As The Dude and I are reaching the point whereby we are going to slowly start disseminating the news of Enid, I've been thinking about what to divulge and what to keep to ourselves.

Our parents know of both the IVF and the pregnancy, so no issues of disclosure there. It has recently come to my attention that though my in-laws can understand the statement, "Our fertility treatment is not something we want shared with anyone else unless we specify", my Mom has seemingly found my wish too vague. She has asked me a couple of times recently when she will be allowed to tell others of Enid, and when I give her an approximate stage of the pregnancy, I have specified that I do not want anyone to know the situation that brought this about. Both times she has feigned ignorance and said, "Oh, Aunt X already knows" or "Well...the church is my support, and I've asked many people to pray for you because of your troubles". Suddenly, what we thought was within the knowledge of a few select individuals has suddenly spread to a crazy relative rattling from copious doses of percocet and vicodin and a host of people who believe intelligent design is the new black. It's just what we always wanted.

Despite feeling angry at my lack of control of this situation, I've come to the conclusion that I'm more comfortable with the idea of mentioning my "troubles" (as my Mom would say) now that we may have been successful, than I ever was before. I have mentioned previously that next to no one was told of us wading through the mire of ART, and I very rarely felt the inclination to tell anyone about it. I wasn't ashamed, but rather I didn't want to cope with either pity, or others' righteous indignation. I didn't want people to constantly bombard me with questions as to how it was going, or put them in the situation that they would have to attempt to comfort me when it failed.

Now, I feel as if sharing it will set me apart from them. I want them to know that it didn't come easy, and that I'm still not "normal". It's a strange place to be, considering part of the reason I chose not to share previously was because I wanted to be perceived as normal for once. I didn't want to place myself outside the concept of all women as fertile, maternal beings. For as often as I felt like an outsider by keeping silent, it was my one opportunity to control the situation and at least project that I was just like them.

Don't worry, I won't contradict my personality and start telling everyone that I'm a hard ass because I did one round of IVF. I'm thinking small - just telling close friends, and perhaps I'll have a sit-down with the canary and tell him that Mommy and Daddy have had some difficulties, but that they still love him regardless.

Given my role of the carrier of Enid (Thalia--to answer your question in my last post, I have decided Enid is the one that stuck around because Bertrand was always slow and no fetus of mine is going to be the dumb one), I have recently been attempting to bond with children. Rather than relying on telepathy to communicate that I would like to kick them, I'm trying to be friendly. I must be trying hard, because I'm even making an effort to talk to my devil spawn niece, Damiana. That's a feminine take on the 666 theme people, catch up. Anyway, I'm even smiling at the little bugger now when I see her and damn it if my face doesn't hurt like hell.

All my good deeds may have been negated when I went for my first antenatal appointment last week though, as I glared at a little snot-nosed creature and he ran away. Quickly. I may have one of the things growing inside me, but that's my little potential snot-nosed creature, and by no means am I going to start liking all of them now. Months on end of hormone-altering medication? Fine. Regular snatch inspections? Bring 'em on. Embryo retrieval and transfer? Please. Start to like children because they're God's precious creatures? Fuck that.


The heart, it beats

I hate myself, but I'm going to do it anyway. Beware, this post contains some talk of pregnancy. However, no bellies were gleefully rubbed in the writing of this post.

Today was my first proper antenatal appointment. It could have fallen on a better day, as The Dude is having some sort of lovely invasive procedure on his hip, likely as we speak. I have been agonising over him dying on the table as a result of a previously unknown allergy to whatever sedatives they are using, and he has been agonising over whether Enid's heart still beats. We make an ideal pair.

Though he does not yet know it, Enid does still have a beating heart. It's loud and strong, most unlike its mother's emotional state. The doctor warned me beforehand that at 11w2d it may be too early, but as soon as the doppler touched my abdomen, the heartbeat could be heard right away. This has solidified my plans to get me one of those bitches.

The only other issue discussed was that of my midwife. It seems she will call me in the next week or so and then...come to my friggin' house for a stop and chat! I had no idea they did such things. My first thought was that it sounds like an adoption homestudy, with the midwife sitting there quietly and evaluate how very non-child safe our flat is, as well as arriving at the conclusion that the child-to-be will have a friendly, sociable, normal dad and a mostly insane, eccentric mother.

So that's it really. It's hardly unique or thrilling news, I know. I'm just pleased Enid isn't dead. I need to save those words for the blog, because The Dude isn't too keen on using "dead" in connection with Enid. Go figure. Oh, and I am now the proud owner of a Maternity Exemption Card. This means I do not have to pay any money toward prescriptions for the duration of the pregnancy, and I believe well into a baby's first year. Carrying the card in my wallet feels quite bizarre, like I've stolen it from a pregnant woman so I can pretend I'm pregnant too. Maternity and me...they just don't quite connect.

I know I said there wouldn't be stomach rubbing in this post, but one of my recent discoveries is proving too much to resist. In trying to find out more information about the various stages of pregnancy, I have come across online galleries of pregnant women posting belly shots. I know, who cares, right? HOWEVER, have you ever looked at the really early pregnancy ones? They are photographic proof that many fertile women are living on another fucking planet to IFers. There are a mixture of different situations:

-Skinny women with absolutely no visible pouching stomach rubbing their bellies or cupping an imaginary protrusion

-Skinny women with a slight distended stomach, but only because she is slouching and not sucking it in at all

-Large women that are...well, large. That ain't no baby sweetie, it's fat.

They all unite on these galleries, beaming at their non-existent 6w baby bellies. No doubt these women have already convinced themselves that the maternity pants they just bought are needed right away. Ugh.

And now, so we can go from mocking people to hating them, I give you this search which lead to my blog: "Infertiles stop feeling sorry for themselves". Amazingly, I was at the bottom of page one for this search. I guess I only mildly feel sorry for myself.



Rather than do separate posts that will either be too short to really say much of anything, or too long to the point of extreme dullness, I like to occasionally do a compendium of randomness and shove it all into one post. Be prepared, as some of these items make reference to the dreaded "p" word, though I hope to avoid its usage. Witness.

First of all, organic food. What is your perspective? Since the events of last month, I have decided to start eating organic as far as the "important" foods are concerned - milk, eggs, meat, fruit and vegetables. I am aware that you can get anything organic these days, but I don't eat much processed food anyway, with most of my diet being composed of the above-mentioned food groups. My view is that I do not want Enid to be pumped full of synthetic hormones and pesticides in utero, and I plan on carrying out this plan for the duration of his or her young life if it gets that far. As someone with PCOS, I am very suspect that part of the reason I have it is due to the consumption of hormones and pesticides working in conjunction with my genetic predisposition to the disease. I once posed this theory on a Jesus freak PCOS board and I was banned. I still can't quite work that one out. If I can spare my child having problems induced by these yucky things, I'm willing to pay more money for the food.

My second issue is regarding a fetal doppler. The Dude is all paranoid that if we get one I will be checking for a heartbeat on the hour and then suffer from overwhelming anxiety if I can't find it. Uh, Dude. Duh. However, I suffer from severe anxiety anyway, doppler or no doppler. I'm leaning toward getting one, crying and wringing-of-hands fits be damned.

Today, in my little provincial paper, whose entertainment section is usually rife with Celebrity Big Brother coverage or interviews with local titty-baring glamour models, was a review of an upcoming work of fiction about infertility. Granted, the review is about two sentences long, but at least I know this title exists. The book is called "One Life", by Rebecca Frayne. I checked amazon.com as well, but I see no mention of it there. The synopsis given on the website made me roll my eyes and want to vomit, as it is full of generalisations and cliches. Example:

"In the struggle to conceive Rose finds herself propelled on a roller coaster ride; an obsessive quest through the emotional and ethical minefield of IVF treatment - until finally she is driven to far more desperate and unconventional measures to become the mother she so desperately wants to be."

I must be missing something in regard to IVF being an "ethical minefield". Is it? I mean, aside from in the minds of strict Catholics and fundamentalist Christians, I wasn't aware that there were any ethical dilemmas involved. I believe the author is from the UK, in which case my point is especially valid. Gung ho religious nuts don't really exist here. People just let you get on with your business and don't question how your children were conceived. Imagine.

I'm also worried about the "desperate and unconventional measures" bit. Shit, are we talking about yet another barren woman that is so distraught that she cuts out the fetus of a happy little fertile woman? As we all know, women suffering with infertility are complete fucking nutjobs constantly plotting a way in which to obtain a child by any means neccessary. There is not a rational mind among us.

The synopsis ends with a statement alluding to the idea that having a child is THE most basic compulsion for women. All women want to have kids. Every single one of them. When you pare women down to their most basic element, it is the need to breed. Four years of IF treatment and I can quite assuredly tell you that wanting to be a mother is not the very core of my being. Yes, it's something I want, but I would hardly call it my "basic compulsion". I don't imagine most of you would either. That said, I'll still read the book when it comes out. I might only get to the point where the crazed, wild-eyed infertile grabs a carving knife and lunges at the nearest pregnant stomach before I shout at it in disgust, but I'll give it a go.

My final issue of the day concerns this blog. I know I keep going on about it, but I am sincerely bothered by my place in the IF sphere now. I keep going back and forth as to whether to continue, and I think for now I'll stay. This is hardly a new issue for anyone that finds themselves in this position, but I think it is difficult to deal with nonetheless. I don't like to think that some of the people who have read this blog in the past year have now left. I don't like thinking that my happiness has caused them pain. If I'm being honest, part of me feels unapologetic, because as I said not very nicely a few posts ago, I do deserve this. It is not to say in anyway that others do not, but the baffling thing in all of this is that a successful pregnancy is what a lot of us are aiming for. The support is there when everything is hopeless and there is one negative test after another, but a lot of that support ends as soon as there is finally a way out of this miserable IF existence.

I know reading of yet another pregnancy is hurtful. I cannot emphasise enough the sadness I felt when a new one in the IF blogosphere was announced. I was, and still am, jealous of the IF women that managed to successfully get pregnant naturally. I hate the fact that I spent four wasted years achieving nothing and it took an IVF, not unmedicated sex with my husband to give us a glimpse of what we could have. I am a bitter person, admittedly. This experience will never leave me, and I will certainly not forget what all of us have to go through to get pregnant. I was discussing this issue with The Dude, and he said that I wasn't part of the IF crowd anymore, at least not as long as Enid still hangs around. I tried to be rational, but it ended in just another flood of tears because I don't want to leave. I don't want to move on to the other group. That isn't me. I know nothing about babies or children. I don't have a yearning to know much either. I feel much more comfortable wearing my IF hat and being amongst IF women. I have identified with being an infertile woman since I came off the Pill in Dec 2001, and it is a difficult identity to shed. I want to be on both sides, but more and more I'm realising how impossible that will be.


42 things about me that you probably wouldn't care to know anyway

As a departure from the miserable tone that has pervaded my writing lately, I will finally do this survey that I was tagged for about 6 years ago.

Seven things to do before I die:

1. See all of my favourite works of art (of which there are many) in person
2. Raise my future child(ren) to be fair-minded, sensitive, and cultured people
3. Have a home studio to explore different artistic mediums, regardless of the quality of the outcome
4. Be extraordinarily well-read
5. Buy a pair of sinfully expensive shoes
6. Learn Russian
7. Volunteer regularly at an animal shelter

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Not procrastinate
2. Make friends easily
3. Wear ugly shoes
4. Wear tights in the rain (it's a sensory thing)
5. Deal well with condescension
6. Aerobics (I'm not very coordinated)
7. Watch RSPCA commercials or animal rescue shows without some serious tears being shed

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. His random and abstract sense of humour
2. His gorgeous, bright blue eyes
3. His sexy, soccer player legs
4. His motivation, which counteracts my extreme procrastination
5. He stands up for what he believes in and is not afraid to speak his mind
6. He will be the most doting and adoring father imaginable
7. His sincerity - when he says I'm beautiful, I believe him

Seven things I say most often:
1. Fucking hell
2. Yeah right! (said in Napoleon voice...Dynamite, not Bonaparte)
3. Monty is an asshole. (Monty = canary)
4. Drive safely
5. There is a blog I read ...
6. Basically
7. I'm tired

Seven books I love:

This is where I let everyone down. I've only not been in school for about two years in my entire life and as such have little time to read for fun, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
Naked, David Sedaris
Click Clack Moo, Doreen Cronin
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Black Boy, Richard Wright
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (no, seriously)

Seven movies I watch over and over again:
Overboard - I can't help it
Crocodile Dundee II - ditto
The Princess Bride
The Big Lebowski
The Red Violin
O Brother, Where Art Thou
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

Now, in honour of International (not just National, people!) De-Lurking Week, I encourage those of you hiding in the shadows to come out, if only for a moment. You can stay completely anonymous, assuming Blogger allows you to do so. Lurkers lurk for a reason, so I don't want to force anyone to unmask themselves. I would like to know at least one completely random thing about you. This is open to lurkers and the regulars as well. Speak!


The crashing tide can't hide a guilty girl

It is a time of confessions. I'm sure I will let down members of Club Infertility, but surely confessing my sins brings me one step closer to absolution, right? So here goes...a day after my first of four positive pregnancy tests I did something most naughty. I went to the Ikea website and looked for the changing table/dresser I have been coveting since I first set eyes on it two years ago. At the time, I would wander around the kids' section enviously, glaring at all the happy families and wishing that I would be in the position to buy furniture for my child's room. The pregnancy test pushed me over the edge and I allowed the thought to creep into my mind that I may actually be someone's mother one day, and hey - they might need a crib, a changing table, or a stuffed animal with a delightfully Scandanavian name like Sporjak.

Second confession, and this is by far more vile. The Dude and I may or may not have purchased a couple of items of baby clothing whilst in the States. Ok, we did. But, BUT, it was mainly because they were on sale in Baby Gap and were too adorable to pass up. Additionally, please believe me when I say that I'm still not convinced the heartbeat we heard a few weeks ago belongs to a being that will be birthed by me in August. Yes, the purchases were made because this is the closest we've ever been to that being a reality, but I maintain they were for a baby, not necessarily this to-be baby. I know that sounds like I'm justifying what we did, and maybe it is. Regardless, we will be parents one day, if not to the current resident of my uterus, to a future child, biological or otherwise.

Having never seen a positive pregnancy test of my own before, let me be the first to say that it is immensely difficult to not go mad with excitement. Here I was a few months ago slagging off some IF blogger (she doesn't read me, for the record) for doing baby shopping seconds after her positive HPT. I pointed out how outrageous that behaviour was, yet I wanted to do the same before the pee even dried on my test. Common sense stopped me from acting on it, but it didn't stop me from drooling over Ikea baby furniture. Ugh, my Mom would have such a life lesson to teach me here.

That said, I have recently been exposed to a list of newly pregnant non-IF bloggers and holy hell are these women living in a world most unlike my own. I'm talking shopping for maternity pants at 5w and telling all relatives the happy news right after testing. Are these people not the least bit superstitious? Do they not know the rate of miscarriage in early pregnancy, even for ::ahem:: normal women? Shit. I want to laugh and point at them, yet at the same time I am jealous of their ignorance. What must it feel like to be so sure that you get a baby when the 9th month arrives?

I have another confession to make. I should really keep some of this to myself because I'm totally exposing all of my horrible traits and the likelihood I will come off as a complete dweeby nutwad is very high. Anyway, this infertile blood runs deep. One would think that achieving a pregnancy of admittedly as-yet-unknown duration would alleviate my jealousy. Non. Prior to the positive HPTs, I sometimes had difficulty reading pregnant bloggers, as we all do at some point or another. I'm finding that this is still the case now, which baffles me. Well, I don't have trouble reading them, but I find jealousy creeping in, and I am not quite sure why.

I don't know if it has to do with the fact that I am resolute in my belief that something bad will happen in my own pregnancy and that The Others will have problem-free pregnancies, or that I forget that I am actually pregnant. I know the latter sounds ridiculous, but I really do forget. Beyond the odd patch of nausea I feel no different from how I felt pre-pregnancy, and I hate it. I want so badly for this to be real and my lack of symptoms are making that such a struggle to believe.

I'm a bit of a mess lately it seems. I'm prone to mapping out workplace murderous rampages in my head and I'm jealous of other IFers who get pregnant despite the fact that I am, for now, pregnant. That, and I've placed a moratorium on spousal hugging because I'm too hateful to be hugged and I'm certainly not doing the hugging. Uh, yeah...I'm pretty much an ungrateful bitch I think. I need a nap or twelve.

N.B. To the person searching for "IVF women are selfish" - fuuuuuuhhhhhhhhck you.


Notes from Limbo

My trip to the US was rather uneventful with the exception of hearing the heartbeat, but there were nonetheless some blog-worthy moments that led me to making mental "Must blog about this" notes.

Exhibit a: Remember how I was so excited that my Mom scored me a $160 transvaginal ultrasound? Well, I got to the clinic and was met with the bitchiest, most evil she-beast to grace such an establishment. Not only did she roll her eyes and sigh heavily when she realised that I did not reside in her country, but she could not fathom that I did not have insurance information to pass on. She then proceeded to tell me that it would be $260 for an abdominal ultrasound. When I told her that I was told it would be $160 and that I would prefer a transvaginal ultrasound she told me that they would do the $260 abdominal first, then if nothing was visible, proceed with the $160 ultrasound, thus costing me an additional, useless $260. I argued the logic of this process in the most polite way possible, which led her to say, "Oh, I don't know. Just ask when you get back there." Yeah, thanks bitch.

Exhibit b: Months ago in this blog post I mentioned an ex-friend of mine who wanted to avoid me so desperately that she once used her boyfriend for a human shield. She has been added to my "People I Hate Very, Very Much" list, and naturally I'd forgotten that her mother worked at the clinic where I got my US ultrasound. As luck would have it, at the same exact time I was walking down the corridor to the special pregnancy u/s waiting room, Pru Dodger's Mom was walking toward me. I tried to duck behind The Dude, in a sly homage to what her daughter did to me 5 years ago, but it didn't work. Pleasantries were exchanged, and after asking how far along I was (6w2d), the words that have forever placed her entire family in my version of hell were uttered - "I can tell you're pregnant, you've put so much weight on in your face!" Ouch. First of all, yes, I have a round face. I am painfully aware of this, and it is one of the primary reasons I hate my appearance. I appreciate you bringing it up so gracefully. Secondly, as if women have specific-location weight gain by 6 fucking weeks.

Exhibit c: Now completely deflated and weighed down by my massive, fat face, I trudged into the u/s room to put on my sexy gown. The tech wanted to check my bladder and said very accusatorily, "There is not enough urine in there. You have failed to drink enough water". This was accompanied by an annoyed glare, as if I sat at home shunning water just to spite her. She decided that despite my water-drinking ineptitude, the scan could go on unimpeded. The next event rather took my by surprise. The tech asked me to insert my own wand, which I'd heard mentioned on blogs once or twice, but I didn't think it was a practice often utilised. I'll admit it, I was kind of disgusted. Hey, it's alright for some stranger to jam it up there, but why do I want defile myself like that?

Exhibit d: My mother, on day 3 of the visit (6w0d) - "Do you want to go shopping for maternity clothes today?" 'Nuff said.

Exhibit e: Said to myself and The Dude by near-stranger acquaintances while shopping at a large wholesale warehouse place - "We hear you are going to start trying for a baby soon?" The first issue here is, who is talking about this when we are not around? Are there circles of people we are mildly acquainted with that discuss this amongst themselves when they're just hanging around and can't think of anything else to talk about? Also, this question is one of my pet peeves, whether a couple is going through IF treatment or not. What business is it of anyone as to when two people are going to start having sex for procreation purposes? Surely I'm not the only person that finds this question invasive. For the record, I only snorted and looked at The Dude to make a suitable response. I wanted to say, "Well, we've been fucking like rabbits to no avail. Do you have any suggestions?", but I refrained.

Switching now from evidence of the stupidity of others briefly to discuss my own ridiculousness in the past two weeks.

-Applesauce. Though I have not vomited once, much as I'd like to, I am having food aversions and general nausea. I have what Cass has apparently - overwhelming hunger, but no desire to eat. It's an interesting dichotomy. When I was in the States I could pretty much only manage the odd bowl of cereal, french fries, and applesauce. I had two bowls of applesauce for Christmas dinner and nothing else. Since the UK does not have REAL applesauce, I have had to shift my chosen foods to ready salted potato chips and Swedish fish (procured in the US). This is going to be one healthy embryo.
-Note to anyone that tells me to be careful what I wish for in regard to the vomiting issue. I'm pushing 9 weeks and have yet to experience morning sickness. I know that not everyone has it and all that stuff, but aside from itchy nipples and nausea, I need hardcore proof that EnidBertrand is still hanging around. I will stomp on your head with my platform boots if you tell me that I don't in fact want morning sickness. I know I won't enjoy it if it does appear, but with it will come relief.

-Crying. When we got off the plane at Heathrow, The Dude asked me for a kiss. Sweet, right? Well, I didn't want to kiss him, and he kept asking me why I didn't want to kiss him back. This lead to spontaneous tears on my part, because, well, you know, your husband asking you to kiss him is stressful. I'm not talking a stray tear here and there, but rather an onslaught of loud sobbing right in the middle of the bloody Arrivals gate. The Dude was suitably perplexed, and the only answer he was able to get out of me was a feeble waving of the hand that I intended to speak volumes. Instead, it just looked like I was giving him the played out "talk to the hand" motion, which doesn't say much of anything. Oh, the strange looks I got from passers-by, hunched over my luggage trolley and weeping.

-Murderous thoughts. Work has been difficult this week. I like most of my co-workers, but at the moment I think I might like to kill them. They haven't done anything wrong, but still...I wish they would stop talking to me, as well as ceasing to eat apples. That crunching noise makes me want to crush skulls.

That's pretty much the gist of it. I'm a crazy, junk-food eating, homicidal, moody bitch. Don't worry, I too am wondering how this is much of a diversion for me.


Terra firma

I have now returned to the land of hot tea at regular intervals and no Wal-Mart, and not a moment too soon. There are only so many days one can spend in a country where having a bumper sticker reading Jesus was a Liberal* leads to much jeering by scruffy men with mullets and notes on the windshield encouraging the owner to "Repent before you find yourself faced with eternal damnation." Ah, God bless America indeed. At the very least, God bless Central Pennsylvania.

My sincerest apologies for all I let down by not attending the Infertile Luncheon that has been so blogged about in the past week. My dad's girlfriend threw him a surprise 60th birthday party in Philly and I was trying to fit in a DC diversion until the very last minute, to no avail. I'm annoyed that I missed meeting all of the fabulous women in attendence. I have yet to meet any bloggers, and the closest I've gotten is a couple of phone calls with Molly, who basically just breathes heavily and moans as soon as she hears my voice.

I have plenty to say about recent developments in my reproductive life, but at the moment I'm suffering from jet lag-induced ambivalence, so I will leave most of it for another time. The most important bit of info is this - I had a scan a couple of weeks ago at 6w2d, and Bertrand/Enid's heartbeat was both seen and heard. To see it was a marvel in itself, but to hear it was overwhelming. Of course I cried, primarily because I was so thrilled that something, up to that point anyway, was alive in there. To witness a beating heart aside from your own that belongs to another life inside of you, well...it's indescribable.

I also cried because I thought of the many of you who keep struggling, and I desperately want everyone to have at least a little bit of good news for once. I am acutely aware that I have many, many miles to go before this is considered successful, and I spend hours each day convincing myself that this is not going to end well. However, I have never been pregnant before, and for now, I am. It is one step further than I ever anticipated being. I don't consider this feeling guilt, as I put in 4 years of infertility, and as obnoxious as it sounds, it's about fucking time I benefit from the emotional, physical, and financial stress.

I don't know the name of what I'm feeling, but I do know it is odd to be on the other side for once. Prior to reading IF blogs I frequented an IF chatroom. It was usually filled with pregnant IFers or new moms after IF, and I hated it. The little mary sunshines of the group that were not pregnant and did not have children adored having pregnant/new moms in the room, because it gave them hope. I, on the other hand, found it offensive and annoying. Rather than being inspirational, I thought they only served as a reminder that my body was consistently failing me, and it was only other people who got pregnant. I wasn't concerned that they were once where I was.

The point to all this rambling is that I am very confused. Naturally I want this to all work out, but nor do I want to be pushed off the Island. I don't want to be that irritating pregnant woman that prattles on about how she never thought she would get pregnant, and how it will happen for you too, blah blah blah. I detest her, and I trust the rest of you do too. I feel ridiculous for even referring to myself as pregnant, because I neither feel pregnant, nor believe it is lasting. I guess that it is virtually impossible for me to convey my wish for everyone to be happy without being patronising anymore. Prior to the positive HPTs I could pass on whatever good wishes I pleased, but those HPTs changed everything.

The moral to this convoluted and ultimately baffling post is that I hope everyone finds happiness, in whatever form it manifests itself.

*My brother's bumper sticker. When I borrowed his car, The Dude, as my passenger, noticed the glares of passing drivers and it took us awhile to narrow it down to the oh-so-offensive bumper sticker rather than any bad driving on my part.