Batgirl and Phoenix take Venice

Hello All,

I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be back to blogging regularly. Even though Green Lantern is gone, I’m feeling very happy and very blessed right now. This has a lot to do with me being it presence of another super hero, and not hiding in my house alone anymore.

Phoenix, or Jean Grey to you original X-Men fans, is many things. She is compassionate and nurturing. She is strong-willed. She is powerful. She is also one of the few female super heroes to have children. All of these things make her a perfect fit as a alter-ego for my own mother.

So, now that I got my finals done, I wanted to show my mom some of the wonders of Europe, since she was kind enough to come visit. However, anyone who knows me will quickly find out that though am I a hero of many skills, I HATE driving. With a passion. So, with the help of the army post that Green Lantern is stationed at, I arranged a trip… on a bus… to one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world. That’s right… Venice, Italy.

We started out our first real adventure at midnight. As we got on a shuttle at our little post, I will admit I was more than nervous. I had never taken one of these trips before, and had never traveled to Italy without Green Lantern. It is so easy for me to accept him a care figure, and put him in the role of protector. However, we are two very capable female heroines, and eventually got the bus at the bigger post in the area. I’m not gonna lie to you. The first hours of our trip aren’t very exciting; we spent them sleeping. 🙂 But before we even got to lunchtime, we were crossing the big long bridge that leads into the chain of islands that become the city of Venice.

We got off the bus and walked in the direction of the crowds, and found ourselves face to face with a port. So we take on our first problem. Is the answer water taxi? Nope. Not for us. After looking at the overflowing crowd trying to pack onto those tiny water taxis, we opt to take the people mover… essentially a small tram that take you across the Grand Canal and one other waterway into the heart of the city.

Stepping off the people mover is like a dream come true. I mean, it is still a city, and you still have to walk and find you way around. However, Venice is different right from the start. It, like Rome, has the impression of a city lost in time. My imagination went wild, lost in images of woman in ball gowns and men in masks chasing each other through the streets in a starlit carnevale. I was captivated and enthralled all at once.

Now, the only real plan Phoenix and I had was to get to the Piazza San Marco. This is pretty much the most famous square in the city, and it houses the entrances to the Basillca di San Marco and Doge Palace. Well… that didn’t go exactly as we had planned. I will tell you… it is surprisingly easy to get mildly lost in a city that isn’t made up of anything but islands. I tried to take comfort when I read in the guidebook that part of Venice’s charm was getting lost. However, once in a while when trudging down walkways that were barely wide enough for me to walk straight though, I always had a feeling that we were going in the wrong direction.

After wandering in and out of quaint little shops, we ended up in the plaza outside the Santa Maria Della Salute, a gorgeous baraque era church. Which, as fabulous as it was, turned out to be directly across the Grand Canal from where we were trying to get. Some back tracking, some new shops, and a few souvenirs later… we did actually make it to our original goal.

Piazza San Marco is beautiful. In a way, it reminded me of the square outside the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City, but much smaller. The ornate architecture can leave one breathless. Add that to the stunning water scene, and the dozens of gondolas gliding through the depths… it is a picture straight off of a postcard.

By the time we got back to the bus that night, I was exhausted, my knee (which is recovering amazingly, but still not quite fast enough for my taste) was throbbing, and I was ready to go home. However, at the same time, I had trouble finding a time since Green Lantern had left that I remembered being so happy and so comfortable. I was, and still am, thrilled to have my mother here with me, and am doing my best to give her the best experience in Europe that I can. I figure that Italy, a country that I fall more in love with every time I visit, was a good place to start.

Til next time,

BG

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Coming Up for Air

Hello All,

I know it’s been a while, but assure you, the reasons have been good.

When deployment hits, there are a number of ways that wives start to deal with it. Some go into hibernation. They board themselves up away from everyone, and live quiet, reserved lives away from society for a while til their husband comes home. Others start to become even more extraverted, mostly because they can’t stand the silence in their own home. This Batgirl, however, decided to take a different approach. Quite literally for the past month I have been completely swamped in my thesis project to complete my master’s program. Finally, as of yesterday, I finished my last two classes of my master’s program.

Now, let me tell you about this project. It was quite literally the project  to end all projects. One thesis to rule them all. You know, that one thing that can make you or break you when it comes to your entire education career. The premise was to create a marketing plan from start to finish for the American Red Cross. Sounds easy,right? Well, keep in mind that a marketing plan includes creating a business to present the marketing plan, writing an opening letter, background, and target market, running surveys and focus groups, creating a SWOT Analysis, Integrated Communication Strategy Statement and Creative Brief, as well as write actual plans for Communication, Integration, Public Relations, Internal Communication, and Evaluation. Oh, and don’t forget the calendar of when the completed advertisements will run or the budget of the whole campaign or the Appendices that list resource after resource and result after result.

I chose to create a campaign called “The Second Chance Campaign.” The idea behind this was to give the target market, 16 to 24 year old students, a sense of reality. By playing up the idea of un-foreseen circumstances, such as a illnesses or accidents which are out of their control.  It was meant to teach them that people in their age group could potentially need blood transfusions too, and that they, by donating blood, could be someone’s second chance at life.

Now, this is a lot of work normally. Add in Green Lantern’s deployment to my stress levels, and you get a very frazzled super hero. So maybe you are wondering now “BG, how did you possibly get all of that done in just 9 weeks?” Well, what you should really be wondering is how I got it done in 5. Another rule of deployment applies here: as soon as your soldier steps out of the door, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This was when my laptop, after I printed and mailed off my midterm to my teacher, decided to have a complete hard drive failure. If you guessed I lost everything… well… you would be right.

My last five weeks were a flurry of work. I had to buy a new computer, and I sat in front of said computer AT LEAST 8 hours a day, most of the time more, and into the wee hours of the morning rewriting and reworking everything I had lost, and then pushing forward into the new section. I designed piece after piece of advertising in all different kinds of mediums. I wrote page after page. I gave it every ounce of energy I had. And finally… the light at the end of tunnel. Finally it was done.

My campaign was 82 pages long, hand bound with a Japanese Stab Stitch binding. My parents built a custom box for the book so that it would fit perfectly (Shout out to them by the way — AMAZING and THANK YOU). I also had collateral material printed (post-it notes, pens, and a t-shirt) printed so that it would be visible how much time and thought and effort I put into the project. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to look professional. I wanted to make them believe that this campaign could be real.

So here I sit. I turned in my last assignment monday, and though there was that rush of relief that normally comes after completing another quarter, I didn’t go straight into the serene, happy I’m-gonna-do-nothing-but-sit-around feeling didn’t come. It was instead replaced by this lost puppy kind of feeling. I had clung to school for years and years. When I had graduated with my bachelor’s two months after I turned 20, I didn’t feel ready for the “real world.” I opted to go back, holding on design school like it would be a lifeline for me when things got difficult.  Eventually, that feeling transferred to my grad school program. Suddenly, that safety net was gone. That thing I could always count on, that thing that had been the only focus and most important driving force in my life, was turned off just like that. Like a light switch.

Graduation always ushers in a new section of your life, whether you are ready for it or not. Am I finally ready to be out of school? Yes. I miss Green Lantern. I’m ready for him to come back to me, and for us to have a normal life. I’m ready to work a job and not have to worry about the pile of schoolwork waiting for me when I come home. I’m truly feel like I am a place where I can accept and move on with my life past school. But the terrifying thought I’m having now is this realization that I have done and taken on so much higher education at this point that don’t really know who I am without school. I guess it is up to Green Lantern and I to find out.

Until Next Time,

BG