Vampire Road Trips

No, I haven’t been away at some Vampire High Council meeting deciding what to do about nasty Vampires from another tribe, or discussing all of those flea bitten, tick covered Werewolves. Screw that. We don’t even DO THAT. All of the blood dripping lofty ceremony laced fiction out there gets people thinking we’re living in the 15th Century, or all dress like Victorians ALL THE TIME. I’ve been busy and we’re in a heat wave from Hell right now.

We’ll be on not one, not two, but three road trips this summer. The only place we’re not going where it is blazing and stupidly hot is Alaska.

Which brings me to a favorite subject: Vampire Road trips

Some suggest we bring freeze dried blood with us. Yes, that can be obtained by our usual sources but why? First of all we’ll just throw a cooler in the car and keep the fresh stuff on ice. We can also be guaranteed of a steady supply of truckers, hitch hikers, and Airbnb hosts.

The main thing we avoid are hookers in small desert towns (I kid you not.) It is seriously sad to see young women out trolling for truckers in the middle of the day wearing cuts offs, fishnet stockings, and heels. I look at them and wonder, “how the fuck did you end up here?”

We give a nod to the Vampires who live along those mysterious roads that seem to lead to nowhere. We give a nod to the lone Vampires in the small towns scattered across the highways. You know those towns where you wonder what people do there, and why they stay.

We will also stop to see friends along the way, both Vampires and regular folks we know.

All of my bitchiness aside, I love road trips. Driving across country with a kid (even if the kid will have just turned 18) is an amazing opportunity for both parent and child.

On our trips we’ve discussed (in-depth) music, history, art, social studies, geology, zombies, politics, cars, interesting people we’ve known, my own personal history, ways to murder someone when writing a novel, serial killers, movies, relationships, people we know, nature, dogs, cats, current events, and we wonder about things we see along the way.

We’ve seen two exceptionally handsome young men at a rest stop and wondered what two exceptionally handsome young men were doing out in the middle of the desert. We’ve stopped at a giant truck stop sort of place near the Colorado/Nebraska border and wondered where everyone was going. We’ve met a woman who said Lincoln, NE was the largest city she’d ever been to. We’ve seen roadside art, weird mysterious monuments, and a giant crater. We’ve gone to National Parks, and city parks. We’ve driven across Indian Reservations. We’ve driven through small depressed towns, and through some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We’ve been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City and stayed with a gay couple there. We’ve been to interesting little coffee houses that serve lavender scented lattes and vegan muffins. We’ve been on roads that seem to go on forever across the deserts and plains. It is hot because it is summer. It is dry because we’re driving through the West, only as far as Nebraska.

We’ll be in Nebraska this year as well. Then we’ll arrive home and a few days later head off for Alaska. But first we have to go to Fresno for an event. There is no other reason I’d go to Fresno. But in defense of Fresno, like all places, we will find interesting things to do.

So take a trip, even a day trip. You’ll learn something, and maybe even see some Vampires. We love road trips. Just don’t expose too much skin or you’ll get either sunburned or bitten.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This guy looks interesting. Let’s show him something REALLY scary!

 

 

 

 

Jury Duty

Friday was High School Graduation. Saturday was, well, Saturday. We spent Sunday with Wonder Woman (I wish they’d just call her Diana and forget the Wonder Woman title.)

Monday was jury duty.

I’ve been getting out of jury duty for years on the excuse that I had child care issues, which was true. Now it is summer. I work from home. My kids are out of school. They drive. No excuses.

Even as a Vampire I believe in my civic duty and in our justice system (I bet you didn’t think I’d bring up the Vampire thing did you?)

So yesterday morning came. I knew what I’d wear. Conservative but comfortable business wear. A royal blue blouse, black slack, black flats, a white sweater, shiny brown hair slightly flipped up, black marcasite jewelry, easy on the eyeliner. Once I got there I saw that most people had come in jeans and were more on the comfort scale than I was.

I first stopped for coffee at the corner donut shop. This was not one of the awful national chains (aka Dunkin Donuts which sells something called coffee that resembles dirty pond water and I wish had not opened in my neighborhood) but a small family run place with a funny name (Ducky’s Donuts) and friendly young owners. The coffee is in pump containers, and you have to get your half/half out of the fridge yourself. As always the coffee was excellent. No donut – just coffee, but I hear the donuts are great.

It took me a little over an hour to get to the court house. Morning traffic from my house to downtown was heavy but more than I expected. But hey, one has to see the bright side. I took a less traveled road through Midtown to Downtown and got a great morning view of the Capitol building (yes, Sacramento.)

And this was my day:

I arrive at the court house. Then I waited in a line to sign in. We were all told not to sit on the benches or tables outside of the court house because homeless people camped out there at night and the clean up crew couldn’t guarantee how clean anything would be. A judge explained the reason we go to jury duty and the history of it all. It was nice. He also said to send in any suggestions and thoughts to the court. I read about 100 pages in my book (John Sanford, Escape Clause. Extremely entertaining), then I pulled out my iPad and watched videos on YouTube about cats, deep sea creatures, deep sea mysteries, why dogs turn their heads when you talk to them, and a super lame high voiced silly British comedian I’ll never watch again (a lot of British humor seems so old fashioned to me these days.) We were excused for lunch and I almost stepped on a condom on the courthouse steps. Then I saw my husband at the lunch break and asked him how to quickly light a car on fire, what fuel to use, etc etc etc. He didn’t bat an eye because I’m always asking him stuff like that. No, I’m not going to really light a car on fire, I’m just writing about it. He doesn’t read what I write but is always willing to give technical advice. Went back to the court house. I dozed in my seat. Looked out the window and counted palm trees (about five from where I sat.) Read another chapter in my book.  Several people around me mentioned that they’d finished their books. Everyone started talking to each other. Sat for another hour, closed my eyes and figured out how to smash a guy in the head, get him to his car, drive him four or five miles away, light the car on fire, walk home, then have a horror writer in Canada tell an old friend of mine (under a full moon by a camp fire on a beach) how such a sweet woman could be such a cold hearted killer, but hey, the guy deserved it, and it fits into the novel I’m working on. Then at 2:00 my jury group was excused. Jury duty done for another 18 months.

Needless to say my experience was nothing like the movie/play Twelve Angry Men. It wasn’t even like Witness for the Prosecution. It wasn’t like a Vampire movie either. It was real but not gritty or dramatic. It just was.

Luckily there was no traffic on the way home, except right before my house in the never ending messy three miles of road construction. When I arrived home I helped the girl child find her shirt for the senior trip (high school graduates, not old folks) to Disneyland. They should have arrived at the Magic Kingdom about an hour ago (it is now 8:08 a.m. PST.)

All of this reminds me that despite all of the political assholery going on right now, we have a system that works. Juries are picked. People are allowed a fair trial. People participate. People gather peacefully. This isn’t about politics. It is about what is right.

So that is all I have this morning. I’ll need about another gallon of coffee and maybe even another hour of sleep before I get going on today’s agenda…

Have a great day everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

New horizons and dirty dogs (Musings on a Saturday)

They came in groups of four until their number reached almost 500. All in black robes. Some had blood red sashes. Some had medals. Victory was finally theirs. They will rule the world.

Why, no, this is not the start of some epic and lofty Vampire tale. It was GRADUATION DAY yesterday. My daughter Clara graduated from high school! Woo Hoo. It was a lovely ceremony. A lot of music by the kids. Good speeches. I can’t imagine nicer group of young adults. Yes, I got choked up a few times.

Now what? We’re done with K-12 education at my house. Done. Wow. It feels good. It was awesome. It was wonderful. OK. I’m still MOM.

Garrett flew up for the event and will go back down for the last week of college. In the fall he’ll be a Senior at the big university. Clara will be a Freshman at the small college the transfer to the same big university. Her brother might or might not be in Graduate school there when she gets there. We’ll see.

So now what? I have jury duty next week. When I’m asked what I do I will not say, “I write about Vampires and parenting.” I’ll tell them one of the many other “normal” things I do for a living.

I can hear my brother Andy and Clara with their guitars playing and singing Enter the Sandman. Out on the deck the dog and cat are scuttling around while the squirrels bark at them from the trees.

I’m thinking of symbiotic relationships like being a Vampire, or a parent, or a writer, or an artist, or… nothing and just letting my mind finally empty of everything.

And since no Vampire can abide a stinky dog I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to take my 85 pound stinky pup to the self dog wash. Dogs think their motto should be I stink therefore I am. I’m not in agreement. So time to slip on the flip flops and get going. No slinky tight Elvira dresses, and heaven forbid no Vampirella red thong things for me. I’m a little more practical. Most Vampires are. We have dogs to wash, and other regular things we need to deal with too.

I tell my kids that if you insist on being lurking in shadows, sleeping in coffins, and living in some creepy old ruin, you’re going to starve. Seriously, you can get closer to anyone if you smell nice, look nice, and act nice. That goes for anyone who isn’t a Vampire too.

That also goes for dogs, so I’m off. Have a great weekend everyone. Happy Saturday. I’ll be back next week with new adventures and rambling thoughts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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