Just Listen…

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This morning it was quiet aside from the sounds of the birds and the occasional car in the distance.

Right before dawn, when the sky was between light and dark, my grown children, brother Max and I went for a long walk.

My husband Teddy was sleeping after spending a day boarding up buildings and helping other businesses and friends do the same.

The kids are frustrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the shut downs, the loss of opportunities, online college, the social injustices in their world, and by their current roommates. Max and I listen to them while we walk and try to control three large exuberant dogs. We just listen. I had to tell Max to listen and refrain from giving too much advice at this time. Just listen.

Yesterday I told my now grown daughter that I understand her frustrations. I’ve spent the past quarter of a century talking to my kids about school shootings, social justice, random acts of violence, war, racism, sexism, the environment, and how to stay smart in a world that is sometimes absolutely insane.

I’ve mentioned before how proud I am of their diverse group of friends of every color, ethnic background, and sexual orientation. They don’t think in terms of “us” and “them.” If they do the “them” means people who would rather hold people back, or destroy our planet rather than move forward in a positive and meaningful way. I know that sounds awkward but I don’t know how else to put it. Their tolerance for assholes is extremely low, at least for my daughter. My son is more forgiving.

Gone are the days when I can just kiss them and make it all better.

I told them that I can’t help them with a lot of things they’re going through right now, but if the space aliens show up in July I’ll be the one to take care of that.

Max smiled and said nothing. He makes an attempt to take care of Demons and other dark forces but sometimes things get even too insane for him.

For me, everything has become amplified since I became a parent. Everything. That includes the good things.

Now more than ever we need to treasure the good things and work towards our goals of all things that are good.

With our guidance, and by that I mean by our encouragement and love, our children will change the world of ours for the better. They want it. They need it. Even without us I believe they’ll do it.

In the meantime I’ll watch the night sky for flying saucers, and watch the cold spaces under my house for goblins and rattle snakes.

If the aliens do come all I can say is that they’d better bring snacks and beer. If they land at my house they’d better bring cat treats too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Vampire 101: Removing Blood and Red Wine Stains (file this under ADULTING)

Now that both of my kids are out of the house I am not longer there for them when they get stains on their clothes. Dirt is easy.

I’m not going to believe the Tide Ad (The Super Bowl Ad) where the woman keeps saying “It can wait.” It kind of can’t. The faster you get something on that stain the better.

A good item to give your college bound kid (or yourself) is a laundry stain pen. Most major brands make them and they can be found in any grocery story. These handy little stain removers can easily be kept in a backpack, purse, pocket or binder.

But if you DO get a blood stain follow these follow these steps:

Don’t wait. Don’t scrub. Don’t put heat on it (heat will set the stain in forever unless you’re getting out grease and oil.)

To remove blood stains from washable fabrics.

  • Spray with a stain solution such as Simple Green or any laundry pre-treatment and wash immediately in cold water.
  • Check before you put the shirt (or other whatever is stained) in the dryer. You don’t want to set a stain in that you can still remove.
  • If any stain remains, I usually soak the hell out of it overnight with OxyClean or Goof Off spray. If you don’t want to do that then soak it in a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1­/2 teaspoon dishwashing or liquid laundry detergent, and 1 tablespoon ammonia for 15 minutes.
  • For excess solid or caked-on stains, scrape off what you can, scrub gently with a soft brush or clean sponge, blotting occasionally until the stain is gone.
  • This works for most organic stains, not just blood.

To remove blood stains from leather or suede:

  • Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water. Dish soap works well. You want a lot of suds.
  • Apply only the foam with a sponge and gently rub the stained area, taking care not to spread the stain. Q-tips work great for this.
  • Wipe dry with a clean soft cloth. If all else fails take it in to get it professionally cleaned.

Blood stains on Silver

It may seem romantic and daring to the younger Vampires to use silver goblets to drink blood from but DON’T DO IT. Not only is it hard to clean but it is TACKY. Use glass or ceramic. Or even a red cup is better than ruining a nice goblet. But what if your college aged child gets carried away with the moment. Wash the silver right after use. Dried blood will cause some nasty tarnish. Better yet, tell your kids NOT to use silver with blood – especially not YOUR silver. If the stains are difficult get out the polish and elbow grease and MAKE YOUR KID DO THE WORK and polish those stains out.

Red Wine

I spill red wine a lot more than I spill blood. My secret is to get Simple Green on it ASAP. If you don’t have Simple Green just put it in the wash ASAP, or in a sink with whatever dish washing liquid (like Dawn) or any organic spray cleaner, or OxyClean.

If you’ve got a red wine stained carpet and on furniture take care of it ASAP. You’re taking care of it right now, and you didn’t start scrubbing away like a mad man (or woman).

Apply a dry material that will “lift” the red wine out.

Like any liquid, red wine will move toward anything dry that it comes into contact with. Your best move right after you get a red wine stain is to grab a dry, powdery material and apply it generously on the red wine stain. These include:

Table salt
Baking soda
Sodium percarbonate, a.k.a. a granulated form of hydrogen peroxide
Dry soap powder
Talcum powder, which is used for baby powder
Clay Kitty litter

These dry materials will “pull” the red wine out of the carpet, but don’t just start rubbing them in. Remember, you never want to rub (or scrub) the stain, regardless of what you’ve applied to it. Always apply the blotting method, even when it comes to cleaning up the salt or powder.

This works on oil stains too. I have a friend who used this on her car seats (the baby powder) and it worked wonders.

Let the salt (your best option), or any other dry, powdery material you use, settle for a few minutes. In some cases, this may be enough to actually remove the stain completely, especially if you acted fast enough. Otherwise, you may need to apply additional methods.

Coffee stains

If you get water on it right away most coffee stains will come right out. Most soap will get it out too. But use the same steps as above for blood stains and don’t let it sit too long.

If you’re prone to stains I suggest getting a small Green Machine or other mini type carpet spot cleaner. You’ll thank me for it later. This is a great tool for your adult children who are renters and concerned about getting their security deposits back (and just having nice looking carpets.)

Another life hack, or Vampire hack, is to always have a spare shirt in your car or backpack. You never know when you’re going to slop something on your shirt. It is good to be prepared.

My children were fortunate to go to an elementary school where life skills were threaded through the curriculum. They learned to do laundry, cook and plan meals, money, and interior design. This wasn’t some high end private school. It was a public school (Montessori). They learned the skills, wrote about them, did math problems about them, and compared notes. I will all kids learned this stuff in school. It is fun for them and they learn how reading, writing, and math fit in with the real world. If your child doesn’t get this in school take the time to teach them. When they move out they’ll call you about things that aren’t laundry or how not to overdraw their bank and Vemo accounts.

I’ve got an empty nest now but I will text my kids, share daily dog pictures with them, and maybe even talk to them today. But one thing I won’t worry about is stain removal – ok, maybe I will. They know it but they still always ask because, well, I’m the mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Mamam

 

 

 

 

Seeing Red

“Are you still seeing Emma?”

“Mom, Emma is so weird.”

“How so?”

“She hates red. She won’t wear red. She won’t park next to a red car. She won’t eat off of a red plate. She gets upset if I wear anything red. Even the word blood makes her hysterical. She won’t even sit on red furniture.”

“You’d better not bring her to my house.”

“She even flips out over roses and humming bird feeders.”

“Have you talked to her about it?”

“It isn’t some deep rooted trauma if that’s where you’re going. She just does it to be weird. She wants attention. You know, she wants to stand out and be different. I asked her if it had anything to do with Vampires. She looked at me like I was the crazy one. She said I was disturbed and disgusting.”

“Does she know you’re a Vampire?”

“No. Hell no.”

“Honey, I think you need to break up with her.”

“I already did. That’s why I called you. The summer of Emma is OVER.”

“Time to cut your losses and move on. At least you only spent a few weeks with her.”

“She texted me this morning. Now she says red is OK. She decided she doesn’t like cats now.”

“Block her. Do it now.”

“Already done.”

“Good. Love you.”

“Love you too Mom.”

 

No matter how grown up you are, sometimes you still need to talk to your mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Savor

As I walked downstairs from my bedroom I wondered how many tons of cat vomit is flushed down toilets each year?

At 4:12 a.m. the dog had asked to go out. As I made it to the entryway I saw that the poor thing couldn’t wait. She had tummy troubles and made a huge mess. She is a large dog at 85 pounds, so believe me it was a huge mess. After taking a large bag full of the mess out to the garbage I sprayed the carpet and now I’m waiting to scrub it. Fortunately for me the carpet is being replaced with hardwood floors soon.

So what does this have to do with parenting, vampires, or having an empty nest?

My nest is not so empty. Since there are no children in the house the animals are all more aware of MOM. We are all adjusting. The cats are eating quicker and barfing because the dog is trying to eat their food. The dog is eating cat food and getting huge runny poops. I’m trying to give all of them extra attention.

In the meantime my adult children, young but still adults now, are keeping in touch this week though the magic of the smart phone.

I just received photos of costumes from Paramount Studios, and last night photos from Griffith Park Observatory (yes, the one in LA LA Land.)

Then photos came of Pike Place Market and a friend’s new beard. This is the first beard of the group. It is well groomed, blonde, and a new trendy hair cut. Looks good.

They’re on winter break from school and off with friends, one north, and one south.

When I was that age I also tumbled into adventures, and unfortunately more misadventures. If I had the resources, and the wherewithal kids had now… Yes, I think how different it might have been, but does that matter? I’ll let my alternate universe self deal with that. I’m just happy beyond words to see I’ve given my kids the tools they need. Yes, they have those phones, but there are so many more tools one must have.

They’re curious, and full of adventure. They smart. They’re cautious. They’re playful. They’re young and without fear of the unknown.

The other day Nigel the Ghost, who left his body, ok died, around the age of 26 or 27, told me to tell my kids to treasure their youth and make the most of it.

I was feeling snarky so I said, “we’re Vampires.”

Then he said, “then treasure it all the more.”

He is right. And so, no matter who we are, what we are, or how we live, we should treasure everyday, and every experience.

I thought about all of the adventures I’ve been on with my children. There will be many more to come, and I am glad they are having their own adventures as well now. They’re building their libraries of wonderful memories. Yes, I wish I was there, but like I said, we will have our adventures too.

A new lesson for our adult children should be to savor the moments. Plan fun. Continue to play. Take breaks. Watch for falling stars. And to continue to treasure those you love.

Tell them, as they grow older, they should keep an open mind as well. My mind is much more open now than it was when I was a clueless eighteen year old.

Just remember, and this is coming from an old Vampire, to savor all moments. Even if it is just petting a cat who leans against your leg, or the quiet of a cold winter night.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Savor the Summer. They’re growing up but they still need us.

Summer is officially here. It isn’t June 21 yet, but it is hot, summer school starts today, and I’m juggling a new season of activities. Yes, all of you parents out there, parenting does not end when your kids turn 18. It just goes into a different universe. For me that has been a nice mellow universe.

My son’s best friend Randy came over this morning. He has grown up since I started this blog from a funny skinny kid with long blonde hair and a fondness for orange plaid, to a gown man with broad shoulders, a man bun, and still a unique sense of style.

Being an adult Vampire is easy in college. Students live in close quarters. There are parties every night. The bar scene is big for the over 21 crowd. But unlike creepy Vampires in a lot of fiction, one can’t stay in college forever, even if you still look like a college student.

You never want someone to tell you “Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days was written about you.” Never. Believe me, you NEVER want anyone to say or even think that. Even if you’re not a Vampire you never want anyone to say that.

Randy sad down with me over coffee and we talked about his life. He is working for my brother Aaron this summer to see if he might like to work in a law office.

“I’m excited about my last year of college, but being a Vampire. Like, we’re supposed to be on top of things, but going out there in the big world, maybe to a place where there might not be a lot of us is kind of scary.”

“It can be scary,” I said. “But you won’t be alone. You’re family, you’re community, all of us are here for you.”

“I know. The worst part is not knowing if I’ll always look like I do not, or if I’ll end up aging out to my 30’s.”

“Don’t worry about it. Your parents aged out in their late twenties. I bet you will to.”

“I don’t want to look twenty-one forever. Well, twenty-two in August.”

We talked for a bit more when my son Garrett showed up with new hiking boots and a bag full of hair products. Ah, my well-rounded son.

 

I love the fact that no matter how old my children’s friends get, they will always be welcome in my home. I will always be there for them to talk, and for a hug when needed.

Nobody at any stage of life, be it Middle School, or the seasoned 457 year old Vampire knows what the future will bring. We all need support from teacher other at all stages of life. Like I’ve said before, our kids learn from us, and we can learn from them.

The key is just to be there for each other. And rather than rush to judgment, and throw them in the pool before they learn to swim, we need to let them go their own pace and test the waters, and know we’re here if they need a rope.

Summer is here. We’ll be taking some short trips to the beach and the woods. We’ll be going to the book stores and taking the dog out more. We’ll be talking a lot, and laughing, and learning, and savoring our time together until the boys have to go back for their last year of college.

Have a great week everyone, and savor your time with those you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Why don’t you blog about me anymore? And other things my kids and I talked about including V-Steams.

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Garrett just turned 22 last month and is in his final year of college at the big university right on the ocean. Final year of undergraduate work that is. He is still living with his best buddy Randy.

When I spoke with him yesterday he said, “You never blog about me. I talk to you every day. Almost every day. I text you all the time.”

I’m learning how to transition from minor children to adult children.

So I said to my son, “You told me that what I wrote about you was embarrassing. Maybe I’ll just write about Randy.*”

*Garrett’s best friend Randy. Randy wears plaid pants and other creative vintage clothing. Randy looks like a cross between a young David Lee Roth and Chris Evans. Randy is pretty goofy. Girls like Randy a lot.

The last time I spoke with Randy, a couple of weeks ago, he was telling me about some discussions he’d been having in one of his classes about free will, choice, and what we choose to believe. Somehow the discussion of things we can’t prove like honest politicians, and other cryptozoological beings came up.

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He’d sent me a funny Sasquatch meme. I told him that it got that ass from doing squats. That is why it is really called a Sas-squat.

But seriously, for as long as I can remember there have been stories of Bigfoots aka Sasquatches and the likes. So often people claim to have seen a body of one. I was flipping through the TV channels the other night (Vampires and others are known to do that) and say some guy who’d claimed to have shot a Bigfoot. He said it looked at him before it died. It had whites in it’s eyes just like us. It was small so he could have carried it to his car, but he didn’t. The man claimed because he was on National Park land he was afraid he’d get in trouble.

Really? Dude you shot a BIGFOOT.  A BIGFOOT.

If I found a live Bigfoot (Sasquatch) or even a body or a body part, HELL YEAH I’d take it. Are you kidding? I wouldn’t think twice. I don’t care if I found it in the forest or on the steps of the California State Capitol building. The first thing I’d do it take it over to the UC Davis Vet School and say “HEY, take a look at this!”

I would not advise doing the same if you found a Vampire or Werewolf. I’d advise you back away slowly then RUN as fast as you can.

That night I was hanging out with my husband Teddy and Clara. Clara is 18, in college, and still at home until she transfers to a university by the ocean.

The subject of businesses near my husband’s came up, specifically spas.

My husband and child said they thought I should open a spa called V and next door have a spa for house cats called “The Pampered Pussy.” Then they almost laughed until they were practically falling off of their chairs.

What brought this up? There are spas where you can get your Yoni steamed. Yes, steamed. It will cure everything from unhappy crotch syndrome, tension, Scrophularia, and give you an elevated sense of well being among other things.

It is called a V-Steam. V stands for vagina, or Yoni, or cootch, or Vajayjay, but we prefer vagina in Vampire Land.

Why have women started to call their vagina Yoni? Because they’re cute and musical? Maybe. You never know.

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At these spas you sit on a chair that looks like an old fashioned potty seat, spread your legs and get your parts steamed. WTF?

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My husband suggested that someone would be in the background playing a harp. He hates harp music.

I said a saxophone. We all laughed then Clara suggested Kenny G. Then I thought of Yanni. Why not? Steam your Yoni to Yanni.

Holy shit. They have group parties too. Yes, you can get steamed with all of your friends, drink wine, and even paint a pretty picture at the same time.

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Invite all your friends. It will be fun.

Then the subject of the show Naked and Afraid came up. Bugs and bug bites. Say no more. Nobody, not even the most hardened Vampire wants bugs near their Yoni, not even Kenny G.

We tried to avoid politics. It is just so frustrating. However, I was called up to be a poll worker again for the next election. I show up and after my training know more about the voting system than 99% of people who are running for or currently in office.

Aside from my husband who is in a slightly different mindset than most of us I do not with good things upon a lot of people in Washington D.C.

You know who I’m thinking about. Nasty horrible people who lie, cheat, steal, embrace ignorance, celebrate bigotry, and use religion as a tool of hate and control. You know who I’m talking about. Bitter men born before 1976 who act like they were born before 1876. Rat bastards of the worst kind.

We heard rumor that the cast of What We Do In The Shadows might be having a show on FX. I love that movie. It is absolutely adorable. It is as cute as Vlad (Vampire Diary.)

I usually really don’t care for most Vampire movies. They tend to be seriously bad and boring and stupid. But it makes for great drinking games.  BUT there are exceptions. Don’t hate on me. Most Werewolf movies are even worse than Vampire or Ghost movies. I’m sorry Werewolves. We still love you out of the movies (sometimes, don’t let it go to your heads because you’re still assholes.)

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But back to Garrett…

We talked a lot about his girlfriend, and his classes, and how he wishes he had a dog but won’t get one until he is more settled down. He told me about surfing at night. He told me about finding red starfish in a tide pool. He told me about a book he’d read called “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

That is a thought that no parent wants to hear concerning their own child.

We also talked about The East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer. He was found maybe six miles from my home. Back in the 1970’s he raped women in their homes a few blocks from where I live now. I lived near there at the time. I’m glad they found him. He’ll rot in Hell for sure.

In Northern California we seem to have our share of serial killers. Sometimes it seems like more than our share. Then again I hear of all of the weird deaths in places like rural Nebraska and the swamps of Louisiana. Things are weird. There are horror stories and then there is real life. It is a fine line between the two. Truth is often stranger and more horrific than fiction.

Anyway, Garrett just texted me again and I have to go.

Love your children. Talk to them. And even when they’re grown they’re still your babies. They’ll always be yours. Listen, love, learn, and always be their heart and soul.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman