If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my long and storied career, it’s how to put together a gift basket. Not to brag, but it’s kind of my superpower. For one reason or another, gift-basketing has always seemed to land on my shoulders, so over the years I’ve developed some skill in that area. I know the right combination of things to put in them and how to make them look nice. I have “a touch.” Since I didn’t have any gift-basket duties at work this holiday season, I was feeling a little bereft and decided to put together a fruit-and-protein basket for the employees at my gym. Those youngsters need to keep their strength up, and also, even though I’m too shy to actually go up and initiate a conversation with them, I have gotten to know them a bit just through seeing them around all of the time and through the requisite hello’s and goodbye’s. I wanted to say thank you. It’s a very nice little neighborhood gym that has become somewhat of a second home to me, and the tight-knit staff makes it a fun and friendly place. Operation Fruit Basket went into full effect yesterday, complete with all manner of bows and cellophane, and this morning I dropped it off at the front desk. The two staffers at the desk broke into huge, excited, perfect-toothed grins and thanked me profusely, which warmed my heart. Success! That will be the full extent of my Christmassing for this year.
I’ve just started reading “Medallion Status” by John Hodgman, whose book “Vacationland” I reviewed here last year. “Medallion Status” is structured around an interesting concept. It’s a series of vignettes about Hodgman’s fleeting time as outsider in Hollywood after he became famous for playing the PC in those commercials. The vignettes are framed around his obsession with what he calls his “Beloved” airline and his quest to achieve the highest Medallion Status possible through frequent flyer miles. The stories are interesting and funny, but it’s really his perspective that makes the book so compelling and unique. “Medallion Status” offers the same poetic mournfulness and sincerity that “Vacationland” does, but I’m actually enjoying it bit more. John Hodgman is a terrible fit for Hollywood and not all that well-suited to acting work, so the stories are hilarious, and the little weird moments replaying his interactions with Hollywood A-listers paints a very surreal picture of Tinseltown and fame. I’m only about a quarter through, but I am very much looking forward to more.
In health complaints: I have become chronically cold. This is not evidence-based, but I feel that this Seattle winter has been unusually biting and gloomy, and my office is always cold (except when I turn on my radiator, at which time it turns into an unbearably humid swamp.) My computer room at home is cold because my desk is near the window and the cold air creeps in and makes my fingers cold. My co-worker had to give me a blanket to wrap up in at a meeting last week because I was really cold, and it wasn’t even that cold in the room. No one else was cold. I have been taking showers just to try to get warm. I do not like this chronic coldness. As I type this, my fingers are icy and I am wrapped up the warmest hoodie I own (the one from FEMA school with the cobra on it, which I love.) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want July back. I want to turn my face to the summer sun and bask in the warmth of an 85-degree day. But, I shall have to shoulder on until then...with a shawl around said shoulders.
Until summer returns, enjoy this really quite pleasant song from Sarah McLachlan: