Everything Will Be Alright

My kids are adults and missing out. The elder one won’t have a graduation for grad school and is having angst over just being an adult. The youngest is hunkering down and thriving. I was going to write about it all today but my brain is in other places and finding it difficult. Writing about adult children isn’t as easy as writing about high school and middle school kids.

I’m going to take the dog for a long walk and hope we don’t get rained on. If we do get rained on that is ok too, I guess. Also my computer is on the blitz. The mouse isn’t working – or I guess I should say mice. Both the touch pad and the regular logitech mouse just aren’t able to communicate with my MacBook and the computer repair guys are closed. Ugh. But everything will be alright.

This post was first published in 2014, but the message still rings true.

~ Juliette

 

Everything Will Be Alright

My life is absolutely jam-packed full. But there were times when I was alone in almost every sense of the word. There were times that might have been hailed as opportunities and all I could see was a bottomless pit. There were times when I took opportunities and so the saying goes, ran with it. I ran as far as I could go. Everything eventually changes. Nothing stays the same except maybe our love and I hope our humor.

As a rule I’m reserved around my new clients, that is new Vampires. Yes, just turned a few months ago. She was doing well. Rather pragmatic and accepting about it. As with most of them it wasn’t what they expected. Then again, most of life isn’t what we expect until we’ve been around for a while and gathered that old moss of experience and wisdom.

Willow had family here and there. Her parents had divorced and started new families when she was about ten. She never saw them much or kept track of them. She had lived with an uncle who’d since passed away. None the less Willow made it through high school and college then on to a career. Then life and love imploded around her. It happens to all of us. She thought of jumping off a bridge but didn’t do it. She was thinking of a lot of things one night when she was seduced by a man who turned out not to be like her. And well, her life changed a lot more dramatically than she could have ever imagined, for Willow had been turned into a Vampire.

It was more complicated than that, but that isn’t the point of this story. The point is that I am in charge of helping Willow finally make the adjustment of living on her own, in a new world. A new life if you want to call it that.

I’d introduce her to the community of the night and teach her to know who is safe and who is not. I’d continue to give her instructions and watch over her until she was ready to be completely on her own.

She was surprised that we (Vampires) were for the most part not the creatures of dark brooding novels and movies. OK we can be dark and brooding and we’re pretty good at it, but the point is that we, like everyone else, just want to be happy. We want to fit in. We need to care and know we’re cared for. That is the Modern Vampire way, and the way for most people, no matter what exactly they might be.

That morning we stopped by a small cottage like house I’d found for her to live in.

As we entered the front door she a look about in a cautious sort of way, kind of like a cat after all the furniture has been moved around.

“Nobody will miss me. Not really. I mean after I died.” She looked out the window into the mid-morning fog.

I put my hand on her shoulder. “This is the beginning Willow. You’re not dead.”

“I…” she started to say, but I cut in.

“This isn’t suicide. It is just being here in a different way. You’ll make it positive. You’ll find success. You’ll find love.”

WIllow looked around some more inside then out back at the small garden. She smiled, careful not to show any fangs.”

We then took my truck in search of furniture and other household items she needed to get started with her new life.

She asked if she could get a cat. Of course. On the way home we stopped by the shelter, the city pound, where she picked out a three-year old tabby with white paws named Jeeves. She said she’d help someone else make a new start too – that they’d do it together – Willow and Jeeves.

I turned on some music in the car and intentionally played “The Middle” by the band Jimmy Eat World. It is one of my son’s favorite songs. It seemed like the right song to play for Willow.

In most cases, no matter how melancholy things seem, it will get better. The stars will continue to shine, cats will purr and new friends will make bonds that last for years.

I try to teach that to my own children who will all too soon be leaving home to go off to college, alone, that there will be times when they’ll feel lost. But they have a good navigation system and they’ll always find their way. Maybe not where they thought they would be going but with any luck they’ll always end up where they are supposed to be.

As I watched Willow unload Jeeves the cat and hold him in her arms, I had a feeling that she was exactly where she was supposed to be too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

The Middle

Jimmy Eats World – Songwriters: ADKINS, JAMES CHRISTOPHER/BURCH, RICHARD E/LIND, ZACHARY MICHEL/LINTON, THOMAS DARRELL

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or
Looked down on.
Just TRY your best, TRY everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

Chorus
It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine, everything,
Everything will be alright, alright.

Hey, you know they’re all the same.
You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in.
Live right now.
You just be yourself.
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.

Chorus
It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine, everything,
Everything will be alright, alright.
It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine, everything,
Everything will be alright, alright.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
It’s only in your head you feel left out or
Looked down on.
Just do your best (just do your best), do everything you can (do everything you can).
And don’t you worry what their bitter hearts (bitter hearts) are gonna say.

Chorus
It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine, everything,
Everything will be alright, alright.
It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine, everything,
Everything will be alright.

Musings on Pets, Art, Vampires, and Trying to Make Sense of Anything At All.

It started out as one of those days where the dog ate all of the cat food, the squirrels at all of the bird food, the cat tried to eat a bird that flew into my house, I’m trying to take photographs and the fall lighting is all off, then the cat barfed on the carpet. The other cat is asleep out on the deck. He never causes me problems aside from his yearly “I am an idiot and got myself gravely injured again,” vet visit. Today, I am also feeling a great sense of loss that has come over me in a wave.

A sense of loss and melancholy isn’t uncommon for Vampires. I just had to throw that out there.

I put on some sunscreen and decent clothes and went out in search of art supplies. I didn’t need any. I thought it might inspire me to try to put pen or pastel to paper. That is to put it to paper without fear of disappointing myself.

At the downtown art supply shop, the one that had been there for decades, I wandered the isles looking at brushes, textures, tools, and colors. I was drawn to all of the shades of gray, then got sort of perturbed that some asshole decided to write a bad porn book of that name that became oh so popular with bored middle aged women who didn’t date enough when they were single. Still I looked and imagined what I might create.

I felt a cold hand upon my arm, then looked to my left. “Connie,” I said upon seeing my old friend. Constantine Jones, the very one I wrote the story Night Dogs about. He’d told me about that night a few years back. I valued his friendship because he matched my love of art, both in creating it, and in studying it.

“Juliette. Pastels today?”

“Maybe,” I said.

We talked of art and our lives. He asked about my children. I asked him what he was up to. I purchased pastels and paper. He picked up a few brushes and oil paint. Then we walked down the tree lined street to a small independent coffee shop.

As we sat in the shade sipping our coffee nobody would have suspected that we were Vampires who’d know each other for over a century.

No, dear reader, this isn’t a story of fangs, dripping blood, or darkness. All creatures, even the most ardent predators, the lions, the hyenas, the wolves, and the wolverines, still need their times of peace. We are always aware, but sometimes we just need to take a break from what keeps our bodies alive and think about what keeps our passions alive.

Even more so it is the small things that matter. It is things we do for tangible reason like having coffee with an old friend. We talked about art, as kindred spirits do.

Connie touched took my hand in his. It was warm from holding the coffee. I thought how odd that was to have a warm touch from another Vampire.

“Your heart is heavy,” he said to me.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“It shall pass. I just have too much BS that I have to deal with.” That is true, but isn’t that the case for a lot of us.

Standing across the street I saw a lone figure with dark hair and a black suit with the tie loosened. Connie looked as well.

“A ghost,” he whispered. “Why is he looking over here?”

“I know him. He lives at my house most of the time, but he’s buried near here.” I motioned for my ghost, Nigel, who was an artist in life, to come join us.

I pulled up a chair for a friend that nobody but Constantine Jones and I could see. I ordered coffee for Nigel. He sat in the chair holding the cup and letting the aroma pass through him. He can’t drink it but he can smell it, which is a small comfort for a ghost.

We talked more of art, and the weather, and small things that friends talk about.

After two hours Connie went his own way and Nigel came home with me. As we drove down the freeway Nigel changed the radio station about thirty times. I finally yelled at him to stop it.

And now I’m home. I don’t know where Nigel got off to.

From my window I cans humming birds in the lemon and orange trees. The calico cat sits snoring in a chair. I can hear the other cat scratching a piece of wood outside.

I feel better. Sometimes we just need to get away from ourselves for a while, or at least get into a different place where we can be the selves we need to be, and deserve to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Even Vampires Get the Blues

Family lore said he left the battle fields of the war between the states and ran California to seek his fortune. There he died in a mine explosion. But he really went to Patagonia where he met a strange man with the voice of an angel. From there he met a man with the voice of an angel who hired him to go to London to hunt Vampires. And that is exactly what he did before he was murdered by a whore who said she did it for love. His niece ended up with all the gold and didn’t tell anyone.

 

I have the house to myself today and I was trying to pound out a blog post or maybe a story about the California Gold Rush, when my brother Andrew staggered down the stairs. Not quite alone. Andy had bad days, weeks, months… He tries to get in a good place by not spending too much time alone.

I give him coffee. He sits across the table from me. I can tell he is feeling numb and helpless. This extraordinarily gifted being feels this way for no reason – it just comes on like a wave, or so he describes it.

“I’d take drugs for this if I could but they don’t work for us,” he told me.

“I know sweetie,” I told my older brother. All four of my brothers are older. Andy is the second in line.

He is good at hiding it and dealing with it and avoiding it and trying not to acknowledge it. He doesn’t let it define him. But it is hard sometimes.

Andy had inspired a lot of my stories. This includes the popular stories Morning at the Vineyard  and Dancing on the Beach. He is a musician, a lover and gentle soul and can party like no other. He is impulsive and the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met.

When he arrived I had a list of activities. No matter how painful it was he always tried and often the flurry of action and stimulus would knock him out of it. Odd how it works.

We chatted for a while over coffee. I poured a liberal amount of blood into his (remember we’re Vampires) and told him of some fun people we’d meet later tonight… yes, we’re Vampires remember.

But no matter what you are, if you’re a little bit of human you can get the blues. Werewolves get it bad. Regular Humans get it really bad. We just need to be sensitive and help those who have it. Just telling someone to snap out of it is like telling someone with a broken arm to snap out of it.

Andy asked about my blog post, the silly stuff I was writing about hidden stories. We takes about our family, my kids, or brother Aaron’s kids, our pets, music, his work and a lot of other things. He ran his hand through his long brown hair and closed his eyes then gave a slight shake of his head, as he does sometimes.

He takes my hand. “Thanks Jewels, I’m going to be fine.”

“I know,” I tell him. He’ll be fine as long as he remembers that it isn’t him. It is something else. He told me that a long time ago.

So anyway, we have a lot to do so we’ll get on with our fun.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and understanding and good coffee.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Frogs, Rain, and Finding Unexpected Company Under the Floorboards: Keeping in the Light

In the land of eternal drought it has been raining. It has been raining a lot.

The rain means frogs around my house. From May to October we get very little or no rain. In the summer most of the frogs go underground into their mud shells and wait for the rain. A few come up to my deck and hang out in the planters, or hide underneath the front porch in the hot weather but most vanish under the ground.

Anyway right now their chorus is deafening at night. They’re called Sacramento Valley Chorus Frogs. Really. That is what they’re called. They’re tiny little things with huge voices.

My dog lets me know when deer and coyotes come into the field behind my house. There are always turkeys. If I look up into the sky I can see eagles, hawks, and a large assortment of song birds. If I go outside the humming birds will buzz around my head. The hummers are fearless because they know nobody can catch them.

Occasionally my brother Aaron will call me to help distract some old dried up shadow creeping Vampire from a building. His friend Austin Durant, a Vampire Hunter, often is along. The only reason they call me is because I’m not afraid and I’m the only one small enough to get into most of the tight places under houses and in attic walls.

I guess the point is that even when it is raining or seems like nasty out nobody needs to stay hidden behind walls. I wonder why my brothers, friends, and I choose to Vampires who live in the real world, and others crawl away and hide. Sometimes they hide for years, until they dry up, like frogs who live in a drought for a hundred years.

There are regular people like that too, living like the frogs who get stuck in the hardened ground forever.

If you know anyone like that you need to go water them. Bring them out. Let them sing their songs again.

Then again, if they’re Vampires, leave that to the experts. Let me know and I’ll hook you up with someone who can help. You don’t want to mess with Vampires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Rain and Frogs

One of our frogs. They’re tiny. You could fit 6 or more in the palm of your hand.

Another Rainy Day (or Night)

Maybe it is the gray weather, or just changes, or nothing, but the gray mood of Winter continues, way past the first day of Spring.

Anyway, my jeans and sweatshirt were still wet from going out in the rain, as I looked up #vampires on Twitter just out of curiosity. It was all fangs, dripping blood, sexy hot male Vampires, and a lot of violence. Seriously, I’m always up for the sexy hot male Vampires, but you know, after kids, and pets, and business, and taking care of stuff at home… I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to drip blood all over my clothes, try to get the stains out, go shopping for new clothes, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and not to mention getting the damn stuff out from under my fingernails. I find a friendly neck or a wrist. I keep it clean and simple, I go on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have a life. I don’t have time for the drama right now. And it is raining. Hard. Really hard.

I spent the day driving around in the car with an 85 pound German Shepard. She slept most of the time while I made all of my stops. It wasn’t interesting. No Vampire councils, no visits to any clairvoyants, no tight skirts and red heels (Vans today.) We went to the used book store, the post office, Trader Joe’s (yes, there is stuff there I need), to the high school, and then Dutch Brothers (where they can make anything sugar free for Vampires who as you well know love coffee.)

So I’m looking up different hash tags because I’m tired of political crap today and trying not to get sucked down the rabbit hole even more… don’t leave me because there is a story here…maybe.

My brother Andy called. Andy lives in San Francisco, in St. Francis Woods no less. I live near Sacramento. Andy is eight years my elder but who’s counting. We’re both over 15o years old so birth order doesn’t always matter at this point.

I hear Queensryche playing Another Rainy Night in the background. The band wasn’t there, Andy was playing it on an unknown device. I mention that because my brother Andrew is an insanely talented musician.

“Oh sweetie, did someone break your heart again?” I had to ask.

“No, it’s just the rain. I’m thinking about the loves I’ve lost over the years. Far far too many to count.”

“I know Andy,” I said.

“Maybe it isn’t even that. It is just a bad day. You know when it just hits you like a wave and every cell in your body feels like it is just going to stop.

“I know,” I said. Depression. It never makes sense. “You should call James. Tell him to bring the Unicorn over,” I said. I hate Andy’s friend James, but he always seems to snap Andy out of his moods. James is so sexist that he’d make the entire Trump administration look like members of the Pantsuit Nation. Jokes aside, he would. He also has a Unicorn. A real Unicorn. Nobody can resist the cheering charm of a Unicorn.

While I’m talking to Andy there is a knock on the front door. Then I hear our brother Val (almost a twin we’re so close in age) call out “Hey, Jewels.”

I put the phone on speaker and he talks to Andy. Val can always cheer up a room with his infectious laugh. You know, that sort of horse funny laugh that young men have (despite his 158 years.) Val is charming and soon we have Andy out of his gloom, at least we hope. In fact I invite Andy on our Spring Break adventure to the mountains and snow, but at least it will be beautiful and he won’t be alone.

We’ll have a weekend of quiet beauty and maybe even a bear sighting or two. They (the bears) are just coming out of hibernation, and for some unknown reason they always cross my path. These are black bears mind you, but I have had a grizzly cross my path before. That will scare even the most hardened Vampire, and even Werewolves. One does not mess with the one who is at the very top of the food chain.

I tried to think of another song to suggest to Andy, but by then he didn’t seem so depressed, but in an hour it might come back, but it might not. I tell him to resist, to tell it no, to not allow it in, not to embrace it, not to acknowledge it, or let it see him. It lurks around like a mean little demon who scuttles silently along the walls, waiting, watching, hungry to suck out as much as one’s soul as it can.

Then I think of the quiet woods, and know that we’ll find peace this week, along with laughter and love. No #scaryvampires. Just #lovedvampires.

Have a great weekend everyone. Find your peace.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Fallen

Fallen

“Oh man, I wish we could turn into bats like in the movies. That would make things a lot easier.”

Max leaned against the kitchen counter listening to his friend Pierce. It had been a rough night for the hunters of shadows – the Vampires who were dedicated to keeping their world safe for both Vampires and those they lived among.

“Do you think she’ll be alright? I didn’t say anything in the car. You know how sensitive she is.”

Max poured himself another glass of wine. “She’ll be fine, eventually. I’ve seen her through worse. Mehitabel has seen herself through worse.”

Mehitabel won’t tell you if anything is wrong. Come on Max, she took on…” Peirce paused.

“A fallen angel. Sure, and some people call us fallen angels. They have no idea. We’re just physically different. The fallen angels are pure evil.”

“So is the poison that entered our friend, your lover.”

“We’re just friends.”

“Bullshit Max. That is total and complete bullshit.”

The sound of the shower upstairs turned off. Max put down his glass and went to check on his friend.

Mehitabel sat on his bed, her hair dark and wet around her shoulders. She wore one of his robes, a burgundy colored brushed silk.

“Hey, how do you feel?” he said stepping close putting his hand on her cool cheek.

“Not good. Sort of weird, like someone broke my heart, but I don’t know how or why or who. It wasn’t him.”

Max started to pull the robe open.

“Not tonight Max. Please I don’t want to have sex with you or anyone right now, alright.”

Mehitabel, I don’t want to… I… just let me look.” He pulled open the robe to see the large gash going from the top of her left shoulder down her arm almost to her elbow. The ugly wound had sealed but it was far from being healed. She winced as he touched it. An ugly blackness outlined the edges of the tear.

He put his hand over the wound. At first she tried to pull away but as he whispered words in an ancient language of their people the pain started to leave her arm. Then he bent over and kissed her shoulder. The blackness turned to a pale red. “I came to give, not to take.”

Tears filled her eyes as she lay back on the bed. Max lay next to her and put his arms around her. “Sleep. It is the best thing you can do. I’ll be up later. Nothing can hurt you here, not while Pierce and I are with you.”

Downstairs Pierce had turned on the TV. “Giants lost today but the US team is kicking butt in the Olympics. How is she?”

“Not good. I’m going to sleep with her tonight. Just sleep and be there.”

Max and Pierce stayed up to watch the Olympics to get their minds off of the past 48 hours.

Mehitabel lay in bed, her fangs ready as she looked out at the creature standing on the window ledge. “You cannot hurt me here. You cannot have me.”

It looked like a man, but she could see the flicker of the forked tail in the dark and the fold of leathery wings above his shoulders.

He smiled an angelic smile of pure bliss and beauty, then mouthed the words, “You’re mine. You. Are. Mine.”

At the sound of the door opening the dark being vanished. Max crawled under the covers bedside her. “Just because, just because we’re the way we are, and because I can’t give you… it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”

She didn’t respond. She was too busy watching and waiting as she looked into the darkness outside the window.

 

~ End

 

Fallen Angel Dore

A story from ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman