Memories, Parenting, Shared Stories, and Growing Up

My daughter turned nineteen yesterday. That now means I’m officially a parent of those who are exclusively adults.

With the kids in my life getting older it beings back a flood of memories from the time I was a little bit older than two years, to my childhood, and somewhat embarrassing and adventure filled young adulthood.

I hope that all adults, especially those with children, and I mean children of any age, can remember way back when. I don’t mean like those memes you see on Facebook that say “When I was a kid we jumped off of cliffs, played with guns and live hand grenades, went swimming in snake infested rivers, stayed out until dark, exclusively dined on fried food and sugar, and put our hands into garbage disposals, used chain saws unattended, and we’re still alive. Kids these days are spoiled assholes.”

Having children brings up random memories. Sometimes these are fearful. Sometimes they bring a sigh of relief because your child is not doing the same thing as you did. Sometimes they are happy, or bittersweet because of a time you loved that will never be again.

Yesterday I thought about how I waited on the front porch of our house with my mother and my brother Valentine as we watched my three older brothers walking off to school. They were fourteen, thirteen, and nine. Val was almost five. I was almost four. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to go to school. Val was silent on the issue. He’d already started to read on his own and had no plans on going to school. Not ever. He never told my parents so he missed his opportunity to be an exclusive self learner. I didn’t learn to read until I was six and didn’t master it until I was about eight.

I thought about how much I like my daughter’s boyfriend, and my son’s girlfriend.

And the most random memory came into my head. I dated a guy named Orin once who was nice. He had a dog who was nice and a nice sense of humor. His home was nice. What wasn’t so nice was the fact that his sister lived with him. Gertrude seemed nice at first despite the fact that she was loud and exceptionally out spoken. But then it got weird.

Wherever I went with Orin Gertrude would be there. When Gertrude would talk Orin would stop whatever he was doing and give her a dreamy look. Gertrude was the expert in everything and he would defer to her on everything. She monopolized every conversation. Eventually everything we did was what Orin and Gertrude wanted to do. In fact that only reason I think I was around was because Orin didn’t want to have sex with his sister. She already had dibs on all of the other girlfriend functions. It was like dating married man who brought his wife along, only weirder. So the last time I saw him I invited him for cocktails. I said we could do something afterwords. A few nights before I told him that I was bothered that Gertrude, or Gertrude and her boyfriend were always along. I wanted some time with just him. He brought Gertrude along. As we sipped our drinks Gertrude talked and Owen gave her dreamy looks and said nothing out of his goofy love stuck smile. I left after I was finished with my drink and never saw him again.

I’ve told that story to my kids. They think it is exceptionally creepy. Siblings are great. Just not like Owen and Gertrude.

This morning my daughter Clara and her boyfriend left for a camping trip on the north coast. I thought of a camping trip long ago with my friend Amelia.

I was living in Sacramento. Amelia was living in Las Vegas. So we met half way in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where the highest mountains in the lower 48 are. We were at Devil’s Post Pile, an amazing geological formation. As we set up our tents I heard seals. This was great. Last time I went camping on the beach we heard seals too.

I said to Amelia, “Do you hear the seals?”

She said, “Those are mules.”

Then I remembered we were three hundred miles from the ocean, and in the mountains.

I’ll attribute my memory fade to a four-hour drive in my sports car with the top down. Brain bake. Or maybe it was just me, because sometimes I’m like that.

Amelia is still in Las Vegas being fabulous. I’m still living near Sacramento.

Amelia and I are still having adventures. I heard the seals, aka mules, years before I ever had children. Now Amelia and I have grown daughters. I think our hearing is a lot better now. Parenthood will do that to you.

By the way, I haven’t heard seals in the mountains since then.

I was also with Amelia on my 19th birthday one hundred and forty years ago, but I won’t tell that story today.

In both storytelling and parenting use what you know. Use the truths from you experiences to teach your children. Entertain them with your stupid stories so maybe their stupid stories won’t be so stupid.

We all connect through our stories. Our stories make us who we are. They are something we can share at no cost, except maybe a little embarrassment.

I love to listen to stories and memories others have to share. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting around a campfire, strolling through a museum, or hanging out at home. What matters is that we listen with open minds, open hearts, and a sense of humor. And add in some love.

Yes, even Vampires, despite the misinformation out there about us, know about love. We know a lot about love – and stories. So be like a Vampire and tell your story and collect stories from others. You’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm darling girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating A Dead Guy (or friends don’t fix up friends even when they’re sober)

I was visiting with a single friend of mine today and she said something interesting.

“Desdemona wanted to fix me up with her friend Jacko. The guy has no job, no ambition, lives with Desdemona and her husband, and has nothing in common with me.”

I had to smile in amusement. Desdemona equates a man with a pulse, and single status, and maybe a penis, as the someone who would be a great match for any of her friends. Those are the only three requirements. When I was single, way back when, she did the same with me. It drove me nuts. No I never met any of the guys.

She’d also leave out whether the guy was a Vampire, a Werewolf, a Zombie, a regular guy, or a serial killer. Things like job status, education, interests, personality, health. looks, and having a sense of humor, or even being remotely interesting would be pushed aside. All she would see was two people who she thought needed to be married. It didn’t matter who they married. That wasn’t important.

Friends don’t let friends hook each other up. Sure you can have a party and invite single people who might like each other but PLEASE don’t be a matchmaker for your friends.

This is nothing more than a short public relations message from me.

If you absolutely NEED to fix up friends ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does that person have a pulse?
  • Do they have a descrenable personality?
  • Do they live with their parents?
  • Do they have income?
  • Is it legal?
  • Do they like dogs and cats?
  • Do they read? Can they read?
  • Do they have any common interests?
  • Are they matched physically? Yes, you don’t want to match a couple who is on the opposite ends of the looks chart. It might sound shallow but I’m just being real.
  • Are they a Vampire (assuming your friend is)
  • Would they make a good Vampire or want to ever be one?
  • What about religion. That can get ugly.
  • Are they prone to joining cults?
  • What are their political views?
  • Do they go out in the sunlight?
  • Does one of your friends have a weird habit or trait that your other friend might find too weird or offensive.
  • If they get together and break up will you lose two friend? Will you lose even one friend?

This isn’t rocket science. Think before you match up your adult friends. It is offensive when to try to match up friends or family members with a dud.

THINK. 

Again… this has been a pubic service announcement from Vampiremaman.com

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

unicorn

When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.

My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.

Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)

I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.

To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.

I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna.  He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.

I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.

“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”

He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”

“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.

“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.

“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.

“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.

I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.

Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”

Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.

“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy.  “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”

Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”

Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her.  It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”

“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.

“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.

“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”

“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”

“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.

“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”

“But…”

Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”

“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.

The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cyprus tree to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.

Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.

“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.

“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.

“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.

Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.

We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.

I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.

Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

everybodylovesapossum

So what inspired you to write this odd little story Juliette?

A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar… to find out what inspired this post in which every single word is absolutely true:
http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

And if you aren’t following the Sharp Witted, Brilliant and Talented Bill Brown and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest you ought to be. 

THE DEADLINE FOR THE 2018 CONTEST OF WHATEVER is MARCH 1st 2018. CLICK HERE for details.

And don’t forget that I WON the 2017 Contest of Whatever with Shelf Critter Theater Starring Vlad and Randolpho from Vampire Diaries. Click HERE to read that amazing story (with pictures.)

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

For the official back story on Andrew and Shawna go to the links below:

Innocenzio Dantonio

Foxy Mendoza the King of Suave

Foxy Mendoza the King of Suave

I’ve told you about this guy before but I’m going to tell you again, just because I was thinking about it…

He went by the name Foxy Mendoza but was neither Foxy or had any ethnic background that warranted then sir name Mendoza. The last time I saw him we was going by Mitchell Smyth-Robinson. Just imagine a Vampire in a cheap suit, no, please, don’t do that. Vampires don’t usually wear cheap suits. This time Mitch, excuse me Foxy, was wearing lime green skinny jeans, a tight black tee, a small black pork pie hat and had something that looked like a Yorkshire Terrier growing off of his chin. Gold hoops adorned his ears and he carried a bright red organically grown cotton man-purse. He called it a satchel. It was a man-purse. He still smelled of violet water. You can’t get the Victorian out of this Vampire who is always reinventing himself.

Foxy Mendoza is the epitome of ridiculous but he is also so successful at everything he does. Well, almost everything.

To make matters worse is the fact that I’m stuck with Foxy Mendoza aka Mitchell Smyth-Robinson aka Sonny Valentino aka John Earl… that fact is that I am stuck with this creature of many names is because I am the one who turned him into a Vampire. I cringe each and every time I think of it.

“So where did you get the name Foxy?” I had to ask.

“My flaming red hair of course.”

He is a strawberry blonde at best. I didn’t even ask about the last name Mendoza.

My kids were glad to see their Uncle Mitch. Aside from the strange ungodly hair on his chin they thought his new look was exceptionally cool. They laughed at his new name. Foxy laughed with them. But they still called him Uncle Mitch.

I have to admit that we all have those weird, eccentric, unusual and unique people in our lives. Those qualities are quiet annoying at times but can be quite charming as well. And face it, if you want to be a successful Vampire you have to have at least three out of those four qualities.

Yes, I know you’re curious about the circumstances in which I turned Mitch, I mean Foxy, into a Vampire.

It was 1879. We were really young. I was a few months from turning 20. Mitch, known then as John, was 22.  I met him on a boat, at night, in San Francisco Bay. There was no moon, only stars out. Anyway, I’ll write up the entire tale later, but he knew I was a Vampire. We started to talk. At first I wanted to rip out his neck he was so annoying but then he grew on me. He made me laugh. I made him smile. We talked until dawn and then kept talking. No, we were never involved romantically. Oh he could be so annoying that it frustrated me to no end, but there was something about him that was so… I don’t know, because he is SO annoying. But friendship is weird that way. So there you go. On my 20th birthday I turned him into a Vampire, he survived, and we were still friends.

Friendship is like that. I do need to tell you more about Foxy but then again you might want to tell me “NOOOOOO I can’t take it anymore.” Foxy brings that out in people.

Crap, now I have to figure out how to get him to shave that ridiculous thing off of his chin. What is it with guys and beards? My husband never had a beard and only one of my brothers sports one right now. Val has a neatly trimmed short beard that actually looks good on him. I have to take a break and smile here because Val thinks Mitch/Foxy is the most annoying person in the world and it takes a lot to annoy Val. Just makes me laugh.

And did I mention my friend’s laugh? Maybe it would be better if I didn’t. Think fire trucks and lots of uncontrollable snorts.

Have fun everyone and never make an excuse for your weird and annoying friends. Just think of how boring life would be without them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Don’t Fall Apart On Me Baby.

Melissa watched Say Yes to the Dress on satellite TV knowing she’d never wear anything strapless. The lace lined sleeves she’d planned would be lined with flesh colored fabric. She switch out her black bejeweled eyepatch for one covered in white lace and pearls. On her hands would be white kidskin gloves, with stuffing where she was missing fingers.

Hers would be the perfect Zombie wedding.

A few weeks ago I’d received a call from my Zombie friends to tell me that they’d purchased a farm up I-5 near Willows.

Melissa and Mike hadn’t always been Zombies. They hadn’t always been a couple. It all started when the two who worked for agricultural lobbies had been attached while on a business trip. They’d been friends but the long hours, and of course the shared experience of turning into Zombies had tightened their bond.

I wrote about them in A Lunch Date With Zombies (click here for that story). I helped stop the spread of their condition thought my own blood. It was a risk on my part. A huge risk. Vampires live a risky existence by default but we don’t like to take risks. We don’t like Zombies either. Seriously who does?

My friend Cody and I drove up from Sacramento to their farm. Melissa and Mike met us on the porch of their farm house. It was lovely. They walked in a slow gait to my car to meet us. Once inside Melissa offered drinks but no food. They’re Zombies, we’re Vampires so we generally eat different things. Don’t say it. Don’t even think it. Vampires do not eat the flesh of humans, brains, or whatever. We drink blood. There is a difference.

But aside from that we’re cool. No pun intended.

Mike and Melissa are doing fine. For her birthday Mike had a beautiful Steampunk style artificial hand made for her. It would outshine anything Luke Skywalker would have had.

They’d had their teeth fixed and learned to use make-up to their advantage. They learned to seem normal again.

Then he proposed to her on day when she was ready to give up. Don’t fall apart on me baby. I love you. We’ll keep it together. Marry me.

And she said yes.

We visited in the lovely home surrounded by walnut trees. I knew there were chewed up bodies buried out in the orchard. I know they picked up transients along the highway – the kind of people who were wondered about but never missed.

The conversation turned to the wedding, and the farm, and their quiet life. And before we left, Cody and I left a small amount of our Vampire blood in a couple of coffee cups in their beautiful refurbished kitchen. Because, while they won’t turn into Vampires, our blood will, you know, keep the Zombie shit at bay. It isn’t a well known fact, and I tend to keep it that way (since Zombies and Men in Black generally don’t read my blog.)

On the way home, Cody, who’d only been a Vampire since 2012, said, “They’ve done well all things considering. Their world was turned upside down, their bodies changed, their brains fucked with…everything. I know how that feels.”

I don’t know what else to say except when your world is falling apart, along with your bodies, you just need to be creative, call your friends, and keep your wits. And your love.

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Mysterious Friendships

In honor of Werewolf Week (October 1-7, 2017 here at Vampiremaman.com) I’ll be featuring more than one post about my friend Adam, who IS a Werewolf. The following is from 2013. Yes, Vampires and Werewolves can be friends. Really.

Mysterious Friendships

When friends, or others, discover we are Vampires the reactions vary from shock to horror to fascination. But, that said, they rarely find out we’re Vampires.

I had to meet with my friend Adam, Werewolf and brilliant photographer. Until a year ago I didn’t know he was a Werewolf and he didn’t know I was a Vampire. We kept our secrets better than most, for sometimes we CAN tell when folks aren’t regular humans. When we found out each others secret it wasn’t pretty. We both were feeling a bit violent and betrayed and out of sorts.

He touched my neck where he’d tried to rip out my throat a year ago. A faint scar still lingered. “I’m surprised I didn’t kill you.”

I shrugged it off then stepped back out of his reach.

He continued to talk. “You must have taken 50 gallons of blood out of me over the past 15 years. I still can’t believe I never caught on.”

I declined to comment and asked him if I could see his latest work, the items he was going to put in a major museum exhibit.

“Don’t you want to talk about it? Vampires always want to talk.”

He was so attractive in that overly masculine hairy man sort of way that took away the breath of women before they even knew what hit them. I just saw him as a dog, which was rather disturbing considering everything that had transpired between us in the past.

I had to ask him, “Do any regular humans know you’re a Werewolf?”

“Not to my knowledge or at least they don’t understand what they saw. If they repeat it people will think they’re crazy. I don’t TELL anyone. You know, I don’t need any dog catchers coming my way”.

After the 1880’s his kind was almost made extinct out our way. Adam, who was born long after that, has always lived among the regular folks but he was wary as a wild animal, putting on the charm and living in the world of everyone else.

He stepped closer to me, within arms length. “Friends?”

“Always,” I said.

When you’re part of the shadows and mystery surrounded by secrets and lies, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, a good friend, even if he is a Werewolf, is a true blessing.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Source: Mysterious Friendships