Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Molly’s Life Lessons

Dear Poppy,

I’ve always been mystified by the way you dogs take the kibble nugget out of the bowl and eat it somewhere else in the room.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

This is what Molly taught me. Do you remember Molly?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Of course I remember Molly. She was part of our family for seventeen years.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

Dear Mommy,

She was very wise. She told me all the important things before she died.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Oh dear, she was rather eccentric. What were these important things? Should I be worried?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Number one: never let the food bowl get empty. When the supply gets low, start reminding everyone.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That was very important to her.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And chew the nuggets only on one side of the mouth.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No no no!  The nuggets are very special kibble designed to clean your teeth. They need to be chewed on both sides. Molly drove me nuts because half her mouth had clean teeth and the other half needed cleaning. Don’t follow that rule!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That’s good, because I keep forgetting to follow that one.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

What else did she tell you to do?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Don’t listen to what the cats say. And keep away from kids. And we’re supposed to face north when we poop.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s good advice about the cats, but I’m not so sure about the rest. She just didn’t like kids. And when you poop you can face any way you like.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Also when you catch a rat, shake it hard and then drop it and jump back so it can’t bite you. Then grab it again and repeat this until it is dead.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Well that was grisly advice. But she was an expert ratter so she knew what she was talking about.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And finally, we dogs are in charge of the daily agenda. It is very important that the evening schedule is maintained in the correct order: make dinner, give us our meds, feed me and the cats, eat dinner, cleanup, treats, go outside one last time, then hang out until bedtime. Unless you go out. Then the schedule is all messed up. Molly warned me that can happen.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Molly was seriously Obsessive/Compulsive, honey. It’s okay if we vary the order of things once in awhile. But I do appreciate your reminding me to give you your Prozac. It’s important.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I don’t agree with one thing she frequently said, though. She’d say We’re Doomed.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

She said that a lot, didn’t she? I’m so glad you don’t share her crotchety outlook!

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Vive la France!

Dear Puffin,

I see you are celebrating Bastille Day!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

English speakers, you are toujours ignorant. You call it Bastille Day. This is not correct. Non. En France we call it la Fête nationale. Ou, le 14 juillet.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I stand corrected! Thank you.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

It would be appropriate for Madame to provide festivities.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

By festivities I presume you mean food.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

But of course. Food to celebrate the unity of France.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I guess we could break your diet just this once to give you an extra treat.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Tous les chats français salute Madame!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

And we should send our regards to our French cousins.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

We have les cousins français????????????

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

The cousin is actually Monsieur’s cousin, but she has a house full of lively cats.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

I must go visit them!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I don’t think that’s in the cards, honey. But today we’ll salute them! Vive la France!

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Takeout

Dear Mommy,

What is this???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It’s lobster ravioli.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It smells DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Okay you need to calm down. That’s a lot of exclamation points for something you are not going to be allowed to eat.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That’s so unfair! It smells like the Best. Cat food. Ever.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m sure you would like it. But it’s for me. But I’ll let you lick out the takeout box when I’ve emptied it.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Poppy says she has the contract for licking out food boxes.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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The Star

Dear Poppy,

You are looking very patriotic!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Patriotic? I thought this t-shirt says I’m a star.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Well, maybe both. You are a star, honey, and you are wearing red, white, and blue.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I don’t understand patriotic. What does color have to do with it?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It’s just symbolism, sweetie. And we’re seeing a lot of these colors right now because the Fourth of July is almost upon us. This is why we’ve been hearing firecrackers from time to time in the neighborhood.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I thought that was more wildlife. What do firecrackers have to do with it?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Not much, except that people love big scary noises.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

So making a lot of noise is patriotic?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Some people think so. And some think it’s about waving the flag and singing patriotic songs.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

If that’s patriotism, does that mean the chicken on America’s Got Talent, who played America the Beautiful on a keyboard, is a patriotic hen?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

She is a talented chicken, isn’t she! But I’m not so sure about patriotic. I guess she is, if you subscribe to that definition of patriotism. But I think patriotism is about what we actually do to keep our nation strong and good. Like looking out for poor people, so that everyone is housed and fed and educated. Tolerating differences and welcoming newcomers. Ensuring that the environment is clean and healthy. And making sure we are agents for peace and contribute to the good of the world.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That sounds like a speech!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Pompous, wasn’t it? All it needed was the swell of an orchestra behind it. Sorry, I got carried away. I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That’s ok! I love it! It’s what dogs everywhere would sign on for!!!!!! I want to be that kind of patriotic!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That makes you a star.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But our chickens are probably not very patriotic. And I doubt the cats are.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Probably not. But they have other wonderful qualities.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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The Disrupter

Cher Madame,

Il faut dire, Madame is très grumpy with moi, un petit et innocent cat.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I have to say you are neither petit nor innocent.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Toujours les complaints.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m sorry, but you have been exasperating lately.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Je suis much maligned.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Maligned? Puffy, you eat my plants, eat Mia’s food, eat Poppy’s food, barf everywhere, chew on shoestrings and charger cords, and you bully Poppy. Other than that you are a joy to have around.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Toujours le sarcasm.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Okay, you are sweet when you want to be. I love how you throw back your head to show me you want your chin scratched. And Monsieur loves it when you come visit him at his desk. We just wish you were easier to live with.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Bien sûr, I have un explanation. Je suis un Disrupter.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

A disrupter? Seriously? Where did you learn that word? What have you been reading?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

You think crazy Mia is the only cat who does the reading of les current events? Non! Moi, I know about Disruptors. Je suis un Disruptor.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

We have no need for a disruptor, Puff. Our household is running just fine, thank you.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Le household, it ne marche pas. C’est chaos here. Food is only served twice a day! C’est unthinkable. So, bien. I am le Disruptor.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You do disrupt things around here. When you are not napping. So maybe you should go back to sleep now.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Wildlife


Dear Alpha Mommy,

Alpha Dad says we are surrounded by wildlife!!! Does that mean there are tigers and giraffes?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No honey, nothing like that. Actually he was referring to the Walking Stick insects we find on the front door. But still, we have a lot of wildlife in our garden.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Actually that has me worried.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You are worried? I’m sorry to hear that sweetie!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

The raccoons told me last night that they would rip me apart.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Don’t go near them, honey. They probably would rip you apart. They are cute, but they’re a pair of thugs.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Omg now I’m really worried. But they are not the only ones that try to be intimidating. There’s Bruce. He’s huge and he’s been taunting me.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Bruce is a big squirrel. That guy has been taunting everyone. Don’t pay any attention to him.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

The crows taunt everyone too. They are so rude. All that yelling.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

They are noisy, aren’t they? It’s hard to believe that some people complain about the ruckus that hens make when they lay an egg. They’re nothing compared to the crows.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

The crows even yell at the Blue Jays and the Red-shouldered Hawks.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

They do, but the jays and hawks do their share of screaming. I think it’s so cool that the hawks are raising a family in one of our Redwood Trees! It’s wonderful to have so much wildlife here.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Then there’s the skunk. I’m worried about her.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

She just wants to raise her babies in peace. Don’t go near her. Same goes for the possum.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But it’s so hard not to bark at them!!! And the turkeys too, they are so exciting! But even the turkeys are bullies. They won’t let us drive by when they are in the street.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

They are very confident, aren’t they? Maybe that’s why the foxes and coyotes haven’t been picking them off. Not to mention the mountain lions.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Foxes and coyotes and even lions? OMG, I hadn’t thought of them!!!!!!!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Relax, you are probably fine.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Probably? Probably? I think you are being way too casual about the wildlife.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

We’ve always been surrounded by them, and look at us, we’re fine! You just need to learn to leave them alone. Maybe stop barking at everyone.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It comes over me and I can’t stop myself. Like when I see the cat next door. He stares at me through the fence. That drives me crazy! And there was a deer there yesterday. It’s so unfair that I can’t reach them!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No, that’s a good thing. Not to mention the fence keeps the deer out of my vegetables and roses.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And there’s a lady in the neighborhood who sits in her garden and smokes. It’s very, very pungent. We have so many kinds of wildlife here.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I just hope the chickens aren’t getting stoned.

Love, Carolyn

 

Don’t miss any of these weekly posts! If you want to get every single one delivered to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Kisses

Dear Mia,

We need to talk about your evening kisses.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I love our evening kisses!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I know you do. And I love it when you cuddle on my chest while I read in bed. I really do. But the kissing is becoming a problem.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

A problem??????????? But I love you and I kiss you and kiss you and kiss you!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I know you do sweetie, and that’s the problem.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

There’s a problem?

Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It goes on and on, for quite a long time, and your tongue is very rough, and after a while it starts to hurt my cheek. And not only that, your whiskers tickle. And to be honest, honey, I really don’t need grooming.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Your cheek is hurt by my kisses?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Yes, unfortunately. It makes it sore.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

From my tongue?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Yes. From your tongue. I’m sorry to say that, but it does.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

This is because you don’t have fur. Humans don’t have proper covering!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

What can I say? You are absolutely right. I lack facial fur. So it hurts when you lick and lick and lick.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You want me to stop.

Mia

 

Dear Mia,

No! No! Not at all honey. But maybe there’s a way we could modify this a little? Maybe a short bit of kissing and then call it a night?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I need to go into the other room now and lick myself.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Now I’ve hurt your feelings. Please don’t take it personally. You know I love you.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But you had to bring this up. I didn’t know I was hurting you.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

C’mon, I did keep saying “please stop“.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I never believed you meant it. Who would want to stop kissing???!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Clearly this is an interspecies problem. I have a feeling there will be no solution. So I give up, we’ll just forget I brought this up.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That is the best solution.

Love, Mia

 

Don’t miss any of these weekly posts! If you want to get every single one delivered to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Greens

Dear Puffin,

You must stop eating my plants.

Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Moi, I am un pauvre chat, an innocent petit cat, who must have sustenance.

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

No you don’t. You get plenty of food. And chewing on my houseplants just makes you barf. On my rug. By the way, I notice you never barf on the tile floor.

Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Cette colère, this anger, it is about the consuming of les plants or le producing of le barf?

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

It’s about both of course. Not to mention that one of these days you are going to chew on something truly toxic. Then I’ll have another big vet bill, like I did when you ate god knows what, some plant, and gagged and frothed at your mouth for an hour.

Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

You refer to le Emergency Vet visit? I remember Madame was vexed at le bill.

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Not to mention all my houseplants look terrible. All raggedy. And then you got into my Thyme.

Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

That pile of twigs on the dining table? Pah. It wasn’t very nice looking to begin with.

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

That was not a random pile of twigs. That was Thyme that I cut from my garden and left out on a tray to dry. What a mess you made of that! You pulled it off the tray and scattered thyme twigs all over the floor. And barfed up little twigs. In four places. Again, I might add, on the rug.

Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Such an obsession with votre rug. Et these twigs, why does Madame dry the twigs? C’est fou. Craziness.

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I strip off the dried leaves to use them for cooking.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Aha! Madame admits it now. You too eat plants from around the house!

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Not the houseplants honey. Just the Thyme. And now I’m going to go clean your latest rug spots.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

Don’t miss any of these weekly posts! If you want to get every single one delivered to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Work

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Am I a Working Dog?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Why do you ask?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Puffin said I’m not a Working Dog.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Okay, I’ve told you not to pay attention to what the cats say.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Well, am I?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I have to say, that’s not the first term that springs to mind when I think of you, sweetie.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Now I’m sad.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Don’t be sad, sweetie. I’m sorry I said that. Maybe you are not a Working Dog, but you are a dog that sometimes works.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I have jobs?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I’m sure you do.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Like taking care of any food that drops on the floor?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Okay, yes, that. And you take me for walks. Every day, in fact. That’s an important job.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And I bark at people who pass by our house with dogs!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You do indeed. And you bark at the squirrels on the deck.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But they don’t go away.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No they don’t. But they know they’ve been warned.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Do the cats have jobs?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Mia is very attentive while I work. She has her spot on the desk where she sorts everything out.  Rustling the papers. Overseeing the laptop. Keeping an eye on the cursor. Tapping the pens so they fall on the floor. She is indispensible.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And Puffin’s job is to announce every morning at sunrise that it’s time for breakfast!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I’m so very fortunate to have all this help.

Love, Carolyn

 

Don’t miss any of these weekly posts! If you want to get every single one delivered to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)

Plein Air

Dear Mommy,

I’m so excited, I’m going to try a new kind of art!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Is that why you have my watercolors?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Yes! And I’m going to do some plain paintings.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

And by “plain” you mean…?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Plain Air!!!!!!! I’m going to be a Plain Air Artist.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You mean Plein Air. That doesn’t mean plain. It means painting outside, from nature.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Oh. Well that sounds even better!!!!! So, I need to go outside.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You are an indoor cat, sweetie. It’s safer that way.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But there should be exceptions, especially for art. I am an artist, and I am all excited about this new art experience. And it has to be done outside. So it’s time for an exception.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You can go out on the balcony and paint a picture of the garden. It’s lovely right now.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But I need something more exciting than that!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

There are squirrels out there. They are lively enough to be an exciting subject.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Squirrels are not exciting. They are everywhere. They are so common here they are ordinary.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

There are lots of crows out there. And they will yell at you. That’s exciting, right?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Being yelled at by crows isn’t exciting. It’s annoying.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

How about this: there’s a pair of Red-tail Hawks out there. Maybe one of them will swoop down and try to pick you up. That would be exciting. A frisson of danger to elevate the experience.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That sounds terrifying! Why would you let me go out there if that can happen?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I was just kidding. It’s not really a worry, sweetie. You’re too heavy for a hawk to pick up.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That wasn’t funny.

Love Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Well anyway, don’t worry about the hawks.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And I am not heavy!

Love, Mia

 

Don’t miss any of these weekly posts! If you want to get every single one delivered to your In Box, it’s easy to subscribe: scroll up to the top of the blog page, enter your email address in the subscription box on the right, and click the subscribe button. If you are reading this in an email, go to blog.carolynholm.com to find the subscription box. (And if you’ve already subscribed, multiple paws are raised to salute you!)