Monday, July 30, 2012

Excuses, excuses

Gas station

It started earlier this evening when I had to work later than usual. No, actually, it started last night when I used up the last of my stockpile of DDP pictures. So, I got home late, ate dinner, and dragged myself out to find a picture for today's post.

Then my gas warning light went on. I stopped to fill up my tank at the local 76 station.

At that point, I realized that if I just squinted a little bit, even the gas station could start to look interesting.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The ivy league?

No parking

Judging by this sign, you'd think that parts of Downey resemble the walls of an Ivy League college.

I wonder who keeps the ivy pruned back.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wednesday concerts in the park


This week's concert held at Furman Park was Mariachi Monumental de America and Folklor Pasion Band Mexicana de Los Angeles. They were fun to watch and the audience clearly enjoyed the performance.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Here to stay

Downey art gallery wall art

The Downey Art Vibe held a sneak preview event at the soon-to-be-opened Downey art gallery, the Stay Gallery. They're "here to stay."

Downey art gallery party crowdDowney art gallery wall painterClearly there's a lot of work still to be done, but a lot of progress has been made too, and tonight was a night to celebrate that progress. It was also a night to have fun on the walls—a last chance to be wild and crazy before the walls become nice and neutral backgrounds.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Whatcha doing?


Not quite Downey, the Target in Norwalk had a group of carts in front of my parking space. My brother, who was with me, commented that it looked like they were all looking at something and the few on the outside were trying to get in too. I laughed and agreed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poppy sighting


White poppies layered the hills on my hike the other day. I was surrounded by wild flowers everywhere. For only a few months of the year does California get like this. I imagine the settlers who first came to California saw it this way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We love Bumblebee!


This is the biggest image I've seen so far from the street artist, Bumblebee. This little girl is painted on the side of a building on 2nd Street just past LA Buns and the Epic Lounge.  Usually there are bees incorporated in the image, so I'm not sure of the message here. Maybe we'll find out at the film event scheduled to take place here in August.

The Downey Arts Coalition along with Epic Lounge is hosting a short film event called BUMBLEBEE LOVES YOU, featuring the images of Bumblebee. Click here for the info link. I believe the event is free, so bring a friend and stop by to check out a little local art vibe.

If you are interested, I recently posted another Bumblebee image on Firestone.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What I didn't know

Charlotte Von Troesch Mural at Downey High

As I drove around Downey yesterday looking for a picture for my post, I stopped at Downey High School to take a picture of the demolition that is going on as part of a campus renovation project.

I took a few pictures, including this one of the school's mural, but the sunlight was harsh, the fence was in the way, and nothing turned out very well.

Photo by George Redfox
Not being up on the news the last few days, I was shocked to discover this morning that the mural was gone. Demolished. In hundreds of little pieces on the ground. According to various reports, the cost of preserving and moving the mural was too high.

The mural was created in 1973 by local artist, sculptor, and Downey High art teacher Charlotte von Troesch. I lived across the street from Charlotte for almost 20 years. I knew her simply as Charlotte, our eccentric artist neighbor who had a beautiful Dalmatian and who told great stories about our neighborhood in the "old" days, when the neighborhood cows used to get loose and wander through her garden.

In addition to a backyard filled with what were to me somewhat odd sculptures, Charlotte also had a fish pond, whose fish were so used to her daily feedings that they popped up to the surface as soon as she touched the water. This was unfortunate, as I learned when my cat started depositing dead goldfish on my back door mat.

Until today, I never knew that she was a world-famous artist, or that the mural that I used to pass almost daily was her creation.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A part of my day

Green Olive customers

This weekend I read about a relatively new Mediterranean-style fast food restaurant in Downey called Green Olive. (You can read all about it here from Downey Beat.) So when I went searching for a picture today, I stopped by there.

I met Sam, the owner. I snapped a few pictures. But nothing really caught my eye. This isn't to say that nothing looked good—the menu had my mouth watering and the place was packed!

Then I walked outside and spotted a lone couple eating at one of the outdoor tables. They were dressed for a more elegant dining experience than this, but they didn't look out of place. Maybe they stopped here on their way home from church or something.

So I introduced myself and asked for permission to take their picture, and they graciously agreed. We got to talking. This is their first visit to Green Olive, and they loved the food. They live in nearby Artesia, but Dennis works in Downey and they are thinking of moving here. We talked about how Downey is a nice quiet place to live (but freeway close!). When we finally said our goodbyes, Dennis said, "And now you're a part of our day!"

And now they're an unexpected but delightful part of mine!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunflower sister

IMG_1589 as Smart Object-1

My post this past Tuesday was of a sunflower. Another member of the sunflower family is the Gerbera Daisy. These are beautiful, hearty flowers that thrive in sun. In the wild, they are found in Africa, South America, and Asia. As one of the most popular flowers in the world, Gerberas are known to represent cheerfulness and purity.

This particular daisy is one I have nurtured this summer. It has continued to bloom despite the crazy heat we've had in the past week. Working in my garden is something I find relaxing. It also provides  a creative outlet that I enjoy. There is such true pleasure in watching flowers grow and bloom.

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
~Claude Monet

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boxcar blues

Concert in the park band

Boxcar 7 lead singer Scott Griffith was front and center engaging the crowd last Wednesday at the second of the Concert in the Park series at Furman Park. Boxcar 7 is a seven-piece show band whose passion is the blues, soul, old school R&B, classic rock, swing and a taste of funk.

Concert in the park audienceConcert in the park audience 1The park was crowded with people of all ages —and dogs of all breeds. Don Lamkin enjoyed the concert along with his Border Collies, who brought their own raised seating area.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh thank heavens... and barking dogs


I'm not going to lie. I completely forgot about today's Downey Daily photo until right now, 2:05 am. Luckily, the insanely annoying dog from next door was not letting me go to sleep because she had something to tell the dog 17 houses down and hasn't learned to text yet. After tossing and turning for a few hours and then googling "how to shut your neighbor's dog up" I realized I hadn't posted for tonight. Thankfully I had taken pictures, I just forgot to upload them.

So here is my picture. The beautiful sunset from my porch. The storm just missed our city yesterday and hit all of western Los Angeles and the beaches. We just got the fun cloudy sky producing rays of sun shining through it.

By the way, "Yahoo answers" suggested I use ultrasonic to shut the dog up. Um, can anyone say animal cruelty? And where am I going to get anything ultrasonic at 2 in the morning?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Praying for dinner


Look who decided to drop in on our dinner tonight as we ate outside. I've actually never seen a praying mantis up close before. To tell you the truth, I didn't get too close. I quickly snapped a photo and ran away like a little girl.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


IMG_5200 as Smart Object-1

I love sunflowers!

I came across this one as the sun was going down. It was in a flower bed in a car lot across from IHOP... go figure. Still, it was a beautiful plant and looked amazing in the light of the ending day.

"Light-enchanted sunflower, thou
Who gazest ever true and tender
On the sun's revolving splendour."
~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Monday, July 16, 2012


Coldstone mix

After several days of being sick, Coldstone Creamery at Downey Landing had just the thing to restore my appetite—ice cream, chocolate chips, cookie dough, fudge, and caramel, all mixed together on a "cold stone."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Small boy, big dreams

Lana-Peer watching the space shuttle

I was very disappointed to miss the day-long celebration related to the display of the 128-foot space shuttle replica. But Downey Daily Photos reader (and fellow Downey Arts Coalition member) Lana Wahlquist was there with her kids, and caught this great shot that she called "Small boy, big dreams."

Lana reports, "We had a great time. I missed the ceremony because I didn't think my kids would be cooperative. But they played at the museum and in the bounce house and Peer got a kick out of seeing the space shuttle close up. We went home for lunch and nap time, then came back for what we thought would be the end. Well, no one was there but the crew and they were still working hard at moving pieces out and putting the thing together. So while we were there they actually moved out that back piece with the jets and Peer was really excited about that. And that's when I snapped the photo. So not many people got to see that back portion.

"I don't know if it's just a boy thing, or because Peer is a Downey-ite, but he looooooves space! We've had such a fun time doing the preschool classes at the Space Museum and visiting it now and then. He loves it!"

Thanks, Lana, for sharing!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


IMG_5205 as Smart Object-1

I was pleasantly surprised to see that this "Bumblebee" wall art survived when a Bionicos business went in. It actually made me smile to see they had painted around her. I'm not sure where the pink bunny came from...but clearly the owners didn't think of the picture as a "bee" problem. See a related post from last year.

Bionicos is a tiny shop that (according to the sign) serves juices, smoothies, snow cones and fruit desserts, Latin-American style. I didn't have time to go in today, but I'm thinking this will be the perfect snack tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The perfect way to end the day


We've had some strange weather here the last few days. In Downey, the temperatures have been in the high 80s and we've had rain off and on—but the Midwestern kind of rain where you can stand out in it and not feel cold.

But the best part is the clouds at the end of the day.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Waiting for you


On my walk the other night I saw this little guy peaking out the window. Even as I got closer, he didn't move. And no, he wasn't a statue, as I walked away, he scooted closer to the left to get a better look of the outside. Maybe he was waiting for his person to come home from work. Maybe he was checking out the gossip from the dogs passing. Whatever it was, he was on a mission.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Space shuttle landing


Although I've read some weird rants about the space shuttle being housed at the Downey Landing a horrible idea (read last week's Patriot Letters to the Editor), I personally think this is a great idea. The space shuttle needs a home, we have unused land, the schools could use it as a teaching field trip, and the city gets something else to put itself on the map. Everybody wins. Even the people contracted out to build the tent for it. Allsite Structure Rentals is putting together this semi-permanent structure as I write. Greg Francis, sales manager, says they'll be here till Friday finishing up the details even after the ceremony tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Keep Downey beautiful

2012-07-10 08.39.36

This morning as we were finishing a walk around Furman Park, we came upon a group of students who were working on the planters along the entrance of the park. They were volunteers to help "Keep Downey Beautiful."

2012-07-10 08.42.10For me, it was one of those moments when I realized that I had looked at the previous planters and thought they were ugly and dated, but did nothing to change it. Well, thanks to this group of volunteers, a local Downey resident, and a grant from Lowes, we have a welcome change and some beautiful, drought-tolerant plants. THANKS for working to make our city beautiful!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The way of the hand and the foot

US Taekwondo Center

At Ahn's U.S. Tae Kwon Do Center, this group of mostly young boys practices the martial art of tae kwon do, literally "the way of the hand and the foot."

US Taekwondo CenterGrand Master Jang S. Ahn has been teaching tae kwon do for 40 years, mainly to kids. According to Wikipedia, "Taekwondo is known for its emphasis on kicking techniques, which distinguishes it from martial arts such as karate or southern styles of kung fu. The rationale is that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to execute powerful strikes without successful retaliation."

Of course, at this age, "long legs" are a relative idea.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Taking the train

Arriving train at Fullerton train station

A unique aspect of yesterday's photo field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano was taking the train.

San Juan Capistrano is about 45 miles southeast of Downey—less than an hour's drive on a Saturday. But a group of us thought it might be more interesting to take the train.

Fullerton train stationDowney lies between the Los Angeles Union Station and the Fullerton Metrolink Station. Union Station is beautiful, and worth visiting in its own right. (Click here to see more of Union Station.) But parking is a nightmare and more expensive than the train itself. Parking at the Fullerton station is free, and it turns out that the station is also quite picturesque.

Train station in San Juan CapistranoAt our destination, we disembarked at the historic Los Rios Street Historic District. After spending the morning at the mission, we returned to this area for lunch at a quaint cafe right next to the tracks, where we could wait for our return ride home.

“The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mission in bloom

IMG_5137 as Smart Object-1

Downey is easily withing driving distance from many of the 21 California missions planted by Spanish padres along the El Camino Real.

IMG_4966 as Smart Object-1Instead of driving, today we decided to take the train down to San Juan Capistrano Mission. It was a nice way to spend the day, absorbing some history and being impressed by how much of the adobe structure is still left standing. The mission dates back to November, 1776, when it was founded by Junipero Serra.

It was a beautiful summer day. The mission covers a fairly large area, which is filled with an amazing variety of flowers and plants. It seemed there were butterflies and hummingbirds everywhere we went.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Afternoon break

Shear Vanity break

On this warm Friday afternoon, two workers at Shear Vanity, Inc, take a break.

Shear Vanity break closeupIt's a pleasant place for a snack and some conversation before heading back to work.

Click here to see another example of this colorful building.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Underwater fun


During the summer, the pools around Downey are full of splashing, playing and fun. On the 4th, we had a pool party to celebrate our Independence Day and I brought an underwater camera to the festivities.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

And the rocket's red glare...


John Adams once wrote in his diary that he hoped America would forever use fireworks to celebrate this day. There you go Mr. Adams. Here's to you and our fathers before us who stood up for what they believed in and who fought for our country and freedom.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ready for Independence Day

IMG_4391 as Smart Object-1

Today is the eve of our Independence Day, July 4th.

According to, the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

Monday, July 2, 2012

After the grand opening

Hometown Hardware quiet aisles

"Fifteen hundred tacos in three hours!" That's how Greg Fuller, one of the owners of the new Hometown Hardware store, described the chaos of their successful grand opening on Saturday. For you math geeks, that's more than eight tacos a minute.

Hometown Hardware bare shelvesOn this Monday evening, I've clearly missed the opening crowds. But the peace and quiet provides a welcome break for the workers who have been cleaning up the aisles and restocking the shelves.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hometown!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A squirrel's eye view (Theme week: Looking down)

IMG_3825 as Smart Object-1

We passed by and almost didn't notice him. This little squirrel was in the middle of what looked to be a really good scratch. Of course, once he spotted us watching him, he stopped scratching and stared right back down at us. I have to admit, I broke contact first...of course, I had to do that in order to take a picture.