Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Water for sale


This is a store that sells, among other things, reverse osmosis filtered water. Customers bring in bottles of all sizes to get filled at $0.25/gallon. While I was there, a lady came with seven 1-gallon plastic bottles and one 5-gallon bottle. There are multiple stores like this in Downey.


There's even a neon sign to advertise how pure the water is.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Fountain entrance


The water fountain at the front of the Embassy Suites in Downey sets the scene for a romantic entrance. It has a European feel to it and the soft sound of the water spilling over the fountain sets the scene.

“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”
 ~ Wallace Stevens

Monday, February 26, 2018

Peas sink

Ducks at Wilderness Park

This week's theme is water. There is a lot of water at Wilderness Park, with two separate lakes. And where there is water, there are a lot of ducks and other birds that are beyond my ability to identify without a lot of googling.

I wrote last year about The care and feeding of birds, and how bread is like junk food to them. So when I knew I'd be at the park with a couple of small boys, I came prepared with one of the recommended food items—a bag of frozen peas.

Well, it seemed like a good idea. But there were several problems. First, peas sink. If you throw them into the water to the ducks, most of them sink out of sight before the ducks reach them. And if you scatter the peas on the sidewalk, the ducks won't get out of the water to get them.

But those other nameless birds will. So, we fed the birds—not the ducks—at the park. They ate the whole bag.

Except for the peas at the bottom of the lake.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Wall flower


I like plants and flowers. However, cactus have not generally been a plant I could appreciate. But this one drew my eye as I drove by this house. It wouldn't be my choice for my house, but I did think it looked interesting and I liked the odd way the flowers just pop out on the tops of each spiky branch.

"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 23, 2018

The meadow in the heart of town

Warren High Harris Meadow and Pond

It's been quite a few years since I've stopped by the Harris Meadow and Pond at Warren High School. For what is really just a glorified drainage ditch (restoring rain water to the water supply instead of letting it drain to the ocean), the area is really quite a pleasant place to walk or sit, especially at the end of the day when the light turns golden.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Humans of Downey - Diego


"I would consider myself just like everyone else because I have a positive attitude. I try to contribute to the community here in Downey as best as I can. I work here at Goodwill where we take things that people don't want and then we find others that might want those same things. I believe that is a service to the city and to the community, but specifically to the people who are down on their luck. Some of our customers may not have the resources that we might have. That's how I contribute to the community.

"I had an incident recently that happened here at work. We are seeing a larger number of homeless people in our community. With the temperatures dropping to just above freezing, it concerns me. A gentleman came to the Donation Center and asked for a blanket. With all my heart I wished I could have given him something, but unfortunately these items don't belong to me. I'm not in the position to give anybody anything that has been dropped off. So, I had to tell him no. I prayed for him."

~ Diego

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Goodwill to others


We recently cleaned out a few closets and took the items that we haven't used in some time over to the Downey Goodwill store. It's a central place to help others. Items you donate help others by providing needed job training and inexpensive clothing and household items. You can see the whole Goodwill story here.


This is just a part of what I saw when I entered the donation area. They had another wall of donations just as tall. The workers have to sift through these donations to separate them into categories.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A walk in the park


I have never been a jogger, but I am a walker. I like to walk and appreciate that we have local parks in Downey that make walking easy and appealing.

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." 
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, February 19, 2018

Going for the gold

Bob's Big Boy

Many people go to a crowded sports bar to watch their favorite sport on TV. My daughter and I, on the other hand, enjoyed the quiet and calm atmosphere at Bob's Big Boy Restaurant, where we could watch one of the Olympic figure skating competitions while we had dinner.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Misty morning


Not exactly in Downey, but not too far away...just off the freeway as I was on my way to Garden Grove for work. The fog or mist was quite magical looking.

“May the light of the morning sun shine upon you. May the deepest and sweetest love always find you.”
~ Debasish Mridha

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hold that space

Mi Cielo valet parking

Downtown Downey is bustling late on a Friday night. All the restaurants are filled with couples dining and dancing, and the streets are filled with their cars. There's not a free parking space within blocks. All of wich has the valet parking attendant at the Mi Cielo restaurant keeping a watchful eye out.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Light and shadow


Just like yesterday, this picture is from one of our many hikes through Yosemite Valley. It shows two of the most important features of photography: light and shadow. The eye is first drawn to the lighted areas of a picture and then begins to examine the shaded areas. What do you see in my picture? Where did your eye first go?

"Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography."
~ George Eastman

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Light broken down

Yosemite falls rainbow

A little over 300 miles north of Downey, just off the California 99, is Yosemite National Park. We took some time off and stayed there this past weekend. This is Lower Yosemite Falls. Above this, out of view, is Upper Yosemite Falls and the middle cascades. The entire falls is 2,425 feet tall.

I was lucky enough to be there when the sun was hitting it so that a rainbow was produced from the mist. A rainbow is white light separated into its wavelength parts. In this picture I think I can see the red, yellow, blue, and violet colors. Somewhere in there is also orange, green, and indigo.

"A rainbow is the product of physics working for your appreciation of beauty."
~ Kyle Hill

Tuesday, February 13, 2018



Last weekend I was in Yosemite. I know it is a long way from Downey, but it is an incredibly beautiful place. We had one perfect sunset while we were there. Here you can see Half Dome lit amazingly by the setting sun. It is almost as if the granite were on fire. As you see, we were not the only ones enjoying it.

"Appreciate small moments of happiness for they are so important."

Monday, February 12, 2018

Great ball of fire

Sunset from Downey parking structure

Looking almost directly west at the end of a day, one looks into the setting sun. The Banc of California sits in front of me. The buildings on the horizon to the left are the Leach Grain & Milling buildings. If I were a few stories higher, instead of on the top of the 4-level parking structure, I might be able to see the green water tower that sits behind Los Amigos golf course.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Twinkle twinkle, little stars


This past week I went for a walk at Furman Park and encountered the glow of some new lights.

I thought the lights looked familiar. They are some of the light poles that used to be on Lakewood Blvd, repainted and repurposed in both Furman and Apollo Parks. I think it was an awesome call. Now the walking path feels bright when walking after dark.

See Mario Guerra's Instagram explanation of the installation of the light poles.

"There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast."
 ~ Charles Dickens

Friday, February 9, 2018

The challenges of light

Half Done YosemiteHalf Done Yosemite

Light can be a challenge to a photographer. Our eyes and brain can take in the details of both the brightest sunlit objects and those in shadow, at the same time. The typical camera doesn't do that, resulting in those disappointing pictures you get where you think, "That's not how I remember it." Fortunately, we can adjust those pictures (in the old days in the dark room and now on the computer), bringing out the details until the finished image, in this case Half Dome in Yosemite, matches the image that we remember.

We've been in Yosemite this long weekend, where we've had some pretty spotty internet access. Thanks for waiting for us, while we catch up now that we're back home again.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The light of knowledge


Earlier this week I posted a picture of a match. That match was a symbol of how we each have a light in us that we can share with others and make that light explode.

Now, I'd like to share a picture of the Downey City Library. It is here that you can grow your light of knowledge. Choose a subject and take advantage of the free books. Bring the whole family and make an evening of it. Be sure to encourage everyone to share what they learned from the books.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The power of one small light


Even though this single match puts out a small amount of light, it still sheds light on its surroundings.


And that single match has enough energy to ignite the gas to make a warm and bright fire.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The comfort of light


As I walk down the street, it is dark, cold, and lonely. But, then I see the porch of a house warmly lit up on my right and all of a sudden there is a sense of welcome. It was another example of  how important light is to us and how it changes how we perceive the world around.

"Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself." 
~ Desiderius Erasmus

Monday, February 5, 2018

An afternoon in the park

Sunset at Wilderness Park

Light. It's the basic foundation of photography. It shows itself in so many ways, from beautiful sunrises to "I hate driving home with the sun in my eyes!", from harsh city lights to soft candlelight.

This week's focus is light, and today's picture shows the lake at Wilderness Park bathed in the afternoon glow of the sun. It's one of my favorite times of the day.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

It's all about the food


I was walking through Downey Gateway as I waited for my to-go order from Bluewave Fish Grill and spotted one of my favorite places—Porto's. Here a little less than 7 years, it has become a Downey icon. I have to admit, just looking at it makes me crave a potato ball!

20180202_180222-1By the way, I ordered the tilapia with grilled veggies—it was yummy!

"One can not think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well." 
~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, February 2, 2018

How to choose?


When you hear Yogurtland, you think of yogurt, right? Well, no longer is Yogurtland strictly a yogurt-selling business. Recently, they also started serving ice cream. (Is this influenced by Creamistry just across the street?)

This Tuesday (Feb. 6, from 4-7pm), you can have your choice of yogurt or ice cream on International Frozen Yogurt Day. You can choose between two new flavors: chocolate wafer bar frozen yogurt made with KitKats or chocolate malt ball ice cream made with Whoppers.

I might have to try both.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New kid on the block


Almost every weekday I ride my bike through the large parking lot just north of the Kaiser Hospital. Early in January, I saw workmen adding a new store name to the billboard out front on Lakewood Blvd. The name of the new company is Five Below. The "o" is shaped like the degree sign. I've never heard of them, so I started imagining what they could be selling. Was it outdoor clothing for the snow or ice cream?

Well, today on the way home from work I decided I would find the store and see what they are all about. I found the above building being constructed, so not occupied yet. But I did follow their instructions and looked them up on the web. You can find them here. They sell items that are $5 or less.