Fire And The Cool Dark Places Of Summer

With summer we don’t welcome in the fire season, but fire season is here none the less.

I had to go downtown this morning, and from the freeway saw two plumes of fire coming up as if the entire world was on fire or giant pits down to Hell had opened up. From the color of the smoke it looked like grass fires. A larger fire just north of here has burned maybe 12,000 acres. I’m not sure, it keeps growing. We’ll soon start to hear of more fires in all directions. After the devastation last year in Sonoma and Napa Counties, Lake County and other areas in California it seems even more tragic for it to start all over again.

Behind my home we’ve cut back the brush. I’ve cleared my property. We’ve put in fire sprinklers.

As I drove along the freeway looking at the smoke plume in the distance I saw a religious billboard. It just seemed weird, you know the smoke and the message all at once.

This week missionaries and members of several churches (you know who I’m talking about) have been coming around and leaving pamphlets. A few years ago yellow jackets swarmed a nice pair of men who came around to tell me about the Bible. I’m often tempted to tell them we’re Vampires. Not that we’re evil. Oh we are so misunderstood. Another reason why most folks don’t know we’re real.

But back to the nice people who smile and ask me too many personal questions about my beliefs,  what I really need to ask is for them to pray that we don’t have the fire devastation that we have had in the West for the past few years – from Canada to Mexico it has been horrible.

Right now I can smell smoke but I’m not sure where it is from. The sky is too hazy to tell.

When my brother Val and I were teens, around fourteen and fifteen (1873 or 74) we found a way to keep cold in the hot burning summer days.

He stole the key to a church basement (which is no longer there) and a way to get into a seldom used private chapel. Bodies would be put there before burial to keep from rotting so quickly in the summer heat. Also food would be stored in another section behind locked doors.

Yes, it was horrible and wrong for any teens, and we’re Vampires so that even adds more to the wrongness of it all, but we didn’t hurt anyone. Our parents would have hit the roof, but that is another post.

I’d lay as still as death on the cool floor. My skin seemed to melt, not like candle wax, but like burning hard sealing wax. Hair twisted around my neck and clung to my forehead. I couldn’t open my eyes.

Suddenly an icy cold shroud covered me. I sank into the floor even more. A relief to my burning Hell had come.

I could hear my brother Val laughing.

“Thank you,” I whispered. “I thought I was going to absolutely melt.”

Val lay down on the floor beside me and pulled the icy wet sheet over the both of us.

“I hate the heat,” I said to him.

“I know you do,” he replied.

We lay in the dark, on the cold marble floor. The triple digit summer air encased us, drying out the wet sheet. I hooked my index finger with his as we lay as still as death together, trying to find some comfort.

With my eyes still closed I could hear footsteps coming into the room. I couldn’t will myself to move. I was so hot and so uncomfortable.

I’m not a creature who has a wide range of temperature control. The heat makes me want to hibernate or go into a coma.

I could feel someone lift the sheet from our still faces. We opened our eyes wide, not with our natural color, but with solid black. You know, the old black-eyed children trick. It works every time.

A gasp and a cry filled the air, then the sound of the poor lady running away from us.

Val threw back the sheet and propped himself up on his arm. Looking towards the doorway he laughed. “She thought we were dead.”

“And so we are, well sort of,” I answered looking at his pale face, made even paler by the dark hair falling over his forehead.

Today, about ninety summers later the heat still shuts me down. My daughter mentioned that today.

“Dad said you never did well in the heat.”

“No. I don’t.” And that is true as I sit here burning up with my hands sticking to the computer keyboard.

Every single summer the heat rises to triple digits F-ing Farenheit. And every single summer the hot walls of heat hit me so hard that every cell in my body wants to shut down. It should be no surprise, especially since I choose to live here. Then again, it is hot everywhere in the West, aside from the coast and the mountains. Maybe one day I’ll pack up and move, but until then, there are wet sheets and ice.

Oh, one more note, as a public service announcement. When it gets hot PLEASE make sure your dogs don’t end up with burnt feet. If it is too hot for you to walk on the hot pavement with bare feet it is too hot for your dogs. My friend Amelia in Las Vegas used to put booties on her old dog for walks in the hot desert neighborhoods. And triple check their water – cat water too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Fitting in is important for teens no matter who they are. Be it Vampire kids, Werewolves, someone with a different accent, or just a kid feeling out of place – everyone needs to feel safe. Everyone needs a little help – especially now. 

This was first posted in 2013 but it is worth revisiting from time to time, even if you don’t have teens.

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Since the invention of metal spoons humans have been hanging spoons off of their noses. Really. I kid you not.

My son Garrett told me that most of his regular human friends and their families hang spoons off of their noses. They do it at birthdays, around the table at major holidays, in study groups and anytime there is a gathering with food and friends. They hang spoons.

“I can’t do it mom,” my son told me with a sad frustrated look.

“What’s going on?” His father had come into the room.

“Why can’t Vampires hang spoons off of noses?”

“Is that important?” Whoops Dad you said the wrong thing.

“I’m sick of not being able to do things that my friends do. I’m tried of not fitting in.”

Neither my husband or I even asked our son to list those things that Vampire teens can’t do. Being popular, smart and exceptionally good looking wasn’t a comfort. Sometimes it is those small things that make one fit in.

“Show me the nose thing,” said Dad.

Garrett put a spoon up to his nose. He tilted his head back and carefully slid the spoon to the tip of his nose. The spoon fell to the floor. “Everyone I know can do this, except my Vampire friends. I’m tired of being a freak.”

I could have said it is just a spoon on the nose, but I knew it was more than that.

“Did you breath on it?” Asked my husband.

“It won’t work. Our breath is cold. Our noses are cold. The texture of our skin is all off. And I’ve tried everything. It isn’t a silver thing. Stainless and plastic doesn’t work either.”

I looked at my sad men and knew that as usual that Mom would save the day. I turned on the kettle and as the steam came out I put the spoon under the hot damp air. Then I put it on my nose and it stayed.

“You can make hot breath. Now hang yourself a spoon.”

And so they did – they hung spoons off of their noses.

———————————————-

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more on hanging spoons click here. http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Spoon-from-Your-Nose

 

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Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Since the invention of metal spoons humans have been hanging spoons off of their noses. Really. I kid you not.

My son Garrett (17) told me that most of his regular human friends and their families hang spoons off of their noses. They do it at birthdays, around the table at major holidays, in study groups and anytime there is a gathering with food and friends. They hang spoons.

“I can’t do it mom,” my son told me with a sad frustrated look.

“What’s going on?” His father had come into the room.

“Why can’t Vampires hang spoons off of noses?”

“Is that important?” Whoops Dad you said the wrong thing.

“I’m sick of not being able to do things that my friends do. I’m tried of not fitting in.”

Neither my husband or I even asked our son to list those things that Vampire teens can’t do. Being popular, smart and exceptionally good looking wasn’t a comfort. Sometimes it is those small things that make one fit in.

“Show me the nose thing,” said Dad.

Garrett put a spoon up to his nose. He tilted his head back and carefully slid the spoon to the tip of his nose. The spoon fell to the floor. “Everyone I know can do this, except my Vampire friends. I’m tired of being a freak.”

I could have said it is just a spoon on the nose, but I knew it was more than that.

“Did you breath on it?” Asked my husband.

“It won’t work. Our breath is cold. Our noses are cold. The texture of our skin is all off. And I’ve tried everything. It isn’t a silver thing. Stainless and plastic doesn’t work either.”

I looked at my sad men and knew that as usual that Mom would save the day. I turned on the kettle and as the steam came out I put the spoon under the hot damp air. Then I put it on my nose and it stayed.

“You can make hot breath. Now hang yourself a spoon.”

And so they did – they hung spoons off of their noses.

———————————————-

 

This article was first posted back in March 2013

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more on hanging spoons click here. http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Spoon-from-Your-Nose

Food for Thought

This morning, between cups of coffee, I made a cake. I made a cake from scratch.

I won’t eat any of the cake. I don’t eat cake. It makes me sick. But it is beautiful. People love my cakes.

Why? Because I’m going to a picnic. It is one of those group events where everyone brings foods, the old guys grill, hula hoops spin and all is well.

So I go and try to feel like a normal person, but I’m not a normal person. I’m a Vampire. You know how it is.

When it comes to our teens food is sometimes a touchy subject. How old should your kid be before they go from biting wrists to biting necks? I’d like to believe they’ll wait until college, but unfortunately the temptation is always there. But don’t forget that it comes naturally and they’ll know what to do. And please, don’t compare it to sex. But is can be sexual, but not always so please, don’t panic. Don’t put on your Victorian Vampire Prude hat. At the same time don’t encourage your teen to over indulge. As with all things they must learn to use caution.

And cake? Use caution as well. It can really screw up a Vampire system. Too much sugar mixed with not a lot of blood will jack up a Vampire unlike almost anything. And people say garlic is bad. Screw that. I love garlic. It is sugar that will mess up a Vampire.

So please, do not let us eat cake.

Yes, you learn something new every day.

This morning… I’m writing for a few hours before we have to take the cake to the picnic. I look out the window and see my bird feeder covered with what look to be finches of all colors. The large squirrel is braking and flapping his tail. The cats are watching. I have my third cup of coffee.

Yesterday I had coffee with a dear friend of mine (we’ve been friends for over 100 years.) She wore no make-up but was still stunning. She is also always stylish in ways I have always admired (and failed to reach.) But the reason I mention this is because she told me a story about a ghost.

My friend is in real estate. She comes across house with stories. More than that, she sells houses with ghosts. We talked for a good hour about the homes with ghosts and the thought stuck with me for a good long time. I’m still thinking about it.

It is her story to tell, so maybe I’ll try to get her to write it down so I can post it here.

But I’m thinking about the ghost and food and roller skating. Yes, roller skating. In an hour we’ll watch the live feed of the World Championships in Columbia (yes, Columbia this year.) It is run by the Italians so it will run well. The Italians are the best when it comes to roller sports.

And tonight we’ll be at a party with friends we met through skating. It will be a wonderful event (for a birthday) so I’m sure there will be more cake I will not eat. But there will be plenty of necks and wrists. The home is large and lovely with plenty of quiet spaces for private conversations – if you get my drift.

Yes, I’m just rambling this morning and thinking out loud.

I have to get down to some serious writing now.

Have a good weekend everyone. Talk to your kids. Hug them. Tell them you love them. Teach them to be safe. And let them fly.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Adventure in a Cup

Adventure in a Cup

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

Everyone loves Christmas stories, especially those of journeys and discovery and love. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my Christmas stories with you – that is Vampire Christmas stories. Some of you might have read this one before but go ahead and pour a glass of wine, or a goblet of blood or even hot chocolate and enjoy this one again. xoxoxo

A Christmas Journey

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1877 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he Vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“He was a messenger. So it this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1877. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

This story was first posted December, 2013

 

gabriel

College Dazed…

“Hey Mom?”

“Hey Garrett?”

“Do you mind if I bring my easel to school?”

“No, not at all. If you don’t have room in your dorm you can drop it off at your Uncle Rod’s.”

I felt a sting in my nose and eyes, trying not to get squishy. Crap. I knew this would happen.

“Mom are you getting squishy?” He came over and put his arms around me.

“I’m sorry. It just seems like it all happened so soon.”

“I love you mom.”

I always believe my parents were more than happy to ship my brother Val and me off to college. No tears, just a lot of stern advice that we had no intention of following. One thing I can can give my parents credit for was allowing me to go to college and not worry about it making me unfit for marriage or motherhood. After all, we were a little different, and I’d like to say more advanced and enlightened than most of the general population. It was the last half of the century, the Nineteenth Century, and times were changing. Anyway, we were all but kicked out of the house and my parents packed up and moved to San Francisco leaving us on our own. But that is another story for another time.

Garrett was packing up when I stopped him and told him to sit with me a bit.

“Honey, Garrett, you’re going to be on your own. I know you think you can handle it but your dad and I won’t be able to get you out of situations, so you need to be smart. Don’t feed off of binge drinkers because you don’t want to be responsible for a medical emergency. The blood loss might make them too sick. Stay away from club drugs because you might get sick and end up throwing up all night. Stay about from anyone on prescription pain killers because they make you loopy. You know how you’re so sensitive to everything. Avoid Vampires who aren’t part of our circle. You don’t need any creepers trying to recruit you. They’re like freaking Scientology weirdos or rabid PETA people or Young Spartans or whatever the Hell all of those mind control folks that go after Regular Humans. They’ll go after you too because they don’t know what you are so you’ll get it in all directions. Believe me, they’ve come after me at one time or another. They do it to everyone. Just smile and walk away. If you have to scare them do it, but don’t let them know you’re a Vampire. You can’t be a Vegan or you’ll die so don’t get on that bandwagon. You’re first and foremost a predator. That isn’t a bad thing. Stay clear of the Vampire weirdos. They might seem interesting or exciting but they’re nothing but trouble and they’ll drag you down. They have their own cults. They will suck you in before you even know it. We went over this before but stay away from them. They’re scum. Stay away from older Vampire women. They look young and beautiful but they’ll suck you dry and try to control you. They just want to use you, especially considering who your family is. I will do serious serious deadly damage to any of them if they try to so much as run a hand through your hair. And watch for Zoe and your other female friends, keep the old Vampire bastards away from them. They come in and charm with their good looks and … just keep them away from the girls. This is your time to be young Vampires, you don’t need a bunch of old shits trying to take advantage of you.

Don’t fall in love with the first girl you meet, even if she is a Vampire. Don’t let your friends fall in love with the first person they meet either. Watch out for each other. Stay away from sugar. I know you’ll be on the coast but even on foggy days wear your sun screen and a hat. Never let anyone know you’re a Vampire. Don’t even hint at it, even if it comes up in conversation. Never show your fangs even when you’ve been drinking. And don’t drink too much. You can drink everyone under the table, sure, but eventually it will even get to you. Get enough sleep. OK. And call me or text me and let me know how you are. You can call me anytime, night or day, about anything, anytime.”

Garrett took put his arms around me and said, “Mom, I’ll be OK. Remember, you’re my mom. You raised me right. I know this stuff. I got it. OK?”

“I know, but…” I started to say.

“I love you mom.”

Even Vampires get choked up when it comes to their kids.

We packed up his car, his friend Randy’s car, their friend Zoe’s car, and two cars for the parents to drive back home in… and off we went for the weekend. We moved them in and then drove home. A few extra days, a visit with Uncle Rod, and a few stops at wineries along the way helped. I’m find, we’re all fine, or kids will be fine. We raised them right. I’m so proud and excited but it went by way too fast.

When you’re a mom you’ll always be a mom. Always. That is what I like about the job – the ultimate job. Sigh.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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