Jerome's! Another chapter.

This blog performed its most important function 18 years ago when Sasha read parts of it before our blind date. She decided it would be good to get to know me. . . :) Compared to that there's not much to say, except that we're still finding ways to keep our adventure interesting.

The boys are 9 and 11 now and much more independent than they used to be. That's why it has been a good time to open a bar!

We are partnered with Ian Daly, who Sasha worked with at the House of Music. Jerome's is a casual sports bar with a slant towards board sports, New England pro sports teams, and a healthy dose of music. It's such a comfortable place, and we're having a great time!

Thanks to all our friends and family who have helped us to get this done! C'mon by and say "hi"!




Pardon. . . it's been awhile.

In my last blog I posted, "I'm a father!" Two years after J was born, S was born. Now J is four and S is nearly two. It's probably safe to say that I'm a different person now, though I couldn't tell you how. I'm fairly certain that I'm also very much the same person. Having a family has been affirming, creating more clarity than conflict. We have set up our life intentionally.

The family is not all. . . Bild Architecture is now over five-years-old with two others working with us, another family to nurture. It's certainly hard to find a balance, if there is one, but I think we're finding it.

While there's no question that I must be an adult now, I still think about what I want to be when I grow up. I find myself thinking about music more and more often. This is a funny thing because I have both a stable, productive career, and minimal instrumental skill. Still, music continues to play a major role in our family. Many of our outings involve listening to live music, which the boys love, and plenty of our time at home is spent listening and dancing. The boys both enjoy mucking around on the keyboard and drum-set that we have, and it seems at least possible that they share some of the joy that I find in melodies, harmonies, beats, rhythms, lyrics and syncopations.

I'm finding I have much to put down here, and I'll just have to tie it together later. This past spring my grandmother, my brother-in-law and my best-friend's father passed away. It hurt, and it still hurts unexpectedly, but the boys and the firm didn't go away. They still need me. When I think of them (that we lost) I feel responsible. . . for making the best of my life.

I'd like to get back to doing this. (blogging) This blog is part of how Sasha "found" me, reading it before our first blind "date"; a meet up to consider being roommates. After that meeting we started dating. If taking the time to write did that once, maybe there's more yet to come.

I should mention that I probably wouldn't making the post if it were not for the new Bon Iver album, 22, A Million. It seems to have captured that part of my mind that was yearning to be thoughtful and reflective. The songs on 22, A Million seems to capture the feelings of nervousness, fear, and uncertainty in a way that is resolved, not hopeless. To me, that feels a lot like life: sketches of unexpected feelings that (when we're lucky) contribute to the notion of hopefulness. Not hopefulness for a certain outcome, but hopefulness that we will find a way, persevere and make something of it all.


I'm a father!

This changes everything. My last post, a year ago, was about my friends incredible band, and now I have a son named after that friend.

As I type, he is here in my arms, this little person who is half me. He is beautiful, adorable, cute, handsome, and a treasure to be able to watch grow every day. He has changed my perspective: I look back at life before him and wonder if I might not have been a mechanical trick, only to become a real man on the day of his birth.

He inspires me to be more than I've ever been and to see the world through his eyes. I now see the future not only through my own perspective, but through his, whatever that may be. I look at him and see that my every action will be something for this little man to learn from.

Perhaps all of this is rather commonplace for new fathers, but it's the biggest thing that has happened in my life; how am I supposed to think of my actions in the same way? Well here's how: if I can make the world just a little bit of a better place, than I know at least one person who will benefit from my efforts for longer than I am able to do so.

It's not just that I'm inspired to make the world better for him, but also the hope that if my son sees me full of hope for a better world, for change; if he sees me with a faith in humanity, perhaps he will be able to make more of it all than I have been able. I hope that I am able to pass on at least a little of my naive optimism that that one person CAN make a difference, and each member of humanity IS in their heart trying to make a better place for those they love.

I now get to see the world through my son's eyes. What a gift this is, to have a glimpse into innocence again. Innocence is where our hopes and dreams are born. They are born in a place without fact, fiction, right or wrong, in a place where raw experience allows us to imagine new experiences. Our inspiration comes not from KNOWING for sure what is true, but from learning of a possibility and then imagining the step after that.

Now as I experience the world anew with my son I see every moment as one in which he may find new inspiration. My home, my city, my friends and family are now going to work their way into each of my son's senses and into his understanding.

Here's where I want to express gratitude. Gratitude for the life that our family has, that we now get to share together. There has been outpouring of love from our friends and family towards us and our new son. We've had visitors, phone calls, gifts, cards and home cooked meals showered upon us. So many people we love and care about, weaving a web of love and support around our son. Our neighborhood, and our city provide   this family with acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and community. We are not a lone family with our own web of support, but one among many here in Portland.

I now understand why we've made our life in the way we have. We've done it for our son.


Sunset Hearts New Album: Haunted Cloud

My good friend, Jesse, has been in a band for a YEAR now called Sunset Hearts. Sasha and I first saw them at Slainte sometime last year, and we were immediately won over and excited! This is good music that is very well put together!

Last night was the CD release party of the first Sunset Hearts CD, and they put on a great show!

They are also on the front of this weeks Portland Phoenix, in a article that reviews the new album. (see article)


World Dance Class (by my mom!)

My mom is going to be teaching this International Folk Dancing Class. She is a great teacher, and the dances are athletic and fun to learn. You can expect to learn a bit about the culture surrounding each dance as well!

Enjoy the fun, exercise, and challenge of learning traditional dances from diverse world cultures. 

Learn dances from Greece, Croatia, Armenia, Israel, Bolivia and more! Experience unique rhythms, engaging music, and a wide variety of dance styles, and formations. Dances range from energetic to calming; contemporary to ancient. 

Each week you'll learn new dances, step-by-step, and review dances already learned. These traditional dances are for both men and women, are multi-generational (ages 14 and up), and do not require a partner or prior dance experience. Dress comfortably (you will sweat) and bring non-street shoes to change into. 

WHERE: Avant Dance Event Center, 865 Spring St, Westbrook, ME
(easy access from Rts 95 & 295)
WHEN: Thursdays 7:00-8:00 PM for 4 weeks, starting 9-15-11, Second 4 week session starts 10-20-11
COST: $35 for 4 classes (if paid at first class) OR $10 drop-in
WEB: www.avantmaine.com
E-MAIL: kcarroll2@gmail.com
PHONE: Kathleen Carroll, instructor, at 856-6415


Information Overload!

I just was shown three very interesting things all at once!

  • The proportions of Porches! Walking and socially interacting with people spontaneously is just the kind of thing that helps us to trust the world around us. Trusting our world decreases anxiety, fear and suspicion. that's my take on it anyway.
  • MEAT Just read it. You'll enjoy it.
  • Federated Properties This is a HUGE project planned for Portland. I'm curious to see if it happens. I'll save my commentary for another day.


What do I live for?

I wrote this on May 12th but didn't feel comfortable posting it. Please consider reading the blog of my brother-in-law, Bogart. He inspired this entry.

On my most motivated days I live for a chance to make the world a better place where humanity can coexist with nature.
On my least motivated days I live for a home cooked meal and a cold beer in the back yard.

When I'm feeling loved I live for the chance to have and raise my own children with Sasha.
When I'm feeling unloved I live for moment when I can sag into loving arms and just belong.

Every day I live for the change of the seasons.
    I live to experience the brisk wind and the warm sun in the Fall.
    I live for the warm Summer nights that smell like an amusement park.
    I live for the blooming of lilacs, peonies and lillys-of-the-valley in Spring.
    I live clear snowy nights under a full moon.

I live for every family member, every person and everything that has made me who I am.
However much time I have, I hope that I'm making the most of what has made me.
I am too specific to be an accident, as we all are.

I live for the chance to do something better today than I did yesterday.
When I don't succeed at this, I live because I'll have another chance tomorrow.

I live for those exquisite moments of bliss in listening to music.
I live for the chance to create something beautiful.

I live for the adrenaline of competition.
I live for the comradery of being on a team.

I live for the confidence that being married has given me.
I live for the chance to be the boost that Sasha needs.

I live to make my place in the world, however I do it.

I hope that by my living I can be an example.
I aspire to live like those I most respect.

I live because I can overcome all.
I live because I am nothing, and yet by living I can become something.

I live because I cannot wait.
I live because I must let it be.

I live because then there will be a story to tell.


Portland Mayor: Questions from an Architect

As Portland moves closer to the "Portland Mayoral Choose-Fest" I'm putting on my professional hat and thinking about questions that need answering.
  • Do you believe that increased regional planning can benefit the business climate or health and wellbeing for the businesses and residents of Portland? Why or why not?
  • As mayor, how much power will you have to increase efficiencies in the many permitting processes that new and existing businesses face in Portland? How will you use your given powers for the maximum effect?
  • Portland is a city that depends heavily on its image to attract a complex group of tourists from art critics to foodies to leaf peepers. How does the built environment contribute to this image? Does the city benefit from contemporary architecture?
  • What can architects and contractors do to help you and your goals for Portland?
  • Are there creative solutions for filling all the empty commercial lease spaces in Portland?
  • What is one way that the city and the creative economy can work together TODAY to help promote Portland to the world at large?
  • Portland is a mixed use city. Where is this working well and where is it NOT working well?
  • How does Portland continue on a path of economic development without making the city too expensive for its residents?
  • What is your vision for how the streets of Portland might look different in 20 years? In 50 years?
Do you have any questions for our future mayor? Post them here!


Killer Joe and Architalx

Last Thursday Sasha and I went to two great events, and YOU all still have a chance to experience them!

First, we went to Architalx. If you've never been, it happens on Thursdays all April, and it's likely to be our only chance (in Portland) to hear "famous" architects talk about their work each year.

On Thursday we heard from Alan Organschi, who does fantastically fluid work with wood. I loved the Firehouse. It was a tough program with a wonderful solution that transcends the word "solution."
Our second event of the evening was Killer Joe, a play that is showing at Space during April. If I see no other theater this year, I will be happy that I saw Killer Joe. Space is an intimate venue that has led me to feel quite spoiled about seeing live theater. No audience member is more than 20 feet from the stage.

The script is a black comedy that takes no mercy. Watch what a "desperate" family will do for extra cash and how wrong it can all go.

The cast did an excellent job, with a return to Portland acting by Christopher Reiling, who was last seen on the Space stage for Speech and Debate. Chris's brings another character to life with a caricature that is too human to be dismissed as JUST a caricature. I was also excited to see a performance by Brian Chamberlain again. I last saw him on the screen in A Very Careful Man done by my friends David Miller and Charlie Simmons. Brian, the villain, is riveting. It's hard to hate him, and yet, he is evil.

I would encourage anyone who thinks they have perspective on humanity to see this play!


MAST, the ZOOM Bus, and LD 673

I've been working with other members of MAST to promote LD 673, submitted by Representative Bradley Moulton of the York, Maine area. This bill would offer a significant improvement to the regional transportation infrastructure of Southern Maine.

In a nutshell, this bill would: (click here to read the bill)
  • Expand the existing ZOOM Bus route to go from York, to Augusta.
  • Require the MTA to turn over 3% of  its operating revenue for use on non-turnpike Maine roads.
  • Fund the installation of wifi on all ZOOM buses to encourage transit use as a more productive way to travel.
I made this poster to be used to promote the bill:

You can download the poster here.

Some thoughts from others on LD 673:
  • Tux Terkel of the Portland Press Herald wrote this on the proposal.
  • Christian Milneil wrote this great op.ed. on the subject
  • The Conservation Law Foundation has posted this blog on the proposal.
Please consider telling your Maine legislator to support this bill!