Trash & Trashed (Vampires and my broken Mac)

So I get a call from my brother Aaron and he tells me that he needs my help getting some sort of creature out from a tight space in an old building downtown. I told him that it is too hot and I’m staying home. I already had to deal with bats in my house and yellow jackets. Bats are one thing, but yellow jackets are the true assholes of the animal kingdom.

He said, “Juliette, darling, you’re so good at getting dried up semi-alive rogue Vampires out of crawl spaces.”

“Call a Vampire Hunter. I don’t want to deal with that kind of trash today.”

I don’t want to deal with any kind of trash any day. I finally got the litter box situation taken care of (don’t ask.) and I’ve got better things to do.

My kids don’t even ask me to do things like this.

I could imagine my brother at his desk in his law office with his sleeves rolled up trying to take care of all of the paranormal problems in Sacramento. If you think politics are already weird, just let me tell you sometime about what you can’t see.

I wish one of my brothers knew how to fix computers. My mouse and keyboard functions are going out even with an external mouse and keyboard. I can hardly finish this post without a million pop ups and letters sailing all over the place. Whole paragraphs vanish. I’ve restarted the compute 2020 is alive and well at my desk.

So with that… I’ve got to go. It took me twenty minutes just to get the last  paragraph down. Any typos are dut to the ghost in my machine.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Summer Heat, Schools, and Dog Walks

I can’t wait until fall comes. I don’t mean that lingering September heat that is like a hot slap in the face with a blow torch. I mean real fall with cool air and where the temperature stays under 75°F.

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Every morning I take my dog out for a walk. One of our stops is the local school which is also a park during non-school hours, which is always right now. The highlight of the school trip is getting a drink out of the fountain. Not for me – for the dog.

If school ever starts again we’ll change our morning route. The school we walk in is an old much loved public school turned into a public Waldorf charter school. The gardens are still growing. Staff is keeping the school clean.

When school was in session I loved watching the kids, all wearing sun hats, go for walks to the trails by the lake we live near. The youngest would hold hands or hold a rope so that they’d stay together. It was precious. The school has such a sense of community like the public charter Montessori school my children went to. The Waldorf school is a community and part of our neighborhood community. The same goes for the newer and larger neighborhood public elementary school down the street.

My daughter will be taking the fall quarter, the first quarter of do fourth year of college, online. It sucks but it is what has to be online school. We can manage that. With all of the money government, both federal and local, they could have online schools and computers for every kid if they wanted to. If they really wanted to they could make it happen.

I can’t imagine teachers, school cafeteria workers, custodians, teaching assistants, administrative staff, and others who work for schools coming down with Covid-19. I can’t imagine the horrible nightmare of children getting the virus.

Too little too late can’t be the lament of our education systems. We need to adjust and to see this as a public health issue. The lives of our teachers, children, and school workers depend on it.

Cafeteria’s can still be open for take out meals for children, or social distancing while school is out. Other services can adjust to meet the needs of children and families.  It can be done.

In the meantime, to switch gears to something nice, here are some photos of one of my walks earlier this week.

  • Talk to with your kids
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t complain or whine too much in front of your children. They’re stressed out about this too.
  • Kiss a Vampire (it will be ok. Vampires don’t transmit this thing)
  • Check in on the elderly and those who might need extra help or love.
  • Stay in touch with zoom, blogs, and other social media – or just pick up the phone and CALL someone you care about.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Questions to ask as a writer in 2020: What about everything that is going on now? Will it change my story?

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1918 Nurses and their dog wearing masks.

These are strange times, as if you didn’t already know.

I’m working on a project. It is fiction. I have questions. My story/book/novel takes place in contemporary America, in California, with somewhat regular people. This isn’t an epic fantasy. I have questions and I can’t just make up the answers.

Writing Questions as of July 6, 2020:

How long will we be wearing masks?

How long will seniors be in danger?

Will there be relaspes of Covid-19? What will happen if that happens?

What about other diseases?

Who will win the election in November and what fall out will there be from that? No matter what happens it will be weird.

Will Melania Trump divorce her husband and go after my main character? She isn’t his type, but he is awfully attractive so she just might have to stalk him. Damn, that would make a weird story. You know I just put this one in for shits and grins.

Will we ever be able to go to live baseball games again?

Will people still be social distancing in 2025?

Will this become (heaven forbid I use this term) the new normal?

Will any of my character be survivors, or carriers, or know someone who have been sick from Covid-19 or died from it?

Should any of this matter?

What about younger characters who are in high school, college, or trade schools? What about kids wanting to join the military? What will happen when everyone starts going back to school?

Will working at home become more of the rule rather than the exception?

What else is going to happen? Aliens? Giant atomic reptiles? Natural disasters we can’t handle because our government is so fucked up? More strange illnesses? Doomsday cults gone amuck? Talking dogs? Big Foot comes out of the woods to help out? The possibilities are endless.

What about fire season? With prison lock downs are there going to be enough crews to work the fires? How will this impact my character’s lives, not to mention mine?

How will this impact relationships? I’m talking about marriages, parents and children, romantic partners, friends, relatives, siblings, work relationships, friends with benefits, and everyone else.

What about divorced parents who have children together, even if those children are grown? In my story they’re grown.

Did this impact your character’s jobs/careers?

What about the crazy election and politics? Did any of that impact your characters? Did it drive anyone apart?

How about diversity? Are you changing anything in your writing to reflect that? My own kids have a diverse group of friends of all colors, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations. They are who they are. Do I need to mention details? One character is gender fluid but so are people I know in real life. How does one write about diversity without being overly contrived or stupid. I’ve done it on my blog, right here, in the past. It worked. Maybe I’m over thinking this.

When I used to work in advertising someone, usually a marketing director, always wanted to have a black male, a racially ambiguous lighter skinned brown (who could pass for white if he had to) male person, and an Asian female (because you could get a minority and a female for a two in one deal) in the ad. It was so trite. It was so false and just pissed me off.

Did your characters participate in demonstrations?

What are their political views? Have those views changed? How are they talking to their children about it? Do they agree with their kids, or can they even talk to them about it without yelling?

I am still sure I can and will call out racists, sexist assholes, anti-vaxxers, religious fanatics, those who don’t believe in science, flat Earthers, and people who like the books 50 Shades of Gray, The Twilight Series, and Bridges of Madison County. OK maybe not the readers. At least they read.

What about the environment? Again, what about the environment? WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?

Will J.K. Rolling ever shut up about trans people?

Will there still be cat memes?

What about music?

Netflix? You know.

Did your character stop smoking and get into shape, or did they gain the Covid 19?

What or who did they miss most? What were they glad to get back to the most? What or who were they glad NOT to be around during the stay-at-home orders?

Does everyone adopt more shelter animals? I’m at overload at my house but maybe my characters adopt a few dogs, cats, or other critters during the shut downs.

These questions go on and on.

From my own experience I know as a writer that some stories become outdated pretty quickly. When my kids were tiny I started writing an epic techno/fantasy/romance/adventure that is over 200,000 words. The point of telling you this is that I need to go back and change a few things in it, because things have changed over the past twenty years. Attitudes have changed, and even though the story is fantasy and in a place that isn’t really our Earth, some things still apply. The entire Southern Hemisphere of their planet is a toxic wasteland due to environment disasters. There are social issues dealing with people who are different. There are assholes and bigots. There is drug use. But anyway, it is still a damn fine story and after a few more years maybe I’ll edit it and throw it out to the wolves.

But I’m rambling…

As writers we must constantly be thinking about how our world changes. That is the beauty of blogging, that is you write constantly in smaller bites so everything is always fresh.

So, I have nothing else to say on this right now. I just need to get back to my book. Oh, and don’t forget that Camp NaNoWriMo 2020 is happening right now if you want to join in. Here is the link to get there: https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-camp-nanowrimo

Damn I feel bad for all of the kids who have to miss summer camp this year.

I’ll yack at you more later and bug Vlad for a new Vampire Diary post.

  • Wear your mask
  • Be nice
  • Wash your hands
  • Read blogs
  • Eat your fruits and vegetables
  • Love your cats
  • Do some stretching
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Turn up the radio in your car and sing really loud
  • Stay safe
  • Kiss a Vampire (that is still relatively safe and always fun)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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1918. Family with masks – even the cat.

Just Listen…

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This morning it was quiet aside from the sounds of the birds and the occasional car in the distance.

Right before dawn, when the sky was between light and dark, my grown children, brother Max and I went for a long walk.

My husband Teddy was sleeping after spending a day boarding up buildings and helping other businesses and friends do the same.

The kids are frustrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the shut downs, the loss of opportunities, online college, the social injustices in their world, and by their current roommates. Max and I listen to them while we walk and try to control three large exuberant dogs. We just listen. I had to tell Max to listen and refrain from giving too much advice at this time. Just listen.

Yesterday I told my now grown daughter that I understand her frustrations. I’ve spent the past quarter of a century talking to my kids about school shootings, social justice, random acts of violence, war, racism, sexism, the environment, and how to stay smart in a world that is sometimes absolutely insane.

I’ve mentioned before how proud I am of their diverse group of friends of every color, ethnic background, and sexual orientation. They don’t think in terms of “us” and “them.” If they do the “them” means people who would rather hold people back, or destroy our planet rather than move forward in a positive and meaningful way. I know that sounds awkward but I don’t know how else to put it. Their tolerance for assholes is extremely low, at least for my daughter. My son is more forgiving.

Gone are the days when I can just kiss them and make it all better.

I told them that I can’t help them with a lot of things they’re going through right now, but if the space aliens show up in July I’ll be the one to take care of that.

Max smiled and said nothing. He makes an attempt to take care of Demons and other dark forces but sometimes things get even too insane for him.

For me, everything has become amplified since I became a parent. Everything. That includes the good things.

Now more than ever we need to treasure the good things and work towards our goals of all things that are good.

With our guidance, and by that I mean by our encouragement and love, our children will change the world of ours for the better. They want it. They need it. Even without us I believe they’ll do it.

In the meantime I’ll watch the night sky for flying saucers, and watch the cold spaces under my house for goblins and rattle snakes.

If the aliens do come all I can say is that they’d better bring snacks and beer. If they land at my house they’d better bring cat treats too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Lockdown Update

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Even I have to admit things have been weird.

I dropped the youngest child off at the airport today to return to her home in Southern California. In normal times the Southwest terminal is PACKED. Dozens of cars are lined up to drop off passengers. Today mine was the only car. The only person waiting was my daughter’s boyfriend. He stood there at a distance wearing his mask.

I dropped her off and returned home to a bored husband who is frustrated at trying to do anything with the government (concerning his business.)

While my daughter was in one of her online courses yesterday another student had a melt down over the lack of support the professor is giving. You’d never see that in a real classroom. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

And if you think going to the grocery store is a hassle try being a Vampire right now. I’ll spare you the uncomfortable details.

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Several friends have spoken to me about their frustration with those who have used this time to spout unnecessary political venting.

Others have spoken of their lack of motivation when it comes to creative endeavors. Yes, we have all the time in the world but working on anything has become just sort of weird.

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But on a good note my garden is beautiful. My pets are happy. I’m in touch with everyone. I see the humor that has come out in people. I’ve seen the humor and creativity more than the ugliness.

So stay creative. I’ll try to do the same. If not creative just stay positive. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Read a book. Listen to music. Find a new podcast. Text an old friend. Pass on funny memes. Stay away from protests. Don’t be a dick. Feel free to share the form below with your most whiney assed friends.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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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

 

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