Summer TV Update (with Vampires, guilty pleasures, cooking, movies, AGT, and more)

Fall is just around the corner. I know that because I am painfully aware that books for the fall quarter for two college aged kids will run around $1,600 – $2,000, maybe a little less if they are lucky enough to get used books. But on a good note, the summer TV season is still in full swing.

I know I’m not the only person on the planet who is NOT watching Game of Thrones. I was turned off the first season by all of the gratuitous doggy style sex in every single episode. Really? Come on folks mix it up. I think that is an HBO thing. Seriously it gets annoying after a while (like after the first five or six times within an hour.) There were also a couple of other annoying things. I tried to read the first book and couldn’t get through it due to the writing style. It was well written, but I just couldn’t get into it. Hey, I have read a lot of fantasy, more than most, and a lot of difficult literature (which I loved) but I couldn’t get into Game of Thrones. Sort of like I can’t get into any Wally Lamb book (sort of like waiting in Hell, I mean on hold with any technical support department with any cable company, phone company, or eBay.) But if you like it then go for it. Have fun. As us Vampires say, “sink your teeth into it.” And there are dragons. Dragons are always exceptionally cool.

I also don’t watch Dr. Who. Never have. Never will. I will not discuss the subject. Period.

By the way, I have a funny bit. This morning my husband answered the phone at some early still-dark hour. He said, “Microsoft Technical Support,” and presto – the caller was gone. HA HA HA. I love that man.

So what stupid things have I been watching this summer? Not a lot. Mainly movies. Mainly small indie films. I’ll do another post for summer theater films (maybe) later. This is what I’ve watched and highly recommend that I’ve seen on cable.

Juliette’s Short List for Summer Movies You Can Watch On Your TV or Computer:

  • The Fundamentals of Caring
  • Shimmer Lake
  • I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  • Tangerine

Note: All of these are small Independent films. Good stuff. None of them will make you want to strangle me after you see them. Please see the ratings and descriptions before you watch them with kids. 

 

The Bachelorette

Late one night, while I was alone, I discovered The Bachelorette. I discovered Rachael. Who couldn’t love Rachael. She is a beautiful, lovely, charming, sweet woman from Texas.

I usually don’t get hooked into this stuff but I did. I watched it in secret without family or friends. I wouldn’t admit to anyone that I was following Rachael’s adventures. But I couldn’t stop watching it.

You know, if it was a guy picking out a girl from the usually room full of chicks in too high of heels and too tight dresses I wouldn’t have watched. But this was different. This was so different. I’m not going to even try to explain today. Maybe later. Not today (I have stuff to do and need to finish this post.)

She started out with about thirty guys who all wanted to marry her, or at least get the chance to find out if they wanted to marry her. Each week she’d give a rose to the guys she wanted to keep in the running. The guys all stayed together in a stable, I mean house. Some were nice. Several were real douches. Some spent their time back stabbing other guys. That got them nowhere. In the meantime Rachael went around the world having romantic adventures with the fellows and FINALLY picked the last THREE. Oh what a heart break and what a sweet ending.

She picked…one of my favorites…the right choice… Bryan. Woo Hoo. I wish them a long happy life together.

I hope it works out for them when reality sets in. You know the reality I’m talking about. How will they handle it when one of them gets sick our injured? How will she deal with his weird high school friend Kyle? What about their morning routines, holidays, decorating styles, views on how they’ll raise their kids, where they’ll raise their kids, morning coffee breath, what they watch on TV and a variety of weird things? Life after dating can get complicated – yes, that is what marriage is. Marriage is rewarding but it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, and it isn’t always romantic.

I still can’t believe I got sucked into this. Awww, must be the romantic in me. Hey, Peter, dude, you blew it.

America’s Got Talent

This is my flagship show. What I mean by that is that when I first started this blog back in 2012 I started blogging about this show every single week during the summer. All of us (me, family, friends) would gather around and watch. I publish comments from the peanut gallery – unfiltered and unapologetic. The honest truth. The show is good this year and now in the judges cuts for the top acts. I’ll be posting on it again… and YES WITH COCKTAILS. Do a search for previous blog posts on this show.

I have to add one note about this season’s “golden buzzer” choices. A small girl with a big voice sang a lovely song and received the “golden buzzer.” My daughter looked the girl up on Google and found that she’d been in talent shows all over Asia. No wonder she was so good on stage, so slick, and utterly fantastic in a practiced and staged way. Her parents have made her into an industry – starting with what they named her (after a famous singer.) Unlike many of the other children we’ve seen on the show I feel this child is exploited by her parents. There is nothing natural about her. This isn’t talent. This is force fed performance – like a trained dog or monkey. She is their cash cow – raised to be a cash cow. By the time she is 23 she’ll be washed up, but who cares – mom and dad can retire in comfort. It is too bad the guest judge who pressed the golden buzzer couldn’t have seen through the blatant exploitation of a small child.

Vampire Cocktails – two parts mixer, one part blood. Cheers. And never drink and drive.

Next Food TV Star

This season had a bunch of likable folks (except two who were just annoying.) In my opinion it was the best season ever. They are now down to the last three. All men. All fun. All guys you’d want to hug and have as neighbors. All great. My bets are on Jason, a wonderful guy from Tennessee with an accent that will melt your heart away. I could just eat him up. This man can cook and entertain. Let’s see what happens.

If you don’t want to win on this show do the following:

  1. Refer to yourself as “Mama” something.
  2. Talk non-stop about a distant country you identify with, that nobody has ever heard of, even though you are 5th generation American. Then rather than educating us, and sharing with us the wonders of your beautiful family culture, be so confusing about it that nobody knows what the crap you’re talking about.
  3. Be totally clueless in the kitchen.
  4. Show the other contestants how ignorant and helpless you are.
  5. Act surprised that you’re going to be on TV and have to talk about your food.
  6. Don’t know what a vanilla bean looks like.
  7. Make the other contestants want to cry when they are paired up with you.
  8. Don’t follow directions.
  9. Act like a Martha Stewart wannabe.
  10. Make some sort of shrimp and grits for every single challenge. Yes, we know you’re from the South, but I know damn well that folks from the South eat a lot more than grits.

Preacher

I love this show. I fucking love this show.

Life Below Zero

I’m hooked. Love Sue. Love the others too. But I wish they’d show more than just hunting and fishing. I’d like to see other aspects of their lives as well. We get a hint, but I’d like more. OK I admit, I watch for the foxes at Sue’s and the puppies with everyone else.

Forged in Steel

People make knives. No drama. They are craftsmen and women. They are awesome. Wow. Check it out.

Ink Master

Yes, we’re watching this weird and wonderful train wreck of a show. This year is a team effort (teams of two in competition against each other.) There is less drama and better ink than on previous shows. Thank you producers for raising the bar a little. And did I say better artists? Yes, they’re better than we’ve seen in years. Like most shows this is just something we watch together, talk about while we watch it, and don’t take too seriously. It is family time. Don’t like to watch it alone cause it just wouldn’t be fun. And Dave is still hot.

If this Vampire wants to tattoo your image on his arm…you’ll have to check out his entire body first. Hey, look at the Vampire Maman tattoo (yes, he has a tattoo.) Is that me on his arm? Hell yeah!

 

So have a nice week everyone, and try to get outside too. Have fun – as only the summer can give you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Road Trips

No, I haven’t been away at some Vampire High Council meeting deciding what to do about nasty Vampires from another tribe, or discussing all of those flea bitten, tick covered Werewolves. Screw that. We don’t even DO THAT. All of the blood dripping lofty ceremony laced fiction out there gets people thinking we’re living in the 15th Century, or all dress like Victorians ALL THE TIME. I’ve been busy and we’re in a heat wave from Hell right now.

We’ll be on not one, not two, but three road trips this summer. The only place we’re not going where it is blazing and stupidly hot is Alaska.

Which brings me to a favorite subject: Vampire Road trips

Some suggest we bring freeze dried blood with us. Yes, that can be obtained by our usual sources but why? First of all we’ll just throw a cooler in the car and keep the fresh stuff on ice. We can also be guaranteed of a steady supply of truckers, hitch hikers, and Airbnb hosts.

The main thing we avoid are hookers in small desert towns (I kid you not.) It is seriously sad to see young women out trolling for truckers in the middle of the day wearing cuts offs, fishnet stockings, and heels. I look at them and wonder, “how the fuck did you end up here?”

We give a nod to the Vampires who live along those mysterious roads that seem to lead to nowhere. We give a nod to the lone Vampires in the small towns scattered across the highways. You know those towns where you wonder what people do there, and why they stay.

We will also stop to see friends along the way, both Vampires and regular folks we know.

All of my bitchiness aside, I love road trips. Driving across country with a kid (even if the kid will have just turned 18) is an amazing opportunity for both parent and child.

On our trips we’ve discussed (in-depth) music, history, art, social studies, geology, zombies, politics, cars, interesting people we’ve known, my own personal history, ways to murder someone when writing a novel, serial killers, movies, relationships, people we know, nature, dogs, cats, current events, and we wonder about things we see along the way.

We’ve seen two exceptionally handsome young men at a rest stop and wondered what two exceptionally handsome young men were doing out in the middle of the desert. We’ve stopped at a giant truck stop sort of place near the Colorado/Nebraska border and wondered where everyone was going. We’ve met a woman who said Lincoln, NE was the largest city she’d ever been to. We’ve seen roadside art, weird mysterious monuments, and a giant crater. We’ve gone to National Parks, and city parks. We’ve driven across Indian Reservations. We’ve driven through small depressed towns, and through some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We’ve been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City and stayed with a gay couple there. We’ve been to interesting little coffee houses that serve lavender scented lattes and vegan muffins. We’ve been on roads that seem to go on forever across the deserts and plains. It is hot because it is summer. It is dry because we’re driving through the West, only as far as Nebraska.

We’ll be in Nebraska this year as well. Then we’ll arrive home and a few days later head off for Alaska. But first we have to go to Fresno for an event. There is no other reason I’d go to Fresno. But in defense of Fresno, like all places, we will find interesting things to do.

So take a trip, even a day trip. You’ll learn something, and maybe even see some Vampires. We love road trips. Just don’t expose too much skin or you’ll get either sunburned or bitten.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This guy looks interesting. Let’s show him something REALLY scary!

 

 

 

 

Heat, Religion, Frogs, and Old People

Summer is Here! Bake it baby (or if you’re smart you’ll stay someplace cool)

 

I could wax poetically about temperature but it is in the triple digits farenehight outside. Any wax is going to melt and I’m not feeling too poetic.

Yesterday afternoon, a man came to my church asking about my religious beliefs. I ended up with a brochure about “original sin,” something which I do not believe in. Sure some people are born evil. Some are born without souls, and I’ll freely admit that. I’ve met them. But the average little baby isn’t chock full of sin, like a dead deer full of maggots on a hot summer day, so don’t even make that comparison or even suggest to me EVER that babies are full of sin. Sheesh.

I should have given the poor man a glass of water but he was so crisp and unflappable looking that I assumed he had a cooler in his car (which could have been full of beer and Jello shots as far as I know.)

At the time I was holding a large German Shepard by her collar with the door cracked open. I should have never answered but it is usually a friend or a neighbor when someone comes a calling, especially when it is so stupidly hot outside.

I believe I’ve used the frog story before, but I shall tell it again.

Put a cold cast iron skillet on a cold burner on your stove. Gas works best. Place a large, live, cold blooded frog in the center of the skillet. Use a good sized one – 10-12 inches. Turn on the heat ever so low, then gradually turn it up. The frog will sit until it gets blazing hot and it’s feet and belly stick to the cast iron and it is cooked.

This is what happens to people in this heat (we’re expecting over 100 all week and over 110 F on some days). Elderly people and others who are not always aware will sit in the heat like the frog until they cook. They’ll forget to jump out of the pan, or in the case of some folks, forget to turn on the air conditioning or fan. Or they’ll forget to call for help because they won’t realize they need help.

My neighbor and dear friend Kelly came over tonight with a couple of cold drinks (bless her). She isn’t a Vampire like we are. She suspects we’re different but can’t quite put a finger on it. She also has a ghost in her house (yes, that ghost.)

We sat for a while as she told me of her elderly mother and the heat. Her mother forgets to turn on the air conditioner. Her mother obsesses about bad neighbors but will not let her children or helpers put anything over the fence so to keep out the eyes of those bad neighbors. She asked Kelly to come over (it was 110 outside) to cut down a tree. Kelly said no. Her mother doesn’t know what yard the tree is growing in. Kelly tells her not to go outside and check because it is too hot and because she’ll fall and end up in the hospital – again. The same conversation has happened over and over – with a different plant, a hose, a stray cat, an unfamiliar car parked on the street, or something else that Kelly will either have to deal with or talk her way out of.

She wishes her mother would move to a house where she won’t worry about bad trees and bad neighbors and expensive up keep. Kelly has suggested a smaller home near Kelly and the grand kids. It would be nice with all sorts of beautiful features and a lovely garden within walking distance of Kelly’s home. The kids could visit anytime. Her mother refuses. So Kelly must hear about trees and drive to her mom’s to get the mail, and give up her Saturday fun time. Saturday fun time is important for working moms and all moms and busy women who work, and well, it is important for everyone.

She wishes she could travel and do fun things with her mother. She wishes they could talk more of things that are positive and fun – things that are not bodily functions or other unpleasant things that only bring Kelly stress.

Sometimes the heat can suck the fun out of everything. The heat of being a caretaker can do the same. It is exhausting. Especially if the caretaker has children of her own. Kelly told her kids to put her on an ice flow if she ever got to the point where she couldn’t take care of herself. She asked them to shoot her if she ever lost her sense of humor. I gave her a hug. We talked for another house about books we’ve read this summer. We agree that everyone MUST read “Beautiful Ruins.” Then she went home to spend time with her own teenage children (good friends with my kids.)

After slipping on the kitchen floor today on an unknown object and landing on my back, I lay there thinking that I’d better call The Elders. They’re ancient and sometimes don’t use the best judgement.

Eleorna and Tellias, frail and gentle, were fine. Their neighbor had brought over shaved ice flavored with basil and rosemary. God bless him. They remembered to bring their old dog in and give him plenty of water. They didn’t drive today because sometimes they forgot how to turn on the air conditioner and the sun was too bright and they had lost the keys again, so they stayed home. And they turned on the air conditioner in their beautiful 143 year old house and slept in each other’s arms like young lovers.

I’m always afraid that I’ll drop by their house and find nothing but their ashes. I’m afraid someone will take advantage of them. I’m afraid that one day they might be gone and I will have a broken heart that will never go away.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Hot and Cold

Dear Diary,

Last night I attended a party which was given by Vampire friends, a former Count of some now nonexistent country, and his wife who is from another now nonexistent country.

Her name, or what she now calls herself is Angelica. She explained to me that she is repelled by the feel of the body of a warm living human next to her, and no longer seduces her prey in the warmer months. What is it that the teenagers who live in my neighborhood call it? TMI. Too. Much. Information. I was tempted to suggest she bring a thing called baby wipes with her so she can wipe down hot sweaty necks before she eats. I knew she would not understand, or even see the humor in my comment.

I next heard that Angelica was going to bring in live food for us. That would be live people whom some of the younger Vampires call Vamp Tramps. They are those people who let Vampires feed on their blood willingly. Some like the excitement. Some hope to one day become Vampires themselves. I find them distasteful. They are like beggars asking for something they can never have, or whores who never get paid for their services.

I left the party with lie about having a headache. One does not earn the title of King of the Vampires by spending time with crass bores. I like my meals to be quiet, private affairs.

It reminded me of a time, centuries ago, when a wealthy and powerful man brought his daughter to my castle.

“Oh Vlad, King of Vampires, I bring you my daughter in exchange for immortality as a Vampire.”

A frightened girl of fifteen years stood before me. I told her to sit by the hearth and make herself warm.

I faced the father. “What should I do with the girl?”

“Drink her blood. Take her as a mistress until she can no longer take a breath on her own. I have too many daughters, but she is the boldest and strongest. She is a pain in my ass. Take her as my gift. Enjoy her.”

I looked over at my friend Randolpho who was also in the room with me. “Randolpho, please take this good man out to meet some of the other Vampires. I wish to speak to the girl alone.”

When they had left the girl cowered in the chair in which she sat.

“Do not be afraid. I am not going to drink your blood or kill you. I will not keep you as my mistress.” There was still fear in her eyes. I then told her that I would send her to friends in Italy where should could live with artists and eat oranges and live without fear. She could be happy and choose the man she wished to be with.

Then we heard screams. “Your father will never bother you again. His blood will be gone and we shall boil his bones and feed him to the hounds. That is what we do to men who try to barter their children for their own gain.”

She smiled then took my hands. I remember the warmth of her fingers around mine, and how she smelled like lilacs when I gave her an embrace.

“Thank you. You are so cold,” she said.

“Of course, but I will make sure you are never cold.” And she never was cold or unhappy for the rest of her seventy eight years, which was a long life in the 1500’s. We should all be so lucky.

Fifteen years later I spent the winter in Italy at the villa she now owned. We became lovers for several months. She then told me that it would never last because she could never fall in love with a man who was far more beautiful than she was, and for the fact that she was in love with another. They married the following year, and lived a long happy life together.

I heard rumors that her father’s skull was used in the first production of Hamlet but do not quote me on that fact.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went to the local pub, owned by a woman named Cassie. We have become friends over the past year, Cassie and I have. I stayed late talking with her at the bar.

“Where is Brody tonight?” I asked about her large black dog who is usually behind the bar with her.

“He ripped a claw out. Poor baby is home wearing the cone of shame,” she said.

“But surely it was an accident,” I said. “One should never shame a good dog.”

“It is a just a joke Vlad. The veterinarian, the animal doctor, puts a plastic cone shaped collar on dogs to prevent them from chewing on themselves.”

There is so much to learn about the complexities of the modern world after being locked in a crypt for three hundred years.

We had a few drinks together and talked about our pets. Since Brody was not in service tonight I offered to walk Cassie the three blocks to her home. She accepted my offer.

She invited me inside. I looked at her and locked my eyes on hers.

“You’re so beautiful,” she said and pulled her shirt over her head, then proceeded to pull my shirt over my head. How I love the modern cotton knit fabric.

“You’re so cold,” she said as she put her arms around my waist and pulled me close.

“You are so warm,” I said, kissing her on her forehead, then her cheeks, then her eyes, and by then she was smiling in a lovely trance as I moved on to her neck. She was a perfect A+ blood type. Even in her trance she let out a slight feminine sigh, and barely whispered my name.

That is one of the wonderful things about being a Vampire in this day and age – we know blood types. We have names for them. What do the young people say? Cool. That is it. It is very cool. The blood is hot, but the expression “cool” means it is something wonderful.

I left Cassie and Brady asleep with sound dreams of all things good.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

It is now considered summer as the month of June passes by. When I was young we did not wonder why the weather changed. It just did. There were seasons. Some said it was the Gods, but we did not believe in the Gods of those who came to judge us. They told us we would be damned so we drained them of blood. If you can’t beat them eat them. I know the new expression is “join them” but why? They had too many Gods, like what they call Super Heros now. Nobody has time for men in tights (see I make a joke.)

So now the sun comes up and I will sleep. Yesterday I had a dream of a warm body next to my cold side. I woke to find the two cats curled up by my side.

I thought about many years, in fact centuries ago when I was awakened one morning from great commotion at the doors of my castle. I pulled on a robe and went to see who was there. A group of men, twenty of them, stood with swords drawn and grim expressions on their faces. They wore white robes with red crosses stitched on the front.

“Who are you and what do you want?” I heard my friend Randolpho ask them with his fangs out.

One man took a step forward. “We are the Knights Templar.”

I came out from behind my Vampire guards and could hear the Knights Templars gasp in unison.

“Please,” I said. “Put down your swords. We have no need for that here. I am Vlad. How may I help you?”

Then they all went down on one knee and bowed. To make a long story short they were under the false assumption that I, Vlad King of the Vampires, was an angel. It might have been my long blonde hair around my shoulders, or maybe my beautiful face, or just what do they call it, my magnetic charm. I do not know why, yet I was quite amused.

Then my sister came running out and a few of them almost fell over. I later learned those men, for whatever foolish reasons had taken vows of celibacy but upon seeing my sister they all became overcome with a sort of brain fever of wonton love for her.

I invited the men into my realm. The leader, a man called John, asked if they could keep some of their items in my castle.

“I would be honored and your treasure would be safe,” I told him.

Then from his coat John pulled an old goblet and handed it to me. “This is the cup from the last supper.”

“I see. I will have dinner prepared for you and your men tonight. You may all have new cups tonight.”

John then looked upon me with compassion and passion in his face. “Vlad, this is the cup which held the blood of our Lord.”

I could feel the cup getting hot in my hands, enough to burn an ordinary man. I smelled it. Yes, it had contained wine at one time, but no real blood. I later learned the blood was symbolic.

“The cup is the most holy of relics,” said John. “Would you keep it safe.”

“I will,” I told him.

He also asked me to keep a chest with something which I now believe to be an old radio receiver.  I hope if he ever comes back that he will be able to find tubes. I will send him to eBay.

The Templars stayed for four days then left. I locked their treasure in a room underneath my castle. They never came back for it. It was not like now where I could text them or sell the items on Craigslist.

Now I still have those items in my basement at my home in America. I doubt if the Templars will try to look me up. They are long gone. With no women in their lives they had no children to come get their things. Maybe I will get out the cup and polish it up. I could always restore the radio or whatever that thing is. I will look into it. Maybe there might be a YouTube video explaining it. One never knows.

~ Vlad

 

 

 

Death, Ghosts, and Pokemon Go

Like everyone else, my kids are playing Pokemon Go. In case you’ve been somewhere else, like on another planet or Albania, Pokemon Go is an application you download to your phone. Thanks to a partnership of some sorts with Google Maps, you can find Pokemon critters everywhere. There are hot spots to collect goodies and balls to capture the creatures. There are gyms where they can fight each other. Parks, schools, churches, and murals are all hot spots for a lot of activity. We even found one in our house yesterday.

Of course there are going to be snarky critics who don’t understand the attraction to this game. Screw em. It is a GAME. It is FUN. I’ve had fun watching it bring parents and their teens together.

This is the link to the official web site: http://www.pokemongo.com/en-us/explore/

A quote from the site:

Get up, get out, and explore!

Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokemon. Explore cities and towns where you live – and even around the globe  – to capture as many Pokemon as you can. As you walk through the real world, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokemon. 

It goes on to tell the players that there is a lot of activity in public sites. One place where there is a lot of activity is cemeteries.

As you know, my kids and I like to visit old cemeteries for various reasons. It isn’t because we’re Vampires. Contrary to popular horror movie culture we don’t live in crypts or in rotting coffins under the ground. Yes, occasionally someone ends up there, but not too often anymore. But that isn’t what this post is about.

Yesterday I was out and about with my kids (ages 17 and 20) when one of them mentioned we were near a cemetery with a lot of activity. So of course at the light I pulled into the parking lot.

I have to admit that I had never been to this particular grave yard, only minutes from my home. It was founded in 1855, four years before I was born. Most of the old grave markers are now flat on the ground, having been broken over the years, and then repaired by no doubt loving hands. Several of the markers and statues are marked by Pokemon activity.

As we walked along exploring the stones we forgot about the game, and started to speculate on the names and the stories.

Unlike many modern cemeteries this one had a mix of flat markers, and traditional larger tombstones. Many had images of hobbies, activities, and occupations. Old and new were mixed together with no real pattern.

Less than a mile away in the old Catholic cemetery we once found a marker for a child who passed away at the age of eight. She would have been forty this year had she been alive. Her stone was in the back by a fence, alone, dusty, all alone. I still wonder about her. No ghost sits on her grave to give us answers.

In this cemetery by the lake, the same lake that borders my neighborhood, there are few ghosts out during the day. It was quieter there than most places of rest.

Anyway, to make a short story even longer…

In the back, near the back fence border, I was attracted to a stone with a portrait on it, and the colorful large headstones near it. I found myself in an entire section of young people. Not babies, but people who’d been in their teens and early twenties. They were Millennials. These were all recent, in the past few years.

One stone, the one that first attracted me, had a message from a twenty year old man’s parents. It said, We will never forgive ourselves for not being able to save you. It broke my heart.

All of the stones had pictures on the headstones of sports, animals, and hobbies, and stories, and portraits and photos of the kids. It was the saddest place in the world. Teens aren’t supposed to die. And here I was with my children, who are in the same age group. It was so random. So sad. They were all there together in the back, near the edge of the lake, where young people hang out.

If was as if they were calling us over to say, “don’t forget us.”

It was odd how a game that is played by young people brought us to such a place.

On the way back across to where I’d parked we saw other stones and speculated on lives that once were. The place was dotted with tiny stones of children who’d come and gone before their first birthday, or first day of school. Yet none of them seemed alone, between the larger graves.

In Chico there is a cemetery with a large children’s area. It is a sad wasteland with no grass or trees, slapped in a sunken area that nobody else would want. Tiny markers with lonely lambs sit in the hot sun, and the cold rain, all alone.

Some say that Vampire infants, those tiny beings born to Vampires parents, steal the souls of dead children. Rest assured it isn’t true.

Last night we had a boisterous night at home with a lot of laughing and joking around. Today there was more searching for tiny creatures in our smartphones.

My brother Andy was over and smiled at our adventures. His strong distaste for ghosts keeps him out of cemeteries, and he doesn’t use his smartphone for anything but phone calls and the occasional text, but he did have some suggestions for an app my son and his friends are developing. It is for Vampires looking for good places to dine. It sounds like a great idea, but for this summer I think I’ll stick to finding tiny imaginary Japanese creatures with my phone, but not without a touch of sadness.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a cat…

As a parent, even a parent such as I am, one sees a lot of nasty stupid things. You’d think by the time your kids are almost grown (almost 17 and 20) that it would stop. And I’m not talking about kids, I’m talking about parents.

Dear Super Mom,

Maybe the reason you change your children’s teachers, schools, churches, sports, coaches, sports clubs, isn’t because everyone is insensitive and not doing their job. Maybe it is you. Maybe YOU aren’t doing your job. So just shut the fuck up and stop bad mouthing everyone. Look at yourself. And look at your kids – they’re mean to other kids, and they lie. Because of that other kids and adults don’t like them. Go figure your kids are just like you. How sweet. OK I’m done. Peace. 

 

Now that I have THAT out of the way…

Clara and I are planning another cross country road trip across deserts, mountains, and plains. Vampires love road trips. It is a time to crank up the music and see America. And who doesn’t like to taste the local flavor, if you know what I mean.

We are driving from near Sacramento, CA to Lincoln, NE, through Denver, CO. I’ll make sure I send photos from the road and my travel log. We’re going to the National Artistic Roller Skating Championships.

Excuse me for a second. Outside of my window is an angry Ghost. Did I mention that it is the middle of the day and over 105 degrees farenheit outside? Did I mention that I live on a hill, so the window is about two stories up.

I’ll be right back.

OK I’m back.

I motioned for the Ghost to come inside. He looked horrible – almost dead. I mean, he is dead, but not that kind of dead. Unless he is in his head-bashed-in with a frying pan look he had when he died he looks pretty good. He was one of those guys with almost a pretty face. You know, the kind with the sweet smile and eyelashes that make any woman green with envy. Yet, he is still extremely masculine. That does not sway my opinion of him, which is that he is usually a complete asshole.

He vanished in and reappeared standing behind me. His already shaggy black hair was almost standing on end. His skin look gray, even for a ghost. He wore his funeral suit without the jacket, and his black tie was loose around his neck, and he’d rolled up the sleeves.

“You look like you’ve been to Hell and back,” I said to him.

“Don’t even joke about that,” he said, then whispered the words Vampire bitch under his breath as if I wouldn’t hear.

I haven’t seen Nigel, The Ghost, for months, then suddenly he shows up in a bad mood, expecting my full attention.

I wait for him to speak, as one does with a Ghost. And I wait. He says nothing. Then I try to go back to writing something meaningful for my blog post about traveling with teens and young adults, but I’ve lost track of every thought in my head.

So I ask. “What is it Nigel?”

“Nothing.”

“Is it the heat?”

“I don’t have a physical body. I don’t feel heat.”

I’m not one for guessing games. In fact I hate guessing games. You know the type I’m talking about. Someone comes in and says, “Guess who I saw?” or “You won’t believe this. Guess who is getting married?” I don’t want to guess. I don’t want to throw out a dozen names and still not know what you want to tell me. Just tell me. So I didn’t even ask Nigel anything, and of course that drives him nuts, because he’d come back at me with a “guess what” fill in the blank.

The calico cat rubbed against Nigel’s leg. Yes, cats can do that, even if you don’t see the Ghost. Cats always see the Ghost.

Nigel gave the cat a smile and stroked her head, then he glared at me and vanished. I’m not even going to speculate on why he stopped by, other than to annoy me, or maybe he just needed to see the cat.

The train of thought is lost forever.

But I know that if you have a cat to pet then everything will be alright. If you have a cat your most troublesome Ghost will fade away with a smile on his face.

That’s it for today. Time to cool off.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

Food and a box is all they ask for (usually)