I’ll Meet You At WordCamp Sacramento 2018 (Yes, I’m a Speaker!)

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I will be speaking about personal blogging (i.e. non-commercial blogs like yours and mine,) the blogging community and keeping your unique blogger voice alive at the 2018 WordCamp Sacramento this September.

Yes, I am over the moon honored to have been chosen as a speaker. Note: I will be speaking under a different name. More on that later. 

As you all know, I’m passionate about my blog, your blog, and supporting each other. I’m passionate about creativity. I’m passionate about sharing. I’m passionate about you.

From the official WordCamp Sacramento site:

WordCamp Sacramento is a casual, locally organized conference happening September 15-16, 2018 that covers everything related to the world’s favorite platform: WordPress. Whether you’re brand new to WordPress, you use it casually, or you’re a seasoned professional, there is something for everyone at every skill level!

In its fourth year, the event will include a Beginner Track and two mixed tracks of sessions running concurrently on both Saturday, and three mixed tracks of sessions on Sunday.

Tickets go on sale in June.

For more official information click on this link: https://2018.sacramento.wordcamp.org

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I’ll be talking more about blogging and the event as we get closer to September. In the meantime I’ve got to bug Vlad about getting his latest Vampire Diary post finished, and I have some book recommendations too (and a new summer feature for Wednesdays.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Yes, this is the place.

Chalk It Up – A Rare Daytime Outing

Chalk It Up: Labor Day Weekend, 2013, Freemont Park, Sacramento, CA

Chalk It Up: Labor Day Weekend, 2013, Fremont Park, Sacramento, CA

On Saturday two of my brothers Val and Andrew, the Elders Tellias and Elora, my daughter Clara and I went downtown to the Chalk it Up event in Fremont part.

Calk it Up is a great organization that supports artists, especially young artists in the Sacramento area. Anyone can buy a square of sidewalk and create beautiful works of art – just for fun. For more information go to: Chalk it Up http://www.chalkitup.org/

The event is unique in the fact that people gather for FUN and in the blazing end of August heat make the most unique and fleeting works of art – chalk on the sidewalk around the park.

It was also unique in the fact that we rarely go out as a group, much less during the day. Oh and if you don’t already know, we’re Vampires, Modern Vampires (hence the name of this blog,)

I heard bits of their conversation.

“You’ve got her like a bad cold.”

“Do you boys remember when Fremont thought about running for president?”

“I doubt if anyone thinks you’re odd.”

One of the joys and delights of going out with Vampire men is that regular human woman can’t resist them. They’re already good looking but add that primal hunter aura and their natural attraction and all bets are off. That can be a problem too, but in broad daylight they were somewhat cautious (the Vampires).

My brothers, Andrew with his long hair and romantic poet look, and Val the tall, cute and handsome man-about-town played the part dressed casually, but covered up in button down shirts, jeans and hats. Tellias, who is ancient (over 2,000 years) but doesn’t look a day over 21 is another matter. Even if he wasn’t a Vampire his beautiful face, like a Botticelli angel would be noticed, add the almost white blonde hair and he is a vision. But there isn’t anything overtly feminine about my ancient darling. He is quite the guy, even in his old age. He was in orange plaid pants, a yellow vest, white shirt with yellow flip flops, and his pocket watch.

Tellias doesn’t get out much so he almost danced along side of my brothers despite his discomfort in the sun. He looked so darling in his old fashioned round tinted glasses which he wore to keep the sun out of his sensitive eyes.

We watched the parade of my brothers and Tellias strolling along as women who caught their gaze would take that gaze home with them for weeks, thinking about their desires with those masculine strangers. If they only knew.

Clara, Elora and I had our colorful parasols, which covered us from the sun. As we strolled along being amused by the men,  and more amused by the wonderful and truly amazing artwork.

Along with the chalk art you’ll find food, art and crafts booths and great live music. The event is free and runs through Monday.

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What we’re talking about – The Wall of Beautiful Men, Music, News and of Course School

I talk a lot with my kids. Not just about taking out the garbage or feeding the cats, but about everything. Over the summer the current events tone down but we still talk quite a bit. Today we talked about a lot of things.

Amber alerts – we’re getting them on our phones. The first was in Nevada a few weeks ago. The second was here at home with the tragic abduction of

The alerts are a good thing but the abductions or need for alerts is not. Abductions should only occur in fiction as something to make a plot line more exciting. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and there are tragic heartbreaking consequences. Modern technology can’t prevent horrible people from doing horrible things but it can help us find those who need our help.

As a parent it is frustrating not knowing the answer to the questions “WHY?” when it comes to people who hurt kids.

Secrets. President Obama is still pissed off about what’s his name. You you work for a government agency and many private companies you sign a nondisclosure agreement. You also have security clearance. Part of that is that YOU will keep any information you find confidential. OK that will exclude finding a head in the file drawer or obvious lurid events BUT if you’re working for the government you KNOW what you’ll be finding and that if you blab it to everyone and compromise national security that you will NOT be considered a hero in most cases. Dude, you knew you’d be in a lot of trouble. You should have thought this out better. I don’t know all of the details but we talked about secrets and keeping them (no political comments please.) So anyway, before you blow a secret, be it with the government or with a friend at school, or with your mom (especially with your mom) think long and hard about your actions and what it will mean to everyone involved.

As Vampires we know all about keeping secrets and those who don’t…well, it never ends well. By the way V kids, like it or not, another one of your seminars/meetings about your responsibilities as a member of the Vampire community is coming up next week before school starts. Yes, Nathaniel Chase will be giving the lecture just as he has for the past 162 years.

Tesla Motors is doing great. Woo Hoo. We see Teslas all around where we live. In fact we always see more unique cars. Going back a while…my husband and I remember at least two amphibious cars in the 1960’s. I saw one in Folsom Lake. There used to be a lot of DeLoreans around here (yes, the stainless steel Back To The Future car). Occasionally I still see one in Fair Oaks. I see at least two cars from Tesla Motors a week. The weekends, when the weather is nice, which is 98.9% of the time, the classic cars come out. That means convertibles from Auburns to old Z cars (a lot of Corvettes, Mustangs, Jags and T-Birds). It means cars from the 50’s, horseless carriages, cars with rumble seats and fins and split windows. It means fun. My son loves it. My daughter is still trying to understand why it happens and where all of these old cars come from and why they are mostly driven by guys in their 50’s and 60’s. I told my daughter that when she learns to drive she can have my car and I’ll get my own Tesla. My 17 year old is content with his 2006 Mustang, but he told me he’d really like a black 1964 Corvette. I’m just glad he didn’t say he wanted a hearse.

California STAR test scores are down. I’ve never given much credit to this stupid way of testing. My question is “How can kids who study hard, write well, are liked by their teachers AND get straight A’s have such wild and crazy text scores that never reflect what the kids really know?” One year the scores will be up, one year down, then back up again. My kids describe them as a bunch of random questions about things we never learned in school. This includes one making exceptionally high scores in science then saying “I didn’t know any of that stuff.” Hmmmm. Something to think about.

Band shirts will lead to new friends in school. That is what THEY the TEENS said. But I said to also respect the musical taste of others and then in a nice friendly manner introduce them to your music. Don’t just say “THAT SUCKS”. OK there are times when you can say out loud that something is awful but take a deep breath first and think of a more diplomatic way to say it.

And speaking of music… In my daughter’s room is her “Wall of Beautiful Men.” My husband calls it the Wall of Freaks. The point is…Fall Out Boys and Panic! At the Disco are both coming out with new albums and new tours and that is all the child has been thinking/talking about. I know a lot of parents reading this can relate (and I know back in the day some of you had your own Wall of Beautiful Men or maybe a Farrah poster or better yet Linda Carter as Wonder Woman.)

A small portion of The Wall of Beautiful Men

A small portion of The Wall of Beautiful Men

School starts in a week.

  • What do you say when a senior boys comes up to you and says “Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?” Answer “All the time. Now go away.” Good job Clara. Your older brother has tutored you well.
  • Boys shouldn’t wear Crocs to school. I know we all believe in self-expression, but Crocs on high school boys is just asking for trouble. We’re talking about the plastic clog like shoes that come in all colors that should only be worn in gardens digging for root vegetables. Wait, I hear something else…girls shouldn’t wear them to school either. Well thank you to the fashion police who have noted that nobody in our house own Crocs (but we do have a large selection of cheap flip flops in all colors.) The people at Crocs are now making some cute non-clog like sandals but I was told by the fashion snobs at my house not to look at those.
  • Boots. Mom wants new boots. Daughter still wears her black lace-up army boots with everything – dresses, shorts, jeans…everything. Even when it is over 100 degrees F outside. The man-child is avoiding boots.
  • Self expression. Let your freak flag fly but maybe tone it down a little the first week of school so you won’t shock your teachers too much. I know they’ve seen EVERYTHING but be nice and give them a little bit of a break for just a few days.
  • Why has it taken so long to get our class assignments? OK children, I can explain how budgets work. I can explain logistics. I can explain and make excuses but… I don’t know and it sucks. End of discussion. I hope by this weekend you’ll have your classes.
  • School population breakdown: Regular Humans 2,487, Werewolves 6, Vampires 12. This school has a high population of kids who aren’t Regular Humans. I know I blog about this but we’re a very very very small portion of the population (but these numbers are high for us). Only 3 high schools in the area even have Vampires and only two have Werewolves. We tend to stick together.
  • They ask me “Mom, why are you so excited about school starting?” Maybe because I love you and you’re my children and I have a vested interest in you. And my universe centers around my family and what they do. Plus it sounds fun and interesting and…oh well. And they MUST make good grades so they can get into the college of their choice.  And because while they love me, nobody is excited about anything I do.

This week the family continues to make fun of how I clap my hands. Their loss for the dullness of their claps. Sigh.

The Vampire Ball is later this year – at the beginning of September. So yes, I might have time to design costumes and have them made. I just hope it doesn’t fall on Homecoming weekend.

995765_524107340995387_1280662151_nOh, oh, oh, one more bit of news (and my family is proud of me despite what I usually tell you)…the next short story anthology from the WPaD group will be out soon. It is the Fantasy edition! Three of my stories are in it (under an assumed name). More to come on that later.

Have a great weekend everyone!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What we talked about today – kidnappings, con-artists, safety, school and other assorted business

We’re in the car a lot so we listen to the radio and talk about the news and school and life…

This is what we talked about today:

STAR testing continues in school. We’re still talking about colleges. We’re talking about all the end of the year school activities (proms, dances, graduations, trips, grades.)

We’re talking about news too. Three girls were kidnapped and 10 years later escaped, with a small child in tow. It was good news and horrible. Good that they were no longer captives in Hell. Bad that they had to endure such Hell. It was horrible.

In the meantime my kids pointed out that some physic had told the mother of one of the girls that her daughter was DEAD. About a year later the mom died, never to know her daughter was alive. She died thinking her daughter was dead.

The Physic was the famous and very rich con-artist Sylvia Brown. She claims to see angels (give me a fucking break), ghosts and talk to the dead. If she starts in on Vampires…oh don’t even go there. For years I’ve been seeing people taken in by liars and cons like Ms Sylvia Brown.

Dear Ms Brown,

I have warned my children about people like you. You are a con-artist of the lowest order. You are cruel, selfish and opportunistic. Your kind disgusts me. You are a parasite who feeds on the hopes of grieving parents. There is a special place in Hell for people like you. You’re a piece of shit.

In the 1800’s there were a lot of con artists like Ms Brown. I thought by now people would know better. But when people are in grief and pain they’ll believe anything. The pain is so great that they’ll do anything to make it go away. I believe it was Pen and Teller who did a show about con artists who claimed to talk to the dead and disproved most of them. They showed how it worked. I don’t know why people believe. My father has explained it to me many times that some people need someone to follow and to tell them what to do because it is easier than making their own decisions.

Now hand me that box of rattle snakes Jethro. Anyway, one of my brothers HAS been to a church with snakes. He said it was pretty crazy – and I believe him on that one.

Next the kids mentioned “That singer who tried to hire someone to kill his wife.”

The lead singer of the metal band As I Lay Dying, Tim Lambesis was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempting to hire a hit man to kill his wife.

He was Post-Metal and supposed to be on the Warped tour. My daughter said he was a Christian so she was surprised to hear he’d done what he did. I said a lot of Christians do horrible things just like everyone else. It was sad. He threw it all away and nobody knows why. He had kids too. So sad. My son said it was sad too because he brother was in the band too. Maybe they’ll find another singer, maybe not. Please lovely readers of this blog no comments on religion PLEASE. It was just a simple observation. 

From there Clara talked about the bad hygiene among kids at middle school and the need for good bras. Some of the girls don’t know about bras. Where are their moms? Young girls need bras that fit, especially if they’re doing sports and have big boobs. The kids mentioned “flopping.” Sorry for the visuals…there were even more descriptions but I won’t go into details. Just for any parents out there …. PLEASE guide your kids to wear proper underwear and to use soap at least once a day. They need to brush their teeth too. Remember, if you ignore your teeth they’ll go away.

We talked about TV. Weird stuff. On Monday we all became comatose and watched TV together on the couch like puppies. I’m not saying it was to be enlightened. It was pretty  mindless. OK we watched Hawaii Five-O and it was creepy because it was about a couple who were abducting girls and keeping them prisoner – and in the news three girls who’d been abducted had been found. Just like that.

And THEN on CSI tonight they featured ghosts and serial killers. More weirdness. It was fun and we all got a good dose of much needed brain drain. Most important it gave us time to just pile up in one big heap of cuddling and dogs and cats and kids and spend time together. And it led to more conversations about all sorts of things (yes, we do talk while we watch the magic picture box.)

After that the usual conversation about why there are so many serial killers from Northern California came up. I could do an entire blog about that subject. Holy crap. From the Zodiac to Richard Allen Chase to the Unibomber. Sick and twisted and scary. Same with abductions. We always wonder.

I started to tell my children about stranger danger when they were just toddlers. I told them that nobody, no matter how they threatened could hurt mommy and daddy. I told them that anything anyone told them would be a lie and to never forget that. We’ve all told our kids that. We all have. We shouldn’t have to but we do. And we keep telling them that.

Then we wondered what roller rink was in Modern Family this week. Orange? Fountain Valley? We’ll have to look that one up. We spend a lot of time in roller rinks. No long afternoons in the sun.

From there we discussed the best way to get glued off stones off of a skate dress without cutting it up. Goo-Gone seemed to work the best. Now we’d need a gallon to get 400 flat back crystals off of a skate dress (for dance).

We went back to physics and the like. Most people I know who’ve had experiences with the paranormal keep it to themselves. When it is real it is held close, like love.

Most of the paranormal and physic stuff people tend to enjoy is just for fun. A horoscope or a card reading. I can read palms and used to read Tarot cards and Ouija boards. It was all for fun. Tarot cards can be a guide, but only that. Don’t be fooled by smoke and mirrors and other such parlour tricks. Follow your own heart and don’t follow false prophets. So I tell my children. I’m proud to have raised a couple of skeptics, just like my dad raised his kids.

On the other hand we thought it would be really cool to create our own set of Tarrot cards. Stay tuned.

Almost everyone I know has experienced something along the lines of the paranormal, but it ghosts, or an answered prayer or a hunch or a vision – but they keep it close, personal and it is theirs. They aren’t cons. It is theirs and theirs alone to live with and learn by. And if they share it is out of their hearts. They don’t hurt others with false hopes, bull shit and lies.

Garrett asked if Werewolf blood really tasted like bourbon and I told him yes. You have to be straight with your kids. I also told him not to get any ideas because it could get him seriously injured or killed.

Not much else happened except a few conversations about how good cranberries are and about a birthday party coming up this weekend and how I MUST go online and get the right gift certificate for Allie. OK I’ll do that.

We fool around and play trick on this blog – but we know what is real and what is right and what is horribly wrong and what is truly evil. There are a lot of things I don’t believe in but I do believe in evil. And I do believe in good and in hope – and so do my kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Note: I’m back to 15-20 minutes per post tops. Busy days and nights. So if it sounds like rambling it is.

What we’re talking about – You never have to make an excuse for loving and supporting your children (and other issues)

What we’re talking about…

In the mornings I have NPR (National Public Radio) on and we discuss the stories (the kids and I).  If something boring or especially annoying comes on we might change to music. BUT we discuss what we hear on the radio…and other things. Today we’re talking about all kinds of things, not just what is on the radio.

Rob and Will Portman, Gay Marriage and accepting your kids for who they are.

This isn’t just about having a gay child – it is about loving and supporting your child no matter what. It is about listening and learning. It is about love. Say it again – IT IS ABOUT LOVE. IT IS ABOUT LISTENING.

Upon learning his son is gay Senator Rob Portman said he now supports Same Sex Marriage. Some asshats said “NO HE CAN”T CHANGE HIS MIND”. Sure he can. Senator Portman can change his mind. Change is good. Change shows growth. Those who can’t change are usually hypercritical jerks.

Change isn’t just politics. It can mean you can change where you live, what kind of music you like, your faith, your friends, or anything else you want to change. It isn’t a bad thing. Change means growing and learning and living.

Rob Portman put his family first. I’m now standing up and cheering for him.

The teens asked, “Why don’t they interview any of the bands we like on NPR?”

Hmmm. Maybe we need to ask them. Hey NPR folks why don’t you interview the guys from Black Veil Brides, Never Shout Never, Panic at the Disco or ask My Chemical Romance why the adventure is ending?  They only interview (according to my kids) boring bands that people in their 30’s with bad hair listen to. Hmmmm. I have to say I’m not thrilled by a lot of people they feature (it makes my ears hurt) and I do believe, take that back, I know my kids have complex and refined tasted in music.

They DID like the story about all of the John Denver Covers. That was nice. I saw him in concert a long long long time ago and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Yes I sang along to every song. Get over it. It was great.

Someone asked: Why am I still hungry after eating a pound of grilled squash? That was not on the news and I don’t have an answer to that question.

Why do the Sacramento Kings suck? Not like Vampires but the way the entire issue has everyone’s panties in a wad.  How come we never hear about what the players want? Do they want to stay in town? I don’t know the answers there. We don’t discuss it and we’re really tired of it. A new arena would be nice – so just please somebody make up your freaking mind about it and DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t take 34,000 studies and committees. Make up your mind already. College basketball was on for all of the males in the house but I don’t pay attention. I’m ALL about baseball – GO GIANTS! GO RIVERCATS.

We think Miss Vonn needs to dump Tiger before her fans leave her out in the cold.

Why are Vampires always featured in popular fiction with blood dripping down their chins? That is so gross. We’d never do that. Sigh. Modern Vampires are a little more polite and the dry cleaning bills alone discourage that sort of behavior.

And from the peanut gallery:  I want a manatee, a mouse, a rat, a hedgehog, a baby buffalo, a pug, a white French bulldog, your car when I turn 16 and a white sun dress.

I’ll let you have the sundress and maybe the car. I’ll have to think about the rest.

Have fun this week and remember TALK WITH and LISTEN TO your kids!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Teens of Olden Days (still having fun after all these years)

Vampire Teens of Olden Days (still having fun after all these years)

What we talked about on the way to school with my teens…sad events, road trips and helping others.

What we talked about on the way to school with my teens…sad events, road trips and helping others.

On the way to school/work we always have the news on the radio in the mornings (my choice but if the story is boring or pisses me of I tell them to change to music).

Hawthorne Nevada. The explosion that killed so many Marines was tragic. I didn’t go into it, the young lives, the what if factors. It was too sad to start off the morning with. It is still too sad. My heart goes out to all of the families of those who died and to those injured.

We did discuss where Hawthorne is. We’ve driven though Hawthorne. We’ve stopped for gas. We’ve discussed the high school. What WOULD it be like to go to a high school in such an isolated place? Is it that isolated or does it just seem that way from the highway or Googlemaps?  And yes, that is relatively close to where mom got the ticket for not stopping at the stop sign after driving for 150 miles and only seeing one other car. Mom DID stop but since she had a California plate on her car she was fresh meat to the two law enforcement thugs who ticked me about a mile after the stop. Yes, the kids remember her stopping and talking about where the next highway would lead and we all laughed about the most isolated road in America and how next time we’ll think twice about blindly following directions from Googlemaps. We were all shocked to see those blue lights. Yes, I was in the right but I paid the $76 in blood money.

Had it been a B horror movie I could have gone into full Vampire mode but I had kids with me and I was tired and just wanted to get to Las Vegas before the sun came up.

I avoid going into full Vampire mode – ever. You know, just like out of a B movie. It isn’t pretty or classy. But if you are going to go into full mode the desert is a good place to do it. Don’t tell my kids I said that.

Today the Middle School students (7-8th graders) are going to volunteer at one of the larger food/clothing closets in town. Clara took 2 bags stuffed with old clothes.  Old to her but barely worn and cute and fashionable. She said that the clothes she’d help sort out the year before were ugly. She wanted the girls who came there for help to look good and feel good about themselves.

That made me think about getting girls together (boys too) and giving their old almost new or just slightly used clothing to teens who are in need. All kids need to look good. To teens fitting in means looking good and feeling good. Something to think about.  There are so many foster kids, homeless kids, and in this economy kids who live in homes where things are tight. My kids have 54,000 shirts between them (or so it seems that way) – so do their friends.  Maybe every time they buy a shirt they have to get one for someone who REALLY needs a shirt. Think about it.

I told them that I loved them, they blew me kisses. Everyone got off to school ok.

Don’t forget to talk with your kids. Make the effort and it will be the best investment you’ll ever make.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Click here for previous “what we talked about” post.

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