Savor the Summer. They’re growing up but they still need us.

Summer is officially here. It isn’t June 21 yet, but it is hot, summer school starts today, and I’m juggling a new season of activities. Yes, all of you parents out there, parenting does not end when your kids turn 18. It just goes into a different universe. For me that has been a nice mellow universe.

My son’s best friend Randy came over this morning. He has grown up since I started this blog from a funny skinny kid with long blonde hair and a fondness for orange plaid, to a gown man with broad shoulders, a man bun, and still a unique sense of style.

Being an adult Vampire is easy in college. Students live in close quarters. There are parties every night. The bar scene is big for the over 21 crowd. But unlike creepy Vampires in a lot of fiction, one can’t stay in college forever, even if you still look like a college student.

You never want someone to tell you “Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days was written about you.” Never. Believe me, you NEVER want anyone to say or even think that. Even if you’re not a Vampire you never want anyone to say that.

Randy sad down with me over coffee and we talked about his life. He is working for my brother Aaron this summer to see if he might like to work in a law office.

“I’m excited about my last year of college, but being a Vampire. Like, we’re supposed to be on top of things, but going out there in the big world, maybe to a place where there might not be a lot of us is kind of scary.”

“It can be scary,” I said. “But you won’t be alone. You’re family, you’re community, all of us are here for you.”

“I know. The worst part is not knowing if I’ll always look like I do not, or if I’ll end up aging out to my 30’s.”

“Don’t worry about it. Your parents aged out in their late twenties. I bet you will to.”

“I don’t want to look twenty-one forever. Well, twenty-two in August.”

We talked for a bit more when my son Garrett showed up with new hiking boots and a bag full of hair products. Ah, my well-rounded son.

 

I love the fact that no matter how old my children’s friends get, they will always be welcome in my home. I will always be there for them to talk, and for a hug when needed.

Nobody at any stage of life, be it Middle School, or the seasoned 457 year old Vampire knows what the future will bring. We all need support from teacher other at all stages of life. Like I’ve said before, our kids learn from us, and we can learn from them.

The key is just to be there for each other. And rather than rush to judgment, and throw them in the pool before they learn to swim, we need to let them go their own pace and test the waters, and know we’re here if they need a rope.

Summer is here. We’ll be taking some short trips to the beach and the woods. We’ll be going to the book stores and taking the dog out more. We’ll be talking a lot, and laughing, and learning, and savoring our time together until the boys have to go back for their last year of college.

Have a great week everyone, and savor your time with those you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Dark Days, Ghosts, and Inspiration

coffee

Coffee with Vampires, Ghosts and Poe

I’ve been having a bad case of Empty Nest Blues lately. Yes, even without any kids in the house, or kids almost out of the house, I can do anything. Right? Yes, but like everything else it is always complicated with me. As I brooded about my lack of brood and lack of inspiration my brother Val stopped by for coffee.

As I filled the French Press with hot water, Val grabbed cups and poured in a shot of blood and half/half in each cup. He put two packages of Equal in his, one in mine.

“Dark day?” He asked.

“I feel frozen. But I’ll be fine. Tell me about your sorry existence.” That was a joke. Val has a lovely existence, especially for a Vampire.

We sat and talked about a lot of things. I thought about being inspired to be inspired.

I poured more coffee into my cup and posed a question to my brother. “What if Edgar Allen Poe had lived. He died in 1849, so he might have heard of the gold find in California. What if he’d live and come to California? What if he’d continued to write and eventually met Bret Harte and Mark Twain? What if he’d met Lotta Crabtree? What if he’d met us?”

“Imagine him on the ship with our parents. That would have been fun.”

“Poe would have loved them.”

“He would have ended up becoming a Vampire. Mom would have made sure of that.”

“Maybe,” I said. “He was so odd and broken, but he shouldn’t have died. I think he was murdered.”

“That’s the rumor.”

One idea leads to another, and I make mental notes for stories, books, and artwork that I think a lot about and might someday create, or finish, or forget. The thought is depressing, or exciting depending on who is thinking it. If I’m thinking it right now it seems vague and somewhat depressing, and impossible, and overwhelming. Tomorrow it might be another answer.

As we talked, and my mood brightened and became more hopeful, Val and I looked out the window into my back yard. We could see the ghosts, Nigel and Mary by the fence. They were dancing to music we couldn’t hear. Being ghosts, dealing with their own deaths, and murders, had taken a toll on both, but they pulled themselves out of their own broken fog and made a life after death for themselves. Love will do that. Don’t get me wrong, Nigel is still a major asshole, but sometimes I see that light I know he had when he was alive. Like with Poe, I wonder what he would have achieved had he lived. He’d be fifty-eight now, had he not died in 1986.

Nigel looked up at us and waved at Val. Then he looked at me. Our eyes locked, and he flipped me off. Then Nigel and Mary vanished, as she continued to dance, and he glared at me.

I can relate to the songs and dances of the broken. These are not all sad songs. They’re just songs of those who have maybe had more complex paths to wander along.

Val had always been along my path with me, but we’ve taken side trails alone.

But like with my brother’s visit, I always circle around and return to the joy and love of my family, my friends, and of my imagination.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

don't be a ghost

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/broken/

 

 

 

Transition

Parenting is a job you never retire from but those little people grow up.

They grow up and, well, they’re grown. You’re still a parent but your children are adults. In theory they’re adults. They’re eighteen or older, but they’re not quite adults yet.

They’re not like the teens still in high school either.

And you’re still a parent.

I’m spending a lot more time with this girl now.

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Alice the GSD is two years old now. She is the new family dog. We lost our sweet Jasmine three years ago after twelve years. She was the dog the kids grew up with. She was the dog who grabbed our hearts and souls like no other.

But Alice is the personification of sweetness and love. Now she is my shadow. She is the one who now goes everywhere with me. She is my constant companion.

But back to non-dog creatures…

It is difficult to write about parenting now because everything changes. Some parents tell their kids to move out as soon as they turn eighteen (I think those kind of parents are assholes.) Some kids never leave and are content to live in their childhood bedroom with the single bed and posters on the walls and have mom make grilled cheese for them forever (in that case the kids are assholes.)

Most kids I know are somewhere in the middle. They’re going to college or trade schools, or working, or volunteering. Many are stressing out over how they’re going to pay for school or cars or rent.

A few are stupid and now are finding themselves with minimum wage jobs and babies on the way, but those aren’t the ones I’m writing about today. That is a subject I’m not even going to touch because I’d be mean, judgmental, and make people cry.

But for the most part most kids are growing up, and it is like learning to swim or ride a bicycle. They all do it on their own terms, in their own time, but they know they have to do it. Sink or swim. Fall off and get back on.

They’re having their first serious relationships. They’re falling in love. They’re angry because they are evaluating their childhoods and judging their parents. They’re discovering people who aren’t like them. They’re doing wonderful things and exploring their worlds. They plan trips without us. They working. They’re voting. They’re pulling away. They’re turning around and letting us (parents) know they still need us.

Since the beginning I’ve written about letting your little birds fly. Soon the only ones left in my nest will be a couple of cats, a dog, a husband, and empty bedrooms for when my babies come home for visits.

I miss my children so much. But I rejoice and treasure the adults I’ve raised. I’d never go back if given the choice to have them small again. I have one more year and another one will be miles away on the other end of a very large state.

So where does that leave us as parents?

You have to let go. At the same time you still need to be there 24/7 in case they still need you.

There will also be changes. They’ll pull away. Hopefully they’ll pull away some because that is part of growing up. But hopefully they’ll stay close.

Like I’ve been saying forever – just keep talking with them. Let them know their thoughts are important. Let them know you understand their fears, and if you don’t understand, then listen but don’t judge. Remember when you were young. I swear I don’t want mine to be like I was, but rather than jumping all over their young butts I encourage them, and again talk to them. And it isn’t like they’re never going to do something weird, but you just have to take it one thing at a time.

No matter what they’ll be, and who they want to be. They’ll be who they need to be. Learn from your mistakes when helping them learn not to make those same mistakes.

I’m just talking and musing today. The the best parent you can be so your kids will be the best they can be.

I know this is simplistic but it seems to work.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Out of Your Crypt

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

This weekend I saw my first love (who is not the guy in my famous meme above, that would be Pleasant Van Duesen, someone with a lasting impact, but not my first), spilled coffee on my iPhone and destroyed it, went to WORDCAMP Sacramento, and went to a Chicken Festival.

Most of all I had helped coordinate (a four month project) a gathering of Vampires who’d been born near the Gold Rush and come into adulthood in the 1870’s. Now STOP your visuals of a lot of women in bustle dresses, and men in tall hats with lamp chop whiskers. We first gathered at a local sports bar looking just like everyone else, in jeans and shirts, maybe drinking a bit more than normal warm blooded folks, but it was a blast. The next night was the big reunion at a local country club (not a castle or haunted house.) On Saturday my friend Amelia (from Las Vegas) went to the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival. There we had saw bands on the Chicken Stock stage, and then visited Dave Hill at BBQ Pro (everybody loves Dave and BBQ Pro.) We ran into old friends we hadn’t seen in over 100 years and had a brew at the Fair Oaks Brew Pub (always excellent.) On Sunday I went to WORDCAMP in Sacramento. Yes, that is when I spilled coffee on my phone and my book (a real paper book.) The book survived, the phone did not.

If you’re a WordPress blogger and have not been to a WORDCAMP event in your area you need to check it out. It is a great way to learn a little bit, or a lot, and get a look at all of the other bloggers in your area. A lot of it was review for me (I might even volunteer to give a talk, or help next year) but worth it. Seriously I missed a day of wine tasting for it. And the Happiness Bar is well manned for anyone who needs help. Woo Hoo. I have to admit that I was the only Vampire/Parenting blogger there. I also didn’t see a lot of writers, poets, squirrel bloggers, pet bloggers, movie and music bloggers, or other more unique points of view. We have to get out there and make our voices and blogs heard.

So now I’m at Peet’s Coffee in Fair Oaks waiting for my new phone to be set up at the Sprint store next door. Nobody knows I’m a Vampire. Nobody cares. OK maybe they would, but I don’t look or smell dead. Seriously folks this is the 21st Century. That said, I have been known to bring the dead back to life, but not phones.

And I watched LaLa Land again. That movie hits me right in the center of my cold unbeating Vampire heart. A lot of things hit me right in the center of my cold Vampire heart this weekend. I’m still in sort of an overwhelmed and numb, and joyful place.

Seeing all of my old friends was amazing. New connections were made, old connections were made better, and then there was that meeting I can’t get out of my mind.

I have a lot of material for blog posts, books, and stories. And I have a lot of things I won’t share, ever.

When I write these posts I try to give some words of wisdom, or something along those lines. Today it would be to reconnect, recharge, look back, look forward, keep in touch, and keep your heart in a good place. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT and dance. Get some fresh blood into your life.

Colma Crypt

Your crypt is lovely but you can’t stay in there all the time. Get out. Get a real house. Get a real bed. Put on some sunscreen, glasses. a hat, and go out into the real world. Don’t be a shadow creeper. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT.

This is definitely a turning point for me right now.

Now that I’m almost an empty nester, with one child off at college, and the other going to college at home until she transfers to a college far away, my message will be changing a bit. It will always be “TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. LISTEN TO THEM.” But there is also a new message. GET OUT OF YOUR CRYPT. Not just physically but mentally as well.

I’ll be blogging at you later this week about an assortment of subjects. And there is a rumor that Vlad is writing in his diary again.

xoxoxoxobxoxoxo (the “b” is for bite, cute)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Fair Oaks Chicken Festival (Fair Oaks, CA)

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Rules For My Young Adult Vampire Children

When I started this blog my youngest was in Middle School. Now my Vampire children are now 18 and 21. They’re both in college and have jobs. They’re adults. Holy shit. They’re adults.

Mind you they aren’t those creepy kind of Vampires who look like teens and go to high school and college forever. They are just like other college students. The only difference is that they’ve always been Vampires. No big deal.

It is time for another one of my famous bulleted lists.

A Few Rules for Young Adult Vampires:

  • Stay away from fan fiction. Don’t read it. Don’t write it.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have. Pay cash.
  • Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. You know where I’m going with this. The same thing applies for the necks you choose to bite.
  • Don’t drink bad wine or cheap booze.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Listen.
  • Read for fun.
  • Vote.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses even when it is raining.
  • If someone asks you to turn them into a Vampire always say NO.
  • If someone asks you if you’re a Vampire always say NO.
  • If you feel uncomfortable the answer is always NO.
  • Being somebody else’s trophy or arm candy is ALWAYS in bad taste.
  • Don’t have your social media accounts under your own name.
  • You’re not a bigot if you avoid Demons, Goblins, or Black Eyed Children.
  • It is ok to be afraid.
  • It is ok to mourn the dead.
  • It is ok to laugh out loud in public.
  • It is ok to not care what others think. You’re a Vampire. Why should you care?
  • Don’t stay in a relationship out of habit. Stay in it out of love and mutual respect.
  • Break up with your bad habits.
  • Don’t date assholes.
  • If someone asks you to move into a crypt with them always say NO.
  • Don’t sleep in coffins. You don’t have to.
  • You don’t have to be a leader, but never be a follower.
  • Learn how to get blood stains out of all kinds of fabric. Keep the cleaning supplies handy.
  • Never be tempted to drain someone of all of their blood. Then you’ve killed them and you have to deal with a body. It isn’t cool. Don’t do it, even if you’re having a party with your friends.
  • Avoid Zombies.
  • Keep basket ball shorts on the court.
  • Try not to let your bra show, especially the back strap. Nobody wants to see that.
  • If you don’t take yourself seriously nobody else will.
  • Avoid humorless Vampires.
  • Don’t worry about Werewolves. They tend to take care of themselves. I know they tend to be tacky dressers, loud, and rude, but don’t get into it with them. You’ll always win, but do yourself a favor and avoid it.
  • Don’t start collecting animals until you own your own home. Your parents have enough animals and don’t need anymore.

I could go on for another hundred points but not today. Sure they know most of this, but it is always good to remind them. Gently remind them.

They might be adults, but they’re still your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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

don't be a ghost