He is a strange cat, difficult to predict, sometimes surprisingly intelligent, but often his intelligence is masked by his petulance. Tenzing is six, nearly seven; an age in which humans have begun to move toward full comprehension and conversational ability. I joke about my 'eternal toddlers' but there is truth in that statement, more truth than some people realize.While very much alike in appearance, Edmund and Tenzing are very different in temperament. Edmund—in the finest Southern tradition I must say, "Bless his heart"—bless his little silly heart, Edmund hasn't two brain cells to rub together, but he is as openly devoted to his humans as he is blissfully ignorant. For Edmund, life is simple.

Is that kibble? Oooh, I should eat that.
That's not Jeff or Amy? Bah. I don't like them.
Is that Jeff? Perhaps I should help him read.
Is that Amy? My back needs to be scratched.
Is that Tenzing? I should beat him up.

That is his life.

Tenzing is far more complex. It has taken me years to begin to understand him. Jeff picked up on his personality traits earlier than I did. For years I assumed aloofness on his part, but after comments from Jeff, I began to pay closer attention and realized that was not the case. While not as abundantly demonstrative as Edmund, Tenzing is not nearly so aloof as I always assumed.

It took a long time for me to realize that just because he did not want to be petted or held, it didn't mean he was disinterested. Instead, he is more interested in contact. He does not like long days of me sitting at the computer, because there is no place for him; I am there, but un-snuggleable. He clearly prefers the days of reading, when I become a barely-moving literary lump on the couch; that cat can hear the rustle of pages from across the house and always seems to appear shortly after I've lost myself in the first chapter.

No petting. Perhaps a gentle rub of the ears, or a light stroke on the top of his head. What he's looking for is the sideways crook of my leg as I stretch out. Given five minutes of reading, he is there, turning ever-tightening circles before flopping down with a great, heaving, singular purr! before tucking chin over paws and falling soundly asleep.

The mommycat is reading, and still, and therefore all is right with the world.

I've made a point to take a break and visit the library in the past few days (provoking an irony that will not be lost among a few of you who know an untold story percolating behind the scenes right now) and ended up bringing home books on random, abstruse subjects. My goal was to find subjects that had absolutely nothing to do with dragon*con, programming, or database work.

Currently, with a sleeping cat tucked neatly into the negative space around me, we are studying the identification and manufacture of classic 18th-century lace.

Well, I'm studying, and Tenzing is sleeping on the books. Should learning by osmosis actually work, my cat is likely to prove to be a Flemish genius. Me, I'm just doing my best to stay calm and relaxed between now and dragon*con.

T minus 6 days and counting.