Things I'm really, really grateful for:
Kathryn, Beth, Julian, Jean, and everyone else who worked so hard on this thing to make it completely awesome, and were willing to give sleeping space and picnic transportation to lots of people.
Living thirty minutes, or an hour, or three hours, or eight hours away from people who I used to live no-fucking-way-in-hell far away from.
People who will happily give you a floor, a sandwich, or a ride most of the way home when you can't pay for any of them.
Early morning chats over accidentally-stolen coffee, and late night chats about stuff you just can't always mention in front of the sun.
Getting smiles and waves and hugs from people who were strangers until just moments ago.
Little kids who freely play, dance, express their feelings and their creativity, and go out of their way to find your watch and give it back to you when you drop it in the stairwell.
Friends who are willing to clean all the things, sing about bananas, make genetic waffles, pluck the still-beating hearts from squirrels*, shout about vajazzles and double dingos, find friends for Zombie Steve, and treat sandwiches like the serious business they are.
And lots and lots of other stuff! I won't say the conference was perfect, because nothing in life ever is. But it was sublime and supreme and lots of other superlative kinds of words, and listing every single thing I'm grateful for would take as long as recapping every minute of the conference. I think my only regret is that there wasn't nearly enough time to spend with everyone I wanted to see! The hardest part of a conference, besides saying goodbye, is being torn between wanting to spend as much time as possible with your closest friends, and wanting to make new ones. So until somebody gives me a time-turner so I can rewind and do multiple things at once, I'm gonna walk away from every conference with a little bit of regret for the things and the people I missed. But mostly, I'm just really fucking grateful to love and be loved by so many people that I can't see them all in five days.
*No actual squirrels were harmed in the course of this conference or the making of this blog post.