Friday, September 30, 2016


Kevlar helmet

Police officers face dangers at work that most of us never encounter or even think about in a typical workday. This was brought home to me in our police station tour in many ways.

Ricky Galvez workout roomThere was the caution that Corporal Boggs showed when he took us into various areas of the station, checking his weapon as needed, moving us out of areas where a suspect might be entering. There were many, many reminders, including this full-size image, of Office Ricky Galvez (and his #172 shield), who was murdered last year. But the most poignant reminder, to me, was Corporal Boggs' casual mention of his Kevlar helmet, "just in case we get called out to a shooting in progress."

My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place - police, firefighters and members of our armed forces.
~ Sidney Sheldon

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Humans of Downey - Garth (2/2)

Boggs 1

"I am like my father in work ethic. My dad taught me that if you want something you need to work for it. He told me flat out, 'I'm not going to give it to you, you'll have to earn it.' Based on that teaching is how I looked at things.

"My dad was a roofer. He was hard-working. That's what I grew up with. That's what I did early on, was work hard at tearing roofs off. I remember driving one day and I saw a real nice car. He said, 'Hey, you like that car? Would you like to have it?' I said, 'Yeah, dad.' He said, 'You work hard enough, you can buy that car.' I thought that's very good because that's life—you want it, then work hard for it. So, it made me appreciate things when I worked hard to get them.

"It's why I loved my 1970 Camaro that I bought. Even though it wasn't the newest one, I loved it because it was mine and I bought it myself. I appreciated it more and took care of it better. It wasn't the shiniest car on the lot, but it was mine.

"My mom, on the other side, said, 'If you don't vote, you can't complain about anything.' Her mindset was to participate and back people that you thought were going to do the right things for you. Especially in politics. I didn't consider her a politician. She was just a grandmother with kids that wanted a safe neighborhood, and she saw things that were going in a direction that she thought were detrimental to having safe neighborhoods, e.g. a lack of street lights. So, she got a petition signed to get street lights installed. You can't just sit in your house and complain about things. You have to get up and do something about the problems. So, my mom taught me to get involved in the solutions to the problems I saw."
~ Garth

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Humans of Downey - Garth (1/2)

Boggs 3

"My major in college was architecture. I was going to Cal Poly Pomona and soon, I was going to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Some friends of mine, that were in law enforcement, went with me in my 1970 Camaro to the Lakewood outside theater to see a movie. I parked my Camaro, with its Pioneer Supertuner Cassette Player, in the lot. I came out after the movie and both doors are broken into and they had stolen my stereo. My friends say, 'Hey dude, you got ripped off.' I'm thinking, 'My friends are policemen. Hey, you guys get paid to catch these guys.'

"So, at the time, I was weighing my future plans and what I was currently doing, the drafting and all the drawings. That was a turning point for me, my being a victim of an auto burglary. For me, it wasn't so much that they took the stereo, it was insured, but the damage they did to get to the stereo is what bothered me. So, the next thing you know I applied at Los Angeles PD, Los Angeles Sheriff, and Downey PD. Downey got me and that was the start of my career at Downey Police Department.

"The interesting thing is that the skills I cultivated during my architecture major days, I've used during my policeman days. I've used it to draw crime scene drawings that are very exact and used in prosecutions. We had a murder investigation of an Orange County officer, Tommy De La Rosa, and I was involved in the crime scene drawings for that case. Also, my skills with AutoCAD were used during the O. J. Simpson trial regarding showing elevation of a crime scene. E.g. if you are 6 feet tall and you're across the street, this is what you can see. So, I got to be a part of that which was pretty unique.

"So, that was the beginning of my career in police work. I heard the stories of my friends and thought, 'That would be interesting and exciting.' And it has been. It turned to be exactly as I thought."
~ Garth

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One ride you don't want to take

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As part of our tour of DPD, Corporal Boggs showed us to the police vehicles. He described himself as "old school" because he still chooses to drive a Crown Vic.

IMG_0227 as Smart Object-1He gave us a demonstration of how uncomfortable it would be to ride in the back of his vehicle. It is a hard-plastic, molded frame and not at all forgiving—and absolutely no room for your feet to go.

And, of course, it's all recorded on the mounted cameras set in place to document what happens when you end up taking the ride you really don't want to take.

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"Bravery is not the absence of fear but ACTION in the face of fear."

Monday, September 26, 2016

The right to remain silent

Miranda rightsBody camera

This evening, DDP had the privilege of a guided tour through the Downey Police Department (DPD), provided by Corporal Garth Boggs. For the next week (or two), we'll introduce you to Corporal Boggs and some tidbits about life at the station.

You'd think that a 30-year veteran of the police department would know the Miranda warning by heart by now. Well, Corporal Boggs does know it, but he, like the rest of the DPD, carries the Miranda text on a card in his shirt pocket. When it's time to read a suspect his rights, Corporal Boggs pulls the card out of his pocket and "reads" them. All of this is recorded by his body camera (or a camera in the station), so that at trial, it can be shown that all these technicalities were performed, to the letter.

The requirement to inform detained suspects of their constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination (the Miranda warning) has been in effect since 1966. It's an extra burden for the police, but an extra protection for our democratic processes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's official

Orange Estates signs

We've posted before about the Orange Estates area of Downey, where there used to be more orange trees than houses. (See If you're an orange.) Now it's officially an area, as you can see by the updated street signs with the "D" logo printed on an orange, and "Orange Estates" on top.

Kind of makes me feel special!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Power towers


I did not make it out to take a picture today, so I dipped into a picture I took last year for today's post. It's not a compelling picture (although, I liked that it was close to sunset, I always love the colors). I just thought it was interesting to see the vast number of "power towers" we have in this area of Downey. It makes me wonder how exactly they work. I am thankful for the power they provide.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Signs of fall


I was in Seattle last weekend, where the air was brisk and the leaves were turning colors. It felt like fall, even though fall wasn't officially here yet.

Pumpkin lotBut here in southern California, those aren't the signs we look for. Our leaves are still green, the temperatures are in the 90s, and the only sign of fall is the abundance of pumpkins, including preparations for the pumpkin lot at the local CVS store.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Humans of Downey - Tim and Vanessa


"One of my earliest memories I have is in the early 80s my grandparents had season tickets so we used to go frequently to see the Dodgers. I remember having Dodger dogs and being part of the 'True Blue Club,' that's the kid's Dodger fan club. When we'd go to the Dodger games I got to see my heroes: the pitchers and batters, Hershiser, Fernando, Ron Cey. Those are some of the early memories I have.

"My grandmother used to bring a brass cowbell to the games. Our seats were on the top deck and she would ring it during the game. This was before they banned noise makers. She had been a Dodger fan for a long time so whenever something good was happening she would ring that bell. Also, eating Dodger dogs and putting the peanut shells underneath the seats. In 1988, I got to see the Dodgers win the World Series. I saw Kirk Gibson's fist pumps. I saw the parade and the whole city come together. Those were great memories. Let's hope they do it again this year."
~ Tim

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016 International Food & Music Festival


This past Saturday a wide swath of Downtown Downey was cordoned off for the 2016 International Food & Music Festival. There was music for almost every taste and volume level. In addition to music and food there was also art for you to express yourself.

DSC_0830This group, called The Pasadena Transit, entertained the audience with their renditions of Chicago hits.

DSC_0827There were plenty of photo opportunities to show off your Downey pride.

DSC_0822And everywhere you looked there were events for the kids to participate in. This rock-climbing attraction was a big hit with both the parents and kids.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hawaiian vibe

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I'm back in the islands for a quick work trip and just can't resist.

20160306_161919 as Smart Object-1I love the relaxed feel when I simply walk down to the water for a quick break. And, I am always drawn to the palm trees and how they seem to bend in unpredictable ways as they grow.

"May you have grace in your step
song in your hand
and Aloha in your heart."
~ Hula blessing 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Horsin' around

Horse tire swing

During the last few years, I've seen many variations on the traditional homemade tree swing (for example, Swingin' or Chair swing). I think this one is the cutest by far.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Zombie walk

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I spent the weekend in the Seattle area visiting friends. Today we were in the city of Snohomish hanging out, enjoying the shops when we encountered the Zombie Walk.

According to the Snohomish Facebook page, they invited all zombies and ghouls to downtown Snohomish for a friendly (or not) visit. In preparation for the impending Zombie-Apocalypse, they asked all participants and spectators to bring "rations for the survivors" (to benefit the Snohomish Food Bank). I have to say, it was a little scary watching everyone walk up the main street. They were truly freaky looking.

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"I like my zombies slow and I like my zombies stupid." 
~ Seth Grahame-Smith

Friday, September 16, 2016

Patriotic gardening

Flag on wheelbarrow

I've seen (and posted) so many variations of flags lately, I couldn't resist adding this patriotic wheelbarrow. It adds a real splash of color to an otherwise dry and dusty (that is, drought-tolerant) scene.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grow to survive


This flower is from a plant that grew up in the middle of a hedge of another plant. It had to grow up high enough to have its flowers be visible to pollinators. In order for the plant to do what it was designed to do, reproduce to seed more plants just like itself, it had to get tall enough to be seen. It is just above the hedge, just tall enough. Beautiful!

DSC_0797[1]Whatever is holding you back from doing what you were designed to do, grow just a little bit above it.

"The earth laughs in flowers.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Humans of Downey - Arleen


"I think I got my shyness from my dad. I'm not one to be outspoken and I always stay to myself. And yet, on the other hand, with the position I have, front desk receptionist, I need to speak and get along with everyone as they come to my desk. My shyness tends to go away then.

"When it's one on one, that's when I tend to shut down more often. I've never thought of taking steps to change my shyness. I just don't think I could. I'm comfortable with who I am. Sometimes I do say, after some conversation, 'I wish I had said this or that.' Something I really felt. But then it's too late. And that's OK"
~ Arleen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rosslyn Chapel

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Okay, so I do not have any Downey pictures to share today, so I decided to share some from our recent trip to Scotland. These are from Rosslyn Chapel, a 15th century chapel originally known as the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew. It was an interesting visit. The inside is covered in unique carvings and design. It isn't hard to imagine why it was the chosen location for the final scene for The Da Vinci Code.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Railroad crossing

Electrical box artElectrical box art

This electrical box, located by a railroad crossing at a busy intersection, shows a "Pacific Electric" railroad car and advertises "Downey All-American City." It's a colorful addition to an otherwise nondescript intersection.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


9-11 flags

Today as I drove around Downey, I noticed flags flying on many, many doorways. So many people, today, are taking the opportunity to declare their remembrance of those whose lives were lost fifteen years ago on 9/11.

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
~ President Obama

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Guard cat


Walking past this house, I had the distinct impression that this cat was not only watching me, but also observing everything going on in the neighborhood.

You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Stars and stripes

Flag pallet

Many people display flags in their front yards. Some fly traditional flags from a flag pole. Others are more inventive, such as with this flag painted on a wooden pallet. Either way, the flags show support for the USA.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Humans of Downey - Joshua


"All of this happened as a hobby a little over two years ago. Just to get my mind free, I started painting on the side, just for nothing. Then, six months later I sold my first piece of art to a collector in New York. After that I sold another piece. And after that I sold 200 pieces in one showing. It started as a hobby and now I just love doing it. Now people enjoy my art all over the world.

"My abstract pieces are from when I'm in a down mood. It's an expression of what I'm going through. Like when I'm not in a good mood or something bad is going on. When I'm in a happy mood and things are going good I put in the Micky Mouse, or some other happy character, on top of the abstract background."
~ Joshua

Note: Joshua will be showing his art at the Stay Gallery on September 9, 2016, 8 pm - 10 pm. You can visit their web site here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Humans of Downey - Kostas


"It was the summer of 1974, July. I was 6 and would turn 7 next year. The Greek government was falling apart. It was a military dictatorship and it wasn't bad that it was falling apart. However, while it was falling apart it was taking with it a lot. One of the things that happened was the invasion by the Turkish military of the island, Cyprus. This put the Greek armed forces on alert. Unfortunately, they weren't much to speak of, at that time.

"I remember a picture, a picture of my mother and grandmother crying about my father who was going to turn 41 in just a few days. This happened on July 20th, which is a very big day for Greece. It is the day we celebrate Elijah and it's a big celebration. My father was going to turn 41 on August 1st. The government was calling every male of 40 or below to the military conscription units. War was going to break out and I thought the world was coming to an end. And at this time that this whole thing was happening, we lived a mile from the Bulgarian border.

"I'll never forget that day. I'll never forget the crying. I'll never forget the insecurity. The possibility of destruction, for the second time in my grandmother's life and for the third time in my great grandmother's life. It was a defining moment in my young life. It's a moment when you realize that security is a very relative thing, relative to your location, of course. Or to your parent's age, i.e., are you going to lose your dad to a war. And relative to your economic/social background. It was difficult.

"It was the first time I ever saw television. We lived in such a remote area that there was no... We actually had a television that was gifted to my family by someone that was visiting from abroad. But it didn't work because there were no transponders to send the signals except for the Bulgarian channels. At the time, during the Cold War, the Eastern Bloc television stations would transmit the picture and the sound on different frequencies than the Western television sets would pick up. So, on one channel we would get the picture and on another channel we would get the sound for that same picture.

"But on that day, the 20th of July, 1974, I saw, for the first time, television. It was news and the national anthem and nationalistic propaganda of the impending war. Thank God, the United States 6th fleet inserted itself predominately between Greece and Turkey. This averted an all-out war between the two countries. It would have been catastrophic for Greece. I don't know about Turkey, but for Greece it would have been catastrophic. And for my family. It was the second time in my life when I pondered the thought, 'Why would some other people that I do not know spend money to keep me safe, when my own government wasn't interested in doing so?' The first was when I found a old oil can in the basement. It had two hands grasping each other with an American flag in the background. I asked my grandmother what this was. She replied, 'It was aid from the Americans in 1947."
~ Kostas

Tuesday, September 6, 2016



Sunflowers always seem so happy. These had taken over the front section of this yard. I'm sure they brightened the day of people passing by.

Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come, 
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
~ Song of Solomon 2:12

Monday, September 5, 2016

Ready for school?

Second Tyme Around Shoppe

A lot of events happened in August during our break. One of those was the start of the Downey school year on August 17. As usual, the Second Tyme Around Shoppe was on top of things with a back-to-school display. This year's display features clothes from rival schools USC and UCLA.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Scottish castles

Eilean Donan Castle

When I mentioned history in my previous post (Scottish beauty), what I was really thinking about was the castles. Scotland seems to have a million castles, and you can't visit them without learning about Scottish (and English) history.

In US history, we have, at most, about 500 years of history to learn. Imagine having history (and all those names and dates) that goes back a couple of thousand years and more! I learned a lot about the early Scots clans, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebellion, and King James VI, who united Scotland and England under single king.

Eilean Donan Castle, above, became a stronghold of the Clan MacKenzie and their allies the Clan MacRae. In the early eighteenth century, the MacKenzies' involvement in the Jacobite rebellions led in 1719 to the castle's destruction by government ships.The castle sat in ruins until the 20th century, when it was restored by one of the clan descendants.

Dunnottar Castle, below, is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels) were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century. The castle is in ruins now, but there is enough left to give you a good picture of what life was like for the Earl and his wife, as well as for those on the bottom of the heap. The Earl's bedrooms and living areas were spacious and had beautiful views overlooking the ocean.

Dunnottar Castle

Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling Castle (below), including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542. There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle, with the last being in 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie tried, and failed, to take the castle.

Stirling Castle

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Highland coos (that is highland cows)


IMG_9745 as Smart Object-1As Pam mentioned, the Highlands were beauty all around. It seemed that no matter where you looked, there was beautiful pinkish colored heather or a beautiful glen or a hill stretching out covered in sheep. There were sheep everywhere.

However, I fell in love with the Highland Cows - which I read were plentiful, but we only managed to find a few of them - mostly on castle grazing areas. Here are two of my favorites. The first we saw at Blair Castle, the second at Stirling Castle. They are such ancient looking they come from a different time.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Scottish beauty

View on the Isle of Skye

I've been in Scotland the last couple of weeks. If I had to sum up Scotland in two words, I'd choose beauty and history.

View in GlencoeAlthough all of the countryside is beautiful, the most amazing areas were in the Highlands of Scotland, which include the Island of Skye (above). With its lochs (lakes), the rolling hills covered with sheep, and the stark Cuillin mountain range in the background, every turn in the road unveils another gorgeous view.

Another area famous for its beauty is Glencoe (right and below). Heather is everywhere! In the past, heather was used for thatched roofs and in mattresses. (Historically, heather beds were considered to be as comfortable as feather beds.) It is used for aromatherapy and for natural medicines.

The peaks that surround the glen include Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. The area is very popular with mountain climbers and hikers. Here, it is possible to bag (climb) several Munros. A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3,000 feet. Munros are named after Sir Hugh Munro, who produced the first list of such hills in 1891.

View in Glencoe