Random visits and musings

I answered the phone to a paper thin voice whispering “Come quick. Come quick. I need help.”

“What is wrong? Are you hurt?”

“I can’t get up. I caught my leg in a hole in the floor. I think I broke it.”

It was Eleora.

“Can you feel it?”

“I can’t even see it. I broke it off. Completely off.”

“Where is Tellias?”

“Out. He went out. He has been gone a long long long long time. I think we can get my leg back on. Bring a needle.”

Then without so much as a goodbye she hung up.

Tellias didn’t answer his cell phone. He never did. I called their neighbor John but didn’t get an answer.

Why was there a hole in the floor? Maybe she was in the barn. And no, I can’t call 911. Eleora is a Vampire. So am I.

Those of you who frequent this blog know that I have ancient elderly Vampires, Tellias and Eleora, who are near and dear to me. They look 19 or 20 years old but are well over 2,000.

They would sit alone for weeks if they lost their car keys or phone. Or they’ll call me three or four times a day for odd reasons.  I worry about them letting in strangers or accidentally doing harm to someone.

I arrived at the farmhouse, along with my 15 year old Clara, and found Eleora sitting on the front porch. She wore a patchwork robe and one pink fuzzy slipper shaped like a cat. Her chestnut curls spilled over her shoulder. I only saw one leg.

“Where is your leg,” I asked, almost out of breath.

She smiled. “I’m sitting on it.” Then she adjusted herself and showed me her other leg.

“You said your leg was severed.”

“No. I said nothing like that. I said I thought it was broken. But it wasn’t. I’m fine.”

Just then Tellias drove up. He’d been gone for a few hours. It was nothing but a trip to the hardware store and to a wine shop.

They both mentioned that I never come visit them anymore. I was there three days ago. I’m there at least three times a week if not more.

Tellias poured goblets of blood with sprigs of rosemary and sage for everyone. We sat on the porch and watched the little song birds and visited. I didn’t scold them for wasting my time. That would have been a total waste of my breath.

When Clara and I left we were hugged and kissed over and over. They sang us a silly parting song and kissed us again.

On the way home Clara said, “I really love Tellias and Eleora. They’re so sweet and so random.”

I didn’t say anything. My mind jumped to all of the 30 million other things I had going on. It seems like I used to get more done and enjoy little projects and now I just go all the time but…

Maybe I’ll just tend to my rosemary and sage plants and be thankful for the love I have in my life.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Driving me crazy (or my brain is full right now)

From time to time I have to tell my husband “I don’t want to talk about my family.”

It is easy for him since he has no family outside of me and our kids and my insane group of siblings and assorted relations.

When you’re a vampire the insanity goes on for centuries but the same rules and feelings apply to everyone. Maybe not so much Werewolves since they’re such pack animals. Anyway…

My brother Valentine called me the other day and said that our brother Andrew was acting “funny.” Nothing new there. Andrew, aside from being somewhat flighty and in his own special universe most of the time, is prone to getting himself into both physical and emotional issues that can’t be dealt with alone.

“What is it now?” I asked wanting to just hang up and not even bother. Actually I was wondering where he’d want me to come pick him up and how long it would take of me to get there.

It ends up he was in Reno and had wrecked his car on an isolated mountain road. My situation was for him to take the train and I’d pick him up at the station closest to my house near Sacramento. Trains are great for Vampires. You can either sleep or eat or meet new people. The scenery is always nice through the mountains. Then we can all tell “remember when” stories about when the railroad was built and our dad took us out to see the construction.

Then Andrew calls me and asks if I can pack up the teenagers and drive up to get him. Three hours in the car with two teenagers is always a good time. With mine it is always a good time, but Andrew, please, don’t do this to me.

“Why can’t Val come get you?”

“I want you to come. You’re it darling.”

This is why I can’t get anything done.

I told him where and when to meet me. Andrew can always find something to keep him busy including getting a room at the best hotel to hang out in. Any woman, any man, anybody. So why am I going up there?

Then Aaron (another brother – the really serious responsible one) calls to say that Andrew called and said he was stranded and feared for his life due to a number of reasons and he was suffering from a broken heart and he’d wrecked his car. The layers keep piling on. Aaron says NO WAY is he driving up to get Andrew.

Then my mom calls and asks if I’m getting Andrew. I want to scream at her and scream bad words but I hold my breath and say “of course I’m getting him. Do you think anyone else is going to volunteer?”

Then she tells me how depressed Andy has been and how sensitive he is. She goes on about how next week he is singing Opera in New York and I need to understand… Oh please, give it a rest.

So I take care of work stuff with a few calls. I get the kids who are complaining loudly about the whole deal and end up only taking the 18 year old with me. The other one (15) is doing stuff with friends.

On the way up the mountain my son Garrett and I talk about everything under the stars and moon, then we just listen to music. I think of writing projects I’m working on. I have deadlines.  I can’t come up with plots or endings or twists and turns.

 

The end of the world had come and gone a long time ago. Of course I wouldn’t dare remind Captain Sandy of that extraordinary fact. He stood in the basket of the airship, hands on the control, the tails of his tuxedo jacket blowing in the wind.

When the end of the world came the evil and the damned were gathered up and taken down to Hell. The pure and righteous were led up to Heaven in a golden white light.

That left the artists and writers, along with a lot of musicians, wine makers, computer programmers and antiques dealers. Of course there were others, but nobody that lacked a certain amount of creative or innovative spirit. One must have spirit when the world ends.

It worked for me.

I mean, the world had become way too serious. I adjusted my goggles and facemask as I looked down on the tire fire that had been burning for the past 100 years. Adjusting the leather hood on my cat, I took him out of his basket to take a look. My five year old son Aaron stood on his toes to get a look as I held tight to the back of his jacket. I must have been a sight, boy in one hand, cat in the other.

Life was an adventure to be savored and enjoyed. It was a destroyed world being built up by those with visions of beauty and wonder. Captain Sandy always said this was Heaven. Of course I never told him otherwise. It was Heaven to be in the arms of my husband at night and feel the touch of his skin on mine, that is until I’d run my hand over the deep scars on his back. I called him my fallen angel. He would just laugh and kiss me as only an angel could kiss. Maybe it was Heaven for him since he was now dead, but I will never know unless I die too and find him there.

Once when I was younger my brother and I found some old movies where everyone at the end of the world were driving big trucks and dune buggies as they shot anyone they came across. There were zombies and crazy fucks of all sorts fighting for the last clean water or bits of fuel.

We laughed. That was not our world. Ours was a world to create without hesitation or critical review. Our poets were considered as important as our politicians. Our sense of style always outweighed our sense of practicality.

Captain Sandy asked me what I was thinking that could have me smiling so.

I told him and he just shook his head.

“Life isn’t a theater play like you make it out to be my dear. There are dangerous things out in dark areas of stench and smoke that would enslave us and make us into meals if they could. You’ve been protected in your leather and velvet bustle dresses and fanciful thoughts. It’s a good thing to be ignorant of the world but it is dangerous in ways you can’t imagine.”

“Captain,” I said, “you forget that the shadows took my husband. I take flights of fancy so I won’t fall out of the sky and die of sorrow.”

He turned and gave me a quick smile. Despite the dark pattern of scars on the left side of his face the Captain was still a handsome man with a dazzling smile. All the women were quick to notice him.

 “Why are you alone?”

“I’m not.”

 “No wife or children?”

“I had a wife. She vanished when the world ended. I never knew if she went up or down or just vanished to dust. Who knows. The bitch could still be around somewhere.”

“So you’re alone,” I said.

He stepped closer and took me in his arms, his lips against mine, his body heat searing through my dress right down to my bare skin…

Oh fuck, I’ve written myself into a hole again. I swear I can’t come up with anything anymore. I have to come up with an ending and maybe even a plot. What a novel idea (no pun intended.)

 

Garrett looks over at me. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I tell him.

“Mom, you look so serious.”

“I was thinking about a story. Just ideas. Sorry.”

He turns up the radio and we start singing out loud together to a song by The Killers then we sing to Blink 182, then we put in the Abby Road CD and sing the entire CD until we arrive to the Nevada Museum of Art where Andrew is waiting for us among the Western landscapes.

He said he has dinner for us in his hotel room. Good. Garrett and I are famished. I won’t go into details. Party friends who never knew when they woke up that they’d spent the afternoon with three hungry Vampires.

On the way home, down the mountain, we talked and laughed and actually had a nice relaxing ride.

Anyway, life isn’t all parties in crypts dressed like vintage Cleevey Stevie Nicks or other nonsense. We take care of each other just like anyone else. We do that even when it isn’t fun.

That said, my brain is still full and as much as I love Andrew, he owes me big time.

Take a deep breath. Remember, you are loved, no matter how busy you are.

Also that you are creative, maybe not this minute, but you’ll get there.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman 

 

Maxed Out

Common Core. Apple core. Garbage. Yes, that is how I feel about Common Core, as does my teenage daughter and according to her, all of the teachers at her high school. There was a story about it on NPR this morning. The 14 year old picked up on it and started to go on and on about how stupid it was. Just one more way to professional education “experts” to justify their existence and drive teachers nuts. She said her math teacher said it is confusing and a horrible way to teach math. She said the teachers in general go back to using the old books and refuse to use the Common Core Curriculum. More money wasted. Just let teachers teach and believe me schools would improve. Let good teachers continue to be good teachers.

As we sat in traffic in front of the school and finished up discussing curriculum blunders we saw something curious. A boy was riding his bike with half a watermelon in one hand. I just assumed it was for an end of year classroom party. Then he took out a spoon and started to eat. Wow. That was new. We had to laugh. I have never seen anyone ride a bike while eating half a watermelon with a spoon.

Two more days left of school for the girl child. The man child has graduated and I still feel a skip that starts my heart beating when I think about it. I’m so proud but my stomach is knotted up like so many rabid bats. He already wants to go to Target to get supplies for his dorm room. Last night we, as a family, all watched Monster University together. It was super cute. I know my son would win the scare contest hands down (or fangs down in his case.) On the other hand… college is going to be scary enough, not for him but for me, his mom.

Motherhood is a demanding job but I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I’ve always tried to imagine my own mother and her brood of four sons and one daughter. She was always so calm and collected. She’d listen quietly like a wise sage when we’d speak to her and then keep discussions to the point. Our house was like Bedlam with the noise of the children and my father with his loud laugh and love of entertaining. Behind my mother’s calm was always a cold passion of a Vampire set on raising us to be the future leaders of the Modern Vampire movement. She never imagined anything like Common Core or dress codes and the length of shorts or SAT tests and smartphones and the rise of Vampires in popular fiction. I doubt if she even imagined airplanes and cars, much less blogs and the Internet.

Musing on my family and kids I went to the old Victorian building my brother Val and I own. He keeps his office there and also have an office I occasionally use. We don’t share the vast old space with anyone else. It’s a Vampire thing or more so it is our thing,

Val wasn’t in but sitting at my large desk, his feet up and eyes closed was my brother Max.

I cleared my throat. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at me. A smile from my most serious of brothers (I have four) can be a rare thing. He’d let his dark hair grow long enough to fall on his forehead. He brushed it back with a hand and showed his glowing white fangs. Most Vampire women, and all regular human women (and men for that matter) would be swooning at this point – a  point that can be annoying for me because I am his sister.  They just can’t keep their eyes off of this magnificent creature. Sigh.

“Fancy meeting you here. I thought you were off on a mission,” I said. He’s told me last week after the graduation that he was going to be doing something with some Vampire Hunters who were on our side – meaning they don’t go after our kind, just the nasty crusty moldy rouge Vampires who lurk around in the shadows like diseased rats.

He got up and came over to give me a kiss on my cheek. “We’re done,” he said with no additional detail. I didn’t ask for anymore. We spoke a bit about or brothers and my children and our parents. It was the usual type of family conversations everyone has.

Then he put his hand on my arm and said, “I wanted to ask you for a favor dear Juliette.”

I knew better than to answer with “no problem, anything for you Max.” I don’t care if he is my eldest brother and my husband’s best friend.

I never know what he wants. It could be anything from ridding the world of a rogue Vampire he doesn’t have time to deal with or helping him write a love letter to some bitch of a Vampire who will inevitably break his cold foolish heart. He might ask me to sew him a cape or do his laundry or drive a car down to San Diego with a Zombie in the trunk. A few years ago he asked me to plan a party at his house with a clown theme. He has asked me to introduce him to Werewolves and women and politicians and priests. In the past he has asked to borrow my clothes for women he knows. I’ve done hours of research for him. He has asked me to drag coffins out of crypts. I once ended up keeping a live bear for him in my garage for a weekend. My brother has asked me to play cards with a Goblin (I refused.) He has asked me to pretend like I’m his girlfriend and pretend I’m not a Vampire and act like I’m crazy depending on the situation. I never know what he’ll ask or who or what he’ll ask me to do it with.

“What?” I gave him the look. You know the look.

“What yourself. Why the look?”

“Nothing.”

“Bullshit.”

“Max, oh brother of mine, do you realize how busy I am?”

“Of course. Have I ever asked you to do anything unreasonable?”

All the time. I took a deep breath. “What can I help you with dear Max?”

“I’m teaching a class this summer. I’d like you to come give a talk on tactics to prevent new and young Vampires from going rogue. You’re the best I know on both counts.”

Oh.

I told him I’d be honored. And I was. I am. How nice. Still I wonder if any strings will be attached or if the one talk will end up being several or … the list could go on for another 698 words. But you know, that really doesn’t matter.

We ended up having lunch with a couple of lobbyists (A+ and O+) before I had to get back to work. On the walk back to my office I started to think of what I’d say on the talk. I tried to stay in the shadows of the sidewalk but didn’t mind the sunlight. Yes, my brother tires me out but sometimes he is also a little bit of sunshine, or I should say a bit of moonlight in my busy life. And despite my frantic moments I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can be thankful that my life isn’t one of a teacher who has to deal with things like “Common Core.” I’d rather have a Zombie in my trunk.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that hour before sunrise…

It is dark and quiet in the hour before sunrise. The only sound other than my computer keys is the sound of a cat playing with a twist tie. How can a creature have so much fun with a twist tie? And the real question is: Why is it so cute? Now he is trying to bite the corner of my laptop monitor. Cute kitty indeed.

This week so much good news, sad news and work has drained my brain of any story telling skills (or so it feels.)

I’ve been swamped.

The kids are super busy with so much activity that I can hardly keep up with them. The talk is of friends, relationships, and the chunky-monkey winterized cat Oscar who has been renamed “Gato Gordo.” One of them is going to do a music video in Spanish and we’ve been listening to 50 years of Spanish language songs, then the day the music died and great guitar solos.

We’re talking about picking a college and skating (and a lot of practice due to a big meet this weekend) and being different in a different kind of world (not just because we roller skate) and a million other things, including farts because I live with teens and farts are always part of the conversation. Farts and butt cracks and stupid things other kids do (naked selfies) and say (you don’t want to know.)

One thing I’m grateful for is that we talk in this house. Everybody talks. There are no filters here. It is a safe zone. Yes, a safe zone even when the parents are in the room. Don’t think for one minute my husband and I didn’t work hard and plan for that one.

I think that is why I write – because it is the only time I can get any quiet time … that isn’t true, they talk to me when I try to write too. In fact that, when mom writes, is PRIME time to talk to mom.

Teddy (the dad and husband) is also crazy busy but seems to be keeping a sense of humor…They’ve all been laughing all night. It is a beautiful thing. I hope. He is exceptionally sweet these days but can still drive me nuts. And then there are others I need to take care of and check on and watch over…

Soooooo, I’m reposting something I shared in September, 2013 about taking care of the old folks and being a Vampire and being me. You know how it is. I’m busy. I take care of everyone because I have to, well, and want to. I’m sure you can relate, even if you aren’t a mom or a Vampire.

slowwriting

 

Delivered to your door…

I looked at the muscular, almost beautiful, naked body on the bed and the folded up sheriffs’ uniform on the chair. The badge seemed to sparkle saying “look at me, look at me.” A white and pink orchid flower was behind his ear.

Holy crap, this wasn’t how I’d planned on starting out my week.

I was reading on my deck, a glass of wine in my hand, my eyes closed for just a second…

I was three years old and someone was throwing me up in the air and I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

His hands are warm and I cling to him to put my ear next to his chest and hear his heart. I hold him tight feeling the heat radiate from his body. I keep laughing. He is so different from everyone else I know.

Thirteen years later, he takes my hands, I laugh. Then my best girlfriend says “He’ll marry me and I’ll be his wife forever.” No way would she get the most handsome man in the world to marry her. I laughed in her face and everyone yelled Happy New Year. Someone lit up lights to spell out 1865. We were in California and in love with men we have silly school girl crushes on. Who cared about the war? We were safe.

I woke in a cold sweat, on the back deck, my book on the ground, the cat staring at me. I heard my son’s voice.

“Mom, Uncle Val is on the phone.” My son Garrett stood at the sliding glass door holding my phone out at arms length.

My brother Valentine, 13 months my senior said I have to come right now. It was an emergency. Nobody else could come. None of our three older brothers could make it. Everyone else had suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

I arrived at the farm house, my two teens in tow, slamming the door as hard as I could when I got out of the car.

I’m usually pretty calm but I lit into my brother when I saw him walking towards us. “Nobody ever consults with me. I’m the one with the kids and the husband and my own business. I’m on fucking call 24/7 for everyone in this family and nobody ever asks me what I want or need. Nobody.”

“Are you done?” Val asked this in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone.

“No. What is going on?”

My brother scowled at me and shook his head. “Why are you yelling?”

I went into the house leaving him in the yard. I could hear my son saying “Bad day to mess with my mom.”

Dealing with the sick and elderly is something we do. We do it for love or obligation or family bonds or whatever the reason it is usually on autopilot fueled by guilt and frustration. I’m so saint but sometimes I want to play that saint card so much it hurts.

Eleora stood at the door in a yellow bikini top and a tie-dye skirt, her brown curls done up in red bows. She fluttered around then kissed me on each cheek. Tellias gave me a big hug. He was wearing a green shirt with yellow parrots embroidered on the back. A patch on the front said Dave in large script letters. His white blonde hair was pulled back with a green ribbon.

They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old but they’re ancient – two of the most ancient Vampires known. They were pioneers and founders of the Modern Vampire movement. It is hard to see them like this. It literally breaks my heart.

Steel guitars were hissing away on a scratched up old record playing on a wind up phonograph in the corner.

“We can’t find the car keys,” said Tellias.

“We’re being tropical tonight,” said Eleora as she danced around and put an orchid flower behind my ear.

I was ready to scream. “Again? Where did you last have them?” I asked slowly and calmly.

“If we knew that we’d be driving,” said Tellias, as he took the ribbon out of his hair and shook it out on his shoulders.

“We’d take a road trip to Montana and Maine and Michigan and Maui!” Eleora sang as she danced around again.

“How long have the keys been gone?” I asked.

“Two or three weeks. Val won’t let us use his car,” Tellias said.

“He says we drive too creatively,” Eleora giggled.

“Yes, he said we drive too creatively,” added Tellias.

“Creatively,” said Eleora, this time more seriously.

“Creatively. That was a nice way to put it,” I said more to myself than to the Elders. “What about food? Is Val bringing you food?”

Tellias patted my hand. “Val has been a darling but we like delivery. We call and they come to the house. Amazing. We should have done that a long time ago.”

Delivery? What in the world were they doing? I looked at the hanging chandelier in the entryway. “Nice fixture. Is it new?”

“A couple of nice men came and installed it,” Tellias told me. “It should last for years. The old one was fitted for gas and ugly. Remember?”

“We had them for lunch,” Eleora proudly told me.

“You shouldn’t do that. They’re help,” I told them.

Eleora just smiled. “We liked them Juliette. We wanted them to stay.”

“Are they still here?” I asked not knowing if I wanted to know the answer.

Tellias answered this time. “No, they left. Then we called the County Sheriffs and asked them to come out. We said someone tried to break in. Eleora sounded scared. They sent two good-looking strong young men right to our door.”

“Right to our door. Good looking healthy young men,” Eleora echoed.

I glanced out the window and saw the black and white car on the side of the house. Oh no.

“Where are they?” I asked trying not to panic.

They both looked to the ceiling. I ran up the stairs.

In a bedroom done in high Victorian style, I found a golden haired well-built man face down and naked on the bed. His uniform was neatly folded in a chair. He was alive but in a deep sleep. The name badge was Murphy, as in Officer Murphy.

Another handsome muscular young man was in the next bedroom over, shirtless on his back, asleep. I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. The name badge on his shirt had the name Garcia. His sleeping eyes moved a little under long dark eyelashes.

I called down the stairs. “How long have you had these guys here?”

“Since yesterday. We jammed the GPS on their car.”

I sat down on the top step, almost in tears. They couldn’t find their car keys but they could jam a GPS signal. I thought about the guy with the wedding ring. His wife must be sick wondering where he is.

In most popular novels ancient Vampires are powerful creatures of the night. In my life they are silly creatures that forget all rules about consequences or right and wrong. They act like senile teenagers, with occasional flashes to the wise, powerful leaders they once were.

Tellias sat down next to me. “We thought about keeping them for a while. Then you and Val wouldn’t have to worry about us.”

Eleora slid down on the other side and stroked my face with a cool hand. “Why are you so upset? Everything will be fine. It always is.”

We dressed the nice handsome patrol officers and positioned them in less provocative poses. An hour later another patrol car and an ambulance arrived. Two officers had become ill with an unexplained illness. Not knowing what to do a young couple took them in to their home. All was well. The officers recovered with no memory of what happened. Both mentioned an overwhelming calm and sense of well-being. Imagine that.

Tellias took my hand, like he did when I was a child. “Juliette, my dear child, we weren’t going to turn those young men into Vampires. You know we wouldn’t do that.”

“I just worry about you two,” I told him.

“You care too much for those Regular Humans,” said Eleora. “You have to distance yourself.”

“I’m married to a man who used to be a Regular Human,” I said quietly, but ready to scream.

Tellias squeezed my hand again. “And if it wasn’t for Eleora and me he would be dead.”

I went back to the bedroom where the married officer had been. Years ago my husband lay in that bed, a phantom between two worlds, that of the humans of the light and those of us who favor the dark. An unwanted conversion that had turned those warm hands cold forever, but given me…

“Mom?”

I looked over to kids standing next to me. A 14 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. They shouldn’t have to see all this, but I don’t believe in sheltering them. I never have.

I guess I should do my famous parenting blogger bullet points but there is no point in this story. It is just one of those things, on one of those nights.

 

 

 

 

Have  a good weekend everyone. Relax and get some rest.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

gothic design

 

 

And another adventure of mine…click here for “If You Want Something Done Ask A Busy Person.”

 

And for more on the Elders do a search on the blog under “Elders” or “Tellias” or “Eleora.”

 

Take a deep breath and…just stuff

Time is of the essence around here…something rare and precious…because there are now teens in our lives. Every single moment counts. There is homework, dances, skate parties, school, more homework, sports, college applications, clubs, friends, friends, friends, music, concerts, take a deep breath…and family time.

A lot of family time is just driving around in the car between all of these events, catching up, talking about “stuff”. Stuff is the best stuff to talk with teens about because it is about everything and nothing. We solve the problems of the universe or maybe not. We get serious. We laugh. We say stupid things to make each other laugh. We just talk.

Family time for us is also night walks. Sometimes we do Vampire stuff and sometimes we don’t. And remember this “Musings of A Vampire Mom”. A very very very very busy Vampire mom who has a lot going on aside from teaching her children to be good Vampires, citizens of the world, good students and of course teaching one’s child how to live in a diverse and ever changing and insane world.

So parents and teens:

  • Turn off your phones (or at least put them down)
  • Say something silly
  • Laugh with or even at each other
  • Talk about stuff
  • Pull out your old evening clothes and get your teens to try them on. Just for kicks and grins.
  • And if you’re a Vampire (or not) go on a night walk to see the stars, the bats, maybe find a night biker with a nice neck to bite…

Just spend a few minutes together. It’s important. You’ll thank me later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

pretending with gloves