Musings on Cats and Vampire Summers

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Oscar, pre-scar days.

I was out early this morning getting something out of my car. OK, I was looking for my purse. I thought I left it in my car last night. I didn’t. While I was outside I heard the sound of an angry cat. You know that snarling, growling, hit pitched sound from Hell that cats project when they’re really pissed off and ready for a fight.

It wasn’t one of my cats. At least it didn’t sound like either one of them. I decided to walk down the street to the mail boxes and find out where the gosh awful noise was coming from.

My cat Oscar, my sweet baby boy was standing in the front yard of my neighbor Josh. Josh lives alone. He rides his bicycle when it is 120 degrees F outside. Everybody likes Josh, but I don’t think he has a cat.

On the front porch (a favorite place of the neighborhood wild turkeys) was the largest calico cat I have ever seen. Her head was the size of a honeydew mellon. She was screaming at Oscar.

Oscar sat there and meowed with a confused little voice. Then he looked at me, then looked at the giant calico.

“Hey, Oscar,” I said. “Come on baby, let’s go home.”

As always, Oscar looks hopeful when his mom (me) is around. I’m always there to rescue him. I scooped him up.

I walked home like a crazy cat lady with Oscar under one arm, and an armful of junk mail in the other arm.

Oscar will always be like a baby, despite a notched ear and a scar across his face. He is thirteen pounds of fur and love. He is also an asshole, but he is my asshole.

This has been a long hot summer. Not all of us are handling it as well as my bike riding neighbor Josh. Then add massive wild fires to the heat and it gets really fun. If someone ever tells you “Burn in Hell Vampire,” you can tell them “FUCK YOU ASSHOLE I live in California.”

After the cat adventure I dropped off a trunk load of supplies that will go up to a fire shelter near Redding (Carr fire.)

By the time I got home my son Garrett was peeling tape off of the walls. We’re painting the insides of our home. From neutral to color. It looks great. As we’re peeling long steps of blue tape from around the windows we talked about all kinds of stuff.

Garrett will be in his fourth year of college. He is twenty-one now. No longer a child. I have kids now but I also have adults – Vampire adults.

“I hate summer necks,” said Garrett.

“It isn’t that bad,” I said.

“Oh come on mom, they’re gross. All covered in sunscreen, sweat, foundation, hair products, and body spray. The body spray is the worst. It smells great, but oh my god, the taste… How did you do it before people took showers everyday?”

“I don’t know. I guess we were used to it. You know, like cigarette smoke and rancid bacon grease.”

“That’s disgusting. I’m sticking with wrists until October.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I told him. I didn’t mention that I go to nice adult people with indoor private offices. But I’m sticking with wrists more often than not as well.

College classes start soon for both of my kids. It already seems like fall. This morning was unusually cool and nice. On morning like that I pretend I’m living by the ocean or up in the mountains. For a myriad of reasons I’m still here, in the Sacramento Valley with the smoke and the ghosts of the 49ers and the first Vampires to settle in California.

Anyway, that is how my day went.

Hope yours went well.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Under the Stars in the Beauty of Everything

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I have no story today because I was up in the hills hiking in places where a zillion stars can still be seen out at night.

My feet were so dirty in my sandals (Waterproof Tevas) that Tellias commented that I looked like I was walking in biblical times. He should know. He was there in biblical times as a citizen of the Roman Empire. A unique being who could tell fortunes and create all kinds of magic.

Nights were cold and quiet. Days were cool and quiet.

As we drove up there through the small, teeny tiny old Gold Rush era towns I thought of the times when thousands and thousands of people were up in those hills trying to find their fortune. Now they have another kind of fortune (not withstanding all of the pot growers on National Forest land).

It takes a different kind of person to live in the small isolated towns that are still mostly populated by buildings that were built before the Civil War. I know, if you live in the East that isn’t such a big deal, but here it is a really big deal.

The old brick, stone, and wood structures bring back memories and spark the imagination.

Relaxing at camp after a long walk along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Relaxing at camp after a long walk along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Then there are the woods, and the pitch black darkness of a mountain night. As my husband Teddy and I took a romantic walk under the trees and zillion stars he said, “This is my church.”

We looked at the stars and speculated on who was out there, far far away, looking at our obscure little star, out in the boondocks of the Milky Way. They’re out there. They’re like us. They’re walking under the stars, arm in arm, stealing kisses, taking about the beauty of the universe, and wondering who we are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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