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Archive for the ‘Thursday Thirteen’ Category

Thirteen Things about just making it up.

  1. Top of my list is a book called How to Read the Bible, by James L. Kugel. It puts the Bible (and by that I mean the Torah, the one Christians call the Old Testament) into historical, archaeological and etiological context, as well as giving the traditional interpretations of the various elements and stories. It looks at the assumptions people bring to it as they read it, and why they bring those assumptions. It is just fascinating. I stumbled across it at Barnes and Noble in the US. The only problem is that, at 800 pages, it is hard to drag around in my backpack or read in the bath (although I’ve been doing the latter anyway).
  2. Biblical Literacy, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. I have several of Telushkin’s books, as I like him as a person and a thinker. He does a lot of speaking about Jewish ethics. I got this book because J was at a conference at which he was scheduled to speak, and when he arrived at the hotel, it had bumped him from his room. The desk dork was directing him to some Super 8 miles away so J, who recognized him from other talks, approached and offered him the other bed in his room. Telushkin gave him this book in thanks, and several others since, but they are made out to me as I’m the one who reads this sort of thing. Anyway, I’ve read a lot of it before, but it is an interesting companion to read along side #1. It’s only 600 pages, though.
  3. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, Wendy Mogel. This one was a Borders buy, but I’ve been looking for it, as several people recommended it. It is a parenting book along the sort I like – that say that this self-esteem thing is producing self-absorbed little shits for children (doesn’t put it quite that way, though) and they actually need a little hard work and to be allowed to experience failure and disappointment in order to grow up to be happy, successful adults. The twist on this one is that the author uses the Torah and Talmud as her jumping off points for parenting successfully.
  4. The Optimistic Child, Martin E. Seligman. Another parenting book that’s all for letting your kid fail on her own, and succeed on her own too. This guy’s thesis is that not allowing this sets our kids up for depression as they grow up, and we need to produce resilient, realistically optimistic kids in order to ‘innoculate’ them against depression. Based on a ton of research and study, and very interesting.
  5. The New Yorker, latest issue. This stays in my car in case I get caught without anything else to read. (heaven forbid!) My in-laws got me a subscription for Hanukkah last year and it has been one of the best gifts ever. The damn magazine is expensive, though, and up for renewal soon. I’m going to have to start making off with their copies again, which was what inspired the gift in the first place.
  6. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke. I read this to the older two every evening.
  7. Pain, The Fifth Vital Sign, Marni Jackson. It is a sort of sociological look at pain in our society and how we deal with it (or don’t, as the case may be).
  8. Stumbling On Happiness, Daniel Gilbert. It’s a kind of Freakanomics sort of look at happiness. Interesting. I think it is due back at the library soon, though.
  9. The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn and Hal Iggulden. Reminds me of my childhood, even if I’m not a boy. Asher and I are reading it. He’s very keen on the part about making a battery and about making a bow and arrow. He hasn’t discovered the chapter on hunting and skinning a rabbit so far, thankfully. I’ve noticed this book reviewed and wanted it, but it is damn expensive. The friend we stayed with in NY had a copy, though, and when I commented on it he gave me permission to steal it, so I did.
  10. Several days of newspapers that I refuse to recycle until I’ve at least had a look at.
  11. The Case Against Homework, by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish. The title is pretty self-explanatory. I haven’t opened it in a while because it is too painful, as Maya slogs through her homework each night. I’m toying with just giving it to the vice-principal as a gift.
  12. Blogs.
  13. Okay, I’ve run dry. But doesn’t the fact that I’m reading an 800 page book and a 600 page book together kind of make up for not having a thirteenth?


Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Thirteen Things about just making it up.

I just realized I’ve missed a ton of Thursday Thirteens. Oops.

Thursday Thirteen that suck about having ADD:

  1. Where did I leave my keys?
  2. I don’t remember where my wallet is.
  3. Overdue book fines.
  4. To do lists only work when you can find them.
  5. The grocery lists rarely make it to the grocery store.
  6. What did I come downstairs for?
  7. “Why did you leave the dishes out?” “Sorry, I got distracted.”
  8. “Why is this laundry basket in the middle of the floor?” “Sorry, I got distracted.”
  9. “Did you finish putting the groceries away?” “Sorry, I got distracted.”
  10. Never getting out of the house on the first try.
  11. Everyone thinks you are dopy.
  12. It can be hereditary and then you can’t help him as much as you should because you forget as much as he does.
  13. Forgetting to charge your cellphone so that when you can’t find it, you can’t phone it to find it by the ring.


Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Thirteen Things about just making it up. Not much time to write, as I am still madly decluttering with my mother’s help. Thank goodness for mothers, especially mothers with energy, because even though I have none left, she just keeps me plowing through it. So, in honour of the decluttering, 13 things I’ve gotten rid of so far:1. a zillion baby toys.

2. functioning but battery-hogging walkie talkies.

3. a pile of books.

4. Tons of kids’ artwork and old schoolwork.

5. A big bag of old clothes.

6. all the kindersurprise and Wendy’s toys I could find.

7. Many dried out markers and broken crayons.

8. A big annoying plastic bowling set J thought was a good idea.

9. Two baby quilts my mother made, that she declared substandard.

10. Several baby sweaters my mother knit.

11. Several perfectly good and intact games my children never play with (to a consignment store – I can’t bear to throw out perfectly good stuff, which is part of my problem).

12. All the baby noisemakers musical instruments.

13. My will to live (because decluttering in this heat is hell and there’s still so much left to do…).

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Thirteen Things about just making it up.This Thursday is the 100th Thursday Thirteen, wherein we are supposed to talk about our favourite Thursday Thirteens. But I haven’t done enough of my own and I confess I haven’t the time to go poking around the others right now, as I am supposed to be getting us ready for our vacation and not even in front of the computer at all. (I was just checking the weather, I swear.) So I am going my own way. I’m only a couple of weeks away from my 41st birthday. Like many other people, I saw the new decade as a time to make some new plans for my life. This is a look back. 13 things about the year I was 40.

1. Upon turning 40, I was determined to get fit and healthy, and lose weight in the process.

2. I am fatter and my fibroymalgia is worse.

3. I was going to exercise regularly.

4. I do, but it makes not difference to my weight or health (so far?).

5. This was the year to get my career kick-started.

6. It refused to start.

7. I don’t feel like I’m in my 40s. My younger brother certainly can’t be turning 40 this year, and my parents clearly aren’t old enough to have children in their 40s.

8. Despite it all, I’m happy.

9. I never imagined having getting a dog this year.

10. I highlighted my hair for the first time.

11. But just for fun, because I still have no gray hair to speak of – maybe 10-15 hairs.

12. I’m getting better for standing up for myself and telling people when they are pissing me off. I’m not sure if that is good or bad.

13. This year was, to be honest, pretty much the same as the one before – some expected things didn’t happen and some unexpected did. And so it goes…

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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We spent the long weekend at the cottage. I thought it was obscenely cold, but the kids still swam. I wonder when a child develops nerve endings? Not at 11 years old, judging by Maya.

Old family friends of J’s family have the cottage across the street, so our kids play together every summer, picking up like they’ve never been apart. They swim, play in the sand, climb around on the rocks, have campfires, go on adventures in the woods and basically have an idyllic a childhood summer as seems possible these days.

This year, of course, we added the dog to the mix, imagining that he will make it just that much more idyllic. And they do love him, take him for walks, play with him on the beach when he’s allow there. What I didn’t expect when I got him was that I’d want the dog to have good summer too. Now, instead of hanging out on the beach all day, I go back up to check on the dog, and take the time out to go for long walks down country roads and in the woods. He’s clearly delighted and I’m glad he’s happy too.

My mother-in-law is not so happy. His existence drives her nuts. We delusionally thought that if we had a good dog, one that didn’t shed, bark, jump or beg, she wouldn’t mind him. We never expected her to like him, but at least maybe she wouldn’t mind him. And he was good this weekend. He does still counter-surf and steal food off neglected plates. He sticks his nose under Maya’s arm at dinner and tries to get as close to her plate as he can, hoping to snag something off her fork. He takes kids’ toys and jumps on the furniture, staring at us like we are mad when we order him off. But he did none of that this weekend. He was the Stepford dog, he was so good.

But we knew it was hopeless when she snapped during lunch that we had to get him out of the room, as he was driving her crazy. We, including my father-in-law, looked in amazement at Jasper, sitting several feet from the table completely quietly, nose in the air in appreciation of the foodie smells, and asked what he had done to offend her. “He’s smelling!” she objected.

She might well have said ‘he’s breathing,’ since clearly that was the real problem.

She does appreciate one thing – I walk him. I clearly need more exercise and, for Jasper’s sake, I get it. I walk him for hours, and I like it, as it is peaceful and he is happy. But you now what pisses me off? I haven’t lost a single pound. Bloody figures.

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Here’s an ‘Eeewwww’ for you – a couple of weeks ago, I wrote my Thursday Thirteen on the heat, trying to appreciate my lack of air conditioning. I naively entitled it Thursday’s Hot Thirteen. I  was surprised to see how popular that Thursday Thirteen was, until I realized that the search string people are using to find it is “hot thirteen.” I just realized they aren’t looking for the Thursday Thirteen meme, they are looking for thirteen-year-olds. So, for those of you who make it here with the same search string: stop being such a pervert, you freak.

And, frankly, that goes for the people looking for ‘funny videos of teenagers breastfeeding’ too.

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Thirteen Things about just making it upThe kiddies are out of school! Yesterday was the last day. At 6:50 am, Asher showed up beside our bed and whined, “I’m so bored!” Not a good sign. Nevertheless, inspired by summer vacation, I’m going to come up with 13 good things about the kids getting out of school for the summer.1. NO MORE MAKING LUNCHES. Sorry about yelling, but I loathe making lunches for school. We have milk days and meat days and children who will eat practically anything we hand them at home but pretty much none of it at school and it drives me nuts.

2. I don’t have to drive back and forth to the school twice a day.

3. NO MORE HOMEWORK. Okay, I know I’m yelling a lot, but I loathe homework too.

4. We don’t have to be so rigid about bedtimes.

5. No schedule in general.

6. I get to sleep in more.

7. Family vacation.

8. The kids and I get to hang out more.

9. No homework (it’s worth two).

10. Lessening peer pressure.

11. I get to feel like less of a failure for incessantly forgetting to return permission slips, send in magazines to be cut up, signing spelling tests, etc. There’s less to forget in summertime.
12. Asher is a happier, less-frustrated kid out of school (although this year was better).

13. After two months of this, I’ll be delighted to see school start again.


Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about just making it upJ and I are headed off this weekend to New York. It is his parent’s 40th birthday present to him. I’m just along for the ride, because how much fun would it be for him if I weren’t there? (Don’t answer that!) So here are Thirteen Things I Like About My Husband.1. He’s very funny and keeps me laughing, but of course I cannot think of a single example of his marvelous humour right now.

2. He does the dishes every night and doesn’t complain. Much.

3. He lets me sleep in.

4. Before we had kids, he agreed that there was no logical reason they should automatically have his last name (I kept mine) and now the girls have my last name and the boy has his.

5. When we have people over for dinner, he does most (or all) of the clean-up, knowing that the preparation has me wiped out. I sit, he jumps about and the female guests sigh with envy.

6. Even though he swore he’d never have a cat again after mine peed in all his shoes one night (we found her a new, kidless home) when Maya was a toddler, he agreed to getting them again a few years ago, because pets are good for kids.

7. He then went on to acquire a dog as well, because he thought his son would benefit, so now he’s a guy who grew up in a no-pet house living in a house full of pets and coping pretty well.

8. He stands up to his mother for me when she is acting crazy.

9. He has never complained once about my weight gain and is always fully supportive of my attempts to lose.

10. He always encourages me to push myself beyond where I believe (and many others believe) I can go, like hiking down the Grand Canyon.

11. He supports my little environmental ‘whims’ like composting and installing my clothesline each year, even though he thinks it is all hooey.

12. He knows how to buy gifts a girl truly loves. He bought me a web cam in those early computer years after Maya was born so I could show her off to distant relatives. He bought me a Palm Pilot, and managed to get it on open-box sale so it was even cheaper. (I love saving money) and he took me to Israel for my 40th (okay, so some of those are gifts only ones this girl would love, but isn’t that what counts?)

13. He loves me.


Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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The Informal Matriarch just tagged me for a meme. I’m touched, I really am, but I’m going to have to wait until I return to do it, or I won’t even manage to get read to leave. I haven’t even tackled that BlogRhet Mary G. tagged me for, after WordPress broke my heart and ate it last time.

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Thirteen Things about just making it up

WordPress hates me and ate my post again, this time the 13 good things about not having air conditioning*, which I wrote to make me feel better as the sweat trickles down … well, you know.

1. My feet never get cold.
2. I never miss the smell of fresh air.
3. I get to sleep in the warm air with the fan blowing on me, which I love, without J complaining that it is inefficient to open the windows at night and let out all the canned air, as I do when our air conditioning works.”
4. I’m saving money.
5. I can feel virtuous about using less energy as well.
6. I have an excuse not to cook, as it will heat up the kitchen too much.
7. When it gets really hot, I can use it as an excuse not to do any housework at all.
8. It is also a good excuse for ice cream. (Like I need an excuse!)
9. The kids have no reason to hide out inside and so they go out and play in the little backyard pool instead.
10. When it gets really bad, I have to take them to the water park, where I cannot work and am forced to just read a book instead.
11. It’s good for getting sympathy from friends.
12. Sometimes that sympathy translates into invitations to their house and occasionally, a pool is involved (although that has yet to happen this year).
13. The last time I wrote this out, I had 13 things. Stupid WordPress. When I remember what the last one was, I’ll stick it in here, I swear.

It did it again! It ate the whole thing! But this time, I was smart and I copied it first! Ha! Take that, Worpress!
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Ooops, I missed Thursday! I was all distracted by the great news my friends got. In honour of the arrival (finally!) of their referral for their daughter, 13 things I love about babies:1. They love you unconditionally. They don’t care if you are fat or bald or missing a nose, they think you, as the parent, are the most wonderful thing ever. (Now, in case some teenager is reading this and thinks, “Yes, this is why I want a baby! I want someone who loves me, I’d like to point out that they also don’t care if you are tired or sick or bored, they want what they want when they want it and it is all up to you to provide it, so don’t go thinking that unconditional love thing carries the day.)2. It is so easy to solve their problems. They fall down, you hug and distract them. They can’t stick their fingers in the light socket, you hug them and distract them. A little love and a little distraction is all it takes to solve most of the average baby’s problems. When your kid comes home to tell you that Jacob told all the other kids not to play with him because he’s stupid, or your daughter gets dumped by her first boyfriend, you long for the days a hug and kiss from mom could actually fix a problem.3. Their heads smell amazing.

4. Their feet are so soft and smooth and clean and small. As they age, it is all downhill for most of their body parts, but particularly the feet.

5. The sharp, white, perfectness of that first tooth peeking through the gums.

6. They don’t yet speak and therefore never say, “You aren’t wearing that, are you?” or “I wish you were more like Christopher’s mom,” or “You know what’s weird? All your stories are boring. Hasn’t anything interesting ever happened to you?”

7. You know every inch of their body so well. As they age, suddenly they have big foreign feet and you no longer know what their hair feels like with shampoo in it.

8. Their brilliance. All babies are brilliant, making the most surprising and marvelous connections. One day you say, “Where’s your doggy?” and they point to it! Brilliant.

9. Their persistence. They try to turn over from front to back and can’t, but do they quit? Nope. They just keep trying over, and over and over, until they get it. Same with sitting up, crawling, walking. They just never stop trying.

10. You get to see the world a whole new way through their eyes. Everything is cool. Look at that big dog! Isn’t the kitty soft? What do you see? A bird! And since they learn so fast, it just keeps being new.

11. That whole-body smile they give you when they see you after you’ve been away (even if it was to the bathroom).

12. How when they are hungry and fussing and you put them on the boob (I assume it is the same with a bottle, but I don’t know) and they get that first taste of milk, their whole body relaxes and their eyes practically roll up in their heads like I imagine happens with a heroin junkie who has just shot up.

13. When they finally calm down after a crying fit and their little body relaxes onto your shoulder until it is completely limp. There is no feeling like the soft weight of a sleeping baby on you.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

1. Pass the Chocolate

Thirteen Things about just making it up

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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I missed this last week, since we were up at the cottage celebrating Maya’s birthday. I’m back on the wagon, though. Here are Thirteen Things I love about gardening and my garden. I’ll add pictures in an attempt to make this less boring for you non-gardening types.1. Gardening is the opposite of instant gratification. It is a long-term process and is also good therapy for control freaks. You can plant something, but it might get eaten or die, or start spreading in directions you never imagined. You can work with your garden, but you cannot control it.2. It is beautiful and smells great after the rain. No other front yard in this burb smells the same.

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3. Blue flax, pictured above. I haven’t seen this in anyone else’s garden (and believe me, I look at gardens). I found it at a farmer’s market, clearly having just been hacked out of the ground. They were asking an outrageous $30 for it, but I was captivated and could not resist. It turned out to be the best deal. These lovely flowers last only a single day each, but every single day a whole mass of new flowers blooms, all summer long. You don’t have to dead-head the old flowers (on many perennials, to keep them blooming, you have to cut off the old flowers). Each flower produces a pod of 10 seeds, which I’ve collected in the past two years and spread around my garden. I now have flax popping up everywhere. (Anyone want any seeds? I have tons.)

4. It has given me a new appreciation of rain. No longer is it just a nuisance. Now when it rains, I’m happy my plants are getting a thorough soaking and I don’t need to bother watering my seedlings.

5. There really is no taste like that of veggies you have grown yourself, picked straight from the garden.

6. African daisies. I tend to avoid annuals – they take a lot of water and dead-heading and then they just die, but I was struck by these as I passed by at the garden center. In the sun, the centers seem to sparkle. It is raining right now, so I can’t get a photo of mine, but this is what they look like:

daisy.jpg

7. Lee Valley Tools. I’m so sorry for all you Americans that you don’t have this store. It was started by a guy with remarkable ethics and has customer service that has to be seen to be believed. They test every product they carry. Not only will they take back anything you aren’t satisfied with, but they’ll bend over backwards to figure out how to fix your problem. When they stopped carrying my favourite pruner, which I found out when the blade broke, the person helping me figured out where the final few replacement blades were stored, dug them out, replaced the blade for me (and cleaned the pruner) and gave me the rest, since they no longer needed them. Once, they got a price reduction on some item and sent out rebate cheques to everyone who had already bought one. And they have the coolest things, like this:

bug-catcher.jpg

It allows you to catch any bug from a distance and then free it without ever getting close. So cool.

8.Surprises! In a garden the size of mine, which I’ve been slowly building over the years, there are always plants I forget I’ve planted. Then they start peeking up in April or May and I get to watch and see what develops. Sometimes I have absolutely no memory of planting them, which is kind of scary, but it is also a little like getting an unexpected gift.

9. Stargazer lillies. I love my lillies, but this one in particular smells like spicy cinnamon. It is the most remarkable smell from a flower.

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8. Visiting gardening centres. They are so filled with possibilities and even when I swear I’m not buying anything this time, I always find something I have never seen before.

10. Thyme, creeping Jenny, clover and periwinkle; in other words, not grass. These are all lovely ground covers that seem to do a much better job of choking out unwanted weeds and they flower as a bonus. I have them all coming from different directions in my garden, so it will be interesting to see what happens when they meet in the middle – who will win?

11. It’s forgiving. If you plant something in the wrong spot, you can move it. I’ve just decided to dedicate the back to veggies, so I’m moving all my lillies and daylillies to the front. Nothing is set in stone in a garden (except the stones).

12. It’s surprisingly good exercise, all that digging and hauling.

13. It feels like an actual accomplishment. When you do laundry, it just gets dirty again, but if you plant a plant, it stays planted (unless a bunny gets it, of course). It is much, much more satisfying.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

1. Pass the Chocolate

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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