Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school they go.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school they go.

Watching my two sons go off on their first day of school left me a mixed bag of emotions including being happy, sad, nostalgic, thoughtful, nervous, excited and a bit worried.

I spend a lot of time with kids in general and I get sort of attached.

That’s probably natural, right?

I wonder, however, where is the line between being and adult and a kid, a teacher or a parent and a friend.

My mom always said I was like a  mom to her. Ha ha ha. Yes, we are today very good friends. But crossing that line at times from being the parent or the teacher to being a friend is a very fine line, delicate too.

Perhaps what is best is to find a good balance and some days be friends when you are out having fun, say at a park or something, or other times, be the parent or teacher when it’s time to talk seriously.

It’s hard for me to fathom the school system now here in Italy as compared to what I’m used to in sunny southern California.

That’s why I love it. It’s SO different than the United States’ school system. God Bless America.

God bless the world for that matter.

The main difference is that here there aren’t lockers, sports events, dances associated with schools that I know of.

Did you read that?

Here there aren’t lockers, sports events, dances associated with schools that I know of.

I cannot WAIT until the ipod is diffused and my kids can stop hauling 20 pound backpacks full of text books back and forth. I’m exaggerating for literary purposes because the truth is that they only occasionally bring their books back and forth depending on if they have homework. I think the teacher keeps them on shelves. I cannot remember.

When I taught, the older kids in secondary school, jr. high, middle school and high school, the students had their backpacks, rucksack, on the floor near their desks and their pencil cases open on their desks. Except for the time the one girl whipped out her camera and thought it would be funny to post pictures on facebook. Still happens.

I’m off topic.

Topic.

What surprised me living here in Europe was to learn that my kindergarten through fifth grade teacher for my son was the SAME TWO TEACHERS from 8a to 4p every single day for five years.

Some parents like that. Obviously it depends on if you like your teachers or not. We liked ours. They have both changed this year after the first four years so my older son, who is 10, has two new teachers.

I don’t know about you but I’m fiercely protective over my children. I asked how school went. I heard that the teacher said the kids were grounded during break and had to do make up exercises for summer homework.

Say what?

That just about sent me to the Principal’s office. Okay, these are kids reporting but I do know from first hand experience that grounding kids during break is used as a punishment, but NOT ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Are they out of their minds?

Of course, it was only partially true. It was more like, a minute to review homework.

But I’m watching them like a hawk. I heard my son got reprimanded because he put his hand on the window to touch hands with his brother. WHAT? Again, my blood started to boil. I mean, reprimanding someone for brotherly love? But then I thought, okay, you or I weren’t there, we don’t know what happened, and perhaps it was disturbing the class or at an inappropriate moment.

No, it happened while waiting for lunch. Okay, I don’t like kids touching my windows either.

I need to take a serious step back however because I have to let my children go and live their own lives, at the same time trust that the teachers know what they are doing.

I know that the teachers have their work cut out for them, that teaching is one of the most difficult, challenging and rewarding jobs there is.

Unfortunately our educational system and national budget cuts have been effecting the school systems’ ability to thrive for years.

I did have a sweet moment however with my son this morning when he said he is worried about his new teacher being mean. I just said, Well, then you be nice. She probably needs it.

I asked him, You know how I get mad and angry sometimes? It’s only because I’m going through a rough time.

I asked him if he could try to see a little bit beyond just someone being mean and realize that perhaps she was that way because she had problems at home, or something. We don’t really know, do we, what problems someone is going through?

As my one friend, B says, don’t think it’s different out there for someone else. Everyone has their problems and worries.

Well, there you go. Off to a new start. Hope it is a good one. Sure of it. I plan on doing a list of goals. I’ve got a rough draft.

How about you. I’m so sorry. I went off on my life and schools. How have you been? Are your kids getting back to school? What do you think about parents and teachers being friends? What do you think about having one teacher for many years as opposed to having many teachers?

Thanks for dropping by. It’s nice to see you.

 

#6 My Amazing Friends also known as MAFSS guest M. Risser

Remember that each time you run the hill, you become a stronger you.

You might be new here, so please make sure to add a bookmark, follow me on facebook or follow me on twitter at jbuliesblog.

Running side by side friend.

Run the Hill by guest blogger Michele Risser

Run the hill is a phrase I use when things get hard. Run the hill is focus. Run the hill is determination. Run the hill is tenacity, strength and endurance. Running the hill is the thing you have to do to become a better runner.

On a long stretch of highway you can see the hill, ahead in the distance waiting for your arrival. There are certain things you must do as you approach it. You must unclench your fists and relax your shoulders. You must straighten your back and expand your chest. You must raise your head. Most importantly, you must turn up your music.

Stay focused.

As you begin the ascent, you must find a point just ahead of you to become your mini goal. It may be a crack in the road, a sign or a post, a tree or a flower. All you aim for is that next little goal. It is very important not to look, glance at, or focus on the top of the hill, it is overwhelming.

You must stay focused on your mini goal until you pass it and then hone in on the next crack, tree, post or flower until again you must select a new one.

As your music keeps your pace, as your eyes look forward, as your chest expands to receive oxygen and your head is held up to supply that oxygen, you begin to realize you are running the hill. Little by little, breath by breath, one leg and then the other stepping up, up, up. You are running the hill.

Jumping over obstacles.

Those things in life which are the hardest to do are the things we must do. They make us stronger, more patient, compassionate, they improve us.

They give us the experiences in life which require focus, determination, tenacity and perseverance.

Doing hard things helps us to grow. At times those hard things may seem overwhelming and so you set a mini-goal.

Perhaps solving one problem at a time, improving a fault little by little, mending a relationship, gaining knowledge, overcoming pain, hurt, anger, depression or addiction. One hour at a time, one day at a time, one lesson at a time, one achievement at a time.

Triumph

When you reach the crest of a hill and you know within a minute you are will be at the top, you must push with that one last burst of energy that is hidden deep inside of you, but is always there.

For a brief second, just an instant, you are able to see the view from the top of the hill. The view is glorious, spectacular, breath taking and not because of what you may see, but because of what you feel ~ your moment of triumph.

You will feel your strength, your determination, tenacity and endurance, all of the those characteristics that helped get you to the top of the hill.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Then, you begin to run, down, down. No longer is a mini goal needed. Your breath begins to relax, no need to concentrate on the song to keep pace.

For a moment you have a repose, a rest from the intensity of pushing yourself, from doing something physically and mentally challenging.

Even though you know that there will always be another hill, you immerse yourself in the glory of running without effort. You feel light, you are floating, you are free from the burden of climbing the hill and all you can do is look in wonder and gratitude at what is around you.

You feel like you can fly.

Becoming a stronger you.

We cannot avoid running the hill, we must run it when it is there before us. We must not be discouraged if it not our best run, or our strongest, or fastest or our most successful. Running the hill will be different every time, because all hills are different. The constant lies in us and the tools we use from experience, to make the run bearable, to finish. Remember that each time you run the hill, you become a stronger you.

Run the hill, run the hill, run the hill. It is what I repeat over and over in my mind as I make the climb, both in running and in life.

If you’d like more information about Michele and running you can leave a message here below, contact her on twitter, or contact her on facebook.

 

OOH, I LOVE THIS GIRL. NEW AND SHINY!

Some people have asked if they can send me a gift — are you freakin’ kidding me? Of course you can. Gifts are always welcome and greatly appreciated. New gifts will support: 1) Kiva 2) Me getting out to see my family 3) New paintings 4) You! Because you are awesome. Choose between: She’s funny $10 She’s freakin’ hilarious $20 She’s inspired me $50 Just for fun. $100.00 USD I’ll have what she’s having $500 I’ll drink the koolaid $1,000 Thanks!

MSF

Click on card, it’s free!

All things beautiful and kind.

The truth of the matter is that they are the ones who make me grow.

Were men and women meant to live in harmony together?
Somewhere, out beyond all ideas of right and wrong doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi

Why are men and women so different? Why do men love things that are dangerous and women love things that are sweet?

I live with three men. I grew up with three women. I can’t get over how different we are although sometimes we seem so similar.

Did God seriously divide the two of us at birth? Were we truly one being as the zen picture of the two swimming circles show?

My boys like adventure films, action, shooting, guns, trains, airplanes and playing sports to name a few.

My girlfriends and I like shopping, kindness, cupcakes, decorating them, dressing up, clothes, hair and nails.

How in the world are we supposed to live in peace if we are so strikingly different?

Field Trip to Garda Lake
Field Trip to Garda Lake

I’m having a hard time these days saying goodbye to my students. I’ve gotten numerous comments from my readers, family and friends who have told me they can see how close we have become. It happens every year, I can’t help it. I love my job. I love being able to watch the kids grow.

The truth of the matter is that they are the ones who make me grow.

One day, I took two of my students to the center of town shopping. They would hand me t~shirts to try on. I would hold up a shirt and get the teenage big eyed face lights up yes, or the opposite eye rolled absolute no.

all things beautiful ♥•*¨*•✩♥

One day, I brought my two boys with me on a theater trip to the town center together with my class. The Italian professor gave me huge compliments. My boys deserved them. They behaved so well, just smiled, had fun and were part of the group. I particularly remember watching the theater performance from the box in the balcony. I had gone up there with my two boys to rest because there was a red velvet couch.

Slowly but surely my students spotted me, and came to keep me company. In the end there were nine of us in the box and my boys on their laps. My boys sat forward with their arms crossed, chin on their arms watching the entire theater performance. It was magical. ´¯`»¸¸.·☆

We have five more days together before we part ways. It this what it means to be a mom, wife and teacher?

The week I met Tom Cruise — before he was famous.

If you look really closely you can see me walking in the background.

My husband is impressed by the fact that I worked with Tom Cruise in a film in 1980 called Losin’ It with Shelly Wintors before Tom made Taps when he was still unknown.

Not  only did my husband ask me to buy the dvd, he took out all of the connector cables from the garage so we could watch me up close on our wide screen TV.

When Tom and I met on set, he told me that a friend had got sick so they called him in as a last minute actor, that it was his lucky break.

He told me he had recently moved to New York to get into acting. The film we made was his first film although it was probably his worst film ever. It was a really bad movie.

On our paycheck stubs the production company was called Tijuana Summer. Ha!

I think I was 16 and he was 18.

I was called through an agency for a film that was being shot in the valley and my mom said I could miss school and work. I met Tom on set because we were a bunch of kids hanging out from 6a to 6p. We later became friends while he was in Los Angeles for seven days and hung out.

He told me he had quit high school to act and his name wasn’t Tom. He told me I could call him by his real name, Mapathor or his stage name, however I wanted.

He is really nice and down to earth, we hung out in his trailer too. Wikipedia says his real name is Thomas, but he introduced himself as another name, trying to remember.

Even my two kids were pointing: Look there’s mom.

My girlfriends in high school can attest to this, although I continue to have a hard time believing the story myself!

I’m going to get the video up of it so you can see it and laugh with me and if you’d like. I will take a picture of my diary I wrote on the day we met by request.

Tom and I worked five days together.

Usually, when I tell my Tom Cruise story people are surprised.Now unfortunately, I think the kids in school like other actors too although I’m convinced Tom Cruise has a fan or two out there.

There’s no doubt in my small mind however he is incredibly talented. If you caught him in Steal Magnolia’s I think you just might agree.

 

#2 My Amazing Friends Success Stories also known as MAFSS Guest Stars my friend Dave

I have to admit I’m getting excited about this series of #MAFSS — an acronym for My Amazing Friends’ Success Stories.

I love to learn from my friends and I can’t think of a better way then to pick their brains. The guests of honor are starting to arrive and I’m happy to say Welcome!

Our second guest on this series is an accomplished IT saleman, husband and father.

Hes not only got a gorgeous wife, he’s got great kids who are involved in academics, athletics and music at secondary school.

His accolades include working for International Business Machines (IBM), attending the University of Southern California (USC) and having lived on both US coasts.

He is also a two time Ironman who has taught me about putting mind over matter.

Without further ado, ladies and germs, I mean gents, Dave Henn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Run Swim Bike

 

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am 50 years old, was born in New York, and at the age of 5, moved to California. I have been married for over 21 years to my best friend. We have two children, Olivia and Nick, who I adore and admire.

How do you define success? Success, to me, is the completion of goals set. Period. It does not matter if it was to ride a bike, or swim a long distance, raise money or complete a course. It is the act of finishing that to me, is successful and significant.

I remember the day I felt that I had finally made it in my life. It was the day I had my 25 year reunion with my study abroad program. I looked around and thought, wow, that’s a pretty darn successful group, then I realized I was part of it. How about you? What was your I made it moment? Great question. I think the day my wife and I attended our first sales trip together in Cancun was a realization that I had become significant. It was the first time that we could actually plan for retire and college funds where before we struggled month to month. That was in 1993.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman championship in Clearwater, Fla. There are 31 events around the world that qualify athletes for the Ironman World Championship 7Ironman 70.3 races consist of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1 mile run, which adds up to 70.3 miles of total racing.

 

Have you ever come across an obstacle in your path to where you are today? Can you describe it to me and tell us how you got over it? I am in sales on 100% commission. Obstacles are everywhere ~ the economy, difficult people, timing, etc.

The one thing that I always fall back on was my completion of the Hawaiian Ironman, and the struggles I went though to complete it. I now look at obstacles as opportunities to again develop solutions I can then look back on when I encounter another one.

Since completing my second Ironman, I have found that nothing is impossible to overcome regardless of what it looks like at the time ~ neither money, or health, or business ~  but you must believe. You must believe in yourself enough.

As I always tell my kids, You either think you can or you think you cant. Either way, you’re right.

In terms of education, did you find a university degree was necessary in obtaining your dreams or goals? What was? I went to USC thinking I wanted to become a patent attorney. I thought, that was going to be the way to achieve security and stability in my life. I was working as a sales intern for IBM to help pay my way and they offered me a job in my senior year and I accepted it.

However, now that I have been in Information Technology for 30 years, I realized that the education helped me establish a way to organize myself, and to learn ways to obtain knowledge, but I think the life lessons along this road have been more valuable than any I learned in school.

What are you currently working on? I am currently working on developing new IT solutions with my customers to keep pace with the changing needs of their customers. It is a rewarding job that always gives me an opportunity to see what really is happening behind the scenes in some of the largest companies in the world.

Can you tell me about someone you admire and why? Bill Bell. He is not a name that is famous or has achieved fortune. Bill Bell is a 86 year old man who is as humble as he is successful.

At almost age 60, he took up endurance sports. How driven is he? He has participated in over 158 marathons and ultramarathons, over 32 Ironman Triathlons, and 33 half-Ironman triathlons, rode his bike TWICE from coast to coast (CA-NY), swam from Newport Beach to Catalina and BACK.

The list goes on and on.

What I find so admirable is his humbleness. There are few in the world that have done so much who stay out of the limelight and inspire others. I met this man in 2000 and he touched my life and the life of my family in such a special way, that he will never be forgotten.

Would you like to give me a word of advice on obtaining goals?
Not one word, but a few. Write it down. Your subconscious
is directly impacted by your conscious actions. Without writing it down, it is not real. Once you do, strap in and focus. You will achieve it.

Big Bang or Evolution? Believer in God the Almighty. Creator of heaven and earth. Enough said.

George Clooney or Brad Pitt? I think Brad, but only because his wife is so hot.

Angeline Jolie or Jennifer Aniston? Kind of answered that above ~ Angelina.

Left handed or right? Right.

Existentialist or Fatalist? I believe there is a purpose in life and a heaven after.

Afterlife or end of life? Afterlife of course.

Champagne, beer, both or other? Small bubbled Champagne.

 

Thank you so much for dropping by. If you are interested in participating in out MAFSS series drop us an email at jangelos1@gmail.com and write MAFSS in subject line.