Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – but please no yoga pants

Odds and Ends – Musings on my state of mind.

This morning as I was leaving the self-serve dog wash with a clean old dog and a fifteen pound bag of dog food under my arm I saw road rage. Yes, right there in the Trader Joe’s parking lot between the organic bakery and the dog wash.

Fresh from getting her Zen and Zang aligned with the universe at her Friday morning yoga class, a woman in an expensive SUV started screaming “BITCH you can’t have my spot.” She was screaming at another woman who was also in an SUV (woman number two was not wearing yoga pants.) It was one of those WTF moments for me. After helping my old dog with the bad leg into my car I could only hope that nobody would scream at me. If they did there might be hell to pay later, much later, but maybe not. It just isn’t worth my time. Karma will get the screamer much more effectively than any Vampire could.

As a rule, aside from swimwear and underwear I never wear anything with an elastic waist band. I do not have road rage. Yes, of course I swear in the my car and curse enough to make the Devil himself blush – I’m a mom. All mom’s swear in the car, just as any child. BUT I do not have road rage.

I’ve been out and about during the day a lot more lately. Things are different in the light of day. At night people are predictable. They are usually tired or drunk or happy to be where they are. During the day the world if full of women who are full of rage. Raging women with well manicured hands and yoga pants. There are also the moms with a baby in one hand and a dog pulling the other with a leash. Yes, it looks good on paper, but in reality the dog and the baby rarely want to go in the right direction. The three I saw today were so cute. I remembered those days except I had two exceptionally large hairy girl dogs (90 and 125 lbs) and babies in tow. Auto pilot time!

When my children were small I always knew a lot of the well-kept raging women with their aligned Zen were blissfully ignorant of their husband’s girlfriends or of their market value going down in the workplace. I was never Zenfully aligned in any way shape or form. The universe has never been an aligned or straight forward place for me. That makes things difficult at times but you know, it just the way things are.

Disclaimer: Not everyone who does yoga is one of those women so don’t get all pissed off.

Then I saw two guys with a lot of hair and backpacks. I don’t know if they were homeless or just traveling through. At the light a Lumbersexual (you know, the long hipster beard, boots and red plaid jacket or shirt) talked to the hairy guys. It was cool.

I was the old guy with the purple mohawk who rides his bicycle along the streets. I saw the tiny kindergarteners in their cute sun hats all holding on to a rope and walking to the park with their teachers. With a rope no kids can complain of holding hands with blisters or a hand of someone they don’t like or being paired up with a hand squeezer. Ropes rock when it comes to controlling children. And it is sooooooo cute.

As I’m driving home with the now clean dog, I realized that now I smell like dirty dog. When you wash a dog it is just a matter of you transferring the vile smells to your own body. I turned on my music because the dog can’t use the car stereo system like the rest of my family. Nobody was there to change it. I played my own soundtrack for my own movie.

I keep adding songs and pushing some off of the playlist. Some are on the list forever while others only last a week or two. And I am still pissed off at Apple their asshattery when they slapped the U2 album on my iPhone. More mom swearing. But back to my yen and yang…

We all have to find our own soundtracks. We all have to find what route we want to take on any given day. Even when we’re forced to take another road to another place, even if that place is unknown, it isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it is usually a good thing.

Then there are those rings that are old and new like my fifteen year old and her sixteen year old partner skating to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” In two hours he’ll be listening to Metallica and she’ll be listening to Night Riots but for now, they dance like Fred and Ginger on eight wheels. Today it is International (nor organ music like American dance, just orchestral.) They’re really beautiful out there on the floor.

Other things run through my mind like calls from my brothers about getting out blood stains, dealing with females, and dealing with the ends and outs of living in world that is just a little bit different. Not bad, not wrong, not strange to us, just different.

I thought about the time, a long time ago, when my brother Val and I were kids. We were walking along the edge of the river and found a giant dead sturgeon on the beach. We swore it was at least twenty feet long. Looking back I think it was about six feet long – still a large beast. It was just one of those random thoughts that I’ll call him about tonight or maybe tomorrow. I thought about a lot of things today with my only company being the dog.

Rummaging through the dusty files in my brain I pulled out cracked faded folders on old lovers, images of places I can’t remember and things I remember as if it had happened this morning. Closing my mind I could feel the warm summer breeze on my bare skin as I walked along the beach, hoping it would stay warm, if only for another few hours.

Next I sent Garrett (who is off at college) about a dozen photos of the dogs and cats playing in the tall winter grass. I also sent him pathetic photos of the dog being washed. Fun stuff. A lot of xoxoxoxo sort of stuff followed and came back. He sent selfies and some included friends. I thought again of the mom with the tiny baby and the dog. She has no idea how much fun she will have or how much love.

So reach into your brain, take out your files and throw them into the air, with all of the brittle paper that might fly into bits along with dust and old love letters and bits of this and that. Holy crap, what a mess that would make.

I’m looking forward to a calm evening for tomorrow… who knows what it will bring but it is always something.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Nothing is that mysterious – not even Shadow People (or go away I need my mom time)

Today I was in my car, in the parking lot at the high school waiting for my daughter Clara.

I was thinking about the time last year when one of the kids in Geography gave a presentation and stated  “Oprah is popular in Italy.” It makes me laugh out loud every single time. Opera. It is opera that is so popular in Italy.

I know that this afternoon and tonight I will hear more amazing stories of school. Yes, every single night is like a stand up comedy routine with my daughter telling her dad and I about school.

School will be out in five minutes so I take a minute to read from “All the Light We Cannot See.” It was a book I didn’t think I’d like because it is written in the present tense but I love it. The words are so beautiful and the characters are so real. If you want to be transported to another time and place, get off of my blog, get off the Internet, find a quiet place and read this book.

So I’m sitting in my car, windows down, a slight warm breeze brushes my cool face and I catch a shape in the corner of my eyes. Damn it. There they are, two guys in suits. I know them. The proverbial men in black or whatever one wants to call these goons from some undisclosed secret agency. The asshole squad (as they’re officially called by Vampires and Werewolves.)

One is wearing the black suit. The other has removed his jacket and has the starched white shirt with the black tie. At least the Vampire Hunters I know don’t stick to the stereotypes like these guys do (at least the professionals who don’t bother my kind.)

Anyway they approach the car. One leans on the door at the open window. Last time they dropped by to see me they wanted to know about Zombies.

“I’m not your reference librarian,” I say to them.

“Who’s your friend?” The one who asks is called Johnson. I think his first name is Tom.

I was in the car alone, so I thought but I looked over and saw Nigel, the ghost sitting in the front passenger seat. He smiled sweetly, looking as solid and physical as can be.

“Nigel Pierce,” said the ghost to the annoying over dressed men.

“Like the artist?” The man asked with a slight sarcastic hint in his voice,

“Just like that.” said Nigel oh so cheerfully. Yes, just like the artist.

The man in the jacket pulled out a photo and showed it to me.

Vlad

“Do you know this man Juliette?”

Of course I knew him. “What do you need to know?”

“He is a Vampire, like you.”

“And your point is?”

“Shadow people.”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding?” That was Nigel. The Ghost said that.

I glared at Nigel. One does not show expression or give any information to men in black suits.

“Do you know something?” That was the one called Johnson.

Nigel leaned forward and brushed his dark hair out of his eyes. “Don’t mess with them man. They’re total creepers and psychopaths.”

“Have you communicated with them?”

“Not if I can help it. They’re the trash of the paranormal world.”

“Ghosts?”

“Not even. Ghosts my ass. They’re nothing like Ghosts. Shadow People are… they’re like those weird kids in high school who think they’re really smart and creep around trying to look up girl’s skirts and suck up snot instead of using tissues. They’re sick. They’re straight up from Hell as far as I’m concerned. Nothing but a bunch of assholes.”

“What about the man in the hat?” That was Johnson again. All across the world people see shadows of a man a fedora (look up Coast-to-Coast and Art Bell if you don’t know about shadow people.)

“He’s a nothing but a pretender. Don’t waste your time.” Nigel turned to me. “Sorry Juliette, I didn’t know you’d have company. I gotta go. Hey, one more thing. Did you know I went to high school here. I did. HA. Things haven’t changed much.” And he vanished, as ghosts do in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

The men looked surprised. OK they looked shocked.

I took a deep breath and explained it all. “Nigel is a ghost. Get over it. And no, I’m not going to give you any information about him.”

“Nigel Pierce died in 1986,” said the other guy, his name is Booth. Cameron Booth. He doesn’t know that I know his first name.

“That explains the ghost part,” said Johnson.

Huh. Before today I never knew Nigel’s last name.

“Tell us about the man in the photo and where we can find him,” said Booth.

“I’m here to pick up my daughter. The fact that I’m a Vampire gives you no right to harass me.” At that point I turned my eyes dark and send a cold dark fear right to their bones. Yes, I can do that when I’m really pissed off.

I would have had a nice conversation with them about the Vampire in the photo and Shadow People and Ghosts but I didn’t really feel like it right then. I was off the clock for the weekend. It can’t be Halloween ALL the time. Jeeze.

The point of this story isn’t about Shadow People or Ghosts or Men from mysterious agencies. It is about being a mom. Friday afternoon is time I spend with my daughter. It is OUR TIME. The time I wait in the car for my daughter is MY TIME. I don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want to be questioned about things I don’t even like. I don’t want to have to make decisions. I’ve earned my few moments alone. I’ve earned my time with my child. I’ve earned the right not to be treated like a freak because I’m not like everybody else.

When Clara and I got home there were a dozen turkeys in our front yard. Did I question their existence? Did I wonder why their motivation was? Did I bother them? No. Of course not. I get it. Three Turkey Mamans out with their brood of nine skinny necked adolescent turkey babies. They don’t want to be bothered either.

Don’t bother me when I’m with my child… or with my Ghost.

Have a good weekend everyone. Make sure you take time to relax, unwind and get some me-time in for yourself. You’ll thank me for it later.

I sent Johnson a text on his personal phone and told him to have fun at his daughter’s play. She was going to be Amy in “Charlie’s Aunt” at her High School. Of course he had no idea I had his number. He has no idea about a lot of things but even the men of mystery have to get real. We all need to get real.

Right now I’m at my usual Friday spot in a dark table in a roller rink while Clara practices team dance with her partner. It is my time. Tomorrow I’ll be booked with other people, but now it is just me, my laptop and you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Alone or Not – Musings from a Modern Vampire Mom

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Today someone made a comment to me about taking care of everyone except me.

I guess.

I close my eyes and think of walking on the beach alone. The cold water, the long stretch of beach all to myself. Not the warm beaches to the south but the cold windy beaches of Northern California that call me.

Before school starts I will go. I won’t be alone. The kids will come with me. Maybe friends too. Maybe the husband. Even the dog or a brother or two. It will be a party.

Before I was married I used to travel a lot alone. Sometimes others would question that and be puzzled but I was never bothered by it. If I wanted to go somewhere I’d go.

I tell my kids “you’re your own best traveling companion and sometime your only traveling companion. You have to get along with yourself if you want to have a good trip.” I haven’t always been my own best travel companion but at least I’ve gone places despite the miserable company. Sometimes it has led me to a place where I was good company with myself.

In the triple digit summer heat I seek the cool dark places of both body and spirit. I haven’t had time to have that luxury, not much.

Then again, I spend time above ground in public places laughing with my kids, or making them laugh.

The only time I even stop to think about “alone time” is when I sit down to write, and when I’m writing this blog.

My other writing time is filled with characters that have nothing to do with me. They have much more exciting lives than I do. Well almost. They aren’t Vampires. I mean, you can’t top that.

My brother Andrew once told me, “For such solitary creatures we spend an extraordinary amount of time seeking out the company of others.”

Even a cold touch of a Vampire brings comfort. A flash of smile and a reflection off of eyes in the dark and the faint sound of a laugh in the quiet of the night brings joy.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Fingerprints…really?

E014097I’m almost finished with a novel I’ve been writing for way too long. Then my husband asked “what are you going to do about fingerprints?”

I just look at him. I’d thought about the issue then never really addressed it except to have my characters be crafty and lucky.

“If they change identity then what do you do about fingerprints?” Damn him.

So I go online (to Google) and look in fingerprints and removing them and faking them. I suppose everyone could have an arm transplant but then I get into a different genre. Then my much-anticipated novel becomes even more confusing. I wasn’t planning on this.

The plot suddenly seems silly and shallow. But wait…the writing is good (really good – better than anything I stick on this silly blog) and the dialogue is witty and the characters are different…and it all seems so shallow.

All because of the fingerprint issue.

If this was a Vampire novel I could deal with it, but it isn’t about Vampires.

Darn it.

Just one word can change things. I try to teach my kids that, especially with school starting. You can say something and forget about it but it might change everything for someone else. So make sure what you say is nice or productive or – well, just think before you speak.

I could say “Life is like trying to write a novel.” I could say it is also like wearing sunscreen, ripping out an ugly old lawn or making salsa or washing a cat (I don’t recommend you do that). But hey, we all know life is like EVERYTHING. It is. It is just one big pile of EVERYTHING.

With summer ending with too much going on that I haven’t shared here…my brain is full. You know what I mean? Where are the Zombies when you need them.

So back to this book. I would read it if somebody else had written it. I’d recommend it. I’d say “I wish I could write that well.”

We should all be that lucky. In fact, if you’re a famous literary agent I have your next best seller so send me a message (juliettevampiremom@gmail.com). Or if you want to make a movie or cable TV series out of this blog I’m fine with that too.

In the meantime I have to take the kids to back-to-school shopping and meet a Werewolf for lunch.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who hopes all of you find your muse and the perfect backpack and binders)

Note – a few hours after I posted this I figured out how to deal with fingerprints (and it does not have anything to do with reanimated body parts or latex.) Tomorrow I’m sure it will be something else – but that is what the imagination is for!

And now for a gallery of cute cat photos (can’t go wrong with cute cats)

Hipster Cat

Hipster Cat

Flat Cat (Oscar)

Flat Cat (Oscar)

Vintage Kittens Awwwwww

Vintage Kittens Awwwwww

He does stupid things like sit in the bottom of bags.

He does stupid things like sit in the bottom of bags.

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kiss me

kiss me

Rub my belly

Rub my belly

Gloria the Calico Princess

Gloria the Calico Princess

Musings on Opera, Driving and Mom Time

I remember when my kids were babies I used to read blogs and articles that gave useless advice to busy moms. They’d say things like “take a bubble bath” or “have a date night” and I’d wonder who the crap they were writing for. Spa days? Really? I mean it. Get real. And while you’re at it F-off.

None of those writers ever said “Watch Pulp Fiction for the 50th time” or “Have a stiff cocktail with good booze.” One night when I was at the end of my rope I watched The Hangover” all by myself. Yes, I love movies as much as I love making stuff up.

On Friday nights we’d have Friday Night Opera Bath. I’d turn on the Public Radio and we’d listen to opera. To this day the kids still don’t like opera. They think I’m quaint. But one day they’ll thank me for it.

I still listen to opera when I’m driving late at night alone.

So why DO mom’s drive their kids around so much, even moms who work full-time (like me) and don’t seem to have a moment to spare?

Driving is our alone time. It is our time to think and unwind and let our minds go free.

If I’m in a tub full of bubbles someone, a child, a husband, a cat, will come in wanting something. When I’m in the car, in the driver’s seat I’m in control. It is my time.

It is also quality family time. It is time that kids and parents can talk and nobody can say “I gotta go”. One can’t just step out on the freeway going 65 or 70 mph.

Dad’s’ need time too. Don’t expect your man to be around 24/7 building things and fixing things. He needs his time too (even if it includes opera or sports or whatever.)

And since it is a myth that Vampires turn themselves into bats…I know I can sit outside with a book and in the quiet of the night watch the little guys fly around behind my house. Books and bats usually do the trick…until everyone shows up, but I don’t mind that. The conversation is always good, at least around my house.

But walks and gym time work the same way. It is time away. We all need our own away time, even if it just in our minds.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

kayN