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

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pancakes

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If you get there early enough, you can beat the crowds at IHOP. For Veterans Day this year, IHOP gave out complimentary pancakes to honor the service of our veterans and active military men and women.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Humans of Downey - Karla

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"I think I'm the same as everybody else in that I get angry when someone causes pain to another person. I also get angry when someone causes me pain. On the positive side, I am a loving person. I love my family. I love that they love me and support me. I love my husband. He is a very loving and caring person. He's always wanting to help and care for others.

"The only thing I can think that is unique about me it that I work with my dad in construction and painting. The fact that I am a woman in this business is not seen very much in the Southland. When I go into the stores for our material, people tend to get surprised when they see me. I get asked a lot, 'Do you work in painting?'. My responsibility on the job site is safety. To make sure that all the equipment is working and we have all the safety equipment we need. I also make sure pedestrians are kept out of harm's way. My dad taught me that safety is one of the most important pieces of a finished job. If we were to have a history of accidents we wouldn't be in business for very long."

~ Karla

PS Karla works for Alberto Rodriguez painting, Santa Barbara. They were here for the past 4 months painting all the buildings of Downey Landing. My interview was on the last day of their project where they were painting the Downey Landing sign.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Humans of Downey - Daniel

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"I'm just like everybody else in the aspect that I like to suspend reality for a few hours and go to a movie. I like being an extra in everybody else's lives and be in the background. I'm the guy in the bar sitting in the background. That makes me feel normal. I'm an ant in this huge colony and that's just fine with me.

"On the other hand, I've traveled the world because I was in the navy. I've been to Dubai. I was in the Persian Gulf when we had all that action with Iran in 2007. I could have been anywhere else in the world, but I ended up in Texas and then back here in Downey. I went to Downey High School and being back feels like I'm home. So, with all those experiences condensed into a 34-year-old body, I feel I'm different from others.

"Also, when I worked at Disneyland I knew I was part of someone's vacation. You are put in a position where you can make someone's day 'magical'. Knowing that I could have that kind of effect made me want to go to work everyday. I'd say to myself, 'I'm going to help these people not have to wait in line today,' or 'I'm going to play a game with these certain people.' That certainly ingrained itself in my personality so that I am more of a people person than I was before. I'm not afraid to go up to strangers and joke with them or at a bar, make some new friends. I think that makes me unique."

~ Daniel

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fiery sky

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The sky was amazing tonight as I was heading home from work. The clouds looked to be on fire.

"Once you have tasted the taste of sky you will forever look up."
~ Leonardo Da Vinci

Monday, November 6, 2017

At last...

Thrift store fall

Fall colors aren't limited to the landscape. They also decorate the store windows at the Second Tyme Around Thrift Shoppe.

"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall."
~ Oscar Wilde

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Trees and light

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On our recent trip to Oregon, we spent some time driving through the beautiful redwoods. This was a favorite picture of mine because it shares a little of the magical feel of the redwood forests. The light and how it sort of glows through these tall trees adds to the beauty of the setting.

komorebi ~ Japanese for the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Trick or treat at the mall

Halloween at Stonewood

Looking back, what strikes me most about Halloween when I was a kid was the level of participation. I grew up on a block of seven houses. Once around the block, both sides of the street, and the total went to 30 houses. And every one of them had their porch light on, welcoming the neighborhood kids.

On my current street of 40 houses, there were four porch lights on. (I think this explains why trick-or-treating seems to be such a car-bound experience anymore.) No wonder community events, such as Trick or Treat! at Stonewood Center, are so popular! With great participation from all the stores, kids could have the excitement of running from place to place in a warm and dry environment. And safe, too, especially under the watchful eye of the security storm troopers.

It almost felt like the old neighborhood.

Halloween at StonewoodHalloween at Stonewood

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Humans of Downey - Jennifer

Jennifr and Daniel

"I am the same as others because I enjoy life, I like to go with the flow. I like doing things that are exciting. We go camping, go out on a boat, and we love going to the movies. I love doing these things with Daniel, my husband. When I love someone, I get butterflies in my stomach. When I see my husband, who has always been my protector, or when I see my son wake up in the morning, I get butterflies. My family makes me happy and I think, 'everything is OK.'

"I am unique because I went to school for forensic pathology. I like to work on dead people. When I was in the fifth grade at St. Raymond's here in Downey, I'll never forget this, my teacher was teaching us about JFK and his assassination. I remember the TV in the corner and watching the video. I got in trouble from the teacher because I asked her to play it again because I wanted to know how it happened, why it happened, where did the bullet go. She actually yelled at me for that, but I knew then and there that's what I wanted to do when I grew up. All that stuff fascinated me. I wanted to investigate, I wanted to find out the truth."

~ Jennifer

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Smoky sunset

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A few weeks ago we had some really hot weather, which meant it was fire season weather again. We had some large fires in Orange County that spread their smoke and ashes across the Los Angeles basin. You can read about the fires here.