My name is Tammy, and I am a bakecrastinator. There. I said it. That ugly word is out there, and now you know all my deep, dark, chocolate-y secrets. You see, I love to bake. But I also love to put things off to the last minute. Perhaps it is part of my risk-taking nature, in which I like to see if there's a way to make quick bread into mercurial bread.
When it comes to "party-planning," women have a much different perception of it than men do. A woman planning a party for her friends will clean her house from top to bottom, put the nice "guest towels" in the powder room and arrange fresh flowers on the dining room table. She will bake a fancy dessert, buy wine and make pastry-wrapped Brie. She will take the dog to the groomer and clean out the freezer in case a guest helps themselves to ice.
A photo used to be an event. You planned for it. ("Remember to bring Dad's Instamatic. Is there much film left? Did you bring new flashcubes?") You worked for it. ("Now I will drive this single roll of film to the drug store, then wait patiently for a week until it is developed. Only then will I be able to tell if everybody has their eyes open and Ricky gave his sister rabbit ears again.") You valued it. ("Now we will organize photos according to date and occasion in an album, which will be brought out for viewing on special occasions.")
It wasn't so long ago. Nope. It wasn't as long as you might think that we did things that seem completely alien to today's kids. Think about it: Just a couple of decades ago we clipped items out of newspapers, practiced our cursive writing and called telephone operators for the correct time. In fact, in a day when a high-tech device can become obsolete in months, it's easy to understand why young 'uns are completely unfamiliar with words like "Blockbuster," "mix tape" and "Discman."
Imagine that you're a kid again. You want to go hang out at the fun playground, where other kids are making each other laugh, adorable tots are toddling around everywhere, a couple of friends are engaged in a loud yet fascinating spat and someone just put a toupee on a cat. But your parents want you to go to the other playground, which is populated by serious-minded young action planners who wear little blue suits, hand you their business cards and only want to talk about aligning synergies, leveraging, reaching out, drilling down and blue sky-thinking.
Organization is the new thin. Think about it. Organization is a 4 gobtrillion-dollar industry, what with professional organizers, thousands of organizing products and all sorts of best-selling books on the topic. I hear there is also an international society for professional organizers called WOO (World Organization Organization).
Cross that one off my bucket list. After 51 years on the planet, I have finally been reported as a suspicious person. Up to now, my career in criminal activity has been sadly lacking. Oh sure, if an extra candy bar falls down in the vending machine, I am going to take it (unless, of course, it is a Zagnut. What is up with those?). It has been years since anyone has viewed me as interesting enough to be suspicious. But just a few nights ago, I had a brush with Johnny (actually Janet) Law. I had taken Kita outside for a quick walk before bedtime.
It was going to be the perfect summertime confection. When I was invited to a summer potluck, I decided to bring something spectacular. After all, I had just helped decorate cookies for my brother's wedding, which had received worldwide acclaim (or, at least, reception-wide acclaim from the guests after they'd made a few rounds to the keg).
We call them the "aunties." We always felt a special kinship with my Dad's three sisters, partly because our family structures were so similar: Their family consisted of three girls and my Dad, and our family had four sisters and my brother. When they visited, Mom prepared as if setting the stage for Betty Ford: the house was cleaned, top to bottom; a special meal was cooked and the table was set with the good china. We kids were expected to be on our best behavior and — most appallingly — to gather around the piano to sing something for the "aunties."
A lot of small-town weeklies seem to do it. Besides the locals ("Agnes had a nice coffee with Clara and her unmarried son, Dirk, last week") and the senior citizen menus, small papers will often take a stroll down memory lane by re-running an article that was originally published 20 or even 30 years ago. If you hail from a town of 500 or so people, it's just a matter of time before your number comes up on the roulette wheel of nostalgia.