Today is Philippe’s birthday, so I’m writing this post earlier in the day before my doodlewash, so I can be sure to be present for the festivities. By that, I just mean the conversation and wine as there’s no party, or guests, or other more extravagant thing planned. This is the reverse order of the way I normally do things, so I hope whatever illustration gets added to it, will fit whatever I ramble on about next. Today, we’re celebrating spices as well, according to the Doodlewash prompt, and this just makes me think of all of the food that’s coming this season. Sure, spices are used throughout the year, but this time of year, rare flavors appear like old friends visiting for the holidays. Suddenly, the air is thick with the wonderful smells of cloves, star anise, and nutmeg, while the more common cinnamon even manages to up its game. The blend of aromas is intoxicating and makes my heart smile through each current moment as well as every cherished memory of the past.
Our birthday boy, Philippe, is a master when it comes to spices. He’s not remotely shy about trying new spice mixes and has a knack for getting just the right combinations. Though not professionally trained in any culinary sense, he does have a PhD in biology that I later realized gives him an unfair advantage. He will describe to me exactly why two flavors or aromas are perfect together… at a molecular level. Though fascinating, and adorably geeky, it’s probably why I’ve never once attempted to cook anything in his kitchen. I’m quite sure it would produce incredibly unsatisfying results, like handing a monkey a chainsaw. Instead, since he’s rather rubbish at finding things, my sole job is to rifle through the cabinet to retrieve the specific spice he’s managed to misplace. Though perfectly uneven as collaborations go, it still manages to make me feel somehow involved and necessary. Sure, he’s the chef and I’m just a six foot tall gold retriever, but it’s a partnership that definitely works.
And as Philippe celebrates another birthday, I celebrate the life we’ve managed to make together. It’s filled with so many wonderful little things that aren’t particularly daring or adventurous. We’re not one of those couples who travels the globe together, except to visit family. We don’t go out to large parties with friends and instead have just a few friends we have round from time to time. It’s a life that, for some, might even be considered boring and far too routine. But, for me, it’s that steady routine that gives me the courage and confidence to actually try new things. It’s nice to know that in all of my constant pursuit of new things, there are always those familiar things to ground me and protect me in this crazy world. I don’t ever have to fear the unknown when the known is all I ever really need in the first place. So, in the end, I’m content with my simple little world, and instead of seeking wild new thrills, I find it far more thrilling to live an unremarkable and happily familiar life, with just a bit of spice.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!