Tiny Babes, Good Dogs, and Birthdays

Little Willie Sleeps

I believe this is the grave of little Willie Adams who died October 23, 1877, age 4 months, 22 days, in Sacramento, California. This little stone touched me so when we visited the cemetery in 2012 –  and I had no idea when I first saw the stone that the dear child died on this day (which is also my birthday).

It sends a shudder down my spine but at the same time fills my heart that this dear baby was so loved, and after 141 years not forgotten. He was just at that age when babies start to laugh and really see the world around them.

Sweet slumber little Willie. You were loved and I believe the love never dies.

October is an odd month with the Day of the Dead, Halloween, and so many birthdays.

I used to have a tank full of big beautiful fancy gold fish and on my birthday four years ago ALL of the fish died. I imagine they’ll be swimming around over my head on Halloween night.

That same October my Jasmine, the best dog ever crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I wrote a lot about her and posted a lot of photos of her here. She had my heart and soul. Yes, despite what you hear, which is not true, Vampires do have souls. We have one for our hearts and one for our shadow. Jasmine grabbed the one for my cold unbeating heart.

Jasmine

Jasmine – Best Dog Ever

By the way, today is also Weird Al’s birthday. He turns 59. Happy Birthday Al. The first time I heard him was I believe in 1978. I thought “This guy is nuts. I love it.” Little did I know.

My name is Juliette Kings. I’m married to Theodore Kings (Teddy.) I live near Sacramento. I was born on October 23, 1859. I am a Vampire, but most of all I’m a mom. And of course an artist, a writer, and I hope a good friend.

So I bid you all goodnight and good morning, depending on when you read this. Hugs. Kisses. Happy Birthdays. And remember to hug your dogs, hug your cats and give them lots of under chin rubs, and talk to your kids.

And in this month of October, do not forget those we have lost and loved. Love never dies, even if you’re a Vampire or a dog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

dogwalk

vlad v

I love you. Juliette drew this.

 

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Whispering

Dear Diary,

Jane the coyote with a Werewolf soul has left me. She curled up, fell asleep, and did not wake.

I stroked her cold still head feeling sad when my phone rang. I usually do not answer but this time I was drawn to the call.

“Hey, Vlad, it’s me, Jane. I found a human body. Just wanted to call and thank you for taking care of me when I was in transition,” a female voice said to me.

“What about the coyote? My coyote.”

“Her soul is long gone. I was just borrowing her body. Awwww Vlad, you’re so cute. Don’t be sad. I’m in a better place. Seriously, this woman was beautiful. I mean she still is. I never looked this good with my first body.”

“Did you kill her?”

“No. No way. She died and her soul left, so you know, I swooped in and started the old heart up again.”

“I see. How…”

“Long story. I don’t have time right now to explain. You know, places to be, people to see. I have a lot of catching up to do. So I’ll see you around Vlad. Thanks again for everything. Love ya. Bye.”

I looked at the coyote body so cold and now seeming small. I could not help but feel sad. I do not know why. Nor do I know why Jane said I was cute.

Jane the coyote was buried in my back yard. I planted a red rose-bush over her grave and covered it with river rocks. My cats watched me with solemn cat eyes then went to sleep on a deck chair.

Jane is no longer mine.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight my love Gillian and I went out to find something entertaining to do. We cut through an alley where we heard someone laughing. Strange music came through an open door.

“I haven’t heard this forever. What’s up with the old music?”

“I do not know. Everything is new to me. ” Sometimes I still feel the urge to remind her that I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years and missed the Eighteenth through Twentith Centuries.

“I have a weird feeling about this,” she said and squeezed my arm.

This is the music if one could call it that. Gillian said they were playing a saw. I do not understand playing music with a tool. It sounded like something my cats would have written and played on bones and garden tools. If cats could write music and play bones and garden tools. I would not put it past them.

I later learned the song was called Whispering. It was popular in the 1920’s. I understand that was an extremely strange time when women stopped wearing so many clothes, cut their hair, and were allowed to vote. Vampires have always treated their women equally. I do not know what is wrong with people. Maybe it is the warm blood in their veins cooking their brains and making them stupid.

 

 

My love and I walked down narrow steps, ready to show our fangs and fight, or feast, depending on who or what we found at the bottom.

I thought of another time I walked into a tavern and experienced unexpected and dangerous consequences. This time I was determined not to let my guard down, after all I am the Vampire King.

At the bottom of the stairs a man in a striped double breasted suit greeted us.

“Welcome to Easy Street,” he said.

“Oh my goodness, this is right out of the 20’s,” said Gillian.

I, of course had no idea what she was talking about because I have no point of reference when it comes to most cultural references. My English is better than it was four years ago but everything else is still as confusing as Hell.

He led us into a bar where people danced to music with men in high voices, and it looked rather clean and sleek. Gillian called it Art Deco.

I looked around. “What is Deco?”

Gillian took my arm, “It is short for Arts Décoratifs. Decorative art. It came about right after the Art Nouveau movement, and of course the Arts and Crafts movement. I believe it came out of one of the oh so many World’s Fairs or expositions everyone used to have back then.”

I still had no idea what Gillian was talking about and kissed her cool cheek.

“With your pretty face you fit right in here. You could pass for someone out of The Great Gatsby,” Gillian said.

“I thought I was cute.”

“You’re more than cute, silly.”

“Now I am silly?” I didn’t ask her what the Great Gatsby was. I know it does not involve Vampires or I would have heard of it already. I doubted if I would want to be in it. Gatsby. That sounds like the noise my cat makes when she vomits.

We sat at the large bar, drank Gin Rickeys and spoke with other patrons about upcoming art shows at the museum and football. I have come to frequent the art museum. I have yet to understand the obsession with football. Football has all of the earmarks of a magnificent pageant with large violent men, screaming fans, and the thing I least understand, the scantily clad women dancing on the edge of the field, and regional territorial rites. One clan even wears cheese on their heads and sits in the cold to prove their faithfulness to their gods of the game. Now that I write it out I now, oh how do they say, I get it. I understand. But it is not a past time for a Vampire. I prefer Baseball or Basketball, or just rolling heads of my enemies around in the forest while on a horse…

As we talked and I looked for someone with nice veins in their wrists, I noticed the place was filling up. Everyone seemed to know everyone, except for Gillian and me.

The man who greeted us at the door, his name was Mel, said, “You gotta go. In about fifteen minutes this is gonna be no place for Vampires.”

“You know we are Vampires?” I asked.

“Sure I know. And in fifteen minutes I’m locking up the doors and everyone in here except you and your beautiful lady are going to turn into wolves. Tonight is a full moon man, and we’re all Werewolves. You know how it is. We lock up in here and don’t get into trouble. You have to go now. And hey, don’t get into any trouble yourselves. I know how Vampires are.”

Gillian and I left with fond farewells. This was one of the strangest experiences I have ever experienced. As we left I wondered if Jane would ever go there now. Gillian and I laughed about as we walked down the street to another place. It was a place we knew. It was a place without surprises and lovely warm blooded people who only had dogs as pets.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I drove to the mountains, to a cabin where I would seek out peace and reflect upon the night sky with an infinite number of stars.

Why did no one tell me that cats do not like to ride in cars? It makes no sense to me. I do not understand.

I put pillows and blankets the cats like in the back seat. Their favorite food was there. They had access to a view out of the windows. Boxes were on the floor for them to play in. There was even a littler box. They might have shown their appreciation to me.

Cats also do not like being harnessed or put attached to a leash.

Into the trunk of my car I put twelve bottles of blood to share, and twelve bottles of good red wine, plus my clothes. My two cats had the ENTIRE car, aside from the driver’s seat, to themselves. Did they thank me? No, they did not.

As soon as I backed out of my driveway onto the street my cats began to scream. It was not normal cat noises but the voices of demonic chanting. It was the voice of death. It was mournful yowling of the saddest kind.

Then one crawled upon my back and put her claws around my head, while the other ran around the car, jumping as if she had gone insane. Why did not a single person tell me that THIS is how cats behave in cars. I do not understand.

When I arrived to pick up my friend Randolpho, who would accompany me to the mountains, I was exhausted. Vampires are known for their endless energy but these cats, they had me worn out.

Randolpho just laughed at me. “Why didn’t you put them in cat carriers?”

“Cat carrier?”

“A box, a crate with a door, or even a soft sided bag made for transporting cats.”

“You jest,” I said.

“Vlad, did you really think the cats would like to ride in the car?”

“Yes, I did really think that Randolpho,” I said beginning to lose my patience with him, as well as the cats.

Randolpho put his gear in the trunk of the car and we drove to the mountains. The cats began to sing their demonic songs. I showed them my fangs. They yowled even more.

“Don’t show them your fangs,” said Randolpho. “Cats never forget or forgive.”

Then he grabbed a soft blanket from the back seat of the car and coaxed the cats onto his lap. I could not believe that after all I have done for them that my cats would sit quietly for Randolpho and yowl their heinous vile insulting songs at me.

“They’re just afraid Vlad. You can’t expect them to be like dogs and be happy with everything. They’re cats. You need to be gentle and whisper sweet things to them so that they’ll feel safe.”

I turned on the radio. It was not Whispering or any old music. As we drove higher in elevation, among the pine trees I looked for wolves. The moon was no longer full but I always look – just in case.

Trying to lighten up the mood I said, “In the old days we wold have brought up two or three people rather than bottles of blood. They would have been glad to come with us. Remember those times?”

Randolpho stroked a purring kitty and gave me a sideways glance. “Sure, back when we lived in your castle and you were the King. Not anymore. The kind of people who want to go to Vampire gatherings and get their blood sucked are weird.”

“What do you mean by weird?”

“Just weird. They’re Vampire wanna bees. And even if they don’t want to be Vampires they just creep me out. You know the whole subsurvant semi sexual servant master thing, but it’s more than that. They’re like groupies.”

“Groupies. What is groupies?”

“Followers. My point is that they’re strange. They get off on the idea of being our slaves and laying naked on a table for us to feast on and shit like that.”

“I see.”

“And they’re usually stupid and don’t live in the real world. It is all fantasy to them. They don’t get that we have to rake our leaves and clean out litter boxes just like everyone else.”

Sometimes Randolpho had an interesting ways to describe the world to me but I found myself more often than not agreeing with him.

Our friends greeted us at the cabin, which was not a cabin at all. A cabin is a hut like structure with a fire pit. This was a 4,000 square foot house with a dock on the lake. The cats gladly walked on their leashes into the house where they were met by adoring Vampires. After Randolpho and I unpacked our things I walked alone along the shore of the lake.

The air was cold. The sky with clear with an infinite number of stars. The moon was slightly deflated.

I thought about Jane and wondered where she was. I thought about my castle and my old life style which is now considered unacceptable. I thought about how I never imagined I would miss three centuries and end up in a world where I would be terrorizing cats in automobiles. I could not even imagined what an automobile was four years ago.

I thought about a song I’d heard on the radio.

There is much I do not understand. But now, I do understand that one should never take riding in cars with cats lightly.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

You’ve just finished reading the 41st installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. For the entire series, from the start CLICK HERE.

 

The Quiet Beauty of San Miniato al Monte

Last week, it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a hundred years ago, I was at San Miniato al Monte monastery and cemetery in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the year 1018 with no power tools, and workers who no doubt couldn’t even write their own names. It is beauty from a dark time.

It was an unexpected, moving, and beautiful find.

We (my husband, children and I) expected to find an old monastery at the highest point in Florence. We did not expect to find the huge cemetery surrounding it.

There was not enough time to spend there. I could have spent a week looking at the hundreds of touching statues that spoke of memories, but there by those who loved and those who lost their hearts. So many dates were from the 1940’s. So many were children.

The ghosts lurked far from us, watching us walk through the rain. More than anything we could feel the love and the loss. It is a special place where those who are no longer remembered by anyone now living, are still touching our hearts and souls.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Fear and Change

Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.

You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.

We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.

Something taken away.

Something given.

Something found.

Something lost.

It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.

It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.

Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.

You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.

Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.

Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.

Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.

You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.

You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.

You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.

Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.

Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.

Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.

The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.

But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”

Yes, Cody, anything is possible.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Passings in the Night

Passings in the Night

The plan tonight was to share some Vampire tales and adventures and truly funny things, but plans change.

Tonight I saw The Ghost, Nigel. He wore an impeccable black suit, his hair was a perfect glossy black and all in place. He motioned for me to sit with him out on my back deck under the cold night sky.

His eyes met mine and he told me a story.

“I died December 3, 1986. I normally wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of my own death, but, it was the strangest thing, I was standing out in the woods, not doing much of anything. When you’re a ghost you don’t do much of anything. Anyway, I was out in the woods and a woman came towards me. She was smiling at me and I knew things about her. Her life had taken up where parts of mine had stopped. Then her life stopped December 3, 2013.

She looked at me for just a moment in passing. It was dark but I could see the light coming over the horizon. She asked me who I was and if we knew each other. I told her “I don’t know you, but we’ve loved some of the same people.” I turned her in the right direction.”

Nigel stood up and looked up at the stars, hovering in and out of a transparent state. Then he came close to me and made himself look as real as a live person.

“I couldn’t go with her. But I sent a little bit of my love along, I hope. Well, I know I did. Don’t look all sad. I’m a ghost. These things happen. Hey, nobody should die alone. She left surrounded by love.”

“Who was she?” I had to ask.

He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. But we loved the same people, just not at the same time. I loved them first, then she loved them after I was gone. I have a feeling she was better at it than I was, or most people for that matter.”

There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but tonight was not the time to ask or to try to get answers.

Love is a force that we can’t explain or quantify. It goes beyond worlds, beyond sorrow and beyond grief.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First posted December 2013 – In memory of Julian Elsworth and Lil Longshore.

 

angel sacramento

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

don't be a ghost