Blogging and Vampireing and Parenting

Summer has been quiet this year. Yes, school is out. Kids are home. My kids are busy but they are older and more independent now that they’re older. They ask me to make coffee for them too. They sleep a lot. They spend time with friends. They study. They come up to me when I’m working and give me hugs. In a few days we will all be going to the Van’s Warped Tour. Oh boy.

We’re busy. Super busy. Yet it is quiet. Low key. Calm.

I keep my children close this summer. I trust them and let them do their own thing, but I keep a close eye. I trust them, but I keep watch, of others, of other things.

They are not followers, my children, so I don’t have to worry about them being twisted and turned in directions they shouldn’t go. Their young judgment is sound, or at least, I feel, more sound than others their age.

This morning, while my children sleep, I was out giving a rare drink to my drought stricken trees. Burrs and fox tails stuck to my shoes and pants as I hauled the hose down the hill to the orange and lemon trees. Not a green blade of grass was to be found. Leaves curled up due to lack of water and love. It reminded me of a story – something a friend recently told me.

Last night I was talking to my friend Ben. I Benjamin and I have been friends for a long time. He is also the father of my son’s best friend Randy. Anyway, he told me a story I’d never heard before. I knew he was a homesteader at one time but this is what I learned.

In the 1870’s Ben traveled to the Western plains to become a homesteader. He’d gone with his friend John, John’s wife Alma, his cousin Will and Alma’s sister Mary.

Life was hard and dirty. Bugs, mainly flies and lice infested their house. Everything was covered with dirt that could never be cleaned off. The human company proved to be no better than the insects. Will appointed himself in charge. In the isolation of the prairie he demanded obedience body and soul of the rest of the party.

There was no place to go. They rarely saw others. Life was harsh – not the new beginning Ben had thought it would be.

A year into the homesteading experiment, a visitor came to their sad farm.

Two men and a young girl stopped by and asked if they could stay for the night. One of the men, a Mr. Kent was a poet. He read to them by the light of an outdoor fire. Ben felt alive for the first time in months. The strangers spoke of news of the cities in the rest of the country. They brought books. They gave bars of rose scented soap to the women.

When the strangers were ready to leave they asked Ben if he would like to go with them. Of course the answer was yes. Ben begged Mary to come with them. He’d assumed they’d be married, but she said she would be Will’s husband.

Ben told her that she’d have a life of hardship under Will’s brutal hand, but she stayed.

When Ben arrived in Sacramento he asked Mr. Kent to turn him into a Vampire. Later he heard that his friend John had killed Will during a blizzard and left with the women. They went back east and Ben never heard what happened to them after that.

So while I picked stickers off of my shoes with one hand, a hose in the other hand, I thought of Ben’s story.

Where I stood, gold miners came to seek their fortunes in the 1850’s. The land went back to oak forests. A hundred and fifty years later houses were build. I moved in. Holy crap, I could never be a homesteader in a sod house.

Ben and I talked of our children and the adventures that they would have. Their adventures will take them many places, but I think, I hope those adventures will be all good.

“Are you still glad you became a Vampire?” I asked Ben.

“Of course,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In the quiet busy summer I’m trying to be inspired but trying too much. My blogging mind sometimes feels as dry as this drought.

It is funny how something like dragging a hose over a dry hill will bring stories to my mind. Or how a story from a friend will beg to be shared.

I hear movement from upstairs. I hear a cat running up and down the hallway. I hear my children laughing. Summer is here, but rather than dry, it is rich and blooming.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A walk in the woods and other night music…

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Musings on the California Drought, Frogs, Family Time and the Grammy Awards (and of course being a Vampire)

My brother Val stopped by at twilight for a stroll by the lake. We got the kids to put on their shoes and leave their crypts, excuse me, their bedrooms (as all teens, as you well know, have crypt like bedrooms) and come with us.

We walked along the dry path missing the tall green grass of last winter. The drought has reduced the ground to a gray brown clumps of dead grass. The grasses should be bright green and knee deep. The frogs should be calling out in their winter seasonal ponds. The only sounds are birds and cars. Nothing from the ground where the frogs live. I wonder where they are. Maybe dried up waiting like Vampires for the liquid of life to release them and bring them back from their ghastly dried up slumbers. Will they miss a generation of tadpoles because there is no pond to romance each other in and leave their eggs?

Anyway, it is easy to muse on frogs when their usual deafening night music is absent.

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My teens walk ahead, talking about their friends and school and of course music. The Grammys are going to be on. Only a few of their favorites have been nominated but they want to see it anyway.

Val and I walk behind shoulder to shoulder with private jokes that go back for years.

“Hey, I just discovered that if right after you take a donor, if you chase it with a shot of Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve Bourbon, oh my God, it is a bit of heaven mixed with the best sex you’ve ever had.”

“Who were you with?” I HAD to ask.

He laughed. I knew him too well. It always comes down to a woman (many many women.) He always chases his blood with shots of expensive booze. I mean we all do it, but he feeds more at night than I do. I do it when the kids are in school, meet with donors (as I like to call it) not take shots. Hey, like I’ve said before, we’re Modern Vampires, we don’t lurk around and steal into the bedrooms of strangers and do creepy stuff like that. We’re more civilized and have more fun when we hunt. Why brood when you can have fun or at least…whatever. There is no reason to ever brood.

We got back to the house just in time for the Grammy Awards to start. It was a lot of fun. Something for everyone. One thing that we liked was the fact that one or two artists didn’t win all of the awards (ok 3 or 4 did but still it is better than some previous years.) And this year the performances were good – even the bands/performers we usually don’t listen to. Pink was too much fun. All the old guys were out too. Carol King is not an old guy though – she is a force – an amazing talent. Just about everyone was good and it was fun. There were several bands we all thought should have been nominated. Maybe next year.

So that was my take on the Grammys. Teddy came in towards the end and had to let us all know what crap it all was (except Metallica.) He always has strong opinions on music. I have to admit Madonna was sort of scary and creepy (and a bit sad) in her cowgirl outfit and looking much older than any 55 year old women I know. Yoko was really scary too. If a Vampire thinks something is scary then it is scary.

We all thought the music teacher award was super cool! Go Music Teachers! We know who we’re going to nominate for next year!

Earlier Teddy was at the Kings game with old friends earlier in the evening. They lost (the Kings not the friends.) But the night wasn’t a total loss. Chased with beer rather than Bourbon. And of course friends. That is never a loss.

So a new week starts. I can only hope it will bring more fun and adventures.

Wishing you all a good week.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Lake Natoma as twilight (from the Vampire's little magic phone box)

Lake Natoma as twilight (from the Vampire’s little magic phone box)