Burning Question #47: Chucking Wood

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Step right up and see amazing feats of animal skill.

This week brings us to #47 of 50 Burning Questions. I hope over the past 47 weeks that all of you have learned something about yourself and the world around us.

But of all questions… of ALL questions… You KNEW this one was coming.

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.


How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Burning Question #47: Could a Woodchuck Chuck Wood?


Here is a video of one of the cute little critters in action. Everyone all at once, give me a big “AWWWWWWWWWWW.”


Feel free to leave any questions, answers, or woodchuck stories in the comments area below. You can talk about anything including other animal favorites. How about that new Weezer album? Can woodchucks dance? Sing? How about you? How about skunks, or possums, or lizards? Just say something (nice or funny.)

I’ll see you next week for Burning Question #48.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

California Squirrel

Hey – my squirrel is featured on a FAMOUS SQUIRREL BLOG. You can’t be a proper Vampire if you don’t appreciate your animal friends! Thanks Evil Squirrel.

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Greetings from NoCal! Greetings from NoCal!

You may have recalled I mentioned doing a little traveling this week, and I am indeed in slightly warmer Oklahoma this weekend where I experienced temps in the mid 60’s for the first time in over two months yesterday!  Of course, I’ll be driving home in the middle of a huge winter storm tomorrow, so that good fortune isn’t about to last.  Anyway, you may have also noticed I sqturday squirrel logoskipped out on my normal Tuesday and Friday posts as well.  Hey, something’s gotta give when you’re on vacation, right?  I promise to do better next week…

Well, I’m not about to forgo my weekly Saturday Squirrel, though I am going to turn the honor over to another of my wonderful blogging pals here on WordPress… the lovely Juliette from The Vampire Maman.  She sent me a couple pictures of the handsome fellow above sitting on her…

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How to motivate your cat – yeah right like that is ever going to happen

Our cats do bad things.

We love our cats.

Does that make any sense?

I am a bit pissed off because they didn't need to bring that other cat into my life.

So the cats scratch the furniture. Can we motivate them to scratch somewhere else using treats, sprays, scratching posts? Hell no. They aren’t motivated by food. They aren’t motivated by attention. They are motivated by getting me to stop yelling at them. So I yell.

My cats fight with each other. They run through the house growling and jumping on each other spitting and hissing. I yell again, they keep fighting, I yell again, the dog walks into the other room, they keep fighting. I yell “HEY CUT IT OUT”. That works. It works with my children too.

Vampire Maman's Cat - this makes me want to cough up a hairball - Gloria the Calico Cat

My cats barf. I believe they do this because they enjoy it. We’ve done everything the pet books say. But honestly it isn’t a medical problem. It isn’t a food problem. They like to barf. Only on carpet. Only where we walk. Only where we sleep. NEVER on the tile.

I love my cats.

I put him in his place.

I don’t know why. Actually I do know why. They’re cute and soft and they talk to me in their cute little kitty voices. They purrrrrrrrr. And sometimes they even act like they love me too.


Short Story Sunday will be back in a few weeks (yes, technically I’m posting this on Saturday but somewhere in the world it is Sunday). I’ll be hit and miss for a bit but if you absolutely MUST get your Vampire fix TODAY click on the links below.

And you want more just scroll through my past posts – there are exactly 500 tall tales, parenting tips and musings to choose from.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



How do you explain? What we talked about with our kids this morning.

This morning the radio was on and my kids and I talked about news and life and what is going on in their lives.

How do you explain to your teens about things like the Boston Marathon bombings yesterday? They’re smart kids. They discuss events in school with their teachers and friends. They listen. They have their own opinions. I can give the line about them being our future.

Clara’s history teacher had told the kids about it right before school got out. Garrett had heard about it earlier in the day. They were shocked. Clara asked about cameras. Didn’t they have security cameras? I don’t know. We all agreed it was senseless. We discussed other events – too many this year and last. Too many ever. Too much sadness.

We talked about how it happened in April. Bad things happen in April. Oklahoma City Bombing (explained that to the kids), Virginia Tech shootings, Unibomber, Columbine, Hitler’s birthday and the list goes on. Click here to a story on NPR about it.

I told them about the Bath School bombing in 1927. It was in May but it was bad. To make the story short a man bombed a school because he was angry about election results. Thirty eight children were killed. For nothing. Absolutely nothing.

We talked about the IRA again. The kids for some reason still seem surprised that there were Irish bombers. The kids wanted to know why any American’s would want to blow up their own people. Why would anyone want to blow up anyone? I can try to explain beliefs and sending messages but nobody can explain the face of evil or insanity.

They asked about what was going on when their dad and I were kids. Their dad, who was making coffee, gave them a side ways look. “Think about it,” he said with his usual lack of patience for our two young Vampires.

“What?” Clara asked that looking totally clueless – such a 13 year old sometimes. Then the light bulb went off. “The Civil War.” That is another conversation.

We changed directions.

We talked about funny things people post online. They all know who Chuck Norris is or at least that he is the ultimate bad ass justice seeker. This is the one we talked about.

Chuck Rocks









Clara mentioned that her history teacher asked the kids in her class about Kim Jong Un the “leader” of North Korea. They’d heard of him but half hadn’t seen a photo of him. When the teacher showed a photo the kids all started to laugh. They didn’t expect someone who looked like an overgrown baby. Then we talked about the memes. There are ALWAYS memes.









Garrett mentioned the 19 year old pop star Justin Bieber comment about Ann Frank “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

My kids were disgusted by his self-centered comment and also mentioned that Ann Frank would have more than likely been a Post Metal or Indie band fan.  We talked about how smart she was and that had she lived she would have been brilliant and successful at whatever she did.

It wasn’t a good day for news. It hasn’t been for a while, but on a good note, there are two new babies at the Sacramento zoo.


Sacramento Zoo






New Babies Sacramento Zoo









We talk with our kids about the news. It just gets more difficult because we (Teddy and I) don’t have answers. Our kids are too smart for us to paint a world of puppy dogs, unicorns and sparkly Vampires. World Peace isn’t something I expect them to ever see.

But, remember at the bottom of Pandora’s box, there is always hope. For every bad person there are 100,000 good people. For ever evil deed there are thousands of good deeds. Yesterday the people of Boston proved that. And all of us need to keep proving that ever single day.











~ Wishing you all peace and hope,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

But she was our worthless dog and we loved her…

My dog is so sweet. A 45-pound animal covered with white fun. She looks like the cross between a wolf and a polar bear cub. She is sweetness personified. Just being around her makes me feel guilty for not spending more time with her. To add to the sweetness is the fact that she is smart. She listens to commands. She listens to me. And she NEVER runs off. Never. If trapped outside she’ll sit on the front porch all day and all night but not run off.

You’d think we’d (Vampires) would have large sleek black dogs.

I did have a black dog once – the family dog when I was a child. She was a large lumbering mix of dozens of mix matched breeds. Black with a white chest, short fur, small floppy ears that would stand up sometimes, squinting eyes. My brother rescued her from underneath a carriage wheel when she was a small pup (before I was born.) She grew and grew along with a girth that was almost the same as her length. Her feet were large along with the cauliflower callused elbows. Her eyes were small. Her teeth were fierce and crooked.

We called her Athena after the ancient goddess. Athena never came when called. She never stayed. She ran off at every chance, usually to come back covered in mud, blood, fur from another unfortunate animal, water or paint. Sometimes she’d be limping but in a few days she’d be back out again. She would attack any other dog she came across no matter how large or ferocious.

Athena also gave off a smell that would wake the dead. A toxic fume that would stick to every atom of that ugly dog. A putrid smell that reminded one of rotting dead fish on a hot summer day with a sauce of putrefying internal organs mixed with vomit. No amount of washing would take away the smell. My mother would spray the dog with Violet water and hope for the best but the best never came to be.

No matter what her social difficulties were we loved that dog. I’d dress her up. My brothers would get her excited so she’d run around in crazy fast circles growling and jumping. They’d throw balls that she’d catch, or not. As a very small children my brothers Aaron and Val, and I would ride Athena like a pony.

The strangest thing though was that Athena was afraid of the dark. This fact frustrated my father to no end (for obvious reasons). Athena was exactly the wrong dog for our Victorian Vampire family but he knew he’d break the hearts of 5 children if we ever parted ways with that damn dog.

Her companion was a large black cat we called Apollo. Athena would grab him by the neck and haul him all over the place. I don’t ever remember Apollo having any fur on is neck. When Apollo died I thought Athena would die too. She languished for months without him.

But she lived until she was 18 years old. She was as worthless as any dog could ever be, but she was our worthless dog and we loved her. My father mourned her death and still mentions her.

Over the next couple of years we had a string of worthless dogs my brothers picked out. None of them worked out so we quickly found them new homes. They were never quite as worthless or unique as Athena.

In the meantime we acquired a large collection of wonderful clean pampered cats that loved the night.

And then after we’d all moved on my parents found that large sleek dog that would be worthy of any Vampire couple. He was a dark dog with shoulders that came a full 38 inches off of the ground. A black dog with fur like sleek glass and the soul of a killer. OK, he didn’t have the soul of a killer. The dog, Bruno was a goof ball of the highest order, but he was extremely well-trained (without my brother and me there all the time to teach him bad things).  And on command he would rip out a man’s heart (but only for my father or mother).

But good or bad, your first dog is always like your first love – someone you’ll never forget.

More on Dogs at Vampire Maman:

A Dog Tale

Night Blooming Jasmine

Dogs and Cats behaving Badly

I hate my cat

A Vampire Muses on Cats

The Black Cat – by E. A. Poe

My dear dog Jasmine. The sweetest dog I've ever met.

My dear dog Jasmine. The sweetest dog I’ve ever met.