Transition

Parenting is a job you never retire from but those little people grow up.

They grow up and, well, they’re grown. You’re still a parent but your children are adults. In theory they’re adults. They’re eighteen or older, but they’re not quite adults yet.

They’re not like the teens still in high school either.

And you’re still a parent.

I’m spending a lot more time with this girl now.

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Alice the GSD is two years old now. She is the new family dog. We lost our sweet Jasmine three years ago after twelve years. She was the dog the kids grew up with. She was the dog who grabbed our hearts and souls like no other.

But Alice is the personification of sweetness and love. Now she is my shadow. She is the one who now goes everywhere with me. She is my constant companion.

But back to non-dog creatures…

It is difficult to write about parenting now because everything changes. Some parents tell their kids to move out as soon as they turn eighteen (I think those kind of parents are assholes.) Some kids never leave and are content to live in their childhood bedroom with the single bed and posters on the walls and have mom make grilled cheese for them forever (in that case the kids are assholes.)

Most kids I know are somewhere in the middle. They’re going to college or trade schools, or working, or volunteering. Many are stressing out over how they’re going to pay for school or cars or rent.

A few are stupid and now are finding themselves with minimum wage jobs and babies on the way, but those aren’t the ones I’m writing about today. That is a subject I’m not even going to touch because I’d be mean, judgmental, and make people cry.

But for the most part most kids are growing up, and it is like learning to swim or ride a bicycle. They all do it on their own terms, in their own time, but they know they have to do it. Sink or swim. Fall off and get back on.

They’re having their first serious relationships. They’re falling in love. They’re angry because they are evaluating their childhoods and judging their parents. They’re discovering people who aren’t like them. They’re doing wonderful things and exploring their worlds. They plan trips without us. They working. They’re voting. They’re pulling away. They’re turning around and letting us (parents) know they still need us.

Since the beginning I’ve written about letting your little birds fly. Soon the only ones left in my nest will be a couple of cats, a dog, a husband, and empty bedrooms for when my babies come home for visits.

I miss my children so much. But I rejoice and treasure the adults I’ve raised. I’d never go back if given the choice to have them small again. I have one more year and another one will be miles away on the other end of a very large state.

So where does that leave us as parents?

You have to let go. At the same time you still need to be there 24/7 in case they still need you.

There will also be changes. They’ll pull away. Hopefully they’ll pull away some because that is part of growing up. But hopefully they’ll stay close.

Like I’ve been saying forever – just keep talking with them. Let them know their thoughts are important. Let them know you understand their fears, and if you don’t understand, then listen but don’t judge. Remember when you were young. I swear I don’t want mine to be like I was, but rather than jumping all over their young butts I encourage them, and again talk to them. And it isn’t like they’re never going to do something weird, but you just have to take it one thing at a time.

No matter what they’ll be, and who they want to be. They’ll be who they need to be. Learn from your mistakes when helping them learn not to make those same mistakes.

I’m just talking and musing today. The the best parent you can be so your kids will be the best they can be.

I know this is simplistic but it seems to work.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “P” and the “V” Words. Six years of Vampire Maman.

A life with a blog and children is a life of continuous interruptions. Add in a spouse and, well, good luck with any train of thought you might ever have forever.

I just realized, today that the first post on vampiremaman.com went live on April 12, 2012.

In the beginning I didn’t know the “P” word, and the “V” word carried so much emotional weight with readers. OK I’ll admit I knew the “P” word would. That is parenting. That is something I am firmly and completely dedicated to.

The “V” word, that is “Vampires” is something completely different. At first I had readers show disbelief. There were also Vampire “experts” who felt the need to tell me that I was wrong. Excuse me? As a mom there were only two words I wished to express to those yahoos and that was “fuck you.” But like a good mom, and even a better Vampire I refrained. Several folks told me that I was going to go to Hell without so much as a Do Not Pass Go. It makes one sort of think what motivates people to search out others and tell them that? Parenting 101 will tell you to teach your kids NOT to behave like that. Since then those kinds of assholes have ceased their yammering. I know all of you who blog know the type.

But enough of that. I have been so surrounded by love and support and community that it completely warms my cold Vampire heart. Completely!

Six years ago I started the musings of a modern Vampire mom. Six years. Wow.

My blog has grown from what I thought would be a few parenting posts, and maybe a bad poem or two.

My first guest posts in May 2012 were from Marie Williams the Half Pint Historian, and Mandy White, author of The Jealousy Game (a book about relationships that I recommend to everyone.)

In the summer of 2012 I started to blog about the TV show “America’s Got Talent and Cocktails.” The comments from the Vampire peanut gallery, plus cocktail recipes from my husband Teddy proved to be fun and popular with readers. I’ve continued the series every summer since then.

It was then that I also posted “Love Poems and Letting Go”, my first post about love letters and the teenage heart.

September 2012 brought the first appearance of The Ghost. Yes, that would be Nigel. Yes, he is still around, making snarky remarks and flipping me off every single chance he gets.

In October 2012 you were introduced to Tellias and Eleora the ancient Vampires. Like a lot of my readers I was raising children and taking care of elders. It is both frustrating and rewarding to be in the middle like that.

Soon after that came the most popular post on this blog, “How to Write a Response to a Love Letter (which is more fun if it isn’t addressed to you.) On some days over half the traffic on this blog comes from that post. Since then I’ve written quite a few posts about love letters. I’ve become the Queen of Love Letters.

On August 4, 2013 I first posted the story about my brother Andy called, “Dancing on the Beach.” I need to write a book about Andy and his crazy adventures.

Sometime around then I started the regular feature “Short Story Sunday”. Every Sunday you get a new story, or a good rerun.

2014 brought “The Hunter,” and the introduction of the Austin and Elizabeth series. He is a Vampire Hunter. She is a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated.

And in December 2014 I posted the first installment of Vlad’s “Vampire Diary.”

That is just a few of the regular features. I’ve written about taking your kids to rock concerts, school, a lot about bullies, helping your kids get through rough patches, and all of those things our kids go through until they reach adulthood and leave.

Now that my kids have reached adulthood they still need me. And I still need them. You never stop being a parent.

I continue to write about Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and others who are different.

A long running occasional feature is “What we talked about this morning on the way to school.” Today I write about this feature with a heavy heart. Too often we talked about school shootings. Since 2013 there have been over 300 school shootings in the United States. There have been at least 43 in 2018 including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida where 17 were killed, and today in Texas. I cried when I told my kids about the Sandy Hook School shooting. I still cry. It has to stop. It is happening in elementary schools, high school, and colleges. It is happening at concerts, in clubs, and you name it. The insanity needs to stop and you need to talk about it with your kids. You also need to VOTE and tell your 18+ year old kids to VOTE.

My main message here for parents always has been, and always will be TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. Don’t talk at them. Don’t lecture. Share and listen. Listen to your kids. There is a lot you can learn. Don’t shelter them. Don’t judge them. Be honest. Be firm. Be loving. Let them know that they can trust you and come to you with anything. They’re your children. There is NOTHING you need to be uncomfortable about. And even if you don’t agree with them, the least you can do is hear them out. Let them know that their opinions count. Let them also know that your opinions also count. Guide them, love them, hug them, treasure them.

And on a lighter note, this year I started the NEW feature “50 Burning Questions.” For fifty weeks, always on Saturday, I will be asking a BURNING QUESTION. On each post is a simple poll where you can check your answer. Comments and theories are encouraged. Check it out!

With almost 2,000 blog posts here there is a lot to read and something for everyone. I hope that in the next six years I’ll have another 2,000 posts to share.

Thanks for helping me make Vampiremaman.com a success.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

From whom all blessings flow (and 200 Jack Asses)

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Easter weekend has come and gone. I had a house full of people. It was lovely with flowers everywhere, wine, and good company. The best.

Now it is Thursday and the house is a mess from my work, and the college aged child gathering gear for a class camping trip. Excuse me, I’m the one gathering gear for the class camping trip.

I’m also writing. Not this blog obviously as you can see by the lack of regular posts. Just semi-regular. So now I guess I should bitch about the leaf blowers in my neighborhood. There are seven houses on my street. The three which surround mine hire men to come and run leaf blowers for about twenty hours every week.

Last weekend I’d started writing the account of how Vampires came out to California in 1849 – 1850. I know, that sound pretty stupid for those who are new to this blog. We’re Vampires but not the kind you see in old Hammer films all dripping with blood and shit like at. This is no Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee fan club.

Anyway, this is the beginning of the true historic account:

“In two weeks time we will be leaving for California. We won’t be coming back, at least not anytime within the next fifty years.” He chuckled at his own joke. “We will be going by ship, crossing Panama, then taking a ship up the Pacific coast to California. Our ride will be first class, so will yours if you choose to join us. All of your expenses will be paid, plus you will receive a large bonus. For those of you who choose not to stay behind we will had new positions for you. It is up to you to decide. We hope that you will join us but we understand if you choose to stay behind. Go to church, enjoy your day, and pray upon it or whatever you wish to do to help you decide.”

Then he stood next to his wife and they sang with sweet, beautiful, angelic voices.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Amen.

Their staff listened knowing their employers and protectors rarely, or never set foot in a church of any kind.

Then the woman laughed and said, “Go. Have the morning to yourself then let us know what you wish to do.”

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The flyer featured above was not from their ship but take a good look at it.

200 Jack Asses!

Seriously, would you want to be on a ship for thirty five days with 200 Jack Asses?

The leaf blowers continue to make noise. Lucky for me it is going to rain for the next few days so maybe I’ll get a break. On a good note my dog is at my feet keeping me safe and in good company. No ghosts are on my deck. I wish there were ghosts out today. I’d send them out to scare the leaf blowers.

Enough of that. I’m going to spend the next few hour on a contemporary tale with lots of twists and turns. But I will continue the tale of how Tellias, Eleora, my parents, and other came out to California, and of their non-Vampire friends who also came along. Just for kicks and grins.

Later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Unseen

Vampire Maman

I met my brother Val for breakfast. Not Vampire breakfast. Real food breakfast. We went to a place with great eggs, bacon, omelets and the like. Cheese too. We have to have cheese.

I didn’t think much about what I wore. Gray tee, jeans, navy sweat shirt, silver jewelry. The jewelry is the key. Without the jewelry I’d be invisible. Once I became a mom I was invisible, that is unless I had a cute child with me. I didn’t wear any makeup. I didn’t do anything with my straight chestnut brown hair that just hangs straight around my face. I’m not ugly. I’m pretty enough. I just don’t get noticed most of the time, which is fine by me. I don’t want attention. Usually. I usually don’t want attention.

Val showed up. Every woman in the place was looking at the handsome well dressed man. He glows with a look-at-me vibe. That’s ok. He can turn it off just as easily as he turns it on.

I told him about the book I’m working on. He told me about some homeless tweekers who’d camped out on the sidewalk in front of his downtown Victorian.

The food was good. The waitress was lovely. Nobody else really noticed us. Just a couple of urban Vampires having breakfast on a Wednesday morning.

On the other hand if you know anyone who is invisible, but not by choice, please, check in on them. Give them a call. Send them a card. Make sure they are ok. Be it a young adult on their own and trying to make it in the world, an elderly person who feels nobody cares anymore, or a middle aged person who might need a perk. Even if you want to be invisible you might want some company doing it.

That’s all for today. Just random thoughts.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

And yes, you need to check out the WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) short story anthologies – available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine online booksellers. Don’t forget that these books are inexpensive, well written, insanely entertaining, and proceeds go to MS research. Look it up – there is everything from Romance, to Fantasy, to Horror, to Science Fiction, to Erotica, and more. There is something for everyone.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/invisible/

 

WPAD SciFi

Little Things

My dog Alice was just growling at the sliding glass door that goes out to my deck. I went out with her in the hope I’d see some wildlife. Maybe some deer, or even a turkey. With any luck we’d see a coyote and Alice would get to use her really big bark, after all she is a really big dog.

The only thing outside, between the rain showers, were bees on the giant rosemary bush.  I went inside, while Alice stayed outside just in case a Sasquatch or alien or something decided to jump over our back fence.

I went inside where Gloria the calico cat was waiting and begging for cat treats. I hid a few around in plain sight. Gloria is lovely and a great hunter, and alpha pet in the house, but not always the brightest bulb. Like both of my cats she is as smart as she needs to be. And like a lot of beautiful women she doesn’t value the power of her own walnut sized brain.

I’d write about Vampire stuff right now but seriously, there is only so much one can write about drinking blood. No, take that back – there is a lot I could write about drinking blood. There is also a lot I could write about drinking gin too. But yes, I know it is different.

Instead I’m writing about Vampires doing other things, but not for this blog. I’m just taking a break, with you. Sit down. Fix some coffee. Bring out some cookies if you have them.

If I see the deer, an eagle, or even Bigfoot, I’ll let you know.

Have fun. Embrace your passions and talents. Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Appreciate the little things. And if it isn’t raining have a glass of wine (outside if it is warm enough.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Frogs, Love, and a Rain Swept Night

All night we’ve had thunder, lightning, rain, and hail. Hours later my back deck is still hail. In the creek and field behind my home the frogs are singing with loud clear voices, calling for romance. Pick me! Pick me! Oh let me prove that I am the amphibian of your dreams. Thousands of little frogs, so small that one could be comfortable sitting on a quarter, are belting out love songs as fierce as any Rock-n-Roll idol.

I love the frog music. I love the sound of the rain. I love the thunder and lightning.

In a land where drought is more of normal state of things, a week of storms is a wonderful and magical thing.

Frogs never worry about expressing their love. They aren’t shy like their human neighbors.

My husband sings in the shower. A happy feeling of love always fills my heart when I hear him doing that. He doesn’t know it. And we might be a bit cold blooded sometimes but we’re no frogs.

In 1868 my two older brothers (Max and Andy) were more or less out of the house. That left twelve year old Aaron, nine year old Val, and seven year old me.

We’d read the story of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mr. Mark Twain, and we’d decided to have our own frog jumping contest.

At the time the city of Sacramento was being torn up in order to raise the streets to protect us from future floods. The railroad was also tearing things up. We didn’t care. In the middle of the night we left our home in search of large frogs. I wore some of Val’s old pants so I wouldn’t have to bother with getting a skirt caught on anything.

Through the mud and dirt three vampire children headed towards the river as the sun set over the distant hills. We could see the light of boats as we took a dirt path down to the water. The passengers waved back at us as we jumped and shouted to get their attention.

Val found some pennies on the beach. I picked up a few clam shells and put them in my pocket. Aaron had forgotten about the frogs and was loudly reciting the battle speech from Richard III (yes, the one from William Shakespeare) as he stood on the edge of the water looking into the sky.

Then we heard the sound of applause and looked up to see a group of men at the top of the embankment cheering on Aaron.

My brother continued his grand speech after which he bowed, and the three of us ran off laughing into the night.

On the way home we looked into windows of businesses and homes, laughing the whole way. We saw cooks, and lovers, gamblers and quiet readers.

When our parents arrived home they found us clean and playing cards. We gave them angelic smiles.

Our mother smiled at us, showing a little bit of her lovely Vampire fangs. “Did you hear the frogs tonight?”

“Yes,” I said, “and tomorrow we’re going to catch our own frogs and have a race.”

“We’ll see about that,” said my mother with wink.

The three of us never did have a frog race, or a frog jumping contest, but we did catch plenty of frogs after that night.

A few years ago I took my own children out to the vernal pool near our house where the seasonal rains create a froggy paradise. It is a regular version of Frog Bachelorette. Or at least it amuses me to think so.

So once again the sun will come through the clouds, and the sounds of birds will replace that of frogs, and maybe even with our feathered friends love will also be in the air.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman