Musings on Morning Distractions

Dry drought landscape without a ghost in sight.

Dry drought landscape without a ghost in sight.

7:25 am: Drop child off at high school. Have fun, love you, learn something.

7:40 am: Arrive late to 7:30 am meeting.

9:00 am: Meeting over. All is well. OK.

9:15 am: Arrive home. Good dog. Glad to see you too. Check email. Hey sweet kitty. Check email. Answer emails. Send invoices. Think about what I’ll read next. What mood am I in?

9:40 am: Go to bank. Get coffee. I usually make coffee but I didn’t feel like it today and I was already out.

10:00 am: Check email again. Good dog. Glad to see you too. 

10:30 am: Start writing. Sketch out idea for mural that popped into my head and make note to call Amelia about it. Start writing again. Good dog. Glad to see you too.

11:20 am: Feel distracted. I look outside in hopes of seeing a ghost. No luck. The only thing out there are turkeys picking bugs out of the dry grass. Even the squirrels and song birds are taking the day off. I go upstairs. College boy is still asleep. I’ll wake him later. Young Vampires need their sleep. He won’t get much after he gets back to school. He said he wants me to take him to Target later to get stuff for his house. Sounds like fun. The girl child is collecting stuff for college already but the man child is lacking in his domestic planning. His thoughts are on his wardrobe. Image is everything. EVERYTHING.

So I’m now here writing a blog post about my typical day because, while I was motivated this morning I’m finding myself with a major case of brain-drain.

The calico cat is curled in the next chair making a loud snoring purring noise. She is exceptionally cute, especially considering what a stealth killer she is.

I check my email again. Someone wants to know how to turn someone into a Vampire. I send the message to my trash bin. Someone else wants to know about writing a novel. I say DO IT.  A friend sends a lunch invitation. It is the kind of lunch invitation I like. A little food, maybe a glass of wine, then some private time with my teeth in his neck, and sweet dreams for him. I could use that. Maybe it will help with my brain drain.

I add water to the fish tank. The goldfish get all excited and swim around like they’re playing Just Dance on the wii. Goldfish are like that. Another reason it is fun to have them around.

I got the goldfish so they could make my office a good workspace. Unfortunately I bring my computer to the breakfast table and work here. The fish space gets too bright in the mornings. Even if I wasn’t a Vampire it would be too bright.

Downstairs I look out the window. Not ghosts. No birds. No cats. No green grass. Just a kumquat tree filled with bees and a sorry mess of droopy orange and lemon trees screaming for me to water them. The rosemary is happy without me. I wish the drought would end.

My coffee is gone that means I need to get back to my book… and wake up my sleeping beauty so I can have an excuse to be distracted again.

Good dog. Glad to see you too. Do you want a treat? Good dog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Snoring out a purrrrrr

Snoring out a purrrrrr

Blogging and Vampireing and Parenting

Summer has been quiet this year. Yes, school is out. Kids are home. My kids are busy but they are older and more independent now that they’re older. They ask me to make coffee for them too. They sleep a lot. They spend time with friends. They study. They come up to me when I’m working and give me hugs. In a few days we will all be going to the Van’s Warped Tour. Oh boy.

We’re busy. Super busy. Yet it is quiet. Low key. Calm.

I keep my children close this summer. I trust them and let them do their own thing, but I keep a close eye. I trust them, but I keep watch, of others, of other things.

They are not followers, my children, so I don’t have to worry about them being twisted and turned in directions they shouldn’t go. Their young judgment is sound, or at least, I feel, more sound than others their age.

This morning, while my children sleep, I was out giving a rare drink to my drought stricken trees. Burrs and fox tails stuck to my shoes and pants as I hauled the hose down the hill to the orange and lemon trees. Not a green blade of grass was to be found. Leaves curled up due to lack of water and love. It reminded me of a story – something a friend recently told me.

Last night I was talking to my friend Ben. I Benjamin and I have been friends for a long time. He is also the father of my son’s best friend Randy. Anyway, he told me a story I’d never heard before. I knew he was a homesteader at one time but this is what I learned.

In the 1870’s Ben traveled to the Western plains to become a homesteader. He’d gone with his friend John, John’s wife Alma, his cousin Will and Alma’s sister Mary.

Life was hard and dirty. Bugs, mainly flies and lice infested their house. Everything was covered with dirt that could never be cleaned off. The human company proved to be no better than the insects. Will appointed himself in charge. In the isolation of the prairie he demanded obedience body and soul of the rest of the party.

There was no place to go. They rarely saw others. Life was harsh – not the new beginning Ben had thought it would be.

A year into the homesteading experiment, a visitor came to their sad farm.

Two men and a young girl stopped by and asked if they could stay for the night. One of the men, a Mr. Kent was a poet. He read to them by the light of an outdoor fire. Ben felt alive for the first time in months. The strangers spoke of news of the cities in the rest of the country. They brought books. They gave bars of rose scented soap to the women.

When the strangers were ready to leave they asked Ben if he would like to go with them. Of course the answer was yes. Ben begged Mary to come with them. He’d assumed they’d be married, but she said she would be Will’s husband.

Ben told her that she’d have a life of hardship under Will’s brutal hand, but she stayed.

When Ben arrived in Sacramento he asked Mr. Kent to turn him into a Vampire. Later he heard that his friend John had killed Will during a blizzard and left with the women. They went back east and Ben never heard what happened to them after that.

So while I picked stickers off of my shoes with one hand, a hose in the other hand, I thought of Ben’s story.

Where I stood, gold miners came to seek their fortunes in the 1850’s. The land went back to oak forests. A hundred and fifty years later houses were build. I moved in. Holy crap, I could never be a homesteader in a sod house.

Ben and I talked of our children and the adventures that they would have. Their adventures will take them many places, but I think, I hope those adventures will be all good.

“Are you still glad you became a Vampire?” I asked Ben.

“Of course,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In the quiet busy summer I’m trying to be inspired but trying too much. My blogging mind sometimes feels as dry as this drought.

It is funny how something like dragging a hose over a dry hill will bring stories to my mind. Or how a story from a friend will beg to be shared.

I hear movement from upstairs. I hear a cat running up and down the hallway. I hear my children laughing. Summer is here, but rather than dry, it is rich and blooming.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman









It Was a Dark Stormy Night – Kids, Vampires and Thoughts On Life


If you’re a parent don’t assume anything about people without children. They aren’t like the Baroness in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the Witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Note: My husband Teddy always has a point to make about that Witch. What would you do if a couple of little urchins come to your home and start tearing it apart and eating it? It wouldn’t go down well.

It was a dark stormy night last night even in my drought stricken universe (California.) The captain and his crew…just kidding.

The kids were discussing the fact that Presidents (as of the United States of America) have speechwriters. My teens are of the opinion that if you can’t write your own speech you aren’t qualified for the job. Presidents have always asked for advice but blame it on Harding for having the first guy hired for the job.

The rain was pounding on the roof. There was a knock on the door. But wait…who could it be?

On my front porch stood my  brother Max and his partners Pierce and Mehitabel. They’re not just friends. They’re the Vampires who hunt Vampire Hunters. They’re the Vampires who hunt rogue Vampires. They’re the Vampires who kick ass and make no excuses, no regrets, no turning back on any situation.

Of course we said they could crash at our place for a day after a messy job taking care of some rather unsavory characters both human and non-human. It is what they do.

Pierce was the first to come down after cleaning up. He is one of those tall lanky guys with mismatched features and long hair that is attractive in spite of himself. He always has a smile and a story. When Garrett was born Pierce was one of the first to meet the newest member of our community. From then on he always treated the young ones, all of them, as members of the community on equal standing. He loves to tell them stories, teach them things, explain how the world works. In turn the kids make jokes with him that they wouldn’t dare make with other friends. When my daughter was in 6th grade she told him to pick her up from school in his van and yell “Hey little girl want some candy?” Among his charms, Pierce is a bit OCD (he’ll be the first to admit it) so he’ll straighten things out, straighten up crooked pictures and fix odds and ends around the house that we keep meaning to get to.  Of course everyone likes to mention his liberal use of four letter words. That is the Pierce we know and love.

Mehitabel came down a little later like a shadow drifting down the stairs. It was the first time she’d been over to our loud house. She is quiet, at least since she doesn’t know us well. Max and Pierce have known her for years.

I handed her a goblet of mulled wine and blood with nice aromatic spices. I mentioned the noise from Pierce and the kids (not to mention the cats who were screaming for food and attention.)

She smiled at me. “I like it. You know, getting in my family fix.”

As Vampires we’re generally polite and always keep our filters in place. We never ask anyone why they do or do not have children or how many and why or why not. We just accept it. If someone wants to share information then we let them. No rude questions about why one does not look like their child or why they’re alone with no mate. Our lives are our own and we give everyone credit for making their own choices. We let people deal with their lives without having to deal with rudeness. Life can be difficult enough without having to answer for everything.

Of course we’re curious. Of course we want to give advice (which we do when it is needed) but we don’t act like children. And we teach our children not to act like that – we teach them to use their filters and think before they say things. Sort of like the five second time delay on programs like the Oscars. We always try to keep our own time delays in mind.

Max, my alpha Vampire brother soon came down to join us. His arm was bandaged and bruises ran up his neck. Now that is something I had to ask about.

It was the usual grim tale of Vampire Hunters going after the wrong people, Werewolves to be exact. Nerdy Werewolves at that. Going from a couple of Geeks to a couple of Golden Retrievers so to speak doesn’t always help when you have six guys with guns and silver bullets after you. Yes, even Werewolves are sometimes rescue dogs (a little Vampire humor there folks.)

We discovered that Mehitabel never went to school as a child. Pierce had gone to a boarding school that was attended by a dozen other Vampire boys. Garrett and Clara told them eye opening tales from school this week. A teacher was fired for sleeping with a student. A group of students were suspended for calling a teacher a whore and taunting her until she was in tears (I think they should have been expelled.) Some Seniors had to retake a class they’d done poorly in as freshmen even thought they’d already been accepted into good Universities – long story about the insanity at school. Like I’ve said, they go to one of the better schools. It surprised even our hardened Vampire friends who thought they’d seen it all.

We talked about movies and what Vampires would be at the Oscars. We talked about TV and music and more music. The kids showed everyone funny YouTube videos. I told everyone a bit about my writing and art. It was just nice.

Eventually I had to send the kids to bed and the rest of us stayed up and talked more. Then one by one as the wee hours of them morning came close to sunrise my guests went up to bed. We can sleep a lot here since we turned the large attic into a couple of guest rooms and a sitting room.

After too few hours I was up to make coffee then wake my children for another day at school (which isn’t as bad as it sounds, really.) I let Teddy sleep knowing he had a long day ahead.

Pierce was in the kitchen drinking Zen tea and reading Bad Monkey.

“I downloaded and read your WPaD anthologies. I love them,” he told me. I love a man with good taste in literature. We talked books for a bit and it was time to roust my zombies, I mean teens out of bed.

I could hear Oscar the cat scratching to get out of the room where Max usually slept. My brother was asleep curled around Mehitabel who slumbered only as a bone tired Vampire can. He says he could never have a romantic relationship with her but he can’t stay away from her. She is always there for him, not just on a physical level but there is something almost mystical about their connection. One day he’ll lose her to someone else, but she’ll always think of him. They’re so stupid, especially Max.

They’d make pretty little Vampire babies together but I’d never tell either one of them that. Vampire babies are rare as it is so I’m not one to hold my breath over it.

When you’re older you don’t care who has kids or who doesn’t. It isn’t a contest or a prize. As a parent and someone who blogs about parenting I get so tired of the “kid vs kidless” debate. Sure there are a few fucktards on either side of the fence who act like trolls either way, but hey, there is no fence. We’re all friends – big and small, old and young, kids and adults. Behave well, be nice, be considerate, be understanding and all will be well. We’re all Vampires (or whatever you are.)

Have a good weekend everyone, and hug your kids, or any kids you like (even if they’re grown.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


Click here for about the WPaD books. And more on writing.