Frogs, Love, and a Rain Swept Night

All night we’ve had thunder, lightning, rain, and hail. Hours later my back deck is still hail. In the creek and field behind my home the frogs are singing with loud clear voices, calling for romance. Pick me! Pick me! Oh let me prove that I am the amphibian of your dreams. Thousands of little frogs, so small that one could be comfortable sitting on a quarter, are belting out love songs as fierce as any Rock-n-Roll idol.

I love the frog music. I love the sound of the rain. I love the thunder and lightning.

In a land where drought is more of normal state of things, a week of storms is a wonderful and magical thing.

Frogs never worry about expressing their love. They aren’t shy like their human neighbors.

My husband sings in the shower. A happy feeling of love always fills my heart when I hear him doing that. He doesn’t know it. And we might be a bit cold blooded sometimes but we’re no frogs.

In 1868 my two older brothers (Max and Andy) were more or less out of the house. That left twelve year old Aaron, nine year old Val, and seven year old me.

We’d read the story of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mr. Mark Twain, and we’d decided to have our own frog jumping contest.

At the time the city of Sacramento was being torn up in order to raise the streets to protect us from future floods. The railroad was also tearing things up. We didn’t care. In the middle of the night we left our home in search of large frogs. I wore some of Val’s old pants so I wouldn’t have to bother with getting a skirt caught on anything.

Through the mud and dirt three vampire children headed towards the river as the sun set over the distant hills. We could see the light of boats as we took a dirt path down to the water. The passengers waved back at us as we jumped and shouted to get their attention.

Val found some pennies on the beach. I picked up a few clam shells and put them in my pocket. Aaron had forgotten about the frogs and was loudly reciting the battle speech from Richard III (yes, the one from William Shakespeare) as he stood on the edge of the water looking into the sky.

Then we heard the sound of applause and looked up to see a group of men at the top of the embankment cheering on Aaron.

My brother continued his grand speech after which he bowed, and the three of us ran off laughing into the night.

On the way home we looked into windows of businesses and homes, laughing the whole way. We saw cooks, and lovers, gamblers and quiet readers.

When our parents arrived home they found us clean and playing cards. We gave them angelic smiles.

Our mother smiled at us, showing a little bit of her lovely Vampire fangs. “Did you hear the frogs tonight?”

“Yes,” I said, “and tomorrow we’re going to catch our own frogs and have a race.”

“We’ll see about that,” said my mother with wink.

The three of us never did have a frog race, or a frog jumping contest, but we did catch plenty of frogs after that night.

A few years ago I took my own children out to the vernal pool near our house where the seasonal rains create a froggy paradise. It is a regular version of Frog Bachelorette. Or at least it amuses me to think so.

So once again the sun will come through the clouds, and the sounds of birds will replace that of frogs, and maybe even with our feathered friends love will also be in the air.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Just another normal paranormal day

I had to go. I had a lunch date. I was looking for my keys. I was running late. I’d spent extra time talking to my daughter before she left for school (never too much time, but anyway), and my son called me so I talked to him for a while. The dog was out with food and water. The cats had food and water. All I had to do was put on my shoes and find my keys. Where were my keys????? I looked in every chair, under cushions, in every room, on every counter, in my purse, in my coat pockets, in my husband’s coat pockets, in my car, in my purse again.

Then I heard a jingle of keys. Standing behind me was The Ghost. Not just any ghost but Nigel, The Ghost.

“Give me my keys,” I said.

He just smiled, then said, “catch.” Then tossed the keys to me. I missed. The keys vanished.

“Nigel, I have to go NOW.”

“Lunch date I assume,” he said.

“Yes. I don’t have time for this.”

His eyes turned black and he smiled. “You can turn you eyes black can’t you?”

“Of course I can,” I said.

“Do it.”

I couldn’t believe him. I just stood there and stared. He stood before me, his eyes now blue again, surrounded by his usual mess of black hair. He was in a white shirt, skinny black tie, and dress pants. No shoes, just socks today.

“Give me my keys Nigel,” I said again.

“Find,” and he dropped the keys in front of me.

I put the keys in my pocket and went to put on my shoes. Of course my shoes were gone.

“Is this a lunch date where you have lunch with somebody, or is your date your lunch?” He asked this with a smirk on his face.

“My date is my lunch. Listen Nigel, I’m hungry, I’m grouchy, and I’m not in the mood for this.”

“Your shoes are by the couch, where I assume you kicked them off sometime during the past twenty-four hours.”

I put my shoes on and got in the car. I could brush my hair with my fingers at the next red light.

“So are you going to bite his neck or his wrist? You are going to bite the guy aren’t you? I assume you’re going to your lawyer friends office? Now THAT is funny, a blood sucker sucking the blood out of a blood sucker.”

I glanced over to the passenger seat. “Get out of my car Nigel.”

“Did you see the ice dancing? Oh MY GOD. Seriously I don’t even know if there is a god just all kinds of weirdness and demons and things that call themselves angels. They’re nasty and mean spirited. All of them. Us ghosts, we’re on our own. Anyway, the ice dancing was amazing. Do you dance Juliette?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“I like to but I’m not good at it. You know Nigel, you can leave now.”

“You’re a Vampire and you don’t dance. That is just sad. That is pathetic.”

He kept talking on stop about the existence of heaven and hell, ice dancing, downhill skiing, and how most politicians were going to Hell and that he knew that for a fact because he is a ghost and ghosts know a lot of things, but they just don’t talk about it.

As I pulled into the parking lot he smiled, and said, “Don’t choke on anything.”

When I arrived home I thought I’d find a little peace and quiet, but my brother Aaron called.

“Juliette, I need your help. There’s a house with a couple of shadow creepers lodged up in the attic. Looks like they’ve been there for at least eighty years, maybe more,” said Aaron.

“Can’t you call the Vampire Hunter?”

“He has a class.”

“Oh,” I said. Austin Durant the local Vampire Hunter is also a history professor at the local State University.  “Can it wait until tonight?”

“I guess, but he isn’t small enough to get into the space to check them out. They’re pretty dried out so I don’t think they’ll be coming alive anytime soon.”

“How about around 9:00. Text me the address. Meet me there. I’m not going in alone.”

“I wouldn’t think of you going alone. Durant will be there too. I’ll make sure of it,” he said.

We talked a little bit more about our kids and spouses. Aaron is a lawyer, but he is also the Vampire who is called when Shadow Creepers and other rogue and soulless Vampires are lurking around, or in this case, sleeping where they shouldn’t be.

After I got off the phone I changed into jeans and a sweat shirt. I had to get some citrus trees and succulent plants covered before the big freezing storm came in and made everything turn black and curled.

I stood in the middle of my family room, a large space which is great for entertaining, playing with the dog, or just thinking. Looking out the window I made a list in my head of everything I needed to get done.

A cold blast of air hit my face. I turned. Nigel was there again. He held out his hand.

I stared at him, ready to show my fangs, but that would have been a waste of time. “What do you want Nigel,” I asked.

“How was lunch Juliette?”

“Fine,” I answered. “What do you want?”

He smiled and took a step closer. “Dance with me. Take my hand.”

I put out my hand and took his, now with a form, as cold as ice. He put his hand around my waist, pulled me close and led me into a waltz, three times around the room. Then he stepped away.

“You can dance. You just don’t want to,” he said.

“When you were alive…” I started.

“I will always be alive. I’m a ghost. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

“You were warm when you were alive,” I said.

He laughed, then said, “you don’t know that.” Then he bowed, smiled again, and vanished.

I covered my trees. Later I visited with my daughter and husband. We watched the Olympics and then took the dog for a walk in the park. Later I helped Aaron. My husband Teddy came along for shits and grins – at least that is how he describes things when we’re dealing with weird stuff like Vampire Hunters and Shadow Creepers. He also reminded me to bring spare clothes and heavy leather gloves.

And we took care of the problem. But that is another story.

Tomorrow I might get something done, or at least more done. Until then I’ll appreciate the small things like my purring cats, coffee with my daughter, or a waltz around the floor with a ghost.

Have a good night everyone, and remember…

Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Hug your kids. If you love someone – tell them. If you have creepy dried up Vampires in your attic or crawlspaces call my brother. And don’t take anything for granted.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

A Vampire of Little Consequence

I received a call that Uncle Rico had gone into a coma. It wasn’t expected. These things happen. He’d slowed down for no apparent reason. In the old days someone might have put him in a crypt or a box under the floor boards or in the attic. Or do what the family was doing now and just wait.

My brothers Aaron and Val came over to my house. We’d spoken to our parents who gave us the usual emotionless responses. They’re matter of fact about these things. My father is uncomfortable. My mother unemotional.

We didn’t call my other two brothers. Maybe later. They’ll be at my parent’s house. They live close to them.

Later this week I have a grave side service to attend to support a friend. These things are important but not in the traditions of my immediate family. My parents don’t do funerals. They’re a couple of Vampires who don’t acknowledge death. They choose, because they say they are Modern, to deal with, or not deal with things their own way. I have yet to figure out what way that is. More or less it is not dealing with it. But I need to be there, to give support. To let them know that my heart is not as cold as my skin.

So we don’t deal with a lot of things in our own families, because we’re Vampires. We’re already considered dead, but I have to say that we’re not. We’re just different. Some of us are just transformed. Some of us have always been like this. Some of us are undead, but that is an entirely different post (deal with it.)

It has been a busy week, and we’re only into Tuesday. I’ve had a tiny bout of blood poisoning. You know, people get colds, we get this shit.

So I’m here with my brothers, talking about our family. It is what we do. We always talk about the same things. We tell the same stories. Sometimes we have new stories, but today it is mostly old stories. We don’t talk much about Rico. Then we don’t talk about any of it and talk about movies. Then we talk about where the best fall leaves will be, and wonder if it will rain this winter.

My husband Teddy and sister-in-law Verity join us on the deck with wine, and glasses for everyone. Verity and I stress out slightly about parenting. Then we stop because our kids are great. We just worry about them. It is a weird world out there.

All day I was busy but feeling like a Vampire of little consequence. Then it sort of turns around. I get out of my own head, and get more into my heart, and into the cold sweet embrace of my Vampire family.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Musings on Dusk and Art

William Keith - Dusk Near Monterey

William Keith – Dusk Near Monterey

 

 

 

 

I was in my dining room, one cat sitting on the table and one in a chair ready to take a swipe at the other’s tail. My eyes went to the painting on the wall and I allowed myself to be transported to the coast. It was dusk. The wind was in my hair, the cats were playing around my feet. The waves made what would turn into the music of the night.

My brother Max and Grandmama Lola still keep a cottage there, from their days hanging out with artists and other Bohemian types. I still love to spend time there in the cottage that now acts as a safe house of sorts.

Then I’m back in my house, transported back to another place in another century.

As I’ve often said – I can explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports. It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic.

It has been too long since I’ve picked up a brush, pastels or put pen and ink on paper. I need to close my eyes and feel the passion again, then in a quiet space create without doubt or care of what anyone else will say or think. It is like the verse from Matthew 6.6:

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 

When you create art it is like prayer. It is an extension of your soul. It is the ability to create a vision with your eyes and hands and heart. I don’t have the ego to show off, rather it is a gift for me to share.

So I go to my inner room, close the door, and create my fine art in secret.

I do a lot of things in secret, but then again, I’m a Vampire. That is what we do when we’re not waxing poetically about life, love, art and parenting.

Grandmama Lola dropped by and we shared a pot of tea and talked about art and life and what makes us really alive. It isn’t the blood in our veins but the wonder and visions in our souls that makes us real.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

A Walk on the Beach

I love the beach and I love this post.

Céad Míle Fáilte

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It’s a gray, foggy morning and a bit cool for the locals. There was a storm last night and a lingering wind still augmenting the force of the incoming tide.  He’d taken his morning coffee out to the bench on the beach and was quietly lost in the grandeur and the majesty of the towering waves as the surf crashed along the shoreline.  He hadn’t seen anyone out and about as it was a bit early for most.  She came up from behind him, balancing a magazine, beach towel, and a cup of coffee.

“Is there room for two on this bench?”  He nodded and moved over to make room. She continued, “I’ve been watching you come out here every morning for a week, curious of what you were watching or doing…, guess curiosity got the better of me this morning.  Hope you don’t mind my intrusion. …

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Change, maybe…

October is over so the pressure for Vampires who write blogs is over.

So what is ahead for the rest of 2014? I’m not sure.

There are changes in the air and it isn’t just the weather.

You know the feeling that it is time to move on to the next level. Not physically move or chuck it all to move out to the woods. Not the kind of change when one buys a fast car and finds a new young exciting lover. No it isn’t that.

Back in the old days, that is BC, before children, change was constant. A new place to live, a new occupation, new friends, new lovers, new lifestyles were always about to happen or come into our lives.

That said, when you become a parent everything is about change. It is constant. So when it slows down and the kids get older and even move away, time seems to stop. There are a bizillion things to do but when time stops… it just stops.

There are always things to do and choices to make, but sometimes when the flurry of activity stops I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to do anything but I don’t want to do nothing.

When you’re a Vampire you can just sleep for years. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t recommend it. Just the headache you’ll have when you wake up is enough to keep anyone from doing that.

Maybe lives so full aren’t such a good thing. Weird quiet times have a virtue and a place.

From where I sit I can see through the window at a hawk soaring outside, but it might be a turkey vulture (buzzard). The wingspan is huge. It could even be an eagle. Eagles do come around from time to time.  My cat sits on the deck rail watching and watching and watching. It was what he does.

So what is next? It is a mystery, like a shadow on the edges and a door cracked with the sound of music coming through and maybe the sound of a laugh that I don’t recognize.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Rose