Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  December 2005

Sharp dressed man

December 30, 2005
   It will be strange not to play Provinces in the month of my birthday. I have a relaxed relationship with Kenny and Firmin both regarding playing. Kenny wants to book an R & B group and they are available on my weekend, the 3rd weekend of the month. Kenny offered me a Saturday night but I declined. I want to spend my birthday with friends and family either here or at the Band house in Clearview. I always want to say Clearwater because I have such happy memories of Florida and Clearwater Beach.
It has been a relaxed morning spent with the baby.
   This pain that I have is subsiding some and I am hoping it is on its way out of my body. I would ask for some prayers for Chani's grand mother who is in the hospital and having a very tough go of it. Prayer is a powerful thing and a hospital can be a very dangerous place. Her name is Rosemary if you are so inclined. I would appreciate it. A little faith goes a long way.
  I heard from Rob that Josh will be coming down for my birthday too and I hope that is true. Maybe Phil Whitman, his long time music buddy will even come over and play some music. I don't know what is the best place to have the party since I am going to run out of gas long before the young people.
   It nice to hang out with my baby Chani. She was as little as the baby just a second ago. She is really putting it together with her tattoo business. She can cruising in leisurely for a few hours and come back with a hundred dollars in her pocket. She is going to be just fine. Speaking of fine, Blu sent me an e-mail about a job opportunity with an online real estate company that sounds interesting except for the hours. It is good to have people looking out for you. It is two to nothing to continue my journal. So the continues have it.

December 28, 2005
It has never been my intention to offend or to pretend I was any better than anyone else, only to share my humanity
with all its short comings
, honestly. Honesty has not been my strong suit in the past. I have been trying to share my struggles openly
in hopes someone else struggling like me would not feel so alone. We do the best we can. If we keep on trying we can do just a little better
a little bit at a time. I am only human just like you.
Change needs to happen often because it is assumed, often incorrectly, that all changes are good.

December 27, 2005
    It really was a good Christmas with Faith, Noel, Lois, Christina, Josh, Saria, Andie and I here at the house. Saria was looking very beautiful and it was fun watching Josh walk her around like a little sack of potatoes. She loves her Papa. Andie just reminded me again that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I really wrestled with trying to keep from losing all the joy of the weekend over one person's choices. I am lucky to have the people I have in my life and thankful for their patience with me. I still think I was under a ziggy cloud until we got down and spent some time with Sarah. She treated us like royalty. Now I am working my way through the second batch of Faith's wonderful Christmas fudge.
Mmmmmm. Thanks. Thanks to all for the lovely gifts. December 26, 2005
   We spent a fantastic day with Sarah at the house she takes care of in Burien. It overlooks the Puget Sound, has an secluded hot tub, and is very rustic and beautiful. There is a parrot of some kind there named Oliver. He makes a sound like someone passing gas in a very shallowly filled bath tub. Kayden was bursting with laughter every time the bird made the sound. He would just about scream with glee. Sarah treated us to food, and drinks and a hot tub and slathering our feet with lotion after we came in from the tub. I am still hurting a lot and don't know what the out come is going to be but it was quite a reprieve from the constant pain to be with Sarah in such a lovely local. She and Liz are both great gift givers. Sarah was absolutely amazing. She is the most giving and thoughtful person. I am so glad we had the time together.
   Sarah was disappointed that Josh, Christina and Saria did not come. I said Josh didn't seem to be feeling very sociable on Christmas Eve, at least towards this part of his family. What can you do? I wish that he would have joined us for dinner. I have to assume he didn't have a clue that not doing so would hurt feelings and make it seem like we don't matter too much. I don't think he realized that, that is my hope anyway. Sometime I hope we can have a conversation and clear some debris. There are many actions that have hurtful consequences I would like them to stop or at least understand the reason behind them. I want a close relationship with Josh. Time will tell and it takes two.
  Chani is back from Alaska. She called last night and is staying with her mom Lisa Marie and family. We may get to see her mid week. She got together with Chris before leaving and said that went very well. What a family we have.
   Freedom, Rob and I have birthdays within 3 days of each other and Freedom is coming up to celebrate theirs and mine in January. Unfortunately his mom is planning a mega marathon family gathering on my birthday. He is only here for two days so I hope we actually get to see each other. They say you can't have a better relationship after marriage than you did during marriage so expecting consideration of each others feelings is probably unrealistic. I did tell Freedom that it is okay if he spends the evening with his mom's family. I am only one person and there will be dozens of folks at his mom's gathering. He said "Whatever Dad. I am coming to see you and celebrate your birthday." What ever happens. Thank God for all of my family and for Andie is all I can say.

December 24, 2005
   Happy birthday Dale. I am sorry I didn't write. Too much on the table. You are a great guy, friend and a huge supporter of my music and our family. Thanks for being there Shaker Boy and many happy returns. We love you.
    Merry Christmas everybody. I hope it is filled with good cheer and cold beer.
   I talked to Bill Spies today and he was on a beach in Hawaii. He said his brother owns a landscaping business there and has lots of work. I said sign me up. He said we can talk when he gets back. There will be no more than three people making that move if it happens. I can guarantee that.
   I had a long talk with Randy Fickel and it was good to hear his voice. Holidays are strange with the family situation but he reminded me that his list of troubles is probably longer than mine if he chose to tell me them. He said sometimes you think you are the only one going through it but we are all going through it in different ways. All of us.

December 23, 2005
The eve of another Christmas Eve. Kayden is sleeping on the sofa, Liz has some kind of bug and is running back and forth from the bathroom being sick, Andie is in the kitchen baking, freezing, chopping and just being Mrs. Chef. I am starting to think I am going to live. I feel like I might have started to lose the stone. It has been a very long ouch and I am feeling weary from the pain. Tonight should tell if I start to feel better. I hope and pray I will.
 Chani called from Alaska to say she has new plans that involve her mom and her and traveling. I am not sure, she talked mostly to Andie. I thought it nice that Chris would fly her cat down here (we can't take it due to allergies) but it probably be better if he could help out with what she lost when she had to move without notice. But that is their thing. One grows weary of covering for other people's impulsiveness. I am looking forward to seeing Chani. I know she will be out for a minute because she has a car in our driveway. I guess she won't pass this way until next year but we will be here. We will get to see Sarah & we think Josh, Christina and our new grand daughter Saria. You never know but that is the plan, hanging around the fort and enjoying the Christmas celebration. Merry Christmas and happy birthday to day on the Eve of it all..

December 21, 2005
This has been a year full of hardships for millions of people. Our government has put us into and continued a war under false pretenses. We passed through the biggest hurricane season on record. Well, we all see the news. I hope the coming year brings hope and renewal for people everywhere. I would pray for a true miracle, that our leaders would be lead to the truth and set aside their greed for the greater good. How much do you need?
    We had the switch go out on our water pump. About 80% of the time the water wouldn't come on when we turned the faucet. It took me a while to fix it with this kidney stone thing. When it was fixed and the water came back on Andie and I were so grateful and we both laughed. It doesn't take much to make us happy. Even though I am in a great deal of pain and I am not sure what the out come will be I feel like I am in heaven when I am spending time with my grandson. Who gets this much time at this stage of life with such a new spirit. They are so close to heaven when they first arrive. Life is balance and he came at a time when I realize most of the dreams I have held in my heart are slipping through my fingers and it is time to let go. I owe so much to so many I know if there is such a thing as reincarnation I have many lives of service to many people to look forward. I have been given so much in life and love. I am grateful to the spirits who gave their love and time to me and hope God got them to the next stage in their lives with loving comfort. This is season of celebration, so God bless us everyone. To the children who have passed into and through my life, I never deserved you, but I thank God for you every single day. For the people who have seen something in me I cannot see, thank you for your love. To our Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of music and for your Son most of all. Thanks for Jesus. Thanks a lot.

December 20, 2005
 We heard from our friend Terri who is going through a hard phase in her life. It is difficult, the winter seasons of our lives. There are many deaths in our walk through this life; relationships, partnerships, dreams, hopes, jobs. After winter comes the spring and rebirth along with new hope. I was reading one of Andie's books and the author kept repeating, God has a plan and it is good. She then asks the reader to believe as well. Life goes better with faith. It seems to elude me much of the time. I ask is this all there really is? I see my band now has a band because I set other priorities. Death. No duo option. Another death. God has a plan and it is good. I wish I knew what it is. I am tired of this present course. I think of the irony of what this website has helped produce; sales for other artists, it was the seed that lead to the Rhythm Cafe Japan thing. Just last week I got my third inquiry into Rhythm Cafe. I put up a link to Larry Mason   so they can ask him please. I think I spend too much time on this and not enough on other things. It is time for a sabbatical.

December 18, 2005 
  Tired papa on a Sunday afternoon. Is the stone going to stay or go? It made for a long week and weekend in that respect. Pain is a great extender of time. There are those wonderful moments in life when time truly seems to stand still. You step out side it somehow. Pain seems to slow the clock, rust the gears and cause moments to linger much longer than we might choose. Learning to focus on something else is a key to surviving extended periods of pain. Music always carries me away and so it is the best because emotional or physical pain disappears when veiled by a song. I really appreciated the company of Jimmy Culler and John Matthews on Friday night. It made the night a lot better as did Dee Robertson who joined us for several songs. Our singing bartender Kelly also piped a few tunes. She had a tough time since a cigarette and a beer are her usual props when singing. With the no smoking law she had to opt out of the smoke. Better for us, tough on her. Bob Marcure even sang some harmony on Saturday night. He said the Rhythm Cafe CD has gone Sushi in Japan. All the people who bring their presence to a performance whether they are listening, visiting or dining, is so much appreciated. There is so much going on in each of our lives it is nice to have a time out and enjoy each other's company and share a tune or two. Speaking of too, Kayden has two bottom teeth showing now. Time moves on.

December 14, 2005 
Look outside yourself and do something for someone else and good will come into your life.

   I am very proud of Chani. She said it is over with Chris and she is moving on. I am glad she realizes that she deserves to be loved and to be treated with respect. Every one deserves to be loved for who they are. I have friends who break up every time they have an argument. What future can there be in that? Chani seemed so happy when things were going well and so devastated when they were not. Being told to move with only a few hours notice cannot be much fun. She is hurt but okay because she doesn't want to be somewhere she doesn't feel wanted. We liked Chris but what can you say? Who knows or understands where relationships go? I am excited to see what new adventures the future holds for Chani. I am sorry for the heartache yet happy she is moving forward with confidence in herself, her talents and her sense of self worth. They'll both be fine.

   It is kidney stones 4 to Papa G's nothing. I am holding on but they are winning so far. Doc seems to think they are going to leave on their own. I hope he is right. The little trials in life make us stronger if they don't bring us down all together. Now sometimes they will knock us down. The important thing is to get back up. That is what I am going to do as soon as this pain subsides enough. It figures that this challenge comes on the double decker weekend. So much seems to happen on Provinces weekends. Parties, concerts, festivals, kidney stones. Well, we have our own festival every time I play at Provinces and it is all because of the people who come to see me play and the people like Manolito and Jimmy who come to stand in. John Matthews was coming last months but he was healing some torn muscles and it didn't seem like a very good idea. Who will come out play? I will be as surprised as you to see who shows up. I am really thinking about taking a leave of absence for a while to do some writing and recording. Time will tell if that happens or not. I will be looking out for it.


December 13, 2005          
 We must make the best of those ills which cannot be avoided. Alexander Hamilton
   Uncried tears, that is what I call kidney stones. Emotion locked in a tiny calcium crystal which forces its way out of the body in a slow and painful process. Better to cry I say, or perhaps laugh your cares away. I talked to myself this morning and said "You don't have to do this." I think that this process is a form of escape from pain into pain. The changes that need to be made are the reason, or rather the seeming inability to make the necessary changes. Eleanor Roosevelt said "You must do the thing that you think you cannot." And Ingrid Bengis said that " Imagination has always had more resurrection power than science." It is true that if we see it we can do it. If we believe it we can achieve. Where is the off switch for all those negative messages from the past that say you are not good enough or you don't have what it takes? I would like to write a book, a job manual, on the operation of that switch. Perhaps I would include a chapter on removal of old tapes, upgrading to a new message center and installing a positive feedback hub. Wouldn't that be grand? We just watched The March of the Penguins. Talk about sacrifices for your children, they have the biggest I have seen to this date. Whatever comes our way comes with a way to get through it. We just have to find it.


December 12, 2005
    On this chilly morning when frost has formed on the plants and deck I am thinking about beginnings and endings and all that lies between. Chani called from Alaska and she is doing great again. She needs more Juice Plus and CalAbsorb. She said those supplements seem to help her with mood swings and getting to sleep. Yea. We visited Christina and Josh yesterday. The house, which is Clarity and Tenzin's, was pretty filled with people. Josh greeted us at the door with his lovely daughter in his arm. She had a little head band that matched her outfit. She looked beautiful. It was a nice visit. Josh is such an incredible story teller and he had to give us all, and sometimes too many, detail of the labor, and the caesarian and the whole process. It was one of those situations where you get to practice letting go. We are processing the hurt we felt from being left out of the birth adventure. I think we are just about done. Josh looks so proud holding his baby girl. Christina looks good and seems content with being a mother. She also took us through the birth verbally. It didn't sound like she had much fun But now Saria is here.
  I was wiped out this week end. I was so tired and down that I did not go to play at the Vesper Service. We were going to go and just be there but I was so tired I couldn't stay awake. When we finally got home I got that old family feeling, kidney stone. Exquisite pain and wild abandon. I hope and pray not to say here we go again. I go to the doctor tomorrow.
  On the other side of the weekend, I took the whole weekend off so we could go to Manolito's tamale party. We realized when we got to the ferry that we had left Missy at home. Each of us thought we brought her. When we called home Liz couldn't find her. I figured she was asleep on the bed in our room. We visited for a bit at Dale's. What a spread of food there was. He made the best guacamole I have ever tasted and there were lots of h'our dourves like deviled eggs, cherry tomatoes with basil and mozzarella cheese. People were busy drying corn husks and applying the paste and passing the tequila. The boisterous laughter made Kayden cry several times so we decided we had better head home. Mary told us it was a shame we were going to miss the dinner that Dale made. We did and we missed the balance of the party. I have waited years to go to that party. Such is life.

December 10

   I heard from Josh and I guess that Saria sings and dances when Josh plays Beatles songs for her. She is another Beatles fan in the family. He sounded really happy. I think we may get to see them tonight or at least tomorrow. It is another weekend of Vesper Services at Bellingham Covenant Church. I am looking forward to that as well. Paul, Kevin and I playing worship songs for and hour after a three hour rehearsal. It is an uplifting experience every time. I even got to share it with Christopher Nickels once. I don't hear much from him any more. He is looking for a new musical connection out there and I imagine that, work and family take up all his time. It is funny sometimes you make a connection through music and if you aren't doing music together any more the whole relationship quietly slips away. It is not really that funny.
  I would like to ask for some prayers for my sister Maria and Mike since the state is taking their grandson away to put in the care of another grandparent who has had no involvement for over 6 months. This baby has lived with them for 13 months and knows them as his parents. The superintendent of the mindless bureaucracy told them that they would have to drive their grandson to his new home and Mike said "Kiss my ass." She responded with "Don't use 4 letter words." What an education system we have that helps put so many idiots in positions of power. I second the motion, kiss my "asss" to people like that. I hope things will turn out the way Maria wants. I really do.

  By the way, according to Kathy and Dale Wasn't It a Time isn't even in Phil's movie. Still I need that agreement destroyed that says they have unlimited use of my song. Can I get an amen on that..

December 8, 2005    Twenty five years ago on this date John Lennon was gunned down in New York City, an ever recurring consequence of living in this country. We miss you John.

December 7, 2005
  This day, all those years ago, we were attacked as a nation at Pearl Harbor. I am still unable to comprehend the evil in the world. Focus on the light and let it shine because we have huge banners waving in the name of the dark side. God bless and comfort the souls lost on this day and the loved ones left behind. We are ready for major changes in our lives. Especially in regards to getting more healthy. We are going to start even before the new year begins with an exercise program and I am trying to figure when is the best time to do this detoxifying thing Andie just did. She was down for the count for two days. I am asking myself where are two days in a week I can be down and out. I may just have to keep moving but Andie has twice my energy and since she slept for a day and a half I am thinking my butt would be down for the count, like it or not.
  We are beginning to seriously look at living alternatives as in moving, building or whatever, anything, just something different than this. We were taking virtual tours of houses on line last night. I sat in a coffee shop and looked at a real estate magazine. I heard someone say on TV that if you want a new home you have to first picture it in your mind. That is what we haven't done but are starting to do now.
You must see your dreams before you can realize them. See yourself doing what you want to do and living where you want to live and then believe it. You have to believe it to achieve it. Just do it. Do it now.

December 5, 2005     
Happiness is a function of accepting what is.     
Werner Erhard from Shaker Boy
  We set out on a quest for a high chair last night and spent $150 on stuff at Baby's R Us and didn't get a high chair. As we were leaving we saw our friend Blu who was shopping too. A bit later we stopped by to see her and Jason for a little visit and so they could see how much Kayden has grown. They invited us to stay for home made potato soup, we did and it was delicious. They watch the food channel too although the soup was Blu's own. She and Andie both make it different every time. Now that we are parenting again we need friends who have small people also. Most of our friends are done with this phase of life and they get bored pretty quickly talking about babies. Hurry up Jason and Blu!
  I got an e-mail from friend and bassist Jimmy Culler and he said his son, Jamie, is starting to out ski him in his 7th season on the slopes. That is hard to imagine because Jimmy is such a great skier. I loved the times Chani and I spent on the slopes together. They are some of my happiest thoughts. Jimmy is busy working with Jimmy Wright and they did some gigs over the weekend. Speaking of gigs, Manolito will be in one night at Provinces this month. He is then off for his long Holiday in Mexico. I want to go! I miss the times we spent there with Jim and Penni and with Randy and Terri. I wonder will we ever go again? Yes, if we make up our minds too.
  And off we go into another week, may it be a good one. Here is praying for the lost little girl's safe return home for Christmas, here is to praying for kinder hearts in all people in our huge human family.

December 4, 2005      You cannot change what you can tolerate. Joel Astern
  Kayden and I were watching Joel this morning talk his uplifting talk about the power of God, the importance of forgiveness and of taking responsibility for our feelings. Let it go. There are things in our lives that affect us long after the events occurred. Forgive (ourselves and others) and move on. He told a story of some one asking for a blessing on a 5th marriage and he asked what is the common denominator in all those relationships? That is a question I asked myself at one time. What is the one factor you can change in a relationship. It is yourself. If we realize that when we cling to the past we cannot truly move on to the future we were meant to have. Joel mentioned that unless you get fed up with your situation you won't make a move to change it. That makes sense because I have a high tolerance for misery. My dad once said that people can get addicted to feeling bad. I think that it true for many of us. It is not a conscious choice. It is below the surface. We can change and free ourselves from beliefs and attitudes that hold us back. When we make up our minds that enough is enough, we can change. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

December 3, 2005 8:00 am   
No one ever went blind looking on the bright side of things. Joshua Wellington
  I was driving across the trestle when a white van cut in front of me and forced me to change lanes and pull in behind a truck that was pulling a large trailer. I got a strong sense of danger so I slowed way down and moved into to the left lane away from the truck. I was two car lengths behind the truck when it suddenly started to swerve and the trailer began to whip back and forth. The trailer hit the guard rail and large sections of the trailer fell into the lane behind it. A four foot by four foot section came off into the lane I was in but due to the distance I was able to maneuver around it without hitting anything. God was watching out for me, I was warned and I listened. Now I am home safe and sound. Andie is snuggling with the baby, Missy is asleep on my lap. It is a good day.
   Kayden ate his first food last night, prunes and rice cereal. Yum. He really liked it. He got so excited and seemed as natural as can be. He would lean forward until he reached the spoon and then he would swallow. I have never seen that before but he has been studying us while we eat for a few months and it seems like he processed the information. Andie shot some video. I will be happy when we can get some on line for viewing.
   We told Josh we were going to give space to him and his family until they were ready to talk or visit and we would wait for a call. We got one yesterday from Christina and she invited us to visit them and see Saria again as soon as we can. I was really glad to get some news. It is hard to wait so long to spend time with our first grand daughter. It is a bit colder in Bellingham than it is here and we have new snow on the ground this morning so we won't be going north until this clears up. If we get some pictures in e-mail I will put them up on the web site.
Be safe and careful on the roads. I hope our troops come home soon and missing children are found safe and sound. God bless us every one.

December 2, 2005 4:00 am
There is snow on the porch this morning. It is frosty cold outside and inside as well. Kayden was stirring in his sleep but I am waiting to see if he can stay wrapped in slumber a while longer. My enthusiasm to run pick him up at any whimper has gotten him off schedule and waking up about now to play with papa. Mama is not too happy about that, oops.
    I have begun to learn about licensing songs for TV and movies. I am beginning to see that there is a way for me to be a musician and make a living starting with Wasn't It a Time. I learned that without the writer's permission and agreement there is no valid license for use of his song. Now the other thing I learned is that competition is so fierce that ease of obtaining the license may be the determining factor for a producer to use an independent writer's song. All this energy spent doing other things is ridiculous when I was given the gift of music. It is the rock of my existence on this plane and the healer of mine and other people's souls. Thank God for music and for helping me to see the path that leads to using the gifts I have been given.

December 1, 2005
  Now we are really rolling towards Christmas and it is a time I long to have all the family together, all the grown up kids at home for a minute. That hasn't happened much even when they were not grown but it remains a tugging on my heart at this time of year. Looking at this new life that dwells in our house and watching him grow each and every day adds a little Christmas to each morning. Last night I was showing Kayden the sign for bottle and then holding up his bottle. He watched intently and suddenly he got this huge grin on his face as he looked from my hands to the bottle. I think he's got it!  I rocked him to sleep last night. I think that once you have done that with one child the act of rocking a baby to sleep stirs up all the memories of times past spent nurturing your children in that way. It is a time I treasure truly. I wish I could have back all the missed opportunities to spend time with my grown kids when they were little and even now. Priorities change with the passage of time. Things that seemed so important seem rather silly now and matters of the heart are what matter most of all. I don't want to miss a minute with Kayden because he is right here and in a moment he will be starting a family of his own. I hope to have seen it coming minute by minute when it finally happens. Children are the meaning of this time. Their innocence and hope reflect the reason for the spirit of the holiday season. Warmth in the midst of cold. Light in the darkness of winter. God bless us everyone. Don't miss a minute.

Kayden PJ time   

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist