Savor

As I walked downstairs from my bedroom I wondered how many tons of cat vomit is flushed down toilets each year?

At 4:12 a.m. the dog had asked to go out. As I made it to the entryway I saw that the poor thing couldn’t wait. She had tummy troubles and made a huge mess. She is a large dog at 85 pounds, so believe me it was a huge mess. After taking a large bag full of the mess out to the garbage I sprayed the carpet and now I’m waiting to scrub it. Fortunately for me the carpet is being replaced with hardwood floors soon.

So what does this have to do with parenting, vampires, or having an empty nest?

My nest is not so empty. Since there are no children in the house the animals are all more aware of MOM. We are all adjusting. The cats are eating quicker and barfing because the dog is trying to eat their food. The dog is eating cat food and getting huge runny poops. I’m trying to give all of them extra attention.

In the meantime my adult children, young but still adults now, are keeping in touch this week though the magic of the smart phone.

I just received photos of costumes from Paramount Studios, and last night photos from Griffith Park Observatory (yes, the one in LA LA Land.)

Then photos came of Pike Place Market and a friend’s new beard. This is the first beard of the group. It is well groomed, blonde, and a new trendy hair cut. Looks good.

They’re on winter break from school and off with friends, one north, and one south.

When I was that age I also tumbled into adventures, and unfortunately more misadventures. If I had the resources, and the wherewithal kids had now… Yes, I think how different it might have been, but does that matter? I’ll let my alternate universe self deal with that. I’m just happy beyond words to see I’ve given my kids the tools they need. Yes, they have those phones, but there are so many more tools one must have.

They’re curious, and full of adventure. They smart. They’re cautious. They’re playful. They’re young and without fear of the unknown.

The other day Nigel the Ghost, who left his body, ok died, around the age of 26 or 27, told me to tell my kids to treasure their youth and make the most of it.

I was feeling snarky so I said, “we’re Vampires.”

Then he said, “then treasure it all the more.”

He is right. And so, no matter who we are, what we are, or how we live, we should treasure everyday, and every experience.

I thought about all of the adventures I’ve been on with my children. There will be many more to come, and I am glad they are having their own adventures as well now. They’re building their libraries of wonderful memories. Yes, I wish I was there, but like I said, we will have our adventures too.

A new lesson for our adult children should be to savor the moments. Plan fun. Continue to play. Take breaks. Watch for falling stars. And to continue to treasure those you love.

Tell them, as they grow older, they should keep an open mind as well. My mind is much more open now than it was when I was a clueless eighteen year old.

Just remember, and this is coming from an old Vampire, to savor all moments. Even if it is just petting a cat who leans against your leg, or the quiet of a cold winter night.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Reflections on 2018 and the Year to Come

The first installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary was on December 26, 2014.

Of course I distance myself from Vlad and his cohorts. It’s complicated. I hate that expression, it’s complicated, but in this case it is. Sort of.

I help a lot of new Vampires adjust. I also watch old ones adjust. Sometimes I help. Sometimes I leave that job to others.

2018 was a different kind of year. I have high hopes for 2019. New beginnings along with the ancient. Not being in the possession of a crystal ball I can’t tell the future. But like all of us I can make the future and/or at least influence it.

Outside of my small circle, out in the greater world there are mysteries I can’t predict. I can’t even find spoilers on the Internet. Like will the find if anything is in the Chapel Vault on Oak Island. Is anything on that island except a lot of really cool equipment? Will my dog start coming when I call her? She is now three years old and is the only dog I’ve ever met who ponders the meaning of the word come every time she hears it. Will anyone I know be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship? Will yet another person ask me to turn them into a Vampire? Will my daughter get into the school of her choice? Will my son and his friend Randy continue to be baffled by adulthood? Will people in politics get their heads out of their asses or their asses out of town and let someone else do the job? Will I speak anywhere for large groups of people? I can’t answer most of those questions and right now don’t have the energy to even speculate.

The next year WILL bring posts about art, empty nests, old cemeteries, old photos, Short Story Sunday, and of course Vampires and their complicated lives (which are complicated just like everyone else’s lives.)

The Burning Questions will come to a finish (at least for weekly questions.)

I will continue to work on training my dog. I will work on this blog. I will try not to drive my husband completely crazy. OK I can’t guarantee the last point here. I will no doubt drive him nuts but it is up to him on how to react to my eccentricities.

I’m just sort of pondering and musing here right now. That is all.

Baby New Year will soon come tumbling along, hopefully without projective vomiting, nasty butt rashes, or too many scraped knees. You know how kids are. And with any hope by next December old man 2019 won’t be so worn out that he can’t remember what the Hell just happened during the past twelve months.

I’ll write more resolutions later, maybe. Years ago I used to write predictions on New Year’s Eve and put them in an envelope and seal them up. The envelope would be opened a year later. It was always fun and funny to see what would happen. Of course it was all crazy stuff like who might meet the love of their life, or find a whale in their backyard, or see a space alien, or go to the South Pole. And I would always be surprised to see that a lot of those things would come true. Maybe I should start doing it again.

Christmas is over and the New Year is to come. And in-between we still have the holiday season. Let’s all enjoy it. Let’s all enjoy every season.

By the way, I had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I never know how many people will be over but my door is always open with good cheer. Blood doesn’t always make family – good cheer and shared time does. Believe me when I say that. We are all family.

Thanks for dropping by. Now think about what you’ll write down to seal in that envelope.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important.

I first posted in 2013 but it is worth revisiting from time to time, even if you don’t have teens.

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Since the invention of metal spoons humans have been hanging spoons off of their noses. Really. I kid you not.

My son Garrett told me that most of his regular human friends and their families hang spoons off of their noses. They do it at birthdays, around the table at major holidays, in study groups and anytime there is a gathering with food and friends. They hang spoons.

“I can’t do it mom,” my son told me with a sad frustrated look.

“What’s going on?” His father had come into the room.

“Why can’t Vampires hang spoons off of noses?”

“Is that important?” Whoops Dad you said the wrong thing.

“I’m sick of not being able to do things that my friends do. I’m tried of not fitting in.”

Neither my husband or I even asked our son to list those things that Vampire teens can’t do. Being popular, smart and exceptionally good looking wasn’t a comfort. Sometimes it is those small things that make one fit in.

“Show me the nose thing,” said Dad.

Garrett put a spoon up to his nose. He tilted his head back and carefully slid the spoon to the tip of his nose. The spoon fell to the floor. “Everyone I know can do this, except my Vampire friends. I’m tired of being a freak.”

I could have said it is just a spoon on the nose, but I knew it was more than that.

“Did you breath on it?” Asked my husband.

“It won’t work. Our breath is cold. Our noses are cold. The texture of our skin is all off. And I’ve tried everything. It isn’t a silver thing. Stainless and plastic doesn’t work either.”

I looked at my sad men and knew that as usual that Mom would save the day. I turned on the kettle and as the steam came out I put the spoon under the hot damp air. Then I put it on my nose and it stayed.

“You can make hot breath. Now hang yourself a spoon.”

And so they did – they hung spoons off of their noses.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more on hanging spoons click here. http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Spoon-from-Your-Nose

Get Out of Your Crypt

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

This weekend I saw my first love (who is not the guy in my famous meme above, that would be Pleasant Van Duesen, someone with a lasting impact, but not my first), spilled coffee on my iPhone and destroyed it, went to WORDCAMP Sacramento, and went to a Chicken Festival.

Most of all I had helped coordinate (a four month project) a gathering of Vampires who’d been born near the Gold Rush and come into adulthood in the 1870’s. Now STOP your visuals of a lot of women in bustle dresses, and men in tall hats with lamp chop whiskers. We first gathered at a local sports bar looking just like everyone else, in jeans and shirts, maybe drinking a bit more than normal warm blooded folks, but it was a blast. The next night was the big reunion at a local country club (not a castle or haunted house.) On Saturday my friend Amelia (from Las Vegas) went to the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival. There we had saw bands on the Chicken Stock stage, and then visited Dave Hill at BBQ Pro (everybody loves Dave and BBQ Pro.) We ran into old friends we hadn’t seen in over 100 years and had a brew at the Fair Oaks Brew Pub (always excellent.) On Sunday I went to WORDCAMP in Sacramento. Yes, that is when I spilled coffee on my phone and my book (a real paper book.) The book survived, the phone did not.

If you’re a WordPress blogger and have not been to a WORDCAMP event in your area you need to check it out. It is a great way to learn a little bit, or a lot, and get a look at all of the other bloggers in your area. A lot of it was review for me (I might even volunteer to give a talk, or help next year) but worth it. Seriously I missed a day of wine tasting for it. And the Happiness Bar is well manned for anyone who needs help. Woo Hoo. I have to admit that I was the only Vampire/Parenting blogger there. I also didn’t see a lot of writers, poets, squirrel bloggers, pet bloggers, movie and music bloggers, or other more unique points of view. We have to get out there and make our voices and blogs heard.

So now I’m at Peet’s Coffee in Fair Oaks waiting for my new phone to be set up at the Sprint store next door. Nobody knows I’m a Vampire. Nobody cares. OK maybe they would, but I don’t look or smell dead. Seriously folks this is the 21st Century. That said, I have been known to bring the dead back to life, but not phones.

And I watched LaLa Land again. That movie hits me right in the center of my cold unbeating Vampire heart. A lot of things hit me right in the center of my cold Vampire heart this weekend. I’m still in sort of an overwhelmed and numb, and joyful place.

Seeing all of my old friends was amazing. New connections were made, old connections were made better, and then there was that meeting I can’t get out of my mind.

I have a lot of material for blog posts, books, and stories. And I have a lot of things I won’t share, ever.

When I write these posts I try to give some words of wisdom, or something along those lines. Today it would be to reconnect, recharge, look back, look forward, keep in touch, and keep your heart in a good place. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT and dance. Get some fresh blood into your life.

Colma Crypt

Your crypt is lovely but you can’t stay in there all the time. Get out. Get a real house. Get a real bed. Put on some sunscreen, glasses. a hat, and go out into the real world. Don’t be a shadow creeper. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT.

This is definitely a turning point for me right now.

Now that I’m almost an empty nester, with one child off at college, and the other going to college at home until she transfers to a college far away, my message will be changing a bit. It will always be “TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. LISTEN TO THEM.” But there is also a new message. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT. Not just physically but mentally as well.

I’ll be blogging at you later this week about an assortment of subjects. And there is a rumor that Vlad is writing in his diary again.

xoxoxoxobxoxoxo (the “b” is for bite, cute)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Fair Oaks Chicken Festival (Fair Oaks, CA)

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Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

don't be a ghost

 

 

 

 

Musings and Conversations with my Millennial Vampire

Between my summer road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska (and the great Western US Adventure), and my trip up to Oregon for the total solar eclipse, I spent time with Garrett.

He is my first born, a late millennial Vampire, now a fourth year college student (they no longer use the terms Freshman – Senior.)

One night we sat together on the back deck watching the bats fly around the tops of the trees. The cats were underneath the porch light catching moths.

He changed his major from some sort of Environmental Science to Music Composition with maybe a minor in Film and Media Studies. He has the talent and the drive to be successful. Plus he has the advantage of being a Vampire. And his Uncle Andy (my bro) is musically gifted in astounding ways, and supports Garrett in every way.

Garrett is still interested in Environmental issues, along with fine art, but his heart is in music, as well as his talents.

Sometimes I am in awe of the remarkable young man who appreciates his talents and gifts. He also appreciates those around him.

“My friends and I,” he tells me, “we don’t take our donors for granted. We never take needlessly or aggressively. We’re not into that.”

I’m proud of my modern young Vampire son. He is by no means a pansy assed wimp. He is strong, and smart, and coming into his own powers. He is also kind, and sensitive, and full of humor. He can compose a jazz, or classical piece of music, then a few minutes later write a love letter for a friend, then go watch a science lecture just for the fun of it.

I worry about the future, but then again, I look at my kids and their friends, all new adults, and I’m not so worried.

As parents we need to teach them the knowledge of the past. In turn, they will create the knowledge of the future. Even as they grow older and lead their own lives, we are still parents. Appreciate their success. Don’t dwell on their failures. Enjoy them. Treasure them. Share yourself with them. And know you’ve done a good job (and if you haven’t it is never too late to turn things around.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman