From the edge of the deep end.

As you can see (if you really care) I’ve been behind on my blogging duties. The regular Thursday feature Ask Juliette will be posted later today as an irregular Friday feature. If anyone is reading Girl in the Woods you’ll have to wait until later today, or maybe next week, for the latest unedited rambling installment.

I haven’t been reading much of anything either. That includes blog posts, books, mail… we even skipped our anniversary and stayed home and more or less did nothing. Today, I swear, I will start reading the book my neighbor wrote. I have a paperback edition. Looks like a great series.

Yesterday I was at the DMV trying to figure out why a truck I don’t own was registered in my name at my old address. I also need to find out who the person is who keeps getting tickets that I am now expected to pay for. So today I’ll be on the phone with DMV investigations – the first I’m sure of many many many phone calls. I should have said I HOPE I will be on the phone with the DMP investigations office. I’ve already called five times this morning and haven’t so much reached a voice mail box. I can just see a windowless office with two old fashioned black dial phones and two beleaguered state analysts who are counting the minutes until the weekend starts, and wondering why their budget was cut.

I’d like to say that I could just do some paranormal shit and take care of it all but come on folks, this isn’t the 19th Century anymore. Things are complicated. Complicated enough for me to even forego my usual stream of fucks and other related bad words and calmly take care of the problem like an expert zen master. I have no more fucks to give.

That is only one of many piles of shit that keep hitting my fan lately.

But there is a bright side to the piles of shit…the thirty five pound puppy (born 12/29/15) is almost house broken. She has only pooped three times in the house since Monday.  Now the big training issues are come, stay, don’t chase the cats, and don’t drag tree branches into the house.

So my brother Max stopped by last night to stay a day or two. This is added to the fact that I’d already pissed off my husband Teddy for the hundredth time this week so he was in a bad mood. I sent Max upstairs to Teddy’s office where they talked politics, cars, and the general apathy among urban Vampires.

When you live on the edge of several worlds it isn’t too hard to feel like you’re going to lose your footing and fall at any moment.

I just looked out the window and I’m happy to say I only see squirrels, birds, and a calico cat. No Ghosts or Goblins thank goodness. Seriously, I kid you not, I have to deal with those asshats. Don’t wish you could become a Vampire unless you want to have even MORE idiots in your life.

People just don’t get it. They think everything in world of the undead is all romantic and mysterious. Mysterious yes, because I don’t know what the fuck is going on most of the time lately. Romantic? That is on the back burner. I’m still stirring it up sometimes, but… anyway, I’m going off the deep end here. Actually I’m just looking down into the deep end.

My old friend, the famous Vampire poet Enrico Moretti, once told me, “Juliette, you must stop and gather your thoughts and senses, like roses, fragrant, yet covered with thorns.”

Yes, that could have been one of those WTF moments, but when a five hundred year old Vampire tells you something in a voice that could both melt wax and freeze just about anything, you tend to listen politely. You also tend to remember it, archive it, and bring it out later when you think you might need it.

I can hear Max grunting something and pouring a cup of coffee and digging in the refrigerator for blood to add to it. I yelled at him to look behind the milk.

Today I will gather my thoughts and senses. Walk the dog. Call the DMV again. Yell at the dog for chasing the cats. And maybe step back from the edge of the deep end.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Dancing in the Shadows

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

 

 

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Small Sharp Sticks

What the crap is that nipping at my ankles?

I looked around, then found myself being poked with a small sharp stick.

“I don’t have time for you.”

Lack of sleep and too much on my mind has rendered me impatient. I threw the Pixie across the room where it landed against the wall in a horrible splat.

They were everywhere. I was surrounded. I know I should ignore them but the keep biting and poking.

“Ignore them,” says my husband.

My parents have always done a superb job at ignoring them. Pixies don’t dare go around them. Unfortunately my siblings and I are not so skilled. The nasty little creatures keep reminding us of everything trivial that we shouldn’t be wasting our time on. They poke and poke and nip and bite and taunt.

Finally I said enough this morning and in celebration fixed a nice cup of green tea.

One of the little bastards came scuttling around with tiny sharp teeth and an impish grin. With the accuracy of a major league baseball player I threw my tea spoon at it and bonked the nasty little thing on the head. It stood shocked, then wobbled, and then vanished in a puff of pink and green smoke.

“Tell your friends I mean business,” I said just the last bit of it went away.

Outside my window I saw a ghost. It was one I’d never seen before, dressed in Gold Rush era garb. They get thick in the woods around here. I flashed it my fangs. The ghost opened his eyes wide and vanished. Ghosts and Pixies. Two things we can all do without.

Now I’ll have that tea.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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Charting out stress then stepping away slowly

“So he says he wants me to turn him into a Vampire. I told him no. He has no idea. No idea at all.”

I listened to my friend Elizabeth as we sat over coffee in the dark cool little cafe that caters to Vampires and others who are “different.”

I’d heard this story or variations of it over and over. I was listening but thinking about the million of things I have to juggle with family and work and everything else. I was thinking about people I’d like to throw down wells and in ditches with rabid wolves and rip out their necks…rather than do that I sketched out a chart.

I always tell my kids: Before you act take a deep breath and wait it out. Write it down. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

My life is like this chart. It goes up and down. This is typical for most working moms. I drew this one out by hand. I could do it in Excel but I didn’t feel like it. Sometimes it is just easier to do it by hand.

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Anyway… Elizabeth continued her story about the Vampire wannabe. “I told him that when you’re a Vampire you carry around heartbreak for centuries. He asked about joy. I told him no, not so much. Joy is short-lived. I can be content and somewhat happy but that bliss that comes with living. Actually when I was alive, I mean, when I was one of them, I didn’t have much bliss. I don’t think I ever had bliss. Am I making any sense?”

I told her she was making as much sense as I ever make, which lately I feel isn’t much.

I’m always overhearing conversations. Everyone is lugging around kids, dealing with family, wishing work was better, being annoyed and frustrated about everything and wondering what we can do about it or not even trying because trying doesn’t even help. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I don’t listen to the news. I just pay the tax bills and hope the schools stay open and try to avoid the pot holes in the streets.

It wouldn’t be easier to be a Shadow Creeper because they feel nothing but sadness or misplaced hopeless passion. At least Elizabeth and I can laugh. And we do. We take a moment or two to go off the cart – as in step down and forget everything else in the world so that we can sit back and laugh a bit.

Elizabeth’s phone started to vibrate making the table shake. I glanced down. It was my brother Max.

“I have to get this,” she said. “Work stuff.” They are the Vampire equivalent to Special Forces. They kick ass on Vampire Hunters and Rogue Vampires and other nasty creatures.

Her side of the conversation went like this: Sure, I’ll be there early. I have the reports. No they were acting alone. It should be an easy fix. Better than that, I have to combination. No kidding…I don’t know where she is. Did you call her?…It isn’t my day to watch her…I’m sorry if your little fuck buddy won’t answer your calls but did it ever cross your mind that maybe she wants more? … No of course not, you told her that she’d never be more. You told her that she’d never be good enough…you might have well said it…she loved you and you used her…She didn’t have to tell you. …You’re so stupid Max…No, I won’t… Your hurt her. She rejected you because she didn’t want to be hurt not because she didn’t want you. You’re such an asshole sometimes…Sure. Do you want to talk to your sister? Juliette is right here. Talk to her.

I took the phone. Max made a bit of small talk then asked me if I heard what Elizabeth had said to him. I lied and told him I didn’t hear anything. He then asked me if I’d call our mother about something for him. I say OK with no intention of calling her today. He could call her himself. I was tired of doing it all for everyone. I did end up calling her.

Our friend Pierce showed up and sat next to Elizabeth, his arm around her shoulders. She mentioned Max and his girl problems. Pierce shrugged. He’d been friends with Max long enough to just shrug, plus disagreeing with two female Vampires isn’t always the wisest thing to do. He’d spent the night dealing with Goblins so he was ready for some humor at my brother’s expense.

I needed coffee and some snarky fun and talk with Elizabeth and Pierce. That is what friends are for.

So after a stressful week, I’ll spare you the horrible details, I went home and settled my kids for the weekend. One was going to Tahoe with my brother Aaron’s kids. The other was going out with friends (yes, I had to drive.) I got a call from a friend with an invitation to go out. I needed that to get my mind off of everything.

I called my husband and in a few minutes I’ll be back in traffic. We’ll meet with friends and the stress will melt away with the sharing of stories and good spirit.

No matter how high the stress chart is I know that I have people I can depend on, or at least call. I have people I can care about. Yes, they care about me, but I’m glad to care about them.

Wishing you all a stress free weekend, without Goblins.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Even Vampires Need a Break

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I didn’t want to deal with my family. It isn’t that I don’t love them, but sometimes I need a break.

I went to San Francisco for a meeting and didn’t even call my parents or my two brothers wo live there. It was my day in the city, alone, just me and my own business.

At Harrison and 2nd the light changed at the intersection and I headed out across the street with everyone else. A normal move, just crossing the street, when something, somebody snagged my arm. I looked in the face of a man, long, lean, good looking with a dazzling smile. He’d pulled his honey blonde  back in a short tail and a 3 day beard (oh so hip these days.)

“You’re like me,” he said.

“Yes.” Yes indeed. That was all I had to say. He was a Vampire too. I didn’t even notice him in my brain haze of family drama and overwhelming emotional wave of… well, you know, family.

“Let’s get coffee.” He took my hand and dragged me into a parking lot filled with music, food trucks and tables. It was dark, under the freeway and loud. It was perfect. We sat at a bench, coffee in hand, huddled together.

His name was Marcus. He’d been a Vampire since 1971. A few months ago he’d moved down from Seattle with his girlfriend who was also a Vampire. It was for a job, more like minded Vampires and his parents lived in the area. Yes, his parents.

He’d kept in touch with them over the years and now he wanted to take care of them. His parents were progressive in many ways and had accepted the fact that their son was different. Alright, it isn’t that simple. Most people are horrified when they find out Vampires are real, much less somebody they love, or their own child is a Vampire.

Think about it. Can you imagine if your child said “Mom I’m a Werewolf.” That would horrify me to no end. I’d have to accept it. There would be no other choice in the matter.

Marcus told me about his parents with great love and care. They were still living in their own home. They were fragile and didn’t get out much. Driving was a thing of the past. Marcus and his Vampire girlfriend Kate had moved into the neighborhood of 1920’s homes and watched over the two old people.

I told him that I was feeling that no matter where I went, no matter where I was, someone was going to bother me. If I was someplace quiet suddenly it would be full of annoying noises. There seemed to be no place where I could be alone. As I said this the noise around us was like a blanket that kept everyone else in the world out. Nobody knew were were Vampires or different or feeling stress or like we wanted to scream.

We just chatted about the good things. I told him the best places to get blood and spices and what small venues were good for concerts. I told him about the shop with the pug and the white French bull dogs who lived in the front window – not for sale but just to keep the owner company and to look cute. I told him how funny my teenagers were.

In turn he told me about finding a great house and exploring the area. He wanted to know about the culture and the local Vampire lore. He’d heard a lot of it over the years but he wanted to know more.

Marcus was a fairly young Vampire, born in 1948, and like I said, he became a Vampire in 1971. Over the years he’d only met a few of us who were born into it, that is born as a Vampire. He was even more surprised and tickled to find I belonged to one of the “Vampire Power Families” as he called it. Our roots are ancient and the exploits of some of my family members are famous among our kind.

So anyway, to make a short and unremarkable story even longer, we exchanged information and planned to keep in touch. It was really nice to meet him. I know what you’re thinking – the term “really nice” and “Vampire” shouldn’t mix. Hey, if you’re a Vampire you come to appreciate “really nice” and little moments. We all should.

NPR has been running a series of articles on stress this week. I’ve listened but been grateful for the attention Weird Al is getting and stories about science and books. I might be “undead” but I’m not immune to stress and the pressures of everyday life.

Before I left Marcus we grabbed a bite (some geeky hipster programmers he knew) and then walked together to where my meeting was being held. When you’re a Vampire you learn to make quick friendships since there are so few of us. We have to stick together.

So I suppose I must stick to my family. On the way home I stopped by the farmhouse to see check in on the Elders. My brother Val was there already. He’d made sure they’d remembered to turn on the fans in the heat and brought by some cold bottles of blood. They sometimes forget to eat and we worry they’ll go into a Vampire Coma or worse, find piles of ashes where they once stood.

My voice mail was full of messages but I didn’t answer any of them, except to my husband to tell him that I loved him too.

All things considering everything is good. It is better than good. But sometimes a mom just needs some time to be herself. Sometimes everyone needs that.

 

Have a good rest of your week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Finding a calm place

Max, my eldest brother and my husband Teddy’s best friend, has come for the weekend. I never know what to expect from Max. OK I do know what to expect, but it is always a little different. There is always some little surprise, or not. You know how it goes with family.

Max and Teddy grew up best friends. Our parents were all best friends. Our fathers were business partners. Yes, we were Vampires and Teddy’s parents didn’t know but the friendship worked. They’d come to California in 1849. Teddy was born in Panama on the way. Max came along a few month later in Sacramento.

It made sense that Max and Teddy would go off to college together. Once there Teddy would worry about Max being out all night or gone for days on end.

Teddy went into history and the classics. Max studied the same but was recruited by his own kind to serve and protect our community. Yes, Max is a hunter, he hunts Vampire Hunters among other things.

Years later Max has become what some fans of Vampire fiction would call “one bad ass Vampire.” But tonight he is my brother, not a cold calculating creature of the night.

So Max was coming for the weekend holiday. Yes, we DO have holidays in our own way. We ARE spiritual in our own way and appreciate the feelings of the days to come. We get it.

Max came in last night like an unwound demon all brooding and agitated. It was work, his work, that had him so agitated. I brought out decanters of Bourbon and blood along with shot glasses.

His team had been running into problems. They weren’t getting the support they need. Some of them were starting to become passive aggressive. There is nothing worse than passive aggressive Vampires. I was going to ask Max about someone he been involved with (or maybe not). Teddy caught my eye and gave me the “don’t ask” look. I guess he’d invited her but she had slightly different traditions/culture and Max had been an asshole to her (that would be the main reason.)

We just let Max talk it out and listened. Most of the time the best support you can give anyone is just listening.

I guess the point of all of this is that for me, any special day or holiday should make us reflect on our lives and be positive and support those we love. It is always about fellowship and caring.

I’ve been dealing with my own work issues and transitions so I can understand what my brother is going through. Sometimes, even if you do everything right, it just sucks. He deals with people who don’t like Vampires. I deal Vampires who don’t want to be Vampires. We both deal a lot of difficult and uncomfortable situations. We’re good at what we do but politics and personalities, bad timing and bad planning can take a toll. That is why times like this are good – to regroup and clear our brains even if only for a day or two.

So it is nice to chill and unwind and take a break both physically and mentally.

Anyway, Max likes to cook on such occasions. He is cooking tonight.

Vampires do not live by blood alone. We can’t eat everything (a real pisser) but can eat a lot of things in moderation. All things in moderation.  Max makes a dish with kale, walnuts and apples. No sugar. I’ve made a point to go out to the Certified Organic Farmer’s Market in the wee hours of Saturday morning and pick up large bunches of assorted types of kale and walnuts. He brought the apples. He’ll sauté them all in butter then squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Simple but hey, we like it. Kind of sort of.

He’ll pair that with duck eggs poached in white wine with fresh rosemary from my garden. Teddy will take care of the wine choices. I’m going to suggest a nice Carmel Valley Joullian Chardonnay.

On Sunday we’ll have a full house, but tonight it will be quiet.

As Teddy and Max talked quietly and the kids were out with friends I took a moment to go on the deck with a glass of wine. The Ghost appeared, this time in jeans and a white dress shirt.

“You’re a bit somber tonight Vampire,” he said to me.

“Not really. I just feel like being quiet. How are you Nigel?”

“You’re the only person I know who asks a ghost how he is doing. I’m ok. I was thinking about how my grandmother used to wear gloves and a hat on Easter. I loved going to church with her when I was a kid. Don’t ask me why. I guess because it was full of good people.”

“Good people?” I had to ask.

“My dad was in prison and I don’t know where my mom was for a while. It was nice to be around people I wasn’t scared of.”

I didn’t ask anymore. He didn’t say anymore. We watched a couple of deer walk down in the meadow behind my house. They didn’t seem concerned that we were there. It was calm. And that is what we all need on this weekend to reflect and appreciate those we love and new beginnings. Calm and peace.

Nigel drifted off into a wisp of light and I went back in to join Max and Teddy. They were laughing about something. It was good to hear.

Wishing you all a weekend of joy and love.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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