What We’re Talking About Today On the Way to School Today

Every since the election in June we’ve been regularly seeing heads explode as we drive along the road, especially in the morning hours. It makes a mess, but our roads are so bad around here that everyone just pretends to assume someone must have hit a pothole, or maybe it is aliens, or turkey vultures attacking suburban drivers…

As always, we listen to the news in the morning. I’ve grown sick of it and turn it out. My children do not. As wee ones they asked cute questions. Now as young adults they make bone chilling comments that make me wish that seventeen year olds could run for President, Congress, and the Senate, because they seem to be the only ones making any sense these days.

LBGT rights. Is there a problem with that? Why should anyone care? Don’t we just want everyone to be happy? LBGT families are like any other family. Parents love their children. Period. Here’s the deal. Married people pay more taxes. Period. See where this is going?

My kids often wonder why some people are so obsessed with the sex lives of others. It is all in the name of religion and morality. If you’re so moral then why are you so obsessed with sex? Why is your attitude so unhealthy. This is out of the mouths of teens. Of course if we’re talking down and dirty gossip then it is all good fun. Who doesn’t like to see the fall of a hypocrite caught in an affair after condemning others for their unmoral behavior? Who is anyone to judge? Especially those who do not even try to understand.

Yes, folks, this is why Vampires, Werewolves, and others keep to themselves. Don’t ask me how you can become one of us, and where our private clubs are because you’re not going to get an answer from me (or any of my friends.) Don’t hate me because I’m cold as death. Just hate me if I’m an asshole (which I hope I am not.) Or just hate me for using too many parenthesis in my writing, but not for my biology.

We discussed how THE WALL will be an environmental disaster among other things. The only ones dealing with walls should be Pink Floyd. The kids also keep asking about the Berlin wall. We all remember how that worked out.

I’ve made a list of news items and ratings from the teens I know:

Ivanka: NO

Grumpy Cat: Yes (even when she says NO) Yes, Grumpy Cat is a girl cat.

Coffee: Yes

AP Tests: Yes, but they still suck

Disneyland: Yes

The Lost City of Z: Yes

13 Reasons Why: Yes to both the book and the TV show

Old Men in Political Positions: NO

Botox: No

Squirrels: Yes (see link below to know why)

Cats: Yes

Dogs: Yes

Fiona the Hippo Baby: YES YES YES

Classical Art Memes: Yes

Canadians: Yes

French Election: WTF?

North Korea: No. And a sad face emoji for the people who live there.

Dentist Pulling a Tooth While on a Hoverboard: NO NO NO

Wells Fargo: WTF? Kids when you start a job don’t do that kind of shit. Not for anyone.

Anything in Washington DC: WTF?

Graduation Class of 2017: YES

Dutch Brothers: YES, even when there is a long line at the one street down from the high school.

Lists: Yes, because I’m not feeling inspired right now.

 

The conversation moved on to the dog who, despite her sweet nature, refuses to cooperate with any kind of training. She can do it. But she doesn’t want to. It is a power thing. Know any kids like this? Adults? Vampires? I bet you do too.

I might not be the biggest dog at the park but I’m going to make damned sure I have the biggest stick.

After dropping off the almost adult child I headed on over to the dog park. The big dog run was closed. The other dog run was full of HUGE (over 100 pounds) aggressive dogs. My young 85 pound German Shepard was dwarfed by these dogs. Of course she went NUTS. Sure I’m in touch with my paranormal side but it was almost too much for me to handle. I almost lost it. I went 0-60 in half a second from loving dogs to hating dogs. All dogs. Even my own dogs. And yes, right now mine is sleeping with her head on my foot as sweet as ever.

Text messages are fling in about a roller skate show tonight. Not at our club but at our sister club that my daughter’s partner skates out of. She and her partner are doing a new routine to Pink and Nate Ruess singing Just Give Me A Reason. They’re so beautiful skating (think Ice Dancing except on quad wheels.) Yes, teens are great.

I always thought Nate Ruess should be doing Broadway musicals. He has THAT kind of voice. Pink too. She is just WOW to me. I usually don’t like female singers (too breathy and high and whiney and I could go on and on) but she sings it.

Yes, I’m just rambling on today. Every have one of those days. In the back of my mind are sick and twisted stories of dark places with brick walls and black velvet curtains. There are howling winds along with howling wolves, shadows that look like ghouls with long twisted claws, and growls that could pass for satisfied purrs of lovers. You know, it is just one of those days when I just had to turn off the radio and turn off most of everything. I’m not as crazy bad as Chuck McGill in Better Call Saul but getting there.

Now for the Squirrel Story (not to be confused with the Squirrel Nut Zippers)

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/04/25/525363273/what-s-it-like-to-be-squirrel

 

Did someone say coffee? Blood?

Oh right, and remember to talk with your kids – about anything and everything. You’ll have fun. They’ll appreciate it. You’ll be the cool parent. And you’ll find out how cool your kids really are. And it is good for everyone. So do it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

On Tour With Vampire Maman (or maybe that was “on the road”)

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We went on an amazing trip. No magic bus but hey, I’m a Vampire so I’ve got magic everything – well just about.

I’m home after ten days on a crazy non-stop cross country road trip. We (17 year old Clara and I) logged in almost 4,000 miles, saw a lot of amazing scenery, and met some wonderful people.

Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, Nebraska

Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, Nebraska

Aside from a lovely visit with my friend Amelia (thank you so much a hundred times over), we had great luck with Air BnB. We stayed in lovely homes with lovely hosts. If you haven’t tried it out you should. It was perfect for my 17-year-old daughter and me.

My brother Andy’s friend James sent me a message saying he should open up his home as an Air BnB place. Yes, he does have a beautiful six bedroom home with a view of San Francisco Bay, but he is only looking for a free meal. On the other hand, he would make a good host, with that charm that he turns on for warm blooded beings. But boy, is he annoying around his own kind, or at least to me. I don’t think I have ever been alone with him and NOT been propositioned.

On the other hand, the guests of Vampires would never complain of not having a good sleep. In fact they’d rave on about having the best night’s sleep of their lives. Just make sure (if you are a Vampire host) to put out plenty of juice and cookies for your guests. You know, it is like a blood bank sort of situation. They give blood so they are going to be tired, but in this case they won’t know they gave blood.

But staying with a horn dog Vampire like James could be a bit dicey if you’re a Vampire female. I don’t think he could ever understand the full meaning of being a good host.

Knowing James he’d never leave his house again until the next big earthquake.

Our trip, from the Sacramento, California area, to Lincoln, Nebraska for the USA National Roller Skating Championships. My child and her partner received bronze for their efforts. No such luck using our crafty Vampire ways to always place first. But they were absolutely beautiful – stunningly beautiful.

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We stopped by Dinosaur National Monument, Arches National Park, The Sunken Gardens, The National Roller Skating Museum, An interesting cemetery, Thunder Mountain (I’ll have a post about that place), and many more features across the amazing country we call America.

Arches, NP

Arches, NP

Aside from talking, which we did A LOT of, we listened to the radio. We heard the Democratic convention (any political comments will be removed) and 2016 Lollapollooza. It was the 25th year of Lollapolloza and a lot of fun this year.

Our favorites were… drum roll please…

  • The Strumbellas (who surprised us in this live show)

  • The Struts

  • And my new favorite band Saint Motel

We also listened to Fritz and Tantrums Handclap about 50,000 times.

 

Night Riots also came out with a new song “Nothing Personal” that I’m still on the fence about. Still, it is better than 99.9% of what is out on the radio now.

And now we’re home. I’m still unpacking my brain from the car, and I’ll be looking for fresh blood tonight, dog training tips, ghost stories, and more very soon. Yeah, I say that a lot, but hey, I’m a Vampire, you have serious problems if you count on me for much of anything. That is just my nature. But I’ll try.

Hey, and thanks for your support and all of the nice notes.

And in the meantime don’t forget:

  • Talk with your kids.
  • Listen to their music with them.
  • Teens aren’t scary.
  • Take a road trip.
  • Dogs and Cats Rock.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Skipping the drama and skipping town

I’m skipping anything political tonight (pathetic speeches by a long list of D list celebrities with an insufficient number of brain cells, plagiarized passages, and general self congratulations of people who are lower than the worst soulless Shadow Creeping Vampire) and watching Preacher (which I recorded from a few nights ago), and America’s Got Talent. Or we might go out, or take the dog for a walk in the woods under a full moon, or we could do anything, except partake in the spectacle of something which both puzzles and maddens us at the sheer waste of time and stupidity of it all.

We’ll not doubt skip the other convention as well.

We vote, but we are not like them.

Saturday was my husband Teddy’s birthday. Someone suggested I cover my mouth with frosting and ask him to lick it off. As you can imagine, I politely shrugged off that brilliant idea for something a bit more subtle.

I spend the evening among a band of Vampires from France and America. The flow of languages was like music. We talked of outrageous adventures, and plans for more outrageous adventures. All of the teens left to play Pokemon Go in the historic old central street of town.

New friends and old gathered. We were all the same in our common love of my Teddy, but all so different. That is what makes it interesting. That is what makes us adore each other even more. It is that discovery of ideas and stories that makes us make our magic together.

Clara and I are busy packing for another road trip, half way across the country to the USA National Roller Skating Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska. In all of the novels and movies Vampires just sit around in the dark looking for warm necks to suck. All they do is lurk and act creepy. In reality, we’re on the go. Warm necks are everywhere, so that is never a problem. Why lurk around in the shadows where there are places to go, people to meet, obscure sports to be champions in. 

We’ll keep you posted from the road. My husband Teddy and son Garrett are staying at home – holding down the fort and the cats. They’ll get in some male bonding time, you know, beer, blood and belching.

In the meantime I’ve been interviewing my old friend John on what it is like growing up next to Vampires. His family has lived next to my kind for generations. It makes for some interesting viewpoints.

I’m also edition, doing damage control, and figuring out some new projects. I’ve had a lot of suggestions about making some of my series into books. The most often mentioned by my readers are “Vampire Diary” featuring Vlad the Vampire King, and the Austin and Elizabeth stories (The Hunter.) Then there is that science fiction story I need to finish.

I need to finish a lot of things. Don’t we all.

And Nigel the Ghost. There is a lot more to come out of that guy.

So like I said, I’ll be sending blog cards from the road, plus more random thoughts about teens, parenting, Vampires, modern life, and other stuff.

One more thing… Do yourself a favor and turn off the TV news. Radio too. Stick to music you can sing along to and gardening shows.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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They’re fast, and they’re big, and they can’t see you.

Of course I’m at the roller skating rink, organ music in the back ground and hear the voice of the coach yelling at the other skaters to watch for the team dance in a lesson (my own sweet child and her partner.)

I liked what she said.

Watch for them. They’re fast, and they’re big, and they can’t see you.

What a great line to save and use for another time.

The teenage pair, on their roller skates, grace the floor as he twirls her around in moves that both scare and amaze me.

Then I get a vision of a thick forest. Someone is running. Two people. They are breathing hard. Their clothes are getting snagged. I see a glimpse of long sharp white teeth. I see a flash of claws. I hear a faint growl from a mouth dripping with siliva and blood. I see long thick fur. I see panic in their eyes. Then down from a tree jumps a figure in black.

“Follow me,” he says in a raspy voice, with a brief flash of fang. “I won’t hurt,” he says. “Follow me.” 

The organ music starts again in a walt. The team glides across the floor. Even in their plain practice outfits they are beautiful and elegant. Who would guess that heavy metal boy and the alternative girl would jump into another world with such grace and ease.

Then I see a ballroom. Couples dance with grace in beautiful clothing. The don’t see the glowing red and yellow eyes looking in from the window, waiting for the first couple to go outside for some privacy. A chance for a kiss will become a chance for a kill…

Small boys and girls twirl and jump on the wooden skate rink floor. The sound of wheels and the voice of the coach is all I hear. The record is over and the music is silent for now. It is Friday which means pizza after skate practice, or maybe a movie with the family and popcorn. It means staying up late and a lot of giggling.

Yes, staying up late and walking through the graves, with fog heavy in the trees. They hear a noise. Was it stone against stone? They turn and look behind them? Was that crypt open a minute ago? 

I hear the coach, “chest up, head up.” She praises them, then corrects them again. I can see the concentration on their faces. Both have dark eyes and intense expressions. Then they smile. They’re beautiful.

With dark eyes they stood on the top of the ancient tower, overlooking the ocean. The sound of the waves echoed in their ears. “They can’t get to us here,” she whispered. He adjusted his sword. “That won’t help you,” she said. “You must hold up your head and look them directly in the eyes and show no fear.”

Alright now someone is playing Frozen music. All of the little girls want to skate to Frozen music. Not too many dark thoughts with happy tiny children skating.

The snow is up to her waist. The beast is upon her. Grabbing a shard of ice she stabs it in the neck. It never saw her. She wraps her scarf around her face…

takes off her skates and drives home with her mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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A Vampire Looks Back on 2015 at Vampire Maman dot com

2015 was a year.

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My kids were almost perfect. Really, I’m not being one of those snotty perfect moms who make you want to puke and then stab them in the neck for being so snotty and perfect. My kids are great people. Much better than I’ll ever be or ever was. It was due to good genetics and a lot of long conversations about being a good person. It was a lot of work. OK some of it was not genetics considering how many crazy people are in our respective families. Yes, these people are NUTS.  We’re still trying to figure out if it is environment or genetics.

I keep saying (my mantra) that you have to TALK to your kids, LISTEN to them, and talk WITH them. You have to build that trust. You have to do it early – but it is never too late. That is what parenting is all about. Really, believe me on this one.

A confused Vampire of my acquaintance became much more popular than me in 2015. Yes, that would be Vlad. Yes, the Vampire Diary guy. I have to admit that he is cute. He is really cute. He is also sort of a jerk, former Vampire King that he is. That said you will be hearing more about his adjustment to modern life in 2016. Heaven help us all.

Oscar the cat enjoying my art

The cats were always around helping me out in 2015. The one pictured above is Oscar. He managed to get his face slashed open in February. You can see the scar in this photo  of him admiring my artwork.

In 2015 I didn’t write as many posts. I did write a few swell posts but ended up reposting old but worthy things from previous years.

Fortunately other people were writing and the WPaD group came out with the fabulous and exceptionally good Creepies 2. You should download your copy today if you haven’t already done it.

Creepies 2 - Best Horror Anthology of 2015

Creepies 2 – Best Horror Anthology of 2015

 

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2015 was a strange year for me. A lot was going on outside of the computer screen. My thoughts were someplace else. I’m sorry. I truly am, not just for you, my dear readers, but for me as well.

I appreciate all of the nice words you sent when my beautiful happy dog Jasmine passed over the Rainbow Bridge in October. Hugs.

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But I did put down some brilliant okay words here and there. A few of my favorite more serious posts were:

I've got the moves like Hagrid

I’ve got the moves like Hagrid

 

What is in the future of Vampire Maman you might ask? According to everything remotely pertaining to blog statistics the most popular posts are about love letters and romance. So I will follow the will of my readers (and random visitors) and post more on my one true area of expertise.

A lot of people come to this blog looking for Werewolves. Well, um, yes, you might find a few here. I’ll have to think about that one. The Werewolf posts get a load of traffic. Remember never to confuse a Werewolf with a Hot Dog. Or a dog faced boy for that matter.

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2015 brought too few posts about the Elders – the Ancient Vampires Tellias and Eleora. There were also too few posts about my brother Max. I promise you that I’ll keep you up on all of their adventures and/or misadventures.

I’ve also thought of doing an advice column. Slate didn’t hire me to replace the last Dear Prudence so I’m going to have to dole out advice right here. If you need questions answered see me first. Seriously. I have answers. I’m a Vampire, of course I have all the answers.

And naturally I will continue the Short Story Sunday feature. This includes more Austin and Elizabeth adventures.

A few of my favorite short stories of 2016 were:

I also had a few wonderful new guest posts from friends:

What other madness happened in 2015?

We visited old friends.

We visited old friends.

ROLLER SKATING. That was outside of this blog, in an alternate universe, but I posted about it anyway. We went to the National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Yes, we drove there and back from Sacramento and had quite the road trip. This is the story – click here. While there I also had the good fortune to meet, live and in person, the talented blogger and photographer Timothy Price.

THANK YOU to everyone who gave us so much support this year on the journey to the National Championships. THANK YOU.

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Aside from ROMANCE the other most popular subject on this blog is going to rock concerts with my teens. YES we went to the Van’s Warped Tour in Mountain View, California this summer. It was too much fun. We saw all sorts of great bands. Yes, I am the coolest mom in the world.

Never Shout Never Posters. Go Chris Drew.

Never Shout Never Posters. Go Chris Drew.

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Night Riots at 2015 Warped Tour - Mountain View, CA. Yes, I was there. It was awesome. I am the coolest mom ever.

Night Riots at 2015 Warped Tour – Mountain View, CA. Yes, I was there. It was awesome. I am the coolest mom ever.

And don’t forget the chalk art in Fremont Park (Sacramento) this year! Chalk it up again!

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I guess it was a very good year.

Sing it Frank.

That was fun but I like this one even more:

This one too.

Happy New Year. Feel free to sing and dance the night away.

I hope to entertain you more in 2016. And I know all of my blogging friends out there will continue to entertain me (thanks for the fun and inspiration.)

Oh, yes, and one more thing… Nigel THE GHOST is still around lurking in the shadows. You’ll hear more about him in 2016. I’m sure of it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Space, Crazy Circus Music and A Perfect Seventy-Eight Degrees

I  was going to dive into to my Friday post but my brain is under attack by such noise, I can hardly explain…

I’m in the roller rink for Friday practice. All the skaters are doing beautiful thing with their dance and artistic routines. And yes, any comments about derby will be removed. Anyway, the music today is especially bad. It sounds like an old-fashioned circus. I expect Emmet Kelly and a band of clowns and elephants and dancing bears on skates to come flooding out of the back room any minute.

Dude, dancing bears. I have this poster in my house. The real one.

Dude, dancing bears. I have this poster in my house. The real one.

When we arrived the music (on a circus organ) was “Morning After, ” in some sort of polka or maybe fox trot or even an upbeat cha cha beat. Yes, that song, the one Debbie Boon sang to in the original Poseidon Adventure (1972 with Gene Hackman and Shelly Winters.) Imagine that song upbeat and in a crazy circus organ out of American Horror Story, or worse a Stephen King novel, or more like, well, an alternate or parallel universe. Holy crap this record is bad. No wonder young skaters aren’t joining the sport. Thank goodness the only thing with the old organ music is the American Dance. Yes, boys and girls, this is why your sport isn’t in the Olympics yet. It isn’t the skating – it is the music. Hell upside down. Now a version of “The Stripper” is playing that I have no words to describe. This is the Muzak they play in Hell.

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OK, back to our previously programmed blog post…

My sixteen year old Clara was talking about the Universe and space earlier today. She can’t get her mind around the fact that the Universe is expanding. But where is it expanding to? Where it come from? What was before the big bang, and before then, and before then? Then she told me about someone who created a photo of the entire Milk Way using millions of images of the Milky Way. It is all mind-boggling.

Then consider the fact that we’re looking at flickering stars billions of miles away. Then consider that someone might be out there looking back at our flickering star (the Sun) and wondering if anyone is out there. Think about it.

It is almost too much to get your brain around. We know so little about our own solar neighborhood. Only in the past hundred years have we managed to fly, and communicate with wires, then wirelessly, then we got cat memes. Actually cat memes aren’t new. But back to space, please.

Pre 1920 Cat Meme. Seriously, I kid you not. Cat memes aren't new. People have been creating them since ancient times. Think about it.

Pre 1920 Cat Meme. Cat memes aren’t new. People have been creating cute cat drawings and memes since ancient times.

Where was I? Oh right, physics, super colliders, and even some quantum physics. Stay with me. This isn’t leading anywhere, but stay with me.

I mentioned to my child that I’d read somewhere that some scientists thought they might be able to get to a parallel universe. The headline was, “Large Hadron Collider ‘Could Be About To Find A Parallel Universe.” Look it up. And if you ever get the chance to visit a Super Collider DO IT. I have and it is super interesting.

So the child asked me what exactly again was a parallel universe.

From Wikipedia: A parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality co-existing with one’s own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a “multiverse”, although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality.

Yes, you can be two places at once.

Or as they say in Firesign Theater How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All.

Or another bit I swiped off of the Internet, “But, according to quantum mechanics, microscopic systems can be in two or more places at the same time, a principle called superposition (also called quantum weirdness – no explanation needed). Atoms and electrons can be in two places at once.”

I explained it the best I could in the best mom terms I could. It made more sense than what I’m writing here, but then again, when I’m driving in my car I’m not listening to crazy insane circus organ skate music.

What I didn’t explain to my daughter or anyone else, was that I had been in that somewhere else parallel universe – recently.

Then our conversation changed a bit.

“Being a Vampire is like living in a parallel universe. Tell me again why we can’t let anyone know about us?” My daughter has asked me this a lot.

“Because darling child, we must let them think they are on the top of the food chain. You know what they do to their own kind who are different. You know about the Vampire Hunters. You know the history.”

She shrugged and told me about her English class. Then we listened to music.

My mind went back to the night before.

I was in bed, my arms and legs wrapped around my husband, or I thought it was my husband. I assumed it was my husband. I was hot. I don’t think I’d ever been so hot.

We both opened our eyes at the same time.

“Juliette?” I knew the voice but it wasn’t my husband.

“Pleasant?” It was indeed my old flame Pleasant Van Dusen and he was burning hot. Not burning hot as in that kind of burning hot, but temperature wise hot.

Remember we’re Vampires and run at a cool 78 degrees farenheit. He was burning up at 98.5 degrees give or take a few.

He gave me a weak smile. “Happy Birthday honey.” Then he wiped the sweat off of his forehead. “What is going on? I can’t cool down.”

I rolled away from him. We were naked. Oh my goodness. The room looked unfamiliar but it was in a style that we both would have picked out. Modern with a touch of 80’s – and I mean 1880’s.

“My heart feels like it is beating out of my chest. Feel it.” He said this as he grabbed my hand and put it on his chest.

“It feels like a regular person Pleasant. It feels like…oh my God. Sit up. Look in the mirror.”

We sat up and looked at the mirror on the wall across from the bed. Our images showed up sharp and clear. We both smiled, uncomfortable grins. No fangs. Hot skin. Hearts beating fast. No fangs.

“Dear God, Pleasant, we aren’t Vampires anymore.”

“No. Juliette no.” The panic in his voice was frightening. Pleasant never panicked.

We’d been transformed. Both of us had been Vampires from the day we were born as rare Vampire babies but now…now…now…we were not.

And we were together. The rings on our left fingers matched in design. A portrait of our wedding was on the night table. We gazed out the window. Two moons. That could only mean one thing – an alternate universe.

I got out of bed. Pulling on a pink silk robe (I would have never chosen pink), I opened the bedroom door. Then everything grew dark. Next I opened my eyes and I was back in bed, my arms wrapped around my husband Teddy. He was a cool 78, exactly like a healthy Vampire should be. I was exactly with the man I should have been with.

My phone vibrated. I answered. It was Pleasant. “Are you a Vampire Juliette?”

“Yes. You?”

“Yes, are you with your husband?”

“Yes, are you with your wife?”

“Yes. What happened?”

“Alternate or parallel universe. We must have hit some sort of time warp or black hole, or I don’t know.”

“Are you cold.”

“Yes, thank goodness. You?”

“Yes, I’m cool.”

“Juliette, I gotta go. I’ll call you.”

“Sure, take care. Be careful.”

“You too. You too Juliette.”

And that was it. We were one of them if only for a moment. It was life as it would have been if we’d been regular “normal” people. But we aren’t.

I didn’t tell my child. I had no idea if our Regular Human versions ended up in our beds with our spouses. I didn’t ask. I don’t want to know.

I feel hot.

I feel hot.

 

I’ll continue to talk science with my kids. We will continue to speculate. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is good not to mention those time warps that happen when we least expect it.

So I guess, the only thing to say is to stay curious, stay cautious, and stay cool. And that my friends is the only point to this story.

And like I always say, take with your kids. Talk with them. Explore with them. Discuss with them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X