Double Standards … and mixed reviews of high school

The transition from a small school to a large high school has had mixed reviews from my daughter.

Last night while on a long walk she unloaded about school. Mainly the kids were stupid. I’ll give you the list.

  • The kids don’t care about their grades.
  • They don’t care about school.
  • All of my teachers but one hate me.
  • There are too many stoners.
  • All the boys think about is sex.
  • The popular girls call me sheltered because I don’t do drugs, smoke or have sex with a bunch of guy. I’m not sheltered. It is my choice not to do those things.

After almost a week off from school it all came pouring out for two hours of hiking in the woods.

I’m glad she talks to me. I think of the kids who don’t talk to their parents. I think it is because their parents don’t encourage it or make it comfortable. One must listen without judgment and without constant suggestions. Just listen.

But we did talk about things.

I believe her teachers DO like her, or at least don’t dislike her. She is quiet in class, asks questions, is involved (if no opinionated) in discussions, and gets really good grades. And she helps other kids when they need it, especially the special needs kids. But she is hard to read for those who don’t know her. She isn’t an open book.

There is a certain cultural group full of tough girls who like to smack girls of other cultural backgrounds. It is a very small group but if you hit other girls people will notice. One of Clara’s friends was hit in PE for no reason other than the color of her ginger hair. The attacker was suspended, but still, it is frustrating. My daughter wonders why these girls – the ones who attack are so stupid and mean and violent.

I asked if any of those girls were in her PE class. She said no, just stoner chicks and they don’t bother anyone.

There are a lot of stoners at school. One of her best friends now hangs out with stoners. He says they are nice to him. She doesn’t know how to handle that. She knows if she hangs out with stoners that everyone will think she is a stoner. That and the fact that she finds stoners disgusting with their lack of ambition and ability to embrace stupidity.

And it always circles around at how sexist the Freshman and Sophomore boys are. They make rude comments, send rude texts and act like jerks if she doesn’t give them attention back. For more on that click here for “Junk Mail.”

There are also the groups of “popular girls” who are beautiful and look Clara up and down when she walks past. The looks are rude and judgmental.

Clara wears great clothes and she is beautiful. She is the California girl with the long blonde hair and I dare say, sultry deeper voice. She is also smart. And she doesn’t take crap. She doesn’t feel the need to follow anyone.

Thank goodness she is making a lot of friends, kids like her who have a high standard for themselves.

Sure she could rip the heads off of the kids who bug her but that isn’t a solution any more than smoking pot to make things feel better. Or worse she could be like the mean girls and making sport of trying to get other girls to feel bad about themselves.

She knows the mean girls and stupid boys will be like the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days.” Everything for these kids will be downhill after high school because they never see the big picture or have any idea of what is coming. The big wide world out there doesn’t care who is “popular” or “cool.”

She sees in the older kids (Juniors and Seniors) more mature and smart but that doesn’t make things better. She knows some of the kids will grow up and out of their present immature state but that seems like a long way off.

But it will get better as she makes more friends. Her old friends and new friends more or less all feel the same way she does. They don’t fit into any “group.” They’re just good kids. Not geeks. Not religious. Just good well grounded kids from good well grounded families.

She knows herself and knows she isn’t the one who is weird or off track. She is fine – just surrounded by a sea of stupid.

As for any violence – there are cameras in every classroom so disciplinary action is swift. Unfortunately bad things still happen. Not all the time, but enough to make school suck.

All of these things have never really been a problem before. Everything was always cool or small or less confusing.

As a parent just listen. Let your teen vent. Let them use you as a sounding board. And a hug always helps.

– Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And while you’re online have your teen listen to this. The world is full of jerks but if you’re smart and true you’ll be ok (but the jerks unfortunately are a part of life.)
http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/11/30/247842138/science-reporter-emily-graslie-reads-her-mail-and-it-s-not-so-nice

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Experience the Wonder: Tinsel Tales

Get in the mood for the holidays!

Vampire Maman

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Experience the holidays through our eyes… 
the magic, the memories, some warm and some bittersweet… 
in this treasury of holiday-themed stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD. 

Tinsel Tales includes some of the most beautiful well written short stories I’ve ever read. It is the ultimate holiday and Christmas story anthology.

WPaD (Author), David W. Stone (Author), Diana Garcia (Author), Marla Todd (Author), Robert Betz (Author), Jade M. Phillips (Author), Michael Haberfelner (Author), Nathan Tackett (Author), J. Harrison Kemp(Author), Suzanne Parlee (Author)

This book is DRM-free. Can be read on non-Kindle devices.

Available in a wide variety of electronic formats and in paperback.

The paperback edition of Tinsel Tales is here! Coupon code JJXSYSXE is good for 50% off the retail price:
https://www.createspace.com/4507254

 

Available on Smash Words: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/374032

Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tinsel-Tales-WPaD-ebook/dp/B00GGYN31C

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Also from the WPaD Group: The MOST ROMANTIC Romance Anthology you’ll ever read!

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Vampire Musings on Cats, Black Friday Traditions, Lunch and Morning…

I love the way the cat stands on the deck rail in the morning just watching the world in the trees. It is a world of squirrels and birds and bugs. Then he hops off with the grace and form of a circus performer, never falling, never wondering if it is safe, and runs down the stairs to some unknown appointment with either adventure or maybe a nap.

At the crack of dawn I was brewing up coffee and washing the last of the goblets from yesterday. I’m not a witch so I can’t just snap my fingers and make the house clean up itself. I wouldn’t trust the woodland creatures to come in while I sing a happy tune. Knowing the creatures in my neighborhood, they’d raid the pantry of all dog and cat food then tear up the furniture and drink all the booze. Sure they’re cute but don’t let that fool you.

So right, you came here for your daily dose of Vampire life.

The sun is up. It is a holiday weekend. Everyone is asleep. Except me. Sleep and I are not friends so I’m up at all times of the day and night, like the cats. Except the cats have more of a clock than I do.

My brother Val spent the night because today is Black Friday. That doesn’t mean shopping. It means that we go out and meet friends for lunch. It is our tradition that we’ve held tight to for the past 122 years. We meet with friends for lunch, but we do it all day long. It is like going wine tasting. We stop. We taste. We go to the next place. And like wine tasting we can usually get in about 4 stops, each with 4-6 different samples. Only unlike wine tasting we don’t have to worry about driving home a little tipsy and we don’t bring home any bottles. It will be fun. It always is. This year we’re meeting with our favorite artists, a group of writers, a couple of lawyers we know, and for dessert we meet with a group of ghost hunters and historians. Great fun. But shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone we’re Vampires…especially the lawyers and ghost hunters.

I can hear Val rambling around upstairs. I need a refill on my coffee. Then I’ll put the fresh pine wreath on the door (thank you to my wonderful husband for bringing that home) and put on my shoes.

I suppose it is now officially the holiday season. Time for fun. Time for joy. Time for cheer.

Happy hunting!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oscar

Oscar

Modern Vampire Thanksgiving Wishes

My teens and their friends are all off to the movies to see either Frozen or Enders Game. We all saw Catching Fire last weekend (thumbs up all around – and yes, we read all of the books and love them.)

Movies are a great opportunity for young Vampires to get out and have fun, socialize, see a movie and well, of course, do their Vampire thing. We’ve always trusted our children out after dark, because after all, we are nocturnal creatures.

Teddy and I are going to be homebodies tonight before the big day tomorrow. I have almost everything done and now I just relax. Tomorrow morning we throw the turkey in the smoker, a few things in the oven and we’re done. Macy’s Day parade, a nap, then get up to watch football and a 6:00 Thanksgiving Dinner (always better at night after the sun goes down.)

This year it will be a few family members but mostly friends and a lot of teens. It will be a party.

While I was cleaning stains out of the carpet today I turned on “Almost Human.” I’d never seen it before so I thought I’d check it out. It takes place in the future (about 40 years from now). It is about a damaged cop and his partner, an android who has feelings (and is absolutely darling but in a good non annoying way.) They’re both, cop and android, sort of lost souls and different from others, or at least they feel that way. I can relate.

I think most of my friends can relate too.

But that’s ok. It is ok to be different. That is one of the things I’m most Thankful for is that we ARE all so different.

It is those little personality quirks that make us unique and interesting. Granted sometime annoying, but if we can look past some of the annoying habits, it can be charming.

My friend Matthew and his son Josh and Matthew’s sister Katrina are coming. Josh is a typical 16 year old. Matthew and Katrina are positively Gothic Vampires. And I don’t mean modern cool and lovely Gothic. I mean, “living in a crypt” sort of Gothic. This will be their first modern Thanksgiving  with Modern Vampires. They’re learning a new culture and we embrace them. Sure they’ll be weird in their “I live in a dank, dark Castle with rabid bats and sleep on beds made of cobwebs” sort of way, but after a few glasses of blood, maybe some wine and some spinach dip they’ll be fine.

My husband Teddy even promised to explain all the jokes to them.

So anyway, my goal is for fun and drama free. No discussions on politics or religion or old sour issues that don’t even matter anymore. We are gathering in love and fun to celebrate what we’re Thankful for.

I wish all of you the same. A relaxing day with people you love, good food and brilliant and witty conversations, and football. Maybe even a movie.

To all of my readers – I am so thankful for all of you. I really am. I feel blessed to have you following my tall tales of Vampire teens, friends and family and my musings on life and love.

And to those I follow – YOU ROCK. You know who you are and you’ve opened my mind and entertained me like there is no tomorrow. Thank you.

So gobble gobble and cheers.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire House Warming

We all have those turning points in our life. Some we choose and some we don’t. Some we’re nudged in the right or more often wrong direction.

And there are those times when we try to read between the lines too much about the lives of others. It is usually far more complicated or else far less complicated than we think it is.

My brother Andrew (second of 5 siblings) recently moved back to California after several years in London and other parts of the globe and purchased a home in San Francisco. I hear he paid a million and a half for the place in St. Francis Woods, but he could afford it. I hold my breath to think what my brother Max’s home or my parent’s homes with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge would go for. Anyway…this isn’t about real estate.

It is about a lovely housewarming party my brother Andrew hosted. The place was packed with both Vampires and Regular Humans. There were of course musicians (Andy is a singer) and dancers. There were artists and college professors and writers and high tech geeks and all sorts of interesting people with every profession and opinion imaginable. What made this remarkable, as parties and gatherings go, was that Andy’s Regular Human friends know about Vampire. They’re friends with us and don’t have a problem with it.

OK there was one exception. Andy invited his “girlfriend.” Shawna had come up from Southern California where she is a university professor. She is not a Vampire. She is still in that state of wonder and a little bit of disbelief about Vampires and our world (which isn’t all that different than hers, usually.)

Andy is head over heels in love with this divorced mother of two college kids. The story is that she came home from a research trip to find her husband had put her things in storage and moved a new trophy wife into their home. Their youngest child had just gone off to college so it was his opportunity to also make a change. Shocked, she found a small house on a quiet tree lined street and made a new life with her cats and dogs (she wouldn’t leave them behind.)

Shawna was strong and smart and I had no idea what she was doing with my scatter-brained brother. But it was ok. They were cute together and, well, you know all that sort of early romance cute stuff.

I looked out the window to the backyard to see my brother Max kissing his “friend.” This was more than just a friend. I’d heard rumors but this was proof that there was something more than he’d admit to. Funny that she backed out of his arms and went inside alone leaving him to pace a bit then follow her back inside.

In the kitchen I found Shawna. She was cutting up limes.

“I told Andy to have this catered.” I said this trying to be friendly. I could sense a tiny bit of discomfort behind her warm friendly fang-less smile.

“It’s ok, this will just take a second.” She cut into a lime then her hand slipped, of course, in a house full of Vampires, and cut a deep gash in her thumb.

I grabbed her hand and put it in my mouth to stop the bleeding and sealed the wound. I could have left it but it would have required stitches, not to mention drawn a lot of unwanted attention.

I let go and she pulled away with a little bit of horror and disbelief.

“It’s OK Shawna. I sealed the cut. It will heal now without stitches. You’re A positive.” I smiled. “Don’t worry.  I’m not going to drink your blood or bite you or anything. Just basic first aid. We don’t want anyone else smelling blood.”

I suddenly realized that Andy had never bitten her or exposed her to his natural Vampire ways. He was such a gentleman.  He was also a dick when it came to women. He was always falling for anything that wasn’t a Vampire and when it was a Vampire it was usually always someone who was totally wrong for him. He always had to have everything in life more complicated than it had to be.

“Isn’t this sweet,” I heard a smooth male voice say behind me. I turned to see James, one of Andy’s best friends. James who had always watched out for Andrew but who was also one of the most absolutely annoying Vampires in the known universe.

“You know, Juliette and her brother Valentine are two of the best when it comes to Human to Vampire conversions. Almost a 100% success rate, mot to mention a great follow up and support system.”

“Shut up James,” I snapped. Poor Shawna looked horrified. Why was it that everything James said sounded vulgar? Oh right, I know, because he is a flipping pig.

Shawna looked horrified. I was about say something else nasty to James when a very angry Vampire (showing her fangs no less) suddenly slammed him into the wall. “You’re making me sick James. Get out of here before I rip your throat out.”

He held up his hands and backed off. With a smile he said, “Later ladies, I’ll leave you to your tea party.”

Max’s friend Mehitabel  (the one he kissed in the backyard) stood there in a sleek black dress and some great sky high patent leather Mary Janes. She washed her hands saying something under her breath about getting the stink left by James off of them.

Mehitabel was the pretty woman who could either stand out in a crowd, or more likely not be noticed by anyone. That worked well in her professional life. She could stand unnoticed and watch and wait. As for her personal life, I have no idea. I don’t know her that well. I really don’t

I found her entertaining and funny. Sure she was a little distant as well, an odd combination.

Earlier I’d asked her what she was doing for Thanksgiving. She was going to spend it with close friends. They always spent holidays together.  Why did I assume she wouldn’t have anyplace to go? Gossip and rumors can build into false biographies that paint a harsh sad picture of someone who is anything but harsh or sad.

She didn’t ask questions about my brother Max, the object of her affections – not like most women do.  She wasn’t talking to anyone about Max. She’d come to the party because they had mutual friends – nothing more. She was staying at Max’s house but no details of fluttery “wink wink” was forthcoming.

She had known Max for a long long time.  Over the years they’d been in and out of dangerous situations together, even saved each other’s lives. They were considered Vampire elite, thought she didn’t act like it.

So, anyway, I’m standing in the kitchen with two women who for better or worse were involved with two of my brothers. At this point I doubted if anyone was going to come in and rescue me.

“Don’t bother with James,” I said to Shawna.  “I think he was snorting too much dragon dust or something.”

“More likely out feeding on meth heads and heroine junkies,” said Mehitabel in disgust. The she softened her look and approached Shawna.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.  We’re not like that. Andy isn’t like that. He is one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, Regular Human or Vampire, and he adores you. He’d never ever let anyone harm you. The same goes for Juliette and me, and everyone here. Even James, even thought he is an asshole.”

I knew there were those would harm Shawna, but then again, I suppose nobody could have hurt her more than her ex-husband, the one who traded her in for a younger model.

After a few minutes and a few cocktails, we forgot about the party and my brothers. We talked of other things, things we all could relate to. We talked about movies and books and shoes and our work.

I suppose there is no point or moral to this story. No usual twist. It is always just odd and I’m glad my kids were in another part of the house, I’m sure being exposed to all sorts of other weirdness.

Just random thoughts about last weekend…

But all in all, I like both of these women my brothers have brought around. Now if my brothers could just behave… And if they don’t behave, I might still just keep these two around.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

_____________________________

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

 

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself”

Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel

____________________________________

More on Shawna and Andy (click here.)

More on Max and Mehitabel (click here.)

wine by fire

So tonight we shall toast…

The air is getting colder as it gets closer to Thanksgiving. We still have sunshine and humming birds around unlike other parts where everything is covered in snow and ice.

When the night falls I will light candles and welcome friends.

Somethings can be fleeting, like the overly wrought emotions of family relations, especially this time of year. It makes one grow weary of the pointlessness of it all. The way people hold grudges and hate – and hold fast to traditions that only make one feel controlled and not loved.

So we gather with friends, those who wish to be with us for no other reason than that they enjoy our company – and we theirs. Family can be like that as well, if they allow it. If they dare.

In the Vampire world we tend not to keep grudges for they last far too long and do far too much damage. No need to fight when the sun comes up each and every single day and gives us a new opportunity to take a deep breath and let go. And in the night we see our light, the beautiful stars that will last on for a billion years after we’re all gone. And it humbles us and makes us realize what really matters is our love and our companionship and our memories – that is the good memories. The others, the bad memories, should be banished from our lives.

So tonight we shall toast our glasses filled full and laugh until our sides hurt. We’ll listen to the stories and funny jokes from the young ones and we will celebrate all that we are truly thankful for.

Including our Regular Human friends.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

redwine and candles