Summer School Daze

My almost 19-year-old daughter Clara is taking a college English Class this summer. They’re reading and writing about poetry and literature. The exact name of the class isn’t important.

Clara: I can’t believe some of the other students.

Me: What happened.

Clara: Some girl bragged about being an English Major, then she said she hated to read. She actually said she hated to read. She just wants to write. She just gushes about how she loves to write. But she hates to read.

Me: But how can she be a good writer if she doesn’t read?

Clara: She LOVES to write. I bet she writes awful fan fiction. She’s that type.

Me:

Clara: shrugs shoulders

Me:

Clara: I feel sorry for the teacher.

Me: Wow. You have to wonder.

Clara: I know.

The moral of this true story is that if you love to read you don’t have to write. HOWEVER, if you love to write you have to read. That is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Live it. Teach it. Preach it.

And keep listening to those kids of yours. They’ll tell you all kinds of unbelievable things. Also, hug a teacher.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Vampire Diary: Queer Eye for the Vampire Guy

Dear Diary,

Tonight I stood outside in the cool breeze, under the sky with few stars, only the moon and the planet Venus, and occasional airplanes. How different the world is where there is so much light at night that even when it feels dark we can not see the stars.

It was the year before Louis XIV, The Sun King, died. I did not find out that for another three hundred years. I had heard another group of Vampires had left for the New World. I missed the American Revolution. My own country, my own small bit of the world fell into chaos and ruin…

I stood under the night sky with the wind in my long honey colored hair fell to the small of my back. I wore a coat of the finest wine colored fabric trimmed with ribbons with gold thread. My boots were of the finest leather and the color of my jacket. My shirt was trimmed with lace. It would all have been approved of by the Sun King, or any king, because I, Vlad, was King of the Vampires.

Here I take a deep breath and wonder what the Hell happened. I was standing alone in my thoughts enjoying the night air in a Foreign land, returning from a trip to Italy, when the last thing I remember was the sight of a beautiful woman and a sharp pain in my heart. It had nothing to do with romantic thoughts.

My attackers, who are still unknown to me, sealed me in a crypt, and there I remained for the next three hundred years. My location was unknown to my family, friends, or allies. My citizens were without a leader and lost to the winds and ravages of marauding hordes. Those who were not slaughtered went into hiding. My friend Randolpho was one of them.

For three hundred years I lay in a state of trance like sleep, occasionally mixed with consciousness, unable to move, or cry out for help. I was dead, but undead, in a cruel state of hibernation. My heart had been stabbed with a stake but not fully pierced. My throat had been slit but my head not severed. It is rather disgusting now that I think of it.

Of course one can imagine what it was like when Randolpho and my love Gillian found me. First I heard the lock snap, and the gates of the crypt forced open, then the top of the tomb moved off, and then they opened the coffin.

“Oh shit,” was the first words that I heard, coming from the mouth of Randolpho.

Gillian bent over and kissed me. I opened my eyes. “It’s him,” she said in a now unfamiliar accent. “Let’s get him out of here.”

My fine clothing had all but rotted away. My hair was in tangles with years of bugs and mice having their children in my golden locks. When I awoke I found myself not in a coffin but in the softest of beds with sheets so softer than anything I could have imagined.

Everything smelled good. I smelled good like flowers and fresh spring herbs. I wore a soft robe, and drawstring pants. My hair was clean but now short to my collar. I often think of growing it long again but maybe not.

Gillian came in, not as I remembered her, corseted in a long gown and elaborate ringlets, but in a short skirt and a long jacket. Her hair was straight and down her back. The skirt was black leather, the jacket was a pink color I could not describe, her shirt was simple white lace. She smelled like oranges and roses. Later she told me it was grapefruit scented lotion. Her legs were showing. Almost all of her legs.

In all of my centuries I could have never imagined the modern world in which I had awakened into.

Louis XIV was the King of the Sun, and I was the King of the Moon.

Now I wear jeans. I am no longer King. As for Louis, alas he is still dead.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Gillian said, “You could wear a burlap bag and you’d still be cute.”

“What is a burlap bag?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes. The door bell rang and she left me standing, once again wondering what she was talking about.

I quickly looked up burlap bag on the Internet. Why would wearing a brown bag made of rough cloth make me cute? What did she mean by cute? Do I look like an onion or potato or coffee bean? Onions are not cute. I do not understand half of what she says to me.

Friends came to binge watch Netflix. I asked them once what Netflix represented. They told me that movies used to be called flicks because of how the film would flicker. They explained more but I was lost. I smiled and thanked them. Gillian and Randolpho tell me not to be overly concerned about the names of companies. I disagree. One never knows what might be lurking in secondary and secret meanings of names. They laugh at that. I scoff. I was not Vampire King for 306 years by not paying attention. The one time I did not pay attention I ended up in the 21st Century.

Randolpho and friends, Innocenzio D’Antonio, Jackie Rafferty and his girlfriend Willow came over. Gillian’s friend Elizabeth was also in the group. I have no kingdom but I have new Vampire friends.

Tonight we watched something called Queer Eye. In my wildest dreams I never imagined such a thing. We watched for five hours.

Five men go from town to town and fix the lives of other men who need fixing. They also help women, but mostly men. How do I say this… they are what is now called “Queer” or “Gay” which in this language means odd or happy, but also means they choose to be with romantic men.

Back when I was King of the Vampires in my old country and old centuries back world we did not care who anyone spent their time or lives with. It did not matter. We were Vampires and I was their King.

As a youth it did matter. There were men who were afraid of those who loved freely. They were violent against those who were not the same as them. That was my uncle and cousins who were unfortunately eaten by wolves or ended up somehow, mysteriously with their heads on posts.

They would torture me when I was young because they said I looked like a pretty girl rather than a boy. They also tried to take advantage of my sister and harm her. They were not the kind of Vampires who would binge watch Netflix. But they are no longer here and I look around my home and have decided that I need to how do I say, step up my game.

Alas clothing for men is so plain now. Everything looks good on me but it would be good to know what would look best on me.

Among the seven Vampires watching we used two entire boxes of what is called Kleenex while watching the shows. We might be Vampires but we are what do they call it, suckers for sentimentality and turning lives around. After all, that is what Vampires do. We turn lives around as well.

Antoni, Karamo, Tan, Bobby, and Jonathan made me laugh and think about style. I believe my hair would look good if it was styled the same as Tan’s. I do not like angels, as most Vampires do not, but in this case I believe Bobby is the human form of one.

When the sun came up and we decided to sleep, I wondered if Bobby would help an old Vampire design his guest chambers?

I almost stayed up to watch the rest of Season 2 without the others.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

In my bed, with Gillian asleep in my arms, I wondered how out of touch I am with the modern world. Maybe it is not that I am so out of touch as… I do not know. I seem to adapt.

It is a full moon. I wonder if I will hear the Werewolves howl tonight. I wonder if they will have their sinks clogged with fur. I wonder where they keep their clothing when they run as wolves. I wonder why even now Werewolves still dress in such tacky and distasteful clothing. I wonder if I get measured and order some new suits tomorrow how long it will take for me to get them. I wonder if ribbons and lace will ever be popular again for men to wear openly without shame?

Gillian runs her hand across my chest and up my neck. She never asks what I am thinking. She knows. Her cool touch to my face brings me out of my own thoughts.

“Do you think I need a Queer Eye?” I ask.

She smiles with a hint of fang. “No, just a few history books.”

Then she kisses me, and puts her naked leg over mine, and this is where I stop writing.

~ Vlad

 

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

This has been the 39th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To start from the beginning (or randomly read them) CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

I’ll Meet You At WordCamp Sacramento 2018 (Yes, I’m a Speaker!)

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I will be speaking about personal blogging (i.e. non-commercial blogs like yours and mine,) the blogging community and keeping your unique blogger voice alive at the 2018 WordCamp Sacramento this September.

Yes, I am over the moon honored to have been chosen as a speaker. Note: I will be speaking under a different name. More on that later. 

As you all know, I’m passionate about my blog, your blog, and supporting each other. I’m passionate about creativity. I’m passionate about sharing. I’m passionate about you.

From the official WordCamp Sacramento site:

WordCamp Sacramento is a casual, locally organized conference happening September 15-16, 2018 that covers everything related to the world’s favorite platform: WordPress. Whether you’re brand new to WordPress, you use it casually, or you’re a seasoned professional, there is something for everyone at every skill level!

In its fourth year, the event will include a Beginner Track and two mixed tracks of sessions running concurrently on both Saturday, and three mixed tracks of sessions on Sunday.

Tickets go on sale in June.

For more official information click on this link: https://2018.sacramento.wordcamp.org

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I’ll be talking more about blogging and the event as we get closer to September. In the meantime I’ve got to bug Vlad about getting his latest Vampire Diary post finished, and I have some book recommendations too (and a new summer feature for Wednesdays.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Yes, this is the place.

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…

View original post 659 more words

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)