Musings on Parenting and Vampires

Love is in the air. I know because by 4:00 am the turkeys are already out making their gobbling love calls all over the neighborhood. They’re in the park, in front yards, in side yards, in driveways, on the sidewalks, and in the streets.

Sleep is also still in the air for teens who have nearly an impossible time getting up in the morning. Bribes of coffee and blood & berry smoothies goes on sleepy deaf ears.

But now I’m fast forwarding to school where the child texts me and says she needs $200 for AP tests (Advanced Placement.) If a Junior or Senior pass an AP test then they might be able to skip a college class. And why yes, the fees are cheaper in states I don’t live in.

So while I get texts from the kids, and listen to the turkeys, rain, and leaf blowers from the gardeners next door, I’m trying to think of a plot twists over coffee.

I explained what I was trying to do with the plot twists to my 17-year-old daughter.

“Don’t do something stupid with it. It has to be realistic, but not stupid,” she told me.

Thanks for the advice honey. I’ll be driving back to school in an hour to drop off the AP test fees.

I think about all of those Vampires who spend their days doing lofty things like fighting off rival Werewolf gangs, or lurking around in formal wear with blood dripping down their chins, or discussing with a far off Vampire council the paranormal forces and fuck it, that just isn’t the world I exist in.

This afternoon I’m meeting with an attorney. I’ll be getting about a pint of blood from him, and as usual I’ll leave cookies and juice (just like at the blood bank.)

Other than that things are pretty normal, not just for me but for most of us. By normal, I mean we’re not living some Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee movie script. Sure there are those assholes and misfits who lurk under floorboards, and graveyards. There are those without souls who haunt dark places in the cities. But who needs that? Seriously, WHO needs THAT.

We tell our kids, and other young Vampires that they have a choice. This goes for any kid.

There are choices. They don’t have to do what is expected by media or public opinion. They don’t have to be like everyone before them. If you’re different you can still be with everyone else. You know why? Because even if you’re different, you’re probably more like everyone else than you think. You’ll fit right in and be happy and nobody will know the difference. As long as they don’t know you’re a Vampire (or whatever) then do what you want.

So put away that red lined cape, and put on some jeans. Believe me, it will make dinner a lot easier. Then again, a little black dress is never a bad thing (but that is another story.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Slut

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.)

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

 

Pie, Pi, and Hi Mom (Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie, and Mattie’s Lemon Pie) and Vampires

3.14159265359

Happy Pi Day!

Garret, who is in his third year of college and almost twenty-one asked me about pie today, because it is the best way to celebrate Pi Day.

Baking and math, is like all art and science – one can’t exist without the other. Baking is an art but it is also chemistry.

Now you might be thinking, “Vampires eat pie?”

Yes, sometimes when we choose to eat solid food we will eat pie. Unfortunately super sweet pies don’t go down well at all for us. But we can limit our intake, just like anyone who has food issues.

Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie has no crust and is a nice savory pie. Mattie’s Lemon pie goes back to the 1930’s. I fix it for guests. I don’t know if you can fix it without sugar (with Spenda or other non sugar stuff.) Give it a try and let me know if it turns out.

How many people will each pie serve? 3.14159265359 x 2, give or take a few.

Uncle Rico’s Cheese Pie

This works great if you wish to reduce the recipe in half. I use silicone baking pans for this so I don’t need the cooking spray.

  • Cooking spray
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 2 (16 ounce) containers cottage cheese
  • 1 pound shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (optional)
  • 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon (optional)
  • 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 -2 teaspoons dried thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Prepare a 10×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green chiles, butter, flour, bacon, and baking powder together in a large bowl; pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 30 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center of the casserole comes out clean.

 

Mattie’s Lemon Pie

This is the bomb. This is the lemon pies of all lemon pies. Remember Vampires, just a tiny taste. Don’t over do it or you’ll be sicker than a Werewolf after a cat food binge.

This recipe is from the 1930’s, maybe even a little older. First you make the crust. Then make the filling. Put the lemon filling in the crust. Then make the meringue and put it on top. THEN cook it. No the meringue isn’t on the recipe. You’re already supposed to know how to make it. Whip a bunch of egg whites with a little bit of sugar until they are still. Make sure your bowl is absolutely clean. Do not use a plastic bowl. See me if you have any questions. Below are photos of what it should look like. Make peaks, not smooth meringue. Enjoy. It also is a swell pie with lime juice.

Happy Pi Day.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Mmmmmmmm that is some good pie! Now let’s do some numbers.

 

 

 

Embracing Ignorance (and Other Parenting Thoughts)

If your child is a senior in high school you’re no doubt like us and finding dozens of mailers, catalogs, and letters in your mail box from colleges you’ve never even heard of. In our case my daughter is getting dozens of invitations from small private religious based colleges. Alright, I’ll come out and say it – she is getting a lot of invitations from private Christian colleges.

I’ve nothing against religion, and I am by no means an atheist. I do have problems with exclusive education where children and young adults learn only one view of the world.

Obviously, those who know me, know my view of the world can be a bit different. But my views on parenting, I feel, are based on raising a child to be an adult and see the “big picture” of the World they’ll go out into one day. I want my kids to go above and beyond my own experiences, and beyond what I can teach them.

I would NEVER send, or encourage my child to go to a college where everyone is the same, and encouraged to be the same.

I always like to think that my children were exposed to those with a variety of lifestyles, religions, and traditions – because from that they learned that not everyone is like them.  But more so they learned that we all have a lot more in common than we have differences.

Sure I could have sent my kids to school where everyone was like us. But why?

Another thing that worries me about a lot of faith-based education, or those who are yodeling about it on the news these days, is that the curriculum is anti-science. To me that is dangerous.

Considering the way Star Wars, and Star Trek are now so much part of American culture, and our own mythology, I don’t understand how anyone can be against science, discovery, or free thought. And the very lessons of these stories is about different people coming together and trying to understand each other. It is the fight between good and evil, and sometime the thin line between the two. But it is also about the promise of space and the existence of others out there in the universe we call home.

Science keeps people healthy. Science keeps our environment healthy. Science makes us comfortable. Science lets us know who we are. Science is knowledge about our world, and ourselves.

I will never understand the cult of ignorance which demonized science in the name of religion. If you love the Earth your God made, wouldn’t you want to protect it? Wouldn’t you want to protect God’s creatures rather than kill them and their habitats? Wouldn’t you want to use the brain that God gave you and discover the wonders of our Earth and universe? Wouldn’t you want all people to be able to spread the message of love, and to love each other? Seriously folks, I’m a Vampire and I have more compassion than (warning I’m going to get political) all of the so-called Christian bible beating bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, assholes who claim to be good people.  What bothers me the most is how willing so many are to embrace ignorance. Not only do they embrace ignorance, but they reject anyone who isn’t dumbing themselves down. Maybe being dumb might be safe, but it is morally wrong.

I’m always being asked if Vampires and Werewolves fight each other. Seriously? Who has time for that? We’re different. We might not get alone. We annoy each other. But we can also be friends, or at least friendly. And over the centuries we’ve learned a lot from each other.

One of the best things about college, or being young, is sitting up all night with others and solving the problems of the world, learning about each other, sharing personal stories, sharing hopes and dreams, building dreams for the future. Think of how much they would miss out on if they were all of the same background, same mind, and same heart. College isn’t just about classes. It is about growing up and discovering who you are – outside of your home, parents, and childhood. Part of the experience is learning from others.

I have to admit that a lot of the students at our school are just like my kids, but, well you know, a lot of them aren’t. That’s a beautiful thing.

Tell your kids that they can reach for the stars – and they won’t be alone.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Beware of Ignorance

 

Outtakes (from a parenting/vampire blogger)


These are the recent outtakes (the absolute real reason I’ve started so many blog posts lately and not finished a one, hence all the dead space and reruns.)

THIS

I received my 11th telemarketing weirdo freak call of the day and I tell the guy, “Hey, you know what, go suck your own dick.” He tries to say something. I continue. “And while you’re at it go to a dark room and close the door so nobody can see you. Just do it you fuck head.” Then I turn around and see my daughter’s sports coach looking at me in a somewhat shocked manner.

OR

From the truth is more disgusting than fiction files… this morning a kid in my daughter’s English class accidentally left a window in his car cracked. Someone broke into his car, crapped on the seats, then smeared it all over the car. He had the car towed because he couldn’t drive it. He said he could smell it about five cars down. If the kids who did it are caught they won’t be able to graduate, and if it isn’t a seniors they’ll be kicked out of the school. Ugh. The poor kid with the car can’t figure out who could hate him so much. Of course every kid in the school knows about it now so I’m sure they’ll find the criminal crappers soon.

OR

It is International Women’s Day and….

OR

A question for my advice column: Dear Juliette, an agent requested I send her my vampire romance. I haven’t heard from her in two years. Now what? Do I keep sending it out to agents? Do I self-publish? Do I go back to law school? ~ Writer in Waiting.

OR

My daughter is graduating from high school on June 2. And this is where I started to cry and couldn’t think of anything else to write.

OR

A few weeks ago I went on a high school field trip with two bus loads of advanced art students. It was fun. The kids were great. A crazy guy said one of the girls assaulted him in Golden Gate Park. My mind just went totally and completely blank.

OR

I’ve filled my twitter feed with political rage. Maybe that wasn’t the right branding choice.

OR

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Snakes. Ireland. Vampires. Drinking. Small children… Actually, I might have a story here…

OR

The frustrations of training a 13-month old German Shepard Dog. Let’s just start cussing NOW.

OR

Why I HATE Cover Reveals and fifty other ways to offend other bloggers.

OR

I was going through some old photos the other day and I found a couple of CIA Operatives.

OR

I’m not getting enough sleep. I have a lot of demands and shit like that. Seriously, I am not getting enough sleep and I’m losing my mind. Wait, I lost it a long time ago, I think. Maybe…

OR

Why are so many people reading my story The Travelers?  I’ve posted the story quite a few times, but this is the original 2012 post. This is traditionally a Christmas story. But seriously, the traffic for this story has gone through the roof for about six months. I thought people were coming here for love letters. They’re coming here for love letters and THE TRAVELERS. WHO ARE YOU??? I even put a note on the end of the post and nobody will get back to me about it. Please let me know if it is on a story list or what/why/who.

OR

I got nuthin.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrations

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrationshorror banner011

Tale #1: High School Horror

This morning as I dropped sixteen year old Clara off at school I saw a girl walking across the parking lot. I know I shouldn’t have, since I am the parent, I said, “She has that geek walk. You know, very fast and deliberate.”

Then Clara looked at me in a cold chilling manner. “She is sooooo weird. Her finger nails are really long.” Clara made a hand motion showing four to five inch long nails. Yikes.

My child proceeded to recount a short list of weirdness. Then she said, “She never shaves her legs. Her skin is super dry. And then she scratches her legs during class. It sounds like this.”

And my daughter scraped her nails against the woven upholstery of the car seat – a loud, heavy, scraping noise. To imagine that was a human leg made me wince.

Then Clara scraped her nails along the pebbled plastic dash board of the car. “Just like this.”

Then she got out of the car with her hundred pound pack full of text books (no lockers for these kids) and headed off to her first class.

On the way home I thought of The Tell Tale Heart.

I know, I’m a parenting blogger. I should have said, “it is ok for a girl to have hairy legs if that is her choice.” But I didn’t. Deal with it.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

 

Tale #2: The Rat

Once upon a time, back before the life I’m living now, for a short time I lived alone in a small shack of a house in the woods.

I was sleeping and awoke to the sound of crashing, and two sets of four feet running through the room.

My small long haired tabby cat Eureka was chasing a rat.

Eureka was named so because I found her. The name is on the seal of the great state of California. It means “I have found it.”

The rat and cat both ran into the storage room, and I closed the door.

There was more crashing and banging. Then it stopped.

Then mewing noises came from behind the door. I opened the door. The cat had the rat trapped between a wall and my sewing machine case.

Now what?

I kicked the sewing machine against the wall, once, twice, three times.

On the third kick the rat flew out and landed dead on the floor. This rat was huge – half the size of the cat.

Disgusted I went back to bed. I’d deal with the rat later.

About an hour later I was awakened by a sound.

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.”

Eureka the cat was by the side of my bed, eating her rat. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I’d deal with it later. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again there was no fur, no tail, no bones, no rat at all except one foot, something that looked like a kidney, and the head of the rat staring up at me with dark black beady eyes.

 

Tale #3: Not Dead Yet

juliette armadillo010

The last time my son was home from college he was going through some boxes in the attic looking for vintage vests and ties he could take back to school. He found something else, something I’d forgotten about. What a treat. It was almost like Christmas again.

I will never forget when he looked at me holding the box and asked, “Mom, what the hell?”

My parents traveled to California in 1849. It was the year the great California Gold Rush Started. Among their party were two young women, Martha and Leyna.

Unlike my father, and pregnant mother, Martha and Leyna were not Vampires. Martha had been a young slave who’d been purchased (at the age of thirteen) in 1848 by my mother, and immediately given her freedom. Martha was smart and sweet girl who liked baby blue ribbons and anything to do with roses. Leyna was a sturdy one eyed teen with a black eye patch, and a head full of long blonde curls and pale blue eyes. She was to marry a man in his 40’s but she’d have none of that. She ended up in the service of my mother who appreciated her common sense and sense of humor. The contrast between the small dark slender girl and the Amazon like pale girl was almost extreme, but the two became inseparable friends.

By 1866 my parents had produced five little Vampire children. My brother Andy’s Italian music master was falling in love with Martha. Leyna was happy to be her own woman and running the kitchen. Both were still working for my parents.

Yes, we had a kitchen, for Vampires do eat food from time to time, especially with growing children. Another reason (which has a lot to do with the whole point of this story) is that my parent’s entertained a lot. None of their fine Nineteenth Century friends had any idea that Jeremy and Samantha and their five darling children were Vampires. It was all about appearances.

So during the party season of 1866 strange things started to happen around town. Even the illustrious households like the Standfords and Crockers reported disturbances of the most disgusting manner.

Women reported they’d feel something pulling at their large skirts, only to hear running, and a hissing laugh, followed by a cloud of flies and fleas. Sometimes they’d smell horrible fart like gas, or feel the brush of soft fur against their legs.

From fine homes, to local bars, alcohol supplies started to run low. Someone or something was getting into the supply.

Even our house was not exempt from the strange bad smelling visitor. I could hear my mother talking to my father about it. She said she’d heard of such event near St. Louis.

All the while my brothers and I were watching for whatever being was causing the disturbance. There were rumors of a dwarf escaped from a circus, or Werewolves, or ghosts, or even trained devil dogs.

Then one day we saw them walking along the edge of our house. A large greasy possum, his fur slicked back, and wearing one of my father’s ties around his neck, crept along with his teeth showing, and his dark eyes darting around. He was followed by a small creature who staggered along like a drunk. It looked like a small armadillo. The possum was disgusting, like the drunken dandy Werewolves who thought they were God’s gift to women. The armadillo creature was small and sweet.

Soon all Hell broke loose. The possum was trying to “romance” our cats. Alright, he was trying to mount them. That led to a possum face full of bloody scratches. Our dogs barked but he just flipped him off. Next we chased him into the house where we lost him for a few hours. We found the armadillo creature in a corner curled up around a bottle of whiskey.

The sound of scratching claws could be heard against the hardwood floor. The rank smell, and trail of my mother’s lacy unmentionables, led us to the kitchen.

“Look what that demon spawn has stolen from Samantha’s room,” we heard Leyna yelling.

Martha ran down the hall telling us to help her pick up the mess.

Then my mother appeared in the doorway. She was not happy. “It is called Buster. Martha, Leyna, we must eliminate it. NOW.”

Of course my seven year old brother Val and I started to scream at them not to kill it. We wanted to put it in a cage and tame it. We wanted to have it as a pet. We’d wash it and train it. We’d teach it tricks. We’d be famous.

Mother said NO.

The creature put his head up and looked at my mother with his shining black eyes, then hissed out the words, “Want some tail between your legs beautiful?”

The was a collective gasp, even from the Vampires in the room.

Martha, in a whirl of blue ribbons and lace, grabbed a broom. Leyna grabbed a large cast iron frying pan.

The creature hissed again. “Love it when the bitches get all fired up.” Then a cloud of fleas, flies, and fur swirled around the room.

Martha, Leyna and the possum thing called Buster disappeared into the kitchen. My mother followed, slamming the door behind her.

We stood with our ears to the door listening to the carnage. It sounded like a bar brawl.  When the door opened my mother came out, her hair falling in messy curls down her back, her hands covered with scratches and blood. Martha and Leyna stood in shock.

A possum jaw was stuck in the back of the door, teeth sunk into the wood like nails. The rest of the animal was on the cutting board, a mash up of fur and a long rat like tail. Blood ran off of the surface onto the floor.

“Is it dead?” I asked.

My mother started to laugh. Then Martha and Leyna laughed too, until the three of them couldn’t stop.

“May I have the fur?” Asked my brother Val.

My mother smiled. “Whatever for my darling?”

“I’d like to make a doll out of it for Juliette.”

Val was a darling child.

Then Leyna spoke, “My sweetheart can do taxee-dermy. He’ll make you up a nice dolly for Juliette.”

Val and I jumped up and down clapping our cold little Vampire hands. We couldn’t have been more excited.

A week later Buster came back gutted and stuffed. His eyes had been replaced with shiny black buttons. His jaw and other loose parts had been sewn and wired back on. He was as good as new. And to make things even better Layna had made Buster a fine dress of green silk, with tiny yellow bows. Eventually my mother got tired of Buster’s stinking dressed up corpse and put him away.

As for the armadillo, he turned out to be a rare pigladillo. I would sit with him purring in my lap for hours. He lived to be almost forty years old. Such a sweet thing, even when he was drinking.

buster012

~ End

 

So what prompted me to write three such disgusting and random tales? It is part of the Evil Squirrel’s Third Annual Contest of Whatever.

Thanks Evil Squirrel.

I just won the 2017 Fourth Annual Contest of Whatever. Woo Hoo. Click here for that entry.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Third Annual Contest Of Whatever!