Ask Juliette: Parenting, Ghosts, and Change

Ask Juliette is a somewhat regular Thursday feature at vampiremaman.com

I answer real questions from real readers. If you have a question feel free to leave it in the comment section or email me at juliettevampiremom at gmail dot com

Before we get to today’s questions I have an observation…

This morning while I was out in my neighborhood walking my dog… it was an attempt to train the dog, which is sort of working. Anyway we walked over to where the Bald Eagles are nesting. Due to the influx of asshat photographers who feel as if they are gods and have a right to pester the poor new parents, the park service has put us signs telling everyone to stay away from the eagles and not bother them. Yes, there was a woman hauling a ladder out to where the eagles are.  I was ready to go out and scream at her. I assume somebody already did because I haven’t seen her around in the past few weeks. There has also been people climbing the fence (which was put there to prevent idiots from falling off of the steep bluff.)

In the wee hours of the morning my dog and I were alone with the eagles. I watched as they flew from the lake to the nest with fish. The babies flapped their small brown wings and hopped about the nest. As I walked home up my own street, my husband was driving out. He stopped and told me one of the eagles was flying over our house, about twenty feet from the deck.

I thought about the eagle parents. No parent likes to be pestered or watched when they are with their kids. Seriously, no matter what species someone is just let them alone in peace. Don’t bug them or pester them with advice. Don’t invade their privacy in order to get your daily cute fix.

Dear Juliette,

Why are ghosts so grouchy and mean? Why must they haunt the living?

As most of my regular readers know, there are a few ghosts who regularly visit me at my house – mainly Nigel and his girlfriend Mary.

So why are ghosts so grouchy and mean? Because they’re frustrated. They live in a world where they cannot participate. They’re reminded daily of what they are missing out on. For example Nigel’s 40th High School Reunion is coming up. He missed his ten-year reunion by a year. He is haunted by the thoughts of what could have been. He is angry because he never got to see his career progress, he never got to fall in love and get married, he never got to be a dad. He can’t even have a dog as a ghost, unless some dead dog attempts to latch onto him, but that rarely happens. What bugs Nigel the most is the fact that in the reunion program he’ll once more be listed with those who have also died since high school graduation. Only he can’t even see them because that isn’t how the ghost world works. Even the dead have left him behind.

Ghosts are trapped. They’re pissed off. They can’t communicate with most people. Nobody understands what it is like to be dead. So they hang out with Vampires, most of whom have died but are back in their bodies – so that even pisses ghosts off even more.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Don’t be hating on ghosts. Sure they’re obnoxious but have some understanding and sympathy.

Dear Juliette,

If I became a Vampire would anyone be there to help me adjust? Would I have to be shown how to suck blood out of people or would it just come naturally? Is there training for new Vampires?

Yes, unless you end up being a soulless Shadow Creeper someone will be there to help. We have a wide ranging support system for those who have just become Vampires. A range of issues have to be taken into consideration when one becomes a Vampire. Did you become a Vampire of your own will, or was it thrust upon you? That makes a big difference on how you’re going to react to the change. You know, anytime someone makes a profound change, be if biologically, or mentally, there are going to be adjustments. It isn’t always easy.

One of the hardest things to deal with isn’t sucking blood, but keeping your existence as a Vampire secret. You can’t tell anyone, or at least those who will in turn tell others. We don’t have a lot of rules. We don’t have many consequences to our actions except maybe forcing someone to become a Vampire, or telling someone about us.

But sure, there are people here to help. I’m one of the go-to folks for helping newbees. Like with most profound changes, everyone is different.

 

Dear Juliette,

What’s up? What are your plans for the blog?

What?

Dear Juliette,

Why are Vampire men so damn sexy?

Sigh. Survival my dear. Survival.

 

Dear Juliette,

I just wrote a novel. I believe it is quite good, but none of my family and friends will read it. I need feedback. Now what?

If you want some feedback go online and reach out for beta readers. Most authors find that often family and friends aren’t interested in your work, especially if it a genera they don’t usually read.

Find a writing peer group either online, or with one of your local writing groups. Don’t get mad if someone reads your book and doesn’t fawn all over it. It is better you hear what you need to hear now – rather than getting a bad review or zillions of rejection letters later.

Also search blogs for like-minded individuals you think might enjoy your book, or have good, honest, educated input.

Another suggestion is to make a list of questions for your Beta Reader. Do they connect with the characters? Do the plot twists make sense? Ask what part they like best or least, and why.

Good luck.

That is all I have for today. If you can add to any of these answers please do. Everyone can always use a second opinion. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

What We’re Talking About Today On the Way to School Today

Every since the election in June we’ve been regularly seeing heads explode as we drive along the road, especially in the morning hours. It makes a mess, but our roads are so bad around here that everyone just pretends to assume someone must have hit a pothole, or maybe it is aliens, or turkey vultures attacking suburban drivers…

As always, we listen to the news in the morning. I’ve grown sick of it and turn it out. My children do not. As wee ones they asked cute questions. Now as young adults they make bone chilling comments that make me wish that seventeen year olds could run for President, Congress, and the Senate, because they seem to be the only ones making any sense these days.

LBGT rights. Is there a problem with that? Why should anyone care? Don’t we just want everyone to be happy? LBGT families are like any other family. Parents love their children. Period. Here’s the deal. Married people pay more taxes. Period. See where this is going?

My kids often wonder why some people are so obsessed with the sex lives of others. It is all in the name of religion and morality. If you’re so moral then why are you so obsessed with sex? Why is your attitude so unhealthy. This is out of the mouths of teens. Of course if we’re talking down and dirty gossip then it is all good fun. Who doesn’t like to see the fall of a hypocrite caught in an affair after condemning others for their unmoral behavior? Who is anyone to judge? Especially those who do not even try to understand.

Yes, folks, this is why Vampires, Werewolves, and others keep to themselves. Don’t ask me how you can become one of us, and where our private clubs are because you’re not going to get an answer from me (or any of my friends.) Don’t hate me because I’m cold as death. Just hate me if I’m an asshole (which I hope I am not.) Or just hate me for using too many parenthesis in my writing, but not for my biology.

We discussed how THE WALL will be an environmental disaster among other things. The only ones dealing with walls should be Pink Floyd. The kids also keep asking about the Berlin wall. We all remember how that worked out.

I’ve made a list of news items and ratings from the teens I know:

Ivanka: NO

Grumpy Cat: Yes (even when she says NO) Yes, Grumpy Cat is a girl cat.

Coffee: Yes

AP Tests: Yes, but they still suck

Disneyland: Yes

The Lost City of Z: Yes

13 Reasons Why: Yes to both the book and the TV show

Old Men in Political Positions: NO

Botox: No

Squirrels: Yes (see link below to know why)

Cats: Yes

Dogs: Yes

Fiona the Hippo Baby: YES YES YES

Classical Art Memes: Yes

Canadians: Yes

French Election: WTF?

North Korea: No. And a sad face emoji for the people who live there.

Dentist Pulling a Tooth While on a Hoverboard: NO NO NO

Wells Fargo: WTF? Kids when you start a job don’t do that kind of shit. Not for anyone.

Anything in Washington DC: WTF?

Graduation Class of 2017: YES

Dutch Brothers: YES, even when there is a long line at the one street down from the high school.

Lists: Yes, because I’m not feeling inspired right now.

 

The conversation moved on to the dog who, despite her sweet nature, refuses to cooperate with any kind of training. She can do it. But she doesn’t want to. It is a power thing. Know any kids like this? Adults? Vampires? I bet you do too.

I might not be the biggest dog at the park but I’m going to make damned sure I have the biggest stick.

After dropping off the almost adult child I headed on over to the dog park. The big dog run was closed. The other dog run was full of HUGE (over 100 pounds) aggressive dogs. My young 85 pound German Shepard was dwarfed by these dogs. Of course she went NUTS. Sure I’m in touch with my paranormal side but it was almost too much for me to handle. I almost lost it. I went 0-60 in half a second from loving dogs to hating dogs. All dogs. Even my own dogs. And yes, right now mine is sleeping with her head on my foot as sweet as ever.

Text messages are fling in about a roller skate show tonight. Not at our club but at our sister club that my daughter’s partner skates out of. She and her partner are doing a new routine to Pink and Nate Ruess singing Just Give Me A Reason. They’re so beautiful skating (think Ice Dancing except on quad wheels.) Yes, teens are great.

I always thought Nate Ruess should be doing Broadway musicals. He has THAT kind of voice. Pink too. She is just WOW to me. I usually don’t like female singers (too breathy and high and whiney and I could go on and on) but she sings it.

Yes, I’m just rambling on today. Every have one of those days. In the back of my mind are sick and twisted stories of dark places with brick walls and black velvet curtains. There are howling winds along with howling wolves, shadows that look like ghouls with long twisted claws, and growls that could pass for satisfied purrs of lovers. You know, it is just one of those days when I just had to turn off the radio and turn off most of everything. I’m not as crazy bad as Chuck McGill in Better Call Saul but getting there.

Now for the Squirrel Story (not to be confused with the Squirrel Nut Zippers)

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/04/25/525363273/what-s-it-like-to-be-squirrel

 

Did someone say coffee? Blood?

Oh right, and remember to talk with your kids – about anything and everything. You’ll have fun. They’ll appreciate it. You’ll be the cool parent. And you’ll find out how cool your kids really are. And it is good for everyone. So do it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Keeping it Real (When you’re a Vampire and a Parent)

“You can hide yourself away. Wrap yourself in a cocoon of spider webs and blood, and let yourself fester and dry up for years and become a husk, or you can move forward. Hiding is easy. But Vampires who hide get lost, or never wake up, or, or, or, or, are so completely out of touch with what it is to be a real Vampire.” 

I could hear 2,200 year old (approximately, I’m not sure what his real age is. He isn’t even sure.) Tellias talking to my twenty-one year old son. Yes, Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. I didn’t have the heart to blog about it. My time as a mom of youngsters is quickly waning, and unlike the moon isn’t coming back.

I listen and wonder what it is like to be “real” anything.

Despite his age Tellias isn’t a dried up husk by any means. He looks like he is nineteen, or maybe twenty at the very most.

The two could be just best friends if one just looked at them. A dark haired young man with his perfect trendy hair (long on top, short on the sides), and one with his pale blonde hair brushing his shoulders, both wearing jeans and tee shirts.

I had to smile seeing them together. I look at Garrett with all the hope and wonder in his eyes and heart. Tellias looks at me and locks his eyes with mine for a fraction of a second. I see decades of joy and pain, love and loss that goes beyond any known grief, and unknown dark coordores, regrets, and a million songs, and memories of standing under the stars for a thousand years with the warm summer breeze on his face.

I know you Juliette he says without speaking. You’ve always taught them to fly, and now that they can fly on their own your heart is breaking. 

Luckily the 85 pound puppy came blasting through the room and demanded to go outside. I went out to the deck and stood in the drizzle of rain and took in the smell of orange blossoms and rosemary from my yard.

You have to raise your kids to be adults, but when they suddenly become adults… I had no idea it would be this hard. I can’t let them know how I feel. I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and smile and encourage them. I listen to their thoughts, dreams, monologues, and stories. I will forever be here for them. Even if for some reason I won’t be here physically, I will still always be with them.

I put my hands on the deck rail and looked down into the oak forest behind my house. There were no ghosts that night except my own. I felt an arm go around my shoulder. A cool finger wiped a tear from my cheek. Tellias stood with me, not saying a word. He didn’t have to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Begging and Other Undesirable Actions

I have 72 thousand contact updates on Linkedin and other messages in my email inbox tonight. I don’t even know why I have a Linkedin account. More useless junk to throw at me, and then attempt get information off of me like a Kentucky strip mine.

Since before the election (you know which one) I’ve been bombarded with emails from all sorts of interesting groups. They all ask for my opinion THEN they ask for my MONEY. It is a constant pleading and begging for money that is so distasteful that I feel like turning against it all.

I’m unusually annoyed at our new Senator for sending out polls and asking an opinion, but I really feel like all she wants is my money. Nobody wants to listen, but everybody wants to get paid.

As a parent sometimes I don’t know what to say. One does not want to say we live in a society where our elected government never listens, but hey, we all know they don’t listen.

Who the young folks DO listen to are teachers. Yes, they DO listen to teachers. We’ve been discussing the two-party system and our two ineffective parties. We’ve been discussing all the assholery and shit-for-brains behavior on both sides. We’ve watched how that in spite of our government (both state and federal) that we will survive…or at least most of us.

In darkened corners, and in the light, we must teach our kids to fight ignorance. We must teach them not to be followers but to be free thinking citizens. We must teach them to question everything. We must teach them to follow the rule of law, but if that law is unjust they must use the system to change it. We have to start at an early age too. It is never too young to teach your child to question, and research, and form opinions.

One thing that makes our country, The United States of America, unique is that we’ve always questioned our parents, our elders, our government, and forged ahead. There are those who would take us back to the good-old-days of discrimination and sexism and inequality. Fuck them. Seriously, they can fuck themselves, but then again they’re already fucked because of the backlash that is guaranteed to come in good time.

Vampires don’t live in the dark because light burns their skin. They lived in the dark because it is the best place to find easy prey. Teach your children not to become prey. Teach yourself not to become prey.

And no matter what kind of relationship you’re in, be if political, romantic, or anything else – don’t beg. It is so unflattering and will leave you high, and dry, and alone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Musings on Parenting and Vampires

Love is in the air. I know because by 4:00 am the turkeys are already out making their gobbling love calls all over the neighborhood. They’re in the park, in front yards, in side yards, in driveways, on the sidewalks, and in the streets.

Sleep is also still in the air for teens who have nearly an impossible time getting up in the morning. Bribes of coffee and blood & berry smoothies goes on sleepy deaf ears.

But now I’m fast forwarding to school where the child texts me and says she needs $200 for AP tests (Advanced Placement.) If a Junior or Senior pass an AP test then they might be able to skip a college class. And why yes, the fees are cheaper in states I don’t live in.

So while I get texts from the kids, and listen to the turkeys, rain, and leaf blowers from the gardeners next door, I’m trying to think of a plot twists over coffee.

I explained what I was trying to do with the plot twists to my 17-year-old daughter.

“Don’t do something stupid with it. It has to be realistic, but not stupid,” she told me.

Thanks for the advice honey. I’ll be driving back to school in an hour to drop off the AP test fees.

I think about all of those Vampires who spend their days doing lofty things like fighting off rival Werewolf gangs, or lurking around in formal wear with blood dripping down their chins, or discussing with a far off Vampire council the paranormal forces and fuck it, that just isn’t the world I exist in.

This afternoon I’m meeting with an attorney. I’ll be getting about a pint of blood from him, and as usual I’ll leave cookies and juice (just like at the blood bank.)

Other than that things are pretty normal, not just for me but for most of us. By normal, I mean we’re not living some Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee movie script. Sure there are those assholes and misfits who lurk under floorboards, and graveyards. There are those without souls who haunt dark places in the cities. But who needs that? Seriously, WHO needs THAT.

We tell our kids, and other young Vampires that they have a choice. This goes for any kid.

There are choices. They don’t have to do what is expected by media or public opinion. They don’t have to be like everyone before them. If you’re different you can still be with everyone else. You know why? Because even if you’re different, you’re probably more like everyone else than you think. You’ll fit right in and be happy and nobody will know the difference. As long as they don’t know you’re a Vampire (or whatever) then do what you want.

So put away that red lined cape, and put on some jeans. Believe me, it will make dinner a lot easier. Then again, a little black dress is never a bad thing (but that is another story.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Pie, Pi, and Hi Mom (Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie, and Mattie’s Lemon Pie) and Vampires

3.14159265359

Happy Pi Day!

Garret, who is in his third year of college and almost twenty-one asked me about pie today, because it is the best way to celebrate Pi Day.

Baking and math, is like all art and science – one can’t exist without the other. Baking is an art but it is also chemistry.

Now you might be thinking, “Vampires eat pie?”

Yes, sometimes when we choose to eat solid food we will eat pie. Unfortunately super sweet pies don’t go down well at all for us. But we can limit our intake, just like anyone who has food issues.

Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie has no crust and is a nice savory pie. Mattie’s Lemon pie goes back to the 1930’s. I fix it for guests. I don’t know if you can fix it without sugar (with Spenda or other non sugar stuff.) Give it a try and let me know if it turns out.

How many people will each pie serve? 3.14159265359 x 2, give or take a few.

Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie

This works great if you wish to reduce the recipe in half. I use silicone baking pans for this so I don’t need the cooking spray.

  • Cooking spray
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 2 (16 ounce) containers cottage cheese
  • 1 pound shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (optional)
  • 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon (optional)
  • 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 -2 teaspoons dried thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Prepare a 10×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green chiles, butter, flour, bacon, and baking powder together in a large bowl; pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 30 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center of the casserole comes out clean.

 

Mattie’s Lemon Pie

This is the bomb. This is the lemon pies of all lemon pies. Remember Vampires, just a tiny taste. Don’t over do it or you’ll be sicker than a Werewolf after a cat food binge.

This recipe is from the 1930’s, maybe even a little older. First you make the crust. Then make the filling. Put the lemon filling in the crust. Then make the meringue and put it on top. THEN cook it. No the meringue isn’t on the recipe. You’re already supposed to know how to make it. Whip a bunch of egg whites with a little bit of sugar until they are still. Make sure your bowl is absolutely clean. Do not use a plastic bowl. See me if you have any questions. Below are photos of what it should look like. Make peaks, not smooth meringue. Enjoy. It also is a swell pie with lime juice.

Happy Pi Day.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Mmmmmmmm that is some good pie! Now let’s do some numbers.