THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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I was thinking as I got up today about the pace of life. Because things really accelerate when you get up and from the start, realize there aren’t enough hours in the day to even think about accomplishing all you would like. Now that is a nice thing to have in front of you, don’t get me wrong.

Out for a jog and a stroller.
Photo by Mike Hartley

At one point in my life I would let that be a negative and slow or stop my production at times because of feeling overwhelmed. But now having a full plate means I’m living. I’m trying my best. I’m refining the list and priorities all the time. The more I get done, the better I feel and what I don’t just gets evaluated again and either scrapped, re-prioritized and maybe put back on the list.

I’ve also learned being more flexible with myself, has led to more happiness. For instance if I get lost in a few blogs because of the beauty or ideas or trains of thought being discussed and I spend some time commenting and then remember I’ve got to pull together a daily post that it doesn’t freak me out. Yeah I might cut the thoughts or images in my own blog short, but I still get it done. And the next day I try to do better. Kind of simple really.

It’s a lot about confidence. Being OK with the thousands of decisions you make each day. Not beating yourself off the ones you got wrong. Not taking too much joy or getting overconfident because of the successes. Weighing how you feel about yourself more than letting others determine your feelings or worth.

All I know is I’m finally getting more comfortable in my skin and more proud than discouraged about what I can and can’t get done. Wish I had wisdom when I was younger.

Well its time I get cooking again. I’ve fallen out of the habit of helping with that. Being able to grill in nice weather or even the fall or spring is when I’m doing much better. Winter is seldom seen grilling time. So I better head into a kitchen somewhere and see what I can whip up. I actually enjoy cooking. I didn’t say I was a wiz at it, but I haven’t killed myself or anyone else yet and all seemed pleased.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So I think I’ll surprise my better half this weekend and fix a few meals. Time to surf the recipes. And time to find a new meat market being our old favorite in Laurel closed.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Looking forward to a little unwinding time. Some days I feel like an old clock.

Don’t you just yearn to hear the voices of those important in your life that have passed.

You know even when I look at very old pictures of my better half and I, even before we were married, we look in love.

I’ve got to spend some more time with my mother and father in-law. Because it would make them happy.

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Only a day

We go through our lives thinking it was “only a day.” But few days are only a day. For instance yesterday I found out a friend’s wife is suffering with cancer. A day will never be only a day to her again. When you have your health its easy to take days for granted. When you have a roof over your head and a meal in your stomach its easy to take life for granted.

The longer we have our health and food shelter and a job, the more the little crap that doesn’t matter creeps in. I rarely now step outside and don’t remember to appreciate it because I have the health to do it. I find joy in whatever I’m eating because I’ve gone hungry before. And every day I go downtown and see homeless people I’m thankful for a roof over my head.

No matter how much it seems like only a day to you there is a gem in every one of them if you allow and look for them.

At Ease Sailboat
Photo by Mike Hartley

So untie yourself from the dock, hoist that sail and enjoy the breeze called life. Is hoist the right word to use? I’m not a sailor.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Even though it’s not healthy to live through your children its wonderful to live for your children.

I’m learning to become more of a hard ass in negotiations, especially if I feel others are going to try to take advantage.

Some days I work on my people skills by avoiding them.

Why do some not honor commitments?

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I don’t like asparagus and I don’t like today

Not often that I start a post, work on it a while and say no, not today. Even less frequent is starting a second post and getting half way there and saying no this isn’t it. This is the third attempt for the day and the struggle feels less. I didn’t have or make the time to shoot early today. The job that pays the bills runneth over again.

I don’t like asparagus and I don’t like today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was on a rage about a few things and started one post on emotions, which mine were running high today. I was all over the place with it. One of my rambling manifestos. So I’ll try to break that down someday into a sensible post or two.

My second try was the a start of my thoughts on taking images and not using the tools of the day to make them better. In my case its a few simple issues. The time in post processing vs the time being able to shoot more. There is also this ethical thing I worry about. I have no problem with people creating beautiful pieces of artwork. I enjoy them very much.

But I come from a more photojournalist approach I guess. And then there is the cost of the software. Now that is less relevant than it used to be but it’s still another thing to deal with. For the last few decades I’ve just been using the simple tools that have come with the camera. Crop and exposure adjustments.

It’s not that I’m intimidated by these tools. I used the first few versions of Photoshop early in its history. I can learn it again or other software. In some ways I know it would improve my images but at what cost in time of getting more images. Anyway that is a discussion for another day or night.

So today is asparagus day. My apologies to you who like that. Maybe it was a better day for you. Just hasn’t been my day so far.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Sometimes I forget there are a lot of bad people on this earth.

I’m much happier when I remember I’m in charge of most of my happiness.

It’s a pleasure to give a reference in someone you believe in.

I’m going to make better use of Tuesday than I have of this Monday.

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Yeah Snow, way to go with the timing

No heroic actions by this guy trying to get to work in this mess. I’ve had so many white knuckle drives in my lifetime I think some of that transferred to my lightening hair color. Plus the county hasn’t seen fit to plow my street yet so I’m hunkered down and working from home today.

Back is kind of sore from shoveling earlier. Felt good while I was out doing it. And even afterwords it felt good to have the circulatory system in action again. But that back is the weak link. I’ve got to work on strengthening the CORE.

Photo by Mike Hartley.

And that is a good theme for this year. Strengthen the core. And do that in every aspect of life. So lets see what can I do to get started? Crunches? Nah, too advanced to start with. Maybe just some aerobic exercises. Think I’ll add that this week to the walking I’ve been doing.

I’d also like to get a hold of my core emotions this year. Not in having them but how I react and respond to them. I’d also like to think about my core beliefs again. The more I know where I’m going, the easier it is to get there.

Random Thoughts of the Day

My new snow shovel works just like the old one. I was hoping for improvement.

I’m much less stressed when I miss the news.

Its UGLY car season. Salt mixed with whatever color it was before that.

Some people, that about says it all.

This is about the best spirits I’ve been in on a Sunday in some time.

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Sweet Saturday

I pick titles for the stupidest reasons some days. And today could be one of them. I saw an open bag of mini chocolate chips my better half had used in baking and I started off my day by nibbling on them about 5 minutes after I got out of bed. Yeah I know, not the breakfast of champions. But its kind of how my life goes. I have no meals that traditionally people call breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Photo by Mike Hartley

With shift work it kind of depends on the day of the week. Because the hours kept each day are so different. Like today I was up by 8am. Other days of the week I’m going to bed at 8am. The only way to survive this kind of madness is don’t think of it like madness but to each day in itself. A meal is a meal. I can eat pizza or a steak for breakfast just as easily as I can have a bowl of Cheerios for dinner.

There are days of the week I’m having what my wife calls dinner and to her it is the last meal of the day. To me its breakfast. I don’t care, we usually eat dinner type meals. I enjoy the hell out of it because she is a wonderful cook. Sometimes I cook but she does the bulk.

I can also sleep at any time of day or night. I can enjoy night or day and the beauty each provides. I think sometimes my friends and family have more trouble keeping up with my changes than I do at times. And then there are times I’m asking what day it is, myself. I’ve read a lot of negative things about older people doing late shifts, overnight or mid shifts. I try to stay healthy in mind at least. Physically I need to better.

I think it’s an area I’ll delve into a bit deeper this year. I’m sure a lot of people do it because I see a lot of nocturnal creatures stirring at night also. It has great benefits and great drawbacks. So just like any other job why not try to maximize the good and minimize the bad.

If I’m going to do it, I had better be smart about it. Mentally I think I’ve made a ton of adjustments. I’ve been concentrating on getting 5-6 good hours of sleep a day. Might not seem like much to some but for me its pretty good to maintain that. I’m trying to eat wiser. Notice I didn’t say less. Starting off with smart snacks. More nuts and fruits.

I’m going into each week without dread and breaking it down into smaller chunks. I’m trying to mix some pleasure during the week instead of just work. I’m planning better and I’ve noticed my follow through on work for myself, seems to be improving. I’m trying on several fronts to make it better. I hope to get an answer on a very important piece soon.

Would have been nice to end the day like this on the water with the sun getting lower in the afternoon instead of those snow showers I saw falling. I had to go find a picture like this because my friends and I started to discuss the spring Rockfish season and a date to go out. Well first it would be wise to check with our charter captain I guess. I’ll have to put that on the agenda tomorrow as inspiration after I finish shoveling the driveway.

Maybe this spring
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

I’ve spent too much of my random thought time today, gritting my teeth with back pain. Kind of breaks the pleasant trains of thought.

Participate in something. Its catching.

I did feel great today, when I heard my Son in-law offered to help me install a new kitchen faucet. I also felt great talking to my Son on the phone and discussing our favorite topics and teams.

I have a good friend with a very sick habit when he clears his driveway with his snow-blower. Lets just say he adds incentive points along the way. I’ve got to get a picture of this someday.

The day started off great basking in the Maryland Terps victory over Indiana. And its ending great as I watch the snowflakes fall. I think I’ll step outside and enjoy that special kind of quiet that a snowstorms bring. The only sound is the gentle snowflakes hitting the trees or ground. It’s almost like that last foot or two of a wave as it slowly sinks into the sand on the beach.

Everybody’s day starts and ends at the same time. And everybody’s day starts and ends at a different time also.

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Shivering and That time again

Well I said I was going to get out in the cold and photograph. I got out in the cold today but it wasn’t to photograph. Today was filled with sales people. We had some returns from the holidays to take care of. Cloths for me that didn’t fit which means I had to pick out something new. Because when I say didn’t fit my better half laughed like I hadn’t seen her in some time so it must have looked horrible. And its hard for me to make a sweat suit look horrible. Except if you get me something FORM fitting. Yeah I got form, just not the kind I used to.

I’m working on that but I quickly found a color and size and brand I liked pretty quickly. Another return for something my better half got at the other end of the mall. Then to the big box hardware for a new faucet for the kitchen and some other gear including a new snow shovel because a nasty crack was discovered in one of the two I have. I have two shovels because if anyone wants to help me shovel, I’ll always take help.

And then we went car shopping. Wow, how that process has changed over the years. We will probably finish up this exercise tomorrow and I’m thinking it can be detailed and ready to pick up next Monday. I’ll write more about this process tomorrow but the priority of the day has changed. Its time to cheer and go nuts for my local sports team. The University of Maryland Mens basketball team.

Photo by Mike Hartley

You see one of my lifelong additions is following the ups and downs of this team every year. It has been for over 5 decades now. Its one of few teams I follow passionately and go to some games each year. I love the spirit of college basketball. Anyway I’m going to be late for pregame activities if I don’t move from this box. So off I go.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I know I shouldn’t order the cheese steak sub. I know I shouldn’t order the cheese steak sub with bacon. I know I shouldn’t have ordered the cheese steak sub with bacon and mayo and tomato. But I did. And I’m glad I did.

I wonder what people think of me when we first meet?

I’m hoping to see my children soon, my tank is getting low.

You know, well then I won’t bore you by telling you again.

Its funny the difference in feeling when the Christmas tree is first brought in and put in the sand before lights and decorations, kind of giddy excitement. And then the same exact tree and look once lights and decorations have been removed sitting there waiting to be taken outside and made into mulch is such a sad thought.

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On the brighter side

Starting the day feeling good and the outlook is fine — But I’ll never look as good as what is on this vine.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So as some of my best friends say, let’s get this party started. I didn’t want to start the day off with one of those cold weather shots. Barron trees, people bundled up in huge winter coats, frozen tundra, no ice scraping windows. no burst water pipes, no billowing car exhaust, no chattering teeth or chapped lips, no frozen mustaches.

I started with some spring colors instead. At least we can think ahead for a few seconds before reality and that cold smack you in the face or grabs for your lower regions. Its only 68 days till spring. That is a lot of shivering time but we can do it.

That feels like temp of 20 degrees hit me this afternoon and I snapped. I tried not to curse. I tried not to tense up. I leaned forward into the wind. And then I came to my senses and came back inside and cursed till I was warm again.

Mill at EC.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So winter is making its presence felt. Yeah I knew it was coming but it seemed like a fairly mild December. I even had the top down one afternoon last month. With a light snow predicted it might just be the time to get out and grab some shots Saturday night into Sunday morning?

Random Thoughts of the Day

Its interesting watching some of the older comics perform decades ago and how much is or isn’t relevant today. A lot of George Carlin’s stuff transcends many decades.

I’m getting more comfortable with taking time to relax and not wasting it by giving myself a hard time over it.

Sometimes when I roll my neck, it makes sounds that give me the creeps.

I wonder if waves sound differently in the winter?

Is a nap a nap if you don’t declare it before nodding off?