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

Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble (Parenting, Teens and a Little Romance)

Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble (Parenting, Teens and a Little Romance)

This post was first published 02/2013. The sixteen year old boy in this post just turned twenty four, but this still applies for all parents, teens, and true romantics.

 

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Bed Bug, Bedbug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble,

Nereid

Sea Maiden

Poseidon’s loyal helper

Sailor’s guardian angel

Violet beauty

I looked at the note on yellow lined paper written in black Sharpie that I found in the dryer. Fragments of the musings of a 16-year-old boy.

The first line is names of a town not far from where we live, founded during the California gold rush. The rest of it is taken from Greek Mythology. I knew what it was.

It is Ione. His long time friend Ione. Once a funny little fair haired girl, now a leggy and shapely blonde of 16. She is also, like my son, a Vampire.

I unfolded the note more, crisp from the dryer and still warm.

I have known you forever

Since our time began

As babies

Then children of the night

As teens

Now growing into adulthood

Our hearts

Our minds

Our future

Am I to be with you?

My mythical love

My desire

My chance

A kiss from you

And I would be

Happy forever

Ione.

So far, aside from the occasional glances at Vampire girls and life long friendships, he has never set his heart on one, especially not one in his tight-knit social circle of “The Vs” as they call themselves.

Ione is quiet and funny and smart. But don’t piss her off because she isn’t one to forgive or forget anything. She also sees herself in some mythical role as avenging angel, taking on the cause of the bullied, down trodden and anyone in her opinion who has been treated unjustly.

Most people see her sort of an exceptionally smart, brilliant dumb-blonde. Smart and goofy. Sort of like my son’s best friend Randy.

I was ready to pocket the note when Garrett came into the laundry room and said “Give me that.”

“I didn’t know you liked her that way,” I said.

“It isn’t what you think.”

“Did you write it for Randy?”

“No. Don’t’ say anything Mom. It isn’t anything.”

“OK.” I smiled.

And then he smiled the shy way 16-year-old boys do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Ione

Ione

 

And yes, Ione is the name of a real California town that used to be called by some interesting names back in the day.

Wrong Number

This is a story from 2014. On this cold rainy night I thought it was worth telling again.

This isn’t a tall tale or something from the mysterious paranormal or gothic side of life.

It is just a story of something sort of sad.

It isn’t even my story. It is the story of someone who is alone. We think this person is alone. We don’t know for sure. It is a mystery.

It is a story of missed connections.

I didn’t make this up.

Smart phones don’t always reflect the situation of the people who are calling them. When we get a new phone number more likely than not somebody else had that number before we did. Or our number is close to another more popular number. When I first go my cell phone number about 12 years ago I kept getting calls from people speaking Spanish and Chinese. I got calls for a bakery. I got calls for a tire store.

My daughter has been getting calls from a local mental hospital. They are looking for a man named Thomas. He needs to pick up a patient who is only called by a number. No name. Just a number. This has been going on for two weeks.

If we were in a movie or a novel Clara, Garrett her 17-year-old brother and their friend Randy would go to the mental hospital and get the mysterious patient only known by a number. Then they’d have a strange and wild adventure and it would all wrap up after a lot of violence and car chases. But this isn’t a movie or a book.

Unfortunately the mystery isn’t unfolding. It is just a sad situation. Somebody is at a mental hospital for teens and adults. Someone is alone. So alone. They need a ride and the only number the hospital has is the wrong number which belongs to the phone of a 14-year-old girl. Nobody seems interested in finding the correct number or perhaps a different contact. Isn’t anyone talking to the patient only known by a number? Clara has spoken to people at the hospital explaining the situation but she keeps getting calls for asking for the mysterious Thomas.

This mysterious phone number (with the prefix of 666) also receives calls for a young woman I’ll call M. These are also sad and weird. M missed a court date. The parole officer is pissed off to no end. M deals drugs.  M owes everyone money. M is a go between for drug deals. M has an ex-boyfriend who is looking for her. M is a train wreck. M gets a lot of phone calls. I’ve heard these phone messages too. It is not a life I’d want to be part of or want my children to be part of. I don’t even want M to be part of it. It is an unfortunate life full of bad choices that nobody should be part of.

It is strange and sad that by accident we have seen into sad lives of people we will never meet. We don’t know anyone like M. We don’t know who Thomas is. We don’t know who the person is who needs to be picked up. We never will know. Clara has told the callers that they have called the wrong number. That is all she can do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Cults – Real Monsters

There are real monsters in our world and you need to talk to your children about them. You need to tell them where the phrase “Drink the Kool Aid” came from.

I hate cults. Be it religious or some other sort of group who blindly follow a crazed charismatic leader, I loathe them.

They don’t fascinate me as much as I am appalled. I am appalled by the people who start and run them. Most of all I am applied by the people who join them. And of course there is a very special place in Hell for people who bring their children into them.

The same goes for con-artists, so called psychics and clairvoyants  who tell those who mourn that they can contact the dead. It isn’t going to happen. They’re nothing as horrible as predators   who prey on the emotions and desperation of others.

If you’ve read any of my other work you’ll find patterns where I bring up cults, and those who claim to speak to the dead, hear angels, and other bull shit. I have the same opinion for those who say they’re prophets, or have a direct line to God, or lead others on religious journey’s and enlightenment – which really means control of assets, power, sexual abuse, and assorted other bull crap.

When I think of anyone from Branch Davidians and David Koresh, to Bo and Peep of Heaven’s Gate, to Jim Jones, and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and those like them,  it makes me sick. And don’t think it is just religion. Many multi level marketing groups work on the cult model. Far too many political groups work on this model. They all break down potential members then bring them up in a sick and twisted feel good way – taking away the free will of the new member and replacing it with a perverted sense of belonging, awe, and fear of not belonging.

The leaders take away the member’s money, they isolate them from their families and friends, and they demand complete obedience.

Sex and sexual abuse seems to be a huge part of most cults and cult-like organizations.

It isn’t always on a grand scale. There are far too many small groups and organizations that we never hear about. They also prey on the innocent, lonely, and those looking for answers.

Often they use someone of the opposite sex to luer young people in, disguising their hunt as romance, or a connection with a kindred spirit.

When kids go off to college, or out into the world on their own for the first time it isn’t always easy. They will get lonely. They will have times when they feel like they don’t fit in. This is when the preditors go on the hunt after your children.

The preditors hunt the college campuses, often disguised as smiling peers just sharing information. My mind goes back to a girl I met in the late 70’s on a large college campus. She sat smiling like a bride on her wedding day, at a table, giving out information about “The Young Spartins.” This was back in the cold war days. She was from a communist group. I questioned her. She was all glassy eyed wonder. I didn’t have the heart to ask her if she’d ever heard the word “Gulag.”

Another story I’ll never forget is from a sweet young man who had his heart broken by one of the preditors. Fortunately he was smart enough to follow his head and heart, and not his dick. My young friend, a twenty one year old man in his forth year of college, had met a beautiful young woman at a party. They talked all night and watched the sun come up together. He was floating head over heels in love. He’d met his soul mate. Then two days later he was home early from his next date with her. She wasn’t intersted in him. She was only interested in him joining her “religion.” Her religion was something he (a Catholic) didn’t even consider a religion. He was horrified and heart broken. She didn’t give a crap about him, just about making her quota of converts and mindless followers.

Soon after that I was persued by several men of the same cult. They’d always ask me what I wanted to change about myself. I’d tell them “nothing.” They were total losers. I also met someone who had escaped from that same group that claims to be a religion, only after everything he loved had been taken from him – including his musical talent which he gave up for the cult. One is always expected to give something on loves up to prove their loyalty.

I’m not against religion or belonging to a group. I’m not against anyone having strong beliefs. What I am against is those who prey on the innocent and the young in the name of religion or political group, or other sick and twisted belief.

I tell my kids to question everything. I tell them to be skeptical. I tell them not to follow. Even when they don’t want to lead they should never follow, and never do anything blindly. Blind faith is a dangerous thing. Nieveity is a dangerous thing.

Cults are like abusive relationships. They will take everything from you until you are nothing. And they want to own you – both physically and mentally.

Discuss this with your young adult children. If anyone convinces them to stay away from their family and friends they need to RUN. If anyone tells them their family and friends don’t love them they need to RUN. Anyone who wants to break them down, then bring them up is BAD. They are evil.

Cults, con-artists, abusive assholes – it is all the same. They want your children.

I don’t know what else to say about this. Just continue to talk to your kids, even your older children about preditors. Your kids grow up but stranger danger is still an issue.

I speak from experience. A long long time ago I worked for someone who was trying to start a cult. It was scary. It was sick. It was sad. I saw first hand how the leader manipulated his followers to the point of blindness and deafness to reason and the outside world. I hate those people. I hate it when people are so weak that they follow such people.

That’s all. For now at least.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman