Ghosts In The Attic

In the wee hours of the morning my brother Max came over and crashed at my place. We built a comfortable room for him in the attic where he can stay whenever he finishes a job in our neck of the woods and doesn’t want to drive all the way back to the city. Plus sometimes he just likes to hang out with us.

He staggered downstairs and joined me in the kitchen where I was making coffee.

“Put a shirt on,” I told him as he stood there in nothing but a pair of draw string pajama pants.

I know he’s my eldest brother but he still needs to put a shirt on. I have four older brothers. I insist they be on their best behavior around me. Usually they are.

“You have ghosts in the attic,” he tells me, as if I haven’t already discovered it on my own.

“I know. They’re all over the place. I can’t do anything about it.”

“I don’t remember this many ghosts when we were children.”

“We lived in a new city Gold Rush boy.” Max was born in 1849 in a ship somewhere in San Francisco Bay. Now he drives an SUV and still doesn’t like ghosts. Most Vampires don’t like ghosts. They don’t care for us much either. I pretty much don’t care either way anymore.

“Damn, every time I was just about to drift off they woke me up with their whispering and horrible music,” said Max

“I’ll see what I can do for the ghosts in the attic. We rarely go up there so, anyway, I’ll put something up there to repel them, or just yell at them. They hate it when I yell at them.”

Max pushed his sleeves up and poured a cup of coffee out of the French Press. I could see the ugly scars from Demon scratches and bites.

I worry about Max but he’s a survivor. He survived the Titanic. He survived more bat shit crazy girlfriends than I can count. He survived being shot twice by Vampire Hunters. He has survived demons, angels, fallen angels, ghosts, jealous boyfriends and husbands, and all kinds of weird stuff. He survived the drama of living in three different centuries. He survived having four younger siblings who aren’t exactly serious when it comes to being Vampires. OK maybe Aaron. Aaron is serious about everything but that is a different blog post.

I glanced out the window and could see about half a dozen ghosts sitting on my back fence with black umbrellas in the rain. They watched a lone coyote walk across the meadow underneath the oak canopy. Their sad eyes looked up at me in unison. I pulled the blinds closed.

Max sat down and started to talk about his girlfriend. They talked about where they’d live after they got married. They decided to keep both of their houses, at least for now. She lived in Monterey. He lived in San Francisco. Maybe they’d get married in July. Max had a lot of questions for me. He wanted my opinion.

I listened, but kept glancing over at a small transparent ghost of a child jumping on the couch in the next room. I mouthed the words, “go away.” It stuck out it’s tongue, turned it’s eyes black and vanished.

Max look at me funny. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing. Just thinking maybe you should have the wedding in one of the art museums. Are you getting married in San Francisco?”

“I was thinking Carmel, or Monterey,” said Max.

Out the kitchen window a ghostly bride with a slit throat and a bloody white dress floated past the window. I closed that blind and poured Max more coffee.

“Either one would be beautiful,” I said as a bloody hand came up out of the garbage disposal. I turned on the water and the garbage disposal switch. The hand vanished.

“I can’t believe I’m finally doing this. A hundred and sixty nine years old and I’m finally getting married.”

“I’m so happy for you Max,” I said as I heard the faint sound of an accordion coming from the formal dining room. “Excuse me Max. I’ll be right back.”

In my dining room I found a group of five musicians and a female singer in a dress with a huge bustle and low neckline. She carried her big blue eyes in a jar and held it up so she could see me.

“We’ll do his wedding for cheap,” she said with a gap toothed smile. The band started to play Ode to Joy.

“Go away,” I said. “All of you,” I yelled. “Go away. I swear to God you all know there are only two ghosts I allow in my house, and that is on a good day. ALL of you need to leave right now our I’m finding your graves and piling them with moth balls and dog poop.”

The ghosts looked at me with fading eyes then vanished, along with their music. A glance out the window showed no signs of ghosts. I didn’t feel their presence anywhere in the house.

“Moth balls and dog poop. That’s pretty harsh baby sister.” Max had come into the room.

“Sorry Max, sometimes when it rains they gather. There are a couple of cemeteries, actually three of them on the other side of the river. I think they just get water logged, or maybe come up from the clubs that used to be along the river banks. They know I can see them. It’s kind of like dogs. They want my attention even when they aren’t mine.”

“Weird.”

“I guess. If you say it’s weird it must be weird.”

Max excused himself and went back upstairs to sleep a bit. Apparently the accordion had kept interrupting his sleep.

Back in the kitchen another man, one with shaggy black hair and a smirk on his face waited for me. “You’re not going to throw dog poop and moth balls at me are you?”

“No Nigel,” I said. “I’m not going to throw anything at you.”

He got up and poured a cup of coffee and set it on the table then sat down to smell it. “You know I only come here for the coffee.”

“Sure, and the company.”

“I’m the only ghost you like. And Mary of course. Everyone loves Mary.”

“I don’t always like you Nigel,” I said. “But you’re my ghost.”

“And you’re my Vampire,” he said.

We didn’t talk about Max and his aversion to Ghosts.

I don’t live a double life. I’m a mom. I live a triple quadruple life. Husband, kids, siblings, elders, pets, ghosts, etc… I take care of everyone.

You know how it is. Don’t we all.

“At least your closets aren’t full of skeletons,” said Nigel.

“Not too many,” I said, and poured yet another cup of coffee.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Sharp Sticks

What the crap is that nipping at my ankles?

I looked around, then found myself being poked with a small sharp stick.

“I don’t have time for you.”

Lack of sleep and too much on my mind has rendered me impatient. I threw the Pixie across the room where it landed against the wall in a horrible splat.

They were everywhere. I was surrounded. I know I should ignore them but the keep biting and poking.

“Ignore them,” says my husband.

My parents have always done a superb job at ignoring them. Pixies don’t dare go around them. Unfortunately my siblings and I are not so skilled. The nasty little creatures keep reminding us of everything trivial that we shouldn’t be wasting our time on. They poke and poke and nip and bite and taunt.

Finally I said enough this morning and in celebration fixed a nice cup of green tea.

One of the little bastards came scuttling around with tiny sharp teeth and an impish grin. With the accuracy of a major league baseball player I threw my tea spoon at it and bonked the nasty little thing on the head. It stood shocked, then wobbled, and then vanished in a puff of pink and green smoke.

“Tell your friends I mean business,” I said just the last bit of it went away.

Outside my window I saw a ghost. It was one I’d never seen before, dressed in Gold Rush era garb. They get thick in the woods around here. I flashed it my fangs. The ghost opened his eyes wide and vanished. Ghosts and Pixies. Two things we can all do without.

Now I’ll have that tea.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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What I’m taking about with my teens: badly behaved people, teenage boys, music, dogs, and other odds and ends… and Vampires

I live in a world populated a lot of teenagers, including my own. As those of you who frequent my blog know is that we all talk a lot. My mantra is “talk to your kids.”

This week we’ve been talking a lot, about a lot of different things…

The band All Time Low has come out with a new song called Something’s Gotta Give and will have a new album out soon. Cute. We watched the video on You tube. There were both French fries and Zombies in it. Click on the song title above for the YouTube link.

Why do people complain rather than make their things/society/country/home/school better? Let me know when you find out the answer to that one, and then actually convince people to change things for the better and I’ll give you a million dollars and a box of possums.

Why are there still internet trolls and bullies? Keep your eyes open kids.

Fleas. This was a rude shock to all of us when the horrible little creatures invaded our home last week. OK I’ll admit that back in the old days fleas and other nasty vermin were everywhere, but it still grosses me out. We defleaed the pets, the carpets, the beds, the yard… and everywhere else around our house. Our poor dog has chewed herself raw in just a matter of days. She chews up her backside so fast we can’t catch her until she is a disgusting mess.

Our 11-year-old dog is getting noticeably different (not just the fleas). She isn’t listening. She doesn’t hear things. She doesn’t want to do anything most of the time. She has figured it all out. I’ve noticed that sled type dogs like her like to do their own thing anyway. I’ve had them over the years. I love them, they’re the best, but boy can they be stubborn.

Cats are afraid of popcorn makers. What does that mean? Don’t hold the cat up to the popcorn maker when popcorn is popping. End of story. There is nothing more to say. No, I don’t want to see you do it again.

Teenage girls universally hate it when boys wear basketball shorts all the time. Boys wonder why girls don’t pay any attention to them. Boys call boys who wear nice clothes fags. OK guys, wouldn’t you rather be called a fag and get the attention of ALL the girls then wear basketball shorts 24/7. Save the shorts for PE and when you’re at home. Boys don’t call gay boys who wear nice clothes fags. They leave them alone because most of them are smart and popular.

Someone sent a message to Clara’s friend asking him if he was gay.

By this time next year gay marriage will be legal everywhere in the USA. I know it will. I live in Northern California so being gay or straight shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t. So why do boys still call each other fags? Most kids don’t care. Plus it makes you sound stupid. That said… don’t wear basketball shorts every single day.

I also got to hear all about thongs. Not flip-flops but the butt floss type of panties so many girls wear. Um, girls, don’t do it. Even the firmest most athletic butt looks sort of iffy in leggings. If you show a whale tale the boys at your school will NEVER forget. Boys are like that. They’ve always been like that. Even before there were thongs they were like that. Believe me – boys are like that. Thongs are not a good idea. Plus other girls in the PE locker room don’t want to see it.

And speaking of thongs… turn the Thong Song OFF when your mother is driving or in the car or within 20 miles of any radio or electronic device playing that song. It is what is WRONG and encourages stupidity and bad taste in ALL THINGS. And NO it isn’t funny to fight with your mom over the radio buttons and laugh out loud just to annoy her. End of story. If you want a list of songs that annoy your mother I’d be happy to make you one. Old songs are included along with new ones. My annoyance levels go back for years.

Cheese is good.

The dog will now only eat cat food and Gravy Train. Everyone thinks we’re cruel and bad dog owners – BUT our dog won’t eat expensive dog food. She will only eat treats if you throw them in the air first so she can catch them. My husband discovered if you drop dog food all over the floor,  like you accidentally dropped people food, the dog will sneak into the kitchen and eat it. When she does eat food she takes a mouth full, brings it over to the white carpet and drops it before eating it. No amount of yelling or praise will make her eat over the tile. The same goes for the cats when they want to barf. Thank God we’re getting rid of the white carpet soon. Unfortunately we’re keeping the pets.

We can change our minds. I heard an interview on NPR this morning of the group The Decembrists. I always thought they were, well let’s just say they were not my cup of tea. But this morning I listened to their new music and the interview. It was charming. I might even become a fan. Maybe not a big fan, but hey it was fun. Click here for the story.

Also if you like 3 songs a band plays it does not mean you have to like everything they do. The same goes for books/authors and just about everything else. By the way there are exclusions to that rule and the guys who wrote the Thong Song is included. Those are bands and songs I will NEVER like. The Thong Song is on the same list as that Jimmy Webb and Richard Harris for bringing us that horrible song McArthur Park which likens love to leaving a cake out in the rain. That has got to be one of the worst songs ever written outside of anything by Justin Bieber and Melanie Safka.   Also on the list is Dr. Hook for writing Sylvia’s Mother. I was always glad with the knowledge that Sylvia’s mother kicked Dennis Locorriere’s (the singer) whiney ass half way across the state of Illinois. I hate whiney boy songs. Oh please spare me your over sensitive wounded boy shit and grow the fuck up. And to make matters worse Shel Silverstein was the one who wrote the lyrics to Sylvia’s mother. I kid you not. It had to be a joke.

After forcing themselves uninvited onto my phone U2 is off of my list forever. I don’t care if Bono believes he is more interesting than the Dos Equis man – I’m done with you Bono. Get off my phone.

The one thing about music that I want to burn into the minds of my children is to make what they like their own. They should listen to what they want and refine their own tastes. My play list is so gosh awful but at the same time weirdly wonderful and extremely private. I’d almost rather sleep with a good looking stranger rather than show him my playlist (no of course I’m not going to tell that to my children.)

But what I mean by all of that is that one should not listen to music because a boyfriend or girlfriend likes it, or that someone else says it is good. Listen to it because YOU love it.

My brother Max just looked over my shoulder and said, “Christ Juliette, you’re not publishing that are you?”

I glanced up at my eldest brother who is now sporting a short beard. “I haven’t seen you in a beard since the 80’s. 1980’s and 1880’s. It looks good. Just keep it short. Don’t try to do the urban lumberjack look.”

He gave me sort of a snarl and a smile and went back into the other room with my husband Teddy (who is also Max’s best friend.)

Max was recently up in Northern Nevada taking care of some sort of horrible nasty clutch of God-knows-what sort of creatures. They could be humans or Vampires or I don’t know what, I just know that when Max doesn’t want to talk about his work we don’t talk about it.

He’ll go back to San Francisco tomorrow then in a few weeks go down south to visit my son Garrett who is in college. It will be fun. Garrett and I talk almost everyday and text everyday but I still miss him so. At the same time I’m excited for him, off on his own for the first time. No, I’m not one of those helicopter parents. We talk, I don’t hover or get into his business.

He tells me about people he has met – mostly other students and teachers.

A few days ago he asked me again if there would ever come a time when we could tell the world who and what we really are. I told him no, again. People, human people are for the most part reasonable. In some cultures we can be accepting of anyone. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the normal mode of operation. Anything different is bad. And if you’re extremely different or successful or threatening to others they find you scary. Or worse they use you as a scapegoat for all of their problems. Humans have a great capacity for love, creativity and innovation –  but they also have a great capacity for stupidity and ignorance and hate.

I can hear Teddy and Max laughing. It is always good to hear them laugh. Clara has come down to join them after reading an essay to me she is writing for her English class. I didn’t write this in one swoop – I have people come in and out with questions, comments and to tell me jokes. My cat jumped on the table next to my computer and is grooming himself. I hear a frog croaking (sounds like creaking) under my front porch.

So we’re talking and laughing about everything, all things, most things, and even good things. That is what we do. I hope that is what everyone does. I’d like to think that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

California Afternoon, Vampire Guys (again), Parenting and Modern Life

Yellow Flip Flops

Yellow Flip Flops

Michinori waited for his teenage twins in the school parking lot. I waited with him. We also had loads of books to donate for the library book sale (our tax dollars not at work.)

I welcomed the company of an old friend on a Friday afternoon as I waited but… as you know, anytime a male Vampire goes into a public place, especially in the middle of the day he’ll get a lot of looks. They just reek of a certain “you want me now.” I just hoped the librarian’s knees wouldn’t turn to jelly when we brought the books in. I could already hear the women in the office and the female teachers saying, “Michinori is here.” It was worse than someone bringing a box full of 6 week old Lab puppies or cake or anything that pulls you and makes you giddy for absolutely no known reason. You know the feeling.

It was almost as bad as when my brother Max would go up to the school, except Max would intentionally flaunt it. He is so bad that way. He is horrible. When my husband Teddy shows up parent information meetings are packed with mothers of teenagers. It is good for the school but almost embarrassing for me. I should keep smelling salts in my purse for all the swooning.

Even years ago (a long long time ago) when people didn’t mingle the way they do now, women would look at my friend Michinori, feeling shocked that they’d be so attracted to such an exotic gorgeous creature. It was so wrong. No matter what color or background they were drawn to him. Then again he wasn’t just Japanese, he was also a Vampire.

He’d come to California years ago as a teenager, about the same age as our kids are now, to build the railroad and maybe escape his life as a less favored son. He met the 8th daughter of a San Francisco merchant. She was just one of 14 children (split between several dead wives.) They’d seen each other by the edge of the river, a place they both went to get away from the world. It was a world they didn’t feel like they belonged.

And when they met they found that they belonged with each other. It wouldn’t be easy for the dark eyed Japanese boy and the blue eyed American girl of Welsh descent.

They would live in the few places where they might be marginally accepted. Proper men and women shunned them.

Fernando and his friend Michael didn’t shun them. They were also a couple of mixed cultures and of the same sex. They lived a dangerous life with a love that wasn’t accepted by anyone. Both couples were outside of the law and outside of common decency.

Yet, in the circle of friends and family Fernando and Michal had made all were accepted. So they accepted Michinori and Rosalie, who in 1875 became Vampires. And they became my friends.

This was around the time my husband Teddy joined our ranks (another story.)

By 1999 Michinori and Rosalie were no longer seen as an oddity, especially where we lived, they were just another normal couple. That was the year their twins were born. That was the same year my own daughter Clara was born.

So we’re waiting at the school when we start to laugh about some stuff our kids had been talking about…

You know you’re from California when…

  • You know YOLO is a county.
  • You live on a fault line and your house is still worth a million dollars.
  • 65F is considered freezing.
  • Everyone gets excited when it rains.
  • You have flip flop tan lines on your feet year around.
  • You always know where the closest Certified Organic Farmer’s Market is and the price of strawberries.
  • You have a stash of old sheets to throw over your citrus trees in the winter.
  • You’ve never experienced a snow day.
  • You get tired of people from out of state asking you how many times a year you go to Disneyland.
  • Every high school has someone famous on it’s alumni list.
  • You NEVER say “Cali” when you talk about where you live.
  • You’re always within a two hour drive of anything you could ever want to do.

We went on for another 10 or 12 items then heard the final bell. School was out. Word was also out about Michinori being at the school.

Our children have a tight circle of friends at school.  The Vampire kids stick together because they like to be with their own kind. But they had friends of all different kinds. They accept that. Despite all the stupid things going on at their school, I hear there is tolerance that isn’t found at most schools. That is a tolerance for people who are different. You know I don’t even like to use the word different. Lets just call it an acceptance of everyone no matter who or what they are. You like the people you like and love the people you love for who they are inside. We teach our kids to see people for how they act and how they treat others – that is what matters.

That said, those Vampire guys… sigh. They’ll always take advantage of their unique charms but as long as they keep everyone happy I guess that’s ok.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Click here for “Why Vampires Wear Yellow Flip Flops.”

A Year With The Ghost

When I’m alone, especially when I’m trying to get something done, inevitably I get visited by The Ghost. That is Nigel. As a Vampire I have a natural tendency to hate ghosts. They’re sneaky, dishonest, and truly dead. Plus anything without a body creeps me out.

That said, Nigel and I have come to an understanding. When he isn’t around I miss him. When he is here I want him gone. His girlfriend Mary (another ghost) is adorable and seems to bring out the best in the lost artist soul of Nigel.

The posts on The Ghost are also among the most popular posts on Vampire Maman. For those of you who want to walk down a foggy memory lane, and for those of you who are new, I’ve made a list of the Ghosts Posts of 2013. You’ll have to take the journey on your own (and use the search function for earlier Ghosts Posts.)

Ghost Posts from 2013

Click on the links below:

Passings in the Night (a very special post about love and loss)

Dancing in the dark – ghosts of the past

Ghostly Muse – I think Not

Don’t Haunt Yourself (because real ghosts are bad enough)

Ghost Story Follow-up

Ghost of a Chance for Romance

Coffee with a Ghost – Musings on Life

If You Need Something Done Ask A Busy Person

Morning Ghosts of Passion and Annoyance

My Haunted Ghost

Driving in the Dark

Heart and Soul: Vampires  & Ghosts

Lost Keys and Lies

Are you going to be a real ghost or just a guy with a sheet over his head?

Vampire Desires (on writing fast & ghost writing… sort of)

If you read this tell the Vampire

Thank you for dropping by. You can follow all of my adventures with The Ghost, parenting teens, Vampires, elderly folks and other stories, poetry and what not, by email, on Facebook or through WordPress.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My boys have style

With a wardrobe full of orange pants and bow ties my son’s best friend Randy never ceases to amaze me with his unique sense of style. Yes, there are those black Hot Topic days with jeans and a band shirt, but I have to give both of the boys credit for letting their fashion flag fly.

So last night they were going to meet some friends at a close by coffee place to study.

Garrett (mine) decided to go for classic style and was inspired by Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) with a dinner jacket.

PAN

Then Randy shows up looking like Don Johnson in Miami Vice. Randy is also a blonde so he pulled it off quite nicely.

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No other point to this post. Just glad to see somebody is having fun.

Our high school is looking good this year (thank you dress code fairies.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman