Better Than Yourself

It is difficult, as a mother, for me to teach my children to despise those who embrace ignorance, hate, and the cult of narcissism, when most of our elected leaders, including the highest office, gladly embody all of those principles.

They tell me, “Mom, it will be alright. We’ll be fine. Look where we live. We aren’t like them. We never will be.”

As a parent I have embraced so much of our culture, much of which my children have brought into my world. Music, art, literature, and new ways of thinking. I’ve seen my children embrace diversity in ways nobody could have imagined when I was a child. I’ve seen my children go out into the world with open minds, and skeptical caution that keeps their eyes open.

While I seethe with anger, my children look for solutions. They look forward and beyond my fears and frustrations.

Raise your child to be better than yourself. Raise your child to be braver, smarter, and kinder than yourself. Raise your child to embrace the challenge. Forget your own personal failures and embrace the possibilities that your child sees. Remember that anything IS possible.

We teach our children, and in turn they will teach us.

It will be good.

It is good.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What we’re talking about over coffee this morning.

Coffee with Vampires

Even during the holidays we try to keep daylight hours, more or less, but I sometimes have that pull of my nocturnal biology and don’t sleep. I don’t sleep anyway. Most Vampires sleep like the dead (duh) but, well, good for them.

In the wee hours of the morning of December 28, 2016, just past midnight, my house shook with the force of an earthquake. Then it shook again.

At first Teddy thought it was the dog scratching and yelled at her. I told him it was no dog. Outside of Hawthorne, Nevada, close to the California/Nevada border the earth shook not once, but twice, at 5.8 and 5.6. It was enough for us to feel it 160 miles away (as the crow flies.)

Everyone else fell asleep but I kept awake. I feel like I’m still awake. I have coffee.

This morning it was quiet, despite the crowd staying at my house. Almost everyone was asleep this morning, just before the sun came up, so I took the dog for a walk. It was cold and wet but that can’t stop a one year old German Shepard. The nose of a dog knows no limits to what it can smell. When I got home I found my brother Max in my kitchen.

He’d come in late last night. Now he was leaning against the island counter with his eyes closed and his headphones on. He was as still as stone with no obvious signs of life. I walked up to him and gently took the headphones out. I listened. Strumbellas We Don’t Know. It was fitting for Max but a surprise.

Max opened his eyes and smiled a rare dazzling Vampire smile.

“Morning. Your coffee is getting cold,” I said handing him his cup.

“Thanks.”

“Do you think your demons will be gone today?”

He shrugged. “It might take a while.”

Over the holidays Demons had infested his home in San Francisco. He went to a party and when he came back they were there tearing the place up. Like just about everything else in this universe of ours they are attracted to Max and just can’t seem to stay away. He tried to take care of the problem himself but ended up with a black gash on his arm, and a major headache. He had to call a professional and move out for a few days.

Our great great great great Grandmama Lola came in, also staying for a few days (because the kids are on break) and made tea. She has been nervous since the election and all of the right-wing religious talk. Unlike Max and I who have had relatively safe lives, all things considering, Lola has not. She is ancient and has seen those she loved strapped to poles and burned alive. She has seen our kind torn apart and beheaded for no other reason that the fact they were different.

Lola warns us and my children again that they must stay quiet and trust no one. Of course. She is right.

“Not just us, but others as well. Do not forget the lessons of history, or those of your elders,” she tells the younger generation.

I hear my kids upstairs laughing now. Garrett has that joyful sort of horse laugh that so many young men have. Clara’s laugh is deep and rich, but still the laugh of a typical teenage girl.

Lola doesn’t look much older than my two but her eyes show the centuries. Sometimes it is the same look one finds in war zones and refugee camps. It is that look that politicians and religious leaders can’t see from their high pulpits – it is a look they close their own eyes to.

But now I’m starting to sound like a schlockie Vampire novel, or something from Oprah’s Book Club. Actually, take that back, I’d love to be in Oprah’s Book Club, as an author.

My brother Val showed up, then my husband Teddy came downstairs so it was a regular party.  So much for binge watching Twilight Zone, Botched, and Leah Remini in a quiet house (where nobody knows what I’m doing.) Insomnia got me through West World, and Worst Cooks in America. I found the other three this week by accident because I just did, and I couldn’t sleep, and my brain turned off for writing, or art, or anything else.

The discussion over coffee and tea included:

  • “The Curse of Oak Island” is the fact that they aren’t going to ever find anything.
  • A guy I know is going to audition for “America’s Got Talent.”
  • We were all impressed by the movie, “Hell or High Water.”
  • Juliette only read a few books in 2016, and that is a shame. And in 2017 we’re all going to read, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, some for the first time, and some of us again.

Just like any other family we talk about movies, silly TV stuff, and books when we get together. That is something most of us can agree on.

We also talked in length about Max’s Demon problem. I swear there must be a portal near his house, or it must be him. I think they’re attracted to him because they see him as such a powerful Vampire. He says that isn’t the case. He says we’re all powerful in our own ways, then tries to be the good uncle and tells the kids that. Val and Lola went off into a corner to discuss his new girlfriend. Teddy gave me a kiss and went off to work.

Tonight Teddy and I are going to the Kings game. It will be my first time in the new Golden 1 Arena. Woo Hoo. We’ll go to Magnolia’s (a blood bar) for dinner first. Woo Hoo. Yes, that is the Sacramento Kings (just like my name) Basketball. Woo Hoo.

Football does nothing for me but I like Baseball and Basketball. Go Kings. Go Giants. My other sport is Artistic Roller Skating. Woo Hoo.

More on all of THAT later this year.

I sat by Lola and Val, and took Lola’s hand. I wanted to tell her that it will all be alright but I said nothing, and listened to Val tell about the girl he is falling in love with.

Happy New Year again everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Lola

Lola

 

 

Vampire Hunters, Parenting, and 2017

This December was a season of parties for us. While at one I ran into Austin Durant. Professor Doctor Durant to some. Austin Durant sometimes Asshole Vampire Hunter to me. OK, he is usually a good guy. He only goes after those nasty soulless types who lurk around like something out of a B horror movie. I’ve helped him out a few times. Sometimes it takes a Vampire to rid a building of Vampires.

He asked what I was up to. I mentioned that my kids talked me into taking a yoga class with them.

Austin looked surprised. “Vampires do yoga?”

I was a little insulted by his response. “I’m not one of those shadow creeping Vampires who crawls around in rafters and under floor boards waiting to drag home prey for their nasty dark lord and master. Think about that next time you want me to crawl under a house for you. Come on Austin, I need to stretch and relax just like everyone else. Everyone normal else. You need to stretch your imagination a little bit Austin.”

2016 brought all sorts of ugly things. I don’t even want to think of it anymore. Luckily I can usually get over stuff. I can put things behind me. When one is my age (157), one must learn to put things behind and let them go, or you might as well crawl under the floor boards.

So what will be above the floor boards in 2017? I don’t know. I started sharing my parenting thoughts, and stories about my kids when the youngest was in seventh grade, and the oldest was in high school. Now the youngest is a senior in high school, and the oldest is in his third year of college. That said, I will always be the mom. I will always be here for my kids. I’ll always be here for my readers seeking thoughts on parenting. I’ve done a pretty good job if I may say so myself.

The kids are getting older and so are the seniors in my life. The ancient Vampires still need help and love, and watching after… just in case, if you know what I mean.

I promise more short stories and tall tales. I’ll keep giving out advice – both solicited and unsolicited. I’ll keep you posted on all of the Vampire activities in my neck of the woods. That also includes Werewolves, Ghosts, and God knows what else (for example Zombies.)

So Austin fills up our wine glasses and asks, “Why do you help me? I’m a Vampire Hunter.”

I smiled, showing just a bit of fang in the room lit only by Christmas lights. “First of all you’re a piss poor Vampire Hunter. Secondly, you only go after nasty husks of Vampires who lack souls or purpose. You only go after those who can’t feel love, or empathy, or joy of any kind. That my friend is why. You do our dirty work for us. You know we don’t want those nasty creatures around anymore than you do.”

Then I downed my glass of wine and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then just for fun I kissed his neck, with just a tiny nip. Austin laughed uncomfortably and said, “I love you too Juliette.”

Happy New Year everyone. My best advice would be to turn off the news, only read fiction, and fight for your right to be who you are.

xoxoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

P.S. Click here for more about Austin Durant who is usually just around for Short Story Sunday.