What We’re Talking About Today (with my kids)

I started writing this post a week ago while I was visiting my kids in Southern California. OK, just the title.

Since then, a long standing and troubling subject of these talks has resurfaced – shootings. Be it a grocery store or a school it seems that shootings are somehow normal. That is, at least a segment of our population who values clumps of cells in a woman’s body, and guns, over the lives of living breathing people – especially living breathing children. They use the term “founding fathers” to justify owning assault weapons that are made for killing humans (not animals for food.) The founding fathers would be horrified if they know their words and intent were used to justify parading around guns like fools and brushing off mass killings of innocent people.

Grocery store home deliveries will last much longer than the current pandemic because people will live in fear of being killed for the simple act of grocery shopping. They’ll fear going out for a massage because some asshole said he had issues with his own perverted sexual hang-ups brought on by religion, bigotry, and his own sick and twisted selfishness. The school shootings will start up again because young men will have access to guns in the homes of their family members, or guns they easily purchase when they turn eighteen.

My daughter was born in 1999 the year of the Columbine killings. It should have stopped then and there. It should have stopped. There is NO REASON this should be happening.

There are patterns. A few diverge but there are patterns. The patterns are ignored. The shootings continue.

With the advent of Covid-19 and various other changes in my life I’m not writing as many blog posts because I’ve sort of lost my sense of humor.

It also had to do with the suffocating political environment we were all living in.

On a good note, since this is a parenting blog of sorts, my daughter has been accepted into the Masters program at a major Southern California University for a double Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning. I am over the moon happy that this funny, happy, positive kid has worked her ass off and worked smart to get where she wants to be.

Of course I’m freely joking that my daughter got in and I’m not going to jail for it.

Cheating in anything is bad. Cheating at parenting is absolutely the worst. If you cheat to get your child into a school you don’t only set them up for failure but you also take a place from a child who deserves it. Of course if you cheat to get your kid to the front of the line you aren’t the kind of person who gives a shit about kids who aren’t yours.

My husband got the dog a new bed and the cat sleeps on it. The Internet if full of photos of cats sleeping on the dog bed while the huge dog sleeps on the floor next to it.

While I was in Southern California my kids and I walked along the beach and talked about everything under the sun and moon. We talked about movies, books, my daughter’s school, my son’s work, the environment, how huge cargo ships are, gardening, and dogs.

I always tell my readers to talk with their kids. Now that they’re grown we are still talking.

Museums are opening back up.

Restaurants are opening back up.

Maybe even movie theaters will start opening.

Werewolves and Ghosts have done alright, but believe me, it will be a lot easier for Vampires right now.

What is left in my coffee cup from a few minutes ago is getting cold, so I’ll stop my ramblings soon.

I miss those days of driving to school in the car with my kids and talking about whatever was on the radio or on their minds. I feel like those talks helped make them the successful young adults they are today. At least it got them thinking about the big picture – the world outside of their own small circle of family, friends, and school.

Stay safe. Keep wearing your masks. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Hug your dog, especially if a cat has taken it’s bed. Check in on those who are elderly, alone, or need extra help. And kiss a Vampire – you’ll thank me for it later.

I’ll be back soon – hopefully with something fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Reveries on Love

Some find love early, and some find it later. It isn’t that one is better than another. It just is. No amount of fate or the cosmic belief in soul mates will speed up or slow it down.

So much of finding that one person is a matter of accident. I should hope a happy accident. It is all timing, and lack of timing. It is a matter of right place, right time. Or it could be a matter of wrong place and wrong time.

Timing is everything. It has to be the right time for both.

Or there is that fear of saying what you feel. If you say it they might leave. If you don’t they might leave. Yet, if you say nothing the answer will always be no.

Friendship turns into passion. Passion turns into the kind of friendship that lasts a lifetime and forges a partnership. Or passion goes out like the fire that started it, leaving a cold damp spot where as you sift though wet ashes.

I don’t believe there is one love for everyone. There could be many, but like I said before, timing is everything. It isn’t something to mourn. There are others. Or in those rare cases years later you might just find yourself with your old friend just at the right time and just in the right place.

As a parent I hope my kids, who are in their twenties, don’t go through the somewhat sorted romantic adventures, misadventures, missed boats, wrong signals, and other pitfalls of romantic relationships that their father and I went through. Then again it is too late already for that. While my daughter is with her perfect match and living with him now, her elder brother is trying to figure out what he keeps doing wrong.

I tell him that it isn’t all him. I tell him he dodged a bullet in some cases. I tell him not to stress, or dwell on it. I tell him that broken hearts are easily fixed by just realizing that some people are just assholes and they don’t deserve his love. I don’t think he is doing anything wrong except being attracted to the wrong women. At least he has the sense to cut his losses and get out early when it is obvious that it just isn’t going to work, or that she’ll never be in love with him, or grow to be his best friend.

I tell both of my children not to be rescuers. The broken must fix themselves. You can’t fix someone. You can’t fundamentally change who someone is. Likewise if someone tries to fix you or change you that is a clear signal to run, change your number, and get them the hell out of your life.

I love my children with a love I never thought existed. I also love their father because he is their father, and my best friend, and my partner. Yes, it was love at first sight with that man. It happens. It really happens.

If you’re looking for love, take a break. Take a breath. Enjoy your friends, your family, and your pets. Also believe that one day you’ll say hello, spark up a conversation, make a friend, don’t expect anything, let go of old and outdate preconceived notions, and you never know… you never know.

Stay safe, wear a mask, get vaccinated, don’t listen to conspiracy theories (except to get a good laugh out of them), be kind, don’t be a dick, talk to your kids, and check in on those who might be alone or need extra help.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Special Kind of Magic – Parenting in the Pandemic – Empty Nest Version

When I started writing this blog in 2012 one of my kids was in high school, and the other was in middle school. This was more or less a middle school parenting blog. Then the rest of my family crept into it. The old folks, my brothers, and even my parents. Then friends started to slip in through the cracks. No matter what parenting was always at the core of it all.

On of my kids finished up graduate school at the beginning of the pandemic. Now in the middle of the pandemic my daughter sent in her graduate school applications today. I read some of the letters of recommendation from several esteemed professors and people in her field. I was blown over.

This is the child I took to Black Veil Brides concerts. This is the girl who shocked the horrible middle school PE Bitch teacher with her stylish outfits that DID NOT break the dress code rules. This is the kid who struggled with algebra and ended up taking a series of upper division statistics and economics classes at a top university and getting almost all A’s. Yes, this is the kid who never got below a B in college. This is the kid who inspired me to write about glitter, glue slugs, and Emo music, and growing pains.

These are the kids had tough conversations with about school shootings, and death, and losing, and caring, and unconditional love, and failure, and reputation, and about being an asshole.

My daughter hasn’t been in a classroom since last March. She’ll graduate and never meet most of her upper division professors or classmates in person. She has asked for and received letters of recommendation from professors, and a boss she has never met in person. She has impressed others with her presentations and discussion points but never in person.

Both of my young adults would love to live life in person. Wouldn’t we all. Sure we go to the post office, and the grocery store, but not to schools, or museums, or coffee houses with friends. I guess we could sit outside the coffee houses, sometimes, if there is seating and not too many people are there.

My dog misses the days we’d spend outside at the local coffee house. At our usual table I’d write or read. My giant do would stretch out over the walk way and thump her tail at anyone walking by. I’d have water and treats for her. I’d pretend she was as smart and well behaved as she looks.

Now Garrett, who is 24 is living in the Hollywood Hills, housesitting until the middle of next year, working from home, and working on starting his own business with his best buddy Randy. Neither one of them has a girlfriend right now which is weird but a nice break for Randy’s mom and me. We’ve seen a lot of broken hearts with our sons. I’ve found a lot of love letters in the laundry.

Clara and her boyfriend (both 21) will be getting their own place in January. They’re both seniors in college, but will never set foot in an undergraduate classroom as students again. Their roommates are getting weird. Everyone is getting weird. They’ll save money and time. It just makes sense. Yes, if you’d told me this would be what we’re talking about today in 2012 I would have said NO WAY.

I’m serious about parenting but I’m pretty chill too. It isn’t just a Vampire thing. It is a parenting thing. Seriously, you have to be chill. You have to listen. You have to change with the times as a parent. As parents we are leading the way and we can’t do it blindly using rules from the 1970’s.

My kids are stressed. I’m chill on the outside but going nuts inside.

Clara, her boyfriend of four years, and his orange kitten all came up this week. It was a surprise. It was a 450 mile drive. They’ll go back on Thursday and return before Christmas. They just needed a quiet safe place to finish their finals and graduate school applications. Their homes didn’t provide that right now. Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been a problem but right now it is. I just want them to be able to finish school without any additional stress.

Yesterday Clara and I went out. I had on a red jacket and a red mask with a cat print on it. She wore a black sweater with a black mask with a cat print on it. That wasn’t planned. We just do that – always dressing almost the same or in the same colors. It has been going on since before middle school. It just happens. It is a special kind of mother/daughter magic.

So yes, I write about Vampires, but it is really all about my kids and everyone else I love.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. Hug your dogs and cats. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And of course, if you get a chance, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Shared Memories and New Adventures – Savoring the Moment

This week I’m in Southern California visiting my kids.

When your kids are grown shopping trips are different. Today we went out to get gardening supplies, ant bait, a cork screw, an air mattress someone can actually sleep on, sheets, drinking glasses, a lamp, and a front door mat.

Last night we, went for a long walk and saw tiny wild cottontail bunnies in the park near my daughter’s apartment complex. The wonder and cuteness overload was still there, maybe even more so.

Tuesday night my kids Clara, Garret and I, went to the beach. Only a few locals were out. The smoke in the air gave off a strange pink glow. Beach fires glowed in the distance.

We talked about how their father is handling the 21st Century. We spoke of the fires. We talked about the insane political situation of our country and the pandemic. We talked about our favorite beaches and trips we’ve made together in the past. We updated each other on friends and family. We laughed about a lot of things. That was the best part. We just let go and laughed at stories old and new.

It is amazing that when we are with those we love, and I mean real love, we just fall into a comfortable pattern no matter how long we are apart.

That can be with family or friends. We just take up from where we left off.

Forget romance and falling in love. That is fine and well, but it is those long term relationships with kids, dear friends, and hopefully family, that keep the soul alive. Those shared memories, and the ability to make new ones is something that we take for granted. Those positive relationships are precious and to be treasured and savored.

  • So dear reader, you know what to do:
  • Stay safe
  • Be kind
  • Wear a mask
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Pet a dog or cat
  • Keep your bird feeders full
  • Kiss a Vampire
  • Check in on those who might be alone or need extra help
  • Talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: This was first posted in August 2017. I’m having computer issues so anything new is extremely difficult now. Wash you hands, wear a mask, hug your cat, talk to your kids, and stay out of trouble.

Vampire Maman

Normal, or Whatever

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I’m trying to appear to be normal and appear to be a normal parent.

Considering I’m a Vampire that is always the the case, you know, appearing to be normal.

Normal: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Of course I’m more than normal. I want to shout off of the roof tops what a proud parent I am but I don’t want to brag or sound crass. OK, I DO want to brag in a big way.

So often we hear the tern the new normal. What does that even mean? Or worse we hear back to normal.

How about new beginnings. Or the new better way. Or the new challenges. Or something positive. Positive might not be a word that most people expect from Vampires but we’ve survived thousands of years because we’re positive about the future. We look back on the past but there is too much to dwell upon. Looking upon the future is what keeps us fresh and young. It isn’t just all about blood you know.

We also live with a certain amount of fear which is good and bad. It is usually bad.

When I started this blog in 2012 my son Garret was in high school. He was playing his guitar, flirting with girls, painting pictures, writing poems, and being a normal Vampire teen. Now he is grown, finished with college, starting a career and thinking about getting his own place.

After living with his best friend Randy through college and grad school he is now ready to be completely on his own. Randy will still be in the picture but an hour away with his own job and interesting (to say the least) relationships.

While I am still adjusting to having an empty nest, Garret will be getting his own first nest.

His sister Clara, now at almost 21 and completely the adult of the family, is going to go looking for places with Garret. They’ll be living closer together, something they look forward to.

I don’t need to warn them about the dangers of not being careful as in who they let into their homes, or share their secrets with. They’re fully aware of keeping their night life separate from their day life, so to speak.

Some things never change. Some things change continuously.

Our goal should be to not let any of it throw us off and keep a balance. Right now, in this strange year, it is easy to be thrown off. Yet, at home it is easy to keep things the same.

Dogs still wait at the door for their owners to return. Children still need to go out on their own. Sometimes they need to come back, then out again. Sort of like cats.

So that’s all. I’m just thinking out loud today and avoiding a painting project, and staying out of the summer heat. I got the car smog checked, did some research, made some calls, and payed bills. Yes, Vampires need to do those things as well.

As for normal…

Try not to be too normal. While normal is easy, it isn’t always the most interesting thing to do. It is safe, but not always.

Things are still going to go bump in the night. Then again that might not always be a bad thing.

And if you need something to read remember that the newest WPaD Anthology Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A Go-Go is now available in digital format. The paperback will be available in July 2020.

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  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Talk to your kids.
  • Hug your dogs and cats.
  • Don’t yell at your significant other too much. They’re getting tired of all of this too.

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This is where I’d rather be RIGHT NOW.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman