New Year’s Day thoughts…

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 | Filed under Musings

(Don’t worry Pho-Blog fans, I will post the Saturday Pho-Blog tomorrow this week.)


I received an email yesterday from V-6 Ranch which was established by Jack Varian many years ago.  Here is their website.

Click to go to the website

Anyway, the email I received was written by Jack, the wise patriarch of this family-owned dude ranch.  I am on their mailing list because I rode in one of their Dude Ranch weekends and had the TIME OF MY LIFE!

My adventure there was one of those that is burned into my memory forever…  The kind of memory where I can still feel myself grinning and laughing until tears were streaming down my face.  The kind of memory where I kept pinching myself and saying inside, “I cannot believe I’m here!  I cannot believe I’m doing this…”.

It was the kind of experience I almost didn’t have because I tried to get out of it (my deposit) due to work obligations.  Thank goodness that John Varian (Jack’s son) talked me out of it.  He didn’t say that the deposit was non-refundable, instead he told me about the value of putting work aside every now and then and living for a weekend.  We were talking on the phone and his California Cowboy drawl absolutely pulled me in.  I went.  He was right.

I wrote about it here.  I have been a fan of the Varian Family ever since.


So, anyway, I received an email written by the man who started it all, Jack Varian.  Jack is one of those guys who seems to be a cross between Glen Ford and Wyatt Earp.  He’s a polished cowboy businessman with a lot of great, and sage advise.  When Jack sends an email, I tend to sit up straighter while I’m reading it.

Today, on this New Year’s Day, I wanted to pass on his words of wisdom.  For some of you, it may strike a cord.  For me, who tends to mire in my own mush, his message made me smile and kick myself a little…

“Yesterday all my troubles seemed to fly away,” was what John Lennon had to say about reality when he used the word seemed.  These and other words that surface in my mind but one thought comes to mind, since time, eons ago when words were 1st put to music the lyricist might possibly be our original psychologist.  Anyway for me I choose to keep both feet wandering on the sunny side of the street as the best way to deal with the realities of life.  That means keeping my rose colored glasses on tight to block out envy, pettiness, and all the other indignities that we humans are capable of foisting on each other.  The sunny side of the street illuminates the qualities of goodness, confidence, opportunity and the wherewithal that gives direction to a purposeful life.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t grieve for life’s tragedies but to let adversity dictate a life of woe to me is not reality.”

Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking, ” Yeah, easy for him to say with all that land…”.  Well, let me tell you, having all that land has many heavy pressures.  This isn’t the Barclays from THE BIG VALLEY.  These are real people with a business to run in a state that taxes the bejeezus out of private land owners who are trying to make ends meet in an awful economy.  Everyone has their story, believe me.  No one has a free pass.

Photo that accompanied the Jack Varian email (Varian Ranch, Chris Cox)


I also spent some time thinking about my dog, Dexter.  He used to be the dog that could not be contained.  Since he’s from Australia (he’s a Kelpie), I always have thought of him as my little outlaw.  Dexter is so darn cute that you can’t be angry with him even though he is a very bad dog a lot of the time.

However, recently,  he has slowed down.  He’s 11.5 years old.  I felt badly for him and started to pity his lost lifestyle of dastardliness.

But, yesterday, he had a little chat with me.  Well, not really… but we were sitting on is favorite pillow outside and Dex was as content as content could be.  While we were there, one of the loudest trucks came rumbling down the street.  He HATES loud trucks.  I immediately braced myself for the onslaught of barking and mayhem that would ensue as soon as he heard the truck.

It didn’t happen.  He didn’t utter a peep.  He is too deaf to hear the truck.

My heart grew heavy as I realized how old he had become.  And in that very moment, he looked up at me with such a face of calm and peace, I knew I was wrong.

You see, it is a great thing that he can no longer hear the truck because he can no longer chase after it and protect me from it.  His loss of hearing is a benefit of not being able to do his old job.  My wonderful Dex had no idea that he had missed the awful truck.  He was happy.  Life was good.  I suddenly felt sheepish for being so pitiful around him.  Every day is a good day.  It is MY THING that I’m upset about getting older.  Dex is fine with it.

Dex. "I'll tell you when its my time. I'm happy, so quit blubbering. Every day is a good day!"


However, I will tell you about a great canine product that I have no affiliation with but that really works.  JOINT HEALTH  and FRESH FACTORS from Springtime, Inc.  I had a case here for so long that the pills were expiring 12/10!  (In my mind, I thought all joint and old age supplements were just a marketing ploy so I never used them.)  Anyway, as I noticed Dex appearing to have arthritis and moving in a creeky way, I decided to give Dex the chewable pills that I had – even though they were about to expire.

Well, I gotta tell you, the change in my old dog is REMARKABLE.  So, here is the link and you can decide if you’d like to try them.  Again, there is no benefit here or kickback.



My mother used to always say “Count your blessings”  to me when I was a child.  I never understood it then…  Huh?

But, now I do.

Often life hits us with the hard end of the Wiffle bat.  “Why me…?”, we tend to say.  Well, sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.  That’s life.  We can either look at it for the positive or negative perspective.  We have that choice.

Now, I’m not saying that some blows aren’t so terrible that they are hardly livable.  I know of many awful happenings… cruelty and torture of any kind, war…  and the horrendous personal misfortunes like my neighborhood buddy growing-up who lost his 16 year old daughter to suicide.  How does one recover from that?  You cannot say, “Count your blessings” to that person.  But, in the long run, that is exactly what pulls them through.  My friend said that he needed to keep living for his other children.  He needed to join a group that was focused on school bullying.  He needed to counsel other parents who have lost children.  He needed to make her death into something worthwhile – or meaningful – or not so utterly and horrifically unliveable.  Inadvertently, he needed to count his blessings in order to move forward.  And, so he did.

I wrote about Bettina Eistel.  She is the horsewoman who was born without arms.  Hmmmmm.  I think we all gulped a little and counted our blessing.

So, for me, as I look around my dusty house through my ‘getting older’ eyes and see all the work I have piled up in my office which is double the effort for half of the pay, I can think about all if it in just two ways.  The sunny side of the street or the cup half empty…

Hmmm.  If I have learned anything this year from the likes of Jack Varian, my dog Dex, Bettina or my childhood neighbor who lost his lovely daughter… I need to turn my thinking around and eventually find the sunny side.  Every day is a good day, no matter what life experiences are held within it.

Bettina Eistel


God,  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Change the things I can,  And the ability to know the difference.

CHEERS TO 2011.  Make the very best of it!

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5 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    From Susie:
    I wrote to you once before about your “angel” experience and how I recently adopted an OTTB with a fractured sesamoid. I saw your blog today about the Fresh Factors and I just had to tell you that I have been using it for years and it’s absolutely remarkable! I have been showing and breeding English Bull Terriers for 30 years (started when I was 19 so it doesn’t sound quite as horrific) and have had terrific results with the product. In fact, I noticed such a change in a dog that we imported from Australia that I wrote to the company and they put us on their website! If you go to the “second page of the “real letters” section, you’ll see my letter and a picture of “Caspa” our champion White Bull Terrier.

  2. RT

    Wishing you and everyone a Happy New Year… So glad to read your stories, thoughts and much more…

  3. peg

    Thanks for the pick-me-up today.
    So far the new year is going ok.
    Last year was much better than the years before them ( 3 different cancers,chemo )
    I have great hopes for 2011 :)

  4. dawndi Post author

    from Dorothy:

    The V6 is near here. The Varian family (both sides) are friends.

    The V6 is not a dude ranch, per se. It is a working cattle and horse ranch that also accepts dudes for specific events such as the cattle drives and AQHA events as well as cousin Sheila Varian (yes, Varian Arabians) when she instructs groups on the California Vaquero style. On top of that, the V6 has been commended for their work in land management. Ask Jack about the program.

  5. Morgan Griffith

    I have had a few very hard things to deal with in my life. One being the suicide of my older sister and a chronic illness for which I am now free of after 2 rounds of treatment. While horrible at the time I look back and would not trade these experiences. They are what has helped make me the person I am today, they taught me that I had strength that I did not even know I possessed. They taught me a compassion for others, a gift that perhaps I would not have had. I look upon these things not as experiences that almost broke me but as challenging opportunities. Opportunities to see what you are made of and what you are going to be when you walk through the fire and come out the other side. I honestly believe that my life is the best most blessed life there is and I would not trade it for anything. Life is wonderful. Happy New Year everyone.

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