The (Sometimes) Solitary Soloist

For me, most of the time solitude means I have time for quiet moments of reflection. Maybe an opportunity for writing, or reading. But for others, a little quiet time is also the perfect time to make some beautiful sounds.

Musician at work. #guitar #musician #theadaptations

A post shared by Marissa Othon (@salsanista) on

(This also gives me another opportunity to plug my husband’s duo, The Adaptations. Check out their website, follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and come out to see them this week at The Kenmore Inn in beautiful and historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.)

My Name or Yours?


About this time seven years ago, my divorce with my first husband became final. It was over a year in the making and was quite often difficult and contentious, as most divorces are I suppose. About half-way through the process, my husband demanded I “give him his name back”. Being a stubborn Taurus woman, as well as a Latina, I refused on the grounds that it was my children’s name and I wanted to share that name with them. So I kept it. But not for long.

Months later I changed my mind. I was in the process of redefining who I was and what was important to me. What I valued and believed in. I was in a new relationship with an old friend. He suggested that going back to my maiden name might help me get back on the path I started to make for myself when I left my home in Panama so many years ago. As is almost always the case, he was right.

Later, when we decided to marry, the question came up again. Keep my name? Take his? There really was never any doubt what I would do. Changing my name to take his would not have made me, or him, feel any more married and bound to each other spiritually or emotionally or even legally. I kept my name this time. So we each have our own name, and no one is quite sure what the right pronunciation is for either of them.

Besides, after going through all the hassle of changing it everywhere (work, emails, bank, DMV, credit cards, insurance, etc., etc.) there was no way I wanted to deal with that again. 🙂




The Resilience of Sammy T’s

A local example of resilience is downtown Fredericksburg’s Sammy T’s restaurant, a local favorite celebrating 30 years in 2016. When it closed unexpectedly in October we found out the building was sold, along with the restaurant on the main level and all of its recipes. Earlier this month we were all happy to see that Sammy’s wasn’t gone forever, just taking a little break and getting a few much-needed renovations in the meantime.

You can read more about it in these stories in our local paper:

Yesterday as I was doing a little window shopping along Caroline Street I passed Sammy T’s and noticed this sign in their window.

A resilient Sammy T's

A resilient Sammy T’s


La Lora and Lucy

When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time deep in the Darien jungle. Well, maybe I didn’t actually venture out into the jungle very much. I spent much of my days in my family’s farm, playing on the balcony with my Fisher Price farmhouse. But a very scary creature was never far away. It was my grandmother’s parrot.

Don’t laugh. She was evil. I’ve heard that my grandmother rescued her from kids pelting her with rocks. Maybe she was a nice, friendly bird at one point. Or maybe those kids scarred her for life and turned her into the cruel imitator that she was.

She didn’t have a name; we just called her “La Lora” which translates to “the parrot.” She would perch herself on the front gate and swoop down on those daring to step inside the yard. She would imitate crying babies and laugh. She would peck at our shoes (because we wouldn’t dare walk around her barefoot).

When she wasn’t busy terrorizing my brother and me she would often fly into town and hang out by the cantina, where, as well as probably picking up some colorful language, she learned drinking songs that she brought back to the house to serenade us with.

A few years ago while visiting Doug’s hometown his dad, who deals in antiques and estate sales, gave us this little beauty. I don’t know if he had heard about La Lora or maybe he thought this was the kind of low-maintenance pet we needed. Either way Lucy has hung out with us ever since, and every time I see her I feel a little bit nostalgic.