Parenting: Teaching your kids culture, but it is OK if they don’t know a 40 year old band, and don’t be an old fart.

When our kids were small we decided that part of their education would be teaching them the classics. On road trips Teddy would play music and the kids would identify the classic rock bands. At a young age (by the time they were six or seven) our offspring could identify Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimmi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and a myriad of other bands. This included my husband’s favorite summer road trip band Van Halen.

Just to keep the record straight on this: He prefers Diamond Dave. I prefer Sammy. But hey, it’s all good.

This all is leading us down a path to somewhere, and I’m sure you know where (or maybe not.)

The extremely popular and talented seventeen year old singer Billie Eilish said in an interview that she didn’t know who the band Van Halen was.

Asshats all over the Internet jumped right on it. They criticized her for her musical knowledge. Seriously? Does it matter that she doesn’t know a band that started out in a time that seems like centuries ago to most teens?

In an attempt to educate my children and make them into cultured little Vampires we’d have Saturday Night Opera Bath. I’d plunk the babies into the tub and turn on the radio. Now twenty years later they don’t listen to opera and can only recognize a few songs. Does it matter that their Uncle Andy is a trained opera singer? Not really. He sings to the kids but not opera. That’s ok. Opera isn’t for everyone and neither is Van Halen.

Over the Thanksgiving break my daughter didn’t know who Steely Dan was. Do I care? Not really. I don’t go out of my way to listen to them and neither does her dad. At twenty she knows who Glen Miller was but not Steve Miller. That’s ok.

As a parent you have to make sure your kids don’t grow up in a cultural void, but you can’t teach them everything. They learn things along the way and they won’t know it all by the time they’re seventeen, twenty or even fifty.

For example my kids know art. They can tell you if a work is Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Dada, Pop Art, Medieval (their least favorite and what they consider the weirdest), Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Surrealism, and many many other movements. Art is important to us, so we passed that love on to our children.

They can’t tell you who any of the presidents between John Quincy Adams and Abe Lincoln were, or anyone right before or right after Teddy Rosevelt. If they really think about it they might be able to come up with some trivial facts, but neither one are American History Majors, or Music History Majors.

We all teach our kids our own culture. In my house it is art and music we like, and how to grow herbs, and bad puns. They’ll catch up on all of the other stuff. Believe me, they can, and will, beyond your wildest expectations.

The fact that Billie Eilish didn’t know who Van Halen is is OK. She is only seventeen. Maybe her parents didn’t like Van Halen. Nobody is going to play music to their children unless they like it. Some people do play music to their kids that they don’t like but they’re just weird and read too many child rearing books.

Ms Eilish obviously had caring parents who shared a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to their child.

One of the things I like best about her is that she is her own young woman and a good role model to other teen girls. She doesn’t rely on dressing like a later day Playboy Bunny to get attention. It is her music not her T&A.

Another thought…

Don’t EVER stop learning about and listening to new music. My kids introduced me to so many new bands. Of course as Vampires we have to keep up with things as a matter of survival, but that’s another blog post. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to were with my kids. I even went to Warped Tour with them. Yes, we had more fun than I could have imagined years ago at a Black Veil Brides Concert. Parents and other adults – don’t be old farts. Expand your musical horizons. If you have questions just look it up on my blog. I think I’ve written a dozen posts about going to concerts with and sharing music with my kids.

I’d like to think that most people reading my blog are life long learners.

So keep learning. Keep sharing information. And keep encouraging others not tearing them down (unless they’re assholes, then you can tear them down as much as you want.)

I’ll leave you with some music. I’m off to hang lights on my Christmas tree, and then maybe dance the night away.

~  Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

Dear Diary,

Once I was King of the Vampires. There were others who ruled Vampires in other places, but I was the only King. I was not just a ruler but a leader.

My birthday will be this week. When I was king there would be great celebrations. Now the celebration will be small.

I thought of music and turned on the radio. What insanity was this coming from the invisible sound waves into the little box on kitchen counter?

My oldest Vampire friend Randolpho and my Vampire lover Gillian were there. We drank red wine and blood cocktails. They both started to laugh and sing along.

What madness is this, I thought to myself at the crazy insane song playing through the the air by invisible musicians.

My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

“What is a sharona?” I asked.

“A woman,” said Randolpho. “She is called Sharona.”

“Sharona is her name?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Randolpho.

“Is she fixing or perhaps building his car?”

“No,” said Gillian.

“He sang  you make my motor run. Twice,” I said.

“It wasn’t a car,” said Randolpho.

“Then I assume he has a cat,” I said.

They both laughed, together, at the same time. I stood wondering what was so funny.

“Don’t even mention My Own Private Idaho to him,” said Randolpho.

“Oh my god,”said Gillian.

Then they started to laugh again.

I gave them a stern scolding. “Do not treat me as if I am a child or an idiot. I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years. I missed three centuries, including the Twentieth Century.”

“You did miss a lot,” said Gillian, who was still laughing at me.

“It is as if, what is the saying, as if I am living on another star,” I said.

“Planet,” said Gillian.

“Plan what? My birthday? That is what we are trying to do,” I said.

“Living on another planet Vlad. Another planet,” said Randolpho.

Then they started to laugh again.

I watched my friends slide to the floor still laughing and lean on each others as tears came down their cheeks.

Gillian looked up at me and said, “You’re so damn cute.”

I give up.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

The World Series of Baseball started tonight.

I was told not to ask why it is called the World Series and just accept it.

Why do they treat me like this?

I have found that baseball is a calming sport without the lunacy of football or other sports in which the players run around like herds of cattle. There is an individual element in baseball which I like. It is like Vampires. We are individual elements who work magic when with an organized group.

After that we watched baseball we watched ice skating from an event called Skate America. Gillian had recorded the men’s short program. She carefully explained to me that the short program is where them ice skaters do a specific number of elements in a short amount of time. I told her that I know what a short program is. I know what ice skating is. I have even learned how to both ice skate and roller skate in the past five years. I am what is called a fan. I can tell you who Nathan Chen and Jason Brown are. They would both make admirable Vampires.

Football would be better if they used the head of an opponent rather than an odd shaped ball.

Later, after those who say they are my friends had other activities to keep them occupied, I went out to find fresh blood and perhaps someone who would not laugh at everything I say.

At my friend Cassie’s pub I sat at the bar and spoke with Cassie when she was not busy. In the background I could hear the women say to each other as they looked my way, “He is so cute. He is gorgeous. I want some of that.”

I was drinking club soda so I do not think that is what they wanted. In fact, I dare say, I know exactly what they wanted. It made me smile, of course without my fangs.

I overheard someone laugh and call her friend a dork. I turned a smiled. The dork was a pretty young woman with short blonde hair and nice neck showing above a shoulderless sweater. The women all smiled at me. The one they called dork winked. I smiled back. Maybe I would have dork for dinner.

I looked up the meaning of the word dork on my iPhone. I find these phones are extremely useful tools.  

Dork: a silly, out-of-touch person.

I suddenly realized, in my ignorance, that I did not recognize the fact that the women were making jokes with each other.

I looked at Cassie. “Do you think I am a dork?” I asked.

Cassie leaned on the bar and put her face close to mine, “Maybe, a little bit sometimes, but you’re really just cute. You know you’re really cute Vlad.”

“That is what everyone I meet tells me. Yet, cute is what you call a kitten,” I said.

“Sure, and when I’m around you I get that warm and fuzzy kitten feeling.”

I gave her a weak smile. Warm and fuzzy? I did not even ask.

I was once King of the Vampires, feared by many.  It was said by many that even the Devil would not cross my path due to my fearsome and cunning ways. Now I am a warm and fuzzy kitten.

Later in the night I spent more time with the woman who had been called a dork. I found her to be exceptionally smart and witty. She had a laugh that sounded as if she’d been alive for as long as I had. It was full of smoke and gravel. I liked it. I told her about the history of where I came from, which was my history. I did not mention Vampires. She was fascinated, as was I. Then I took enough blood from her beautiful warm neck and left her with sweet dreams. I am a Vampire but I am not a fiend. If one of to be a successful and effective Vampire King one must be fierce but never a fiend.

Her name was Allyson and never did she once call me a dork or laugh at me. With that thought I give a deep sigh.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today is my birthday. I was born October 23, 1343. I am now six hundred and seventy six years old. I do not look a day over thirty two, maybe thirty four. Six hundred is the new thirty. I shall tell Gillian and Randolpho that I too have the ability to master the art of humor. I am not so sure that will satisfy them.

I over heard Randolpho tell Gillian, “It is also Weird Al’s birthday today too. He’ll turn sixty. Can you believe it?”

“Don’t tell Vlad. Oh my god, he’ll be so confused,” said Gillian. Then they both started to laugh hysterically.  I did not ask why or let them know I had heard them make their jokes at my expense.

This Weird Al character is a mere baby. What could he do that would confuse me so? I roll my eyes at their humor at my expense.

Tonight there shall be a party. Gillian and Randolpho told me that all of the plans were in place. They said I should not worry and that it would be fun.

My mind was still on modern music and my attempt to understand the strange words that everyone except me understood. Not only do fashions change over the years but language as well.

Later I asked Gillian, “Why do so many songs speak of women and cars?”

“It is a metaphore Vlad.”

“I see,” I said.  I did not see but I did not say anything.

Then she whispered, “You make my motor run. In fact, I’ll show you right now. Happy Birthday Vlad.”

And yes, so far it has been an extremely happy birthday.

~ Vald

 

 

 

 

This has been the 53rd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To catch up on all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary entries click here.

Oh, by the way it is also my birthday today!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Dear Diary,

My my my

Why do people say that? It is as if they think that they rule the world in their smug sense of overly obnoxious self worth.

What is it about that like in the movie about the little lost fish and the birds who all yelled mine mine mine. Those were gulls.

I have had people say that to me only to minutes later have their throats ripped out. That was a long time ago, in another life. Such is the world of a Vampire King. I now try to resist the urge to rip into the flesh of those who annoy me.

Today I found myself in an overly bitter mood. Back when I was the King of Vampires living in my castle on the mountain I would go into the tower and let the wind blow through my hair, and view all that was mine. At other times I would take my horse and ride through the woods until we were both exhausted.

Now I have a more modern approach. I get into my car and drive.

After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I could not have imagined a world with cars and paved roads. I could not imagine not having a horse. Maybe one day I will get a horse, or two, or three again. Until then I am content with my cats, though they resist riding in cars.

In the past five years I have learned much, including cars. I have two cars. One is electric and quiet. It is also expensive, but that does not matter. My advisories might have taken three hundred years from me but they did not take away my fortune.

My my my.

In my car I open the hole in the top of the roof, then I turn up the sound on the radio. A radio is another thing I could not have imagined having three hundred years ago. I was wearing flip flops and I could not have imagined those either.

The radio is an interesting thing. On it is every kind of music one can imagine. There are also those who talk angrily and excessively. I ignore them. Early in the mornings there are those who speak of farming and fishing. Late at night people speak of alien creatures who live in space and visit people at night, in their beds. I believe they have aliens confused with cats, or maybe even Vampires. It is not worth my time to wonder about it.

While I was imprisoned by my enemies in a crypt and thought to be dead I missed out on so much music. I did not know of Bach or Valvadi. I did not know of Mozart, Handle, Haydn, or Pachelbel. I missed Chopin. I missed the invention of the modern piano, which I now play. I missed Beethoven. I missed Verdi, and Greg, and Lizt. I missed Scott Joplin, Lead Belly, and Janice Joplin. I missed Jimi Hendrix. I missed Ravel, Stravinsky, Debussy, and Strauss. I missed the waltz. I am not sad that I missed Disco or Blue Grass. Those two types of music are not, how do I say it, conducive to the Vampire sense of being. I missed smooth jazz. I missed the starting of Rock and Roll. I missed Toto the first time they sang Africa. I missed so much. I did not exactly miss the polka because the villagers who were not Vampires had loud parties and dances that might have well been polkas. They vomited a lot. Then they slept and the Vampires moved in on them but that is a different story for a different day.

That is the beauty of radio. I can hear all of it now. Except Country Western and Rap Music. I do not listen to those kinds of music. I do not understand them or enjoy the sounds. Yes, for an easy meal, I will pretend to like them, or at least tolerate them for a short time.

Now where was I? I heard a song. It was a song about a Vampire. I do not understand it quite. As I drove my car through the countryside a song came on.

My, my, my.
Once bitten twice shy. 

What is this music I thought as I pulled over to the side of the road to hear more closely.

It was a song about a woman who spent a lot of time with men, but the singer was unsure of her. I think she was a Vampire. She bit him. Now he is shy of her. So she sleeps with many many men. He is of an old fashioned view where he finds that unsettling. Then he thinks she is a failure, but she exacts her revenge in a way I have yet to understand, but she comes out better. He is now shy of her because he fears being bitten again.

I looked this up on my Smart Phone, which three hundred years ago would have been considered magic to the point where if you had one you would be burned as a witch. If you were a Vampire it would have been alright, but regular normal warm blooded people are often ignorant fools who embrace that ignorance and the fear of new things. Vampires must always adapt and accept what is new and what is true.

The band that sang my my my was called Great White. Like a shark, not a racist name. I know now about racists. Great White an odd name but I have long since (for about four years) stopped questioning band names because that would be all that I would do all day every single day.

The men had long hair. I used to have long hair as they did. My golden blonde locks at one point came down to the middle of my back. Maybe my hair was a little longer.

That night after I arrived home I could not stop thinking about that song. Once Bitten Twice Shy.  

My beautiful Vampire lover Gillian came over to see me. I told her I was thinking of growing my hair long again like the men in Great White.

She told me no.

I told her the band Great White would be playing in Reno next month. “We could drive up there and stay for the weekend. It would be fun,” I told her just like a regular 21st Century man would ask his woman for a good time.

She said, “we’ll see,” just like women of every century since the dawn of time.

I may be a 675 year old Vampire but even after all this time, and so many women, I still will never completely understand them. Calling them them the fair sex is quite the misnomer. Women are never fair.

~ Vald

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

You have just read the 49th entry of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read Vlad’s diary from the start CLICK HERE.

Innocenzio D’Antonio

First posted April 2, 2013

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Innocenzio D’Antonio

Innocenzio D’Antonio came to Sacramento in the 1850’s with a troupe of actors to make his fortune. He’d started as an opera singer in his native Italy and unfortunately did not make it into the famous opera houses in Europe, fell in love with an Austrian actress and ended up with her talking him into joining an American theater company touring California during the Gold Rush.

Innocenzio D’Antonio had the voice of an avenging angel, rich and strong. He could certainly sing the corset off of any woman but he was pure of heart and a true and honest lover to his dear Austrian maid. Well at least until she left him high and dry in San Francisco, leaving him for a dashing gambler.

Upon reaching Sacramento Innocenzio D’Antonio noticed a young man singing one night at a party held by a well-known business man. It was odd to him that a child so young should be up so late into the night. But that was put aside when he heard the child’s beautiful voice. The voice was precious beyond compare. It was the voice of heaven and the angels above. It was the voice of all that was good and pure in the world. It brought Innocenzio D’Antonio to tears. And yet, there was something strong and dark about the voice. There was something about the voice that brought the opera singer both to tears and made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

A well dressed man stood next to Innocenzio D’Antonio and said “I noticed you were moved by the sound of the my son Andrew’s singing. Amazing considering he is only nine years old. However, my child could use formal music lessons from a master, such as you. If you’re interested I will pay you well. I have four other children as well. The eldest three could all benefit from your talents Mr. D’Antonio.”

The next evening Innocenzio (as we shall now call him by his first name only) showed up at the elegant home of the child Andrew. He was met warmly by the father and met the rest of the family. The oldest boy was 10-year-old Maxwell, followed by 9-year-old Andrew, then 7-year-old Aaron, then 16-month-old Valentine and the infant Juliette. Their mother was a vision of beauty and all that was good and pure. Such elegance in movement in style he had rarely encountered in his lifetime.

Over the next few months he came to look forward to music lessons for the three eldest boys. Maxwell and Aaron had uncommonly beautiful voice, but it was young Andrew who had the voice of an angel sent straight from heaven. Innocenzio thought of how many churches, even those in Rome would give anything to have this voice in their stables of singers. He thought of the great opera houses in Europe that would be mobbed with patrons trying to hear Andrew sing.

Before meeting this most wonderful family Innocenzio had suffered deep waves of melancholia. He’d blame it on heart-break, disappointment or even being cursed, but now, every time he left the home of Andrew’s family, Innocenzio felt as if he were the most content and happy man alive.

After a time the father announced that they would have a party and invite all of their closest friends. Andrew would sing at midnight. Innocenzio thought that was too late for such a young child but the parents brushed it off with a gentle smile. It was difficult for Innocenzio to disagree.

The night of the party was filled with excitement. The large mansion was filled with the most elegant people he’d ever seen. Some he’d met before while out in the evenings around the city and some were stranger. But they all had a certain quiet about them and calm that he had never seen anywhere else, not even in a church or monestary.

The mother, the beautiful mother who still took his breath away when he saw her, asked him to sing. Innocenzio was feeling happy and light so he sang the drinking song from the fairly new opera La Traviata and to his delight the group joined in. They all had good voices. Afterwards they gathered around Innocenzio and congratulated him on his success and welcomed him into their society.

While he was delighted and honored there was a certain sense of unease about him. Innocenzio had a sense that something was about to happen, as if he was a lamb facing the hungry jaws of a lion. A strong sense of fear started to creep into his soul. He was confused and ashamed. After all, he was in the home of people who had become dear friends, a second family almost.

The mother, pulled him aside and put her arm in his. “My dear Innocenzio, my love, do not fear. I know what is in your heart and soul. You know us so you sense that we are different. We are different you know. We’re very different from you.”

Her eyes were the color of a fantasy seascape, her lips perfect, her chestnut hair was loose around her shoulders. He lost himself and took her into his arms and kissed her. His head went light. She stepped back and smiled. It was as if he’d lost his entire heart and more so his soul to her.

“I could take your soul if I wished, but dear Innocenzio, I must tell you a story of my life and of my people.” Then she sat him down and told him the most fantastic and horrific tale he’d ever heard in his life. He was both seduced and repulsed. His senses were confused, his emotions out of control, his body yearning for everything she had to offer.

—————————————————-

2013

Sometimes being a mom is everything, but sometimes I like to have my time with my friends.  I heard the knock on my door and standing there was my dear friend  back from a trip to Europe.

“Juliette” he said with his gorgeous voice, “you are still more beautiful than Venus herself”.

“And you’re still full of crap Innocenzio D’Antonio ” I said with a smile.

“Never,” he said taking my hands and kissing my cheek.

We don’t keep many friends so long, but when we do it is worth it. Every time I see my mother I want to thank her for talking Innocenzio into being one of us.

As Vampires we don’t bring just anyone into our world, but when we do it is magic.

On the other hand, anytime a true friendship forms, even if nobody changes, it is magic and a true joy.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who felt like posting this today just because it is April 2, and a time to consider how lucky I am to have so many treasured friends.)

Ask Juliette: Popular Culture Edition

Ask Juliette

Ask Juliette (or Ask a Vampire) is a semi-regular feature here at Vampiremaman.com

If you have a question you NEED to have answered, about anything send it to juliettevampiremom at gmail dot com, or put it in the comments here and I’ll answer it on the next Ask Juliette post.

So here we go. I have a lot of small ones this week.

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Why don’t you like the violin player Lindsey Stirling. I think she is awesome.

Good, then YOU listen to her play her magical violin. I don’t know, I just find her extremely annoying and rather weird. If you like her than by all means I’m not going to stop you. Have fun.

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 Why didn’t anyone in your family watch the Grammy Awards this year?

Because it is the same old shit every single year. There are so many talented and fantastic, and original artists who NEVER get recognized. I get tired of the Pink, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, and the rest of the “popular” artists. And I didn’t even mention my shock that the horrible Imagine Dragons song “Thunder” was nominated for anything. Really guys? You can do better than THAT. You used to be brilliant. What the F happened there?

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What movie do you want to win Best Picture at the Oscars?

Unlike the Grammy Awards, I approve of the Oscar nominations. Of course, since Sacramento is my hometown, and I loved the movie, I’d love to see Lady Bird get as many awards as possible. I’d loved that Get Out was recognized. The rest of the films are all deserving. This is one of those years when the choice will be hard, but no matter who wins it will be ok.

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Why don’t you like red pants?

We’ve gone over this before. Only small children (under ten years of age) and really old people (over eighty) should be allowed to wear red pants. Grown men should NEVER wear red pants, especially guys over thirty. So why don’t I like them? Because red pants look stupid on most people.

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What if your favorite Vampire movie?

Nosferatu (1922) because it is so weird and creepy. As a rule I don’t like Vampire movies. I think my next three picks would have to be Love at First Bite, Interview With A Vampire, and of course The Lost Boys.

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How do Vampires find food? It isn’t like you can just go to the grocery store.

Food is all around up. Most of us these days don’t depend on lurking around bedrooms, unless of course we’re invited. We find food at bars, and clubs. We find it at cultural events. Art events are awesome for food, as are concerts.

Most of us have several regular donors we go to. They might not know that they have their own Vampire, but they do. In return for being a regular we give them a certain amount of protection and favors.

Of course we get blood in bottles. Yes we do. And sometimes we DO eat real food. Just stay away from baked goods, sweets, and keep it simple but full of flavor. Poultry doesn’t set well with most Vampires. All things in moderation.

I get a lot of questions about this because everyone is fascinated with what we eat. Seriously folks it isn’t that interesting, but I’ll do more future posts on it.

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What would your exotic support animal would you want to take on a plane?

A fresh water otter. If not that a large goat.

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Alright that is all for now. Vlad’s Vampire Diary is coming up next. And remember if you have any questions about Vampires, relationships, fashion, paranormal stuff, books, following your dreams, anyone I talk about on this blog, parenting, kids, school, travel, cats, ghosts, or anything else you have just “Ask Juliette.”

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman