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

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Adios, 2020

Off today in search for these traditional "old guys" who represent the passing year.  They sit in front of the house for a couple of days, only to get set afire at midnight on the 31st.  They will bid a fond(?) farewell to 2020 and everything that happened in it.  I do love the face shield, gloves and mask... and how lucky to have a babe representing the new year. 
I saw several on my walk, always with the perfunctory booze.  I will have to listen for them at midnight, because they are often stuffed with firecrackers. So with a few thousand bangs and booms, Adios, 2020..... at least we made it this far, unlike many others.  We need to be thankful for that.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Sore? No, soar....

Just riding the thermals.  I spent a few moments imagining what it must be like.
They are catching the warm winds rising from the valleys.
And following them up the mountain slopes.  Just coasting, with no need for a single wing flap.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Yes, we have no... radishes?

Ay!  No Noche de Rabanos this year. After 122  incarnations, it made sense to cancel it and all the other holiday festivities.  I know I am like many, I really miss this celebration.  I don't think I've missed one in many years and I so look forward to seeing many of the participants, who are there year after year, and are friends now. 
It turned out 2020 was the Year of the Kraken just the wrong kind... as if there is a right kind of kraken.  Well, maybe this kind. 
Still, we have our memories and will hope that La Noche will be back in 2021.  It is such an important event and normally, tens of thousand of people would be here for it.
We miss her and everything else, but better to be safe and stay healthy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

It could be worse...

Hmm... what's that line from "Young Frankenstein?"  No matter... This is where I live in isolation.  Not bad, huh?  Yes, I am alone, but not really.  Today, I was convinced the Hecate joined me in one of her classic forms, the maven, the mother and the maiden. 
Hmm... maybe I am just making up straw men.

Monday, December 21, 2020

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Piñatas!  Look at that one on the right!  It's a rather subdued winter solstice and pre-Navidad week.  Rabanos is canceled this year and it occurred to me that going to it was one of my only holiday traditions.  However, better safe than sorry and I'll continue to hide out in the country and live this exciting life. 
Riveting, huh?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The bird is the word...

I am lucky to have lots of birds in the area.  They are a constant source of insight and entertainment.  This morning I heard loud sharp squawks coming from the large tree behind the house.  What kind of bird is that?  I watched and listened to the loud sounds for a few minutes and then thought to grab a camera.  It was calling out loud and clear but why?  I tried to get closer by climbing up on the roof. 
That was too much for it, and with one final squawk, the word was "adios."  So what kind is it?

Friday, December 18, 2020

They work hard for the money...

Something to ponder.... "(Mexico) approved on Wednesday an overall increase of 15 percent in Mexico’s minimum daily wage, a move backed by government and labor representatives but opposed by the business sector. With this latest increase, the nationwide minimum daily wage climbs from 123.22 pesos (around $6.10) to 141.70 pesos ($7.08)."
Coke, Pepsi and gasoline cost as much or more than in El Norte.  Hard to imagine coping with $.70 US an hour.  Fresh juices are a much better option and less expensive.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Chain, chain, chain.....

As Aretha says, "Chain of Fools" or it coulda been Etta James' "At Last," but in this case, chains are a beautiful thing.  Finally, a real playground metal net and what a dream it is to shoot now.  Not quite the sound of a swish, but a nice reassuring and recognizable chunk. 
The rims here are a solid 1/2 inch steel hoop with no way to attach a net, but with S clips and some vice grips, that baby is there to stay. 

It's a beautiful thing...


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Holiday decorations?

Festive colors, but with a nasty bite.  While pruning the banana trees, I bumped into one of these beauties and got a nice sting through my shirt.  Well, hello!  Looks like garlands.
They feast on the leaves and soon will turn into the most beautiful blue butterflies.... I think. 
I feel lucky to have them here even if the sting was a bit painful.  Look, but do not touch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Name that tune... sorta

These days, everything I see seems to bring a song to mind.....   Yesterday's post could have been "Blue Skies" and "Stormy Weather."  Today, it's "When I was 70, it was a very good year"... well, not so much for many, but it was a bountiful year for some. 
It was a good rainy season and the final harvest is in.  The work never ends... but, "The sun'll come up Tomorrow...."

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Proof of life....


At least the vistas are exciting,  My life, not so much.  It continues to be.... riveting?  Uh, no.  Kinda the "same ole same ole" day after day.  I don't venture out unless I absolutely have to, which might be once every ten days. Of course, I do have some good walks to take to get me out of the house.  Hey, is that a ray of hope?
Plenty to do around the house and garden, things that would be low on the priority list if it weren't for the 'rona.  Now, everything gets addressed. Am I blue? 
No, but look at that mid-morning sky with the moon.  "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille..."
"And so it goes...."

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The day the music...paused

"You don't miss your water, 'til the well runs dry." One of the many things I love about Oaxaca is the music that seems to be a constant here.  Brass bands are everywhere from the city's streets to the most remote villages.  The house I live in overlooks a vast area.  It is in the foothills of one set of mountains and I can look across a wide valley to the next range, miles off to the west.  Normally, I can hear these bands playing or practicing, as the sound carries remarkably far.   I hear music for danzas, fiestas, weddings and funerals.  Many pieces are recognizable and traditional and then there are the absolutely kick-ass tunes that make you want to jump up and move. I've been back from self-isolating in MA to doing the same here.  There is much work to do, so I spend most of the day outside and I've not heard one note since I've been back.  Of course, I've always believed that anything that goes in your ears is music, I still have the birds, the winds and the sounds of everyday life as a soundtrack, but I sure miss the music.

Friday, October 30, 2020

I did not come for this!!!

Are you kidding me?  I guess not.  A bit different from my usual hoops setup. 

Ay!  I want to go back to Oaxaca!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The deed is done

I braved the "long" lines at the Newton Public Library.  As to those long lines.... they were all of six people.  I was in and out in minutes. This was my primary goal for this trip north.
It sure give food for thought as I watched others in different states wait for up to eight hours to vote. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

That was fast.... test results

I just received the results for my covid test yesterday.  There were negative as I hoped and suspected they would be.  After all, I've been isolated out in the country for close to seven months, only going out for errands and to shoot hoops... alone.  Results in one day... here in little ole' Oaxaca!  Gotta love it.  One thing... They did cost $75 US and that's a cost most oaxaquenos could not afford.  I know there are other places to get tests for the locals. but I needed to get results fast to meet MA's requirements and so had to go this route.  Glad it all worked out..... thus far.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

I took the test....

I'm headed north to vote and to check on things.  In order to get into MA smoothly, I needed to take a covid test. which I did this morning.  I should get the results in time for my flight on Sunday.  Then I'll fill out the required online travel info for MA.  The test went very smoothly and Laboratorios Juárez Oaxaca in Colonia Reforma had all the proper protocals in place.  I was impressed with the whole process.  With all that behind me, I wonder what I'm headed into.  I'm leaving a tranquil life out in the country where I've been alone for seven months and headed into...uh... the most advanced country ever.
"I'm sure there won't be any culture shock." said he foolishly.

Friday, October 9, 2020

S(He) works hard for the money...

In so many ways, this shot epitomizes the way some work gets done here in Oaxaca.  As it has been for thousands of years, it is pure manual labor. We see it all the time in construction sites.  This worker, working with minimal tools, has gotten the job done.... and what a job it was. 
A work ethic off the charts.  And often the work is done for the minimum wage which is $123 MX a day!  And those days can be very long.  Today that works out to $5.82 US...... and Coca Cola cost the same here as in the States.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Caught on Camera - Boat loaded with pot!

 They just couldn't be more blatant..... and on the Pan-American Highway, no less.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hair - Where? - There Hair!

I was touched by all the people who shared my lament about the disappearance of two local figures of note.  The closings of the peluquerias, barbershops, of Don Jesus and Don Pepe, barbers who cut the hair of thousands of oaxaqueños and visitors over many decades really hit home. 
Fortunately, people had suggestions as to where to go to lose seven months of locks.  It was like the reverse Samson effect. A great haircut.  "I feel better than I did twenty years ago."  

Where hair? -There hair!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Hair! - Where?


After close to eight months of isolating, I was psyched to finally get a haircut yesterday.  However, my rare trip into the city left me at a loss.... and I mean a real loss. My usual peluquero, a Oaxacan institution, had been closed for months.  I had checked the last time I was in, but at least there was a phone number to call.  Now, his place is still closed and it has a feeling of finality.  


My other barbero, a backup, was Sir Pepe, who I saw all the time and spoke with regularly.  He ribbed me the last time saying, "It's time, don't you think?"  


I agreed and said I would be back if the other was still closed.  Well, by the time I returned, a few weeks later.... he was gone, too.  I know it may sound strange, but some of my fondest memories of Oaxaca are getting my haircut by a master and listening to classic vocal trios from the early days.  Often, not a word was spoken.  It was sublime.  


And, he made my day when he said he had seen the blog posts about him.  I hope they are both well and enjoying life.  I miss them both.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Into the garden - Butterflies


And just to show where it all began...

It filled in a bit.

Friday, September 11, 2020

But baby, I loves ya!

I guess it is that time of year... but when isn't it the right time for a little procreation?  And I don't know about the birds, but the bees are into it. 
It really has been a great butterfly year and for that matter, a great year for all the gardens.  Plenty of rain and perfect temps, at least where I live. 
I know elsewhere the rains have been destructive.  But for now...
Farfalas, mariposas....