November, 2013:

THANKSGIVING—REMEMBERING BLESSINGS

In the past few years, I’ve gotten in the habit of counting my blessings every morning before I get out of bed. I believe it reminds me that, despite my challenges, the scale weighs far more heavily on the positive side. For instance:

I’m still in good health at 70, even though I haven’t jogged or been able to walk a mile in a few years.

Cornacopia

I’ve had an adventurous, joyous life.

I’m still an optimist.

I have two magnificent children, Heidi and Hansi, and now a daughter-in-law, Jennifer.

I have a good relationship with my ex-husband.

I have many good friends from different stages in my life and from all over the world.

I have wonderful relatives who are still alive and laughing, and wonderful memories of those who’ve passed on.

I still love to express myself, with the written word especially. This blog brings me pleasure every time I broadcast one, and I treasure each comment from those who’ve enjoyed reading it. I’ve been blessed with writing, in one form or another, since I was ten years old and I can’t imagine a day without it. I continue to look forward to Facebook communication and Emails.

I continue to thoroughly enjoy editing and co-writing with my clients. The process satisfies the teacher in me, and the nurturer that’s part of my nature. I’ve worked on over 100 books in almost every genre and enjoyed each one. That my authors come from all over the world is a bonus.

I’ve had a continually blessed “education” in life, starting with being born into my mother’s large, loving family and branching into a childhood as a traveling Army “brat.”

I’ve been a part of history by witnessing and connecting with a variety of newsmakers, like presidents and movie stars.

Victoria Giraud

Victoria Giraud

I was able to write an historical fiction novel, a screenplay, and several short novels and have them for sale on Amazon. I’ve even sold some.

I have a young spirit and a curious mind. History, philosophy, physics, spirituality, and different trends in music or culture still fascinate me. I believe I can see the broader picture in life, probably one of the reasons I’m an optimist.

I live in a comfortable apartment among congenial multi-cultural people.  I enjoy our pool (I’ve always been a swimmer) and the sounds of a soothing, continually flowing fountain.

I’m an American and I live in Southern California.

That’s my summary for now. I may have left out some blessings, but it gives a good idea of what pleases me. Wishing   everyone  the spirit of Thanksgiving as they  remember their own blessings.

 

 

ARTISTIC IMAGININGS — HEIDI GIRAUD

My daughter, Heidi, tapped into her hidden art talents just a few years ago. I’ve been continually amazed at the variety of styles and subject matter she’s produced; each of her artworks are imaginative and colorful. She keeps producing and I’m sharing a few. I love them all and want more of them on my walls…I must admit, I’m prejudiced!

Red Hat
Red Hat

 

The darling "Rufus"

The darling “Rufus” – a little randy, a bit of a rapscallion — sitting on the kitchen counter contemplating life…

 

 

 

Wanting to spread the word about her talents, I asked her to write something about herself and she did:  The past few years I’ve felt that I needed/wanted to do something creative. I don’t recall having a desire to paint when I was a child, but believe it must have been there in my soul. When I was kicked out of high school,  I was sent to continuation high school. I decided to take an art class and the first painting I did was a watercolor, all freehand, no tracing. I fell in love with it, but wasn’t settled enough in my life to do more than one more watercolor.

Sunflowers for Sally
Sunflowers for Sally

 My artistic yearnings inspired me to use a lot of color when I decorated various apartments of mine over the years. Then I took another art class for a few months, and that planted the seed that grew into a satisfying habit of painting. I have always been attracted to the shapes you can create, not to mention the colors you can use in abstract. My favorite colors are bright blues, reds, oranges and greens. There are no rules in abstract painting, you can create whatever you want, probably why I enjoy it so much. Abstract painting opens your mind to all sorts of interpretations. I feel it’s a perfect expression of life. Just when you think you know what is is, you look deeper into the painting with your mind and soul and see something totally different.

 

Abstract for Hansi
Abstract for Hansi

My inspirations can come from anything. I can walk down a street in downtown Los Angeles, or see the sun’s rays flicker upon the Pacific Ocean and get my ideas from that. My emotions also play a part in my creations.

 

JFK ASSASSINATION — 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK

On November 22, Americans will commemorate  the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. I’ve been  remembering my own experience of that overwhelming event recently because of all the television movies and documentaries about the  background and the occasion.  I was in my last year of college at William and Mary in Virginia when the President died. Some of my classmates attended the funeral since it was only about 150 miles north to Washington, D.C.

 

Eternal Flame & gravestones President John F. Kennedy & wife Jacqueline.

Eternal Flame & gravestones President John F. Kennedy & wife Jacqueline. Photo taken by Hans Giraud.

As a diary keeper, it was vitally important for me to write down my thoughts about that  heart-breaking time. I have to chuckle a bit at my serious tone, as if I were documenting this tragic event for history, which indeed I have since my blog does have readers all over the world. I have kept most of my diaries through countless moves (27 at last count)  and here is my contribution to the reactions on campus in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s hard to believe that it was 50 years ago!

22 November. At 1:50 p.m. today the greatest political as well as human tragedy I have known in my 20 years occurred when President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas, by an assassin’s bullet. This was such a momentous and horrible tragedy that I must set it down.

It affects me as a human and as an American. One can hardly believe it happened—in fact I can still scarcely take it in, nor for that matter can anyone else on this campus or in these United States or, I doubt, in the world.

The tragedy occurred in Dallas (central time) at 12:30. Twenty minutes later the news came over the radio as I was calmly addressing a letter to Steve [my love interest at the time]. When the radio said a perhaps fatal wound, I couldn’t help hoping that he might live. But little chance with a gunshot wound through the right temple. It was utterly unbelievable.

I went to work this afternoon [I had a part-time job in the Law Library] but could only bear it for a half hour. At this time it wasn’t sure that he would die but then he did while I was there.

Horror & disbelief were the first reactions. About my first words were, “Oh, My God.” On my way to work I had passed Sandy’s room and told her. Her first words, “Oh, My God.” Peter Lawford’s comment: “Oh, My God,” and perhaps countless others said the same.

No one could do anything. No one could think of studying. What could one do? Little groups of students, stricken faces, people saying hi extremely somberly. It was as if the world had fallen on our shoulders and we didn’t know quite what to do with it—rail against it, scream, cry, be disgusted. What the hell was this world coming to when some lunatic shoots the President? What did this damn lunatic expect to accomplish? Kennedy was cut off in the prime of life—he was only 46. Younger even than any other President before him—and two young children.

All we could do was sit around and listen to the radio and discuss the ironies of it all. What would it do to the country, to the whole world? Condolences poured in; important men from everywhere spoke their two words about their grief. The WORLD was shocked—everyone feels a loss. The UN had a minute’s silence; Broadway closed all theaters; parties were canceled.

Coming back to the dorm from the Law Library, it was as if someone had slapped me in the face again. It wasn’t like Towney’s death [a friend who had died earlier that year]—it was more abstract, but I started crying a little. A great hero had died. It was a man I had seen in the Senate chamber during my high school junior year then later during one of my working summers, both in Constitution Hall and on the lawn of the White House. Thus he meant a great deal personally to me. I liked him as a President, despite all the criticism everyone else handed me about him. He stood up for what he believed and now he is a martyr.

Now we have President Lyndon Johnson, ironic throwback to Lincoln’s assassination. (I suppose I was referring to the fact that Lincoln’s Vice President was Andrew Johnson. History does seem to repeat itself!)

Johnson being sworn in as President, Jackie Kennedy by his side.

I wonder what my father thinks and my family. It is interesting to hear various views on his death. The consensus of opinion is much the same however—shock, grief, tragedy for the world, etc.

Dallas, Texas, thou will go down in ignominious history [I must have remembered my Shakespeare – I was an English major, after all].

Years later, I visited the Sixth Floor Museum in the Book Depository in Dallas, where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal bullet. My son drove me down the street where the event took place and the area still carries the emotional vibes of what happened there.

MILITARY GRAVES AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

My son Hans found the grave of his grandfather, Brigadier General Victor W. Hobson at Arlington National Cemetery this month. He and Jen, his wife, were celebrating their first year wedding anniversary with a short trip to Washington, D.C. They had been there some years ago, but this trip as a couple was a special one. Their hotel overlooked the infamous Watergate complex and was near Memorial Bridge. Arlington Cemetery, with its thousands of military graves and the eternal flame from the Kennedy graves,  was just across the Potomac.  It was Hans’ idea to check out the historical graveyard and look for my birth father’s grave. I’d never seen it, since I wasn’t able to travel across country to his funeral. I had luckily connected with him for the last time a few years before he died in 2000, hours shy of my 58th birthday. The photo my son took brought sentimental thoughts, especially since I had not grown up with my father–World War II and a divorce stood in the way.  I did not meet him “officially” until I turned 21. Using the excuse of family history, I looked him up when he was stationed at the Pentagon.

Victor W Hobson, Brigadier General

Victor W Hobson, Brigadier General & wife Maria Luisa

 

I planned my meeting for the break between semesters my senior year of college, a turbulent time since President Kennedy had been assassinated only three months earlier.

Looking back now, I am amazed at my courage  and self-confidence to walk into his office without any prior notice. It was easy to get into the Pentagon in those years, but finding locations in a five-sided building was confusing.

Was this white-haired, slender man truly my father, I wondered as I walked into his large office? Did I even resemble him? Wasn’t he too old? My step-dad was scarcely gray. But this man’s hair was thick and wavy, similar to mine, and his slightly pug nose looked like mine. He looked at me inquisitively as I stood by his desk, my heart racing in my chest.

“Col. Hobson, I’m Viki Williams,” I introduced myself as he stood up with a smile. I noted he was taller than my dad. He maintained his outward composure, though I could detect the astonishment in his eyes. He knew who I was immediately. Calmly and politely, he told the adjutant in the office to leave and close the door behind him. He then directed me to sit in the chair in front of his desk.

“Now, what can I do for you?” he asked hesitantly, still smiling at me, the bomb who had dropped into his life.

What thoughts were rushing through his mind? I wondered as I kept my cool, though I was quaking underneath. Tension and unease hung in the air.  I quickly told him I was in my senior year of college and looking for careers, and I needed information for my CIA personnel form, such as where exactly he was born. As he gave me the information about his Alabama birth, we both relaxed a bit.

“I guess you think I’m about the worst man alive,” he offered with a hint of regret in his voice after we had finished the required questions.

“No, I don’t,” I replied evenly, too shy and uncertain to explain feelings I wasn’t even sure of. Even though in my experience Army officer fathers weren’t easygoing and jovial,  I had harbored no resentments through the years. I was simply curious and reaching out for clues to my origins.

“I’ve thought about you a great deal all these years,” he added softly. “You look very much like your mother, except taller.”

This whole story is told in more detail in my short book, Discovering the Victor in Victoria on Amazon.  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

There was an amazing synchronicity about our reconnecting. Three days afterward, Colonel Victor Hobson was promoted and became Brigadier General Victor W Hobson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victor Hobson promoted to Brigadier General

Victor Hobson promoted to Brigadier General at age 47.

THE MYSTICAL WORLD

Vision of Space from the Hubble Telescope. God’s Eye, perhaps?

The photos from the Hubble Telescope are better than anything Hollywood can create, but I must admit I was impressed by the recent film with Sandra Bullock, “Gravity.” What kind of reality is outer space and is there no end? The Bible says, “World without End, Amen.”

I’ve had some spiritual experiences and they’re both “enlightening” and spooky. Mine have so far involved lights turning on mostly in the middle of the night. Once it was the new computer, which had been sleeping.  For the first and only time so far, it “woke up” and stayed on for a couple of hours! Another time, in a hotel room, I had a light turn on and then off three different times during the wee hours. I can only guess who my visitors have been, but I hope to experience it again.

Since it was just Veteran’s Day, I’ve been thinking about my cousin’s husband, Ray. One of the most heartening spiritual stories I’ve heard concerns  him, a Vietnam vet with PTSD, whom I’ve mentioned in a previous blog. Besides post-traumatic stress disorder, in the 1980s Ray was struggling with kidney stones. The pain was so bad he had been drinking Seagram’s VO and popping Demerol. When he went into a medical facility to have the stones removed, he had to stop the drugs, and it didn’t take long for his body to suffer withdrawal symptoms. His condition was so serious, he was rushed to the best hospital in the area at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“Practically every organ had failed, and I had to have whole blood transfusions,” Ray recalled. “Jackie (his wife and my cousin) was told that I wouldn’t live through the night.”

During the night, he sensed a presence in his room and looked over to the right of the hospital bed where there was a hardback chair. Sitting in it was his friend Bobby, who had served in the same Army company and platoon in Vietnam. Bobby and Ray had lived within 40 miles of each other and after the service remained friends. “We hunted, fished and partied hard together,” Ray remembered. “I would ask him now and then if he was OK because he would get quiet and his eyes looked blank. When he came out of this state, he always said, ‘All right, now’ with great feeling, but he never answered my question.”

Right before Christmas a few years before Ray’s hospital crisis, Bobby had put an end to his troubled life and to the deep depression resulting from PTSD. He had locked himself in a dog pen at his home, put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. “If he’d made it a few more years, he could have gotten help for PTSD,” Ray said.

In the chair next to Ray that night, Bobby was dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt and looked peaceful. He was there in spirit to give his old friend encouragement. “You messed up bad, buddy,” he told Ray, “but you’re going to be all right.”

“And I did get all right,” Ray declared.

Ray Scott, Sr. in a photo taken in Vietnam, 1963.

 

WHAT IS REALITY?

Should we even ask? And is there a definitive answer? Scientists, philosophers, and religious pundits all have an answer. Now that scientific research has found the Higgs boson so-called “God” particle in Switzerland, have we solved the conundrum or made it more complicated?

Perhaps we’re not meant to have a definitive answer: it’s the mystery to end or begin all mysteries. I’ve read, listened to, and imagined all sorts of theories and probably know little more than when I started. But I remain fascinated.

 

A Hubble Image from Outer Space

A Hubble Image from Outer Space

Some friends of mine, Anne and Rob, received some incredible information in the 1990s—they were called “transmissions” and were received (my best explanation) through the mysteries of the universe. Rob received them, probably a hundred or more at various times, when he was on his computer working on his normal business. Similar to channeling a spirit or group of spirits who aren’t present in this physical life, which many psychic types perform, Rob would zip these 7-10 page messages out on his keyboard. His normal typing speed couldn’t match his flying fingers. There were no mistakes and were formatted into proper paragraphs with correct margins. The first time he would see or read what he’d written was when the spirits had departed and his wife Ann printed out the philosophical messages.

I’ve shared some of these before, and since I keep running across them in my files, I decided to share more. The quotes below are just a small part of it all. At one point years ago, the idea was for me to organize and edit them into a book. My blog is the next best thing since the messages remain intriguing, especially since the words are deliberately and frequently misspelled in various areas to convey an unusual layer of meanings. These “double-entendres” are not sexual but spiritual and require a broad mind and imagination.

On June 21, 1991, a spiritual group calling themselves Saint Germaine told Rob, in a general sense: “You are now learning that you have unlimited control when it comes to reshaping your level of real eye tie  (reality) in this physical moment. You can begin to see with this unlimited vision, what this illusion is truly about. You can do anything you want. This reshaping of your vision is critic all (critical) to your growth and development as a plane it (planet). All the blood, the violent deaths, the props, the stage eye (staging) of the drama, your dreams and your nightmares are all controlled by you. Your met A four (metaphor) is the move ease (movies). The ultimate truth of the illusion lies in understanding the special E facts (effects). It is all image ion (imagination). It is all done with create ions (creations) from your unlimited super conscious memory that is able to tap into the universal truth. Dream quests, opt tickle (optical) effects and images, digit all (digital) illusions on all fronts. It is simply over well my eye on (overwhelming) to you, yet you are only at the beginning of this level of ultimate awareness. It is a new toy in the child’s hand.”

I found the wisdom that was imparted in each of those messages was truly inspiring. Whole books have been written on similar wisdom giving ideas of what life is about, like Course in Miracles, for instance.  I will close with a few other sentences.  The “you” is a message for everyone.

“You are nothing more than a part of the total picture. You are players, cast, crew, imagination and creativity. All moments are one and can be changed in an instant. You are continuous free flowing energy that is not meant to stop. Your greatest gift to this soul bank, this planet, this universe, is YOU. You are everything. You are the beginning and end of each dream, each life, of each script and movie!”

FENG SHUI–WHAT ELEMENT ARE YOU?

Just before the new century dawned, I discovered there’s a system besides astrology to determine personality types. The Chinese nature science of Feng Shui has been around for at least two thousand years, a testament for longevity and proof there’s something to this way of thinking and/or analyzing.

As a weekly columnist for the Daily News, a Los Angeles newspaper, in the 1990s, I was always looking for material (much the same as I do now for my twice-weekly blog). I had gotten a mailing for Creative Options Day, a women’s event at Cal Lutheran University and noticed Patt Sendejas’ name as a speaker on Feng Shui. It was the perfect way to explore something new and get an interview at the same time.

It took a while to connect with this very busy and talented woman, but after we did the interview, our relationship turned into a long friendship and even a business relationship. I have edited several of her books, like: Letting Go to Create a Magical Life. We have been working together recently on: Feng Shui for Career Women. I will announce it in my blog when it’s published

As Patt succinctly says, “Feng Shui is the Chinese art of living in a harmonious environment in order to receive the greatest benefits in life, health, love and prosperity. It’s based on years of philosophy and mathematical calculation, and interprets the types of energy in a home or a business. It’s based on when a building was constructed and where it is placed, its interior design and environment, and the people who will live or work there. There is no good or bad,” according to Patt. “If you’re aware of what’s happening, you have more choices to make changes.”

In Feng Shui, all humans are a certain natural ELEMENT personality type: Earth, Metal, Wood, Water or Fire, depending on the month and year you were born. Patt determined I was an Earth Yin, which fit me perfectly. Simply put, I am the nurturing “Mother Hen” who worries about others—the type who advises friends to take a jacket when it’s cold outside! Supportive colors for me are red, purple, and burgundy, and I like water (I’ve been a swimmer all my life). I’m also partial to things made of earth, like ceramics. clay, and rocks.

Directions are important to the various Feng Shui types. As an Earth Yin, I should ideally sit in a chair that faces Northeast or West, and for the best sleep, my head should be directed either toward the Southwest or the Northwest. In case I search for a man in my life, my ideal partner would be an Earth Yang, who would be creative and a people person, although stubborn!

How energy flows in a home is important to Feng Shui and Patt’s book describes in detail what to avoid in placement of furniture and how to enhance the energy. However, energy changes every year and every month and learning about the best remedies is very important. It’s all quite fascinating and if you’re interested in exploring, go to the links below.

A thorough description of the philosophy of Feng Shui would involve more than this blog is designed for, so I’ll offer a link to Patt’s website.

Yin Yang Symbol

 

Patt Sendejas website:

http://www.withinyourspace.com

 

THE DATING SCENE–WEIRD & STRANGE

Online dating is alive and well these days. I suppose some couples still meet each other at parties, weddings, grocery stores and social events, but searching the Internet is probably the easiest method and gives searchers the most information. Like advertising, however, the “truth” can be a scam…or as the old saying goes, “Let the buyer beware.” I’ve had some fascinating adventures in the dating world, which brings to mind another saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The previews of the two stories below are absolutely true–I wrote them when the experiences were fresh in my mind. The first one was submitted to Playgirl magazine but rejected. I always thought they may have felt it was too bizarre since the incident happened before the Internet revealed the dating world can be awfully peculiar and eccentric. I met the subjects of these stories through ads in the Singles Register, a now defunct Southern California newspaper.

Here are two excerpts from my Kindle Single book on Amazon: Weird Dates and Strange Fates

A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.
“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.
“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”
She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.
Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.
“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

The Dark Side

When the letter returned with no forwarding address a week later, I was tempted to drive to his apartment. Derek’s daughter lived across the street, but I didn’t know the address or remember the daughter’s last name. I had an odd feeling of apprehension as I pondered what could have happened and searched my memory for little details that might indicate what to do next. Had I missed some important minutiae about him in all these months? How well did I really know him? I reflected, as my mind raced with a slew of possibilities.
Derek had meant too much to me to let the matter drop. He couldn’t have just left, I reasoned. What of all his obligations, his children, his friends? He filled his life with so many people and duties; surely someone would have the answers.
I called the office again, remembering that Derek’s best friend, Tom, worked in the same building. Tom told me he couldn’t talk in the office; he would call me at home. His comment piqued my curiosity. What would he tell me that was so secret?
The following evening he telephoned, eager to share the story.
“You remember that Derek went back to Boston to spend Christmas with his aging parents. He said he probably wouldn’t be seeing them again. I just assumed he meant because they were getting older. Then Derek ended up talking to me for three hours after our office party the Friday before New Year’s. He usually scooted out of there right after work, no matter what.”
Tom continued, “Derek didn’t show up for work the Tuesday after the New Year holiday. When he didn’t come on Wednesday, I called his daughter, Susan. Susan hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, she said, but there was a letter from him on her desk. She said she’d check on things and call me back. When she called back a half hour later, she was hysterical.”

To read what happens in both stories, check out my Amazon link  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud  or just look up Victoria Giraud’s author page on Amazon.

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