Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Define and Conquer

I’d picked the kids up last week from the roller skating rink and caught a nice break visiting and singing along with them to fun music. (Never Shout Never, Coffee and Cigarettes. Always fun and inappropriate), when I pull into my driveway and see that black Mercedes parked in front of my house.

In another life, another time, another moment, my heart would have skipped a beat. Everything in my romantic Vampire soul would have cried “Adventure and Romance are MINE”, followed by “Insanity and Trouble” and the urge to RUN, but at this moment, BUSY MOM, just looked and thought “You’ve got to be kidding?”

My kids are already wondering why my mood is gone.

The last time this person was over my husband gave him the “We’re not going to raise our kids in a Vampire Ghetto” talk. Not “Ghetto Talk” but telling this prominent Vampire that we would not be raising our children in a night-time world of Vampires and darkness. We’re modern Vampires. We don’t lurk around shadows. We don’t lurk. We live in a diverse world. And aside from that, my husband used to be a regular human. But that is another blog post up the road somewhere.

He greeted the kids and they ran upstairs with excuses about tons of homework. I greeted Nathaniel Chase with a kiss on his cold cheek. He took my hands in his and told me how lovely I looked. Teddy had already opened a bottle of wine. I headed to the kitchen to get my own glass of wine, with the intention of joining  the men who were deep in discussion about whatever it is men discuss when my brain is full of kids and work and the 50,000 things the average mom has to do each and every single day rain or shine, dark or light.

I was in no hurry to get my own glass. From the corner of my eye, from the kitchen window, I could see the ghost sitting on my back deck reading a large red book. Nathaniel Chase would be too polite to bring up the ghost. Most Vampires are polite to a fault unless provoked (or with their blood relatives). As I poured the wine I wondered what brought Nathaniel here. It was always something that would turn my world upside down. He always wanted something. What would it be this time. Did he still want to know about Jack the Ripper? Did he want to recruit my son into studying with some old musty Vampire in Europe? Did he want to get information about someone? Or did he just plan on bitching about our lifestyle choices?

I glanced out the window at the ghost. He flipped me off and vanished. I thought about Nathaniel, glossy black hair, slate blue eyes and matching sweater and black jeans with a plaid Cashmere scarf hanging around his neck (you know the kind guys wear now). He could have been the front man of a famous band or a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He could be whatever you wanted him to be. As a Vampire he was that good. Women’s heads would turn but they wouldn’t know if it was because he was dressed so well or if he was handsome or if he was a creature from another realm. All they were really sure of was that they couldn’t resist him. He could work it on men too (we all can). No regular human could resist Nathaniel Chase.

He’d been around for a long time. I suspect at least 400 years but I never asked. I just knew that it was his job, or he thought it his job, to keep track of what other Vampires were doing. I’m a mom, so had too much to deal with right now without being twisted and turned by Nathaniel Chase. And I could resist Nathaniel Chase. I’d been resisting him my entire life.

I’m proud to be whatever I am and have raise my children to do the same but that said…I don’t want my children to grow up feeling as if the world is not theirs. I don’t want them to live in an antique world of darkness, reeking with the smells of dried blood and fear. I don’t want them to feel as if they are monsters or outcasts.

Nathaniel Chase was always watching me since  I was a child. Nothing I ever did was right. Of course girlfriends and I got into all sorts of silly problems but we were just girls. On the other hand my brother Val and I got into some serious trouble on more than one occasion over the years, but we learned from our mistakes. We were serious successful adults now – not the crazy reckless youthful Vampires of old.

I downed my wine, poured another glass, straightened my shoulders and joined my husband Teddy and Nathaniel in the formal living room. I was ready to take whatever crap he wanted to throw at me and I was ready to throw it back. Never again would I let Nathaniel Chase get the best of me.

It took everything I had (and the wine helped) to keep my upper lip from getting a twitch in it. My head was light. I hated confrontation. I didn’t need it right now.

“So what brings you here Nathaniel?” I asked as I pushed a cat off of the chair and sat down. The cat jumped up into Nathaniel’s lap. Traitor.

“My wife and I are moving here in a few months. Our daughter is 3 now and our son just had his first birthday, but you knew that. I wanted to ask you about the schools. I hear you’re the go-to source for all things to do with parenting” Nathaniel answered. My husband just smiled.

As we grow up, no matter how long it takes, there comes a time when we realize that we’ve come into our own. I believe that most people are respected and liked and loved far more than they can ever imagine. I don’t always feel like that, believe me, but all reason tells me to just stop thinking and give myself a pat on my back for doing a good job.

We talked for another couple of hours about kids, schools and the joys and challenges of parenting. And all was well in my world, as the tune to Coffee and Cigarettes ran through my head.

coffee

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Note: Define and Conquer is use of witty wordplay on defining terms. This was not a typo for Divide and Conquer. You are on the wrong blog if you’re are looking for a fight or reason for unpleasant snark (try the political blogs).

Note #2: Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never was first posted in February 2013.

Empty Nest Brain Drain

Even without any children in the house I find myself in constant motion these days.

My time is like a hole in a low water table area. It is empty but fills up faster than I can dig.

There is work to do, and things to plan, and research to take care of, meeting to go to, other people to see, places to go, animals who are five times more demanding now, and I can’t even seem to think. I’ve spent more time in freeway traffic than I want to think about. On the other hand I can’t complain about the traffic – I could be living in Southern California.

I’m also in touch with my children, every single day. It could be a long conversation or a series of funny texts but I’m in touch.

And you thought Vampires just sleep all day and then rise in the night to go out and find blood. That is like saying everyone else sleeps all night then rise in the morning to find toast and coffee then go back to sleep.

It might be all about the coffee but it isn’t all about the toast or the blood.

Sorry, I’ve got major brain drain right now. Let me get more coffee, go meet with my editor, see some chickens (I’ll post photos) and get back to you, maybe this afternoon.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

2020 Resolutions, Predictions, and Parenting

For years I’d write New Year Predictions on a slip of paper and seal them up in an envelope on January 31. The following January 31 I’d open the envelope and see if any of them would come true.

My long lists would consist of things that I had no control over. I would write wild things about weather, politics, friends finding true love, fame, fortune, dream jobs, to name a few.

The odd thing was that every year about half of the predictions came true.

The things that came true were never huge global events like major earthquakes, wars, or floods.

The events that came true were either minor events, or extremely personal events in the lives of people I knew.

These were so random that nobody every thought any of these events could or would happen. But they did happen.

In my sealed envelope were predictions that friends would find love. They did indeed find love. They found the kind of love that swept them off of their feet. Unfortunately they were swept right into a flaming dumpster fire. One spent years and years in an abusive relationship. The other was with a chronic cheater.

Dream jobs happened but turned into nightmares. Fame was of the infamous kind, true love was anything but true.

When I got married I stopped my decades of predictions. I had no desire to risk burdening unhappiness upon anyone.

I know it was all coincidental, but one never knows. More than anything, it just wasn’t fun anymore.

As for resolutions, I don’t do those either. Resolutions are never fun and honestly I never know what each day will bring. I’ve learned that life likes to surprise me way too often. What works in January might be great but by March the list is added to and enhanced and revised, or even lost and forgotten.

That is just me. I’ve spend the past 160 years being fairly disorganized, transitional, unplanned, and completely spontaneous. On the other hand for the past two decades I’ve been a mom. That pretty much sums it up.

I’m fantastic at parenting. My kids are great. Yes, I will stand up and take a bow. It wasn’t easy but it was well worth it.

One thing I’ve learned, as most parents know, is that you can’t predict who your children will be, what they will like, what directions they’ll go in, or just about everything else about them.

What you can is control is how much you talk with them, how much you listen, how much you love, how much you care, how involved you are, and how much you let go of.

If resolutions and predictions make you feel fun, happy, or help you out then do it. You have my blessing.

I’ll tell you a secret – I’m kind of a flake and don’t do most things I say I’m going to do. Or at least I won’t do them in a quick timely manner. That’s all. Maybe the new year should be a true confessions time. Or maybe not. Maybe not might be the best answer.

No matter what, I wish everyone a wonderful 2020. May it be the best for all of my readers and blogging friends.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

cropped-juliette1

 

Parenting: Teaching your kids culture, but it is OK if they don’t know a 40 year old band, and don’t be an old fart.

When our kids were small we decided that part of their education would be teaching them the classics. On road trips Teddy would play music and the kids would identify the classic rock bands. At a young age (by the time they were six or seven) our offspring could identify Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimmi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and a myriad of other bands. This included my husband’s favorite summer road trip band Van Halen.

Just to keep the record straight on this: He prefers Diamond Dave. I prefer Sammy. But hey, it’s all good.

This all is leading us down a path to somewhere, and I’m sure you know where (or maybe not.)

The extremely popular and talented seventeen year old singer Billie Eilish said in an interview that she didn’t know who the band Van Halen was.

Asshats all over the Internet jumped right on it. They criticized her for her musical knowledge. Seriously? Does it matter that she doesn’t know a band that started out in a time that seems like centuries ago to most teens?

In an attempt to educate my children and make them into cultured little Vampires we’d have Saturday Night Opera Bath. I’d plunk the babies into the tub and turn on the radio. Now twenty years later they don’t listen to opera and can only recognize a few songs. Does it matter that their Uncle Andy is a trained opera singer? Not really. He sings to the kids but not opera. That’s ok. Opera isn’t for everyone and neither is Van Halen.

Over the Thanksgiving break my daughter didn’t know who Steely Dan was. Do I care? Not really. I don’t go out of my way to listen to them and neither does her dad. At twenty she knows who Glen Miller was but not Steve Miller. That’s ok.

As a parent you have to make sure your kids don’t grow up in a cultural void, but you can’t teach them everything. They learn things along the way and they won’t know it all by the time they’re seventeen, twenty or even fifty.

For example my kids know art. They can tell you if a work is Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Dada, Pop Art, Medieval (their least favorite and what they consider the weirdest), Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Surrealism, and many many other movements. Art is important to us, so we passed that love on to our children.

They can’t tell you who any of the presidents between John Quincy Adams and Abe Lincoln were, or anyone right before or right after Teddy Rosevelt. If they really think about it they might be able to come up with some trivial facts, but neither one are American History Majors, or Music History Majors.

We all teach our kids our own culture. In my house it is art and music we like, and how to grow herbs, and bad puns. They’ll catch up on all of the other stuff. Believe me, they can, and will, beyond your wildest expectations.

The fact that Billie Eilish didn’t know who Van Halen is is OK. She is only seventeen. Maybe her parents didn’t like Van Halen. Nobody is going to play music to their children unless they like it. Some people do play music to their kids that they don’t like but they’re just weird and read too many child rearing books.

Ms Eilish obviously had caring parents who shared a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to their child.

One of the things I like best about her is that she is her own young woman and a good role model to other teen girls. She doesn’t rely on dressing like a later day Playboy Bunny to get attention. It is her music not her T&A.

Another thought…

Don’t EVER stop learning about and listening to new music. My kids introduced me to so many new bands. Of course as Vampires we have to keep up with things as a matter of survival, but that’s another blog post. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to were with my kids. I even went to Warped Tour with them. Yes, we had more fun than I could have imagined years ago at a Black Veil Brides Concert. Parents and other adults – don’t be old farts. Expand your musical horizons. If you have questions just look it up on my blog. I think I’ve written a dozen posts about going to concerts with and sharing music with my kids.

I’d like to think that most people reading my blog are life long learners.

So keep learning. Keep sharing information. And keep encouraging others not tearing them down (unless they’re assholes, then you can tear them down as much as you want.)

I’ll leave you with some music. I’m off to hang lights on my Christmas tree, and then maybe dance the night away.

~  Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Sickening Sweet and Predictable

“If you bring out that wonderful pink box most children will gather around. When you open it, bursting with two dozen donuts in at least eight different variations, you expect the children to be delighted. You’ll be surprised to see the faces look in scorn at the sprinkled cake donuts, the apple sweet rolls, the bear claws, and the French curls. Except for a few of the children, they all want puffy sickening sweet and predictable plain glazed donuts.

Those are the same children who will visit another home and tell their friends, “That isn’t the way we do it at OUR house.” At school, rather than listen and learn, they will scorn others for opinions and customs different than their own narrow experiences. Their world is their own home, their classroom, their family, and their street. They have no used for anything outside of that world. Surprisingly these children are often the most aggressive and popular in there schools.”

The Demon took a long thin clawed finger and drew a circle in the sand. His skin was a grayish green, his eyes yellow with deep black pupils that never dilated, and his face a collection of sharp angles that could have been both handsome and disturbing at the same time. As with his companion his leathery wings were folded and tucked close to his back. His tail was wrapped around out of the way.

His companion, a smaller female Demon was the palest of grayish yellow – almost white. Her long white hair was in a braid and hung over her shoulder down the front. Olive green eyes looked back at the male demon who was her teacher.

She blinked sand out of her eyes. “So those are the ones we hit on first, the ones who have narrow singular minds. We go after those who do not see beyond their own three for four doors?”

“Yes.”

A young couple passed by them. He was tall with brown curly hair twisted up in a knot on the top of his head. She was shorter and blonde. They both wore sweaters and walked with their arms around each other.

“What about them? Let’s take them,” said the pale female Demon.

“No. It has been tried. They were not the children who only take the glazed donuts. They were children who from a young age have sought out the world from a different point of view. They were encouraged to be curious. They are cynical and skeptical. They are creative. They are curious. They ask questions. Most of all they are not followers.”

“Isn’t that exactly what we want?”

“Of course it is, but we haven’t been able to tempt them. They are on the high ground so to speak. They question everything. They weigh right and wrong. Their moral compass is too hight for us.”

“But wouldn’t you think that the children who are protected and not exposed will be the least susceptible to our charms?”

“Exactly the opposite. We paint a beautiful picture for them. We suggest that the world is an ugly place that is against them. We can tempt them. We can tempt the selfish and the self absorbed. We can tempt those with small views of the world. We can tempt both those who have seen too much and those who have seen nothing. Those two are the easier recruits.”

“But what about those two walking on the beach?”

“They can’t be touched. They’re hard in their minds but their hearts are pure. They will analyze everything. They’re not religious but they are self righteous. Worst of all they’ll think we’re stupid, or worse funny.”

The female Demon rolled her shoulders then stretched out her wings. “But they can’t see us as we are.”

“No they can’t,” said the male.

Anyone walking by would see a young couple sitting in the sand, not that unlike the the couple walking along the beach.  She looked pretty and pale like a cartoon princess. He was handsome in a hipster sort of way. People who walked along the beach smiled at them. Their tiny red sharp toothed demon pet who the female had on a leash looked like an adorable beagle mix.

“We can fool some of them,” said the male, “but not everyone, and it isn’t always the ones you expect. Even some of the good ones will still pick out the glazed donuts. You just never know.”

As the young couple in the warm sweaters who walked arm in arm walked back to their car they glanced at the attractive seated couple who sat in the sand with their dog. The dog barked and the woman told it to be quiet.

The young man held his girlfriend’s arm a little tighter, “I get a bad vibe off of those two.”

“I do too,” said the young woman. “I don’t know what it is. They kind of creep me out.”

“You wanna get coffee? There’s a great little bakery not far from here.”

“That would be great,” she said. “A raspberry filled scone sounds great right now.”

The Demons watched the couple as they walked to their car.

The male Demon shuttered. “They gave me a strange warm cozy vibe. I feel kind of sick.”

“Me too,” said the female. “You wanna get breakfast?”

“Sure. They mentioned the bakery around the corner. Let’s not go there.”

The wind kicked up and blew sand across the beach covering up the cloven prints and tiny claw tracks left behind.

 

 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is almost here

Ghosts and Goblins yell and cheer,

Witches drink their Bat Eye Beer

Halloween is almost here.

 

halloween cat 3

 

At the crack of dawn this morning, actually about an hour before, I looked out on my deck to find two ghosts holding coffee mugs and savoring the first stirrings of the woodland creatures who live in my yard and behind my house (along with the sounds of fire truck sirens, trucks and a random dog bark or two.) I watched my translucent friends put their heads together in close conversation, occasionally laughing or using hand gestures.

These ghosts have discarded any old ideas of white sheets and hollow eyed wails. They leave that for others. Sure they can haunt the crap out of anyone and show their form in death (a rather violent image, especially for the one called Mary) but they usually choose not to.

He has pale skin and dark, almost black glossy hair that layers around his face. She has long reddish brown hair that she lets blow in the ghostly winds that most of us can’t feel.

If it was any other pair of ghosts I would have chased them off, but these two are mine. At least mine because they live in my space. I usually don’t like ghosts or anything without a body, but there are always exceptions.

I didn’t interfere with their reveries. I’d pick up the cups later. That is the empty cups they fill with their phantom coffee. I had other things on my mind.

Earlier my husband Teddy had come home with a scratch across his handsome face. Three scratches from fingernails to be exact and bites in various places.

He’d been called to see about a rare pocket watch a client of his was looking for. When he arrived at the old Victorian he discovered that the apartment was below street level (the original street level.)

The door was answered by a woman of shocking appearance. She was bloated like a dead thing that had been out in the sun. Her eyes were sunken and rimmed with pale pinkish red. Despite her bony frame the fashionable black dress she wore strained at the seams. White blonde hair tangled around her face. Blood caked around the corners of her mouth and on the cuticles of her fingernails.

He recognized her, barely. In 1934 he’d spent two weeks with her on Catalina Island. People thought she was a film star with her Jean Harlow looks and beautiful clothes. So much for happy memories.

She told him that now she fed on transients and outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. Rather than taking a pint or a quart here and there she sucked them dry. Nobody would miss them or care. It always looked like natural causes anyway. Then she’d sleep it off for a week or two and start again.

Teddy, being the man he is and a Vampire with a social conscience tried to tell her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Bad move Teddy. She attacked him, screeching that she never asked to be a Vampire. She didn’t choose that life. She had become isolated as those she preyed upon.

As she fled into the night  The young man who made the nicely decorated basement apartment at home was in a deep sleep. He wasn’t someone off the grid but someone who’d left his bedroom window open and a Vampire climbed in. Teddy had the decency to erase any bad memories the young man might have had. Then Teddy called a Vampire Hunter to take care of his old friend. Teddy didn’t have the stomach to do it himself.

We talked about it for a while and like so many things it just seemed sad. Too many things seem sad.

Halloween is almost here but we’re already up to our eyeballs in scary shit, including a school shooting scare and other stupid stuff.

But then again like all families we’re busy to the point where we can’t stop and even think about anything much. It is like this all the time. Halloween brings a flood of activity. A party at my house on Friday. A party on Saturday. A skate meet on Sunday. A dozen other things including school and work are squeezed in between. Then we start all over again.

But I’ll make it a point to stop and sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.  And tomorrow we’ll carve those pumpkins I’ve been gathering on my front porch!

 

Halloween is almost here

Werewolves howling is so near,

Zombie looking for his ear,

Halloween is almost here.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

halloween3

 

 

This little adventure was first posted here in 2014. I’ll be back with new stories and adventures shortly.