Technical Difficulties and Just Trying to Chill

Forgive any weirdness. I’m trying the new block editor on WordPress. I don’t know where any of the settings are. I’m also on a borrowed tablet as my computer is in the shop. I brought it in a week ago today. The guy in the shop said they’d contact me in three business days. I’m not sure what days they’re doing business but it has been a week. Despite the fact that my computer has survived MIDDLE SCHOOL and HIGH SCHOOL, and by that I mean sharing it with CHILDREN, this is the first time I’ve had to have it in the shop.

Children do weird things when they’re around computers. They pull the keys off of the keyboards. They pour sticky stuff on the track pads. They drop them. They eat over them with the opinion that the more crumbs they drop on the keyboard the better. They paint the outside of lap tops with nail polish and acrylic paint.

I haven’t even started on the weird software and apps they download.

If I ever get my somewhat trusty 2012 MacBook Pro back I know I will get judgmental scowls by the guys in the computer repair shop. This isn’t one of those dark geeky holes that are run like a later day umbrella repair shop. It is a sleep modern place in a somewhat trendy part of town about a block from a HUGE Intel facility. Please, guys, don’t judge me. I know the real problems started when my huge dog slipped her huge horse sized head under my arm and caused me to spill coffee all over my track pad and keyboard about a month ago. It might have been more than a month ago. It might have been two or three months ago. I’ve lost track of time.

My husband suggested I just get a new computer but … I need to see if this one can be fixed. That is just the way I roll.

As I write this I’m looking out the window to my back yard and the dry field behind my house. The clearing has happened for fires but that is small comfort. If a fire rolls through the narrow ravine/canyon there will be no stopping it. There aren’t any fire roads.

Already there are fires exploding all over California. The air is smoky. That adds insult to injury when it comes to yet another day of triple digit weather. My heart goes out to those who have been evacuated or are facing evacuation.

This morning I was going to talk about Lola’s latest adventures and lies but I’ll get to that later. Maybe later today.

For so many, including myself, it is difficult to concentrate on anything right now. Adding stupid things like computer repairs, car repairs, broken air conditioning, and hot water heater leaks just adds to it.

College is virtual this fall. Yesterday my daughter said, “Going to college online is a lot better than having permanent lung damage.” We discussed this after hearing news reports of colleges in other states opening with optional mask requirements. Students and staff came down with Covid-19. No shit. Thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help you there. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands will help.

My not-so-smart phone isn’t working that well either. I can’t get online with it. I can’t text photos to most people. The screen is broken. Yes, I’m low maintenance. I’m not worried about my hair, my nails, or much of anything else. Everything is pretty basic right now.

But last night I had a Zoom class and I couldn’t even get on with this tablet. I tried to download software and put in 34,000 passwords with no results. Finally I think I set up something and the new password I created was CatShit123! Then my husband came in and told me to use his computer. It worked. Thank goodness something worked.

I know I’m just whining. I’m the mom so I rarely whine. I didn’t even whine or use bad words (except for the passwords) last night. I think most of us are doing that. We’re just going along and realizing that everyone is dealing with the same cat shit.

This morning I saw where some bitch was cutting down police lines in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and yelling about masks, and generally being an idiot. A young man in his 20’s filmed her. He was totally an American kid, but she started to spew racial slurs at him due to his dark hair and skin which was slightly darker than hers. She told him to go back to where he came from. I’m sure he came from someplace a few blocks away. WTF? Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with people? Just wear a mask and realize that some places will be closed for a while. Turn on Netflix and watch The Witcher again. Go watch The Floor is Lava. Just chill. Don’t call people nasty names. Don’t be a racist because a playground is closed.

Maybe I’ll try a DROP CAP.

Oh look, a giant letter.

I’ve got to get more coffee and go out and make sure most of my plants haven’t died.

I’ve also put a ban on anything political. The thought of all of that childish and stupid insanity makes me truly want to drop F bombs.

Other than that I’m painting walls and canvases. My kids are safe. We’re in touch with friends and family. We live in a nice house and not a hot dusty crypt. There is a lot to be thankful for.

I can’t figure out how to make a bulleted list so you just get a plain list today, but it is still important.

Wear a mask.

Wash your hands.

Kiss a Vampire (it is safe. We can’t give you Covid-19)

Call your kids.

Pet your cat.

Stay safe.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Thoughts on Summer Heat, Schools, and Dog Walks

I can’t wait until fall comes. I don’t mean that lingering September heat that is like a hot slap in the face with a blow torch. I mean real fall with cool air and where the temperature stays under 75°F.

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Every morning I take my dog out for a walk. One of our stops is the local school which is also a park during non-school hours, which is always right now. The highlight of the school trip is getting a drink out of the fountain. Not for me – for the dog.

If school ever starts again we’ll change our morning route. The school we walk in is an old much loved public school turned into a public Waldorf charter school. The gardens are still growing. Staff is keeping the school clean.

When school was in session I loved watching the kids, all wearing sun hats, go for walks to the trails by the lake we live near. The youngest would hold hands or hold a rope so that they’d stay together. It was precious. The school has such a sense of community like the public charter Montessori school my children went to. The Waldorf school is a community and part of our neighborhood community. The same goes for the newer and larger neighborhood public elementary school down the street.

My daughter will be taking the fall quarter, the first quarter of do fourth year of college, online. It sucks but it is what has to be online school. We can manage that. With all of the money government, both federal and local, they could have online schools and computers for every kid if they wanted to. If they really wanted to they could make it happen.

I can’t imagine teachers, school cafeteria workers, custodians, teaching assistants, administrative staff, and others who work for schools coming down with Covid-19. I can’t imagine the horrible nightmare of children getting the virus.

Too little too late can’t be the lament of our education systems. We need to adjust and to see this as a public health issue. The lives of our teachers, children, and school workers depend on it.

Cafeteria’s can still be open for take out meals for children, or social distancing while school is out. Other services can adjust to meet the needs of children and families.  It can be done.

In the meantime, to switch gears to something nice, here are some photos of one of my walks earlier this week.

  • Talk to with your kids
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t complain or whine too much in front of your children. They’re stressed out about this too.
  • Kiss a Vampire (it will be ok. Vampires don’t transmit this thing)
  • Check in on the elderly and those who might need extra help or love.
  • Stay in touch with zoom, blogs, and other social media – or just pick up the phone and CALL someone you care about.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Exploring the Wonders

Exploring the Wonders

They grow

And explore

The wonders

Of the universe

If we let them.

Then they explore

The wonders of

their hearts

and imagination.

 

All children should be allowed to explore, beyond the world of their parents. We should be their guides, but give them the freedom to take that extra step to discover something new. If your child learns something new 9 times out of 10 you’ll learn something new.

Listen and learn from your child. You’ll know what they learned in school and what they did after school. You’ll know about their friends. You’ll know about those who aren’t so friendly to them. They keys to talk to them, talk with them and listen to them. Never take a one world answer. Make them talk. They’ll thank you for it later.

The sun is just coming up over horizon and the sky is turning pale gray and whites and blues. It is that strange in-between time for just about most creatures. Werewolves are turning back into their own skin. Vampires are thinking of going to sleep. Regular folks are getting up for work. This is my time to write when all is quiet. Quiet is a rare thing for a mom.

Summer is in full swing and I wonder how my kids will remember their childhood and teen years.  I hope that the memories they take with them are of the times we spent together talking and just being together. I hope the memories will be of ideas and discussions.

I hope those ideas and discussions will never end.

 

  • Talk to your kids
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay safe
  • Don’t be a dick (be nice)
  • Science is real
  • Check on those who are old or at risk. Summer is hot. The pandemic is real. Make sure everyone is OK.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman 

Short Story Sunday: Not Going Anywhere

The conversation was always the same, no matter who I talked to.

I’m not going anywhere.

I wasn’t going anywhere either. For one thing it was too hot. 102°F. I’d done all of my gardening. My husband was up working on something in his office. Maybe he was looking up Air BNB sites but I don’t know. It isn’t like we could really go anywhere. Even in Lassen Volcanic National Park the place we usually rent was unavailable this year. Besides that there are warnings about otter attacks.

With the advent of the heat even the Neighborhood sites where people complain about the homeless camps by the parks, lost pets, and reports of gunfire and illegal fireworks were uncommonly quiet. There wasn’t much today except someone looking for a handyman, and someone else wanting to know if anyone could recommend a new pizza place.

I was sitting at my breakfast nook table reading when I smelled something vile. We’d had problems with skunks this summer. The dog had been sprayed twice after we’d taken her out in the yard to pee, resulting in late night washings in the side yard. But skunks usually don’t come out at three in the afternoon.

I looked out the window into my yard. There they were in the garden stealing my tomatoes. One was picking through the squash plants. Damn it. I’d yelled at them before to keep out of my yard.

After slipping on my sandals I went out back.

“Hey, if you want tomatoes you’re going to have to work for it. You’re going to have to grow your own fucking garden.” I was harsh and swore but there is no being nice with these guys. “You see those tools over there,” I said. “Pick out some shovels and start digging.”

They stood watching me with the eyes of the stoned. I know for a fact they go up to National Forest and State Park land and steal pot plants from illegal growers.

“I’ll be right back,” I said. “Start digging and earn your keep or I’ll call the local news station and maybe the police. I know you don’t want that kind of attention.”

They looked sad and picked up the shovels. I went went inside and came back out with a big Costco sized bottle of shampoo, a big bottle of conditioner, a couple bars of oatmeal soap, and some old brushes and combs I’d found under the sink in the bathroom.

“Before you do anything you need to clean up. I’m going to choke if I have to smell your years of stench. How can you live with yourselves?” I yelled at them.

They picked up the hose and started to clean up.

After about thirty minutes I went back outside. They were drying off and most of the smell was gone.

One of them grumbled something about the local food bank.

“You can’t go to the food bank,” I told them. “They’d have you locked up. Keep digging. I’ll make you some sandwiches and heat up some tamales for you.”

Back before Covid-19 I only had to deal with deer, or maybe wild turkeys. This year nobody was going anywhere, including the tribe of Big Foots who’d camped out in my back yard.

I knew things were going to be strange this summer, but hey it could be worse. You know, it could be worse.

~ end

 

 

Tangled Tales

 

When You Grow Old

It is hot today. I believe it is over 100°F where I live. In light of that hot sizzling fact I’m going to take you with me to a nice cool beach.

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars shine over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Flip Flop

Dear Diary,

For the past week the days have brought hellish heat. I am a Vampire so I know what hellish is.

For three hundred years I was trapped in a crypt, only to come out five years ago. I had no idea my friends would transport me to such a place where the air is hot enough to cook eggs upon the sidewalk. It is what is called triple digits. This is all new to me. The thermometer was invented a few years after I was locked away. Sometimes it seems as though everything was invented after I was trapped away.

Where I have come to reside is considered paradise except now on the brink of summer. There shall now be months of such blistering and ungodly heat. This is no place for a Vampire.

My Vampire love Gillian and my friend from my childhood Randolpho were at my home today with gifts. Gillian presented me with shoes. She said they were shoes. I had my doubts.

“You expect me to wear these things?” I asked her that as I reluctantly took the objects from her hands.

“It’s too hot for closed toes shoes,” she said.

“But then do those in charge, politicians as you call them, wear flip flops?”

“No. At least not while they’re working,” said Randolpho.

I put the odd looking shoes on the table. “Then why do people say they flip flop. Are they on the ground like a fish out of water? Do they have medical conditions to be addressed?”

“Flip flop also means someone is changing their mind. The shoes are called flip flops because of the sound they make when you walk in them,” said Randolpho.

“Like a fish out of water,” I said.

“Sort of,” said Randolpho.

I could not imagine putting something between my toes and expecting it to stay on my feet. Then Gillian took out a pair of shoes made of straps and something that looked like leather but was not leather.

“What is this?” I asked. “You want me to wear sandals like a Roman or those people you who were once called beatniks. I know what a beatnik is.”

“These are Tevas. They’re waterproof and comfortable. You can walk in water with them,” said Gillian.

“Why would I want to do that?” I asked.

“I don’t know. If we go to the lake and you don’t want to step on rocks…” Gillian started to say.

“I do not go into the water out of doors,” I reminded her.

“If it’s hot we can for for night swims,” she said.

“I do not go into the water,” I said again.

“Why? It’s not like you’re going to shrink,” said Randolpho.

“I do not understand. Why would I shrink?”

“It’s a joke,” said Randolpho. Everything with him is a joke.

I said nothing. I would not ask the to explain it to me. It is frustrating to be thrust into fashions and ideas about entertainment that are completely foreign to me.

“Why don’t you like the water?” Gillian asked.

“I never learned to swim,” I said.

Both of my friends stood in silence as if I’d told them that I never learned to ride a horse.

“I will wear the flip flops today if that will make you happy.”

“You can’t swim?” Randolph said with a strange look on his face as if in pain.

“No,” I said.

“Vlad, you’re a Vampire. You’re the Vampire King,” said Randolpho

“I am aware of that fact,” I said.

Gillian put a pretty hand on my shoulder. “In 676 years you never learned to swim?”

“No, I never learned to swim. There was no reason for me to ever swim. Do either of you ever remember me swimming?”

Randolpho smiled. “Wait, you’re telling me that with your body, and your face you never had the inclination to come out of the water, with your gorgeous well muscled body wet, glistening in the moonlight, your golden hair slicked back, your blue eyes shining, and just a hint of fang in your come hither smile, while your admirers swooned at the sight of you?”

“That never once crossed my mind Randolpho. Never once,” I said.

For the rest of the day I wore the flip flops. I did not fall or trip as I expected to. I would rather go barefoot but I did not.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Randolpho told me today that if I wear flip flops on my feet nobody will suspect I am a Vampire. I told him that I appreciated the sage information. He told me not to be sarcastic.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

My cats do not like to swim. They are reasonable creatures. Why should I be expected to swim for I am also a reasonable creature.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today it was hotter than Hell, or so I was told. Gillian complained that she did not like this weather because necks would be hot and sweaty and taste like dirty salt. She pulled a packet of some sort out of her purse. She said they were called wipes.

“Take these to wipe off necks next time you go out to feed,” she told me. I appreciate her concern.

That night the air continued to be hot. Gillian led me up to the bathroom with the large shower and undressed me. Then we both stood under the cold water.

“You remind me of Randolpho’s description the other day,” she said as she ran her hands over my wet body.

In this new modern world there are things which will always confuse me, but then again there are things which will always come naturally without effort.

I said nothing as I kissed her, and banished the thoughts of Randolpho from my mind.

~ Vlad

 

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

This has been the 59th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read Vlad’s story from the confusing and cute beginning CLICK HERE.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman