Musings on Pets, Art, Vampires, and Trying to Make Sense of Anything At All.

It started out as one of those days where the dog ate all of the cat food, the squirrels at all of the bird food, the cat tried to eat a bird that flew into my house, I’m trying to take photographs and the fall lighting is all off, then the cat barfed on the carpet. The other cat is asleep out on the deck. He never causes me problems aside from his yearly “I am an idiot and got myself gravely injured again,” vet visit. Today, I am also feeling a great sense of loss that has come over me in a wave.

A sense of loss and melancholy isn’t uncommon for Vampires. I just had to throw that out there.

I put on some sunscreen and decent clothes and went out in search of art supplies. I didn’t need any. I thought it might inspire me to try to put pen or pastel to paper. That is to put it to paper without fear of disappointing myself.

At the downtown art supply shop, the one that had been there for decades, I wandered the isles looking at brushes, textures, tools, and colors. I was drawn to all of the shades of gray, then got sort of perturbed that some asshole decided to write a bad porn book of that name that became oh so popular with bored middle aged women who didn’t date enough when they were single. Still I looked and imagined what I might create.

I felt a cold hand upon my arm, then looked to my left. “Connie,” I said upon seeing my old friend. Constantine Jones, the very one I wrote the story Night Dogs about. He’d told me about that night a few years back. I valued his friendship because he matched my love of art, both in creating it, and in studying it.

“Juliette. Pastels today?”

“Maybe,” I said.

We talked of art and our lives. He asked about my children. I asked him what he was up to. I purchased pastels and paper. He picked up a few brushes and oil paint. Then we walked down the tree lined street to a small independent coffee shop.

As we sat in the shade sipping our coffee nobody would have suspected that we were Vampires who’d know each other for over a century.

No, dear reader, this isn’t a story of fangs, dripping blood, or darkness. All creatures, even the most ardent predators, the lions, the hyenas, the wolves, and the wolverines, still need their times of peace. We are always aware, but sometimes we just need to take a break from what keeps our bodies alive and think about what keeps our passions alive.

Even more so it is the small things that matter. It is things we do for tangible reason like having coffee with an old friend. We talked about art, as kindred spirits do.

Connie touched took my hand in his. It was warm from holding the coffee. I thought how odd that was to have a warm touch from another Vampire.

“Your heart is heavy,” he said to me.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“It shall pass. I just have too much BS that I have to deal with.” That is true, but isn’t that the case for a lot of us.

Standing across the street I saw a lone figure with dark hair and a black suit with the tie loosened. Connie looked as well.

“A ghost,” he whispered. “Why is he looking over here?”

“I know him. He lives at my house most of the time, but he’s buried near here.” I motioned for my ghost, Nigel, who was an artist in life, to come join us.

I pulled up a chair for a friend that nobody but Constantine Jones and I could see. I ordered coffee for Nigel. He sat in the chair holding the cup and letting the aroma pass through him. He can’t drink it but he can smell it, which is a small comfort for a ghost.

We talked more of art, and the weather, and small things that friends talk about.

After two hours Connie went his own way and Nigel came home with me. As we drove down the freeway Nigel changed the radio station about thirty times. I finally yelled at him to stop it.

And now I’m home. I don’t know where Nigel got off to.

From my window I cans humming birds in the lemon and orange trees. The calico cat sits snoring in a chair. I can hear the other cat scratching a piece of wood outside.

I feel better. Sometimes we just need to get away from ourselves for a while, or at least get into a different place where we can be the selves we need to be, and deserve to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

You can be you

All hail

The mysterious

Vampire Lord

God almighty

I am bored.

 

My friend Cody is fairly new at being a Vampire. He was “converted” in 2012. Needless to say it was quite an unexpected experience for him. One minute he was driving down the coastal highway, and the next minute his crazy girlfriend was turning the wheel of the car and they were flying off of a cliff down into the Pacific Ocean.

They were rescued by Vampires and the rest is history for my former Silicone Valley friend.

Cody has adapted better than most. He has adapted extremely well.

There are times though when my young friend will do things out of habit, or comfort.

He buys fortune cookies just for the fortunes. Of course he doesn’t eat them. That will cause stomach cramps. He gets them for the fortunes. You know those little slips of paper that say things like: You will bring sunshine into someone’s life or Tomorrow your creative side will shine forth with exceptional ideas.

Cody has been coming over to watch “The Alienist” with us on Monday nights. By the way, next Monday is the last one.

If you haven’t been watching this is the story (I stole grabbed this description from another web site.)

The best-selling book by Caleb Carr is the basis for “The Alienist,” a psychological thriller set amidst the vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation of 1896 New York. A never-before-seen ritualistic killer is responsible for the gruesome murders of boy prostitutes, and newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls upon criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, newspaper illustrator John Moore and police department secretary Sara Howard to conduct the investigation in secret. The brilliant, obsessive Kreizler is known as an alienist — one who studies mental pathologies and the deviant behaviors of those who are alienated from themselves and society. His job, along with his controversial views, makes him a social pariah in some circles. But helped by a band of outsiders, Kreizler’s tireless efforts eventually answer the question behind what makes a man into a murderer.

You need to check it out just for the costumes. No BS half assed stuff that is so historically inaccurate that it will make your fangs hurt. No over done make-up or modern hair styles on the women. It is visually wonderful. We’ve been sucked into the characters and story as well.

Anyway, Cody mentioned that one of the main actors, Luke Evans (of course he is Welsh, just like my Welsh ancestors who had the same last name)… Luke Evans also played Vlad/Dracula in the movie Dracula Untold. I’m not sure what Dracula was supposed to be told in that story, but apparently someone forgot to tell him what it was. By the way, Luke Evans is great in The Alieniest. I hope to see him in more films/TV in the future.

Then Cody asked, “How come you don’t have all of the people you’ve turned into Vampires calling you their Vampire Queen or Vampire Mother?”

“Because it doesn’t work that way,” I said.

There are bands of Vampires, just like there groups of any type of people with leaders and followers. Most of us just live our own with friends and family. Sure it might get weird to some people, but seriously, I’m living in 2018. I’m living in California in 2018. I’ve never seen a Vampire Lord, or had to deal with someone longing for the days everyone had blood dripping off of their chins and shit like that.

We wear jeans, and flannel shirts, and have access to fortune cookies.

I’m a mom, not Vampirella. I don’t want to be Vampirella. That little weird red swim suit kind of thing she always wears looks really uncomfortable. Besides that her taste in men is horrible.

Vampirella

Seriously, can you imagine wearing this to the hardware store, much less picking your kids up from school in this?

We’re modern Vampires. Just like any modern person, we live in this world. Save the cosplay for the weekend.

Like the song says: You can be you. I love Saint Motel.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

My Mom Blogs About Vampires

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

 

Seriously, I did date that guy, and more.

What you share with your kids and what you don’t is up to your own comfort level. You don’t want to tell them everything. They don’t need to know it all. But you don’t want to tell them nothing. But this isn’t exactly what this post is about.

How do your kids see you now? Who are you? What do you do? Do they know? Do they care? They should care. They should be thrilled.

Do a little bit of PR work on your own kids. Seriously, if you’re a parent you need public relations.

How do your kids see you?

I’m not talking about “honor thy mother and father,” or anything to do with authority. I’m not going to discuss examples of piss poor bad parenting. I’m not going to talk about being perfect.

I’m talking image. AND when you live with teens you know that IMAGE is EVERYTHING.

And don’t tell me it isn’t because I know even kids who SAY they don’t care DO. The very image of not caring about image is their image.

Seriously, listen to me. Your kids are growing up. They’ll be adults soon. Who are they going to turn to as an example of a well adjusted, interesting, happy adult? YOU. I hope it is you.

But wait. Don’t worry. This is nothing to stress over. Just be yourself. Show your kids your best self. Show them the interesting self that deep down in your heart and soul make you who you are. Not the parent. Not the spouse. Not anything that is connected to anyone. Show your kids YOU. Let them know who you are.

We've got plenty of talent.

We’ve got plenty of talent.

What did you want to be when you were a teen? What do you want to do now? Or do you love where you are? Share that with your teen. And if your dream didn’t happen put a positive spin on it. Over the years some dreams grow, some dreams get hidden away, some dreams die, and some live on.

I’ve always done things a little different from others, so no surprise that I blog about Vampires and parenting. Then again, even though every tells me I’m unique and different, I feel that we are all unique and different. Let’s celebrate that with our teens. I mean, who better than your own teen or young adult to celebrate with.

Share your hopes and dreams. Share your long winded stories. Tell them about what you do at work (if you love your job.) Tell them what you love, and tell your kid that one day he or she will have something they’ll love just as much. Passion isn’t just romance. It is the love of doing – even if you aren’t good at it.

Everyone talks of role models for kids. Forget public figures. Make yourself the best role model out there. Don’t be modest. Even the parent with the quiet life, or the simple life, has lessons to teach, and interesting things about herself to share.

For example, among other things, I get most of the answers on Jeopardy correct. Then when everyone else gets it wrong I tell my husband, “You are married to the smartest woman in the world.” Then my kids agree. I’m good at trivia. My kids think that is cool. See where I’m going with this? We all have something we’re good at. Don’t hide it from your kids. Share it with them. Maybe it will spark their passions – even if those passions are different from yours. Try it. It works. Believe me on this one.

You don’t have to make a fool out of yourself trying to be hip and cool, because you already are. Just be yourself, and let your kids know who that is.

That’s all. Nothing profound.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Kind of like worms in that weird old kid’s song

As I sit pondering… the cat walks over to the dog bowl and check it out. There is nothing there she desires.

It is odd how random thoughts go in and out. Kind of like worms in that weird old kid’s song.

 

The worms go in

The worms go out

The worms play pinochle on your snout.

 

Anyway, on the way home this morning, after dropping Clara off for a Mock SAT test, I was thinking about what I’d write today. Junior year in high school is busy. All week long she has been seeing college recruiters and now tests. Mock SAT today (the new test), PSAT next week during school, then the real SAT and ACT. Then the AP tests. Then my mind goes off in other directions. What songs would I include on a play list for old boyfriends? It has been a while since we played wii Just Dance. Garret’s vintage clothing collection that he swiped from his father’s closet is making waves at college. I thought about a blog about wearing vintage clothing and jewelry – should I write it? What would happen if we (Vampires) told the world what we really are? How would that change the presidential debates. Holy crap, now THERE is an idea. I’ll write about that next week for sure. I thought of love letters and graveyards and the drought and coffee and about putting up my Halloween decorations.

Wait… just a second… I will be right back.

I felt a presence outside but refused to lift the shades. And like my bad cat who scratches the walls to wake me up, a ghost, THE GHOST, materialized in front of me. He sat at my table, in the round turret breakfast nook, right across from me.

He did not look happy. In fact he was glaring at me. His black hair hung over his forehead and covered one eyes. Today he wore his black suit, the one he was buried in (in 1986).

Before he could say one mean nasty comment I spoke first.

“Nigel, did you know The Cars have been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?”

He brushed his hair out of his face, uncovering a bloody gash in his forehead. The gash vanished. He looked perplexed. I know he’d planned on saying something vile or rude. I know he’d planned on using the word fuck, as in “fuck you Vampire.” He is such a lovely and thoughtful ghost (said no Vampire ever.)

After we sat for a while as I sipped my coffee Nigel finally spoke up. “Too bad they didn’t get nominated when Benjamin Orr was alive.”

“Coffee?” I had to ask. Nigel nodded.

I put a cup of coffee in front of the ghost. He inhaled and closed his eyes with a slight satisfied smile.

“Los Lobos was nominated,” I told him.

“Local boys. Good choice. Who else?”

“Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Yes, the Smiths, Steve Miller, Chicago, Chaka Khan, and Janet Jackson. There were a few others.”

“Janet Jackson? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

“I kid you not.”

“Fucking Janet Jackson?”

“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir.”

He took in another breath of coffee. His form wavered in and out of transparency and opacity.

“So the Giants won’t be going to the World Series this year?”

“Unfortunately not.”

“I don’t know what happened to my record collection.”

“Did you leave a will?”

“Sure, but not specifics like that. I was only 26 when I died.”

“Do you want me to check it out for you.”

“No, it would just piss me off.”

“Nigel dear, everything pisses you off.”

“Pretty much.”

“Is that a ghost thing?”

“No. It is a Nigel thing.”

His eyes grew black and he glared at me. I knew the rage was building up. Ghosts are such tormented souls, not to mention major assholes most of the time.

“Hey Nigel,” I said. “I’m going to put up the Halloween decorations while Clara is at her mock SAT test. Do you want to help?”

His eyes went back to normal and the rage vanished from his pretty face. “Sure. Sounds like fun.”

“What are you doing for Halloween this year?”

He smiled. “I’m going to be a ghost. How about you?”

“I don’t know. I thought about being Little Hagrid, or maybe a Vampire.”

We both smiled and finished our coffee.

I have to go pick up my child now. Have a good weekend everyone and thanks for dropping by.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Teenage Jungle

Hey baby, let me finish my cigarette and we’ll take the SAT test together. I hope your score is smokin hot high because stupid boys never get lucky with me.

Yes, I dated that guy… and other random thoughts

I’m going off to the woods to howl at the moon (just kidding I’m a Vampire not a Werewolf), hike, take in waterfalls and the wonders of nature and WRITE. Sooooo there will be no Short Story Sunday for a few days or other posts because Internet service will be spotty at best and more than likely nonexistent (like in the old days.)

So in the meantime: LISTEN to THIS (click here)

Look at the pictures below.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

 

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you've ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I'm a Vampire. We have no shame.

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you’ve ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I’m a Vampire. We have no shame.

Kissed by a Vampire

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

this guy

 

Yes, I did date THAT GUY but that is another post on another day. Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Alone with my art (and other musings about being yourself)

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I've always liked it. That's all.

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I’ve always liked it. That’s all.

In fine black ink lines and thin washes of color, I’m illustrating the classic Vampire tale Dracula.

I tried to start The Christmas Carol but I had some sort of mental block.

But Dracula is fun and weird and full of Vampires who aren’t like me. I don’t have to drag a coffin full of dirt around me. I’m a mom so my big mom purse is big enough. My kids make jokes that it is full of river rocks. I can’t imagine a coffin surrounded by dirt much less a coffin.

It would be fun to have a crazy guy at my beck and call to do my bidding (read the book you’ll know who I’m talking about.) Oh right, I have a husband. HA HA HA.

When Dracula came out we all read it. I loved the format in letters and diary entries. We laughed and then we went back to our world of darkness and love and the fine art of sharing blood and bring the friendly predators we are.

My first copy of Dracula was given to me by Lola, my great great great grandmother. She called it quaint but said I’d better read it because it would have a huge impact on culture and our lives. Fiction often does that. There are so many examples: Sherlock Holmes, The Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, Animal Farm, Travels with Charley, Anna Karenina. The list is extensive. But we’re Vampires so Dracula was a big thing for us.

This blog is about Vampires – Modern Vampires. So you’re in the right place. I muse too. Want musings? You’re in the right place.

Lola is old and conniving and can charm the soul out of man unlike any other Vampire I’ve here met. She was born the same year as Jeffery Chaucer but can pass for 25. Except in her eyes that are as cold and deep as the Arctic Sea. I like using flowery descriptions when I talk about Lola. It fits her. She breaks all rules of good taste and correctness so when I write about her I’ll break all the rules too.

She tells me I need to draw more. Something that used to come so easy is hard for me now. Some clarification – I draw everyday. I just don’t draw my own art for my own pleasure.

By the way, I hate playing Pictionary. No. I’m done with parlor games that don’t contain trivia or aren’t played on the Wii.

At the very core of my dark heart and cold soul I am an artist. It is always how I’ve identified myself to myself. That isn’t dependent on how much I draw or paint.

How we see ourselves doesn’t depend on how we’re seen by the general public or anyone else. To your core you know who you are and what you are.

I live around teens. Some of them already know who they are. Some are still growing into their identities. They’re good kids – smart kids. They’ll find their identities. Sure they’ll change and mature as the years pass (as the centuries pass for some) but they’ll always know who they are.

You can live up to the expectations of others and do well. But you need to also live up to your own expectations. Living up to your own expectations is always much more difficult than living up to the expectations of others. It can be painfully difficult, but the rewards are infinitely greater.

So do your own art, whatever that is.

Have a good weekend everyone. Maybe in another post I’ll show some of my “good stuff.”

Lola and I are off to the museum to see a new show of someone she knew in the 1870’s.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)