Have Some Cake (and Parenting of Course)

In honor of the Grammy’s I was planning on doing a post of the WORST songs ever (Rhiannon, McArthur Park, Spill the Wine, Sylvia’s Mother, Seventeen, That horrible roller skate/key song, The Thong Song, Free Bird, anything featuring Barbara Streisand, Ariana Grande, St. Vincent, or The Doobie Brothers.) I decided to skip it for something not so negative. Musical taste is so subjective.

But it was fun this summer driving across the endless Utah desert with my child, after the air conditioner had failed, listening to the worst songs ever. Let me explain…when a song on the “worst songs of all time” list came on I’d turn it up as part of my daughter’s cultural education. She listened to the entire performance of McArthur Park. I had to explain that the cake out in the rain and finding the recipe was a metaphor for lost love or some bull shit like that, while my seventeen year old child laughed out loud. We both laughed out loud in our 400 degree F car driving along about two hundred miles from the nearest town.

Everything in life isn’t good, no matter how hard you try to put that twist on your child rearing philosophy. At least there are times, like with music, when you can use humor to teach your kid about bad taste, bad judgement, bad fashion, bad friends, bad politics, and all of those weird things that come across our pathway.

Music, like art, literature, and cats, is something you can share with your kids. It brings people together. Stay with me on this because I know a lot of people hate their kids music. At least you can make an effort to understand what they like, and why they like it. Or maybe you can find something new together. Expand your horizons. Take a leap of faith and turn to a different number on the radio dial together. You might hate it. You might love it. But you did it together – with your kid.

Now for the real reason I brought up music. Yesterday I posted a story about a couple of Vampire kids in college called “Why I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Blog traffic was through the roof (because I am the Queen of Love Letters). But NOBODY, not a single person mentioned the reference to a song in the story. Oh come on guys, humor me a little.

And yes, I do love each and every one of you who reads and follows this blog.

OK, here it is. Listen and look for it.

Listen to the next songs too. Have fun even if you don’t like it. Or as your mom would say, “Don’t complain, it’s good for you.” Here are a couple of the best covers ever. Yes, listen to the Vampire – it’s good for you. Don’t complain.

By the way, the band CAKE is from Sacramento, my hometown. We’re a creative kind of place.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Perhaps

 

 

I Hate Valentine’s Day (A Short Vampire Story)

Short Story Sunday Monday Tuesday:
I Hate Valentine’s Day

“I shouldn’t be alone today,” thought young Randy as he sat brooding on a rock, on the beach at 5:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. His heart was broken. The girl, a Vampire girl he knew he was going to fall in love with had given her heart to another and left him in the dreaded friend zone.

And it wasn’t as if she’d left him, or chosen another college student. Sure the guy she’d fallen for looked like he was twenty-one but he was born in freaking 1902. What did girls see in these older guys?

He was jolted from his thoughts by a “Hi. You’re Randy, aren’t you?”

A dark haired girl in a short black skirt and a long black jacket stood in front of him. “I’m Alexis. I’m in your Organic Chemistry class. I’m a Vampire, but you knew that. I know you are too. Small world.”

“Oh, right. Sure. Hi. Have a seat,” said Randy, glad for the company now.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” said Alexis.

“Why do you hate it?”

She sat down on rock next to him. “My parents were borderline Shadow Creepers, you know old time Vampires who stayed in the dark most of the time. Nobody knew we were Vampires, but everybody including the other school parents thought my parents were weird. I got picked on a lot at school. I was like quiet and small. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t dare try any of my Vampire stuff on anyone. I was afraid if anyone found out they’d kill my family. Anyway, every Valentine’s Day we’d have to make stupid boxes and bring Valentines. I always made something pretty with roses and flowers and stuff, all pink and nice. I always make a beautiful box, and make everyone pretty Valentines by hand, but I never got any Valentines. Maybe from one of the girls who felt sorry for me. Everyone had full boxes except me. The kids all started to laugh at me. I wanted to rip their throats out but I couldn’t. You know, Vampire code.”

“Sure, don’t show them what you are, no matter what. Did your mom and dad know?”

“I never told them anything. We didn’t talk much at home. But I got my revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“I told the teacher I had to go the bathroom. Of course the boys started to make jokes about how I’d stink the school up. They were mean like that. Always. It never stopped. So like, the teacher said someone had to go with me to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much time in there, cause sometimes I’d just go there to get away from it all. She said that Ashley should go with me. Ashley was the most popular girl.

Ashley started to pout and complain. So a girl called Emma volunteered. Emma was the only kid who gave me a Valentine. She was kind of overweight and sometimes the other kids would say mean things to her too, but she was the smartest kid in the class so they didn’t say too much.

When we got out of the classroom Emma said she knew I didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We walked around for a bit, then went back to the classroom. But we didn’t go in.

“You can make them pay for what they did. I’ll help you,” said Emma. “I’m a witch. I know what you are.” Then she smiled in a way that even scared me.

We didn’t go back in the classroom. The door locked with a loud click. Emma just smiled. The room filled with smoke. The other kids started to scream. They couldn’t get out. Everyone started to claw at their faces and arms. That is except the teacher who kept trying to open the door. We ran to the office to get help. You know, we had to keep up appearances.

By the time the fire department go there and knocked down the door, the smoke at gone away, but the smell of sulphur was still in the room. Some of the kids had clawed out their eyes and made huge gashes in their faces and arms.

Then Emma whispered in my ear, “they’ll never call you ugly again.”

Hey, even I was shocked. I never did a thing. It was all her. Both of us ended up going to another school. In high school I made a lot of friends. They all thought my parents were cool Goths. The rest of the kids are still all scarred and screwed up.”

Randy looked at her feeling sort of numb. “Where is Emma now?”

“She got into swimming. Lost a lot of weight. Turned blonde. She’s at UCLA now. So Randy, why don’t you like Valentine’s day?”

“A girl I liked started seeing another guy.”

“Bummer. Sorry to hear that.”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves. Randy didn’t know what to say. He and his best friend had been the two most popular boys at their high school. Their lives had been happy and relatively care free. Their parents were modern Vampire in every way possible.

Alexis bumped her shoulder gently against Randy’s. “I hope you don’t think I’m weird.”

“No. Well, maybe just a little.”

“Looks like the storm is coming in. Wanna get coffee? No pressure. It’s not like I want to be your girlfriend or anything like that. Just you know, like just a couple of Vampire friends.”

“Sure,” said Randy.

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun. Well, stranger things had happened.

~ End

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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

The sixteen year old boy in this post is now twenty, but this still applies for all parents, teens, and true romantics. First published 02/2013.

red heart

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 town that used to be called by some interesting names back in the day.

Ask Juliette: Political Fall Out, Social Media, Teens, and Vampires

Ask Juliette

Ask Juliette (Ask a Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a somewhat regular feature at vampiremaman.com

If you have a question about parenting, relationships, vampires, or anything – just ask. Leave a question here for the next post, or email me at juliettevampiremom @ gmail .com

This week was difficult. See the questions below. I’m sure after I write this post I’ll go throw up blood, or get a headache that will last for weeks. I hope I won’t lose any friends.

medieval-rabbits

I’m the parent of three wonderful teenagers. Since the election they have been on social media non stop complaining about the new POTUS. What do you say to teens and young adults about social media? I understand their passion, but it is getting ugly out there.

Since election, and even more since the inauguration there has been a shit storm fire storm of politically inspired social media posts.

First and foremost I have had a difficult time staying polite over the issue. But as a parent I don’t want my kids, or any kids, to miss opportunities due to their public opinions.

This is a time when many high school kids are applying for college, and applying for jobs.

No matter what their political, religious, and other beliefs are they MUST keep in mind that others are looking at their social media footprints.

Email addresses: No employer or potential school wants to see an email address that reads suckmydickorangeman@yahoo.com, or mypussyisofflimits@gmail.com

Encourage your child to use something that resembles their given name. For example JasonDoe99@yahoo.com.

I understand the outrage of many young people. I understand their feeling that the government that will shape their adult lives is showing only hate and malice towards science, the environment, women, LBGT folks, and the freedom of speech. I understand their need to express that outrage. But they need to do it in a constructive way that will not effect future education and job opportunities. That does not mean they have to be silent. It just means that on public social media where they use their own names they need to be smart. Leave the profanity for the places where their real names aren’t used.

They can be swept up by the storm, or they can get involved. They can register to vote. They can write letters. They can go to peaceful organized marches. They can attend events. They can volunteer.

Their voices need to be heard. But the must be smart about it. I always make it a rule to keep my professional life, and my personal life separate, and that includes social media. I advise my children to do the same. It is just a good idea. Besides, you don’t need your potential boss, or school administrator in your business.

Since the election and inauguration I have had a heavy heart, and a headache that will not go away. I’m trying to keep the radio off, and limit my social media. That does not mean that I am going to shut up. It does not mean that I can get over an administration full of mean-spirited, sexist, racist, ignorant assholes. I’m getting involved. I’m encouraging others to vote. I could write about my feelings but when it comes to MY OWN feelings on this subject I tend to get too emotional. Deep breath.

I’m seeing families divided, and friendships damaged in ways I have never seen before. I’m sure I’ll lose a few readers because of my answers on this post.

The point is, that no matter what you believe, encourage your teens that whatever they put out there on the Internet will always be there. They need to think about what others will see when someone searches their name. Unfortunately that is the way things are. I can’t stress that enough. I’d hate for someone to miss out on an education or job opportunity due to meme, or comment made on social media. A split second of anger can do years of damage. I know to a teen (and adults) that sucks, but that is the way it is.

 

Sea Monster

I’m worried about the environment and the anti science attitudes that the new Trump administration has. What do you think.

I’m worried to. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills there are still problems with mercury poisoning from the California Gold Rush (remember 1849.) That is just one example of the lasting effects of man on the environment.

Yesterday a bald eagle flew over my house. It circled my yard then flew back to it’s nearby nesting place. I can’t imagine a world where wild creatures are not protected.

The anti-science policies of the current administration scare me. The current mode of making decisions is based on potential monitory profits, ignorance, and spite.

I have no answers except to get involved. Have your facts straight when you talk to others. Write letters. Boycot businesses that are environmentally unfriendly. Vote.

 

Unfortunately some things never change.

Unfortunately some things never change.

The woman I’m in love with is a Vampire. Any advice would be helpful.

Run away. Seriously, if you said she was from another culture that would be one thing, but she is a different kind of animal than you are. She might have been like you a hundred years ago, but dude, get a grip. It just isn’t a good idea. Believe me, I know about these things first hand.

 

No, this is not you and your Vampire girlfriend. It is not going to be like this. You're just a dude in love with someone you have no business being with. Run away. Run away.

No, this is not you and your Vampire girlfriend. It is not going to be like this. You’re just a dude in love with someone you have no business being with. Run away. Run away.

I want to be a Vampire. Can you turn me into one?

Good for you. No. Go away.

Ask Juliette

That is it for this week’s advice. Please feel free to send me some less exhausting questions for next week. Hey, I’m game for anything, really…do you know where I put the vodka?

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Influences

Clara, my high school senior, has been telling me about disclaimers teachers make in class.

“We’re going to be studying existentialism. I don’t want to get calls from any of your parents saying that you’ve become an existentialist.”

“We’re going to study communism. I don’t want to get calls from any of your parents telling me that you’ve become a communist.”

“We’re going to study nihilism. I don’t want to get calls from any of your parents saying that your now a nihilist.”

“We’re going to study anarchy. Don’t go home and tell your parents you are now an anarchist. I don’t want to hear it.”

“We’re going to read Dracula. I don’t want to get a call from your parents telling me you want to become a Vampire.” If your child is already a Vampire this won’t apply to you, because your child won’t say anything. 

And this brings me to some thoughts on influence, school, teens, poetry, and beauty.

Many things out in the wide world influence our children. It is up to you to give your children the tools they need to evaluate these influences. And you know what I’m going to say now… If you over protect your children you’re going to screw them up for LIFE. That is why you need to talk to your kids about, well, everything. If they learn, maybe you can learn from then. No, I take that back. You WILL learn from them.

Last week Clara asked me if I’d read Dover Beach. I vaguely remembered. Then I looked it up. Yes, in a way, it too is about choices and belief.

In my wildest dreams if I could write so beautifully…

My child and I talked about the poem, the meaning, the use of words. It was a joy. I thank her English teacher for setting a fire in the souls of her students with the words and passions of so many different writers.

Please read, enjoy, ponder, and be inspired.

Dover Beach

by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


 

Have a good week everyone,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Better Than Yourself

It is difficult, as a mother, for me to teach my children to despise those who embrace ignorance, hate, and the cult of narcissism, when most of our elected leaders, including the highest office, gladly embody all of those principles.

They tell me, “Mom, it will be alright. We’ll be fine. Look where we live. We aren’t like them. We never will be.”

As a parent I have embraced so much of our culture, much of which my children have brought into my world. Music, art, literature, and new ways of thinking. I’ve seen my children embrace diversity in ways nobody could have imagined when I was a child. I’ve seen my children go out into the world with open minds, and skeptical caution that keeps their eyes open.

While I seethe with anger, my children look for solutions. They look forward and beyond my fears and frustrations.

Raise your child to be better than yourself. Raise your child to be braver, smarter, and kinder than yourself. Raise your child to embrace the challenge. Forget your own personal failures and embrace the possibilities that your child sees. Remember that anything IS possible.

We teach our children, and in turn they will teach us.

It will be good.

It is good.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman