My New Year’s Wish For You…

A year of ups and downs, laughter and tears, joy and sadness. I celebrate that I’m alive to experience it all. Happy New Year to all of you. Here is my wish to you. Love, Carlita.

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Adventures in Long Beach, Washington

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Celebrating Grandpa Olsen’s 91 birthday, honoring my mother’s passing, and enjoying time somewhere far away. We visited Ilwaco, WA and Cape Disappointment – A Lewis and Clark Historical State Park and bicycled through the woods and along the Pacific Ocean. Life is good.

On Being Able To Say “Farewell, Seattle”

Dear Seattle,

I never thought this day would come. After five years of fun, risky, wonderful, and life changing adventures, the time has come to bid you farewell. It seems like only yesterday I was telling my friends and family in Texas that I was finally going to take the leap of faith and move here to explore new possibilities.

I fell in love with you upon my first visit back in 1999. The stunning views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains were the most magnificent things I’d ever seen. The ice blue color and crashing waves of the Pacific ocean sent chills down my spine. The smell of evergreens, the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, the ferries, the bookshops, all these things and more left me yearning to be here. So in August of 2007, after 6 months of prayers, planning, and packing I made my new home here in the Emerald City.

Truthfully, other than the job I had lined up, I really didn’t know what else I’d be doing here. Of course, I was met with much resistance from friends and family who thought it preposterous to move 2,000+ miles away and alone. On the other hand, there were those who supported my decision knowing that I was too creative to be stuck in my one teaching job and too adventurous to be stuck living in the South.

I was destined for bigger and better things.

I know I’m only moving down to neighboring Portland, but you’ve played a very important role in my life journey. I take with me some very valuable lessons — lessons I’ll never forget.

I’ve learned how easily we trick ourselves into believing there’s only one “right” way to live life when in fact, it’s only that way within the context of the bubble we live in. Pop that bubble and you quickly realize your way of thinking is a minuscule ideal in the brain of the planet.

I’ve learned to cope with life without my mom after her unexpected death less than a year after moving here. I’ve learned to let go of my guilt, grievances, and deal with the expectations of my Latino community back home.

Among many challenges including, surviving a concussion from a rafting accident and a broken ankle from a solo hike in the woods, I’ve learned that I’m stronger and more resilient than I’ve led myself to believe.

I’ve learned about social justice issues, the state of arts education, and racism in the northwest. I’ve learned that an ultra progressive person can be just as annoying as an ultra conservative one. Just sayin’.

I’ve been introduced to the importance of recycling, new music, new people, walking up hills, bicycling up hills, lots of rain, and of course the coffee culture.

In just five years, I’ve worked as an emcee, a radio dj, a music programmer, a host at a reputable jazz club, a writer, a teacher, a social media consultant, a vocal coach, and even served as an artist-in-service for an initiative set by Congress.

Whew! I’ve been busy.

I’m sure there are some people reading this letter thinking “it’s not like she wouldn’t have these experiences elsewhere” or “there’s nothing unique about her life experiences.” Well, they’re correct, I’m sure I’ll experience many things similar and different somewhere beyond here, but my life experiences need not matter to anyone else other than me. My time here in Seattle is significant because of where I came from, where I am, and where I’m going in my life journey.The fact is, I’ve undergone a major paradigm shift and as a result, I have a better understanding of the greater purpose in being here.

Seattle, my fair city, you’ve served as the place where I would experience growth and transformation. You’ve given me quiet places to pray, breathe, and meditate my life journey. You provided miraculous sunsets over the coast that left me entranced and pondering adventures beyond the horizon. I’ve reinvented myself surrendering to new possibilities and creating endless opportunities. My survival skills have been tested to the core. I’ve learned what true christianity is all about. I’ve learned to work harder, love stronger, and enjoy each day as if it were the last. Most importantly, you’ve introduced me to the man I love and the reason I’m relocating to Portland.

My life is enriched simply because I took the risk — and for that I’m grateful.

Thank you, dearest Seattle. You hold a special place in my heart. I will visit and return to those quiet places that carried me through many life circumstances, but for now I must I bid you a adieu.

Until next time.

Introducing Melody Walker

As I listen to Gold Rush Goddess, a new album from my newest social media client, Melody Walker, I can tell you the inspiration to this post flows as easily and smoothly as her voice.

I met Melody a couple of years ago at the Northwest Folklife Festival here in Seattle. She was touring with the all female vocal group, AkaBella. A feminine powerhouse in their own right, it’s great watching Melody continue to expand her musical prowess as a solo artist.

Hailing from northern California, Melody’s globally-infused vocal stylings coupled with Jacob Groopman’s bluegrass roots from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia — create a superb amalgamation of musical energy.

Melody’s soft, but firm alto voice takes you on a transcendent journey into an ethereal existence. The track “Martinez” is a perfect example of her exquisite songwriting abilities and Jacob’s wistful, jazzy-inspired guitar playing. In addition, you’ll be blown away by her folk rendition of Blondie’s song, “Dreaming.”

I’m extremely happy to serve as Melody’s social media consultant expanding her twitter following and getting her more well deserved recognition throughout social media platforms. If you’re into Alison Krauss, Ani DiFranco, and Woody Guthrie, then I encourage you to check out this album and follow Melody on her musical adventures–indeed you will be dreaming too.

For more information please visit: melodywalkermusic.com

Photo by Robert Perry