Thanks for stopping by today!  Last week I launched a new passion project on instagram. It's called Gretta in Gratitude.  And I'm so excited to share it with you...

Since I was a kid, rocks have always intrigued me.  As I got older and learned about the hidden beauty within them, my fascination deepened.  The ability to pick up a plain gray rock and discover a magical, sparkling amethyst inside left me in awe. This wonderment sparked the beginning of my crystal collection, which quickly grew into something much, much larger.  

While crystals are often associated with spirituality, there is also a scientific basis for their energy and vibration.  It's said that each crystal carries a unique energy determined by its composition, size and color.  Just as each person has a distinct vibration, crystals can help us bridge the gap and elevate our own vibrations.

The true power of my crystals became apparent to me following the death of my husband in April of 2022.  My crystal collection transformed into a source of comfort and healing. From the soothing presences of amethyst, to the heart mending properties of rose quartz, each crystal played a vital role in my healing journey. And he loved crystals too.💖

As my collection grew, so did my desire to share the healing power of crystal with others. I started creating bundles for those in need of comfort, hope, courage and guidance, especially for those grieving the loss of a loved one.  These bundles, paired with smudge sticks, used to clear out toxic energy, have become a source of joy and fulfillment for me. 

Each bundle also includes a sprig of rosemary from our garden.  Rosemary is a symbol of love and remembrance.  If you put it in a clear glass of water in a window it will grow roots and you can plant it and have your own rosemary plant from our garden to yours. 

The positive feedback I received from those who were gifted my bundles inspired me to create Gretta in Gratitude.  Each bundle is made with love and intention, crafted to bring comfort and healing to those who need it most.  


Oh, and I'm Gretta. It's a nickname my daughter gave me when she was 16, long story :)


Here's a peek at some of our beauties.  You can see more and read all about them on our website at Gretta in Gratitude.


 I started this post while sitting in the coziest corner in the cutest desert cabin in Joshua Tree, CA.  My daughter and I came for a long weekend, my Mothers Day present.  We stay at a different Air B&B each time we go to get ideas for the one we're building.  Still in the planning stages, it's current status is 2 acres of tumbleweeds and one lovely Joshua tree.  This was a dream of my husband's, to build vacation home/Air B&B. Onward we go!

When we arrived, (my daughter drove the second half of the trip), I got out of the passenger side and was immediately standing in front of this heart made of rocks.  This was something Mike and I would do.  We collected rocks everywhere we went and often made hearts with them around the house.  In fact this one looks exactly like the one we made for our save the date card to our wedding.  What a welcome!   Life is full of signs.  All you have to do is pay attention.  The purple sky was a bonus.  I like to think he painted it for me. 

That's my new Jeep.  I got it on April 30th.  April was the 2nd anniversary of Mikes death and our wedding anniversary month, so all and all not a great month emotionally, so I did a thing and traded in my little car for this pretty, plug in hybrid fun mobile!  I was hit with a tad of agism at the dealer.  The salesman loved the idea the jeep was for me, but when the finance manager came over he assumed it was for my daughter.  When I told him it was for me he looked like a deer in headlights.  I messed with him about jumping to the conclusion that a "woman of a certain age" wouldn't want a fun adventure vehicle.  I guarantee he'll never make that mistake again. HAHA

It was hard saying goodbye to my car.  It was hard when I sold Mike's car last year, but this was harder. This felt like I was abandoning a family member.  When Mike got sick I had to drive everywhere so he was always in that passenger seat and I felt like his DNA had permeated the seats.  It took me a few days not to be sad about it.  Happy for my new Jeep, Lady Wrangler, I love her, but very sad to say goodbye to Lady Coco. Yes, I name my cars.

A lot of people don't understand being both happy and sad at the same time, and living life while grieving.   My grief is always with me.  You can fill your time with work, projects, friends, hobbies, travel, etc.  And be as busy as you can be.  But guess what?  Grief will wait.  It will wait until you stop for lunch, it will wait until you get into bed at night, it will wait for you to be alone in the car or the shower.  It will just wait.  And you have to greet it, let it visit, and let it be.  When your partner dies there is a hole in you life and no matter how many wonderful things you try to fill it with there will always be a hole.  Maybe it's just supposed to be that way so that you always have space for them, in the hole, to store all the love and the memories. 

Grief is like an old friend now.  You know, the annoying kind that you can't get rid of even though you'd like to.  So if you asked me how I'm doing I may tell you I'm doing great, but my husband's still dead. 

Have you ever been to a place that is completely silent?  That's the desert.  Joshua Tree is all about the silence, the sunrises, sunsets, and the zillion stars that fill the night sky.  It's so quiet here.  The absolute best place to relax, there's something so magical about it.  At home my backyard is filled with vibrant color and the songs of so many birds and I can sit out there for hours.  In contrast this is the opposite.  I love both these worlds.  

Here are a few pictures from my few days of zen...

We both love to cook when we're here, simple but yummy.  The first picture is spaghetti with olive oil, lemon and parmesan.  Salad with lettuce from my garden, pine nuts, feta and an amazing peach balsamic from Ojai.  Second picture, creamy spinach artichoke dip in the making.  Bottom left, my high protein Mediterranean crunchy chick peas.  I'll share the recipe in my next post, it's so, so good!  And it wouldn't be us without a classic weekend tuna melt.
We tend to stick to this vibe, I guess you'd call it cowboy chic.
Sill life, blank canvas, and Penelope and Stella making themselves at home.
On Mother's Day, another sign.  I went out in the morning to take another picture of the heart rocks and right in the middle at the top was a penny.  Whenever I see a Penny at my feet I call them pennies from heaven.  You see my mothers name was Penny and I had just been thinking of her.  Watch for signs! :)

Wishing you a beautiful May!


Happy Galantines Day to all my Galantines out there, and that means you!

I'm excited to gift you the 2nd Edition of MY TOP 10 TIPS & TRICKS FOR AGELESS LIVING.  Just click the link. It's free!

This is my second Valentine's Day since my husband died.  So how's that going? 🙄

I got to thinking lately, when someone dies, where does the love go?  Well, for one thing, it doesn't go with your loved one, it stays with you.  That's the good part.  All the love from both of you stays right in your (broken) heart where it belongs and it's up to you how you choose to honor it.  I choose gratitude because the truth is that had I known how it would have ended, had I known that My Mike would only live to be 62, I would have married him anyway.  And I'd do it again and again for a thousand life times.  And that's life isn't it?  Choose the happy and hang on while it lasts and then be grateful that it found it's way to you.     

When Mike & I were dating and we had our first Valentines together he told me that he thought it was a dumb Hallmark Holiday.  Something to the effect that he loved me everyday so what's the big deal.  And why should he spend $50 on a box of candy that the next day he could get for half off?  Now, Mike was a very generous guy, not cheap at all, so this wasn't about money, he just didn't get it.  In his defense he was a 40 year old bachelor when I met him, so I chalked it up to lack of experience.  And even if I agreed that it was a Hallmark Holiday attention must be paid!  I mean come on, red hearts are involved!  So we went on to celebrate Valentines Day over the years and a new tradition was born.  Every year on February 15th Mike would come home loaded up with the biggest box of Valentines candy he could find and arms full of silly little love trinkets and proudly declare, like a giant goof ball, that he got them all for 50% off. LOL


Good-Bye 2023...

It's been a while since I signed into my blog and when I did today, a draft came up.  It was to be a post of my NY trip this past September.  I didn't even realize I hadn't finished it, let alone post it.  They call it widow brain.  Boy I hate that word.  And how did it all of a sudden become New Years weekend?!  EKKK.

Here is an excerpt from that post, kind of a segue into todays post...

"It was early March 2020 and I was in NY to celebrate my friend of 40 years turning 60.  She had a party, it was pre-covid, barely.  Shortly after, when we were safe back home in LA, two friends that were at the party ended up in the hospital and my friends cousin died.  My husbands early onset dementia kicked into high gear at warp speed and the entire world shut down.  And my personal world would surely never be the same.

And here we are, September 2023, my first trip back for the wedding of that same girlfriends son and to reconnect with my roots and beloved old friends.  I love NY and I will always be a native NY'er, but I also love California with all my heart and it's been my home for 34 years.  I feel at home in both places, and there are other places in the world I feel at home in too, where I have never even lived.  That's the beauty of wander lust.  Turns out home really is where the heart is".  That was as far as I got...

As it turns out, home can also be discombobulated, wherever you are, when grief has become a part of your life.  People ask me how my year has been.  I say it's actually been pretty good, I had a lot of fun, even made some new girlfriends which is a blessing in midlife right?  But I also say, my husbands still dead.  Silence.  No one knows how to deal with me.  And that's grief.  People are uncomfortable with it. They either never mentioned it or try to console you in some way.  But there is no way.  It's a very personal and lonely journey.  And it is always with you even on the great days.  I often describe grief as  floating in the ocean. You're weightless, the sun is shining on your face, and you feel good.  Then, without warning, the current pulls you under, (cue the Jaws music).  Now you're gasping for air, trying to fight your way back to the surface.  And you make it, you always make it, and you struggle to get your breath back, and you do, and you float again.  This scenario goes on all the time, on and off like a light switch.  But on my fantastic NY trip in September with family and friends, I'm happy to report I made it a few days in a row without going under. 

I also made multiple visits to my favorite places this year like Ojai, San Fransisco, Joshua Tree, and Arizona.  I thought I'd take my first solo trip to Europe but the state of the world has me feeling safer closer to home.

I belong to an online widows group, it's very sad.  Sometimes I can't even read the posts, sometimes I chime in.  The women have all kinds of stories of how their spouses died and I won't share them because they are all horrible, but what I've learned from the group is that I find it tragic that some of them feel they can't go on.  And I ask them to consider - how would your loved one feel if they knew that their legacy was that their death destroyed your life?  I know what my husband would say.  Hell No!  I'm not going to tell you it's easy, it is not.  I cry at least once a day.  But when I cry I always hear Mike say something funny and I laugh and then just like that, I'm back on the surface floating again.  It's quite the roller coaster.  But I'm on a mission to live an extraordinary life, for the both of us.  

Most people think that grief gets better with time.  It changes, but I'd never use the word better to ever describe grief.  As I step into this new year, and the 2nd New Years without my husband, I have to say that the passage of more time actually makes it sadder, but I look forward to the ways I can move forward with my life while honoring his. 

I always pick a word and a theme for the year.  On my recent year end girls trip I choose my word, 'thrive'. My friend said she thought my word should be fierce, because she thinks I'm fierce, which made me laugh.  So maybe I'll have two words for 2024.  I'll be Fierce and Thriving. 

I don't think I'll ever finish that NY post.  But that's OK, I have another NY wedding on tap for 2024!  And I like looking forward instead of backwards, after all, if you drive looking in your rear view, you'll crash. 😉

With grace and gratitude, I wish you and yours a Fierce and Thriving 2024. 

Happy New Year!