The news is not really good…

…but I expect it could have been worse.

Today, during my doctor’s appointment, I received the results of the MRI I had on 20DEC2013, and I truly wish I could have skipped this one!

Getting off the bus, the Park Tower Apartments across Sheridan Road looked like this…

...and yes, it was raining!

…and yes, it was raining!

My windows finally began to thaw a bit a few days ago, as the temperatures warmed…

Icy Window-1

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…but venturing out in today’s quite heavy rain was not on MY agenda!

The MRI concluded that my back pain and leg cramping are caused by severe spinal stenosis in the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae.

Spinal stenosis is, according to Wikipedia, “…an abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal that may occur in any of the regions of the spine.

My wonderful doctor stated he would not prescribe physical therapy, which he knows from experience does not help with a ‘severe’ diagnosis, and thus referred me to a neurosurgeon, with whom I will make an appointment on Monday.

Lower back surgery is the only option–and I do NOT look forward to that–but I’ll know more after the appointment, when Dr. “L” has evaluated the DVD of the MRI.

Kind of scary, huh?

But…if it relieves me of the intense pain of the cramping, and restores my ability to walk, I’ll certainly end up being ‘one happy camper’!

Any surgery, however, comes with its own set of problems for me, due to the fact I am on ‘lifetime’ Coumadin , the blood thinner.

Many precautions will have to be taken, and I perceive I’ll be relegated to giving myself shots of Lovenox for a number of days both before and after the surgery–which means lots of black, blue, green yellow and purple splotches on my tummy!

I spent almost two hours in the doctor’s office, then ‘glided’ over a number of icy spots to the bus stop, which looked like this:

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In all this mess, I also had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up an Rx to help reduce the inflammation in my lower back.

Walking the long block from the bus stop looked like this…

...water and deep puddles everywhere!

…water and deep puddles everywhere!

My waterproof Totes boots FAILED–but only after having to wade through eight or nine slushy, mucky, three and four-inch deep, huge puddles!

When I arrived home (finally!), I put yesterday’s leftover chicken/chili into a pot, and stripped off soaking wet boots, socks, pants and jacket very quickly!

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One good thing occurred this week!

My newest neighbor was having difficulty with his printer (he is 75 and not terribly tech-savvy), so I offered to take a look at it (our computer guy was closed that day due to the extreme cold, which basically shut down the city of Chicago for two days).

I didn’t fix his printer (turned out is was the USB cord, and not a problem with the printer itself), but I did clean up his desktop quite a bit, and introduced him to hulu.com.

He has since watched all the episodes of “Jeeves and Wooster” (though born here, he returned to his father’s homeland, Britain, when he was still a baby).

When I returned home from shopping on Wednesday afternoon, a bouquet of white carnations was propped against my door!

My neighbor stopped by shortly thereafter, to tell me they were a ‘thank you’ gift from him–as if I wouldn’t have already known that!

Here they are, Photoshopped and treated with the Diffuse Glow filter:

I must say, their perfume is marvelous--a little bit of early Summer in the beginning of an icy January!

I must say, their perfume is marvelous–a little bit of early Summer in the beginning of an icy January!

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Arrangements…

…in the key of Winter.

Here are the originals, straight from the camera, as taken last Friday at the entrance of The Breakers on Sheridan Road, where my doctor’s office is located.

The lighting is sodium vapor, which does nothing for the colors–so I knew this would be a fun project!

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After taking a good, long look at them, I began by flipping a few, then processing in Photoshop (TM) and giving them a final touch of the Diffuse filter, using pure white as the Background color.

Hope you like the results!

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What better way could there be to spend a ‘freezy-beezy’ afternoon?

Ornamental Cabbage…

…is quite beauteous in autumnal floral displays, don’t you think?

Orn Cabbage-WM

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It seems to become an even more attractive plant when it is combined with another delightful Autumn tradition: the simple, yet always gorgeous, Chrysanthemum!

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-2-WM

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-1-WM

NOTE:  The above images were processed in Photoshop (TM) utilizing the Watercolor filter overlaid with the Diffuse Glow filter (using pure white as the glow color).

Fit for a…

DOCTOR!

During my last appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I was again baking bread, and made a ‘mean Challah‘.

He is Jewish, and quickly retorted, “I LOVE Challah!!!”

Well, yesterday was a warm, dry day–perfect bread-baking weather, and as his birthday was two weeks ago, I decided to give him a belated birthday gift!

And, I did–with these!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they're not the greatest!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they’re not the greatest!  But he was impressed, and thanked me twice!

 

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor. The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans--I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month! She dove right in, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor.
The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans–I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month!
She dove right into the loaf, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

Of course, I had my camera, and took advantage of the lovely small Hibiscus in the center planting of the circular drive of the building, which I processed today and turned into Watercolors!

Small Red Hibiscus-1 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-2 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-3 Watercolor

N.B.:  I am so behind in viewing blogs I follow, so I ask you to please excuse my tardiness.

The breads were kneaded by hand, and required three risings, so a lot of time was spent on that, which is very hard on the fingers.

I found that by 7:00 last night, I had no energy left to do much of anything, and typing became very painful…so I’ll get to your blogs ‘little by little, bit by bit’–thanks!!!

A promise made…

…is a promise kept.

I have no idea who the author of that quote might be, but I made a promise the other day to a very shy little girl named Ellen and her mom:

If I was allowed to photograph Ellen’s favorite toy, I would post the photo on my blog.

Here he is…ISAAC, the bunny!

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Cute, isn’t he?  Isaac looks well-loved, too!

Mom told me the story of how Isaac got his name:

It seems Ellen, who’s probably three years old, was watching a video of a Bible story one day and found that “Isaac” means “laughter”, so she named her bunny accordingly.

Isaac sure brings a smile to my face…how about yours?

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Since this was post #1,100, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and the 1,099 posts which came before!

Under the white sky

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

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Reflection of a n apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

Reflection of an apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

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Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

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Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog. In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago's third tallest building at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog.
In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago’s third tallest building–at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

Though Spring is late…

…and yesterday’s weather was horrid, I did find some cheer as I headed to my doctor’s appointment!

DAFFODILS!!!

DAFFODILS!!!

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A small variety, but they certainly lifted my spirits on a very cold, rainy day!

A small variety, but they certainly lifted my spirits on a very cold, rainy day!