Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Journal December 2008
Happy Holiday! Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2008 Christmas helps us to remember to do what other folks hold dear
The snow is falling on Christmas eve. I believe it snowed lightly all night long. I am wondering how many local families, including some of ours, will not get together because of this weather. Faith came out early and spent the night. Kayden did his 3am wake up that is becoming a most unfortunate routine. He and Andie are sleeping now in his room. Now my mind is blank.
I spoke to my sister Maria last night and she shared the ripples of her life in Florida. The changes we all go through. The choices we make. My love and thoughts and prayers are with her this morning.
As I am being drawn towards being a coach and educator I am reminded of all the things we are not taught in school like life skills. Instead we are steeped in a soup of relationships and set out to steer our own course. There are great lessons to be learned and taught regarding making choices and taking responsibility for all aspects of our lives. Learned helplessness. Now that is a fascinating term to unravel. We learn limitations. We are taught so much on a foundation of don't, can't and negative perspectives that it is no wonder so many of us struggle with the basics of life. See just how challenging it can be to communicate without those negatives. Resistance creates more resistance so the very things we want to stop are subconsciously encouraged. This does not however apply to husbands and wives regarding fashion and such. After she asks your opinion, no matter how positive you are by saying "Wear the black dress honey, You look beautiful in that," she will wear the red one instead and thank you for your opinion. Now it is interesting to note that you can not fake your answer. She will know.
Ask yourself what you can do to make you happy, and if you soul search, you will find that it is the same answer to the question : How can I make the world a little better for having been here? Don't and can't never do us any favors. Of course there are some things you choose to forgo acting upon and for good reason. But the key is that you choose. With each conscious choice you make your life can be a little better every day. Merry Christmas~
December 23, 2008
Feel the joy of a child's heart and the world is a beautiful place. Seeing it so will help to make it so.
Kayden is flying a bend me shape me Santa around the living room. I hear the sounds of powered appliances; the dishwasher, the aquarium filter, the refrigerator and type on this power driven Powerbook and sigh with gratitude. It is warm here in the house. I had a nice visit with John Matthews on the phone today. He is needing to play badly. It would be good to put the band together for an evening. I mentioned to Mike Daily that we need a lead guitarist and he said "We need a need for a lead guitarist." As in somewhere for the band to play. We are talking about a CD release party at the Thumbnail Theater. There is a rumor of more snow this evening and if so I will have to go up on the roof and clear the way for Santa Claus. Anymore snow up there and our roof might just join us down here.
I may put some time in at Mike's studio this evening if I can catch a ride. That would be good. No Christmas shopping this year and not a single gift under the tree. Not our style in the past but still it will be a lovely white Christmas and that is good enough for me.
December 22, 2008
There is an inner warmth and light that is always present. Embrace it always, especially in times of cold and darkness.
The cold continues again today with temperatures in the teens and below and more snow falling. What weather for a holiday. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are stranded awaiting flights, for those who are homeless on these cold nights, and the lost and lonely every where. For all victims of the acts of war everywhere. Like the words in the Tim Noah and John Morton song say; All I Want for Christmas is Peace on Earth. As Kayden and Andrea sleep I am thankful for the warmth of shelter and the very many blessings we have. I find myself asking how can I help? I think the answer is with music and writing. The gift of creativity are my means of making a little better world for having been here. I feel like the character in The Santa Claus when his son handed him the Christmas Globe and he remembered what his purpose was when he say the sleigh and reindeer flying inside it. I think being part of Tim Noah's show reminded me of my purpose. It feels good to remember.
Yesterday Mike Daily and I had a listen to seven of the mixes he has done on one of our up and coming CD's. We are getting very close to being done. He has become quite a master at mixing. I believe we may spend a little time mixing today if he can pick me up and drop me off again. There are definitely going to be some vehicle changes in the coming year and I plan on being better prepared for the weather. I think I will ease the studio door shut and play my guitar for a bit. Peace. Warmth Shelter. Love.
December 21, 2008 Take the news with a grain of salt. Sensationalism is big business. Peace of mind is free.
We did the last show of the TIM NOAH'S KADDYWOMPAS COUNTRY STORE & CURIOSITY SHOP HOLIDAY RADIO SHOW. The evening was supported by a great cast and crew of volunteers and was a real example of community being creative together. I got the privilege of working with Rod Ashton on sound. He drives all the way from Bellevue for the shows and is very dedicated. It is a pretty complicated endeavor running sound for a live production and Rod was gracious to let me lend a hand and some meager input.
There is so much local musical talent in the high school and in the fine metropolis of Snohomish. We were treated to a singer songwriter, Madeline, who has a beautiful voice and clear and solid guitar style. Her songs were lilting and melodic with emotion, humor and a little irony and were performed with relaxed confidence. She was very inspiring. I loved the duet that Tim did with his son Jude playing fiddle. Jude is also a very talented musician. He also acted several nights as a stage hand. Bryan Stratton, who is a member of the backup singers and the announcer, played a beautiful John Denver song. Jimmy couldn't resist doing cricket sound effects while Bryan was singing about cowboys and campfires. Brian's special effects were a humorous and supportive part of the show. David Douglas accompanied Bryan on harmonica and also is the voice behind the puppet Uncle Roy who tells the story of alien abduction by UFC's. (Unidentified Flying Cowpies). The production and stage manager, Bui Williams, was very charming and focused. I had to smile when I saw she was singing along to my new song I Love Christmas Best Here in the Northwest. Imagine my joy as I looked back over my shoulder and saw Tim, Cyndi Soup, Bryan Stratton and Lindsay Douglas dancing the Ditty Bop Christmas as Jimmy and I played the tune. Speaking of Jimmy, he is the reason I was able to be there at all. He came and picked me up in his Astro Van and bebopped right into town. Andie and I are pretty much stranded in our vehicles. Studded snow tires next year, that is what I am thinking. Cyndi asked me if I would like to play one of the children's shows on the 26th or 27th. She would like to teach the kids my Ditty Bop Christmas dance. How fun would that be?
Tim was amazing and funny and powerful once again. He really has a commanding presence on stage and transforms before your eyes. I love Christmas Don't Do Business with a Rat Like Me. He dons his rat nose, tail and feet and blues rocks it to his tune that has feel like Bad To The Bone. I felt like a kid at Christmas each night of the show as the Rat song was being performed. I knew the boomerang story was coming. I love that story! I am thrilled to have met my family's and my long time hero and to be becoming friends with such a genuine and talented person as Tim Noah. It reminds me also that I need to get on the stick with the Jimi Jenkins Books. Know any children's book publishers out there? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the show Jimmy stopped in for a brief visit and Andie made us all a toddy and some snacky cakes while we shared our thoughts and feelings about the evening. I was left with a sense of gratitude. Grateful to Scott Drexler for calling me up and introducing me to Tim and playing congas and harmonica on the first show with me and Jimmy. Grateful Jimmy drove me in and learned the new tunes in a flash. I am thankful that Tim invited me to be a part of the evenings, calling me when others couldn't make it due to weather conditions and for making me feel welcome. I am thankful to see so many people working together to bring about a wonderful evening of entertainment, family entertainment. I am thankful the power is still on and that I have a loving family and community. Our lovely local news is calling this storm "The Death Snow." It doesn't exactly create a warm fuzzy feeling does it? Actually it makes me laugh. God bless us all and keep us safe and warm.
There are miles to go before we sleep Miles to go.
Take the news with a grain of salt. Sensationalism is big business. Peace of mind is free.
December 20, 2008 When the snow comes make a snow man. Go sledding. Enjoy the wonder of it all.
Thanks to Mike Daily I was able to play the show last night. His Rover cruises right through the snow and ice and although he gave me a few brief demonstrations as to how slick it was the trip was safe and smooth. There was a good turn out for the show, especially given the weather. There were some sound glitches again but all in all it was a good show. We just needed to hear more Tim and his guitar. It is so beautiful outside. I have never seen anything like it is all my years of living here. It was 12 degrees last night when we left the Thumbnail Theater. It is such a winter wonderland. I think Andie really wants to try and get to the barber shop today if she can safely get off the hill. We will see. Everyone is still sleeping right now. I have been an early riser for so long now. It is that quiet time of morning I have come to love. Most of the local world is still sleeping. The only snag is our dove starts cooing really loudly if I sit in here and play my guitar. She is lonely since her mate died. So she coos a great deal.
The guests were very acoustic last night and Tim had asked me about doing the same solo performance. The set up is very much simplified. Jimmy Culler came in an played bass with me and simply ran straight into the board. We did a I love Christmas Best Here in the Northwest, Ditty Bop Christmas and Love is Kind. I am hoping I can catch a ride tonight with Jimmy tonight or that conditions improve enough for me to drive my car. The show is just about sold out for tonight so it should be fun.
I think I will see if I can quietly brew some coffee. May your power stay on and you be safe and warm.
December 19, 2008 The is today. Now is the moment. Wake up and live.
I am playing tonight and tomorrow night as part of the Tim Noah Kaddywompas Holiday Radio Show.
It is hard to imagine but I will be playing tonight. Mike Daily will drive me tomorrow night and tonight either Tim, Jimmy or Mike as none of our vehicles can negotiate the ton of snow out there. We haven't been out of here since Tuesday so cabin fever is setting in fast. I shudder to think about the next wave of snow which could keep us stuck on Monday too and that is not good. That is Andie's and Faith's night out together. I know they both look forward to it in the same way I look forward to seeing Chani every week.
We received a call from Sarah saying she has safely arrived in New York. She plans to do a lot more sight seeing this Christmas. She was booked solid with work last time she was there. How exciting, New York City at Christmas. We were so grateful she called to let us know she arrived safely. We were joking about how she squeaked out in the nick of time. She might not have made if if she had caught an afternoon flight as the snow was piling up. As it was she said there was a big delay because they had to de-ice the plane. Spooky!
I will put up some more photos. It just gets more and more beautiful outside. It looks like a scene from Dr. Zivago. Crystal ice sparkling on the freshly fallen snow. Must venture forth into the cold dawn. Be safe. Be warm. Come see us if you can.
Relax and let it snow. Let it snow Let it snow.
It is a long and interesting day today from getting stuck at the bottom of the hill, walking home in my slippers. That was a crazy slippery adventure. Getting out in the thick of it and helping build Kayden's first snow man. He kept waiting for him to come to life. He even took snow and said this is his brains. I don't know where that came to be in his thoughts. It was really fun to play in the snow and Andie and I were busy shooting pictures. I got some video shorts it dumping snow like I have never seen before in my life. I will put some of those up but for now even though it is evening and dark outside I told Kayden I would take him outside again. He is just finishing up helping Andie make Christmas cookies. This is great snow man snow. Kayden made a ball bigger than himself from a little snowball by rolling it. It was great to watch.
I am playing another show with Tim Noah on Saturday night at the Thumbnail Theater so come out if you can. It is a great evening. More later.
Journal 12-15-2008 You are responsible for your happiness. Let it be
Man is it cold. All my cheeks are frosty. I don't have a heater in the studio. It was fine when I had my server in here because it generates a ton of heat. However, since I moved it in the other room, it is quite quiet and quite cold in here. Usually, even in the morning hours, I can hear cars cruising down the road but is silent outside. It is so cold outside that sound has frozen.
This morning I read the e-mail Sarah sent me after I visited her in Paris. It is one of those treasures that always makes me smile and reminds me of all I have to be thankful.
Josh called yesterday and was on his way to a party put on by his work. He was in good spirits but we only spoke briefly. I sure miss those guys. Man it is just too darned cold in here to work. I have to go and bundle up.
Okay I swiped the heater out of Andie's studio. My server is heating that room anyway. Still my legs are frozen. I just blew a fuse. Man some where warm sounds so good right now.
Sarah is leaving for New York City on Wednesday. Now it definitely gets chilly back there. We just were given a copy of her film Luck to Three. I love it! I am excited to see her moving to the next level in her film making career. Some day I would like to see New York at Christmas time. I would also like to spend New Year's Eve in Paris. These are the ramblings of the nearly frozen man. I often joke that I can't feel my legs after Kayden has pounced on my while we are wrestling. Guess what, I can't feel my legs. I am sure there are ice chips on my toes. I am knee hugging the heater now but the heat doesn't seem to be able to get through my PJ's. Man I miss my laptop. It is an antiquated desk top now so I have lost my mobility. I am noticing that freezing seems to activate the complaint center in my brain. I had better go under cover for awhile until the sun comes up and shines some light on this situation. Be warm.
The most important choice you can make is what you choose to make important.
In the book Tuesday's with Morey the author learned of community responsibility. I think it is another area in life that brings fulfillment through giving back to the community in which you live.
On Saturday night December 13th I performed with my friends Scott Drexler and Jimmy Culler at Tim Noah's Thumbnail Theater. These are exceptional musicians and good people and I always enjoy spending time with them. Scott's congas were good support even though the tunes we played were pretty mellow and he kicked it up on Ditty Bop Christmas with a hot harmonica solo. Jimmy laid down the bass lines that kept it all grooving and both he and Scott grabbed harmonies on Ditty Bop Christmas. It had me smiling.
We were part of the variety show which included actors and numerous musicians. Tim is an amazing human being and consummate performer. I was honored to be on the same stage. It is a lovely venue in Snohomish with a cast and crew made up of fine and talented human beings. The show was quite enjoyable and entertaining. There was a lot of laughing, some stirring of emotions and a few lessons learned about life and people. Two of Tim's tunes were exceptionally uplifting to me: The Faces of Christmas, and All I Want for Christmas is Peace on Earth. The themes were so inspirational and his voice so clear and strong. The enthusiasm of the crew was contagious and their love and respect for Tim was evident. The show included Tim reading a story about a boy and his boomerang and it included sound effects for support. It was hilarious and it ended on a moral note of understanding and tolerance. The show also included a few of the commercials Tim has written for local businesses including McDaniel's hardware.
One highlight of the evening for me was Madison McGuiness. She is a star to be born. Jimmy and I were talking and he said she sounds like a combination of Norah Jones and somebody else. I said she sounds like her. She has a beautiful and soulful voice and sings with emotion and poise while accompanying herself on the piano. Bravo!
Tim Noah's Thumbnail Theater, an intimate venue, an evening of laughter and joy in the fine little town of Snohomish awaits you. Tim is supported by a band of local musicians including some incredibly talented members of Snohomish High School. It was a great evening and quite an inspiration. I hope to be a lot more involved in a support role in the future. It was good to play again. The new Christmas song I Love Christmas Best (Here in the Northwest) was a big hit.
I have written a program for children called It's Real to Feel and I hope to bring it to the Thumbnail next year and I look forward to working with Cyndi and Tim as well. Two thumbs up for Tim Noah and The Thumbnail Theater.
Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater is located in an historic building in the heart of picturesque Snohomish WA. on the southeast corner of 4th St. and Ave D. Parking is available on adjacent streets and the entrance is on 4th St. A handicap ramp is off the driveway on 4th.
December 7th, 2008
Hi Ho holly let's be jolly come and sing along with me
We can do the ditty bop All night long
All around the Christmas tree
Boy your toy bag on your shoulder and hop 1, 2, 3
Do the flip flop ditty bop Christmas with me
December 7th, 2008
Once again I find myself awake as everyone else is sleeping. Our little dove, Lucy Lieu Love, will be cooing if I make any sound. Mac keyboards are pretty quiet but my stomach is growling so loud that I might awake the neighbors. In a few minutes I will be typing the lyrics to two new songs. It's Christmas Time Again and Flip Flop Ditty Bop Christmas. I haven't really decided on the title of the first tune. It could be I Love Christmas Best Here in the Northwest or Beneath a Christmas Moon. All the ingredients are their I just have to organize them into a continuous flow.
Chani and I have completed the first of the Children's books. I have created a writer's account and can now register my songs and books on line in a matter of minutes. The Internet, what a strange and wonderful thing. I got the chords and lyrics to a Christmas tune, a recipe for cooking rice and my e-mail all at the same time. It's great for multitasking. I am so excited about moving forward with our books. Chani's artwork is just so great.
Last week we put up some shelves in her and Steve's office space. Next day I stopped by and Sarah came by for a visit and we all just went in and organized the space. We hung CD an Cassette cases on the wall and sorted through chords and moved a big bulky broken monitor to the garage. Busy. Busy. Then Sarah helped Steve cook some cod and made a salad and dressing. I had just planned to drive by and drop off a chord but ended up staying until dinner and then watching Amelie while Steve and Chani took Sarah home. It was a nice evening with some of my favorite people on the planet.
Yesterday Steve and Chani came out and got some material to put together a work station for Chani. Kayden loves Chani and drug her around by her arm showing her all his toys. Andie got home and whipped up a salad and some grilled chicken and we had a lovely dinner before they hit the road. Then Andie made some hot buttered rum batter we had a toddy before watching Better Off Dead. Typically for me, I was asleep half way through the movie.
Yesterday Kayden said to me, "You are old and you are dying." I said "You really know how to perk a fellow right up." Seeing my days are numbered I really would like to see the grand daughters before too long. I talked to Josh briefly on Friday night and he sounded good. He is going to start teaching guitar. I think that is wonderful because he has a real knack for teaching. He showed me a difficult Stephen Eberly song in a way in which I was able to learn it on the spot. It is a timely opportunity for him. Freedom called three times on Thanksgiving but I was out of phone range visiting Andie's family in Timbuktu. I did not get to talk to him but he sounded like he was having a good gathering.
Liz is doing good. She has a big fat cat named George that she loves to pieces. She is thinking about starting school and getting her education. Liz, Andie, Kayden and I all survived the 3.5 hours (each way) road trip. Kayden had a little projectile puking incident as we were leaving town for home. He was fine after that but the aroma made for a very long drive.
Andie is still traveling the round about way to being healthy. I think the new year will bring new hope. She is very busy with her new endeavor in helping people understand themselves and their tendencies better. She is happy helping and seems to have found a real niche for it. As always her first love is taking care of Kayden. He loves her hugely.
My dad sounded pretty good the last time I talked to him. He didn't seem to have any health issues and that is always a good thing. Health is one of our greatest blessings. So I have a concert appearance on Saturday night. I had better get these songs written. Later.
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Greg Murat (mur-rah)