Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

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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Book Group

Dear Mia,

What have you done with my Kindle?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Your Kindle?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Don’t play innocent with me. I saw you checking it out. You have done something with it.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I thought it was our Kindle!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

No it’s not. It’s mine. And I need it to finish the book I’m reading.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Why you are in such a hurry to finish your book?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Because my book group is meeting tonight and this is the book we’ll be discussing.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You discuss the books? I want to come to book group!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m certain that is not a good idea.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I would talk about the lack of diversity in fiction.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

The lack of diversity?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Species diversity. When is the last time a cat had a starring role in a novel? Or a short story? Not to mention, when is the last time you even came across a cat reference?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one. But I’m sure there are dogs and cats in many, many books.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I don’t mean books in general. I’m talking about fiction.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Okay, I’m sure there are dogs and cats in many works of fiction.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Dogs sure, but cats? No. I challenge you to find them.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I hadn’t really thought about it. But I’m sure there’s a cat or two.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Not like there are in non-fiction. There are a lot of non-fiction cat books.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I don’t know what you are complaining about. You are all over social media.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

True. We own social media. Now we want to take over your Kindle.

Love, Mia

 

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Communication Skills

Dear Puffin,

You seem unsettled and angry. Is everything okay?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

This morning you said something très unfortunate. C’est unforgivable.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I did? I’m sorry, I was not aware of saying anything unfortunate!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Oui, très unfortunate. That you were going to put me down.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

This is a problem?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Does Madame actually do that? C’est horrifying!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Put you down? Oh! Put. You. Down. I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that the way it sounds. I meant I was going to lift you off my lap.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Pourquois Madame did not say ça?!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You are absolutely right. I should have. Communication is terribly important. Especially between species.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Bien sûr. Madame she should pay attention.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

We all should. Speaking of which, Poppy is complaining that she can’t understand a word you say.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Pas nécessaire. She doesn’t need to. Poppy et moi, we do not speak.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

It would help if you spoke English. And it’s not just Poppy complaining. Mia says she only understands half of what you say.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Pah. Je suis très clear. But what does it matter. Mia she is rude to me. She calls me Dude. And she says “Move over Fat Boy.” And worst of all, she says “You aren’t even French.”

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

But you’re not. Honey, you are from Los Angeles.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

That is très close to France.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

No, it’s not.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Peut-être I was brought to Los Angeles from France.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

No, you were just a baby when you were found in a South Central gutter. I don’t know where you got this French delusion.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

This South Central, c’est a nice area in LA? Comme Beverly Hills?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

No, I’m sorry, it’s not at all like Beverly Hills. It’s a bit rougher.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Not a nice neighborhood? C’est très upsetting. Madame should make it up to moi.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

But you live in a nice neighborhood now. You live in the lap of luxury!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Ahhh, then Madame knows how to make it up. C’est dinnertime now, oui?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

 

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The Long Drive

Dear Alpha Mommy,

This is my suitcase!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It is indeed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

We brought it when we went to Los Angeles! But you never told me what was in it.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It carried your meds, an extra leash, your comb, your toothbrush, and your treats. All the important things!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

My meds?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

The pill you get every afternoon. Your Prozac. To help you feel less anxious. And there was also Dramamine for the drive. Because you get carsick.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

It was a very long drive. The longest drive EVER.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It was indeed, and you did so well! When you first came to me you barfed every time you were in the car. Then you got better, but you still had a hard time when we took any drive that was longer than just around town.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Like when we drove up to the mountains!  I urped in the car. And drooled all over myself. It was all very unpleasant.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No kidding. You were soaking wet by the time we got to the cabin. But you’ve come a long way since then. This was a long drive and you were fine! No urping! No drooling! You seemed very relaxed!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I liked our walks in the Rest Areas.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It felt good to stretch our legs. Six hours is a long time to drive.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And I liked meeting the hot German Shepherd. But I didn’t care much for the two rude Chihuahuas.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No, I didn’t either. That was an unfortunate incident.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And I love Los Angeles! I was so surprised to end up at your daughter’s house. My pal Mika is there! And I love to snuggle with your daughter. Mika and I woke her up in the morning with kisses. And we all went on lovely walks. And Mika and I guarded the house when you two went out. It was so exciting when the skunks toddled by!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

We dodged a bullet that time. But all in all it was a nice trip.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But just one thing. Mia says you got me stoned for the drive. What is this Dramamine?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Don’t pay any attention to Mia. The Dramamine is a wonder drug.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Bed Dancing

Dear Mommy,

I love it when you and I Bed Dance.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

When we what? I don’t know what you are referring to, honey.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

We just did it yesterday!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

We did?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

We did! It was so much fun!!!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I’m glad you had a good time. Maybe you could give me some clues?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Bed dance!!!! You swoosh the sheets. I leap under them! You fold up the comforter, I rummage around in it! It’s all so exciting!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia

Oh! Now I get it. When I change the sheets on the bed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

When you say it, it sounds so boring.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It’s just making the bed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

No, merely making the bed is not Bed Dancing. When you make the bed every morning you just pull the bedding up and tuck it in. But when you change the sheets it’s magic. You make the sheet float in the air over me, as I leap up to it. Then it drops down and I scoot around under it. It’s so much fun!!!!!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You do make it sound magical. And we certainly have a great time doing that together.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It is magical!!! It’s one of my favorite things to do!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It’s still just making the bed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You can call it that. But I call it Bed Dancing.

Love, Mia

 

 

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