I bet God (and everyone else) doesn’t want your kids to be assholes.

The fear of God isn’t going to make your child a better person. It is not going to make your child a good person. It isn’t going to give your child a high moral compass.

What will make your child a better person is telling them that if they act like an asshole that everyone will think they’re an asshole. Nobody wants to be an asshole.

I told my kids that if you’re mean, if you act up at other people’s houses, if you don’t defend other kids in need, if you’re a bully, if you put up with bullies, if you make fun of others then everyone will think you’re an asshole.

How about sex and religion? No religion ever stopped a kid from getting pregnant or a STD. If you’re not responsible when it comes to sex you’re being stupid. If you use sex to get what you want you’re being an asshole.

If you smoke pot all the time or vape or get drunk all the time. Everyone will think you are stupid and maybe even an asshole.

Kids who are told God doesn’t like homosexuals, trans folks, anyone of a different color, anyone who is sort of weird and different, anyone with a different religion, anyone who is a free spirit, artists, write country music, or anyone who isn’t hurting anyone but not like you, grow up to be assholes and really stupid. Don’t teach your kids to hate someone who will never hurt you or anyone else. You know why? Cause they’ll grow up to be assholes.

Being a good person has nothing to do with religion or going to church. It has to everything to do how you treat others. It is how you live your life. It is standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

Being a good person is being kind to all living creatures not because some higher power told you to but because it is the right thing to do – as a human. Watch the movie Bambi if you don’t know what I’m talking about. They (animals) think we’re assholes. Don’t be that asshole.

Good behavior shouldn’t be forced. Good behavior has it’s own rewards. It isn’t always easy because the world is full of jerks and assholes. Many of them justify their bad behavior and hate filled beliefs with their religion.

I am by no means an atheist. I’ve written a lot about angels, demons, and the forces of good and evil. I’ve written about death and grief and love.

I am not per se anti-religion, though in todays climate of people who howl about hateful things in the name of God and get involved in hateful politics, (including who you can love, what you can do with your own body) in the name of God, I am extremely anti-religion. Anti-hate and ignorance. Anti judgement. Anti stupidity.

Many good things come from religion but hate, ignorance, fear, mean behavior, and bigotry are not among those good things.

Read my blog. I have been inspired about the messages of love and hope that religion brings, but not by the twisted messages of stupidity and hate that some people are so drawn to.

For some reason hate is easier, especially when it is taught by adults to children who have not yet learned to think for themselves and see the outside world.

Yes, that is also why I speak so much against over protecting your children from the outside world. It makes them so vulnerable to either hate, or just being taken advantage of, or unhappiness when they’re finally exposed to and expeirence real life, and see that not everyone is like them or their parents.

But as a parent, and someone who has been damn successful at it, I feel I can spout off my views of how to raise a responsible, well adjusted, person with a high moral compass. I know what it takes to raise someone who cares and is a good person. 

It doesn’t matter what color your hair is, what sex you are, or what music you listen to, or if you like horror movies, or what flavor of ice cream you like, or who you pray to, or what freak flag you’re flying. Be yourself. Be good. Talk to others and learn about how they think, and most of all how they feel.

Being a good person means trying to understand different lifestyles and points of views. It has taken many of us many years to learn that. You’re never too old to learn or to change.

Don’t be a dick. It’s easy.

If you want your child to be good then teach them to be good. Talk to them. Talk with them. Show them how to be kind. Teach them the importance of kindness and the difference between right and wrong, between being an asshole and not being an asshole. Nobody wants to be around an asshole.

And if this rubs you wrong then fine. This is a Vampire blog anyway so you might be at the wrong place. You know a lot of people think Vampires hate Werewolves. Why? Because they’re different. That’s just stupid. See what I mean? Stupid.

Just remember, if we were all the same life would be boring, and the world would be a dull place indeed. And I bet we’d all be jerks.

I’ll see you all in the next post where you’ll learn about about parenting adult kids and getting rid of the roommate from hell (a situation where they had to adult all by themselves.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Stories Old and New

Dear Diary,

This morning two beautiful women came to my door. They asked me if I had thought about death. I told them “Not lately.”

Then they asked me what happens to us after we die.

I said, “If you’re lucky you’ll become a Vampire.”

They did not appreciate or understand my answer.

When the young men with white shirts and bicycles came later in the day I was perplexed.

“Why are you not in college, or learning a trade?” I ask them.

I tell them that they travel far from home but learn nothing of the world.

When I was young I traveled with my friend Randolpho to the great cities of Europe. We thought we knew everything when we left home, but soon discovered that we knew nothing. We saw our existence only from the viewpoint of the Vampires we were, and the Vampire culture we lived in. We had no reason to think there might be other ways to think about anything, or feel about anything.

I looked at the young men who had parked their bicycles at the end of my walkway. Then I said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

The boys stood in a stupor as if they knew not what to say. One would think I had shown them my fangs.

“You are but children,” I told them. At that point I saw a Demon sitting in the top branches of the oak tree in my front yard, stretching it’s leathery wings. So I slammed the door and left the young men alone, on my front porch, under the tree. Since I did not hear screams or the sound of running feet slapping against the brick walkway I put it out of my mind.

I am a Vampire but I am not devoid of the teachings of scripture. On the other hand I avoid all dealings with Demons. All dealings.

A few minutes later, as I was pouring a bit of blood into my coffee I heard a scratching on my door. I thought that I must face the Demon and went to the front door fangs out with a large kitchen knife in my hand. It was only my cat. The Demon was gone. Good kitty.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today a buck was in my yard eating fruit off of a nectarine tree.

In my time… no that does not make sense for this is my time still, in a different time, a long time ago, when I lived in my Vampire castle as King of Vampires we had no nectarines. Nectaries are the fruit of the Gods and I have one of their threes.

My friend Randolpho and my love Gillian were at my home. I summoned them to the window to see the young buck with his downey horns.

“Bambi,” said Gillian.

“Indeed he is like Bambi,” said Randolpho.

“Who is this Bambi you speak of?” I asked

Gillian and Randolpho smiled, both showing a bit of their Vampire fangs. “We will show you,” they said together.

Upon the screen they showed me a story of uncompromising beauty. I sat on the couch, my hand in Gillian’s, transfixed by the story of nature and power.

When it was over I sat for a few moments to gather my thoughts. “You told me this movie was for children. Would they not be afraid or saddened by this story?” I asked Gillian and Randolpho.

“Oh Vlad,” said Randolpho. “When you were a tiny child your BaBa told you gruesome stories of death and you loved every single one of them.”

Yes I remember her stories, and many concerned fire. She told me of Glago the Inhaler who would have his men lock up a building, set it afire and roast everyone inside. Then Glago would open his great wide mouth and suck out the roasted folk, then spit out their bones. Then the trolls would come gather the bones to build the foundations of their bridges. No screams or cries of mercy would stop Glago the Inhaler when he was hungry, or even when he was not.

There were also many tales of Robert the Gnawer who would make lovers of men’s wives. If the man came in when Robert the Gnawer was in his bed with the woman it would not go well. Robert would jump up out of bed, grab the man, then then gnaw his head off, then slurp his brain through his nose, and spit out his teeth while the woman watched in horror. Then he would bid the woman goodby and leave her. Of course Robert would always send large bags of gold so that his lovers would never have to worry about being left out in the wild. So it was not all so bad.

“No,” I said. “Bambi is not like Glago the Inhaler, or Robert the Gnawer. They have no families, or mothers, or honor. They have no true friends such as Flower or Thumper. They are without mothers and without souls. They are only wind. Bambi is noble. If Bambi was a Vampire he would have taken out Man and his parent would have lived another day. Alas, he was but a small deer, but through his courage and wits he grew to be a great buck and saved the doe he loved, and then became Prince of the Forest.”

“I thought I saw you rubbing your eyes during the movie,” said Randolpho.

“Allergies,” I said. “Just allergies.”

I think sometimes of old stories. After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I find I am also learning many new stories both true and false. It is now that false stories are called fiction, that is, unless they are lies and meant to deceive. It can be confusing but I am learning.

Or at least I think I am.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

As the sun came up I lay in bed with my love Gillian curled around my, her arm across my chest, her leg over mine.

I kissed the top of her her head and whispered thoughts of love in her ear. Her skin was cold. It was a welcome thing in this hot summer weather.

I thought about what a strange week it had been. Then I thought of back when I was the King of Vampires standing on the wall of my castle with the wind in my hair, looking over the vast horizon that was mine. I put that out of my mind and thought about the fact that I had to get a new set of tires for my car and take the cats in for their shots. The world is a different place. It will continue to be a different place.

The only constants are that Werewolves will turn on full moon nights, Vampires will drink blood, and lovers will love on hot summer nights.

I got up and closed the curtains to the sunrise and crawled back into bed with Gillian, to sleep and dream of what will come tomorrow.

~ Vlad

 

 

Dear Reader, this has been the 50th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read the entire diary from the start CLICK HERE.

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess we’re all going to Hell.

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My daughter just sent me this photo with the message “I guess we’re all going to hell.”

This guy was out in front of the Student Union building at the college.

Happy Halloween Sports Nuts!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Fire And The Cool Dark Places Of Summer

With summer we don’t welcome in the fire season, but fire season is here none the less.

I had to go downtown this morning, and from the freeway saw two plumes of fire coming up as if the entire world was on fire or giant pits down to Hell had opened up. From the color of the smoke it looked like grass fires. A larger fire just north of here has burned maybe 12,000 acres. I’m not sure, it keeps growing. We’ll soon start to hear of more fires in all directions. After the devastation last year in Sonoma and Napa Counties, Lake County and other areas in California it seems even more tragic for it to start all over again.

Behind my home we’ve cut back the brush. I’ve cleared my property. We’ve put in fire sprinklers.

As I drove along the freeway looking at the smoke plume in the distance I saw a religious billboard. It just seemed weird, you know the smoke and the message all at once.

This week missionaries and members of several churches (you know who I’m talking about) have been coming around and leaving pamphlets. A few years ago yellow jackets swarmed a nice pair of men who came around to tell me about the Bible. I’m often tempted to tell them we’re Vampires. Not that we’re evil. Oh we are so misunderstood. Another reason why most folks don’t know we’re real.

But back to the nice people who smile and ask me too many personal questions about my beliefs,  what I really need to ask is for them to pray that we don’t have the fire devastation that we have had in the West for the past few years – from Canada to Mexico it has been horrible.

Right now I can smell smoke but I’m not sure where it is from. The sky is too hazy to tell.

When my brother Val and I were teens, around fourteen and fifteen (1873 or 74) we found a way to keep cold in the hot burning summer days.

He stole the key to a church basement (which is no longer there) and a way to get into a seldom used private chapel. Bodies would be put there before burial to keep from rotting so quickly in the summer heat. Also food would be stored in another section behind locked doors.

Yes, it was horrible and wrong for any teens, and we’re Vampires so that even adds more to the wrongness of it all, but we didn’t hurt anyone. Our parents would have hit the roof, but that is another post.

I’d lay as still as death on the cool floor. My skin seemed to melt, not like candle wax, but like burning hard sealing wax. Hair twisted around my neck and clung to my forehead. I couldn’t open my eyes.

Suddenly an icy cold shroud covered me. I sank into the floor even more. A relief to my burning Hell had come.

I could hear my brother Val laughing.

“Thank you,” I whispered. “I thought I was going to absolutely melt.”

Val lay down on the floor beside me and pulled the icy wet sheet over the both of us.

“I hate the heat,” I said to him.

“I know you do,” he replied.

We lay in the dark, on the cold marble floor. The triple digit summer air encased us, drying out the wet sheet. I hooked my index finger with his as we lay as still as death together, trying to find some comfort.

With my eyes still closed I could hear footsteps coming into the room. I couldn’t will myself to move. I was so hot and so uncomfortable.

I’m not a creature who has a wide range of temperature control. The heat makes me want to hibernate or go into a coma.

I could feel someone lift the sheet from our still faces. We opened our eyes wide, not with our natural color, but with solid black. You know, the old black-eyed children trick. It works every time.

A gasp and a cry filled the air, then the sound of the poor lady running away from us.

Val threw back the sheet and propped himself up on his arm. Looking towards the doorway he laughed. “She thought we were dead.”

“And so we are, well sort of,” I answered looking at his pale face, made even paler by the dark hair falling over his forehead.

Today, about ninety summers later the heat still shuts me down. My daughter mentioned that today.

“Dad said you never did well in the heat.”

“No. I don’t.” And that is true as I sit here burning up with my hands sticking to the computer keyboard.

Every single summer the heat rises to triple digits F-ing Farenheit. And every single summer the hot walls of heat hit me so hard that every cell in my body wants to shut down. It should be no surprise, especially since I choose to live here. Then again, it is hot everywhere in the West, aside from the coast and the mountains. Maybe one day I’ll pack up and move, but until then, there are wet sheets and ice.

Oh, one more note, as a public service announcement. When it gets hot PLEASE make sure your dogs don’t end up with burnt feet. If it is too hot for you to walk on the hot pavement with bare feet it is too hot for your dogs. My friend Amelia in Las Vegas used to put booties on her old dog for walks in the hot desert neighborhoods. And triple check their water – cat water too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Heat, Religion, Frogs, and Old People

Summer is Here! Bake it baby (or if you’re smart you’ll stay someplace cool)

 

I could wax poetically about temperature but it is in the triple digits farenehight outside. Any wax is going to melt and I’m not feeling too poetic.

Yesterday afternoon, a man came to my church asking about my religious beliefs. I ended up with a brochure about “original sin,” something which I do not believe in. Sure some people are born evil. Some are born without souls, and I’ll freely admit that. I’ve met them. But the average little baby isn’t chock full of sin, like a dead deer full of maggots on a hot summer day, so don’t even make that comparison or even suggest to me EVER that babies are full of sin. Sheesh.

I should have given the poor man a glass of water but he was so crisp and unflappable looking that I assumed he had a cooler in his car (which could have been full of beer and Jello shots as far as I know.)

At the time I was holding a large German Shepard by her collar with the door cracked open. I should have never answered but it is usually a friend or a neighbor when someone comes a calling, especially when it is so stupidly hot outside.

I believe I’ve used the frog story before, but I shall tell it again.

Put a cold cast iron skillet on a cold burner on your stove. Gas works best. Place a large, live, cold blooded frog in the center of the skillet. Use a good sized one – 10-12 inches. Turn on the heat ever so low, then gradually turn it up. The frog will sit until it gets blazing hot and it’s feet and belly stick to the cast iron and it is cooked.

This is what happens to people in this heat (we’re expecting over 100 all week and over 110 F on some days). Elderly people and others who are not always aware will sit in the heat like the frog until they cook. They’ll forget to jump out of the pan, or in the case of some folks, forget to turn on the air conditioning or fan. Or they’ll forget to call for help because they won’t realize they need help.

My neighbor and dear friend Kelly came over tonight with a couple of cold drinks (bless her). She isn’t a Vampire like we are. She suspects we’re different but can’t quite put a finger on it. She also has a ghost in her house (yes, that ghost.)

We sat for a while as she told me of her elderly mother and the heat. Her mother forgets to turn on the air conditioner. Her mother obsesses about bad neighbors but will not let her children or helpers put anything over the fence so to keep out the eyes of those bad neighbors. She asked Kelly to come over (it was 110 outside) to cut down a tree. Kelly said no. Her mother doesn’t know what yard the tree is growing in. Kelly tells her not to go outside and check because it is too hot and because she’ll fall and end up in the hospital – again. The same conversation has happened over and over – with a different plant, a hose, a stray cat, an unfamiliar car parked on the street, or something else that Kelly will either have to deal with or talk her way out of.

She wishes her mother would move to a house where she won’t worry about bad trees and bad neighbors and expensive up keep. Kelly has suggested a smaller home near Kelly and the grand kids. It would be nice with all sorts of beautiful features and a lovely garden within walking distance of Kelly’s home. The kids could visit anytime. Her mother refuses. So Kelly must hear about trees and drive to her mom’s to get the mail, and give up her Saturday fun time. Saturday fun time is important for working moms and all moms and busy women who work, and well, it is important for everyone.

She wishes she could travel and do fun things with her mother. She wishes they could talk more of things that are positive and fun – things that are not bodily functions or other unpleasant things that only bring Kelly stress.

Sometimes the heat can suck the fun out of everything. The heat of being a caretaker can do the same. It is exhausting. Especially if the caretaker has children of her own. Kelly told her kids to put her on an ice flow if she ever got to the point where she couldn’t take care of herself. She asked them to shoot her if she ever lost her sense of humor. I gave her a hug. We talked for another house about books we’ve read this summer. We agree that everyone MUST read “Beautiful Ruins.” Then she went home to spend time with her own teenage children (good friends with my kids.)

After slipping on the kitchen floor today on an unknown object and landing on my back, I lay there thinking that I’d better call The Elders. They’re ancient and sometimes don’t use the best judgement.

Eleorna and Tellias, frail and gentle, were fine. Their neighbor had brought over shaved ice flavored with basil and rosemary. God bless him. They remembered to bring their old dog in and give him plenty of water. They didn’t drive today because sometimes they forgot how to turn on the air conditioner and the sun was too bright and they had lost the keys again, so they stayed home. And they turned on the air conditioner in their beautiful 143 year old house and slept in each other’s arms like young lovers.

I’m always afraid that I’ll drop by their house and find nothing but their ashes. I’m afraid someone will take advantage of them. I’m afraid that one day they might be gone and I will have a broken heart that will never go away.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday morning. I was downstairs fixing coffee, listening to NPR and savoring the quiet time before the rest of the family got up.

Yes, quiet time. That is a rare commodity for a parent.

I’m wiping down the kitchen counter and thinking about the game schedule for today when I look up and a guy in a black suit with slicked back hair is standing about 4 feet from me with a smirk on his face.

Sure my skin prickled because I knew who this guy was.

“Whatever you want to sell I’m not buying,” I told him.

Suddenly visions of a beautiful wife, perfect kids in boarding school, money, freedom, maid service, more women…and fame. My dreams in youth of being an actor and being a politician and being the guy who starts the mega technology company and being a household word…they all come to mind. All the doors that were slammed in my face could be opened right now.

If only…

I looked at the man. He smiled. The cat started to scratch at the door to get out. I could hear the coffee dripping. A toilet flushed upstairs.

The man spoke “Why sleep with someone who has been trying to drop those 50 pounds for the past 10 years when you can have the most beautiful women in the world? Why be stuck fixing eggs for a bunch a loud kids when you can have meals fixed by the finest chefs? Why watch the game on TV when you can own the team?”

“Dude, I’m busy. Go away.”

“With your heart you should be in church,” he said that with one of those nasty sarcastic tones that I absolutely hate.

“Fuck you and get out of my house.”

He vanished in a cloud of sulphur smelling smoke. I don’t even know if he was The Guy or just one of his helpers.

Over the years I had a lot of opportunities and talent to go with it, but it was always the wrong time and wrong place. Or I was just too stupid or inexperienced to know what to do with the opportunity.

I’ve lived a life of regrets, but I landed here, right where I am now, in a house full of love. I have kids telling me about school and a wife showing me a painting she is working on. We go to work and we get tired and we do it all again. And it’s the best. And we learn something new every single day.

This is my Sunday School. This is my religion.

Tangled Tales

~ end

First posted 2013. 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman