Every generation thinks the next generation is worse. That isn’t true.

Teens have always had their own style.

Teens have always had their own style.

 

Opinion: Juliette Kings

Every generation thinks the next generation is worse. That isn’t true.

Facebook is full of memes saying …

When I was a kid we were polite, we respected our elders, we were beaten with switches and had our mouths washed out with soap… 

Oh screw that. I’ve always seen RUDE hateful mean despicable young people. I’ve seen it for decades. They learn it from their elders. They learn it from those same parents who are posting those stupid memes.

The teens (and little kids for that matter) in my life are polite. They are respectful. They are great. And you know what? I didn’t have to resort to paddles or other barbaric violent means of teaching them how to be good.

I think back of when I was young and saw unspeakable things done to other children. I remember them being physically and emotionally tortured. I remember children being humiliated by their unloving abusive parents. These were “normal” two parent Christian households. Throw not the first stone they say, but these people should have had stones thrown at them. When I look back I can’t even say out loud, or write the words of what some of the children I knew when through – it is too disturbing. But I can see patterns in the type of parents they had. Some things never seem to change.

Fortunately now there are resources, though not enough, for children who need help. There is never enough help. Foster care isn’t an answer. Family counseling isn’t a solution. These kids need new permanent families who love them, even if it isn’t a traditional family.

I see families where step-parents are the real parents. I see single dads and moms raising kids on their own and the kids are GREAT. I see kids doing great things. I see them talking about everything. I see them questioning the world. They need to question. They need to have their own opinions in order to grow.

Well mannered and polite teens are more of the rule. They aren’t the exception.

The teens in my life have more empathy than anyone of my generation ever had. They are smart. They are focused. They like old people.

They question the world around them. They want to make the world a better place.

The media would have you think otherwise.

If you want the teens and young adults in your life to show respect then you have to give some respect as well. You need to listen to them. I don’t mean “blah blah blah” sort of listening. I mean hearing what they have to say. I mean respecting their opinions even if you don’t agree. I mean explaining things to them if you’re pissed off rather than yelling at them.

Show them that their time is as important as yours. Because it is.

Yes, of course there are kids who are assholes, bullies, trolls, turds, tattlers and trouble makers. But look at their parents. The adults they live with are usually assholes, bullies, trolls, turds, tattlers and trouble makers. Unfortunately for the rest of us, and for teachers, there are one or two of those children (and their awful parents) in every single classroom.

And you know what? It is those asshole parents who post those negative memes. So screw them. If they want respect they have to show a little respect. Show a little interest. Get out of your own head and your own tiny little world. Learn something new.

Fortunately by the time kids are in high school a lot of the assholes (and others) have learned that their behavior gets them nowhere. Teens aren’t playing by playground rules anymore. Assholes are put in their place, and a lot of them realize what jerks they’ve been. It is called growing up.

In AP History the 11th grade students are reading Huckleberry Finn. My daughter and I have discussed the book and the context of the book considering when it was written.

She said, “Huck’s father was just like the white trash, or any of the trash that you see now. They don’t want their kids to do better than they did. It is awful.”

So if you see a kid who is an asshole consider the source. Consider who that child is learning from. Maybe that kid can learn from you. Think about it.

It isn’t Vampires you should fear. It is apathy. It is lack of empathy. It is people refusing to listen to everyone, young and old.

You need to study history because if you don’t know where you’ve been you can’t understand where you are going.

In turn, we need to look forward to the future. We need to listen to the young people and have open discussions with them. For they are the ones who can change the future. Now is a scary time. Now is the time to listen to the teens and young adults. They can see with a fresh eye all of the bull shit the rest of us have become numb to.

So stop complaining and see the incredible talent and resources right in front of us – in our young people. If you’d just open your eyes, your ears, and your heart you will see what I see.

Spend some time with a young adult – some real quality time. It isn’t all smart phones and hook ups. It is a lot more.

 

~ Juliette aka The Old Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Fear and the Creative Soul

I opened the door and imagined I was on the coast.

This morning brought in cool air and overcast skies. It was one of those “at the ocean” days. Granted I’m more by a lake and a river, but the ugly mood the drought has brought was lifted for a few hours.

Today I was also feeling inspired then had a boost from my muse. Yes I have a muse, in the form of a dear friend who has encouraged my creative endeavors for the past 140 years.

Yes, there are friendships that endure and last. Now I feel guilty for letting so many years of fear and confusion hold me back when she and others have told me to keep going and to never hold back. Sometimes I wish their gentle encouragements would have been hard swift kicks.

Yes, I have had wonderful and lucrative success in the past as a creative professional but now it is time for a new chapter. It is time for everything to finally come together and for me to be where I want to be. Where I need to be.

So yes, my dear friend I heard you loud and clear. I am listening. Finally. I mean, I listened before but now I’m DOING.

I’m the Princess of saying I’m going to do something and then not coming through. Fear. Yes, Vampires do sense fear. Not fear of the dark or of things that go bump in the night or a terror in a dark alley or crypt. It is the fear that all creative creatures have. You know what I’m talking about. I dare not express it.

It isn’t just rejection. I can handle that. I’m an expert at rejection. It is much much much more. It is terror deep down inside of every cold icy pore of your existence.

Orchids

The Orchid Show (with Vampires)

The past weekend my teenage daughter Clara and I took the elders, Eleora and Tellias to an orchid show. Yes, a garden show.

From time to time we take the ancient pair out in public, least they sit around at home getting into trouble, or worse, wandering off on their own. They don’t look much older than my own teens (15 and 19) but they were born before the birth of Christ.

A young girl, college age, with long blonde hair and cheerleader looks was pushing an old woman in a wheel chair up and down the isles of flowers. They would pause and discuss the plants, heads close with smiles on their faces. The girl would take the older woman’s knotted arthritic hands in hers as they discussed the plants and took notes. Another woman, the girl’s mother walked ahead, then walked back to the other two, obviously glad for her few moments alone. Three generations of women all together, but one a little apart, by choice.

Orchid Orchids are amazing flowers. They come in every shape and size. Some look like they have fallen from the gowns of angels, while others look like deadly spiders of the night. I love them all, as do those who grow them. My own mother grows them and I’ve only started to collect (I have two.) Eleora and Tellias have grown orchids in their greenhouse at least a hundred years.

Like I said before, Tellias and Eleora look young. Tellias with his white blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail and Eleora with her brown waist long curls and 1950’s wiggle dress looked like just another hip young couple. They were cute and exceptionally well-behaved. I’d warned Eleora that she was not to take anyone to back rooms of the Masonic temple where the orchid show took lace. She was not to act like the Vampire she is. We were here for flowers and flowers only. We would have lunch later, with someone else.

Orchids

Tellias turned and looked at the three women I mentioned early. He took my arm.

“I know her Juliette. She was just a child, but would know her anywhere.” He let go and went to the old woman in the wheel chair.

They spoke, then hugged, then he kissed her cheek. They held hands and went to a quiet corner of the hall. The young woman, her granddaughter went with them. At first the women thought Tellias was the grandson or great grandson of someone she once knew. Then she realized that it was her parent’s old friend, the man who had given her drawing lessons during a summer at a beach house during the 1930’s when she was a child. He and his wife (Eleora) had the house next door. He’d spend a lot of time with the children, telling them fantastic stories – stories that only she knew where real. The last time she saw him she was only twelve but they recognized each other right away. She never questioned that he still looked the same because she obviously knew. Some people just know.

She had been an artist and still painted when she could. Now she said her art was her flowers. The younger women, her daughter and granddaughter were also her flowers in a way. She’d nurtured them until they both blossomed into beauties and thrived.

Eleora, in her sometimes shy way, went over and said hello as well. It was a sweet moment.

I stood back, not to make things uncomfortable. Too many Vampires can do that to people, even people who know what we are. As you know very few people do know we’re different (as in Vampires.)

My eye met the eyes of the middle-aged daughter. We both knew that bond of once being the child and now being the adult – but still in a way, always the child.

Back at the farmhouse of Tellias and Eleora we brought the new orchid plants to the greenhouse. It was a good day. A rare daytime outing for the ancient Vampires.

I thought about all of the stories I have yet to pry out of those two. I’ve yet to find the secrets of their origins and centuries of … centuries of everything they have done and seen. In the meantime I just enjoy them for the silly old Vampires they are and for their weird wisdom and the joy they bring.

And I can appreciate the way they nurtured me the way they nurture their orchids – with care and love.

Sure we’re Vampires, but sometimes we come out of the shadows and bloom and grow and remember.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orchid Show, Sacramento 2015

Random visits and musings

I answered the phone to a paper thin voice whispering “Come quick. Come quick. I need help.”

“What is wrong? Are you hurt?”

“I can’t get up. I caught my leg in a hole in the floor. I think I broke it.”

It was Eleora.

“Can you feel it?”

“I can’t even see it. I broke it off. Completely off.”

“Where is Tellias?”

“Out. He went out. He has been gone a long long long long time. I think we can get my leg back on. Bring a needle.”

Then without so much as a goodbye she hung up.

Tellias didn’t answer his cell phone. He never did. I called their neighbor John but didn’t get an answer.

Why was there a hole in the floor? Maybe she was in the barn. And no, I can’t call 911. Eleora is a Vampire. So am I.

Those of you who frequent this blog know that I have ancient elderly Vampires, Tellias and Eleora, who are near and dear to me. They look 19 or 20 years old but are well over 2,000.

They would sit alone for weeks if they lost their car keys or phone. Or they’ll call me three or four times a day for odd reasons.  I worry about them letting in strangers or accidentally doing harm to someone.

I arrived at the farmhouse, along with my 15 year old Clara, and found Eleora sitting on the front porch. She wore a patchwork robe and one pink fuzzy slipper shaped like a cat. Her chestnut curls spilled over her shoulder. I only saw one leg.

“Where is your leg,” I asked, almost out of breath.

She smiled. “I’m sitting on it.” Then she adjusted herself and showed me her other leg.

“You said your leg was severed.”

“No. I said nothing like that. I said I thought it was broken. But it wasn’t. I’m fine.”

Just then Tellias drove up. He’d been gone for a few hours. It was nothing but a trip to the hardware store and to a wine shop.

They both mentioned that I never come visit them anymore. I was there three days ago. I’m there at least three times a week if not more.

Tellias poured goblets of blood with sprigs of rosemary and sage for everyone. We sat on the porch and watched the little song birds and visited. I didn’t scold them for wasting my time. That would have been a total waste of my breath.

When Clara and I left we were hugged and kissed over and over. They sang us a silly parting song and kissed us again.

On the way home Clara said, “I really love Tellias and Eleora. They’re so sweet and so random.”

I didn’t say anything. My mind jumped to all of the 30 million other things I had going on. It seems like I used to get more done and enjoy little projects and now I just go all the time but…

Maybe I’ll just tend to my rosemary and sage plants and be thankful for the love I have in my life.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Conversations on art, love and little things…

Last night I had the surprise of having three of my four brothers over for a visit. It was one of those unexpected pleasures that I never seem to get enough of. We sat on the deck in the cool night air and talked all night, as siblings do. Mostly about little things – for it is the little things that make up most of our lives.

In the cool evenings I don’t want to talk of issues or strife or try to solve the problems of the World. My brain is full and my head will explode. I’m tired and just don’t want to put in the effort.

The working part of my brain has turned off all work and now are only concentrating on family and fun. Of course art. My brain is always working on art.

I think of art I will never create or I think about just art and how everything looks. I think of shapes and colors and patterns. I think of shadows. I think of the path of the eye and proportions of nature.  I don’t think hard on it because it is always there.

Art is always there like my brothers.

They, my brothers are like different paintings, collaborative efforts from my parents but while they all have the same style they are all very different. The tone and subject are different. The tone is definitely different.

Over the years we’ve lived close and far apart, both physically and emotionally. Now four of us have migrated close both physically and emotionally. Within a hundred miles physically and within understanding range emotionally.

Our brother Andrew (the 2nd of 5 siblings) is in Patagonia right now, brooding over yet another woman and trying to sort out his heart with endless nights listening to the relentless howling of the wind and writing music that will never be heard. Andy is like that. Brooding. I miss him and so do my kids.

Men like my brothers (Vampires), tend to brood, except for Val. Valentine, the youngest of my brothers is almost completely devoid of the brooding gene.  He is like the moon that shines bright and glows in our nocturnal world.

In 10 years our parents produced a good sized brood of 4 boys and a girl. Max, Andrew, Aaron, Valentine and Juliette. We thrived in ways my parents could never imagine, children of the first generation of the Modern Vampire Movement. We blended into several worlds happily and naturally.

So now, like any other modern family, we sit in the evening on my deck, enjoying our time together.

I looked at Max and Aaron as they spoke of what they were reading, both with their dark hair and eyes rimmed with lashes that would make any woman swoon (and feel envy).

Val and I, who have slightly lighter brown hair and hazel eyes (unfortunately not the lashes) talked about mutual friends and made plans for our next night out hunting.

My husband Teddy, who is Max’s best friend since childhood, was off on a field trip with our daughter Clara (almost 14). Our 17 year old son Garrett was inside with Verity (Aaron’s wife) doing something on the computer.

Aaron and I wondered if Max or Andrew or Val would ever find true love. My brothers wondered how I’d turned out at all. And of course we always joke with Aaron for being the most conservative and human-like of the bunch.  And so we talked into the night with bottles of wine and shots of blood and a nice place of cheese and oranges.  We spoke of things old and new. We talked about our parents and others we love.

We always wonder about our parents to never faltered and seemed to take on the universe for us. They still would if we needed them to.

Tiny bats flew above us and we could hear the raccoons and coyotes walking the fields behind the house. A cool delta breeze kept us cool. Tonight there would be no hunts, at least for us.

And like art, the love is always there as well.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My brothers

Why Vampires Wear Yellow Flip Flops

In the wee dark hours of Saturday morning (May the 4th Be With You), my 17 year old Garrett and I stopped by to visit the Elders Tellias and Elora in their grand Victorian farmhouse by the river.

My brother Val has moved in with them for a bit to to help, while Grandmama Lola lives in the enchanted guest cottage behind the house.

Domestic Vampire bliss.

More than bliss. I recognized Cody’s car.

Cody is a new Vampire, less than a year ago his car went over a cliff and the only way for friends to save him was to turn him into a Vampire. The 32 year old, former manager of an R&D lab in the Silicon Valley, Cody had taken to being a Vampire better than most. Being exceptionally accepting and having a sense of humor helped. Also, the fact that he could keep in touch with his family and friends, as if nothing had happened, but a horrible accident that left him needing to be out of the sun a little more and a major change in diet. Anyway, I am Cody’s trainer and we’ve grown to be friends.

It looks like Grandmama Lola has become friends with Cody as well. Um, more than friends. I was worried about that. The first time he planted his eyes on her he was head over heels about her. As we say in Vampire Land, his fangs ached for her. Sigh.

“Cody is in the cottage.” Garrett rolled his eyes while saying that.

“Looks like it.” I hoped Garrett would drop it.

“He’s a little young for her.”

“I know.”

“Does he know she was born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’d kill me if I dated a Vampire that old.”

“Yes, I would,” I told my son.

In the farmhouse Tellias was making coffee while Eleora danced around in a flowered dress and her favorite old flip flops.

They turned to us and smothered us in hugs and kisses. Then they sang us a song of greeting. Today is was Moon River. Their song choices are random but their voices are so lovely that it makes up for any weirdness.

Val came in and greeted us then poured coffee for everyone.

My son Garrett finally asked the Elders why they always wear yellow flip flops (the cheap kind). The answer was “So they won’t suspect we’re Vampires.”

Yellow Flip Flops

Yellow Flip Flops

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend full of fun, fancy, friends, family and don’t forget to wear your yellow flip flops.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vampire-cat