Cassie fed Betsy before going to shower. She tuned her shower radio in to the local classical station and had a nice relaxing shower to the sounds of Haydn's piano sonata in E minor. She continued listening to the station as she rubbed in her daily dose of lotion to keep her skin moisturized. Betsy had already finished her dinner and was curled up on Cassie's queen size bed. After she had finished her bedtime routine, Cassie set a timer on her clock radio and settled in for about a half hour of reading. Betsy took her usual place just within petting range of Cassie's right hand and went back to sleep. Cassie resumed her book, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, though she had read it many times before. She was just at the part where Mister had tried to take advantage of Nettie and was kicking her off his property. If Cassie had had a sister, she might have better understood the pain that Celie was experiencing as her dear sister was torn away from her. As it was, Cassie just had a younger brother, Carver, who was in his junior year of college at NYU. He had decided to major in history with a minor in education with plans to head straight to graduate school when he was done. Cassie and her parents were very proud of his accomplishments. He had graduated top of his class in high school and was accepted to NYU with a substantial multi-year scholarship, pending on his grades each semester. Carver had easily surpassed the minimum scholarship requirements and made the dean's list every semester. He and Cassie had just been home over his Christmas break and her vacation from work. They had a good time going around to all their old haunts and looking up a few friends in the area. Cassie was glad that her relationship with her brother had improved now that both were older. There had been times when they both still lived at home that the four year difference seemed like an entire generation was between them. As it was now, they texted each other several times every week and talked on the phone a few times a month. Cassie also got her updates about her brother whenever she spoke to either of her parents.
As a family unit, they were all pretty close. Cassie's father was "retired" but still keeping busy taking classes and staying involved with their community. Cassie's mom volunteered at the local veterinarian on the weekends and was a traveling nurse for the Red Cross whenever they had blood drives during the week. They lived in a comfortable two story house in the suburbs that they had bought the year Cassie was born. Over the years, her parents had taken to organizing weekend projects to improve parts of the house, like adapting the attic to a bedroom for Cassie once Carver was born and installing a second full bathroom in the basement when their children were teenagers. Cassie told them that, whenever they wanted to sell, she wanted first dibs. The house held so many pleasant memories for her and the neighborhood was spectacular for raising children. Cassie did not have any plans for children any time soon, particularly since she was not seeing any guys at the moment. She hoped that she might get her current employer to sponsor her if she decided to return to graduate school provided that her degree would benefit the company. She wanted to get more involved with the scientific part of the lab testing she could conduct rather than the business part of the company – a few of her coworkers had gone back to school for their MBAs.
Her clock radio turned itself off after a half hour and the sudden silence woke Cassie. She had fallen asleep while reading, which was nothing unusual. Betsy lazily lifted her head as Cassie replaced her bookmark and shut off her bedside lamp. As she settled down comfortably among her pillows, Betsy crept forward to a spot just near her shoulder and went back to sleep. Cassie was back asleep a few minutes later.
The next morning Cassie woke naturally around eight. As it was a Sunday, she did not have to get up and hurry off to work so she picked up her book and stroked her sleepy cat as she read. Around nine her stomach began to growl and her thoughts strayed to a rich cup of coffee. She had remembered to buy some beans from the coffee house the previous night, already ground, and could not wait to try it with her vanilla-flavored creamer. Betsy gave a big lazy stretch as Cassie climbed out of bed and pulled on her bathrobe. In the kitchen, she retrieved the half pound of beans from her purse a measure a few scoops into a coffee filter. She added enough water for two large mugs of coffee and set the machine to brew while she went in search of her laptop. The last time she had used it was not in her study, which would have been the obvious place to check, so she started in the living room. Though her power cable was there, her laptop was not. She checked all the usual places she would use her laptop before thinking of her bed. She had been particularly sleepy on Friday night but was reading some work emails in bed before she went to sleep. Cassie looked next to and under her bed before pulling back the covers. Her laptop was nestled in the bottom corner of her mattress, far from where her legs could have knocked it off. She returned it to her study and turned it on. The aroma of her new coffee began drifting throughout the house but she knew she still had a few more minutes to check her work email. Nothing really exciting was there, just an email from Dr. Spencer, her boss, reminding her to call the people in their current drug trial for a follow up survey in the morning. Cassie had already set a reminder for herself and left a note on her desk with her to-do list for Monday. Still, it was nice that Dr. Spencer wanted to help her keep track of the many trials they ran simultaneously. They both worked very efficiently together.
Cassie finished up her emails and went to pour her first mug of coffee. She tipped in some of her vanilla creamer and a few packets of Splenda. As hard as she tried, Cassie could not drink coffee black. It was just too bitter for her to bear, even the flavored kinds. Betsy had taken up residence in the sunny front window sill and Cassie gave her a quick pet before heading back to the study to read the daily news. She went through all her usual news feeds, checked the score for her home team's recent game, and started weeding through some of the blogs she frequented. Cassie liked to consider herself an amateur sociologist, with amateur meaning the lowest level of knowledge possible. She liked to read a blog called Sociological Images which posted pictures from the internet, television, or advertisements and dissected them. Most of the comments on the blog came from students of sociology or even sociologists who used the blog as a reference for their college classes. Cassie just liked to see how to examine something with an unbiased view, though it was very difficult for anyone to do because we are all raised to view things through a cultural filter of sorts. There are few life experiences that happen the exact same way for everyone, except perhaps having to wait in line at the DMV. Some of Cassie's favourite discussions on the site stemmed from sexism when it was coupled with racism. One of the more popular posts that she could remember from the previous year had been right around Halloween. Several regular commenters sent in snapshots they had taken of costumes in the Halloween stores that have a tendency to spring up every October. One post included screenshots of an entire Halloween catalog spread noting how costumes for men were usually scary or humorous while most of the costumes available to women were meant to be "sexy" or, as one commenter had put it, an excuse for women to dress like sluts. True, several of the costumes Cassie had seen on women at parties, some of them on her friends, were not the type of thing for someone modest. Cassie had a less creative costume, a court minstrel, but at least she felt covered. Plus, Halloween had been cold the previous year and Cassie had never been a fan of freezing her butt off.
Cassie caught up on her sociological and advertisement analyzing blogs before updating her Facebook status to read "Cassie Grayling is going to have a quiet day at home with Betsy, coffee, and some books." Marilyn had a status up about their night out so Cassie left a comment saying they should not wait too long before hosting another one. She was three-quarters of the way through her mug of coffee before shutting off her computer and going to retrieve The Color Purple from her bedside table. She refilled the mug and went to lounge on the couch in the living room. Betsy left her spot at the window to snuggle in the blanket Cassie had thrown across her lap. She purred as Cassie scratched her under her chin and rubbed her ears. They spent a pleasant morning together.