Hello, Aphrodite

10:13 a.m., Eastern time. If anyone else is awake in the house, this would be the first I'd know about it.

As I grow older, I find myself generally incapable of sleeping late in my own house and completely incapable of sleeping in at other people's houses. At least last night I had the presence of mind to grab one of Suzan's books to take with me, so that I could stay in this room after waking up, entertain myself, and not have to tiptoe into the living room to find something to read.

Jess and Sarah took the daybed and the trundle in the living room. Assuming Suzan isn't out tending the menagerie, she and Brian are still asleep in their bedroom on the far side of the house. Jeff and I took the inflatable mattress and slept in the computer room, soothed by the machine noise.

In the kitchen, there is an enormous stockpot fitted with a colander. In it rests a muslin bag, and inside that rests a loosely-piled mound of freshly-made goat cheese. (Note to self: before we leave today, I must stop by the ATM to withdraw some money to pay Suzan for the cheese.)

Once Jeff is more than nominally awake (translation: he looks up at me and says something coherent and/or in English) I'll probably tiptoe into the kitchen to see how the cheese is progressing.

As I write this, Jeff is idly scratching Aphrodite with his right hand. If her luminous green eyes and gently wafting tail can be taken as any sign, she approves wholeheartedly.

She—a soft settling of fur and the barest whisper-vibration of a purr—was my first awareness upon awakening. Curled up on my side, my drawn-up knees apparently made an irresistibly inviting place to snuggle.

In the grand scheme of things, Brian and Suzan probably have the feline naming scheme down to an art. In my house, 'the boys' are brothers, and named after companion mountaineers, but their behavior as kittens made the names irresistible, perfect. Here, the cats are strays adopted—in one case, a kitten nursed through an attempted poisoning—and given the names of goddesses.

After all, in Egypt, cats were considered to be gods, a fact they will never allow us to live down.

10:31. Jeff seems awake. Someone else—probably Jess—has claimed the guest bathroom. Aphrodite (or just 'Dite' for short) has received her quota of luxurious back-scratching and has ambled on into the living room, following the sound of voices still raspy from sleep. The humans are, after all, awakening, and there is much adoration to be received.

Goddesses, indeed.

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