Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
a partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
two turtles dove and
a partridge in a pear tree

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
three french hens
two turtle doves and
a partridge in a pair tree


On the twelfth day ofChristmas
my true love sent to me:
twelve lords a-leaping
eleven ladies dancing
ten pipers piping
nine drummers drumming
eight maids a-milking
seven swans swimming
six geese laying
five golden rings
four calling birds
three french hens
two turtles dove and
a partridge in a pear tree

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Away in a manger

"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all dear children in Your tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there."

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Naughty cat, lovely pet,
on the newspaper she has sat,
as I love her, I do nothing
who knows what she'll do next.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prayer for today

A dear friend taught me a special prayer today. I need to remember it always:

"Dear Lord, please keep Your Arm around my shoulder and Your Hand over my mouth."

Spring at Botanic Garden

Last saturday, at our Botanic Garden, there were a big exposition and sales of orchids. After the photography class we went to take pictures of beautiful flowers and interesting people.

At the park, a "Bradypus variegatus" (bicho-preguiça) intended to walk slowly on the ground.

It was soon rescued from people's curiosity by the guard.

But we went on taking pictures...

Our photography teacher, João Quental, is the one wearing a black t-shirt. Great guy, great class. It happens twice a year, for 2 months, always on saturday mornings (9 to 12). Our last meeting will be in October, 6. Probably we'll try to meet at the park, because we want to keep in touch. Next photography course only in 2009, March. João Guilherme Quental teaches Literature, Portuguese, Photography and Cinema. And he's also a birdwatcher. Accomplished, isn't he?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Minas Gerais

This time our brave little car took us to Minas Gerais. We met nice people, beautiful landscape and wonderful food! First stop: Ouro Preto.

Praça Tiradentes
Igreja de São Francisco

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden

Our Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to be. I have the happiness of living in the neighborhood. As a birthday gift I gave myself some photography lessons with professor João Quental, a photographer and birdwatcher. Next saturday, at 9:00, we'll begin our own pictures at the park.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chales Terra Nova

We had a great time at Chalés Terra Nova, inside the Itatiaia National Park. Surrounded by nature, birds, good music and tasty food at the restaurant, sleeping in a cabin with fireplace, it was almost like heaven!

Kids and dad enjoyed the warm swimming pool, the bikes and still walked among the trees (arvorismo). The other day we went to visit the National Park and the city of Penedo, where we found those delicious ice creams (Sorvete Finlandês). We will come back for more!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Brazilian baby from abdominal pregnancy is alive and healthy

At Hospital das Clinicas, São Paulo, a baby was born in amazing conditions. The embryo developed outside the uterus, below the mother's stomach. Maria Benedita is very happy. In spite of the life threatening warnings, she went on with the pregnancy until the 8th month. After 2 hours of surgery, she was rewarded by her courage and faith. Valdir Gabriel was born with 2 kg and 42 cm. "Thank God I won, I didn't give up!" - she said.
The embryo was protected by the epiplon (an internal layer of fat that protects the organs) that surrounded the placenta and foetus. More than ever, it's crystal clear that life begins in the moment of conception.
Dr. Waldemir Rezende said: "Gabriel was a true hero. He managed to find a place to ensure his growth and life. We didn't know what to find until we opened the abdominal cavity. He was the surprise. This smile is priceless", adds the doctor, looking towards Maria Benedita.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Crab Nebula

On July 4, 1054, the Crab Nebula, the brightest known remnant of a supernova, was first noticed by Chinese astronomers. The supernova was visible in daylight for 23 days and at night for almost 2 years. There are no records of its observation at the time by Europeans. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Give me books, fruit, french wine, and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by somebody I do not know.
(John Keats)
A book should teach us to enjoy life, or to endure it.
(Samuel Richardson)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Much have I sorrowed,
learning to my cost
that a book that's borrowed
is a book that's lost

Arthur Guiterman

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Home Planet

"Even as humanity ventures farther and farther into the solar system, the focus on our planet is as sharp as ever. Whether taken from astronauts in orbit, satellites circling above or spacecraft at the moon and Mars, NASA's stunning images of Earth highlight the diversity, fragility and beauty of the place we all call home. Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who took the famous "Earthrise" photo above in 1968 noted later, "here we came all this way to the moon, and yet the most significant thing we're seing is our own home planet, the Earth."
See wonderful photos on NASA' site:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Daniel Gilbert studies happiness

Do you know Daniel Gilbert? You should! At Harvard, the social psychologist is known as Professor Happiness. Read his interview at the New York Times and learn a little with dr. Gilbert. Here is just a small sample. That's something to think about and act.


We know that the best predictor of human happiness is human relationships and the amount of time that people spend with family and friends.
We know that it’s significantly more important than money and somewhat more important than health. That’s what the data shows. The interesting thing is that people will sacrifice social relationships to get other things that won’t make them as happy — money. That’s what I mean when I say people should do “wise shopping” for happiness.
Another thing we know from studies is that people tend to take more pleasure in experiences than in things. So if you have “x” amount of dollars to spend on a vacation or a good meal or movies, it will get you more happiness than a durable good or an object. One reason for this is that experiences tend to be shared with other people and objects usually aren’t.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II Born this day in 1926 was Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who ascended the throne in 1952 at age 25 and is known to favour simplicity in court life and to take a serious, informed interest in government business. This drawing was made by Anna Mitchell, 11 years old.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zack Dunlap and Brain Death

Zack Dunlap doesn’t remember much from the day he died, but he does remember hearing a doctor declare him brain-dead. And he remembers being incredibly ticked off.

Doctors have no explanation for why Dunlap is alive. He had been riding his souped-up ATV with some friends on that fateful Saturday, less than a week before Thanksgiving. They had participated in a parade that morning, popping wheelies and impressing the crowd, and then they had gone out riding on their machines. He did not wear a helmet.

Dunlap fell behind his friends on a highway just outside of Davidson, Okla., not far from his home in the ranching town of Frederick and near the Texas border. He gunned his machine to catch up, doing another wheelie on the back wheels. When he dropped the front wheels back to the pavement, he saw that he was going to crash into a friend’s machine that had stopped a short way up the road.

Dunlap tried to swerve, but flipped his machine and went flying, smashing headfirst and facedown on the asphalt. He remained there motionless, unresponsive to his friends, who quickly called 911.
Taken first to a local hospital, he was airlifted 50 miles away to United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas, where there was a trauma unit that might be able to treat the severe damage he had done to his brain. But 36 hours after the accident, doctors performed a PET scan of his brain and informed his parents, along with other family members who had gathered to keep vigil at the hospital, that there was no blood flowing to Zack’s brain; he was brain-dead.

Zack had declared on his driver’s license that he wanted to be an organ donor, so his parents gave permission for doctors to keep his body alive until the organs could be harvested.

The decision made, there remained only a wait of several hours while an organ-harvesting team flew in by helicopter. The family spent the time saying goodbye.

During her time with him, Zack’s grandmother, Naomi, prayed. Her request was straightforward — “just a miracle,” she told Morales. “He was too young for God to take him.”
Some four hours after doctors declared Zack dead, a nurse began to remove tubes from Dunlap. His cousins, Dan and Christy Coffin, both of whom are nurses, were also in the room. Something about Zack’s appearance made them think that he wasn’t as dead as the doctors said. On a hunch, Dan pulled out his bone-handled pocket knife and ran the blade up the sole of one of Zack’s feet.

The foot yanked away, but the other nurse said it was a reflex action. So Dan Coffin then dug a fingernail under one of Zack’s nails. Zack yanked his arm away and across his body, and that, the other nurse agreed, wasn’t a reflex action. It was a sign of life.

Doctors warned the family that Zack could have profound brain damage that would prevent his leading anything resembling an active life. But within five days he opened his eyes, and 48 days after the accident, he walked out of a rehab center and returned home, where the entire town gave him a hero’s welcome.

If you want to see the video of Zack talking on NBC, click on the link below:
Wait till the film loads...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Christ Redeemer, as he is seen from the street where we live, during a WWF campaign.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sacred Places

Brazil's Towering Icon
By Kent Garber
Posted November 16, 2007

Gazing down upon bikini-clad sun worshipers along Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana Beach as well as the impoverished residents of the city's often violent slums, the imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the world's best-known landmarks. Completed in 1931, the concrete-and-soapstone statue rises some 12 stories from its base to a height of nearly 2,300 feet atop Mount Corcovado. The site draws about 300,000 tourists a year. Inspiring, yes, but it was not until October 2006 that it became a sacred place. On the statue's 75th anniversary, Rio's Roman Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, consecrated the small chapel under the statue that now is used for religious ceremonies such as baptisms and marriages.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stem Cell Transplant treats cerebral palsy

Pay attention to this boy's face. You won't see him on the news. Dallas Hextell has been treated with Stem Cell Transplant, using his own umbilical cord blood.

Stem Cell Transplant Changes Boy's LifeKNBC-TVupdated 8:54 p.m. ET March 12, 2008

SACRAMENTO - A little boy diagnosed with cerebral palsy appears to have made a dramatic recovery after a transplant using his own umbilical cord blood, his family says.

Dallas Hextell of Sacramento was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby. According to his parents, he's now doing everything a typical toddler would do, thanks to a stem-cell transplant using his own blood. Cynthia and Derak Hextell conceived in vitro after three years of trying. They said their son was a blessing - but soon after his birth they knew something was wrong. "He would cry for three hours straight like he was in pain," Cynthia said. "He couldn't really focus on things. When he started eating baby food he had chew-trouble, controlling his tongue."

A specialist eventually diagnosed Dallas as having brain damage that impaired his muscle control. Cynthia remembered they had preserved blood from his umbilical cord. "There are a few places in the country that are offering services to store stem cells," said Dr. Steven Lindheim, a fertility specialist from San Diego. "People don't think about having something just in case something goes wrong," he said.

When Dallas was accepted to undergo a potentially life-changing procedure as part of a Duke University clinical trial, his parents jumped at the chance. Dallas's cord blood cells infused intravenously in less than an hour. His mother said just five days later, the child who had never uttered a word said, "Mama, mama." "And of course, him and I started crying, and he grabbed the video camera," Cynthia said.

Once withdrawn, Dallas started waving, laughing and appeared more curious. Doctors said there's no way to prove Dallas' cord blood explains the change, but neither his mom nor dad said they need an explanation. "I see hope. It just makes you believe in miracles," said Cynthia. "I think in the next five to 10 years it'll be standard of care just to have those stem cells in case they're needed," said Lindheim.

San Diego does not have private cord-blood storage centers. The closest ones are in Tucson, Ariz. and Los Angeles. And doctors charge an extra fee to collect the blood and forward it to the storage center. No part of cord-blood storage or use is covered by insurance.

(from "Cultura da Vida"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Perfect Refreshment

To sit in the shade on a fine day

and look upon verdure,

is the most perfect refreshment.

Fanny Price
Mansfield Park

Friday, February 15, 2008

Shady Nook

Fazenda São Francisco - São José do Barreiro - SP

Oh for a book and a shady nook,
either indoor or out.
With the green leaves whispering overhead,
Or the street cries all about.
Where I may read all at my ease,
Both of the new and old;
For a jolly good book whereon to look,
Is better to me than gold.

Christopher North

There's no better place to read or forget the worries and troubles of life than Fazenda São Francisco, in São José do Barreiro, São Paulo, Brasil. Many foreign tourists know that already. They keep going and telling others. I wonder when I'll be back ...

Monday, January 7, 2008


Words from Pope Bento XVI for those gathered in St. Peter's Square, on the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
The feast, said the Holy Father, is "represented by the Magi who came from the East to pay homage to the king of the Jews. Observing celestial phenomena, these mysterious persons saw a new star rise and, instructed as well by the ancient prophecies, recognized in it the sign of the birth of the Messiah, descendant of David.

"From its first appearance, then, the light of Christ began to draw to itself the men 'who God loves,' of every language, people and culture. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that moves hearts and minds to seek truth, beauty, justice, peace."

"Men and women of every generation," continued the Pontiff, "have need of direction."
"The star that guided the Magi had completed its function, but its spiritual light is ever present in the word of the Gospel, which today too is capable of guiding every man to Jesus," said Benedict XVI. "That same word, which is nothing if not the reflection of Christ, true man and true God, is authoritatively echoed by the Church for every well-disposed soul." The Church too, for this reason, carries out for humanity the mission of the star. But something of this sort can be said of every Christian, called to help guide the steps of his brothers by word and the witness of his life."

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Open Road

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Strong and content, I travel the open road.

(Walt Whitman)
I would add, with God's hand in mine.

The Land of Might-Have-Been - Novello/Marsh

The Land of might-have-been, such a beautiful music, sung by Jeremy Northam, disappeared from Deezer! But we still can find it at YouTube. &...