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Wrapping up the work week

Today's my last day to transport the little Amish girls to and from their school. It's been a lot of fun for me and yesterday they told me I'm more interesting than their regular driver, who "doesn't talk much." Heehee.

Each afternoon I ask what the best part of their day was. They're preparing for a Christmas program, and each day they've said, "Practicing for the program!" Each child in the school will sing one or more songs and recite a poem and a Bible verse. The entire Amish community attends the presentation, which is held the day before Christmas.

The children get Christmas Day off from school, but go back the very next day. No extended winter break for these kids. But their school year is shorter, ending in April, than the public school schedule  around here.

Thanks to those of you who weighed in on my minimum-wage post. I appreciate your thoughts. I also meant to add that many, many, MANY minimum-wage (or less) workers I see are definitely not teen-agers. In fact, many times they are much older than I am. Maybe they're working just to keep busy, but I doubt it.

HOPEFULLY today is the last day we'll have a work crew here trying to fix our water issue. Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. It's always good to know I'm not alone in my despair. Misery loves company – an excellent reason to blog!

But life is not all misery.

Lately life has been almost all knitting. I got the Pretty Comfy knee socks done, wrapped and shipped yesterday. I had to print out blocking instructions and tuck them into the package, because hand-knit socks really need blocking before they're presented. But blocking means soaking in water. And water, AS YOU KNOW, is kind of a premium item around the Middle of Nowhere these days. Also, I wouldn't have had time to block AND dry them, so they got sent as is, right off the needles.

My granddaughter wears the same shoe size I do, but she's quite petite. The socks fit me with a bit of stretching over the calves, so I think they'll be perfect for her. I hope she likes them, but as I learned with the sister gift, it's best not to have high expectations. Especially when it's a teen and a hand-knit gift.

(My sister lives more in the Middle of Nowhere than I do – no Indian markets nearby. No internet access either. OH WELL. I gave her suggestions and she knows how to cook. End of that story.)

I started a pair of Felted Clogs for my daughter-in-law last night. I lost my pattern, but was more than willing to shell out for a replacement which is now available as a download that I can store forever in Dropbox. It takes about six knitting hours to complete these, plus felting and drying time. I'm visiting with my son and his family after Christmas, so – depending on the water situation – I should have plenty of time to felt and dry them.

And more not-misery: President Obama is commuting the sentences of eight inmates who have served way too much time for minor roles in crack-cocaine cases. One is Clarence Aaron, who was the subject of a PBS Frontline piece in 1999. He received three life sentences for introducing a dealer to a buyer. Here's his story.

Through my volunteer work at a federal prison camp I've met many women who are serving time imposed under the unfair mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Those laws are being reformed and even being made retroactive, but the wheels of justice turn slowly. I'm so very happy for the eight whose sentences are being commuted. According to Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), however, there are several thousand still waiting.

FAMM rightly points out that while President Obama has the power to pardon or commute sentences, only Congress can change the laws. There are SO MANY reasons to vote for candidates who believe in upholding human rights instead of restricting them.

The next election cycle has already begun here in West Virginia. We're being bombarded with a mixture of holiday shopping and negative campaign ads on television. We Democrats could win big – it's possible we could take all three seats in Congress and the open Senate seat. I hope all this early campaigning doesn't lead to apathetic voters next November.

I guess it's up to me – and you, if you live in West Virginia – to make sure that doesn't happen.

T-minus two hours (give or take) before the work crew arrives. Water by the end of the day is the goal. Film at eleven.


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Update on the water: the circuit breaker tripped, either due to a power surge when the electricity came back on last night OR when lightning struck in the area. My neighbor's electric fence control box got hit in the same area. He was able to reset the circuit breaker for us and we have WATER! I think I'll go do a load of laundry. Heh.

It's all about the food

The dieting portion of this blog is temporarily suspended. Continue reading at your own risk.

If you’re going to throw a party, be sure to have good food and plenty of it. That’s my daughter’s philosophy, and I think it’s pretty good advice.

The members of the group who will be here Thursday night are middle-aged and older, so I think mostly traditional appetizers are in order. We’ll have Swedish meatballs and those little sausages cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, along with artichoke dip, hummus with vegetables and crackers, a bowl of cinnamon-spiced nuts and a fruit pizza.

Cupcakes are on the menu. Cupcakes sure seem to be popular these days – Google Blogsearch came up with 1,181,447 hits and is selling a boatload of cupcake cookbooks.

Mine are plain old chocolate, and will be decorated with the words “Yes We Can” on top. I think some will be iced in blue and some in white, with red lettering.

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And the winner is …

Kitten with a Whiplash, who left two comments and it was the second (which had nothing to do with the contest) which won the prize. Congratulations, and since the Kitten was the only commenter who expressed any interest in actually winning it, I'm so glad the Universe took care of it. Heh.

What a weekend! But first, how was yours? I hope you did some fun stuff and got some necessary stuff done, as well. It's all about balance.

Saturday was our fun day (but we had to drive, drive, drive to get there and then drive, drive, drive home again, all in one day, boy was I tired). We went to my husband's granddaughter's first birthday party. In addition to a sweet little doll, suitable for ages 0+ (meaning it has no parts that will come loose, and do you know how difficult it is to find dolls for babies when you live in the Middle of Nowhere?), I made her this:

I haven't sewn anything in a month of Sundays, so was a little apprehensive about finishing it on time, but this p…