Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 21, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 10

Mountain View News Saturday, January 21, 2023 




[Nyerges is an educator and author. 
He’s written such books 
as “Urban Survival Guide,” 
“Ex-treme Simplicity,” and others. 
Information about books 
and classes is available at www.] 

In my mid-20s, I was introduced to a different 
way to commemorate my birthday. My mentor, 
R.E. White, devised something he called 
The Birthday Run. The essence of this practice 
was to run a lap for every year and to attempt 
to recall the significant details of that year while 
running. I have done this run nearly every year 
on my birthday since my mid-20s, except a few 
cases when I was very sick, and then I did it a few 
days later. 

R.E.White introduced this practice to the members 
of the non-profit he founded, and most – 
but not all – of the members routinely did this. 
Some told me that it was too hard, or that it was 
actually bad for their bodies to do so much running. 
I never argued with any-one about it, but 
I continued to do it myself because I found personal 
value in the deeply introspective act of a 
life review. 

The Birthday Run concept is more than just the 
run. When fully observed, it involved friends 
and family, a meal together, a special “memory 
bath” for the birthday person, and a sharing of 
goals for the future, and significant memories 
from the run. Today, I am only sharing some 
significant memories from my recent run and 
some action I took. 

I usually prepare for this run by writing out every 
year in a small notebook, and then the age I 
would turn that year, and what grade I was in, 
and other significant milestones through my 
past nearly 7 decades. Whereas I usually see a 
lot of details each year when running, this year 
I noticed patterns. And behind those patterns, 
I noticed motivations, both good and bad, for 
many of my life’s choices. 

I realized that people came into and out of my 
life. There was my natal family, of course, and 
I found myself feeling the most profound deep 
appreciation for all that my parents did, mostly 
without any thanks. And then I saw the many 
close friends, male and female, that came into 
my life. Often, it was as if they suddenly appeared 
and were automatically apart of whatever 
inner circle I had. I realized that try as I might to 
“make friends,” friends always appeared, rather 
organically, and became a part of my life, and 
they were not usually the people I was trying to 
make friends with. Even serious relationships 
al-ways seemed to arise organically, without my 
trying, and I have concluded that – some-how – 
those people were intended to, or destined to, be 
a part of my life and whatever my life was about. 

Much of what I did in my life was the quest 
for money and the quest for love, or whatever I 
thought was “love.” But I insisted in my early 
years that at least my pursuits for “money” 
should provide fulfilment in the moment, not 
just in the distant long-term. I learned to en-joy 
every learning experience for its own immediate 
values, and I learned to enjoy all the diverse jobs 
that I held for the sheer pleasure of working, and 
for the inherent lessons that each job provided. 

quit jobs even when I needed the money because 
I felt that I was wasting my life, that I was dying 
inside. Yet, I still pursued endless jobs of many 
sorts, because money is as important as oxygen 
in our society. And I always wanted to enjoy 
the process, and have the process of “working for 
money” be an activity that broadly benefits me. 

So, in my broad perspective of things during this 
year’s run, I saw nearly everything in terms of 
relationships, love, money, and the fulfillment of 
character. It was quite an in-sight. 

And one more thing. Each year when I review 
my life during the run, I look for anything that 
I’d done wrong but did not make amends for it. 
In past years, I went back to some-one I’d stolen 
money from and repaid them. I would call 
someone and apologize for some past deed, usually 
to have them say they have no memory of it. 
This year, I had been re-calling the time when I 
was about 14 when I stole bags of cement from a 
neighbor’s gar-age, and hauled the cement via a 
wagon to a friend’s backyard where we planned 
to build a “clubhouse.” The clubhouse was a disaster, 
and though I know the neighbor realized 
I stole the cement, I never suffered any consequences 
and never repaid the theft. I finally decided 
to make good on that old debt. There are a 
lot of funny, and sad, details – and I wrote about 
that episode in my book “Watermelon Dreams” 
(available from Amazon). 

So after my run this year, I drove over to the 
house where I’d stolen the cement. I was going 
to give the current owner a $50 gift card from 
Home Depot. I stood in front of the door, gift 
card in hand, rehearsing the story I would tell 
the surprised homeowner. I ex-pected them to 
laugh, or to say that I don’t owe them anything. 
These things are harder than you can imagine! 
So I knocked, and knocked again. Nothing. No 
one was home. I then wrote the most concise 
note possible, slipped the note and gift card into 
an envelope, and slipped it into the mail box. 
Done. Very anticlimactic, but now that particular 
debt will not plague me at night. An anchor 
pulled up, no more karma to suffer in hell from 
that childhood act of pointless thievery. 

I’ve only shared this with a few people, but the 
responses were quite varied. One old friend applauded 
me for trying to make amends for my 
past. Another scoffed, wondering why I was 
wasting my time on “little things” when there 
are so many great problems in the world. I simply 
smiled, and said that I was in no position 
to deal with world problems if I do not handle 
myself first. Another more analytical friend 
was quiet for a moment, and then said, “Do you 
think $50 really handled your debt? I mean, that 
was, what, more than 50 years ago? What about 
interest, and penalty?” I thought about that. He 
might be right… 

Anyway, that’s what I did for my birthday. And 
I offer profound thanks to the one friend who 
encouraged me, and assisted me, in making 
amends for this old theft. 

As I did my life-review, I began to ponder the 
core values that push each of us to strive to earn 
income, and I realized that too many of “us” 
have no core values except sheer sur-vival, and 
the pursuit of pleasure. That’s not necessarily 
a bad thing, but I always wanted more. I often 


As a relatively new dog dad, I have many questions daily 

about why my Labrador, Thurber, does some of the many 

funny things he and other pets do. To that end, I have begun 
doing a lot of research and am posting my findings at This column summarizes 
recent discoveries. 

Dear Tom: Why does my dog 
love sticks so much? – Stuck in Peoria 

Dear Stuck, different sticks have different tastes, textures and smells, which are real gastronomic 
delights to our canine-crunching companions. Note that sticks can be dangerous to 
your pup — they can splinter and cause cuts and you certainly don’t want your pup eating 
splinters — so it’s best to replace your dog’s preferred stick with a safer chewable alternative. 

Dear Tom: What is the difference between a pet crocodile and a pet alligator? – Flustered 
in Florida 

Dear Flustered, such reptiles do not make good pets for a number of rea-sons and you 
should know that in many states it is illegal to keep them as pets. That said, the primary 
difference between a crocodile and an alliga-tor is that you’ll “see one in a while” and you’ll 
“see the other later.” 

Dear Tom: My puppy seems to hiccup a lot. Is this normal? – Worried in Wisconsin 

Dear Worried: It’s entirely normal for puppies to have hiccups from over-excitement or eating 
and drinking too fast. To reduce hiccups, give your puppy smaller portions to eat, plenty 
of water to drink and regular exer-cise. In time, your puppy will outgrow the hiccupping 
habit. However, if the hiccups are excessive and seem to never end, be sure to consult your 

Dear Tom: My wife and I have taken in many stray dogs over the years. We just took in a 
large mixed-breed, but we are puzzled by his excessive shedding, his rock-hard paws and his 
preference for eating hay. – Harried in Houston 

Dear Harried, thank you for being kind to our canines in need, but you’ve made a common 
mistake. Your “dog” is a Shetland Pony. 

Dear Tom: My boyfriend doesn’t like dogs and gave me an ultimatum: Either I get rid of 
my beloved Fluffy or he will leave me. My question is, where can Fluffy and I get a better 
boyfriend? – Conflicted in California 

Dear Conflicted, let Fluffy choose your next boyfriend at the dog park or somewhere else 
where wonderful people — people who love pets — congregate! 

Dear Tom: I am burned out on politics and all the anger in our world. What can I do to 
overcome my depression? – Down in Delaware 

Dear Down: One of the best solutions for your woes is to get a pet. The companionship and 
pure joy of having a dog share life with you is incredibly beneficial. Several studies show 
this. If you are able to spare the time to love and care for a pet, the love, joy and laughter 
you receive back will be 10 times greater than whatever you give to your furry friend. Note: 
With the economy down, more people have turned their pets back into shelters, so start 
your search there! Good luck! 

Send your pet-related questions to Tom at 

Visit for well-researched articles on why pets do what they do, as well as 
funny pet videos. 

him. He gets along fine with 
other cats. Can this sweet baby have a new furriend in his 
forever home? Born 4/7/22. 

He is being fostered by Gabbi, at (626)808-8557, whom you may call for more info. See more pictures 
and 2 videos of Catrick on our website’s “More Cats” page. 

 Topaz is more than a gem of a dog- she’s a shining star! 

Pet of the Week

Four- year-old Topaz was found in a local park. She was 

initially very withdrawn at the shelter, but now she has 

started to come out of her shell, much to the delight of staff

and volunteers.

 Her nervousness has been replaced by an adorable mixture 

of curiosity and affection. She loves gentle scratches and 

pets and has also shown an affinity for training. She is a 

master at “sit” and “down” and much more she just hasn’t 

shown off yet.

 This wallflower may need some time to warm up in a 

home, but once she does, this lady is sure to be a jewel!

 Topaz is available for a 14-day adoption trial! This is a 

great opportunity to see if she’s the right fit for your home.

 The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dog adoptions 

include spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriate 


New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA Animal 
Hospitals, 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 pasadenahumane. 

 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 by phone calls or email. 

This beautiful, sweet boy, age 
10 months, is a buff colored 
tabby. Catrick showed his 
friendly side immediately after 
being rescued! He likes to 
snuggle in bed with you and 
starts to purr and knead with 
his paws as soon as you pet 

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