Monday, December 7, 2009

That White Stuff Is Falling From The Sky

That white stuff is falling from the sky. It's all over everything...grass, trees, shrubbery, and of course the streets and sidewalks.
We had less than an inch on the ground when I left for work this morning. After backing out of the drive, I instinctively put my truck into 4WD. The street wasn't plowed or salted yet and was a little slick. But when I turned onto the main road at the end of my street, I didn't expect it to be worse than my side street. Even 4WD won't help you when you hit snow compacted on top of what I can only imagine was either black ice or freezing rain that fell before the snow. I wasn't going fast, since I had to stop at the stop sign, tires didn't slip when I started moving, but when I hit the road I started sliding sideways. Luckily there was unpacked snow between the tire tracks and I carefully maneuvered onto those to get some traction. It worked, and I stayed on that part of the road until I got to the next town, which was about a mile up the road. They had their roads nice and cleared, salted, and drivable without any difficulty. I guess that's one of the drawbacks about living in a "township" instead of a "town". The Counties are responsible for the roads in the township areas, not the individual towns, so that means the two-lane roads like the I had to drive on are considered secondary to the main 4 lane road that leads to the highways, shopping, schools, etc.
Such is life...and winter in the Midwest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Yes, I'm addicted to Farmville.
I will write more, but now I have to go tend my crops, milk my cows, brush my horses and reindeer, collect feathers from the turkeys and ducks, pet the cats, transform the ugly ducklings, collect truffles from the pigs, collect eggs from the chickens and turtle, sheer sheep, harvest my trees, plow and plant, and maybe I'll have some gifts from my friends and neighbors, who I always help out by raking leaves, scaring off pests, and fertilizing their crops. And they return the favor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mother Nature Gypped Us!

Here it is, October 16, it's been in the 40's all week, rain, and now a chance of snow. I am NOT ready for this! I'm still waiting for summer....where is it? Did it go to Florida? It certainly didnt come here. We had maybe a week of very warm weather, a few in the 90's, and very little in the line of storms that we normally get. I was hoping for a good thunderstorm, they always seem to clean the air and make everything so green. Can't remember more than one or two that made me sit up and take notice. Most of our summers, from about mid May to early August, have several good stormy days, a few severe ones, and unfortunately several tornadoes. This year there wasn't much of anything. Nothing memorable anyway, not in my area. We had some heavy rains tho, and most of our weather warnings were related to either flood watches, flood warnings, or heavy fog. Can't even remember hearing our sirens go off for storms. They go off more for the volunteer fire department than for storms. Come to think of it, they never did go off for anything weather related, at least not this year. We've been here since May so we have been in this house for what would be considered the entire summer storm season.
This can only mean one thing....WINTER IS GOING TO BE BRUTAL!!
Mother Nature is going to take out her wrath some way and I have a bad feeling that it's going to be in the line of snow ice and freezing temps. Oh joy, can't wait!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'm a Grandma...Again.......X2

At 7:21 pm CST on October 7, 2009, Colby and Kelby were born to my step-daughter in Alaska.
Colby, the boy, was 4 lbs, 8 oz, and Kelby, the girl, was 3 lbs, 15 oz.
We talked to the new mom on the phone last night, although she was exhausted, she sounded good and said all is well with the new babies. Thank GOD!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Granddaughters' Visit - Week 1

The granddaughters have been with us now for a week, and so far they haven't done much during the week, but we did have a full and busy weekend. Saturday, they visited their great-grandma (my mother) who they haven't seen since 2000, which was the last time they were up here. Saturday evening I got them set up with some beads and jewerly supplies and they made some bracelets and necklaces and earrings.

Sunday was the adventure day. We started out by having breakfast at home, then set out to introduce them to Chicago and the lakefront. We drove up I290 which brings you into the city by driving under the post office (we told them we drove THRU the post office LOL).
The skyline is very impressive that way. We first drove to Lake Shore Drive so they could see the lake and the marinas with all the sail boats.

Then we took them to Wrigley Field, took pictures in front of the big "C" at the entrance, and also with the statue of Ernie Banks. We then took the to lunch at a diner that we know of on North Clark, Deluxe Diner, and visited with the people we know there and introduce the girls. They enjoyed watching all the people go buy on the sidewalk and were absolutely amazed by the "elbow" busses that stopped in front about every 10 minutes. I think they counted about 9 or 10 while we were there.

From there we scooted over to Sheridan Rd and showed them Northwestern University campus.

We continued driving down Sheridan Rd, thru the north shore communities, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Lake Forest, til we reached Zion. We took them to the Illinois Beach State Park and spent some time there walking along the beach, taking pictures and just enjoying the nice weather. There was a slight breeze off the lake but nothing too cold. We took several pictures, mostly the girls with their shoes off and rolled up pant legs, standing at the water's edge with Grandpa. They thought he would throw them in but I think he would have been the one who was at risk for that happening to him. The girls tried, but he held his ground, plus he outweighs them by quite a bit. The water was cold but they still enjoyed being in it. First time for them to see Lake Michigan and Chicago.

We found our way to Wisconsin, to the Jelly Belly Factory, but it was closed before we got there, so all we could do was take their picture next to one of the Jelly Belly VW's that are outside the entrance. We also took their picture under the "Welcome To Wisconsin" sign on the side of the road.

We found an icecream stand, and got some cones, then started home down Green Bay Rd.
It was a busy day, and everyone was exhausted, and full!

Next weekend we have another outing planned, but not sure where we will go yet.
Check back, pictures will be included in this post later today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Learning To Live With Teenagers - Temporarily

So begins the two week adventure with a pair of giggly teenage girls.

We went to Missouri over the weekend to pickup the two oldest grandkids, two girls, ages 12 and 15. Both very bright and excelling very well in school.

Music, clothes, and boys are the topic of conversation most times, along with what's in the fridge.

What do teenage girls like to do with their time when they are away from home and friends?
Grandpa has some activities in mind for them, mostly helping him. He still has a few things to move from the old house, not heavy but a lot. His tool collection, some small boxes, etc. The girls can help him with that. But it isn't going to be all work. There are a few ideas we discussed on the way home, such as a visit to the library. Both of them are into Harry Potter and mysteries. Then there is the aquatic center, miniature golf, underground gardens, and just seeing the scenery.

On the weekend we will go visit with great-grandma and the cousins that are here (my family). They haven't met all of them yet since the last time we had them up here was about 9 years ago and my brother was on a camping trip with his kids at the time.

Then there is always a visit to Uncle Brian, and meeting his dog Harley, the dachshund.
The cat didn't seem too interested in them when they got here last night, except when Jen sat down at my computer. Missy seemed to think that was an invitation so she proceeded to walk across the desk, on the keyboard, and sit on the mouse, just as she does when I am there. I guess that's what she thinks is proper online etiquette?

We will also be taking a walk each night after dinner (weather permitting). Wait til they find out the walk also takes us thru an old cemetery!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"So That Others May Live..."

I got this in email from my cousin, a Viet Nam Vet. I had to share this, it is awesome.

This is written by a young man serving his third tour of duty in Iraq . Thought you might find his take on the Michael Jackson news interesting.
Okay, I need to rant.I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson. As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villain to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn't the point of my rant.Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the country was to ENTERTAIN people, the American people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood , and even Congress sees the need to hold a "moment of silence" for his passing?Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he's a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few decades? What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America . Where is their moment of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying "good riddance," and "thank God for IEDs?" When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a "Pop Icon?"I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan . They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it. Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military; "So that others may live..." Isaac"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


WOW! I have more logins and passwords that I can remember in one sitting. Now I'm connected another way, via Facebook and Etsy. Yes, Etsy now has a feature that allows you to send your feed to your Facebook, so when you list a new item, or "heart" an item, it will give you the option of having the action show up on your Facebook wall. I also have Twitter that feeds to Facebook, and my blog automatically updates my Twitter which updates my Facebook whenever I post a new blog. You'll see that in action if you go to my Twitter or my Facebook after reading this and it will also show up there with a link back here.

Now if only all these places where I have a login would email me every week to remind me that they are there. I think I have things that I forgot about. Who knows. If you happen to see my presence somewhere, drop me a line and let me know where. Kind of like playing Where's Waldo, only this time it's Here's Karen! LOL

Now to make a new list of logins and passwords since the one I had is out of date. Besides, I can't find it since the move, probably because I put it somewhere for safekeeping. But where? Probably in one of those other accounts that I forgot I have!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reorganized, Rejuvenated, Reinspired....Time To Get Back To Designing!

We've been in the new house for a month now. My desk is finally set up and all my supplies are neatly organized on a repurposed bookcase. Time to start creating again.

What should I make? Earrings? Bracelets, necklaces? Need some inspiration to get started. I have my issue of Bead Style Magazine to get me going, lots of great ideas to inspire me. I have so many beads and other goodies to work with, I have a feeling that I will be like a mad scientist once I get started. Beads will be flying, I'll be wild eyed, arms and hands flitting back and forth from work table to supply shelf. That's the easy part. The real work is in the photography, describing and listing.

I know that once I get started, it will be very difficult for me to stop. So if you can't find me online, you can find me at home busy with beads and wire and other goodies, creating new jewelry and accessories. Call me if you have my number, stop in if you have my address. If you don't have either, call someone who does! And be sure to tell them to feed me once in a while.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Self Promotion

This bracelet is so sweet and simple. I have been wearing it off and on for the past 3 days and have received some nice compliments on it. I am hoping it generates some interest in it and the other pieces that I have in my Etsy Shop.

Haven't sold anything since April 26, 2009. I sure hope things pickup soon. I have so many supplies to create with and the ideas have been stacking up in my head. As soon as I can get my work space set up, I will get to work creating new designs.

For now, I am hoping to sell what I already have made.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Word From The Cat...About The Move

AHEM! OK, this is the cat, Missy Dawg. I have an opinion on this move and how it has affected me.

First, I don't see as many birds out the window, altho there is a resident bird that lives in the shrubs out front, and I still haven't been able to determine what kind it is. I will have to do some more searching on the net when my mistress leaves her computer open next time.

Second, about the new house, it's all carpet except for the kitchen and bathroom. Kind of hard for me to roll my ball or slide after running from one end of the house to the other. But that's ok, it's nice and soft on my paws.

Third, my food is in a closet that I can't open, unlike the cabinet that it was in at the other house. I could just catch one edge of that cabinet door with my paw and it would open with no problem. Then when my mistress wouldn't get up at 5am on the weekends, I could just drag the bag of food out and dump it all over the floor. The sound of the bag hitting the kitchen floor usually got her attention and she would get up, feed me a little, then go back to bed.

And what the heck is this crap about sleeping in on a weekend? If I have to get up at 5am everyday, so should everyone else. My job is never ending, regardless of what day it is. And now she's talking about a 3 day weekend? HA! We'll see who sleeps in this weekend!

On a positive note, there are lots of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and dogs that I can see just fine from any window in the house, and there are plenty of windows! Two dogs across the street that just lay around all day on the driveway. I'll bet I could get them moving if only I could get outside! These people that I live with seem to be very wary of me whenever they open a door. Seems they think I will try to escape. They're right!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving Along..........

Well, here it is, a week since we "started" the move. Doing it ourselves is taking some time but we've got most of the big stuff moved. Getting the boxes into the areas where they will be unpacked is almost complete, now just to get them unpacked!

We moved to a great little town, right on the Fox River in Illinois. It's called Montgomery, population 14,470 and everyone we have met so far is just wonderful. Friendly, helpful, and just all around good people.

Lots of shopping close by, several big "malls" with anchor stores such as Best Buy, Farm & Fleet, Dicks Sporting Goods, along with the standard big box stores like Wal-Mart and KMart. Two or three large grocery stores are all within a mile of home, and there are all types of other smaller retail stores, like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, to name a few.

I also found a bead store about a mile from home, in the next town, but it looks to be a nice one. Would be nice to have something other than the usual retail suppliers to get supplies from, one that has an selection of quality beads that aren't all in prepackaged quantities. From what I saw on their web site, they have beading classes; and also do parties in the shop, such as a bridal party making jewelry for the wedding, or just a group getting together to create beaded projects together. The name is A Beadtiful Thing and they are on Montgomery Road, in Aurora IL.

There are a few restaurants that we found, but our favorite is Grandma's Table on Douglas Road, right in Montgomery. Grandma's is actually the one we have been to the most. Great food, great people, great atmostphere. This is one that is also very close to home and right in the heart of the shopping areas that we frequent. The chicken noodle soup is fantastic, and they serve it every day along with a daily soup. Another of my favorite dishes is Grandma's Pot Roast. Tastes like my mother is in their kitchen! And the Atkins cheesecake is to die for! Sugar free but you would never know it, and with a hint of cinnamon. yummmmmyyyyy

We have Dunkin Donuts nearby, the Post Office is only a half mile away, and banks convenient no matter which way we go.

Now all I have to do is find a pizza place and a Chinese restaurant that compares to the ones we frequented when we lived in Lockport.

Our Park District has three fitness centers but haven't had a chance to go check them out. The online info about them looks very promising tho, and one has 3 pools in its aquatic center. Probably going to need a membership at one of them really soon since we are finding all these great food places to eat at!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting Ready To Move

We will be moving to a new home in the next week, so I will be busy packing and getting everything transferred, scheduled, and moved.

My Etsy store will still be there, anything in there now will still be available. But custom orders will have to wait until I get settled, probably sometime in early June.

I plan on packing up my studio and all my jewelry making supplies this weekend (May 9) and hopefully will have it all set up at the new place over Memorial Day weekend.

I will be checking email daily, so if you have any questions, just drop me a line.

I also have a new website for Designs By RuKar, still getting that one set up. It is at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Own Domain

Well, I did it. Last night I took the plunge and registered I haven't built a site yet, still in the idea stage. I plan on eventually having it set up as a full-fledged e-commerce site to sell my jewelry and accessories, and probably some other things, like vintage and collectibles.

But to get it started, I will post pictures of my jewelry with the link to buy it linking to my Etsy shop. Once I get the site tweaked just the way I like it, there will be a shopping cart on it so my buyers don't have to go to any other sites.

I don't plan on closing my Etsy shop. I like Etsy because of the networking and helpfulness of the other members there. I will probably have some of the same items there that I will on my new site. This way if someone wants to buy something without registering on Etsy, they can do it this way. I have a lot of friends and friends of friends that want to buy from me but don't want to register to do it.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The View From My Recliner

Wednesday is my night to watch TV. I got hooked on "High School Reunion" when it first started and have to watch every week. Even though Comcast On Demand has reruns available the next day, I still want to see it on first air.

I thought I would take a picture of the living room, from the vantage point of my recliner. I have a few views, a few close ups of select collectibles that are displayed, and a panoramic view of the length of one wall, althought the images didn't exactly line up. I'm still learning to use that feature on my camera.

Anyway, I'll put a few more pics in here so anyone reading can see where I'm coming from. The recliner is usually the spot where I sit with my laptop when I'm blogging.

This first picture is straight across the room at the mirrored wall where the entertainment center is. My antique hall tree is in the corner to the right of the TV, but I don't know how well it will show up. The corner of my grandmother's hope chest is visibible on the extreme right edge of the picture. It was given to her in 1922 by her first fiance. She didn't marry him after finding out he set his garage on fire to collect the insurance money. I'm so glad she changed her mind and married my grandfather, otherwise I wouldn't be telling this story.

The second picture is the view to my left, my husband's recliner and the wall between the living room and kitchen. It is a brick wall, REAL brick, with wood shelves embedded in the rows with the bricks. I have some of my favorite things on the shelves, including my Irish plate, my Irish St. Nick, and a couple antique jugs that belonged to my grandmother. We usually put decorative tea light candles on these shelves and they give a very nice effect in the room, and the glow off the bricks is absolutely beautiful.

The large picture in the center of the wall is from my grandparents, who received it from my great-grandmother when they got married in 1924. We aren't sure what the scene is, but it is from 1917 according to the back and is signed. The gold leaf frame is original and I was once told that the frame is worth more than the picture and is the real value in it. It will stay in my family as it has been for the last 80+years.

This image is the Irish plate and Irish St Nick. The plate was a gift from a friend who I used to work with. She was very good at buying gifts that had a special meaning for the recipient.
St Nick was a gift from my mom. She gave one to my sister, brother, and me for Christmas one year.
I didn't want to hide him away in a closet all year so we decided to keep him out to watch over us all year.

This plate of The Duke was found at an auction that we attended, in a box of dusty nik-naks. I'm not sure if the seller knew what it was or just didn't care. Maybe wasn't even a fan of John Wayne. We brought it home, cleaned it, and didn't find one scratch or nick on it. The books are a collection of leather bound books, that my husband picked up at an auction. They are all that remain of a set that was in a flooded basement in Missouri many years ago, before he moved up here.
So there you have it. Maybe in another blog I will take you on a tour of the kitchen. And perhaps, if I can get some help to finish it, a tour of the computer room and the area where I do all my creating.
Oh, and btw, if you ever visit my home, you don't have to take your shoes off. We do don't that here! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Very Profitable Weekend

WOW! I woke up Saturday morning and for the first time in a long time, didn't check email until after my shower and about 2 cups of coffee. I had an 11 am appointment to get my hair cut, then lunch with my mom and maybe do some shopping, so I didn't really have a lot of leisure time to spare. I had a few minutes to check things out while waiting for my husband to finishing dressing.
I first check email, then went to my Etsy shop. I noticed there were 4 less items listed than there were the night before, so I thought I had some things that expired. I looked in the expired listings, nothing new in there. Then checked sold, and I had sold 4 items! It must have just happened after I checked email because there was no notices in the email then, but when I check again after being at Etsy, there was my email from Etsy and Paypal. I was so excited, I almost missed my hair appointment while I gathered the items she ordered to put them aside so I could get them ready for shipping when I got home.
I tell you, this sale really made the difference for me. I hadn't sold anything since January, despite having plenty of views, and I was starting to get discouraged. I now have a renewed ambition to keep on creating.
So watch for new pieces to appear in my shop very soon!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Bracelets Listed --- Finally!

Finally!!! The six bracelets that I blogged about last are listed and online in my Etsy shop.

I won't put the pictures here since they are all included in the previous blog, but will instead list a link with a description of the bracelet. You can see all my new bracelets along with my other original designs in my Etsy shop at

Here they are, in all their beautiful glory:

Green & Gold Multistrand Bracelet

Green Catseye & Swirl Bead Bracelet

Blooming Colors Swarovski Crystal Bracelet

Botswana Agate and Semi-Precious Hematite Bracelet

Crystal and Gem Chip Bracelet

Lilacs and Roses Bracelet

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bracelet Bonanza!

I was busy over the weekend and managed to create several bracelets from a variety of crystals, gem chips and other beautiful jewelry components.
The pictures have been taken and scaled down for Etsy and all I need to do now is upload and list. That's another day, most likely tomorrow after work. For now, I will show a picture of all the bracelets in one image to get your interest!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I just marked down almost everything in my shop...MARCH MADNESS SALE!

I plan on doing a lot of designing and creating this weekend and hope to have new pieces listed very soon! Visit my shop to check out all the great bargains by clicking below:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mother Nature Is Going Thru Menopause

Rain rain rain, all day, and again all night. The map shows what we're getting right now. It has been raining pretty much non stop since about 9 this morning, at times so heavy that traffic comes to a halt. The thunder and lightening have been steady for the last hour or so, and the weather prediction for tonight is for some severe storms.

Then, to top it all off, they predict temperatures to drop and we have a possibility of snow by morning!

I truly believe Mother Nature is going thru the "CHANGES".

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'll admit, I've been slacking off lately. Something has been trying to get hold of me, and I've been fighting it tooth and nail, literally (I split 2 fingernails LOL). I get home from work and I am so exhausted that I sometimes don't even check email, let alone do anymore designing. I have to get moving and start making new pieces for my shop. I have so many new ideas and hopefully this weekend I will have the time and energy to start creating again. I have one custom order to complete and my buyer has been very patient with me, which is priceless.

It seems like every other weekend something comes up and there is no time to relax. Last weekend my husband and I took a short trip to a resort in Northern Illinois, right on Lake Michigan. It was a well needed rest and respite from reality, not to mention some alone time for Valentine's Day. We had a room with a lovely view of a State park, and it even included chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne on Saturday night, along with a delicious dinner in the hotel's restaurant, which had a lake view.

We got to talking to a woman who was staying there while her husband was at the Cancer Treatment Center nearby. I was very impressed with her courage and outgoing personality, considering she was alone in a strange city. I used to travel for a former job and I could never bring myself to go to a restaurant for lunch or dinner alone. I usually ended up picking something up from a fast food place and going back to my hotel. We invited our new friend to join us for whatever meal we happened to be having whenever we saw her. She spent most of the day at the treatment center visiting with her husband. I don't know how I would feel if I was in her shoes, especially since it seemed there were several set backs in the progress of his condition. I gave her my business card and asked that she keep in touch with us. Since the hotel isn't that far from our home, we told her that whenever they returned for treatments, to let us know and we would try to drive up to visit with her.

Meeting her brought back memories of my mom when my dad was in the hospital for over 3 months in Minnesota. She stayed in a boarding house across from the hospital and ate all her meals in the hospital cafeteria or at the little waffle house next to the boarding house. She was alone, but bonded with many other women who were in the same position as she was. It took a lot of courage to deal with most of the situations that arose on her own. We would take turns going up to visit for weekends, but we all had families and jobs and couldn't always go every weekend. She had her needlework for the times she was in her room at night, but I know she was wishing one or all of us could be there with her. It took a lot of courage and strength to do what she did and I really admired her for that.

Saturday will be 19 years since my dad passed away, and I still miss him. I can still remember the last time I talked to him, it was Valentine's Day 1990, the week before he died. We had been up there for 10 days and had to return home. The doctors told my mom as we were leaving that they would be sending him home the following week, on a med-jet. We knew there was nothing else that could be done and that he was going home to die. It was what he be home with his family. Like the song..."he did it his way". I still think of the song "My Way" as his theme song, and almost asked for it to be played at the funeral mass, but didn't know if some would be offended. That is the only thing I regret, is not doing that, because I really believe he would have gotten a kick out of it.

He had the last word, again, the day of his funeral....there was a blizzard that pretty much paralyzed the city of Chicago. He worked for the city and we always used to give him grief when it snowed and the streets weren't cleaned off. Sitting in the limo outside the funeral home, we talked about that and laughed at the memory of it, and everyone walking by and looking in at us probably wondered what we were talking about. But then they knew my dad and his sense of humor and I'm sure they had their own memories that gave them a chuckle that day.

A very good friend gave us something to consider. I can't remember her exact words but it was something along the lines of:

"Don't look back and be sad, but remember all the good times and enjoy the memories over and over again."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Five Year Anniversary - Lots To Celebrate!

Five years ago today, February 5, I quit smoking. I also had a heart attack, and that was the reason I quit smoking. The smoking was one of the main contributors to my heart attack; stress and a lousy diet were other contributing factors. A vicious circle to say the least.

The day started out as any other; got up, showered, went to work. Came home from work and hubby suggested we go out to dinner. I thought it was a good idea, but by the time he got home from work, I wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Nothing unusual happened, just sat around and relaxed, took a nice long bubble bath and got ready for bed.

I was laying in bed, about 9pm, when I started to have what I thought was a hot flash. Usually they would come and go and a cool cloth on my chest would help it ease up, but this one didn't go away. In fact, it started feeling like someone was dragging molten hot barbed wire across my chest. When they say a woman has different symptoms than a man during a heart attack, they aren't kidding. I didn't have the numbness in my arm, or the pain in my shoulder, jaw or anything else that is considered a common symptom of a heart attack. I had a burning sensation in my chest, and an upset stomach. Then the headache started. OH MY GOD!!! Excruciating, crushing headache, like none I've ever experienced before. By the time the paramedics arrived, my head felt like it would explode, but the burning in my chest had subsided, or maybe I just didn't notice it anymore because of the headache. They put me on oxygen, slipped a nitro under my tongue and rushed me to the hospital.

There, they hooked me up for an EKG, drew some blood, and told me that I had had a heart attack and would require more tests to see how severe and what damage, if any, had been done to my heart. I was admitted to the cardiac unit upstairs, hooked up to a telemetry unit and confined to bed. My husband was there as was my mom and my son, and I finally convinced them that they should go home and rest. Of course I didn't get any rest; every five or ten minutes someone came in to get answers, blood, urine, blood pressure, glucose levels, EKG readings, you name it, I gave it. By the end of the first day they had blown just about every vein in both my arms, and the only way to get blood from me was to dig. OUCH! Finally they put one of those central lines in me so I didn't have to get poked everytime they wanted to draw something, or inject something.
As it turned out, I had an 80% blockage in the left main coronary artery where it meets the aorta. There was another smaller blockage a little further down the artery.
I required a double bypass instead of stents because the placement of the stents couldn't be performed due to the location of the blockage.
Surgery was on February 11, and I was home on February 15.
Strange as it may sound, February 5, 2004 was also a Thursday, just like it is this year.
I'm doing good, haven't had a cigarette since then. Still have some weight to lose, also found out 2 years ago that I have Type 2 Diabetes. I have to take medication daily for blood pressure, Diabetes, and acid reflux disease, but it's better than the alternative.
Women suffer more heart attacks and have a higher risk for heart disease than most men, and the symptoms in women are so different from the ones that men experience, that more women's heart disease goes undetected until it's too late. I was one of the lucky ones.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Two Parts of Your Body Could You NOT Live Without?

Think about it, what two parts of your body could you NOT live without? I'm talking about basic survival, such as the ability to be self-sufficient and be able to take care of most of your own needs with minimal assistance.

The two that I couldn't live without are my eyes and my hands. If I lost the use of my legs, I would most likely be confined to a wheel chair. But my hands would be able to maneuver the wheel chair around, and my eyes would enable me to see my world and know where I was going. My eyes would also alert me to obstacles or dangers. If I lost my hearing, I would still be able to communicate using my eyes and hands, mainly by typing or writing notes. This would also serve my needs if I lost the ability to speak.

It's something to think about. You never know what can happen in life. I was in a restaurant the other night and there was a young man (maybe 30's), who couldn't use his legs or arms. He was in a wheel chair that he was able to maneuver through the use of a blow tube. He needed someone to feed him and hold his drink to his mouth, but other than that was very average in appearance, no outward physical signs of any injury other than a bandage around one of his hands. I don't know the history of why he was in the wheel chair, but it made me think about what functions I would need to feel independent. I would hate to be dependent on someone to function from day to day.

It is difficult enough to watch a grandmother, grandfather, parent, or other beloved person in our lives lose their abilities to function because of age or illness, but to see someone in the prime of their life having such dependencies on others is almost too much to bear.

I couldn't imagine not being able to drive, cook, type, or make my jewelry. I remember how I felt after having open heart surgery 5 years ago. When I was finally able to go home, I wasn't supposed to do anything. NOTHING! I couldn't even make my own cup of tea because I wasn't supposed to be doing anything that would cause stress to my chest area where the incision was. Thankfully this only had to be for the first week. Once the numbness started going away I could feel tension and exertion and knew when to stop what I was doing. But the first week, even just raising my arms above my head to get a cup from the cabinet was risky. I didn't have stitches or staples, I was taped. They did this to minimize whatever scar I might get, and it worked!

Anyway, I was thinking about this on my way to work this morning and had to write about it. I think a lot of people have sympathy for those who are dependent for care, but don't fully stop to consider how they would feel if it was them. I know when I had to have someone do for me what I was used to doing for myself, it made me feel like an invalid. Like I was incapable or inept and I did start to resent it at times. It got annoying that everytime I would get up from a chair to go in the kitchen or bathroom, I was asked by everyone there where I was going, what was I doing and did I need help. I know they were just looking out for me, but sometimes it's just downright embarassing for an adult to have to explain that they are getting a drink of water or have to use the facilities. I have learned from that experience that if someone with a disability, or someone who is "challenged", needs assistance, they will ask for it. I stand by to help if I am asked to, and I make it known that I will.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Very Accomplished Feeling!

Well this has been a very productive weekend for me. I got some new jewelry pieces made for my shop and just finished listing them. There are seven new listings as of today; five bracelets, one pair of earrings (that would go nicely with one of the bracelets that were just listed), and one bracelet/earring set.

This bracelet/earring set was created with beautiful sterling wrapped lampwork beads in a very warm and seductive amber glow. The druk beads are tortoise and complement the lampwork beads very nicely.

The earrings are on surgical steel earwires with silverplate accents, and dangle 2-1/4" from the top of the wire.

The bracelet is linked and closes with a silverplate toggle clasp. It fits to an 8" wrist.

This bracelet was created by linking art glass rectangles in red and blue with glass squares that are a deep rich red tone. The bracelet fastens with a silverplate toggle clasp, and fits to an 8" wrist.

The red squares, on first sight, reminded me of the anise hard candies that my grandfather always had on hand.

This bracelet is a bit chunky but sure to get attention!

The earrings that I just listed were created with fancy jasper and agate semi-precious beads. They are featured on silverplate hoops which are on surgical steel earwires with silverplate details. They dangle 1-1/2" from the top of the earwire.

They also include clear plastic earwire stops that help prevent the earwire from slipping out of the ear and getting lost.

This is a bracelet that is on silverplate memory wire and includes fancy jasper and fancy agate semi-precious beads, in round, faceted square, and disks.
This bracelet is one size fits all and would go with anything. Beautiful earthy tones in the beads, ranging from green to black to amethyst shades.
It would go wonderfully with the earrings above.

I have many other items that were just listed today, and they can all be seen in my shop, at Designs By RuKar

Please visit my Etsy shop, I'm sure you will find something that you just can't resist. If you see something you like and would like a different size, color, or other change, please let me know either by convo on Etsy or email me at We can work something out for a custom order. And don't forget - FREE SHIPPING on all items to U.S. addresses!! This is for regular First Class mail, but if you prefer Priority Mail, I can do that for an additional charge. Just contact me before sending payment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Keeping A Healthy Level of Insanity

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity:

  1. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice
  2. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
  3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.
  4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
  5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ' For Marijuana'
  6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.
  7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
  8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'.
  9. Sing Along At The Opera.
  10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.
  11. When The Money Comes Out of The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!'
  12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!'
  13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'

    And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

PHTD - or - Post Holiday Tree Disorder

Yes, that's what I have. Post Holiday Tree Disorder.

The tree is still up, but hasn't been lit since the day after New Years. The only thing stopping me from taking it down is the lack of storage boxes. They're still in the shed. And I'm not about to go out there after seeing the possum hanging around the shed a few weeks ago.

But not sure if PHTD carries over into other things, such as making new jewelry to put in my shop. Or taking pictures of the jewelry that I already made and getting it listed. The cold has done a number on my arthritis and my hands are so stiff I can hardly hold my pliers long enough to open a jump ring let alone create loops at the end of headpins or do wire wrapping. IB helps but also makes me tired so I don't feel like doing anything! I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

I need sun, warm weather, and a good old fashioned thunderstorm! Well, maybe not in that order, and not on the same day. But you get my drift.

I have so many beads and charms and other materials to create with, but no ambition or ideas, although I do have a potential order for two bracelets, and as soon as I get my bead order I will get to work on them. But I am trying to find my niche. Something that is me, not a clone of other things that are out there. It's easy to put a few beads on a wire or pin and attached a clasp or earwire. I want to really get original, but I don't know how or what.

I know what I have to do. I have to psyche myself into thinking that Saturday is Sunday. Because on Sundays, usually later in the day, I sit down and finally get to creating. Once I start I can't stop, but the problem I have is I have to get up for work the next day. If I make myself think that Saturday is Sunday, and get ideas and start creating late in the day on Saturday, I can keep going til the sun comes up because I can SLEEP ALL DAY the next day! Yea, yea, that's what I'll do. I could call it turning my mental clock ahead one day, but only until Sunday night. Otherwise I would go to work the next day thinking it was Tuesday, and be very disappointed when the payroll doesn't get here.
Oh, by the way, the's not me. That's my husband Russ, the "Ru" in "RuKar", after dinner on Christmas Day at my brother's house. The dog is my brother's white shepherd, Daisy Mae. But this picture pretty much sums up my level of energy the last 2 weeks.