Crafty Giving and a New Year!


I got a chance to make some cute ornaments for friends this Christmas that I wanted to show off!

It was fun to make the time to make something for other people, I actually think its very therapeutic and its nice to use things you already have to make something new!

I saw some felt christmas tree ornaments at target and I thought, those would be cute to add things to, like a Scottie of course!

So I set out to draw a Scottie I could trace onto felt which took awhile but I did it!

Here is the final product, ok, it doesn’t look as cute in the picture!

I also made a heart one, for those who don’t celebrate Christmas, these would be a good Valentine too, and the felt is sparkly!

I even made this one for my boss that has labs, she loved it!

So that was fun!

Now that Christmas is over, I’m sad to have to put away all the decorations and take down the tree.

I like to clean house before the new year. It’s something that’s always made sense to me, and when I was little growing up in Puerto Rico people would clean and mop their houses then throw the dirty water out ceremoniously to get rid of the old energy in the house for the new year.

So today and tomorrow, I will clean. Tomorrow night, we will celebrate a new year!

My hope for the new year is that I get a job after I graduate! It would sound cliché to say I want peace on earth but I DO, for all beings!

Happy New Year!

is it Spring break yet?

So I havent posted a blog in a while because with finals at school, the holidays and work, I just couldn’t think about writing anything.

This past weekend I found myself looking through a slide show of our trip to Wisconsin this Summer. I followed a week in Wisconsin with a week in Cape Cod Massachusetts for my birthday. It was a great way to end the Summer!

It made me nostalgic for those lazy Summer vacation days……

I took some great shots of the sunset from the dock of the house we stayed at.

Remembering it takes me to that peaceful place standing on the dock of Squirrel Lake, just taking in the beauty of nature. It was amazing and breath-taking!

I always say, that’s where I find god, in nature’s beauty, in animals and in children (well, some of them, haha).

I’m already planning my next vacation like its my full-time job!

Flying into Wisconsin

The lake during the day was beautiful!

We saw loons swimming on the lake near us!

but as soon as the sun started going down, the whole sky would change colors over the lake, it was majestic to just sit and watch!

So now I’m feeling even more nostalgic……Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Happy Holidays!

’tis the season to be green!

I’m not really a morning person.

I really enjoy being able to sleep in and have a late breakfast.

The other morning I surprised myself by being up earlier than usual.

I made myself some coffee, Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal and bananas in my Scottie dishware. It was so nice to sit by myself and enjoy a quiet breakfast. These moments are rare!

As I was sitting at my counter, I was looking at all the gifts I had to wrap(most of them for my nieces and nephews) and decided I could squeeze it in before work.

I started rummaging through my stuff to see if I had wrapping paper, and I did, an old roll from last year.

I knew I had accumulated some curly ribbon from baby showers and other events.

I didn’t have any gift tags to mark the presents so I found some old scrap paper, a hole puncher and decided to make my own!

I happened to have star shape but any shape will do! I had scissors and sharpies for labeling too.

So I traced a bunch of stars, cut them out, hole punched them, put some curly ribbon through the hole punch and taped it to the presents.

I try to use the 3 Rs: Reduce,Reuse and Recycle, whenever possible. I”m not crafty by any means, but I try to be GREEN and reduce my own carbon foot print as much as I can.

This was fast and fun, and I didn’t have to buy anything, I used what I had!

And the Christmas tree looks great with the presents under the tree

I still need to get a tree topper, and was thinking of making my own, but we’ll see if I get the time!

I hope this encourages you to get creative and have some fun!

And because I will try to sneak in a pic of Elizabeth whenever I can, here’s my little Scottie girl under the Christmas tree!

Oh Christmas tree…

We went to get a tree on Sunday morning. The weather was nice and I had the morning off.

We all went to pick it out. Elizabeth was very excited and stopped to smile long enough for me to get a good picture.

Snoopy was all over the place, as usual.

We got it up and then it sat undecorated for a couple of days because I had tons of work to do for school.

Tonight we put some christmas music on, I poured myself a glass of sangria and we decorated the tree finally!

I tried to get Lizzie into the festivities but she slept through it.

The lights went on first. It’s so nice with just lights. I took tons of pictures with my hipstamatic app on my iPhone, it takes funky pictures and I love it.

Here it is with all the ornaments on! I don’t remember enjoying christmas trees as much when I was a child. But we’ve always had a real christmas tree as long as we’ve lived here and now its tradition.

It was so nice to relax, decorate, take pictures and have fun after a tough week!

So all in all it was a good night, hope that wherever you are, yours was too, Happy Holidays!

World Aids Day

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Today is World Aids Day.

I probably wouldn’t have known that if I weren’t enrolled in a class on Aids Policy at Fordham.

Before taking this course, this is what I knew about Aids: It’s a sexually transmitted disease and Magic Johnson has it and he seems fine.

That is about it.

I was an infant during the 80’s epidemic. Recently I watched two films for my course about the history of Aids,  “Longtime Companion” and “And the Band Played On” give you the background and the history but also show the stigma, discrimination and the poor response our government, the Center for Disease Control and “The Blood Industry” had when Aids first surfaced in the U.S.

This course and my wonderful professor have sparked an urgency in me about the state of Aids in our country and around the world!

New statistics were just released  about Aids in the U.S. If you think this issue does not affect you, here’s just a quick look at what the stats say.

  •  While the number of new HIV infections (incidence) is down from its peak in the 1980s, estimates indicate that there have been approximately 50,000 new HIV infections annually in recent years.
  • Number of new HIV infections, 2009: 48,100
  • Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.1 million
  • Number of AIDS deaths since beginning of epidemic: 617,025, including more than 16,000 in 2008
  • Percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it: 20%
  • Teens and young adults under the age of 30 continue to be at risk, with those between the ages of 13 and 29 accounting for 39% of new HIV infections in 2009, the largest share of any age group. Most young people are infected sexually.
  • Among young people, minorities have been particularly affected. Black teens represented 68% of AIDS diagnoses among 13–19 year-olds in 2009; Latino teens represented 21%.
  • Today, women represent a larger share of new HIV infections compared to earlier in the epidemic. HIV incidence among women increased gradually until the late 1980s, declined during the early 1990s, and has remained relatively stable since, at approximately a quarter of new infections (23% in 2009) Based on the CDC’s most recent estimates, more than 290,000 women are living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Racial and ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, and represent the majority of new AIDS diagnoses, new HIV infections, people living with HIV/AIDS, and AIDS deaths.
Those numbers are for the U.S. alone. Here is a look at Global Aids statistics
  • There are approximately 34 million people currently living with HIV and nearly 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes since the beginning of the epidemic.
  • While cases have been reported in all regions of the world, almost all those living with HIV (97%) reside in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Most people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure.
  • HIV primarily affects those in their most productive years; about half of new infections are among those under age 25.
  • HIV not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.
  • Most new infections are transmitted heterosexuality, although risk factors vary. In some countries, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers are at significant risk.
  • Women represent about half of all people living with HIV worldwide, and more than half (59%) in sub-Saharan Africa. Gender inequalities, differential access to services, and sexual violence increase women’s vulnerability to HIV, and women, especially younger women, are biologically more susceptible to HIV.
  •  Young people, ages 15–24, account for 42% of new HIV infections (among those 15 and over). In some areas, young women are more are more heavily impacted than young men. For instance, in Southern Africa, young women are up to 5 times more likely to become infected with HIV than their male counterparts.
  • Globally, there were 3.4 million children living with HIV in 2010, 390,000 new infections among children, and 250,000 AIDS deaths. In 2009, there were approximately 16.6 million AIDS orphans (children who have lost one or both parents to HIV), most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa (89%).
  • This and more information about Global Aids can be found here  http://www.kff.org/hivaids/3030.cfm  and Globalhealthfacts.org
Prevention and Treatment
  • Effective prevention strategies include behavior change programs, condoms, HIV testing, blood supply safety, harm reduction efforts for injecting drug users, and male circumcision. Additionally, recent research has shown that providing HIV treatment to people with HIV significantly reduces the risk of transmission to their negative partners and the use of antiretroviral-based microbicide gel has been found to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women.
  • Experts recommend that prevention be based on “knowing your epidemic,” that is, tailoring prevention to the local context and epidemiology, and using a combination of prevention strategies, bringing programs to scale, and sustaining efforts over time.
  • Access to prevention, however, remains limited.
  • HIV treatment includes the use of combination Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) to attack the virus itself, and medications to prevent and treat the many opportunistic infections that can occur when the immune system is compromised by HIV.
  • Combination ART, first introduced in 1996, has led to dramatic reductions in morbidity and mortality, and access has increased in recent years, rising from less than half a million people on treatment in 2001 to 6.6 million people in 2010, an increase of 1.35 million people since 2009.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people receiving ART increased significantly by 20% between 2009 and 2010.
  • The share of pregnant women receiving ART for the prevention of mother- to-child transmission of HIV increased from 15% in 2005 to 48% in 2010. Access to ART among children has also risen significantly, although they have less access than adults.
  • Despite these successes, only 47% of the 14.2 million people who were eligible for treatment were receiving it by the end of 2010.

So I ask everyone to do your part, know your HIV status, know the facts, support funding for HIV, if you have children/teens, talk to them about sex education and HIV Prevention.

Young people are the most at risk, lets focus on PREVENTION! This is a preventable disease, why are so many of our young people still being infected?!

And I leave you with a short 4 minute video titled “Aids at 30” 

Please copy the link and paste on your browser to view!

http://www.kff.org/hivaids/062111vid.cfm