Vote TODAY – Everybody

On Tuesday June 5, 2018, I will be working as a Sacramento County Polling Clerk at one of the new voting centers. I’ll be in Orangevale so if you’re in my neck of the woods you might see me.

We are now in fire season here in Northern California. No big fires yet, but they’ll be here soon enough.

I was going to wax and wane poetically about fires that burn in our hearts with desire for love and freedom and dreams that others would take away. Think about how many times a child says she wants to be an artist or writer or doctor or historian or anything and someone says “that is too hard” or “you’ll fail.” How many times have people come up against all odds and had success. Think about that when you vote tomorrow. And you WILL vote (or I will lose all respect for you if you’re an American citizen.)

Anyway, a lot of people, including ALL women had someone before them fighting for that vote. But I won’t go on. The fires burn for education and knowledge. The fires burn for freedom to love. Vote for the fires that burn for the love of your children. Vote for the environment and water issues. Just vote for common sense.

Today you need to VOTE because all of the above. In other parts of the world (not my part of the world) people risk their lives for the right to vote. They die for it. People died for it here too.  So remember them and VOTE.

Plus remember… if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the results.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vote

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Vampires

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Vampires

Our character is a reflection (no pun intended) of who we are, and THAT reflection is made up of HABITS.

We might think that habits are nothing to be bothered and nothing but odd bits of manners, but in reality we’re Vampires, so we’re odd, so we definitely need habits for success. Seven is also an odd number, so we need seven habits. That is unless you’re the seventh son of a seventh son, then I can’t help you. Nobody can help you.

You can be proactive, reactive, inactive, radioactive, or even retroactive. It is always your choice, depending on what important habits you decide to incorporate into your existence.

People often ask self-help guys, “Why can’t children do their work cheerfully?” Holy crap, I can’t do my own work cheerfully. Have you ever thought about talking with your kids, telling them exactly what you expect, explaining consequences, then not being wishy washy about it or an asshole? Communications is always the key. You don’t need a book to tell you that. Just listen to the Vampire. Listen to yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be a jerk.

People also ask self-help guys, “How can I make a lot of money?” Work. Work hard. Work smart. Save. Go back to school. There is no EASY way, so stop being a jackass looking for that pot of gold. Those little green trolls aren’t giving up anything. Yes, and your wife, and your kids think you’re a jackass.

You can be a leader, a follower, or someone who just doesn’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. In light of recent political events the later might be the best option. Well, that and the fact that you’re a Vampire.

 

HABITS 1 - 4

HABITS 1 – 4

 

Habit 1: Be Aggressive

Some call it being proactive, but you’re a Vampire so call it what it is. Be aggressive. It is a cold and dark world out there for our kind. Improve your existence by being proactive and not letting anything get in the way of you and your next victim donor.

Habit 2: Begin with an Objective.

Write yourself a mission statement. Mine is: Don’t sweat the small stuff cause Vampires don’t sweat.

Habit 3: Go ahead – Put it off.

You’re a Vampire. You have time. You have a lot of time. So take your time. No need to rush anything.

Habit 4: You ALWAYS win.

This isn’t a Win/Win world for Vampires. You must ALWAYS win. The key is to make your donors think that they are winning. Don’t just leave them with a pint less of blood, a sore neck, and a queasy feeling. Leave them with sweet dreams. Leave a basket of fresh baked cookies, and juice to help get their blood sugars back up. And if you run into a jerk – then leave that person with nightmares he or she will never forget – because YOU ALWAYS WIN.

HABITS 5 - 6

HABITS 5 – 6

Habit 5: It doesn’t matter what they think

Over the years I’ve helped a lot of new Vampires break in their fangs, and adjust a different kind of life. As a Vampire you can’t be all of that concerned with the feelings of others. Nobody wants fangs in their warm plump neck veins. What they do want is you listening to them empathically. Then you lull them into a trance and have your fill. Don’t be overly concerned about asking if it is ok, or if their feelings are going to be hurt. This isn’t the time to be concerned with their point of view. It is time for YOU and what YOU think.

Habit 6: Take advantage

Use your natural Vampire charm and cunning to gain their trust. Communication is the key to leverage your views and desires. Engage with them and use their faults to make them think everything is their idea. They’ll have themselves in the morning, but you’ll have a nice warm stomach full of blood.

habit-7

HABIT 7: Throw them a fast ball, then throw them a curve ball – they’ll never know what hit them.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Knife and Use it.

Maintain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life in a well balanced way. Bahahahahahahha. Like that is going to happen. Just do what you need to do. You’re a Vampire. Throw them a fast ball, then throw them a curve ball – they’ll never know what hit them.

 

The previous statements might or might not be the opinion of this blog or whatever. This is just for fun (maybe), and not intended to be taken seriously (unless you’re a Vampire.)

You KNOW how I feel about self-help books, parenting books, boring books, and books with missing pages – not much.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Permission to succeed

“You’ve given yourself permission not to fail. Now, my dear, you need to give yourself permission to succeed.”

My father brushed a cool hand over my hair and gave me a knowing look with his dark stormy sea blue eyes. “Everyone believes in you except you.”

“I don’t…” I tried to speak.

“No. You do. YOU DO.”

A pathetic yelp entered the air. We looked over to where my kids were brushing burrs out of the dog.

“They believe in you,” said my dad. He went over to his grandkids and left me lingering. I took a smallish blue Grueby pot that my husband had left on the table into my hands. We both love arts and crafts pottery, even after all these years. It was plain yet beautiful. Classic and smooth. Maybe I am like that pot, classic, smooth, simplicity with beauty. Or I can try.

Dear old Dad came back. “Sweet child of mine,” he said with just a hint of an accent of far off England.

“I’m fine Dad. Really.”

“Tonight is a full moon. I know how the Werewolves seem to be attracted to you. You need to watch yourself.”

“I don’t plan on going out. But I know how to handle them. Remember, you taught your children well.”

“As well as a Vampire can.”

“As well as any parent can. You’re the best.”

He smiled and gave me a hug.

That was all I needed to be sure.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

vampire_dad_daughter_werewolf_2

 

 

Ghost of Creativity

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity. I am an artist and writer. By using both I am a story-teller using both words and pictures – sometimes together and sometimes not.

I am fortunate to know so many other creative beings who are writers, artists and musicians and even actors. Anyway, being one of those kinds of people is never easy. The risks of even admitting one is creative is great. You’re scorned if it is your passion or if try to make a living of it. You are celebrated if you succeed. There seems to be no in-between. And nobody understands, or so it seems. Mentors are few and far between. Paths are unclear and filled with holes.

Then again it can be wonderful and rewarding and magical. When I’m creating I’m happy. When I’m creating and making money that really makes me happy.

This morning I’m working on some drawings and writing, as well as some business…

I’d just fixed coffee in my red French press and looked out the window to see the red shoulder hawk sitting in an oak tree and turkeys walking below (just setting the scene.) Anyway, my brain was starting to go blank and doubt was setting in and my attention span was well, I have no attention span what so ever.

I looked up from my computer to see a pale face surrounded by a mass of shaggy dark hair. It was Nigel, THE GHOST, my ghost, sitting across from me with a fuck-you-Juliette look on his face.

“What are you trying to do today Vampire?” He was in one of his usual fresh out of the grave moods.

“I was just thinking about all of my insanely creative friends.”

“You have friends?”

“Don’t be rude. So tell me Nigel, you were a successful artist. How did you manage it?”

He leaned back in the chair and then loosened his tie.

“Well, Juliette, my dear dear dear Juliette, I learned the business. I was sort of an asshole. I never took no for an answer. I believed in my art. But most of all I had a lot of support. Nobody every expected me to do anything but succeed. Good thing my family didn’t want anything to do with me or I would have never done anything. But my friends and my foster family were my real family. They believed. They made me believe. I probably would have killed myself before I ever made it out of high school if I’d stayed with my biological family. I was my art. My art was me. There was no separation. I worked smart too, learned from my mistakes and… connections were a big thing. I went to the right school. Right away I started to network and find the right people. I’ve never been shy. I was driven. I didn’t listen to anyone who wanted me to be nice or follow the norms or get a real job. Most of all I was good. I was great. People still buy my art. They still love it. Can you imagine if I’d lived? Can you imagine all of the people with real talent who are alive right now but so beaten down by all of the crap that they’ve heard all of their lives about how art doesn’t matter? At least their art doesn’t matter because… It was easy for me because I didn’t have to please anyone but myself and I was damn great at both art and pleasing myself. Everything is easy if you go throughout life as sort of a prick.”

I listened and thought a bit then poured more coffee.

I looked up and Nigel’s handsome almost transparent face was next to mine. “And you want to know what else Juliette? Tenacity. A lot of tenacity. A whole lot of tenacity.”

“It is easy when you’re young to dream,” I said, thinking of the teens I know, and of my own youth.

He gave a laugh, but it wasn’t mean. It was happy. “But when you’re old you have the life experience. You can do anything.”

“It isn’t that easy,” I said.

“Nothing is that easy, especially bringing back that passion but it can be done.”

“Anything else?”

“Don’t be a ghost before you’re dead,” said Nigel and he vanished in a whisp of blue smoke.

I’ve had doors slammed in my face. So I go to a side door or through a window. Or I find a better door. Or I kick the door down. Or I sit outside and yell. But as I go through my own front door, into the home I love knowing that my creativity bought this house I know that nothing can get me down at this point. It can’t. I won’t let it.

As I embark on new creative endeavours, new journeys so to speak, I will try not to bring any old ghosts with me. Well, with one exception. I will bring Nigel along with me, even if he is a pain in the ass sometimes. But when I go it alone I know he’ll be there, along with so many others cheering me on.

And in turn, I will be on the sidelines cheering on my creative friends. Better than that I’ll march in the parade beside them.

Never give up your art. Never give up your creative spirit. Never give up. Never. Like Nigel said – don’t be a ghost before you’re dead.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

red shoulder hawk

My hawk who visits outside my window.

 

Short Story Sunday: The Bully

The Bully

Sunday mornings on the deck with coffee, a cat purring in my lap, a dog at my feet and my beautiful family still asleep upstairs equals something good. It is all good.

Of course it wasn’t always that way. I think of my kids. I’ve done a lot to make sure they’re strong and secure. I make sure they’re not open to con artists and bullies. I made sure that they learned to stand up for the weak and those who are different.

So why am I musing on such lofty parenting goals? It is because their witty, confident, successful and good looking dad was once the kid who went to school in fear each day because of bullies. Nobody thought anything of bullies back then, when I was a kid. It was part of the school culture. But you know, even as a kid I knew it was wrong and one day it would be over.

It was over for me by the time I was 13. I went to high school and reinvented myself into a funny smart semi-popular kid.

My mind went back to fifth grade – in particular to one kid. Ronnie Martin was the personification of a bully. He was Goofus in Highlights Magazine. He was a sadistic little shit who never let down on reminding me that I was smaller and weaker than he was. Ronnie amassed an army of schoolyard thugs up against me. I was taunted, tripped, lied about, and shunned by other kids. I never knew why his one goal in life was to make my life a living Hell.

Once we got to high school nobody would put us with his bullshit. He faded into the background of kids nobody sees. I was free.

So what brought these memories back on a beautiful Sunday morning?

Last Friday on the way home my 15 year old son and I stopped by the hardware store to pick up some supplies for a leaking faucet. I still had on my suit (important meeting at the Capitol that day) sans the jacket. My son had on a band shirt and skinny jeans (no sagging mind you.) We were a typical father and son – only my son was an inch taller than me. When did that tiny six pound baby grow to be six feet tall?

I’d sent Tristan off to find a new front doormat while I went through the thirty thousand small bins of washers.

Standing in isle 34 I heard a voice that made me go cold.

“Here kitty kitty.”

In fronting of me was Ronnie Martin. He was older and larger than I remembered. The last time I remember seeing him was 45 years ago in Freshman English class when a couple of popular kids told him nobody put up with bullies in our high school and that they liked me. Now here Ronnie was a big slob with a gray ponytail, bad ink on his arms and a shit eating grin on his face.

I had the misfortune to be named Bartholomew. My mother called me by my full name. I went by Bart. Ronnie picked up on the mew.

Back in elementary school Ronnie and his minions would follow me making pathetic mewing noises and yelling “here kitty kitty.” Someone once filled my desk with cat litter. Ronnie told the teacher I’d done it to get out of work. She believed him. I had to clean it up and was sent to the office where the principal lectured me on my bad behavior. Such was my life for the next three years.

Ronnie made sure I was always picked last on teams and that I never had a place to sit on the bus. Now I look back on it I realize that I was his obsession. It just seems so sick and twisted now.

The bully looked me up and down in isle 34 like some creeper looking at a pretty girl in short skirt. “So I hear you’re some sort of big shot. What are you the gay secretary?”

He knew I owned a successful advertising and PR agency. He must have known.

Tristan came up with a doormat looking curious at the big rough looking Buba blocking my way.

I tried to pass and Ronnie blocked me. I looked him in the eye. “The fact that you bullied me does not define me. The fact that you are a bully defines you and will always define you.”

“You’re still a pussy Bart. You’ll always be a pussy.”

I said nothing but I knew he’d always be an asshole.

Putting my arm around Tristan I headed for the check out.

“What was that about Dad?” My son gave me one of those amused WTF looks.

“Just some loser I knew in elementary school.”

Tristan started to laugh in that way teen boys laugh. I had to laugh too.

 

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For more short stories, including romance, gothic tales and Vampire stories check out the Short Story Page (click here).

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Let’s forget about people we don’t really like and be politically incorrect and concentrate on our kids

Let’s forget about people we don’t really like and be politically incorrect and concentrate on our kids.

I’m worried about having my children grow up in a world where the following doesn’t matter:

Education.

We might say it matters but then I see articles on the Internet on major news sites saying that High School graduates are below the poverty line so obviously it doesn’t matter if anyone graduates from high school. College is also at risk, especially those who graduate in liberal arts.

Listen up folks, it isn’t all just about jobs, a lot of education is related to the quality of life. If your mind and spirit stop being active then your mind and spirit will die – that includes the continuous education (be it school, reading, exploring, discovering, trying new things…).

College isn’t for all kids. So where are the vocational programs and trade schools of the past? We need those programs BACK. Not lame bandages but real programs for real kids.

Parenting:

Kids need two parents. If one or more of said parents are selfish asswipes I’ll make an exception. Kids don’t need to be forced to be with horrible people just because said horrible person wants to get child support or control or just want to be a shit head. 

If you don’t plan to be involved with the lives of your kids don’t have children (as in use birth control and self control).

Don’t have kids as an excuse not to work (hey, forget the dream of being a stay at home mom because if he dies or loses his job or leaves you for a more attractive coworker you’re screwed).

ALL CHILDREN need INVOLVED parents.

 

  • Talk to your kids.
  • Know what they’re doing
  • Don’t bring your drama into their lives. If you have kids you don’t have the luxury of having your own petty drama.
  • Make them feel safe.
  • Listen to them.
  • Listen to them.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN. You need to hear what they have to say and not pass judgment.
  • Let them fly – as in don’t smother them.
  • Love them. Hug them. Tell them you love them.
  • Tell them that you’re proud of them.
  • And let them know when they’re going the wrong direction (but in an adult way – remember YOU are the adult)
  • Put your kids FIRST (not your own selfish need to always have a boyfriend, a girlfriend, your abusive spouse, a beer, your party friends, your drugs or whatever your current self-centered addiction is).

 

Now I’m sure I’ve pissed off a few people with my comments but those folks can go read the politically correct beige and sugar cookie blog.

Having a child is a HUGE responsibility yet people give more thought about what kind of dog they’re going to get or what movie they’re going to see on Friday. Excuse me, talk about caring about human life?!?!?!?! These folks don’t give a crap about it.

And don’t think parenting means having matching DNA. Parents are the FOREVER people in a child’s life.  Family means people who love you – blood does not matter – it’s all about love and caring. It just pisses me off when kids have to spend time with parents who don’t give a crap about them when they should be with the people who DO love them and care about them.

Success:

Never apologize for success. Never apologize for having great kids. Never apologize for having a great job. Never apologize for having a nice home. Never apologize for being responsible. Never apologize for being good at anything. Never apologize for loving your husband because he is so good with your kids.

And success isn’t about money. It is about being good at something. It is about working hard. Success is about being proud of what you do and how you live your life.

You can be a success at taking care of stray cats. You can work at a sport. You can have a hobby, even if it just drawing with a pencil on paper or growing marigolds in a big pot every summer (that actually bloom).  You can be the best teacher because your students go on to succeed. You can be the best supervisor because your employees go on to get their dream jobs and that makes you happy because you gave them the self-confidence and skills it took to do it.

If you’re happy for the success of others than that makes you a success.

Never apologize for hard work.

  • Education Matters
  • Good Parenting Matters
  • Success Matters
  • Hard Work Matters

And last of all:

Giving back matters.

A friend of mine recently said “I’m doing ok, but I want to be insanely wealthy so I can give most of it away.” He wants to start a scholarship program for foster kids.  What is your cause? My friend is taking small steps right now. We all can take small steps to help others and by doing that one day we’ll all be on top of that mountain.