The Answer is “Yes”

Hello All,

I find myself in an interesting mood today. I’m not sad or upset really, even though missing Green Lantern is weighing heavily on my mind. I just can’t believe how slowly the time passes when he is away from me. I imagine that finishing the school year and suddenly finding myself with a lot less to do is factoring largely into this. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I get this impression of treading water, just trying to keep my head up the best I can. I wonder blindly if this is going to continue through all of this deployment. I remember taking it much better when Batman deployed. I had this young, naive, and grand impression of Batman being invincible, and nothing ever being able to hurt him. I think this is an impression that most little girls have of their fathers. However, this deployment, hearing of injuries and regrettable deaths, it makes me fear greatly for the safety of my Green Lantern. I always carry the weight, the terror of those men coming to my door, and being whisked away, back to the states and leaving behind everything I have built here with my husband.

However, I find much comfort and solace in memories and images of my husband from the past year or so that we have spent together. It is these pieces, glimpses of our wonderful adventures around the world, or the quiet serenity of just imagining him in the house again, sleeping on the couch or playing with our dog Harley Quinn, that keep me together when I feel the weight of the lonely house.

Sunday reached a landmark for us: on June 17th last year, Green Lantern and I got engaged. I had flown to Europe to visit him, and the day after I arrived, Green Lantern took me to Austria. Salzburg is a wonderfully romantic city; it has a glorious cityscape that looks like an old city straight out of the a fairy tale. It is even complete with the storybook castle, up the hill, overlooking the mix of cathedrals, schools, and shops.

After arriving in the city and exploring all afternoon, Green Lantern led me into Mirabellgarten, the beautifully picturesque gardens towards the center of the city. You might know them as the gardens that were used to film the famous “Do Re Mi” scene in “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews. In June, it is a extraordinary place; gorgeous flowers are in bloom, creating beautiful patterns all throughout the parks. I particularly loved the Greek inspired sculptures, and the statues of the gods from Roman times, including Jupiter, Mars, Diana, Flora, Athena, Bacchus, Venus and Juno, among others.

It was in these gardens that Green Lantern stopped a random tourist to take a photo of us. It was after this that he asked if she could take one more, and proceeded to get down on one knee in front of me. He asked if I would make him the happiest man and the world, and to please agree to be his wife. I was… speechless. I quite literally couldn’t do anything but pull him up to kiss me and finally nod my obvious answer: Yes. He slipped the ring on my finger, and I honestly thought there would not be a time when I would ever be happier. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.

The Ring

Looking back on this fond and happy memory, I still feel that to be true. I am the luckiest woman in the world to find my hero, and the man has loved me so well since. This brings me joy in my heart at the times when I feel like the quiet darkness of the deployment ushering in despair. I love my Green Lantern more than words can say, and it has only grown stronger since that day a year ago when I decided that I wanted to be a “Lantern” too.



I Just Want to Make Beautiful Things, Even if Nobody Cares

Hey All,

There are so many wonderful quotes about art out there that showcase a true expression of feelings. I want to start this post by sharing a few of my favorites.

“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” -Stephen Sondheim

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” -Scott Adams

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” -Max Eastman

So you may be asking yourself now… why this discussion on art? The reason is because right around the time Green Lantern left for his deployment, I decided to take a little bit of a jump myself. I started, on a trial basis, an art club within the elementary school.

Not that this concept that was a completely foreign idea. I’m not sure if it has been mentioned in any of my other posts, but I am actually an artist of sorts by trade. I went to design school, and worked as a photographer and assistant for years before I got married. The idea came to fruition because of the request of just one little girl. She came up to me and asked if I would be willing to give her art lessons, because she really wanted to get better and learn some new techniques. I thought it was a good idea… so good in fact, that I thought I would maybe like to try it with more then just her. I concocted a plan that allowed me to take 4th-6th grade students, and do a variety of different art projects that appealed to all different mediums and kids.

I got excited for my first batch of kids, and picked a mildly challenging project. We made accordion fold books with foam covers on either side. This allowed them to decorate them with whatever they wanted on the outside, but also gave us a portfolio to glue their work into. I gave them a freebie for their book too.. a piece by M.C. Escher for them to color. As I watched these children, so excited about what they were creating, making their very first book by themselves, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. I had given this to them!

The second week we took on something a little more difficult. This project dealt with many different aspects of art in general. The first was working on a grid. The second was understanding and using shape. It also worked wonders with the concepts of contrast and depth. However, instead of working that creative, wild portion of the brain, this project focused on the more analytical portion. I discovered that some kids had a hard time visualizing this, and others could do it without even blinking. I think in some ways I might have outreached my elementary children with it, but they rose to the challenge admirably. I quite learned to appreciate my children all over again.

A Student’s Week 2 Project, and my Week 3 Sample

The third week we talked about Andy Warhol, and the Pop Art Movement in General. The kids LOVED the bright colors and repetitious style, and could repeat back to me many of the facts I had told them from our lesson at the end of class. Using the famous portraits of Marilyn Monroe as inspiration, we concocted a four frame portrait using their hands. We then painted their hands in dark paint (another thing they loved about this project!) and showed them how to slightly offset them in true pop art style. In the end, this turned out to be my favorite project with them!

Our last week presented the only project that went wrong for the whole duration of the club. I really wanted them to be able to make shirts for the club. I even designed a logo just for them! I found in our stores screen printing equipment, and got so excited to try it with them. I decided, however, after re-reviewing the process of screen printing in my head, that it would be logical to skip some of the steps with them and just let them actually do the printing. That means I would cover the screens in emulsion, expose the positive, and create the stencil.  After trying a grand total of SIX times… I discovered that screen printing was not going to happen. Like… at all. Every technique I tried… Every trouble-shooting tip I acquired, every single one fell into just complete failure. I was so bummed! I wanted so badly to give the kids this one really cool project and an art style I had fallen in love with from a great teacher in school. Unfortunately… that didn’t happen. However, I did give the kids a free art day, and that was something that they loved just as much.

Overall, I was stunned by what I considered the blazing success of the club. Not only could I teach them things that I had learned and found important, but I could do these fun projects and simultaneously distract myself from my obviously empty house for a few extra hours. As much as I constantly miss Green Lantern, these kids turned into little super heroes of their own, saving me from focusing too much on my husband’s absence. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I am now so excited to run the club for the kids all year next year, and trying out all kinds of new projects to see what they create.