THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Best foot forward

I came up with that title for today’s post because I’m back to the foot doctor today. And that is where I put my injured foot forward. And what did he do? He gave me a shot in my foot. Hopefully, this will help me regain my stride.

Yes, it’s the left foot doc. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s good to put your best effort into whatever you choose to do. I haven’t always done that and I regret it but I try harder each day now.

Maryland has a new law on the books effective Oct 1st this year called the Move Over Law. This is a very good and common sense law. Now we get to see how many people don’t give a crap about it. And my guess is it’s going to be lots of people.

Hell, we can’t get people to turn on their lights in the rain and even in the dark. Of course, the measure to get people to move over for stopped vehicles, emergencies, or John Q Citizen will save lives and injuries. It’s an excellent idea. At one time in history, it was just common sense and I think taught in driver’s ed.

Come on Mother Nature. How bout a sunrise tomorrow? Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • OK, Mother Nature – Uncle. Please bring back some sunshine again.
  • You can never talk too much to your children. Well, that is from the parent’s perspective.
  • Had the pre-season tune-up on the furnace today. Bring it on winter. No no, just kidding. I don’t want to upset Mother Nature.
  • Food costs could send the country on a diet.

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Sounds of the day

Shouting out a very good day to all. Wishing the sky was blue but it is behind those clouds and rain.

Sorry I didn’t mean to use the big PA system this time of day. Photo by Mike Hartley

The roosters behind us started going off at about 6:50 am this morning. Loud enough to hear over the tv that is on in the other room with the house closed up. Then there was activity in the kitchen and the smell of cinnamon buns almost done.

I step outside to the sound of falling rain and a slight breeze through the leaves remaining on the trees. The rambling of some sports talking head on the tv in the background that I should turn off and listen to some music.

The sound of my better half’s voice. The shuffling of bills. The washing machine running. And the familiar “dinners ready” that puts a hop in my step as I sprint upstairs. Well, sprint is a relative term for seniors.

Tonight the sounds of popcorn will fill the midnight air.

I love popcorn. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • People leave professions because of a lack of respect and not being heard. So we have our teacher shortage.
  • Even rainy days when put to good use are fun.
  • Explaining what went wrong seems to take a lot longer than saying what went right.


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Finding it

Finding that object, texture, angle, expression, mood, or color. I love searching for it. It’s like being on a quest when I grab the camera. Sort of like a game of what can I see today.

Finding beauty in simplicity. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes things that seem to have no beauty echo times of history. A richness all its own but maybe obscured by its skin.

The old mill in Ellicott City.

Last article/illustration about the mill’s planned future use I could find in the Baltimore Biz Journal. If this is done that is a good sign for the town.

Admiring beauty. OH in the case of full disclosure. I didn’t see the grasshopper on the leaf next to the blooms till I was editing it. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day (evening edition)

  • Having visited Sanibel Island once it breaks my heart to see the destruction of what looked to be paradise. It’s just that nature likes to redefine paradise every so often.
  • I shouldn’t have taken time to watch some of the Yankee ball game today, but I did.
  • It gives one pause to watch the count of lives lost increase knowing more are to come. I will pause in memory of them tonight.
  • I wonder how I did this. I have the feeling of both a productive day and a restful one at the same time.

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A little rain must fall

I guess we have been a little dry in parts of the mid-Atlantic region. I was surprised at how low the water level was when I wandered Ellicott City midweek. So the soaking rains we are getting now are probably needed and not going to stress our area’s waterways.

The Patapsco was a bit low mid-week. I should go down later today or tomorrow and check it again. Photo by Mike Hartley
Shallow waters. Photo by Mike Hartley

Unfortunately, that is not the case in many areas of the country. So if you are able to, please help those in need at this time. It’s what we do. Red Cross Remember for every huge boat you see or coastal mansion washed away there are hundreds and thousands of people who don’t have those resources or insurance and have lost everything.

I’m feeling inspired today. And it’s a perfect day for it. No plans, it’s raining so yardwork is on hold. There are a few things inside that need attention and I’ll get to them but I’ll have some hours to tinker and play at my hobbies.

OK – props out to the colors of Maryland and paint job below. Next, the detailing job on this is fantastic and on such a huge beast it must have taken a day. Here is a link to their site – The Auto Barn if you need a heavy lift. And how he got down either St Paul Street or College Ave. is something I would have liked to see.

Interesting that this truck is pulling off Maryland Avenue onto Main Street just as I was walking by. Timing is everything. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I can feel it. The sense that college basketball will soon be returning. Go Terps
  • Suggestion to gamblers this weekend. Instead of placing bets make a donation to a total stranger who could really use your help.
  • I think before I start anything new I should clean up all the previous things and messes I’ve made.
  • I had to pause a minute this morning when I realized it was October 1st. Not because it was that date but the realization that September went by in a blink of an eye.

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Doing the best

What do we really do our best at? When do we devote ourselves to something totally in our lifetimes? And even when we commit ourselves to something how long did that effort last? Can we dedicate ourselves to multiple things simultaneously and still be our best?

Too much dedication to one thing may throw off the life balance. Then again how few of us can make that total devotion to something and excel at the highest level at? It’s something we all marvel at and a lot of us aspire to.

Maybe the better question is how we apply ourselves and what choices we make about our dedication and devotion to act while keeping a good life balance.

Which ladders we chose to take in life isn’t the issue. How well you do at that height and how happy you are is what matters.

Which path up? Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I really have to start writing down the day’s thoughts as they happen instead of trying to remember them at the end of the day.
  • As a youth, you’re too busy doing things to have the need to remember any of them. Whereas a senior you forget what you wanted to do before starting it.
  • I keep redefining tired.

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I’m sorry, I have to start celebrating today. My weekend has begun and I’m a happy camper. It was a great start to it with a beautiful day. I took a stroll through Old Ellicott City. Kissed my better half. Saw my best friends and laughed, I even have time left to exercise or create.

This is a hat you put on late at night out with drunk friends and wait for their call the next morning asking if you were wearing a lampshade on your head. Photo by Mike Hartley (don’t mind me, I have no fashion sense at all)

A friend told me “You will know when it’s time” which may be one of the most prophetic statements I’ve heard. And in some ways what we were talking about (retirement) and our shared history he was making a very accurate statement.

I didn’t hear that much when I was young. Now that I’m older I hear it a lot more. Knowing when it was “the time” in the younger years was difficult at best. When do I change jobs? When do I ask for her hand in marriage? When do we start a family? Do we go with the large sedan or the small SUV? Do we buy this house or that one?

Well, those decisions were made. Maybe it’s easier now because there are fewer decisions. Could be that why we spend so much time picking where we go out to eat?

No decision here. Bloom baby Bloom. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Funny how people who tailgate really dislike being tailgated.
  • How long of a workout is needed to work off an Italian Sub?
  • Some people make it hard to help. But that doesn’t always mean you should try less.
  • I wonder if I can generate enough positive waves to overcome the inclement weather ahead.

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What is there now

About a dozen years ago we went to Florida for a family vacation at Sanibel Island. Despite being under the weather we had a great time. Beautiful beaches littered with beautiful shells and sands. Lots of locally owned businesses and shops. And pretty friendly people.

Sanibel Island Fla. Photo by Mike Hartley

We were there over the 4th of July holiday and again the “small town” atmosphere was everywhere. Nature gives us some of the most beautiful sights imaginable. But Nature also can take them away in a blink of an eye.

I wish the people of Sanibel well and all areas affected in Florida by the hurricane.

Photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I had better get out tomorrow. Last day we might see the sun for a while.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • Hearing my children’s voices can make my day.
  • With chain saws and wood chippers running most of the day, I’m discovering a whole new level of tiredness.

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A Good Start

I decided to listen to an old tune I liked called “Lucky Man” by ELP. I’m feeling like a lucky man today. And then I turned on the live version of “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors and Jim ask the crowd “how you doing?” Then he says “looking good” followed by “everything is F’ed up as usual” and then busts into the song with a primal scream.

Kind of symbolizes my start to the day. I always feel like a lucky man when I wake especially when it’s a nice day outside and those important to me have our health. Then the reality of life hits you in the face and you greet your fellow man with a hello and compliment to begin the day with a “let it, roll baby roll.”

My home away from home. Photo by Mike Hartley

And then you blink and the day is behind you. Well, I have to change that up tomorrow. I think I’ll start my weekend early and treat it like a day off.

Best wishes

I’m sending best wishes out to our southern neighbors in Florida. and Georgia. We went to Tampa/St Pete once a long long time ago when my sister-in-law was working there. We have also visited Sanibel Island near Ft Myres and its beautiful white sand and shell-filled beaches if I remember right. May this storm pass by quickly or be of low strength and not punish the area.

I’m overdue for a Red Cross donation anyway.

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Oh Taxi

I have nothing today so I’m taking the Taxi to tomorrow.

I haven’t been to downtown Baltimore in some time. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It was Taco night but it wasn’t Tuesday? I’m going to be screwed up the rest of the week.
  • I’ve survived a lot of changes at the job over the decades. I wonder if I’ll survive the coming ones this year.
  • Youth helps you escape the effects of improper rest. Age punishes you for it.
  • Just trying to do more than I did yesterday.

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Hang on

All you have to do is hang on. It’s that simple. Find that spark that brings you back to life. Boy, that was easy to say. It’s much easier to do as I’ve gotten older. But I struggled for decades and got caught in bad cycles of anger and depression.

I’ve found a toolbox of things that help me. Little stuff like turning on some music. Maybe taking a cruise or doing some reading. Lots of other things ways. And I keep coming up with more because it’s not worth the time being anything other than happy.

I can’t remember pacing my basement in anger for almost two decades now about the job. Finally learning the lesson that anger is wasted time. Or there are better ways to deal with it by letting it go. For instance, I still get mad at idiot moves on the highway. The difference now is I’m not taking it personally unless you hit me doing something stupid.

Maybe I can squeeze in one more trip to the sand. Photo by Mike Hartley

Taking breaks throughout the year is important. Maybe after all those years of service that vacation benefit is coming to be more important every year. It’s one of the major reasons I don’t change jobs in the last few years. 5 weeks is decent in the US.

Just find those tools to help you put that smile on your face and pep in your step.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A baby’s smile made my day.
  • Some big changes are on the way professionally.
  • I ate well today and that is satisfying. I think I’ll help someone else eat well tomorrow.
  • Sometimes I shake my head at where technology and its use is going.

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Just starting

Rather late in the day to start a post but what the hell. I started one earlier today but it was this cheerier one and I’m not in that type of mood now. Not really satisfied with the day. I didn’t accomplish a lot of what I hoped for. At least my back feels better now after resting from work earlier.

One of Maryland’s amusement rides. Photo by Mike Hartley

Maybe I’ll set up the studio and practice on a few items I’ve been meaning to shoot. And while I’m doing that I’m going to crank out some prints from the beast I just powered up. I’ve got to say I’m very happy with that Cannon printer.

One sign you may work for a publisher. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Opportunities knock every day. Listen for the knock, answer the door, and greet it with a smile and acceptance. Then put your shoes on and run with it.
  • Almost the time of year we can go a few more days between cutting the yard.
  • I’m very thankful for my health today.
  • It’s not too late to work on your tan.
  • I was hoping for a new SNL tonight but I guess the season isn’t starting yet.

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We all have our own color choices. Patti F has chosen a unique Pink for her Viper below. Not my choice but I don’t have 6 digits to drop on the car and then thousands more to have it repainted. I don’t believe that is one of Dodge’s factory colors but I have been wrong before.

To each their own. Photo by Mike Hartley

Color is interesting. People read a lot about color choices. I had an encounter earlier this year over color. I was pulling out of Marriots Ridge High School parking lot after voting in the primaries. A van pulled up next to me on the way out and the guy leaned out the window and said “Nice Blue Car.” Well, I have a red Miata and I was wearing a red Coca-Cola hat.

I guess they immediately assumed I was voting red because of the colors. Well, they were wrong like many people who make assumptions. I didn’t even respond because arguing with idiots is a lost cause and I want to enjoy life.

But one color argument I won’t ignore is when it comes to a person’s skin. We have far too many racists in this world.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I didn’t accomplish all my goals this summer but there was really only one wish I really had. And that was for my son and daughter-in-law to have a healthy child and they did so it was one of the best summers of all time.
  • Did you ever have leg cramps so bad it still was hurting the next day?
  • Leaves falling from trees are a peaceful sight till you remember you have to pick them up.

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Down but not out

Like this guy, I was down but not out. Some medical tests took a nasty toll on me today. Much more so than the past ones. I was so sick today that I didn’t even think about what the results are going to be. I’ll start wondering about that tomorrow.

This youngster has a favorite place to sleep in my backyard. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow I’ll be getting an early start and hopefully feel a lot sprier than I do now.

Well, the end to my favorite season (summer) came this evening and depression is already starting to creep in. I noticed it a few weeks ago with it getting dark earlier and earlier. It’s not like I don’t like fall and spring, it’s just a little cool for me at times.

I’ll wait patiently for that week or two that we get a late summer blast in October and store away the memories of the season past for coal to get me through winter.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I had an excellent tech at Advanced Radiology today.
  • There is no doubt I’m going to be hungry tomorrow morning.
  • I should have gone to bed instead of this late-night blast but I’m glad to keep a streak going.
  • I missed seeing my best friends this evening and that hurts.
  • I go to bed knowing in 7 hours I’ll have a 3-year-old saying good morning Papa, get up and play with me. And that alarm clock is my favorite sound.

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What do you think of when you hear the word Juicy? I could list a few hundred items that pop to mind for the word Juicy. A nice JUICY STEAK is something I could sink my teeth into pretty soon.

It’s time for a steak. Photo by Mike Hartley

There is a new steakhouse in town (All American Steakhouse) that I have heard some good things about. But I see it’s a chain also. Eating out is so expensive. Then again even buying it at the meat market and cooking it yourself is expensive. I need to eat less anyway so I’m thinking about doing more small plate stuff or maybe sharing an entree with my better half. Maybe getting the regular instead of large sub.

Nah, maybe after I get a nice steak sometime this coming week. I feel the need to treat myself. Then I’ll cut back.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A warm shower is never taken for granted by me. Having the health, having the water, having the energy to heat it, and a house to have it in.
  • A shower is invigorating.
  • A shower feels good in both physical and mental ways.
  • The best shower I ever had, was one days after my first big surgery.
  • I like those waterfall showers but I don’t have one.
  • A shower after a day on the beach feels so good. It also tells you where you got too much sun.
  • Normally I’m a morning shower person. But I can wait until the end of the day at times as I’ve gotten older.
  • Bonus days are when you need multiple showers. It’s the reward for working hard.
  • I don’t use the fan, I like a steamy shower. The kind when you open the shower door when you’re done that you can’t see anything outside it. Not even your towel.

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I haven’t forgotten how to play. I just haven’t made time for it. I started reading a post from Exploring Newness and the first line “I had a blast playing with filters on this photo” really hit me. I’m scraping a few minutes together daily to take a few frames, maybe a basic edit and a few words.

I’d flip if I had some time to play. Photo by Mike Hartley

When I started out blogging it felt more like playing. I’ve gotten away from that and some fun it initially gave me because I’ve forgotten to just play around with it. To stop taking it too seriously. Time to just experiment and throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

It looks like I’ll have to start that mindset tomorrow because again I’m out of time.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Not everyone can work alone effectively.
  • If you want to see how fast time goes by, get a daily calendar.
  • I think I saw a picture of myself that is going to motivate me to lose some weight.
  • When you live close to the woods it’s a fine line between being one with nature outside and having nature uninvited guest pop in.

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A sense

I feel a sense of urgency. Lots to do’s on the list and a finite amount of time to accomplish them. I guess that sense of urgency is the return to the normal time crunch of activities that I don’t feel when I’m on vacation.

Adding that full-time plus job back into the schedule really condenses the week. I’m back in the driver’s seat again at work which isn’t as comfortable as the ones below. Going to be a busy end of the month with my partner on vacation for some time.

Some cruise in luxury. I doubt I could afford one of the headrests. Photo by Mike Hartley

But I’ll adapt as usual and get on with life around it. And hopefully with some changes that allow for some more rest and time creating.

There is another sense of urgency I’m feeling and that is to accomplish some huge goals before I’m not able to. And that is the urgency of life. I hope I have many years to work on those goals but nothing is promised so I’ve got to hustle. And hustle I will.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I like a clean car. I like it even better when I clean it myself. Washing a car is like cutting grass, it’s therapeutic.
  • If stuff would stop breaking I’d be a lot less stressed.
  • If doctors would reverse the amount of time the patient spends in scheduling, paperwork, insurance, and billing vs the time the doctors spend actually in our presence, we might be a lot healthier.
  • I see a neighbor taking down his old deck today. Actually, I heard it first while I was trying to sleep this morning.

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It felt like everyone was outside yesterday. And why not, it was just beautiful. I was out and about myself adding to the traffic. I watched a few videos of Bike Week in Ocean City, which appears to be a large and successful event. Unfortunately, I read in (Delmarvanow) of two deaths there on Wednesday and Thursday.

I can say that riding a bike for a few decades is in the top 3 of the most dangerous things I’ve done. It was also one of the most incredibly joyous things at the same time. Good thing I didn’t have a bike this beautiful or I’d still be in the saddle.

Something this special should have been at Bike Week. Photo by Mike Hartley

It looks like a strong lineup of bands and it looked like a bigger stage from the vids I saw. Last night looks to be the final night, so things are probably winding down this late in the morning. But on the heels of what is probably the best weather they have had for the event everyone is probably headed home today so be careful and share the road, please.

I’m on my last few hours of vacation before returning to work tonight. Wow, that hurts. Well, at least till the next break. It’s been a pretty good week. One of my 2 beach days last weekend was a complete monsoon but I managed several long walks on the beach. I’ve managed to complete a few home projects and had some time with my granddaughter.

I spent time with my better half and we ate well a few nights. But I guess if I were to rate the most successful part it would have to be getting some normal sleep. At least 6 hours and a few 7s and 8s. And I feel much better from it. Just the fact it was at the same time each night is a big plus instead of flipping back and forth between night and days during each week a few times.

Sleep is one of the major casualties of this job. And I’m pretty tired of it, no pun intended. I just have to tough it out for another year or two.

Random Thoughts of the Day (morning edition)

  • Early morning random thoughts are really random.
  • I’ve done better this week at reducing time in front of the TV and it feels good.
  • I don’t know what I’m more apprehensive about. Just returning to work from a week of vacation or a new boss also starting this week.
  • It feels good to still be a handyman around the house. For some things at least.

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I’m glad I made it to the Coffee and Cars this morning sponsored by Mikey and Mel’s Famous Deli I believe. I like going down here because it’s close and it’s usually a fairly good show. And the only one that I know of in Howard County. Please enlighten me if I’m missing out.

An old Belair. Photo by Mike Hartley

It looked like a good turnout of both cars and spectators. My award goes to the gentleman who owned the green late 60s Camaro. As people would come up and if they had young children he would offer to let them sit behind the wheel. I didn’t get a shot of his car other than his hood.

Hat’s off to the owner of this car sharing it with the youth of tomorrow. Photo by Mike Hartley

There is something for everyone there and I’ll try to share a few more photos at the bottom of the coming posts this weekend. My granddaughter is here, a favor for a friend is needed and chores will take most of the remainder of the day.

Blue Bell of the Ball. Photo by Mike Hartley

I like car people. They are a nice friendly lot. Like most bikers are. I should have spent some more time there but there will be more shows. It’s got me thinking about the show in Ocean City in early October.

Just a little more color for the show. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • No matter how upset my granddaughter may be in when she has to leave, I can always cheer her up and get a smile by running alongside the car for a few seconds pretending I’m going to beat them home as they leave.
  • There is always something more you can do.
  • Any morning that starts out with a clogged drain is not a good morning but working to turn it around. With the help of “liquid plumber” and a car show.

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A medical marijuana store is Contrasted with what I would guess is a 1940s-era Packard pictured below. I have Contrasting thoughts about not wanting to return to work but needing to return to work. I really dislike CT scans with Contrast.

Photo by Mike Hartley

It will be a cold day in the middle of winter and I’ll think of today for the Contrast. My right foot feels great in Contrast with my left one which is in pain.

In Contrast to some well-laid plans to lose some weight this summer, I have not accomplished this goal. When haircut time rolls around I always have Contrasting thoughts on getting it cut. In Contrast with some people’s views, I think Life is Good.

My better half and I are full of Contrast and we are proof love concurs all.

(more) Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Those expected to smile the least have the most genuine smiles.
  • I don’t need a stinking gym membership. I have grandchildren.
  • I noticed the sun setting earlier and I feel that depression setting in.
  • You think you have plans. But life has its own for you.

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Peace interrupted

Why can’t we go anywhere without our smartphones? Don’t get me wrong, I’m big on good communications. I like responding to people promptly. But there are times I just turn it off or leave it behind at home or in the car (hidden of course).

For instance when I’m on vacation like this week. I’ve left it at home, in my photo bag, and in the car a good number of times. It’s not on the same floor as I am at home a lot. Why, because I’m on VACATION and I don’t need the same level of communication or information when I’m relaxing.

I have never taken my phone on the sands of a beach. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think we have lost our balance with these devices. Go to a sporting event and watch how many people’s faces are on these phones during the real action. Or even more frustrating when there is a time-out and everyone pulls out their phone instead of talking about that game they should be watching.

We are losing a lot of real human interaction. So many emotions or feelings are lost. Text and emails can’t pick up people’s signals. The meaning you pick up in someone’s eyes. Or by their body language. Maybe the tone change in their voice. Or maybe that all-important handshake or hug at the end of the conversation.

Add Smartphone and you got human statues. Photo by Mike Hartley

I am by no means saying these devices aren’t useful. They are but balance them out with real life. Most of it isn’t on that small screen.


Comparing insurance is a pain in the behind but worth the money because they will gouge you if you allow it. And I’ve unfortunately allowed it so it’s time for a change after many decades with my current provider. I’ll let you know who I migrated to when we are done and some details about why I’m changing.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m not sure which takes longer. Scheduling the appointment at doctors or the wait to be seen.
  • Painting is the easy part, it’s the prep that takes work.
  • Anything larger than a 6-foot ladder makes me uncomfortable.
  • Going to a car show this weekend. It might have to take the place of the one at the ocean in October.

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Ready Set – Smile

That title refers to my semi-annual cleaning at the dentist which was today. I’m wondering how many more visits I’ll be paying to him on Main Street. We are close in age and I know he has thought about retirement.

Looking up Main Street under the RR bridge. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love that he never moved the office from Ellicott City. His hygienist who does the cleaning has the best touch and I’ll probably follow her when he does retire. I usually take a walk before or after the appointment because this town will always have a special meaning to me.

It was my first job in Newspapers, my future wife’s hometown. Also where I opened my first business. I’ve watched it rebuild after several floods and fires. I’ve seen the changes for 6 decades. And I’ll return this weekend on Saturday for the Main Street Music Festival.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The words “no cavities and you’re good to go” are music to my ears.
  • The tests you encounter later in life will dwarf anything you did earlier.
  • I wish the painful days weren’t the easiest to remember.
  • Used to be a Brett Farve fan but I can no longer say that given his actions.
  • I guess the NFL thinks everyone has Amazon Prime. JB gets me again. No problem, I watch too many sports already.

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Ready to ride

I love a day when there is a little flexibility in it for some of my hobbies. I won’t be surfing today but I will be cruising a bit in the convertible and hopefully catching some new images in the home county.

I might have to add surfing to my bucket list. Photo by Mike Hartley

But first a cruise on my mower for a few hours and some other chores before we can start the real fun.

When you’re on vacation is it weird to fantasize about your next vacation? Not that I waste much time in thought about it but it does cross my mind. Actually, I’m thinking about next summer’s family vacation. It’s time to try a new and larger place, as the family has expanded.

I love the time off from the job that pays the bills, I’m not exhausted, I’m relaxed, I feel creative, and have time to work on some of my interests. Time to call and see friends. Or maybe a nap if I choose.

And one of the things I can’t do when working much is grilling out, feast like a king, lay back, and enjoy the meal. I can do it but enjoying it isn’t as easy when you have to start work after dinner. So it’s a fire up the grill day today being there is no work tonight.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I can’t believe the number of leaves that are down already. Seemed like a fairly dry August here.
  • Music is the prescription for my smile today.
  • I feel part of my life has been spent playing pack mule.
  • I’m surprised nobody has tried to patent the sound a fresh Coke bottle makes when it’s opened.
  • The Beatles were right “All you need is Love”

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Communication breakdown

Looks like Mother Nature didn’t get the word “Keep Off the Dunes.” From Bethany Beachless Deleware. There is some beach left but it looks like another big job in the winter is in store, restoring it. Personally, I think they should have said “Please Keep Off the Dunes.”

I’ll be back next year to support them.

Photos by Mike Hartley

No, I didn’t touch any of these signs which were on the dunes all in front of the boardwalk there.

Random Thoughts of the Day (Volume 2)

  • That mole out back is trying to cause an ankle injury.
  • The weather was wonderful this afternoon. If I could get a couple of repeats I’d be grateful.
  • The clock is ticking, otherwise, it would be stopped.
  • Tonight I print till I run out of ink. Because I know I have more than enough paper.

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Why not and what the hell

Why not make some changes? Being on vacation is always a good time to start them. Keeping them up when the workweek returns is a challenge but who doesn’t like challenges?

Take a seat, any seat. Photo by Mike Hartley

Exercise is a good one and I’ll start with that today. I’ll get most of that in the form of chores and yard work. But a few minutes here and there with the dumbbells and I’ll see if the foot can take a long walk.

What the hell?

I figured the day was coming given all the paranoia and rage out there, but it was still a shock when it happened. Being an amateur photographer using a conventional camera I’m taking pictures when I’m out and about. And especially photographic places like a small scenic sea town in Deleware which we were staying at.

My better half has been looking at different sun sculptures that people put on their houses, sheds, barns, and fences. So I’m walking up the street from the beach, about 5 homes from where I’m staying and I see one on a shed and snap a picture. Well, this guy comes running out his front door yelling who are you and what was I doing and taking pictures of? This is my house and that is my brother’s house next door, what are you doing? He comes right up to me with that attitude.

I’m on vacation and in a mellow mood it’s only around 8:30 am and I just finished walking a few miles on the beach photographing, so my normal inclination to square off and if he took one more step toward me to drop him, didn’t immediately kick in.

I said I’m an amateur photographer and I was taking a picture of that sun on the shed in that back yard. I said my wife likes those suns and I can tell you where every one of them is in this town because I’ve stayed here for decades. I said your free to look at the photo if you don’t believe me. Now keep in mind, that I’m in the middle of the street, nowhere near the gravel area where people park in front of the homes on my way back home when I shot this picture. I maybe stopped walking for 5 seconds.

So after that, his tone changed and he started to give me the history of the area because he had been there a few decades. And I think he knew he was being a paranoid jerk or at least in the way he approached it.

Now for any of you future wanna-be paranoid a-holes who want to do this, please keep in mind, that I’m not always in a good mood. I could have said who I am is none of your f’ing business and kiss my ass and call the cops if you’re that worried, I’m 5 doors up the street.

Or I could have just said take one step closer and one or both of us are going to the hospital or worse. I may be old but not so old that I won’t FUBAR someone who comes up on me like that. People need to think.

If I wanted to photograph something for some nefarious reason I probably wouldn’t be using a conventional camera standing in the middle of the street. Hell, I could walk or drive up and down that street taking thousands of photos of his place with a cell phone and he wouldn’t even be able to tell. And I wasn’t photographing a home, it was a F’ING SHED.

I have no problem with people questioning what I’m doing in a friendly way. I have no problem giving calm, legitimate, honest answers. But if you want to bum rush me with a threatening tone, thinking you’re some kind of higher authority and want to intimidate me, keep in mind there could be a different outcome.

Looks like great weather for Bike Week in Ocean City Maryland. If you are into loud pipes, chrome, and leather this is the place for you this weekend. I did enjoy riding for a few decades of my life but those days have passed.

Please note the trailer and bike plates (HOG TYDD and WEHOGN. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride safe all. No, the above bike isn’t mine. Would have been nice to have though.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m going to try not to turn on the TV all day.
  • One of these years I’m going to best my son at football picks. I’m not off to a good start this year.
  • The more I have to charge my camera batteries the more charged up I am about life.
  • It’s easy to smile when I open my work shed. Closing it at the end of the day, not so much sometimes.

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Missing the sound

I love the sound of waves hitting the shore. The last two mornings I’ve walked the beach and listened to them pounding away at what men try to preserve. I’ve soaked up the rhythms and tides. As well as some sand between the toes.

A cloudy and hazy morning at the beach. Photo by Mike Hartley

I did a fair amount of walking and it was great but with a foot issue, it’s rather painful tonight and affecting my spirits. But tomorrow morning will be different because I’m home and the sand and waves are far away again.

On the other hand, I still have a few days of vacation left to explore and get some more frames captured. So I’ll worry about swimming uphill next week and enjoying the good weather on tap.

If you are going to stand up on waves it’s better to do it with them at your back. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I could spend several lifetimes watching nature.
  • Though people-watching is also a ton of fun.
  • There are only 24 hours to take your daily meds.
  • There is nothing like your home bed and pillow.

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Stats, weather maps, computer models, and long-range forecasts. Sorry, don’t need it to tell me it’s cloudy with a high chance of yuck. That is just fine because I’m one happy camper this morning.

A good day regardless of rain. Photo by Mike Hartley

It feels good to pick up the camera but I’m rusty and have a lot more to learn. So practice practice practice is on the agenda for this week. Looks like low light and poor weather conditions for a few days, but that also presents new opportunities.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Discovering a broken showerhead first thing in the morning is rude.
  • The modern version of the Coliseum starts today in earnest with the NFL’s full slate of games.
  • Breakfast wins my best meal of the day. But that could be because it’s morning and I’m hungry.
  • I’d like to wear my hair long but it’s just so damn comfortable short.
  • Make this a smile day. Or at least give it a shot.

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Keep your head up

Seems like we are swimming against the tide some days. This morning certainly felt like it but I think I found my stroke. And that stroke is the backstroke. Going to let troubles roll off my back this week. Going to lie on my back and look at the sun during the day and the stars at night.

I have the determination of this dog this week. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow is a day to never forget. But I fear as a few decades have passed that people are forgetting what happened on 9/11/2001. Just like December 7th is a day that is fading from people’s active memory because there are so few who actually still were alive. I don’t feel we are doing our best job with history.

Maybe less time on reality shows and more time on the history channel.

Tomorrow is also a special day for remembering a very special family member.

But today is about doing a refresh for the brain. Turning off work, chores, and personal obligations, and refocusing on a few of my interests.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Life can feel like an obstacle course some days.
  • The sun is out this morning so I’m going with that attitude.
  • It’s too late in my life to dress for success.
  • I don’t use red for the bars to separate subjects for any other reason than I like red.
  • Take a few minutes to focus on respect for many lives that were taken tomorrow before spending the day focused on football and wins and losses.

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What a beautiful day. One full of fun and laughter. It’s impossible not to be happy when you have a chatty 3-year-old ruling the house. Of course, we are both beat, when the day is over.

I think one of you forgot something important. See the board back in the surf. Photo by Mike Hartley

I hear there is some strong surf but dangerous rip currents out there on the Atlantic beaches. That’s mother nature for you. Not that you will find me out in rough surf anymore. And being 150 miles from the beach also makes it difficult to do right now.

Missing you

I’ve been missing some people very much lately. Especially my parents. My mother’s birthday is this weekend and she would have been 99. I don’t know why I’m so emotional lately about that. Maybe just an accumulation of things.

I think I’ll work on teaching my grandchildren some of the strengths she gave us.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wish my children could listen to the music I love and have the same feeling I get from it. But like they say, “You had to be there.”
  • The time between my head hitting the pillow and being asleep is about as short as it can be tonight.
  • Weekends are the best, until retirement.

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Oh my my

I am starting the day off right, with a live version of Tom Petty’s “Mary Janes Last Dance” and what a wonderful day it is. Well except for the doctor’s appointment.

Well, I don’t know but I’ve been told
You never slow down, you never grow old
I’m tired of screwing up, tired of goin’ down
Tired of myself, tired of this town

Tom Petty
The smoothness of fine sand, the softness of a feather. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Queen has passed. Gives me pause because when I look at pictures and videos of her she reminds me of my own mom and mother-in-law in their last years. Smart, thoughtful, dedicated, strong, and compassionate women. A strong faith in humanity inspired others.

Condolences to all the people she touched in the world.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Funny how some songs can just get the fingers flying on the keyboard.
  • I need a battle plan for resisting ice cream.
  • Pro football starting tonight. Just a reminder if you’re going to bet, make them friendly wagers. Not ones that cost you, friends.
  • The tough days are the ones between seeing my children and grandchildren.
  • It was good to see the Foo Fighters return to the stage.

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I’m finding something very special about each day now. I always have, but maybe I’m just taking a few minutes to appreciate it now.

Annapolis, on a brighter day than today. Photo by Mike Hartley

We are going exploring in my attic this week. Who knows what special gems I’ll find in there? I know I’m pulling out a few things from when the kids were you so the grandchildren can use them.

I’m having trouble getting to that comfortable sweet spot both physically and mentally today. I think as I age overcoming and adapting to changes in both areas is going to be tough. I’d like to think I can move and have the same strength I used to at one time. Reality is different. I guess it’s like that Judas Priest song says “You Got Another Thing Comin.”

Last throwback photo this week – or at least till the next car show I go to.

A Beach Boys favorite. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There are few more gratifying photos than one of your son with his infant son laying on his legs in front of him. Thanks for the photo, Jamie.
  • Beatles’ music still sounds good and will for many lifetimes. One I was listing to this evening (Something)
  • I may have yawned more this week than I can remember.
  • More big changes at the job. Looks like the last year or two will be exciting.

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A peach of a day

Despite the lack of a good rest, we are powering through the day with abandon. I wish I knew what was sapping my energy. We will make do with what we have and move on. That rain moved on also and that is a good thing because we didn’t need anymore.

White walls and chrome. Photo by Mike Hartley

Spent part of my day wondering about my granddaughter who took a fall and had some scrapes over the weekend. My few minutes of free time today were spent organizing. I know, boring but it has to be done once in a while.

Smile and shine. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m behind on organizing a lot of things. And I feel I need to get them in order now. And this blog is one of them but that is a little bit off in the future. This workspace isn’t as cluttered as my physical ones.

So here is hoping tomorrow I can get a gem of a post together.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I like hearing the sound of a train whistle in the distance. Especially at night.
  • This year’s Orioles team is fun to watch.
  • If they gave away awards for being tired I’d be on that medal platform.
  • The more of my desk that I can see the better I feel.
  • Some people’s smiles can carry you through life on a flying carpet.

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Short window

A short window to try to be creative today with work taking most of my waking hours. I guess it’s fitting it’s Labor Day and I be laboring. No not this, the job that pays the bills, kind of laboring. But hoping to make the best of the few free hours.

Classic Hood. Photo by Mike Hartley

I wished I felt better to do more shooting earlier but just wasn’t in the cards today. But I’ll do my best this evening. I did get the cameras set up and some items to try to shoot. I found a few artifacts of history to shoot and I’ll share them in a later post. Just like this historical vehicle.

You have been Grilled. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was slack on learning this summer. But I’m back on track, reading and executing. Going to focus on my photography skills and try to unlock some more creative ideas. Picking up the cameras every day would help.

I’m really hoping this is going to be a good month. I’ve got one more hurdle later this week to clear and hopefully it will be smooth sailing to October.

Well, that short window got even shorter than I thought. Adapting and moving on.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love it when I have a good idea.
  • Water has always been one of our most valuable commodities. We just took it for granted for too long.
  • I liked watching a few minutes of the Yankee victory today.
  • I hope I can stay awake all night with the rain pounding on the windows. Usually, that is a pretty good sleep instigator.
  • I’m interested in Fleet Week in Baltimore this coming weekend. But will I take the chance?
  • Did you ever have one of those days you don’t feel like shaving? I had one about 50 years ago and I kept going with it.
  • Sometimes you look back at things and are glad you made the choices you did. And as I look back on not joining Twitter or Instagram and others, I’m glad I didn’t.

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An early end

My weekend is over and it’s back to the job that pays the bills. No holiday. Sometimes I sit back and chuckle at the thought of how many people will apply for this position when I leave it. Oh, it’s a good company, and challenging work. It’s the schedule that sucks. Weekends, holidays, and nights.

Each week I suck it up and know that I’m closer to the days I no longer have to do this. So that keeps me going along with a number of other incentives. I guess I’m just jealous that most people I know are off. And jealousy isn’t a good thing so let me find something else to focus on.

I see you. Photo by Mike Hartley

I didn’t get out to do much shooting today at all. Spent it sanding a door frame. One time I took a pause and looked at the pool fence behind me and saw the wood pattern above looking at me. So I had to grab the camera and get at least one fresh shot today. I have no idea what is growing out of the wood knots but that along with the wood grain does make interesting eyes and nose.

I’m looking forward to Monday even though there is some rain in the forecast. I will get out and shoot something new besides a fence post. That is unless I find another interesting face on another board.

Random Thoughts of the Day (evening edition)

  • Working with younger people keeps you learning.
  • We are going to test the back and see if we can split some wood this week. I have alerted the medicine cabinet to be on alert.
  • If it does rain tomorrow it will give me the time to catch up on a lot of printing I need to do.

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Ice is nice

I’m sorry, “ice is nice” just seemed like the thing to leed with today. Being the relief that a bag of ice on top and bottom of my foot felt. Just following the doctor’s orders and if this doesn’t work a steroid shot. I don’t imagine that shot would be comfortable so I’ll freeze this foot off to avoid that one.

I’m waiting for sunrise when I started this post. I wish I was on the beach when I shot this one a while back but I’ll take a sunrise anywhere. It’s an inspirational thing to me. Even when it’s the end of my day and I’m going to bed after it.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I hope to see another beach sunrise or two before the year’s end. The different colors it generates in the sky and on the water and sand seem endless.

But till then I’ll do some local shooting this day if I can get my left leg working.

To the surprise of (NOBODY), lots of kids are way behind at school from the past few years of remote or no learning. And probably at every grade level. So why don’t we make some changes now that could try to recover some of the kids? At least discuss the ideas that could help make up for lost time.

I heard one suggestion of a longer school year and maybe summer school, but with teachers in short supply and already increased class sizes now stressing that resources, how likely is that? Plus a lot of them think about leaving the profession as it is. And then you’re going to make them work year-round or longer days. Not without a lot of renegotiating and that takes time.

Here is a novel suggestion. How about parents and teachers and communities and businesses pulling together to do their best at a problem that went on for a few years and will take at least a few years to correct? I’m worried that parents are just going to point fingers at the education system and teachers and administrators immediately because either they will probably have to fail a huge percentage of kids and we all know how that will fly. (Honesty is always a bitter pill to swallow)

Or maybe look at early detection of students and the levels they are at and put them in the right classes from the start. Leaving someone in class levels above them seems counterintuitive to me. But I know that is a very bitter pill for parents also to choke down. But who’s good and interest are we serving here? The kids or the parents? Obviously with a new school year starting either lots of kids will pass which will be a disservice to them and create a firestorm down the road or a firestorm now when they are held back.

One thing that comes to mind is if teachers could get parents to be active secondary teachers. To help catch up and reinforce lessons covered during the days. To have them actively involved in what their kids are being taught. Yeah, I know this has the chance of a snowball rolling through hell but if I were still a parent of a school-aged child you can bet your ass I’d be more involved in getting them on level or above again. Well, at least my better half would be. I’d pitch in. But it would be done.

I’m just spitballing here, I’m no educator. But I know we all know this is a major issue for kids that have been (not been) in school. Maybe it’s time companies give the parents a break and let them use more of their summers to educate. Maybe teaching colleges can be enlisted for more actual working internships to help kids at different levels in the same class? It’s hard enough to teach a large group of students on the same level. It’s almost an impossible task to expect success from teachers with students 1-2 grade levels behind the current grade.

Maybe instead of video games, we focus on education for a while. I do know no amount of bitching or finger pointing or protest or name calling is going to solve it or make it better.

If I were a parent and I had a child that had kept up I’d be worried they might not be moving along as fast because so many others have to catch up. So you are probably smart so keep them ahead yourself. Know what the material is and even ask them for more just for you. Be a partner with educators for a few years.

Thankfully there are a gazillion people smarter than me that are hopefully thinking about solutions and ways to implement them. But we all know how the wheels turn slowly, so each of us needs to do our part now while waiting for the machinery to catch up.

Random Thoughts of the Day (morning edition)

  • If I pretend I’m going to have company each day I tend to clean up more and get rid of old crap.
  • I need to work with my hands today so I think I’ll do some carving. That will be in between sanding down the back door frame. (Note: I got most back door done between the start and end of this post.)
  • I wish I had time yesterday to take some pictures of the family when we were all together. But family cookouts are a busy time for me.
  • If you ain’t learning you ain’t living.

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Maybe next week

Just hasn’t been the week I had hoped for so far. Disappointed in a lot of things. But such is life. I’ll move on to something that works for me because life is short.

Summer days are also short so I’ll be spending some time outside. Come to think of it I’ll be spending lots of time outside in September with some vacation days sprinkled in.

Nature is always good for a smile. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was going to wish everyone a good holiday but I think I’ll just wish it to my fellow working stiffs on the Labor Day weekend. I am so done with working holidays. I’m in my mid-60s and still doing this crap. I should have my head examined. So to my fellow workers slaving away on Sunday and Monday, I salute you.

I just have to keep my eye on the prize and that is a few days off this month. I cherish this time away from the job. Maybe the time off feels so good I just want to hop to retirement. And that has made it hard to go back a few times this year. I’m guessing that will probably be the case till I actually retire.

And then there is the apprehension of a new manager starting this month. In the last several years I’ve had a couple of very hands-off managers who worked a completely opposite shift from us. We have worked so long unsupervised that it will take some time to get used to someone who will be more involved. Then again I have an inkling that they brought him in to make some changes.

And being this mid-60s guy kind of stands out with the 20 and 30-year-olds that now populate our engineering team I’m suspect of their intentions, mainly because we haven’t been part of the conversation which in some cases is another sign.

I missed the boat on all those big buyouts they did with printers in the past couple of decades. And I doubt our new owner will be changing his stripes and bringing them back. So I guess it’s a wait-and-see what their plans are. I’m doing my best to end things on a positive note. But I’m not in charge of the orchestra.

Today I grill. And I hear it’s going to be a warm one so I should see where I can set the grill for some shade at least. I love cooking out. Just simple burgers and dogs today but I think I’ll do some smoking on Monday like a brisket or some ribs.

Cooking is something I’d like to get into more when time allows. It’s a lot of fun and it’s time I pulled even or ahead of my two best friends who are very good cooks.

Well, it’s almost time for Clarks Ace Hardware to open, and it’s time for a new grill grate so off I go. Have a great Saturday.

Random Thoughts of the Day (morning edition)

  • I think I’m going to try to do 2 posts a day just to get myself photographing and writing more.
  • I would have not guessed a pinched nerve in my foot but I’m glad it’s that and not a broken bone.
  • You are never alone if you’re happy with yourself. At least you can have a positive conversation.

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Late night snacks

What to snack on this morning? I saw some grocery bags come into the house and carried a few myself. But I know from decades of experience to stay out of the way while she puts things away. I take the drinks to the basement and a few items to the basement freezer.

I think a pizza is a fine idea at 3 am. Photo by Mike Hartley

I know you might be thinking eating late at night or early morning hours is just wrong. Well, those are hours I’m up a lot so it’s fuel, just like when people rise after sunrise and want breakfast. My life isn’t defined by traditional meal times. I’m all over the place.

Today is my meditation session. Usually, it’s weekly but given the dry weather, it’s been at least 2 weeks. Now you are thinking what does the weather have to do with meditation? My meditation is spent on the mower. That quiet (noisy) hum of the motor and blades. The sun hitting my body, a comfortable seated position, and relaxed posture. The smell of nature is all around me, with no cell phones or computers.

My mind is free to focus on where I’m going and what I’m doing in life (the mower seems to drive itself). Changes I need to make, things I need to give more attention to. It’s the time that allows me to look at life from a different perspective. To get to the root of happiness. So while some may look at lawn mowing as a nasty chore or something they should pay someone else to do so they can get more work from the office done are missing out.

Random Thoughts of the Day (morning edition)

  • Yesterday I listened to my body and it said it was tired, so I let it rest.
  • Don’t keep your pictures in boxes. Set them free to your walls and tables.
  • Oh crap, I forgot to change my wall calendar yesterday. Looks like August was 32 days long this year.
  • Every once in a while I forget. Trouble is, every once in a while seems to be rolling around more often.
  • If you like seeing the sun rise and set you have the right focus.

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I’m almost done the week working for someone else. In some ways, I’ve been done working for someone else for a few years now. That doesn’t mean I don’t give an honest day’s work and then some. It just means things have changed a lot and I look at it much differently.

Also built by Mother Nature. Can you imagine how pissed off those hornets were when a train would cross over? Photo by Mike Hartley

Work used to be a lot of fun. It was done with many talented friends. We shared many challenges and laughs. I’m glad to say I have still kept in contact with a great number of co-workers over the years and decades.

I guess I’m looking forward to not being so tired and under the gun when I’m trying to do my own work. Also, the full-time hours at night take their toll much harder than when I was younger. It’s much harder to flip back and forth.

I wonder if some of my health-related issues are connected. It’s a little too late to do anything about it now anyway so time to move on to another thought.

Those cool temps last night made me think of fall and winter approaching. And I almost forgot we are still in summer and I’m going to hold on to every last thread of it.

Trying to beat the heat. Photo by Mike Hartley

I almost forgot how lucky I am. Good thing there are a few good brain cells working to remember that one.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I can hear my grill screaming at me to get it cleaned up before the company gets here this weekend.
  • I have to work on powering through some things better.
  • An early morning ride is in order to celebrate the end of the workweek.
  • I’m going to try to spend as much time outside the next three days as I can.

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Lifetime of voices

I must resist. Sometimes fewer words are best.

I’ll continue to try to pass. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Hammocks are good for the mind as well as the body.
  • Granted yet another reprieve from strong storms.
  • What seemed insignificant yesterday was front and center today.
  • I’m not doing my best today but at least I’m doing something.
  • Why does a good night’s sleep seem so elusive?

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Riding high

This August has been an exceptional month. One with family, friends fun, and celebration. This past weekend was an event initially scheduled two years ago but because of covid, it got postponed twice. I had gotten tickets as a gift for my better half for one of her favorite artists.

And that event was the Rod Stewart concert at Merriwether Post Pavillon. It’s also the first time I used an iPhone as a camera for something I’ve posted here I believe. I’ll probably use one more in the future when I get my own.

But before I move on, that was a great show and very good musicians and vocalists. It was the first time I’ve been to Merriwether also since they renovated it and from what I saw in this limited first visit was wonderful. I know a lot of people complain about ticket prices and they are high but I felt we really got our money’s worth plus, in enjoyment. It makes me happy to see my wife so happy.

I like a few of his songs (not the disco era) and especially the old stuff with Faces. I was surprised his voice is so good at 77. And his band and show were first-rate. It’s kind of inspired me to maybe check out some more shows.

Yesterday was a day with my two best friends. One of fun, laughs, and relaxation. Great food and great views. One of the things I’ve been told when I visit is this experimental aircraft that flies by his shoreline on the weekends.

Well, I had my camera on when 5 O’clock Charlie (for those of you old enough to get the MASH reference) came by so I captured a frame or two.

No TSA Lines, no air traffic control. Photo by Mike Hartley
Looking for a place to land is pretty easy, just look over the side. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Getting pictures of grandchildren always improves my day.
  • I kind of felt lazy today. Then again I worked 11 hours, did some home chores, cooked, did photo editing, and did some writing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll really accomplish something.
  • I’m so looking forward to getting out and doing some shooting tomorrow. The batteries are just about fully charged and if I get some good images my batteries will be full.
  • I felt better today than I have in over a week. And boy do I appreciate it.

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Super start

The weekend has been great so far and today will be the icing on the cake. The effort to make the best use of time is progressing. Of course that slap-in-the-face reality of the job that pays the bills starting just before sunset tonight looms. But till then, let the party begin.

A fixture on Main Street for decades. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s that time of year I think about my daughter and daughter-in-law who are both teachers. I always pause for a few minutes and try to wish them some good karma that it’s a successful and happy year. For I know the reality is filled with pressure and stress. May you each find the extraordinary patience needed for dealing not only with the kids but the parents also. And may you again find those special moments in the gems of those young minds that make teaching rewarding. And good luck to all teachers.

And please watch out on the roads for the buses and young ones running in and out.

Random Thoughts of the Day (morning edition)

  • There are few things that make me as happy as when I see my wife happy.
  • These are the days of summer that will stick in my memory banks to carry me through winter.
  • I really like the movie quote from Tombstone – “Doc Holliday: What did you ever want? Wyatt Earp: Just to live a normal life. Doc Holliday: There’s no normal life, Wyatt, it’s just life. Get on with it.”

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Change of pace

Today is going to be a barrel of fun. Lots of plans and opportunities for fun and love. That is what weekends are for aren’t they?

The irony of saving rainwater on Main Street in Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

Live a little and laugh a lot. Why not, time is always shorter than you think. I’m living more in the moment than I used to. And I find great joy in that.

Yesterday I made the mistake of getting sidetracked late in the evening and posting yesterday’s post at midnight which technically made it today breaking the streak of 241 days. Well, that is just a technicality so I’m not going to get all depressed about it. So I’m going to change it up and try to start posting in the mornings.

I’m not one who likes missing a deadline of any type. So doing a morning post does two things for me. It gets the daily post completed without any chance of missing deadlines and if time allows a second post could be done later in the day.

So here is to increasing production and never missing another daily post.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Solitude is something everyone likes but not too much of.
  • Sometimes a packed weekend can be a lot of fun.
  • It pisses the hell out of me to have to pay someone to cut the lower backyard. But till I get this foot looked at I have to accept it.
  • The older I get the more selective I get in what I do.
  • It feels good to complete a project.

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Where has my energy gone

I wish I knew what was sapping my energy. I have a lot of trouble admitting it possibly being age but I’m guessing that has a lot to do with it. But my mind keeps telling me to get my lazy behind moving but the body says the tank is on or about to be empty.

Even when I do some chores like push cutting a hilly 1/2 acre, I feel more winded and it takes a few minutes to recover when doing it in the heat.

So off to some doctor’s appointments making sure all is well and then some exercise routine to try to get the internal engine up speed again. I know part of it is the piss poor and irregular sleep patterns I have. The trouble is I can’t correct that till I no longer work nights.

I needed a pool today. Photo by Mike Hartley

I used to be pretty good about the heat of summer but this year it’s been tough to battle through at times. Well enough complaining, I’ll get busy inside this evening working on a collage I’ve started.

In some ways, I’ve surprised myself with posting for 241 days straight. I hope I can keep the streak going but it’s time to start building better content. Doing better at writing and more quality photography. If practice makes perfect doing both every day should yield some results on its own but I need to push myself more.

All my life I’ve been surrounded by wonderful writers and editors. I’ve worked with some truly great photographers and artists. And it’s intimidating as hell because having seen their work I know there is such a distance I have to go before I could consider approaching the quality of work they do.

Distances can be bridged. Photo by Mike Hartley.

In some ways, that’s motivating but in others, I know my overall work is still of amateur status. Showing my faults and mistakes on images and lack of any true writing background. And to drive that point home I failed 9th grade English and had to do summer school. Mainly because I didn’t like to go to class at that hour.

And you would have thought I would have learned the importance of grammar and spelling being my Mother was a proofreader in one of her positions at a newspaper chain. Well, this do-mass has to rely on Grammarly to save real embarrassment. (do-mass = my slang so I don’t go saying “Dumbass” out loud.)

And even though I’m writing here each day I really need to get to work on books. So I got a lot of wishes to crank up the volume of work so I had better get to it.

This reminded me of The Outlaw’s song Green Grass and High Tides. I might just have to go listen to it. Of course, the LIVE version which I’m thinking is about 20 minutes. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The day is a success. I had a cherry snowball with my granddaughter.
  • When I get in a creative funk with one thing I have lots of others that I can turn my attitude around with. And that is the key, trying to stay in that zone.
  • Feeling focused this evening. Then again I just cleaned my glasses.
  • I feel like taking one of those warm summer night late-night rides.

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Sunsets of life

A special day in many ways. A celebration of life for an old newspaper coworker and friend who was a fixture in Howard County Maryland and surrounding areas for decades in local journalism and national levels with the Post.

Days close up shop before I’m ready for them too. Photo by Mike Hartley

Good thing we used nametags. Some of the people who came I hadn’t seen in decades. Others I still keep in touch with. But we all are getting on in life, which seems to make gatherings like this even more special.

Chances to share handshakes and hugs. Opportunities to catch up and reflect on time together and how special it was. Mutual appreciation and admiration. And the thought we all saw, participated and thrived in a very special life and now the demise of newspapers.

And then this evening was having a chance to get together with my 2 best friends. Another night of laughter, stories, and plans for new ones. Oh, we solved a lot of the world’s problems. I hope someone was recording it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • How much of whatever isn’t being said, needs to be said?
  • When I tell people that 6 hours is a lot of sleep I tend to get pushback. Good thing I didn’t say 5.
  • I really enjoyed that ESPN series on “The Captian” Derek Jeter.
  • I’m 3 minutes away from getting in a recliner and even though I tell myself I won’t fall asleep I will.



I miss the two-wheel experience. Both my motorcycle and bike. I spent a lot of time on a seat between two wheels. But in the last 10-15 years it’s just renting bikes at the beach on vacations or at a friend’s house. The motorcycle has been gone for double-digit years now. But I would like to return to putting in some seat time and exploring.

Peaceful is the term that leaps to mind whenever I got on 2 wheels. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve been thinking of hitting the local bike shop and might do that after I see what is wrong with my foot next week. I just scanned the local shop’s website and it appears that things have changed a lot since my last bike purchase. There were bicycles that cost 5 digits. Don’t worry, I won’t be spending anything like that.

It’s so dangerous riding around here that I would probably get a rack for the car and mostly use them at the beach and at my friend’s home on Kent Island. Then again some rides at dawn might be possible out here in the town of Woodstock.

All I do know is that I miss getting on a bike and when I do it feels so right again. So if my health holds out you will see me on a bike again.

After some time outside today, I was fading like these guys. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Sometimes I think a slow-moving stream is peaceful. Then I see a sleeping child and peaceful is redefined.
  • Tomorrow I will think about being very alive with a short drive with the top down. Then a celebration of life for an old work friend with a few tears and then gathering with my best friends who I usually end the evening dying of laughter. I think Jim Valvano said something about that being a full day.
  • I’m not happy about this loan forgiveness program for college loans in what little I have heard about it so far. I’m going to go read through it and there better be something in it for us responsible ones who paid off our loans.

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Wings and food

I thought I had an injured hawk but this guy was just working on a meal on the ground. I think one of the many squirrels about.

I believe this friend is a red-shouldered hawk. Photo by MIke Hartley

And yes the circle of life in nature is on display quite often being it surrounds me.

We had beef stroganoff. I’m not sure what was on this guy’s menu. Photo by Mike Hartley

All I know is I wasted an opportunity to shoot more today and I’m rather miffed at myself. So I’ll try to make up for it tonight with some more focus on displaying some images here at home.

He didn’t wait for me to adjust the shutter speed. Photo by Mike Hartley

I need a longer lens. Or a very tall ladder.

Caught this Osprey bringing dinner home. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t wait to get some shots of the eagles my friend has next to his home.

New socks can change your attitude. I recently got a new pair of shoes. Now for most of the human race that isn’t much of an event but I look at shoes like a car. I don’t own many and I drive them till they drop. But while I was making that purchase a set of cushioned socks caught my eye.

I’ve never really worn cushioned socks before but today is a good foot day and that translates to a few more smiles. Thank you Sketchers. I think I’ll try a walk tomorrow.

Almost time for me to get my own phone. Since a phone was mobile the employer has always taken care of that need. I was one of the last holdouts that had a flip phone. My iPhone is a 5 I believe so an upgrade will be nice. I think I’ll get one this fall and start the transition so it won’t be an issue when I do pull the plug on the job that pays the bills.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Every day needs a starting point.
  • Every wall needs a photo.
  • Every person needs to have a partner.
  • Every meal needs a little spice.
  • Every post needs an end.

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Never stop exploring

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Monday. I blink my eyes and a day is gone. But even though I accomplished little in the chore and creative endeavors I carved a place in my granddaughter’s heart by playing with her intently for hours today.

So back to the final (hopefully) series of images from Berlin Maryland.

Brick buildings line Main Street. Photo by Mike Hartley

Maybe this is what is meant by a slower pace of life. I can dig it. I’m into boards and bikes. Plus I like the flatness of the Eastern Shore.

Main Street transportation takes many shapes. Photo by Mike Hartley
Even the cars/suv’s come with bikes. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love outdoor dining. Well, most of the time. There certainly isn’t any shortage of it available in Berlin Maryland.

One of the great pleasures in life, eating well. Photo by Mike Hartley

There are so many unique stores to visit I can’t list or photograph them all but I did enjoy most of them.

Juice me. Photo by Mike Hartley

Not a town with your average storefront windows.

I wonder if there is a tortoise model? Photo by Mike Hartley
This is a town of Front Porches. Photo by Mike Hartley
A swinging and rocking place. Photo by Mike Hartley
You would think a Mermaid Museum would be on the water. Photo by Mike Hartley
A nice little bakery. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s too late in my career for a new manager again. But here we go.
  • There are only so many chances to do it right. That is why I try to do it at least once a day.
  • Today was the definition of spotty showers.
  • Just squeaking in under the deadline again.


More Exploring

Back to some shots from Berlin Maryland. The two favorite spots in town for me besides the World of Toys store was the Beach Memories and Jeffrey Auxer Designs. The few shots I took don’t do their shops justice.

Inside Jeffrey Auxer Designs. Photo by Mike Hartley
More from Jeffrey Auxer. Photo by Mike Hartley
Artist working at Beach Memories. Photo by Mike Hartley

After a very good meal at the Hotel Atlantic on Wednesday evening, we had breakfast at the soda fountain across the street.

Good breakfast. Photo by Mike Hartley
They do pull off the old soda fountain feel. Photo by Mike Hartley.

There is something for everyone from formal to informal.

Open parlor at Hotel Atlantic. Photo by Mike Hartley

Brick, is the decor of the town.

It’s an easy walking town but I suggest bikes also because there are wonderful homes surrounding this town. Photo by Mike Hartley

The business was hot for this cold shop. Island Creamery

Homemade ice cream enjoyed. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow I’ll finish editing another batch of the town of Berlin and then move on to photographing the next one.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’d like to feel better.
  • I’d like to do more work here and with my cameras.
  • I’d like to be on vacation again.
  • I’d like to be closer to retirement.
  • But as Bob Marley once said “don’t worry, be happy”

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A trip to the shore (Ocean City) and the little town of Berlin Maryland on Wednesday and Thursday with my better half. A few hours at the beach and a few at an old town made for a nice mix of good old Maryland experiences.

As the sign says “America’s Coolest Small Town.” Photo by Mike Hartley

Being my time at the beach this year has been limited, I used the day to soak it in. No photography at all there. The feeling of fingers and toes in the sand, the sound of crashing waves, the laughter of children, the warmth of the sun, and the coolness of the ocean breeze.

But that evening and the next morning I got to take a few as we wandered the town of Berlin.

The side of the Welcome Center. Photo by Mike Hartley

We had a nice stay at the historic Hotel Atlantic. Great staff and meal at the hotel on Wednesday night. The beds were a little soft for my liking though so I was up early to take a few shots before the courtyard filled.

Sunrise on Thursday. Photos by Mike Hartley
Hotel Atlantic at sunrise. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s late now and I’ve got a lot more editing to do so I’ll post some more images tomorrow and elaborate on what I liked about the town.

Have a good Sunday morning. I’m sure this and the many churches I saw in Berlin will be open. Photo by Mike Hartley

I promise a day of shooting at the beach in September.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I can’t believe schools are starting already. Not that I go to school. We just help watch children so our daughters can teach school.
  • Having worked all my life I can see why a lot of workers are dissatisfied.
  • I don’t feel good, but I feel better. So I’ll take that and run with it.
  • My confidence in management and ownership in this country to wake up to the fact that a lot of workers are dissatisfied is slim to none.

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Aren’t all Fridays good?

This has been a better day than expected. It’s great to be able to focus again. Being uncomfortable took a lot of enjoyment out of yesterday but it was still wonderful spending time with my better half. Doctors should bottle her hugs. They are very therapeutic.

Sometimes being off center isn’t all bad. Photo by Mike Hartley

Today I got the good news from a fellow cancer survivor that his prognosis could be better than originally forecast. There are few feelings that can even come close to touching that kind of information. I’m so happy for him and his family.

Tomorrow I should have a few shots of my midweek shoot in Berlin to share.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A haircut always picks up my spirits.
  • It really pisses me off to have to make a doctor’s appointment other than my regular checkups.
  • I am so lucky to have such close friends and family.
  • Say what you mean and believe. But do it with respect.
  • It’s fun to give a personal gift. Something you made.
  • I let some raindrops stop me from shooting tonight. Well, maybe some product shots after I finish this post.
  • Look to make a good impression each day. That way when your day comes all will have a good impression of you.
  • It’s the weekend, be safe, and have fun.

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It all comes out in the wash

I saw this little gem in a walk behind an appliance store in Berlin Maryland yesterday. That little label at the bottom says Manufatured By Speigel Inc. Chicago Illinois.

Bet it still works. Photo by Mike Hartley

Health always rises to the top of the needs in life. And today I have felt far from my best. But being with the person who cares most about me in the world is very comforting.

I was hoping to edit some shots I took in the town of Berlin but that will have to wait till tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Small towns fit me.
  • I like stopping by Wrights Market on the way home from the beach.
  • Pain takes away time you would have spent on other thoughts. To a better day tomorrow.
  • It’s a lot of fun taking trips when my better half is with me.
  • The good feeling of shooting fresh images each day is something I’m going to have to continue.

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I’m shooting for Bliss today. And I’ve got a plan to make it happen. So what is bliss? Is it the “perfect happiness” as the definition in Oxford says? Is it at peace with yourself and the world? Maybe being in love? Getting your own home? Going on vacation? Making something special with your hands?

So many descriptions leap to mind. And infant in your arms. A toddler with super powers chasing you. That perfect cherry ice cream soda. Your garden is in bloom. Hitting the winning shot. Being on a cruise. I could go on and on.

Can it be one thing or does it have to be a culmination of things? Of course, bliss is different and somehow the same for everyone. Some may look at an old farmer and the hard work from sunrise to sundown and think of all the energy and time expended and wonder how can someone toil like that. Meanwhile, the farmer is in a state of bliss because he is doing what he loves and maybe his passion in life.

I can feel bliss just looking at nature. Photo by Mike Hartley

There will be a lot of people in life who like to ruin the bliss you may be shooting for or experiencing. Brush it off, regroup and find it despite them. Just keep moving towards that happiness.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s more difficult than you think to overthink things.
  • That shutter button is going to get a workout the rest of the week.
  • It’s better to laugh in disgust than to grit your teeth in disgust.
  • I find the ease with which gambling and sports are intertwined now very disturbing.
  • Photo editing is just like taking a photo. You’re trying to get the best one.


Tuesday Times

What a wonderful day. Sunny and cool for August but very comfortable. Today was that wonderful ritual of cutting the estate. And I use the term “estate” in humor. I have a little over an acre of property. And yes that is a nice amount but it looks like a postage stamp when I compare it to some of the spreads I saw on the eastern shore this past weekend.

My friend says these ospreys will be leaving the nest in about a month to head to warmer climates. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my best friends has a home on Kent Island and we decided to explore a bit. We took a spin Saturday morning and he throws me the keys to his Vette. We tooled around the communities and back roads on the island and surrounding small towns, with a stop at the Owl Bar to meet a friend, before heading back to his home.

Yesterday’s shot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was Saturday night. This was Sunday morning. It’s an impressive structure. That is a cruise ship that has passed under it and a freighter about to go under it. Photo by Mike Hartley

Even though I would look at these estates with wonder, I didn’t feel the need or wish for one. They were wonderful homes with great views and sometimes multiple structures on the property. But I would feel guilty not cutting that and contracting it out. So there it is. Rich people will never know the solitude of sitting on a mower for an hour or two being totally consumed by the roar of the motor and blades doing their work and just getting lost in thought.

And it’s GOOD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh, by the way, it’s a blast driving a car with a stick and with over 600 horsepower.

Stuck? Looks can be deceiving. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • How can you not smile when you see a child?
  • A good evening for a ride with the top down.
  • Enjoy the next month or two, I have a feeling after that it’s going to get a little crazy for a while.
  • I guess I’m at that age where I actually have to start listening to my body.
  • I surprised my daughter with the color of gym shorts I purchased recently. I’m glad this old guy isn’t entirely predictable.

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After a great weekend with friends and little sleep, I had to take a day of rest. Well, a good part of the day at least. But I’m back on track now and ready to produce tonight. But there is little time for deep thought on today’s post but I’ll get an early start on tomorrow.

Nature can make anything look small. Even the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tuesday is a day for some local photography. I hope to get out early and then do the day’s chores in the afternoon. A man with a plan can’t be stopped.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m a firm believer that laughter and love extend life.
  • Isn’t it a great day when you no longer care what others think about you?
  • I am my own password manager.
  • I believe there is an artist in every one of us. It’s our choice if we want to use it.
  • I got a reminder I can’t hold the camera as steady on some low-light shots when I failed to use a tripod this weekend. Another sign of age.


A change of pace

Tonight I’m working for myself. Normally it’s for the job that pays the bills but not this evening. Actually, the job that pays the bills is still at work paying me for a vacation night. And by working I mean just a few hours, not all night.

There were a lot of boats burning up the Bay this weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s a real treasure to eat well.
  • Great friends can make a great time a great thing to remember.
  • Weekends don’t get much more beautiful than this one.
  • But I’m hoping the coming weekdays give this past weekend a run for the money.
  • Rarely am I this tired.

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Let the wind guide you

Well not if you live in tornado alley. Good morning all, may the breeze be at your back. A wonderful weekend ahead with fall weather in mid-August. Looks like we here in the mid-Atlantic can take a week off from the Global Climate crisis.

Today is a day for very old friends. Some celebrated in memory and some in person.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My favorite season is socks optional.
  • The older you get the more you hope to see people again.
  • There are only so many hours this weekend and I intend to use them all.
  • I guess it must be a wonderful year being it’s moving so fast.

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Healthy days, perfect days

My body was feeling better this morning and looking forward to an upbeat and productive day. And then the thought that creeps into my head once in a while where I wonder how many healthy days I have ahead reared its ugly presence. I never thought about that for the first 5 decades of my life.

But from that first cancer diagnosis, that question has been in my mind on and off for the last decade and a half. All of us probably define healthy days differently, because it all depends on your perspective. My personal definition of healthy days is one where I’m not in a hospital and or sick from surgeries or treatments that it wouldn’t make a difference if you were at a hospital or at home.

My neighbor’s sunflowers reached the sky. Photo by Mike Hartley

It makes the days I have bad back issues always less impactful. Yeah sometimes it lands me horizontal or in major discomfort but I know it will pass and even then I can think or attempt to do something creative or even just work like I do many nights.

The discussions with friends and family are unavoidable when friends or coworkers our age or younger pass on. It gives us pause and we reflect together on how lucky we are.

All I know is that I’ve gotten better at using time and I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for life and what is good and special about it.

Perfect days I can best describe as ones with my family in relaxed times together sharing their children with us their grandparents. A whole new generation of children to think about their happiness and health on a daily basis.

Just like my own children were this gift that I had no idea was so precious beforehand, my grandchildren have me born again in ways I didn’t see coming either.

I had one of those perfect days today and now I can have a perfect weekend ahead.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • What was that strange chill in the air outside this morning?
  • Water always has been one of the world’s most important commodities. But in some areas of this country, it’s moving up the charts quickly.
  • It’s nice when you reflect on a decision and ask “what was I thinking” after having come to the right decision but close to making the wrong one.
  • The more thought and organization I have the better my life seems to be. Would have been nice to discover that combo earlier in life besides at the job.

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Lazy or comfortable

I’ve had a beard most of my life. It started to come in early, around 14-15. From the time I graduated on, I’ve pretty much had one except for a few months at the most. I mostly keep it short so I do trim it at least once or twice a week.

I am also more comfortable with a beard than without one. But I’m also a little lazy I guess. I remember shaving irritating my neck something awful. And being of the type that looks like I need a shave again at the end of the work day that it’s easier to just not fight it.

As the grey started to creep in the thought of shaving crossed my mind but I dismissed it. I find it kind of funny that the grey has been very symmetrical in terms of its spread. And I like the grey standing out against my tan in the summer.

Stuck on you. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s too late in life now to think about changing. People might never recognize me, I’ve had one for so long. And don’t worry, I won’t be tempted to color it back to the color it was when I was young because I’m not young in body, just in mind.

I shouldn’t have wasted as much time today but the workweek just finished and those long nights take more out of me now. But tomorrow I create.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When you don’t get many good night’s rests and you see an opportunity for one it’s kind of exciting.
  • Only a few more months of flip-flop season.
  • You don’t look forward to getting older as much till you are older.
  • I imagine there are some people who can’t overthink things if they tried.

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On the fence

How much to share? What do I share? How do I avoid oversharing? Why the reflection, well I got to thinking I’ve been doing this for about 8 years now and I would think I would have found my path, lane, passion, direction, and purpose by now.

That really hasn’t happened and I’m still searching but I’m learning along the way.

Photo by Mike Hartley

But in some aspects, I’ve already found my way and a vehicle I like. I’ve gotten enjoyment from doing this and sharing images and thoughts. I use it to challenge myself in things I’d like to do much better when time allows now and into retirement.

I went back to my “About” page and read it over. I noticed I hadn’t updated it in about 5-6 years because the number of years I’ve been married was way off. I also noticed that I’m pretty much on the path I set out on. I haven’t done much video but that can and will change.

Might be time to mix things up. Photo by Mike Hartley

Now it’s time to improve the content and quality of the blog. If for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can do it.

My photo goals of the Day:

  • Go back and watch some tutorials on some features I haven’t taken advantage of on my camera.
  • Work on lighting with textures this evening.
  • Start collage on the office wall.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Do you ever feel something just steals hours of the day without you noticing till you say “where did the day go?” I wish I could catch that thief.
  • Thunder and lightning are intoxicating to me.
  • Catching up with an old friend this weekend, life is good.
  • Living as you are pressed for time isn’t a bad way to live. Because we all have limited time.

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Willing it

Today is going to be a good day. I am willing it to be one. Regardless of the oppressive heat or our evening thunderstorms. Progress is being made and initiative is back. And speaking of back, my better half has returned from a short trip.

Steps to Where? Photo by Mike Hartley

So all is right with the world. Well not really, but I’ll live in my own little space today and try not to get involved in the discourse that has arisen. Plus it’s summer and all I can think of is getting back to the beach soon. Either that or playing with my grandchildren.

Do you spend your time looking for a parking space instead of laying on the beach? Go in September or October. The water is still warm in September and the temps both months are great.

Bethany Beach during the summer. Photo by Mike Hartley

And once you find a space there is a line to get to the sand.

Not the express lane to the beach. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel so excited when my creative juices return.
  • When you have friends that you really look forward to spending time with, you have chosen the right friends.
  • Some think the last decade or so has been a real roller coaster. Buckle up the ride has yet to start.
  • I’m much better at sorting out what to keep and what to throw away when I’m in better spirits.

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Summer, I salute you

It’s county fair season and my hometown one is underway. So I think I’ll take advantage of Senior Day and see if I can get some photos of this year’s events.

We volunteered many years staffing The Times information booth and making announcements. It was a blast because I would do it with one of my best friends.

I’m coming up on what I hope to be a productive period with some time off from the job that pays the bills and a short break from helping with child care. I love that later one though.

Pumpkin from previous fairs. Yes that is a full-size skid under it. Photo by Mike Hartley

Today is one of those days where I feel I have nothing left in the tank. No passion to share. No new images or art to display. Nothing, nada, zilch.

Tomorrow I’ll step it up. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Going it alone means you report to yourself, so what type of boss are you?
  • I just thought of another daily goal I can add to the list. At least one new print every day.
  • My attitude sucks when I don’t get enough sleep.
  • I don’t even know all the questions so why would I assume I have all the answers?

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If we all really put our minds to something, I wonder how much more we could accomplish. I say this in the context that everyone has interests and beliefs they don’t have the time or resources to always act upon.

It could be a fear issue of being identified with a cause or belief. Or maybe it’s a confidence issue that we can’t change the world. The belief that one person can’t make a difference or create something great. It could be that the opportunity for contribution or greatness is denied because of a brutal environment, lack of education, or economic strife.

Something is growing inside. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s within all of us to do more. If it’s something simple in your life that gives you joy or positivity or maybe helps others. Just participating in important processes like going to a memorial service, or voting in not just the general elections but all elections. Because if you don’t vote in primaries your candidate might not be there for the general election.

Lots of simple but wonderful ideas turn into businesses or passions that in turn help others. Maybe helping a friend through a difficult time or with difficult decisions in life, providing them with important perspectives or options.

I wonder how much life would be better if we just took the time to maybe hold the door for an elderly person or carry their bag. Maybe spend time talking to someone dealing with medical issues to just cheer them up.

Some of it is easy. We were pulling away from visiting my Son and his family yesterday and saw an older woman helping an elderly person to an SUV. I slowed and passed them and stopped about 20 feet passed them and turned to my better half and said I wonder if they need help. She said back up and we will ask. They said no but it would have been fine if they said yes because we had or would have made the time.

I didn’t mean to focus on the elderly, lots of our youth need help and guidance, and mentors. Or maybe some words of encouragement and wisdom. I know I needed them as a youth. Several people along the way have helped me grow and helped me with direction and I shudder to wonder what would have become if they hadn’t.

Veterans and their families need support in a big way. And we have been failing them.

So I sit here wondering what more I can do today and tomorrow that I didn’t do as well or would have like to have done or created. For me, it comes down to time management. What can I let go of and stop repeating the cycle of previous priorities?

There are a few things I need to change that will free up some time even with the full-time job. So I will get to wondering what I can do each day with that right now instead of waiting for retirement time to do more.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do but I’m going to try to start doing something. More time helping people directly. Maybe more regular donations. Just being kind and respectful is a good start.

I started with the word Wonder today. Because I looked in the eyes of my Grandson yesterday and the deep look of wonder I saw reflected gave me pause. Also with my Granddaughter, the day before we went to Ace (Clarks) Hardware together and I looked back at her at checkout as the guy asks me if I want to contribute to their Bucket drive for Children’s Miracle Network, so I said yes. How can anyone say no to helping children? I see so much intensity in their wonder of experiencing life that it was inspiring. The world is full of wonder so go out and participate in it, create it, and find the good in it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Summer and seafood are a pair that is hard to beat.
  • For a long time, I thought I missed the boat by not getting on Instagram as an aspiring photographer but now as I see photographers trashing it’s changing so I’m glad I didn’t waste my time.
  • I love that I get a good tan without even trying. Another joy of being outside.
  • You will be a lot happier if you are not in a hurry if you need service for anything.

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The View

I guess I’m kind of a homebody at heart. I do like to get out but I don’t stray far from home often. Mostly because time is limited and resources for extensive travel haven’t been a priority over family. But the time is becoming available and the resources are there for a few trips in the future so I guess I’m in for some changes.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Plus some travel will make my better half very happy. Travel makes me nervous. As soon as I relinquish control of the mode of transportation I’m nervous. Once I get there I’m cool again but I’m never comfortable completely in a plane, train or boat.

Camera Shy. Photo by Mike Hartley

So I will suck it up and go because we will both enjoy it. There is a lot of the United States that I would like to see, but I know one of the priorities of my better half is Ireland. But until that day comes a couple of day trips to some small towns in Maryland might be in order.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • An infant grandson in my arms today is a feeling like I’m getting some days added to my life as he looks into my eyes. Because whatever is ailing me, my grandchildren can cure it.
  • Mistakes happen. Clean up, move on.
  • I’d like to be able to devote more time to my health. I’ll have to remind myself of that tomorrow morning as I’m laying in bed deciding if I should go for a walk or not.
  • I’ve got to charge some batteries so I can do some shooting tomorrow. I hope its a nice morning.

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So quickly

I love waking up before sunrise. Even when I go to bed late, I usually get up early on my days off. Getting up early provides the opportunity to accomplish a lot. And my major accomplishment today was making a little girl happy. Well, that will be the most gratifying one but I do hope to work on my hobbies in the few hours left today.

A flower in front of a cornfield along Rt 99. Photo by Mike Hartley

I blink my eye and another day has passed. I have to stop getting discouraged if I haven’t had any time to spend till the last few hours and make the best of it instead of being frustrated. I have to start looking at progress in increments.

Trying to get on the ground before that storm hit. Photo by Mike Hartley

And today’s incremental success was some photo editing and finding a good family shot for my Son who is doing some things for his home.