Saturday, November 12, 2016

Yummy Apple Butter

Ah, apple butter....... I took for granted how it was made until I got involved this year.  The Ruritan Club of Singers Glen makes apple butter every year as a money-maker to fund their many service projects.  

30 bushels of apples

Ruritan members and others helping to cut the apples (I was on the other side of the circle!)

Some "machines" to make the work faster (Don't know if it did or not!)

Washing the apples.

Apples cooking.

Running apples through sieve

Preparing jars

Lots of stirring

Sugar and spice

It's ready!

Sterilizing jars in steam table

Filling jars with funnel made by Leonard Hollar, operated by his son, Hunter Hollar

Sealing and labeling jars

The label

514 quarts of homemade apple butter. 

 Wouldn't you like to buy some? It's so good that I could just get a spoon and eat it!  

It was great to be a part of this worthwhile yearly project!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Day Dinner

The Donovan Memorial United Methodist Church ( ), my home church in Singers Glen, Virginia, has held an Election Day Meal since about 1945. 

This is always an outstanding meal with oysters, turkey, country ham and ALL the trimmings followed by many, many choices of homemade pies..........MMmmmm...good!

I was a pie-cutter this year and was "plumb wore out" but really enjoyed the fellowship with Gayle Davis, the head pie-cutter, other workers, and guests.

Juanita McMullen has served the oysters for over 50 years.  I think it's longer than that but she is modest.  When you come to the Election Day Dinner you KNOW Juanita is going to be serving the oysters!
We sold approximately 160 meals but I don't know how much profit there was.  The important thing, besides a delicious meal, is the teamwork that happens to continue with the various missions and projects of the church.

It is a privilege for me to be a part of such a tradition and work with people who have known me since I was born.... and I have known them and treasure knowing them.  

p.s.  I had a few more photos but have filed them in "a safe place."  If I find them, I'll add them to this post.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My Brain Surgery is Behind Me!

Praise the Lord!!  The surgery to correct the trigeminal neuralgia is behind me.

They had said I'd be in the University of Virginia hospital (about 65 miles from home) for a couple of days and after that I would go home.  I was there for 4 days but when they discovered I live alone, things seemed to change.  I came to a rehab facility here in the Shenandoah Valley, which I chose so I would be nearer home.
VMRC (Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community) turned out to be a wonderful choice.  I was there for 18 days and realize I needed the therapy, especially to work on my balance and stamina.  A therapist had to come check my house to be sure it would meet Medicare's standards for safety before they could send me home.  By that time, I had worked hard in therapy and was relieved I didn't need home therapy or outpatient therapy.

I asked the surgeon for more information about how the surgery was done.  There were two surgeons and they started with loupes like jewelers use.  Then they switched to microscopes.  That's when they inserted the Teflon pad to stop the friction between the nerve and blood vessel.  
The faint circle shape towards the bottom of the incision is where they used a 1" drill to drill  through my skull.  Afterwards, they covered the hole with a titanium plate and used screws to hold it in place.  I do wonder if I'll set off the alarms at the airport security lines!

At first it scared me because I was still having some face pain.  The doctor at rehab explained that the nerves in my face have been attacked and beat up for three years.  It takes a while for nerves to calm down and recuperate so I must not panic.  He was right - I've been over a week without a pain pill.  

Now I can get on with my life without living in fear of an attack coming at any time, plus I don't have to take all the medications that caused me such dizziness.  I do think the surgery was a success! 

This is all so mind-boggling to me! (Pun intended!)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Brain Surgery is Soon

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) appeared on my face three years ago, affecting the nerve that comes from just above my ear and branches in to 3 nerves onto the left side of my face.  An attack feels like an open electric cord is touching my face.  I never know when it is going to strike or how long it may go on.  The pain is so intense that it is called "The Suicide Disease."

An MRI was sent to UVA (University of Virginia) and reviewed by a panel who then sent it on to specialists.  The MRI shows that a nerve and a blood vessel are crossing and rubbing against each other.  In order to correct this,  I will be having brain surgery on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.   

Yes, you read correctly.........brain surgery!!!!!  Am I scared?  You'd better believe I am!  They will drill a one-inch hole through my skull behind my ear.  Then, using micro probes, they will go in and insert a piece of Teflon between the blood vessel and the nerve to stop the rubbing.  They will then put a titanium plate over the hole.

Does this indicate to you how bad the pain from the TN is?  Letting someone drill a hole in my skull!!!

The result?  I will get out from under these ever threatening pain attacks.  AND I will be able to stop the 3 prescriptions (with their numerous side effects) used to avoid and treat attacks.

I would appreciate your prayers as I go through this Microvascular Decompression Surgery in trying to escape this Trigeminal Neuralgia pain.  Pray for the surgery process to go well, for speedy recovery, and that this will end my TN pain.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The County Fair with Levi

It's been awhile since I've posted anything on my blog.  That's because I've been busy "living." 

My 26-year-old nephew, Levi, had invited me to the Rockingham County Fair.  I declined during the afternoon for no other reason than that I had an attack of laziness.  Maribeth, my sister-in-law, laid on the guilt by texting,  "You turned down a date with my boy?  Bad girl!"  I replied that I hoped he would give me a rain check.  He texted,  "Rain check will not be granted."  Even though I knew he was kidding, I decided to get moving and I'm glad I did!

A first for Levi was a tractor pull.  Although we didn't really understand how this modern version works, we enjoyed watching it for a while.

Levi decided that Aunt Mary should go on a ride.  I was finally talked into the ferris wheel.  That seemed pretty tame until he moved to my side for that ever-famous selfie!  That look in my eyes would be called FEAR!
Fear on the Ferris Wheel!      
It's obvious that I am easy to persuade.....  After the ferris wheel, Levi decided that I simply MUST go on one more ride because he had tickets left.  I looked around, frantically trying to choose the tamest one.
More Fear.  I checked to be sure the emergency squad was nearby.
Yes, it was scary but I was slightly reassured when we got on the second row and these metal seat belts/bars were locked in by the operator.  After the initial drop, it was bearable.  As we got off, I was relieved to know that Levi was out of tickets.  I also knew why he wanted to do the rides BEFORE we ate!!!

One big reason Levi wanted to go to the fair was for funnel cake.  I had told him that I only wanted a taste of his but I was glad I got one of my own! It was one of those:   "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may diet!" evenings.
A Sinful Supper
I'm glad I fought the lazy feeling and went to the fair.  Levi, thank you for challenging your aunt and thanks for a delightful evening!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fun But Not Frivolous

Partying and playing seem to be what I notice as I view many of my blog posts.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg of what these events are really about.

The people of Savanna Club Community give to and support a variety of different charities

For example, our Women's Club has over 300 members and we donate thousands of dollars.  We especially like to support local charities, including anything from cancer, to Boys and Girls Club,  to the local food bank, to Toys for Tots (and a program like it), to shelters for battered women, to the blind, to veterans, and many, many  more.

This giving makes our "fun" have a purpose that is worthwhile.  When people work together they can make great accomplishments.  

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lovely Luau

When it was announced that our next Women's Club activity was going to be a luau, I inwardly groaned because at my age, a swim suit isn't my favorite garment to wear.  But this luau was different. The theater (there are over 300 members in the Women's Club) was beautifully decorated, the food was great and the activities and entertainment were top-notch.  

The appetizer table featured a tree made of pineapples and other fruit.
(Wish I had taken a photo of the fruit appetizers added to the table.)
The monkeys were made of various fruits and were especially clever.
Once again Wendy MacArthur and Judy Pagenkop's creative skills brought joy to everyone.
I had the fun job of giving out the leis and our dancer greeted and took tickets.
 The room was beautifully decorated and made even better 
with the rich, cheerful colors of the mumus.
I had a tropical dress so wore it instead of a mumu.
They had a mumu parade and awarded prizes.  
Marcia Tarantino and Signe Lincioni won for most creative.
The Women's Club president, Linda Houlihan, ran the meeting.  
Most all of our events are fundraisers for local charities.
Our professional dancer added yet another thread of authenticity.  She danced the hulu and other types of dances.
One great advantage of decorating and planning for a group of ladies is that every detail is noticed, admired, and appreciated.  Men - not so much....!
All in all, it was a perfectly lovely luau! Aloha!

I shall try my skills to see if I can post this 34 second video.  It takes a little time to download and stopped a time or two but finally continued.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Advent Bible Study

I wanted to share with you this wonderful Bible study we did before Christmas called, "Awaiting the Already" by Magrey R. deVega. 
The introduction had an illustration that was helpful for me:
The author went on a wild and wet roller coaster ride with his daughters.  He didn't want to get his camera wet so bought a throw-away camera.  

When he got home, he had to search to find a place to get the pictures developed.  He waited impatiently and when they were finally ready, he enjoyed being able to re-live the fun of the ride through the pictures.

So it is that we can study the birth of Christ every year and re-experience this joy.
**Matthew wants us to slow down to confront this hurting world, looking for Jesus, who is already here. 
**Mark wants us to trust God - slow down, turn around, and prepare the way for Jesus. 
**Luke would want us to sing of the power of this good news.

** John would want us to see the light in the midst of our darkness and become a gift for others.

I thank Rita for opening her home on Monday evenings, for being our leader, and for including me in this special group. 
Rita Cole, Her daughter: Rita Etherington, Carol Shnayer, Pat Necklen, MaryMay Angelil, Rich Necklen, Jeanette Owens, Alan Etherington.  Unable to be with us that last night:  Doug Owens, Sarah and Len Green, Donna and Stephan Lambert, Rich Lambert, Elaine Draus
It is always a blessing to share and learn with others who are striving to live our lives in a Christian way.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our Circle Celebrity

The UMW (United Methodist Women) in a church is divided into small groups called Circles.  We meet monthly to study, fellowship, and serve.  My Circle in Florida has about 15 members..... or shall I saw it used to have 15 members.  Our group has welcomed a new member and her name is Honey.  She is our Circle Celebrity!

Let's go back to the beginning. Gail, Honey, and her husband, Art, sat near me in church.  Gail always had her little service dog with her.  Naturally, people were abuzz wondering why she had the dog but no one would ask.  I had chatted with Gail several times.

After a few weeks, I gently and quietly (but boldly) said,  "If I may ask, why do you have Honey?"  Gail responded enthusiastically and that opened the door to a new friendship and a lot of fascinating information.  A simplified version is that Gail has very severe asthma attacks.  Honey can sense when one is coming on before Gail has a clue.  She lets Gail know so she can grab her inhaler.  

I invited Gail to our Circle.  She said she thought people would feel uncomfortable with her bringing Honey.  Our leader discussed it with the group ahead of time and, as I thought, there was no problem. 

It worked out that Gail's first meeting was our Christmas Potluck luncheon at a member's home. Gail introduced herself and Honey and held everyone's full attention.  She told us all about how they discovered that Honey could do this and the red tape she and her doctor went through to get her certified.
We learned that a Service Dog is working and should not be petted, although Gail is very patient with people who don't know that and want to pet her.  When in public, Honey wears the Service Dog vest and ID tags.  There have been a few incidents in restaurants that were cleared up because Gail always carries her paperwork. 
The one time Honey's attire varies is Sunday mornings and we are always eager to see what "Sunday dress" she will be wearing that day.  
 Art, Gail, and Honey Whitmarsh 
Honey's Easter dress
One of our Circle members proudly informed the Women's Executive Board that we are the first Circle to have a dog as a member..... our very own Circle Celebrity! 

p.s.  Honey has never made a peep in church in the two years I've known her.  But I saw her "non-working" side when I went to Gail's house.  She is barking and chasing the cat like any normal, frisky little dog!   

Honey is a poodle but Gail doesn't have her groomed with the traditional cut.