Summer School Daze

My almost 19-year-old daughter Clara is taking a college English Class this summer. They’re reading and writing about poetry and literature. The exact name of the class isn’t important.

Clara: I can’t believe some of the other students.

Me: What happened.

Clara: Some girl bragged about being an English Major, then she said she hated to read. She actually said she hated to read. She just wants to write. She just gushes about how she loves to write. But she hates to read.

Me: But how can she be a good writer if she doesn’t read?

Clara: She LOVES to write. I bet she writes awful fan fiction. She’s that type.

Me:

Clara: shrugs shoulders

Me:

Clara: I feel sorry for the teacher.

Me: Wow. You have to wonder.

Clara: I know.

The moral of this true story is that if you love to read you don’t have to write. HOWEVER, if you love to write you have to read. That is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Live it. Teach it. Preach it.

And keep listening to those kids of yours. They’ll tell you all kinds of unbelievable things. Also, hug a teacher.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Additional Reminders

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I was sitting here and a pop up message popped up on my screen.

You haven’t written anything yet.

Thanks, but I don’t need any additional reminders.

Seriously, I don’t need any reminders right now, or ever.

I hate compute pop-ups. It just makes me feel hate. It is worse than the hate I feel when I see commercials with inappropriate music. You know like when Microsoft used “Start Me Up” and some clueless marketing asshole decided to show a small smiling girl using a computer right before the lyrics “You make a dead man cum.”

Aside from stories about raccoons scaling tall buildings (yes that is a real story) I’m trying to stay away from news stories concerning politics. I don’t need any reminders about any of that. I have yellow jackets to deal with.

You’d think it would be easy being a Vampire. You know, you just lurk around, sneak into rooms and drink blood, occasionally scare someone, and watch out for Vampire Hunters, but it isn’t like that. Jeez, not at all. Wouldn’t that be a horrible existence? Sort of like being a Zombie or more like a politician. You know, all dead and rotten on the inside with no feelings except the desire to feed and create a brood of sniveling bootlickers. And I’m talking both sides of the barbed wire fences they put up to keep their camps in line.

The yellow jacket sting burns and has put me in a temporary bad mood. Can you tell?

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Several other things have also put me on edge but … but it will be a good day. My wonderful 84 pound shadow of a dog is with me. Despite the asshole yellow jackets my yard is beautiful (I’ll post photos later.) I feel creative. OK not this second because I’m venting, but I’m feeling creative. My kids are driving to the coast for the day and I’m happy for them. My husband was in a good mood. Nobody was eaten by coyotes last night (at least not anyone I know.)

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My dog Alice

So what is bugging you today? Feel free to vent. Or better yet, feel free to share something good that is going on. We could all use some of that.

Sometimes it is good to have a reminder, but nobody wants to be bugged by yellow jackets or by their own computer.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Dark Days, Ghosts, and Inspiration

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Coffee with Vampires, Ghosts and Poe

I’ve been having a bad case of Empty Nest Blues lately. Yes, even without any kids in the house, or kids almost out of the house, I can do anything. Right? Yes, but like everything else it is always complicated with me. As I brooded about my lack of brood and lack of inspiration my brother Val stopped by for coffee.

As I filled the French Press with hot water, Val grabbed cups and poured in a shot of blood and half/half in each cup. He put two packages of Equal in his, one in mine.

“Dark day?” He asked.

“I feel frozen. But I’ll be fine. Tell me about your sorry existence.” That was a joke. Val has a lovely existence, especially for a Vampire.

We sat and talked about a lot of things. I thought about being inspired to be inspired.

I poured more coffee into my cup and posed a question to my brother. “What if Edgar Allen Poe had lived. He died in 1849, so he might have heard of the gold find in California. What if he’d live and come to California? What if he’d continued to write and eventually met Bret Harte and Mark Twain? What if he’d met Lotta Crabtree? What if he’d met us?”

“Imagine him on the ship with our parents. That would have been fun.”

“Poe would have loved them.”

“He would have ended up becoming a Vampire. Mom would have made sure of that.”

“Maybe,” I said. “He was so odd and broken, but he shouldn’t have died. I think he was murdered.”

“That’s the rumor.”

One idea leads to another, and I make mental notes for stories, books, and artwork that I think a lot about and might someday create, or finish, or forget. The thought is depressing, or exciting depending on who is thinking it. If I’m thinking it right now it seems vague and somewhat depressing, and impossible, and overwhelming. Tomorrow it might be another answer.

As we talked, and my mood brightened and became more hopeful, Val and I looked out the window into my back yard. We could see the ghosts, Nigel and Mary by the fence. They were dancing to music we couldn’t hear. Being ghosts, dealing with their own deaths, and murders, had taken a toll on both, but they pulled themselves out of their own broken fog and made a life after death for themselves. Love will do that. Don’t get me wrong, Nigel is still a major asshole, but sometimes I see that light I know he had when he was alive. Like with Poe, I wonder what he would have achieved had he lived. He’d be fifty-eight now, had he not died in 1986.

Nigel looked up at us and waved at Val. Then he looked at me. Our eyes locked, and he flipped me off. Then Nigel and Mary vanished, as she continued to dance, and he glared at me.

I can relate to the songs and dances of the broken. These are not all sad songs. They’re just songs of those who have maybe had more complex paths to wander along.

Val had always been along my path with me, but we’ve taken side trails alone.

But like with my brother’s visit, I always circle around and return to the joy and love of my family, my friends, and of my imagination.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/broken/

 

 

 

The “P” and the “V” Words. Six years of Vampire Maman.

A life with a blog and children is a life of continuous interruptions. Add in a spouse and, well, good luck with any train of thought you might ever have forever.

I just realized, today that the first post on vampiremaman.com went live on April 12, 2012.

In the beginning I didn’t know the “P” word, and the “V” word carried so much emotional weight with readers. OK I’ll admit I knew the “P” word would. That is parenting. That is something I am firmly and completely dedicated to.

The “V” word, that is “Vampires” is something completely different. At first I had readers show disbelief. There were also Vampire “experts” who felt the need to tell me that I was wrong. Excuse me? As a mom there were only two words I wished to express to those yahoos and that was “fuck you.” But like a good mom, and even a better Vampire I refrained. Several folks told me that I was going to go to Hell without so much as a Do Not Pass Go. It makes one sort of think what motivates people to search out others and tell them that? Parenting 101 will tell you to teach your kids NOT to behave like that. Since then those kinds of assholes have ceased their yammering. I know all of you who blog know the type.

But enough of that. I have been so surrounded by love and support and community that it completely warms my cold Vampire heart. Completely!

Six years ago I started the musings of a modern Vampire mom. Six years. Wow.

My blog has grown from what I thought would be a few parenting posts, and maybe a bad poem or two.

My first guest posts in May 2012 were from Marie Williams the Half Pint Historian, and Mandy White, author of The Jealousy Game (a book about relationships that I recommend to everyone.)

In the summer of 2012 I started to blog about the TV show “America’s Got Talent and Cocktails.” The comments from the Vampire peanut gallery, plus cocktail recipes from my husband Teddy proved to be fun and popular with readers. I’ve continued the series every summer since then.

It was then that I also posted “Love Poems and Letting Go”, my first post about love letters and the teenage heart.

September 2012 brought the first appearance of The Ghost. Yes, that would be Nigel. Yes, he is still around, making snarky remarks and flipping me off every single chance he gets.

In October 2012 you were introduced to Tellias and Eleora the ancient Vampires. Like a lot of my readers I was raising children and taking care of elders. It is both frustrating and rewarding to be in the middle like that.

Soon after that came the most popular post on this blog, “How to Write a Response to a Love Letter (which is more fun if it isn’t addressed to you.) On some days over half the traffic on this blog comes from that post. Since then I’ve written quite a few posts about love letters. I’ve become the Queen of Love Letters.

On August 4, 2013 I first posted the story about my brother Andy called, “Dancing on the Beach.” I need to write a book about Andy and his crazy adventures.

Sometime around then I started the regular feature “Short Story Sunday”. Every Sunday you get a new story, or a good rerun.

2014 brought “The Hunter,” and the introduction of the Austin and Elizabeth series. He is a Vampire Hunter. She is a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated.

And in December 2014 I posted the first installment of Vlad’s “Vampire Diary.”

That is just a few of the regular features. I’ve written about taking your kids to rock concerts, school, a lot about bullies, helping your kids get through rough patches, and all of those things our kids go through until they reach adulthood and leave.

Now that my kids have reached adulthood they still need me. And I still need them. You never stop being a parent.

I continue to write about Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and others who are different.

A long running occasional feature is “What we talked about this morning on the way to school.” Today I write about this feature with a heavy heart. Too often we talked about school shootings. Since 2013 there have been over 300 school shootings in the United States. There have been at least 43 in 2018 including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida where 17 were killed, and today in Texas. I cried when I told my kids about the Sandy Hook School shooting. I still cry. It has to stop. It is happening in elementary schools, high school, and colleges. It is happening at concerts, in clubs, and you name it. The insanity needs to stop and you need to talk about it with your kids. You also need to VOTE and tell your 18+ year old kids to VOTE.

My main message here for parents always has been, and always will be TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. Don’t talk at them. Don’t lecture. Share and listen. Listen to your kids. There is a lot you can learn. Don’t shelter them. Don’t judge them. Be honest. Be firm. Be loving. Let them know that they can trust you and come to you with anything. They’re your children. There is NOTHING you need to be uncomfortable about. And even if you don’t agree with them, the least you can do is hear them out. Let them know that their opinions count. Let them also know that your opinions also count. Guide them, love them, hug them, treasure them.

And on a lighter note, this year I started the NEW feature “50 Burning Questions.” For fifty weeks, always on Saturday, I will be asking a BURNING QUESTION. On each post is a simple poll where you can check your answer. Comments and theories are encouraged. Check it out!

With almost 2,000 blog posts here there is a lot to read and something for everyone. I hope that in the next six years I’ll have another 2,000 posts to share.

Thanks for helping me make Vampiremaman.com a success.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

From whom all blessings flow (and 200 Jack Asses)

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Easter weekend has come and gone. I had a house full of people. It was lovely with flowers everywhere, wine, and good company. The best.

Now it is Thursday and the house is a mess from my work, and the college aged child gathering gear for a class camping trip. Excuse me, I’m the one gathering gear for the class camping trip.

I’m also writing. Not this blog obviously as you can see by the lack of regular posts. Just semi-regular. So now I guess I should bitch about the leaf blowers in my neighborhood. There are seven houses on my street. The three which surround mine hire men to come and run leaf blowers for about twenty hours every week.

Last weekend I’d started writing the account of how Vampires came out to California in 1849 – 1850. I know, that sound pretty stupid for those who are new to this blog. We’re Vampires but not the kind you see in old Hammer films all dripping with blood and shit like at. This is no Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee fan club.

Anyway, this is the beginning of the true historic account:

“In two weeks time we will be leaving for California. We won’t be coming back, at least not anytime within the next fifty years.” He chuckled at his own joke. “We will be going by ship, crossing Panama, then taking a ship up the Pacific coast to California. Our ride will be first class, so will yours if you choose to join us. All of your expenses will be paid, plus you will receive a large bonus. For those of you who choose not to stay behind we will had new positions for you. It is up to you to decide. We hope that you will join us but we understand if you choose to stay behind. Go to church, enjoy your day, and pray upon it or whatever you wish to do to help you decide.”

Then he stood next to his wife and they sang with sweet, beautiful, angelic voices.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Amen.

Their staff listened knowing their employers and protectors rarely, or never set foot in a church of any kind.

Then the woman laughed and said, “Go. Have the morning to yourself then let us know what you wish to do.”

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The flyer featured above was not from their ship but take a good look at it.

200 Jack Asses!

Seriously, would you want to be on a ship for thirty five days with 200 Jack Asses?

The leaf blowers continue to make noise. Lucky for me it is going to rain for the next few days so maybe I’ll get a break. On a good note my dog is at my feet keeping me safe and in good company. No ghosts are on my deck. I wish there were ghosts out today. I’d send them out to scare the leaf blowers.

Enough of that. I’m going to spend the next few hour on a contemporary tale with lots of twists and turns. But I will continue the tale of how Tellias, Eleora, my parents, and other came out to California, and of their non-Vampire friends who also came along. Just for kicks and grins.

Later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Creative ideas with or without belching

You never know where creative ideas are going to come from. I’m around teens a lot. Teens belch. Write what you know (so I write about teens and Vampires) but sometimes we can be inspired to write something new. Maybe some more Science Fiction. So on the drive home from the post office yesterday I thought of a story and told my 18-year-old daughter and sounding board Clara.

My idea:

There is a planet with two different forms of life. The first form of life belches a lot. They belch out gas that the second form of life need to live.

Clara looked at me and said “Mom that isn’t one of your best efforts.” Then in a deep strong Southern accent she says, “Bob come over here and belch in my face so I can keep living.”

“I was thinking they were more like toads or something.”

“Mom, that is so lame.”

Later I told my husband who respond with “That is really bad.”

So much for being the next Philip K. Dick. Maybe on a good day I might get close to H.G. Wells. That would be a really great day.

On the other hand, I seem to have written about gassy planets and the like before.

Monday morning could have been out of a science fiction story…

Being with the elderly is always interesting. A little bit of time travel, a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of “I’m too old to give a shit about what anyone thinks” attitude. The attitude is what makes being really old so delightful.

I stopped by to see the Elders. They’re ancient Vampires. Nobody is quiet sure how old. They look like they’re around 19 or 20 but they’ve been around since before the birth of Christ. It is my job, now with the help of my brother Val, to look in on them and make sure they’re ok.

When I arrived they fluttered around me, giving kisses and hugs. They sang a song to me Irving Berlin’s “I Love to Have the Boys Around Me.” Yes, they’re pretty random, but also exceptionally sweet.

Eleora had her long reddish-brown curls up in a loose bun and a most interesting outfit. She’d taken one of those old lady track suits. You know the kind I’m talking about – velourish fabric pants and top, always matching, usually in bright colors. Always monochromatic. Eleora rarely wears trousers (what she calls all pants.) But she wanted that track suit. So she made the pants into a skirt. Remember those skirts in the 1970’s made out of jeans? The legs were split and usually patchwork fabric (yes, like a quilt) was a large triangle in the front making a swell skirt. Well, Eleora had done that with her track pants. It was a riot of colors and patterns all in reds. She was so happy dancing around for me.

So maybe I don’t need science fiction to be weird. Sometime I just need my own life, which is always weird and astounding and fantastic and full of astonishing things I could never imagine.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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