Over the river and through the woods to nowhere.

This year Thanksgiving will be small. Yes, even Vampires have holidays. Even Vampires have things to be thankful for.

The children, despite being adults, are going through a period of angst that they skipped when they were teens. Thank you Covid-19. Or should I thank all of the people who refused to take this thing seriously and said wearing masks had anything to do with their rights. Oh cut the crap. When Vampires start to complain about it then you know it is bad. When Vampires start to feel nervous and unsettled you know regular people are starting to become extra stupid.

So back to my kids. Only one will be here for Thanksgiving but that is alright. We’ll have some sort of Facetime or Zoom call. We’ll have good wine and a small gathering of four or five.

Sometimes I believe it comes down to this: Humans are the only monsters. The most dangerous disease they have is ignorance. There is a cure but those who have it are bound and determined to say it isn’t real.

Like my friend Randolpho says, “Anti vaxers and Covid deniers cut into our food supply.”

The fog finally arrived for the Thanksgiving season. Cold mornings mean a dog walk by the lake. It will be like going over the river and through the woods this morning but not to grandmother’s house. My dog is waiting. I must go. With any luck the walk will bring more positive thoughts…even Vampires need positive thoughts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Listening is NEVER Useless. Thoughts on parenting, and other 2020 challenges.

I decided to take a day off and garden, and do fall cleaning and organizing.

Sure I’m a Vampire but what do you want me to do? I don’t spend all of my time stalking unsuspecting people and drain them of their blood. I don’t sleep upside down all day with bats. I don’t sit around doing ancient rituals. Who the hell does that? Get off of my back.

Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I took the day off from all news, politics, and pandemic crap and went wine tasting. We are fortunate to live 45 minutes away from one of the most spectacular wine regions in the entire universe. It was a perfect day.

Tomorrow my daughter is going back down to Southern California.

Yesterday was a perfect day. Today I am so stressed out that I feel like my head is going to explode.

Having a so-called empty nest doesn’t get you off the hook for parenting. My kids are so stressed out by the state of the world, school, work, and everything else that it is stressing me out. As a mom I am their sounding board. I am not complaining. I’m just feeling useless because there is nothing I can do but listen. Listening isn’t useless I tell myself because it is true. Listening is NEVER useless. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.

I’m just so damn worried about them. They’re smart. They make good choices. I’m good with that. That said, they are angry. They are discouraged. They are questioning everything.

With the election so close and no good choices for young people (just two old guys most of them don’t really support) they are frankly disgusted. They are loud and clear about their opinions.

Then there are our family dynamics to deal with. Mine are easy.

In my family we talk a lot about everything. We keep in touch. My kids talk to me or text me every single day. They don’t have to. They want to.

Don’t even get me started on those who think “self care” will solve anyone’s problems. Really? Right now autopilot is what is going to save me.

My fucking bank just merged with another bank (it was taken over by another bank) and now that is a huge cluster F. The lines at the bank are horrible. It took me five hours online to get everything half way working.

If anyone out there thinks being a Vampire or something other than what you are will help you please THINK AGAIN. Nobody is exempt from the modern world unless you want to be come crazy living up in the hills or out in the desert “off the grid.” Or you could live in a crypt, but in that case I doubt if you have a bank account. Shadow creeping Vampires who live in crypts and other unsavory places usually have dusty old attorneys who take care of their money, or they have a stash buried somewhere, or they just steal everything they need. Don’t even ask about how Zombies are living right now. Holy shit, this is 2020 and there is still a few months left for the Zombies to poke their rotting heads out of their hidey holes.

But I digress, we need to get back to parenting.

Right now is an extremely difficult time for parents with children of all ages.

My nephew and his wife just had a baby. I haven’t seen him yet. Any other year I would have been right over to San Francisco to meet my new little nephew. No such luck.

Our kids from pre-school to graduate school can’t go to school. Everything is online. Yes, there are a few online classes but that is more of the exception. Many trade schools are closed. Job opportunities are few and far between for our young adult kids who aren’t going to school.

At the same time our adult children are applying for college, jobs, trade schools and other programs. They feel totally screwed by the generations before them. To their credit they are doing better than they know. They’re strong. They’re getting organized. They’re loud. They’re fierce. I hope they will be force to be reckoned with.

My message to parents and to young people is DON’T GIVE UP. That is my message to everyone. Old, young, normal, unusual, weird, creative, uncreative, or whatever you are – DON’T GIVE UP.

I know I must sound like I’m rambling. My work at the museum is all online these days. I’ve been there in person once since March. I’ll go again on Friday and meet with a young person I’m mentoring. How cool is that? Extremely cool. I’ll be giving online tours with a docent friend. We’re over the moon happy about that.

So I’m fine. Teddy frustrated is fine. Our kids are frustrated but fine. My brother Aaron’s kids are frustrated by fine.

I guess the whole purpose here, aside from my gratuitous TMI venting, is to say that we’re all feeling a lot of pressure as parents. Just be there for your kids. Talk to them, but most of all just listen to them. Support your kids. Support their dreams.

SUPPORT THEIR DREAMS. Now is not the time to shoot down dreams or tell they can’t do something. Now is the time to just listen, be it by phone, text, Zoom, in person, or however you’re communicating these days.

I might get to gardening. I’ve spent the entire day in Zoom meetings, checking election results, taking care of banking BS, and being there for my kids. I’ll get out in the garden in an hour or two. My poor dog is feeling totally ignored.

Thanks for dropping by. Wishing you all peace of mind. Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay positive. Wear a mask. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Check in on those who might need extra help, and those who are alone. Don’t allow anger to get the best of you – leave that for the brainless Zombies and nasty Ghouls.

Take care,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

She Taunts Me – Sleep, Ghosts, and Vampires

Sleep

It is like the ghost that haunts me

Only worse.

The ghost will listen to me.

Sleep never does.

She taunts me

Like a woman who wants to seduce my husband.

She gives him slumbers so peaceful

So silent and lovely.

She taunts me and pulls my dreams to tattered bits

Then keeps me awake for days on end.

My slumbers end in a dark prison room

Always cold

Always alone

Always awake.

We’re not  friends Sleep and I.

I used to think it was my nocturnal nature,

But now I know it is because

Sleep hates me for something I did

In the past 

And fired up her jealous heart

To the point where she is only thinking of revenge.

_______________________________________________

I fixed a pot of coffee,

As Nigel the Ghost said, “Sleep doesn’t give a crap what you do Vampire. You’re too busy and you drink too much coffee.”

Maybe so but I’m not going to admit anything to a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Revelries of Night – Quiet Musings on Halloween and Vampires

Revelries of Night – Quiet Musings on Halloween and Vampires

Max was brooding. It is what my eldest brother does best.

I’d come home and found him sulking in my living room on the red couch brooding over a book on the symbolism of art.

“Why does everything have to be so complicated? Why can’t a dove just be a dove, or a sunset just a phenomenon based on the rotation of the earth?”

“You sound like Andy,” I told him. Andy is another brother of mine who likes to wax poetically 24/7 and imagines himself deep. Andy is deep and it works for him. It just sounds weird and uncomfortable when Max does it.

His two giant wolfhounds, along with my sled-dog-mongrel lay sprawled in carpet of dogs at Max’s feet.

I invited Max for Halloween. I thought a quiet night of little monsters and our usual gathering with friends and kids and non-Vampire folks would do him good. Or it would make him want to crawl out of his skin but I didn’t care. I went over to my big brother and rubbed his shoulders. “Relax. You’ve been under a lot of stress too. We all have. Watch the game with me.”

I knew Max was missing parties at home due to the fact that we KNEW the Giants would win the World Series (3rd time in five years) and Max lives in San Francisco. I knew he didn’t care about some stupid female in f-me shoes. So we watched the Giants win and wondered how many little baby boys would be named Madison and Hunter in 2015. Just a couple of Vampires hanging out on a Wednesday night before Halloween.

Oh come on, we’re really not that horrifying. Sure we have some amazing dental work that we use to suck blood out of living humans, but nobody is the worse for it, well, not usually. Our hearts don’t always beat, but they do love. We’re cold, but then again we don’t get all sweaty. We can give people nightmares and hide in shadows and make you forget whatever we want you to forget. I can even suck out your soul but that is usually more trouble than it is worth. Really, trust me on that one.

My husband Teddy was at Kings game (Basketball. Of course they didn’t win. They never win.) My 15-year-old Clara came down to join us after the game. She told Max about all of the stupid stuff going on at school.

I know, I should have some sort of awful HORROR story this time of year. But this is our time to just relax. The holidays are coming and the cold weather and THAT is when things really pick up for us.

I let Max go on about all of the Demons and Zombies and Vampire Hunters and Crazy Ass Rogue Vampires and assholes he had been dealing with at work. He is one of the ones who takes care of all of those things. Not “take care” as in nurture, but “take care” of as in “get rid of.”

On his arm is an ugly fading scar from a Demon scratch. In his heart, be it ever so still, is a will that can’t be broken by anything that might come his way in the shadows he protects.

You should thank him for that. Max and those like him are the reason Regular Humans only have to deal with their own evil and not that of our kind, or those who aren’t Regular Humans or any kind of human.

He and his teammates are the reason why Halloween is relatively safe and sane and fun… the ghosts and ghouls know there will be dire consequences if they show their real faces.

I’ve so many calls to make before tomorrow night and so much to do. Clara is driving me crazy with requests for EVERYTHING (as teenagers do.) As a mom, even as a Vampire mom I feel a need to keep everyone safe and happy. That is, easier knowing that those like Max have my back.

If you’re a Regular Human, on this Halloween thank those who have your back and will risk their lives for you.

Max and I talked through the night about everything under the moon and stars. We watched the ghosts dance later under the oak trees as the bats danced above in the air. As the dogs slept we laughed. I got Max to laugh, something that has seemed rare lately.

In the morning, this morning, to the sound of garbage trucks (yes it is garbage day) we went outside and watched sky show it’s lights just before the sun came up. Max put his arm around my shoulder and gave me a squeeze.

“So what’s next?” I asked him.

He smiled showing a bit of fang. “Halloween my dear Juliette, Halloween!”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Vampire Muses About Natural Disasters, 2020, Halloween, and New Discoveries. YES there is fun to be had in 2020.

What we’re talking about today.

I just found out about a tsunami warning issued following 7.5 magnitude earthquake off Alaska Peninsula today.

Along with living in fire country, I also live in earthquake country. I’m not so close that if the Big One hits San Francisco or Los Angeles I’ll be in any danger. If a big one hits San Francisco I will be able to feel it.

The tsunami warning signs at the coast are lovely graphics but they are a reminder that it can, and will, happen again. We don’t know when or exactly when but it will.

Almost everyone around where I live has a story about either the 1906 or 1986 San Francisco earthquakes, or ones in Northridge, San Fernando, and Long Beach, or Humboldt and Santa Cruz Counties.

Which brings us back to everything else in 2020…

Weird stuff always happens to me so I’m doing ok during all of the current weirdness. October usually brings it on for me with general death and distruction, but any month works for stupid shit and unusual nobody wants to deal with.

On the other hand October is usually the best month of the year. First of all it cools off. It isn’t cooling off this year. But hey, my kids are coming up to visit. Woo Hoo.

I don’t know if the leaves will even change this year or just stay green and everything will evolve into evergreens. At least the migrating birds are migrating and sticking to schedule.

Fire season isn’t over yet. I watch the skies and the dry grass and trees hoping that nothing around me, or anyone else will catch fire. We’re tired of fires. We’re tired of the BS that surrounds them with the lack of fire cruse or aid for those in the way of fires, and PG&E bull shit. Why the hell are all of the power lines still above ground? It know it is expensive to bury them but isn’t it more expensive to have the entire Western United States burn down every single summer and fall?

Alice my dog and I go on long hot dry walks. We’d like it to cool down.

There are two weeks left until the election. I don’t suspect that all of the political weirdness will end because no matter what the results there will be… let’s just hope whatever the reaction is to the outcome that it doesn’t rival a Stephen King novel.

I’m still not sure if I’ll carve the pumpkins on my front porch. If I do I might as well pull out my magic witch hat and dress up the dog. The kids will be here for Halloween too so no matter what it will be fun. Vampires always find ways to have fun.

What else is new.

My daughter sent me this video. I laughed and almost cried.

I also discovered Owlkitty this week. I love Owlkitty.

The Crocker Art Museum will now be open four days a week. I am so jazzed. I’ve made reservations for my birthday.

I’m just thinking out loud. What are you thinking about and talking about?

No matter what wear a mask, stay safe, talk to your kids, hug your cats and dogs or whatever critters you call family, don’t be a dick, be kind, and as always kiss a Vampire. xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

About Those Werewolves

Like my brother Max always says, “I have a dog. Why the Hell would I want to date one?” OK that isn’t his exact words. He says “Why the Hell would I want to fuck one?” I like to at least give the pretense of being polite.

When it comes to the subject of WEREWOLVES  we’re all over the place. We meaning Vampires. By all over the place I mean that we accept them, we live with them and from time to time we’re even friends with them but NEVER are we romantically involved (not that we know of). And of course we don’t have big battles in dark woods or dark caverns with cosplay type costumes. We talk out our problems. Otherwise we’d be like Regular Humans, and heaven forbid we be like them. Of course there might be a little occasional growling or biting but we get over it fast.

What do my readers love? Or maybe the question should be about random readers. The three posts on this blog that get the most traffic are:

1. How to Respond to a Love Letter

2. Taking your teen to a metal concert

3. Halloween Hotties: Werewolves

Yes, Werewolves, right here on the Vampire blog. I’d like to say it is because last Halloween I mentioned Robert McCammon’s smoking hot Werewolf in the book “Wolf’s Hour”. And yes, that is in my top ten favorite books of all times. And I had the HONOR of being picked up by the authors social media. Wow.

Anyway, a year has passed and people still want to hear about Werewolves.

My friend Adam, who is a Werewolf, often complains that people always ask him about Vampires. Go figure. For the longest time Adam didn’t know I was a Vampire and I didn’t know he was a Werewolf. We hid the fact rather well, too well. We could have ended up killing each other, or worse. Anyway…

One evening we talked extensively about his ability to do true shape shifting. He said it was uncomfortable at times and took a toll on the body. He spoke of being part wolf in sort of a far off way.

“You see, Juliette,” he said to me one night over a bottle of wine on a chilly roof top, “I don’t get chilled when I see a wolf. I get chilled when I see a chimpanzee. I’m not so far off in my DNA from them but they look at me with uncomfortable and defiant eyes of something alien that wants to point an accusatory finger at me. When I look at a wolf I see my brother with a shared soul.”

I could see his point and we were drinking. As a Vampire I don’t shape shift. I just make others believe I do. Part of my hunt is in creating an illusions. With Werewolves things can get a bit more real.

Oh and by the way, Werewolf blood tastes like good well aged Bourbon. But you won’t be able to tell unless you’re a Vampire.

I’ll have more later on Werewolves during the month of October. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a little story I’ve posted here before. The night is still young and I have places to go and people to… well you know how it is.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story: Grandpa’s Dog

 (featured in the WPaD short story anthology Creepies)

“I’m taking him to the vet and having him put down.” Jeff said into the phone.

“No you aren’t.” I said, ready to scream.

“It is cruel to make him suffer like this.”

“He isn’t our dog to put down.” I almost growled at my husband.

“I don’t care. Grandpa will understand. He’s always complaining about how he hates Bruce anyway.”

“The kids will be heartbroken.” I said trying to stall him.

“They’ll understand.”

“What about my mom? She’ll never forgive you.”

“Gretchen, I’m taking Bruce to the vet. I’m sorry.”

“I want to say good-bye.”

“Bruce will understand.” He hung up. Damn him.

Bruce was Grandpa’s dog. He was old. The oldest dog I knew. Jeff thought he was 16. I knew better. Jeff thought Bruce was half wolf and half Alaskan Malamute. I knew he was half Irish. Jeff liked to bake him organic dog treats. I knew Bruce preferred bourbon and prime rib. Jeff thought grandpa was crazy to have such a large dog. I knew Grandpa was half crazy and Jeff was right, it was about the dog, but it didn’t have anything to do with its size.

Once a month I kept the dog for Grandpa, while he “Went to the cabin with his old college buddies.” I hauled the dog to weddings, to funerals, to camping trips and hanging around the house. He’d been there for my college graduation, my wedding, for my kids. My mom had watched the old dog before me. My grandma before her.

Of course Jeff didn’t believe anything my family said about the damn dog. He’d spent years hearing us tell bad jokes and tall tales. It was how we spoke, in stories. I blame it on my Southern parents. Jeff just thinks I’m funny. He tells me I should have my own show on cable. HA HA HA. He thinks my family is quirky and quaint. Right now nothing was funny or quaint.

I raced home from the studio. I’m a photographer, mostly editorial, corporate portraits, product photos. Good thing I’m the owner of the business, otherwise I’d never deal with my husband, my children and Grandpa’s damn dog. I would have had the dog with me today but he was too stiff to climb into the car by himself and at 125 pounds I didn’t feel like lifting him today.

Jeff was still at home. I parked blocking the driveway. Thank God the kids were still in school. I have never been so angry with anyone in my entire life. I barged through the door yelling at my husband. “All I asked you to do was check in on him for me at lunch time and you decided to kill him. Well for once in your life listen to me…”

I yelling stopped when I saw Jeff. He had a towel around his hand. He was bleeding.

“The old guy bit me when I was trying to get him out of the house.” he said with a shrug of his shoulder.

I saw Bruce poke his old white muzzle around the corner.

“Why the hell did you have to bite him?” I yelled at the dog. Bruce tucked his tail and cowered. His ribs stuck out from his sides. He looked ancient and pathetic.

Jeff reached out to scratch the dog behind his ear. “Don’t yell at him. It’s like he sensed what I was going to do. Poor old guy was scared.”

“Don’t touch him.” I yelled. I looked at the wound on Jeff’s hand. It was clean. I went back to the dog. “Damn you, after all I’ve done for you.” Bruce looked at me with glassy brown eyes and shook, tail still between his legs.

Jeff put his arms around me “Gretch, don’t get mad at the dog. “

“You don’t understand,” I gasped.

“He’s old and scared.” Jeff said stroking my hair with his good hand. “You know dear, all that dog hears is “Bruce, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah”. He laughed and gave me a quick hug.

I pulled away. “He’s a werewolf.”

“Oh Honey, don’t call him that. He’s just an old arthritic dog. Poor old guy.” He leaned down to touch noses with the dog. Bruce licked Jeff’s face and thumped his tail on the floor. “You aren’t a werewolf are you old guy? You’re just a prince in disguise. You think she’ll give you a kiss?” Jeff started to make kissy noises.

I thought I was going to throw up.

“There’s a reason why we never see Grandpa and Bruce together.” I growled. They’re the same animal. Bruce isn’t 16, he’s 85. ”

Jeff took a deep breath. “I’m not going to put him down. We’ll wait till Grandpa gets home and discuss it with him. Werewolves. That’s a good one. So when you work at night does that mean you’re a vampire?” he laughed again. “You can bite my neck anytime.” He kissed my neck.

I backed away feeling the panic rushing up inside my body. “Jeff, it’s true and now….”

I couldn’t say the words. Now my husband was going to become a werewolf and I’d have one more old dog to take care of.