Friday Political Thought

On my alter ego Facebook page I have a feature called “Friday Political Thought.” I started it during the first Obama election cycle. People were getting nasty and ugly so I vowed to post kittens and things that would make everyone feel good, since political thoughts are rarely good. In fact most political thoughts are vile and ugly. I find that sad since politicians and politics should “serve us” not “Serve us up to the alligators” or “Serve us and make us sick to our stomachs.” These days politics are so vile and disgusting that I have no words, but I do have silly memes. I always have silly memes.

Anyway, here we go. Friday Political Thought for April 5, 2019:

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And here is your kitten:

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Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oh Crap

If you’re a parent of a child of any age, especially a child who believes they are socially aware and socially responsible, you need to tell them that it is important to pick their battles well.

By that I mean that they are not to fly off the handle and get hysterical at everything they see, because it might not be what they think it is.

A few weeks ago I took my 86 pound German Shepard to the self dog wash. A self dog wash is a place with lots of waist level tubs with lovely ramps so that the dogs can comfortable walk into the tub. Then you can wash your dog without destroying your drains and bathroom at home. The dog wash supplies shampoo, conditioner, brushes, warm water, and towels. There are always a lot of dogs there of every size and shape. It is a regular dog party.

The last time I took my dog in we had a unsavory moment in the parking lot. We couldn’t park in front of the dog wash so we had to park a few feet over in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. As I walked my dog Alice across the parking lot she stopped. I assumed she’d stopped to sniff something, but much to my dismay she was in that uncomfortable squatting position trying to poop.

I pulled her over to a planter where she did her business, then turned to go back to my car to get a bag to clean it up. In the meantime a women (in her 20’s) who saw it all started to go hysterical.

She screamed, and I mean she screamed, “OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. THAT IS DISGUSTING. PICK IT UP. PICK IT UP. OH MY GOD. PICK IT UP.”

I yelled back that I was on my way back to my car to get a bag. The woman rolled up her window and continues to shriek at me.

By the time I got the bag, picked up the poop, and took it to the garbage can the woman was out of her car and I assume in Trader Joe’s or one of the other stores near there.

So I left a note on her back window explaining that I was on my way to get a bag to pick up the poop. I also used some not so nice descriptive words so she’d know I was talking to her and not somebody else.

I wish I’d also added, “you’re not so fucking woke as you think you are.” But I didn’t. Maybe next time. Besides, I’d already used the F word on the note.

As a parent I know I should not have left the note. I do not recommend my children or their friends leave such notes, but my kids and their friends are better people than I will ever be.

Later I told my extremely socially aware 19-year-old daughter about the incident. She was shocked. Not because my dog pooped in public, or that I left a nasty note on the car of a shrieking banshee.

With the all of her wisdom, for my daughter is one of the wisest people I know, my child said, “If you’re going to get hysterical save it for something that is really important, not dog poop in a planter.”

Yes, I know there are those of you who ask what if ALL of the dogs crapped in the planter? 

All of the dogs don’t crap in the planters. The woman acted as if I’d crapped in the planter. She acted if I’d killed my dog in the planter. She acted as if I’d slashed her tires and smeared dog poop all over her car. She acted as if I’d caused Global Warming. She acted as if her entire world had ended.

What she should have done is offered me a bag. Or she could have just minded her own business about my dog’s business. Or she could have told me there were bags inside of Trader Joe’s. Instead she acted like a hysterical fool.

It is ok to react to things you do not like, but before you start going nuts and making assumptions you need to STOP and THINK first.

I swear to God I feel sorry for anyone who dates that woman.

It is also not a good idea to yell at someone with a large dog, especially dogs of certain breeds, because you never know if it is trained to protect it’s owner. My dog is a mild mannered love muffin, but if the woman had been out of her car there would have been growls. If it had been a different dog there could have been more than growls.

Kids have to learn to stop and think. That goes for adults too. That doesn’t just apply to crap in a parking lot. It applies to everything. 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can ask me, or read many of the dozens of popular advice columns out there (Dear Prudence on slate.com is my favorite.)

My poor dog doesn’t do bad things intentionally. Most dogs don’t. Also, remember that busy people sometimes forget to put poop bags in their purse or pocket. Remember that parent’s leave the house and forget snacks and kids get whiney. Remember that old people are sometimes really slow and that they were once young and slow. Remember that it isn’t worth driving around all day with a nasty note attached to the back of your car because you pissed off a Vampire mom with a large dog.

That’s all. I’m done. Now I’ll get off of my soap box and take my dog for another car ride. With any luck she’ll go before we go.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

At the Crocker Art Museum

My heart is in this place. The Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento California, is such an amazing, beautiful, wonderful museum. Put it on your MUST SEE list.

I’m just posting images today. No words necessary. If you have any questions just ask and I will answer. Or go to crockerart.org for more information.

I can’t always explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports.  It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Enjoy. Oh, one more thing. I’ll post a story inspired (sort of) by the museum. It is also about dogs and full moons and maybe a little romance…maybe.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California.

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Night Dogs (A Short Story)

Constantine Jones sat on the bottom of the museum steps wondering what just happened.

Earlier that evening he’d put on his best Armani suit, a Hermes silk tie, and was feeling good about the outcome of the evening. It was to be a charity event. Beautiful people would be there dressed up. Everyone would be relaxed, and happy, and it would be delightfully fun.

After discussing art and drinking champagne he’d lured a few well-heeled patrons to remote galleries to see some unusual modern art. There he took a few pints of blood from wrists and left his donors with no memories, except those of a delightful conversation with a well dressed, nice looking young art expert. Well, a 165 year old art expert, but that was besides the point.

Then in the main gallery, the California Room, he saw her standing in front of the Thomas Hill grand painting of Yosemite Valley. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room but she was attractive in a cute sort of California girl way, and had that delightful look of both shyness and playfulness. Her olive green dress shimmered along the neckline with iridescent beads. As she turned her head towards him it was like a lightning bolt had hit his heart. First sight.

Second sight as well. A smallish dog of unknown breed stood next to her with a service dog vest on. A service dog. Why did she need a service dog?

With his usual ease, Constantine approached the woman. He asked if he could pet the dog. She said yes. She told him she’d had a head injury when she was in Afghanistan. She’d been in the Army. He would never guessed. The dog could detect seizures.

They talked for an hour about art, and life, and it seemed as if he’d met his soul mate. It was the best hour he’d ever spent. Then she was gone. He hadn’t even asked her name.

So like Prince Charming, he sat at the bottom of the stairs wondering where Cinderella had gone. All he had of her was one of her earrings he’d found on the steps. It was a gold strand with a single diamond on the end. The diamond was real.

I might as well walk home he thought. It was just a couple of miles. He’d clear out his mind. The full moon, and lights from late night downtown bars and restaurants lit the way.

Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw a large dog wearing a back pack. A service dog? A smaller dog in a vest followed. Around the next corner, in an alley, he saw three more large dogs in the dark, all wearing packs.

Maybe it was a training exercise. The dogs could have been German Shepards looking for drugs or a missing person, or even bodies. It was weird, but at this point he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He was a Vampire so weird and unusual was over rated anyway.

Constantine thought about the woman he’d met. She’d been a nurse in a convoy, and there was a bomb. She didn’t say anything else except that her dog was named Tess. She liked Jazz music, indie films, and indie books. Of course she liked art too. She was a high school art teacher now, having moved on from nursing. But sometimes she helped out the school nurse. Weird how he got those details. He’d told her… what had he told her about himself? Not much. He was a Vampire so he never told much, at least not at first. He’d told her that he ran a philanthropic foundation that supported the arts, and other causes. He told her he had two cats and liked astronomy. She also was a watcher of the moon and stars. Then she kissed his cheek, excused herself, and a few minutes later he saw her walking out the front door of the museum.

As a Vampire he usually had a good feel for people but he couldn’t get a final read on her. Again, he thought about the fact that he didn’t even get her name. But the dog was named Tess. Tess the service dog.

Constantine thought about war. He could imagine the horrors she’d been through. He was a child during the Civil War or the War Between the States, whatever they wanted to call it. Those weren’t memories he cared to relive. He’d come out to California as soon as he was old enough to be on his own, as soon as he’d become a Vampire, and stayed there.

As he walked along the dogs with packs stayed in the alleys and shadows. Looking at the local news feeds and police scans from his iPhone he found nothing. One of his neighbors was a K-9 cop. Constantine would ask him about it tomorrow.

Arriving home at his craftsman style bungalow he noticed a few dogs in packs at the end of the street. This was getting weird. Odder, and a nice surprise, was that a woman in a slightly wrinkled olive green dress, and a single diamond and gold earring was standing on his front porch.

Tess the service dog stood beside her. Hanging off of her shoulder was a back pack.

No. It couldn’t be. She wasn’t Cinderella. She was a Werewolf.

They introduced themselves, again, but this time with names. Her name was Diana. Like the goddess of the moon.

“You have my earring,” she said smiling and holding out a hand.

“You have my heart,” he heard himself saying, much to his surprise.

Then he kissed her under the full moon, as Tess sat at attention and wagged her tail.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Savor

As I walked downstairs from my bedroom I wondered how many tons of cat vomit is flushed down toilets each year?

At 4:12 a.m. the dog had asked to go out. As I made it to the entryway I saw that the poor thing couldn’t wait. She had tummy troubles and made a huge mess. She is a large dog at 85 pounds, so believe me it was a huge mess. After taking a large bag full of the mess out to the garbage I sprayed the carpet and now I’m waiting to scrub it. Fortunately for me the carpet is being replaced with hardwood floors soon.

So what does this have to do with parenting, vampires, or having an empty nest?

My nest is not so empty. Since there are no children in the house the animals are all more aware of MOM. We are all adjusting. The cats are eating quicker and barfing because the dog is trying to eat their food. The dog is eating cat food and getting huge runny poops. I’m trying to give all of them extra attention.

In the meantime my adult children, young but still adults now, are keeping in touch this week though the magic of the smart phone.

I just received photos of costumes from Paramount Studios, and last night photos from Griffith Park Observatory (yes, the one in LA LA Land.)

Then photos came of Pike Place Market and a friend’s new beard. This is the first beard of the group. It is well groomed, blonde, and a new trendy hair cut. Looks good.

They’re on winter break from school and off with friends, one north, and one south.

When I was that age I also tumbled into adventures, and unfortunately more misadventures. If I had the resources, and the wherewithal kids had now… Yes, I think how different it might have been, but does that matter? I’ll let my alternate universe self deal with that. I’m just happy beyond words to see I’ve given my kids the tools they need. Yes, they have those phones, but there are so many more tools one must have.

They’re curious, and full of adventure. They smart. They’re cautious. They’re playful. They’re young and without fear of the unknown.

The other day Nigel the Ghost, who left his body, ok died, around the age of 26 or 27, told me to tell my kids to treasure their youth and make the most of it.

I was feeling snarky so I said, “we’re Vampires.”

Then he said, “then treasure it all the more.”

He is right. And so, no matter who we are, what we are, or how we live, we should treasure everyday, and every experience.

I thought about all of the adventures I’ve been on with my children. There will be many more to come, and I am glad they are having their own adventures as well now. They’re building their libraries of wonderful memories. Yes, I wish I was there, but like I said, we will have our adventures too.

A new lesson for our adult children should be to savor the moments. Plan fun. Continue to play. Take breaks. Watch for falling stars. And to continue to treasure those you love.

Tell them, as they grow older, they should keep an open mind as well. My mind is much more open now than it was when I was a clueless eighteen year old.

Just remember, and this is coming from an old Vampire, to savor all moments. Even if it is just petting a cat who leans against your leg, or the quiet of a cold winter night.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Reflections on 2018 and the Year to Come

The first installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary was on December 26, 2014.

Of course I distance myself from Vlad and his cohorts. It’s complicated. I hate that expression, it’s complicated, but in this case it is. Sort of.

I help a lot of new Vampires adjust. I also watch old ones adjust. Sometimes I help. Sometimes I leave that job to others.

2018 was a different kind of year. I have high hopes for 2019. New beginnings along with the ancient. Not being in the possession of a crystal ball I can’t tell the future. But like all of us I can make the future and/or at least influence it.

Outside of my small circle, out in the greater world there are mysteries I can’t predict. I can’t even find spoilers on the Internet. Like will the find if anything is in the Chapel Vault on Oak Island. Is anything on that island except a lot of really cool equipment? Will my dog start coming when I call her? She is now three years old and is the only dog I’ve ever met who ponders the meaning of the word come every time she hears it. Will anyone I know be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship? Will yet another person ask me to turn them into a Vampire? Will my daughter get into the school of her choice? Will my son and his friend Randy continue to be baffled by adulthood? Will people in politics get their heads out of their asses or their asses out of town and let someone else do the job? Will I speak anywhere for large groups of people? I can’t answer most of those questions and right now don’t have the energy to even speculate.

The next year WILL bring posts about art, empty nests, old cemeteries, old photos, Short Story Sunday, and of course Vampires and their complicated lives (which are complicated just like everyone else’s lives.)

The Burning Questions will come to a finish (at least for weekly questions.)

I will continue to work on training my dog. I will work on this blog. I will try not to drive my husband completely crazy. OK I can’t guarantee the last point here. I will no doubt drive him nuts but it is up to him on how to react to my eccentricities.

I’m just sort of pondering and musing here right now. That is all.

Baby New Year will soon come tumbling along, hopefully without projective vomiting, nasty butt rashes, or too many scraped knees. You know how kids are. And with any hope by next December old man 2019 won’t be so worn out that he can’t remember what the Hell just happened during the past twelve months.

I’ll write more resolutions later, maybe. Years ago I used to write predictions on New Year’s Eve and put them in an envelope and seal them up. The envelope would be opened a year later. It was always fun and funny to see what would happen. Of course it was all crazy stuff like who might meet the love of their life, or find a whale in their backyard, or see a space alien, or go to the South Pole. And I would always be surprised to see that a lot of those things would come true. Maybe I should start doing it again.

Christmas is over and the New Year is to come. And in-between we still have the holiday season. Let’s all enjoy it. Let’s all enjoy every season.

By the way, I had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I never know how many people will be over but my door is always open with good cheer. Blood doesn’t always make family – good cheer and shared time does. Believe me when I say that. We are all family.

Thanks for dropping by. Now think about what you’ll write down to seal in that envelope.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

You Gotta Believe (a silly little story for Christmas Eve)

“Where’s that friend of yours, the Welsh Corgi?”

“Brad?”

“Yeah Brad, the little guy.”

“He went north to the Pole. Seasonal help with the fat man.”

“No shit. With Santa?”

“His third year. He makes enough money to last the rest of the year. In fact in five years he’ll be able to retire.”

“No shit.”

“I shit you not.”

I was sitting in the booth next to a couple of Werewolves, nursing my coffee until Steve showed up.  I pride myself on the number of conversations I’m able to overhear everyday. Then again, I’m always listening. It is my nature to listen and know everything that everybody is saying and feeling. It has nothing to do with being naughty or nice and everything to do with being a Vampire.

Steve slid into the booth and faced me. I mouthed the words, “Werewolves behind me.”

He smiled then took my hand. “You look sexy tonight.”

If I’d had enough blood in my veins I would have blushed.

After coffee and cherry pie we walked the streets, in and out of art galleries and glancing into bars and restaurants. Christmas lights twinkled in some of the windows. Other windows were painted with holly and Christmas tree designs.

Outside of a trendy club we saw a couple of Vampires we knew talking to a group of attractive young women. They nodded at us. We nodded at them.

I kept thinking about the Werewolves in the cafe. “Steve, do you believe in Santa Claus?”

“Why are you asking?”

“One of the Werewolves was saying a small friend of theirs was going up to the North Pole to work for Santa Claus.”

“I didn’t believe in Vampires until, you know, until I became one.”

He had a point there.

We ducked into a bar full of happy people, all talking and catching up on the last Saturday of the Thanksgiving break. It was warm and collars became undone and scarves were loosened. It was a beautiful sight for a couple of Vampires.

After a moment in a dark corner in a dark corner with a sweet young man named Kyle I glanced up to see the Werewolves at the bar.

For the next half hour I’d be warm so I knew they might not suspect I was different from the rest of the bar patrons. I sat on the bar stool next to them. The large one glanced over at me.

“You were in the diner. You’re a Vampire.”

“Busted,” I said. “Hey, I don’t mean to be rude but while I was waiting for my friend I overheard you talking about your friend going to the North Pole.”

“Sure, no problem. Seriously I love the dude, we’ve been friends forever, but I’m worried he’ll end up being part of some sled team or eaten by bears on the way up.”

“Is there really a Santa Claus?”

He smiled. “We’re here aren’t we? I mean, it isn’t so much as him making toys and all. It is more of a fairy dust sort of thing if you know what I mean.”

I never thought I’d hear a Werewolf talking about fairy dust and Santa, but I’ve come not to be too surprised by anything. It was sort of nice.

A warm hand slid into mine. Steve was next to me, also warm for a short time. We spent the rest of the evening talking with the Werewolves about living like Santa Claus. You know, living in a world where everyone says they believe in you but you know they don’t.

As we went back out into the street I saw a couple walking a tan and white Corgi dog. I looked up into the sky and saw a shining star above the light of the city. Maybe Brad made it to the North Pole. You have to believe. After all, it is beginning to look like Christmas. You gotta believe.

~ End

~ Merry Christmas. Love, Juliette aka Vampire Maman