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

Walking in the Dark

“Don’t walk in front of me — I may not follow; don’t walk behind — I may not lead; walk beside me and just be my friend.” ~ Camus

We’ve lost two friends this week, and one a few weeks ago. A young friend, one of my daughter’s best friends, has been in intensive care. Sometimes it is hard to wrap one’s heart and mind around it all. But I do. We all do. That is what we do. We love. We just love.

Tonight a coyote tried to eat my cat Oscar. I think he’ll be ok. The cat that is. I don’t know what happened to the coyote. I hope the cat bit and scratched the crap out of it. The other cat and the dog are giving him his space. He is sleeping in my daughter’s room.

She moved out two weeks ago for college. I miss her so much. She’s doing great. I’m so happy for her.

I’ll take Oscar the cat to the vet tomorrow if he is still in distress. His leg seems bruised. No blood.

I am grateful for my friendships online and off. Paranormal and not.

The air tonight is cool and comforting. I’m ready for fall. The leaves die, but for some reason I can’t explain fall always seems like a new beginning. Maybe it is because Halloween is near. Maybe it is because my birthday is in October. Maybe it is because I’m always super excited about planting fall bulbs which will bloom in the spring.

Bulbs are tiny packages of beauty and joy.

I’m trying to find more things that might be packages of joy. There are many.

So, I will get back to my book… finally. I met another writer this week and will be featuring his books in a few months on my Monday book post.

As for my books…there are ghosts, and reapers, and all kinds of demons and others who live in the shadows, corners, and even out in the open.

I’m also writing about parents, relationships, and adult kids. Cats and dogs too.

As always, I’ll leave you with thoughts of everything that is possible, things that go bump in the night (Halloween will be here soon) and love. Yes, it all comes together sooner or later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

cropped-birds-and-stars0092.jpg

Screen Shots

Back when my daughter (who turns 20 next month) was in Middle School she would change the screen image on my phone every chance she got. I’d have a lovely photo of one of my cats or something else nice and calming.

Then I’d pick up my phone and see a photo of a HUGE naked man. I’m talking 500+ pounds in a birthday suit.

This went on for about a month.

Fast forward.

Now she sends my best buddy Amelia (the famous Las Vegas Vampire) snap chat photos of me as a man.

Amelia, due to beautiful blue eyes, high cheek bones and general nice bones looks like Fabio or some other gorgeous male model when she gets the male filter.

I, on the other hand, look like the scruffy guy always asks if there is any beer left and goes out in pubic in pajama pants and a tee shirt that isn’t quite long enough to cover his belly. Thank you SnapChat filters.

That’s all. I’m on vacation with spotty Internet access, but just wanted to share this delightful little parenting story.

I love my child. I’m glad she has a sense of humor. I love my friend. I’m glad she has a sense of humor.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Musings on a rainy day about myths, motherhood, and random moments.

There are myths that Vampires can’t enter a home unless they are invited. That is utter and total bullshit. Like most Vampire lore it is untrue.

I’m not going to give you a list of Vampire facts or a list of what is not true. This is about parenting and other things.

From an early age I’ve told my children to not believe silly things that people say about large groups of individuals. The key word is individual. If one person in a group is a jerk it doesn’t mean that everyone in that group is a jerk. In today’s political climate it is tempting to do that – judge a large group. I don’t mean hate groups and extreme religious/social/weird groups that one joins voluntarily. I’m talking about groups we are born into, or groups that we physically become part of. You know what I’m talking about. I’m preaching to the choir here.

I raised my children to have open and skeptical eyes. I also raised them to accept the magic of the world, and to accept the differences of others.

As we grow older (even Vampires) some people become set in their ways and beliefs. What we need to do is grow more understanding as we grow older. As you get older you learn more, know more, and experience more, to be able to break free from long held beliefs that just might not be true. You learn from experience what battles to fight, and what battles to fight for others.

Yesterday I was meeting up with a lunch date. Yes, it was that kind of lunch date. I am a Vampire after all… anyway… I was having some real food too.

We decided to meet downtown near my friend Jack’s office, at a place we’d been meeting for over ten years. He texted me that he was running late. I waited, which was no problem. Waiting lets me relax and people watch. Due to the rain I was under my umbrella, bundled up in my furry fake fur coat (that my daughter calls my sheep coat, and my cat calls her new bed.)

Across the street, I saw a man – another Vampire. Yes, we can usually tell if one is like us, not by the way we look, but by a strong vibe we get… I can’t explain it. I don’t have to explain and it doesn’t have anything to do with this. He was old, but like most of us didn’t look his age. I’m married, don’t get me wrong, and my husband is unusually handsome, so I wasn’t looking for handsome Vampires. I already have my own. But there was something familiar about this guy. Not someone I’d dated, but something else. This happens to all of us. We see someone. We wonder where we know them from, if we know them from anywhere, then they vanish. A lot of things in life are like that. But I digress.

I’d never seen him before. That isn’t so unusual. I live in a metropolitan area of about 2.5 million people. I can’t be expected to know every Vampire, and believe me, we have a larger than normal population of them around here. It is a historical thing that few know about but that’s ok. It doesn’t matter.

The Vampire across the street doesn’t see me yet. I’m taken by the way he looks. The guy is seriously handsome in that take-your-breath-away way.

I hear my name being called and turn to see my friend Jack. Then I glance back and the Vampire is gone.

A couple of scruffy ghosts in large stovepipe hats look out the window of an old restored building. I ignore them and join my friend.

If you live in a world where you see the unseen, and the hidden, you learn what to ignore and what to pay attention to in a more extreme way than most. The amount of information can be overwhelming at times. I suppose that is why Vampires don’t have problems with the Internet and other bombardments of information that can be overwhelming for some.

As with anything we need to all take a deep breath and think about things. On the other hand sometimes we can think about things too much. That is what one of my siblings calls brain fever. 

I share my umbrella with Jack, who is holding his closed. There is only so much room on the sidewalk and I like his warmth. It is daytime, and even with the rain the sun makes it light. I will not fry. I will not die in the light. I glance at my reflection in a window and smile without fangs.

On the drive home I can still taste Jack’s blood on my tongue. I smile knowing I’ve left him with good thoughts and sweet dreams for at least another week.

I stopped at the grocery store for cat food and silver polish. Yes, I do have silver in my home. What? You believed that too?

I thought about the handsome Vampire and wondered who he was. I thought about the ghosts. I knew who they’d been. I can’t walk past that building without them whispering about the old days when they knew the railroad barons and were important men. They need to move on.

Yes, we can learn a lesson from them and all strive to move on. Staying stuck in another century isn’t fun for anyone, or practical, or right.

That’s all I got for today.

  • Don’t forget to talk with your children and listen to what they have to say today – even if they’re grown.
  • Hug your kids.
  • Check on those who are alone.
  • Read.
  • Laugh.
  • And always be aware of what is going on around you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

You don’t have to love what everyone else loves.

Everyone loves…

Name a movie. Name a book. Name a singer or band. Name a musical.

There are so many on that list of first named things people love that I absolutely loathe. They are things that make me cringe.

Oh yes, I have read, seen, tasted, and heard them all.

My skin crawls and I get a strong physical reaction of disgust when I hear the names of these things uttered.

I see postings on social media (especially Facebook.) I hear talk at parties. Friends assume I love these things as much as they do.

But my dark Vampire heart makes sure I show nothing on my pleasant Vampire face.

Seriously, this should be one of my Burning Questions – Do you love _______? And one of the answers should be What the Hell is wrong with you?

Then I take a deep breath, fall into Mom Mode and think about what I’ve always told my children.

We are all different. There is no accounting for taste. We all have different backgrounds. Some people are just stupid. There are times when you just need to smile politely and keep your opinion to yourself. Move on. Change the subject. Tell them you have other plans. Bow out gracefully. Just say it isn’t your thing and leave it at that. 

This has nothing to do with politics, or morality, or values. It isn’t a case of ignorance (which is usually the case in people who profess hatred for certain types of art, etc.) It has nothing to do with the hateful practice of bigotry.

It has everything to do with bad taste.  It is just the fact that we’re all different and there is something for everyone. Just like there is someone for everyone (or I like to believe.)

I’m leaving food out of this because that is too complex. As a Vampire my diet is restricted so I know how it is not to want to eat everything, especially when one risks being quite ill.

Oh how I would love to publish my list. Read my past posts and you’ll find a lot of stuff listed. You’ll find a lot not.

So least I offend you all, I will do as I tell my kids and keep it to myself.

OK, forget what I said.. It is driving me crazy not to scream it out. And that is what blogs are for – screaming shit out.

My famous partial bulleted short list of popular things that make me want to vomit I can’t stand:

  • Grease (the musical)
  • Never Ending Story (the movie. I fucking hate this movie)
  • Eat, Pray, Love (the book)
  • Twilight Series (the books and movie)
  • Little Women (the book and ALL of the movies)
  • Steel Magnolias (the movie. Sorry to break your heart)
  • Forest Gump (the movie)
  • Bridges of Madison County (the book and the movie)
  • Most breathy female singers especially those popular in the 1990’s.

I asked my husband for some other suggestions but everything he mentioned was on this list already. Like I said, there is someone for everyone.

If you don’t agree with me that is fine. I still love you. I’ll be back for the rest of the week with lovely posts guaranteed not to offend anyone. Then again I’m a Vampire, therefore a liar by nature.

But keep your shit list on your own turf. It’s just easier that way.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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