Fire

The air is thick with smoke.

My eyes burn.

My heart is heavy.

Ninety miles north of here is the Camp Fire. An entire town have been wiped out. More homes are burning. Over 40 people have died and many more are missing. In Southern California the fires still burn.

Now is the time for our leaders to be leaders and show compassion and caring for those involved. It is time to support those who have lost their homes and loved ones. Now is the time to support those who have rescued, and continue to rescue both people and animals.

Now is the time to thank those who are having fund drives, providing shelter, taking in people and pets, cooking for rescue teams, and helping in so many other ways.

It baffles me that some people can even THINK of making this political because this is California. Fires have always happened here, just like tornadoes and floods happen in other parts of the country. It is worse because there are now more people. Just like there are more people where hurricanes hit.

Now is time for love.

Now is time for support.

We are California. Despite what anyone says we will survive and thrive. It is what we do. We will also stand by others outside of our state when disasters strike – because that is what we do.

As soon as I can get the information together I’ll post a page of helpers who need donations and of those in need. Hospitals have been burned. Schools have been lost. Homes have been lost. Animals have been separated from their people. People have lost loved ones. They need our help both in Northern and Southern California.

I have already seen a great outpouring of love and support for every fire we’ve had this year, and last season. I have seen people do amazing things to help others.

My heart breaks for California. This is, and always be my home, my heart, and my soul.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Burning Question #35: The Ultimate Poll – November 6

vote

Vampires Vote – So Should You

And if you vote YOU GET A STICKER. And if you vote by mail you can feel good about yourself knowing that you voted.

My message is for everyone to VOTE on Tuesday. I might not agree with you or even respect your opinions BUT I DO respect your right to vote. I honor your right to vote. And remember…there are people in other countries who DIE for their right to vote (yes, that still happens).

Also do your RESEARCH. Know WHO and WHAT you are voting on. The ads on TV and the radio don’t tell the truth or only tell half truths. Don’t listen to actors or comedians or late night talk show hosts or haters. Listen to the words of the people running for office. Look at their records. Look at the facts. The better informed you are the better you’ll feel when you vote.

Don’t be IGNORANT. It isn’t attractive. I always tell my children to never date anyone who doesn’t vote. Yes, I do have strong opinions on this subject.

 

Burning Question #35: Are you going to vote?

 

By the way, I’m working as a Poll Officer on Saturday, Monday, and on Tuesday. THAT is how much I care about this. And yes, we do take an oath to make sure you get to vote. Also, don’t yell at your local poll workers – they don’t make the rules. Call your local county officials and yell at them.

My husband Teddy, Cody (our Vampire in training – a new Vampire from the Silicone Valley), Lola (my great great great grandmother), my brother Val and the two extremely elderly Vampires (who were sitting on the floor doing bead work or something crafty).

Cody asked “You’re all US citizens, right?.”

“Of course we are,” said my husband Teddy.

“You were born in Panama.” Teddy always thought that was one of the cool things about Teddy.

My parents were US citizens. I was born along the way when they headed out for the Gold Rush in 1849. That made me a citizen of the United States, because my parents were citizens.

“What about you?” He asked Lola and the ancient ones.

“I was born in Rome but I have lived here since 1801.” Lola’s father was a Pope a very long time ago but that is another post.

“The places we were born don’t exist anymore, at least not as cities.” Called one of the ancient Vampires from the floor.

“Vampires vote.” I said. “As do Werewolves. We all work, pay taxes, send our kids to public schools. We drive on the roads, use the parks, need law enforcement and the help of the fire departments. And there aren’t enough of us to help with National Defense. So of course we vote.”

“We pay taxes,” said Val, “more than our share.”

“What about ghosts?” Cody just had to ask.

“They’re dead.” We all said that at once.

“Zombies?”

“If they’re not quite dead yet they can vote, but if they’re dead with complete brain failure and their soul is gone they can’t vote.” I said

“Do Vampires ever run for office?” Cody looked at all of us.

Val answered. “We have but it isn’t a good idea these days with the media being all over the private lives of those running.”

“It could endanger us all,” I said. “We prefer to work in the background. After all, more often than not it is the background people who make the decisions and really run the show.”

“Has there ever been a Vampire president?” Cody asked.

“Not a president but there have been a few elected officials in high places,” Lola answered. She would know.  “A Vice President or two.”

“Why don’t we just come out of the closet?” Cody was new to all of this. The new ones always ask this question time and time again.

“They’d kill us,” said Val. “That or try to put us in camps. It would be a blood bath. No pun intended.”

“People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” The elders said in unison in their quiet musical voices.

“And most people don’t want to understand,” I added.

Teddy looked up and took off his reading glasses. “It is easier to stay ignorant than informed. So let’s get back to the facts.”

So we sat with our voter books and laptops and did our research. Most of us had made up or minds but it was always good to take another look.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Drinking Games and Raking Fall Leaves

Against my better judgement I had the radio on all day today. I learned that most of the old fart senators in Washington don’t know, or pretend not to know about drinking games, that teenage boys think farts or funny, or anything about beer. All of these “Good Christian Men” forget about their college years when they were sleeping with everything without a penis, drinking beer until they puked and passed out, and lighting farts on fire. They also like to hear themselves talk (even when it is through somebody else) so they ask a woman about a traumatic event she experienced at age fifteen and wonders why she didn’t tell anyone. Guess what? Teenage girls don’t share stuff like that because they know nobody will listen.

All of this just makes me think of drinking games. Take a drink for every time someone asked Kavanaugh if he liked beer or drank beer or every time Kavanaugh said he said the word “beer”. I was driving when I heard the whole beer episode. I thought I was in some sort of world that had turned into the cross between a Salvador Dali painting and a Carrie Nation Rally. By the way, if you didn’t know this already, Carrie Nation was six feet tall. I kid you not. But back to the hearing…I almost pulled over to the side of the road. I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen Rod Serling hitch hiking with an alien.

We’ve also suggested that the TV shows “Hawaii Five-O” and “Longmire” be made into drinking games. Whenever someone gets shot you take a drink. It they die in a more unusual way you take a drink. If someone gets kidnapped you take a drink. If someone who is a main character gets kidnapped or shot you take a drink. By the end of the show, well you never see the end of the show because you’ll be passed out by then.

When I arrived home I decided to not listen to anymore noise. Alas, my plan to just listen to the purring of my cats and maybe some music turned into my usual Thursday headache. And it is also the Friday morning headache. That is LEAF BLOWERS.

About half of my neighbors have yard services and that means leaf blowers.

Vampires, due to our naturally gentle and quiet nature, hate leaf blowers.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. 

And half the time I see the guys blowing leaves they’re just blowing dirt. They’re blowing NOTHING. I want to yell at my neighbor after the three hour bout of blowing leaves that he needs to move to the desert if he hates a single leaf in his back yard.

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, and everything I hold near and dear, I swear that I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. The loud noise makes my head feel like it is going to explode. Kids can’t study. Babies can’t sleep. I can’t work. I can’t do fucking anything.

I told my daughter that next Thursday when the leaf blowers start blowing I’m getting out my trumpet, and YES I do own a trumpet, and blowing it off of my deck until they all think Gabriel himself has come down to earth to do whatever it is that arc angels do. And then when there is a strange silence I shall put down my trumpet, show my fangs and whisper, “vengeance is mine.”

So I take a deep breath. 

I like raking leaves. To be honest, I don’t rake leaves, I sweep them. I sweep them off of the walkways, out of the gutters, and off of the driveway. Along with the leaves are hundreds, and maybe thousands of acorns.

Where are the squirrels when I need them? They’re in the trees barking at me and my cats.

Back to sweeping leaves. There is something so satisfying about sweeping my leaves up. It is quiet. Sweeping is prime time to get my ideas and creativity in order. It is a time to think. I love the way I make little and big piles. I love the smell. I love the mix of leaves and the random flower blossoms and bark that mixes with the leaves.

Right now there isn’t much in my wild back yard except trees so I let the leaves fall on the bare ground to make a soft carpet and get scattered by the dog and the wild turkeys. I don’t need perfection. I don’t need the noise of leaf blowers.

I need the quiet and the celebration of nature in my somewhat ordered world. To be honest with you there is little order in my world, but leaf sweeping, and any yard work in my tiny botanical garden under the oaks brings solace.

So wishing you all peace in this change of seasons. Turn off the radio and TV. Have a beer that nobody will question you about, and count your blessings.

And then hug your cats, talk to your kids, and be a good Vampire. Fall is here.

Remember…Halloween is just around the corner.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette kings _ Marla Todd

No Leaf Blowers Allowed in My Yard

 

 

Weirder Tales

Weirder Tales – Now Available on Amazon and other fine online bookstores. Proceeds to to MS Research.

 

 

 

 

Slut (and a few additional thoughts)

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) At the end I will have a few more thoughts of my own.

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

~ end

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since the day I became a mom I’ve thought of telling my kids about sexual predators. I’ve told them that more often than not sexual predators are people they know. It will be their word against yours. More often than not they already know how to hack the physical, emotional, legal, and social systems so that you won’t win. But always fight back. Never believe their lies. Tell your parents or someone else you trust.

Parents: LISTEN to your kids. Talk to them. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Listen. Help. BELIEVE THEM. Kids and teens don’t lie about these things.

College Kids: RED CUPS. Don’t drink out of a drink anyone else gave you. That sweet punch in the big red cups will SLAM you hard. There will be a blog post about it and a quiz in a day or two.

In light of everything going on in the news this week I have a story. A friend posted something on FaceBook about men and boys behaving badly. She claimed if women flashed their boobs at Mardi Gras and other drunken events like concerts etc., then why did we all have a problem with men flashing their dicks.  I thought I’d quote my 19 year old daughter:

“When a woman flashes her boobs she is being silly and using bad judgement. It is insanely tacky and rude but not threatening anyone. When a man exposes his penis to someone it is a power and control thing. He is doing it as a threat. He is doing it with the purpose to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable. You can’t compare the two.”

That is all for today. Be safe. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Believe them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Burning Question #23: Brain Drain

14316715_10208690544480136_2805409256608280838_n

Today’s burning question is sure to boggle your mind. 

We often (by we I mean the general we, not you and me) speak of how smart humans are, or more often than not, how stupid individuals are.

We also speak about how some groups of people run seemingly blind to all reason and some do not. Don’t even get me started on politics. Seriously, don’t. Don’t you start either.

I try to talk to my children about the reasoning behind some groups and the dangerous notion of group think. We wonder if they will ever change. This is of course on the negative side of humanity. Why do people join cults? Why do people join extremist or destructive hateful organizations? Why do people embrace ignorance rather than look for answers? Why are some people curious and some aren’t? Is it society? Are we just stupid by nature? Have we reached our limits?

Do you ever wish you were smarter? Maybe just a bit?

Of course we know there are no limits on how smart Vampires are. LOL. Just kidding. I know plenty of Vampires who are willing to prove to everyone what jack asses they are.

Yes, I know you were expecting something funny. Here you go.

27337333_1837621266310648_5084277931190041719_n

 

Burning Question #23: Is there a limit to how smart individuals and communities can be?

 

I hope with all of my heart that the answer is NO. If you’re a parent or have children in your lives please tell them the answer is NO. There is no limits to how smart one can be. The same goes with compassion, humor, and love. No limits.

But feel free to answer how YOU want to answer.

Feel free to share any thoughts, strong opinions, puns, childhood stories, or poetry in the comments section.

Thank you for dropping by and answering this Burning Question.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

36753836_10216101697365427_2201055157335097344_n

It MUST STOP. We are writers. We will not keep quiet.

In light of today’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md we need to all watch and speak out for writers, editors, and journalists everywhere.

From NPR: “On Thursday night, Anne Arundel officials released the names of the Capital Gazette employees killed in the shooting: Rebecca Smith, sales assistant; Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor; Wendi Winters, special publications editor; John McNamara, staff writer; and Robert Hiaasen, an assistant editor and columnist.

 In a Facebook post Hiassen’s brother Carl, a renown novelist, described Robert as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”

Journalists, nonfiction writers, bloggers, or writers of fiction have long been targets. Jails around the world are full of bloggers and journalists sent there for speaking out on subjects we would consider no big deal. Writers of fiction and nonfiction have long been threatened by extremists. In the US, in France, and in other countries journalists have been targeted by crazy ass insane hateful ignorant people.

In today’s climate of crazy ass madness and blind hate we need to keep our voices loud and support writers all over the world. No writer should live in fear. Not from some crazy ass shooter. Not from their government. Not from stalkers and trolls. We must stand together.

We don’t need useless thoughts and prayers. We need action. We need to speak out for the freedom of thought and speech for everyone on this planet.

I don’t feel like my government will do anything. Thoughts and prayers are useless and will not fix the problem. Ignorance and hate must not be embraced. We can’t ignore anymore shootings. Politicians are useless. It is up to us to figure out a way to CHANGE. I wish I had the answer – help me out.

Keep your voices loud. Keep your voices clear. Support all writers be they journalists, bloggers, writers of fiction, and nonfiction.

To the assholes of the universe: YOU CAN’T KEEP US QUIET. YOU CAN’T STOP OUR VOICES. WE WILL WRITE. We will write. We will write. And those who don’t write will READ and talk and share.

We are writers. We will not go away. We will not be quiet.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: One of my all time favorite authors John Sandford said this better than I could have. This is his heartbreaking FB post.

Screenshot 2018-06-28 22.26.16