THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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I’m looking forward to having the time to explore. Instead of swinging by and getting out and taking a quick shot on a Sunday morning while out for a short drive, I’ll have the time to visit and learn about stores and places in our area like the spot below called the Pink Cabbage in a short time.

Spots with natural or rustic beauty. New and old. Maybe homes that exude feeling or style. I’ve always wanted to document the places of worship around the area. Some are very unique.

Colorful storefront. Photo by Mike Hartley

I have a ton of ideas I’m going to add to this thing I do here. Not sure what will stick but the wall will be covered.

This morning

As I looked at the bright orange morning sky over my neighbor’s home when I went out to unplug the Xmas lights, I recall the tricks I used to play on myself. Working nights this is really, my sunset. At this time of year, this is what I see when I crash for a few hours. You tell your mind what you need to survive. I’ll be dropping this illusion shortly.

Woodstock morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

Down to 13 and 1/2 nights to go. Maybe one less, I don’t feel like working Christmas this year and it is my partner’s turn but he just got engaged and he’s got to go out and get another job so maybe I’ll gift him this. I’ve worked so many holidays over my career that 2024 is going to be a special year of appreciation on those dates. And hopefully for many years beyond that.

Kind of fitting that New Year’s Day will be my first holiday off. A great start to 2024.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hope to accomplish something special in retirement. I’m going to both speed up and slow down.
  • I have no problem putting my car cover on or taking it off. But a garage would be nice.
  • I’m going to adjust my driving time to avoid as many people as possible. Too many crazy’s out there.
  • Those with weak minds allow reality to be bent.
  • There is a snowball up the street calling my name. I must respond when they open.

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I’m trying to walk upstream and can’t get airborne today. Hopefully, Tuesday will be different. It’s not that I didn’t work hard today. It’s not that there are accomplishments. Just not the ones I would also like to pepper the week with.

Like this guy, my footing isn’t secure. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Alone isn’t just the lack of presence of others.
  • Create for yourself, then you are guaranteed at least someone like it.
  • At least when I talk to myself I get a response.
  • I’m not sure if what I do can be called sleep. More like a short series of 1-2 naps.
  • Tomorrow is going to be a great day.

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I’m feeling flooded with thoughts. Way too many and all of them are very important. I haven’t had this level of change in a while. And all of them are happening in a very condensed window. Some major ones weren’t even planned. I feel like I need an umbrella in my head.

Let it flow. Photo by Mike Hartley

That’s okay though because I’ll step up and meet the challenges. For a short bit I felt like I hadn’t accomplished a lot recently but each day I find myself taking more and more stuff off the daily list. Sometimes when I get so busy doing and there is so much still to do I kind of lose perspective.

It’s good to at least pause and reflect for a pep talk or take some satisfaction in the jobs accomplished.

Do you ever start the workweek with the tank on empty? I feel that is the way the week is beginning for me. But as we all do we suck it up and move forward. I guess when I retire I can lose this week-at-a-time mindset.

I adopted that during a difficult period on the job and I guess it just stuck because I had to have a goal of a weekend and family/friends time. Along with the chore list but it wasn’t work for someone else. Weekends were salvation. Yes, work would intrude upon them often but I was a more effective animal trainer on the weekend in holding down the hours than the weekdays.

Come January 1st my tank will be on full all the time. I think each day will take on more significance in 2024 and beyond. Because it’s no longer a workweek next year.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was on a roll on the treadmill but my knee started to send me messages so I gave the legs a break yesterday. It’s good to listen to your body.
  • I realized why my knee hurt, I was crawling around the floor picking up toys. But as a loving grandparent, I’ll never complain about that task. I’d crawl to the ends of the earth for those kids.
  • Education is so important throughout one’s whole life. I’ve been a little lazy the last year or two but I can feel myself picking up the pace again. And it’s exciting.
  • Tiss the season to chop wood. Nah, I’ll just order a cord.

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Soggy Sunday

A soggy Sunday doesn’t keep me from thinking about blue skies. Hopefully a peek at some later this afternoon. Till then plenty to keep me busy inside. Like my granddaughter this morning. And a line of chores this afternoon.

I find I get a lot done if I just keep busy doing little things. I’m not breaking things into small tasks, just knocking out pieces of a puzzle that gets completed easier if its not a all at once issue. If I find I’m losing momentum on one things I’ll change it up.

I like lines and contrasting objects. Photo by Mike Hartley

Having my holiday lights up the first weekend in December feels good. I’ll have to make that my future target date. Usually I’m a week or two at the most before Xmas getting them hung. The only remaining task will be to purchase a real tree for upstairs and put the last string of lights on that and decorate it.

I downloaded a fitness training program and tracking spreadsheet. As I looked at it and thought about it I realized I’d rather spend that time working out or doing something besides entering data in a spreadsheet. If I want to know results I look in the mirror and get on a scale and check in with myself on how I’m feeling.

I didn’t delete it and maybe I will come back to it but I’m not that sure I want to get that serious into fitness tracking. I certainly want to be more fit but right now I’m starting by doing it. Plus I got a great start earlier this year by dropping at least 30 lbs.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I long for some things but try to be satisfied with what I have.
  • It took me a very long time to be happy with myself.
  • I hope to prove you can do great things with very little.
  • The more I create, the more new ideas seem to come to mind.

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Feeling okay

Accomplishments feel good. When I look at yesterday’s I feel good. Of course, today was even better. Time was shorter today for personal accomplishments but helping others will certainly be in the DONE checkbox today.

Time to build something special. Photo by Mike Hartley

I got a new computer today. The laptop I’ve been pounding away on the last several years becomes the backup and the new desktop the primary. I switched brands., I had been a longtime Dell user but the company has a plan with HP so I got a better discount going that way.

Finally, a desktop unit (larger screen) will be easy on the eyes and have healthier viewing positions. I’m setting that up now working on this post. I’ll have to get up to speed on Windows 11.

Lots of things I need to get up to speed on. But having some pastels in my hands again while drawing with my granddaughter felt good. I believe I’ll work on that again first thing in the morning.

Prepare to be boarded. Pirates in Annapolis. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Enough people came to their senses and kicked George Santos out of Congress.
  • It could be a difficult season for the Maryland Men’s Basketball team. But I’ll support them every game regardless.
  • Being taken for granted is never an easy pill to swallow.
  • I wonder how much Xmas lights add to my electrical bill? And then again it’s worth it whatever it is.
  • I’m going to try my hand at a hanging tree. I’ll take a photo if it’s not too embarrassing.

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The calendar turns again

This is kind of a special month for me. It’s going to fly by because it’s already packed full of both fun and responsibilities. January will be a month of rest and relaxation to recover from this one. And I won’t have to fight the job for that relaxation next month. No more staying up all night unless I want to.

Allow yourself a few treats this month. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’d like to start reading a book a month. I’ve had my fill of technical manuals and articles. Time to read for enjoyment. I have a few on the stand already and one on the Xmas list.

I just thought of a great benefit of retirement. Of course, I read emails on the job but I also spend a good bit of time reading it off hours so that will also be nice to devote that to other interests.

It’s been a productive day and I hope to accomplish a little more this evening. Time to assemble the artificial tree in the basement.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Today is special because I’m putting up Xmas lights. So the rest of the day is gravy.
  • Got the cover on the car before the rain this time. Good boy.
  • I like to burn a candle on cold days, it makes me feel warm.
  • I try not to eat too much bacon but just every once in a while, it’s so good.
  • Experimenting is fun. Not always that productive but sometimes something good comes from it.

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I love Thursdays

Each time I deal with a contractor I learn some very important lessons. By now you would think I know it all but given the range of work, it’s hard to be an expert in everything but I’m getting there. Live and learn as the saying goes.

Working Man Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m not one to do bad online reviews, I communicate directly with the source company and leave it at that. Good companies I’ll spread it through word of mouth. Bad ones I won’t. But if I hear someone recommend a company I’ve had an alternate experience with I’ll chime in to give some balance.

So I’m 0 for 2 on companies I’ve picked for a home project. The last phase is remaining and I guess we will be selecting again.

I’ve got to take my better half to Annapolis soon. I like wandering around that town and there are many good places to eat. One of them is below, Carrols Creek Cafe, the last place I had a meal in this town, with a very old and good friend.

I’ve eaten at Pussers a few times with my daughter on the deck watching Ego Alley. I believe I heard they are closing. Middletons, Obriens, Ms. Shirleys, Chick and Ruths, Buddys, Chart House, and many more. But one I haven’t been that I’m going to try this coming year is Lewnes Steak House. There are a lot of new places we haven’t tried in Annapolis and many other Maryland towns that I’m looking forward to visiting this coming year.

I added a couple of very important photos to my desk. I haven’t put photos on my desk before. I have many on surrounding walls and shelves, but these were special. One from a shot of my Mom holding me at 6 months old, another a month after I turned 9 of my father showing me how to throw a football weeks before he passed away. One of me feeding our first pet kitten when I was 8 and one of my Dad in dress Uniform. They remind me of the happiest time in my childhood, between some very tough times.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is style, in substance.
  • I always wondered if I could be a good drummer.
  • I believe it’s warm enough again to venture outside. Barely.
  • Oh shoot, I just listened to AC/DC For those about to Rock. Looks like it could be one of those nights.
  • The only thing I like about drinking water is that it doesn’t go flat if you leave it out for a while after opening. No, seriously I’m blessed to have water to drink.
  • A night of laughter with your two best friends is a wonderful way to end the day.

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Lets ride

I bet throwing my leg over the saddle and turning the key would be just as natural as climbing out of bed in the morning. It’s been a lot of years since I rode a motorcycle.

I used today’s title “Lets Ride” meaning I’m ready to go. The mindset has changed over the last month and I decided to start incorporating some of my new Retirement Routine into my schedule—things like exercise. Even though I’m not retired yet, I’ve been able to put a few miles on each day on the treadmill and do some light weights every other day.

The amount of photo editing and printing has picked up substantially. I’m reading and learning more things that interest me. And I’m in the workroom almost every day doing a little carving. That skill is going to take a good bit of practice.

And this is just November. I think I’ll add a few more things in December and I’ll be off to a flying start in January.

Remember when collecting sports memorabilia was more for your own pure joy of having that priceless object? Now every object has a price it seems. I’ve had a few items from my youth and passed along from my parents that are more important to me than the dollars they could provide. Maybe my children will feel differently. I hope they have objects from their youth that nobody could offer enough for. They will have the choice to make with a few of mine eventually.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I forget more random thoughts than I remember.
  • Watching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean is nice, even on a webcam.
  • The nice thing about doing your own thing is that if it makes you happy, you have succeeded.
  • Being afraid of a bully is no way to live. Especially when he is a coward.
  • Some people just can’t help being nasty. That’s okay, karma visits them.

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I want to do some fresh shooting but the weather for today and tomorrow is going to be below my tolerance levels so putting up some strings of lights on the porch will be the extent of my outdoor activities. And given the sound of that wind outside that might be put off another few days. I’m keeping my behind inside for the most part.

Thinking of warm thoughts and supplying a warm photo to battle this cold day. From Kent Narrows MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

So the challenge is what can I do indoors in this simple abode. What items of interest can I work with? I know I need to work on lighting, and this looks like the perfect opportunity. I did a few setups early today but haven’t downloaded it yet. I made it through a few chapters on Studio photography. I’m thinking about how I can set up part of the space in the basement as a makeshift studio.

So space management begins again.

Giving Tuesday

I made a point of making a few donations to my favorite charities today and I hope you all think about helping your fellow man/woman out on this day. We are all more fortunate than we think. Today I’m supporting the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, and The V Foundation, and will do one more later.

Oh, we also gave our plumber a nice tip today.

I missed some local shopping on Small Business Saturday so I have yet to get out and spread that part of the holiday but I will.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Learning is fun. Putting it into practice is living.
  • The smell of PVC cement is nasty.
  • Going to try my hand at refining my signature pasta dish this evening.
  • I may also slowly retire from my career as Mr. Fix It here at the homestead.
  • I have to remind myself that the alternative to this cold weather is hurricanes.

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Moving forward

I’m thinking of the beach and cruising the ocean highway on a warm summer day. As long as I stay inside I think that thought could sustain the slight chill I feel. If I went outside that thought would be a distant memory in seconds.

Of course, the car captured my attention but then I saw the plate. “OCVETTE” which is a nice touch. Photo by Mike Hartley

Time to brace myself for the cold this season. At least 3 months to endure and fume and curse about. I’m going to try to find some inspiration in it though. I was just telling a friend that I don’t have many winter seasonal shots at a couple of my favorite locations.

It’s time to go learn a little about light in the dark of night. Well at least read a little and I found a couple of videos to watch. I’ve got my lights out to practice both portrait and product photography so off I go. If I stumble on anything worthwhile I’ll post it tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • All the organizations I donate to don’t have to remind me over and over tomorrow is Giving Tuesday.
  • November flying by. I hope to appreciate December a bit more than I have this month.
  • Cold and wind are not my friends.
  • Worry takes away creative cycles.
  • Felt good to make an investment in my future today.

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I love holiday lights from the simple to the extravagant. So yesterday’s trip to the Festival of Trees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds was a nice treat. The wonder in children’s eyes, the smiles on the adults. The memories triggered, or the thoughts of how to improve one’s own home with new themes or colors.

Samples from Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees. Photos by Mike Hartley

It got me in the season spirit already. Watching my grandson look at the displays, his mother and father smile with love. Thinking of their excitement when the trees go up and are decorated in their own homes. The smell of holiday meals and the laughter of family. I can’t wait myself.

New Lights

I haven’t purchased new holiday lights in years. I usually keep it pretty simple with white lights on the front porch area. But I got 4 boxes of new red and white mixed and a long white string for the deck. This is the year to sort the ornaments and donate what we no longer use.

My better half has been talking up an artificial tree. We have one that we use for the basement and we usually get a real tree for the family room. I’m the one partial to real trees. I won’t argue all the advantages of an artificial tree. I will probably give in someday but not this year.

I’ll have to see if I have a few minutes to run the extension cords and get the lights started later today. Whoops, just looked outside and I saw rain. Light work postponed.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The service at Clarks Hardware. Knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly.
  • I have slept only 4-5 hours a day for so long that I automatically wake after that timeframe now. I hope to change that in retirement.
  • I feel lazy today but I can’t afford to be lazy today.
  • Tomorrow I’ll sign my name. It will signify the end of a long partnership.

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Navigating change

What a tricky business Publishing has become. Everyone is in search of their own sustaining strategy in a market that seems to be still contracting.

There aren’t what is called publications of record now. The trust is gone. You’re identified as one side or the other even if you tried to stay in the center lane. People don’t believe things from what was trusted medical journals to their community papers if they still have one.

It’s kind of funny that when the internet was first gaining popularity people warned about not trusting everything you might read on it. Somehow that has permeated every written word and publication on or off the internet.

Who will the new pillars of publishing be and what form will they be? Photo by Mike Hartley

And it seems to have turned off new readers because if you’re skeptical to start why would you spend time on a long story? A lot of people at one time would get multiple publications. Many times of varying opinions and positions. I think there is a saying that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The model for sustaining a publishing business has become a reach for everyone. Especially in print but even broadcast has been shaken to its core. The engine that drives it (advertising) has become an unpredictable beast. Classified and display advertising is what paid for those reporters covering your local courthouse or the fireman from the station down the street who rescued the family pets from a burning home.

It paid for the photographers who took the great shots at the local ballfields of your kids. It paid for the paper and ink that printed it, the postage, or the drivers who brought it to your homes. Well, that cash cow of advertising has left the barn.

And right now, only a few have found the cow and are having trouble getting it back to the barn.

In some ways, it’s been gut-wrenching to watch my newspaper industry once proud and providing an important mission along the way, become a shell of itself, with few left struggling to find their way. So many talented and dedicated people that covered their communities for decades and sometimes a century or more. So much history and knowledge.

A recent person with immense power called a majority of the world’s most respected publications “the enemy of the people” which further eroded any trust. It’s not publications that are the enemy of the people. It’s the people that are now the enemy of the people.

Everyone has their own beliefs and positions and that is a good thing. The trouble is now every other opinion or fact or view is WRONG if it doesn’t align with theirs. And that isn’t right.

Publications make mistakes because people make mistakes. Lots of respected publications go to great lengths to make sure mistakes don’t make it to print. Trying to ascertain the truth and facts with as much knowledge that can be brought to bear at that moment in time. Lawyers and editors fact-check and get verification from multiple sources.

And regardless if these publications printed that the Pope is Catholic you would have some that would say fake news.

After almost 50 years in the business here I am doing my own publishing thing with this blog. I don’t know what tangents I’m going to go off on yet. I hope most of it is focused on my photography and if I can get some good art or carvings together maybe that.

I love sharing my random thoughts and I’m going to try to stay as positive as I can. But life isn’t always that way so from time to time I’m sure I’ll stray.

I know I’m finding the more I do the more ideas I get and the more I have to keep me busy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My better half is a good interior decorator.
  • Monday is special for a few personal reasons. Both of them are brand new.
  • Ideas abound, but time does not.
  • Don’t let less-than-perfect tools stop you from getting perfect results.
  • Sometimes you just have to appreciate the small accomplishments of the day.

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Lately, I’ve had a lot on my plate. I think I was losing perspective a bit. And then yesterday, Thanksgiving, where a feast was ready to be put on my plate. But just before that, I looked down at my place setting and a very fulfilling thing was there.

I love personal memories. Photo by Mike Hartley

When you have loving grandchildren and children, I believe it adds time to grandparent’s lives. Maybe the occasional ache and pain from trying to lift them like we remember lifting our own children many decades ago might create a temporary pause in that excitement. But that is almost an afterthought with the joy they provide. I’m still basking in the fun of the holiday.

Dogs, children, football, multiple grandparents to play with the children, great food, a walk, desert, and a smooth drive home with the exception of a few people who shouldn’t have been on the roads. Life is good.

And here we are today on our weekend (normally off Fridays) and I’m up well before the crack of dawn and knocking out tasks like Mr Judge hits homers.

Time to start working on prints for my next photo project. The town of Ellicott City Maryland. I hope to have some friends and family over during the next month or two to judge what they like best on these walls.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Just think, if you make one person’s life better today, maybe they will pass it on. And maybe that person will help change many people’s lives.
  • Yesterday is the first day in a good while where I’ve said “I’m full.”
  • Becoming narrow-minded and selfish makes one lose perspective on what is right and wrong, what is important and not, what to act on and what not to, and what is appropriate and what isn’t.
  • The bigger bag of tools you have to get you through tough times, the better equipped you are to fix the situation.
  • I hope the younger generation is capable of a slower pace of life sometime in their lifetimes.
  • I missed 2 very special people yesterday. They are in my heart and mind this morning.


Lots to give thanks for

Even though things are far from perfect in the world and in my own life, there is so much to be thankful for that worrying about what isn’t right, is a fruitless exercise. Not to mention a waste of time. I’m going to get in a good mood and carry it onto others who need a boost.

Leg, check, wing, check, breast, check. EAT Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s a sweatsuit day. One that I can adjust the waste if needed. I’m looking forward to eating well today and ready to do some extra time on the treadmill to make up for it. I can already envision the end of the feast with a slice of pecan pie (warmed of course) and some vanilla ice cream on the side.

I’ll retire to the office later after our family day is done and try to crank out some more work, listen to some music, and think about what I can do tomorrow to help others.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My food always tastes better at Thanksgiving and Xmas when I know I helped someone else I don’t know eat well. You should try it.
  • The less I focus on myself the happier I am.
  • The more you look to brighten someone else’s day, the better day you will have.
  • If you have the ability to make others smile and don’t use it, you may be wasting an incredible talent.
  • If you can make others smile when you’re not smiling on the inside, that is a very nice gift.
  • When I think about smiling, I do.

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I have gone as far as I can go today. I’ve been pushing the body beyond its limits the last few days, maybe weeks and I’m tired. Like this old car, it won’t venture far from its garage tomorrow. Maybe to the gas station (dinner table) and back to its stable (couch).

Running better than most humans this age, shot in Westminster MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Exhausted comes in many forms. I can think of 3 that I’m drained of now. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m sure some rest can cure all 3 if I could just rest. I’m giving it a fair shot today because I utilized a sick day.

I probably should have used it early in the week to fight the sinus infection but I worked through it and now it’s still hanging around. Just one of many issues that enter very busy days. Holidays aren’t stressful, life is.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m trying very hard not to look at the cold weather in a negative way. It’s much easier when I’m inside.
  • If you look at the number of people that drive around at night or in driving rainstorms or both without their lights on it’s a small example of why this country has the problems it does.
  • The U.S. has some very serious problems to work through. But instead of talking about it all we do is hurl hostilities at each other further dividing the issues. If we don’t stop soon, something more deadly might be hurled.
  • People both inspire me and depress me. I’m trying to look at the first more and ignore the second.

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Chop Chop

I’m about to see if I have both passion and perseverance for the things I’d like to do in retirement. I believe I’ve had those assets in my professional life and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can cut it in my own work. I know I get along with the new boss and I’m partially in control of the budget. So we are off to a good start.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I’d like to leave something special for all my family. Be it images, words, carvings, videos, or just my time and energies or all of them.

I’d love to create a beautiful picture of the place I live because I see a lot of beauty in it. I’d love to do a few books even though I don’t consider myself a writer. I’d like to see others enjoy the meals I prepare. I’d like to teach my grandkids anything they want to learn and maybe some things they haven’t thought of.

I want to make something and be something special for my friends. Be it lending an ear, a shared experience, laughs by the firepits, or a phone call to a vacation or a special image or video. I want to be the best friend I can be.

I want to do something for others. For instance, I had thought about taking the work I’ve created at Arlington National Cemetery and offering prints or images to anyone who has family or friends interned there for nothing. Or maybe do a photo book and donate any profits to family members of the lost military in need. Maybe volunteer to do gravesite photos for families that live far away at various seasons.

I’m sure I’ll be out and about doing some volunteer work of some sort. There is a local place called Small Miracles Rescue that a friend told me about and I might inquire about putting some time in there. I could kill two birds with one stone if I spent some of the time walking the dogs. I like cats also and I’ve missed having a pet of my own for years now. So I think I’d get as much enjoyment from the contact with pets as they would with me.

I’m trying to get a jump on things and I’m getting a lot more done in my personal life and hobbies than I have in a while. Trouble is I’m burning the candle at both ends. Soon I can extinguish one side.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Nothing like going into retirement with a new hammock.
  • One thing I’m trying to resist the urge for in retirement is tinkering with my car. It’s a lot of fun but also can be a pricey hobby.
  • It would be nice if hostilities near and far could be paused for the season. It would be better if they were paused forever.
  • As I reach for the bottle of water in the fridge I can’t help but stare at the Cherry Coke and hear it whisper “Drink me”.

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Mellow Yellow Monday

A very productive day in some ways. In others not so much. Like doing some new shooting. That just wasn’t in the cards today.

My daughters favorite color. Photo by Mike Hartley

But making some final prints on my ocean series took off again. Another edit and I’ll decide what I’m going to frame.

A color that stands out. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow will be a challenge with some nasty weather on the way. But also an opportunity to get some shots to fill out that section of my portfolio.

My Dad had one of these. Blue though. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • 1 night good of sleep doesn’t make up for the previous 6 nights of poor sleep.
  • The true danger is in multiple realities trying to co-exist.
  • If you’re working to work, that doesn’t get you far. If you’re working to learn and get better all the time you will get far.
  • Had someone in a very big hurry tailgating me down the road today. I was going 10 over the speed limit in the slow lane but apparently, that wasn’t acceptable. We came to a light and I thought about introducing myself but instead left them in a cloud of smoke. I think they got the message because I didn’t see anything behind me after that. I call that non-verbal communication.

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Sunday speed

Well, the weekend flew by and I’m figuring today will be no exception to that rule so I’m starting this early in the hope of having time to do something of substance between the chores and working for the man tonight. I’ve written some of my feelings about sports and me. And below that the countdown to retirement. And of course some Random Thoughts.

Now there is a creative way to get a child to use a toothbrush. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sports and Me

Sports is losing its appeal to me. Greedy owners, gambling, and some athletes’ attitudes and choices/examples all conspire to make it a less enjoyable experience. Not to mention the very wild interpretation of officiating from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of quality people in sports for the right reasons. Most athletes do some wonderful things for those less fortunate and some set a great example of human beings.

But what had been standards for decades have fallen apart. My example is college sports and conferences. What once were great rivalries and regional sources of pride are all gone. Add that to college athletes moving from school to school year to year is like watching pro teams that change the pieces more than they stay the same.

Gone are the days when college kids committed to a University, developed as players and people, and stayed the 4 years. I think back to the National Championship team of Maryland in 2001-2002. 3 of the starters were seniors, 1 junior and one sophomore rounded out the starting lineup. The first 4 guys off the bench were all seniors or juniors. In other words, EXPERIENCE – 4 players from that team went to the Pro’s.

Now if you see talent they are going pro in the first year or two. A lot of them are busts in that move. And then if you stick in college for a year or two you go to a better opportunity or more visible one at another school.

But let’s move on to something that my perception of has changed greatly. Pro and College Football are modern-day gladiators, leaving pieces of themselves in arenas around the country. Strength Speed and Techniques have changed the dynamic. The game hasn’t changed, the bodies within the field have. The 6-foot 180 lb lineman has been replaced by the 6’5″ 310+ lb behemoth of a man. Most kickers are bigger than most past position players. And fast, so fast that many still stare in awe each week at bursts of speeds by various players.

I hate to say this, but it’s only a matter of time before someone isn’t revived on a nationally televised broadcast. Then there is the brain. As someone who has had several concussions, I worry greatly about my future and the mental effects of them. I understand the love of a game no matter what it is. I also know that they are smart enough to be worried about those effects and some are probably thinking about playing fewer years.

It’s not just greedy owners or players. Fans have also changed. Passion has been replaced by fanaticism. Mix in some booze and gambling and loss of a normal perspective and you have some dangerous situations when you mix two opposing teams.

Worrying about point spreads or the over/under or parlays or whatever gambling terms I’m not familiar with, change the way fans view, act, and react at games. We have already seen several examples of fans being upset at a player who didn’t score enough for their bet. This was true for the local Washington basketball team in this article earlier this year.

Sports also changed from the common man to the elitist perk. Going to any major college or pro sporting event is something the common man has to think about the money involved. But corporations and the well-to-do buy-up seats like I pour gravy over stuffing later this week. And if you find seats in the upper areas they still want the arm, leg, and firstborn to attend.

The NCAA has been a failure. I love the change Major League Baseball made to speed up the game this past year and it has increased my viewing and interest. To me, baseball hasn’t forgotten the fans as much as other sports.

Sports is big business, just like gambling is big business. Now that they have merged it’s all money.

I will always enjoy playing any sport. I will always enjoy watching a sport be it the kids in the local little league, my Maryland Terps basketball team, the Yankees and Orioles going head to head, or maybe a Green Bay Packers game with my son someday.

I just feel bad for the youth because they don’t have my perspective on what I feel is being lost in modern sports. The true meaning of the joy of competition. I bet if people put in more time on their jumper, they would have a lot more fun instead of their faces in a smartphone making bets.


About 3-4 years ago I started a little countdown. I had grown frustrated with the direction in our area and to keep my focus and still have a goal I could look forward to I started counting down the weeks till retirement. Little post-it notes that I would keep a countdown till what I thought would be my retirement date. Week by week I’d tick off a number. It was my little reward at the end of each week for working hard regardless of the circumstances around me.

Well, about 2 1/2 years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home for the remainder of my career. I can’t tell you how that has made the last of my work time much more pleasant. Having to commute to the middle of Washington DC isn’t a good experience. And after doing that drive for over two decades of almost a hundred-mile round trip it was such a load off my personal life that the job was OK again.

I lost track of the number of weeks. That was till a few weeks ago when the company decided that date for me. A bit earlier than I thought but I’m fine with it now. Things are working out and I will be off for the New Year holiday instead of working. And I’ll be off all future holidays if all goes well and every other day for that matter.

But the weeks are down now to a single-digit number. And that is a good feeling indeed.

There are a few people I will miss. Ones I’ve shared many years, trials, and experiences with. Many have retired before me that I have missed a long time. Of course, I will miss the action. If I didn’t enjoy the chaos and pressures of working in the daily publishing business I would have left it decades ago.

I will miss the news cycle and seeing information and images come in before they are published. I will miss keeping up with technology. I will miss the smell of ink and paper when I go to the plant. I will miss the activity and electricity on election nights. I will miss being part of The Miracle on 15th Street.

Which leads me to a sudden realization. I didn’t start out with this plan. I worked hard for many opportunities and had others come along. I’ve worked in many capacities within my industry and learned many wonderful things. I’ve been blessed working with a lot of very good people along the way. Yeah, some assholes also, but luckily they were far outnumbered by good people. I like to laugh and found a great number of people who also liked humor. You had to have humor in high-stress environments.

And as I enter the final weeks I’m glad I made the decisions along the way I did. Were they always the right ones? I did pass a few management opportunities. Also some other technical ones. Only the ones I did make count and I’m very happy with the work I’ve done along the way.

I’m so glad that the relationships along the way have remained so strong and active. And that is a blessing. I hope others can feel fulfilled in their jobs when they reach the end of them. Especially my own children.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I admire a child’s creativity and freedom of expression.
  • A snowball still tastes great in 50-degree weather. Only 3-4 more weeks before they close for the season. Then I get to Jones for 3 months till they open again and signs of spring arrive to rescue me from the cold.
  • Be something special to your children and grandchildren.
  • Too many of us are just out for ourselves. That is a sad thing to say.
  • Being around children gives me hope. Most young people give me hope. It’s the adults that panic the crap out of me.

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Sometimes when things are humming along smoothly things will all of a sudden, change. Friends, family, jobs, situations, and sometimes locations. Even if the individuals stay the same, they change as we all do.

But sometimes people pass. And that can have a huge change on those remaining. We lost a close friend which will be 10 years ago this coming February. That took us a while to recover from and get to the point where we could laugh well again. Oh, we still got together but when you take a spoke out of a wheel it just doesn’t turn as well as it did before.

This is a shot our departed friend Dan took on his way down to his boat one day the summer before he passed.

Photo by our great friend, Dan McMullen.

Lucky I guess

We moved to Woodstock in the mid-80s and just up the road from our home is The Snowball Stand. This is one of my simple pleasures in life. So good, so convenient and so consistent. I think it’s on its 4th owner but it’s always remained in business. And the great flavors they started with and added to over the years with many other options now that stretch into the fall and winter seasons.

Yep, they sell Xmas trees now also. We got one last year from there. Really nice family working that home and business now. But they all have been wonderful owners. Employing local kids and putting smiles on many faces over the decades.

I sat there yesterday with the top down eating my cherry snowball looking over the fields that are part of the Howard County Conservancy and watching the traffic go by on Route 99 and Woodstock Road. The weather seemed to bring out a lot of motorcycles yesterday and of course a few locals with their Hot Rods. I like sitting there if it isn’t crowded. If it is I’m so close I just go down the road and finish it on my porch.

I feel so relaxed when I take the time out to just go there and wind down for a few minutes. Sometimes my better half will surprise me with one on her way home from shopping. A snowball is a trigger to put life on pause for about 10-15 minutes. Sort of like a smoke break but with ice and sugar. I tend to tune just about everything out and relax and enjoy. And it’s a joy I’ve had for decades.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love grilling up bacon on a weekend morning.
  • There are few things more cute than children sleeping. OK, when they are awake it tops that.
  • The creativity in a child’s mind is really special. They just flow when they are young.
  • Every time I go to the doctor I learn something. On the last trip to the dermatologist, I learned I should be getting checked more often. I guess a decade or two was stretching things.
  • I would really like to be done with this sinus infection.

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Turned their backs

These two may have turned their backs on us but let’s not turn our backs on each other. I’m feeling the need to contribute again. I did the food bank earlier this month and I see the reminder emails from the various cancer orgs I’ve supported.

Some are just shy about having their picture taken. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think this coming year I’ll do some of my contributions in person. Without a full-time job, I believe I’ll have the hours to help somewhere. Having the desire to contribute is good, having the time free to do it has always been an issue.

Been an active day already. Grilled out lunch for the better half and granddaughter. Introduced her to roasted marshmallows. That was a hit.

And now she is off to sleep and so am I after a long week.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think today is going to be the last one with the top down on the convertible for a while.
  • The line between very tired and asleep is so razor-thin right now the only thing preventing my head from hitting the keyboard is the hands still typing on it.
  • There are all the languages of the world and then there is Sales Speak.
  • It’s one of those nights where sleep outweighs hunger.

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Significance of the Day

I wonder if days will lose their significance when I retire. Every once in a while when on vacation I might forget what day it is for a few moments. I wonder if that will be the case when I’m not on someone else’s schedule any longer.

No more punching a clock. Photo by Mike Hartley

In some ways, I hope that isn’t the case. I want to know what day it is for my workout routine (not that I have one now). I’d also like to get out and do a daily shooting around the county. And if I’m posting daily that will be another reminder.

Two of my best friends will be working so that will be a reminder for a little bit till they join me. Speaking of that, we have had a standing meeting, (The Vigil) on Thursdays since I went on the night shift 9 years ago. Now that I’m going to be flexible I can make the occasional Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football or the many basketball games of the Maryland Terpians I used to miss. Or just those spur-of-the-moment happy hours.

Then I remembered, that I’ll always have the doctor’s appointments that fill the calendar of seniors to remind me what day of the week it is.

Significance of Timing

My better half and I are a bit crispy. She said to me this week “We need a vacation” and I can’t argue with her. As I was thumbing through some old photos I hadn’t used I ran across this one at the entrance to Ocean City Maryland.

It got me thinking about going to the shore in the off-season. It’s really quiet then. But it’s her turn to choose and maybe we will head west to Rocky Gap or south to southern Maryland. Wherever it is, it will be good for both of us.

I don’t want to fish, I just want to relax. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I had a pleasure cruise of about 45 minutes today. It was enough to leave me feeling good again.
  • A good start always is best followed by a good second gear.
  • Scratch my back and I’ll stay thank you. No, just kidding, I’ll scratch yours.
  • I never thought about it before but I’ll have that Miata for the rest of my life no matter how old I live to be. It’s just that fun.
  • As you get older you discover traditions change. I don’t like it. Jeez, that sounded old.

Music Thoughts

I ran across an old song I used to like in the 70s and as soon as I heard it I remembered the lyrics meant something to me so I looked them up as the song played. Yep, I liked them then and I like’m now. I believe this was released in 1976 – the same year I began my career in newspapers. Time to continue to make my own story.

Something for Nothing – by the band Rush

Waiting for the winds of change
To sweep the clouds away
Waiting for the rainbow’s end
To cast its gold your way
Countless ways
You pass the days

Waiting for someone to call
And turn your world around
Looking for an answer to
The questions you have found
Looking for
An open door

Oh, you don’t get something for nothing
You don’t get freedom for free
You won’t get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dreams might be

No, you don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free
You won’t get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story

In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your song

Oh you don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free, no

Whoa, you don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free


Coming back

My spirits are improving which makes my creative juices come alive again and therefore I’m getting back into a nice grove of work again. I’m trying to ignore this sinus infection that seems to have taken root. Between work, chores, doctor appointments, emissions testing on the old car, getting gas and blah blah blah, I find myself on the last worknight of the week.

A few remaining trees around Centennial Lake won’t give up their leaves. Photo by Mike Hartley

In my few free minutes today, I grabbed a sandwich from Duchess and went to Centennial Park to eat before my appointment in Dorsey Hall. It is a peaceful spot on a cool breezy afternoon. I wish I had the time to do a trip around the lake but it wasn’t in the cards. Maybe a little treadmill time during my lunch break this evening.

I found as an amateur photographer this post (No one cares about your Photography, and that’s okay) from Photofocus very helpful. The key word in this all was confidence.

Someone needs to tell young people to retire before the time comes when they retire and transfer from their full-time job to a full-time doctor’s patient.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m feeling lucky today. I avoided adding a third cancer to my list when my 2 skin tests came back benign.
  • There isn’t a bad time to catch me unless you want to ruin my good time.
  • If you don’t smile at every picture your children send you of your grandchildren then make some changes in your life that allow you to.
  • I have no problem with insects, as long as they stay outside my home.

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Wow, I made it through another day. Life is great. I had a few minutes to mix in some music today, which has raised my spirits along with a great lunch with my daughter.

Warmth is returning on Thursday and Friday. Maybe this sinus infection will be gone by then. I hope so, I’d like to put the top down on the car one or two more times this year.

I’d like to be hitting the boards and sand. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I always feel fortunate to survive another trip around the Beltway.
  • I love seeing my children smile.
  • I can see clearly now, the leaves have gone.

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Travel in state

I love the state of Maryland. To me it’s paradise. 4 true seasons a year, mountains, oceans, and many waterways. Institutions like the Naval Academy in beautiful cities like Annapolis. The nation’s Capital Washington DC is just over the line to the south. The Chesapeake Bay and Appalachian Mountain trails wind through beautiful countryside.

Cadets and Crabs. Photo by Mike Hartley

This coming year I hope to show a lot of it here. There are so many places I have yet to explore. So out the door, I go tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • You don’t need a big desk or office to do great things.
  • All good things make time special.
  • Life is about hoping the good memories outweigh the bad.
  • Some friends reminded me it’s been a long time since we have been fishing together.
  • Not the best of starts for my favorite college men’s basketball team. Hoping for the upset this coming Friday to put us on track again. Go Terps.

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Low power

Whoops, dead battery, at least on the car we are getting rid of. No problem, the charger will revive it tomorrow. Now my batteries are another matter. I’m also running low and the week is just beginning. The schedule is packed tight with another busy week on its heels.

Spending time outside with a rake this time of season is nice. But a leaf blower is a lot more fun. Also did the last cut of the season this weekend. My trusty John Deere. 25 years I believe and another year completed. Time to remove the battery and winterize.

Till next year good friend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, that chore will be replaced by other cold weather ones. I personally prefer the summer ones even though they are more labor-intensive.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The play on the court, field, ice, or body of water is what interests me in sports—everything else I could do without. Well, keep the NBA pregame show of Shaq, Ernie, Kenny, and Chuck. Those guys teach people you can laugh also in sports.
  • Time by yourself is nice. Too much is not so nice.
  • A snowball in mid-November is still great. You just have to have it inside to enjoy it. Thank you better half.
  • Nobody’s fault but mine. It’s a song title from Led Zeppelin and also a good way to look at things.

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Busy Saturday

Can’t start the day without thanks to our Veterans on Veterans Day. Such commitment and sense of duty by so few to protect so many.

Inspection. Photo by Mike Hartley

It felt good to sleep in a bit this morning. Didn’t crawl out of bed till almost 7:30 am. But we are rocking and rolling today.

I’m attacking the workroom/shop to make it a productive facility again. Organizing, trashing, hanging, and cleaning. Woodworking and engraving are something I’ve been learning slowly but I need a lot of practice. I’ve made a few simple pieces but creating something from a material is pretty fulfilling.

I hope to squeeze in a few photos between some short trips and errands. And tonight I hope to make a ton of progress and finish up my Eastern Shore wall of images and the Arlington Cemetery wall.

I’m paddling along today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When you change things up, you learn things.
  • If you’re the last picked for the team, use it to surprise people.
  • The more you know about yourself, the more you will be able to tell more about others.
  • You can learn a lot from communication, or the lack of it.

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I found some old pictures I believe I shot of the tall sailing ships that visited Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in 1976. Before Harborplace, the National Aquarium or many other things were even built or repurposed. I don’t have a scanner to get them in the system, so I just snapped with the iPhone.

Photos by Mike Hartley

I can still remember the smell because the McCormick Spice factory was right across from the harbor at the time. A good thing, because that harbor was a mess for years.

I thought it was a fitting time to post those being Harborplace is in the planning again to be redeveloped.

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Friday fun

Trying to focus on production today. Got a decent start this morning with a few more prints made, batteries charging, and lenses cleaned and packed along with some office cleaning. I look out the door and clouds fill the sky. I step out 20 minutes later and rains. No nice sunny day like below.

A picnic lunch in St. Michaels Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

That’s okay because there is no shortage of things to do and opportunities to fill.

Show Your Appreciation

In preparation for Veterans Day tomorrow, here is a link and list from Charity Navigator of great Veterans organizations you can donate to. Don’t miss the 3 tabs at the top. The first list is for Military Families, the second for Military Social Services, and the last for Wounded Troops Services.

I chose an organization this year called Operation Second Chance. Something I wish was around when my father left the service.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Advice is free, decisions are costly.
  • An early winter chill is in the air today.
  • Hard to find happiness if you’re looking in the wrong places.
  • I need to hit the hardware store.
  • I took the snow shovels out of the shed yesterday. It made my back twinge.
  • I wonder when I retire if I’ll start looking at this house differently. Like all the things that need doing?

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Shot to hell

Reality can be pretty rude at times. Here I was all set to go to sleep earlier this morning after a long night’s work and as I walked upstairs I saw all these trucks and equipment pulling up. Sure enough, the neighbor is getting their driveway fixed and paved. So the rest I was hoping for was shot to hell.

Guns a the ready Capt. Photo by Mike Hartley

I stayed up and worked given all the noise they were creating. Leaf duty, mowing duty, gutter cleaning, patio’s and gardens cleaned. All before noon. I gave the Miata a quick wash took a shower and hit the road.

I was planning a nice afternoon drive and it started out that way. I went to Duchess and got a sandwich and road to Old Ellicott City and ate the first half watching the Patapsco river slowly move by enjoying the sunshine when heavy clouds rolled in. So I packed up and headed home in time for the first raindrops to fall as I was pulling into the driveway. Bet I wasn’t gone an hour.

I quickly closed the shed and put the trimmer and leaf blower away. So much for the highlights of the day. I was hoping for a sunny relaxing afternoon, such is life. Sort of like having a pillow yanked from under you while asleep.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Despite the chill on Friday, I’m still going for a snowball.
  • Sometimes a smile is the furthest thing from being happy there is.
  • I think it’s a good day to wash the ride. Obviously, I was wrong.
  • Lots of days, this is just a tool to feel better.

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I hate stubbing my toes before I sit down to write. It makes it very hard to concentrate while my toes are throbbing. About 10 minutes before that I twisted my left knee. This is not a good start for the lower left side of the body for an early Wednesday morning well before sunrise.

I guess that the old adage is probably true – No Pain-No Gain. So off to bed, I went after a hard night of work and injuries.

Out the Door Today

I didn’t get far out my door today. To the side patio in fact for this shot and to the mailbox and trash out. Other than that just busy inside the house. I still ache from this morning, the toes recovered, but the knee is worse. Another reason I didn’t venture out. I figured the clutch activity needed to drive wouldn’t do the left knee any good.

Tomorrow out the door will certainly be further away than 20 feet from my back door. Photo by Mike Hartley

The last worknight of the week is ahead of me. That will leave just over a handful of weeks of work left. A very strange feeling. I can’t remember being out of work much over the last five decades. Maybe a day or two in between jobs at the most. And over that span, I’ve only had 4 jobs, 2 of which spanned 47 years.

I wonder if I’ll be wearing a path around the house and yard. With it being winter at that time I’ll be held back from putting a lot of miles on the Miata. I feel a bit nervous about it already at times. The first task will be changing my sleep cycle. No small task after years of flip-flopping from nocturnal to daywalker each week.

I’m going to incorporate a workout from day one and do it daily from then on. That should help with some of the nervous energy.

It’s going to be strange. I had a life-altering event when I got to work from home full-time for the last few years. That was 12 hours a week I wasn’t spending sitting in the seat of a car in traffic. It was a win-win for both the company and me. I was able to give them some time on the front and back side of my shift and be more flexible. They got a fresher and sharper me each day.

But getting 45-50 hours back a week, I can’t imagine the feeling. Even vacations never came close to the feeling of being retired I expect. Most of the time work came with me on vacation. Just the options on what to do with all that time is an overwhelming thought at times even with all the plans I have.

I hope to relax and be a little less hyper. A better diet is also in the plans. But till then it’s life as normal. I have to get some grub and sit down at mission control.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A photo you think would look better in a frame won’t. A photo you know looks good will look better in a frame.
  • When the weather gets cold it takes me twice as long to stretch out in the mornings.
  • I’ve driven over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge many times, in cars, trucks, motorcycles, and convertibles. It never used to bother me much at all but as I’ve gotten older I feel my grip on the wheel tightening. Didn’t notice it till the last few trips home this year.
  • I feel the need to watch some comedy, I need a few laughs.

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This is Sparta, sorry Tuesday

Tuesdays are tough. Tuesdays don’t play. Tuesdays are moving days. Tuesdays you are up to speed. On Tuesdays, you’re implementing plans from those Monday meetings. Tuesday is Election Day. But before that, there is Super Tuesday. I know where I was on Tuesday 9/11.

Ocean City Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tuesday is Taco Tuesday. Tuesdays are for tea. Tuesday is 20 cents of high-test gas at Shell so I fill my tank. By Tuesday I’m tired from 2 long night shifts and little sleep. Tuesdays Gone is a great song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I believe in the Spring down south there is a day called Fat Tuesday. Maybe have lunch at Ruby Tuesday.

One of the best things about Tuesday is it’s about as far from the next Monday as possible. Unless it’s a Tuesday after a Monday holiday which means you are Tuesday Toast.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think I’ll go get some sleep and do some more random thoughts later because I’m pretty tired.
  • I think I’ll go dream about a warm breakfast.
  • I hope I don’t oversleep on such a nice day.
  • Is it wrong to say goodnight at 7:20 am?


It’s started

The sun is setting earlier and earlier with the change of seasons and with the time change over the weekend, my hours of sunlight are greatly diminished. Even though it rises early, that is when I’m usually going to sleep, so I’m daylight-deprived for a few months. It does get to me every year.

The trees are thin again. Photo by Mike Hartley

I feel like a totally nocturnal creature for the next few months. At least that has an end to it in late December. No more night shift. No more working for someone else. So I will power through the last few weeks of this year and not look back.

Till then though I have to do a few things to keep my spirits up with the lack of sunlight. I’ll see if I can gather a list and get to work on it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I got invited to dinner this week by my granddaughter today.
  • There is a good reason to always be on guard. But don’t live life like that.
  • I got a nice shot of a neighbor’s home this fall and made them a print. I’ll have to drop it off tomorrow.
  • I stand corrected, I thought we were all out of 70+ degree days this year. Looks like we will be blessed with two more this week.
  • I haven’t felt right all day. But that isn’t keeping me from my work.

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Not again

It can’t be time to work again. I’m not feeling it physically or mentally tonight. But duty calls so time to take the pilot’s seat and get to our destination at 6 a.m. Actually was pretty sick last night so my energy levels are very low.

Just playing with light. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow I find my path again, I return to health and I will feel motivated. At least that is the hope.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is enough hostility in the world, why add to it?
  • Feeling like crap isn’t any fun.
  • I’m really looking forward to tomorrow because it’s not today.
  • Have some fun each day, nobody says you can’t.

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Shore report

A day with best friends is always refreshing. I spent about 24 hours with them on Kent Island and had a great time. A fine-cooked meal to finish off Friday with sunset and up early Saturday morning with pancakes and bacon to start the day.

Freighters on the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling beyond tired now though. Good thing we get an extra hour of sleep tonight. I’m going to put that to use.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s chapstick season.
  • My back is glad that its home mattress will be back tonight.
  • There is a fine line between full and stuffed.
  • Watching sports is losing its appeal. Now doing them seems a better use of time.
  • Sometimes you try, but people aren’t listening.

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Looking up

Never forget to look up. Both mentally and physically. So easily said and so often forgotten. It’s pretty simple actually but when depressed, in a funk, or in a neck brace, looking up seems impossible.

It’s so easy to stay down and go deeper instead of changing perspective. Been there, done that. Repeatedly if truth be told. But time has taught me methods to work out of bad spots.

Looking up off the boardwalk in Ocean City MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up makes things here on Earth seem small. Like looking out over an ocean does on a clear day. But not all of us live near a large expanse of water or have a view from a mountain. Sometimes our world feels like our office cube or home or car.

Our day-to-day problems seem to make our world very small and focused. Looking up for me lets my mind pause if things are in hyperdrive with problems. My breathing relaxes, and I’m forced to gaze upon blue skies or clouds or stars or birds flying by, the wind blowing leaves on the tree or maybe even raindrops falling on my face.

I remember the first time I rode a motorcycle and it was like a different world out on the roads. Everything was in view. No windows or roof or A-pillar blocking your view. I was so relaxed and alive again at the same time.

All I know now is that looking up both mentally and really looking skyward is helpful. Yes, I still get down, we all do. But you have to find balance at least and then tilt it towards a positive and optimistic lifestyle and outlook. Problems will find us all. So it’s our job to keep that side and outlook that allows one foot ahead of the other with a smile and determination.

That is why I like stepping outside often and looking skyward. During a break in the middle of the night from a stressful overnight shift for the stars and fresh air. Or maybe on my deck for a few minutes between mowing the lawn and cleaning gutters on the lounge chair watching the dogwood leaves blow and feeling the calming summer breeze. Sometimes I just gaze skyward from my kitchen window on a cold day trying to find that view that will turn things around.

Find your view and let your mind relax from that pressure.

Sorry, didn’t mean to start out the day all preachy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The World used to be a very dangerous place. Today it’s just a matter of how long the fuse is.
  • But till the day everything explodes there will be a smile on my face, a helping hand at the end of my arm, a hug for all family, friends, and strangers, and trying to find or create some beauty and love in the world.
  • Looks like a nice day to pull out the cameras.
  • I love building things with youngsters. They get so excited.

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I’m more the walking type unless I’m playing a sport. Running isn’t something I do much of now. My granddaughter likes it when I run up the street beside the car when she is on her way home and she pretends she’s racing me. I run with my son’s dogs when we watch them.

I didn’t touch a thing with those clouds. That is all mother nature. Photo by Mike Hartley

I probably should run more but I’ve already punished this body a lot so I’ll stick with walking at a good pace. Plus I’m still trying to get in optimum shape by just controlling the intake of food. I’ll do a little running for the sake of running next year when at optimum weight.

But there are times in life when you have to pick up the pace. The last two months of 2023 running what is called for at this time. So I will be huffing and puffing from one task to another and adding more and more as time goes by. It may be one of the busiest pre-holiday periods I can remember.

Lately, it feels the busier I am with other responsibilities, the faster I seem to work here. I’ve seen the downside with some poor editing of myself. I haven’t always used current shots and some have been shorter. I don’t want to give this up because in some ways it’s a positive that keeps me on the right track.

So I raise my game and get the running shoes on and off we go.

On New Year’s Day, I’m going to lay back and only move to bring food to my face and press the remote button.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Tired is not a state of mind, it’s a state of being.
  • There is far too much chocolate in this house.
  • I sense a few days coming up when I think I’ll fire up the grill.
  • Missing some important people in my life.
  • Adding another surgical scar to the list.

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Well, maybe not

He gave it the old College Try.

Have you ever gotten stuck in some decisions and not taken action? I’ve gotten better at decisions over time but I still struggle from time to time. There are a lot of decisions when it comes to retirement. Tons of them are all significant, but no more than some of the ones you make along the way getting there.

Well, what do we have here? Photo by Mike Hartley
Custer may have yelled retreat too late but not this guy. Photo by Mike Hartley

Time tells if you made the right decisions in life. I haven’t made all of them right but I guess I’m making more right than wrong because I see some of the wrong ones costing people big time.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Relief is when you get a call about a biopsy and it’s benign. Stress is when you have another one scheduled for the same day you get the news on the previous week’s test. So I’m somewhere between those two.
  • It was like 30 degrees warmer this time last week. If I didn’t have to go outside today, I wouldn’t.
  • When you have to think for other people also, it really keeps you on your toes.
  • Each day I’m thankful I have a warm shower, food in my stomach, and a roof over my head.

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If nobody is seated for the sunrise did it really rise?

Get me this ticket please. Oh yeah, Ocean City has my standing reservation. Photo by Mike Hartley

If” is a statement I won’t be using as much when retirement day comes. No more “if I had the time” or “if I wasn’t so tired” excuses. No more “if I could just learn that technique” or “if I didn’t have to work I could catch that game or go to dinner.”

No more “if I had time to do a regular workout” or “if I could just do the yardwork when I felt like it” or “if I just didn’t have to go to work after doctors appointments” or “if I could be off on a holiday and celebrate like most people.”

The if in retirement has been removed. A date is set.

Another day filled with possibilities. Ones I hope to take advantage of. I’ve been multitasking all night and morning and after a few hours sleep I’m plugging away again. The chores are completed, awaiting the trick or treaters in a little bit and then work again.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Leftover candy is a curse.
  • Trying your best always isn’t rewarded.
  • Be satisfied with what you feel are accomplishments.
  • It’s easier if you see others make mistakes and then not repeat them yourself.

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Do I detect a chill coming?

Maybe not this cold tomorrow or the next day but it’s coming. And with it the feeling the body is encased in ice. I don’t even want to think about the battle of the thermostat. One of us is always hot and loves winter. The other is always cold and loves summer. Just so we are clear, I HATE WINTER.

No drip here. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s hard to think about winter on this fine Monday afternoon at 75 degrees, but it’s coming. We are probably more likely to have the ice above, before another 70+ degree day. Weather plays a big part in life. For me, it can alter life.

I have to force myself outside when the temp is below 40 degrees. The top of my car must remain up. I’ve got to put on lots of clothes and I’m not comfortable in a lot of clothes.

But life must go on, so if you see someone shivering and cursing the cold, it might be me. I will do my best to keep it to a low mumble.

Sometimes I feel like I’m going

Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m having a hard time keeping positive lately but working on it each day. Little glimpses of light here and there. Trying to string more good than bad moments together. Keeping busy doing something like selecting my best beach work for prints. I even added a few to the Arlington National Cemetery wall I’ve been building.

That reminds me I need to get over there. This Sunday is out, but one visit in November will be made. I don’t have much winter work from ANC, and maybe I’ll use this season to build it out.

I’m also working on a family picture wall, which is a lot of fun. I can’t wait till this is done for the holidays.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If you don’t open the window, how will success find you?
  • I have two beautiful old oaks out front that aren’t in good shape. This might be the last season for them. This bothers me because I’ve always viewed them as the strong pair that is outside our front door representing another strong pair inside. The summer shade they provide is nice. The nuts drop not so much when they hit you in the head.
  • Choosing what is important each day is critical to success. Sometimes that’s just taking care of yourself first. A lesson I often forget.
  • I wonder if, in retirement, the meaning of what day of the week it is will fade.

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I feel like the wind isn’t filling the sails or lungs any longer. If there is a wind it’s a headwind. No problem, I learned to paddle at a young age. But that takes a lot of energy and my reserves are low. So I’m looking for a way to catch my breath.

I love Maryland waterways. Photo by Mike Hartley

Getting to work is a good way to correct that I’m guessing. So today we push forward with a few projects. I rested last night so it’s catch-up time with prints from the shore. I’d really like to do some shooting today and maybe even start some sketches.

But then there are the responsibilities. Stuff like moving wood, caulking the front porch, bringing in patio furniture, and a mountain of paperwork to read/act on. Oh and let’s not forget working tonight into tomorrow morning for 11 hours.

I have my health. I have a positive start to the day. I have my family. I have tools to create with. I should get to work because I’m a lucky man.

Life Tip of the Day – Put the smartphone away and hold someone’s hand.

Parents know best.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I could use the comfort of a pet today.
  • There are a ton of decisions to be made in a short amount of time.
  • Feeling focused and scattered at the same time today.
  • I hope we get lots of trick-or-treaters. There is far too much candy I like in that big dish.

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Getting out is important. You can’t catch life sitting at home. So I went for a quick ride before noon on this beautiful day. I saw the Howard County Conservancy has a new sign at the entrance. I’m going to make a point to start walking those grounds.

Photo by Mike Hartley

The top-down on a day like this is heaven. I got a chance to clean the ride a bit before pointing it in no particular direction. Those rides are the best.

Walking, biking, riding, driving, it’s good to be out and about.

I’m looking forward to this afternoon and a little family time. Then to some paperwork and maybe a relaxing evening. Then again, it’s going to be a comfortable evening outside so maybe a little night shooting.

Along Sand Hill Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is so much color to take in right now I could spend the entire weekend lying under different trees watching the sun come through them.
  • Can’t sit here, got to get back outside.
  • Ranking my favorite seasons. Summer, Fall, Spring – Winter doesn’t even come close to making the list.
  • I’ve got to catch up on a few phone calls.

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A good days effort

I love days where I feel I’ve given my best effort. The activities of the day weren’t my choosing for the most part but the work is done and chores completed. And a little time for my hobbies this evening I hope. Trying to keep a positive mindset and putting one foot ahead of the other.

Farm across from the Howard County Fairgrounds. I’m disgusted with myself that I can’t remember the name because I’ve been by it a million times. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve cranked up the printer again and hope to get a jump on the beach project.

Well Excuse Me

I love the looks deer give me when I make the mistake of leaving my house and entering my yard. It’s that look like Robert DeNiro in Taxi Drive where he says “you talkin to me? “.

Is it inappropriate to say nice rack to a male? Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is a secret blog that runs in my mind that only I write and read.
  • Another vaccine shot today. RSV – just following doctor’s orders.
  • This is the warm summer-type weather I was hoping for the past few weeks.
  • Being speechless isn’t a bad idea considering.
  • I’m wondering if the barking dogs next door think they are providing inspiration.

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Soft Stuff

I still like my treats. After a nice sunny ride with my better half yesterday, we pulled into Soft Stuff in Forest Green for an ice cream. I decided to stick with the holiday colors of the season. I got an orange/vanilla twist with chocolate sprinkles. My better half got the same ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. They both were scary GOOD.

Around town yesterday

Like I said, we took a drive. And I hope to take another one today. Maybe a little more focused on an area. These are mainly along Frederick and Old Frederick Roads.

Photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feeling good about the progress on the family wall of pictures I’m working on.
  • Do you ever have something on your mind that kind of makes everything else secondary?
  • I’m wondering if this is the last time I’ll need to cut the lawn this year.
  • The printer is getting a workout and that feels great.
  • I’m not sure if I should feel worse for the people in Maine who were wounded or killed or all the people the day before that didn’t make the news that were shot and died. Or maybe the day before that. Should I feel different because of a number? Should I feel outraged it’s just become the norm or am I resigned where maybe half or more don’t want gun legislation or money for mental health or many other legitimate needs that have to address violence? I do know it caused me to pause again.

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Looking for Direction

All kinds of new challenges are in front of me in quick succession. So I’ve been seeking advice and assistance along the way to make the best possible decisions. I’m learning that flexibility is important because plans I had recently as a few months ago have totally changed.

Point me the right way, Sir. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m also looking for direction in my creative endeavors. And the more I do the more defined those answers become.

Doctors will soon provide me direction on a couple of more areas and I’ll be starting PT soon for the back and side.

The nice thing about either tomorrow or Friday is I’ll head out to the car, give it a bath, put the top down point it in no particular direction, and be very happy whatever direction it takes.

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Thinking about someone very special. Thinking of many things that make her so special.

Thinking it’s hard to tell if I shot this picture in December or July.

Thinking Sand and Sun. Shot in Ocean City MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Thinking I’d rather be outside instead of at the doctor’s office today.

Thinking there is going to be peace on earth seems further and further away each day.

Thinking it’s time to take the next health step of a regular workout.

Thinking humans are crazy for having their faces buried in a phone. Shot in Frederick MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Thinking I’d better get my house in order sooner rather than later.

Thinking there has been progress as I look back at recent efforts.

Thinking it’s wise to spend the next 5-6 days outdoors where our temperatures will be above average.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I spent the first part of this post thinking. The rest will be on autopilot.
  • I’ve always worn white sweatsocks with my casual shorts and tee shirts. My better half got me some grey ones. I like it.
  • I still enjoy washing my own car. I always have.
  • Domino’s falling always is entertaining. When it’s people as dominos falling it’s even more entertaining watching 45 squirm.

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Keep going

My perspective and priorities have changed and I’m adjusting quickly. It’s just part of life. Sudden and unexpected things happen. And that is okay. It’s how we react and move on. Thankfully my mental outlook is about as strong as it has been in my lifetime.

And the steady approach is keeping progress happening. Like the line of slow-moving lawnmowers below, I’ll keep plugging away step by step, task by task.

Charge. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m looking forward to the warmer weather after tomorrow morning’s early chill.

Photos at Local Homestead Products.

Sunny Days. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was listening to a friend with some issues he was struggling with. I smiled but remained quiet and instead of sharing, I was a good listener and supportive. It’s not a contest as to who has the most or worst issues in life to deal with. It’s helping where and when you can. Be it by being there and or with actions. Plus it’s a good reminder that all of us have issues from time to time.
  • I’m finding focusing more intently on an issue, task, project or person yields a much better result. I’ve spread myself too thin at times and I can be more help to those closest to me if I don’t.
  • The incessant barking of the dogs next door is starting to bother me. The house is completely closed up and I can hear each and every bark sitting in my office.
  • I see the first frost advisory of the season. Well at least if I get a bit tired working tonight I can step outside and be wide awake again.

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I’m all pumpkined out today after spending it in the patch with the family. But lo and behold here it is time to work again.

It’s a gourd-eat-gourd world. Actually, I learned pumpkins are Gourds, squash, and Fruit. Well according to Google. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m not myself this evening so I’ll just share this image and hope tomorrow is a better day. Like the image, I’m having trouble focusing.


Stealth and non-Stealth

Boy, I have a lot of photos that I need to go through and edit, organize, and upload to my Zenfolio site. Also, a number to be trashed. But not so hastily. When I’m going back to previous shoots I always find something I haven’t displayed or uploaded yet that now makes the cut.

I don’t know if that cut means I’m lazy and not shooting enough new things and I’m going back to look for stuff I didn’t think was good enough or if I was harsh editing the first go-round.

Stealth. Photo by Mike Hartley

I had a few extra minutes this evening and thought it might be more cheerful to send out a brighter photo than the foggy one this morning. That sunny day I hoped for today didn’t materialize often but it was dry.

Non-Stealth. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mother nature has deposited some more work for me I see in the way of large tree branches down in the backyard. Such is life with property and woods. I hear the winds will continue tonight and tomorrow so I’ll wait till Monday to start maintenance.

Random Thoughts of the Day (2nd edition)

  • Seeing trees with color blowing in the wind is a nice sight. But it’s a short-lived one.
  • Very few go through life without major disappointments. It’s how we bounce from them that matters.
  • The wind I prefer is a warm wind. The exception to that rule is if it’s 95 degrees on the beach I’ll take a cool breeze off the water.
  • When you see grown adults stepping up to help their elderly parents, it’s a wonderful thing. So many don’t have that.
  • If you do anything for yourself when you get older, stay active, engaged, and challenged.

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Saturday Sunrise

That’s what I call a premature title. For it’s a while before sunrise this morning. When at the beach I love walking before sunrise. Wishing I was there now but I’ll make do with the home I love today.

Bethany Beach Boardwalk. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s been a wonderful weekend and I anticipate it continuing in that direction. I’m looking forward to a nice meal today and time with family both days.

A sunny but cool day ahead here in the wonderful state of Maryland. The colors are really starting to come in. But the winds the next two days will take its toll. I might be photographing a lot of color on the ground soon.

I’m working on simplifying life a bit. That doesn’t mean I’m tuning out or don’t care about larger issues. But I’ve got to be happy and positive and change what I can while enjoying life.

So let’s start the day with a nap being I’ve been up too much this past evening. Then again, I did just start up the printer and thought about making some prints. Maybe a little of both.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If you are lucky in life you will be able to feel someone’s love just through their eyes.
  • If you are blessed you will be able to feel many people’s love just through their eyes.
  • When you work in difficult jobs and situations, the bonds between co-workers seem stronger.
  • Sleep and I are on different pages. I will correct this problem in the New Year. The plan is in the works and soon to be implemented.
  • When drawing with my granddaughter, I see and remember the joy of just creating. It helps remind me of the joy throughout the time in between seeing her when I’m working on my own efforts.


Pretty good

It wasn’t as warm as I liked it but yesterday was a beautiful day outside. So a quick ride in between errands was possible and I took advantage of it. I was doing some back roads and I came upon a site I hadn’t explored before, except from the entrance to park and shoot the barn in the field next to it.

Off Folly Quarter Road is the Shrine of St Anthony and Franciscan Friars grounds. An old friend said he spent time there often reflecting on a number of things in his life. I sat on one of the benches for a bit and it does have a calming quality. I added a prayer for him because he passed away a bit over a year ago.

Photos by Mike Hartley

I don’t do a lot of praying but felt inclined to add one for him. This guy had this infectious laugh that I can still hear. It was so deep and genuine.

I hope my grandchildren remember my laugh. I try to laugh with them a lot when we are together. And I hope others remember my humor. I’ve found a lot of relief in tough times with humor. When I get in a funk I sometimes use comedy clips and some music to snap out of it.

We all could use a little more laughter in life.

I had maybe 30 minutes to snap a few images there on Thursday. I’ll certainly return because it has some nice possibilities. And I’ll use the Nikon instead of the iPhone.

The next few days are supposed to be very windy. I’ll have to work on my motion images.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Some days I feel beyond tired.
  • They got it right on the first three votes. Jim Jordan should never be the Speaker of the House.
  • I really wanted to do a few posts today. But playing with my granddaughter was more important.
  • I remember the parade the preschool next door to our company would put on each year at Halloween. You can’t help but smile at the sight of little ones dressed to the 9s in costumes.
  • It feels too cold for baseball.
  • Tomorrow I will make up for not shooting today.


Transition day

I leave my nocturnal existence behind at 6 a.m. and enter the world of the day walkers. Coming off the night shift and returning to hours most people keep. I might sleep 2-3 hours, get up, and remain up till 11 or 12 Thursday evening. I will wake up early Friday morning to spend the day with my granddaughter. Same for Saturday and Sunday, up early and then an all-nighter on Sunday to return to my nocturnal roots.

Got to get moving early. Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’m off for a few hours of sleep and then cast my line and see what activities I can catch.

The office will reopen around 11 a.m. Leave your name by the top of the stairs.

Oh, to be putting my toes in the sand today. Photo by Mike Hartley

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Finish what you started

A title of a Van Halen song I like but more importantly the message in those simple words is “finish what you started.” It’s time in my life to be a good finisher again. I keep letting myself get knocked off the path.

Ops. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve gotten lazy in the last few years and it’s time to turn that around. Well not lazy with all the work I do but far from as focused on the right things as I should be.

You don’t live life to wipe out. You live by riding them all the way. Photo by Mike Hartley

So here we go on a mission. I’ve made some good progress on some photo projects that I’d like to display and hope to knock out another 25 prints tonight.

I also got a start on my cooking practice tonight and made a Brie Spaghetti. And here it is time already to start work for the job that pays the bills. Well at least for a little while longer.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Last worknight of the week. Life is good.
  • I am starting a prediction list. I want to see if I have any foresight.
  • Birds aren’t colorblind. I think they have an affection for red and white cars.
  • I don’t know who is having more fun. My grandchildren riding on whatever toy or box they want to be pushed or pulled in or me who is doing the pushing and pulling.
  • When you get older each meeting with old friends is a little more special.
  • Even the worst day is special.

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Bright spot

Nature hasn’t warmed up to these colors yet but it’s soon approaching. It seems we have skipped our normal October temperatures and gone straight into November norms from the feel of things. Charging the batteries tonight to get out tomorrow afternoon and see if we can capture some fall color.

The blue skies are deep this time of year. Photo by Mike Hartley

I noticed a new sign in front of the Howard County Conservancy today. I’ll get a shot of it tomorrow. I haven’t been to the southern end of the county in a bit so maybe I’ll point the car south and see what is up with my old stomping grounds.

I got out today but it wasn’t to a place of my liking. Spent some time at the doctor’s office and then a few quick errands and I’m home again working. It was cloudy and too cool for the top down which is a shame because the days of October are quickly passing us.

Time to bring in my deck umbrellas and furniture. Only if my deck had this view. Photo by Mike Hartley

It felt good to make some more prints for my Arlington project. I think I’ll knock out a few more tonight.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If there was a pill for everything we wouldn’t need so many.
  • Chapstick season is upon us.
  • I miss the Midnight Madness that the University of Maryland used to have for its basketball teams.
  • It’s Treadmill Tuesday.
  • More disparaging comments about the Military from our former president. And the Republican party says they are pro-military. Yeah right.

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Let’s get cooking, a new identity

Almost time to start my culinary pursuits. My better half has been graciously cooking for decades and it’s time I do more of that when I’m retired. Plus I enjoy cooking, almost as much as I enjoy making art for people. And in many ways, cooking is an art.

I need to work on my food photography. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve been collecting various recipes and videos in preparation to try my hands at a challenge I’ve only skirted the edges of. I’m fairly adept at the grill and I have a few dishes but I greatly need to expand my menu. I really enjoy making things people like, be it a meal or an image. Who knows, I worked a few kitchens in my youth so maybe a chef’s hat is in my future.

Someday soon the identity of being a lifer in the Newspaper industry will quickly fade and I’ll be looking at a blank slate. Well, truth be told the slate does have some writing on it. Those slates have some old dreams and wishes, as well as new ones.

There is an itch that needs scratching, a vision of a fun journey, a long-caged creative animal waiting to be released. Time to spend portions of every day just capturing its beauty and action. And spending other parts just creating from scratch from a vision in my mind. Learning to work with words. Learning the intricacies of carving/etching. Learning the photographic tools I have and developing my own styles and techniques. Rediscovering pastels, charcoal, and paint to see which evolves as my favorite medium.

Being a grandfather I want to share skills and possibilities with my grandchildren. Every time my granddaughter is here we are in the art room. I’ve worked with her transferring photos, editing, and making prints. She likes that last part a lot. And seeing her excitement at showing her mother is always a payment that money can’t match.

If I can find a way to give to the community through my work I will. There is much work to be done on leaving this world a better place than I found it. Which means time to do some volunteering.

I like the idea of a new identity.

But today, we are still employed which means some limited minutes to start capturing the fall colors. I shot these at Wrights Market on the way home from the shore recently.

Mums the word. Photo by Mike Hartley

We will be hitting the pumpkin patch soon. Getting them from a field, with the family is a lot more fun than just picking them from a bin. Of course, that tractor ride to and from the field does my back no favors at all. But miss those smiles and time with family, not a chance.

I wonder if the deer have a favorite color? Photo by Mike Hartley

There is much to be said for the colors of this season. Like natures thank you note each year to each of us. I’m trying my hardest but this severe dislike of being the slightest chilled or heaven forbid COLD makes it hard to appreciate its beauty.

My friends tell me to dress in layers. When I think of layers I think of putting on a tee shirt to go with my shorts and flip-flops. Getting really dressed for winter is switching to my sweatsuits. If it involves more layers than that I’m inclined to stay inside in the warmth.

Who knows, maybe I’ll push myself to get out more at the end of this fall season and winter. Be forewarned, it may contribute to the occasional grumpy mood here.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s interesting how you can develop an attachment to something you’re doing so long as a career that you had no idea you would enter into when you started.
  • We are fast approaching the last snowball of the season. Let’s see if Mother Nature will give us some while the Woodstock Snowball stand closes up for the season. I need to get more winter seasonal photos with snow.
  • Finally, somebody put a sock in it.
  • I’ve always wanted a garage as part of my home. Never had one.

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Stacked and racked

Looks like a wrap for the summer season. I was hoping for another warm stretch but I’m just not seeing it. So the lifeguard chairs are all stored and the boats wrapped. I’m reflecting and smiling because I got to enjoy the shore a few times this year.

It’s sad when the lifeguard chairs aren’t on the beach. Photo by Mike Hartley

Who knows, maybe an off-season trip. Those are nice sometimes. You can still enjoy the outside on a sunny day and the beach is always there for walks. The last time I got in the water this year was October 4th. It will be another 8 months till it warms back up. Burr, what a chilling thought.

So what madness can I get into this fine but wet Sunday morning? I could rant about the late Saturday night drive home from watching my grandson. But that would send me back into a state of disbelief that I’d like to forget some drivers I saw who shouldn’t have a license.

I thought as I was sitting here listening to some music that I would pick a favorite tune and send that video to the kids and some background on why it’s important to me and what I find special about it. I’m going to do that weekly till I run out of music to send them which will be never. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn’t show them real music.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thank goodness for headphones. My family would have lost years of sleep if not for them.
  • Ah, the sun returns. What a warm feeling.
  • This is an exercise in exercising my initiative.
  • I haven’t played ping pong in years. I miss it.
  • Feeling like I’m going to accomplish a lot today.

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Learning is great. Challenging myself to pick up new skills each day now. There are so many I’d like to acquire and master. A greater amount of time to devote to it is fast approaching giving me a new level of excitement about the future.

I’m not an open-air painter but I’ll be strolling around with a camera. Photo by Mike Hartley

The tools we have to learn with and the resources seem boundless. When I was growing up everything was trial and error with at best poorly written instructions or bad diagrams on paper. No YouTube videos. No dozens of reviews, phone numbers, or manuals to refer to. YOU figured it out. You cussed a lot, you left many layers of skin on various toys, bikes, furniture, yard equipment, and mysterious blood stains around the house.

Oh, and the cars, a whole other level of learning and pain. Anyone without money learns to work on a car. And when you get some money all of a sudden you’re supporting a family so you continue to work on your cars. You learn some tricks like taking the part you’re replacing with you because then you can prove to the newby behind the counter he just gave you an exhaust gasket for the wrong motor.

And then there were the early days of computing of mainframes to racks of servers and networks where if you had touched it you were the expert. Even the limited courses offered were one thing and the real world another. You learned by doing. You learned never to repeat a mistake. You learned to plan, question the plan, test the plan, have fallbacks to the plan, and test and test and test before moving to production. List of commands in order to run. And then you better be able to pull out any solution needed because of course you have the test equipment that is different than you run in production.

In the early days, you would never convince management to have a high availability test system to match what they have in production. So even if you had matching OS, DB, Apps you couldn’t test failover with all the new elements. Oh yeah, most of the time DB and OS upgrades are done at the same time to minimize any downtime to production. And why not throw in different storage subsystems as another variable? Ah, the early days.

So the curve to getting better at my crafts should be shortened if I take advantage of this information. The first task is out with the old and in with the new. Decades worth of print and computer knowledge will get pushed to the archives or probably trashed.

New skills developed, ones of my choosing. Brings a smile to my face.

Keeping in Touch

I make it a point to stay in touch with family and friends on a regular basis. I write a lot, I will also pick up the phone and get in the car often to talk and see those important to me. Being a good friend takes lots of effort. Being a good friend to a lot of people takes a great effort. And when you make great efforts, usually you get great results.

Keep in touch with those important to you. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It bothers me that so many innocents suffer for the actions of so few so often.
  • This change of season has my body doing a hard reset.
  • Unlike a bear, I shed most of my fat insulation recently. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll be even colder.
  • I’m off to create some sawdust. Have a great day.

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As I was out and about I noticed some trees had completely dropped and others hadn’t even started to change. Others are changing quickly and getting thinner.

Near Tridelphia Dam. Photo by Mike Hartley

What seems to slowly take place over weeks sometimes in looking at an individual tree, can change in a day or two. From colorful to naked.

I know it’s not much property dear but look at the view. Photo by Mike Hartley

The privacy provided by our summer lushness is disappearing. Soon to be replaced by the greyness of winter till the snow makes everything beautiful again for a few minutes till man grinds it back into grey slush.

Looking into Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

But between then and now I hope to get out each day and attempt to share some of nature’s colors with anyone stopping by. But first, the leaf blower is out and ready to be fired up to clean off the decks which are already covered from a few oaks.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When old neighbors move, so does part of the neighborhood history.
  • When something seems fishy it usually is.
  • Little things become more important the more they are ignored.
  • Our bedroom is getting a fresh coat of paint today. At least it’s warm enough to air out well.


Defeating darkness

Going to brighten up my spirits this evening. Uploading images to the portfolio and then tinkering around with a few other crafts. The day was consumed with home and yard chores but now it’s my time. So I’m using a photo from about a year ago and one from a few weeks ago that I was trying an animal portrait of.

Some colors don’t even need light. Photo by Mike Hartley


One of our son’s dogs was staying with us a few weeks back. She is a wonderful baby and she is spoiled rotten with attention when here. We love her so and she loves us right back. She is our constant companion.

Any spot on this floor is a good hiding spot for her. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was in the kitchen cooking when I looked over and the sun started to come out from the clouds and I picked up the camera with one hand and snapped a few. If anyone ever asks me what color my hardwood floors are I’ll bring my son’s dog in to show the the exact shades.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Hearing the excitement in your children’s voices is a special treat for this father.
  • My old John Deere mower is about 1 cut away from completing its 25th year I believe.
  • I will not waste this fall shooting season. Tomorrow we begin, before the rains this weekend.
  • Rumor has it that a real night’s sleep feels pretty good.

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Ups and Downs

Interesting and busy day. Still trying to get a grip and slow down a little. I’m so glad my weekend is starting. I’ll get off that high-speed train and into my convertible and relax.

Truckers, always looking for the right loop. Photo by Mike Hartley

My mind has been elsewhere all day so I’m going to go wandering trying to find it. I think some of it flew off the tracks at some point. Be good all.

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Surfs not up

But it doesn’t matter. I am and hopefully, it’s a great day ahead. Warmer temps are on the way and sunshine. The surf forecast isn’t that good till next Monday at our shores. Even though I can’t be there this week I hope to find my beach somewhere.

Old and young enjoy surfing. Photo by Mike Hartley

And when I say find my beach I mean a mental sweet spot in life where you’re as relaxed as you are walking on the beach. Yes, that kind of peace.

Cars Turning Heads

I finished editing some of the classic autos I shot in Ocean City last Thursday’s boardwalk parade. Uploaded 137 shots of some colors and styles that just make me smile. Enjoy the Gallary if you like things on 4 wheels.

Outside looking in wishing to be behind the wheel. Photo by Mike Hartley

I learned a lot of things on this shoot. Changing angle, elevation, and location. I also learned I need to bring my damn tripod because holding that brick out for extended periods worked on my back in not such a nice way.

Shooting car shows where everyone is parked isn’t as fun as people driving them on real streets. Or boardwalk in this case. Next year I’ll have more than an hour and a half to shoot. Maybe a day or two.

One mistake I can’t seem to just get over having grown up in the film era. It’s just not in my DNA to fire away at will but that is what I need to do in some spots and far more times than I use it now. I’ve got to find a balance because I feel I miss some shots because I don’t shoot enough.

Tomorrow I pick up the cameras again. Practice Practice Practice.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Tomorrow might be an unexpected very big day.
  • I should have purchased a recliner for the basement years before we got one.
  • My mind is racing tonight. I just hope it’s not towards a headache.
  • I don’t like missing nice days outside. I really don’t like being under the weather as the reason.

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Not the way I hoped to start the week but it’s looking up. My own engine was idled on Sunday and I’m trying to get it going again. I wish the human body could be fixed as easily as a car engine.

I feel like my timing is still off. Photo by Mike Hartley

Yesterday I had to put a pause on life, I actually took a sick day which I rarely do. I believe it was the flu that decided to put a hurting on me. I haven’t had a fever, headache, or sweats like that in a while. I’m feeling better, but like a day after a fight that I came out on the wrong end of. But I’ll take the improvement. I hope it doesn’t make a return appearance tonight. Thank goodness my better half is home to nurse me back to health.

I also see how peace has been paused and more war has broken out. The senseless loss of life never fails to astound and sadden me. Killing over religion is evil. Greed is evil. War is evil. Humans continuing to do it over and over is insane. The world is a hair trigger away from total insanity.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Time to start planning the fall shooting. Oh yeah, catch as catch can.
  • I’ve noticed the older I get the busier I seem to get. And not always doing the things I want to do. Sounds like evaluation time again.
  • There is a lot to be said for saying nothing and at the same time saying nothing is the worst thing.
  • I better get out of this chair and horizontal for a few hours if I’m going to work all night. I think that was the plan yesterday also but it failed.


Made me think

I captured this image on the deck at Fagers Island Restaurant on the deck in Ocean City. I almost went right by it with that brutal sun in the middle of it but I started looking more closely. I thought of all the things people might interpret from a shot like this.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I purposely left the two cups in front of each of them because each of them was with someone so they were not alone. I could have easily cropped out the second drink in front of them. But the shot somehow conveys that to me with them back to back and no visible partner even with the glasses in front of them.

I remember now how my mother would sometimes say when I would ask what she was having, “Oh, I don’t know, it’s not much fun eating alone.” And we always lived nearby and would eat with her as often as we could. But I certainly understood her feelings. I could really see it with all the people that are in independent or assisted living. I would go several times a week and she would point out the ones that were always alone with nobody visiting. And it was no small percentage.

Being a senior I’m sometimes at restaurants where I see individual diners. I might have to draw up the courage to see if some of them want to join us in the future. There is a lot of loneliness in the world. That is not a good thing. Families have been too splintered.

Remember, smile at someone you don’t know. It might make their day or change their spirits. Offer a kind word to someone, hold a door for someone, and say I hope have a nice day as you check out at the register and a thank you for your waitress.

A Day with My Grandson

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my grandson. What a joy that was. And being he is a little over a year now and walking it takes a ton of energy to keep up with that little guy.

My son and his better half had a chance to go to the Orioles playoff game which provided my opportunity. It’s been a while since my granddaughter was this young and it’s been a while also in watching them alone. My better half is usually involved anytime there is an opportunity but she had plans with our daughter.

I know yesterday made my weekend. Those smiles, the hugs, when he crawls into my lap or stands between my legs with his arms outstretched over them as I sit on the couch watching the game for a few seconds with a half eye and the other 1 and a 1/2 on him. I know his dad must be watching games with him because if the crowd got excited he would start to yell and raise his arms.

But we played and played for most of the day with his toys, went for a stroller ride around the community, and did some laps on the deck.

He seemed to really like boxes. I had brought some toys from home that I know he likes and some he hasn’t seen yet. He dragged that empty box around for several minutes from one end to the other. Suddenly he stopped and stood there, looked at it, and started to get in and then sat in it, looked around inside it, looked around outside it, and then looked at me and let out a shriek of happiness with a big smile.

So I crawled over and pushed him around the house for about 20 minutes on my hands and knees and he was so happy. I said Papa has to take a break. He was out of the box for just a minute or two and I was sitting on the floor in front of the couch and he wanders over and just lays across my legs and stays there so I started to rub his back. Even at that age, they know ways of saying thanks. Either that or I wore him out somehow. Too much excitement maybe?

I also forgot what eating machines they were at that age. They warned me that he is sloppy and a thrower at meals. But I didn’t have any issues. He seemed intent on getting all of it into his face. There was one small piece of mac and cheese and a small piece of blueberry on the floor but nothing else and the tray was pretty clean.

I was exhausted and when I got home, I snacked for 5 minutes, laid down, and was out in 5 minutes. He waved goodbye as I was leaving last night which was one of the first things I remembered this morning. Grandchildren have made me very happy getting into my senior years. They remind me of the important things in life. Learning, happiness, and love.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Deserts are one of the sweet parts of life. Old fact, when I was young I worked in an ice cream factory for a summer. I was on the half-gallon line. I guess that is why I don’t mind having ice cream in the morning because that was my shift.
  • Important expectations, lessons, limits, and rules are not being taught and enforced at a young age. At the same time, it’s hard to expect that as a standard for those living on next to nothing and surrounded by negative examples once they step out the door no matter how much their parents support them.
  • Sports are fantastic in their genuine form, the game being played itself, at any level. Watching or as a player. It’s all these other pregame, prediction, gambling, fantasy, and fluff shows surrounding it that I can do without. Halftime entertainment is fine. Also, give me school bands instead of DJs at college games, please.

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Practice Practice Practice

I’ve been learning a little about shooting cars this summer. Mostly through practice, practice, and practice. Cars are extensions of people. Color, style, size, shape, and the numerous ways to modify and accent them. Capturing those expressions of art is a lot of fun.

Car people are good people from my encounters and my natural love of cars from a very young age has made it a lifelong obsession. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve blurted out “Look at that” startling my wife while I’m pointing at a car going the opposite way or coming from behind in my side mirrors.

Shooting them is a lot of location, angles, and details. Good weather and clear skies also help. So timing is important.

Colar and Chrome. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve hit some local car shows this year but the Ocean City Maryland event this week was off the charts for me. I’m going to return next year and see what action I can capture while they are rolling. Time was very limited and we were leaving on the first day of 4, so I didn’t get in the inlet show or convention center or the many lots that just turn into shows in themselves.

Yes, you can get some good shots at shows but it’s a lot more limited. Cars side by side limit your options. But sometimes you can squeeze a frame down the side that accents things well. Or find a pair together at the end of an aisle.

TWO X TWO TONE. – Or maybe Get A Lick of These Two. Photo by Mike Hartley

But I also learned through being at the beach this week with the Cruisin event that a lot of it is action shots of cars in motion that I haven’t done much of and hope to spend next May and October practicing that at those events.

I wasn’t in a good spot for background in what I shot of the boardwalk parade of cars on Thursday morning. I’ll have to spend a few minutes cropping. Live and learn.

3 and 4 deep along the boardwalk for the Thursday Parade. Photo by Mike Hartley

So next year I’ll go into this with a lot more plans. I know the town well so getting to the right backdrops for the boardwalk parade. Recognizable landmarks or backdrops. Like low-angle shots of cars coming down Baltimore Avenue with the roller coaster in the background. Or Fishers Popcorn on the boardwalk when some of the old trucks roll by.

I’ll focus on detail shots at the various lots and convention center. But I’m really looking forward to capturing some rolling thunder on Coastal Highway in both stills and video. Hopefully, I can follow up on the grandiose plans I’m coming up with.

I promise not to bore you with all the car shooting I’ve done. I’ll put a link when I get this week’s shooting edited and uploaded. Well, I probably won’t be able to not sneak in 1 or 2 here or there on the blog.

Have a great day. I hope to have the time to do another post later today.

Oh yeah, the above car shots were outside Dumsers Diner and Ice Cream restaurant. I usually stop there for a cherry ice cream soda (the old fountain style) before leaving town.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A reminder of what season it is will return today.
  • I’m looking forward to spending some time with a very important person today.
  • It won’t last, but I’m feeling good so far today.
  • Rest is important. If you have the time for it. If not try to make some.

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Good morning

Time to jump into another day. I wish the forecast was better but that really doesn’t matter. Today we get the company of our granddaughter and we have a few things from the beach for her.

I GOT IT. Photo by Mike Hartley
My TURN. Photo by Mike Hartley

I had better get ready for that young bundle of endless energy and make some plans to keep her entertained. That’s the wrong word, to learn and have fun together would be a better way of putting it. I try to teach and help show her different crafts or games when she is here.

Random Thoughts of the Day – morning edition

  • There are hugs and there are 4-year-old hugs.
  • I think I’ll get a snowball today.
  • I’ve got a lot of photos to edit.
  • Trying to decide if I should make some sausage gravy and biscuits.



We are back from 2 nights in Ocean City Maryland. Beautiful weather and the ocean water was still warm enough to get in. A little metal refresh for my better half and myself. We took a short trip to Assitique Island for the first time to sample the beach there. And went up to walk the town of Bethany Beach Delaware one afternoon. There was good food and comfortable lodging with an oceanfront view and balcony.

Young lady watching the sunrise this morning from the shore. Photo by Mike Hartley

I wish I could have stayed another day because it was Endless Summer Cruisin Week. The smell of race fuel, the roar of a strong V8, beautiful paint jobs, and all the favorite classic and contemporary cars, trucks and what have you fixed up on 4 wheels are there. And boy what a show it is.

I’ve got a ton of car photos I’ll slide in every now and then but I must go down for the weekend next time. There were already a ton of cars there on Wednesday and Thursday. The morning parade of cars going down the 27-block boardwalk, the cruising up and down Ocean Highway or Philadephia Avenue is a wonderful sight.

Heading out for the morning catch. Photo by Mike Hartley

We still did a lot despite me not feeling my best. Getting used to powering through discomfort. I hope the rest of the weekend is better. And to facilitate that I believe a good night’s rest is in order after that late night last night.

I could barely hear after standing next to this one. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m just back from one trip and would like to leave for another one.
  • Thank goodness though that I will see my children this weekend. I was missing them. Being at the beach without them and the grandchildren was strange.
  • Next time I’m at the beach I think I’ll bring a small batch of sand home, put it in a box, and sit it under my desk so I can put my feet in it while I work.
  • RIP – The Enforcer, the Animal, The Maestro of Mayhem, the Robot of Destruction – Mr Dick Butkus.

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Keeping a smile

Was just thinking of the upcoming trip this month to the pumpkin patch with the family. I hope my back holds up to the trip. Regardless I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The smiles the kids get with all the activities and the fresh feeling of the clean fall air.

This year I’m not going to be volunteering to carry the heaviest pumpkins. A couple of medium ones or small ones okay. I’ll let my strong kids deal with those monsters the grandkids like to pick.

No shock absorbers on this ride. Photo by Mike Hartley

The month of October doesn’t bother me. Lots of activities, we are still outdoors a good bit and still have a decent amount of daylight. I’ll still be cutting grass on the weekends, the top can be down on the convertible, and grilling out is still nice.

I ask early forgiveness for my attitude from November through February. As I sit here with the temps in the high 70s in just gym shorts and tennis shoes, my mind drifts to those first chills and then the constant struggle to stay warm.

Which reminds me I have to get that generator fired up and tested. And maybe an extra can for fuel.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When you get old, you’re dying to get older.
  • Water has always been the most important resource. We just disrespect it like everything else thinking it’s infinite and immune from our actions.
  • It’s hard to find a line in the sand after a windstorm.
  • I don’t understand why a grown man acting like a petulant child is attractive to so many people.

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This photo is a pretty good illustration of my mind and body. So today’s post will be short because it’s time for mental and physical maintenance. I’m going to scrape, sand, and paint. I’m going to replace a hinge and hang the door. And hopefully, by the end of the day, I’ll be refreshed.

A chip off the old block. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Looking to the sun to lift my spirits today.
  • Chores breed faster than rabbits.
  • I wish I had more time to keep in touch with a lot of wonderful people I’ve met in my life.
  • Funny how we all look down on each other as if we aren’t dependent on each other.
  • I don’t know what makes me think I can write but I sit down and do it each day.
  • Queue the music maestro. Time to rock and roll.

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Had a dental cleaning appointment in my favorite town (Ellicott City) so I got the cameras out after the appointment and walked a bit. I caught these guys below trying to cut through town.

I thought those streets were getting a little long. Photo by Mike Hartley

I savored today’s appointment. I’m not sure how long I’ve been going to Bob, excuse me Dr. Boman and how long Dawn has been doing my cleanings but it’s decades. Despite my best efforts, they keep my choppers in good shape. Not only that but it’s like visiting family.

They are friends who live in the same neighborhood. They are friends that have helped us with our business when we started a newspaper in town. They are friends we’ve shared meals with and maybe the occasional cigar in the past. I have friends who lived in the downstairs apartment under their office.

But the days till his retirement are certainly closing in. So this will be a very different experience sometime in the future. I’ve seen a ton of change in this town in the 6 decades I’ve been exposed to it. Working in it, visiting it, marrying a girl from it, having a business in it.

Those back-to-back floods really hurt the place and still do to this day. There are a lot of vendors working hard to make it better than it ever was but the lower part of the town is let’s say, sparse. I’m going to have to visit the Milkshake place before it gets too cold.

I like the area because I like saying hello to people and in this town I get a ton of replies.


While we were waiting for our son’s pet to be seen at the vet we went across the street to a McDonalds. Something not often done anymore. A double cheeseburger is no longer a buck. It doesn’t seem to be made with the care it used to be. I don’t get to give my order to a person and no more “have a nice day”, I got some screen. The tables were all dirty. But damn those french fries are still good.


I feel like I should rest because I know it’s healthy. I also feel like I shouldn’t rest at all because time is not a given.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Wow, it got late fast today.
  • I finally achieved my beach body. The trouble is I missed summer.
  • I used to think there was limited space on my desk till I started going vertical.
  • I didn’t laugh as much as I would have liked to today.

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Being a senior citizen time is always at the forefront of my mind. Actually, the alarm bell that I wasn’t going to be infinite came at 50 years old with my first cancer, and since that day I had a whole new perspective on time.

Time is a gift. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve become more respectful of time. I’m trying my best to utilize it efficiently and effectively. Not always successful each moment of the day but I try to return to that focus. That mindset keeps me from wasting big chunks of it or even small pieces some days.

Sure I fall into time-wasting traps every now and then. But my mind always reminds me to evaluate and usually, I’ll get my behind up from an unproductive spot. And sometimes not, because the important part is the evaluation.

For example, my better half told me an old classic movie favorite of mine was on the other night. So I started to watch and before long the mind questioned sitting there for a couple hours watching the Blues Brothers for the umpteenth time. Because I was weighing working on a project for my son. So I thought a bit more and what I enjoyed the most from the movie was the music, so I turned the volume up a bit went in the other room, and got to work on the project. Occasionally getting up to dance from one room to another when the song Sweet Home Chicago came on.

I’m having trouble stringing my guitar. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m thinking more and more about how I use the time allotted each day. It’s a very good exercise but not one to be obsessed with all the time. Life is about balance. Lately, though I’ve started to look at much smaller increments of time and what I’m going to do in say the next few minutes.

I feel it’s started to allow me to get more done and the things I would like to do are squeezed more into the schedule. For this morning when I was cooking bacon, I would run downstairs and transfer a few photos to my site or write a few lines.

One of the things I love to do is go for a long cruise on a nice sunny day. It’s usually something that needs a window of a few hours at least. But I’ve gotten used to taking more short cruises to just get a few minutes of seat and stick time instead of missing it altogether because life got in the way of a longer cruise. And that is what I will be able to squeeze in today, about a 45-minute ride around town.

I find if I try to dedicate a period of time for a workout I just don’t fit it in. But if I do 5-15 minutes with some weights or the treadmill here and there throughout the day, I’m finding myself doing more of it in the long run.

But as usual, time has run out and it’s time to start working the job that pays the bills again.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Yes, I’m about as tired as one can get.
  • Yes, I’m going to work all night.
  • Yes, I’m working alone, my partner is out sick.
  • Yes, I’m not looking forward to this.
  • But as a very wise man once said to me, “Make it work for you.”

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Adjust, adapt, and move on

I had planned on watching a sunset on the bay maybe last night and tonight but it wasn’t to be. No problem though because our pet is on the mend. A morning at the Vet and an afternoon of servitude to our canine resident. I did manage to cut the yard in increments and the reward was this classic below at the Waverly Shopping Center when I went to get gas.

I believe the license said Gary’s 34. Photo by Mike Hartley

We all are faced with adjusting, adapting, and moving on in life if not every day. Seems like it’s so often that it’s the norm.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The job that pays the bills has introduced me to a term I hadn’t heard before. Salary Leveling. I do not know if this is a good or bad thing yet. As usual, time will tell. Somehow I feel this would have been much more useful earlier in my career instead of a few months before retirement.
  • The problem with small children and pets is that they can’t tell you what is wrong with them when they don’t feel good.
  • I know two things about money. Too much of it makes people do bad things. Too little of it makes people do bad things. The difference is one is greed and the other is survival.
  • Tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day so let me get to bed so I can be up before sunrise.



One with the stone.

These guys pick up most of the nuts from my oaks out front. Photo by Mike Hartley

I have a change of plans tonight, got a sick puppy dog to look after. Few things are more pitiful than a sick pet or a very young child. Hopefully, it’s just a stomach bug, but will be ready to take her to the vet tomorrow if she isn’t on the mend.


So the change in plans leaves me at home. More time to work on a post in between care checks and maybe some carving or photography later. But first some Friday night carryout. Paper Lantern was our choice this evening and a fine choice it was. Shrimp toast and spring rolls were great along with our main course of Honey Sesame Chicken. It’s very close to us at Rt 99 and Marriotsville Road. We have eaten on site and carry out and it’s always very good. It’s becoming my go-to Asian food.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Have a good time doing whatever you’re doing.
  • Congrats to the O’s – American League East Champs. Good to see the town alive in excitement again.
  • The killing continued with one of our county sheriff’s deputies shot and killed.
  • One of my favorite tee shirts has the saying “To those who say it cannot be done Should not interrupt the people doing it.”

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Thanks for another day

Starting out the day with a smile is a nice thing. It’s in anticipation of many good plans. Some are in prep for more plans this winter and fall. Like getting my flu and COVID booster shots. This will at least allow me to venture out in peace to events like Maryland basketball and a stay in a hotel/casino. And the comfort of just being out and about in crowds.

Jellyfish Hotel Photo by Mike Hartley

I know they won’t prevent me from catching something, but I hope they aid in my coping with it. I’m not going into some dissertation about the pros and cons of these types of medicines. I take what is recommended for us by our doctors. And if you don’t like what my doctors are recommending then don’t go to them.

I have plans to laugh with friends today, I have plans to write and photograph. I might try to squeeze in some sanding of a horse I’m making my granddaughter.

But some plans get thwarted, like sleeping in today. And my neighbor’s dogs were the problem again this morning. Actually, they are a problem day and night. So that is something I’ll deal with soon.

I can’t believe we have an open day tomorrow. Something wrong with my calendar I’m assuming.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I know there is a day out there that everything will work out right.
  • It’s very possible to feel alone, even when not alone.
  • I wonder if the nickname Donald Duck will stick to #45.
  • There is a lot to be said for saying nothing.

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No Foolin

I love the season of nature’s mushroom clouds. What I don’t like is the crossover day. That is today I believe where we have less daylight and more night. We are on our way to being buried in the darkness of winter. I’ve come to realize it’s not just the cold, it’s the lack of sunlight I get during these coming months.

Nature’s mushroom cloud. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s compounded because I work nights and sleep till around noon if I’m lucky. So that leaves only a few hours of daylight to enjoy and recharge. And that is not enough before I’m back in artificial light.

The fact that pain sometimes slows me or even takes time out of any day pisses me off. This hasn’t been a good month for feeling good. And then, I get a note from my orthopedic office that September is Pain Awareness Month. Actually, they didn’t need to tell me that, I’m very aware of pain like everyone who deals with it.

But tomorrow is another day and hopefully one that we can all feel a little better.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Remember the days when there was just a radio in the car? An AM radio.
  • I love losing myself in music.
  • I make progress each day but I feel like I’m failing.
  • If sleep weren’t necessary everything on the schedule might fit.

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Take a bow

Take a bow, we made it through Monday. No small feat some weeks. Another beautiful day is underway and I so hope to enjoy it. And with the right attitude I will. I just have to find that positive outlet.

I feel like I might need feathers like a duck soon. It’s been pretty wet around here. Hopefully, the indian summer will return before fall sets in for good.

Be like a duck, let stuff run off your back. Photo by Mike Hartley

A few errands and then some thought about what I wanted to do with the few free minutes I’d have the rest of the day.

A lot seem to be having an issue with this concept. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel like a Vegas dealer when I finish a meal and give the dog a treat. I have to show her both hands and both sides before she believes there is no more.
  • Looks like tonight is going to be a battle of wills, body against mind.
  • I have to make tonight more productive than last.
  • Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one I want to talk to.
  • If you feel alone, you are.

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Winding down and up again

Well, that was a sustained period of rain. No serious weather this far inland. I have a friend with water in his front yard from the Chesapeake Bay though. I’m just glad it stopped Sunday afternoon even though it was still cloudy.

Someone built a wall. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sundays are a contrast. Winding down from the weekend of fun and relaxing in the morning and afternoon and winding up for work on Sunday night, like a dragster on a cold start taken to the starting line and launching.

This is a strange week. The last of the parents of our family and inlaws has passed. Our sister inlaws father was the remaining member of that generation. Now we are the elder generations in our families. With all of our kids grown and some having started their own families we are the grandparents and maybe someday if we are lucky enough to live a very long life maybe great grandparents.

Seems like yesterday I was leaving high school and now we are less than 2 years away from our graduating class’s 50th anniversary.

Just out of school, trying to decide what to do with my life. And now I’m only months from retirement.

I look up over my computer monitor and see my wife in a photo on our honeymoon. And I sit here over 4+ decades later and think it seems like yesterday that all of life was in front of us.

I looked at the picture of dancing with my daughter when she was maybe 7 and remembered a few weeks ago I was dancing in the basement with her 4-year-old daughter. And the song “Dance the Night Away” comes to mind. Like overnight I’m decades older.

I’m trying to savor each moment of each day. I’m trying to make the best of what I’m capable of and interacting with those special to me. Because time passes fast.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A dentist appointment coming up. Doctors appointments coming up. I feel like a convict wanting to escape them.
  • I was disappointed to see more wet weather around today and tomorrow. At least it won’t be continuous.
  • Danger Will Robinson. The tail is about to wag the dog again.
  • The prediction game is underway with what changes at the job there will be.

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Sure enough, we lost power yesterday. But I didn’t say that to complain. I’m bringing it up because BG&E’s response was extremely quick and had the problem resolved in a very short timeframe in a driving rain. My thanks to the Linemen/women and technicians working to keep us all lit.

Thanks to these guys my weekend was restored along with my power. Disclaimer – The mess you see on the hill on the right is my neighbor’s. It used to be a beautiful terraced garden with flowers and asazilas.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This allowed us to continue with family plans and have a great day. We decided to head out to EC Diner for a bite to eat. I going to have to try one of their shakes the next time I’m there.

One damp weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

My son reminded me of how we used to get our haircuts together and then go to the Forest Diner for breakfast on Saturdays. He then said he wanted to do that with his son which made me smile. Of course, the Forest Diner is long gone. And our old barbershop Sal’s went out a good while back. So he will choose new spots near his home and I hope he can find the comfortable places we used to enjoy together.

I love their breakfast. And I struggle each time I leave not to pick a desert to go to. Photo by Mike Hartley

The EC Diner is a good go-to for the family. Good food and that old diner-type feel. Always great service and we walk out very full. I dare you to not find something you like to eat on their extensive menu.

My granddaughter was over for the day on Friday. One of her rituals is picking a few flowers and putting them in water. When the power went out I was just starting to fix some lunch. When the stove went out I put things away grabbed the camera saw this and decided to play a bit with this subject matter.

I’ll have to give her prints of these and tell her what a good designer she is. Photos by Mike Hartley
I’m so glad she is into nature so much. Photo by Mike Hartley
She discovered acorns under our oaks this week and went home with a bag full.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is what you do each day and what you hope to do. The more you align those two, the happier you will be.
  • I’m hoping that the new management isn’t going to introduce a bunch of new hoops to jump through in my last few months.
  • I really have to clean up this mess in my office today.
  • I wish I loved exercise as much as I love food.
  • There is a lot not to look forward to this week. But I’m going to ignore that and move on.


Hold onto your hat

A little rough weather headed to our great state of Maryland today and tomorrow. In looking at webcams of Ocean City it appears the winds are already starting to rock that city with about half of them not responding and the others shaking in the wind and blowing sheets of rain.

A storm like this will hurt a lot of that beach replenishment they just completed in Delaware and Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a little wet here to start the day and I did the storm prep outside yesterday. I hope the weather doesn’t derail plans to see the children today but it’s possible. I don’t want them traveling in high winds and sheets of rain.

Life is a lot like the weather. You really have no control over what it throws at you and when. You might think you can predict it but it always has a surprise for you.

I’m used to getting up early when my back sends me some pain signals. Lots of times I can get back to sleep. Today at 3 am was a bit early and it was the kind that opened my eyes for the rest of the morning at least.

So making the best use of time I headed into the workroom to do a little work with the Dremel tool and hopefully finish a few projects for the kids.

I’m tempted to get out and do a little foul-weather shooting today. I don’t have a good body of work in that area yet.

I really enjoyed cooking dinner last night. I already picked a meal for early next week. I’m looking forward to spending more time in the kitchen and at the grill as the job that pays the bills is more in the rearview mirror.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Welcome to the first day of fall. I hope it’s not an indication of things to come.
  • No time is going to be lost with this new management in making changes is my first impression.
  • Wishing one of my best friends good luck today on Kent Island.
  • One of those days when you wake and charge everything.
  • I think I’ll take advantage of the hot water we have now and shower just in case we lose power.

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Good Day

And as the sign says “Welcome to Woodstock Md” and a fine sunny day we had. Time for a few days of rain and wind is on the agenda for the weekend. I hear rain is good sleeping weather. After humping that tall ladder today and cleaning gutters along with some other maintenance chores I’m going to need it.

The sound of a happy 4-year-old enjoying our home and company was a great time today in between those other items. And another good reason for a long nights rest.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Woodstock is a great little town to live in. Pretty quiet for the most part and even though they seem to find new property to develop it’s still wooded and beautiful for the most part. Even though the type of homes, excuse me, mansions they have put in do nothing but drive up my already high property taxes.

We love it despite a few quirks here and there. The views, the privacy, and the lack of traffic make it a peaceful day and night. And most of the people are really nice.

Joe Cool says hang loose. Photo by Mike Hartley

I see our bus for the kids no longer comes into the neighborhood and now stops on Woodstock Road. There is an accident waiting to happen where that hill makes an almost impossible stop in time if the bus is picking up kids at our neighborhood entrance and you come over it from Route 99.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It was fun cooking tonight but my back didn’t care for it.
  • Leaving the world a better place than you found it would be a nice thought if everyone could get on the same page.
  • I think the list of rained-out events this weekend is longer than the ones still going on.
  • I’m going to work on 2 to 3 posts tonight and schedule them for tomorrow and Sunday in case we lose power. What am I talking about in case? We lose power every good storm that comes through. It’s just a matter of how long.

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Late Drive

If only I had developed a higher drive for my own work earlier in life. No time though for wondering what might have been, just time to get going on today’s work. So today’s title really stands for two things. The passion and late drive I find myself with now and the late drive I plan on taking at night this weekend to capture some images for a book I hope to do.

How can you not like a nose like this? Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m guessing the car show at Mikey and Mels this Saturday is going to be a rainout. I’ve enjoyed going to a few more this year. No problem though because I’ll be seeing my children and grandchildren this weekend.

I’m so fortunate to be part of their lives now. I cherish every moment with them. This year with my granddaughter is special because she will be starting school next year, leading to a bit of separation. Of course, we will go to her activities and anything we can but they begin to get their own circle of friends which is normal.

I have a young grandson, so many days of young ones marching through my home are on the agenda for a while.

Hoping everyone had a great day.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Find the things that motivate you. Embrace them, even if they are difficult.
  • Time to batten down the hatches here in the mid-Atlantic.
  • Watching a child discover will always induce a smile.
  • Finding new ways to love each day, can you imagine if everyone had that thought each day?
  • I thought my days of working on cars were over. I’m starting to get the bug again.
  • Pain is an unusual motivator.

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Yes to fun

I worked too hard yesterday. I work too hard period. So I had some fun today before the job tonight. I went for a nice ride in the western part of the county ducking in and out of the clouds. Boy did those sunny periods feel good.

Along Route 99 west of Rt 32.

A great season for a convertible. Just hold the camera up and fire away. Tomorrow should be another beautiful day so maybe another sweet treat to celebrate the changing of the seasons this weekend.

This item is on the list of my things to stop and get tomorrow. The Woodstock Snowball Stand. Photo by Mike Hartley

After a few morning responsibilities, I’m going to shoot for some more seat time and then work on some crafts.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel like my mind is stuck in overdrive today.
  • Make sure your expectations of others don’t exceed the expectations for yourself.
  • One of these days I’m taking my car to the track.
  • Watching the House of UnRepresentitives is like watching a train wreck about to happen each day. The trouble is that it’s about to collect a lot of collateral damage of innocent people all for the sake of show.
  • Don’t take things for granted. Take enjoyment in everyday things.

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I’ve noticed at the beach a good number of people name their homes. One a few doors up from the one below is named “As Good As It Gets”. This one below caught my eye being an older home and the sign above the door is “AS IS” which suits it just right.

This reminds me, I need a new screen door. Photo by Mike Hartley

Choices are plentiful on this fine day. Do I want to cut grass or go out and take pictures? Do I want to clean the gutters or wash the fun machine (Miata) and go on a cruise? Do I want to take a much-needed nap before work or power through and do some carving? Do I want to go to Clarks Hardware and pick up supplies or pump my basketball up and shoot some hoops?

Those and many more are in front of me. So far I’ve cut the lawn and I took a short cruise and a nap. Oh crap, it’s work time. So much for fun.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was lucky to watch a hummingbird dance through my better half’s garden and hanging plants. What a beautiful sight, I was standing at the front door just looking when he came calling. I could hear its flight’s sound as it approached a planter by the door.
  • Someone special brought home my favorite snowball yesterday.
  • Do you get the sense countries are just dividing into a bunch of different tribes?
  • I can’t stand the thought of having to make another doctor’s appointment. Then again I should be thankful I can see a doctor.



I love spending time near or in the water. But that isn’t where the job that pays the bills is so I’ll be putting that enjoyment aside for a bit.

Kent Narrows. Photo by Mike Hartley

I didn’t make my goal of a few solo day trips to the ocean this year. Only one in fact but that is better than the year before. Next summer won’t have work interfering with opportunities to head East to the Shore.

Just a wider angle shot of Kent Narrows from the Bridges Restaurant. Photo by Mike Hartley

The last week of summer is upon us so make good use of it. I hope to catch some rays today. Of course, some of that might be behind a lawn mower.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hear it’s going to be a breezy afternoon. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that smell of the saltwater air made it this far inland?
  • Do you ever get so hungry when you are really tired and you think about the time and energy needed to cook something and just go to bed?
  • I’m on a mission to take a good photo today.
  • 25% of my workweek is complete before most people get out of bed on Monday.

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Pick a path

Every once in a while you have to select a path. Well more than every once in a while, more like several times a day. It could be something simple like a different route to work or something complex like thinking about a different place to work altogether.

Which path? Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes we have choices in paths. Other times not. Sometimes we stay on the wrong path for too long. Somedays it seems like you can’t find the right path.

Last night was an easy path, time with my best friends, and better halves for dinner/desserts and a lot of laughs around the firepit. Those are called favored paths. Like time with your children or grandchildren.

Today starts more difficult ones and I’m not looking forward to many of them. Because like a lot of paths, some aren’t avoidable and you just have to walk them, like behind a mower. I have 3-4 paths this week that I dread but will push on.

I look forward to the day this year when I find myself on the path below again.

Cast the right shadow. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My formal season of dress is approaching. Sweat Suit Season.
  • If you’re maintaining a home, if you’re maintaining a family, if you’re maintaining a job, be thankful you’re maintaining your sanity.
  • I’m on a mission to carve at least a few lines or shapes in wood and to upload dozens of new images each day.
  • Well, the rain just changed today’s schedule. Like I said before, be flexible.

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I wish I was at the shore

A beautiful Saturday morning is upon us in the mid-Atlantic. A little cool for my taste but it will warm up quickly.

The early bird gets the fish. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love being up before sunrise on my days off. It’s a good inspiration to begin anew each morning.

I hope a little sunshine is part of your day. Photo by Mike Hartley

I have grand plans for the day. Some woodwork this morning. Maybe a few chores and then kicking back the rest of the day. Hopefully, I’ll capture some of that later in the photos.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I watched a video of my grandson’s first steps over and over. I can’t wait for the next time I see him and he takes steps to me.
  • Many lessons can be learned by listening well, having your eyes open, and being honest with yourself.
  • I need to be a better finisher. I’ll keep saying this till it takes hold of me. Too many unfinished projects.
  • Find things to be proud of in life. It makes the journey much happier.

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Sound replacement

Pull up a chair and relax a bit, it’s the weekend and we all deserve a break. Then again if you have a two or three-wheel vehicle you should report to Ocean City Maryland if you haven’t already for the mecca of roaring V-Twins.

Yep, it’s BIKE WEEK at the shore.

Some days I miss riding a lot. Photo by Mike Hartley

The sounds of the waves are replaced by the roaring of Harleys and a few other brands. So much so that if you aren’t a biker you will be a bit put off by the thunder of the thousands of bikers in town. Then again it’s quite a show even if you’re not a biker.

I gave up my seat on the bike a good while back. I was tired of all the close calls, some health issues, and limited riding seasons here. I’m no wimp when it comes to weather. I rode a bike year-round for a year. Snow, ice, and all of it. I was so frozen once I couldn’t get my leg down quickly enough when I got home and almost dropped.

And while the seat of my Miata with the top down at the beach is my favorite, when I see the bikes I get a yearning to ride again.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Yesterday I made my granddaughter happy. We made crafts for her Mom for hours.
  • Listen to some comedy and laugh. Go to a club and laugh. Or at least smile and laugh.
  • Life should be the practice of learning to live better and be happier each day. And then make those lives around you better.
  • I found a pair of sunglasses I’ve been looking for.
  • Contemplating life is fun. Living it is much better.

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Get your java moving

I always like watching people in the mornings. Especially those on a mission to get and have their morning coffees.

The morning beverage in hand, but no spring in step till it’s internalized. Photo by Mike Hartley

Once in hand the recovery process begins. First erasing yesterday and beginning to awake the body from its limited rest. Or should I say waking the mind. I’ve witnessed many a friend speak a different language or just emanate grunts and groans from their beings till they have finished their first cup of joe.

Sunrise and coffee. Photo by Mike Hartley

So it’s less than an hour before sunrise. Get your beverage and get to your favorite spot, be it the sunlight coming through your kitchen window or on a bench at the beach or walking the boardwalk at your favorite beach.

For those of you finishing out the workweek, going out your front doors, hands full may I suggest STOPPING. Sit your bags down. Take a nice relaxed sip or two. Think of that time you went out the door in shorts and flip flops to get your morning coffee, watch the sun come up over the water and let that relaxed feeling wash over you.

Now be careful not to stand there more than 2-3 minutes soaking in some rays of the morning sun and that relaxed feeling. It’s too early in the morning to keep the mind from making a decision to turn around, take off the suit and head to the beach a day early.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My apologies for missing posting yesterday. I took a sick day from work and when I had a chance at that last few hours of the evening last night but wasn’t feeling that hot so I stayed horizontal. I’ll make up for it today.
  • Yesterday proved I need a better backup plan to keep my daily streak going.
  • Just because some people say its so, doesn’t mean its that way.
  • Always be willing to adjust your schedule. Life is a lot easier that way.
  • Always have plans, lots of them, so many that you try to squeeze 2 days into 1. But always be happy at the end of the day with what you have accomplished.
  • It is not possible to tell your family you love them too many times.

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Tough as nails

Somedays you just got to man up and get tough as nails. Be it an action, position, duty, or just need. All of us are called to be tough as nails sometime in our lives.

Somedays take a lot of courage. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Taking my time today. Tomorrow I’ll feel rushed again.
  • There are wants and then there are needs. Our balance towards the wants is way off balance. Help your fellow man if you have the ability.
  • I don’t know what I want to eat but I know I’m hungry. Prime time for a bad food decision.
  • There is something calling me today. I’ll let you know tomorrow if I respond.

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It’s good to try to do something. Even when there is time to do nothing. Or the inspiration doesn’t come. Or the body is in pain or the mind is troubled. Do something.


I love the pushbutton radio installed sideways in the console. Given the year if it’s original it’s probably AM only. And yes that is a hand crank for the window. Photo by Mike Hartley
All I need is the stick, clutch, gas, brake, and steering wheel. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Isn’t it strange how busy just happens to you each day?
  • Everyone has their limits. It’s good to know them before stumbling over them.
  • I thought I said I was tired of rain as I sat here and listened to the thunder and rain pounding on the side of the house.
  • Hats off to the person who invented the hammock.

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Pause and remember

So much heartache and tragedy on this day. So many acts of bravery and selflessness. So much pain and loss.

Wall of front pages of Newspapers on 9/11/2001 as displayed in the old Newseum. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of the things I will do in my first year of retirement is to take the train to NYC and the 9/11 Memorial. Visit the Pentagon Memorial and the spot in PA where Flight 93 went down.

September 11th is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 100 today. The only birthday I missed being with her was in 2001.

I believe this might be my last 9/11 working. It was one of the most significant days in my newspaper career. It was the reason I missed seeing my Mom that day. I worked in DC just a few blocks from the White House.

I remember coming down to the Publishing Support department (News IT back then) and watching just seconds after the first tower was hit and thinking how could this be an accident on such a sunny morning? Then Kurt and I watched the second plane hit. After pausing a few minutes to take in the scoop on what we just saw we both went to our respective areas and got to work. We knew it would tax the systems and people we worked with beyond anything we had seen.

I remember looking out the windows and seeing smoke over DC from the Pentagon hit. And then the exodus began, people running down the streets, cars packing streets, and then SILENCE. Just about everyone had booked out of town.

There was a Humve on the corner of 15th and L Streets with military guys with rifles. Other than that you could look any way from almost any corner and not counting the guys in camo, you couldn’t fill one hand with the number of people you would see. And this was lunchtime.

Our office though was like a beehive that had been poked with a stick a few times. I was in a unique position that day to see a lot of stuff firsthand because a couple of the things our area maintained were all the wire service photos and stories. We also maintained the editorial system and everything else that went into getting the paper to press and the news online.

I remember being at the photo server after seeing the first image of a person falling from the towers come through. More horrific images came through that day and night as time passed.

The call from my better half will always be remembered, pleading with me to get out of town and come home after the Pentagon strike and the rumors that there was another plane on the way.

Each year I watch documentaries on this date in history. And the aftermath effects on the people and nation. In some ways, it feels like reliving a lot of uncomfortable feelings that day. In other ways, it reminds me to remember and pray for those who were lost and continue to perish from working in the aftermath. Be it the serviceman or the people working at the tower’s site search and cleanup.

But I question if we still have the capability to pull together. Conspiracy theories are so prevalent in every event that I’m sure a significant part of the population would believe the Government was behind the tragedy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the togetherness, love, respect, and compassion for each other that we had 22 years ago today? Instead of being at war with each other? Hopefully, we can get there without another tragic event.

I worry that the event’s significance is being lost in our society with the passing of time. That we aren’t teaching or talking about that history with our children enough. I somehow feel the same thing about my parent’s generation of WW2 and Korea and how those stories from the people who experienced it are lost.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thinking of how special my Mother was today.
  • If you find an honest contractor, stop shopping for a cheaper deal.
  • Thinking about how to maximize the remaining hours of the day.
  • I see an opportunity and I think I might go for it.

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Red lines

It wasn’t a red-line day for me. More like an idle speed because of the preceding day’s work and the pending all-nighter, I have to pull for the job that pays the bills tonight. I also didn’t have it mentally today with a few things bothering me.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling it

I think I worked too hard outside yesterday picking up from those storms. I spent far more time than normal (about 9 hours) horizontal last night and I was still sore this morning. But there is still the need to make the best use of the day ahead.

I need to get on the ladder soon to correct a gutter issue. I’ll leave it out because tomorrow the estimate on the chimney repair is coming.

Food Thoughts

I love going to Shannon’s Saloon and Restaurant in Ellicott City. Every once in a while I see a booth we sat in with our parents having dinner many years ago. Last night I ran into an old co-worker from the Times Newspapers in the seats next to us.

But we go there for the food and service which are always great. I like the amount and variety of their specials and usually order from them. Some are so popular if you aren’t there early it may be gone.

It’s always been one of our favorites but for some reason last night kind of solidified it as one of my go-to spots. The Cuban Sandwich and Cream of Crab soup were great.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I live close enough to a rail line that I can hear the train whistle in the distance and the faint sound of the train itself in the mornings. I like that.
  • Say the important things to those closest to you.
  • I know we need it but I’m tired of rain.
  • I feel guilty for not snapping a few images today. I’ll have to pick up the camera on my break this evening.

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Calm after the storm

What a good morning after Mother Nature rattling the house all night. The thunder and lightning certainly made the top ten list. The winds were pretty strong also. So today will be spent inspecting the house and cleaning up the yard.

I took advantage of the early hour I was up and got out the door just before sunrise. This shot I captured on my way back after a short cruise.

With all the rain it might take a bit to burn off the morning mist. Photo by Mike Hartley

Despite the overcrowding this county has grown into I still love the view I had the day I moved here almost 4 decades ago. This is just up the street from me.