Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas deflatables

Christmas deflatables

Inflatable Christmas decorations are everywhere these days, and there are some amazing characters out there. The one drawback is their daytime presentation. They look more like some of us the day after Christmas—or, as one friend put it, like an inflatable massacre.

"People tend to romanticize this job. So, it's fun to let the air out of it."
~ Kevin Smith

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The bell ringer

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Every year at Christmas time, the Salvation Army sets up red kettles all around the world to collect donations for the needy. This bell ringer was collecting contributions at the local Stater Brothers store.

20171208_175850 (1)“Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
~ Oren Arnold

Friday, December 8, 2017

Once a year pleasures

Christmas movies

I know it's not an official date on the calendar, but December 1 is that date when you have "permission" to start watching Christmas movies again. (And also singing Christmas carols...) Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, While You Were Sleeping, and yes, Die Hard, are just a few of the Christmas movies that have made it onto my list in previous years.

A walk around the neighborhood shows me that I'm not the only one. What Christmas movies have you watched so far this month?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations #2

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Here is today's offering of a Christmas decoration winner here in Downey. This one is at 8602 Nada Street. It's a corner house and the decorations wrap around the corner, so you get lots of little smiles as you walk along. You should drive over, get out, and see for yourself.

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These snowmen were there to greet any visitor and show the award sign.

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Just around the corner from them are a couple of gnomes having a discussion about the toys in Mom's garden.

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And of course, I smiled when I noticed Snoopy and Woodstock.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decoration

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I ride my bike through this neighborhood each day on my way to work. Because of the early sunsets these days, I was able to see this house all lit up the other day. I came back and took this picture.

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Then I went up close to see the individual parts and noticed Snoopy in a sleigh. Any decoration is better with Snoopy included.

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Then I saw that I wasn't the only one that came to the conclusion that this was an award-winning display.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Faces on parade

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One of the most fun parts of watching a parade is seeing the personalities of the performers. You see such a variety of expressions, from the shy smiles . . . to an almost severe assessment of the crowd . . . to joyful.

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"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."  
~ Greg Anderson

Monday, December 4, 2017

Downey Christmas Parade

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Consistent with much of the colorful Mexican heritage that is a part of our local history, we were treated at this year's Christmas parade with traditional dancers.

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"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." 
~ Marcus Garvey

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A unique florist shop

Unique Florist

More uniqueness...Because A Unique Florist didn't initially have a large refrigeration unit for their flowers, owner Terri Head makes a daily early morning trip to the flower markets in downtown Los Angeles to stock up for the day. A trip to the flower market is a fun outing for anyone who enjoys flowers—if you don't have to do it every day!

Unique FloristTerri also loves cats. She adopted a family of stray cats at her previous location several years ago, and one of them is still with her. This pretty tortoiseshell kitty has her own bed in the window, and only reluctantly interrupted her nap to acknowledge me.

In addition, a large stained glass panel celebrates cats.

A Unique Florist

Friday, December 1, 2017

From chamber to flowers

Unique Florist

While killing time waiting for my car to be washed a couple of weeks ago, I wandered by this relatively new florist shop next to the main post office. When I noticed the name of the business, A Unique Florist, I decided to go in and find out just what is unique about this shop.

Unique FloristInside, I met proprietor Terri Head. Although her shop is new to this location, Terri has been doing business as a florist in Downey for many years. When her previous landlord decided to go a different direction with the building she was leasing, she found herself unexpectedly required to move by April 1, in the middle of one of her busiest times of the year.

But the move has gone well, and she's enjoying her new location near downtown Downey. One unique thing about her business is the history of her new building—it was the original Downey Chamber of Commerce building, as shown in Larry Latimer's book Downey (Images of America) and also in the Downey Conservancy photo on the counter.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas around town #2

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Here is another Christmas decoration around City Hall. It is the official Downey Christmas tree. Don't worry, even though it has lights on it, you haven't missed the official Lighting Ceremony. That takes place on Monday, December 4, starting at 6:00 pm and going until 8:30 pm. There will be entertainment from local schools, Santa photos, and a snow play area. The event is free and will be held at City Hall, 11111 Brookshire Ave. We'll be there (with cameras on).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas around town

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The signs of Christmas are going up all over Downey. This photo was taken by City Hall. This past week I saw workers wrapping garlands around the lampposts along Downey Avenue and its adjacent streets in downtown.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Room with a view

Tree house with a dish

This tree house comes with access to satellite TV.  Add a bunch of plump pillows, and what more could a tree climber ask for?

Monday, November 27, 2017

More from downtown LA

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The park is surrounded by the city and city activity. As we wandered the paths, Metro trains rushed past, yet we were also treated to peaceful pathways and a few bright patches of color.

"The journey is the destination."
~ Dan Eldon


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Los Angeles State Historic Park

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We have often talked about how conveniently located downtown Los Angeles is from Downey.  And I am always looking for another view of the LA skyline. This Saturday we had an easy 20-minute drive to downtown LA where we enjoyed walking around the 32-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park directly adjacent to Chinatown.

IMG_4092-1Not only is it a beautiful setting with a variety of different trees and plantings, it has incorporated some of the history of the area.

The Zanja Madre—"Mother Ditch"—is the original aqueduct that brought water to the Pueblo de Los Angeles from the Río Porciuncula. The original open, earthen ditch was completed by community laborers within a month of founding the pueblo.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Making a statement

Painted fence

Iron fences are usually either dark or white, and blend into the landscape. This fence makes a statement—someone here is bold, playful, and fun!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

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Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday as we celebrate it today was first proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. You can read his proclamation here. President Lincoln thought it was proper for the nation to give God thanks for His provision and protection. Even in the midst of a civil war, our economy was strong and no foreign state had used our vulnerability to attack us. God truly had blessed America.

“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.”
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving decorations

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Have you noticed that just after Halloween was over the Thanksgiving decorations came out? I know they look like winter decorations but fall isn't over yet. Since Thanksgiving is the next and last holiday of the fall season, these must be Thanksgiving decorations.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A patch of color

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Even in the bleakest landscapes, you can often find a patch of color. This bougainvillea reaching over the ugly block wall fence stood out as a little patch of beauty. Even the hazy color of the sky as I walked along the railroad tracks seemed to soften my dreary surroundings.

IMG_4083-1_1"Colors are the smiles of nature."
~ Leigh Hunt

Monday, November 20, 2017

A knight's tale

Dueling cars

There are many narrow residential streets in Downey and, where these combine with lots of apartments and the resulting street parking, passing an oncoming car can be a challenge. Such was the case when I faced down this truck at the other end of a long block. I felt a little like a jousting knight—can my feeble Honda lance knock this black knight out of the way?

No. I meekly pulled aside into a driveway, and waited for him to pass.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Alongside the tracks

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Here are a few more images of my walk along the railroad tracks on the west end of Downey—just north of Firestone. Although the houses are built relatively close to the tracks, there is quite a bit of vegetation that offers an appealing look.

IMG_4075-1Some of the plants are odd and prickly up close, but they help to separate the houses from the tracks. It makes this side of the tracks seem more friendly somehow.

IMG_4084-1But, if you continue walking toward the riverbed and a more industrial area alongside the tracks, you will find a very different experience. Zoom in and you will see the people hanging out in the left side of this photo. It clearly feels seedy and a bit unsafe.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Don't get toad

Bike in downtown Downey

Downtown Downey is filled with lots of cars these days, and parking spaces are at a premium. But there's always a space for a bicycle, even if it is in a small walkway space off the main street. The bike rack is there, waiting to be used.

"Princess parking only. All others will be toad."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving potlucks

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If you think about it, almost every Thanksgiving dinner is a potluck dinner. Everyone brings something to contribute to the meal and you don't always know exactly what it's going to be or how it goes with everything else.

DSC_0645But a company Thanksgiving meal is even more of a matter of luck because you have an even bigger variety of family and cultural backgrounds. Some of the foods are just what you would have expected from your background, but others will bring something that you would never have thought of having at Thanksgiving.

I'm pretty sure that I have never had tamales at a Thanksgiving dinner I've been to and I've been to a lot of them. But someone wanted to share a piece of their history with us and I appreciated it. By the way, they were delicious.

Now, brownies I've had at Thanksgiving. These were delicious also.

Thanksgiving is a week away. Each day until then, write down something you are thankful for and then share it with the ones you share a meal with next week.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The fall sky

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Fall is such a great time of the year to photograph the sky. Winter can be too cloudy and summer can be too clear. But fall has just the right amount of clouds and sunshine. I took this picture last Friday at a Ruby's Diner at the end of Huntington Beach pier while my wife and I were having dinner. You can almost see the brush strokes. You can see Catalina Island in the distance.

Note: Even though Catalina Island looks as if it is due west of Huntington Beach, it is actually due west of San Clemente.

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I took this photo on my way home from work tonight. I was riding my bike home and just missed the light to cross Lakewood Blvd. As I was waiting for the signal, I noticed the sky and said that would make a great Downey Daily photo. I almost always carry my camera, so I took it out of my backpack and took several pictures, working the shot until I felt I had at least one good one. This is the one I chose.

The sun is setting around 4:30 to 4:45 this week. Make a point to get out in the open somewhere and watch the sky change colors. Make sure you're with someone to share it with. Beauty is a great blessing to share.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

These tracks

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There is something about railroad tracks. They carry with them a sense of adventure as well as history.

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to take the turn." 
~ Helen Keller

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Look into my crystal ball. . .

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This house in north Downey has the coolest ornaments hanging on a pretty impressive tree in their front yard. The ornaments look like giant blue crystal balls which hang from the many twisty branches that stretch almost across the entire yard.

IMG_3173-1"Look to the future, because that is where you will spend the rest of your life."
~ George Burns