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.




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!

Stitches & Glitches

Stitches & Glitches

Well, Roderick the Wonder Guinea Pig has now had his stitches out from his desexing operation.  The plan was to take him to the vets today to have the sutures removed and have him checked over etc.  I was just putting him into his carry box and I had a quick look at “the area” to see if all was as it should be before I took him to the vets.  Good job I looked.  NO STITCHES!  The little bugger must have yanked them out in the last couple of days because they were definitely there before.  He has healed beautifully – I can barely see a scar – and his fur is growing back well.  So all is good.  I guess he got tired of the stitches scratching him or whatever.  I think he’s been really good to leave them in for as long as he did and not chew at them.  So he’s all ready for a wifey – well, in the next couple of weeks.  Gotta wait at least a month after the surgery.  There will be no impregnating on my watch thank you!  Have already picked out a name for the little gal but you’ll have to wait for the official unveiling before I reveal it.  Anyway, I’m just glad my little man is all ok and suffered no ill effects from the surgery.  He’s back to eating everything in sight and running about the place like he owns it.

This month I’ve been working on my “projects” for the Design Team.  We had to use papers from the Melissa Frances range and some pretty ribbon, flowers and plain cardstock.  I can’t say I loved the papers.  They were closer to what I would normally use than some other ranges, but the palette itself was quite pale and, dare I say it, insipid.  As we are only given a few pages, not an entire range with all its different sets and embellishments, ribbons or matching “bits”, we have to just work with what we have and not add too many of our own pieces to it.  This is, of course, so that people wanting to make the same things we have produced won’t be disappointed if the store doesn’t carry some of the materials.  It is hard though and quite limiting but onwards and upwards! (etc).  Here’s the few things I made.  Some I like, some were a bit blah and I struggled through lots of glitches in execution of my ideas…anyway, check them out and see what you think.

“Dolly” Card

“Keep it Together” Peg Set & Tags

Decorated Jar

“Adore” Card (Pretty plain this one but just wanted to use exactly the stuff I’d been given for a quick, simple card)

Altered Book (It turned out kinda ugly.  I just lost the plot while making it…I’m not gonna even show you inside! The cover is sweet enough though…)

So, all in all, I was fairly happy with what I made.  It’s good to be challenged and try new things.  Am hoping next month’s paper pack is something cool.  Now I just have to find my craft room under all the debris and carnage of the last couple of week’s crafting…

Hope Spring is treating you well (if you’re in my part of the world) and that September has been a good month.  It’s been kinda up and down for me so I am looking forward to a fresh start in October.  And a new piggy to add to the family!  🙂

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!”

Pig Tales

Pig Tales

As you will read if you stick around for a few more posts, my other love (besides craft and hubby) is my guinea pig, Roderick.  He is 5 months old and completely full of himself.  He rules the roost (and knows it) and is gorgeous.  That’s pretty much all you need to know about him.  Other than his middle name (Orinoco), his favourite foods (corn husks, sage and grass) and his preferred sleeping position (on top of not inside his “cave”).  I have spent more money on him in the last four months than I have on myself.  He gets fed first in the morning and is the first one to get dinner. He has heat pads and blankets and brushes and toys AND a nightlight.  The only thing he doesn’t have is a large enough hutch which we are slowly working on.  He does, however, have a play pen for, um, playing and running about, complete with tunnels and boxes for climbing and snuggle beds for napping in.  If I could buy him a castle-shaped house, you know I would.  He’s worth it.  Now, I wonder if he would wear a little crown…just for photographic purposes of course.