The Quiet Beauty of San Miniato al Monte

Last week, it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a hundred years ago, I was at San Miniato al Monte monastery and cemetery in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the year 1018 with no power tools, and workers who no doubt couldn’t even write their own names. It is beauty from a dark time.

It was an unexpected, moving, and beautiful find.

We (my husband, children and I) expected to find an old monastery at the highest point in Florence. We did not expect to find the huge cemetery surrounding it.

There was not enough time to spend there. I could have spent a week looking at the hundreds of touching statues that spoke of memories, but there by those who loved and those who lost their hearts. So many dates were from the 1940’s. So many were children.

The ghosts lurked far from us, watching us walk through the rain. More than anything we could feel the love and the loss. It is a special place where those who are no longer remembered by anyone now living, are still touching our hearts and souls.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Bonjourno

Bonjourno

Florence Italy Lover's Bridge

A perfect January day in Florence, Italy.

I am home from a two week adventure in Italy, complete with Christmas trees, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” style adventures, and finding those lost shadows, and romance for the soul.

So many handsome men, so many cute dogs, SO MUCH ART.

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And coffee. Oh the coffee.

And the wine.

I’ll be posting my stories soon. But I’m back for 2018 with new features, new blog posts, new insights on parenting, relationships, elders, tall tales, and critters.

When we arrived home around midnight this morning we were greeted by rain and the sound of millions of frogs.

It is always good to travel, but it is good to be home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Useful Links (and I’m not just talking sausages)

25 Useful Links (and I’m not talking sausage)

  1. Do you want to suggest someone for a TED Talk or even suggest yourself? Click Here.
  2. Do you want to donate blood? Click Here.
  3. Do you like to read a fun Vampire Paranormal Romance Series? Click Here.
  4. Would you like to read a super cool Vampire series? Click Here.
  5. Do you want to read some GREAT NEW SCIENCE FICTION? Click Here.
  6. Do you want to find a great place to stay on your next road trip? Click Here.
  7. Do you want to visit or learn about a National Park? Click Here.
  8. Do you need a festive silver-plate serving pieces for the holidays? Click Here.
  9. Do you want to learn about a great art museum? Click Here.
  10. Do you need to identify a silver pattern? Click Here.
  11. Do you want to hear a song? Click Here.
  12. Do you want to learn about Bram Stoker? Click Here.
  13. Do you want to learn about corny Vampire films? Click Here.
  14. Do you want to read articles about writing? Click Here.
  15. Do you want a great easy cookie recipe? Click Here. 
  16. Do you want to read Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing? Click Here.
  17. Do you want to hear another song? Click Here.
  18. Do you want to learn how to knit? Click Here.
  19. Do you want to learn about Fun Goth Style? Click Here.
  20. Do you want to visit Florence, Italy? Click Here.
  21. Do you want to see a Teleporting Fat Guy? Click Here.
  22. Do you want to learn about classic movies and theater? Click Here.
  23. Do you want to read a sort-of-love story? Click Here.
  24. Do you want to read about a journey with a cat, a dog fight, and Vampires? Click Here.
  25. Do you want to learn how to make sausages? Click Here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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pepper2017

#NanoPoblano

 

Vampire Vegas

I’m in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately I didn’t bring Vlad with me because his reactions would have been priceless.

For the past two weeks I’ve been on the road from Northern California, to Lincoln, Nebraska (for the National Roller Skating Championships), and all points in-between. Now we’re (my daughter and I) on our way home – stopping in Las Vegas for a few days to visit friends.

Vampire friends of course – my friend Amelia and her family.

Las Vegas Vampires are completely different kind of Vampires, as you can imagine. The lifestyle is completely over the top. That said, it isn’t a free for all. It is savvy, calculated, and over the top in just about every way one can imagine.

Nobody goes to Las Vegas expecting to run into Vampires, and the Vampires here like to keep it that way.

Amelia always shows up exquisitely dressed in her vintage (and vintage) inspired dresses, and knocks the socks off anyone looking for sophisticated old Vegas elegance. It is a joy to see.

In the clubs at night, by the pools, in the bars, dancing to the music, in tight short skirts, and elegant trendy menswear, the Vampires charm, and seduce. Everyone has a good time. I can guarantee you that. Sure there are a few stiff necks, and major headaches in the morning but we don’t care.  Should we? Not really. Everybody got exactly what they wanted.

So what’s on the agenda for the rest of the week, summer, year… forever?

We’re having more adventures for the next few days, then heading back up home to my husband Teddy, our pets, and the rest of our crew.

Hey, if you’re in Las Vegas make sure you check out the Arts District. Search on Arts District Las Vegas or go to Twitter at #artsdistrictlv  and visit http://msmercantilelv.com, and http://mainstreet.vegas

I’ll keep you posted on more adventures.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Mom, can we keep him?

A couple of days ago I was traveling near the border of Utah and Colorado. I saw this cutie standing by the side of the highway begging for treats. Yes, dinosaurs are real.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Road Trips

No, I haven’t been away at some Vampire High Council meeting deciding what to do about nasty Vampires from another tribe, or discussing all of those flea bitten, tick covered Werewolves. Screw that. We don’t even DO THAT. All of the blood dripping lofty ceremony laced fiction out there gets people thinking we’re living in the 15th Century, or all dress like Victorians ALL THE TIME. I’ve been busy and we’re in a heat wave from Hell right now.

We’ll be on not one, not two, but three road trips this summer. The only place we’re not going where it is blazing and stupidly hot is Alaska.

Which brings me to a favorite subject: Vampire Road trips

Some suggest we bring freeze dried blood with us. Yes, that can be obtained by our usual sources but why? First of all we’ll just throw a cooler in the car and keep the fresh stuff on ice. We can also be guaranteed of a steady supply of truckers, hitch hikers, and Airbnb hosts.

The main thing we avoid are hookers in small desert towns (I kid you not.) It is seriously sad to see young women out trolling for truckers in the middle of the day wearing cuts offs, fishnet stockings, and heels. I look at them and wonder, “how the fuck did you end up here?”

We give a nod to the Vampires who live along those mysterious roads that seem to lead to nowhere. We give a nod to the lone Vampires in the small towns scattered across the highways. You know those towns where you wonder what people do there, and why they stay.

We will also stop to see friends along the way, both Vampires and regular folks we know.

All of my bitchiness aside, I love road trips. Driving across country with a kid (even if the kid will have just turned 18) is an amazing opportunity for both parent and child.

On our trips we’ve discussed (in-depth) music, history, art, social studies, geology, zombies, politics, cars, interesting people we’ve known, my own personal history, ways to murder someone when writing a novel, serial killers, movies, relationships, people we know, nature, dogs, cats, current events, and we wonder about things we see along the way.

We’ve seen two exceptionally handsome young men at a rest stop and wondered what two exceptionally handsome young men were doing out in the middle of the desert. We’ve stopped at a giant truck stop sort of place near the Colorado/Nebraska border and wondered where everyone was going. We’ve met a woman who said Lincoln, NE was the largest city she’d ever been to. We’ve seen roadside art, weird mysterious monuments, and a giant crater. We’ve gone to National Parks, and city parks. We’ve driven across Indian Reservations. We’ve driven through small depressed towns, and through some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We’ve been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City and stayed with a gay couple there. We’ve been to interesting little coffee houses that serve lavender scented lattes and vegan muffins. We’ve been on roads that seem to go on forever across the deserts and plains. It is hot because it is summer. It is dry because we’re driving through the West, only as far as Nebraska.

We’ll be in Nebraska this year as well. Then we’ll arrive home and a few days later head off for Alaska. But first we have to go to Fresno for an event. There is no other reason I’d go to Fresno. But in defense of Fresno, like all places, we will find interesting things to do.

So take a trip, even a day trip. You’ll learn something, and maybe even see some Vampires. We love road trips. Just don’t expose too much skin or you’ll get either sunburned or bitten.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This guy looks interesting. Let’s show him something REALLY scary!