Normal, or Whatever

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I’m trying to appear to be normal and appear to be a normal parent.

Considering I’m a Vampire that is always the the case, you know, appearing to be normal.

Normal: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Of course I’m more than normal. I want to shout off of the roof tops what a proud parent I am but I don’t want to brag or sound crass. OK, I DO want to brag in a big way.

So often we hear the tern the new normal. What does that even mean? Or worse we hear back to normal.

How about new beginnings. Or the new better way. Or the new challenges. Or something positive. Positive might not be a word that most people expect from Vampires but we’ve survived thousands of years because we’re positive about the future. We look back on the past but there is too much to dwell upon. Looking upon the future is what keeps us fresh and young. It isn’t just all about blood you know.

We also live with a certain amount of fear which is good and bad. It is usually bad.

When I started this blog in 2012 my son Garret was in high school. He was playing his guitar, flirting with girls, painting pictures, writing poems, and being a normal Vampire teen. Now he is grown, finished with college, starting a career and thinking about getting his own place.

After living with his best friend Randy through college and grad school he is now ready to be completely on his own. Randy will still be in the picture but an hour away with his own job and interesting (to say the least) relationships.

While I am still adjusting to having an empty nest, Garret will be getting his own first nest.

His sister Clara, now at almost 21 and completely the adult of the family, is going to go looking for places with Garret. They’ll be living closer together, something they look forward to.

I don’t need to warn them about the dangers of not being careful as in who they let into their homes, or share their secrets with. They’re fully aware of keeping their night life separate from their day life, so to speak.

Some things never change. Some things change continuously.

Our goal should be to not let any of it throw us off and keep a balance. Right now, in this strange year, it is easy to be thrown off. Yet, at home it is easy to keep things the same.

Dogs still wait at the door for their owners to return. Children still need to go out on their own. Sometimes they need to come back, then out again. Sort of like cats.

So that’s all. I’m just thinking out loud today and avoiding a painting project, and staying out of the summer heat. I got the car smog checked, did some research, made some calls, and payed bills. Yes, Vampires need to do those things as well.

As for normal…

Try not to be too normal. While normal is easy, it isn’t always the most interesting thing to do. It is safe, but not always.

Things are still going to go bump in the night. Then again that might not always be a bad thing.

And if you need something to read remember that the newest WPaD Anthology Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A Go-Go is now available in digital format. The paperback will be available in July 2020.

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  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Talk to your kids.
  • Hug your dogs and cats.
  • Don’t yell at your significant other too much. They’re getting tired of all of this too.
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This is where I’d rather be RIGHT NOW.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Stop just for a moment

Children are sensitive souls, even when they are almost grown.

When parents are sorting through their own issues, their teens are stoic for the most part. They turn it all inside. That is when we (parents) need to buck it up and watch and listen.

They need us almost more now than when they were toddlers.

The same goes with marriage. By the time kids are teens life is so crazy and complicated and emotionally turned upside down.

We are all so busy and stressed that it just gets overwhelming.

I always say TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. I still say that. But today I have another chant for you. Talk with your spouse/partner. Talk to the other parent in the house. This is assuming the other parent is in the house. If he or she is make the time for them, as well as for the kids.

I know you know this. We just need reminders.

Yesterday my brother Aaron stopped by. Aaron and I are the only married siblings of my parent’s brood of five. He was happy that his young adult children were home for a few weeks, but they were off in their own world. His wife Verity was either with the children or working on a thousand things that had nothing to do with him.

I thought about my own household where we were all coming and going at 3,000 mph.

Stop. Talk. Hug. Say I love you.

“Maybe we’re meant to be solitary creatures,” said my brother.

“We all need our time alone. Is everything ok?” I asked.

“Sure. I’m around my family but they’re not really there.”

We talked more. They ARE there but everyone just gets so tied up in everything but each other.

Sometimes both Aaron and I feel alone, yet we know we are both part of something extraordinarily special and amazing. We have spouses and children who are there for us no matter what, and we are there for them. In turn, we are siblings who are so different, yet we are always here for each other.

I get lost in my own thoughts and issues and forget everyone around me. I become like a shadow. I become invisible. Sure, we’re Vampires so we should be invisible for the most part, but not when it comes to those we love. Nor should we make anyone feel invisible.

So your assignment for today: Love and show it. Your heart might not be beating but it doesn’t mean you can’t make someone feel they are valued and needed.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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First published here June 2015

Reading and Writing: A Good Story

Let’s talk about reading and writing.

My sister-in-law Verity recently threw a stack of books into the recycle bin. That is a habit she got from me. If a book is too stupid/bad/boring/offensive to finish then why risk someone else wasting their time on it? Just throw it out.

Her reason for the latest toss out was, “I hate it when favorite male authors get old and decide to write sexist drivel about older men with hot young things, or two guys in competition over the same hot young thing. What is up with these authors? They used to write the best books.”

We talked some more and decided that this is not the rule. Most male of our favorite authors we read are on their mark. They still write witty characters, and if anything else their female characters have become more realistic, believable, and entertaining.

Another thing we decided gets a book into the recycle bin is when authors (usually female) start writing about either weak female characters who are always victims, or characters who are so snarky towards the poor smitten male characters that we’re shaking our heads and thinking what the hell is wrong with these people?

Books, like real life, should be populated with a variety of characters. With so many variations and personalities why depend on cliches?

I see that a lot, cliches, in online writing groups. Those who want to be writers ask questions about such things. They often don’t realize that they just need to write in their own voice, or the voice of their characters. They struggle with trying to describe something on paper, when all they really need to do is open their mouths, say the words out loud as if telling a friend, then write THAT down.

The same goes for writing dialogue. Be natural. Be real. Listen to how people talk to each other in real life. An author should be like an actor and get into the character, and even become the character they are writing about.

I had to admit to Verity that I am not the best at editing, but sometimes I can tell a good story. I’ve also read thousands of books over the years. I love a good story. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my favorite authors (both indie and mainstream) who can write a good story.

What I love about bloggers is that they tell good stories. Bloggers write like they talk, and boy do they talk. Blogs are usually so spontaneous. It makes me happy, even when the subject matter is deep and depressing. I’m happy because it is fluid, entertaining, and as if I’m right there with the blogger. It is that intimate voice that I love so much. There is also the interaction with the readers that is so rewarding as well.

My advice to people who’d like to dip their big toes into writing and see how it feels is to blog first. Why? It is good practice. You can write whatever you want. It is totally yours. You can try things out. You don’t have to worry about rejection. Blogging has a built in community – believe me, you’ll find it, or it will find you.

Verity went through a bag of books I brought her and found something new to read. I gave her recommendations for books to download too. She’ll find something she likes. There are so many good books. As much as we all complain about everything it is nice to know that we live in a world with so many wonderful story tellers.

And speaking of wonderful story tellers… I can’t go without saying something about the new anthology from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A-Go-Go. Nineteen authors share their stories, essays, poetry, and visions of a sometimes grim, and sometimes hopeful future. You decide, and if you like it leave a nice review.

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What are your pet peeves about books, story lines, and characters?

What do you like the best about your favorite books or types of books?

What makes you dump a book into the recycle bin?

What makes you keep a book and want to read it again?

Any other thoughts on the subject?

Did your cat do anything cute today?

Let me know. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Social Distance. Read a book. Stay safe.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Coveting (or my husband builds a deck)

With the help of a friend my husband is rebuilding our deck. From the house I can hear both cursing and singing. Today our friend is off on an excursion and so Teddy is by himself.

From the window I can see faint outlines of solemn faces watching him work. They wore themselves out during the gold rush and longed for sleep. Now they long for the ability to lift large pieces of lumber and use power tools. Their sad eyes show how they covet a physical body and electricity they never knew during their own mortal lives.

They also look at my husband in distain because he was born in 1849 during his parent’s journey to California. Ghosts are jealous of the living, but even more so of Vampires who often have their bodies for a long long time after most of the ghosts are long forgotten.

So while I’m working on a novel, thinking about new cushions for the deck chairs, and trying to keep the dog, who must stay inside entertained, the ghosts silently watch my husband and wish they had power drills, precut lumber, and cargo shorts.

I know some of them are buried in the small cemetery across the river. They came from far away places – some as far as Ireland. Most of them died before their 45th birthdays. They aren’t the grizzled old miners from the movies, but young vibrant men following a dream. They went to see the elephant and never returned.

From my window I wave at the ghosts and try to shoo them away. Their faces turn towards me all at once in a slow steady motion. I roll my eyes at their drama. They are not amused but they dare not haunt a house full of Vampires. They dare not haunt me, because even though my children are now grown I am still THE MOM.

There are also other ghosts about. I expected to see Nigel, The Ghost, but he as been keeping to himself. Maybe he is tired of insulting me or just ran out of things to say.

Today it cooled off to the 80’s. There is wind and clouds in the sky. I can see fire in the distance, but it looks more like a brush fire than a forest fire or buildings. Wild turkeys walk along the fence with their quail sized babies following along. A deer ran across the field and into the oak forest.  I doubt if the ghosts care. Their eyes are on Teddy building the deck.

Anyway, that is all for today. Nothing else. No moral. No twist.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wear your mask.
  • Talk to your kids.
  • Check in on your elders.
  • Don’t let the ghosts haunt you. They won’t take your tools.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Juliette’s House

 

 

 

What we’re talking about today: Heat, Famous People Saying Stupid Things, and NEW Summer Reading

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Alice the German Shepard says to make sure you stay hydrated.

 

I have to say that I’m glad my children DID NOT read the Harry Potter books. They tried but just couldn’t get into them. The movies were fun, but we did not buy or read the books.

I also have to say that I am proud of my LGBTQ friends. I am proud of my children for having close LGBTQ friends.

I have seen how difficult it can be coming out. I have seen the pain and rejection my friends have gone through. I have seen the incredible love they’ve given to me and others. I’ve seen the stupid ignorant hate thrown at them just because they loved someone. Some people are just shit heads. Don’t be a shit head.

 

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I’m love all of my friends who don’t have periods. YES there are women who, for MANY reasons don’t have periods. Why does it matter if a woman has a period or not?

Why is it that so many extremely rich and famous people are so out of touch with humanity? Why is it that so many extremely rich and famous people have no filters when it comes to people who are not like them? Why is it so many rich and famous people have the need to spout out ignorant and stupid thoughts in public? Don’t they have handlers?

Then they back track and try to make everything think they were misunderstood and play the pity party poor me card. Give me a break. Thousands and thousands of children made J.K. Roling a rich and famous woman and now she has chosen to be a dick and many of her most loyal fans in the back – for no reason. How fucked up is that?

Everyone has a right to their own opinion but NOT to hurt someone who is not in your life, who is not hurting you, and is quietly minding their own business.

We already have an unhinged president and plenty of politicians who have no filters – we don’t need our YA authors to start spouting off like a bunch of idiot politicians too.

Humans have been LBGTQ for centuries. They’ve been LBGTQ since before we had a word for centuries. Get over it. Accept it. And remember if we were all the same life would be incredibly boring.

Now on to something else…

It is HOT outside. Please make sure to check in on elderly friends and family, or others who might need your help to stay cool. Sometimes old folks don’t realize it is 100°F inside of their homes or are afraid their electricity bill might be too high. Go check on them.

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Available June 15th on Amazon from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants): 

Twenty authors. Fiction. Essays. Pandemic ponderings. Poetry.

Goin’ Extinct Too – Apocalypse A Go-Go!

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My dog Alice and I go walking almost every day. Here are a few shots of our journeys. Yes, I wear a hat and sunscreen. You need to do that too even if you’re not a Vampire.

We also walk to the school because nobody is there and it gives Alice the GSD a chance to run around without her leash and use the drinking fountain. We have no idea when the students are coming back.

 

That is it for today. I just wanted to vent and share. Keep cool. Wear a mask. Don’t drink any bad blood. Wash your hands. Be nice. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

What we’re taking about today: Things we find stupid, frustrating, or maybe good.

Even my kids are weary of people asking Star Wars or Star Trek, or what Hogwarts house do you belong to, or anything about super heroes and their powers.

My kids were home for a while. Garrett left yesterday. Clara leaves tomorrow. They were here for three weeks.

We talk like we always have, about everything and anything. We discuss the news, but try to avoid it. They talk with me. They talk with their dad. We go for walks and talk in the car, and just hang out at home. We’re like everyone else. Maybe we talk a little bit more than everyone else.

Garrett, his friend Randy, and their other temporary roommate Alexis are all graduating from Grad School with no graduation. I plan on doing something for them all but don’t know what yet.

We’ve done drive by graduations and birthdays during the lock down for high school students.

The whole shut down has stopped Garret’s usual romantic head spinning. Seriously, his head is in the clouds when it comes to girls, but there has been a turn in my son lately. Maybe it is Randy’s more casual approach to girls. It could be strange Alexis and her tendency to just shrug off absolutely everything that is thrown her way, but always with sort of a smile and a let it roll attitude.

Garret is waiting for a new job to start. It might start in June. It might start in August. Nobody knows at this time.

Clara is still studying for finals and writing her last papers of the quarter. She is looking at internships. Her boyfriend has plans for the summer that will advance his goals. They’ll drive home in the morning.

My husband Teddy is over the top anxious about both of the kids. I keep telling him that we raised them right. Then again when Teddy was just a few years older than Garrett his entire world was turned upside down in an extremely jarring and unimaginable way. He worries about bad influences, bad directions, bad people, bad career paths. I remind him of house stupid we were at that age. Or at least I used to remind him about how stupid we were but stopped doing that this week. It didn’t seem to matter.

We’re all tense. We’ve been at home. Teddy boarded up his business and will start back later than expected. College is still online with no word of what will happen in the fall. I don’t know what is going on with my work. Everything is up in the air.

We talk about all of the issues that 2020 have brought. Any planning for the future seems strange. We try, but it still seems strange. We’ve had to put off or cancel almost everything.

We don’t talk politics. That is beyond frustrating. OK we do a little bit because it can’t be helped.

We garden. We read. We sit together. We pick out paint colors, pet the cats, walk the dog, and putter around.

The world is never a calm place but lately it seems there is little calm. So within our walls, our neighborhood, and our own souls we try to find that cam place. We do yoga. We laugh at stupid jokes. We tell funny stories.

No matter what our kids are growing up to be their own people with their own lives.

It seems odd that when I started this blog that they were in middle school and high school. We talked about middle school issues, summer camp, school shootings, and dress codes.

Now we talk about the environment, human rights, and the state of the laundry rooms at their apartment complexes. They talk about beach closures, park closures, and where to get the best vintage clothes in Southern California.

My husband and I tell them to be extra careful when they go out at night. I know they will be careful, but we have to tell them anyway.

I raised my birds to fly. Now they’re soaring off in different directions and I can’t see or follow them all the time. I have my own directions to go in.

I will miss my children. My husband will miss them as well in his own way. Then we’ll miss them together as we talk about how proud we are of them. We’ll also talk about how proud we are of ourselves for doing such a fine job of raising them.

The house is quiet now, and for a rare hour I am alone. Even the cats are off sleeping in their corners, or under a bed.

I should be writing new stories, Vampire lore, or complaining about ghosts.

But I’m not. Just waiting till 4:30 when I take the dog to the pet place to get her nails trimmed. Don’t tell me to do it myself. I have a 90 pound drama queen of a German Shepard. I can’t do it.

So that’s it.

  • Stay safe.
  • Feel love.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Call someone you love and talk.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman