A little bit about a lot of things:

• Always takes me a little bit of time to get used to something new....so breaking in new eyeglasses has been a bit of an adventure.

Kat and I recently each went through the process of getting our eyes checked and ordering new glasses....which for me I knew was long overdue, especially since all my existing glasses were showing wear and tear.

I don’t constantly wear glasses....rarely if ever when behind a camera but always when in front of a computer screen or trying to read a document (especially the fine print), and often when driving with, of course, a totally different prescription from my readers.

During the exam, I had to answer all sorts of difficult questions, such as how far I sit from my computer....something I had never really thought about let alone actually measured.

But the eye exam was the easy part compared to actually picking out frames and lenses.

Shoot, just shopping for eyeglasses was challenging enough.....all sorts of styles, various options for lenses, all sorts of price ranges....just too many choices for my comfort!

I’m the guy who stands bewildered in a grocery store section trying to decide what brand of spaghetti sauce to get for dinner that night....and if I struggle with that, how in the world can I possible choose something that I will be wearing for a couple of years or more?

But, the choices were made and the eyeglasses arrived, so now comes the process of getting used to the new specs.

One thing I don’t like is having so many separate pairs of glasses floating around.

A reader for work, a reader for home; and a couple of pair of distance glasses for good measure.

And, of course, finding a safe place to keep the old ones as backups.

But, hopefully I will be able to see things more clearly now.

· Always enjoy sharing news that is good for our community.....and the announcement that grant funds have been awarded for the renovation of Bonita Park in Crows Landing definitely falls into that category.

That small park and pool were for years a focal point of the unincorporated community before the aging pool was closed nearly a decade ago.

That’s a huge “win” for the Crows Landing community.

Thanks to Stanislaus County for taking the lead on the grant application, and for all the community members and organizations which threw their support behind the project.

Can’t wait to see it become reality.....

• Been an interesting nine months in terms of tracking the performance of our new solar panels.....but we’re still three months shy of completing the first-year cycle that will give us a true look at how well the system is performing.

Through the wonders of technology, we can track on a daily basis how much the panels have generated and how that stacked up with our energy consumption.

Early on, during the short and often gray days of January and February, we were on the wrong side of that equation but then we had probably three months during which production well exceeded our electricity use.

I was feeling pretty good about that, since we had a significant number of kilowatt hours “banked,” so to speak....but then came July and August and the panels could not keep up with the energy demands of  trying to keep a house cool during summer’s most sizzling days.

Those months ate up most of the surplus, but things have turned again through the most recent billing period and we were building up credits once again. That too will change before we get through the next three months as winter settles in, reducing solar power production and increasing our electrical bill via heating costs.

But I’m optimistic that we’ll still end up on the right side of the equation, or at least pretty close to it, as we finish out the first year.

Another by-product of having solar is that we are just generally more aware of our power use and the implications of various habits and practices. Those tools help us manage our energy use more wisely, I think.

We talked many times about solar before finding an option that we felt worked well for us. Going solar is a big decision, and I encourage anybody considering that step to thoroughly do their due diligence.

I do have to say, though, that I am liking monthly PG&E bills that typically have been around $20 (although that will change to a point when we start using the furnace and burning more natural gas). Thanks to a climate credit or some such thing, our most recent PG&E bill actually showed that they owed us money instead of the other way around.

We might frame that one.

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.