Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Short Pump & Richmond, Virginia

Short Pump
Copperas Creek

Sunrise plays across oversized books stacked in an antique wheelchair and reflects off their shiny covers onto the wall.

Bethlehem Creek

Someone has managed to maintain a small acreage just outside the city limits. Suburbs and post-World War II tract homes bracket this bit of Virginia countryside. Someday developers will have it and infill with mini-mansions. It is too close to the city not to. But until then ...

... it is home to a couple of winsome characters always ready to pose, never ...

... knowing a stranger, forever in hope of conning any ...

... passerby out of a stray carrot or apple.

Monument Avenue

Laura, left, has become a beautiful and inquisitive young lady over the past few months since I last saw her. Proud papa Shawn, right, cradles her in his arms while she visits her daddy's office.

Short Pump

Upper atmospheric winds shred a contrail and feather it across the evening sky.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Short Pump & Midlothian, Virginia

Short Pump

It's into the dunes and rural byways for Mike Colligan. His new four-door Jeep Wrangler will carry him closer to the images he loves to create along North Carolina's Outer Banks and Virginia's back roads.


Outside my physician's office, a lone Mockingbird surveys his territory before carrying a worm to the nest.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gayton, Virginia

The congregation of Cambridge church greets one another at the beginning of Sunday morning services.

Steve and Lori, left, catch up with Angela, right. Lori came to Cambridge as a child in the nursery. She is now a young mother herself with a child of own in the nursery.

Christopher, left, Caleb, middle, and Matthew, right, react to a story told by their teacher George.

Other children listen and follow along as Kayleigh, center, reads the story of Deborah, an early Hebrew judge.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Short Pump & Richmond, Virginia

Short Pump

Left to right: Dorie translates a Russian document as her daughter Alyona, Alison and her daughter Jenine listen. Dorie has studyied Russian for years. She and her husband Paul have traveled to Russia several time and adopted three children, including Alyona, from there.

Jenine loves the new face painting she acquired today and claims she will never wash it off.

Segway Tour

Sam, right, tests the helmet on his son Shawn. It is the beginning of a two-and-a-half hour Segway tour of downtown Richmond. Shawn turns out to be a natural on the machine, mastering it in a matter of minutes. Sam and I are a bit more challenged.

Graham, center, our guide loves history and regales us with stories along the route. We stop in front of the John Marshall House — home of the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — as he discusses Marshall's relationship with Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and others, as well as Marshall's impact on the growth and development of Richmond as a city.

On the edge of the Medical College of Virginia complex, the old city is reflected in the glass walls of the new.

At the center of the Medical complex Sam stops his Segway in front of the Egyptian Building. Many Richmond residents don't know this building exists and those who do often are uncertain where to find it. It honors the legacy of medical advances and knowledge that descend from the ancient Egyptians. Medicine has been taught here since the mid-18th Century. The Medical College of Virginia campus of Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest medical complex on the East Coast.

Shawn motors past the site of the first African-American hospital across the Egyptian Building. It was also founded in the 18th Century. A bust of Hippocrates, the Greek physician considered the father of medicine, stands in the plaza between them.

A peace rally is held on the state capitol grounds.

Sam watches as balloons are released by those attending the rally.

During the tour, I fell off the Segway twice and Sam once. We both anticipate feeling the effects — road rash and sore muscles — fully in the morning. Our tour guide says that anytime you are asked to sign a waiver of responsibility you know you are about to experience something special. Sam survived civil war in Lebanon and I came back from Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Panama with less damage than we did from this tour.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Short Pump & West Point, Virginia

Short Pump
Copperas Creek

There is a gymnastics display along Copperas Creek this morning. Two of our front yard residents perform on the squirrel feeders. We didn't set them out as squirrel feeders, but that's what they've become.

West Point

Courtney is amazing. She loads a large tray with drinks and platters again and again, flitting from table to table with her heavy loads at Anthony George's Seafood Restaurant in West Point. The dining rooms are crowded as customers today. They are getting one more meal in before the popular restaurant closes for a month. The family spends every July in Greece.

Ken Touchton and I meet in West Point for lunch. He opens the hood of his Suburban to show me the nest birds have built under the hood next to the firewall beneath the hinge. The nest was built while the Touchtons were traveling and the car was parked for two weeks. Ken didn't discover it until getting an oil change.

Inside are five small eggs. The parents had to fly through the grill and over the engine to reach them.

Short Pump

Sam at the end of a hard day at the Daily Grind taking a break from trying to sync a new phone with his calendars.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia

Among the dogs who visit the Daily Grind, Jake is one of the regulars. He is the constant companion of his person and will wait patiently for hours until it is time to go.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia

June hasn't been a best of months for me ... or Edna. First her dog died, then she had some dental problems. Add to them the daily annoyances of life and the mix results in a less than stellar month. We both look forward to July.

Another evening spent on the great purse hunt. Dianne suspects there is a perfect bag for the season out there... somewhere. But we didn't find it tonight ... or on other nights this month. I suspect we will try again. This whole exercise is uncomfortably ... hauntingly ... familiar. Photographers spend their entire careers buying camera bag after camera bag ... filling closets, their lives spilling over with them ... seeking the perfect one in which to sling their gear.

Shadows play across the early evening walkways of Short Pump Town Center.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Short Pump & Richmond, Virginia
Short Pump

Sadie, foreground, and Toby, rear, drift toward a nap, their morning duties of getting Dianne and me up and going — and off to work — over.


She may appear to be nonchalant, but Kristi (with an "i") revels in an extremely casual day. Normally denim and open-toed sandals would not be tolerated.

Short Pump

Dianne and I enjoy steamed shrimp and fresh clams at the SeaFire Grill while Kristie (with an "ie") mixes drinks at the bar.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia

Paul Steinberg, center, an artist who exhibits at the Daily Grind, has begun a drawing class on Monday evenings at the coffee shop. Tonight he teaches the second session.

Alyona Steinberg, Paul's daughter, displays her latest project: a pencil drawing of a photograph taken of Dianne when she was 3 years-old on her grandfather's farm in North Carolina.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia
Fathers Day

Ferris finds a whole ecosystem living among the stamens of this flower. There are several species of insects. The coloration of one even matches that of the petals.

The praise team kicks off the worship service for Fathers Day at Cambridge church. Front to rear: Cindy, Alison and Harriet are in the moment.

Children wait for their fathers to join them as part of the morning service.

Sadie "attacks" Alison. She is one of Sadie's favorite people and Sadie is ecstatic on seeing her ...

... while Toby takes a much calmer approach.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Short Pump & Richmond, Virginia
Short Pump

Sadie gives Jenine an ear snuffle. It's the highest honor our Yellow-Lab mix offers. Only special people are accorded one. It is executed by inserting her pink nose into an ear and sniffing deeply and rapidly.

Toby —I've recently been informed that I've been misspelling Toby's name on this blog — and Jenine share secrets on the patio outside the Daily Grind.

A water hyacinth is in bloom in the Koi pond at Short Pump Mall. It is a hot day with temperatures promising to climb into 90s. Most of the Koi are hiding beneath the hyacinths.

It is a busy day at the mall. Most of the stores are busy — the Apple Store was almost impossible to get into. In spite of the temperature the mall train is full every run.

Koi spotting at the mall pond is a favorite activity for the young.

Dianne, left, and Miriam, right, work on configuring Dianne's new personal computer at the Daily Grind.

Dianne, left, takes a break to play a game of "Double-Double" with Jenine, right, while Charlotte, center, observes.


Jenine, left, organizes a spontaneous game of "Bill-Bill" in the parking lot outside SuCasa. She enlists, left to right, her mother Alison and brothers Ferris and Shawn to play with her.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Richmond, Virginia
South Main Street & Shocco Bottom

Dianne, left, and her daughter Sherianne, right, share a laugh in the passenger waiting area of the old train station on South Main Street. The century old structure has been recently renovated and reopened. Several passenger trains each day once again stop on the way to and from Miami, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Boston and points between.

Mother and daughter walk beneath the Interstate 95 and railroad overpasses in Shocco Bottom. They spent the afternoon shopping and sightseeing, stopping for lunch at Bottoms Up Pizza. For generations ocean-going vessels blocked by the Falls of the James stopped here to pick up cargo from river boats bringing it down the river.

A new piece of public art hangs from the I-95 overpass near of the Main Street Railroad Station. In spite of a flood wall built to protect this area from high water, it is still known to occasionally flood.

Hookahs on display in the windows of a falafel shop add to the ambience of South Main Street near the site of a market that has continuously operated since the 17th century. Fortunately there is a water hydrant close by in case hot embers from the water pipes flare out of control.

Petunias in a window box on South Main dress up an old wall. Lettering advertising products for sale still adorn the wall even though it has been decades since the store that carried them was open for business.

Dianne awaits Sherianne as she buys a Father's Day present for her husband Casey in an antique shop on Carey Street in the bottom.

The shop carries an eclectic collection of nicknacks, stain glass, paintings, jewelery and furniture from past decades. it marks the end of their shopping trip.