My Christmas Necklace (a holiday tradition)

A few nights ago we had friends for dinner. Let me reword that. We dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.

I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.

One of my friends commented “You wear that beautiful necklace every year. There must be a story behind it.”

“Teddy gave me this on our first Christmas together. It was his mother’s.” I told everyone the truth, but didn’t tell them the entire story behind it.

It was in the 1880’s. My brother Val and I were young Vampires in London, which was the place to be. It was a golden age for us.

Of course being the young American Vampires we were…we got into a lot of trouble and had way too many adventures of the wrong kind.

So to make a long story short, it was Christmas Eve when Val and I found ourselves trapped in a crypt. Yes, a crypt full of rotting human bodies, not a fit place for any self respecting Vampire of a certain social level. We were of a higher social level. We had class, culture, good looks and money. Most of all we had connections. What Val and I lacked was common sense and experience.

So we’re in this crypt, chased by Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires who were pissed off at us, AND the local police.

We were also trapped. Yes, being the super strong creatures that we are, we could have busted down the door, but that would have done three things. It would have shown a lack of respect for those who were interned in the crypt. It would have made a lot of noise and attracted too much attention. But most of all, we were wearing rather expensive clothing if that clothing were to be ripped it would have drawn too much attention.

So we waited to figure out a plan B or to be rescued. Plan B was our only real option.

Just as we were about to sit on the ground and wait until the next night to break our way out the door started to slide open. We waited, fangs barred, holding on to each other for dear life, yet ready to kill whatever came through to us.

We saw a lone figure shadowed in the doorway.

I could hear a slight hiss under Val’s breath as he readied himself for an attack. Then a voice with a definite American accent said “Valentine? Juliette? Oh my heavens! Is that really you?”

And out of the shadows came Teddy. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years, not since he’d become a Vampire.

We said quick greetings and I asked “What are you doing here?”

He lifted the lid from one of the stone caskets. “This woman couldn’t steal my father’s heart so she stole my mother’s jewelry. I’m here to get it back. I never expected in a hundred years to find you two here.” And with one swift movement he took the necklace from around the neck of a slightly un-fresh corpse and then removed her bracelet and ring.

Suddenly we heard footsteps and saw torches across the lawn. I recognized the voices. “Let’s go. They’re back.” And they were in full force, come to kill the Vampires, who just happened to be us.

We ran down the road as fast as we could. I help my skirt up around my knees and cursed the day I was born a girl. Damn it trousers would have been nice right then.

A cathedral lay ahead, lit up for the Christmas Eve service.

“We can’t go in there,” said Teddy in a panic.

“Why not?” Asked Val.

“Because,” said Teddy “We’re undead. We’re Vampires. We’ll die.”

“We’re not undead. Your heart beats. You have not one but two souls. You are a creature of the night, and this is a midnight service. We will be welcome and blessed for we do harm to no one.”

I grabbed Teddy by one hand and Val by the other and took them into the church. We sat in the back and quietly sang along with our angelic Vampire voices, savoring the candle light and peace of the moment.

After it was over we headed for home, a fashionable and safe house not far away.

“I thought it wasn’t safe for our kind in churches,” said Teddy.

“It usually isn’t.” Val said, brushing off his coat. “But they can’t hurt us in a church. Or at least they do not dare hurt us there. Besides, I like the music. It soothes me.”

“What did you mean about two souls? I thought my soul was gone.” Teddy looked at us in a very serious way.

“Do you think that anyone with so much love and passion could exist without a soul? Oh Teddy, don’t be such a child. We need two souls. One for our own existence and one for our shadow. Didn’t you know that?”

The first rays of dawn arrived as we arrived at the house. Teddy crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. But before he slept, he put the necklace he’d taken around my neck. “My mother always liked you. She would have wanted you to have this.”

I was honored and touched. Since then I’ve worn this necklace every Christmas season.

Vampire Heart

This story was first published here in 2012 but it is one of my favorite Christmas time memories. Hope you enjoyed it. And why yes, I’m going to a party this afternoon and wearing my Christmas necklace! Yes, this is a true story.

Happy Christmas to you and yours,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Silver Webs and Silken Bats

Oh right, I do have a husband. I write about kids, my brothers, other Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, cats, short stories and all sorts of things. I don’t say much about my husband or marriage.

Today he is helping the Elders decorate for Christmas.

He found old netting of silver spider webs and long strings of red glass beads to add to the old fragile ornaments they put up every year.

Over the past few years they stopped decorating but Teddy (my husband) decided they needed a tree.

In the attic he found boxes of hand blown glass owls, small wooden elves from Germany, tiny little bats made of beaded black silk and a large hat box full of shining stars and crescent moons with smiling faces.

Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you need to stop celebrating.

“But who will see the tree?” The ancient Vampires looked confused.

“You will see it,” said Teddy. “I will see it. Your friends will stop by and see it. You need to pick up the phone and call your friends, both Vampires and humans. Call your old Werewolf friends too, I don’t care who you like. If they’re old let me know and I’ll give them a ride here and I’ll give them a ride home. I’ll make them egg nog. I’ll help you make it happen for everyone.”

Tellias and Eleora look young but they’re ancient. They’re older than Christmas, so sometimes they get confused or feel isolated. Sometimes they forget everything outside of their own house.

Teddy always hounds me to call my friends and people I know who might need a friend. We all know what it is like to spend a holiday alone or without cheer of others. Even a little tree or a wreath or a shining star on a string can make a difference. More than that a hug or a call.

Christmas time is about the promise of peace and hope and love. After 2017 years the human race still hasn’t gotten it right, but maybe one day. The smallest acts of kindness can move us closer in that direction.

Wishing you all a season of peace and fellowship.

And about that husband of mine…I’m glad I married him. I always will be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

time for christmas

Ask Juliette: “I don’t want to do it” Edition, plus Vampires and Religion

Ask Juliette (Ask a Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular feature on vampiremaman.com.

If you have a question for Juliette, or something to discuss send me a message at juliettevampiremom @ gmail .com, or post your question in the comment section below.

This week is sort of like the “I don’t want to do it” edition. I also answer a question about Vampires and religion.

Ask Juliette

Dear Juliette,

Hypothetically, you give me a book to read because you think it’ll be helpful to what I’m going through and also helpful for you. We both know I don’t want to read it but you insist that I do. You tell me I don’t have to but continue to vouch for the book. In the end, I say yes to appease you and a part of myself that wants to read.

I read the first chapter and take a break from it. It’s a bit of a long break. After my break, I realize, I really don’t want to continue reading it. Should I keep reading?

This is just a glimmer of the situation I’m in, the decision I have to make but it’s the best analogy I have come up with.

You read the first chapter. You didn’t want to read the rest of it. End of story. Period. Return the book. You don’t need to explain anything.

I love to share books, but that said, reading is such a personal thing. Book clubs are great, but I like to feel like I own the book that I’m reading. I want to savor it. I don’t want my reading experience to be forced.

What you’re describing sounds like a control issue. Someone doesn’t think you can manage your own life. Usually when this sort of thing happens, the book lender is someone who can’t control HER life. I bet it goes beyond the book and into other areas of your life.

Be it a job, an education path, a relationship, or a book, you have the right to refuse options given to you by others. If you don’t want to be a cook, and you hate being a cook, don’t be obligated to your brother Jeb if he gets you a job as a cook. Just like if your friend Ramona asks you to read “Twilight,” and you can’t stand the idea of sparkly Vampires who stalk high school girls then don’t read it.

A few months ago a relative of mine turned down a book I’d given her because the author uses too many F bombs in the dialog. I understand. No problem. I still read the books, but I’m not offended that my relative does not.

In turn if everyone in your family want to Cambridge University, it is ok if you study art in Florence. I want to study art in Florence too – let’s go.

Again: Don’t read the book unless you want to, especially if it is going to be a painful or uncomfortable experience. You aren’t obligated to give a reason. If this is someone who is constantly pressuring you, giving you advice, or you might even want to check the entire relationship back into the library.

Friends don’t always have to agree on everything. Everyone is different. We all find our peace, and solutions to life’s challenges in different ways. A book might work for your friend, but long evening walks might be your way to deal with those challenges.

People who care about you will walk that path of life by your side. But if they really care they’ll let you take your own side path, and then meet them later. You are the one who gets to decide the path of your journey. You’re also the one who gets to decide what you read.

Good luck on this. Hugs. Thanks for writing.

Unknown

Dear Juliette,

Every December 29 my friends give a New Year’s Eve party and invite my family. Dinner is at 6:00 and we just stand around until midnight. Every year I end up bored and spending most of the night avoiding a couple of my friend’s friends who openly disapprove of me and my lifestyle. Last year I was uncomfortable and bored out of my mind. Even other friends of mine who showed up fell asleep on the couch. I spent about an hour in a bathroom playing games on my phone and nobody noticed I was gone. My husband says we have to go because the hosts are good friends – and we usually have a blast with them. Do we have to go?

You have several options.

  1. Go for a few minutes but don’t stay.
  2. Go later just in time to yell Happy New Year and then go home.
  3. Kindly RSVP and say you have other plans.
  4. Go but drink more than usual and take an Uber home.
  5. Suggest a game of Beer Pong.
  6. Figure out why other events were a blast and try to do that again.
  7. Just ignore the bitches who act like bitches. They aren’t worth you’re time.

A word to hosts: When you have a party don’t just invite everyone you know. Invite people you know will get along and enjoy each other’s company. If there is nothing to do for hours, then plan activities like fun games (grown up will like), show some movies, or have a wine tasting session, or something interesting. Think about parties that worked and the reasons why those parties worked.

Good luck, and whatever you do, have a happy New Year’s Eve.

red-poppies-and-daisies-1890-1

Dear Juliette,

With Christmas coming up I was wondering if Vampires celebrate Christmas, and if they have a religion. Do Vampires worship Satan? Are they Pagans.

Ho Ho NO, we, Vampires, are not Satan Worshipers. There might be a few, but if you spend any time with demons you will want to do anything but worship that Devil Dude.

Most Vampires, who were not born that way, which is most Vampires, come into it with some religious background. It is not exclusive to one religion or the other. Most Vampires I know came in with a Judea Christian belief system.

Vampires can see, and communicate with, Ghosts, Demons, Banshees, and other beings unseen by the normal Human eye. Consequently being an Atheist quickly becomes a thing of the past. You might not see an all-seeing-eye but you pretty much see everything, and everyone else.

Over the centuries many Vampires have become part of the clergy. They have been Catholic priests, nuns, rabbis, clerics, preachers, and ministers of all sorts. Sometimes it works out, but usually it becomes a mask to hide what one really is.

We like churches and other places of worship, mainly because Vampires love music, and most have unusually beautiful singing voices. But every other aspect of a church is uncomfortable. The vibes are just off. It is hard to explain.

Within the Vampire cultures are old societies which have made their own traditions based upon ancient Judea Christian cultures, and holidays. In Asia, and Africa the Vampires tend to linger on the edge of those belief systems, or create their own forms of spirituality.

A lot of new Vampires (those who have recently become Vampires) tend to go through an existentialist period. They wonder if anything does matter at all, considering their world has just been knocked off of its rocker. Even if one has a realistic idea of what it is like to be a Vampire, until you’re there, you have no idea what you’re getting into. Even the most idealistic and romantic of Vampires has a harsh adjustment period – and that adjust period includes questioning one’s very existence, and the existence of one’s soul.

We all know that Vampires have two souls, contrary to popular belief. One soul belongs to the individual, and one of for the shadow. Unlike human souls, these can’t be bought, sold, or taken away, or otherwise forfeited. That pisses off the Demons and their boss to no end.

There ARE Vampires who have no souls. Those are the Vampires who are reanimated after their soul completely leaves their body and moves on. They have completely lost any traces of humanity, love, hope, sorrow, empathy, or sense of a past or a future. They are husks of beings who live to drink blood, like ticks in human form.

So what about Pagans? I don’t know any. I suppose if one wants to do that they can. Over the years there have been odd little pockets of Vampires who study old ways. Eleora (who is over 2,000 years old) said most people she knew who were what we today consider Pagans stopped the religion because they were tired of human sacrifices. Aside from that she said they tended to be hostile towards Vampires, Selkies, and other folks who were different.

Most of us believe that we are the ones who determine our own fate. There are forces in the world that we can’t control, but we can control how we navigate those forces.

Do we pray? Maybe. Who do we pray to? That my dear is a personal matter, not to be shouted out in public, just as our existence as Vampires is not to be shouted out in public.

I guess to answer an age old question, and mythology of crosses and Vampires shunning anything to do with holy water or whatever, has an answer. In fact my great great great great Grandmama Lola will tell you loud and clear – as she tells you about how her first husband Thomas was burned to death but people who claimed that we were Devils. It is dangerous for us to go into places where people see us as evil. Yes, bad things happen to good Vampires.

As for Christmas… of course we celebrate Christmas. I just put my lights out on my front porch tonight.

Peace be with you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Starry-Night-by-Vincent-Van-Gogh

Ask Juliette (Ask a Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular feature on vampiremaman.com.

If you have a question for Juliette, or something to discuss send me a message at juliettevampiremom @ gmail .com, or post your question in the comment section below.

Ask Juliette

 

A Christmas Concert

“I was there. I saw the star. I knew something was happening,” said Tellias who is over 2,000 years old. He was right in my face almost yelling.

He tells us that every single year but he never gives us any details. We’ve stopped trying to get information out of him.

I am the one who watches the elders, the ancient Vampires.

They speak in riddles and metaphors, not because they are wise but because they are tottering and annoying. They are confused and trying to get control over their lives that seem so out of control.

Today I took them out to a sing-a-long and a bell concert under the rotunda in State Capitol building in Sacramento. It is a beautiful building restored to how it was in 1880. A good size crowd showed up too.

Tellias was wearing a vest embroidered with snowmen and snowflakes, a large black top coat and a top hat. Eleora wore a red plaid skirt down to her knees, red flats with white lace tights, a sweater with a felt reindeer on it, complete with bells on the antlers and a red cap that hung down her back with a white pom pom. Had it been anyone else I would have told them to change, but since they look like they’re teens it was sweet. Had they looked like the really old people they are it would have been super sweet. Anyone else it would have been just tacky.

It was just Tellias, Eleora, my teenage daughter Clara, my brother Val and me. Garrett, off from college on break, was at my parents in San Francisco for a few days. My husband Teddy was working and everyone else was busy too, or just not to be found.

On the front steps of the Capitol building a photographer was taking photos of a happy wedding party. The bride was beautiful in a strapless dress of pure elegance and fluff. Clara and Eleora discussed the dresses in detail. Val and Tellias walked together discussing architectural details of downtown buildings and what the new arena would do to the character of the area. I took in the view of the park and Capitol Building under the cold overcast sky.

Eleora was in a good mood today. She has been grouchy and temperamental lately and overly critical of everything and everyone. A sweet thing by nature the turn to a grouch hasn’t been good. With that has come hoarding – something that another family member, Grandmama Lola has said NO to. I hope Lola has put a stop to the clutter and papers and obsessions that Eleora has started to take on.

Tellias just sighs and gets depressed, going on walks around his orchard and visiting with his neighbors way too much.

When we entered the concert area in the rotunda the two elders lit up like Christmas candles. Eleora put her arm around my waist and kissed my cheek. Tellias looked pleased and happy to see Eleora laughing in delight.

They listened to the bell concert with great patience. Behind us sat a mother and her little boy. They were delightful. It reminded me of when my own children were small and we’d go to all sorts of concerts and events.

When I was small Tellias and Eleora would take Val and I to concerts and events. We were active and unruly but we’d calm for music and poetry. We’d sit still by the river bank while our dear Ancients told us about the calls of the birds and of giant fish who swam in the waters.

They’d hold our small hands and guide us through the night and teach us that with love there was no fear.

I glanced at them walking by the front of the State Library making a joke about how cold the couple sitting out in front (two statues) must be on this December day.

Things change. People change. Time passes.

But the love we have, even when it pains us, is there. We love and remember and share those memories. But most important – we need to keep making memories.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Yes Virginia, Santa is a Vampire

All Animals Love Santa

All Animals Love Santa

 

December is FINALLY here! Time for glorious trees, holiday cheer, jingle bells, stories of old, Santa Clause, AND VAMPIRES!

So you know what that means…

Winter is here with enough bite to freeze the slow beating heart of almost any Vampire.

My mom used to say to us “Don’t stop your heart or your blood will freeze.”

It is one of those things we have to think about, sometimes. I don’t recall ever telling my own children that, or any other “new” Vampires.

Funny how one thinks of those sayings.

The first bat of the night is a wish. The next is a kiss.

Bad blood is only in the soul.

Dance from dusk to dawn then sleep as if there is no sun.

As a mother (in the 1850’s and 60’s) with a rather large brood of young Vampires (four boys and one girl) my mom took advantage of the holidays in a big way. It was her time to celebrate and bring out the cheer. She was glad to get rid of the musty old gloom of the old days and embrace the Modern Vampire movement.

At the same time a young artist named Thomas Nast created the iconic image of the American Santa Clause. Old Saint Nick was pretty awesome, but Santa was one of our own.

Jolly Old Vampire

Jolly Old Vampire

Yes, Santa Clause is a Vampire – that is a fact:

  1. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake.
  2. He only comes out at night.
  3. Nobody ever sees him.
  4. He has been around for centuries.
  5. He can see in the dark.
  6. Red is his favorite color.
  7. He is jolly (hey, Vampires are jolly).
  8. He likes kids.
  9. He is an icon of popular culture.
  10. He knows who has been good and who has been bad.
  11. Despite his size he can get in and out of any building.
  12. He can make animals that normally live on the ground fly.
  13. Dogs and cats like him (all animals like Vampires because we understand them.)
  14. He makes people happy (don’t argue this point. Check my previous posts.)
  15. He rocks the red suit!

An interesting fact that all teens should know (and their parents): Thomas Nast was only 19 when he started to create illustrations for Harper’s Weekly. Let that sink in. He was only 19.  Let that inspire you.

Plus Thomas Nast rocked the facial hair.

Thomas Nast rocking the facial hair

Thomas Nast rocking the facial hair

So if you see that jolly old elf this Christmas season shake his hand and know that it isn’t the weather that is making that hand cold.

xoxoxo

Happy Holidays, Happy Christmas, Happy Night,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Home for the Holidays (and quiet conversations)

Unknown

I went upstairs to my son’s room.

“What’s up?”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too. What did you need?”

“Nothing. Just wanted to tell you that I love you.”

 

School is out for holidays.

I have a house full of my own two plus their friends who come in and out like my cats (which means constantly.)

We’ve looked at wombat videos, played Christmas music and taken walks in the cold while looking at Christmas lights. Most of all we’ve just spent time being together. Even for creatures who can, if left alone, be extremely solitary we still seek each other out.

Last night we met with friends under a chandelier, around a pool table and a Christmas tree with friends young and old. That is a wide range of ages in my social circle. Kids were back from college, on break from high school, and there were new friends romantic and otherwise.

Watching the younger folks talk and gather in their own circles is always wonderful, their faces bright in the winter night. If one of us who are older step in they don’t mind. We’re all family and we’re all friends. That is just the way we roll.

Garrett’s best friend Randy spent the night with us. The two young men sent me funny texts and photos all night. I have to admit that I’m the one who started it. After Garrett’s last text (just to tell me that he loves me) I went back downstairs to my cats and a nice glass of wine waiting in the kitchen.

Randy followed me downstairs. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans, which is unusually plain for Randy. My young blonde friend is usually wearing plaid pants in  blinding loud color, vests, hats, scarves, assorted watches of both the wrist and pocket kind, and either boots or flip flops.

“Juliette, do you mind if I use you as a reference?”

“I’d love to. But I thought you were working for Vincent Hayes.”

“I was, but the guy is so weird.”

“Weird like how?”

“He thinks he is Christopher Lee or something. Seriously creepy. The guy needs to get into the 21st Century. Then he gives me a bad time for not acting like a serious Vampire. So I ask him what he means and he gives me a big talk about how I’m too happy. Then he like goes off on how I like to surf, and he doesn’t like the girls I hang out with, and he thinks I dress too flashy. I did a good job for him. I was the best assistant he ever had, but man, the guy is such a crypt keeper.”

“I understand,” I told him. I do understand. I can’t imagine working for Creepy Vince or even spending  an hour with the old bastard.

“I think I can get on in the college bookstore. They’ll work around my classes too.”

“Sounds like a plan. You can always use me as a reference Randy. Anytime.”

“Um, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure. What’s up?”

Randy hesitated and pushed his blonde hair out of his face. In a few months this man-child, who not so long ago was a tiny little boy, will be twenty years old.

“You know how I always, like, watch people and make observations. So I wrote a book about a guy in college who watches people, and he is a Vampire, but not creepy. But like us. Then he meets a girl, and she is a Vampire too but it isn’t weird, just sort of funny. Could you read it and let me know what you think?”

“I’d be honored Randy. I’m so proud of you,” I told my young friend and gave him a hug.

“Be honest with me about it. Don’t just be polite. OK?”

“OK.”

We spoke more of writing and his dreams. Then he told me about his music classes and sang a few songs to me he’d written. Then he asked me about my writing. I shared thoughts and gave him and update on my projects.

I don’t mean to sound like a cliché but it seems like yesterday when this child was playing in the dirt with Garrett pretending like they were Werewolves. Now they are adults.

The holidays bring a lot of things, but the thing I love most is that they bring people together, be it loud nights, or quiet conversations.

Anyway, that is it. Wishing you all quiet times and fun times, not just now but for 2016 and well, forever.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman