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wotd: sylvan

sylvan \SIL-vuhn\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to woods or forest regions.
2. Living or located in a wood or forest.
3. Abounding in forests or trees; wooded.
noun:
1. A fabled deity or spirit of the woods.
2. One that lives in or frequents the woods or forest; a rustic.

Little of the desert experience is sylvan. In Arizona pretty much any grove of trees is a mesquite bosque, unless you're in a riparian area, then you've got your cottonwoods. But when we get good spring rains the desert is tranformed for a brief few weeks. Every shade of brown is cloaked with perceptible green. Shoots of green push up through the sand and pebbles underfoot, sometimes boasting tiny flowers of purple, yellow, or coral. Fairy duster brushes the air with its little red bristles. Last year's brittlebush growth crowns itself with fresh green. Soon the sacred datura will open its white flowers. A far cry from sylvan but for Tucson, spectacular.

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wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

It's easy to tell yourself that you'll write a daily blog entry using the word of the day from dictionary(dot)com as a prompt, and equally easy to temporize your daily entry by waffling over what to write about, or evading your obligation by procrastination. There. Bedtime.

expanding my culinary horizons

After last night's culinary debacle, today's culinary surprise was particularly welcome. My dear friend Rukmi brought me lunch! Rukmi is Sri Lankan. She cooks the best food. I ate a fish and egg croquette, lentil curry, saffron rice, all with delicious chicken and what I thought might be tuna. I asked Rukmi what the meat was, and she told me it's all chicken. "The flat, triangular meat? With the spices? Is it tuna?"

She laughed lightly. "That's a wegetable," she said, in her lovely Sinhalese way.

"Oh, yeah? Like a beet?" That made sense, because it flaked like tuna steak or like beets might.

"It is jackfruit."

Jackfruit? Jackfruit! I ate jackfruit today. Rukmi told me all about it: she used canned young jackfruit she bought at G & L Market on 22nd St.; fully grown jackfruits are gigantic and if one fell on your head it could kill you. When fully ripe, jackfruit is full of big pods that each have a seed in the middle, like a po…
Jack doesn't have many "activities." I don't relish the thought of driving him to soccer, piano lessons, gymnastics, tae kwon do, KidzArt, swim team, T-ball, so on, and so forth. Not to say that I don't recognize the value of these activities, but I witness firsthand the toll a full schedule takes on little ones. On Monday nights Jack and his cousin participate in Young Champions of America Karate, which is more about learning discipline, respect, and self defense than it is about martial arts.

Recently we've picked up a new activity, which is also about learning discipline, respect, and creativity: Tucson Lego Club.


He was invited to join by Nathan and Lucas, friends from church who also attended the preschool a few years ahead of Jack. Here he sits between them, at a table surrounded by 6 other boys, each of them building a lavish Lego creation.


Members spend an hour building and fraternizing, sometimes more fraternizing than building, but at the end of the h…