Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Downey is a giving community

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This electrical box is just outside the Mimi's Cafe on Firestone Boulevard. It depicts the many facets of giving that the Assistance League of Downey participates in.

DSC_0438[1]The one I'm most familiar with is the thrift store on Downey Avenue. My wife and I pass by it during our evening walks. We love to see the window displays. They always have a theme and are very creative. Go and check out what's inside sometime, and then support the Assistance League by purchasing something.

We have many posts of the thrift store here.

We have also posted regarding the Assistance League's Casa De Parley Johnson here. The house was designed for Parley Johnson and his wife Gypsy. After her death in 1986, the house was bequeathed to the Assistance League.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Here comes the rain

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It was on my drive home today that the rain started really coming down.

"Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain." 

~ Langston Hughes

Monday, March 20, 2017

Local wildflowers

Downey wildflowers

I always thought that if I wanted to see wildflowers in bloom in the spring, I'd have to drive for a couple of hours in any direction. But it turns out that Downey has its own patch of wildflowers, in the parkway next to an empty lot. This patch (maybe 200' long and 6' wide) is overflowing with poppies. I recognized mostly oriental poppies, and even a few of our own California golden poppies.

Just goes to show what a little rain can bring.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Contrast

Yellow tree

Once again, bright colors and sunset lighting combined to create a stunning effect. This tree, just like the one I saw six years ago in a different location, stopped me in my tracks (or at least the nearest parking spot), so that I could capture the bright yellow blossoms against the rusty red wall.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Porto's effect

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The view of Porto's Bakery from Firestone Boulevard almost any day of the week. Even with another Porto's open now in Orange County, it seems the demand still makes it worth the wait—in line, that is.

"Life is short, eat dessert first." 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish you were beer

Bastards St. Patrick's Day

We might not turn Downey Avenue green like the Chicago River, but there are still plenty of St. Patrick's Day celebrations going on in downtown Downey this evening. The biggest one appeared to be at Bastards BBQ, where signs of Irish green were everywhere.

Did you know, according to Wikipedia, that Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival? Even though less than 5% of California's population is of Irish ancestry, you'll see celebrations and reminders everywhere. And 83% of us wear green—or risk getting pinched!

Bastards St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Humans of Downey - James

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"My next big adventure is going out to Texas next November to go hunting. We'll be after whitetail deer. I try to go hunting about once a year. Last year I went to Houston and did a hog hunt. I got a 504-pound hog. This year, though, I'll be going just north of Dallas. Once we get our deer, we have it processed and I'll bring home the steaks, tenderloins, and other cuts.

"I usually go with my cousin, plus we take along people who have never hunted before and don't know the basics. It's our way of teaching good hunting fundamentals. I grew up in Oklahoma where my uncle Wayne taught me how to hunt. We hunted mostly deer, but we did some turkey hunting. Turkeys can be tough to hunt because they are pretty smart. You have to shoot them in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Anywhere else and you ruin the meat. For a deer, I use a 30.06 rifle. You need to hit them in the vital area, around the heart and lungs so it's a quick kill.

"I was going to propose to Pauline on New Year's Eve just before midnight. Her family knew, because I asked her parents' blessing. Her sister found out and she told Pauline. Well, that kind of ruined the surprise. Later, I kind of lied to her telling her that when I asked her parents for their blessing, they said 'no.' They said I couldn't ask her. At that point she said, 'That's OK, we weren't ready anyway.' Which kind of scared me since I was going to propose three hours later. But she did say 'yes' later that night."
~ James

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Humans of Downey - Pauline

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"My husband and I met while we were part of the college group at Calvary Chapel of Downey. We served together and I fell in love with him because of his love for people. For our first date, he told me that his boss had given him tickets to see the musical 'Wicked.' I later found out that he had bought them himself because he wanted a reason to take me out. It was a great date night and it began the next phase of our relationship. James has always been a funny guy and that carried into our dating times. When he asked me to be his girlfriend, it was on April 1st. He said he did that just in case I said no, he could say, 'April fools.' We've now been married 4 years and it's been fun.

"Obviously, since we are young, we are looking into that next stage of life of having children. If children are in our future, God willing, then that will be quite an adjustment. I'm really excited about that, but there are a lot of fears attached to it also. I think it will be fun. I think the biggest fear is the change in our current routines and freedoms. Currently, we can stay out late if we want. We can just get up and go on a vacation when we want. But at the same time, we want children and we know God will walk us through all the changes."
~ Pauline

PS James, Pauline's husband, will be tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fountain of plants

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I love re-purposing. This is a great use of a fountain, now re-purposed as a planter filled with succulents.

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." 
~ Audrey Hepburn

Monday, March 13, 2017

Later gator!

Stone alligator

Yesterday's post showed the flowery side of this corner house. The other side was the perfect drought-resistant garden, with drought-tolerant plants and lots of stone pathways.

And this alligator!

Advice from an Alligator

Take a bite out of life
Keep a low profile
Bask in the sun
Have a healthy appetite
Keep an eye on opportunities
Be thick skinned
Don't be afraid to open your mouth

~ Ilan Shamir

Sunday, March 12, 2017

More in bloom

Flower garden

Once again, my attention was caught by flowers in bloom. This house is a study in contrasts (more on that tomorrow). On this side, you see the results of our abundance of rain this winter. Flowers are blooming everywhere and, as usual, the sight of them lifts my heart a bit.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The magic time of day...sunset

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Sunset on the beach...pretty magical. Yes, a couple last pictures from Hawaii.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Only just begun

Carpenters electric box

The Downey Patriot recently published an account by Downey resident Kathy Perez of a Carpenters tour she took. The tour covered numerous Downey locations that were a part of the Carpenters' lives, such as their family home, their school, and their church. The story reminded me that not too long ago, I spotted this electrical box that is decorated to commemorate Karen and Richard Carpenter and their spot in Downey's history.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blending in

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The colors and even the texture of an animal's fur are supposed to help them blend in with their surroundings. This cat almost makes it happen. I stopped to take a picture of another cat that was all gray. He was easy to pick out in this front yard. This cat sneaked up behind him and chased him away (about 10 feet away). Then he paused long enough for me to get this shot.

"Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well."
~ Missy Dizick

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Humans of Downey - Efren

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"My first car was a '65 Ford Mustang. I bought it in 1985. I was struggling back then. Our family was very poor back in Mexico. We barely had enough to keep ourselves fed. I had to find a lot of ways to earn money. I made things and sold them. I worked on other people's cars. I sold my bikes. I worked on people's yards. I took care of their dogs. All to get enough to buy my dream car. Also, I spent money only on absolute necessities like food. I wouldn't even buy myself a pair of shoes. That car cost me 30,000 pesos, which back then was about $1,500. The owner let me pay it off in 10 payments.

"The car was running, but very badly. The engine was very bad. It was putting out lots of black smoke and the transmission was slipping all the time. The paint was so-so, but it needed tires. But in my head I had a vision of how beautiful that car could look. So, the first thing I did was to pull the engine and transmission out because my father in Mexico was a mechanic. That was an advantage for me. After I pulled the engine and transmission, I sanded the paint off. It had ten layers of different colored paints: orange, yellow, white, green. All kinds, it was like a rainbow. Once I got it down to just metal, I painted it black cherry. That color lasted 15 years. The first girl I gave a ride in my new car is now my wife.

"Later, I moved to the United States, but I left the Mustang in Mexico. I missed it. I would say, 'I want my car back, I want it back.' The reason I wanted it back though was that I was going to give it to my oldest son. But in the beginning of his driving years, he didn't like the Mustang. He was more into the smaller Japanese cars. When his friends from high school came over, they would see the car in the garage and ask, 'Hey, whose car is that?' and he would answer, 'Oh, that's mine.' And then they would say, 'What are you doing with this little Toyota when you have this classic Mustang? Nobody has a car like that.' And he would say, 'Na, I don't like it.' Then about two years ago, I told him that if he didn't want the car I was going to sell it. I didn't want it in the garage anymore since no one was using it. It had a new engine, new tires. All it needed was a new paint job. Then one day he comes to me and says, 'Hey dad, I want to talk to you.' I thought it was about grades or girls. He said, 'You know what, I want my car.' I told him it wasn't his car anymore since he told me he didn't want it. 'No, no, I changed my mind. I've even saved my money to send it to get a paint job.' Now it's his.

"I have a great many memories in that car and now it's going to stay in the family."
~ Efren

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It's all about the water...

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I am back in Hawaii for work and wanted to share a little of the beauty here in Oahu. It all revolves around the water.

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"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."
~ Wyland

Monday, March 6, 2017

The unintentional blooms

Alley weeds

The house I wrote about yesterday benefited from all the rain we've had the last couple of months. But it's not just the intentional blooms that benefit—the unintentional blooms (otherwise known as weeds) take advantage of the rain too. In the case of this section of alleyway, the ground was bare a month ago. All we needed was a month of rain, and now there are blossoms (and weeds) everywhere!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

An abundance of blooms

House in bloom

On what was otherwise a somewhat dreary day, this house brightened my day with its overflowing abundance of blooms.

"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Yard art explosion

Yard art

Sometimes yard art has a theme. And sometimes it just starts somewhere, and grows and grows—a flower here, a flamingo there—until there's something for everyone.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday night lights

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Walking along Downey Avenue this evening, I really like all the lights that give a glow to the street. It makes it feel just a little like the city of lights...Paris.

"A bad day in Paris is still better than a good day anywhere else." 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Humans of Downey - Onalee (Sue) #2

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"Our next big adventure is to figure out how to do the things we want to do. Our circumstances are a little different than most. We have a set of show dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, that we take to shows. It’s our responsibility to take care of them and we can’t just leave them.

"Then there’s just life in general. We’ve gotten to the stage where this is bothering us and that is bothering us. The doctor said, ‘Now get ready. You’re getting to that age.’ And I said, ‘Thanks for that news.’

"Then there is this. We had two children. A boy and a girl. We found out when our son was 6 years old that he had muscular dystrophy. So, we took care of him. The doctors said he probably wouldn’t live into his teen years. He died at age 36. For the last 25 years he couldn’t do anything. He was on a respirator, he couldn’t feed himself, he was confined to a wheelchair. So, our privilege was to take care of him full-time.

"So, now it’s getting out in the world and doing or living the things we haven’t done for the past 25 years. A lot of people used to ask us when we were taking care of our son, ‘Don’t you miss going out and stuff? Like to dinner?’ I said, 'No. I am eating out. Food is being brought to me and I don't have to cook.' My other enjoyment during those days was to go to the market. The simpler things in life you enjoy more or you find things out of them that bring you more joy than someone else might think of that didn't have the circumstances with our son.

"There is one thing I'm looking forward to in the future though. I love Neil Diamond. Every year I would see on the TV that he was coming to put on a concert. And every year I would say, 'I wish I could go, I wish I could go.' Well, with that in mind, my husband got on the computer and he bought us tickets for Neil Diamond's concert in August at the Forum. That is the first item on my bucket list that I get to check off. Little things like that make life more enjoyable."

~ Onalee (Sue)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Humans of Downey - Onalee (Sue) #1

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"My mom, Leona, made up my first name by switching the two parts of her name around. I take care of little ones and Sue is easier for them to say. My husband's name is Ken, so my daughter's name is Kimberlee. My granddaughter's name is Ashlee and my grandson's middle name is Lee.

"My husband and I met at Warren High School. I was going with his best friend who decided he liked another girl better than me. So, 'C'est la vie'. Well, we got to talking since we already knew each other. Then he asked me out to the Homecoming Dance. I later found out that I was the only girl he ever dated. We continued to date through high school, although most of our time together was because of his being in Marching Band and I in Drill Team. Wherever they went, we went. A month to the day after I graduated, we were wed. I was 17 and he was 19. We've been married 50 years this July. We have lived most of our lives in Downey."
~ Onalee