Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  January  2005


A wise man, when asked how he had learned so much about everything, replied:"By never being ashamed or afraid to ask questions about anything of which I was ignorant." John Abbott

January 31, 2005 
I had a nice chat with Maria yesterday. It was good to hear her voice and I hope she is feeling better soon. I know that after having been hit while sitting in a car you are left feeling pretty sore for a long time. It was nice to just talk. The time passes so quickly and I love talking to family on the phone. I still haven't gotten to talk to Josh.
  Jimmy and Mike came over and recorded last night. There have been Gremlins in the system and I don't know why but everything worked for a few hours. I was listening to the ruff mixes again this morning. It is fun music. I heard from Don Quijano already this morning about this weekend at Provinces. Brown Groove will be playing and I will be sitting in with my Filipino brothers, Don, Oman, and Kelly.
Andie and Liz continued nesting all weekend making a little Whinny the Pooh room. They bought paint, cleaned, vacuumed, and decorated most of Saturday and Sunday. Faith is as excited as the rest of the girls for the grand baby to be here. They are anxious to pick a name because I keep calling him Dirk. I met a nice man who helped me with the sound at Cafe de Paris on Saturday night. His name was Dirk. I said to Liz and Andie, "It's a sign." I got there open and loving and simultaneous response, "No!". So I guess the race is running neck to neck with Kayden or Landon. Landon sounds too much like Brandon and might have a nick name of Lonnie. Muckaluckaneeneehannee is definitely out I guess. Oh the trials we face. I find myself taking very deep breathes and sighing a lot with the thought of a new baby. Venus and Mars is the difference between men and women. All the girls are just about to burst with excitement. The glass is half full. The glass is half full. The glass is half full.

January 30, 2005
Sunday again and the girls are shopping. Missy is sleeping. Natalie is looking for a place to have what looks like to be about 12 kittens. Josh called and came to town but stayed at Mike's house. It was nice he called. I am trying to work in the studio but I am having some serious doubts as to whether or not I want to continue fighting a losing battle with the computer. It doesn't seem to to like me. It just quits working. It is this powerful aura I have I guess. Misdirected power makes everything go hay wire. I feel like that super hero who couldn't fly very well and was always crashing into things in the same way George of the Jungle used to do. It makes me wish I was in The Who and I could just start smashing things. Of course I have a sensible little voice saying, bad idea, bad idea. Who is going to pay for it if you break it? Us. We don't want to work anymore. So I have a time out and a conference and we all decide to take a break and work on the website for a minute.
 It was very busy at Cafe last night. I played an extra hour and stayed and had dinner. After that I was too tired to stop into Provinces so I went straight home. This morning we did some more work on Kayden's room. That is one of the names for the new boy coming to live here from outer space. I guess I will go see if any sparks are coming out of the computer or not. If not I will try to do some more recording. Peace.

January 29, 2005
We stopped down at Provinces last night to see Gordon Uchima play. It turned out he was supposed to play tonight but he stayed and played anyway. What an incredible musician. Andie and I were talking again about how some people are just close and even if you haven't seen them in months or years they remain as dear to you as ever. It seems like no time has passed since the last time you were together. We stayed, along with Kathy and Dale, for a whole set. That is a big deal for us and then we got a chance to visit for a bit and talk recording and music which bored everyone, except Gordan and I, to tears. I think Provinces is turning into a jazz room. It fits the new decor and brings in wide variety of people. You can check Gordan out at Cole' He was playing with Deems Tsutakawa's band last night. I believe he will be again tonight.
 Today is remodel day and I am helping Liz make some changes in her room so I had better get to it. I also heard through Rob that Josh is supposed to be in town in the next day or two. I haven't heard from him. I hope he lets us know what is up. We also haven't heard from Sarah for a while. It is hard to catch her at home, she is so busy. Well, the honey do list is calling and I had better run.

January 28, 2005
   I just got word that my sister, Maria, was in a very bad car accident. She said she was lucky to be alive and that both cars were totaled. I am so thankful it wasn't worse than it was. I wish she wasn't so far away, I could bring her some chicken soup. It is probably best I can't though because whenever we talk, we laugh a lot and she has messed up the muscles to her rib cage. It is not a good idea to be laughing right now. Pay attention because we never really know what is coming, do we? I love you Maria and I am glad you are still here.
  Chani called from Alaska and told me things are going well. There are a few twists and turns but it seems the road is looking bright and days are getting lighter too. I enjoyed the talk and listening to her intelligent way of sorting through emotional stuff. Growth is often painful but very much worth it in the end.
   I used most of the words my mother taught me last night in the studio. Mike and I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out why nothing worked. I was set to do some vocals but we got no sound. When we gave up in frustration and Mike headed home, I changed a connection on the back of the computer and everything worked fine. By then I was way too far out there to do any singing so I went to bed.
  Natalie, out orange Tabby, is due to pop any minute with another batch of kittens. We have determined that her sidekick, Bella, is deaf. She never comes when you call and she doesn't flinch at loud noises or any sounds. Now it makes sense why she never responds to anything auditory. It is always something.
  We changed the living room around and it looks and feels good but is crying to be painted so I think we will be squeezing some painting time into our schedules. Gordan Uchima is going to play at Provinces tonight with Deems Tsutakawa I will be stopping by after the Cafe de Paris and listening to the show. Have a great week end, do good and have fun.
"I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt." A Course In Miracles

January 27, 2005
Andie went with her mom to see Cher in concert last night. I was pretty much asleep when she got home but I remember her saying Cher's performance was amazing. Who would have thought artists like Cher would be doing concerts in Everett Washington? I enjoyed last night myself. Liz and I went out to dinner at Le Hacienda and went home and watched a couple of movies. When we have a moment or two by ourselves, which is rare, she talks me into watching a scary movie with her. It turned out to not be too bad. It was Gotica or something like that. Liz is pretty good about saying "close your eyes dad, this part is bad." That is kind of a role reversal but one for which I am grateful. Josh and Chani both know how I feel about scary movies. I won't watch movies about evil. They are too creepy and I don't believe it is good for your spirit to put that energy into your mind. I enjoyed the conversation with Liz during dinner most of all.
  I put up a new flash poem by josh called the hermit and also I have the beginning of a new website for my friend Michael Gardner for his Professional Audio business, support independent and get your gear from Michael at Seattle Pro Audio. Also I was so happy to see that Chani signed the guest book. I love to write and it makes me happy when people, especially my family, read the poems and journal entries. There is so much talent running in the veins of this family if we had been born in the era of vaudeville I am sure we would all be on tour together. Be good and enjoy your day where ever you are.
   Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle, and a victory.
Mahatma Gandhi

January 26, 2005
It has been another crazy day in paradise. I think I am going to lay low tonight and just take it easy. Rob mixed the whole CD last night in ruff form so he can help with some of the arrangements. I listened to most of it this morning. I am feeling good about it. January 14th was my first day as a retired smoker so I am feeling stronger and stronger vocally. Andie has been encouraging me to head down that path for some time. Recently it has been with statements like "It's not good for the baby." Okay. I went to see Aaron Ewing's brother Tim. Tim is studying hypnotism to help people stop smoking. He needed guinea pigs and I needed help. So far it has been a good thing. In the past I have gotten so crabby that Andie would suggest I go buy a pack of smokes and give everyone a break. This has been different and I am feeling generally good but there are times when I feel tense enough to bite the bumper off a car. I refrain though. It was a good time out for me in the past but I have been down that road so long it is time to try a change. After all, it isn't good for the baby.

January 25, 2005
It is crazy weather. The moon is full and you could walk around in short sleeves yesterday. I look at the pictures of the snow and think was that the winter? Of course. Of course it isn't but I certainly don't mind the mild weather. It is bad for the skiers and for the water supply but it sure is much more comfortable than the biting cold we were having and will probably have again. The moon is crystal clear in the sky. The lunar tugs come around each month and carry sanity away for many people. For others it brings a certain tranquility. That is what I feel while gazing at the moon. Every once in a while I might howl, just a little.
  Last night Andie, Liz and I were tossing out boys names. My humor did not go over too well and by the end of the evening I don't think we were much closer to coming up with a name. My brain seemed to be on strike with a sensory overload at the thought of a new life in our home. I got tired out from just thinking about it and went to bed with the chickens. I only straightened up the studio a bit and never even turned on the system. It was a hell of a day yesterday and sometimes it feels like climbing into bed, pulling the covers over your head and saying "I am done with this day" is just the best thing to do. Yesterday I thought I was stranded somewhere between hell, Las Vegas and The Twilight Zone. I felt like something bad had been put in a few people's water and caused them to completely lose their grip on sanity. Sometimes I encounter these explosively angry people. People so used to being in an agitated state that they seem most comfortable when they are yelling about things. It is hard to be around. It is hard on the nervous system and it cannot be good for them but what can you do? Things seemed so exaggerated as to appear funny and I think that is what got me through the encounters and the day as a whole. So went a day in a life that will not be written in my book of favorite days. Still it ended with the warmth of home and the closeness of family and that makes all the difference.

January 24, 2005
  It was a busy weekend. I really enjoyed playing the Cafe this weekend. I am getting the hang of the Boss Loop recorder Andie got me for my birthday. It is great because I can layer guitar parts live and then accompany myself. Ron Llinas introduced me to it after he saw Phil Keaggy play. Phil is a wonderful guitarist and he makes use of a lexicon loop recorder in his live performances. The Boss pedal is a less expensive way to go and is a great writing and performing tool for any guitarist. It is called the Boss RC-20XL Phrase Recorder Pedal.
  We had a house rearranging party yesterday and last night. It all started with the plan to move a filing cabinet and then went a little nuts. Andie ended up setting her studio up in the living dining room area. Liz had some good ideas about where things should go and we all worked hard on it for hours and hours. It was still a bit of a mess this morning but there is promise of coming together by tonight.
    I missed the birthday party for Mish and Rob's daughter Pure. I was just wiped out after my gig and went and home and went to bed. I hope it was a wonderful birthday. Andie and Liz were able to go for a little while.
    I would love to be able to write everyday and have that be my living. I am pretty happy with either a guitar or laptop at my finger tips. It is interesting to try and catch the fleeting fancy of thoughts that shoot in front of my mind's eye and put them into prose, poetry or song. It is my way of reaching out, of striving towards a connection with the rest of this big family of which we are all a part.
  Here is Dale's quote: The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. Eden Phillpotts. Phillpotts, now that is an interesting name. They say that names were once a reflection of the trades that people did. Some are more straight forward than others: fill pots, what kind of pots and with what. Huh?

January 22, 2005
I had a thought about friendly fire this morning. When soldiers are killed by gun fire or artillery from their own troops it is called friendly fire. I don't really know why I thought of that, I guess it is because I listened to a program on NPR yesterday that was about mothers who had lost their sons in the war in Iraq. They had tried for months to meet with Donald Rumsfeld. What kind of government have we gotten to when people who have given up their children to support our country can't even have their mail, e-mail or phone calls returned. These women said they were dumbfounded. They traveled to Washington in hopes of a meeting. They said they just wanted some kind of acknowledgment, even a token meeting with someone from the office, at least a response to their correspondence. Anyway that program haunted my dreams last night. I thought of weaving friendly fire into a reflection on relationships that have gone bad. When, in the name of working things out, the past is thrown in your face, mistakes that you cannot unmake are brought up, it is like friendly fire. Words damage deeply. Words wound. Words heal. Words need watching for naughty when it is our feelings they reveal. Words weave poetry and calm this angst smitten soul. I wouldn't change this use of words for diamonds or for gold. Think twice, be nice, that's my unsolicited advice.
 Josh called yesterday to share the news that Freedom and the boys are being flown to New York for a meeting with Mat Stein and Epic records. They will be doing a live show as an audition for a record deal and tour. I am so excited for them. Freedom sent me a live CD which I received yesterday. I listened to it all the way to work and back. I love his music. I love his voice. Rob plays some celestial guitar on some of those tracks. He makes that guitar sound like it was bussed out to Heaven and returned to the mix. Spirit filled music is good for the soul. His message and music needs to be out there. Josh was so excited about going to New York and about playing with the band. He said he will be coming up in a few days to begin rehearsing with Rob. I hope and pray they are all on their way. I am proud of these Spirit Warriors. May grace lead them on their journey.

January 21, 2005
It's a boy! We saw the ultra sound pictures yesterday and the baby girl had an extra leg. We were sure there must be some mistake because we don't have any boy names listed or picked out. But the technician said there's his little wiener. Now Andie, who was hoping for a baby girl, went right out and bought ten little baby boy outfits on the way home. She is so adaptable and ready for anything. So there will be another man in the house, ho ho.
 Rob, Mike and I played in Silent T last night. We fiddled with some mixes and I sang Caribbean Islands. I am excited to just spend time with the vocals. I feel my voice getting stronger. I am even thinking about exercising although the thought makes me kind of tired. The mind is a powerful thing so perhaps I can think myself into shape. I will let you know how it turns out but for now, I think I will have a little nap.

January 20, 2005
The morning sounds of a computer hard drive defragmenting goes well with a cup of Starbucks. Mike and Andie worked on Find Love again last night. I attempted singing but the vocalist didn't appear. Oh well, today is another day. It is strange to sing without the guitar. I have to find my happy space and let it rip. It is funny how the time goes by so quickly. I look up and it is late thirty and I am still ready to keep going. Of course morning seems to arrive shortly after I close my eyes on the night.
  Today is the day when we will discover whether we are going to have a baby boy or girl arrive this summer. Andie and Liz are going for an ultra sound and I hope to make it too. The refrigerator is adorned with the early baby pictures. Technology has become amazing in so many areas. You don't even have to wait for your baby to be born to start taking pictures. So here comes the next adventure. Look out. Here is Dale's quote for the day.
If only every man would make proper use of his strength and do his utmost, he need never regret his limited ability. Marcus T. Cicero

January 18, 2005
Last night I listened to Mask about 50 times. There is some great stuff happening in that song. I was goofing off at the end of the song and I made a megaphone with my hands and sang through it and then I said "Will Rogers you are in danger." Mike and John pointed out my reference to Lost In Space should have been Will Robinson. Oops! I made a rough CD to listen to this morning. It will take some time to simmer it down to the final song but it is a drummer's dream now.
  Last week Sarah brought me a beautiful sweater for my birthday. It was a great surprise and it is always nice to see her. Last night her brother, Freedom, called just to say hi. I think about all the "kids" every day. They are some powerful forces in the universe. It was wonderful to watch all the images of their childhood appear on the Apple Monitor when I was practicing my guitar and Andie was busy scanning. I am so thankful that she is archiving those photos. It was an emotion filled silence that passed as I looked over Andie's shoulder watching those images and thinking of all that we went through over those years. We were busy growing up together. Now our baby is having a baby. Liz will bring our first grandchild into our home this summer. It seems like yesterday she was splashing around in the sink taking a bath. Time flies when you are having fries. That reminds me of an old saying: There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone else to do it, or tell your kids not to do it. And Sarah left me a quote from the Talmud: Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers "Grow, grow." So as the Washington rains pour down may this day bring peace.

January 17, 2005
  A new week begins with a sense of calm and reflection. I really enjoyed playing this weekend. I especially liked driving with Jimmy Culler and having some time to talk and catch up on life. We revisited some old memories and friends in our conversation. It was good. Last night I spent a few hours at Studio 04 with Mike Daily and John Matthews. John has quite an array of percussion instruments and he made use of many last night in recordings of Mask and Boody. He played great!
  Andie spent the evening ( 6 hours ) scanning old family photos into archives for burning to CD. She had baby pictures of everyone and they were some beautiful babies.
I forgot my camera both nights this weekend and so I got no pictures at Provinces. I recalled how many times I complained to Andie that she wasn't taking any pictures of the shows. I see how that happens now. It is easy to forget. Pictures are great for memories and Andie sure has the gift of capturing a moment in a photo. So here it to another week, may it be your best.

January 16, 2005
   It has been a very busy weekend. No Cafe de Paris this time but Provinces happened both Friday and Saturday. I was the lone ranger on Friday night and Andie came down to keep me company. It was a mellow night. Kelly came out from behind the bar and sang about 6 or 7 tunes with me. She is looking and sounding better than ever. Kenny took over bartending for the time Kelly was behind the microphone. While we were doing our set my brother Phil Randoy came. It has been a long, long time. He got up and sang Moondance for Kathy and Dale and Popsicle Toes. Kenny Lee played The House of The Rising Sun. I could not get Andie to get up and sing. She wants to practice more first. It was great to see Phil. He was supposed to come back in Saturday after his gig at the 5th Avenue but he did not appear.
 Saturday night brought me the company of several fine musicians. Ron Llinas, Jimmy Culler sat in the whole evening. Kelly made it out on a Saturday night so she was up there singing songs by Lynn Miles, Deirdre Lord and Fleetwood Mac. My other brothers, Don and Oman Quijano came in and sat in and performed through out the evening. They brought the house down on a few tunes like More Than Words. It was a great evening. It is funny because with all the ice and snow we thought we would be shutting down around 10 or 11 and in fact Jimmy, Ron and I played a 2 hour set to two people. In 15 minutes the place filled to capacity and the music continued all night long until closing. Jimmy picked me and up and dropped me off last night as I wasn't too keen on driving in the ice. I sure appreciated that Jimmy gave me a ride and helped my pack out.
   I am headed over to Silent T to help Mike record John Matthews playing percussion on a few of the tunes for the new CD's.
  I would like to take just a moment to remember our friend Kayla Marie Ingbretsen who passed away from cancer recently. Andie went to her memorial yesterday and said the church was packed with people who came to pay their respects. She was full of life and love for the Lord and we know she is now at peace and that she will be greatly missed. She was loved for many reasons but probably most of all for just being herself, for her many acts of kindness and service. God bless her friends and family with the comfort and peace.

January 13. 2005
    I got a call from Larry Mason this morning to share the success of Rhythm Cafe. He said he got the contracts and it all looks good. He said thanks for hooking him up with Miya at Celeste Records and that he wanted to let me know the deal came through. I congratulated him on the deal and thanked him very much for sharing the good news with me. As I have said before, it is a great record and I am very happy that it will be released in Japan after all these years.
    I have heard from Chani twice since her return to Alaska. She seems happy and she got to keep her job at the Espresso stand. I am so glad she kept us updated on how she is doing. Josh has sent a few e-mails too and seems to be happy in Oregon. It sounds like he has a beautiful home looking on the mountains.
   Jimmy played a new and happy bass line to Where Can I Find Love? It is a Hamilton Murat song that we are revisiting. I was pooped from the very late night session on Tuesday so I went home early and left Mike and Jimmy busy working on recording bass on a few more tunes. Jimmy's new Dean bass sounds fantastic. It is very light and records great straight into the mixing board. Great job!
    I have been many places and seen a lot of life: from the red clay of Georgia, to the jungles of Vietnam, from the snowcapped mountains of Southern Bavaria, to the white sands of the Caribbean. Through out my life, from the time I was young I have chronicled my experiences in verse. I spent many years strumming a broom while singing to Beatle songs and thought I might like to write some songs. The broom was not particularly effective for writing songs so I tried a real guitar. Thus I began what has been the slow and steady pulse that has kept me here: writing songs.
I have always had a sense that there was some kind of cosmic goof that put me here on this planet and therefore a lot of my writing has been that of an observer. As the years passed I have come to realize we are all where we are supposed to be. Options are open if we open our eyes and look for the doors to pass through to new and different experiences.
   I am thankful at this point in time to have had the life I have had, the good and the bad. Being ninety feet underwater with my wife Andie. Watching her take a picture of a white tipped reef shark swimming towards us. Skiing Crystal Mountain with my friend Jimmy Culler. Watching an avalanche with my children at the Ice Caves near Granite Falls. Watching my children grow. Seeing my son Freedom play at the Garlic Festival. Listening as my son Joshua shows me how a song really goes on the guitar. Watching Chani paint and draw and play soccer. Seeing Sarah work on one of her film projects or listening as she talks of her world travels. Gazing on as Elizabeth blossoms and gathers a circle of friends around her. Watching Andie discover her artistry in photography and graphic art and grow more beautiful with each passing year and ever more dear to my heart. I am grateful for the chance to play music and touch people’s hearts and souls and share a moment. Life is a moment. Music makes moments magic. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

January 12, 2005
Once again the weather people predicted incorrectly and no snow fell last night. Rob, Mike and I were in the studio many hours last night and got rough mixes on 6 songs. Rob is a truly amazing engineer and a very hard worker. I am so glad to have his help on our project. We are going to do the same tonight. This is the double gig weekend, so I am thinking I might want to take it easy on Thursday night.
No thoughts are forming this morning as I stare blankly at the laptop screen. My mind is usually bouncing around like a little ball but today it is more frozen than reflective. Help each other is a thought that comes to mind and a saying I just read this morning, "There is little traffic on the extra mile." Kindness and caring are what we need more of in this present day. You see it when watching the TV with all the volunteers helping in disaster areas. You see it on the faces of the people outside San Diego searching for loved ones in the aftermath of the landslides. You see it when watching people risk their lives to save others and demonstrating the preciousness of life. Fragile as butterfly wings we are. Here today and gone tomorrow but for the time we have, every opportunity we take to show we care and that others matter to us, can only return to us a thousand fold. There is nothing so priceless as joy on the face of loved ones and strangers who are lifted up by simple acts of kindness. We are all special, sometimes we need reminding.

January 11, 2005
I had a nice evening playing music with Jimmy Culler last night. We worked on a bass line to 911. It was fun to try and make some notes come out of the bass. I felt like my fingers were going to fall off after playing for just a few minutes. My ears are ringing from having the headphones a little too loud.
I heard from my old friend Bob Stevens the night before last. That was a blast from the past. It seems Bob is doing well, has a family and is collecting guitars. We talked a lot about different acoustic guitars. I haven't talked to Bob in years but with some people it seems like no time has passed at all and no distance has grown between you even after years. Check out the Guild Bob, it is a good American guitar.
 I also talked to Gordon Uchima last night. He is a superb musician and another friend that I feel close to even though we are rarely in contact. He is busy recording his own and his band's projects right now but said he would be available to add some sax to our recordings in about a month. That is exciting and I would really like him to meet Manolito as well. They can talk flutes and reeds and all that woodwind stuff. He said something funny coming from a musician. He told me though it is fun playing with the band, he said he enjoys hearing my solo stuff too. He said I take the back seat perhaps a bit too much sometimes and that he wants to hear more Greg Murat. Thanks for that. I have spent so much time playing solo that I am thrilled at the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the talents of my musician friends. I always feel uplifted and empowered by other players. We all add something to the big equation, every single one of us plays a vital part in music and in life. We all matter. We are all a part of the whole family.

January 10, 2005
The roads are sheets of black ice this morning in the countryside. Watching the news I see that it looks clear in the city. It has been nice to see Chani even though she has been facing back towards Alaska almost from the moment she got here. She has really road the roller coaster of emotions. I know she would have left yesterday if she could. It is meant as no offense to family and friends here, she just wants to get back to her new home and to her love. We talked about setting rules in relationships. If the end of the relationship is an option in every argument then you might as well skip to the part where you break up because that is where you are going to end up anyway. We wrestle our own demons at times and those internal fights can lead to sabotaging the love we are experiencing. If we don't feel worthy of love then it is easy to imagine something wrong with some one who loves us: Psychology 101, remember that? We all have seen glimpses of both heaven and hell when it comes to love. That has been the subject of a few of the last songs I have written like Is This Love? and The Trouble With Love. I read that Sarah McLachlan writes a lot of her songs about people she knows because even though she writes a fair amount of melancholy love songs, she says she is happy in her marriage. It makes sense to look outside and write commentaries, especially if you are settled down, because songs might get a bit boring. "I got up, I made coffee and off to work I went. Came home took at the trash, paid the bills and wonder where the money went." And so on, but it is all a part of the poetry of our lives. The simple tasks of living day to day are so much better when shared with someone you love.
  Rob called yesterday and said he was busy with family stuff and might get together today. Mike spent some hours with me in Silent T and sang some harmony. I put in a twelve hour day yesterday mostly cleaning up tracks. And now here we are at another Monday. I am stuck here and can't get down the icy hill in front of our house. Ice bound in the country.

January 9, 2005
   It snowed and the ground is covered in a beautiful white blanket. As usual for Sunday mornings, the house is sleeping. I am drinking Starbucks and listening to the quiet. Chani is home safe. She had a very rough go getting here. She was shell shocked because she called on my birthday as happy as she has ever been and the next day she was on a plane coming home. She was doing good considering the suddenness of it all. I am very proud of her. It is so good to see her face. She is an amazing young woman. She has always been strong. So she sleeps now along with the rest of the house in what used to be my recording studio. It is a very peaceful part of the house and everyone who stays there comes out quite rested. I hope that is the case for her.
  Jimmy and his son, Jameson, also spent the night last night and took off early to go skiing this morning. Jimmy and I played music till the wee hours. At my age I define wee hours as past 10 PM. I am headed into the studio to work on the new CD this morning. Mr. Daily is headed this way. I didn't get a call or the pleasure of Rob's company yesterday like we had planned but that is the way it goes. No worries mate.
   On another note, Faith made me a huge container of my favorite cookies for my birthday and gave me a beautiful prayer journal. We are all loving those cookies. She made a special batch of fudge for me at Christmas too. She is the greatest, no wonder Andie is how she is.
   I am looking out at the snow and thinking that I may have to stay home tomorrow as well unless the snow melts. It is lovely stuff to look at and play in but not much fun to drive in, especially on winding country roads. I think of all that has happened in Asia and once again how quickly things change. It seems like Chani's situation may have been reactionary and the pendulum may swing back to happy pretty soon. That is not the case for so many in the aftermath of the tsunamis. It is my prayer that the Spirit of Comfort will settle on the hearts of the many people, our brothers and sisters, who have lost their loves and their lives. God's Peace.

January 8, 2205
Jimmy Culler stopped by this morning for coffee and we spent an hour or two playing with Ron's Phrase Recorder. Jimmy was laying down multiple bass tracks and having a ball. He figured out how to record a groove and it was fun see him having such a good time. Andie and I went to Claim Jumpers for dinner last night and stuffed ourselves on ribs. Mish, Rob, Freedom and Chani all called to wish me a happy birthday. We heard a knock on the door yesterday and it was UPS dropping off a package. It was an acrylic on wood painting that Chani did for me of a Bonsai tree. It is beautiful. It was a laid back on pleasant birthday.
   We were on our way to Cafe de Paris for me to play when I called and Firmin said I meant to tell you to take this weekend off. I guess he planned to tell me after I arrived. I said its my birthday but I don't think he heard me because he didn't acknowledge what I said. It is all good though. I was glad I didn't have to play so Andie and I could enjoy a date together. It has been awhile and every time we take the time we ask why we don't do it more often. The cares of the day to day can leave you worn and not motivated to have a good time. I guess you have to just dust off your butt and get on the move before the lazy kicks into gear. With Andie it is clean and wash and move and shake, anything but sit still. With me its melt into the sofa.
I really love the way City of Angels is coming together. I think I will have to enlist help to get the vocals right. Rob is supposed to come over today and help me get mixes on several songs so I can sing them with some feeling. I really hope that happens.
    I put up some links to websites that are legitimate for taking donations for the relief effort in Asia. They are the bottom left hand corner of the home page.
   So at the over half a century mark I am glad for my life, my love and all that comes with it. Love lives forever. Love to you all.
I just got a call from Chani and she is coming home from Alaska today. I guess things aren't working out in Fairbanks. It will be good to see hear and I hope she is okay. It is always hard when a relationship ends but one door closes and another opens.

January 7, 2005
It is a good day today. I got a great birthday present from Josh. He said he wants to take on the family name again so I have updated his pages to say Josh Murat.
He said when he has children he wants to carry on the bloodline. God bless him for that. It is a quiet morning with much talk of snow. Josh is snowed in with Christina Marie in Oregon and not feeling very sad about it. My sister Maria called and sang happy birthday to me on my cell phone this morning. It was the first message I got and started my day with a smile. Liz left a message that had the happy birthday song on it with a few modifications, a reference to me being the greatest man in the world and something about a butt finger: an off color joke that I believe Sarah started and that rapidly caught on around here.
I am so thankful for my friends and family, old and new. How quickly they share in our lives when it is good or bad. I am thankful for the chance to listen and be there for them when they are troubled. The spirit that has gone into this recording has touched my heart. The funny thing is you can hear emotion, it records well.
   We are looking forward to the summer and the addition of a grandchild to our household and that blessing that will bring to our lives. I will be talking more of that later as time passes and the road clears.
  I am talking with Don Quijano about future ventures in recording, managing and performing with Filipino acts. I am excited about those possibilities and the chance to help bring new talent into the country and be a part of their growth.

January 6, 2005
Snow is coming they say. I will believe the snow when I taste it on my tongue and feel it on my face. I still wonder on beaches in my mind as this winter engulfs us in its chilly winds. It is difficult to think about much else but the results of the Tsunamis in Asia. It just reminds me so much of how life is so fragile and how we never know when our time is up. All those souls crossed over to the other side in an instant. They are in the new world and those left behind are the unfortunate ones to have to carry on without the ones they love. We are all a part of the big family and nothing happens to anyone that doesn't affect us whether we know it or not. Peace is a place we find in our own hearts and it affects the world on one small level but is still matters. As we rally to aid the people in Asia I hope our awareness of each other is raised and the problems we have here at home can be more readily addressed as well. There is always hope and the it is true, hope floats. It carries us through our darkest hours. Sometimes hope has a name, our wife or husband, mother, father, friend. Jesus. It always comes if we seek it and I pray for it today for all of us.

January 5, 2005
   It seems I am having a tough go of it starting into this new year. I seem off kilt thinking it is already the 5th and I have hardly written anything thus far. I think the changes in our lives, the coming of a baby, the CD's, the day to day and the huge devastation from the tsunami and the wars in the world may have numbed my ability to function. We look for certainty, security and stability in our lives. Just watching the news and the suddenness with which disaster occurs, reminds me how fragile those illusions are. This world is passing, or rather we are passing through it. The only certainty is that no one gets out alive. Isn't it strange that death is the hardest thing to grasp. There is a Native American saying that there is no death, just other worlds. When I am doing battle with the demons I encounter in this life, I think of my son's words, "Wake up and live!" and it usually helps.
  The other day Andie said to me, "You are a glass half empty kind of person, aren't you?" I think she may have a point. I have been getting discouraged with the new project. There are so many choices and so many tracks. How do you simplify it down to essence of the music and tell the story in the best possible way. I get the blues with trying to decide. There are lots of ideas and lots of input. I know it will be great in the end, I am just struggling in general at this time. I just read a little saying this morning on realizing your dreams. "Make a list of all the things you believed in before you were told they were impossible." Ask yourself what it is you really want to accomplish and make a plan to reach your goal. Then take action every single day.
   Ron Llinas came over on Monday and we went through a few songs and talked about jazz chords and harmony. The best part of the evening was when we both just played guitar together with no tracking, just playing. I loved that. Last night I played with his new Boss looping pedal. It records and plays back your performance and then you can play along. It doesn't work on groove songs but it is wonderful for ballads. I played for hours.
  I would like to thank my friend Sharon who has emailed me a few times to encourage me through the struggles we are having at this time. It would seem like with just the 3 of us in the house at this time it would be more simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. When a friend shares some of the troubles they have experienced it eases your own burdens. We are so blessed when so many are suffering. The Lord is great. On a funny note, it is a good idea when running spell check to really pay attention to your options, I almost changed "a friend emailed me" to "a friend embalmed me." But I caught it. Be good and God bless.

January 2, 2005
It has been great to have a few days of relaxation. It hasn't been that laid back though. I went to work in the studio in the morning yesterday, we all took a break in the evening and went to see Liminy Splickit or what ever it was called. What a strange film. My favorite part was the animated credit sequence. I have never seen an entire audience stay to watch the credits roll. It was very creative. I went back in the studio again until three in the morning. Now I am about to star again. It is very fulfilling work. I thank Greg & Kathy for the note. I made them a special addition (2 copies) of a CD for a present for friends. They were very happy. Thanks to Sharon and everyone who reads this words, it helps me to write. Take care, I have to go sing.

January 1, 2005

It is 2005 and I hope it brings a fresh new perspective and start to our lives. I hope it is a time of creativity and growth. A time for healing old wounds and of seeing new hope on the horizon. I look forward to making much music in the coming year. I felt the flicker of emotion as I was singing in the vocal booth the other night. It was a feeling like, oh yea this is what this is all about: feelings. It is that connection to people that comes from not just sharing the music but also the whole experience of the meaning of the song. It is good for me as I so often feel like an alien who was mistakenly dropped off here and then forgotten. I have tried many times to beam myself up with my cell phone but no luck so far.

But Happy New Year to the world and in the words of my friend, Ron Llinas, the start of a new year means new beginnings, new promises, new goals. A time to rededicate ourselves to the one that made it possible for us to make it another year. Thank you Lord

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist