Six more days left in October. It’s always amazing how fast October whips by. Then Christmas goes into high gear, pretty much skipping over Thanksgiving. I think that Thanksgiving has been turned into the Memorial Day of the Holiday Season. It’s a shame because it really is nice to enjoy November for the beautiful month that it is. You can get some bitterly cold days, maybe even some snow, and you don’t quite get Indian Summer anymore. However, the crunchy leaves and the pumpkins, Indian corn and corn stalks left out to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving have their own charm. Thanksgiving is the holiday to be thankful for what you have been given during the year and to celebrate with family and friends. No gifts. No annoying fireworks. Just good food and spending time together, maybe watching a parade, football or some annual activities.
My kids love Thanksgiving and my daughter tells me that it’s her favorite holiday. She says it is the food. I can see why. Thanksgiving, at least in my family, was all about homemade food. Everything from scratch. I even use a Food Network scratch recipe for my biscuits, which I make the day before and then reheat them on Thanksgiving. (I use spelt flour instead of white flour.) The joke in our family is that it takes days to make the meal, then everyone seems to wolf it down in about 15 minutes on Thanksgiving.
The favorite Thanksgiving food? Stuffing, hands down.
It seems fitting that today’s prompt is “tempting.” Especially as October winds down. We are coming into the season where healthy eating goes flying out the window. Halloween with the excessive candy, Thanksgiving and the holidays with the rich foods, wine and desserts, and cookies; it’s the season of food and calories.
Speaking of today’s Inktober sketch; this is a pen and ink version of a watercolor sketch I did several years ago, when Cleo was still alive. I swapped out what was originally on the plate for the fish.
OK, someone please tell me why cats are associated with fish? Cats are domesticated from the African wildcat, a species that still exists today and they eat mice, rats, insects, birds, lizards and sometimes baby mammals. Where’s the fish?
Ooooo, today is a fun word. Heist. One movie came to mind, “Tower Heist” with Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. I cracked up through that movie and was especially delighted when the Tower staff was distracted from their duties by the Thanksgiving parade. Adults that are young at heart, I loved it. The woman hitting on Eddie Murphy cracked me up, too. It was just a movie but it was fun and entertaining.
Thinking of that movie made me think of how I could represent the word “heist” for today’s Inktober drawing. I was watching a bunch of seagulls and my husband and I were commenting about how laughing gulls steal sandwiches right from human hands on the beach. Always a hilarious sight. Some poor unsuspecting human, usually a child, is eating a sandwich and holding it in a way that it won’t get sand on it and the laughing gulls will power dive to steal the sandwich. Always cracks me up.
Gulls are the ultimate thieves. In the summer, when my kids were younger, I would come home from work, scoop them up into the car and we would drive to the beach for the evening. We would stop at Blitz’s in Sea Isle and get hoagies. The kids would pick out 2 bags of some sort of snack food, usually Doritos and something else. We would take it all to the beach and sit and have sandwiches and snacks on the beach. One evening, we had put the food down to walk to the water first. We came back to a large gull flapping down the beach with our large bag of Doritos. It was already open and he was fighting off a bunch of other gulls of all shapes and sizes and before we could blink, the bag was shredded and chips were everywhere. So were the gulls. The gulls definitely know that red bag. There’s a video out on the internet about a gull that would walk into a beach front store in NJ and walk out with a snack sized bag of Doritos. It cracks me up every time I watch it. It’s so true that they like Doritos.
FUN FACT – Doritos were invented at Disneyland! I just found that out the other day on Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities “Well Seasoned” Podcast.
I was going to sketch the Dorito gulls for today’s prompt, but then I thought of cats. My daughter’s cats are the ultimate thieves. If you leave any carbs out, her cat, Piper, will steal it. Piper and Lili are the inspiration for today’s heist of fish.
It’s Inktober Day 17 and today’s prompt is salty. One word with so many ways to represent it. I opted for the good old fashioned Philly pretzel. There’s nothing like a hot Philly pretzel straight out of the oven, slathered with brown mustard, spicy or not, I don’t care. Philly pretzels are amazing. Delis and shops, food trucks and food carts all over the Philadelphia region sell Philly pretzels. The best are the salted ones but you can get them unsalted.
I know, some of you like the Auntie Anne pretzels. Yeah, those are dessert pretzels. Philly pretzels are a savory dough, they taste like a hot buttered roll, not a rolled up doughy cookie. Philly pretzels are sort of like a twisted bagel with salt. They are usually a long shape, not your traditional round pretzel. They aren’t like the Bavarian soft pretzels you get in gastropubs this time of year. Once you try a real Philly pretzel, you’ll understand the difference.
Philly pretzels straight out of the oven are hard and crispy on the outside. The inside is soft, bread like; some folks like to pull out the soft inside and eat it like an oreo, soft inside first then the harder outer crust. (Or if you are in a schoolyard, the inside dough balls are used to bean someone in the head. Only Philly kids could use soft pretzels as a weapon.)
I think some of the pretzel companies ship them around the US. I haven’t tried that yet but maybe I should. Some things like Philly pretzels, cheesesteaks, hoagies, scrapple, Irish potatoes, Taylor Pork ROLL (it’s not Taylor ham, it says ROLL on the box) and Jewish Apple cake are best when acquired in the Philly Region.
Oh, and the piece de resistance? Birthday pound cake from Stock’s Bakery on Lehigh Ave and chocolate from Lore’s Chocolate on 7th St.
And I am not a fan of Pat’s or Geno’s cheesesteaks. Those are for tourists. Some of your best cheesesteaks come from the neighborhood bar or deli. Or Jim’s on South Street. My favorite place is Somerdale Deli. In South Jersey.
Over the mid month hump and into a prompt most “fowl.”
There are a ton of birds that fit this category, but I went with a chicken. Chickens are pretty cool. They come in all sorts of shapes and feathers. I like the ones that look like they have chicken hair dos.
Chickens are usually thought of as barnyard creatures but I have found that over the years, chickens are not just farm animals. When I used to live on Long Island (NY), there are a few chickens that ran the neighborhood. One chicken took it upon herself to be her block’s watch dog. If you went near a house and she didn’t like you; you were chased down the street. The USPS mail lady said it took a while before the chicken stopped bothering her. I am sure if she carried bird snacks instead of doggie biscuits, that would have helped, too.
On Bermuda, of all places, chickens literally run amuck. They are wildlings that have the run of the island and make small chickens. At first the government wasn’t too happy about it, but the tourists like them so they leave them be. After all, if there is a food chain shortage, there won’t be a shortage of eggs on that island. There are some really pretty and neat looking chickens on Bermuda.
So when it came to picking my fowl for the day, I had to pick a chicken. I wouldn’t mind having home grown eggs but their are too many predators here. If the coyotes don’t get them, the bobcats will. And bobcats can jump some really high fences. They are really impressive jumpers, having seen them jump a fence first hand. Then there are owls and other raptors in the air so alas, chickens are off my pet list.
The middle of the month is here, if you don’t count the fact that they are 31 days in October. It is the 15th day of the Inktober Challenge and today’s prompt is “armadillo.”
Armadillos are these odd creatures that most of the time, Floridians see them on the side of the road as roadkill. The poor dears. However, if you are lucky enough to see one live (they are nocturnal like opossums so most of the time you have to be out at night to see them), they are really cool little creatures that like to wreck lawns. They are funny looking and cool all at the same time. They are very busy rooting around for insects and such. They totally don’t seemed to be phased by humans unless they feel threatened and then they roll up in a ball like a pill bug.
They crack me up. They really do look like they are wearing armor. They are a “look don’t touch” creature because apparently they can contract leprosy, which is gross. Humans can get it from them so I am really cool with letting them root around the property as long as they do their thing without me getting involved. Whatever they catch and eat is theirs.
Wildlife in Florida is fascinating but a lot of creatures are “don’t touch.” They are either poisonous, dangerous or endangered so it’s best to take the approach of taking photos and letting creatures live without being harassed. I’m cool with that. I love observing nature and the only time we get involved is when their lives can be threatened, like gopher tortoises on busy roadways. You’d be amazed how many Floridians stop traffic to help a tortoise cross a highway. Most folks just stop and wait until the tortoise is safely deposited on the side of the road and the person is back in their car, and then everyone continues on with their day. Gotta love the wildlife.
The prompt for Day 14 is “empty.” My Chihuahuas, Chloe and Mack, are very food focused and empty plates are a cause to create a relentless nagging until they get their next meal. Because Chihuahuas can get hypoglycemic, especially as puppies, our dog children are fed small portioned meals spaced out three times a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Chloe and Mack get my hubby up early for their breakfast. My husband used to get up early to commute into NYC and he still wakes early because of it. The dynamic duo sense his sleep pattern changing and they are on him like flypaper until he gets up and feeds them breakfast. Usually some drama of coughing and sneezing like they’re on their last breath. They’re dying because they are thinning by the minute until they get breakfast. Then that wakes me and we’re all up at 6AM. They get fed, go out to go potty, and are back in a coma while we have to try to fall back asleep again.
When we cat sit our grand kitties, the two kitties used to be upset about being with us until they watched and studied this whole drama. They learned that Chloe and Mack wake up the humans for food. Which is cool because when the doggies get fed, the kitties get fed, too. The kitchen becomes chaos when the kitties are here. Then, they go home, and treat their mom, my daughter, to a whole new and unwelcome AM feeding schedule.
That tail, tale? all told, “empty” has a different meaning in our house than those without animal companions. Empty means someone’s belly requires filling. And God help us if there is a chicken or turkey in the oven! They know and they become relentless. Chloe will sit in front of that stove until the poultry comes out.
Today is Inktober Day 13 and the prompt is “kind.” I almost pulled out a KIND bar for this one. We have two different types of Kind Bars in the closet and my first thought was to sketch one of them. It would have been fun. I can still do it even though I already did this sketch first.
I thought of “kind” as people being nice to each other. I have these two little dolls in studio that I often use as inspiration and I chose them for today’s representation of “kind.” The girl doll is giving the boy doll a flower and the boy doll is giving the girl doll his heart. Usually it’s the other way around but sometimes hearts don’t work in the way they normally do. I have these drawn as cats but I am not sure if they are cats or mice or what. They could be dogs. Either way, they caught my attention this morning so they are my prompt inspiration.
I can’t believe we are nearing the end of the second week of October. Time just seems to zip on by. We didn’t buy a pumpkin yet. We found out the hard way if you put them out too early in Florida, they become mush in a week. When we used to live in the Northeast, pumpkins could last outside until Christmas if they weren’t carved and the squirrels hadn’t found them yet. Once the squirrels found them, they got “carved” pretty quickly. The squirrels were pretty devious about it, too. They would eat the side that was hidden from view. We usually discovered the “crime” when we put up the Christmas lights and the pumpkin was being removed due to the holiday swap out.
Whew! Day 12! Almost halfway through the month. Wow, October is blazing by!
Today’s prompt, “forget,” was a little tough since the concept could be a little abstract or could be an expression or even a verb action. This one almost stumped me a little. I had to give this one some thought about how I could represent this and that’s where I went back to Rodin’s “thinker.”
Usually when you forget something, you turn the house inside out to find that item you may have misplaced, because maybe you forgot where you put that something. Or, you forgot a date or appointment or even a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. You know that feeling that you get when you know you should remember something but you can’t put a finger on it? Like Neville Longbottom with the Remembrall? It could be something like that. (Or damnit, where did my cell phone get to now?)
One of the old traditional icons for remembering something was a string around the finger. Remember that? Today, we are more likely to put a reminder on our phones. I thought about showing that, but sort of felt that the phone reminder was a little “sterile” because it was technology.
Then, when I thought of the “Thinker,” I thought that maybe I could show a human lost in thought, maybe that thinking was a struggle to remember something? I know many people have their version of what the Thinker is thinking, some enlightenment or something really important, but maybe he was just trying to remember something he forgot. So I used his body language, slapped clothes on him, and he became my illustrator for today. Ironically, he has a post it on the wall that says “Don’t Forget.”
Forget could be so many things. At least I didn’t forget to do this post or my sketch, LOL.
Today’s prompt is crabby. I went for the crustacean although I imagine some folks may go with a cranky person. I am fond of crabs, both watching them in nature, and the consumption of the Blue Claw persuasion. We used to catch blue claws when my kids were younger. I remember measuring them to ensure they were the correct size. My kids were really good about measuring and tossing back the females and smaller crabs to ensure we had more crabs the next year. Or even just later in the season.
Land and Ghost crabs, on the other hand, are pretty awesome to just watch. I am really amazed that I have seen ghost crabs on every Eastern seaboard beach that I have been to, and that’s quite a few. I have seen ghost crabs on Fire Island, in NY, at several beaches like Cape May and Sea Isle City, and Wildwood, I have seen them on Assateague and on the Outer Banks, (where kids run around the beach at night with flash lights, playing flash light tag with the crabs.) I have also seen them here in Florida. I have seen some pretty cool land crabs along the coast in Jamaica. I don’t remember if I saw ghost crabs but Jamaica definitely had the land crabs digging holes in the grass.
Today’s crab is one I saw on the beach here in Jensen Beach. We were sitting out one evening and this little fellow was doing his thing as the sun was setting, so I snapped a few photos. I love how they dig holes in the sand and how some crabs try to steal another crab’s hole and then there is a little scuffle while that gets sorted out. It’s like, really Dude? Dig your own hole. Ghost crabs a re pretty awesome.