The Big Picture

When my daughter was about five or six years old she came up with a practical approach to Time Travel.

“When I grow up I’m going to invent a time machine. It will be red, and it will fold up flat so I can take it with me wherever I go. Nobody will be able to steal it,” she said.

Little Clara always saw the big picture, even as a small child. She is in college now and still gets the big picture, but now finds herself right in the middle of the big picture. Yes, she is registered to vote. All of her friends are registered to vote. All of their siblings are registered to vote. They’re young but they get it. They see a world outside of their college classes, friends, romances, and family.

We’re all in sort of a one way time machine, especially if you’re a Vampire or other long lived person. We can’t change the past but the opportunity to learn from it is always there. On the other hand the opportunity to be extremely embarrassed is also there but that is another blog post.

My Great Great Great Great Great Grandmama Lola is staying with me for the next week. She usually lives in a cottage along the Sacramento River Road, but it is in a state of renovation at the moment. I don’t mind. I love my Lola. She raised my father, along with countless others who needed raising, including her own long gone children.

Lola was born on October 25, 1343, the exact same day and year as Geoffrey Chaucer. She isn’t the oldest Vampire around, but she is one of the most interesting. I don’t even care anymore if her stories are the truth, half truths, or even lies. Even with the lies there is always some truth in there somewhere, a fact that separates old Vampires from politicians.

“I never go back into the past. I only move forward”, said Lola as she sat at my kitchen table. She was wearing jeans and a sweater, with her long wavy hair over her shoulders, looking like a stylish young women in her mid-twenties. “Things get too ugly and troublesome, and dirty. Yes, dirty. The world used to be such a dirty place. Still is in some aspects, but when you don’t have running water…” She stopped and took a sip of coffee. Rubbing her leg where the Vampire Hunters burned her about six years ago she looks up at me. “You allow me to move forward, even when everything in my past, and everyone in my past tends to pull me back. You don’t consider anyone obsolete.”

“We grow, we change, we reinvent ourselves and if we’re smart we hold tight to the fire and passion that burns inside of us, deep down in hidden away small spaces,” I said.

“You’ve become so…profound,” she said sitting up and holding her coffee cup again.

“Only when I’m not making bad puns,” I said.

She has seen horrors and experienced so many bad things. When I do bring up things it is only the good things, unless she wants to talk about not so good things. But for the most part we look forward.

If Time Travelers do poke around with their stolen technology and brash arrogance we will deal with them, and keep off of their weird machines. In the meantime, I think it is time for more coffee and maybe even some gossip, far away from the Big Picture and far away from the past.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



What we’re talking about over coffee this morning.

Coffee with Vampires

Even during the holidays we try to keep daylight hours, more or less, but I sometimes have that pull of my nocturnal biology and don’t sleep. I don’t sleep anyway. Most Vampires sleep like the dead (duh) but, well, good for them.

In the wee hours of the morning of December 28, 2016, just past midnight, my house shook with the force of an earthquake. Then it shook again.

At first Teddy thought it was the dog scratching and yelled at her. I told him it was no dog. Outside of Hawthorne, Nevada, close to the California/Nevada border the earth shook not once, but twice, at 5.8 and 5.6. It was enough for us to feel it 160 miles away (as the crow flies.)

Everyone else fell asleep but I kept awake. I feel like I’m still awake. I have coffee.

This morning it was quiet, despite the crowd staying at my house. Almost everyone was asleep this morning, just before the sun came up, so I took the dog for a walk. It was cold and wet but that can’t stop a one year old German Shepard. The nose of a dog knows no limits to what it can smell. When I got home I found my brother Max in my kitchen.

He’d come in late last night. Now he was leaning against the island counter with his eyes closed and his headphones on. He was as still as stone with no obvious signs of life. I walked up to him and gently took the headphones out. I listened. Strumbellas We Don’t Know. It was fitting for Max but a surprise.

Max opened his eyes and smiled a rare dazzling Vampire smile.

“Morning. Your coffee is getting cold,” I said handing him his cup.


“Do you think your demons will be gone today?”

He shrugged. “It might take a while.”

Over the holidays Demons had infested his home in San Francisco. He went to a party and when he came back they were there tearing the place up. Like just about everything else in this universe of ours they are attracted to Max and just can’t seem to stay away. He tried to take care of the problem himself but ended up with a black gash on his arm, and a major headache. He had to call a professional and move out for a few days.

Our great great great great Grandmama Lola came in, also staying for a few days (because the kids are on break) and made tea. She has been nervous since the election and all of the right-wing religious talk. Unlike Max and I who have had relatively safe lives, all things considering, Lola has not. She is ancient and has seen those she loved strapped to poles and burned alive. She has seen our kind torn apart and beheaded for no other reason that the fact they were different.

Lola warns us and my children again that they must stay quiet and trust no one. Of course. She is right.

“Not just us, but others as well. Do not forget the lessons of history, or those of your elders,” she tells the younger generation.

I hear my kids upstairs laughing now. Garrett has that joyful sort of horse laugh that so many young men have. Clara’s laugh is deep and rich, but still the laugh of a typical teenage girl.

Lola doesn’t look much older than my two but her eyes show the centuries. Sometimes it is the same look one finds in war zones and refugee camps. It is that look that politicians and religious leaders can’t see from their high pulpits – it is a look they close their own eyes to.

But now I’m starting to sound like a schlockie Vampire novel, or something from Oprah’s Book Club. Actually, take that back, I’d love to be in Oprah’s Book Club, as an author.

My brother Val showed up, then my husband Teddy came downstairs so it was a regular party.  So much for binge watching Twilight Zone, Botched, and Leah Remini in a quiet house (where nobody knows what I’m doing.) Insomnia got me through West World, and Worst Cooks in America. I found the other three this week by accident because I just did, and I couldn’t sleep, and my brain turned off for writing, or art, or anything else.

The discussion over coffee and tea included:

  • “The Curse of Oak Island” is the fact that they aren’t going to ever find anything.
  • A guy I know is going to audition for “America’s Got Talent.”
  • We were all impressed by the movie, “Hell or High Water.”
  • Juliette only read a few books in 2016, and that is a shame. And in 2017 we’re all going to read, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, some for the first time, and some of us again.

Just like any other family we talk about movies, silly TV stuff, and books when we get together. That is something most of us can agree on.

We also talked in length about Max’s Demon problem. I swear there must be a portal near his house, or it must be him. I think they’re attracted to him because they see him as such a powerful Vampire. He says that isn’t the case. He says we’re all powerful in our own ways, then tries to be the good uncle and tells the kids that. Val and Lola went off into a corner to discuss his new girlfriend. Teddy gave me a kiss and went off to work.

Tonight Teddy and I are going to the Kings game. It will be my first time in the new Golden 1 Arena. Woo Hoo. We’ll go to Magnolia’s (a blood bar) for dinner first. Woo Hoo. Yes, that is the Sacramento Kings (just like my name) Basketball. Woo Hoo.

Football does nothing for me but I like Baseball and Basketball. Go Kings. Go Giants. My other sport is Artistic Roller Skating. Woo Hoo.

More on all of THAT later this year.

I sat by Lola and Val, and took Lola’s hand. I wanted to tell her that it will all be alright but I said nothing, and listened to Val tell about the girl he is falling in love with.

Happy New Year again everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman






Conversations on Trout and Life with Vampires

This morning Garrett (age 19) and I stopped by to see Great Great Great Grandmama Lola. Even as Vampires go she is old (born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer), but she looks all of twenty-six.

In her living room was a large fish tank. Garrett immediately went over to check it out. “When did you get this Grams?”

“Last week. I caught the fish myself. Aren’t they lovely.”

In the tank were two rainbow trout, fresh from the river. I could have given her flack about catching wild fish but I didn’t. It would have been a waste of my breath.

Garrett held out his arm and an African Gray parrot landed on his wrist. Lola claims the parrot is over 200 years old but I never know what to think. She has had the bird for over 80 years so she could very well be right. But then I never know with Lola.

I noticed a pair of boots on the floor, tucked halfway under the coffee table.

“Company?” I asked.

“Upstairs sleeping. He’ll sleep for the rest of the day so you don’t have to worry about any awkward moments.”

“So he is just a Regular Human and not a Vampire?”

“Of course,” said Lola. “He works nights for the Highway Patrol. I think it was the boots that did it for me, well that and everything after he took the boots off. Anyway, I’ve made sure he won’t wake up for another six hours at least.”

Then she looked at me and smiled. “Remember the time, when we sat on the wall on the boardwalk watching the ocean and smoking cigarettes for hours. There must have been a thousand shooting stars that night. Then we went dancing with the two brothers from San Francisco.  I could taste the whiskey in their blood. Oh God, I can smell the salt air thinking about it. Do you remember? They were so funny. We couldn’t stop laughing.”

“They both died in the trenches,” I said.

“Trenches? World War One?” Garret asked.

“Yes,” said Lola. “You’ll learn that…” she paused. Then she twisted her long curls into a knot on top of her head, then took a deep breath. “I know you’ve thought about this Garrett. Over the years you’ll meet a lot of people and you won’t forget any of them. Some will go to the back of your mind of course. But what I’m trying to say is you need to respect the memories of those you come across and respect their lives. Respect those you entertain for blood, as well as those you entertain for company. They are more than prey. Respect that.”

“I do respect them. Believe me Grams, I do.”

“Good,” said Lola. “You’ve raised him right Juliette.”

On the way home I thought about those young men, Albert and Hubert. Al and Bert. I thought that war would be the last. We all had that sort of wishful stupid thinking. But no such luck. People are still as stupid and evil as ever. Thank God I was born a Vampire.

Garrett said he wanted to invite Lola down to see him at college. I thought it was a good idea. It is always nice when grandparents visit their college aged grand children, even is the grandparent looks more like a sister.

Lola still suffers from nightmares of things that happened long ago. She has shakes from bouts with Vampire Hunters and scars that have never quiet healed on her body and spirit. She won’t admit it. She lies and says she is alright. I have to admit that we all do that to some extent.

So I excuse her for keeping trout in her living room, and a parrot who sings dirty songs in French and Italian. I excuse her for having men with six pack abs in her bed sleeping off blood loss from the night before. I really don’t need to excuse her, because I accept her. There isn’t anything wrong with her.

I find myself wondering if the mom in me has made me think in ways that are too prim and proper for my own good.

A few days ago I was laughing at this (look below at the funny from Classical Art Memes.)


And my sixteen year old said, “Most parents would have no idea what this means, and you’re laughing out loud at it. That is what makes you the cool mom.”

I don’t always feel cool, but I can out hip any hipster. What was that song? Make “Em Laugh. You know, Donald O’Connor. Look it up on YouTube. I can Make Em’ Laugh. And I can out hip. Yes I can and without looking stupid. Vampires invented hip.

I doubt if my grandkids (when I have them in the far future) will find a 32-year-old CHP officer in my bed, but I’ll be relevant. I’ll be more than relevant. Even now my kids aren’t embarrassed to be with me. Granted we’re Vampires, but teens are teens. Holy crap, I wouldn’t want to be a Werewolf parent. Their kids are weird.

So anyway, just keep laughing, and loving, and don’t bring wild game home, or CHP officers if you can help it (I don’t care how good looking he is.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



Never Been Human

Sometimes we leave lovers because they’re rude and stupid. Or we are with them in the first place because we’re stupid. Being lovers with someone with warm blood and a short life span is usually extremely stupid as far as I’m concerned.

A long time ago (a very long time ago) I was involved with one of them. I went out into the morning sun and closed my eyes, feeling the warmth on my sensitive bare skin.

He said, “You do that because you miss being human.”

I said, “I’ve never been human.”

“Pity,” he said, “you would have been good at it.” Then he thought for a moment about what I’d said,  “Excuse me Jewels, what do you mean you’ve never been human?”

I left him but not before making sure he’d have nightly horrifying nightmares for the next three years. Lucky me. I’m a Vampire, I can do that. I would miss not being able to do that.

In our society those we transform into Vampires don’t call us mother, father, uncle, aunt or anything along those lines. Sure we share a bond, but life is complicate enough without a band of groupies following me. Plus everyone I’ve converted over is too smart for that. They can take care of themselves. We’re friends – not master and slave.

Like a lot of only children, Vampires quickly earn to make friends quickly, solve their own problems, be independent and to keep a sense of humor. Even my grouchy brother Max has a sense of humor.

Of course there are those of us who do have families, parents, siblings, and extended families. But we’re in the minority – of Vampires that is. But all Vampires, like all living creatures once had parents and siblings even if they are long gone. Some are even in touch with descendants but it is extremely rare.

Earlier this week I was with my brothers Aaron and Val. We’re the youngest three of the five siblings in my family. We’re a large family as far as our kind  is concerned.  The eldest two Max and Andy are more on the dark side, in the shadows than the three of us younger siblings. They’re both a bit unhinged in their own special ways. They drive us crazy too in their own special way. Aaron, who is the problem solver tends to ignore them and judges them harshly behind their backs. I try not to be swept along in any drama. Val, the second to the last, keeps neutral and keeps a sense of humor. Aren’t all families a bit like that? We all take our roles. Those who like high drama play it up. They stay in the spotlight demanding an audience. The rest of us keep it on the sidelines or behind the scenes.

The three of us younger Vampires (ages 158, 156 and 155) met one night last week for dinner and drinks. It was at a local bar full of casual trendy and artsy folks all mingling over micro brews and red wine. Aaron surprised us by coming in jeans and a sweater, not his usual $5,000 suit and Hermes tie. Val and I were causal as usual – not slobby just casual (we’re Vampires, we have to look good.)

Anyway I don’t even remember what I was supposed to be writing about… Valentine’s Day was uneventful for Val, the youngest male of my parent’s brood, so Aaron and I were giving our single brother Valentine a bit of a bad time (joking of course, sort of) about taking advantage of the day and meeting up with oh so many pissed off single women. He said he stayed home or maybe spend the day with our Great-great-great-Grandmama Lola. Then I had to remind him that Lola AWAYS had a young man (or two or three) for Valentine’s Day. Lola is just sort of like that. Val said this year she spent it with him because her special sweetheart Cody was out of town. She spoke of Cody, who is much much younger than her, though she looks younger than Cody. Funny how things work out that way.

“I haven’t felt this way about a man since Leonardus and our friend Roger were burned at the stake,” Lola told Val.

After the death of Leonardus, Lola went back into the shadows with two small children. Rather than sink into the of hate Lola came remained strong and forged forward into the future. She was only 25 at the time. Six hundred and twenty five years can’t completely erase the pain of such a heart breaking event.

It is funny how things work out because there was Cody walking towards us. He looked so handsome tonight. It was the first time I’d seen him in a suit. I wondered why for a second – why the suit – then saw the glow in Lola’s eyes.

Cody joined us and we all walked, no ran, down memory lane, through years of danger, insanity and insanely fun times.

It is just what we do. Just another night with the Vampire. Just another night with just another family.

Not much else right now.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



Girl with Dog




Superstition Personified…And do you think the good looking guy in the bedroom would be a good Vampire?


Was human life as precious in the dark recesses of the past as it is now?

When we dwelt in rude huts and lacked the learning we have now was it less precious? When people were more or less owned by others…

Is it precious now? To some it is, to others depending on various factors it isn’t. Try explaining that to your kids. Try explaining anything the human race does to your kids… go ahead, I dare you. I do it all the time. No problem.

When you spend a century being a superstition personified you tend to see the world in both extremely harsh light and in the faint glow of hope.

My Great Great Great Grandmama Lola once said, “Stop thinking about everything so much Juliette.”

But my brain will not stop the way I can make my heart stop.

And speaking of hearts stopping… One of the most frequent questions I get about this blog (not to mention search terms) is: How do you convert someone into a Vampire? Or variations on that theme.

Lola has turned a great many people into Vampires over the centuries. Like everyone in our family she is quite skilled at it. I also have a natural talent for it. It is a matter of knowing who to turn and who not to turn. Unfortunately many Vampires aren’t as choosy or skilled as we are. That results in, well, bad results. Very bad results.

Anyway, Lola will turn 671 this year (or 1071 depending on who you talk to.) She is old even for a Vampire.

I never know if Lola is telling the truth or not. We’re beyond even caring or trying to figure it out. My children adore her.

At least she sticks with her stories unlike other life long liars who twist and turn the facts and fictitious facts to suit whatever situation they are in at any given moment.

I suspect that every boy I knew growing up, except my brothers (she is after all their Grandmamma), and including my husband, had a crush on her.

Last night it seemed like summer – the heat has already come our way and bats were fluttering around the porch of her cottage. The subject of strange people we’d met came up and we sat giggling like teenagers as we traded our stories.

Lola closed her eyes in the warm breeze then said to me, “Last year I was out walking in the woods one night a few years ago with a young man I’d seduced when we came upon some crazy people standing naked around a bonfire. They were celebrating Summer Solstice. My companion wanted to join them but I held him back chiding him for his stupidity. Honestly what is wrong with people?”

“What did you do?” I had to ask.

She shrugged. “I called the police. They were on private property without permission or a fire permit.”

Next she drained a couple of pints of blood out of her companion and dumped him at the doors of a fire station. He never remembered a thing. Lola is like that. She is unsentimental about her prey. She never harms them but unless it is someone she wishes to keep around she’ll never treat them as if they are special. You’re rarely special in Lola’s universe unless you’re a Vampire.

Of course there have been exceptions over the years but she tends to save her heart for those who aren’t looking to kill her for a second or third time.

“You’re a peculiar little creature,” she always says to me. Then she gives me a fanged smile and tells me to lighten up or to get more serious or to visit her more or something.

Over the years I’ve learned much from Lola. I hope that maybe, just maybe, that she might learn a few things from me, at least about the current century.

She sat across from me in a large lounge chair with elaborately carved griffins on the arms. Her wearing a short black dress and dark gray leggings, she tucked one leg underneath her and stretched the other one out with perfectly manicured silver toe nails shining in the dark. Her dark curls were piled on her head and held with a Sharpie. Her pet armadillo is curled up in a flannel lined box under her chair.

I heard a slight sound of someone moving inside.

That would be Sean. I had him for dinner,” she said.

Right, Sean. He works for the Federal Government and visits her every so often. The both get something out of the deal. I’m waiting for him to fall in love with her, or for her to turn him into a Vampire. But realistically, I don’t think either of those things will happen. Sean is handsome in that sun kissed blonde highlighted California-boy-next-door way. I like Sean.

Lola looks at me and says, “Have either one of your children converted a regular person into a Vampire yet?”

I forgot about Sean and almost spit out my wine. “Excuse me? Of course not. They’re teenagers.”

“Have you trained them yet?”

“No. I haven’t turned anyone in at least thirty-five years.”

“It is time they learn…”

“I don’t even let them drink alcohol, blood from live people, or have sex in my house. I’m sure not going to be encouraging them to turn people into Vampires.”

“Juliette you are too protective…”

“Lola, this isn’t the 12th Century.”

“I was thinking of Sean. I’m quite fond of him and he’d be perfect. He’s an only child with deceased parents, 36 years old with no marriages or children. He has been engaged twice but it never worked out. Nobody would miss him, at least not like parents or a spouse would. Nobody would notice. Besides, he could keep his job until everyone started to notice he wasn’t aging.”

“He might not survive.”

“I’ve checked him out both mind and body. The odds are better than usual.”

We heard a click of a door. “Odds are better than what?” There stood Sean, brushing the blonde hair off of his forehead with his fingers, wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and six-pack abs. No wonder Lola liked to have him around.

“California Chrome,” I said. “Local horse does good.”

He pulled a tee-shirt over his head and joined us on the porch. Lola and I kept giving each other “looks” until we were both laughing. Sean was pretty relaxed about it all. Of course he didn’t know he was sitting between two Vampires.

And that was it. Nothing more to that story for right now. It isn’t like the movies where we go around biting people and tearing out throats and converting everyone we meet into Vampires. It just doesn’t happen that way. You’d hear about it. I’ve written about this before (click here for that.)

I know you’re all expecting me to wrap this up in a nice neat little package with some sort of moral ending. Hmmmm. It does have one. Your children don’t need to rush into anything – not alcohol or sex or relationships or converting people into Vampires. You DO need to teach them to be smart and live with their eyes open (put a rush on that one.) You need to teach them to love and respect others and to respect themselves.

And you need to teach them to watch out for ancient Vampires. They’re fun but don’t believe a word they say. Believe me on that one.

By the way, I did talk to Sean for a while before I left. He is smart and funny. Maybe he would make a good Vampire. That would be up to him, but considering he doesn’t even know Vampires really exist, time will tell.

Have a good weekend everyone. I’ll have more stuff for you later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman












Freedom to Breathe

Lavish balls,

Sweeping silk

Of dresses long

Corsets tight

In another time.

Your voice was loud

But nobody listened.

Your mind was brilliant

But it could not shine.

Now you stand

In a different ballroom

Under the oak trees and stars

In jeans and a sweater

Hair down your back

Freedom to breathe

And live

As you wish

With love

And respect

And thoughts

That are your own.


For great-great-great gradmamam Lola on International Women’s Day.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman