One Way Conversation: LTG Bob Wood (RET) AVBEC Lecture

This morning I honed my listening skills and looked for an opportunity to engage in active listening from a speaker. While at an Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center (AVBEC) morning networking breakfast, I was introduced to a few different people in a short period of time. With people of higher education, to include graduates of West Point, with more work experience, varied community involvement, and so on, I found myself shying away from talking about myself, and instead inquired about their positions with the local neighborhood business community.
LTG Bob Wood delivering a speech to an audience after a vet breakfast
LTG Bob Wood delivering a speech to an audience after a vet breakfast
Even as a U.S. Army veteran, I approached this multicultural military based setting with a childlike curiosity and refrained from going into deep with my own limited background experience (Bucher, Bucher, 2013 p.143). One of the first people I was introduced to was a founder of a nonprofit which had an interesting technique of alleviating stresses that some military members face, sometimes due to war. This entrepreneurial business leader's nonprofit, which was based out of New Jersey, takes military personnel and gives them non  serviceable military uniforms, cuts them into tiny pieces, and then processes them into recycled paper. I was dumbfounded by the resiliency of materials involved and continued conversation with him over coffee that was provided by AVBEC. With art as a topic, I mentioned some other nonprofits events and venues, which included the Sunday Record Fair at Rosslyn's Artisphere which was to host Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, as a guest speaker. Moving forward, breakfast, which was mostly fruits and pastries, mixed into LTG Bob Wood's main speech, which was to continue at a professionally enriching 2 hours without a single distracting pause, aside from a few rounds of applause from the audience. There were so many topics touched on, that it was hard to remember all of the facts, truths, tips, and expert mentorship that he had gained from his thirty six years of volunteered service to the United States Army. I found these multicultural boundaries of military and civilian professional development to be somewhat beyond my immediate understanding and just tried to soak in the material covered. For example, LTG Wood mentioned his early beginnings as a public servant where he delivered a newspaper route to the local community he grew up in, while going through the famous T.C. Williams High School, which is located in my hometown of Alexandria.
Emily Macmahan giving closing statements at an AVBEC networking breakfast
Emily Macmahan giving closing statements at an AVBEC networking breakfast
As stated earlier, there were not any interruptions from LTG Wood's speech. In the end, there was a Q and A with audience members who raised their hands for specific questions. With a brief background as a junior enlisted in the Army, I found myself still respectful of his outstanding rank, and rather than try to pick his brain for answers that I didn't know, I just enjoyed my place at the table and listened to the responses and follow ups from other people at the table, while still considering the previously covered topics. Next, with the free coffee provided by AVBEC still settling in my stomach, I said good bye to the nonprofit founder to my right, and headed out so I could return to my parents office in Alexandria, Virginia.
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Jones Point Park on Memorial Day Weekend

On Memorial Weekend 2014 my brother took me out to Jones Point Park.
An available basketball court at Jones Point Park
An available basketball court at Jones Point Park
This was my first time seeing this place since I was in High School, when I would go there to fish for catfish with chicken livers. The development since the completion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge adds to the beauty of Alexandria. Cruising on the Mount Vernon Trail, Stuart & I took the fork in the road towards Jones Point Park, which is just after Porto Vecchio Condominiums. The other alternative fork goes across the Woodrow Wilson bridge and enters Maryland, as opposed to sticking on the Mt. Vernon Trail. The path into Jones Point Park was smoothly paved. Entering the view of the underside of the bridge was very picturesque. While Stuart stretched, I took a lap around the park and saw an open basketball court, several fishers casting out, a boat or two passing, and lots of movement from bikers, joggers, and other fitness oriented folks. Continuing in the direction of Old Town, there was another smooth paved asphalt trail that was just behind a series of luxury homes at the very end of Union St. The close proximity of it all, made for an outstanding location. The ride didn't end there, Stuart pressed on and I followed until Founders Park, which is where I threw in the towel and suggested we return home, due to my fading stamina. The way back through Jones Point Park was just as fun on the way there, especially with the lively activity going on inside.

Old Town

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Opening Night with the GI Film Festival

On 19May2014 the GI Film Festival kicked off at Old Town Theater. The event was visited by David Arquette, who you might know from the 1996 feature film Scream. The first movie of the 2014 GI Film Festival was the Field of Lost Shoes. The event sold out quickly. As a volunteer, I got there early to help with set up. After moving a table to the second floor, I was waiting for the next task when I over heard someone asking about coffee shops in Old Town. I couldn't help but offer my two cents on a subject I was familiar with. I recommended Bittersweet, which was right next door from Old Town Theater, and Misha's, which was about 3 blocks away. Later on I was surprised to find out that the person asking about coffee was one of the GI Film Festivals directors! As the event got closer to starting time, a line of audience members began to form. I took a spot as a door opener and handed out programs to incoming ticket holders. Meanwhile on the red carpet, there were professional photographers staffed who took pictures of celebrities and guests a like. It was interesting to see the crowd of cocktail attired visitors pass through to the evenings entertainment, which started seating at 6:15pm. After the beginning of the event had settled in, I took my leave, and said goodbye to Kim Palmese who had been my POC throughout the GI Film Festival. I remember her shuffling through the crowd, placing volunteers with excellent timing, and overseeing the logistics of this nonprofit hosted event.
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Northern Virginia is Home to Over 100 Festivals

Festival Name Location Date
Reston Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Reston Jan 18-20
McLean Chocolate Festival McLean Jan 26
Chinese New Year Gala Fairfax Jan 31
Annual Lunar New Year Festival Fairfax Feb 1
Chocolate Lover's Festival Fairfax Feb 1-2
DC ReelAbilities Film Festival Multiple Feb 6-13
HUB Play Fest Reston Feb 22-23
Nowruz Festival Reston Mar 16
Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival Multiple Mar 20-30
Persian New Year Festival Centreville Mar 31
Reston Founders Day Reston Apr 5
Bluebells at the Bend Celebration Great Falls Apr 12
Annual Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival Fairfax Apr 25-May 17
Annual Fairfax Civil War Day Fairfax Apr 26
Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival Reston Apr 26-27
SpringFest Fairfax Lorton Apr 26
Taste of Vienna Vienna Apr 26
Fairfax Fine Art Festival Fairfax May 3
Taste of Merrifield Merrifield May 3
Heritage India Festival Chantilly May 11-12
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival Reston May 16-18
Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour Mount Vernon May 16-18
Chantilly Day Chantilly May 17
Claude Moore Colonial Market Fair McLean May 17-18, July 19-20, Oct 18-19
McLean Day McLean May 17
Bluebell Music Festival Centreville May 18
Israel Street Festival Fairfax May 18
Sunset Celebration Mount Vernon May 24-25
Viva! Vienna! Vienna May 24-26
DMV Punjabi Mela Festival Centreville May 25
Falls Church Memorial Day Parade and Festival Falls Church May 26
Herndon Festival Herndon May 29-June 1
Springfield Days Springfield May 31
Great Tastes of Tysons Tysons Corner May 31-June 1
Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival Centreville May 31- June 1
Celebrate Fairfax Fairfax June 6-8
Lake Anne Chalk Festival Reston June 7-8
Taste of Reston Reston June 13-14
Tinner Hill Blues Festival Falls Church June 13-15
Art in the Courtyard Lorton June 14
Sully Annual Antique Car Show Chantilly June 15
Clifton Wine Festival Clifton June 21
An American Celebration Mount Vernon July 4
Herndon 4th of July Celebration Herndon July 4
Independence Day Celebration Fairfax July 4
Independence Day Fireworks Celebration Falls Church July 4
Vienna July 4th Festival and Fireworks Show Vienna July 4
Annual Ukulele Festival Reston July 13
Clifton Film Fest Lorton July 19
Annual Pakistan Festival USA Centreville Aug 24
Lake Anne Jazz Festival Reston Aug 30
Clifton Car Show and Labor Day Festival Clifton Sept 1
Herndon Labor Day Festival Herndon Sept 1
Burke Centre Festival Burke Sept 6-7
Great Grapes! Wine & Food Festival Reston Sept 6-7
Fall for the Book Fairfax Sept 11-18
Fall Festival and Taste of Falls Church Falls Church Sept 13
Tysons World Music Festival Tysons Corner Sept 13
Irish Folk Festival Fairfax Sept 20
Mount Vernon Colonial Market & Fair Mount Vernon Sept 20-21
Paint Herndon Herndon Sept 20
Tysons BBQ, Bourbon and Beer Tysons Corner Sept 20
KORUS Festival Centreville TBD
Reston Multicultural Festival Reston TBD
Viginia Indian Festival Great Falls TBD
Ft Belvoir Oktoberfest Ft Belvoir Oct 2-5
Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour Mount Vernon Oct 3-5
Vienna Oktoberfest Vienna Oct 4
MPA Art Fest McLean Oct 5
Centreville Day Centreville Oct 11
Fall Festival Fairfax Oct 11
Reston Fine Art Festival Reston Oct 11-12
Herndon Arts Week Herndon Oct 11-17
Clifton Day Festival Clifton Oct 12
Tysons Harvest Festival Tysons Corner Oct 18-19
Fall Crush Festival Centreville Oct 19
Washington West Film Festival Multiple Oct 22-26
Annandale Fall Festival Annandale Oct 25
Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest Fairfax TBD
Merrifield Fall Festival Fairfax TBD
Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest Centreville TBD
Oktoberfest Reston Reston TBD
Northern Virginia Jewish Book Festival Multiple TBD
City of Fairfax Festival of Lights & Carols Fairfax TBD
Tysons German Christmas Market Tysons Corner TBD
Wolf Trap Sing-a-Long Vienna TBD
ArtSpace Herndon New Year's Eve Celebration Herndon Dec 31
Source: “Festivals,” Arts Council of Fairfax County (May 16, 2014)
The Reston Town Center hosted the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
The Reston Town Center hosted the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

Properties in Fairfax County


Performance Art at the Artisphere

Visiting the Artisphere in Rosslyn was very enjoyable. I was there to see Kaki King, a critically acclaimed female guitarist. Taking the some what spiral stairs past the lounge, and up to the second floor was neat. There were a few art related quotes to read from the walls display, as well as a series of artistic photographs streaming from a projector onto a wall. Entering the Dome Theatre, there were steep seats which created an immediate intimate closeness with the stage. Looking up, the spherical shape of the Dome Theatre reminded me of a planetarium. During the performance everything was very professional, there were perfectly timed lights and video that corresponded with the acoustic-electric guitar's rhythms & progressions & physical movements which were a part of King's kickstarter. During a pausing moment, Kaki King told the audience that this was her third performance of the nights entertainment, entitled 'the Neck is a Bridge to the Body.' Overall, I found the music and video to be soothing and cerebral. Afterwards, I left for the Orange line metro station two blocks away, still thinking about the sounds and pictures that I had seen earlier that evening. The Artisphere is the result of 40 years of community desire culminating with a public & private partnership with Arlington County & Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Monday Properties. Amenities here include:
  • 4,000 sq. ft. Terrace Gallery, plus two additional gallery spaces for visual arts
  • 4,000 sq. ft. Ballroom (3,000 sq. ft. dance floor) for events, performances and live music
  • 220-seat Dome Theatre for concerts, films and presentations
  • 125-seat Black Box Theatre—the new home of WSC Avant Bard
  • 387-seat Spectrum Theatre for concerts and events located just next door
  • Free WiFi
  • Two-story Video Wall screening experimental film and video installations
Rosslyn real estate
For real estate at Rosslyn in Arlington VA contact Nesbitt Realty

Rosslyn is located in the northeastern corner of Arlington County, north of Arlington National Cemetery and directly across the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. The numerous high-rise buildings of Rosslyn appears (in some ways) more urban than nearby Washington.

Added to the mix are new condominiums, lively restaurants and exciting shops, all with easy access to Washington and close-in proximity to Interstate-395, the Pentagon and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

[read more about Rosslyn ]

An Account of a Spring Evening in Old Town

With the weather heating up in Northern Virginia, tourist season is just starting up again. In summertime Old Town, Alexandria is very a popular destination for locals and out of towners. People are attracted to Old Town's luxurious dining options, rich historical setting, cultural activities, lively nightlife, varied shopping, and waterfront atmosphere. As an amateur artist, I was drawn to visit Old Town for a few brief sketching sessions of a busy Spring weekend. After I found an appropriate and non disruptive angle, I planted myself for a 15 minute sketch. The lighting from the Spring season was a great transition from the lasting reach of winters darkness. Gone were the days of wearing layers, now only a light jacket would do just fine. With endless motions of people in passing, I jotted down what I could. From parents pushing strollers, to couples enjoying ice cream, to an accordion player providing background noise, to the parked King St Trolley, to the block away Fish Market sign, I tried to capture the lively happenings of King St. and Union St. Moving on, I made my way towards the waterfront. Behind the Torpedo Factory, past a magician working on keeping an audience of children and adults attention, past an artist with his work laid out for those in passing to view, past the riverboat taxis, past Chart House Restaurant, and to the waterfront. Here people snapped pictures, people rested on benches, and in general enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. I started my second 15 minute sketch of National Harbor & the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the horizon. To finish, I scribbled in some clouds with birds in the foreground.

Old Town

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Giving & Receiving: Volunteering at Petco

I have found through my own personal experience that volunteering to help shelter dogs at the Petco on Rt1 is very rewarding. To see the joy of dogs (old & young) leaving their store (where they wait for adoption), to go outside for fresh air, is very uplifting. Feeling a slight tug on the other end of the leash, while seeing four legs scrambling on the tile as we approach the automatic sliding glass door. Once outside, the dogs are happy to follow me in any direction, whether it be towards Target, Beacon Mall, or elsewhere. And for me, I'm happy just to see them around their little world.
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Nesbitt Realty Sponsors Fort Hunt Little League

In many ways, Fort Hunt is quiet and reminiscent of a time past when Virginia was a bit more "southern". Streets lined with mature hardwoods lead to quiet homes and tranquil neighborhoods. The nearby Potomac River is a perfect neighbor and many parks are in the area.

At the same time, Fort Hunt is close to culture, services and employment. The neighborhood is not only close geographically, but the traffic patterns, established long before the rise of Northern Virginia's suburbia, favor the area and are relatively free from traffic and congestion. This means that commutes are shorter by miles, but more importantly, much shorter in terms of time spent traveling.

Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage

  • W-2 forms --- or business tax return forms if you're self-employed --- for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan. Check
  • Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  • Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  • Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  • Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  • Addresses where you've lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
  • Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
  • Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
  • Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
  • Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.
For more information or to set up an appointment call Stuart at (703)765-0300.

What Should I know About Old Town Commons?

Old Town Commons is a townhome community located in Old Town, Alexandria. It is accessible via the King St Metro. It is also within convenient proximity of Old Town establishments such as restaurants and shopping areas. Recreational areas like the Mount Vernon Trail are also nearby.
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Old Town Commons was launched on the month of May, year 2010, making a total of 380 residential homes available for sale. These residential homes include 159 townhouses, 134 apartments and 86 condominium units. Among the features sported by several of the homes are backyards, garages and even rooftop terraces. Meant to meet the environmental-friendly initiatives of its city, homes in this neighborhood were designed and constructed with techniques that employ eco-friendly solutions, which include (but aren’t limited to) alternative energy systems - such as solar energy systems. Homes here also meet the standards and guidelines imposed by the U.S. Green Building Council for energy-efficient and eco-friendly homes. Though new, the designers of the Old Town Commons neighborhood has made it a point to maintain the historical architecture and unique ambiance that Old Town, Alexandria is famous for. Thus, potential residents will not miss out on the “small town” atmosphere of Old Town while still enjoying the perks that come with the modern construction techniques used on this community’s homes.

Map of real estate for sale at Old Town Commons

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Stuart Nesbitt standing on a balcony at Old Town Commons
Stuart Nesbitt standing on a balcony at Old Town Commons