Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Define and Conquer

I’d picked the kids up last week from the roller skating rink and caught a nice break visiting and singing along with them to fun music. (Never Shout Never, Coffee and Cigarettes. Always fun and inappropriate), when I pull into my driveway and see that black Mercedes parked in front of my house.

In another life, another time, another moment, my heart would have skipped a beat. Everything in my romantic Vampire soul would have cried “Adventure and Romance are MINE”, followed by “Insanity and Trouble” and the urge to RUN, but at this moment, BUSY MOM, just looked and thought “You’ve got to be kidding?”

My kids are already wondering why my mood is gone.

The last time this person was over my husband gave him the “We’re not going to raise our kids in a Vampire Ghetto” talk. Not “Ghetto Talk” but telling this prominent Vampire that we would not be raising our children in a night-time world of Vampires and darkness. We’re modern Vampires. We don’t lurk around shadows. We don’t lurk. We live in a diverse world. And aside from that, my husband used to be a regular human. But that is another blog post up the road somewhere.

He greeted the kids and they ran upstairs with excuses about tons of homework. I greeted Nathaniel Chase with a kiss on his cold cheek. He took my hands in his and told me how lovely I looked. Teddy had already opened a bottle of wine. I headed to the kitchen to get my own glass of wine, with the intention of joining  the men who were deep in discussion about whatever it is men discuss when my brain is full of kids and work and the 50,000 things the average mom has to do each and every single day rain or shine, dark or light.

I was in no hurry to get my own glass. From the corner of my eye, from the kitchen window, I could see the ghost sitting on my back deck reading a large red book. Nathaniel Chase would be too polite to bring up the ghost. Most Vampires are polite to a fault unless provoked (or with their blood relatives). As I poured the wine I wondered what brought Nathaniel here. It was always something that would turn my world upside down. He always wanted something. What would it be this time. Did he still want to know about Jack the Ripper? Did he want to recruit my son into studying with some old musty Vampire in Europe? Did he want to get information about someone? Or did he just plan on bitching about our lifestyle choices?

I glanced out the window at the ghost. He flipped me off and vanished. I thought about Nathaniel, glossy black hair, slate blue eyes and matching sweater and black jeans with a plaid Cashmere scarf hanging around his neck (you know the kind guys wear now). He could have been the front man of a famous band or a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He could be whatever you wanted him to be. As a Vampire he was that good. Women’s heads would turn but they wouldn’t know if it was because he was dressed so well or if he was handsome or if he was a creature from another realm. All they were really sure of was that they couldn’t resist him. He could work it on men too (we all can). No regular human could resist Nathaniel Chase.

He’d been around for a long time. I suspect at least 400 years but I never asked. I just knew that it was his job, or he thought it his job, to keep track of what other Vampires were doing. I’m a mom, so had too much to deal with right now without being twisted and turned by Nathaniel Chase. And I could resist Nathaniel Chase. I’d been resisting him my entire life.

I’m proud to be whatever I am and have raise my children to do the same but that said…I don’t want my children to grow up feeling as if the world is not theirs. I don’t want them to live in an antique world of darkness, reeking with the smells of dried blood and fear. I don’t want them to feel as if they are monsters or outcasts.

Nathaniel Chase was always watching me since  I was a child. Nothing I ever did was right. Of course girlfriends and I got into all sorts of silly problems but we were just girls. On the other hand my brother Val and I got into some serious trouble on more than one occasion over the years, but we learned from our mistakes. We were serious successful adults now – not the crazy reckless youthful Vampires of old.

I downed my wine, poured another glass, straightened my shoulders and joined my husband Teddy and Nathaniel in the formal living room. I was ready to take whatever crap he wanted to throw at me and I was ready to throw it back. Never again would I let Nathaniel Chase get the best of me.

It took everything I had (and the wine helped) to keep my upper lip from getting a twitch in it. My head was light. I hated confrontation. I didn’t need it right now.

“So what brings you here Nathaniel?” I asked as I pushed a cat off of the chair and sat down. The cat jumped up into Nathaniel’s lap. Traitor.

“My wife and I are moving here in a few months. Our daughter is 3 now and our son just had his first birthday, but you knew that. I wanted to ask you about the schools. I hear you’re the go-to source for all things to do with parenting” Nathaniel answered. My husband just smiled.

As we grow up, no matter how long it takes, there comes a time when we realize that we’ve come into our own. I believe that most people are respected and liked and loved far more than they can ever imagine. I don’t always feel like that, believe me, but all reason tells me to just stop thinking and give myself a pat on my back for doing a good job.

We talked for another couple of hours about kids, schools and the joys and challenges of parenting. And all was well in my world, as the tune to Coffee and Cigarettes ran through my head.

coffee

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Note: Define and Conquer is use of witty wordplay on defining terms. This was not a typo for Divide and Conquer. You are on the wrong blog if you’re are looking for a fight or reason for unpleasant snark (try the political blogs).

Note #2: Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never was first posted in February 2013.

Creative Spirit

Articles abound about how schools stifle creativity by forcing children to conform to certain ways of thinking and doing things. Fortunately that isn’t always true.

Unfortunately what happens when kids get out of school, either high school, or college is devastating.

Doors are slammed in the faces of those who put themselves out there into the world where all things are subjective. The real world, especially the workplace, is set up to stifle creative thinking, the individual, and anyone with new ideas. Employees are hired for their creativity and drive, then that creative is beaten out of them, only to be replaced with the acceptable mediocracy of the prevailing management.

We’ve all seen how our government works with old men asking fear filled questions about the dangers of social media and other subjects they will not even attempt to understand. They are the same people who cut off funds for our arts and sciences because they do not trust what they do not understand. Unfortunately they do not want to understand – that would mean opening their eyes to new and different ideas. That would mean letting go of ignorance and opening up their minds and maybe even their hearts.

Friends and relatives can be the worst at killing the creative spirit in a child or young adult. They all have loud and negative opinions about hopes and dreams of the young people they know. They say things like, “only communists and socialists get Political Science degrees,” or “you can’t make a living as an artist (or a historian, a marine biologist, a fashion designer, a musician, a bed and breakfast owner, a baker, a vintage motorcycle mechanic, a poet, a writer, an art historian, a speciality crop farmer, or anything else where someone has new ideas, or ideas on making old ideas better.)

Dreams are easy to kill, especially in those who have had doors slammed in their faces  time after time after time. Even if you go around back there isn’t always another door or even a window to crawl into.

Don’t tell a young person that they are a failure before they have even tried.

I feel that individual sports and activities such as music and acting can help prepare a child for the negativity and judgments of adult life.

For example, my daughter roller skates. That is Artistic Roller Skating. It is like figure skating on ice, except on roller skates. When the skaters do their events, be it Figures, Team Dance, Solo Dance, or Freestyle, they are out there on the floor alone. They skate in front of a panel of judges. The skaters have specific requirements, but they are all judged individually on their own merits. That is a tough lesson for kids, and a good one. My daughter skated for years without winning. Finally she did win Gold at the National Championships – Twice. She got Bronze once. She also went to the National Championships and didn’t win. But she went. She went out of love for her sport. She did it because she wanted to do her personal best.

We should all strive to do our personal best even if there is no Gold Medal at the end. Even if there is no cash reward. Even if there is no fame.

Creativity in any endeavor is an act of love. Don’t stifle that love in the young people you know.

I have been writing this odd little blog since 2012. I haven’t received a MacArthur Fellowship. I haven’t received a penny off of my efforts. I has not made me famous (maybe a little bit.) But I continue to write this blog anyway. My thoughts on parenting, Vlad, Eleora and Tellias, Nigel the Ghost, and the rest of it are all stories that must be told. It is mine. I encourage you all to find what is YOURS and hold it close and keep doing whatever it is that makes you happy and creative.

Today the 2019 MacArthur Fellows were announced. Sometime this is know as the MacArthur Genius Grants.

Twenty six people from a variety of fields were awarded a $625,000 stipend that they can do whatever they want with.

From the foundations president John Palfrey: From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.”

They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.

I was so happy to see one of my favorite artist Lynda Barry on the list. I love her work so much.  Lynda Barry, 63, graphic novelist, cartoonist and educator
“Inspiring creative engagement through original graphic works and a teaching practice centered on the role of image making in communication.”

For years I had her Poodle With A Mohawk poster on my wall. I still have the poster. I’m going to put it back up.

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Congratulations to all of the recipients and to your creative spirit, and thank you for inspiring generations now and in the future.

So now, your assignment for today is:

  1. Encourage.
  2. Inspire.
  3. Support.
  4. Discuss.
  5. Hug.
  6. Read.
  7. Learn.
  8. Love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Big Picture

When my daughter was about five or six years old she came up with a practical approach to Time Travel.

“When I grow up I’m going to invent a time machine. It will be red, and it will fold up flat so I can take it with me wherever I go. Nobody will be able to steal it,” she said.

Little Clara always saw the big picture, even as a small child. She is in college now and still gets the big picture, but now finds herself right in the middle of the big picture. Yes, she is registered to vote. All of her friends are registered to vote. All of their siblings are registered to vote. They’re young but they get it. They see a world outside of their college classes, friends, romances, and family.

We’re all in sort of a one way time machine, especially if you’re a Vampire or other long lived person. We can’t change the past but the opportunity to learn from it is always there. On the other hand the opportunity to be extremely embarrassed is also there but that is another blog post.

My Great Great Great Great Great Grandmama Lola is staying with me for the next week. She usually lives in a cottage along the Sacramento River Road, but it is in a state of renovation at the moment. I don’t mind. I love my Lola. She raised my father, along with countless others who needed raising, including her own long gone children.

Lola was born on October 25, 1343, the exact same day and year as Geoffrey Chaucer. She isn’t the oldest Vampire around, but she is one of the most interesting. I don’t even care anymore if her stories are the truth, half truths, or even lies. Even with the lies there is always some truth in there somewhere, a fact that separates old Vampires from politicians.

“I never go back into the past. I only move forward”, said Lola as she sat at my kitchen table. She was wearing jeans and a sweater, with her long wavy hair over her shoulders, looking like a stylish young women in her mid-twenties. “Things get too ugly and troublesome, and dirty. Yes, dirty. The world used to be such a dirty place. Still is in some aspects, but when you don’t have running water…” She stopped and took a sip of coffee. Rubbing her leg where the Vampire Hunters burned her about six years ago she looks up at me. “You allow me to move forward, even when everything in my past, and everyone in my past tends to pull me back. You don’t consider anyone obsolete.”

“We grow, we change, we reinvent ourselves and if we’re smart we hold tight to the fire and passion that burns inside of us, deep down in hidden away small spaces,” I said.

“You’ve become so…profound,” she said sitting up and holding her coffee cup again.

“Only when I’m not making bad puns,” I said.

She has seen horrors and experienced so many bad things. When I do bring up things it is only the good things, unless she wants to talk about not so good things. But for the most part we look forward.

If Time Travelers do poke around with their stolen technology and brash arrogance we will deal with them, and keep off of their weird machines. In the meantime, I think it is time for more coffee and maybe even some gossip, far away from the Big Picture and far away from the past.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

A few things kids should know

I haven’t done famous bulleted parenting lists lately so here we go…

On the beach

 

All families are different. We all have different parenting styles. That is ok with me. That is because I know all kids are different. And in the end if we love them and teach them to be smart and educate them they’ll turn out ok. If we talk to them and they know we’ll listen to them they’ll be ok. If they know they’re safe with us, their parents, they’ll be ok.

 

A few things kids should know:

  • Some people start out with charmed lives and make stupid mistakes.
  • Some people start out with charmed lives and make smart choices – but tragedy befalls them.
  • Some people are just stupid.
  • Some people claw and fight their way to the top and then have charmed lives.
  • Some people realize that they can change.
  • Some people don’t.
  • Sometimes it takes a long time to become someone you like and admire.
  • Some people never learn that.
  • Some people are stupid when they’re young and grow out of it.
  • Some people learn from their mistakes.
  • Some people never learn.
  • Some people always seem to be lost.
  • But most find their way.

 

  • Not all people or families are like yours.
  • That isn’t a good thing or a bad thing – it is just a thing. Maybe more of a good thing because it keeps us from getting bored and boring.

 

  • Don’t get involved with things that piss people off and will end up hurting you in the end (extreme politics, mommy wars, religious wars, cults, hero-worship, obsessive fandom, self mutilation, eating contests, dating slugs, etc etc etc.) Yes, there is a reason why things piss people off.

 

  • Mind your manners. Respect the right of others to express their opinions.

 

  • Don’t be a follower. You don’t have to be a leader, but never be a follower.

 

  • Don’t wait for him to make the first move.

 

Those are the things we need to discuss with our children and young adults. It is easy to be thrown into the world to flounder. Sure we need to make our mistakes and learn from it all, but wouldn’t it be easier if kids had the right tools and a little bit of help. By help I mean guidance. By help I mean someone to talk to.

Werewolves tell their children to “Howl at the Moon!” That is good advice for anyone. Sing your song loud and clear. Sing the song of who you are and what you are – even if you are singing alone.

 

 

Have a good summer everyone (even if you’re sticking around here with me.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

blu butterfly