Author’s Appreciation

Written appreciation of complimentary comments


I feel my life is an adventure and choose to see the brighter side of life, even when it’s difficult and very challenging. My optimism perks me up, most of the time. And it’s been a bumpy road so far this year. I didn’t plan it that way (of course!), but we all hit the snags which make us stronger and more resilient. I would get a new hip in January and be striding forward easily in  at least 6 weeks–I thought. Nasty complications delayed that process. I was finally beginning to earnestly pursue my mobility, Last Thursday, however, I was starting to see flashing lights and feeling unsteady and dizzy. No pain and even though I had had similar symptoms in the past, this time I was more worried. I might have let the matter rest since I knew it would probably disappear, but I had a house guest (Marla, an old friend from Wheelus High in Tripoli in ’58). Since I was also having trouble forming words or even getting them vocal, she was worried and wanted to call my daughter Heidi to step in, especially since Marla was leaving that morning.

Heidi and I arrived at the Emergency Center at Kaiser Panorama City before 9 a.m. to be checked in, weighed, BP taken, etc. Since I wasn’t exhibiting any dire symptoms, I wasn’t rushed anywhere. Not long after I was wheeled into one of the small rooms off the corridors of the Emergency area. The hallways were cluttered, depending on the action, with portable computers on wheels and all the other machines needed to diagnose and treat incoming cases. Each room also had a small TV on an wall extension and a single window that brought in natural light. I got on the wheeled gurney in the room and was told I could keep on my long pants and shoes on but needed to replace shirt and bra with a back-tied hospital gown. Then I was set up with a blood pressure cuff on left arm and a connection to a stunt to monitor my blood on the right. At least I could lower and raise the gurney when I wanted a change of position. I couldn’t see the monitor behind me on the left very well but it occasionally beeped its presence. It was comfortable and the temperature was cold enough for Heidi’s taste. I needed three extra blankets!

We did a lot of talking in the next 8 hours in-between being wheeled to a CAT Scan, and later in the afternoon, for definitive proof of the admitting doctor and neurologist that it hadn’t been a stroke, provided by an MRI and its jackhammer sounds! We thought we were being released right before noon and planned a nice lunch. We were stuck since MRI machines aren’t ready at short notice. Hunger set in and since lunch was over, they scrounged me a tuna sandwich (as far from gourmet as you can get!) with apple juice, and Heidi found a machine with something better.

What relieved the boredom were the Emergency staff and some of the drama surrounding me. The nurses, male and female were friendly and entertaining and I reached out to them with humorous comments and compliments. Our first encounter was a Latin nurse with a big mustache and bald head. He proudly boasted of his Mexican heritage and when he discovered my birthday was January 1 couldn’t wait to tell me all about his grandmother who had the same birthday and died not long ago at age 105. During the time of Pancho Villa, his mother and her family dug holes to hide from Pancho Villa’s attempts to take over Mexico and even the US. She went on to have nine children.

Across the hall from me another drama unfolded as nurses and staff rolled in a enormously  heavy older woman in a wheelchair who was moaning and screaming in pain. They tried for a long time to lift her onto a gurney but couldn’t. They finally rolled her into the hall and assembled 8 men to transfer her. Then they tried to find the proper pain medication for her many complications (heart disease and diabetes) while she didn’t hesitate making any pain sounds she could. I tend to be a silent sufferer but admired her ability to help herself any way she could. She had family support–husband and grandchildren–at least. I could see a great deal of the drama since my sliding glass door was open and the curtain back. The sound echoed so nothing was completely private.

It was an interesting day, to say the least, but I was delighted that I was healthy and was sent home with advice to take one baby aspirin a day.

Heidi took a selfie of the two of us in the Emergency Room. She has a wry look on her face as she waits patiently.

Version 2


It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.

I met Bruce Spencer, one of the founders of the six Pelican restaurants in Los Angeles (Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan Beach, Panorama City were a few locations) when he and his partners opened the newest one in Calabasas, Pelican’s Retreat, in the early 1980s. I was in the midst of big changes in my personal and business life and welcomed attending the grand opening of a new restaurant, especially one that featured seafood and live entertainment.

John, Gert, Bruce & the Pelican

John Perram, Gert Just (Bruce’s brother-in-law who passed in 2010), gun-toting Bruce & the Pelican. Don’t know the horse’s name!  Getting ready for the Agoura Hills Pony Express Days Parade.

The opening drew a big crowd and I could tell by the friendly ambience and the atmosphere that I would enjoy coming back for happy hour, lunches and dinners. I didn’t imagine then that I would spend lots of time there in the coming years and would be working for them as their advertising and public relations person. It was a pleasure to plan parties and special events, especially when the restaurant owners were a congenial bunch. Fishing excursions, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, live entertainment, participation in nearby Agoura Hills’ Pony Express Days, and mixers for various chambers of commerce were a few of the activities. We even had a Living History party since the Pelican’s Retreat was once a one-teacher schoolhouse built in 1925. It was nestled on a hill adjacent to the 101 Freeway and the Calabasas Grade, which led to the Conejo Valley.

Bruce was a model restaurant owner: always friendly and smiling and eager to take care of customers. A California native who was raised in Santa Monica, he had that joie de vivre about life, which made him a born salesman—a smile most of the time but with his husky build, it was easy to switch into command mode. He was very creative and full of ideas of fun events or promotions for the restaurant, especially since it was a big place with two patios.

Patrons of the Pelican’s were loyal, and they enjoyed talking with Bruce, who was always eager to exchange jokes or other banter. He organized a few fishing excursions (I wrote about one of them in a recent blog), which were well attended.  After we caught the fish, we came back to Calabasas to eat as many of them as possible. The yearly Halloween party was a rousing success—I’d never seen such imaginative costumes. I felt like a family member instead of a patron and their PR/Advertising person.

When the small chain of Pelican’s restaurants broke up, Bruce decided to embark on a new restaurant adventure and redesign an old building, this one in Agoura Hills, which was just minutes from his home. He loved using his hands and imagination as he worked on expanding and decorating what had once been a small home on a chicken ranch. Bruce owned and ran the Adobe Cantina until 1999 when California’s El Nino weather patterns caused flooding that destroyed many properties. The restaurant, however,  still exists in the same location and serves Mexican food,

I used to stop by and visit Bruce as he was creating the Cantina, mostly by himself. He admitted he enjoyed the creation of the restaurant more than actually running it. He finally gave up on restaurants a few years later. As he got older, he wanted to keep active. He thought it would be fun to be a crossing guard for schoolchildren in his neighborhood, and he did so for three years. Always looking for new opportunities, his last enterprise was selling sunglasses, hats and gloves. His wife Ingrid told me she joked with him that he was a peddler at heart.

Although we didn’t get together as the years passed, Bruce would call me occasionally and tell me his latest adventures. He liked to go fishing in the Pacific Ocean or on the Kern River and he was good at grilling the fresh fish. No wonder he liked the ocean, as a young man he joined the US Navy and was stationed on the island of Guam. Bruce always had a story to tell me about old friends or family, so many of them the recipients of his good will and helpfulness. Sometimes we’d reminisce about the Pelican days and the people who had been loyal patrons — like the afternoon Bruce and I and two other guys decided on the spur of the moment to go to a Dodger game. Being escorted by three men was flattering for me. There was always plenty of laughter when we talked.

With friends or family, we tend to think there will always be another phone call to look forward to. But I was recently alerted by Ingrid, Bruce’s loyal wife of 47 years, that Bruce, only 75, had passed on to the Great Beyond. He must have sensed he was ready to go: toward the end he kept telling Ingrid how much he loved her. He left behind two adult daughters–Nicole and Michelle. His granddaughter, Coralee, (daughter of Michelle) told Ingrid that everything was fine: she’d seen Bruce in her dream and he had a big smile.






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.


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.



Thanks, Blog Fans

Slowly, but surely, my blog is gaining more and more readership. Like all authors, I enjoy hearing positive comments from my readers. And discovering that readers all over the world are reading my stories. Thank you, readers, thank you!

It’s amazing how many connections I’ve made to those Americans who were dependents, served in the military or were there with the oil companies in Tripoli. They’ve shared their stories in the comments section, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. There are things I didn’t remember properly, like Aladdin heaters using kerosene, not propane. Funny how the brain works! I even remember filling those heaters with smelly kerosene.

It’s gratifying to know that Libyans read about my memories of Tripoli. What a wonderful way to bridge the gulf between the Middle Eastern world and the U.S. We are all just people, after all, and we humans, despite cultural differences, always have more in common than not. I’ve been surprised that so many Libyans have settled in the U.S. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mahmud, a former resident of Janzour (near Georgimpopoli-West of Tripoli)  the other day. He had quite a collection of Tripoli memorabilia from the 1950s. What fun it was to share memories and to hear about his wonderful country from a  Libyan’s point of view.

I’ve had readers comment on almost all the subjects I’ve tackled, from my family and the Kennedy years to Hollywood, the dating scene and the Christo umbrellas. My daughter says I’ll never run out of true stories. Probably not. I love writing the stories and am delighted you all love reading them.

Happy Holidays and Stay Tuned!


Author Victoria comments

To my readers:

I am a fairly new blogger so I haven’t figured out all the ins and outs of blogging and all the features on my blog. I have had requests recently from Sychov and Anton about exchanging links with me. I am interested and appreciate everyone’s interest, but am still investigating. Will you send me some more information on your blogs? Thanks for your patience.


Victoria’s testimony

I want to say thanks to all my readers. My blog has reached far more people around the world than I ever imagined when I started it. I continue to receive wonderful positive comments and they inspire me to write and share more of my life adventures.

There have been a few comments doubting the veracity of some of my posts, like the unusual happenings in Tripoli, Libya back in the 1950s. I want to assure my readers that I don’t make things up, I write what I remember clearly. I’ve always been a writer and have kept a diary for years and years. I was lucky with the Tripoli information because I used it for a required high school term paper the year after I had left Tripoli. My memory was quite clear at that point. I managed to keep that report intact over the years and despite many moves. I still have the original typewritten copy, complete with a couple of pictures I drew of native Libyans. I polished the story and added a few more details to it over the years.

The Internet is a great research tool and if I’m uncertain about certain facts and the changes that have occurred in the ensuring years, I check it out.

I’ll keep writing to the best of my ability and I hope you will all keep reading.

Blog Author Appreciation

Hello Readers,

I’ve been writing almost all my life, as most of you will know who’ve read my various posts. My writing has been published in newspapers and magazines, and I’ve written a screenplay and a novel, besides all the books I’ve edited, rewritten and co-written.

I love written communication. My blog has been one of my life’s peak experiences! Not only have I throughly enjoyed creating the posts, but I’ve heard from so many readers who told me they’ve enjoyed my posts. You’ve liked the subject matter and the fact the posts were well written.

I haven’t had to look far for the posts–I’ve written constantly over the years about my experiences without publishing the stories. I always thought I’d eventually have a book of short stories or would write another novel. Using a blog has been an ideal way to share experiences, philosophy, and emotions, and I intend to continue this practice for a long time.

Keep reading and sharing your thoughts. I love it! I’ll be posting at least 2-3 times a week.


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