Autumn Leaves (aren’t falling quite yet) and a Ghost

Despite the unusual heat it still feels like fall. The cool mornings and placement of the sun triggers that fall feeling I love so much. The bird songs are also different with the transition between the birds who fly to the South and those who winter over here. 

Yesterday it was hot and dry. I can’t remember a 90°F day in October. 

The only leaves that are falling are on the oak trees that just turn brown and dump into my driveway. All of the other trees are still green. At least the trees are green. Everything else is brown. The photo here is from a walk I took yesterday with my dog Alice. 

Thoughts come to Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and birthdays. We already celebrated my mother’s 491st  birthday. Next comes my brother Val on the 22nd, and then mine on the 23rd. That doesn’t include the dozen friends who also have October birthdays. 

This morning I was cleaning off the back deck. Don’t raise your eyebrows, Vampires have to take care of their homes just like anyone else, especially now that we’re all staying home a lot more. 

As I swept dirt and leaves off of the top deck down below on the construction of the lower deck I heard a “What the hell? Are you trying to kill me?”

I looked down to see Nigel the ghost standing there. 

“Oh shut up, you’re already dead. It isn’t like anything is going to hurt you or even fall on you,” I said.

“Come down to the lower deck,” he said.

“What so I can listen to your insults?”

“No,” he said with a quick smile. “So I can make you feel like the seasons are changing.”

Construction is going on so the stairs are gone. By the time I went inside, through the garage, and out back to the construction site I could hear music. A band, literally a band of ghosts were on my partially built deck playing, Tahiti: A Summer Night At Sea.

Nigel held out both of his hands just like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. “Dance with me,”

I was wearing dirt covered jeans, wet flip flops, and a worn out tank top without a bra. “Not now Nigel.”

He took my hands and suddenly I was in a sea foam green dress with a light twirling skirt, my hair was in a riot of curls fastened with a diamond clip, and my feet were bare on a floor of sand. 

I found myself being led around the deck, expertly stepping around any tools left out. 

“For a Vampire you have absolutely no rhythm,” he said.

“I never said I could dance,” I said. 

Suddenly he stopped and we were back on the deck, and I was in my old dirty jeans again. Nigel glanced at the ghostly guitar player.

He started to play, Autumn Leaves.

“Let’s try this again,” said Nigel.

“So any plans for Halloween?” I asked.

“Some major haunting. It will be awesome.”

“Anyone in particular?” I had to ask.

“I think I know who killed me.”

“What?” I stopped. Nigel pulled me close. He seemed exceptionally cold, and that is pretty cold considering I’m a Vampire. Then again it it was HOT outside.

“Don’t stop. Yes, I remembered her face. It was the last thing I saw as I lay there in under the shower with my skull smashed open.”

“She? It was a woman?”

“Yes, but I don’t quite remember who she was. My memory sort of went to hell after she killed me. So what are you doing for Halloween?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing at all?”

“2020.”

“What about your birthday?”

“I’m going to the art museum. It will be the first time since it closed in March.”

“Ohhhh I should go too.”

“You might as well considering it’s your birthday too. I have four tickets but since you’re a ghost you won’t need a ticket or a mask for that matter.”

He smiled. “I’d be 61 if I wasn’t dead. Hey, can we stop by my grave. It isn’t far from the museum. On my birthday people leave letters and drawings there. Some of them even pour Whiskey and wine on my grave. You know, sharing a toast to me. I bet my body is completely pickled by now and no doubt looking almost as good as the day before I died.”

Then he stopped, and the music stopped. “It is so damned dry around here. But do you feel like it might be fall yet?”

“A little,” I said.

I looked up and saw my husband Teddy on the top deck waving down. Nigel waved up and yelled, “be a good Vampire and take her someplace cool.” Then he vanished before I could tell him thank you for the short escape.

That’s all. Nothing else happened. The ghosts all vanished. Teddy and I went inside and caught up on our day and our kids, and the usual Vampire news.

I didn’t suddenly see any fall leaves fall out of the sky, but my trees are full of green oranges and lemons that will be ripe in December or January. 

Happy fall everyone and happy haunting.

  • Stay safe
  • Be kind
  • Wear a mask
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Give thanks
  • Vote
  • Talk to your kids
  • Check in on those who are ancient or need extra help
  • And kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

Dear Diary,

Once I was King of the Vampires. There were others who ruled Vampires in other places, but I was the only King. I was not just a ruler but a leader.

My birthday will be this week. When I was king there would be great celebrations. Now the celebration will be small.

I thought of music and turned on the radio. What insanity was this coming from the invisible sound waves into the little box on kitchen counter?

My oldest Vampire friend Randolpho and my Vampire lover Gillian were there. We drank red wine and blood cocktails. They both started to laugh and sing along.

What madness is this, I thought to myself at the crazy insane song playing through the the air by invisible musicians.

My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

“What is a sharona?” I asked.

“A woman,” said Randolpho. “She is called Sharona.”

“Sharona is her name?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Randolpho.

“Is she fixing or perhaps building his car?”

“No,” said Gillian.

“He sang  you make my motor run. Twice,” I said.

“It wasn’t a car,” said Randolpho.

“Then I assume he has a cat,” I said.

They both laughed, together, at the same time. I stood wondering what was so funny.

“Don’t even mention My Own Private Idaho to him,” said Randolpho.

“Oh my god,”said Gillian.

Then they started to laugh again.

I gave them a stern scolding. “Do not treat me as if I am a child or an idiot. I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years. I missed three centuries, including the Twentieth Century.”

“You did miss a lot,” said Gillian, who was still laughing at me.

“It is as if, what is the saying, as if I am living on another star,” I said.

“Planet,” said Gillian.

“Plan what? My birthday? That is what we are trying to do,” I said.

“Living on another planet Vlad. Another planet,” said Randolpho.

Then they started to laugh again.

I watched my friends slide to the floor still laughing and lean on each others as tears came down their cheeks.

Gillian looked up at me and said, “You’re so damn cute.”

I give up.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

The World Series of Baseball started tonight.

I was told not to ask why it is called the World Series and just accept it.

Why do they treat me like this?

I have found that baseball is a calming sport without the lunacy of football or other sports in which the players run around like herds of cattle. There is an individual element in baseball which I like. It is like Vampires. We are individual elements who work magic when with an organized group.

After that we watched baseball we watched ice skating from an event called Skate America. Gillian had recorded the men’s short program. She carefully explained to me that the short program is where them ice skaters do a specific number of elements in a short amount of time. I told her that I know what a short program is. I know what ice skating is. I have even learned how to both ice skate and roller skate in the past five years. I am what is called a fan. I can tell you who Nathan Chen and Jason Brown are. They would both make admirable Vampires.

Football would be better if they used the head of an opponent rather than an odd shaped ball.

Later, after those who say they are my friends had other activities to keep them occupied, I went out to find fresh blood and perhaps someone who would not laugh at everything I say.

At my friend Cassie’s pub I sat at the bar and spoke with Cassie when she was not busy. In the background I could hear the women say to each other as they looked my way, “He is so cute. He is gorgeous. I want some of that.”

I was drinking club soda so I do not think that is what they wanted. In fact, I dare say, I know exactly what they wanted. It made me smile, of course without my fangs.

I overheard someone laugh and call her friend a dork. I turned a smiled. The dork was a pretty young woman with short blonde hair and nice neck showing above a shoulderless sweater. The women all smiled at me. The one they called dork winked. I smiled back. Maybe I would have dork for dinner.

I looked up the meaning of the word dork on my iPhone. I find these phones are extremely useful tools.  

Dork: a silly, out-of-touch person.

I suddenly realized, in my ignorance, that I did not recognize the fact that the women were making jokes with each other.

I looked at Cassie. “Do you think I am a dork?” I asked.

Cassie leaned on the bar and put her face close to mine, “Maybe, a little bit sometimes, but you’re really just cute. You know you’re really cute Vlad.”

“That is what everyone I meet tells me. Yet, cute is what you call a kitten,” I said.

“Sure, and when I’m around you I get that warm and fuzzy kitten feeling.”

I gave her a weak smile. Warm and fuzzy? I did not even ask.

I was once King of the Vampires, feared by many.  It was said by many that even the Devil would not cross my path due to my fearsome and cunning ways. Now I am a warm and fuzzy kitten.

Later in the night I spent more time with the woman who had been called a dork. I found her to be exceptionally smart and witty. She had a laugh that sounded as if she’d been alive for as long as I had. It was full of smoke and gravel. I liked it. I told her about the history of where I came from, which was my history. I did not mention Vampires. She was fascinated, as was I. Then I took enough blood from her beautiful warm neck and left her with sweet dreams. I am a Vampire but I am not a fiend. If one of to be a successful and effective Vampire King one must be fierce but never a fiend.

Her name was Allyson and never did she once call me a dork or laugh at me. With that thought I give a deep sigh.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today is my birthday. I was born October 23, 1343. I am now six hundred and seventy six years old. I do not look a day over thirty two, maybe thirty four. Six hundred is the new thirty. I shall tell Gillian and Randolpho that I too have the ability to master the art of humor. I am not so sure that will satisfy them.

I over heard Randolpho tell Gillian, “It is also Weird Al’s birthday today too. He’ll turn sixty. Can you believe it?”

“Don’t tell Vlad. Oh my god, he’ll be so confused,” said Gillian. Then they both started to laugh hysterically.  I did not ask why or let them know I had heard them make their jokes at my expense.

This Weird Al character is a mere baby. What could he do that would confuse me so? I roll my eyes at their humor at my expense.

Tonight there shall be a party. Gillian and Randolpho told me that all of the plans were in place. They said I should not worry and that it would be fun.

My mind was still on modern music and my attempt to understand the strange words that everyone except me understood. Not only do fashions change over the years but language as well.

Later I asked Gillian, “Why do so many songs speak of women and cars?”

“It is a metaphore Vlad.”

“I see,” I said.  I did not see but I did not say anything.

Then she whispered, “You make my motor run. In fact, I’ll show you right now. Happy Birthday Vlad.”

And yes, so far it has been an extremely happy birthday.

~ Vald

 

 

 

 

This has been the 53rd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To catch up on all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary entries click here.

Oh, by the way it is also my birthday today!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

This weekend will my mother’s 490th birthday. Everyone will be in at my brother Aaron’s house to celebrate as only a Vampire family can celebrate. Tellias and Eleora, the Ancient Vampires, the elders of the family will be here. Unlike the powerful and cruel Ancient Vampires in so many fictional stories my dear Tellias and Eleora have gentle hearts. Oh sure, they’re still Vampires, but it isn’t anything you need to worry about.

This is something I posted a while back (October 2015). Enjoy. And remember to stay close to those you love.

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Tiny Babes, Good Dogs, and Birthdays

Little Willie Sleeps

I believe this is the grave of little Willie Adams who died October 23, 1877, age 4 months, 22 days, in Sacramento, California. This little stone touched me so when we visited the cemetery in 2012 –  and I had no idea when I first saw the stone that the dear child died on this day (which is also my birthday).

It sends a shudder down my spine but at the same time fills my heart that this dear baby was so loved, and after 141 years not forgotten. He was just at that age when babies start to laugh and really see the world around them.

Sweet slumber little Willie. You were loved and I believe the love never dies.

October is an odd month with the Day of the Dead, Halloween, and so many birthdays.

I used to have a tank full of big beautiful fancy gold fish and on my birthday four years ago ALL of the fish died. I imagine they’ll be swimming around over my head on Halloween night.

That same October my Jasmine, the best dog ever crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I wrote a lot about her and posted a lot of photos of her here. She had my heart and soul. Yes, despite what you hear, which is not true, Vampires do have souls. We have one for our hearts and one for our shadow. Jasmine grabbed the one for my cold unbeating heart.

Jasmine

Jasmine – Best Dog Ever

By the way, today is also Weird Al’s birthday. He turns 59. Happy Birthday Al. The first time I heard him was I believe in 1978. I thought “This guy is nuts. I love it.” Little did I know.

My name is Juliette Kings. I’m married to Theodore Kings (Teddy.) I live near Sacramento. I was born on October 23, 1859. I am a Vampire, but most of all I’m a mom. And of course an artist, a writer, and I hope a good friend.

So I bid you all goodnight and good morning, depending on when you read this. Hugs. Kisses. Happy Birthdays. And remember to hug your dogs, hug your cats and give them lots of under chin rubs, and talk to your kids.

And in this month of October, do not forget those we have lost and loved. Love never dies, even if you’re a Vampire or a dog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

dogwalk

vlad v

I love you. Juliette drew this.

 

 

 

A Very Vampire Birthday

October 23, 1859

I was born on that day, the last child of a family of interesting characters. Since then I’ve had many adventures both alone and with others.

This day was low key with only the small adventures of daily life.

My mind is full of a busy week ahead. It is full of stories I want to share. It is full of stories I’ll be living. My brain of full of mystery and adventures I have ahead of me. I’m going off into unknown territory. But aren’t we all.

Life is full of adventures. Last night I was telling my mom about all the times I’ve traveled alone and explored unknown placed. I’ve thought of adventures with both friends, and strangers.

This will be a week of adventures both externally and internally. I feel like it is the start of a new chapter. It is the chapter where my character finally comes into her own. There will be surprises for our Heroine Juliette, and in the end of a story sprinkled with humor, romance, and mystery, there will be a grand surprise and plot twists that will absolutely knock you out of your seat.

That isn’t just this blog. That is real life. Live like you create, and create as you wish to live.

Of course, having my faithful readers (all six of you) makes it seem like a party every single day of the year. Thank you.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Oscar the cat enjoying my art

Oscar the cat enjoying my artwork.

 

Jenny Lind, The Feejee Mermaid and a Tale of Curious Young Vampires

Jenny Lind, The Feejee Mermaid and a Tale of Curious Young Vampires

We, my brothers and I,  always thought it was a shame that P.T. Barnum never brought Jenny Lind to California. We would have also like to see the Feejee Mermaid. Of course I wasn’t around when they toured (about 7 or 8 years before I was born) but it would have been fun.

Our parents were puzzled by our fascination with spectacle and oddities. We were supposed to be blending into the background and shadows. We were supposed to be pillars of society.

Instead we had boxes of small skulls we’d collected. We had everything from bats to mice to bobcats to dogs. Max once brought home a skull of a Werewolf that was in mid-transition between human and wolf when it died. The jaw was elongated and the large canines stood out enough to make us squeal in delight the first time we saw it. My mother and father were horrified and took it away from us. I have no idea what they did with it. It was not fitting for proper young Vampires to have such things around.

On my 7th birthday (1866) my brothers (Maxwell, Andrew, Aaron and Valentine) put on a show for me.

My brother Andy has the voice of an angel and so they put him in one of our mother’s evening gowns and put flowers in his hair. He made a perfect Jenny.  My brother Aaron fashioned a Feejee Mermaid for me out of a sturgeon tail and a mummified squirrel he’d found in the attic.

Again, our parents were not amused. Nonetheless they soon realized that they couldn’t stop the curiosity of their children so they went along with our obsessions with curious things. After all, we, being Vampires, were rather curious and frightening to the rest of the world (who had no idea that our lovely, proper family was made up of Vampires.)

This isn’t going to be one of those earth shattering posts that you’ll learn from. I was one of those kids who was drawn anything about ghosts, natural disasters, freaks, old bones, graveyards, dark churches, old attics, strange people who lurked in the shadows and anything I wasn’t supposed to be interested in. I learned to walk silently and listen at doors, windows and around corners. I knew things others did not. I learned about another world that most people never saw. It was a world of secrets and knowledge and strange things. It was a world of power because, yes, knowledge is power, especially to a curious child. And those curious children grow up to be curious adults. And a curious adult is a successful adult. Stay curious. So I guess there is a point to this story – stay curious.

Today is my birthday. I’ve had good and bad and dreadful birthdays. I’m not big on birthdays, at least not mine. The past few months have been so heinously stressful that, well, I’m sure you’ve seen it in the quality or lack of quality in my blog posts (at least those that I’ve written.) But today I woke up in a wonderful mood. I shouldn’t have been in a good mood, being a Vampire who keeps a daytime schedule, but I was and I am. I picked up flowers, had coffee, got a lot of work done, made deals, and found out that there will be a partial lunar eclipse today.

This year isn’t a milestone. It is just a day. But it is my day and I wish to share my good thoughts and good wishes with you.

So stay curious and remember that 23 is a prime number.

Oh also, my daughter shares a birthday with P.T. Barnum. How cool is that?

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

jenny

Jenny Lind

feejee

Feejee Mermaid before old P.T. Barnum dried her up and put her on display.