Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  May  2005

Dolphins splaching          Liz on the beach    

 Clearwater Sunset        Beaching
May 31, 2005
I am having memories of memorial day weekend: I can hardly move I am so sore from all the yard work and landscaping we did. It was a fine feeling though up till the end. We couldn't figure out how to put this Gazebo together, Andie got a scary spider bite, my back went into spasms so I was laying on the ground kicking like an over turned beetle and at 9 PM we finally called it a weekend. This getting old is tough. I need a spare parts bin for most of my body. The saga, or should I say, the sagging continues along with the strange male phenomena in which your butt moves forward and spills over your front belt buckle. What the heck is that anyway? I can just see God having a good laugh on that one. If it continues I will be playing hide and seek with my feet. I know they are down there somewhere, I just can't see them. My six pack has turned into a keg.
   It is just weeks now before we will be welcoming our first grand child to the house, Kayden is due in late June and we are very excited. We are all nesting and resting; practicing for sleepless nights. What a wonder it will be. I am also excited on the musical front that we will be playing for Larry Mason's birthday party on June 25 ( right about the time Kayden is due). It will be very good to see Larry and Cindy again. The link above to Islandtrollers takes you to their web site where they sell their fine Albacore tuna. Check it out. Rose Kennedy said that the qualities of our later life will be determined by the life we have already shaped. I had better start working out. May the Light shine upon your day and keep you safe. Thanks for the visit.

I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen.

May 30, 2005
   Memorial day is a day we remember the sacrifices of the people who have given their lives to insure our freedom. This freedoms seem to be more and more in question by our government, but to this day our fellow citizens put themselves in harms way to support our country. God bless the soldiers whose hearts are in the right place even if their bodies might be in the wrong place. I feel this distilling of emotions into songs about where we are in this place and time. I remember today John Wesley, whose name I don't even have right according to the lists of veterans killed in combat in Viet Nam. He was my friend if only for the three days. I remember him every single day of my life. I hope the Lord will lift up the spirits of those who suffer unimaginable stress every day from unseen enemies whose fanaticism seems to know no boundaries. I would love to a put a little bit of Jesus in their hearts. But you know, I smile through the loss when I think of John because he was so totally and completely alive. He taught a few lessons that were huge in my life and they involve smiling a lot and soaking up every blessed minute we have. Don't deny your past, but face it briefly with humility from time to time and glean what lessons there are in your mistakes. Practice forgiveness for yourself and for others and avoid repeating the same errors over and over again. Keep these lessons in long term memory and every day can be a memorial day.

May 28, 2005
   Memorial Day weekend and we are home. I was hurrying in and out of the store yesterday and I saw an ancient veteran sitting there with his little flags. I rushed right by but looked into his eyes as I passed him on the way to my car. There was a sentiment there that seemed to say, "No one remembers." I caught that feeling with some subtlety and didn't really process it until I was home. I thought as I passed him that I didn't stop because I didn't have any cash to donate. When home it occurred to me that he probably had a treasure chest full of stories to tell. I wanted to go back but before I knew it I was knee deep in projects here at the house. How many stories do we miss hearing from the ancient in our tribes? When Freedom was a very very young we used to visit the "old folks home" in Monroe. We would just go in and introduce ourselves to people and then sit and talk. I think that time gave us both many invisible gifts that we carry in our hearts. I don't know when or why we stopped. Thoughts this morning remind of the lyrics from a John Prine song. "If you're walking down the street sometime and spot some hollow ancient eyes. Don't pass them by and stare as if you didn't care. Say hello in there, hello."

May 26, 2005
  They say a simple act of kindness can have an impact generations in the future. Carried by ancestral memory, marked in DNA strands it reflects in a way that is beyond our comprehension. The same is true of all actions, both good and bad. We all affect each other in ways we can't imagine. I think our thoughts affect us in the same way. Thoughts are how some people are able to withstand cold and hot conditions or extreme pain simply by the power of their minds. And our thoughts, prayers and wishes make silent differences in each others lives. The loved ones we hold in our hearts, the friends we don't see are lifted up by angels when we remember them in our thoughts and prayers. This is true for the people near us in our everyday lives as well. I think the happiest souls on the planet are the ones who receive their joy in bringing joy to others. Those who understand the power of giving love in their every breathe are ever in the presence of God and heaven is truly within.
Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of the heart. Mort Walker.

May 24, 2005
   I talked to my sister Maria (who I love very much) last night for about two hours and it reminded me of why I don't spend much time looking back on life. Move forward or die standing and still breathing. I think after a time we can haunt our own selves if we are not careful. It is so easy to look only outside ourselves for the reasons why we feel the way we feel about ourselves. Mean while, moment after precious moment of our lives goes by unnoticed and unlived. I almost got in touch with what my friend Terri Fickel calls "my ugly" when I felt the stirring of emotions of the wounded child inside of me. But you know, that part of me made numerous selfish and foolish decisions in my life and I have learned to say, "Be still and let me handle this. You will be fine." Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Trauma in our lives can give us strengths if we look for them. It is all so much dependent on our perspective. We don't have to play a lot of the games that are hurtful to us. Take for example the "one is out" game. A social circle is drawn by a group of people and some one is placed outside the circle. This was a traditional favorite in the world I lived in as a child. I say now, take your marbles and go home. Walk away. There are millions of wonderful people in the world and more often than not we are loved, nurtured and accepted best by people who are no blood relations. Not one of us can be summed up by one failure or one success. It is the whole mess; good and bad. I hope and pray God is more merciful than people can sometimes be. I'm thankful for the blessing of forgiveness and what it can do for a wounded heart.
Make peace with yourself because there's nobody else who can totally know your mind.
Some people cannot forgive so they get to live with the past they can't leave behind.
May 23, 2005
 I am keeping these links to relief organizations to help with victims of the tsunamis and other natural disasters. I was concerned when listening to NPR this morning when I heard interviews of people in areas where Clinton and Bush visited who said they have seen no relief and they are wondering if they have been forgotten. It seems that people have generous enough hearts when it comes to giving to big organizations and filling up coffers. I hope that the money is being directed to where it is intended. It must be difficult when the government structures are less stable. Then again my sister, Maria, told me $32 million in hurricane relief was paid to a county in Florida that wasn't even hit by hurricanes. Meanwhile there are numerous houses that still have blue tarps on them to protect them from the weather after the winds blew the roofs from the houses. There are lots of nice things about this state, not having hurricanes is a big one. Of course we are being groomed for the next major earthquake and volcanic eruption. I guess it all balances out. I heard Bill Moyers quote a saying that goes something like this, "Life isn't fair, so get on with it."

May 22, 2005
  What a full weekend we had! We lost our Kitty, Bella, to a car accident. It was very hard for all of us as we loved that kitty. She was deaf and had a habit of running underneath our cars every time we would get into them. That proved to be her demise in the end. We had to put her to sleep as a result of her injuries and I came home to some very sad ladies. We buried her in my Asian Garden, a place she thought of as one big play pin combination cat box. Rest in peace kitty.
   We had Provinces and Cafe de Paris on Friday and Saturday night. Christopher Nickels played both nights even though he had to be at church at 7:15 am on Sunday morning. Loretta came out on Saturday night and it was nice to see her and Jimmy smiling and being happy. Ron Llinas joined us on Saturday night and we had some magic moments. My cheeks hurt from smiling. We did yet another version of the Hamilton Murat song, Where Can I Find Love? I wrote some drum parts during the day on Saturday and I almost left the Roland drum machines (Tito and Eddie) at home because our friend John Matthews was going to come in and play percussion. He was on a video shoot and must have gotten hung up so I was glad we had the droid drummers because it helps with the Latin and Island flavored tunes. I am humbled and grateful to my musician brothers who come out to Provinces and make the nights magical for me and all of the folks who show up. Thanks to all the people who continuously support our music. People like Kenny Lee, owner of Provinces and Dale and Kathy, John, who helps by taking pictures when I can remember to bring my camera, Firmin for having me play at the Cafe de Paris and also coming up the street after work to have a drink with Kay and listen to the music. I will be building a website for the Cafe in the next few weeks as soon as we pick a name.
    To top off the weekend I played at Vesper service at Bellingham Covenant with Kevin and Pastor Paul. Liz, Andie and Robin drove up with me. It was beautiful and soul nourishing as usual. It is always so emotional for me with the candle light and the beautiful songs we play and sing for worship. Now musically sated we embark on another week, may it be good for you and us as well.
God bless. Greg


May 21, 2005
Another gray Washington day has begun augmented by the music of Joao Gilberto. I love the Bosa Nova. I have to write drum parts for tonight's show. Last night was a kick. We played from a little after 9m until after midnight without a break. Dale, Shaker Boy, was a big help keeping the groove going. Dueling basses took the stage with Walt Steinbach and Jimmy Culler. That was interesting. I have never played with two bass players at the same time. It was fun. Christopher Nickels was in great form and played his usual tasty lead guitar. Kelly did her thing singing those Lynn Miles and Rhythm Cafe tunes. Owner, Kenny Lee, jumped up and did his classic House of the Rising Sun. It happens again tonight at the same time and place.
Yesterday I did something I almost never do , I read my horoscope. It said keep your opinions to yourself, imposing your views on someone else will only drive an invisible barrier between you. I read that right after I sent an e-mail to someone expressing my opinion and point of view on a situation. It was a situation that involves someone who has already turned the whole thing over to God and let it go. Now I couldn't just leave it to God myself. I felt I needed to intervene. Oops. That is why they call us humans I guess.

May 20, 2005
Yesterday I had a lovely visit with Sarah Maria. It took me two hours to drive home afterwards, but it was worth it. She shared a film she had edited and pieced together of the story of a young man's life and legacy. It included excerpts from a book he made for his family just prior to his death due to cancer. The film was inspirational and reminded me that we have a choice about what we do. He said "Do what you love." He said "Take risks." He pointed out the importance of integrity and values in our lives. Sarah had already put over 40 hours into editing the piece and once again it displays her genius and her generous heart. You can do anything. Like Jimmy Buffet says, "I'd rather die while I am living than live while I'm dead." Ain't it the truth.
   Chani sent an e-mail saying she has updated her website and that she is happily anticipating her trip to California. She said the sun was shining in Alaska and she was feeling fine and tattooing more and more. How lucky are the people who will wear her artwork. Life is a canvas and think of all the canvases available for body art. She won't be hungry. With her passion and talent to rely upon, there is no limit to her future.
    It is my on again off again friend Jamie Phalen's birthday. Happy birthday. In the last week I have spent several hours listening to cassettes of live recordings that go back to Ricardo's in 1979. I don't really recall ever having listened to these recordings before but there is certainly some great music on them. That was in the days of playing through a little mixing board hooked up to the house stereo. Manolito Fuentes was there on flute, even way back then. There were no effects on the vocals, there were no guitar pedals and Jamie was playing a single red conga and singing his heart out while releasing all that angst, anger and passion on his conga skins and in his vocal "scats". Ironically, at one point on the tape, Jamie says sarcastically, "Greg,I think we about to make it big." Who knew? Although it was always a bumpy ride, there was definitely musical magic that happened. I think we were really a reflection of yin and yang in the contrasts of our styles and approaches. I think it would be fun to do a show of Beatles music together some time. He is the master harmonist and a very talented musician. So Happy B-day Jamie, where ever you are.

May 19, 2005
I've been thinking about our friends Terri and Randy a lot over the past few days. I hope they are doing good things with their lives. We have a lot of love for their whole family. Life is full of changes, some more difficult than others. It is strange that adversity can bring the best out in us and that we can go through tough times and come out stronger and wiser on the other side. I just looked up and saw a card from Sarah Maria that says "Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, grow, grow." If that is true for blades of grass imagine what is true for us. We needn't feel alone as we go through tough times because we are each special and loved by God. I wonder if we have finger angels and toe angels, and eye brow angels. Hey, I bet if we have mouth angels they spend a lot of time saying, "ssshhhh.".


May 18, 2005
  Well today is the kind of day Washington is famous for having. It is dark, cold, rainy and windy. I went for a walk and to meet Don Quijano for lunch and was nearly swept away in the wind and the rain. It is funny when I first walked outside I didn't have a jacket and it was overcast but dry. In 5 minutes it was pouring rain and I was stuck under a tree trying to keep a piece of recording gear dry. That was my 1st adventure of the day.
   Now I am off to do some recording this afternoon with Mike Daily. It should be fun. Jimmy should be by early this evening as well. I am looking forward to playing this weekend at Provs and Cafe. Don had a lot to say about getting off my butt and finding some new venues to play with the band. Change is tough. Change is good. I resist change though. It seems like I am not alone in seeking familiarity, even when you know it is probably not the best thing for you. I need a change. Who said that?
   I think I will record some Bosa Nova tunes today. Here is a little joke for you.

  For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish
you weren't married, this is something to smile about the next time you open a bottle of wine:
Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.
"What's in the bag?" asked the old woman.
Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband."
The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said, "Good trade."

May 17, 2005
What of this war and these times we live? I think about it every day and my heart goes out to all people every where who are suffering from the cruelties of conflict. I hear the stories of equipment shortages and soldiers buying their own gear and it is shaming. I heard a speech on NPR yesterday that was very powerful. The speaker referred to war, other than in self defense, as failed diplomacy and unimaginative aggression. I wish the world that I envision in my heart and mind was real and the reality was the dream. But we are here to be involved and I guess through work and prayer we can make it better, better if we try, better, better, better you and I. We can always start with simple acts of kindness to our loved ones and then to strangers. I got an e-mail from my friend Jerry and it talked about what love is. Here is one great quote. "If you want to learn to love  better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Ink - age 6


May 16, 2005
   Keep dreaming. Last night Jimmy Culler and I sat and listened to a show he, Doug Hamilton and I played at the Orient Express back in the '80's. It is a very good live recording of a very good performance. Playing all the time really makes a difference. The evening started with me listening to cassettes to find a recording of a tune called Don't Hang Up, which pokes fun at call waiting. I ended up listening to old tapes for hours. I am going to archive several songs to CD and put a few up for free downloads. There is really some great music. I stumbled on a recording of the Beatles song I'll Get You that is Jamie Phalen and I. It is probably the one and only time we ever sang it and it was amazing. I love singing Beatles songs with Jamie. So the baby is getting ready to join the external world and I am feeling pretty old but listening to all that music that most of the world has never heard makes me realize that even old and tired, I have to keep dreaming and keep making music. Pretty soon I will be singing to a grand baby.


May 15, 2005
   Rain is such a beautiful sound: nature making music that is profound. Oops, there I go again making rhymes. We are organizing for a music march. Contact, react get things back on track for making music with friends and getting it out there. There is so much to do: photos, promo. All these things I some how let slide. But I have such a fine array of players it is time to organize once again. Andie and I are having a meeting to plan and implement it to create the materials we need to get a move on it. I feel good this morning. I really love the sound of the rain. It is a good day to stay inside and play in the studio and after our initial planning I think that is what I will do.
   Life is so full of changes, some times we head down a road after we come to a "Y" and we start to doubt if we are going the right way. That is one of the wonderful things about life; we can change our mind. We can examine our motives, our goals and if we decide we made a wrong choice we can change our minds. Who cares about the money?
"Love is what makes you smile  when you're tired." Terri - age  4 

May 14, 2005
I went to a "How to buy a House" show at the Everett Bus Station today. It was fun and informative. I learned a lot. I also met Le Femme de le Rouge from KSER. It was interesting talking about the station and all that is going on there and how much they support local artists. I believe they just finished the fund drive for KSER , you should check them out. I listen everyday on my drives and it really is my favorite station. I met Walt, he was doing the sound for the live music at the event and I noticed he had a top of the line sound system. He was very efficient and a pleasant fellow to talk to as well. People who do recording can bore nonrecordists to tears in a very short time. It was a good day and I look forward to buying a house tomorrow. For now I will just go play at Cafe de Paris.
It's been four months today since I smoked a cigarette thanks to hypnosis through Tim Ewing (206-412-4846). I still am ready to light up at any minute. It is not really funny how that works. I think one thing that is difficult to learn when not smoking is to take a break. I just work and work and work, or maybe sit and sit and sit. It is ironic that I would regularly go outside for fresh air and a smoke. I still go outside for fresh air but about a tenth of the time I used to go. They say not smoking gives you more time on the planet. Time is mysterious and our own mortality is something that is hard to grasp. Billy Crystal said that he will be ready when he dies because he spends so much time thinking about it. He said since most people don't think about it, most people won't be ready. How about living though? Let's have more fun. I think in our situation it is best to learn to have fun whatever work is going on because there doesn't seem to be a lot of time for recreation. It is probably all perception and planning. I have stretched myself out so far there is little time left over. I feel like elastic man but without the flexibility. Time to back off a bit and work smarter and play harder but for now I have chores. Stretch! Stretch!

May 13, 2005 Friday
What is it about this day that freaks so many people out. The fears of Friday the 13th have several supposed origins. One is a Viking myth about a 13th dinner guest who killed the god of joy and threw the world into darkness and mourning. Judas was the 13th dinner guest at the last supper. Romans believed that whenever witches gathered in numbers of 12, the 13th guest was the devil. From a mathematical standpoint 13 is unlucky because it comes after 12, a complete number. There are 12 in a dozen, there are 12 months in a year, there were 12 apostles and the list goes on almost endlessly. 13 just missed the mark by one. Do I believe the day is unlucky? No, I believe God looks out for us and our beliefs affect a lot of what happens to us. Dossey said " What you think about , you begin to feel. What you feel generates what you do. And what you do creates how you will become." Like Peter Pan says we all need a happy thought and we will be fine. After all, he could fly.

May 12, 2005
The news caster asked "Do scrawny men or brawny men make better husbands?" I had arrived at my destination so I turned off the radio and never heard the answer. I didn't figure that it really mattered since I am scrawbrawny, kind of skinny in the arms and legs and brawny in the middle. What does that mean? I am a little lean on good qualities at times and a little heavy on the other stuff. Hey, we have to work with what we have and make the best of it. Don't you think?
  I got some pictures from Chani and it seems like she is enjoying Alaska still but likes the winter there the best. The winter looks way too cold for me. I do remember how much fun we had skiing when Chani was little. She loved to sit and play in the snow even when she was a baby., So again, children let you know who they are early on in life. Andie and I watched a show about research that verifies that we arrive with personalities in tack. I remember Chani lining kids up at the swimming pool and telling them to jump in one at a time and in the order she dictated. Some of the kids were less happy than others but there was one thing certain, Chani was in charge. So, like my friend Christopher said to me this morning, our lives are a struggle for balance between assertion and surrender. Which way do you lean?


May 11, 2005
   Music is a crazy business. You think a day gig really sucks, but then you don't want to spend every night in a smoky bar. I say you but I mean me. I don't miss bars at all when I am not in them. It is fun to be out with friends, especially on vacation but when I hear my friend Jimmy say, I could be playing 7 nights a week, I am not envious. I would like to come home and have a set up like Mike daily does with drums and all the band equipment you could use and have everyone meet in the evening and go for it. Just to play for fun in the studio would be a blast. Just tonight I sat on the sofa for an hour and played the acoustic and worked on a new song. It was nice not to turn on any computers or records and just play and sing. That is a big part of getting ready to go back into the studio to record. Speaking of which, when Mike gets back from Mexico we will have to get together for some more work on completing the CD we have been working. It is a brand new morning. It's a brand new day.

May 10, 2005
  Back in the great state of Washington, stuffed up and raring to go. I would be happier about being here if I felt better. I feel like an gecko molting, skin peeling. Man, getting old sucks. We were watching that show 24 Hours last night and something struck me as being pretty funny. One of the team leaders in the control room of the anti terrorist hub turned to an analyst and said "I don't have time for your personality disorder right now." Wow. Is that a statement we could all get some mileage out of, I mean its political correctness comes into question but still. Heck, I could use it on my own self in the middle of some self sabotaging behavior. I could just stop and say, "I don't have time for your personality disorder right now." Then I could shift into some success oriented behavior just like that.
What do you think?
  Sarah called me yesterday and asked me to stop by to see her. I said I wasn't feeling well but she said, "Just a drive by then." She wanted to give me a father's day present early. It was a beautiful silk Asian jacket she suggested I wear when I am mixing in the studio. I said I should just get a few of these and throw all my other clothes away. She gave me a Hop on Pop DR Seusse card. We had a lot of fun with all those books when we were all so much younger. I remember the joy and laughter that used to come from reading books out loud to the children.
   The cultures of Native America and Asia have had the most influence on me and have passed, on especially to Sarah, Chani and Aaron. Of course Liz is half Native so her tendencies are natural. Asian is strongest in the decor and artwork I love. Native music of wood flutes is close to my heart. The spirit of the people native to this land has a heavy influence on the music of Freedom and touches many lives. I am proud that Josh is playing in the band. Freedom said he did a fantastic job at their last show. Shine on. Shine on.
We make a living by what we get,
We make a life by what we give.

May 8, 2005 (As told to and typed by Elizabeth Luke, by Gray Haired Pony Tailed (WOW!) Man.)
All right are you ready? We stopped to have a nice lunch at the Palm Pavilion over looking Clear Water Beach. When the waitress came to take our order, she said "What can I get you ladies?" I said :What would you girls like?" After Liz and Andie placed their orders, the waitress, whose name was Andrea, turned to me. I said in my best Sly Stallone voice "I'll have a rum runner." After she had walked away, Andie said," I know why she thought you were a lady! There is this really old woman with gray hair, a pony tail and a baseball hat sitting right behind us." I said "Gosh honey, you really know just the right thing to say."
Liz: "What else, is that the whole story?"
No, we moved to a different table, which gave us a diff, waiter, wait, server. Our new server's name was Greg. I said "Hi, my name is Greg too!" He said "Really? You know, you kinda look like that old woman with the gray pony tail, is she your relative?"
At that point I began to sulk. Andie said "Honey, I think you should get some therapy. You think everything is a conspiracy." As I was telling the story to Liz, Andrea (Andrea the beauty, yes, the beautiful) intervened, which is a polite way to say interrupted. She said, "You're changing the hole story! I never said anything about therapy." The end.
    As I write this, it is amazingly our last full day in Florida and once again it is overcast. Who knew? The sunset was subtle but beautiful last night. We saw dolphins playing in the wake of the waves at the edge of the drop off. It was a beautiful evening and although this has not been what we had expected in the way of warmth and sunshine, I am glad that we took this time away. It is great to have had the chance to enjoy the beautiful home of Terri and Randy and be this close to the beach. I think we all pretended like we live here. It seemed like it was true. The only thing missing from the regular routine was the going to work part. Who misses that? I think we are looking forward to making improvements in our lives when we get home. There is a house we want to look at in Machias that pretty much has everything we need for a large home and a studio. I am looking forward to playing music with the band and getting some demo MP3's on the website so people can hear what we do and how fun it is. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about anything else really, with the exception of relaxing and that doesn't take much thought. I got some nice photos last night I will whip a slide show up shortly. I can't believe it is nearly time to go home.
 I watched Sesame street this morning for a few minutes and I saw a short story on an African girl who learned to walk on stilts as it was a tradition to both walk and dance on sticks as she called them. Her step father taught her patiently and at the end of the segment she was dancing in a parade and smiling at the camera. In her final narration she said, if you start slowly and practice a lot, there are many things you can do. Ain't it the truth?

May 5, 2005
It is Mexican Independence Day. There was once a time when I would always be playing somewhere on this occasion. Today we spent the late morning on a very long walk on the beach talking about our future and what the best ways to make a contribution to life and the planet would be. Andie said putting God first is what we need to do. Everything else falls in behind that anyway. We had a lovely walk, the air was cool off the sea and the wind was blowing giving the air the perfect coolness. We saw 2 to 4 dolphins splashing not far off shore but probably too far for our photos to turn out. What conclusions did we draw on that walk on the beach. Whatever we do, we will do together.

May 4, 2005
   There was a severe thunderstorm warning this morning and hail the size of quarters or larger were expected. The worst of the storm passed us by and we simply got a tropical torrential downpour instead. It is now just gray, over cast and warm with the sound of birds cawing, chirping and cooing in the late morning humid air. A large pelican just cruised by above the channel searching for a late breakfast. Andie and I are still twitching like robots in need of oil on their hinges. The initial pain of bad sunburn is now augmented by the itching of the healing process. We are still grateful to not be working or home cleaning house. We may be able to flex our limbs enough to walk on the beach later. Since the sun is filtered through clouds that are reminiscent of Washington, we should be safe from further skin damage.
  I look at the guitar and turn away with no real desire to pick it up and play. I am not sure why. I hope for an awakening that has not been forthcoming. I look for dreams that lie sleeping somewhere as in a mist covered land where direction is hard to determine and sight is short in deed. A lone pigeon looks down from the telephone wire above the house and bobs his head curiously in my direction. Perhaps he is seeking a bit of breakfast himself. Compressor driven nail guns fire across the street where construction is moving forward on a new house. The smell of ozone permeates the air on this midweek day in vacation land as grayness settles further and deeper across the sky. It is a good day to be alive.
You can escape life, but you can't escape death.

May 2, 2005
   God knows what shape we would be in if it was sunny the first day. Andie is almost delirious with sunburn, Liz has red cheeks, I can't feel my legs and chest they are so sun burned. All I can say is ouch. I think I will be okay tomorrow but Andie looks like the old Coppertone add with the white cheeks showing as the dog pulls the suit bottom down. She is not having much fun right now. I have to go because she doesn't want me on my dumb computer.  
 It is a cool 74 degrees and overcast with a prediction of rain the rest of the week. Mike and April will be arriving in Cabo San Lucas today where it continues to be clear and sunny. It just doesn't seem to be our destiny to find warm sunshine this year. Still, it is good to be away from daily cares, work and in the comfort of Clearwater Beach for a few days. We are getting some much needed rest and relaxation. I played the guitar a bit last night and I am cultivating some chord progressions for a couple of new songs. I don't have any idea for lyrics as yet though. We are about to take a look at pictures Andie took. She has a beautiful series of pictures she has taken of Liz and I think that is what the rest of the pictures we about to view are also. She has the gift of capturing people at their most natural and best. Life in a photo, life like a dream.
  I just finished a Dean Koontz novel and although his writing is kind of creepy, there are always some good messages in the stories and a theme of good ultimately triumphing over, or at least surviving, evil. He also talks about the responsibility that writers have. I like that because it reminds me to continue to mine for tid bits of wisdom to pass on through prose. Some times the mind just wants to be still and will not deliver clear informative thoughts. At those times I suppose it is best to just relax and listen to the silence and feel peace in the stillness.

May 1, 2005
   It rained last night in a tropical down pour. It almost sounded like hail. Earlier I took a nap while Andie and Liz walked to the beach and went swimming. Andie says the water was okay when you got used to it. Andie saw a shark fin swimming around a couple of guys on Jet Skies. They didn't seem phased by it at all.
It is cold and overcast so we are lounging around the house today. Andie and Liz went to get groceries and came back with new clothes. Maria called and she is sick so she won't be coming down today from Orlando. Hope she gets better soon. Timing is everything isn't it. We still have the rest of the week so we will see what happens. It is very quiet here. It is a good place to do some writing but I haven't taken Andie's guitar out of the case yet. Missing the Fickel audience I guess. My brain is on hold, there is no data available.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist