Posts filed under ‘Alex Moskwa’

Alex and Ryn’s Wedding

Our third full day in Washington State was Alex and Ryn’s wedding day! They got married at beautiful Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish, Washington. The gorgeous scenery was only enhanced by the scattered Pacific Northwest rain showers we had that day.

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Blooms and Ceremony Site
Blooms and the Ceremony Site

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Torch and Bridge
Torch in the Rain and Bridge

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Vicky and Ryan (By Brian N)
Ryan and I Pose Briefly in the Rain

There were a number of things I loved about the wedding. I was quite a fan of their processional song. They picked No Doubt’s “Running”! They had another great musical selection for the joint Mother-Son/Father-Daughter Dance. They picked “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Unplanned, all the guests surrounding the dancing couples started to sing along. Although a rain shower started during the ceremony, you couldn’t stop the smiles of the bride and the groom and their immediate family. Everyone was so, so happy!

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Alex and Ryn Listen to Alex's Parents 1
Listening to the Groom’s Parents

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Ryn Ring Exchange
The Bride Smiles Despite the Rain

What was most impressive about the wedding was all the handmade work behind it. Alex’s fiance, Ryn, has proven to be quite craftsy. She handmade an American Chestnut Foundation/Port Discover Themed card for Ryan and I at our wedding. With her own wedding, Ryn took on an ambitious endeavor. All the flowers (not to mention invitations and place cards and table markers) would be handmade! Now Ryan and I had a lot of handmade stuff at our wedding…. BUT we had a whole neighborhood of kids on hand to help. Ryn did recruit a number of people across the country to help make flowers (One of my contributions were the Coffee Filter Roses), but I still think the logistics of that is significantly more impressive than walking out on your front porch and saying, “Hey, you! Wanna wrap this in tulle?” : )

Although Ryn admitted at one point feeling overwhelmed by the whole flower endeavor, it came out splendidly. The centerpieces were AWESOME! Each one was a mixture of handmade flowers from friends and family across the continent. They were eccletic, gorgeous and a nice visual representation of all the love for the couple! All the favors (handmade felt flower magnets) were adorable. The wedding party bouquets were unique keepsakes. Even the table napkins were origami lotuses!

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Ceremony - Megan 2
Bridesmaid with Two Handmade Bouquets

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Handmade Flower Centerpieces
The Handmade Flower Centerpieces

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Lotus Napkin and Favor
Lotus Napkin and Felt Magnet Favor

Ryn and Alex's Wedding - Reception - Guest Locations
Felt Flowers Line a Bulletin Board Where Guests Mark Where They are From

On top of all that, this event also delivered on my two favorite parts of weddings. Cake (They had NINE different cakes to choose from) and Dancing! Lots and lots of dancing. It was a quite a blast and a very happy day!

More pictures of Ryn and Alex’s Wedding can be found on my Flickr site.

June 20, 2011 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Nerd Squad!

After Christmas, some of my closest high school classmates all convened in the Washington, D.C. area:

  • Christina came in from Germany with her husband, her nephew and her young son
  • Alex came in from Washington State
  • Brian came in from Texas
  • and then Stacy made the grueling trek from his new home in Chantilly, Virginia. ūüôā

As for me, after Christmas I made my way to my parents house, so I can spend some time having a mini-reunion with my friends.

When I told my brother my plans, he laughed.

“Ahahaha, the Nerd Squad!” he declared.

At first, I think I was a little appalled at the term because I promptly ran to Brian to tattle on what my brother had said.

“Jay called us the nerd squad!!!!”

Brian paused thoughtfully and then said, “Yeah. That sounds about right.”

And you know what? I think we did live up to the name. Here are some of the antics the “Nerd Squad” got into.

  • Watched YouTube videos (such as The Office’s The More You Know series, Man Knocks Himself Out with a Log, Prank Gone Wrong) and shared our favorite xkcd comics.
  • Spent an evening troubleshooting my parent’s LinkSys router so we could have wireless.
  • Test drove trikes at a local bike store.

    Me (foreground) and Alex (background) riding trikes
  • Spent a lot of time playing with our various electronics including Brian’s iPhone and Alex’s iPod Touch. I spent a lot of time on my LG enV, but I failed to make them jealous.
    Me taking pictures for Flickr. Alex plays with my LG enV while his iPod Touch sits nearby. My laptop is in the background. It’s on the wireless network, of course.
  • Spent a day at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles. I think that in itself is not too nerdy, but we did spend an awful lot of time taking pictures of an old keyboard and marveling about how a computer with 128 kb of memory could be in use into the 1990s.

    Old keyboard– It doesn’t have an @ sign. The horror!

Now, we did do some things that were decidedly unnerdy. We had a delicious lunch at Siam-Classic (Christina’s Mother’s restaurant in Manassas) and Saturday evening, I did spend an evening with Christina’s family watching the Patriots win their last regular season game. Hmm… Christina seems to be the catalyst for non-nerd adventures. ūüôā

Nerds or not, I very much enjoyed seeing my old classmates. I was quite sad Sunday when we all started to part ways and I had to drive home to Blacksburg. Actually, I’m still a bit sad. I had so much fun seeing everyone.

January 3, 2008 at 9:40 am 11 comments

Heartwarming Graffiti for the Holidays

When Alex, Brian and I were appreciating the benefit of powerlines, we ran across some touching graffiti in the woods.  Keeping with the generous spirit that accompanies the holidays, I thought I would share:

 
“The Bear Family”

Brian Nenninger saw this one first and he couldn’t contain his emotion.

“Aww,” he said, “An entire family defacing together.¬† How sweet.”

Then of course, there is this heartwarming gem:

“I Love Butt Sex”

January 2, 2007 at 12:36 am 1 comment

Hooray for Powerlines and Prisons

George Carlin has a great comedy bit about prisons and the NIMBY (“Not in My Backyard”) syndrome.¬† He talks about how everyone wants more prisons… but not in their backyard.¬† Carlin mocks this reasoning and points out a neighborhood by a prison would probably be safer.¬† He said (paraphrased):

If a prisoner escapes, what is he going to do?¬† Stick around?¬† Check out real estate prices?¬† No!¬† He’s going to get as far away as possible!

¬†The NIMBY philosophy isn’t limited to prisons.¬† It can apply to any number of things– Homeless shelters,¬†landfills and…powerlines.

Well, last Wednesday, I got to appreciate some unexpected benefits of having prisons and powerlines nearby and Carlin’s concepts were reinforced in my mind.

Hooray for Powerlines
In the late afternoon, Alex Moskwa, Brian Nenninger and I went after the “A Great Spot” geocache in Lake Ridge.¬† It provided some surprising views and scenery of the Occoquan River.


Occoquan River, 2006

And like I’ve found on many hikes, some of the best views can be attributed to…. powerlines.¬† Even on hikes where there isn’t a dramatic ridgeline,¬†a knob or a clearing– if there is a powerline crossing, you are still ensured a view.¬† Some examples:


Poor Mountain, 2003


Sinking Creek Valley, 2006


Town of Narrows, 2003

After finding our geocache on Wednesday, we went up a hillside and thanks to the clearing for the power lines, we had some nice views of the river and the sun illuminating the opposite shore!

Hooray for Prisons
Wednesday evening, I visited my friend Aaron Evans at his home in Alexandria.¬† He played for me the latest excerpts of his DVD, we watched some episodes of the U.S. “The Office” and then he got to watch his first episode of “Extras” (which by the way, the hilarious 2nd season starts airing on HBO on January 14th).¬† I left his house pretty late and headed home.¬† Although there was no traffic, I took the Lorton exit off I-95¬†for nostalgia.¬† That is the “shortcut” my father and I used to take each afternoon when rush hour traffic was at its worse.

In a land where townhouses and yardless homes are commonplace, suddenly I was driving amoung trees and fields.  I admired the night time views and the brighter stars as I followed gentle curves to 123.  And I knew I had the Lorton Prison to thank for the brief vacation from Northern Virginia life!  The prison had over 3000 acres of land which it used as a dairy farm.   In fact, they provided milk for D.C. hospitals. 

The Lorton prison was closed in 2001 and ownership of the property was transferred to Fairfax County.¬† I think¬†Fairfax County is keeping a¬†large portion¬†of the land slated for parks and greenspace.¬† I bet those parks end up kicking ass and providing something the prison¬†couldn’t provide me– spots for geocaches!¬† But, some of the land is going to be lost for various development projects. ¬†My friend Stacy, with his Urban¬†Planning background, can probably speak more knowledgably on the subject.¬†

As for me, I’ll just reap the surprise benefit of the prison while I can.¬† ūüôā

January 1, 2007 at 11:57 pm 2 comments

The Precedence of the Swamp Thing

When I lived in the dorms in college, letter writing was more mainstream than it is today.¬† That’s a sign of the times– it was before email had really taken hold.¬† Checking mail was always a highlight of the day,¬†going down to the¬†lobby and getting letters from my family or¬†my high school friends.¬† Well one day¬†a little pink¬†slip showed up in my box.¬† It turned out someone sent me a letter with insufficient postage.¬† My instructions were to come to the¬†Post Office¬†near University Mall to pay the debt in exchange for the letter.¬† I did not have a car at the time, so I believe me and Brian Nenninger and possibly Alex Moskwa¬†spent an evening learning all¬†about the¬†BT so we could take a bus out to the post¬†office.¬† I don’t remember what the letter ended up being, but I do clearly¬†remember it not being worth the journey.

A little later in the year, Alex started getting mysterious voicemail messages.¬† Some clever guys in his dorm dubbed Alex “Swamp Thing” and would leave ground breaking, late night messages such as, “Hey Swamp Thing, You Reek.¬† You Reek, Swamp Thing!”¬† We always got a kick out of listening to the messages especially when the calculated pranksters forgot their extension was being appended to the message. ūüôā¬†

Brian and I excelled at silly projects to entertain ourselves in the wee hours of the night.¬† For example, one time we took it open ourselves to decorate a forgotten bulletin board on the fourth floor of our dorm with information for the Virginia Tech Pencil Twirling Club.¬† Another time, we left message to a….well, very promiscious, female friend of ours on the ceiling of the study lounge.¬† It pretty much read, “Hi <name of girl>, On Your Back Again?”¬† It took a while, but she did finally found our message and interestingly enough, she was in the company of a male when she found it. ūüėȬ†

Well one evening, Brian and I decided to target Alex with our boredom.¬† At the time, we were pretty infatuated with a symbol font similiar to Wing Dings.¬† This particular font included a skull and crossbones image.¬† So one night, we printed out a page full of little skulls (think Font Size 6 or smaller) and then lovingly cut out each and every one of those skulls.¬† Next we generated a letter to Alex.¬† It started off with “HEY SWAMP THING!”¬†then we used our favorite symbol font to articulate a simple message.¬† Below is a quick reenactment:

This is another sign of the changing times.  This letter was pretty innocent and funny.  I think nowadays a letter such as this would not be viewed so lightly.

Anyway, we put all those tiny, recently liberated skulls into the letter, folded it up and then we mailed it without a stamp.  So our thought was Alex would get the pink message about the letter would have to take the bus all the way to the Post Office, pay the postage and open it to find our goofy message AND as a final slight when he opened it, all the tiny little skulls would scatter all over the place making a mess.  It was a brilliant plan.

Unfortunately,¬†the three of us¬†always hung out at Brian’s dorm room to watch TV, eat sweets and play Doom on the computer.¬† Alex was on Brian’s computer and noticed a weird file called “SwampThing”.¬† So before Alex could ever receive the notification about the letter, the “surprise” was ruined.

This week, thanks to my delays at O’Hare airport, I didn’t quite have much time to get myself situated before returning to the office and leaving town for the Christmas holiday.¬† As I rushed around yesterday getting everything situated for my next trip, I took the very last batch of Christmas cards down to my mailbox.¬† I managed to get them there just in time– a little while later the mailman came by and exchanged our outgoing cards for a couple of incoming cards and a bill.

A couple of hours and¬†roughly a hundred miles later, a¬† realization suddenly struck me.¬† I¬†addressed every envelope, I¬†sealed every envelope and affixed a bland return address label on each one.¬†¬† BUT…. I never¬†stamped the latest batch of cards!¬†

Please, please, please, please, please, please, Post Office.¬† Please tell me you’ve changed your policy about making the recipient pay for the missing postage.¬†

That last batch of Christmas cards contain a lot of people I don’t know that well.¬† They are recipients through marriage– Sean’s extended family and childhood friends.¬† Although I’m sure the recipients would not have to take a public transportation trek to the post office, I seriously don’t think it would be a worthwhile¬†investment.

Hi!¬† You don’t know me!¬† I married someone you barely know!¬† Listen to how I hiked in Colorado and Tennesee this year¬†whether you are interested or not.¬† Oh yeah, one more thing– please pay 39 cents for the privilege of reading this.

Maybe this is yet another sign of the changing times.  What was good and amusing in college, is a bit of an embarassment now.  What was good for the Swamp Thing, is certainly not fitting for Christmas Cards. 

December 24, 2006 at 5:49 pm 3 comments

A Different Kind of Tailgate– Hawk Observatory Tower

Yesterday, we gathered as usual at Larry’s tailgate for Virginia Tech vs. Duke.¬† Even though the game started at noon, this was an all day event.¬† My husband woke up at 5:15 AM to start cooking the food.¬† Others arrived as early as¬†8 AM¬†to begin the festivities and then after the game we ate and visited until well after dark.¬† We are far from the only ones celebrating. As we walk back and forth to the game, we always pass the fleet of RVs, trucks and cars with their own array of food, chairs, flags, signs¬†and even satelitte TVs.

I woke up this morning and remembered that it was the peak season for the hawk migration at the Hanging Rock Observatory Tower on Peters Mountain in West Virginia (near Waiteville). 

 
(Look closely– Henry is on the rocks)

That reminded me of a different kind of tailgate!  Instead of bringing plenty of food and supplies and for an entire day of partying for football, these participants are there for the hawks.  And although they are much smaller in number, the participants are every bit as dedicated as the Hokie fans. 

Almost exactly two years ago (September 18, 2004), Alex Moskwa and I happened to visit the tower on a very good day and we met three of the die-hard fans.  My journal excerpt from September 20, 2004:

On Saturday we drove to WVA to the hawk observatory tower.¬† On the way there I said to Alex, “I hope we see a hawk.”

My goodness, did I feel silly once we got there.  Hawks were plentiful!  It turned out to be one of the best weekends to watch the migration!

There were so many hawks, in fact, that Jimmie took an interest in watching out the window:

There were three men already in the tower when Alex and I arrived.  Boy were they serious bird watchers!!!  They had extra binoculars with them, [food, drink, chairs] and they had been there since 9 AM!  One guy even had a click-counter like the one Grandma had at the Mill House Musuem [in Occoquan].

At 6 PM, one man had to drag himself home for dinner.¬† He said if he’s good tonight and went home for dinner then, “[He] could come back tomorrow.”

Here’s something cute.¬† The clock in the observatory tower was an hour behind.

“That’s hawk time,” an old man named George told me.

The hawks are from South America and they don’t change their clocks as they pass through time zones, so the observatory keeps their clocks in time with the hawks.

All three men were very friendly and informative.  I throughly enjoyed meeting them.

After we parted ways I got to redeem myself.  Alex and I found a geocache I failed miserably to find over a year ago. 

The three hawk watchers had been up there so much, they were familiar with “the treasure.”¬† It was cute they referred to it that way.

If you are in the Southwest Virginia/West Virginia area and have free time in the next week or so, I highly recommend a visit up to the Hawk Observatory Tower.¬† Now’s the time to go– yesterday alone, they¬†counted 681 hawks!

September 17, 2006 at 3:56 pm 3 comments


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