stevens.

Friday, February 15, 2013

International Valentines

Valentine candy

Ah, Valentine's Day. A day for chocolate, flowers, kisses, and loved ones. Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.

In South Korea, on February 14th or White Day, men give candy or gifts to women. Then on April 14th or Black Day, the women who didn’t get anything on White Day go to Chinese restaurants to eat black noodles and mourn the disaster that is their love life.

In Slovenia, it is thought to be the day that plants and flowers start growing, so it’s the day that farmers and vineyard workers plant seeds. Slovenians also believe that birds get engaged or married on Valentine’s Day.

I hope your Valentine's Day yesterday was a special one.

Without Valentine's Day, February would be... well, January.
~Jim Gaffigan

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bumpy yard art

bumpy front yard 1

This yard art is unusual because it is the yard. This grass grows naturally in these clumps or mounds. Every time I pass this house, I want to to buy a set of the little green army men and set up maneuvers.

bumpy yard 2This is the same yard but from the owner's front porch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cranes in the front yard

frontyard decor 02-13-13

This yard catches my eye for multiple reasons as I walk by. The steel enclosure surrounding the front porch is one but no one can walk by and not notice this ornamental crane. It is made of lawn tools and is staring at each passer by. It fits in this home's yard. Would it fit in yours?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pots, pots, and more pots....

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I guess I'm back to some yard art. I love finding houses with fun things in their yard. This driveway is lined with a unique selection of pots that were so charming I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Every little bit helps

Marketplace fundraiser for LivingHelp

My dinner tonight came from one of our favorite local restaurants, The Marketplace, which was hosting a fundraiser for the LivingHelp Center.

Marketplace customersThe LivingHelp Center is a pregnancy resource center that offers free pregnancy tests and counseling. As is typical of these types of fundraisers, a mention of the LivingHelp Center results in a donation of 15% of your bill to the Center. The next LivingHelp Center fundraiser is April 8 at Frantone's Pizza.

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
~Edmund Burke

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow day adventure

Big Bear Lake snow day

I didn't pay much attention to the weather forecast when I decided to take a day off work last Friday. My daughter and I thought we'd do some window shopping in Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles east of Downey.

Our first surprise was the sign stating that chains were required. We bought a set of chains at the last chance convenience store, then started up the mountain in the rain.

Soon, the rain turned to snow, the temperature dropped from the 60s down to 22 degrees F, and we paid $40 to have someone else put the chains on the tires for us. (Wow, those guys make a killing! But is it worth it to stand out there in the snow all day?)

An hour later, we arrived in Big Bear Village, where we dutifully braved the snow and wind to window shop. For about 20 minutes. Then we found a great little cafe called The Troll and had lunch while we watched the snow fall.

And finally, we found a snowy hillside where we could try a little sledding.

Not what I expected. But a good time was had by all.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Be it ever so humble...

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The entry to this house is so charming, I couldn't resist taking a picture.

"The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there."  ~Ellie Rodriguez

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mouth-watering part 2

Farmer's market Tropicana

Back to the farmer's market... Earlier this week, I showed you the fresh fruits and veggies. These are the items you buy and take home to enjoy the rest of the week. But the really mouth-watering section of the market is at the other end, where the aroma of freshly cooked meats and pastries make the market a great place to wander for a late breakfast or an early lunch.

Farmer's market dinersThe booth that tempted me this week was Tropicana, one of Downey's Cuban bakeries. These cream cheese muffins, above, were my late breakfast. Other options include a creperie, Salvadoran pupusas, and a variety of hummus dips and crackers.

There are tables where you can sit and enjoy your meal. Or you can just use the newspaper vending machine as a table top, as this couple did.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Milk man continued


Guess what the milk man brought me! My very own glass-bottled milk. I feel so 1950s!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Foggy idea

Foggy day

Getting up early for class means seeing a whole different world outside my house in the mornings. It's been so chilly this past week that I have to sit in the car for a while (read only a few minutes, because really, it's still California) until I can see out my window enough to drive.

Fog is both so dangerously scary and so breathtakingly beautiful, after 26 years, I haven't decided how I feel about it. I guess it's fun to look at but not so fun to be a part of.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Time for fitness

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I love that Downey has so many parks. In a 12.5-square-mile city, did you know we have 11 parks? In fact, almost 100 acres are dedicated to parks. This is Rio San Gabriel Park and I often see people working out, running, or playing games. Today was a first to see this fitness class. What a great location to work out! Who needs a gym?

Monday, February 4, 2013


Farmer's market oranges

Mouth-watering: Very appetizing in appearance, aroma, or description: a mouth-watering dessert.

Farmer's market veggiesOne of the delights of the weekly farmer's market in downtown Downey is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. On table after table, there are vast displays of both to appeal to the eyes, and samples to appeal to the taste buds.

Later this week, I'll show you what appealed to my nose.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The car wash blues

Papa John's Car Wash

With our recent spate of spring-like weather and a forecast of sun for a few days, my thoughts turned to getting my car washed. Papa John's Car Wash was filled yesterday with people who had the same idea.

I wonder how many of those people got rained on last night, like I did...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Not quite domesticated

Cat in a field

In a very large—and fenced—yard, this cat surveys her world, secure in the knowledge that she is safe from intruders.

"The cat is the only animal which accepts the comforts but rejects the bondage of domesticity."
~ Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon

Friday, February 1, 2013

The milk man


About a week ago, I ordered for my first time milk to be delivered to my door. We did a post a while ago about Rockview Farms and I ordered some things online from them. Now every Tuesday, I get a regular delivery of organic milk and apple juice. I just found out I could order milk in a glass bottle! Talk about blast from the past! I'm so excited! I'll let you know how it turns out.