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 saw 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 or some sort of smooth jazz 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

Jasmine

First posted in February 2015

That was the last time I took Jasmine to the dog wash before she passed away. She wasn’t feeling well for a few months, then had a stroke before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I still watch people in parking lots and know they live in another universe than I do. And the kids are doing great. I still miss Jasmine. 

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Finish it… odds and ends… That usually means more odds but, whatever.

Before I do anything I need to let EVERYONE know that my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard” will be FREE on Amazon (download only) October 27 – 31, 2017. It is a fun collection of stories from this blog. Share with your friends. Read it on Halloween. Have fun. Happy Halloween.

Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Morning-Vineyard-Collection-Tangled-Tales-ebook/dp/B00M4V1DGI

I was looking at my blog stats and noticed that someone was looking at random pages of my “Girl in the Woods” online novel. That was supposed to be finished in 2016 but I came to a chapter that needed to be rewritten and I didn’t feel like it, so I ignored it. It didn’t go away. Now it sits there lonely and alone, waiting for that chance reader to come by and read chapter 9 and chapter 19.

Another example is my house. I love my home. It is my dream home. It is a mess. I could clean. I plan on cleaning. So instead I go to the store and buy Twinkies and frosting so I can make Ghosts for a Halloween party this weekend. Actually there are TWO Halloween parties.

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It is a fun and easy project. Get a box of ten Twinkies, a can of white frosting, a tube of black frosting. Spread the white frosting over the Twinkies. Draw faces with the black frosting. Presto – you have a delightful treat. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. It doesn’t take any time at all. You don’t have to be perfect. Everybody loves these. It will make you laugh. Clara and I made these cuties a few years ago, and we’re doing it again. We don’t eat them (we’d become violently ill) but we have a lot of fun making them.

But back to my house. I wish I had a maid. I’m not a witch so I can’t just snap my finger and make everything clean up itself. To tell the truth most witches can’t do that. I’m not a Disney Princess so I don’t have animal friends who will come do it for me either. With my luck they’d be like my cat and pee all over everything just for spite. He has no reason to feel any spite, but he is a cat. Something was moved, or someone called him an asshole, or the dog looked at him wrong, or the other cat simply exists, so he pees to prove his point. He is a talker too. It isn’t like I’m not listening to him 24/7.

This is the glamorous life of a Vampire. No blood stains to wash out today. No turning into a bat. No cryptic messages from an ancient council of folks who wear robes and chant weird shit. Just a mom, who planted bulbs in the yard today, and who is going to go to the post office in a few minutes, then off to Dave’s Bottle Shop to pick up a few bottles of  Poet’s Blood and a case of Spiced A Positive.

Then we’ll decorate for Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost of High School Past

My daughter graduates from high school on June 2. This month has been a whirl of AP tests, college placement tests, robe and yearbook pick-ups, Senior Ball, skate practice ramping up for the Regional and National championships and the list goes on and on and on. Tomorrow she signs up for classes at college. The eldest child who is already off at college is getting worked up for Grad school after he graduates next year.

I’ve started the empty nest post about six or seven times. They were in Middle School and High School when I started blogging. But no matter how old they are I’m still a mom. I’ll always be Vampire Maman. Sigh.

So I’m drinking way too much coffee and trying to write today when I look out into the predawn light and see not one, but five Ghosts out on my deck. There are three men, a woman, and a dog. And don’t tell me that dogs have no souls (because if you say otherwise you don’t know shit about dogs or ghosts.)

I sat as still as death, which isn’t difficult, and watched the Ghosts.

Nigel was there of course. He is always here lurking around and semi haunting me. The woman was willow thin wearing a white sundress with her long brown hair flowing down to the middle of her back. The large black Lab mix stood leaning against her leg. It wore a white bow around it’s neck. Like Nigel, she was young, in her twenties. The tallest of the men had dark hair with gray streaks along his temples. He wore blue scrubs, like a doctor would wear. The other man wore a bright red and blue Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He was a really big guy, not just fat, but big. He must have been about 6’5″. As usual Nigel was in a black dress pants, with a black shirt and black tie.

“So what did they do with your bodies?” I could hear the woman say.

“I was cremated. My wife had me on the mantle for a while until her lover moved in. Then I was dumped in the river during the Salmon run. The salmon part was the kid’s idea. They’re still pissed off at my wife. They found out she had been cheating on me for years before I died,” said the doctor.

“Oh man, that is rough,” said the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. “Cremated too. My family took me out on a fishing boat in the ocean. My son threw up over the edge after he dumped my ashes. Poor guy still feels bad about it. I was laughing the entire time. He’ll be fine, my son Kyle that is. I’m just glad I got to meet my grandkids before I died. How about you Angie?”

“I’m buried not far from Nigel. Roxie here was buried with me. We died together. Car accident. Anybody donate organs?”

The all shook their heads yes.

The doctor had slipped on some blood in the emergency room and hit his head on the side of a table. He’d died immediately. The guy in the Hawaiian shit had been doing some avian research with in Africa contracted a rare brain parasite. apparently Nigel was the only one who was murdered, as least as far as they knew.

The doctor rolled his shoulders and transformed out of the scrubs into a button down shirt and jeans. “Are we the only Ghosts in the class of 77? We’ve lost about 30 people so far. We can’t be the only Ghosts.”

“Deena Adams died of a drug overdose in 88,” said the woman. “Do you know if she’s still around?”

“Do we want her around? She’s probably some pathetic poltergeist, or worse. She was a pain in the ass when she was alive, so do you really want the dead version around?”

“Oh Nigel that is cruel.”

“No, it is the truth. She’d ruin the party for us and try to completely destroy it for our living classmates.”

I realized that they were planning their 40th class reunion.

Nigel looked up and scowled then flipped me off. I went outside and said, “Then get off of my fucking deck. Just you Nigel. Your friends can stay.”

I went back inside and finished up what I was doing. I swear sometimes I wonder what it is with Ghosts.

But I thought of them, the Ghosts, two middle-aged, two in their twenties, and a dog of unknown age, sharing memories of their high school years. Even ghosts have their own kind of catching up to do.

I think about my kids, and even myself thinking back. My children think back on when they were small. I think back when I was their age, then later. I’m one hundred years older than those ghosts out there and I still look back to 1877 when I was seventeen, almost eighteen.

More than anything I’m thinking ahead. What will the future bring to my children who are young adults? I should be thinking of my own future, but after doing that for so many years just don’t do it anymore. Maybe tomorrow.

Nigel did come back later. He stood in front of my bookcases and smiled, his ghost eyes twinkling under his long dark eyelashes.

“What?” I said.

“Nothing,” he said. Then he vanished without so much as a wisp of mist. That’s a ghost for you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Another Rainy Day (or Night)

Maybe it is the gray weather, or just changes, or nothing, but the gray mood of Winter continues, way past the first day of Spring.

Anyway, my jeans and sweatshirt were still wet from going out in the rain, as I looked up #vampires on Twitter just out of curiosity. It was all fangs, dripping blood, sexy hot male Vampires, and a lot of violence. Seriously, I’m always up for the sexy hot male Vampires, but you know, after kids, and pets, and business, and taking care of stuff at home… I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to drip blood all over my clothes, try to get the stains out, go shopping for new clothes, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and not to mention getting the damn stuff out from under my fingernails. I find a friendly neck or a wrist. I keep it clean and simple, I go on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have a life. I don’t have time for the drama right now. And it is raining. Hard. Really hard.

I spent the day driving around in the car with an 85 pound German Shepard. She slept most of the time while I made all of my stops. It wasn’t interesting. No Vampire councils, no visits to any clairvoyants, no tight skirts and red heels (Vans today.) We went to the used book store, the post office, Trader Joe’s (yes, there is stuff there I need), to the high school, and then Dutch Brothers (where they can make anything sugar free for Vampires who as you well know love coffee.)

So I’m looking up different hash tags because I’m tired of political crap today and trying not to get sucked down the rabbit hole even more… don’t leave me because there is a story here…maybe.

My brother Andy called. Andy lives in San Francisco, in St. Francis Woods no less. I live near Sacramento. Andy is eight years my elder but who’s counting. We’re both over 15o years old so birth order doesn’t always matter at this point.

I hear Queensryche playing Another Rainy Night in the background. The band wasn’t there, Andy was playing it on an unknown device. I mention that because my brother Andrew is an insanely talented musician.

“Oh sweetie, did someone break your heart again?” I had to ask.

“No, it’s just the rain. I’m thinking about the loves I’ve lost over the years. Far far too many to count.”

“I know Andy,” I said.

“Maybe it isn’t even that. It is just a bad day. You know when it just hits you like a wave and every cell in your body feels like it is just going to stop.

“I know,” I said. Depression. It never makes sense. “You should call James. Tell him to bring the Unicorn over,” I said. I hate Andy’s friend James, but he always seems to snap Andy out of his moods. James is so sexist that he’d make the entire Trump administration look like members of the Pantsuit Nation. Jokes aside, he would. He also has a Unicorn. A real Unicorn. Nobody can resist the cheering charm of a Unicorn.

While I’m talking to Andy there is a knock on the front door. Then I hear our brother Val (almost a twin we’re so close in age) call out “Hey, Jewels.”

I put the phone on speaker and he talks to Andy. Val can always cheer up a room with his infectious laugh. You know, that sort of horse funny laugh that young men have (despite his 158 years.) Val is charming and soon we have Andy out of his gloom, at least we hope. In fact I invite Andy on our Spring Break adventure to the mountains and snow, but at least it will be beautiful and he won’t be alone.

We’ll have a weekend of quiet beauty and maybe even a bear sighting or two. They (the bears) are just coming out of hibernation, and for some unknown reason they always cross my path. These are black bears mind you, but I have had a grizzly cross my path before. That will scare even the most hardened Vampire, and even Werewolves. One does not mess with the one who is at the very top of the food chain.

I tried to think of another song to suggest to Andy, but by then he didn’t seem so depressed, but in an hour it might come back, but it might not. I tell him to resist, to tell it no, to not allow it in, not to embrace it, not to acknowledge it, or let it see him. It lurks around like a mean little demon who scuttles silently along the walls, waiting, watching, hungry to suck out as much as one’s soul as it can.

Then I think of the quiet woods, and know that we’ll find peace this week, along with laughter and love. No #scaryvampires. Just #lovedvampires.

Have a great weekend everyone. Find your peace.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: One Night

Andy opened his eyes. His head was still in tact, or at least he imagined it hadn’t completely exploded.

She’d called his name then jumped in his lap, knocking over the chair he was sitting in. As he tried to move he discovered his hair was caught under the top of the chair back. Someone pulled Taylor off of him, and helped him up.

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said to everyone who asked.

Taylor, a small young woman with a black bob and a quick smile, was fighting back tears. Andy figured at least three if not four fingers were broken, and maybe some other bones in her beautiful delicate hands.

He kissed her hand. Some of the pain went away. Then he slipped her six fresh one hundred dollar bills.

“This should cover your deductible and any other expenses tonight. Call me tomorrow and let me know how you’re doing. I’ll come see you.” Then he kissed her cheek. “We have to stop having so much fun.”

He declined help and decided to walk towards home. He’d had enough of clubs, and people, and the last place he needed to be was a hospital. Unknown to most of his friends he was a Vampire. He’d be fine.

As he walked along the city streets he thought about all of the women he’d ever known and all of the parties he’d ever been to, and all of the stupid things he’d ever done. His mind wandered to lost loves, and music, and how hungry he was. His head still hurt. The fall was harder than he’d initially thought. Blood would be good right now but he didn’t want to put out the effort for anything fresh. There was blood at home in the refrigerator.

He took out his phone and pulled up his Uber app, and called for a ride. It was another four miles at least to his house and he was tried of walking.

A song would take his mind off of it all. He started to hum the St. Motel song Midnight Movies. And right as he got to the verse,

Stories get told, I hear the plotlines unfold, it seems they’re handing me gold
Stories get told here at the midnight movies

The back of his head exploded in pain again. Someone, or something had slammed into him. He stumbled and went down on his knees, the palms of his hands scraping the sidewalk. He was grabbed and someone dragged him into an alley.

He heard a voice in his ear, “Andrew Todd, there you are in your long hair, and your Vicuna coat, and your expensive jeans, and your Italian shoes, thinking you’re better than the rest of us.

Andy smelled the foul breath in his face. It was a mix of old blood, rotting flesh, and dog farts. Opening his eyes he saw three figures. Vampire trash for sure. Shadow creeping bastards who lurked around in the dark damp corners of the city.

“Come on guys. Don’t make any problems with me. I’m one of you.”

The three, one large, one medium size, and one small, looked at him with dark lifeless eyes, showing their fangs.

“You think you’re better than us. Well you’re not, you perfume sucking faggot,” the smallest and ugliest one hissed at him.

Andy knew better than to try and argue with them. They were idiots, but dangerous idiots. They circled him, three against one.

A car stopped in front of the alley. A large man yielding a sword stepped out.

“Hey, ass-wipes,” he yelled, and he swung the sword. Three heads went flying into the alley, rolling like bowling balls down the lane.

Andy got to his feet and staggered back.

“Hey man, don’t worry, I’m your ride,” said the driver.

“You’re a Vampire Hunter,” said Andy, still sort of in shock.

“Sure, but I don’t go after your kind. Get in. Go on. I won’t hurt you.”

Andy gave the driver a large tip, locked the front door of his house, and went to the kitchen for blood. A small orange cat wound around his feet purring. He stroked it’s head and said “good kitty.”

Then he texted Taylor’s boyfriend to see how she was doing, went upstairs, and fell into bed.

A few hours later he woke to find a beautiful woman sitting next to his bed. She was dressed in jeans and a white button down men’s dress shirt, with pearls around her neck and on her ears. Chestnut waves of hair fell down her back. She stroked his cheek. He took her cool hand.

“Mom,” he said.

“I had a feeling my baby was hurting. Oh Andy, you have to be more careful.” She put her hand on his forehead and his headache vanished.

“Thanks.” After 163 years there was still nothing better than to have his mom there for him.

His phone dinged with a message. His mother picked it up. “That was Taylor’s mom. She wanted you to know she is going to be fine. Three broken fingers, and a broken bone in her hand, but no surgery is required. She wanted to know if you were ok. I texted back that you’re ok.”

Then she smiled, with a little big of fang, that beautiful smile that all moms have when they know their children are alright, and that they will be alright.

~ End

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com