Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  July  2007

Kayden at Mukilteo

July 31, 2007
What you resist persists. Carl Jung
Morning chilled me into gratitude for a sweater. Our ever expanding family is about to expand once again. Kayden gets to meet his new grand parents today and to meet his dad. I am grateful for the opportunity for even more love to come into his life. He is an amazing very young man who deserves all the love and joy he can get. One of my favorite times with him is when I hold him and Andie chases us around the couch or trampoline or yard. It doesn't matter where. He loves it and and peals laughter. Thinking back over the last two years since he has been with us is another cause for gratitude. For well over half that time he was in his own world in so many ways and he has blossomed in the last six months into being outgoing and very loving. That is the best. I am so grateful to be a grand father, a father and a husband. Life is filled with many lessons. Focus on the good things, on the love and ride the roller coaster and try not to fall off.

July 29, 2007    
He who faces fear and passes through it finds peace on the other side, or maybe just the other side.
It is Sunday and the secret to life seems far away. What do I feel? Never mind. The evening breeze is chilly. August approaches on a wintry breeze: summer in Washington. I find myself wishing it had worked out for me to go to work for UniFaux in Sedona and for us to have moved far away from here. But life unfolds as it should, especially when you are receiving all the good things meant for you. Change is scary like waking up to find your partner is an ogre when you went to bed with a princess. Coyote ugly comes to mind. Bad situation. But it is better to face changes and envision the outcome you want than to wait and see what happens or chew off your arm to get away. If you chewed off your arm you'd find you have to deal with the changes anyway only minus an arm. What does this all mean? It is a way of expressing nothing clearly while saying something in a vague way. How does that sound? All good things are coming my way. I deserve all the good coming into my life. I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy. There I have said it all and nothing too.

July 27, 2007           
Gray wolf walks in shadows first then in the noon day sun.
I was driving down the hill near our house today and I spotted an animal trotting along side the road looking warily at the oncoming traffic. At first I thought is was a coyote but it had a beautiful full tail and it was gray and white. It stopped and turned and looked at me and I realized it was a wolf. A wolf walking down the road in a sparsely housed but populated area. There has been so much development out in our area that we see more and more bewildered deer walking about looking for what used to be their wooded homes. I know the feeling. If a few months pass and I haven't driven down the roads in our neighborhood, I find a suburb where fields and forests once were. I like the countryside. If you want a rural setting you had best build in the center of at least 5 acres. I know there are many happy builders at this time doing what they do best: building. What if deer had bull dozers? Can you picture redneck deer with baseball beer bong hats cruising through developments, flattening houses and tossing out cedar seeds and salt licks. There was a cougar spotted down the road last week. I would hate to run into a cougar wrecking crew. If possums were protected they could be effective at driving people out of the area just by picketing. Possums are some kind of ugly creatures but still entitled to some space to be. That is what we are here for isn't it? To be. To be or not to be. That still is the question. The wolf said be.


July 26, 2007  
The difference between the possible and the impossible is your belief.
We trimmed up the small jungle growing around our walkway. Andie likes it. I was fond of the maze it created and I think Kayden liked the enclosure it provided him as he threw rocks in my puddle pond. It truth it does look better and the fresh cedar chips we are putting down smell so good. Kayden loves to spread chips. His method is to take two handfuls and bounce them off myself or Andie. He is quite enthusiastic about this aspect of landscaping. Yesterday he even threw them at himself. I caught him on the way up the steps so I could brush the chips off him before he went into the house. He didn't seem to mind. It has been my week to read bedtime stories and that is good since Andie got the new Harry Potter book. It gives her more time to read. I am very slow at getting him to bed and I suspect that, more than my reading skills, is the reason he is picking me at this time. Whatever the case may be I cherish the time to sit with him. He, like the rest of the crew did, is growing up right before our eyes. It seems like a second ago I was holding his tiny body against my chest and babbling love to him.
  Chani is on the move again. She wished herself out of her house and is busy now trying to find the next ideal living situation. Haven't heard from Josh or Freedom for a bit Sarah spoke to Andie last week but wasn't online on Sunday like we had hoped she would be. Liz is still with Faith and still busy working. I am slowly approaching the completion of the Essence CD with the tremendous help of Mike Daily and also Jimmy Culler. It takes time. Everything takes time.

 

July 25, 2007   
I've always tried to go one step past wherever people expected me to end up. Beverly Sills
The ladder of success doesn't care who climbs it. Joan Lunden
It is a sunny day in Washington. It was a glorious sunrise today. Watching the morning sun come up is such a great way to start the day. My friend Paul Ninehouse rises with the sun every day and ushers it in with melodies played on his hand made Native American flute. Celebrate the day in advance and watch it unfold according to plan. This sense of joy is new to me. It is struggling to break through the surface each moment refreshed by feelings of gratitude. Give pause. When we do the list of things to be grateful for is huge and continuous. Time is relative. They say there is always enough of a break, even in the worst weather, to take a walk for a half an hour. There is time in each day for me to write. For years that time was early morning and that has changed. Therefore I stopped writing almost all together. I realize now that I need to look for the break in the weather of each day and take that opportunity to take note. An observation is not an observation until it has been recorded. That statement applies as well to music and prose as it does to Zoology where I first heard it from a professor in college.

July 20, 2007
It is muggy this morning. It rained cats and dogs yesterday. I love the rain and how it cleans the air and makes the skies clear. You can see so far in the distance after the rain. In the morning there is nothing quite like the early morning sun on Mount Rainier. You can see it from so many places after the rain, cold and majestic in the distance. There is also the view of the blackberry vines growing not far from out dining room window. The are loaded with green berries that will turn into pies next month. Andie is a great berry picker and pie maker. It reminds of Sarah's stories of France. She is a huge hit with the locals as she bakes cakes for her friends. She said they love them. It is ironic and American baking for French. I guess cakes are not common in the rural parts of France where she is staying. I am hoping to hear from her today. We missed her last week. She said she is falling in love with the grandmother figure there in the house where she is staying. I don't recall if she told me the woman's name but she only speaks French and in the evenings she and Sarah play scrabble. That must be interesting. She sounds happy to have a grandmother again. Thomas the Choo Choo is playing in the background. It is a good day.
 I forgot to mention the last time I wearily made an entry that Chani and Knuck came to our show at the Arlington Fly In. Knuck is a very good songwriter and the front man, lead guitarist and vocalist for a band called Drag Strip Riot. It is music very different from my style but very good and they are very good at it. Knuck has a bit of a barbed sense of humor on some of the tunes. It was good to see Chani interact with Kayden. He went and sat on her lap at one point when we played one of the songs he likes. Dan of Para-Phenalia sponsors this gig every year and it is always a good time.
  I had a great recording session with Mike Daily at Studio 04 last night. We dialed in the sound and recorded a new vocal for I Love You Naturally. It was a really good session. I really recalled the feelings behind the song. I wrote it on the way home from a gig one night. It was a 30 mile drive and I kept singing from the beginning to the next line until the tunes was written and I had it memorized. I pulled over about a half mile from the house and wrote the lyrics down. It has remained exactly as I wrote it. I think it is a classic regarding relationships and summed up my feelings towards Andie. It seems like three life times have passed since then but I was there in the moment last night. I also recall how Jeno Nathan loved that song. Picture a very large and distinguished black man dressed to the T in a three piece suit sitting at a table with tears streaming down his face as he listened to me sing that song. Jeno was quite an entertainer well known for his versions of Lady in Red, Chantilly Lace and It's a Wonderful World. He passed away suddenly at a very young age. He used to come into Bickford's where I played every Monday night for decades. We called it Mellow Monday. He always requested that song every time. I would have loved to have been able to hear him sing it.
 It is guys day or Saturday or Papa and Kayden's day and I had best be about my business of playing with Kayden. The sun is breaking through the clouds and the wind is coming up and stirring the tress outside the window. I hear Thomas calling from the train yard.

July 18, 2007     If I could save time in a bottle I'd save every day 'til eternity passes away and I'd spend them with you. Jim Croce
   Tonight I find myself thinking of Cheyanna. It is not even a year since she passed on and next month her sister will be arriving for her turn here on the planet. If time is truly an illusion and this world a passing phase then Cheyanna took the leap after such a short stint and is still somehow present. There was a spiritual power and reflection of timelessness in her little eyes. So many new souls arriving at this place in history and so many seem to be prepared for the times. I see an old soul in Sariah's eyes too. I wonder about the little grand daughter about to join us. I think of and am grateful for music;for the wonderful sound of Sariah singing. I think of our not so little grandson Kayden and how he is blossoming. To see him enjoying the music (at least part of the time) at our last show was such a joy. When he looked at the pictures of he and I that were taken when I was singing the Murat classic rock tune Kind of Like It Mellow, he said "Papa singing. Kayden singing." We were trying to figure out what he was doing as he closed his eyes while I was singing and figured he must have seen me close mine when I am singing, therefore like Papa like Kayden.
   Speaking of the show: the Arlington Fly In party at Para-Phenalia was a blast. We had the full line of musicians with Scott MacGougan on lead guitar and harmony vocals, Dale Fuentes on Flute and percussion, John Matthews on Congas, Bongos, Timbales and all the Latin percussion you could dream of, Mike Daily on Drums and harmony vocals, Jimmy Culler on bass, harmony and lead vocals and me on guitar and vocals. I will put the set list up. Everyone was amazed I had an excel spreadsheet with four sets outlined with 13 songs each. Each song was accompanied by the key it was in and color coded in green for the songs Jimmy was to sing. We even followed the list for two sets although we started with the 3rd and 4th set just so everyone wouldn't think I had completely lost my sense of freedom. Everyone sparkled like diamonds in the summer sky and it was wonderful to make music together. I was thinking as we were playing from a list of over 50 of my songs how grateful I am for the gift of music and the fine musicians and friends who know my songs so well. So much to say but that will do for now as I listen to the glorious Washington rain falling outside and prepare to go on a dream adventure and glide gratefully into sleep. Good night.

July 6, 2007     Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions. Albert Einstein
   We have been enjoying visits with Josh and Christina almost daily via the Skype network and web cams. Sariah must have said "Hi Grampa" 10 times last night. She was sitting on her papa's lap and singing with him. She adores Josh and he adores her. It is such a beautiful thing to see. Christina is such a proud and happy mama. It is like we are sitting in the room with them. After we talk I miss them all even more.
   Kayden and I are getting our butts kicked by the ragweed pollen. It has been so long since I have really had allergies. They suck. Kayden is especially not having a good time of it. I forget that he is my little barometer and he reflects my moods even when I am unaware of them. It is no secret that if I am in a funk he is going to join me and not if a good way. Today I took him for a drive up to Granite Falls. I wanted to show him the waterfalls and the fish ladder. It is a good hike and it is down hill, one way. He kept looking back as we were hiking and when we were almost there he said "All done" and turned around to head back. It was a really good plan because as it turned out it was uphill all the way back to the car. I think the sound of the falls was intimidating to him. We were trying to find a spot to escape the pretty pollen creatures that have invaded our eyes, noses and throats. We agreed on the beach and set out for Mukilteo. When he is tired he likes to put his blanket over his head in the same way Michael Jackson's kids do when they go shopping. I reminded him of the beach just after he had covered his head so he removed the blanket. Once at the beach we stood side by side shifting the balance of rocks on the shore versus rocks in the water. There was that typical arctic breeze blowing so we were both knocking ice chips off the rocks before hurling them into the incoming tide. He snuggled up and said "Cold. All done. Home." Apparently some stray pollen had taken hold of his personality and once we were in the car I offered him a drink of water to which he responded with a hiss and a growl. Never mind then said I. So we departed and began driving home. A few miles down the road the pollen powers subsided and he asked for a drink from my water bottle. I pulled over and we broke water together. I mean we shared sips from the water jug. He once again donned his blue blanket bonnet and was presently asleep in 3 minutes. I thought of simply driving around with him and letting him sleep but he just did not look comfortable so I drove him home. He is now sleeping like a little cherub on the sofa. That is my story and I am sticking to it. I think I hear my guitar calling.

July 1, 2007
  Damn if the Internet isn't a pain sometimes. When I feel inspired I find my connection is off. I spend more time trying to get on line than I do writing. Andie and Faith are sitting on the porch talking about life and how to make it better, how to reach our potential, how to gain more understanding. We are all discussing our responsibility for being where we are and for where we are going. We can all blame so much on conditions and circumstances but blame is debilitating. It is the kryptonite of life that takes away our super powers. Own where you are and make a difference, make a change. Blame someone else or something else and remain in a place of suffering and weakness. Power sounds better to me.

 The firing range sounds like a war zone today. The guns sound fake. Perhaps because they don't have compression and sound enhancement on them. I am so grateful today for the trip to California. It was the most flawless and easy travel we have ever had. We visualized it being so before hand and so it was. It was not without a continued need for focus but it was the best so far. Kayden was spectacular on the plane and chose at that juncture to sit with Papa. On the was home Andie had two seats to herself and Kayden had his own window seat. He chose to pull down the shade because it was too bright and the sun was shining in his eyes but still the option was there. Andie enjoyed the time and room for reading and Kayden and I watched Cars.

Kayden is down for a little nap and I am taking the opportunity to write a bit and drink one of Keith Gallup's wonderful home brewed beers. I am missing the warmth of Ojai and all the family that gathered there. Love to all.

June 27, 2007

   I love to write and I have a lot of fun when I mark out and take the time. Sometimes it is just venting and although it isn't that fun to write or read it is therapeutic. It has been a very busy month and so I haven't written much at all. Now I am thinking as it draws to a close that I should do a little recap. It will consist of what I can remember at this point and probably will not be in chronological order.
  We just got home from a visit to Ojai California where we spent time with Josh, Christina, Sariah and also Freedom, Natalie and Sebastian. It is always a pleasure to visit because we are put up in a 5th wheel that is like a very small and very nice apartment. Kayden, Andie and I all like the proximity and the coziness. Christina's folks, Jeff and Linda, have a beautiful pool and Jacuzzi so we spent a lot of time swimming. Just before the last day in Ojai Kayden was jumping off the side of the pool and completely submerging. He would jump to Andie and with the help of little arm floats he swam all over the pool. That was quite a change from when we first arrived and he all he wanted to do was throw in a gratitude rock I brought from Sedona and have me dive and fetch it for him. The stone was a laporidite or something like that. I bought it when we went to Sedona for our grand daughter Cheyanna's memorial service. I have carried it with me ever since. It is round and flat and exactly the size of the hole that holds the umbrella in the shallow end of the pool. There was no umbrella in that hole at the time and there remains a very lovely stone that Kayden tossed perfectly in the pool. It sank and wedged at the bottom of that hole and will always be there to aid in bringing a since of gratitude and peace to the water. Such is life.
  We had a small pool party on Saturday night and Troy, Autumn, joined the rest of us including Josh's friend from Snohomish, Mike, for Margaritas Pina Coladas and pool madness. Jeff and Linda had a nice green inner tube for floating in the pool. It was the shape of an inner tube but without the hole in the middle and it had a little back rest attached. We all took turns attempting to leap off the side of the pool and land on it and not fall off. My first attempt left Josh in stitches as my feet shot into the air and I went to the bottom head first. Now some might say that we were attempting to sink the green floater and they would be right. To my knowledge no one except Josh was able to leap onto and remain on the green. He did so by doing a summer sault and that, combined with all the alcohol necessary to go to Pina Colada Burg, kept him from slipping off. There were some noble and fierce attempts by the rest of us though and I am sure I will hear about it if anyone was successful and I missed it. It was all too much for Kayden between the noise and the manner in which the seemingly benign floatation device sent me sinking every time I tried to jump on it. I think he was sure I was going to drown. Freedom wasn't drinking other than a beer or two and I missed two and a half pitchers of frosty treats so I wasn't aware of the altered consciousness that some members of the party had attained. So I approached Mike and said "Hey Mike, can you drive me to the store to get some beer?" He looked at Josh and they both burst out laughing. It was at that point that I realized the party had proceeded at a much faster pace than I was keeping. I decided to skip the beer and go for a contact high. Through out the day we all took turns playing. Josh was teaching Freedom chords to Joleen and I was helping figure out chords to another song. As the evening progressed Freedom ended up making a lot of requests for Papa songs and I was happy to play for him. He and I got some good time alone to visit and catch up on life and I was very grateful for that time and space. Natalie is going to have the baby at the end of August and she looks great. We are going to be grand parents to another baby girl. We got some time to visit and it was nice to talk one on one. With Kayden having discovered the joys of the pool it was difficult to have much time. Her son Sebastian just about lived in the pool the few days they were all there. He is a very good swimmer and he was launched through the air several times by Josh and Troy at the pool party. He loved it.
  The night before that we all gathered at a Summer Solstice Celebration and played for many hours to some very warm people. Freedom and I took care of set up early in the day. There were a few players who played first. Josh was working during the day and happy he did not have to deal with sound before playing. They were supposed to bring monitors but never did so it was an adventure trying to hear. Freedom played through his Acoustic Marshall so Josh and I could hear him great but hardly anything else. Natalie, Christina and Andie said it sounded great so we believed them. I just did some harmony and played djimbe and box drum. Josh accompanied Freedom beautifully on guitar. It was great to be on stage with my sons and so good for my heart. The whole week was magical that way. I felt so much love and closeness.
   As an exceptionally wonderful extra treat Sarah called Andie and told her to sign up for Skype and get a web cam so she could see everybody from where she is in France. Andie bought one for Josh and Christina but couldn't find one for Freedom and Natalie's Powerbook and she got one for her laptop. Sarah called via Skype and she got to see everyone on webcam. Josh, Freedom and I all played some songs for her and we laughed a lot. She looks fantastic, beautiful and happy. I think we ended up talking for about five hours that day. By we I mean Andie and Sarah. I was end and out. What a gift it was for Sarah to share that as we were able to talk to her again today and even see and talk to Christina and Sariah. Now we can keep up on Sariah as she grows and she will know who we are and feel more comfortable with us when we come down next time. Okay, okay there is much more but I am tired now and will rest. I want to talk about the Gallop Garden Party and many things but sleep says "Yo. Go night night."
Bon Soir.

June 10, 2007
Kayden's happy two year birthday is today. Isn't it grand. It is hard to believe time breezes past so fast. Now he decided he isn't going to nap today so I am hoping he will be his most charming today anyway. Right now he is counting his Curious George plates. There is a small patch of sunshine on the leaves and grass outside. The wind is up and whipping the limbs around. Tina Malia is playing in the background, Walking Home. I love that song. Josh just hooked me up to another video on YouTube. Wow it is just beautiful open D tuning instrumental. His videos are under JohnnySuede. I am getting excited to see everyone soon. I got a note from Clarity saying she and family got to spend the weekend with Freedom at his show in Oregon. I wish we had known about that sooner. I was at the opening of Chani's Tattoo shop last Monday. It was great. Andie, Kayden and I showed up before the party and then we went home. I went back to see her boyfriend's band do and acoustic set. It was awesome. I am jumping around in my thoughts because I haven't had a chance to get on line in a week. I talked to grandpa Joe and he said he and Judith are moving to Dallas by the end of the month. Liz and Grand Ma Faith are here so I have to run. Have fun.

June 3, 2007 
Happy birthday Dale-Manolito
  It has been a lovely week of weather, sunshine and more sunshine. Kayden is fussing right now as he doesn't want to take a nap. I do. We just watched three Elmo's World's. He was tired and we were snuggled up so I thought he might fall asleep but he got a second wind. It is Manolito's birthday today and he said he was going to spend it at home on the island taking it easy with some cold beer and BBQ. We both joked at how it staying home is our idea of a good time at the end of a busy week. The clouds are rolling in now and it looks like a return to the more familiar weather of Washington. This is one of the most beautiful places there is when it is sunny.
   I think of all the traveling I have done in my life like living 6 years in Europe, around the south, the southeast, the Midwest, the west coast and then about how long I have lived in the Pacific Northwest. It is great to live in a small town and have long friendships established. The other day I went to the local MacDaniel's hardware store and saw my friend Ray who works there. I told him I broke my lawnmower and needed a new one. He asked how. I test ran it without oil or a week or two. It didn't like that much. I said I needed to have a mower when Andie got home from work but I didn't know how I could get it home in my compact car. He handed me the keys to his great big Ford Diesel pickup truck. So next thing you know I was driving down the road listening to his Beach Boys greatest hits cassette. Now where can you walk into a hardware store, buy a lawn mower and be given the use of a truck to take it home. I had fun. I just told Andie about it last night when we were talking about where we live, where we might like to live. The last few nights we have had a little walk with Kayden in the little Red Wagon that Kathy and Dale gave him for his first birthday. Andie's little long haired Chihuahua road most of the way in the wagon with Kayden until he started to play shrinking room with her. She was riding between his legs and he started to squeeze his legs together and watch the reaction. Andie rescued her and carried her for the rest of the ride. I put three long hard days into working on the yard. I was glad we went for that walk because Kayden was in the studio climbing walls and into everything and I was too tired to keep up with him. At one point he even managed to climb a section of Auralex foam saying "Up stairs up stairs." He was moving so fast it didn't have time to collapse. The wagon ride slowed him down enough for Andie to read him some stories and tuck him into bed.
    I thought I was going to rehearse with Mike and Jim last night but they must have gotten back late from hang gliding as I never heard from them. I was supposed to rehearse with Ronnie today and I never heard from him either. I enjoyed the weekend and I am glad I wasn't holding my breath waiting for musical things to come together. I have decided we have to buy a truck. I haven't been able to enlist help in a big garbage run. To each man his own garbage they say.
Friday night was interesting. I rode up to Camano Island with Jimmy Culler and checked out a little winery there. We sat and visited with Kent and he bought and shared an excellent bottle of Cabernet. We mostly listened to Jimmy share information about his life that was new to all of us and that was the bulk of the evening: great stories in a nice place with good company and wine. It is a great venue for local folks and musicians and it was a pleasant evening. Now the weekend winds down and the new one begins. All good things are coming our way. Bring it on.

June 1, 2007      Ah, for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts. John Keats
We had a grand day yesterday. We went to the beach in Mukilteo after Andie got off work. It is a little part of heaven for Kayden because there is so much of two of his favorite things; rocks and water. He threw piles of rocks into the Puget Sound. The surf was rough and it was windy so our time wasn't very long there but the sun was high in the sky and it was lovely. I got a few pictures I will share. Then we went up to the little Fish and Chips place for dinner which included home made french fries, another big hit. I had to return some movies to Hollywood Video and we had two cars so I got back into my car at Andie's barber shop. Kayden was yelling at Andie the whole way home saying Papa! Papa! Papa no work! Home! No work! Then he said frog frog frog only this time he clarified he wasn't saying frog. He was really mad that I left the car. His vocabulary is really expanding and he is taking off when it comes to learning and repeating words. I have been known to say frog myself when I hit my finger with a hammer or a few days ago when I was holding Kayden and he smacked me on top of the head hard with the rock he was holding. Here again children are always teaching too. No more frog word even if surprisingly struck on the head by a blunt object. I think there must have been sailors in the family somewhere along the line. However since I have my own little mimicker I have got to watch every thing I say and do because if Papa does it Kayden will.
  Josh just sent me a link to a video of him playing incredible guitar. I messed up the sizing but will see if I can hook up a link. He is phenomenal. Click here We have got to do a trip soon to be able to see our family in Ojai and Sedona. It is way past time. It has been 7 months since we saw Sariah. How to be everywhere at once is the question? Indeed. The most important thing is to be.

Journal July 2007

May 27, 2007    Cheers to a time of world peace and to the men and women who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.

Remembering the many people who have suffered through the wars of this world, especially the second one where so very much was at stake. To my friend John Wesley who died the third day he was in Viet Nam. Pray for the protection and return of all our women and men abroad and that God's spirit will plant the seeds of peace in the hearts of all those who kill in his names. We all come from the one source and why we kill each other is beyond my comprehension. There are times when one who is peaceful is forced to fight and I am thankful for those who do and have done so in the past. I long for and envision a time when minds give over to hearts and we see the common bond of life we all share. Hell, it is hard for two people who love each other to get along so a prayer for world peace is asking for miracles. I believe in miracles. Pray for peace.

May 22, 2007       Where is the time going? If time isn't real it is strange how fast it seems to pass. I came across a picture of Kayden when he was as bald as a baby's butt and I was giving him a piggy back ride on my shoulders. Now he is sitting in his high chair feeding himself oatmeal and jabbering away. He still prefers to speak mostly in his own language that only he can understand. You can tell when you are being scolded by the tone of his voice and he repeats the same sounds in the same order. I was playing one of Freedom's guitars and he either didn't like the song or the guitar but he was giving me the what for. Faith and Andie and I laughed because we were all clueless. Earlier in the morning it was easier. I was playing "Give us free". He said "NO, no, no, no. Bad!" I tell you, you have to develop some hard bark if you are going to write songs and play them for the people you love, especially ones who express their opinions so freely and honestly. So like any entertainer worth his salt, I adjusted my playing to my audience. I got a rousing round of applause for Elmo's World, followed by "Wonders all around" from It's a big World. Then I felt brave and I made up a song on the spot called Cowboy Kayden. He was wearing a cowboy hat and climbing up and down on his horse. His horse wears a cowboy hat too by the way. He listened a bit suspiciously and then nodded for me to continue. When I finished the song he clapped and said "yea" followed by the sign for more. Redeemed! He can be a tough audience. When he was little baby he would start to cry every time I tried to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow to him. I mean every time. He was born with a dislike for that particular song. Needless to say he didn't have to listen to that song and as he has grown he has only strengthened in his opinions of the music he likes and dislikes. I have to admit we share some similar tastes. For instance we both are really fond of Where Is My Hairbrush, a fine Veggie Tales tune. The Veggie Tales theme song is, we both agree, most excellent. I do not share his affinity for Elmo's songs in which a single word is repeated for an extended period of time to the tune of Jingle Bells. Well it isn't exactly Jingle Bells but close enough. Imagine for example. Fish fish fish. Fish fish fish. Fish fish fish fish fish. Fish fish fish fish fish fish. Fish fish fish fish. Fish. Now repeat until your company runs out of the run screaming. I am grateful to revisit childhood and parenthood yet again. All good things are coming our way and yours too. Somewhere over the rainbow way up high....

  Now what else is happening. Sarah is in France in a rural area that is not too hot and not too cold but just right. She will be in different parts of France for a total of six months and we will visit her there. She never ceases to amaze me with her adventures. I have been listening to her first CD which was composed for a dance performance in Seattle. The show was wonderful and the dancers exquisite. They all shared a deep affection and respect for Sarah, her commitment and talents and the fine person she is. The CD would be well received in Europe with its techno electro beat foundation. I love her sense of humor and it comes through in some of the compositions and titles. I asked her to create a MySpace because it is an easy way to communicate and she said she would. She can also post some songs there. That will work great because she can put up pictures of her travels. I have several friends in Paris and I am hoping someone can help her get situated when she goes there to stay for a month. I am grateful and richly blessed by Sarah.

Chani is chaffing at the bit as she awaits the opening of the new shop where she will be one of the featured tattoo artists. I will put up more on that later. She continues to build her reputation as a fine artist in this field of body art. It is hard to believe that she began this pursuit such a short time ago. The incredible thing about her tattoos is the dimension. There is so much depth to some of them they are 3 dimensional. Like the street artist in New York who chalks sidewalks and it looks as though you could fall down the steps he drew. The petals on the flowers look like you could pluck them one by one or part them and take in the sweet fragrance. She is a late bloomer musically and continues to rapidly increase her skills on the guitar. It is such a joy to sit and watch her playing and finger picking the notes. She has always had a huge appreciation for all kinds of music and I find it wonderfully fascinating that she is taking to jazz standards and some of the old school vocalists like Billy Holiday. She has a cool voice too that is smoky and rich and fun to hear get stronger and stronger. She is also fearless in her pursuit of life and an old and beautiful soul. I am grateful and richly blessed by Chani.

Liz is living with her Grandma these days and working hard at her job in a Deli. She seems to be doing well and is very responsible when it comes to her work. Faith says she is very good at helping keep the house in order. Liz has the gift for decorating and has more ideas about ways to arrange furniture and combine paint colors into very Feng Shui friendly dwellings than anyone I have ever known. She has a clear picture in her mind of what she wants when she has her own home. I would love to see her study for interior design. We had hoped to see her in college by now but were held up waiting for just a bit of unselfish effort from a fellow tribal member that was not forth coming. That makes me think of one of the secrets of life. Bless your enemies because like attracts like so what we send out comes back a hundred fold. Now it is true if you pursue this path sometimes at first the best you can do is say "Please give that so and so everything they deserve." That is okay because if you continue over time it will become easier and more kind to bless them. I think both Faith and Liz are really enjoying this time together. Liz gets more beautiful with the passing of time. Liz's kitty misses her a lot too. I am grateful and richly blessed by Liz.

Now Josh is a wonderful father to Sariah and he and Christina sure created a special little soul there. Josh was such a beautiful little baby boy and so full of joy and wonder and Sariah reflects so much of him. She has his sense of humor and the combination of genes between he and Christina turned out one of the most lovely persons on earth. Josh has a kind and huge heart, maybe not always visible to me in the past, but it is now. He shines like the sun with his baby girl. If he ever had any shield up regarding love it disintegrated in the light of Christina and Sariah. Love and joy pour out of him like a celestial wind and it turns up the corners of any nearby mouths, and sprinkles stardust into any watching eyes. Love and gratitude can change the world and it is a wonder to see it on Josh's face when he looks at his girls. When it comes to music he continues to burst forth like an Arizona springtime. He is precise and clean in his guitar playing and has an impeccable ear. One of those pivotal moments for me was when after teaching him what I know of guitar for some time, he pointed out I was playing Mother Nature's Son and Blackbird all wrong and proceeded to teach me how the songs really go. He is brilliant. He continues to perform more in front of people and that is a huge joy for me to see because I believe that is the purpose of music. He recently did a show with his brother Freedom on the beach in Laguna beach California. He told me proudly that he played a solo guitar for the audience. He also said that at the end of the songs Sariah would yell "Yea!" and clap loudly. I am grateful and richly blessed by Josh.

Freedom has turned out to be a loving father and husband to his wife Natalie and her son Sebastian. We had our brief time with Cheyanna for just a few months before she flew away. Never in my life have I seen such an outpouring of love from father to baby. I see that love in his eyes for Natalie and I see him loving and fathering Sebastian too. Now we are expecting another baby girl from them in the late fall. Oh boy, another grand daughter. We need a gathering and celebration for that wonderful event. Papa Freedom. Now Freedom is working long and hard at a day job. He has become a craftsman at Faux painting and has displayed some of his grandpa's gifts for creative construction. All these years he has been free spirited and walked a path that was his very own. He has chosen this new path. We have talked and he realizes the importance of continuing to pursue his music as well and get it out there to the world. I feel in my heart and bones that this all will happen together. When I heard he and Josh were playing together in California I was so thrilled. I just wished I could have been there. Their show was great they both said. I happened to call just at the end of the concert and I got to talk to both Freedom and Josh. Sariah also got on the phone and said "Hi Grampa." She stole the show at one point when at the end of a song that was particularly moving every one was quiet and all alone she yelled "Yea" and everyone in the audience laughed. I listen to the ever growing collections of recordings of his music and am blessed and touched by his gift for lyrics and melody. We hope to see him and the family soon. I am grateful and richly blessed by Freedom.

Andie grows more beautiful with each passing day. She is the best. She is a loving, patient and kind mama (or MeMe as she calls herself) to Kayden. She is a phenomenal wife to me. My best friend and the best partner ever still wears her name. It is exciting for us as we learn to reinvent our life together and open up our imaginations to all the possibilities. We want to be by every one in the family. Let that sort itself out. That is our wish. She is such a gifted photographer and she recently shot some world class pictures of Kayden that are just magnificent. She is still toting her Mary Kay line of cosmetics and seems to really enjoy sharing that with people. She is so smart. Kayden has always scratched his face at nap time and bed time and it is so distressing to see the damage he would do to himself in his sleep. It was very disturbing to both Andie and me. She went and bought fabric and made him some light and soft mitts, or more like little sacks, and then sewed them on a pair of pajamas and a shirt. He has room to move his hands freely inside and touch the fabric and even pick things up by his ability to damage his skin is gone. What a wonderful thing. In the past he always looked like he had been in a cat fight and no matter how far down we filed his nails he could still hurt himself. His face is almost completely healed thanks to Meme. We had our friends Jason and Blu over for dinner and games on Saturday and we had a blast. Andie made Salmon, Chicken and corn all on the grill. It was delicious. She also roasted garlic and served it hot with french bread and got cheese and olive oil. We almost had knife fights trying to get at the goat cheese. The flavor combination was out of this world. Blu made us apple pie on ice cream desert braised in Maker's bourbon. Delicious. She and I drank the rest of the bourbon. We played Cranium and I laughed so hard a few times that I might have popped my rib out then too. Andie is so charming and gracious. Some her drawings just struck me as so funny I exploded in laughter. They were not bad, it was really just the way my mind works or some might say, doesn't work. She drew a shrimp that to me looked like a bent fish with little squiggley hairs on its tummy. I missed the question and she laughed right along with me when she told me what it was. Laugher and gratitude can cure any dis-ease. We laugh a lot. Andie truly knows that you get the greatest joy from giving. She inspires me that way. I am grateful and richly blessed by Andie.


 

May 13, 2007   Boys will be strong. Boys soldier on. Boys would be gone without warmth from a woman's good good heart. John Mayer
Happy Mother's day, the best and most important day of the year. Through out history the amazing power of and love mothers have shown the world and their children, and all children are an inspiration for every day. I think the most important lessons in unconditional love over time are from mothers. In feeling gratitude for each day every day mothers come to mind. I am grateful for mine. I miss her. I am grateful for the gift of life that comes through a mother's powerful spirit. I love to watch Andie's eyes light up when she looks at Kayden. I am grateful for the love she has shown me and everyone in our family. Happy Mother's day to mamas every where.

May 11, 2007
I had a great time with Mike and Jimmy over at Studio 04 last night. We worked on Caribbean Islands and Club Americana both very upbeat and happy Murat tunes. I played Rob's Telecaster. I am playing that more and more. I love the sounds I get out of the electric. They work great for finger picking. Spring is so beautiful here is Washington. It is so very green and rich. We have as many shades of green as we do types of rainy days.
Andie's dad left his hat here the other day and Kayden saw it hanging on the coat rack and pointed to it and said hat. I gave it to him and he put it on the way it appears in the picture of him showing me the Forget-me-nots. He then showed me his boots and said said "Outside." Man, I think he would sleep out there and never come inside if we would let him. I love the fact we have so much open space for him to play. I am very grateful for our land and home. It is a good thing to have this space and to gather here with family and friends.
 I was going to record again tonight and then I realized that Jason and Blu are coming over so I had better tell Jimmy and Mike. They are going hang gliding today. It is about time to get Andie back up in the air too. She absolutely loves flying. I liked the view but not that wet sensation in my pants. Just kidding. In the past I have been heights challenged. I can look up just fine. I will look as high you want. Looking down from up high is a tale of a different color. So it is Mother's day on Sunday. Where would we all be without mothers? I love being a papa and I love my family. Still there is a comfort that can only come from Mama for children big and small it is true. A mother has been gifted ,or perhaps has chosen, to show a depth of unconditional love that I believe helps keep the world spinning on its axis. The lioness and comforter and entertainer and all the other hats she wears make magic in the lives of her family. Andie is great mama and she sure loves her mama too. Where would we be without you? I am grateful every day and every day should be Mother's Day. 

 

May 9, 2007 
What?
Another day whirls into another day. I am thinking of sleep and it is 5 in the afternoon. What does that mean? I think I may finally be weary of the up keep of the website. It is therapeutic to me but has brought some share of crap for to me regarding what I write. So I write less and less. Maybe if there was more apparently going on to talk about I would write more. Right now I am thinking, thinking, thinking. I need to be feeling, feeling, feeling. I spoke to Josh today and he is playing a show with Freedom in Ojai this or next month. I offered to play bongos. Denied.
   Here in Washington we are feeling our way to clarity. If only we could decide just what we want and agree on the same thing I am sure we'd have it now. What is the saying? If you have mixed feelings you get mixed messages. As Kayden would say, "Oh no!"
   Well spring sprang softly with a chilly breeze and heralded the winds of change. It could be any of a variety of rainy days ahead with sprinkles of sunshine. Andie is winding Kayden down for his slumber. He was not happy as he pointed to his frog boots and pleaded with me to take him outside again. So sorry little one the clock runs and sleep is calling. It is calling me too. I am reflective and working on being grateful for everything in my life. Gratitude paves the way to happiness. Did I make that up? If not, I meant to. I am challenged with not giving focus or words to conditions and situations that would irritate me in the past. When that censor gets done with my thoughts there is nothing but wind blowing down an empty alley. I am learning to see the good. I learned to see the good. I see the good? This much I know, love is the most powerful and real thing in this matrix. Love. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  .

May 5, 2007          
I am grabbing a quick second while Kayden is studying the poster from Veggie Tales. It is our Saturday morning together and I love this time. He is demonstrating his skills with Leggos right now. Since I have more than enough time for everything I would like to write more. These are interesting times. I didn't even write a rave review of Sarah Murat's music and show that is still playing on Capitol Hill at the Fine Arts Center. The dancers were wonderful and obviously inspired by Sarah's score. It is an unusual venue for the audience in that taking in different views of the dancers is encouraged. At one point I lay on the floor to watch the interaction. The choreography was very innovative; dramatic, comedic and spirited. Now Sarah is preparing to go to France for 6 months. She is such a traveler, ancient soul and beautiful spirit. We are very proud of her. It is time for Veggie Tales "I can be your friend" is playing the background. Good things are coming every day and the flow just increases. We are so grateful for so much. We are blessed every day. It is fun to be doing some work outside now that spring is here. We are going to landscape the back of the house tomorrow. It is gutter time and side the back room. So much to do and look forward. We will prepare the property for renting at some point down the road. But for now we are fixing it up for us. After all, we live here.
  Dad left a message that Uncle John is home from the hospital and healing quickly from the broker pelvis he got. He is an amazing soul with such a positive attitude toward life. It spills over and touches people all around him. I have to go play with the boy.


May 2, 2007
Pretend. Remember pretending. It is a fun thing to do. Kayden is just now starting to really pretend. He has a little toy cell phone and he walks through the back yard jabbering away on it. He is very serious and animated and engaged in deep conversation with someone. Maybe my mother. He is also pretending to be asleep by chomping his mouth open and shut and making funny noises. He must be imitating Andie. Just kidding. He is probably trying to recreate the image of his Papa sleeping on the couch. He does not like when I sleep. I don't know if I just look dead or my snoring is scaring the heck out of him. Andie is reading to him now and he is practicing some new signs. The little person in the story was sad so he took his palm and brought it down across his face from his fore head to his chin and makes a sad face. He says the word sad with a very sorrowful tone. I am tired today. Jimmy Culler and I sat up late in the studio playing guitars and laughing a lot. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

May 1, 2007   You become what you think about.
Nothing to say today. What is up with that?

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  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist