The Poop

Yesterday my 21 year old daughter shoveled up an entire big brown grocery bag full of dog poop. I didn’t have to ask. She offered.

Our dog is huge. Our yard is fairly large with a lot of oak and citrus trees, no lawn, and some raised beds for a garden. It is a fairly wild undeveloped space that backs up to even a wilder undeveloped space. Between the garden and the compost bin way out back the dog crapped everywhere.

The point of this story is to say how proud I am of my child, and to be snarky, on my biggest snark subject of 2020. It isn’t political shit (pun intended.) It isn’t about shitty people who won’t wear masks and social distance. It isn’t even about toilet paper. It is about shitty people who raise shitty kids then expect to have the right to shit all over everyone else.

Yes, I’m talking about the school admission scandals.

Entitled, and frankly stupid idiot kids like the fashion/beauty influencer Olivia Jade, were getting spots in universities (private and public) because their parents cheated they system. The parents took fake sports photos, bribed coaches, paid people to take tests for their brats, and assorted other lies and pay-offs.

This is nothing new. A lot of famous people, including well known public officials have been known to have cheated their way through school admissions and straight through to graduation.

Cheating is not cool. It is a crappy thing to do. It might help the cheater but it hurts everyone, including hard working kids, and I specifically mean middle class kids who work their asses off to get into good schools. I’m talking about the kids who don’t get into the schools and programs they deserve to be in because a cheater took their place.

My daughter got into a top university on her own. She did the research. She filled out the applications. She took the tests. She wrote the essays. Her school was not involved in the recent admission scandals. If she goes to a university that was involved in a scandal for graduate school I’m going to have a shirt made that says, “My child is going to _______ and I didn’t have to go to prison for it.”

I guess the real point to my snark today is that an entitled brat like Olivia Jade, or so many more like her, would never volunteer to pick up poop so her mom wouldn’t step in it every time she went out to her garden. And after that we talked about fellowships, school, the environment, making a difference in the world, favorite movies, and dogs.

The point of this isn’t to be negative about the children of the rich and famous. Many successful, hard working, smart, and compassionate, young people have rich and famous parents. But the point is that their parents actually parented. Their parents gave them the skills and values so they wouldn’t even consider cheating to be ok in any universe.

In this world nobody is entitled to anything. Add that to your list of parenting things to do. Your child is not entitled to anything.

But, all young people are entitled to the opportunity to try, and to dream, and to take a chance. It is their opportunity, not something the parents should do for them.

Sooooooo that is the shit for today. The poop is scooped.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t cheat. Check in on those who might be sick, old, alone, fragile, or just need extra help. And as always, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Listening is NEVER Useless. Thoughts on parenting, and other 2020 challenges.

I decided to take a day off and garden, and do fall cleaning and organizing.

Sure I’m a Vampire but what do you want me to do? I don’t spend all of my time stalking unsuspecting people and drain them of their blood. I don’t sleep upside down all day with bats. I don’t sit around doing ancient rituals. Who the hell does that? Get off of my back.

Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I took the day off from all news, politics, and pandemic crap and went wine tasting. We are fortunate to live 45 minutes away from one of the most spectacular wine regions in the entire universe. It was a perfect day.

Tomorrow my daughter is going back down to Southern California.

Yesterday was a perfect day. Today I am so stressed out that I feel like my head is going to explode.

Having a so-called empty nest doesn’t get you off the hook for parenting. My kids are so stressed out by the state of the world, school, work, and everything else that it is stressing me out. As a mom I am their sounding board. I am not complaining. I’m just feeling useless because there is nothing I can do but listen. Listening isn’t useless I tell myself because it is true. Listening is NEVER useless. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.

I’m just so damn worried about them. They’re smart. They make good choices. I’m good with that. That said, they are angry. They are discouraged. They are questioning everything.

With the election so close and no good choices for young people (just two old guys most of them don’t really support) they are frankly disgusted. They are loud and clear about their opinions.

Then there are our family dynamics to deal with. Mine are easy.

In my family we talk a lot about everything. We keep in touch. My kids talk to me or text me every single day. They don’t have to. They want to.

Don’t even get me started on those who think “self care” will solve anyone’s problems. Really? Right now autopilot is what is going to save me.

My fucking bank just merged with another bank (it was taken over by another bank) and now that is a huge cluster F. The lines at the bank are horrible. It took me five hours online to get everything half way working.

If anyone out there thinks being a Vampire or something other than what you are will help you please THINK AGAIN. Nobody is exempt from the modern world unless you want to be come crazy living up in the hills or out in the desert “off the grid.” Or you could live in a crypt, but in that case I doubt if you have a bank account. Shadow creeping Vampires who live in crypts and other unsavory places usually have dusty old attorneys who take care of their money, or they have a stash buried somewhere, or they just steal everything they need. Don’t even ask about how Zombies are living right now. Holy shit, this is 2020 and there is still a few months left for the Zombies to poke their rotting heads out of their hidey holes.

But I digress, we need to get back to parenting.

Right now is an extremely difficult time for parents with children of all ages.

My nephew and his wife just had a baby. I haven’t seen him yet. Any other year I would have been right over to San Francisco to meet my new little nephew. No such luck.

Our kids from pre-school to graduate school can’t go to school. Everything is online. Yes, there are a few online classes but that is more of the exception. Many trade schools are closed. Job opportunities are few and far between for our young adult kids who aren’t going to school.

At the same time our adult children are applying for college, jobs, trade schools and other programs. They feel totally screwed by the generations before them. To their credit they are doing better than they know. They’re strong. They’re getting organized. They’re loud. They’re fierce. I hope they will be force to be reckoned with.

My message to parents and to young people is DON’T GIVE UP. That is my message to everyone. Old, young, normal, unusual, weird, creative, uncreative, or whatever you are – DON’T GIVE UP.

I know I must sound like I’m rambling. My work at the museum is all online these days. I’ve been there in person once since March. I’ll go again on Friday and meet with a young person I’m mentoring. How cool is that? Extremely cool. I’ll be giving online tours with a docent friend. We’re over the moon happy about that.

So I’m fine. Teddy frustrated is fine. Our kids are frustrated but fine. My brother Aaron’s kids are frustrated by fine.

I guess the whole purpose here, aside from my gratuitous TMI venting, is to say that we’re all feeling a lot of pressure as parents. Just be there for your kids. Talk to them, but most of all just listen to them. Support your kids. Support their dreams.

SUPPORT THEIR DREAMS. Now is not the time to shoot down dreams or tell they can’t do something. Now is the time to just listen, be it by phone, text, Zoom, in person, or however you’re communicating these days.

I might get to gardening. I’ve spent the entire day in Zoom meetings, checking election results, taking care of banking BS, and being there for my kids. I’ll get out in the garden in an hour or two. My poor dog is feeling totally ignored.

Thanks for dropping by. Wishing you all peace of mind. Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay positive. Wear a mask. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Check in on those who might need extra help, and those who are alone. Don’t allow anger to get the best of you – leave that for the brainless Zombies and nasty Ghouls.

Take care,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What we’re talking about today: Heat, Famous People Saying Stupid Things, and NEW Summer Reading

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Alice the German Shepard says to make sure you stay hydrated.

 

I have to say that I’m glad my children DID NOT read the Harry Potter books. They tried but just couldn’t get into them. The movies were fun, but we did not buy or read the books.

I also have to say that I am proud of my LGBTQ friends. I am proud of my children for having close LGBTQ friends.

I have seen how difficult it can be coming out. I have seen the pain and rejection my friends have gone through. I have seen the incredible love they’ve given to me and others. I’ve seen the stupid ignorant hate thrown at them just because they loved someone. Some people are just shit heads. Don’t be a shit head.

 

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I’m love all of my friends who don’t have periods. YES there are women who, for MANY reasons don’t have periods. Why does it matter if a woman has a period or not?

Why is it that so many extremely rich and famous people are so out of touch with humanity? Why is it that so many extremely rich and famous people have no filters when it comes to people who are not like them? Why is it so many rich and famous people have the need to spout out ignorant and stupid thoughts in public? Don’t they have handlers?

Then they back track and try to make everything think they were misunderstood and play the pity party poor me card. Give me a break. Thousands and thousands of children made J.K. Roling a rich and famous woman and now she has chosen to be a dick and many of her most loyal fans in the back – for no reason. How fucked up is that?

Everyone has a right to their own opinion but NOT to hurt someone who is not in your life, who is not hurting you, and is quietly minding their own business.

We already have an unhinged president and plenty of politicians who have no filters – we don’t need our YA authors to start spouting off like a bunch of idiot politicians too.

Humans have been LBGTQ for centuries. They’ve been LBGTQ since before we had a word for centuries. Get over it. Accept it. And remember if we were all the same life would be incredibly boring.

Now on to something else…

It is HOT outside. Please make sure to check in on elderly friends and family, or others who might need your help to stay cool. Sometimes old folks don’t realize it is 100°F inside of their homes or are afraid their electricity bill might be too high. Go check on them.

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Available June 15th on Amazon from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants): 

Twenty authors. Fiction. Essays. Pandemic ponderings. Poetry.

Goin’ Extinct Too – Apocalypse A Go-Go!

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My dog Alice and I go walking almost every day. Here are a few shots of our journeys. Yes, I wear a hat and sunscreen. You need to do that too even if you’re not a Vampire.

We also walk to the school because nobody is there and it gives Alice the GSD a chance to run around without her leash and use the drinking fountain. We have no idea when the students are coming back.

 

That is it for today. I just wanted to vent and share. Keep cool. Wear a mask. Don’t drink any bad blood. Wash your hands. Be nice. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

I spilled half a littler box of used cat litter down my shirt

Venting Musings At Home With the Vampires Amid the Lockdown

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Today I spilled half a littler box of used cat litter down my shirt.

I was attempting to dump the box of used litter into a bag and well… I guess we can just say shit happens.

One a popular social media platform someone told me “I don’t read vampire books but I like Twilight.” I translate that to the entire text of Green Eggs and Ham. If you don’t understand this comment please don’t even ask. If you’ve never read Green Eggs and Ham please do yourself a favor and read it sometime in the next 48 hours. Please do not tell me you or a fan of Twilight or anything along those lines. I am not a fan.

Read this.

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Yes, it it one of those days.

It seems like every other week another writer, artist, musician, complains that friends and family don’t like or understand their work. Worse than that is that friends and family ignore their work.

I have friends who DO like my art and my writing. If you don’t do not worry about it. Plenty of people do or will like your creative work. Even if you’re the only one, along with your tens of thousands of fans that is all that matters. Keep telling yourself that.

I write about parenting. Don’t tell me you don’t like teenagers.

I also write about Vampires and other such things. I usually do that metaphorically /ˈˌmedəˈfôrək(ə)lē/.

Don’t tell me you are not a fan if you haven’t read any of my work, or read works from my friends or other authors I like.

Do you see where this is going? If you are an adult and someone politely offers you something you do not think you will like there are two correct answers.

  1. Have a small taste. You might like it.
  2. Say nothing.

During our time at home during this historic period we’ve been remodeling the inside of our home. That means we’ve been painting and moving around furniture before the new floors go in. According to cats that gives them permission to scratch up any nice furniture we might still own, and it also gives them permission to pee on everything that might have fallen on the floor. Cats do not live by the same rules as the rest of us. They are not part of polite society. However humans, or those who look human are expected to be part of polite society.

At this time polite society means four things.

Those things are:

  1. Wear a mask when going out in public and social distance.
  2. Be nice.
  3. Give moral support to medical staff, teachers, first responders, and people working in grocery stories, working in hardware stores, and working in places like Costco and Walmart, food workers, delivery drivers, and those who are out among the public.
  4. Do not complain and whine about staying in or online schooling.
  5. You are not unique or special. Even Vampires are not unique or special at this time. If they’re not special you aren’t special. Seriously, ever hear a Vampire whine? Be a like a Vampire. Don’t whine about staying inside, wearing a mask, missing a pedicure or a haircut, or shit that in the long term really doesn’t matter. You can miss things but not mourn them. Only mourn those who have lost their lives.

You may complain about people who are mean, or misleading, or prone to embracing ignorance.

Yes, I dumped a half a litter box full of used litter down my shirt today and I’m tired.

If you say you don’t like Vampires then just think of how hard it is for them now. We don’t like breaking into houses so we don’t do it. Nobody is out in public. Bottled blood just isn’t always fun be we deal with it because that is what we do. We stay home and deal with it.

Yes, it is hard. The money isn’t coming in. The government hotlines leave you on hold listening to endless messages for an hour then tell you to go away and hang up. Don’t give up. Never give up.

The best thing to do is stop listening to the news for even a day or two. Binge watch Netflix. Go for a walk. Read a book. Keep in touch with friends and family. Start drawing pictures even if you aren’t artistic. Look at cat memes. Read blogs you’ve never read before. Ask me for recommendations if you need help.

Adopt a stray. I hear shelters are open for adoptions. Adopt a stray. Give it a forever home. Bring unconditional love into your life. I’d do it but I have enough unconditional love and those who give it to me don’t like each other and are destroying my furniture right now.

Yes, I’m complaining about complaining. Heaven help me. At least I don’t have issues with Demons like my brother Max.

I’m done.

Have a wonderful POSITIVE day. xoxoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

cats

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (and everything else in my opinion)

Warning: Negativity and Triggers Ahead

The cake isn’t for you. I just thought it was funny. Yes, that is what I said: Triggers.

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Or if you prefer horses.

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Trigger, in his natural state, before being dressed up. And yes, he was stuffed after he died. I find the taxidermy aspect kind of creepy (and I’m a Vampire for heaven’s sake)

 

Now let’s get going on the main feature.

 

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Even I have to admit this is funny.

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (that includes fan fiction, fantasy drenched quests, magical children in black robes, and super heroes.)

Random thoughts on all kinds of stuff.

If you spend the night at my house, like Scrooge, you will also have three visitors during the night. That would be Alice the German Shepard as the ghost of writing past, Oscar the tuxedo cat as the ghost of writing present, and Gloria the calico cat as the ghost of everything else. If you like I will follow up with chains and howling, though I’d rather not.

First off – my hat goes off and I take a bow to everyone who attempting to write a novel during NaNoWiMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Keep writing. I am cheering you on.

However…

As I look around social media at the November writing frenzy, numbers pressure, and general drama I’m finding some disturbing trends.

Large numbers of beginning writers want to be somebody else. This makes my fangs hurt, both as a writer, and as a parent.

These beginners, bless their hearts, are obsessed with Harry Potter, what Hogwarts house everybody belongs to, superheroes, superhero powers, fantasy stories with names nobody can pronounce much less keep track of, sparkling Vampires, and absolute good vs absolute evil. They are also obsessed with movies – not books. This includes LOTR, Slasher movies, and The Never Ending Story.

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This is how I feel about this. It never ends. I do not like it more than Sam I Am does not like Green Eggs and Ham.

This is all lovely, but write your own story. Use your own voice. Tell your own story. Steer clear of the absolutes and the childhood loves and move on. In other words GROW UP. 

OK maybe you don’t want to grow up. It’s your story.

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My regular readers know of my distain for fan fiction – that is writing a story based on somebody else’s story.

Sure one of the worst books ever –  Fifty Shades of Grey the 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James, was fan fiction inspired by the Twilight series. I guess if you can make that much money off of writing horrible pornographic prose based on a YA novel and make millions of dollars then go for it.

My favorite fan fiction story is quite different. My daughter had a classmate in hight school who wrote slightly PG-13 rated 60 page  homoerotic fan fiction based on historian David McCullough’s book 1776.

Most A lot of fan fiction seems to have an erotic element to it. I shutter to think how much erotica has been written about Mr. Weasley and Samwise Gamgee. They’re both great characters but sometimes I just wish people would leave them alone.

On the other hand adding Zombies to anything, especially Jane Austin is always fun.

I can’t imagine adding zombies to Withering Heights. It is already close to a horror story as a dark hopeless gothic romance can get. Or adding zombies to Jane Eyre… well we know Jane would kick their rotted heads right off of their fragile putrified necks. Not sure if that would be before or after the crazy wife burns the house down.

Other books that could use Zombies are Little Women, The Bible, War and Peace, The Bridges of Madison County, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook, Gone Girl, and Tom Sawyer. 

And speaking of things that will never die…

Oh joy another version of Little Women is coming to the big screen. I say that with little joy. Nobody at my house is overly fond of that story. We just don’t like it. We don’t like the book. We don’t like the movies. We especially don’t like Marmee who needs to kick her deadbeat husband’s ass. A lot of ass needs to be kicked in that story.

Greta Gerwig is from Sacramento and we love her here. I do not love Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy. Little Women definitely needs Zombies and maybe even some Werewolves. I’d love to see Laurie as a Vampire.

There are times when I feel like I’m the only adult in the room, or the only adult on the world of Internet writing groups (there are exceptions but those are rare.) But it isn’t just the Internet. Let’s get serious here.

As a parent, as a mom, as a parenting blogger, and as a concerned adult, I have a few options for those stuck in their YA wormhole.

I have a game called RATHER THAN. Let’s give it a go.

Rather than watch 

The Neverending Story (1984)

See

Tangerine (1984)

Rather than watch

Little Women (1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, 2019)

See

The Big Sleep (1946)

Rather than watch

Any Superhero movies that involves capes and lots of explosions

See

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Rather than watch

Twilight (2008)

See

Pulp Fiction (1994)

 

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I’m not trying to put anyone down (even if I sort of am doing that.) When I first started my blog there were all sorts of asshats that told me what Vampires can and can’t do. I told them I do whatever the hell I want to do. No dark Vampire lords are going to tell me or my kids what to do. So I get it. I get it when you’re passionate about something and somebody like me comes along and puts you down. If you want to think I’m an asshole go ahead, but please consider growing up a little and finding your own story. Looking at the real world will help with your fantasy world – write something readers can relate to.

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And speaking of random thoughts…

Robert Clotworthy (The Curse of Oak Island) and Mike Rowe (Deadliest Catch) should switch programs for a few episodes. Think about it. Damn that would be fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I love jumping into another reality.  I love what cosplay people do. They’re amazing. I love events like The Dicken’s Fair, and Scottish Fairs, and Steampunk events. I LOVE Halloween. I love fantasy and science fiction and weird stuff and urban fantasy. For goodness sakes, I’m a Vampire. But even I have to live in the real world sometimes and deal with real issues.

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And what about me?

Juliette Kings writes the blog Vampiremaman.com.

She is currently working on a novel and it is November. She is also working on an illustrated version of Jane Eyre, trying to come up with more short stories, and continuing to landscape her yard. She is also still a mom and a Vampire. Want to know more? Read my blog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Dogs and Art make everything better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh where is that ghoul when I need it? 

It is Thursday. That means at least four hours of the music of leaf blowers in my neighborhood. I swear to God, if you don’t want leaves in your yard move to a house without trees.

I’ve even looked from my perch, and seen the yard guys blowing NOTHING. They get paid just to make noise.

I’ve always been respectful to my neighbors when it comes to noise, including dog parking, music, and other potentially obnoxious noises. Unfortunately not everyone thinks the same.

Yes, some have died (true fact, look it up) due to neighbors being pissed off by excessive leaf blowing. The same is true with early morning construction work, rooster crowing, dog barking, and late night parties with bad music, or drunk women laughing too loud in the wee hours of the morning.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. I HATE THEM.

Kids can’t study. Vampires can’t sleep. Brains can’t function. Work can’t be done. Writing gets sidetracked. Artists can’t art. Babies can’t nap. Dogs want to stay inside rather than go out and play. Young adults say, “what the fuck?”

In the old days I could just send out some shadow creeping ghoul to rip out a throat or at least scare the shit out of someone who facilitated obnoxious noises and behavior, but that is now unacceptable. Bothering everyone with yard equipment apparently is ok.  Oh where is that ghoul when I need it?

By the way, for all of you WP bloggers reading this. Yes, I’m writing this in the traditional mode. I can’t stand the new “blocks” editor. What the fuck where they thinking? Nobody can write fast and loud in that mode. Sometimes I just need to complain and be fast about it. I don’t need that kind of shit.

Leaf blowers are like those people who can’t shut up about politics. Nobody wants to hear that. NOBODY.

It is January 3rd. I have no need to complain because 2019 is going to be a stellar year. But then those damn leaf blowers show up and take over my mood.

Anyway… that’s it. Come back for more later. Not complaining – more pleasant things, or at least as pleasant as a cranky old Vampire can be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman