Vampire House Warming

Note: My brain is full so I’m re-running this today from 2013. A lot has changed since then – especially with Max and Andy. I’ll catch you up later or you can look for it yourself.  So have fun. I’ll have new thoughts on parenting young adults, Vampires, Ghosts, and all kinds of stuff soon.

Vampire House Warming

We all have those turning points in our life. Some we choose and some we don’t. Some we’re nudged in the right or more often wrong direction.

And there are those times when we try to read between the lines too much about the lives of others. It is usually far more complicated or else far less complicated than we think it is.

My brother Andrew (second of 5 siblings) recently moved back to California after several years in London and other parts of the globe and purchased a home in San Francisco. I hear he paid a million and a half for the place in St. Francis Woods, but he could afford it. I hold my breath to think what my brother Max’s home or my parent’s homes with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge would go for. Anyway…this isn’t about real estate.

It is about a lovely housewarming party my brother Andrew hosted. The place was packed with both Vampires and Regular Humans. There were of course musicians (Andy is a singer) and dancers. There were artists and college professors and writers and high tech geeks and all sorts of interesting people with every profession and opinion imaginable. What made this remarkable, as parties and gatherings go, was that Andy’s Regular Human friends know about Vampire. They’re friends with us and don’t have a problem with it.

OK there was one exception. Andy invited his “girlfriend.” Shawna had come up from Southern California where she is a university professor. She is not a Vampire. She is still in that state of wonder and a little bit of disbelief about Vampires and our world (which isn’t all that different than hers, usually.)

Andy is head over heels in love with this divorced mother of two college kids. The story is that she came home from a research trip to find her husband had put her things in storage and moved a new trophy wife into their home. Their youngest child had just gone off to college so it was his opportunity to also make a change. Shocked, she found a small house on a quiet tree lined street and made a new life with her cats and dogs (she wouldn’t leave them behind.)

Shawna was strong and smart and I had no idea what she was doing with my scatter-brained brother. But it was ok. They were cute together and, well, you know all that sort of early romance cute stuff.

I looked out the window to the backyard to see my brother Max kissing his “friend.” This was more than just a friend. I’d heard rumors but this was proof that there was something more than he’d admit to. Funny that she backed out of his arms and went inside alone leaving him to pace a bit then follow her back inside.

In the kitchen I found Shawna. She was cutting up limes.

“I told Andy to have this catered.” I said this trying to be friendly. I could sense a tiny bit of discomfort behind her warm friendly fang-less smile.

“It’s ok, this will just take a second.” She cut into a lime then her hand slipped, of course, in a house full of Vampires, and cut a deep gash in her thumb.

I grabbed her hand and put it in my mouth to stop the bleeding and sealed the wound. I could have left it but it would have required stitches, not to mention drawn a lot of unwanted attention.

I let go and she pulled away with a little bit of horror and disbelief.

“It’s OK Shawna. I sealed the cut. It will heal now without stitches. You’re A positive.” I smiled. “Don’t worry.  I’m not going to drink your blood or bite you or anything. Just basic first aid. We don’t want anyone else smelling blood.”

I suddenly realized that Andy had never bitten her or exposed her to his natural Vampire ways. He was such a gentleman.  He was also a dick when it came to women. He was always falling for anything that wasn’t a Vampire and when it was a Vampire it was usually always someone who was totally wrong for him. He always had to have everything in life more complicated than it had to be.

“Isn’t this sweet,” I heard a smooth male voice say behind me. I turned to see James, one of Andy’s best friends. James who had always watched out for Andrew but who was also one of the most absolutely annoying Vampires in the known universe.

“You know, Juliette and her brother Valentine are two of the best when it comes to Human to Vampire conversions. Almost a 100% success rate, mot to mention a great follow up and support system.”

“Shut up James,” I snapped. Poor Shawna looked horrified. Why was it that everything James said sounded vulgar? Oh right, I know, because he is a flipping pig.

Shawna looked horrified. I was about say something else nasty to James when a very angry Vampire (showing her fangs no less) suddenly slammed him into the wall. “You’re making me sick James. Get out of here before I rip your throat out.”

He held up his hands and backed off. With a smile he said, “Later ladies, I’ll leave you to your tea party.”

Max’s friend Mehitabel  (the one he kissed in the backyard) stood there in a sleek black dress and some great sky high patent leather Mary Janes. She washed her hands saying something under her breath about getting the stink left by James off of them.

Mehitabel was the pretty woman who could either stand out in a crowd, or more likely not be noticed by anyone. That worked well in her professional life. She could stand unnoticed and watch and wait. As for her personal life, I have no idea. I don’t know her that well. I really don’t

I found her entertaining and funny. Sure she was a little distant as well, an odd combination.

Earlier I’d asked her what she was doing for Memorial Day. She was going to spend it with close friends. They always spent holidays together.  Why did I assume she wouldn’t have anyplace to go? Gossip and rumors can build into false biographies that paint a harsh sad picture of someone who is anything but harsh or sad.

She didn’t ask questions about my brother Max, the object of her affections – not like most women do.  She wasn’t talking to anyone about Max. She’d come to the party because they had mutual friends – nothing more. She was staying at Max’s house but no details of fluttery “wink wink” was forthcoming.

She had known Max for a long long time.  Over the years they’d been in and out of dangerous situations together, even saved each other’s lives. They were considered Vampire elite, thought she didn’t act like it.

So, anyway, I’m standing in the kitchen with two women who for better or worse were involved with two of my brothers. At this point I doubted if anyone was going to come in and rescue me.

“Don’t bother with James,” I said to Shawna.  “I think he was snorting too much dragon dust or something.”

“More likely out feeding on meth heads and heroine junkies,” said Mehitabel in disgust. The she softened her look and approached Shawna.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.  We’re not like that. Andy isn’t like that. He is one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, Regular Human or Vampire, and he adores you. He’d never ever let anyone harm you. The same goes for Juliette and me, and everyone here. Even James, even thought he is an asshole.”

I knew there were those would harm Shawna, but then again, I suppose nobody could have hurt her more than her ex-husband, the one who traded her in for a younger model.

After a few minutes and a few cocktails, we forgot about the party and my brothers. We talked of other things, things we all could relate to. We talked about movies and books and shoes and our work.

I suppose there is no point or moral to this story. No usual twist. It is always just odd and I’m glad my kids were in another part of the house, I’m sure being exposed to all sorts of other weirdness.

Just random thoughts about last weekend…

But all in all, I like both of these women my brothers have brought around. Now if my brothers could just behave… And if they don’t behave, I might still just keep these two around.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

(this post first published here 11/13)

_____________________________

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

 

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself”

Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel

____________________________________

More on Shawna and Andy (click here.)

More on Max and Mehitabel (click here.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Alice in Christmas Land

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joy, and Dogs!

This is my dog Alice in Christmas Land. She will turn two years old on Christmas Day – So Happy Birthday Alice.

Alice is exceptionally sweet, loves to cuddle, smart, playful, and funny. Alice also LOVES the two cats who live with her (not shown – the cat in the photo is doorstop.)

Alice the GSD, VampireMaman

Today’s assignment: Hug your dog, your cat, your Vampire, your child, your mom, or anyone you love or like a whole lot.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

House of the Spirits – Casa de los espiritus

They called the farmhouse casa de los espiritus, the ones who picked the fruit and helped with the orchards. House of the spirits.

The original house is gone, replaced in 1884 with a lavish 5,400 square foot Queen Anne style Victorian. The spirits are still there in the form of Tellias and Eleora the very ones who had the home built. Yes, they’re still there because they are Vampires.

Over the years the house has seen friends come and go but the owners stay the same, never aging a day. During the day the house is still but at night the spirits come to life with both darkness and in light. One can go by the darkened old house and hear laughing coming from within. Memories fade except of the faces of youth that never grows old.

On rare occasions we might see ghosts in the orchards or down by the river banks, but they’re never in the house.

Gone are the days of lavish parties but those days might come again.

I kicked back on the veranda with my brother Val recently one moonless night.

“So I guess we’re the spirits,” he said.

“Pretty much,” I replied. Nothing more needed to be said. It was one of those slow nights where we didn’t feel like going out. We’d both had lunch dates so there wasn’t any urgency to go out.

We didn’t play remember when that night. You know, the old game where you sit with an old friend or sibling and remember the most extreme situations you’ve ever been in. Remember when you found the crocodile under your bed, remember when that crazy rogue Vampire tried to tear your head off, remember when you fell off the bridge, remember when the hounds chased us across the field, remember when we were trapped in a crypt, trapped in a burning barn, trapped in a light house, trapped in a sinking ship, trapped with a politician in a rowboat in the middle of a swamp in Louisiana, hidden in a closet, running down the beach with a giant torch, hidden in a church, trapped in a relationship? It could go on forever. But that night we didn’t play that game. OK we did but later. We always play that game.

Bob, the neighbor stopped by. We didn’t play remember when with him either. Bob is 62 and dealing with his 85 year old mother (who has ideas of her own on how Bob should live his life.) I suddenly thought how odd it must be for Bob to be here speaking with a couple of Vampires. He has known us all his life. His family has known us (our family and our kind) since the 1850’s.

Casa de los espíritus applies more to him than to us. He 40 years ago he fell in love with a woman who never aged. Of course her heart belongs to another forever, but he never give up hope. For him there is that ghost of a chance… always the chance, or so I speculate.

The spirits haunt those with the least time. They haunt those who think the most of what could have been.

For those of us who think of what can be the spirits are quiet.

Earlier we heard someone playing the old wind up gramophone Radio Franks Old Maid’s Ball. Now they were all in dancing to Enrique Iglesias singing Bailando.

Val and I laughed and danced along. Why not. Everyone needs to dance, even Vampires in the dark of the night. Taking Bob by the hands we all went inside to join the party.

Tonight the spirit was that of friendship and fun. No haunting scary monsters. That is for another post, I promise.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Musings on Home, Teens and Vampires

A cold rain is coming down through the damp air. My home is surrounded by painters.

Contrary to public urban myths Vampires do not all live in Addams family style homes with the worst of Victorian architecture. I refuse to be a Shadow Creeper. Please, give me a break.

My home is going from a nasty peeling gray putty color to a nice friendly blue. Fifty shades of gray might be ok for bad mommy-porn but not for my house. It was starting to look like a haunted house (or worse the Amityville Horror House or the House on Haunted Hill.) Now it looks kind of like Bear’s home in Bear in the Big Blue House. My readers with teens might remember Bear, Tutter and the Otters. Anyway, my farmhouse style home is no longer looking haunted. It doesn’t mean I’m immune to ghosts but at least I’m not looking like I’m trying to attract them.

Bear's Big Blue House

Bear’s Big Blue House

Small Vampire children loved Luna, the moon in the show. And Shadow. I believe Shadow was Irish. She sounded Irish to me. I’m just musing and walking down memory lane. I love teens, but sometimes I miss having little bitty ones in the house.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

From my breakfast nook office (where I choose to camp out today) I can see lemon trees and red leaves on deciduous trees.  Modern life. Modern Vampires.

High School is going good this year. Complaints are minor. The kids are smart. There seems to be a somewhat larger and more diverse circle of young Vampires at school.

Character.tutter

Tutter likes everyone, even when he feels confused.

Clara and her friends are always laughing about something. They’re popular with their teachers and fellow classmates, always well liked, but not considered among the upper echelons of “popular kids.” It works better for them that way.

My husband Teddy was worried about one of her friends. The boy wears pale makeup and eyeliner. His hair is bleached white. He wears tight black everything. He rarely talks.

“He’ll grow up to be a Shadow Creeper,” says Teddy. “I don’t want people to think you’re as strange as he is.”

Clara answers her father. “Everybody likes him. Except for the cakey foundation nobody thinks he is that different.”

“Does he like boys or girls?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think he knows. Does it matter?”

“I don’t care. He just seems confused,” said Teddy.

“They’re just teens. He’ll find himself. And no, he won’t become a Creeper. Clara won’t let that happen,” I said.

“He’d never be a Shadow Creeper,” said Clara.

“I hope not,” said Teddy.

“He won’t,” I said.

We’ve had a lot of conversations like this. We’ll have it again in a year, in five years, in fifty years.

Thanks goodness we don’t know any kids who are unfortunate enough to be Shadow Creepers. Those are the Vampires who live under houses, in musty crypts, in the dark and in the past. They’re out of touch and, well, just creepy and awkward. They tend to smell of dust and death. They’re disgusting. We don’t associate with them. Sorry, I accept just about everyone, but I do draw the line with some things.

When you have teens around a lot of different issues come up. You just have to let them explore their options. You have to explore those options with them and discuss consequences, be those good or bad. But you also have to sometimes stand back and not be quick to judge.

It is like when you have a toddler. You have to be like bear and gently guide your blue mouse and otters into not doing stupid stuff. And you have to let them know you’re proud of them for doing smart stuff. Most of all you have to appreciate them for being who they are.

Oh look, the snow is falling. I love this blogging season!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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In the house of 26 windows

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Why yes, I’ve taken up house keeping in your walls and I’m quite comfortable. Thanks for asking.

 

 

I live in a house with twenty-six windows.

I am a Vampire.

My home is on a hill so that creates a nice cool space under the house where we keep wine, camping gear, yard tools, and boat stuff, among other things. There are no coffins under there. There are no coffins anywhere in my home.

Windows let in the light. Windows also let in the night. They let us watch rare lightning storms. They let in the moonlight. Windows let me view the fog without the dampness.

Wait…I was just going to muse on about living next to an oak forest, and the peaceful setting, and more windows, but I think I just heard gunfire. What the fuck is wrong with people? Sure shooting guns is fun but not in a residential area. Not near a public park. It doesn’t matter that there is a lot of undeveloped land around. Assholes.

A few nights ago, about a mile away, some white trash yahoo shot a gun into the air a bunch of times then shot up a car. Needless to say he is in jail right now. We’ve had two drug related drive by shootings in our quiet relatively crime free community in the past year so everyone is a bit on edge. One was a sixteen year old who had been involved in drug traffic. What a sad waste.

So back to my musings on windows but I’ve totally and completely lost my train of thought.

I’d like to say that I can take care of annoying people. Not as in bringing them chicken soup when they are sick, but as in making them live in fear, or have nightmares that drive them crazy, or other creative solutions. I can, but I don’t, as long as they stay away from me or those I love. As with most Vampires, I just take a deep breath and keep writing (or doing whatever I was doing.) We aren’t super heroes or keepers of the calm. We’re just Vampires. We pick our battles carefully. Then again, doesn’t everyone with half a brain.

Oh great. Now I hear squirrels running around in the wall, between the floor of the upstairs and the ceiling of the downstairs. I am not happy. Squirrel squatters are the worst kind of animal trash. And no, my cats are not earning their keep right now.

Ants are in my house too. I can usually manage them. Our neighbors haven’t been so lucky. They put their cat food dish in a bowl of water so the ants can’t get at the food.

Turkeys are in my yard. I can hear them in the back picking through the dry grass (we’re in a drought remember.) They have done their best to try to dig up the roses in my front yard. There are six of them. All females. They make their rounds digging in yards, looking for whatever turkeys eat. The small calico cat used to stalk the turkeys but now she just ignores them. Don’t suggest shooting them. Just don’t.

Last winter I came home to find a large dead male turkey right in the middle of my front yard. I have no idea what happened. No idea. But there was a broken branch in one of the trees above the dead bird. I just figure he was drinking and fell out of the tree.

So if you thought Vampires are solitary creatures you are wrong.

Speaking of which, I have to get the door. I’ll be back.

That was my charming young hipster friend Cody. I suppose I can’t call him a Vampire in training anymore, or even a new Vampire. He has been part of the community for four years now.

I told him he could take my squirrels and make a beard out of them. Or maybe a coat. Those were jokes of course. Bad jokes but jokes never the less.

My young friend (he is in his mid-thirties) stopped by for coffee and lively discussion. It is what Cody and I do. Today, in a rare burst of emotion, he was asking a lot of questions.

First he asked, “Why do I still need to wear contacts or glasses during the day, but I can see crystal clear in the dark?”

“Our eyes are sensitive to the light,” I told my young friend. “It is just part of being a Vampire. Our night vision, the ability to see in the dark, is a gift. One of many gifts.”

“Is it wrong to be in love with a woman who is six hundred years older than I am?”

“No.” I answered. Of course it that was one of my kids I’d flip and have to go beat the living moonlight out of that old Vampire. But Cody is an adult…long story for another blog post.

He talked, while I listened, about the fact that he could feel the emotions and even the thoughts of others. It was overwhelming to him sometimes.

He talked about how he could smell warm blood inside of live people and it reminded him of summer barbecues and that bothered him. I told him that it happened to all Vampires from time to time.

Then he asked the one question that got on my nerves. “What is that noise?”

“Squirrels.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll blast roller skating music at them. You know, organ music played to popular songs in classic dance beats.”

“That would do it. Or you could hire someone with traps to come out.”

“I could do that too. I could also feed them peanut better cookies until they get so fat they explode.”

We had more coffee and spoke to the transitions in our lives. Even Vampires have transitions. Even 155 year old Vampires have transitions.

“Sometimes I miss things, like being warm. In the winter I can’t see my breath in the cold air,” said Cody.

I’ve always been like this, but I remember as a child wishing I could breath out fog like regular humans could. Growing up this way makes being this way normal.

“Cody,” I said, “your feelings are normal. Your new world is normal too. Take it from me, no matter where you are, make it your normal.”

I’m sure that made no sense at all to him, but he looked at me as if I was some self-help guru.

“Like a new normal,” he said.

“Like the normal you’ll always had but just different. Even if you had never become a Vampire you’d still have major changes in your life.”

Then we talked about books, and had more coffee, and went for a walk down by the lake.

And now, I’m back here with my cats, the squirrels, and still no ideas about my twenty-six windows and how I’m going to tie those into a life lesson story. Oh well.

Have a good week everyone. And don’t feel stupid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions. OK there are stupid questions but I’m a mom and I’m not supposed to say that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The house with 26 windows

The house with 26 windows

 

 

 

 

 

On The Road

I’m on the road this week – a Vampire in a hot strange land with confusing traffic patterns. I discovered great coffee (the best I’ve had in years), a wonderful used record store and a few other hidden gems.

As a Vampire one learns to seek and find entertainments, odd spots, art, natural wonders and interesting people no matter where you go. A wasteland to most can be a place of interest to a Vampire.

Or not.

The Vampire community here is small and somewhat sketchy. Despite that, they are well educated and living out of the gutters and dark sad places that most of the population seems to dwell in. They are college professors and musicians and farmers. They hold on tight to their small community and don’t readily let in new members. By that I mean they don’t make new Vampires here. Their numbers never grow.

I met them out on a farm, in the middle of a vineyard, in a new and luxurious home. Old friends. Old stories. Older memories. Yet, there was an exchange of new stories as well.

Iced blood flowed out of bottles into frosted goblets. We put aside our usual hushed tones and laughed out loud.

My friend Judith and I made our way down to the wine cellar where she showed me her latest vintage from her winery a few miles north of the main house.

“We own this place. We always have. Always will,” she said to me. “I hear you’ve been having issues up North.”

“What have you heard?” I asked.

“Rogue Vampires, problems with Shadow Creepers and Vampire Hunters to start.”

“Add an abundance of new Vampires to that mix,” I added. “The fun never ends.”

We talked and solved the problems of the world. We laughed as old friends do and then went back up to the heat with the others.

Everyplace you go has its shares of worries and woes. Everyplace also has its own traditions and charms. Almost. I guess there is  no place like home… even if you’re a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman