Glassy Eyed Wonder

My kids and I talk a lot about the people they go to school with. This includes political clubs. There is now a Young Democrat club at the high school as well as the old Young Republican Club. My daughter still helps run the Horror Club (a favorite among teachers.) My son is involved with a group of young artists. They aren’t all art majors but they enjoy sharing the creative process over coffee and long walks on the beach.

It reminded me of a spring day in 1979. I was walking across the quad of a well-known and honored university and happened to meet a young woman who was a Young Spartan. That would be a communist. It just seemed so bazaar to me. She was so happy with that glassy eyed look that usually belongs to someone who belonged to a cult. I immediately wondered if she was sleeping the one of the charismatic young male leaders. I couldn’t imagine why she’d be soliciting for such a group. It was so random and at the time a little disturbing.

I’ve wondered a couple of times over the years what happened to her. Is she still politically active? Does she think back about her experience and feel stupid? Did she marry a domineering idealistic man and follow him to the ends of the earth only to be left alone with nothing but regret of what could have been? Is she Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager?  I’ve never been one to join groups so I have no idea. Did her parents know she was involved in the group and soliciting for new members/followers? Wouldn’t it be odd if she read this blog? Are you there pretty brown haired girl with the lovely smile? You know who you are.

My daughter tells me of kids in her high school who target others they feel are “at risk” for indoctrination into different religious groups. My son tells me of groups on his college campus that go after the lonely and lost and naive. Where do you think terrorists get their minions and slaves? They know their targets.

Yes, I am a cynical one when it comes to groups and movements. Groups and clubs are fine. It is when those in charge want to control the movements and thoughts of the members so completely that the group becomes the most important thing – more important than the individual.

I tell my kids to turn away from anyone or any group that counsels them to reject their family, friends, school, or personal beliefs.

One of my brothers is the kind that gets targeted by recruiters of shady organizations. Andy is so sweet and loving most of the time. He has that hint of vulnerability that draws women and cult leaders alike. But like the rest of my family he is pretty good at taking care of himself. Alright, I admit we’ve had to bail him out a few times and I do worry about him. I worry more about others who don’t always have that strong support that my brother does.

From the start, as a mom, I preached the idea of independent thinking. I intentionally raised my kids not to be followers. Kids don’t have to be leaders but they should never be followers.

I’ve also tried to raise them not to be those glassy-eyed innocents that end up in the clutches of people who only have two goals: to use other and to control others.

When I was young I asked my father what made people join cults and extremist groups. He said it was because it was easier not to have to make any decisions about their own lives. By giving up their own choices they didn’t have to take responsibility. They didn’t have to think.

When you don’t have to think for yourself life is easy. Maybe not good but it is easy.

Remember kids, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. That isn’t a bad thing.

Inspirational speakers (and other such con-artists) give me the creeps. You know, the kind who talk about living up to your potential and success. If you want to learn about success go talk to someone who is a real success. Talk to a teacher or a small business owner or the director of the local zoo or museum or the CEO of the high-tech company your neighbor works for. Talk to someone with a real job.

Save the glassy-eyed wonder for the next time you go to Yosemite. Save it for the next time the moon looks so big you think it will collide with the earth. Save it for the quiet sounds of a baby breathing or the faint heartbeat of a ghost.

Or just save it for a Vampire (believe me, it will be well worth it.)

And remember talk with your kids and always LISTEN to what they have to say. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Never blindly follow anyone or anything - especially a cat.

Never blindly follow anyone or anything – especially a cat.

Preditors that pass in the night – or – You can’t leave a note for a coyote

Coyotes were out last night. From my front yard I could hear a pack of them singing over the roofs of the houses on the next street. In the wee hours of the morning a lone Coyote padded across the dry grass behind my house.

Oscar the cat had spent the night out and worried me sick.

I’ve never heard so many coyotes – ever. This year it was dry so they have easy targets in the homes that invade their territories. Dog food, cat food, cats and dogs supplement their usual mice, rabbits, birds and snakes. Plus homes are a water source for coyotes who just don’t feel like making the trek down to the nearby creeks and lake. And a few people within walking distance of my home have decided to become urban chicken farmers – a boon for coyotes. They might have well put us a neon sign saying “EAT HERE. CHICKEN DINNERS.”

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the happy sounds of chickens when the sun comes up (and no roosters).  Chickens are cute. Chickens are fun. Chickens make eggs. Chickens are coyote magnets.

And unlike dogs, coyotes don’t belong to anyone. Had it been dogs all these nights I could have left a note.

note

As you can see, there is a reason my husband tells me not to leave notes. Maybe it is the sloppy handwriting or the shabby stationary. There have been some discussions about my un-lady-like use of language… Well…back to the point of this essay…

I can’t leave a note for a coyote. A coyote who is on her own turf.  A coyote who, as long as she stays out of my yard, has every right to go to work and support her family and take care of her children, just like I do. A coyote who can’t read (there lies the problem.)

And no, I can’t do anything about these animals except watch them in the dark and keep my screaming cats inside. The dog knows better. She won’t go outside after dark if coyotes are around. Good dog.

I lock eyes with two glowing orbs in the tall grass behind the oaks. Two more come into view. I have plenty of sway with some creatures of the night, but coyotes listen to no one. The eyes turn out to be a possum who runs away perhaps to avoid being invited to dinner by the coyotes.

It sort of makes me wonder about the whole Vampire thing. Who is the predator and who is not? OK I just wrote that to sound deep. It’s a bunch of BS. I never wondered about that sort of thing. It is what it is.

Oh look, Adam is here.

Oh look, Adam is here.

This morning I saw Adam my Werewolf friend. We’re doing a photo shoot together in a few weeks (another story, just work stuff).

“Hey, Adam,” I said “I have a coyotes behind my house. Can you help me…”

Adam cut me off and gave me the look. “Really? I know what you’re going to ask and the answer is no. I don’t deal with coyotes. Wolves, yes. Coyotes, absolutely not. I can’t believe you even asked me that.”

I wanted to remind Adam that I can’t believe he almost ripped out my throat a year ago, but I kept it to myself.

When I see a coyote they won’t look at me directly but they’ll turn and trot the other way. Or they’ll ignore me as if I’m a shadow, for to them I am nothing but a shadow in their coyote lives.

I have to wonder if coyotes have souls, or if they visit the souls of dogs at night and create nightmares.

Do they come back as ghosts and haunt the woods they share with the bobcats and deer? I doubt that. Only humans are foolish enough to let their souls slip into the realm of ghosts.

So I guess at night I’ll hear their parties and songs and just be glad it is coyotes and not my teens out there making all the noise.

And I suppose everyone else should be glad it is just coyotes and not Vampires (just had to throw that in.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Coyotes that pass in the night

Coyotes that pass in the night

Heart & Soul: Vampires & Ghosts – More Musings from a Vampire Maman

butterflyClara said “It would be weird living in the White House with tours all the time. I mean, like, it would be weird hanging out at home and having a tour go by.”

I told my 14 year old that the White House was quite large and that I didn’t believe tours covered the private family quarters, except maybe some of the guest rooms like the Lincoln Bedroom. After a bit of discussion I explained that some people believe that Lincoln’s ghost still haunts the place.

“Why would he want to haunt people there?” The child asked. “He wouldn’t want to scare anyone.”

“Haunting isn’t always scaring. But he was murdered and that is why he is a ghost. Most ghosts are those who are killed before their time or murdered.”

More lessons in history.

School, that is High School has been uneventful this new school year. That is a good thing. Clara was asked to be on the Cross Country team (but turned it down.)  The teachers are all good now and getting to know her and appreciate the unique spirits of all of the kids. That is what teachers do. She is making a lot of new friends – a good thing.

Garrett is having the time of his life as a Senior looking forward to school and being on the top of the high school totem pole.

I found a note he’d written, in the dryer as usual.

No matter

No matter when

No matter where

No matter who you are with

No matter who I am with

We will always love

Each other

Because we are of the shadows

Children of the moon and stars

Darkness surrounds us

But light stays in our heart

And souls

Huh.

I  love Ione but her family is, well, not exactly the kind any Modern Vampire would want their son to marry into. Not her parents. Her parents are some of our best friends, but it is the community they used to belong to.

They were the kind of Vampires that inhabit nightmares. Their purpose in life, if you can call it that, is to be a predator. They don’t give back, they don’t have relationships of any kind with humans, they don’t care. They’ll sooner suck out your soul and let their own soul die than to be a part of human society. They are the undead and those without souls or at least that is what we (the Modern Vampires) say. It is hard to explain. Anyway… I can deal with them and can logically say that their lifestyle is their choice. They leave us alone, we leave them alone for the most part. Our paths cross. But I can’t trust them. And I won’t trust them around my Modern Vampire Children.

We all have had people like that in our lives.

Ione’s  mom Violet dropped her off and stayed to visit a while. She worried as well that those who live in the shadows with dead souls would come after her kids. I assured her that she was doing a great job with her girls and didn’t need to worry about it. But she’ll worry. So will I. We’re moms. Worry is what we do, even if we are Vampire moms.

I was going to write on something else, not the blog, the never ending book that scares me more than any Vampire or Werewolf or Ghost…

When I hear someone softly singing “Heart and Soul”, you know the song…

Heart and soul, I fell in love with you, 
Heart and soul, the way a fool would do, 
Madly… 
Because you held me tight, 
And stole a kiss in the night… 

Heart and soul, I begged to be adored, 
Lost control, and tumbled overboard, 
Gladly… 
That magic night we kissed, 
There in the moon mist.

Oh! but your lips were thrilling, much too thrilling, 
Never before were mine so strangely willing.

But now I see, what one embrace can do, 
Look at me, it’s got me loving you, 
Madly… 
That little kiss you stole, 
Held all my heart and soul.

I turned around to face the Ghost.

He gave me a smile that made me uncomfortable. “If I was human and you were human and we were both single…there in the moon mist, with your lips so thrilling…”

“What do you want?” I asked him. Damn he is annoying.

“You know I was murdered.”

“I figured. We’ve talked about this before,”  I answered. Sometimes I wonder what he did to deserve it other than being annoying and talking too much.

He put his hands down as if to touch me and I watched it go through my shoulder. “I don’t know who killed me,” said the ghost.

“If you find out will you go away?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know Juliette. I just don’t know. Weird how these things happen. And speaking of weird…”

Then he vanished as if someone had blown out a candle.

I swear, nothing gives a Vampire the creeps more than a ghost.  But on the other hand…

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman