Happy Birthday to me. I am 31 today.

Last night, a bunch of folks came out for what was a joint birthday party with one of my friends here. It was a good night, and while I didn't technically close down the bar, I think it is fair to say that we were the last patrons for the night. There were cupcakes and friends, and things were good. Which is how I think all birthday get-together should feel.

I'm now on the tail end of the cold that I picked up at the house in Oregon. I've spent the last few days in a cold medicine induced stupor, waiting for the germs to make their way out of my system. The cloudiness is now giving way to the melancholy of a nodermeet hangover. I've tried to explain this concept to others here, but a nodermeet is so fundamentally incompatible with people in this reality that I end up bumming myself out. I do, however, no longer feel the urge to embrace everyone that comes within five feet of me, or walk up to strangers and have intimate conversations. It is both sad and appropriate that I let that go.

I'm also in the first few paces of an existential crisis, brought back anew by few flying chunks of exploding steel radial we encountered on the I-5 somewhere between Harrisburg and Brownsville. A difference in angle and speed would have the resulted in the three of us in a pile of rubble on the side of the highway, and my brain is not making any progress in managing this information. While I realize that there is no intrinsic meaning in that event, I still find myself fixating on that moment more than I would like. I'm hoping to turn these obsessive thoughts into something more productive in the coming weeks.

The past year was up and down a bit. I've reconnected with a bunch of people that I had lost track of, gone on a bunch of traveling adventures, and made good progress at work. The death of Ann's cat last September wasn't good for us at all, but we've moved past things as well as we could. There's been a bunch of health issues both at home and within the extended family, but we are working through them and nothing seems to be life threatening at the moment.

I'm looking forward to the next year, as there are several developments I'm hoping to turn into realities. I've got a bunch of things I want to do, a bunch of people that I want to see, and some projects that need a lot of work. With a dash of luck here and there, this is shaping up to be a pretty good year. I hope that this actually turns out to be the case.

Things are okay. I hope this holds.

"This had better be more to you than a one-night stand"
Her bare breasts were resting on my chest, our hearts beating fast; a steady beat that both soothing and exciting all at once
I knew at that moment how much she meant to me, my head finally realizing what my heart had known for months
I leaned in, a kiss, a whisper.

"It does"

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