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My Parents Trip to France

My parents just got back from France and I’ve been keeping all my dad’s photos and commentary as they navigated the world.  Check out their adventure below!

tower

The adventure begins. We made it. We saw the Eiffel Tower as we were flying in. The airport is huge and modern and very clean. No problem finding our ground transportation. They were waiting for us at the airport. We came directly to the boat, had lunch, and checked into our room. We got about 1-2 hours of interrupted sleep last night and we were dead tired (Bob and Cheryl too). We just took an hour nap, have safety orientation at 6 (remember the life vest drill) and dinner at 7 and it’s already 5:30 p.m. local time. I’m glad we are 9 hours ahead because we will both be ready for bed. The ship is beautiful, clean, and very modern. You can see the Eiffel Tower from the ship. We’ll be sending pictures but for now wanted you to know we are here even though we still haven’t totally absorbed that we are really here. It’s going to be a great experience.

The AMA Legro in Vernon France

A quick picture of our ship in Vernon (not pronounced like it sounds), France. A 3 day battle was fought here during WWII. The original bridge was bombed and the town was liberated when 3 amphibious bridges were constructed here to allow the Allied forces to advance. The bombed out bridge is still visible. In town there are bullet holes everywhere including the sides of a beautiful cathedral. Today we dock in Hon Fleur,another historic village. As I write we are passing Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We stop here on our way back. Tomorrow we visit the Normandy beaches and the American cemetery which I expect to be very emotional (Mona’s Dad was in the D Day invasion force on Omaha beach). This has been the experience of a lifetime with lots of history, beautiful country, and amazing food. We are trying to soak it all in knowing the time is flying by. Remember the ‘go go’ years. I’m very glad I listened and took heed about traveling while I am still able.

omaha

Omaha Beach – This was very touching. Mona had red eyes most of the time we were here with many memories of her dad coming back and hearing story after story of the Hell our troops endured. We collected a stone from the beach for her mother and brother. This is a view from the beach just below the cemetery.

sculpture

Todays sculpture

appetizer

Appetizer – Pot au fau (chicken in puff pastry)

lion

Crypt of Richard the Lion Heart. He is not entombed here, only his heart.

clock

Clock tower in Rouen, France – Clock dates to 1400 and only has an hour hand. Clock technology for a minute hand had not yet been invented.

hotel

Hotel built in 1345 in Rouen

joan

Location where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. When I studied history I never dreamed I would visit a site like this or to be standing on the beaches of the Normandy invasion. Tomorrow we will be touring Napoleon Bonaparte’s chateau.

utahBeach

Bomb craters from Allied bombing prior to the Normandy assault. In the left foreground is a German ammunition bunker that took a direct hit.

bunker

Bunker for 16″ gun

memorial

Omaha beach memorial placed by USA on 60th anniversary of invasion of Europe by Allies.

message

The message speaks for itself

insideCemetary

Inside the cemetery

anotherView

Another view of one of the 10 sections of the cemetery. Other than hearing a baby cry you could almost cut the quietness/reverence with a knife.

bunker2

Cheryl and Mona inside one of the artillery gun bunkers. Notice how narrow the openings are to help keep hand grenades from being thrown inside. The openings were 180 degrees and had 6 artillery pieces inside to cover all angles of the beach.

rousen

I’ll stop sending pics for today…. Maybe. Downtown Rouen, France.

artisan

Artisans – This afternoon we bought a hand painted porcelain tea pot at this shop. You can’t see from this picture but this shop dates to the 1500’s with the artisan sitting in the front window hand painting every piece… What an experience.

lesAndeles

Looking down from the fortress overlooking Les Andelys. Our ship is in the background with the blue sun deck. Note the tree border around the fields. A close up shows they are rocks collected from the fields over the centuries and are now elevated making a natural fence and are called hedge rows. During WWII as the Germans retreated they defended their retreat behind these natural barriers causing heavy Allied casualties. They are very prevalent near the coast. This was referred to as the battles for the hedge rows.

anotherDayInParadise

“Downtown” Les Andelys, France with the ruins of the fortress of Richard the Lion Heart above town.

fortress

Sitting on the deck after lunch. Here is a potion of the fortress of Conflan that you can see from the ship. If you look carefully behind the houses you can see part of the wall.

backInTime

It’s like going back in time – Sitting here having a cup of coffee and watching the landscape. You feel like you are in medieval times. It isn’t just one or two homes or churches. These views are prolific. It’s like nothing we’ve ever experienced. Heading for Les Andelys to tour the castle of Richard the Lion Heart, also known as Chateau Gaillard, after lunch.

sadness

Tomorrow we leave the boat and will spend the next 5 days in Paris. The boat cruise will leave us will countless great memories. This morning we visited Chateau Le Malmaison outside of Conflan. This was the home of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte. It is also our last tour as part of the cruise. Tomorrow we leave the ship for a full day guided tour of Paris that was included with the our cruise. A point of trivia- translated in English Napoleon’s home is translated ‘bad house’. It was a fine looking home to me!!

balloonParis

We docked next door to the National Atmospheric Observatory and they have a balloon in the air above us with a huge basket. I count over 30 people in the basket to give you an indication of its size.

microsoftFrance

This one is just for you Jeremy, Microsoft France.

statueOfLibertyFrance

The Statue of Liberty….in France

lifeVeryGood

Life is very good!

lunch

Loose interpretation- check out this cool menu. What sounds good for lunch?

Literal interpretation- Can anyone read French menus?

We are now in the real France but having a lot of fun understanding (or trying to understand) a totally new culture.

palace

I wasn’t kidding when I said the entire City of Paris was there. We were standing in line this am and we’re told 3 hours to get to the entrance. Someone said to view the back gardens and the lines were usually shorter after lunch. We spent about 3 hours walking just a portion of the gardens and came back and were told 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Guess what? We could die in the sun or leave. We will probably regret it but we left with lots of pics of the outside.

massiveCrowd

Try to guess what everyone is trying to get a picture of. Answer is on next email.

answer

Everyone was trying to get a picture with the famous Ron and Mona Person.
The picture in the background of Mona Lisa might have been a bit of a distraction!! Unbelievable crowd!

asCloseAsSecurityWouldAllow

Up as close as security would allow

The Louvre

The Louvre

Arch D' Triomphe

Arch D’ Triomphe

diseneyland

Disneyland! We had fun just because we are all Disney fans. It’s smaller and attractions were sometimes a bit different. For example the Temple of Doom (Temple Du Peril) was a roller coaster with part of the ride coming outside the bldg. also the Disney studio was totally different than the California park in the USA with different presentations and rides. It also wasn’t as clean. We still had fun but agreed it wasn’t the same high quality experience we are accustomed to seeing.

goingStrong

Look who’s still going strong? Tomorrow is our last day before flying home Wednesday. We have mixed emotions about leaving but know we eventually have a life to get back to in Oregon but we’ve had an awesome time in France. I have over 1,300 pictures to put you to sleep with!!

Looking straight up at the Eiffel Tower

Looking straight up at the Eiffel Tower

todaysTransportation

Today’s transportation – Over 50 stops available to get on and off. A great way to see Paris. Tomorrow we are going to the Palace of Versailles. We’ve had several showers but all at night. It rained hard this am but the sun was out by 8 am. The problem was it was 100 degrees with humidity nearly as high. Oh we’ll. bests trying to see Paris in the rain.

dog

How hot was it? This poor dog was standing on this air vent in the sidewalk trying to cool off. His ears were flying in the breeze.

Palace of Versailles

We went to the Palace of Versailles along with the entire City of Gay Paris. It was packed as you will soon see. This is overlooking a tiny portion of Louis XIV’s gardens. We estimated we were looking out 3 miles and weren’t at the end of the estate.

dessert

I ordered cafe gourmand. It was tiramisu, strawberry mousse, a brownie, and a shot of espresso. Life is very good.

No Commentary Needed

No commentary needed

Moulin Rouge

First stop today was the Moulin Rouge caberet. We didn’t see a performance. Just wanted the see the historic venue.

hardRock

Lunch at Hard Rock Cafe…… And a couple t-shirts.

padlock

We put our padlock on the padlock bridge  (tell you the story at home) and threw away the key into the Seine.

princessDiana

Memorial to Princess Diana. This is the tunnel where her car crashed. The flame is from the original Statue of Liberty in France.

thatsAWarap

This will most likely be the last picture from France. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) we should be back home in Portland. We affectionately called our vacation by three names- our Tour De France, Ground Hog Day, and the Never Ending vacation.   Well, it’s about to end. It’s been nothing short of amazing. As we left Disney Studios Monday this was the sign over the exit and it pretty well sums up two amazing weeks- “That’s a wrap.”

Why Communications is Like Water

I have always enjoyed being around the ocean, especially in warm locations.  If you do a search on my site for “beach” you will see pictures of a very happy Jeremy.  OK so before I bore you with how much I love the ocean I have to get to the point of this post.  Communications is how I have made my living for almost half my life now.  I live, eat, and sleep communications and rarely get surprised these days with new ways people choose to communicate.   I saw Bruce Lee’s “Be Like Water” video on YouTube a few years ago and people at work know ever since I have referred to it when discussing challenges with communications in companies.

The reason the video resonated with me is I loved how Bruce Lee described water taking the shape of different things, as well as its different forms. I’ve visited a lot of companies over the years and I’ve seen a lot of company cultures. I think many of us overlook how important communication is to our companies.  Countries fighting in wars know the value of communications because one of the first things they do when attacking an opposing side is attempt to disable as many communications as they can.  If countries can’t communicate they can’t effectively organize, follow orders, and similarly businesses are the same way.

Returning to our water analogy, everyone needs water to live and in many ways professionals must communicate in order to survive.  How much or how little communication people send or receive determines how well they are able to receive it.  If you are in a rainstorm and you want to capture water, one of the most efficient ways is to put a cup under a gutter downspout.  Similarly if you want to want to capture the best audience when communicating you find your funneled, or target audience.  If it is raining and you run around with your mouth open, you will get wet but you’ll also stay thirsty.  In business many of us are communicating but how many times have you heard employees are being “flooded with information”?

How to Effectively Communicate Without “Getting Yourself All Wet”

  • Take a temperature check to understand your audience.  Will the person I am communicating with care and is it pertinent to them?  If no, what will it take to make them care of for it to be pertinent for them?
  • Don’t belly flop when diving in.  If you jump in without checking your grammar, you might not get taken seriously.
  • Default to the raindrop method when communicating rather than flooding your audience with too much information.
  • No splashing in the pool (get to the point).  You can swim and you can splash but when you get to the other side of the pool, people will appreciate you a lot more if don’t make waves by talking too much.
  • Like bathing, do it often, but only as needed.
  • One step at a time.  When people first learn to swim they need to know the basic mechanics before you throw them “in the deep end”.
  • You need someone to oversee that everyone follows the rules.  At the beach and many of the pools we hire lifeguards to make sure people follow the rules and help those who need it.  In business if you don’t have a person or team making sure people follow the rules, chances are, they won’t.
  • Make your communication short and sweet.  If you stay in water too long you’ll turn into a prune.  Prunes aren’t cool and you won’t be either.  Don’t be a prune.

Communications in a company can flow, or it can crash.  Be water my friend!

Maui For The Day

We landed on Maui around 9am and I got talked into getting a Jeep by the car rental agent.  Normally you can’t talk me into anything that isn’t already in my mind too easily so I was either really wanting the Jeep anyway, the agent was good, or all of the above.  Truth be told I think it was that it was only $10 more for the day.  It was one of the best things I’ve done in some time, it was really fun to drive and I really enjoyed it.  It was fun to know wherever we were I could get out of a sticky…or sandy situation.  We put the Jeep to quick work by going up the north end of the island on a very windy and remote road which was really fun to drive.  We took part of the top off so we could enjoy the weather and every few minutes I stopped to take some pictures.

We stopped at the very north end and took some pictures and then got some lunch and went swimming for a while.  We stayed at a nice (but affordable) place and the concierge helped get us a champagne catamaran cruise that evening.  Once we got off the ship we took a quick walk on the beach.  The whole day was amazing, one of my favorites.  I think at one point on the cruise as the sun was starting to set I said it was one of my top 10 favorite days which is really saying something.  We’ll definitely be back to Maui again some day.

I’m A Seeker

Try taking the Visual DNA test and see how closely it fits your personality.  I think it did a good job for me…

Spirit
You’re a Seeker. You’re efficient and reliable with tons of energy for getting things done! Keeping all those plates spinning is one of your specialties. A sensitive soul with an expressive nature, you tend to be quite a romantic at heart. Sometimes you love nothing more than escaping into your very own dreamworld. Spontaneous new experiences can be really inspiring to you and you like exploring your creative side from time to time. Seems like you’re in a really good place right now, feeling happy, playful and full of energy. It’s great when everything in life seems to flow. Your natural tendency to look on the bright side definitely helps! A healthy relationship really is the bedrock of a happy home, but it also takes a lot of energy and commitment to maintain. Make sure that with all the other distractions, your love life doesn’t end up at the bottom of the list. It’s important to remember to tap into your inner strength and to believe in yourself. Take on new challenges and stay stimulated so you remain enthusiastic and inspired by life. As a Seeker, you get excited by new ideas. You like adventure and original experiences that stimulate and challenge your status quo. Stay inspired with a rich mix of activities, and find time for hobbies that allow you to explore your creative side. Learn to recognize when you need variety in your life, and then incorporate it into your daily plans. Having a loving relationship is one of the biggest blessings there is. A solid home life is an immense source of strength and support. Make sure you don’t take your partner for granted. Carving out some regular special one-on-one time is always worth it.

Relationship
You like to feel protected and cared for. It’s important that your partner is someone whose advice you really value and a loyal ally you can lean on through anything. As a Rock Steady, it’s important to you that your relationship feels secure. You tend to be realistic about what makes a lifelong relationship work and understand the value of forging a love based on friendship and respect. You believe that a true partnership is about sharing responsibility and being able to count on one another through whatever life throws at you. This feeling has probably grown even more since the kids arrived. Creating a true sense of honesty and support means your love will grow as the years go by.

Relationship tips:

So you’re a Rock Steady but what tips can we give for keeping the magic alive in your relationship?

  1. Rekindle the romance. Get up with the lark and meet at a local market to buy beautiful flowers and feast on a yummy breakfast
  2. Do something different. Take a cocktail-making class together at a local bar. It’ll be lots of fun with plenty of tasting to be done!
  3. Take it easy. Imagine you’re on holiday in your own city. Do the fun things tourists would do and capture it all on film with a disposable camera.
  4. Let your inhibitions go. If it rains, grab the chance to run wild in the puddles and have lots of fun getting soaked to the skin and then warming up afterwards!


Money

You’re a techie, and you love to have the latest gadgets. If you get some money to spend, chances are it will go on something shiny! Your drive and motivation mean you know what you want out of life and you’re not afraid to go for it. You have a taste for the finer things, but you know they’re not easy to come by. You’re focused and determined, with the ambition to achieve your vision. Just make sure you take time to admire the view rather than heading as fast as you can to the destination.

Health
Unappealing as it may seem, it would be good to try to be a bit more active every day. You might be surprised at how much you’d actually enjoy regular exercise. It may sound hard to believe, but endorphins are better than chocolate if you just give them a chance! You may even find that you’re in a better mood more often. Start off with something that isn’t too intimidating, like climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You might even consider signing up for a few personal training sessions in the gym so that you have a program that’s tailored just for you. You may need to think about making a few changes what you eat too. Maybe you could try making homemade versions of your favorite restaurant meals to reduce the sodium and fat content and eat healthier without compromising too much on taste.

Home
If you took some time out to visualize your dream life, you could probably see yourself away from the rat race, chilling out on a beach. Nothing puts a smile on your face like waking up to sun, sea and sand without a care in the world. Fresh fruit, seafood and not a cloud in the sky…sounds like paradise!

Entertainment
You like to live life on the edge…of your chair. Laid-back and easy-going, you know how to kick back, put your feet up and watch the world go by or just chill in front of the TV and forget the world exists for a few hours. Life can be so hectic that it’s the perfect way to unwind. Don’t be afraid of granting yourself a little bit of downtime.

Style
You’re active and like to get involved in life. If you feel great, you’ll look great, and vice versa, so you know the importance of taking care of yourself. You’re motivated and driven to succeed in all aspects of your life. For you, going running is a great way to unwind and get away from it all, and let’s face it, all those endorphins don’t hurt either! But why not kick back every once in a while and show off your athletic figure in some cool surf shorts? After all, you’ve definitely got the legs for it!

Travel
You’re inquisitive, open-minded and interested in history. You love to discover new things and experience new places. For you, the tourist trail is best avoided. After all, it’s the hidden gems that make traveling so exciting! You love to thoroughly immerse yourself in culture, so chances are you’ll end up in a museum or gallery at some point on your trip.