Daniel Phillips 07.26.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Transitions. Out of the velvet bubble of unreality back into the fray. How can we hold onto parts of this and keep them alive as we move forward?
Small Ideas: Dehydration.
People: My ever-brave and curious partner in life.
Uneasiness: Goodbyes and geriatric cats.
Words: “We walked until we saw the severed goats head and then we turned back”. -Paula and Mac
Kim Karlsrud 7.26.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: All things, the good - bad - and in between, will eventually come to pass. We have watched more sunrises this year than in the last 10.
Small Ideas: Finding strength in one’s flaws, hand fans, recordings in ancient aqueducts, too much stuff, fake ancient ruins, being “down to earth”.
People: Watching someone weigh the pros and cons of engaging me in conversation or waiting in a longer lunch line.
Uneasiness: The world is heating up.
Words: “Woah man - I think you just lost a testacle” -- Stefania
Daniel Phillips 06.29.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The inevitable shrinking and expansion of cities throughout time.
Small Ideas: Performative scaffolding.
People: Firat and Olivia parted ways with us last night.
Uneasiness: A lost phone and the evil spines of a sea urchin stuck in my big tow.
Words: “I was stalking their shame.”
Kim Karlsrud 6.29.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Landscape strategy and new models for ecological impact.
Small Ideas: Hidden doors, facades, execution, meditation as a center point, the internet and deep knowledge.
People: Matchsticks and music boxes in the cryptoporticus at midnight.
Uneasiness: New decade and a lack of rigor.
Words: “Cood Foma”
Daniel Phillips 06.21.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Social breakthroughs with unexpected folks. Starting to feel the end creeping up.
Small Ideas: Mosquito bites
People: Zwi Meza, an impressive young person with wisdom and maturity well beyond her years.
Uneasiness: Unexpected taxes and stories of the so-called “Sixth Extinction”.
Words: “Flatteen Screevee”
Kim Karlsrud 06.21.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Strong visual competency to be used for process, communication, strategy.
Small Ideas: Designing a creatively, financially, and emotionally sustainable life.
People: If you spend enough time with (most) people you’ll figure out a way to not only get along but to also appreciate them.
Uneasiness: Lack of hard skills.
Words: “Architecture is just highly processed landscape”. -- Firat
Daniel Phillips 06.014.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Protracted perforations and trips to the edge of town, soon to be a thing of the past.
Small Ideas: Celebrating by swimming in the sea for the first time in ages.
People: The older man who took a nasty spill in the jagged cobblestones of Via Dandolo. His arm was cut, his chin was split and bleeding everywhere. I helped him to his feet and tied up his dog, who like everyone else in the street was in hysterics. I walked back up the hill of punishment covered in blood, and washed up in the Acqua Paula fountain.
Uneasiness: Nursing my own injuries this week.
Words: “Don’t worry, the Dutch will protect you!”
Kim Karlsrud 6.14.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The challenge of Raging against the correct machine.
Small Ideas: Attempts to tap into deep inner calm.
People: Beach days, Andy juice, group field trip to Jurassic World.
Uneasiness: I now like beer.
Words: “Don't worry the dutch will protect you” -- Sanne
Daniel Phillips 06.07.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Feeling increasingly embedded in an exciting new world of professional practice that continues to embrace us.
Small Ideas: Crayons, Rosettes, and craziness.
People: My Dad, who suffered a mild heart attack this week. Nothing like a few strategically placed stents to inspire a new lease on life.
Uneasiness: My own focus on health which has been somewhat lacking lately.
Words: “Secret Snobs”
Kim Karlsrud 6.7.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Social landscapes and highlighting what is already there.
Small Ideas: Wafting Jasmine, band theory, and red moons.
People: Stressed muscular organs and a warm landscape welcome.
Uneasiness: Secret snobbery and Roman summers.
Daniel Phillips 05.24.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Reflecting on the progression and growth I’ve experienced in the last 9 months. We’ve come a long way in a short time. As we near the end, I feel the urge to distill this experience into comprehensible chunks that can be preserved and carried on.
Small Ideas: Sore glutes and angle grinders.
People: Bands of roving children at Maam who test our patience. Mauricio can’t be older than 5 or 6, but he can dish out the sass like someone twice his age.
Uneasiness: Experiencing a streak of misanthropy this week, wondering why.
Words: Another passing gem from Mac: “First we saw the pope, and then we got shitfaced”.
Kim Karlsrud 5.24.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The high value in attempting to applying meta research and strategies to an actual site, with constraints, budget, and people other than yourself.
Small Ideas: Stream versus rhythm, yoga practice continued, emotional intelligence.
People: A car full of San pancrazio.
Uneasiness: Driving off a small herd of punky kids and that this is what I look like when I smile.
Words: “Not my circus, not my monkeys” -- polish proverb
Daniel Phillips 05.17.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Pyramids of stone.
Small Ideas: Pyramids of pasta.
People: The well dressed yet semi-retired British businessman, who came to Rome and never left. The aging socialite filmmaker with impossibly voluminous curly hair and impossibly tiny round glasses. She speaks to us in the kind of half-english that only be made comprehensible by the added animation of hand gestures and sound effects.
Uneasiness: The logistics and planning for the next month, year and decades of our lives.
Words: “Gandhi drank a liter of his own urine every day.”
Kim Karlsrud 5.17.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Urban Landscapes + Urban Adjacencies.
Small Ideas: Long hopes vs. short goals, appreciation, mourning mad men, consumer goods.
People: The fun bits of communal living: hallway chats, group yoga, schelping of goods, and bummed cigarettes.
Uneasiness: The diminishing returns of habitual worry.
Words: Moths are such idiots. -- Bets
Daniel Phillips 05.10.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The slow succession of ecological process. The progression of biology, chemistry and physics that turns bare rock into rich soil over eons of time. This week brings this process into more clear focus.
Small Ideas: Home baked scones and moka-pot coffee.
People: Accents of extreme privilege ranging from Alabaman to South African.
Uneasiness: The drive to compete, complete, and impress.
Words: Pabulum, Distrubance. Herbs.
Kim Karlsrud 5.10.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Creative pacing, careful abandonment, and the periodic surprise of finding something interesting in overlooked places.
Small Ideas: Ostia Antica, Adrian Piper, varying shades of delusion.
People: Sunday brunch complete with homemade Irish scones, strawberry juice with elderberry flowers, mini chocolate soufflé, and good company.
Uneasiness: Job hunt
Words: “The Dance of Desire”
Daniel Phillips 05.03.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The tyranny of false starts and second guessing.
Small Ideas: Modified bananas.
People: The Roman aquagym set. Although they could be anywhere. Consisting mostly of retired women of a certain age, hoping to stay active in style without the inconvenience of breaking a sweat. Gossip, stretch, shower, gossip. kick. flex. gossip. repeat.
Uneasiness: Worried about the health and well-being of family and friends that feel very far away. Wishing there was more that I could do.
Words: Caliper. Inquisition. “Molto Laziano”.
Kim Karlsrud 5.3.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Strategy shift: attempting to aim for the wide over narrow.
Small Ideas: Loquats, vans, and irish accents.
People: Post dinner cigarettes with Paula + sunrise walks with Brianna.
Uneasiness: Where to next?
Words: “It’s human nature to scan and exploit other people's weaknesses to try and conceal your own.”
Daniel Phillips 04.26.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The careful monitoring of the various fluctuations and indicators that seem to surround me on a daily basis. From markets, to moods, to blood sugar levels. Success is the constant struggle to improve (yet never master?) the way I understand, anticipate and manage the highs, lows, and in-betweens.
Small Ideas: Spotting botanical references in renaissance tapestries.
People: Collaborations with others here, feels like a nice model for future work.
Uneasiness: The announcement of the next round of incoming fellows. Still can’t bring myself to even look at the list. It’s still OUR turn damnit!
Words: Fibonacci, stoploss, swing high, swing low.
Kim Karlsrud 4.26.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Consistency and confusion.
Small Ideas: Peonies, layered gardens with unifying water features, soccer and beer in the garden
People: Thinking of our time in Nepal, the people we met, and those beautiful monuments.
Uneasiness: Missing the point.
Words: “Toro Arrabbiata”
Daniel Phillips 04.19.15 Florence, Riccione, Milan, Turin, Rome-Italy
Big Ideas: Health, freedom, and purpose. The three basic constructs that I hope can focus the next 5 years of life.
Small Ideas: Poles, piles, and pots. The three constructs that will drive the next month of our creative lives.
People: Cody, Kira, Jenny and Ken! Four unique and adventurous friends that have crossed the atlantic to be with us over the course of two amazing weeks. We’ve been exploring the culinary and urban unknown in the northern territories.
Uneasiness: Turning 30 in milan during the Salone di Mobile while getting a glimpse at an up and coming generations of energetic design talent. Realizing that we may be exiting the stage of our lives where we can be considered “emerging”.
Words: The characteristically Italian spirit of “Sprezzatura”, or the art of “calculated nonchalance.” Trying very hard to appear to not be trying very hard… It’s harder in practice than it looks.
Kim Karlsrud 4.19.15 Turin, Italy
Big Ideas: Florence is the city of food, Riccione is the place of the past, Milan is the city of polish, Turin is the city of neon signage, and Rome is the city of history.
Small Ideas: Elevated infrastructure, seasonal uniforms, root sin, violet and chocolate gelato.
People: Fresh perspective on the AAR through friends eyes: fancy house, delicious food, secret passage ways, yoga, studio visits, hedgehogs, dinner parties on the terrace - and last but not least. Owen Wilson.
Uneasiness: I ate my way through four cities in two weeks.
Daniel Phillips 4.12.15 Florence, Italy
Big Ideas: Pushing out any project related thinking or ambitions this week. Trying to focus on being in a new place.
Small Ideas: The joy of travelling by train. Taking a trip to the dining car for cappuccino. Can’t help but wonder what it may be like to do this through California some day.
People: The countless throngs of well dressed folks in florence. Feeling very unsophisticated...
Uneasiness: Spilling an entire glass of red wine on an unsuspecting woman at dinner, the inadequacy of "mi dispiace."
Words: “Bisteca Fiorentina”
Kim Karlsrud 4.12.15 Florence, Italy
Big Ideas: Urban quarries, wild red corn poppies, spring plane tree fluff.
Small Ideas: The persistent feeling like I should know more.
People: Friendly faces from familiar places in a new city.
Uneasiness: Sunburnt eyelids and cognitive dissonance.
Words: “Infernos of the moment”
Daniel Phillips 03.29.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Concrete ideas that break through concrete.
Small Ideas: Earth-toned facades lit like paintings, carving irregular patterns through the city like canyon walls.
People: The vendors of the Ponte Sant’Angelo. Hawking wares of all kinds from fake Prada purses to dancing mickey mouse trinkets. We’re used to them studying us as we walk by, assessing our country of origin, our income, our gullibility. Couldn’t shake the feeling that someone should really study them- their countries of origin, their stories, their relationship to a bustling and complex informal economy that fuels Rome every day.
Words: Agretti, Pancetta. Yum
Kim Karlsrud 3.29.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Project hustle
Small Ideas: Roman spring, snow trees, Gelateria teatro, agretti, and chocolate easter eggs.
People: An introduction to the bassoon on a grey afternoon
Uneasiness: The lack of certainty
Words: dibble bar (tasty treat or gardening tool?)
Daniel Phillips 03.22.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Springtime in the eternal city.
Small Ideas: A much stronger dollar! Almost at parity with the Euro now.
People: Paul Davis, one of the truly kindest and most talented people I’ve ever met. We saw him off this week after a brief stay at the academy. Inspiring vision of what older age can and should be.
Uneasiness: Trying to kick a nasty cold. I also still haven’t seen the inside of St. Peter’s, and now the tourist season is picking back up to full steam.
Words: “Look at me. I look like a turkey with leukemia!” -Birdman
Kim Karlsrud 3.22.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Black / White / Grey
Small Ideas: The blossoming snow trees, indigo sun print paper, parmesan cheese and prosecco.
People: It seems like almost everyone else in the world speaks at least two languages.
Uneasiness: Project doubts, time woes, and the different types of ambition..
Words: “The day of concert, jungle rules”
Daniel Phillips 03.08.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Transition into the next phase of our time in Rome. It feels different in ways that I’m not yet fully capable of putting into words.
Small Ideas: Playing werewolves together under a full moon.
People: The departure of five our beloved new friends. Some we will see again soon, but it won’t feel the same without them here.
Uneasiness: A dead computer and a looming deadline. A bad combo.
Words: “Because my way, is that the way home? And they tried to do their best to carry on."
Kim Karlsrud 3.8.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: We survived our shoptalk with elation and relief only to feel a real panic set in only a few days later. It was a reminder that we can't please everyone and we need to continue figuring out how to best position our practice.
Small Ideas: Having to painfully part ways with our 6 month fellows with many hugs and a proper hangover. They will be incredibly missed.
People: Paul and Paula's theme song Paul and Paula.
Uneasiness: A dinner full of mansplaining/momsplaining and a rained on computer. Both were bummers.
Words: "I've been whiskey wednesdayed" -- hungover Abinadi
Daniel Phillips 03.02.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: “Bubbles and Cracks”- A phrase used to describe the physical morphology of Rome this week by a local film critic as he drove us through the Tiburtino and the Prenestino neighborhoods-working class enclaves that sprang up largely unplanned in the wake of real estate speculation.
Small Ideas: The transitory nature of physical addresses.
People: The displaced children living on the site of MAAM, selling fresh popcorn for .50 euro cents.
Uneasiness: Fighting the sniffles, our forthcoming shop talk on Wednesday.
Words: “Rome is slowly killing me.” Fabio Benincasa, a long time resident.
Kim Karlsrud 3.1.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Field Trip to Metroplitz where people are occupying an abandoned salami factory and turning it into a museum as a form of political protection. We were guided by well informed and overly generous Italians who talk about the modern city and the people in it - seriously and with concern.
Small Ideas: Spending an afternoon with Francis talking about creative people who work with scent, living in Umbria and Rome, and visiting Paul’s lovely studio.
People: A sweet and seemingly earnest gesture of hanging photos of friends.
Uneasiness: Work mode, naiveté, and the fear of missing out.
Words: Light soft pink translucent masking tape.
Daniel Phillips 02.22.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: N/A
Small Ideas: The hollow jangling sound of AAR keyring. I hear it all the time. When I walk down the hall they dangle from my belt loop. When someone’s unlocking their room, I hear it echoing from below or above. It’s distinct sense memory that will forever remind me of this place.
People: Simonetta-the unnaturally well dressed and jovial landscape architect that showed us around the Servezio Giardini this week. It was astounding to see someone navigate the Italian bureaucracy with such grace.
Uneasiness: ISIS has vowed to “Take Rome”. As has been intimated by many locals this week, it should put us a bit more at ease to know that despite their enthusiasm for attacking the symbolic center of western christendom, they’d be hard pressed to a train that runs on time!
Words: “We’re girl with the pearl earringing it”.
Kim Karlsrud 2.22.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Roman hot houses full of pitcher plants, orchids, tree’s - and a field of potted plants on poles.
Small Ideas: Consciousness, maca root, and hair oil.
People: The tween who shows up for dinner sometimes (and who looks like a Wes Anderson film character) playing classical piano in the salone after dinner.
Uneasiness: It was noted that the British Academy didn’t unpeel and preslice our after dinner fruit for us - we’re officially ruined.
Daniel Phillips 02.15.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The vastness of this city both in breadth of territory and depth of history. We’ve shifted from the intimate scale of knowing that comes from direct empirical experience and tactility, to a god’s eye view that offers a different story. It’s a strange but necessary negotiation.
Small Ideas: The tiny joy of taking a five minute break from computer work and staring out the window at the stone pines swaying and the starlings flying by.
People: Reynor Banham (RIP). An authoritative and unapologetic Los Angeles sympathizer. The man had a knack for expressing complex ideas in radically accessible and humanistic terms. It’s funny that it took us gaining some distance from our previous home to really learn from it.
Uneasiness: Dates and deadlines.
Kim Karlsrud 2.15.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Considering the future and attempting to reprioritize and negotiate options.
Small Ideas: Turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and lemon are pure liquid gold.
People: The futility of vengeance.
Uneasiness: So many people - so much company - and more company = feeling like an idiot.
Words: “Executive ghettos full of plastic people and their plastic boats.” -- Thanks Reyner Banham. As a side note - it feels weird to watch a documentary about LA while in Rome.
Daniel Phillips 02.08.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Finally recovered from the mental hangover of Cinque Mostre, ready to dive into the deep end of some more serious work.
Small Ideas: Sunrise on the back terrace, and the smell of spent matches in the dark (thanks Paula).
People: The Roman pensioner carrying a bag of groceries through Trastevere this morning. She’s tuned out all out of us to concentrate her attention downward on each deliberate step she takes along the uneven san pietrini cobblestones. She mumbles to herself about something I don’t understand.
Uneasiness: Where did the last six months go?
Kim Karlsrud 2.8.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The cycle of stress and relief with new work. Officially ready to focus on street trees.
Small Ideas: During our last project we started taking (ridiculously) early morning walks to collect plant materials around the city. These ended up being special mornings - something to keep repeating.
People: Bitchy artists, cat cafes, the football feast, whisky Wednesdays, rainy day tea, matches and music boxes.
Uneasiness: This place turns into an inescapable ark during a rainy week.
Words: Giving into the vulgars -- Vignelli
Daniel Phillips 01.25.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: A random tangent through a Greek lens. We’re trying to wrap our heads around the difference between operating as a creative practice (“Arete”) vs. a professional firm (“techne”). We’ve occupied a space of limbo for some time now, maybe without really realizing it. Is design a service or a calling? Can it be both? How?
Small Ideas: Glenlivet, raindrops, pasta harps.
People: Early morning escapades with Paula, who joined us at 4:30 am on Wednesday morning to illicitly scour plants from the Pantheon site. It was guerilla gardening in reverse, but it was just as thrilling. She reported seeing someone peeing on one of the portico columns.
Uneasiness: Upcoming gallery shows in which our work will be put into the realm of public scrutiny. We’ve told ourselves that it shouldn’t matter, but it does a little bit.
Words: “Narrative Voice”, “Cockettes”.
Kim Karlsrud 01.25.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Studio time, creative practice, space, time, work, longevity.
Small Ideas: All the ignored ecology surrounding roman monuments - patches of fennel, lavender, pellitory, grass, and other weeds - moss and stones - bugs, soil, trash - rats, pigeons, and seagulls. Definitely wear gloves when handling.
People: The gelato lady at Fatamorgana who always smiles, gives big scoops and asks if you would like whip cream.
Uneasiness: The seagulls who visit both our apartment and studio, tap on the glass, and rip holes in our window screen. Friend or foe?
Words: “Lightly peated”
Daniel Phillips 01.19.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Skip to answer below about the notion of surveillance.
Small Ideas: Cold pizza and clay dust.
People: Firat, the new fellow in Architecture, working many late nights on a huge pencil drawing in the entry stairwell. Slow and steady concentration. I couldn’t tell if he wanted company or not, so I just let him work.
Uneasiness: The feeling of being “watched”. Not literal surveillance, but more subtle forces at work that come with the territory of being in a communal working environment. Of being on display. The inquiries about the progress of our work, the casual comings and goings of our studio space. The careful image-crafting involved in developing an online presence both creatively and professionally. The niggling internal (and external?) expectations. This week it is feeling a bit oppressive.
Words: “Now that I'm on this corner of the table I feel comfortable enough to say that I've decided to stop using shampoo.”
Kim Karlsrud 1.18.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: “Easy” projects are probably not worth pursuing (hopefully).
Small Ideas: Mossy stones, buttermilk and moss, molds, voids in travertine, papercrete.
People: Eating lunch with two astrophysicists as they shared some very practical opinions about funding, failure, and how knowing too much about one thing makes you boring.
Uneasiness: The NYT and their powerful reach.
Words: Sunday night phone conversation with Paula:
Paula: “Do you want to go down to the aqueduct?”
Me: “yeah - what’s the plan?”
Paula: “Meet me in the cryptoporticus in five minutes.”
Daniel Phillips 01.11.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: We are in the trenches of doing stuff this week. Making decisions, forging a path forward, giving it all we have to give. We have experienced at least one late night in which it has become almost impossible to tell whether we hate or love the present state of our creative efforts. It’s like when you stare at any word long enough, it starts to seem like just an abstract, meaningless collection of black marks. Of course it’s too simplistic to liken the creative process to an unpredictable meandering journey through unpredictable realms of lightness and darkness, elation and despair. But it’s a start.
Small Ideas: The sound of a trapped moth, beating itself against the closed window from the inside.
People: Jep Gambardella, the protagonist from La Grande Belleza, embodies all that is lovable and despicable about Italian life and culture.
Uneasiness: Discovering that Bernini sculpted his famous statue of David at 25 years old! I’m not worthy.
Words: ““Rome makes you waste a lot of time.” Jep Gambardella from “The Great Beauty”
Kim Karlsrud 1.11.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: More doing less talking.
Small Ideas: Bernini sculptures, qualitative versus quantitative, empathy.
People: Walter Teague who wanted to create heirlooms out of mass produced objects.
Uneasiness: The work of the work.
Words: Be curious, not judgemental -- Walt Whitman
Daniel Phillips 01.04.15 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: A new year, a warming trend, returning fellows, trickling back in after the holidays.
Small Ideas: Tiny sparkles of light on the horizon, ringing in the new year in dazzling fashion.
People: Uncle Jeff and aunt Robin are in town! Had a chance to meet them for a dinner on Saturday. Went on a wild goose chase trying to find an open restaurant in Monteverde. Felt bad to make Robin walk on her bad foot more than necessary.
Uneasiness: Wondering if I’m getting out of the “velvet bubble’ of the Academy as much as I should, made an attempt to visualize the breakdown of my time.
Words: “Information Art. Instigation. Acceleration.”
Kim Karlsrud 1.4.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: 2014 was a kick ass year (even though Danny caught diabetes).
Small Ideas: Procrastination. Pete & Pete. Danny’s new suit. Buddy Holly. The geometric detailing in Istanbul.
People: We found good company with Tina and Ward this week - they were full of support and shared some insight into a full life and creative career.
Uneasiness: For the first time in a long time - grad school was brought up in a way that was intriguing and possibly affordable. It seems like an option that is exposing, thrilling and terrifying.
Words: My Rear Window by David Gilbert
Daniel Phillips 12.29.14 Istanbul, Turkey
Big Ideas: Christmas in a far-away land.
Small Ideas: Tiny ancient coins, friendly feral felines, curated cigarette butts, lamb kabobs, minarets, mother of pearl and emerald embellishments, the wafting smell of roasting chestnuts.
People: The sheisty shoe shiners of Istanbul, intentionally dropping their brushes in the hopes of snagging the attention and good will of unsuspecting tourists. Almost fell for it once.
Uneasiness: The unsettling and amazing realization that 2014 may go down as the best year of our lives. It’ll certainly be hard to beat. But then again, maybe that’s not the point.
Words: “Look nice, mean little”.
Kim Karlsrud 12.28.14 Istanbul, Turkey
Big Ideas: Mundane objects that have a use/history/story/memory.
Small Ideas: Turkish material culture: porcelain, ceramics, metal, jewels, painting, gold leafing, detailing, etching, geometry, light, inlays, overlays. The mosques, buying too many scarves, that small emerald box, and all the cats.
People: Christmas eve with Keith and Adam, those amazing potatoes, and being introduced to turkish delight.
Uneasiness: Taxis, shoeshine men, flying cigarettes, geopolitical tensions, and pink eye.
Words: TASTE HYGIENE QUALITY
Daniel Phillips 12.22.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Winter, the delight of a real season. Feeling the shift, the falling leaves, seeing your breath at night. Realizing that our life in L.A. feels far away.
Small Ideas: Dessert spoons.
People: The owner of a local business, bragging to us in photos depicting his recent mushroom foraging escapade. Real, unironic pride.
Uneasiness: Feeling a bit unproductive at the moment. The truth is that things are undoubtedly moving forward, but sometimes it's hard to see tangible progress.
Words: "Your forehead up against the frozen subway glassThe neon “next stop” light blinks “maybe next year”
Kim Karlsrud 12.22.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Coming around to the idea that spending the majority of our time creatively exploring, cultivating, and connecting is a valuable and valid effort that can be funneled into a project. There is a time and place to focus on site specific responses.
Small Ideas: Having fond memories of our little apartment with Bear and the crockpot. What a year this has been.
People: Another quintessential academy moment attending “The Sweet Maciuika Rose Experience” on a grey afternoon - after lunch - in Paula’s attic studio.
Uneasiness: All the people, animals, and places we love are still around. I feel like we’ll always look back to this as a golden time-a complete time.
Words: “The me-me-me’s” + “Falkehol”
Daniel Phillips 12.15.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The dualling burdens and joys of creative freedom.
Small Ideas: Cheap blue electrician smocks from MAS, slowly but surely becoming the de facto AAR uniform.
People: Massimo Carminari, the eye-patched criminal mastermind that was just arrested in connection with the newest “Capitale” brand of the Italian Mafia, exemplifying in stark caricature, all that is wrong with this country politically.
Uneasiness: I feel like I smile too much. As far as default dispositions go, I suppose there could be worse. But I sometimes wonder if gives people the wrong impression about me.
Words: “If there's one thing that's dangerous for a [creative], it's precisely this question of total freedom.” Fellini
Kim Karlsrud 12.14.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: I’m supposed to be reading, researching, and contemplating my role in this two person operation-instead I read a novel about Lavinia of The Aeneid. Old habits are hard to break and although I can’t say I have any deeper understanding about anything in particular-I get the gist of Virgil’s myth. I saw a stag relief above a fountain yesterday-I wonder if it was Silvia’s Cervulus?
Small Ideas: Renaissance gardens are cooler than I thought. It is human nature to find and articulate differences between you and other people.
People: Borromini was a curmudgeonly old architect who really knew how to show some beautiful restraint with the gold leaf.
Uneasiness: Academy gardeners, Roman trees, racial discourse and community theater.
Words: “The telling and retelling of a story reveals less about what happened and more about the person saying it”. -- Laric
Daniel Phillips 11.30.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Getting out for some solo sketching along the Tiber, there’s some really interesting ecologies happening down there.
Small Ideas: The fleeting sense of smell.
People: The group of teenagers we encoutered while visiting the Parthenon, one of them throws a plastic bottle to the ground and proceeds to pretend like nothing happened. We called them out, and immediately felt old.
Uneasiness: The seeds we started in the greenhouse weeks ago are still not germinating. What the deuce is going on?
Words: “This is the kind of soup you just want to inject straight into your veins.”
Kim Karlsrud 12.7.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Collaboration. Who are we individually (product/landscape)? What are we trying to say together (urban ecology/urban landscape)?
Small Ideas: Climate change, trees as infrastructure, product design and killer seagulls. George Perkins Marsh thought it was a good idea to bring camels to America. Snowflakes have a sound (delicate and bell like). An attempt to make a something pretty with paint (results were better than expected). The Pantheon in the rain (not as cool as I thought it would be). Yoga as practice.
People: Waiting in line behind a big dog to use the water fountain in Pamphilj. The experience was very civilized. Watching two older Italian politicians (who were sharing the stage with the speaker) talk their way through a presentation of a highly respected female journalist. Listening to a photographer explain why he admired a particular graffitied wall (the texture of the overlapping words and the shapes of the missing stucco - is it a giraffe or a cloud or a face?).
Uneasiness: Project paralysis. Is it crazy or is it any good?
Big Ideas: The near impossible complexity of the Baroque. Thanks Bernini, and Borromini, too bad you guys never got along very well.
Small Ideas: Fancy brass doorknobs.
People: The first round of painful goodbyes to some of the nicest, most talented people we’ve ever met. They will be missed, and their memory will be an enduring reminder that life’s too short to take yourself too seriously.
Uneasiness: A moody emotional state and a racing mind. Where and when and under what conditions is peace of mind possible? It’s an unanswered question and the answer seems to be constantly slipping out of reach.
Words: “I thought Ratatouille was a dog?”
Kim Karlsrud 11.30.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Commonstudio is on a proverbial spirit walk: Who am I - what am I - what am I doing - why am I doing it? It’s good.
Small Ideas: Community/Communities.
People: Playing “werewolf” (basically “mafia”) and the shifting community. We had to part ways with Amy, Elaine, and Craig - they will be very missed.
Uneasiness: Divisive feminism and project angst (everyone seems to be going through it).
Words: “Palimpsest son” -- Andy A.
Daniel Phillips 11.23.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The challenge of synthesizing huge reams of data. With so much at our fingertips at any moment, it’s not a matter of access but of distillation, interpretation, and the creation of meaning.
Small Ideas: An unexpected viewing St. Peter’s through a keyhole.
People: The last gasps of our former life in LA, materialized as sporadic emails and calls from excited (or frustrated) retail buyers inquiring about products.
Uneasiness: Being on the other side of the feedback dynamic. It hasn’t been that way for years. It’s invigorating and necessary but a little nerve racking.
Words: “I touch paintings all the time, once I touched a Titian.”
Kim Karlsrud 11.23.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: I need to find more pathways into productive tangents when I get stuck emotionally or in the studio. The not so great alternative is to just wait it out, and suppress a low grade level of panic by distracting myself until I can snap out of it.
Small Ideas: Knowing the appropriate time and place in attempting to create something beautiful that means very little.
People: A coffee and tour of Piazza San Pietro and San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane. Nothing like getting the dirt on Bernini and Borromini from a lovely british architect.
Uneasiness: Flu shot (from a nun!) and the upcoming holiday season.
Words: “baby rabies”
Daniel Phillips 11.09.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: We made tons of progress on our project this week, but not in the way I’d expected. Rather than being the result of a lot of “doing”, we had a series of sprawling conversations and brainstorms which served to pluck many of our scattered creative thoughts from obscurity and bring them into relative focus and clarity. It’s a hard-won sense of elation.
Small Ideas: A cozy private living room with a couch and table. A communal kitchen and a dinner for five.
People: The aging expat wives of American diplomats, adorned in colorful silk scarves and discussing the intricacies of alternative bread baking.
Uneasiness: Increasingly rainy and cold weather which may make our research and expeditions into the city much more difficult.
Words: “Lady Snacks”
Kim Karlsrud 11.9.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: “Biodiversity is shorthand for complexity.” Understanding, protecting, encouraging, and coexisting with biodiversity (especially within cities) is the missing link we’ve been searching for.
Small Ideas: Turns out I’m a little more vain than I thought. I haven’t given this much thought about makeup and clothes since high school.
People: Being introduced to Lina Bo Bardi - and bike riding past a man in the aqueduct park who was happily cracking open a little pile of pine nuts he had collected.
Uneasiness: I’m intimidated easily by people who are older and/or labeled as being “successful”.
Words: Wait, you went to there?
Daniel Phillips 11.02.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Halloween seems to have marked a shift of tone and focus some of us. Like the debauchery of Mardi Gras giving way to lent.
Small Ideas: Cutting pizza with scissors.
People: The armed guards outside the residence of the Vatican ambassador (next door). I wonder what they discuss in their hours of camouflaged machine-gun-toting boredom? Politics? Pop culture? Buddhism?
Uneasiness: Wondering if I come off too strongly to people.
Words: “Through a darkened mirror, I have seen my own reflection and it makes me want to be a better man, after another drink.” BAZAN
Kim Karlsrud 11.2.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: They say a person's cognitive development starts to wind down by the time you’re 30. The implication being that the choices and habits you created in the previous decade will be carried around throughout your life. The silver lining? You apparently get one last growth spurt-a big brain stretch at the very end of your 20’s. A chance to try and alter bad habits, values, traits-and suggest and ingrain new ones. How do you choose what battles to fight with yourself? How do you know the difference between what is deeply rooted and what is negotiable?
Small Ideas: Inanimate objects for a Halloween theme (think crayons, food, fire extinguishers, Corinthian columns, pasta queen, busts, and a self portrait).
People: Ending the evening in the garden with a tour of a landscape sculpture made of olive tree branches; attending an impromptu steel pan concert where the musician played pieces depending on the colors you called out; and making crayon, fire extinguisher, and cheese Halloween costumes out of paper and cardboard till early the next day.
Uneasiness: New project commitment.
Words: Culture leaves behind very few archaeological traces.
Daniel Phillips 10.26.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Wandering, the art of getting lost. We’ve been on a few of these long, meandering walks in the fringes of the city. This week was with our new friend Paula, who brought us along with her as she captured sounds along the Acqua Alexandrina, the ghosted vector of an ancient Aqueduct. We’ve made an attempt to record the extent of our little adventures digitally, and it’s made me realize how little we’ve actually seen especially in the western parts of the city.
Small Ideas: Eating meals inside.
People: Kim, who was not feeling well this week. It was hard to watch her in an almost persistent state of disorientation and nausea. I now know way more about Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo than I ever wanted to and am glad things are mostly back to normal. It was a small reminder of the many many things that can go wrong with the human body.
Uneasiness: It’s been a while since I’ve experienced an actual seasonal shift, but ready or not here comes fall. I worry that cold weather = indoor laziness.
Kim Karlsrud 10.26.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Another sick week. A little alarmed that something so small can make things go very wrong quickly. Looking forward to being healthy and being able to run again.
Small Ideas: Lecce, Matera, and Trani. Day drinking only works out if you can take a nap afterwards (preferably not on a bus). The narrative of the Colosseum is one of blood and death - why would anyone want to take so many smiling selfies there? Totally missed the memo on daylight savings time (thought it was getting darker earlier).
People: A kind gift of lemons and ginger.
Uneasiness: Microscopic calcium crystals that float around in my ear and wreak havok.
Words: “It’s too boring to explain.”
Daniel Phillips 10.19.14 Trani, Italy
Big Ideas: That both indecision and obsessiveness are central drivers to my own creative process. Getting off of the Janiculum for a few days has helped some of the connections begin to form, and I’m realizing that these periods of rest are just as important as periods of activity.
Small Ideas: The vernacular stone textures and colors of Lecce, Matera, and Trani. In many cases best described as buttered popcorn or toasted marshmallow.
People: Getting closer to the fellows who opted to join our southern excursion. We even swam in the ocean for a while.
Uneasiness: The lingering questions of future prospects and financial stability.
Words: “Ruderal”, “Feral”
Kim Karlsrud 10.19.14 Puglia, Italy
Big Ideas: It was a relief to take a step back and focus on approaches, frameworks, new tools, and asking ourselves some big questions. Some relief in realizing that there is no one way to do anything, no all knowing person who will layout a clear plan, or give definitive answers. We’re on our own in creating order out of all the little pieces.
Small Ideas: Each AAR week feels like a month - they’re just that dense. It’s hard to remember clear details after a few days. It was a good week though - I remember feeling positively elated at a few points.
People: Nothing will clear out a room faster than watching Jonathan Harris’s “I Love Your Work” as a group.
Uneasiness: Finally gaining some momentum and we’re leaving town on a mini adventure to Puglia. Wise or unwise?
Words: “That water fountain looks like a contact lens.”
Daniel Phillips 10.12.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Visited the Roman Forum this week. We walked through in the early morning, before the big crowds, as the classic historians among us volleyed info back and forth. Many of us found it frustrating that such an important site couldn’t be given a tidy narrative. Most revealing was the understanding that Rome offers a kaleidoscope of historical fragments that are often irreconcilable. As we dig down to understand the past, we’re also building up a present with an eye toward the future. Knowing where to stop in either direction is the challenge.
Small Ideas: The intense emotional range of 1st graders.
People: The overly enthusiastic waitress at Il Vaciello whose name is escaping me at the moment. She loves American Academy fellows and doesn’t speak a word of english. Free cookies and pies to go were distributed to us without asking.
Uneasiness: I thought time would move a little slower here, turns out it doesn’t.
Words: Constantines “Draw Us Lines”
"Starhawk in a street ritual, pleas from Herald Square to the heavens, earth and seas. Let the hand move its people, and draw us lines from our fiery designs. Unknown unknowns, let all our gardens grow, and overtake our history. Seeking strength in mystery. Let us feel the air inside the clothes that we wear. Try to find ghosts behind the buildings in our lives. Draw us lines. Bad weather. Anxiety and fear. Don't give in. Call on her. And live in fascination... Fascination forever."
Kim Karlsrud 10.12.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: Experience is important but being able to contextualize, position, and articulate your experience is imperative.
Small Ideas: The Roman Forum as a place of overlapping histories. Being faced with the decision to destroy one site to try and excavate another beneath it.
People: Petting the hedgehog and the friendly fat orange cat in the AAR garden with Danny and Lakshmi (and worrying a little bit about ringworm).
Uneasiness: A full week of saying yes (showing Danny the warehouse overrun with weeds, climbing up that bamboo structure latched together with rope, going on a long sweaty search for a overgrown medicinal garden, drinking prosecco and dancing on the terrace, saying farewell to the kitchen interns - all of it was fun as well as being surprisingly frustrating) for my own sanity it seems like a good idea to cultivate some strategic resistance to all this surrender.
Words: “Everyone thinks Tragen was great but he was probably the George Bush of the Roman emperors”.
Daniel Phillips 10.05.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The freedom of looking up and giving in. After two weeks grappling with mixed feelings of guilt and excitement at the prospect of diving into our “project”, we’ve finally decided to step back, chill out, and yield ourselves to the less stressful role of tourists for a bit. It’s a nice feeling and we’re enjoying ourselves, having more fun, and gaining a better feel for the city. I’ll freely admit that I stood along with hundreds of other’s just like me, with my head upturned and mouth agape at majesty of the Parthenon’s coffered ceiling and oculus. I’ll never forget it. This is what they mean when they say “Don’t forget to look up.”
Small Ideas: The snooze button, ruthless mosquitos.
People: Our Italian teacher, Costanza. We’ve spent most weekday mornings with her for the past few weeks. She seems to reflect many of the wonderful contradictions of the Italian character-At the same patient but firm, mysterious and open, youthful and mature, a heavy smoker and an avid biker. We will miss our morning sessions.
Uneasiness: In a sea of new faces and personalities, not losing sight of the people who matter most.
Words: “I like this wine but it’s weird, it tastes like Zucchini.” -Rob
Kim Karlsrud 10. 5.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: This has been the week of giving in. Instead of choosing to block out the unanticipated and concentrate solely on “The Project” it seemed to make more sense to pause and change direction. Instinctually we were drawn to all the major monuments and spaces and tried to fill in some of those deep gaps in understanding. To say the least appreciation does increase when you know where you are and what you’re looking at. With that being said some of the best finds were found while we were on our way to, getting turned around, or taking a breather from seeing “The Big Stuff”. Abandoned structures filled with weeds, pigeons roosting in the Aurelian wall, an entire alleyway dedicated to bikes and garages filled with beautiful old things. That all added up, aggregated, and enhanced this effort to have direction.
Small Ideas: Sitting on the perimeter of the Pantheon and learning that most of the little ignored weeds between the stones were edible weeds. Nightshade, lambsquarters, and nettle to name a few.
People: Joining a post dinner gelato run and standing in the street to watch the fireworks at Villa Aurelia.
Uneasiness: This weekend consisted of pizza, cookies, and aperol spritzers.
Words: Ciao classe di italiano! (thanks google translate).
Daniel Phillips 09.28.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The Redstem Filaree, a common weed in California, insinuates itself into roadside environments by literally drilling itself into the soil with the help of a spring loaded appendage attached to its seeds. This first stage of immersion into a new culture can at times feel equally forced, or at least aided by forces we are just beginning to understand.
Small Ideas: The well-fed wild cats of the Janiculum, coming and going through perfectly sized holes in the roman wall.
People: The frail woman on the 75 bus, as ancient as the stones we drive over. Her weathered hands, white sun hat, and pant suit the deep blue of a sicilian lagoon-all seem comically oversized for her slight frame. Her mouth, more a set of leather flaps than a distinct set of lips, slathered with bright red lipstick that appears to have been applied with a toothbrush in the dark. She leans on an ornate wooden cane with gold accents, and strikes up raspy conversations with strangers around her, pausing only to give herself the sign of the cross with each church we pass. I try not to stare.
Uneasiness: Staying healthy in the midst of so many opportunities to over-indulge.
Words: Vaffancuolo! Only among friends for now...
Kim Karlsrud 9. 28.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: I’ve made a few attempts to increase my botanical understanding by collecting seeds, taking cuttings, doing a little research. Almost all of my cuttings are falling apart and shrivelling up before they root - that’s what I get for taking things willy nilly. Not sure why it’s so hard to take the time to fully understand something before you go out and do it.
Small Ideas: We have this amazing studio with these gorgeous views of the city - but when I’m in here working I spend most of the time messing around on my computer.
People: Running with other people is a surprisingly pleasant experience.
Uneasiness: Recovering from a nasty end of summer cold. On the upside I was able to watch a whole lot of guilt free internet tv.
Words: Increasing quality instead of just having more.
Danny Phillips 09.21.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: As someone who has been focused on output for the past few years, transitioning into a period of input has been both refreshing and unsettling. In fact there’s an overwhelming abundance of input coming bombarding me from all angles: Conversations, places, people, ideas, flavors. I’m realizing what many have tried to tell me for years, that calm receptiveness may be equally or more important to the creative process as blind ambition. Settling in. Opening up. Even shutting up.
Small Ideas: Unpasteurized milk, hexagonal terracotta floor tiles.
People: The nameless folks living adhok lives in RV dwellings just outside the walls of the Academy. Someone should study them.
Uneasiness: Becoming more aware of the complex yet subtle social and political friction that seems to float just under the surface of the daily life at the American Academy. Is it naive to like everyone, as I am usually guilty of?
Words: “This week has felt like a hot dog eating contest.”
Kim Karlsrud 9. 21.14 Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: It’s been almost a decade since I’ve been in such close quarters with this many people. You can’t avoid considering who you are, who you wish you were, and how you are being perceived.
Small Ideas: After a week of listening, talking, learning, walking, stressing, laughing, eating, mosquito bites and wine drinking - I’m struggling to muster the energy to contribute anything interesting this week. All I really want to do is skip Italian homework, eat cookies in bed and watch True Detective. I’m worried this makes me lazy.
People: Dart Slut, 1800 Blow, Goat Dick, Heat Lion, Drag Lamb...The list goes on. A lot of personalities, group dynamics, and (dare I say politics) here. At the end of the day people are still people - largely enjoyable ones at that.
Uneasiness: These goddamn Italian mosquitoes.
Words: Votive Uteri (especially the one with only one ovary)
Danny Phillips - 09.14.14 - Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: The experience of arriving in Rome for the first time and settling into our new life atop the Janiculum is almost beyond words. Plunging in head first has been a huge shock to the system, but a pool would be the wrong metaphor. This place is like a drug, and we’re both riding the high of its first taste, which is always the greatest.
Small Ideas: Scaled down containers of all kinds. Compact Lancias and Fiats, tiny cups of espresso, and people. But our studio bucks these trends, it’s huge.
People: The veteran bartender here, “Gabri” seems to have a constant “Who the fuck are you and what the hell do you want from me” kind of look on his face almost constantly. I almost took it personally until I saw his official headshot on the wall this week with the exact same half-squinting grimace. That’s when I realized it wasn’t just directed at me. It’s a signature. Now I find it endearing. Maybe we’ll even be friends before long.
Uneasiness: So many new names, and cultural norms to wrap our heads around, being among so much brainpower. Feeling the need to be constantly “on”. It’s overwhelming.
Words: “It’s like getting kicked down a steep hill in a tin can”, said at weeks end by a feisty fellow and new friend. I had to add to that, “...But in a good way.”
Kim Karlsrud - 9.14.14 - Rome, Italy
Big Ideas: We’ve finally made it to Rome and “The Academy” and it has been an overwhelmingly intense first week. You very quickly start to feel any sense of normalcy, expectations, and boundaries dissolving. Shedding this extra weight unveils something hopeful and shiny.
Small Ideas: There is something of a pecking order here - and it seems rare for a couple to officially share a fellowship. I am grateful to be on equal footing with Danny in this community. It’s been both fun and novel to eat meals together at completely different ends of a very long table.
People: So many people, so many names, so many conversations.
Uneasiness: Am I cool enough to hang here?
Words: After Hungarian (where there would be multiple z’s in the middle of words) Italian seems manageable. New word: “Prego”.
Danny Phillips - 9.07.14 - Budapest, HU
Big Ideas: Among other things, Budapest is a city of bridges. They span the Danube 6 times in the course of a couple of miles. It’s the bridges that have made our exploration on bike and by foot so amazing. And it’s the notion of a bridge that spans the often terrifying divide between the known and the unknown. Budapest is our bridge to a year in Europe, and we couldn’t have chosen a better place to be this week. All the charm of Paris, the weather of LA, at half the price of either.
Small Ideas: Tiny balconies, dogs with testicles, mustard in toothpaste tubes.
People: The ice queen twins, staring indifferently at me as I ask for a coffee from the bar of a tourist trap in the middle of Margit Island.
Uneasiness: The amount of o'umlauts in the Hungarian language is truly amazing. I don’t begin to understand this language, but few locals seem to mind that I’m an asshole who can barely remember the word for “thank you." Not sure if this bodes well for learning Italian. Off to Rome tomorrow!
Words: “The essential challenge of our lives is seeking a balance between enjoying life and striving to improve it.” -Beppe Severgnini
Kim Karlsrud - 9.07.14 - Budapest, HU
Big Ideas: There is something thrilling and ephemeral in being this far away from where you are supposed to be. Budapest is just exotic enough to be exciting, familiar enough to be comforting, affordable enough to be enjoyable, and slightly obscure enough to feel like some sort of discovery (like Paris in the 20’s).
Small Ideas: One annual happening this week called the “autumn cleaning” where locals cart everything they no longer want or need out to the streets where neighbors can come and pick through it. Later that night the city comes and efficiently spirits the leftovers away to…elsewhere. I still think of all the stuff (which isn’t that much) some is with us while the rest is spread out between our parents and friends. We still have too much stuff.
People: Folks in this part of the world don’t seem to smile much (at least not at us tourists). On one hand they seem overly serious and on the other they clearly enjoy a good meal with a drink - many have dogs. Think the only person I’ve had a complete conversation with this week is Danny.
Uneasiness: It seems like everyone has barriers that conceal and/or protect who they are. I always thought relationships were about getting through as many barriers as possible - but maybe that’s not always such a good idea.
Words: An admittedly lazy traveller I am one of those who goes off without attempting to learn any of the local language. Here is no exception. A week later and I’m still trying to work up the courage to say thank you: köszönöm
Danny Phillips - 8.25.14 - Los Angeles, CA
Big Ideas: After a decade in L.A., I feel like I should be some kind of an expert, and yet there’s still so much I feel like I’ve missed or at least misunderstood. Or maybe that’s what it’s actually all about-accepting this confusion and embracing it’s many contradictions, maybe that’s what makes a city great. I don’t know.
Small Ideas: Palm trees, pavement, cheap diners, sunsets, and the countless other details I probably take for granted and will miss like crazy.
People: The guy pulling up alongside me as I roast in the car on Sunset Blvd. “Are you leaving?” he asks. I pause for a moment to let the question sink in. As an Angeleno, I’ve heard it (and asked it) a million times in the daily struggle to find a parking spot. But this time it takes on a larger meaning. Will I be back? To visit? To live once again? “Yeah, it’s all yours”, I say and take off heading west. I head out of the city taking the long way to PCH, taking everything in. It feels distinctly different, less familiar and stale, as if even the thought of leaving reveals layers of beauty and excitement I never noticed before.
Unease: For a million reasons (some obvious, some unfounded) I worry about starting a new chapter in a new country. I also care more about how this is being perceived by our friends and family as I let on. For what it’s worth, people have been very warm and supportive, but I suspect some of them are saying what they think they have to on the surface while secretly hating us for it.
Kim Karlsrud - 8.31.14 - Green Valley, AZ
Big Ideas: It’s been one hell of a summer and as exciting as it is to be leaving - It’s impossible not to think about who and what can not come with us. In some ways I feel lucky to have mixed feelings - I’m hoping this just means that we’ve had a good life here. I just wish Bear could come with us.
Small Ideas: I’m coping with my anxiety by trying to be extremely (and annoyingly) organized and compulsively exercising.
People: The old people here are really chatty - especially at the gym. Most of them are interesting - very opinionated - and like to gossip. It’s really hard to imagine being older than 40.Uneasiness: After much talking and plotting we’re actually moving forward with this little side project of ours. Committing to honest thoughts and an accompanying visual every week is a little daunting. Hope things improve as we keep heading forward.Words: “Life should always be moving towards more simplicity rather than more complexity”. Yvon Chouinard