Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal December 2006



December 31, 2006       
 I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round....John Lennon

   All is well as Kayden sleeps peacefully at last. It seems like life shifts into twilight zone at around 7 PM every single day. He sleeps lightly for the first hour anyway. Andie stays and loves him up with snuggles to get him to sleep. Isn't that a beautiful tree of Kathy and Dale. I love that. I may not get to post this for a few days as we are having Internet problems again. What are you gonna do. The new year approaches. There is partying near by and we are quietly sitting with laptops reaching out to the cyber space universe. Here we go. Nostradamus was a drugged and probably not reliable.

December 28, 2006         It's kind of fun to do the impossible. Walt Disney

    I have to say I ought not talk about feelings that are vague. Still I do have some more thoughts on responding to communication. You know that the ability to call back, engage in a circular communication goes back to BC calendar. It is a sort of responsibility. Responsibility comes from the Greek word Raysponsalopalopolopalis, which means ability to reply or response ability. That's it. It is all in fun.
.I don't think I would make a very good hippie. I take things too seriously. I apply rules to situations where they don't really apply. I learned that from Tony Robbins. Not only are all other people unaware of what our rules are, often so are we. Little lessons we learn growing up, forms of courtesy, manners and such come in to play either consciously or unconsciously in our interactions with others. Little things like not having phone calls or text messages or e-mails returned is a drag to me. With my rules it represents uncaring and disregard. It probably only means that it is not important enough to the people who receive them to regard them at all, one way or another. If a phone call or e-mail falls unreturned in the forest, is it still an phone call or e-mail? People who don't reply are very likely only so absorbed in the present that anything outside is insignificant to nearness of Now. That sounds cool doesn't it? The nearness to Now negates all tugs from outside influences and frees the mind and body from the need for interaction. Woh. That is probably one of somebody's rules. All rules aside, I think when we say we are going to do something we ought to do it and if we change our mind we ought to let others know. It is hard to be present when you are waiting for some one to respond, or show up. Being free means allowing others to be free. Man, I am full of it today. Maybe the key is being free of repond-sability. That's it! As Charlie Brown would say. I have to go make some phone calls.

December 27, 2006         Behold the turtle, he only makes progress when he sticks his neck out. James Bryant Conant

The year is rapidly coming to a close. I spent about 4 hours in Studio 04 with Mike Daily yesterday. That was after he spent about 3 hours helping me fix our water pump so we could have running water again. It has been a crazy year. I was singing Stronger which is a prayer for strength and Mike said it has been a tough year, reach out with this song and sing it as if someone was really listening and could answer. That was good producing. It really helped me reach down and pull out the emotion. I finally, after 4 years, wrote the second verse in Mike's studio. It was a really good session. It felt good to be singing and not worrying about pushing buttons and all the engineering stuff. Mike played a really drum part to the tune; groove with an light attitude. I am trying to cough up a lung due to what, I don't know. It really gives me the gargled with glass texture to my voice.
 Jimmy came by the night before and we sat on the floor in the studio and solved all the world's problems. If you had a really good night's sleep that is why. He finds himself many days over at Loretta's trying to be of some help and to bring a little sunshine into that world.
   Andie was going to send me to Maui for my Rob and Freedom's birthday. They are all within three days of each other. It didn't work out due to scheduling and the fact that I would be away from Kayden and Andie on that auspicious occasion. I want to plan a trip to Maui in the next year when everyone else is there. We will make it happen. We had better do something as I have a ticket we cannot cancel.
  It has been a mellow Christmas this year; little on the light side as far as our gift giving goes. We didn't get any gifts from the kids with the exception of Liz and Sarah. Sarah always spends hours and hours hand making magical presents. She made us flip books this year that have pictures of her and events in her life. They are wonderful. Liz is a thoughtful shopper and even though we said don't, she bought nice presents for Andie, Kayden, Faith and me. Chani did get Kayden a teddy bear. He likes to run around and crash into things using it as a bumper. Andie always goes all out. She and Faith share the kitchen and create wonderful meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had prime rib this year and the Yorkshire pudding that Faith always makes for me. It was delicious. We are very blessed, very blessed indeed.

December 25, 2006         Merry Christmas to all and to all happy new year. End the war.
   Up above is a picture of Kathy's and Dale's Christmas tree. Kathy has a ton of antique lights and ornaments and every year their tree is just gorgeous. Faith is here and Liz too. Kayden is napping and Andie is making Mary Kay orders. We heard from cousin Bri and Josh already. I just got a Christmas text from Freedom. Grand Pa Joe called yesterday with Christmas wishes. I discovered that maybe the only people who made reservations for our canceled Taildragger's gig were Jason and Blu, Chris and Christa. We talked about getting together around new year's eve as an alliterative. We always have a lot of fun with those friends. It is laid back now. Kayden got a big Radio Flyer spring rocking horse. It is pretty scary to him but he has already let Andie set him on it. It is fancy and steel so were going to have to cover the bottom frame with towels so he doesn't bust his head on it.
   Yesterday was an illusion of things gone wrong. A rat leaped into my face as I was unloading the garbage cans to go to the dump. Jimmy Culler loaded his truck with our garbage and drove us to the dump. He didn't leave me there, just the garbage. Our well pump stopped working so we are without water. This morning I walked outside with Kayden and discovered Santa left us a mote around our house. We flooded again. Yesterday I got the liquor store 5 minutes after it closed and I left a case of beer on the bottom of my shopping cart at Safeway and drove home without it. Merry Christmas to the somebody who found it. I kept saying this is all an illusion. It is not real. I told Chani that and she said it is real all right. Andie got me a beautiful loop pedal. It looks exactly like the one that Josh and Freedom has. I may play with it a little later today. Chani is coming out I think. It was nice that Sarah came for a visit on Saturday. She made the most amazing flip book for me. She assembled it right in front of my eyes. I was looking at the one she made for Andie. What a gifted person she is. She is so kind. She said the director at Gage Art Academy said I was the best musician at the Drawing Jam. I think there were 40 or 50 different groups there. I said "So I didn't embarrass you." She said "Dad, I am trying to give you a compliment." So I thanked her and said I would go down and play again anytime. So happy Christmas all. Time for papa to jump into the flow here. Peace and prosperity.

December 22, 2006         In the beginning was noise. And noise begat rhythm. And rhythm begat everything else. Mickey Hart (How a drummer thinks)
  I discovered at a very early age that acting was not to be my destiny. I think I was about 7 or 8 years old and I had done something wrong and of course I haven't the remotest idea what it was. Needless to say that whatever I did, I was in big trouble. Those were the days when corporal punishment was the norm. I was in for a whipping and a big one. It is strange how easy it is to remember the punishment and forget the crime. I had recently been introduced to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and had learned the technique of using a good hard bound book carefully placed in your pants to absorb the blows from a hearty spanking. The fact that such an act would greatly reduce the impact of the lesson to be learned was of little or no concern to me. I sat in my room during the torture period: waiting. I hate waiting. I was also very nervous and yet excited to see if this new experiment would really work. I thought my chances were good. The book was not evident and so I supposed I might really pull it off. I had left out a little detail in my planning. Since it was not going to really hurt I would have to pretend. I would have to act. I was pretty much terrified that I would get busted. My Dad came in and went over an explanation of why I was going to get a spanking and how it was going to hurt him more than me. Little did he know. So I bent over and there it came down through the air, the palm of discipline. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! I screamed in terror at first but fear was quickly replaced by the sudden realization that the blows didn't hurt. They didn't hurt at all. Whines and attempts at tears quickly fell off into fakey sounding weh weh weh followed by silence. Being firmly committed to my proper training my father thought perhaps he was being too timid in the spanks and proceeded with more enthusiasm. My lack of rehearsal and acting talents began to sound an alarm. Still it was not unsettling enough to make me really cry. Too bad for me. By now my father realized two things. One: this spanking really was hurting him more than me and two: something was amiss. That is when he discovered the outline of the hard bound book in my jeans. Let's just say that no acting talent was required for the response to my next lesson in good behavior. Those were real tears baby. I learned my lesson well. I thought when I grow up, I won't sell everything and move to Hollywood to become an actor. That's for sure. As far as staying out of trouble was concerned, I didn't really learn too much at all.

December 15, 2006         It is only the smartest and stupidest of men who cannot change. Confucius

..The wind kept us, at least Andie and Kayden, awake almost all night. It sounded as if the house would blow away. A tree trimmer warned us earlier this year that a gnarled and twisted cedar tree in our neighbors backyard was extremely dangerous and likely to fall towards and maybe on our house in the event of a big wind storm. We told our neighbors about it and they said they can't afford to cut it down. I guess we had better think about paying for it ourselves. Funny how those things work sometimes. I looked out this morning to once again see Lake Machias in our yard. Sometimes I think what the hell? I don't ask what is next. I think I don't want to know.
  Last night Chani called crying and in pain having tried to pass a kidney stone for two weeks she got run down and caught the flu. She had been throwing up for a couple of days. In traffic out here it would take two or more hours for either me or Lisa-Marie to get to her so I asked her to call anyone she could who lives nearby. Mean time I called Ronnie llinas and told him the situation and that Chani needed some Cola Syrup which is about the only thing I know that will stop vomiting. He asked me to give him her phone number. He called her from his car on the way to the pharmacy but she had already set out on her own. She made it home okay and called later to tell me she had stopped throwing up and was able to hold a few gold fish crackers down. I was really impressed with how fast Ronnie responded without so much as blinking an eye. Good people are sunny breaks in an otherwise cloudy day.
I want to share this video of one of our distant relatives in France, Jerome Murat. It was sent to me by Terri Fickel. It is pretty fun.
Bring out your knee high rubber boots because we are not out of the storm and into good weather yet.

 December 13, 2006         Love doesn't sit there like a stone. It has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new. Ursula K. Laguin

   I talked with Freedom last night and he sent me some tracks of a new song he is writing called The Gunslinger. It is based on the character in the Stephen King Dark Tower series of books. He sang harmony and played a couple of guitars. He used Garage Band for the drums. I was really impressed with the sound. This is fun.
  Faith came for her Sunday visit and brought me this fudge I really love. It is layered with a decadent center that is creamy and rich. You have to eat only one piece and walk away or you will hurt yourself. mmmm Good!
   There is a wind storm today and the wind nearly knocked my car off the road two three times when I was out driving. It was spooky it hit so hard it blew me into the next lane. How rude! I hope we keep our power through this. The wind is the biggest problem for the power lines, even more than snow and ice.
    l listened to Josh ( on his Johnny Suede MySpace) playing guitar on the loop pedal, I love the song Spanish Sword Fights. If we hook him up with a hard disk recorder we can all swap files over the Internet. Recording songs in three or four states all at once. How cool is that?
  Oh my look at the date. I guess I better start my Christmas shopping. Be safe and warm.

     December 12, 2006         The whole secret to a successful life is to find out what it is one's destiny to do and then do it. Henry Ford
   I flip through various books looking for a tid bit of wisdom and then I forget it on a conscious level. I always look for something that gives me a sense of truth and timeliness. The one today made me think how simple it all is really. The stress, the worry, the sleeplessness all come from not following Henry Ford's little secret formula. I have never thought that I haven't a clue what my destiny is. Well, maybe a few times I have. I love music, performing, teaching, recording but I think most of all I enjoy writing. Just feeling the flow and energy of words, lyrics, poetry, prose, it doesn't really matter which form. I think it is the satisfaction of release and sharing that appeal to me. I also think it help free some of the creative energy trapped inside. Writing is quantum travel; outside of time and space where the future, past and present are all interwoven.
 Okay, time to wake up. Freedom called last night just to say hi and love you. That was nice. I was tired and cranky and it was a pleasant surprise. He and Natalie are still struggling with the absence of Cheyanna. Natalie told me there are a few pictures of their wedding on her MySpace. You can get there by going to mine and clicking on her picture. I can't make sense of the addresses on MySpace enough to make links yet? Well I had best be about the business of the day. I need to write some thoughts on The Secret. Jimmy Culler said his friend Crackers wants to bring it over and share some of the philosophy of paying attention to the power of your thoughts and the idea we draw into our lives what we think about; good or bad. But for now, I need coffee.

     December 11, 2006         One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats

Talked to Dad last night, Grandpa Joe. We talked Mac's for awhile and he listened as I expounded on our day to day cares. He then shared some of his troubles with me. His wife and soul mate Judith could use some prayers as she has had a lot of painful problems that don't seem to want to go away. Tests we have. Doctors are just scary most of the time and offer Band-Aids when we need overhauls. Nothing God can't do if so inclined so in friendly persuasion some prayers would be appreciated. The same is true for Dale's friend Lisa who is in the hospital and very ill. It seems like a lot of cares can fall on us during these happy times but it is always better if we stick together.


December 10, 2006         
Funny how one seemingly empty choice can lead to something worthwhile.
Rae Indigo 
It is true that destiny and futures often pivot on a single choice. That is why it is so important to make them. The old saying that not to decide is to decide is also true. The world will continue to move on as will life. Long after this generation this world will be continuing in one form or another. There are many people heralding in a world of peace and leave. There are many who would only foster hate and there are the masses who don't really care. As Jimi Hendrix said, fall down mountains, just don't fall on me. I probably mostly fit in the last category. Too caught up in the cares of living day to day to consider the big picture as I ought. Having a baby to raise at this point in life is miraculous and terrifying, rewarding and debilitating all at the same time. Kayden has become the center of Andie and my world and he is a big center. He has some big shoes and you know what they say, big shoes big feet. He is really struggling with wanting to communicate more and has become fascinated with sign language. In his cleverness he is starting to invent some signs of his own and cast a huge spectrum of meaning on some of the ones he knows. The sign for more is grouping all the fingertips of both hands and then tapping the fingertips of each hand together. For Kayden this means: more please, may I have some of that, pick me up, put me down, hand me the truck, let's watch Elmo again, pass the chips, how about another story, I am not ready for bed and the list goes on. He is beginning to sign please and thank you. He understands most of what we say he is just having a hard time articulating his feelings. Patience little man. There will be plenty of time for talking.

December 9, 2006        
 I am at the reins of my own destiny. Nacho Libre

  I feel the creaking of old bones as I sit in the studio and go through the website to update and clean house at the end of another year. 2006 held some stinking challenges for so many people we know, people people we know know and people whose stories you see and hear on the news. It is good to remember how temporary this all is I think. I mean love is what matters and what carries on after these shells are gone. There seems to always be a need for healing in our own or in the life of someone else's life. Often I think we heal ourselves best when helping others. A shift in focus from inward to outward can give us a new perspective on our own situation. Sometimes that is all it takes to move forward, that and letting go of the past.

December 8, 2006         
Genius seems to be the faculty of having faith in everything, and especially oneself.

  Faith is a good thing to have. For me it waivers in time but I am happiest when my faith is strong. The cares, real or imagined, are very wearing on the soul. I am just tired. I had a hard time putting Kayden down for sleep last night and that always upsets me. We make choices in life that have far reaching consequences. I wish sometimes I had clarity on what those ripples or waves would be. Now I feel the impact and results of other people's choices on my life in a very big way. It doesn't feel very good sometimes.
  Freedom told me last night that he, Natalie, Sebastian, Segara and Andy are headed to Maui for the holidays. Wouldn't that be nice. Hey even Florida or California, any place warm would be a nice get away. It is funny that just a few short years ago Andie and I traveled to Mexico, Ohio, Florida and Arizona a few times all in one or two years. Of Course, even with Kayden, we traveled to Arizona and California this year so maybe our traveling days are not over. Just modified to young family status. I am getting the creeping crud. I really don't want to go there but my nose arrived ahead of me: it is stuffed and ready for speaking French with an extra nasal flair. Bon jour.

December 7, 2006         
Life long education does not answer questions, it provokes them.  Luci Swindoll

This day is done. I never got to write this morning. Routine. Routine. Is it a good thing. I guess it can be. Like practicing your instrument if you are a musician, your technique if you are an artist. Studying to increase your knowledge or potential or develop your spirit require routine. But just plain routine for the sake of routine is maddening to me. But such is the way of life that we live or leave. I am weary and will rest now my guitars face the wall as I walk away. They seem to ask me if I remember when I played them just because?

December 5, 2006         
 The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. 

   Tis the season to be lolly; lolly gagging. Here it is Wednesday and time is whirling past I've not been able to write so caught have I been in the day to day. I played for two hours at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. Sarah invited me to play while she was modeling for the artists. They have an incredible twelve hour day called the ARt JaM at the academy. For $10 you can draw until your heart is content. 3 or 4 floors of classrooms have lighting and models posing, music playing and even art supplies. It was wonderful to peek into Sarah's world and play for a room full of artists as they engaged in the joy of artistic expression. It was great. I could have played the whole 12 hours. Sarah was there at Gage until 3AM the morning of the show setting up props and making costumes. She made Hawk Man, Cat Woman, The Green Lantern and her costume for Goto Itchy Futo (I made that up). She dressed like a comic character who is an evil ninja. The Super Heroes posed later in the day after I played. I was amazed at the way they set themselves in action positions. Holding a regular position is very difficult but Hawk man was flying and Sarah was holding up one of his legs. I thought to myself that it was going to be a long time until break. I guess they all love it because Sarah says they come back uear after year.   Gage Academy of Art
  Freedom, Rob and I worked on the Joules Graves song through the weekend and up until night before last. I couldn't get my tracks transfered because the PC was misbehaving. I was able to put the song in a key that was right for Freedom and give him something to sing along. Rob had to redo all his parts and then mix. I was happy with my piano parts but unable to make the dead line. C'est la vie. Freedom sang some really good harmony parts and I love where he took the song vocally. I put up a sample when it is all done.
   I was reading some of Chani's blogs on MySpace last night. Chani came by for a visit and to pick some guitar. She is a good writer too. I can't wait to see how she puts her own chords to the new songs she will write. She had a good day at the Tattoo shop and worked 9 hours straight. She has gotten incredible. It is amazing to see the perspective, depth and detail she is capable of getting with a needle, some ink and a willing skin surface. She has been able to take her amazing gift and transfer it into the world of tattoos. I am so happy to see that she is expressing a wider range of subjects and balancing out the blood and gore so popular in that medium with color and beauty. Balance. Ah let it be.
My friend Dale called to remind me of the James Taylor tribute on public TV but I fell asleep before it started. Caught in combat with a cold I am. Need more silver water. Great day to all until I can sit still again for 10 minutes. Check the schedule as I am playing with the modified and updated Papa Murat Band on New Year's Eve at Taildragger's at the Arlington Airport thanks to Jimmy Culler. He is dragging me back on stage. Jamie Vandall will be playing drums. He is a fine drummer and all around musician and he sings great harmony as well. Ron Llinas will be on lead guitar and vocals. Jimmy Culler will play bass, do sound effects and sing. I will be playing guitar and singing and we hope John Matthews will join us on percussion. See you there?

December 1, 2006    
 Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; Who looks inside awakens. Carl Jung

We've got rain and then there is rain and oh my more rain. Between the country side and the city there is a world of difference in the landscape. Snow and ice are still present where we live, driving into the city is like driving into a different climate. I think I drove through three seasons between home and Seattle.
Chani came to see me yesterday and played me some guitar. I played along on the piano, what a joy. Playing piano on Rob Peebler's arrangement of a Joules Graves song has reminded me how much I love keyboard. I turned things around in the studio so I can sit in the captain's seat, view the monitors and play all at the same time. Good fun. I was thinking about this crazy weather and realized that it isn't even winter yet, is it? Spooky. Anyway Chani is really coming right along with her playing. I really appreciate that she takes the time to come and hang out with me. We have talked a great deal about the bonding experience we all had in going to Sedona after we all lost Cheyanna. I was just looking at the pictures on my old cell phone and I saw one of Freedom feeding Cheyanna her a bottle. It still seems so much like a dream.
So off we go into December. May it be the best ever, may you and yours be safe, warm, happy and blessed.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist