The Wonders of Dusk – Musings of the New Day

This morning, despite the full moon I could see Leo in the sky along with a brilliant Venus. It was as if she was saying “We’re the only ones out here. Within minutes birds started to wake and sing their morning songs. The squirrels  ran and jumped from tree to tree. I saw a deer picking through the dry summer grass on the way down to the creek.

Standing in his usual place was the Ghost. Next to him was his girlfriend with her fiery red curls flowing down her back like a living thing. They we not in their bloody death mode as they often are – looking like they did when their souls left their mangled bodies. They were beautiful and whole. In the dawn the stood forehead to forehead, holding hands, deep in conversation. He was from the 20th century, she from the 16th. I left them alone and sipped my coffee (yes Vampires drink coffee). I don’t care for Ghosts, but I can respect the lost soul aspects of their existence.

Like Vampires, Ghosts aren’t to concerned with age when it comes to falling in love, especially when it is two young people who have been taken out too young by violence and rage.

In the dawn hours I try not to think of that much. I’ve stopped listening to the news so much on the radio during the week. So much strife in the world and way too much politics at home. Too many job losses at home with politicians pointing finger saying “It was the other guy.” Nothing has changed over the centuries nor will it ever. Just when we think we’re entering an enlightened era of great art and science and humanity – it all changes and ignorance and hate once again take the reins.

So I think of fall bulbs, my kids latest school crisis, laughing with friends on a Friday Night. And speaking of Friday night Grimm is back on (of course we love that show).  I started a new book and I have a pile for Fall/Winter reading. I have a house full of people I love but my mornings at dusk, alone is something I savor, to ponder what it all means, or just maybe just savor my own thoughts and think, despite a lot of crap out there “Life is Good.”

Sit and chat for a while

Yesterday my 8th grader was upset about school. She has been upset about school all year. Part of me wants to be angry (which I was and still am about some issues). Most of me knows this is a learning experience that all of us must go through. Life isn’t fair. It isn’t all puppies and lollypops and unicorns.

These kids know that – they’re reading Hunger Games and Shelter (and girls in my youth were reading nothing more exciting than Little Women). But, life can be difficult and totally and completely unfair for the average 13 year old.

 
So my point being is that it is so important to TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Yes, that was ALL CAPS and I mean to SHOUT.

So often I hear from my kids “other kids don’t talk with their parents like we do.” I find that baffling at best.

They talk TO their kids. They talk AT their kids. They don’t talk WITH their kids.

Childhood is a time to prepare out children to be adults – especially the teen years. I’ve always thought that THIS is the time you need to spend the most time with your kids. They are now, more than ever learning about the real world and issues they’ll have to face.

They’ll learn that life isn’t fair. They’ll learn that jerks grow up to be jerks. They’ll learn that there are brown- -nosers and teacher’s pets and people who are going to be less than nice. They’ll learn about game players and liars and all of the other people that might end up as their coworkers someday.

 
But they will also learn that they can make a difference through their actions and words. They’ll meet the best friends they’ll ever have – and still have those friend when they are 100 years old. They’ll be inspired by remarkable teachers (I’m thinking on one History teacher). They’ll be curious. They’ll discover new and wonderful music. They’ll laugh like they invented laughing. And they’ll know joy like no others.

So now it the time to talk to your kids. Now is the time to LISTEN.

In the mornings discuss the news. Find out what their opinions are. Ask your teens “What do YOU think?” Don’t judge their answers. Allow them to TRUST you.

And if they are upset about school or sports or relationships or anything – listen to them. Listen, and ask questions, but don’t judge until you have heard what they have to say. Let them find an answer or come up with an answer together.

Yes, of course there are times when you have to be firm and take charge because YOU ARE THE PARENT. Like when your daughter brings home a freak for a boyfriend (tell her NO) or when your son gets a speeding ticket (show him his bicycle). That is your job. You are allowed to say NO.

Your job is to set limits. But your job is also to guide and discuss issues so your teen will be prepared to make the best decisions they can.

And no subject should be off limits. If you are uncomfortable talking about sex or drugs GET OVER IT. You are doing your child harm by keeping them in the dark. They’ll find answers on the street and more than likely the wrong answers. Allow them to speak with comfort about these issues so YOU will be the one they turn to when they have a question.

Being a parent means teaching your child to be an adult. So your assignment is to keep the lines of communication OPEN so your kid will be the kind of adult you want your child to be – the kind of adult you want to be.

~ Juliette

Also see: Middle School 101- Life Isn’t Fair – Brown Nosers, Shallow Geekery and Nepotism.

Middle School 101 – Life isn’t fair. Brown Nosers, Shallow Geekery and Nepotism

Someone is hating Middle School because a teacher accused her of copying work (which she did not). So now the child wants to quit an activity because of it. Now she says the teacher hates her.  More discussions at home, more being pissed off, more wondering WTF happened with school this year? It was great last year?

Someone is hating Middle School because another teacher favors her own daughter (and daughter’s friends) over the other kids, and tells everyone how they should all be like said daughter (I’m going to have to talk to the school about that).

This is the same teacher who told my daughter that her lovely simple dress was “a bit much” for a dance, while teacher’s daughter dressed like a sloppy boy in cargo shorts and a tee shirt. In fact 98% of the boys dressed better in slacks and shirts with collars. Wait, this is a public school, teachers shouldn’t be terrorizing kids. They should be encouraging them and teaching them. I guess I could be shallow and chalk that one up to  “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”.

The smartest kids aren’t the ones who jump up and wave their hands “pick me, pick me”.

The smartest kids don’t use big words to impress and show you how smart they are.

The smart kids are the ones who are watching, observing, listening and planning, knowing how one day they’ll be in the real world where nobody is impressed by your vast knowledge of facts and big words and brown-nosing.

For the smart kids are those with vision (and that includes a good sense of fashion and a sense of humor). They are the ones who can engage in a private conversation that revolves around ideas that have nothing to do with school – but with free independent thought.

All kids are smart – they just show it in different ways and no kids should be discounted or overlooked by preconceived notions of how a smart kid should act.

Feeling like one is being treated unfairly is real and a real lesson in life. Unfortunately is happens and it happens too often. For most kids it will make them tough and they’ll learn from it.

 

Gross Out Food (past and present)

If you think Vampires drinking blood is gross – think again.

Take a look at another brilliant article from Aaron Birk & Robert Krulwich (NPR Science Blog)

“Foodwise, we live in choosy times, mostly choosing, “no thank you.”

More and more of us choose not to eat meat or fish or eggs or fatty foods. We don’t want anything too sugary, too fried, too raw, too strange. We tiptoe through the grocery as if it’s a danger zone, hoping not to be tempted by a glazed donut.

That’s the fashion, and I suppose it’s a healthy one. Which is why you should know about two men who went wildly, dramatically, the other way. They tried to eat everything, no matter how improbable, how nasty … well, almost everything. One lived in Rome, the other in Britain. Let’s start with the Roman.”

 

Click on the link below for the article. It is a weird, disgusting and a lot of fun.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/09/27/161874316/who-wants-to-eat-jellyfish-omelettes-dolphin-meatballs-mouse-on-toast-these-guys

A word about Mummies…and Mommies! And Vampire Kidlets! Halloween Fun has Just Begun!

Halloween will be here soon!

 

What are you going to be for Halloween???

We’re planning a trip to Evangeline’s the best Halloween Store in the Universe (in Old Sacramento). The mail goal is to find striped tights and the right makeup and maybe some wigs. But you never know. I think we’re going this weekend.

Vampire kids love to go Trick-or-Treating but unfortunately they don’t get to keep too much of the candy. We have a low tolerance for sugar so our systems just can’t handle it. But you know, the kids have so much fun giving it away.

Now that my children are Vampire Teens they get a special treat of Spiced Halloween Blood (and it’s the good kind – recipe to come). To make this year even more special we’re going to be making our own Halloween goblets out of wine glasses and glass paint. If you have any recommendations on glass plaint let me know! I’ll be posting photos and sharing my designs with you!

And of course what fun is Halloween without a Nightmare Before Christmas Party!!!!! Vampires love all things Tim Burton! So I’ll post recipes for treats and costume ideas! It will be great.

So Happy Pre-Halloween!

xoxoxoxoxo

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

FYI the illustration shown is by one of my favorite artists of all time W. Heath Robinson. The man was absolutely brilliant!

 

 

 

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” Sigh.

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

Art and Science

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette