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6 Simple Rules to live by: Be happy, be nice, be a leader, be organized, be a lifelong learner and be healthy.

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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

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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.

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?

Inspiring day — Country walks, a jog and a new bike.

♥ Good day, sunshine!.♥

It’s like when you shut your eyes, then you open them and see your kids are grown. Time flies so fast. We want to capture it and hold onto it. Especially the kids. I want to hold on to every smile they make.

They are so happy go lucky, true boys boyz. Yesterday was a big day for us in growth. My littlest found his balance on his new bike.

I watched him learn with a happy heart. He got the glow in his eye and looked at me with big smiles as he propelled himself forward wabbly and all.

{After school}
Students to me: Prof, where are you going?
Me: To get something for my son’s birthday.
Them: But you said that yesterday.
Me: For my kids every day is their birthday.

We cross the street and we are in the middle of the most beautiful Italian countryside and orchards. It makes my heart stop. I try to capture it with words but it’s bigger than me. Sort of like driving with rows of seedlings.

Violet sunset sky going down across golden hay.

It seems ridiculous to even attempt to describe the beauty.  Take a cool deep breath and close your eyes. You can feel the cool air in your lungs and the warm embracing sun over head. Coolish in the shade.

Nature’s beauty restores our souls.

I’ve been running lately a big more than usual. Last night, my boys were invited to come with me. They out ran me ~ boy are they fast. It was so cute though running side by side with my six year old, him looking up at me smiling. It truly warms my heart. My big guy going off ahead ’til the farm house.

Dinner ready, table set when I come home. Hot bath. No bubbles today.

Simplicity.

I try to catch the beauty with words but we all know it’s futile. Still, if I close my eyes I can see and breathe the fresh air and know it’s all good, it’s all beautiful, pretty, sweet, and for us to behold.

Life in a worldwide global economy.

Today’s world is more global, digitally enabled, transparent. There are faster speeds of information and innovation. To get things done you need a matrix. Torres 

Hello friends.

I’m interested in how our world is changing now that we have the internet so I read, get informed, take notes and share.

Do you ever wonder where your jeans come from?

They come from what is called a commodity chain.

Basically, a store gets their jeans from a buyer who buys them from several factories.

For example, one buyer might buy from a company in Mexico, another from China. Not too long ago, Levis jeans were produced in the United States in San Francisco. The Levi Strauss story is actually a very good story about an amazing man who immigrated from Bavaria to USA and eventually founded the very well known jean brand.

Now, your jeans might be contracted out to the Dominican Republic. It’s a combination of resources.

Get informed. Read.
Get informed. Read.

The thread might come from South Carolina or the cotton from Texas. The pieces are assembled in Haiti.

Then it is all sent back to the Dominican Republic for stone washing and fading.  Then the jeans are sent on a big container ship to Miami and finally to Walmart.

This same jeans’ buyer might also be using a Taiwanese company who also manufacturers in China, where the denim where the cotton comes from  is from India. The thread and denim come from China.

Shine On!
Shine the light that God has given you.

It’s an amazing matrix. Goods and services are now provided faster and cheaper with an integration of more people.

It’s only since about 1970s that our lives have really changed and become what’s called a global economy.

They made a floating dollar also known as FIAT (look up FIAT money in wikipedia) meaning that when banks were first established, every dollar printed had real gold attached in the bank to back it up.

That is no longer the case, hence a floating dollar.

Which organizations are involved in worldwide economy?

1. The United Nations.

2. The International Monetary Fund founded after WWII, US and Britain got together and came up with the IMF in Washington DC with the goal of having stable exchange rates and  be a credit rating agency, so you could say what countries are having problems. Then they started loaning. Post 1970 they said, we’ll give you the loan, stabilize your currency but your they installed conditions such as ensuring that they had to privatize energy. They loaned 16 billion dollars in 2008.

3. World Trade Organization

World Trade organization with protests since WWII. The job of the World Trade Organization is to be the judiciary for global trading, to resolve disputes between countries. They are famous because they adjudicate the agreements and oversee them without getting involved.

The European Union They say the European Union will one day be bigger than US and China. Now after two wars in the last century encouraged trade and migration of people in Europe, regional identity still exists but borders are open.

Simplicity.
Simplicity.
How it works

In the old days they used ships to send things, it took a long time.

Now as you know we use the internet and airplanes.

With the internet, information is available immediately. This means borders are diminishing.

Traditional media outlets are way behind the game.

For example CNN is telling us what the bloggers are reporting.

With twitter, you can have the latest information on any subject that interests you simply by typing a hash key # before the word you are interested in into the search box.

My twitter name is jbuliesblog.

If you want to know what’s going on in the world, just open twitter.com and type a hashtag and the word you are interested into the twitter search box to see all the latest information on that particular subject.

Diffusion is the active dissemination of products, practice, policy or a set of values.

This creates an interdependence between cultures meaning there is a two way street in an internet culture.

What is Internet Culture?

Internet culture refers the flow of products, people and ideas.

Where there is internet, culture, ideas, and awareness can be quickly spread. For example,  India is now watching TV and making movies.

Iran is has elections.

China is exporting toys.

US is importing beef from Brazil.

What’s interesting to see is the consequences.

Sadly, when there are massive flows of people, there is also an increase of disease. Life expectancy changes. Economic Growth changes.

People live longer.

How long will you live?

China and India have massive economic growth and represent half the world’s populations. Where is the dilemma? Sadly, the bottom billion isn’t growing. Meaning if the world is about seven billion people, you can find over a billion in China and a billion in India.

It’s a puzzle, in Sub Sahara Africa, there are no jobs and few economic opportunities.

Read!
Read!

The answer includes education Take the example of a school without chalk, where nobody reads, kids have to only memorize and repeat.

Ridiculous imho.

A minister of education will deem that their country needs more engineers to compete in the global economy. In this case, the government doesn’t meet reality.

In a progressive market, the international government organizations need to come up with plans where their words and promises meet the real needs of the people. For example, Amnesty is an organization that helps to fuel positive social changes. Now, the European Union has become a big economy. In fact in a numbers game it is larger population wise than US.

It represents a  massive player and  has the highest worldwide consumption. It is multi ethnic and multi cultural.

Which countries are engaged in trade?

50 – 60 percent of the global economy is involved in trade now —  89 percent in Asia, up from what used to be only 10 percent. Affluent democracies include US, Japan, Western Europe, US went from 15-20 percent trade to its current 30-40% in terms of trade. Japan is relatively behind Europe and U.S.

Look how trade has risen over the last 30 years. In Asia, trade has increased from 15 percent to 85%. Foreign born people in the United States in 2006 is up to 12 percent where as in 1970s, it was 6 percent.

Europe has increased foreign born people from 4 to 10%. China in trouble because they depend so much on trade. This is indicated by large layoffs where they feel the results of the economy.

Education

The United Nations supports schooling and build schools for girls in developing countries.

Challenge of European Countries

Fertility rates are dropping in western Europe. In 1970, there were 2.4 children, now the fertility rate is 1.5. Put simply, people have fewer children. More children are needed to support an aging economy. What does that mean?

It means less and less kids are being born every year. To support and maintain our current economy, it is necessary to have a 2.1 children.

This need has created a cultural conflict because of the need of immigrants to maintain population.

Ask better questions

To be a better leader, ask yourself, what are you working on now?

What are you reading?

How are you shaping your future?

How diverse is your current network?

How are you developing relationships with people that are different than you?

Are you brave enough to shape your future?

Can you with stand people telling you that your new idea is wrong and go forth otherwise?

 

Swim away from the cake — updated motivational technique.

Hi friends. Welcome.

I am putting every ounce of myself to becoming a better blogger, writer and communicator.

Swim away from the cake!

More importantly is that I am trying to make a positive change in life.

Thank for visiting if this is your first time here. Welcome back visitors, feel free to leave comments, I truly appreciate them. 

What motivates you?

My best friend kicks my bum in tennis and probably anyone elses. When we were playing at university we were great partners. We spent our time between matches actually doing cartwheels on the court.

We were paired up with a couple of strong guys who were so serious about tennis. One day our coach pulls us aside and assigns us new partners. Not those guys, Not those guys, we chanted — they’d kill us at tennis.

Sure enough, we  found fantastic new partners, the super strong guys.

I’m building bridges here.

Stay with me folks. There IS a reason I’m telling you this.

The reason is this. I like to find what is behind someone’s motivation. Is it someone who comes over, puts your hand on your shoulder, smiles, and says good job, or is the person who gets behind you and yells ‘DO IT!’?

Ti voglio TANTO bene.
Ti voglio TANTO bene.

When I was on swim team in high school, my sister was my best motivator. She’d follow me back and forth across the lanes and scream ‘Go, Go!’ Her coaching strategy was swim toward the chocolate cake and away from the shark.

Just pretend

Be a kid and pretend you are the best. Walk across the room at this moment as if you have a cape on your back, I don’t care if anyone’s watching — all the better. Our mind will literally follow suit.

When my best friend and I were back playing singles tennis, she’d say Julie  — You’re going down with such conviction, I had no other choice then to believe here. Guess what? She usually won. She still does.

The point is, get out there, do your best.

Go! Go! Just get out there and do it! Be the positive change you want to see. That’s all we can ask, isn’t it?

Have a positive mental outlook and a strong belief that you can win. If you don’t believe in yourself, well then, I do. Go!

Have a nice day and thank you for visiting.

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

Be inspiring!

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.

 

Things my kids teach me.

I will.
I honor my needs even when it's unpopular to do so.

The first thing my kids taught me about being a mom was that I knew absolutely nothing about being a mom.

First thing I learned when they were born was that they are separate from me. I felt so close and attached to them that I was surprised that when I touched them I couldn’t feel it. I was surprised that I couldn’t feel if they were cold or not so I had to learn to touch their little ears and noses to see what their body temperatures were.

Lovely Cruz
Lovely

My kids taught me patience when I didn’t want to be patient. They taught me I had no other option but to sit and hold them.

They taught me to laugh and be silly. They taught me wonder.

They absolutely taught me what it’s like to be a kid to relive my childhood through kids eyes. Like when we watched Peter Pan. I could watch that forever. I relate to Wendy. I love the part about the fairies, the magic, the choice to believe that something is there.

My kids have taught me the silliest lessons. I love them with all of my heart. They have taught me unconditional love and warmth. They have taught me about my limits too. I was surprised to see how with my kids how many times I was willing to go past my limits.

I think lately the thing they have taught me the most is how important it is to take care of myself first. I have found that by giving as mothers do we allow ourselves unjustly to become second, so I have learnt that in order to save a ship, the person driving it, must be the healthiest.

For these lessons, I’m thankful.