I hope you are all well-fed and rested from yesterday. This is my annual Black Friday wish list for holiday giving. Now, I know this has been a very bad economic year for us. If you can, consider sending a check or donating your time to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, Women Empowered, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the Boys and Girls Club or Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts of America. I’m sure you have your own particular favorites. Thank you and God bless you all.

I crossed the big water Sunday and headed to my Old Country. Beautiful travel day, not much traffic. I saw lots of you on the boat heading off for your Thanksgiving pursuits. I had been warned by some of my Connecticut friends, but finally saw it for myself. I cannot believe I’m sentimental about a McDonald’s, but the stopping point for me halfway to Nonna’s was always exit 93 in Connecticut and the McDonald’s there. I have been stopping there since before my 27-year-old child was born. I have outlived several dogs who traveled with me, wrinkled their noses as we approached exit 93 either going North or coming South, and waited to be released from the car for their walk on the hill at the side of the restaurant. Apparently, it went out of business. Not only that, it has been demolished! I walked my dogs at the gas station just below, but they strained on their leashes, desperate to get back to their favorite spot. I hate change.

Just before I left the Island I managed to visit briefly with Martha Dunham. Martha is back for the holidays but has been visiting her sisters in western Massachusetts. And I am sorry I am going to miss seeing Ashley Willoughby, Alex Roan and many of my favorite former students who are returning from their colleges.

Nonna had an incident a few weeks ago that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She pushed her MedicAlert and was taken to White Plains hospital. Four days later they decided she needed some rehab and sent her to the United Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in New Rochelle. During this time Hurricane Sandy hit New York hard, followed by a gale that brought snow and felled trees to our ’hood. Her house and many neighbors had no electricity for over a week. Some of her neighbors’ roofs blew off — fortunately, not hers. The rehab had generators, so all clients were well-lit and warm. I cannot thank the group who cared for my mother enough. During the time of the storms my back was out and I could not walk very well or drive, so to know she was safe and well-taken care of meant a great deal. She left rehab on Monday and we are already up to our usual activities: Thanksgiving with family and looking forward to the visit from Florida of The Other Nancy Gardella and her son Jonathan.

Unfortunately, I shall miss a great program offered for free at our library on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. Veronica Modini of TRI will tutor you in getting grants for homeowners’ assistance, repairing septic systems, roof installation, plumbing problems, new doors or windows and so on. Veronica will help you fill out the forms to get your house back in shape. Please take notes for me.

Our Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network presents a free networking night on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Edgartown Meat and Fish Market. Owners Sean and Erin offer complimentary hors d’ouevres, wine tasting and a Starbucks coffee blend. Bring your business cards. Ah, but tonight! If I could be on-Island I would make haste to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society theatre. A pre-concert will be presented before the movie on Much Ado About Music. The screening is tonight, visit for details. Tomorrow is the performance at the Old Whaling Church at 7:30 p.m., students are admitted free. I wish I could see you there.

Remember Handmade from the Heart needs donations for our Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The annual sale and party will be held at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House in Edgartown on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 508-693-0189 if you can help in any way.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Ryan Gorman and Derrick Alleyne today. Nov. 24 belongs to Shane Cleary and George Caros. Nov. 25 shines on Martha Dunham and Nicole Masi. Nov. 26 is for William Bishop, Anna Elizabeth Carlson and Kim Beal. Nov. 27 honors Heide Schwab and Fan Tuttle. Nov. 28 is a party for Aidan Gomez Blanco and Joey Tobin. And on Nov. 29 Laine Levandowski and Sister St. John Delany take the cake. Many happy returns.