Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Alternate Routes

My kids love to laugh about my driving, or at least the many times we’ve taken the scenic route due to wrong turns and missed turns and complete turn arounds.

Years ago I was traveling across England by myself. I was going from I believe Banbury to Bath. When I stopped at my connection I had no idea which train to get on. None of the signs said Bath. None of the signs looked like any English I’d ever seen. So I asked a man in  the window, the ticket man, where I should go. He asked me to repeat myself. I just assumed he couldn’t understand my American accent. Then I asked him to repeat his directions to me three times. I couldn’t understand a word he said. The accent was local but I wasn’t even sure where local was. The connection name sounded long and I was going to Bath, which is short. So I took my chances on a train that was going to a town with a 34 letter name (or so it seemed.) The only other people on the train was a happy group of Italians who spoke no English at all. At the time I only knew a few words in Italian. What I did get from them was that they were not sure where they were going either. I could have ended up anywhere. At that point it didn’t seem to even matter. It was a happy ride despite the bitter January cold. The train finally stopped, in Bath.

I think of all the wrong turns I’ve taken in my life. Some have been scary, some frustrating, some filled with wonderful surprises.

I wanted to be an actress, a writer of children’s books, a clothing designer, an illustrator of Gothic fantasy, a stand up comic, a writer of best selling novels and so many other things, but ended up taking wrong turns.

Then again, I write an odd Vampire blog, my short stories have a following, I’m an illustrator, an artist, a lover, a wife, a mom, and someone who is about to yell at the cat for sticking his fuzzy face in my coffee.

The detours, be it to a giant hole in the ground, a park, an unexpected view or a new friend are worth those wrong turns. Maybe not so much wrong turns as alternate routes.

The destinations in life are great, but I do love the journey, even if i don’t know where I’m going most of the time. I’m a good traveler on this road of life.

Join me. It will be fun and I always like the company.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/wrong-turns/

About those pesky undead folks…

“I thought you were dead.”

“Well technically…I was, a while back, but not anymore. But we all know that it is not the heart but the brain that determines if one is dead or not. That and the presence of a soul. Then again there are those without souls as well. I’d recommend we all stay clear of them. Nasty nasty nasty.” Ramona always had a way of explaining things that made one sit back and worry – that is if you’re human.

So where was I? I should just yell “TURN BACK” because I’m going to ramble now.

My husband deals in antiquities, among other things. He has an office in an old 19th Century building that he guards with a security system from Hell and a service involving several creatures of less than savory lifestyles. He has a staff of four, all Vampires, all experts and very discreet. They don’t do anything illegal but they don’t parade their business around. Ramona and Laurence have worked for him for decades. Camille and Henry started last year.

So when Austin the Hipster Hunter of Vampires saw Teddy’s assistant Ramona and said “I thought you were dead,” she answered him with, “I was, a while back, but not anymore.”  A while back was 1899. Then again he saw her in a morgue about 5 years ago as cold as death and thought she was, well, dead. But that is another story for another time.

I’d stopped by the shop to drop something off to Teddy. Austin, whom I’d met through my brother Aaron was coming in at the same time. Fancy that. A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter go into a “fill in the blank” location of your choice.

Teddy had a necklace that had belonged to a woman who lived in a historic home Austin was restoring. That is why he was there. Austin seemed surprised to see me – a Vampire in broad daylight (sunscreen and transition lenses) going into the same establishment.

So needless to say as we walked through the door and he saw Ramona it was a surprise. They had their little exchange then I gently put my hand on his arm and said, in a private whisper, “Everyone here except you is a Vampire my dear.”

i could feel his arm tense up, maybe to my cold touch or the sound of my calm voice, or just the world Vampire. The Vampires he deals with are the musty old dead things that lurk around basements, abandoned buildings and crypts, living like they’re from a silent horror movie rather and the modern world. They’re more or less soulless vermin. I’m glad someone is getting rid of them – better him than me. I don’t want to deal with those creatures.

“Don’t be uncomfortable.” I told him.

“I’m not uncomfortable, just surprised. A little scared.” He gave me a quick smile, the kind that cute charming guys give when they’re letting you know that they’re feeling in control, even when they aren’t. Ramona looked at us and gave a quick smile back, a sparkle in her large dark eyes.

“No need to be frightened,” I said. “We’re not going to harm you. Remember Austin, we’re on your side. Well, as long as you behave yourself.”

“Austin always behaves,” said Ramona walking him over and giving him a kiss on the cheek.

At that point my husband Teddy comes out and even Austin is taken aback. Teddy is the most handsome man (Regular Human or Vampire) most people have ever seen. After introductions they go into the back room talk about the necklace but there is always an underlying discomfort in the room.

Then I hear Austin laugh and Teddy after him. The chill and the mystery is gone.

After we were all done with out business I walked out with Austin. He’d worked with my brother Aaron the attorney, that is how I met him. He’d heard of my brother Max, because Max hunts Vampire Hunters and rogue Vampires. Maxwell Todd is a legend in both the Regular and Vampire worlds. He is also feared in both worlds.

Austin had no idea that I had two more brothers or that Teddy was my husband. He had no idea Teddy was a Vampire before today. After dealing with the nasty creepy crawler variety of Vampire, Austin was just learning about my kind – the sophisticated Modern Vampire. We’re not a threat, usually.

Austin and people like you, my dear reader, are the few who know about us. And that said, if you saw me on the street you’d have no idea.

I’d started this post with the intention of telling my kids about what to do when you run into someone you used to know and if you’d let them know it was you. What I’m talking about is those situations when you knew someone in 1952 and you run into them and they’re a bit older and you haven’t aged at all. You can say you’re a daughter or grandson or just look puzzled or… the other choice isn’t usually an option.

But my afternoon was more interesting with Austin who is such a nice guy and he really never intended to be a Vampire Hunter. It just happened. Life is like that.

My husband never intended to be a Vampire. I was born that way through a strange chance of genetics and other stranger things I can’t really explain here.

I believe there is a lot of “chance” in life. Most things just happen, not for a reason. Of course that excludes things we choose to do and make happen. Then there are those rare few things that might be “meant to be” like love at first sight or the right cat needing a home. I feel that way about my children, but with the magic of genetics and the gene pool lottery a lot of “chance” was involved.

So by chance a guy walked into a door to check out an antique necklace that had once belonged to the owner of a house he was restoring – and finds himself with five Vampires – and nothing happened.

Anyway, happy Friday everyone and have a good weekend.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Kissed by a Vampire

An afterthought for another post: I’m always surprised at the amount of fun one can have with a fake snake.

Plus I’ve posted a lot more about Vampire Hunters, my brother Max and general Vampire stuff. Just do a search of this blog and you’ll find hundreds of posts on the subject (better than this one I’ll guarantee.)

Disclaimer: This post needs a lot of editing but just read it and fill in the blanks and edit it in your head. I have a few other deadlines I have to get to. Thanks for understanding and reading my crappy writing.

 

 

Living with teens and ghosts of doubt

The constant complaining about school this year is something new for me. I’m not complaining. I’m pretty happy with the situation. It is the teens.

I’ve discovered that teachers who were called horrible at the first of the year are in reality hard working saints to fight battles even the most hardened Vampire can’t imagine. They fight these battles every single day.

Fortunately and amazingly today there was no drama. No tales of overdoses, fights or misunderstandings. No confusing homework. The only remotely bad thing was the fact that the girl who sits in front of my son in physiology has a crush on him. She keeps turning back and smiling. He also gets sweet text messages from him.

Another friend is in the school musical. We’ll be in the audience of Fiddler on the Roof in a few weeks. I’m sure it will be wonderful. My own two had never heard of it. That surprised me. I think they’ll like the story and understand the meaning. Yes, Fiddler on the Roof with Vampires, only the Vampires will be watching, not singing or dancing.

I learned a friend of theirs lives in a house with 7 cats, 2 dogs and a 50-year-old parrot. The parrot only likes their mom. It has a pretty large vocabulary but always yells “GO AWAY” when anyone except MOM comes near. Good parrot.

The weekend is already booking up with plans of having friends over. I love a house full of teens and their fun banter. They are so full of life.

I dread the day when they all go off to college. They’ll still come back to visit, but I’m almost in a panic. I knew I’d only have them so long but it all brings up so many feelings. Not just about motherhood but about everything.

They remind me of when I was young, full of so many hopes and dreams. So much stupidity. I’m trying to help these kids not be so stupid or ignorant, but they’ll make mistakes. I just hope that nothing messes with their dreams and goals or their friendships.

Just in passing I thought about what I need to do with my life outside of motherhood and felt that dull ache that stops me in my tracks. I stand on the shore and watch my ship sail away without me. I’m frozen. I can’t move at all. I feel sick. My heart stops. I don’t take a breath for the longest time.

Then someone calls my name or yell MOM. Yes it is a beautiful sound. But I’m not that kind of mommy blogger. I’m not a mommy blogger at all. I’m the one who is frozen at the chance for something that is completely mine. Pandora’s box is mine and I dare not open it. I know what is inside and I’m afraid. I’m a wife and a mother and a professional (no work talk tonight) but there are other dreams. Dreams and desires that tug at me and taunt me and call me a coward.

It makes my head spin.

Then I look up from my computer and there, sitting across the table is The Ghost, Nigel. He is leaning back in the chair shaking his head slightly in disapproval. He brushes his black hair out of his eyes and leans forward and whispers, “Why don’t you ever write about your parents?”

“I have. I do, every once in a while.” I guess I have, maybe half a dozen of the 700 give or take a few posts I’ve written.

He squinted his eyes at me. “Almost never. You’re like a teenager acting like they don’t exist.”

“I don’t want to invade their privacy.”

“You don’t mind invading my privacy.”

“You’re a ghost. Nobody believes in ghosts.”

“Nobody believes in Vampires either, much less ones with parents.”

I shrugged.

“Get your own blog.” I said, tired of his game.

“I can’t write. I mean I could when I was alive but I can’t now.”

“You can’t write? Why?”

“How should I know. There aren’t any books around here on being a ghost. No seminars. No workshops. Nothing. Nobody tells us anything.”

What a liar. I knew he could write. “Wait, you’ve hijacked my blog before. You’re such a liar. You know, you don’t have to lie to me.  You can’t just show up here and try to haunt your way through things. Were you this immature when you were alive?”

“Juliette, I can only write on your computer and it creeps me out. I can’t work on a Vampire’s computer.”

“Where are your parents? Are they still alive?”

“Either way they’re in Hell, or at least I can hope. I have no idea where they are. I haven’t seen either one of them since I was 15.”

I had no idea. “I’m sorry Nigel.”

He shrugged and gave me a half smile. “Don’t be. I did fine. Would have done better if I hadn’t died.  You’re not breathing.”

“Sorry. I forget sometimes.”

“You’re creeping me out Vampire.”

I just stared at him as he faded in and out, no doubt trying to come up with something to say.

“Listen Juliette, you have a lot going for you. I mean, I had a lot going for me too despite some bad luck when it came to family. I had a lot of fun when I was a teenager. You’re lucky to have such great kids with such great friends. It was my friends who got me through, who made me feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Of course I don’t have skin anymore but I’m still pretty comfortable.”

“I’m glad you’re comfortable. I’d hate to be haunted by an uncomfortable ghost.”

Then he came around the table, very very very close to me and in almost a whisper said, “Just do it Juliette. Do what you need to do. No regrets. Just take that brass ring. Take the bull by the horns. Take a chance. Make your kids proud of you. Be a star.”

I took a deep breath.

He smiled. “Is your heart going to start beating again.”

“Um sure. i suppose that would be a good idea”.

“You creep me out Vampire.”

“You creep me out.”

“That’s why we’re friends.”

“Love you too Nigel.”

And he smiled and vanished leaving behind the faint outline of a heart that faded away after about a minute.

Parenting isn’t all about babies … It is about a love that will last forever if one takes it seriously. It is about new friends, new experiences and maybe a ghost or two along the way. Even if that is a ghost of your own past – or maybe just a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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My Own Vampire Maman

She walked into the crowded bar as if she owned the place. I waved. She flashed me a dazzling smile and walked my way.

Black jeans, a dusty plum-colored coat over a white dress shirt she borrowed from her man, buttons open to give a hint of a promise of something soft and lace covered, the most darling gray boots with buckles and heels, a gray and blue scarf, and a black messenger bag with a tiny gold bat pin attached to it. Her nails are covered in glossy gray varnish as perfect as perfect can be, set off  a perfect dark fire opal on her right hand. Loose dark brown chestnut colored ringlets cascading down her back. Perfect smoky eyes as gray as a winter sky shot with blue and a slight hint of pink lip-gloss on cupid kissed lips. She could be somewhere between 25 and 35 but it doesn’t matter. She is perfect. Every male head in the place turns. My mom just walked into the room.

She walked to the bar where I sat nursing a gin and tonic. She didn’t need to pull up a stool – four were immediately offered to her. She grabbed one a few places down and sat it next to me. Her arm went around my waist and squeezed. All was right in the world. Mom was here.

She still calls me her baby. I still call her my maman.

She picks something off of my sweater. She liked my hair. My nail color made my hands look dirty. Was Teddy home with the kids? I looked tired. Was I getting enough sleep? Was I spending all my time driving the kids around? Was I working on my novels? Was I planning my spring garden?

My dad with at my brother Aaron’s house. It was a big girl night out.

She scanned the room and said “we won’t go out hungry tonight.”

No we wouldn’t.

I put my hands in my lap, then decided to ignore her comment about my nail color. I liked the color even though I doubt if I’d wear it again.

We spoke quietly, our heads together. A man asked if we were sisters. My mom said we were.

He was in his early thirties. Blonde hair, green eyes, button down shirt. Cute bordering on handsome. My mom is 378 years old.

She whispered something in his ear and put her hand on his shoulder. He smiled. He was hers for the night if she wanted him. That isn’t what she said to him, but she can make anyone feel good. She said there was a girl in the bar who liked him, the pretty girl who is never the prettiest in the room and never the one who gets picked first. The girl was smart and funny and sexy and a little different. He’d pick her tonight and in a few months time he’d pick her forever. My maman has a talent for facilitating happily ever after events. How Vampires got the bad rap I’ll never know (actually I do but that’s another blog post) but we’re quite the romantics and lovers.

Her wedding ring was on a cord around her neck, hidden under her shirt. It was funny considering we spent most of the evening talking about my dad. She said she wanted to spend the weekend with my kids.

She said she’d planted the strawberry plants I’d given her. She’d also started mine in pots for me since I hadn’t dug up my planting beds yet. Hers were doing great but mine were still smallish. I told her that was because she loved her plants more than mine. She laughed.  She had my plants in the car. I told her that I’d give them lots of love.

We were like any other mother and daughter meeting in the evening. Except we were out for blood. But that’s ok with us.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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This was first posted February 2012. I’ll have new musing, thoughts and stories soon. In the meantime, have fun. J.

Accidental Meetings

Accidental Meetings

Accidental Meetings

Accidental Meetings

“You must come now,” said a whispery voice on the phone.

“What is it?” I asked afraid to find out what the ancient fragile Vampire needed.

“It is a human thing,” he said, now no longer in a whisper. “We need your help.”

I told them to call 911 and wait.

30 minutes later my 17-year-old Garrett and I had arrived at the farmhouse. My husband Teddy and 14-year-old Clara were out seeing “Frozen” with friends. I swear, I’m surprised I didn’t get pulled over for speeding, but it isn’t like I couldn’t have talked my way out of a ticket.

We parked by the side of the road which was blocked off by a lot of emergency vehicles. Flashing lights and a lot of people – exactly what Vampires like us try to avoid. Without interacting with anyone we made it to the farmhouse.

Tellias met us at the door wearing steel-blue coveralls, the kind that mechanics wear, with a bright yellow scarf around his neck. His white blonde hair fell around his shoulders. Eleora had on a stretched out red sweater and a red and blue pleated plaid skirt that fell a few inches below her knees. She had on pink slippers. Her hair was wet.

They look like they’re only 19 or 20 years old but they are ancient Vampires – over 2,000 years old. Dealing with elders isn’t just for regular humans or pet owners. We all must take care of those in our lives who need extra help.

They took Garrett and me by the hands and brought us into the house.

“Why is your hair wet sweetie?” I asked Eleora.

“A car went into the water,” she whispered.

“A car went into the river with a woman in it,” said Tellias. “Eleora pulled her out, and her daughter.”

“Another car hit them. I went into the water after them. I could feel their fear. I broke the glass and pulled them out.”

Tellias came close and whispered. “They were full of water. Eleora sucked the water right out of their lungs.”

Eleora nodded her head. “Right out.”

“Did you help anyone else?” I had to ask, fearing certain answers.

Tellias narrowed his eyes at me. “Nobody will die tonight Juliette.”

“Not tonight,” sang Eleora with a smile and a wink.

I swear, dealing with these ancient Vampires drives me crazy.

I glared at them and could hear myself lecturing them. “You should have let them alone. You shouldn’t have helped except to get them out of the water or basic first aid. You know the rules.”

“We made the rules,” said Tellias. “Stop scolding us.”

The front door opened. John, who lived next door, was standing there looking grim. In his early 60’s he was still a handsome man who made heads turn. “Juliette, come outside.”

With Garrett tagging along, I followed John to the edge of driveway. I could see the top of a car in the river. Two other mangled cars and a large farm truck were on the side of the road.

John was visibly shaken but not saying anything about his own fears or pain. His wife had been killed in a car accident 20 years ago. “Eleora and Tellias were out for a walk and saw it all. It looked like a drunk in a truck was speeding. He clipped a car and it spun out taking other cars with them. The drunk kept on going. When the car went into the river Eleora dove in and pulled out a woman and her daughter. Then we helped with the rest. It’s a miracle nobody was killed, but…” He tapered off. I knew the but. There were serious injuries and lives interrupted. Then there was the matter of Eleora and Tellias helping.

“They saved lives tonight.” John patted my back. “I couldn’t believe how quickly they took action. People would have died…”

I stopped him from saying more. “Have you ever read Dracula? I don’t want to use that as an example because it is fiction. Fiction John. But remember the character Renfield? The crazy guy who ate bugs? Any lives they saved tonight will forever be bound to Tellias and Eleora if they want it. Not that Tellias or Eleora will ever act on it or whatever, but those people, those humans, will be bound forever to those two old fools who live next door to you.”

“You’re harsh,” said John.

“I’m a realist. You aren’t a Vampire. You have no idea what we can do to people.”

“I’ve lived around your family my entire life.”

“We’ve sheltered and protected you. You don’t know,” I snapped.

Garrett tugged at my arm, “Mom, I would have done the same thing. I mean, I would have saved them.”

I said nothing. I was too angry to say anything. All I could do was look at the wreckage almost numb at the extent of the damage. The three of us turned and walked back to the farmhouse.

A Highway Patrol officer was at the house. The two woman who been pulled from the car were sitting in the kitchen wrapped in blankets. It broke my heart to see them and know what a horrible frightening experience they’d had. At the same time I knew   what other nightmares they might have.

Eleora had made tea for everyone. The officer was asking them questions. He knew Eleora. No doubt she’d sucked blood out of his big handsome neck in the past as he patrolled the rural route past their farm. Sometimes being a Vampire was more complicated that I wanted it to be (yes, add that to having kids in high school and marriage and work and everything else a mom does.)

Questions were answered. Everyone involved in the accident was taken away to hospitals or home. I left the elders with John. I couldn’t wait to get home.

Eleora and Tellias gave us hugs before we left and thanked us for coming. Eleora whispered in my ear, “We love you so much.” I kissed her cheek and patted her hand.

When we got into the car I told Garrett to play music. Any music as long as it was loud and would get my mind off of the night.

As I drove away my mind wandered back to the day before. I was having a conversation with my kids about vegans. If you’re a vegan because of “moral” reasons could you be a scavenger – that is could you eat road kill because it is already dead? Then my husband said “Redneck Vegans. That could be a new TV show.”

As if he could read my mind, which he could because we’re, you know, Vampires, Garrett said, “We need our own reality TV show Mom. We could call  it Blood Relatives.”

“Very good. But nobody would believe it.”

“They believe Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.”

“Then we’d have to be redneck Vampires and I’m not going to be a redneck.”

“Mom, we could be The Red Neck Vampires. Get it? Red Neck.”

“Nice try. I love you baby.”

“Love you too Mom.”

I thought of the mother and daughter who were saved. The daughter was about the same age as my son. That could have been us. We could have been in danger if there had been fire or something much worse. I took his hand and gave it a squeeze.

By the time we arrived back home I was feeling a lot better. We watched the sunrise together before we went inside.

In big and little ways the ability to change directions and go from one extreme to another without missing a beat is what life is all about. Old and young and all of us in the middle – it is what we do. It is who we are.

For the new year remember to make it a goal to love and to appreciate the miraculous and strange things that happen in life, both big and little. It isn’t magic or mystical. It is just chance or you could say a twist of fate, but not really fate.

You never know who will be there to help. You never know but sometimes it might seem like a miracle or something you won’t be able to describe. But there are those who will help – more than you think.

I don’t really believe in fate, not much. None the less, when good things happen or bad things are avoided treasure that. Most of all you should treasure those precious folks that make up your life.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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