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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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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Walking for Life on my birthday in San Francisco, CA

photo by Gerald Augustinus



Saturday 19th January 2008

Woke up at 8.50 a.m.
By the time I left my hotel room it was about 9.20 a.m and I
made my way across the street to the Ferry Building to check out
the Farmer's Market.

Lined up in a row alongside the water were blue tents where
stores and vendors had set up their wares. Vendors were
selling everything from breakfast platters to skillet potatoes
to Lavender Sugar, Oysters, stalks of Cherry Blossom and organic
fruits and vegetables.

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There were also a few musician street performers, including
one dressed as a cowgirl, complete with cowboy boots and hat,
but wearing a short skirt and checkered tights as well.
She was playing the accordion, kicking her boots into the ground
as a percussive instrument and singing 'What Do You Do
With A Drunken Sailor'. She did a very spunky rendition of the song
and it sounded great. I dropped a dollar in her jar and went
on my way.

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I walked around, taking in the sights and the smells. The Bay
Bridge was standing majestic against the light blue sky,
waves gently lapping away at the pier and the morning sun was gradually
turning up its intensity.

Sausages were sizzling on the grill, oysters napping
on beds of ice-chips and abundant fruits and vegetables
in a sea of orange, reds and greens. I made my way to the
bakery inside the ferry building called the Frog Hollow
Farm where I coughed up $4.50 for a Ham and Gruyere Cheese Turnover,
basically a crispy pastry puff filled with ham and gruyere cheese.

I then made my way to the Peets in the building, but not before
strolling around, admiring the seductive sights of stores
specialising in cheese, and others specialising in caviar,
mushrooms and artisan bread. It was a feast for the senses.

Daintily laid out treats from the Boulettes Larder
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The Peets in the Ferry Building terminal was not ideal,
ie. they had run out of ceramic mugs and were using paper
cups, but the seating was great because the unfinished wood
tables and chairs were placed next to a huge window
that overlooked the bay waters.

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I got my tea, settled in to eat my turnover and browse
through the headings of the New York Times.
The front page carried a story about
how the cooking oil prices were soaring and driving up the
cost of food globally. The story mentioned something about
how a factory in Malaysia that had planned to begin a business
converting cooking oil into diesel oil lays idle now because
the owners can no longer afford the cost of the raw materials,
ie. the cooking oil, to turn a profit in the making of diesel
oil. Hmmm...I guess paying $4.50 for a small crispy puff pastry
with Ham and Gruyere cheese will soon not be considered extravagant,
but normal in the light of future spikes in the cost of food.

After my breakfast, I took another quick stroll around the stores
in the Ferry Building marketplace, making a mental note to
come back after the 'Walk for Life' to get a sandwich from
Lulu Petite. (I'd read that their sandwiches, esp. the crispy
chicken sandwich was good.)

It was about 10.25 a.m by this time.
I quickly made my way back to the hotel. I had to pack,
check-out, get my bags stored at the hotel concierge and
then make my way over to the Justin Herman Plaza lawn
for the 'Walk for Life' rally and I didn't want to miss
the beginning. From the Ferry Building, I could already
see a big group of people gathering at the rally area.

By 10.50 a.m, I was on my way, walking to the rally.
Along the way, I passed by another rally gathering,
although it was quite small and sparse, a small gathering
of people for abortion had gathered and some were shouting
some slogans that I could not make out.

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Walking along to the Walk for Life rally, I was heartened
to see so many people walking along with me to gather at the lawn.

There were already many groups gathered there, people from
all walks of life, all colours and all ages, all gathered
to make a stand against abortion. Many had come via church groups,
college students groups...I saw banners for groups like the Trinity
Students, Knights of Columbus, and the Paulists priests were
on site too to take video footage of the event.
Sign boards like 'Abortion Stops A Beating Heart' and
T-Shirts sporting 'Pro-Woman, Pro-Child, Pro-Life' were
worn.

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I saw a man distributing 'Women Deserve Better Than Abortion'
signboards and I asked if I could have one sign too. I wanted to
have something to hold, to show my solidarity for the cause,
to make a stand in as much of a way as possible.

The rally soon began. A welcome address was given by the founders of
the 'walk for life' two women, Eva and Dolores.

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A lady called Francine led the crowd in the singing of America's
national anthem, and this was followed by a prayer by one of the bishops who was there.
Following this, Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece walked
to the podium to share her witness to the truth.
She herself went through two abortions and experienced first-hand
how abortion hurts women. She gave a very moving speech.



Next up was a lady called Gianna Jessen. This woman spoke very powerfully.
She had survived a saline abortion. Her mother had tried to abort
her via a saline abortion (read more about it here) but she would
not die. In a twist of irony, she was born in the abortionist's
clinic and the abortionist had to sign her birth certificate!
I thought that was amazing. As a consequence of her near-death
experience, she suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with a limp
but she is such a spunky individual, and she spoke with such humility, yet
with such power and conviction. I was really moved by
what she said and the manner in which she conveyed it.



Jesse Romero was next. He told the story of St. Telemarcus.

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St. Telemachus lived in the time of the Gladiators in Rome.
He single-handedly made a difference by witnessing to the truth.
In the arena of 80,000 people gathered to watch a gladiator
match, St. Telemachus was the lone voice that shouted
out to the Caesar to 'stop the killing in the name of Christ'.
He was run through with a sword by the gladiator, but he
repeated his plea with his dying breath, 'Stop the killing'.
and after he died there, in his own pool of blood in the middle
of the coloseum, caesar and his wife were so moved by his
convictions, that he left the arena. 80,000 filed out of the
colosseum and the game was never held. Subsequently, the
Ceasar signed a declaration banning all future gladiator
games. Truly one man can make a difference.

Rev. Clenard Childress was next and he mentioned how appropriate it was that Alveda King was there that day,
because Martin Luther King Jr. too, was a fighter for the right to life and liberty
for all.

The walk was soon to begin and the organisers told everyone
to be respectful, to keep things peaceful,
and not to engage with the hecklers along the walk.
It was great to see too, that the San Francisco police
force were out in force to help make the walk as safe
for everyone as possible. It was real nice to have them
there. There must have been about 25,000 people there
at the walk.


Before the walk started, I had made the acquaintance
of Diana Sheffield and John McRaven. They were both
from Davis,CA and we started talking and sharing about
the circumstances that had brought us there to join
in the 'Walk for Life'. Diane and John had joined
some 50 members of their parish on a bus from Davis,CA
to be there. I told them that I had driven up the evening
before from Los Angeles to be there and they were pleasantly
surprised that I made the 6 hour drive.

The walk soon began and everyone followed along the path,
along the Embarcadero. Traffic stopped whenever we
had to cross a road, thanks to the wonderful police
officers who were there to bring order to the event.

It was a good leisurely 2 and a half mile walk.
There were people singing hymns, and we could hear someone
else playing the guitar and a tambourine ringing out
to keep time.

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Others were praying aloud and many others, like myself,
John and Diane, had a good time chatting.
John, Diane and I had a good talk along the way,
sharing our thoughts about everything from 'why
don't people understand that life begins at conception',
to discussing the topic of wine-making and physics,
both subjects John and Diane were studying in college,
and I shared with them my life as a singer-songwriter
in LA. [Diane also talked about Pope Benedict and John
Paul II and I shared my thoughts with them too about
how I thought John Paul II really lived as he preached,
ie. being a powerful witness to the cross of Christ
as he bore the cross in his burdened body]

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Along the way, various groups of people had gathered
along the side to heckle and challenge the 'Walk
for Life' participants. Carrying signs like 'My
body is not an incubator' and other varied signs
like 'Free Kisses', and another bore a sign saying
'Stop Home Abortions - Give Us A Choice', with a pair of
clothes-hangers stuck to the sign. Yet another smaller
group was carrying huge cut-out shaped lips. Dressed
in predominantly hot pink and red colours, some
with netted black stockings and pink ribbons in their
hair and extra dark black-khol-lined eyes, they
were quite a colourful sight. Along the way,
the promise of 'Free Kisses' was seen being redeemed
by various strangers kissing the sign-holders.

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We soon walked past Pier 39, and the Fisherman's Wharf.
Tourists stopped to take photos and restaurant cooks
from the restaurants in the area stood by windows
to take in the sight of the 'Walk For Life' participants
walking on by.

Some pro-choice activists had grouped together as
a small marching band contingent and were playing
a fun Brazillian rhythm, complete with a brass
section and a trio of college-age guys walking in front of me
took the opportunity to sing along to the beat,
'Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole...Pro-life, Pro-life'.

Pro-Abortion supporters along the way shout slogans as the pro-life walkers walk by.DSC06943

It was a beautiful day, clear skies, a light breeze,
and the sun shone a warm golden yellow.

I looked around me at the people who walked along-side
me. There were seniors with full heads of white hair,
Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans,
toddlers being carried in arms, infants in strollers,
young kids walking along hand-in-hand with their
parents, and I saw two kids, a little girl playing
with her gameboy and a 3 year old boy taking a nap
in a little plastic wagon pulled along by their
dad who was taking part in the walk.

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It was inspiring to see just as many men as there were women.
The myth is that abortion is a 'women's' issue'.
But here, on this Saturday morning, standing all around me,
were men of all age groups, and from all economic
walks of life, the young, the teenagers, the young
fathers, the grandfathers, making a stand, showing
that this was an issue for all peoples. When
life is being threatened, when the most vulnerable
are being threatened, all should defend it.

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The walk soon made its way along the waterfront
where seagulls were scattered en-masses along
the water and I joked about how it was good
that they were not starting a seagull formation
to crap on us.

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We soon walked up and along a little winding path
through a canopy of Eucalyptus trees and downhill
towards the Marina Green.

John, Diane and I were astonished to see that
a big crowd had already gathered at the Marina
Green, the end-point of the walk. We did not
realise how big the crowd was. All behind us, and up
half a mile ahead of us, stretching as far
as the eye could see, were people in the 'Walk
for Life', forming a continuous human chain.
Truly there is strength in unity and solidarity.

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It felt good to reach the end of the walk.
It was the furthest that I have walked in a while
and my feet and calves were starting to ache :)

It was also great to see Fr. Frank Pavone, the national
director for 'Priests For Life' there
at the podium on the stage at the end. He told
the crowd to keep striving to make a difference
and encouraged everyone in their fight to defend
life. He has been a very passionate catalyst in
the pro-life movement here in the US, and
he was one person that I was hoping to say hi
to and to share my music with, so it was good
to go up to say hi to him.

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I soon bade farewell to John and Diane,
and decided to give them a copy each of my
cd as a token of my appreciation for their
company along the walk and in hopes that we
would keep in touch.

I decided to walk back towards the starting
point of the walk where my hotel was, but I was
unsure if it was the fastest route back.
Spotting two men walking along the way back,
and overhearing them talking about the walk,
I asked them if they knew the fastest
way back to the Justin Herman Plaza.

They mentioned that they were walking back
to the Bart station which was where the Justin
Herman Plaza was, and said that I could walk along
with them. It was about 3.25 p.m by this time
How wonderful is God's providence :)
I had come alone to this walk and had found companions
along the journey both to and fro!

Brendan, Steve and I introduced ourselves
to each other and had a good chat along the way back.
Brendon and Steve gave me some tips on where to go
the next time I was back in SF (St. Peter and Paul
Church in North Beach, Telegraph Hill) and Brendan
mentioned how music could be a really powerful tool
for good or bad and I agreed with him. He started
mentioning Wagner, and how Wagner had inspired
Hitler! Oh my...must see if it's true.
It made the walk breeze by and soon, we were
back at the Ferry Building, close to the hotel
and the Bart station. It was 4.30 p.m by now
and we bade each other goodbye.

I made my way into the Ferry Building Market.
I was starving and had only had a bite of the
tonkatsu that i had picked up from the Japanese
deli earlier on that morning. I made my way
back to the Lulu Petite deli. I weighed in my
choices : Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Duck Rillette
Sandwich or the enticing Tomato and Blood Orange Braised Pork Sandwich.

I picked the pork sandwich. It was so delicious.
Moist, tasty, and it had a really good flavour to it.
I savoured every bite and chased it down with a sip of Darjeeling tea.
(yes, I'd gone back to Peets too to get another
cup of Darjeeling Kalimpong Tea.)

It was close to 5.15 p.m by then. I had planned
to visit the Notre Dame Des Victoires church for mass,
but it was a little too late now, since mass
started at 5.15 p.m there. I briefly considered
not attending mass, but I knew that if I didn't
attend mass on my birthday, if I didn't partake
of the feast that He had prepared for me in the
Eucharist, it would somehow, make my birthday
feel less complete.

Fortunately, I found out from the hotel concierge that
there was a church just about 10 blocks away,
on Mission and 4th Street. St. Patrick's church.
Hmmm.....I wondered if it was going to be as
architecturally beautiful as the Notre Dame des Victoires
church that I had read about. It was about 5.35 p.m
by this time and i worried that I would not be able
to make it on time for the Euchastic part of the mass
if I were to walk there. I hem and hawed on my
decision for about 10 minutes, before I decided
to take a cab. Just at that moment, a cab pulled up
in front of the hotel and I jumped in. It took
about 5 minutes and i was there.

The church looked small but majestic on the outside
and even more beautiful on the inside. I was pleasantly
surprised. Statues of St. Therese of Lisieux and
St. Teresa of Avila stood along the side, silently
praying.

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Thankfully, the congregation were in the midst
of the prayers of the faithful, so I had arrived
just in time to catch the liturgy of the Eucharist.

It was so good to receive Him again in the Eucharist.
It was the best birthday feast I could have wished
for.

After mass, I wandered around the church, and
knelt for a while before the tabernacle.

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There were many candles lighted in front of the
altar, and I imagined that this, was akin to
the birthday candles that I would have had
on some birthday cake. I imagined that it
was Jesus's gift to me, the blessing of
the beauty of these candles, glowing and
swaying in the glass jars, even better
than birthday candles on a cake.

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"Dear, Lord,
Thank you for this, my 35th year of life.
Thank you for all the blessings you've given me
all these days of my life, for these 'birthday candles'
lighted beautifully here by the altar.
Thank you for your providence this day and all the days
before that. I want to give you all the glory for the life
that you've given me, for the body and blood that you've
fed me with this day at the beautiful sacrifice of the mass,
your birthday feast to me. So much has transpired today
that has warmed my heart. Thank you for all the gifts
of this day, for the beautiful clear blue skies
and the comfort of warm sunshine, for the visual feast
of the farmer's market, for the seagulls by the water, for
the friends made, the moving speeches, the 'tour' of
San Francisco with the walk, for your mother, for your
providence in getting me to mass just on time for the
Eucharistic celebration, for the beauty of this church.
You've given me such a lovely birthday celebration Lord,
thank you for helping me to celebrate this life you've
given me. Amen."



I walked to the back of the church and read
a bit more about the history of the church
and browsed through the photos taken of the
church throughout its history. I was surprised
that this church, that I had almost passed over
in favour of wanting to go to the Notre Dame des Victoires
church, had a long distinguised history and was one of the
first few churches in SF's history. What a blessing
that He brought me there.

Pipes for the organ at the back of St. Patricks Church
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View of the church's altar after mass
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After mass, I walked back towards the Hotel Vitale.
The moon hung, almost full, overhead, like a lamp
shining over the high-rise office buildings. The
stars though only a few were visible, added the
sparkle to the indigo evening.

I drove back to LA soon after. The 5 and a half
hour journey was pretty much uneventful and went
by smoothly. The roads were not crowded, so that
was good. By the time I reached back home,
it was 1.15 a.m in the morning.

Altogether, a good birthday :)


P.S I found a nice video that
kinda summarises the 'Walk For Life' 2008
here :




Resources :

Rachel's Vineyard - for women, men and families
hurt by abortion.
Walk For Life Official Website
Silent No More Awareness Campaign

6 Comments:

Blogger Adorra The Explorer! said...

Whow. I am impressed, amazed and slightly envious. I wished Singapore would have walks like this too and provided I believe in the cause.. I wna join in too!

And ooh sorry.. I wrote your age wrongly in your birthday card. :X

I am sure it was a blessed birthday for you.

Friday, January 25, 2008 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger yellowlemonie said...

Happy Belated Birthday Corrinne! (it's somewhat quite belated though I'm afraid).

Anyway, thanks for sharing moments from such a wonderful event. It certainly made me feel like I was there - especially with all the videos!

Keep writing (both songs & posts)! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all this on your Blog. I was really blown away by the you tube video of Gienna Jesson. I sent it to my sister and my niece. I really appreciate that people like you took time to show the events of that day and I also found some from the walk in Wach DC. Isn't it amazing - the major news stations barely coverered any of it. I think they constantly commit sins of ommision.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 7:40:00 PM  
Blogger wmw said...

I miss San Francisco! Seeing this post of yours makes me yearn for another trip there to visit my sis. It was great of you (and the many others) to take part in the Walk. Any plans on coming over to Malaysia? If you like Malaysian Food, I'll take you around...I'm a food blogger ;o) You have a wonderful talent! God Bless You.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Thank you Corrinne,
for being such an inspiration and blessing.
Please continue sharing your wonderful music with the world!

Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey
was seaching for ur songs lyrics
and i came upon here.
so thought i could might as well post a comment here (=
i wanna hav lyrics for scars(stronger for life)!
'll be glad if u post it up. heh.
ur songs r great! (=

Thursday, March 13, 2008 12:49:00 PM  

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