Saturday, January 31, 2015

Double rainbow

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I walked out of work the day before yesterday and saw this dramatic sky and rainbow. It was after I pointed the rainbow out that someone commented there were two can see the second one just to the right of the big one.

The rainbow was a gift. It was a beautiful way to finish my day.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle" 
~ Albert Einstein

Friday, January 30, 2015

Safe on the dome

St George Greek Orthodox Church

On this stormy day, the birds keep watch from the dome of St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

"I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth...then I ask myself the same question."
~ Harun Yahya

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reflections art

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The Downey Arts Coalition held an art exhibition at the Downey Civic Theatre last Saturday during the concert I blogged about yesterday. The theme of the exhibit was "Reflections." This piece is "Spring reflects back on winter," by Bill Rademaker. It is a photo on canvas of 16" x 20" and was being offered at $375.

DSC_0432 cropBill took multiple photos and overlaid them using software to produce the finished product. He showed me the original photo of the woman and I was impressed with his imagination to see this piece of art from the plain photo.

I thought you would like to see the artist "in person."

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A night at the concert


The Downey Symphony Orchestra had another concert this last Saturday at the Downey Civic Theatre featuring Alison Bjorkedal, harpist. I loved watching her as she gracefully touched the strings of her harp to convey the emotions of both the music and her love for the music.

The whole evening was filled with listening to gifted musicians playing works by Copland, Mahler, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky. I encourage you to make plans to see the symphony at their next concert in April.


After the concert I caught up with Alison and Sharon Lavery, the Music Director for the Downey Symphony Orchestra, as they posed for the photographers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Samples Gate

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Even though we are already back in our hometown of Downey, I confess I didn't have a picture for my post today. So, I will share a couple more pictures from our visit to Bloomington, Indiana; specifically the University of Indiana.

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It was late in the day, almost time for sunset by the time we made it to the university for a walk through "the woods." We entered by Samples Gate, named in honor of Edson Sample, who provided the funds for the building of the gates. It is the entrance to the oldest part of the campus, known as the Old Crescent. Like much of the old campus, the gates are constructed of Indiana limestone.

Looking out from Samples Gate, there is a view of downtown Bloomington. It is a fun, eclectic city that I hope I will be able to explore more next time we visit.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Shopper at Porto's Bakery

Sometimes it's the odd things that catch your eye. I liked that this man's jacket matched the colors and pattern of the stair rails of the Porto's Bakery parking structure.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The optimist and the buddy

Indiana University gravestones

The cemetery at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where my friend is a graduate student, contains the graves of three sisters. The girls were Revolutionary War heroes as well as part of a family that was important in the university's history.

Indiana University gravestonesBut what caught my eye were these two gravestones. I'm always curious about the stories behind the gravestones. And these two stones provide some interesting clues.

Doris Marie Seward, above, planned ahead. Her gravestone was already carved and ready for her death sometime this century. But, as her headstone shows, she was both optimistic and thrifty.

The other gravestone contains only a first name, "Buddy". He was 14 years old when he died, and I suspect that he was a beloved dog rather than a teenager who met an untimely death.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winter landscape

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Indiana looks like winter. We have shared many pictures recently of our late fall in Downey. We still have fall colors and leaf-filled lawns.

IMG_3022 as Smart Object-1In Indiana, where we are visiting friends, it looks and feels like winter. As we walked through the park down the street, it was quiet. The grass is mostly dead and yellowed, the trees are naked of leaves and the air holds a serious chill. (Tomorrow's weather forecast promises 1-2 inches of snow.)

"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."
~ Ruth Stout

Friday, January 23, 2015

Where's the surf?

Surfing in Indiana

Indiana, where I am for a few days, does not have an ocean front. It does border Lake Michigan, but reliable local sources tell me that no one surfs in Lake Michigan.

So, I was rather surprised by the sight of this van. Decorated vans and surf boards are a common sight in southern California, but not so much in Bloomington, Indiana.

Surf's up, anyone?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Photography is fun


This photograph was taken on the sidewalk that borders Downey Avenue. We are looking south at Firestone Blvd. But the photograph is not just a snapshot of what I saw when I was there. By turning the camera 90 degrees, I have changed your viewing perspective. I have captured a segment of the total scene and emphasized a portion of it. Everything looks taller in this picture. The trees, the building, the wall. Your eyes are drawn from the middle of the picture, the man on the sidewalk, to the top of the trees and then ascending the building to the top of the picture.

Also, because the wall and building on one side and the trees on the other form a kind of funnel for your viewing, you will spend most of your beginning time on the center of the picture. You won't even notice the traffic light or the cars on Downey Avenue until you have finished taking in all that is between the two "walls."

Photography is so much fun.

"Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world."
~Bruno Barbey

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Front yards


We were out walking in for what is for us a new neighborhood and came across this front yard. The eclectic nature of the landscape made you want to investigate it further. Was this path made on purpose or just a product of where things chose to grow?


My investigation found that it is actually the front half of the front yard. There is this fence that separates the two halves. The normal front yard with its dogs, its grass and its "keep out" signs are on one side and passersby get to enjoy the beauty on this side. Thank you homeowner.

In our front yard, the kids and I used to play football. Not so much in this yard.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kings vs Rangers

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It is convenient that Downey is so close to downtown LA. With limited traffic, it's a 20-minute drive.

20150108_193557 as Smart Object-1We got to go to another game at the Staples Center, the LA Kings vs. the NY Rangers. It was a very exciting game! We were in the private box again and it did not disappoint. Loaded down with BBQ from Kinders (the restaurant two floors up), we watched the Kings score two goals within the first 10 minutes of the game. Although the Rangers went on to win the game, it was exciting and fun to watch.

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”Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you.” 
~ Jacques Plante

Monday, January 19, 2015

Stable doors

1930s garage/barn

Most of the houses in Downey (based on my unofficial observation) were built in the 1950s or later. Two-car garages with automatic garage door openers are the norm.

But once in a while, I spot a building, such as this one built in 1934, that reminds me that Downey once was home to 1930s-era automobiles, that garages originally looked more like barns, and that it was doors like these that were the subject of the saying, "Don't lock the stable door after the horse has been stolen."

I wonder, is there an old hayloft inside?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tree-lined street

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Okay, so we keep posting pictures full of fall colors, but that's because there is still so much fall color around.

This is one of my favorite streets in Downey. I like it because of the trees. It almost feels like a little street in the Midwest. Of course, the fall leaves make it look more dramatic, with the leaves covering the sidewalk, street and cars. And, after the rain, the trunks of the trees look almost black. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Free treatment

House of Wright sign

For those of you who have grown up with septic tanks, this promotional offer at the House of Wright Septic Tank Supplies possibly seems like a good offer.

But for those of us who have grown up in a septic-tank-free environment, this sign creates all kinds of funny pictures in one's head.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Autumn is still smiling

Truck in fall leaves

It's winter. I know, because the calendar says so. So why do we at DDP keep talking about fall?

Well, it's because of days like this. Autumn is still smiling, even though we're a month into winter. It's hard not to be captivated by the sight of all these leaves, with their beautiful fall colors. Especially when the leaves have been washed and brightened by the recent rain. Sometimes it feels like fall will never end.

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
~ William Cullen Bryant

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Poetry matters to Downey


Tonight, my wife and I went to the Stay Gallery for this month's meeting of Poetry Matters. This is Lorine Parks on the left, the curator of Poetry Matters, introducing Rosalie Sciortino, the featured speaker of the evening.

According to Stay Gallery, Sciortino is a virtual native of Downey, having arrived here with her family when she was just twenty days old. Her parents, who met and married in Colorado after immigrating separately from Sicily, settled into a farmhouse with acreage at the corner of what is now Paramount and Florence where the Chase Bank sits. At that time Paramount Blvd, known then as College, dead-ended at Florence, and vehicles were only able to turn east or west. 

Sciortino read several poems from her book, "The Gift." You can see several of her 22 paintings that are on display for the next week at the Stay Gallery.


It was standing room only for the presentation. I know because I was one of the standees. The audience was definitely enjoying all of the poetry presented this evening.


This is Stacey and Don enjoying the presentation. Stacey is meditating on some interesting poetry being presented.

Scented breezes and Sinatra
The road stretches before me
flat and inviting
I sing along with him
These are my songs and
This is my road
~ excerpt from "On the Road" by Rosalie Sciortino

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Downey mural is done


The Doodle-icious mural by Don Lamkin is completed and available for you to peruse. It is located on the Porto's parking structure on Downey Avenue. My wife and I went there several days ago during one of our downtown walks. It is amazing the new things you notice each time you look at the mural.

DSC_0291This football reminds me that all my children went through DJAA sports. It was a great time for the family and community.

You can see more posts about Don Lamkin and the mural by searching on Facebook and Twitter for  #donlamkin, #downeydoodleicious, and #downtowndowney.

Stop by and let your memories come back. Let us know what you saw in the mural.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fiery sky

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A couple of nights ago, I walked outside as the day was ending and saw the most vivid sky. It was amazing, I couldn't walk away. I watched until it grew dark... which was entirely too quick.

"Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful, but because they are fleeting." 
~ Richard Paul Evans

Monday, January 12, 2015

Alternate perspectives

United Methodist Church reflection

One of the things I enjoy about the rain is the puddles that surround us afterwards. Everywhere you look, you get glimpses of a different perspective of the world around you.

I passed this puddle while I was looking at the old doors of the United Methodist Church yesterday.

"Nothing illuminates alternate perspectives like reflections in rain puddles on a dead end road."
~ Jason Andrea

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A treasure found

United Methodist Church doors

Sometimes you can pass a scene dozens of times and not notice it. Then something changes...

That's what happened to me this morning when I turned onto Downey Avenue by the United Methodist Church. Maybe it was because of the rainy, overcast day. These two doors, half hidden behind the garden and wrought-iron gates, suddenly popped out, and I thought, What a beautiful scene! The stained arches, the old stone walls—it felt like it could be a scene from a couple of centuries ago.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fall evening

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We've posted several pictures lately of how our fall in California seems to go on forever. This January night, I was walking through a local Costco parking lot and realized that the gum trees in the parking lot had lost all of the leaves from the top of the trees. And, in the light from above, the branches look almost grey in contrast. It was a dramatic sight.

"A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long."
~ E. E. Cummings

Friday, January 9, 2015

We're five!


In all the hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas, an anniversary slipped by recently without me even remembering to mention it. On December 28, 2014, Downey Daily Photos turned 5 years old.

During that time, we've published 1,822 posts and even more pictures of Downey. We've missed only two days, just a few months ago, when Joan's grandson was born an unexpected six weeks early.

We've added Steve to our group, who is standing in for his daughter Allison while she focuses on school.

We've repeated ourselves more than a few times. Sometimes all three of us post on similar themes, which just means that all three of us happen to be paying attention to our Downey surroundings. And sometimes we post about the same recurring events, such as the recent Rose Parade float.

Because of Downey Daily Photos, we've gotten to know our town much, much better. And we've met lots of new people and made many new friends who have enriched our lives.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. We hope to see you around for another five years!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

O Tannenbaum


Christmas trees have a short time to cheer us and bring the outdoors to our homes. Oh, I love that smell of evergreen.

But then the season is over and they can't stay in our homes anymore. Downey collects the discarded trees and recycles them into mulch. Later in the year, residents can get free mulch for their lawns.

“...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resininhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night...”
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Falling leaves


The rest of the country only gets to see falling leaves in the fall but we get to see them in both the fall and winter. This tree is losing its leafy coat and covering the ground with a yellow blanket.


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I caught this leaf before it hit the ground.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Late fall

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It was a late fall this year. It is January and leaves are still Downey anyway. It does make for a beautiful January walk.

"Falling leaves hide the path so quietly." 
~ John Bailey

Monday, January 5, 2015

The fundraising starts now

2015 Rose Parade Float

Because the Downey Rose Parade float is financed and built entirely by volunteers, fundraising has to be a constant focus, and it starts immediately after the parade ends. One estimate that I heard is that the budget for the float is typically around $50,000.

Downey Rose Parade float fundraisingWhile this year's float is on display at the Embassy Suites parking lot, you can stop by and purchase flowers off of the float. You can also buy a variety of merchandise, such as Rose Float Association sweatshirts, crocheted scarves, and other odds and ends. Later in the year, the association mans a fireworks booth for the Fourth of July, and sells snacks at the summer Concerts in the Park series, just to name a couple of their fundraising events.

In addition, other kinds of contributions occur during the year. For example:
  • The City of Downey contributes by providing the police escort for the trip back and forth between Downey and Pasadena, free of charge.
  • Local businesses contribute grain for decorating, and foam and other materials for construction.
  • A carpenter from Knott's donated his time to build the house, above, in this year's float.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On display

2015 Rose Parade Float

    As usual, Downey's Rose Parade float is on display at the Embassy Suites parking lot.

    2015 Rose Parade Float volunteer GordonGordon has been a volunteer helping with the floats since 2003. He is an enthusiastic and well-informed volunteer, and I learned a lot today.
    • Downey has had an entry in the parade every year since 1952.
    • Downey’s entry has the distinction of being one of only six floats which come under the parade classification of self-built. This classification means that the float
      is completely financed, constructed, and decorated by volunteer contributions and help.
    • The Downey float travels the furthest to get to Pasadena, and usually arrives last on New Year's Eve. It takes about 6 hours to travel the 18 miles.
    • The team of volunteers that accompanies the float has a lot of fun, hanging out on arrival with the five other volunteer teams, enjoying the camaraderie and fire pits. (This is in contrast to the paid workers who head home as soon as their job is done.)
    • Knott's Berry Farm donated the horse and sleigh. The sleigh was donated several years ago, and the horse was donated this year when Knott's underwent some refurbishment.
    Gordon's favorite story about this year's float took place at the judging. One of judges had tears in her eyes as she looked at the three uniformed servicemen who rode on this year's float. When asked about this, she replied that the servicemen reminded her of her own army son, who she wished could be "home for the holidays" (the theme for this year's float).

    More tomorrow...

    Poinsettia tree

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    Poinsettias are typical holiday plants. We put them out on our front porches and decorate for Christmas. This poinsettia is quite different. It's a tree that has grown taller than the house. Pretty impressive. I wonder how old it is and how long it took to get so large.

    Did you know?
    • There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available.
    • Poinsettias contribute over $250 million to the U.S. economy at the retail level.
    • California is the top U.S. poinsettia-producing state.
    • It is estimated that women account for 80% of poinsettia sales.

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    The good life

    Feral cats at Rancho Los Amigos

    The feral cats at the abandoned south campus of Rancho Los Amigos Hospital have it good.

    Feral cats at Rancho Los AmigosThinking about these cats has become an annual thing for me, because I see them on my way to see the Rose Parade float being worked on.

    Even though there are signs posts that warn against feeding the cats, someone obviously feeds them on a regular basis, even behind the locked gates.

    And I imagine they have access to the dozens (would "hundreds" be an exaggeration?) of rats and mice that inhabit all of these abandoned buildings.

    "You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats."
    - Colonial proverb

    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Home for the holidays part II


    Yesterday I showed you some pictures of the Downey Rose Float Association's entry into the Pasadena Rose Parade. Their entry is titled "Home for the holidays." Well, the float won a national award called "Best Depiction of Life In U.S.A. - Past, Present Or Future." The attention to detail is certainly one reason for the award. This squirrel's fur is made of cotton that the volunteers had to take the seeds out of by hand.


    I guess they didn't have a cotton gin handy.


    This horse is so life-like.


    This tree stump with the viewing slits is for the emergency brakeman. The driver follows a painted line in the middle of the road to stay on the parade route. If anyone runs in front of the float while it is moving, the driver would never know. But the emergency brakeman, looking through the slits, would pull the lever to stop the float.