Monday, April 3, 2017

monday night chat

I started this post by uploading some photos this morning, but severe back pain hit and I wasn't able to write until now - nighttime. More on that later in the post.
Wow, did I ever have a great weekend! My sister and brother-in-law invited Brian and I to a Blackhawk's game. Brian and I have never been to a live Blackhawk's game. We had a blast. I was a little worried ahead of time about my knee, with all the walking and going up and down the stairs in the stadium, but I did fine.

I love hockey. It's the only sport I enjoy watching. Must be the Canadian in me. My dad was Canadian...and I was born in Canada, though we moved to the States when I was three months old. My dad was a semi-pro hockey player back in Canada, and when I was growing up, he coached kid's hockey games (I went to a lot of these games with him) and he also took me and my sister ice-skating on a huge pond every winter. 

Brian and I spent the day in Evanston on Saturday. It's one of our little day trip go-to places. While browsing in Stumble and Relish, I was eyeballing these handmade earrings. I thought they were pretty cool and I love handmade jewelry, especially by local artists. Brian asked if I wanted them and I told him I wasn't sure; that I'd think about it. He insisted on buying them for me. :-) 

Of course, a trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without a stop at our favorite antique store, Secret Treasures. I brought home this vintage pottery planter, which was only $6. Not sure who the maker is - it's only marked USA on the bottom. Now I just need to buy a little succulent to put in the planter to make it complete.

We decided to try a new-to-us restaurant for lunch and at the suggestion of a store clerk, went to a casual Mexican place.

Brian's tacos look good, right? He said they were...though I was a little disappointed in my fish tacos. It was one piece of fried fish, almost like a fish stick. And there was a sauce in a little jar on my plate that went on the tacos. The waiter neglected to warn me that the sauce was very spicy. My mouth and lips were on fire! I also had a "real" guava margarita (not made from a mix) but was in a very small glass that was filled with mostly ice. Needless to say, in general we were disappointed with this place and won't be going back.

 We also visited one of our favorite independent bookstores, Bookends and Beginnings where we purchased a couple of used books and also had a nice chat with the owner. I didn't take any new photos, but here's one from a previous visit. This is the cookbook section - they have a fabulous selection.

No photos, but on the way home we stopped at a Mediterranean grocery store and picked up fresh pita bread, hummus, baba ganoush, dolma, and a block of paneer cheese so I can try and make one of my favorite Indian dishes, Palak Paneer. It's basically cubed cheese in a spicy spinach sauce. A few miles up the road, we hit a Jewish deli for corned beef, pastrami, tuna salad, chive cream cheese ("schmear"), and bagels. One good thing about living in the Chicago area, is that we have access to just about any kind of ethnic food we desire. A foodie's heaven!

 We stayed home on Sunday and got a lot done around the house. At one point, we were outside picking up some of the twigs and branches that have fallen into our yard from all the storms and when I bent over, there went my back. I immediately started having horrible back spasms. I wasn't totally surprised. I had noticed a couple of times since my knee surgery, when getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, my lower back would lock up on me for a moment and have one of those spasms.

This morning, my back was in slight pain and I'd get those spasms if I made a sudden movement or bent over even in the slightest bit. I took a slow, gentle walk to the channel down the road. The fresh air and movement felt good, even though it was - surprise - another gloomy day with rain moving in.

 When I got home, I took a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil, then did some gentle stretches. I was feeling better until this afternoon, and then the pain started getting worse. I normally don't take ibuprofen, but by 3:30, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to take something. That only took the edge off the pain for a couple of hours. The pain and spasms got bad again. I spent a lot of time with the heating pad on my back, which felt really good.

 I Googled about pulled muscles in the back + remedies and one thing I read said to try using a tennis ball. So I took a tennis ball and put it between my lower back and the wall and moved around to try and get some of the tight muscles loosened up. Guess what - it worked! I'm not pain free by any means, but it helped a lot. I'm supposed to be going to physical therapy tomorrow, but I don't know if I'll be able to. I'm pretty bummed about that possibility. I was making good progress with my knee in PT and was halfway through. If I miss a session or two, I'll be going backwards. 

 (my clematis coming to life!)

And now it's time to feed the cats and get ready for bed. 
Here's to a better tomorrow.


  1. Bless your heart . . . sounds like you are having lows and highs. Here's to better days with no pain. I think it is great that you are not letting it stop you from getting out and enjoying life. The two of you are just the cutest couple . . . isn't love wonderful :)

  2. Even though you didn't like it, I am now hungry for tacos at 7 am so thank you for that. ;)

    Also, after spending a week in Florida, I do not know why we all live in gloomy Illinois. I think we all should plan a mass exodus.

  3. Oh I know how much it hurts when you pull your back. With your knee surgery you are probably favoring one side when you walk. I hurt mine back when I was watching Scout and picking her up on my right side all the time, I pulled my left side. PAIN! I haven't seen hockey since I moved out of the New England area. It is an exciting game for sure. Love your little bird planter, I have a few that look a bit like that and also just marked USA. Rest and get better soon. Hugs!

  4. I've only seen a couple of hockey games, but I think it is THE most exciting sport to watch live. The photo of the bookstore made my heart skip a beat. So sorry about your back. I'll have to remember the tennis ball trick the next time mine gives me trouble. Feel better!

  5. You mention the tennis ball...what I do is very similar. When I do yoga stretching twice per day (first thing in the morning and before my shower in the evening), I use a tightly rolled towel underneath my back. I start at the top and I move and roll down my back all the way to my hips. It works out the kinks. Is the spasm sciatica?

  6. Sorry to hear that all is not well with your back, I hope that it is improving by now. Your new earrings are so pretty, what a lovely husband you have!

  7. Ha! Who were the Blackhawks playing, the Leafs or the Canadiens? Who won?

    I guess part of trying out new restaurants is the risk of it not being up to our standards. It's great that you have such a variety of ethnic food shops in your vicinity, though. Your new dish sounds very interesting.

    I will try that tennis ball remedy! Take care of yourself, Melanie.


  8. I am so sorry that you are having pain...your knee and your back, too. I hate it when people have to suffer for any reason.
    Love the earrings and how nice of hubby to know you liked them enough to buy them.
    Glad you were able to go to a game. I have never followed hockey but do watch football here...the whole town is football crazy here.
    My friend that had her surgery uses the tennis ball, too.
    Hope you have a good night- xo Diana

  9. My hubby gets back spasms, so I'll have to remember the tennis ball remedy next time it happens. I hope you were able to go to your therapy session!

    Sounds like you had a fun time at the hockey game. I love all the music and people watching at games, but I don't pay much attention to the actual game.

    Have fun in your kitchen creating your new dish!

  10. My PT person has me using tennis balls too so I'm a believer. But I'm so sorry you've had this setback, hope it's better now. What a fun weekend you had! So good for you after being housebound a while. That's fascinating about your family hockey history. I have never been to a game but everyone says that even if you don't follow it, going to a game in person is so exciting.

    I love the earrings and the sweet little bird planter. I always thought that USA pottery was part of McCoy? And I'd have loved to have been in that bookstore, could have stayed all day. Melanie, your love of ethnic food inspires me to branch out a little in my choices. One son did take me one day to a Korean restaurant and I loved what I had there.

    Good luck to you in your PT sessions when you get back to them!

  11. Oh you poor thing, that's awful! My back went out on me once, it was terrible pain!!! Here's hoping for a speedy recovery!

  12. As one of your other commenters said, you have probably been favoring one side of your back with your knee problems. I suffered a lot of back pain when before I had my knee replacement. Another thing for me was somehow the knee pain seemed to bounce up into my back with each step! I get back spasms up at my left "chicken wing", and they torture me for several days before easing up. I use ice and tylenol mostly, but I should get back out the tennis ball I bought for just such an occasion!


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