Corrinne's Musings - A singer-songwriter's life.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I write songs, I sing them... I play the piano and a little bit of the guitar.. I've released 5 albums of music, I love the scent of freshly fallen rain and the scent of lavender on bedsheets. I would drink tea all day long if the caffeine didn't keep me up at night. I hate driving in L.A traffic. I would love to one day catch the squirrel that steals the plums from my tree and make him a pet. I don't watch TV anymore. My 3 year old daughter is more entertaining than any TV show could ever be :)

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Born Free....My Grandfather's passing

Kong Kong passed away on Wednesday the 26th of July 2006, right about the time when I landed on the runway in Los Angeles from my flight back from Singapore.
He had been ill for a while, and we knew he didn't have much time left, but it's always still a shock to get the news of a loved one's passing.

I'm glad I took the opportunity to go and visit him back in Singapore in June when I had first heard that he was ill. And just about two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to return to Singapore again to sing at a corporate event and I had managed to visit my Kong Kong on Monday the 24th of July, just a few days before he passed away. According to my grandmother, I was the last grandchild to see him alive. That was truly a blessing for me that I got to see him and spend some time with him.

It's funny how the memory of the last time I saw him becomes more poignant in the light of his passing. I had gone over to my grandparents' flat to give them some Bubor Terigu that my dad and I had bought from the nearby Hawker's Center. Kong Kong was cleaning out one of his bird cages. He has always loved keeping birds as a hobby and during his hospitalisation, he had given his birds to his friend Ah Chye for safe-keeping. Mummy said that about two weeks before he passed away, he was excited and happy to get his birds back from Ah Chye after he was discharged from the hospital, but as the days passed, perhaps realising that he didn't have the strength to tend to his birds, he set them free one by one, until he had just one bird left.

I think it's poignant that one of the last things he did before he died was to free his birds. Perhaps he sensed that the end was coming and that the best thing he could do for those birds was to free them from their let them roam free...perhaps the way he too, was soon to be released from the cage of his physical frailty and sickness...the way that the Lord would soon be calling him home; free at last to be home.

I shall always remember the last time I saw Kong Kong on that Monday before I left Singapore for L.A. He was a little tired, but he still chuckled and smiled as I gave him a hug and kiss to say goodbye. I know we'll see each other again soon...someday...when the good Lord calls all of us home.

I miss you Kong Kong.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Man Who Paints With His Nose

I'm walking along 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica, California, watching the street performers and the dogs on leashes with designer dog collars being carried by their Prada encrusted owner's arms and suddenly I come across a guy sitting in a wheelchair, surrounded by a semi-circle of baskets on the floor, each holding different things...postcards, a basket with some scrunched up dollar bills from people who could spare some change for a donation...

Everyone seemed to walk past him without giving him a second look ; but I was intrigued. I walked towards him and saw that he had a framed biography/story on the floor and so I picked it up to read and here's what it said :

Gille Legacy was born in Bathurst, NB, Canada.
He was the sixth of eleven children. Afflicted with
cerebral palsy since birth (his doctors performed
last rites at that time), Gille has no use of his
arms or legs.

What he does have is an incredibly talented nose.

When he was eight years old, Gille noticed some
paints and a coloring book a sister had left
open in his room. He scooted over to
the paints and started to dab his nose into
the various colors and onto the paper.
To his delight, he soon realized there
was red paint on his nose, and a
painting of a bird in the coloring book.

The artist inside Gille had emerged!

For over forty years, Gille has created beautiful
impressionistic paintings using the tip of that
very talented nose. He has painted with oils, acrylics
and water colors. He originally painted on canvas,
but the surface was too rough on his nose.
He now paints on ultra-smooth masonite surfaces
of various sizes. Smoooth.

Gille's work has gained international recognition.
He exhibited in 2004-2005 at the Heron Bay Gallery,
Shediac, Chemin du Monde (Acadie 400)
Nova Scotia, Moncton Public Library, St. John Arts Center
and the McCainGallery in Florenceville, Canada.

Gille was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award in
January, 2005, Rotary's highest honor, for his work
with school children.

Gille has also written and published four books
of poetry and short stories. They are all typed
on his computer. With his nose.

In mid-2005, Gille moved to Santa Monica with
his Muse and soon-to-be wife, Sandi. They established
the "Nose Boutique Gallery." It is open to visitors who
make advance reservations at
Gille also demonstrates his nose painting skills and exhibits
his work on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
Contact Gille at his email address for the dates and times
of his appearances.

Gille and Sandi have given motivational presentations to
various groups and organizations, including schools in
Canada, and most recently, at the Coachella Valley
Rescue Mission in Indio, California

A great deal of artwork is made by hand.

Few are made by nose."

I almost couldn't contain my tears upon reading it. Here was a guy, bound to a wheelchair, neck and body twisting and turning somewhat uncontrollably, suffering from cerebral palsy, missing the lower half of his body; and instead of wallowing in self-pity or perhaps not having a sense of purpose, he taught himself to use his NOSE to paint.

I looked through the paintings he had on his postcards in the baskets...paintings of angels looking to a horizon of mountains, coloured skies, rolling waterfalls. There was so much beauty and hope in his artwork. So much joy in nature.

Here is a man, who most of society would look on without much care, perhaps even feel sorry for, and here he is, putting his heart and soul into a work of beauty. I guess it just shows that God works in marvellous ways; that all life is precious and filled with much potential for beauty.

I sifted through the basket of postcards to find the one that struck me the most.
I showed him what I had chosen and told him it was lovely and asked him if I was right in guessing that it was an image of an angel that he had drawn. His eyes were filled with delight as he grunted something that sounded like a 'Yes!' and he nodded his head with a slight turn of his head.

It was also lovely to meet his fiancee Sandy. Takes a special woman to recognise the lovely man within that gnarled body.

I think that meeting Gille was extra special also for a very important reason. Earlier in the week, I was reflecting on how each person shows us a facet of God; each person is a clue to discovering His face...the different parts that make up His face.

So I was keeping that reflection in mind. It was almost a 'Where's Waldo' game, except that this time it was more like "Where's God?" in this? "where is He?"
So I was keeping my eyes open, as I am still trying to do, keeping in mind that every person is a handiwork of God, every person can show me a little something about Him, can teach me a bit more about understanding God...that each person was created in the image and likeness of Him and hence getting to know each person better, will help me to see His face clearer, by seeing His face in each one of us.
It is like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. The more pieces I have that I can piece together, the clearer the entire picture becomes; hence the clearer His face will be.

So anyway, I don't think it was a coincidence that Gille was there on the promenade that day. I believe He must have had a hand in leading me to behold His face in Gille...and what a lovely face he has.

Man Who Paints


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Customer of the Week!

So, it finally happened...

I'd been going to Peets Coffee and Tea so often these past few months to write songs
that they finally named me "Customer of the Week"! Woo hoo.

For one entire week, I had the distinct pleasure of getting free cups of tea.

I guess I'll have to put them in my album credits now.

Peets Coffee and Tea