A Vampire Muses on Passion, Mr. Grey, Food and Marriage

February is here, and that means romance is in the air.

I first posted this a while back when we all had old computers, which were not so old at the time. Actually they were old as computers go. We all have new machines and life around my house has changed quite a bit, but one thing that never changes is romance. Romance, a sense of adventure, and of course food, and my love of books never changes.

A Vampire Muses on Passion, Mr. Grey, Food and Marriage

The teenager is using my computer, so I am using my husband’s. It is a lovely laptop with a 17 inch monitor. I have an old PC that is one heart beat away from death. It is maybe beyond death. It has Vista on it so it was dead before it even started to die. There is also an old Mac G5 on my daughter’s desk that once screamed with speed but now seems low and is not good friend with the Internet. So the child in on my Power Book Mac and I am on my husband’s lovely Dell laptop. I know for sure it is lovely because I gave it to him for his birthday and I was the one who figured out the specs etc, etc, etc.

The point of this is not computers. It is books and romance and writing. Some of you already know this, but my husband Teddy deals in antiques, antiquities and precious metals as a business. From time to time he leaves off bits of stuff on his desk. Not long ago in a box of odds and ends of gold and silver was a book. It was “The Last Man” by Zane Grey. Forget every single thing in Fifty Shades of… Zane is the man to go to for passion and romance. He is the one to go to for the agony of the heart. His mother had to have been a Bronte.

Zane Grey - Master American Story Teller

Zane Grey – Master American Story Teller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the fact that it was published in 1922 it is HOT. And who said there was no romance back then. There was – especially in the great wild Western parts of the country (where I just happen to be from.)

The cover called to me so I had to open it up and read those words...

The cover called to me so I had to open it up and read those words…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I opened the book, just by random chance and came upon a paragraph that I was compelled to read.

“Again Ellen fell upon the soft pine-needle mat, face down, and she groveled and burrowed their, in an agony that could not bear the sense of light. All she had suffered was as nothing to this. To have awakened to a splendid and uplifting love for a man whom she had imagined she hatred, who had fought for her name and had killed in revenge for the dishonor she had avowed – to have lost his love and what was infinitely more precious to her not in her ignominy – his fault in her purity – this broke her heart.”

I had every intention of coming up to my husband’s computer to blog about food and the family dinner table, but Mr. Zane Grey swept me off of my feet. I’ll take Zane over Christian anytime. I’d even take Dorian Gray over the latest version.

Watch out honey, Dorian has a big ugly picture hidden away that you don't want to see!

Watch out honey, Dorian has a big ugly picture hidden away that you don’t want to see!

So back to food…

Vampires do not live on blood alone. OK we can, but we don’t.

We try to gather each night as a family, at the table. Sure the kids could ask to just grab a glass of blood and head up to their rooms, but we like the time as a family. My husband and I could just drink, but we like the time around a bit of food. Not too much just a bit.

We will gather around the table with a bit of rare meat sliced thin, maybe some seafood, hummus and thinly sliced vegetables, my own salsa, maybe some flat bread and goat cheese with fresh basil leaves or something small and light. Thick green Swiss chard and other vegetables are lightly sautéed in olive oil. Next to that is a plate of olives and cheese and some slices of fruit. It is just a bit, but enough to spark a conversation and talk about the day. As parents it is a opportunity to talk about school, and talk and talk and talk about school, both the academic and social aspects.

Tonight I was in the kitchen thumbing through one of Nigella’s books. I also like to check out Another Foodie Blogger (click here.) I make a lot of stuff. Today I cut a pork loin in butterfly fashion, pounded the jeebers out of it until it was thin and then rolled a lovely stuffing in it. That was tied with kitchen twine and put in the oven (where it still is 30 minutes later.) The stuffing was just fresh mozzarella cheese, a bit of spinach, a slice of bacon, fresh rosemary, garlic, onion and some more Italian type herbs plus any extra bits of pork that came off in the pounding. This was rolled up and then covered in a sauce I threw together of tequila, a bit of catsup, honey, dried onion flakes, a lot of herbs and spices and a splash of orange juice. And of course fresh rosemary from the yard. That was both inside and out. I know it will be good. Then I threw a couple of sweet potatoes (the orange kind) into the oven to bake (plain and whole.)

I wait for Teddy. He works 6 or more days a week because it is what he does. It is what most business owners do – they work. They work for money but there is something else that drives them. It is a passion and desire – not unlike a romance.

Some like to say that Vampires are bloodless and heartless, devoid of love and passion. That is so untrue. Even the most dead of our kind lives and breathes passion.

And speaking of sick and twisted passion (and my name isn’t Gray or Grey) I wrote a little story about pine needles and longing. CLICK HERE to read it.

My husband, the dad and the guy who works all the time is also a man of passion and romance. Right now he is downstairs with the teen discussing the latest airing of Bar Rescue with our daughter. Yes, folks you’ve come to the right place for high culture… anyway, my husband is a man of quiet romance and great passion. Unlike the men (be they Vampires, humans or other paranormal types) of movies and fiction he is here. There is no chase. There is no questioning motives. There is no mystery or inequality or hidden portraits of weird horrifying visages or any reason for me to have tears. He is just like that. And no, he never reads my blog so he won’t even see this.

But he brings home random old books, insists we sit together every single night and he loves me and his children. You can’t get more romantic than that – even if you are a Vampire (and a very handsome one at that.)

That’s it for tonight. xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

If you see one movie in 2015 then see this one (or read the book.) Read a lot of books.

If you see one movie in 2015 then see this one (or read the book.) Read a lot of books.

 

Dancing in the Shadows

“Imagine, Juliette, you’re at a party in the library of Alexandria with all of the authors, librarians, scribes, architects, builders, artists, and craftsmen, and you’re the one dancing on the table.”

Tellias look at me sideways and smiled. He looks like he is only nineteen, but he is older than the Roman Empire.

I didn’t say anything back but I have to admit it made sense in a weird sort of way all things considering. OK not really but I like the way it sounds. I could use a little dancing in my life right now.

He slowly got out of his chair and held out his hands like Fred to Ginger except he was the blonde. “Dance with me my dear.”

With his almost white hair flowing around his shoulders, in a white tuxedo shirt with a zillion little tucks, and black jeans, he waltzed me around the room.

“I worry about you Juliette. You’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”

I smiled and gave a small flash of fang, in that way Vampires do to each other, in more of an affectionate way. He’d known me since I was a child. He knows me better than my own parents. Now I take care of him most of the time.

Then he stopped, but still held my hands. “Stop your heartbeat for a few minutes. Hold your breath. Close your eyes. Savor the shadows and the quiet.”

“Then what?”

“Then, dance some more, and write, or draw, or make love to your husband, or fill the bird feeder. Maybe you should go dance on that table.”

I kissed his cheek. “Maybe I’ll just dance with you a little bit more.”

He smiled, and we took another turn around the room.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Empty Nest Brain Drain

Even without any children in the house I find myself in constant motion these days.

My time is like a hole in a low water table area. It is empty but fills up faster than I can dig.

There is work to do, and things to plan, and research to take care of, meeting to go to, other people to see, places to go, animals who are five times more demanding now, and I can’t even seem to think. I’ve spent more time in freeway traffic than I want to think about. On the other hand I can’t complain about the traffic – I could be living in Southern California.

I’m also in touch with my children, every single day. It could be a long conversation or a series of funny texts but I’m in touch.

And you thought Vampires just sleep all day and then rise in the night to go out and find blood. That is like saying everyone else sleeps all night then rise in the morning to find toast and coffee then go back to sleep.

It might be all about the coffee but it isn’t all about the toast or the blood.

Sorry, I’ve got major brain drain right now. Let me get more coffee, go meet with my editor, see some chickens (I’ll post photos) and get back to you, maybe this afternoon.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

She was a shining light in the forest, not a ghost who haunts but a ghost who dances to her own music.

I watched from my window as Mary danced in the woods. She wore not clothing of the 15th century when she lived, but a red mini dress with white fur trim on the hem and bell shaped sleeves. A long Santa had was on her head with a fluffy white ball at the tip. Bells adorned the top of her white over-the-knee boots. Her red-brown hair was braided with gold ribbon. When you’re a ghost you can wear what you want, do what you want, dance and love when you want.

That is if you don’t let your own ghosts get in the way. That was Mary.

Had it been any other ghost she would have annoyed the crap out of me, but since it was Mary I was enchanted. She is like a little elf who haunts my kitchen as she sits in front hot cups of coffee taking in the aroma. We chat about romance and fashion. She is a delightful little spirit.

Sometimes she slips and shows her own bloody and mangled murdered form but today she dances with joy to a long lost Christmas song.

A coyote yipped close by, down in the brush and Mary vanished. Damn coyotes. The cats lifted their heads at the noise. My dog didn’t even acknowledge the existence of her coyote cousins. Had it been a Golden Retriever she would have been all over it’s ass, but she had no time for coyotes.

Just as most Vampires have no time for ghosts.

I stood in front of the window with a glass of red wine in my hand watching the rain. My husband Teddy came up behind me and kissed my neck.

“What color do you want to paint the living room?”

“I don’t know. It depends on what color flooring we get,” I said putting my arms around his neck and kissing him.

I know that has nothing to do with ghosts but it has everything to do with how things go around my house. Just little bits, like a fragment of a song or just a small bite of something good.

“Did you see the ghost darling?” I asked my husband.

He missed her unfortunately. And so we started our evening discussing the news of the day, work, our kids, what color we want to paint the walls, what we’d wear to the next black tie party and other things married people talk about. What? Did you think we talk about spider webs, bats and blood all night? Hardly. We’re no Dracula and Elvira. Nobody we know is that.

Teddy asked me if I was going to tell anymore Christmas stories here. I think I will. I will also repost The Travelers (a Christmas tradition) and some new stories soon.

In the meantime, just imagine a tiny young transparent woman dancing in her red mini dress under the canopy of oak trees to the music of Tchaikovsky and Johnny Marks.

Have a lovely December,

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Don’t Bother Me (I bet you feel the same)

I still own the small adorable house (1,100 square feet) I purchased when Teddy and I first started dating. I don’t live there, but I rent it out to a little nice family. About once a week I get a call, text, or letter from someone wanting to buy it. I always tell them $650,000 cash by Friday, small bills. Nobody has taken me up on the offer yet.

The latest guy asked where I got the price. I responded with, “Dude it is my current selling price. We are in California, plus the property has the added bonus of being haunted. Ghosts cost extra.”

I have to give the guy some credit because he responded with “Good luck! No ghosts for me! I was thinking of $900k; now that there are ghosts I’m not interested.”

What else is going on today?

I’m not seeing any ghosts at my house (where I live.)

I have seen a dozen or so squirrels who no doubt were the ones who took one of my humming bird feeders yesterday. There were also two coyotes out back who had ALL of the neighborhood dogs barking. Something large flew over. I have no idea what it was because I only saw the shadow.

As with most Vampires, I don’t like to be bothered. I let the dog bark and growl at the door. Yes, my dog is a total goof ball filled with sweetness and preciousness, but she is also a ninety pound German Shepard with a loud hell hound bark. Then there is that low growl that would put fear into just about anyone.

Just like the random animals that wander in and out of my yard… wait, that isn’t correct. The animals aren’t so random. I see the same ones every day and every night.

Be it home repair, religion, or anyone asking for money, I don’t like strangers at my door. I don’t like strangers calling me on my phone. I don’t like them sending me mail (traditional or email.)

My twenty year old daughter keeps getting invitations to move into local senior communities. I forward the invitations to her with the note, “Skip college and go straight to retirement.” When she was in high school she was flooded with coupons for baby formula and sent diaper samples.

My husband gets advertisements for burial plots.

My twenty three year old gets mail about gun shows and male “enhancements.” I don’t forward those to him.

We all record everything we watch on TV so we can fast forward through the commercials.

I’ve worked in marketing. I know how it works. Unfortunately things are totally out of control and so random. The invasion of personal privacy is out of control.

That’s all. Now I have to go search for the missing humming bird feeder, and maybe one of my ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

Musings on Pets, Art, Vampires, and Trying to Make Sense of Anything At All.

It started out as one of those days where the dog ate all of the cat food, the squirrels at all of the bird food, the cat tried to eat a bird that flew into my house, I’m trying to take photographs and the fall lighting is all off, then the cat barfed on the carpet. The other cat is asleep out on the deck. He never causes me problems aside from his yearly “I am an idiot and got myself gravely injured again,” vet visit. Today, I am also feeling a great sense of loss that has come over me in a wave.

A sense of loss and melancholy isn’t uncommon for Vampires. I just had to throw that out there.

I put on some sunscreen and decent clothes and went out in search of art supplies. I didn’t need any. I thought it might inspire me to try to put pen or pastel to paper. That is to put it to paper without fear of disappointing myself.

At the downtown art supply shop, the one that had been there for decades, I wandered the isles looking at brushes, textures, tools, and colors. I was drawn to all of the shades of gray, then got sort of perturbed that some asshole decided to write a bad porn book of that name that became oh so popular with bored middle aged women who didn’t date enough when they were single. Still I looked and imagined what I might create.

I felt a cold hand upon my arm, then looked to my left. “Connie,” I said upon seeing my old friend. Constantine Jones, the very one I wrote the story Night Dogs about. He’d told me about that night a few years back. I valued his friendship because he matched my love of art, both in creating it, and in studying it.

“Juliette. Pastels today?”

“Maybe,” I said.

We talked of art and our lives. He asked about my children. I asked him what he was up to. I purchased pastels and paper. He picked up a few brushes and oil paint. Then we walked down the tree lined street to a small independent coffee shop.

As we sat in the shade sipping our coffee nobody would have suspected that we were Vampires who’d know each other for over a century.

No, dear reader, this isn’t a story of fangs, dripping blood, or darkness. All creatures, even the most ardent predators, the lions, the hyenas, the wolves, and the wolverines, still need their times of peace. We are always aware, but sometimes we just need to take a break from what keeps our bodies alive and think about what keeps our passions alive.

Even more so it is the small things that matter. It is things we do for tangible reason like having coffee with an old friend. We talked about art, as kindred spirits do.

Connie touched took my hand in his. It was warm from holding the coffee. I thought how odd that was to have a warm touch from another Vampire.

“Your heart is heavy,” he said to me.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“It shall pass. I just have too much BS that I have to deal with.” That is true, but isn’t that the case for a lot of us.

Standing across the street I saw a lone figure with dark hair and a black suit with the tie loosened. Connie looked as well.

“A ghost,” he whispered. “Why is he looking over here?”

“I know him. He lives at my house most of the time, but he’s buried near here.” I motioned for my ghost, Nigel, who was an artist in life, to come join us.

I pulled up a chair for a friend that nobody but Constantine Jones and I could see. I ordered coffee for Nigel. He sat in the chair holding the cup and letting the aroma pass through him. He can’t drink it but he can smell it, which is a small comfort for a ghost.

We talked more of art, and the weather, and small things that friends talk about.

After two hours Connie went his own way and Nigel came home with me. As we drove down the freeway Nigel changed the radio station about thirty times. I finally yelled at him to stop it.

And now I’m home. I don’t know where Nigel got off to.

From my window I cans humming birds in the lemon and orange trees. The calico cat sits snoring in a chair. I can hear the other cat scratching a piece of wood outside.

I feel better. Sometimes we just need to get away from ourselves for a while, or at least get into a different place where we can be the selves we need to be, and deserve to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman