Friday, May 31, 2013

Rives Mansion welcomes Veterans

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For the past two days I've noticed a flurry of activity at the Rives Mansion. Tents and tables have been set up and banners hung.

IMG_6191 as Smart Object-1Tomorrow the Rives Mansion will host a Veterans Job and Resource Fair. The Department of Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is  collaborating with The Los Angeles Film School to host this communtity event. The free event is open to veterans and their families from 11 am to 4:30 pm.

To view their flier you can visit or just click here.

Our veterans deserve our support and our thanks.

"Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty."
~ Louis D. Brandeis

Thursday, May 30, 2013



I can't imagine that these wagon wheels have always been here so it must be that this home owner had a visual concept that these unusable relics would look great in his front yard. The interesting result of the wheel's location is that, until I took a close look at my picture on the computer, I didn't even notice the telephone support cables but only the wheels. I wonder if that was his intention?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Don't follow me home


This house in Downey always fascinates me when I pass it. The front door and therefore its address is on a cul-de-sac street but its garage is on another through street. I guess visitors are told to come by one road while the owners come by another.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where were you when the lights went out?

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Last night while I was in the process of writing my post, the power went out. So, I planned to get up early and finish it first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, the power was still out in the morning...and the afternoon...and a good part of the evening.

Instead of doing my post first thing in the morning, I made a trip to the store as did a friend and after 12 bags of ice we finally had enough. As you can see, it took all of my coolers and then some to empty the refrigerator to try to keep things cold.

Were you caught in the "unplanned outage"? According to the follow-up email I received from SCE (Southern California Edison), the outage affected approximately 3,823 customers.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering those who served

Memorial Day graves

"On Memorial Day, we honor all those who have fallen by remembering their noble sacrifice for freedom. We also pray for our troops, their families, and for the peace we all seek."

This quote is taken from the program from today's Memorial Day Tribute at the Downey Cemetery. The ceremony was made more meaningful for me today after my visit earlier this month to the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach. The cemetery holds the graves of more than 9,000 American soldiers who gave their lives in the effort to free Europe in World War II.

The  Downey Cemetery isn't nearly as large, but the grave of each veteran is marked with a cross and a flag, and it's humbling to realize how many of those who are buried here have sacrificed to serve their country. Thank you to all who serve.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Right place, right time


Riverbeds. Graffiti. Train tracks. Puddles. Reflections.Repeating patterns.

Sometimes I just get lucky and find all sorts of things that I like to photograph, all in the same place (the Rio Hondo riverbed), at the same time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

La Tour Eiffel à la Downey

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Since I just got back from Paris, it was fun to see the display at Cakeland Bakery. It is Paris, Eiffel tower, Chanel. Unfortunately, when I went to take a picture this evening, the lights that are normally illuminating the displays were off! So, the picture is not as good as is might have been. Still, it has the feel of Paris.

"Paris is always a good idea"
~ Audrey Hepburn

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bathed in purple

Jacaranda blossomsJacaranda blossoms

The Jacaranda trees are in bloom again. I love driving down the streets that are lined with billowing purple clouds of flowers.

I might feel differently if I had one of these trees in my yard. The flowers that cover the streets and lawns are beautiful. But the seed pods that will follow in a few weeks are, I suspect, a nuisance.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Working yard art

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Went into northeast Downey tonight and found these children at work in this front yard. They look very industrious at first glance, but I noticed they didn't get much done.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Changing of the guard


I know this isn't a very artistic picture but it demonstrates something that has happened here in Downey this spring. You see, these portraits are just a few of the over 80 superintendents in Los Angeles county. Their portraits hang in the main hallway of Los Angeles County Office of Education. Dr. Wendy Doty's picture used to hang here between Culver City USD and Duarte USD. Dr. Doty has retired after 30 years of service in the Downey Unified School District. Ten of those years were spent as the district's superintendent. To commemorate what she did for the children of Downey and the city of Downey, East Middle School will be renamed Doty Middle School.

Dr. John Garcia Jr. has been hired as the new superintendent as of April 1 and his portrait will hang here soon. You can see his bio here

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Les Braves

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With Memorial Day less than a week away, I seemed appropriate to use a couple of my pictures from France. While in Normandy, we visited Omaha Beach - one of the D-Day landing sights. On the now peaceful beach stands a sculpture by Anilore Banon, dedicated to honor the courage of the sons, husbands, and fathers who endangered and sacrificed their lives in hopes of freeing the French people.

There are three elements to the memorial:
1. The Wings of Hope - so that the spirit which carried these men on 6th June 1944, continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to change the future.
2. Rise of Freedom - So that the example of those who rose up against barbarity, helps us remain standing strong against all forms of inhumanity.
3. The Wings of Fraternity - So that the surge of brotherhood always reminds of our responsibility towards others as well as ourselves.
On 6th June 1944, these men were more than soldiers, they were our brothers.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

What do you see?

Tree trimming

What do you see when you encounter a pile of logs like this?

Free firewood. That's what most people see, and the cars were lining up.
Beach bonfires. That's where a lot of these pieces will end up this summer.
Bowls. That's what my dad would see. He loves taking a log like this and turning into a beautiful bowl, knots and all.
An interesting picture. Look at the patterns in the bark on these logs. Don't they remind you of an army camouflage pattern?

What do you see?

Tree trimmingTree trimming

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dennis the Menace Park

Dennis the Menace Park

Did you know that almost 100 acres of Downey are devoted to 11 area parks? At Downey Daily, we tend to focus on Furman Park (because it's close) and Wilderness Park (because it's pretty). Today, I decided to visit the rest of the parks over the course of the next few weeks.

This is Dennis the Menace Park, hidden in a cul-de-sac in north Downey. Dennis the Menace is a comic strip character originally from the 1950s, "a precocious but lovable, freckle-faced five-and-a-half-year-old boy with a famous blond cowlick and a penchant for mischief." (Wikipedia) The park is the perfect place for present-day menaces to have some fun. For a medium-sized park, it has a very large kid's playground, with lots of slides, swings, and things to be climbed.

What kid can resist the temptation to climb the wrong way up a slide? These two young girls in the main picture couldn't!

A day at the beach

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A spring day at the beach...okay so Downey doesn't have a beach. This is actually on the north coast of France, but to me it looked like it could be in California.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

May Day flowers

May Day Flowers

Being gone a couple of weeks on vacation meant missing some annual Downey events that we love. We missed the Downey Street Fair with its classic car show, Kid's Day at Furman Park, and May Day, when the kids from the local Rio Hondo Elementary School deliver bouquets to all the homes in the neighborhood.

But even though we missed the kids actually delivering the bouquets, we were very pleased to see that the flowers lasted until we arrived home!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The color of cars

Pinto 1

Today's color is a car. But not just any car, a 1972 Ford Pinto. I'm not sure what color this is, maybe a mustard brown. Boy, they don't make them like this anymore.

Pinto 2I see this car often on my bike trips but I haven't seen another Pinto in years. I stopped by to talk to the owner, Diane. She informed me that she is the original owner and that every thing on the vehicle is stock equipment. She also said that she is finally thinking of selling, after 41 years.

What was your first car? Mine was a 1963 green Mercury Comet with three on the column and an in-line six.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The color of candy


Keeping in this week's theme, I submit the following picture of a candy store in Dinan, France.

Sorry, I'm still catching up with having not been here for two weeks. Have you ever looked at your email after two weeks of neglect? My yard is the same way. Avocado leaves so thick I'll have to put some in next week's bin.

Anyway, these lollipops were an instant eye-catcher as we were walking down the street. You don't even see any sticks, only the colorful wrappers. We even bought some.

We do have candy stores in Downey, such as See's candy on Paramount Blvd. and also in Stonewood Center. Sweet Fantasy Candy Shop is also in Stonewood Center.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The color of spring

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I love spring! This photo is from a few weeks ago, but it gives the sense of what I love about's color and beautiful blossoms.

"It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, May 13, 2013

The color of leaves


Vacation is over and it's good to be home. The only problem is that I have tons more pictures of France and no backlog of Downey pictures except this one.

So I hope you enjoy this colorful pile of leaves after a recent rain in Downey.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Au revoir

Eiffel Tower

Today we bid adieu to France, so I leave you with this final iconic image of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. No matter how many times I see it, I continue to be awed and amazed at its size and beauty.

Eiffel Tower with Downey PatriotErected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, the tower has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world. The third level observatory's upper platform is at 279.11 m (915.7 ft) the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010. (Wikipedia)

The first floor of the tower is currently being renovated to make it more accessible to those with disabilities, and to add a new viewing area, dining area, and an educational tour. The sign promoting these changes said, "Paradoxically, the first floor is the least visited section of the tower..." I'm not sure that they understand the meaning of "paradoxically."

And finally, don't forget to take your Downey Patriot along when you travel.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ah, Paris...the city of love

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It seems like everywhere we go in Paris, people are cuddling. Sometimes they are snuggling on the conveniently placed park benches, sometimes along the steps of the Seine. It's easy to do in a city as picturesque and romantic as Paris. No rules here on PDA's.

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Pam wrote yesterday about the "locks of love". This couple was so cute, taking their picture with the lock they added to this bridge.

"It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, May 10, 2013

Conditional love?

Paris locks of love

Two years ago, we showed you the "locks of love" in Paris and St. Petersburg. A couple attaches a padlock to a bridge and then throws the key into the river to symbolize the permanence of their love. So what does it say about their love when they use a combination lock?

Paris locks of loveIn the two years since, the custom has grown in popularity. You can now buy your lock from street vendors right there on the most popular bridges. There are so many locks that it is hard to find a bare spot to attach your lock, and many locks are now attached to other locks instead of the bridge itself.

Paris locks of loveAnd now two of those locks belong to Downey residents.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The room of change


Our third major city to stay in this vacation was Brugge, Belgium. Here Bonnie and Joan are checking in with our hostess, Mirielle, at the Hotel Van Eyck. She told us her story of how she came to own the hotel. She came here some years ago and stayed in the same spare room Bonnie and I were going to stay in and while here she knew her life was going to change. She went back home, quit her job as a school teacher and several weeks later came back to Brugge and bought this hotel. She has never regretted her move.

This is the staircase up to our room.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The changing light


One of the prime aspects of the Impressionists' paintings is the capturing of light. What is it doing now to the scene I'm looking at, right now? That is why they painted so quickly, to capture the moment.

I followed Joan in looking at the water lily pond by 15 minutes and found myself in a different moment of light. Clouds had covered the sun and I got a more muted view of the pond and its reflections.

Enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monet at Giverny


The gardens at Giverny were amazing. It gave me a new appreciation of the beauty and the diversity of flowers. It's hard not to spend the entire day trying to absorb it all in.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Field trips and oral reports

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Rouen field trip

In California, students learn about the early Spanish missions. They take field trips and write reports. In Rouen, students do the same type of thing—except they write about and visit the magnificent Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Rouen.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Rouen interiorThere were lots of school-aged children in Rouen today, but the most fun to watch were those that were presenting their oral reports on the cathedral.

There's so much to see and report on—I wonder how they divide up this awesome task. There's the history, the architecture, the organist (who we got to meet and talk with yesterday) and his music—the list goes on and on!

To list just a few of the tidbits about the cathedral:
  • Construction began on the current cathedral in the 12th century. 
  • Richard the Lionhearted's heart is buried here. 
  • Claude Monet painted a series of paintings of the cathedral—the same scenes at different times of the day and in different weather conditions.
  • The cathedral was nearly destroyed in the bombing that led up to the D-Day invasion in 1944 and has been undergoing restoration ever since.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The changing light of Honfleur

Honfleur port

There's something about the light. Painters, especially in the 19th century, have flocked to Honfleur because of the irresistible quality of the light reflected from the Seine estuary. This light has inspired painters such as Courbet, Monet, and Boudin. So in honor of Monet, here is the Honfleur port, Monet-style.

Honfleur postcardHowever, I think these artists had an advantage. Unlike us, they could wait for the light. Judging by the postcards in town, I'd guess that the weather in this area is often rainy and overcast (and cold!) like today. This postcard says "Normandy seen by Google Earth."

Priest in HonfleurIn addition to its artistic appeal, Honfleur is the home of the Sainte-Catherine church, which is the largest church made out of wood in France. We walked by this beautiful old church just as mass was ending. As the priest greeted his parishioners, it felt like Sunday-after-church anywhere.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

We will never forget

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Visiting the Normandy American Cemetery was a sobering experience. Approaching the cemetery, all you see is row upon row of white marble crosses. The American Cemetery is the final resting place for 9,387 of our military dead.

Walking through the never-ending crosses, I noticed a ceremony at the flagpoles. I recognized the same baseball caps I had seen in Memorial Day celebrations on the heads of the old soldiers in Downey. The caps identify them as soldiers and where they fought and served.
This was a gathering of some of the D-Day soldiers who had survived and came back to honor their fallen comrades.

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"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifice."
~ Harry S. Truman, President of the United States