Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old and new friends, I´ll be taking a short break from posting. I´ll be traveling to the "initial shores of my life", more precisely, the circled place in the map. Have very happy holidays, you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Wives

A poem inspired in the Bluebeard story, published at the Wooden Box: The Wives

You, Cat, Who Play on the Street

My English version (that means all the faults are mine) of Fernando Pessoa´s poem "Gato que brincas na rua"

Cat who play on the street
As if you were in bed,
I envy your fate
Because I can´t even call it that.

Good servant of fatal laws
That rule over rocks and people,
You have general instincts
And your only feelings are what you feel.

You are happy because you´re like that,
All the nothing you are is yours
I see myself but I´m not in my own body,
I know myself but I´m not who I am.

(Gato que brincas na rua,Como se fosse na cama,Invejo a sorte que é tua,Porque nem sorte se chama. /Bom servo das leis fatais,Que regem pedras e gentes,Que tens instintos gerais,E sentes só o que sentes./És feliz porque és assim,Todo o nada que és é teu.Eu vejo-me e estou sem mim,Conheço-me e não sou eu.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Trees and People II

 A selection of photos of trees.

I took this photo to illustrate what I meant in a comment in Keiko´s blog the other day. The sidewalk goes around the tree.

This will be a Willow 

This is "possessed"

This one is watching over a wheat field

And this is one of my old friends .

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I´ll Tell You Something

I think you´ll understand. My boy is growing. And he doesn´t want to hold my hand. [I´m proud of him!]

My son and his colleagues are performing a parody of The Beatles for their English class. They are very excited about that and insisted on taking that photo. I  was their photographer. Their song is called I Want to Hold Your Head, as you can see for the photo bellow:

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Girl in the Tower

A flap of wings.
An open window.
A beautiful creature inside, waiting for the black bird, ready to go.

They have been flying together for a long time now.
Appreciating each other´s company and talking about things of their different worlds.
The witch is always cursing the princes who climb the girl´s prison. She never sees the only one who flies in.

One day he alighted on her windowsill and she invited him inside.
And that´s how the Raven-Prince met The Lady of the Tower.

Funny the way things are.
People only see what they want to.

A young woman locked in a tower.
A witch who thinks she owns the girl.
She breaks the girl´s heart, she even cuts her braids.

But she´ll never, ever, suspect Rapunzel has a hidden pair of wings.

[also published at Wooden Box  ]

Friday, November 5, 2010

On Trees and People

This is a story I created at Storybird . It´s for children, but adults can enjoy, too: The Secret Life of Trees.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The second of a series of poems based on fairy tales, at the Wooden Box: JACK

Friday, October 15, 2010

A beautiful project : Bottlenose Dolphins of the Patos Lagoon, in Southern Brazil When I see this I keep thinking of my "road not taken" many years ago, when I considered being a biologist. Oh well, too late now.

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Our Children

October 12th is Children´s Day in Brazil. Although I don´t like those kind of celebrations (women´s day, children´s day etc) per se, I think they might be useful to make us think about and discuss ways of improving as a society. In this case, I would like that all children in Brazil had the right to be children, and therefore had responsible adults to care for them and to help them become independent when time comes. For that, parents will have to act as parents and teachers will have to act as teachers.

Children need a lot of appreciation, but they also need limits, so that they develop empathy. A big problem we face today as a society is that parents and teachers are confused about their role so, children suffer. Anxious, depressed, and sad kids are being misdiagnosed for mental disorders and treated for things they don´t have, when what they really needed was attention and care. On the other hand, children who need medical treatment are being neglected and taken as "incorrectable little monsters".

A child is a joy. A sometimes exhausting, irritating, time-consuming joy, but nonetheless a joy.  Watching them grow ( be them our own or a friend´s or a  family member´s ) is the most wonderful moment in the experience of being human. They take us back to our inner child and make us see life in a whole different way, because priorities change. The trust they put on us should never be broken.

Adults don´t have and shouldn´t have all the answers and children know that. What kids really want and we can certainly give them is all our love. Without "ifs" and "maybes". Unconditionally.

Despite a great loss I experienced in childhood, I remember it as a happy one. Thanks to the adults who were there for me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"Cigano" is the word for gypsy in Portuguese.

When my first child was born, 11 years ago, on the same day, a gypsy child was born, too. My boy was big, 3.6 kg, 51 cm. The gypsy baby was a premature weighing 1 kg, the nurses told me. Nobody knew whether he would survive, and the whole family was obviously very nervous.

The next day I was in hospital, my boy was crying too much, and I was by myself at that moment. So, in spite of having undergone a c-section the day before, I decided to take the baby for a walk in the corridor. Next to my room was the gypsy family´s room.

When I passed by, with my little boy in my arms, for some reason they all came to the door. Now, everybody is suspicious of gypsyes, it seems. There is a whole folklore around them. I decided that was stupid and I was going to talk to them.

I stoped and asked how the baby was doing. There was an old woman in the back of the group and she smiled to me and said they were all praying. I told her I don´t pray, but I would certainly, with a mother´s heart, wish for the baby to make it and be healthy. She thanked me and looked at my son and wished him the best. We did some small talk and when I was going back to my room (the nurses were staring already) she held my arm and said some good fortune things like you´ll be very happy etc. Then she said thank you for talking to us, and I knew she really meant it, although I thought she had nothing to thank me for. We were two human beings, being what we´re supposed to be: human.

I don´t know whether the baby survived, and I haven´t seen that gypsy family after that, but I keep asking myself what stupid, horrible society is that we have built, that makes a human being feel so despised and isolated as to thank another for talking to her.

I´m still sad to learn that, of all countries in the world, the land of  "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", in the person of its president, has expelled human beings from the French territory for the single fact of them being gypsies.

Sad. Not surprised.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Feline Update

This is the (then) tiny thing I brought home some months ago, weighing 700 gr, infested with fleas and sneezing. He´s survived an infection and is a healthy cat now. Our Perseus.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My grandfather, Edmundo Carvalho Cardoso with his parents and siblings.

Here he is with my mother, his older child.

With some of his grandchildren. I´m the baby in my middle brother´s arms.

A birthday celebration. You can see me there with my arms on his shoulder.

Those Things - Part II

Some years later, around eleven years old, taking advantage of my brother´s absence and, as usual, breaking into his room to snoop around, I came across an edition of Sherlock Holmes stories and started reading them one after the other. My brother lent me then his Agatha Christie collection, but my passion for Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple would come much later, in my adolescence, when, curiously, Holmes didn´t seem that perfect, after all. Another great lesson: readers are constantly mutating beings.
Talking about passions makes me recall my forbidden ones. Like the one that started the day my father got home with an edition of Papillon by Henri Charrière. I was twelve years old. For about two days the only possible way to talk to him was during meals. He was completely absorbed by that book, and I was completely fascinated by the image of my dad reading a book whose cover reminded me of a butterfly. He was absolutely unplugged from the outside world.
During another routine incursion into one of my brothers´ bedroom, I was able to locate and capture the book and, of course, read it after everyone had gone to bed. The realism and cruelty of the story really shook me up. That other one in the pages of the book showed me suffering and isolation in a way I had never seen before. I had never even thought about it. Raw, cruel, miserable reality. No glamour, no sophistication, no mystery. I´m not sure whether I should have read that book, but again, meeting certain books are like meeting certain people: there´s not a right place or time, they just happen. And then we wonder whether we would have grown to be who we are if they hadn´t.
When comparing books and people, I can´t help but think of one of the greatest times I had in my life from reading a book. That was when I shared The Mists of Avalon with my grandfather.
Edmundo Carvalho Cardoso, a retired civil servant, was one of the most interesting people I´ve ever met. Conversations and discussions with him were always very exciting.
One day, grandpa told me he was reading The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and that he was very impressed by the way the author approached the Arthurian legends. As the Portuguese translation was a series of four books, he said he was going to lend me them as he finished reading each book, so we could discuss them. Among all the people surrounding my grandfather, he had chosen me to be his reading partner. I was in Heaven! As our reading advanced, we shared our impressions about the story. Grandfather told me about the Arthurian legends he had heard since childhood, and about his great interest in the stories of the British Isles. Some time ago, a distant cousin told me my grandfather´s name, Edmundo, had been chosen by our great grandfather after the character Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. That was when I, in my late thirties, read for the first time what is today considered juvenile fiction. I was certainly searching for a part of my beloved grandfather in those pages. Unexpectedly, I also found Papillon in Dantes.
Time and duty occupy a minor position in this huge web of meaning that reading represents to me. It does not really matter if I should read or should have read a certain book or author that the academic world considers of extreme importance. The essential factor of being a reader to me is how much of myself I´ll find or discover in what I read. The more I feel connected with my surroundings, the greater will be this universe I carry within myself. It´s a two-way road. And because of that, I´ll be able to promote returns, rescues, transformations, and reconciliations in my life.
In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Strange manages to get into a mirror and in it he finds countless ways connected by bridges, all of them leading to the magical world, where time and space are relative. My bridges don´t have a certain time or a place to be built. In fact some of them are halfway done already, I just have to finish them. The important is to be sure that they are and will always be crossed by my desires, dreams, anxieties, questions, aspirations and memories. You know, those things.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Those Things - Part I

This is an article I wrote for a book about "life stories and books", a friend ( and I edited some time ago. This is actually the translation I made and it was posted at Redroom before. Since I´m among friends, I´ll post it here, too:

Those things

“You´re past the age of suffering
for those things.”

Oh, so there´s a right age to suffer or not to suffer any longer for those, those things?

Things should only happen to make us suffer at the right age of suffering?

Or we shouldn´t suffer for things that make us suffer because they came in late, and this is a quiet time ?

And if I´m past the age of suffering, is it because I´m dead, and dead is the age of not feeling things, those things?
Carlos Drummond de Andrade Those Things (my translation)

I learned to read when I was five years old. My earliest memories are being read at and having around me storybooks, comic books, and a record player, where I could listen to recorded stories. I´m the youngest child of three, and the only girl. My parents and my brothers , who were teenagers when I was a little kid, were always trying to find things to keep me entertained in my own company: I was also the only little kid in the neighborhood . Oddly enough, I never felt lonely. My maternal grandfather, Edmundo, was also a regular in our house. He would come in with a pack of candy and a comic book, just for me – with sugar and love.
Despite being given the appropriate reading material for my age, I was often drawn to what wasn´t so obviously available to me, what was in other people´s shelves or drawers: my brothers´, more specifically.
I don´t remember which was the first book I read that I wasn´t supposed to, or it wasn´t expected of me to be interested in, but I do remember the time I found Tarzan. That was my father´s ‘fault’
Mozart Lhullier was born in the Lhullier family´s Summer house in Pelotas, Southern Brazil, in 1925. My grandfather Alfredo was a businessman, and my grandmother Antonia, just like every other well-to-do woman in the beginning of the twentieth century, was a housewife. The fondest memories my father has ever mentioned were feeling the freedom of the countryside and his mother´s cheerfulness. From his childhood, he always felt that the only way to be himself was to be close to what formed his essence: trees, animals and streams. Thousands of stories about adventures in faraway lands as well as in our own backyard were part of my childhood . Thanks to my father, for years I believed there was a wild cat behind a leafy bush in our country home. A black jaguar or onça, as we say in Brazil, would guard our kitchen at night, and an albino gorilla would come to my rescue if I ever needed some help with my conflicts at school. Maybe those were the reasons why, when my mother passed away, and I was 7 years old, I turned to a book I found in my brothers´ bedroom: Tarzan of the Apes. The possibility of affection within a seemingly hostile environment was an idea that attracted me very much. Edgar Rice Burroughs, with his adventure story of an orphaned boy raised by apes, and that boy growing up to be strong and confident, provided me with the consolation I needed at that time…
But of course there was also Pollyanna which my oldest cousin highly recommended to me. I used to observe her reading it and found it the coolest thing when she sighed and sometimes cried because of the story. My top goals then , at that time, became the possibility of meeting a wild cat , and also reading Pollyanna and shedding some tears. I never met a wild cat in our backyard, and I confess that Pollyanna irritated me to the point that I wanted her to die. I didn´t shed a single tear, but somehow I saw a little bit of myself there, and it made me think, despite being so young, that I would have to be in charge of my own life from then on. Maybe there I learned my first big lesson from reading : that other one I meet in the pages of books is also a part of myself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

" Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again." [Joseph Campbell]

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More of London

The world´s cutest detective. :-)



A plesiosaurus? Natural History Museum - very nice place!

"Really, lady, you need more focus!"

 An incredibly beautiful building.

How to make a mummy.- British Museum, another very nice place!

Beautiful jewellery and ornamentation from ancient mesopotamia.

A gold wreath from the hellenistic period.

A Parthenon frieze showing a centaur fighting a human.

Millennium Bridge and St Paul´s

Checking out Brazil´s Festival in the Southbank.

Busy Trafalgar square in late afternoon, seen from the National Gallery.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Of course I won´t bother you with all my 900 photos (that´s the digital age...), so I selected some. The photo above was taken as you can obviously see at Stonehenge. It was chilly and windy, but it was a very special moment for the young guy doing the peace sign. He´s been reading about it for quite a while and visiting the site was one of his highlights of the trip.

A happy traveler!

Bonds grow stronger during trips. :-)

I love lavenders!

From the London Eye.

Those fish give me the creeps. ;-)

The busy Thames.

Notre Dame de Paris

Chagall´s ceiling at the Ópera.

 Where´s Wally?

Maybe Wally is in there ;-)

My favorite: Claude Monet´s house and gardens at Giverny, in Normandy.

Moulin de Fourges