Tag Hash

“It is called Tag Hash. You add stuff as you go, as in tagging it on to the end,” explained the ancient Vampire Tellias. “I learned to cook in Rome, when I was a much younger Vampire than I am today. Tiberius was emperor at the time. God, that was a strange time. Fun if you were on the top of the food chain like I was. They thought I was a demigod. Oh, I had my share of torrid adventures. Nothing I’d recommend either one of you try, but it was fun.”

Tellias pulled out a large cast iron skillet then rooted around his kitchen for various knives and bits of food. Vampires don’t eat a lot of regular food but we do, from time to time. One can’t live on blood alone.

With his white blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a red apron over a tuxedo shirt with a thousand little tucks and blue plaid pants he was quite the dashing cook. He looks all of 19 years old but Tellias is as ancient as modern civilization and much more civilized. My 15 year old daughter Clara and I were visiting and chatting and having a lovely time in large Victorian kitchen.

Tellias talked as he cooked. “We made Tag Hash back then too. I believe I’ve had this made with everything from chopped mouse to wolf to mussels. Once a group of superstitious soldiers even added the body parts of slain heroes. A bit of human heart or liver that made the soldiers feel special. It wasn’t very good, in fact it was horrible and a bit disturbing, but they thought they were stronger after eating it. Anyway, people used to do all sorts of nasty things. They still do. So, where was I? Tag Hash. Ingredients come and go with fashion but everyone likes to add bits and pieces together and think they have something special. Sort of like a romance – all bits and pieces.”

Tag Hash

He took a few mushrooms and chopped them up, then grated a carrot and a few squash he’d picked that morning. After that he added finely slivered onion and shallots to the mix and a bright red bell pepper. He chopped a small mountain of spinach and Swiss chard together. Throwing in a bit of thyme, salt and pepper he mixed everything in a bowl with a hand full of chopped oysters, some raw steak thinly sliced steak and a slash of white wine.

Next he took out some thick smoky bacon and cut about 8 pieces into small bits and threw them in the cast iron skillet to fry. He said he never cooked the pieces whole. It was easier this way and much more fun.

Throwing a bit of olive oil and a hint of grape seed oil in the pan he added the chopped ingredients and flattened them out.

“One must wait a bit to make sure everything browns.” He said with a sly smile, and then flipped the crispy hash over. Then he cracked a few eggs on the top and left them to cook.

When it was brown on both sides and the whites of the eggs had cooked, he moved it to three plates and we proceeded to the table. He sprinkled a bit of chopped tomato and green onion on top for color and a little zest. The vegetables were tasty, the oysters were done to perfection and the steak was rare.

The dish was served with Bloody Marys (made with real blood of course), and Clara had some spiced Poet’s Blood.

It is a dish that is served different every time because it is Tag Hash – just tag things onto it until you get it like you want.

“I like to fix this around Halloween.” continued Tellias. “I add pumpkin and winter squash with a bit of sweet potato. It adds a delicate sweetness without processed sugar. If I was a Witch I’d add small children, monkey balls and bat eyes, but I’m not a Witch. Luckily none of us are Witches or Warlocks. You have to watch out for them. Always question what they’re cooking, or better yet don’t dine with them at all.”

Long long ago his wife had been involved with a couple of Warlocks so Tellias never trusted any kind of Witch. Come to think of it none of us really trust them or like to spend much time with them. They’re as creepy as Ghosts as far as I’m concerned and far weirder and one can never trust a Witch. Never.

I wouldn't recommend eating ANYTHING a witch serves you. Just smile and say you have a stomach flu or better yet, run away.

I wouldn’t recommend eating ANYTHING a witch serves you. Just smile and say you have a stomach flu or better yet, run away.

We didn’t have any left over Tag Hash but we had some left over hash tags: #taghash, #hashtag, #vampirecooks, #vampiremaman, #modernvampires, #Tellias, #ancientvampires. I’m not sure what to do with them but we’ll figure it out before they go bad.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

I’m moving children off to college this weekend so…. this was originally posted in 2014. Enjoy and eat your hash.

Drinking Games and Raking Fall Leaves

Against my better judgement I had the radio on all day today. I learned that most of the old fart senators in Washington don’t know, or pretend not to know about drinking games, that teenage boys think farts or funny, or anything about beer. All of these “Good Christian Men” forget about their college years when they were sleeping with everything without a penis, drinking beer until they puked and passed out, and lighting farts on fire. They also like to hear themselves talk (even when it is through somebody else) so they ask a woman about a traumatic event she experienced at age fifteen and wonders why she didn’t tell anyone. Guess what? Teenage girls don’t share stuff like that because they know nobody will listen.

All of this just makes me think of drinking games. Take a drink for every time someone asked Kavanaugh if he liked beer or drank beer or every time Kavanaugh said he said the word “beer”. I was driving when I heard the whole beer episode. I thought I was in some sort of world that had turned into the cross between a Salvador Dali painting and a Carrie Nation Rally. By the way, if you didn’t know this already, Carrie Nation was six feet tall. I kid you not. But back to the hearing…I almost pulled over to the side of the road. I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen Rod Serling hitch hiking with an alien.

We’ve also suggested that the TV shows “Hawaii Five-O” and “Longmire” be made into drinking games. Whenever someone gets shot you take a drink. It they die in a more unusual way you take a drink. If someone gets kidnapped you take a drink. If someone who is a main character gets kidnapped or shot you take a drink. By the end of the show, well you never see the end of the show because you’ll be passed out by then.

When I arrived home I decided to not listen to anymore noise. Alas, my plan to just listen to the purring of my cats and maybe some music turned into my usual Thursday headache. And it is also the Friday morning headache. That is LEAF BLOWERS.

About half of my neighbors have yard services and that means leaf blowers.

Vampires, due to our naturally gentle and quiet nature, hate leaf blowers.

I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. 

And half the time I see the guys blowing leaves they’re just blowing dirt. They’re blowing NOTHING. I want to yell at my neighbor after the three hour bout of blowing leaves that he needs to move to the desert if he hates a single leaf in his back yard.

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, and everything I hold near and dear, I swear that I HATE LEAF BLOWERS. The loud noise makes my head feel like it is going to explode. Kids can’t study. Babies can’t sleep. I can’t work. I can’t do fucking anything.

I told my daughter that next Thursday when the leaf blowers start blowing I’m getting out my trumpet, and YES I do own a trumpet, and blowing it off of my deck until they all think Gabriel himself has come down to earth to do whatever it is that arc angels do. And then when there is a strange silence I shall put down my trumpet, show my fangs and whisper, “vengeance is mine.”

So I take a deep breath. 

I like raking leaves. To be honest, I don’t rake leaves, I sweep them. I sweep them off of the walkways, out of the gutters, and off of the driveway. Along with the leaves are hundreds, and maybe thousands of acorns.

Where are the squirrels when I need them? They’re in the trees barking at me and my cats.

Back to sweeping leaves. There is something so satisfying about sweeping my leaves up. It is quiet. Sweeping is prime time to get my ideas and creativity in order. It is a time to think. I love the way I make little and big piles. I love the smell. I love the mix of leaves and the random flower blossoms and bark that mixes with the leaves.

Right now there isn’t much in my wild back yard except trees so I let the leaves fall on the bare ground to make a soft carpet and get scattered by the dog and the wild turkeys. I don’t need perfection. I don’t need the noise of leaf blowers.

I need the quiet and the celebration of nature in my somewhat ordered world. To be honest with you there is little order in my world, but leaf sweeping, and any yard work in my tiny botanical garden under the oaks brings solace.

So wishing you all peace in this change of seasons. Turn off the radio and TV. Have a beer that nobody will question you about, and count your blessings.

And then hug your cats, talk to your kids, and be a good Vampire. Fall is here.

Remember…Halloween is just around the corner.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette kings _ Marla Todd

No Leaf Blowers Allowed in My Yard

 

 

Weirder Tales

Weirder Tales – Now Available on Amazon and other fine online bookstores. Proceeds to to MS Research.

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Fall Garden

I’m at Sacramento 2018 WordCamp this weekend. In fact I’m speaking today. But fall is in the air so is post-summer, pre-winter gardening. The following was first posted here a year ago. Hope this gets you into the festive falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and falling acorns kind of mood. I’ll see you next Sunday with Tangled Tales Short Story.

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Fall Garden

So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.

I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.

It isn’t a rock.

It is a skull.

A human skull.

Shit.

My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.

“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”

I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”

“Want me to put it with the others?”

“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.

I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.

He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”

He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”

I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”

 

~ End

 

Burning Question #26: Pumpkin Spice

This just might be the most controversial Burning Question to date. 

Fall is almost here. ALMOST. It is cooling off in my neck of the woods but I know September will bring out one last evil HOT SPELL despite the fact that the trees in my neighborhood are starting to turn yellow and red. I live in California so unless you live in the mountains there is a snowball’s chance in Hell we’ll have a nice crisp Autumn in September.

Along with leaves fall means HALLOWEEN, sweaters, more fur on the pets, busy little birds, and PUMPKIN SPICE.

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I almost always put cinnamon in my coffee, year around. Sometimes I add a bit of nutmeg. This week I’m adding some sugar free coconut flavor. When the weather cools down I just get lazy and buy a small container of Pumpkin Pie Spice. YES that is PUMPKIN SPICE. Some people add actual pumpkin puree to their coffee but that gets you into the gross-stuff-at-the-bottom-of-the-cup territory. And who has time for that?

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But there are those who don’t like Pumpkin Spice anything. They don’t understand. They despise the excitement and fluttery joy brought on my this mix of spices and caffeine. Seriously, is there too much Pumpkin Spice BS out there? Not just coffee but everything from muffins to air freshners to cat food.

pumpkin-spice-meme-004-not-giving-a-rats-ass

So where do you stand on this important issue? It is still 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Do you really want anything like pumpkin or are you still working on summer strawberry flavors and trying to keep cool? Or do you believe that if Pumpkin Spice is here that FALL will surely follow.

Burning Question #26: Is it ever too early for PUMPKIN SPICE?

 

pumpkin-spice-latte-ryan-gosling

So I leave you with thoughts of nice drinks and thoughts of lovely weather and maybe that elusive, what is that called, that thing when water falls out of the sky. Oh right. Rain. It is called rain. I haven’t seen any of that since April. But I can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

See you next Saturday for the next Burning Question.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

if-you-say-pumpkin-spice-latte-in-the-mirror-3times-6380417

The Ghost of Pumpkin Spice

“I never had a computer, or pumpkin spice lattes, or a cell phone. I had a VCR for about a year. I had a French Press. I’d get coffee beans from the Farmer’s Market. There was a little booth with a zillion spices and about thirty flavors of coffee.”

“They’re still there. I think the gal there has been selling spices since she was a teenager, maybe forty years now.”

“Wow. Remember the Mexican bakery?”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat pastries.”

“Well, you eat other things besides blood. I know that.”

“The olive guy. There was a guy who sold olives and pickles.”

“You eat olives?”

“Sure. I eat most green things.”

“Artichokes?”

“I love artichokes.”

“Green beans?”

“Sure. Not a lot but you know, sometimes.”

“I can’t imagine Dracula eating green beans.”

“Dracula is a fictional character. In fiction the only time people eat green beans is when they snap them with their grandma. I doubt if Dracula snapped beans with his grandma.”

Nigel the Ghost held a hot mug of coffee laced with cinnamon. He put his head down and closed his eyes. “I miss coffee.”

“You can always get it here,” I said.

“It isn’t the same when you can’t drink it. Shit, I haven’t had a real cup of coffee in thirty two years.”

He brushed his black hair out of his eyes, then smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“I’ve been dead longer than I was alive.”

“So you’ve told me.”

I sat across from the Ghost, his black hair shaggy around his face, a black tie, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up today. He’d hidden the gash in his head and the blood on his pale face. His eyes flickered from the coffee to me.

He cleared his throat, not because he needed to but for dramatic effect. “I might be a ghost but I’m not completely dead.”

“You’re never completely dead as long as someone stills loves you.”

“I can feel it but unfortunately I can’t see them. Well, I can’t see most of them. I don’t know how to get to them. You know the limits of my territory is out of my control.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with a Vampire. Who would have thought.”

“Want me to heat that coffee up.”

“Sure, and add some nutmeg to it. Pumpkin Spice.” Then he winked and gave me a rare smile. “You know this is weird.”

“Not for us.”

Then he put his head back and laughed. I just sipped my own coffee and then put his cup in the microwave, because that is what friends do, even if they’re Vampires or Ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

November Plans and The Trixie Affair

I’m reading The Trixie Affair – A Gluten-Free Mystery. 

Just kidding that title has been popping into my head all morning.

November is a big month. Just yesterday it started to FINALLY cool off. Our first rain of the season will be later today or tomorrow. And believe me when I say RAIN is a big deal where I live (just out of the drought and in fear of fires near Sacramento, California.)

Vampires like cooler weather. Necks aren’t so hot and sweaty. Everything tastes better – even without Pumpkin Spice. But you CAN have pumpkin spiced blood if you want.

Mix together:
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.

Put a teaspoon in a cup of warmed blood and enjoy. I do realize that there is no pumpkin in there. You COULD put in a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (unsweetened) if you want. Add a shot of Bourbon too.

November is also National Novel Writing Month. Otherwise known as: NaNoWriMo

Every November thousands of individuals write a novel in one month. Not all finish but at least they give it a try. Go to the web site and find a group, or do it on your own. You can find writing buddies, and even local events in your area. In fact, this Saturday the group in my town is having a write-in at one of my favorite local pubs. Check it out at: https://nanowrimo.org/dashboard

Write ALL THINGS VAMPIRE

This November I am honored to be part of Nano Poblano, the World’s Least Official Blog-Everyday-November Challenge. That is what the logo you’ll see on my blog this month is for. https://cheerpeppers.wordpress.com/2017-pepper-roll/

pepper2017

Check out the bloggers below – Nano Pablano – Making November Spicy.

Ra @ Rarasaur
Julie @ Bug Bytes
Bill @ Bill Friday
Elsie @ Ramblings of a writer
Jessie @ Behind the Willows
Anita Shree @ Heartsongs blog
Sarina @ Shining Seeds Blog
Lori @ LoriStory Blog
Kasturika @ Musings of an eccentric mind
Lorna @ Gin & Lemonade Blog 
Angie @ The Muses Words
Varuna @ Vanilla With Sprinkles
Ghost @ Teleportingweena
Sibelius Russell @ Consolations Many Form Blog
Sarah @ Mother of Serendipity
Juliette Kings @ Vampire Maman
Lindsay @ The Flynnigans Blog 
Emily @ Zombie Flamingos Blog 
Carolyn R Owens @ Infinity Coaching Leadership Blog
Kitty Litterbox @ Litterbox Riot Blog 
Erica @ The Broken Spine Blog 
Erica @ The Ink Slinger Blog 
Charlene @ The Illusion Of Controlled Chaos Blog 
Sahara @ I Didn’t Just Wake Up This Morning With A Craving Blog
Briton @ Punk Rock Papa Blog
Kim @ Drunk On Life Blog 
David Ellis @ TooFullToWrite Blog
Tooks @ mrtookles (insta-blog)
Kate @ Will Wally Wonder 
Varad @ Loose End of the Red Thread
The Don @ Blended in the Middle Blog 
Palak @ Expressions Blog 
Victoria @ The Loneliness of the Stay-at-Home-Mother Blog 
Namratha @ NamySaysSo Blog 
Ka Malana @ Fiestaestrellas!
Edward @ Edward Fagan Blog
Robert @ Fresh Off the Pad Poetry
Lizzie Ward @ Cats and Chocolate Blog 
Jesska @ Not Throwing Stones
Quixie @ Quixie’s Mind Palace
Heather @ tUrtlettE Blog 
Sarah @ TZBlog
Matt @ The Matticus Kingdom
Cyn @ That Cynking Feeling

I believe I’m the only Vampire blogger on the list but there are other parenting bloggers, and every subject matter in the universe. This is a fantastic, diverse, and interesting group. Check out some of the other blogs. I don’t mind.

I will be blogging each day, including new posts from Vlad’s Vampire Diary, Ask Juliette, stories about having college aged kids, news from Eleora and Tellias the Ancient Senior Citizen Vampires, Nigel the Ghost, Werewolves, Zombies, and of course more Tangled Tales (Short Story Sunday.) I’ll also write about inspiration and coffee. Always coffee. Yes, even Vampires need their coffee.

Along with the blog I’m working on not one, but two novels. One features Nigel. The other is completely new – a father/daughter bonding sort of story with enough weirdness to keep the reader reading.

And if you see all of the men in your life growing mustaches it is because of Movember – https://us.movember.com

Check it out for the men you love.

And remember:

  • Talk to your kids.
  • Tell someone that you love them today.
  • Kiss your cat.
  • Hug your dog.
  • Call your mom and dad.
  • Plant some bulbs.
  • And stay away from bad blood.
  • xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette

Vampire Maman