Parenting in the Land of Monsters

As parents we all have those moments that we can’t get out of our minds. Now that my children are in college I’m cautiously walking down the memory lane of their childhood.

I was driving down the freeway this morning and saw some interesting things. The first was that Stormy Daniels is going to be performing at a local strip club. This is one of those large “Gentlemen’s Clubs” that is in an industrial area far away from homes or schools. I hear the place is popular with a certain groups in the local high tech companies but that is another blog post. That has nothing to do with this post except I thought it was interesting. Read on.

I also passed the sign to the Curragh Downs subdivision in Fair Oaks, California. This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. The houses are large and often with a view. The community is exclusive and gated. But I pass no judgement. A lot of nice people live there.

Yes, this has to do with parenting and children.

In November 2016 ago my daughter and I volunteered to be Election Clerks for Sacramento County. The polling place was at the Curragh Downs club house. Everything went well with the polling, as it always does. Other than the crazy old guy with dementia who always yells at the poll workers, it was a positive day.

But at the end of the night, later at night after the polls had closed, when we were counting ballots, and putting away equipment, the woman who was responsible for the club house came by to lock up. As we, the six poll workers finished our work this woman started to spew her opinions.

She gladly spewed out racial slurs and political opinions. Most of the comments were racial. All of us poll workers were clearly uncomfortable but as poll workers we could not express our opinions. For about twenty minutes this woman reveled in her personal stand-up act of self congratulatory bigotry. She was white. Then she said what she was saying was ok because her husband was Asian. WTF?

I don’t have to words to describe how upset I was. This was one time I was with my child and I could not be my best Vampire Mom. At the car I was livid. My lovely child told me that the woman was wrong and a bad person but that I should have been so upset. But I was upset. I was extremely upset.

That woman was a monster in the body of a smug middle aged woman. I don’t care that our political opinions did not match. It was the fact that she gleefully was able to share her open hate and blind ignorance.

No parent wants a positive experience about how our society works to be tarnished by some flaming asshole jerk-off entitled nasty ignorant hateful bitch. That is why I’m calling her out here and now. I don’t know her name, but I can still tell my story.

There are other childhood stories in my folder today. There was time when another mom called me to say she thought my 8th grader was cutting herself (cat scratches.) There were a few girls I thought were Satan’s spawn. Yes, there are children who act that badly (and so do their parents.) There were other things so bizarre that I wasn’t sure what to think. I’ve posted a lot of those here. Do a search – you’ll find them.

My children have returned to college. One is far away. One is still at home. They are excited about life. They are excited about being part of the big wide world.

Their father and I have taught them that there is no room for hate, racism, or other bigotry in our world. They have learned to accept those who are different. They’ve also learned, in a lot of cases, to celebrate and appreciate those differences.

Like I’ve always told them, “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.”

You can’t protect your children from everything, but you can talk to them about it. You can support them. You can teach them to stand up for their opinions and rights. You can teach them to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

I just wanted to call out that bitch.

That’s all.

Hug your kids. Talk with them. Love them. And if they’re 18 or older make sure they vote.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

It MUST STOP. We are writers. We will not keep quiet.

In light of today’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md we need to all watch and speak out for writers, editors, and journalists everywhere.

From NPR: “On Thursday night, Anne Arundel officials released the names of the Capital Gazette employees killed in the shooting: Rebecca Smith, sales assistant; Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor; Wendi Winters, special publications editor; John McNamara, staff writer; and Robert Hiaasen, an assistant editor and columnist.

 In a Facebook post Hiassen’s brother Carl, a renown novelist, described Robert as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”

Journalists, nonfiction writers, bloggers, or writers of fiction have long been targets. Jails around the world are full of bloggers and journalists sent there for speaking out on subjects we would consider no big deal. Writers of fiction and nonfiction have long been threatened by extremists. In the US, in France, and in other countries journalists have been targeted by crazy ass insane hateful ignorant people.

In today’s climate of crazy ass madness and blind hate we need to keep our voices loud and support writers all over the world. No writer should live in fear. Not from some crazy ass shooter. Not from their government. Not from stalkers and trolls. We must stand together.

We don’t need useless thoughts and prayers. We need action. We need to speak out for the freedom of thought and speech for everyone on this planet.

I don’t feel like my government will do anything. Thoughts and prayers are useless and will not fix the problem. Ignorance and hate must not be embraced. We can’t ignore anymore shootings. Politicians are useless. It is up to us to figure out a way to CHANGE. I wish I had the answer – help me out.

Keep your voices loud. Keep your voices clear. Support all writers be they journalists, bloggers, writers of fiction, and nonfiction.

To the assholes of the universe: YOU CAN’T KEEP US QUIET. YOU CAN’T STOP OUR VOICES. WE WILL WRITE. We will write. We will write. And those who don’t write will READ and talk and share.

We are writers. We will not go away. We will not be quiet.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: One of my all time favorite authors John Sandford said this better than I could have. This is his heartbreaking FB post.

Screenshot 2018-06-28 22.26.16

 

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

 

Gasoline and Tiger Maple

Andy had dined with his friends Ramon and Sophia. They were always a treat. Tonight there was an interesting mix of high blood alcohol levels mixed with a slight after taste of cocaine and a hint something he couldn’t quite identify. It might have been Morphine.

Hell, it could have been chocolate for all he cared. It was good to come home to friends who were funny and smart and oh so accommodating to his needs.

After two weeks out of town playing Don Giovanni he was ready to become himself. It was good to be Andy again. It was good to be home in San Francisco where he didn’t have to worry about snow.

He parked in the garage and threw his vicuña overcoat on one of the kitchen stools. The pile of mail was already on the table where the neighbor had left it for him. It was the usual bills and magazines. A postcard from his girlfriend Shawna was on the top. She was in Chicago lecturing on flying dinosaurs. He smiled. The postcard was Van Gough’s self-portrait from the Art Institute. She’d remembered that he’d told her about it when they’d first met. One of the reasons he loved her was because she remembered the little things.

Smiling as he poured a shot of Bourbon he quietly sang “La ci darem la mano” thinking of Shawna. There was a sudden warmth in the air that wasn’t from the Bourbon or thoughts of love. Someone else was in the house.

Andy made a mental note to call the alarm company. Son of a bitch.  He walked to the living room and saw them – a man and a woman dressed in black. They had guns, silver crosses and knives. Vampire Hunters.

“Andrew Todd.” The man said his name as a fact, not a question.

“I’m sorry the show is over for the night you have to leave before the stage manager throws you out.” He laughed at his own joke then downed the Bourbon. “What the fuck are you doing in my house?”

“You’ve lived your lie for too long.”

“What lie? Do you put everything about yourself out to the world? Well?” Andy was going to make a joke about putting it all on Twitter but thought the better of it.

The woman held up the cross. “Oh please,” said Andy, “that isn’t going to harm me. We’re all God’s children around here.” Damn Vampire Hunters. They didn’t know a thing about Vampires, much less hunting them.

The woman looked surprised. Very surprised. Andy just smiled and calculated what he’d do about the situation.

Suddenly the man poured gasoline against the antique buffet against the wall.

“Hey, no. That’s tiger maple. Awww man, don’t do that.”

The man spun around to face the Vampire. “We’ve been watching you Todd.”

“I’m feeling really violated here. If you burn my house down…I mean, really, in this neighborhood?”

The man poured more gasoline as the woman pointed a gun at Andy.

“Do you really want to do this? What good would it do killing me?”

The man started to talk of evil and darkness. It was some sort of mumbo jumbo sort of spell or chant. From the bowels of darkness, cursed undead, blood of our ancestors spilled by your unholy trinity of death, blood and carnal desires. Unrelenting evil…

“Oh come on,” said Andy. “That isn’t going to do anything except make you sound even more stupid than you already are. Look at me.”

“Don’t look at the Vampire in the eyes,” screamed the woman.

Andy walked towards the man then quickly grabbed his neck. “Look at me. I’m just like you. We even have the same eye color. We’re not that different. Look at me. Look at my eyes or I’ll tear fucking your head off. Now let go of the gas can before you hurt yourself. Besides, you’re tired. Close your eyes, fall asleep, dream of warm tropical breezes and sweet kisses from a woman so hot that she’ll burn your skin.”

The man collapsed onto a large wing back chair dead asleep.

Andy looked at the woman. “You want a glass of wine? A cocktail perhaps? Help yourself. I’ll just be a minute. One more thing, put the gun down and stand still, right there. If you don’t I’ll kill you. Capisce?”

The Vampire sank his teeth into the man’s neck for just a minute. Enough time to keep his prey in sweet dreams for a few more minutes, and in nightmares for a few more months.

“I’m done drinking for the night Jenna. Yes my dear, I know your name. I got it from your friend here.”

He took her hand and led her to the formal living room. Music started. His hand went to her waist. “Dance with me.”

Jenna attempted to pull away from the cold grip of the Vampire. “No, I won’t dance with a Vampire”.

Andy pulled her closer. “Then just dance with the guy who can sing.”

“Please spare me from a fate worse than death. I will die a thousand deaths before I become one of the undead.”

“Oh cut the Gothic melodramatic crap. I’m the one who was born in the 1851. You don’t hear me talking like that. Jesus, I’m not going to turn you into a Vampire. Have you ever met a Vampire before tonight?”

“No.” Her voice sounded small, more like a child than a grown woman.

“Jenna, dear, you have a good heart but the enemy you need to be chasing isn’t Vampires or Werewolves or whoever you think need chasing. The enemy is ignorance and bigotry and hatred.  Fight for the equality of women and the rights of children. Fight for those who don’t have a voice. Fight for the freedom of expression and art. Fight for a cause that matters.”

She looked into his hazel blue eyes and swayed as if she was going to faint. The man, still slumped on the chair croaked out “don’t listen to him Jenna.”

Andy shot a glance at the man. “One more noise from you and I’ll rip your heart right out of your chest with my bare hands. Do you understand? And I’ll send you the bill for the damage to my furniture and floors.”

He went back to the woman. “What am I going to do with you? You’ve broken into my home. You’ve damaged a valuable and beautiful piece of furniture. You’ve invaded my privacy. You’re lucky you didn’t touch my piano. What I should do is call the police.”

“You’re a Vampire.”

“So tell me something I don’t know. I pay taxes. I own a home. I vote.”

“But…”

“Jenna, stop.  I’m not happy about what you and your boyfriend have done here tonight. Plus you’re a bigot who got nothing what so ever from my speech to you about bigotry and ignorance. What the hell is wrong with you? Honestly?”

Andy ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath. The house reeked of gasoline and fear. The morning sun just started to come through the windows. He turned back to Jenna.

“The only reason I’m letting you live is because I don’t want to deal with your bodies. I already have enough of a mess. The reason I’m not calling the police is because I’d rather not have to deal with a trial. In the meantime every Vampire on the West Coast will know your names and what you’re up to. You can’t hide. You will never be able to hide from us. So if you’re smart you’ll stay as far away from any Vampires or Vampire Hunters as you humanly can. Now, I am going to take my bags upstairs. When I get back down I want you gone.”

After they left Andrew surveyed the damage. He’d have to call the furniture guy and the alarm company. Someone would have to take a look at the rugs and the hardwood floors.

But before he did any of that there was someone else he needed to call. Andy dialed the number he knew so well. She picked up on the first ring. He closed his eyes and sat down. “Hey Mom. I’m home. Can you come over?”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This was first published here in March of 2014.

Begging and Other Undesirable Actions

I have 72 thousand contact updates on Linkedin and other messages in my email inbox tonight. I don’t even know why I have a Linkedin account. More useless junk to throw at me, and then attempt get information off of me like a Kentucky strip mine.

Since before the election (you know which one) I’ve been bombarded with emails from all sorts of interesting groups. They all ask for my opinion THEN they ask for my MONEY. It is a constant pleading and begging for money that is so distasteful that I feel like turning against it all.

I’m unusually annoyed at our new Senator for sending out polls and asking an opinion, but I really feel like all she wants is my money. Nobody wants to listen, but everybody wants to get paid.

As a parent sometimes I don’t know what to say. One does not want to say we live in a society where our elected government never listens, but hey, we all know they don’t listen.

Who the young folks DO listen to are teachers. Yes, they DO listen to teachers. We’ve been discussing the two-party system and our two ineffective parties. We’ve been discussing all the assholery and shit-for-brains behavior on both sides. We’ve watched how that in spite of our government (both state and federal) that we will survive…or at least most of us.

In darkened corners, and in the light, we must teach our kids to fight ignorance. We must teach them not to be followers but to be free thinking citizens. We must teach them to question everything. We must teach them to follow the rule of law, but if that law is unjust they must use the system to change it. We have to start at an early age too. It is never too young to teach your child to question, and research, and form opinions.

One thing that makes our country, The United States of America, unique is that we’ve always questioned our parents, our elders, our government, and forged ahead. There are those who would take us back to the good-old-days of discrimination and sexism and inequality. Fuck them. Seriously, they can fuck themselves, but then again they’re already fucked because of the backlash that is guaranteed to come in good time.

Vampires don’t live in the dark because light burns their skin. They lived in the dark because it is the best place to find easy prey. Teach your children not to become prey. Teach yourself not to become prey.

And no matter what kind of relationship you’re in, be if political, romantic, or anything else – don’t beg. It is so unflattering and will leave you high, and dry, and alone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Better Than Yourself

It is difficult, as a mother, for me to teach my children to despise those who embrace ignorance, hate, and the cult of narcissism, when most of our elected leaders, including the highest office, gladly embody all of those principles.

They tell me, “Mom, it will be alright. We’ll be fine. Look where we live. We aren’t like them. We never will be.”

As a parent I have embraced so much of our culture, much of which my children have brought into my world. Music, art, literature, and new ways of thinking. I’ve seen my children embrace diversity in ways nobody could have imagined when I was a child. I’ve seen my children go out into the world with open minds, and skeptical caution that keeps their eyes open.

While I seethe with anger, my children look for solutions. They look forward and beyond my fears and frustrations.

Raise your child to be better than yourself. Raise your child to be braver, smarter, and kinder than yourself. Raise your child to embrace the challenge. Forget your own personal failures and embrace the possibilities that your child sees. Remember that anything IS possible.

We teach our children, and in turn they will teach us.

It will be good.

It is good.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman