20 December 2009

My Friend, Tab The Planner

I have a friend named Tabitha. Tabitha is an event planner. I don't mean that in a "defining Tab by her job" way. Yes, it's her job, but if she were a lawyer, she'd still be an event planner. It's the way she thinks, the way she approaches everything. I mean I plan. I pay attention to detail. I am efficient. And I am in awe of Tab.

She's married to Mike & even though I met them at Ithaca College in New York, they live in Southern California. We saw them fairly regularly when we lived in Vegas. But somehow moving to the same state brought literally us further apart. We attended their wedding in May, but that was just for a couple of days and we really on saw them for just for a few moments. So when Tab invited us to their place for a Christmas party, I decided I would go. Jesse would have gone if not for his having to work Sundays.

The drive from San Francisco to Burbank really isn't that bad once you get past Sacramento. Yes, traveling North to get to Southern California is counter intuitive. But it worked and was fairly easy. There were moments when I questioned my decision. I mean it was the week before Christmas and just a few weeks after the Thanksgiving road trip. I didn't need to be leaving home. I didn't want to be leaving home. However I really did want to see my friends. Some time after I got through traffic (yet before I hit the part of the state that smells like manure), I decided to make friends and family a 2010 priority. I want to see the people who have made me who I am and helped me get where I've gotten. I've made a lot of great friends in my travels. Now that I'm in a place where I want to stay, I'm not worried about being ready to move. So why not travel for leisure. With that decision made, I arrived in Burbank excited to just lounge.

Tab had set up a room for me, complete with welcome note and bedside magazine. I crashed their gift exchange (attended by other IC alum) and ate lots of treats (just to keep myself awake). Once the crowd dispersed, a regular person might have cleaned up and gone to bed. Tab did clean - then started prepping for the next day. She appeared with platters (each adorned with a post-it) and placed them around the apartment. She set the table, had Mike hang a few decorations and checked her extensive list.

She was up before 8AM the next day -- crushing, mixing and baking for the 7PM party. Mike was allowed to sleep in (until 9) and was sent out with his own list of errands and groceries. As a guest, I got to watch. As a friend, I wanted to help. But I had no idea what she was making. Tab's recipes ventured far deeper than my entertaining repertoire.

I watched as she rolled, cut and arranged and after each plate I kept waiting for her to be done. But she wasn't. I swear she made one item for every scheduled guest - and maybe two for me. My personal favorite was the cream cheese / pesto / tomato Christmas tree. We took a break to get lunch but she was back in the kitchen soon after, making sure the turkey pigs were in their crescent roll blankets and that the peanut butter balls were atop their brownie cookies. And then I had a visitor.

Her name is Kerry. She and I used to work together in Fargo. I've been friends with her since before I started "hanging out" with Jesse. I don't remember if she left Fargo before or after we did but life brought her to Pasadena, making her & the Tabs practically neighbors. Kerry stopped by for a visit and she too was quickly impressed with Tab's creations. Kerry & I did a quick rundown of the latest in our lives and (since she was about to go visit her sister for Christmas) she was off again. It was decidedly too quick a stop but it was better than what we had accomplished in the last five or six years.

Eventually Tab did finish cooking. Candles were lit, drinks were poured, guests arrived, the food was eaten - partially. There really was just too much. I did my best to eat everything in sight. But I am only one woman. I had a fantastic time indulging myself and just being around friends. The drive home the next day was uneventful. I remembered drive time is perfect for both calling friends and singing loudly. As much as I hadn't looked forward to making the trek, I'm really glad I did. It brought me to my first and most significant resolution of 2010. And that's exciting.