THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Tinkering Tuesday

Working from home today so I have a little extra time (no commute) to spend on my pursuits. Actually that is a good chunk of time. The best case commute for me is 2 hours. Most days it averages 3 hours. In the old days when I would work somewhat normal hours it was 4 hours or more sometimes.

This could easily be the view this morning going down Route 29 south towards Rt 108.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I once drove home from Tyson’s Corner and it took me over 6 hours in a snowstorm. Had several of those rides over the years. Hurricanes, snow storms, floods. This place doesn’t shut down. It just keeps cranking along. Not as many warriors making those sacrifices anymore. Hell I don’t do that anymore. I do my best and I make it there more than most even though I live a greater distance away.

Think I’ll get out in the morning and do some snow shots. Nothing like the slush shot above. Something undisturbed. Something unique. Well that is if I can stay up and awake. Maybe a short nap and then out mid morning. Sounds like its going to be a raining and slushy mess by mid afternoon.

Snow covered boats along Scott’s Cove.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m looking forward to the silence that a fresh snow provides. But it is quiet noisy when its falling through the trees if you’re near the woods. But it’s still a calming sound. One that seems peaceful. The view out on a blanket of snow is great. I love seeing a fox run across the tree line in the back in the snow. Sometimes I’ll look out and have a number of deer resting on the ground in the snow under spots that don’t get as much or any.

Back yard in snow.
Photo by MIke Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

I like truth and facts.

You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometime you find, You get what you need. So says Mick.

Spent time helping someone feel better today.

Worry is when the ones you love are under the weather.

Nice road win for the Terps hoop team.


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Free the Feet

As I was standing in the shower I found myself looking down at my feet. I could see they were smiling. They, like me hate this time of year so to be out and showering in the warm water was a treat. For this time of year they are covered with socks and shoes and boots and blankets and slippers. They rarely see the light of day.

As I see the Spring training videos of temps in the 80’s and sunny in Florida my feet struggle to escape the confines of socks and shoes. It won’t be long now till we are wandering around in bare feet again. The way I like it. Sometimes we get dressed up and put some flip-flops on. Like when the sand is too hot. But otherwise I’m so looking forward to this barefoot season.

Flip and Flop
Photo by Mike Hartley

Thankfully today is the last long day of the work week. The next few should be normal. Then again there is no normal when you work holidays and weekends and nights. The only normal is abnormal. But I adapt well.

Looks like I didn’t miss out on the seasons snow pictures completely. I got a chance this Wednesday to grab a few frames. But first I have a Tuesday to power through. Looks like were going to cut sleep short a bit this week.

Actually sleep has been one of my successes this year. I’m staying in bed for 6 hours each night. That’s another hour or two a night I’m getting some good rest. I feel better mentally, my attitude more positive.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m so sick of the chaos this country of mine is in.

I wish my better half was feeling better.

I can’t stop thinking about our family expanding.

Time to crank up the grill this weekend.


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Make it happen

I may seem motivated. But I’m lazy. Might not appear that way to the outside world with being gainfully employed, raised a family, keeping the bills paid, but I’m a bit lazy. But today I’m not going to be. That’s a start to overcoming it. .So I started the day getting back to work on my photo site. Uploaded about a hundred images and hope to do hundred more each day till I’ve got that library completed.

Waiting its turn.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I feel like I’m finally building on something this year. Each week I’m trying to do more in all phases of my life. Still a ton of room for improvement but I don’t feel like I’m treading water in the same place. I don’t even feel like I’m in water anymore. Some days like today I wake and realize I have no Nobel Prize winning thoughts to share. That used to panic me and stunt effort and creativity.

I would beat myself up for using an old photo. But I’m content with myself finally. Took some decades but better late than never. So while today I could have accomplished more, I maintained a balance between all the important things in life.

Well, time to go do some fresh images. Have a good week ahead everyone.


Random Thoughts of the Day

Today was the Daytona 500. I used to be entranced by this sport. Watched it for decades but having trouble hanging onto all the new names and the fact my favorite driver has retired. I was encouraged to see all the fans out today. Maybe it is poised for a comeback.

I have a strong feeling its going to be a good week. Well except for the sloppy weather on Wednesday.

The NBA All Star game is an interesting exhibition. But isn’t that what the skills competition is?

I worry about some friends who work so hard. In some ways it keeps them alive and sharp. In other ways I worry it’s shortening their lives.

I’ve got a few old work friends I need to touch base with this week.


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Road trip

My better half and I took a road trip today. One of our friends is moving and mentioned to us that we should look where they are going to be headed. So I thought that might be a nice drive on an afternoon where we had a few minutes. I haven’t thought about moving. I’m really happy where we are at right now. Its HOME.

Ducks in a row.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But as our friends talk about and some do move, it’s something that crosses our minds every so often. Really though, we are perfectly situated right now between where both of our children live so there is no reason to go anywhere as they are the number 1 priority still. Probably always will be.

But back to our road trip. Our friends have decided to head West. Not much but a jaunt of about 30 minutes from our home now. Not enough to cause us any issues on getting together, but the 3 minute trip that it used to be was sweet. They like us are partially making the move to be closer to family. No I’m not moving, just the closer to family part is like us.

Making the turn
Photo by Mike Hartley

I mean where would my Son and Grand Dog run if I moved? Where would I put my hammock? I could never say goodbye to two pets. And my man cave. Well its a basement and my office, but its mine. And where will my Grandchildren play if we moved? I’ve felt home from the time I walked up the driveway the first time to view the house for sale.

I love Howard County MD. It’s where I grew up. I’ve worked in the county for a few decades and have had my own home here the last 35 years. But its a different place than I used to enjoy. Far too crowded for me now. Also a far different community. I guess it was easier to know people back then. Not the huge numbers and it was tighter knit. Now people come and go so fast there is no continuity. And therefore a fractured community.

Days of people living next door for decades seem to be another thing moving into the past. And then there is the fact that its going to be more expensive to stay here as time goes on. No problem, I’ll power through most of it till I can’t take it. The beach is a powerful draw for me. But it will never equal the power of family and friends.


Random Thoughts of the Day

If you can make simple pleasures great ones each day, then you’re enjoying life. I pretended the cheese steak I was eating at lunch was the best one I ever had. It was pretty satisfying even though it wasn’t the best.

Getting older is powering through the days you don’t feel well and having a good time anyway.

Some nights you really look forward to sleep. Tonight is one of those.


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A bit of spring in winter

Every once in a while, you get on of those days in the middle of winter that feel like a spring day, and today was one of those. I didn’t spend as much time outside as I should have but I did put the top down on the convertible and enjoyed a few rays of sun on the way home from lunch.

Cherry blossoms and Jefferson Memorial..
Photo by Mike Hartley

In a few short weeks we will turn that wonderful corner and be done with the Hawk. But it looks like we have a few cool weeks ahead to navigate through first. It’s funny today I looked up at this rim (no snow on it today) and thought about getting the ball out. If I wasn’t in a hurry I might have grabbed it and threw up a few shots. Remember doing that as a kid. Grabbing the ball and using every free minute to imitate the favorite NBA stars move.

The cold of winter is about to be scorched by March Madness.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We used to play a lot of ball when we were younger. Did for a lot of decades. Some of my friends played fairly competitive ball into their 40’s. Those were some great times no matter if it was in someones driveway or back yard or at the outdoor courts at the school or indoor at any gym, it was fun. It was in your face but with a thousand laughs.

I was always surprised that there weren’t more altercations with how hard and serious we played against each other. Even if there was one it was usually all over after the game. A lot of those guys are still around and close friends today. Some aren’t though. Some of the strongest and best ones in fact, which is kind of ironic. What a cast of characters now that I remember back.

A lot of us coached as we got older. Some very successfully in a number of sports.

Well, being its such a pleasant memory maybe I ought to pick up the ball a little more often this year and lose about 20 pounds. Sounds like a plan. That and the yard work might just do it.

Time to run and go set up my make shift studio.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m finally under 100 unopened pieces of mail in my inbox. The goals this week is to keep it that way. Well that is at least with my main email account, the other 3 accounts, I can’t promise anything.

My life will always be a success if my kids think of me as a good father.

I guess I’m going to have to serious up again, now that I’m going to be a grandfather. Nah what fun would that be.

Giving an honest days effort is a struggle when it isn’t appreciated.

The more you can think about various points in your life and say those were the best of times, the more relaxed you will feel. And if you can’t find many, get busy making some.

Its going to take a little time, but I’m making some good progress on my photo site.


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A Thinking Thursday

I’ve given much thought to this. As it deserves much thought and contemplation. Well really it was an idea as I was rolling out of the sack. How can I accomplish more today? Well the first step was to get an early start. Done I was up at noon. Next I did far too much reading and comments on blogs but it felt good.

Oh and its Valentines Day. I hope everyone finds that right path and love. I did a long time ago and every day is Valentines day. Except when I mess up. Which does take a significant number of days away. Well we won’t pursue my failings any longer. I’m in a good mood. So get out and celebrate this weekend with your loved one. Everything today is overpriced and too crowded.

Love can overcome any seas.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Got a start on this puppy early today because the evening is booked. Get that, me planning. Miracles will never cease. I guess you can teach an old dog a few tricks.

Thank you.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You know, I do have to write something about this day. Because I feel like the guy on the beach above. The luckiest guy in the world. I’ve been blessed with a partner of a lifetime. A wonderful person who looks beyond my failings. Loves me still and always. That is a great feeling. One I didn’t always appreciate. Thank you.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Here’s to a lot more sunrises together.


Random Thoughts of the Day

After today’s news on Diet drinks I’m glad I’ve only sipped one and rejected the concept from that point on. Here’s to the original COKE.

Lets go Terps and kick some Michigan behind. Damn I love college basketball.

Its been far too long since I’ve made a snow angle.

My friends idea of light beer is only drinking 10 of the 12 pack of GOOD REAL BEER.

I hope I never lose the ability to look at things like a child. But the older I get the more difficult it becomes.


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Wobbly Wednesday

Today is a good test. Powering through despite feeling far less than 100%. So I had to provide myself some incentive. Figured I’d start the day with a nice bacon and cheese sandwich. Well that at least made me feel better while I was eating it. While I was sitting at my desk chowing on that I thought back on how often I’ve worked sick.

You want to talk HOT.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I left one job with over 150 days of sick time accumulated that I lost in moving on. I rarely have used all my sick time over my career. Only twice for cancer surgeries did I come close. A lot of people work sick. Some have no choice. Most don’t in fact. The pressure to perform in a lot of positions is unrelenting. And it seems some of the most pressure is put on the lowest level jobs not to be out sick.

Those who are self-employed I’m sure have a lot of experience working under the weather. I’ve worked through being sick for a number of reason. Some jobs have made it known that you had better be on your death-bed or in an ambulance on your way to the hospital is you even have a thought of calling in sick.

I’ve ordered extra fluids to help me feel better. 
Photo by Mike Hartley

Other jobs I’ve wanted to show my own dedication. Some jobs respect it and realize its a part of life. Some even encourage you to stay home at times instead of infecting the few in the office that haven’t picked up what is going around. You can always find extremes examples of both sides.

Best story I heard is about a company calling someone about a problem while they were in the emergency room and the boss calling knew where he was and called about work anyway.

I once went to work not feeling well in a big snowstorm. I get there and the owner calls from Aruba and wants to know how things are going because he heard of the snow storms. I wanted to pull him through the line but the operator cut me off and said the distance was to great.

Well I’ve wised up in my old age. I’m working today for the job that pays the bills but I’m doing it from home.

I’ve had a very good season to this point as far as avoiding any bugs or colds. (as I knock on the closest piece of wood). So I’ll fight this off quickly and be ready to roll again full speed soon.


Time marches on. In some ways it’s good for the soul. In some ways it’s difficult. Anniversaries of loved ones passing is one of those that are difficult. Each year the memories get more distant. The voices become whispers. The laughter and smile fade except in photos or videos. Today is the 5th anniversary of one of our best friends passing.

We remember him every time we gather. He is honored with a toast often. He is missed. Dan may you be resting comfortably with a beer in hand and grin on your face. We miss you brother.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m really working on my posture sitting but its a war keeping it right after years of pretzel poses.

Its time to replace some pictures on my walls with new ones.

Right up there, is an idea I’m trying to catch.

I know why I’m sick, I ate some fresh cooked spinach my better half made me the other day. I put a lot of butter and some Parmesan cheese on it but that healthy gene was still in there and my system didn’t know what to do with it.