Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Last Thursday Pearl, Rose and I all traveled south to the state of Michoacan and the small town of Angangueo. This time of year, tucked away in the mountains surrounding Angangueo, the Monarch flutterbys who have traveled from Canada, migrate to Mexico for the winter. 

My words and fotos cannot do justice to this magical event.

When we arrived Thursday evening we went for a short hike. Nice to be back in the mountains.
We love trees.
Beautiful moon, mountains and girls.
The morning of our journey to the flutterbys.
Friday morning we rented 3 horses for the 1 hour ride into the forest. The guides gave me the smallest horse of the 3. I think it was for comic relief. I had a smile on my face the whole way down just imagining how funny I looked. I had to hold my feet up so they wouldn't hit the rocks. Oh, and my giant feet in my Chaco sandals couldn't fit into the stirrups of the tiny saddle so I must have been quite a site.
On the ground behind Rose are
thousands of Monarchs getting a drink.
A pine tree weighted down by the flutterbys.
If you are quiet the sounds of the flutterbys fluttering by is the only sound you can hear.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Please Don't Let My Head Explode

Last Saturday I organized a benefit concert to raise money to help our family friend Mari Gonzales with the medical costs for her ailing father.

The house concert was held in the beautiful house designed by my trumpet student and good friend Dianne Romain.

Dianne and I opened the concert with a fanfare and a few other duets. I was very pleased at the way Dianne performed. It is a very different feeling when there is a crowd of people watching. Good job Dianne.

Then I performed the 1st draft of my arrangement of Tommaso Albinoni's Concerto a 6. For our performance on this evening, I only had 4 musicians, but 4 of the finest classical cats in town. My little buddy Cuauhtemoc Trejo flute, the lovely Marie Park oboe, my wrestling partner Hugo Manzanilla clarinet and my beautiful wife Michelle on the horn.

I played the concerto on my A piccolo trumpet. I was very pleased with my piccolo playing. This is a totally different style of music than I have been playing lately. It's good to have a change. It felt so nice to make music with some friends for some friends (around 25 people showed up) in this very intimate setting. Fun to play the "little" trumpet with the woodwind section from the OSUG.
Woodwind cats tuning up and some dork saying the piccolo prayer.
"GOD, please don't let my head explode."
Next up on the program Cuauhtemoc and Hugo played 3 very cool sounding duets.

Then I played some brass trios with OSUG principal trombonist John Swadley and my sweet Michelle again.We played a few pieces by Pergolesi before Pearl my oldest (10) took center stage and performed 3 different pieces from memory on her violin.

Pearl stole the show. In the fall she stopped practicing after she decided that she wanted to try out gymnastics. After the amounts of applause she received last Saturday Pearl is more than ready to begin again the study of the violin.

The members of the brass trio closed out the concert with a few fun trio pieces by M.S. Erickson. I love polkas.

It was a wonderful night of music. Because of the generous donations from all those in attendance I was able to present my friend Mari with a little over $4,000 pesos.

My most heartfelt thank you to all of those who helped out.
The performers:
Cuauhtemoc, John, Dianne, Marie, dork, Hugo, and Michelle
 all enjoying their "free" shot glasses. Pearl just uses hers for juice.
This foto was taken by a real writer and my good friend Tony Cohan.
Nice shot Tony.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wild Hogs

Stories of wild hogs coming soon.

Today while I was driving to and from picking up my girls from school there was a man standing in the middle of the street giving out samples of jicima.
He had jicima and melon (cantaloup) and they were both delicious.

13 pesos for a bag full. Not bad.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For The 1st Time In WRC History

The World Rally Championships (see earlier posts WRC and WRC Fotos March 2010) return to the state of Guanajuato (GTO) during the 1st weekend of March.

On March 3rd for the 1st time in WRC history the 1st stage of the rally will be held underground through the tunnels of my beautiful city Guanajuato, GTO. I can't wait. I have seen stages of the rally since I arrived here back in 2005. Last year was the 1st year I took all of my girls to witness the finest drivers in the world tearing up the dirt roads around the state of GTO. Too much fun!

March 4th and 5th, Super Special Stages happening at night in the Leon Autodome.

Yes, you still have time to book your flights or bus tickets.

See you at the rally.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cool Tool

Here's my 1st 3 wheeled bike foto of 2011.
Say, "Queso."

I saw this guy up ahead, so I started fishing for my camera. I got it and turned it on in time to grab this foto out of the passenger window of my car. My typical drive by shooting style.

Look at the size of this guys front tire. This is a working bike. The 3 wheeled bike is a cool tool.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Now that Jasonanuary is over I have some time to reflect back on the events that made this, the 1st ever Jasonanuary, such a tremendous success. 

As to be expected with any month long celebration there were a few low points but overall Jasonanuary was a celebration filled with lots of family, love, happiness, music, fireworks, old friends, road trips, wild hogs, beer pong, giant cows, tiny chic's need I say more. I think you get the idea. Jasonanuary was huge.

In an effort to sort it all out I'll start with a few foto's:
Mr. Giangiulio.
Richard Giangiulio was the official trumpeter for Jasonanuary. He not only play tested a pocket trumpet for my student, he also gave wonderful advice to me about my new show BUZZ. Rick was the first teacher I really studied the trumpet with after I got started with my father. I studied with him when I was 15 or 16. He has always been a great teacher, but over the last decade and a half I have gotten to know him as a friend. I can always count on him for honest no non-sense advice. Rick was also kind enough to lend me 3 different horns for the video tapeing of BUZZ. His 89 year old Couesnon flugel is maybe the best horn of any type I have ever played. Thanks Mr. Giangiulio.

The only foto I took on my birthday happened to be of the official mascot of Jasonanuary doing what he does best. If Michelle leaves any of her drawers the least bit open, Lucky opens it up, makes a nice place to sleep and does just that. Fat and happy cats are a as much a part of Jasonanuary as beer pong.

After surviving a tornado filled New Years Eve day and a dangerous fireworks show that evening, me and my girls enjoyed much calmer weather at the begining of Jasonanuary 2011. We all had a wonderful time with family and friends in the "Show Me State".
My newest niece and nephew being held by
 Michelle's Mom and Dad, Jane and Mark Duchow,
Michelle and Rose. I had to get a foto of all the red.
On our way back to Texas traveling south and west on I-44 we stopped outside of Springfield MO to shop a little at the Fireworks Supermarket. If you are ever in this neck of the woods I would highly recommend that you stop in and see if they don't have a few things you can't live without, until you explode them. I am amazed at what kind of rocket you can get for $3.50. They even have a flat screen hooked up so they can show you what to expect. I LOVE fireworks. Drop me a line if you want the 800 number for the Fireworks Supermarket. They are open year round.

After returning to Texas we traveled south of the DFW area to my Dad's place in Ireland Texas. Ireland is a wonderfully peaceful area in central Texas at the very beginnings of the area of Texas known as the Hill Country. I always have fun talking trumpet and music with my Dad. We shot off the last of our bag of fireworks in Ireland. My Dad's wife Robbie commented during the show, "This is the first time in 13 years that our neighbors have come outside to see what we are doing." That's how Jasonanuary is. It's infectious. Things that haven't happened in decades seem like common events.

Michelle and the girls returned to Mexico in the 2nd week of January. I stayed about a week longer to try and get a promotional dvd taped for BUZZ. I also had the opportunity to help my mother host a college graduation party for Kirby and Riley, 2 of my super cool cousins. It was a blast! I hosted my very 1st beer pong competition. I had very little idea what beer pong was, but just like in Field of Dreams, "If you build it they will come."

I had a blast playing with the musicians I put together for my BUZZ dvd. The young maestro De'Marcus Walker killing it again on the tuba and 2 guys I just met the day of the recording, t-bone master Pat Brown and monster drummer Gene Butler. My thanks to my Fort Worth friend John Cole who gave me fellow trumpeter Brain Sharp's number. Brain knows all of the good cats. The band sounded great, the kids seemed to like the show and we should have enough footage to have something to show people what BUZZ is about.

The Fair in Leon has been a birthday tradition in our family since we all first arrived here back in 2005. My birthday is the 24th of January and the Fair is always held during the last few weeks of January and the 1st week of February. My love of Fairs much like my love of fireworks can be traced back to my childhood. Growing up in Arlington Texas, just a 30 minute drive from the Great State Fair of Texas in Dallas, the Fair was a yearly tradition that I always looked forward to. Now that I have a Fair that lines up with my birthday, it's what my Mom calls a "win win". So in honor of my birthday and now as the central event of Jasonanuary, we go to the Fair in Leon and I buy my girls gifts. I don't need much of anything and watching them try and decide and then finally commit to what they want each year is enough for me. I like to make my girls happy.

This year I decided that we should go to the Fair in the evening to ride the Midway rides and then stay the night in Leon and then get up the next day for the shopping. We arrived in Leon around 5 in the evening, got a great room at the Radison just a few blocks from the Fair grounds and headed out to ride some rides.
There is no product in my hair. It's kinda' like Don King,
" I just woke up and my hair was reachin' up to God."
I ran this hair-doo for several days. Jasonanuary!
My girls.

In the morning I took Michelle to the bus station to catch the commuter bus to Guanajuato. The drive takes 45 minutes in a car and about 1 hour in a bus. Michelle had to return to Guanajuato to work with the orchestra. The orchestra does not celebrate Jasonanuary. After I returned to the hotel the girls and I headed down for breakfast.

After a lovely breakfast:
And a bit of sunbathing:
We headed back to the rooms for showers before heading out to explore the Fair.

Back in the room the girls for some reason wanted to turn the shower into a bath tub. They asked and I was dumb enough to go along, "I think a washcloth will stop it up and then maybe put the lid from the ice bucket on top of that for a good seal." Sometimes during a festival as long as Jasonanuary you will make a few bad decisions. I returned to the bathroom after packing up a few things to find that the girls had filled the shower so full that if I would have opened the glass door there would have been gallons and gallons of water gushing out into the room. They did a very good job of accomplishing exactly what they set out to do. My girls are the coolest. We managed to drain most of the water without too much leakage. It's amazing how well those cool looking glass shower doors seal.

All cleaned up and back at the Fair. Some of the things we witnessed were:
Numero Uno.
The prize winning cow. All of the finalist were beautiful specimens, but the winner was HUGE.
Rose, Peral and another fan of the art of Cotton Candy.
This year I stumbled across a booth from San Luis de la Paz selling all sorts of things made from animals. I bought a cow horn trumpet.
What a dork.

It can also be used as a percussion instrument.
So, after you call everyone to the party, you can lay down some grooves for the dancers and singers.

With any month long celebration such as Jasonanuary you have to expect a few low points. However, nothing could have prepared us for what was to happened on the penultimate day of Jasonanuary, the death of the newest member to our family, Chicy (pronounced chic-ee). Pearl convinced me to purchase a chic for her at the Fair. Chicy was only a few days old when he, she, it passed  away. 

Sometimes life can be cruel on the little things. We didn't know Chicy well but we hoped we helped in some small way to make it's short life a little more fun. We had a small hillside service for Chicy. Only family in attendance.

Then we went out to our favorite chicken place:
Just kidding, we had pork tacos.

Happy Jasonanuary!