Frogs, Love, and Hell

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

_________________________________

 

For more on the elders in my life and dealing with the elderly (with humor or not) see the links below:

Strange Strangers on a Full Moon Night

Strange Strangers on a Full Moon Night

Mars was exceptionally bright in the sky last night. The moon was less than full but still exceptionally bright.

This morning I dropped the kids off to school. Garret’s car is in the shop so mom gets to drive. Anyway, I drop them off behind some temporary classrooms (that have been there for 45 years) because Clara doesn’t want to have to walk by the large group of “Stoners” who hang out every morning at the logical drop off point. So this morning she tells me she over heard one of the Stoners saying “That woman stops and turns around every morning. Weird. I guess she doesn’t want to stay here.” They had no idea I was dropping off kids. Sigh.

So the moon, teens, clueless thoughts… what does that all lead to? It made me think of a distant memory of when my brothers Val, Aaron and I were teens.

Go back to 1873. We lived in a city that had regulairly flooded, burned down, flooded again and survived illness and lawlessness and all sorts of disasters (Sacramento of course.) It was enough to make anyone want to leave, but instead people thrived and it grew. Railroads made kings. Agriculture was starting to boom. It was a city with growing art and culture and the new capitol building was almost finished. But to us it was home and our concerns were not those of adults or even most people. We were teens, comfortable in our own skin, a little less Victorian than most our age, a little more independent than most. My brothers and I lived in a tight knit community of Vampires, part of the Modern Vampire Movement. But you already know that.

One night, under a full moon, my brothers Aaron (age 17), Valentine (age 14) and I (age 13) were taking a stroll along the Sacramento River. We were always out looking for vagrants and activity from any riverboats. We were on the prowl, three well heeled Vampire kids who could use our innocence and charm to get in and out of any situation before our prey ever knew we were there.

With our stomachs full and our dark little souls throughly amused we walked home through a grove of trees on the edge of the riverbank. There we came upon a camp. Two figures were hunched over half a dozen large fish, I believe stripers or maybe steelhead. They grunted and tore at the fish. At first glance we thought they were coyotes or large dogs, but then we realized they were something else.

“Werewolves,” whispered Aaron holding his hand out to signal us to stay still.

We watched in fascination, with a bit of disgust, as the two turned back into their human form – a young man and a young woman. They were about our age and completely naked. He was skinny, unlike my muscular brothers. His skin was pale under the moonlight like the bellies of the fish he’d just devoured. She was also thin with ribs sticking out and knobby joints. Her grayish unhealthy looking skin was covered with red welts. Long dark hair hung below her waist. But what surprised us most was the hairless tail that hung down about 6 inches on the end of her spine.

I elbowed Aaron and he gave me a quick look that said “don’t move.”

“She has a tail,” Val whispered a little too loud. Aaron put his hand over his younger brother’s mouth.

The Werewolves put on their clothes, plain and worn compared to our fashionable togs. We had a home and parents. These two were obviously strays just trying to survive their miserable condition.

Val and I wanted to approach the Werewolves but Aaron was against it. He said we should just let them be and they’d be dead more sooner than later. There was a prominent pack of well-heeled Werewolves in town but we had little to do with them and it was obvious that these strays were not part of their pack.

Occasionally my parents would deal with the Werewolves, but always held them at a distance and with considerable contempt. One thing that stood out about the well to do Werewolves was their fondness for velvet. No kidding. Those Werewolves loved their velvet.

This isn’t going to be a moral story where we went back and helped the young Werewolves. We went back and they were gone. None of our friends had ever seen them. We told our parents about them. In turn they mentioned the strays to the pack leader in town and he had never heard of the young Werewolves.

It was just one of those weird things. Ships that pass in the night.

I asked my friend Adam, who is a Werewolf, about the pair when I stopped by his studio this morning (he is a photographer by trade.) He’d never heard of them. The tail on the girl turned out to be something extremely rare, just like a tail on anyone who is remotely human like.

“Why didn’t you help them?” Of course he had to ask.

“I don’t know. We were just kids. We thought they were dangerous. Beside that, maybe they didn’t need or want help. My parents asked around. Nobody knew anything, or if they did they weren’t telling us about it. I’m talking both Werewolves and Vampires. Nobody knew anything.”

I knew there would be nothing online about them but I after I left Adam I checked anyway. There was nothing.

This story has no moral or reason behind it. Just a story of something that happened a long time ago that I’ll tell my kids about and maybe they can find a moral in it.

It might be a mystery forever. But I have a knack for finding people and things so you never know. You never know about anything, not really.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

I’m out of town for a few days and recycling tales worth telling again. First posted in 2014.

Short Story Sunday: Baker Beach

Baker Beach

Max heard the Nessun dorma ringtone and groaned. It was his brother Andy. It was an emergency. He could sense it.

He picked up and listened.

“Max, thank God you’re there. I’m by Baker Beach. Some asshole redneck in a truck sideswiped me. The car is totaled. Can you get out here? Right now.”

Max untangled himself from the woman next to him and sat up. “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine. Like I said, the car is totaled.”

“Call AAA. I’ll call Uber and get you a ride home.”

“You don’t understand man. I have someone locked in the trunk and he is pissed off.”

———-

Andy watched at the back end of his car became even more mangled by the violent pounding from the occupant he’d locked in the trunk. The noise was even worse.

“Stop it NOW,” he yelled, “or I’ll drain every drop of blood from your body, stuff your pathetic putrid smelling carcass and sell it to the highest bidder.”

Than banging and howling stopped right at the moment Max drove up.

He got out of the car. A woman got out of the passenger side. Like Max, she was dressed in black from head to toe.

“Mehitabel, you look beautiful. What are you doing with my brother?”

She smiled and kissed Andy on the cheek. “Glad you’re not hurt. Who do you have in the trunk?”

Max went over to Andy’s car and kicked the bumper. The mangled trunk lid popped open.

“Holy fuck,” Max swore under his breath.

Mehitabel put her hand over her nose and mouth to keep out the stench. “Andy, this isn’t good.”

“I know, this is bad,” said Andy. “But it isn’t every day you find a Sasquatch.”

——————-

After the car was towed and the sun started to come up, the three Vampires stopped at their favorite diner for breakfast. They’d all had their fill of blood the night before but coffee and eggs sounded good right then.

“Is this the fourth or fifth car you’ve totaled this year?” Max took a sip of coffee and shook his head at his brother.

“Second this year,” said Andy. “Hey, it wasn’t my fault.”

Mehitabel looked at the brothers. “So do you think he’ll be alright?”

“The Sasquatch? I don’t know. As long as he stays out of the city I think he’ll be fine,” said Max.

“This is San Francisco. Nobody would notice him,” said Andy.

Max smiled and put his hand on Mehitabel’s knee.

“You guys should get married. I’m serious,” said Andy.

Mehitabel almost spit out her coffee. Max took his hand off of her knee, then thought better of his action and put his hand back on her knee and gave a small squeeze. The waitress came by and poured more coffee.

I guess the moral of this story is that as long as you are always there for each other, don’t ask too many questions, and keep love in your hearts life will be good.

_____________

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just stuff – musings on life, kids, me, stuff

juliettepurpledress

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ve been … things are changing quickly around here.

I’ve been spending time with the elders Eleora and Tellias. They’re extremely old. They’re forgetful and need time and care.

Clara is spending her last summer at home before going to the big prestigious difficult to get into university in Southern California (NO not any of the ones involved with the cheating scandals.) Unlike her brother who went off to college with his BFF, she is looking for housing and searching out potential roommates. She is also getting ready to go to the regional championships for her sport then on to the national championships. She is also working and spending a lot of time with her boyfriend, and with me.

Teddy, my husband is working a lot, and diving into a lot of new things. I don’t talk a lot about Teddy, other than his good looks and winning personality. Did I mention his good looks and winning personality.

The eldest child is home on and off after his first year in graduate school. His BFF Randy is still his BFF. They have girlfriends. That is plural girlfriends. I keep out of it.

My writing consortium WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) is coming out with our THIRD horror anthology soon. I’ll keep you posted. I believe that will be our 12th book.
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Summer always brings mixed feelings for Vampires. The weather brings more people out, in fewer clothes. That makes meals easier. Then again, it is hot and bright and we need gallons of sunscreen and I’ve never liked the extreme heat. But with the heat comes flowers and I love my flowers.

So anyway, I am reorganizing my life along with everyone else so I hope to bring more news, stories, thoughts, and interesting blog posts this summer.

One thing I am doing is spending a lot of time at the art museum. Fun stuff. Vampires love art, so of course we support all of our local museums and art events.

In the mornings I love to sit on my deck before dawn with my coffee and listen to the birds. I feel, I KNOW, I’ve done a great job preparing my little birdies for the big outside world. My chicks have spread their wings and are now flying on their own.

Parenting, and writing about parenting has been such a huge part of my life for the past 23 years that I now find myself at a loss for words, as the last one finished up community college and is now leaving… moving 450 miles away. Hey, at least I know there are plenty of cheap flights down her way, and it isn’t really that far of a drive.

OK, I’m done. Time to go out and plant more sunflowers. Yes, it is an odd thing to think about – a Vampire planting sunflowers, but we do all kinds of unexpected things. If you’re a Vampire you’ll understand.

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Face Your Demons

“I’ve faced my own demons, something I’d rather not think too much about, but I’ve never had to face someone else’s demons.” Lola as she peered into the dark room at the glowing yellow eyes. “Are you looking for Max?”

“You’re young,” said the owner of the yellow eyes. “What do you know about demons?”

“Oh please,” said Lola. “I’m six hundred and seventy five years old. I’ve been around the block with your kind more than once. Max is my great great great great grandson.”

Lola could now see the Demon spreading it’s leathery wings, and standing. It was a female, with the long legs of a runway model, and the body of a 1950’s pin-up model. “You must be a new demon. Max has had his share of demons when it comes to women but I thought he’d more or less shrugged most of you off. You’re definitely not a Fallen are you, you know fallen angel. They’re the worst. So full of themselves, especially the females. No, I take that back, the males are total assholes, almost as much as they were when they were angels, only in a different sort of way. What did you say your name was?”

The demon said nothing.

“Max isn’t here right now. I know you were expecting him but..” Lola put her hands on her hips. “This is my house and you’re not welcome here. Not now. Not ever.”

“You’re pretty. He favors you in his looks,” said the demon.

Lola, usually one for compliments didn’t smile. Despite her age she looked around twenty-five or twenty-six. Today her long brown hair hung down her back in a loose pony tail. She was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with pockets full of sand and shells. She’d just come back from a walk on the beach. She’d looked forward to a glass of wine and a book, not a demon.

“Why do you wish to haunt Max? Your kind has already tried to kill him. He has scars that will take years to go away, even for a Vampire, because of demons. You can’t take his soul. What do you want?” And with that question Lola flipped on the light switch.

Standing in the back of the room was the demon, her skin an odd shimmery gray, her eyes yellow, her hair a copper color. She wore a dress that could have been leather, of god only know what. If it wasn’t for the pointed teeth and yellow snake eyes she might have been considered quite attractive. Lola could smell a bit of sulphur in the air. She’d have to burn some nice candles as soon as she got rid of the demon.

The demon sat down on the edge of the bench by the grand piano. “I am not here to do harm to Max. I love him.”

“Oh no you don’t. I should have known this. Until lately Max has been a disaster when it comes to women. But now, he is with someone he loves, truly loves and knows. Max is with her tonight.” Lola gave the demon the mom look. “If you try to contact him or bother his woman I swear I will kill you with my own hands.”

“You can’t kill me,” said the demon.

“I’ll make you wish you were dead.”

The demon looked at Lola and a black oily tear fell from her left eye. Then one fell from the right eye.

“Listen,” said Lola, sitting on the edge of a large red wingback chair. “Max isn’t the one for you. Sure he is good looking and has that bad boy charm, but don’t get carried away with that. A long time ago I was married to someone who was the most attractive, charming, powerful, and fascinating Vampire ever. Guess what? I’m not married to him anymore. I fell for the packaging but as soon as I got him unwrapped down to his core I found out he was totally wrong for me. That was five hundred years ago, but I will never ever forget the lessons I learned from that. The main lesson was not to let demons keep reminding me of him and my early feelings.”

The demon looked angry and her eyes turned red. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“My dear, you’re not listening. Find yourself a nice demon. Even a fallen angel if you need to, but somebody you have more in common with. Find someone who gave his soul to Satan but will give his heart to you. Max can’t give his soul away, and he’ll only give his heart to another Vampire. I know my boy. That is just the way he is. It would never work.”

“You do not know that to be true,” said the demon.

“Oh but I do know it to be true. You’re young, I can tell. What maybe from the 20th Century? I’ve been around for a while. I’ve seen this kind of shit before. You’re only hurting yourself. On the other hand if you’re into getting off from pain, suffering and that kind of  stuff Max definitely isn’t your guy. The last thing he needs is a drama queen.”

“May I stay for a bit?” Asked the demon, as she rested her clawed hand on the keys of the piano.

“No,” said Lola.

The demon stood, raised her wings, and flew out of the French doors into the night.

Lola wiped off the piano bench and keys. Then she poured a glass of wine, and found a new book to start. She found something Max had given her called Red Darkling. 

But before she sat down she took out her phone and texted Max.

You need to control your demons. Seriously Max. Grandmama Lola is not amused by visits from dreamy eyed leathery winged members of your fan club. 

Then she curled up on the couch, and listened to the distant waves of the ocean, the sounds of frogs, as she sipped her wine, and cracked open her book. A night without demons was a wonderful thing.

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Roll Call – Meet the Vampires and Everyone Else

Roll Call – Meet the Vampires and Everyone Else

I write about a lot of things including my friends, family and others I run across from time to time. If they make a good story I’ll write about it.

Who are all of those people/vampires/werewolves/ghosts I write about? And yes, I consider Vampires as people. If you walk on two legs and aren’t a bird you’re “people.” Unless you’re a troll or goblin but that is an entirely different post.

It is hard to keep track. Not everyone is listed, but almost everyone. Just use this as a quick guide. Feel free to bookmark it.

Each name has a link to one of the many articles featuring that person/being. Most listed below are in multiple posts.

Vampires (includes parents, kids and other normal Vampires just like you)

Juliette: That would be me. I write the blog.

Teddy: My husband. He is also my brother Max’s best friend.

Garrett: My son.

Clara: My daughter.

Max (Maxwell): My eldest brother. Max is the kind of hot and sexy brooding Vampire one finds on the covers of Paranormal Romance Novels. That isn’t how I see him, but it is how others see him. Maxwell hunts Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and other unwanted creatures and keeps us all safe. He is also kind of an asshole.

Aaron: The second of my four older brothers. He is an attorney and most conservative of my siblings.

Verity: Aaron’s wife. She is also one of my best buddies. She looks like Botticelli’s Venus. I kid you not.

Laurel: Aaron’s daughter. Just graduated from Stanford.

Logan: Aaron’s son. Just graduated from UCLA Law School

Andy (Andrew): The third of my brothers. Andy is the most romantic and most sensitive of the brood. He is a singer, mainly opera. He keeps a baby unicorn as a pet, and a cat or two. Pixies, and assorted other weird things live in his house.

Val (Valentine): Sometimes Val is almost like my twin. He is calm and happy and always there for me.

Tellias and Eleora: The Elders. They’re ancient Vampires, over 2,000 years old. They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old, but they’re more like senior citizens. Seriously, they ARE senior citizens. I love them so much.

Lola: My great great great great grandmama. She put the Vamp in Vampire.

Samantha and Jeremy: Our parents.

Nathaniel Chase: A friend of our parents and along with our parents, leaders in the Modern Vampire movement.

Thomas Kent: A mysterious and somewhat famous Vampire. He is well known under a different name which I won’t disclose.

Cody: A fairly “new” Vampire from the Silicon Valley. He and Lola are involved off and on. Strange but true.

Pierce: A friend from our childhood who works with Max. A tall cool drink of Vampire water.

Jayne: A friend and coworker of Max.

Elizabeth: Works with Max

Elizabeth: An attorney like Aaron. She is quiet and serious and has found herself more involved with a local Vampire Hunter than she wants to be.

Mehitabel: A woman who works with Max. He says she is a friend with benefits but she is more. She is also of an ancient band of Vampires who see the world slightly different than we do, but are still part of the Modern Vampire Culture.

Innocenzio D’Antonio: An opera singer and friend of the family.

Matthew: Former Shadow Creeper. An old fashioned Vampire who is trying to navigate the modern world for his teenage son Josh.

James: A total douche of a Vampire. He is my brother Andy’s best friend.

Foxy Mendoza: An old friend who dresses sharp and talks fast.

Amelia: My dear Vampire friend who now lives in Las Vegas.

Randy: My son Garrett’s best friend and now college roommate. He is that tall blonde California kid that never comes across as a Vampire. He likes plaid pants and funky vintage clothes.

Chloe, Zoe, Ione: Friends of Garrett and Randy.

Willow: Recently became a Vampire. A bit shy but coming out of her shell.

Jackie Rafferty: Owns a garage that stays open all night. Has a sweet spot for Willow.

Jason: A mysterious Vampire from the islands.

Pleasant Van Dusen: An old beau of mine. The guy in the “Seriously mom” meme.

Constantine: An art loving Vampire who finds solace and meals at local museums. Also a total fashion plate.

Vampire Diary:

Vlad: Former King of Vampires. Author of Vampire Diary. After being locked in a crypt for 300 years he is trying to navigate the modern world.

Gillian: Vlad’s Vampire Lover

Randolpho: Vlad’s best buddy for hundreds of years.

Baba: Vlad’s Grandma

Werewolves:

Adam: A Werewolf and one of the best professional photographers I’ve ever met. He is the best I’ve ever worked with.

Brandy: Adam’s girlfriend.

Zombies:

Michael and Melissa: Young professionals who had the misfortune of becoming Zombies.

Ghosts:

Nigel: The Ghost. He drives me crazy. He is rude and obnoxious and never stops talking. Nigel died at the age of 27 in 1986. He is also my friend, sort of.

Mary: Nigel’s girlfriend. She is exceptionally sweet. She was murdered around 1600.

 

Selkies and Warlocks:

Selkies take both human and seal form. We run into them from time to time. They tend to hang out with Warlocks (don’t ask me why, it just happens.)

Celeste: A Selkie and friend of Max.

Morcant: A Selkie. An old friend of Eleora and Tellias, and best friend of Warlock Druce

Druce: A Warlock. A friend of Eleora and Tellias. Possibly an old flame of Eleora’s before Tellias showed up. Best friend of Selkie Morcant. Druce is known for his baking.

August and Essie: A modern Warlock and a Selkie couple

Regular People:

Kelly: My friend and neighbor.

Austin: A Vampire Hunter. He also restores old buildings and sometimes works with my brother Aaron. He is also in love with Elizabeth (a Vampire)

Shawna: A college professor my brother Andy is in love with, on and off and on and off and maybe on again…

John: John owns the farm next to the farm owned by the Elders Tellias and Eleora. Tellias always thought John was in love with Eleora. I told Tellias that everyone who meets sweet Eleora falls in love with her. John’s family has been friends with mine since the California Gold Rush.

Jack: My special friend and regular lunch date. He is usually on my Friday lunch menu.

LeRoy and Jasmine: Hipster Vegans

Lilly: A woman Val sees every once in a while.

 Johnson and Booth: Men in Black Suits

Captain Sandy: An airship captain.

Bart: Father and business owner. Takes no shit from bullies.

Cassie: Owns a midtown bar frequented by Vampires. A friend of Vlad the Vampire King.

Merlin: Yes THAT Merlin. A time traveler. He is one of many time travelers who show up here from time to time.

Ramon and Josh: Friends of Val.

Officers Garcia and Murphy: County Sheriff Officers: Eleora and Tellias call them when they want take-out delivered to their door.

WPaD –  Writers, Poets and Deviants: A group of amazing writers I’m honored to work with. I’m not sure if any of them are Vampires or not. They are exceptional.

Teachers: This is a parenting blog so I must mention teachers. Great and not so great. Mostly great.

Merlin: Yes, the wizard… again. He is really messed up, poor guy.

 Marla Todd: A writer and artist and editor when she feels like it.

 

Others

There are also assorted dogs and cats. Do a search on dogs or cats. I have a lot of posts about them.

There are also posts about goblins, witchesdemons, aliens, time travelers, fallen angels, and other assorted nasty creatures I really don’t like spending much time with except to complain about them. Oh right, and story problems (or why your kid is failing in math.)

And let’s not forget Arc Angels. They’re around too.

Fairies too! Yes, there are Fairies. Loads of fairies and pixies.

I know I left somebody out but…we all have a lot of people in our lives. I use the term “people” rather loosely.

So have fun. Check the side bars. Read all 2,000 + posts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X