A little bit about a lot of things:

• Graduations recently brought the local school year to a close in our communities, with Gustine High School’s Friday evening commencement the last of the bunch.

Mother Nature should get an honorary degree for being at least somewhat cooperative.....or GUSD gets kudos for excellent timing, with its programs falling neatly between the most extreme of two recent hot spells! We’ve had some scorchers at Gustine graduations in the past.....commencement is no fun when the mercury is well into double digits, and a week into June there are no guarantees of pleasant temperatures.

The programs were wonderful (loved the graduation changes at Gustine High) but the lack of designated on-street parking and sidewalks leading to the GMS campus definitely creates a challenging situation on graduation night. Cars were parked along Sullivan, on Hunt, on Grove....anywhere people could squeeze in to create their own impromptu spaces.

There is never enough parking at schools when graduation rolls around, as I know well from living less than a block away from Orestimba, but the situation at GMS really underscores the lack of surrounding improvements.

Perhaps it is time to consider moving the middle school promotion program to the high school stadium.....granted, parking is limited there as well but I’d prefer to see cars distributed through neighborhoods and downtown, where there are sidewalks and designated parking and a little more sense of order. You’ve got the venue already in place with the stadium.....although granted the westerly orientation looking into the setting sun is not optimal.

Not a perfect solution, but perhaps one which merits consideration.....at least until some improvements are made around the GMS campus.

Just sayin’.

• Guess this is just life in today’s world.....

Made a purchase recently at a business using my debit card, and lo and behold about an hour later a second charge was posted against my account....that’s never good!

So I went through the process of canceling my ATM card as a precaution and disputing the second charge, which apparently involves filing an affidavit to try to get back my 50 bucks that I didn’t spend in the first place.

I also realized just how much I have come to rely on my ATM card.....several times during the week I found myself reaching for it without a second thought, only to remember (sometimes after I had tried to  use it) that my card had been invalidated.

The whole “cashless society” is often convenient but also has its drawbacks.

It’s just so easy to use the card. I don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of cash, and as far as checks go I write maybe one every six months, if that. I’ve been on my last book of checks for longer than I can remember.

My new card arrived recently, and I’m sure I’ll quickly get back into the same old habits.

All things considered, this episode was more an inconvenience than a crisis.

But that is the second time something of that nature has happened to me. It’s certainly no fun, to say the least.

• So graduations are done, but that doesn’t mean things are quieting down on the West Side.

We’ve got Friday night farmer’s markets in downtown Newman through the month of June, the Comforting Kids car show June 23 in Newman’s Pioneer Park, a Healthy Choices for Our West Side summit June 24, the Westside Color Run and Miss Gustine Pageant on a busy June 29, Gustine FFA’s tractor pull on July 3 and, of course, a host of July 4 festivities in Gustine.

July also brings the Linguica Run car show in Gustine, GPS festa, Stanislaus County Fair and....hey, before you know it we’re back in school again!

So much for the lazy days of summer!

• So I guess I’ve always been a little opinionated.....and apparently that trend started at a very early age, if an elementary school essay I recently came across is any indication.

I’m not sure what grade I was in at the time, but my selected essay topic was “What I Think Good Schools Should Offer in Music.”

That was interesting, since I don’t have a musical bone or ounce of rhythm in my body.

But that didn’t stop me from sharing my two cents worth at the time.

I wrote that I thought music should go beyond choral, students should be required to learn how to read musical notes “even though I am not exactly crazy about them” and there should be opportunities (but not mandates) to learn how to play basic instruments.

I also weighed in on the classroom hierarchy.

“Most music teachers are strict and won’t allow any goofing off in class,” I wrote. “I think music should be a democratic class where the majority rules. Teachers should allow some horseplay but not too much.”

I got an A-minus, so I’m guessing I didn’t write that for a music teacher.

Hey....I thought I had some pretty good ideas, although I’m sure not everybody was in agreement.

And in that regard, I guess, some things never change.