Love of a parent never wavers or dies – a story of a father and son

Vampire Maman

A story about a father and son as told to my children and me by my husband.

My Father

“I know your mother was surprised when she arrived in Heaven and found only two of her three deceased children waiting for her.” My father gave me a wink and his familiar smile.

“I’m sure someone filled her in on what happened to me,” I answered.

The old man just smiled. I saw my dad one last time in 1913. He was 89 years old and fragile. He’d been born in 1824, come to California in 1849 with a wife and two small children in tow. I’d been born on the way out in Panama. After they arrived in Sacramento six more children were added to the family.

They’d come out with your parents, your grandparents, who were their closest friends. The men were business partners. Both of the wives were…

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Burning Question #15: Dinosaur Daze

Tiny tots of either sex
Adore Tyrannosaurus Rex
Indeed, all little ones adore
Any savage carnivore
Of which, O Rex, though rightly boastest
Thou art not only first, but mostest.

~ Ogden Nash

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On Valentine’s Day 2001 I spent one the most romantic days of my entire life with my husband at a Russian Dinosaur Exhibition in Old Sacramento. The babies were in daycare so it was, just us, holding hands, and walking through avenues of the most amazing wondrous and strange collection of bones we’d ever seen. They were millions and millions of years old, from a time on Earth we can barely imagine. On a weekday afternoon not many others were there. It our own romantic get-a-way. Damn, it was seriously romantic. We might be Vampires but that doesn’t mean the only thing we do in our spare time is frighten the crap out of people, or drain the blood out of everyone we know. Vampires know how to do romance, yes indeed we do. Anyway, back to dinosaurs…

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Every kid loves dinosaurs. I don’t know an adult who doesn’t love dinosaurs. We love Jurassic Park. We love Sue at the Field Museum in Chicago. We love Barney… ok we don’t all love Barney, but you get the point. When my daughter was a tiny tot her favorite stuffed animal was flying dinosaur that she called Terridackel. How cute is that. And yes, she still has Terridackel.

So what happened to these amazing huge beasts who once walked our planet before us?

Many scientists believe that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a massive asteroid that collided with Earth 65 million years ago, devastating the planet and wiping out 99% of all species. I think it was supposed to be where the Gulf of Mexico is right now but don’t quote me on it. And no, I doubt if anyone was in New Orleans or Key West at the time drinking Hurricanes (see recipe below) and watching it all. That said, evidence has been found to challenge the giant asteroid theory. Some Paleontologists claim to have unearthed dinosaur fossils in layers of soil that were formed around 66 million years ago, after the supposed meteor strike. Sounds good to me, but then again what do I know? I know that this is a BURNING QUESTION.

Burning Question #15: Were dinosaurs were wiped out by a massive asteroid or was it something else?

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Now that you’ve had major brain drain over dinosaurs and their fate it is cocktail time.

Hurricane

  • 1 part dark rum
  • 1 part light rum
  • 1/2 part lime juice
  • 1 part passion fruit or pineapple juice or nector
  • Garnish with whatever fruit you like (no olives or cocktail onions – use FRUIT)
  • Serve over loads of ice.

Yes, I posted it this way so you could make as much or as little Hurricane magic as you like depending on when you want to fall down on the floor. And remember – don’t drink and drive, or drink and use chainsaws. 

Thank you for stopping by for Burning Question #15. We have 35 Burning Questions to go. I’ll see you next Saturday for #16.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman and Dinosaur Expert.

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Hey look, I’ve got feathers! How cool is that?

 

 

If you have a cat…

As a parent, even a parent such as I am, one sees a lot of nasty stupid things. You’d think by the time your kids are almost grown (almost 17 and 20) that it would stop. And I’m not talking about kids, I’m talking about parents.

Dear Super Mom,

Maybe the reason you change your children’s teachers, schools, churches, sports, coaches, sports clubs, isn’t because everyone is insensitive and not doing their job. Maybe it is you. Maybe YOU aren’t doing your job. So just shut the fuck up and stop bad mouthing everyone. Look at yourself. And look at your kids – they’re mean to other kids, and they lie. Because of that other kids and adults don’t like them. Go figure your kids are just like you. How sweet. OK I’m done. Peace. 

 

Now that I have THAT out of the way…

Clara and I are planning another cross country road trip across deserts, mountains, and plains. Vampires love road trips. It is a time to crank up the music and see America. And who doesn’t like to taste the local flavor, if you know what I mean.

We are driving from near Sacramento, CA to Lincoln, NE, through Denver, CO. I’ll make sure I send photos from the road and my travel log. We’re going to the National Artistic Roller Skating Championships.

Excuse me for a second. Outside of my window is an angry Ghost. Did I mention that it is the middle of the day and over 105 degrees farenheit outside? Did I mention that I live on a hill, so the window is about two stories up.

I’ll be right back.

OK I’m back.

I motioned for the Ghost to come inside. He looked horrible – almost dead. I mean, he is dead, but not that kind of dead. Unless he is in his head-bashed-in with a frying pan look he had when he died he looks pretty good. He was one of those guys with almost a pretty face. You know, the kind with the sweet smile and eyelashes that make any woman green with envy. Yet, he is still extremely masculine. That does not sway my opinion of him, which is that he is usually a complete asshole.

He vanished in and reappeared standing behind me. His already shaggy black hair was almost standing on end. His skin look gray, even for a ghost. He wore his funeral suit without the jacket, and his black tie was loose around his neck, and he’d rolled up the sleeves.

“You look like you’ve been to Hell and back,” I said to him.

“Don’t even joke about that,” he said, then whispered the words Vampire bitch under his breath as if I wouldn’t hear.

I haven’t seen Nigel, The Ghost, for months, then suddenly he shows up in a bad mood, expecting my full attention.

I wait for him to speak, as one does with a Ghost. And I wait. He says nothing. Then I try to go back to writing something meaningful for my blog post about traveling with teens and young adults, but I’ve lost track of every thought in my head.

So I ask. “What is it Nigel?”

“Nothing.”

“Is it the heat?”

“I don’t have a physical body. I don’t feel heat.”

I’m not one for guessing games. In fact I hate guessing games. You know the type I’m talking about. Someone comes in and says, “Guess who I saw?” or “You won’t believe this. Guess who is getting married?” I don’t want to guess. I don’t want to throw out a dozen names and still not know what you want to tell me. Just tell me. So I didn’t even ask Nigel anything, and of course that drives him nuts, because he’d come back at me with a “guess what” fill in the blank.

The calico cat rubbed against Nigel’s leg. Yes, cats can do that, even if you don’t see the Ghost. Cats always see the Ghost.

Nigel gave the cat a smile and stroked her head, then he glared at me and vanished. I’m not even going to speculate on why he stopped by, other than to annoy me, or maybe he just needed to see the cat.

The train of thought is lost forever.

But I know that if you have a cat to pet then everything will be alright. If you have a cat your most troublesome Ghost will fade away with a smile on his face.

That’s it for today. Time to cool off.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

First published here in 2016. The kids got silver in their event. In 2017 they won gold. We’re not going this year but we’re still skating. I’m also still watching out for Nigel. I passed the cemetery where he was buried a few days ago and thought about him. As for the cats, they’re still sitting on the table by my laptop. 

 

Editors

My Editors Gloria and Oscar: Food and a box is all they ask for (usually)

 

2018 AGT and Cocktails. Summer is here!

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Summer is here and that means the Vampires gather in front of the big screen TV and watch America’s Got Talent. It also means we drink cocktails and I record all of the comments from the Peanut Gallery.

This well worn tradition of blogging about the show started in the summer of 2012. We’ve been watching it since 2008 when my daughter and I discovered it one night while we were on the road for the artistic roller skating regional championships. We were hooked. We still haven’t hooked my husband Teddy but that’s ok because he drinks, makes rude comments and makes cocktails for the rest of us.

So without any more boring history let’s get on with the show. Right now the show is in the audition stage. Two acts have already received the Golden Buzzer. That means they can go on without a second try-out. One was one of those dance troupes with a zillion kids being thrown into the air and twisted around like so many cute pretzels. Teddy thinks the man who run these groups have latent tendencies towards pedophilia. Hey, I’m just writing down what I hear. I’m not overly fond of those groups either.

The SECOND Golden Buzzer, which was pressed by Simon himself was for Michael Ketterer a pediatric mental health nurse who is also the father of six children. He and his wife had two girls, then they adopted four boys. Michael’s story was that he wanted to show his kids that they could dream big. He also showed everyone that he not only has a big heart but a soulful big voice.

For the first two auditions there weren’t very many acts that stood out. Oh, except the CATS. There were CATS that did tricks. Big fluffy house cats that did amazing tricks! We loved those cats. See the link to the cats at the end of this post.

So last night we watched auditions #3. Yes, we record everything so we can fast forward thought commercials and stuff we get bored with.

My husband, kids, brother Val, Grandmama Lola, and a few friends were over. I was going to give the usual warning about snarky rude comments and bad language but there wasn’t any. By far round three was the best so far. Alright I take that back. We fast forwarded through a large block of dancers (Clara said they copied their moves from YouTube videos.) Most of the dance groups are on the level or below the level of most high school or middle school dance groups. Just an observation. We also fast forwarded the circus acts and the weird techno acts because they are BORING.

But this is what we liked:

This precious 13 year old just might end up being the 2018 Winner (if the cats don’t get it)

I usually don’t like “Quick Change” acts but this is an exception. These two put on a great show, and they were adorable.

And finally… OMG this guy was brilliant and funny and weird. We loved it. And no, he isn’t really German.

Teddy said that the AGT folks should just give the cat act from the first audition group a million dollars just because they’re a CAT ACT.  This is seriously fun.

AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR COCKTAILS!

Summer Chai Chai Cocktail

Last night Teddy fixed something different.

  • 4 ounces cold Chai Tea. Use unsweetened tea bags and either brew it and chill it, or make sun tea. Make it strong. 1 bag for each cup.
  • 3/4 ounce passion fruit puree or juice. You can also use pineapple, or any other tropical fruit depending on what you like.
  • 1 ounce blood (leave out if you’re not a Vampire)
  • 1/2 ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 ounce balsamic vinegar

Mix this all together and pour over a glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with mint if you have it on hand.

So have fun, drink responsibly, sing a song, smile, hug your kids, and enjoy the summer. I’ll see you next week for more AGT fun and cocktails.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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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.)

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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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Savor the Summer. They’re growing up but they still need us.

Summer is officially here. It isn’t June 21 yet, but it is hot, summer school starts today, and I’m juggling a new season of activities. Yes, all of you parents out there, parenting does not end when your kids turn 18. It just goes into a different universe. For me that has been a nice mellow universe.

My son’s best friend Randy came over this morning. He has grown up since I started this blog from a funny skinny kid with long blonde hair and a fondness for orange plaid, to a gown man with broad shoulders, a man bun, and still a unique sense of style.

Being an adult Vampire is easy in college. Students live in close quarters. There are parties every night. The bar scene is big for the over 21 crowd. But unlike creepy Vampires in a lot of fiction, one can’t stay in college forever, even if you still look like a college student.

You never want someone to tell you “Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days was written about you.” Never. Believe me, you NEVER want anyone to say or even think that. Even if you’re not a Vampire you never want anyone to say that.

Randy sad down with me over coffee and we talked about his life. He is working for my brother Aaron this summer to see if he might like to work in a law office.

“I’m excited about my last year of college, but being a Vampire. Like, we’re supposed to be on top of things, but going out there in the big world, maybe to a place where there might not be a lot of us is kind of scary.”

“It can be scary,” I said. “But you won’t be alone. You’re family, you’re community, all of us are here for you.”

“I know. The worst part is not knowing if I’ll always look like I do not, or if I’ll end up aging out to my 30’s.”

“Don’t worry about it. Your parents aged out in their late twenties. I bet you will to.”

“I don’t want to look twenty-one forever. Well, twenty-two in August.”

We talked for a bit more when my son Garrett showed up with new hiking boots and a bag full of hair products. Ah, my well-rounded son.

 

I love the fact that no matter how old my children’s friends get, they will always be welcome in my home. I will always be there for them to talk, and for a hug when needed.

Nobody at any stage of life, be it Middle School, or the seasoned 457 year old Vampire knows what the future will bring. We all need support from teacher other at all stages of life. Like I’ve said before, our kids learn from us, and we can learn from them.

The key is just to be there for each other. And rather than rush to judgment, and throw them in the pool before they learn to swim, we need to let them go their own pace and test the waters, and know we’re here if they need a rope.

Summer is here. We’ll be taking some short trips to the beach and the woods. We’ll be going to the book stores and taking the dog out more. We’ll be talking a lot, and laughing, and learning, and savoring our time together until the boys have to go back for their last year of college.

Have a great week everyone, and savor your time with those you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman