Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rocking #CreativeNonFiction #WritingClass

This is my newest writing assignment for my Creative Non-Fiction Writing class. Please feel free to leave comments, critiques or feelings after reading. This is a creative no-fiction account of an actual evening I had back in 2004. #WritingClass #CreativeNonFiction #PleaseCritique



Rocking
By
Courtney Ludwig




            It was dark. I felt cold even during a summer night in Phoenix. Tears ran down my face as I rocked back and forth. I was hiding; hiding from him, from decisions, from emotions, from anger and hurt, from reality.
            I knew that my reaction was exaggerated, dramatic, and unreasonable. I can’t even remember what set the episode in motion. Truth is the reason didn’t matter because the end result was always the same.
            Life moved quickly. I could only handle the balancing act for so long before I fell. The descent was pure torture. The time frame varied. It could be days, weeks or months. There was no pattern. I didn’t know when it would all come crashing down. When I would crash and break apart. I couldn’t tell up from down. Right from wrong, good from bad. Paranoid alternate realities would take hold of my mind. My vision would distort and I would lose sight of my surroundings. Words, if I could understand, were mumbled.
            He didn’t appear until after my most desperate threatening message. He could hear my cry for help. I could hear the garage door rise and the truck’s engine turn off. The door opened and he called out my name. “Courtney? Courtney?” I was physically unable to answer. I couldn’t catch my breath which kept me from forming the words. The house wasn’t that big and he finally came to the last place I could be hiding. That is where he found me. Sitting in the backyard on the rock covered ground, body folded up, knees tucked to my chest, against the wall, in the corner. When I wouldn’t or couldn’t stand up and come to him, he came to my level. He sat down next to me and wrapped his arms around me. He felt strong and secure. He was my safety. He rubbed my arm with his rough fingers. He gently touched my face and wiped my tears. He spoke calmly. “Breathe. Take a deep breath, Courtney. Focus.” He would not utter the phrase, “Everything will work out.”, because we both knew it was a lie.
            I finally saw his friend standing by the door. He was outlined in the doorway from the light shining out from the kitchen. I didn’t like the light. I needed the darkness. The shadow moved into the house and returned with a glass of water and a couple of pills. The strong arms released their hold and the pills were placed in my hand. A drink of water helped to force them down.  “Stand up Courtney.”
            After a few moments I complied. I was brought into the house and put on the couch. I was shaking and he mistakenly wrapped me in a blanket. I wasn’t cold but he held me tight and the pressure calmed me. Once the chemical reaction began, the rocking stilled. My heart slowed and returned to a natural beat. My eyes were able to focus. I could see his concern and his annoyance.
            I didn’t have the strength to be embarrassed. That would come later. I moved to the bedroom. He tucked me in like a small child. It was an insult but oddly comforting. He laid a kiss upon my forehead and whispered “good night.” He walked to the dresser and turned the alarm clock around. He knew I couldn’t sleep with the numbers taunting me into the early hours of the morning.
            I awoke in the morning with a hangover. This is when the embarrassment slapped me in the face. I wanted a pill to stop the wheels from turning. I needed it but I refused to give in so quickly. The thoughts were washing over me like waves. I was drowning. I needed help but I wouldn’t ask. I stayed quiet and pretended to be asleep. I didn’t want him to know I had woken up. I knew I couldn’t look into his eyes. I wanted to postpone his pity. I listened to him shower, make breakfast, pack a lunch and gather his things.
            I rolled out of bed once the house was silent. I did not have a job which saved me from calling in with some creative excuse about how I was sick. I thought about eating but I can’t recall if I made a snack. I watched daytime television until it was time for a nap. I wasn’t tired but I needed to escape the onslaught of emotion and depressive feelings. I heard the garage open and smelled dinner. He had brought dinner home. “Courtney, I’m home.” The food held no taste but I went through the ritual of sitting down to a meal at the table. I finished my food and cleared my dishes. I changed into clean pajamas and headed to bed.

            The next day started out bright and happy. I dreaded the inevitable darkness.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Logo

So I am taking some classes at the local community college. This semester I am learning some new graphic arts skills.

Let me know what you think of these 2 new logo designs. Both need more work but I think they are a good start.














Leave me a comment with a suggestion, thought or an idea. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Halloween Costume Ideas

Tons of Halloween Costumes! 
If you can't find an idea in this post, you are out of luck for this year!



Sadly, the boys do not want me to make their costumes this year. We ordered costumes from Amazon.com for both of them. I found them cheaper than the costume store so at least I saved money. I think I may just go as an annoyed mom this year. It should be easy to pull off.



Last year we did a family costume. Inside Out was the current favorite at home and with two friends helping at our Halloween Party, we had enough people for the whole group. For more pictures and some food ideas, click here!

Anger - Beanie, Felt, Plastic Headband, Patterned Elastic, Ribbon and Buckle, his own pants and shirt. I didn't use patterns for anything. Just guessed and used a picture for inspiration. The flames are made from stiff felt and hot glued onto a plastic headband. The tie was also made from stiff felt, I made a zigzag with the patterned elastic and then hot glued a piece of elastic to put around his neck. I attached a simple slide buckle on to brown ribbon for a cheap belt. He already had a pair of pants and a white dress shirt. He loved the costume and played the part well.

Fear - Beanie, Pipe Cleaner, Felt, Elastic, Fleece, his own pants and shirt. Again, no patterns. I bought a half yard of fleece in the hounds tooth pattern. I measured it against a sweater he owned. I folded over the fleece so it was double the length. I cut a neck hole along the top, left space for arm holes, glued the sides together and adjusted it to fit. No sewing required. For the beanie, I just ran the pipe cleaner through a small hole in the top of the beanie. I used a small piece of felt hot glued on the inside to secure it. He wanted a belt too so I used some ribbon and cut out a letter F for Fear. The bow tie was made with stiff glitter felt. I just cut it out and used glue to attach it to a piece of elastic. 



Super simple NO SEW Costume.
Scarecrow - Green shirt, brown sweatpants, old hat from thrift store, felt and straw. We found the mask in a Wizard of Oz craft display at a local store. He only wore it for pictures because it was hard to see out of it for the party. I glued straw on to a square of felt and then glued those on to the shirt and pants. 


Another NO SEW Costume
Are you sensing a theme with the costumes I make for my boys?

Tin Man - Gray sweatshirt and pants, stiff gray felt, plastic funnel, plastic headband, red sparkly felt.
Again, no patterns. Cut out gray felt to make details on shoulders, arms, ankles and body. I glued more felt to the funnel and attached it to a plastic headband using strips of stiff felt. I cut a heart and attached that with hot glue as well.




Sheriff Woody - Yellow T-Shirt, 2 buttons, red paint marker, his own jeans, red bandanna, cow print fleece, cowboy hat, DIY holster. I drew red lines on to the t-shirt with the paint marker to mimic the sheriff's shirt. I attached two buttons (minimal sewing) to the middle of the chest. I cut the fleece into a vest using the shirt as a size guide. Tied the bandanna around his neck and added a $1 foam hat.


Buzz Lightyear - white shirt and pants, green wrist bands, colored foam, Galatic Sticker, velcro squares, green acrylic paint. The hardest part of this costume was making the chest plate. I used foam and cut it free hand to match the toy we owned. We had a sticker from the wall stickers in their room so I used that for the center. I attached the piece with velcro to the shirt. I used green paint to make stripes on the shirt. I put the wrist bands around his ankles to hide the fact that the pants were actually girl's leggings with a lace detail. I even added some green paint to his shoes to complete the outfit. For trick or treating he did wear a set of borrowed wings so Buzz could fly!


The whole family participated when we went to Disneyland for Halloween 2012. The Mr and Mrs Potato Head costumes were cut from old bed sheets that I bought at the thrift store. I made the eyes, ears and nose with the foam and used velcro to attach it. Sadly this costume did not hold up as well since we ended up carrying the boys so much at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

The Gun Holster for Woody's costume was made using felt. I "stitched" the edge together with ribbon laced through small holes. I glued on a belt loop and attached it to his pants.

For a Toy Story Party - click here.


The Cat in The Hat - I used a piece of sticky backed foam cut into an oval. I added a ribbon bow with a safety pin and I wore the shirt with my jeans.

Thing 1 & Thing 2 - I bought plain red turtleneck shirts and pants for the boys. I used the sticky back foam for their bellies. Added the wording with a black permanent marker and they were ready to go to the party. A friend knit/crocheted the blue hats for me. I still have not learned how to do that on my own. I also sprayed their hair blue when they wanted to take the hats off. 



To go straight to Pinterest and see all the pin-worthy costumes, click here. 





The following costumes were done by friends. Please follow the links to their websites for info on these costumes. Some of these posts even have more links to extra costumes as well.
































































I haven't had much time over the last year but I used to make tutu dresses, skirts and costumes along with matching hair bows. CoCo Pretties was a lot of fun to do and it gave me a girly fix being a mom to 3 boys. 

This a friend's daughter wearing a Rainbow TuTu Costume. The top is supposed to be a cloud. Get it?



These are a collection of outfits I made for Halloween, Birthdays and Photo Shoots.
Cute Purple Witch, Pink Princess, Harvest Fairy, Pink Cheetah, Minnie Mouse, Queen Elsa, Princess Sophia, Zebra Princess mash-up (don't ask), a Snowman and a Santa.


Have a safe and fun Halloween!





Friday, September 16, 2016

Casting Opportunity

Good Morning! I was just sent an email from Genuine: The Real People Company, powered by Strickman-Ripps. They are a NYC based casting company that specializes in finding "real people" for commercials, web videos, and print advertisements. 

They asked me to share their casting needs with my readers. 

They are currently CASTING an Internet Project for an upcoming Campaign.

Our search includes the following:
·       Mothers or Fathers who work the late shift or long hours
·       Hispanic families
·       Families where one partner has been away for an extended period of time due to a service oriented profession
·       Young couples moving into a home or apartment
·       Same sex couples with children

If you know anyone who might be interested in participating, please pass along our contact info or have them submit via this online questionnaire.

Please leave my name/blog if it asks how you heard about this opportunity. Thanks.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Aloha MOANA!

The new trailer for MOANA is here. This new film from Walt Disney Animation Studios will be released this Thanksgiving. I can not wait to take the boys to see this movie. I have a feeling will be talking about #MOANA a lot over the holidays.




Like MOANA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana

Follow MOANA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneymoana

Follow Disney Animation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneyanimation/

Visit Disney Animation on Tumblr: http://disneyanimation.tumblr.com/

Visit the official MOANA website here: http://movies.disney.com/moana

MOANA arrives in theatres everywhere on November 23rd!


Monday, September 12, 2016

An Ordinary Moment

An Ordinary Moment

The boys sit in the darkness of the living room. Bright flashes can be seen down the hallway. The TV takes over here as it does in the bedroom. They sit quiet and still fixated on the images on the screen. An occasional laugh or giggle is heard but silence takes over. This distraction is needed. It occupies the small children while their mother works.
*
The corner of the room glows as all the television episodes play one after the other after the other. The curtains block any light from the outside. Work has paused. The table has 2 or 3 empty soda cans next to crumpled tissues. Cookie crumbs are spilled onto the papers and the books. The pen rolls off the bed. The papers are pushed aside. Distraction and procrastination have taken over her focus.
*
The boys appreciate their TV time because they know it gives their mother time to work on her studies. They are bright, smart, and perceptive. They know the importance of this needed quiet time. They understand and respect their mother’s boundaries. All three of the people in this home realize the importance of education.

Before these boys could form words, their mother taught them how to communicate with their hands. She constantly narrated their life so they could learn at every moment. She sang the ABCs to them so they could learn their alphabet. She counted everyday objects to teach them their 123s. This teaching has led the boys to love school. They are at the top of their class and go to school happily.

Now it is their mother’s turn to go back to school. She works hard to expand her knowledge and skills. She wants to provide for her boys in the best way possible. She will continue to take classes and learn as long as is possible. Knowledge from books and from her life has gotten her to a point of happiness and joy. She is confident in her future.
*
The distractions are paused and put aside. The glow has darkened. The boys are put to bed. A new can of soda is opened. The crumbs are brushed away and the pen is picked up. The words write themselves. The mother types out her story as the children fall asleep. She will work up to her deadline because the procrastination fuels her energy.
*

This is an ordinary moment for this mother and her sons. An ordinary moment that will lead to extraordinary outcomes.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Suicide Survivor



If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please use these resources for help.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


Sammy, Jayson and I are survivors of suicide. Their father ended his pain and suffering on January 28, 2016. 

I have attempted suicide before but was blessed in my failure. 

I couldn't decide if I could or should write a post on World Suicide Prevention Day. The day may be close to over, but I couldn't keep silent. 




Statistics show that 800,000 people die 
from suicide each year. 

Suicide is the second highest cause of death 
in those ages 15 - 29.

Ingesting pesticides, hanging and firearms 
are the most commons methods.





To see more posts I have written dealing with suicide 
please visit these links.




Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dear Mom of Twins:

Dear Mom of Twins:

I can not imagine what you might be thinking right now. I hope that you have a sense of relief and peace in your heart. Your boys are safe. Bringing your boys to a Safe Haven location was good parenting.

I am afraid that many people will disagree with me. I am worried for you. People can be so harsh and judgemental. I can only pray that you will be confident in your decision. Admitting that you could care for these twins had to have been hard to do. No parent wants to admit defeat.

There have been so many times when I thought I wouldn't get through another day on my own. I wish things could be different. I wish you could have had more support or help or resources to care for these little boys.

I truly hope you are safe and well tonight.

From a Single Mom with Twins