Additional Reminders

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I was sitting here and a pop up message popped up on my screen.

You haven’t written anything yet.

Thanks, but I don’t need any additional reminders.

Seriously, I don’t need any reminders right now, or ever.

I hate compute pop-ups. It just makes me feel hate. It is worse than the hate I feel when I see commercials with inappropriate music. You know like when Microsoft used “Start Me Up” and some clueless marketing asshole decided to show a small smiling girl using a computer right before the lyrics “You make a dead man cum.”

Aside from stories about raccoons scaling tall buildings (yes that is a real story) I’m trying to stay away from news stories concerning politics. I don’t need any reminders about any of that. I have yellow jackets to deal with.

You’d think it would be easy being a Vampire. You know, you just lurk around, sneak into rooms and drink blood, occasionally scare someone, and watch out for Vampire Hunters, but it isn’t like that. Jeez, not at all. Wouldn’t that be a horrible existence? Sort of like being a Zombie or more like a politician. You know, all dead and rotten on the inside with no feelings except the desire to feed and create a brood of sniveling bootlickers. And I’m talking both sides of the barbed wire fences they put up to keep their camps in line.

The yellow jacket sting burns and has put me in a temporary bad mood. Can you tell?

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Several other things have also put me on edge but … but it will be a good day. My wonderful 84 pound shadow of a dog is with me. Despite the asshole yellow jackets my yard is beautiful (I’ll post photos later.) I feel creative. OK not this second because I’m venting, but I’m feeling creative. My kids are driving to the coast for the day and I’m happy for them. My husband was in a good mood. Nobody was eaten by coyotes last night (at least not anyone I know.)

Alice

My dog Alice

So what is bugging you today? Feel free to vent. Or better yet, feel free to share something good that is going on. We could all use some of that.

Sometimes it is good to have a reminder, but nobody wants to be bugged by yellow jackets or by their own computer.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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A Light That No Band of Old Men Can Dim

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I usually blog about parenting and Vampires with posts that are funny, and weird, and entertaining. I’ll get back to that soon. Lately I’m thinking about other things. I’m thinking about real horrors that our kids face.

Parenting isn’t always easy, especially when the world seems to have gone insane and you don’t have the answers. You’re the parent. You’re supposed to know everything, even when your kids think you know nothing – they still want you to know everything.

I’ve been writing about parenting on this blog since 2012. I take parenting seriously. I think about it a lot. I practice what I preach. My kids are amazing. Their friends are amazing.

So what’s the problem?

My daughter was born in 1999, the same year as the Columbine High School shootings. The first time I heard the elementary school was having lock down drills in case a bad man with a gun came to the school I never imagined how sad that would make me. Lock down drills where little children have to learn how to hide from bad men with guns. We don’t live in a war zone. Our children shouldn’t have to live in fear of men with guns.

There were more shootings. Some were at schools, movie theaters, on military bases, at colleges, and at work.

I was in tears the day I picked up my children and told them about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. All of those beautiful little children, all of the adults who cared of them gone. Just gone. For no reason. No parent wants to discuss something like THAT with their own children. But we have to. It is the world they live in.

Then there were more shootings. People said to wait until we’d mourned. But we didn’t have time to stop mourning – we’d been mourning since 1999.

In 2016 everyone was shocked at the shooting at a club in Orlando, Florida. Forty nine people were murdered. It was senseless. It was unbelievable. All of those beautiful people killed.

We all know what happened in Las Vegas in 2017. We’re still not over that one. That was one of the biggest WTF moments in American history. It was so unbelievably tragic.

That is the world our kids live in.

So when we heard about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida it was almost too much. It was too much.

Still there are those who choose to troll the teens from Parkland who speak out. There are politicians who criticize them and their parents and teachers for mobilizing, organizing, and saying ENOUGH.

2016 was an educational year for teens. Their parents, teachers, and every adult they knew had never seen an election year like that. Our children were exposed to hate, bigotry, and ignorance the likes of which we thought we’d never have to deal with.

Yes, I had hoped that by 2016 kids wouldn’t be dealing with hate, bigotry, ignorant anti-science dim-witted idiots, misogynist religious zealots, people who spoke of the good-old-days that were not great but horrible.

I took teens to see Bernie Sanders so they could experience a political rally. The kids had fun. There were quite a few bands and other singers. It was a good experience. The Trump rally wasn’t safe. The Clinton Rally was at a bad time and not at a great location. We heard it was disorganized and the speaker, Bill Clinton, showed up a couple of hours late.

I volunteered to work in a polling place along with my daughter. All went well, except at the end of the night the woman who had the keys to the clubhouse that was used for the polling place started to spew racists remarks. She was NOT a poll worker. The club house was part of her community association. Anyway, she made crude racists remarks about those who were black and hispanic. She was white. She said it was ok for her to talk like a bigot (my words not hers) because her husband was Asian. All of us poll workers just listened almost in shock. Because we were all sworn in at the time we couldn’t make any comments. By the time my daughter and I got to my car to go home (after a 16 hour day) I was so upset by that horrible women’s remarks. My daughter told me not to let it bother me, but it did.

I didn’t like anyone who ran for office during that election. What I hated the most was that by the time we got to vote in California we had NO CHOICES. I didn’t want to vote for Trump or Clinton. Why had our political parties let us down. Money. It is all about who has the most money. It is never about the American people. That is not the lesson I want my kids to learn but unfortunately that is the only lesson I can teach them right now.

All of the hate and embracing of ignorance on all sides since the election has been horrible. This is not the world I want my kids to know.

So we need to change it. Our children need to know that THEY can change it.

I remember when I was a small girl and asked my father, “is there always a war going on?” I don’t even remember his answer. I just remember the I don’t have an answer look on his face. Now that I’m a parent I find myself without answers.

Do not disparage today’s youth. They are going to stand up and fight. Not with guns. Not with knives. Not with poison. They will fight with truth. They will fight with facts. They will fight with passion. They will fight with their vote.

Their light will shine bright. It is a light that no band of old men can dim.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

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

What we talked about today before school… I wish it wasn’t true…I wish it wasn’t again…

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For years, since 2012 I’ve been posting on what I talk about with my kids on the way to school, and now that they’re in college just what we talk about.

Today we talked about:

  • The school shooting in Florida
  • Snarky shit about people who live in Washington DC
  • The Olympics

School Shootings:

27973291_10215310182698618_2142073823464310448_nThis morning I hugged my child as she left for her college classes. I almost cried.

My daughter told me not to worry. She has told me that so many times that I can’t remember. She said “I’m in college. Don’t worry.”

I told her, “Virginia Tech, UC Santa Barbra, Roseburg, Oregon.”

Another school shooting. Another mass shooting. I don’t know as a parent how much more I can say. How much more can I cry for the loss and for the families and friends left behind.

How many more of these posts do I have to write? I almost didn’t write this one. But I must.

Another school shooting. This time, on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland Florida, Seventeen People Were Murdered – SHOT WITH A LEGALLY PURCHASED GUN THAT WAS MADE FOR KILLING PEOPLE.

More parents, friends, and families are mourning tragic losses today. This has to stop. It is unacceptable. Thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help. We’ve tried that already. Your vote, your phone calls to your representatives, and your LOUD VOICES, are a needed. Never again. Shout it out NEVER AGAIN.

We’ve all seen the horror of the reports in Florida. Students filmed the attack. One girl said, “I watched my friend get her face blown off.”

Seventeen dead.

This wasn’t a foreign terrorist. It was a kid that was so fucked up that he couldn’t act like a human. It was a kid who followed hate groups. It was a kid who proudly wore one of Trump’s Make America Great Again hats. This isn’t making America great. And we all know Trump will do nothing because as his son puts it “Trump’s America is Red, White, and Green.” Follow the NRA money.

We need law enforcement to follow up when people are concerned about what they see on social media – yes, this recent shooter and others have been reported  BEFORE the crime and nothing was done about it. If you want I’ll make a list. Right now I can think of the Isla Vista killings (guns and knives were used.) It was planned. The killer rejected mental health care his family provided. His family alerted the police. The list goes on and on and on.

The Columbine shootings happened in 1999 the year my daughter was born. She is now an adult. She has NEVER known a time without regular mass shootings, and school shootings in the United States of America.

The should not the our children’s NORMAL. It is anything BUT normal.

Of course our leaders DO NOTHING.  They don’t want law enforcement agencies to take threats seriously. They don’t want any kind of meaningful gun control, they don’t want to address mental health, they don’t want anyone to dare talk about hate groups, they don’t want to make adults who let minors have access to guns share responsibility for crimes, they just want to say meaningless works like “thoughts and prayers.”

Thoughts and Prayers have NEVER prevented a school shooting. They have never made loved ones feel better. They are EMPTY words that now sound like insults.

I’ve written more than one article about mass shootings, including school shootings (links below). I always hope that each will be the last, but it never ends. This is the world my daughter grew up in. Today as she left for her college classes she told me not to worry – but I do worry. EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is not right. I am so heart broken today about what happened yesterday in Florida that I don’t have it in me yet to write a blog post about it.

I DID contact all of my representatives in the Senate and Congress. I will contact the local representatives today.

Below are links to just a few of the articles I’ve posted since 2012 about mass shootings in the United States. Contact those in government who represent you. This has to stop.

Sandy Hook: https://vampiremaman.com/…/in-honor-hug-your-kids-talk-to-…/

Las Vegas: https://vampiremaman.com/…/04/a-reflection-on-horror-and-h…/

Marysvile, Washington: https://vampiremaman.com/…/a-shooting-threat-at-our-high-s…/

Orlando: https://vampiremaman.com/2016/06/12/today-is-sunday/

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  • Snarky shit about people who live in Washington DC

It isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It is about ALL of them. They don’t care about the people who elect them. All they care about is the status and the money. It is all about the next campaign.

Men who were born in 1959 act as if they were born in 1859. They act like it is 1918 not 2018.

We all agree that Washington D.C. is full of old boys who act like assholes and sexist pigs 24/7 because they can get away with it. Their mommies are all dead, their daddies were sexist pigs. It is what they know. It is what they’ve been allowed to get away with because they are rich and they are bullies.

Then I think of Melania Trump. I can’t even imagine how much she must hate her husband in real life. I can’t imagine what she is thinking when she hears about her husband having sex with porn stars (and others no doubt) while she was home with a newborn infant. I can’t imagine what she thinks when she knows her husband has always chated on her. I can’t imagine the disgust she must feel when Trump touches her.

Then again it is what she wanted. Her family got a free ticket to America. They live off of Trumps fortune. For some that might be a good deal.

A lot of political wives are like that. Had I been Hillary Clinton I would have had the biggest bonfire in history on the White House Lawn when Bill was cheating. But then again, the love of money and power is sometimes more tempting than a healthy normal life.

This is where I’m going with this… these people, men and women in Washington DC are so out of touch with reality that it seems like some sort of weird alternate universe that they live in. The know everything about low class and NOTHING about the Middle Class.

But back to our current First Lady (who would have looked so much better without all of that needless plastic surgery) I know what her current favorite songs must be. You can listen below.

  • The 2018 Winter Olympics

This morning we talked about ICE SKATING. Oh my goodness. I’m just going to post a video. This is so beautiful that you’ll cry for all the good reasons.

Yes, I’m so off today I can’t write much of anything, so just watch this.

The Olympics have been wonderful. We’re following and cheering for everyone there.

That’s it for today. I have to go hug my dog.

And what I can’t stress enough: TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Value their opinions. Teach them what is right and wrong. Teach them compassion. Teach them to be strong. Hug them. Kiss them. Protect them. Treasure them. It doesn’t matter if they’re babies or in their sixties – do all these things. Always.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Connections, Net Neutrality, and the Thoughts of an Old Vampire Blogger.

As most of you already know I don’t say certain things were meant to be. I don’t believe that bad things, or even most good things happen for a reason. What reason is there for a child to get cancer? What reason is there for someone to lose a limb, or a job, or a home to fire, or the freedom of speech? Bad things can make us stronger, or wiser, or closer to those we love, but that does not make them good, or reasonable.

I do believe in a certain amount of what I’ll call, for no other words, magic.

Let me tell you a story about something amazing. It is a story of magic. It is a story of creativity. It is a story of a group of people meeting by chance over the Internet and doing wonderful, amazing, magical things together – through love of storytelling, words, pictures, and eventually each other.

Once upon a time, before I stared this blog in 2012, I wrote stories and books. I wrote plays that were produced. I wrote stories. I wrote books. I wrote poetry. I wrote alone.

When the Internet and social media came along I jumped onboard early. As an artist and a writer I could see the potential. Sure, we all loved the Hamster Dance, but there was so much more. There was community.

In the early days of Facebook a family member asked me to join. I discovered old friends, and things like FarmVille. Then I discovered FB groups. I joined a few writing groups but didn’t participate. I just listened in. Every once in a while I’d post a story. Nobody ever responded. I’d read works by others and press “like.” Sometimes I’d say, “That was great. More please.”

Then a troll invaded the group, and people started to talk. We banded together and beat the shit out of the troll. We made him leave. Then something amazing happened. About ten of us started to interact. We decided to have our own writing prompts. The first was for erotica just because it sounded like a challenge and a bit naughty and fun. So rather than put our naughty bits out in a public group of 2,000, we formed our own group. We called it our Den.

For almost ten years we have formed a bond as tight as any group that meets face to face.  We have faced personal tragedies such as the death of one of our members. We’ve celebrated success together. We have become true friends. We have loved, supported, and treasured each other. We became Writers, Poets, and Deviants, aka WPaD.

We are from The United States, Canada, and Austria. We are one. We transcend borders because our culture is that of free speech, creativity, great stories, and art for everyone.

We just published our 8th Short Story Anthology. I am always in awe of the true talent and dedication of this group, especially of Mandy White who acts as our publisher, editor, and den mother, and Jason Kemp, who has provided the original illustrations and design for several of our covers.

Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe

Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe – WPAD Science Fiction.

Best Horror Anthology of 2015

Creepies 2 – Best Horror Anthology of 2015

Without the support of WPaD I would have never started Vampiremaman.com in 2012. Who else would have cheered when I said I was writing a Vampire/Parenting blog? Without WPaD I would have never considered publishing a book on my own. I would have never become a mentor to other writers, artists, and bloggers. I would have never met the amazing people I’ve come to know in the WordPress writing community.

To my WordPress peeps – I hold you all close to my heart as well. I will fight for your freedom to keep blogging and speaking your mind – forever.

To my WPaD friends – I truly admire, appreciate, adore, and love you for who you are, and for what you do.

In the old days, when I was a child, nobody had computers. People had pen pals. If we wanted to speak to someone we went out into the street to see who was there. More often or not doors were slammed in our faces.

But now, with the true magic and FREEDOM of the Internet I have met the most remarkable group of creative people I could ever imagine. I am not religious but I do feel blessed. I do feel this is something so rare and so special.

Net neutrality was ripped apart this week after the Federal Communications Commission voted 3–2 to repeal the network neutrality rules that prevented internet providers from blocking or controlling access to websites or charging websites to access users at faster speeds. Let me rephrase that – before ignorant and greedy trolls at the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal the network neutrality rule. 

I encourage every American who reads this to contact their Congressional Representatives, and Senators and encourage them to reverse the hateful and dangerous repeal of the network neutrality rules.

We will continue to create, speak out, and love what we do, and who we do it with. We will contiue to support each other for we are the ones who create the magic. We are the ones.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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What We’re Talking About Today On the Way to School Today

Every since the election in June we’ve been regularly seeing heads explode as we drive along the road, especially in the morning hours. It makes a mess, but our roads are so bad around here that everyone just pretends to assume someone must have hit a pothole, or maybe it is aliens, or turkey vultures attacking suburban drivers…

As always, we listen to the news in the morning. I’ve grown sick of it and turn it out. My children do not. As wee ones they asked cute questions. Now as young adults they make bone chilling comments that make me wish that seventeen year olds could run for President, Congress, and the Senate, because they seem to be the only ones making any sense these days.

LBGT rights. Is there a problem with that? Why should anyone care? Don’t we just want everyone to be happy? LBGT families are like any other family. Parents love their children. Period. Here’s the deal. Married people pay more taxes. Period. See where this is going?

My kids often wonder why some people are so obsessed with the sex lives of others. It is all in the name of religion and morality. If you’re so moral then why are you so obsessed with sex? Why is your attitude so unhealthy. This is out of the mouths of teens. Of course if we’re talking down and dirty gossip then it is all good fun. Who doesn’t like to see the fall of a hypocrite caught in an affair after condemning others for their unmoral behavior? Who is anyone to judge? Especially those who do not even try to understand.

Yes, folks, this is why Vampires, Werewolves, and others keep to themselves. Don’t ask me how you can become one of us, and where our private clubs are because you’re not going to get an answer from me (or any of my friends.) Don’t hate me because I’m cold as death. Just hate me if I’m an asshole (which I hope I am not.) Or just hate me for using too many parenthesis in my writing, but not for my biology.

We discussed how THE WALL will be an environmental disaster among other things. The only ones dealing with walls should be Pink Floyd. The kids also keep asking about the Berlin wall. We all remember how that worked out.

I’ve made a list of news items and ratings from the teens I know:

Ivanka: NO

Grumpy Cat: Yes (even when she says NO) Yes, Grumpy Cat is a girl cat.

Coffee: Yes

AP Tests: Yes, but they still suck

Disneyland: Yes

The Lost City of Z: Yes

13 Reasons Why: Yes to both the book and the TV show

Old Men in Political Positions: NO

Botox: No

Squirrels: Yes (see link below to know why)

Cats: Yes

Dogs: Yes

Fiona the Hippo Baby: YES YES YES

Classical Art Memes: Yes

Canadians: Yes

French Election: WTF?

North Korea: No. And a sad face emoji for the people who live there.

Dentist Pulling a Tooth While on a Hoverboard: NO NO NO

Wells Fargo: WTF? Kids when you start a job don’t do that kind of shit. Not for anyone.

Anything in Washington DC: WTF?

Graduation Class of 2017: YES

Dutch Brothers: YES, even when there is a long line at the one street down from the high school.

Lists: Yes, because I’m not feeling inspired right now.

 

The conversation moved on to the dog who, despite her sweet nature, refuses to cooperate with any kind of training. She can do it. But she doesn’t want to. It is a power thing. Know any kids like this? Adults? Vampires? I bet you do too.

I might not be the biggest dog at the park but I’m going to make damned sure I have the biggest stick.

After dropping off the almost adult child I headed on over to the dog park. The big dog run was closed. The other dog run was full of HUGE (over 100 pounds) aggressive dogs. My young 85 pound German Shepard was dwarfed by these dogs. Of course she went NUTS. Sure I’m in touch with my paranormal side but it was almost too much for me to handle. I almost lost it. I went 0-60 in half a second from loving dogs to hating dogs. All dogs. Even my own dogs. And yes, right now mine is sleeping with her head on my foot as sweet as ever.

Text messages are fling in about a roller skate show tonight. Not at our club but at our sister club that my daughter’s partner skates out of. She and her partner are doing a new routine to Pink and Nate Ruess singing Just Give Me A Reason. They’re so beautiful skating (think Ice Dancing except on quad wheels.) Yes, teens are great.

I always thought Nate Ruess should be doing Broadway musicals. He has THAT kind of voice. Pink too. She is just WOW to me. I usually don’t like female singers (too breathy and high and whiney and I could go on and on) but she sings it.

Yes, I’m just rambling on today. Every have one of those days. In the back of my mind are sick and twisted stories of dark places with brick walls and black velvet curtains. There are howling winds along with howling wolves, shadows that look like ghouls with long twisted claws, and growls that could pass for satisfied purrs of lovers. You know, it is just one of those days when I just had to turn off the radio and turn off most of everything. I’m not as crazy bad as Chuck McGill in Better Call Saul but getting there.

Now for the Squirrel Story (not to be confused with the Squirrel Nut Zippers)

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/04/25/525363273/what-s-it-like-to-be-squirrel

 

Did someone say coffee? Blood?

Oh right, and remember to talk with your kids – about anything and everything. You’ll have fun. They’ll appreciate it. You’ll be the cool parent. And you’ll find out how cool your kids really are. And it is good for everyone. So do it.

~ 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.