Monday, January 30, 2012


perspicacious \pur-spi-KEY-shuhs\, adjective:

1. Having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning.
2. Archaic. Having keen vision.

Perspicacious is derived from the Late Latin word perspicācitās meaning "sharpness of sight."

While I was working at HUD, the state director, Terry Goddard, described me with this word and I thought "uh-ho" my chances at continuing with the HUD Tucson office are now doomed for sure. I knew that my director (she who shall not be named) was already "nervous" about me and feared that I wanted her office director job which I definitely did not. And yes, my HUD career ended with my two year Fellow contract.

As this word popped up on my daily word email, I wonder if this characteristic has become "archaic." More and more in my community development profession, I have concluded that an emerging asset is to not see too much or say too much--but to just know enough to get along, get the "job" done. Yes, this is a cynical conclusion which is one of the main reasons I am shifting my professional efforts into writing which, I hope, is still an area where having keen sight is a strength not a weakness and certainly not a liability.

In your profession, is being perspicacious valued?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Another word play for the day:

serry \SER-ee\, verb:

To crowd closely together.

Serry is from the Middle Frenceh serré which was the past participle of serrer meaning “to press tightly together.”

Serry in a poem by afonte

As I sit at my desk,

clicking the computer keyboard

to the rhythm of Mozart,

I see my late morning birds

as they serry around seeds

and soothe their fluffed feathers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

word play

I have been saving up some of my favority "word for the day" links and am going to play with one for you today.

The word is "persnickity":

persnickety \per-SNIK-i-tee\, adjective:

1. Overparticular; fussy.
2. Snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob.
3. Requiring painstaking care.

Persnickety dates back to the late 1800s. It is a variant of the Scots word pernickety, which is of uncertain origin. Pernickety is perhaps related to other Scots words with the per- prefix, like perskeet which meant "fastidious."

Example (true one)): "Don't be so persnickity, young lady," my Grandmother Dice would admonish me, referring, as I recall to how particular I could be about getting my clothes folded "just so" when I stayed overnight on the farm. Somewhere along maturity, I let go of that craziness and now you could hardly call my socks, etc. drawer the evidence of a persnickity personality. Same goes for housecleaning which Mark and I seem to "trim" to bare essentials every other weekend. My Aunt Margaret used to iron sheets and underwear (so I am told) for her family, and my mom never did that. But she was "fussy" about her housecleaning and even in her late 80s she would pressure my dad to clean the chandelier in their Green Valley townhome when the slightest coating of dust was seen on the glass.

I like the word for the way it sounds, too: when you say it out loud, the mouth has to purse up and pull back tightly--so the sounds mirror the meaning.

Do you have a fav word you can "play" with today?

Friday, January 20, 2012

reflection on a sculpture

In mid January, my hubby and I visited the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens where these lime-green glass sculptures greet visitors as they enter the urban oasis.

A winter storm was beginning to emerge from the west coast.

One element that intriques me about this photo, as I gaze on it in the quiet of my home office, is the variety of textures in the shot.

Those textures are in the rocks, wall and plants surrounding the man-made artwork. How many can you find?