Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal   November  2005


Josh and Saria
Josh and Christina had their baby
!


November 30, 2005
       The first condition of human goodness is something to love; the second, something to revere. George Eliot from Shaker Boy
Days have run together. I seem to want to sleep every minute of the day away. Slumber calls me continuously and keeps me from my music. I seem to have been sprinkled with sleepy hollows dust and dropped off in the fog. My time and talents are totally being wasted in the present situation I find myself. Yesterday Brian said to me, "An artist is someone who makes their living off their art." At first I flinched and thought to myself " I am not a musician then." Then I realized I do make my living off music. Silly me. I just do a whole bunch of other stuff too
by the way I am going to attempt to use the news page more. Please note that I said attempt because finding time for writing at all seems to be quite a challenge. I have some news you can read about there if you are interested.
 Josh and Christina are in their world in Bellingham and since they have chosen to keep it their sanctuary and we respect that, we are waiting for news on Saria and them. We have to assume (I hate that word) that all is well. We do know if they needed something they would contact us. So Mekaleka High Mekaheeny Ho as Pee Wee used to say.
  No more word from Chani so I think things must have improved. Freedom may be in for a visit early next year. That is all I have I will now switch over to the news page.
Kayden is grand. We switched him to soy formula and he hates the taste but his face has cleared up from the rash. He continues to play his instruments daily and we are learning to sign so we can teach him. Have peace in your hearts as we enter this grandest of seasons..

November 28, 2005 Too much to do and so little time.   

November 27, 2005                 
We may lack riches, but the greatest fortune is what lies in our hearts. Odd Thomas

It is a lovely northwest day. The sun is shining and the air moist and cold, we are going on a quest for a Christmas tree and to get some exercise and fresh air. Kayden is having a better day today. Liz and Andie are doing some cleanup while Kayden practices his djimbe and piano. I am with him for support.
  We got our tree. I can hardly believe it. Every single year we say we are going out the day after thanksgiving and getting our Christmas tree. We did. Liz, Kayden, Andie and I. It is now standing in the living room waiting for all the goodies. It is already the season to be jolly. Man does time fly. I told Liz late last night that one day she would be 50 years old and wonder how she got there so fast so don't be in such a hurry to be 21. Life is that way though. Most of us want to be some where else or some one else at one time or another. Be here now. Those are still silly and still wise words.

November 26, 2005
8 am: Every one is still sleeping except Kayden and me. The dove is cooing softly. Four hours just went by since I started writing. Kayden is singing and playing the electric piano. Andie is feeling really poorly and went back to bed. I am going to head to the store and get her some fruit and almonds to go with the detoxification program she is taking. More later.
10 pm: Andie is lying down for the evening. She seems to be feeling a little better but she still has the headache. Kayden went down for the count finally. He was a bit sullen today. Very serious. He did play the piano three times, the djimbe twice, the guitar once and the congas one time. Sometimes he seems so contemplative. Faith spent a good part of the afternoon with the two of us. Andie was sleeping and Liz had gone to work. Kayden and Faith both watched The Emperor's New Groove while I went shopping for groceries. Faith mentioned that she thinks Kayden looks like an old soul. He is an old soul. All of my children are of the ancients I believe, each so unique and strong in their hearts and in the opinions of how things are. There are people you meet in your life with whom you are instantly and eternally connected. Long after you have brushed against each other's lives you feel their presence. We are truly one big family and there is nothing that we do that doesn't touch every other part of humanity in some way. That is why acts of kindness, no matter how small, are so important. Each one starts a ripple that flows, not buoyed by the media, but by the power of the human heart. The essence of goodness resides in each of our hearts. We need to bring it out into the sun. Love one another. What do we get when we nurse dark feelings, harbored hurts and unforgiving flaws in ourselves and in those we love? We spread the darkness. Better to spread the light. We all stumble. What if we took turns helping each other up and on our way and passed the kindness on? What if?

November 25, 2005
10:53 PM I have been thinking about my son Josh and how much I love him and how much alike we are in so many ways. I have been wondering why we send each other love and then come together like two combatant knights fully armored. Neither of us can talk to the other and I want to so badly. That is it. Jimmy Culler came by tonight to tell me about his adventures skiing and hang gliding and being followed down the mountain by snow bunnies. It was a fine evening.
The day after Thanksgiving has been very laid back. We just took it easy and Andie, Kayden and I spent time together. Andie is watching the marathon reruns of the show 24. Kayden is asleep in her arms. We have just spent the day with him. He played Christina's Congas, The Yamaha piano, he sang, we danced, he got Pontiac rides on my shoulders and I would not have been any where else in the world. When you have grown up kids you realize just how fast this time passes and Andie and I both are soaking up every changing minute. I think Josh is soaking up Saria in the same way. He pours love out of his eyes to her. They are still in the hospital a week after Saria was born. She had to go under ultra violet lights because of the yellowing effect being born has on so many new babies. We get almost all our information on how they are doing from friends. Josh said he hasn't slept more than two hours a night but said it was worth it and told Andie once again how beautiful he thinks Saria is. I wish we could have been more a part of her arrival. Exclusion and distance seems to be the role that was written for us in the relationship with Josh and Christina . We have plenty to do being parental grand parents to Kayden. We discuss concerns we have but realize for Josh, Christina and Saria and us, it seems to be about letting go. To be excluded from even the knowledge that Saria was being born is something that did some serious damage to my heart but I will work it out in time. It showed me our place and I accept it without malice. Besides, when Kayden smiles at me nothing else matters in the world. I see the dynamics for what they are. I am just grateful they are doing fine and have others to lean on until they are on their own. I am thankful here at home, we have each other. God bless.

November 24, 2005  
Happy Thanksgiving! 10:02 PM
We are home once again. We visited Mish and her family. I noticed she had downloaded a picture of Saria from our website. When we first arrived at Mish's house only Rob and Pure were there but by the time we left it was Chastity, Comfort, Peace, Bill, Samantha and a few more with still more coming. It got real busy just at the point Rob and Mish and I started to play music. That came to a halt so we decided to head home. The energy was good but a bit loud and high and since it was time for Kayden to go to bed we decided to head out. The night before Rob and I spent about 5 hours in the studio going through the live at Provinces recordings. He brought over the Roland digital hand drum module he had just bought and we had too much fun playing with that.
   Today it was Liz, Faith , Kayden, Andie and me. Sarah didn't call or show true to Murat form. She finally did call tonight and is doing a drive by at about 11 PM. At least I will be able to see her face for a few minutes, Andie went to bed.
  So as to the forces and space at hand; Faith and Andie were at it this morning doing their Thanksgiving thing. It is too bad for most of the family who never make it for these occasions because it was great. At 12:30 when I was going into a low blood sugar coma dinner was ready. We dined on some very fine food. Turkey stuffed with garlic, basil, bay leaves and butter and basted in orange juice. It was wonderful. We had broccoli salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, black olives, stuffing, home made cranberry sauce, vegetables sautéed in garlic, butter, olive oil and seasonings and included Brussels sprouts and new potatoes and finally freshly baked rolls. I just couldn't eat a third helping even though I was starving. It has been a nice thanksgiving. We got to talk to my dad and Freedom and we had each other. Thank God for that. God bless us everyone.
   Sarah did make it by and it was good to see her. It was short and sweet but still good. Liz shared some feelings tonight that really touched my heart. I think when a new life comes into a family it is easy for everyone at different times to feel replaced and forgotten. It is part of the growth process. We are all children and grown ups all at the same time. Finding balance is the key. I have been blessed with some of the finest people on the planet as sons and daughters. God has given me so much I am thankful for and I hope he will forgive my short sightedness when I forget just how much I have. Thank you Lord.



November 23, 2005                  Update I finally got the computer working again.
    I never did get Nuendo to work again. I was up until nearly midnight with no luck. Install, reinstall and on and on. It is 5 am and I just fed Kayden and put him back to bed. I was thinking how comparatively simple life was before all these computers. Now I type away, Andie plays Spite and Malice and makes friends on line, and Liz is often on line working her web page or doing some research or instant messaging her friends. It seems what we don't do so much is interact with each other. That is where this machines and screens come in to keep us occupied. But they are a lot of fun too. I keep getting these silly movie clips "world's worst job" about a guy who has to answer yes every time the Verizon guy calls. Boy is that false advertising. I got one yesterday about "wife training school" that would be funny only to guys. It is a great way of staying connected. I am seriously thinking of retiring from this web stuff though. Maybe dig ditches and drink lots of beer for a while. Well, maybe not in this weather, I'd freeze my ass off. Rob is supposed to come over today and help me fix the P.O.S. Computer. I hate that I bought this damn thing. I tell you what. It has finally happened. I hate P.C.'s. Give me a Mac any day. I get more work on this Powerbook than I ever do on this P.C. that costs me four times as much money and continues to cost more and more. There are lemon trees and lemon computers. My server is one of those two. My good friend Don recommended I buy it from a Filipino dealer and man did I get jacked. Never again. I am going to shut up now and drink some coffee.
I hope everyone has a happy thanksgiving.

November 22, 2005
  Well Kayden had night mares all night, Liz stayed up until 1:30 and kept me up so then my alarm went off in the wee hours so I could get some work done. I didn't. I am in a haze even now. I fell asleep on the couch. I wanted to finish up Fresca for Manolito. It is a wonderful collection of songs he recorded on cassette that I am transferring to CD. The only problem is my software went sideways. I am ready to sell all of this crap and quit. Mike Daily called to tell me how fantastic things are going for him in his studio. Maybe he will want to buy this stuff. I will find out.
  Well it was something to see that little baby last night. For the looks of her she was way ready to come out. It is hard to see Josh in there but she is so cute and she is so chubby it is hard to tell who she resembles. I felt like a dummy today because I realized I forgot to take any pictures with my cell phone so I would have them with me. I think I was a bit out of it with all the emotions. Christina said"It is going to be a really long time before I have any more children. It is too hard."I brought the back packer guitar for Josh to play for the girls. We had some great Thai food in Mount Vernon on the way home. Kayden slept through the whole dinner but made up for it by staying up all night off and on. I had all of these thoughtful things to say today but they slipped away before I could sit down to write them down. Oh well.
You'll break the worry habit the day you decide you can meet and master the worse that can happen to you.
Arnold H. Glasow (Dale's quote for the day)

November 21, 2005                
  I just wrote for 45 minutes and accidentally closed the page without saving it. I hate doing things twice because of a goof up. We met Saria today. We drove up to Anacortez to see her and Josh and Christina. They looked good and she is precious. She has a full head of hair and bushy eye brows and even eye lashes. She is a big girl. She is beautiful. Josh said so several times. He looked very proud. We both held the baby for a bit. When she started to cry it set Kayden off and he started wailing too. It was strange since he very rarely cries except when things scare him. Then we headed off for home to give them back their space. We know how much they guard that. Congratulations! We are very happy for the three of them
  On the way home Chani called and filled me in a bit on what is happening with her. She says she feels stuck and ends up stranded out in the country when things aren't going great with her man. I told her if you are partners, you are partners all the time. She needs to let him know that she can't be left at home because they have issues. It is important that she gets to town to be with people, to look for work, to tattoo. I said she needs to look and see if she is going to be given the opportunities she deserves or not, and if the answer is "not", then she needs to move on. She seems to have a grip on the fact that she is contributing to what is going on in her relationship. I hope she decides soon if she wants to visit or not so ticket prices don't go through the roof. ..
   I guess Chani is coming home. She called last night really upset and then said she couldn't talk because her time was out on her calling card. Now we sit and wonder what is up. Just last week she sounded so happy. I hope to talk to her today and find out what is happening.
  Josh called at 2 in the morning and left a message that his daughter was born at the Anacortez Hospital at 11:20 PM on Sunday night. According to the message he left Christina is doing fine he said Saria weighed in at 9 pounds and 6 ounces.
Congratulations. We wish you the best.
  That is what we know so far but if you want to know more call Mish or Clarity and they can fill you in on what is happening. We are not really in the loop. We will give out any news we get as it trickles down to us through the grapevine.
    Thanks to Rob Peebler for thinking of us enough to let us know what was going on last night. They say that it is often true that your closest family doesn't even have the same blood. DNA doesn't necessarily make for bonding. I feel like we live on the outside of camp and it is time to hit the trail and look for new horizons of our own. Happy trails to you. I wonder if people are aware of the damage they can do by means of exclusion. Is it an act of aggression or ignorance? I wonder.
  There is a new life on the planet. God bless her.

November 20, 2005                 
I got it! I recorded last night at Provinces and there will be a limited edition CD out for Christmas. Wow I am listening to it now as I record it off the minidisk recorder into the Silent T Server. It sounds good. I just loaded up the pictures that John shot last night. We have some great shots. He out did himself. I am so glad that our friends came in last night. It was jamming. Bill(Mac) road home with me last night so he could meet Kayden and see Andie before he leaves for San Diego this afternoon. He is sleeping still. Everyone is sleeping still. I just don't seem to need much sleep. I feel so pumped up and alive after playing. I can't get over how great this recording turned out. Manolito and Jimmy both were amazing last night. The mix is wonderful. Thank you God. We had Dale (Shaker boy) backing us up on percussion. I forgot Tito and Eddie again so it is purely natural rhythm. Blu and Chris came in to see us. Jason is in Montana so they came to lend us an ear. Okay I need to see if the boy wonder is awake now.
Josh left his great hat at the house here so I wore it last night because I miss him a lot. A whole bunch of people asked if they could have it or buy it. No way. It is my son's. I stand corrected because Andie told me "That's not Josh's hat, it is Christina's. Oops. It was so fun.
It is all good.


November 19, 2005              
I heard from John Matthews today. He is going through life stuff too. He had a run in with a couple of idiots and hurt his rib muscles; not good for anyone but especially a percussionist. He may be out tonight.
  Kayden is sleeping in and I know how to wake him up; just start typing in my Blog. What a night last night was! I walked into Provinces after playing at Cafe de Paris and was trying to make it to the stage but I stopped to discuss playing at what sounds like a lovely wedding reception in January at Ray's Boat House. These are really nice people.
   Sometimes I feel like Discount Mart. I remember being in the Scuba diving industry and most people did not want to pay the sticker price. Wouldn't it be cool if we could go into Safeway and say "Hey, I will give you four bucks for these steaks instead of eight. Or if we could go to a nice restaurant and say I want this Baked Alaska but I will give you $7 instead of $14. I wonder why we don't get to barter at most stores and services and we do at others. That is why most of us musicians have two or three other jobs as well playing music. But thank God we get the chance to play. And why is it that cereal comes in a box inside waxed paper that is really crinkley and noisy when you open it. There is no quiet way to get a bowl of cereal. What is that about any way?
    I have a cold and didn't feel too good last night but I was looking forward to playing at Provs. The Cafe had been extremely busy. When I reached the "stage" I looked down at the closest table and there sat Bill (Mac) my friend for decades. I said Holy @#$%! Then I turned and there was Rob. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't seen either of them for at least 10 years. They all stayed until about 1 and then decided they had better go and do some Karaoke. Mac was up from San Diego and Rob and his wife live in Mukilteo now. Wow it was such a treat! They all looked great. They have hardly aged. Now as for me and aging, someone else came in and said "I haven't seen you in 14 years. You got old. Do I look old like you?" I said "No, you look great."
  Guess what? I hear Kayden now.
 After Mac and the gang left in walked my daughter Sarah and 3 of her artist friends. I have been missing Sarah really bad. She is so close and so far. I called her on the phone earlier in the evening. She sang four songs and blew her friends away. They had not heard her sing before last night. It was so good see her. Jimmy did a song or two with her and we all did Queen of Hearts. Jimmy even played a little guitar last night. Dee Roberson did several songs with Jimmy and with me too. Bob Marcure came in with his guitar and did some songs with Kelly. She took a break from bartending to party with us. They did a Deirdre Lord song, She Don't Even Know, great tune. Bob announced that the Rhythm Cafe CD will be released in Japan on January 18th, I might be wrong on the date. I wasn't really listening. He said he was going to have a CD release party at Provinces.
    I will put some pictures up from last night on the news page and on the schedule page. There aren't many because I forgot to bring in my camera until it was almost time to close and most everyone had gone home.
I have to run and get the boy. I hope to see Dale (Manolito) Fuentes tonight. God bless Jimmy Culler for being there and for being himself. I said the biggest thing that should be different about Gone to Yesterday, Room with a View and Rhythm Cafe CD's is that he should have been playing bass. I said he is the only one who actually knows all the songs on those CD's. Well that is all the time my grandson can spare. Bye now.

November 17, 2005     Josh wrote and said no baby yet as of today, Friday the 18th of November
  Kayden is bouncing in the Jumperoo and then stopping and his little head is nodding and rolling around on his shoulders. He bounced himself to sleep. I gave the dog a bath and in one hand I am holding her (she is wrapped in a towel) and I am typing with the other. It has been an interesting two weeks. I listened to the CD Jim Wright gave me. It is about changing your life and the vehicle is Quickstar the on line e-commerce franchising business. I did not care for what I interpreted as the arrogance of the speaker. I did, however, appreciate some of the things he had to say. When he addressed the question of how do you motivate yourself to build a person business or pipeline after working all day. The second endeavor has the potential to pay huge dividends in time while the other is only trading hours for dollars. How do we motivate ourselves to go to our jobs everyday. Jobs that we might not love or that we might even hate. It is funny how indoctrinated we all are by our schools and the media. I have always believed that only through a radical departure from the day to day would we ever find some independence and financial prosperity. The big thing they are selling is time: a way to have more time. I am going to dig deeper. 
   I have lots of e-mails to respond to. I have just been going like the energizer bunny. A lot of energy is being spent on trying to find a new path for our lives. Getting motivated to take the steps necessary has been hard for me. I guess it is because it is more of the same that I have been pursuing. Doug Williams, a musician friend of mine, called me and we were talking about what to do with our lives. He said "You know what you are supposed to be doing. You just have to find a way to do it and make a living." He was referring to music of course. And so the world goes round. I get encouraging e-mails from people like Crystal who says the music has a good effect on their hearts. I need to let it have that effect on mine. I cannot count how many times I have been asked "Do you listen to your lyrics." I should. Thanks for the time. G

November 16, 2005
Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work
and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy.
Kahlil Gibran Thanks Dale

I have baby Kayden asleep on my chest. I may never move my neck again but who cares. There is nothing like snuggling your baby. Andie is sick and sleeping in the back. I had to rescue her from the dog and the baby. He is getting so heavy I am having a hard time moving my hands with his full weight on my chest. Jim Wright dropped off a book called The Parable of the Pipeline. I am almost done with it. It came at a time when we are very tired of being bucket carriers. The story is the tale of two friends who hauled water to their village for a living. One friend decided to spend half his time digging a trench from the river to the village. It took him two years and cost him half his wages but finally the water flowed and he got paid with nothing more than a little maintenance from time to time. The book is a guide to the idea of making ways to create residual income. I am sorry I didn't read it when I was twenty. I am glad I read it now. I look forward to seeing where the whole thing will lead. I have to catch my breath. Love to all. Provs this weekend with Manolito one surprise night.

November 15, 2005      No matter where you are, there you are.
   I got a note from Erik Helmersen and it was just his birthday on the 8th. Happy birthday. He is doing good with music and getting more and more recognition. I look forward to recording with him more in the future. I got a note from Manolito and he is bringing his flute along with himself to Provinces one night this weekend. Yea! I am thankful for the new day, for family and friends, for work, for play, for faith, for music. Oh yes, and for gloves, it is getting cold out there. I am so ready for a change and I feel it coming. I had a nice visit with Mike and Jimmy Wright yesterday. I ran into them at a coffee shop in Arlington. Jimmy is stopping by tonight to share some business ideas with me.
  That's it on this chilly morning. New songs are brewing. I am looking forward to Provinces this weekend.


November 14, 2005 
   It is evening already and I am ready for slumber. The Vesper Service was very good last night. We had lunch with Kap and Paul at their house on the hill overlooking the distant bay. It was very good. I still wish it was more music and less talking but I love the part where we play. Paul blest me for the love he sees pouring out of Andie and I towards Kayden.
Then we then took a drive and saw the home where Christina and Josh are staying. It is Tinzin and Clarity's place and it is beautiful. Their room reminds me of the main gathering place at what used to be the Love Israel Farm. It has a huge river rock fire place and cathedral ceilings and it is huge. They have vast space in the form of open land around them and they have a view of Mount Baker. It was about 3 o'clock so Josh, Christina and Mike looked like they were just waking up. Christina is now going into two weeks over due and she looks like Saria couldn't come soon enough. She said she had wanted to put it off because she knows it is going to hurt. Now she says she doesn't care just come out! Come out!

November 13, 2005     I never segregated one aspect of my being. Pinchas Zukerman

Last night Scott MacGougan and his wife Deb, Crystal and her friend (I didn't get to meet him) came down to Cafe de Paris. They and one other couple were the only people there when it was time for me to start playing. Firmin (Chef and owner) told me I didn't need to play unless I wanted to and I could have the night off. Since Scott and Deb came from Gig Harbor and Crystal came from Arlington I chose to play. Many times when I start it isn't very crowded and then the restaurant slowly fills up. It didn't happen last night and since there was plenty of empty space I invited Scott to get his guitar and bring it in and join me. It was very sweet and mellow and always such a joy to play with Scott. He is a beacon of faith and has been my dear friend for decades. He truly knows where his talent came from and uses it now almost exclusively for worship. I had hoped to visit with Crystal but she ended up leaving early so I hope to next time.
   The quote of the day came from an interview I heard on the NPR and this very talented musician was talking about reviving music and the classics with children in Canada and throughout the world. The interviewer asked him if all his many projects interfered with his practice and his musicianship and that is when he made the statement. Sarah and I have had many conversations regarding being multitalented and pursuing multiple disciplines. I have always advocated the use them all approach. Integrate them into your life and your being. Make your dreams come true.

November 12, 2005     Treat your friends as you do your pictures and place them in their best light. Jennie Jerome Churchill
   It is Saturday once again. This morning I sang several songs to Kayden while Andie held him. He studies my fingers with a fierce intensity. I put the guitar in an open tuning so when you strum the open strings it plays a chord. We sat the guitar in front of him and he mostly beat on it but he got a few strums done. The night before he sat on Andie's lap at the little Roland Keyboard and pounded out some notes. She said his little heart would start racing when he was playing. He gets a heavy breathing sound going when he is really concentrating on something. Now he is asleep next to me. We danced for awhile and he fell asleep in my arms. This is the cat nap time so I am racing to get a little writing in before he awakes again.
And with that note my mind drifted off. Missy is asleep between my feet so I am pinned down for the moment.
   I heard some encouraging words from my friend Jerry who lives out in St. Louis. He said my music reminded him of all the good things he misses about Washington. Sometimes I feel like I am in a waking dream until I have my guitar strapped on and I am playing and singing. Then I get the feeling that seems to say, "Ah yes this is what I am supposed to be doing." Jerry said sometimes we are so busy going from task to task that we don't take the time to savor what it is that we really love in life. Those words are so true. I recall an old black and white game show on TV in which Peter Lawford said " I believe everyone has worth and dignity." Since God made us all and breathed the spark of life into us, I believe that is true. Sometimes you almost have to be a miner to find it, but if you take the time and really look, you will see the good in every person you meet. It may be just a glimpse of the Smeagle in them and then they return to being Gollum, but that light is worth looking for and seeing.
    I asked myself why I was where I was over the last week because I knew there was a reason. I was acutely aware of the amount of silent suffering that goes on in that work environment and also aware that it is so unnecessary. All those little islands need to be swept up into one mainland where all phases and responsibility are shared equally, where each part of the operation is liable to the other. The desk duds need to roll up their sleeves and go to work with the rest of the crew if things are out of control. Stages need to be evaluated and bottle necks and train crashes could easily be avoided, but that is not the goal or objective. After all, it is written on the wall "If there comes a time when we think we can't, we will find a way to make it so". God help them.


 November 9, 2005       We are all shaped and fashioned by what we love. Goethe
    I was working yesterday and talking to my new friend, Gozalo. He is from Guatemala and he a man with a good heart. He showed me pictures of his two children (a boy and a girl) and then came the part where I truly counted my blessings. His wife and daughter went to Mexico in September and they have not been able to return. Due to the new rules and regulations about crossing the border, he has had to spend hundreds of dollars on applications and forms. Each week they come up with a new fee and form and one half of his family remains stuck in Mexico. We were talking about the wonders of having someone to come home to at the end of the day, of having people who love you, of having children and that is when he told me of his situation. We need a lot of prayers lifted up for him. As we worked we continued to talk and I discovered that he shares my disdain for florescent lighting. "I don't have these lights back home. I hate these lights. But I don't have a lot of good things too. It is just work." His attitude was a like a candle in a cave. I asked him why people we work with seem so unfriendly. He said he doesn't know, he stopped saying good morning because he grew weary of the scowls and of being ignored and not having his greeting acknowledged. It just feels bad in that giant room. I think in time I might be considered worthy of acknowledgment and conversation but that is okay. I say God bless them each and every one and Hasta la vista, baby.
   Tuesday night I drove up to Smoky Point to the Hurricane and the "open mike" there. We snagged a drummer, Scott Drexler on Congas and vocals, Jimmy Wright on lead guitar, Jimmy Culler on bass and me and we did a whopping two songs. It was a lot of driving and time for two songs. I did get a chance to visit with Jimmy Wright and hear the tale of how he became a guitarist. It is a great story I will share some time.
   Just prior to going on stage I ran into Dave Francisco and Peter Frothingham. Pete has been the lead guitarist for a band known as Gopher Broke for about a million years. He and Dave formed a group called Spring Loaded which included Phil Darden on bass. I didn't realize Phil was sitting there until I saw them on stage and I said "That's my friend Phil Darden." Oops, I realized he was probably sitting there when I said hi. They sounded great and I was so happy they went on right after us because I got to hear them. I told them I get up to early to hang around. Jimmy played with a few of the groups. Larry Thompson was just leaving the stage when I arrived. I don't know how often they have that jam session but it is a lot of fun, especially if you are into the blues.



November 8, 2005       Never give up! Dolly taught us that it is okay to be fake.
  Half way through the week from, I was going to say hell, but the movie What Dreams May Come is on TV and I don't really think it has been that much like hell. I think having spent some time in a professional print shop with some really good people didn't prepare me for the harshness of the experience of this week. Life is like that though, you go from an experience of respect to pure challenge and to encounters with some less than intelligent and some really rude people. There is a woman who was supposed to train me to help with the phones. I spent most of my time watching her talking with her mouth full of food, being squeezed into a cubical that could barely hold her (much less the both of us) and then listening to her say wait here, which is mostly what I did, wait. The final straw came when she farted loudly and then walked out of the cubicle. No excuse me, not ahhh, no nothing. Needless to say I did not sit and wait for her to come back. Since then I have been working in the bindery folding pieces of paper, stapling documents and helping bind books. I am being of some use.  Here is another wonder of poor business choices. The receptionist is a scary looking guy with a big scowl on his face, a fowl attitude and probably the inspiration for that saying  "Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you're an ass hole." There are some hard working and very nice people there too. It is just chaos, disorganization and stress, stress, and more stress. I thank God that it is just for a few days. They can continue with the idiocy as long as they want. The sad thing is that it could all improve drastically with some leadership.
   Sorry about that, I just needed to vent. Vent, vent, vent. I am home now and that is where I am happy. I am sitting with Liz and watching the TV waiting for my bride to come home with our boy. My job tonight is to work on my resume. Change. Change. Change. Hey with all the venting I like to do, maybe I should go into air conditioning like Doug Hamilton. There are lots of vents in that line of work. Enough from me for now except my sister Maria called to say Mike is doing fine. He just spent a few hours in the hospital and they are keeping an eye his heart. We all need to keep an eye on our hearts, the ones that feel. Keep love alive.

 

November 7, 2005                          You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday Monday so good to me.
   A sea of chaos, that is what I visited today. Stress soup. Whacko wonderland. Driving through the madness of morning traffic on the way to Redmond I realized that the North Country is for me. Driving to Bellingham was nothing in comparison. I am trying to keep a calm demeanor but I feel like I fell into a troubled sleep and woke up in the Hell of Clueless Chaos. I am not a fan of florescent lights. They give me a headache. I prefer to look for solutions to stressful situations rather than repeat them over and over again without hope of resolve. If I had to do this every day I think I would jump off a bridge. How can one organization have such a large market share of incompetence? It is not in the work force so much as it is the management. Managers punching holes in documents, now that is corporate money well spent. It is just a temporary situation for me, but I had to pray really really hard to keep from walking off the job and quitting. I did get some encouragement and support via phone. Thank you God for helping to arrange that phone call. I am working really hard on thinking about other people and not myself. It is a real challenge for me. I called Andie and apologized for bitching but added that I do it so well so it is hard to stop.
   God gave me a glimpse of another world when I was up north. Situations where people, not all but most, support each other. Jobs, temporary or permanent after all are only jobs. Yet it is where we can spend most of our lives so it is the place with the most opportunity to practice kindness, patience, consideration and work ethics. All the classes in the world won't help Mr. Bush if you chose to do what you know is wrong in the first place. Damn this negativity! I think I feel like I am ready to quit playing music and yet when I am playing music is when I have the most inner peace with myself. Hey, you want powerful reality TV? If we could find a way to show the combat we all face with our inner demons, that would be quite a show. Scary as hell in some cases. I just looked up and read the quote I typed in last night before I went to bed. There is irony. I actually recalled that quote today when some one asked me "Can you do the job?" I said I am not sure I can but I will call you if I walk. I didn't walk. Yet.


November 6, 2005                          Make a list of all the things you believed in before you were told that they were impossible.

   It isn't raining for a minute this morning. On this date Kayden held his bottle himself for the first time. He was matter of fact about it but Andie and I thought it was pretty cool.
   I had a great evening yesterday. I stopped by Kathy and Dale's house on the way to the Cafe and they fed me some Pizza and made me a cocktail. It was good to see them even if it was just a drive by visit. Then at the Cafe de Paris Crystal came in for dinner and stayed almost the whole two hours. We didn't get to visit much but she looked great and it was so good to see her after all these years. She, like so many people we know, is going to college and working towards a degree. It is about time I get after that my own self. It was a good night of playing and singing for me. It just had a healing kind of feeling to it. I am getting better and better at using the loop pedal to record guitar parts and bring them in and out of a song. It makes it a little less lonely to be doing a solo gig. Even if it is just Mr. Roboto playing along with me at least I create the parts on the spot and they only exist for a few minutes before they are gone forever. I like the fleeting nature of that live experience.
   Today is dump day. I have got to find a way to think of it different because I really dread it and put it off until we have no place left to put garbage. I will work on that because you know if you can change the way you think, you can change the world. God Bless.
November 5, 2005   Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Amelia Earhart

   A funny thing happened on Friday morning when I was driving to Bellingham. I was listening to the radio on a Christian Station and it was a Calvary Temple broadcast from Florida. An announcement came on about sending shoes to shoeless children around the world. It was early and I was still a little sleepy but I had one of those displaced feelings. At the start of the add the guitar and conga intro to Walking With Jesus was playing over and over. It played throughout the add. It was exactly like the version I had posted on the web for fee download. At first I thought I had put in a CD of mine.  To top it off the speaker said "when you are walking with Jesus you are in a different light" or something to that effect. The point is he used "walking with Jesus" in a sentence. So without even knowing it, and reaping only spiritual benefits while someone else gets paid, I am helping to put shoes on barefoot children. Is that cool or what?
  Kakyden awakened me at five this morning talking loudly. When I went to his room he gave me a huge smile. What a way to start the day. I have him back to sleep now so I should go do the same and sleep some more I just wanted to write down the walking with Jesus story before I forgot.  
   I really met some wonderful people in Bellingham. It is funny how fast I seemed to fit. At the end of two weeks it felt like I had always been there. To mention a few: Bill and his love for playing guitar, Melanie and her kindness and welcome, Daniel and her patience with me while I taught her the ropes of software, PC's and digital printing, Roy and Dave and everyone's sense of humor and easy going manner. All of the people were very good to me and I appreciated it a lot being the temporary new "kid" on the block. Thanks. I am going to sleep now.

November 4, 2005        Sorrow shared is halved and joy shared is doubled. Native American saying

  Finished in Bellingham and I am tired. I worked my bottom off these last two weeks and I didn't have a lot to start with in the first place. Now it is off to the Cafe de Paris to do what I really love. Yea!  
 Rain and more rain. Wash away my pain. Don't give me a stain. Oops, it is too early for making rhyme. It is silent now but the rain was crashing down so hard that it sounded like we were headed for a great deluge. The sleeping house is quiet except for the creaking that comes in old age. The settling of the foundation is like the cracking of old joints. I have been so busy that I am unable to get on line and keep up with everything. I haven't turned on the studio all week. I have been having some intense dreams, some disturbing, some fun, some healing. I saw Gary, Deirdre, Maddy and Aaron at an art fair in one dream. I think I awoke before we spoke. It was one of those situations where we were all deciding if we were going to acknowledge each other. It was all peripheral. I couldn't look directly but only at the ground.
   At times I think some great event is in the making and will be happening soon. It is like having the feeling that your life is intended for something great and important, and it is. But maybe that great thing is your family, your friends, your work, your community, your grand children. Maybe the thing that you least expect or realize is really part of the wonder of your life. I read yesterday that the greatest hurdle to happiness and spirituality is not the catastrophes but the day to day; the mundane. Complacency leads to inaction and Nancy Griffith said, "There is no reason for any of us to be complacent." And then she sang The Wing and the Wheel, one of my favorite songs. The moment we take action is the moment we live, all else is existence. Inaction is like quicksand that sinks us with subtlety but kills us just the same.
Today I will move and shake. I will play my guitar with the passion I feel for music and I will pour out my souls on the munchers at the Cafe de Paris.
   I also got an e-mail from my friend Crystal, who I haven't seen since she was about 16. She used to sip cherry cokes and watch me play from just outside the bar at Bickford's. Her mom, Carol, would bring her out to see me. I look forward to saying hi to her again in person. Life rolls on and we are in it one moment at a time. May each moment bring you nearer to your heart and may the still small voice that speaks inside your head utter only words of kindness. Thanks for your time.

November 3, 2005       Never get into a spraying contest with a skunk.
   The rain returned last night with a vengeance. I was grateful for the weather man's error yesterday as I walked about a mile to get gas and it was not raining. I am driving this Ford truck and I keep looking at the temperature gauge to check my fuel levels. I thought it was really getting great mileage until in chugged to a stop outside of Bellingham yesterday. I was as perfect as that situation could be. I was right at the off ramp to Bow Hill so it was a pleasant walk across the bridge. The lady at the gas station let me borrow a gas can. When I returned the credit card would not work for me to get gas I laughed and said "This doesn't get to be my day today." She laughed too and said "We all have those days." Short story made long I got back on the road and headed for home. The moral of the story is be careful what you use to gauge your life, you may just run out of gas when you least expect it.

November 2, 2005        An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves. Lydia M. Child
  
The weather forecast is rain for two weeks straight. The good news is Crystal Mountain ski lodge is opening this weekend. That is the earliest I ever remember a ski resort opening here in Washington. People got really burned last year because the snow was so bad. I haven't skied in years and don't really think I will make it up this year but smile for the joy of others.
   It is me against the crud this morning. Yesterday I met someone who had a really bad cold and they shook my hand. This morning I am sharing their sniffles. I will blast it out with silver water. There is no slowing this guy down unless you hand me my grand son. We are expecting a grand daughter any day now. I wish Josh or Christina would get in touch with us. I had hoped to see them this week but haven't been able to get through and we haven't been called back on the messages we left. I hope we don't read about it in the paper. We love them lots and are excited for news on how they are doing.
  There was some scary TV on last week. The worst was when I was channel surfing and accidentally came across George Bush dumping BS into a microphone. I had nightmares all weekend. Have a great week and stay dry.

November 1, 2005
The rain is pouring down. Kayden is bouncing on my knee. He got another shot today so he is starting to fuss. It has been interesting to spend a few weeks in Bellingham. The drive is a universe away from Seattle. It is so beautiful to head into the forested hills near Lake Samish. It is a cruise in the country. I miss the people at Starbucks. I miss the walk across the cobblestones and the fresh latte I would make each morning. The world moves on and so have I. There are good people at Western State and I have enjoyed spending some time with them. I look towards a major move and the energy to pursue it. Andie and I are going to go on a cleansing program for several months. We are just ramping up for the changes that will require. I hope to spend some time in the studio when I start to feel better. I hope that is soon. I am tired of being tired.
  I saw Kathy Antonsen last night outside Safeway. It was funny because I almost never drive behind the store but I did and as I passed the craft store I saw and hooked. She didn't recognize my pick up truck but ran around and gave me a hug when she did. Timing is every thing and there are no accidents some people say. It could be true but maybe not.
He that does good for good's sake seeks neither paradise nor reward, but he is sure of both in the end.
William Penn Thanks Dale
   I ran into Lee Howard, 12 string guitarist, singer songwriter, at Safeway last night. We were in the produce department buying fruits and vegetables. He told me he spent the last 4 and 1 half months in Europe touring. He plays over there the same amount of time every year. His mother lives in Germany that makes it easier for him to go over and set up his gigs. He has a five piece band of German musicians that join him on some of his shows and he plays about 90 percent solo. It sounds like fun, but a bit grueling; 90 shows in that amount of time. That was about all we chatted about; his touring and CD sales in Europe. He said he should probably put out a CD a year for his fans but he is on a one CD every two years schedule. He comes home to the states to write the music and then goes back over there with the product. He called himself the King of the Buzz Inns here. Music is funny that way. I opened for BB King at Parker's where he played to about 1000 people and I saw him on TV a few months later at a concert with 350,000 people. Europe is a lot more supportive of original music than most people here in the states are. Maybe we are just saturated. I heard a fellow musician who works in a print shop say "I just want to make music because it is fun. That is reward enough for me." I think he has something there. I broke out in a sweat at Cafe de Paris playing my guitar on Saturday night. I laughed and thought, man, I am really working. I was really wrapped up in enjoying the instrument for what it can do when you treat it nice.
Today I will do something good, just because.

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  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist