Thursday, March 21, 2019

a sort of discombobulated month

March is a fickle month in northern Illinois. We could have temperatures in the 30's or 70's, rain or snow, endless cloudy days or plenty of sunshine (more unlikely). Signs of spring have finally started here. Daffodils and lilies are poking out of the ground and red-wing blackbirds and Big Fat Juicy Robins have returned. When Zippo was alive, he loved watching the robins out the window. I always told him they were "Big Fat Juicy Robins" when he was staring out the window at them and swishing his tail. I miss him so much. Chipmunks have come out of hibernation too, and are once again running around under the bird feeder, hoping to find fallen seeds.

 Every March, as I scan the ground for signs of green and the flash of the orange breast of robins hopping around, I feel as excited as a little kid seeing the ice cream truck coming down the road. 

Another sign of spring in this area: fruit trees appearing at the big box stores. The outdoor garden center was being set up with the metal display stands and piles of top soil and mulch. That means the pansies will be coming soon. I can't wait to have a pot of their cheery yellow and purple goodness on my front porch again.

Spring projects have started around the house, as well. We hired a neighborhood painter to paint what was Tim's bedroom and the hallway bathroom. We chose the same pale cream color for Tim's bedroom as our kitchen. We really liked the current color of our bathroom, but we couldn't find the old paint can with the name of the color on it. I was ready for a slight change in that room anyway, so after looking at a lot of gray paint swatches, we chose Flannel Gray by Behr. It was a little too dark, so we had the shade reduced by 25%.

Here's the hallway bathroom "before". It's a small room, so not easy to photograph. The brown trim near the ceiling will be painted white. The only reason we're having this room painted in the first place is because the paint was bubbling and peeling. The previous painter used an eggshell finish, which obviously did not stand up to all the moisture in the bathroom. This new painter is using a semi-gloss finish.

I hate having my house in disarray ~ everything from the bathroom and Tim's room is now in My Space (what was Phil's bedroom) and the basement. It didn't seem like there was much in either room, but when you start dismantling a room down to nothing, there's always more stuff than you think. Even the toilet tank is in My Space. It's also very unnerving to me to have a stranger in my house. With having a small house, there's really nowhere for me to "hide" except the kitchen. I guess I could hide out in the basement family room, but I don't like hanging out down there. It's rather dungeon-like. At least in the kitchen, I can be busy making food or using the kitchen table as my office space. Today I made a french potato salad (the recipe can be found here, though I also add a little fresh lemon juice and capers) and Energy Balls.

Back to the painter and it being unnerving having him in the house....he plays sports radio loudly the entire time, which tends to drive me up the wall. I know it could be a lot worse. It could be music I can't stand. I also know that this soon shall pass. And then I get to decide on the fun decorating stuff. Do I want the same sort of shelves going back on the bathroom wall, or something a little different? Perhaps I'll choose hooks for towels on the opposite wall (not shown) instead of a towel bar. As for Tim's room, we still need to decide on a twin or daybed, a rug, curtains and wall art. The room will be a combination guest/nap/TV room and Brian's office space.

Meanwhile, I've done little things to lighten up the house for spring. I've changed out the heavy throws for lighter ones and added pops of yellow for spring delight. All Clementine approved.

I just got a new piece of artwork. Isn't this a beautiful print? I love owls. I never knew this acquaintance of mine was artistic until she started posting photos of her work on Facebook. I was blown away. Lydia sells her work on Society6, if you're interested. Besides owls, she paints moose, flamingos, otters, elephants, ducks, pigs, etc. You can order the prints as wall art, note cards, cushions, bags, apparel, clocks...Society6 will print on basically anything.

I hung the print in my living room entryway for now. Who knows, I might put it somewhere else later. I'm known for changing things around. I also moved a white lamp to the corner to lighten it up for spring. Previously I had a tall silver metallic vase with willow springs and light stalks in it. It was great for winter, but I was in the mood for something lighter.

In other news ~ in my last post, I mentioned my battle with back, hip and buttock pain. It's been on and off since then...but a few days ago, sciatica really set in and I was in so much pain Tuesday night, that I was crying out in pain with every step I took. I could barely walk. I was holding onto furniture and the walls. I didn't sleep most of the night because the pain was keeping me awake. I went to my Primary Care Physician yesterday, even though I knew there wasn't much she could do except prescribe drugs and physical therapy and/or send me for x-rays or a MRI. I was feeling a little better thanks to ibuprofen, but I don't want to rely on that either. She wanted me to go on a Medrol pack (steroids), but I told her I wasn't willing to do that unless it was a last resort. Steroids won't cure sciatica. They simply "put a Band-aid on the problem". Steroids have way too many horrible side effects, including insomnia. I'm not willing to go there right now, trading one problem for another. And then the pain comes back as soon as the steroids wear off, so why bother?

She did send me for a lumbar spine x-ray, which again, I feel is basically useless because all it's going to show is arthritis. It won't show herniated discs or spinal stenosis like a MRI would. I had a MRI on my back about 10 years ago and at the time, that showed three herniated disks. So I don't know if one of them is now worse or if I have a new one...or maybe I do have arthritis or spinal stenosis or God-only-knows what else. 

The doctor did write a three week prescription for physical therapy, which I'm going to consider. I'm also looking into acupuncture. Our insurance doesn't cover it and it's a little pricey, but perhaps a few sessions would help relieve the pain. Oh - and I also want to mention that I'm regularly taking CBD oil except that I upped my normal dosage and that is helping relieve the pain and inflammation, too. All-natural and no side effects like NSAIDs.

How is the month of March going for you?


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your back, that is terrible. It's so debilitating. I hope you get some relief soon. The bathroom sounds cool, but I'm like the changes, not the process. I hope you get to the fun stuff quick! Feel better!

  2. Melanie, I'm so sorry to hear that your sciatica is worse! There has to be help for you somewhere. You are so smart to look at the big picture and insist on something that can do more than temporarily relieve the symptoms. Please keep us up to date on what happens next. And be careful when redecorating after the painter leaves! I hate the disruption of it too but paint makes such a difference.

    I've written down the CBD oil as I keep hearing people talk about it. I wonder if it would help RH's arthritis? I must learn more about it.

    I love your description of these early spring signs and I know how much you must miss your darling Zippo. I could just picture him watching the birds and his tail switching.

    Our chipmunks still haven't come out of hibernation yet. Isn't that strange that yours have, so far north of us? I miss them. You take care of yourself, Melanie. I hope things get better there for you soon.

  3. I'm with you! I hate having a house in disorder-but--when you know it will soon be over and the workers will be GONE--it is tolerable.
    I am sorry you have so much pain. I am on an anti-inflammatory and prednisone. I didn't have much choice-nothing else works-otherwise, I can't move. I hope this flare will subside and I can get back to being pain free/no drugs. I hate taking anything- including Tylenol....but---it is what it is.

    That owl painting is just as cute as can be---my mother loved owls and had quite a collection of them.

    I hope you have a good night and that your pain is less now than when you wrote this. xo Diana

  4. Sending you a big hug on your first spring without Zippo. I feel like he sent those big juicy Robin's to you a little earlier than normal this year. :)

    I love that bathroom and the flooring. Where did you get it? I need to redo the floors in our upstairs bathrooms and have been putting it off for almost a year.

    I am sorry you are struggling with pain. I did both physical therapy and acupuncture for my migraines. PT was amazing and really helped but I didn't feel a difference with the acupuncture BUT everyone is different.

    Sending you a big hug!

  5. Melanie, I'm so sorry to hear your pain has gotten worse. It is so hard to find a middle ground between the pain and medicines that don't do more harm. I made the trip to Calif and back and walked a lovely Japanese garden where my daughter got married without too much pain. I rested a lot before going and have spent several days resting after also. Hoping you feel better as Spring is going to make us all want to get out and roam! Hugs.

  6. How awful about your back Melanie - have you tried a teeter hang up? My sweetie hangs on his every morning, and after any strenuous tasks around the house, and it really helps him a ton. It stretches out your back, relieving the pressure on your discs. You may want to look into it!

  7. Praying that your pain lessens. Interesting to hear about the oil. Others I know are using it also. Natural is oh so much better than prescription meds.

    Enjoy your new bathroom paint color and decorating in there.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  8. Love your spring touches around the house and little Clementine looks so cute and content.
    Sorry to hear about your sciatica flare-up. My husband has been dealing with it since we moved. He will be starting physical therapy soon. We are like you in wanting to make drugs a last resort. I hope you find relief soon. In the meantime you will be in my thoughts.

  9. Melanie, I am so sorry to hear about your back pain getting even worse than before. You are in my prayers. I know, I hate how doctors prescribe medicines that don't help, but only mask the pain or trade one symptom for another. It seems to be an on going practice anymore.
    Have fun decorating your new rooms . . . I loved the line you wrote about Spring, "I feel as excited as a little kid seeing the ice cream truck coming down the road." That describes it perfectly.
    Be happy and get well, sweet friend.
    Connie :)

  10. I have had that back pain three separate times in my life. It is like a painful electric shock running down your leg. I seriously suggest acupuncture, it is expensive but it works. I ended up having to have injections in my back after I could not make it go away for 5 months, it was brutal. They helped and I can manage it for the most part now. I rehabbed it myself by doing the TTapp workout, it was the best thing I did next to the injections. Good luck, I am thinking of you.


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