Where’d you hear I was dead?

I was sitting (and still am) at my dining room table with my laptop and overheard my husband on the phone.

“This is Theodore Kings…yes, it’s me Teddy….well I suppose, but no I’m not dead…I haven’t been dead for a long time. Where’d you hear I was dead?….Really?…I married Juliette…Yes, that Juliette… You and Juliette? My wife? Really. No I didn’t know… I wanted to ask you about…”

From there is was all business. I hadn’t thought about him for years. I hadn’t talked to him for at least eighty years if not longer. We’d spent a year on and off, more on, traveling around Europe and ended up in New England. Then we just sort of drifted apart and pst touch, as Vampires tend to do. I had no idea that Teddy knew him.

Anyway, what was I writing about? Huh.

Oh right, we were looking at vacation spots and thinking of either Iceland or Bermuda. Seriously. But we have to go to New Mexico and school and skate schedules have us booked up.

The cat is on the table next to me purring, then I hear a voice asking, “So are you dead?”

I look up to see The Ghost sitting across from me. Yes, that ghost.

“I’m very much alive,” I tell him.

He smiled that nasty shit eating grin of his, “Sort of like those parasites that go dormant for years on end then come to life when they smell blood.”

“Do you need something Nigel?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Not really.”

Tonight his eyes were almost black under his long lashes. He smiled and started to fade out, then reappeared in the chair next to me. He is so annoying.

“Juliette, my dear, you were never a real person were you?”

“No, I was never a real person. I’m one of the lucky 10% of Vampires born this way.”

“Then how can you be undead? I mean you’re a Vampire so you’re supposed to be undead. But you were born alive as a Vampire, so you didn’t die first did you? That wouldn’t make any sense. Then again, I’m a ghost and that never made any sense to me. I was alive and then I was a ghost. And my body is in a box marked with a stone. People still come by and visit there. I’m hardly ever around when they visit. And here we are talking. Fancy that. So what exactly is undead? Isn’t it weird to be a monster? Do you ever feel like a freak of nature?”

“We’re done talking Nigel.”

“You’re done Juliette. I’m just going to hang out for a while. Go back to what you were doing.”

I tried to ignore him and started to look up stuff, you know research on the book I haven’t finished yet.

“Hey, Juliette, mind if I take your car?”

“You’re a ghost. You can’t drive.”

“Just checking to see if you were listening.”

I reached out and touched where his hand was. My palm rested on the table but it made him smile. “I’m listening. It must be difficult to be real and then not real. Teddy had a Hell of a time adjusting. How are you doing with it Nigel?”

“Alright I guess. I need to get out and haunt more but it gets old after a while. Not quite 30 years and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Just kidding. It’s fucking great.” He almost spat that out with a ghostly snarl. Not as good as a Vampire would snarl it out but almost.

We sat for a while and listened in to Teddy’s phone call. They were talking about diamonds.

Nigel stood up and straightened his cufflinks. “It was fun. I gotta go.”

“Haunting?”

He smiled. “No, hot date.” Then he vanished with a thin bit of blue smoke like an exotic cigarette, but without the smell.

You can’t always define friendship or connections or old loves or old pals. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? It’s just a thing.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First published January 2015

Little Things

My dog Alice was just growling at the sliding glass door that goes out to my deck. I went out with her in the hope I’d see some wildlife. Maybe some deer, or even a turkey. With any luck we’d see a coyote and Alice would get to use her really big bark, after all she is a really big dog.

The only thing outside, between the rain showers, were bees on the giant rosemary bush.  I went inside, while Alice stayed outside just in case a Sasquatch or alien or something decided to jump over our back fence.

I went inside where Gloria the calico cat was waiting and begging for cat treats. I hid a few around in plain sight. Gloria is lovely and a great hunter, and alpha pet in the house, but not always the brightest bulb. Like both of my cats she is as smart as she needs to be. And like a lot of beautiful women she doesn’t value the power of her own walnut sized brain.

I’d write about Vampire stuff right now but seriously, there is only so much one can write about drinking blood. No, take that back – there is a lot I could write about drinking blood. There is also a lot I could write about drinking gin too. But yes, I know it is different.

Instead I’m writing about Vampires doing other things, but not for this blog. I’m just taking a break, with you. Sit down. Fix some coffee. Bring out some cookies if you have them.

If I see the deer, an eagle, or even Bigfoot, I’ll let you know.

Have fun. Embrace your passions and talents. Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Appreciate the little things. And if it isn’t raining have a glass of wine (outside if it is warm enough.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

How to write a love letter (just a few words are all you need)

You’re the warm summer breeze against my skin. You’re a warm embrace on a cold winter night. You’re the hot in my chocolate. You’re the key to my lock. You’re the one who knows the punch line.

 Vampires write love letters too

Half the traffic on this blog comes from ONE post. It is called “How to Respond to a Love Letter.”

If you look up “How to respond to a love letter” on google you’ll be directed to THIS blog, Vampiremaman.com

Everyone loves the idea of love letters (admit it – I know you do.) The reason I’m with my husband is because I took a chance and wrote him a letter.

I’ve written a lot about love letters and romance. I want everyone to be in love as much as I am so I’m sending along a few helpful hints about writing that perfect love letter. Of course the most perfect letter is one that comes from your own heart in your own words. It doesn’t have to be poetry. It doesn’t have to be literature. It just has to be YOU.

I could do the bullet point thing or try to explain it all in rational terms, but we’re talking love here, so I will show you. I’ll give you small bits to build upon.

Below are situations in which you might want to write a love letter and a few suggestions to get you started.

gene-and-vincent

Second thoughts…

Years later, you realize you might have made a mistake:
In my mind I had every reason not to love you. I was young and ignorant. Now I realize that I had every reason to love you, and now… I know, it was you, always you. 

First Contact

When you meet someone and want to let them know how you feel:
It was like I’d known you for years, like an old friend. I could have talked with you all night. I’d like to see you again.

romance

Helpful hints

Don’t ever ever ever sound desperate. If you’re feeling desperation write it down, let it sit for a few hours or even a few days, then throw it away.

Another rule to ALWAYS follow is to never sound like a stalker or over possessive. Remember “love is not jealous.” And NEVER say “I can’t live without you.” That is just creepy.

When someone sends you a mean break-up letter

So you think you’re in love, or at least you’ve been spending 3 nights a week with someone for the past 6 months and suddenly without warning you get a mean letter pointing out your faults and saying it is over. PLEASE don’t beg for a second chance. Don’t call. Don’t go back. Don’t give them a second thought. But if you must write then make them feel guilty. Turn it back on the asshole. Nobody who makes you feel THAT BAD is worth your love.

I had no idea I was making you so unhappy. You should have told me. We often have habits and traits that we can’t see until someone points it out. Don’t worry, you won’t ever hear from me again  Have a happy life alone in your perfect world. You never deserved me.

And if you want feel free to add the word “asshole” on the end. A few years ago I would have not given that advice but you know, sometimes you just have to say it.

sun in my face

Passion

This is where you can let loose.

The memory of your skin on mine… 

I can still feel you on me. I can hear the beat of your heart, the fire of you kiss, the smell of your hair, the way you taste… 

You get the idea. Make is short and simple. You don’t need a lot of detail. Just the passion of a few words can get you there.

And the most romantic of all… The Little Things

It is these little things that make love last. It is those little things that make love worth it. It is those little things that make love real.

I love to watch you kiss the kids goodnight. I love to do nothing with you. I appreciate everything you do. I love to watch you cook dinner in nothing but your old jeans and hairy chest. Thank you for spending every night with me at the hospital when my mom was sick. I love you for going to boring dinner parties with me and not complaining. I love you for your laugh. You make me laugh. You make me smile. You make me happy. I love you because you’re not like anyone else.

lovers kiss

What you do to me.

A few words we love to hear from the one we love: You inspire me. You make me happy. You make me feel safe. You make me laugh. You make me __________ fill in the blank with something positive.

 Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

Speak from your heart

Let the words flow. Put down a single word, three words, a small chain of words. Sit back and see the poetry open up. Or those three magic words “I love you.”

Your hair

Brushes against my skin

Tickling my nose

And making me smile.

I thank you

For the smiles

And the love

And for you.

See, that was easy. Let’s try another.

I was attracted to your flannel shirt

Then you let me know what was under it

And I liked it even more

Links to examples of some simple silly romantic free verse (from this blog):

Had You Stayed the Way You Were

Tucked Away

I wait for you

Other Love Letter Posts

Click on the links below:

How to Respond to a Love Letter

Writing a love letter? Ask a Vampire.

The Art of Writing a Love Letters is Alive and Well (this is my favorite)

Lyrics that might help inspire you. These are songs (I love both of these, Always is one of my favorite songs of all time) I heard this morning but there are so many more.

Listen to your favorite songs for inspiration.

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

Always

(Panic! at the Disco)

When the world gets too heavy
Put it on my back, I’ll be your levy
You are taking me apart
Like bad glue on a get well card

It was always you falling for me
Now there’s always time calling for me
I’m the light blinking at the end of the road
Blink back to let me know

I’m a fly that’s trapped in a web
But I’m thinking that my spider’s dead
Lonely, lonely little life
I could kid myself thinking that I’m fine

It was always you falling for me
Now there’s always time calling for me
I’m the light blinking at the end of the road
Blink back to let me know

That I’m skin and bone
Just a king and a rusty throne
Oh, the castle’s under siege
But the sign outside says “leave me alone”

It was always you falling for me
Now there’s always time calling for me
I’m the light blinking at the end of the road
Blink back to let me know

(It was always you)
Blink back to let me know
(It was always you)

The Gambler

(fun)

Slow down, we’ve got time left to be lazy
All the kids have bloomed from babies into flowers in our eyes
We’ve got fifty good years left to spend out in the garden
I don’t care to beg your pardon, we should live until we die

We were barely eighteen when we crossed collective hearts
It was cold, but it got warm when you barely crossed my eye
And then you turned, put out your hand, and you asked me to dance
I knew nothing of romance, but it was love at second sight

I swear when I grow up I won’t just buy you a rose
I will buy the flower shop, and you will never be lonely
For even if the sun stops waking up over the fields
I will not leave, I will not leave ’til it’s our time
So just take my hand, you know that I will never leave your side

It was the winter of ’86, all the fields had frozen over
So we moved to Arizona to save our only son
And now he’s turned into a man, though he thinks just like his mother
He believes we’re all just lovers, he sees hope in everyone

And even though she moved away, we always get calls from our daughter
She has eyes just like her father’s, they are blue when skies are gray
And just like him she never stops, never takes the day for granted
Works for everything that’s handed to her, never once complains

You think that I nearly lost you when the doctors tried to take you away
Like the night you took my hand beside the fire thirty years ago to this day,
You swore you’d be here ’til we decide that it’s our time
But it’s not time, you never quit in all your life
So just take my hand, you know that I will never leave your side
You’re the love of my life, you know that I will never leave your side

You come home from work, and you kiss me on the eye
You curse the dog, you say that I should never feed them what is ours
So we move out to the garden, look at everything we’ve grown
And the kids are coming home so I’ll set the table; you can make the fire

_____________________

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Morning musings on cats, siblings, the weekend and skating.

oscar_artistic copyThis morning after I dropped my daughter off at school I pulled back into my driveway and noticed the neighbor’s black and white cat lounging like the queen she is on their roof. My own gray and white little cat bastard was rolling around in my front yard singing me songs of welcome. Cats are great.

The wreath on the front door looked like it was falling apart. That wasn’t the case. A bird had added to it and has built her next on my front door. I’ll be able to look through the glass over the next few weeks and maybe see some babies. I just hope the doves (not birds of peace) or the calico cat don’t get to them. I will watch the predators. Mr. Oscar Gray and White doesn’t hunt so I’ll leave him to roll in the dirt and sing the songs of his people.

The text message on my phone dings. It was a group message with my siblings. I’m the youngest of five with four older brothers (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val.)

A few weeks ago my brother Andy was jumped while leaving a rehearsal. Andy is a singer living in San Francisco. He has the voice of an angel, the looks of a heart throb rock star and is as silly as a sixteen year old girl.

Max: We’ve taken care of the people who attacked Andy. Our parents are still in Europe. I have to go to Boston. Will someone watch Andy for the weekend. He is still in a bad way.

Aaron: I just talked to Andy. He said he was fine.

Max: He isn’t fine. His friends are irresponsible.

Aaron: OK. I was going to see Clara skate this weekend. This is big. She needs support from us.

Clara is mine. She also is recovering from a bad fall that resulted in a concussion and bruised leg. Yes, we’re Vampires and we recover quickly but we still get hurt. A huge invitational artistic roller skating meet is at her rink this weekend and we’re involved big time.

Outside the squirrels are performing death-defying circus acts in the oak trees. It made me think about the base jumpers who parishes in Yosemite recently. It brought up discussions with the teen about having passion for something but also about risks. The climbing community is big around here and we know climbers. We’ve done some rock climbing just for kicks and grins over the years. Anyway, I admire passion but don’t follow it to your death – or do, but I don’t advise it. Sigh.

The text bell on my phone dings again.

Val: I can go over there this afternoon. Let me finish up a few things.

Me: Bring him back here. He can stay with us for the weekend.

Val: Are you sure you want that?

Me: Crazy is my middle name.

Aaron: You’re a saint.

Me: I wouldn’t go that far. I’m taking him to the skate meet with me.

So Val will drop off Andy and it will be fun.

Last night I had one of those vivid dreams that seemed real. In my house was a large box – it was sort of like a chest with legs and decorative floral carvings on the front. We (my husband and I) had it for a body. I figure this was going back to the old Vampire/Crypt thing. There was a body in the box. She was a dark-haired woman with ringlets and a white dress in the popular style of 1870. Sometime in the dream she was a stranger and sometimes she was me. I sealed the box with blue electrical tape. There was another body as well but we ended up putting it in a bag. I have no idea who it was. I never saw the face.

Today I’ll get everything together for the skate meet. I’ll get things ready for Andy. I’ll call Andy and see how he is doing after his bout with the Vampire Hunters. I won’t worry about any of it. This weekend will be busy – autopilot time.

That was my morning musings. Now down to the store for blood and brie and a few good apples.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oscar Gray

 

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Quiet times with a friend (and Vampires)

I was standing in line to get coffee with my friend Matthew (Vampire and former shadow creeper). He doesn’t say much. Old fashioned Vampires like Matthew tend to be quiet and sometime unsure themselves outside of bedrooms and other dark places. I’m trying to get him out more.

A couple of women glance over and smile. Yes, he is quite handsome and has that thing that Vampire men have that attracts people. He glances back and one says, “You’re really handsome.”

He told her, in a quiet voice,”you are so sweet.” As he said that his hand took the back of my sweater in an iron death grip. That was fear – a fear of intimacy. Oh boy. I still need to do a lot of work with dear Matthew.

Here is a guy who doesn’t think twice about making love to a woman in the privacy of her bedroom and practically drain all the blood out of her body but he gets shy in public, during the day, doing regular sorts of things – like coffee and flirting.

I guess a lot of us do that in certain situations. Of course we do. Even Vampires get caught off guard.

Matthew never says much. I know he has had some anxiety lately about just about everything.

I thought of my brother who would have left with names and phone numbers.

Matthew and I talked about our kids (his loud funny son, my two loud funny offspring) and the school year so far. So far so good.

Anyway, sometimes in our hectic life it is nice to just spend an hour having coffee with a friend. Maybe by the end of the week we’ll be in dark alleyways and walking down trails stalking night bikers. We might be at bars or art events or just out, but sometimes… in-between, we just need to be.

I write a lot about the quiet times because those times are precious and nice. Just like friends are precious and nice.

Does anyone know of a nice single Vampire lady? I know a nice guy.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

cats

 

A Summer Day – Musings from a Vampire

Early this morning there was an unexpected knock on my door. I say unexpected because my entire family is otherwise engaged this weekend leaving me alone.

My neighbor and friend Kelly stood there with a smile on her pretty face. I smiled back (minus my fangs). She handed me a cup of coffee with a lid on it and said “We’re going to the farmer’s market. Yes, you’re coming with me. Teddy said you were all alone this weekend.”

Damn you Teddy, my loving husband who always manages to interfere with my brooding.

After slathering on spf 4000 sunscreen and grabbing a straw hat and a few reusable bags, Kelly and I headed off to the Certified Organic Farmer’s Market.

Music was in the air in the middle of the booths as an attractive couple played folk songs from the 1960’s on guitars and sang. I could smell the fresh peaches, greens, squash and dozens of other organic “farm to table” treats. I am getting tired of the term “farm-to-table” but this is the real deal we have here. I picked up a rare treat of sage cheddar cheese, huge bunches of kale and chard and a bag of nectarines. The lavender guy was out so I filled a bag with scented oils and sachets. I also got a huge bouquet of summer flowers. Later in the summer there will be more peppers and tomatoes but I did find some huge heirloom tomatoes in a green and deep burgundy color.

I don’t eat much solid food but when I do I make sure it is lovely. But I can guarantee you that there is nothing more out of place than a Vampire strolling through produce stalls on a summer morning.

Kelly mentioned with a smile how dark my glasses had turned in the sun. She knows that my entire family has extreme sun sensitivity issues to different degrees. But we can’t shut ourselves off from the world if we’re to be part of it – plus the vibes from this place is always so good. I might be a Vampire but I’m not opposed to good vibrations on a California summer morning.

After leaving we stopped by The Morning Crow, a small earthy crunchy organic coffee roaster. Their sign features the sun coming up but not with a rooster, but a large black crow. Nevermore is never said here because it is always lovely. Kelly and I lingered over iced coffee in a well air-conditioned shop while sitting on an oversized couch. New age music played in the background. When others try to do this sort of motif it gets annoying but today I was feeling it.

I was almost feeling human when Kelly said, “I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I feel like I have a ghost in my house.”

I gave her a “please go on” calm look but I knew sooner or later she’d figure it out. My ghost, Nigel, THE GHOST was really Kelly’s ghost. He lingered watching over her and her family but never make himself known. She told me of feeling like she was being watched or feeling the presence of someone she’d known who’d died. Considering that it seems like everyone around Kelly has an untimely death she could spend decades guessing who the ghost is.

I told her I was opened minded about ghosts but gave no additional details.

From there we made a quick stop to help out Kelly’s mother. She had broken her arm so Kelly was helping her wash her hair.

The intimate details of human life seem so fragile to me. The way Kelly French braided her mother’s iron gray hair into a beautiful intricate pattern mesmerized me. I thought of memories long ago of women with intricate braids and curls (not all their own) going to parties with gas lights and laughing behind fans. I snapped out of my revelry when Kelly’s mother, Lois, said “You never seem to age Juliette.”

I mumbled something about sunscreen.

Then Lois said, “You reminds me of someone I used to know. He’d be ancient now, but you look so much like him. You have the same eyes. Deep like the color of the sea. It is as if I can see down to your very soul. Such eyes. His name was Val.”

Before I could say anything Kelly said, “Juliette has a brother named Val.”

It is a small world indeed that someone who knew my brother in 1950 would mention now how much I look like him. We all figured it must have been an uncle of mine. I’m quick with answers for those who recognize us but don’t know exactly why.

Lois took my hand in hers. “Your hands are cold like mine, but not all twisted with arthritis. I hope neither one of you get it. There was something timeless about your uncle. You should tell your brother to come see me.” Then she winked giving me one of those all-knowing smiles. Holy shit.

I volunteered to wash dishes for Lois while Kelly spoke with her about medical issues and family concerns. It made me think of a lot of things.

Then they asked me about my parents and if they were still alive. Of course, living in San Francisco near two of my brothers. How time passes and even in human years so much happens. We live so many different lives in just a short time. It is the people who come and go out of our lives and those little things that twist and turn it all around and upside down over and over and over again.

While the news stations rage on about war and violence and horrible things, I see something else in humans. I see a great capacity for love and caring. I see tenderness. I see goodness and hope. I see a lot of humor and more joy. Mostly love. They are so full of love. One wouldn’t think that but they are.

As we arrived home my cats ran over to greet us. One ran up a tree while the other rolled in the dirt and sang a song of cats that begged for someone to pet his tummy.

By then I was fried but it was worth it, to get me out of the dark, even if being in the dark is my natural state.

Going out to my back deck I looked into the oak forest for signs of The Ghost. He was nowhere to be found. Maybe another day, maybe tonight. I never know with him.

The sound of elephants stomping came from the front porch as my son Garrett and his friend Randy came almost crashing through the front door laughing – as always. It is good to be 18, especially if you’re a young Vampire – even if the sun is shining and you feel like you have heat stroke.

I said “Group hug,” and that is exactly what I got.

It is going to be a long hot summer, but like all experienced Vampires, I’ll survive the heat and I think enjoy every minute of it, thanks to my friends. Well, that and air conditioning and really good black-out shades.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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