5 Essential Things to Bring to Thanksgiving Dinner

turkey-hidingIt’s that time again. Time to be thankful. Time to reflect. Time to fight over the drumstick. It’s also the time when we ask our Thanksgiving host or hostess:

“What can I bring?”

You know what’s on the list: salad, rolls, maybe a pie or two. But here are 5 essential things you should take with you that your hostess may not ask for.

1)Yourself. Seriously leave the entourage at home. Your boss, your kid’s teacher, your ex, and the guy who sideswiped your car last week have their own turkey dinners to gobble up. If they want to drag you along to their party let ’em, but take a tip from the turkey and stuff your baggage.

2) A camera. Do not bring a phone, a tablet, a computer or any multi-tasking electronic thing. Bring an old fashioned camera, point it at people and remember why you are taking their picture. Hint: it is because you love them and want to remember them. Make them smile, catch them in a kiss, or capture the cook in the kitchen. Upload. Share. Feel good. You might even want to frame a real, honest-to-goodness print.

3) A covered dish. Who can resist a covered dish? The first thing people do is lift the top to see what’s inside. Your dish doesn’t have to be filled with food. Put something fun inside: wax lips from the party store, crayons and paper, candy, or cards.

4) Curiosity. Don’t just nod to those friends and relatives you see once a year before making a beeline for the couch. Ask everyone at least one question. You’ll be amazed how interested they will be in you when they know that you are interested in them. Caution: trying this on teenagers can be tough but hang in there. They speak eventually.

5) Gratitude. Don’t  serve it up like lumpy gravy, just take a second and acknowledge your good fortune. Come on, there will be at least one thing to be grateful for and you’ll probably think of a baker’s dozen once you get started. I venture to say that someone around the table might just be putting you on their gratitude list too – especially if you take a nice picture of them.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving and let me know what you decide to put in that covered dish.



Albanian Diaries 2: My Shqip (ship) Has Come In

UnknownAlbania has a unique and intricate language. Shqip (ship) has umlauts above and below letters, curlicues, little tiny arrows pointing upward and an elegantly, maddening way of stringing consonants together that make it impossible for my tongue to wrap around anything other than three words: falemenderit (thank you), po (yes), and shu mire (very good). I don’t count tualet because that’s pretty much the same in any language.

They say language is like math and music and that might account for my limitations. I can’t balance my checkbook and you don’t want to hear me sing. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Sign language. A smile. A shrug. Of course we can communicate with one another even if we don’t speak the same language. Take, for instance, my encounter with the bryek man

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