Of Sweet Italians And Sweet Potatoes

11/25/2011 10:34 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

Imaginary phone conversation between two of my sisters-in-law this week:

SIL#1: "Should we let Theresa try to make sweet potato casserole again for Thanksgiving?"

SIL#2: "Have you LOST your ever-loving MIND?"

SIL#1: "Don't get sassy with me. I'm just trying to be nice."

SIL#2: "You can be nice. Foolish is another thing."

SIL#1: "OK, then, what can she bring?"

SIL#2: ".....containers for leftovers maybe?"

SIL#1: "Now you're making sense."

Dear readers, as I begin this holiday message to you, I am most thankful that I will not be taking anything to the extended Italian family Thanksgiving dinner that requires a previous trip through my oven.

Last year, in a fit of uncustomary domesticity, I leapt headlong into the preparation of a sweet potato casserole. A little too late, but how hard could this be? Baked the potatoes (gee, this is taking awhile), peeled them (gee, these things are hot), then flung them in a bowl and blended. Sweet potato on the ceiling! Sweet!

Threw potatoes and other stuff in a casserole dish. Oops, forgot to preheat! Time to go!

My family and I arrive, lots of kisses to and from the entire tribe. I love the big Italian family I married into. Our family holiday dinners are a big damn do, and those ladies can cook. So can I! Look! Here's a sweet potato casserole!

Oh yay, time to eat. We all line up to get our food from the buffet and sit down. My father-in-law, who is seated beside me, looks at his plate, looks at me, and spoons up, well, sweet potato soup with a forlorn miniature mushroom floating on top.

I look around, and everyone is looking at their plates as sweet potato soup floods their dinner.

OK, so I can't cook. I can't. I don't understand the properties of ingredients, as in baking powder vs baking soda vs flour.

Moral of the story: ALL of us have talents. None of us have ALL talents.

Due to my sweet, extended Italian family, I have 10 more pounds than I did last year. I am not thankful for that, but I am thankful for them. And here they are. (Not really. Made you look!)

I am thankful for my husband and my two boys. I'm very thankful as a woman to work--work that I'm engaged in with my whole mind and heart, whether consulting with the arts or producing films or designing jewelry. I don't think I could be successful as a wife or mother if I didn't work; it keeps me nice!

I'm thankful for those who love our collection and purchase it. Every day I get up and I love to put on my jewelry, pieces I designed. I can hardly believe this collection is only a year old! I'm amazed that people all over country are wearing it.

I'm also thankful for a Thanksgiving dinner we didn't get to eat. We have often traveled on this holiday. Once, we went to Saint John's and decided to have a Thanksgiving picnic at beautiful Cove Turtle Bay. My romantic Italian husband had even brought candles for the occasion. We laid out our gorgeous spread and almost immediately, a huge flock of seagulls swooped down and ate it. All of it.

We laughed until we cried.

Laughter, that's what I'm grateful for. And you.

And don't forget about the moral of the story!