How a Pile of Puckey Taught me to be an Optimist.

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) DRE# 00809499

I remember the day I become a positive person.  I was about 7, and snuggled up on the back dashboard of my parents yellow and white Studebaker.  Looking for animals shapes in the clouds as we rumbled through the hills of Mt. Shasta , returning from our yearly trek to Seattle.

Horse dreaming

My jokester Dad was at the wheel.


 "Ya ever hear the one about the twins who both wanted a pony? "


"No, Dad.. tell it".  


"Both twins wanted a pony in the worst way. Yearned for one.  Would do anything just to get one.  Once day they were brought to a barn door, chockful of horse puckey.  (I'm sure he said shit, but Iet's pretend he didn't swear in front of a 7 year old.) The first twin started bawling.  "Why that's nothin but a bunch of puckey.... WWHAAAAA I wanted a pony... WWhhAAAAAAA.....

"The second twin grabbed a shovel and started shoveling for all she was worth.  Between huffs and puffs she gasped out 'With all this horse puckey, there's GOT to be a pony in there SOMEWHERE!!!!'.

"And that's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist", he said.  "It's all in how you see things.  You got a choice"  


My little 7 year old brain latched onto that one.   Hmmm, I'ld rather believe there a pony in there.  You can choose how to look at things.  The glass can be half full, or half empty.... Hmmm. I like that.


golden Hills of California

I thought of my Mom on our yearly trips to Seattle during the broiling valley heat.  Wet dishrags tucked into the windows to mimic the air conditioning we didn't have. She'd say "It could be worse. Aren't we lucky we brought dish rags?" 


Driving through the flammable fields of dry dead grass on either side of the road..."Don't you just love the shimmering golden hills of California? We're so lucky.  Look how the breeze billows patterns into those fields.  It's art, I tell you."  Hmm... never noticed.  Before.


Now I can't see a dry field without thinking of my Mom's viewpoint. And marveling at the beauty. It may have been a child's decision to make my Dad happy. It may have been a way to make teachers like me. Or to be like my Mom.  Who cares.  I made the choice. And it's stuck with me my whole life.


Now, every time I hear someone whine about the market, and how it sucks, and how much equity we have lost, I think of horse puckey... "Yeah, but think of the buyers who are being offered the golden ticket". Complaints of interest going above 5%??? "You gotta be kidding.... it could be 8%.... 5's a gift."


It's all in how you look at it.


There's a silver lining to every cloud.


If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.


And ya can't teach old dogs new tricks..... Now I'm stuck with it.



Life is good.



Photo credits to Jason-Morrison and VisualPanic of


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Your Fair Oaks Realtor for homes for sale in Fair Oaks and the Sacramento Area of California.... I'm your gal (Sally Dunbar). I'm occasionally knowledgable, periodically humorous, and always willing to tell you everything I know.  What more could you ask for?

Here are the newest listings for Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Carmichael, Gold River, and Roseville - all CA, of course.

More Blog posts by Sally Dunbar at www.FairOaksHomesAndMore.comSally's Website at to search for all homes in the MLS, and for tons of information for buyers and sellers.  You'll find schools information, market statistics... you name it, I got it!  Come visit me.




Sally Dunbar, 35 year Broker Associate, Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks, CA (916) 524-1548, "Your Fair Oaks Realtor"


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  1. Jim Startzman 01/16/2010 04:55 AM
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POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
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Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

Absolutely!!! It's all in how you react to ANY situation!  My sister was recently on-the-table waiting for an eye operation.  When she called to lament that the operation was cancelled ,because the MACHINE BROKE, all I said was "That was perfect timing!".  She thought I was crazy, until I said "what if it broke in the MIDDLE of the operation!!!".  It's all about how you look at the situation!

Jan 16, 2010 04:45 AM #1
Andrea Swiedler
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Sally, I just love love love your posts. Your dad was so right, and it is better to look at life that way! I am remembering when there were double digit interest rates.

OK, what really made me laugh? You lying on the back window ledge in the car.... today your parents would be hauled off to court and you would be in foster care. For us? It is great memories, so innocent, you know?

Thanks for the great post! And I'm not whining, I am busy as a one armed paper hanger!

Jan 16, 2010 04:49 AM #2
Jim Startzman
Long and Foster Real Estate - Wilmington, DE

Perspective...that is what counts.  There are many ways to look at every situation.

Jan 16, 2010 04:55 AM #3
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Kathy - great point about your sister's operaton.  No kidding it was better than mid-stream!

Andrea - I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comments.  And yeah... I wonder how my attitude would have changed if I'ld been in foster care for the irresponsibility of my parents!

Jim - I agree.

Jan 16, 2010 05:04 AM #4
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Sally, the other thing to note in the rose colored glasses view of dire situations is it takes commitment to turn your attitude around in this direction, and then practice it. I am sort of a hybrid in this area, I like venting and complaining first with that attitude, then I get it out of my system and see things the other way. I am definitely a glass half way up to the top LOL. I call that a realist for me....

Jan 16, 2010 05:23 AM #5
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Gary - and that is something else about only reading what people write and thinking you know them.  When I am bitching about something to my husband (which is me in real life) HE wouldn't tell you I'm an optimist.  So I'm not always... buyt most of the time, and certainly the blanket over my life is woven of optimism.  But there are frayed edges, and giant tears (tares?  how do you spell it when it rips?)  anyway.....

Jan 16, 2010 05:52 AM #6
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Sally, my glass is half full most the the time...when it gets that low I fill-er up again. Nice story if you ever get that pony don't forget to use that dish rag before you saddle her.

Jan 16, 2010 07:56 AM #7
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Love your optimism!  Way to turn the negative into positive.  Right now it is the golden ticket for first time home buyers.  Did you ever get that pony?

Jan 16, 2010 09:15 AM #8
Valerie Spaulding
Windermere Peninsula Properties~Allyn~Belfair~WA - Belfair, WA
Allyn-Belfair-Hood Canal-Local Expertise!

I have missed your writing!  Attitude starts and comes from within... We make the choice each and everyday when we get up in the morning and look in the mirror and decide....... 

  love reading your posts!

Jan 16, 2010 11:04 AM #9
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Steve and Dawn - Never got that pony, but if you haven't read about my wild horse ride in Patagonia here it is.  The pony story must have struck me in many ways.  Funny but at the time, I lived on my Grandfather's farm in Bothell Washington, where he had two beautiful Palomino's.  He rode them in parades, and was convinced I would ruin them if I rode them, so I remained a horse-crazy little girl living with two horses I couldn't ride.  I went on to collect plastic horses, and string yarn around the legs of my baby grand piano for fences, playing "horse".  Guess we all know where it all started!

Valerie  -  It's good to see you, girl.

Jan 16, 2010 12:30 PM #10
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Sally:  It's good to see you again.  I have missed my fellow optimist.  Like you, I choose to look at things from the positive point of view.  I get less discouraged and am willing to work harder to make things happen.  That's how optimism has made my business flourish in this market.  It's all in how you look at it and subsequently approach it.

Jan 17, 2010 02:33 AM #11
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Sally -What a great story and we are really lucky that we live in such a great place.  Although a lot of people have lost their homes and that is unfortunate, there are so many others that are now realizing their dream of home ownership.  The silver lining in the cloud of the current housing market.

On another note, I recently took an app for the grown kid of a friend of mine and while we were talking about interest rates, when I informed him what the rates are right now, he complained and said his friend got a lower rate.  His parents and I started laughing. 

His parents began to tell him about their mortgage and interest rate and how much they have paid over the years for their homes and the interest rates they got.  Although I could have done the same (and often have with my young first timers), I was glad that his parents set him straight and told him that the 5% I quoted him was a "phenomenal rate"

Jan 17, 2010 06:34 AM #12
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Hi Sally!

That's a great lesson to be learned. I had a seller that is in the worst price range in my market, but when I went over her market analysis with her, she told me her house was going to sell. She called it "the lucky house". It's a great home, but I knew it was going to be difficult to sell her home. To my surprise it went under contract in 12 days, and I know it's because of her attitude. Attitude is everything, great story! :)

Jan 25, 2010 07:24 AM #13
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Sally - Isn't it odd how a little "enlightenment" can change your perceptions about what you thought was important?  I was one of those 7 year old girls, who really wanted a horse more than anything in the world.  My parents took me on vacation up to Washington state to visit an uncle, who bred, and showed Tennessee Walking Horses.  I thought they were the most beautiful things in the world. 

When my uncle took me to Spokane to a horse show, I got to sleep in the stables with the horses.  And other owners paid me 50 cents to clean up the stalls.  That was the summer of my "enlightenment" about horses - and a reality check too!  Horses are kind of like some men I know - high maintenance animals:-)

Jan 30, 2010 10:26 AM #14
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

GOOD MORNING SALLY!  Life is good - even when we have to shovel through it sometimes! -- Gab

Feb 02, 2010 09:45 PM #15
Ed Gillespie
Rocklin, CA

AMEN Sally!  Thanks for sharing your life with us! I just had my best month in this crappy market;)

Feb 03, 2010 02:22 PM #16
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