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Friday evening OldMinder and vandewal gave me a warm welcome after I arrived at vandewal's for transport to the nodermeet. To back up slightly the drive down was great, traffic was heavy but I love Chicago radio stations, the sun was shining and now that I've made the drive a couple of times I felt like I was on more familiar turf. Almost everyone was already at the nodermeet when I arrived making me one of the later arrivals. After going around the room to greet the people I knew I met Two Sheds for the first time.

The weather was absolutely phenomenal this past weekend. Gorgeous blue skies made the day that much better when I woke up on Saturday morning. I don't remember what time I fell asleep on the couch Friday night but when chaotic_poet woke me up dann was huddled under a thin shirt on the loveseat while I was hogging the much larger couch. We agreed to split the bedding and both of us went back to sleep around three or four in the morning.

After lunch about thirty percent of the assembled noders wanted to visit the Botanic Gardens, another third chose to watch the Spanish soccer team while the rest of us went to the zoo. Admission was free however I lost a dollar of my own and one I borrowed from sauth to a vending machine that refused to cooperate. During a rest period we talked about how Popsicle brand frozen confections don't taste the same as they used to and other nostalgic reminders of our various childhoods.

Supper plans to dine at a vegan restaurant were foiled by long wait lines. Half of the group ate on the patio, another portion of the group took food back but I was no longer interested in vegetarian fare so I went off in search of something else. JetGirl was kind enough to walk with me down to a diner we decided to try and one of the nicest meals I had all weekend was the spinach and feta omelet I ordered at Melrose Place. She's probably not your typical noder if there is such a thing but as we sat outside I found myself really enjoying my conversation with her.

Drinking games were next on the agenda. After my filling meal I found myself craving something sweet to go with the wine I was drinking. As a side note if vandewal endorses a Riesling my recommendation would be to grab a glass for yourself. Another non-noder encounter that was absolutely wonderful was the massage that GhettoAardvark's girlfriend gave me. She's cute, sassy and I'm glad that she spent thirty plus hours in a car traveling to Illinois because she was a lot of fun.

Sunday morning came earlier than I wanted it to. The apartment was quiet as I gathered my things together. I could have predicted that mall traffic would be down on a sunny Independence Day and after a weekend of too much booze, sugar and not enough sleep I was upset that I cut my time in Illinois short to deal with a crabby coworker. Fortunately my mom and sister stopped by to take me out to eat. After hanging out with them I went home, took a nap and called my mother-in-law to see how her weekend with my children was going.

The nodermeet was an event I've been looking forward to for a while. It was a neat opportunity to meet some people I've 'known' on this site. Chicago is a pulsing dynamic city, I love the lake and since I have to drive everywhere I want to go at home it was nice to be able to grab cash and walk a couple of blocks for food and/or entertainment. While there were some small things I did not like about the weekend the weather was great and I had some wonderful conversations with old and new friends so I'm giving the nodermeet four out of five stars with two thumbs up.

I am not the text I type to make you laugh to let you know that I'm still here because I'm not
Candle burning at both ends just so you may see I never meant to leave you when I never knew I had you but I did
And the time has flown and it no longer burns and I don't have to send my mind away to stay
Because this is so unreal and I fall awake in dreams and my bare feet hover on the rising waves of heat
Up off the street from where I'm standing walking running and I'm waiting because I still love you like before
The joker who you see that is my front to stay inside your picture frame
So afraid that the line will blur if I keep going like I am but it is that I can no longer bear
Because the hardest thing in the world for me has not been the darkness or the depths I've trudged and climbed to find my way back to you
It is wanting nothing but to be there in your arms in your eyes but all I see is you pretending you're not there
This is not living.

I am not the jokes I have made to cover up the lies I can hardly face because they were never mine and I have no choice
You can't hear my screams for help because my voice is trapped in letters I have written and stowed away to never send
Feeling like I've gone too far and there's no hand to reach when the air is too thin to breathe as I'm drifting farther
From the places I am not bound to sit years and years alone being hated because no one can understand
Pouring my heart into binary boneyards as if I'm quarantined from existence
These rooms of silent words and animated faces I'm trapped inside my thoughts while trapped inside a cage and
This is not living.

I am no longer where you've always found me and will not be because I guess I feel it is not fair
So long have I surrendered freewill to reach you but now I feel a fool just sitting idly by
Tired of fighting and playing games to make believe that we are together but we are not and it all just seems absurd
Because there is no life to live or being to be in this scene in the absence of what is physical and what is real
It is not that I think you intend to make me feel so low but it is the truth that you make me so
You know my face and my name and my life and the way I feel but you give nothing in return
Still deep within I know there is more so my direction it now must change
Having no way to speak in this hell in this solitude in the nothingness of a cold digital world
The love I feel is consuming me and hurting me and it is wrong so I now must go
This is me, living.

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