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

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