Reflections on 2018 and the Year to Come

The first installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary was on December 26, 2014.

Of course I distance myself from Vlad and his cohorts. It’s complicated. I hate that expression, it’s complicated, but in this case it is. Sort of.

I help a lot of new Vampires adjust. I also watch old ones adjust. Sometimes I help. Sometimes I leave that job to others.

2018 was a different kind of year. I have high hopes for 2019. New beginnings along with the ancient. Not being in the possession of a crystal ball I can’t tell the future. But like all of us I can make the future and/or at least influence it.

Outside of my small circle, out in the greater world there are mysteries I can’t predict. I can’t even find spoilers on the Internet. Like will the find if anything is in the Chapel Vault on Oak Island. Is anything on that island except a lot of really cool equipment? Will my dog start coming when I call her? She is now three years old and is the only dog I’ve ever met who ponders the meaning of the word come every time she hears it. Will anyone I know be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship? Will yet another person ask me to turn them into a Vampire? Will my daughter get into the school of her choice? Will my son and his friend Randy continue to be baffled by adulthood? Will people in politics get their heads out of their asses or their asses out of town and let someone else do the job? Will I speak anywhere for large groups of people? I can’t answer most of those questions and right now don’t have the energy to even speculate.

The next year WILL bring posts about art, empty nests, old cemeteries, old photos, Short Story Sunday, and of course Vampires and their complicated lives (which are complicated just like everyone else’s lives.)

The Burning Questions will come to a finish (at least for weekly questions.)

I will continue to work on training my dog. I will work on this blog. I will try not to drive my husband completely crazy. OK I can’t guarantee the last point here. I will no doubt drive him nuts but it is up to him on how to react to my eccentricities.

I’m just sort of pondering and musing here right now. That is all.

Baby New Year will soon come tumbling along, hopefully without projective vomiting, nasty butt rashes, or too many scraped knees. You know how kids are. And with any hope by next December old man 2019 won’t be so worn out that he can’t remember what the Hell just happened during the past twelve months.

I’ll write more resolutions later, maybe. Years ago I used to write predictions on New Year’s Eve and put them in an envelope and seal them up. The envelope would be opened a year later. It was always fun and funny to see what would happen. Of course it was all crazy stuff like who might meet the love of their life, or find a whale in their backyard, or see a space alien, or go to the South Pole. And I would always be surprised to see that a lot of those things would come true. Maybe I should start doing it again.

Christmas is over and the New Year is to come. And in-between we still have the holiday season. Let’s all enjoy it. Let’s all enjoy every season.

By the way, I had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I never know how many people will be over but my door is always open with good cheer. Blood doesn’t always make family – good cheer and shared time does. Believe me when I say that. We are all family.

Thanks for dropping by. Now think about what you’ll write down to seal in that envelope.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Seasons and Change

 Musings on Seasons and Change

lolaThe nights are growing longer and there is a smell of change in the air. It feels like our inland home is on the coast in the early mornings with the overcast skies that burn off after the sun comes fully up.  I love this time of year. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like fall. It never lasts long enough in a place where only winter and summer seem long enough.

Lola and I sat on my deck that overlooks the oak forest, catching up on all that we need to catch up on. Cody (my new Vampire), my husband Teddy, the kids and my brother Val were inside, doing who knows what.

For those who don’t already know, Lola is my great great great great grandmother. She doesn’t look a day over 26, but she is ancient even for our standards. She is cunning and sly, yet sweet and sensitive. Lola is a survivor and a sage. And she is my own Grandmamma who always looks out for me and gives me sage advice.

As Modern Vampires we generally have a good sense of self.

From an early age I’ve tried to get my kids to enjoy the moment, but realize that there is more to come. I know that things that they like now, music, clothing, humor, will eventually change and what doesn’t change will have more added to it. Everything is always evolving.

Treasure the time you have now and embrace the future – for it is your future for you to shape and control.

Lola mentioned that she knew Vampires who’d dress like Mrs. Danvers because they didn’t want to deal with shopping. Now with the Internet one doesn’t have to wear the same dresses for 50 years.

Listen up girls, you can look all musty like Mrs. Danvers and it won't be a bit of fun.

Listen up girls, you can look all musty like Mrs. Danvers and it won’t be a bit of fun.

 

“I don’t understand them at all. They can slam a man against a wall and bite his neck, but they refuse to go into a shop to buy a decent dress. They’re one of the reasons our reputation is so foul. Nobody wants to be bitten by a frump or someone who give you the creeps. Style is everything and I can’t stress the importance of that enough.” Lola told this to me as I noticed how cute her outfit was. Jeans, a tee shit, a great little jacket, a funky scarf, great dangling earrings and a pair of great sandals.

Or you can go shopping and look great like this Vampire. She is rocking that dress and she won't be creeping out anyone!

Or you can go shopping and look great like this Vampire. She is rocking that dress and she won’t be creeping out anyone!

____________________________________________________________

220px-Rebecca_1940_film_posterBy the way, if you don’t know who Mrs. Danvers is then watch the movie Rebecca. She is one of the top movie villains of ALL TIME. Or read the book great book. Makes for a good Halloween story!

Rebecca (1940) –Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. With Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson.

Rebecca (the book, 1938) by Dauphine De Muir

Lola has never been musty or kept much company with the musty old Vampires. She is the trendsetter and that I feel has kept her in this world for since the fourteenth century.

We talked books. Neither one of us are reading anything right now that is up for the Nobel Prize or anything except maybe good ratings from readers.

I used to only read deep literary books but now I’m having a lot more fun reading “popular” fiction. Fiction is like friends. Some are fun and some aren’t.  Some are deep and meaningful, which can be a good thing, but not all of the time. Our brains need variety – even Vampire brains. Even Zombie brains (OK I just put that one in to be funny.) A steady diet of the same kind of book can make one dull, or at least bored, which is not fun at all.

Then the subject of Cody came up. Cody has had to deal with a great deal of change. Cody became a Vampire, not his choice, but it has settled well with him. He accepted it very well all things considering. Of course I’ve been working a lot with him (that is part of my job – working with new Vampires).

He accepted profound change both physically and mentally in a way that I’ve seen few do. So when he fell in love with Lola, my Grandmamma, THAT caused all sorts of talk and discussions and scandal in my family.

Change is scary. It is scary when someone we all love and depend on finds happiness in someplace unexpected – and with someone unexpected.

He is 34 and she is well, a lot older. Centuries older. But they share so much in their hearts and so much in what excites them. They learn from each other.

Of course I keep the preditorial older females away from my son. And fear is already in the hearts of any older males who dare look at my daughter. That said, Cody and Lola are adults and neither predatory or dominant over the other. Shouldn’t all relationships be that balanced?

While there is very little change in my life, I live with teens so there is a lot of change in theirs. Not so much the day to day, but over weeks and months is becomes sometimes profound. Having teens is like living with toddlers – everyday brings something new. Every single day brings growth, more so than elementary years. It is a time for the world to open up and swallow them up. I mean, really, it feels like that. But it is a busy time for parents too. Not so much all the driving around and wondering why everything is so expensive, but just the effort to keep up and keep track, keep sane and have fun. It is a fun time. Change is OK. At least the kind we’re seeing in our teens is good.

Lola and I walk down to the edge of my yard by the fence where the cat is sitting. He looks out upon his world and scans the dry grass for insects and small animals. We can see the eyes of raccoons or maybe other cats in the dark woods.

She stoked the cat who in return purred and rubbed against her. “Change is good,” Lola said, “but I could spend forever in a night like this.” Then she gave me a hug, and hugged the cat, then we went inside and joined our family.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Sex, Lies and Vampire Parenting Blogging

Oscar

Oscar

I was out on my back deck this morning holding my cat Oscar close because I love him. I love the feel of him, the way he hugs my shoulder and purrs. He is so warm and soft (like a rabbit). I heard a noise and looked out in the field to see a coyote trotting along. Oscar tensed up but held on, not with his claws but like a small child would. We both watched the coyote. It glanced up at us then turned and trotted of the way it had come. I held Oscar tight and told him “Come in before somebody eats you.”

Warm things are nice, especially if one is a Vampire. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cool touch but, anyway, I thought of my lunch meeting with Jack, my regular lunch date and regular human. He also knows I’m a Vampire a fact that has complicated our once simple symbiotic relationship.

Jack was out of his shirt, my hands were on his shoulder. He kissed me lightly and pulled me down next to him on the couch. My kiss moved to his neck and just as I was about to sink in my fangs Jack says, “Stop, I can’t do this today. I’m giving in a blood drive tomorrow. They called yesterday needing my type.”

I stopped. I could have continued. But I’m not that kind of Vampire. I’m the kind who blogs about parenting and being nice. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed. I could have ripped his throat out. But I just sort of sat there feeling a bit disappointed.

I stood up and sort of tried to think of some witty thing to say. Jack came to me and pulled me close. “I know you like my warmth. Let me share that with you.”

I ran my hands down his arms, over his chest then around his waist, setting my face on his shoulder. I could hear his heart beating.

Then Jack said, “I saw your blog.”

That shook me out of any dreams of blood lust or any other kind of lust.

“Which one?” I had to ask for this isn’t the only one.

“Vampire Maman, musings of a Modern Vampire Mom. I liked it. You write just like you talk.” He went on to talk about his favorite posts and how he liked the short stories and the parenting stuff and writing on the ancient and elderly. He liked the humor (thanks Jack.) He said I was right on target.

“Good.” I said that not knowing what else to say at the time. For a rare moment I just wanted to be quiet. OK it isn’t that rare, but at that time I just wanted still. Like when he’d found out I was a Vampire I was feeling a bit exposed. I wanted run.

But I stayed. I held him close, because sometimes just something warm is nice. He turned me around to face a mirror. His image was clear. My own Vampire image was a shadow or like a ghost. It was like the image in a daguerreotype that vanishes when turned or shown in the sunlight.

“Look at my eyes, in the mirror and I’ll become clear.”

We stood there looking at each other in the glass, so different, yet connected in our weird way. My image became as crisp as his, as so did my nerves.

We talked a little more about our kids (school starts tomorrow) and other odds and ends of everyday life. I guess it is those odds and ends and kids that make it all clear for us.

Just like with Oscar, I suddenly felt protective and wanted to say to Jack “come in before somebody eats you.” I kept that thought to myself.

As I left he gently kissed me again, as he always does. He didn’t say he’d keep checking the blog because he knows me well enough to know that the uncomfortable truths are always wrapped up in lies and disguise, but in the light of the day it is like a warm hug or a kiss that brings it all into the light, or at least makes me feel like I can be clearly seen.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

dv403020

Mirror Mirror: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/daily-prompt-reflections/

Make me over (she told the Vampire) – past lives, secrets and learning from it all

v_blonde

 

Kat was lovely in that fresh healthy sort of way that can be obtained with a personal trainer, good hair stylist and tanning booth. Her pale highlighted hair was just right. The perfectly applied minimal makeup was perfect even in the heat. She had that friendly gentle demeanor that made you just want to hug her. The glowing wife and mom and successful businesswoman with a tad too much skin showing for her age.

 

She’d also made 34 Vampire Slasher movies in the 1980’s. Not much of a story line in any of them but a lot of gore and T&A. And oh yes, she wasn’t the swooning silly girl. She was the Vampire Sex Princess.

Sure it bordered on soft-core porn (actually there were 5 hard core porn films too) but the pay was great and she was smart with her money.

By the way, like 99% of my regular human clients she had no idea I’m a Vampire. So this was a little weird taking on the Vampire Sex Princess as a client.

And why am I telling you about this? It was business. From time to time (not as much as I used to) I’m asked to makeover the image of someone (usually semi famous). It has been anyone from politicians to people in the film industry to CEO’s of high tech companies and so on. It is all discreet and seamless. I’m a pro and of course they don’t know they’re dealing with a Vampire.

We met for lunch at a trendy but private place with a view of a lovely garden and good service. I ate little (as usual) and we shared a bottle of red wine.

So now my client was a wife and mom (oh right, which makes her now a saint) and wanting a new image.

Kat (short for Kathleen) looked at me with one of those you’re-not-going-to-believe-this-looks and said, “I was called Vampire Mom. Ouch. Someone suggested I do a Vampire Mom blog but that would be so tacky and my kids would lose all respect for me.”

“Someone else is already doing the Vampire Mom blog thing.” I smiled, not showing my fangs.  Of course someone else is doing the Vampire Mom blog thing and if she tried to replicate it her blog would only be a weak lifeless shadow. It would fail. It would die within a month.  “I agree, you need to see the Vampire roles as that, fictional roles. You’ve moved on.”

She gave me a blinding white smile. “Exactly. I had so much fun and made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. It was a blast. But I don’t identify with being a Vampire.”

“The key is to make it clear that playing a Vampire was a role you played, not who you really were or who you are now.”

“If Weiner can try to make a come back I don’t know why I shouldn’t be able to.”

OK I thought, that was an interesting and not so flattering comparison. All those guys. What was it with them cheating and telling lies than expecting us to forgive them? And their wives. I’d have such a bonfire in my driveway if Teddy pulled anything like that. On the other hand I’m a Vampire so I shouldn’t really care – but I do. Just like I care if my dog and children behave (and they DO always behave – all three of them.)

Kat continued to talk. “I took my clothes off on camera. But I was being paid as a professional. That is why it is called acting.”

“I agree.” I smiled again.

“If I took my clothes off today I’d still look that good.”

I said nothing.

“So you don’t judge me?” She asked me this as if she was surprised I had not reacted to her comment about taking off her clothes.

“Of course not.” I smiled. I positively glowed with reassurance as only a seasoned Vampire can do.  

It would be other thing that I could judge her on, but that wasn’t my place and she was giving off a lot of good vibes and sort of a nervous anxious energy. I was getting bored by it all, but in my head thinking up a plan and a strategy so she could get her new life and career going. She’d be a success. She just needed a little common sense and someone to help her with that jump-start.

True confession time. Like all Vampires (and writers) I’m a natural born liar. Sure I judged her. Not for making tacky movies. That was an honest living. I judged her for making excuses for what she had done and NOW wanting to be held up as the moral and perfect female role model. I judged her like I judge the child molester who says “I’m a good person now because I found God.”

I don’t know what it was about her that bugged me so much. I’m pretty open minded, impartial and fair. Maybe it was the fact that she was so freaking shallow.

Note to self: Have THE TALK to the kids on being SHALLOW.

She talked for another hour while I took notes. Kat wanted a new image and I can understand that completely. We all go through changes – that is part of life. The average person changes several many times before they retire. The average person changes lifestyles many times.

We discussed the options. She had a list:

  • Parenting expert (questionable)
  • Fashion for moms of a certain age (good choice)
  • Fitness (good choice)
  • Cooking with a fresh attitude (good choice)
  • Vampires (bad choice)

She was naturally fun, likeable (despite being so shallow) and good in front of a camera. I’d do wonders for her. Under my expert hands she’d be a bright warm shining star!

After I was done with Kat (the interview, just an interview and notes), I walked down the street and for a fleeting moment thought about how my kids have told me that they think I’m funny and they’re proud of me. I’ve done a lot of weird things too but that is my story and secrets and not a public dialogue.

Then I pondered a bit, but not too much about how Vampires have learned to keep the secrets of who they are.

We all have secrets. But secrets aren’t that bad of a thing.

  • A secret crush
  • A secret joke
  • A secret song
  • A secret thought
  • A secret kiss
  • A secret that could hurt someone if told
  • A secret judgment
  • A secret that is just what it is – a secret.

 

Most of us live in several different worlds – work, school, parent, employee, friend, daughter, sister, lover, wife, artist, writer…

We had different past lives as well.

And then there is that world, that secret place where you are truly who you are, alone, with nobody else but you.

In the world of the typical busy mom that place, alone and secret, is a sanctuary at times. It is that lovely alone time in the car, but then it is such an easy transition to that wonderful time when you pick your kids up from school and they talk to you about what they learned, what their friends are up to, what they discussed with their teachers, what silly thing happened in the lunchroom.  The list goes on and then you realize that this is where you should be – a perfect world that is with a definition of perfection being love without having to think.

Last time I took one of the cats into the Vet she told me “Cats have rich and wonderful lives outside our ours.” Knowing my cats I can only imagine.  I don’t trust my dog either. But they’re keeping those lives secret from me. One day my cat came strolling down the street singing along without a care in the world. My neighbor (3 houses down) said, “Is that your cat? He comes over and has conversations with me almost every day.”  The other cat has a different circle of friends who populate her secret life.

You have a past that belongs to you alone. And even though it is in the past you are still accountable. You might not be proud of it. You might have made mistakes. Nonetheless it is yours and your responsibility. The best you can do is own up to it. The worst you can do is not to learn by your past or your past mistakes.

And the only way we can grow and be the Vampires (and people) we want to be is to LEARN from our mistakes and always go forward. We can only get better. I mean, sure we can get worse, but the goal is to always move forward.

In the meantime, I just got a message from Kat. She has more ideas. Oh joy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who is feeling rather random and disjointed of late…)

Moth

Rain and Frogs

It is dark as dark. Pitch dark.

The rain is coming down. The wind is howling through the trees.

And the frogs in the seasonal ponds are singing up a chorus to rival the Mormon Tabernacle or even Chanticleer! One of my goals in the next year or two is to see Chanticleer the amazing orchestra of voices from San Francisco. In the meantime I have the songs of the frogs – the calming soothing frogs of night. The frogs that Vampires, who seek the dark and quiet, love to hear.

Oh frogs we love thee, water born angels, sprites of the night.

In most parts of the world frogs hibernate when it turns cold. Here they thrive. The big ones are under our front porch. The little ones are in the ponds and creeks.

In the summer when it is dry they are quiet. The ponds are gone. The creeks are more or less dry. They could go down to the lake and ponds at the bottom of the bluffs. I imagine them walking in single file down to the lake, a half mile, single file on the dusty dirt paths. Tiny brown frogs, quietly determined to make it down to the lake, to the water where they’ll live until the first rainfall of Autumn comes again.

We like our frogs indeed.

We like the dark.

We like the trails when it is dry because of the mountain bike guys who ride at night. They stop and visit. Their ride always makes them tired. We never tell them that it is because they just spent a half hour with a couple of Vampires and their children. But it is all good. Everybody gets what they want – and the riders don’t know it. They’re unaware of who we are – they only know how good they feel after we leave them and how happy they are to hear the music of the frogs. They only feel the joy of riding with their lights under the night sky, on the dirt paths, down to the lake where the frogs spend their summers.

There are so many stresses in life for all sorts of creatures. It is a wonderful thing when we can spend time just enjoying the diversity of life and the songs of each other.

xoxoxo

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Rain and Frogs

Quiet musings on parenting teens

Quiet Musings on parenting teens from Vampire Maman

 

His cold hand brushes my face,

He speaks quietly,

Assuring me that our children

Are not slipping away into the abyss

Called High School.

 

I spend the first 12 years encouraging,

Prompting them to fly,

Encouraging them to be independent,

And now I fear that they’ll fly too far.

 

We’ll always be close with them.

That will never change.

I still feel the slight tingle of doubt and fear.

Something more frightening to a mother,

Than any zombie attack or ghosts can bring.

 

We celebrate and dread that our children

Are growing up.

 

 

He puts his arms around me,

I can hear the faint slow beat of his heart,

We speak of how we love,

We speak of our children,

Of passion, of life and love and longing,

Of our fears and hopes and joys of our efforts,

And the wonders we’ve created.

All of us in the shadows,

As hot and fast as fire,

In our cold slow Vampire hearts.

Vampire romance