Musings on Cats and Vampire Summers

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Oscar, pre-scar days.

I was out early this morning getting something out of my car. OK, I was looking for my purse. I thought I left it in my car last night. I didn’t. While I was outside I heard the sound of an angry cat. You know that snarling, growling, hit pitched sound from Hell that cats project when they’re really pissed off and ready for a fight.

It wasn’t one of my cats. At least it didn’t sound like either one of them. I decided to walk down the street to the mail boxes and find out where the gosh awful noise was coming from.

My cat Oscar, my sweet baby boy was standing in the front yard of my neighbor Josh. Josh lives alone. He rides his bicycle when it is 120 degrees F outside. Everybody likes Josh, but I don’t think he has a cat.

On the front porch (a favorite place of the neighborhood wild turkeys) was the largest calico cat I have ever seen. Her head was the size of a honeydew mellon. She was screaming at Oscar.

Oscar sat there and meowed with a confused little voice. Then he looked at me, then looked at the giant calico.

“Hey, Oscar,” I said. “Come on baby, let’s go home.”

As always, Oscar looks hopeful when his mom (me) is around. I’m always there to rescue him. I scooped him up.

I walked home like a crazy cat lady with Oscar under one arm, and an armful of junk mail in the other arm.

Oscar will always be like a baby, despite a notched ear and a scar across his face. He is thirteen pounds of fur and love. He is also an asshole, but he is my asshole.

This has been a long hot summer. Not all of us are handling it as well as my bike riding neighbor Josh. Then add massive wild fires to the heat and it gets really fun. If someone ever tells you “Burn in Hell Vampire,” you can tell them “FUCK YOU ASSHOLE I live in California.”

After the cat adventure I dropped off a trunk load of supplies that will go up to a fire shelter near Redding (Carr fire.)

By the time I got home my son Garrett was peeling tape off of the walls. We’re painting the insides of our home. From neutral to color. It looks great. As we’re peeling long steps of blue tape from around the windows we talked about all kinds of stuff.

Garrett will be in his fourth year of college. He is twenty-one now. No longer a child. I have kids now but I also have adults – Vampire adults.

“I hate summer necks,” said Garrett.

“It isn’t that bad,” I said.

“Oh come on mom, they’re gross. All covered in sunscreen, sweat, foundation, hair products, and body spray. The body spray is the worst. It smells great, but oh my god, the taste… How did you do it before people took showers everyday?”

“I don’t know. I guess we were used to it. You know, like cigarette smoke and rancid bacon grease.”

“That’s disgusting. I’m sticking with wrists until October.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I told him. I didn’t mention that I go to nice adult people with indoor private offices. But I’m sticking with wrists more often than not as well.

College classes start soon for both of my kids. It already seems like fall. This morning was unusually cool and nice. On morning like that I pretend I’m living by the ocean or up in the mountains. For a myriad of reasons I’m still here, in the Sacramento Valley with the smoke and the ghosts of the 49ers and the first Vampires to settle in California.

Anyway, that is how my day went.

Hope yours went well.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Fear and Change

Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.

You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.

We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.

Something taken away.

Something given.

Something found.

Something lost.

It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.

It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.

Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.

You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.

Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.

Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.

Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.

You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.

You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.

You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.

Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.

Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.

Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.

The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.

But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”

Yes, Cody, anything is possible.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

It isn’t all about the blood. Parenting and Vampires.

It isn’t all about the blood. I’m not a food blogger.

I do blog about parenting and Vampires. That is exactly what I do.

I explain the basics in my “about me” page. Click here to read it.

Why it works. Vampires and Parenting. Because I’m both. You might be both. You might not be either. But I have learned from my years on earth, and learned from my mistakes, and from making deliberate decisions about how I raised my children.

Being a parent, of any kind, required attention. It requires ALL of one’s attention. It requires thought. It requires compassion. It requires courage. It definitely requires humor.  The same goes with being a Vampire.

I don’t read parenting books. Most are smug perfect self-serving. I never use the term “mommy blogger.” Just put a wooden stake through my heart. Seriously, there are some good books, and funny books about parenting. Just be careful. There is a lot of crap out there. It is better to find a blogger you can relate to (not just me, there are plenty of other great parenting bloggers out there.)

Parenting books assume that we all live in some flavorless world where all rules apply to all children and all parents. Every child is different. Every family is different. We can relate through Werewolves, Zombies, Ghosts, and Selkies. Each has their own set of issues they have to deal with. Each parent has their own set of issues to deal with – believe me, things get real when you have children, but it isn’t as if they weren’t already real, and difficult, and challenging.

What IS the same is the need for a kid is to be loved and understood. Talk to your children, even about uncomfortable things like sex, drugs, and being an asshole. Talk to them about school and their friends. Don’t take a grunt for an answer. Let me repeat that: DO NOT TAKE A GRUNT or a one word answer. Engage your child and make them talk to you. Start early, but if you didn’t it is never too late to start (even if your child is an adult.)

It doesn’t have to be all serious. It is your moral obligation to bring humor into your child’s life. That includes the worst puns and word play you can come up with – as if your life depended on it. It makes you fast. Fast is good.

And about that blood… I can tell you where the sales are. But sometimes it is really nice to go out to eat. Even a kid will tell you that. As Vampires we have to teach our children how to be responsible when it comes to obtaining blood. We teach them to respect and protect their donors. We teach them discretion. And no, I’m not spilling the beans on this in such a public forum and going into lurid details.

Being a Vampire isn’t all about blood and converting other people into Vampires. Well, no it isn’t but it is a huge part of who we are.

Converting someone, changing them, switching them over, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t something to be taken lightly. It isn’t like religion where you have an option to have a change of heart later. It isn’t like a superficial body modification like a tattoo or hair style. It isn’t a lifestyle. It is a drastic physiological change. Only about 10% of people who undergo the conversion are going to die – right away. Of course that depends on who  is converting and who is being converted. My track record is 100% and I’ve never lost a soul (literally lost someone’s soul and ended up with one of those dark soulless beings that none of us like to be around.) I don’t do this unless I’m 100% sure, and even then, not  very often.

Bringing a new Vampire into the world carries with it a tremendous responsibility that must be taken seriously by all of our kind.

And if the one who turned you into a Vampire is a dick that doesn’t mean that you have to be a dick. Break the cycle. Remove the dicks from your life. The same goes for parents: you don’t have to be around dicks or expose your kids to dicks. There is no place for them in your life.

Ask yourself:

Why do I want to convert this person? Is it for personal gain? Will they be good at it. Do they want it? Are they an asshole? Will they freak out? Do they understand what they are going to risk? Do they understand what they will gain. Do they understand what they will lose?

What does that have to do with being a parent?

Bringing a child into the world is also a tremendous responsibility that unfortunately many “parents” take lightly. Maybe lightly is the wrong word. They bring a child into the world with no thoughts whatsoever about how they’ll raise it. Not a thought. You have seven or eight months to think about it before the big day comes. You’d better get busy.

Having a child is never an accident (yes, there are those rare cases but that is RARE.) Yes, one can become pregnant by not using birth control (a choice.) One can keep a child they have no love for (a choice.) There is always a choice. Do I sound harsh? Of course I do. I am harsh. We’re talking about a new child and a life here, who doesn’t deserve to be an afterthought, or worse. So buck it up cupcake and be an adult and be a real parent. That goes for fathers too. Don’t be a dick – be a dad.

Your parenting style is up to you, not a book. It isn’t up to me. I just ask that you take it seriously. You have the life of another person in your hands. Take it seriously.

Learn from your mistakes. Teach your kids so they won’t make the same mistakes you did. It is ok to break a cycle of disfunction.

If you want to be a parent look to people who have great kids. Don’t take advice from people who have rotten kids or people who constantly complain about their kids. This aren’t the good parents.

Yes, I’m feeling harsh. In a world where politicians are saying it is ok for men to molest teenagers, harassed and rape, and all the while claim that they are religious. Yes, the Church of Assholes is alive and well.

I’m proud to say that my husband, the father of my children, refuses to watch any movie directed by Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. This isn’t anything new. If you want to protect your children teach them about people who have no respect for children or anyone else. Warn them that predators aren’t always things that lurk in the deep dark woods, or under floor boards. They might not drink your blood but they sure as hell will try to steal your innocence and your soul.

Talk with your kids. Not to them, but with them. And listen to them. Don’t judge until you’ve listened. Don’t judge them – period. Even Vampires don’t do that.

Love your children unconditionally. Protect them. Teach them. Hug them. Be present. Be THERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

mother daughter discovery

 

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Short Story Sunday: Being A Vampire

Down the dark alley they went, a father with one hand holding the smaller hand of a young child, and his other hand gently on the back of an older child.

They went into a door that led into a club, the old kind of club with leather furniture, cigars, and distinguished members.

“Gustaf,” said the father, who was named Duncan, “we need a table. Get the children some pie, apple if you have it. Ice cream with the pie would be even better.”

Gustaf, the old doorman nodded, then winked at the children before he trotted away.

Duncan took his children into a lounge area with a large bar at one end. They sat at a table by a window that looked out onto the lamp lit street.

He got himself a glass of wine at the bar, and lemon aid for the children.

“Are you having pie Daddy?” The younger child, a small boy named Justin, asked.

“Daddy doesn’t eat pie,” said the girl. She was sixteen and named Anna. “Daddy doesn’t eat much food. He drinks blood. You might do the same when you grow up.”

Justin looked sad. “No pie at all?”

“No pie,” said Duncan, “but that is fine because I had more than my share when I was your age.”

Gustaf brought out large pieces of pie to the hungry children, complete with ice cream. He also brought an elegant black glass goblet for Duncan. “I thought you’d like this sir. It is fresh, just caught tonight.”

Duncan thanked the old man and then turned to his children.

“When I was young, and when you were babies, I was like you. When I fell in love with your mother I was like you. Some who tell stories such as mine would have said then everything changed. A lot of things changed, but the one thing that did not change, or will not change is my love for you. I will always love you, with a fierce protective love that will never die, even after we are all dust and our sun burns out into a tiny piece of cold cosmic coal. I will always love you that much.

I will love you until you are old and ancient. I will ALWAYS be there for you. If one day, by chance, you decide to become a Vampire like me, I will help you into the life in the shadows and highlights, and I will support you, and always be there for you.

That is what a father does.

I will be there for your children, your grandchildren, and their children, and for all of have passed down our love over the generations.

Your mother and I didn’t plan on becoming Vampires, but it isn’t something we took lightly. It wasn’t exactly and accident. When you are older we’ll explain, but it is difficult.

What will never change is that we are your parents. You will always be safe and protected. You will always know both light and dark, day and night, life and the edge of humanity. We will do the same for those you love, and those you will one day love in the future.

Our fate is sealed. You have the choice to be whatever you want. We will back you up. We will cheer you on. We will never leave you. But there will also be times when you must make your own choices and decide which paths you will take. We won’t try to stop you unless we see you stepping off of a cliff or into the fires. Yes, I will pull you from the fires of Hell if I have to and smack the Devil himself across the face if I have to. And I will not be afraid. I will never be afraid of doing anything for you. Maybe afterwords, but never before.

Your mother and I died and came back as something else. Friends who loved us brought us back. We are so different, but our love is the same, and maybe even stronger. It isn’t easy, but it is who we are now.

So here we are, and we’ll have pie. The pie is always good here. And we’ll share stories, and I’ll even tell you joked that will make you groan, and stories that will amaze you.

I am not a monster. I am just a dad, like any other dad. I’m just a little different, but that’s ok. Life will never be boring.”

Anna took her father’s hand, “I love you Dad. You seriously didn’t think it mattered to us that you’re a Vampire did you?”

Justin laughed, “more pie for me. I love you Daddy.”

Duncan smiled. Life was good, even when you’re undead.

 

~ end

 

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

 

 

 

 

Love, Friendship, and Vampires

“I love it when I bite into someone’s neck and it pops, you know like when a really perfect hot dog pops when you bite it.”

My friend Cody sat across from me at our favorite neighborhood coffee place, and told me his thoughts on being a Vampire. He was so excited and enthusiastic. I’m so used to confused, angry, and sad new Vampires. Cody embraced the strange and wonderful world he accidentally joined five years ago.

He continued by telling me the latest about his new start-up business. He’d been some sort of marketing manager for a Silicone Valley high-tech company when his car plunged into the Pacific Ocean and he was rescued, and necessitated by a Vampire. Now he’d met two other young Silicone Valley Vampires (and engineer and a programmer,) and they went out on their own.

I’m known for mentoring and watching after new Vampires. Cody and I have become close friends. He can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but he is so refreshing. He is the new face of Vampires.

Lola soon joined us, flipping her chestnut colored hair up out of her jacket as she slid in the booth next to Cody. I noticed she wasn’t showing a hint of a limp anymore. About the time Cody joined the legions of Vampires, Lola was attacked by Vampire Hunters.

A night of insanity, including a flamethrower, and too many bullets to count had caused great damage on my lovely Great Great Great Great Grandmama. Her legs finally healed, but her heart will take longer. Luckily for her Cody came into our lives.

The age difference bothers some of my family. Cody was born in 1978. Lola was born in 1343. They’re both embracing the well-groomed hipster look, and they’re both championship bull shitters.  Love works in mysterious ways.

As Lola and Cody were up at the counter getting coffee I wondered about flamethrowers. Who the hell buys those things. Flamethrowers are legal in I believe 48 states. Then again, if anyone wants any kind of weapon they can get it.

They sat back down next to me, like any other young couple in their late 20’s – early 30’s.

Lola is never creepy or predatory like some old musty Vampire bitches (not the kind we associate with.) Cody is never overly sensitive or insensitive. They have that “just right” mix.

I thought about my own husband. I need to do something romantic tonight, even if it is just a small gesture of desire, or devotion.

No matter what kind of crap gets thrown at you over the centuries, there is always room for love in your cold unbeating Vampire heart. Even when it has been riddled with bullets, and halfway burned out of your chest. Somethings die but never the desire to love.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Five things you need to know if you’re a Vampire, or an Adult.

This morning my young friend Cody stopped by. I call Cody my new Vampire. It has been four years since he became like us, a Vampire. All in all he has adjusted beautifully to his situation. Consider that remarkable considering he didn’t want to become a Vampire in the first place. He took an alien situation and made it his own.

This morning there was something different about him. Cody was agitated. I have to admit that I was sort of distracted by his new look. He’d always been a sharp dresser but today he’d gone out full-blown hipster. Like my brother Max, Cody had grown a beard this year. Thank goodness it was short and enhancing rather than distracting. He also had grown out of hair and had a man-bun thing going. The rest of him was covered in black jeans, a black vest and a white shirt. His ears were pierced but no gauges. I swear his eyelashes looked longer.

“I like the look Cody.”

“Tell me the truth. Why was I turned into a Vampire?”

“Are you having problems?”

“Not really but that isn’t the point. Do you know what it is like going out with friends and spending the entire time wondering what their blood tastes like?”

“Of course I do, but that isn’t your problem Cody,” I said calmly, keeping my voice low and steady.

“Can you even imagine…”

I cut off my 35-year-old friend. “It was that or death. You would have died Cody.”

“I did die.”

“And now you’re alive.”

“I’m not human anymore.”

“You’re better than human,” I told him. He gave me one of those looks I get from my own teenage children.  “Don’t play the poor me card Cody. You’re lucky to be here. More than lucky.”

“Where is she?”

Sooner or later I knew that would come up. Raise its ugly head is more like it. His ex-girlfriend Jen had staged a car accident while seeing friends she knew were Vampires. Off the cliff they went only to be rescued by well-meaning Vampires. It was a complete cluster F. Besides that Jen had got to be the most annoying creature I’d ever met. I have no idea what Cody ever saw in her. Anyway, Cody was given to me to train and look after. Jen, well, nobody talks about Jen.

“I don’t know where she is Cody. Maybe she’s in Russia with that Snowden guy. Maybe she went to Disneyland. I don’t know.”

He curled his lip about to show some fangs to me then he stopped. Yes indeed my little Vampire was growing up.

“It is all Jen’s fault. She used me.”

“That was four years ago Cody. Get over it. You’ve done great. You’ve moved on.”

We went on for a while about Jen and what had happened and the future. This was the first time he’d ever shown such uncertainty in his situation. It was almost as if he’d gone a step or two back. It was like having another son.

It made me think about being a Vampire and even about being an adult. Change happens. Sometimes those changes are huge. There comes a time when everyone has to grow up, accept who they are and take responsibility for their own existence.

Rule #1: You are responsible for yourself.

There is nobody to blame but yourself. Or nobody thinks a victim is attractive. After the age of 24 you can’t blame anything on your parents. You’re grown. Everything is on you.

Rule #2: Manners.

Use them. No self-respecting Vampire wants to spend their existence around the uncouth trash of the world. If you don’t know about good manners then learn about them. Ask a friend to teach you. Google it. Good manners will open doors faster than anything I know. Good manners will kept you fed.

Rule #3: Learn how to dress.

Are you really going to wear that? Learn how to dress and groom yourself like an adult. You’re a Vampire but Halloween is only once a year. Now is not time to let your freak flag fly. Tight black dresses at the drug store, red lined capes before midnight and blood stains are not acceptable. You’re a Vampire not a political statement or even an expression of your own self. Show some class. You can be unique but tacky is NEVER an option for all adults (Vampire or not.)

Rule #4: Look Forward

Look back occasionally but always look forward and always know where you are right now. I was at a party a few years back that a lot of people in their 80’s and 90’s were attending. One of my more human friends asked me if the old folks all talked of the good old days. I told her that they talked about the future. They talked about environmental issues, politics and their own plans for the future. Many of them were on the edge of one hundred years. The reason they were still glowing and thriving is because they looked forward – not back.

So warm blood used to run through your veins. Now it doesn’t. Get over it. Move on. Look forward.

Rule #5: Own it.

Whatever you do – Own it. Be in charge. Grab your chances and opportunities without doubt or fear. There are always set-backs. You’ll have centuries of set-backs but you’ll have centuries of even more triumphs. Own your space. Own yourself. Own your path. If someone says you can’t do something it is your job to prove them wrong. If you don’t own it you might as well just crawl into a crypt.

 

Cody calmed down and helped me finish up a job. Sure he is 120 years my junior but we’ve become fast friends. I’ve watched him grow up and from what I see he’ll do fine. He’ll do more than fine.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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