Ocean View

Aside from too many Murphy’s Law moments I’m having a wonderful time visiting my daughter in Southern California.

IMG_1134

Yesterday we were in Laguna Beach. It was raining but still exceptionally beautiful. On Friday, after I almost missed my flight, we went to the dog beach. If you ever feel like crap go to a dog beach. You’ll immediately feel better.

IMG_1137

Laguna Beach, CA

I’m a bit tired and my old Vampire brain is full right now.

So here are a few more photos of Laguna Beach and the Art Museum there.

xoxox
Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

A Vampire Muses on Passion, Mr. Grey, Food and Marriage

February is here, and that means romance is in the air.

I first posted this a while back when we all had old computers, which were not so old at the time. Actually they were old as computers go. We all have new machines and life around my house has changed quite a bit, but one thing that never changes is romance. Romance, a sense of adventure, and of course food, and my love of books never changes.

A Vampire Muses on Passion, Mr. Grey, Food and Marriage

The teenager is using my computer, so I am using my husband’s. It is a lovely laptop with a 17 inch monitor. I have an old PC that is one heart beat away from death. It is maybe beyond death. It has Vista on it so it was dead before it even started to die. There is also an old Mac G5 on my daughter’s desk that once screamed with speed but now seems low and is not good friend with the Internet. So the child in on my Power Book Mac and I am on my husband’s lovely Dell laptop. I know for sure it is lovely because I gave it to him for his birthday and I was the one who figured out the specs etc, etc, etc.

The point of this is not computers. It is books and romance and writing. Some of you already know this, but my husband Teddy deals in antiques, antiquities and precious metals as a business. From time to time he leaves off bits of stuff on his desk. Not long ago in a box of odds and ends of gold and silver was a book. It was “The Last Man” by Zane Grey. Forget every single thing in Fifty Shades of… Zane is the man to go to for passion and romance. He is the one to go to for the agony of the heart. His mother had to have been a Bronte.

Zane Grey - Master American Story Teller

Zane Grey – Master American Story Teller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the fact that it was published in 1922 it is HOT. And who said there was no romance back then. There was – especially in the great wild Western parts of the country (where I just happen to be from.)

The cover called to me so I had to open it up and read those words...

The cover called to me so I had to open it up and read those words…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I opened the book, just by random chance and came upon a paragraph that I was compelled to read.

“Again Ellen fell upon the soft pine-needle mat, face down, and she groveled and burrowed their, in an agony that could not bear the sense of light. All she had suffered was as nothing to this. To have awakened to a splendid and uplifting love for a man whom she had imagined she hatred, who had fought for her name and had killed in revenge for the dishonor she had avowed – to have lost his love and what was infinitely more precious to her not in her ignominy – his fault in her purity – this broke her heart.”

I had every intention of coming up to my husband’s computer to blog about food and the family dinner table, but Mr. Zane Grey swept me off of my feet. I’ll take Zane over Christian anytime. I’d even take Dorian Gray over the latest version.

Watch out honey, Dorian has a big ugly picture hidden away that you don't want to see!

Watch out honey, Dorian has a big ugly picture hidden away that you don’t want to see!

So back to food…

Vampires do not live on blood alone. OK we can, but we don’t.

We try to gather each night as a family, at the table. Sure the kids could ask to just grab a glass of blood and head up to their rooms, but we like the time as a family. My husband and I could just drink, but we like the time around a bit of food. Not too much just a bit.

We will gather around the table with a bit of rare meat sliced thin, maybe some seafood, hummus and thinly sliced vegetables, my own salsa, maybe some flat bread and goat cheese with fresh basil leaves or something small and light. Thick green Swiss chard and other vegetables are lightly sautéed in olive oil. Next to that is a plate of olives and cheese and some slices of fruit. It is just a bit, but enough to spark a conversation and talk about the day. As parents it is a opportunity to talk about school, and talk and talk and talk about school, both the academic and social aspects.

Tonight I was in the kitchen thumbing through one of Nigella’s books. I also like to check out Another Foodie Blogger (click here.) I make a lot of stuff. Today I cut a pork loin in butterfly fashion, pounded the jeebers out of it until it was thin and then rolled a lovely stuffing in it. That was tied with kitchen twine and put in the oven (where it still is 30 minutes later.) The stuffing was just fresh mozzarella cheese, a bit of spinach, a slice of bacon, fresh rosemary, garlic, onion and some more Italian type herbs plus any extra bits of pork that came off in the pounding. This was rolled up and then covered in a sauce I threw together of tequila, a bit of catsup, honey, dried onion flakes, a lot of herbs and spices and a splash of orange juice. And of course fresh rosemary from the yard. That was both inside and out. I know it will be good. Then I threw a couple of sweet potatoes (the orange kind) into the oven to bake (plain and whole.)

I wait for Teddy. He works 6 or more days a week because it is what he does. It is what most business owners do – they work. They work for money but there is something else that drives them. It is a passion and desire – not unlike a romance.

Some like to say that Vampires are bloodless and heartless, devoid of love and passion. That is so untrue. Even the most dead of our kind lives and breathes passion.

And speaking of sick and twisted passion (and my name isn’t Gray or Grey) I wrote a little story about pine needles and longing. CLICK HERE to read it.

My husband, the dad and the guy who works all the time is also a man of passion and romance. Right now he is downstairs with the teen discussing the latest airing of Bar Rescue with our daughter. Yes, folks you’ve come to the right place for high culture… anyway, my husband is a man of quiet romance and great passion. Unlike the men (be they Vampires, humans or other paranormal types) of movies and fiction he is here. There is no chase. There is no questioning motives. There is no mystery or inequality or hidden portraits of weird horrifying visages or any reason for me to have tears. He is just like that. And no, he never reads my blog so he won’t even see this.

But he brings home random old books, insists we sit together every single night and he loves me and his children. You can’t get more romantic than that – even if you are a Vampire (and a very handsome one at that.)

That’s it for tonight. xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

If you see one movie in 2015 then see this one (or read the book.) Read a lot of books.

If you see one movie in 2015 then see this one (or read the book.) Read a lot of books.

 

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. 

vm badge

But that brings me back to understanding the person you’re with. Relationships, Music, and Silent Movies.

45193705_10155588136117038_7026298902613590016_n

This morning I listened to a wonderful Tiny Desk Concert from Jimmy Eat World, one of my favorite bands.

I went upstairs to get something and my husband said “Since when have you been a Jonas Brothers fan?”

I informed him it wasn’t the Jonas Brothers. I didn’t even bother telling him that it was one of my favorite bands playing one of my all time favorite songs.

A few days ago my now grown man child said, “I thought girls were hard to understand. Women are even harder to understand.”

He is in yet another break up before the relationship even started. Being exceptionally charming and good looking never guarantees anything in life. But that brings me back to understanding the person you’re with.

You are never going to understand the person you love all of the time. The person who loves you is never going to understand you all of the time, or even most of the time.

Just have more coffee and don’t worry about it.

On another note if you’re thinking about a date night or just a fun night out with friends and in the Sacramento area:

At the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Silent Film Series: Nosferatu (1922)

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Reel Tour 5:30 PM – Film 6:30 PM

Register Online

Before the screening, enjoy an in-depth, docent-led tour of select works in the Crocker’s permanent collection to help put the film in context with the art.

With its German Expressionist cinematography, harsh shadows, and elaborate gothic sets, this original horror film formed the genre’s template for decades to come.In an eerie story that brought director F.W. Murnau notoriety and gave Max Schreck his most notable role, Count Orlock lures the innocent Thomas Hutter to his home before revealing his thirst for blood. As the unauthorized retelling of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Nosferatu was nearly destroyed but has survived the past century as an enduring gothic masterpiece that continues to unsettle viewers.

The movie is exceptionally fun and sort of goofy and quaint. I’m sure all of my Vampire friends will be there. I’m counting on it. I haven’t seen it in almost 40 years so it is about time to see it again.

This is the Tiny Desk Concert with Jimmy Eat World: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/29/800256839/jimmy-eat-world-tiny-desk-concert

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Dancing in the Shadows

“Imagine, Juliette, you’re at a party in the library of Alexandria with all of the authors, librarians, scribes, architects, builders, artists, and craftsmen, and you’re the one dancing on the table.”

Tellias look at me sideways and smiled. He looks like he is only nineteen, but he is older than the Roman Empire.

I didn’t say anything back but I have to admit it made sense in a weird sort of way all things considering. OK not really but I like the way it sounds. I could use a little dancing in my life right now.

He slowly got out of his chair and held out his hands like Fred to Ginger except he was the blonde. “Dance with me my dear.”

With his almost white hair flowing around his shoulders, in a white tuxedo shirt with a zillion little tucks, and black jeans, he waltzed me around the room.

“I worry about you Juliette. You’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”

I smiled and gave a small flash of fang, in that way Vampires do to each other, in more of an affectionate way. He’d known me since I was a child. He knows me better than my own parents. Now I take care of him most of the time.

Then he stopped, but still held my hands. “Stop your heartbeat for a few minutes. Hold your breath. Close your eyes. Savor the shadows and the quiet.”

“Then what?”

“Then, dance some more, and write, or draw, or make love to your husband, or fill the bird feeder. Maybe you should go dance on that table.”

I kissed his cheek. “Maybe I’ll just dance with you a little bit more.”

He smiled, and we took another turn around the room.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Empty Nest Brain Drain

Even without any children in the house I find myself in constant motion these days.

My time is like a hole in a low water table area. It is empty but fills up faster than I can dig.

There is work to do, and things to plan, and research to take care of, meeting to go to, other people to see, places to go, animals who are five times more demanding now, and I can’t even seem to think. I’ve spent more time in freeway traffic than I want to think about. On the other hand I can’t complain about the traffic – I could be living in Southern California.

I’m also in touch with my children, every single day. It could be a long conversation or a series of funny texts but I’m in touch.

And you thought Vampires just sleep all day and then rise in the night to go out and find blood. That is like saying everyone else sleeps all night then rise in the morning to find toast and coffee then go back to sleep.

It might be all about the coffee but it isn’t all about the toast or the blood.

Sorry, I’ve got major brain drain right now. Let me get more coffee, go meet with my editor, see some chickens (I’ll post photos) and get back to you, maybe this afternoon.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman