In 2018, I completely downsized from a 5-bedroom, 3000 sq.ft. home and multi-income property to 200 sq. ft. of living space. This space once was part of a small efficiency apartment and our family business office, then converted to a one-room school room during my children’s homeschooling years and later became my art studio.
Now it has become my co-housing/co-living “Gma (Grandma) Pod, that I share with my daughter’s family. As a baby boomer and grandma, I now spend more time creating in my art studio and writing my blog and less time working on the road as a travel nurse.
I share some living area necessities like a bathroom, laundry area, and running water but I also have my own entrance and live independently from my daughter’s family.
I enjoy the companionship and security of their presence while spending more time with my two grandsons.
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When was the last time someone said to you, “Drop me a line”?
When was the last time you got a simple handwritten note or letter in the mail?
Heck, I only mailed out two Christmas cards this year which went out to my children and their family’s that live outside of the United States. I find it hard to spend money on things people will just toss out after a few weeks or months. I decided to purchase and send Christmas cards that were Chinese paper quill frameable art, hoping that they will frame them and put out during the holiday seasons for years to come.
As a practicing minimalist, I like to keep a narrow threshold of materialistic things from entering my personal space. Taking me less than 15 minutes this morning. I cleaned my 425 sq. ft. of living area which I affectionately call my “Grandma Pod”. I really don’t regret my decision to keep things minimal after owning and caring for a 5-bedroom, home, rentals, and large yard for almost 30 years.
I enjoy the freedom it brings to my life as I continue as a travel nurse. Technology has been a great way for me to keep the paper clutter minimal and I find myself frustrated at times when I receive unnecessary junk mail. Even more annoyed with political organization advertisements with elections only 10 months away.
It pains me, that even in a more paperless society, we still have so much waste in paper products. Have you ever watched a movie where someone comes across some old box or trunk tucked away in a dusty old attic somewhere?
The actor/actress will gingerly open the treasured box or trunk and sort through the items until they come across a letter or papers. Maybe they find a bunch of letters that have been bound together with a tattered old string, much like presents for the finders to read with muse.
Were they from a lover, a friend, a spouse, a war hero, someone who has passed?
Handwritten letters and notes are a tangible extension of the writer. We try to imagine them as they sat and wrote them. Were they happy, sad, joyful or hopeful? Was their handwriting representative of textbook cursive, printed block letters or swirly and whimsical? Do the stamps on the envelopes have some cultural story of the day and times or hobby/interest of the writer?
I have letters on military stationary from my first husband which he wrote to me while in the Army. I own notes from an athletic boyfriend that are folded in tiny footballs, that he punted to me with a finger flick behind the teachers back across the classroom that landed into my lap. I have “I love you, Mom” notes and cards from my children written in preschool and school age scribbles. Jokes written in my Dad’s whimsical handwriting inside cards.
So, when I downsized, I had to decide what to keep and not keep. I could have easily scanned or taken pictures of all those notes, cards and letters and keep them handy on a flash drive. Or keep a chosen few with significant meanings that could be treasured in their original form. I decided on the later.
So, today as I was cleaning and decided to sort through any unnecessary clutter; which still seems to have a way of accumulating even with practicing strict minimalism decision making practices. I came across these beautiful note cards below. The art was done by my 5-year-old grand-daughter and given as a gift to me last year for Christmas.
Signed on the back by my grand-daughter as the Artist and her Age at the time. This was a wonderful and thoughtful fundraiser gift idea done by her playcentre and printed by www.kidsartworks.co.nz.
I have decided that it’s time to sit down and “drop a line” to those I failed to send a Christmas card to this year. So, if you are lucky to be on the receiving side of this particular card maybe you will be less likely to add it to the rubbish bin and use it as some frameable art. You never know, the artist may be the next Jackson Pollack.
Travel nursing means I spend a lot of time being a tourist and living out of Rubbermaid containers 8-10 months out of the year. I am always in search of amazing regional food, local & cultural activities and making new friends. Thank you Yelp and TripAdvisor!
When the opportunity arises, not only do I try to immerse myself in the region, culture, art and cuisine of the local area but I like advancing my skills as a baker and cook, taking classes that are significant to the locale. Then the real joy is re-creating and sharing my new food experiences and skills with co-workers, family and friends. Food has a unique language all its own and it provides a common ground that people can enjoy and relate to.
I drag my hand-written recipes in two pretty blue recipe boxes with me on the road everywhere. “Oh, what are those, you say? I’ll explain later”… but it’s something that us “old broads” used before Pinterest, Tasty and All Recipes came along. Staying healthy and fit as a travel nurse is challenging but the real challenge is when you’re constantly fighting menopause, genetics and the burning desire to eat every damn sweet thing available in a 25-100-mile radius. Under Recipe Box you will find healthy recipes and some that are bad as hell for the waste-line and for that reason I will rate them (Very Good, Good, and Oh shit, Hide the Scale!).
A few years ago, I completely embarked on my minimalist lifestyle and took a six-month unpaid sabbatical leave from Travel nursing to relearn self-care along with a lil’ sprinkle of fairy dust called “self-love” and rekindled my passions for writing and art.
Now that I have a little more time to create, I recently opened my first Etsy Shop where I can sell my art I’ve been creating in my Art Studio. I feel that I have a new purpose in life and want to inspire others to use “Artsightful Meditation and Creation”, a technique I have developed while learning to find a healthier way to deal with the physical and psychological stressors that I encounter working in the healthcare environment and I can’t wait to share!
I’m dusting off the cobwebs on all those stories tucked in big white binders and assorted notebooks collecting on my desk at my Gma (Grandma) Pod in Wisconsin and share some of the shenanigans rolling around in my head. learn more About
My memories of Grandma, aka (Gma) Pronounced…( Jee- ma) and our time spent together, reminds me everyday, to live my dreams no matter what others “think“, “feel” or “want” me to do.
“Sometimes, when I’m driving down the highway with thousands of miles between destinations, I can still picture her next to me in that huge, hard top 1959 Ford, as she drove us to the lake cottage. All the windows down, and her hair tightly wrapped in a colorful scarf all “Hollywood Style”, eyebrows painted on, barely visible above her eye glasses. She turns and smiles at me, her “baker hands” tightly gripping the wheel as we flew down the highway while the sweet smell of freshly mowed hay fields filled the swirling air around us“.
It’s the simple pleasure of the journey no matter how long the road may be. We all have our own path and those we will meet along the way but ultimately it drives us to our final destination.
Do Your Dream!
I hope you enjoy my Blog about My Travel, My Life, My Art, My Food. I will have a lot of pretty cool pictures, some really fun and heartwarming stories, self-discovery tips, art you can buy and recipes you can try. I will be posting 2-3 times a week. So, as long as it takes you to drink your morning coffee, eat your lunch, sneak precious quiet time during the kid’s or hubby’s nap-time, trying to stay calm while waiting in line at the DMV or just killing time on the shitter. I will be here.
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