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Buster Benson

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My 2008 resolution results & new 2009 resolutions
baby erik
My resolutions from last year were:

  1. Care about health for a year. This is going to start with health month on January 6th. After that, I'll do a health experiment every month that gets documented and involves learning something new about health. I want to feel and look healthier, stronger, and less stressed out.
  2. Rock co-habitation. Make my little loft with Kellianne an awesome place to live. Hang up all of my art and prints. Organize files and junk. Apartment Therapy starts next week. I get married in 10 months.
  3. Roll with change. Everything is always changing and evolving. I want to roll with this change and use its energy for good rather than being afraid of it or cringing through it. This means making bold transitions instead of lazy ones. Being thorough.
I think I did well with #1 (thinking about health), as I now am at a weight I'm happy with, feel stronger, eat healthier, manage stress with yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, and have a plan for continuing this into the indefinite future.  Drinking continues to be my primary vice, but even that has been contained mostly to wine.

Definitely did #2 (rock cohabitation). We have another round of art to put up in our house (Kharis's paintings, Jen Zwick's drawing, 1,000 Binary Cranes, and half a dozen purchased pieces) but have thrown a number of events at our house over the last year and generally love living here.

#3 (roll with change). A lot of change this year, and I feel like I rolled with it pretty well. Getting married, running a business, closing a business, figuring out what to do next, making a plan for how to survive our debt, etc. In other words, I don't feel broken by it, therefore I must have rolled with it fairly well.

I had a few more specific resolutions as well:

  1. Get married. CHECK!
  2. Re-connect with my family. HMMM... I could've done better, though I did make some progress.  Let's roll it over.
  3. Finish the friend book. CHECK!
  4. Get out of debt. HA!  NOPE!  I wracked up an extra $50,000 of debt this year rather than get out of it.  See this year's resolution.
  5. Do slow weights until I feel strong. CHECK!
  6. Take dance lessons. CHECK!
  7. Make another attempt to learn how to cook.  NOPE!  Roll over to this year!
  8. Make some art. CHECK!  Doubling down on this one.
All together, 8 1/2 out of 11, not too bad.  And the 2 1/2 that I didn't complete are still goals that I'm interested in pursuing. 

Here are a few things I made (or contributed to) this year that I'm proud of:

Here are my 2009 resolutions:

  1. Learn how to cook (take two)!  I'm gonna go a little unorthodox and attempt to learn how to cook Indian food.  My father cooked a lot of Indian food, so I feel like it will be a small way of remembering him.  Also, because not many people in my circle of friends has studied this in particular, I will be able to feel like I'm making progress and able to contribute to cooking-related conversations fairly quickly.  Also, I LOVE Indian food.  It's healthy, tasty, and cheap.  I found this cool book called An Invitation to Indian Cooking that, so far, is quite an interesting and informative and inspiring read.
  2. Make at least 4 pieces of art.  I feel truly inspired by the few pieces of art I made this year, and want to continue to build upon that.  I don't want to say too much, but I've got a plan.
  3. Go to yoga twice a week and start a meditation habit.  I think I may have broken through my initial hesitations about yoga, and will be able to start going regularly again. 
  4. Organize a family reunion.  I started talking to cousins about this at my wedding, about accepting the reins of bringing our family together now that our generation is growing up.  Conveniently, Facebook has actually gone a long way to reconnecting various cousins, aunts, and uncles around the country for me.  Right now, it's between Southern California and Austin as potential meeting spots.
  5. Make a budget and plan to fix my finances.  At the moment, things are rather dire.  But I'm confident that we can get this under control and make a plan to get out of the hole we're in.  Mint.com and its budgeting tools are going to be indispensible.
  6. Revive McLeod Residence.  In some form or another, this will happen.  And it will be beautiful.
  7. Build an ever more amazing relationship with Kellianne.
  8. Continue the 8:36pm project every day.
  9. Do 100 pushups.
  10. Secret resolution.  There's always gotta be at least one, right?
I'm going to write 12 emails to myself in the future using futureme.org, receiving one a month until January, 2010 (Woah!  That's coming up!), checking in on myself in the future, just as an added measure to keeping these goals at the forefront of my attention.

Looking back at previous years, my stomach feels a little uneasy.  It's been a bumpy couple years, and I think this is the year of groundfulness.  Of thinking about roots, and foundations, and rebuilding on top of everything in the past.  I want to stabilize while at the same time breathing in everything around me.  Slip back into the sleeve of the present moment and enjoy the feeling of the wind at our backs.

I like the feeling of the years passing.  In some senses, so much has changed, and yet in other senses, I'm the same person that wants the same things that I wanted 5 years ago.  Love, good friends, health, creativity, connection, and room to grow.  Right?  Let's all continue to help each other bring this about.

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As soon as I read you wanted to learn about Indian cookery, I was going to suggest Madhur Jaffrey, but it looks like you're all over it.

We use this one:

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery

Erik grew up eating Indian food (his dad picked it up when they lived in Lucknow). This is the book his family goes back to, over and over.

Good to know! I'll get that one as soon as I'm done with her first one.

Re: Indian Cooking.

I love Manjula's Kitchen. In fact Sharon has referred to Manjula as "Ian's new girlfriend".

Ooh, awesome. Thanks for the tip!

You "found" this cool book? You mean, like, on my cook book shelf?

Yup, I just opened my eyes one day and there it was! Just like how I found you.

What? It's just another way of saying, someone AWESOME put it there to be found.

regarding resolution number six

what about a mcleods in exile night a couple times a month somewhere? fire up the listserv, name the date/time/place/event and see who shows up.

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