What We’re Talking About Today (with my kids)

I started writing this post a week ago while I was visiting my kids in Southern California. OK, just the title.

Since then, a long standing and troubling subject of these talks has resurfaced – shootings. Be it a grocery store or a school it seems that shootings are somehow normal. That is, at least a segment of our population who values clumps of cells in a woman’s body, and guns, over the lives of living breathing people – especially living breathing children. They use the term “founding fathers” to justify owning assault weapons that are made for killing humans (not animals for food.) The founding fathers would be horrified if they know their words and intent were used to justify parading around guns like fools and brushing off mass killings of innocent people.

Grocery store home deliveries will last much longer than the current pandemic because people will live in fear of being killed for the simple act of grocery shopping. They’ll fear going out for a massage because some asshole said he had issues with his own perverted sexual hang-ups brought on by religion, bigotry, and his own sick and twisted selfishness. The school shootings will start up again because young men will have access to guns in the homes of their family members, or guns they easily purchase when they turn eighteen.

My daughter was born in 1999 the year of the Columbine killings. It should have stopped then and there. It should have stopped. There is NO REASON this should be happening.

There are patterns. A few diverge but there are patterns. The patterns are ignored. The shootings continue.

With the advent of Covid-19 and various other changes in my life I’m not writing as many blog posts because I’ve sort of lost my sense of humor.

It also had to do with the suffocating political environment we were all living in.

On a good note, since this is a parenting blog of sorts, my daughter has been accepted into the Masters program at a major Southern California University for a double Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning. I am over the moon happy that this funny, happy, positive kid has worked her ass off and worked smart to get where she wants to be.

Of course I’m freely joking that my daughter got in and I’m not going to jail for it.

Cheating in anything is bad. Cheating at parenting is absolutely the worst. If you cheat to get your child into a school you don’t only set them up for failure but you also take a place from a child who deserves it. Of course if you cheat to get your kid to the front of the line you aren’t the kind of person who gives a shit about kids who aren’t yours.

My husband got the dog a new bed and the cat sleeps on it. The Internet if full of photos of cats sleeping on the dog bed while the huge dog sleeps on the floor next to it.

While I was in Southern California my kids and I walked along the beach and talked about everything under the sun and moon. We talked about movies, books, my daughter’s school, my son’s work, the environment, how huge cargo ships are, gardening, and dogs.

I always tell my readers to talk with their kids. Now that they’re grown we are still talking.

Museums are opening back up.

Restaurants are opening back up.

Maybe even movie theaters will start opening.

Werewolves and Ghosts have done alright, but believe me, it will be a lot easier for Vampires right now.

What is left in my coffee cup from a few minutes ago is getting cold, so I’ll stop my ramblings soon.

I miss those days of driving to school in the car with my kids and talking about whatever was on the radio or on their minds. I feel like those talks helped make them the successful young adults they are today. At least it got them thinking about the big picture – the world outside of their own small circle of family, friends, and school.

Stay safe. Keep wearing your masks. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Hug your dog, especially if a cat has taken it’s bed. Check in on those who are elderly, alone, or need extra help. And kiss a Vampire – you’ll thank me for it later.

I’ll be back soon – hopefully with something fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Meetings

I’ve been waiting 40 minutes for a Zoom call. The message on the screen says “Waiting for the host to start this meeting”. I have a feeling I’ve wasted my morning waiting. Because aside from the meeting I put everything else on hold this morning. It isn’t much different than real life I guess. I think of one time when I was a child and waiting with my father for him to meet someone.

We stood outside in the fog. I held his hand and quietly wondered how long we’d be there before we could go out to the stables and see a new litter of puppies. I thought about how wonderful it would be to be like my brothers and get to wear trousers all of the time. I thought about how men never wore skirts, well, except in pictures in books of men who lived in exotic places. Men in exotic places wore whatever they wanted to. Then again there was my parent’s friend Glorianna who was a man but nobody knew it except a few close friends. As children we were sworn to secrecy not to tell anyone that our beautiful friend did not look like other women under her skirts. I didn’t care because I loved the pretty Vampire lady who had an infectious laugh like a man twice her size.

So my dad and I waited and waited and waited. He checked his pocket watch a zillion times. I wondered if he was feeling as if he wanted to let his fangs come out but as a child I never asked such things. As an adult I don’t ask such things. Anyway, after an hour we left. The puppies were precious black and white shepard/hearding type dogs. I would have loved to have taken one home but they were all spoken for.

In 1869 we didn’t have cell phones, or any phones to call people with. We didn’t have computers. We didn’t have electricity. Everything was written down and sent by messengers, or at least that is how my parents and their associates did business and social interactions.

These days Zoom and texts are the new normal. On the other hand I did get to see puppies this weekend. Maybe I’ll post photos later this week.

I’ll be down in Southern California visiting my kids. I’m excited. I hope to have posts from the road.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Hug your dogs and cats. Check in on those who are elderly or who need a little extra help. Kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for that one later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Howling Wind

Tonight the wind is howling and blowing like a hurricane. Unfortunately it gave me a Scorpions ear worm.

This afternoon while I was taking out the garbage (tomorrow is garbage day) a ladder almost fell on me. I’m fine. My garbage can is fine despite a huge ladder falling on it.

I worry about the birds out there from eagles and hawks, down to the tiny little humming birds. I worry about the squirrels in the trees. The squirrels have been jumping all over the house trying to get up into the attic, Nooooooooo, They’re cute but not in my walls.

It seems like a night for demons to come out but even they’re staying in bundled up in thick plaid shirts and keeping their tails underneath fuzzy throw blankets. OK, not all of the demons. Just the ones who don’t like their jobs and are looking for something else to do. One no longer has to be defined by the family they were born into.

The howling sound of the wind is what makes it seem like a living breathing demonic thing outside of my windows. In the morning I’ll check for downed branches. The streets will be littered with twigs, leaves, branches, and maybe even bits and pieces of roofs, witches, and stuff from blown over garbage, green waste, and recycle cans. I mention witches because, well, sometimes they fly. I don’t like them or deal with them, or even mention them much, but I’d hate to see what this wind might do to them. You know how it is when you become a parent – you start to worry about everyone.

My kids are in Southern California, about 425 miles south of here. They have to deal with the Santa Ana winds. Thank goodness it is not fire season right now. The fields are green and a little muddy. I hope it lasts for a while. In fact I bet the wind hasn’t even bothered the frogs in the seasonal creeks and ponds in my neighborhood.

So before the Internet goes out again I need to say a few words. Stay safe. Stay warm. Wear a mask. Be kind. Talk to your kids. Keep your dogs and cats inside at night. Don’t be a dick. Check in on those who are elderly, alone, or need extra help. And of course, no matter what the weather brings, kiss a Vampire. You’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Reality

If my husband took off his glasses and then put on tights and a cape, and changed the part in his hair I would still know it was him.

If while doing a late night walk-of-shame I lost my shoe, I wouldn’t want the guy who can’t seem to remember my face to go looking for me. Dude you need to sober up and face reality.

It is exceptionally creepy if you’re asleep and a stranger stumbles by and kisses you.

If you try to kill a 60 foot long animal while sitting in a small wooden boat accept the consequences.

Politicians are not allowed in my house, especially at the dining table.

Having an affair with a brooding photographer while your husband and kids are out of town is not cool or romantic.

Vampires who let blood drip down their chins are the same as regular people with exceptionally bad table manners.

Baby goats will always be cute.

Characters who don’t talk to each other and are constantly confused by the obvious don’t make for a good story.

njgv is what the cat just wrote while walking over the keyboard.


Stay safe. Stay warm. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated if you are able to. Talk to your kids. Be kind. Check in on those who might be alone or need extra help.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Phantom Thoughts and Rogue Memories

Phantom Thoughts and Rogue Memories.

My brother Max is having not dreams, but memories of places and events that aren’t his.

At the same time he can feel others thinking about him. He is a receiver. So am I.

It is one of those odd things that we don’t tell anyone else about.

The memories are a mystery. We’ve compared notes and we can’t figure it out. Who sends us memories from places we’ve never been or memories of things we’ve never done.

The other types of thoughts are straight from a known source.

Max and I stood out on the deck the other night looking into the fog. “She is thinking about me right now. I haven’t seen her in years but she has been thinking about me a lot lately.”

I didn’t tell him to call her or drop by her house. It wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t his call to make. But when she thinks of him he knows it. He never wonders if she loves him or really even cares. It just is what it is. He is flattered and charmed if nothing else. That is it.

I told him about the bridge again. It was a large bridge that fell during rush hour 50 years ago. I wasn’t there but I remember it from the eyes of a young man who was in a blue car. He was in the water. A woman helped him out. His wife was frantically calling on the phone to see if anyone knew where he was. That is all I remember. I thought it might have been from a book or a movie, but the memory was like my own.

Max dreams of maps and lying as still as death on the bottom of the ocean. I dream of cars falling off of narrow mountain roads and big ugly fish.

We don’t talk much to others about our dreams and phantom thoughts and rogue memories.

I’m sure you have things like that too – another life built on fog and emotion and strange things that fly by like ghost ships or long forgotten songs.

No matter what it is always good to have someone to talk to, who doesn’t think you’re nuts.

Max left this morning before the sun came up. I will miss him, but he’ll know when I’m thinking about him.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First published here January 2015

Indelible spirit

indelible spirit

I used those words today to describe an amazing friend who despite all odds, all, well everything shitty that can be put in front of someone, sees all of the beauty and joy that surrounds her.

We should all strive to go through our journey with such courtesy and grace.

My daughter sent me photos today of her lithop plants. Lithops are succulants. Some people call them living stones, or baby toes. When they bloom we are graced with daisy like flowers. When they reproduce they split, like boulders in a slow moving glacier, and new babies form from the middle.

We should all try to be like lithops. When we feel like we’re being split in too many directions. Just start something new and bloom. It sounds easy, but ask a lithop and I’m sure you’ll get a different answer. It isn’t easy but it is worth that huge breath of fresh air and peace of mind you’ll eventually get.

Never give up. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Check your temper. Talk to your kids. Stay in touch with friends, especially those who might be alone or need extra help. And of course, kiss a Vampire. Seriously, you need to kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman