Summer begins

I’ve been busy (I love to be busy) and not posted in some time. I’m having enjoyable experiences and taking lots of fun pictures. Cappy, second oldest of my five excellent nieces, was in town yesterday and we got to spend a nice part of the day together. I am a person who takes pictures; Cappy is a photographer. There’s a big difference. A few pictures she took will be on this post.

I work one on one with people. Two of the people I work with were out of town this week. I was fortunate that coincided with the week of Cappy’s visit. I worked with one friend yesterday morning from 7:00 to 9:00. Then had the rest of the day to spend with Cappy! Perfect timing!

We met in the morning at Starbucks (where else) and took the dogs across the river for a pleasant hike at Pony Pasture. Dropped the dogs off at the house and headed to Lavenders Cafe, 119 E Main St., Richmond. Our lunch was superb – the food and the experience are always superb at Lavenders – plus lavender lemonade. Indescribably delicious.

My favorite place to eat and chat - and drink lavender lemonade!

It’s difficult to top Lavenders, but we took a chance and went to Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream for dessert. Fortunately, they still had basil ice cream. The only food  that can possibly follow lavender lemonade. I mentioned basil ice cream in an earlier blog post, but I just wrote about it. I’ve been back a number of times since. When I went with a friend earlier this week, we were outside eating and there was a basil ice-cream colored Schwinn parked outside! I wonder if they plan it that way… Anyway, ice cream and matching Schwinn:

Basil ice cream - and matching Schwinn!

When Cappy and I went to Crossroads yesterday, she took this picture of me enjoying (can you tell?) more basil ice cream:

Yes, I am happy.

I’ve had lots of great hikes at the river since my last post. It’s warming up a lot and the dogs are swimming regularly. Since Max is all muscle he’s not very buoyant and stays near the edge. But boy he has such a cheerful smile. And he’s always eager, always wanting to see what comes next. Look at this handsome boy:

Smiling with anticipation.

Before we left Pony Pasture yesterday morning, I leashed the dogs up. I wanted to get them (Max, mainly) back in the car in a reasonable amount of time. My hands were full of leashes and Cappy offered to carry my camera. I didn’t even know she’d taken the lens cap off. When I got home and downloaded the pictures, I found this image:

Walking the dogs, by Cappy

I didn’t retouch that  or crop it or anything – she just took the picture and it came out that way. All her pictures have the most beautiful light, wherever she takes them. She’s a natural. And she understands composition so well. As is evident in this image.

See what I mean about the difference between a person who takes pictures (me) and a photographer (Cappy)? It would never occur to me to take a picture like that. I’d never have a vision in my mind’s eye of just how accessible and expressive it would turn out. I think I “work” a lot at taking pictures (although you may never know it) but I think for Cappy it’s automatic. My photography is formulaic where hers is intuitive. I get some pretty pictures because I see lots of pretty things. But Cappy has a knack for people and animals and light that I miss.

The shirt I wore yesterday is an old favorite, given to me by a perceptive friend years ago. This is the back:

Words to live by

PS I wanted to put pictures of Cappy in this post. But she told me she likes it better behind the camera. I like both sides.


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Summer begins

  1. Evelyn Zak says:

    Thanks for another enjoyable post, Jay. I can’t tell who is smiling more broadly – you or Max! Sounds (and looks) like it was a great day.

  2. I haven’t asked any of the others. But I am reasonably certain all five of us had a wonderful time.

  3. cris leonard says:

    well, yeah, yeah … it is a great tale of coincidence, a fun association, the color scheme w/ bike and scoop BUT any ice cream with a delectable hue, much closer to that of a bianchi green – now that would be the exquisite flavor, the one to have !!

    • Hey bud,
      It’s possible – although I’ll admit not probable – that there was a bicycle manufacturing convention and they served basil ice cream there. Execs from Bianchi and Schwinn were so taken with it – I’m sure they dreamed about it that evening – they immediately began offering bicycles in a shade recalling that divine flavor. Stranger things have happened!

  4. noni says:

    What a great day you all had. 5 nieces, what a blessing. Thank you so much for keeping me in the loop. love

    • Hi Noni,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. My five nieces are delightful; my good fortune knows no bounds. The oldest is 22, the youngest 7. My favorite age always turns out to be the age of the one I’m with. I’m picking my buddy up from camp this afternoon. It’s a lovely day and I’m looking forward to a fun time. Have a great day,



  5. Clare M says:

    Looks wonderful, Jay. 🙂

    Cappy is an epic photographer. I really should get some lessons from her, if I want to prove to Mom and Dad that they need to get me that camera!
    I’m glad that summer is finally here, though I could do without 99 degree temperatures! But the pool is opened and I can’t wait for the fourth of July!

  6. Hi Clare,
    I’m glad you enjoy it. Yes, your cousin is a remarkable photographer. I wonder if she does give lessons? I’ll bet she’s a great teacher.

    I too am glad summer is here. One good thing about 99º temperatures: it grows great tomatoes! The perfect summer food. Tied perhaps with watermelon. And I almost forgot corn-on-the-cob. And boy if you ever have basil ice cream that will also be at the top of your list.

    I’m excited about Fourth of July too! That’s going to be lots of fun.

    Have a great day and I’ll talk with you soon,



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