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Somewhere down the line, tacos became synonymous with ground beef, seasoned with a pre-mixed packet and served with pre-shredded seasoned cheese, maybe some sour cream, shredded lettuce and salsa. There might be black olives from a can, for some reason.

Currently, Desert Willow trees with their fragrant, orchid-like flowers are filling the Santa Cruz Valley with soft, spring color. Not a true willow, Chilopsis linearis is a member of the family of blooming plants that includes Yellowbells and certain trumpet vines.

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The last few weeks have been a pleasant palate cleanser for me as my usual fare of action films, adventure flicks, comedy pieces and supernatural tales has been replaced with a steady stream of small personal dramas and based-on-true-events stories. It's sort of like eating your fruits and vegetables again after too much candy and ice cream.