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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

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Italy was great, home is great
bird poops on plum branch

I'm back!  Wilmington, Venice, Como, Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, Amsterdam... oh man. 

I'm completely married, entirely honeymooned, and catching up on 2,800+ emails at 3 tons of Internet from the last month.

It's surreal being back.  It's great, actually.  I'm looking forward to everything.

Even McLeod Residence... which will be closing this Friday, due to an inability to stay in our current space legally.  Our last event will be a Halloween party this Friday, which I hope you can come to if you're in Seattle. 

I am very sad that this is happening, but also I look forward to seeing how it evolves.  Nothing is certain except that this is not failure, in the traditional sense.  Maybe more in the Thomas Jefferson or Hershey sense. 

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy. - Thomas Jefferson

McLeod represents, to me, a certain adaptability, a certain resistance to cynicism, fear, and jadedness, and this latest twist is no exception to the rule.  We don't fail, we learn about what works and what doesn't work.  We change and grow from our experiences.  Still, I recognize the need to experience the full spectrum of emotions (I know I have had them all), as they are all valid, and they are all real.

I woke up this morning worried that my name change, multiple registrations, and general incompetence of the government was going to make it impossible for me to vote.  Luckily, my new voter registration card and absentee ballot did arrive successfully while I was gone.  And my vote is penned in.  I just need to figure out the rest of the things on the ballot besides President and Governor.  I am exceedingly optimistic on the outcome.

Seriously, it's surreal being back.  The world is in a huge about of flux right now.  I'm way in debt, closing a business, starting a new married life, watching the economy flounder, waiting for the biggest election of our lives, and all over the place creatively, energetically, and emotionally.

I consider all of this to be a test.  Not intentional, but as interpreted by me.  The universe is trying to see if we are able to use this energy and change to become stronger, or to become defeated.

I remember when a few of us first started McLeod Residence, 2 years ago.  At the time, we were at a point of manic strength, something that had been building up for several years after I got divorced in 2003.  I created a list of mantras for myself, but life was too easy and talking seemed somehow false.  You never know if your philosophies are real or just words unless you test them out.  We called McLeod Residence an "extraordinary problem" that forced us to put into practice all the magic talk that we were spouting.  And oh boy, has it forced us to really use every ounce of philosophy and energy we had.  As was said back then, if you're bored, it means that your problems aren't interesting enough. 

Some particularly difficult theories to keep in practice have been to have good intentions (even in the face of rottenness), to be responsible for your own successes and failures, and to be comfortable with big failure.  Failure, in this context, is, to me, not getting what you want.  But what I have always wanted was to create a home for extraordinary living through art, technology, and collaboration.  And that, we have.  What I have not wanted: problems with the city, financial problems, interpersonal tensions, those things we can address separately as challenges rather than curses.  The key is to remain positive, to always have good intentions, and to remain adaptable in the face of difficulty.  And to also remain the kind of person that you can look at in the mirror.  This has all reinforced the truth of those statements in me more than I can articulate.

Now that we're in the eye of the storm with McLeod, with money, and with the election, it's almost calm.  I know what I need to do, I know who I need to be.  Kellianne and I have started our lives together with a great foundation.  We have spent a month being together 24 hours a day, in foreign lands, in perfect love and happiness.  It's a good start.

And the rest, coming up, will be a great place to continue the practice of living to the best of our abilities.

And, having great friends and family is how the energy is found.  I can't wait to see all of you soon.  I'll be at McLeod for these last three nights, if you plan on coming by.

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You said it, man. One who loves McLeod still harvests the good stuff and takes it with him or her - that's the short version of what I said to Frank on the phone last night.

I am so happy that you're home and being awesome.

Absolutely. We can choose what to take away from it. Looking for a new space and other ways to continue it is also only going to happen if we want it to, and if we bring the right people and attitude to the process.

A few weeks in Italy is great for gaining new perspective and reinforcing the old good ones.

Italy was exactly the same thing for me. Clearly, it is a magic place.

The last two years have been such an unexpected ride--I just went out that night looking to see Islands, and everything changed. Whatever happens next will be just as interesting, I think.

Going to try and stop by tomorrow night, I think. Since Friday will be crazy, although I'll be there then too.

It's totally magic.

Yeah, I'm so glad we dragged you across the street. It's the people that made McLeod, and will continue to make it, wherever it goes and however it evolves.

See you tomorrow night! Are you still gonna be a giraffe for Halloween? I need a last minute costume idea!

come tonight! i've been cooped up all day catching up on things and i am ready to rolllll.

I am really proud to say that you are my husband. And really proud to have been a small part of McLeod.

And really looking forward to what's next.


welcome back (except that I'm not in Seattle now, but that's just a technicality). I'll see you Friday, though I also am short on costuming ideas.

i hate halloween for all this pressure! i think up outfits every day! i think that people should be required to dress themselves better on a day to day basis instead of being required to come up with an EPIC IDEA for halloween.

oh man, that sounded cynical. i guess i'm just depressed because this is the first halloween i've cared about in years and i'm without a costume. lame!

oh, I agree. that's my big annoyances with halloween, too.

oh, and I think that you and Buster could easily pull off a Mad Men costume, though I guess it's not really very costumey.

I love this:
The universe is trying to see if we are able to use this energy and change to become stronger, or to become defeated.

Although I've mostly watched from afar, I don't think you can say McLeod was a failure. It didn't last forever in its current incarnation, but you truly built a community -- an awesome one at that. I can't imagine a greater success.

I guess I see it sort of like selling a house. A few years ago my parents sold the house I grew up in and moved away. They weren't forced to by the City, as is happening to you, but still, while it was the right time to move on, it was incredibly sad. I can't ever go back to the place that holds so many, many memories. But that doesn't mean those memories disappear or aren't meaningful, and now they have built a new house that is also going to be amazing, and ready to be filled with new memories. My family will gather there, just as there will be a new McLeod Residence, or whatever the next incarnation of your community may be, and you will gather there.

Stuff is stuff and places are places. As my father is fond of saying, relationships with other people are really all we have in this life.

I'm bummed that McLeod isn't open for one more week. You guys would throw an epic election party.

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