When the cat’s away…

When the cat’s away…

Christmas Eve.  Normally I love Christmas Eve – it’s magical and atmospheric and the calm before the eventual storm of December 25th.  This year I am up to my eyeballs in packing and moving and I have had barely time to acknowledge what time of year it is.  I’ve finished my gift-buying (if I haven’t gotten you something by now, it ain’t gonna happen!) and can concentrate on the tasks at hand.  Except that I’m not.  Concentrating, that is.  I’m blogging.  Whoops.  I cannot face another box or the sound of packing tape or the smell of marker pens as they are scrawled all over the boxes to tell us what lies inside.  I’m so tired.  My kidneys are not coping well with the stress and my overall inability to take care of myself properly at the moment.  Am looking forward to being settled in the new house though not looking forward to unpacking everything.  Why do I have so much stuff!?

Over the weekend Mum and I had added stress.  19 year old Bronte (the tabby cat) had another bout of cystitis (the 2nd in a month) and we had to rush off to the vets in the middle of the night.  We had to find a 24 hour vet that wasn’t too far away and luckily we did.  They were awesome – very caring and thorough and, despite the late hour and the fact that Bronte had to stay in over the weekend, the account at the end was very reasonable and not at all scary.  Bronte behaved herself (for once) and is now back home with Mum, complaining about not being fed (she’s always being fed but she’s kinda senile and forgets whatever she has just done) and sleeping the rest of the time.  The vet did lots of blood tests and found that Bronte is actually very healthy for such an old cat.  Relief!  She is very dear to us and I would hate to lose her.  Mum would be devastated…   Bronte came to us via my old job as a vet nurse.  Her mother Minnie had been run over (unfortunately by her owner, accidentally) when she was 8 1/2 weeks pregnant.  She had suffered a pelvic fracture and a diaphragmatic hernia plus of course we had to get the kittens out to see if we could save them.  After a lengthy surgery to repair her diaphragm and a caesarean to remove the kittens, and then a hysterectomy, poor Minnie was a bundle of stitches and feeling very sorry for herself.  We managed to get all three kittens out safely – Bronte was the first “born” and she was a fighter from the get-go.  Feisty and much bigger than her siblings she was determined to survive.  She spent the first hour of her life in my pocket as we worked on the other kittens.  Poor Minnie suckled those hungry little kittens despite her pain and discomfort from the surgery and was the best mother ever.  She healed up nicely and was a beautiful cat.  Bronte and her little sister, Beauty, survived but their brother did not and passed away at a few weeks of age.  The owners wanted me to have my pick of the remaining girls and so I chose Bronte (she being the strongest and most wilful – I figured she would be heathy and tough) and at 6 weeks, brought her home.  She ruled the house from day one, bossing our dog and other cat around.  I have photos of her hanging from the Christmas tree and play fighting with our very large German Shorthaird Pointer.  She’s such a character and I will miss her when she finally succumbs to old age.  We’re praying she gets to 20 – that seems a nice round number!


It is super hot today and will continue to be for the next few days.  I feel sorry for the birds that are outside panting in the heat.  I hope when our landlords move back in they will remember to fill the bird bath each day.  It’s easy to forget and the water evaporates so quickly in this weather.  This poor crow was sheltering in our mulberry tree this afternoon, outside my window.  Such beautiful blue eyes.

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Anyway, I should be packing, not bird-watching or blogging.  Feel free to come over and help me.  I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas.  Think Santa would have room in his sleigh for a few extra boxes?  I’m sure he could just drop a few at my new address for me… 🙂

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!  🙂