Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

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

 

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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

 

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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

 

 

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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

 

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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

 

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Mothers

Dear Puffin,

You look a bit grumpy this morning. Is something bothering you?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Poppy says Sunday will be Mother’s Day and that it is especially to honor her.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

She’s right about Sunday. It is Mother’s Day. But it’s not just for her. It’s for honoring all mothers. Even me, by the way.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Tout le monde honors Madame. But il faut dire, honor this crazy dog Poppy? Pah.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Poppy was a mother at one time. We don’t know what happened to her puppies, but that poor dog was found lost and terrified with swollen nipples. She had been nursing babies!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

But to honor her? She obviously did not take very good care of those puppies.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

What a mean spirited thing to say. How would you feel if someone said that about your mother? By the way, you were found wandering around in the gutters of Los Angeles, apparently mislaid by someone. Just saying.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

My mother, she was Français. So clearly she was superior. Madame, I was not mislaid.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m sure she was quite superior, honey. All moms are. But how did you get lost on the streets?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

I went out to seek mon fortune. My cher Maman gave me a kiss to send me off.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

So you should therefore send her a loving thought on Sunday to honor her!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

D’accord. However, I draw le line on honoring this crazy mutt Poppy.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

 

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The Encounter

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

This morning was so exciting!!!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Maybe a little too exciting.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That skunk was lurking in the bushes waiting for me!!!! But we showed him.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I think he was hoping we wouldn’t notice him.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I told him what I thought of that!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You did indeed. But it would have been better if we had just walked quietly by. Much better.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But he was in our yard! And then he sneered at me when you pulled my tail. Why did you pull my tail??????

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I’m sorry about that. But you were lunging. Lunging at a skunk for heavens sake. Who does that??? Your tail was the only thing I could reach as you dashed past me into the bushes.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That was horrible. I screamed.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I know. I’m sorry. But if I hadn’t, you would have gotten a face full of skunk spray. At point blank range. I’ve had dogs who’ve been sprayed in the face and eyes, and it’s awful. By pulling you out of there before you got too close, we got away with just a light spray. Still, a mess to clean up.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I’m sure my screaming terrified him. I think we won that match.

XOXO Poppy

 

 

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Vegetables

Dear Mommy,

Why is this cucumber here?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I wanted to see if you were afraid of it.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Why would I be afraid of a vegetable?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s a very good question. I just thought I’d give it a try. The internet is full of videos of cats jumping up and running out of the room when they are startled by a cucumber.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That makes no sense. It’s a vegetable.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You are absolutely right!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

What’s the science here? Why is a cucumber supposed to scare a cat?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s a very good question. One theory is that it looks like a snake.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Seriously???? A snake? Look at that thing. There is absolutely nothing snake-like about it. I can’t believe people are thinking such nonsense.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You are absolutely right. What can I say. Humans are not always scientifically rigorous.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

So, I’m a little surprised that you tried to startle me with a vegetable.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Okay, okay, I have to say I’m really embarrassed now that I tried this.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You can’t believe everything you see on the interwebs.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I know, honey. Don’t rub it in.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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The Pony Upstairs

Dear Puffin,

When you are playing upstairs it sounds like a large animal running around overhead.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Mais oui! I am one! Je suis un large animal! Je suis un big strong cat!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You are big, but I was thinking more along the lines of a pony thumping around up there.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

A pony? Madame she thinks this petit cat sounds like un pony?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Just saying.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Always le sarcasm. C’est about the problem of the weight, n’est-ce pas?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m afraid that is something we need to talk about. Over the last few months you have gained back some of the weight you had lost. Almost a pound. That’s a lot for a little cat!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

The diet. C’est about le diet. Madame is cruel. No small birds. No small mammals. No extra kibble. Madame is too strict. This pauvre little cat suffers from le torture.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You are not being tortured. You are simply on a diet. Being obese is unhealthy. The vet was very stern about this. She said you must lose weight.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Monsieur is much kinder than Madame.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Has Monsieur been giving you treats again? He is such a softie. I guess I need to remind him that you are on a strict diet.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Le diet, it is not necessaire. Moi, I do l’exercise!!!!! I run around and around upstairs.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

And that’s when I hear that pony.

Love, Carolyn

 

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The Suitcase

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Mia and I are extremely worried about this suitcase.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I know, Sweetie. I completely understand. But you all need to relax. It will be okay.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

It means you are leaving us.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Just for a bit. We’re going on a short trip.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Why would you leave us? Is it something we said?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Of course it’s not something you said, Sweetie. It’s not personal. Alpha Dad and I are just going on a short trip. We won’t be gone long.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Before she died Molly explained to me that a suitcase means just one thing: DOOM. That when you go away you may never come back.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Oh dear. Molly has a long reach, doesn’t she? But we always come back!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And she explained that when you are gone for more than a day we have to assume that you were eaten by predators.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I’m so sorry you are worried about that. Molly was always the voice of doom. But we are in no danger from predators.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Molly was a very wise dog.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

She was, but she was also very gloomy. So don’t pay attention to all that, Sweetie. You’ll be so well taken care of that you won’t even miss us. You’ll go to Danielle’s house. You love to go to her house!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I do! And what about the cats?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

She’ll come here every day to feed them and play with them. So they will be well taken care of.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Still, there are predators everywhere. I worry that you are not a fierce fighter. You don’t even growl.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dearest Poppy,

I’ll work on my growl.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Molly was right. We’re doomed.

XOXO Poppy

 

 

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