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.

Let’s Talk Dark Matter (with ghosts and teens)

Ghosts

 

If you know about Dark Matter you know about teens, ghosts, and parenting.

Dark Matter is by definition: Dark Matter is an unidentified type of matter comprising approximately 27% of the mass and energy in the observable universe that is not accounted for by dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Teens by definition: Teens are an unidentified type of matter comprising approximately 27% of the mass and energy in the observable universe that is not accounted for by dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit energy of any kind, or interact with negative adults, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Ghosts by definition: Ghosts are an unidentified type of matter comprising approximately 27% of the mass and energy in the observable universe that is not accounted for by dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit energy of any kind or interact with just about everyone, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

What about Vampires? We’re in there somewhere. Like most modern relationship status updates on social media Vampires fall into the ” it’s complicated” category.

The reason I bring this up is due to a story I heard on NPR earlier this week. Nigel the Ghost just happened to be hanging out trying his best to act cool and full of contempt.

The story is called, If Dark Matter Can’t Be Seen What About Ghosts?”

Here is the link: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/09/13/493725999/if-dark-matter-cant-be-seen-what-about-ghosts

The story is really great and you just need to read it or listen to it. But it covers the issue of how to prove something you can’t see is really there. Seriously, check it out. Let me know what you think.

Nigel, being the asshole ghost he is, flew off the handle. “There are other things you can’t see. You can’t prove love. You can’t prove humor. You can’t prove anything about cats. You can prove reason or lack of reason. You can’t prove what lies in the soul of a man.”

I gave him my best serious mom look. “Theoretically Dark Matter has stability. You’re not stable Nigel. Just chill. I can see you.”

He scowled at me. “Right.”

Then he vanished as usual, this time without a flourish of blue mist or any other ghost trick.

Oh well.

And as usual don’t forget to hug your kids, show interest in what they do, talk with them, and let them know that they MATTER. That kind of matter is REAL.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Crazy Ghost Band

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

 Right after I’d graduated from college (the first time) from one of the rare Universities (now a well respected and famous school) that accepted women I took a trip across country on a train to meet my brother Val. He’d gone to New York City without me, leaving me, a young woman, unescorted. I would have done fine on my own but back then, in 1881 young women, even Vampires, didn’t travel alone.

I got on the train on a dark full moon night and made my way to my car. I was to share a car with several other students and some sort of chaperone. What I found was three young men dressed in rather garish suits of the latest fashion (or so they thought) and nobody else. Two had short beards, again, the style of the time. I recognized one from school. The train started to move. There was no getting off. OK I could have jumped, but I was in a long dress with a bustle no less and jumping wasn’t a practical option. Contrary to popular belief I couldn’t turn myself into a bat and fly away. So I stayed. They were horrible the entire time making crude jokes and being as vulgar as they could be. They insulted me for being a Vampire, calling me dead and cold and well, they were vulgar to say the least. I was in Hell and ready to get off of the train.

I sat took claim to a settee with a small table and tried to ignore my garishly dressed companions. A young woman climbed aboard and the three men cheered. She was dressed as garish as they were in the most stylish of gowns but it was a bright orange color with brown beaded trim. Her hair was as orange as the dress and piled high on her head. That included a lot of fake hair to go along with her real hair.

She eyed me up and down. “Who invited the Vampire?”

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross-country trip with four Werewolves.

“I’m Phoebe,” she said with a wink and a snarl.

Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 (born in 1848) he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

The Phoebe gave Pierce a long hard look then smiled and licked her lips. Pierce is attractive with a narrow face, a sensuous mouth and dark heavily lashed eyes. Of course she noticed him. She’d no doubt try to have his clothes off, have her way with him then tear his throat out. Well, maybe not, but I didn’t want him to get her claws into a friend who was almost like a brother to me.

The males were Luke, Seth and Eldon. I’ll never forget their names. They were rude and loud and young. Had they been Vampires I might have thought they were fun, but since they were Werewolves I thought they were disgusting. Phoebe was just as bad with her crude laugh and dirty jokes.

Pierce and I played cards and stood on the back of the train in the night air. We mostly talked. I asked him about people we knew who’d gone out into the world – the young Vampires we’d grown up with. Pierce was on his way to New York. I was on my way to New York as well to meet my brother Valentine. After that we’d board a ship to London.

Conversations with the Werewolves were in bits and pieces of insults and crude jokes. Pierce’s father did business with their families. To keep the peace and keep favors in check he’d offered to let the young adults of the pack to ride with us. Also, by being with Vampires the Werewolves were more likely to behave themselves. At least that is what everyone thought.

On the second night, after a half of case of Champagne, the young Werewolf men, Luke, Seth and Eldon stripped naked right in front of us and said they were going out for a run. Phoebe decided to stay in. They ran out and I could hear them up on the roof of the train car howling, then down a side ladder and they were gone. Phoebe sat by the window looking at the full moon. She’d taken off her jacket and bodice down to a short-sleeved lace covered blouse. Long dark hair sprouted on her arms and hands. Her fingers grew claw like. Fur grew down the side of her face. She ignored us as a low growl came to the back of her throat as she watched for her pack mates.

Peirce and I watched three huge wolves run along the side of the train. The moonlight reflected off of their silvery gray fur. They were beautiful.

Then we heard horrifically loud shots. Our fellow passengers a few cars down were shooting at the wolves. Pierce ran out of the car. I could hear him shouting for the men with the guns to stop. Phoebe started to scream and scream and scream.

The next day we heard news of three young men found dead by the side of the tracks. The story was they had been drinking and had a fight on the top of the train and fell off after shooting each other.

I will never forget holding Phoebe in my arms and rocking her, trying to tell her that everything would be alright. I knew it would never be alright but I said it anyway.

For the next week as we made our way across the country she’d howl mournfully at night. The passengers said the train was haunted. I knew they’d brought on their own ghosts when they killed the wolves for no reason.

Werewolves and Vampires are predators but even we don’t partake in the senseless of killing animals for no reason other than target practice.

Pierce and I related the story to others but over the years we’ve kept a lot of the details to ourselves. It seems like so long ago. It was a long time ago. A long long time ago.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Seeing Red

“Are you still seeing Emma?”

“Mom, Emma is so weird.”

“How so?”

“She hates red. She won’t wear red. She won’t park next to a red car. She won’t eat off of a red plate. She gets upset if I wear anything red. Even the word blood makes her hysterical. She won’t even sit on red furniture.”

“You’d better not bring her to my house.”

“She even flips out over roses and humming bird feeders.”

“Have you talked to her about it?”

“It isn’t some deep rooted trauma if that’s where you’re going. She just does it to be weird. She wants attention. You know, she wants to stand out and be different. I asked her if it had anything to do with Vampires. She looked at me like I was the crazy one. She said I was disturbed and disgusting.”

“Does she know you’re a Vampire?”

“No. Hell no.”

“Honey, I think you need to break up with her.”

“I already did. That’s why I called you. The summer of Emma is OVER.”

“Time to cut your losses and move on. At least you only spent a few weeks with her.”

“She texted me this morning. Now she says red is OK. She decided she doesn’t like cats now.”

“Block her. Do it now.”

“Already done.”

“Good. Love you.”

“Love you too Mom.”

 

No matter how grown up you are, sometimes you still need to talk to your mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Even Vampires Get the Blues

Family lore said he left the battle fields of the war between the states and ran California to seek his fortune. There he died in a mine explosion. But he really went to Patagonia where he met a strange man with the voice of an angel. From there he met a man with the voice of an angel who hired him to go to London to hunt Vampires. And that is exactly what he did before he was murdered by a whore who said she did it for love. His niece ended up with all the gold and didn’t tell anyone.

 

I have the house to myself today and I was trying to pound out a blog post or maybe a story about the California Gold Rush, when my brother Andrew staggered down the stairs. Not quite alone. Andy had bad days, weeks, months… He tries to get in a good place by not spending too much time alone.

I give him coffee. He sits across the table from me. I can tell he is feeling numb and helpless. This extraordinarily gifted being feels this way for no reason – it just comes on like a wave, or so he describes it.

“I’d take drugs for this if I could but they don’t work for us,” he told me.

“I know sweetie,” I told my older brother. All four of my brothers are older. Andy is the second in line.

He is good at hiding it and dealing with it and avoiding it and trying not to acknowledge it. He doesn’t let it define him. But it is hard sometimes.

Andy had inspired a lot of my stories. This includes the popular stories Morning at the Vineyard  and Dancing on the Beach. He is a musician, a lover and gentle soul and can party like no other. He is impulsive and the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met.

When he arrived I had a list of activities. No matter how painful it was he always tried and often the flurry of action and stimulus would knock him out of it. Odd how it works.

We chatted for a while over coffee. I poured a liberal amount of blood into his (remember we’re Vampires) and told him of some fun people we’d meet later tonight… yes, we’re Vampires remember.

But no matter what you are, if you’re a little bit of human you can get the blues. Werewolves get it bad. Regular Humans get it really bad. We just need to be sensitive and help those who have it. Just telling someone to snap out of it is like telling someone with a broken arm to snap out of it.

Andy asked about my blog post, the silly stuff I was writing about hidden stories. We takes about our family, my kids, or brother Aaron’s kids, our pets, music, his work and a lot of other things. He ran his hand through his long brown hair and closed his eyes then gave a slight shake of his head, as he does sometimes.

He takes my hand. “Thanks Jewels, I’m going to be fine.”

“I know,” I tell him. He’ll be fine as long as he remembers that it isn’t him. It is something else. He told me that a long time ago.

So anyway, we have a lot to do so we’ll get on with our fun.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and understanding and good coffee.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman