Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Friday the 13th: A Cosmic Adventure

Friday the 13th: A Cosmic Adventure

This is a Friday the 13th post. Yes, I’ve been posting this for over 7 years with minor changes/updates. Have fun and kiss a black cat – and a Vampire if you’re so lucky.

Universe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wake with a cool hand stroking my hair. He kisses my neck and then covers my mouth with his. I pull the handsome man beside me in my bed closer. “You’re naked.”

He smiles. “I know.” And we both know the kids won’t be up for at least another 45 minutes.

Friday the 13th isn’t all that unlucky after all.

I was thinking about our conversations last night with the kids.

Voyager 1 has left the solar system but the signal is slow getting back to us. Against all odds we’re still hearing from our little embassadors in space.

My dad got his first telescope in the late 1850’s and we’ve been watching the night skies with close-up wonder ever since. There is something about being a small dot in a large universe that brings on such a sense of awe and wonder that can’t be explained away by reason or logic. And it is great fun! FUN.

And the speculation continues on what is out there, if anything. I’ve always thought it would be very sad indeed if we were the only planet with intelligent life. I’d like to think there would be more advanced places where every single day didn’t seem like Friday the 13th and ignorance wasn’t embraced like a cult like religion.

So now we just wait for someone from another planet to find the Voyager. I’m hoping it will be sooner or later. I can imagine one of them saying “Hey, they have Chuck Barry too!” Or maybe, “How’s they get Chuck Barry songs? Did they find our satellite?” How cool would that be. And don’t say it couldn’t be because we have so much to learn – there is so much we don’t know about our neighborhood and the universe we live in.

There was a long discussion about space with my husband and kids. That is one thing the Voyager has done – made people think and talk about stuff. Space, the universe, our roles in it, the idea that someone else is out there… good stuff.

I have to say there is nothing sexier than a man who spends a couple of hours talking with his kids about stuff like space and life and imagination and wonder – or anything.

Finding real life in Space, life we could communicate with would be literally earth shattering, or more human shattering.

I’ve imagined what would happen if the general population knew Vampires and Werewolves were real. Just imagine if someone from another planet dropped by for a visit. It is mind-boggling. It is exciting beyond belief.

Then one of the kids brought up the proposed Mars trip. A trip was proposed a few years ago in which the volunteers for the Mars trip would never return to Earth. That brings up all kinds of questions, including birth control, chocolate, boredom, lack of beach time, museums, and cats. Dogs too. I can’t imagine leaving cats and dogs behind forever.

That would be difficult to leave our home forever. There is an attachment we have that tugs us and keeps us here, like an emotional gravity.

We can’t breathe the little atmosphere on Mars. It is colder than cold. It is a harsh planet, but then again so is ours – thanks to humans.

But imagine going to live in Space and freely travel to other planets. How cool is that? It is the stuff of dreams – the ultimate dream. The dreams the cumulate in the reality of great science fiction books and films.

We talked about Vampires in space. That might be a logistical nightmare considering our unique dietary needs. It certainly would be a nightmare for our fellow space travelers if we were along. HA HA HA. That could be interesting.

Is there life on Mars? You can Count on it!

Is there life on Mars? You can Count on it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We need to keep our dreams and work on making them a reality. Dreams of home and dreams of places far away in space.

After the kids left for school my husband Teddy said “I sometimes feel as if I’m an alien on my own planet.”

“You’re completely normal, for a Vampire. That’s why I fell in love with you.”

“There is nothing normal about us my love.”

Well, I thought, nothing is normal except our kids, thank goodness, but they’re our kind of normal which isn’t a bad thing.

Some random thoughts on Friday the 13th:

  • It is Friday the 13th of September, 2013. 9-13-13 an odd string of numbers. This blog is an odd bit of postings. Something to think about.
  • Hold out your hand and the palm reader will tell you to kiss a black cat, fall in love with a mysterious Vampire and dream of your heart’s desire tonight with 13 wishes and 13 candles blazing on the mantle and 13 kisses.
  • There is no bad luck – only good luck missed.
  • Imagine a literary cat with 13 toes and 13 lives and 13 stories to tell.
  • Yesterday was the 12th, tomorrow is the 14th, today is an odd day indeed.
  • Let us ponder the unlucky. A Werewolf with fleas. A Vampire without passion. A Ghost in an empty house. A teenager without friends. But it is Friday so the Werewolf takes a flea bath and goes on an art show. The Vampire tastes the warm blood of a passionate human. A ghost gets a house full of children. A teen meets kids who think he is really cool.

 

Favorite movies (of mine) about meeting someone from another planet:

Then anything by H.G. Wells, Issac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jewels Vern, and Robert Heinlein. And of course Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat (because it is Friday the 13th) and any of the Oz books (books not the movies – I love the movie but humor me and read the books – the ones after the first one.)

This is just a short list (since I have only spent about 20 minutes writing this post and haven’t thought it out too much). Feel free to share your favorites!

Happy Friday the 13th! Reach for the Stars! And don’t forget, even if you have to force them, talk with your kids! It’s fun – and FREE!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Proof of Life on Mars!

Proof of Life on Mars!

What I Give as a Mom

I’ve been a mother without the following: a lot of church, Dr. Who, soccer, tweenkies, parenting books, big mondo strollers, private schools, home schools, Disneyland, hamsters and a spotless house. All of those things are FINE and lovely but just not part of my world.

I have given the following to my children: a strong sense of who they are, self-confidence, a social conscience, a strong set of values, a strong set of morals, curiosity, the love of learning, the ability to make friends, the desire to share, laughter, wit, humor, a strong sense of justice, trust, self-respect, courtesy and grace, good manners, music, love, and more love.

Once upon a time my mother was saying something despairing about my siblings and me. My response was, “You know, it could be worse, you could be Monica Lewinsky’s mother.”

Below is my famous bulleted parenting list. I promise sometime today I’ll post some Vampire stuff (for those who come here for Vampire stuff.)

Juliette’s Ultimate Musings on Parenting

I’m an artist to the core of my soul. I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.

Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.

And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…

Until we had a child.

I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.

I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we need to encourage them to start.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

And one more thought… talk WITH your children. Not AT them. Let them have opinions. Listen to them. LISTEN. Then guide them and love them for WANTING to talk with their parents. It works. It really does. Yes, your children will talk to you if they don’t think you’re going to judge them. It is that easy. Give it a try.

Have a good Saturday everyone, and yes, I promise, I’ll post Vampire stuff.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

All Time Low – All Time High (taking your teen to a rock concert)

IMG_1887

All Time Low Ace of Spades, Sacramento, California April 15, 2014

 

The most wonderful words a parent can hear from their teen is “You’d never embarrass me mom.”

That is what I heard as we walked up and way to the back of the line that ran around the block before the All Time Low concert with Man Overboard and Handguns at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California on Tuesday night (April 15, 2014.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken my teens to concerts. I wrote a now popular article last year “What I learned from going to a metal concert with my teen.” Before you take your teen to a rock concert for the first time please read the article. Click here for the link.

And the key as a parent is to relax, do your research ahead of time and have fun – and let your kids have fun.

I enjoy the music my teens have introduced me to. Going to concerts with them has been a blast and a truly great bonding experience. Think about it. Music is something that we should SHARE with out kids. Not to the point where you (the parent) act like a fool going nuts and dressing like an idiot (too sexy, tight, weird for your age), but you know, just share. Have fun. Talk, discuss, sing, enjoy and treasure that time with your teens. It isn’t going to ever be like this again so enjoy it. Savor it.

Over the past three years we’ve been to a lot of concerts, including most recently, seeing Fall Out Boys, Panic! at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots in San Francisco at the America’s Cup Pavillion. Wow, that was amazing.

IMG_1452

View from the Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco concert in San Francisco. A perfect night and a perfect view!

IMG_1468

Fall Out Boy San Francisco

So you can imagine that I was more than happy to go with the teens to see All Time Low.

All Time Low

All Time Low

All Time Low
Alex Gaskarth – rhythm guitar, lead vocals, keyboards
Jack Barakat – lead guitar, backing vocals
Zack Merrick – bass guitar, backing vocals
Rian Dawson – drums, percussion
Additional musicians
Cassadee Pope – additional vocals
and she was absolutely darling. All the girls adore Cassadee. You can see her singing with Alex in the last photo on the post (the blue one.)

The April 15 show was at a sold out venue at The Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California. I can’t start to tell you how much I love going to a concert in a smaller hall (under 1,000 people.) Everywhere you stand or sit is a good view. It is intimate and personal. You can see faces. And you can see your kids. I was on the balcony (in a bar) that overlooks the floor. A great place for parents. You can enjoy the show with a great view and see everything in the club. Everyone up top with me was having a good time. It was a friendly group of parents mixed with other over 21 year olds.

Handguns opened the show. They are a Pop Punk band from Pennsylvania. Loud and young but with a lot of potential to grow and refine. The sound seemed off on their set which was too bad. That said, the audience loved them and they loved back. Fun band with a great future.

Man Overboard is a fun experienced Pop Punk band from New Jersey. They were loud and had the crowd dancing and clapping and jumping. And that is exactly why we go to these concerts! I’m sure with their loyal fan base that they’ll be around for a while.

ATL_spring14admatPROMOTERS_tbp

All Time Low

All Time Low was as tight and together as any band I’ve ever seen – ever. That includes big well known mega bands from the 60’s – 80’s. Yes, they’re THAT GOOD.

Just a bit of trivia before we start…

All Time Low holds the record for most bras on stage. If you throw them a bra they’ll donate to a breast cancer charity. The top of their truck (and it is a BIG truck) is covered with bras of every color and size.

They’re from Maryland and tour full time. They’ve been together since high school. They’re so happy and fun. Click here for the official All Time Low web site.

I’m not a professional music critic. I’m a parent, an artist, a parenting blogger, writer of Vampire tales and stories – so I’ll make this short and sweet.

Thank you ALL TIME LOW for a great night full of some of the best live music I’ve ever heard. Thanks for staying together all these years. Thanks for making music that my kids love and will love for years to come. And guys, I want to see you still playing 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 40 years from now. You have what it takes to be one of those great bands that just keeps going and creating for a long long time. You’re classic and smart and you inspire a generation of young people. And people your parents age like you too (THAT is SUCCESS.)

At the Sacramento show they performed an impressive long set with the following songs.

Do You Want Me (Dead?)
So Long Soldier
The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver
Stella
For Baltimore
Break Your Little Heart
Lost in Stereo
Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last for a Night)
Vegas
Guts
Weightless
Remembering Sunday (with Cassadee Pope)
Therapy
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
When I Come Around
Somewhere in Neverland
Time-Bomb
Backseat Serenade
Oh, Calamity!
The Reckless and the Brave
A Love Like War
Dear Maria, Count Me In

It was great. If you have the opportunity – go see them. If you don’t know their music check it out on Pandora, Youtube or your favorite online music site.

And if this isn’t your style, find out something that is and enjoy it with your teen. You’ll be glad you did.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

IMG_1878

A Special Note to ALL Parents:

When I arrived home I found this message on my phone (on Facebook, sent twice): “I’m  all alone I’m really scared and I can’t find you guys can you please send someone into the bathroom to get me?”

This was from a girl we know who came alone. Not good planning. Especially since her mother was posting on Facebook all night about dancing and drinking with her friends. What the fuck is wrong with people? While she was out with her besties or boos or whatever the crap she calls her friends, her over sensitive daughter, who didn’t plan with friends ahead of time, was alone and scared and reaching out to other adults.

Hey LISTEN UP – If you have kids  – your kids are your first priority. You don’t just drop off a teenage girl alone at a concert – especially if she has never been to a concert like this before. There is no excuse for bad parenting like this. Mom should have been at the concert with her daughter, not out playing at trying to be hip and young or whatever the fuck she thinks she is. Your kids should come FIRST. PERIOD. Excuse the bad language, but this really really pisses me off.

The mom should have made sure her daughter was meeting at a specific time and place with other people. She should have called the other parents ahead of time to make sure all would be safe and sound. That is what parents do. Let me say that again…THAT IS WHAT PARENTS DO.

My kids and their friends never did see this girl but they called her later, after we got home and I saw the message. I don’t know who she got a ride home with or if she had a good time or not. Bad call on so many levels.

IMG_1863

IMG_1886

All Time Low

IMG_1897

My mom and I are so much alike…

Some teens say “My mom and I fight all the time because we’re so much alike.” Mine says “My mom and I are so much alike that we laugh all the time.”

 

That just about says it all.

Happy parenting,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vigee-Le Brun Portrait of the Artist with Her Daughter (Mother and Daughter) 1789

Letter to a new mother

My dear darling beautiful wonderful D,

This morning I saw the news that your daughter was born and I was doing the happy dance! Oh my goodness. I am so happy you. And I’m so proud of you.

When I was single I didn’t feel comfortable around children until I met you.  You were a wonder and joy.  You were a magical little person who was smart and funny and so cute that I couldn’t help but smile when I thought of you.

Your mom amazed me with her ease and natural knowledge of motherhood.  She loved you in the moment and loved you for the future and for the woman and the mother that you’d become one day. And for that I love your mom.

I remember walking you to school in a small English village where you lived.  A tiny little American child, chatting nonstop about your views on life, and the great big world. No amount of clouds or cold could keep your sunshine away.

And years later when I’d just found out I was pregnant, you showed off your prom dresses, while your dad bragged on you to all of us.

My husband marveled at you and said, “I hope we’ll have a daughter like her.”

You never know whom you’re going to bring into your home. I’ve experienced the wonders of snail races and worm bracelets (draping worms over one’s arms after a rain storm). There are lessons to be learned like goldfish don’t live long if you take them out and pet them. There are the funny noises and the joyful laughs. And you’ll one day treasure taking your daughter to her first indie band concert as much as your treasure the songs you sang to her in her crib.

The thrill lasts long after they learn to walk, and run, and fly. Every minute is a joy and wonder.  And I say that even remembering long nights of projectile vomiting, calls from school (whacking a bully on the head with a tray at lunch to defend another child and other assorted things we now laugh about) and times when you’re so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open and the wee child just won’t stop talking. We have to make hard choices, tell her who she can’t be friends with, cut off ties, get tough and crack down on homework. But the tough times are few and far between, and your child will respect you for being the adult. Believe me on this one.

Now as a mother of a teenage daughter I can say, with authority, that it is all good. It stays good. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.

Let your daughter be who she is and celebrate her own unique personality, tastes and humor.

Be wise in your choices about schools and friends. Yes, you can be picky. You should be picky. This is YOUR child. If anyone tries to undermine your choices as a mother then they might not want to be the kind of people you want in your life.

Some of the best advice I received about parenting was from your mom. In fact, most of the best advice was from your mom. She told me that there should always be an endless supply of hugs and kisses.

Your mom also said “Don’t take advice from people who are bad parents.” Or I translate that into don’t take advice from people who have out of control brats and out of control lives. Period. And those are the people who unfortunately WILL be giving you the most advice.

I am so happy for you and your darling husband and wishing you all the happiness in the world. I know for a FACT that you will be the best parents ever. You are truly blessed with your wonderful little daughter.

A Mom’s Every Single Day to do list:

  • Hugs and Kisses
  • Talk with your child
  • Take a deep breath as needed
  • Have fun and play with your child
  • Be the adult
  • Talk with your child
  • Hugs and Kisses
  • And you don’t have to be a werewolf to be a mother wolf and fight for your child tooth and nail

And there will be times when you’ll wonder if your daughter appreciates you. She will. Just imagine if your mom wrote a parenting blog from a Vampire Maman point of view… my daughter thinks it is pretty funny but keeps telling me to finish up those novels.

Your Auntie B and I will always be your mother’s eccentric friends … and I know in turn you will inspire our daughters. I can’t think of a better role model for any girl than you.

xoxoxox

~ Juliette aka your Aunt M

dancing with your daughter