Saturday, April 21, 2018

Farmer's market

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Today we visited the farmer's market in Apt. While Downey has a farmer's market every Saturday, the market in Apt really outshines. These tomatoes were referred to as ancient...they were seriously as big as my entire hand. And, the cheeses were pretty impressive.

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The spices were beautiful and colorful and the lavender is always a favorite as it is so typically Provençale.

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IMG_5616But one of the booths I found intriguing was the one with purses, jewelry, belts—all sorts of accessories made out of can pull tabs. I love new uses for old things and have noticed the creative use of things as we have visited more of the south of France, but this one was unique and cool!

Friday, April 20, 2018

The wild horses of the Camargue

Camargue horses

I've always loved horses, and the wild and free beauty of the horses of the Camargue region in France was especially appealing. (You can see an example of how these horses are typically photographed here.) I should have known that the odds of seeing the horses in this environment were about as great as the odds of seeing a bear in Yosemite in the winter!

Many of these horses have been domesticated, and we did see a lot of them in pastures or stables, available for horseback riding throughout the region. Even domesticated, they are still beautiful.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mouse hands

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When you think of hands, naturally you think of holding a mouse. Thirty years ago that meant you were holding an actual animal. Since the mid-1980s, it has meant wrapping your hand around a plastic device with two buttons that make moving the computer cursor faster and more accurate. But even that device will soon go the way of the floppy drive. Touch pads and touch screens are making the mouse outdated. But no matter what pointing device you use, you will always need your hand to do it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Humans of Downey - Joseph

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"The way I see it, that we all are the same, is that we all have the same chance, we all have the same opportunity, we all have the same way to get toward something. Whatever our dream is we can go out there and accomplish it. The other way we are all the same is that we can converse with others and share ideas. Conversations are the great equalizer in a society. We all may have different dreams but in conversation we can share how we are achieving our dream.

"I am mostly shy. I ended up going through a different path to come to where I am today. When I was young, my mom would tell people that I was shy. When I was 18, almost 19, I actually started to be open to learning things from others that I was closed to before. I'm also unique because I like to struggle. When I find something is hard for me I want to go through it even more just to get through the resistance. So I actually started loving the struggle, the resistance, things that were hard. Even If I stuttered, I wanted to learn more and more. I have found that I want to learn more about people than I think they want to learn about me. I think I'm unique because most people want to talk about themselves but I would rather listen to others because I haven't lived much of my life yet."

~ Joseph

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Chateau d'If

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As Pam mentioned yesterday, we are out of town, spending some time in the South of France. For those of you who have read (or watched) The count of Monte Cristo, Chateau d'If may sound familiar. Originally a fortress, but for many years a prison, the Chateau was the island prison of Edmund Dantes for fourteen years. Although the story is fiction, Chateau d'If exists on a small island off the coast of Marseilles, France.

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We spent some time there today and had fun exploring and learning a little about the prison no one was supposed to be able to escape from.

Evidently it was seagull nesting time, so all over the island we came across the birds sitting on or guarding their nests hidden within the wildflowers.

It made for a beautiful day.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Narrow streets

Clermont-Ferrand old town

Two-thirds of DDP is on the road again, visiting the South of France. (So please forgive us our occasional internet-related delays.) Today's picture is of a narrow, winding street in the old-town section of Clermont-Ferrand.

Laundry in Clermont-FerrandReading about the history of this town reminds me yet again of how young my city is. In Downey, "historic" is something from the 19th century. Clermont-Ferrand, on the other hand, is one of the oldest cities in France, being mentioned in Greek and Roman times over 2,000 years ago.

Of course, the downside to all of this history and quaintness is a lack of space and modern conveniences.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rives Mansion redux

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Finally, the Rives Mansion seems to be in the process of renovation. I must assume that a hand-y man is helping to do the restoration! (Sorry for the bad pun, but I forgot to take the picture I had planned for today and we have a theme of hands for the week.)

Perhaps the reason behind the face lift is that the mansion has changed hands recently. It is nice to see it being restored to looking like the iconic building it is.



Friday, April 13, 2018

In knots

Wetzel's Pretzels

Have you ever watched someone make a pretzel? These hands belong to Lourdes, who is making pretzels at Wetzel's Pretzels at Stonewood Center.

It's fun to watch. First, Lourdes cuts off a line of dough, then rolls it out. (It made me think of playing with Play-Doh.) Next, she picks up both ends and flings them around in some kind of fancy movement that was too fast for me to follow (or catch on camera). At the end of that motion, it lands, magically pretzel-shaped, on the counter. She sticks the ends together, and voila, there's a pretzel, ready for the oven.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Caring hands

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Yesterday I talked about the dexterity of hands. Hands can do so many different kinds of work. Hands can also communicate emotions. A pat on the back can be a great encouragement. A shaking fist in your face can be intimidating. In this shot, Joseph's hands are showing Odie support and affection. Odie responded with calmness and gratitude. Our hands are very powerful. We can build up or tear down. The choice is ours.

"You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal." 
~ Betty White

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Trained to use sharp instruments

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Hands are so versatile and dexterous. You could fill a book with all the ways we have found to use our hands. These are Lulu's hands. She has trained them to move with precision to both hold a portion of hair and then cut off just the right amount. She combs the hair to get it even, then holds both the hair and the comb while holding the scissors in the other hand. I've tried it. I needed a third hand.

"The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." 
~ Anne Frank

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

On the one hand...

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Continuing with our focus on hands, tonight I ended up on Firestone Blvd. in front of the Exotical Hawaiian Apparel store that has been there for as long as I can remember.

IMG_5272-1It is a great store jam-packed with anything Hawaiian you could want, but you gotta admit, these mannequin hands are just a little creepy...

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Monday, April 9, 2018

A non-virtual option

Rubik's cube

I walked around Stonewood Center this weekend looking at hands (this week's DDP focus). And the first thing I noticed is the very large proportion of hands that were holding cell phones. That's why this young man stood out. Alberto was filling his waiting time with an actual toy (a Rubik's cube) rather than a virtual one.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Kitchen garden

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Yesterday Steve posted about the signs of spring. I love this time of the year—it is when I start to see the tomatoes ripening and my herbs sort of exploding in their boxes.

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I have a bit of a mixture of things—a dwarf potted orange tree as well as a few different flowers mixed in for color. Oh, and peppers...I really like peppers.

20180408_154515"Gardening is cheaper than therapy...and you get tomatoes." 
~ FOODMATTERS.TV

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring is here

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A positive sign that spring is here is the green leaves showing up on the trees after a long winter sleep. The trees on this block are coming to full foliage in different degrees, but by the end of April they all will have their leaves supplying the tree with nutrients.

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Another positive sign that spring is here is the vivid colors that keep popping up in the flower beds.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Celestial orbs

Yard art

Eight years of DDP has taught me to always be on the lookout as I drive around Downey. One result is that I happen to notice a lot of yard art, and this celestial sun, moon, and stars decor was no exception.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Orange Estates oranges

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Orange Estates still has remnants of the orange trees that once covered much of Downey.

KCET  wrote an interesting article that tells the tale of Downey: From Orange Groves to the Apollo Space Program.

Sometimes I forget how long people have lived in the Downey area. It was in the late 1800s that John G. Downey realized the great potential of the citrus industry in southern California. He imported a number of different varieties of oranges into his settlement, and by the 1880s there were many acres of orange groves in the areas adjacent to Downey.

Fun fact: An orange tree can grow to reach 30 feet and live for over a hundred years.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Facelift

Old Moravian church

The Moravian Church of Downey closed its doors nearly a year ago, but something new appears to be going on there now. The building may be getting a facelift, but the beautiful belfry is still there in the background.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

He is risen!

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Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter Sunday, is when we, as Christians, celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. This holiday is referred to by Wikipedia as a moveable feast because it doesn't always fall on the same day each year.

IMG_5265-1Since Easter falls on April 1st this year, we also share the day with April Fools Day. Known for a day to "fool" people, there are a number of stories of fooling the public. According to History, in 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.