Friday, July 31, 2015


Los Angeles skyline

Who would think such a mundane place as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) office building could provide one of the best views I've ever seen of the Los Angeles skyline? This is Los Angeles at its best, just after sunset, with the Music Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the foreground on the left.

The DWP building (out of sight to the right of this picture) is itself an iconic Los Angeles building. The 625 by 350 foot reflecting pool that surrounds the building serves as part of its air conditioning system.

Here's a view from the same location, from the 1970s. This picture comes from the Water and Power Associates website, which has some very interesting notes and photos of the area from as far back as the 1930s.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Humans of Downey - Elvira


"Choosing the medical field just sort of happened. After I graduated from high school, a girlfriend of mine, she was dating the son of the nurse who worked for the first doctor I worked for. I was looking for a job, they said there was a position available, so I went for an interview and they hired me."
~ Elvira

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Humans of Downey - Brian


"In high school is when I got started in drumline, I mean, I really loved it. We competed as a band and then we had a great coach, so we were doing drumline even after band season. I loved the competition and the uniformity of it. Then I moved down to Long Beach and I joined a drumline there. It was a syncopated style ,though, and at first I didn't like it. Then I saw how much the crowd got into it and I couldn't help but fall in love with it. It just made people happy when they listened.

"So when my kids were playing today and everyone just stopped and listened, I loved it. I want my kids to compete and win awards, but playing to the crowd is what it's all about. People stopping and smiling and clapping. That's the cool part and that's what I want for my kids."
~ Brian


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Afternoon shadows

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Late afternoon shadows make for such interesting impressions. It is one of my favorite times of the day.

“Where there is much light, the shadow is deep.” IMG_5295 as Smart Object-1
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Monday, July 27, 2015

First impressions


Newly built houses always come with newly planted landscaping. And that makes sense, since the front yard is the first thing that potential buyers see.

LandscapedThe landscaping at this new house is going all out to make that first impression a good one, with everything in bloom all at once. This flower-bordered walkway makes me want to walk right up.

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Take me back, country road

Fence and geraniums

On Friday, I wrote about this dead-end road. But if you look to the right of the dead end, there's a ramshackle wooden fence with a geranium bush peeking through to provide some color.

This little bit of road takes on the feel of a back road in a small country town, and takes me back to an earlier era in Downey. This house and its neighbors were built in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s—before every house had a curb, and a concrete block fence, and all those things we take for granted.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The hawk

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For the last week or two we have heard this screeching sound in the back yard. It was this raptor-like scream that went on for hours.

IMG_5282 as Smart Object-1But, until a couple of days ago, we didn't know what was making the sound. I now believe it was a red-tail hawk. And, there wasn't just one hawk...although I didn't realize there was a second one until I put my camera away (of course).

I think they like our tall pine trees!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dead end

Dead-end street

This short dead-end street ends just before the railroad tracks that divide Downey. On the other side is the Coca-Cola bottling plant. I think it's a coincidence—really! This isn't an allegorical statement about Coca-Cola being a dead end...

"A dead end can never be a one way street; you can always turn around and take another road."
~ Bo Bennett

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Humans of Downey/Ireland - Brendon


"I'll be doing a 1500 meter speed swim in the ocean. They will lay out a course to show us the path to go. I will have to maneuver the course as fast as I can, without a wet suit. Which over here won't be too bad. In Ireland, the warmest you'd ever get in the sea would be 53 to 56 degrees. I also swim the 800 meter in the pool.

"I've been swimming in the Special Olympics since 2003. My parents wanted me to learn to swim so they started me at several weeks old. I'm 30 now, so I've been swimming for over 29 years."
~ Brendon

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Special Olympics 2015


Downey is the host town for Ireland for the Special Olympics this year. Tonight Downey officially welcomed the coaches, trainers, and athletes from Ireland to the city with a festival. Local businesses had informational booths while the Parks and Rec department had face painting and a free photo booth along with several other entertainment booths.


The mayor and city council were there to give speeches that welcomed the delegates. There were also several Irish dignitaries on hand, including Philip Grant, the Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States. Our guests joined right in when the rock and roll music began.


The Irish delegates were dressed in tee shirts and hats proclaiming their team spirit.


I think this coach, encouraging this athlete to be involved in the moment and to feel secure in what he is doing in his event, is a great example of what the Special Olympics is all about. I took this photo just before the National Anthem was sung. The entire Irish delegation stood.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Patch of color


Flowers have a way of popping up in places where you did not plan them and would not expect them. But, they can still make you smile.

"A flower's appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect."  
~ Terri Guillemets

Monday, July 20, 2015

What people will do!

Golf N Stuff Tree House

With the Special Olympics starting soon in Los Angeles, there will be many records set. But Golf 'N Stuff, our local miniature golf course, has its own very unique claim to fame.

This tree house, on one of the golf courses, is where two Guinness World Records for tree sitting were established.

From January 1 to July 2, 1978, Glenn T. Woodrich, age 23, sat on this tree house for a total of 182 days and two minutes. From July 4, 1982 , to Sept. 8, 1983 (yes, 1983!), Timothy Roy, age 29, sat for a grand total of 431 days. He is the current champion.

What would you do to get your name in a book?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crowds at the concert

Crowd at Furman Concert in the Park

I know that the annual summer Concerts at the Park series are always popular. (I'm grateful that I live within walking distance, so that I don't have to find a parking place.) But I was still amazed at the crowds at last week's concert.

The audience ranges in age from toddlers to seniors. People bring chairs to sit on or blankets to stretch out on. Lots of people bring their dinner to eat before or during the concert. There are always lots of dogs. And everywhere you look, people are clearly enjoying themselves.

Crowd at Furman Concert in the Park

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yard sculpture

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So, this isn't exactly someone's yard.

20150524_124218 (1)It is the front parkway of the 76 gas station on Old River and Firestone. Even though the gas station has changed over the years (including being completely rebuilt), the living statuary has remained. I'm not sure whose artwork this is, but it makes me smile as I drive by.

"Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in."
~ Amy Lowell

Friday, July 17, 2015


Mojo Sonic at Furman Park

"...We are serious about entertainment…but we don’t take ourselves too seriously." "Playing songs that don't suck!" These are just a couple of ways that Mojo Sonic describes itself.

What with one thing or another, this third concert in this year's Concert in the Park series was the first one I made it to. And I was glad I did! The band members were having fun (and definitely playing up to my camera!), and as a result, the audience was too. (More on the audience in my next post.)

Mojo Sonic plays a wide variety of favorites from the 70’s through today.  And even if your favorites weren't part of their playlist, their energy was contagious. I hope we'll see them again.

Mojo Sonic at Furman Park

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First timers at the farmers market


I know Pam and Joan have shown you the Downey farmers market, but this last Saturday my wife and I went for the first time. On one side of the street were the prepared foods ready for consumption, and on the other were the fresh fruits and vegetables. I loved this display of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with the color contrast and textures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Humans of Downey - Carlos


"I have worked in Downey since 1979 and here at this shop for twelve of those years. Angelo Cardona was my mentor to become a jeweler. He helped me get set up here in Downey."
~ Carlos

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

By the light....


The moon and the light of a street lamp. It changes the look of what it shines on. The bark of this tree shows so much more character in the glow of the night. The feel is mysterious.

"Sunshine bores the daylights out of me. Chasing shadows, moonlight mystery." 
~ The Rolling Stones

Monday, July 13, 2015

All you can eat

Hometown Buffet bikes

Unlimited choice, unlimited second servings. What's not to like about an all-you-can-eat buffet?

So when I saw these bikes parked outside of Hometown Buffet, I could easily imagine four young men inside pigging out on fried chicken, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy. And of course, cake and cookies and ice cream...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

From the farm to your homes

Fresh and Easy

Fresh fruit is hard to resist when it is piled up high, in baskets and wooden crates that create the impression of a simple country store. And of course, the stores (in this case, Fresh and Easy) know that all too well.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Have passion

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Passion flowers are so unusual looking. There are a variety of exotic blooms, all quite different, but all passion flowers. A little like people...

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”  
~ Albert Einstein

Friday, July 10, 2015

Turn around

Rear view sunset

Sometimes the beauty is right there—behind you.

As photographers, we're taught to always look behind, for the unexpected view, or the unexpected light. In this case, I didn't even have time to turn around. It was all I could do to snap this photo in the mirror, before the sun set and the scene was gone.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Humans of Downey - Mohamad


"I came here from Syria 25 years ago. I went back to Syria for a few years, but when I got back to America, I wanted to know how could I make lots of money here.

"At one point I was a taxi driver in Los Angeles. A rider pulled a gun and demanded all my money. I showed him I only had a few dollars but he said cabbies always had lots of money. When I couldn't give him any more money he shot me, seven times. Then he drove me to Kaiser hospital in Beverly Hills. I was there for two months. Because someone shot me, I didn't have to pay anything for my stay."
~ Mohamad

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Humans of Downey - Nezad


"I am from Bosnia and I loved it there. It was my home. I was born there, raised there. My parents and my friends that I grew up with are there. But I love it here also: the weather; the variety of food; the freedom. There are so many nations here. Even though we come from so many different cultures, people are friendly here."
~ Nezad

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer sunset

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I love sunset! It is my favorite time of the day. It's not just the colors, it is that the quality of light seems somehow different, perhaps a little magical. It is a time of day that forces you to stop and just look and appreciate the beauty.

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"My mother is a big believer in being responsible for your own happiness. She always talked about finding joy in small moments and insisted that we stop and take in the beauty of an ordinary day. When I stop the car to make my kids really see a sunset, I hear my mother's voice and smile." 
~ Jennifer Garner

Monday, July 6, 2015

Union Station

Union Station Los Angeles red line

If I can't actually go anywhere at the moment, I can at least dream of travel. Union Station in Los Angeles encourages those dreams. Whether you're taking an Amtrak train up along the Pacific Coast, taking the metro to Hollywood, or just having a fun outing, you can imagine taking off for a new destination.

In addition, Union Station is simply beautiful. Its huge main hall has an elegance that harks back to the days when train travel could be a luxury and fashionably dressed men and women loaded up their trunks and had a fancy pre-trip dinner served on white tablecloths.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
~ St. Augustine

Union Station Los Angeles main hall

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The 5th of July

The 5th of July

This is what "the morning after" looks like. All around town, there are little pockets of fireworks trash lining the gutters.

So please, everyone, help keep Downey beautiful by picking up a little bit of trash in your neighborhood this week.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

And the rockets' red glare

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Today we celebrated our 239th year of independence from Great Britain.

IMG_4976 as Smart Object-1We enjoyed the day with our friends in the usual way: swimming and a BBQ. Of course, the day had to end with fireworks.

When we couldn't find our usual firework show at Downey High, we headed for South Gate, the next town over. I couldn't believe the displays we saw. In addition to the official show at South Gate Park, there were fireworks everywhere, lighting up the sky and creating such loud pops and whistles that car alarms were set off all around. We got to watch all this from the rooftop of Grace Bible Church. It was a great viewpoint.

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In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote his wife a letter talking about how we should celebrate this day (although, he clearly thought we should be celebrating on July 2nd.)

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

Friday, July 3, 2015

The setting sun effect

Pink house and faded flag

The setting sun turned these walls into a flamingo shade of pink. After I looked beyond that, I noticed the faded flag in the window, and lastly, the moon overhead.

Did you know that five of the six flags planted on the surface of the moon, beginning in 1969, are still standing? However, after 46 years in the harsh environment of the moon, the stars and stripes have long faded away.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fourth of July preparations


Driving around Downey, we can see many different preparations for the citizens of Downey to celebrate the 4th of July. This year we get a three-day weekend out of it.

This house is getting ready by renting a couple of jumpers for the kids to enjoy. I understand it is only part of the festivities planned by several houses in this neighborhood. The whole block is invited for this one.

How are you going to celebrate the anniversary of our independence from England?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let's go to the beach


Yesterday it rained but this weekend is July 4th. So this weekend, like these young men, many southern California residents will flock to the beaches along the coast.

It's great to live where we can go 30 minutes and be at the beach to celebrate with friends and family on July 4th. Or any day of the year for that matter. Enjoy this three-day weekend and remember why we celebrate July 4th, our independence from the colonial rule of England.