Our First Feast

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“I doubt if our parents care what we do, or anything about us at this point,” my brother Val told me. It was November of 1878. I had just turned nineteen and he was twenty. They’d moved to San Francisco, leaving us behind in Sacramento. The house they’d left for us was like a rabbit warren of rooms. Our brother Aaron, aged twenty five, was married and living a mile away in his own brand new Italianate mansion. The eldest two (Max and Andy) had long moved on and were now in San Francisco setting up their glorious careers.

They’d sold the big house we’d grown up in, which burned down as soon as we’d cleared out. I often wondered about that, considering we had been a large family of Vampires and didn’t always do things the same was as everyone else. Our (mine and Val’s) house was built in 1869 with a lot of rooms with no purpose and tall stairs from the sidewalk up to the front door in case it flooded. We had a front porch, a back yard with a few rose bushes, and not much else. It was plain and un-charming.

Val and I were determined to give this house charm. We decorated our modest home with used furnishings and a lot of green and cream colored paint.

After that we decided to do what most young people would do and have a party.

“Should it be all Vampires?” I had to ask.

Val shrugged, “No. We can invite others. We will have to warn our fanged friends to keep to themselves and only drink from bottles we planned to keep well hidden in our kitchen.

I told him not to invite all ladies and he started to argue with me.

“NO,” I said. “You are not going to turn my home into your own personal whore house.”

My brother looked at me as if I’d slapped him in the face. “I would never,” he said. “Never.”

I held my shoulders back and my head high. “Valentine, I will never judge you or be like some warm blooded prude, but I expect a certain amount of modesty and decorum from you.”

“Fine. I will allow you to see my guest list, as I expect you to show me your guest list.”

“Agreed,” I said. “What about food?”

“We need food?”

“Of course we do.”

“We don’t cook. We hardly eat. We don’t have domestics.”

“We could hire a cook,” I said.

“We could.”

“Where would we find one?”

“We could put out a post. Cook wanted for fashionable party. Or we could find Constantine. He knows everyone.”

“And he is always fashionable.”

Constantine was both a Vampire and extremely fashionable but he had just jumped on a train to travel east, then take a boat to Europe to buy art. So we put up our flyer and waited. Soon a small man named Orlando George St. Cloud came to our door. He said he had cooked for the royalty of Europe, the Emperors of China, and the highest of Sacramento high society. We didn’t really believe him but we hired him on the spot.

The night of our party Mr. St. Cloud fixed:

Stewed Eel

Filet of Sturgeon with brown butter and tarragon

Curried Crawdads with spinach

Roasted Capon with creamed trout sauce

Roasted potatoes

Rat tail soup

Onion and walnut tart

Fried chicken feet with olives

Orange milk pudding

Apple pie

Fried frog legs with smoked trout and fiddle head fern sauce.

Roast beef

Head cheese

Blood pudding

Wild lettuce salad

Tomales Bay Oysters on the half shell

Fried eggs with wild mushrooms and boiled wheat berries

Pears poached in wine and honey

Toast points with river clams and fresh butter

Meatballs with wild dill made with ingredients of unknown origin. 

Marrow bones with sage and sherry sauce.

We also managed to acquire copious amounts of alcohol.

Fifty four guests arrived. Nobody went hungry. Twenty were female. Thirty four were male. Twelve, including Val and I were Vampires.

Of course the party was a success. Val did not sleep alone. I watched the sunrise with a dozen people in my garden before going inside, drawing the curtains and sleeping for the next two days. Mr. St. Cloud brought in a crew to clean and lock up.

For the next thirty years Mr. St. Cloud cooked for us when we needed it. He also taught us to cook. He told us, “One day I shall be gone and you will be at a loss.”

I learned to cook everything except the rat tail soup. I never cared for eel. Many of the dishes made me sick but I learned to cook them anyway. Eventually Val also learned to cook, and he even attended classes. We both became experts in cooking for Vampires such as us. We don’t live on blood alone.

From then on Val and I have both welcomed guests of a wide variety to our homes to celebrate friendship and love.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and welcome in the holiday season (which started on Halloween.)

Cheers to all,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Gaia

Last night I dreamt I was Gaia, earth mother, and eldest grandson of mine.

Child and grandparent as one, the grass grows taller as I run from the mad hunger of a caretaker-

How could the adults do that?
As you overthrew your father, and now fear what is coming?

Oh god of harvest, of season’s change, the irony that you in particular do not pick up-

That the cycle will continue and the sickle will fall.

~Adelia

 

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I am honored to have shared this poem from my friend Adelia. She is currently a third year university student in Arizona.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

Rules For My Young Adult Vampire Children

When I started this blog my youngest was in Middle School. Now my Vampire children are now 18 and 21. They’re both in college and have jobs. They’re adults. Holy shit. They’re adults.

Mind you they aren’t those creepy kind of Vampires who look like teens and go to high school and college forever. They are just like other college students. The only difference is that they’ve always been Vampires. No big deal.

It is time for another one of my famous bulleted lists.

A Few Rules for Young Adult Vampires:

  • Stay away from fan fiction. Don’t read it. Don’t write it.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have. Pay cash.
  • Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. You know where I’m going with this. The same thing applies for the necks you choose to bite.
  • Don’t drink bad wine or cheap booze.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Listen.
  • Read for fun.
  • Vote.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses even when it is raining.
  • If someone asks you to turn them into a Vampire always say NO.
  • If someone asks you if you’re a Vampire always say NO.
  • If you feel uncomfortable the answer is always NO.
  • Being somebody else’s trophy or arm candy is ALWAYS in bad taste.
  • Don’t have your social media accounts under your own name.
  • You’re not a bigot if you avoid Demons, Goblins, or Black Eyed Children.
  • It is ok to be afraid.
  • It is ok to mourn the dead.
  • It is ok to laugh out loud in public.
  • It is ok to not care what others think. You’re a Vampire. Why should you care?
  • Don’t stay in a relationship out of habit. Stay in it out of love and mutual respect.
  • Break up with your bad habits.
  • Don’t date assholes.
  • If someone asks you to move into a crypt with them always say NO.
  • Don’t sleep in coffins. You don’t have to.
  • You don’t have to be a leader, but never be a follower.
  • Learn how to get blood stains out of all kinds of fabric. Keep the cleaning supplies handy.
  • Never be tempted to drain someone of all of their blood. Then you’ve killed them and you have to deal with a body. It isn’t cool. Don’t do it, even if you’re having a party with your friends.
  • Avoid Zombies.
  • Keep basket ball shorts on the court.
  • Try not to let your bra show, especially the back strap. Nobody wants to see that.
  • If you don’t take yourself seriously nobody else will.
  • Avoid humorless Vampires.
  • Don’t worry about Werewolves. They tend to take care of themselves. I know they tend to be tacky dressers, loud, and rude, but don’t get into it with them. You’ll always win, but do yourself a favor and avoid it.
  • Don’t start collecting animals until you own your own home. Your parents have enough animals and don’t need anymore.

I could go on for another hundred points but not today. Sure they know most of this, but it is always good to remind them. Gently remind them.

They might be adults, but they’re still your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

don't be a ghost

 

 

 

 

Questions your teens should ask.

As both a Vampire and a parenting expert/blogger I’ve compiled a short list of questions that your teens (both high school and college bound) should ask. I’ve also included a few other statements/requests they need to know. This could apply to both school and life in general. Mostly for life in general.

  • Please don’t ask me to be stupid.
  • Is embracing ignorance required to attend this event?
  • Do you really love me or is it just for tonight?
  • Will it kill you to be nice?
  • Will it kill you to relax?
  • Do you want to try something new?
  • My name is __________. What’s your name?
  • Thank you.
  • Let me help you.
  • May I help you with that?
  • Do you want to talk about it? Let’s get coffee (or go for a walk etc.)
  • Let me drive you home. We can pick up your car in the morning.
  • I’m calling Uber. Do you want to ride with me? We can pick up our cars in the morning.
  • Do you need help?
  • Are you hiring?
  • Would you like to join us?
  • Can I bring anything?
  • Can I help with the dishes?
  • I’m going out for blood. Do you need anything?
  • What part of no don’t you understand?

This is just a short list. Sometimes we all forget that if we don’t ask the question the answer will always be NO. We also forget that we need to speak up for ourselves and for others. It is just that simple. It isn’t always easy, but it is simple.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Why Sex Education Fails – Any Teen Will Tell You

The college aged and high school aged kids in my life wonder why politicians (and others) are so obsessed by the sex lives of others.

They say, “I bet the guys who are passing the oppressive laws against birth control and women’s health, and the LBGT community, partied hard in college, had sex with multiple partners, experimented, then went on with their perfect squeaky clean lives.”

They also say, “If you don’t believe in abortion don’t have one.”

AND most important of all (are you listening blind and stupid politicians) “If everyone had EASY access to birth control, with no limits on age, and no permissions required, then there would be fewer abortions.” 

Yes, if you cut back on birth control then you will never cut back on abortions both legally and illegally.

My daughter was telling me why sex education in high school and middle school didn’t work.

In middle school it didn’t work because one of the parents (ONE) complained. I believe it was a loud woman who donated a lot of money to the school. According to her, she and her child were the center of the universe. The child of course was completely embarrassed when the mother complained about having sex education in school taught by experts. So the embarrassed teachers had to teach the required course.

In high school my kids were taught abstinence only. Welcome to 1816. Yes, time travel is possible and happening right now in a state near you.

Plus the teens were taught be an uncomfortable wood shop teacher who could barely look the students in the eye when he said the word “pregnancy.” The only terms use were highly technical. The students didn’t learn anything about birth control and very little about STDs. Nobody told the teens about anything except the fact that birth control pills existed somewhere out there in the universe. They didn’t learn about all of the other forms, including easy to get over the counter solutions.

If you’re a parent please talk to your kids about sex. It is going to happen. Don’t expect them to wait until they are married. Remember this is 2016 not 1916, and even in 1916 people (a lot of people) had sex outside of marriage.

Get real. Be a real parent and tell your kids about STDs, birth control, relationships, responsibility in relationships. Don’t lecture. Just tell them the facts. Don’t bring religion or politics into it – because it is going to happen.

Tell your kids that sex is a two-way street. Tell them to NEVER do anything they are uncomfortable with. Tell them that if someone says “if you do this I’ll like you,” then don’t do what they want. Relationships are about sharing, not about only one person giving and one person just taking both physically and emotionally over and over and over.

Healthy relationships are responsible relationships. That includes birth control, protection from STDs, honesty, and respect.

Normal relationships and normal sex is not like what kids see in porn. Tell them that too.

Teens should also respect themselves. Tell your kids that it is normal to say NO. Yes, you can say NO, if you don’t want to have sex with someone. You can wait if you want. You can be on your own timeline. No young person should ever be pressured into doing something they are not physically or emotionally ready for.

Sex isn’t just physical. It is emotional. Talk to your kids about that too.

The point of this post isn’t to give teens and young adults permission to sleep around and hook up.

It is about accepting the fact that young people are going to do what young people do. Yes, we hope they will wait until they’re out of high school. We hope they’ll wait for someone they care about. We hope a lot of things. But even if they wait until college, and wait for a super nice and caring partner, they still need to be educated about birth control and protection.

They need to be educated about respect and responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to talk openly and honestly with your kids. If you don’t like abortions then you damn better make sure your daughters and sons are using birth control.

If you don’t like the idea that your young adult children are going to be sexually active one day then maybe you should have just had indoor cats.

If you want your children to be responsible then you have to be responsible parents and teach them about sex, birth control, STDs, relationships, respect, and trust.

That is what young people want and need.

If you ignore something it will not go away.

Those of you who have followed me for the long haul know this is a parenting blog. I talk about being a mom, teens, old folks, and other issues. Sometimes it is in the form of stories about my family or others. Sometimes it is just weird, but it all comes down to relationships we have with each other, and how we live our lives, especially when our children are concerned.

I’ll have the other stuff soon, but this is important. You have to talk to your kids – as a parent that is your job, no matter how uncomfortable you find it – and no matter how uncomfortable your kids find it. DO it. Talk. Now. Today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman