LR10: Mindful Endurance

Barefoot HikingLast week one of the analysts at my firm (20 years younger than me) asked if I was doing the Pier to Peak half marathon 5 days later. Now I can’t explain why I respond in this way, but that isn’t the purpose of this post so it’s irrelevant right now. I answered by saying I didn’t realize it was this weekend, but sure, “why not?” So I immediately signed up (after checking “my” schedule with my wife). That was it. Five days later I would be participating in the 5th toughest half-marathon in the world.

Forget that my only exercise over the past several months had been barefoot hiking, so my cardio was even more limited than usual. Not to mention that I am still at the stage where my feet are breaking down so that they can toughen up. Every hike results in the soles of my feet getting a little bruised, the pads getting burned or scraped, and a toe or two getting beaten up. Ultimately, the goal of barefoot hiking is to slow my pace down, to allow me to be more mindful of where I am, not to get in shape. That is great, unless you decide to participate in a grueling endurance race.

P2P StartThe day before the race I was feeling antsy and needed to get out for a hike, so I did a 5 mile barefoot hike to the site of the yarn bomb. It was a nice cool day, so my soles didn’t burn, but I did manage to find lots of small, sharp pebbles to poke into the soft parts of my feet and create tiny polka dots of bruising. I would come to regret that hike less than 24 hours later.

Saturday morning at 6:30am, I lined up along side 371 other nut jobs to run 13.15 miles from the Santa Barbara pier to the lookout tower atop La Cumbre Peak, roughly 5,000 feet higher than the start. The course is rated a Cat 1 Climb, the steepest grade on a scale of 1 to 5, only to be outdone by what is called the “Hors Categorie”.

By mile 6, I was already questioning the intelligence of the decision to participate without any preparation. I hadn’t even thought through the right shoes to wear and the hot spots were beginning to develop.

P2P Mile 8By mile 8 my feet were in agony. Every step was pressing on the bruises and the thick padding that’s been developing across the balls of my feet felt like they were beginning to separate from my foot. I feared they would break away, leaving a very large, raw, open wound in a most crucial spot.

P2P Mile 11At mile 10.5, Gibraltar Road finally meets Camino Cielo, where I had expected the trail would turn left, leaving the majority of the remaining distance to be somewhat flat. I was wrong. They turned us right for a grueling half mile psych out that climbs up and around several blind corners. You know that every step you take will at some point need to be retraced, but you can’t see how far it is to the turnaround. Every runner coming back assures you “it’s just another 200 yards,” but only one of them is correct. My hamstrings are so tight, I can imagine just the slightest misstep will cause one or both to snap. My feet are on fire and I can no longer feel the three smallest toes on my left foot.

Finally, I reach the turnaround and head downhill for the first time since we started. I thought it would be a relief, but it made it even worse on my feet as they were mashed into the front of my shoe with ever step. The three little piggies on my right foot mentally disappeared as well. My mind was clear, I felt great cardio-wise, but my legs were shot and my feet, well, I don’t know how to describe the anguish they were causing me in those shoes. Uphill, downhill, it didn’t really matter. I just needed to get off of them and out of those shoes.

P2P Mile 11.5As I faced the final 1.65 miles, I recalled why I was there in the first place. It wasn’t a moment to escape, but a moment to revel in. This was the moment to become mindful of the anguish, to breath in the fresh air, to appreciate when my feet feel good and my legs are powerful. This was a highlight in my life, not a lowpoint. I wanted to experience every ounce of pain, for it was the extremity of the pain and anguish itself that made that moment stand out from all the mindless, petty stuff that takes up the majority of our lives. This, was a break from the mundane. This, was living and I wanted to wring every drop out of it. While I heard others complaining about the heat, I was mindful of even the slightest breeze and felt cool. I saw the steep climb that lie ahead and wished it were steeper. I knew that physically I was tapped out, but mentally I was gassed up and ready to go. In my head I was running at full speed, but to anyone witnessing my actions in the real world, I was barely giving the tortoise a run for his money.

P2P FinishAt the finish, I just wanted to grab my shirt, get on the bus and take off my shoes. During the party bus ride back down, it dawned on me that this was my first endurance event since becoming a vegan. I felt better aerobically than ever before, probably a result of the 13 pounds I’ve lost and the reduction of body fat by 33%. What I found most interesting is that normally after completing an event like that I have a mad craving for steak, but this time I simply craved calories. I thought it odd, because cravings are not a conscious choice. The fact that I had absolutely no interest in ingesting meat after this race, tells me I have accomplished Learning Resolution 7: Eat Right (Vegan).

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LR9: Social Media

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Cell PhoneFor a guy almost in his mid-forties, I consider myself to be fairly computer and internet savvy. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology. I was one of the first users of yahoo, converted to Apple in the 90’s, had a cell phone as big as a briefcase (and a monthly bill that was just as large), and even left my career in 2000 to launch my own Internet startup (think Facebook meets Match meets Yelp, which was ready for launch just as the Internet bubble popped).

TwitterI have pages on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and so many others that have either disappeared or faded into obscurity. The reason I do all this is that I have an insatiable curiousity. I want to experience everything for myself and most of all, I have a deep seeded desire to understand people. That curiosity about the way people (I) think and why they (I) do what they (I) do is so powerful for me. Behavior, including my own, but especially that of the herd, fascinates me. One look at my reading list will serve as testament to that statement.

While my interest in social media began as mere curiosity, it has turned a corner. I’ve gotten a taste of its power as a result of the yarn bomb. I’ve been writing a blog about my resolutions since 2007 but until the yarn bomb, noone ever read them. It never bothered me though, because the point in the blog was really just to keep a formal record, a diary of sorts, of my journey, and a blog is the perfect tool for that.

Then I began blogging on WordPress, which provides tools for analyzing traffic, seeing where people click, where they come from, what search terms they use to find you, etc. It’s all anonymous of course, so don’t worry, I’m not watching you in particular, just the flow of visitors. It peaked my curiousity. I began to wonder, how could I alter that flow with better content, better organization, use of relevant tags and categories, linking Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media tools together to drive traffic, etc. I have no expertise, don’t know anyone with expertise and have no interest in reading books on the topic, but I do love me an iterative process. So I got the bug.

Enter the League of Professional Educators. The LPE is, at its core, an idea that was developed for maximum leverage, so that one man, with limited resources could effect systemic change. It is a grass roots based idea, that will require me to connect with an audience that will itself take the ball and run with it. Yeah, I know, every business has a plan to “go viral”. I don’t know if I can pull it off, but this resolution is simply about learning how social media is used to “amplify” a message and drive traffic, so that I can do some good in this world.

I’ll be posting what I have learned and will learn along the way so that others may benefit from my successes and failures. As always, I’ll keep it short and to the point.

LR 9: Social Media Posts

LR4: Yarn Bomb Epiblogue

TextIt’s been a few weeks since the yarn bomb was packed and shipped off to Warm Up America, but it continues to live on in the hearts and minds of those who witnessed it for themselves. This weekend, Will Wallin, who participated in every aspect of the installation, including mapping the tree, ladder lugging and tear-down, went for a hike to the tree. Along the way, a couple stopped him to tell him about this magical yarn bomb he missed, just weeks earlier. When he informed them that he’d been a part of its installation, the woman surprised him with an impromptu hug and they both thanked him for it.

Yarn Bomb in the Independent

 

Just yesterday, the Santa Barbara Independent included a blurb about it in their print edition, almost a month after it went up. I’ve received lots of pics via email from people who visited it and found many more that have been going viral thanks to being pinned and repinned on Pinterest, posted on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and more.

Between all that and WordPress featuring the LR1: Unicycling post on FreshlyPressed, traffic to 12for2012.com exploded.

 

12for2012I received lots of nice notes via email, most of which came with pics attached, but here are two notes I especially liked reading:

From Sharon… “I am the older Japanese woman you ran into on the trail yesterday (Friday). I was walking down, only having made it to the fire road on my hike to the yarn tree. I didn’t know you were the creator when we briefly spoke. I would have told you that I have been percolating a guerrilla knitting project for a couple years now. I wanted to touch your yarn tree and be there in person. Alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it before it disappears. I just want to thank you for your creative spirit, your energy, and your determination to make it happen. The group of kids who were coming down after me were still excited about it as they ran down the hill. (color me and my hiking poles jealous). You’ve done a beautiful thing, along with hundreds of knitting and crocheting fingers across the land and sea. I am happy knowing it is now and sad it won’t be after Sunday. Thank you.”

From a woman named Barbara… “Yesterday, two friends (Carol and Simone), my husband and I hiked up Cold Spring Trail to see your Yarn Bombed Tree. What an experience! I did take some photos which I will share later. I just had to initiate this communication. Your tree and your year of goals is amazing. Thank you for your inspiration, Barbara”

Here are some of the pics I received via email:

Wilderness Youth Project

Thanks for the reason to get up the hill. Wilderness Youth Project had a blast 6/15/12.
Andrew Lindsey (click on the photo for the Wilderness Youth Project’s website)

Galina Brouwer

Yes, we made it up there…grueling, as you described. Just when we thought we were there, the hardest uphill climb was yet to come. We made it back in the pitch dark. Thank God for flashlights.
It was just glorious seeing this work of art. We thank everyone involved.
P.S. The photo shows an “orb”…..My friend swears it’s a spirit of sorts.
Peace, Galina

Shaun Beardsmore

Did a trail run up to the tree this week and snagged a cool shot as the sun set, awesome work. I recently starting making beanies so I’ve been working with Yarn a lot too. Great to see creative projects like this around town and beyond. (Visit Shaun’s website thewavesofnature.com for some more cool pics of the bomb)

Alek and Tyler

Heres a photo, theres more on my camera I’ll edit tonight. If u credit me, can u use my website notestomom on tumblr? My mom was killed by a drunk driver last May and I use the site to write to her and raise funds on behalf of her memory for MADD. We’re close to $3000.
It was nice to meet you today. My stepbrother Alek and I were so inspired by your ideas.
Take care,
Tyler (click on the photo to go to Tyler’s Tumblr tribute to her mother)

Jonah Blossom and Amanda Grandfield

Great to run into you on the trail today! I’ve attached some pictures to this email of the yarn tree from today 6/16/12
Thanks again for making this happen– it was such a delight to visit the tree.
Best, Amanda

Amanda Grandfield

Amanda Grandfield took some photos and offered them for sale at her booth along East Beach the following week. (She gave me this one for free!)

John Wiley

FYI we flew past today, snapped more aerials. Thanks again for the fun you’ve brought to our whole community with all your work on this. 🙂
ciao -j (John Wiley)

Pamela and Craig Penner

Steve, thanks for your creativity. Pamela and Craig

Amanda Bailey

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is inspiring and refreshing to hear. I had a little fun with ColorSplash on the last one. Good luck on your future endeavors. Take care!

We met you on the trail, thanking you for doing this community art. We soooo appreciate the hard work, and enjoyed it tree-mendously!
Thanks again,
Karen and Rick Heimberg

This one was posted on the Multi-Use Trails Coalition’s website (click on the pic to see more there)

Then I discovered pictures posted, pinned, repined and stories being told about the yarn bomb all over the Internet…

A selection of some of the places I found pics, postings and conversations about the yarn bomb:

crochetconcupiscence.com

Imgur

Reddit

EdHat submission by Aquaholic (Fantastic pics!)

Jenn Kennedy wrote about it and posted this video too

CrowdKnitting

Pinterest

Stitches and Purls

Wattlebird

Babukatorium

Elastic Camel Space

Twitter

Alex Moore

365 ThingsJackieMackie

GR5: Locked and Loaded

400 Square Feet of YarnAfter defusing the yarn bomb, the 400 square feet of knitted pieces were lugged back down the Cold Spring Trail in four large backpacks and shipped off to North Carolina. When the packages arrive, Warm Up America will convert them into blankets and scarves for those in need.

Warm Up America

LR4: The Hurt Locker

Will and PeterJust three people were waiting for Barbara, Jackson and I to help us defuse the yarn bomb yesterday. Dennis Moran joined the crew to see it for himself. Will Wallin and Peter Biava, have been the unsung heroes on this project. As Peter put it, they were the offensive linemen, doing the heavy lifting with little adoration in return. While the others who had lugged the 14′ ladder up were understandably “unavailable” to bring it down, these guys were in it for the long haul. I will forever be grateful for their totally selfless, back-breaking work.

Just three days from Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the heat made the 2.6 hike up the mountain much harder than usual. What took over 60 man hours to put up, took just 6 to completely remove. It had to be carefully done because all the material would be donated to Warm Up America in North Carolina where it will become blankets and scarves for those in need.

RemovalHurt Locker

With all the material removed, the tree looked like a sepia version of a bright color photo. As we took some final pictures before heading back down, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more worrying that I wouldn’t pull it off. No more pleading for help. No more sleepless nights worrying that my yarn would somehow be the cause of a forest fire. No more pressure to get the word out so that others might experience the whimsy for themselves. No more panic over how I’d get the ladder back down. As much as I loved every stage of the project, I was happy for it to be coming to a successful conclusion. All that’s left now are the friendships I’ve forged, the photos and memories, and the pride that comes with having pulled off what seemed an impossible task just three months ago. No stress in that.My Hurt Locker Crew

The Aftermath

LR4: Yarn Bomb Pics

Yarn BombI hiked to the yarn bomb for the seventh time in 8 days. I spent so much time on this project and in 3 days it will disappear forever. These pictures will be all I have to look back on, so I keep searching for the perfect one that captures it all. The problem is, there are so many facets, so many stories, so many people attached to it, and so many nooks and crannies in the tree, that no single image can possibly capture everything on its own. Between John Wiley’s aerial shots, Kolya Hicker’s artistic interpretations, pics sent to me by visitors and friends plus my own pics and video, hopefully even those who can’t make it out there to see it in person can get a good feel for it. Click on a pic and you can quickly go through all the new ones. I think they give a pretty good feel for what it’s like to be out there on the trail, witnessing it for yourself.

As an aside, each day I have run into people who were shocked as they turned the corner to see this explosion of color suddenly rise up from 2.5 miles of desert scrub, and those who were excitedly anticipating what friends had described to them in texts and emails. Only 2 people had read about it on EdHat or The Independent. Most heard about it via word of mouth. (This is a real source of frustration for me. I just don’t understand why the papers, radio and TV have ignored it. As a hiker and Santa Barbara resident, I’d be pissed if this were up there on the trails and no one brought it to my attention. But I digress.) A couple of them had heard about this guy “Steve” who put it together and when they realized I am Steve, they actually asked to take a picture with me. How cool is that?!?!

The smiles people have when they see it; the anticipatory excitement on their faces and in their voices as they push further on our trails than they’ve ever pushed before; the endless curiosity about who, what, where, when and especially, why; the joy they feel when they hear the stories of Yancey and his knitters in Alabama, Dany & Ivo in London, Marcy, the Crochet Grenade, in San Diego, Michele, the former editor of Crochet Magazine, Lara and her tiny flower, etc, etc, etc, has made this one of the best weeks of my life. It’s so rare to share so many moments with so many strangers filled nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. No ego, no envy, no selfishness, no anger. Just a shared moment of “Wow!”

LR4: Yarn Bomb Photographs courtesy of Kolya Hicker

If you haven’t seen Kolya Hicker‘s work, please check it out on his blog and website. He’s an up and coming photographer/artist studying at the Brook’s Institute in Santa Barbara and specializes in nature and wildlife. I’m a big fan of his and he was kind enough to hike up to the Yarn Bomb with me today to help me capture it in a way only Kolya could. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you like his work, please let him, and others, know.

LR4: Aerial Shots courtesy of John Wiley

John Wiley's Pic of the Yarn BombJohn Wiley's Pic of the Yarn Bomb

Check out John’s website for more great aerial pics of Santa Barbara.

Halfway There

12for2012 Ballroom DancingI’m at the halfway point in my quest to learn 12 new things and do 12 charitable things this year.

Unicycling, slack lining, jumping stilts, yarn bombing, and drumming have now been checked off, with ballroom dancing and eating right being works in progress on the learning side. That leaves 5 more to be accomplished. (Paragliding has been tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of July.)

SugarOn the giving side, I’ve built homes, fostered a puppy, volunteered to donate bone marrow, did graphic design work for a mitzvah and next Sunday will donate 400 square feet of knitting to Warm Up America, while having my blood, sperm and hair rejected. That leaves 7 more to be accomplished. (I become eligible again to donate blood on December 25th so that will likely be GR12.)

Duneier SlackliningThis is where you come in. I need suggestions for the remaining 12. Is there something you have been wanting to learn, but aren’t ready to take the leap? Is there something you would like to try, but worried it will be too difficult or time consuming? Use me as your guinea pig. Let me pave the way. Is there something you’ve learned that you think others should try too? Is there a charity you know of that could use a hand? Tell me how I can help.

Send me your suggestions. Share your thoughts.

Thanks!

Chip Off the Old Block

My parents came to town for my daughter’s graduation and I took full advantage of it by bringing my father up to speed on my 12for2012 progress.

Grandpa UnicyclingGrandpa UnicyclingGrandpa DrummingGrandpa Using Jumping StiltsGrandpa Thankful to be done with Jumping Stilts

LR4: Yarn Bomb Complete

The last 81 days have taken me on an incredible journey, beginning with the mundane decision to learn how to knit and ending with the whimsical explosion of a yarn bomb 2.6 miles from and 2,500 feet above civilization. Along the way, I have met numerous incredibly generous and supportive people from around the world. I will never again doubt the benefits of social media. To all of you who knitted/crocheted contributions and sent them at your own expense, who gave me a pep talk when I felt overwhelmed and in over my head, who helped me carry a ladder up a mountain in the scorching heat, who documented the journey with photographs, who promoted my goal with friends and family, who sewed pieces to the tree, who kept us company with wine and music, who offered to carpool… I say “Thank you!!!!” I hoped to reach a goal. I dreamed of hitting a home run. I fantasized about a grand slam. Thanks to all that you did to help, WE pulled off a once-in-a-lifetime, tell-your-grandchildren-about-it, what-legends-are-made-of, knocked-it-outta-the-park dream, that I will forever be trying to match. Thank you for coming this far with me on this journey. I sincerely hope you will continue to come along for the ride.

Enjoy the pics and share them with pride. It is your accomplishment as much as mine. (For those in the area, get up there and witness it for yourself before it comes down on June 16th. Click here for details of the hike, complete with a map, pictures and turn-by-turn directions.)
Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

I’ll add more pics as I collect them from others who bore witness.

LR4: Da Bomb

I’m exhausted and will post details of the bombing tomorrow, but wanted to post some pics I have from tonight’s work (lots more to follow). It’s not 100% complete so I’ll be heading back up in the morning to finish it off. Huge thanks to Will, Peter, Grace, Curtis, Sean, Mackenzie, Hugh, Ian, Laina, Christine, Kevin, Diane, Chase and most of all, my son, Jackson for coming out to help me pull this off. It looks freakin’ amazing!!!!!!!

Sections

123Carrying the ladder456789So far

LR4: Let the Yarn Bombing Commence…

yarn bomb ladderI rented a 14′ A-frame ladder and recruited 3 friends to help me carry it up the 2.6 miles and 2,500 feet along the Cold Spring Trail to the yarn bomb target. Unfortunately, we had just a 3 hour window to get it from the rental place up to the tree. That window coincided with high noon, the hottest part of the hottest day in a very long time. Oh, and that ladder is not just really freakin’ heavy, it’s also very cumbersome. So instead, we took it just past the catway (fire road) or roughly 1.5 miles up today and will finish bringing it up the rest of the way tomorrow when it isn’t quite so hot. All along the way, as I emptied my water bottle and squeezed the sweat out of my shirt, I thought to myself, “What the hell was I thinking,” closely followed by the mantra, “It’s gonna look so cool when it’s done,” repeated over and over again.

Ladder for the Yarn Bomb

LR4: Yarn Bomb Prep Complete

I finished prepping the sections tonight anKruzel System Completed was itching to get started, so I couldn’t resist a practice run. It’s not much, but I used one of the pieces sent to me by Yancey in ‘Bama to cover the post of the Cold Spring Trailhead sign. No one goes out there at 10 o’clock at night, so you can imagine my surprise when as soon as the yarn touched the post, a fire inspector truck creeped by and as we were taking these pictures, a police car flew by, followed closely behind by an ambulance. Can’t wait til Friday!

Yarn Bomb Trail

LR4: Yarn Pumped

After today’s drum recital I went right back to work sewing randomly sized pieces together to form properly sized sections according to the Kruzel System for Three Dimensional Pattern Organization. It’s a lot of freakin’ work, but I’ve now sewn together and packaged 86% of the maximum coverage. I can’t believe it, but thanks to everyone’s help, I am now very confident that I will not only cover every inch of the tree that I can reach with the 14 foot ladder I’ll be carrying up there, but I will likely also be able to wrap all of the Trail signs leading up to the tree! That’s a far cry from being yarn bummed, huh?

Section Sewing

Prepackaging Sections for the Yarn Bomb

LR4: Coast to Coast Bombing

One of my favorite things these days is the moment when I see a stack of packages come in with the mail. I’m going to miss that when the bomb goes off.

TOP: Today I received another incredible, overflowing box from Cathy in Pittsburgh, PA. Cathy, the huge box made me smile, but the colors blew me away!

MIDDLE: Marcy sent this beautifully intricate piece to me from San Diego, CA. I was psyched that she sent me a piece because she’s an experienced bomber herself. (See her blog for details on her Stop Sign Flowers)

BOTTOM: Responding to my plea on Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ FB page, Sue sent me 3 awesome pieces, made to spec, from Costa Mesa, CA.

I can’t thank you guys enough for helping me. You’ve all gone above and beyond to help a perfect stranger out, and have inspired me to kick my giving resolutions up a notch as I work on putting into action a “Pay It Forward” idea for the rest of the year. Stay tuned….

Cathy PA 12for2012 Yarn BombMarcy CA 12for2012 Yarn BombSue CA 12for2012 Yarn Bomb

LR7: 3 Vegan Weeks & Not Really Counting

Recall I decided to become a vegan not because I want to live forever, but because I want to enjoy every minute that I am here. To do that requires as much energy as I can muster. Therefore, what I was hoping to gain from becoming a vegan was more energy. It’s inevitable, whenever I say that to someone who knows me, they always ask incredulously, “YOU need more energy?” Yes, I need and want more energy. I want to learn, try, discover and fail at many more things in my life. I want to hike further and faster, read more books, launch more charities and generally be a more interesting person. To do that, I need more energy for many years to come.

After 3 weeks of following a vegan diet, I can emphatically pronounce I have substantially more energy now than when I started. I haven’t suffered from a single headache and I get a better nights rest as well.

If you are contemplating improving your life by becoming a vegan listen to just one piece of advice. Do not try to replicate your current diet. Don’t buy soy meatballs, veggie burgers, or fake cheese. Make a clean break from your old habits regarding flavors and textures. The longer you do this, the less likely you will experience cravings or resort back to old habits if they are close at hand while vegan options are not. Think of it like this. If you didn’t have any food immediately accessible to you right now would you substitute dirt or a light bulb for your usual burger? No, you would simply wait until you had access to actual food.

Vegan PancakesThis means you must be all-in in order for you to succeed. (I underlined succeed because if you can become a true vegan you will have succeeded at freeing yourself from weight problems, so many health issues and given yourself the gift of energy.) Try every vegetable put in front of you, even the ones you “know” you hate. Go to a restaurant and say, “I noticed you don’t have any vegan options on the menu. Could you have your chef make me a plate of vegetables, quinoa, grains and whatever else he sees fit to include, prepared however he/she likes so long as it doesn’t have any meat or dairy in it?” A good chef is an artist and will love the challenge to create something on the fly. You win by having a great new experience.

Vegan LunchTry doing the same for yourself. Here’s a lunch I threw together at home. It’s simply peas, corn, garbanzo beans and grape tomatos. I’m not sure how many calories it has or how much protein, but to be honest I’ll bet it’s far better for me than the Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza I would normally have resorted to in the past, and it tasted far better too.

Finally, I need to share two great sources of information and inspiration that I have discovered so far on my journey. I’m thankful that people who know so much are so willing to share with the those of us who don’t.

Vegan Sparkles – I love this blog for the density of information Rebecca delivers in a witty, fun way. Her blog’s title intrigued me and the content didn’t disappoint. It’s also chock full of great links that have been extremely helpful as well.

My Plant Based Family – Holly’s recipes and guidance for a vegan newbie is incredibly valuable and her enthusiasm is infectious. Her blog is incredibly organized, solving one of my pet peeves about blogs in general and making her wealth of knowledge readily available.

LR4: Bomb Strategy Session

Yarn Bomb StrategyI recruited two of the smartest guys I know, Will and Sean, to help me develop a strategic plan for executing the yarn bomb. Remember, we’re not bombing a square building or straight sign post. What we’re bombing is a living creature that has been growing organically for decades with odd shaped limbs sprouting every which way.

Kruzel SystemSean, an MIT grad, put his overpriced education to the test and devised a brilliant system for breaking the nearly 400 square feet of surface area down into an organized, quantifiable space. I’m dubbing it the “Kruzel System for Three Dimensional Pattern Organization”. I’m hoping this will become the standard for all future tree bombs. Feel free to inquire for details.

Thanks to the Kruzel System, I now see the tree as 53 distinct sections, each with its own set of dimensions for which I can select the right combination of knitted pieces to cover each. After a thorough analysis, it looks like I have 78% of what I need in order to hit a home run on this project and 63% of what I’d need to consider it a grand slam. BUT, I also think that even if I didn’t knit or receive another stitch, I will be able to hold my head high when all is said and done.

GeocachePS While climbing the tree yesterday we discovered a geocache including a notebook for finder entries hiding in the trunk about 12 feet up. We’ll add some pics of the final result to the canister when we’re all done.

LR5: Practice Makes Pretty Good

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1 week to go before my drum recital at Santa Barbara Drum Lab. Drum sticks are splintering and my hands are getting calloused. Loving every minute of it!

LR4: 225 Square Feet of Bliss

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Can you find yours?