French kisses

Although the concept is very American, I loved this photograph of a child who instead of selling lemonade, we are accustomed to seeing through the media, is selling kisses.

The kiss is a gesture common among humans and among many animal species and it consists of touching something with the lips; and, the kiss benefits the health of those that give it and those who receive it.

The kiss, because of its connotation has been the inspiration for art in its various manifestations, as we can see in these pictures.

The Kiss (Gustav Klimt)

Alfred Eisenstaedt's V–J Day in Times Square

Pablo Picasso´s The Kiss

Still from "The Kiss" (1896 film)





Robert Doisneau´s The Kiss at the Hôtel de VilleEl beso del Hôtel de Ville. Robert Doisneau.







Auguste Rodin´s "The Kiss"













About 75 years ago my grandmother married my grandfather Alejandro. They came from a region with very primitive customs, so that in his machismo, she was only his wife. My grandmother never knew it, but she was very much ahead of her time, for many years, I saw her as an eccentric. Of course, as such, she could not stand my grandfather´s infidelities; and, two or three years later, ended their marriage, without giving him a chance.

Legal divorce was not necessary because my grandmother´s determination was unique and that was enough  for my grandfather to sleep by her feet for the rest of his days. After many years, up until 1973, following a request that my grandmother made to a Bible college, where she requested that missionaries be sent to take care of several temples she had built, Ramon Nunez arrived, he was the supervisor of the Methodist pastors in the norther region of the country, and she fell in love with him at first sight.

I cannot say anything in relation to her internal conflicts, only that her platonic love led her to write many poems and essays about love, all with figures of speech, trying to hide from the public and perhaps from herself, her feelings; feelings perceived by three girls who shared her roof for several months each year.

After a little more than a decade, both were widowed in their senior years, and got married (a relationship that lasted 24 years until her demise). The girls grew up and came to be their grandmother´s confidants. I can vouch that if she lived in this February, she could have taken these verses by Gabriela Mistral to dedicate to him.

There are kisses that speak for themselves
the guilty judgment of love,
some kisses are given with a look
some kisses are given with a memory.

And I would say, citing Gustavo Adolfo Becquer: Grandmother: “The soul that can speak with the eyes can also kiss with the eyes.”

I love you

The heart symbol is most often associated with love. Throughout history we have depicted it in many ways and with different materials but with the same message: “I LOVE YOU”. Opinions differ about the origin of this association and I prefer to believe that it is simply because when we are close to our loved ones, in various situations, are heartbeat speeds up.

This beautiful message was done for me by my son, Juan José, while playing with cards on my bed.

It is difficult to talk about love as it shows itself in many ways. Anyway, each one of these qualities found in 1st Corinthians 13 should be present, although we have heard them repeatedly, I want to mention them again.

Heart amulets, Dynasty 19–20 (ca. 1295–1070 b.c.) Egyptian, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Love is “suffering”: it tolerates, it endures, it conforms, it adapts.

Ancient Heart for A.B. by Thalo-Porter

Love is “benign”: it is affable, it is kind, it is caring, it is selfless, it is compassionate and humane.

Kenia Brea ring pillow

Love “envieth not”: it is not greedy, nor resentful, nor upsetting, there is no rivalry.

Heart sculpture by Jim Dine

Love “does not boast”: it is not self-sufficient, there is no bravado, it is not insolent, it is not cocky, it is not vain.

"Hanging Heart" sculpture by Jeff Koons

Love “does not behave unseemly”: it does nothing illegal, it is not unfair, it is not incorrect.

Finally, “does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Although the message of this song is opposed to what is stated above, while searching for hearts, I remembered Americo, who in sculpture classes, repeated it incessantly.

Endless love

This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love. Although, traditionally, romanticism has been largely celebrated, it is a good time to talk about love, also to reflect upon our relationship with others and with ourselves. There are authors who claim that in order to love, you must first love yourself.  I agree with them.

Robert Indiana sculpture in Philadelphia

In essence, I am a very romantic woman (although I never envision doing a half-lit dinner, with beautiful chandeliers, soft music, wearing a lace dress and allowing a gentleman to open the door or pull out the chair for me). Like others, I like the drama of unrequited love, but when analyzing love, I cannot forget the writings of my paternal grandmother, María, on the different types of love, extraordinary narrative essays in figurative language. I cannot let the month of February slip by without speaking a bit about her who lived three stories of love: her love for my grandfather, Alejandro; her love for Don Ramon Nunez; and her love for my father, Virgilio, her only son.

I will only outline her motherly love, it is the strongest of feelings, the concepts of mercy and courage are inherent to it. Although my grandmother did not have to make physical efforts to support my father, as the pictures below show, she nevertheless suffered, believed, hoped and endured all kinds of tests in order to love him unconditionally.

La Pietà, by Michelangelo

A mother in Africa

The sacrifices a mother makes for her children surpasses any understanding as we can see every day by looking around us. If I could ever use the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “to give until it hurts”, this is the most appropriate time.

Repeat after yourself

Guerra de la Paz installation

Colors are vital for me, I get energized when I look at nature and I spontaneously worship the Creator.  Although I find exceptional shapes in creation, nothing compares to its colors. Guess what? Colors have to do with light. If everything were to be turned off, and it became dark, colors would so cease to exist: In the tropics, the colors are brighter. Don’t panic, in our lessons we are talking about pigments and what happens when you mix the three primary colors: yellow, red and blue. The result of the mixture produces the range of earthy colors, that we commonly call brown.
If you mix them in equal amounts, you will get a dark brown because blue is a very strong color. If you put more yellow into your mix, you will get a yellowish brown color leaning to ocher. If your mixture is heavy on the red, you will get a reddish brown.

Margarita Mileva rubber-band dress

This time, complete in each of the photos the following sentence and you’ll be an  expert recognizing which of the primary colors it leans toward.

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …


This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Magdalena Abakanowicz sculpture

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Magdalena Abakanowicz sculpture

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Kenia Brea clay modeling

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

My son, Juan José

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Like I said in a previous post, part of my life took place in the Cibao, that is what we call the northern part of the island. There, the land is fertile and it is customary to plant. My grandparents had large cocoa bean plantations, so those who know cocoa and color theory well might assert that the skin covering the individual dried cocoa beans is often a reddish brown, and some times a yellowish brown. When we peel the seed, we find a very dark brown mass that corresponds to the edible part, that is so because that color contains a lots of blue, a little red and a dash of yellow.  Many visual artists use this mix of colors instead of black. I had never, before writing this blog, thought of associating the colors with things that were as personal as my memories; and, this single event makes me think it was worth it. So, in honor of this fruit and my new experience, I leave this delicious recipe that Hershey’s provided for our enjoyment.

Chocolate Sweetheart Cakes for Two

Creating memories


Taking advantage of the last days of the year-end celebrations, I want to share this inexpensive and beautiful idea that we can make at home with the family in a few minutes with moss, cone shaped foam and dry braches, decorate to your liking.

Picture of two girls holding a basket with pine cones.

Here come my models, my daughter Rebeca and my niece Renée, when this picture was taken, they had just turned 2 and were enjoying their first Christmas. I still use the same pine cones with the red bows, but I promised to do new decorations for next year´s Christmas tree. I must confess that I will not get rid of the pine cones.

These delicious cookies where prepared by my dear friend Jackie, her hobby is her passion. You can find great recipes on her blog.