Carolyn Holm

One Dog, Two Cats
Grand Ideas
InterSpecies Memos

Clothing

Dear Alpha Mommy,

When it’s cold people pile on extra clothes. I don’t know why. I just want this thing OFF.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Sorry. I was just playing with you. If you’ll stop thrashing around I’ll take it off.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Dogs and cats wear the same thing all the time. In all weather. Hot or cold. Summer or winter.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s not strictly true. Your coat gets thicker in the winter. And then you shed it like crazy in late spring.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

But we don’t need scarves and jackets and boots.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No, though some dogs have raincoats. And I saw a dog on Facebook wearing boots. In fact, he was a Spitz like you! And that famous London cat, Streetcat Bob, wears scarves.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Bob is a celebrity.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

He is indeed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

If I wear this scarf will I be a celebrity?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Probably not. But that’s a good thing.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

You’re right. Mia and Puffin would be jealous. Especially Mia.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No kidding. Mia would give anything to be on Instagram.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

She should wear scarves. It worked for Streetcat Bob.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I’ll pass the word along to her.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Thankful

Dear Mommy,

I’m thinking about all the things I’m thankful for.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Getting a jump on Thanksgiving!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I am! I’m thankful that Puffin doesn’t like my cat tree.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I don’t think having your cat tree all to yourself is really the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Then how about this: I’m thankful that Poppy is afraid of Puffin.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Why is that good?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

It’s entertaining to watch the two of them maneuvering around each other.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Again, not really what Thanksgiving is all about.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I’m thankful that Dad loves to give me treats.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s a little better. How about being thankful that you were saved by a rescue group?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But I don’t remember that at all.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You were an infant. Someone abandoned the whole litter, and you were raised by a foster mother who bottle-fed you and your sister and brother. You would have died if she hadn’t raised you!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That’s horrifying. I’d forgotten all about that.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Puffin and Poppy were also rescues. All three of you have something big to be thankful for!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Puffin was rescued? He says he’s from France!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

We all know that’s a delusion. He was found on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. And Poppy was found running around the streets of a little rural town called Lodi. She was terrified. I’m so glad both of them were found. I’m thankful all three of you were rescued!

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Honestly I’m not all that thankful for Puffin and Poppy, but I am definitely thankful that I was rescued. And I don’t care what you say, I’m still thankful about the cat tree.

Love, Mia

 

 

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The Conversation

Dear Puffin

You are not as noisy as you used to be. You used to make all kinds of noises in your sleep.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Alors, these noises, to what does Madame refer?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Oh you used to grunt and moan and chirp and meow in your sleep. It was cute.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

So this pauvre little cat has been entertaining Madame. But c’est no longer le case?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

No, you seemed to have stopped now that you have lost weight. I miss it, though. But you are a good talker when you are awake. In fact you are downright chatty.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Bien sûr, of course I am a good talker. It goes without the saying.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I read that cats only vocalize with their babies and with humans.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Mais oui, we have absolutely no need to vocalize with each other. No need for that at all. I can force Mia to jump up and run away simply by giving her my Killer Stare.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Costumes

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I’m glad you didn’t make me wear this costume for Halloween.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

No, I could tell you really weren’t on board with it.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I didn’t like Halloween at all.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Why not?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

All those kids coming to our house in costume. It makes me nervous when kids are not normal.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

They were just having fun. And it’s fun for a lot of adults too.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Mia says colleges are not allowing some kinds of costumes.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s true. They aren’t allowing kids to dress up simply as someone from another culture. Like a Sheik. Or a Geisha. Some people think that by dressing up in some other culture’s clothing they are wearing a costume, but that’s just lazy and offensive.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

What’s wrong with lazy?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Halloween is an opportunity to be clever! I know someone who went as the artist Yayoi Kusama, and her boyfriend was a Kusama Infinity Room. She wore polka dots and he was covered with lights. Now that’s clever! And there was a toddler whose mom made him a costume as the Hungry Caterpillar.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Humans can be so strange.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

It’s just once a year.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Instagram was overrun with dogs in costume.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

And some people even dress up their cats. I don’t think I’d want to try that.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Mia says Puffin was a Killer Whale for Halloween.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That is funny. Mia is a clever cat.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Ghosts

Dear Mommy,

I don’t understand the point of plastic vegetables.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Seriously? Humans are so lame.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

It’s a tradition, sweetie. Who knows where the idea came from.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I thought Halloween was about ghosts.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s part of it. A lot of people like to scare themselves with thoughts of ghosts.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Ghosts are scary?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You don’t think so?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

I think it depends on the ghost. If it were sweet old Molly’s ghost, I’d be glad to see her.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

So would I. She’d probably look around and tell us we’re doomed.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

She would. On the other hand, if it were the ghost of a cat-eating coyote, I’d run and hide.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Definitely a good idea.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And if it were Isabel’s ghost I’d probably ask her to stop coming back. No one wants to see a dead hen.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

She can’t help it honey. When she died I didn’t bury her deep enough under the rose bush and Poppy keeps digging her up and bringing us her leg. I fully expect Isabel’s unfortunate ghost to make an angry appearance for Halloween.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Catastrophe!

Cher Madame,

Je suis terrified. Monsieur says we will perish in le fire. C’est true?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

We’re fine, sweetie. He didn’t exactly say that. But it’s true that we are concerned about wildfires. The last two weeks have been frightening. There have been terrible fires all over Northern California, some quite near us here. We have friends and relatives who had to evacuate their houses. It’s scary – a disaster like that could happen right here in our neighborhood.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

You are so calm about this catastrophe!!!!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Okay, sweetie, don’t get worked up. It’s not a catastrophe for us. At this moment we are safe.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

You think we don’t pay attention, but we know what you are watching on the TV. We see the news. Some people left their animals behind.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Not willingly, Puff!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

There was a dog named Izzy who waited in front of her burnt out house for her people to finally come back for her. The moronic newsman said she was waiting because she was faithful, but il faut to point out that Izzy was waiting there because where else will she wait?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You are unusually perceptive today.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

But il faut dire, Madame is so very calm. Monsieur said this is Fire Weather! A fire comme ça could happen right here in our neighborhood!!!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THIS CATASTROPHE?????!!!!!!!!

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

There is no need to panic. I have your carriers handy, with food in them, and food for Poppy, and my travel bag is packed and ready. So we can leave at a moment’s notice.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Where would Madame be taking this pauvre petit cat in this carrier full of food?

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

There will be safe places for people to gather.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

We’ll be with strange people? That sounds TERRIBLE!!!!!!!

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

You need to calm down. It beats the alternative.

Love, Carolyn

 

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Clues


Dear Poppy,

You were barking in your sleep again last night.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I barked in my sleep? Why don’t I know about this??????

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Because you were asleep when you were doing it, doofus. But it’s not like a real bark. It’s more of a series of chirps.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Wait. You said again. Again? I did it again? What do you mean again?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You do it all the time. Pretty much every night. And your feet twitch. It’s adorable.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

And you are watching me?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

So is Mia.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That’s so embarrassing.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Don’t be embarrassed. It’s an important activity. Your brain and your body are processing the day you just finished and getting ready for the new day. Getting you all set for what’s ahead.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

That’s all very fine, but I don’t know what’s ahead!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You do a pretty good job of figuring things out. Think about it. When you watch me get dressed, you read the clues to know what’s ahead.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

I do?

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Yes. For instance, let’s say I change into my baggy old jeans. You see “Baggy Old Jeans” and all at once you know – what?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Garden pants!!!!! That means we’re going into the garden!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Right! And “Nice Jeans with Sneakers”?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

A walk!!!! We’re going for a walk!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Right again! And “Nice Pants with Pretty Flats”?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

Oh dear, that means you’re going out without me.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You got it. And “Yoga Pants”?

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Alpha Mommy,

You’re working at home and I can go take a nap in your office.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

Right! See? You always know what’s ahead. Such a smart dog.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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The Sneeze

Dear Puffin,

Why are you looking so worried?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

C’est vrai, is it true, Madame and Monsieur are going to divorce?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Of course not! Where on earth did you get this idea?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Monsieur said this.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Okay, tell me exactly what Monsieur said.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

He said “When we split up, I’ll get Puffin and you’ll get Poppy, but who gets custody of Mia?”

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

He was KIDDING. We were both kidding. We are not splitting up, honey.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

But who gets custody of Mia?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

It was a joke! No one is getting custody of anybody!

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Then why did he talk about splitting up?

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I can’t remember, sweetie. It started with a remark about the cooking, or the cleaning up, or who knows what. Seriously, you have absolutely no sense of humor.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

It was because he said you made him sneeze.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

Oh that. I didn’t “make” him sneeze. I was sweeping the porch and the dust made him sneeze. And besides, no one splits up over a sneeze. A sneeze just is not that kind of threat level.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

A little cat never knows. Like the other night.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

What about the other night?

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Mia et moi, we were terrified and we jumped off the bed and ran down the hall. Because Madame she startled us with a loud rude noise. Un sneeze.

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

So what was all that drama about? It was just a sneeze. And a sneeze is not something to make such a big deal about. It’s definitely not enough for divorce. It would take a lot more than that to split us up. Like, maybe coughing.

Love, Carolyn

 

Cher Madame,

Aha! So Madame would consider divorce!!!!!!!

Regards,

M. Le Poufin

 

Dear Puffin,

I’m kidding, you lunkhead.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Stuff

Dear Mommy,

What are all these interesting boxes? Are there shoes in here?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

No, there are books in there. I’ve got way too many books, so I’m going to give a big pile of them to the library.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

But the library already has books!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

They do. But I’m donating my books to sell in their annual book sale.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Last week you cleaned out a kitchen cupboard and got rid of some pots. There seems to be a pattern here. I’m a little worried about you.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

That’s so sweet of you to worry! But I’m fine. I’m just getting rid of stuff. We have way too much stuff in our house. I decided it was time to lighten things up.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

What is next?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Shoes. I’m going to get rid of all the shoes that aren’t absolutely comfortable.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You do have a lot of shoes. That’s why you have so many Zappo’s boxes. What else are you going to toss?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Clothes. Lots of clothes.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Don’t give away your clothes!

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Not all of it, sweetie. Just the excess stuff.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Cats don’t have stuff. I’m pretty sure that’s one reason we are superior.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You’re cute. But I don’t think I agree with that.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

You don’t agree that we are superior?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

I don’t agree that you don’t have stuff.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

We don’t! I had a blue collar once, but I ditched it.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

You did. I could never keep that thing on you.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

See? No stuff.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

No, you have lots of stuff. You have not one but two scratching posts. You have a cat tree. A whole basket of mylar balls. You have your round bed on my desk. A cuddly fur blankie. Your blue food dish. Your comb. Two water bowls. And last but not least, several litter boxes.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That’s not fair. I share a lot of that. Puffin uses the litter boxes. And we all use the cuddly fur blankie. It’s not just mine.

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Okay, some of it is shared. But it’s still your stuff.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Are you going to give my stuff away?

Love, Mia

 

Dear Mia,

Don’t worry, sweetie. I wouldn’t dream of it. Your stuff is safe.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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Busy

 

Dear Poppy,

I left a surprise in your red toy.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!!! It’s peanut butter! I LOVE peanut butter!!!!!!!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

I know you do. That should keep you busy for a while.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

My tongue can barely reach it all!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s the idea. That’s why I say it will keep you busy for a while.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

Done.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

You’ve cleaned it out already? That was fast. So much for keeping you busy.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

That’s okay! I’ve still got my digging hole outside in the garden. And I need to check the kitchen floor periodically for anything edible that might have dropped.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

And you need to check the deck for squirrels.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

And let you know when someone walks by the house with a dog.

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

And don’t forget your nap.

Love, Carolyn

 

Dear Mommy,

We almost forgot! The daily walk!

XOXO Poppy

 

Dear Poppy,

That’s not just a leisure time activity, it’s your job, and it’s an important one. I definitely need someone to take me for a walk every day.

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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