Dear Diary,

Grandpa Dwight came for a visit and got me all distracted so I haven’t written in a while. Big Sis had met him before but it was my first visit. Grandpa Dwight is gigantic! He’s 10 feet tall and weighs 1000 pounds! He scared me a lot at first. But then I remember that Uncle Jeff is gigantic too, and after that I wasn’t scared of Grandpa Dwight anymore. Plus, he gave me really good treats when the Mamas weren’t looking.

Friday night, Uncle Brian came over. We were allowed to romp around the back yard in Mama L.’s vegetable patch while they were grilling. Uncle Brian grilled scallops and salmon steaks, because he’s a good chef, and everybody ate a lot. I got a couple of pieces of salmon — boy, that was yummy! Then afterwards, they all sat around and played poker. Uncle Brian accused Grandpa Dwight of cheating and stealing all his money! And Grandpa Dwight accused Uncle Brian of making up the rules and changing them. I got kinda bored of all this so I put myself to bed.

Mama L.’s friend, Auntie Peggy, said that Beatrice The Cat’s writing reminded her of some famous Turkish author named Orhan Pamuk, who wrote some famous novel called My Name is Red. I didn’t know that Auntie Peggy is Turkish. But more importantly, why is Beatrice more famous than me? At least she said I was erudite. (I had to ask Mama L. what that means coz it’s such a big word.)

Mama L. told me about a woman she saw at the coffee shop. She is in a wheelchair because she has no arms and no legs. But she was able to move around all by herself because she has a special motorized chair. Mama L. was humbly impressed by this that she told me all about it. She said we all take a lot of things for granted in life and we should all take a moment to appreciate all the good fortunes we have in our daily lives. Then she gave me a big kiss and told me she loves me!

This morning, Mama L. found out that she just got laid off because there is no workload to support staff at where she works. They’re laying off several people so I guess it’s bad all over. But she doesn’t seem to take it too badly — I guess this just means she’ll have more time to spend with me now!

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Dear Journal,

I look like a movie star here, don’t I? Mama M. thinks I have a good shot of at it — I am so photogenic, she said.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of things to tell!

First of all, Grandpa Dwight is coming to town! He’s coming in about a half an hour or so, and I can’t wait. I’m going to pounce on him as soon as he walks in the door! I know he’ll have spectacular treats for me, his favorite dog in the world!

Second, I am innocent of all crimes, especially strawberrycide. Even Beatrice The Cat told the whole world of that story. Who knew she would ever be on my side. I guess I have to figure out a way to scratch her back now. Better look out for Ms. Sibley though…..I bet she’s got something up her sleeve.

Third, and I almost completely forgot about this until Mama L. came home from her book launch about the old Oakland Army Base event tonight. Last week Mama L. went to lunch with Auntie Peggy and Auntie Celia and they had loads of fun. But when Mama L. came home, she told me about a new social movement that is taking off like rockets. Or whatever. It’s called Guerrilla Knitting! Or Yarn Bombing, as Auntie Celia referred to it. Apparently, these people pick a target and they go out and knit something for it. It’s like tagging, but a hundred and fifty times better coz there’s no defacing!

So I ask Mama L. to look for some pictures or a video or something, and here’s one she found on youtube. I don’t see Auntie Celia in it, but I’m pretty sure she was involved. I know she knitted guerrillaly for the street sign post on her block. She even knitted the street name!

Dear Diary,

Mama L. was all worried about my extra baby canine tooth that she kept threatening me to get rid of it or else! I wasn’t sure what the “or else” part meant, because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. Big Sis and I play tug-tug and running-amok and chewing on knuckle bones, but it wouldn’t come loose! Then Mama M. had had enough of me chewing on her cabinet corners that she wiggled that tooth right out of me! It came off with a snap! I have a newfound respect of Mama M. now. And yes, I’m little scared of her too. I hope she doesn’t go for my extra toes. Those are supposed to stay.

But I guess that means I’m not a puppy any more. I’m a real dog now. I’m not really sure what real dogs are supposed to do, because the only real dog I know is Madeleine, my Big Sis. And she’s always getting in trouble with everybody – the Mamas, Beatrice, even Ms. Sibley the Squirrel. I don’t think she’s all that great of a role model, especially when she’s being a dickhead and takes it out on me. Well, even so, I suppose she loves me more than more bones! The only other real dogs I know are Belle and Daisy, Auntie Lillie’s and Uncle Jeff’s dogs. But they’re not real Mutts like us, so I’m not sure how reliable they are as role models.

Speaking of bones, we haven’t a new one in a while. The Mamas came up with some silly notion that we’re only allowed fresh bones on the weekends so they can “monitor” our activities. I don’t know why our activities need to be monitored, because, after all, we only do things to please the Mamas.

Look at this, for example. It took us all day to decorate the kitchen floor! But it was worth all the effort because we just knew that the Mamas would be so pleased when they come home from a long day at work! We tried to get Beatrice The Cat to participate and help out with the decorations, but she wouldn’t have none of it. I think she’s still upset over Ms. Sibley.  Even though Beatrice told Ms. Sibley that it was Mama M. who gave Big Sis the strawberry for the picture, she also knew that it was only half true. Which is why she’s mad at Ms. Sibley, I figured. Coz she fibbed just a little and she’s probably mad at herself too.

Anyway, today was exhausting. Herman, the long-hair Doxie from across the street came over to visit and I was worried that he would behave like a typical boy dog and mark our territory. So I had to bark ferociously to let him know that this is MY space and I’d kick his ass if he tries anything. I’m twice as tall as he is, so I’m sure I have the advantage. He didn’t try anything, though; good for him. Then we got chicken chips coz the Mamas were proud of us for guarding the house, and Bis Sis and I promptly fell asleep afterwards.

Mama L. tells me that Grandpa Dwight is coming down for a short visit. I am excited, but I’m really nervous too. I hope that Ms. Sibley doesn’t have anything plotted out coz I heard from Beatrice that she’s quite smart. I guess we’ll find out in a couple of days.

Dear Ms. Sibley the Squirrel,

I just heard, that this whole time, the main reason that you’re not talking to me was because of the strawberries? I have only one thing to say about that: I could give a rat’s ass whether you did or didn’t steal the strawberries. I don’t even like strawberries. As far as my universe is concerned, they don’t even exist. You went for three weeks without talking to me because of the stupid strawberries? That’s almost as stupid as the Stupid Dogs!

Sidebar: What does that even mean anyway? To give a rat’s ass? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What does a rat’s ass look like? Does the rat’s ass have to be a particular shape or size or color? How does one go about obtaining a rat’s ass? Then what does one do if one were to receive such a rat’s ass? What about other asses? Why does a rat have the market on asses? In a pinch, can you substitute a mouse’s ass?

You see, these are the kinds of discussions we could have had, if you weren’t sulking around. I miss the days when you and I had real conversations about the more important things in life. Who is the worst president ever? Bush or Bush? Or Nixon? Is the Man in the Moon really a man? Is it better to buy commodities based on the Leading Lipstick Indicator or the J. Lo Bottom? Who is badder: Bruce Lee or Jet Li? Or Jackie Chan? Do peanuts make you fat?

We all know that you didn’t steal the strawberries, Ms. Sibley, and frankly, nobody gives a rat’s ass. If you must know, it was Mama M. the entire time. She even gave Madeleine The Stupid Dog that strawberry so that she could pose for the photo shoot. Madeleine would do anything if she thought she was the center of attention!

So there! The truth is out now. Can we get back to normal, please? I miss my wise old friend with whom I can have real conversations with. The one who could have given a rat’s ass about the stupid strawberries!

Dear Diary,

I’m in such a quandary and I don’t know what to do about it. Madeleine is my Big Sis and I love her more than anything in the world almost as much as bones, and I shouldn’t tell on her. Supposedly, it’s also written in some Dog’s Bible that dogs don’t tell on each other, or the Big Dog Spirit would come to visit. But it’s not really fair to the Squirrel, or to Beatrice I suppose, or to the Mamas. I keep hearing this back-and-forth between Ms. Sibley and Beatrice The Cat about who stole the strawberries and I just want to holler out that it was Madeleine the whole time! But I can’t, coz she’s my Big Sis. But I should, coz Ms. Sibley didn’t do it.

See, this whole thing started when the Mamas dropped us off at Uncle JO’s and Auntie Lillie’s Summer Camp for Dogs. Madeleine has always been a dickhead, so that’s not really anything new. But then Belle, Uncle JO’s dog First Dog, decided to show Big Sis a few tricks, including picking strawberries at just the right time. (The right time, of course, is when the Humans have already seen the strawberries and they’re waiting for it to be perfectly ripe. But you got to get to the strawberries before they’re ripe.) Anyway, Belle taught Madeleine that trick and she’s been nothing but trouble since then. As much as I love her, I am really surprised that she hasn’t come clean with all of this. I really thought Madeleine was much bigger than that.

But she’s not, really. She’s actually a big scare-dy cat – no offense to the real cast. Last weekend, the Mamas brought us into the City coz they were pruning and grooming and primping. They decided that not only were they were going to get a hair cut, we were also going to get groomed! I didn’t have any problems whatsoever, especially after the turkey jerky (WOW! I love turkey jerky!!!!). But oh my god, you should have seen Madeleine when the nice people started going for her toe nails. You’d think they were after her only organ or something. I have never seen Big Sis so terrified! I was so well behaved that the Mamas kept telling me that I’m the role model now! Whatever that is!

Well, I suppose I could just sleep on it some more. It’s always best when I’ve had a couple of days to think about it. I’ll probably think about it some more tomorrow in the shower. Every morning, I jump in the shower to get my day started right, just like Mama L. does. I still haven’t figured out why this step is all that necessary; it gets awfully wet.  But when Mama L. sees me in the shower with her, it always seems make her laugh, so I suppose that it’s a good thing!