If you have a cat…

As a parent, even a parent such as I am, one sees a lot of nasty stupid things. You’d think by the time your kids are almost grown (almost 17 and 20) that it would stop. And I’m not talking about kids, I’m talking about parents.

Dear Super Mom,

Maybe the reason you change your children’s teachers, schools, churches, sports, coaches, sports clubs, isn’t because everyone is insensitive and not doing their job. Maybe it is you. Maybe YOU aren’t doing your job. So just shut the fuck up and stop bad mouthing everyone. Look at yourself. And look at your kids – they’re mean to other kids, and they lie. Because of that other kids and adults don’t like them. Go figure your kids are just like you. How sweet. OK I’m done. Peace. 

 

Now that I have THAT out of the way…

Clara and I are planning another cross country road trip across deserts, mountains, and plains. Vampires love road trips. It is a time to crank up the music and see America. And who doesn’t like to taste the local flavor, if you know what I mean.

We are driving from near Sacramento, CA to Lincoln, NE, through Denver, CO. I’ll make sure I send photos from the road and my travel log. We’re going to the National Artistic Roller Skating Championships.

Excuse me for a second. Outside of my window is an angry Ghost. Did I mention that it is the middle of the day and over 105 degrees farenheit outside? Did I mention that I live on a hill, so the window is about two stories up.

I’ll be right back.

OK I’m back.

I motioned for the Ghost to come inside. He looked horrible – almost dead. I mean, he is dead, but not that kind of dead. Unless he is in his head-bashed-in with a frying pan look he had when he died he looks pretty good. He was one of those guys with almost a pretty face. You know, the kind with the sweet smile and eyelashes that make any woman green with envy. Yet, he is still extremely masculine. That does not sway my opinion of him, which is that he is usually a complete asshole.

He vanished in and reappeared standing behind me. His already shaggy black hair was almost standing on end. His skin look gray, even for a ghost. He wore his funeral suit without the jacket, and his black tie was loose around his neck, and he’d rolled up the sleeves.

“You look like you’ve been to Hell and back,” I said to him.

“Don’t even joke about that,” he said, then whispered the words Vampire bitch under his breath as if I wouldn’t hear.

I haven’t seen Nigel, The Ghost, for months, then suddenly he shows up in a bad mood, expecting my full attention.

I wait for him to speak, as one does with a Ghost. And I wait. He says nothing. Then I try to go back to writing something meaningful for my blog post about traveling with teens and young adults, but I’ve lost track of every thought in my head.

So I ask. “What is it Nigel?”

“Nothing.”

“Is it the heat?”

“I don’t have a physical body. I don’t feel heat.”

I’m not one for guessing games. In fact I hate guessing games. You know the type I’m talking about. Someone comes in and says, “Guess who I saw?” or “You won’t believe this. Guess who is getting married?” I don’t want to guess. I don’t want to throw out a dozen names and still not know what you want to tell me. Just tell me. So I didn’t even ask Nigel anything, and of course that drives him nuts, because he’d come back at me with a “guess what” fill in the blank.

The calico cat rubbed against Nigel’s leg. Yes, cats can do that, even if you don’t see the Ghost. Cats always see the Ghost.

Nigel gave the cat a smile and stroked her head, then he glared at me and vanished. I’m not even going to speculate on why he stopped by, other than to annoy me, or maybe he just needed to see the cat.

The train of thought is lost forever.

But I know that if you have a cat to pet then everything will be alright. If you have a cat your most troublesome Ghost will fade away with a smile on his face.

That’s it for today. Time to cool off.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

First published here in 2016. The kids got silver in their event. In 2017 they won gold. We’re not going this year but we’re still skating. I’m also still watching out for Nigel. I passed the cemetery where he was buried a few days ago and thought about him. As for the cats, they’re still sitting on the table by my laptop. 

 

Editors

My Editors Gloria and Oscar: Food and a box is all they ask for (usually)

 

Just another normal paranormal day

I had to go. I had a lunch date. I was looking for my keys. I was running late. I’d spent extra time talking to my daughter before she left for school (never too much time, but anyway), and my son called me so I talked to him for a while. The dog was out with food and water. The cats had food and water. All I had to do was put on my shoes and find my keys. Where were my keys????? I looked in every chair, under cushions, in every room, on every counter, in my purse, in my coat pockets, in my husband’s coat pockets, in my car, in my purse again.

Then I heard a jingle of keys. Standing behind me was The Ghost. Not just any ghost but Nigel, The Ghost.

“Give me my keys,” I said.

He just smiled, then said, “catch.” Then tossed the keys to me. I missed. The keys vanished.

“Nigel, I have to go NOW.”

“Lunch date I assume,” he said.

“Yes. I don’t have time for this.”

His eyes turned black and he smiled. “You can turn you eyes black can’t you?”

“Of course I can,” I said.

“Do it.”

I couldn’t believe him. I just stood there and stared. He stood before me, his eyes now blue again, surrounded by his usual mess of black hair. He was in a white shirt, skinny black tie, and dress pants. No shoes, just socks today.

“Give me my keys Nigel,” I said again.

“Find,” and he dropped the keys in front of me.

I put the keys in my pocket and went to put on my shoes. Of course my shoes were gone.

“Is this a lunch date where you have lunch with somebody, or is your date your lunch?” He asked this with a smirk on his face.

“My date is my lunch. Listen Nigel, I’m hungry, I’m grouchy, and I’m not in the mood for this.”

“Your shoes are by the couch, where I assume you kicked them off sometime during the past twenty-four hours.”

I put my shoes on and got in the car. I could brush my hair with my fingers at the next red light.

“So are you going to bite his neck or his wrist? You are going to bite the guy aren’t you? I assume you’re going to your lawyer friends office? Now THAT is funny, a blood sucker sucking the blood out of a blood sucker.”

I glanced over to the passenger seat. “Get out of my car Nigel.”

“Did you see the ice dancing? Oh MY GOD. Seriously I don’t even know if there is a god just all kinds of weirdness and demons and things that call themselves angels. They’re nasty and mean spirited. All of them. Us ghosts, we’re on our own. Anyway, the ice dancing was amazing. Do you dance Juliette?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“I like to but I’m not good at it. You know Nigel, you can leave now.”

“You’re a Vampire and you don’t dance. That is just sad. That is pathetic.”

He kept talking on stop about the existence of heaven and hell, ice dancing, downhill skiing, and how most politicians were going to Hell and that he knew that for a fact because he is a ghost and ghosts know a lot of things, but they just don’t talk about it.

As I pulled into the parking lot he smiled, and said, “Don’t choke on anything.”

When I arrived home I thought I’d find a little peace and quiet, but my brother Aaron called.

“Juliette, I need your help. There’s a house with a couple of shadow creepers lodged up in the attic. Looks like they’ve been there for at least eighty years, maybe more,” said Aaron.

“Can’t you call the Vampire Hunter?”

“He has a class.”

“Oh,” I said. Austin Durant the local Vampire Hunter is also a history professor at the local State University.  “Can it wait until tonight?”

“I guess, but he isn’t small enough to get into the space to check them out. They’re pretty dried out so I don’t think they’ll be coming alive anytime soon.”

“How about around 9:00. Text me the address. Meet me there. I’m not going in alone.”

“I wouldn’t think of you going alone. Durant will be there too. I’ll make sure of it,” he said.

We talked a little bit more about our kids and spouses. Aaron is a lawyer, but he is also the Vampire who is called when Shadow Creepers and other rogue and soulless Vampires are lurking around, or in this case, sleeping where they shouldn’t be.

After I got off the phone I changed into jeans and a sweat shirt. I had to get some citrus trees and succulent plants covered before the big freezing storm came in and made everything turn black and curled.

I stood in the middle of my family room, a large space which is great for entertaining, playing with the dog, or just thinking. Looking out the window I made a list in my head of everything I needed to get done.

A cold blast of air hit my face. I turned. Nigel was there again. He held out his hand.

I stared at him, ready to show my fangs, but that would have been a waste of time. “What do you want Nigel,” I asked.

“How was lunch Juliette?”

“Fine,” I answered. “What do you want?”

He smiled and took a step closer. “Dance with me. Take my hand.”

I put out my hand and took his, now with a form, as cold as ice. He put his hand around my waist, pulled me close and led me into a waltz, three times around the room. Then he stepped away.

“You can dance. You just don’t want to,” he said.

“When you were alive…” I started.

“I will always be alive. I’m a ghost. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

“You were warm when you were alive,” I said.

He laughed, then said, “you don’t know that.” Then he bowed, smiled again, and vanished.

I covered my trees. Later I visited with my daughter and husband. We watched the Olympics and then took the dog for a walk in the park. Later I helped Aaron. My husband Teddy came along for shits and grins – at least that is how he describes things when we’re dealing with weird stuff like Vampire Hunters and Shadow Creepers. He also reminded me to bring spare clothes and heavy leather gloves.

And we took care of the problem. But that is another story.

Tomorrow I might get something done, or at least more done. Until then I’ll appreciate the small things like my purring cats, coffee with my daughter, or a waltz around the floor with a ghost.

Have a good night everyone, and remember…

Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Hug your kids. If you love someone – tell them. If you have creepy dried up Vampires in your attic or crawlspaces call my brother. And don’t take anything for granted.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

unicorn

When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.

My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.

Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)

I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.

To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.

I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna.  He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.

I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.

“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”

He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”

“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.

“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.

“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.

“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.

I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.

Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”

Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.

“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy.  “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”

Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”

Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her.  It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”

“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.

“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.

“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”

“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”

“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.

“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”

“But…”

Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”

“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.

The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cyprus tree to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.

Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.

“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.

“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.

“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.

Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.

We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.

I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.

Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

everybodylovesapossum

So what inspired you to write this odd little story Juliette?

A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar… to find out what inspired this post in which every single word is absolutely true:
http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

And if you aren’t following the Sharp Witted, Brilliant and Talented Bill Brown and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest you ought to be. 

THE DEADLINE FOR THE 2018 CONTEST OF WHATEVER is MARCH 1st 2018. CLICK HERE for details.

And don’t forget that I WON the 2017 Contest of Whatever with Shelf Critter Theater Starring Vlad and Randolpho from Vampire Diaries. Click HERE to read that amazing story (with pictures.)

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

For the official back story on Andrew and Shawna go to the links below:

Innocenzio Dantonio

Bonjourno

Bonjourno

Florence Italy Lover's Bridge

A perfect January day in Florence, Italy.

I am home from a two week adventure in Italy, complete with Christmas trees, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” style adventures, and finding those lost shadows, and romance for the soul.

So many handsome men, so many cute dogs, SO MUCH ART.

26167418_10212813074740816_7344292004177549822_n

And coffee. Oh the coffee.

And the wine.

I’ll be posting my stories soon. But I’m back for 2018 with new features, new blog posts, new insights on parenting, relationships, elders, tall tales, and critters.

When we arrived home around midnight this morning we were greeted by rain and the sound of millions of frogs.

It is always good to travel, but it is good to be home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Hey Mom, have you ever converted anyone into a Vampire?

As of this month I’ve been blogging for five years, in April it will be five years for Vampiremaman.com (West Coast Review came first.) To celebrate, if you wish to call it that, I’m going to bring you a few of my classic posts from the early days. This one is for all of the Vampire parents out there. And for everyone else out there, do me a favor and do not ask me to convert you to a Vampire because the answer will AWAYS be NO. 

 

readbyvampires

 

Vampire Maman

Hey Mom, have you ever converted anyone into a vampire?

Well, um, as a matter a fact…

As a vampire parent, that question is almost as bad as your kids asking you about sex, or more YOUR past sex life. Or worse, asking if you killed a regular human or anyone else before. With vampires the whole conversion thing is a touchy subject.

Unlike popular movies and books, we rarely convert anyone.

Like I’ve told my son before…

“Here are the facts. 80 percent of vampire conversions end in death. Of those 80 percent who die, about 20 percent are immediate deaths.  Those are the lucky ones. The remaining die insanely painful deaths within two weeks.

Of the remaining 20 percent who live, let’s say we started with a sample of 100. So 20 who are converted survive the first two weeks. They have survived Hell. It isn’t about sucking…

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You Wait at My Door

You wait at my door,

Your bite still fresh,

Your cries

Your pleading

Your banging

The scratching

Your love

Astounds me

You will not give up

Fangs set

Love forever

I must let you in

For after all

Despite all

Forever all

I laugh

I smile

I let you in

You are my cat.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman