Monday, February 28, 2011

Books and Needles

On Friday, BJ and I joined our friends Amber and Erik and braved the OKC Friends of the Library Booksale. In case you've never been, this place is a madhouse on crack. People, mainly hoarders as BJ and I have determined, feel the excitement about 50-cent books and they go absolutely hog-wild. I mean, seriously, fend-for-your-life-wild. And while you're at it, you better fend for your feet too, because some of the hoarders bring rolling suitcases, shopping carts, and outdoor trash cans (yes, you read it, TRASH CANS) to put their golden finds in. Suffice it to say, I'm 99.3% confident that the four of us were the most normal people there.

To show for our efforts, BJ and I came home that night with tired backs and a large number of books, all for under about 13 bucks. I chose a lesser number of books than BJ this year because I told myself before the sale that I have to read everything that I buy. This seems reasonable enough, but in years past I have found that, come annual booksale time, I still have one or two or ten books to read from last year's sale, which I thought at the time, "Hey, I might read this, and it only costs 50 cents!" and then of course did not read it. Here are my purchases from this year's sale:
  1. WLT by Garrison Keillor
  2. Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor (yes, I'm a GK fan)
  3. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (seemed appropriate)
  4. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (don't know yet if I'm a KJ fan...we'll see)
  5. Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban (has long been on my shelfari "to read" list)
  6. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
In addition to this book is a newly-acquired (and personalized!) copy of The American Zig-Zag by my favorite author Van Reid, previously referred to in a past post for his work on the Moosepath League books.  This new book is actually a series of short stories. So, my work is cut out for me. By the end of 2011, I have a goal of reading the above seven books. I can begin on the first one once I complete Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, with which I am nearly finished. In the days of yore, finishing seven books by the year's end would not have even been a question. Easily accomplished! With my recently-acquired hobbies of knitting, blogging, and jogging, however, Jenny-time must be divided, and reading sometimes comes last.

In other news, I had my third knitting lesson with Leslie today! Leslie has quickly become my favorite knitting buddy, and I enjoy chatting with her as she schools me. Today, Mr. Silas accompanied me to the lesson and was angel-baby, as usual, in his traveling high chair, eating his cheerios. I think that good karma is coming Leslie's way, as she understood that I had to make this appointment without having child-care, and still she was cool with me bringing not only Silas, but also his food to entertain him. When Leslie someday has a child of her own, may good things come back to her in the way of people understanding her baby-needs and pulling her a solid, just like she did for me today. Of course, I cleaned up our mess afterward, but still, she didn't have to acquiesce to my conditions! I know I haven't blogged much about knitting lately, but knitting I have been doing! I've now whipped out 2-1/2 adult scarves, 2 baby scarves, and 2 hats. I'd share my latest and greatest project, but I can't because two of you who read this blog are getting one, so I can't spoil the surprise...

Happy day to everyone!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wah Wah Wah

Do you ever experience a time interval in which you feel incredibly confident about your ability to do something? And in that time interval, which usually doesn't last long but feels like it could just possibly last forever, you set a goal for yourself that you look back upon and cringe? You think, why oh why did I ever say that I would do that? In the words of Dennis Quaid on the Ellen Degeneres show, "Why, God, why?" Why did I ever feel that I should increase my jogging distance goal from 5K to 10K? Now I'm stuck running really really far. Really far. Even worse, since I am the organizer of the marathon relay team, I'm ultimately responsible for finding the other people to run the needed legs of the race. So when my sister, God bless her, injured her knee and understandably had to back out of the longest leg (12K), I had to find someone else to take it...and the person I found only wanted my leg, the 10K, so here I am with the 12K leg. Wah.

Okay, I'm done wallowing.

The fact is, I'm in not-so-good shape in terms of my endurance. But let's be realistic here: is 12K do-able for me? No, it really isn't. But can I put in at least 8 or 9 good solid kilometers, with some walking in-between? Now THAT I can do! So today, realizing that I have only two short months to prepare for this run, I decided it was time to really get down to business and get my butt on the jogging trail! So there I went, and I started by running 1K, then walking 2 minutes, running 1K, walking 4 minutes, and then running one last K. Tomorrow morning I'm going jogging with my mom, who is one of my 5K-leggers. Time to really get consistent and get 'er done. Time is on my side.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Making It Happen

BJ was out of town this week once again for work, and looks to be traveling twice in March as well. I never like it when he travels, but I have learned a couple of things about myself since he has been gone so much lately: First is that I miss him when he's gone, both because he is my best friend and because he is such a good dad and a major helper. The second thing is that, if God forbid something happened to BJ, I would somehow manage to survive without him. I always thought that LeAnn Rimes song "How do I live without you?" is so stupid, because all the time people are forced to go on and pick up the pieces of their lives after their favorite person has left them or passed CAN be done. I don't like to think morbid thoughts, but sometimes I do, and the reason that I know I'm not like LeAnn Rimes (apart from being much more awesome than her) is that I have amazing family members and friends that help me out when BJ is gone, and so I would survive. To name only a few that provided extra help or consideration this week were BJ's mom Sus, my own parents, Silas' caretaker Courtney, who provides him with love and happiness two days a week while I'm working, my friend Chanda and her husband, who kindly ate ice cream with me last night after a week of work, and my friend Sara, who spent the entire morning with me just now and was a helper to me while caring for Silas. Now don't get me wrong: Silas is an amazing baby and makes it INCREDIBLY easy to continue to do things that I enjoy, such as meeting friends for coffee for an hour and a half (yay Silas, loving hims some Cheerios in a highchair!). But when it comes to raising a baby, every extra pair of hands helps. So thanks everyone who helped me this week. You're the support that I needed while BJ was away. And to cap this off, check out this pic of the most beautiful and delicious mocha I have ever had, courtesy of the Gray Owl Coffeehouse in Norman... Cheers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ode to Tex

We definitely got lucky with Tex. I remember the first moment I saw him, when we were visiting the farmer who owned him as a puppy, and Tex came running out of the barn, the first of the litter to come around the corner to us. This comes as no surprise now, as we know Tex well, and we know that he always likes to be in places first, even if that means shoving other adults, animals, and small children aside. As we petted Tex that day and then turned our attention to his brothers to check them out too, Tex became adorably jealous and found a giant weed to pull with his mouth. Then he proudly ran back and presented that weed to BJ, and we knew it was meant to be.

Now, that doesn't mean that sometimes Tex isn't a huge pain in the ass. He loves to bark, usually at nothing, and it invariably wakes Silas up from a much-deserved nap (at least, a Silas nap that mommy deserved). He snores terribly at night and throws his bowl on top of my bare feet when he feels it's his meal-time.  But all in all, Tex is wonderful and I'm so glad we've got him. He would argue that life has been difficult lately though. For beginners, he recently got a bath. Major suckage in the life of Tex, even when that bath takes place in the newly-renovated master shower and consists of warm water and oatmeal shampoo (and free hot dogs to lure him in). Even worse, last Friday he had to get his teeth scrubbed on and cleaned up by the vet, which required anesthesia. Poor Tex, although I would argue poor us, since that procedure was pricey. But things are also hard for Tex in his daily life. Just see here:

First of all, he has to play with his brother Silas. This is never easy.

Then he has to bring in the morning paper (for a treat, mind you!).

After that, we request that he vacuum under Silas' highchair for us. It won't be long before Tex trains him to drop that food for him on purpose...

And after he finishes all of that exhausting business, he feels it is his personal responsibility to guard the house by the front window, which typically results in him getting worked up into a tizzy over birds, schoolchildren, our neighbors pulling into their driveways, and nothing. Please note in this picture that Tex's hair is standing on end over: nothing. Do you see any rapists or murderers out in our driveway?

Finally, to further add to the fatigue of his grueling days, Tex must play with Silas some more...

and some more...

So thank you, Tex, for all you do. You bear your burdens well, old man.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Will Help for Coffee =)

Baby fever... I'm in the stage of life where it is pretty much all around me. As BJ and I entered our late twenties, our friends began having babies. We were on the seven-year plan ourselves and nearly made it there before welcoming Silas. Our friends, it seems, are all having the same ideas. Some of my favorite people in the world are either currently pregnant, attempting to get pregnant, or in the process of adoption. In this third group is my wonderful friend Cyndi, who has been in the long, heartbreaking process of trying to have children for many years, to no avail. They are currently in the later stages of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia, and the final result of holding baby Sera is, I believe, Cyndi's ultimate dream. And man oh man, I can think of no one who deserves it more. If you're interested, here is Cyndi's story.  Unfortunately, adoptions are extremely expensive. In order to assist Cyndi and her husband with the inordinate costs not only of the adoption process, but also of flying to Ethiopia to meet and bring home baby Sera, they are participating in a fundraiser where you can buy fair-trade coffee, and $5 goes straight to Cyndi's funds toward getting Sera into their loving arms. I'm in. Any support is appreciated. I'm not into making pitches for money unless it's something I honestly believe is worthy.  Cyndi has said that the company is founded by parents like herself who were adopting a baby from Ethiopia. Click here to check out Cyndi's store.

Blessings to you all tonight, especially to those of you who are doing your darndest to add to your families. Here is the latest from our little family addition below: snuggling in his Pop's arms. Pop gets all the snuggles. =)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Walmart Affair

Friends, I contend that you have not fully experienced motherhood with a baby until you've wrestled through a diaper explosion in a public place. When you have poop smeared all over you and people are watching, you have officially arrived. Have you ever checked out It's possible, I do believe, that friends could find my face on there now, if only someone was in the Neighborhood Market of Moore, Oklahoma yesterday and captured an image of Silas and me at our, er, not-so-best. Yesterday's experience may come to be affectionately known as "The Walmart Affair" in my memory.

The quick run-down: Silas and I were dashing into Walmart for two loaves of French bread for a get-together that we were on our way to. Quick dash-in = no diaper bag, because, hey, what could go wrong in three minutes? Famous last thoughts as the explosion occurs as Silas is on my left hip, rendering poopy all over both of us immediately. Sigh of patience as I realize I am screwed, and begin the walk back out to my car for the diaper bag, realizing with every squishy step that the diaper is leaking more onto me. Make it back to the family restroom, get Silas stripped down, clean everything as much as possible. Go to get new outfit for Silas and realize that both clean outfits I have for him are somehow soaked in spilled sippy cup water. Oops. Guess my baby is going to wear a diaper only in Walmart now. On to me, with feces smeared across my shirt. Smart me used to carry an extra shirt in the diaper bag just for such occasions, but compromised for space only about a month ago, leaving me no extra shirt. So, wriggling baby and all, I throw him onto my right hip with my weak right arm (remember, the left arm is always the one that holds the baby), so that I know I'll be seriously cramping in two minutes, but what is my choice? He can't rub against the poop. As we are leaving the restroom, I see a special "French bread" section at the front of the store and a line of only one person at the register. The hell if I'm coming back later! So my naked son clings to me in line (it's the winter, but thank God it was 65 degrees out) as the stench rises from my brown shirt. French bread purchased! Our next stop was back home before heading onto the dinner party, needless to say. A story for the ages....

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today is February 12, the birthday of my favorite President. How many people out there have favorite Presidents? I'm curious about your answers, and why it is that your chosen President has captured your respect.  My favorite, in case you haven't guessed from the birthday, is Abraham Lincoln, commonly regarded as one of the giants of this country for his incredible efforts to keep the country together during the Civil War. Last year at this time I had just concluded one of my all-time favorite reads, a biography of Lincoln entitled Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk.  Shenk's work contained both historical and psychological aspects, as Lincoln was known to have suffered from severe depressive episodes in which he was suicidal at times.  Given that I am a mental health professional, the book was perfectly up my alley.  Shenk gives a thought-provoking account of Lincoln's life, how depression was viewed at the time, and how he pulled himself out of suicidal spells and devoted his life to a cause.  Lincoln, according to Shenk's research, did not shy away from these depressive episodes, but rather embraced the way that they impacted his functioning and allowed the sadness to transform him into a man-on-fire.  This was an enlightened man who opposed slavery, blamed both the North and the South for their responsibilities in bringing it about, and fought tirelessly to restore harmony among the Union and bring freedom to a group of worthy African Americans who had never known it.  We often think now about the impossibility of a United States President actually being able to impact our individual lives; Lincoln, however, was a man who could and did.

I loved this book by Joshua Wolf Shenk. It was an excellent read and I was disappointed when it concluded. The last chapter had me bawling (which isn't saying much, to be honest), particularly the last line, in which Lincoln sees Congressman Isaac Arnold approaching on the White House lawn on the evening of April 14, 1865, and says to him, "Excuse me now...I am going to the theatre. Come and see me in the morning." =( If only...

I'll conclude with this paragraph that Shenk wrote about Lincoln, which I believe aptly sums the book:

Had he devoted himself to a guru or medical practitioner...he may have found comfort in someone else's prescription for him, at the cost of a vision that he'd already come to understand---that is, his desire to do something meaningful for which he would be remembered.

Happy birthday, Mr. President Lincoln. Though he may not have been happy, he has in turn brought happiness to many, many others.  May he rest in peace.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Parked On the Couch

Well, apparently our house is now the sick house on a frequent basis. BJ and I blame the routine "well-baby" check-ups at the pediatrician's office that seem to lead to "sick-baby" unhappiness a couple of days later. Grr. This time it was a stomach flu that began for Silas late Tuesday night. BJ and I both came down with it yesterday, me in the afternoon and BJ in the evening. Grr again. One thing I've learned is that it's difficult to wrangle a crawling baby when all you want to do is lay on the floor. I tried a number of tricks while waiting for BJ to get home from work and relieve me, most of which were successful and highly amusing to Silas. And when lying on the floor wasn't working, Silas found it extremely hilarious to see me vomiting. The boy was laughing harder than I'd ever seen him laugh, and all over my misfortune. I couldn't help but chuckle when it was all over.

Since I came down with the bug a few hours earlier than BJ, it stands to reason that he would still be suffering with it after I'm feeling better. At least there was a little bit of overlap. I'd say between the three of us that I'm faring the best, followed by Silas, who is still losing some fluids but generally is acting normal, and then BJ, who hasn't left the couch all day. Sadly, we have actually been selected to participate in the Nielsen TV ratings this week, so we are being paid $30 to log EVERY show that we watch this week on TV. Normally we wouldn't watch a lot of TV on a Friday, but my goodness, based on our logbook today we are totally going to contribute to the ridiculous average number of TV hours that Americans watch per week. And to further this sadness, it now also includes unfortunate viewing such as "Saved By the Bell: The College Years" and 30 minutes of "American Idol" (I was too nauseated to find the remote!). Don't judge me, Nielsen, don't judge me. I'm even considering writing, "We were sick!" on the log for Friday, just so that some anonymous data-enterer doesn't mutter, "WTF!?!" when recording our information. Ah well.

Here's to feeling better soon!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Body Is Cool

It's amazing to me how complex and well thought-out the human body is. The very fact that our bodies are governed by a brain that does not yet have the capabilities to completely figure out itself is testament to this extraordinary complexity. I was pondering this topic as I was shoveling driveways today and my arms and back were becoming increasingly stiff with exhaustion. If I just think of my own muscles, I understand that in recent months my left arm has become quite a bit stronger than my right because I typically have Silas hitched up on my hip with my left arm while using my right hand for more complex tasks. These, however, do not seem to be the same muscles that are primarily used when shoveling, because now I'm sore in all kinds of other places in my arms. This is also a different soreness than I am feeling in my right arm from my jog the other day (yes! I went on a jog around the park with Silas in the jogging stroller). Somehow I managed to jog for the first time in five weeks and get sore nowhere except my right arm, which was controlling the stroller. And this is also not the same soreness that happens after I've been knitting for two hours and realize that my hands are about to kill me. Wow, this post really sounds like a gripe-fest about how old and decrepit I am becoming, although that's certainly how I feel right now after my shoveling adventure. Really this post is just to express my amazement about how a crazy-smart Creator and millions of years of time passing have evolved us humans into finely-tuned works of art. Pretty sweet.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Leslie: Part 2

On Friday I attended my second private knitting lesson, and boy oh boy, did Leslie ever school me over again! That girl knows her #$%*! We spent the first hour doing what I desperately needed help with, which is fixing mistakes over and over again. We grabbed a ball of super chunky yarn and some size 15 needles so that it would be easy to see what I was doing, and she purposefully made what seemed like hundreds of mistakes and taught me how to fix them, and then made those same mistakes and gave it to me to fix. Of course, in the process of knitting with her I also made my own natural mistakes, which she was there to say, "Ooooh, what did you just do? How do we fix that? Nope, not like that...yes, there you go!" The result is that later that evening as I was knitting at home and realized I'd made a mistake three rounds back in my newest project, I had no problems tinking (tinking is the process of unknitting--note that *tink* is *knit* spelled backwards, tricky tricky) 135 stitches to get back to the problem AND fix it. Yeah baby. That's what I'm talking about.

So last night I finished my latest project, the Winter Brights hat:
This was a fun and easy project that Leslie told me would only take a couple of evenings to make, and though I doubted her, she was correct. Leslie decided after our mistake-fixing session on Friday that I was ready to begin working with circular needles and "knit in the round" as they call it, so we began work on this hat, and I must say I'm pleased with the result. Working in the round is different, but in my opinion, far preferable than knitting with two unconnected needles. Instead, the needles you work with are connected with a cable, so the project works itself around in a circle as you go. The Winter Brights Hat begins with a ribbed edge for three inches and then transitions into a seed stitch, which I had never done before but was pretty neat. So there it is folks: project number three is in the books! Knitting has been a fulfilling and fun new activity for me; not only do I honestly love the process of it, but then you get an end result that's cute and occasionally brag-worthy. =)

Have a great day readers! And congratulations to the Green Bay Packers!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


In spite of my previous post about the city's inability to handle snow, yesterday was pure bliss for me. I am fantastically in love with snowfall, and yesterday we got it all day long! I remember that even when I lived in Minnesota, I would be the one person in my class who would choose the colder window seat just so that I could spend half the class period looking out at the snow as it fell while listening to my professor. I never get sick of watching snow fall! So imagine my delight when I arrive at my eye doctor appointment at 7:30 yesterday morning and snow suddenly starts falling all around me in large flakes. Even better, it was the kind of snow that is beautiful as it falls but doesn't wreak too much havoc because it is falling.  When the appointment was done, I grabbed some breakfast for BJ and me and headed home to the boys. We had one more doctor's visit to handle for the day (a check-up for Silas at the pediatrician), and then it was on to my knitting lesson (which is basically pure bliss on top of pure bliss. Tomorrow I'll post about my newest project!). Then came pictures in the snow, and then BJ's parents came over for dinner and games, which was very fun. And all the while, the snow was falling beautifully. Nothing crazy-good happened, no winning the lottery, no major events, just a nice, cozy, wonderful day of normal activities taking place while watching snow fall onto the creek and woods from our dining room window.

Thank you, God, for days like yesterday. Those kinds of days, like so many others, just remind me of why I'm so lucky to be alive.

We Need Plows...Or Smarts

City governments in Oklahoma sure don't know how to handle this whole 'snow' thing. You'd think as much snow and ice as we've gotten in the last several winters, they would start figuring out a way for this kind of weather to not cripple our functioning! Now, I know that I'm spoiled because I spent four winters in Minneapolis, and they really know how to handle the snowfall. Plows are out immediately, salt is dispensed along the roadways, and voila, it's all good. Feasibly, I understand that Oklahoma cannot invest the financial resources into snow removal that Minnesota can, because we get a foot of snow a year and Minnesota gets at least five.  In the four winters I was there, one can deduce that I probably witnessed about 20 feet of snowfall, and with all of this we only had TWO snow days in the entire time I lived there.  Now, I'm not dissing Oklahomans in general, don't misunderstand me. We know how to handle the weather patterns that predominantly affect us around here, namely thunderstorms and tornadoes.  I just think that it's amazing that the cities around here can't make snow removal better for people to some degree. For those of you who don't live in this immediate area, what basically happened is that the Oklahoma City metro got about 8 to 12 inches of snow (depending on what part of the metro you're in) with some crazy high-speed winds and a little bit of ice on Monday night and all day Tuesday. Understandably, all schools and most businesses were closed on Tuesday and even Wednesday. But Thursday and Friday roll around and the road conditions are still HORRIBLE for the most part, except for the interstates, which are fine. School isn't back in session still, and my boba tea cafe has not reopened. Grr! City streets are coming along, but still are pretty bad in lots of places. And neighborhood streets, well...don't even get me started. Basically, the city doesn't plan to plow ANY of the neighborhood streets, and Moore is not alone in this! So we have approximately 8 to 12 inches of snow out in our cul-de-sac right now, and we will until this all melts, which doesn't appear to be anytime soon. And to top things off, I have seen no plows recently, and the trucks that we have seen are going around dispensing not salt, but sand. Sand. Please! No wonder schools aren't back in session. Can we figure this out please?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Can't Get Enough of 'The Moosepath League'

Today I'm writing a post about a series of books that is quite near and dear to my heart. I don't recommend books lightly, that's for sure. There are so many books out there that one could waste her time reading, so I always make a point to research for gems before I invest my limited time (I am not unique here...we all have limited time!). One way that BJ and I have had assistance with finding 'book gems' is via Nancy Pearl, whom I have written about on a previous post.  A librarian with connections to Tulsa, Pearl has read thousands of books and has compiled the best ones, in organized lists with summaries, into Book Lust, More Book Lust, and Book Lust To Go, all three of which I own.

But on to the point of this: Pearl recommended a relatively little-known series of five books by Maine-native Van Reid.  The series is entitled The Moosepath League, and consists of the stories of Cordelia Underwood, Mollie Peer, Daniel Plainway, Mrs. Roberto, and Fiddler's Green. Honest to God, never have I fallen in love with books like I have fallen in love with these stories. I own all five of them, two of which have been autographed by Van Reid himself! Reid's stories are connected through the characters and chronicle four upstanding and likable gentlemen, the members of the Moosepath League, as well as a number of beloved characters that they encounter (many of whom make appearances throughout two or more of the novels) as they happen upon trouble. Unbeknownst to the gentlemen, they thwart the schemes of naughty characters all throughout the books, often with hilarious endings.  The books take place in 1890's Portland, Maine, and the reader is introduced to a different time and place in which the railroads and maritime industry were kings, and people were interested in verbal story-telling rather as opposed to receiving stories through the television or radio as we often do in present-day. One of my favorite aspects of these books are the stories that take place within the stories, such as when a fellow passenger on a train, for instance, tells of the time that such-and-such happened to him. The stories in some way remind me of Seinfeld episodes, because each little piece ravels itself into a masterpiece that culminates in a way that the reader (or viewer, in the case of Seinfeld episodes) witnesses all pieces coming together in harmonious fashion.  The books are family-friendly, clean, hilarious, witty, and leave you wanting more. My personal favorites are Daniel Plainway and Mollie Peer. Sadly, I believe that the books may be out-of-print, but they can still be purchased on Amazon, or as I have found, at library book sales for absolute steals. Each time I find these hardbacks at the Friends of the Oklahoma City Public Library sale for a dollar apiece, I snatch them up and give them away to people, simply because I can't bear to think of what will happen to the books if I don't buy them.

Okay, I'll get off my Van Reid soapbox now. But let it be known that to librarian Nancy Pearl: I'll always be grateful to your recommendation of the Moosepath League. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Look

Friends, I am going for a different look on this blog. Don't despair, however; my fantastic writing skills remain the same. Tomorrow's post will be about my all-time favorite series of books...tease!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Knitting Queen (in my dreams)

Hi everyone! Happy snow day to those of you who live in Oklahoma! It's been an awesome day of horizontal snow and lazing around inside the house. Neighbors are coming over for dinner, so we won't feel too cooped up, and I just talked to my boss and she told me she is closing the office tomorrow too. =)

Before the snow vanishes off the ground, which seems to happen quickly in Oklahoma, I wanted to finish up my second knitting project, which was a scarf for Silas. I've posted a pic of it below, but don't have the picturesque snow in the background given the 50 mph northern winds. Babies don't seem to appreciate that kind of thing. For the scarf I chose a vibrant green solid-colored yarn because I wanted the basket-weave texture that I selected to pop out. Mission accomplished, I believe. I added the fringe this morning and must say that I'm impressed with the final product. My second knitting lesson with Leslie is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Also, to finish off the previous post about visiting Bam's house, BJ and I ended our mini-vacation by promptly leaving our suitcase on the bedroom floor without unpacking it since Sunday. Leaving suitcases around in our house for days on end is a frequent occasion in our house, but I suppose it won't be for long since we have a new "helper" to assist us with the unpacking process:
Enjoy this winter day, friends!