Modifying the Dream

I had an interesting weekend, but what I decided to post tonight came from a commercial I heard while watching a football game.  The subject of the commercial was about sacrifice.  Sacrificing your evenings and weekends to work extra hours, the goal of all that work was to be able to purchase the dream house you always wanted.  The house that was shown had a kitchen larger than 4 of the studio apartments in my building, and the deck overlooked an ocean view.  Sure the view was nice, but just looking at this weekend, there wasn’t a single experience I would have wanted to sacrifice to have that large home, even with the view.

I had time to enjoy sitting in the garden which is still blooming.

I had time to enjoy sitting in the garden which is still blooming.

Friday morning the power in half our town was out due to an electrical fire underneath a parking lot on the campus.  The power blew at 9am and wasn’t restored until 3:30 in the afternoon.  The most interesting thing about this outage was that no one complained about not having electricity.  What people wanted to talk about was the beautiful warm day we were having.

Why I found this interesting was because nearly all the businesses were closed.  Wal-Mart, banks, convenience stores, fast food, post office, our grocery store, and even the cable office which is where most people get their internet from.  One gas station stayed open for people who wanted to make cash purchases inside the store.  But if you didn’t carry cash you were out of luck as the banks and all the ATM/Mac machines were down.  One person was upset that he had no TV but that was to be expected as he is elderly and caring for his spouse who is dying.  She was sleeping most of the time and he had no TV, no one to play cards with and couldn’t leave the house and leave her alone.  Another person was dismayed as it meant his sump pump would have stopped working and his basement would be flooded.  Both of those situations were understandable.

I took some time to work on one of the end tables I recently received,

I wanted to stop here, but I was unable to restore the scratches to the laminate top.

I wanted to stop here, but I was unable to restore the scratches to the laminate top.

I had time to sit and visit with friends, a neighbor asked me to look out for a dresser for him.  Ten minutes later I had found him a dresser which made his day.

The dinosaur eggs are doing well.  The “shells” have hardened, which tells my granddaughter that they are getting close to hatching.  I watched as she filled a plastic cup we pulled from the dumpster with dirt.

This is one of her favorite places to play. I keep wondering when she will finally scrape off enough of the loose soil and have to move to another location.

This is one of her favorite places to play. I keep wondering when she will finally scrape off enough of the loose soil and have to move to another location.

The cup of dirt was a cup of hot chocolate with a few tiny pebbles which were meant to be marshmallows for me to drink.  It was delicious.  Once I had my taste of the hot chocolate, a nest was set up for the dinosaur eggs.


Saturday morning I went with my granddaughter to watch her take her first dance lesson.  This was the birthday gift I gave her.


She is still talking about her class, this was a better idea than giving her another toy.

The children spotted my tape measure and measured everything in and around my house.


They found it hilarious trying to measure the ceiling height to have the tape fall and bend.

I had time to watch a couple of football games, congratulations CatLady on your teams win.  Currently I am in second place in the fantasy football league, and am beating my son whose team played mine this weekend.  I had time to curl up with a book and even work on my cross stitch.


It’s coming along nicely, I have skipped the center flowers as I need to pick up a color of thread for that area.  Here’s a closeup of the areas I worked on while watching football.

I changed the scroll color which was supposed to be a dark brown to light blue, it felt too heavy with the brown.

I changed the scroll color which was supposed to be a dark brown to light blue, it felt too heavy with the brown.

We even had time to take a walk after dance class.



Total cost for my weekend: $5.00


Now why would anyone want to sacrifice years of their lives to working towards a dream that could have been realized if they simply altered their dream to something a bit smaller? 

What would you be willing to sacrifice, and what would you want as the reward?

36 thoughts on “Modifying the Dream

  1. I love it when we occasionally have a blackout. It’s so much fun to watch the boys lost without their electronic stuff. We play a game of guess who by candlelight and get to focus just on eachother :) It looks like you had a lovely day.


    • I did have a lovely day. I too enjoy the days without power. When my boys were younger a black out meant my home would be full of all the neighborhood kids who didn’t know what to do at their homes. I would have kids spread out from the bedrooms to the kitchen and living room. Guess who would be a good one to play. In the evenings we would even use a flashlight and do pantomimes. Can you even imagine a home where other than electronics there is nothing to do? How sad for those children.


  2. Hi Lois and once again, thank you for a truly wonderful post :)

    Unless it is in the dead of winter, I too have no problem when the power goes out. In fact, I love the ability to then just sit and think or if there’s enough light, to read.

    When I was young, I somehow realized that the only person I needed to prove things to was myself and have lived that way since! I so value my time that I could never give that up to live in a large house where I couldn’t enjoy it because of all the effort it would take to maintain it and pay it off. I’ll take my small apartment thank you very much and be grateful for it as you feel about yours :)

    Take care and great gift idea for both of your grandchildren. All the best.



    • Lyle, winter is the one time I have to be concerned as I can’t be without heat for a long period of time. Other than that I’m like you, do I have enough light to read or do another quiet activity. The majority of the time I have no idea the power is even out if it’s during the daytime hours.

      I wish I could say I had learned that lesson earlier in life. For me I was trying not to disappoint my grandparents who gave up so much to raise me instead of enjoying their golden years. Their expectations were very high and I felt that pressure. I finally realized that to be true to myself was more important and they were never going to be happy with anything I did.

      Yes, I am very grateful for the apartment I have and the lifestyle I have as a result of finding it, just like you.


  3. Lovely cup of hot chocolate Lois, I had some invisible tea last week, it went down a treat! :-) Funny how Dance is attracting our little ones at the moment, My Granddaughter seems Mesmerised by a ballerina cartoon and has a little pink too-too and copied the cartoon dancing on tippee toes :-)
    Yes those Adds on TV entice and entrap people to desire more and more, which they can not afford. If only we could be satisfied with our present Dreams! and learn to LIVE each day within them by enjoying family, health and what we are blessed with in Nature etc.
    Looks like you had a busy weekend…
    So much for my own plans of painting LOL, Sunday I set too baking, and got some bread proving when at 11-30, intending to have my afternoon free to paint when I got a call from work could I cover that afternoon from 3pm plus sleep, as no one else was available as someone called in sick at last minute… But thats how it goes, lol ALL or nothing :-) so can not complain…
    Loved your x-stitching, Beautifully done, x stitching is something I have only touched upon when the children were small, I did more embroidery tablecloths and smocking on my young daughters dresses..
    Do you get lots of Power cuts where you are? We are lucky here only during bad storms or Winter when ice gets on the lines.. One year we were without power for 3 days in winter.. Water supplies were brought on the streets and families helped each other who had Gas supplies…


    • Sue, we are very fortunate to have such wonderful treats as hot chocolate and invisible tea. Dance is huge right now, and a preschool program if affordable is a good way to introduce the little ones to trusting a teacher before being sent off to all day kindergarten here. Plus the parents can stay to see how the children adjust. Ballet is what my granddaughter dreams of doing, I will support her but have always worried about the feet and the pounding they take. But it’s up to her parents how far they go with it for her, not me.

      I rarely see commercials being without a TV, but do see them when watching football and they are getting worse than ever. It’s not just trying to sell you a product any more it’s an entire lifestyle they are trying to convince you to live. I do see hope that advertising will lose its power over the next generation as they really don’t watch TV, they watch Netflix and things prerecorded which they fast forward through the commercials. Avoiding the commercials this way and not buying newspapers any longer with all the ads in them I see as a good thing, but then it could just be my hope that the next generation will avoid marketing until they are old enough to see the deception it sells and therefore make up their own minds on what they want in their lives.

      I haven’t tried embroidery, it’s something I look at and then dismiss because I already have enough hobbies to keep me busy and don’t need to add another one to the list. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the week to spend on each of them already.

      Our power is spotty. We don’t have a lot of large power outages, but being at the southern most section of the county I believe we have more because more power is reserved for those living in the city. Most of our outages come from weather or a car accident that knocks down lines.


  4. I don’t see commercials and am with you on keeping life simple. It always has been because I enjoyed my kids too much to leave them longer than necessary to make sure we had something to eat and a place to sleep. Nothing fancy necessary. My comment though is on your choice of gift for your grand daughter. How much better can the experience of dance lessons be? I should restructure that sentence but you know what I mean. Giving a child an experience vs a gift that gets tossed aside in hours is worth it’s weight in gold. You are one smart grandmother. :) I do realize your grand daughter would never toss aside anything but and experience is still priceless.


    • Marlene, I fear she does toss aside too much. She has way too many toys that have been given to her but only a few she cherishes. At the same time, she wants to share what she has I just wish her parents would let her part with the ones she doesn’t want rather than holding on to them because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of those who gave them to her.

      She is loving her dance lessons, at $5 a week it was something I was able and willing to give her. Although her parents had discussed signing her up when they found an affordable program so after the first two months they will take over the tuition.

      It took me a while to come up with a comparable gift for her brother, but today he drew my attention to what I am giving him. He wants to bowl more often so, with his parents permission I am signing him up for a bowling league.

      I love giving experiences over gifts, my youngest enjoys the science center where she lives but at $58 a visit she doesn’t get to visit often. A family membership is equal to 2 visits so guess what she is getting for Christmas? :-)


  5. Too full of the flu to think of comments here except I so agree, for us. We recently attended a family wedding and spent 3 days with alot of family who all do have money, high flying jobs etc and they are really happy living life their way too so I guess it just comes down to where we are happiest in our own lives. I can totally relate to this personally though.


    • Wendy I am so sorry you have the flu and hope you feel better soon. You sure need a break after the earthquakes and now the flu.

      I think those with the riches don’t stop to think about what went in to earning all they have and still believe it’s the material stuff that brings happiness. I hope your relatives are truly happy as the saddest thing to me is to waste years chasing a dream only to find out it wasn’t what you really wanted.


    • Bethany, you should know as you have so recently made the move and given up your home. All the benefits I tend to take for granted now you are reminding me of. I am so free from the repairs and maintenance of home ownership along with the stress of worrying that my savings wasn’t large enough for more than one thing to go wrong at a time on the house.

      I look back and wonder if I should have simply continued to rent with my boys. Don’t get me wrong we had a lot of great experiences, but I wonder if my stress ever played on them.


  6. I really enjoy your varied writings. Today though I had a different experience that changed my perspective on daycare. When our then 22-month-old grandson came to live with us due to unfortunate parent situations, we had no choice but daycare. Since WE are the grandparents, who was I going to call on for help?? My husband runs a small-business and I worked at a hospital. We were so fortunate to locate a wonderful center [not the fanciest, nor the most expensive, but kind and caring workers]. When I was able to quit work this summer, we took him out of daycare. We have enjoyed daytrips, backyard adventures, library trips, swimming classes, thrift-store & garage sale fun, a wonderful vacation and so much more. Our neighborhood has no other residential children! Since we withdrew from the center, we visited the daycare a few times to spend time with his friends, which has been wonderful for him. This morning as we were driving to Kindergarten (yes, he’s 5 now!), he began weeping. As he described how much he wants to go back to his daycare & see his friends (none of his daycare friends are in the same kindergarten), I realized he was feeling the same thing I felt when I moved away from home – he’s ‘homesick’! He begged to be allowed to go back to his ‘real’ school – his daycare. I remembered no matter how good the new place felt, there is always a certain longing for the familiar. Just wanted to say that sometimes daycare is necessary for people who need to work to have the basic minimum (no lavish lifestyle here!), AND daycare might be good for little people who played there for 3 years and know & love those friends & are just ‘homesick’ for that comfort.


    • Jan, I am sorry your grandson has to go through this at his age, it’s very hard for a young child to understand or explain when asked why they don’t live with their parents. I went through a bit of that but I was older than your grandson.

      I never meant to imply that day care was bad. I too used day care. As a single mother I had very little choice but to use day care as I had no family I could rely on to help me. Once the boys were in school I worked my schedule out so I was home when they were, but it’s hard.

      Day care is necessary today for many families. It sounds like you found a lovely fit for your grandson. Maybe you could invite, through the parents, a couple of his daycare friends to come play with him at your home.


  7. We get a lot of crap for not having ” real jobs “, but my I work part time and my husband is self employed and flexible so that we can have the time to raise our kids together. Our house is small, our possessions minimal and second hand. I think a lot of people feel bad that we are “poor” and have to shop at Good Will, but we could really care less- we have a great time together. I love to see all these stories of people living a different “dream”.


    • Katie, I know exactly what you mean. So many people still believe I chose to move to my studio apartment because I am too tight on money to rent something else. In fact I get much more from living here than I would in another apartment or home.

      In the end, you will have the last laugh as you will have these lovely memories and others have the memories of working for stuff instead.


    • Zoe, that was a great article. I am glad to see more people realizing that home ownership isn’t mandatory to “succeed”. I am seeing many youth who aren’t buying a car or even getting their driver’s license. Even where I live which is 13 miles from the nearest shopping mall there are many who are forgoing even that part of the so called dream.

      The only part of the article I would question would be the opinion that some debt is necessary for economic growth. Not that long ago, people and even small businesses had no debt. My grandparents paid for everything they ever bought with cash, including brand new cars and their home. If we didn’t have the staggering debt, and people had cash in their pocket the vast majority would still spend but not drown from the interest on the debt. What do you think about the belief that some debt is necessary?


  8. My place is low-maintenance because I don’t like to spend all my time cleaning and mowing the lawn. I suppose I have made some compromises and trade-offs, for example, I would love to live downtown where the action is (because my leisure time is oriented towards music/performances), but I chose to live in the suburbs for the cost and the quietness. Likewise, I work longer hours than some, but in exchange for the ability to buy entertainment, travel, and a pension plan. I think the key has been to make these choices willingly and to be aware of the alternatives.


    • Dar, I think that is exactly the trade off we should be looking to make. I too want the quiet and choose to live in the back of the building with the view of the field rather than the view of the lake because of the street noise that comes with the view.

      A pension is a big thing to have to plan for, and I know you enjoy your job, you are lucky You also aren’t working such long hours that you can’t find time to spend with Rom or do the things the money can be spent on like entertainment and traveling. That was my point. Do we really want to miss all the things that make life fun and interesting to hold out for that one big thing years down the road? I believe you found the right mix.


  9. Most of our Western societies assume that we all think that way, and probably most of us do – at least for some time in our lives, but once you wake up to what’s really going on, and what’s really being sacrificed – freedom, then I don’t think you can look at anything in the same way again.


    • I have to agree with you, Anny. There was a point early in my life that I thought I had something to prove and to prove it I had to have the high powered career, house, husband and beautiful things. I don’t say all the latest things because that wasn’t how I grew up and saw things. But nice furniture, beautiful art on the walls etc. But instead life happened and I found myself a mother who couldn’t leave her kids to follow the career path. I began to question the impression I had of a good life, and here I am. I could never go back to being that young person again who believed she had something to prove to the world through money.


  10. It makes me really sad to think about how the “American Dream” has been warped by the never ceasing drumbeat for bigger, better and more, more, more! It’s like the entire society has been hoodwinked or something.

    Every once in awhile CatMan and I ride our bikes through one of the wealthy sections of town… it’s an eerie experience. There are no sidewalks, just gutters for the water. The houses are ENORMOUS, but nobody ever seems to be at home. They have these beautiful decks and landscaped terraces, but you never see anyone out enjoying them – the only people you ever see are the crews of yard workers and cleaning people. There are giant, beautiful parks with elaborate playgrounds, but no kids ever seem to use them – I’m sure the kids are in dawn to dark daycare as their harried parents work themselves to the bone to afford all of those “luxuries.”

    Sorta seems like people are missing the point.


    • I really had to shake my head at that commercial. How many people saw it and thought, yes that’s what I’m killing myself for, instead of how I saw it which was why kill yourself when you could find a beach location for less money if you didn’t want the huge house to go with it?

      We have a couple of those neighborhoods around here. They have beautifully manicured lawns and garden beds (only flowers mind you) yet same as there, no one is ever our enjoying them.

      If the kids aren’t in day care, they are sitting inside with the game stations.

      I think they are missing the point too, do you think they ever stop to ask themselves if it was worth it or if they are happy?


    • My boyfriend and I like to do that too! Our favourite cycle route is along one of the richest streets, partly because the views are fantastic, but we always marvel at the ridiculousness of the houses there – too too big, soul-less and empty, with several balconies… each one with more furniture that we could fit into our entire flat! Yet no-one is ever there enjoying the view or the gardens. I assume they are inside watching their massive plasma screens and being told what else to buy…


  11. So pleased to hear limited complaints about the power out. Actually on the sum of the number of people I interrupt their power vs complaints, it’s relatively small! People don’t like not knowing about it (or associated noise), but usually everyone is accommodating. Sometimes we can’t restore it on time, and I get a few calls there, but I get good at explaining we want to finish the work and not return! Usually the thought of ANOTHER whole day without power is so hideous, a few hours late is ok! hahaha

    Lovely hot chocolate, I’d like some… What are these dinosaur eggs though?!


    • Sarah, I’m happy for you that you don’t get many complaints when you knock people’s power out. :-)

      The dinosaur eggs are tiny mushrooms she found in our field and picked. It’s been a few days and she’s still having fun with them.


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