The Big Picture

When my daughter was about five or six years old she came up with a practical approach to Time Travel.

“When I grow up I’m going to invent a time machine. It will be red, and it will fold up flat so I can take it with me wherever I go. Nobody will be able to steal it,” she said.

Little Clara always saw the big picture, even as a small child. She is in college now and still gets the big picture, but now finds herself right in the middle of the big picture. Yes, she is registered to vote. All of her friends are registered to vote. All of their siblings are registered to vote. They’re young but they get it. They see a world outside of their college classes, friends, romances, and family.

We’re all in sort of a one way time machine, especially if you’re a Vampire or other long lived person. We can’t change the past but the opportunity to learn from it is always there. On the other hand the opportunity to be extremely embarrassed is also there but that is another blog post.

My Great Great Great Great Great Grandmama Lola is staying with me for the next week. She usually lives in a cottage along the Sacramento River Road, but it is in a state of renovation at the moment. I don’t mind. I love my Lola. She raised my father, along with countless others who needed raising, including her own long gone children.

Lola was born on October 25, 1343, the exact same day and year as Geoffrey Chaucer. She isn’t the oldest Vampire around, but she is one of the most interesting. I don’t even care anymore if her stories are the truth, half truths, or even lies. Even with the lies there is always some truth in there somewhere, a fact that separates old Vampires from politicians.

“I never go back into the past. I only move forward”, said Lola as she sat at my kitchen table. She was wearing jeans and a sweater, with her long wavy hair over her shoulders, looking like a stylish young women in her mid-twenties. “Things get too ugly and troublesome, and dirty. Yes, dirty. The world used to be such a dirty place. Still is in some aspects, but when you don’t have running water…” She stopped and took a sip of coffee. Rubbing her leg where the Vampire Hunters burned her about six years ago she looks up at me. “You allow me to move forward, even when everything in my past, and everyone in my past tends to pull me back. You don’t consider anyone obsolete.”

“We grow, we change, we reinvent ourselves and if we’re smart we hold tight to the fire and passion that burns inside of us, deep down in hidden away small spaces,” I said.

“You’ve become so…profound,” she said sitting up and holding her coffee cup again.

“Only when I’m not making bad puns,” I said.

She has seen horrors and experienced so many bad things. When I do bring up things it is only the good things, unless she wants to talk about not so good things. But for the most part we look forward.

If Time Travelers do poke around with their stolen technology and brash arrogance we will deal with them, and keep off of their weird machines. In the meantime, I think it is time for more coffee and maybe even some gossip, far away from the Big Picture and far away from the past.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



Finding Pandora’s Box


As a child I loved the story of Pandora’s Box. You all know the story but in case you forgot… Pandora was a girl who lived in ancient times. She lived in a place where a beautiful box was kept. Pandora was told time and time again NEVER to look in the box. You know where this is going.

Some say Pandora was a bride and the box was a wedding gift given Zeus. Some say she was the first woman (always blame it on the woman.) Well, never say that to a girl. Of course she looked. And out of the box came all sorts of horrible things. The box contained evil. Evil escaped and spread all over the world. What a nasty trick of Zeus but of course he blamed it on the girl… but that isn’t the point of the story. Pandora opened the box and something awful escaped. The point is that I could relate to the girl in a big way.

Ahhh but at the bottom of the box, and this was my favorite part, the spirit of HOPE came out. Hope was always pictured as a beautiful fairy. Like a lot of little girls I loved fairies (still do.) But back to the story on hand…

I was like Pandora, always looking into boxes and closets and attics I wasn’t supposed to be looking into. I suddenly realized yesterday why all these years I identified with Pandora. I could have been Pandora. She could have been me.

Yesterday I cleaned out my office room. It is an office, a guest room and a place where junk gathers. It is a room I’ve banned my husband from because he moves things around to fit his own sense of what should be. It will also once again be the room I write in.

I hauled a garbage can and a large recycle can full of papers, boxes and old stuff. I re-acquainted myself with beautiful dresses I haven’t worn in years. My teenage daughter marveled at the beautiful cuts and fabrics. Those clothes are not the same as the mother she knows wears now. They are from a different time and place.

As I went through boxes which haven’t been opened for years my mind and heart went to places I didn’t want to be. Yes, you’ve read my stories of the past and things I’ve done years ago, but that was on my terms. The memories dredged up yesterday were not my choice. These were things that haunt and bit and suck the blood out of my own dark soul. I even wrote a lengthy post about how items symbolize lost dreams that could have been.

The room became my own Pandora’s box full of swirling demons and weirdness.

That led to me writing a couple of agonizing essays on memories and how single items can change a life through their meaning. I wrote of those dashed dreams that are so clear and painful. For hours I kept the it all festering in my brain. Then I realized that if I went ahead and shared those essays on pain and broken dreams that I’d receive comments from worried readers and feel guilty for playing with the feelings of my readers, or making my dear readers feel bad. I want to make my readers feel thoughtful or happy, or even on-edge and angry but not sad about me. I don’t want to tear your hearts out with words about me. Then it all scattered like a puff of smoke from a candle I’d just blown out. It was gone along with the garbage.

I’m not the kind to go back to the past and let it define me. Sure my past influences me. It is who I am. Of course it is that way for everyone. But it isn’t who I am. I’m not that girl I used to be. Like I said, I don’t let it define me. I don’t go back. I don’t ever try to relive experiences, even if it is with old friends who were there with me the first time around.

What the parts of my past I don’t feel comfortable with give me is a roadmap for teaching my own children about choices they make.

At the bottom of the closet, as with Pandora’s Box, were a lot of good things and hope. There were so many times there was no hope, but that was a long time ago. Best of all I have a new office. After a few more hours of work it will be a place where I can relax and create and be the best. Always the best from now on.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Mom


Also see: Musings on the Curious Child and Keeping Secrets