Drinking Games and Raking Fall Leaves

Against my better judgement I had the radio on all day today. I learned that most of the old fart senators in Washington don’t know, or pretend not to know about drinking games, that teenage boys think farts or funny, or anything about beer. All of these “Good Christian Men” forget about their college years when they were sleeping with everything without a penis, drinking beer until they puked and passed out, and lighting farts on fire. They also like to hear themselves talk (even when it is through somebody else) so they ask a woman about a traumatic event she experienced at age fifteen and wonders why she didn’t tell anyone. Guess what? Teenage girls don’t share stuff like that because they know nobody will listen.

All of this just makes me think of drinking games. Take a drink for every time someone asked Kavanaugh if he liked beer or drank beer or every time Kavanaugh said he said the word “beer”. I was driving when I heard the whole beer episode. I thought I was in some sort of world that had turned into the cross between a Salvador Dali painting and a Carrie Nation Rally. By the way, if you didn’t know this already, Carrie Nation was six feet tall. I kid you not. But back to the hearing…I almost pulled over to the side of the road. I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen Rod Serling hitch hiking with an alien.

We’ve also suggested that the TV shows “Hawaii Five-O” and “Longmire” be made into drinking games. Whenever someone gets shot you take a drink. It they die in a more unusual way you take a drink. If someone gets kidnapped you take a drink. If someone who is a main character gets kidnapped or shot you take a drink. By the end of the show, well you never see the end of the show because you’ll be passed out by then.

When I arrived home I decided to not listen to anymore noise. Alas, my plan to just listen to the purring of my cats and maybe some music turned into my usual Thursday headache. And it is also the Friday morning headache. That is LEAF BLOWERS.

About half of my neighbors have yard services and that means leaf blowers.

Vampires, due to our naturally gentle and quiet nature, hate leaf blowers.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. 

And half the time I see the guys blowing leaves they’re just blowing dirt. They’re blowing NOTHING. I want to yell at my neighbor after the three hour bout of blowing leaves that he needs to move to the desert if he hates a single leaf in his back yard.

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, and everything I hold near and dear, I swear that I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. The loud noise makes my head feel like it is going to explode. Kids can’t study. Babies can’t sleep. I can’t work. I can’t do fucking anything.

I told my daughter that next Thursday when the leaf blowers start blowing I’m getting out my trumpet, and YES I do own a trumpet, and blowing it off of my deck until they all think Gabriel himself has come down to earth to do whatever it is that arc angels do. And then when there is a strange silence I shall put down my trumpet, show my fangs and whisper, “vengeance is mine.”

So I take a deep breath. 

I like raking leaves. To be honest, I don’t rake leaves, I sweep them. I sweep them off of the walkways, out of the gutters, and off of the driveway. Along with the leaves are hundreds, and maybe thousands of acorns.

Where are the squirrels when I need them? They’re in the trees barking at me and my cats.

Back to sweeping leaves. There is something so satisfying about sweeping my leaves up. It is quiet. Sweeping is prime time to get my ideas and creativity in order. It is a time to think. I love the way I make little and big piles. I love the smell. I love the mix of leaves and the random flower blossoms and bark that mixes with the leaves.

Right now there isn’t much in my wild back yard except trees so I let the leaves fall on the bare ground to make a soft carpet and get scattered by the dog and the wild turkeys. I don’t need perfection. I don’t need the noise of leaf blowers.

I need the quiet and the celebration of nature in my somewhat ordered world. To be honest with you there is little order in my world, but leaf sweeping, and any yard work in my tiny botanical garden under the oaks brings solace.

So wishing you all peace in this change of seasons. Turn off the radio and TV. Have a beer that nobody will question you about, and count your blessings.

And then hug your cats, talk to your kids, and be a good Vampire. Fall is here.

Remember…Halloween is just around the corner.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette kings _ Marla Todd

No Leaf Blowers Allowed in My Yard

 

 

Weirder Tales

Weirder Tales – Now Available on Amazon and other fine online bookstores. Proceeds to to MS Research.

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Fall Garden

I’m at Sacramento 2018 WordCamp this weekend. In fact I’m speaking today. But fall is in the air so is post-summer, pre-winter gardening. The following was first posted here a year ago. Hope this gets you into the festive falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and falling acorns kind of mood. I’ll see you next Sunday with Tangled Tales Short Story.

fallcolorleaves

Fall Garden

So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.

I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.

It isn’t a rock.

It is a skull.

A human skull.

Shit.

My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.

“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”

I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”

“Want me to put it with the others?”

“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.

I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.

He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”

He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”

I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”

 

~ End

 

Burning Question #26: Pumpkin Spice

This just might be the most controversial Burning Question to date. 

Fall is almost here. ALMOST. It is cooling off in my neck of the woods but I know September will bring out one last evil HOT SPELL despite the fact that the trees in my neighborhood are starting to turn yellow and red. I live in California so unless you live in the mountains there is a snowball’s chance in Hell we’ll have a nice crisp Autumn in September.

Along with leaves fall means HALLOWEEN, sweaters, more fur on the pets, busy little birds, and PUMPKIN SPICE.

197

I almost always put cinnamon in my coffee, year around. Sometimes I add a bit of nutmeg. This week I’m adding some sugar free coconut flavor. When the weather cools down I just get lazy and buy a small container of Pumpkin Pie Spice. YES that is PUMPKIN SPICE. Some people add actual pumpkin puree to their coffee but that gets you into the gross-stuff-at-the-bottom-of-the-cup territory. And who has time for that?

3440ca7c137570ed640badb230382ed3--girl-memes-funny-stuff

But there are those who don’t like Pumpkin Spice anything. They don’t understand. They despise the excitement and fluttery joy brought on my this mix of spices and caffeine. Seriously, is there too much Pumpkin Spice BS out there? Not just coffee but everything from muffins to air freshners to cat food.

pumpkin-spice-meme-004-not-giving-a-rats-ass

So where do you stand on this important issue? It is still 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Do you really want anything like pumpkin or are you still working on summer strawberry flavors and trying to keep cool? Or do you believe that if Pumpkin Spice is here that FALL will surely follow.

Burning Question #26: Is it ever too early for PUMPKIN SPICE?

 

pumpkin-spice-latte-ryan-gosling

So I leave you with thoughts of nice drinks and thoughts of lovely weather and maybe that elusive, what is that called, that thing when water falls out of the sky. Oh right. Rain. It is called rain. I haven’t seen any of that since April. But I can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

See you next Saturday for the next Burning Question.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

if-you-say-pumpkin-spice-latte-in-the-mirror-3times-6380417

The Ghost of Pumpkin Spice

“I never had a computer, or pumpkin spice lattes, or a cell phone. I had a VCR for about a year. I had a French Press. I’d get coffee beans from the Farmer’s Market. There was a little booth with a zillion spices and about thirty flavors of coffee.”

“They’re still there. I think the gal there has been selling spices since she was a teenager, maybe forty years now.”

“Wow. Remember the Mexican bakery?”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat pastries.”

“Well, you eat other things besides blood. I know that.”

“The olive guy. There was a guy who sold olives and pickles.”

“You eat olives?”

“Sure. I eat most green things.”

“Artichokes?”

“I love artichokes.”

“Green beans?”

“Sure. Not a lot but you know, sometimes.”

“I can’t imagine Dracula eating green beans.”

“Dracula is a fictional character. In fiction the only time people eat green beans is when they snap them with their grandma. I doubt if Dracula snapped beans with his grandma.”

Nigel the Ghost held a hot mug of coffee laced with cinnamon. He put his head down and closed his eyes. “I miss coffee.”

“You can always get it here,” I said.

“It isn’t the same when you can’t drink it. Shit, I haven’t had a real cup of coffee in thirty two years.”

He brushed his black hair out of his eyes, then smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“I’ve been dead longer than I was alive.”

“So you’ve told me.”

I sat across from the Ghost, his black hair shaggy around his face, a black tie, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up today. He’d hidden the gash in his head and the blood on his pale face. His eyes flickered from the coffee to me.

He cleared his throat, not because he needed to but for dramatic effect. “I might be a ghost but I’m not completely dead.”

“You’re never completely dead as long as someone stills loves you.”

“I can feel it but unfortunately I can’t see them. Well, I can’t see most of them. I don’t know how to get to them. You know the limits of my territory is out of my control.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with a Vampire. Who would have thought.”

“Want me to heat that coffee up.”

“Sure, and add some nutmeg to it. Pumpkin Spice.” Then he winked and gave me a rare smile. “You know this is weird.”

“Not for us.”

Then he put his head back and laughed. I just sipped my own coffee and then put his cup in the microwave, because that is what friends do, even if they’re Vampires or Ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

November Plans and The Trixie Affair

I’m reading The Trixie Affair – A Gluten-Free Mystery. 

Just kidding that title has been popping into my head all morning.

November is a big month. Just yesterday it started to FINALLY cool off. Our first rain of the season will be later today or tomorrow. And believe me when I say RAIN is a big deal where I live (just out of the drought and in fear of fires near Sacramento, California.)

Vampires like cooler weather. Necks aren’t so hot and sweaty. Everything tastes better – even without Pumpkin Spice. But you CAN have pumpkin spiced blood if you want.

Mix together:
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.

Put a teaspoon in a cup of warmed blood and enjoy. I do realize that there is no pumpkin in there. You COULD put in a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (unsweetened) if you want. Add a shot of Bourbon too.

November is also National Novel Writing Month. Otherwise known as: NaNoWriMo

Every November thousands of individuals write a novel in one month. Not all finish but at least they give it a try. Go to the web site and find a group, or do it on your own. You can find writing buddies, and even local events in your area. In fact, this Saturday the group in my town is having a write-in at one of my favorite local pubs. Check it out at: https://nanowrimo.org/dashboard

Write ALL THINGS VAMPIRE

This November I am honored to be part of Nano Poblano, the World’s Least Official Blog-Everyday-November Challenge. That is what the logo you’ll see on my blog this month is for. https://cheerpeppers.wordpress.com/2017-pepper-roll/

pepper2017

Check out the bloggers below – Nano Pablano – Making November Spicy.

Ra @ Rarasaur
Julie @ Bug Bytes
Bill @ Bill Friday
Elsie @ Ramblings of a writer
Jessie @ Behind the Willows
Anita Shree @ Heartsongs blog
Sarina @ Shining Seeds Blog
Lori @ LoriStory Blog
Kasturika @ Musings of an eccentric mind
Lorna @ Gin & Lemonade Blog 
Angie @ The Muses Words
Varuna @ Vanilla With Sprinkles
Ghost @ Teleportingweena
Sibelius Russell @ Consolations Many Form Blog
Sarah @ Mother of Serendipity
Juliette Kings @ Vampire Maman
Lindsay @ The Flynnigans Blog 
Emily @ Zombie Flamingos Blog 
Carolyn R Owens @ Infinity Coaching Leadership Blog
Kitty Litterbox @ Litterbox Riot Blog 
Erica @ The Broken Spine Blog 
Erica @ The Ink Slinger Blog 
Charlene @ The Illusion Of Controlled Chaos Blog 
Sahara @ I Didn’t Just Wake Up This Morning With A Craving Blog
Briton @ Punk Rock Papa Blog
Kim @ Drunk On Life Blog 
David Ellis @ TooFullToWrite Blog
Tooks @ mrtookles (insta-blog)
Kate @ Will Wally Wonder 
Varad @ Loose End of the Red Thread
The Don @ Blended in the Middle Blog 
Palak @ Expressions Blog 
Victoria @ The Loneliness of the Stay-at-Home-Mother Blog 
Namratha @ NamySaysSo Blog 
Ka Malana @ Fiestaestrellas!
Edward @ Edward Fagan Blog
Robert @ Fresh Off the Pad Poetry
Lizzie Ward @ Cats and Chocolate Blog 
Jesska @ Not Throwing Stones
Quixie @ Quixie’s Mind Palace
Heather @ tUrtlettE Blog 
Sarah @ TZBlog
Matt @ The Matticus Kingdom
Cyn @ That Cynking Feeling

I believe I’m the only Vampire blogger on the list but there are other parenting bloggers, and every subject matter in the universe. This is a fantastic, diverse, and interesting group. Check out some of the other blogs. I don’t mind.

I will be blogging each day, including new posts from Vlad’s Vampire Diary, Ask Juliette, stories about having college aged kids, news from Eleora and Tellias the Ancient Senior Citizen Vampires, Nigel the Ghost, Werewolves, Zombies, and of course more Tangled Tales (Short Story Sunday.) I’ll also write about inspiration and coffee. Always coffee. Yes, even Vampires need their coffee.

Along with the blog I’m working on not one, but two novels. One features Nigel. The other is completely new – a father/daughter bonding sort of story with enough weirdness to keep the reader reading.

And if you see all of the men in your life growing mustaches it is because of Movember – https://us.movember.com

Check it out for the men you love.

And remember:

  • Talk to your kids.
  • Tell someone that you love them today.
  • Kiss your cat.
  • Hug your dog.
  • Call your mom and dad.
  • Plant some bulbs.
  • And stay away from bad blood.
  • xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette

Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Diary: Pumpkin Spice

coffee

Dear Diary,

I do not understand these large vegetables called pumpkins.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went out for a bite to eat. It was night. Late night. I had gone to the usual night spots and had, what do people call it these days, oh yes, I had a snack or two. Small bites. Wanting more, and wanting something good I went to a tavern owned by a woman called Cassie.

I walked her home, nearly crazy with her warmth and the sweet smell of her blood. The night was cool with the change of the seasons. It was the autumn solstice. I was hungry.

Once inside of her house she grabbed my shirt and kissed me. I shared her embrace, hardly able to contain myself. Then she smiled and said she had to go to the bathroom. I waited, and decided to remove my shirt thus showing of my well chiseled muscular male form that few women can resist. I believe I have what people call a six pack. I do not understand it but I will accept it is a good thing.

Cassie appeared, still with a smile, completely naked, and completely beautiful. She approached me and put her hand on my chest.

“You’re cold Vlad,” she said.  Then she pressed her body next to mine. I kissed her. She sighed and pressed closer. Then just as I was ready to sink my fangs into her neck she stepped back away from me. I did not understand. Why did she step back from me?

The woman smiled and said, “Do you know what I want Vlad?”

“I assume it is me,” I said.

“I do want you Vlad, but first I want a Pumpkin Spice Latte.”

I did not know what to say. I, Vlad, King of Vampires, was speechless.

“Vlad,” said the beautiful naked Cassie, with a laugh, “you look so cute when you’re surprised. Damn, you always look cute.”

Cute. I do not understand this cute anymore than I understand this pumpkin spice. Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am not a baby or a kitten.

And now I find myself resistible. That is not a good thing. No woman should be able to resist me. I am after all Vlad the Vampire King. I ran my hand through my golden hair, and glared at her with my hypnotic blue Vampire eyes.

“What is this Pumpkin Spice Latte you desire?” I asked.

“Coffee flavored like Pumpkin Spice,” said Cassie.

“Vegetable flavored coffee? Why would you rather have that when you can have me? Would you rather I be a vegetable?”

She laughed again and called me cute again. I walked a few blocks to an all night coffee shop and obtained two Pumpkin Spice Lattes. All the while I was thinking that I should have stayed locked in the crypt in which I was imprisoned for three hundred years. On the walk to Cassie’s house I tasted one of the lattes. Stepping into an alley I vomited blood and Pumpkin Spice for ten minutes. Vampires should not drink Pumpkin Spice.

When I returned Cassie was wearing a robe over her naked body. She thanked me for the concoction from Hell. I debated whether to stay or go. She said the drink was good. Then she said I would be good too. I decided to stay.

I was exceptionally good.

I still feel ill

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I could not sleep today. Dreams of my home being overtaken by vines heavy with pumpkins, pounding on the windows, with tendrils clawing at my doors, filled my head.

Looking out my window I saw no pumpkins yet my thoughts were still troubled. Knowing my friend Randolpho would be awake I drove to his house to find solace.

My dear friend greeted me at the door and welcomed me in. His home was cool and dark. The experience made me feel relaxed. Then suddenly I was overcome with nausea.

I looked towards Randolpho who was lighting candles.

“What madness is this?” I cried.

“Pumpkin Spice candles. Bath and Body Works is having a sale. I love their fall scents. There is nothing like blood and a little Pumpkin Spice to make one feel positively warm with Vampire comforts,” said Randolpho.

“Are you out of your mind my friend?” I said. I glared at the candles and made the flames go dead.

“What crawled up your ass?” said Randolpho.

“You do not need to be crude Randolpho. That smell makes me sick,” I told him. Then I related the story of the night before.

“Vlad, my friend,” said Randolpho, “it was not the flavor that made you sick, it was the milk in the latte. You know Vampires can’t drink lattes. Now if the coffee had been black…”

“Stop. I want no more talk of this,” I said.

“Fine,” said Randolpho, giving me that look he gives me when he thinks I am being unreasonable. “I am going to the plant nursery on the hill to buy bulbs.”

“Bulbs. Pray tell why would a plant nursery sell bulbs unless you are growing marijuana…” I said.

“No, TULIP bulbs,” said Randolpho. “Fall bulbs, like tulips, daffodils and crocus. Those small fall wonders that when put in the ground explode into a riot of color and true beauty.”

Tulips. Oh how this modern world amazes me. I remember  when tulips were rare and as valuable as the rarest jewels.

Once as a ransom for his idiot son, who wanted to become a Vampire, a Dutch merchant gave me four rare tulip bulbs. It was the year 1635. I remember it well.

I planted the bulbs in pots and nurtured them. In the spring the small brown eggs of earth (as I liked to call them) produced magnificent blooms of purple and white stripes, red, and yellow. I invited all in my castle to come see the flowers. Then out of nowhere came Baskall Kirflint, a Vampire with great wealth, good looks and an ugly temper. He demanded that I give him the hand of my sister, or he would steal her away and have his way with her.

I told him, “Baskall Kirflint, my sister does not love you, nor will she ever love you. Your unpleasant ways and foul temperament reminds her of a spoiled child. She will not have you, and I will not force her to be with you.”

Baskall Kirflint snarled at me showing his fangs. Then he knocked the tulip pot to the floor and ground the bulbs and blooms with the heel of his boot into my Persian carpet.

“Be gone from my sight,” I said. Then I told my guards to send him on his way knowing there was a full moon that night. The Werewolves ate him, all except his head which was still alive. I put his head on a pole on my castle wall so he could watch the world without being able to be in it. That was a mistake for Baskall Kirflint yelled insults from his bodiless lead to all who passed. I threw his head into the fire pit in the castle court yard that night and ended Baskall Kirflint.

“Remember Baskall Kirflint?” I said to Randolpho.

“What an asshole,” said Randolpho. “In the five hundred years I’ve known you I don’t think I’ve ever seen you go angry.”

“Seven hundred,” I said, “but who is counting.”

Then we both laughed.

After putting on sunscreen and donning our dark glasses we went to the plant nursery on the hill to obtain tulip bulbs.

I have no words, or almost no words for my joy when I walked into the plant nursery building. Bin upon bin was filled with tulip bulbs in every color imaginable. Along with tulips were daffodils, narcissus, crocus, and freesia bulbs. I imagined the fortune I would spend in this place, then saw that the bulbs were inexpensive. Six bulbs were the price of a pair of socks.

I filled my cart with bulbs of all colors, but mostly red. Then Randolpho said we must look at more things. As we walked along rows of trees, blooming shrubs and flowers, two women looked at us. One whispered to her friend, “they make a cute couple.”

Randolpho just laughed. I was not amused, but wondered at the ignorance of these women. If two men look at flowers why do modern people assume they are a couple. I am still trying to figure out the modern world but make an attempt to not fall into branding people with stereotypes (my new word for this month.) Randolpho told me to get over it. That is another expression I refuse to use. I told him so.

As we continued to walk through the beautiful rows of flowers, herbs, and shrubs we came upon a sign that said, “Pumpkins Are Here.” What madness was this?

In front of us were piles and rows and mounds of pumpkins in every shape, size and color. There were gourds that looked like small monsters. There were pots shaped like pumpkins with grinning faces.

Randolpho picked out a few of the unusual pumpkins to bring to his house.

“What are you going to do with those Randolpho? You are not going to eat them, I know that to be true,” I said to my friend.

“I am going to decorate with these pumpkins. Then when the fall is over and Yule Time comes I will cut up the pumpkins and feed them to the squirrels and deer,” said Randolpho.

Now I am at home with two large bags containing over one hundred flower bulbs. It cost me less than one hundred dollars for all of them. I did not, would not, bring home any pumpkins.

I went back to sleep and had dreams of red flowers and Cassie’s hot red blood.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

It is now snowing in the mountains which I can see from my home. I think of the winters long ago when I lived in a castle. I think of standing on the high tower lookout with the cold wind in my hair, and soft flakes of cold snow falling on my face.

People in my neighborhood are starting to celebrate the cool air by putting scarecrows, wreaths of gold and orange leaves, and pumpkins on their porches.

Everything is different now. Different than it was centuries ago when I was King of the Vampires.

I sent my sister a text on my phone. I have learned to do that. It is a valuable tool. I send her a photo of the tulip bulbs. She sent back a message with three red hearts. Do I dare say that was cute? I told her that I would save some for her. I told her how excited I was about the bulbs.

Then she texted, “Do not lose your head over it.”

And I texted back, “LOL.”

I am feeling as if I belong to the modern world, even if I do not appreciate the cult of Pumpkin Spice.

~ Vlad

tumblr_mcoba8l5751qa70eyo4_400

This is #33 of the Vlad’s Vampire Diary series. For the entire series, from the beginning, CLICK HERE. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman