Week of Winter

Week of Winter

A wet, windy, grey and cold week this week.  Howling winds and hail, black clouds and bucketing rain.  The sun tried its best to come out of hiding a few times, but for the most part it was definitely a Wintery week.  Driving home each afternoon, it was always a race to see who would get there first – me or the rain-heavy clouds.

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See that patch of black sky at the bottom of the photo?  Yeah, that’s where home is!

Work was very busy ( I had to do a library “tour” for new employees – ugh, I hate speaking in front of people!) and I had lots of projects and research reports to get finished.  It seemed like a very long week and I was glad when Friday rolled around.  I did receive an emailed “Good Work!” and a smiley face from my CEO which was awesome and surprising (considering it was for something small and insignificant to me and just part of my job really) but it made me feel good for a little while.  It’s nice to be appreciated.  I also got a little card from one of the Supervisors in another department because I had brought in brownies for their OT student’s farewell morning tea and she wanted to say Thank you.  Also nice.  I’m a bit needy when it comes to stuff like that.  Sometimes you just want to be acknowledged.

I did a fair bit of walking, despite the weather.  I’ve been trying to exercise more and force myself to get out more and move that body (which basically sits down all day in front of a computer).  I live in quite a nice neighbourhood now, with lots of green parks and pretty houses to walk by.

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I love watching the dogs in the park.  They look so happy and joyful, running like mad things, playing and rough-housing.  Sometimes I get so caught up watching them that I don’t notice how late it’s getting.  I live in a nice neighbourhood, but not so nice that I should be walking around in the dark.

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I did get a hat this week.  I’m not good with hats.  I have a big head.  I do!  I also have lots of hair so big head + big hair = hard to find a hat that fits and looks ok.  I got a knitted hat from Ebay (I love Ebay – even if my bank account doesn’t!) and I think it looks alright.  It keeps my head nice and toasty and doubles as a my-hair-is-gross-today-and-I-need-to-hide-it-option.  I wore it to my niece’s 10th birthday party and she asked me “why are you wearing that thing on your head?”.  So, not sure if the hat is a total success.  I’ll let you be the judge. Be kind.

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Big Head!

I was supposed to go walking this morning with a friend of mine but she messaged me early to say she wasn’t feeling well and so would have to cancel.  Bit of a bummer but I coerced hubby into going for a walk with me (I bribed him with breakfast out).  We went to Food for Me, our fave brekky spot.  I had the “Wicked Scrambled Eggs” – so yummy.  The BEST scrambled free-range eggs with Danish feta, sundried tomatoes, chutney and the yummiest bread ever.  I wanted to take a photo of it when it arrived but I, um, started eating straight away, and so you’ll have to make do with a half-eaten display of deliciousness…

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I’d like to say we came home and did lots of housework and gardening but we did not.  I sorted laundry but that’s about it.  Our garden is atrocious.  We were told when we moved in that we could ignore the backyard as there really wasn’t any garden to speak of, but I think we took it a little bit literally and now we have three-feet high weeds.  Looks nice and green though! 🙂  Roderick would have loved it and I must admit I think of him every time I pull up a bit of grass or a dandelion or some herbs from my sad little collection of pots on the front step…

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Terrible really…

I haven’t done much crafting at all this week.  I spent several hours today making earrings but that was all I accomplished all week.  It’s been so cold and miserable and all I wanted to do was curl up in front of the heater and not move from it. Gallons of hot tea have been consumed, trying to warm myself from the inside…but of course then you need to keep going to the bathroom and it’s cold in there!  I am quite happy with the earrings I made today though – having sorted all my bead and finding boxes out the other day made a huge difference.  I could actually find stuff and I didn’t make a mess!  Who knew being organised could be so useful and time-saving?  Hmmm….

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Wish I had more of these stripey glass beads…they were from the bracelet I bought at last week’s High Tea.

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I quite like these.  They’re a bit weird but kinda organic-looking at the same time.

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These little copper leaves are so dainty and tinkly.  I made another pair with green beads too.

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I really like these ones.  They have a vintage/Japanesy feel to them somehow.

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This pair refused to sit still while I was trying to take the photo…but I think you can see them ok..

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These ones were also made from recycled beads from some of the 2nd hand jewellery I got last week.

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These too…I think they may be made from iron ore…

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Pretty and girly.  Forgot I had these silver loops.  I think the pink and green works well together.

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This pair is quite elegant and I have no idea where the little silver cones came from…but they worked for this!

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These leopard earrings look like they have ruptured hernias.  Hope no one else thinks that but me (I have a weird brain).

So, that’s my week.  I’m so over the cold weather and the dark mornings.  Bring on Spring I say!  Hope your week was happy and fulfilling or lazy and chilled out – whichever you prefer.  Have a great Monday and week ahead 🙂

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Grief

Grief

I am still grieving over the loss of Roderick.  I feel sick with guilt and sorrow.  A million “what ifs” are going through my head.  Why didn’t I notice the lump sooner?  I pick him up most days and spend a lot of time with him – why didn’t I notice something wasn’t right?  I feel like I have let him down and every time someone says “No, you loved him so much and looked after him so well…” I feel like screaming.  There is a huge hole in my universe now and I don’t see how it will ever be mended.  It hurts every time I open the front door and I don’t hear him squeaking excitedly for his grass.  I have all his stuff everywhere – his hay bale wheel, his blankets and cuddle cups, his hutch and bags of shredded paper and hay.

I’ve lost pets before – I’ve always had a menagerie – and it never gets any easier.  But this time seems so much worse because he was just so young and I could have prevented what happened to him.  I should never have had him desexed.  I thought it was the right thing to do – I wanted to get a little friend for him so he wouldn’t be lonely.  But now he’s gone and I am the one who is lonely.  My heart hurts and I don’t know how to make it stop hurting.  There are suddenly large groups of crows surrounding our house, just standing around and cawing, like feathered undertakers or mourners.

I’m going to bury him at my cousin’s.  She has a large property and Roderick’s sisters live there.  We’ll bury him in the garden and I will plant a rosemary or lavender bush over him and I can visit him whenever I need to.

I’m sorry for this self-indulgence.  You didn’t come here to read about my despair.  I’ll be back soon with happier thoughts.  But for now, please understand how I am feeling.  Roderick was a precious little soul and the world is a darker place without him.

Goodbye My Little Friend

Goodbye My Little Friend

I lost my little Roderick today.  To say I am distraught, inconsolable, sad and defeated would be a total understatement.  His abscess had spread and was going through his abdominal cavity, rapidly, and he had little chance of survival if we put him through surgery.  I didn’t want to lose him but I didn’t want him suffering any more than he already had.  I don’t want to write a big post about this – that would be tacky and disrespectful to my little man.  I loved him more than anything and if I could trade places with him, I would do it in a heartbeat.  He was funny, cheeky, brave and special.  I was lucky to have him in my life for the 8 months I did and to be without him now makes my heart ache.

To all of you who have pets in your life, please cherish and love them and give them a hug from me.  Be grateful for every moment you get to share with them.  They are precious and beautiful and we are so lucky to have them with us for the short time they are allowed on this Earth.   I’m not talking to God right now – he wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say to him at this minute – but I hope that if he’s really up there, he’s taking my little man in his arms and letting him know he was loved and that there’ll be no more suffering for him.

RIP Roderick – you were everything to me and I’m sorry I let you down.

x

 

 

A Trip to the Vet (and a near case of hysteria)

A Trip to the Vet (and a near case of hysteria)

Roderick the Wonder Guinea pig has a lump.  A big, swollen, nasty lump.  On his, um, private bits.  Where his testicles used to be.  Yesterday afternoon, as I picked him up for his cuddle and to get him out of the way while I cleaned out his hutch, I noticed he was swollen at his back end.  Which he shouldn’t be, having had his castration operation six weeks ago.  Immediate panic and meltdown from me, imagining all the worst things.  It’s cancer, it’s an abscess, he’s got a hernia, he’s got faecal impaction etc etc etc ad nauseam.  Because panicking is what I do in any situation that is out of my control.  Or even in my control.  I am a world-class stress-head.  I phoned Roderick’s vet and tried to get an appointment.  I couldn’t get in for two days.  I couldn’t leave him that long so I phoned another vet and made the earliest appointment that I could, which was for this morning.

I phoned my husband and said I had to cancel our scheduled coffee’n’cake meetup for our wedding anniversary.  He said he’d be home right away.  As he walked in the door I was sitting on the floor, wailing and sobbing.  He gave me a cuddle and went and had a look at Roderick, who, of course, was exhibiting no signs of anything more dramatic than being impatient for his dinner.  Well, he still had a big lump but it wasn’t bothering him.  In my panic, I had failed to notice all the good signs in the patient ie he was eating, pooping, peeing, jumping about like normal.  So I put my panic on hold for a while.  Nothing more I could do for the night anyway and he would be seeing a vet in the morning.

This morning, nice and early we trekked off to the vet,  Luckily it is only a couple of minutes drive away so Roderick didn’t have to be in the car for too long.  Since his neutering he is suspicious of any car journey.  We didn’t have long to wait at the vets and soon Roderick was being examined while his “Mummy” looked on nervously, expecting the worst.  The vet was very young, but very nice and actually seemed to know what he was doing and was familiar with guinea pig care and treatment.  He checked Roderick over thoroughly and said the lump was most likely an abscess.  No uncommon in guinea pigs but treatable.  He gave me a course of antibiotics which my little man will need to take for 10 days.  Hopefully the abscess will resolve in that time but if not, if there’s even a slight bit of infection and lumpiness left, we will need to have him back in for a quick anaesthetic and to lance the abscess.  Panic decreasing but not over yet.  I just feel terrible that I didn’t notice the lump.  I’m sure it wasn’t there a couple of days ago but what if it was and I missed?  He healed up so nicely from his surgery that I was sure everything was ok.  I feel like such a bad Mummy!

To make things worse (and more mortifying), he needs to go on a diet!  I knew he was a fatty and had put on a lot of weight recently but I think I needed someone to officially tell me he’s getting a bit porky.  So I’ll work on reducing his diet (which is already 95% veggies so I’m not sure what is making him fat…) and maybe encourage him to do some exercise.  Wonder f they make StairMasters for guinea pigs?

Anyway, we are home again now and Roderick is giving me the evil eye but otherwise seems fine in himself.  I love him so much and want him to be ok.  Today was the day he was supposed to be meeting his sisters to see how he would react to another guinea pig (before I buy him a little friend) but we’ll have to put that on the back burner for now until he’s better.  So much worry over such a little creature.  God help us all if I ever get a dog again!  I’ll need to be on sedatives…

Happy Anniversary for yesterday to my long-suffering husband and Happy Halloween to you all.  Make all your ghosts and ghoulies be friendly and lump-free!

Roderick’s Op (or, A Lesson in Guinea Pig Recovery & Recuperation)

Roderick’s Op (or, A Lesson in Guinea Pig Recovery & Recuperation)

Yesterday I had Roderick, The Wonder Guinea Pig, desexed.  It was very traumatic (for him, I’m sure, but also very much for me!)  I have never had a guinea pig desexed before and I agonised over the decision to do it or not.  I’ve had GPs in the past operated on for other reasons, mostly dental, and it has always ended badly – they never really picked up after the anaesthetic and usually died or were euthanised the following day.  So, this surgery was not a decision I made lightly at all.  I love the little guy and couldn’t bear to think of him suffering and being in pain, much less actually dying.  But, as I want to get him a companion and that companion will be of the female variety, I knew I had to get him desexed.  It also stops them from getting “boar butt”, a condition in which the muscles of the anus stretch/weaken and the boar is no longer able to properly expel the fecal pellets from the anus.  Which means you have to basically help him go to the toilet “manually” each day.  Which is gross.  And above all, very stressful and unpleasant for the little piggy.  I have never had a GP with this condition and I’ve always had males, but apparently it is common enough to warrant having them desexed (which of course reduces the risks of this condition by removing the testicles which are large and heavy and weaken the surrounding muscles…or something like that!  I’m not a vet so if you think your GP has this problem, please don’t waste time looking on the ‘net for answers – go to your trusted small animal vet and get your little guy/gal checked out).  Anyway, my main reason for desexing him was so he could have a “wife” and not be lonely.  And of course desexing, in all animals, goes a long way to reduce the risk of certain cancers too, so that’s a bonus.

So, after nervously dropping him off at the vet’s yesterday morning (I found a clinic that specialises in “exotics” i.e. rabbits, guiena pigs, rats, snakes & other reptiles), I waited around in the nearby shopping centre until it was time to pick him up (about an hour or so later).  I wasn’t overly happy with the after-care advice from the clinic – they gave me a sheet with notes on how to care for the recuperating piggy and also sent us home with some painkilling medication, but I felt like I would have been put at ease more if the vet herself had come out and had a quick chat about what to expect, what signs to look out for that Roderick wasn’t doing well, how long before he could do every day stuff (eg exercise etc) and whether or not I should keep him warm/secluded/in the dark or whatever.  Now, I was a vet nurse for 10 years so I know a little bit about these things and most of it is common sense, but by the same token you still sometimes need a bit of verbal reinforcement and encouragement.  I didn’t get any of that.  It was basically “Here’s your pig, here’s your bill”.  I must admit it was a very busy clinic and there was lots going on but I think that’s no excuse for poor customer service, especially when an animal’s life is at stake.  Also, I asked that they clip his nails for me while he was “under” and they didn’t do that so I was a bit annoyed.  As I said, I have worked in a vet clinic before, and know that things get stressful and super busy and sometimes, things get forgotten so it’s no biggie, but still…

So, once I brought him home, I kept him in his travel box with his heat pad in it, a dish of water and a small handful of grass (which he actually ate straight away).  I kept him in the lounge room where it was warm and quiet and I could keep an eye on him.  He was so uncomfortable and kept trying to shift his body into better positions.  He was very quiet (understandable) and sad (equally understandable) and for a while I was worried about him.  I am a born worrier so this was not an unusual state for me to be in with regards to any pet I’ve ever had but he did seem to be very flat and not wanting to eat (besides his initial munching) or go to the toilet.  Eventually, I put him back in his own hutch, making it as warm and dark as possible, thinking that maybe that would cheer him and make him feel a lot more comfortable in general, being in his own house with the familiar smells and places to lie and hide.  I even bought some *hot water bottles to place in his hutch.  He perked up almost instantly and began eating his “cereal” and hay.  A few hours later he finally went to the toilet (such a relief for me and possibly him too!) and seemed a lot better.  At midnight I checked on him again and gave him his last lot of pain killers for the day.

This morning he seems brighter and he even came out for his morning back-scratch and rub.  He’s eaten quite a bit and has pooped and peed his normal amount (ie a lot, the bugger) so I’m making sure he stays as clean as possible.  His surgery site seems clean and not swollen.  There was a bit of blood on his blanket but he doesn’t appear to have ripped any stitches or chewed at them.  So, I’m feeling more confident now.

I’m going to continue to monitor him over the next week or two and make sure he’s clean and the wound’s not infected and I’ll keep him warm, particularly over the next couple of days and ensure he has plenty of hay and grass, fresh water and comfy places to lie down.  But basically I’m going to leave him be – he doesn’t need the stress of me fussing and worrying over him.  I’ll pick him up when necessary but for the most part will just let him rest and recuperate and hopefully the pain will begin to fade soon too.

I would say, please take surgery of this kind seriously – the risks are higher than in a cat or dog (anaesthetically speaking and also stress-wise) – and isn’t something you should do just for the heck of it.  Go with your vet’s advice and follow all directions they give you.  Seek out a specialist vet for these kind of procedures if you can or at least find out if your everyday vet knows lots about exotics.  Too much can go wrong if they don’t know what they’re doing.  Take care of your pet and make sure you are able to keep an eye on them for at least the day of the surgery – they can go down hill very quickly and you need to be around to take control of the situation quickly.  Having said all that, I’m glad Roderick is now “done” and hopefully will forgive me and go on to lead a full and happy life without those pesky testicles!

I won’t be completely at ease until his stitches are out and he’s back to normal, but hopefully he will be ok soon and wheeking and chirping like usual.  I just hope he doesn’t hate me 😦    Then of course there will be the drama of introducing a new companion to him in a few weeks…stay tuned for that little piece of stress & anxiety!

* Yes, I know there are those of you out there gasping in horror that I would use hot water bottles around a small, recovering animal.  “What if he gets burnt?!” you shriek and that is understandably a concern.  However, I made the water hot but not boiling, wrapped it in plenty of blankets and towels so just the barest little bit of heat was coming through, just to take the chill off.  He was awake and able to walk by this stage and so was also able to get off the hot water bottle if it got too warm for him. So, don’t panic!

Roderick’s Garden

Roderick’s Garden

I like gardening.  I like getting my hands dirty and digging stuff up.  I like pruning and planting, staking and watering.  I like seeing the first little green shoots sprouting up out of seeds.  I love flowers blooming and fruit, um, fruiting.  I love to eat fresh produce that I have grown.

Another benefit of gardening is being able to offer little Roderick tasty treats that are free from pesticides and that don’t cost me an arm and a leg.  It means he can have a varied diet and I don’t have to be running down the shop constantly to feed him.

Today is freezing.  The kind of cold that numbs your fingers and turns your toes blue. The kind of cold that makes me ache and walk around with heat packs and hot water bottles strapped to various parts of my body.  Despite the deep-freeze temperature, the sun is shining brightly and cheerfully and the sky is that perfect shade of blue that makes you wish you could just fly about in it and forget about going to work (which I have to do in a minute).  So after a quick trip to the physio this morning, I took some time to pick some nice grass and herbs for Roderick’s mid-morning snack.  He’s already had his breakfast but until I bring him some grass, he looks at me very disdainfully and as though I’ve let the team down.  So let me take you on a little tour through Roderick’s garden (which needs weeding and pruning and tidying up so forgive the mess…):

First stop, Sage.  Roderick’s favourite.  Hence the short and very-plucked stature of this poor specimen.

 

Rosemary.  He loves this too and enjoys the woody stems.  Good for his teeth.

 

 

Basil.  He lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-v-e-s Basil.  These sad little seedlings were grow from seeds from my last big healthy basil plant.  I don’t think they’re going to be survivors.  They may have to be retired early.  They’ve been this size for two months 😦

 

 

Coriander.  Roderick does a crazy head-spin thing when I give him this.  He’s like me, can’t stand the smell.  He, however, likes the taste (unlike me) and eats it after running around it and head-spinning for a while.  It’s high in vitamin C which is good for little pigs.

 

 

Parsley.  A tricky one because he loves it, but it’s not good for him to have it all the time due to the high calcium content (can give guinea pigs bladder stones and other problems).  It’s a treat herb, just once every now and then.  He’d eat the whole plant if I let him though…

 

 

Mint.  Poor mint.  It gets neglected and forgotten but it keeps on surviving and growing, bless it.

 

 

Lavender.  I only found out recently that he could and would eat this.  I have loads of it and it is just flowering again now so it’s a pretty addition to his breakfast once a week or so.

 

 

So that’s the basic tour.  I’ll bring you back again in Spring perhaps, when it’s warmer outside and things are blossoming and blooming all over the place, no matter how badly I treat them.  I can’t wait for Spring and then lovely, lovely, gorgeous Summer.  Going to try and grown lots more “eatables” for the little guy.  I’m sure the neighbours think I’m a witch or something, out there in the rain, in the dark or in my pyjamas with a torch picking little bit of this and that, selecting the most perfect shoots of grass and discarding the tattier ones, collecting herbs and talking to the plants.  Roderick just thinks I’m his crazy Mum.  And that’s ok with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dumb Things

Dumb Things

Sometimes I do dumb things.  When I say “Sometimes” I pretty much mean “all the time”.  My brain is not always in gear.  Quite often my mouth, hands and feet move independently of my brain, as though they belong to someone else and I am always so glad when no one notices except for me.

Some of the “dumb things” I did this month include :

  • Realising I have run out of tea, I nip down the shop only to get mesmerised by all the other things on display.  I return home having bought everything except teabags and then get inside and have to go straight back out again to the shop to buy what I originally set out for.  The kettle has now gone cold and needs reboiling.  I don’t have time before I need to go to work so I leave the house having NOT had any tea.
  • Suffering from a terrible case of the flu I realise, at some unGodly hour, that I have not got any grass for Roderick the Guinea Pig’s breakfast tomorrow.  It is raining outside and very cold.  But I go out, coughing and wheezing, without an umbrella, and pick grass in the pouring rain. Could I have waited until the morning when, hopefully, it is a bit warmer and not raining?  Yes.  Do I wait?  No…
  • Having possibly “nudged” a car on my way out of the shopping centre carpark, I proceed to drive around the block 4 times, trying to see the car I may have scratched and if I need to leave a note to the owner of said car. By the time I have driven around the lot that many times I can no longer remember which car I was parked next to and can’t even get close enough to see if I’ve scratched it.  Could I have just stopped at the time of the incident and inspected any possible damage then?  Yes.  Did I? No… Is it possible I just went over a bump in the bitumen and didn’t nudge an actual car at all?  Yes.  Did I panic and worry for the rest of the week that I am a terrible person for not leaving a note on a car I may not even have scratched?  Yes.

These are just examples and possibly the least embarrassing dumb things I have done this month.  I am capable of so much more.  On an almost daily basis, I damage myself on pieces of furniture, walls or bathroom fixtures.  I can’t tell you the amount of times I have banged my knee on the bathroom sink when drying off after a shower.  The sink is in the same place it has always been in, and yet, I still manage to whack my kneecap on it with amazing regularity as though I am drying off in the dark or in someone else’s unfamiliar bathroom.

I walk into doors.  I bang my shoulder on doorknobs all the time.  I lock my husband outside when he is having a shower (our bathroom is in an external part of the house) and drive off to work which means he has to climb out a window and knock on a neighbour’s door so he can use their phone and call me to come home and let him back in.  Luckily our wardrobes are out there too otherwise the visit to the neighbours might be a little more awkward…

I speak to Roderick in crazy-baby-babbling-idiot talk.  He does not have corn husks – he has “Corny corns!” or “Cornios!”  He does not get his back scratched – he has a “Scritchy Scritch-Scritch! Ooh ooh ooh!”  He probably does not know his own name because he gets called everything but Roderick, example being “Schmecky”, “Bobbin”, “Piggy Wig”, “Monkey” and “Puffin Fresh”.  The latter name being one that even I don’t understand.

I really hope I am not alone.  I hope that behind closed doors everyone else is being ridiculous and paranoid and weird and downright certifiable.  Otherwise I am in trouble. I have a plaque in my house that I made years ago that say “Life’s Too Mysterious – Don’t Take it Serious!”  Maybe it should say “Life is Crazy – and so am I!”