Even Vampires Get the Blues

Family lore said he left the battle fields of the war between the states and ran California to seek his fortune. There he died in a mine explosion. But he really went to Patagonia where he met a strange man with the voice of an angel. From there he met a man with the voice of an angel who hired him to go to London to hunt Vampires. And that is exactly what he did before he was murdered by a whore who said she did it for love. His niece ended up with all the gold and didn’t tell anyone.

 

I have the house to myself today and I was trying to pound out a blog post or maybe a story about the California Gold Rush, when my brother Andrew staggered down the stairs. Not quite alone. Andy had bad days, weeks, months… He tries to get in a good place by not spending too much time alone.

I give him coffee. He sits across the table from me. I can tell he is feeling numb and helpless. This extraordinarily gifted being feels this way for no reason – it just comes on like a wave, or so he describes it.

“I’d take drugs for this if I could but they don’t work for us,” he told me.

“I know sweetie,” I told my older brother. All four of my brothers are older. Andy is the second in line.

He is good at hiding it and dealing with it and avoiding it and trying not to acknowledge it. He doesn’t let it define him. But it is hard sometimes.

Andy had inspired a lot of my stories. This includes the popular stories Morning at the Vineyard  and Dancing on the Beach. He is a musician, a lover and gentle soul and can party like no other. He is impulsive and the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met.

When he arrived I had a list of activities. No matter how painful it was he always tried and often the flurry of action and stimulus would knock him out of it. Odd how it works.

We chatted for a while over coffee. I poured a liberal amount of blood into his (remember we’re Vampires) and told him of some fun people we’d meet later tonight… yes, we’re Vampires remember.

But no matter what you are, if you’re a little bit of human you can get the blues. Werewolves get it bad. Regular Humans get it really bad. We just need to be sensitive and help those who have it. Just telling someone to snap out of it is like telling someone with a broken arm to snap out of it.

Andy asked about my blog post, the silly stuff I was writing about hidden stories. We takes about our family, my kids, or brother Aaron’s kids, our pets, music, his work and a lot of other things. He ran his hand through his long brown hair and closed his eyes then gave a slight shake of his head, as he does sometimes.

He takes my hand. “Thanks Jewels, I’m going to be fine.”

“I know,” I tell him. He’ll be fine as long as he remembers that it isn’t him. It is something else. He told me that a long time ago.

So anyway, we have a lot to do so we’ll get on with our fun.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and understanding and good coffee.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The First Day of School Without Kids

This year, is the first year, in many many many years that I will not be there for the first day of school.

I have no idea what anyone is going to wear. I’m not even sure what day school will actually start.

Nobody will come home and tell me all about their classes.

Damn.

I am suddenly feeling all sort of nervous and kind of out of sorts, and a bit sad, and sort of excited, and I don’t quite know what.

When school starts there will no longer be any K-12 or college kids living in my house. Just my dog, my cats, the wild turkeys who hang out on the back fence, and my husband.

I guess I could also include the pair of bald eagles in my neighborhood who for the past three years have hatched and raised three sets of baby eagles (six eagle children) and seen them fly off. I’ve thought a lot about the eagle parents as I’ve watched the chicks grow from tiny fluffy head bobbers to large magnificent birds.

Since 2012 I’ve written parenting posts about raising children to be independent, strong, successful, questioning, compassionate, curious, smart, mature adults.

That is exactly what I did. AND I did it well. I did it exceedingly well.

So why do I feel like crying?

Yes, I’ve heard Werewolf parents howl at the moon when their pups take human form and go off to college.

I guess it is ok for all of us to howl at the moon in our own way when our children leave home.

I am happy and proud beyond words. No mom has ever been more proud. No mom has ever told her husband “we did a great job” more times than I have.

I never thought I could love this much, or this hard, or this good.

Even if they don’t turn into bats (you know, Vampires and all), I am glad to see them spread their proverbial wings and fly.

I’ll adjust. So will they.

Deep breath.

And so the adventure begins.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Conversations on Trout and Life with Vampires

Conversations on Trout and Life with Vampires

One morning in August of 2015 morning Garrett (then age 19) and I stopped by to see Great Great Great Grandmama Lola. Even as Vampires go she is old (born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer), but she looks all of twenty-six.

In her living room was a large fish tank. Garrett immediately went over to check it out. “When did you get this Grams?”

“Last week. I caught the fish myself. Aren’t they lovely.”

In the tank were two rainbow trout, fresh from the river. I could have given her flack about catching wild fish but I didn’t. It would have been a waste of my breath.

Garrett held out his arm and an African Gray parrot landed on his wrist. Lola claims the parrot is over 200 years old but I never know what to think. She has had the bird for over 80 years so she could very well be right. But then I never know with Lola.

I noticed a pair of boots on the floor, tucked halfway under the coffee table.

“Company?” I asked.

“Upstairs sleeping. He’ll sleep for the rest of the day so you don’t have to worry about any awkward moments.”

“So he is just a Regular Human and not a Vampire?”

“Of course,” said Lola. “He works nights for the Highway Patrol. I think it was the boots that did it for me, well that and everything after he took the boots off. Anyway, I’ve made sure he won’t wake up for another six hours at least.”

Then she looked at me and smiled. “Remember the time, when we sat on the wall on the boardwalk watching the ocean and smoking cigarettes for hours. There must have been a thousand shooting stars that night. Then we went dancing with the two brothers from San Francisco.  I could taste the whiskey in their blood. Oh God, I can smell the salt air thinking about it. Do you remember? They were so funny. We couldn’t stop laughing.”

“They both died in the trenches,” I said.

“Trenches? World War One?” Garret asked.

“Yes,” said Lola. “You’ll learn that…” she paused. Then she twisted her long curls into a knot on top of her head, then took a deep breath. “I know you’ve thought about this Garrett. Over the years you’ll meet a lot of people and you won’t forget any of them. Some will go to the back of your mind of course. But what I’m trying to say is you need to respect the memories of those you come across and respect their lives. Respect those you entertain for blood, as well as those you entertain for company. They are more than prey. Respect that.”

“I do respect them. Believe me Grams, I do.”

“Good,” said Lola. “You’ve raised him right Juliette.”

On the way home I thought about those young men, Albert and Hubert. Al and Bert. I thought that war would be the last. We all had that sort of wishful stupid thinking. But no such luck. People are still as stupid and evil as ever. Thank God I was born a Vampire.

Garrett said he wanted to invite Lola down to see him at college. I thought it was a good idea. It is always nice when grandparents visit their college aged grand children, even is the grandparent looks more like a sister.

Lola still suffers from nightmares of things that happened long ago. She has shakes from bouts with Vampire Hunters and scars that have never quiet healed on her body and spirit. She won’t admit it. She lies and says she is alright. I have to admit that we all do that to some extent.

So I excuse her for keeping trout in her living room, and a parrot who sings dirty songs in French and Italian. I excuse her for having men with six pack abs in her bed sleeping off blood loss from the night before. I really don’t need to excuse her, because I accept her. There isn’t anything wrong with her.

I find myself wondering if the mom in me has made me think in ways that are too prim and proper for my own good.

A few days  later I was laughing at this (look below at the funny from Classical Art Memes.)

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And my daughter (then 16) said, “Most parents would have no idea what this means, and you’re laughing out loud at it. That is what makes you the cool mom.”

I don’t always feel cool, but I can out hip any hipster. What was that song? Make “Em Laugh. You know, Donald O’Connor. Look it up on YouTube. I can Make Em’ Laugh. And I can out hip. Yes I can and without looking stupid. Vampires invented hip.

I doubt if my grandkids (when I have them in the far future) will find a 32-year-old CHP officer in my bed, but I’ll be relevant. I’ll be more than relevant. Even now my kids aren’t embarrassed to be with me. Granted we’re Vampires, but teens are teens. Holy crap, I wouldn’t want to be a Werewolf parent. Their kids are weird.

So anyway, just keep laughing, and loving, and don’t bring wild game home, or CHP officers if you can help it (I don’t care how good looking he is.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Lola

Lola

Travels North

Last night I watched the lights over the river canyons and listened to the trains pass through Spokane, Washington. The night was hot but peaceful. In some ways it was different, yet in other ways reminded me of my own home which also backs up to an urban wilderness of a sort.

Spokane is a lovely city, but unfortunately it is so hot – in the high 90’s F.
F could stand for Fahrenheit or it could just stand for fucking frying. I don’t take to heat well, even if I wasn’t a Vampire (which I am, for you who are new to this blog, just deal with it.)

We’re here for the 2019 USA National Roller Skating Figure Championships. After driving up from the Sacramento area we settled into our airbnb at the end of the road, on the edge of a mountain, in the middle of a city.

As we drove though countless little towns through the middle of the high desert I think of how isolated lone Vampires survive and sometimes even thrive (in their own weird ways) in these places.

Most of them feel isolated and cut off in the company of others and prefer the isolation of wide open places, high deserts, or endless fields of wheat, with nobody for company except cattle, dogs, and the occasional cat.

There are those who have regulars, truckers and others along the isolated stretches, who come in for sex, companionship, and a rest from loneliness, in an unknown exchange for blood.

Others go into town every few weeks or months. They load up on food, go to Target, visit the art museum, see friends, then go back to their desolate abodes. These are the ones who savor their solitude but also occasionally appreciate the company of others – when they want the company of others.

Of course we’re happy to explore and be in the community with others. We’d wanted to do and see more here but it is 97F today and way too how for most Vampires (or anyone) to be out moving around. We also don’t know the city so every trip is an adventure of unfamiliar streets and neighborhoods.

Spokane is a lovely city. I wish we had more time here to savor the culture and the company. Alas we must leave soon.

It is only 4:00 p.m. but we’ve settled in for the night. Will we watch horror movies? Hell no, we’re watching The Bachelorette because we couldn’t get live stream last night. We’ll watch Hannah tell Luke P. what an asshole he is, again, in so many words. We might also watch Queer Eye or read. If the wind dies down I plan on taking a glass of wine and sitting out on the edge of the canyon and watching the lights on the hill, the trains going over the bridge, and maybe catch a few stars in the northern sky.

May all of your travels be save and sound. May you find what you need, and what you desire, and what you deserve.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Musings on the Moon and More Earthly Matters

When you live in a house where the resident Ghost tells you he thinks your siblings are weird…

Then you live in my house.

I have four older brothers so the possibilities and variations of weirdness are endless. They’re also all Vampires but that is another post, and you already know that.

This week has been weird in so many ways. There was a joke about gathering at Area 51 that people are taking seriously. The term I fucked him in a windmill, twice, is now part of our vernacular (we love you Hannah Brown.) I won’t even mention politics and the crazy asshat idiot Kool Aid that everyone is drinking.

As for my cats…my cats. One eats all the time and then barfs it all up. She eats FAST so the other cat can’t eat anything. She also scratches up all of the furniture and barfs up hair balls. The other cat pees on everything and sings the loud songs of his people as loudly as he can about three hours into any given sleep cycle. I hate my cats. I really do – even the one who looks like a Steinlen cat. Did I mention that my cats hate each other with a wild passion that I could have never imagined? They do. Fortunately the dog love both of them so that is one less bull shit thing I don’t have to deal with.

And speaking of CATS. I love the musical. I saw it in London in 1988 and much later, about twelve years ago in Sacramento. The preview of the new movie kind of looks like a feline version of the film Moulin Rouge. The spirit of ToulouseLautrec and most of all Steinlen’s cats will either be celebrating or rolling over in their graves. 

Here is the trailer in case you haven’t seen it.

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Here is the movie trailer.

 

Oh I DO hope the movie version of CATS is wonderful!

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The most famous of Steinlen’s many cats. He drew a lot of calicos too.

 

I know, you’re thinking Juliette where are you going with this insane rambling? I started out with an idea of writing about my next road trip which starts SUNDAY.

As you know, each year, since a while back, my daughter and I have taken road trips to the National Roller Skating Championships. We’ve gone down Route 66, seen dinosaurs, gotten lost in Colorado, stayed a week in Ray’s Basement, stopped in Las Vegas, and had all kinds of adventures as only a mother and daughter Vampire team can have. Well, we’re at it again, but this year rather than traveling across to the MidWest or down to the SouthWest, we are going UP to the NorthWest.

I’ll have my wits about me by then, my computer, and I’ll post from the road.

The most important event, maybe the most important event ever in the history of history, happened fifty years ago.

It was, and still is AMAZING. No more words are needed.

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I have seen so many amazing things. I have so many amazing stories. I can’t top a story of a man walking on the moon.

A final word about Neil Armstrong. Have tissues ready.

When he passed on, Armstrong’s family released a statement describing him as a “reluctant American hero [who had] served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut … While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves. For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” It prompted many responses, including the twitter hashtag “#WinkAtTheMoon”

Think good thoughts. Talk with your kids. Vote. Hug. Love. Be a good Vampire. Look at the moon and keep the wonder in your heart and soul. Wink at the Moon.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Empty Nest

At the end of my street is a bald eagle nest. The babies hatched this spring have learned to fly a few weeks ago and have now left the nest. We might see them around occasionally during the rest of the summer, but they’re more or less gone. This is the third year we’ve had eagle babies. This is the third year we’ve gone out to the nest and watched new hatchlings grow and leave mom and dad.

The nest is now empty.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.

My daughter just turned twenty. She’ll be moving out in September to attend a prestigious university on the coast of Southern California. I am over the moon proud of her.

I have kept a safe and sound nest for my birdies. They have learned how to fly.

I’ve prepared my children to be adults. They have far exceeded my expectations. I am so proud. I think I said that already, but I am. I always will be.

I prepared my chicks but I didn’t think that I’d be so unprepared.

It isn’t as if I’m unprepared. It isn’t as if I don’t have anything to do. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog who needs ALL of my attention, elders to take care of (that is another story that breaks my heart), cats to heard, and a husband who is going through his own transitions.

It has been years since I have felt my heart breaking like this. I had no idea.

Yet, I am filled with joy and excitement because my kids are adults and they’re going to make all kinds of awful mistakes, and have wonderful adventures, and be amazing, and successful, and they’ll change the world for the better. I know for a fact that they’ll change the world for the better. When I think about that I am less likely to start crying.

When you have a baby you know that in 18 or 20 years that… your baby will be an adult.

But you know what? Your babies will always be your babies.

Having kids is the best thing, the hardest thing, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. At least it has been like that for me.

I finally found something I was good at. REALLY good at. Better than most at. The BEST at. And now I have to do something else that I can be the best at.

Just between us I’ll still be the best mom ever.

And if you’re reading this you can still be the best mom, or dad, ever too.

Just keep saying to yourself, “Don’t panic. They all grow up.”

You’ll be OK.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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