Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 15, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 8

Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 15, 2022 



[Nyerges is the author of several 
books, including “Extreme Simplicity,” 
“How to Survive Anywhere,” 
and others. He can be reached at 
Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, 
where you can also view his blogs.] 

Since 1977, I have done something called a Birthday 
Run, taught to me by my mentor as a better 
and more uplifting way to commemorate one’s 
birthday. Originally, I would go to a local track 
and run one lap per year as I recalled the highlights 
of that year. Some years I have run alone, 
and some years I have run with friends who chose 
to come and support the run. I have run in the 
dark, in the rain, in the fog, and on sunny days. 
One or two years I did not run at all because I 
was sick, and it wasn’t quite the same when I ran 
a week later. And over the years, my “laps” have 
grown shorter, otherwise I would be running 
those slow laps for several hours and would have 
trouble walking for days after. 

 This time I ran alone – other than an occasional 
hawk, one owl, and one coyote -- and I found my 
lap in the bottomlands of a nearby wild area. It 
was quiet and eerily peaceful as I continued the 
cycles through my life, replaying the mental movie 
of each year after each year, going to school, 
moving around, and my interactions with various 

 My mind began to look at the financial side of 
my life, and perhaps, more specifically, the non-
financial side to my life. Perhaps this was because 
I was recalling some acquaintances talking about 
nothing else but what they’d do if they suddenly 
won the lottery. I realized that I too could do so 
much more, so much more quickly, if I had a few 
spare million in the bank, maybe. But then I also 
realized that these same acquaintances all too often 
do not pursue the dreams they have, whether 
or not they have the money they think they need.

 As I ran through my years, I realized that I operated 
mostly in financial ignorance, but pursued 
the dreams I had nevertheless. Yes, money was 
always an element, and yes, money was often the 
limiting factor in so many endeavors. Money is 
like oxygen in this world – you just had to have it. 
But I think, like most people, my school and family 
discussions were wholly insufficient as any sort 
of real financial training for dealing with the real 
world. I simply moved from activity to activity 
based on my areas of in-terest, and when money 
was needed, I got it – somehow – or I curtailed 
the activity. 

 Perhaps because of financial limitations, I found 
other ways to pursue my goals, ways that seemed 
more difficult at the time, but which were actually 
more wholistic ways to pursue my life’s interests. 
Without a car, I often bicycled, and formed 
friendships so that several of us could travel to-
geth-er. If I wanted to attend workshops or field 
trips, I learned that I could convince my friends 
that they’d want to attend also, and invariably, 
someone had a car.

 And I discovered and lived my life utilizing so 
many of the low-cost and free benefits of our 
modern society: buses, public libraries, public 
recreation centers, free hiking in the local mountains, 
free lectures, clubs and organizations where 
people just got together and did things. Eventually, 
somewhat fortuitous-ly and almost by accident, 
I was a squatter for a year and a half on 
an acre property on the edge of Los Angeles. It 
was quite an adventure. I learned how to live well 
cheaply, and I learned how to solicit individ-ual 
investors in my book and other projects. So as 



Schuster sports the name of 
one half of a famous book publishing 
company. His brother, 
already adopted, was the other 
half: Simon and Schuster. 
Schuster, born 2019, is a very 

handsome boy, as you can see. He and 5 siblings were born 
in the foster parents' garage. The mom abandoned them 
and the fosters took them in, found homes for 4 of them, and now it's Schuster's turn. 
Schuster loves to be near his family, and often sits next to them or on a lap and wants to 
be petted. He is playful and especially likes things that dangle or that he can chase. He 
sleeps with one of the 2 cats at his foster home, but he doesn't like the oldest one, who 
has health issues, so if adopted where there is another kitty, there would be a need to 
follow recommended introduction procedures. We can advise. Schuster is vetted and 
vac-cinated--He's ready to be yours! 
Application at Lifeline for Pets: where you can see more pictures 
of Schuster on our More Cats page. 

Pet of the Week

 Zoey was adopted from us five years ago when she wasjust a kitten. Her family was moving and couldn’t takeher with them, so now this five-year-old cat is back with 
us and looking for her forever home. Zoey has been 
described as sweet and independent, likes to play, andeven gets along with other cats and dogs. She’s ready forher second chance!

 The adoption fee for cats is $100. All cat adoptions

include spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriate 


New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA AnimalHospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care for your pet. 

View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment at Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoption

appointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285Email: Website: 

I ran my Birthday Run, I reviewed these “highlights” 
of my life.

 I am sure I would have done a lot of this very 
differently had I been born into wealth, but as I 
looked back, I realized that I learned some very 
important lessons by simply finding solutions to 
life’s problems without being able to just “throw 
money at it.”

 That was just one theme that went through my 
mind this year. Another was relationships.

 By my age, one has had many relationships, and 
many types of relationships. In my mind, a mental 
movie played of the various people in my life and 
how I treated them: mother, father, friends, teachers, 
girl friends, wives, business associates. When 
I do this annual Birthday Run, I am looking for 
what I did right, but mostly what I did wrong so 
that I can do it better next time around. I felt great 
pain at the many things I did wrong as an arrogant 
child talking back to my parents and not obeying. 
It doesn’t matter that others were worse – I was 
evaluating myself only. And no, my parents were 
not perfect either. But I felt great joy that I was 
able to take precious time in my mother’s, and my 
father’s, final days and become their friend and 
speak to them as equals. It was very challenging, 
but very fulfilling. 

 I also spent a lot of time reviewing my 22 married 
years with Dolores – the trips, our animals, 
our self-sufficient home, our accomplishments, 
our fights, our disagreements, our agreements. 
We had our ups and downs, and though I was not 
perfect, I realized I could not have been perfect. I 
was living life, trying to make ends meet, and trying 
to be a good husband with all the challenges 
of life that conspire against us. In the end, when 
Dolores was dying, I was able to experience a rare 
time of caring for her when she could do so little. 
We became inseparable, and best friends, and it 
was as if all our conflicts dis-solved. And then she 
died and I felt plunged into darkness. And then 
there were other challenges, other tasks, other 

I thought about a few very special people who I 
never see anymore, and still felt so blessed that we 
had the time together that we did, and I wished 
each one the greatest happiness.

 Remember, I tried to recall what was going on 
in my life, year by year as I ran a large lap in the 
sand for each year in the dimming light of the late 
afternoon. I am sure I mixed up some years, but 
in the end, it is the learning that matters. 

 My two lessons were that while money is important, 
it is a good goal to pursue whatever one 
feels com-pelled to pursue in life without focusing 
upon money. Yes, it seems unrealistic, but it 
actually can change the quality and character of 
what we do.

 And secondly, I realized that relationships are 
the most important aspect of life, and you have a 
good life when you maintain good relationships, 
however you do that. This does not mean you are 
always laughing and happy. It means that you deal 
with others harmoniously, honestly, and with the 
integrity that the close ones in your life deserve. 

 I know I have not been perfect, and I feel blessed 
to have been guided to begin this birthday tradition 
over 40 years ago. In just a few hours, I review 
my life and tried to figure out if what I have 
done was worth doing. By honestly assessing my 
self in that way, it helps me to determine what is 
worth doing – and not doing – this year, and into 
the future. 

[Note: If any readers are interested in the details 
of this Birthday Run as taught to Nyerges, please 
contact him at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041] 

The Chef Knows By Peter Dills 

No doubt the restaurant scene in our area 
has been affected by lack of labor, I’ve heard 
many a restaurant owner say “No one wants 
to work”! So I think restaurants are getting 
competitive, competition is good, especially 
for the consumer. You can go to Ruth’s 
Chris for happy hour and get a great glass of 
wine and a steak sandwich for less then $20. 
If that's too rich for your blood, then consider 
the new Gaucho Grill on South Lake 
- a glass of house wine is $6, a sangria is $8 
and many “Eats” are under $10 including their very yummy empanadas. I even discovered a 
burger for $12 here at Gaucho Grill . 

The perennial powerhouses like Taylor’s and The Arroyo Chop House don’t offer happy hour 
prices, but owner Gregg Smith contends that a favorable pour makes his customers happy. 
Taylor’s Steak House in La Canada offers a wine-by-the-glass program that I think has very 
few rivals. In Eagle Rock, Colombo’s fancies themselves as an Italian Streak House, with a $29 
porterhouse that is a great value, get a glass of Maddalena cab and you will pay like a pouper 
and eat like a king. 

My friend and sommelier Robert Ramirez mentioned that the art of fine dining is just about 
dead, but high prices are still alive and well. However, one place that I consider very close to 
fine dining for you real high rollers is the executive happy hour by Alexander’s on North Los 
Robles. I've been there and loved the steak, but it is for high rollers. A glass of my favorite Taittinger 
will run you $25 for a glass, but their executive hour offers many wines at $10 a glass, 
so I still say it’s a good pour. Why does steak go so well with red wine? I am glad you asked! 
It's because the tannins are higher in red wine and go well with the “fattiness” of red meat. 

One last thought, 72 percent of all women find men who can discuss wine and food more attractive 
then men who discuss politics. Hear, hear; I’ll vote for that. 

Email Peter at and follow me on Twitter @KINGOFCUISINE Listen 
to me on Angels Radio AM 830 KLAA every Sunday at 5 PM