Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  August  2006

August Happy Birthdays  Michael Gardner

Cheyanna                                                                                                          Sariah

September 3, 2006     
It doesn't matter how fast you get there if you are going in the wrong direction.
Slow down and see where you are going.

August 30, 2006
I want more life. Where is it? Being on vacation reminded me of how much time I waste in a thankless work space forgoing the things I love. 4 or 5 hours a day spent traveling on top of a regular work day leaves nothing and I mean nothing at the end. I love my family more than anything and I want more time with them. This push and pressure builds daily and there is no end in this situation. Hoyt Axton said it best, work your fingers to the bone and what do you get, bony fingers. It was certainly great to see the family that is spread out over so many miles. The sunshine was wonderful. I see they are evacuating Florida again for the hurricanes. Not interested in living there anymore. I have enough wind my own self. Speaking of pressures they are calling me to chase the dangling string. Meow.

August 26, 2006
I hardly know where to start it has been such a long and short two weeks. Timing is everything and what makes life life. Kayden is sitting on the floor of the studio and putting his CD's away. Two of his favorite toys are old CD's he spills on the floor, picks up and puts in the lid to the spiral they came on when I purchased them. He likes repetition. His other favorite studio toy is his track ball mouse and the two track balls that he repeated exchanges. He then proceeds to change all the settings on my sound modules and compressors. It is very serious business and he talks to himself in baby talk continuously as he gets his settings just right. He was great on the plane coming home and for that matter on all 3 plane trips he took over the last two weeks. There were some issues on the ground though. He is very happy to be home with all this free roaming space. He can safely get into tons of things here and we are not stressed following his every footstep. What a relief. Still when we pulled into the driveway last night after Faith made the long drive to pick us up at the airport it seemed strange.
  It was so relaxed and laid back in Ojai that we felt totally at home. That was in no small measure due to the love and welcome we received from Josh and Christina and Christina's parents, Jeff and Linda. Her sister Nancine was very sweet to us as well. Sariah was a lovely little charmer unless we tried to hold her or ride next to her in the car. That was not her favorite. Josh is such a loving father. He looks like he will bust wide open from the joy inside and shining in his eyes. Christina is the same. She pours love like honey on little Sariah. Josh and I spent most nights playing guitars by the pool. I should say late nights because we were all visiting until late, or playing poker, Josh is going to be a champion. It is his dream to win the big one and buy land. Christina will start back to school at the end of September and she is well on her way to becoming a healer through herbal and massage therapy. Jeff was glad to see I am not a crazed old hippie guru he thought I might be. What really wonderful and loving people. It was also touching to see how affectionate Christina and Nancine are to each other. I think if we could hang in the 5th wheel while we got settled we probably would head out as soon as we could tie up loose ends.
   Now Sedona was another story. It was the usually whatever can go wrong will go wrong with hotels and car rentals. Strange sense of displacement when we were visiting. I loved the time that I had alone with Freedom sharing songs and driving a ways into the desert and talking through a thunderstorm. It was great to do a show with him. I loved holding Cheyanna for hours at a time. Andie and I both wanted to stay and help care for and nurture that little wonder. Freedom had me playing songs from back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, my era. Hello Heartache, Little Ones and Lost in Viet Nam. My heart is so pulled to be near him because I feel like he needs me. Josh is thriving in his new home with his extended family. Freedom is busting his butt working and took two years off from writing but said he is done with that and will begin again. He played me some beautiful chord progressions. Natalie is healing from her surgery and adjusting to the new life. She slept a lot when we were there so our visiting was limited but Andie got some time to talk. Little Cheyanna is so tiny and delicate with a head of hair that would make Lyle Lovett jealous. Sedona is surrounded by those beautiful red mountains and hot is way that Andie and I instantly adapted. We were freezing in California and everyone thought we were a little crazy for that.
  Now when we were preparing to leave Chani got really sick and ended up in the hospital. That was awful and like most of our experiences with hospitals she had idiots to contend with at Stevens Memorial Hospital. The person who removed her IV sent air into her arm and clots and now Chani cannot Tattoo. A huge law suit is in order. It is scary when you think of how many D students are nurses and doctors. So this time has been a roller coaster of emotions and continues to be. Chani's spirits were good when she called to tell me about her arm. I really hope the ass who did this will have to pay. What do you want when you go for health care? Care. It is absurdly lacking in most medical facilities and has been replaced by corporate greed. I trust in God's favor and that Chani's arm will heal soon and she can continue on with her chosen career. Just the same Steven's Hospital needs to pay financially for hiring incompetent people. If I had a name I would mention it.
  Sarah called and left a yodel message so we trust she is doing good. I hope to talk to her tonight. And Liz remodeled while we were gone. The yard was mowed, the house was immaculate and rearranged in a delightful manner. I think she would just as soon we head out again and leave the house to her. She grew up a lot in the last two weeks. She told me she thought I should have at least one vacation without some trauma. I said God bless you.
I will mumble my way through more on the trip over the next days as time allows. I couldn't check e-mail or get on line so it has been weird. I like the spontaneity of writing through the moments as they happen so much is probably lost. I love my family and marvel at the wonderful souls they each are.

August 23, 2006
Another sunny day in California. Josh should be getting home from work in a few minutes. Kayden is screaming around in the motor home. It is nice to have him out here so he doesn't scare the poop out of Sariah. I am thinking we could make B grade horror movies and he could provide the sound effects. He has a blood curdling scream and that is when he is happy. Sariah has perfect natural classical guitar position and form on her right hand and she finger picks the strings individually. She is her father's daughter; so natural and he is so proud. Kayden likes going up and down the steps and up and down the steps and up and down the steps. It is good exercise and he enjoys it a great deal. His feet are all brown with little pink trim around the sides. My arms are reddish brown, his are cafe au lait.
I got a call from Maria today. It is funny because we were listing what we like and don't like about Washington, Arizona and California. Andie said I really liked Florida the best. I said oh boy. If not for the hurricanes that is where she would like to live. There are the most opportunities here in this area. It is close to Santa Barbara and only 85 miles from LA. Who knows? I still cannot get on line. Apparently the couple of times I managed were flukes resulting from a neighborhood wireless. Oh well.

August 22, 2006
My laptop has gone bonkers. It keeps setting the date for December 13, 1969 and then crashing and turning off. You would think it was a PC. We are sitting in the motor home with Christina, Sariah, Andie, Kayden and me. Josh gave us a hug on his way to work. We sat out back by the pool and played guitars until a quarter to one in the morning. He is playing incredibly. He is working on a concept CD and he is off to a good start. It has been a good stay Jeff and Linda have welcomed us with open arms. They are really good people. It is really beautiful here in Ojai. Sedona has its own beauty as well. The stars were spectacular in Sedona. It has been nice to see the grand daughters and to have some one on one time with my sons. It is good to see how their lives are going with love and children. Life.
 The show in Sedona was a lot of fun. Andie missed all but one song taking care of Kayden and Cheyanna. Kayden is going through a funky faced and yelling stage now. He has scared Sariah and made her cry. It is not my favorite phase for sure. He has acquired this furrowed brow scowl that is hard on the heart. Thank God for Andie and her half full outlook. Too much going on now to write and I probably won't tell much of the tales of this travel because of lack of Internet access and problems with my Powerbook. Now let's see if I can post this.

August 18, 2006   Phoenix Intentional Airport
I am sitting in Gate B5 waiting for the plane to arrive. It will be awhile. We are early. We had lunch and Andie and Kayden are walking around looking around the airport.

August 16, 2006
I can't seem to get on the Internet lately. It is crazy but it happens. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. Life. Life. People live their lives in quiet desperation. James Taylor said you can play the game and act out the part though you know it wasn't written for you. I believe that is more true than not. I listened to voices lifted in song tonight singing I believe in the people of the world, I believe in the people of the world. I felt like I was under glass or behind glass looking on at the event. I wanted to feel that way but don't. I am truly blessed in so many ways. Why is it so difficult to see so much of the time? I don't have an answer. I am just tired comes to mind. I am just tired. I see people out on tour doing what they love and with a faith and belief in it and I wish I could share in that. Not the tour but the joy and the faith. It was beautiful and magical and I loved seeing the joy on my son Freedom's face when he was singing. Break free, break free and all those many lyrics where swirling around in my head. I had the pleasure of holding my grand daughter Cheyanna in my arms while Freedom sang to me. She fell asleep right away but I continued to hold her and bless her in my mind and heart and to celebrate the fact that she made it here alive. What a beauty. What a wonder. What a joy.

August 13, 2006  
Another marathon weekend is coming to a close. Three days at Columbia Winery, The Taste of Edmonds, The private party in the Renton Highlands with Linda and Keith. I am left side of pooped. Thursday in the middle of the night I got a call from Chani's roommate and she ended up in the hospital with strep throat. I could probably fill a few pages with stories of the horrible health care we have in places like Steven's Hospital. She is really sick and she spent a couple of days in the hospital and was sent home still unable to hold food down. Isn't there an oath regarding care for human beings when you embark on a career in medicine. Thanks for the grace and favor of God or several family members would have been killed off by medical people. I think the hardest part of Chani being sick was being told to stay away to protect us and Kayden from catching strep. I think I am so tired this weekend from lack of sleeping fretting about Chani and feeling helpless about helping. Her mom picked her up when they released her from the hospital. I met myself coming and going from show to show so I was very grateful that Lisa Marie was able to be there. Prayers are always appreciated.
  We had a fantastic show on Friday at the Taste. Scott MacGougan showed up to watch the show, fat chance. When I heard he was coming I asked Aaron, the MC, to get us a keyboard set up for him. I think everyone was in rare form. John Matthews did a fantastic conga solo, Mike was right on the beat. Manolito Fuentes and Ronnie Llinas traded solo's and Jimmy bounced to the beat right along with me. We were both limping around at our show last night. The Three Amigos, Ronnie, Jimmy and I played at Linda and Keith's block party. I won a prize in the drawing and so did Ronnie. We each get a batch of home brewed beer (60 bottles) made to order and delivered. Those guys really know how to take care of the people at their parties. We played an hour and a half later than planned and the last part of the show was concert time. Linda had us play Love Wears Your Name twice, actually three times all together. People said they wanted to buy the CD as soon as it is out just so they can have that song. That is it for now I have to unload my gear and get ready for the next adventure.


August 10, 2006        
One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better. Colonel Sanders
I talked to all of my sons last night, Josh, Freedom and Rob. I had planned to go to bed early but I was trying to stay up and meet Rob's son since he is visiting from California for the weekend but at 10 something they were still not back from the airport. Josh called and we had a nice chat. We were talking about his little guitar that is hanging stringless in my studio and needs much TLC. Saria needs a guitar because you can see she has the perfect classical guitar finger positions down. I asked .

August 7, 2006        
 Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. Karen Kaiser Clark
New day, new week. It was a rich weekend and passed too quickly. Scott and Deb MacGougan came up from Gig Harbor Friday and spent the night. Scott and I wrestled Andie's G4 to help her burn her movie to DVD. We lost the match but at 10PM when we both were yawning Deb nudged us into the studio and we blinked and it was 1 AM. There is a different realm of time when you are doing what you love. Also when you are doing what comes completely natural. It was good. We spent Saturday doing the same thing. We just about finished Is This Love and Summer Vacation. It was so much fun.
Sunday Andie, Kayden, Jason and Blu and I went to Mike Daily's first annual Studio 04 Block Party. Jimmy Wright Band, Papa Murat and a few other bands were there. Mike's friend Dean provided the PA and monitors and did an excellent job mixing sound. I was on the covered stage area with Ron Llinas and Jimmy Wright on lead guitars, Jimmy Culler on bass, John Matthews on percussion, Mike Daily on drums and we were joined for a few numbers by Patrick Joseph from Trinidad. He played djimbe. We were there for the duration and after most everyone but a few of the musicians and their better halves we sat around the campfire that Jimmy built. John Matthews wife, Kelly and were watching the fire when I looked into the middle and said is that one of those long handled lighters. She said I think it is. I said that is not good and we had better step away from the fire. We got back about 7 feet when it exploded and shot a circle of fire up and out of the fire pit. That was a close call but it added a little more excitement to a completely great evening.
We offer up prayers of thanks and ask that Jason and Blu be blessed with a baby soon. Soon.

August 3, 2006        
If you want to make sure your children's feet are on the ground, try putting some responsibility on their shoulders.
I just read that giving up your life for your children leaves them with the burden of a legacy of a life unlived. That ties into the work Sarah and I started with Family Constellations. The weight of unfulfilled life spills over across generations. Acknowledging and sending love to our ancestors is a way of healing. Further more the best thing we can do for our ancestors and ourselves is to live a balanced, rich and fulfilling life here and now, embracing love and opportunities to grow. This is the best gift, my cup runneth over, want a sip?

August 2, 2006    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. Anais Nin
  Looking at the world around me I try to get a clear view of the big picture. I am reading a book called the Medicine Wheel and it talks about the complete development of a person in all aspect, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental. As a life guide from a Native People perspective it is interesting to note that all aspects of development seem to come full circle back to service. Service to your people, your family, your community. That is something I don't do so much. The best way I can do that is to play benefits and I love doing that; making music to make good for the world. That is the most fulfilling. Doing anything for my family or friends is another thing that enriches my life. It is funny how when you are doing what is right that there is no doubt. So much of the time things we do are in serious doubt. What does it mean grasshopper?
   Looking at this picture of Cheyanna reminds me that just a moment ago Kayden was sleeping, his tiny head in the palm of my hand. Now he eats his supper and half of mine, is walking and playing djimbe, strumming the guitar and is growing at a visible rate daily. They truly are little for a little while. Yesterday I drove into the driveway and Andie and Kayden were picking huckleberries. He has the Murat vocal enthusiasm when eating something he likes. MMmmmm. Aaahhhh. Mmmmmmm. Mmmmmmm. The joy of living. To see things from that fresh point of view, now that would be something.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist