Les Alpes – Geneva Winter Vacation 2014

22 02 2014

Snow packed mountain peak vistas and well groomed blue, green, black and red ski slopes awaited us for winter break. Skiing in Morillon, France and a day trip to Geneva, Switzerland was a nice way to spend the break together. Gabrielle was pleased to celebrate her 16th birthday in the mountains. Sweet-sixteen is one of those milestone birthdays. It’s a coming of age birthday for an American though here in France we don’t usually make such a big deal of it. Christine and I decided that such an important birthday should be marked with an appropriate gift. Something age appropriate and something that would coincide with our little girl growing up. We will get her enrolled in driving school and her license to drive will be just around the bend.


2013 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2013

Time really goes by quickly. Christmas is here and the New Year following right behind. As we’ve done for more than a decade now we would like to give you an update on what we’ve been doing. We visited and were visited several times this year. In March Jeff’s mother came to visit. Gloria has always wanted to experience Lourdes so we took the opportunity and made the pilgrimage together. On our way south to Lourdes we visited the WW II martyr village in Oradour-sur-Glane. On the way back we visited Cordes-sur-Ciel a picturesque medieval fortified town built high on hilltop. In May we went to Poland for my godson Krystian’s communion. It was really nice because celebrating this event brought all of my French and Polish family together for a family reunion. In July my friend Cheryl visited us. Her family of 4 and ours visited Paris, Fontainebleau, and we watched all the hype and excitement of Le Tour de France as it passed through our town.

Our big trip this year was 4 weeks in the good old USA. We split our lengthy summer vacation in the US into 2 parts. For the first two weeks we were on a classic American driving vacation. Our road trip out west allowed us to visit and enjoy the splendor of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, and Redwood National Parks. To balance out mother nature in the parks we did some cityscape traveling in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland. As usual now Jeff documented it all for posterity’s sake in quite the home movie. The 2nd part of our tip was devoted to family time in Chicago. The trip from beginning to end was nonstop adventure and fun. After seeing all the sites and spending quality time with family and friends we needed to head back to France and prepare for the school year.

David progressed in junior high to the 7th grade and Gabrielle moved on to the 10th grade in high school. So far this year in school they are both holding their own. It’s a bigger change for Gabrielle this year than David as she’s in a new school where she has to take the commuter train every day to get to and fro. This along with her age is propelling her toward wanting more independence. We accommodate within reason. David is now the typical teenager with the typical teenage attitude. Again, we accommodate as we can. David continues with handball and Sunday School and Gabrielle continues with music, drawing and Girl Scouts. She’s reached the highest scout level of Ambassador now. My babies are growing up.

Jeff and I are still working and keeping our same activities as before with the exception of dance for me. This year I thought I’d take a break from modern dance. Might have been a mistake as I miss the balance it used to bring me. Good thing I still have tennis and belly dancing. The balance scale can tip in both directions. This year I pushed the envelope quite a bit by trying overcome my fear of heights by going on a hot air balloon ride. It was actually a birthday gift I offered Jeff. The gift was an hour long initiation ride for both of us. What was I thinking. After the initial trepidation and fear I have to admit that I enjoyed the experience. Jeff too offers gifts for two. This year he gave me a get away weekend in La Baie de Somme in the Picardie norther cost of France. We stayed in a nice bed and breakfast and explored the area for a few days while the kids were visiting mamie and papi. We saw the rocky cliffs along the English Channel, the WW I trenches, and a splendid ornithological park. I think I may take up bird watching one of these days.

We wish you a Merry Christmas now and happiness and health for the coming new year.

Filmed In The Audience Of iPad Today

8 08 2013

We went to see the filming of iPad Today. We were caught in the filming of it at the end during Leo’s “App Cap”. Scan ahead on the video to about 1:07:30 if you want to see David and me, Christine and Gabrielle in the audience on the Double Robotics Telepresence demo.


Cool stuff if you have $2,500 to spend. I cant wait until the price of this thing comes down.

United States – Summer Vacation 2013

28 07 2013

Take a look at the highlights of our most excellent adventure in the United States this summer. Our vacation and our video are in two parts. The first part shows our classic American Drive Vacation out west and for the second part we’re in Chicago with family and friends. Come along with us as we explore the splendor of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, and Redwood National Parks. See how we balanced out the nature of the parks with the cityscapes of Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland.

The second part of our tip was with  family in Chicago. Come with as we celebrate Gabrielle’s graduation, enjoy rides and thrills at Great America, ponder the complexity of various works at the Art Institute, bounce, jump, and play games like silly kids, go to a ballgame, have a “Summer Christmas” party, learn about police work, and just visit with family and friends.

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Up, Up And Away

13 07 2013

Interesting experience and exhilarating ride in a hot air balloon. Montgolfière as we French call it. Christine offered me this first flight experience as a birthday present. Nice gift indeed. www.aerfun.com

Makes me think about “Up, Up and Away” in my beautiful ballon…  a song I must have heard 100s of times. I think it was on the same album as Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by the The 5th Dimension that played in my childhood home daily there for awhile. Wish I could have incorporated the track in my video but I would have no doubt gotten a take down notice.

Poland 2013

7 05 2013

Christine is her cousin Iwona’s son Krystian’s godmother. We went to Poland for his communion, a semi family reunion, and a mini vacation. Good times with family. Watch the video…

Trip with Grandma 2013

9 03 2013

Grandma came to see us this winter for a couple weeks. While she was here we took a six day road trip. First we contemplated “donkey ball” soup at Le P’tit Bouchon in Châteauroux and then visited an interesting “modern” museum in the ancient chateau of Rochechouart. Then we visited the WWII martyr village memorial museum in Oradour-sur-Glane. A sobering experience but something one should see to assist with coming to grips with the atrocities of war. Next off for a few days in Lourdes where we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady, prayed, collected holy water, and lit a prayer candle. Christine and the kids had a chance to go skiing and Grandma and I took in various sights. Some good meals, fun games, and a visit to the Musée Pyrénéen in the medieval château high on a mound in center of town concluded our visit in this lovely town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Finally off to visit a picturesque medieval fortified town built high on hilltop. Cordes-sur-Ciel and the B&B L’Escuelle Des Chevaliers was quite worth the detour.

Apple Steals – A Letter to Tim Cook

26 12 2012

Hello Tim Cook at the Office of the CEO,

I am compelled to bring my utter dissatisfaction with Apple Customer Support, The Apple App Store, and with Apple, Inc. directly to your attention. I feel that Apple is stealing $130 directly from me and I am seeking restitution. If you were inclined you can read through the entire support case below but here is the “executive summary”.

  • Customer Jeff Windstrup purchased approximately $130 worth of apps from your Mac App Store.
  • The customer change his Apple ID county association and credit card from France to USA.
  • The customer is now no longer permitted to update or redownload his original purchases.
  • Because of this the customer cannot install and use the software he purchased on his new MacBook Air.

The apps I am referring to are available in both the US and French stores. I understand there are different sales rules, legalities, and currencies in different countries. Furthermore, maybe your back-end systems cannot cross-reference these purchases. That said, if I had bought the software on physical media or even downloaded the apps directly from the editor I would be able to install and use the software as expected.

I feel that your customer support unnecessarily ran me round in circles and didn’t take the time to understand my issue. They were obviously copy an pasting phrases in their responses that were at times not relevant or would have made my issue worse. Their false platitudes were in the end infuriating and they left me feeling like you and your company had stolen directly from me.

I can imagine that your company Apple, Inc. is well within its legal rights based either on your terms of service or international sales procedures to deny my request. However, I ask you, is that the way you wish to run your business?

  • To leave your customers without what they purchased.
  • To provide only superficial or non-helpful customer service.
  • To have your customers feeling like they have been robbed by you.

I hope your answer is no and that you will follow-up and do what is right to rectify this.


Jeffrey Windstrup

I wrote this in desperation after a lengthy and unproductive support case that left me feeling that Apple had stolen $130 directly from me. I did receive a followup by phone where an Apple PR person told me that Apple was within its terms of service and that I would not receive a refund because that was policy. That may be; but it is no way to run a business.

I’m posting this to alleviate some of my frustration and for posterity sake to anyone else having a similar difficulties with Apple.  That said, still for me it was a lesson in futility. I’ll include the entire support dialogue leading up to this in the comments for completeness.

2012 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2012

We would like to wish you Happy Holidays with our tenth Christmas season newsletter. We hope this finds you well.

We started out the year in the Netherlands. A brief Amsterdam tour and then off to visit friends to bring in the New Year together with a bang. When spring rolled around we all got to share in one of Jeff’s longtime wishes when we got to navigate the waterways of the “Canal du Midi” for a week with friends. Jeff proudly wore the captain’s hat. This summer I had social work conference in Sweden. At the close of the conference Jeff came and joined me in the capital city where we spent a few days alone in an impromptu vacation. It was the perfect mix of work and pleasure. Our summer family vacation was spent with my aunt, cousin, and godson in Germany. We met and had an action packed day at Legoland Deutchland. The following days we spent in Munich and the surrounding area where we did typical tourist things. As usual now we have some nice videos of all this. They can be found on our website windstrup.com.

This year both David and Gabrielle had lengthy summer camps. As expected the sports minded David signed up for the sports oriented offering. He along with 2 buddies joined the athletic group for days of soccer, handball, basketball and any other “ballgame” out there. Gabrielle’s first “colonies de vacances” was photography oriented. Her and one of her girlfriends learned the art of photographic vision on their more than week long séjour. When September came around the kids were eager to get back to school. David joined his sister in the junior high school in the 6th grade and Gabrielle is finishing her last year there in the 9th grade. Since the kids are in the same school and both are or are becoming teenagers they seem to have more in common. As young teens they have both mastered getting on their parents nerves in addition to being into music and their after-school activities. This year Gabrielle chose guitar lessons in addition to her long standing drawing lessons and Girl Scouts. With the scouts this year she planned and went on a 3 day trip to London which has been her favorite city for some time now. She imagines herself living there as an adult. The scouts also have her making presentations to educators about dyslexia and planning next year’s trip to Switzerland. She is growing fast. As tall as me now and wears glasses like her daddy. David’s mainstay activity is handball. He loves it and is good at it. He goes to all the practices and has even been moved up rung to the next category. Jeff continues his putzing with computers, videos, video surveillance cameras, house alarm, and phone system. He really is a geek. I mean that in a good way. His new thing is running. He’s made a goal to go running once a week and that’s what he’s been doing. I join him fairly often to keep him motivated. As usual dance is my thing. I just realized that I have been dancing for 33 years or more. I’ve tried many forms over the years though there are many more I want to try. This year I’ve signed up for oriental dance. Bellydancing or “danse du ventre” requires more control and energy than I thought. I enjoy it a lot. I have also added another year of tennis instruction. I’m not a pro yet but like my dance I do enjoy it.

We Windstrups wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with happiness and good health.

Germany – Luxembourg Summer Vacation 2012

6 08 2012

Summer vacation fun this year at Legoland Deutchland with family. We met Christine’s aunt, cousin, and godson at the interlocking plastic bricks amusement park for a fun packed day. David is now old enough and tall enough to ride all the rides. He and I even tackled the park’s wildest rollercoaster complete with photo souvenir. Gabrielle and the boys got their first driving school instruction and even a practical exam out on the “mean streets” of the theme park’s little city mock-up. They passed the mini motorized course and were awarded their first driver’s license. The next few days were spent in Munich and the surrounding area where we did typical tourist things. Several nice and even noteworthy restaurants, public transportation follies, a fairytale castle, two awesome car museums, an Olympic center, beer gardens, a towering spire and we wrapped it all up with a modern art museum and visit in Luxembourg City. Check our home movie if you have the time.