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.

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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!
Day 12 - Just A Bit Of Spice Jars Watercolor - Doodlewash

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38 thoughts on “Just A Bit Of Spice

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Philippe, I hope this will be a memorable day for you but, from what Charlie writes I am definitely sure it will be just what you two love.
    Charlie, you are such a great writer, never stop. Xoxo

  2. Happy Birthday to Phillippe! Isn’t it funny how we have images of people in our heads that we’ve never met? I would have never guessed you were 6ft. Don’t ask me why, I have only seen your headshot on here. I had you pegged at maybe 5’6. LoLoLoL

  3. I suppose Philippe had to cook his own birthday dinner. That’s what happens at our house where I have to cook my birthday dinner. Joe is kind of helpless in the kitchen though he is willing to retrieve stuff for me. It is my personal opinion that guys like you and Joe should learn to make one thing well. Be it roasted chicken or marinara sauce, you would be the master of that one thing and impress the heck out of people once or twice a year. Especially on Philippe’s and my birthday.

    1. Hehe… I can assure you, Lisa, that my one thing would still pale in comparison to Philippe’s anything. But he didn’t have to cook as I picked up the cake at a local European bakery and then dinner arrived via Uber Eats. 😉 And I’m confident Philippe was uber relieved that I didn’t try to cook. 😊

  4. Bon Anniveraire indeed Phillipe! We have friends who dash off around the world on their pension pot. We simply pootle around France as much as we can, but mostly to different areas each time, so there is familiarity of France and the French language as the framework, the different places and ways of living are the”pot luck”, and we’ve not been disappointed yet.

  5. Happy birthday to phillip greetings from India .
    Excellent jar n spices.
    Lie a Jock to you,if u are living alone then what u did about makeing food.And another joke, two intellectual people are together.??? And no fight.,🍰🎂🍩🍨🥧🥡🧀🥞🍞🍕🍟🍔🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

    1. Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕I’ve been lucky to always be around people who cook…lol… and your last joke is awesome!! Love it! Yeah, I’ve no idea why we don’t fight more… two intellectual people is just asking for it! 😉

  6. I am so sorry I missed this yesterday. Happy belated birthday to Philippe. I hope it was an enjoyable one with wishes for many more to come. I loved reading your story. I think most artists like quiet times and have no problem with that quiet life. The spice jars are wonderful with those glorious fall colors.

  7. A beautifully spicy article.

    Best wishes and a belated happy birthday to Phiippe. I love the gentle way you write happiness. As I sit at the computer catching up on my favorite sites on this chilly autumn evening, I am sipping a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick in it. It
    fits perfectly with this article. Thanks for adding to the pleasure of this blissfully quiet

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