Sending a few photos at a time, bandwidth issues here in France; from trips to Cluny and Beaune and Bagnols.

More photos from wine country and Lyon.

More Lyon:  doesn’t matter where I am, always attracted to the stuff built by Romans (here, around 200 A.D.); the rest, around the city and countryside today, and of course another foodie photo, from last night downtown at Archange!

Greetings from Lyon, our first leg of the trip.  First time here.  I’ve read about the great food, high number of Michelin-rated restaurants; photos from the last 24 hours.  The attention to detail and ‘presentation’ is pretty amazing.  Thank goodness I have a taskmaster with me that insists on daily workouts, otherwise it’s 1+ pound a day!

Wrapping up trip in the Pacific Northwest, starting a week ago in Seattle, where the sushi never disappoints, including this salmon sampler from fish on both coasts. Last Friday headed up to mountains in Snohomish County in search of Black Swifts, and got great looks a few miles past driving by the site of devastating mudslide in March (photo). Saturday dipped on Skylark in Victoria in British Columbia. I will be back! Photo is on ferry from leaving Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. Next photo illustrates one of the downsides visiting these parts on a weekend during summer holiday season: lots and lots of people! Photo is of the spit yesterday at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, in pursuit of Tufted Puffin. FINALLY saw one flying to cliff on at Cape Flattery. This area, and the road to/from, is a genuine lifetime travel highlight (photos on coast). Today in SF, photo of Jen enjoying her first trip to Berkeley.

Yesterday, a Gray whale off the coast of Cape Flattery, in the NW corner of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington!

Don’t think I’ve ever been in a foursome when three of us have hit our tee shots or approach shots so close to one another.  And/or so close to the pin.  #9 par 3 at Ozaukee last Thursday.  My ball, on the left, went in the cup for a birdie.  Finally.  This hole has been a real nemesis for me of late.  For one brief moment, it wasn’t!

Don’t think I’ve ever been in a foursome when three of us have hit our tee shots or approach shots so close to one another.  And/or so close to the pin.  #9 par 3 at Ozaukee last Thursday.  My ball, on the left, went in the cup for a birdie.  Finally.  This hole has been a real nemesis for me of late.  For one brief moment, it wasn’t!

Not often I put some flowers in a planter pre-bloom that work out as well as this, so thought I’d better take a photo now so I can look back in mid-January and remember this day!

Not often I put some flowers in a planter pre-bloom that work out as well as this, so thought I’d better take a photo now so I can look back in mid-January and remember this day!

Two New Rules

This past May I hit the Big 60 milestone, and during that time, wrote a post that I decided to put on ‘ice’ for awhile.  Came across it today, and have now decided to post.  Nothing earth-shattering, but it does better frame the new chapter that I’m trying to start for myself.

In the About section of this blog, there are several life pursuits mentioned.  Two of them — birding and seeking fun experiences with family and friends — have officially gone to the top of the list, if you haven’t already noticed!  One pursuit, which has often defined my life over the past few decades — the quest of ‘doing’ things, of pushing myself, of self-initiating and developing new projects and assignments and then getting them ‘done’ — has been diminished in importance in recent years.  It’s not on the list of my pursuits.  But it’s still there.  I feel it. 
Well, one aspect associated with ‘doing’ that I’m officially retiring from involves the coming up with ‘new’ business ideas, the tinkering with an emerging hot consumer product or service, whatever.  That love of building something from nothing now transfers exclusively to my angel investing.  Oh how I still enjoy getting on board and supporting a new startup run by a smart, energetic team with a great work ethic that won’t stop until they succeed.  As I’ve written about before, from a business perspective, the BUYSEASONS experience was about as good as it can get.
I’m always around to advise, counsel, and give you my two cents, but…
NEW RULE #1:  If you see me getting excited about some new product or service that I want to start on my own, I want to you smack me upside the head! Get me to stop!  And take us someplace sometime where we can experience something fun!
The second New Rule, related to the aforementioned New Rule, involves realizing that the vision I’ve long had of pulling together a group of guys, from my Rolodex, who had the financial flexibility and who wanted to piggyback on my angel investments over the course of several years, is not going to happen.  The thought was that by investing in most of the deals I get into, certain friends and colleagues would enjoy the nice exits that I occasionally enjoy, and that when that happened every three years or so, we’d all go out and celebrate.  
Sure, some friends have piggybacked, with blended IRR’s that have been pretty darn good.  But honestly, it’s created some unintended consequences, involving responsibilities that I realize that I’d rather not have.  This concept was always my idea en lieu of being the lead guy in a fund, which has been proposed to me a few times over the past decade, but never much interested me.  As it has turned out, even with the few times someone has piggybacked,  I still feel ‘responsible’.
Again, I’m always around to offer advice and will gladly introduce you to the CEO’s of the startups I invest in, but…
NEW RULE #2:  If when I’m talking about a new startup I’m about to invest in, and start to offer the possibility of piggybacking on my investment, I want you to smack me upside the head!  And take me birding! 

Four concerts at Summerfest in eight days, culminating with Dave Mathews Band this past Tuesday night.  No opening act, just 25+ songs broken down into two sets - an acoustic, followed by an electric, followed by a three song encore.  The later additions of saxophonist Jeff Coffin (following the passing of original member LeRoi Moore), and then guitarist extraordinaire Tim Reynolds and trumpeter Rashawn Ross have added so much musicianship to the band.  

And look who Carter Beauford threw one of his drumsticks to after the main show?  A pick from Mark Knopfler, a towel thrown by David Crosby to Brent, and now a drumstick!

And last night, fireworks in downtown Milwaukee.  Happy Fourth of July.