Monday, March 31, 2014


Tree with DVDs

"What we need is upcycling—where old products are given more value, not less."
~ Reiner Pilz

One of my favorite magazine columns is Real Simple's "New Uses for Old Things." I even started a collection of my own new uses for old things on Pinterest. So I enjoyed seeing this idea put into action in my neighborhood, where old CD and DVD discs have been used to keep the birds away from this fruit tree.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

More flowers

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Springtime is my favorite season. The weather is the best of the year and the skies are mostly clear. And the flowers start blooming all over the place. I often think the flowers in my yard bloom despite my best efforts. My nasturtiums have gone a little crazy this year.

"IMG_4496 as Smart Object-1"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."
~ Luther Burbank

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring tea time

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Today we had a tea party bridal shower at the house. It was a warm day, perfect for a tea party!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

The blue sky

Furman Park sky

We've had some spectacularly beautiful days in Downey in the last week or so.

Leaves in the poolBut the same wind that cleans our air and brightens our skies also makes a mess in our swimming pools and clogs our drains and our gutters.

A fair trade-off, I think, for a chance to see those clouds in the blue, blue sky.

"I never get tired of the blue sky."
~ Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, March 27, 2014

All alone and no place to go


Just down Iowa street from yesterday's empty lot is this abandoned house that faces Downey Avenue. It too has been abandoned for a long time, as you can see from the physical neglect.

P1030345This type of neglect is rare in Downey, since the property prices are rather high. I still don't understand why someone would waste this prime property.

What would you do with this property?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Imagine a park


I have been in Downey over 26 years and I think this lot has been empty for most if not all of that time. I always wonder why the owner would not develop this prime property or sell it so someone else could use it. That is a long time to pay taxes on a non-contributing piece of property.

P1030339This lot is in close proximity to several retirement homes. When I walk by them, the residents are sitting outside with no place to go. The nearest park is over a mile away. My wife was thinking that this lot could be turned into a park complete with trees and walkways for the residents to stretch their legs or stroll in their wheelchairs. What do you think?

The lot even has running water. I tried this tap and it works.

P1030334By the way, you know this empty lot from a previous Downey Daily. This wall used to be covered by a Bumblebee creation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting out of the car

Marketplace Grill makeover

I took a walk through a different area of town this week. It's not that I'm not on these streets—I am all the time. But I'm usually driving, not walking. And this walk reminded me of how much we miss when the only view we have is from our car.

First, it looks like the Marketplace Grill is getting an updated paint job. Have you ever taped your windows in preparation for painting? Imagine instead that you have to cover up all the letters in "the Marketplace Grill & Cafe." Tedious!

Sidewalk memorialFurther down the street, I came across this sidewalk memorial. There was no discernible clue as to who died or what happened. But someone cared enough to create this little shrine.

Basketball hoopAnd finally, in one of the nearby alleys, there was this evidence of basketball games long ago, before the ivy nearly covered up the hoop.

I'm glad I took the time to explore on foot!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The park's the place

Breakfast at Furman

There are lots of places to enjoy breakfast in Downey, but these Public Works workers chose to take their break and eat their El Taco breakfast (see El Taco, nobody can eat just once!) al fresco, at Furman Park.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More chalk art

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There are some amazing young artists at Warren High. Here are a few more of my favs from this past weekend and the chalk art festival.

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"Life is like art done in chalk, beautiful but temporary, enjoy it while possible."  
~ Unknown

Saturday, March 22, 2014

3rd Annual Chalk Art Festival

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I went by this morning to check out the art at the Chalk event. One student I met, Susana, was working on two different designs. This one above is already completed.

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IMG_4259Warren High School Art Club is hosting their 3rd Annual Chalk Art Festival, under the leadership of art teacher Jennifer LaMar.

Students and members of the community have been invited to create works of sidewalk chalk art throughout the main part of campus, with a competition to follow. All money raised at this event goes towards Art Club Scholarships for Warren High School Seniors, who have dedicated many service hours to Art Club and the Arts.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New school

Downey High School construction

Directly across from one of Downey High School's oldest buildings (see Old school) is the school's newest building.

Downey High School constructionThis is Building C, one of several buildings currently under construction. It is replacing the old administration building.

The old building was the site of a mural by artist Charlotte von Troesch. The demolition of this mural caused a bit of controversy a couple of years ago. (See What I didn't know.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

An angel visit


I pass by this house almost every day. Recently a new family moved in. They of course brought the usual belongings of a family, but this family brought one unusual guest with them.

P1030326This angel graces their front yard and guards the front entrance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

American ingenuity


I've seen this vehicle in this yard when my wife and I are out for an evening walk. We usually are late enough in the evening that the twinkle lights are mostly what we see. I've been wanting to come back during the day to see if there was a useful picture. Boy, was I rewarded today. Brian, the owner, was outside watering his lawn and told me the story behind this 1922 Chevrolet truck.

P1030331At one time, an owner of the vehicle replaced the back wheels with tracks similar to tank tracks. This turned the truck into a tractor. Brian's dad gave it to him and he put it to good use as yard art.

P1030332Brian then took me to his back yard to see his 1923 Chevrolet dump truck. But what I saw was so much more than just the dump truck. Brian built his own water tower (empty), his own swing, and currently he is building a barbeque station complete with a propane barbeque and a smoker.P1030333

These were the most interesting yards, back and front, I have ever seen. Good job, Brian.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old school

Downey High School R building

This is the "R" building, one of the oldest remaining buildings at Downey High School.

Downey High School R buildingFounded in 1901, the school started with 45 students. In 1903, the first building at Second and Church Streets, where Walker Hall now stands, was formed. In 1926, that building was condemned as a fire hazard and torn down. In 1929-1930, this building was built for junior high school students.

Downey High  now has 4,150 students and is one of two high schools in Downey.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Keeping your head

Dress shop

Seeing the mannequin inside looking out on the headless mannequins in this downtown Downey window, I thought of the saying, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, maybe you just don't understand the situation."

But I never knew that this was a parody of the poem "If," by Rudyard Kipling, that starts out with these lines:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...

and ends with these:
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Flowers again!

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We've shared a lot of flower pictures lately. This one just surprised me. There are several large azalea bushes filled with white flowers. I see them almost every day. Today I noticed that there were two lone purple flowers that popped out—all part of the same bush. Kind of interesting!

"I must have flowers, always, and always." ~ Claude Monet

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The sun also rises

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Driving to USC each morning, I often take surface streets because it's a little faster and it's more interesting. It also allows me to take a quick picture when I stop for a light. This morning, the sunrise was beautiful. The view in my side view mirror really doesn't do it justice, but it's the best I could share with you.

I hope your morning drive is as beautiful!

"The sun is but a morning star."
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Friday, March 14, 2014

All in a day's work

Telephone pole repairs

You don't normally think of telephone poles as something that need to be replaced. But when they do, heavy equipment is required.

Telephone pole repairsThe crane being used here blocked off the entire neighboring street. It was used initially to raise the new pole, and now it's being used to hold a bucket full of supplies. The workers, who have a great view of the surrounding neighborhood and local golf course, are secured by belts that are attached to the new and old poles.

Just another day at work for these guys.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A little shade please


I went shopping at Downey Landing and ran across this Husky puppy taking a nap. It was one of our recent warm days and he was trying to cool off. That may sound funny given the sunshine on him but when I got there his owner was sitting on the chair and there was lots of shade. I asked him to move so I could get a better picture.

"If you tell my Sheltie to jump off of a cliff, he will obediently do so. If you tell my Siberian to jump off of a cliff, he will say "After you, Mom." Now you tell me, which dog is smarter?"
~ Anon

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

February showers bring March flowers


It didn't take long for the rain of a week and a half ago to bring out my daisies this week. They are so pretty, it's almost as if I knew what I was doing. Actually, my daughter planted them and God watered them. I just get to enjoy them.

P1030315Spring starts next week but I already have buds on my peach tree. I thought I had several more weeks before the deadline of when I needed to prune it. Oh well, better late than never.

Are you ready for spring?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Covered in white

Azaleas in bloom

Most of the year, we have nice green shrubs in front of our house. But periodically, watch out!

Azaleas in bloomAccording to most websites, azaleas bloom once a year, in spring. But I don't believe it. Once—and often twice—a year, our azaleas bloom profusely. The peak blooming period lasts about a week and is just amazing!

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's left?


These signs have been puzzling me for a while now.

The sidewalk becomes nearly unpassable when it goes under the freeway, because there isn't enough headroom. But these signs don't just categorically say "Don't enter." No, they expressly forbid only pedestrians and bikes.

But what else is there? Caterpillars?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

USC Science Building

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This is my view as I leave class every day (from the steps of the Accounting Building where most of my classes take place). I am attending a full-time program at USC until the end of April. So, thought I would periodically share a picture from the campus. USC has such a beautiful campus. There are so many impressive, old buildings.

It's a beautiful place to get an education.

"You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose."
~ Dr. Seuss

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cloudy sky

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I love clouds. I remember, as a child, lying in the grass during our lunch break at school and assigning shapes to the clouds and then telling stories about the "cloud shapes."

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."
~ Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, March 7, 2014

Date night in downtown Downey

Stay Gallery David Layton exhibitStay Gallery David Layton exhibit

I stopped in tonight at the opening of "The Hyperpresent," this month's art exhibit at the Stay Gallery featuring artist David Layton. I enjoyed this exhibit. The paintings are photo-realistic, bold, and colorful. The pictures in the scenes above are from a series entitled "Cinema," and they will be on display through March 30.

It looks a little like date night at the gallery. Some couples are content to just stand and gaze. Others feel the need to animatedly discuss, and perhaps explain, what they're seeing.

"The earth without art is just eh."