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

What we talked about on the way to school this morning

The ride to school with my teenager always brings up school, current events, and everything else.

“We’re starting existentialism today. I don’t know what we’ll be reading. But the teacher already called out kids before they made complaints that it was against their religion.”

Some devoutly religious kids and their parents have complained in the past about these books and the ideas they write about. That bugs me is that ANY parent would want their child NOT to be exposed to other ideas, including religion, philosophy, and well, anything. Ignorance is not an option folks. It will not help your children. It will not make them better people. On the contrary, ignorance and extreme sheltering will make your child into the WORST kind of person – that is an ignorant closed minded person.

I asked my child what they were reading and she didn’t know. The class just finished 1984 and Brave New World, so now that they’re all throughly disturbed and depressed I imagine story stories or a play might be in order.

Who could it be? Kafka? Camus? Sartre? Beckett?

AP English Literature. No Exit. Bahahahaha. But seriously folks, I’m glad the students are being exposed to so many different ideas.

College applications are due today for University of California. Of course someone (my kid, my kid) waited until the very last day. She’ll be applying for two schools. We’ll see what happens.

We talked about the Supreme Court and what scary things might happen, which seems appropriate considering the discussion on existentialism. And no, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not 93 years old. She is 83 years old (or something like that.) We also talked about Clarence Thomas who is an odd waste of space. The guy does nothing. Says nothing. Votes on nothing. He is just weird. This isn’t political. Everybody else in those black robes works hard. This guy just takes up space.

Clara asked about Anita Hill. I told her that almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed, or bullied by males. Most of us, like Anita Hill, just go on with their lives, because we can’t do much about it. It isn’t like she just brushed it off, but (I speak from experience) if one makes a big deal about it there are consequences – unfortunately even now. But, that said, we need to keep speaking up and speaking out, and making sure there is equality for ALL – women, men, children, everyone.

Luckily in the Vampire world that isn’t an issue, at least when it comes to other Vampires. Sure some guys are jerks but they know what is right and wrong. Seriously, it would be a better world if we had a voice as who we are, but like other groups of the past we can’t speak up. That is one of the hardest lessons for us to teach our Vampire children.

We talked about the rain. We discussed our schedules. And we just talked, like all parents and their kids should do. Seriously, sometimes the talks serve no purpose, but you have to talk with your kids, not just when they’re young. Share ideas. They might not be your ideas, but that is why you have these discussions, and find out what makes your kids tick, and what is important to them.

It was a quick ride and there wasn’t much traffic today. Tonight I’ll find out what the next book or story is. I’ll find out if anything else interesting is going on at school. I’ll find out if weirdness abounds, or if all is well, at least in our little corner of the world.

Then she said, “Uncle Max said all of your boyfriends before dad were douches.” OK, I’ll have to have a talk with my brother, or just let it go. I had to laugh.

 

Hope your day is full of interesting thoughts, discussions, and loads of laughs. Just remember to keep your mind open and your temper in check.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vampire teens

Even Vampires Get The Blues: Musings on a hot summer day

Even Vampires get the blues, or just the stupids, or maybe even those out of sorts times when everything is just yuck.

I’ve was on the road for over a week. There were magnificent highs and low level lows. When we arrived home I was feeling out of sorts and blah. Then it all ended with a near death experience.

But today I am fine and said to myself, “YOU ARE THE MOM.”

I have teens but I’m still the MOM.

Not only am I the mom but I’m the wife, the one who checks in on the elders, the one who carries knowledge of all things, the one who makes everyone laugh, and the one who listens. I also change the litter box and feed the animals and water the plants.

You know, if you choose to live in a crypt, away from the world, away from everyone, life is fairly easy. You sleep. You get up at night and get blood from unsuspecting people. Occasionally you meet with your friends who also live in crypts or old houses. You don’t care about anything. You don’t love anyone or anything.

I’m not that kind of Vampire. Neither are the Vampires in my life. We’re not a bunch of friggin Shadow Creepers.

Oh, and speaking of Shadow Creepers, my kids have been talking a lot about politics. presidential politics.

The male child can vote (18) and the female child can’t (160) but is still is involved.

In their opinion a zillion people are running for president but they ALL SUCK.

The teens don’t like Hillary. They can’t relate to her. She says nothing. They think she should have dumped Bill and had a huge bonfire on the White House Lawn when Bill was doing saying “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman,” or whatever. I tend to agree. Smart kids.

When Vampire cheat it hits the fan big time. But that is another blog post…

Garrett (the 19 year old) and I will not be voting for anyone who puts the issues of sex or religion on the roster. People who are obsessed by sex and religion, or the sexual habits and religious beliefs of others. It is sick. SICK. Unfortunately the majority of people running and people who support them are SICK.

Then they discussed foreign policy, social welfare…and oh boy, it all just hit the fan. I won’t go into details but the sixteen year old said:

White trash is the worst kind of trash because they have no excuse. They are white and in the USA. They are the most privileged people in the world. There is no excuse. 

And don’t we all know that. We’ve got Vampire trash (in limited supply) and don’t even get me started on Werewolves.  And mind you, trash has nothing to do with income or ethnic background. It is attitude. It is when a person or group of people choose to embrace ignorance and make it their way of life and the core of their universe. Suspicion, envy, and distrust rule their worlds along with iron clad clannish behaviors that can only be destructive.

So that concludes the political/social portion of this blog post.

I talk with my kids a lot.  I also am proud that they research the issues on their own and then report back to me on a lot of it. Their dad and I might now always agree but hey, that is OK. Your kids aren’t your clones. Even if they were clones they wouldn’t be YOU.

So tomorrow is a new night. I’m not digging the heat but I can deal with it. I have my family, friends and my creativity. I also have to clean out a fish tank, which is no small task. I have a novel to finish and …

Whoa, I just glanced outside and saw Nigel the Ghost sitting on a deck chair in the middle of the dead grass. I haven’t seen him for ages. He just flipped me off. I showed him my fangs and mouthed the words “fuck you.” Awww man, it is good to have him back. I’ll keep you posted.

We all need to ramble and have days to reflect and be random. We all need downtime.  We all need to spout off. We all need those late nights when we’re all alone. We still need others. There is no one absolute for anything.

So anyway, take care of yourself. Hug your kids. Kiss your cats. Remember your friends. And watch out for ghosts. I mean it… watch out for ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman