A Modern Vampire Mom

After 10 years and almost 2,700 posts later I’m still blogging. Below is my very first Vampire Maman post.

I haven’t become a viral parenting blog influencer. I don’t even think the term “influencer” was out there in 2012. Not being your typical “mommy blogger” I don’t wax and wane on the perks of self care, finding the right yoga pants, or how my children are the cutest.

My youngest was in Middle School when this all started. Looking back I see that Middle School and High School are when parenting gets real. If you look hard enough you’ll find the kids are still precious and cute. If you talk to them you find that they’re a joy. They still need you to help them navigate school, friendships, and fear of the future. Impending adulthood terrifies both parents and teens.

Over the years I hope I’ve been able to get my main message TALK TO YOUR KIDS out there. My second would be to prepare your children for adulthood. One day we all grow up and we all have to fly away out of the nest. Overprotecting a child from the harsh realities of the world is only going to put them in harms way.

So how did I do? My son has now has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and has started a business with friends. We’ll see how it does. I’m super proud of them. My daughter was just excepted into graduate school at USC. They both have good relationships with friends and family. They’re both funny. They talk to their parents. They’re a joy.

I wasn’t just taking care of children. Like many parents these days I was also taking care of the elders of my family. I started writing about Eleora and Tellias, the two ancient Vampires who look as if they are college students, but act like they’re in their late 80’s. They have memory issues, and judgement issues. They need extra help. It is both rewarding and heart breaking.

Other features have come up over the years. Short Story Sunday (Tangled Tales) now features over 200 stories – both mine and guest stories. Burning Questions was a popular series I might have to bring back.

One of the most popular features has been Vlad’s Vampire Diary. Oh my goodness the amount of mail I get about Vlad’s “hotness.” It warms my heart. I also get the same amount about my brother Max.

I’ve brought in all four of my brothers, my friend Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, and of course Nigel, everyone’s favorite ghost. Werewolves, Zombies, Demons, and other unusual folk have also graced these blog posts.

We’ve talked about love, music, being different, things that happen in the news, school shootings, death, grief, humor, cats, dogs, long hikes, rock concerts, and everything else under the moon.

Many of my favorite posts have been my December/Christmas posts. Christmas and the paranormal go hand in hand. Believe it or not Vampires love holidays, Christmas trees, and the wonders of the bright stars in the night sky.

Most of all I want to talk about parenting. By that I mean deliberate parenting. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Listen listen listen. Don’t judge. Don’t expect them to be like you. Want them to be better than you. They can and will be better than you if you let them. I’m not a Tiger Mom. I’m a mom who hugs, love, listens, and is aware of what is going on in my child’s life.

I’m not perfect but my kids awesome. But hey, you don’t want perfect kids. Perfection is over rated and boring as hell. What you want is kids who are confident, aware, learn from their mistakes, ask questions, and see the big world around them.

Thank you to all of you who’ve been hanging out with me for the past ten years. I love you all from the deep dark depth of my Vampire heart. To all of you who are new I am glad you’re here.

As I go into the next decade I will adjust to my empty nest life, just as Vlad continues to adjust to the modern world.

I’m glad that I have been able to inspire those with and without children navigate the weirdness and not so weird times in the world in which we live.

Wear a mask. Stay safe. Be kind. Check in on those who be alone or need extra help. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What We’re Talking About Today (with my kids)

I started writing this post a week ago while I was visiting my kids in Southern California. OK, just the title.

Since then, a long standing and troubling subject of these talks has resurfaced – shootings. Be it a grocery store or a school it seems that shootings are somehow normal. That is, at least a segment of our population who values clumps of cells in a woman’s body, and guns, over the lives of living breathing people – especially living breathing children. They use the term “founding fathers” to justify owning assault weapons that are made for killing humans (not animals for food.) The founding fathers would be horrified if they know their words and intent were used to justify parading around guns like fools and brushing off mass killings of innocent people.

Grocery store home deliveries will last much longer than the current pandemic because people will live in fear of being killed for the simple act of grocery shopping. They’ll fear going out for a massage because some asshole said he had issues with his own perverted sexual hang-ups brought on by religion, bigotry, and his own sick and twisted selfishness. The school shootings will start up again because young men will have access to guns in the homes of their family members, or guns they easily purchase when they turn eighteen.

My daughter was born in 1999 the year of the Columbine killings. It should have stopped then and there. It should have stopped. There is NO REASON this should be happening.

There are patterns. A few diverge but there are patterns. The patterns are ignored. The shootings continue.

With the advent of Covid-19 and various other changes in my life I’m not writing as many blog posts because I’ve sort of lost my sense of humor.

It also had to do with the suffocating political environment we were all living in.

On a good note, since this is a parenting blog of sorts, my daughter has been accepted into the Masters program at a major Southern California University for a double Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning. I am over the moon happy that this funny, happy, positive kid has worked her ass off and worked smart to get where she wants to be.

Of course I’m freely joking that my daughter got in and I’m not going to jail for it.

Cheating in anything is bad. Cheating at parenting is absolutely the worst. If you cheat to get your child into a school you don’t only set them up for failure but you also take a place from a child who deserves it. Of course if you cheat to get your kid to the front of the line you aren’t the kind of person who gives a shit about kids who aren’t yours.

My husband got the dog a new bed and the cat sleeps on it. The Internet if full of photos of cats sleeping on the dog bed while the huge dog sleeps on the floor next to it.

While I was in Southern California my kids and I walked along the beach and talked about everything under the sun and moon. We talked about movies, books, my daughter’s school, my son’s work, the environment, how huge cargo ships are, gardening, and dogs.

I always tell my readers to talk with their kids. Now that they’re grown we are still talking.

Museums are opening back up.

Restaurants are opening back up.

Maybe even movie theaters will start opening.

Werewolves and Ghosts have done alright, but believe me, it will be a lot easier for Vampires right now.

What is left in my coffee cup from a few minutes ago is getting cold, so I’ll stop my ramblings soon.

I miss those days of driving to school in the car with my kids and talking about whatever was on the radio or on their minds. I feel like those talks helped make them the successful young adults they are today. At least it got them thinking about the big picture – the world outside of their own small circle of family, friends, and school.

Stay safe. Keep wearing your masks. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Hug your dog, especially if a cat has taken it’s bed. Check in on those who are elderly, alone, or need extra help. And kiss a Vampire – you’ll thank me for it later.

I’ll be back soon – hopefully with something fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Meetings

I’ve been waiting 40 minutes for a Zoom call. The message on the screen says “Waiting for the host to start this meeting”. I have a feeling I’ve wasted my morning waiting. Because aside from the meeting I put everything else on hold this morning. It isn’t much different than real life I guess. I think of one time when I was a child and waiting with my father for him to meet someone.

We stood outside in the fog. I held his hand and quietly wondered how long we’d be there before we could go out to the stables and see a new litter of puppies. I thought about how wonderful it would be to be like my brothers and get to wear trousers all of the time. I thought about how men never wore skirts, well, except in pictures in books of men who lived in exotic places. Men in exotic places wore whatever they wanted to. Then again there was my parent’s friend Glorianna who was a man but nobody knew it except a few close friends. As children we were sworn to secrecy not to tell anyone that our beautiful friend did not look like other women under her skirts. I didn’t care because I loved the pretty Vampire lady who had an infectious laugh like a man twice her size.

So my dad and I waited and waited and waited. He checked his pocket watch a zillion times. I wondered if he was feeling as if he wanted to let his fangs come out but as a child I never asked such things. As an adult I don’t ask such things. Anyway, after an hour we left. The puppies were precious black and white shepard/hearding type dogs. I would have loved to have taken one home but they were all spoken for.

In 1869 we didn’t have cell phones, or any phones to call people with. We didn’t have computers. We didn’t have electricity. Everything was written down and sent by messengers, or at least that is how my parents and their associates did business and social interactions.

These days Zoom and texts are the new normal. On the other hand I did get to see puppies this weekend. Maybe I’ll post photos later this week.

I’ll be down in Southern California visiting my kids. I’m excited. I hope to have posts from the road.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Hug your dogs and cats. Check in on those who are elderly or who need a little extra help. Kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for that one later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

25 Burning Questions I can’t, don’t want to answer, or will not answer.

I’ve been seriously thinking about starting up the ever so popular Burning Questions series on this blog again. For those of you who are new here, it is where I ask a question and YOU answer.

In the meantime here are Twenty Five Burning Questions I can’t answer, don’t want to answer, or will not answer.

Why would anyone marry someone with children who don’t like them?

Why would anyone marry something with children they don’t like?

Why would anyone marry someone with children who don’t like them?

Why would you marry someone who doesn’t like your kids?

Why won’t you turn me into a vampire? 

Why would anyone who wants children marry someone who doesn’t?

Why would someone who doesn’t want children marry someone who wants children?

Why do people adopt animals with no intention on keeping them forever?

Why do people treat children badly just because the parents are assholes?

What Hogwarts house do you belong to?

What would your Superpower be?

Batman or Superman?

Why don’t your socks match?

Where do socks go after you put them in the dryer?

What is the deal with middle aged men and their leaf blowers?

What is it with some politician’s wives and daughters and the obsessions with wearing 7-8 inch hooker heels?

Don’t men realize how stupid and pathetic they look with their much younger trophy wives?

Don’t trophy wives realize how stupid and pathetic everyone thinks they are?

Why do dogs beg to out to pee in the middle of the night in the rain then refuse to pee?

Why are cats such assholes?

Why are some people afraid to talk to their children?

Why does the media think precocious brats are cute? 

What the fuck is wrong with people who say, “everything happens for a reason?”

Why do you blog about Vampires?

Why do you capitalize Vampire on this blog?

What if your child was gay?

As you can tell some of these questions have answers. Think about it, especially if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. I take parenting seriously. If your kids don’t come first then why did you have them in the first place? Everyone has to be selfish but not at the expense of your children. If you want to fuck up your kids it isn’t your business – it is their business and they will hate you forever for it. They might not tell you but they will. That’s all. Yes, I’m an old judgmental Vampire, but this is my blog and my kids turned out great and so I can write what I want.

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Be kind. Help and check in on those who are elderly or might need extra help. Talk to your kids. Hug your dog. Let your cat in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out. And most important of all…kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Teach your children that they are valued.

My kids are successful because I raised them so that they would not be like me. I don’t mean in the good ways, but in the ways that haven’t been so good.

I won’t go into the painful details.

As parents we need to look at ourselves. Yes, of course, we need to celebrate what we’ve done right in our lives, especially what we did right before we had our children. We also need to look back at our failures and learn from our failures.

It doesn’t mean that a former wild child should keep their children under lock and key.

It means that we should teach our children that they are valued.

It means that we should encourage the painfully shy child to speak up.

It means that we should give our children a sense of fashion.

It means that we should teach our children to be confident and not become bully bait.

It means we should teach our children the meaning of self respect.

It means we should teach our children about reputation and how hard it is to get a good reputation back once it is lost.

It means we should teach our children to think beyond themselves.

It means to teach them to think of the future.

It means to teach them to be creative.

It means to teach them to have empathy.

It means to teach them to listen.

It means to teach them to stand up for themselves and their opinions. It means to teach them to value themselves. Yes, teach them that they are important and have value.

It doesn’t matter if your children are young or adults – the lessons still stand.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who are alone, or might need extra help.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Secret Lives and Private Stories

There was a room full of books in the back of the Elder’s farmhouse. The adults would be gathered and I’d be back looking at the pictures. I couldn’t read well so I looked at the pictures and imagined what the words might be.

The volumes, old even then, held years of uncommon history, adventures, tales of people who lived lives that seemed far more exciting than mine. But I knew, that one day I’d be living the life of one of those people in the books – those books I could barely read.

During one of my girlhood book searches I found a large Bible. There were a lot of words in fancy lettering. What I remember was the pictures. There was a picture of a group of naked men building something. I made out the word Noah and knew that was a man who built the ark and gathered up animals. The story made no sense to me to begin with and now seeing a bunch of naked men doing construction work made even less sense. Wasn’t it uncomfortable to be sawing and hauling lumber completely naked? They didn’t even have shoes. I asked my brother Valentine about it. I think he was 6 or 7 at the time (about a year older than me.) He told me that it was hot in the Holy Lands. It was hot so they took off their clothes and built a giant boat. It still made no sense. It made no sense that books were filled with pictures of naked people no matter what they were doing. Nobody went around naked where I lived. In fact they wore too many clothes in the world of our childhood.

Years later I did read the books in the Elder’s farmhouse (and many more) and marveled at their content. In the dark of the rooms on hot summer nights I’d read for hours on end, escaping into a world of another century.

In town I’d go to the book shop and buy popular fiction, cheap novels that would take me to places of romance and lovely girls in swishing dresses who held tight to their virtue, least they be ruined forever by a handsome man with a dark and evil heart. Then on occasion I’d find something more frightening than losing one’s virtue. I’d read tales of disasters, prisons, insane asylums and Gothic horrors and mysterious strangers. I thrived on that. It was nothing like the books of today, but those stories influenced the stories we now read (and write.)

Stories weren’t limited to books. I’d always find a corner in a room full of adults who’d talk into the night about everything they’d ever done and who they’d done it with. And if they weren’t telling their own stories they were talking about somebody else. I’d listen, quiet as death, imagining I was unseen by the grownups.

When my brothers and I were small my mother would read books to us using voices and accents for characters, then a slow steady voice for the narration. On alternating days my father would tell us wild tales he’d make up on the spot and keep us laughing. Each story also came with a song. We were surrounded by stories and worlds other than our own.

There came a time when I could read more complex books (around age 11.) In an elaborately embroidered canvas bag (my own stitching) I’d carry a well worn and repaired copy of Jane Eyre. I’d imagine myself in her place. The story in my mind would change as I read the story on the pages over and over. I’d tell the brooding Edward Rochester that I didn’t care if he had a crazy wife. I’d save him from the fire. I’d turn him into a Vampire and we’d roam the hillsides forever and lay under the moonlight in fields of fragrant flowers. Or I’d leave him alone and make my way to America with my new found wealth and marry a rich man in New Orleans. I’d burn down my old school. There were 1,000 different versions of the story in my head, but I’d always go back to the original version. To this day I’ll still find myself in Jane’s shoes as I walk the dog in the meadows and oak woods near my home. The gentle winds through the trees transport me to another time, in a huge skirt with hair I’ve unleashed from my constricting bun flowing down my back.

As you can see it doesn’t take much to get my imagination fired up or much to entertain me.

I’d do the same with many other books over the years. Everyone in my family and all of my friends devoured books. I have to admit that when Dracula came out we all had to get copies. We read and shared what we read. Books circled around and around.

As learned to read I began to write. Not well at first, but in earnest. I’d write innocent silly stories typical for most kids. I’d write poetry and draw pictures to go with it. I’d write plays and find others to perform with me.

From there I discovered real romance and love letters. Everyone wrote letters then. It was a daily activity as well as an art form.

Over the years plays were produced, poems were written and mixed in were sketch books filled with illustrations of yet unwritten stories. Then I stopped.

I was just struggling to find myself, or at least find some sort of direction. A lot of us go through that. The thing I remember that stands out in a weird sort of way was how men I met would almost become angry at me for not being creative. More it was that i isn’t being creative for them. Then again, few of them added any value to my life. Not back then.

My writing then was one of my secret lives. My stories were private. It was the person inside of me that I didn’t share.

I always read. I never stopped creating stories and keeping notes on paper and in my head.

After I became a mother those memories of childhood came back, along with memories that spanned several centuries.

Then I started to write again. It started out as a story for a friend… and ongoing tale… just for fun. Now it is my heart and soul.

We all need something that fills our hearts and soul. It doesn’t have to be writing or art. I’m the only one in my family who is creative that way. One of my brothers is musical. The rest have other passions.

I think back to what I used to write. Then I look at the writing of the children in my life (now teens.) I marvel at the sophistication and complexities of the stories they write. I’m amazed how mature their words are compared to what I was doing at their age. I hope I’ve been an influence. Or maybe they’re just more mature souls than I was at their age. I’m so proud of them.

I continue to write because I’ve found a measure of success that feeds my ego. Yes, I’ll admit it. Mostly I write because I have stories to tell and face it…. I do this because it is fun. Yes, FUN. Really really really fun.  And it is mine. Of course I want, and try to entertain you too.

We all need to find something that we sense is our own, even if it starts with a book with words you can’t read and pictures you can’t understand. Your brain will make it all come together and it will work. Eventually it will all work.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

This post was first published here in March 2014