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

A Vampire Gives a Commencement Speech (times three)

I graduated from a somewhat prestigious university but did not attend the graduation ceremony. Nobody seemed interested in attending. In fact nobody seemed that interested in the fact I’d graduated. I don’t even know who spoke at the ceremony.

Now I wish I’d gone, even if I’d been alone. I had dreams that quickly faded. I’m not sure if any commencement speaker could have said anything I wanted to hear, but I’ll never know.

But now, light years away from those days, thinking about college and the future for the next generation. All of these young people I’ve watched grow up and loved are now graduating from high school and going away to universities.

I would have given a different talk to my younger self than I would for my own children. My kids – they’re different than I was. I raised them differently from how I was raised, I believe they’re smarter and more aware at than I ever was at that age (or ever was when I was in my 20’s for that matter.) Mind you, my parents did a great job, but times were different – really different.

The other night while we (husband, teens and I) were out walking the dog under the moon my 14-year-old daughter mentioned she’d read the first few chapters of Fifty Shades of Gray. I should have been shocked but ALL the kids have read parts of it. They’re kids. That’s what they do. Anyway she said it read like bad fan fiction that girls write about their favorite band members. Then she and her older brother started to talk about stuff they’ve read on Tumblr mostly on their Smart Phones.

My phone is just like theirs but we call it the not-so-smart phone because like all electronic devices it doesn’t work for me.

Then they started to talk about birthmarks and body hair on their classmates. Excuse me? Then I remembered they see everyone in swimming (PE or on the swim team). Yes, it was swimming.

From there they talked about college. I dared not panic knowing that one would be leaving soon for a university on the coast – a new beginning for all of us.

But aside from technology, or maybe with the help of technology, society has changed. So many people say we (living creatures) never talk anymore. I was we talk a lot more. Nobody spoke of feeling or hopes or dreams or desires or ideas when I was young. Everything was shut inside in fear of being proper. Everyone was too afraid of what others would think. They were too afraid to speak up.

And in that fear chances of a lifetime were missed. Being proper worked to some extent but … nobody except artists and outsiders expressed their true feelings about anything. This wasn’t that long ago. Up until the last quarter of the 20th Century everyone was tight lipped and afraid.

Of course it was great for Vampires. It just allowed us to be freer among our food sources because nobody dared speculate on why they were feeling so different after a visit from one of us.

On the other hand I should just quote what one of the seniors put down for her quote in the high school year book. “This was nothing like High School Musical.”

And now a little advice and wisdom for my son who is graduating from high school and his friends:

To the Graduating Class of 2014

This is not the time to be naive or confused. It is not the time for drama. It is not the time to play innocent. It is not the time to put your head in the sand. It is not a time to wonder what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Your children have graduated. Be proud of the job you’ve done as parents and never stop letting your children know how proud you are of them.

Dear graduates.

I don’t come to you with advice on what you should or should not do. I’m not going to tell you that you will change the world or be a success. I won’t tell you that you are the future of America. I won’t tell you that your generation will be the greatest – that is up to you. And I know you’re up to it.

Congratulations. Have fun. Watch the stars. Don’t forget to take time to play, time to read and time to love. And never forget to take time to learn. If you stop learning you might as well be dead.

 

Graduation Commencement Speech #2 – Think Like A Mom

You’ll be leaving home soon to make your way in the big wide world. One thing to remember is your mom. Never forget your mom. All of my advice to you comes from mom. So here we go…

Think like a mom. It could be your mom, or the mom you wished you had. Moms know everything, or at least the good ones do.

Love like a mom, because nobody can love like that.

Trouble shoot like a mom. With a butter knife and a roll of duct tape the average mom can fix anything. With a kiss she can fix everything.

Multitask like a mom. Your mom is the ultimate in management. Think about it – she has 1 or more children, a husband and maybe other relatives to deal with. Mix in work, feeding everyone, managing the house, pets (they take up a lot of time), volunteer work, driving everyone to hell and back… and add about 34,000 other things to this list. If you can multitask like your mom you can do anything.

Laugh like a mom. I laugh so hard I cry and my sides hurt. That is what moms do.

Find joy in small things like a mom. Every wonder why your mom takes time to point out bats in the night sky or worms in the ground? And you thought it was for you…

Fight like a mom. No Army General can defend his fort like a mom will defend her children.

Your mom always tells you “Don’t give up.” Well she was right. She will always be right. Never give up. Don’t give up hope or trust or peace of mind. Don’t give up your will to survive. Don’t give up your desires or your dreams. Don’t give up when doors slam in your face. Don’t give up when everything around you caves in, because it will and you’ll have to deal with it. And you can deal with it. Your mom gave you the tools you need to survive and thrive.

So don’t forget mom. One day your own kids will thank you for it.

 

To the Graduating Vampire Teens of 2014

You’d be amazed at the things your mom finds in the laundry.

One day we’ll part,

In different worlds,

Not so different,

Not the same,

You’ll have change,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wonder,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wisdom,

I will see the wonders of the ages,

Except that I will miss you,

My heart a broken mess.

 

My son wrote that about a year ago. I found it in the dryer. I knew where it was going. Friends mean everything to a teen. Your friends are the center of your universe. You think through your heart. The bonds of friendship will last forever.

Even for us, even when they’re gone those bonds will always be there, keeping you strong.

It never seems fair that they will go before you. It isn’t fair that they can’t stay with you forever.

There are those rare few who might stay – those few you can change.

You will find that over the years there will be holes in your heart that can never be filled, even when you know that your heart doesn’t beat as theirs does. It stills as their hearts do.

I have loved and cherished my regular human friends over the years. I feel honored to have known them. Their path isn’t the same as ours. Their loves are full and rich and wonderful. They have options we can’t even imagine. Be happy for them and cherish your time with them.

I could tell you that it our time to rule the Earth but we’re not like that. We live in the comfort of the shadows, between worlds that they’ll never know.

But that doesn’t rule out anything for you. You’re a Vampire, which means you are human, but just a little bit more.

Dream your dreams of sunlight even when you seek comfort in the dark.

The world is yours. The future is yours. Your heart is yours to love with and heal with.

You are the guardians and the truth seekers.

Cherish your history and your uniqueness, but also know that you can be whoever you want to be.

Yes, you do live in the shadows but remember you are never alone and never need to be afraid.

Congratulations and may every night be a good night.

_____________________________________________________

v_swirl

I was half minded to not post this because I feel like anything a commencement speaker could say I’ve already told my kids. The key point is that they might say it with more wit and impact. Plus sometimes words from someone else will stick more than words from “good old mom and dad.” Oh well.

If I were asked to give a commencement speech it wouldn’t be any of the talks above. I don’t know what it would be, but it would be funny and the graduates would never forget it. Given the opportunity I’d shine because I’d want them, the graduates to shine. Anyway…

There should be commencement speeches for parents. That was a lot of work – raising kids and doing it right. So parents, toss up YOUR hats and cheer.

When they’re grown you don’t stop being a parent, you just stop driving them around all over the place.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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

Musings Of Loss and Love and Life

It has been a while. Now it seems we were both so young, our entire lives ahead of us.

You were sunshine personified. I was the moon.

Every day you made me laugh. You made me smile. 

We built dreams of a life and of a love.

Then you were gone.

There would have been a lifetime to turn you into a creature of the night.

But you were sunshine.

Losing someone you love is like losing part of your heart and soul. The love is always there. The memories never go away. Then there are the doubts, the fears, the anger and sorrow. Then it just seems weird and I still can’t get a handle on the death thing. I fear for those I love. I want to over protect them but I let them fly while my heart almost stops.

But as you would have wished life goes on, new joy, new dreams, new desires – and the time we had was ours alone, frozen in that time forever. 

But the world has changed. You would never believe it.

I was thinking of you and the ghost came and sat next to me on my back deck. “I wish I knew where he was, you know, so I could let you know he is ok,” said the phantom in the black suit.

“He’s ok. I already know that much – in my heart and soul. At this point it doesn’t matter exactly WHERE he is. We’ve both moved on. We moved on  a long time ago, but I owe it to my friend not to forget.”

“That’s a good thing.” The ghost looked up a the stars.

“Yes, it is.”

In memory of my dear friend JEE 1856-1886

~ Juliette

Beauty from a Girl’s Point of View – A Birds Eye View

Even vampire girls have sweet dreams, hopes and desires. We know what it is like to be different. We know what it is like to be girls.

The link here is to “A Bird’s Eye View”, one of the most beautiful blogs, content wise, and visually.

Embrace your girlhood and memories and dreams, if only for a night.

http://sooziebird.blogspot.com/2012/05/still-girl.html?spref=fb

Sweet Dreams,

Warm Embraces,

Happy Endings,

Hugs and Kisses,

~ Juliette