Saturday, February 28, 2015

Need a tow?


I'm back down in San Diego this weekend and was out adventuring looking for a fun local park to take a walk when I came across the Cesar Chavez Park at the Port of San Diego.

IMG_3846 as Smart Object-1More interesting than the park itself was the fact that the small park was set on the edge of a working port. Tow boats were tied up along the pier just across from a walking pier set out from the park.

At the end of the cement walking pier was a great view of Coronado Bridge crossing over San Diego Bay.

IMG_3854 as Smart Object-1

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's a small world

Don Lamkin Kings Game

And no, I'm not talking about the Small World ride at Disneyland.

I had the opportunity to attend an LA Kings hockey game again this week. But considering that this isn't a Downey event (and that we posted about the previous game here), I wasn't planning on turning this outing into a Downey Daily post—until I looked up and saw Don Lamkin doing pushups on the big screen during a break in the game.

Don is a local Downey resident and the artist responsible for the Downey Doodle-icious mural in downtown Downey. According to Don, the promotion folks grabbed him and his buddy and talked them into a push-up contest for a Golds Gym sponsored in-house "commercial." They both won gift boxes filled with healthy snacks. (By the way, Don won the competition with 36 pushups to his friend's 34.)

Don Lamkin Kings Game

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Night construction


Three streets of our neighbors here in Downey were without electricity tonight because the telephone poles holding their electrical wires were being replaced. It will take the Herman Weissker Inc. workmen all night to replace all six poles.

The poles were first installed in the 1920s and need to be replaced before an accident happens. Each pole must have its wires disconnected and then reconnected to the new pole. Some of this work happens in the air.

And some happens on the ground.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How does your garden grow?


I took this picture on Naples Island, which is part of Long Beach just twenty miles south of Downey. It was during Christmas and we went there to see the homes lit up for the season. This tree intrigued me with its growing sideways. I should go back during the spring or summer to see it with leaves on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Magical snow

IMG_3820 as Smart Object-1

Yesterday Pam talked about the sky exploding and the thunder, lightning, and pounding rain we experienced. Well, it's dry now and almost feels like spring.

IMG_3823 as Smart Object-1But, looking up Paramount Blvd. you can see that when the sky explodes, it doesn't just mean rain. The mountains were absolutely covered in snow, as if by magic! Even from Smallwood, the snowy mountain tops loomed above the trees.

Looking up at all that snow had me wishing I could drop everything and go enjoy it...make snow angels and just have fun.

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event."
~ JB Priestly

Monday, February 23, 2015

The sky explodes

Rainy parking lot

I stopped at Downey Gateway yesterday while looking for pictures. I thought, with the rain, that I wouldn't have any difficulty finding a parking place. But I was wrong—the parking lot was full.

But that's not what I really want to talk about today. What I really want to talk about is last night's rain. It started out gently enough. But within a few short minutes, it was raining cats and dogs out there! With my window slightly open, the sound of the falling rain soon drowned out the sitcom I was watching. I thought, too bad I can't take a picture of the sounds. And I settled back to enjoy the rain.

Then, boom! the thunder came, the perfect finale.

"I love thunderstorms. Because sometimes nature can't handle the pressure. Because sometimes the sky explodes."
~ Unknown

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another rainy day

Tree in rain

The clouds made today a little dreary, but the rainy reflections and the bright yellow tree added some cheer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow day

Snow in Downey

Snow is rare in Downey, and even rarer when the temperatures range in the 70s. So imagine my surprise the other day when I passed this large patch of snow in my neighborhood.

It looks like someone had a good time on a short sled run.

"Happiness is fresh snow and a sled."
~ Anonymous

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Normal Life

IMG_3786 as Smart Object-1_1

Tonight's exhibit at the Stay Gallery was of photographer Steven Clouse.  His "normal life" is quite different from most of us. As his story tells, Steven doesn't stay.... He has no permanent residence. He explained to us that he actually lives out of his Subaru Outback.

IMG_3799 as Smart Object-1His odyssey began as a two-month adventure to experience and photograph the beauty of the US. Now, almost three years later, he is still on the move. As he described it, he has visited the "lower 48" in his travels. Alaska and Hawaii have so far eluded him. He invites you to follow him on his continuing quest through his blog or Instagram.

His photos were interesting glimpses into his adventures. One of my favorites was the photo below that shows what looks like a wharf through a chain-link fence. I like the framing of the fence and that you don't really see where the "path" is going. Kind of like Steven's path. It could lead him anywhere.

IMG_3789 as Smart Object-1

I find it inspiring that he has such an amazing ability to just pack up and go. He is a brave soul.

"Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bright new colors


The medical building across the street from PIH Health Hospital on Brookshire Avenue is getting a facelift. They have torn out all the trees that lined the front of the building so it's just dirt for now. I'm not sure what will be planted in their place. I'll do another post when that has been completed.

They are also painting the outside of the building a very beautiful and clean looking blue and white. You should drive by sometime and see the progress.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday


Today is Ash Wednesday, which is observed by millions of Christians all over the world. It begins the season of Lent, which is 46 days before Easter. It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ for us on the cross. Christians are encouraged to grow in their faith by exercising their faith in fasting, repentance, and alms giving.

The purple draped over the cross is signifying the royalty of Jesus. Pilate put a sign on the cross above Jesus' head reading, "The King of the Jews."

This display is in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. As you can see by the banner in the background, there are plenty of services to accommodate the faithful coming to begin the Lenten season.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The poetry of color

IMG_3601 as Smart Object-1

I noticed this house as I was out on a drive the other day. I wonder what happened that caused this house to be painted half one color and half the other. Was it a disagreement between spouses? Was it a creative endeavor? Did they have a limited amount of different colored paint? Either way, it is a fun look! I thought of it as the stop and go house since the colors were red and green. But then, I realized that it is really a vibrant expression of who lives here.

"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks." 
~ Plutarch

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Tucker Wildlife Center

Have you ever wondered what kind of wildlife inhabits our local mountains?

Well, I recently discovered the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary at the end of a long narrow road in the Santa Ana Mountains. The sanctuary was once the home of Benjamin and Dorothy May Tucker. The Tuckers built the home in 1926, and soon after took steps to attract birds to the area. By 1929, he was so successful that he opened his "bird porch" to the public.

In addition to all the birds (which my phone camera couldn't capture), there is a Native Plant Nursery that sells drought-tolerant plants, and a Natural Science Center with this diorama to illustrate the variety of wildlife in the area. And just to be sure you don't go away thinking all these animals just get along, the display is completed by this rather disturbing figure of a mountain lion about to ruin this peaceful scene.

Tucker Wildlife Center

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gentle giants

Sunny Saints

PetSmart in Downey Landing often has special events on Sunday afternoons. This Sunday, it was Sunny Saints Southern California Saint Bernard Rescue. Sunny Saints has been rescuing and placing Saint Bernard dogs since 2010.

Sunny SaintsMovies like Beethoven (and all its sequels) have made Saint Bernards very popular. But as often happens, those who buy a Saint Bernard puppy aren't prepared for the grown-up version. Some of the reasons people give for returning a Saint Bernard? He's so big! He sheds! And he drools!

So as PetSmart customers stopped to admire the dozen or so Saint Bernards, the members of  Sunny Saints shared their love of the breed, and made sure that those who stopped to look and maybe adopt knew what they would be getting into. (And provided a hand towel for those who got showered by the occasional head shakes.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Balboa Park

20150214_135731 as Smart Object-1

We've done many posts at our local parks in Downey. Today I spent the afternoon two hours south in San Diego. We explored Balboa Park. What an amazing place! There is so much to do and see. It is an urban, cultural park in the heart of downtown San Diego and it was packed with people walking, picnicking, biking and just wandering around—all enjoying the amazing sunny day.

20150214_140122 as Smart Object-1Dating back to 1835, the park is listed by Wikipedia as one of the nation's oldest parks dedicated to recreational use. The buildings are historic and beautiful with many vaulted corridors leading from one area to another.

20150214_150002 as Smart Object-1

In front of the National History Museum, the path is lined with cherry trees in full blossom. It was beautiful.

And, of course, there were street performers set up throughout the park. These two were my favorite of the day. I'm not sure what kind of music they performed, but it was intriguing—they were uniquely talented.

20150214_155227 as Smart Object-1

Friday, February 13, 2015

When the going gets tough

Seal Beach pier

When the going gets tough, the tough go to the beach. So when my daughter and I had a difficult and stressful day this week, we took advantage of our proximity to the southern California beaches and headed off for an afternoon at the Seal Beach pier.

Seal Beach playgroundWhether it is the waves pounding on the pilings over and over, or the peace of the empty pier stretching out to the horizon, the ocean makes even a hard day better.

And a little bit of play doesn't hurt, either.

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused. 
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Seal Beach pier

Thursday, February 12, 2015

To build


The first walls of the first structure of what will be the Promenade at Downey are going up. This particular structure is going to be a gym, according to one of the workmen. It will include a basketball court and a swimming pool.

These wall sections were made on the spot by first laying the cement floor. Then they built a wooden frame the shape of each wall section, poured the cement and waited for each to cure. Now they hoist each one up and attach them to the floor.


I thought it would be cool to be a part of the team that put this building together. I love building things. When I worked for Boeing, I was a small part of the team that built the C17 airlifter. Whenever I see one in flight, I think, "I helped build that."

Do you love to build?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Past and present celebrities


I also was at the dedication of the Downey Doodle-icious mural this past Monday. Lots of speeches from the city counsel and the artists. And great pastries from Porto's Bakery.

DSC_0516crop DSC_0524

But I enjoyed seeing our past mayor, Mario Guerra, who spearheaded the mural's project, and a possible future mayor. She already has that "straight in the eye" look.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let's party

Spring flowers

The weather has been a frequent source of inspiration for us the last few months. First, fall seemed to last forever, or at least way past Christmas. And now, spring seems to have arrived early. It seems like winter this year is just getting squeezed out.

But the nice thing about the early spring is the appearance of spring flowers. Everywhere I look on my morning walks, I see flowers bursting into bloom, providing a cheerful array of colors.

Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'
~ Robin Williams

Monday, February 9, 2015

Downey Doodle-icious

IMG_3619 as Smart Object-1

Today was the official dedication and ribbon cutting for the mural painted on the side of the Porto's Bakery parking structure on Downey Ave. The mural is the work of Don Lamkin, Liz Moran, Hector Beltran, and Jorge Del Toro. Called “Downey Doodle-icious,” the mural is a fun compilation of Downey's past.

IMG_3651 as Smart Object-1The mural pictures El Taco, Taco Bell, Sir Speedy (an original McDonalds), Apollo, along with many other pieces of Downey's history. Betty Porto attended the dedication and provided pastries for those in attendance.

It was fun to see this art officially become such a part of our downtown area and anticipate other pieces that can add to the future story of Downey.

IMG_3781 as Smart Object-1IMG_3700

IMG_3607 as Smart Object-1

Sunday, February 8, 2015

More than its building

Central Missionary Baptist Church

Downey is often described as being "freeway close," because we are bounded on all four sides by freeways. On three sides, the freeway cuts through Downey, leaving slivers of Downey homes on the outside of this square of concrete. Sometimes, we forget that these areas are Downey, too.

So today, I wandered through the part of Downey that is south of the 105 freeway. Here, I happened upon the Central Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1964. It's a small, simple church, a reminder that while churches come both big and small, the church is more than just its building. The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.

"Church isn't where you meet. Church isn't a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let's not go to Church, let's be the Church."
~ Bridget Willard

Saturday, February 7, 2015

California dreamin'

20150101_111227 as Smart Object-1

It was so beautiful a couple of days ago, with blue skies and puffy white clouds. However, I didn't make it out to take pictures that day. I realized this afternoon that I needed to go out. But of course, today looks and feels like winter again. As fate would have it, it started to rain as I walked out the door. I headed to the Rio San Gabriel riverbed. Braving increasing drops of rain, I walked out and realized it was a pretty dismal picture. The sky was ugly and gray....kinda made me think of the Mamas & the Papas song.

So, I'm California dreamin' in California. Go figure. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cotton trees?

Cotton tree

Does cotton grow on trees? No, but it sure looks like it on this "cotton tree," known scientifically as Ceiba pentandra and commonly as the Java cotton, Java kapok, silk-cotton, Samauma, or ceiba.

This one was just starting to bloom last week when I first spotted it. From a little distance, the balls of fiber look very much like cotton balls. But they are highly flammable and difficult to spin, so they can't be used as cotton is used. However, they have been used as an alternative for down for stuffing mattresses, pillows, and stuffed animals.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The smoking candle


When you saw this photo what did you think? I bet you thought, "oh, someone's having a birthday."

Pictures are worth a thousand words because a single picture can tell the whole story. But it has to be timed just right. Just after everyone has sung "Happy Birthday," the wish has been made, the candles have been blown out. This photo tells you all that and more. Because the cake will now be cut and enjoyed by the guests, who by the way have brought presents. This one photo tells you the whole story of this party.

By the way, the party did happen in Downey and the cake was a "white chocolate raspberry" from Porto's Bakery on Firestone Blvd.

What story could you tell with one picture?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The boys of summer


Okay, so it's still the middle of winter. But these guys will be out of school by the time summer rolls around so they need to get their practice in now.

The Warren High School freshmen baseball team practices at the ballparks next to the Columbia Space museum. Seeing them makes me think back on my days of all the practice before getting to play in a game. I knew I would never be a Willie Mays, but I sure loved playing the game.


Getting to wear the cap meant you were part of the team.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hate gas!

20150128_132523 (1) as Smart Object-1

An evolution in automotive engineering!

At one point, Tesla Motors was supposed to come to Downey to take over the property that was once used to develop the Apollo program and the space shuttle fleet. Unfortunately, the deal fell through and Tesla did not come to Downey...

It seems like I am seeing more Tesla cars on the road. I thought it was funny that this particular Tesla had a personalized license plate "HATEGAS". Seems like an appropriate slogan for an American-built electric car.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Disneyland castle

One of the benefits of living in a southern California suburb is our proximity to Disneyland. The Magic Kingdom, also know as the most magical place on earth, is home to Cinderella's Castle, which looks truly magical at night.

Disneyland roller coaster in ToontownI had the good fortune to visit Disneyland a couple of weeks ago, where I had my first experience at trying to take a selfie on a roller coaster. I can now report—it's hard to get two rows of people into the frame of a selfie!