Saturday, December 30, 2017

Winter river walk


Our winter wonderland trip is nearing its end, but since we were so close, we took a day trip to Spokane to walk along the river. It is dramatically beautiful. Of course, it didn't hurt that the sun broke through the clouds and gave us a truly beautiful day.

I love the old brick buildings, especially when there is a beautiful reflection caught in the window.

20171230_110643 (1)20171230_111918-1

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Friday, December 29, 2017


Holiday Decorataing Contest 2017

I've enjoyed this Christmas season, with its celebrations and decorations, and visits with friends and family. But all this activity can be stressful, and even result in meltdowns like this snowman.

So now I'm looking forward to this next long weekend, to store up energy for the new year.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Holiday visitors #2


Another spectacular viewing spot in the LA basin that you can take your out-of-town visitors to is Hilltop Park in Signal Hill near Long Beach. From this hilltop, you can see about a 340-degree view of the basin—all the way from Huntington Beach to Long Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes to the Getty Museum to LAX to downtown LA to Downey to the San Bernardino mountains. In the above picture, you can see Catalina Island in the background.


In this picture, you can see the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday visitors


One universal circumstance we all at one time or another find ourselves in around the holidays is "out-of-town visitors." I think the second-best part of having out-of-town visitors, after catching up on months or even years of life, is taking them out to the sites of the LA basin you've neglected for yourself.

We haven't been to the Getty Museum for several years, even though it's within driving distance, costs only $15 per carload, houses one of the finest collections of European art on the West Coast, is constantly changing what's on display, and has one of the best panoramic views of the LA basin. It's also a great place to take romantic pictures.


So we took our visitors to see a view of LA at sunset from the Getty.


And because the Getty is a teaching museum, we enjoyed learning and appreciating fine art. I highly recommend the experience even if you're not entertaining guests.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Magical white snow


We are not in Downey anymore! Currently, we are driving on our way to a white Christmastime adventure in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. And, it has been white much of the trip. So much snow was falling at one time, we had to stop short of our plans that day—it just didn't feel safe sliding on the road and passing jack-knifed big rigs on the side of the road.

We made it safely to Coeur d'Alene...our magical white vacation!

Monday, December 25, 2017

This day

Holiday Decorataing Contest 2017

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

I'm back to my favorite nativity scenes for Christmas. The view above is at night. (Steve showed another view of this one, during the day.)

Holiday Decorataing Contest 2017Aat Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary sits waiting next to the manger.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The colors of Christmas


Close to Downey, in Naples, Long Beach, is a charming area of homes that run along the water. Every year we make an effort to enjoy the beauty of the lights and decorations for Christmas.

20171221_193815-1This year was no disappointment. The glowing homes were lit with an unbelievable number of lights and decorations.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Trojan Christmas

Holiday Decorataing Contest 2017

These days, partisanship extends even to Christmas! But since I come from a family of Trojans, I can excuse this USC-themed house.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations #7


"Silent Day, Holy Day." Just think of how different all the Christmas songs would be if tradition was that Jesus was born in the daytime instead of the night. But day or night, it doesn't change what the Angel Gabriel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, "Mary...will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations # 6


This is the winner of the "Best Religious Display" in Area 3 for 2017. I took this picture during the day to show how this display is just as beautiful during the day as during the night. It's not in the picture but there is a dancing angel just above Mary and the baby. Go by and see.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


It seems like there are a lot more homes decorated in Downey this year. I like the soft look of this home.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” 
~ Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, December 18, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations #5

Downey Holiday Decorating Contest 2017 Area 2 Best Religious Display Best Overall

This is just one side of the Area 2 winner for Best Religious Display in the 2017 Holiday Home Decorating Contest. What I like best about this display is the focus—this is about the Nativity, without any distractions from Santas, snowmen, or reindeer.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Larger than life


Another trend at least around Downey, are these larger than life inflatable Christmas decorations. Many of them—I was impressed to see—were taller than the houses!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Next year

Furman Park workout

The holidays! The parties are numerous and the treats are everywhere, and it's hard to get motivated to work off those extra pounds. The days are shorter, so it's harder to find the time to exercise, as illustrated by the empty workout area and walking paths here at Furman Park.

Well, I guess that's what New Year's resolutions are for...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations #4


This house won the award for the Most Original Holiday Display in District 2. It has a wide array of winter and Christmas characters on display.


There are the usual characters that I grew up with.


And the unusual characters that my children grew up with.


And of course Snoopy and the gang.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decorations #3


The sign in the front yard says that this home's decorations won the Best Religious display award this year. It is truly a beautiful nativity display.


But I would have to say that the nativity sceen was a little overwhelmed by the rest of the decorations.


And, of course, I found my buddy, Snoopy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A sleigh or a carriage?


I love looking at Christmas lights and outdoor decorations. I have been finding some new trends this year and this seems to be one of this an ultimately elegant Santa sleigh?

IMG_4396It sure seems more obvious on this rooftop.

"When you stop believing in Santa Claus, you get underwear."

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


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


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.


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


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


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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Prize-winning Christmas decoration


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.


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


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


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.



"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


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.


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