Dear Diary,

Auntie Peggy’s panettone is almost gone and I really really want to try some. I had promised to write down all that had happened so that I can have just a little taste. But Mama L. has been so busy and she comes home tired every night. Tonight she told me she can help me with the post, but I have to keep it short. How am I going to do that? There is so much to tell! I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe I will do this backwards just in case I forget anything!

Amy Lee broke her elbow playing tag. Mama M. said she should have stuck to scrabble.

Auntie Juniper got a new job and she’s really looking forward to spending more time with us.

We spent this entire past weekend watching football. Mama L. said the Niners-Saints game was the best game she’d seen in a long time. And Mama M. said the same thing about the Ravens-Texans game. We don’t care that much about football, but I sure like snuggling up in bed. Then Madeleine and I got to go on a long hike in Redwood Regional Park where we got to run off-leash! It was awesome, and it was the best hike we’ve had in a long time. We met lots of other dogs too, including a handsome Catahoula Leopard Dog with blue eyes.

The Governor of California is shutting down Redevelopment Agencies in the State, and it’s making Mama L. mad coz she voted for him. Thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. Auntie Peggy, I’ll share all my dog treats with you, just so you know.

Mama L. had a couple of weeks off because of the City’s furlough days, and she got to do the one thing she’s been wanting to do for the past four years: clean out the garage. She’s still not done though on account of her running into rat poop. She got all grossed out and so it took a while longer than anticipated. She did all this research on how to get rid of rats holistically without trapping or killing them. One website said to clean out all the poop first and then scattering about some cotton balls soaked with pure peppermint oil. So far it seems to work and the garage smells terrific!

Then there were the Holidays with all the festivities. We got to go visit Mamas’ friends and then we had people over too! Even Grandpaw Dwight was here and they played poker all night. It was lots of fun and we were exhausted having to entertain everyone.

Oh, and Madeleine got a new outfit for Christmas!

I had my second birthday on December 9th. The Mamas got us birthday burgers and they were the best burgers ever! Keeper (Betty’s dog) stayed with us for three weeks and we had so much fun chasing each other around the house. He was there to celebrate my birthday too, so that was pretty special. Here’s a video of the Mamas singing me Happy Birthday!

And before all of that, Grandmaw and Grandpaw B. came out for a visit and stayed with us for a long time! This was especially great because we got to spend almost all the days with them and we got to go places that we don’t usually get to go to.

The same day that Grandmaw and Grandpaw B. arrived, we drove up to a town called Arnold, California. Mama M. had wanted them to see the foothills and gold country. It was one of several famous places that people used to flock to in the late 1800s because of all the gold they found! Boy, it was a really really long drive. Before the drive, the Mamas tricked us by giving us something called Dramamine by stuffing it in some Velveeta cheese. We love Velveeta! Madeleine is the one who usually gets carsick, not me. But I didn’t mind coz I LOVE cheese!

First it got dark and then it started to rain and we were getting nervous about finding the place. Mama M. was driving our new truck, The Beast, and she couldn’t see too well because they were on country roads and there wasn’t a whole of light.

We finally arrived at the cabin and wow, what a terrific place! It was huge! I chased Big Sis up and down and around and around. There were three different floors with lots of rooms to run in and out of. We had such a good time running around that we forgot we were scared. Then the Mamas and Grandmaw and Grandpaw unpacked and then we all had a great dinner!

The next morning, they had to get up really early. Because of all the rain the night before and the temperature drop, everything turned icy. Mama L. fell on her butt twice going down the steps as she was trying to get us out for our morning walk. I felt kinda bad for Mama L., but it was great fun sliding around like that.

They drove down to a town called Columbia to meet Miner John. Then they spent the next two hours digging and dumping the dirt into a screen in the river, and then panning it afterwards. Grandmaw and Grandpaw did the most work so they got the most gold. Mama L. showed us the vials with gold in them, and we squinted and squinted but it just didn’t seem like a whole lot for all that work. Mama L. told us that it took them over thirty buckets of dirt to get that much gold. I hope that’s a lot of dog food!

The best part of this trip was that it snowed the next day and everything was covered in white!  We had never seen snow before! Madeleine got all scared and started barking at everything. There were little white flakes floating down from the heavens above. I tried to catch them all before chasing Big Sis all over the place. It was really beautiful and fun and I wish everyday was snow day!

Then there was a flurry of activities. First, there was some show called Cirque du Soleil “Totem” that they all went to. Then there was Thanksgiving and Mama L. and Grandmaw B. spent an awful lot of time prepping and cooking. I got to taste a few items, but not as much as I would have liked. And then there was a really long hike through Redwood National Forest. The Mamas almost brought us, but it was probably a good thing they didn’t because it was a 5.54 mile hike and you know that Madeleine would have whined and complained the whole time. Sunday was football day and the Mamas and Grandmaw and Grandpaw all went to the game and had a good time. They had it was a really close game and the Raiders won over the Bears by only 5 points.

Grandmaw and Grandpaw B. left the next day to go back home, and we missed them immediately. It was so nice being spoiled. I even let Grandpaw B. pick me up and pet me, even though I was scared stiff and I was sure he was going to eat me. Grandmaw was great, and I really liked taking naps on her lap. I can’t wait till the next time I see her.

We barely had the house back to ourselves when Betty dropped off Keeper. Betty was going away for three weeks and she didn’t have anybody looking after him. Madeleine doesn’t like him much because he’s a boy and he has to pee over everything. The Mamas have been doing a lot of laundry. Mama L. has a theory that maybe he’s just scared of us girls and has to prove himself as the alpha dog. She also complained that our living room was turning into Occupy Manila Avenue.

Dear Journal,

Mama M. took me in last weekend to get my stitches removed. As usual, I was a good girl and was very well behaved. The staff at the Pets Referral Center were really nice and took really good care of me. I pranced about with my head held high and my tail up when I came out of the recovery room. Everyone applauded, and Mama M. laughed with delight when she saw me. It was a good day. And I don’t have to wear that stupid cone on my head anymore.

To celebrate, Mama M. bought me a brand new pink shirt with lots of shiny bling on it so that everyone could notice me.

The hair on my belly is finally growing back and it’s itching a little bit. Could be the fleas though…the Mamas bathed us over the weekend with some nice smelling shampoo. Beatrice the Cat is still mad at us because she got two fleas and the Mamas had to rub her down with some of Doctor Ben’s Paws and Claws Treatment. It’s mostly cedar oil and it smells good, so I don’t know why she’s complaining.

There are a couple of new editions on our block! The humans up the corner where Belle the dog lives now have a new human baby named Eli! Mama L. won’t let us near the baby because of our germs (whatever), but he sure looks cute from what I can see, peeking over the top of the basket. Humans are so weird. It is a well known fact that dogs have less germs than humans do.

Then there is a new kitty on our block. We haven’t met her/him yet, since s/he is mostly perching on a couch indoor. We have never met the humans there either. But they had Fast Eddy until he was gone a month ago. The new kitty is very cute, all white with little orange tips around the ears and nose. Mama L. said that s/he is a flame point Siamese cat and s/he is very handsome. I can’t wait to meet her/him.

All that gender stuff is so very tedious.

I almost forgot to mention that we met Keeper, Betty’s new puppy. (Betty also has a poodle named Sophie, and she is very very sweet.) Keeper was wandering around homeless until he met Betty and she decided to keep him, and that’s why she named him Keeper. Anyway, Betty is going on some vacation and the Mamas are going to watch Keeper for three weeks! Of course, because he is a boy and has no manners, Keeper peed and pooped in our house as soon as he arrived. I can see I’m going to have some hard work ahead.

While Betty was here, Uncle Nick from across the street came over for a visit and brought the Mamas a book called The Puppy Diaries. It’s about a dog named Scout. Mama L. has been reading to us from the book. The author writes very well, and there were some very funny parts and some very sad parts. We think it’s terrific when anybody writes anything about dogs.

This afternoon when we went on our usualy daily walk, Mama L. found an iPhone in a bush in front of the acupuncture clinic. I was about to pee on it when she said “Leave It”. When we got home, Mama L. plugged it in and found out who the owner was and emailed her. We haven’t heard back from the owner yet, but I think Mama L. should keep the phone because I like to chew on electronics.

Grandmaw and Grandpaw B. are coming out for a visit, and I can’t wait! I overheard Mama M. telling Mama L. all the fun and exciting things we are going to do over the Thanksgiving holiday. Even though Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year because of all the food, I am even more excited that I will get to see them really soon. I am going to get a lot of attention!