Lost Keys and Lies

Every have one of those days when getting out of the house seems nearly impossible?

I couldn’t find my keys this morning and of course I was running late. And no I can’t just change myself into a bat.  That only happens in fiction.

I’m scouring the house but nothing. Then I heard a throat clearing.  I turned around and behind me is the Ghost, damn him, with my keys.

“I believe I have something of yours.” He said that with a nasty curl of his lip then flicked a lock of black hair out of his eyes.

I reached for the keys and they vanished, along with the ghost.

I let out a string of not so nice words (the kind moms pretend not to know) and then tried to sense where he could have gone.

Off of the bookshelf I grabbed the box with all of the spare keys. Does anyone else have keys to cars, doors and safe boxes they don’t even remember?

Anyway I grabbed the spare keys to my car and yelled, “If you don’t give me my keys back I’ll pour a bottle of Pinesol on your grave. I’ll pour a gallon on it.”

Nothing.

“I know where your grave is Nigel. I looked you up. I know all about you.”

I heard a clang as the keys dropped on the tile floor of the kitchen. I picked them up and headed for the front door.

He stood there waiting for me. “How’d you find out where my grave is?”

“I don’t even know your last name. How would I know where your grave is?” I looked at him with such calm as his eyes narrowed and threatened to turn me to ice.

“You’re a Vampire and a liar,” he snarled at me.

“And I’m really good at being both.” Then I smiled and headed out the door.

Anyway, tell your kids that lies and bad words are not acceptable…of course unless you’re dealing with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

First posted April 2013

Lost Keys and Lies

I’m on the road… so this is a repost from 2013. It still applies. And you’re right – he hasn’t been around for a while.

 

Lost Keys and Lies

Every have one of those days when getting out of the house seems nearly impossible?

I couldn’t find my keys this morning and of course I was running late. And no I can’t just change myself into a bat. That only happens in fiction.

I’m scouring the house but nothing. Then I heard a throat clearing. I turned around and behind me is the Ghost, damn him, with my keys.

“I believe I have something of yours.” He said that with a nasty curl of his lip then flicked a lock of black hair out of his eyes.

I reached for the keys and they vanished, along with the ghost.

I let out a string of not so nice words (the kind moms pretend not to know) and then tried to sense where he could have gone.

Off of the bookshelf I grabbed the box with all of the spare keys. Does anyone else have keys to cars, doors and safe boxes they don’t even remember?

Anyway I grabbed the spare keys to my car and yelled, “If you don’t give me my keys back I’ll pour a bottle of Pinesol on your grave. I’ll pour a gallon on it.”

Nothing.

“I know where your grave is Nigel. I looked you up. I know all about you.”

I heard a clang as the keys dropped on the tile floor of the kitchen. I picked them up and headed for the front door.

He stood there waiting for me. “How’d you find out where my grave is?”

“I don’t even know your last name. How would I know where your grave is?” I looked at him with such calm as his eyes narrowed and threatened to turn me to ice.

“You’re a Vampire and a liar,” he snarled at me.

“And I’m really good at being both.” Then I smiled and headed out the door.

Anyway, tell your kids that lies and bad words are not acceptable…of course unless you’re dealing with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Even Vampires Need a Break

moth

 

I didn’t want to deal with my family. It isn’t that I don’t love them, but sometimes I need a break.

I went to San Francisco for a meeting and didn’t even call my parents or my two brothers wo live there. It was my day in the city, alone, just me and my own business.

At Harrison and 2nd the light changed at the intersection and I headed out across the street with everyone else. A normal move, just crossing the street, when something, somebody snagged my arm. I looked in the face of a man, long, lean, good looking with a dazzling smile. He’d pulled his honey blonde  back in a short tail and a 3 day beard (oh so hip these days.)

“You’re like me,” he said.

“Yes.” Yes indeed. That was all I had to say. He was a Vampire too. I didn’t even notice him in my brain haze of family drama and overwhelming emotional wave of… well, you know, family.

“Let’s get coffee.” He took my hand and dragged me into a parking lot filled with music, food trucks and tables. It was dark, under the freeway and loud. It was perfect. We sat at a bench, coffee in hand, huddled together.

His name was Marcus. He’d been a Vampire since 1971. A few months ago he’d moved down from Seattle with his girlfriend who was also a Vampire. It was for a job, more like minded Vampires and his parents lived in the area. Yes, his parents.

He’d kept in touch with them over the years and now he wanted to take care of them. His parents were progressive in many ways and had accepted the fact that their son was different. Alright, it isn’t that simple. Most people are horrified when they find out Vampires are real, much less somebody they love, or their own child is a Vampire.

Think about it. Can you imagine if your child said “Mom I’m a Werewolf.” That would horrify me to no end. I’d have to accept it. There would be no other choice in the matter.

Marcus told me about his parents with great love and care. They were still living in their own home. They were fragile and didn’t get out much. Driving was a thing of the past. Marcus and his Vampire girlfriend Kate had moved into the neighborhood of 1920’s homes and watched over the two old people.

I told him that I was feeling that no matter where I went, no matter where I was, someone was going to bother me. If I was someplace quiet suddenly it would be full of annoying noises. There seemed to be no place where I could be alone. As I said this the noise around us was like a blanket that kept everyone else in the world out. Nobody knew were were Vampires or different or feeling stress or like we wanted to scream.

We just chatted about the good things. I told him the best places to get blood and spices and what small venues were good for concerts. I told him about the shop with the pug and the white French bull dogs who lived in the front window – not for sale but just to keep the owner company and to look cute. I told him how funny my teenagers were.

In turn he told me about finding a great house and exploring the area. He wanted to know about the culture and the local Vampire lore. He’d heard a lot of it over the years but he wanted to know more.

Marcus was a fairly young Vampire, born in 1948, and like I said, he became a Vampire in 1971. Over the years he’d only met a few of us who were born into it, that is born as a Vampire. He was even more surprised and tickled to find I belonged to one of the “Vampire Power Families” as he called it. Our roots are ancient and the exploits of some of my family members are famous among our kind.

So anyway, to make a short and unremarkable story even longer, we exchanged information and planned to keep in touch. It was really nice to meet him. I know what you’re thinking – the term “really nice” and “Vampire” shouldn’t mix. Hey, if you’re a Vampire you come to appreciate “really nice” and little moments. We all should.

NPR has been running a series of articles on stress this week. I’ve listened but been grateful for the attention Weird Al is getting and stories about science and books. I might be “undead” but I’m not immune to stress and the pressures of everyday life.

Before I left Marcus we grabbed a bite (some geeky hipster programmers he knew) and then walked together to where my meeting was being held. When you’re a Vampire you learn to make quick friendships since there are so few of us. We have to stick together.

So I suppose I must stick to my family. On the way home I stopped by the farmhouse to see check in on the Elders. My brother Val was there already. He’d made sure they’d remembered to turn on the fans in the heat and brought by some cold bottles of blood. They sometimes forget to eat and we worry they’ll go into a Vampire Coma or worse, find piles of ashes where they once stood.

My voice mail was full of messages but I didn’t answer any of them, except to my husband to tell him that I loved him too.

All things considering everything is good. It is better than good. But sometimes a mom just needs some time to be herself. Sometimes everyone needs that.

 

Have a good rest of your week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

readbyvampires

 

 

My hands still keep the memory…

I let you sleep

As I steal away

Into the morning light

 

 

Wake up to all

Cats and dog

Birds

Children

Off to school

And work…

Always work

 

 

Coffee and

A wish for something stronger

 

 

My hands still keep

The memory

Of the smooth

Cotton of your shirt

The cool pearl of buttons

As I pushed it

From your shoulders

And kissed your neck

So gently.

 

 

I feel your kiss

Your finger in my hair

The flutter of your lashes against my cheek

A days worth of beard

On my skin

On my neck.

 

 

No prey are you

But like me

Like us

Cold

Calm

Passion

That only Vampires

Like us,

Have with

Vampires

Like us.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
(who will celebrate her 18th Wedding Anniversary with Teddy on May 3)

 

Retreats, Re-treats and a Vampire’s Thoughts on Writing

traditional vampire

Once upon a time, I kissed a Vampire. I wore a bustle dress but he did not have wings. It was lovely.

victoiran bats

In popular mythology Vampires have bat wings and turn into bats. Nice idea.

in your room

I was never one for creeping into bedrooms either, of course unless… unless it was a bed I wanted to stay in for a while. Hey, you know, even Vampires multi-task.

So do moms like me. So do most modern parents (Vampires or not.)

I usually don’t comment on the blogs of others… I try not to be rude or snarky (HA HA April Fools on that one) but I just read a blog post about “Writer’s Retreats.” There were thoughts and quotes from “experts.” I have no beefs with the author. She was lovely. I do have it with other things about retreats and “experts.”

Today has been one of those days when I read about “Writer’s Retreats,” and I think of myself and my writing friends and I think “WTF?” I’m f___ing busy. I have an independent mind. I need coffee. I’m a bitch. But…

Perhaps when I was younger but I would have just found love the idea of a retreat. I also would have found the cutest guy at the retreat and slept with him. I would have written a bunch of lofty angst filled crap that nobody would ever want to read. Yes that is blunt. It is. Deal with it. Or I would have instantly gotten writer’s block and totally bored, or spent the entire time trying to impress everyone else there, and maybe drained the blood from the cute guy and left in the middle of the night. Maybe not. It just has no appeal to me anymore. I don’t want to be lofty. I don’t want to be deep. I don’t want to be literary.

So anyway…

What would my retreat be?

My retreat is in those hours before the sun comes up with just the company of my cats and my coffee.

My retreat is in those times when the kids are practicing their sports, or I’m waiting for, well, just waiting for someone or something else.

It is when I walk the dog and let my mind fill with ideas.

My retreat is looking at pictures and art and music. Filling my senses completely full.

My writing retreat is when I lay next to my husband, our arms around each other. I close my eyes and drift off to a place where everything is perfect and as it should be.

Sure I’d like the luxury of spending a lot of money and time off in a cabin in the woods (but not like that silly movie of the same title) with like minds… but then I think not. I’d rather spend the time with like minds that I already know or who live in my circles. I’d rather be with other bloggers and short story writers, those I know and those I don’t know yet, who live in a rushed world with so much variety and activity that they can hardly think, much less escape from it. They’re the ones who inspire me.

My writing friends and my quick messages to them and their feedback is my retreat.

Reading the works of others, no matter what the content, point of view or genre is my retreat.

The joy of learning the craft of writing (the stuff you don’t see here) is my retreat.

I guess I’m just not a follower. There are those who inspire me but I’m sort of old and I have teenagers and life is extremely serious and at the same time so whimsical and funny and amazing that… that if I went off by myself to write I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

I like my alone time. That said, as a writer and an artist, it has to be MY time. My place. My thoughts that rattle around in my brain for hours and days before anything goes down on paper, even if those hours and days are only a split second.

You might not agree with me. I wouldn’t go on a marriage retreat either. I wouldn’t go on a Vampire retreat. I don’t do retreats. I despise the very idea of self-help retreats. Spiritual retreats make me think of cults totally creep me out. But if you like that sort of thing… well go ahead but don’t ask me along. I’ll just smile and say “have a nice time.”

I have to say that my husband feels the same way about these sorts of things. We came into this relationship with this view already. And don’t even get me started on most parenting books, experts, seminars and retreats. My fangs will come out when that subject comes up.

My husband always says “Everything annoys you.”

I respond with, “Why yes it does.”

I’m not going to pretend I’m perfect or my views and life are perfect (like some people in the news) but it is my life and I’m feeling a little snarky right now. My regular readers know I’m usually pretty sweet and sensitive. I am. Really. Most of the time. OK I try.

But I do like TREATS and I like sharing so I guess that could be a nice Re-Treat. A nice bottle of wine, some cheese, some tea or whatever you like… I could go for that. We’d talk about our writing then maybe we wouldn’t. We’ll just end up talking about our dogs or roller skating or books we’ve read or those day-to-day things that make up the contents of good writing (fact or fiction or those odd bits that live in both worlds.) Or you could send me a link to something cool online or a story you’re writing or I could read your book and then you could read mine. THAT is the perfect retreat – to share treats – the treat of our thoughts and creativity.

And to think this was going to be an essay on being a Modern Vampire… oh well.

Have a good week everyone and don’t listen to me if you don’t want to, but I’ll be here if you need me.

And on a serious and thoughtful note… I hope all of you have your own small retreats, those places either mentally or physically that are yours and yours alone.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

clarke dark

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.”