THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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The 3 C’s

Chillin, chicken and charcoal. Well not actually, something else will be on the grill today. For our long-lost sunshine is back and that means cooking out. Yeah I occasionally grill out in some less than desirable weather but this last stretch was a no go. This was from last Monday which may have been the last time the sun made an appearance.

Chicken Breast
Photo by Mike Hartley

Today’s special was burgers and dogs. I’m thinking that something new is in order for Memorial Day weekend. Maybe some ribs or seafood. I love doing salmon on the grill.

I feel blessed to be able to have enough food each day not to go hungry. So many don’t. Think I’ll share this week.

And no I didn’t get out shooting today. Found too many chores waiting for me after the long days of rain. So I’m going to try again this morning. Because its going to be a work from home week for the rest of the schedule.


Random Thoughts of the Day

If you have a job where you don’t have to work holidays, be thankful.

If life offers you a choice make the difficult ones.

Tell your friends and family how important they are.


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Look for them, do them

With all the strife in the world, working constantly, sapping every bit of my positive energy and outlook, I’ve found something that I’m going to try to use to turn each day around. I don’t think I’ll ever be at a time where I can’t find any of these because they really do surround us. But one common trait is, unless it’s captured by someone else, it is done in relative silence and obscurity.

And most people who do this, aren’t looking for attention or reward or recognition, they do it because it uplifts them by uplifting others. And that is a reward you can’t measure. These acts are almost magic. The people who perform them are selfless in most cases and cruise under the radar. They are your neighbor and friend who always seem so busy with the normal things in life, like jobs and their own families, that you wonder how they would squeeze in another minute of the day to do anything else. Many are performed for years without knowledge of friend or family.

We all see them every day. The ramdon acts of kindness, people volunteering, caregivers, sharing a meal or funds for one for someone in need, maybe blood or an organ. Whatever it is, it goes on every day. Many people are involved in these and many more positive and uplifting task every day. Some people not only extend their kindness and compassion to humans but also animals. I have a sister in-law who does cat rescues.

People do these things in their every day jobs. Supporting someone who is struggling. Having some more patience with someone who has run out of theirs. Slipping a few dollars to the homeless man or woman you walk or drive past each day. Sharing a smile or kind word to someone who needs it. Holding a door or elevator. Offering to carry a bag, Picking something dropped up and returning it.

So I’m inspired today by both my friends and family who do so much for others. Who’s compassion seems boundless. And the thought that I can do better each day if I worry less about myself.


Yeah its wet outside. Just think though, at least it’s not cold and wet.

Liquid in a less desirable state.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

Even at 60 years old I’m still making mistakes. That means I’m still trying though.

The balance between rest and wanting to live every minute is difficult to manage.

Relaxed is when the body doesn’t hurt.

I’m going to start a countdown calendar.

If I don’t get out and shoot on Sunday I’m going to be so pissed off at myself. I just looked and they might be a peak of sun through some morning clouds so maybe I’ll try to catch a sunrise. That would be a great way to start the morning.


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Good morning – Back in Blue

Good morning all – Saw this guy sleeping in my back yard. He is a regular around the homestead. Must be some good hunting grounds because we have a hawk that likes to  cruise my back yard and treeline also. He’s always quicker than these old hands and eyes but one day I’ll capture a series of him.

The click of the camera got his attention but only enough to get up stretch and lay back down. I’m beginning to think he knows me a bit. We have crossed paths many times. Actually been within 10-15 feet of him once when he was perched on the hill outside my back door overlooking the lower back yard and I opened it to stretch my arms late one night.

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Back and Blue. Well guess I should start by explaining that. I’m back after a layoff due to the job that pays the bills and the medical profession and contractors. And I’m blue in the face after dealing with all 3. A complete different set of circumstances but still blue in the face from dealing with all of it.

Yeah I passed the red face (lava stage) a while back and now I’m burning a bright blue flame. All for various reasons and circumstances but none the less, frustrating as hell.

But now I’m home and the work week is over. And hopefully, I can spend a few hours on my own work and some fun time with family and friends. That always allows for the right perspective on life to come back into play.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Usually I do this at the end of the day so I’ve had a chance to sort through a few thoughts, but what the hell, lets see what falls off the top.

A day with a hidden sunrise is an incomplete day.

Today I’m reminded of a famous quote “into each life some rain must fall” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I have the following reply. YEAH WE GOT THE MESSAGE, TURN OFF THE FAUCET.

Interesting blend of sounds this morning outside.

Some people remind me to get more active, by how inactive they are.

Going to be a few damp hats at the Preakness tomorrow.

It bothers me sometimes how aggressive some organizations are after you have donated to them in the past. Makes me rethink how much in the future I want to deal with them.

I hope you like WET. Because that is all we have in the great state of Maryland today.


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Happy Mothers Day

Tears flowed today in memory of the Mom I miss dearly. I so wish to be able to hug her, I miss her voice, so much. I started writing earlier today about her. And despite some very good stuff it just didn’t seem to be enough. Words like “strong, loving, compassionate.” But so many more things flashed cross my screen. She stepped up so many times in her life she must have thought the man above had put her on a stair-master for life.

Losing her Mom as an infant. Her father gone before 10. Raised in the depression era. A husband gone to two wars with a career of service in the Navy. A widow by age 43 with two young children to raise alone. She didn’t even have a license when my Dad passed.

Sometimes I sit and stare at her pictures I have around my desk. I think about how thankful I am for knowing the appreciation for all I have and have had, by all she didn’t have and all she gave me. I’m sure I got my work ethic from her. I know I got my appreciation for health from her. But so many good qualities all came from her.

Words just can’t express what she did for my sister and I. There are examples in life that sometimes inspire others to better things. She has done this for me and she has my eternal thanks for that and so much more.

All Mom’s are pretty special. I just got blessed and lucky to have an incredible one that overcame so many things.

Happy Mothers Day Mom.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And of course I can’t thank the Mother of my own children enough for her being the best Mother any husband could ask for.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I see a streak of rain that will make the pollen history.

I’m of the belief that you should make special people days special throughout the year and not just one or two days.

I’m feeling inspired. I’m feeling healthy. I’m hoping those feelings continue.


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Its good to look up

It’s always good to look up on the morning drive when in the convertible. You never know what colors the sky will be. And yes I was late getting out to the fairgrounds for the balloon launch. The body took a bit to limber up and get the mind firing on at least half the cylinders and I’m still only running on half speed. It wasn’t that sunny or warm, early on.

Look up.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But what the hell, it was good to be out and about and I’ll get another shot tomorrow morning weather permitting. Might even go see the evening session I think where they fire up those burners after dark. Must be an interesting hobby, ballooning that is. Kind of like a moped in the sky.

Chasing one through the back roads.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So tomorrow I’ll be up before sunrise. Why not take advantage of some good weather and colorful skies if it’s there for the viewing.

Beautiful estate across from the fairgrounds.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just like this guy, I was late to the show. Better late then never. But its odd for me because I’m on time or more often early for events or work. I push myself during the week so much that if I slack on the weekend a bit I don’t beat myself up over it.

Delayed takeoff schedule.
Photo by Mike Hartley

While I was out and about and heading back home I got on Rt 32 and thought I had put the lights on. I did, on auto though. You see on this road it wants headlights. So I had the pleasure of meeting one of Howard Counties finest. I guess the dozen or so I saw go by with no lights sitting waiting, weren’t as attractive as the front end of my car with this on. And with my baseball cap on backwards and a hoodie, I might have looked something different from the 60-year-old creature he pulled over. Anyway it was just a warning so no fuss, no muss, and as I crumpled it in the ball of trash it is and put it in my glove box it reminded me of old days in my youth. Of course those all weren’t warnings but they got the same treatment. Oh, the hat turned backwards is only when I’m shooting because the brim and the viewfinder are not compatible. Maybe he’ll catch me one day with the traction control turned off. Maybe not. So good luck Wile E Coyote.

auto mode headlights during the day.


Random Thoughts of the Day

If I post more than once a day is it permissible to have more random thoughts?

You still have time, to put some PERSONAL thought into your mother’s day gift. Don’t blow it. At least write a personal thought on the special things each mother does and has done for you. Better yet, tell them. Show UP. They deserve it.

There are a lot of things I thought I needed at various stages of my life. I’ve learned to open my eyes and be very happy with what I have.

Do you believe some people? Yes most, actually. Most of the time its easy, to know who not to trust. There are shining examples in front of all of us to learn from.


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Friday Fronts

Nothing like an early start and a haircut to begin the day. Just realized I’ve been going to Sal’s for a great number of years, whoops decades. Kind of strange to see a new barber beside mine. Yep Dario retired. And a young man has taken his place as it should be. Always feels good to get a haircut. I would say who my barber is but he is always so busy, that I usually go real early in the mornings to avoid a wait. Haircuts were something I despised in my youth. I didn’t do much barber business from15-35 years of age. After that phase, I keep it fairly short. Still have the beard though after all these decades.

Nice license plate. Trust me, he isn’t kidding.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway its been a great day filled with relaxation with my better half, some chores and a nice ride with the top down. Nothing beats the low 80’s, sunshine and a convertible. A very good lunch at Laurienzo Brick Oven Cafe. Love sitting outside watching life go by as we eat. It’s the first Friday we have spent together in a while. A quick holding of hands while navigating the back roads. Seeing the smile on her face when she says can I or we go in this store and I answer yes. A fine day together. When she is happy, I’m happy. Well most of the time. Well some of the time. Just kidding, we are very happy most of the time.

Globetrotting the country.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A casual lunch yesterday with an old friend at the Town Grille at 144 and Triadelphia Road. Was a nice visit and meal. What was real good about it was neither one of us were rushed yesterday. Seems like most of the time I’m going from one event to another or to one chore or another or to and from the jobs. I’m looking forward to more free time someday. Because the little bit I get now is really special.

Time to beat the traffic home.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Rest of the weekend is fairly busy but I hope to get out and watch some hot air balloons lift off tomorrow morning and grab a few frames for the collection.

I guess I should ease up on eating out so much. Then again I take my lunch to work every day, (that gets old) and it’s not like we go first class each time we go out. Hell, enjoy life, eat good.


Random Thoughts of the Day

My best friends always remind me and show me not to give up on people. Sometimes its still not successful, but when it is, it’s a wonderful thing.

Its harder to write when your feeling down. At least that is the case for me.

I’m going to see if I can not be as outspoken, the rest of my career. Nah, that would take all the fun out of it.

When really is the right time to put a supercharger on your car?

Every once in a while my finger moves to that traction control off button.

I’m sorry folks, I saw one to many muscle cars today and I feel like the famous line from Top Gun. “I feel the need, the need for speed”


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Dads Birthday

Yep its my fathers birthday today. I really wish I had more memories of him. I wish we had a chance to get to know each other. I wish I could have gotten his advice for hundreds if not thousands of questions. I wish I had you to tell me to have confidence in myself. I wish I had you to tell me to stop playing the fool several times in my life. I wish I had the chance to learn to be a better father myself, from you. I wish my children could have called you grandpa and you would have heard those words.

Its been over 5 decades now since his passing. I can still see him on that last day. I guess some things you just don’t get out of your mind, ever. I wish the most indelible memory was something else than the trauma of finding him passing and the military funeral at Arlington that followed. I do have a few warm ones but more troubling ones by far.

I find myself often thinking that I hope he has been proud of me. I wonder how my life would have been different with him. I guess that is kind of a natural thing to wonder what might have been.

Dad showing me the proper grip on a football.
Photo by Shirley Hartley

Please don’t get me wrong. My Mom stepped up big time and raised us very well taking on both roles as best she could. And with a son (me) who rebelled and was a pain in the behind it certainly wasn’t easy. I regret to this day causing her concern or worry.

I’ve got to get back to learning more about my father. He served in two wars and went to both the Arctic and Antarctic multiple time on US Navy expeditions. I still have a copy of a cold weather medical manual he helped write. I’m sure there are some other treasures I haven’t pulled out yet. It’s hard to go though those things and wonderful at the same time.

The photo here is one that was taken a few weeks before he passed. Its one of the positive memories. I hope he is proud of me, at least for the few good qualities I’ve picked up along the way in life. Happy Birthday Dad.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m sorry I’ve been slack on posting lately. Just haven’t been feeling 100% most days. Pain makes it hard to hold focus at times.

I’m dreading some test I have to get done.

I’m encouraged that I’ll see my friends and family very soon again this week and that is lifting my spirits.