Taking Care of Our Elders

We’re drove out to the old farmhouse where Tellias and Eleora live. About twice a month Teddy (my husband) and I pack the kids into the car and check up on them.

They’re ancients. Nobody really knows how old they are. They are fragile and need help. They don’t have a family. It is just the two of them.

When we drove up, just before dawn, they came to the door to greet me, thrilled to see a carload of their young Vampire friends.

Tellias was wearing an old workshirt that looked like something a guy working in a garage would wear. The name Greg was stitched on it. Eleora wore some horrible looking flowered dress with a stretched out brown sweater. She had on yellow flip flops that had seen better days.

They both looked pale and malnourished.

“Are you two eating anything at all?” I asked as Teddy took the large cooler to the kitchen.

They told me that their car wasn’t running but it was an excuse. The car was almost new but I was sure they’d forgotten to put gas in it or more likely lost the keys.

I unpacked provisions in the kitchen. They huddled around me touching my back and arms, then stroking my face.

“How long since anyone has been to see you?” I asked.

“Not since you were here. Nobody sees us anymore.” Eleora looked at me with sad round eyes.

“What happened to your clothes?” I asked, almost afraid for an answer.

“Someone stole them. We can’t get to our storage unit or the other houses.” Eleora shifting her feet, knowing I knew she was telling a lie.

“Who stole them? Did you let someone in the house?” I asked.

“We were out trying to hunt.” Tellias said putting his head down, trying to avoid my stare. I suspected they’d gone down to the river to find homeless people and transients to hunt and someone followed them home.

They were two of the oldest vampires I knew, over 2,000 years old. Treasures, but like the elderly of all kinds, they are often forgotten, especially those without children. Soon they fall apart like the past civilizations they lived in.

They both look, at first, like they are 19 or 20 years old. He has pale blonde hair and blue eyes. She is a golden eyed girl with reddish brown curls. They are slight with almost translucent skin.

They used to have a working farm with hired workers but now they leased out the farmland. The two acres around the house were kept up with a gardening service, but nobody was watching the residents. They’d been in and out of Vampire comas for years. They’d lost their confidence. I was afraid they’d lost their hunting skills.

These two were never the fierce Vampires of old tales and modern stories. They were always timid and always got by the best they could by hiding in the shadows and keeping out of sight. They were so sweet and good-hearted that it almost killed me to think of anything bad happening to them.

Teddy came into the room and gave Eleora a gentle hug. “We need to get the two of you better.”

They were slightly out of touch, unhealthy and frightened. It was obvious Tellias was depressed. They were prime targets for Vampire Hunters.

The ancients were glad the children were over. They always fussed over them and told them tales of long lost civilizations that no longer existed and were not yet discovered by historians and treasure hunters.

“We have to move them into town.” Teddy told me where the other’s couldn’t hear.

We dined on blood in beautiful crystal goblets the couple had purchased in the 1870’s when they first built the farmhouse. We talked of friends and relatives and the future.

I didn’t want to leave them. But I’d see them soon. I’m going to get them new clothes and find the keys to the car, and move them into the 21st Century where they belong.

Our elder folks are our treasures. We should all love and take care of those we have, both family and elderly friends who often have no family. You’re never too old for love, or friends or living life.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

First posted in 2012. This was the first post featuring Eleoria and Tellias.

You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape

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It is almost 5:30 p.m. and 107 degrees Farenheight outside. I’m going to piss someone off with this post but maybe not. It is just too hot to care. Just like old people and tiny children who just say whatever they want.

This morning I took Eleora to the art museum. It was lovely. She made rude comments about the modern art. She made a racist remark about someone walking along outside of the museum. She is old. She forgets things. I said nothing this time. I just changed the subject. When one is with a 2000+ year old Vampire one learns to change the subject quite frequently.

Then we had lunch (a lovely cold type A blood soup with heirloom tomatoes) with my husband who was on a political roll. By then it was over a hundred degrees outside. I thought about our daughter who’d gone up north with her boyfriend to spend time in a cabin. It is only 102F there today. The poor kids are going to swelter. At least I know they’ll wear their sunscreen.

And now I’m home in my quiet house waiting for the cool dark night and Vampire things.   But that got me thinking about mysteries and strange heated things like the mystery surrounding George Reeves, and Christopher Reeve and coincidences and other strange things like Superman. I never think of Superman, except… maybe it is the heat. Maybe it has something to do with no spitting in the wind…

I’ve never been a big fan of the Superman franchise. Except for Christopher Reeve, and of course George Reeves, all of the other movie depictions have made him seem like some sort of weird overly pretty sissy. I love pretty men, but … come on you know what I’m talking about. These guys aren’t Supermen. They’re fashion models. No offense to fashion models – fuck it – I can’t say anything these days without offending someone.

But in defense of the not so masculine and memorable Supermen, they should consider themselves lucky.

Christopher Reeve, who was insanely talented in so many ways, and was also a heart-throb in the romantic movie “Somewhere in Time,” was in a riding accident. Tragically he became a paraplegic. But that didn’t stop him. It showed that he WAS Superman in body and soul. You know what happened. It was tragic, but he kept going. Damn.

George Reeves was murdered. The case has not been solved. Any thought on this would be interesting to hear.

The guy who originally illustrated Superman also drew S&M comics. The guy who drew Donald Duck also drew beautiful racy women (I have one of his original nudes in my own bedroom.) OK enough of these fun facts some of you might not have known.

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By Carl Barks who later created Donald Duck. I wonder which illustrations he had more fun drawing. I have the original sketch of this in my bedroom. I think he enjoyed this one more than any duck.

I found a box of old comics including a large lot of Lois Lane, Superman’s Girlfriend. These are the weirdest comic books in the known universe. These were from the late 50’s and early 60’s, before the influence of Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore. Holy shit Lois made a fool of herself over Superman and Clark Kent. Seriously Lois, if you can’t recognize a guy when he changes his part and takes off his glasses then you need to get your eyes checked. Lois was smart, sexy, but always gave off the vibe that she really wanted to be a bad girl. She wanted to be a modern girl who was a woman with equal standing with men AND equal pay. She wanted to be the one wearing the tights.

It is 107 degrees farenheit outside (I already said that but I’ll say it again) and my brain is fried, but not enough to stop me from thinking about Lois.

 

The Bomb

A Lois Lane Story from Juliette aka Vampire Maman

“What the hell Clark? Tights?”

“I wear them to yoga, and palates.”

He was fantastic, but then again as soon as he opened his mouth to talk I was ready to fall asleep.

But my god the man was good in bed.

The next day I was still investigating a murder, and I stopped for coffee at a place called Krypto Coffee. I’m sitting there taking notes and sipping my iced vanilla latte when some bald guy sits down and tries to sweet talk me. He tells me how rich he is and treats me like I’m some dumb bimbo ready to fawn all over him.

I just picked up my drink and left. Fuck I hate when that happens. What is it with guys around here?

No sooner had I walked out there was an explosion in the building across the street. I could hear the sirens. I ran across and tried to help the injured people coming out of the building. Then I get body slammed and something picks me up and I’m all the sudden up in the sky.

I had the breath knocked out of me, and then I realized that I was in the arms of a flying man.

“I’m Superman,” he said.

“Please put me down,” I told him.

“I’m here to save you,” he said.

Then I looked at his face. “What the fuck Clark? Jesus Christ on a bicycle put me down.”

“How’d you know it was me?”

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That is all I have right now. I’ll add my own illustrations to the story later. Maybe.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Stay cool. Have fun. And don’t mess around with Jim.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Rats in the Recycle – Taking Care of Our Elders.

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They danced around me, twirling, lightly kissing my face and taking my hands and twirling me around, then twirling each other. Their voices were light like tissue paper in lightly brushing against more tissue paper. Corny description but that is what it is like when they sing and dance a welcome song.
What were they singing? It was in a minor key, but sort of like an old country dance mixed with a funeral dirge. Oh shit. It was Duran Duran.
Even on the darkest night when empty promise means empty hand
And soldiers coming home like shadows turning red
When the lights of hope are fading quickly then look to me
I’ll be your homing angel, I’ll be in your head

I went out to the barn and took a nap, up in loft, like when we were kids.

That was a weird cover version.

This is pretty typical from Tellias and Eleora. They’re old. They’re really old. They’re ancient. They look like college students but they’re over 2,000 years old. And like me, they’re Vampires. Yes, we have our senior citizens too.

Tellias was wearing an old pair of pants with the waist band almost to his nipples – or at least it looked like that. He had tucked in a white dress shirt and put on an orange tie. On his feet were yellow flip flops. He always says if he wears yellow flip flops that nobody will know he is a Vampire. Eleora was wearing a knee length green plaid skirt, with a purple cardigan over an orange lace blouse. They are both pretty in an almost innocent way, like they just walked out of a Botticelli painting, or maybe Rafael.

Anyway, they’re old and I check on them, because like a lot of elderly folks they need help because they can’t always help themselves. And I love them.

Tellias helped me bring bags of cleaning supplies into the house. I brought in a case of Poet’s Blood. I don’t know how often or what they eat. I need to make sure they’re safe.

My brother Val came in wearing jeans, a flannel shirt, and carrying a tool box.

“Working on the barn?” I asked.

“I finshed the roof and took a nap in the loft,” he ansered giving me a kiss on my cheek.

“There are rats up there Val. Big rats,” I said.

“I know, I just grab them by the tail and give them a hard wack on the beams,” he said.

“Make sure you put those little bodies in the recycle bin,” said Eleora.

“Recycle? You aren’t supposed to put dead animals in the recycle bin,” I said.

“Well maybe someone might want to turn them into cat food,” said Tellias.

“Tellias, look at you with that Kylo Ren look going on,” said Val.

“Val is never around. He just comes by and sleeps,” Tellias said looking disgusted.

“I heard that. I’ve spent all day cleaning up your messes,” said Val.

“What did you clean? You’ve been on the computer machine and the telephone all day,” said Tellias.

“On the phone all day long. On the computer machine all day long,” said Eleora.

“All day,” said Tellias.

“All day,” said Eleora.

“I fixed the roof of the barn so the next storm won’t blow it away,” Val said to the elders. Then he turned to me. “Eleora had been channel surfing in the week hours of the morning and saw an informercial about veteran’s benefits. She figured since Tellias had done some work for the war effort during WW2 that he should be getting benefits.”

“That would make me one hundred and two years old according to my military records,” said Tellias.

“You didn’t close that out?” I asked.

“He can get a flag if he dies,” said Eleora.

“Tellias, you need to let them know that THAT Tellias passed away years ago,” I said.

“Some nice man with a strange accent signed me up for life insurance, and a home security system in case one of us falls down,” said Eleora.

“Juliette I spent most of the day getting that cleared up and getting a hold put on their bank account,” my brother said.

“It isn’t our only bank account,” said Tellias.

“She also has five companies coming out for free energy checks and to measure for solar panels,” said Val.

“Free lunch,” said Eleora putting her hands on her hips.

“No Eleora,” said Val.  “I canceled the appointments. You already have solar here. You’ve had it for years. ”

“Where?”

“On top of the barn. I fixed some of the panels today. That is why I was up in the loft.”

“I thought you were killing rats up there,” Eleora said.

“That too,” said Val

“Don’t forget to put the rat bodies in the Green Waste can,” said Tellias. “Or the recycle can. I don’t think it matters.”

“When are the nice men coming out to fix the windows?” Asked Eleora.

“There is nothing wrong with your windows.” Val looked at me again, “Juliette, I cancelled the appointments already.”

“They said we need new windows,” said Tellias.

“Brand new windows. Nobody else can do those kinds of windows,” said Eleora.

“A news crew from the TV station is coming out tomorrow to interview the one hundred and two year old WW2 vet and his pet lion. That would be me,” said Tellias.

“Cancel it NOW,” I yelled. Sometimes I have to yell. I try not to but sometimes…

“I can make them think I’m old,” said Tellias. “I am a Vampire you know.”

“They’ll want to film you,” I said.

“Oh. I see,” said Tellias.

“A lion? Really Tellias?” Val said.

“I just made that up. It sounded more interesting than a regular cat,” Tellias said.

Val went to the cottage on the edge of the orchard where he sometimes lives. While he was out there Eleora and Tellias talked about him and how flighty he was and how they didn’t like his choice of girlfriends, except the one with black hair who was so smart and put together. I had no idea who they were talking about.

When he returned I poured out some Poet’s Blood into big goblets and added a shot of Bourbon into each one.

It had started to rain so we all sat on their big floral couches and watched Logan Lucky for the third time then talked about the Oscars.

“Was your cat named after the Oscar awards?” asked Eleora.

“Oscar Wilde I believe,” said Tellias.

“Yes,” I said, “Oscar Wilde. But he always wears his gray tuxedo, ready for the awards.”

That made Eleora laugh and take my hand.

We visited for several more hours. On the way home I thought about preditors to prey on old people, and young people, and confused people. I thought about the horrible doctor going to prison for the rest of his life because he spent a career abusing girls who were in his care. He was caught. So many are not.

Take care of those who need your help, even when it is frustrating, or confusing, or with no thanks. They might now always seem to care but they do. In thier own fragile way they do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

oscar-the-cat

 

 

Give a little bit

I answered my phone.

A whispery voice on the other line said, “come quick, come quick.”

Then I heard a bit of a struggle, you know, someone yelling, a small grunt, a cry like a small animal, then a voice. “Give me the phone Tellias.”

My brother Val was on the other end now. “Sorry Juliette. Hey, I need a favor. I’m taking Tellias to a meeting in Santa Cruz. Lola is in LA. Can I drop Eleora by?”

“When?” I asked.

Today, in about an hour. We’ll be gone a few days, not more than three. I just don’t want her alone. If she doesn’t fall in a well, or drive the car into the river, you know how she is. Her memory is totally shot these days. I’m afraid she won’t eat or worse order take out. She’ll pretend the plumbing is out, call 911, or something like that and when someone shows up she’ll drain them of every drop of their blood. I don’t even want to think about how many bodies she has buried out in the orchard over the past 150 years.”

“OK,” I said.

“She gets so depressed when she’s alone.”

“I know,” I said. “Bring her over.”

About an hour later my brother Val dropped off the Ancient Vampire. Eleora is over 2,000 years old, but she looks about twenty. A smile was on her pretty face as she ran to me and took my face between her soft cool hands. She kissed my cheeks, hugged me, and sang me a song.

Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

I took her hand, then said goodby to my brother.

Once inside I made a pot of tea. I took Eleora around town with me. We went to the nursery to buy plants in the rain. We stopped for coffee and talked about all things under the moon and stars. We shopped for sweaters and boots.

All the while I held Eleora’s hand as she smiled and quietly sang. People gave me those sad sweet smiles they give people with special needs adults and super old elderly folks. I’d smile back weakly and squeeze Eleora’s hand.

Once back at the house I set her down with a book, a murder mystery, and put a blanket over her legs. The calico cat jumped up on the back of the chair and purred. The dog curled at her feet.

My errands, including the unscheduled shoe and sweater shopping lasted about three hours longer than expected. Eleora looks at everything, not once but twice. She goes down the same isles twice. The asks the same questions four or five times. She speaks to everyone she sees. She laughs out loud and sings loudly in sudden unexpected bursts.

And she loves me. And I love her, more than I can put in any kind of words.

She was there for me before I was old. So I am there for her, always.

It isn’t always easy when those we love get old. It isn’t easy when they are slow or forgetful. Our lives are so fast paced and full. Sometimes we need to slow down, and be old, even if it is just for a few hours. So be old. Be free. Be loved. That is what Vampires do. That is what keeps us young. Try it. You’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Starry-Night-by-Vincent-Van-Gogh

 

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#NanoPoblano

Vintage Halloween (with Wolfhounds and Ancient Vampires)

A large wreath on the front door was made of faded and cracked plastic flowers. You know, those plastic flowers that were sold in the Five and Dime stores in the 1960’s. Faded ribbons and bows hung in odd gray pastel tones.

Without even asking I knew Eleora had taken the flowers off of graves that nobody had visited for years. Long forgotten wives and mothers. I knew Eleora had replaced the faded flowers with real ones and taken time to sit and chat with the departed and sing them songs from their times.

Eleora opened the front door and greeted us wearing a bright yellow skirt with a well worn orange sweater with black cat head shaped buttons. Her feet were bare and her toenails painted a glossy red on one foot and black on the other.

“Do you like my Halloween wreath? I made it yesterday.” She took my hand and led me inside.

“Shabby chic.” I said. “Very nice.”

She gave me a hug and kissed my face all over then took the hands of my children and danced them into the house.

The old lab mix slid around the corner barking, followed by two HUGE wolfhounds.  I was surrounded by a sea of happy wiggling dogs. The sharp spikes in my leg was a tiny black kitten who had enthusiastically crawled up my jeans.

“Who are you?” I asked picking up the tiny purring monster. “Oh my goodness you’re cute.” It mewed back in one of those precious tiny kitten voices.

My brother Max had been there, because the wolfhounds were his. My daughter took the kitten who was named Jinx. A fitting name for a black kitten.

Eleora and Tellias are ancient Vampires. They’re seniors, despite the fact that they look like they are in their late teens or early twenties.  This dear old couple has been together for over 2,000 years – a long time for any romance.

Eleora had decorated the walls and windows with old paper Halloween cut-outs. Mostly cats with a few pumpkins and other creatures of the night. She’d also included decorations made by generations of both Vampire and Regular Human children who’d come in and out of her life over the past century.

Tellias came down the stairs, his white blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail and wearing old farmer overalls without a shirt. He had a Mr. Rodgers cardigan on over it.

He gave us all hugs and kisses, a smile on his lovely face. Ancient yet forever young.

“Let’s celebrate Halloween early. Max dropped off two cases of Poet’s Blood!” He led the procession of dogs and family to the formal dining room and took crystal goblets from a large ornate hutch.

I heard a car door close and knew my brother Max had arrived. He came in looking handsome as usual obviously straight from work all in black leather.  I noticed he still had a weapon on his belt. The dogs went crazy dancing and barking.

Halloween is a time to celebrate. More than that, it is an excuse to celebrate and have fun. But we need to celebrate good times and those we love more often without an excuse of a holiday or other special event. It is always time to love and share, especially if you have elders or anyone who is alone or needs a little extra help or company.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone,

xoxoxo,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

halloween kittie

Heat, Religion, Frogs, and Old People

Summer is Here! Bake it baby (or if you’re smart you’ll stay someplace cool)

 

I could wax poetically about temperature but it is in the triple digits farenehight outside. Any wax is going to melt and I’m not feeling too poetic.

Yesterday afternoon, a man came to my church asking about my religious beliefs. I ended up with a brochure about “original sin,” something which I do not believe in. Sure some people are born evil. Some are born without souls, and I’ll freely admit that. I’ve met them. But the average little baby isn’t chock full of sin, like a dead deer full of maggots on a hot summer day, so don’t even make that comparison or even suggest to me EVER that babies are full of sin. Sheesh.

I should have given the poor man a glass of water but he was so crisp and unflappable looking that I assumed he had a cooler in his car (which could have been full of beer and Jello shots as far as I know.)

At the time I was holding a large German Shepard by her collar with the door cracked open. I should have never answered but it is usually a friend or a neighbor when someone comes a calling, especially when it is so stupidly hot outside.

I believe I’ve used the frog story before, but I shall tell it again.

Put a cold cast iron skillet on a cold burner on your stove. Gas works best. Place a large, live, cold blooded frog in the center of the skillet. Use a good sized one – 10-12 inches. Turn on the heat ever so low, then gradually turn it up. The frog will sit until it gets blazing hot and it’s feet and belly stick to the cast iron and it is cooked.

This is what happens to people in this heat (we’re expecting over 100 all week and over 110 F on some days). Elderly people and others who are not always aware will sit in the heat like the frog until they cook. They’ll forget to jump out of the pan, or in the case of some folks, forget to turn on the air conditioning or fan. Or they’ll forget to call for help because they won’t realize they need help.

My neighbor and dear friend Kelly came over tonight with a couple of cold drinks (bless her). She isn’t a Vampire like we are. She suspects we’re different but can’t quite put a finger on it. She also has a ghost in her house (yes, that ghost.)

We sat for a while as she told me of her elderly mother and the heat. Her mother forgets to turn on the air conditioner. Her mother obsesses about bad neighbors but will not let her children or helpers put anything over the fence so to keep out the eyes of those bad neighbors. She asked Kelly to come over (it was 110 outside) to cut down a tree. Kelly said no. Her mother doesn’t know what yard the tree is growing in. Kelly tells her not to go outside and check because it is too hot and because she’ll fall and end up in the hospital – again. The same conversation has happened over and over – with a different plant, a hose, a stray cat, an unfamiliar car parked on the street, or something else that Kelly will either have to deal with or talk her way out of.

She wishes her mother would move to a house where she won’t worry about bad trees and bad neighbors and expensive up keep. Kelly has suggested a smaller home near Kelly and the grand kids. It would be nice with all sorts of beautiful features and a lovely garden within walking distance of Kelly’s home. The kids could visit anytime. Her mother refuses. So Kelly must hear about trees and drive to her mom’s to get the mail, and give up her Saturday fun time. Saturday fun time is important for working moms and all moms and busy women who work, and well, it is important for everyone.

She wishes she could travel and do fun things with her mother. She wishes they could talk more of things that are positive and fun – things that are not bodily functions or other unpleasant things that only bring Kelly stress.

Sometimes the heat can suck the fun out of everything. The heat of being a caretaker can do the same. It is exhausting. Especially if the caretaker has children of her own. Kelly told her kids to put her on an ice flow if she ever got to the point where she couldn’t take care of herself. She asked them to shoot her if she ever lost her sense of humor. I gave her a hug. We talked for another house about books we’ve read this summer. We agree that everyone MUST read “Beautiful Ruins.” Then she went home to spend time with her own teenage children (good friends with my kids.)

After slipping on the kitchen floor today on an unknown object and landing on my back, I lay there thinking that I’d better call The Elders. They’re ancient and sometimes don’t use the best judgement.

Eleorna and Tellias, frail and gentle, were fine. Their neighbor had brought over shaved ice flavored with basil and rosemary. God bless him. They remembered to bring their old dog in and give him plenty of water. They didn’t drive today because sometimes they forgot how to turn on the air conditioner and the sun was too bright and they had lost the keys again, so they stayed home. And they turned on the air conditioner in their beautiful 143 year old house and slept in each other’s arms like young lovers.

I’m always afraid that I’ll drop by their house and find nothing but their ashes. I’m afraid someone will take advantage of them. I’m afraid that one day they might be gone and I will have a broken heart that will never go away.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman