Short Story Sunday: For the Kids

“Ironic isn’t it that my mom named me Tristan?”

“I’m not following you.”

“In the Celtic legend, Tristan stole another man’s bride.”

Bryan cracked another beer and gave it to his exwife’s son. “That isn’t why she named you that. There was a BBC show she liked. It was about a couple of veterinarians. Your mother loved that name. One of them was named Tristan. He was tall and blond like your dad. That is why she named you Tristan.”

“Yeah, I know. Listen, Bryan, I’m sorry. I’m being a dick.”

“Apology accepted.”

“When I was a kid I was always jealous of Hannah because she had two dads. I only had one dad. It didn’t seem fair. I’d always want to go with her when she went home with you. One of the best times of my life was when my dad was in that car accident and you took Sabrina and me for a couple of weeks. Why’d you do that? My parents tore your life apart.”

“It wasn’t about me, or them. It was about three kids who loved each.”

“Why’d you and my mom break up? What was the real reason. I mean, why’d she go to my dad?”

“It wasn’t your dad. Our minds were somewhere else. We never hated each other. Maybe she might have hated me a bit, but she wanted,” Bryan paused. “she wanted something else with someone else.” said Bryan. “Then I hated her for a few years, but realized it was just hurting me. Hate takes too much energy, especially when you have kids. One day you’ll know.”

Bryan still hated his ex-wife on more than one level but he’d never tell her twenty-three year old son. He liked the kid. Tristan was a smart ass but Bryan couldn’t imagine not having him around. Life was funny like that. It didn’t always make sense but that was OK.

 

~ end

 

 

 

 

 

College Life – What I learn from my child

One thing I LOVE about having a child in college is that I learn almost everything my child learns (except the math.)

Ever since Clara, was a preschooler she has always told her dad and I all about what she learned in school. Even when she went on field trips she’d repeat to us what the park rangers, or museum docent said.

Yesterday afternoon she told me about her new political science class (second semester of college started this week.) I learned about the instructor (he used to be a spy, and has two kids.) I learned about how he runs a classroom (no immaturity allowed – he will drop kids who don’t act mature.) I learned what the students will be learning. My child and I talked for about an hour about the two-hour class she’d just finished.

Like I said, this isn’t something new. During the fall semester I learned all about religion, our environment, weird fellow students, art, history, philosophy, and everything except math and Spanish. I did learn all about the math and Spanish classes – the teachers and the fellow students.

I learned who put out tables on campus – mostly political and religious groups. I learned about blood drives, especially after the Las Vegas shooting.

Now the second semester is starting. I’m looking forward to learning about the US Government and Marine Biology.

I’m looking forward to hearing my child’s nightly observations and insights.

I’m looking forward to hearing the passion in her voice.

She knows her parents will actively listen too.

Clara told me that if she tells someone else what she learns it will help her retain the information. True.

My child isn’t one of those brainiacs who always got straight A’s and was wooed by Stanford University or Ivy League schools. But she is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

It isn’t advanced math that will make her go far. She has passion. She has communication skills. Yes, people skills. She listens. She observes. She evaluates. She relates. She sees learning as an active life long skill.

She is my child and I am amazed every single day.

She is also hilariously funny.

Over the years I’ve posted “What we talked about this morning on the way to school” posts. I’ll have to start doing that again. She has her own car now, but we still talk before and after school.

When she leaves for the big university we’ll still talk.

If you get one thing out of this parenting blog THIS is it: Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. LISTEN. Encourage them to talk to you and with you. Hear their thoughts and ideas. The more you listen the more they’ll want to talk to you.

And you’ll say, “Life is good.”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

By the way we also talk about pets, music, people we know, fashion, beauty products, the weather, movies, Netflix, cat and possum memes, and other daily stuff… but that is another blog post.

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: One Night

Andy opened his eyes. His head was still in tact, or at least he imagined it hadn’t completely exploded.

She’d called his name then jumped in his lap, knocking over the chair he was sitting in. As he tried to move he discovered his hair was caught under the top of the chair back. Someone pulled Taylor off of him, and helped him up.

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said to everyone who asked.

Taylor, a small young woman with a black bob and a quick smile, was fighting back tears. Andy figured at least three if not four fingers were broken, and maybe some other bones in her beautiful delicate hands.

He kissed her hand. Some of the pain went away. Then he slipped her six fresh one hundred dollar bills.

“This should cover your deductible and any other expenses tonight. Call me tomorrow and let me know how you’re doing. I’ll come see you.” Then he kissed her cheek. “We have to stop having so much fun.”

He declined help and decided to walk towards home. He’d had enough of clubs, and people, and the last place he needed to be was a hospital. Unknown to most of his friends he was a Vampire. He’d be fine.

As he walked along the city streets he thought about all of the women he’d ever known and all of the parties he’d ever been to, and all of the stupid things he’d ever done. His mind wandered to lost loves, and music, and how hungry he was. His head still hurt. The fall was harder than he’d initially thought. Blood would be good right now but he didn’t want to put out the effort for anything fresh. There was blood at home in the refrigerator.

He took out his phone and pulled up his Uber app, and called for a ride. It was another four miles at least to his house and he was tried of walking.

A song would take his mind off of it all. He started to hum the St. Motel song Midnight Movies. And right as he got to the verse,

Stories get told, I hear the plotlines unfold, it seems they’re handing me gold
Stories get told here at the midnight movies

The back of his head exploded in pain again. Someone, or something had slammed into him. He stumbled and went down on his knees, the palms of his hands scraping the sidewalk. He was grabbed and someone dragged him into an alley.

He heard a voice in his ear, “Andrew Todd, there you are in your long hair, and your Vicuna coat, and your expensive jeans, and your Italian shoes, thinking you’re better than the rest of us.

Andy smelled the foul breath in his face. It was a mix of old blood, rotting flesh, and dog farts. Opening his eyes he saw three figures. Vampire trash for sure. Shadow creeping bastards who lurked around in the dark damp corners of the city.

“Come on guys. Don’t make any problems with me. I’m one of you.”

The three, one large, one medium size, and one small, looked at him with dark lifeless eyes, showing their fangs.

“You think you’re better than us. Well you’re not, you perfume sucking faggot,” the smallest and ugliest one hissed at him.

Andy knew better than to try and argue with them. They were idiots, but dangerous idiots. They circled him, three against one.

A car stopped in front of the alley. A large man yielding a sword stepped out.

“Hey, ass-wipes,” he yelled, and he swung the sword. Three heads went flying into the alley, rolling like bowling balls down the lane.

Andy got to his feet and staggered back.

“Hey man, don’t worry, I’m your ride,” said the driver.

“You’re a Vampire Hunter,” said Andy, still sort of in shock.

“Sure, but I don’t go after your kind. Get in. Go on. I won’t hurt you.”

Andy gave the driver a large tip, locked the front door of his house, and went to the kitchen for blood. A small orange cat wound around his feet purring. He stroked it’s head and said “good kitty.”

Then he texted Taylor’s boyfriend to see how she was doing, went upstairs, and fell into bed.

A few hours later he woke to find a beautiful woman sitting next to his bed. She was dressed in jeans and a white button down men’s dress shirt, with pearls around her neck and on her ears. Chestnut waves of hair fell down her back. She stroked his cheek. He took her cool hand.

“Mom,” he said.

“I had a feeling my baby was hurting. Oh Andy, you have to be more careful.” She put her hand on his forehead and his headache vanished.

“Thanks.” After 163 years there was still nothing better than to have his mom there for him.

His phone dinged with a message. His mother picked it up. “That was Taylor’s mom. She wanted you to know she is going to be fine. Three broken fingers, and a broken bone in her hand, but no surgery is required. She wanted to know if you were ok. I texted back that you’re ok.”

Then she smiled, with a little big of fang, that beautiful smile that all moms have when they know their children are alright, and that they will be alright.

~ End

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

 

 

Submission

We (my 15-year-old Clara and I) were on our way to the skate rink yesterday talking away about SAT tests and AP History when a story on the radio caught my ear. I turned up the volume. It was an interview with a writer who’d written a short story anthology.

I wrote a short story anthology. Hey, I need to be on NPR. I have been on NPR in the distant past but that is another time/place/life.

Anyway…to make a short story that seemed really funny to us even shorter…

The author we were listening to read a few paragraphs from her story. Clara grabbed for the tuner knob saying, “No, I hate this sort of stuff.”

My child has a low tolerance for “mommy” stories – so do I for that matter. But back to the story.. The bit read was about a child’s birthday party and well, not what we usually read. I’m sure it was quite good, if you like that sort of stuff.

I stopped my dear child from her knob turning and said, “Wait, I want to hear this. I like to hear what other authors do.” It was a great story. I liked this woman. She sounded like someone I’d like to have a glass of wine with and talk about kids and husbands and writing.

Then she said something that made Clara and I both perk up our ears. She said she’d submitted a story to thirty different publishers/publications and received thirty rejections. Then someone suggested she submit a story to The New Yorker. The suggestion surprised her. She’d never thought of that. So she submitted her story and 48 hours later she received a call saying her story would be published.

We thought this was great. Then we discussed another option. What if I submitted the same story thirty times to The New Yorker under thirty different names?

This was one of those moments when we both laughed and laughed and laughed. We were at that moment the most brilliant comedy team ever. Then again, Clara and I are the most brilliant comedy team ever 24/7.

Yes, this was funny to us. Thirty submissions of the same story under thirty different names.

My husband Teddy did not think this was funny. He just gave me one of those looks. It was more of a half look. He doesn’t appreciate our humor or that fact that we’re always laughing at something stupid. I just want to tell him, “you can run but you can not hide.”

Maybe I will submit a story to The New Yorker, but under my own name and just once.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you've ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I'm a Vampire. We have no shame.

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times and The New Yorker  that this is the best book you’ve ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I’m a Vampire. We have no shame.

 

Musings on Parenting – My heart and soul as a parent

We’ve been having a lot of Halloween fun with “Halloween Hotties” and other spooky and silly Vampire fun but today I want to get back to my core as a parent. Below is my famous list of what I feel, and now know is my ultimate parenting advice and musings. It is what I believe and what I practice. It is my heart and soul as a parent.

Juliette’s Ultimate Musings on Parenting (for Vampires, Werewolves and ALL Regular Humans)

I’m an artist to the core of my soul.  I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.

Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.

And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…

Until we had a child.

I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.

I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life? 

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.” 
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of  judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we need to encourage them to start.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it. 

Hugs and thanks for visiting.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

My mom blogs about vampires

My mom blogs about vampires

Fun Facts About School This Year

Fun Facts About School This Year

Warning: If you’re sensitive and hyper over protective as a parent some of my views might offend you. But I hope what I’ve written makes you THINK.

My kids are in high school, a senior and a freshman. It is a great school and I’m impressed with the administration and the teachers.

High School students are finding unique and creative ways to make money this year. For only $15 you can get body piercings. A creative young lady has all of the right equipment and will pierce you in places your parents will never see. She has a lighter to sterilize the needles.

A talented young artist gives tattoos in his garage for $20. His drawings are better than his tattoos, but hey, when he is famous you can hold out those blown out lines on our arm and say, “see the famous guy did that.” His parents have no idea he is doing this.

Kids from another school, the wealthiest school in the district, are the go-to ones for all sorts of drugs. I’m not talking pot and meth. I’m talking birth control pills and birth control patches. Honestly it just shows how sorry assed our society is that girls have to get birth control pills on the black market. They should be able to get them in stores without prescriptions. Don’t argue with me on this one and I’ll remove any comments that disagree with me. A lot of the kids who are selling prescription drugs, be it birth control pills or painkillers, and have parents in the medical industry so they have access to all kinds of good stuff.

There is a super buff kid (aged 16) who everyone, including his teachers (who call him on it), thinks he is taking steroids, because no 16 year old can naturally look like he does. And the kid won’t try out for any sports teams because he’d be totally busted. That is a dangerous situation and I wonder where his parents are? What sort of sick and twisted person would supply a teen with steroids?

And if you want to know what we (my husband and I) are going to do with this information. Nothing. We’re not going to call the school or get all upset about it (or as our kids would say “get all butt hurt about it.”)  I’m just proud that our kids talk to us about this stuff and tell us everything that goes on. They can trust us to listen and discuss issues rather than just sit back and judge. Honesty, if I’m upset about this then I just need to talk to friends of mine who went there in the 1970’s when they had smoking areas for the students and teachers got stoned at lunch. Times have changed…for the better over all.

The school has a unique culture in that students accept each other. Sure there will be an occasional scuffle, but kids are nice to each other, or at least ignore each other rather than bullying.

Nobody bothers the kid with the green hair who dresses really weird. The school culture doesn’t allow that. There just aren’t those kinds of bullies. I’m proud to say my kids go to a school where it is safe to allow your freak flag to fly high and proud.

Some kids are openly gay. And nobody cares.

Sure there are snobs but nobody gives them the time of day except for their few minions. The minions will get tired of the game by the end of the school year.

Sure there is pressure about sex, drugs and alcohol. A lot of pressure. My daughter told me that the group of kids she hangs out with kids who aren’t obsessed with those three items. It has nothing to do with religion. None of them are religious. It is just the way they were brought up. They talk to their parents and discuss these things with them. And they aren’t followers. They might not all be leaders, but none are followers. And they have so many other interests to occupy their time (not to mention homework and trying to get good grades.)

My son is pretty much the same, but since he is older his point of view is a little different at least when it comes to girls and yes, that makes me uncomfortable, but he talks to me about it and he talks to his dad. A little. But at least he talks.

I believe in the public schools, especially the large high schools. kids learn to deal with all kinds of situations and choices. There will come a time when we can’t make choices for them. They have to learn on their own. They have to learn how to deal with people who are different. They need to be away from their parents and be allowed to grow those wings and grow their minds in directions we can’t even imagine. It is scary yes, but it is a good thing. Believe me on this one.

I trust the good teachers will guide them, in fact, I know they will. They already have talked to them about smoking all sorts of things at school, making stupid choices and consequences. It is up to the kids and their parents now to deal with those choices.

The graduation rate at their school is exceptionally high, the rate of kids going to college is exceptionally high and the test scores (I believe) are just about the highest in the area. I can’t complain. I feel damn lucky to have my kids going there. I challenge any private school in the area to give the kids a better education. I know it sounds like a fairy tale but it is true! I’m proud of the kids, the parents and the teachers and administrators for making this possible. It doesn’t just happen by accident.

 And NO it isn’t all perfect, but what is? Nothing in the world is perfect except a tiny new born baby or maybe a kitten or a really nice bottle of red wine… but please, nothing is perfect, but a lot in this world, despite the news, is good. Really good.

I know, to some I might seem lax, but like I said, my kids talk to me and tell me everything. Their friends tell me things too.  Listen first, then discuss and try not to judge. I’m not lax. Parenting is a lot of work. Keeping your kids in line and teaching them to be smart about life is a lot of work.

And for heaven’s sake don’t yell (save that for all of that frustrating math homework).

So that’s it for the wonderful world of parenting… no Vampire teen specific stuff today, it applies to everyone.

 So your homework assignment: Talk to your kids. Let them know they can trust you. Listen to them before judging (be if your kids, nieces and nephews or grand kids or young friends.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Teens