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I have never been so tired yet so happy.

All my guests have been safely seen home, or to the closest horizontal surface, and are settling down into sleep. My roommate Will and I take one last survey, making sure everyone's comfortable, everyone's happy, everyone's as satisfied as they possibly can be.

All the little noders and friends, sleeping in my house, full of food and conversation and happiness. I can't help myself and I cry a little bit to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

Good night Eraser_, who was able to come to the 'meet with a friend, but didn't stay too long. I was running around so much that I didn't really have too much time to talk to him beyond a "HEY! Howya doin'!"

Good night Starke, who seemed to be having a good time even though he didn't say much or even spent much time off my computer. The smile he gave me when I dropped him off, though, spoke volumes. I know we're friends now.

Good night Andara and Nekojin, who passed around Pixy Stix, a favorite flavor for everyone, then proceeded to school the various playas in just about every XBox game played that afternoon.

Good night, C-Dawg, my dear and special friend. Without you, none of us would have been able to experience Oreo Sludge Bars, and we would have been the poorer for it. Thank you for the cigarette, too. You know what I mean.

Good night, Eos, and sleep tight. I'm so glad you were able to make it, as I have always felt a weird familial connection to you. The person that led me to this place was led here by you and yet in a strange symmetry you, I don't think, really realized what a resource the people of this place were til you stopped by the gathering that never would have happened had you not shown this site to others.

Good night, Chras4, don't let the bedbugs bite. I hope your weekend of respite and fun gave you what you needed. I promise that I will not try to steal your tan anymore. Thank you for the donuts, thank you for the baked brie, thank you for the smiles you smiled when you thought no one was looking.

Fare thee well, Xeger, so tall and friendly. I am very glad that we became friends, and I am glad you got to meet the subject of the poem that brought me to you and you to me.

Sweet dreams, panamaus, taking the first step on a long journey that quite possibly will take you from there to here. I know that you will find what you seek, because I found it here too, oh, so long ago.

Good night, grundoon, sleeping tucked away in a corner of my yard somewhere. You helped me keep it together when panic seemed only a moment away. I was hot and flushed and worried that I couldn't feed everyone, that I couldn't be everywhere at once. You kissed me on each cheek and told me to breathe. Only you could have done that, and I thank you and bless you for your kindness and understanding.

Sleep well, ouroboros and bindlenix, pitched in a tent outside. May the stars and the moon shine down on you and light your dreams. Thank you for your smiles, your help, your willingness to do things without being asked. I forgot your plums, I hope you helped yourself.

Sweet dreams, ocelotbob and DyRE. You both smiled so much during the party that I'd find myself taking a little break from my efforts just to watch you both drinking in all the conversation and fun. And DyRE, you may always have cake in the morning.

Good night, roninspoon and iceowl. It was a joy to watch and listen to the two of you share your stories both mundane and fantastic. It is one thing to write stories well, an entirely different thing to tell them well. I am impressed and not a little jealous. Thank you.

Good night, jasonm, catching a catnap while everything swirls around you. You and I share a special little secret, and you know I was kidding when I said, "Hands off, bitch!" right? I promise to conserve more at the next meet. And maybe we'll even get to see the parade next time...

And a very special good night to sparkleface and factgirl and their families; they couldn't be there because, well, because. New life was brought to you this day, and a marvelous new journey awaits you.

Good night, all my friends and loves, tomorrow will bring us a day of warmth and bittersweet leavings. I want more, and there will be more. Here. And there. We are a family because we care so very much about the things we choose to share one with the other. Our facts and our dreams and our stories and our lives. You are all sleeping now, and it is time for me to join you in that slumber, a smile on my face and a song in my soul.

Isn't it amazing how a good breakfast makes you love the world? Isn't it amazing how much that feeling is increased when you break bread with people you care about? Do you know how much I care about you?

Do you know how much I love you?

I.

7:00 am
sun softly rising behind
heading west
past orange groves, valencia type
lined up in rows with
long shadows stretching out
past the lonely farm stand
too early to serve, bay doors shut
waiting patiently for company
and past the migrant workers
with big straw hats
and long sleeved cotton
just bending to harvest
from burgeoning vines

II.

round the clock donut shop
heart attack disguised as heaven
spanish flows freely
pauses...
eyes on strange woman
chatter resumes
she smiles at conversation
tips head down and away
blushing but flattered
gagme coffee
sip delivers scrunched up nose
scruffy boy with dirty face
and big eyes on large pink box
belly rubbing, lip licking
"mmmmmm" he says
she hands him one with a wink
broad smile, white teeth flashing
he turns, runs out with his prize
laughter and shaking heads
a pair of wizened faces
she suspects she's not the first
to fall for impish grin and beautiful eyes

III.

warm arms envelope
crushed to chest
good coffee waiting with hazelnut
waking of the band
last minute preparations
YES, yes I will help
YES, (I am pluggin in for recharge...)
YES, whatever you need, let's go
YES, (you give me respite, I am grateful)
Is it OK if you are my favorite today?

IV.

necessity is the mother of invention
or...she needs scissors to cook?
it's supposed to be gooey
it's baked brie
I am culturing you
dip your fruit thusly
feeling refined?
neither do I, but it's yummy

V.

hovering about the conversation
flitting in from time to time
swallowing words
though not that one's
artistic linguistic gymnastics

VI.

grape sugar melting on tongue
eyes closed, face raised to sun
sweet moments being savored
saving for future use

VII.

His is bigger
talk about envy
though his isn't the biggest
he says his caliber is better
which he showed
proving once again
it's not the size but the merit
which matters
(this I already knew)

VIII.

misc random thoughts
serenaded by striking eyes
(who also has lovely voice)
I covet the coat that goes from here to there
also that spandex blue number
also that purple flower pen
(which doubles as hair accessory)
also that cutesy little car
with the top down
that whips hair across face
and lets the sun shine in
also that wicked cool camera
ps. serious noders DO exercise
necessary for ninja girl drop kicking
maus rocks
end random thinking

IX.

gathering hugs like seashells
small gifts from the sea of humanity
thankyou for sharing your warmth

X.

Noders is good peoples

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