Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Humans of Downey - Yecenia and Faith


"When I started working, I got a sense of independence. I have two daughters and I like the fact that now I don't have to ask others for anything. In fact, now my mom asks me to help her out instead of me asking her. That makes me happy. I remember when I got my own car and I did everything on my own. I can buy whatever my daughters want.

"When I was 6 months pregnant with my first daughter, I was away from my family and my sister passed away. My family kept it from me because I was pregnant. They didn't want me to get depressed. I was really close to her.

"That had a profound effect on me. It changed my way of thinking about life. It changed how I viewed my family. Instead of bringing us together, it drove us apart. It was the first time I had lost somebody. I didn't know how to cope with it, I didn't know how to grieve. I felt a lot of hatred and I didn't believe in God at that time. So, I started to go to church a little bit.

"The death of my sister changed me. I named my first daughter [Faith] after her. Now I cherish every moment I have with her - I didn't expect to lose her so early. Now I look at it this way, if something big happens in your life, you have to keep moving forward. I have three tattoos because of my sister. One says, 'keep moving on.' Another one says, 'time will heal' and the third says, 'Faith.'"
~ Yecenia

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The moon

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Last night the moon rise was impressive. It started out as this big orange ball on the horizon, then we watched as it slowly climbed into the night sky. As Pam posted last night, we were at the end of the Rio San Gabriel river in Seal Beach.

IMG_6152 as Smart Object-1“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.” 
~ Irish blessing

Monday, September 28, 2015

The pier

Seal Beach Pier

There are two riverbeds bordering Downey: Rio Hondo, which we've been showing you for the last week, and Rio San Gabriel. Tonight, we followed the Rio San Gabriel riverbed to where it empties into the Pacific at Seal Beach. From the mouth of the river, you can see the Seal Beach pier in the distance.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Rio Hondo riverbed

One final shot from my walk last weekend on the Rio Hondo riverbed...It's now a few minutes after sunset. The sun is still hitting the mountaintops in the distance. But down on my level, the light is blue instead of gold, and the grass sparkles in the twilight.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vines along the Rio Hondo

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Along the Rio Hondo riverbed are plants that surprisingly look a lot like grape made the walking area seem so much more appealing.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Hints of fall - part 3

Flock of geese

Another sign of the changing seasons is this flock of geese heading southward.

"Don't be afraid to go on an occasional wild goose chase -- that's what wild geese are for."
~ Anonymous

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Humans of Downey - Jose


"I have this cane because ten years ago I broke my leg. I was at work for a recycling company and the large container hit my lower leg and broke it.

"Since then I've had many problems with this leg. I have a lot of pain there. My heart is good and sound but my leg has too much pain. I can't work anymore. So, no money. 'No money - no honey.'"
~ Jose

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Humans of Downey - Pierre


"I grew up with my mom always having a regular job and a side business. Not that she taught me about running a business, it was more of watching her and picking up her work ethic. Sometimes she needed to make some extra money and the job only did so much.

"Basically, one year my mom bought me these portable Pac Man and Frogger games. If you're a 70s kid, you know just what I'm talking about. On Mondays, my mother would go to Cal Bull and what I did was, I would charge the kids 25 cents to play three games versus playing a video machine. Not for the sake of making money, but I wanted to get money to buy red vines candy because I knew we were going to the movies soon.

"So, indirectly, I became an entrepreneur in my grade school years not realizing what I was doing exactly. I made my own demand. I want candy and you want to play games. I would make 2 to 3 dollars a night."
~ Pierre

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Still waters

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Although there is not a lot of water in the Rio Hondo riverbed right now, there was enough to get a reflection of the bridge that crosses over by Crawford Park. While this bridge is not particularly special, it made for an intriguing reflection. I find it interesting that often the reflection of a thing is more appealing than the item that is being reflected.

"Reflections are a second chance to see the wonder." 
~ Anonymous

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sunrise, sunset

Sunset Rio Hondo riverbed

Both sunrise and sunset are good times for walks. Of course, I rarely make it up for sunrise, so like this man on the bridge over the Rio Hondo riverbed, I settled for a sunset walk.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The golden hour

Rio Hondo riverbed

For photographers, the golden hour is the hour after sunrise or before sunset, when the light is golden and soft. The golden hour can make even the concrete-lined Rio Hondo riverbed look more appealing.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Grapes, grapes, and more grapes

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We haven't shared any alley pictures lately. This particular wall along the alley has been overcome by these grapevines. They look like they have taken over. I liked how the vines were spilling over the wall and into the alley. It gave an element of drama to the wall.

I wonder if they have to harvest their grapes often...I have to admit a little jealousy. My grapes have never done this well.

"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy,
even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."
~ E.B. White

Friday, September 18, 2015

The last of the blooms

Gerbera daisies

The last of our summer blooms look even prettier backlit by the setting sun.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Humans of Downey - Kierra


"I'm selling Helen Grace chocolates for the youth program called 'Leaders in motion.' It's a program to keep youth like myself away from gangs, drugs, and violence.

"I'm from San Bernardino and I had to pretty much just get off the streets. In San Bernardino everybody was dying, like it was war there. So, me being young and trying to teach my brothers and sisters something different, they took me aside and they wanted me to do something different with my life. I believe, 'We can't change the world unless we change ourselves.'

"So, I started selling candy for the youth program and ever since then its been keeping me off the street and keeping me out of trouble. I don't put my hands on nothing no more, I don't fight, I don't do anything I don't have no business doing. It keeps me busy and motivated."
~ Kierra

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Humans of Downey - Steven


"I met my girlfriend when I was living with my parents in Victorville and 20 years old. She used to work at Forever 21 and I worked at a clothing boutique inside the mall. I would often go into Forever 21 to talk to one of my friends during my breaks. She would see me talking to one of her coworkers and would say, 'Oh, you want a job here', just messing around. Then we would talk every now and then. We responded to each other on Facebook. Then one day, randomly, we're on Facebook and I don't know, just out of the blue, she asked me, 'Hey, do you want to go with me to get a tattoo?' I had never talked to her about that and I said, 'Uhh yeeeaah, sure.' So, I went with her and she got a tattoo. I didn't, I don't think I'll ever get a tattoo, but I went with her.

"After that, I told her, 'Hey, my friends are having a party tonight. do you want to come along?' and she said sure but it wasn't for a while so we went to watch a movie and then had Subway. We went to the party and my friends said, 'Oh, who's this?' And I said, 'This is my friend from Mexico and she's here for a visit.' And they asked, 'Oh, how is it in Mexico?' They believed it because she had on chancla but she was wearing them because she didn't think she was going anywhere that night. So, it went on for a while and then we told them, 'No, really she's a friend from here.'

"Ever since that, we've been hanging out every single day. Now we're here and it's been 3 years and 8 months together living in Downey."
~ Steven

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stay inside the lines!

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I love to color! It's one of those latent childhood activities that has never lost its charm for me. I will color in the coloring book of a friend's child, just give me the chance. That made the coloring opportunity at the Downey Food & Music Festival so fun and appealing.

"In my soul, I am still that small child who did not care about anything else but the beautiful colors of a rainbow."
~ Papiha Ghosh

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hints of fall - part 2

Second Tyme Around Thrift Shop

When it comes to signs of fall, something even more reliable than falling leaves is the beginning of football season. Even the Second Tyme Around Thrift Shop, who always decorates the store windows for the season, recognizes this fact.

Joseph's Bar & GrillAnd just next door, you can watch the game with your friends at Joseph's Bar & Grill.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hints of fall - part 1

Losing leaves

The heat of the last couple of weeks makes it seem like summer will go on forever. But everywhere I turn, I'm being reminded that fall is just around the corner. It seems like almost overnight this tree in the park has lost most of its leaves.

This is always a bittersweet time for me. I love summer, with its warmth and long days, and I don't want it to end. But I love fall too. There are so many things to look forward to: the colors, the silhouettes of bare trees, the holidays, cooler weather (yes!), and hopefully some rain.

Bring on the fall!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Food & Music Festival

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Downey Avenue was alive this evening with the sounds of live music. Adding to the fun, there were food trucks galore to choose from. Tonight was Downey's International Food & Music Festival.

IMG_5976 as Smart Object-1What a treat! And, a great turnout.

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"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating". 
~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

Friday, September 11, 2015

The evidence of things not seen

Shadow basketballShadow coffee

Shadows are a favorite subject at DDP. (Just look at our past posts.) They  simplify the original, removing the details and the color. But they can't exist on their own—somewhere nearby, the original exists too. The shadow proves the existence of the original.

When I found the following quote tonight, I thought it perfectly described my thoughts. And apparently this isn't the first time—a DDP search turned up five previous posts in which either Joan or I have used this same quote.

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see." 
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Humans of Downey - Rick


"For me, honesty was very important early on. I remember one time, as a youngster, we were at a store and I grabbed some candy and followed my parents out. I had it in my hand and thought,  'Mom will probably see it and she'll pay for it or tell me to put it back.' I just held it there and nothing happened but now we were walking out the store and I thought, 'Oh, I got this for free. I didn't have to pay for it.' Then I held it lower and lower to hide it. Then later, she sees me with the candy and says, 'So, where'd you get the candy?' 'From the store.' 'Well, we didn't pay for it.' 'Oh, well, no.'

"So, we marched back into the store and I had to tell the man that I took the candy and did not pay for it. And so, how did he want to deal with this? He was very nice and understanding and he said, 'I think you mother is going to handle that.' And she did! I paid the price.

"That was a very humiliating experience. I went from having free candy to 'boy, I guess I was definitely doing the wrong thing.' Trying to get away with something I knew was wrong, and I learned a good lesson early on. And I feel I have passed this value on to my children."
~ Rick

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to stay cool


Downey hit 102 degrees today. That is very hot for us who are used to an average temperature in the mid-80s at this time of year. So each of us spent part of our day trying to keep cool. Some of us can spend our day in an air-conditioned building of one sort or another. Maybe work or home or the city library.

When our children were much younger, we had a 5'x18" inflatable pool that we filled up with cool water for them to get some respite from the heat. Even I went in. Although I had to turn over from front to back to get each side wet and therefore cool. But these children have an inflatable water slide to play on. It has a collecting pool at the bottom that they land in. They were definitely cool.

How did you stay cool as a child?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's an impulse

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Impulse sales are kinda fascinating. I'm referring to the item you had no intention of purchasing when you came into the store, but you bought it anyway. Like, for instance, organic French Agen plums, jalapeno sea salt Virginia peanuts, or cracked pepper chickpeas. These are the kind of kitschy items you almost have to try.

I stopped by Marshall's this evening to pick up a couple of things and had these items tempting me as I checked out. It seems I'm caught in this struggle between indulgence and self-control...and I don't even know what French Agen Plums are.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The art of tree trimming

Tree trimming

Trimming a tree is an art. You can't just dive in and lop off all the branches over a certain height. You have to shape, and thin, and provide room for next year's growth. The results can be beautiful. And this pair of trees gives us the opportunity to see the process.

All the same, the results can also be a bit startling. A little like when the hairdresser turns you around to the mirror, and the cut is just a little shorter than you expected. And you think, What have I done?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Get moving Downey!

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It seems like more and more people are taking advantage of Furman Park's updated track and I think that is a good thing. Whether you walk or run (I walk)....we all know it is good for us. I personally appreciate the convenience of having a park close to home.

According to the website Alliance for a healthier generation: Less than 60% of adults are physically active on a regular basis, and 25% aren’t active at all. Inactive individuals have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Looking specifically at California, 30.4% of our kids are overweight or obese.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The crowd

Stay Gallery Madestuff exhibit

Even though I arrived fairly late, there was still quite a crowd at the opening of the Madestuff exhibit at Stay Gallery.

Stay Gallery Madestuff exhibitCrowd-watching is fun, whether it's family or friends posing with the artist (right), or just the general public enjoying the art (above).

Friday, September 4, 2015

Made on exhibit

Made Rindu Exhibit

Made (pronounced Mah-dee) Rindu has been drawing all of his life. Some of his art sketchbooks were on display in tonight's opening night of the Made Stuff solo exhibit at Stay Gallery. "These sketchbooks contain hours and hours of my life," says the description next to the sketchbooks.

Made Rindu ExhibitMade, a Downey native, "was introduced to the style and art form of graffiti which allowed him to experiment with lettering, proportions, compositions, style, and color combinations. This introduction interested him so much that it is still prominent in his work today."

I enjoyed this exhibit, with its strong, colorful images. If you have time, see for yourself at the Stay Gallery. The exhibit will be there through September 26.

Made Rindu exhibit

Thursday, September 3, 2015

76 trombones led the big parade


Well, there aren't 76 trombones in this practice session, only 5. Still, it was a pleasant few moments I spent at Furman Park listening to the trombone section of the Warren High School band. Interesting how they all pointed toward the center to hear each other and get a better feel, or ear, for the contribution of the trombones to the sound of the band.

How did you practice your musical instrument? I used to go out by the pool and sit on the diving board to play my clarinet in quiet.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hispanic culture


I love living in Downey. The Hispanic culture is woven throughout our city. I visited a friend's birthday party recently and was first entertained by this mariachi band. I didn't understand any of the words, but the music was lively and joyous.

DSC_0371The second Hispanic aspect of the party was the food. These caterers brought their own grill to cook three kinds of meat and soft tortillas. It was a joyous celebration.

How have you experienced Downey's Hispanic culture this week?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Promenade meets the Jetsons

Promenade construction

According to the Promenade at Downey website, the architecture at the Promenade complex will include numerous nods to Downey's aerospace heritage.

Maybe that's why this in-progress building reminds me vaguely of the space-age theme of the old The Jetsons cartoons.