Empty Nest

At the end of my street is a bald eagle nest. The babies hatched this spring have learned to fly a few weeks ago and have now left the nest. We might see them around occasionally during the rest of the summer, but they’re more or less gone. This is the third year we’ve had eagle babies. This is the third year we’ve gone out to the nest and watched new hatchlings grow and leave mom and dad.

The nest is now empty.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.

My daughter just turned twenty. She’ll be moving out in September to attend a prestigious university on the coast of Southern California. I am over the moon proud of her.

I have kept a safe and sound nest for my birdies. They have learned how to fly.

I’ve prepared my children to be adults. They have far exceeded my expectations. I am so proud. I think I said that already, but I am. I always will be.

I prepared my chicks but I didn’t think that I’d be so unprepared.

It isn’t as if I’m unprepared. It isn’t as if I don’t have anything to do. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog who needs ALL of my attention, elders to take care of (that is another story that breaks my heart), cats to heard, and a husband who is going through his own transitions.

It has been years since I have felt my heart breaking like this. I had no idea.

Yet, I am filled with joy and excitement because my kids are adults and they’re going to make all kinds of awful mistakes, and have wonderful adventures, and be amazing, and successful, and they’ll change the world for the better. I know for a fact that they’ll change the world for the better. When I think about that I am less likely to start crying.

When you have a baby you know that in 18 or 20 years that… your baby will be an adult.

But you know what? Your babies will always be your babies.

Having kids is the best thing, the hardest thing, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. At least it has been like that for me.

I finally found something I was good at. REALLY good at. Better than most at. The BEST at. And now I have to do something else that I can be the best at.

Just between us I’ll still be the best mom ever.

And if you’re reading this you can still be the best mom, or dad, ever too.

Just keep saying to yourself, “Don’t panic. They all grow up.”

You’ll be OK.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Just stuff – musings on life, kids, me, stuff

juliettepurpledress

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ve been … things are changing quickly around here.

I’ve been spending time with the elders Eleora and Tellias. They’re extremely old. They’re forgetful and need time and care.

Clara is spending her last summer at home before going to the big prestigious difficult to get into university in Southern California (NO not any of the ones involved with the cheating scandals.) Unlike her brother who went off to college with his BFF, she is looking for housing and searching out potential roommates. She is also getting ready to go to the regional championships for her sport then on to the national championships. She is also working and spending a lot of time with her boyfriend, and with me.

Teddy, my husband is working a lot, and diving into a lot of new things. I don’t talk a lot about Teddy, other than his good looks and winning personality. Did I mention his good looks and winning personality.

The eldest child is home on and off after his first year in graduate school. His BFF Randy is still his BFF. They have girlfriends. That is plural girlfriends. I keep out of it.

My writing consortium WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) is coming out with our THIRD horror anthology soon. I’ll keep you posted. I believe that will be our 12th book.
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Summer always brings mixed feelings for Vampires. The weather brings more people out, in fewer clothes. That makes meals easier. Then again, it is hot and bright and we need gallons of sunscreen and I’ve never liked the extreme heat. But with the heat comes flowers and I love my flowers.

So anyway, I am reorganizing my life along with everyone else so I hope to bring more news, stories, thoughts, and interesting blog posts this summer.

One thing I am doing is spending a lot of time at the art museum. Fun stuff. Vampires love art, so of course we support all of our local museums and art events.

In the mornings I love to sit on my deck before dawn with my coffee and listen to the birds. I feel, I KNOW, I’ve done a great job preparing my little birdies for the big outside world. My chicks have spread their wings and are now flying on their own.

Parenting, and writing about parenting has been such a huge part of my life for the past 23 years that I now find myself at a loss for words, as the last one finished up community college and is now leaving… moving 450 miles away. Hey, at least I know there are plenty of cheap flights down her way, and it isn’t really that far of a drive.

OK, I’m done. Time to go out and plant more sunflowers. Yes, it is an odd thing to think about – a Vampire planting sunflowers, but we do all kinds of unexpected things. If you’re a Vampire you’ll understand.

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Thinking Back on Being A Parent

When I started writing this blog I was dealing with Middle School and summer camp. Now I’m helping my kids navigate lease agreements and finding the best coffee grinders.

Over the years I’ve talked about navigating school and social situations. We’ve gone to concerts. I’ve seen first love come and go, but I’ve also best friends, and bonds that will last the ages.

In the great big world my children and I have discussed school shootings, the environment, and politics. We’ve been to political events so the kids and their friends could have that experience and see what it was all about. We’ve known what it is like to be different. We’ve known what it is like to be part of a group.

Every family is different, but I feel, I know there are some things that all parents must do.

So many people think schools should raise their children and teach them everything. Or many think going to church (God forbid) will teach their kids all they need to know about being a decent person. But they miss the point.

As a parent it is YOUR responsibility to raise your child. Not just feed them or clothes them but to share your world with them.

The number one most important thing I can say to parents is to TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. I don’t mean lecture them or talk at them. I mean talk with them and LISTEN to them. Discuss things with them.

Encourage your children to be “big picture” people and go beyond their family, friends, and school. One day they’ll go out into the big wide world. You don’t want our little birds to take wings and get eaten by the first raptor who comes along. Teach them to see, to watch, to question, to be aware.

Teach your children to have their own opinions. Not everyone is a leader, but you don’t want you child to be a follower. They need to know that it is alright it they take their own path. If they choose to be with others that is OK but it must be their choice.

And yes, they should be allowed to make their own choices but you, as a parent, need to guide those choices. If they hang out with a bully then STOP that friendship cold. Let your child know why. If they have a friend you don’t like and the alarms go off then STOP that friendship. You’re the parent. Teach your kids to have real friends, not just kids to hang out with. Teach them NOT to give into negative peer pressure or bullies. Talk to them about it. Always encourage them to take the higher road. Even tiny children understand that to some extent.

Early on explain to your child how important reputation is. It is easy to lose one’s reputation but it is extremely difficult to get it back. Kids lose their reputations by hanging out with kids who offer nothing but trouble. Don’t think you can save someone by being good. They will only drag your kid down with them – and they won’t care. I know this is harsh but I’ve seen it happen too many times.

At the same time teach your children that good friends are a treasure. Teach them that they can have friends that are a different sex, a different color, a different sexual orientation, a different faith, and just different. Diversity is good. I speak from experience. Acceptance is awesome. Love is awesome. Friendship is awesome.

I love my children’s friends. I have grown to love their parents too. As much as I wail on about things I don’t like – I have been honored to have met so many great kids and awesome parents. Woo Hoo.

Laugh with your children every single day.

Encourage your kids to always be curious.

Raise a child who will be a life long learner.

Raise your children to be better than you are.

Raise your children to be better than you are. Even today my daughter showed me that she is a much better person than I am. I won’t go into details, but I can be an asshole. My child gives no second chances (like her dad) but she is smart, kind, and thoughtful. She has tact. Don’t get me wrong, most people think I’m the sweetest thing in the world (even other Vampires) but I can be… well, not always the person I should be. I’ve raised my child not to be like that.

I’m not the perfect parent. I think I’m a better parent for not reading copious amounts of parenting books. Shirley Jackson’s Life Among the Savages is a must read. Real parenting stories are the best – not theory from experts and cold clinical studies. Besides, every child is different. Every parent is different. Every family is different. What works for me might not work for others. But I have to admit I am so proud of the kind of mom I’ve been.

Hey, how many kids can say “my mom blogs about vampires.” Not many.

No matter what you do, make your kid proud of you, and be proud of your kid.

Love them.

Encourage them.

Talk with them.

TALK.

Keep the communications open. Be positive. Be understanding. LISTEN. Let them know that YOU are their safe place.

Parenting doesn’t stop at middle school, or even high school. It is a life long job, even when they move out, gets jobs, and start their own families. Let them live their lives but let them know that you’re always there for them with your love and your understanding.

~Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

History

“I was tired of Rome. When the first opportunity came up to go to Britain I took it. It was sometime around 78 or 79 AD. My timeline is a little fuzzy on that. I had no idea where I was going or that I’d meet the love of my life and some of the best friends I’ve ever had there. There was nobody like me in Rome. I was alone. I’d always been alone as long as I could remember, since I was a small child. I’d met other Vampires, but they weren’t like me. They were distant and fearful, living in the shadows. I was almost a demigod. Imagine that, and here I am, an old man, living on a farm by a river in California.”

Tellias didn’t look like an old man. He looked about nineteen or maybe twenty. Today Tellias was wearing yellow flip flops, black tuxedo pants, an orange and brown work shirt with the name Lloyd embroidered above the pocket, and his 1966 Rolex Submariner. His white blonde hair was tucked behind his ear.

We were in my brother Aaron’s office,  a restored Italianate mansion built in the 1870’s. Aaron has a law practice. Today his cohort and friend (if you could call it that) Austin Durant was there. Austin Durant is a history professor but he also restores old building. He is also a Vampire Hunter. This is where it can get complicated.

Durant works with Aaron to rid the world of Shadow Creepers, the Vampires who have no souls, and/or no redeeming value to society. They’re the ones who can’t control themselves, cause problems, or just fill out walls and craw spaces with their dried out crusty nasty barely animated corpses. Sometimes I begrudgingly help them out.

I know, I’ve been distracted… I’d stopped by with Eleora and Tellias, the ancient Vampires that I keep an eye on. My great great great great Grandmaman Lola was also along.

Austin was enchanted by the stories. When I first met Austin he tended to be a little tense being the only non-Vampire in the house, but by now he knew we wouldn’t harm him. Why would we?

I went to the kitchen to make tea, and check my email. Eventually Austin met me in their. I poured him a cup and we chatted a bit while we watched the storm outside.

“When I think of all of the history you and your family has experienced, it is just mind boggling,” said Austin.

“We have seen a lot. Sometimes too much.”

Lola came in and got a glass of water. She flirted a bit with Austin then moved on. Nobody would pick her out as a Vampire with her wavy brown hair, jeans and a sweater. Sometimes she walked with a slight limp, but otherwise she looked your average twenty five year old woman.

After she’d left Austin asked (in almost a whisper), “How old is she?”

“Lola is six hundred and seventy five years old. She was born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer. Same day too. When is your birthday Austin?”

“July 5.”

“You have the same birthday as P.T. Barnum. It seems fitting doesn’t it. You’re a historian and a Vampire Hunter. That makes you sort of a purveyor of freaks and important facts nobody wants to understand.”

“How…”

“You have the same birthday as my daughter. She was born July 5th, 1999.”

“Is she, your daughter a Vampire? Your kids are Vampires like Aaron’s kids aren’t they?”

“Of course they are.  By the way, I have the same birthday as Weird Al but I’m exactly a hundred years older than he is.”

“You were around during the California Gold Rush.”

“Right after the Gold Rush. My husband Teddy was born on the Panama Peninsula when his parents were on their way to California in 1849. They were among the first. My brother Max was born in Sacramento a few weeks after Teddy’s parents and my parents arrived. Aaron was born in 1854. I came along in 1859. Our other brothers Andy and Val were also born in the 1850’s. 1851 and 1858. We were a big family of little Vampires. I suppose we were around during the tail end of the Gold Rush, kind of sort of. I vaguely remember adults talking about the war, you know the Civil War. My big memories are more about the city growing up around us, floods, fires, the art museum, and the railroad. The rail road was big. Oh, and I remember then the State Capitol building went up. That was glorious fun. We had roller skates too, for indoors. The streets weren’t good enough for street skates.”

“You skated?”

“Yes, we skated.”

“I know all of this, or most of what you’re telling me, but when I hear it from you…when I hear it from you, it’s like…I don’t know. It’s extraordinary. The things you’ve seen…”

“Austin, don’t have too much adoration for us. You have your own extraordinary talents and experiences.”

Dear Eleora blasted into the room, twirling her red circle skirt, and singing something that sounded like a long lost Motown song. She kissed my cheek, then kissed Austin on the cheek.

“Would you like some tea sweetie?” I asked her.

“Not right now, but when you’re done with yours come back and join us, and bring Mr. Austin with you.” Then she fluttered out of the room.

“She is the wife of Tellias, right?”

“Yes she is. I’m not sure if they ever were formally married but they’ve been together since he arrived in Britain from Rome.”

“How old are they?”

“Over two thousand years, but nobody knows for sure. We believe she is older, but we don’t ask.”

“They look like teenagers.”

“They act like old people. They are old people.”

We finished our tea and got back to the others. I took all of my elders home. Aaron and Austin got to work on some restoration and nasty ghoul extraction they’d been working on.

One day I might sit down with Austin and tell him all of my tales of bygone days. Then again, I think he just might get depressed when he finds out that nobody ever learns from their mistakes. Nobody listens to reason, or cautionary tales, or cares about anything in the past or in the future. Then again, I might be wrong.

It doesn’t matter how old someone is, or how young, but how they see the world. It is how they choose to see the world.

I tell my kids that. My now legally adult children. They seem so young, because they are. And of course, they keep me young as well – all 159 years of me.

Stay young. Share stories. Live well. Learn from your mistakes, and from your success, and from each other.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Musings on a rainy day about myths, motherhood, and random moments.

There are myths that Vampires can’t enter a home unless they are invited. That is utter and total bullshit. Like most Vampire lore it is untrue.

I’m not going to give you a list of Vampire facts or a list of what is not true. This is about parenting and other things.

From an early age I’ve told my children to not believe silly things that people say about large groups of individuals. The key word is individual. If one person in a group is a jerk it doesn’t mean that everyone in that group is a jerk. In today’s political climate it is tempting to do that – judge a large group. I don’t mean hate groups and extreme religious/social/weird groups that one joins voluntarily. I’m talking about groups we are born into, or groups that we physically become part of. You know what I’m talking about. I’m preaching to the choir here.

I raised my children to have open and skeptical eyes. I also raised them to accept the magic of the world, and to accept the differences of others.

As we grow older (even Vampires) some people become set in their ways and beliefs. What we need to do is grow more understanding as we grow older. As you get older you learn more, know more, and experience more, to be able to break free from long held beliefs that just might not be true. You learn from experience what battles to fight, and what battles to fight for others.

Yesterday I was meeting up with a lunch date. Yes, it was that kind of lunch date. I am a Vampire after all… anyway… I was having some real food too.

We decided to meet downtown near my friend Jack’s office, at a place we’d been meeting for over ten years. He texted me that he was running late. I waited, which was no problem. Waiting lets me relax and people watch. Due to the rain I was under my umbrella, bundled up in my furry fake fur coat (that my daughter calls my sheep coat, and my cat calls her new bed.)

Across the street, I saw a man – another Vampire. Yes, we can usually tell if one is like us, not by the way we look, but by a strong vibe we get… I can’t explain it. I don’t have to explain and it doesn’t have anything to do with this. He was old, but like most of us didn’t look his age. I’m married, don’t get me wrong, and my husband is unusually handsome, so I wasn’t looking for handsome Vampires. I already have my own. But there was something familiar about this guy. Not someone I’d dated, but something else. This happens to all of us. We see someone. We wonder where we know them from, if we know them from anywhere, then they vanish. A lot of things in life are like that. But I digress.

I’d never seen him before. That isn’t so unusual. I live in a metropolitan area of about 2.5 million people. I can’t be expected to know every Vampire, and believe me, we have a larger than normal population of them around here. It is a historical thing that few know about but that’s ok. It doesn’t matter.

The Vampire across the street doesn’t see me yet. I’m taken by the way he looks. The guy is seriously handsome in that take-your-breath-away way.

I hear my name being called and turn to see my friend Jack. Then I glance back and the Vampire is gone.

A couple of scruffy ghosts in large stovepipe hats look out the window of an old restored building. I ignore them and join my friend.

If you live in a world where you see the unseen, and the hidden, you learn what to ignore and what to pay attention to in a more extreme way than most. The amount of information can be overwhelming at times. I suppose that is why Vampires don’t have problems with the Internet and other bombardments of information that can be overwhelming for some.

As with anything we need to all take a deep breath and think about things. On the other hand sometimes we can think about things too much. That is what one of my siblings calls brain fever. 

I share my umbrella with Jack, who is holding his closed. There is only so much room on the sidewalk and I like his warmth. It is daytime, and even with the rain the sun makes it light. I will not fry. I will not die in the light. I glance at my reflection in a window and smile without fangs.

On the drive home I can still taste Jack’s blood on my tongue. I smile knowing I’ve left him with good thoughts and sweet dreams for at least another week.

I stopped at the grocery store for cat food and silver polish. Yes, I do have silver in my home. What? You believed that too?

I thought about the handsome Vampire and wondered who he was. I thought about the ghosts. I knew who they’d been. I can’t walk past that building without them whispering about the old days when they knew the railroad barons and were important men. They need to move on.

Yes, we can learn a lesson from them and all strive to move on. Staying stuck in another century isn’t fun for anyone, or practical, or right.

That’s all I got for today.

  • Don’t forget to talk with your children and listen to what they have to say today – even if they’re grown.
  • Hug your kids.
  • Check on those who are alone.
  • Read.
  • Laugh.
  • And always be aware of what is going on around you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

More Weirdness

Look at the babies. Even for a 159 year old Vampire this is weird. She picked on up by it’s little itty bitty arm. They’re flailing and crying on the ground. They’re naked. Poor babies.

And NO Vampires don’t steal or eat babies. Unlike our regular human counterparts we’ve evolved.

Right now we live in weird times. Let me back up a bit. It has always been weird but for some reason it seems especially weird now.

My 19 year old daughter  works in a smoothie and juice place. This morning a woman in her shop (blonde, white, dressed like what we call a crunchy hippie type) came in and accused a man of Indian descent (nice looking, dressed nicely like most guys in the many nearby high tech companies) of spying on her other covert activities. The poor guy was calling his wife on his phone to ask her if she wanted anything. He took the call outside and the blonde hippie woman followed him and started to yell at him. The staff of the smoothie shop was in shock. They apologized and gave the poor man free smoothie coupons. What the fuck is wrong with people. I feel so bad for the poor kids who work in the store, but especially for the poor guy just making a call to his wife. I was appalled.

Damn, I don’t even want to talk about the political scene. Shit like this keeps happening and politicians are enjoying every minute of it. They’re fanning the fire. I swear Vampires should start getting involved. There are so few of us but at least we have the history, and background, and education to make reasonable decisions. We can look back into the past and logically see what will happen and the consequences of certain actions. We are also passionate with a strong sense of values. We are experts in good and evil.

But alas I don’t think anyone is really ready for us. They aren’t read for a female president. I don’t think they’re ready for a gay president. I don’t think they’re ready for anything that isn’t spoon fed to them by a machine that resembles the worst kind of cult.

If we (Vampires) got involved we’d all be dead within a few years. They’d kill us. Nobody wants to understand us.

On the other hand…

Every year large beasts are being found in the ocean and vanishing jungles of the world. Even the term “vanishing jungles” should seem weird. I digress… back to my point. Do you think a Sasquatch or Bigfoot population will ever be found?

I don’t mean some fuzzy photos, a sound recording that sounds like coyotes howling or squirrel chatter, a weird footprint, or a tuft of what looks like German Shepard fur. I’m talking about a real physical being. Maybe a baby Squatch left at a campsite with a note saying, please take care of me. One can only imagine.

Don’t laugh at the note part. If they do exist they’ve managed to hide for a long time. The ability to read and know human language would aid in the ability to keep hidden. If you know where your enemies are and what they are doing you can make sure they never find you. Yes, maybe the hunt for Bigfoot is the ultimate hide-and-seek. Or maybe it is just a bull shit fairy tale. You never know.

Sometimes I still see guys with their pants down around their butt cheeks. I still don’t understand that. How can they walk. Plus it looks so unflattering. Dude, have some self respect. I don’t see it very often anymore but it still is so weird.

Urine. There are people who drink urine and even put it in their eyes. I’ll say no more on the subject.

Did you know that even NPR has a strange news page? It does. Here is the link: https://www.npr.org/sections/strange-news/

We’re all drawn to weird things on some level because it is something different that we don’t always see.

Then again there are those people in our lives we consider weird. There is Ramona who won’t talk to men and only drinks goat milk. There is Vance who dresses like a 1970’s British Horror movie Vampire, complete with red lined cape. We keep telling him to just wear jeans and a button down shirt. Vance wonders why he can’t get a date. Vance is a weird and lonely Vampire. Maybe I should introduce him to Ramona. I could go on and on but I know you have those weird people in your lives. Maybe you’re the weird person. That’s OK. It really is (sort of, sometimes, as long as you don’t bother me.)

I always told my kids that there is a find line between letting your freak flag fly, and being an asshole, or bully bait, or just an idiot. Like with all things, weirdness can often be transformed into a lovely sort of uniqueness. That is the goal.

Well, and finding Sasquatch. The goal is always to find Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, maybe a space alien, matching socks, plastic lids that fit, your keys, your sanity, and a good friend.

I’m outta stuff to say.

If you have anything weird to share feel free to put it in the comments. This is a hate free zone. Have at it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman