Musings on a rainy day about myths, motherhood, and random moments.

There are myths that Vampires can’t enter a home unless they are invited. That is utter and total bullshit. Like most Vampire lore it is untrue.

I’m not going to give you a list of Vampire facts or a list of what is not true. This is about parenting and other things.

From an early age I’ve told my children to not believe silly things that people say about large groups of individuals. The key word is individual. If one person in a group is a jerk it doesn’t mean that everyone in that group is a jerk. In today’s political climate it is tempting to do that – judge a large group. I don’t mean hate groups and extreme religious/social/weird groups that one joins voluntarily. I’m talking about groups we are born into, or groups that we physically become part of. You know what I’m talking about. I’m preaching to the choir here.

I raised my children to have open and skeptical eyes. I also raised them to accept the magic of the world, and to accept the differences of others.

As we grow older (even Vampires) some people become set in their ways and beliefs. What we need to do is grow more understanding as we grow older. As you get older you learn more, know more, and experience more, to be able to break free from long held beliefs that just might not be true. You learn from experience what battles to fight, and what battles to fight for others.

Yesterday I was meeting up with a lunch date. Yes, it was that kind of lunch date. I am a Vampire after all… anyway… I was having some real food too.

We decided to meet downtown near my friend Jack’s office, at a place we’d been meeting for over ten years. He texted me that he was running late. I waited, which was no problem. Waiting lets me relax and people watch. Due to the rain I was under my umbrella, bundled up in my furry fake fur coat (that my daughter calls my sheep coat, and my cat calls her new bed.)

Across the street, I saw a man – another Vampire. Yes, we can usually tell if one is like us, not by the way we look, but by a strong vibe we get… I can’t explain it. I don’t have to explain and it doesn’t have anything to do with this. He was old, but like most of us didn’t look his age. I’m married, don’t get me wrong, and my husband is unusually handsome, so I wasn’t looking for handsome Vampires. I already have my own. But there was something familiar about this guy. Not someone I’d dated, but something else. This happens to all of us. We see someone. We wonder where we know them from, if we know them from anywhere, then they vanish. A lot of things in life are like that. But I digress.

I’d never seen him before. That isn’t so unusual. I live in a metropolitan area of about 2.5 million people. I can’t be expected to know every Vampire, and believe me, we have a larger than normal population of them around here. It is a historical thing that few know about but that’s ok. It doesn’t matter.

The Vampire across the street doesn’t see me yet. I’m taken by the way he looks. The guy is seriously handsome in that take-your-breath-away way.

I hear my name being called and turn to see my friend Jack. Then I glance back and the Vampire is gone.

A couple of scruffy ghosts in large stovepipe hats look out the window of an old restored building. I ignore them and join my friend.

If you live in a world where you see the unseen, and the hidden, you learn what to ignore and what to pay attention to in a more extreme way than most. The amount of information can be overwhelming at times. I suppose that is why Vampires don’t have problems with the Internet and other bombardments of information that can be overwhelming for some.

As with anything we need to all take a deep breath and think about things. On the other hand sometimes we can think about things too much. That is what one of my siblings calls brain fever. 

I share my umbrella with Jack, who is holding his closed. There is only so much room on the sidewalk and I like his warmth. It is daytime, and even with the rain the sun makes it light. I will not fry. I will not die in the light. I glance at my reflection in a window and smile without fangs.

On the drive home I can still taste Jack’s blood on my tongue. I smile knowing I’ve left him with good thoughts and sweet dreams for at least another week.

I stopped at the grocery store for cat food and silver polish. Yes, I do have silver in my home. What? You believed that too?

I thought about the handsome Vampire and wondered who he was. I thought about the ghosts. I knew who they’d been. I can’t walk past that building without them whispering about the old days when they knew the railroad barons and were important men. They need to move on.

Yes, we can learn a lesson from them and all strive to move on. Staying stuck in another century isn’t fun for anyone, or practical, or right.

That’s all I got for today.

  • Don’t forget to talk with your children and listen to what they have to say today – even if they’re grown.
  • Hug your kids.
  • Check on those who are alone.
  • Read.
  • Laugh.
  • And always be aware of what is going on around you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Musings on Home, Teens and Vampires

A cold rain is coming down through the damp air. My home is surrounded by painters.

Contrary to public urban myths Vampires do not all live in Addams family style homes with the worst of Victorian architecture. I refuse to be a Shadow Creeper. Please, give me a break.

My home is going from a nasty peeling gray putty color to a nice friendly blue. Fifty shades of gray might be ok for bad mommy-porn but not for my house. It was starting to look like a haunted house (or worse the Amityville Horror House or the House on Haunted Hill.) Now it looks kind of like Bear’s home in Bear in the Big Blue House. My readers with teens might remember Bear, Tutter and the Otters. Anyway, my farmhouse style home is no longer looking haunted. It doesn’t mean I’m immune to ghosts but at least I’m not looking like I’m trying to attract them.

Bear's Big Blue House

Bear’s Big Blue House

Small Vampire children loved Luna, the moon in the show. And Shadow. I believe Shadow was Irish. She sounded Irish to me. I’m just musing and walking down memory lane. I love teens, but sometimes I miss having little bitty ones in the house.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

From my breakfast nook office (where I choose to camp out today) I can see lemon trees and red leaves on deciduous trees.  Modern life. Modern Vampires.

High School is going good this year. Complaints are minor. The kids are smart. There seems to be a somewhat larger and more diverse circle of young Vampires at school.

Character.tutter

Tutter likes everyone, even when he feels confused.

Clara and her friends are always laughing about something. They’re popular with their teachers and fellow classmates, always well liked, but not considered among the upper echelons of “popular kids.” It works better for them that way.

My husband Teddy was worried about one of her friends. The boy wears pale makeup and eyeliner. His hair is bleached white. He wears tight black everything. He rarely talks.

“He’ll grow up to be a Shadow Creeper,” says Teddy. “I don’t want people to think you’re as strange as he is.”

Clara answers her father. “Everybody likes him. Except for the cakey foundation nobody thinks he is that different.”

“Does he like boys or girls?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think he knows. Does it matter?”

“I don’t care. He just seems confused,” said Teddy.

“They’re just teens. He’ll find himself. And no, he won’t become a Creeper. Clara won’t let that happen,” I said.

“He’d never be a Shadow Creeper,” said Clara.

“I hope not,” said Teddy.

“He won’t,” I said.

We’ve had a lot of conversations like this. We’ll have it again in a year, in five years, in fifty years.

Thanks goodness we don’t know any kids who are unfortunate enough to be Shadow Creepers. Those are the Vampires who live under houses, in musty crypts, in the dark and in the past. They’re out of touch and, well, just creepy and awkward. They tend to smell of dust and death. They’re disgusting. We don’t associate with them. Sorry, I accept just about everyone, but I do draw the line with some things.

When you have teens around a lot of different issues come up. You just have to let them explore their options. You have to explore those options with them and discuss consequences, be those good or bad. But you also have to sometimes stand back and not be quick to judge.

It is like when you have a toddler. You have to be like bear and gently guide your blue mouse and otters into not doing stupid stuff. And you have to let them know you’re proud of them for doing smart stuff. Most of all you have to appreciate them for being who they are.

Oh look, the snow is falling. I love this blogging season!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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Comfort Zones

Last night I received an unexpected call from my brother’s girlfriend. At the time I was up to my ears in dog fur, cat barf and an unfinished novel (I’m writing not reading.) It was still good the hear from the lovely Shawna.

“How is your arm?” I had to ask. She’d broken it just a few days ago while helping my brother with some household task.

“Just a cracked wrist. I’m ok.”

“Good. Tell me about Andy?”

That is a loaded question. The answer can be one of three things. He is bat shit crazy, totally completely lost or absolutely wonderful. All kidding aside, Andy had been recently attacked by what we think was a Vampire Hunter. We’re still working on it. Anyway, a wooden stake grazed his dear cold heart. We could have lost him. The next day Shawna somehow managed to break her wrist.

My parents and eldest brother Max, plus a few more Vampires showed up on the scene. Shawna was a bit out of her comfort zone with all of them around.

She is beyond being out of her normal comfort zone.

You see, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. In fact she isn’t even the kind of warm-blooded girl whom you expect to be looking for romance with for Vampires. Shawna is a college professor – a tenured professor no less.

So what is a middle-aged educator doing with a 163 year old Vampire? Love works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, Shawna needed a break from the commotion at Andy’s house in San Francisco and wanted to check out some documents in the State Archives (in Sacramento near where I live.) She said she’d take the train over. A friend would pick her up but she wanted to see me. So I invited her to stay the night if she wanted.

I know, more Vampires. But it is just the three of us these days (my husband, teen daughter and me) unless anyone else stops by to visit. We’re pretty normal around here.

Hey, we’re not the Addams Family around here and we are certainly not the family in Million Dollar Baby. 

In so many romantic situations one party always seems to be asking “why not me?”

In this situation, Andrew and Shawna, she keeps wondering why he loves her. Why is he even attracted to her? Love and attraction works in mysterious ways.

When we arrive at my house and settle in a bit Shawna says, “You’re so normal here Juliette.”

“Aside from drinking blood from living humans, well, that and a few other things, we are pretty normal,” I say.

I never ask her if she intends on becoming a Vampire or marrying my brother or just hanging it all up and finding a man with warmer blood and maybe a colder heart. I just let her talk about what she needs to talk about. I have a way of bringing that out in people. Then again, I’m a Vampire. But aside from that, I force myself to listen and be there. This time I didn’t have to force myself. Today wasn’t about me. It wasn’t even about my brother. It was about Shawna.

We talked about our kids and other normal things. I told her about my husband and how he wasn’t always a Vampire. He was once like Shawna. You know, just talking over coffee. Yes, lots of coffee – no Vampire lives on blood alone (at least not any I know.)

It is hard to suddenly be thrown into what seems like The Twilight Zone. I guess it is like that with a lot of people when dealing with their significant others family. Different backgrounds, cultures, traditions and temperaments can make for some interesting situations. I try not to make it uncomfortable for the women my brothers fall in love with.

I always feel that just because I’m a Vampire I don’t have to make life a nightmare for a newcomer. I’d feel the same if I wasn’t a Vampire. Territorial pissing matches just aren’t worth it and pretty juvenile. Even my teens know that.

Shawna is smart and witty and very pretty (she has doubts there, but she is wrong, like most women are wrong about their beauty.) Yet, she is still cautious around us. Her guard is always up. I could feel her relaxing a few times and letting it down.

Moral to this story: Be nice. Just be nice.

Like I said, we don’t know what attracts people to each other, be it lovers or friends. With family, we get what we get. We have that weird bond, especially with siblings, that is just there. Sometimes, with any luck, our mates will become part of that pack. More often than not, under the best of circumstances, they form their own pack. They are the inside outers. It is our job to try to make them more inside than out.

Anyway, Shawna and I are going to do something fun today before she goes back to Andy’s tomorrow. Well, as fun as one can have without being a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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FYI

For how Andy met Shawna click here. (Dancing on the Beach)

For more on Andy and Shawna click here. (Vampire Housewarming)

Or just do a search. I’ve written about them before. 

 

 

Never confuse a hot werewolf with a hotdog.

That title was just a cheap shot made-you-look ploy, but I am in a Werewolf kind of mood.

You want to know the difference between Werewolves and Vampires? Vampires change once. Werewolves change all the time. Neither are good at surviving that first change. Most don’t. It is what it is.

But you gotta feel sorry for Werewolves. When I was a kid they were considered the trailer trash of the underground world of people who were, well, changed. We’ll just call it changed. As in changed into something else.

Werewolves tended to be brash and tacky. They’d wear too much bling and bad color combinations – both in the 1980’s and the 1880’s. Then things sort of turned around in a certain segment of their population right after WW2. They started to get serious. They became scientists and thinkers. They were the geeks of the paranormal world. They still are. They’re always looking for a cure without the drastic silver bullet. And if not a cure, they want to just find out “why,” because of course many don’t want a cure.

Listen to a Werewolf talk about a run through the woods on a full moon night and you’ll know why not all are looking for a cure.

For those born into the world of shadows being a teen is like being in constant change. All teens are like Werewolves and Vampires, even those who aren’t technically either. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I just mean that they have a lot of challenges to face. Their world is changing. Expectations are changing. It is confusing. Their bodies are doing weird things. They have no idea when their bodies will stop doing weird things. They don’t know how big things will get or how tall. Their complexions are weird. Their emotions are totally confused and off the charts – even for the calmest and coolest of teens.

So if you have a teen in your house treat him/her like you would a Werewolf. Listen. Spend quiet time together. Give a shoulder rub. Stay calm even when they’re changing. If they start to growl, quietly and firmly try to calm them down and remember the full moon will soon be over. And love them. Play with them. Show some understanding. And they can be reasoned with. Really.

I stopped by my Werewolf friend Adam’s studio early this morning. He is an extraordinary photographer. Anyway we are working on a little project together but… we were doing what we do the most, which is just shoot the breeze.

Adam is one of those stereotypical hot Werewolf guys. Before I knew he was a Werewolf and before he knew I was a Vampire, he was one of my donors (he has a nice neck.) I always thought it was charming that is blood tasted like Bourbon. I never knew that about Werewolves.  Then he found out my secret and well, it wasn’t good. But we’re friends again, unlikely friends, but friends none the less.

So we’re having coffee this morning and Adam says, “May the fourth we with you. So in Star Wars who would we be?”

“Han Solo and the Wookie. You know who the Wookie is.”

He laughed. Our friendship works. Why shouldn’t it. We both crave blood but we never kill. We both live in a secret world with demands that just make life a little bit different. Other than that we’re just like everyone else. OK not exactly like everyone else, but close.

The coffee was good. On the drive home I thought about all of my Werewolf encounters when I was a child. Those were always weird hushed events with my parents meeting strange people (the Werewolf folks) on uneasy terms. They were sort of the lesser of many evils out there. Times have changed. Well, for the most part.

Then I thought about Adam. He is so attractive and funny. No wonder he is so successful (and insanely talented and good at self promotion.) It was difficult when we first discovered out differences but I’m glad we did. No pressure.

So Werewolves… I have to say that they’ve always been misunderstood, but then again, haven’t we all felt that way. I mean it. Who hasn’t?

Tell your kids that feeling different isn’t a bad thing. Sure you have to try harder and work around things, but it can work out for the best. Use those differences to your advantage. Use those differences to make yourself happy. Hey, you know, if we were all the same the world would be a boring place.

OK I have to get the kid to school. Have a good week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Father Paul

Father Paul: Part 14 of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories

She remembered when he was just in high school. His family lived next door in an old ranch house with a rabbit warren of added on rooms. There were six Jackson kids. Paul was the peacemaker, the child of compassion, and the smartest of the bunch. He went to the local all boys’ Catholic high school then on to get a doctorate in theology and the priesthood.

Elizabeth never questioned his faith or his decision to enter the priesthood. There would be those who would question what they could not understand. Paul just took it as part of the job.

In turn Paul never questioned Elizabeth. He certainly asked questions but never judged. He just accepted what neither one of them could change. Nor did he ask her if she was afraid of eternal damnation of her soul or her life in the shadows.

Now years after they met they sat together. At the age of 54 his hair was turning gray and crows feet crinkled at the edges of his eyes when he laughed. At 195 years she looked the same as the day he met her in 1975 – a beautiful vision for any young man, including the teenage Paul.

The two old friends walked along the path in the oak forest together. Elizabeth took Paul’s arm.

“You always accepted me as I am. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

“Same here.”

“Stop.” She then embraced him. It was a warm day but her embrace was like ice to him. “I mean it Paul.”

He never used the word Vampire when he thought of her. She was what she was. Maybe a creature of evil but he didn’t know that for sure. Sure she drank the blood of others but that was nothing compared to some of the evil he’d seen in the world. At the same time he feared for his own soul when he was with her but he couldn’t resist. It wasn’t romantic or sexual at all. She’d always been there for him, unconditional. But that wasn’t it. She drew him in as if she was the only one who knew his heart and soul – as if she owned him.

Elizabeth let him go and then gave him a knowing smile. “I understand it is sometimes trying to have your own Vampire. You handle it well. Oh, yes, by the way, I’m having a party next weekend. You know, just cocktails and finger food. I want you to meet my boyfriend Austin. He is like you, not a priest, but warm, like you. You know what I mean. Forbidden love. Who would have thought. But you know how that is.”

“Uh, sure. A boyfriend? Sure. Will Vampires be there?”

“Of course. No worries. You know most of them.”

Paul was waiting for lightning to strike but it never did – never with Elizabeth.

 

 

To be continued….

For more on the Austin and Elizabeth Stories – the complete set CLICK HERE. 

 

 

 

What my kids were talking about last week – Acceptance.

We had a full house this weekend. Most of our activities centered around no activity and just talking with each other. Most of it was fun, but some of it wasn’t.

My brother Andrew is here with his two cats. The orange cat Nimrod and a new teeny tiny black kitten he calls Josephine are tearing around my house with my two cats. Of course my calico Gloria is none too pleased about it.

It was nice to have everyone here to share the fun and relax together. It was a good way to end the holidays and start off 2015.

My eldest Garrett (a freshman) left last night to return to college. Winter quarter starts today.

We talk almost every single day and text but he is still 400 miles away. Somehow I fool myself into believing it isn’t that far since we’re still in the same state.

Once again the subject of suicide and acceptance came up. That includes just fitting in. Both of the kids (18 and 15) brought it up a lot.

The death of transgender 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn was tragic. All of the teens are talking about it. They’re comparing her experience with that of teens they know who are “different.” Those “different” kids include some of teens in our life.

Our local community is still mourning the loss of a 12-year-old boy in Folsom, CA. He was bullied by classmates for not being masculine enough. His parents changed his school and the bullies followed. They eventually pulled him out of school but the bullies followed him online and into his outside activities and other parts of his life. Why did he have to leave the school? Shouldn’t the bullies be the ones to have to go away. Shouldn’t their parents be the ones to have to scramble around and find a place for their children? They were the ones who failed, not the parents of the sweet boy who liked cheer leading.

Their crime was being different. Their crime was not hiding who they were.

Many people can’t understand the level of pain and despair these young people were feeling. I wish someone had been there to convince both of them that things would get better. I wish they could have known that success would have been their best revenge. But when you’re young your world is small. Your parents and school are your entire world for the most part. If that world turns into Hell sometimes it seems there is no choice except to get out anyway possible. It is a pain that is unimaginable.

I know that feeling. I’ve been there. It wasn’t for the same reasons as the young people I mentioned here. It passed without any physical scars, but the brand of being different always burns.

I have a post written about a girl Garrett met in his dorms who was different. She was alone and sort of lost. She was defiant and didn’t trust anyone. He reached out to her. I don’t know if it will help her but time will tell. He just let her know she wasn’t alone. But I’ll save that for later.

The cruelty of intolerance is an evil I can not understand or explain. As I’ve grown older and my world has grown larger I have become more tolerant and more understanding. I embrace difference more not than I mistrust it. If I don’t know about something I try to find out about it. I’m not perfect. Yes, there are people and beliefs and lifestyles I don’t approve of, but as long as they are happy and not hurting anyone I’ll let it go. I would never push someone towards death because their beliefs and lifestyle don’t match mine.

Because of this I’ve always been open with my kids about everything. In return our discussions have even changed my mind on some subjects. They are skeptical about bull shit but open and accepting of others. I never want them, or their friends, to feel like like is hopeless and that their lives don’t matter. I will never let anyone make them feel that way.

I can’t protect them from everything but I can always let them know that I am here for them, no matter what.

We have friends who are transgender and gay. We don’t love them any less. We don’t try to change them. Why would we?

We know straight boys who are called gay and girls who are called dykes because they don’t fit into the mold. They express themselves in happy healthy ways but some asshole always has to say something.  What matters is our hearts. What matters is that we can laugh together and share our stories and our lives. It matters that we love. I don’t give a crap how you dress or what is under that dress. OK, I want you to wear a stylish dress, or pants, or shirt or hat… but that is another post.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ll have more Modern Vampire stuff and bad poetry later this week. And remember all of you parents out there PLEASE talk with your kids and really listen to them. Don’t just judge. And fight for your kids. FIGHT for them. Know your kids. Love your kids. Listen to them.

This is Oscar. He is my cat. He is really cute.

This is Oscar. He is my cat. He is really cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another note: I write about what I hear teens talking about. I write about what they tell me. I lost several WP followers the day I posted this. I don’t know if it was this article, the fact that I post a lot, or my bad poetry (see previous post.)  I could just be my bad editing (I don’t edit.) I just hope it isn’t because my defense of people who are different. Many of those I love are considered “different.” They’re happy. That makes me happy. I have also had suicides in my family. It was for other reasons but still… it is never a good thing. Bullying is never a good thing – not for ANY reason.
I mean, not that it matters that someone stopped following my odd and silly blog. I unfollow blogs too for various reasons. Sometimes I think the writer is an asshole. Sometimes I’m just not that interested and can’t keep track of it all. But I’ve unsubscribed to a few blogs and gone back then wondered why I unsubscribed.
I just hope if you unfollow it is because you think my stories and my Vampire viewpoint are stupid, not because my opinions on social issues make you uncomfortable.
If you feel you’ve landed in the wrong place just look around this blog and explore before you unsubscribe. You might find stuff you hate but you might find more that you like. You might even laugh out loud. Do the same with every blog you read. You might be surprised. And if you end up unsubscribing that is ok too. xoxox Juliette