Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Quiet exercise

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I ride by this path each day on my way to work. It is the sidewalk on the perimeter of Kaiser Hospital on Caring Way between Imperial Hwy and the large parking lot just north of the hospital. The hospital staff are encouraged to walk this path along with the park across the street as exercise. I don't know if the walkers are rewarded monetarily but the beauty could be reward enough.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Alley pathway

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Continuing with the theme of paths...this "alley" pathway has always puzzled me.

IMG_4779-1We live in Orange Estates and the large majority of homes have alley access to their garage or the back of their yards. Well, these homes (just south of 4th) have alley access to their yards, but this is really much more of a footpath than it is an alley; they certainly don't have garage access. I have always wondered how this alley came about so differently from the rest. Does anyone know?

"Imagination is a great thing in long, dull hours, but it's a real curse in a dark alley." 
~ Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Monday, January 15, 2018

A peaceful path

Downey Cemetery pathway

Path: a road, way, or track made for a particular purpose. This week at DDP, we're focusing on paths.

On the gravestones in the Downey Cemetery, we often see the phrase "Rest in peace." This path, shaded by these old, old trees, contributes to a peaceful setting for those who come to visit.

"Like a good meditation practice, visiting a cemetery focuses our attention on what really matters; helping us to discriminate between what is true and lasting from what is transient, and of little importance."
~ Pythia Peay, Huffington Post

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Creamistry experience

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I finally got around to visiting Creamistry—the latest ice cream experience in Downey. It requires a little guidance, you have choices to make. What base you will choose: the creamy, most chosen one, the gluten-free organic option, or a sorbet type of base.

Then you need to pick a flavor...while there are not 31 choices, it does require serious decision-making skills. Then, when you think you are done, you next must decide what you would like to add in (nuts, chocolate, cereal, marshmallows, candy pieces, the choices again are varied). After choosing your add-ins, you have to decide if you want them on top or mixed in, but then you are done with the decision making and ready for the visual experience of ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.

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I have to admit, mine was delicious, albeit more than I normally spend on an ice cream splurge. However, I was so excited to get my ice cream, I forgot to take a picture...I guess I am just gonna have to go back at least one more time.

"Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos."
~ Unknown

Friday, January 12, 2018

Rainy streets

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The much-needed rain that came so suddenly last week seems to be over. But for a short time, the streets had this magical glow at night. Somehow it makes everything more appealing.

"Rainy days,
Rainy nights.
Wash the world,
Set to right.
Cleansing streets
set apart.
Rainy days
Cleanse the heart." 
~ Unknown

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Humans of Downey - Jason

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“I’m like everyone else in that I have a need to love someone and to be loved back. There are different levels of people’s ability to love and to accept others' love, but I need to be in those intimate relationships. Another way I’m like other people is that I want my sons to achieve their full potential. And I want to create an environment for them that lets them do that.

“One reason I’m unique has to do with how I responded to my parents’ lack of participation in my childhood activities. They both worked very hard and only had a small amount of time to spend going to my activities. So, I did it my way. With sports and my martial arts, I took the lead and just went with it. The adult in my life that did help out and spend time with me was my grandfather. He took me to different sporting events. He owned 11 gyms so I always did weightlifting. My aunt was a tri-athlete so she influenced me regarding physical hard work to achieve your goals. Two other ways I’m unique is that I run the largest non-profit reptile education group in California and I have a son with Down syndrome.

“Here’s a story that keeps me going this way. About 10 years ago I got my reptile organization involved with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. One day, I brought two of my big snakes to the visiting area where two girls from the oncology ward came to see them. They were in their chairs hooked up to their oxygen masks and IVs. I set one of my albino Burmese snakes on this one girl's lap and she cracked this smile that, every time I tell this story, I get chills. I let her hold the snake, the mom got pictures, and the family was very excited. I’ve seen excitement in what I do and it always drives me on.

“About 10 o’clock that night I got a phone call, but I didn’t recognize the phone number. The voice on the other end said, ‘Jason, I don’t know if you remember me, but you came to the event today, you put the snake on my daughter’s lap and she had a big smile on her face.’ ‘Oh yes, I remember Ashley”, I said. She said, ‘I just wanted to thank you. Ashley passed away tonight.’ And I’m thinking, for what? She said, ‘I owe you everything right now. Without you, every lasting memory of my daughter would have been of her hooked up to those machines. Just nothing. But now I have evidence of my daughter smiling and having a good time and that’s what I’m going to remember.’ And I just lost it.

Stuff like that makes Jason Jason. I work 70 hours a week to keep my non-profit going. It’s who I am.”

~ Jason

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Humans of Downey - Andrew

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"On the most basic level, I am like all other humans in that I need to breath, drink, and eat. Two more reasons why I'm like others is that, one, I need community. I need to be accepted by others for who I am. Two, I'm broken just like everybody else.

"One reason why I'm unique is that my aunt raised me and my sisters. From watching her, we got our work ethic. Our mom never worked and we never talked to our dad. Our aunt raised us. She would get up at 3 or 4 every morning and work all day. She would come over each day to feed us and take care of us. We lived in our mom's house, but our aunt took care of us. Our mom was just lazy. So, as I was growing up, I saw my mom and my aunt and the choices they each made. I chose to follow my aunt and work hard and take care of myself.

~ Andrew

PS Andrew is one of the members of the construction crew on the Downey Rose Parade float.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The balloon guy

Jim the balloon guy

Jim the balloon guy was another new (to me) street performer at the Downey farmers market. Jim is Amita the opera singer's assistant, and he says that since he's there anyway, he might as well provide some entertainment for the kids.

Jim the balloon guy

Monday, January 8, 2018

The opera singer

Amita Raj the Opera Singer

It's been a while since I've walked around the Downey farmers market, and I was surprised to discover several new vendors and street performers. Above is Amita Raj, the opera singer. She entertained passers-by with a variety of operatic and other songs. (I enjoyed listening to "My Heart Will Go On.")

Amita has been singing for many years. She sings here nearly every Saturday, elevating spirits and adding a touch of class to the  market.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Good things come to those who wait

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We are lucky in Downey. We have our own Porto's Bakery! The good news is that their food and coffee are so yummy; the bad news is that you have to be patient, because there is almost always a wait.

20180106_190958-1"It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity." 
~ Dave Barry

Friday, January 5, 2018

Constant change

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I was chatting with a much younger person today. We both grew up in Downey, and we were talking about historical sites (that is, the old McDonald's). He asked me what other buildings still remain from my childhood. Outside of individual homes like the one above, I couldn't immediately think of any. Downey Community Hospital, Wonder Bowl, Johnie's Broiler, and many others—they're mostly gone. Even the scene above shows the constant change that is life in our city.

What buildings to you remember?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Humans of Downey - Mike

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"I think that enjoying music connects me to everyone else. I am a huge fan of music. I'm what some people call a metal head. I'm very into the old school rock-n-roll, old school heavy metal—Metalica, Motor Head, Iron Maiden, and stuff like that. Led Zeppelin is my all-time favorite band. That is basically a brotherhood. You can go to a metal concert or old rock-n-roll concert and as soon as you get there you feel a sense of comradery. Music speaks to each of us in our own way.

"The person that has helped me become the unique person I am today is Kelley [Humans of Downey - Kelley]. I first came down to help with the float when I was 18 years old. I didn't know anything that was useful to build a float, but the first day Kelley asked me, 'Hey, do you know how to weld?' I told him no and then he asked me if I wanted to learn because we need help. I said yes. So, he taught me how to weld and from there my skills progressed. Then Kelley got me a job at Knott's Berry Farm as a ride maintenance mechanic. It's because of Kelley that I have the job I have now and the skills I now know. I am the person I am today because someone saw potential in me, taught me a skill, and gave me a chance and because I made a choice to make the most of it."

~ Mike


PS Mike is standing next to the small doorway that he has to crawl through to get to his position to drive the Downey Rose Parade float during the parade. He is lying on his stomach for the whole trip. See Lots of leg room, no view.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Humans of Downey - Kelley

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"I am the same as everybody else in that I wake up in the morning like everybody else does, I go to work like everybody else does, take lunch, deal with problems that come up, come home, deal with issues and maintain the house. I think 'laughter is the best medicine' and so I think I enjoy humor, I enjoy a good smile, a good laugh just like everybody else.

"I am unique in that once when I was 10 years old, my neighbor and his sister were going to go down and decorate a parade float and I really wanted to go but I was on restriction. So I went and I pouted and cried and went to my room. Then I opened the window and jumped out, hopped over the neighbor's fence, and met them on the next block. Then I went down and decorated a float.

"I met some pretty interesting people and had a lot of fun. They showed me how to decorate a float and that just drew me in more. I wanted to know more about it. I kept coming back year after year and now I've been construction chairman of the Downey Rose Float Association for the past 28 years.

"My parents knew exactly where I was within 15 minutes of my jumping out that window. They said that I could have been doing a lot worse. But that I was still on restriction."

~ Kelley

PS Kelley is standing in front of this year's Downey float. It won the Queen's Trophy for 'Most outstanding presentation of roses.' It is currently parked in the parking lot of the Embassy Suites on Firestone Blvd. where it is on display. Go by to see it up close. You can even buy roses off the float.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Leaving winter

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Our last wintry morning in Coeur d'Alene was spent wandering around the lake and exploring. It is such a serene setting and a nice way to end our winter wonderland vacation—but oh, so cold!

20180101_122249-1The time went by too fast and we are now driving home through an even colder Montana (-5 degrees at one point).

In the bottom picture (taken from the window as we were driving), you can see the steam rising from a creek that snaked through the grazing land we were passing. It had never occurred to me before that cold stream water could be so much warmer than the surrounding temperature that it would actually "steam."

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“To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” 
~ Unknown

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's aftermath

Happy New Year balloons

I've had the sniffles for the last couple of days, so my New Year's celebration this year was pretty much limited to seeing these balloons in my local Stater Brothers supermarket. Thankfully, the crowds that filled the parking lot yesterday had disappeared by this afternoon, so that I could restock my refrigerator in peace.