New horizons and dirty dogs (Musings on a Saturday)

They came in groups of four until their number reached almost 500. All in black robes. Some had blood red sashes. Some had medals. Victory was finally theirs. They will rule the world.

Why, no, this is not the start of some epic and lofty Vampire tale. It was GRADUATION DAY yesterday. My daughter Clara graduated from high school! Woo Hoo. It was a lovely ceremony. A lot of music by the kids. Good speeches. I can’t imagine nicer group of young adults. Yes, I got choked up a few times.

Now what? We’re done with K-12 education at my house. Done. Wow. It feels good. It was awesome. It was wonderful. OK. I’m still MOM.

Garrett flew up for the event and will go back down for the last week of college. In the fall he’ll be a Senior at the big university. Clara will be a Freshman at the small college the transfer to the same big university. Her brother might or might not be in Graduate school there when she gets there. We’ll see.

So now what? I have jury duty next week. When I’m asked what I do I will not say, “I write about Vampires and parenting.” I’ll tell them one of the many other “normal” things I do for a living.

I can hear my brother Andy and Clara with their guitars playing and singing Enter the Sandman. Out on the deck the dog and cat are scuttling around while the squirrels bark at them from the trees.

I’m thinking of symbiotic relationships like being a Vampire, or a parent, or a writer, or an artist, or… nothing and just letting my mind finally empty of everything.

And since no Vampire can abide a stinky dog I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to take my 85 pound stinky pup to the self dog wash. Dogs think their motto should be I stink therefore I am. I’m not in agreement. So time to slip on the flip flops and get going. No slinky tight Elvira dresses, and heaven forbid no Vampirella red thong things for me. I’m a little more practical. Most Vampires are. We have dogs to wash, and other regular things we need to deal with too.

I tell my kids that if you insist on being lurking in shadows, sleeping in coffins, and living in some creepy old ruin, you’re going to starve. Seriously, you can get closer to anyone if you smell nice, look nice, and act nice. That goes for anyone who isn’t a Vampire too.

That also goes for dogs, so I’m off. Have a great weekend everyone. Happy Saturday. I’ll be back next week with new adventures and rambling thoughts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

I’m gonna run to you, but maybe later after I take care of some mom stuff

Why do we like songs that nobody understands?

Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night

I know you thought it was wrapped up like a douche another rumor in the night.

For years (I might have mentioned this one before) I thought Bryan Adams was singing

I’m going to write to you.

It made sense to me. There was no email or internet back then. There were no cell phones. One would be lucky to have an answering machine on their home phone. I wrote a lot of letters. I send a lot of cards and post cards. And I had no idea what the title of the song is “I’m going to run to you.”

I’m gonna run to you
I’m gonna run to you
‘Cause when the feelin’s right I’m gonna run all night
I’m gonna run to you

About two years ago my husband told me the truth about the song 1984 song.

By the way Bryan Adams was born in 1959 so that would have made him ten years old in the Summer of 69. That would make him the same age as Nigel the Ghost, that is if Nigel was alive. I guess it would still make Nigel the same age even as a ghost. So do you age a ghost from the day it becomes a ghost or from the day it is born as a physical person? Anyway, I’m glad to hear that our Canadian friend Mr. Adams is still alive and well and singing, even if his lyrics are different than mine.

People like a lot of things that nobody understands, or at least I don’t understand.

Some things I don’t understand:

  • Zac Efron Movies
  • Bob Dylan
  • Small yapping dogs
  • Most currently popular female singers.
  • Sometimes my husband
  • Badly written fantasy novels
  • Mystery/Crime stories told by cats and barnyard animals
  • Crime/Mystery novels written by older men where all women get their crotches waxed and like to have sex 15 times a day.

My kids, who are almost adults, or more or less adults, think they understand everything, but are still willing to admit things they don’t understand. Yes, there are stupid questions, but I’ve tried to teach them to ask questions. I never asked questions when I was a child. I lived in a clueless world of my own ignorance. I still do.

But let’s put that aside. I was going to write about EMPTY NEST, or give it another attempt again, today, but I keep getting distracted, or don’t want to write about it.

Knowing your kids are going to be GROWN UP SOON is more frightening that any horror movie. It is also exciting. It is like jumping off of a cliff into a dark canyon without a light. There is that logistical panic of figuring out how far away they’ll be living. There is that panic about new friends who are also young adults and having no control over it. No control. Maybe not control, but it is no control.

And you wonder if they’ll get the lyrics right or if they’ll start singing the wrong words for years before they know the right words. And sometimes it doesn’t matter if the words are wrong because their lyrics are more fun, or make more sense.

And sometimes you have to smile because you know they’ll go out into the world and tell everyone, “my mom writes about Vampires.”

That’s it for today. Now I have to go see my mom who sometimes wonders how all of her children turned out so weird, and odd, and interesting, and… honestly I have no idea what she thinks.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost of High School Past

My daughter graduates from high school on June 2. This month has been a whirl of AP tests, college placement tests, robe and yearbook pick-ups, Senior Ball, skate practice ramping up for the Regional and National championships and the list goes on and on and on. Tomorrow she signs up for classes at college. The eldest child who is already off at college is getting worked up for Grad school after he graduates next year.

I’ve started the empty nest post about six or seven times. They were in Middle School and High School when I started blogging. But no matter how old they are I’m still a mom. I’ll always be Vampire Maman. Sigh.

So I’m drinking way too much coffee and trying to write today when I look out into the predawn light and see not one, but five Ghosts out on my deck. There are three men, a woman, and a dog. And don’t tell me that dogs have no souls (because if you say otherwise you don’t know shit about dogs or ghosts.)

I sat as still as death, which isn’t difficult, and watched the Ghosts.

Nigel was there of course. He is always here lurking around and semi haunting me. The woman was willow thin wearing a white sundress with her long brown hair flowing down to the middle of her back. The large black Lab mix stood leaning against her leg. It wore a white bow around it’s neck. Like Nigel, she was young, in her twenties. The tallest of the men had dark hair with gray streaks along his temples. He wore blue scrubs, like a doctor would wear. The other man wore a bright red and blue Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He was a really big guy, not just fat, but big. He must have been about 6’5″. As usual Nigel was in a black dress pants, with a black shirt and black tie.

“So what did they do with your bodies?” I could hear the woman say.

“I was cremated. My wife had me on the mantle for a while until her lover moved in. Then I was dumped in the river during the Salmon run. The salmon part was the kid’s idea. They’re still pissed off at my wife. They found out she had been cheating on me for years before I died,” said the doctor.

“Oh man, that is rough,” said the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. “Cremated too. My family took me out on a fishing boat in the ocean. My son threw up over the edge after he dumped my ashes. Poor guy still feels bad about it. I was laughing the entire time. He’ll be fine, my son Kyle that is. I’m just glad I got to meet my grandkids before I died. How about you Angie?”

“I’m buried not far from Nigel. Roxie here was buried with me. We died together. Car accident. Anybody donate organs?”

The all shook their heads yes.

The doctor had slipped on some blood in the emergency room and hit his head on the side of a table. He’d died immediately. The guy in the Hawaiian shit had been doing some avian research with in Africa contracted a rare brain parasite. apparently Nigel was the only one who was murdered, as least as far as they knew.

The doctor rolled his shoulders and transformed out of the scrubs into a button down shirt and jeans. “Are we the only Ghosts in the class of 77? We’ve lost about 30 people so far. We can’t be the only Ghosts.”

“Deena Adams died of a drug overdose in 88,” said the woman. “Do you know if she’s still around?”

“Do we want her around? She’s probably some pathetic poltergeist, or worse. She was a pain in the ass when she was alive, so do you really want the dead version around?”

“Oh Nigel that is cruel.”

“No, it is the truth. She’d ruin the party for us and try to completely destroy it for our living classmates.”

I realized that they were planning their 40th class reunion.

Nigel looked up and scowled then flipped me off. I went outside and said, “Then get off of my fucking deck. Just you Nigel. Your friends can stay.”

I went back inside and finished up what I was doing. I swear sometimes I wonder what it is with Ghosts.

But I thought of them, the Ghosts, two middle-aged, two in their twenties, and a dog of unknown age, sharing memories of their high school years. Even ghosts have their own kind of catching up to do.

I think about my kids, and even myself thinking back. My children think back on when they were small. I think back when I was their age, then later. I’m one hundred years older than those ghosts out there and I still look back to 1877 when I was seventeen, almost eighteen.

More than anything I’m thinking ahead. What will the future bring to my children who are young adults? I should be thinking of my own future, but after doing that for so many years just don’t do it anymore. Maybe tomorrow.

Nigel did come back later. He stood in front of my bookcases and smiled, his ghost eyes twinkling under his long dark eyelashes.

“What?” I said.

“Nothing,” he said. Then he vanished without so much as a wisp of mist. That’s a ghost for you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Keeping it Real (When you’re a Vampire and a Parent)

“You can hide yourself away. Wrap yourself in a cocoon of spider webs and blood, and let yourself fester and dry up for years and become a husk, or you can move forward. Hiding is easy. But Vampires who hide get lost, or never wake up, or, or, or, or, are so completely out of touch with what it is to be a real Vampire.” 

I could hear 2,200 year old (approximately, I’m not sure what his real age is. He isn’t even sure.) Tellias talking to my twenty-one year old son. Yes, Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. I didn’t have the heart to blog about it. My time as a mom of youngsters is quickly waning, and unlike the moon isn’t coming back.

I listen and wonder what it is like to be “real” anything.

Despite his age Tellias isn’t a dried up husk by any means. He looks like he is nineteen, or maybe twenty at the very most.

The two could be just best friends if one just looked at them. A dark haired young man with his perfect trendy hair (long on top, short on the sides), and one with his pale blonde hair brushing his shoulders, both wearing jeans and tee shirts.

I had to smile seeing them together. I look at Garrett with all the hope and wonder in his eyes and heart. Tellias looks at me and locks his eyes with mine for a fraction of a second. I see decades of joy and pain, love and loss that goes beyond any known grief, and unknown dark coordores, regrets, and a million songs, and memories of standing under the stars for a thousand years with the warm summer breeze on his face.

I know you Juliette he says without speaking. You’ve always taught them to fly, and now that they can fly on their own your heart is breaking. 

Luckily the 85 pound puppy came blasting through the room and demanded to go outside. I went out to the deck and stood in the drizzle of rain and took in the smell of orange blossoms and rosemary from my yard.

You have to raise your kids to be adults, but when they suddenly become adults… I had no idea it would be this hard. I can’t let them know how I feel. I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and smile and encourage them. I listen to their thoughts, dreams, monologues, and stories. I will forever be here for them. Even if for some reason I won’t be here physically, I will still always be with them.

I put my hands on the deck rail and looked down into the oak forest behind my house. There were no ghosts that night except my own. I felt an arm go around my shoulder. A cool finger wiped a tear from my cheek. Tellias stood with me, not saying a word. He didn’t have to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Anger, Inspiration, Parenting, and Those WTF Days.

I write about parenting. I write about positive parenting. I write about how parents, through their choices, can raise well-rounded, grounded, smart, ready-for-adulthood, open-eyed, kind, and lovely children.

I have not been feeling like one of those people I want my children to be. I’ve more angry and out of sorts than anything lately. Sad too. As we said in the Victorian days, I’ve had a bit of melancholia. Fuck that.

Forget “nice songs”, I’ve got my radio tuned to the heavy metal and punk stations. I’m wearing black. I’m angry. About everything. OK almost everything. I’m also sad.

Which I guess some people think is normal for Vampires, but I’m not one of THOSE Vampires. But we’re not going there in this post.

On June 2 my daughter will graduate from high school. On July 5 she turns 18. In the fall she will go to college. On April 1 my son will turn 21. I’m done. No more kids. My heart is breaking.

I’ve been a wonderful, successful parent. All has gone well. We survived Middle School (no small task), and high school (without angst.) Now I’m done. I realize they’ll be around after they’re grown, but… it breaks my heart. Good job, now… it breaks my heart.

And as children leave, so do old ones. I worry that I’ll go visit the ancient ones, Eleora and Tellias, or my Great great great great grandmama Lola and find piles of dust. It is all happening so fast.

I’m also in a personal transition – which is rocky at best. My husband is cool. The cats are cool. The dog is silly, but cool.

This morning I forced myself to go to a dance class, which isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nobody ever said all Vampires can dance. I can be stealth but I can’t dance. But I went anyway. It got my mind off of shit.

When I arrived home I was still angry so I took the 85 pound puppy for a walk out in the park, along the muddy trails that run through the oak forest and down the cliffs to the lake. The bald eagles sat in the tree by their nest (which won’t be empty for long). Hawks flew over the water. Buzzards circled in the distance. I closed my eyes for a second to reflect on whatever, then the dog pulled at the leash. I opened my eyes. Coming towards me where two middle-aged men, all fit and in their fancy bike gear coming towards me.

You know, I’m usually not the normal angry Vampire type, but I held out my hand, palm towards them and told them to stop. Of course they stopped. How dangerous could a five foot four woman in yoga pants and a sweat shirt be? Very dangerous if she happens to be a Vampire.

I locked eyes, put them in a trance, and hauled them off into the woods. When I’d had my fill, I stood on the edge of the bluff overlooking the water and tried to clear my head. The men, who didn’t remember anything of our encounter, came along walking their bikes along the trail. Blood loss will tire out even the most fit of men. I noticed a large bruise forming on the neck of one of them. Oh well.

I walked the dog back home in the rain, still thinking, and over thinking.

I’ve done a great job at being a parent. I have a great marriage. My kids are great. Yet, I close my eyes and the world spins out of control.

I have inspired others, many times over the years, over the centuries. Now I need to inspire myself.

I open my eyes again and a calico cat is sitting next to my computer on the table purring loudly for no other reason than she is happy that I’m here.

So forget my pity party and worm song…

My thought for today is to inspire yourself. It isn’t easy but try. Even if it hurts you have to try. But more than anything, even if they’re old, even if they’re grown, even if they have their own kids – inspire your children. Your job as a parent is NEVER over. It isn’t about babies, it is about the long haul – it is about forever.

I posted a photo of the park on one of my social media sites and titled it “Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.” I try to believe.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Excuse me, I’m done. I have to go chase squirrels out of my bird feeders, and see what the dog is chewing up on my back deck.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Have a good rest of your week. And remember TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Stay positive. Don’t use as many bad words as I do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

 

Crashing and Burning on the Road Less Traveled

It is never a dull moment around my house. I just received a call that my husband Teddy was in a car accident. He is ok. The other car is totaled. Someone pulled out in front of him on a busy street near his business. We don’t know the damage to his truck yet. The last truck was totaled the same way – someone pulled out in front of him. In fact, just about every car we’ve had in the past twenty years has been totaled in a car accident. It has never been our fault. It kind of makes you wonder. Shit happens, but not once every eighteen months. To be honest shit happens almost every single day, but this is big dog shit.

I’d written the title of this blog post before I got the call from Teddy. I was going to talk about being a parent, and how those tiny babies grow up and, well, grow up and go out into the world. I was going to talk about how that feels, and I will. Right now.

My husband Teddy and I have both crashed and burned so many times during our lives that I’m amazed we’re still even here. I’m amazed that we’ve done so well. Then again, we’ve both learned to learn from our mistakes.

I have to admit that his biggest crash and burn was becoming a Vampire, but like a lot of things it worked out great in the long run.

I might take another road. I can still take another road. In fact I am taking another road right now. The great road trip of life is like anything else. You have to plan, be prepared, sort of know when you are ready, be willing to take side trips, don’t go too far over the speed limit, don’t drive when your tired, and have fun.

Being a parent is sort of like an eighteen year-long road trip. My mom (mother of five) would say it is a road trip that never ends. Ever.

So what is the point of this post. I don’t know.

We all have our adventures, good or bad, we can pass on our experience and knowledge in a positive way to the next generation. Rather than giving young people negative input about what to do, or more often what not to do, we need to give them positive input about their dreams. We need to support them. We need to gently guide them. And when they really screw up and get into dangerous territory we can take action because we’ve earned their trust.

Yes, I’m having an opinionated parenting day, but this is a blog, and blogs are opinions for the most part, and you dropped by for some unknown reason. Glad you did.

A long time ago when I was a teen I was sitting outside on a hot summer night with my brother Val we talked about how one day we’d have telephones in our home. This was 1878. We did end up with telephones in our homes.  Just wanted to share that random memory. But there is a point to random memories.

I kept most of my random memories to myself this summer when my daughter Clara and I took a 3,600 mile road trip from California to Nebraska and back. We talked and listened to music. We met wonderful people (both Vampires and other.) We visited old friends and made new friends. And all the while the thought that she was going to soon start her senior year of high school never left my mind. Then the thought that my son Garrett would turn twenty-one in a few months.

As Clara talked I recalled in my head old adventures, old friends now gone, stupid things I’d done, fashions we’d never wear again, and plots to stories I’d write. Then I’d be back on her. Back listening to talk of politics, music, school, history, and talk of family and friends. It was a road we traveled together.

It was a road I was glad we were traveling. It is a road I think I’ll stay on for… well, I’d like to say forever.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

night drive