A little bit about a lot of things:

• So.....in a moment of rare technological courage I went shopping at the App Store recently in an effort to download the app for one of the banks we use.

Now, I know that some people will find it hard to believe, but I had never used the App Store before.

And I may never use it again.

First of all, I had to find my Apple ID, which is apparently something like my personal key to the entire Apple empire.

I figured that was going to be the hardest part.

So I was wrong. Not the first time.

I believe that I accidentally downloaded at least one app that I didn’t really need or want while actually trying to navigate my way to where I could actually “shop” for what I was looking for.

And when I did make my way to the right place and tried to download my bank app, I promptly punched in some wrong information and got myself locked out of my account, necessitating a call to customer support.

The lady who helped me was very nice.

Probably nicer than I would have been if my job involved trying to help people like me all day long.

In retrospect, I should have just waited until Kat got home to help me, or had the teenager next door show me what to do.

Next time, if there is a next time, I will know better.

• No two days are alike around our office....which can be both challenging and rewarding.

Of course, some of the best days are those which get me out of the office - as long as we’re dealing with something enjoyable and positive rather than trouble or tragedy.

It occurred to me as I was driving up to Diablo Grande Thursday afternoon for an Orestimba-Gustine golf match that my “work” that day would be considered purely pleasure to many office-bound employees.

The drive up to Diablo Grande from the I-5/Sperry interchange is beautiful this time of year, and more than relaxing as the valley floor falls away in the rear-view mirror. Trading my car for a golf cart and heading out to the links to catch up with our local golfers was a great change of pace....I only wish I could have stayed longer!

I enjoy those opportunities.....just as I like going out to take in other high school sporting events or attend special events such as Romero School’s junior chef cooking competition Friday afternoon.

They kind of make up for school board meetings that last long into the night, trips to Modesto to attend courtroom hearings and other more mundane aspects of the job.

Fresh air, beautiful vistas, enthusiastic young students doing positive, creative things.....all help offset the more stressful parts of the job.

And they help me keep things in perspective, which is always a good thing.

• I’ve come to realize that one reason I appreciate our garden so much has a lot to do with my own childhood.

When I was growing up on our Iowa farm, we were pretty self-sustaining - and that involved a well-tended garden which kept fresh vegetables on our plates and our freezer full for the winter months. Our parents would shop for some basic items, but most of our vegetables and meat were raised right there on the farm.

Shopping for dinner meant hitting the garden for vegetables and seeing what cuts of meat were in the freezer. I don’t think that it was so much being frugal as it was simply a way of life.....and I have to tell you, we ate pretty well!

Fresh sweet corn, green beans, radishes, carrots, acorn squash and beets were among my garden favorites, and I loved shortcake with freshly-picked strawberries. Wasn’t a big fan of the garden tomatoes or peas at the time, but I grew to like them in adulthood.

Other produce I never developed an affinity for....

I never liked rhubarb, for example, even though I think my parents and grandparents loved it, particularly in pie. I think I had to try it on a couple of occasions, but for the most part was able to steer clear.

So when we are planning our garden, my thoughts always wander back to that of my childhood years, planted each spring in the rich, black Iowa soil and sprouting to life to help feed our family through the months ahead.

We’re able to grow produce here that would never flourish in the Midwest (with the exception of that Iowa sweet corn, which I think is the best in the world), but my favorites remain the tried-and-true staples.

We experiment with a few different things every year just to see what we can and can’t grow, and I’m always open to new gardening adventures, with just one exception.

No rhubarb, please.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.