The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)

The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)

~ Adelia Hoff

 

I mean this:

When you see me again, it will be in the desert through the low-res camera of a errant traveler, hunched over the remains of an unidentifiable piece of roadkill, looking like a ghost. I will be tranquilized by a Park Ranger who mistakes me for a too-brave cougar and when they check my dental records they will find a dead man’s.

 

__

You were like something out of a fever dream-

An angel in sapphire and silver

That night, as you walked towards me, arm outstretched

I remember wanting nothing more

Then to let you utterly consume my immortal soul

 

__

Life-drunk on a siren’s song,

Scrabbling at sun-baked soil

The sky is falling and the numbers, six-seven-eight meters, count up to go down.

Distortion of mirage and heat of sun bring revelation of acceptance, promise of knowledge,

Look around.

What would you save?

What could you save?

 

__

Some nights I cannot sleep.

One time I heard a screaming outside. It could have been a coyote.

Every so often I remember the parable of the scorpion and the frog, and I wonder: am I the scorpion? I am not naturally high strung, but I am self serving and strong willed. Do I hurt people with that I cannot control? Do I really care if I do?

The coyote, if it was that, yelled twice during the night.

There is a gentleness that seizes you at dawn. The uncanny can be a comfort, strange as it may sound. That which has not been explained yet could be anything.

Does the coyote care who it hurts?

Was it ever really a coyote, or just a phantom of the self?

Do I really care?

 

 

__

The elk bellows,

“Oh king, oh captain, oh lover of mine, where are you?”

The forest whispers back,

“They are not here. Search as you will, but only echoes will come to you.”

 

__

The Reflection

 

I found you pale and afraid –

selenic and blind.

Should I have left you there?

I cannot say.

I am a selfish creature.

Then again,

so were you.

 

__

Sometimes it feels like driving for too long and listing to the same song on repeat for hours and when you finally get out you have to remind yourself how to be a human again

And sometimes it feels like getting pulled under by a wave with the immediate reconciliation that if you must go at least your body will be claimed by the ocean and that’s okay because you didn’t really care for the thing anyways

And sometimes it’s on the precipice of desert rain when you smell dust and creosote and the animals are quiet because the water here is no lifegiver

And sometimes it’s mania and the realization that there is no higher power or meaning and that means nothing can stop you from becoming something cosmic and holy and irreverently profane and powerful but you can’t bring yourself to carve away the undue flesh binding you to this condemnation

But most of the time it is simply the knowledge that something isn’t right and no one else can tell but you can and it could and would drive you mad if you payed it any more heed but that’s okay because you’ve gotten used to ignoring things and are pretty good at it at this point

So the numbness continues and the panic continues and you scream let me out let me out please please please I don’t belong here I’m not meant for this I can’t go on like this anymore but you have to keep going because the rest of the world won’t stop just because it’s too much and you can’t handle it

And maybe just maybe it’s not you that’s the problem

Personhood isn’t for everyone

 

__

I do not love you.

Yes, I care-

But love?

 

Never.

 

I adore the kitten, with its triangle tail and toddling steps.

I admire the wind, strong and unyielding.

I devote myself to knowledge, the true currency of power.

 

But I do not love.

 

 

__

This world is cruel

and unforgiving

to all soft things

So is it really so surprising

that being good

and gentle

and kind

Is inevitable replaced with jagged edges

(protect me, the thing inside cries)

(please, please don’t let me get hurt again)

(i might just break this time)

 

__

[you’re floating somewhere below the suface of the ocean. there’s nothing around you in any direction, and you’re not entirely sure how you got here.]

[you’re out camping in the mountains. night is coming. it’s probably the most content you’ve been in a while.]

[there’s a low fog over the city as you look off a tenth story balcony. you can feel a storm brewing in the distance, but for now you can’t tear away from the feeling of being above it all.]

[you’ve been traveling for days now. whose turn was it to drive? haven’t you seen this road before?]

[there’s whispering in your head. rationally, this should be a cause for alarm. you’ve come to the realization that you’d only be alarmed if it stopped.]

 

darkness outside

About the Author:

Adelia Hoff is a student studying the freshly dead. When asked about her personal life her only comment was, “I’m just visiting,” whatever that means.

 

From Juliette:

Thank you so much Adelia for sharing your words. It is an honor. Truly it is. You know I’m going to be asking for more in the future.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Dear Social Media Friends

oscar the cat

Dear Social Media Friends,

  • I am in no mood to “share” generic cause posts on FB.
  • I will not do math problems. Every answer will be zero.
  • I will not find the panda in a sea of other animals.
  • I will not type amen or respond to anything having to do with religion. Keep it to yourself.
  • I will laugh at your funny memes.
  • I will comment nicely on your pet photos or any other animal photos.
  • I will comment nicely on your posts of kids doing craft projects or online classes.
  • I will read your poetry.
  • I will listen to your music.
  • I will enjoy photos of your flowers.
  • For people on Twitter I’m pretty much done with you. What the fuck is up with follow parties? Cut it out.
  • Stop whining about being stuck at home. We’re all stuck at home. Read a book. Most of the classics are free online. Educate yourself.
  • I do not care what famous attention whores people are doing or saying during this time. Why should anyone care?
  • I will be amusing.
  • I will share amusing things.
  • I will be encouraging and try to support my friends.
  • I will continue to write about Parenting, Vampire, Ghost, and Werewolf things.
  • Stay positive
  • Keep writing, doing art, and being creative.

 

For all times on or off of the Internet:

Wash your hands.

Wear a face mask if you must go out.

Call anyone who might need extra help, is alone, or is in need. Check up on anyone who is at risk for being lonely or depression.

Stay positive.

Call your kids if they’re not with you.

Hug your kids if they are with you.

FaceTime, text, Zoom, email, call, blog, drive by and honk.

Stretch.

Laugh.

Have more coffee.

That’s all. Just venting but trying to stay positive. Even Vampires need to stay positive in weird times.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

science-facts1

 

Vampire musings on a cool sunny day.

About every few years someone calls my brother Aaron’s law office because someone wants to exhume them.

Let me back up a bit. Someone who is a Vampire wants Aaron’s help to prevent their empty grave from being dug up by well meaning family members (future generations) who feared their ancestor was murdered.

Luckily for us normal DNA testing won’t pick up that fact that someone is a Vampire. What it will do is make the Vampire with the empty grave become the closest relative.

I don’t know why I was even thinking about this today. When you’re a Vampire you need to think about these things. My advice is just to stay away from having a grave altogether if you must move on. Vampires just don’t have graves anymore. It makes things a whole lot easier.

Today I’ll be digging in my yard, not graves, but the spring garden. The annual explosion of flowers is also starting with tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and bird of paradise flowers. The trees are also flowering. This flower explosion will continue through fall. This is not by chance, but a well planned effort. It is my well planned effort. I call it painting with flowers.

There are no bones in my yard, only river rocks and old roots. Sometimes the Ghosts Nigel and Mary will come out and visit with me while I work the dirt. The only thing I really have to worry about is the giant dog digging up everything. Thank goodness for tomato cages. All of the plants get tomato cages until they’re at full size.

From there I’ll clean off the decks with all of the mud and damage from the winter storms.

Sure, maybe Vampires should be living in crypts. It would be easy, but the quality of life is horrible. I can’t imagine anyone truly wanting to live that lifestyle.

So I’m off to dig under the trees, outside with the birds, and the dog, and whatever else comes my way before the next storm.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape

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It is almost 5:30 p.m. and 107 degrees Farenheight outside. I’m going to piss someone off with this post but maybe not. It is just too hot to care. Just like old people and tiny children who just say whatever they want.

This morning I took Eleora to the art museum. It was lovely. She made rude comments about the modern art. She made a racist remark about someone walking along outside of the museum. She is old. She forgets things. I said nothing this time. I just changed the subject. When one is with a 2000+ year old Vampire one learns to change the subject quite frequently.

Then we had lunch (a lovely cold type A blood soup with heirloom tomatoes) with my husband who was on a political roll. By then it was over a hundred degrees outside. I thought about our daughter who’d gone up north with her boyfriend to spend time in a cabin. It is only 102F there today. The poor kids are going to swelter. At least I know they’ll wear their sunscreen.

And now I’m home in my quiet house waiting for the cool dark night and Vampire things.   But that got me thinking about mysteries and strange heated things like the mystery surrounding George Reeves, and Christopher Reeve and coincidences and other strange things like Superman. I never think of Superman, except… maybe it is the heat. Maybe it has something to do with no spitting in the wind…

I’ve never been a big fan of the Superman franchise. Except for Christopher Reeve, and of course George Reeves, all of the other movie depictions have made him seem like some sort of weird overly pretty sissy. I love pretty men, but … come on you know what I’m talking about. These guys aren’t Supermen. They’re fashion models. No offense to fashion models – fuck it – I can’t say anything these days without offending someone.

But in defense of the not so masculine and memorable Supermen, they should consider themselves lucky.

Christopher Reeve, who was insanely talented in so many ways, and was also a heart-throb in the romantic movie “Somewhere in Time,” was in a riding accident. Tragically he became a paraplegic. But that didn’t stop him. It showed that he WAS Superman in body and soul. You know what happened. It was tragic, but he kept going. Damn.

George Reeves was murdered. The case has not been solved. Any thought on this would be interesting to hear.

The guy who originally illustrated Superman also drew S&M comics. The guy who drew Donald Duck also drew beautiful racy women (I have one of his original nudes in my own bedroom.) OK enough of these fun facts some of you might not have known.

barks2

By Carl Barks who later created Donald Duck. I wonder which illustrations he had more fun drawing. I have the original sketch of this in my bedroom. I think he enjoyed this one more than any duck.

I found a box of old comics including a large lot of Lois Lane, Superman’s Girlfriend. These are the weirdest comic books in the known universe. These were from the late 50’s and early 60’s, before the influence of Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore. Holy shit Lois made a fool of herself over Superman and Clark Kent. Seriously Lois, if you can’t recognize a guy when he changes his part and takes off his glasses then you need to get your eyes checked. Lois was smart, sexy, but always gave off the vibe that she really wanted to be a bad girl. She wanted to be a modern girl who was a woman with equal standing with men AND equal pay. She wanted to be the one wearing the tights.

It is 107 degrees farenheit outside (I already said that but I’ll say it again) and my brain is fried, but not enough to stop me from thinking about Lois.

 

The Bomb

A Lois Lane Story from Juliette aka Vampire Maman

“What the hell Clark? Tights?”

“I wear them to yoga, and palates.”

He was fantastic, but then again as soon as he opened his mouth to talk I was ready to fall asleep.

But my god the man was good in bed.

The next day I was still investigating a murder, and I stopped for coffee at a place called Krypto Coffee. I’m sitting there taking notes and sipping my iced vanilla latte when some bald guy sits down and tries to sweet talk me. He tells me how rich he is and treats me like I’m some dumb bimbo ready to fawn all over him.

I just picked up my drink and left. Fuck I hate when that happens. What is it with guys around here?

No sooner had I walked out there was an explosion in the building across the street. I could hear the sirens. I ran across and tried to help the injured people coming out of the building. Then I get body slammed and something picks me up and I’m all the sudden up in the sky.

I had the breath knocked out of me, and then I realized that I was in the arms of a flying man.

“I’m Superman,” he said.

“Please put me down,” I told him.

“I’m here to save you,” he said.

Then I looked at his face. “What the fuck Clark? Jesus Christ on a bicycle put me down.”

“How’d you know it was me?”

Lois_Lane_009

That is all I have right now. I’ll add my own illustrations to the story later. Maybe.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Stay cool. Have fun. And don’t mess around with Jim.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Don’t ask me…Vampire Fun and Games

My phone made a meowing sound. That’s my brother Aaron’s ringtone.

“Hello,” I said. I wondered what he wanted.

“Juliette, how’s it going?”

“I’m not crawling under any houses or going into any basements for you.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Because whenever you have to get rid of, or otherwise deal with dried up musty old Shadow Creeping Vampires you call me to do it for you.”

“Juliette…”

“Isn’t that what you have your Vampire Hunter for?”

“I’m not going to ask you to kill anything. Well, not technically. You know what I’m asking. You and Val are the best. He’s on his way over right now.”

“Does Val know what you want Aaron?”

“No, I neglected to tell him.”

This reminded me of an event a few months ago. One of my daughter’s good friends from High School started sending her fervent religious materials and calling her about church events and sin and it was strong and negative. My child was offended and told her friend that she was offended and then told him to never call her again. He was such a nice kid. I’d hoped they’d stay friends.

So when my brother Aaron calls me to do something I’d never ask my kids to do I sort of cringe. There are some things I did in my past, with and without my brothers, that I would never want my children to do.

One of those things is converting regular people into Vampires. And the worst thing about it is that my brother Val and I are the best. Yeah, I don’t talk about that a lot on this blog, you know the whole Vampire thing.

We’re the youngest two of five siblings. Val and I are little more than a year apart. Aaron is five years older than me. Then there are the two older brothers who are eight and ten years older than me. I don’t want to get them involved with this at all because one knows everything and can be a real asshole and control freak. The other is just, well weird and always defers to the eldest when things turn stressful. Either that or he’ll tune out and find some back door to sneak out of.

Our brother Aaron is smack in the middle. I’d like to smack him right now.

Then he said, “Do you mind stopping for coffee on the way?” Then he proceeded to give me an order for six different cups. It made me wonder who would be there.

“Do you want any pastries?” I had to ask in my most snarky voice.

“Very funny. Just get here soon baby sister,” he said. Vampires don’t eat pastries. I wish we did but we don’t.

So to make a long story short I showed up at the Victorian house we all still own in the middle of downtown.

A thirty something couple greeted us. Aaron claimed he’d known them for a while. They’d been thoroughly vetted. He thought they’d be good Vampires. Whatever. I knew I’d be the one who’d end up helping them through the transition.

My great great great great grandmama Lola was there as well. She was uncharacteristically quiet. On the other hand she looked quiet lovely in a flowered sundress covered by a denim jacket. At six hundred and seventy five years she still looks like a twenty six year old young woman. Val and I kissed her cool cheeks and thanked her for being there. You know, just in case. God only knows (or maybe not) how many Vampires she has brought into the world.

Val and I asked the obligatory questions. Do you understand that you’ll be dead for short time before we bring you back. Do you know there is a risk of losing your soul? Do you understand what it means if you lost your soul? Do you know there is a huge risk death, as in final death? Do you understand that you will need to consume human blood to survive? Do you understand that you will have to actually bite into a live human body every once in a while? Do you understand that you will outlive everyone you know? Do you understand that once you become a Vampire you will not be immortal? You can die. Someone can kill you. You can suddenly die for no reason as well. Do you understand that this can’t be undone? Do you understand that once you become a Vampire you will ALWAYS be a Vampire?

I didn’t ask, “Have you lost your fucking mind?”

There was more but I won’t go into that right now. Actually there is one more item that Aaron, Val, and I stressed more than the other points. “Do you understand that if you tell anyone, or show anyone what you have become that you will die in an extremely unpleasant way.” That is one of the ugly points of being a Vampire that I don’t cover on my nice humorous feel good parenting blog. We don’t take blabber mouths lightly.

“Want to go to Target with me when we’re done here?” I asked Val.

“Sure,” he said. “I need shampoo.”

“I hear you’ve never lost anyone,” the woman said to me. “How many have you converted?”

“How many Vampires have I made?” I glanced at Val. “A lot.”

Val just smiled. Asking a Vampire how many people they’ve turned into Vampires is like asking someone how many sexual partners they’ve had. It is something you just don’t ask anyone.

Then we did what needed to be done. Lola had agreed to stay for a week to help with the transition. It isn’t easy. It isn’t pretty. Aaron was going to stay at least for a few days, but he lives walking distance away so it isn’t a big deal.

I watched him as he took off his Hermes tie and rolled up the sleeves of his custom made shirt. Always the best dressed Vampire in the room. I love Aaron but I wish he’d occasionally relax (and I don’t mean just rolling up sleeves.)

Val and I ended up finding a dark neighborhood bar and sat for a while doing shots of tequila. We talked about our three elder siblings. It wasn’t all bad. A lot of it was. At least they respected us for our talents.

Then we wandered around Target for about two hours laughing and filling our basket full of all kinds of fun stuff. My kids would have been proud of us, just because of how much fun we were having.

And now I’m home with nobody but my cats and a dog. The husband and still at home child are away. The other child is living far far away. OK, only about six hours away but that is really far if you’re a mom.

I’m not even sure that I’ll tell them what I did today. They won’t approve, or they’ll have questions I don’t want to answer. Everyone has strong opinions on the matter. Vampire families are like all others – we all have strong opinions.

So that was my day. I’m tired and… sometimes when you’re a mom you just don’t need to be bugged. And sometimes when you’re a mom you just want to smile and listen as your family gathers around in the evening and forget your day. Even if you’re a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette by the window

 

 

 

 

 

Transition

Parenting is a job you never retire from but those little people grow up.

They grow up and, well, they’re grown. You’re still a parent but your children are adults. In theory they’re adults. They’re eighteen or older, but they’re not quite adults yet.

They’re not like the teens still in high school either.

And you’re still a parent.

I’m spending a lot more time with this girl now.

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Alice the GSD is two years old now. She is the new family dog. We lost our sweet Jasmine three years ago after twelve years. She was the dog the kids grew up with. She was the dog who grabbed our hearts and souls like no other.

But Alice is the personification of sweetness and love. Now she is my shadow. She is the one who now goes everywhere with me. She is my constant companion.

But back to non-dog creatures…

It is difficult to write about parenting now because everything changes. Some parents tell their kids to move out as soon as they turn eighteen (I think those kind of parents are assholes.) Some kids never leave and are content to live in their childhood bedroom with the single bed and posters on the walls and have mom make grilled cheese for them forever (in that case the kids are assholes.)

Most kids I know are somewhere in the middle. They’re going to college or trade schools, or working, or volunteering. Many are stressing out over how they’re going to pay for school or cars or rent.

A few are stupid and now are finding themselves with minimum wage jobs and babies on the way, but those aren’t the ones I’m writing about today. That is a subject I’m not even going to touch because I’d be mean, judgmental, and make people cry.

But for the most part most kids are growing up, and it is like learning to swim or ride a bicycle. They all do it on their own terms, in their own time, but they know they have to do it. Sink or swim. Fall off and get back on.

They’re having their first serious relationships. They’re falling in love. They’re angry because they are evaluating their childhoods and judging their parents. They’re discovering people who aren’t like them. They’re doing wonderful things and exploring their worlds. They plan trips without us. They working. They’re voting. They’re pulling away. They’re turning around and letting us (parents) know they still need us.

Since the beginning I’ve written about letting your little birds fly. Soon the only ones left in my nest will be a couple of cats, a dog, a husband, and empty bedrooms for when my babies come home for visits.

I miss my children so much. But I rejoice and treasure the adults I’ve raised. I’d never go back if given the choice to have them small again. I have one more year and another one will be miles away on the other end of a very large state.

So where does that leave us as parents?

You have to let go. At the same time you still need to be there 24/7 in case they still need you.

There will also be changes. They’ll pull away. Hopefully they’ll pull away some because that is part of growing up. But hopefully they’ll stay close.

Like I’ve been saying forever – just keep talking with them. Let them know their thoughts are important. Let them know you understand their fears, and if you don’t understand, then listen but don’t judge. Remember when you were young. I swear I don’t want mine to be like I was, but rather than jumping all over their young butts I encourage them, and again talk to them. And it isn’t like they’re never going to do something weird, but you just have to take it one thing at a time.

No matter what they’ll be, and who they want to be. They’ll be who they need to be. Learn from your mistakes when helping them learn not to make those same mistakes.

I’m just talking and musing today. The the best parent you can be so your kids will be the best they can be.

I know this is simplistic but it seems to work.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman