Volunteer | The Daily Post

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My new happy place

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Volunteer | The Daily Post

Never volunteer. That’s like one the the greatest military truisms – ever. And one of the wrongest. Nothing risked, nothing gained. My experience always was that something good generally came from volunteering – being volunteered, perhaps not so much…

I’m starting on a new volunteer adventure. The Fire Service was never something I really considered before…I travelled so much in my Army, then Air Force lives that I would have been unlikely to have been able to meet the training commitments but really, my head wasn’t really in that space. Most of my post-infantry career was in TTI roles (Top Two Inch) , thinking jobs, often working on my own, solo…not really the team environment from way back then.

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Way back then…

My lifestyle changes over the past year have changed my ‘headspace’…an Outdoor First Aid course brought back all those Band 4 Medical memories and encouraged me onto the Pre Hospital Emergency Care course in September and that team working environment showed just how much I missed team work. On top of that, I needed some place to keep up those PHEC skills..

A friend joined another local brigade and I followed her progress…mid-winter, the local brigade delivered a recruiting pitch to our Business Association meeting and, although I wasn’t ready then, that sowed a seed that took root post-PHEC. I went down one training night and, in half an hour,  I was helping a firefighter into a hazsubs ‘carrot suit’…

Training is officially two hours every Wednesday night but that’s the minimum…National Park 281 is only a small brigade but most members work odd hours and days so there are usually ad hoc training sessions throughout the week. For recruits like me, there is also a lot of study and training – just getting on top of the language is a mission – to be signed off before the week-long recruit firefighter course at the National Training Centre in Rotorua…with a little luck and a few more people falling off the wait-list I may get on the January course…

So volunteering…it’s a bit more than a couple of hours a week and a bit of study…lifestyles need to change: a pager can go off anytime so little things like ‘cap, shirt, Bata Bullets, need to be more prescribed and practiced; parking the truck pointing up the driveway saves a few seconds…many of us live in Raurimu, a time-consuming 5km north of the station: we don’t have the critical mass or number of calls to justify standing watches…

Small team, good team…hard training, good training…repetitive training, even better…

 

Share Your World – 2016 Week 36

I sincerely hope you enjoy my questions for this week and find the questions interesting enough to play along.   You don’t think a lot about these questions, unless of course it is FUN for you.  Simply dream and just let loose, or you let your alter ego answer if you want.   Have a fabulous week everyone!! With your answers, please remember we are in the Share Your World world which may not always match our reality.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

I’m sorry but I’d be boring…it would be simply The Boat, not even anything wannabe-ish cool like Das Boote…I thought about this when Lotteries NZ used have the Big Wednesday draw that included a boat, rather a flash one, as part of the prize package. It always turned me off more than tempted me to buy a ticket…I mean, some guy just drops a boat off in front of your garage and drives off…what? Gee, thanks, all right..maybe I could put the chickens in it…then it would be The Coop: would that be better…?

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…but my parents used to have a yacht…

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? 

The analysis here pretty much mirrors my take on each of the dwarf’s personal attributes – I’ve included the link just for those readers who have not yet explored the deeper darker recesses of my mind – and I would have to opt for Grumpy, the protective one who tends to act when he senses a need for action…doesn’t mean for one second that he’s right, just that he sees a need for action when his protective gene goes off…

An 8th dwarf..? Do I sense the subtle stench of sequelitis…? The 8th dwarf already has a name and it’s Snow White…clearly she’s assimilated into the dwarf hive and sees herself as part of it…blonde or otherwise, if the other dwarves called her anything behind her back it would probably be Ditzy…

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

The Mummer’s Dance. I first heard this as an Erich Kunzel cover. I misread the CD cover and always thought that it was from the soundtrack of Prince of Eqypt until my younger daughter corrected me during one of our music nights a couple of years ago…Regardless, it has become of of those soundtrack tunes that is always running in the back of my mind ready to burst to the surface in unguarded moments…

Many years ago, TVNZ adapted Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want to Be With You as a promotion for TV2. The first version of this that I owned was on the Vonda Shepard soundtrack from Ally McBeal…hence the version above…

They always played it just before Babylon 5 screened and I came to associate that catchy tune with the B5 ethos and culture…the last best hope…do the right thing…sacrifice…dedicate…go the extra mile…fighting the good fight…II Timothy 4-7…and who personified those more than Susan Ivanova

…as above, Grumpy with the over-active protective gene…

…and this is what started it all, the original TV2 promo clip…

Complete this sentence:  I like watching…

Amsterdam Nov 13-013.JPG…people…sitting outside with a good hot coffee, watching, wondering, imagining their back stories…why is that one hurrying? Why does that one appear happy, sad, flustered, angry…?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful that I listed to my muse and committed to the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care course at Hillary Outdoors last week. I wasn’t sure at all that getting back into this world would be a good thing for me. Muse said it would be and that I should just do it…right again, Muse. like usual…

I enjoyed the pre-course study, getting in, exploring and researching. I loved the course – I’d already done some stuff with Henry and Budgie from  Peak Safety before so no worries there but on any course, you’re never quite sure about the course itself until Day One. This course rocked…an eclectic group, for sure, but one that jelled really well, lots of laughs and good to train with…for me the mark of any course is whether I want to repeat it and I would do PHEC again tomorrow, even as a consolidation…

I was worried that my previous training might be out of date or too narrow: while some things have changed and some of the new technologies are sci-fi compared to what we used to have, a good ninety percent was still relevant after I dusted off a lot of cobwebs…so where to from here..? Not sure…I’m wondering whether the local Fire Brigade would be a good venue or whether there’d be more and better experience getting into the eventing circuit…? Lots of questions…

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If only firies still had engines as cool as this…

I baked for the course and am also grateful that went down well; and this this time my orange cake worked, although my banana peel cake wasn’t as deep or as rich the the previous one – not sure if that is down to subbing out the butter with coconut oil, or maybe the peels were not as well pureed as last time..?

Looking forward to next week? I’ve ordered one of these:

…and expect it to be delivered Monday or Tuesday. I’m on a seven day roster next week but hope to get some simple experimentation underway on a couple of nights…just simple stuff to get the basic principles under my hat. Maybe I’ll start by just making my porridge with it each morning and it looks like it can operate as a super-slow cooker so maybe it’ll be time for another round of beets and rice..?

Share Your World – 2016 Week 33 – INSPIRING MAX

Source: Share Your World – 2016 Week 33 – INSPIRING MAX

Following Max’s lead again for this weekly challenge…(slightly delayed because I forgot to schedule it to post…)

Would you travel into outer space?

Absolutely…we can’t stay on this little blue ball forever…when I was ten I not only wanted to build this but believed it was totally possible..

moonbase ufo shadoWhich country/city in the world (that you have never been to) would you most like to visit and why?

I pick two…

My first pick is the same as Max’s…I’d love to visit Iceland, the ultimate mix of ice and volcanoes…

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My second pick is an ice chapel somewhere in Japan…one of the girls I worked with a couple of years ago told me about this place and I’ve been curious about it ever since…

ice chapelI’m not sure if this pic is that exact location – the one she showed me looked pretty classy but most of the pix I could find online looked like alpine versions of a Nevada wedding mill…

What could you do to breathe more deeply today?

I’m not sure really…it was a day off so I started with my normal stretching routine (days on are generally a little more challenging organisation-wise)…then I got called into work to resolve a technical difficulty which was easy enough…then I go some potentially really good news from one of my lawyers and that was cause for some deep breaths to keep calm to confirmation one way or t’other comes through next week..all in all I think my breathing was appropriate for the day I had…

Complete this sentence:  This creamy peanut butter sandwich could really use some … Tabasco sauce…I don’t really like peanut butter except as a baking additive and Tabasco sauce is my solution to any food I don’t like…tastes like Tabasco…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m really grateful that my annual performance review interview last week went in a direction that I totally did not expect and left me with great prospects for the future; I’m looking forward to a week of solid study before I go on course the week after…

 

If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how great it has been having Mum and Dad come to visit for the last week…we even got some halfway decent weather…

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Leaving on the Northern Explorer, heading south…

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Louie found a new walking buddy

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A quiet spot in the sun

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Can’t keep some people out of the garden

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Dad discovers the media centre remote…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how great it has been having people to cook for the last week. Breakfast and lunch are pretty much self-help here but our dinner menu was pretty on to it:

Day One: Roast Baby Armadillo on a potato, kumara, parsnip mash. This is quick and easy. I only made half the recipe but added the full cup of milk to the bread which made it a bit gooey. I fixed this with a half cup of almond coconut meal (left over from almond coconut milk) which a. worked to soak up the extra milk and b. added an interesting flavour and texture twist to the meat loaf.

Day Two: South African Curry with brown rice. This can be made with meat or not but I had 500 grams of mice left over from the baby armadillo and, due to my currently congested fridge space, this was a good way of consuming it.

Day Three: Fruit Salad Curry with brown rice.

Day FourChicken and Potato Chowder. My plan was to have this with homemade bread but I got a bit careless and put into too much water. The result was a bread with a heart so hard it burst out of the when I tipped up the breadmaker bowl.

Day Five: Beets and Goat Feta on Black Rice. This was the first time I’ve made this with raw beets. These worked as well as if not better than the precooked one I snagged form the supermarket last time by accident.I did go over on the olive oil and had to up the honey and balsamic to compensate…it all worke don the day though..

Day Six: Curry Kumara Hash Browns with Salmon and a neat salad. These hash browns are really nice but I’ve never been able to find a decent side to go with them. In the past I have relied on a dodgy rocket salad but I’m not really a big rocket person. Last night I tried a bit of an experimental salad and sauce that worked really – both of them…more to follow on that soon…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how impressed I was when the train arrived 15 minutes early on Friday…but then it was almost 15 minutes late this afternoon – life balances out but the lesson is to wait in the cafe with your coffee and the crispy fire until it actually pulls up…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m humbled to have gained a seat on the National Park Community Board. Elections aren’t until October but the position wasn’t contested so it’s done and dusted. I’ve probably just signed myself for even more work but I’ve got some catching up to do getting into this community. I’ve lived up here since 2004 but it’s only been since I started to work in the Park that I’ve started to get involved…yes, I do miss the Defence travel sometimes but it doesn’t outweigh coming home each night…

If we were having coffee, I’d be telling you how excited I am to be getting into some new ventures in the Park…

Share Your World – 2016 Week 32

Here is the basic Share Your World format:

  • Answer three random questions each week.

  • Respond to a fourth item (I will randomly chose from this list)

  • Answer the bonus question which is always the same  “What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?”  Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.

 

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Coconuts. They don’t grow here so it’s not like I can grow my own and they are still pretty pricey at the supermarket but with a guaranteed supply, I’d be making all my own coconut oil, flour, milk etc even more than I am now…of course, in a few months I’d be over it and want an endless supply of something else…

What is the worst thing you ate this last recently?

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Tough question as I eat pretty well, if I do say so myself…I’ve been working to perfect a good (great would be awesome but I’ll settle for good) dairy-free latte. Non-dairy milks won’t ‘pull’ the same way as real milk…this is due to to a lack of protein so adding a half- teaspoon or so of protein powder lets coconut or almond milk froth up nicely using a mechanical frother. Last week, during the trial phase, I made an error in assuming the frother would also serve as a mixer for the teaspoon of protein powder in the bottom of the cup. It didn’t and my coffee was spoiled by a sand-like grit (it was pea protein not dairy) in the dregs  – normally the best bit where the final swirls of coffee and coconut combine…

Are you are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

Yes…years of practice…something called ‘hurry up and wait’…it’s easy to zen into a ‘park’ mode, still aware of what goes on but conserving effort and energy ’til whatever happens/arrives/departs/whatever…

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.

Now that I’m back on the Mountain, I gaze longingly at the snow-covered slopes and wish I could ski or climb again…cold injuries are such a bitch and they never really go away…

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These are my favourites…Ruapehu’s too over=populated…

I’d like to have my own cafe…paleo-themed but not pedantically so…I drive past Ferguson’s Cafe in Whakapapa Village every day and the lost potential rubs me so badly…

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I’d love to fly but not for a living

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week, I’m grateful I finally took the plunge and applied for the next Pre-Hospital Emergency Care course. I’ve been avoiding getting back into this game for a while but the more I get drawn into the Park and the District, old flames rekindle. I enjoyed the debate during the Outdoor First Aid course last year and much as I’ve tried to steer away, I think now why not..? So a lot of study to get my head back in this…

I’m also grateful that I took the plunge to run for the National Park Community Board. Again, as a result of being drawn more and more into the District, I’m looking for ways to engage and contribute. Earlier this year I joined the Village Business Association and the Community Board seems like a logical next step…

Next week…I’m looking forward to my parent’s coming to visit for a week…the first time they’ve bee up here in quite some time…been a few changes to this place…DSCF9706.JPG

Also looking forward to some good outcomes from a tactical planning meeting with my lawyers on Monday…one way or another, the battle with the bank hasn’t got long to run…how it will go I don’t know but the new evidence we uncovered in the last week or so looks promising…

 

Muse | The Daily Post

My muse…

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: muse

Source: Muse | The Daily Post

I saw this topic pop up in the morning mail and thought it would be a quick and easy post…

appollo and muses

The Muses/ˈmjzz/ (Ancient Greek: Μοῦσαι, Moũsai; perhaps from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- “think”) in Greek mythology are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in these ancient cultures…In current English usage, “muse” can refer in general to a person who inspires an artist, writer, or musician.

I did a spot of googling, mainly in search of an image to fit my perception of ‘muse’ and to lesser degree, see what others might be thinking. At first I thought this quote was pretty apt:

 A writer’s muse

One day he will find you. He will touch you and you will feel a lifetime of indifference – of apathy melt away in a single moment. And you will ache for him. You will love him, in a way you walk a tightrope – in the way people learn to fall asleep in a war zone. You will bleed for him until the day they are gone. You will bleed for him every day after that. The time will pass and you will feel robbed – you will grow bitter. You will ask why but you won’t get an answer. And that is when the words will come.

~ Lang Leav

Who is Lang Leav? “…Leav is the international best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies and Memories. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author Michael Faudet…”

What was wrong with this picture and many of the other memes, notes and articles that I found is that they all portray a muse as a dark thing, the bringer or the result of pain and tragedy. And that’s just wrong…

Yes, I am still riding my wave of Beatles nostalgia after watching Across the Universe last weekend…such great, so very clever words…if you haven’t seen Across the Universe, it is really worth the watch…if you like The Beatles…if you like the grassroots groundswell of change that swept the late 60s…if you just likely a feel good story put to great music…original takes on classic tunes…

It’s sad that so many people think that tragedy and pain is the only inspiration…my muse inspires through happiness and light…a mischief smile…a twinkling eye…examples well-set…

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That inspiration shouldn’t be this rare…

This is my muse…(look away from the screen and just hear the words)

My muse…changes the way I think…

My muses…changes the way I feel…

My muse…keeps me on the path of light…

Annika - SH47 Erua 22 Jul 16 2Even just relistening to all these tunes while drafting this post rekindles those memories and I’m writing again…the world might be a dark and scary place, there may be many things happening that we don’t like or that may frighten us but we shouldn’t be looking to the darkness for our inspiration: nothing good lies there…we should look to the light, look what’s good and let that inspire us…

My muse is my sun…

Share Your World – 2016 Week 30

Another template, I stole from Inspiring Max – not sure if it will become a regular or not…although I do miss Mama M‘s old Five Question Friday challenges…

With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world which may not always match our reality.
Source: Share Your World – 2016 Week 30 – Cee’s Photography

Do you prefer a bath or shower?
Generally a shower because showers are quick and I am always in a hurry; also because it has been a long time since I actually had access to a working bath…I’d like to replace the bathroom external wall with a double-glazed slider or bifold, tile the interior and be able to lie in the bath (the same bath that has been sitting in the garage since the end of 2009) and gaze out into the native bush. Somewhere, I’d also like to spot a couple of external baths, preferably with solar heating, actually out in the bush for even more chilled chllin’…

Imagine…

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..this wall but…

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…with a view like this and…

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…this bath where the current shower is…
If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?
ITM. I would stock up on unlimited building supplies and tools so that I can start and ultimately finish all the projects I want to do here: bathroom, kitchen, post and rail fencing down the driveway, around the boundary, and around the Lodge and the cottage, decks from the front door, dining area and bath room, and retaining walls against the banks. The only resource that I would need that would not be available from ITM would be time.

Imagine four bar post and rail fences….

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…running along both boundaries and…

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…closing the cottage in…

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be?

My thirties were a lot of fun…I think I’d like to try them again but knowing what I do now…

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List at least five movies that cheer you up.

Love Actually. I don’t like all the plot lines in this but some I do and, combining a neat sound track with happy endings, this is my – for now – bestest feel good movie…

Brainstorm. I’m not sure why – this movie is set, in the real world, against the tragedy of Natalie Wood;s untimley death…the story itself is vaguely technobabbly…but it always leaves me with a good buzz…

The Quiet Man. A babe, a brawl and a bully. A John Wayne classic set in an Ireland of along ago…

John Carter. An epic that flows and that works – for me anyway – totally unchallenging, I can just let it flow over me…

Remember the Titans. I just like it…greta story…great soundtrack…

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

DSCF0329I am actually grateful for the big fridge deciding to pop a fuse. I put the back-up fridge – it would be THE beer fridge if I ever got round to putting beer in it – in the kitchen as an interim measure…while I miss the capacity of the big Bosch – possibly because I have to think a little bit harder about what goes where – I really like the more open appearance of and access to the kitchen area…

With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world which may not always match our reality. Do you prefer a bath or shower? If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which on… I think that I may keep the small fridge here as the ‘ready use’ fridge and relegate the Bosch to the back pantry for longer term storage…after three years, finally making changes that suit me…

 

Coffee Catch-Up #2

 

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Inspired by Inspiring Max’s Coffee Catch-Ups, in this case #12

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am well over this series of mechanical mishaps: first the engine in the truck blows just before ANZAC Day – six weeks to get the sorted and a big dent in the savings; then the water heater in the kitchen floods under the wall into the back pantry – not expensive but days of mopping and cleaning til I was sure there was no permanent damage; and on the weekend, the big fridge just stopped being cold – lights still come on, just no cold. Found a failed fuse and thought that was it but the replacement popped as soon as the power went back on so now I have to wait til the service guy is out this way in a few weeks (it’s a mega-beast to move).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that aside from the frustration of having a stand-in  fridge only a fraction of the capacity of the real one, I really like the more open access into the kitchen enabled by the reduced profile fridge: the big one came out to the edge of the lino in the picture above…I think it may be relegated to the back pantry with a smaller profile device going into that corner of the kitchen with just the most popular ready-use items…plus I’m already in love with being able to just grab fruit off the top like this…DSCF0334.JPG

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my battle with the bank is making some headway and we are getting some wins but will they be enough to change the outcome before everything goes? I’m getting great support from my legal team and those Members of Parliament that are assisting me and also looking at the potential changes to legislation that might fall out of this. But will it be enough…?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was rapt today to be cleared by Michaela at PhysioDirect Ohakune to be able to return to a normal life after popping a disk in my back a month or so ago. One of the silver linings to come from that mishap – never dance with a big dog when it’s icy – is that I have had to return to a daily stretching regimen: something that I should never have stop doing…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this is being a drearily grey winter so far…yes, there’s snow on them thar hills but just not enough of it…DSCF0300.JPG…the dreary greyness can be quite depressing but apparently banana peels are rich in serotonin so we’re blending our bananas whole to see how that works…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I bought yet another coffee toy, a capsule expresso machine only to find that I didn’t have a single expresso-sized cup that would fit the machine…I finally dug out an old tea cup that came with the house that is doing the trick for now…

DSCF0330I finally bought a frother too: the coconut milk doesn’t much like the heat of the steam frother.

DSCF0332Now my work towards world domination a perfectly frothed non-dairy milk can continue…
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Wrapping up a Coffee Catch Up with a coffee…

 

 

Empty | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Empty | The Daily Post

When I’m working in the study at home, I use Plex to shuffle through the music library and send it down the stereo to play through the house. I often rewarded (and occasionally punished) with an eclectic blend of sounds throughout the day.

If You Only came on just as I was browsing the (long long long) list of unused prompts in my WordPress folder. The sentiment of the song seemed to fit the prompt ‘Empty‘…it’s sad to think that someone you know could be feeling like this, not realising what they have going for them, maybe wanting to reach out but ‘too’, too whatever to make that first move…

If you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How everybody loves you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

Well, everybody’s looking
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Oh, what must they be thinking?

And every glance, and every shrug and gesture
It has another meaning
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Well, I know what I think

That if you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How everybody loves you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

On every tongue a whisper
Oh, I know what they’re saying
Yeah, I know what they’re saying

Do you see that face, it says

“You have no right to be”
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Oh, what must they be thinking?
Well, I know what I think

If you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
How good it is to see you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

And on one day
You may find that you’re no different
But ’til that day
We see you waste your days away

But if you only knew
Just how we feel about you
You couldn’t hurt like you do

And if you only knew
Just how good it feels to see you
You wouldn’t feel so alone

Don’t you feel so all alone

Don’t you feel so all alone” That’s not a question, it’s a direction…many people don’t see that, can not make that move to reach out…sometimes they just need that nudge, the random phone call, the casual coffee, the ‘was just passing by and thought I’d drop in‘…

Anyway that’s today’s totally random post…Plex has gone on to The Pogues now…

 

Tourist | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt Tourist.

Source: Tourist | The Daily Post

I’m not really into the tourist thing…most places I go I like to slip away, wander around, and mix with the people…pix of me doing the tourist thing are thus few and far between…

Me in Hawaii

Mandatory posed pic, tourist luau, Oahu, 1988

Mark and Ricki's Wedding - Fiji 58

Doing the tourist thing, Fiji, 2003