The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My Photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Monday, July 6, 2015

Flutter by, butterfly...

Early July in the midst of a good rainy season?.... it doesn't get any better.  The garden is just vibrating with life and everything is growing so well.  I have planted lots of new things that are very happy to be in a new home.  And the birds, bees and butterflies are all having conventions here.  They are attracted by these.
This one mariposa dominated the scene for a while as it flitted from flower to flow and posed for me.
"I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille."
Couldn't quite get the shot with the wings fully open. 
"Sorry, places to go, people to meet......"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How I spent the 4th....

Well, it isn't news that I am an absolutely horrible person... and when in Mexico, I do as the Mexicanos do.... and we do thank Mr. Trump for creating all those jobs for us making piñatas in his image.  So when someone showed up with a Trump piñata filled with.... uh... goodies,
I was not the first to take a swing,
but I surely was the last.

More hard work all by hand

More of the incredible work ethic demonstrated daily by folks here.  These men have been repaving this street for a few months.  Well, they are doing the sidewalks and the adjoining little park, too, so it is a sizable undertaking.  I watched them chip out the old stone with chisels and hammers and now they are laying the new paving stones.
 What a job!
This is the Alcala, the pedestrian walkway, normally the street that the guelaguetza's desfiles or parades follow.  It will be interesting to see if they can finish in time.
 The sidewalk pavers waiting to be placed.
They just finished Garcia Vigil, one street over.  This is what the completed project looks like.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July - One of the best months of the year

It is going to be a busy and exciting month as there is something fun happening almost every day.  There is the mushroom festival in Cuajimaloyas, the cheese festival in Reyes Etla, the feria de moles in the city, the guelaguetzas and all its accompanying festivities and the local ones in Etla and Reyes Etla.... and more. 

And it all starts on Monday as they begin the cycle of the danza de la pluma with the celebration of la Preciosa Sangre De Nuetra Señor Jesucristo.  There will be convites or processions starting on Monday and then the dancers take over for most of the rest of the week.   This group is starting its final year of a three year commitment and it has been great to watch them evolve and develop.  They have four more performances and the last one in December will be a culmination of a remarkable achievement and, I am sure, quite emotional for all involved. 
And I look forward to seeing two of my favorites, Ailani Ruiz Ruiz and Juana Lizabeth Contreras Vincente.  Or Doña Marina...
and Malinche, respectively.
They were six years old when they started so I can't wait to see how much they have grown. 
I did this with the last group of dancers and it was a real marvel to behold the changes.
So much to look forward to.....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Made by hand

The work ethic that people demonstrate here is always almost mind-blowing.  Much of it is grunt work, hard labor.  People do the work, not many have machines to help.  And they just keep going and going and going.  I watch guys carry cement or wet sand in five gallon buckets up hand made ladders all day and joke around while doing it.  Or women carrying heavy loads balanced on their heads while gracefully gliding down the street.  Or grinding corn with a matate?  Hard work!

I noticed these workers just a couple of days ago.  I think it may be the dome on Carmen Alta, but I'm not sure.  I will have to go back and double check.
Prep work, but for what?  Maybe repainting....
 "Throw me up that No. 6 wrench, will ya?"
 But just a day or two later....
 They are replacing all the ladrillos or bricks.
All by hand.... and you can be damn sure that every single one of those bricks was carried up by hand.... and the cement... and the water.....all up those hand-made ladders on the left.
I imagine they will put a skim coat over the bricks, but that remains to be seen.   To be continued....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Photo shoot

While walking by Santo Domingo, I noticed this photo shoot and stopped to watch for a while.  Sights like this are pretty common and one can see the most wonderful things out on the streets.  I always love the weddings, quinceaneras, calendas and use them to practice getting shots. 
 So I took advantage of what was right before me.
I actually managed to get some decent shots even though I was quite a distance away from the action.
 Time for change of outfit and makeup.
 Now that is a tiara.
 You can see how tall she is.  I was not the only one watching.
It turned out to be a study in black and white.  First in black
Then in white.
 A final shot. This is how to strut one's stuff.
The model was so tall, well over six feet.  I was surprised when I showed her a couple shots that I had to look up into her eyes.  It must have been the heels.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


From Noticias..... (translated)
Grupo Televisa announced today that it will not participate in any project of communication related to American businessman, Donald Trump.

In a statement, the company Televisa said that it received with incredulity the statements of Donald Trump, who offended the migrant population Latin American and particularly to Mexicans.

Days after his unfortunate statement, Mr Trump, far from reconsidering, continued to attack migrants and any media that has criticized him, he said.

In those statements, Grupo Televisa strongly rejected all forms of discrimination, racism or xenophobia.

"Grupo Televisa has trade relations with many countries around the world." Dealing with people in all these countries is based on mutual respect, Mr Trump has not shown understanding nor respect for Mexican migrants and has offended the entire Mexican population ", adds the document.

Grupo Televisa reiterated that any form of business relationship with the Miss Universe pageant and the companies that make up the Trump Organization is unacceptable.
 I think the Trump piñata will be a big seller.

Monday, June 29, 2015

More colibri

This hummingbird is a daily visitor and it flies from flower to flower just doings its job.  It often just sits and poses and actually lets me get relatively close.
Pollen on the beak.
 In among the lavender.
A quiet moment.
But they move with such speed I miss more shots than I get.
I love the transparency of the the wings due to how fast they are moving.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Perfect - Unfinished Justice

It's a current thing here to print meaningful words on walls or police cars or taxis, lots of places.  Words like "Paciencia, amistad, honestidad" (patience, friendship, honesty) are common.  I think I am like most people and almost don't even see them, but it is kinda Orwellian when you think about it.  

At any rate, this one, on the road back from Tlacolula just before San Sebastian Tutla, is a perfect statement on justice here.....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden update

We have had a few sunny days and no rain.  Well, no rain in San Pablo, but there were absolutely torrential rains in the city and just a few kilometers away.  Anyway, the garden is really poppin'.  It is hard to believe that there was virtually nothing there less than two years ago. 
And this might be the height of the season, the best it has ever looked. 
The zinnias will fade and I will get a second crop in, but the first is always the best.
The paths now are grass covered and actually look quite nice.  I always plant fragrant plants along them so that when I walk by I have to brush against them and release their fragrances.  Here is a nice large lemon verbena, which they call citron here, and an equally fragrant scented geranium.
And there is so much life all around me as I work out there, birds, bees, mariposas and even an occasional goat or two.
Lots and lots of butterflies
 They refuse to work with me and keep flitting around.
However, this beautiful hummingbird or colibri did sit for a portrait.
 I love the detail of the plated feathers on its breast..... such a rainbow of colors.