Leave Your Demons At Home

My daughter Clara is up for a few weeks. College is online but she still has her apartment in Southern California. This is just a break. She and her boyfriend drove up without any contact from the outside world except to get gas.

My brother Max has decided to stay with us for a few weeks. I asked him why. He said his house is infested with Demons.

When he got here last night he was beyond distracted. His dogs didn’t seem to care and immediately started playing with our dog. I thought they were all going to knock down every piece of furniture in the house. Between the three of them there is almost four hundred pounds of frolicking dog.

My husband Teddy helped Max bring a few things in from his car and haul them upstairs. I went to the kitchen to fix my eldest brother a nice mug of warm blood with a little bit of ground nutmeg and a dash of Tobasco (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)

I heard a scratching at the front door. Thinking it was one of the cats I told Clara to let it in. No sooner had I heard the front deadlock click open I heard Clara yell, “MOM. MOM. MOM. Come here.”

Flopping around in the front entry was a small pale gray Demon trying to unfold a twisted wing. The cats, who are usually game for jumping on any small alien creature ran away. The demon put it’s nasty fang filled face up at us and hissed.

“Holy shit,” I said. “Clara get me a broom.”

The tiny Demon scuttled around hissing and then suddenly stopped and looked up at me. “I’ll give you three wishes if you help me out,” it said with a smile full of sharp pointed teeth.

“I’m a Vampire you moron. Your BS tricks aren’t going to work on me,” I said. “What the crap are you doing here?”

“I came with Max and his damn dogs,” it said in a voice that sounded like a hundred years of chain smoking and cheap whiskey.

“Did Max invite you?”

The Demon rolled it’s shoulders and tried to stand up straight. “No he didn’t invite me. Nobody ever invites me anywhere. I hid in the glove box. Why the hell do you think I’m so twisted up.”

By then Clara had come back with the broom. She looked at the Demon in disgust and started hitting it. I opened the door and it managed to fly out, but not without the cats running after it.

Clara and I heard a blood curdling scream then silence. Outside in the front yard the cats stood staring at a dark burned spot on the decorative bark in my front yard.

“Good kitties,” said. Clara ran into the kitchen for cat treats.

Out at Max’s car I said, loud enough for Demons to hear, but not loud enough for my neighbors to hear, “if there are any Demons in this car you’d better leave now or you’re as good as fucking dead.”

There was silence for a few seconds, the the smell of sulfur came through the air. The back passenger door opened and a blur of several more small Demons flew out and off into the sky.

Once I was back in the house I told my brother and husband about the encounter. They acted clueless as usual. Seriously, I wish they’d both take these things more seriously and not wait until there is an infestation.

And that is my life today. I might get out into the garden, or visit more with Clara. We might all watch a movie. There is also the second As We Were blog post to finish up and cue up for tomorrow. Clara is studying. Max and Teddy are on the deck shooting the breeze.

Until then, keep fighting off those Demons. Stay inside, stay home, social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, be smart, be safe, be friendly, be polite, be caring. Call, email, or FaceTime those who might need extra help or just need to hear a friendly voice.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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The Good, The Bad, and The Really Bad: Staying Home, Parenting, and Too Much TV.

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Stay at home

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School, Kids, Staying At Home, Zoom

Once again I send my love and admiration out to all of the teachers, students, and parents who are attending class at home through Zoom and other online magic. The same goes to everyone who is working from home.

To those who are complaining bitterly about our Governors, in my case Governor Gavin Newsom, shutting things down: GET OVER IT. To those who complain and while about how much YOUR kids are missing out: GET OVER YOURSELF. From pre-schoolers to graduate students they are ALL missing out. My kids are doing online college. Yes, they worked hard to get into top universities and now are hunkering down in their apartments with Zoom. You want to complain? Don’t. Get over it.

So many students, and everyone else have had to deal with cancelled classes, graduations, sports, dances, weddings, birthdays, concerts, museum days, vacations, and everything else. SO GET OVER YOURSELF. Most people aren’t complaining. Be like them. Don’t complain. Just do what you have to do and make the best of it.

Spend your energy THANKING the teachers who’ve had to suddenly switch their classes to online. THANK the medical professionals, grocery store workers, farmers, and others who are still working on the front lines so you can be ok during this.

Come to think about it the people who are whining now are the ones who always whined before this all happened. GET OVER YOURSELF.

Also, please don’t go into a massive panic over Zoom. Yes there are hackers and jerks, but that is the exception rather than the rule. My daughter told me that hackers just start putting in random numbers and when they get to a meeting they post porn or start being disruptive. This is rare. More than anything, as in the case of one of my child’s classes, you find bored 18 and 19 year old boys. One came to a statistics class without clothes and from his bathroom. The professor told him to get dressed and get out of the bathroom. Another creeper started to try to pick up on girls and make rude sexist comments about them. The professor shut down all audio and visuals except for himself. All interaction with the professor was then private. None of her other classes have had problems. I’ve had Zoom meetings and they were delightful.

Don’t get caught up in panics. Take a deep breath. It will be ok.

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And no whining. You aren’t special.

Be Creative!

Look what you can do with felt pens and your own fingers. Fun stuff.

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What Not to Watch on Netflix: Badland

A few night ago Teddy and I thought it would be fun to watch a movie. Badland, a Western, was #4 in popularity on Netflix. Hey, everyone else was watching it so it must be good. It had a good cast that included Bruce Dern, Mira Sorvino, Amada Wyss, Trace Adkins, and Kevin Makely. Holy shit this movie was bad.

Dialogue: Melodramatic at best. It seemed the writer was trying to make an attempt at making the characters speak as if they lived in the 19th century. It came off as stiff, and sort of stupid.

Plot: A Pinkerton Agent is searching for bad former Confederate officers to bring in to be hung by the neck until dead. There is a sort of side story with a Pinkerton boss and his son that really doesn’t make sense but hey, nothing else in this movie does. In the first part he meets with an old Indian friend/rival just because there has to be an Indian friend/rival. Then he kills a bunch of criminals and gets beat up. The Pinkerton hero meets a woman on a ranch, sort of falls in love, saves her ranch, doesn’t kill her war criminal dad. Then he moves on like Shane and rescues some whores and saves the day in a town fill with people who are really stupid. He gets stabbed. The Indian friend/rival saves him, then he goes back to the woman he loves on the ranch.

Acting: Two out of five stars. Most porn actors do dialogue better (this is before the sex.) With such an experienced cast you’d think it would be better. You’d think. I know that none of these actors will be putting this one on their resume. They’ll be begging IMDB to remove it from their listings. I believe Kevin Makely wanted to be good but with that script and direction he didn’t have a hail stone’s chance in Hell.

Directing: This movie was written and directed by Justin Lee. Hey Justin USC and CSU Long Beach both have great screen writing programs. Maybe you should sign up and learn how to write a real movie script. I COULD DO BETTER. Seriously, I could do better. YOU could do better. But hey, he pulled it off getting such a great cast. Then he wasted that cast.

Sets: Looks like they are all cast offs from other old Westerns. Nothing interesting.

Costumes: Just about the worst I’ve ever seen. EVER. It was like he told the female members of the cast to just find something from the local Goodwill store or from the back of their closets. There must be something from the 1970’s you have hanging around. 1970’s, 1870’s same thing.

Out of five stars I’d give this move a 2 at best. Maybe a 1 because it looked like it might be a lot better. It was awful to the point we were laughing and saying rude things at the screen.

But the joke is on us because everyone is watching it on Netflix. Ugh.

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This is the poster for Badland. It had a decent cast. I should have known by looking at the poster it was a disaster.

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How the people who made this movie thought women dressed in the Wild West. Notice her hair is expertly highlighted and DOWN. Excuse me. Her hair would have been UP. Adult women of the time always wore their hair UP. For Pete’s sake even when I garden I put my hair up.

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What she should have been wearing if the costuming staff would have done their jobs rather than jacking off and saying “oh just bring something from your closet at home.”

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Pioneer Women

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Pioneer women.

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These are the costumes from Badland. The women look like they were told to dress like pioneer whores so they dug whatever they could find out of the backs of their closets. Bad Halloween costumes at best.

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A real 1870’s Madam. No nonsense. Note that despite her small waist she does not look like she is ready to go out for trick-or-treating. No puns intended.

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Soiled Doves. They don’t look much like the whores and dance hall girls we see in a lot of movies. What the hell is wrong with people who create movie costumes?

 

Movies and TV We’ve Liked

Hawaii Five-0 ended on Friday. I will miss Alex O’Laughlin’s and Ian Anthony Dale’s gorgeous faces. As a side note: I’m not overly fond of most Vampire movies or television series. I absolutely adored Alex O’Laughlin in Moonlight. It might have been because, well, isn’t it obvious.

Know Hawaii Five-0 wasn’t the best and never won any Emmy Awards but it was a fun Friday escape. We got some great drinking games out of it.

Now that we’re all home everyone is watching a lot of TV. Too much, but hey, I’ll be creative and productive later today.

What we’ve watched at my house in the past week:

  • Better Call Saul
  • Ozark
  • Briar Patch
  • Unorthodox
  • Tiger King
  • Expedition Unknown
  • 100 Humans
  • The Sinner
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • The Black List
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Pioneer Woman
  • My Lottery Dream Home
  • Twilight Zone (the original black and white from the 60’s)
  • Alaska State Troopers
  • The Curse of Oak Island which has been a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME this season #OakIslandCursers. It isn’t quite as bad as Badland but almost.
  • Lots of car shows. Lots of prison shows.  Lots of Food Network. Lots of nature shows. Lots of science shows. We finished all of the paranormal type shows we’d been watching.
  • Don’t judge me. Put suggestions in the comments if you have them.

Movies we’ve watched in the past week and liked:

  • JoJo Rabbit (5 stars)
  • Peanut Butter Falcon (4 stars, a exceptionally cute and sweet movie)
  • Rashômon (5 stars)

If you get really bored I have over 150 short stories posted on this blog.

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Getting Out While Staying In

I’m staying at home but sometimes I do get out for a walk around my neighborhood. I’m fortunate enough to live near a parkway and my home backs up to parkland. I’ve posted before about night walks. Here are some photos of yesterday’s daytime walk.

 

You might be wondering what ever happened to Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, my brother Aaron the Vampire and the rogue Vampires. Nothing so far. They’re headed out to the hills today to take care of the problem. I’m not going with them. Nope, not today. No no no no. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

I’ll be visiting Eleora and Tellias the ancient Vampires later today. Someone needs to check in on them and bring them some supplies. They also need the company and a little comfort.

My daughter asked me to do some art for one of her roommates so I’ll be working on that today too. I’ll post photos of what I come up with.

Thank you for dropping by. Feel free to leave a comment, share a movie suggestion, or let me know what you’ve been up to.

Stay safe. Stay chill. Wash your hands. Stay positive.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Short Story Sunday: I Hate Valentine’s Day

I Hate Valentine’s Day

“I shouldn’t be alone today,” thought young Randy as he sat brooding on a rock, on the beach at 5:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. His heart was broken. The girl, a Vampire girl he knew he was going to fall in love with had given her heart to another and left him in the dreaded friend zone.

And it wasn’t as if she’d left him, or chosen another college student. Sure the guy she’d fallen for looked like he was twenty-one but he was born in freaking 1902. What did girls see in these older guys?

He was jolted from his thoughts by a “Hi. You’re Randy, aren’t you?”

A dark haired girl stood in front of him. “I’m Alexis. I’m in your Organic Chemistry class. I’m a Vampire, but you knew that. I know you are too. Small world.”

“Oh, right. Sure. Hi. Have a seat,” said Randy, glad for the company now.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” said Alexis.

“Why do you hate it?”

She sat down on rock next to him. “My parents were borderline Shadow Creepers, you know old time Vampires who stayed in the dark most of the time. Nobody knew we were Vampires but everybody including the other school parents thought my parents were weird. I got picked on a lot at school. I was like quiet and small. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t dare try any of my Vampire stuff on anyone. I was afraid if anyone found out they’d kill my family.  Anyway, every Valentine’s Day we’d have to make stupid boxes and bring Valentines. I always made something pretty with roses and flowers and stuff, all pink and nice. I always But I never got any Valentines. Maybe from one of the girls who felt sorry for me. Everyone had full boxes except me. The kids all started to laugh at me. I wanted to rip their throats out but I couldn’t. You know, Vampire code.”

“Sure, don’t show them what you are, no matter what. Did your mom and dad know?”

“I never told them anything. We didn’t talk much at home. But I got my revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“I told the teacher I had to go the bathroom. Of course the boys started to make jokes about how I’d stink the school up. They were mean like that. Always. It never stopped. So like the teacher said someone had to go with me to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much time in there, cause sometimes I’d just go there to get away from it all. She said that Ashley should go with me. Ashley was the most popular girl.

She started to pout and complain. So a girl called Emma volunteered. Emma was the only kid who gave me a Valentine. She was kind of overweight and sometimes the other kids would say mean things to her too, but she was the smartest kid in the class so they didn’t say too much.

When we got out of the classroom she said she knew I didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We walked around for a bit, then went back to the classroom. But we didn’t go in.

“You can make them pay for what they did. I’ll help you,” said Emma. “I’m a Witch. I know what you are.” Then she smiled in a way that even scared me.

We didn’t go in. The door locked. The room filled with smoke. The other kids started to scream. They couldn’t get out. Everyone started to claw at their faces and arms. That is except the teacher who kept trying to open the door. We ran to the office to get help. You know, we had to keep up appearances.

By the time the fire department go there and knocked down the door, the smoke at gone away, but the smell of sulphur was still in the room. Some of the kids had clawed out their eyes and made huge gashes in their faces and arms.

Then Emma whispered in my ear, “they’ll never call you ugly again.”

Hey, even I was shocked. I never did a thing. It was all her. Both of us ended up going to another school. In high school I made a lot of friends. They all thought my parents were cool Goths. The rest of the kids are still all scarred and screwed up.”

Randy looked at her feeling sort of numb. “Where is Emma now?”

“She got into swimming. Lost a lot of weight. Turned blonde. She’s at UCLA now. So Randy, why don’t you like Valentine’s day?”

“A girl I liked started seeing another guy.”

“Bummer. Sorry to hear that.”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves. Randy didn’t know what to say. He and his best friend had been the two most popular boys at their high school. Their lives had been happy and relatively care free. Their parents were modern Vampire in every way possible.

Alexis bumped her shoulder gently against Randy’s. “I hope you don’t think I’m weird.”

“No. Well, maybe just a little.”

“Looks like the storm is coming in. Wanna get coffee? No pressure. It’s not like I want to be your girlfriend or anything like that. Just you know, like just a couple of Vampire friends.”

“Sure,” said Randy.

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun. Well, stranger things had happened.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Just stuff – musings on life, kids, me, stuff

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Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ve been … things are changing quickly around here.

I’ve been spending time with the elders Eleora and Tellias. They’re extremely old. They’re forgetful and need time and care.

Clara is spending her last summer at home before going to the big prestigious difficult to get into university in Southern California (NO not any of the ones involved with the cheating scandals.) Unlike her brother who went off to college with his BFF, she is looking for housing and searching out potential roommates. She is also getting ready to go to the regional championships for her sport then on to the national championships. She is also working and spending a lot of time with her boyfriend, and with me.

Teddy, my husband is working a lot, and diving into a lot of new things. I don’t talk a lot about Teddy, other than his good looks and winning personality. Did I mention his good looks and winning personality.

The eldest child is home on and off after his first year in graduate school. His BFF Randy is still his BFF. They have girlfriends. That is plural girlfriends. I keep out of it.

My writing consortium WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) is coming out with our THIRD horror anthology soon. I’ll keep you posted. I believe that will be our 12th book.
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Summer always brings mixed feelings for Vampires. The weather brings more people out, in fewer clothes. That makes meals easier. Then again, it is hot and bright and we need gallons of sunscreen and I’ve never liked the extreme heat. But with the heat comes flowers and I love my flowers.

So anyway, I am reorganizing my life along with everyone else so I hope to bring more news, stories, thoughts, and interesting blog posts this summer.

One thing I am doing is spending a lot of time at the art museum. Fun stuff. Vampires love art, so of course we support all of our local museums and art events.

In the mornings I love to sit on my deck before dawn with my coffee and listen to the birds. I feel, I KNOW, I’ve done a great job preparing my little birdies for the big outside world. My chicks have spread their wings and are now flying on their own.

Parenting, and writing about parenting has been such a huge part of my life for the past 23 years that I now find myself at a loss for words, as the last one finished up community college and is now leaving… moving 450 miles away. Hey, at least I know there are plenty of cheap flights down her way, and it isn’t really that far of a drive.

OK, I’m done. Time to go out and plant more sunflowers. Yes, it is an odd thing to think about – a Vampire planting sunflowers, but we do all kinds of unexpected things. If you’re a Vampire you’ll understand.

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Slut

This morning I read that several fraternities at Swarthmore College are closing down due to “rape rooms.” College has long been a traditional place for rape culture, slut shaming, sexism, and general bad behavior. Some colleges are worse than others.

My daughter, whom I’m proud to say was just accepted into three of the University of California campuses, is accepting at at a campus which is known for not having a large Greek presence. That particular school is also known for not having a huge “party culture” which is fine for me. My son Garrett DID go to a school with a large party culture and survived and thrived. Like I always say, you have to talk to your children about these things long before they start college or high school – start before puberty.

So in light of all of this, I’m posting a story you might have read before about double standards, college, and general bad behavior. People might behave badly but it does not mean you, or your kids, have to put up with it.

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My children are in college now which is sometimes even more scary than elementary or high school. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

~ end

 

Remember to always talk to your kids about these things. Also tell them to support, respect, and have compassion for others as well. In other words tell them not to be entitled judgmental assholes.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just DON’T: To those who discourage, stereotype and otherwise pigeon hole young people.

Pigeon Hole: Definition of put (someone) in a pigeonhole. : to unfairly think of or describe (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

If you continue to Pigeon Hole young people I will consider you an Ass Hole.

I was out the other night with friends, who do not have children, and the subject came up of how my children are doing.

My daughter is waiting to hear from the four colleges she has applied for as a transfer student from the local community college. I’m doing the happy dance because she was accepted into U.C. Santa Barbara. Woot Woot.

So, for the 357th time my dear friend tells me, “you know that is where my niece got into drugs.”

My standard answer is usually, “kids get into drugs at every school, even schools like BYU.”

This time I said, “My children were not brought up in a hyper controlling, over protective, helicopter parenting home. Their father and I talked to them frankly about drugs, alcohol and what happened to friends of ours who were abusers.”

We (my husband and I) have always talked not just to or at our kids, but WITH our kids. We’ve had two sided discussions about all issues that will come up with our now adult children. Sex, drugs, and Rock N Roll (they know the difference between Led Zeppelin and lead paint.)

If someone tells you their child is going to a school, be it UCLA or Monterey Bay State (big or small) congratulate your friend. They have a child going to college. The same goes for the child who goes into the Navy, goes to a trade school, gets into a apprentice program, or does anything that will help them on that journey of life.

Don’t say how shitty their choice is.

The subject also came up about job choices and training. Family members LOVE to push younger family members into career paths they will HATE. Heaven forbid someone go into something strange like graphic design and illustration (my profession of many many many many years), or anything remotely involved in the arts or creativity. Heaven forbid someone go into a trade like being a mechanic. Hey if you love cars work with them. Any job you love is a good job. If you love cleaning toilets then do it. One day you’ll run your own multimillion dollar janitorial company.

My friends asked what another young person in my life wanted to do. I said he wanted to go into film or TV. Then I was asked what his real job was going to be aka back-up job.

I live in California. There are a lot of jobs in film and TV is you have passion, talent, and a drive. I’m not going to stomp on the dreams of any young people.

If you want to go into art – DO IT. If you want to work in a museum – DO IT. If you want to sing or act – DO IT. Yes a back up plan is ok, but think of all of the middle-aged people you know who have said “I wish I had…”

Don’t hate on the dreams of youth. A lot of young people have a plan for those dreams. Now they have access to the internet and other resources we (parents) could never dream of when we were young.

I’m not saying don’t have a back-up plan. Having a large set of skills is a good thing but…

I know we don’t want to see young people hurt, but killing dreams will do more damage in the long run.

Encourage our youth. Celebrate our hard-working youth. Say “GOOD JOB” to the kids who are studying, planning, researching, discussing, and doing.

My final words are for those of you who are not so young. You have dreams. You can also follow your passions. Nobody is there to stop you. Maybe you can’t do it on a grand scale, but do it small.

You can do it too. You’re never too old for most things. Don’t ever forget it. And don’t let the assholes pigeon hole you. Don’t.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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