Just DON’T: To those who discourage, stereotype and otherwise pigeon hole young people.

Pigeon Hole: Definition of put (someone) in a pigeonhole. : to unfairly think of or describe (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

If you continue to Pigeon Hole young people I will consider you an Ass Hole.

I was out the other night with friends, who do not have children, and the subject came up of how my children are doing.

My daughter is waiting to hear from the four colleges she has applied for as a transfer student from the local community college. I’m doing the happy dance because she was accepted into U.C. Santa Barbara. Woot Woot.

So, for the 357th time my dear friend tells me, “you know that is where my niece got into drugs.”

My standard answer is usually, “kids get into drugs at every school, even schools like BYU.”

This time I said, “My children were not brought up in a hyper controlling, over protective, helicopter parenting home. Their father and I talked to them frankly about drugs, alcohol and what happened to friends of ours who were abusers.”

We (my husband and I) have always talked not just to or at our kids, but WITH our kids. We’ve had two sided discussions about all issues that will come up with our now adult children. Sex, drugs, and Rock N Roll (they know the difference between Led Zeppelin and lead paint.)

If someone tells you their child is going to a school, be it UCLA or Monterey Bay State (big or small) congratulate your friend. They have a child going to college. The same goes for the child who goes into the Navy, goes to a trade school, gets into a apprentice program, or does anything that will help them on that journey of life.

Don’t say how shitty their choice is.

The subject also came up about job choices and training. Family members LOVE to push younger family members into career paths they will HATE. Heaven forbid someone go into something strange like graphic design and illustration (my profession of many many many many years), or anything remotely involved in the arts or creativity. Heaven forbid someone go into a trade like being a mechanic. Hey if you love cars work with them. Any job you love is a good job. If you love cleaning toilets then do it. One day you’ll run your own multimillion dollar janitorial company.

My friends asked what another young person in my life wanted to do. I said he wanted to go into film or TV. Then I was asked what his real job was going to be aka back-up job.

I live in California. There are a lot of jobs in film and TV is you have passion, talent, and a drive. I’m not going to stomp on the dreams of any young people.

If you want to go into art – DO IT. If you want to work in a museum – DO IT. If you want to sing or act – DO IT. Yes a back up plan is ok, but think of all of the middle-aged people you know who have said “I wish I had…”

Don’t hate on the dreams of youth. A lot of young people have a plan for those dreams. Now they have access to the internet and other resources we (parents) could never dream of when we were young.

I’m not saying don’t have a back-up plan. Having a large set of skills is a good thing but…

I know we don’t want to see young people hurt, but killing dreams will do more damage in the long run.

Encourage our youth. Celebrate our hard-working youth. Say “GOOD JOB” to the kids who are studying, planning, researching, discussing, and doing.

My final words are for those of you who are not so young. You have dreams. You can also follow your passions. Nobody is there to stop you. Maybe you can’t do it on a grand scale, but do it small.

You can do it too. You’re never too old for most things. Don’t ever forget it. And don’t let the assholes pigeon hole you. Don’t.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

phole

What we’re talking about this morning over coffee.

My children and I used to talk about everything from laundry to politics on the way to school in the mornings. Now that one is out of the house, and the other has her own car and doesn’t need a ride to school or work, we talk over coffee, or over the phone, or just text each other.

School admissions. My daughter and many of her friends are transfer students. A transfer student is one who goes to a community college and then transfers to a four year university.

The graduation rate in the California State University system is less than 50%. For some schools it is less than 20% for students to finish in four years. Most students drop out before they ever graduate (from what we’ve read and heard.)

So WHY do transfer students who make great grades, do everything right, and work hard get rejected or put on wait lists while students who have no intention of ever graduating get places? I don’t mean to be judgmental but a lot of students go to college without a clue of what they want to do with that education. They go because they don’t have anything else to do or because someone else tells them to. After a year or two they drop out. In the meantime students who have a plan and want to graduate don’t in?

I knew someone who once worked in college admissions. She worked part-time to go over applications. Her attitude was so flippant about who did or did not get accepted. It absolutely disgusted me. I wanted to yell at her and explain that she was fucking with the lives of these potential students. She didn’t give a shit. She was just in it for the extra cash. Wow, sound familiar?

We need more

For the past few years we’ve been talking about politics but now we’re weary. The young folks are politically active. They’re not protesting in the streets, but they’re planning, and volunteering, and voting. They aren’t going to let a lot of backwards old men decide their future (who aren’t all really old, but act like they’re ass backwards in all respects.)

Sweaters. There is still a chill in the air. Everyone loves sweaters. We’ll wear sweaters as long as we can. My kids wear them all year. That is why they decided to go to colleges near the ocean.

Most Vampires can eat avocados. Don’t shame us for it and call us insufferable hipster assholes. Avacados grow here (California.) Avacados are good. Nuff said.

US. They said mom and dad need to go see US.

We talk about art a lot. We just do.

Our dog barks. Let me go back a bit…our three year old German Shepard is now getting protective and barks a lot of things, including, but not exclusively, other dogs, coyotes, deer, turkeys, the neighbor’s gardeners, and anything she sees as a threat or especially interesting. It seems like a lot because we’ve never had a dog who barks. It is kind of different. I think she (the dog) enjoys barking. I’d enjoy barking if I could bark like a dog.

I’ve been told that I drink shitty coffee. That is an overstatement. I drink OK coffee most of the time, and good coffee a lot. I grind my own beans. I use my own reusable coffee pods, or a French Press. My children are coffee snobs. That is OK. One even goes to coffee classes and seminars. That is OK too. I am committed to support small local coffee roasters and local coffee shops.

Spring is here. We’re enjoying the flowers, and the green fields and hills. My son said it means fewer sweaters which means an easier time for Vampires. I guess, as a Vampire, talking about what we do with donors is kind of like talking about what we do in the bathroom. Some people love to talk about it. Some don’t.

We talk a lot about everything. My mantra to everyone is to talk with your children. Not at them – but with them. Listen to them too. Have lively discussions. Have quiet thoughtful talks. Have silly talks that make you laugh out loud. Share what you did during the day, or what you’re planning, or what you saw. Sure they might be technically adults but they’re still your children. They’re still your heart and soul.

So that is kind of it for today. Hugs.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Wild Coffee

Adventure in a Cup

 

 

 

Lost Keys and Lies

Every have one of those days when getting out of the house seems nearly impossible?

I couldn’t find my keys this morning and of course I was running late. And no I can’t just change myself into a bat.  That only happens in fiction.

I’m scouring the house but nothing. Then I heard a throat clearing.  I turned around and behind me is the Ghost, damn him, with my keys.

“I believe I have something of yours.” He said that with a nasty curl of his lip then flicked a lock of black hair out of his eyes.

I reached for the keys and they vanished, along with the ghost.

I let out a string of not so nice words (the kind moms pretend not to know) and then tried to sense where he could have gone.

Off of the bookshelf I grabbed the box with all of the spare keys. Does anyone else have keys to cars, doors and safe boxes they don’t even remember?

Anyway I grabbed the spare keys to my car and yelled, “If you don’t give me my keys back I’ll pour a bottle of Pinesol on your grave. I’ll pour a gallon on it.”

Nothing.

“I know where your grave is Nigel. I looked you up. I know all about you.”

I heard a clang as the keys dropped on the tile floor of the kitchen. I picked them up and headed for the front door.

He stood there waiting for me. “How’d you find out where my grave is?”

“I don’t even know your last name. How would I know where your grave is?” I looked at him with such calm as his eyes narrowed and threatened to turn me to ice.

“You’re a Vampire and a liar,” he snarled at me.

“And I’m really good at being both.” Then I smiled and headed out the door.

Anyway, tell your kids that lies and bad words are not acceptable…of course unless you’re dealing with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Wrong Number

This is a story from 2014. On this cold rainy night I thought it was worth telling again.

This isn’t a tall tale or something from the mysterious paranormal or gothic side of life.

It is just a story of something sort of sad.

It isn’t even my story. It is the story of someone who is alone. We think this person is alone. We don’t know for sure. It is a mystery.

It is a story of missed connections.

I didn’t make this up.

Smart phones don’t always reflect the situation of the people who are calling them. When we get a new phone number more likely than not somebody else had that number before we did. Or our number is close to another more popular number. When I first go my cell phone number about 12 years ago I kept getting calls from people speaking Spanish and Chinese. I got calls for a bakery. I got calls for a tire store.

My daughter has been getting calls from a local mental hospital. They are looking for a man named Thomas. He needs to pick up a patient who is only called by a number. No name. Just a number. This has been going on for two weeks.

If we were in a movie or a novel Clara, Garrett her 17-year-old brother and their friend Randy would go to the mental hospital and get the mysterious patient only known by a number. Then they’d have a strange and wild adventure and it would all wrap up after a lot of violence and car chases. But this isn’t a movie or a book.

Unfortunately the mystery isn’t unfolding. It is just a sad situation. Somebody is at a mental hospital for teens and adults. Someone is alone. So alone. They need a ride and the only number the hospital has is the wrong number which belongs to the phone of a 14-year-old girl. Nobody seems interested in finding the correct number or perhaps a different contact. Isn’t anyone talking to the patient only known by a number? Clara has spoken to people at the hospital explaining the situation but she keeps getting calls for asking for the mysterious Thomas.

This mysterious phone number (with the prefix of 666) also receives calls for a young woman I’ll call M. These are also sad and weird. M missed a court date. The parole officer is pissed off to no end. M deals drugs.  M owes everyone money. M is a go between for drug deals. M has an ex-boyfriend who is looking for her. M is a train wreck. M gets a lot of phone calls. I’ve heard these phone messages too. It is not a life I’d want to be part of or want my children to be part of. I don’t even want M to be part of it. It is an unfortunate life full of bad choices that nobody should be part of.

It is strange and sad that by accident we have seen into sad lives of people we will never meet. We don’t know anyone like M. We don’t know who Thomas is. We don’t know who the person is who needs to be picked up. We never will know. Clara has told the callers that they have called the wrong number. That is all she can do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Delivered To Your Door

Delivered to your door…

I looked at the muscular, almost beautiful, naked body on the bed and the folded up sheriffs’ uniform on the chair. The badge seemed to sparkle saying “look at me, look at me.” A white and pink orchid flower was behind his ear.

Holy crap, this wasn’t how I’d planned on starting out my week.

I was busy on my deck and getting nothing done, as usual, when I heard my son’s voice.

“Mom, Uncle Val is on the phone.” My son Garrett stood at the sliding glass door holding my phone out at arms length.

My brother Valentine, thirteen months my senior said I have to come right now. It was an emergency. Nobody else could come. None of our three older brothers could make it. Everyone else had suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

I arrived at the farm house, my two teens in tow, slamming the door as hard as I could when I got out of the car.

I’m usually pretty calm but I lit into my brother when I saw him walking towards us. “Nobody ever consults with me. I’m the one with the kids and the husband and my own business. I’m on fucking call 24/7 for everyone in this family and nobody ever asks me what I want or need. Nobody.”

“Are you done?” Val asked this in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone.

“No. What is going on?”

My brother scowled at me and shook his head. “Why are you yelling?”

I went into the house leaving him in the yard. I could hear my son saying “Bad day to mess with my mom.”

Dealing with the sick and elderly is something we do. We do it for love or obligation or family bonds or whatever the reason it is usually on autopilot fueled by guilt and frustration. I’m so saint but sometimes I want to play that saint card so much it hurts.

Eleora stood at the door in a yellow bikini top and a tie-dye skirt, her brown curls done up in red bows. She fluttered around then kissed me on each cheek. Tellias gave me a big hug. He was wearing a green shirt with yellow parrots embroidered on the back. A patch on the front said Dave in large script letters. His white blonde hair was pulled back with a green ribbon.

They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old but they’re ancient – two of the most ancient Vampires known. They were pioneers and founders of the Modern Vampire movement. It is hard to see them like this. It literally breaks my heart.

Steel guitars were hissing away on a scratched up old record playing on a wind up phonograph in the corner.

“We can’t find the car keys,” said Tellias.

“We’re being tropical tonight,” said Eleora as she danced around and put an orchid flower behind my ear.

I was ready to scream. “Again? Where did you last have them?” I asked slowly and calmly.

“If we knew that we’d be driving,” said Tellias, as he took the ribbon out of his hair and shook it out on his shoulders.

“We’d take a road trip to Montana and Maine and Michigan and Maui!” Eleora sang as she danced around again.

“How long have the keys been gone?” I asked.

“Two or three weeks. Val won’t let us use his car,” Tellias said.

“He says we drive too creatively,” Eleora giggled.

“Yes, he said we drive too creatively,” added Tellias.

“Creatively,” said Eleora, this time more seriously.

“Creatively. That was a nice way to put it,” I said more to myself than to the Elders. “What about food? Is Val bringing you food?”

Tellias patted my hand. “Val has been a darling but we like delivery. We call and they come to the house. Amazing. We should have done that a long time ago.”

Delivery? What in the world were they doing? I looked at the hanging chandelier in the entryway. “Nice fixture. Is it new?”

“A couple of nice men came and installed it,” Tellias told me. “It should last for years. The old one was fitted for gas and ugly. Remember?”

“We had them for lunch,” Eleora proudly told me.

“You shouldn’t do that. They’re help,” I told them.

Eleora just smiled. “We liked them Juliette. We wanted them to stay.”

“Are they still here?” I asked not knowing if I wanted to know the answer.

Tellias answered this time. “No, they left. Then we called the County Sheriffs and asked them to come out. We said someone tried to break in. Eleora sounded scared. They sent two good-looking strong young men right to our door.”

“Right to our door. Good looking healthy young men,” Eleora echoed.

I glanced out the window and saw the black and white car on the side of the house. Oh no.

“Where are they?” I asked trying not to panic.

They both looked to the ceiling. I ran up the stairs.

In a bedroom done in high Victorian style, I found a golden haired well-built man face down and naked on the bed. His uniform was neatly folded in a chair. He was alive but in a deep sleep. The name badge was Murphy, as in Officer Murphy.

Another handsome muscular young man was in the next bedroom over, shirtless on his back, asleep. I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. The name badge on his shirt had the name Garcia. His sleeping eyes moved a little under long dark eyelashes.

I called down the stairs. “How long have you had these guys here?”

“Since yesterday. We jammed the GPS on their car.”

I sat down on the top step, almost in tears. They couldn’t find their car keys but they could jam a GPS signal. I thought about the guy with the wedding ring. His wife must be sick wondering where he is.

In most popular novels ancient Vampires are powerful creatures of the night. In my life they are silly creatures that forget all rules about consequences or right and wrong. They act like senile teenagers, with occasional flashes to the wise, powerful leaders they once were.

Tellias sat down next to me. “We thought about keeping them for a while. Then you and Val wouldn’t have to worry about us.”

Eleora slid down on the other side and stroked my face with a cool hand. “Why are you so upset? Everything will be fine. It always is.”

We dressed the nice handsome patrol officers and positioned them in less provocative poses. An hour later another patrol car and an ambulance arrived. Two officers had become ill with an unexplained illness. Not knowing what to do a young couple took them in to their home. All was well. The officers recovered with no memory of what happened. Both mentioned an overwhelming calm and sense of well-being. Imagine that.

Tellias took my hand, like he did when I was a child. “Juliette, my dear child, we weren’t going to turn those young men into Vampires. You know we wouldn’t do that.”

“I just worry about you two,” I told him.

“You care too much for those Regular Humans,” said Eleora. “You have to distance yourself.”

“I’m married to a man who used to be a Regular Human,” I said quietly, but ready to scream.

Tellias squeezed my hand again. “And if it wasn’t for Eleora and me he would be dead.”

I went back to the bedroom where the married officer had been. Years ago my husband lay in that bed, a phantom between two worlds, that of the humans of the light and those of us who favor the dark. An unwanted conversion that had turned those warm hands cold forever, but given me…

“Mom?”

I looked over to kids standing next to me. A 14-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son. They shouldn’t have to see all this, but I don’t believe in sheltering them. I never have.

I guess I should do my famous parenting blogger bullet points but there is no point in this story. It is just one of those things, on one of those nights.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

“Delivered To Your Door” was first posted here in March 2014. The kids are in college and the elderly Vampires are still sending out for delivery, much to my chagrin.

 

 

SHAME ON YOU. College Admissions Cheating.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard or read about the dozens of wealthy parents who have been caught in a nationwide cheating/fraud. In order to get their brats into a hard to get into college such as Stanford, Yale, USC, and UCLA, these parents bribed coaches to say their children were star athletes, and they paid a college prep organization to take SAT and other tests on behalf of the students, or correct their answers.

This included famous parents such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In 2012 when I started this blog most of the posts were about Middle School and High School happenings.

Over the past few years it has been about college. That includes college admissions.

I’ve watched about a dozen kids, including my own, work hard to get into Colleges and Universities. They’ve busted their butts to get good grades. They’ve worked hard and smart in their extracurricular activities. They’ve put their hearts and souls, and everything else they have into getting into their chosen school.

I’ve also heard heartbreaking stories of amazing kids, with great grades and impressive achievements get rejection letters from all of their top choices. There is absolutely no logic or reason these kids should not have been accepted. My heart just broke every time I heard about another unreasonable rejection letter.

Maybe now we know at least part of the story. Douchebag parents with a shit load more money than your average middle class family are bribing and cheating to get their little lazy ass darlings into good schools.

Is this jealously of the rich and famous? No, because I could have afforded to cheat to get my child into a fine university, but the price would have been too high. The price of losing my child’s respect and knowing I’d done a bad thing would have been too high.

There is no room for cheating when it comes to parenting. There is no room for cheating when it comes to life.

History is full of people who have cheated to get into the right college and get where they are right now, including some who hold extremely high offices. They threaten to sue those who uncover their dishonesty. They brush it off. Some die with their secrets.

The same kids who cheat to get into a school are the same ones who get money from mommy and daddy to hire someone to write their papers. They’re the same parents who will pad their children’s resumes with fake jobs. The list goes on and on.

Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy are acting as bad, or even worse than the characters on his show Shameless.

Families who are involved from admissions cheating should be banned from any respectable College or University, public or private.

For those of you who say the students should not be punished, only the parent: I say bullshit.

Most kids I know don’t even let their parents help with applications, writing admissions essays, helping with their SAT, or anything else that has to do with the actual admissions process.

As parents we are allowed to go with them on school tours, listen to their concerns, pay for anything we can, and give them moral support. The young people in my life would be absolutely horrified if they knew we’d cheated on their behalf. None of these kids would want to ever talk to their parents again. They’d say NO.

But you know what? I am sure the pampered children of the rich and famous cheaters were fine with this. They never say “NO MOM.” Cheating and paying to get everything they want is normal for them. They don’t know what it means to work hard.

The children I feel sorry for are the ones who did not know what their parents did. They will suffer in the fall out of their parent’s bad actions.

Money can buy a lot. I have no problems with money. I have problems with cheaters and bad parents. I have no problems with parents who help their kids get jobs and educational opportunities HONESTLY and above board. I have problems with cheaters and liars.

I have problems with people who STEAL university spots from hard working deserving kids.

  • Don’t cheat.
  • Don’t be a douche.
  • Support your kids in their dreams without doing it all for them.
  • Talk with your kids.
  • Encourage your kids to be independent.
  • Be a person that your child will look up to, or at least love and respect.

 ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Unknown-2

This looks like how I feel about the subject of you cheating to get your child into the university of your choice.

 

For more information go to slate.com, npr.com, cnn.com or your favorite news source. Read all about it.