Autumn Leaves (aren’t falling quite yet) and a Ghost

Despite the unusual heat it still feels like fall. The cool mornings and placement of the sun triggers that fall feeling I love so much. The bird songs are also different with the transition between the birds who fly to the South and those who winter over here. 

Yesterday it was hot and dry. I can’t remember a 90°F day in October. 

The only leaves that are falling are on the oak trees that just turn brown and dump into my driveway. All of the other trees are still green. At least the trees are green. Everything else is brown. The photo here is from a walk I took yesterday with my dog Alice. 

Thoughts come to Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and birthdays. We already celebrated my mother’s 491st  birthday. Next comes my brother Val on the 22nd, and then mine on the 23rd. That doesn’t include the dozen friends who also have October birthdays. 

This morning I was cleaning off the back deck. Don’t raise your eyebrows, Vampires have to take care of their homes just like anyone else, especially now that we’re all staying home a lot more. 

As I swept dirt and leaves off of the top deck down below on the construction of the lower deck I heard a “What the hell? Are you trying to kill me?”

I looked down to see Nigel the ghost standing there. 

“Oh shut up, you’re already dead. It isn’t like anything is going to hurt you or even fall on you,” I said.

“Come down to the lower deck,” he said.

“What so I can listen to your insults?”

“No,” he said with a quick smile. “So I can make you feel like the seasons are changing.”

Construction is going on so the stairs are gone. By the time I went inside, through the garage, and out back to the construction site I could hear music. A band, literally a band of ghosts were on my partially built deck playing, Tahiti: A Summer Night At Sea.

Nigel held out both of his hands just like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. “Dance with me,”

I was wearing dirt covered jeans, wet flip flops, and a worn out tank top without a bra. “Not now Nigel.”

He took my hands and suddenly I was in a sea foam green dress with a light twirling skirt, my hair was in a riot of curls fastened with a diamond clip, and my feet were bare on a floor of sand. 

I found myself being led around the deck, expertly stepping around any tools left out. 

“For a Vampire you have absolutely no rhythm,” he said.

“I never said I could dance,” I said. 

Suddenly he stopped and we were back on the deck, and I was in my old dirty jeans again. Nigel glanced at the ghostly guitar player.

He started to play, Autumn Leaves.

“Let’s try this again,” said Nigel.

“So any plans for Halloween?” I asked.

“Some major haunting. It will be awesome.”

“Anyone in particular?” I had to ask.

“I think I know who killed me.”

“What?” I stopped. Nigel pulled me close. He seemed exceptionally cold, and that is pretty cold considering I’m a Vampire. Then again it it was HOT outside.

“Don’t stop. Yes, I remembered her face. It was the last thing I saw as I lay there in under the shower with my skull smashed open.”

“She? It was a woman?”

“Yes, but I don’t quite remember who she was. My memory sort of went to hell after she killed me. So what are you doing for Halloween?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing at all?”

“2020.”

“What about your birthday?”

“I’m going to the art museum. It will be the first time since it closed in March.”

“Ohhhh I should go too.”

“You might as well considering it’s your birthday too. I have four tickets but since you’re a ghost you won’t need a ticket or a mask for that matter.”

He smiled. “I’d be 61 if I wasn’t dead. Hey, can we stop by my grave. It isn’t far from the museum. On my birthday people leave letters and drawings there. Some of them even pour Whiskey and wine on my grave. You know, sharing a toast to me. I bet my body is completely pickled by now and no doubt looking almost as good as the day before I died.”

Then he stopped, and the music stopped. “It is so damned dry around here. But do you feel like it might be fall yet?”

“A little,” I said.

I looked up and saw my husband Teddy on the top deck waving down. Nigel waved up and yelled, “be a good Vampire and take her someplace cool.” Then he vanished before I could tell him thank you for the short escape.

That’s all. Nothing else happened. The ghosts all vanished. Teddy and I went inside and caught up on our day and our kids, and the usual Vampire news.

I didn’t suddenly see any fall leaves fall out of the sky, but my trees are full of green oranges and lemons that will be ripe in December or January. 

Happy fall everyone and happy haunting.

  • Stay safe
  • Be kind
  • Wear a mask
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Give thanks
  • Vote
  • Talk to your kids
  • Check in on those who are ancient or need extra help
  • And kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Evolving

It cooled off today. It FINALLY cooled off.

I can’t imagine having Middle School or High School kids right now. I don’t know how well mine would have done with online school. It is a challenge for everyone. My children were tech savy so that wasn’t the problem. It was everything else, by that I mean the social aspects of Middle and High School. Kids grow up fast and learn how to socialize. They have to deal with group projects, weird people, and other distractions that get them ready for the real world work world. They make friends that they have for life, or at least think they have for life. They’ll have their first romances, dances, clubs, art shows, and so many other things, like meeting friends at a locker between classes, or just hanging out.

Recently my grown kids experienced losing childhood friends. They didn’t die, they just didn’t recognize their old friends. OK to be honest it was political fall out that disgusted my kids. It was difficult for one of them to see close childhood friends become racist or sexist. It was difficult to see their smart childhood friends become Covid-19 and science deniers. I knew it was bound to happen. Fortunately most of their friends didn’t go off of the deep end.

My kids respect the right for others to have opinions, but not opinions that hurt others.

Now you know why us paranormal types don’t let anyone know what we are. Holy shit. I don’t want to go back to the days when we were burned at the stake or locked up in crypts with wooden stakes in our hearts. That would not be good.

You know, I can hardly write this post because of the stupid new “works like shit out of rusty can” block settings. Who the hell writes like that? Plus I can’t find anything. There was supposed to be a photo here but it kept freezing up and I couldn’t get to the insert image block without being bumped up to the top of the page. Just let me write God Damn IT.

Earlier today I saw Nigel the ghost is sitting outside hanging his feet over the edge of the half built deck. He is in jeans and a button down white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and his black hair brushing down over his collar. He looks up at me and gives me his “What the fuck Vampire?” look.

Our weird passive aggressive neighbor was walking behind the house along the fence line checking out my yard. I have no idea why he feels the need to be checking out our construction project or our orange trees and compost barrel. If I could have gotten away with it I would have pegged him with a pocket rocket (sling shot) or thrown a rotten orange at him.

I’ve thought about asking a ghost to go haunt them but considering their kids refuse to visit them and they don’t have any friends they’ve made their own haunted house. This guy spends all of his time in the side yard and side corner of his back yard because he has no windows facing my house. He can’t see what we are doing so he has to pretend he has yard work, only he doesn’t have a back yard. It is just wild with no fence going down into the field. He planted some ground cover as an excuse to go out there. But seriously, who spends eight hours a week taking care of a patch of ground cover? A crazy pathetic man who can’t stand to be in the house with his wife – that is who.

My new neighbors have also become obsessed with my flower filled front yard. Heaven forbid a single daylily go a half inch over the property line. My yard is on their garage side. They can’t even see it from their house. It isn’t like I had a side yard full of weeds and junk like they do. It isn’t like we go make noise at all hours under their master bedroom window like they do to us.

My husband describes them as vile pathetic people. Unfortunately our close friends who used to live there (for over 10 years) moved away and the owners of the house they rented from moved back in. Nobody in the neighborhood was happy about that.

If they died nobody would know for weeks or maybe months. That is sad indeed. Don’t worry, they don’t have pets. And I used to think we were the weird ones on the street.

Don’t worry. I can deal with it.

These days everything annoys me and everyone else. Aside from wearing a mask I suggest we all turn off the news and maybe only listen for the weather and the reports about giant pumpkins, dogs and cats who are looking for forever homes, and cool things kids are doing to keep happy and healthy.

I’m not surprised that most Werewolves I know are spending more time in the mountains away from everything and everybody. They used to just go up during the full moon. Now many of them are up there most of the time.

Parties or no parties, Halloween will be here soon.

I hope to chill and maybe even write some chilling Halloween posts, or at least fun posts. I have a lot of ideas but so many distractions.

My brother Max is being bothered by a Demon, Vlad is still confused, my children and thriving and having adventures, Austin Durant is attempting to get through this semester teaching college and helping my brother Aaron get rid of unwanted pests, and the ancient ones will celebrate Halloween no matter what happens. I’ll keep you all posted.

In the meantime I think I’ll have a glass of wine and maybe watch some baseball and work on some macrame. Why? Because that is what Vampires do. It isn’t all about sucking blood out of necks.

~ Wear your mask
~ Talk with your kids
~ Call your parents
~ Hug your dogs and cats
~ Feed a squirrel
~ Keep your bird feeders full
~ Be zen and sweep rather than using a leaf blower
~ Stay safe
~ Don’t be a dick
~ Be kind
~ And kiss a Vampire (the sooner the better)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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

Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is almost here

Ghosts and Goblins yell and cheer,

Witches drink their Bat Eye Beer

Halloween is almost here.

 

halloween kittie

 

At the crack of dawn this morning, actually about an hour before, I looked out on my deck to find two ghosts holding coffee mugs and savoring the first stirrings of the woodland creatures who live in my yard and behind my house (along with the sounds of fire truck sirens, trucks and a random dog bark or two.) I watched my translucent friends put their heads together in close conversation, occasionally laughing or using hand gestures.

These ghosts have discarded any old ideas of white sheets and hollow eyed wails. They leave that for others. Sure they can haunt the crap out of anyone and show their form in death (a rather violent image, especially for the one called Mary) but they usually choose not to.

He has pale skin and dark, almost black glossy hair that layers around his face. She has long reddish brown hair that she lets blow in the ghostly winds that most of us can’t feel.

If it was any other pair of ghosts I would have chased them off, but these two are mine. At least mine because they live in my space. I usually don’t like ghosts or anything without a body, but there are always exceptions.

I didn’t interfere with their reveries. I’d pick up the cups later. That is the empty cups they fill with their phantom coffee. I had other things on my mind.

Earlier my husband Teddy had come home with a scratch across his handsome face. Three scratches from fingernails to be exact and bites in various places.

He’d been called to see about a rare pocket watch a client of his was looking for. When he arrived at the old Victorian he discovered that the apartment was below street level (the original street level.)

The door was answered by a woman of shocking appearance. She was bloated like a dead thing that had been out in the sun. Her eyes were sunken and rimmed with pale pinkish red. Despite her bony frame the fashionable black dress she wore strained at the seams. White blonde hair tangled around her face. Blood caked around the corners of her mouth and on the cuticles of her fingernails.

He recognized her, barely. In 1934 he’d spent two weeks with her on Catalina Island. People thought she was a film star with her Jean Harlow looks and beautiful clothes. So much for happy memories.

She told him that now she fed on transients and outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. Rather than taking a pint or a quart here and there she sucked them dry. Nobody would miss them or care. It always looked like natural causes anyway. Then she’d sleep it off for a week or two and start again.

Teddy, being the man he is and a Vampire with a social conscience tried to tell her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Bad move Teddy. She attacked him, screeching that she never asked to be a Vampire. She didn’t choose that life. She had become isolated as those she preyed upon.

As she fled into the night  The young man who made the nicely decorated basement apartment at home was in a deep sleep. He wasn’t someone off the grid but someone who’d left his bedroom window open and a Vampire climbed in. Teddy had the decency to erase any bad memories the young man might have had. Then Teddy called a Vampire Hunter to take care of his old friend. Teddy didn’t have the stomach to do it himself.

We talked about it for a while and like so many things it just seemed sad. Too many things seem sad.

Halloween is almost here but we’re already up to our eyeballs in scary shit, including just about everything in the news and other stupid stuff.

But then again like all families we’re busy to the point where we can’t stop and even think about anything much. It is like this all the time. Halloween brings a flood of activity. The kids will be in town for my mother’s birthday. Friends, activities, and the usual Vampire stuff.

But I’ll make it a point to stop and sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.  And tomorrow we’ll set pumpkins on the front porch and plant fall bulbs.

 

Halloween is almost here

Werewolves howling is so near,

Zombie looking for his ear,

Halloween is almost here.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Fall

Dear Diary,

Autumn is attempting to come to this hot dry place in which I live. A few trees have started to show off their golden and red leaves. The other leaves just fall because they are dead. Now I must rake them into a pile and put them in what is called a green waste can even if they are brown. My neighbors use machines called leaf blowers. I have one of those as well. I turn mine on when I leave home and put it on my back deck so that I will not have intruders.

As a Vampire I should not be concerned with the colors of the day but one can not live only in the dark. One must be on watch all hours of the day. No Vampire who lives more than the natural life span of a man sleeps soundly or deeply.

Even in the colder of weather, even if it rained, even if a glacier rumbled slowly down the street which I live on, men here would wear short pants and show off their hairy legs.

I have asked women if they find these shorts appealing. I am answered with odd stares and rolled eyes. I will assume that they are saying no. Still I do not understand. Why would a man wear a shirt, a sweatshirt, a jacket, a hat, wool socks, hiking boots, and short pants? Are red hairy knees thought to be attractive? I think not. Even though my legs are perfect I will not wear short pants when the weather turns cold.

I asked my Vampire lover Gillian about this. She told me that not everything is tied to one’s vanity. I have no idea what she meant by that. I have learned that it is better not to ask.

That is the world in which I, once the King of Vampires, exists.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Gillian said I should stop talking about shorts.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I find myself behind on cultural traditions of the Twenty First Century.

Today if the first day of the harvest season.

When I was King of the Vampires, and lived in a great castle on a hill surrounded by forest and farmland, there were great celebrations on this first day of the season.

As King of Vampires it was my job to make sure that all, not just Vampires were happy. After all I was proud that my kingdom was the Farm-to-Fang Capitol of the world.

Mind you, some Vampire Lords would exploit their populations with displays of spewing blood and tearing of flesh. I found that distasteful. Rather I found if my population was happy then I would be well fed and happy. It is common sense. Unfortunately, as it is also today, many leaders do not have common sense.

Each year a grand harvest festival would take place. During the day parades with men made of straw, wagons full of grain and root crops, and children dressed up with tall pointed hats the color of the gold and amber leaves. Even the Witches would come out to bless the harvest and keep the evil spirits away. Being the benevolent King that I was, I would allow all, including Witches and even Werewolves to show themselves at this time. Every door would have a wreath made of ribbons and wheat. Red ribbons meant that Vampires were welcome to come and partake of blood.

Warm blooded would curl their beards in wild patterns and attempt to outdo each other. Most Vampires had no beards, so they would curl their hair. I did not curl my golden locks, rather I would remain as I always was, a stunning example of male beauty and power.

The parties and feasts would last for days. At my castle we would have fresh blood, and watch as the men of straw were burned in great bonfires. There would be no executions at this time, only the burning of straw and wood.

Today I made a wreath out of wheat and ribbons. Since I no longer am king, and I no longer have farmland, I had to obtain my wreath materials from a craft store.

I discovered that a craft store is the domain of females. The other shoppers and store clerks watched in as I looked for supplies. I could hear them whispering and skittling around the isles of the store to get a look at me.

“He is so cute,” I’d hear them say, thinking I could not hear. I am a Vampire so I hear nearly everything. I do not know what they mean by cute. Kittens and puppies are cute. Hamsters are cute. I do not look like a hamster. Some they thought I was hot. I wondered if I looked as if I was ill. I had no fever.

I left with a glue gun, 100 sticks of glue, five wreath forms, wheat stalks, ribbon in black, orange, yellow, gold, red, and green. I also had an unpainted nutcracker, fabric for a scare crow face, a straw hat, buttons, 30 colors of acrylic paint, paint brushes, fabric paint, glitter, a book on how to knit, knitting needles, black wool yarn, fuzzy red yarn, a sketch pad, twenty quills and ink, a measuring tape, a pack of needles, five colors of thread, a bag of plastic dinosaurs, a bag of sea shells, calligraphy pens, and a six foot tall plastic skeleton. I will go back before Halloween for more items.

At home I made a grand wreath of ribbons and wheat. I hung it on my front door. Then I made a man of straw and put him in my yard underneath an oak tree.

Two of my female neighbors walked by. They said the man of straw was cute. Then they said I was cute for making the man of straw. I do not understand. How can the man of straw be cute when I am cute. I do not understand this word cute.

I was not wearing short pants, but jeans. I was wearing what is commonly called a tee shirt. It was black and stretched over my body like a second skin.

As the women walked on one mentioned my six pack. I do not recall having beer in my front yard for them to see. Another said I must work out a lot. Sometimes I do work outside but not often because I am a Vampire and I do not like the bright sun.

My two cats rolled in the morning sun making meowing noises for me to rub their bellies. I rubbed their bellies. I like the cats. They understand me for they are also hunters. I sometimes understand cats, in a world in which I seem to understand so little.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

My love Vampire love Gillian said to me, “Do people who sell their souls become demons who come back centuries later and become politicians? Asking for a friend.”

“Who is this friend?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes as she often does.

“Tell your friend that I believe the answer is yes,” I told her.

Then she kissed me and started to unbutton my shirt. “I’m going to enjoy that six pack you told me about yesterday.”

“I did not know you like beer,” I said.

Then she laughed. I was confused. Then she kissed me again. That is something I always understand.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

This has been the 52nd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read from the beginning CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words: Fair Oaks

 

Curing olives with my dad

The glug of the garden hose

In the tub of green fruit

Golden fall leaves surround us

And the smell of

New roses and

Fresh mowed grass

We’ll crank the ice cream

Then take one

Last swim

Before the time fades

Away with nothing

Left but love.

 

~ Marla Todd