Three months ago now, I showed up in Strathroy, Ontario with my girlfriend to pick up her three year old mini schnauzer, Frodo. We’d driven for about 24 hours in the previous two days, and I really wasn’t sure what to think of the added company. Would he make us more anxious as we trecked to Nova Scotia? Would he pee on me? Would we ever get along?
It took a long time for us to warm up to each other. I was never a dog person (and have had, from an early age, the scars to prove it). Frodo’s also not exactly the most peaceful dog ever. He’s a ball of anxiety most of the time. Our advice to new people is to ignore him until he seeks them out.
At some point, he picked up a toy and brought it over to me. I picked it up and threw. We were in new territory – it was the first of many dog-man bonding moments. Every time I realized that we could do something cool together, we grow a little tighter. I took him out to Long Lake Provincial Park and we made our own trail. I brought him over to a friend’s place to play with some other dogs, and after three hours he stopped snarling and ended up having fun. We figured out how to look out for things that bother the other person. I’m there for him, and he’s there for me. Pretty sweet, I tell you.
I didn’t know what to think of Frodo. Now I really don’t know what life would be like without him.
It snowed this week. I was smiling that whole day, and the whole next day, and now that it’s melting I’m not smiling as much, but that’s fine. There will be more. We are in that time of year. I can now go run around with Frodo and come in and drink hot chocolate. Katie and I can toboggan. Snowballs will be thrown. Icy roads will be drifted. Ponds will freeze over and citrus fruit will be in season, caught in the air alongside the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Snow also means eggnog, but I’ll save that piece of heaven for another post. Winter is a long and rewarding time, with a large but finite number of things I can incorporate into (a) my day and (b) the blog format. In other words: people who think Christmas is a season that starts in November are dumb. They’ll be burnt out by Boxing Day.
“C’mon Andrew! Come up with something more obvious!”
OK. I will. Music is rad! Food is tasty! The world is round! These are simple features of the universe that were once unexplored possibilities. And yet, their present obviousness does not diminish their importance. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge a fundamental, self-evident truth: that pizza is fucking DELICIOUS.
It doesn’t matter what kind. I could eat pretty much everything. I could eat it cold. I could eat an American-style pie. A New York-style pizza. A deep dish pizza. A Regina-style pizza (which is to say, absolutely loaded in toppings, cut into squares, and made by someone Greek). I would eat all of these things, and then I would check out Serious Eats’ Slice blog for more happiness in wedge or circle form. I have hacked ovens to produce enough heat to make the right sort of neapolitan pizza, with withering basil leaves and puddles of buffalo mozzarella that hide thin slices of tomato.
I love pizza, don’t you know.
4. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Good book. I’d recommend a read to any David Foster Wallace fans. I’m using that to sucker you in to reading it: it’s a book that is so goddamn good that you’ll forget about worrying about whether Leonard is really DFW, and if this is really a roman à clef, and if you should be looking to the back for footnotes.
Most reviewers, being English majors, focus on the funny little things that the English majors in this book say under the spell of semiotics. “Books are about other books” being one of the frequently cited lines. I guess I’d take that as a textual hint that it’s a bad idea to take what Eugenedies does – a super damn good realistic account of the social lives of one small group of people – and pulverize and juice it for literary meaning. And I’m very happy to not do so. I read books like this (Jonathan Franzen makes books like this too) because I really enjoy the topics they treat. It’s full of conflicts and worries and people that you can point to and say, “I’m kind of like that.” Let yourself wander down the path that this other-you finds.
5. Canadian Thanksgiving.
Americans may have Black Friday, but I’d love for someone to tell me why it’s smart to add in the stress of shopping to the myriad ways in which a Thanksgiving gathering can be bungled. Canadian Thanksgiving has all the turkey and none of the proximity to consumerism or Christmas, and that is something to be thankful for.
Author’s note: I posted this on Friday, not thursday. But a convention is a convention, and even reality must bend to it.