Saturday, April 30, 2016

Power lines

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I saw this crew out last week and remembered thinking how scary it would be to have to work so high up—really far from the ground. I don't know if they were installing lines or doing repairs, but I'm thankful someone else does it for me. On a whim, I looked up what they are paid. The median average wage was a little over $61,000 per year. Between you and me....I don't think they are paid enough.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Into the distance

Train tracks by the grain mill

At DDP, we rarely get tired of looking at railroad tracks. So I'm back again, to this section of track that goes through the back side of a commercial area in Downey. A single boxcar sits on a siding behind Leach Grain & Milling, started by Willis Leach in 1934.

The tracks soon disappear into the distance, but they don't turn. They continue on in a perfectly straight line for about 10 miles, where they make a slight curve before continuing straight again. In an area where very few streets run straight for more than a mile or so, this was a reminder to me that the railroads have been here a lot longer than many of our towns and certainly longer than our freeways. The original tracks were laid when there were few barriers to straight lines.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Humans of Downey - Hilda


"My husband and I met in Guadalajara, Mexico, when I was 8 years old. He was my neighbor. He is a musician, he plays the piano and writes music. Some for me.

"My greatest joy is when I had my daughter. She is my only daughter. I spend much of my time with her. We go to plays at school, spend time in the park, and go on field trips. These will stay with her all her life.

"The thing I miss the most is my family in Mexico. I've lived here for three years and I miss them. But I love it here. This salon is my passion. I thought, 'Downey needs a blowout and a makeup bar, right here in town.' So I opened Vanity Blowout and Makeup Bar."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Humans of Downey - Rose


"The joy that I have experienced is from the uniting of my family and their love and respect. When I came to believe that and feel that was at the age of 25. I felt it when I was a kid but I was introduced to it later in a more passionate and respectful way. The greatest model I have that introduced me to that is my mother. That has been my greatest joy. My family and friends have helped me to understand the meaning of that joy.

"I miss the passion of helping others though. I think I went to an extreme in my helping others and I needed to find a balance in my life of caring for myself and others."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Freeway close...

IMG_7953 as Smart Object-1

It's not exactly what comes to mind when you hear the phrase "freeway close." But, it did make me realize that housing in our area has pretty much been pushed to the limits. And, the 5 and the 605 freeways are among the most congested in the nation, according to a study released by the Texas Transportation Institute. Read today's edition of the Downey Beat for more details.  So, even though we live close to multiple freeways in Downey, it provides no guarantee that our commute will be better.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Electric art

Electrical box art - CandaceElectrical box art - Candace

It's fun to see that more electrical boxes around Downey are still being painted. This is Candace, and she has incorporated many of the Downey landmarks into her theme of "Gangs Out Of Downey."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Peaceful assembly

Anti-abortion protester

In addition to the freedom of speech, the First Amendment guarantees us the right to peaceful assembly. Pro-life groups regularly exercise both freedoms at the FPA Women's Health facility in Downey. Today, about a dozen pro-life protesters gathered outside, handing out brochures.

Did you know that, at 8 weeks...
  • The baby's heartbeat, which has been beating for one month already, can be heard on an office ultrasonic stethoscope.
  • Brain waves were measurable two weeks ago.
  • The baby feels pain and responds to touch.

"We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life."
~ Ronald Reagan

Saturday, April 23, 2016



Driving down Florence today, we stopped for the sound of sirens. We saw the fire truck come up from behind us and head for just past the 605 freeway. We could see smoke, but didn't have a good sense of where it was coming from.

20160423_151439 as Smart Object-1As we passed underneath the freeway overpass, we saw that the side of the road bordering the freeway was on fire. This is the view from the back side of the Honda dealership.

It was a little disconcerting when a gas tanker was stopped right in front of the action...but the light changed and they were on their way. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Rancho Rising 2020

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center administration building

One of the very first posts we did for DDP was of the historic Harriman Building at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. (See Rancho Los Amigos.) The building is named for a prominent Rancho doctor from the 1920s, and is used for administrative offices. I couldn't resist another shot when I saw it lit up in the evening sun.

Rancho is currently undergoing a $418 million renovation and expansion project referred to as "Rancho Rising 2020." The first part of the project, scheduled to be completed in August of this year, includes a 12,000-square-foot wellness and aquatics center. The center will include a therapy swimming pool with underwater treadmill, weight-lifting room, dance studio, cardio and yoga rooms, all accessible to people with disabilities.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Disneyland's 60th


Just 15.2 miles south of Downey is the theme park of Disneyland. It is Disneyland's 60th birthday this year, so my wife and I bought annual passes. Whenever I go, I am amazed at the number of people that are there. We were sitting at a sidewalk cafe for dinner as I gazed out at the flow of humanity just in front of me. So many families. So many strollers. So many princesses on their daddy's shoulders.

But we had a great time riding the "Soaring over California" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" rides. We had decided not to stay for the fireworks show in order to beat that crowd to the exit gates, and heard as we were near the exit that the show had been canceled due to high winds. Good choice. I made home in plenty of time to give my wife a foot rub before doing this Downey Daily Photos submission. Another good choice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Living in the Downey mountains

DSC_0928 crop

I caught sight of this hawk the other day. It was sitting in a tree down the street from a friend of mine. I estimate this tree to be about 50 feet tall. The hawk is in the topmost branches. I'm hoping there is a nest up there and she is waiting for the eggs to hatch.

DSC_0929If it is not a female hawk with her babies then I hope it is a male that has chosen this tree to watch for prey. Makes me feel like I'm in the mountains watching life play out.

"If we had great distance vision like the hawk, we could avoid most disasters, altering our future." 
~ Anonymous

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New uses for old things

IMG_7942 as Smart Object-1

I love reusing old things to create new things. Here is a "yard art" item I found while I was driving around a few weeks ago.

"We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity, representing our liberty."
~ George Washington, attributed

Monday, April 18, 2016

Optical illusion

Rancho Los Amigos building

Scouting for a picture this evening, I passed this building on the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center campus and thought, what a cool building, with its unevenly shaped blocks creating curvy lines. Then I took another look, the way you're supposed to from the side, and realized that all the blocks are the same size, and the curves are just an illusion.

Rancho Los Amigos buildingThis is an example of the café wall illusion, in which the parallel straight dividing lines between staggered rows with alternating black and white blocks appear to be curved. (Wikipedia) The cafe wall illusion is one type of a line illusion, which uses surrounding colors and objects and our experience with perspective to use all our knowledge against us.

Click the image above, and then click again, for a larger version to better see the effect.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How do they do that?

Independence Park Skate ParkIndependence Park Skate Park

"Forget all the reasons why it won't work and think of one reason why it will work."

I've never understood the mechanics of skateboarding tricks. It makes no sense to me that the flat bottoms of shoes can somehow pick up and rotate or otherwise move a skateboard.

But it is fun to watch these guys maneuver their way around the skate park at Independence Park.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rustic wall

IMG_7937 as Smart Object-1

I was surprised to find this neighborhood setting bordering the 105 freeway. This little community was built with nothing but a sound wall, a little land, and a grove of trees separating it from the freeway. But the setting felt almost idyllic to me. The sound of the cars on this Saturday afternoon was a kind of white noise and the overall feel was almost like you were approaching the edge of a forest. It was rustic and a little wild, quite appealing.

"There is beauty in the most common things for those who have eyes to see." 
~ Unknown

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Spring garden

It's spring, and my garden is a little bit wild at the moment. Our nasturtiums typically bloom in the fall, but these have sprung up again for another round of blooms this spring.

How does your garden grow?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Humans of Downey - Cay


"I'm sure there are some I'm not remembering right now, but the one person that comes to mind when the term hero is mentioned is my mother, Angeles. Just like a lot of mothers out there, she sacrificed a lot for her children. She did the best she could to make sure we had everything we needed at the cost of working too many hours. Sometimes we wouldn't even see her, but we knew she was there. We knew she was working for us, we knew she was working hard for us. She was a very special woman. I'm very proud of my mother. I thank her for helping me to become the man I am now.

"Honesty, integrity, a positive work ethic, and generosity were all character traits that my mom both modeled to us and verbally taught us. She was also an example for other people. Even though she worked long hours, she never complained. She finally lost her 12-year battle with cancer several years ago. During those years she never complained about how unfair it was or say, 'Why me, why me?' Every day, she took the challenge, lived life to the fullest, and made the best of what she was given. Her will and her beliefs stayed strong until the very end."
~ Cay

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Humans of Downey - Erika


"I think the one thing I don't do enough of is reading. If I could read more, I would read Paulo Pueliu poetry.

"Once I was running down the San Gabriel riverbed and a dog came running after me. I was so scared that I stopped and the dog caught up to me. Just then, a neighbor came out and stopped the dog from biting me. She is my hero. She didn't even give me her name."
~ Erika

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A last view

IMG_8318 as Smart Object-1

As we left Yosemite, the clouds were moving across the landscape, making everything dramatic. This is the tunnel view. It is the last big "official" view of Half Dome and El Capitan (although neither are clearly visible with all the clouds). Even with the drizzly weather, people were still crowding the view point watching the dramatic sight.

IMG_8328 as Smart Object-1“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” 
~  Ansel Adams

Monday, April 11, 2016

Yosemite in bloom

Yosemite tree blossoms

One of the benefits of going to Yosemite in the spring instead of the winter is that the trees are all blossoming. Everywhere we looked, there were bright green baby leaves and trees covered with white, purple, or yellow blossoms.

Yosemite tree blossoms"It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Yosemite in the rain

Bridal Veil Fall

I've been fortunate. I've seen Yosemite in the snow, and in the bright sunshine. But until this weekend, I haven't seen it in the rain. But, we came prepared, and a little bit of rain didn't slow us down. And the little puffs of clouds that drifted by just added to the beauty.

The scene above shows the valley from the south end. Bridal Veil Fall is on the right. Half Dome, in the center, and El Capitan, to the left, would be visible if they weren't covered with clouds. The picture below shows the same view from up high, from the Tunnel View turnout (see Yosemite: First view).

Yosemite Tunnel View

Saturday, April 9, 2016

My favorite view


In our annual trips to Yosemite each year, it has become my habit to take an early morning walk down to the hanging bridge. I follow the paved path until I come to the path beaten into the grass that leads down to the river. I follow the river for a minute, then switch to the wooden fence border that leads me to the meadow where I am surrounded by the majestic granite rocks that seem to rise straight up from the ground. But, before I get to the meadow, as I make the last turn, this is my first peek and it has become my favorite view.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A different view

Yosemite Falls reflection

This morning started out sunny and beautiful, and reflections were everywhere. Reflections provide a new perspective on something familiar, and this view of the top portion of the Yosemite Falls is no exception.

But the promised rain did come, and the clouds hovered The misty clouds hovered around the tops and sides of the cliffs, and provided a new perspective of Half Dome.

Half Dome in clouds

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The thundering falls

Yosemite Falls in the spring

It's time for our annual long weekend at Yosemite. But this year is a little bit different. Usually, we go in winter. This is my first time to go in spring. And this is the first weekend where the forecast is for rain every day. We'll see...

Longer days mean that we actually arrived before dark. And the first thing we noticed was how much fuller all the waterfalls are. There are waterfalls where I haven't seen them before. And the river is full. And we can hear Yosemite Falls (above) thundering down to the bottom near the lodge.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A new place

Toyota roll at Tokyo Gardens

Tokyo Garden is a small Japanese restaurant on Paramount Blvd. in Downey. It's been there for about 20 years, but my friends and I had never tried it out until a week ago. It was so good we went back tonight to celebrate a birthday there, with the Toyota Roll, above.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A hedge of oranges

IMG_7944 as Smart Object-1

Downey has a history of being known for growing oranges. By the late 1800s, there were many acres of orange groves covering what was to become Downey.  Although the groves are now gone, many orange trees remain in front and back yards.

We have shared pictures of several of them over the years, but I have never encountered an orange hedge. Whether this is an old or a new orange hedge, clearly it is thriving and continuing the legacy of Downey's orange-growing abilities.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
~ Alfred Austin

Monday, April 4, 2016

Humans of Downey - David


"I have been playing golf for twelve years off and on. I'm just now picking it up again. Some of my friends played and they invited me to join them and I loved the game from the start. I play here at Rio Hondo Golf Club mostly. Sometimes, my friends and I will play at a course in Fountain Valley.

"I love the game because it is relaxing. You must focus on the shot at hand. You're not thinking of work. You're not thinking of all your headaches. Just focus on the ball going forward. Second, I can take the lessons I learn as I play, focus, patience, fair play, discipline, civility, practice to get better, spending quality time with others, enjoying the surroundings, etc., and use them in the rest of my life away from the course. That's the way I see it."
~ David

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Humans of Downey - Jose


"The first time I ever played golf was three years ago when I worked at a golf course in North Carolina. I saw the people playing and they looked so relaxed and quiet. The surroundings as you play are so beautiful and peaceful. I thought, 'I want to try this sport.' My friend, Raul, has helped me the most with my game. He's gotten me to grip the clubs correctly. He has also helped me in some of my life's decisions. He's a good friend.

"Most of the time, I play on a course in Azusa but recently I've been playing at the course at Ford Park in Bell Gardens. It's a nice 9 hole/par 3 course. Great for my short game practice."
~ Jose

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Finally finishing...


It is finally the time to plant in the medians on Firestone Blvd. As I drove by on Friday, workers were planting and watering the planters. Yay! Soon to be done.

"To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sister cities

Tortas Ahogada

When I was in fourth grade, Mr. Williams at Spencer V. Williams Elementary School (as it was known back then) taught us Spanish. Being the only one in class who couldn't roll their R's was the start of my lifelong resistance to learning Spanish. But one thing that Mr. Williams taught us that I still remember is that Guadalajara, Mexico, is Downey's sister city.

Downey was the first U.S. city to establish a sister city with Mexico. In the late 1950s, the mayor of Downey attended the International U.S.-Mexico Conference, where he met the mayor of Guadalajara. The two leaders agreed to make a sister city arrangement, which was signed on Aug. 26, 1960.

I thought of that today when I passed the La Chiva Loca restaurant, with its logo "Las Originales De Guadalajara." I still can't roll my R's, but I do love the food.