I’m fascinated by the things people share and do not share. This is all the more interesting with social media. How do we decide what to post to about? How do we decide what to talk about?
One of the things that interests me is the different ways happiness and sadness are handled.
Happiness tends to be a very public thing. It is comfortable to write or talk about success and happiness.
Sadness is not a very public thing. A person who is sad is conveying an element of brokenness or need. After hearing about sadness people get uncomfortable. Some are quick to feel obligation to help or express pity. At the very least hearing about sadness casts a shadow.
I found a recent honest blog post by Allie Brosh about depression to be very interesting: Allie Brosh writes about depression
Depression is foreign to me, yet I appreciate Allie’s words. She uses humor and graphics to say things that would be very uncomfortable in direct communication.
As I think about happiness and sadness two points come to mind:
1. It is good to be honest with yourself about sadness, even if it is shielded from the public.
2. It is good to realize that many of the “happy” people around you are dealing with some level of sadness.
The large avocado trees by my apartment have begun bombarding the earth with berries. I’ve been collecting them. Tonight I made an avocado and cheese omelette for dinner. It was very good. Last week I made burritos with extra avocado. They were good. I’m beginning to think you can’t lose with avocado.
Yesterday I picked up supplies to experiment with guacamole recipes. That’s the plan for later this week. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never made guacamole before.
On an unrelated note, in the past two weeks I consumed 9 pounds of clementines.
Money may not grow on trees, but here in California a lot of good stuff does.
 Did you know that avocados are berries? You might think they’re drupes, like plums or peaches, but they are actually single-seeded berries. The important thing is the endocarp. In drupes the endocarp is stony and hard (it’s the part we think of as the pit, which surrounds the seed). In berries the endocarp is not hard. In an avocado fruit the endocarp is soft and located right against the massive seed coat (avacado seeds are the Hummers of plant seeds).
Today I stopped by the Hort Unit before heading to my office. I spent an hour cleft grafting and T-budding with apple rootstocks and scions. The cleft graft involved chopping off the root stock, splitting the stem, cutting a scion with a tapered end, and inserting it into the slice. Care must be taken to align the vascular cambiums of rootstock and scion on one side of the graft. The graft is them wrapped with grating tape and painted with grafting seal to prevent desiccation.
A cleft graft before wrapping and sealing.
T-budding is a very cool type of graft that involves cutting a T into the bark of the stock and loosening it. A bud is then sliced off the desired scion and slipped under the bark. The graft is wrapped in parafilm to hold it together and prevent desiccation.
A bud slipped under the bark of the stock (notice the T sliced into the stock bark).
I grafted five plants. Two of them have cleft grafts with reversed polarity (which will doom them to failure). I intend to photograph the reversed polarity grafts this summer. Ideally they should show a healed graft with a scion that fails to grow properly.
An apple with cleft graft and T-budding .
After the grafting and budding I checked in on some cactus seeds that were sowed a few weeks ago. Some of them have germinated. Cacti look very interesting as newly germinated seedlings. Instead of a thin, spindly stem like most seedlings, these cacti have a little portly stem.
A Ferrocactus alamosanus seedling.
I like the little cephalium on top. It looks like a mohawk.
I have a lot of work to get done this weekend. My hours in the office were not as productive as I would have liked them to be. . .
Two unrelated thoughts:
I ordered checks recently. When they arrived I noticed that they present the date as: __________20____. And it made me wonder how they will be printed as the 22nd century approaches? When is it 21 instead of 20? What if you order boxes of checks mid-2099? I did not notice this with the 1999 to 2000 transition. I’ve always wished my checks let me write the entire date; it bothers me that the first two digits of the year don’t match the rest of the date.
And changing gears . . .
Disagreement is a major part of life. I’ve been reminded how a person can be so ingrained in a paradigm that comprehension of a dissenting opinion is impossible. When something we love or cherish is rejected it can be baffling. How does the other person fail to see the value? As I have listened to cases recently for why I should love X, I realized something. The arguments frequently centered around the speaker. The logic goes like this:
I’ve been part of X for a long time. You should love X.
X gave me a sense of belonging. You should love X.
Not convincing. The closest thing I’ve heard to an argument considering me is:
If you help X, then X will help you.
However, it is crystal clear to me that X will not help me. This is not a quick opinion–this is a careful analysis. My rebuttals of the value of X are not heard.
And so I must pretend 6+6=1 for the time being.
Things have been busy. Here are a few random notes:
Organic Potato Tuber Cuttings vs. Non-Organic Potato Tuber Cuttings: During the first week of classes in Plant Propagation we planted tuber cuttings from organic and non-organic potatoes. I did this because I thought it would make a good illustration. The organic potatoes were not treated with plant growth regulators (chemicals that produce hormonal responses in plants), while I was confident the non-organic potatoes would be treated with PGRs to inhibit bud initiation and shoot growth. It makes sense for a grower to use PGRs on potatoes, for without this treatment they will sprout quickly. You don’t want to eat a potato that has sprouted, the starches have broken down and who knows what the alkaloid content is at that point (word of advice: never eat green potatoes).
My prediction when we planted the potato cuttings was that the organic tubers would sprout shoots long before the non-organic tubers. Here are representatives to show what happened:
The organic tuber cutting on the left, the non-organic tuber cutting on the right.
About half of the organic tuber cuttings have sprouted. None of the non-organic tuber cuttings have sprouted. PGRs work.
Fresh Lemonade: One of the things that I love about California is the ability to pick fresh citrus fruits. Yesterday I picked three very ripe lemons and made a batch of lemonade with them. It’s pretty cool when you can go from tree to glass in about 10 minutes.
Life gave me lemons.
Television, Billboard, Sidewalk: Yesterday I drove home from campus in the early evening. While stopped at a light in downtown SLO I looked over at the sidewalk and I saw a guy who stars in an advertising campaign. He’s on television and billboards. He was standing at the intersection, waiting to cross the street. I waved like I knew him. And I feel like I do. I know his name (if indeed he uses his real name on the commercial), his hobbies, and part of his health history (the commercial is for a health care provider).
New Lizard Species: I think I saw a new lizard species last week. It looked different from the ones I’ve encountered so far. I’ve been in California for a little more than four months, and the palm trees and lizards still entertain me.
I think this is a species I have not seen before.