Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Humans of Downey - Mari


"The way I want my children to be like me is to be drawn to God. I love God so much, I love Jesus and I love to pray. When you love something, when you've found some place great to eat, you tell others, 'You've got to eat here. The food is great.' Because you want to share the source of your joy with others so they can feel the same joy. So, I want my children to enjoy that goodness of God. I love God and I know the power of prayer. I know the impact of having a relationship with Jesus Christ on my life. So, I pray this prayer a lot, 'God, turn my children's hearts towards you.' I pray the scriptures for my children. You can't go wrong when you pray appropriate scriptures for you children.

"I've committed my life to Christ. I'm a single mom. I don't date and I've said, 'Lord, I'm your vessel, just use me.' So, I want my kids to have that attitude of 'We don't care what the World thinks. It matters what God thinks.' People are asking, 'Why don't you date? Get a boyfriend.' But, I'm so happy. I have such peace and I'm so content even in the difficult situations in my life. I want that for my kids, and others that I care about, but especially for my kids. But you can only get that from the peace of knowing Christ.

"A character trait of mine that I don't want my children to replicate in their lives is having a fear of rejection or of what others think of them. Scripture says that God's perfect love casts out fear. So, I want my kids to have the character trait that trusts God in every situation. Including when others say negative things about us of when the World looks down on us. My children have been created in the image of God, so God wants them to act like it and not be afraid of what the World thinks. I want them to believe that God's love covers them and that they have the mindset that they have nothing to fear, including what others think or say. Because it won't change who they are. I want them to be confident in who they are. It doesn't matter what's said or an event that happens or a misdeed that's done to them. Nothing changes the truth that they are loved by God. And they can be confident in that."
~ Mari

P.S. Mari was praying for me when I took this picture

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Colors of the rainbow


Saturday was windy and rainy and the perfect day to stay inside with the fireplace going. Sunday started out gloomy, but I headed out to run some errands anyway. As I was walking out of Target, I was surprised by this rainbow. It looks so small in the picture, but it seemed so brilliant at the time. I wasn't the only one stopping to appreciate it and take a picture. There is something about a rainbow—seeing one always seems like a gift.

Gratitude is the real treasure God wants us to find, because it isn't the pot of gold but the rainbow that colors our world. 
~  Richelle E. Goodrich

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Heading home from the holidays

I5 traffic

For the Thanksgiving long weekend, Wednesday evening after 5pm is supposed to be the absolute worst time to hit the road. I guess everyone who is leaving town wants to leave as soon as they finish work on Wednesday.

But coming home is a little bit different. People head home on different days, and by Sunday afternoon, traffic—at least in this section of the I5 passing through Downey—is back to normal.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


IMG_0502 as Smart Object-1

It was an amazing day of rain today. May we have many more.

"Tell me how many beads there are
In a silver chain
Of evening rain,
Unravelled from the tumbling main..."
~ Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Friday, November 25, 2016

And so it begins...

Christmas lights

The weekend of Thanksgiving is the beginning of many things, depending on who you are. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Today (Black Friday) is the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. And for those with a lot of energy, today is the day to get out those Christmas decorations and light up your house.

And so, on my walk tonight (still walking off those Thanksgiving leftovers), I saw the first decorated house in my neighborhood, all lit up and colorful. Just a taste of what we can look forward to over the next few weeks.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving


Each Thanksgiving, as families grow or shrink, the big question for all of us is, "who is going to cook what?" As I went to my local Ralph's supermarket today, I noticed this line of people at the Boston Market. It seems the drive-thru became the walk-thru. I learned that they had pre-ordered their Thanksgiving dinner and were here to pick it up. Their answer to the big question was to let someone else do the cooking and they would enjoy the meal and the added time doing what they wanted to do on Thanksgiving.

Whoever prepared the meal you enjoyed today, my hope is that you remember the blessings you have received this year and tell the people involved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Practice makes perfect


This is the driving range at Los Amigos Golf Course here in Downey. I prefer this driving range because it allows you to hit off of grass rather than an artificial turf mat. It makes for a truer practice of being on the course. It allows you to work out errors in a real environment.

"Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."
~ Vince Lombardi

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Retro trailer

IMG_0467 as Smart Object-1

I like all things retro and rustic. Which is why my attention was drawn to this old trailer set on a lot behind Downey Avenue. I could imagine a family using this to take a vacation.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” 
~ Bill Bryson

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving choices

Porto's Bakery

Porto's Bakery is doing its part in giving Downey lots of choices for our Thanksgiving menus. Whether you choose turkey and giblet potato balls or one of the Thanksgiving-themed cakes, they've got you covered.

Porto's Bakery Thanksgiving cakesPorto's Bakery Thanksgiving cakes

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Stonewood train

Santa might be down at the other end of the mall already, but kids are still having fun in the old-fashioned Old West train at the Stonewood Center.

"I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going."
~ Anna Funder

Saturday, November 19, 2016


IMG_0490 as Smart Object-1

Sometimes the twilight colors of the sky just call to you. Tonight was one of those nights.The clouds looked a little like they were on fire.

IMG_0492 as Smart Object-1"Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully." 
~ Kirsten Butler

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pedestrian crossing

Freeway pedestrian overpass

As I posted on Monday (Freeway close), pedestrians aren't very welcome on our local freeways. But if you're a pedestrian wanting to cross over the freeway, that's a different story. Here, you can see one of several pedestrian bridges over the I5 freeway. These lead to the neighborhoods in the small section of Downey that is north of that freeway.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Humans of Downey - Carmina and Travis


"My heroes would be my parents. I was born in Nicaragua. They left their careers of being teachers to come here to give us a better life. Our country was at war with itself so my dad brought the whole family here, a country where he didn't speak the language, he didn't have a degree. They had to start all over again. Through his hard work and dedication, I went to college and am now a licensed physician's assistant. He worked for us to give us a better life. He did his part to provide for the family and through his example, he taught us to work hard and to succeed.

"He is now 65 years old and has retired from the construction field. He told us last year, 'My body can't take this anymore.' And so, since he could retire, he did.

"I want my children to be kinda of like me. I want them to be like me by being ambitious and going after things. But there are things about me I don't want them to emulate. I'm told I don't have a sense of humor, that I am always negative. I don't want them to have that drain on them. I want them to be more glowing, happy. That's not something I had in my childhood. Unfortunately, it's a circle and you need to change you so your children will not be like that.

"I notice my kids yell a lot and scream because I'm a screamer. Those are things I've taught them to do. But I want my kids to be happier in life. I have been to meetings through school to learn how to bring more calmness into my life. The psychiatrist told us, "Your kids scream because you scream. If you want that to change you'll need to calm yourself down.' We learned to count then repeat. Don't let them get the best of you because the moment you get angry, they have already won. Sometimes it does help but sometimes I do explode. I'm very short-tempered. Many times I fail because they know my buttons. That is something I need to change, so it is something I'm working on."
~ Carmina

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not one of the crowd


I took this picture while in the admission office at PIH Health Hospital here in Downey. Notice anything that doesn't fit the norm? Sometimes I feel like that blue chair. Not like the others. Not fitting in with the crowd. Or maybe I'm unique in a good way?

How do you think you fit in?

“How can I expect readers to know who I am if I do not tell them about my family, my friends, the relationships in my life? Who am I if not where I fit in the world, where I fit in the lives of the people dear to me?”
~ Rabih Alameddine, I, The Divine: A Novel in First Chapters

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Peaceful protest

20161113_173830 as Smart Object-1

"Hate won't make us great." That was one of the messages that was written on a piece of cardboard being carried by one of the demonstrators. It is a good slogan. There has been a lot of negative response to the election of Donald Trump. Even here, in Hawaii, locals took to the streets in a non-violent protest demonstration.

I understand that everyone has different beliefs and opinions about the issues. Clearly, this is the time for all of us to pray that our leaders—new and old—can govern with wisdom and compassion. We do all need to work together.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Freeway close

Freeway access

Downey is surrounded on all four sides by major freeways that take us north, south, east, and west. If you live in Downey, you're accustomed to easy access to the freeways—for cars, that is. If you're on foot, the access is appropriately forbidding!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Birdhouse neighborhood

Yard with chairs

When I saw these comfortable Adirondack chairs in this front yard, I thought, what nice surroundings for a warm autumn afternoon! It wasn't until I stopped that I also noticed the row of country birdhouses lined up on the bricks.

Yard art houses

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Still life

20161111_201348 as Smart Object-1

Sometimes it's the simple things in life... I am out of town traveling for work. I had a knock at my hotel door and it was a hotel employee bringing me a bowl of fruit as a welcome gift. It was a kindness and I appreciated the simple beauty of the fruits as well as the healthy treat.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." 
~ Aristotle

Friday, November 11, 2016

Freedom is never free

Robert Lane PFC

Today in the US we celebrate Veteran's Day. Businesses all around Downey offered special deals to veterans, as a way of saying "thank you" for their service. Friends posted "thank you" messages on Facebook. (All in all, a very welcome change from the pre- and post-election noise.)

My dad, above, served in Germany and France during WWII, before eventually returning and raising a family "way way out" in Downey.

"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. American will never forget their sacrifices."
~ President Harry S. Truman


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Humans of Downey - Michael


"One character trait I have that I would want my kids to also have is respect for other people. With all the drama that's going on in our country right now, you need to respect others' opinions or decisions. Whatever they choose to say or think, you need to respect those choices. If you disagree about how someone voted, you can't get mad. Everyone has their opinions. It doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong. I think you need to respect and be nice to other people.

"I think I have a good sense of humor. You need one to get through this job. We see some crazy things out there. I've been working in the Downey Police Department for 30 years and I've seen some pretty crazy things.

"To help instill in my sons a sense of respect for others, I've taken them on several ride-a-longs. I have two objectives in this. First, I want them to see what others may never see about how people live, how they make good decisions even in the midst of difficult situations. Second, I want them to appreciate what they have. When we would go on a call that takes us into someone's house that isn't as well off as we are, they see that not everyone has it as good as we do. It helps keep them in check. Everyone gets in that phase where you get complacent, taking things for granted, so it's good to take them out to see the other side of life where people don't have it as good as we do.

"My daughters are a little young to be taken on a ride-a-long. For the past ten years I have been president of the Downey Police Association and we have delivered presents during Christmas and Thanksgiving diners the night before Thanksgiving to needy families. And I've taken my daughters along with us to give them the experience of helping others. My kids are just like all kids who at times will desire more than they have. But by helping others that are in need of these essential items, it's an eye opener. It makes them appreciate what they have."
~ Michael

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Humans of Downey - Dario


"A person I consider as a hero in my life would be my dad. I have come to understand how important a father figure is in a person's life. I'm in social work, and I know that a strong male figure is key to a person's success in life. My dad, since we were very young, was showing me how to do the right thing, to go to school and get a good education. He would say, 'Be better than me. Take advantage of the situations.' Now my mindset is school, a good education, and choose the right way and hopefully it will turn out well.

"When I was younger, my dad wanted me to be a professional baseball player. I wasn't into it as much as he was but I wanted to please him. So in the 6th and 7th grades I made him buy all this expensive gear. I later regretted this part of the story. I love baseball to this day but I just wasn't that good. That was one time when my dad and I disagreed about my future. He had almost been drafted into the minor leagues and later, he realized that he had wanted me to follow in his footsteps. But it just wasn't me.

"Later, I became involved in music and now do it professionally. My dad is my biggest fan. I hear him say to his friends, 'Oh yeah, my son has played at the House of Blues and the Conga Room.' You can tell there is a sense of pride in him."
~ Dario

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Porto's...not just for breakfast

IMG_0449 as Smart Object-1

I know, one more post on Porto's. But, who can resist? Do you realize that if you go for a late breakfast, by the time you get through the line and get your coffee and juice and sit and chat for a while, it could be lunch time!

IMG_0450 as Smart Object-1"Never eat more than you can lift." 
~ Miss Piggy

Monday, November 7, 2016

Banner ads

Downey Theatre

Back in August, the Downey Civic Theatre celebrated Downey's 60th anniversary with new banners inside and out, along with numerous other improvements. The colorful external banners cover the rather boring brown brick facade and let people know the kind of events that take place here.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

No dumping

No dumping

Especially during a drought, we tend to think that every bit or rain has got to help, right?

Well, maybe. Most of our water supply comes from rain and snow that falls during the winter in northern and eastern California. Groundwater is also an important part of Downey's water supplies, comprising about 30% of water used in an average year, and 60% or more in a drought year.

And what falls right here in Downey? Well, it pretty much just flows down the storm drains to the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A great way to start the day

IMG_0444 as Smart Object-1

Freshly baked bread and pastries are my downfall. So, of course, Porto's calls to me. This Saturday morning I met a couple of friends for coffee and goodies. Porto's did not disappoint. I tried a new coconut pastry that was amazing.

IMG_0443 as Smart Object-1IMG_0447_1

IMG_0446"Sometimes I write drink coffee on my to-do list just so I feel like I accomplished something."

Friday, November 4, 2016

The stragglers

Halloween scarecrow

Maybe I just haven't noticed before. But this year, I'm very aware of the Halloween decorations that are still up in these first days of November. (Not that I really expect anyone to jump up early Tuesday morning and pack the stuff away!) But with Halloween and summer weather infringing into the first days of November, and knowing that Christmas decorations are going to start popping up any day now even though it's not yet Thanksgiving, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for the good ol' days. What's happened to fall?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Just down the coast from Downey

San Clemente 10-2016 - 2

Just an hour down the coast from Downey is the lovely beach community of San Clemente. My wife and I spent last weekend there celebrating our anniversary. At low tide this shallow beach becomes a walker's paradise. We walked for almost two miles in the same direction before turning back to get lunch. And we were still a ways from San Mateo Point where San Mateo Creek empties into the ocean.

San Clemente 10-2016 -1

This was only a small portion of the view from our porch. We walked to the end of the pictured pier about six times. So relaxing. If you want to learn more about San Clemente, click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Humans of Downey - Jared


"My first telescope was a Galileo Comet Hunter. This was a telescope that was sold for kids, about 20 years ago, as a first gateway into astronomy. It had no motors on it. It was just a straight, human-operated telescope. My parents got it for me for Christmas when I was 8 years old. One of the first objects I looked at with it was the planet Saturn. It just blew me away. To see in my telescope the rings around this planet that is hundreds of millions of miles away. It left such an impression on me that I ended up pursuing space as a kid. I went away from it when I was in high school, but got back into it when I went to college. And now I plan on doing it professionally.

"So, that cold December night, being outside with my dad and being frustrated initially with not knowing how to operate a telescope, to finally getting that payoff of seeing Saturn and those rings. Just blowing my 8-year-old mind away with seeing that has pretty much set up most of everything else for the rest of my life.

"When I think of who has helped me on this path, I would have to say that my parents are my heroes. They have supported me through all that I have gone through in my life, all the changes, the pivots, and even the complete U-turns. The infinite encouragement I've gotten from them has been such big help for myself.

"One example of this is when in college I completely changed my major from Theater Arts to Planetary Geology. Boy, that was a full blown U-turn, if ever I've seen one. And both of them telling me, 'Go for it. Do it. It's what you love to do and that is what you should do for the rest of your life. Go for it.' Both of them consistently picking me up onto their shoulders or pushing me to allow that reinvention of myself, to really figure out what and who I wanted to be. That to me has been the ultimate heroic effort. Especially since I haven't always been the easiest person to do that for."
~ Jared

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Giant Jenga

IMG_0474 as Smart Object-1

Evidently giant Jenga is a "thing."

IMG_0477 as Smart Object-1And, in addition to the pumpkin carving this weekend at the Stay Gallery, there was also a wild game of giant Jenga going on. He oh-so-carefully pulled out one of the wooden pieces...but he was not careful enough and the tower collapsed. I have to admit, I was impressed at how quickly he jumped up and out of the way!

This might be a game I need to buy.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!" 
~ George Bernard Shaw