Good Friends are Never Forgotten. Happy Birthday Kevin!


If it wasn't because a tragic accident took his life in 2003, today Kevin would be celebrating his birthday. Kevin McCarthy and his wife, Diana GongMcCarthy, were two of the victims in the Santa Monica Farmers' Market car crash on July 16 of 2003. He was 50 and she was 41.

I met Kevin and Diana through his sister (my good friend and wonderful artist) Anamaria McCarthy. We saw each other only a few times, but I always felt as if I had known Kevin and Diana forever. We had instant chemistry from day number one. Very quickly we started building a friendship that was suddenly interrupted by the tragic accident that took their lives. My memories of Kevin and Diana are still so fresh in my mind. They were so special.

They came to my baby shower in 2003 and brought presents that I still treasure with love. Below is the thank you note that I wrote to them. 

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We had lunch two times. The first time we went to a restaurant near our home and the second time they took me to their tiny place in Santa Monica. Kevin and Diana had just made a huge decision. They had decided to move from New York City to LA, permanently, in order to follow their dreams in film making. They had been making their own beautiful black and white movies for a while, but they felt that it was about time to do it full time. I was totally in love with their courage and resolution so I decided to help them on their difficult journey. 

I asked Bill to meet with Kevin in order to talk about Hollywood and give him some directions. Bill was extremely busy at the time but he accepted. How excited I was about the meeting! I left several voice mail messages to Kevin but unfortunately he never had the chance to hear them.

After the accident I went back to their place with my friend Anamaria, Kevin's sister. Everything looked exactly the same as the day when I had lunch with them. Everything was neat and clean and very organized. On the table, there was still the huge puzzle that Diana was working on. I remember Kevin say that Diana was a puzzle fanatic. She was definitely a very organized and smart person. On the wall there were 2 to-do lists. One for Kevin and one for Diana. Each one had a list of specific things that they were going to do during the week. It was as if time had just stopped. Everything was there, in the perfect place, but Kevin and Diana were never going to be able to check their to do list or to finish the huge puzzle.

But here is a quote that brings lots of clarity into my mind today:

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

Norman Cousins. 

When Kevin and Diana were alive, they were very alive. And now that they're gone they're still very alive in my heart. Their deep love for each other, their resolution to pursue their dreams and their courage was a huge inspiration to me and to all the people who knew them. Wherever you guys are right now have a wonderful time and a very Happy Birthday Kevin!. Big hugs to you both! You will never be forgotten. 

Elsita :)


I have a pretty unique discovery to share with you today. It's a jewel of a blog run by someone with a remarkable mind. I can say without any doubt that If I were going to subscribe to a single blog, that would definitely be The Emotional Detective. 

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Dr. Meyer, the mind behind The Emotional Detective, has a real gift for understanding the complex world of emotions. She is in private practice and teaches as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA . Her PhD is in Clinical Psychology from UCLA and her BA is from Oberlin College. Dr. Meyer has previously published original research and professional writing.. What I mean is that she's the real deal :o

I have been following her blog with great care from the beginning. I am even keeping a notebook, as she recommends in one of her posts, in order to track my emotions and investigate where they come from. The things that I'm finding out about myself are quiet fascinating and unexpected.

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Here I am going to share some of Dr. Meyer's words with you:

Most of us are confused about our feelings.   We don’t know which to heed and which to ignore.   We cling to idiosyncratic notions about our emotional life, without even knowing it.  Their staggering impact goes unrecognized.  We feel the confusion and the pain of our emotional stagnation, but fail to recognize its cause.  It’s hard to know exactly what is so stifling.  At times, we are truly baffled.

Neuroscientists have shown that most of human behavior and decision-making is determined by emotional forces that operate outside of our awareness.    These unseen forces have enormous impact on our health and wellbeing.   How we experience and manage our emotions is largely determined by our temperament as it combines with early experiences, especially key relationships.    Examining emotional clues allows us to part the screens of consciousness to have a peek on the other side.

The Emotional Detective offers an easy way to investigate your inner world.  It presents a starting point, a guide and path for self-exploration - along with tips for emotional management.  

The column’s central goal is to explain secrets to emotional health.   

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In a voice more engaging and direct than her scholarly sources, Dr. Meyer shares a new approach to self-discovery based on cutting edge research and theory.  Pulling ideas from philosophers, neuroscientists, sociologists, psychologists, writers and her clinical experience, she helps readers understand and manage their feelings more effectively. What I love the most about her blog is how accessible and easy to understand is. 

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Taking care of our emotional world should be a priority, because we are our emotional world. Reality in my opinion is what we have in our head. That's why the more we get to understand how the mind operates, the better we will be able to deal with its complexities. I invite you to follow The Emotional Detective as a little gift to yourself. I predict that you're going to love it and appreciate it as much as I do :) 

(In order to subscribe to it just enter your e-mail address in the box that you will see on the left sidebar. See how it looks in the picture below. That way you will get a notice anytime Dr. Meyer publishes a new post)

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I have a friend who is a very important person in my life. I always tell her that she made me become a real person because before her I was like a little "wild animal". Debra and I met in 1993 when I was very young living in a "hole" in Camaguey, Cuba. With her help I came out of the hole and started learning things that changed my life in deep ways.

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With Debra's help I traveled to Italy (first time ever going out of Cuba at age 23). Traveling out of island was hard, the whole process was complicated with lots of paper work. I didn't have the money or stamina for going through all the frustrations but she helped me be patient and the trip became a reality. I loved Italy! Being there was a real school, but as the day of my return approached I got nervous. I didn't want to go back to the hole in Camaguey. Then, Debra stopped me from doing a stupidity. I called her to say: "please Debra send me a copy of my birth certificate. I am going to stay over here with my new boyfriend. Some people I know are going to find me a job cleaning houses". Debra stopped me from doing so. She asked me to come back to Havana and offered me to live in her place. I knew that she was always right so I listened. That happened in 1995.

Living with my friend was one of the most important experiences of my life. With her I learned to believe in myself. I never thought that I was going to sell my art but she took my pieces to the USA while I was in Cuba and found ways to sell them with her friend's help. I never thought that I was going to be able to have a solo show of my work, but she made it possible for the first time in Havana. She found my first gallery ever in the USA. She made possible for me to visit the Art Institute of Chicago where I learned so much. She took me to New York City so I could see the city for the first time.  

Debra introduced me to Marguerite (Bill's sister) who eventually introduced me to Bill, who married me a short time after we met and with whom I had my 2 beautiful children. Debra is behind anything good that ever happened to me. More than friends we consider ourselves sisters. We have spent long periods of time without seeing each other because of her work and my busy life, but we have always felt connected, we have always known that we're in each others hearts. 

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She came to visit me last December and it was wonderful. We reconnected and spent quality time catching up with each other's lives. Every time I see Debra is so special, because I put everything in perspective. I remember where I come from and how much I have accomplished because of her. She puts me in touch with my essence. 

Imagine the shock when I found out that she had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks after she left. I was devastated. But knowing how strong she is I saw later on that she had taken the news with such calm. Debra has the quality of being calm and thoughtful whenever there is a problem. I think that problems are afraid of her because she scares them. I have a deep faith that the cancer treatment is going to work great as it happened with my brother Rene. She's doing everything right, plus she has lots of support from relatives and friends. Debra has always been extremely healthy and physically active. I am sure that her body is going to do a great job helping itself recover and her mind is already in the right place.

With this post I wanted to share this treasure of friend that I have with you. I feel so lucky to have Debra in my life. Isn't it amazing how much a good friend can literally change us? She helped me find the right direction whenever I was wrong, she could always see beyond what I saw, she has always been understanding, never judgemental, she's modest and gentle and so smart.

I have said several times that before I had my children, there are 3 main people that have shaped me in deep ways and they are: My Mom, my friend Debra and my husband Bill. I feel really lucky. 

I love you so much hermanita! And I send you tons of positive energy with this post! 

Elsita :)

Disappointments and Hope.

Bill and I have been experiencing different disappointments lately, coming from different sources. But that is part of life and we face them with an open heart. When things don't come out the way we expect, we just keep going and doing our best to keep a positive mind.

But some disappointments, specially the social ones, are too large to keep going in a calm manner. We are facing one of them right now. LAUSD has recently sent a notice to 3 WONDERFUL teachers from Natalie school saying that their services might not be needed anymore. In other words, this country wasted so much money in the wrong things in the last few years, that they don't have enough of it now to pay our teachers a salary (one of the lowest salaries in this society). When we heard this news the first feeling was pain, then anger, then disappointment, then anger again and then more pain. 

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We're talking about WONDERFUL teachers (they really happen to be the real deal, extra-ordinary) who are heroes for their students. Those teachers represent something extremely important in their student's lives. But because of the lack or responsibility from those in power who make wrong decisions, our children's education is in risk. If our three teachers are forced to leave in the end, our children would have to regroup in classes of almost 60 kids!

But there is always hope coming from everyone. That's why children and parents gathered on the streets yesterday in order to protest. But as beautiful and moving as it was, it was also painful seeing what a tiny little voice ours is, compared to the loud and heavy noise that comes from everywhere else in this society. Just step outside and hundreds of billboards will shut at you: BUY THIS, BUY THAT, DO THIS, DO THAT, GET STUFF, WE'RE AMAZING, BE HAPPY, EAT THIS, EAT THAT, EAT LESS, EAT A LOT, LOSE WEIGHT...!!!!!

Not a single billboard says: Take care of the children, they're the future, they're the priority. The quality of a society is based on the quality of the education offered to their citizens...That would be kind of ridicules to promote because it doesn't generate profit. In a profit oriented society like this, social values get totally lost. In the end money becomes the biggest voice. But we just can't shut up. As tiny as our voice is we need to keep using it, otherwise that would be like giving up our rights. Hope must be kept alive no matter what.

The Electric Pencil.


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I recently got one of the latest issues of Raw Vision Magazine and what a wonderful surprise I found in it. The mysterious case of an artist known as The Electric Pencil. He or she (this artist's identity is still a mystery) created an album with 283 drawings that was rescued from a trash heap in 1970.

The artist was a patient at State Lunatic Asylum in Nevada Missouri around 1910. I am totally fascinated with this case and with the beauty of the art. To learn more about it visit the official web-site of The Electric Pencil.



The Sad News

Dear friend,

Just a short note to report that yesterday was a pretty sad day in this city because of the unexpected news. Bill and I attended a Hollywood event at the Academy and both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett were mentioned. We all knew that Farrah was very sick but who could imagine that Michael was going to die at 50 (Bill's age)

Michael Jackson had a difficult life. I always saw him as a little boy who never grew up, for some reason I could never see him as an adult. But he was and he had two children and as weird as anybody could think that he was, Michael was a human being like you and I trying to have a life, the last few years were specially hard for him and I know that he had a few true friends that loved and supported him completely. Imagine how sad they must be right now, as well as the rest of his family. 

I hope that they stay very strong in order to deal with the press over here (which is brutal). 

Lots of love,

Phil Bray :)

I love this picture so much!

Because it was taken by someone very special: Phil the Still :) That's how we call our friend Phil Bray who is an important photographer here in Hollywood and also one the most modest and down to earth individuals in the film business.


HERE you can see some of the photographs that he has taken from different movies. I met Phil in in Vietnam when I traveled over there to spend time with Bill in 2001. And he has been one of our most generous and wonderful friends since then. We treasure some of his photographs in our collection and all of them have been gifts from him.

During my blog brake Phil was working on Death at a Funeral with Bill and one day he came to visit me in my studio. What a treat! He taught me many photoshop tricks and I got to see the proof sheets of his last work. I felt so fortunate to spend those couple of hours with our friend! We talked not only about photography but also about family and life in general.

I think that one of the most rewarding experiences ever is to spend time with special people. That's why I always love to come back to my blog and spend time with you :)

Have a great Friday my friend!

And a wonderful weekend! Bill is coming back tomorrow!!!!


Elsita :)


And you can visit The Hidden Seed Today to see me in the 50's :)


Interview with Sleeping Beauty :)

My Mom and I are having the best time together! :) Yesterday, after Diego and Natalie went to school we spent some little time in the kitchen taking a break. We have been doing errands all over the city for days. 


During our break I had the idea of doing a little interview with her. It was great. Those are the little moments that I want to treasure forever in  y heart, I want to enjoy every second with my Mom while I can.

And here is the translation of the interview for you:

Mami (that's how I call her) I would like to know, in your opinion, what’s the most important thing that you ever did in your life? Well, having my four children and the fact that I helped them understand how important a good education was going to be in their lives.
Now, If you could go back in time what would you change about your life? I would change the fact that my Father didn't let me go to school. I loved school so much, he thought that a girl only needed to read and write and that was it. As soon as I learned that he took me out of school.

If you had to let go of every single object that you own right now but you could keep only one, what would you choose to keep? The dress that Ileana made for my trip from Havana to Florida when I first moved to the USA in 1999. (Ileana is my sister, you already know a little bit about her)

What is the quality that you admire the most in a person? Honesty, because honesty is the door to any real relationship.

What’s the most important lesson that you have learned from having a child with special needs? I learned to feel a deep compassion for anybody that suffers in any way. 

What do you enjoy the most in life? Spending time with my family, cleaning my house and dancing.

What do you absolutely don’t like in a person? Hypocrisy, I think.

 What do you miss the most about your Mother? I miss all the things that we didn’t get to enjoy together; the same things that I enjoy with my children today, like this interview. I was too young when she died, I miss her everyday.

What’s the most important legacy that you would like to pass to your grandchildren?  I would like them to inherit my positivism because with a positive mind everything else is less difficult. I also want them to appreciate everything that life gives to them, it is not a good thing to take things for granted.

What's the most difficult thing about being a parent? In my case, being a single mother and not having the support that I needed to raise my children was one of most difficult parts of being a parent. Seeing them suffer for reasons that I had no control over was also very hard. But the hardest part was being so close to losing one of them.

 What would be your most important advice for any Mother? To have a good communication with her children, to be honest with them and talk often about feelings.

 What advice would you give to a Mother that is getting divorced? Divorce is hard but it is not the end of the world and a new start will always be waiting for you, go for it.

 What is the key of happiness in your opinion? Being yourself.

 What do you think about friendship? It is something important that makes your life more complete.

 What do you think it is the most important thing for people to get along with each other? Good communication and tolerance. Understanding that we are all different and that that's OK.

 Tell me something important that you would like to do before you die? I want to go to the Moon and see what's going on up there. ja ja ja ja ja !!!!!


After this interview we had a session of photography, my Mom decided to be photographed as Sleeping Beauty! We laughed so much!!!! 

Now I send you lots of the good energy that she is giving me in these days!!!

Have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Elsita :)

(My Mom wanted to make sure that I say Happy New Year to you!!!)

My Dear Friend Acela.

The book that you see in the picture bellow is a Christmas gift from my dear friend Acela and the other picture is what Natalie and I made inspired by the book. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH MI AMIGUITA! You made me sooo happy with your present! It is now a treasure in my collection of books about paper craft. But the real treasure here is my friend herself.


I always want to tell you about my wonderful friend Acela. She is my oldest friend, not that she is old, she is as young as I am, but I met her a long time ago when we were teenagers. Acela an I are from the same province in Cuba (Holguin) and we went to the same art school over there. She now lives in Chicago, Illinois. 


Acela is a very special person. I still remember our very first conversation one afternoon in our old school when I was about fifteen years old; we talked about my first serious boyfriend. Talking with her that day felt like the most natural thing ever and from that day on she has stayed in a very special place in my heart. Acela and I have always been connected somehow over the years, even though we are always geographically far away from each other.

When I first moved to the USA I used to talk with her on the phone all the time and her support made a huge difference in how I adapted to my new life. Back then I had doubts about me being able to adapt to a new culture, about learning a new language... but she always made me feel that I was going to be OK no matter what and she turned out to be right. I am now completely happy, I have a unique family and I am still creating my art. 

My days are extremely busy since I became a Mother, there is so much in my head all the time regarding the children and everything else! And the same thing happens with Acela. She has has her own life and one million things to take care of so the days, weeks and months pass by and sometimes we don't get to talk. But we are always connected through that invisible thread that a real friendship is.

Those truly linked don't need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever.


With this post I want to say: I love you Acelita and I wish you all the wonderful things that you deserve this year. Thank you so much for being my friend!!!!

Elsita :)

And before I go I would like to invite you to visit (one of the most inspiring places online for women) to enjoy an interview with wonderful Artist Camilla Engman. I really enjoyed what she wrote about friendship and sisterhood. And I am absolutely in love with her unique work.

The Sister Project

Dear friend, today I would like to introduce you to something very special: THE SISTER PROJECT. This is a wonderful new space on the internet dedicated to sisterhood and and all the meanings behind this word. There is soooo much to discover over there, I think that you would love to explore it a little bit when you have a chance. To me, it is like an open book to a fascinating universe.

I am so honored to be featured there with my work. Some time ago I was contacted by Margaret Roach, (former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) and wonderful  Paige Orlof regarding my work and how they thought that many of my pieces were connected to the idea of sisterhood. When they told me about the project that they were developing I immediately felt inspired to share some stories with them.

We had a great conversation on the phone and I told them everything about my sister Ileana and how she has been such an important person in my life. I also revealed them  something that some people can't understand very well and that's on the last paragraph of my interview that you can read right here.

Tomorrow I will tell you more details about that part of my life that I haven't shared with you yet and it has to do with tough love.

Now I want to wish you great day full of beautiful little things :)

See you tomorrow!

Elsita :)