New horizons and dirty dogs (Musings on a Saturday)

They came in groups of four until their number reached almost 500. All in black robes. Some had blood red sashes. Some had medals. Victory was finally theirs. They will rule the world.

Why, no, this is not the start of some epic and lofty Vampire tale. It was GRADUATION DAY yesterday. My daughter Clara graduated from high school! Woo Hoo. It was a lovely ceremony. A lot of music by the kids. Good speeches. I can’t imagine nicer group of young adults. Yes, I got choked up a few times.

Now what? We’re done with K-12 education at my house. Done. Wow. It feels good. It was awesome. It was wonderful. OK. I’m still MOM.

Garrett flew up for the event and will go back down for the last week of college. In the fall he’ll be a Senior at the big university. Clara will be a Freshman at the small college the transfer to the same big university. Her brother might or might not be in Graduate school there when she gets there. We’ll see.

So now what? I have jury duty next week. When I’m asked what I do I will not say, “I write about Vampires and parenting.” I’ll tell them one of the many other “normal” things I do for a living.

I can hear my brother Andy and Clara with their guitars playing and singing Enter the Sandman. Out on the deck the dog and cat are scuttling around while the squirrels bark at them from the trees.

I’m thinking of symbiotic relationships like being a Vampire, or a parent, or a writer, or an artist, or… nothing and just letting my mind finally empty of everything.

And since no Vampire can abide a stinky dog I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to take my 85 pound stinky pup to the self dog wash. Dogs think their motto should be I stink therefore I am. I’m not in agreement. So time to slip on the flip flops and get going. No slinky tight Elvira dresses, and heaven forbid no Vampirella red thong things for me. I’m a little more practical. Most Vampires are. We have dogs to wash, and other regular things we need to deal with too.

I tell my kids that if you insist on being lurking in shadows, sleeping in coffins, and living in some creepy old ruin, you’re going to starve. Seriously, you can get closer to anyone if you smell nice, look nice, and act nice. That goes for anyone who isn’t a Vampire too.

That also goes for dogs, so I’m off. Have a great weekend everyone. Happy Saturday. I’ll be back next week with new adventures and rambling thoughts.

~ 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

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Fitting in is important for teens no matter who they are. Be it Vampire kids, Werewolves, someone with a different accent, or just a kid feeling out of place – everyone needs to feel safe. Everyone needs a little help – especially now. 

This was first posted in 2013 but it is worth revisiting from time to time, even if you don’t have teens.

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Since the invention of metal spoons humans have been hanging spoons off of their noses. Really. I kid you not.

My son Garrett told me that most of his regular human friends and their families hang spoons off of their noses. They do it at birthdays, around the table at major holidays, in study groups and anytime there is a gathering with food and friends. They hang spoons.

“I can’t do it mom,” my son told me with a sad frustrated look.

“What’s going on?” His father had come into the room.

“Why can’t Vampires hang spoons off of noses?”

“Is that important?” Whoops Dad you said the wrong thing.

“I’m sick of not being able to do things that my friends do. I’m tried of not fitting in.”

Neither my husband or I even asked our son to list those things that Vampire teens can’t do. Being popular, smart and exceptionally good looking wasn’t a comfort. Sometimes it is those small things that make one fit in.

“Show me the nose thing,” said Dad.

Garrett put a spoon up to his nose. He tilted his head back and carefully slid the spoon to the tip of his nose. The spoon fell to the floor. “Everyone I know can do this, except my Vampire friends. I’m tired of being a freak.”

I could have said it is just a spoon on the nose, but I knew it was more than that.

“Did you breath on it?” Asked my husband.

“It won’t work. Our breath is cold. Our noses are cold. The texture of our skin is all off. And I’ve tried everything. It isn’t a silver thing. Stainless and plastic doesn’t work either.”

I looked at my sad men and knew that as usual that Mom would save the day. I turned on the kettle and as the steam came out I put the spoon under the hot damp air. Then I put it on my nose and it stayed.

“You can make hot breath. Now hang yourself a spoon.”

And so they did – they hung spoons off of their noses.

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more on hanging spoons click here. http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Spoon-from-Your-Nose

 

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Mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom

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I got stuck in traffic and I left my phone at home. This is what happens. By the way, I’m Mom mom mom mom mom mom mom. I DID remember to bring the dog.

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But wait, it gets better.

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Yes, I got there. All is well.

Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Musings on Quiet Time in a Public Place (with Coffee, Rain, Math and Vampires)

Saturday means coffee, and math. My seventeen year old daughter Clara meets with a friend at a local coffee place to figure out math. I write and wait for things to happen.

It is Saturday so I check other blogs like Evil Squirrels Nest (Saturday Squirrel), The Secret Keeper (Vincent Van Gough), and J Mounts Written In Blood (Saturday Short Film). Every Saturday. Every single Saturday. Hey, even unscheduled scattered Vampires like me have our routines.

It is a place where they roast their own coffee. My daughter was able to smell the ground beans before her drinks was made. Two men sit at a table next to me. One is working a crossword on his iPad, the other is doing the crossword on paper. They’re talking like old friends do.

The Coffee Works is a block from my husband’s business, and not far from my brother Aaron’s house. Even in the pouring rain people come in and out. They gather here for warm drinks and good karma.

A few minutes ago I saw Austin Durant, Aaron’s friend. I guess I could say he is my friend too. He is a Vampire Hunter, but not of my kind. He rids buildings of the dried up creatures who sleep under floorboards and between walls. They’re the dusty husks of people who have since moved on into the light, with only their confused and hungry bodies remaining. Anyway, Austin also teaches history the local university, and restores old buildings.

I saw Austin in line and waved. He gave me a smile and headed over to my table after he got coffee.

“A lot of Vampires are out today,” he said, looking around. There were about five of us in the place, but nobody but the Vampires, Austin and I knew it. “How are you Juliette?”

“Good. Clara is meeting with a friend. They’re doing math stuff. I’m just writing. You know Vampires and coffee.”

We chatted a bit more, you know, the usual small talk. Then when he said he had to go I said, “be careful out there.” He knew I wasn’t just talking about the traffic.

But traffic is bad. I live in a place where it hardly rains. Now it is pouring and will pour for the next week. Since we’ve had a drought forever nobody knows how to drive in the rain. Still, I love the rain. I love sitting next to a window and reading or writing.

As I was rummaging through my computer bag my brother Aaron pulled up a chair next to me at my table.

It was great to see him. He is usually so formal and serious, but today he was in jeans, with a flannel shirt, and his hair sort of messed up with the wind and rain. He invited me over for Christmas evening festivities. We made no jokes about him being both a Vampire and an attorney. We didn’t even talk about being Vampires, just like we didn’t talk about a lot of things that would interest others if they imagined Vampire siblings talking over coffee on a Saturday morning. We just talked about our families, Christmas lights, our dogs, and books. Aaron and I always get to books.

After Aaron left, Clara was still working on the math. I find myself, no, take that back – I allow myself to think of what I will write next, and what I will draw next. There are so many things I need to tie up, that get in the way of what I need to do.

I wonder about my husband Teddy down in the Delta today selling a yellow Porsche from the late 50’s. It is a beautiful car but it is time to find it a new home. I watch as two guys roll a recycle bin down the sidewalk. There are fewer cars than normal, and almost nobody on the usual busy sidewalks. I hear the people at the table behind me. There is another woman named Juliette. I wonder what her blood type is. Hey, I’m a Vampire. I think about those things. I can’t help it.

On the way here Clara and I talked in the car about how toddlers are like dogs. They try to understand but they just don’t always get it. We laughed about how toddlers will go stiff as a board if they are put somewhere they don’t want to sit, or are picked up when they don’t want to be picked up.

It is those random thoughts and memories that are sometimes more important than the big things going on in the outside world.

I told Clara that people keep asking me, “What will you do when she goes off to college. You’re so close. How will you manage?” They never ask is Clara will manage, because everyone knows she’ll do great.

Clara said, “It isn’t like I’m going to suddenly not want to be around you or Dad.”

We’ll always be close. We’ll call. We’ll text. We’ll know that we are always part of each other.

I’m now sharing my table with a senior couple who came in for coffee. They just left, but I’m glad to share. Someone else took one of the chairs. I’m glad to share. I’m glad to see so many people in this place who are part of each other. They’re also part of the community we all belong in. There is a small old man with a Santa beard. There are students and study groups (not just my child), there are young and old people together. After over an hour the old guys are still working on their puzzles and talking by the window.

Hey, I see my friend Adam, photographer, and Werewolf coming in. I motion for him to come sit with me. Alright. Have a good Saturday everyone. Adam and I will have more coffee and I’ll treat him to a berry scone. Hey, Werewolves like scones. My dog likes scones.

I’ll be posting a few Christmas stories later today. Have fun and keep checking back.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom?

She was the wife of a ship captain. He sailed out of San Francisco in the 1850’s, from a bay so full of ships that there was barely room to maneuver. The first time she saw him…she missed her boat because her phone kept dinging.

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Walking away I pulled my hood up over her head to guard from the biting cold wind and rain. I walked down the street wanting to be anywhere but the court house. I was tired of waiting and waiting and waiting. What did they do behind those closed doors? Why did every single blessed thing take so long. I just wanted to go home and read a good book by the fire and watch the rain. I wanted to be with my children. I wanted it to be summer and meet my girlfriends after work for drinks at one of their favorite places by the river and watch the young testosterone laden assholes showing off in their ski boats and smell the mix of wild flowers, red wine…rewrite. 

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He came by in a tight fitting black tee and jeans that actually were from this century. He was a Roman god, a movie star, a gracefully aging male model. Women turned to look at him. But it just seemed that the high maintence ones edging on middle age who who flocked around him like groupies. Was it the money, his good looks? He was different with them. All flattery and dazzling toothpaste commercial smiles. Then I realized that he was just like them. Birds preening, always doing the mating dance. He should have been in the court of Louis the 14th. He should have been a fop and a dandy in velvets and heels. But with his build he should have been a Viking with his golden hair in braids and the biggest horns on his head with the biggest ship in the fleet, the biggest, well, the biggest everything. He was a professional show off. P.T. Barnum would have marketed Sammy as “The Perfect Male.”

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Nigel continued to rattle on. “I bet Sammy has black satin sheets in his bachelor pad. I bet he has a water bed. Does anyone have those anymore? I remember half the girls I dated had them. They used the excuse it was easier to move. Right. Always gave me a backache. I hated those things. Man, you don’t want to be in one of those things with a hangover. It’s like being seasick only worse. Death is easier than a hangover in a water bed. Believe me, I know first hand, and death is much much easier. I’ll tell you a bucket on the side of the bed wasn’t for bailing out water. What was that store that sold waterbeds, Night Comfort. The guy had commercials on late night TV and read letters from inmates at Folsom Prison who were dreaming about when they got out with their old ladies and their trusty waterbed. Ohhhhhh baby. Ray, I think his name was Ray, or maybe Chuck but I forgot what his last name is. And what sort of grown man calls himself Sammy? Sam maybe or Samuel but Sammy? Come on, you call a 4 year old or a dog Sammy but not a grown man. I thought he’d grown out of that once he got to Stanford.”

I turned around and glared at Nigel. If he wasn’t already dead I would have considered killing him.

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By the way November is National Novel Writing Month… I am working on a novel or two, or three, but sometimes I get distracted.

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman