Keeping it Real (When you’re a Vampire and a Parent)

“You can hide yourself away. Wrap yourself in a cocoon of spider webs and blood, and let yourself fester and dry up for years and become a husk, or you can move forward. Hiding is easy. But Vampires who hide get lost, or never wake up, or, or, or, or, are so completely out of touch with what it is to be a real Vampire.” 

I could hear 2,200 year old (approximately, I’m not sure what his real age is. He isn’t even sure.) Tellias talking to my twenty-one year old son. Yes, Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. I didn’t have the heart to blog about it. My time as a mom of youngsters is quickly waning, and unlike the moon isn’t coming back.

I listen and wonder what it is like to be “real” anything.

Despite his age Tellias isn’t a dried up husk by any means. He looks like he is nineteen, or maybe twenty at the very most.

The two could be just best friends if one just looked at them. A dark haired young man with his perfect trendy hair (long on top, short on the sides), and one with his pale blonde hair brushing his shoulders, both wearing jeans and tee shirts.

I had to smile seeing them together. I look at Garrett with all the hope and wonder in his eyes and heart. Tellias looks at me and locks his eyes with mine for a fraction of a second. I see decades of joy and pain, love and loss that goes beyond any known grief, and unknown dark coordores, regrets, and a million songs, and memories of standing under the stars for a thousand years with the warm summer breeze on his face.

I know you Juliette he says without speaking. You’ve always taught them to fly, and now that they can fly on their own your heart is breaking. 

Luckily the 85 pound puppy came blasting through the room and demanded to go outside. I went out to the deck and stood in the drizzle of rain and took in the smell of orange blossoms and rosemary from my yard.

You have to raise your kids to be adults, but when they suddenly become adults… I had no idea it would be this hard. I can’t let them know how I feel. I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and smile and encourage them. I listen to their thoughts, dreams, monologues, and stories. I will forever be here for them. Even if for some reason I won’t be here physically, I will still always be with them.

I put my hands on the deck rail and looked down into the oak forest behind my house. There were no ghosts that night except my own. I felt an arm go around my shoulder. A cool finger wiped a tear from my cheek. Tellias stood with me, not saying a word. He didn’t have to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Owl Songs on a Full Moon Night

When you don’t sleep at night you get to know the owls.

Their songs – or more often their talking, their quotes, their calls, come in five notes.

They say “we knew you.”

They call out a secret code,

To a lone Vampire,

On a Dark Night,

Or maybe they sing to a lost love, or more so the same wrong words.

They sat in the tree like they are auditioning for a Steinbeck novel, in their oak tree on a California night just lit by a full Werewolf moon.

With the white Sierras in the background and the knowledge that the Pacific Ocean is close.

I was with Max earlier, my brother. He is such an alpha, yet so silent in his feelings. He listens to the owls and I know he thinks of a lost love that nobody else knew, or remembers. It only lingers in his heart and the secret places that only the creatures of the night know.

The distant traffic noises fade to nothing, and the night belongs to the soft sounds of the owls, and the random sound of deer walking single file through the field behind my home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Love, Friendship, and Vampires

“I love it when I bite into someone’s neck and it pops, you know like when a really perfect hot dog pops when you bite it.”

My friend Cody sat across from me at our favorite neighborhood coffee place, and told me his thoughts on being a Vampire. He was so excited and enthusiastic. I’m so used to confused, angry, and sad new Vampires. Cody embraced the strange and wonderful world he accidentally joined five years ago.

He continued by telling me the latest about his new start-up business. He’d been some sort of marketing manager for a Silicone Valley high-tech company when his car plunged into the Pacific Ocean and he was rescued, and necessitated by a Vampire. Now he’d met two other young Silicone Valley Vampires (and engineer and a programmer,) and they went out on their own.

I’m known for mentoring and watching after new Vampires. Cody and I have become close friends. He can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but he is so refreshing. He is the new face of Vampires.

Lola soon joined us, flipping her chestnut colored hair up out of her jacket as she slid in the booth next to Cody. I noticed she wasn’t showing a hint of a limp anymore. About the time Cody joined the legions of Vampires, Lola was attacked by Vampire Hunters.

A night of insanity, including a flamethrower, and too many bullets to count had caused great damage on my lovely Great Great Great Great Grandmama. Her legs finally healed, but her heart will take longer. Luckily for her Cody came into our lives.

The age difference bothers some of my family. Cody was born in 1978. Lola was born in 1343. They’re both embracing the well-groomed hipster look, and they’re both championship bull shitters.  Love works in mysterious ways.

As Lola and Cody were up at the counter getting coffee I wondered about flamethrowers. Who the hell buys those things. Flamethrowers are legal in I believe 48 states. Then again, if anyone wants any kind of weapon they can get it.

They sat back down next to me, like any other young couple in their late 20’s – early 30’s.

Lola is never creepy or predatory like some old musty Vampire bitches (not the kind we associate with.) Cody is never overly sensitive or insensitive. They have that “just right” mix.

I thought about my own husband. I need to do something romantic tonight, even if it is just a small gesture of desire, or devotion.

No matter what kind of crap gets thrown at you over the centuries, there is always room for love in your cold unbeating Vampire heart. Even when it has been riddled with bullets, and halfway burned out of your chest. Somethings die but never the desire to love.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Anger, Inspiration, Parenting, and Those WTF Days.

I write about parenting. I write about positive parenting. I write about how parents, through their choices, can raise well-rounded, grounded, smart, ready-for-adulthood, open-eyed, kind, and lovely children.

I have not been feeling like one of those people I want my children to be. I’ve more angry and out of sorts than anything lately. Sad too. As we said in the Victorian days, I’ve had a bit of melancholia. Fuck that.

Forget “nice songs”, I’ve got my radio tuned to the heavy metal and punk stations. I’m wearing black. I’m angry. About everything. OK almost everything. I’m also sad.

Which I guess some people think is normal for Vampires, but I’m not one of THOSE Vampires. But we’re not going there in this post.

On June 2 my daughter will graduate from high school. On July 5 she turns 18. In the fall she will go to college. On April 1 my son will turn 21. I’m done. No more kids. My heart is breaking.

I’ve been a wonderful, successful parent. All has gone well. We survived Middle School (no small task), and high school (without angst.) Now I’m done. I realize they’ll be around after they’re grown, but… it breaks my heart. Good job, now… it breaks my heart.

And as children leave, so do old ones. I worry that I’ll go visit the ancient ones, Eleora and Tellias, or my Great great great great grandmama Lola and find piles of dust. It is all happening so fast.

I’m also in a personal transition – which is rocky at best. My husband is cool. The cats are cool. The dog is silly, but cool.

This morning I forced myself to go to a dance class, which isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nobody ever said all Vampires can dance. I can be stealth but I can’t dance. But I went anyway. It got my mind off of shit.

When I arrived home I was still angry so I took the 85 pound puppy for a walk out in the park, along the muddy trails that run through the oak forest and down the cliffs to the lake. The bald eagles sat in the tree by their nest (which won’t be empty for long). Hawks flew over the water. Buzzards circled in the distance. I closed my eyes for a second to reflect on whatever, then the dog pulled at the leash. I opened my eyes. Coming towards me where two middle-aged men, all fit and in their fancy bike gear coming towards me.

You know, I’m usually not the normal angry Vampire type, but I held out my hand, palm towards them and told them to stop. Of course they stopped. How dangerous could a five foot four woman in yoga pants and a sweat shirt be? Very dangerous if she happens to be a Vampire.

I locked eyes, put them in a trance, and hauled them off into the woods. When I’d had my fill, I stood on the edge of the bluff overlooking the water and tried to clear my head. The men, who didn’t remember anything of our encounter, came along walking their bikes along the trail. Blood loss will tire out even the most fit of men. I noticed a large bruise forming on the neck of one of them. Oh well.

I walked the dog back home in the rain, still thinking, and over thinking.

I’ve done a great job at being a parent. I have a great marriage. My kids are great. Yet, I close my eyes and the world spins out of control.

I have inspired others, many times over the years, over the centuries. Now I need to inspire myself.

I open my eyes again and a calico cat is sitting next to my computer on the table purring loudly for no other reason than she is happy that I’m here.

So forget my pity party and worm song…

My thought for today is to inspire yourself. It isn’t easy but try. Even if it hurts you have to try. But more than anything, even if they’re old, even if they’re grown, even if they have their own kids – inspire your children. Your job as a parent is NEVER over. It isn’t about babies, it is about the long haul – it is about forever.

I posted a photo of the park on one of my social media sites and titled it “Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.” I try to believe.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Excuse me, I’m done. I have to go chase squirrels out of my bird feeders, and see what the dog is chewing up on my back deck.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Have a good rest of your week. And remember TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Stay positive. Don’t use as many bad words as I do.

~ 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.

“Thanks.”

“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

 

Lola

Lola

 

 

Musings on Quiet Time in a Public Place (with Coffee, Rain, Math and Vampires)

Saturday means coffee, and math. My seventeen year old daughter Clara meets with a friend at a local coffee place to figure out math. I write and wait for things to happen.

It is Saturday so I check other blogs like Evil Squirrels Nest (Saturday Squirrel), The Secret Keeper (Vincent Van Gough), and J Mounts Written In Blood (Saturday Short Film). Every Saturday. Every single Saturday. Hey, even unscheduled scattered Vampires like me have our routines.

It is a place where they roast their own coffee. My daughter was able to smell the ground beans before her drinks was made. Two men sit at a table next to me. One is working a crossword on his iPad, the other is doing the crossword on paper. They’re talking like old friends do.

The Coffee Works is a block from my husband’s business, and not far from my brother Aaron’s house. Even in the pouring rain people come in and out. They gather here for warm drinks and good karma.

A few minutes ago I saw Austin Durant, Aaron’s friend. I guess I could say he is my friend too. He is a Vampire Hunter, but not of my kind. He rids buildings of the dried up creatures who sleep under floorboards and between walls. They’re the dusty husks of people who have since moved on into the light, with only their confused and hungry bodies remaining. Anyway, Austin also teaches history the local university, and restores old buildings.

I saw Austin in line and waved. He gave me a smile and headed over to my table after he got coffee.

“A lot of Vampires are out today,” he said, looking around. There were about five of us in the place, but nobody but the Vampires, Austin and I knew it. “How are you Juliette?”

“Good. Clara is meeting with a friend. They’re doing math stuff. I’m just writing. You know Vampires and coffee.”

We chatted a bit more, you know, the usual small talk. Then when he said he had to go I said, “be careful out there.” He knew I wasn’t just talking about the traffic.

But traffic is bad. I live in a place where it hardly rains. Now it is pouring and will pour for the next week. Since we’ve had a drought forever nobody knows how to drive in the rain. Still, I love the rain. I love sitting next to a window and reading or writing.

As I was rummaging through my computer bag my brother Aaron pulled up a chair next to me at my table.

It was great to see him. He is usually so formal and serious, but today he was in jeans, with a flannel shirt, and his hair sort of messed up with the wind and rain. He invited me over for Christmas evening festivities. We made no jokes about him being both a Vampire and an attorney. We didn’t even talk about being Vampires, just like we didn’t talk about a lot of things that would interest others if they imagined Vampire siblings talking over coffee on a Saturday morning. We just talked about our families, Christmas lights, our dogs, and books. Aaron and I always get to books.

After Aaron left, Clara was still working on the math. I find myself, no, take that back – I allow myself to think of what I will write next, and what I will draw next. There are so many things I need to tie up, that get in the way of what I need to do.

I wonder about my husband Teddy down in the Delta today selling a yellow Porsche from the late 50’s. It is a beautiful car but it is time to find it a new home. I watch as two guys roll a recycle bin down the sidewalk. There are fewer cars than normal, and almost nobody on the usual busy sidewalks. I hear the people at the table behind me. There is another woman named Juliette. I wonder what her blood type is. Hey, I’m a Vampire. I think about those things. I can’t help it.

On the way here Clara and I talked in the car about how toddlers are like dogs. They try to understand but they just don’t always get it. We laughed about how toddlers will go stiff as a board if they are put somewhere they don’t want to sit, or are picked up when they don’t want to be picked up.

It is those random thoughts and memories that are sometimes more important than the big things going on in the outside world.

I told Clara that people keep asking me, “What will you do when she goes off to college. You’re so close. How will you manage?” They never ask is Clara will manage, because everyone knows she’ll do great.

Clara said, “It isn’t like I’m going to suddenly not want to be around you or Dad.”

We’ll always be close. We’ll call. We’ll text. We’ll know that we are always part of each other.

I’m now sharing my table with a senior couple who came in for coffee. They just left, but I’m glad to share. Someone else took one of the chairs. I’m glad to share. I’m glad to see so many people in this place who are part of each other. They’re also part of the community we all belong in. There is a small old man with a Santa beard. There are students and study groups (not just my child), there are young and old people together. After over an hour the old guys are still working on their puzzles and talking by the window.

Hey, I see my friend Adam, photographer, and Werewolf coming in. I motion for him to come sit with me. Alright. Have a good Saturday everyone. Adam and I will have more coffee and I’ll treat him to a berry scone. Hey, Werewolves like scones. My dog likes scones.

I’ll be posting a few Christmas stories later today. Have fun and keep checking back.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman