hello Quasthoff, unwinding at the end of a long day

i know i am a little late in finding such a gem, but his voice is mesmerizing. so, ladies and gentlemen, this is Thomas Quasthoff.

Found him through my recent addiction to Winterreise, and i’ve been listening for hours.

He is a bass-barritone, German legend that has since retired from singing (sighh). his story moves me. The singer, the man, his music. Quasthoff was born in Germany, with serious birth defects caused by his mother’s exposure during pregnancy to the drug thalidomide which was prescribed as an antiemetic to combat her morning sickness. Quasthoff is 1.34 m  tall due to shortening of the long bones in his legs,and his upper extremities has very short or absent long bones. He was not allowed to study music because every student had to play the piano. Thomas Quasthoff decided to study in private lessons.

Here’s a beautiful rendition of Georgia on my mind.

and here, he sings bach

And everyone needs to hear this Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

hello Winterreise; thanks for the company

I’ve never been big on classical music; always favouring the evergreens/70s music for my pick-me-up; then i go and marry a band boy *horror of horrors*, who absolutely adores classical music. i would like to think he hasn’t yet rubbed off on me (and hopefully never will); and we have a standing agreement that for every band concert or classical evening he drags me off to, he has to return one in kind, of the Chinese orchestra sort. which i actually quite enjoy.

but today, in my drowsiness from my middle-ear infection medication, i find myself inexplicably drawn to this:

Winterreise (Winter Journey)  by Franz Schubert

hello blue-less monday!

my phone is at its least usage on monday mornings, as this vile and vicious rumour (wonder where it came from) spread throughout the company that monday mornings was probably the worst time to talk to me. i am thankful for the reprieve. but truth be told, mondays are almost always blue to me. perhaps its the spending-the-weekend with Denn, and the (considerably mild) seperation anxiety kicks in. perhaps it because weekends are usually socially packed, and since i am not  a particularly sociable creature, i need relief from it. or because sundays are exhausting, and i count sundays from the saturday night before. the word would be surly. i usually feel surly in the mornings.

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but today, today oddly, i woke up feeling fresh and immediately raised the blinds for the sunshine to come in. and you know, i feel settled this morning. watching the sun bounce off the red-brick-roof of the extension of our house. and feeling thankful for such a beautiful morning. feeling blest, like this morning was made for me. what a surprise!

yesterday, we spent a lot of time yesterday talking about church, and what our small little community at Bethesda (Katong) stands for; what it all means to the both of us. Denn says he felt really off the past month, maybe because we didnt manage to make it to church till yesterday. too much work, then the eczema attack. i ask myself: wasnt this weekend equally crazy? wasn’t the social calendar just as packed + the additional chores around the house because our helper went on home-leave?  and yet, here i am: monday mornings, feeling fresh and cheerful! i guess its a timely reminder: going to church, being in the community, soothes the tired soul, not tires it further.

hello eczema; please leave me alone

so in our valiant attempt to go to church on time on sunday mornings; this totally threw me off my game plan. it was a carefully scheduled game plan (because everyone knows i’m like that):

mask on, try and sleep by 12.

toss and turn. toss and turn.

3 am, dennis peeks at me. i say to him “i cannot sleep”; he says ” me too”. i say “don’t bluff you have been sleeping for the last 3 hours.” he says “huh! wow. okay. then he goes back to sleep.

eyelids too heavy to read, brain can’t shut down. i think somewhere along the line i was cruising on the edge of sleep, but not really. really felt the crawl of time. mental agony.

5.30 am i give up my attempt to sleep. too much effort. will just stay up till the morning. went to wash up, and oh boy oh boy. look what happened to my eye!

swollen lid

 

its an eczema patch, its been there a long time but it surely chose to act up last night. usually its never swollen, just painful and dry (ie cracked), but this was one fat lid.

denn hears the commotion with my frantic search for eczema cream, and my furious applications of various avene products (which seems to be the only thing to calm my uber sensitive skin moments). i say to him “hoo boy, wear your specs, and look at my eye” he says “are you kidding?” but faithfully troops back to wear his specs and come see. so he peers into my eye, blinks the sleep out of his. and says “what am i supposed to be seeing??” so i gesticulate wildly about my swollen eye. and he blinks in confusion and says “oh, it does look a bit off ah; but its okay. go back to sleep” then promptly does that.

its 3 pm and its still swollen. bugger it.

hello 2013; aren’t you a spry one.

2012 kicked the legs from under me. what a blur what a blur.

to be honest, two weeks after the deal i’m still reeling from it, and havent quite had the time to catch up with the insane workload that 2013 has brought, i cant seem to find the time and energy to write my year-end post. kinda lost interest in writing a year end post a couple of years ago because of some stupid drama over my rights to be honest, and to have rights over my work. (let’s not go there). so i start writing this piece on 14 january 2013; and i wonder when i will post it.

august 4, 2012. that’s 4-8-12. (ahem, husband, get the date right).

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2012 was lovely; i got married to the best boy in the world for me. he’s gentle and funny and loving and kind. such simplistic terms, but its true. each and every one of those them. denn’ s innate ability to see past the complications (and drama) into the heart of the matter is really what drew me. a yes is a yes, and a no is a no. no mind games, just the straight truth, even if it wasnt always what i wanted to hear.

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we have finally just gone through the photographs, by Frank Foo. i know it was a long time agao, 5 months to sort out pictures, oh come on c. yea, fault’s on me. we kept putting it off, putting it off.. because it felt so momentous, the reviewing of wedding photos. and then we kept clearing the smaller stuff first, and it got pushed back. somehow i feel this whole post is going to be about the wedding, and the pictures. i shall save that for another post. warning: we have 5 wedding events: 1) teochew pre-dawn wedding ritual 2) church wedding 3)dinner day 1 @ hotel fort canning 4) dinner day 2 @ SICC 5) lunch @ tamarind.

there was the lovely lovely honeymoon in the beautiful south island of new zealand. (pictures to come)

2012 was also a year of closure. (not just the end of those single life late nights) but also because we close some chapters and start new ones. with work, for both of us.  i didnt do much travelling in 2012, but 2013 seems like it would pick up its pace. but we say goodbye to a management contract we’ve been doing for 4 years, and i’m grateful for the experience. how many people can say they have seen a bus built in front of their eyes? side frames, chassis, wheels, air cons, seats, a ba-billion nuts and bolts. it has been a good few years.

new jo

denn’s moving to a new firm where the hierarchy would be very different, although in the same field.

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we bade farewell to two dogs, Simba and Bee; and because (don’t stone me please) i believe dogs have no souls, so i can only be thankful for the joy they have brought, and that they no longer suffer or feel disoriented with poor vision and hearing.

choir

we sang in the choir. haha. who would have thought! weeks of practice, four songs. it starts with us singing with the children’s sunday school for the congregation to sing-a-long. my favourite part begins somewhere around 11.50. was alot of fun. and while neither of us are known (ahem!) for our great singing voices, the choir was so inclusive and just so much fun. PS: denn’s the narrator.

oh yea, i cut off my hair. did i mention?

yiyi & evan

and evan came in 2012 too! so precious, i absolutely love this little bundle of sunshine. he eats everything you give him, really. everything. he’s not that little anymore. here are updated photos of my two neffypoos, circa 18 dec 2012.

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2012 has been a good year. a good year indeed.

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