I've been helping my friend with relationship issues and accumulated some Dating Red Flags online. I thought it could help others who might need help figuring out what some of these are. Sorry I do not have the resource sources listed. But I'm sure you could google the exact sentences and get the source. 
 * I've finally realized that no matter how gorgeous and alluring the new stranger is, you have to quit when a red flag goes up. As soon as it goes up.
* When you pick someone who is too far from you on the continuum, you’ll be fighting a painful, losing battle because your fundamental ideas about what a relationship should look like will be too different. And don’t trick yourself into thinking that these things will change. That’s a mistake people make all the time. Instead, take the time to carefully assess this dimension in any potential partner. Your future relationship satisfaction depends on it!!
* "A man is who he is by his 16th birthday. Don't enter a relationship expecting him to change, because he won't, even if it is better for him and he knows it. And if he DOES seem to change, he'll only revert back the moment you let up, and he'll only resent you the whole time you are trying to get him to change. It's not worth it."
* She/He engages and disengages without warning. For example, every time you take her out you have a great time and a lot of fun but then she barely returns your calls, or takes several days to return them. You end up calling first because you have fun together but you find yourself in a chase mode with no indication of whether or not she's willing to be caught. This is not courting, this is a game of control and dysfunctional interaction usually dominated by someone who has mental health issues. This person is good at yo yo-ing you're emotions and making you question yourself. Bottom line...they're users.
* He makes it clear that he doesn't want you talking about him to anyone else.
* He vacillates from day-to-day or week to week as to whether he wants to be in a relationship or not.
* His life is ambiguous. You never really feel like you "know" him. You may meet his family once, and friends occasionally, but you always feel like he's hiding something. He never really explains any of his past in detail. And, if he does, it's only when he's explaining his way out of something. I.E. "I'm the victim, and here's why."
* On the first date, he tells you he thinks he could fall in love with you, and/or wants to marry you and he'll convert to your religion because "you are the one", etc...
* Despite his obvious mental angst [or perhaps because of it...] he completely rejects the idea of professional therapy as a sham, preferring to confide in YOU, because, well, YOU are so much better at understanding him and his troubled life than some overpaid professional "quack."
* He/she has an elevated tension level consistently. Tries to paint the inability to relax as a positive character trait.
* says things like "I see in you the woman you can be (/become)", in combination with his 
love declarations. (This sounds very romantic in the beginning, as if he wants to help you grow, or develop, or god knows what you make of it, but in fact it means: I see flaws in how you are now and I am going to do something about "fixing" you)
* He and you grew up differently- him from a traditional "old world" style family- and you a "Americanized" family- and he wants you to behave/dress/talk more conservative (like his mother- a lifelong homemaker).
* He does something REALLY inconsiderate and/or discourteous, and no matter how calmly you try to talk to him about it, he JUST DOESN'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND why you are hurt or upset. You find yourself having to explain concepts of basic courtesy to him. He insists that you are overreacting, being too sensitive, or uses some other implication that there must be something wrong with you. Even if he DOES apologize, you leave the conversation never really feeling like things were actually resolved. Never feeling like he really understood or accepted that his actions were inappropriate or hurtful.
* He says things like "I just want to be good for someone. I just want to be good for YOU." Don't let it tug at your heart-strings. Don't think it means he's REALLY working on his stuff - it means he's so filled with self-hate that he's been an ass to everyone else in his past, and he thinks that he can feel good about himself if he finds the "right" woman. He's searching for salvation through YOU instead of working on his shit himself, and it won't work. It didn't work in the past with all the other women and you are just another kick at the can for him.

    1. He just *leaves* a party or function you went to with him, without telling you (or anyone else) he is leaving, or where he is going.
* He/she talks about looking for a "soul mate" or "someone to complete me".
* He remembers EVERY mistake you ever made, and brings them up long after you apologized (and made reparation), in order to justify HIS bad behavior ("Well YOU did X... and I'm still hurting from it..."). OR he uses those old hurts as excuses for his "depression"
* (for guys in their 30's and 40's) He has NO relationship with his ex-partners, in fact, they want NOTHING to do with him. If he isn't friends with at least a couple of his ex-partners (especially the long-term significant ones), and talks with them socially periodically (over more than issues with their kids), then watch out.
* He seems like a "lost puppy" in need of care. (Get help for yourself for even being attracted.)    1. 
* Experience extreme mood swings. . .tell you you’re the greatest one minute and rip you apart the next minute.
* He/She wants to get married before you have known each other for more than 1-2 years and haven't even lived together yet. It takes at least 1.5yrs for the "hormone rush" of infatuation to wear off, and the true colours to start to emerge, depending on how quickly you individuate away from the "joined at the hip" phase.
* He starts doing things incongruent with the person you THOUGHT you first got to know. People are always on their best behavior during the "courtship" phase. If that behavior starts to degrade and change into little nasty digs, or lies, or other forms of abuse, DITCH him before it gets worse. Don't wait around hoping the the guy you first fell in love with is going to resurface - that was obviously a False Image designed to hook you.
* On the other hand, if he/she does not want to be touched even though you have dated exclusively for several months, you just might ask if 
physical intimacy will ever be a consideration.
* Trying to develop a meaningful relationship with someone who is too self-absorbed or overly involved with their businesses or personal interests will result in loneliness.  

* He seems "too good to be true" - he probably IS (not TRUE, that is).
* He is constantly "down" and has a variety of excuses - his back hurts, he doesn't get enough light, you are keeping him awake at night so he doesn't get enough sleep, he hasn't had enough to eat that day, etc.
* You *clearly* and openly state your expectations and needs, in a calm and caring fashion, you are told that you are being "controlling" or "manipulative" or "too sensitive".
* Someone who has been previously married may be still be seriously affected by unresolved issues (old baggage).  Also, one's past, parents, and previous relationships can negatively impact how they relate to others. 
* Does his/her religious views place any uncomfortable limitations on a relationship?  Is their approach to the things of life too conservative for you?  On the other hand, does he/she hold liberal views that are just too far to the left for you to be able to tolerate?  Whoever said that politics and religion should not be discussed amongst couples may have set a lot of people up for eventual failure in their primary relationships. 
* People who truly love each other want to be with each other as much as possible.  If your boy/girlfriend has one excuse after another as to why they are not available to you, then you might look elsewhere.  Either they are not really interested in you or you simply need more attention.  You can't make someone want to be with you.  It has to come naturally and be obvious. 

* His/her whole social life revolves around his/her parents.
*  He has no kids, no pets, no fish, not even any plants. If the only thing that lives in his place other than him is the mold in the back of his fridge, he’s a non-starter. A guy who can’t even commit to keeping a spider plant alive does not have what it takes to keep a relationship alive.
* You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
*  He has no kids, no pets, no fish, not even any plants. If the only thing that lives in his place other than him is the mold in the back of his fridge, he’s a non-starter. A guy who can’t even commit to keeping a spider plant alive does not have what it takes to keep a relationship alive.
* Fantasizing about the future:While men are typically (not always) the masters of game playing, women have this one down pat. When you catch yourself trying on his last name before the third date, it's time to remind yourself to slow down. In the first 3-6 months of a relationship, you are likely running on oxytocin, which is a chemical found in chocolate. It creates the sense of well-being and euphoria that comes with “falling in love.” This might as well be dubbed the period of temporary insanity, because you are not in command of all your faculties; your brain is hijacked by those lovely chemicals, interfering with your ability to think clearly. Until you have time to really get to know someone, and see him or her in a wide range of situations, it is helpful to not get ahead of yourself; don't strongly attach to some illusion that you have created about the person. This can lead to pitfalls of setting up unrealistic expectations and subsequent
disillusionment, or depression if the relationship doesn't work out.
* Obsessing over details:
This one is common with those who worry. The worry may be a general habit, but now it is turned on the subject of the relationship: worry about what the other person said, worry about what they meant by it, worry about how you reacted, worry about the relationship not working out, worry about what if it does work out, how will your parents react…on and on. Being anxious is a mood killer, and will not make you attractive to a potential mate. But don't go worrying about that! Try to tap into your self-confidence and trust that if the relationship is meant to work out, it will.
* Rush in, rush out:
Are you reckless in love? Do you plunge into the deep end, only to find that the water is way too cold? Then this one's for you. Getting overly involved too soon is a big red flag. If you do it, then you need to pace yourself, and be more considerate of the other person, who you are probably leading on. If you fall for those who do it, then you need to slow things down and not get taken for a ride (or pursue a different type!).

* On the first date, already talks about marriage or kids. (This is even out on the 2nd or 3rd date)


Medicines all around us....

While feeding the goats alfalfa a few weeks back at the Queens County Farm Museum in NYC, I mentioned to my 4 year old that mom too had alfalfa.  When pregnant, I too had alfalfa in pill form (which is made from alfalfa) to stop my ankles from swelling. 

This admission started a curious new obsession for him. He now collects weeds from when we go on walks and bring them home and pretends to make tea with them. Of course we do not drink it. But I immediately placed orders online to borrow books about medicinal plants for us to look through from our most amazing local library system. We also collected all the familiar weeds from the area, photographed them and then pressed them to  make a book later. This is very exciting. Now for the not-so-easy-job of identifying them all. 

You recognize any of these?


Great Buddhist Quotes Relevant to My life This Week

Pay no attention to the faults of others, 
things done or left undone by others. 
Consider only what by oneself is done or left undone
I have been a little too concerned about what other moms are doing right/wrong. There must be something in my own parenting I do not want to focus on.....will focus on my own family and stop judging people I know nothing about....a waste of time and energy and not very productive. 

One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the messiah?"
"No", answered Buddha. 
"Then are you a healer?"
"No", Buddha replied. 
"Then are you a teacher?" the student persisted. 
"No, I am not a teacher."
"Then what are you?" asked the student, exasperated. 
"I am awake", Buddha replied.

The challenge of parenting comes in the struggle to stay present. Once you 
are not fighting being there you begin to reap the gifts of your true presence.
Like yesterday, at the park I noticed Nora trying hard to vary the ways she goes down
the slide. I would have missed it had I been focused elsewhere....


Is this The New Face of Parenting?? HOPEFULLY NOT

I was just at the park and there was a woman there with a child similar in age to Nora. Nora and I always like it when we see other kids in the park. She's a very social child and I love watching her try to socialize with kids of all ages. Sadly, the mother had both earphones on her ears and was fiddling with her Ipod the entire time she was at the park; which was about 25 minutes. The daughter kept trying to talk to her, but she was so absorbed by her music that she never answered. The mother also had a niece there at the park ( who was around 8 years old) who began playing with 3 other children (not related to her) in very  inappropriate ways. Like one kid was trying to pull the pants off another boy. And three of them were throwing some mean words to one another out loud. The mother never even looked up as these kids were almost getting into wrestling mat matches on the ground. 

This mentality of "oh well, I can blip out now, for they are behaving" is so detrimental. Raising a child requires more than you just making sure they are fed.......and clothed. Raising a child requires that you are PRESENT.....emotionally, physically, 100%.  

I am also really concerned about how these technological gadgets are beginning to take such a priority in people's lives all around me. It's almost as if they have taken over real living.  I felt terrible for this little girl who kept trying to get her mom's attention....but a stupid gadget was priority. 

At the same park the day before......we again met another little girl with accompanied by her mother. Nora went right over to them and they played together. Just as we were about to leave I was about to ask the mom if she's like to have a play date. I stopped dead in my tracks when I realized that her husband who she joined as she too was walking out of the park,  was the young man I had spotted smoking pot before coming to the park. The saddest thing was seeing this father, obviously and totally stoned out holding their other child, a 4-month-old. 

I feel so blessed in my life and want to absorb all the gifts my kids have to offer.....their smiles, their funny comments, even their tantrums are blessed and  bring you back to reality. 

I once read that when you give 100% of yourself to a child...you are teaching them that they are fun to be with.....if other things.....THINGS (like Ipods, texts, drugs) are priority then how are they ever to think themselves as valued member of society. 

When Chris and I go out to the park or the beach with the kids.....we don't talk on the phone, text.....sometimes I don't even photograph for more than a few minutes.....going out with them should be a fun experience.....which brings me to the fact that we are leaving to the Redwoods next week. I cannot wait to enjoy every minute of our family adventure. 


They love you until the ratings dry out, then they try to bring you down!

Can Phelps recover?

Phelps beaten for second straight day

The media....they love you at first...but when that stops bringing in the ratings, they love to bring you down.....

Now check out some titles for the cast of Jon and Kate Plus Eight:
Jon and Kate Plus 8: Who's cheating on whom?
'Jon & Kate Plus 8' heading for divorce?

As I say, 
The media....they love you at first...but when that stops bringing in the ratings, they love to bring you down.....


Recesssion, Pandemic and ......Abortion#*@? and other issues....

Of all the things President Obama could be addressing right now, he's addressing abortion? Can we worry about the suffering and the living please! We are in the middle of a recession where millions are without jobs and more coming, we are facing a possible pandemic where thousands could be affected and die and he's addressing abortion....and at a graduation! I am pro-choice all the way but this is not the time to address this issue.....there are more pressing issues I would love to see addressed. 100% of the people I know and am associated with are not sitting around thinking about abortion......most people I know are worried about retaining their jobs or finding one....

As a point aside, I read some article about his speech on Yahoo News and saw that the rowdy protester was interviewed for the article. That is simply unfair. When thousands of protesters stood around for days in front of the Republican Convention in 2008 I did not read one interview of these people in the mainstream news.....not one.....they were simply referred to as the protesters and there was some mention of police riot gear, but no luxury of an interview!!! The media tries to show us how these people protesting are the majority, yet I'd seriously question that facade.  

Now there is a handful of rude protesters who break in to a commencement, call the President of the United States a "baby killer" and they get coverage!!.....and they have the gaul to call the media a liberal media...please! Who is dumb enough to believe that! Here is the 2-second moment of fame for this gal who by the way does not sound too bright. Her comment is annoyingly typical of what most people who dislike Obama has to say about him.....it's always some fictional character -flaw they and they alone see in him....hey, If you are going to disagree with the man you could at least address the issues, and not his character.

One of the protesters at Notre Dame, Jill Stanek, an anti-abortion blogger who did not support Obama, said

“It was just a regurgitation of things he’s said for a long time,” Stanek said. “He’s so good at expressing your point of view, so people are lulled into thinking he agrees

with them, and he doesn’t. It’s just so typical Barack Obama.”


Obama...CHANGE.....If not now....when?

I was very disappointed last week when I heard President Obama's response to an inquiry about why single payer insurance is being shoved off the table. Here's the transcript:

Linda Allison: “My question is, so many people go bankrupt using their credit cards to pay for healthcare. Why have they taken single payer off the plate? And why is Senator Baucus on the Finance Committee discussing healthcare, when he has received so much money from the pharmaceutical companies? Isn’t it a conflict of interest?”

President Obama: “If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That’s the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we’re not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer-based healthcare. And although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their healthcare, the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get healthcare from their employers, and you’ve got this system that’s already in place. We don’t want a huge disruption as we go into healthcare reform, where suddenly we’re trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy.”

This basically tells me he's afraid to "shake the boat". I was hoping he'd do more than just go with the status quo......we has the majority in all 3 houses, he won by an overwhelming majority....This country is ready for the change he so spoke of during his campaign. Also, if now is not the time....the country will never again be this ripe for change.....ever. What is he so afraid of?  The entire country is behind him.....This makes me so furious....


Why I think there is a disproportionate number of Latinos and Blacks in Special Education

All studies show there is a disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos in special education. Being a Latina who attended ESL as a child and a special education teacher I have unique and comprehensive views on the issue.

I was born in Flushing, Queens. Shortly after my 4Th year, my parents relocated our whole family to their native country, Paraguay, only to move is all back to the United States 5 years later. I was placed in ESL in 4Th grade, for I did not speak a word of English. I had always had a keen awareness of my social surroundings, and I became very aware of teachers’ perceptions of me through the way they addressed me. Because I was a well-behaved child I walked the schools like a ghost, unnoticed unless of course I would make a mistake while attempting to communicate, in which case I got a lot of negative attention. I once heard a teacher laughing at my incorrect spelling structure right before me. I did not feel safe experimenting and using the language and I believe it took me a very long time to grasp it due to my lack of practice. Although there were other Latinos and non-natives in the class, I never heard anyone utter any words in Spanish or any other language. It became tacitly understood that it was not acceptable or “cool” to speak Spanish.  Although I was an extremely curious child and wanted desperately to become involved in all school activities, I was treated as if I was cognitively impaired and was never guided into any activities to make me feel successful.

I believe this issue about dis-proportionality of Latinos and Blacks in special education has a lot to do with expectations. As a child I was seen as somewhat impaired only based on the fact that I did not speak English, and the expectations for me were too low to spark any sense of success or curiosity. Children, regardless of their ability or disability are incredibly intuitive creatures. They know immediately whether you believe in them or whether you expect them to fail. Which brings me to the topic of teachers.

For 4 years I taught 2ND grade inclusion class at an amazing charter school in DC called School of Arts In Leaning (for short, SAIL). Children who would not succeed in the regular public school setting would find a place at SAIL. Children were still expected to absorb the grade level curriculum yet could be taught using the arts and multi sensory techniques. Lessons were taught through dance (movement), music (auditory), art or theatre (visual and movement). In addition, plenty of opportunities for lesson repetition and creation of interdisciplinary connections were built into the day.  I witnessed before me at-risk and special education children who loved learning, who felt successful and safe daily and who met the grade-level curriculum through these non-traditional methods.

Perhaps we could analyze this dis-proportionality issue by looking at how safe and comfortable our children feel within the class environment as well as recheck our expectations of how much material they could absorb. A child with a special need can learn just as much as any child in the regular education setting,  they just need a lot more repetition and many more opportunities to succeed built into their day.  This type of responsibility should not be solely carried by special education teachers, but by all teachers. 

Any ideas why this is so? Would love to hear your thoughts. 


IMAGINE a Future With No Occupation, no wall and no checkpoints

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the Palestinians would remember the pope's visit "with the hope of a future with no occupation, no wall and no checkpoints."

I cannot for a moment even begin to imagine living under occupation... to be born in such a hopeless environment.....held captive by walls, restrictions and poverty would be death to my soul. 

Finally a public figure is brace enough to speak up against this ugly wall of hate. 

Check out these great Graffiti on the wall on www.beatyoulike.com

and here is an article about Banksy


New Digital Collage!!

You can purchase this print (full resolution) and without the watermark for $15 on my etsy site. 

Pretty? I forgot about that concept

I just read a blog post written by a college friend about traditionally attractive women, looks and what most people consider attractiveness in women. I have never thought myself as pretty or traditionally pretty or mainstream attractive. It feels perfectly normal to me to be this way and I have never tried being anything else. I wear no make up and I wear clothes I love regardless of fashion trends. On the contrary, I have always thought myself as smart, dynamic and creative and those qualities have always been worth even more than having traditional looks....which have always proven themselves to be boring if not supported by other qualities. 

What has been a huge priority for me has actually always been smarts. My husband without a doubt is one of the smartest people I know.   I am just naturally drawn to people who are calm and bring an aura of peace to their space. You bring me a beast with smarts and I would be attracted to it for its smarts. Smarts is more attractive than a pretty face any day. 


They are finally playing together well!!!

My son and daughter, Luke and Nora, are playing together more now!  I thought this teasing on the part of Luke would never end....It was driving all of us crazy. What I never expected Nora to do was to  just toughen up and not even care that Luke is being wild around her. She's quite strong and resilient as long as it's Luke.....any other time she would as much as see a band-aid and she's crying. 

Dragging her across the floor....
Making a hole together at the beach
Drinking homemade lemonade together..
Luke zippering Nora
Chasing game......late in the evening
Looking for beach treasure together.
Feeding the goats at the Queens County Farm Museum
Coloring together on the table. 


Teens....are they from another planet?

See full size imageSee full size imageSee full size imageSee full size imageSee full size image

So my niece comes over with my brother (her dad) and I just love her to death. She is just a very sweet and caring young woman. I can only wish I was as independent when I was 18. But I cannot feel to think I am in another world when we communicate. last night, as we were all in the living room talking, every 10 seconds she is getting a text from someone, then she was IM-ing online on her laptop (which she had on her lap) as we were talking.  So literally, she was having a conversation with 3 people at the same time. Now that is very talented.  My head would twirl and fall if I had to keep up with two people, much less three. 

But, I can't help but to appreciate my Buddhist teachings when faced with this situation. I too used to be riddled with technology.  I had a handheld calendar, wait for e-mails that would never come, have my phone at arms reach at all times...etc....until it took over my life.  I literally was living a fake life.....doing nothing real.  don't get me wrong, I am online a lot still.  I could be working on my site, applying to jobs, blogging....yet, when I am NOT online...I am 110% there with you.....listening with my eyes, my body and my ears. I find it important especially when I am with the kids that I am not distracted by nothing else. I read somewhere that when you give your kids 110% attention they learn that they are fun to be with.  That people desire to be around them. If I were texting the whole time, they see how a non-priority they are....makes total sense to me. 

I don't think young kids today know about presence or how to even be in the moment for 2 minutes without wishing they were elsewhere or being tweaked in some way by outside stimulus. I find that a sad loss. When happiness is found in having a new blackberry or in wearing an expensive label you are just setting yourself up for a very unhappy life. Even being a complete millionaire would not fill the gap this type of thinking brings.

Life IS what happens while we are busy making plans......


I Dreamt of You Last Night

Every once in a while I cry in my sleep and it's always you.

Last night you came to see me and I hugged you so hard and so long
I cried as I held you so tight, my whimperings woke me up......I wanted to be back there, with you.....holding you...thankful to have one more hug. 

This morning I ponder your visit and wonder "was it real?"
One thought terrifies me more than any other is thinking I will never see you again.

The night before you took your life I saw a person who looked just like you and even thought to myself, "I should call him and share this.....it's uncanny." But life, the kids, laundry came instead.  Angels tried to help us all that night, but they're only allowed to throw down a few vague clues....so after years of trying,  you did it....and changed all our lives forever. 

The last time we spoke I was rushing back in the house late with Chris and Luke.  Luke crying, me, 5 months pregnant ready for bed....cranky and emotional with my hormones running crazy. I hardly paid attention to your musings as I thought of the 400 other things I could be doing. I hurried off the phone with my last good-bye.....to you..... my love......my soul brother.  

You never got to meet Nora.  I saw her pretending to lip-sing today from my rear-view mirror while driving to the beach and felt rich with love and full of life running through my veins.  In my mind I nudged you to look at her too.....you would have just adored her. And Luke would have made you laugh 'til your blue with his funny 4-year-old talk. 

I imaged my life alongside you growing old and wrinkly...laughing at stupid stuff with your family and mine.....sharing all the love around us.....

You knew me like no other and still loved me ....and perhaps that is all I have left of you.

  .....Unconditional love has no expiration date it turns out....

Thank you for saving my life daily with your memory. 

When all else fails I know you loved me at my worse. 


Just Finished Editing Out 21 People from A Picture

If you have a picture you'd like me to work on, e-mail me at Miriam@MirsMagicMoments.com. To see samples of my work go to my website, www.MirsMagicMoments.com. To see images you can enlarge to check for clarity go to: http://mirsmagicmomentsphotography.shutterfly.com/