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Libby's Journal - November

November 1

Well we had a great Halloween night, but that is basically our favorite holiday and we always do it well. We went to our main party location, the college town that I've mentioned a few times. The main party was at Lia's, but we hit several of the other bars and dance places first.

I was Supergirl as planned with my red Goodwill boots and my too-small red cape. The rest of my costume was made of this thick rubbery latex that you paint onto your body. A friend of ours is in the movie biz and she specializes in turning actors into aliens and monsters. It is not really "paint" and doesn't stick to your skin the same way as paint. It adheres to your skin like rubber but will peel off cleanly when you are ready (or sometimes when you are not ready).

The first time I used it was last year when I went as Seven of Nine and the only thing I wore under it was the business part of a thong with the straps cut to a few inches so they could be pasted to my skin. But the trouble with that was I had to take it off to pee and then it did not stick back as well. Plus, when I sat down and stood up, patches would come off of my butt cheeks.

But Supergirl has a skirt, which I made by spreading the red latex on wax paper, letting it mostly dry and then peeling it off and wrapping it around myself. I had no latex directly between my legs so I had to be careful not to flash anyone when we were out in public, but the advantage was that I could lift up the back of it to sit down or pee.

Mona, Andrea and Margot were Vikings, Jayne was a Viking "wench" (picture Anna Nicole Smith in a horn-hat) and little Dana was an elf -- not like a Christmas elf, but more like a wispy wood sprite. She had wax-latex pointed ears that looked very real and she made a costume out of swatches of silk in autumn leaf colors.

So anyways we went to some of the usual bars and I did a lot of dancing. Another thing I had learned last year about the latex was it doesn't breathe and if you get hot and sweaty it starts to lose its adhesion and I was aware of it sliding around on my skin. I liked that though because it felt so precarious and fragile and I knew it would not take much for it to come off. And, of course, I had intentionally not brought any backup clothing because what would be the fun in that?

We hooked up with some other chicks who were also Vikings so by the time we got to Lia's there was a big table of rowdy lesbian Vikings drinking beer out of glass mugs and speaking in bad Swedish accents. Mona, who grew up in Minnesota, can actually do a great Nordic accent, but everybody else sounded like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. And of course it didn't take them long to start singing the "Bwoonhilda" song from the Bugs Bunny version of Wagners' opera. So all the Vikings would sing the Elmer Fudd part -- "Bwoonhillda, you're so wuv-wee" and then Jayne, being the wench, would sing the Bugs part -- "Yes, I know it, I cahn't help it." and then all the Vikings would sing together, "Bwoonhilda, be-ee my WUV!" Which was funny the first 18 or 19 times, but they pretty well wore it out by the end of the evening.

If you haven't been to Lia's place, or if you haven't been for a long time, it has changed quite a bit since last year. Then it was just a little bar-restaurant in an ancient brick rowhouse, but since then she has expanded into the next shop so that there is a big dining area and a separate bar area, which has become the local dyke watering hole. And she has also renovated the second floor so that it is one huge loft where she lives and socializes. (Lia has at least one million very close personal friends so she needs lots of room to entertain).

So anyways we all eventually ended up in the private loft area upstairs and that is where the inevitable battle between Supergirl and the Vikings took place. I had been busy doing the "Supergirl Dance" (in which you make a lot of arm movements like you are about to whooosh off to fight crime) and I heard someone yell "help, Supergirl, help!" It was Jayne, who was having her boobs fondled by the nefarious Viking Gang!

Well, the mighty Supergirl sprang into action, dashing across the room and leaping into the mosh-pit of Vikings, who (as we all knew they would) grabbed at Supergirl's costume and ripped handfulls of it from her sweaty little body (which she really didn't mind cause she "secretly" enjoys being manhandled by strong Nordic types). And although Supergirl eventually prevailed -- defending liberty, justice and busty wenches -- her costume was basically gone and she was down to her red cape and boots, which everybody agreed was a pretty good fashion statement anyways.

But I wasn't the only one getting comfortable. Some of those Viking breastplates came off too, including one belonging to a certain redhead, but I made her keep her horn-hat on and we had a lovely close dance to Van Morrison's "Moondance," which is one of our many special songs. I love slow dancing with her when our shirts are both off so our nipples can carry on their own little dance, but normally that is something we do at home in the presence of a few close girlfriends. This was a quasi public situation with 20 or 30 women spread around in the loft-like space. The tiny rational portion of my brain reminded the rest of me that I was, after all, completely naked except for the cape and boots which probably didn't count, so I looked around just to be sure it was okay. A formidable looking butch chick wearing mirrored glasses sat at the top of the stairway and Lia was hovering nearby, stopping at each cluster for a quick hug and sometimes a whisper in the ear. So I felt safe and it turned out to be a magical night. When we finally left it was down the back stairway, but then we had to walk a block or so to our cars. People saw me and there were some whistles, but I had a pretty impressive entourage of dyke Vikings and so I waved and blew kisses.

* * * * *

November 3

We had a nice weekend. Saturday was beautifully sunny, but the night before there had been a hard frost that finally zapped my cosmos, which had been thriving lavishly right up til then. Just the day before I had stood there admiring them, tall as me almost, still producing buds in November while autumn leaves fell all around me. And then that morning all the blossoms were drooped and folded in on themselves, all dead. And yet it was so sunny and bright that day. It seemed out of place that anything would die on such a day.

And then this morning I lay on my stomach on the bed while Mona prepared my shot. I was not looking at her but in the corner of my eye I could see her snapping the glass tops off of the vials, mixing the liquid and the powder and holding the syringe up agaisnt the light from the window to squeeze out any air bubbles. She sat on the edge of the bed and I felt the cold of the alcohol on my skin. I closed my eyes so I would not see the motion of her hand as she jabbed it into me. It hurt, but just for a moment. And then she patted my butt and said it was all done.

I went to church by myself while Mona worked out at Andrea's. She goes to church with me sometimes, but usually I go alone. It's a small Catholic church in a rundown neighborhood and for the most part the congregation is a small core group of people who all know each other. Some people live in the neighborhood and others, like me, drive in from a completely other town. I am often moved to tears at church, but not because of anything about my sins or Jesus saving me or anything like that. It is more because I feel such a strong connection between my life and the lives of everyone else on this planet and to the planet itself.

During the call for prayers anyone in the congregation can speak up to ask for a prayer -- and these range from a sick relative to a protest at Fort Benning -- and I started to say something simple but when I opened my mouth more came out than I planned (which happens to me a lot) and I babbled on about my possible infertility and even Mae and how I feel her presence and it is as if maybe God sent her spirit, or even just a memory of her to comfort me. Naturally I cried throughout this, which is what I do and everyone is used to it.

So then finally I shut up and everyone said "God hear our prayer," which is what we say after everyone's prayer request. And then two or three other people offered their prayers also and then just when the priest thought there were no more and he was starting to wrap it up there was another voice and I turned to see a very old man I had not seen before, probably a resident of the apartment building a block from the church where lots of old people live. And his voice was thin and everyone strained to hear him and he said he didn't need any special prayers for himself, but that he wanted to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for "this young lady over here" -- and he pointed right at me -- because he said God gives His abundance to each of us every day, but that most people didn't hardly notice or appreciate it, but that he felt blessed by what I had said because I was "drinking up" God's abundance which is what God wants us to do with the time He has blessed us with. And when everyone said "God hear our prayer" the sound of their voices went thru me and I just felt filled up and I imagined all of that good energy traveling through my bloodstream and going straight to my ovaries.

Later in the service we had the Passing of the Peace, which if you have been to a Catholic Church (and some Protestant churches) you know that is when you turn to your neighbor and say "peace be with you," which normally takes 10 seconds. But at my church the Passing of the Peace takes about 10 minutes because we leave our seats and wander around hugging each other and giving personal blessings. So I made my way to the old man , stopping along the way to pass the peace. When i got to him I thanked him for what he said and I noticed he had such young looking eyes even though the skin around them was old and droopy, like a young man in an old man suit. He put his hand on my shoulder and said "this is your time, young lady," and I babbled something in return and then someone interrupted me to hug me and then it was time to go back to our seats. I saw him again during Eucharist, but after church was over he was not there.

If you are familiar with my theology you know this was one heck of an Athena Moment., but again, this does not mean I think he was not a real person. I'm sure he was a real person but I thinkit wasn't just a coincidence that he came to church that particular Sunday.

* * * * *

November 6

It is 4 a.m. and I have not slept so I got up and I am sitting here in my favorite room with my blanket draped around my shoulders. It is one of those smallish blankets that you cover up your legs with in the car or whatever and quite old -- I had it growing up -- so now it is threadbare but very soft and in the wintertime I fold it in a triangle and wear it over my shoulders like a poncho when I get cold.

It is a couple weeks before Mona's birthday and of course I have been planning what to give her for some time. But I am not dropping any hints here cause she is too clever at figuring out riddles.

But I'll tell you what I am NOT getting her and that is exercise equipment because she has plenty of that stuff, especially nowadays. When Andrea and Dana built their house Andrea had some very professional looking weight machines installed in the basement, and Mona helped pay for it since she knew she'd be over there all the time using it. It is pretty fancy stuff too, like what you see in a health spa.

Mona goes over there 2 or 3 times a week to work out and I usually go with her. Sometimes I work out too but not the way they do. They've always worked out together and have always lifted weights so they are both pretty muscular chicks (in a feminine way of course!) But in the past several months they have had more opportunity to do it and both of them are looking very fine these days. Mona has arms like Linda Hamilton in Terminator II and Andrea is built like Marion Jones the track star. (If ANYone should have been wearing a latex superhero suit on Halloween it shoulda been those two!)

Andrea and Dana also have an outdoor hot tub, which is a pretty neat thing to have this time of year. We have been in it the past couple of weekends and it was about 40 degrees outside, but quite comfortable in the steamy air just above the water. And your body gets so super-heated that you can walk quite a ways in the cold night air before it gets uncomfortable, even by normal people standards -- by which I mean Not Me (heck, if we stayed out until I got uncomfortable, I'd have ice in my hair).

So these days get-togethers at their house start in the basement with the workout equipment and then migrate out to the hot tub, and then there is the lovely chilly walk up the wooden stairs and across the deck to the kitchen, where we make drinks to celebrate the conclusion of the exercise portion of the evening, and I make a fuss over their wonderful poofed out muscles and they flirt with me and Dana alternately and compete for our attention.

Then we move on to the Consuming of Food portion of the evening. I am a vegetarian and Dana is gradually becoming one, but Mona and Andrea are unrepentant carnivores and tell competing stories of expensive nearly-raw steaks they have consumed at famous steakhouses across the country -- and these stories tend to involve tonal inflections usually reserved for sexual foreplay. But they will also go for "carbo-loading" vegetarian meals of pasta or salad but on those "light" nights we've learned to follow it up with the most sinful desert currently available. Sometimes I make these myself, but I also support the local bakeries and the Godiva shop at the mall.

So between the meal and the dessert there is the second exercise program on the agenda, namely dancing. This can be done inside or outside, depending on one's mood and the temperature, and of course if you dance fast enough you don't care about the temperature. Sometimes, if they are being bad girls, certain persons will fire up a joint and pass that around. But I did not partake of any this last time cause I am being a good prospective mommy and am not putting anything bad in my body, unless it is at least dipped in chocolate. We also had warm cider spiked with rum (but mine was not spiked) and we took our cider glasses back down to the hot tub where we got toasty warm again and where it was no big surprise that a certain under-the-influence person could not keep her big toe to herself. Not that I minded a whole lot.

Well, all kindsa time has gone by while I was writing the above. Mona got up at 5:30 and came looking for me. She is always a little worried when I can't sleep, but she read that last bit I wrote and while she read she put her hands under by blanket for a few minutes, which i always appreciate to start the day off right. Then she gave me my morning shot and while she was in the shower I made her coffee and a bagel and I brushed my teeth so's I'd be nice and kissable and I got me some more luvin there in the kitchen. But now she has gone off again and it is several hours later than when this ramble began.

And speaking of Time, you know how in science fiction stories they sometimes portray Time as being not linear but sorta all happening at the same time but in different dimensions or something? Well I was thinking, what if my life and Mae's life are happening "at the same time" here in this house but we are not aware of each other. She lived here for about 50 years and we think if that as "past", but what if it is all happening right now also?

That is a weird thing to think about and I kinda creeped myself out a couple of times, like when you get that paranoid feeling that someone is watching you, which almost never happens to me here. But mostly it was a nice feeling, picturing Mae in the kitchen while I was there. It was like I was sharing the space with her -- like two people working in a kitchen together, but each is making something different. And we both sing while we work, that is something that I am somehow convinced we have in common. A different era of music, of course, just as she and I are completely different. I am liable to be bopping around naked in the kitchen singing "I'm So Excited" like the less-talented fourth Pointer Sister and bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet so much that the dishes rattle in the cupboards but I am pretty sure Mae was always fully dressed in the kitchen and probably wore an apron too, but I just KNOW she sang, I can almost hear her sometimes. What would it have been? Probably Frank Sinatra or something. Maybe she liked Billie Holliday? Sometimes I sing the Alison Krause songs from "O Brother Where Art Thou?" and that fits her era pretty well and those are songs that sound best when harmonized so I like to imagine Mae and me singing it together. I wonder if she would like me?

Well, I have been sitting here long enough. It is a breezy, semi-wet autumn morning and I am gonna go outside and experience it for a while. Then maybe I will sleep.

* * * * *

November 7

Yesterday I tried to nap in bed but was restless and couldn't sleep so I got up and came in here to my special room and I curled up in the chair. It is big old comfy chair with an ottoman. The upholstery is shot, but I have a new slipcover on it and in the early afternoon the sun filters through the blinds just perfectly and that chair is one of the primo napping spots in the house.

Altho I have other fine napping locations in the house (and a hammock outside when the weather is nice), I mostly prefer napping in this chair, partly because of the sun and the comfort but also partly because it is in this particular room. I have a lot of emotional energy invested here. My computer is here, of course, and the big double-window that I gaze out of while I wait to be inspired, but I also have my artwork table with all my painting stuff, and I have my desk with all my journals since I was eight lined up on the shelves. And I have my sprawling collage on the walls. I cut out faces and other interesting bits from art magazines and gallery brochures and I paste them right onto the plaster walls, my own personal wallpaper, and it trails along at eye-level across two walls and part of the door. It is a long, skinny room so the main wall of art is quite extensive these days, and along the opposite side the wall slants with the roof line and there are two nice skylights that fill the room with filtered light, which is important to me. I like light, but I much prefer natural light and I like rooms where you don't need artificial light except at night. And when you paint, natural light is absolutely necessary.

So anyways, I was curled up under my little blanket on my favorite chair in my special room and snoozing really really well when in my dreams I heard two particular sounds. One was a woman singing, and the other was a baby fussing. It took me a while to fully wake up and for a long while I had my eyes open looking at a Vermeer portrait staring back at me from where it was glued to the wall, and it took quite a long while before I was fully aware of where I was and who that face was I was looking at, and during that time it never occurred to me to wonder who was singing to that fussy baby.

And then the sounds suddenly stopped and I was fully awake, but the memory of it was still in my ears, and I sat there a long time trying to keep it in my head because it was such a beautiful sound. The baby had started out crying, but had gradually settled down and was just fussing a little, and the mother's lullaby was enchanting to me. No actual words, but a soothing melodic voice singing notes without any words needed.

As I sat there looking around this very familiar room, my eyes trailed along the marks on the wall and ceiling that showed where an interior wall had long ago been removed, making two small rooms into one long one. That bit of remodeling happened a long time ago and we had noticed the evidence of it before.

I had never thought about how the different upstairs rooms had been used by Mae's family, but now I did and I could guess which room was Mae and Ed's bedroom and which ones were the kids'. And then it hit me. The smaller of these two original rooms would have been the nursery, where each of the babies started out. And then much later on, perhaps after the older kids had grown and moved out, Ed and Mae knocked out the interior wall to give one of the remaining kids a larger room. Or something like that -- I don't know why they did it, but they did.

The point is: MY room was originally two little rooms and ONE of those rooms would almost certainly have been the nursery because it was the smallest of all of the original bedrooms. So right there across the room where my art table is right now, there was probably a crib and a changing table and a rocking chair where Mae would come and sit with her baby in her arms, singing a lullaby.

I have kept that lullaby in my head, not wanting to lose it. I even tape recorded myself singing it just in case I forget it. I'm not necessarily saying I HEARD Mae singing to her baby across Time -- oh heck, maybe I AM saying that. At least I think that is a possibility, and it felt so much stronger than a dream -- though my dreams have a history of being compelling, and my Fertility Quest is a recurring theme. But what ARE dreams anyways? If Time is not linear, but somehow happens all together and we are just aware of our own little portion of it, then maybe it is not such a leap to think that now and then a little bit of one time spills over to another one. It's a nice thought anyways. And whatever the explanation, it is still nice to know that my special room used to be a nursery. That by itself is a big deal to me.

Well, when I started this entry I meant to say that Tomorrow we go to see "Dr. Ken", who will examine my ovaries to see if they have produced some ripe and juicy eggs he can harvest and put back in me with Jack's certifiably-healthy sperm. Mona has been giving me shots of Pergonal every morning and evening and she is getting very professional at it. I told her I'm gonna buy her a long white lab coat. As some of you know from the poor timing of your phone calls, I have had several moments of intense paranoia when I totally convinced myeslf that my ovaries were becoming overstimulated and were ready to explode. That is an actual possibility in Pergonal treatment, but that is why you go back to the doctor during the treatment so's he can check you out. But rationality has never been my strong suit and when I am obsessing on negative fears, rationality doesn't help much. Most of the time I'm okay though, and when she is home with me Mona wraps her strong arms around me and keeps me safe.

November 8:

Yesterday was a pretty wonderful day. The weather was so lovely -- mid 60s and sunny and the leaves are at their peak, just past their peak I'd say -- and the Amazing Nature Girl spent all afternoon outside. I did some raking in the part of the property where we have a lawn (not much) and I tore down my tomato plants and such. And I got my new composite bin going -- last year's is ripe and ready to go into next spring's garden.

It was so warm out that with the exertion of raking and other exercise I was feeling as free as if it were summer. And I ran. I dropped my rake and ran, all of a sudden, as if someone had shouted "get set, GO!" and I was in a race. I am not really a person who runs regularly for exercise, but I do sem-regularly become so infused with Something that I run and run until I am winded. I ran up the hill because I wanted to run uphill and that took me up towards Jack's house. I wasn't even thinking about seeing Jack or not seeing Jack, though I knew he was there and I had been trying to be less Like That in recent times because of, well, you know. But I wasn't thinking of that either, I was just running through the leaves and among the pine trees and up and up to the top, wearing only sneakers, running, aware of and grateful for the grace of my lungs, and the air, and This Day.

Jack was sitting outside, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt but barefoot. Sitting there on his porch railing reading the newspaper with a coffee cup next to him and his hair blowing like a horse mane and the newspaper flapping in his hands like laundry on a line. I didn't stop even tho I was nearly on the porch as I ran by. I waved and smiled and he waved and smiled and I kept going. When I was halfway down the hill I looked back and he was still watching me, not reading about the elections or whatever, and I felt such joy to know he is there. I rolled in the leaves partway down the hill and then I was up and running some more, not winded at all, just running flat out now, racing to Jayne's, across the old wooden bridge over the creek, sploosh-sploosh thru the Always Muddy Part and around the old farmhouse, stomping up the back porch steps, winning the race.

I saw Jayne and her sister Jackie standing in the kitchen doorway, looking surprised, as I slipped on the wet leaves on the wooden porch and landed on my bottom on the welcome mat.

I'm glad it was just her sister, and not her mother or someone else I don't know. Me and Jackie have been over there a lot at the same time, usually when Jayne is trying to meet a deadline with her garden statuaries and needs some help with the molds and stuff. So Jackie has seen me naked, and come to think of it I don't think she has ever seen me not naked.

But anyways, Jayne had company and I didn't intend to stop anyways, certainly not by landing on my butt in the doorway. But they had just baked muffins and I got me one, still warm, and gobbled it up. I drank a few sips of Jayne's coffee, even though I don't drink coffee but she puts lots of cream and sugar in hers and it's not bad that way and hers was lukewarm and I drank a big gulp to wash down the muffin and it was like I hadn't eaten in days. And while eating I started telling Jackie all about Mae, who grew up in Jayne's house, the original farmhouse, right there where we stood, but of course Jayne had already heard it all before and took the liberty of summarizing whole chunks of my narative into a few sentences, which sometimes ticks me off because I don't like being abstracted, but at that moment I didn't mind because I was in a hurry anyways, needing to get moving again so I did, running off down the hill and towards home.

As I ran towards my house my dogs came to greet me and they ran in circles around me while I ran as fast as I could, but not nearly as fast as they can go. I was winded as I slowed to a walk and saw myself reflected in a window and I had an odd feeling, looking at my house and my door and my gardens and my window up there where I normally look out and not in. I felt as if I had been away for a very long time but I suppose it had been 20 minutes or so. I took a wonderful hot shower and then burrowed under my bedcovers where I took advantage of myself and then slept.

I woke an hour or so later dreaming of old fashioned music again so I got on the internet and searched for popular songs of the 1940s and 1950s, and I downloaded mp3s of Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney and people like that and I played them on the downstairs computer while I got dinner started and pretty soon I knew all the words almost by heart and me and Mae did us some harmonizing. By the time Mona came home I was no longer playing the recordings, but I sang "Secret Love" to her in full, confident voice as I tended to dinner. It was like being in a musical where two characters are doing something very ordinary, like welcoming the working spouse home and getting ready for dinner, but because it is a musical one of the characters bursts into song and glides around the kitchen singing as she serves up the food and pours the wine, kissing the tired working spouse a few times as she does so (timed to the cadence of the song of course).

Granted, in most musicals these Doris Day style songs don't generally conclude with Doris receiving oral sex right there on the kitchen table (I suspect Mae was embarrassed), but hay this is the 21st Century, you know? We gotta update those 1950s story lines a bit, dontcha think?

Well that was all yesterday and today has been gloriously pretty also. I am not nearly so revved up but I am not Going Down either, which sometimes happens after a good spree. But today I just feel kinda quiet and waiting. This afternoon we go to see Dr. Ken and only then will I know if things are going well or not. If things look really good we might do that GIFT thing right then and there. Jack is going with us to the appointment and so we will have our guns at the ready so to speak. Or it could be bad news like, sorry but your ovaries are so hopeless that you STILL got no decent eggs, you egg-challenge, dried up old . . .

Buuuuut I try not to dwell on that. I feel a little tender in my ovaries, which is sign that SOMEthing is going on I figure.

The wind is blowing strong and the leaves are just falling off these trees outside my window. It is so pretty out. I kinda wish I felt like running.

* * * * *

Later that day . . .

Well it didn't go well. Not terrible and not good either. Dr. Ken said my levels seem "good," but "not quite where we want 'em." I probably got one ripe egg in there, he said, but he wants to hold out to see if we can get two or three big fat juicy ones going, so we are continuing the Pergonal thru the weekend and are gonna go see him first thing Monday to see where we are.

But I could tell he was disappointed, that I was not a good patient, or something. I dunno what it was, but things just did not seem right to me. The way he talked, it was like he was not telling me everything or at least that is how it seemed but I had to remind myself that sometimes things seem off-kilter to me and it is me who is off-kilter not everyone else. But still . . .

One nice thing, I thought. When I came out of the doctor's office back into the waiting room Mona and Jack were sitting there together holding hands. Isn't that sweet? they were huddled together talking, about me of course, and holding hands. Man, who would have thought a year or so ago, longer now I guess, but a while ago anyways who would have thought they'd be such close friends now? Anybody else seeing them in that waiting room would assume they are a couple.

Remember how I said how handsome this doctor is, like "ken doll" handsome, like almost plastic fake handsome? I was laying there in the stirrups looking at his forehead and his hairline while he talked about restaurants. Something looked strange about his head and I had this image of like in the movies when an alien is wearing a costume made to look like a human, but they don't wear it quite right. Something is off, but you can't quite tell what. And I thought: I don't know anything about this person down there between my legs. I've never actually checked out who he says he is, I don't even know how to do that, and how do I know what is in those little glass vials he gave Mona to inject into me? I don't know what I'm saying exactly. Nothing probably, I'm just tired and feeling strange. Everything seems strange to me just now. My house even seems strange, as if it were picked up out of the ground and shifted 45 degrees counterclockwise and all the shrubbery and flowers shifted also and you come home and look at it with a question mark on your face and say, what is different? Maybe it is me who has shifted 45 degrees, like I am an almost mirror image of the Libby who belongs in this dimension but it is not me exactly.

I should just go to bed, I am not saying anything that makes sense. I think Mona is annoyed at me because of how I acted at the doctor's office, asking too many questions but they tell you to ask questions. He did look at me strange, everyone looked at me strange. Like they know something they don't want to tell me yet. Like there is something strange about me. Like I am a science project they are studying and they are turning me into something and I am not supposed to know about it until I suddenly sprout a tail or something . . . which would probably give it away.

* * * * *

November 9

I woke up feeling much better than that crap I wrote last night.

Today is Saturday and I love the weekends because Mona is home and we get to sleep in together. We generally wake up at the usual time, get up and pee and brush our teeth and then go back to bed to snuggle and snooze and usually, well, you know. Altho Mona does not generally go without clothing around the house the way I do, she does sleep that way, which is important to me. In winter we have a couple of blankets and a quilt on top of clean sheets and our bodies keep us warm, skin on skin, much better than flannel nightgowns I am sure.

This morning after we went back to bed and Mona drifted off again I lay there in her arms feeling just fine. I like to look at the detail of her skin, up close, at such times. Morning light was in the room and I examined the familiar pattern of freckles on her cheeks and her shoulders and I kissed her white neck, and I scoonched myself down under the covers and began kissing her breasts. She woke and tried to pull me up but I had my arms wrapped around her waist and I held on tight because I was not done with those nipples yet. Well one thing led to another, as it usually does.

For some reason I never feel the presence of Mae or Ed in the bedroom, even though I'm pretty sure it was their room too. They had five or six kids so there musta been something going on, tho maybe they did most of their procreating while still living next door.

We added the "master bath" to the room, and a bigger closet (basically sacrificing one of the other rooms to do that). The original bathroom is down the hall and still has the original fixtures, including a claw-footed tub. The only time it is used is when we have guests, but sometimes it smells in there like somebody just went. Mona says we need to get the main drain roto-rooted, but I suspect it is Ed. This house was well-built, but it must have settled a little afterwards because it is a teeny bit off-balance. Certain doors tend to swing open or closed. Like, our bedroom door will swing open unless you close it all the way to the latch (which spooked us a couple times when we first moved in). And that original bathroom door tends to swing shut so sometimes I walk by and the door is closed even tho I know we left it open. I get a creepy feeling pushing it open, like in a ghost movie, something might be there, and that is when I notice the smell. Lately I just leave it closed. I don't particularly wanna see Ed in there doing his business.

Mostly they are in their usual places. Mae is in the kitchen and Ed in his little workshop. Mona and I dragged the table back inside from the porch the other day and put it pretty much back where we found it. It will make a nice breakfast table, but I need to finish the grout work. I wonder if Ed likes it.

They never talk, Mae and Ed. I wonder if they were happy together, or if they drifted apart emotionally and led separate internal lives while stepping past each other in their daily routines. That would be sad. I don't want Mona and me to ever be like that. I don't think we will.

* * * * *

November 10

Last night we went to Jayne and Margot's for dinner, just our regular group with them and Andrea and Dana, the people I feel most comfortable with. I was so glad to be with them. They are so funny and intelligent and I know they are always always on my side and there for me no matter what, which is a secure feeling. Obviously the main person I feel that way about is Mona, but my closest friends are just as dedicated really.

Andrea noticed the bruise on my butt and thought it was from the Pergonal shots but Jayne gave a comic, and somewhat exaggerated I thought, description of my pratfall on her porch the other day. Then I accused Andrea of not reading my online journal and she said she can't keep up with me lately and it is true I have written every single day lately which I normally don't do and had not planned to do but for some reason there just seems to be a lot happening what with the impending Big Event, which is currently scheduled to impend again tomorrow morning.

Jayne made a shrimp and pasta casserole which was good but it coulda been more seasoned and the shells were a trifle undercooked. (This is a test to see if she's keeping up on her reading).

Mona toasted my "at least one good egg cause that's all it takes anyways" status and everyone drank to that including me because I figured it was kinda ridiculous to avoid wine before I am even pregnant. Heck, there will be plenty of abstaining afterwards so I had me some wine. Margot was curious about the Mae & Ed stuff and I told her about it (while everyone else roles their eyes) and she quizzed me about whether I actually SEE them with my eyes or am just imagining them, making up their story. And I told her as I have told Mona when she asks that I am Not Quite That Crazy as to not understand the difference. BUT who freakin knows what your "imagination" really is and I gave her my Missing Sense argument, which is that we humans happen to have five senses thru which we experience Reality, and we think we are therefore seeing all of Reality but that it is kinda ego-centric to assume there can only be those five ways. Suppose we met people from another planet and they had only four of our five senses. How would you explain to those people what your "extra" sense was like. Try describing "hearing" or "smell" conceptually -- it is almost impossible if you don't actually have that sense. And by the same token there could be additional ways to sense Reality that we do not have.

ANYways, when we came home we went straight to bed and and I slept great. I woke up before dawn and got up, leaving Mona sleeping. I came downstairs and the house was quiet -- not even Mae was up, that lazybones -- and I stepped out onto the porch to watch the sun come up. I wasn't wearing a sweater or even shoes but it was not cold at all, which it usually is at that hour. I have seen some wonderful sunrises up here on our hill, but on this particular morning it was too overcast and the sky just got lighter without revealing the sun. Cody and Max came out the dog door, stretching their back legs and getting all set to go out for a nice morning poop. They like doing their business along the periphery of the property so I rarely hafta clean up after them except when one of them leaves me a little surprise closer to the house.

The sky was absolutely pregnant with heavy clouds but it did not look like it would storm, just rain any minute. And it was very warm and calm. I picked up my rake which was still on the ground where I left it the other day and I started working, raking leaves into my big wheelbarrow and carting them back to the new compost area, which I have fenced in on three sides with chicken wire. It started to rain a gentle drizzle and even tho it is November it was not very cold at all and I was already heated up from labor so I just kept working, feeling the rain on my skin and the wet fertile earth under my feet.

Mona called from the doorway in her robe and right then it started to rain pretty hard and I held my arms up and turned my face into the rain. She called me again but I laughed and ran, daring her to chase me down and she did, but she was in no mood to romp in the rain and just wanted me to come inside and get dry, so I did.

I realized a little later that I completely forgot to go to church today, forgot it was Sunday. I was upset with myself because tomorrow we are going to the doctor again and whether my levels have improved or not they will probably do the procedure, and I wished I had gone to church on this particular Sunday. And then Mona (the humanist-agnostic) had a wonderful idea. It had stopped raining by this point and she suggested we meet Jack at the Treehouse Tree and have our own little day-before ceremony. So I got dressed and that's what we did.

The Treehouse Tree -- for those of you who do not read Every Single Word of my journals (sheesh) -- is the tree that fell over in a storm a while back. It did not actually have a treehouse in it, but it is the tree jack and I had planned to use for a treehouse someday if we had our baby, and so of course it had upset me that the treehouse tree had fallen in a storm. But it did not DIE. It continued to live even though it was on its side with its rootball entirely out of the ground. And so it has become my Praying Spot lately, but I have always gone there alone and it was a wonderful thing to do that with Mona and Jack. I don't really want to write about exactly what we said up there, but it was a beautiful thing and both of them took it completely seriously, which I appreciated.

So -- I am ready for tomorrow.

* * * * *

November 11

Well shit here it is 4 in the morning again and I have been restless and up and down all night. Mona sleeps fairly soundly, but I also try not to wake her with my nocturnal wanderings and I am skilled at slipping in and out of bed without making much of a disturbance. And when I write at night I hafta be careful not to bang on the keyboard clackity-clack the way I tend to when trying to type as fast as i'm thinking.

Mona told me she is Concerned about me because I have been "agitated and distracted" lately, which I suppose I have been. Distracted? Jeez, compared to what? I tend to be pretty darned distractable in the best of times. I visited my shrink a week or so ago after the Pergonal shots began and I have gotten thru all of this so far without any serious depressions, which is the main thing we were worried about but I suppose I am a bit freekin agitated excuse me very much but heck I'm gonna have fucking surgery in four hours, "the procedure' performed by handsome alien Dr. Ken and his lovely assistants Barbie and Barbie and Barbie. I had about 42 Barbies growing up (actually my mom still has them in storage) and only one Ken doll, which I think is typical in most households. Jeez, imagine what the Census stats look like in the Barbie Universe -- one guy is always living with a dozen or more beautiful women, the supposed dream come true for most straight guys, tho to hear their girlfriends talk they couldn't hardly "service' one Barbie let alone a whole boxful, which I suppose is why Barbie is secretly lesbian because ya know Ken couldn't satisfy her needs (of course in fairness the poor guy got no parts) and besides she is always surrounded by other beautiful ladies jumbled and half naked in a box waiting for me to come play with them again.

I just went down and got a bowl of cereal and brought it back upstairs because I'm sick of sharing my kitchen with Mae and Ed, who never even say anything not just to me but even to each other. The wall between their two rooms isn't even there anymore and they are ten feet away yet they don't even look at each other and I've tried to tell them both that pretty fuckin soon he is going to be DEAD and she's going to be ALONE and they ought to take advantage of this time but they don't listen, they never listen, even yesterday when I blew up and shouted at them, and now I'm just tired of them both and want them to leave my house. They used to live in Jayne's house too, I wish they'd go haunt her for a change.

Hay Jayne is thinking of trying to get pregnant too! Wouldn't that be cool? Heck, she'll probably get it done on the first try and her kid'll be 14 and I'll still be trying "procedures." Well, there is always donor eggs you know, if this doesn't work out, but I got ONE good egg in there, or so Dr. Ken says and who knows if he was just trying to sound hopeful to keep me from freaking out. I have dreamt about that redheaded baby twice now, so who knows, maybe that is the route my Fate will take me. But one step at a time, first we go do this thing today, in a few hours. I am feeling a bit sleepy now so I'm gonna go slip in beside my warm girl and see if I can snooze.

..... oops, forgot to save again. Time has passed, but not much, and we are getting ready to go to the doc. Wish I had slept better so I'd be more relaxed. I will write all about it after I am done bein under the knife. Wish me luck!!!

* * * * * *

November 14: A note to Libby's readers --

This is Mona writing. I would not normally intrude upon Libby's online journal, but this seems to be an appropriate time. Apparently some group e-mails have been circulating about what happened to Libby this week and I don't consider them very accurate -- nor do I appreciate second-hand gossip.

For the record, here is the situation: earlier this week, while we were finishing up at the fertility clinic, Libby began experiencing a series of cascading anxiety attacks that became worse as they progressed, and she became both paranoid and somewhat delusional. She seemed to see things which were not there and she distrusted everyone -- including me. At first I thought I could take her home and let her ride it out, as we have done before, but that became impossible and I had to put her in the hospital.

But as bad as that was, it was just a temporary setback, no doubt brought on by the unusual proportion of hormones in her system and by the stress she has been under in recent times. It did not take more than a day or so for the more extreme symptoms to subside, and although she is still in the hospital she is almost completely her old self again, making the nurses laugh. She's still a bit fragile, but at the rate she is improving she will probably be out of the hospital early next week.

But one would surely not understand that based on the two e-mails that found their way back to me earlier today, and who knows how many others there have been. I am not necessarily bothered by the fact that people are talking about this, and I am of course aware that the original information came from true friends who know her in person and were simply informing other friends about what had taken place. But I am quite incensed when people who have never even met her speak with the authority of experts and take it upon themselves to "wonder" (in a mass-mailed e-mail) whether it may be "for the best" if she did not become a mother. I have already directly communicated with the author of that particular message, but I am warning the rest of you also. I have very little tolerance as it is for Internet "communities" and you may be sure I will pull the plug on this website if I ever feel it is doing her more harm than good.

If you have paid any attention at all to what Libby has written about her illness, you should understand that "mental" illnesses are fundamentally physical in origin -- a temporary imbalance in chemicals or hormones. Libby is more prone to these chemical imbalances than most people, but 95 percent of the time she is just fine. She may not be what you would describe as "normal," but I am glad of that. She is far better than merely being normal. She is sweet, and unique, and the most alive person I have ever known. If she needs me to hold her up now and then, it is the least I can do.

And the least you all can do is let her be and quit speculating. She'll be fine and I'm sure she will soon be writing all about this in humorous detail. Feel free to send her good wishes via e-mail, but she won't be reading them for a little while yet.

-- Mona

* * * * * *

November 18:

Hay everyone! Well . . . wasn't THAT dramatic? Thank you all for your kind emails and cards. I can't tell you how much they mean to me and I will write back each of you over the next few days, I promise. I am back home and doing fine and my life is back to normal . . . or what passes for normal if you are not too particular about it.

Mona said she only intended her note to be a temporary notice until I got back, but I'm gonna keep it because it's all part of the journal thing. Once you put it down it is part of the story and that is that. Besides, I kinda like it when she gets all protective of me. This was actually fairly mild -- she can be quite tough verbally, and even non-verbally when she has to (as some of you have witnessed).

Anyways, well, I also intend to write some more about what happened and what I was perceiving and all. It is kinda fascinating how the mind works, especially when it isn't working very well. I kept a hand-written journal in the hospital,and pretty much filled up one of those blank books, so I will summarize some of that in my next entry.

Well that is enough for now I guess. I got me a lotta calls to return and e-mails to write, and that is a good thing to be doing. I get to sit here in my favorite room looking out at the world, or at least the part of the world that is closest to my soul. Here I am, right here on this pretty planet. And I have Time, lots of it. And so do you, even if you die tomorrow and you probably won't. One day is a lot of time to enjoy the gift we have been given. You are right smack in the middle of Your Time on this beautiful planet. Whether you believe in a specific God With A Plan, or no god at all, or if you are wisely humble on that question and just don't know -- no matter which one of those you are you are here Right Now. We don't know if it is a Planned Thing by a Supreme Planner, but it is still a great Gift, even if a randomly granted one by a disinterested force of nature. However you got here, you got here. And we probably have a nice big chunk of Time left too. I plan on enjoying mine.

November 20:

I can't stop thinking about what happened at the fertility clinic. I know, of course, that what happened was triggered by me being off Depakote and pumping a bunch of hormones in my system. That was always a risk and I am not ashamed of having a bad episode as a result.

But you wanna know the only part of what happened that I AM ashamed of? I'm ashamed that Mona had to write that I distrusted her. Most of the time when I am going nuts I can look in her calm, clear blue eyes and trust that she has everything under control and will take care of whatever it is that has gone wrong.

But sometimes that does not work. On those occasions when I am truly, deeply depressed, well, then I can't even look at her eyes because I am ashamed to have her look at mine but when she takes my face in her hands and forces me to look at her and says, Libby, this will pass . . . well, at those times when I am at my worst in terms of depression it does not really help that much.

But if I am having a panic attack, which is how it started at the doctor's office last week, then her eyes and her assuring voice normally do me a whole LOT of good. It doesn't make it go away, but I can let the wave of fear and alarm pound against me and trust in her.

Most people don't really understand panic attacks. They think it is like in the movies when one character freaks out under stress and shouts "we're all gonna die!" and then the hero of the movie slaps him and says "get a grip!" and then the first character says "thanks, I needed that" and then they go fight the bad guys together (and the guy who freaked out generally dies in the end doing something heroic to redeem his earlier cowardice).

But actually, the panic reaction is a good and natural thing and if we didn't have it we probably wouldn't have had a chance to evolve into humans who walk on two feet and have the luxury of no predators (except each other). There is a part of the brain that is entirely in charge of panic, and when an animal is in danger that part of the brain kicks in and the animal runs or hides or fights back or whatever it needs to do to survive. Like when I see deer and I try to creep down to get a closer look and they catch my scent before they see me and you see that look in their face and they suddenly run. Or when you see a rabbit that has been startled and its instinct is to be perfectly still (because dogs can see movement more easily than they can see objects) and while that rabbit is standing stone still you can see the terror in its eyes. The panic center in that poor little guy's head is sounding the alarm and he is looking around expecting to hear the yelping of hounds any second.

Well sometimes that panic center gets triggered when nothing is wrong. A person is just going about her normal business when suddenly in her head that alarm starts going off and she has this overwhelming sense of fear and alert and danger like that rabbit standing so still in the grass. You can tell the person there is no real danger, and usually she already knows that, but the thing happening in her brain is an actual chemical process that she can't just turn off. It is like someone tells you: "don't sneeze; it's just your allergies; ignore it and it'll go away." Would you stop sneezing because of that sage advice??

But like I said, normally if I am having a panic attack Mona's reassurance helps me get thru it. But on this particular occasion I had a new twist to the experience and that was a strong sense of paranoia. I don't normally have feelings of paranoia and I am not necessarily blaming it on the fertility drugs, though I certainly hope they are to blame cause I sure don't want to feel that way again. It had been building, actually, for some time and looking back in my journals (mostly the private one, but also this one) I am reminded of how I felt. That sense of not belonging here, that something is different, changed. Some physical object looks different than it did before. And people -- people look at you in ordinary ways, but in your mind it is like "why is he looking at me THAT way??" and then you get suspicious and start acting weird yourself and then they DO look at you that way. And when you see other people in conversation or hear them laughing you think, what did they just say about me?

At my very very worst on that day in the clinic I did not trust Mona. And I am so ashamed to admit that. It makes me feel that my love for her is not strong enough, not adequate, that if I was capable of really truly loving her then no matter what was happening I should have been able to look in her face and hear her say "trust me" and that would have been enough for me. But it wasn't.

But that was partly Ed's fault.

No, don't worry -- I am not still imagining Mae and Ed in the kitchen. But that was all part of this building weirdness. At first, picturing Mae was such fun that I really tried to see her and imagine what exactly she would look like and what she was wearing. But I indulged myself in that a bit too much and sometimes I would forget that I was just making all this up for fun. Kinda like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" (well, not quite THAT bad).

But anyways when we were at the clinic, all done and getting ready to leave, and I was just barely holding on and telling myself all I had to do was make it home and then i could sleep for 24 hours and maybe it would be okay, well then right about then, as Mona was paying the bill and we were standing in the waiting room with other people sitting there -- and in my mind they were all looking at me -- and just then an old man with white hair and a plaid jacket was leaving and I just saw him from behind as he said something to one of the nurses on his way out the door. And it was Ed! Or so a certain part of my brain insisted. Ed had followed me here! He was "in on it" with Them! To get rid of me! To get me out of his house! (Those thoughts rushed through my head so fast I didn't have time to remind myself that I had basically made Ed up). And the old man said something to that nurse, who looked back in my direction, not right at me, but in my direction. And then he was out the door and the nurse walked right back towards me and as she passed me she made eye contact, and there was meaning in that eye contact, like "oh yes, this is that human specimen we implanted those alien eggs into." And that is when I screamed. Not a huge scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in a bad slasher movie, but it was definitely a scream, and then everyone was truly looking at me, which didn't help. So that is basically when that little thread of self-control that I'd been holding onto broke and I was in full-blown paranoid panic in which I didn't fucking trust anyone . . . including Mona.

And I am ashamed of that.

* * * * * *

November 25:

Well, now I got aNOTHer thing on my conscience, which is that Jack and Leslie had a big fat fight and have apparently broken up for good, and part of the reason for their fight was Jack's loyalty to me. I don't want to get into the details here, especially since they might get back together of course and I would not want to say anything that would be harmful, but I WILL say that I hope with all my heart that Jackson finds his true love someday -- but I sure don't think she's it.

Changing the subject . . . Well, as many of you know, Mona's birthday was this past week. I'm not allowed to say exactly on which day but it was this past week and in fact I got to come home just in time for it, which was nice. I was not, however, able to have the present I'd planned ready cause of my little detour thru the psych ward, but I told her she will just hafta wait til Christmas now.

Those first couple of days after I got out of the hospital Mona stayed home from work so that I would not be alone, and those were very special days for both of us. We were reminded of how things can change on you overnight and you could lose things you most cherish, and we knew how lucky we are to have each other (although mostly I am the one who is lucky because she could have anyone she wanted).

There was a conspiracy all week to make sure I did not have to be alone, not that I was in any danger of doing anything harmful to myself, but just because it was considered a good idea, and I did not object. When I was in the hospital I was afraid to come home because some of what had been happening to me started here at home and I was afraid it would happen again, but it did not. Mona had to go back to work after a couple of days but then Dana stayed with me that day and it was a cold, overcast day and we spent the whole time cuddled under a blanket watching sappy movies on cable (and I am not allowed to tell you the names of the movies because I promised Dana I would not reveal that incriminating information).

And Jack took a turn on the next day and we drove into the city and went to the art museum and had lunch and we drove around interesting old neighborhoods and he pointed out architectural details to me, which sounds boring but it was not. That is one of the many things he knows a lot about, architecture, and that is his business, fixing up old homes the way they used to be and he has some jobs lined up down here for the winter, indoor work mostly.

And Jaynie did a day also and so I was babysat all week and did not see any ghosts and did not once think that an alien space pod had been implanted in me -- but of course something WAS implanted in me and we do not yet know for certain how that turned out, though I have a strong feeling about it, and in fact I feel almost certain about it. At the hospital they said they were treating me "as if you were pregnant" since they after all pried me off the ceiling of a fertility clinic waiting room, shivering up there with my claws dug into the ceiling like the girl cat in the Pepe LePew cartoons, but they also took blood tests and they can probably detect it plenty early when they want to, even though they tell you it takes two weeks to know.

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