Sunday, December 31, 2006

Welcome 2007...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The End...

The hanging of Saddam Hussein ended the life of one of the most brutal tyrants in recent history and negated the fiction that he himself maintained even as the gallows loomed — that he remained president of Iraq despite being toppled by the United States military and that his power and his palaces would be restored to him in time.
The despot, known as Saddam, had oppressed Iraq for more than 30 years, unleashing devastating regional wars and reducing his once promising, oil-rich nation to a claustrophobic police state.
For decades, it had seemed that his unflinching hold on Iraq would endure, particularly after he lasted through disastrous military adventures against first Iran and then Kuwait, where an American-led coalition routed his unexpectedly timid military in 1991.
His own conviction that he was destined by God to rule Iraq forever was such that he refused to accept that he would be overthrown in April 2003, even as American tanks penetrated the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a war that has become a bitterly contentious, bloody occupation.
After eluding capture for eight months, Mr. Hussein became the American military’s High Value Detainee No. 1.(...)
“I didn’t say ‘former president,’ I said ‘president,’ and I have rights according to the Constitution, among them immunity from prosecution,” he growled from the docket. The outburst underscored the boundless egotism and self-delusion of a man who fostered such a fierce personality cult during the decades that he ran the Middle Eastern nation that joking about him or criticizing him in public could bring a death sentence. (...)
Ultimately, (...) Mr. Hussein held onto the ethos of a village peasant who believed that the strongman was everything. He was trying to be a tribal leader on a grand scale. (...)
December 30, 2006


During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years. January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.
Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year's resolutions. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking.
The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.
The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans.
Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man.
Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes "coming full circle," completing a year's cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year's Day will bring good fortune.
Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another "good luck" vegetable that is consumed on New Year's Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy New Year

Time to address
a new year
… enter
deal with the project at handy
yet resolve not to dwell on past
never stop dreaming
even on the last exhale
find it in your heart
to forgive
then you will be forgiven in likeness
even when sad
this provokes the inner smile
to surface
take each day
as it’s dealt
and be thankful for the wealth
mother nature doles
now take a deeeeeeeeep
meditative breath
you’re alive … aren’t you?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year's Quotes...

Recipe for a Happy New Year. . . . Anonymous
Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.
Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing— don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.

A New Year. . . . . . . . . . . . . .William Arthur Ward
Another fresh new year is here …
Another year to live!To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest …To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

Pacem in Terris
Pope John XXIII, 4/11/63
"May He banish from the hearts of all men and women whatever might endanger peace.
May He transform them into witnesses of truth, justice and love.
May He enkindle the rulers of peoples so that in addition to their solicitude for the proper welfare of their citizens, they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.
May He enkindle the wills of all so that they may overcome the barriers that divide, cherish the bonds of mutual charity, understand others, and pardon those who have done them wrong.
May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters, and may the most longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always among men and women."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas...

To all my friends and students I wish a Merry Christmas!
May a bright star shine upon your lives...

Happy Holidays!...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two years...

A ROSA, is a well-known blog.
A ROSA, the blog, celebrates today two years of "active, committed and ironic writing".
To the author, my husband, I dedicate this post.
Congratulations for such nice A ROSA

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Because we should all stand together to make a more peaceful world...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Worldwide...

Christmas celebrations include a great number and variety of customs with either secular, religious, or national aspects which vary from country to country:
In the
Southern Hemisphere, Christmas occurs during the summer. This clashes with the traditional winter iconography, resulting in images such as a fur-coated Santa Claus surfing in for a turkey barbecue on Australia's Bondi Beach. New Zealanders also commonly celebrate Christmas at the beach, coinciding with the vibrant red flowering of the coastal Pohutukawa or "New Zealand Christmas Tree".
Japan has adopted Santa Claus for its secular Christmas celebration, but New Year's Day is a far more important holiday. In South Korea Christmas is celebrated as an official holiday, and in India it is often called bada din ("the big day"). Celebrations revolve around Santa Claus and shopping.
Poland, Santa Claus ( Święty Mikołaj) gives gifts on two occasions: on the night of December 5 (so that children find them on the morning of December 6), and on Christmas Eve. In addition to the major observances of Christmas, German children also put shoes out at their doors on the night of December 5, and find them filled with candy and small gifts the next morning. Santa Claus ( Mikulás), or Father Winter ( Télapó) also visits Hungary on December 6, bringing small gifts, and is often accompanied by a black creature called Krampusz; while on Christmas Eve (Holy Night - (Szenteste) the Little Jesus (Kisjézus or Jézuska) delivers the presents.
Spain, gifts are brought by the Magi on Epiphany (January 6), and in Scotland, presents were traditionally given on Hogmanay, which is New Year's Eve. In recent times, both countries have also adopted gift-giving on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. In England and Wales, children traditionally hang up a stocking on Christmas eve , into which Father Christmas places gifts which are discovered and opened on December 25.
The Declaration of Christmas Peace has been a tradition in
Finland from the Middle Ages every year, except in 1939 . The declaration takes place in the Old Great Square of Turku, Finland's official Christmas City and former capital. It is broadcast on Finnish radio and television. Sauna bathing has an important role in Finnish Christmas, often after the visit of Joulupukki on Christmas Eve.
Saint Nicholas' Day remains the principal day for gift giving in the
Netherlands while Christmas Day is a more religious holiday.
Russia, Grandfather Frost brings presents on New Year's Eve, and these are opened on the same night. However, after the Russian Revolution, Christmas celebration was banned in that country from 1917 until 1992. Even today, throughout the U.S. and Europe, several Christian denominations, notably the Jehovah's Witnesses , Puritans, and some fundamentalists, view Christmas as a pagan holiday not sanctioned by the Bible.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some history...

Santa Claus
The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas's popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland.
Christmas Trees
Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.
In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.
Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims's second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out "pagan mockery" of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event." In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.
In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.
By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.
The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.

Friday, December 15, 2006


My love for you is locked up in time and in my heart.

It won't be easy to undo, no matter what...

Our love is more than a word, it is chained deeply in life, companionship and strong feelings.


Books are tossed away from their minds and routines.
Today, students can finally take a deep breath and start their Winter holidays. After a long term, with many assignments given by teachers to evaluate their knowledge, they are now waiting for their reward, that is, good grades.
Many will be disappointed because they know they can do better, others will celebrate, unfortunately, many others won't even care. School is no longer a place where kids go to learn. They see school as a bore, as a place where they have to be because they are forced. It 's urgent to change that. School and teachers are very important in their lives and they are shaping these youngsters' future. So, school must teach them to be competitive, capable and able to fit in society to succeed.
To my students, I simply say, "Merry Christmas" and have a good time.
See you next year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I miss the time when people wrote each other letters.
Letters... all kinds of letters. Love letters, Christmas greeting cards, friends' letters, parents and relatives' letters...
Letters had this kind of exciting, romantic curiosity, letters meant that thoughts had to be "spoken" clearly in a nice handwriting, they meant time of reflection to discover the right words ...
Today, we've all replaced letters by e-mails, SMS, phone many new ways to communicate, faster, more efficient, however, so "cold". On the other hand, these new communication gadets bring so many hidden dangers, loss of privacy being one of them. We never know who's on the other side of the line, "spying" our secrets.
So, this year, as usual, I'll send some Christmas greeting cards to my friends.
( and some are so beautiful,... specially those painted by the handicapped and children)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Five Manias...

A good friend, Sofia, who has got a blog 8ºE 2006/2007 challenged me to dare say which are five of my manias.
so, here are they:
mania of reading;
mania of being stubborn;
mania of being perfect;
mania of perfumes;
and English mania.
Now here goes the challenge to others in the blog universe:
Now, I must write the regulations ( sorry but they are in Portuguese)
"Cada bloguista participante tem de enunciar cinco manias suas; hábitos muito pessoais que os diferenciem do comum dos mortais. E além de dar ao público conhecimento dessas particularidades, tem de escolher cinco outros bloguistas para entrarem, igualmente, no jogo, não se esquecendo de deixar nos respectivos blogs aviso do "recrutamento". Cada participante deve reproduzir este Regulamento no seu blog."
And against the regulations, I'll invite all my students and friends to write their own manias if they wish to.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday...

Just to say I love you...
Thank you for being always there at all times of my life, for your capacity to love and your strength to work hard.
Happy birthday... dear father.
Enjoy another year in your long life, because it isn't easy to be 94 and have such energy and determination to live!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Because Christmas is more than a decorated tree and the consumist appeal of Santa Claus...

We should never forget the real meaning of Christmas... the celebration of Jesus birth, the religious ideal of celebrating a better world in which we join hands, regardless of our origins or social backgrounds.

Christmas is the celebration of life!..

Friday, December 01, 2006


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome....
AIDS for short.
A very small word that brings about a huge meaning, in what suffering is concerned.
People suffering from the disease are still fighting against the stigma, discrimination in society, in jobs, sometimes within their own families.
AIDS affects millions wordwide...and it will go on taking the lives of countless others.
It is urgent that the scientific community continues the research that will, one day, discover the cure for the disease.
In the meantime, governments and society, in general, must change their attitudes and no longer hide from the public eye the numbers and the faces of AIDS victims.
They need our support and love so that their fate doesn't seem so difficult. They need to be given some dignity and comfort, when death is inevitable.
AIDS was first reported June 5, 1981, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a cluster of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. Originally dubbed GRID, or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, health authorities soon realized that nearly half of the people identified with the syndrome were not homosexual men. In 1982, the CDC introduced the term AIDS to describe the newly recognized syndrome.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS ) is a collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The late stage of the condition leaves individuals prone to opportunistic infections and tumors. Although treatments for AIDS and HIV exist to slow the virus's progression, there is no known cure. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk. This transmission can come in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.
Most researchers believe that HIV originated in sub-Saharan Africa during the twentieth century; it is now a pandemic, with an estimated 38.6 million people now living with the disease worldwide. As of January 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization estimate that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on June 5, 1981, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed an estimated 2.4–3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 were children. A third of these deaths are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, retarding economic growth and destroying human capital.
Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries. HIV/AIDS stigma is more severe than that associated with other life-threatening conditions and extends beyond the disease itself to providers and even volunteers involved with the care of people living with HIV.
The symptoms of AIDS are primarily the result of conditions that do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems.
Most of these conditions are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that are normally controlled by the elements of the immune system that HIV damages. Opportunistic infections are common in people with AIDS. HIV affects nearly every organ system. People with AIDS also have an increased risk of developing various cancers such as Kaposi's sarcoma, cervical cancer and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas.
Additionally, people with AIDS often have systemic symptoms of infection like
fevers, sweats (particularly at night), swollen glands, chills, weakness, and weight loss. After the diagnosis of AIDS is made, the current average survival time with antiretroviral therapy is estimated to be more than 5 years, but because new treatments continue to be developed and because HIV continues to evolve resistance to treatments, estimates of survival time are likely to continue to change. Without antiretroviral therapy, death normally occurs within a year. Most patients die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system.
The specific opportunistic infections that AIDS patients develop depend in part on the prevalence of these infections in the geographic area in which the patient lives.
The majority of HIV infections are acquired through unprotected sexual relations between partners, one of whom has HIV. Sexual transmission occurs with the contact between sexual secretions of one partner with the rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes of another. Unprotected receptive sexual acts are riskier than unprotected insertive sexual acts, with the risk for transmitting HIV from an infected partner to an uninfected partner through unprotected insertive anal intercourse greater than the risk for transmission through vaginal intercourse or oral sex. Oral sex is not without its risks as HIV is transmissible through both insertive and receptive oral sex. The risk of HIV transmission from exposure to saliva is considerably smaller than the risk from exposure to semen; contrary to popular belief, one would have to swallow gallons of saliva from a carrier to run a significant risk of becoming infected.