Have Some Cake (and Parenting of Course)

In honor of the Grammy’s I was planning on doing a post of the WORST songs ever (Rhiannon, McArthur Park, Spill the Wine, Sylvia’s Mother, Seventeen, That horrible roller skate/key song, The Thong Song, Free Bird, anything featuring Barbara Streisand, Ariana Grande, St. Vincent, or The Doobie Brothers.) I decided to skip it for something not so negative. Musical taste is so subjective.

But it was fun this summer driving across the endless Utah desert with my child, after the air conditioner had failed, listening to the worst songs ever. Let me explain…when a song on the “worst songs of all time” list came on I’d turn it up as part of my daughter’s cultural education. She listened to the entire performance of McArthur Park. I had to explain that the cake out in the rain and finding the recipe was a metaphor for lost love or some bull shit like that, while my seventeen year old child laughed out loud. We both laughed out loud in our 400 degree F car driving along about two hundred miles from the nearest town.

Everything in life isn’t good, no matter how hard you try to put that twist on your child rearing philosophy. At least there are times, like with music, when you can use humor to teach your kid about bad taste, bad judgement, bad fashion, bad friends, bad politics, and all of those weird things that come across our pathway.

Music, like art, literature, and cats, is something you can share with your kids. It brings people together. Stay with me on this because I know a lot of people hate their kids music. At least you can make an effort to understand what they like, and why they like it. Or maybe you can find something new together. Expand your horizons. Take a leap of faith and turn to a different number on the radio dial together. You might hate it. You might love it. But you did it together – with your kid.

Now for the real reason I brought up music. Yesterday I posted a story about a couple of Vampire kids in college called “Why I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Blog traffic was through the roof (because I am the Queen of Love Letters). But NOBODY, not a single person mentioned the reference to a song in the story. Oh come on guys, humor me a little.

And yes, I do love each and every one of you who reads and follows this blog.

OK, here it is. Listen and look for it.

Listen to the next songs too. Have fun even if you don’t like it. Or as your mom would say, “Don’t complain, it’s good for you.” Here are a couple of the best covers ever. Yes, listen to the Vampire – it’s good for you. Don’t complain.

By the way, the band CAKE is from Sacramento, my hometown. We’re a creative kind of place.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Perhaps

 

 

Ask Juliette: Unexpected and Exceptionally Fun Play List, and What’s Coming in December

Ask Juliette (Ask a Vampire, Advice for Everyone) is a regular feature on Vampiremaman.com

If you have a burning question about parenting, Vampires, relationships, or just about anything just ask and I’ll answer. Leave a question here or email me at juliettevampire @ gmail.com

Ask Juliette

My boyfriend likes new and unusual music. Do you have a fun playlist I can share with him? We both like metal and punk/pop.

Here is a list of cover songs by metal, punk and punk/pop groups you might enjoy.

Panic! at the Disco: This is Halloween

Of Mice and Men: Poker Face

Joey Ramone: What A Wonderful World

Smithereens: Want to Hold Your Hand

Pat Boon: Enter Sandman (This is so freaking weird and sort of horrible but you gotta love it in a really sick and twisted way. Awww man this is bad.)

Panic! at the Disco: White Christmas

 

My Chemical Romance: All I Want for Christmas is You

Johnny Cash: Hurt

Disturbed The Sound of Silence

arthurrackhamcrowmice

Hey Juliette, are you going to post all of your Vampire Christmas stories? Are you going to post any new Vampire Christmas stories as well? And how about those Vampire Christmas songs?

Yes, absolutely. Keep checking back over the next month for all of your favorites, including The Travelers. December is a fun time at Vampiremaman.com

 

victorian christmas

Today’s Ask Juliette was sort and sweet. Keep those questions coming. You ask and I’ll answer. Thanks to everyone for dropping by.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

On Tour With Vampire Maman (or maybe that was “on the road”)

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We went on an amazing trip. No magic bus but hey, I’m a Vampire so I’ve got magic everything – well just about.

I’m home after ten days on a crazy non-stop cross country road trip. We (17 year old Clara and I) logged in almost 4,000 miles, saw a lot of amazing scenery, and met some wonderful people.

Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, Nebraska

Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, Nebraska

Aside from a lovely visit with my friend Amelia (thank you so much a hundred times over), we had great luck with Air BnB. We stayed in lovely homes with lovely hosts. If you haven’t tried it out you should. It was perfect for my 17-year-old daughter and me.

My brother Andy’s friend James sent me a message saying he should open up his home as an Air BnB place. Yes, he does have a beautiful six bedroom home with a view of San Francisco Bay, but he is only looking for a free meal. On the other hand, he would make a good host, with that charm that he turns on for warm blooded beings. But boy, is he annoying around his own kind, or at least to me. I don’t think I have ever been alone with him and NOT been propositioned.

On the other hand, the guests of Vampires would never complain of not having a good sleep. In fact they’d rave on about having the best night’s sleep of their lives. Just make sure (if you are a Vampire host) to put out plenty of juice and cookies for your guests. You know, it is like a blood bank sort of situation. They give blood so they are going to be tired, but in this case they won’t know they gave blood.

But staying with a horn dog Vampire like James could be a bit dicey if you’re a Vampire female. I don’t think he could ever understand the full meaning of being a good host.

Knowing James he’d never leave his house again until the next big earthquake.

Our trip, from the Sacramento, California area, to Lincoln, Nebraska for the USA National Roller Skating Championships. My child and her partner received bronze for their efforts. No such luck using our crafty Vampire ways to always place first. But they were absolutely beautiful – stunningly beautiful.

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We stopped by Dinosaur National Monument, Arches National Park, The Sunken Gardens, The National Roller Skating Museum, An interesting cemetery, Thunder Mountain (I’ll have a post about that place), and many more features across the amazing country we call America.

Arches, NP

Arches, NP

Aside from talking, which we did A LOT of, we listened to the radio. We heard the Democratic convention (any political comments will be removed) and 2016 Lollapollooza. It was the 25th year of Lollapolloza and a lot of fun this year.

Our favorites were… drum roll please…

  • The Strumbellas (who surprised us in this live show)

  • The Struts

  • And my new favorite band Saint Motel

We also listened to Fritz and Tantrums Handclap about 50,000 times.

 

Night Riots also came out with a new song “Nothing Personal” that I’m still on the fence about. Still, it is better than 99.9% of what is out on the radio now.

And now we’re home. I’m still unpacking my brain from the car, and I’ll be looking for fresh blood tonight, dog training tips, ghost stories, and more very soon. Yeah, I say that a lot, but hey, I’m a Vampire, you have serious problems if you count on me for much of anything. That is just my nature. But I’ll try.

Hey, and thanks for your support and all of the nice notes.

And in the meantime don’t forget:

  • Talk with your kids.
  • Listen to their music with them.
  • Teens aren’t scary.
  • Take a road trip.
  • Dogs and Cats Rock.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Night Belongs to Us

The night belongs to us. Of course it does. We’re Vampires. But we’re also parents, and this is a first and foremost a parenting blog.

My main message is to talk with your kids, share with them, listen to them, teach them, respect them, treasure them. Don’t spoil them except with love and knowledge. Open the world to them and they will explore on their own. They will bring their discoveries and knowledge back to you. The circle is complete.

This morning my 16-year-old Clara showed me a new cover by the band Night Riots.  Let me back up a little bit since some of you may have never heard of Night Riots. I feel like they are one of the best bands out in the past thirty years. Seriously, I like this band that much. My daughter started listening to them. Then I did. I was hooked. We saw them at Warped Tour this summer in Mountain View, CA.

Night Riots Vans Warped Tour 2015 Mountain View, CA

Night Riots, Vans Warped Tour 2015
Mountain View, CA

 

So this morning I received a text from Clara (while I was out on business) saying they’d done a cover of “Because the Night.”

When I arrived home I Clara was excited to share it with me. I listened to the Night Riots version. It was great. Wow.

I asked Clara if she’d heard the Patti Smith version. She said, “I didn’t know it was written by a woman.”

Of course it was. By Patti Smith, who is still singing. Patti Smith is, well, Patti Smith. Need I say more?

She loved the Patti Smith version too.

Her first comment was, “I love her voice. It isn’t whiney.”

Clara doesn’t listen to female pop stars for the most part. Neither do I. So many are breathy or have fake auto tuned voices. They don’t sound real. They sound childish. They sound annoying.

Patti Smith is none of that. She sings. She really sings.

So the guys in Night Riots do justice to her music by putting out a fantastic cover.

I’m not sharing this so much as a music post, but as a parenting post. We share with each other. We learn from each other.

We discussed musical influences from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Not disco crap or silly really bad pop music, but real music that lasts.

Just like real parenting lasts. Real communication lasts. Deliberate parenting lasts a lifetime. If you’re going to have kids then put in the effort. Make them yours. Let them make you theirs.

Yes, let your kids make you theirs. They learn from you and you mould them. In turn, you can learn from them. Let them make you a better person. Let them open your eyes to new things.

 

 

This Thanksgiving be thankful for the young people in your lives. Don’t spend your time judging or criticizing them. Don’t get after them about their hair, their clothing, their music or whatever stupid superficial thing that you think is important. Listen to them and let them tell you about what they think is important. Find out what their dreams are. Tell them about your dreams. Share your music. Share some turkey. Share some love.

Teens are as precious and important as babies or toddlers. Parenting doesn’t stop at elementary school. Now more than ever they need you. And now more than ever you need them. You might not know it but you need them too. They’ll keep you young. They’ll introduce you to music. They’ll be in awe of your shared knowledge. They respect you for respecting them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Night Riots: Contagious

Strange Days Indeed (Guest Post from Our Favorite Squirrel)

Great post about one of the best cover songs ever and my favorite Vampire movie….

You can’t go wrong with the Evil Squirrel!

Evil Squirrel's Nest

It definitely doesn't get much stranger than this. It definitely doesn’t get much stranger than this.

It’s the day only a fat, lasagna eating, orange unemployed cat could possibly hate… good old Monday morning!  And at The Nest, you know what that means.  DJ Scratchy and her two little record fetching Sponkies are ready to press Play on the next exciting song in our Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time Countdown!  We’re in the upper echelon of cover song greatness now, and your eardrums have to just be quivering with anticipation over finally getting to hear what lucky song number seven is going to be!  Let the muzak play!

top30covers

#7. “People Are Strange” – Echo & the Bunnymen

The Doors were one of, if not perhaps THE predominant American rock band of the late 60’s.  They broke on through not only with a series of multi platinum albums, but with a little help from their audacious frontman…

View original post 387 more words

What I’m taking about with my teens: badly behaved people, teenage boys, music, dogs, and other odds and ends… and Vampires

I live in a world populated a lot of teenagers, including my own. As those of you who frequent my blog know is that we all talk a lot. My mantra is “talk to your kids.”

This week we’ve been talking a lot, about a lot of different things…

The band All Time Low has come out with a new song called Something’s Gotta Give and will have a new album out soon. Cute. We watched the video on You tube. There were both French fries and Zombies in it. Click on the song title above for the YouTube link.

Why do people complain rather than make their things/society/country/home/school better? Let me know when you find out the answer to that one, and then actually convince people to change things for the better and I’ll give you a million dollars and a box of possums.

Why are there still internet trolls and bullies? Keep your eyes open kids.

Fleas. This was a rude shock to all of us when the horrible little creatures invaded our home last week. OK I’ll admit that back in the old days fleas and other nasty vermin were everywhere, but it still grosses me out. We defleaed the pets, the carpets, the beds, the yard… and everywhere else around our house. Our poor dog has chewed herself raw in just a matter of days. She chews up her backside so fast we can’t catch her until she is a disgusting mess.

Our 11-year-old dog is getting noticeably different (not just the fleas). She isn’t listening. She doesn’t hear things. She doesn’t want to do anything most of the time. She has figured it all out. I’ve noticed that sled type dogs like her like to do their own thing anyway. I’ve had them over the years. I love them, they’re the best, but boy can they be stubborn.

Cats are afraid of popcorn makers. What does that mean? Don’t hold the cat up to the popcorn maker when popcorn is popping. End of story. There is nothing more to say. No, I don’t want to see you do it again.

Teenage girls universally hate it when boys wear basketball shorts all the time. Boys wonder why girls don’t pay any attention to them. Boys call boys who wear nice clothes fags. OK guys, wouldn’t you rather be called a fag and get the attention of ALL the girls then wear basketball shorts 24/7. Save the shorts for PE and when you’re at home. Boys don’t call gay boys who wear nice clothes fags. They leave them alone because most of them are smart and popular.

Someone sent a message to Clara’s friend asking him if he was gay.

By this time next year gay marriage will be legal everywhere in the USA. I know it will. I live in Northern California so being gay or straight shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t. So why do boys still call each other fags? Most kids don’t care. Plus it makes you sound stupid. That said… don’t wear basketball shorts every single day.

I also got to hear all about thongs. Not flip-flops but the butt floss type of panties so many girls wear. Um, girls, don’t do it. Even the firmest most athletic butt looks sort of iffy in leggings. If you show a whale tale the boys at your school will NEVER forget. Boys are like that. They’ve always been like that. Even before there were thongs they were like that. Believe me – boys are like that. Thongs are not a good idea. Plus other girls in the PE locker room don’t want to see it.

And speaking of thongs… turn the Thong Song OFF when your mother is driving or in the car or within 20 miles of any radio or electronic device playing that song. It is what is WRONG and encourages stupidity and bad taste in ALL THINGS. And NO it isn’t funny to fight with your mom over the radio buttons and laugh out loud just to annoy her. End of story. If you want a list of songs that annoy your mother I’d be happy to make you one. Old songs are included along with new ones. My annoyance levels go back for years.

Cheese is good.

The dog will now only eat cat food and Gravy Train. Everyone thinks we’re cruel and bad dog owners – BUT our dog won’t eat expensive dog food. She will only eat treats if you throw them in the air first so she can catch them. My husband discovered if you drop dog food all over the floor,  like you accidentally dropped people food, the dog will sneak into the kitchen and eat it. When she does eat food she takes a mouth full, brings it over to the white carpet and drops it before eating it. No amount of yelling or praise will make her eat over the tile. The same goes for the cats when they want to barf. Thank God we’re getting rid of the white carpet soon. Unfortunately we’re keeping the pets.

We can change our minds. I heard an interview on NPR this morning of the group The Decembrists. I always thought they were, well let’s just say they were not my cup of tea. But this morning I listened to their new music and the interview. It was charming. I might even become a fan. Maybe not a big fan, but hey it was fun. Click here for the story.

Also if you like 3 songs a band plays it does not mean you have to like everything they do. The same goes for books/authors and just about everything else. By the way there are exclusions to that rule and the guys who wrote the Thong Song is included. Those are bands and songs I will NEVER like. The Thong Song is on the same list as that Jimmy Webb and Richard Harris for bringing us that horrible song McArthur Park which likens love to leaving a cake out in the rain. That has got to be one of the worst songs ever written outside of anything by Justin Bieber and Melanie Safka.   Also on the list is Dr. Hook for writing Sylvia’s Mother. I was always glad with the knowledge that Sylvia’s mother kicked Dennis Locorriere’s (the singer) whiney ass half way across the state of Illinois. I hate whiney boy songs. Oh please spare me your over sensitive wounded boy shit and grow the fuck up. And to make matters worse Shel Silverstein was the one who wrote the lyrics to Sylvia’s mother. I kid you not. It had to be a joke.

After forcing themselves uninvited onto my phone U2 is off of my list forever. I don’t care if Bono believes he is more interesting than the Dos Equis man – I’m done with you Bono. Get off my phone.

The one thing about music that I want to burn into the minds of my children is to make what they like their own. They should listen to what they want and refine their own tastes. My play list is so gosh awful but at the same time weirdly wonderful and extremely private. I’d almost rather sleep with a good looking stranger rather than show him my playlist (no of course I’m not going to tell that to my children.)

But what I mean by all of that is that one should not listen to music because a boyfriend or girlfriend likes it, or that someone else says it is good. Listen to it because YOU love it.

My brother Max just looked over my shoulder and said, “Christ Juliette, you’re not publishing that are you?”

I glanced up at my eldest brother who is now sporting a short beard. “I haven’t seen you in a beard since the 80’s. 1980’s and 1880’s. It looks good. Just keep it short. Don’t try to do the urban lumberjack look.”

He gave me sort of a snarl and a smile and went back into the other room with my husband Teddy (who is also Max’s best friend.)

Max was recently up in Northern Nevada taking care of some sort of horrible nasty clutch of God-knows-what sort of creatures. They could be humans or Vampires or I don’t know what, I just know that when Max doesn’t want to talk about his work we don’t talk about it.

He’ll go back to San Francisco tomorrow then in a few weeks go down south to visit my son Garrett who is in college. It will be fun. Garrett and I talk almost everyday and text everyday but I still miss him so. At the same time I’m excited for him, off on his own for the first time. No, I’m not one of those helicopter parents. We talk, I don’t hover or get into his business.

He tells me about people he has met – mostly other students and teachers.

A few days ago he asked me again if there would ever come a time when we could tell the world who and what we really are. I told him no, again. People, human people are for the most part reasonable. In some cultures we can be accepting of anyone. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the normal mode of operation. Anything different is bad. And if you’re extremely different or successful or threatening to others they find you scary. Or worse they use you as a scapegoat for all of their problems. Humans have a great capacity for love, creativity and innovation –  but they also have a great capacity for stupidity and ignorance and hate.

I can hear Teddy and Max laughing. It is always good to hear them laugh. Clara has come down to join them after reading an essay to me she is writing for her English class. I didn’t write this in one swoop – I have people come in and out with questions, comments and to tell me jokes. My cat jumped on the table next to my computer and is grooming himself. I hear a frog croaking (sounds like creaking) under my front porch.

So we’re talking and laughing about everything, all things, most things, and even good things. That is what we do. I hope that is what everyone does. I’d like to think that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman