THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Always say I love you

First off start with finding someone or better yet, many people you can honestly say “I love you” to. If not possible now get to work on relationships that will provide you those opportunities and when it is there for you say it often and with meaning.

When you leave your loved ones I think it’s always wise to say “I love you” and I say it often. That along with actions will always be with them. They will remember the love and it will carry them.

So create that perfect pair that just screams I Love You.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even when I can’t say it directly I send a text or leave a note for my better half. I tell my friends often of my love for them. I always tell my children a few times every week I love them. That would be more but they are grown now.

I know I always feel good when I say it and it seems to make others know it stronger. I remember my Mom saying it. I miss that greatly but like I said I always will remember her love and her saying it often.

So find the right people. Say it often and with meaning. Brighten someones day and maybe you will get one back.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thinking positive thoughts for someone very important in the hospital.
  • If you like the heat, soak it up because its soon to be gone.
  • I’ve noticed the days getting shorter on daylight.
  • I should keep track of the number of days I ride with the top down. Was a bit warm today but I just thought of a cold December day and it made it OK.

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A day in the life

Up early with a stuffy head. Wishing hours later I had stayed in bed.
Took an early ride before the heat set in. It was so short, it was a sin.
Ah, the time to cruise mindlessly around the county. Such a wonderful bygone bounty.
A visit and call from both our children again. I wish those visits and calls would never end.
A lazy afternoon, I feel guilty about taking the time. At least it was all on my dime.

I know I didn’t do my best here, and no I wasn’t out drinking beer. I was regrouping a bit, before having the other end of the candlelit. Downtime isn’t a sin, better than notifying the next of kin.

Come on guys, catch up.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So take a break, you are the only one who knows what pressure and stresses your under. Don’t leave others you encounter with puzzlement and wonder. Try to get a grip and relax a while. Maybe some you time will bring back that smile.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Wonderful evening dinner with my better half. Very relaxed and shared a laugh. Not to mention a very fine meal. My better half and good food, what a deal.

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Running on empty

After doing battle with the yard all day I’m spent. But I’m very glad I’m not in pain. Sometimes those two go together. But not tonight. Another fight is scheduled for tomorrow and I feel in control.

Sometimes working hard physically gets me mentally refreshed. With a desk job, the physical outlet isn’t there during the week at the job that pays the bills. Good thing I enjoy doing a few things around the house to keep me active.

Precision randomness.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m getting up early and going for some fresh images. Maybe before daybreak. All that work and no play today have me thinking about some time for the crafts and car.

Hopefully tonight I’ll edit the wedding pictures from last weekend and videos. Then upload those and send out links.

But then back to reality and taking care of the homestead and some quality time with my better half.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I went the whole day without a Coke. Tell the company not to panic. I’ll be picking up a 12 pack in the morning.
  • I’m on a fruit and nut kick.
  • I just added a good thing to the to-do list for tomorrow. Spend an hour in the hammock.
  • Creative drought today. Thinking about my better half and mother inlaw who spent the day and evening at the local medical facility.
  • I’ll do better tomorrow.

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Don’t waste it

Every once in awhile I have no idea what to ramble on about. But even when I sit down with nothing, I can’t pass the opportunity to try to create something with words and images. I keep dreaming of saying something or having that image that will resonate with both others and myself.

I’ve started hundreds of posts filled with rants about society or politics that I have to suppress. Or gleeful writing of feelings too wonderful to describe in words that just seem too mushy. These are hidden from you in my drafts which are approaching 300 now.

I have found trying to stay light and positive here helps me on the outside also. This whole process has helped me grow.

More from Olympic Park
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m torn between posting more because as my friends might say I can ramble on easily and the images I make that inspire me to some train of thought so often just starts the process. On the flip side, am I just going on about life in general, too much of the same thing and I should limit the jabber. Or only post images that are clearly stunning? (that would rule out a lot of my work).

I don’t know if I should just be displaying photos only, which were my original intent when I started blogging but I just went with the flow and started writing.

Actually, I became interested in writing when I partnered up with two great friends and started our own newspaper. I didn’t get much of a chance to even start but the thought of having a voice and communication vehicle to share it with brought a smile to my face.

Slow down and look.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I go back and forth each day. Some days I feel like I should write a poem, do a larger post with many more random thoughts that pass through my day. Then, of course, I always feel compelled to share an image or more. I’d like to do progress reports on learning to carve. Let’s see, that’s 4 posts a day? Way too much or is it?

I could go on endlessly about the publishing industry. The characters I’ve met and the changes I’ve seen and experienced and continue to go through today. There are wonderful and painful memories of 4+ decades in newspapers.

Children playing in fountains.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Hell, I can write about being a new grandfather endlessly if I had the time. The utter joy I feel has made life more special than I had known before, it has recharged me in the way my own children did when they were born.

Really I just don’t want to waste any opportunity I have to create and share and ramble on. Be it some life experiences and photos of my travels and where I live threw my eyez. But what is the right balance?

Don’t let an opportunity to walk through a fountain pass you by.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Should I do 200, 500 or 1000 words a day? How many images should I share a day? Do I break series up over a week or just do a big gallery? What time of day should I post? You know what, I don’t care much because those things limit me and my creativity. If you feel it you should go with the flow.

Good inspiration doesn’t always come around each day so when it does I’m utilizing it. And if it inspires me a few times a day so be it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m back to putting together children’s toys. It’s great.
  • Fruit, what a good snack. It’s really good over ice cream. Ops guess that isn’t right.
  • I’m here to inspire other writers who read this and say, “I can do a lot better than that.”
  • Find your passion or passions. You will be much happier.
  • Good writing takes time. I don’t have much to spare so you get what you get.

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Get inline

I sometimes feel like I’m the one thing out of place. I don’t know why because I try to fit in. Well, not all the time. I do march to my own beat. But I do know you’re stronger as a team and always try to work in that concept.

I’ve been in some great teams over time both professionally, personally and socially. But teams change over time. Success or failure can bring stresses to the team that people don’t deal with equally well.

Sometimes egos, greed or need for control also change teams dramatically. Mutual respect and trust changes can destroy the best of teams. The best teams I’ve seen contain diverse personalities, skills, and thoughts. But the key factor to that success is respect, trust, and knowledge that as part of that team they will be much more together than they ever could be apart again and they work to adapt, change and modify to the success of the team while keeping their unique contributions.

Sometimes I feel like the dish on the top row to the right.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m sitting here feeling beyond tired. I’ll probably be snoring before I hit the pillow in a while. I shouldn’t get this way but life happens. There are a lot of sleep-deprived people staggering around out there.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Some lessons are never learned.
  • I can’t decide if I should get ahead or just catch up?
  • Is it really wrong to put a V8 into a Miata? A thought I wrestle with.
  • I’m working on the thought of working out.

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A step towards that goal

I wish I was more goal orientated in my youth. At least I’m correcting that before life passed me by. Well, I guess some might say I’ve wasted a big part of it and they may be right. But I feel I have a lot more to give and do. Its because I’m using goals be they small or large, I work towards them all the time now.

Go for the Gold and no I didn’t photoshop those shoes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s not the end result when the goal is reached. It’s the love for it during the journey. That is the victory no matter if you win gold, silver or bronze. Hell, I’ve finished out of the medal round and I’m still the happiest person because I’m enjoying, learning and experiencing the journey.

I started a business once. It was brutal but one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done and learned from. I could easily see others thinking it might be a failure but they know very little.

This blog and my photography are hobbies that I hope to turn professional once I leave the job that pays the bills. The chance to be successful are slim and none but I don’t care. It makes me happy and occasionally I’ll either brighten someones day or excite them with images or give them food for thought. But my success doesn’t balance on the number of followers. It doesn’t hang on comments or how many posts I make or photos I take.

For instance its already a victory for me. Loved ones are interested in it and that is really all I need. It validates me, not recognition or awards or likes. Just the effort is something I’m starting to take more pride in.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I gave Facebook a break for several days and it felt good. Not that I spent a lot of time there anyway but it reminded me not to spend more and maybe even less.
  • Just read the bowling ally I grew up rolling at in Laurel is closing. I wonder if I have my duckpin balls stored away someplace from my early youth?
  • Keeping in touch with people that are important to you is important. Not everyone is a mind reader.
  • I have added something to my breakfast menu. Tacos were on the plate today. I have no idea why I went with them but it was good.

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I don’t know if its dangerous sometimes when I have time to think but I did so I’m going to share a few thoughts. I got to thinking about perspective on the flight home. The wonderful sunset and night views and eastern seaboard from the airplane.

Even the pilots commented getting off the flight next to us about how clear the view was last evening. I don’t fly much at all so seeing from heights like that are a treat. You see towns and cities in a new light. Huge bodies of water are reduced to a single frame.

As I watch people I gain new perspectives from both verbal and nonverbal behaviors. I’m trying to get back to sometimes putting myself in the other person shoes to try to gain a better understanding.

Did you see that breeze honey?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes stepping away from something for a while can shed perspective. Just not blogging for 4 days after doing it daily almost for over a year gave me a fresh perspective. I didn’t die or have a heart attack because I didn’t do it. I didn’t get hate mail because I didn’t do it. I missed it but taking the break has provided a fresh perspective and more excitement in returning to it.

As I mentioned a while back, I’m a rather new grandparent. The perspective of having a grandchild is so wonderful. I was talking to the mother of the bride at a wedding we just returned from who also had a new grandchild a few months older than ours and the excitement and appreciation for it we were able to share was outstanding. It’s much different than going through it as a parent.

Being away for a long weekend gave me a new perspective on work and it’s real role in my life. Dancing with young people gave me a new perspective on what my body will and will no longer do.

Not driving for 4 days gave me a new perspective because I got to watch others drive and watch others doing messed up things more.

Our hotel room was up a bit and gave me a beautiful perspective on the city of Montreal as well as a wonderful and changing skyline. Getting out and walking several miles each day was wonderful to catch all the things I miss when I’m in a car.

I watched people dine out. Being we were away we did a lot of it the last few days. I now see why we Americans are so overweight as a country.

I listened to people talk about the warm/hot weather in Montreal and thought about how comfortable it was. Especially when I got in my car this afternoon and it was in the mid 90’s. Of course that temp would be comfortable to many in warmer climates. So it’s all a matter of perspective.

I watched a newly married couple share joy with both families and friends. And I thought how mine has changed over the last four decades. Some for the better and some for the worse.

I’m glad I feel more in tune with myself now. Its been a long time coming but better late than never. Good thing I had a perspective break to appreciate what I have again.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was so excited about shooting some this past weekend away that I came home and immediately charge all the camera batteries.
  • The more time I spend with my better half the more special that half becomes.
  • I also feel like the luckiest father in the world today.
  • I was going to wash my car but I believe Mother Nature has that plan for tomorrow.

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Good to be home

Sorry about the absence, my goal was to prepare a few posts before I went away. I actually had something for 3 of the 4 days I’ve been away. But I didn’t like one and the other two I just didn’t finish. It was a busy week leading up to the trip.

I knew I was going to be busy all weekend and didn’t want to be distracted trying to post so this is the first trip I think I can remember since laptops were invented that I didn’t take my computer with me. Actually, it was a nice break.

I don’t like saying in advance on social media when I’m away because you never know who is watching for nefarious purposes. So I’m paranoid, please forgive me.

Great town. Great time.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We went to Montreal Canada for the wedding of my nephew and his new bride. A wonderful time was had and I’m feeling energized about life again. Not that I wasn’t before but sometimes weddings remind me of special times and events. It’s also a good reminder about what marriage can be.

I got some time to do some photos but not as much I had hoped for. So I’ll be sharing some images from travel in the coming days. Unfortunately, my back started acting up and that affected my endurance. I still managed to walk several miles each day and see some sights and dance at the wedding with my better half. But it was the first time in over a month that I needed pain meds to get through it.

It’s great to be away but boy is it also good to be back home. Even if it means going back to work.

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Today is National Purple Heart Day. I found this one in an old trunk from my parents. I actually think it may belong to my great grandfather who was in WW1. It was there with other ribbons from battles in that war and a couple of German ribbons and medals I guess he acquired.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I have much respect for our military servicemen and women. And to all their families who have to make sacrifices along with way when apart. Also to those who return with the emotional scars from the trauma of conflict.

You don’t have to wait for a day to thank a service member. Make it a habit when you see a uniform or veterans.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Its both what you do and what you say that is important. And if they don’t match you have issues.
  • I sense a relaxing weekend ahead.
  • Respect for my children grows constantly. I’m a lucky father.
  • The second day this week being caught in brutal weather while driving. Hopefully, I’m done with that streak for the week.

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I’m amazed at some people’s ability to forgive. At times I’ve thought of it as blind faith. Sometimes even ignorance or refusal to accept. But as I’ve aged I see the ability to forgive, puts you back in control of the situation. I saw a family of one of the shootings that had lost 2 family members and the strength they had was amazing.

If a loved one is killed. And that person had love, gave love and was loved, why would you teach or encourage their survivors to hate. But my normal reaction is that. Hate and rage encompass me when I feel I’ve been wronged. Through time I’ve learned to control and even with wisdom, I’m learning to let things go because it does me no good to harbor ill feelings.

Burning into the evening
Photo by Mike Hartley

I have some friends that seem to have an unlimited wealth of forgiveness. I’m amazed and I respect that ability. But then again they don’t have to drive in the DC/Baltimore region.

No really, hate is the root of the problem. Trouble is it doesn’t stand out enough at times because there is an abundance of it.

I’m also amazed at the regular reaction of people to rush out and buy more arms in fear they will be outlawed. Stories of gun manufacture stocks going up after mass shootings caught my eye this time. I thought how sad that we feel we need a closet that looks like this.

No this isn’t my closet.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The Cough is back. Coughing hurts. It’s embarrassing. It’s disruptive. Back to carrying an inhaler. It seems to be a seasonal thing with me. Guess its time to find the bag of cough drops.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The last few days have been the definition of hit and miss storms.
  • Ah, the rumbling of Summer.
  • I’m out of time. I’m out of energy. I must recharge.

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A flash

Life is taken in a flash. The value of life is diminished. Fights over policy and rights. Flowers are laid and crosses made. Talking heads bark at each other like rabid dogs.

Violence marches on unabated, be it a foul word or symbol, be it a speech or be it a punch or shots. Be it in a church, hospital, business or home. Entitlement runs rampant, intimidation and fear paralyze the masses and our leaders.

It’s going to take all of us to set a new direction and standard or we will fall back to days worse than the wild west. We were known in the world for mostly doing the right thing. No longer is that the case. The curtain has been pulled back. We are no better than most areas of the world because we have forgotten how to deal with conflict effectively and peacefully.

Basic compassion for your fellow man/woman/child/animal/nature is diminished by the violence and greed. Evil seems to be implanted or scratched out from deep-seated hate.

We expect things from our law enforcement and health care workers that are far greater than they are sometimes capable of or trained to deal with. Do we start seeding our hospitals with war veteran doctors capable of dealing with war wounds? Do we send a mental health professional and ambulance to every police call?

We need to expect more from ourselves. We need to repair our families. We need to be less selfish with our time and help others less fortunate. We need to learn to become more tolerant and seak to understand differences.

And while gun control could be one step. Maybe a focus on mental health. Maybe a stronger family and respect system built. It’s not just one of these it’s many more that results in a culture change by all of us that says this shouldn’t continue. And we can do that regardless of what some leaders might say.

Shooting shells. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wish I had more time to devote to this blog and my photography.
  • You can’t change lazy people.
  • I long to have a cat again.
  • I’ve really got to express myself more.

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One of those weekends

This much carnage can’t help but give everyone pause. Well most at least I hope. I’m sure there are a few that behind closed doors or keyboards will kind of revel in these events.

A weekend to turn you upside down.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder at what point we will stop what we are doing and react as a whole to this and other serious issues? And I include myself in this. And by other serious issues I also mean the carnage that goes on every day of the year. Tons of people are dying each day due to violence. A lot more than what we see in these mass shootings that get all the news.

I really have to have a heart to heart with myself and see what I can do to get involved in action on the senseless loss of life from so many guns. We need to have ongoing discussions and action not just when these events transpire but till the wasted lives taken too soon for any number of reasons is reduced.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Being an older photographer, I appreciate autofocus most of the time.
  • Seems like we have an issue with domestic terrorist more so than with foreign ones.
  • I believe in local journalism. Trouble is its disappearing.
  • I still like wall calendars with muscle cars on them.
  • If you work on being happy, you will learn you can overcome a lot of things.

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Saturday salutations

A fine start to the day. The first day I’ve gotten up in a while and not felt compelled to get to work on a yard or home or job project. Nice to have a few minutes relaxed to just start writing instead of looking for those few seconds or minutes between tasks to germinate an idea and run with it.

The afternoon was a fine treat also. I had to get a new belt for an upcoming wedding and I thought of going someplace we hadn’t been in a long while. I thought it might be a good idea to hit Arundel Mills Mall. And being the Casino is right there we could have lunch and play a game or two.

We ate at Bobby’s Burger Place and it was great. Very good burgers and sides. I was going to get a shake but I resisted. We then played a few slots and maybe lost $15 for the day and then walked over to the new hotel they have there.

A day of love.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It wasn’t what we did. It isn’t where we were. I wasn’t how long the afternoon was. It was about 2 people being happy and content and in love again this Saturday. And I can’t wait to do it all over again this Sunday no matter what we do.

Yeah, I need an editor. And a proofreader. And a designer and writer. I knew I was weak at the art of the written word. I knew I wasn’t the brilliant idea person who would write the Pulitzer award-winning pieces. What spurred this train of thought was reading a blog post called Six Simple Writing Tips.

First I need to spend more time rereading my work. I find and correct many things when I do a second, third, fourth or fifth read. Trouble is I never get past a second read most days.

The next suggestion was short words, sentences, and paragraphs. I think I follow that fairly well because I only know short words. I type in incomplete sentences all the time so I guess you could say that is short. And I think my paragraphs are fairly short.

The third tip was to be a clutter cutter. I get rid of words and sentences. It might not just be evident to the reader. I promise to do better.

Tip four was proper grammar punctuation and font. I wish I was better at that and now use Grammarly to assist my lack of knowledge and paying attention in English class.

Tip five was don’t summarize. This isn’t that hard, most of my post doesn’t have a point, to begin with so summarizing would be difficult.

The last one was to read good writing. That is something I haven’t tried. I do read a lot but not much of the classics.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • That thunderstorm that has been threatening all day is finally here. Rumble on.
  • Congrats to Ed Reed, really enjoyed watching him play.
  • Anticipation is a wonderful thing if its about a wonderful thing.
  • For me its more of a problem as to what not to say.

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You ever get so tired you have nothing left for what you wanted to do the most? That is kind of where I’m at now. I’ve started two posts and realized I wasn’t going to have time to finish either of them in time before the midnight deadline.

Get Hammered Photo by Mike Hartley

Plus its shark week and I should get back to the show and watch someone else get eaten.

Shark Photo by Mike Hartley

Now that most of the chores are done, I think we have some time to capture some images tomorrow and spend a few moments with my better half.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It feels good when you can help others make a good decision.
  • You ever get so tired you feel drunk with taking a drink?
  • I think I saw some leafs falling today. It can’t be, its only August.
  • Any day you can ride with the top down, it’s a good day.

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All in a day

It’s amazing all the things you can encounter in a day. Spent a few minutes helping a friend this morning. I wish I could reach him more but for some change is very difficult. It was nice getting out this morning and instead of going with the masses I took the back roads to Columbia to give my friend a lift. Some of the back roads in the county are still really nice. This morning’s combination of sun and morning mist made a nice view down Folly Quarter.

Into the Mist.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was thinking about heading to the beach and given all the sunshine I’m seeing this morning I should have. But I decided on a good night’s sleep and some home chores. It’s good getting the morning errands run and finishing the weekly yard work before rains come the next few days.

It’s time to do some indoor shooting. Got both tripods out and set up this evening in the basement. Got a few backgrounds ready. Now all I need is some subject matter. Time to get on that search.

I need to be more productive this Friday and Saturday than I was today on my crafts. Let’s see if Mr. Lack of Discipline can pull that off.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I didn’t wash my car. It didn’t rain.
  • I feel the need to sleep in tomorrow.
  • It’s a great feeling to make others laugh.
  • I really need to use my smartphone camera more.
  • Stay involved, not obsessed.

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How the hell did this happen

The Howard County Fair opens this weekend 8/3 and yours truly is eligible for the senior discount. I remember going to the fair as a teen. Working at the fair in my early 20’s at the Times Information booth. Yeah, we had the PA system also.

I went there with my better half for years. We then took our children there. I’ve gone in recent years with my children and their spouses. Sometimes alone recently for nostalgia and to grab a few images. And maybe next year I’ll be taking my granddaughter to it.

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

I don’t know how so much time passed so fast but it has. And I’m thankful for it because that means I’ve been a very lucky man to live, enjoy and witness these and many other wonderful moments with my family and friends.

A pair of my favorites. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes I wonder now if the fair will survive. Farms seem to be on the menu of developers. How many people in million-dollar homes enjoy the smell of farm animals or parking their high-end car in a field. But in some ways, the fair seems as strong as ever. I hope it never fades away. I hope it’s there to have families wander hand in hand. Take their children on rides. Eat a good pit beef sandwich and other heart-stopping treats. For youngsters on a date. For grandparents to take their grandchildren. To get some fresh fruit or corn.

Who knows, maybe that tractor you saw caught your eye and you just have to have it to cut that huge yard. Try making it a tradition, it might not be your favorite of all of them but it will be one that brings a smile to your face.

Ferris B. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • So there is money in playing video games.
  • Feeling in tune today for some strange reason. Maybe it’s because I had the day off from the job that pays the bills. Very sweet indeed. The body has been moving all morning to some music.
  • Light on my feet. Quick with a smile. Lyrics flowing off my tongue. The hair on my neck standing on end with flashbacks to my youth or a live concert. Damn, I’m relaxed today.



I can’t help but get stressed out when people close to me encounter tough times. Got a few of them right now going through changes. But that is life. Change and how we react to it. Each day is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes life greets you with an empty box.

At times things that seem to be catastrophic become a blessing. I once got what I thought was a good job. It lasted about 3 months before I found out what it really was, a nightmare. I then got a job that has been a wonderful opportunity that I have embraced. But after 20+ years that has also gone through several changes, not all to my liking at times so even good things change and morph.

I deal better with change now than I did before but I’m far from perfect with doing it. I do know the more flexible I am the easier I can make adapting to a change. Glad I learned this lesson now instead of fighting it the rest of my life.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve always done well with change professionally within the job. Hell, I’ve driven some of it at various times. But I had issues with the change I did didn’t agree with or understand. I also have trouble having the confidence to make job changes.

I think I’ll learn more if I adapt to change better.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I actually felt bad about not doing a post yesterday. Its because I felt bad.
  • It’s getting sad when we just blow off these mass shootings or even the daily individual shootings each day because another one comes the next day. I’m beginning to think that only when the number of people affected by them outnumbers those who aren’t will there be any action taken.
  • I live in District 7 of Maryland and I’m human and I like living here. Are there sections that need help? Yes. But look at the country as a whole and a lot of it needs serious help. Oh and statistically there are more rats in NYC and Washington than in Baltimore.
  • Let us see, he has called me less than human because of where I live. He has called me unpatriotic because I’m a Democrat. He has called me the enemy of the people because I work in the publishing industry. He knows nothing about me.

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Off the rails

Welcome to the Divided States of America. I guess it’s been that way for some time but common issues, common sense, and common decency all seem to have gone out the door. And I’m wondering how many decades it will be till they return.

The train is no longer on the tracks.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m not surprised we have differences. We have always had differences. It’s how we have decided to go about them that has changed. And that Jennie isn’t going back in the bottle for a long time or till its resolved.

OK, I’ll get back on a positive slant here. This has been a good summer so far and I hope to keep it on track this week. Got a day of vacation scheduled and lots of plans for this week. Time to get the camera back in my hands. Time to create and interact with the community. Time to try to make a positive difference.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m enjoying being a ragtop man.
  • Where did July go? Noo, summer is slipping away.
  • For as much time as I spend in DC, I haven’t seen a lot of it.
  • Arguing or responding to someone whom you have no respect for is a waste of time.
  • Look for things to be thankful for and you will be much happier.
  • You can learn a lot about life by watching sports. Lessons like not giving up. Not getting too high during successful times or too low during troubling times.

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Watering myself

No, I didn’t piss myself. Not that old yet. I’m talking about watering my mind and body. Well, I’m doing a better job on the mind as compared to the body but working on both. Getting my priorities straight and keeping my mental health strong against the opposing forces that come my way.

I’ve had an amazing run of time where doing some physical work hasn’t hurt me. Feeling stronger because of it. Learning to work with age. Taking more breaks. Keeping hydrated and not biting off more than I can do. Who knew taking care of myself would be helpful.

I had a wonderful breakfast with some old friends this morning. Good to see everyone doing well. I get great enjoyment from such long term and solid relationships. Laughter and Love, what my can you ask for.

Flower Fireworks
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well we have known each other so long the abuse also is thrown in but its all a great time. That’s the second get together this weekend with great friends. I’m one lucky camper. And of course, I have my Better Half. My best friend, which might make me the luckiest camper around.

More fireworks from nature.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s possible to be tired from doing nothing. At least that is what I’ve heard.
  • We had a conversation about sleep today. Kind of makes me wonder if anyone is getting enough.
  • I’m on a mission to make my work week shorter than the weekend.
  • Can I get a do-over on my stupid years?

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The Spot

You know the saying, “X marks the Spot.” Well, does it? I just happened to be strolling down Tiber Alley in Ellicott City the other day when I came upon this mark on the asphalt. Or should I say marks? You can see the shadow of a faint start to another X. I’m guessing someone changed course and decided on a different spot.

X marks what spot for you?
Photo by Mike Hartley

To me, it’s OK to change your point. Be it a starting one, midpoint or finish line. Sometimes when you are experiencing the journey you learn and sometimes change your focus point.

I thought I was starting something 6 years ago when I started blogging. Only in the last year have I put down a pace of posting that I originally intended (daily).

I hoped to have fresh photo content every day. I still haven’t reached that goal but I’m doing better each year. Lots of things have taken place between my starting point and now. Life happens every day and no matter your intentions, it gets complicated. I struggle with wanting to do what I would like versus staying with a tried and true income/job. It’s made more difficult by having the least investment emotionally in the people I work with now. Most of my old friends have retired. It’s much different than it used to be even though its the same company that I’ve been coming into more than the last 2 decades.

So I try to keep a balance. I do my professional job well and try to squeeze into the remainder of the week as much as I can. I’ve started to look at that remaining time very closely. I’m starting to edit out some huge time killers. TV is a big one. I’m getting to the point where I don’t feel like I have to sit in front of that box. For instance, right now the ballgame is on and I’m just listening to it and writing this as I type. If something comes up with my team I might run around the corner and catch a replay, but I’m getting some work done and having some relax time at the same time. Well, let me get back to editing a few more shots.

Random Thoughts fo the Day

  • The most popular words on daytime tv seem to be either “if you or a family member” and “The law offices of XY&Z”
  • My family might think I like cutting grass and yard work. I do like the exercise but I do it for the view when I’m done each week.
  • A happy man I am. Well, most days.
  • The D7100 and a zoom lens is a heavy combination. I’m going to have to stay in shape or start using a tripod more.

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Every once in awhile I ask myself what am I doing. And by that, I mean with my blog and hobbies. Yeah, they are hobbies, but ones I enjoy a lot. They are more of a passion than hobbies.

Snapped these images from my neighbors garden today. Photos by Mike Hartley.

I’d love to spend more than a few minutes here and there working on my crafts but I just haven’t made it the priority I had hoped. When I started I easily thought I could pull together a post or two a day. The things to write about and photograph were endless. The images of designs and treatments to accompany the work. The interaction with the community. The incorporation of video and carvings and sculptures.

I thought I could do a lot more and maintain a busy personal and professional life. I was wrong and right. I have done a lot with the time I’ve had. And I underestimated the job of doing everything myself. That has been a common mistake of mine over history.

But I’m happier than ever. I’ve used it to look at myself a little more. I’ve used it to help work through some issues. I’ve gotten enjoyment from starting this and some work on my photo site. But time is moving by me very fast and if I want to get nearer my goals I’m going to have to shape up and do more. So here is my fresh start.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Laughter is really the best medicine.
  • You’ve heard of “Hammer Time.” Well at my house we have “Hammock Time”
  • And a special day it was.
  • The more relaxed I am, the more creative I feel.
  • I keep fighting the urge to add Instagram to my ritual of social media behaviors.
  • I believe I missed going to the county fair last year. I don’t think I’m going to miss it this year. I mean its a bargain because I finally qualify for the Senior discount price for entrance.

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Here we go

I was reading the question of the day from another blog I follow and it was ” If you could switch places with someone for a week, with whom would you like to do it and why? Well, this got me thinking of course. And even though I comment fairly often and enjoy it, I thought my answer to this one might be a bit long for a comment.

I’d like to know what it is like to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Photo by Mike Hartley

First off, I’m entirely happy being me. I haven’t always been, but I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. Well maybe a healthier version of me without the cancers and back issues. This is especially true since I’ve really started to appreciate what I’ve been given. So the short answer is no thanks, I might miss something very special in my own life if I were to trade places with someone for a week.

But as I thought about it, and I chuckled, a few things popped to mind. First, a number of people entered my head so I thought I’d break the week up into days. On Monday I’d like to be either Richard Pryor or George Carlin to know what comic genius feels like.

On Tuesday I’d like to be Kobe and Shaq for a day to see what incredible physical gifts in my favorite sport felt like. On Wednesday I’d like to devote the day to music and be able to play drums like Neal Peart and keyboards like Billy Powell and guitars like Eric Clapton and bass like John Entwistle.

On Thursday I’d like to spend the day outside being Ansel Adams photographing and all evening in the studio being Annie Lebovitz.

On Friday I’d like to be Myron Mixon and cook up the best and largest bbq for my family and friends. Add in some crabs also.

On Saturday I’d like to spend a few moments as my wife, my children, and my best friends to understand what would make me a better husband, father, and friend. On Sunday I’d like to be a younger version of myself and pass on a boatload of wisdom that I needed when I was younger.

Actually, I might ask for a few weeks because I can think of some more people I’d like to change places with.

  • I’d like to find the most giving person alive and feel what it’s like to be selfless.
  • I’d like to change places with the Dad I never got to know to find out what he was like.
  • I’d like to see what it felt like to be Dale Earnhart racing to victory.
  • I had better stop this before I bore people.

I got my ass in gear today and hoisted the camera for a few images. Might even head back out this evening and grab a few night frames. Really going to try to get fresh material in this each day.

I didn’t realize till I got home and did some editing of my walk around Ellicott City today that I had a lot of glass in my shots.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The more I do the more I’m inspired to do. At least in my own work.
  • Two very longtime friends moving away this next month. Not far enough to keep us apart but will make the frequency of visits less often I fear.
  • Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. If you get that feeling a lot, you’re doing well.
  • Tomorrow is going to be special for a number of reasons.
  • Any day you can start off by helping someone, its a nice start.

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Grill’en and Chill’en

One of my best friends sent me a picture of a RibEye on the grill yesterday and of course, that inspired me to fire up my own grill today. So I did some scallops on the grill and they were very tasty. Good thing we went with grilling them out because BG&E was back at work in the neighborhood and another 2-hour outage which is really cramping my workday.

Love me some seafood.
Photo by Mike Hartley

What is strange about BG&E is not that there are outages. Not that we don’t expect things to take a while sometimes when there are multiple areas affected by storms. There is no surprise to see out of state power crews around like we had today replacing a transformer in our neighborhood. What is surprising is the lack of communication or details about the work going on.

For instance, they knew they were going to be taking our service down today. Did anyone get a heads up? NO. The guys in the trucks gave me time estimates but BG&E never did even though I asked for status updates. We have all this communication technology and its not being used or at least properly in my opinion. So unless you can find the power crew in your area doing the work on your outage you aren’t going to get much.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Avoided becoming road pizza today as a huge truck ran a red light and I just caught him in the corner of my eye coming through. He didn’t even slow down. Kind of puts a new perspective on the day. And its good to still have cat-like reaction times in my 60’s.
  • Being healthy each day is the foundation for everything else you want to do. Those who aren’t healthy and still do, overcome and excel are to be admired.
  • I’m a believer that being mentally healthy is very important for long life. And even if I’m wrong it makes a short journey better.
  • If you live each day correctly you have met your deadlines.
  • I can’t wait to get my camera back in hands tomorrow and the rest of the week.


Stuff that makes you go WHAT?

There is a new neighborhood being constructed right across the street from ours on Woodstock Road. It’s in the heart of Woodstock. So what do they name this? The Preserve at Marriotts Ridge.

Well Marriotsville road and the center of Marriottsville is 4.1 miles away. Marriotts Ridge High School is 3.8 miles away. This Preserve at Marriots Ridge is right between the WOODSTOCK Snowball Stand and the WOODSTOCK Inn. It is serviced by the WOODSTOCK Post Office.

It’s Friggin WOODSTOCK, you morons.

Sunny and smiling in Woodstock MD today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Next on the hit list.

I don’t understand it. I don’t get it. I’m saddened by it. I’m disturbed by it. I was reminded of it in a news clip I saw of a concert. It’s where everyone has their cell phone raised above their heads to record the concert. Something they will probably never watch but just to post online.

This is so foreign to me. To see a concert is to watch and experience it LIVE. I don’t care, nobody is going to be able to experience it as you will LIVE. And if you not watching but trying to get the picture right you’re missing the point of LIVE and experiencing life and something special to you. A lyric, a tone or beat, a rhythm, an emotion or pose. Many things that if you’re not watching, you will miss making it less special.

Oh, and there is no way to convey online the experience of walking out of a Led Zepplin concert with your friends and yell to them a foot away, “That’s the loudest F’ing concert I’ve ever been to” and have them reply WHAT, because they can’t hear either. But everyone has a huge smile on their face and has experienced something special. Each person remembers something decades later that still makes their neck hair stand up and tickle you.

I was going to go off on the greedy Opioid pharmaceutical operations but lost power to the house today so that is cutting into production time. So I’ll go off on BG&E instead. My better half is not happy which means I’m not happy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • People have disappointed me greatly today.
  • Remembering to focus on things that are important to me helps balance out everyone else’s priorities.
  • I’ve got to get out of this funk I’m in this evening. Sleep would do the trick if I could sleep at nights. Guess I’ll have to wait to the morning.
  • If you can, work for someone you trust and respect. If you can’t, cover your ass and find something else.

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Celebrate the heat

I’m in my element in this weather. Well for the most part. The extreme heat will get to me but not as much as most people. Today is one of those days where you had better be close to water or in it if you’re going to be outside for long.

You want to talk HOT.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Boy, these workweeks roll around fast and go by even faster. Seems like I’m walking out of that building and on the way back in the next minute. So many personal goals this weekend unaccomplished. So many minutes of rest missed. But there was much to be proud of. I’ve recharged again by seeing my children and family. Not just a little bit but spending some quality time together.

I’m so proud of my family. They are each so special. They have filled and continue to fill their father with special memories and times. I hope they know how I cherish these.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think the saying goes, “It’s not what you say but what you do.” But I think there might be a few exceptions to that rule.
  • I think being in love most of my life has helped and will help me live longer.
  • If you have to think about cooling off go grab the snow shovel out of the shed.
  • I find it very troubling that others will describe and try to define how patriotic I am or aren’t without knowing a thing about me.

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Sweating Saturday

I love it, the heat that is. Well, I do have to admit it is a bit warmer than what I call comfortable. My better half is not happy. This is not her season. It’s the opposite of her favorite time of year. So I’ll listen to her complain about the heat because she listens to me cursing the cold of winter each year.

Captain Skully
Photo by Mike Hartley

I still got out and did a number of things today which felt good. I tried to fix my father-in-law’s car door latch. Hope that is holding. Did some trimming out in the yard. We did some birthday shopping for my Son and I went to my favorite store – Clarks/Ace Hardware.

I have to give Clark’s Hardware some respect here. I’ve been patronizing them for decades. They are the most friendly, helpful and knowledgeable people around. I highly recommend this business here in sunny Howard County.

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to my sister inlaw. Those visits pass so fast. Life passes so quickly. That makes it easier to look forward to each new day. Each new adventure or task.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • You ever get a phone call from a large organization and they say they made a mistake in your favor?
  • Don’t forget Sunday is National Ice Cream Day. Yeah, like I needed an excuse to eat more ice cream.
  • This is what you call a HOT summer night.

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I love to laugh

I woke this day and listened to some comedy. That is a fine thing to have on when just working along at the computer or tinkering in the basement. But it’s not something I do often even though laughing through this day has me thinking I need to make this more a part of every day like I do with music. Actually, I laugh a lot even without comedy on YouTube or clubs. My friends and I are a fairly comical group. So an email or text or phone call might have me smiling all day. And then there are our weekly vigils where laughter is unavoidable.

Helping people laugh and looking for people to be close to that are funny can make life a real joy. I’ve never been shy interjecting humor as I can.

I got to spend some family time for a few hours before heading outside to do war with Mother Nature. She was a formidable opponent today. And the next two days might be warmer. I’m finally using my brain and not pushing it in very hot weather.

Hazy Hot and Humid.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This has been a great start to the weekend. For some reason, I feel very blessed and at peace. I think that the reason is everyone is healthy and pretty happy in my family and close circle of friends. That is nothing to be sneezed at. I’m also enjoying a fairly nice run the last few weeks and that is a welcomed stretch that I’d like to keep going.

I’m inspired to work into the night on some creative pursuits. Let’s see what I can dream up this evening.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Life, do it LIVE. Planning is cool. Reflection is great. LIVING is the S**T
  • I look around my office and the word that leaps to mind is “Purge.”
  • Going to print tonight till the unit runs out of ink.
  • Just being thankful for lots of things at the moment.

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The beginning

I like thinking of every day as a beginning. I don’t know what that beginning is someday’s, but its always a beginning. Today happens to be the beginning of my weekend. And you know I love me some weekends. I almost feel like a different person at times.

It used to be a lot more seamless. I had a lot of friends on and off the job. I still have a lot off the job but way less and shorter-term ones than most of my history professionally on the job.

Park your car, put your feet up or climb in a hammock.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve had a lot of new beginnings this year. Even though the retirement is years off the countdown has begun. It’s just something fun I do for myself. I’m beginning to learn about being a grandparent. It’s coming up on a year since I tried to start posting daily so the beginning foundation has been finally laid. The habit is in place. The enjoyment of trying to accomplish something. Maybe that is my beginning to my chosen career in retirement.

Recently I’m beginning to get the camera in my hands and learn that tool better. I’m going to begin a carving project this weekend. And now it’s late and I’m beginning to get tired. So I will have to finish up this thought tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was thinking, but then I got paranoid that someone might catch me and went back to playing dumb ass.
  • I get my exercise by charging my better half’s FitBit.
  • Nothing like a convertible on a hot summer evening.
  • I think I lost a few pounds working outside today. A fine balance of getting something done and avoiding heat stroke at the same time.

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I like saying hello, and good morning or evening. Sometimes even a how are you or have a great day.

At a minimum just looking friendly and smiling. I like holding the door for elderly people. Also women and children. Or even if it’s just the person behind me, even if it is a guy.

I don’t say or do these in passing. I believe I was taught these lessons at a young age and have just continued them. No, I’m not saying I’m the most considerate person around, but I do feel different than most people. It didn’t used to be uncommon to see lots of people doing this. Now its more the exception instead of the rule.

I like Pirate themes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I was encouraged by all the courtesy I did see at the beach on vacation this year. Maybe its when people relax and don’t have a million other things on their minds. Time is there to be friendly and courteous again.

I was worried about getting to the beach when I got older. That worry has been removed.Of course when the time comes mine will be the one with flames and larger rear tires.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I made my granddaughter laugh. My day is complete.
  • Soft Stuff ice cream doesn’t seem to be what it was when it was outside and people lined up on the ramp.
  • Actions or lack there of are what people really mean. So listen to less of what they say and more to what they do.
  • If you have outside work to do, get up early and finish up early because the outside is set to broil.
  • I’m going to focus on two things this weekend. Shooting more and getting some rest.

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More like free of work for the day. Yep, a random vacation day is upon me. The mind and body are already relaxed. A haircut and time with friends at the ballgame this evening. Orioles Park is a nice place for baseball. The Nationals whipped their behinds tonight.

It was the time together that was special. Laughs and stories, beers and bbq. Bobbleheads and bullpens, heat and home runs. A complete evening it was.

Friendships always are laying a new track.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Do you ever look forward to a good night’s sleep with anticipation?
  • It was Brooks Robinson BobbleHead night at the stadium and he was there. It brought back memories of the man doing amazing things at 3rd base.
  • So many great ideas, so little time.
  • I like going to bed with a smile on my face.

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Best of both worlds

I was listening to some Van Halen on the road and thought about the title of this song (Best of Both Worlds). Yeah, I would like that. I’d like to live long and be healthy. I’d like to get my paycheck but be retired. I’d like to have a thousand horsepower under my right foot and never get a ticket.

I’d like to be a better provider for my children and their children and share my wisdom but not overwhelm them. I’d like to travel with my better half but I can also be happy spending my days with her at home.

I’d love to drive till the tires fell off but without traffic. I’d love to see a world where we work on problems together. I’d like to have the thought that companies and their management had the best interest of both their customers and employees first in their hearts.

I’d like to see ideas and thoughtful plans instead of hype and rhetoric in our leaders. I’d like to see knowledge and empathy be more valuable than greed and apathy.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I felt the excitement of a young man when my new parts catalog came for my car.
  • Trust is becoming a lost art.
  • Are we witnessing the beginning of the breakdown of our society as it was?
  • Tuesday sounds like a good day for a haircut.
  • If you want to remember what is really important in life, spend some time with an infant. (Love, care, shelter, food). Oh yeah, making them laugh.

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Gas and Go

Locally gas stations have been rather high lately so I took a trip up to one that is always reasonable in Sykesville. Instead of hopping back on Route 32 I decided to cruise through town and grab a few frames. It was early and the Farmers Market folks were just setting up.

Its been a berry berry berry good Sunday.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It hadn’t gotten too hot yet. Well the sun hadn’t risen on some areas of town yet. I love that time of day in the summertime. I met a nice woman setting up her tables for her handmade jewelry and had a quick talk on politics and what was right and wrong with the world.

PC – Peaches and Cauliflower.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I continued to walk the town for a short bit but remembered we were going to visit my mother in-law who just made her return home. Was good to see her comfortable again.

Here a tomato, there a tomato.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I didn’t do as much shooting as I had hoped for this weekend so that is a good reason to pick up the cameras during the week also this week.

Don’t get benched, get to a farmer’s market.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll see what I can get started at tonight. I noticed they had just bailed the field of hay near my home and some of those looked nice scattered across the field this evening. I’ll go back for a few shots of those tomorrow.

Distileries are popping up like weeds on my lawn.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Overall it was a pretty good day. I’m kind of tired because I wasn’t able to get the sleep I needed but will try to do better tomorrow. I’m starting to worry about that affecting my overall health badly so its more of a priority for me than in the past.

I love the sign on the left next to the Maryland flag.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If your lucky to live a long life the biggest bet you will make is when to retire.
  • You know that NBA players can’t have a conversation with each other without putting their hand over their mouths. Do they all have bad breath? Could they be saying things they maybe shouldn’t be saying? Could it be a gag where they are pretending to talk and see how many cameras they can get to take a picture or tape of it? All I know is it looks bad.
  • Writing is easy. Coming up with something good to say isn’t so much.
  • I love short work weeks.

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Sun and sweat

I love being outdoors even if it is in the yard doing maintenance. I remember so vividly looking out the window after surgery and thinking how good it would be again to be cutting the lawn or trimming the trees. And I’m there and have been doing it and you won’t hear me complain at all.

They were both looking at me and I’m thinking they are thinking is he too big?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes a hard days work looks good as well as feeling good. Today was one of those cases. I used to feel that way about all the work I did but that has changed. Wouldn’t have dreamed it but it has. And that is ok now because I have accepted that change. Thank goodness for my own pursuits so I can still feel that.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Coming home from the hospital is always a good thing. I’m sure one family member will concur tomorrow.
  • Going to shoot for a good night’s rest.
  • Time to make some memories this week.
  • This might be the first week I haven’t seen my granddaughter. I miss her.
  • I was rather disappointed in myself for missing sunrise this morning.

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What a great day. The clearing after those storms is looking good to start. I wish I had started to look at days as a new opportunity each day as I do now. I was selfish for a long time and took time for granted. No more, not one day goes by without much appreciation and reflection.

Who has the better view?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even for a day filled with chores and concentrating on others well being, it was a rewarding day. When you can add a smile to someones day or let them know you are in their corner at times of need, you know you are making the right choices.

So my focus tomorrow is going to be to get out early and try a few shots before sunrise. Then home to wash my baby and clear the salt crust from my better half’s car. I think a cruise is in order also which might give me a chance to grab a few more shots.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m encouraged when I see butterflies.
  • I used to think I didn’t deal with stress well. Then I started looking at some others and now I don’t feel too bad at times.
  • I’m trying to be a better partner with Mother Nature.
  • I think someone needs to start an organization to save the manual transmission in cars before they aren’t offered anymore.
  • Holding some good thoughts for the people of Nar-lins.
  • A birthday of a very good and old friend today. I’m so glad so many of us still get to celebrate together at our age.

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In the air tonight

It happens to be a song I like (In the air tonight), but it also means to me, a keen sense of what is around you at night. Being a night owl and out and about in both city and country you become much more aware of your surroundings. Your senses become alive.

Not a full double rainbow but it was trying.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Sight is challenged and there are a lot of things out there in the dark with night visions. You know the guys in DC where I work roaming with their night vision goggles. Then there are the night people that work as coordinated teams and while there vision isn’t better they have more eyes on you than you do them. Of course, nature has a huge natural advantage over us due to several differences in our eyes in both makeup and size. They are on you well before you will ever see them.

Being that sight is limited, the sound becomes more important. Hearing can tell you where to look before you can see it. When to and not to take that next step or move quickly.

And that is useful in both country and city environments. Being I live next to the woods I’m familiar with wildlife and sometimes very closely. I’ll open my back door and be face to face with deer or fox.

But don’t overlook the sense of smell. The night and things out in it certainly have smells. Just like that drunk behind you that smell before he stumbles past is a sign of danger. So is an especially change of odor outside. IE Skunk or maybe a bear.

I don’t know what got me thinking about the night again. I used to take late night walks in DC but I stopped that nonsense. Walking in the woods at night isn’t much safer. But I love the night and I’m thinking I’ll get out and shoot a little tomorrow night. I’m so tired now I can barely keep my eyes open.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I see where Maryland (my home state) ranked dead last in the best state to retire in. Wow, that kind of put a damper on my spirits.
  • Things change so fast. Good thing I got a scorecard.
  • When I say sleep is on the horizon that means I’m going to bed at daybreak.
  • Going to visit a few special people tomorrow.

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Fishing for fun

Actually my Wednesday is a lot like peoples Friday. The end of the work week is near. Another day in the saddle and this kid is free to pursue the personal pleasures. Fishing for a fun weekend ahead. No not the kind with water and a pole and line but the kind to catch some pleasant memories and images.

Fishing for a good time this weekend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t wait to get the camera back in my hands and do some shooting this weekend. Lets see if we can pull that off.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love the “Life is Good” tee shirts. Life would be good if I could still fit into some of my older ones.
  • I’m looking forward to firing up the grill this weekend.
  • If you want to find out how crazy this country is getting just get in your car.

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Don’t fence me in

I was thinking about a number of things when I was editing this string of shots. I glazed right by this one at first for a few others and then on my second pass I kept getting stuck on this image. I find it interesting how my view of what I think might be good changes from one day to the next.

Nothing is really contained.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It spurred thoughts of how we try to fence in nature. It made me think about how I put of fences between my own creative expression. I thought about a fence between neighbors. I thought of fences to protect patrons at baseball games.

Then I remembered the fences in the pictures showing how we are keeping some people now. I see fences between families. And the obvious fence/wall between political parties.

Maybe if we just took them all down except the ones to protect us from the sports we watch might be a thought. Because the more divided we are the more we are going to keep putting up. And one day if you’re not careful you might be behind one of them if you don’t have the right opinions it seems.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Type till the keys fall off.
  • Remembering my father today on his passing many years ago. It might be one of my oldest memories etched in my memory banks.
  • When the pain subsides that has been with you for a period of time there is great joy and elation. Even if you know its temporary.
  • I guess Winter is the punishment I get for enjoying summer days like today as I do.

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Precious moments

Each day I’m looking for precious moments. Ones that might trigger short or lasting memories. Some like my better half waving goodbye each day are nice to get off to work with and remember when I get there to spur thoughts of getting home to see her right after.

Days that include pictures of my children in a text or email. Or just messages from them. As I was going through shots from the beach I remembered how much fun the kids had miniature golfing and I still remember the courses we played and their smiles and laughter.

Tee off a good time.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Good memories can get you through difficult times. Good memories can help you keep you in the right mindset and looking for more. They can be shared with others and inspire laughter and ideas for creating more. So here is to looking for that special moment in each day.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Proper sleep is an elusive goal.
  • It’s healthier to look at things as they really are instead of how you think they should be.
  • I’ve been in more pain today and yesterday than I have been in for months. I finally had to rely on modern medicine for relief.

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That peaceful easy feeling

I’m in much better spirits than I normally am before starting the new work week. I’m going to see if I can go all week without letting the small stuff get to me. I also feel recharged to get some work done on my projects. The creative juices are working again. I can tell because there seems to be a natural flow instead of a strained effort.

Peace be with you this week.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s not where you spend your time, it’s how you spend it.
  • Spending time in worry is most of the time a waste of time.
  • My scale says I ate well on vacation.
  • Sometimes coming back home puts a new light on it.
  • In some parts of the country there is a whole lotta shakin goin on.

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Sunset on vacation

It has been a wonderful week with loved ones. The weather was beautiful. The lodging was great. We ate well and relaxed. Despite the long trip home today filled with accidents and storms ahead of us, I’m feeling it was a great success for not just myself but the people I love.

One more sunset and I return to the job.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve gotten some exercise and hope to keep that routine up. So maybe up early on Sunday for a walk and some chores to get me moving. I’ve read through some other insightful blogs that making a habit of something can really make it easy to continue when it becomes part of your average day.

So here is to a fresh start on keeping a better fitness effort up.

Random Thoughts of the Day.

  • I’ve got some jumbo lump crab. Now I have to find those crabcake directions I used last time.
  • I’m having a convertibile withdraw. I will have to cure that tomorrow, weather permitting.
  • For the first time in a long time, I got myself a new tee-shirt for vacation.
  • I should have shot more pictures while I was vacationing, but I was mentally soaking a lot of it up. Maybe the next trip down which I hope isn’t long off.

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Secrets fireworks

A cherry ice cream soda at Dumser’s and then some fireworks last night. As you can see I’m learning how to shoot firework. Hope to do much better next year.

All photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Morning.

  • I told my better half I was going to cut back on drinking Cokes. So I switched to Cherry Cokes.
  • I love making photo prints for people.
  • I’ve discovered the right pillow makes all the difference in having or not having a stiff neck.
  • I’m preparing myself for the return to the grind by etching pleasant memories in my mind.

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A hazy start to the 4th

I went out for another sunrise this morning. Was far from being alone. I see lots of people enjoy the same thing I do. But I wasn’t feeling my best so did a limited shoot. Hopefully, this back of mine will fair better later this morning.

Going to be another hot one today. No complaints from this guy though. I do have to be a little careful the next few days because I overdid the sun a bit yesterday and even though there is no serious burn, I do feel a bit toasted.

Tonight it should be great. I have a nice vantage point where I can see 3 separate fireworks displays, without fighting traffic or crowds. Please be safe and enjoy the holiday. Celebrate but don’t overdo it.

Random Thoughts of the Morning

  • Bliss
  • Peace
  • Hunger
  • Pain

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Better outlook

I’ve been sorting things in my mind out the last few days. No small task, given all the clutter. I realized I was letting the small stuff back into my life too much and it was time to regroup. And by small stuff, I mean issues at my job, politics, small minded people, traffic, financial worries, how my yard looks and feeling overweight to mention a few.

Time with family has helped me refocus on the important things which are my family and friends. How precious time together can be. Helping each other grow and enjoy life. Being satisfied with our lot in life. Supporting each other in those matters.

Despite the storms, I’m sailing in the right direction.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m looking forward to every day now and making the best of things. So let’s all have a safe and enjoyable 4th.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Having a tan always makes me feel better.
  • Sometimes I feel very alone, but I’m learning to make the best of that also.
  • It would be fitting if it rains like a MF on Thursday night in DC.

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And it’s GOOD

Up and out before the crack of dawn today and that is a wonderful feeling. I love getting an early start to the day. I’m recovering that positive attitude on life that I was hoping for.

And here is the snap. The kick is up.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Part of it is just the ability to relax and unwind. And having the time for that has made it possible. I’ve got to find a way to work some of that mindset and time into my normal weeks to get the right balance in life.

If this were a field goal it would be good. Then again any sunrise is good regardless of the goal post.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’m headed back out to lap up some sun. Just like I saw this dog below lap up some ice cream last night.

Actually, he had an entire cone before he turned his attention to the 3 remaining ones.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I have discovered the midday nap. Where has this been hiding all my life?
  • I’m of the belief that Dumsers has the best Cherry ice cream sodas.
  • Too bad some people think that life is all about them.

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Moving along, welcome July

Well, the sun has set on June. A fine month it was. Felt alive again and feeling better. Hope the summer continues in this same light and rewards. I wonder sometimes how many summers I have left to enjoy. So I’m trying to make each one special.

The last sunset of June
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m trying a new daily habit of walking. It feels good and I’m racking up the miles. But on the downside, I’m getting a little sore in the feet. Once it’s a daily habit, I’m sure that will pass.

Here’s looking at you kid.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Fitness feels good. Not right after it but later.
  • Sand feels great unless it’s in your shorts.
  • Taking a break from the sun. Only because it’s going to be night soon.
  • I wish I could overcome the fear of doing what I want for a living.

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I’m loving this weekend so far. And that is because I’m learning to relax again. One of my many flaws is being intense. Sometimes overly, even when the situation isn’t. It’s just hard for me to change gears like that and always has been.

I guess it’s from habit and really not having much time to relax in my life. And I guess I’m naturally hyper. So I should try to be like this guy on the jet ski riding into the sunset.

Only if there were more daylight.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It might be a late start but I’m trying to take better care of myself. So an early walk was on the schedule today. Actually, I think I’m going to try to fit in 2-3 walks each day this week. Who knows, I might actually start to jog one day.

Lots of early risers.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I helped a complete stranger today. Now that is a good start to the day. So let’s keep it going and see what I can think to do next.

Well placed Shadow
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Morning

  • I need to do more for others.
  • If we all thought we need to do more for others more would get done. And while there still would be suffering, there would be a lot less of it.
  • There are a lot of terrible things being done in the name of good things.
  • I wonder if it’s too early for an ice cream soda?

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Saturday symphony

One of those days that just sounds right and felt right. So all is right with the world. Well, not really but most of us made it through another day.

Formations over Easton today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Days are so packed with tasks that its hard sometimes to find the simple joys. Today I had many of them and was lucky enough to realize it. Sometimes all there is are those simple pleasures of life. And that is enough for me. Some days you just have to look to the sky and you will see something special.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Children’s smiles can keep my heart young.
  • I’m practicing reducing my soda intake. I hate to practice.
  • So many bad drivers, so few police to deal with them.
  • It’s great to wake up happy and go to bed the same way.

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Friday Feasting

Feasting on a great start to the day. Sun and Shine were out full force. Family time is on the horizon and relaxing for a few days is on the agenda. What more could you want?

I could claw my way through a few of these.
Photo by Mike Hartley

My Son-in-law sent home a few crabs last night so I had them this morning. Tasty little morsels they are. Going to have to have a few more next week. With the feasting, I should try to balance it out get some more exercise.

I should look at exercise as when I can fit it in. I’ve got to make it part of a routine like doing this blog, a daily experience. Easier said than done for sure. But let’s give it a whirl.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Having the right attitude might not fix everything but it’s going to get a lot more done than a bad one.
  • Happy anniversary to one of my children.
  • A sad anniversary of the Capitol Gazzete loss of life.
  • The cameras are charged. Used to be I’d say they were full of film.
  • Grandchildren remind you how fast time really moves.

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walk that way

This is a fine day indeed. It’s one that has few boundaries. One of the anticipations of joy and love. Thinking of the possibilities and opportunities and acting on them. And then I checked my work email and went ballistic. Such is life, my mistake for looking at that during my time.

Always there. Thank goodness.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Even seeing friends for a few minutes is worthwhile.
  • I don’t like backseat drivers and especially ones who don’t drive themselves.
  • I think my car smiled at me after I gave it a bath. I know the tires spun a little easier.

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We all need an assist once in a while. Some more than others. Its good to be one of those people willing to assist. The world can use a lot of help. So can its inhabitants. At least do your part for your family when they are in need.

How can we help?
Photo by Mike Hartley

It doesn’t have to be something dramatic. Hold a door open for an older person. Take the time to talk to an older person who is alone. Pick up the phone and call someone you know needs help or an ear to talk to.

Help that mother struggling with her children. Don’t just walk by that homeless person, hand them a sandwich someday. There are a million and one things to do. It’s just taking a few moments to do them.

I just looked at my drafts folder and there is over 200 post I’ve started and never got back to for various reasons. Some are ones I’ve been working on and I feel will make the effort to finish one day.

Others are seeds of ideas yet, needing more thought. Some are just things I should trash. There are some I’ve started with a photo or two trying to figure out what type of words that would go with them. But it is time to clear that drafts bin out so away I go.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I need to be more excited about the day I’m having and the next one up to bat.
  • I’m having grandchild withdrawal.
  • I’m so glad I don’t take the opportunities in front of me each day for granted any longer.
  • There should be a lot more debates. Information on where people stand, their beliefs and ideas. There associations and who they will look for to lead agencies. Lots of information we still don’t get today.
  • When you feel you haven’t had enough time to participate in all the things you would like to do, its been a good day.

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I was outside looking over my yard and home earlier. I’m very proud to be a homeowner but what is that really. Yeah, it might stay in the family after I’m gone but it will most likely be sold at some point. So am I just renting on a long term basis? I never think of that or look at it like that because my home is special to me just like each is to most people. My home feels like me. My home is where my base is. There is an emotional attachment to it because I’ve raised a family here and it has and triggers many memories for me.

Home is where your heart is. Be it the coast or heartland. And no my home isn’t here. But I do love the coast.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Like the Motley Crue song titled “Home Sweet Home” it seems like the journey home is always a good one. I still cruise by the home I grew up in once in a while. I love it when my kids come home and go to check the rooms they grew up in. It’s good to take pride in the way your home looks, inside and out.

Let’s see, what did I do to make the world a better place today. Well, I’m trying to shorten the length of my showers. I shortened the use of the A/C today. I might walk to the snowball stand instead of driving. I let some family and friends know that I love them. I got a little rest so I don’t have a bad attitude. I put in an honest days work. I smiled and laughed. I remembered and dreamed. I love the weather and absorbed that warm sun. It was a great day to be alive.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m starting not to answer my home phone because of all the telemarketing calls.
  • I think part of the plan of these cable providers is that they get the customer to do a majority of the work and troubleshooting. Not to the benefit of the customer, but to their own bottom line.
  • I’m so glad I’m no longer a slave to my job. I’m a slave to my crafts though and I love it.
  • People can do great things when they work together.
  • Music is a great motivator, just find your songs.

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Nothing like a colorful storefront window. Saw this one in EC on Saturday. Two of my favorite things, Maryland and Old Bay seasoning.

Was a rough start to the day but regained control late in the afternoon. Luckily I was able to resolve some issues but got some important ones to deal with the rest of the week.

I’m so glad I can catch myself now instead of spending days gritting my teeth or worse. Luckily I also have a safeguard in my better half which also helps me snap out of funks. Having my mind on things that I should be thankful for also helps avoid the selfish feelings I get from time to time.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Working on fumes today as evident in this post.
  • Being detailed has taken me a long way. I don’t know where, but it’s a long way.
  • Here’s to Robin Roberts winning the Craig Sager award.
  • The rains are over – time to wash the car.
  • I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
  • Lately I’ve got the urge to cook more myself. Lets see what we can muster up the remaining of the week.

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tooling around

I was just thinking about how much fun, tooling around in your favorite mode of transportation is still. Older motorheads in their classic muscle cars. a motorcycle, bike or sports car. A skateboard or family cruiser. Convertible or hardtop, it doesn’t matter.

I believe this is a 68 Pontiac Firebird 400
Photo by Mike Hartley

Being out there on wheels is where it’s at. Cruising Main Street on a bright day. Styling at a car show. Maybe a trip to the back roads or just to the local coffee shop.

Sunshine in a parking lot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Whatever form of wheeled transportation you chose, enjoy it and this summer, please.

Sprinting to the starting line.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So get out there, get those motors running and spokes turning. Shine on you crazy diamonds.

Spoken for.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s never too hot to grill out. But it can be too cold out to grill out.
  • It’s a good day for a snowball.
  • My body is good at letting me know when I overdue work. Message received.
  • Anticipation = Trying a new grilling spice rub.
  • It’s nice being able to look and focus on something positive coming soon.
  • I would like to get working on a post for a few days ahead. You know some breathing room for someone who tries hard to do a daily one. Maybe we will give it a shot.


Saturday stroll

Walked one of my favorite towns with a great friend today. Well, actually I walked Ellicott City before he got there and then we walked Oella. I felt good but put on an extra mile or two that my feet could have lived without. But surprisingly everything else felt great after the hike.

Buzzing along this Day
Photo by Mike Hartley
Sun on the right spot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

There are few things that I love more than summer mornings with temps in the 60’s and 70’s with a nice breeze to make life special.

Blue skies are a nice touch also and add a little red white and blue and we are cooking with juice.

I should thank my better half for allowing me a few hours to photograph and chat with a very old friend. It was a great conversation as it always is and one I hope to make more frequent. It’s good to get out and he is an avid walker. I hope I don’t hold him back to much. Maybe some more practice and I’ll be able to hold a better pace. I think I’ll get out on Sunday morning as well.

I do love old stone buildings. And this town has a few.

Beautiful Buildings in front of Lot B.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This structure above was our first office when we launched our own weekly newspaper. I enjoyed the short commute and being back in Ellicott City where I started my newspaper career. I believe its a legal and title group now that occupies it.

Always a hard-working town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ellicott City seems to be an example of what small business strength is all about. The risk of doing business in this town that’s been flooded a few times. The reliance of getting people out of big box stores and down to a neighborhood shop. The hard work and limited space they all deal with.

Classic car rolling through a classic town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I could sit and watch the classic cars and bikes tool through town. I can walk and be greeted by total strangers and wished a good morning with almost every passing person. I can lean over the bridge and watch the families of ducks. You can see store windows done with style and thought.

View from the sidewalk.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You can peer into spaces between homes and businesses and see wonderful garden treats. You can find many talented artists inside stores and out on the streets.

Some artist getting some practice in.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Working on the view of the street below.
Photo by Mike Hartley

At least I got out this day and worked at a craft I love. Sometimes I feel selfish about taking photos and working on this blog. But in a lot of ways, it makes me very happy and hopefully will continue to give me enjoyment in my senior years. And who knows, maybe others will find things they like.

Shady streets
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Balance out thinking and doing then smile about the accomplishments.
  • I love getting pictures of my granddaughter on days I can’t be with her.
  • It seems the more I photograph and write the less time I have to read.
  • Having conversations about what we can do to improve this country is something all of us should be doing each day. Who knows, there might be a winning idea someplace.
  • My walking partner today was like a treadmill that had the incline set at the moutain level.

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Friday fun

What a great start today. Actually, I stayed up too late and moving a little later than I hoped but I’m flexible. Its the weekend so I’m going with the flow today.

We had the pleasure of watching our grandchild today and then taking the family to dinner for a birthday celebration. What a wonderful time on a wonderful weather day.

Feeling it.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Soon to be a space filled with energy. Once I make some time.
  • Going for a long walk tomorrow. I’m going to have to give myself a pep talk.
  • Some days more than others remind me to live in the moment. Today was one of them.
  • The more I see people with their faces buried in smartphones, the less I’m inclined to use mine. They are addictive and need to be used in moderation.
  • Today I didn’t feel my age or older. That was a nice feeling.
  • I live for smiles.

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Haven’t run into a day where I have felt taxed in a while. But today was that day. I think the lack of sleep and things on my mind caught up with me. Also some conversations with two friends who retired in the last couple weeks.

All the things they were saying to me about how they felt the last few years of work rings so true to how I feel now. I have no idea how I’m going to power through the next several years but I will because I always have and there isn’t an alternative at present. Yes, I’m a little younger than the two people I mentioned but not that much.

Its good to have someone to look at a sunrise with.
Photo by MIke Hartley

It also got me thinking about what I would like to do in retirement again. I have no concrete plans but I have a list a mile long of things I’d like to do. Some of which I’m getting an early start on.

So off I go tonight to take some night shots and contemplate not having to get up to the weekly grind someday.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Five Guys makes a good burger.
  • OK, tonight is the NBA Draft. Which leaves me wondering what I’ll watch between now and the start of College basketball?
  • Every Friday is a Good Friday.
  • It’s sad to think any of the 9/11 responders wouldn’t get the care or help they need from the government.

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It’s been such a long time

Don’t know why I picked that title other than I had that song playing this morning on my iTunes (which I hear is going away). But it got me thinking about my life. Yeah, it’s been a long time compared to some who passed way to early. My relationships (personal and professional) have been together for a long time

My dreams of one day doing my own thing professionally have been there a long time. It’s been far too long since I’ve ridden a motorcycle. A long-time has passed since I’ve sat down with a dozen or two crabs in front of me. Its been a long time since I’ve since I haven’t worried about my health.

Some things have been a long time coming. Retirement used to seem a long time off, but now I see that light. It takes a LONG F’ing TIME to get to work some days.

My parents have passed for what seems to be a long time now. I’ve been without a pet for the longest time in my life. I’ve waited a long time to get started on my own dreams but I’m off the launchpad now. It takes me a long time to read a book.

I want to put my feet in the sand for a long time this summer. It’s been a long time since I’ve thrown a frisbee. And even longer since I’ve bent backward to catch one through my legs. I wonder what my back would think of that maneuver now? If I did it, it might be a long time till I get vertical again.

I’ve been in love for a long time. I just always didn’t appreciate it as I should have. I look at pictures on my wall and realize some of them were taken a long time ago. It’s getting to be a long time since I didn’t have a few grey hairs. A long-time has passed since the Allview Fishing team has made a journey out together.

What I would like to wake up to.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I haven’t had enough horsepower under my right foot to feel the front end try to lift off the ground in a long time. It feels like such a long time now between the visits with my children (even though I see them fairly regularly). Its been a long time since cleaning out my inbox.

My tractor has lasted a long time. It will be a long time till I ever purchase a hardtop car again. Some workdays just take a long time to pass. I can still play air guitar and sing for a long time. A lifetime isn’t really a long time no matter how long you live. I thought it would be a long time learning to become a writer, and I was probably right.

It’s been a long time since my last haircut so let me hit the road for that.


Where ever you want it

I was going to ask where the time goes, but my title says it all. Where ever you want time to go, that is where it will go. The more I get control and think about how I’m spending it the happier I am. And today I’ve made good use of time. At least I felt I did.

Focus on the light. Photo by Mike Hartley

Lots of things can get in the way of me using the time I have effectively. Some generated by things outside my control and some of my own making, but of those can be controlled and improved. And the more I practice that now the better I’ll be when hopefully I get the chance to retire in the next decade. That is when a good segment of time will be freed up and under my control again.

The job that pays the bills can really eat up a week and energy along the way. Some days it hard to find a few minutes to ramble on here. I’m trying to make a few more minutes each day now for this and other fulfilling activities.

And while I’d love to start those pursuits yesterday, I also realize I have to plan to survive on less than I’m earning now. The key to life is living long, as long as you can afford to live. Having your health is everything. But not having funds to live off of can quickly impact your health.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m down to one pair of reading glasses. I’m one accident away from not being able to read.
  • I wish I became an avid reader earlier in my life.
  • I enjoy working at my Fathers desk. Yes, it’s rather small. It could use a little work. But we are a good team.
  • Sometimes it’s a real challenge to try to keep up with so many people. But it’s a well worthy endeavor.

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A fresh start

Well, a little bit of a fresh start. Still a bit behind on rest, but I’m off and running. And the week has decided to start off on a few difficult notes but with the good (this past weekend) comes the bad.

Warmth Photo by Mike Hartley

Its a good thing all the people who do messed up stuff are balanced by the ones who make up for it in so many positive ways. The numbers though are getting dangerously close to going out of balance. And not in a good way.

Doing this blog helps me focus on doing the right things. About being positive. About keeping focused on the next opportunity. A repetitive action that gets me moving towards a goal I’d like to accomplish someday.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I haven’t stood out in the rain in a long time for no reason. Maybe I’ll try it tomorrow.
  • I can see the end of the work week already. Isn’t that at nice thought?
  • My granddaughter has my daughters smile.

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Thank you

I have to start today by thanking my Fathers again. I’ve looked hard at the photos of my Dad today. In some ways I feel I know him. In others I have so many unanswered questions that its troubling.


When a father passes early there are bound to be those unanswered questions. Those lost lessons. The words of encouragement and many other things.

In some ways his absence has been an inspiration to always be there for my children. I know how much it means to have a father. He didn’t get a chance to teach me what it was to be a good father.

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

Mom did a very good job though filling in for him. I’ve also learned and taken a number of lessons from my father in-law. And I thank him for that extra effort. Its much appreciated.

Proud of my Father in-law. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • This has been a wonderful Fathers day weekend.
  • I will never miss driving to DC when I retire. At least its good practice if I ever wanted to enter NASCAR.
  • I didn’t get going on my goal to photograph in the county each day. Good thing I got a to do list and I can try again this week.
  • I was telling my son how sad it is that sports stars and even regular players are moving around so much its hard to get invested with the teams as easily as it was in the old days.
  • I might be proved wrong, but I think the Lakers gave up too much.
  • Does it seem like the roads are in worse shape this year and taking longer to get repaired?
  • I would hope the local weather forecasters aren’t gamblers. Because more often than not they are wrong. Sometimes even within the same day.

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Feeling productive

An early start to the day gave me some good motivation to start the day with. I just also had the most wonderful visit with my daughter and her daughter this afternoon.

Good Morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

I got to thinking about Fathers day tomorrow. I’m going to try to learn some more about my father this evening. He passed when I was pretty young so all I have is some remnants of him and his history to go on now.

In regards to being a father myself, I hope both of my parents are proud of me. I know I’ve made a few mistakes here and there but I’ve been blessed with the two most wonderful children any parent could ask for. I feel their love so strongly. They have certainly made me as proud as any father could be in how they live and conduct their lives.

And of course, I can’t let the day come without saying happy Fathers day to my Son-in-law and of course my Father-in-law. One a brand new father and the other the wise sage of the family. Hats off to you both.

And I hope every father has their children reach out and as a child yourself (no matter the age) reach out to your father and express your thanks.

I wonder if he read all the signs?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Some days I get so tired. It actually might be easy to sleep long this evening.
  • I’m making a commitment to use my deck and hammock more this summer.
  • I’d feel better if I could get at least one of my desk cleaned off. But it does remind me I’m fairly busy.
  • I’ve noticed people who smoke are oblivious to the odor it leaves on their clothes and person.

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The Breeze

It was nice going out the door into that breeze this morning. Well, it was a little more than a breeze at times but it was refreshing. Driving with the top down today was also a treat. So was seeing my granddaughter smile at me.

There were a lot of great things about today. For instance, I took feeling good completely for granted until this moment. That is a real blessing and one never to be overlooked.

Today I felt bad for one of my friends. He is facing some tough times ahead and even though it’s of his own making it still tugs at my heart. He didn’t heed the words we were giving him. He didn’t or couldn’t change.

An older shot from B’more but it was the same type of day. Photo by Mike Hartley

Some days when I look back I marvel at what we get done. I guess when you work hard a lot of the time it’s easy to even take that for granted.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel horrible for missing to call someone important on their birthday yesterday.
  • Thankfully I’ll never have to listen to Sarah HS again.
  • Cutting grass is good therapy.
  • Learning to become more thoughtful as to how I spend my time.
  • Just when you think you have seen everything, the sun rises on a new day.

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Something new

Sometimes I feel a bit lazy. I’m just switching to the current WP editor. Hell, I have enough problems trying to pull a few new photos and some thoughts each day for a post.

Time for experimentation is very limited. I don’t even have a real photo editor like Photoshop or Lightroom. So today we move into the current world.

It’s about time this old dog gets moving again in using the tools available to me. I take so many opportunities for granted. I just have to work harder. So I’m going to go through support docs and see what this old dog can learn.

Taking flight, but first some lunch. Photo by Mike Hartley

But first a happy hour with one of my best friends. Got to start the weekend in the right frame of mind. Seeing my friends is a recharge in life that I need and survive on in addition to the family of course.

The laughter, insights, brotherhood and many more rewarding things are born from these many times together. We are there for each other in tough times also.

Cooling off. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Gaining knowledge is fun.
  • How can you trust anything online? A question to ask yourself when you’re reading along.
  • Being it’s going to be a wet evening I think I’ll fire up the basement studio and watch the game tonight.
  • A wonderful dinner at Pasta Plus in Laurel this evening.

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I feel like I’m just drifting from one thing to another some days. Sometimes I feel accomplishment and happiness from that routine and other days I feel like I get nothing accomplished or finished. There are days I drift into depression, and then days of total contentment with life and what surrounds me.

I love the views from and near my home before I hit the unending development of Howard Country and surrounding counties.
Photo by Mike Hartley

There are days that I feel my best thoughts and ideas come from the times I’m more relaxed. I’ve really got to work on being more relaxed. Most who know me say I’m a far cry from that. So here is to the coming weekend where I can maybe have some good thoughts and ideas and act on them.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Relief = Good cancer test results.  Rest = I actually got 6 hours sleep.  Its been a great day.

I don’t know why other sports don’t line up at the end of the game and shake hands like they do in Hockey.

It felt good to learn a few things today.

There is a real nice set of burnouts on Woodstock Road. The problem I have with them is they look slightly out of control for a road with no shoulder.

I had done well. It’s been almost a decade since I slipped. Yep, there was a tube of Pringles potato chips in the cabinet and I couldn’t help myself. I only had about 5 chips but immediate dreams of going to the store and buying about 5 large cans of them in various flavors.

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I was thinking about where I am now and where I’d like to be and its a pretty stark contrast. I’ve really got to step up and get better with words and images. I have to devote more time to learning, practicing and honing the crafts I like. So one day I can have a meaningful body of work.

Photo by Mike Hartley

But I’m going to have to do it after I get some rest because I’m wiped out. I haven’t been this tired in a bit. And believe me, I get tired often each week.

Triple delight.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

I might have to find a blanket tonight.

Only two games left (hopefully) and then the basketball jones starts.

Toronto cheer’s injury. People are just to rabid with their support. Does this beat Philly fans booing Santa Claus and pelting him with snowballs?

It was a top-down day for sure. That’s convertible speak.

I’m going to put a strain on that paper shredder this weekend. Time to purge.

There are several people I’m overdue writing so let me get to that.

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We all have choices. A gazillion of them a day. Do we make good choices? Not always. So many that it’s overwhelming at times. The ones we don’t make right we sometimes agonize over or learn from and move on. A lot of the times we don’t give ourselves credit for all the right choices we make.

On a mission.
Photo by Mike Hartey

I hope I made some good choices today. I choose some proper rest instead of going out and shooting this afternoon. I choose to eat better and not drink as many sodas. I choose to come to work when I didn’t feel like it because I believe in paying my bills.

I also made some choices on how to proceed on a few important issues at work and I’m much more relaxed today. Because I’m a peace with my choices. Now I can get back to being happy. So the mission to keep rolling along is back on track.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I still like an old hotrod calendar on my walls.

The best schools have many thoughts.

I think I’ll shoot some hoops tomorrow.

You want to try something challenging try working nights.

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How tall was he?

Slipped again. Yep let the job get to me and I vowed a while back not to let that happen. It isn’t worth it. As the old-timers would say “make it work for YOU.” And how right they are. So as we embark on a new week I’m getting my mind right and coming up with a new plan. Hopefully, it will inspire some new work and time spent on my pursuits.

How tall was he?.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s difficult to do though. I’ve wasted some time this weekend thinking about some communications, and that has me mad at myself. Good thing I know time is short and getting back on a positive track will release the hesitancy in these fingers again to let the positive thoughts flow freely.

Just look around and you can catch peace.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The need to change my thinking and mindset is also in the works. Someone important to me told me of a story long ago about how my own internal motivation is something others have seen and used, not always to my advantage. And I’ve continued on this misguided mission to varying degrees over my life. Sometimes when I even say something like that I feel I’m being selfish but I’ve got to learn that is ok sometimes.

It was also an easy thing to do when surrounded by similarly motivated and dedicated people. But times change and so must I. Live and learn, is the phrase I believe. And it’s good to keep learning even into our senior years.

Ah, life.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Work has always been very important to me. I’ve prioritized it and looked at it as something it wasn’t for a lot of my life. I’m not saying being passionate about your work is a bad thing. I guess it’s like the process professional athletes go through. They are playing a game but once it turns professional they are looking at it as a business. I forgot to look at it as a business. It’s easy to do in small or family-run organizations. And even that mindset is hard to change when you go to a big organization.

I think I’ll schedule some vacation time when I get to the office to open up the week. Got to have that balance, been working too hard. Time for a little R&R, even if it’s just for a few days sprinkled around here and there.

Nice porch. I think the Barbie doll in the shark’s mouth is a sweet touch.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I hope everyone has a good week ahead.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Starting to feel the turnaround in spirit.

To force myself to shoot more each day I think I’ll add a shot of my home county every day. It will be good to get out or take a different route or just practice shooting every day.

I am so looking forward to the family vacation this year.

I will not let the rain dampen my spirits this week. Well, maybe a little if I get caught in it too much.

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I didn’t realize how long it had been, in spending a day together with my better half. So we corrected that today with a nice ride and several things accomplished. A nice lunch at LeeLynn’s today. Ate outside on the patio and soaked up the sun and shade along with a mild breeze. A perfect summer day.

LeeLynns crabcake sandwich. I’m the one who added the bacon.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We have always enjoyed eating here. Our server (sorry I didn’t remember her name) was very good as always. We left her a good tip because it was good service on a very busy day for them. Its the start of my search for the best crabcake around. They have a good one. Full of lump crabmeat.

Then we rode around some back roads around Clarksville and Glenelg. And on the way back home we stopped at Westwood Unique Furniture, Home and Garden Decor. It’s a good thing we had the two-seater convertible, otherwise, we would have come home with a few things. But I’m sure my better half is going to be heading back there with the SUV. Also, the two proprietors there seemed like very nice and friendly people.

It was a beautiful time to spend a few hours together with the better half, without cares, relaxing and looking at the mansions along the way and saying which we like and what is pretentious crap. One thing I’m learning is that there are some very RICH people in this county.

Random Thoughts of the Day

My tan is coming in early. I must be working outside too much.

The neighbors got some very big trees down and it has changed the view remarkably. For the better, I’d say.

It’s depressing when you look at the 7-day forecast and see a chance and or certainty of rain every day. At least I won’t have to add “wash the car” to the to-do list.

I’d like to report the theft of a weekend.

I tweaked my hamstring today. I really have to find that person with my pincushion doll of me.

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Time well spent, some dreams

A day with my grandchild is time well spent. Can’t do much else but that is one of the great benefits of watching a very young child. You know I think the beauty of being a grandparent is the time we take now to appreciate a young one growing up. When you’re the parent in the thick of it, the time to enjoy, absorb and reflect on your children is limited.

It was a very bright day.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Partially due to the fact that you’re so tired from the care of the infant as a parent that your mind just reverts to rest where and when it can. Though I must say I see my daughter appreciating each moment of her. It’s so rewarding to see your children show the love you had for them and more with their children.

We also had the great pleasure of sharing the day with her great grandparents which made it a very special day indeed. Children bring life to a room. They bring smiles and emotions that are good for the spirit. I know she makes me feel young even though I’m not. I know she makes me think the greatest thing I accomplish is to make her content and happy. It brings the spirit of love to you that sometimes through time gets diminished.

What dreams have I not started on yet? was the “Question of the Day” on a site I follow called Pointless Overthinking. It got me thinking about what I haven’t gotten to yet. The first one that came to mind was writing a book. The next one was learning to play an instrument. Then some more started to populate my mind.

Retiring early was a nice dream most of my life but I didn’t do the right things to make that happen. I dreamed of owning another muscle car in my lifetime. I used to dream of becoming a grandfather. Now that that has been accomplished I dream of becoming a great grandfather.

I dream of becoming a successful photographer someday. I dream of living a long senior life with my better half. I dream of having a clean office. I dream of being a good sculpture of many different objects. I dream of having another pet someday. I dream of taking at least one more motorcycle ride.

I would love to go on with dreams, but I’ll be late for the game if I don’t get going.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I love the gift I have of being able to make babies smile.

Decisions are worth thinking about.

Read something on Freestyle writing. Might give it a shot. I already feel like I do it partially already.

I’ve got to get an early start on my one free day of the weekend or I’m not going to stand a chance of catching up.

I’m going to veg out watching the NBA game for the next 3 hours. I wish it wasn’t such a late start.

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Cooling off

Feeling on the upswing this evening. Finally registered some sleep, which was needed because I was getting a bit sleep drunk. I really try hard not to get that way but some weeks it’s difficult not to with this erratic schedule. Despite the later than normal start today I did get out and knocked out a few chores. But in doing that I spent too much time in the sun and got a bit of a headache.

Thought you might need some help cooling off today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I do like how the body is holding up with the increase in physical activity. That’s a fine line between good activity and too much. And the price to be paid sometimes for too much is too much. The trick is to be very aware of that line and not cross it. As a youth, you just trample over that line every time you need to, not knowing it’s even there. As you age you are more aware of that line but due to that stage in life (children and career), you power through it.

But now closing in on the senior years its time to wise up. I’m listening to my body. I don’t like the stories and threats but I’m listening. I’m learning that spreading tasks out while not the most efficient is the less painful route.

Pretending I’m a more youthful version of myself isn’t healthy. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to be healthy. And while I acknowledge that is a work in progress, I’m a lot closer to being in shape than out of it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Sometimes writing just flows. But then again so does dirty water through a sewage treatment plant.

I would say something positive about the tractor I got a long time ago but if I do it will hear me and not start tomorrow.

It’s getting more difficult as I age keeping up with all the medical issues all my friends and family face. Which reminds me I need to check in with a few of the more serious ones.

Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel really lucky without winning a cent?

There is a bundle of joy coming tomorrow. One who’s lungs and decibel range are increasing.

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Light it up

Yes, I’m ready to light up the weekend. Can’t wait, I’ve had it with work this week. You know some weeks you just have to write off. And this was one of them. But now its MY TIME and I can turn this frown upside down. Or is that right side up. Whatever is correct. Its the weekend in another 12 hours for this kid.

Light that wick.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So its time to drum up a new beat. One of my own choosing. I always love that part of the week. And I’m inspired to make the most of it. Had a reminder this week of how old I’m getting. So the mission is to make the best use of time. I think I’ll get up early tomorrow and get the camera in my hands again.

Lay down a beat drummer.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

There are a lot of people I just don’t get. And I’m thankful.

Laughter is the cure for a lot of things.

Participation in Life is key.

Sometimes I get so tired its like I’ve drank a case of beer.

I believe its going to be a Traction Control OFF morning.

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Frayed Edges

Another beautiful day outside. And I’m feeling good on the inside. My mind is wandering in many different directions today. I’ve been on the fence about a number of issues professionally and personally. Time to gather the thoughts and make some decisions.

When you want to pick a color but you’re at a loss for words to describe it.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Always good to think things over, take some time when its stressful or emotional issues. Sleep on it for a day or two. I’m feeling relaxed and hope to articulate my thoughts later to those that can change things.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I need to fill my day more with laughter and music.

Why are my clothes either too loose or too tight?

4 hours sleep was not enough.

There are a few days of the year that it is a nice drive to work. Today was one of them.

Its funny when you get older you pick up on things earlier that have run their course.

I really dislike waiting for test results.

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Only a Day

It’s never “only a day.” It’s a series of events that you try to make as positive and cherished as possible. I never used to look for these as part of the day. I was just cruising through life not taking the true appreciation for each day, or focused on the wrong things. I’ve been doing better all the time but still slip and waste some time here and there.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t get me wrong, for instance, I took a nap with this baby the other day and that was the most restful hour or two of sleep I’ve had. I put my hand on her back and she would occasionally move up closer to me. Even though that was the middle of the afternoon it was a great use of time. It brought us both joy.

Of course, she had to have a treat when we woke. With retirement in sight within the next decade, I kind of dream of days where I don’t beat myself up for taking a nap. Days that allow for a more relaxed day where I can appreciate more small things. The more I look within for my own happiness, the more I’m pleased with my life.

And being surrounded by such good family and friends, I don’t need to travel the world, I don’t need expensive toys, I don’t need to eat at the best restaurant’s, I just need their company and companionship and life is great.

I think I’ll take the camera out tomorrow night. Been meaning to do a book on night photography. I should get moving on that. I’m not getting any younger.

Night Sunrise
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

At what point do senseless slaughters provoke action?

I’ve decided to spare you from the poor spelling and grammar I use. I’ve installed Grammarly.

To sleep during this beautiful afternoon felt like a waste.

Finding words is kind of fun. It reaches deep into you to describe your feelings.

I had a long wait at the doctor’s office today. I spent the time observing people. I noticed that older people are more friendly.

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Nothing like a vacation day

Yes, its that time of year again. When I start to sprinkle months with some time off of the job that pays the bills. And I can’t tell you how good that feels. Some days I start to feel my age and its nice to have a break. Today was one of them and it was a fine one with family.

I was fishing for a good time today and I had one.
Photo by Mike Hartley

All I can do with the remaining few minutes of the day is thank those close to me for a wonderful day and life.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Weather is a great thing on a sunny day.

That GSW team is a special one.

Feeling proud is a wonderful feeling.

As you can tell, I’ve neglected the blog again today. Looking forward to changing that tomorrow.

Time for a good night’s sleep.

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Riding the mist

Well I’ve floated through the day myself. Some work and some relaxing. I guess that is balance. I should have gotten more done but what the hell, its summertime and I’ve shifted priorities. I do have to pay my respects to Mother Nature for today. I guess she is trying to balance out that rash of storms recently.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Tonight is out last night babysitting our grand dog. The house is going to be so quiet when she goes home. I’d like to get a pet again someday. Hoping to get out and do some shooting Sunday and Monday. I’ve charged the batteries, not I just have to go press that shutter release to recharge mine.

So its going to be an early night to bed for a change of pace. I know its going to be a late night tomorrow with that late NBA game I’m going to try to watch. I’m also planning a very early morning car wash and ride around sunrise. Yeah I know its going to rain later. I don’t care. Its still getting a bath.

Random Thoughts of the Day

You can’t help but wonder what a dog is thinking when they stare deep into your eyes.

Today is the birthday of an old friend who passed recently. Remembering you today Big Pete.

My back starts to seize up at the sight of the string trimmer.

If you have had a good day, got out and enjoyed the weather, a healthy day, think of someone who can’t get outside and doesn’t have their health and it becomes even more special.

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Day with the Dog

I’m watching my Son’s dog today. Well not just any dog. Our grand dog. Our first grand dog. She is so sweet and loving. It is a joy every time she comes to our home. I love animals and have been a cat person most of my life. Dogs are much more interactive and they really need that constant love and attention. Cats are laid back and want some of their own time. With dogs, your time is their time.

I’d have a horrible guilt complex if I had a dog. I’d have a hell of a time doing much else besides being the dogs best friend. That is one of the special things about pets. A lot of them become one of your best friends. They are a good example of what friends should be. Loyal is one important quality. Being there for you is another. Good friends will warn you about suspicious characters, just like your dog will.

Rolling along.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A friend won’t let you sit around all day doing nothing. A friend is appreciative and dogs are very appreciative. There are many find qualities in friends. The one fine quality though that I have a problem with is she is quick to beat me to my spot in the bed. So be it. With all that love she shared with me today, she can have my spot.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Feeling good about the start to the weekend.

Sunshine on my Shoulders, makes me happy, so the song goes. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me warm.

I’m learning how to go to bed before I pass out.

Learning to listen. It helps reduce the stupid crap I might have said.

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An eye on the sky and then calm

Some interesting weather out and about. Looking forward to something a bit calmer the next few days. Seems like you barely finish cleaning up from the previous storm and the next one is putting a new coating of trees on the grass. As long as everyone stays safe, its a win.

Painting with the camera.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The end of the work week has wiped me out. Glad its a long weekend. I’ll recover tonight and come back strong tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I think GSW will win the NBA Finals. And I can’t believe hoop season is almost over. Starting panic attacks now.

I spend more exercise thinking about working out than I do working out.

My riding mower RIDES AGAIN.  Life is good.

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Some Days

Some days are just a notch above others. I was going to say today wasn’t anything special but that would be wrong. All days are special and to be cherished. Can’t believe how much I accomplished and did, with far less than 100% cooperation from the body. I did get good news from a friend which made my day special.

Leaf me alone.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As you age you will be surprised how much time you spend thinking about others facing serious issues. Actually that is the second piece of good news about health issues some are facing recently. So I’m in good spirits because there is an ever increasing number of people who need my positive energy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

This thought might be a little late but that tax bill bent me over this year. So I guess the rich did get richer. And I am not a happy camper.

Any day that starts with cooking some bacon is a great day. And so it was today.

I get to dog sit for a few days. I’m as excited as a puppy.

Having thoughtful children is a gift in itself.

Please and thank you are becoming lost phrases.

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All strung out

Good day all. Hope its a wonderful one for you. I pushed it a little too hard and paying the price. Mother Nature is winning this May and we are in the somewhat lucky area of the country. Even though we did have a tornado down the road last week. To see and hear the pain in the voices of the people who have lost their homes and businesses in the mid section of this country is gut wrenching.

Green health.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And I was reminded of this by the Red Cross asking for donations for these disasters. I think I’ll have to go loosen the wallet and make one. I should have done that with the two Mega Millions tickets I got the other day.

All strung out.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We need to remember the pictures of the flooding and destruction are people.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Thank you for all you did for me Mom.

If someone hands you a vegan hot dog, just add chili.

Its nice to see Mackenzie Bezos donate half of her fortune to charity.

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Its OK

This morning I was faced with a dilemma. And that lead to a second dilemma. Normally I wouldn’t elaborate on either because they are rather personal. But upon reflection of the day, I can say I felt the right choices were made. I normally go to Arlington cemetery on Memorial Day to pay my respects to my parents. But my Daughter called the night before and invited us over for the afternoon and we accepted.

I had planned to go over to the cemetery in the morning after work today but postponed that visit. I asked their forgiveness in this last night and told them the reason. I vowed to be over soon. But I still felt conflicted. That was till I got to my Daughter and Son in laws home and got to hold the baby again.

We were there a bit and she was laying on me, but she was tired. I lifted her to give her to my daughter for changing. She was a little cranky but I leaned over close to her and she calmed. She was looking at me intently and I whispered to her that Great Grandma Shirley and Grandpa Jim said hello. She smiled as I said each of their names which completed my answer.

It might have been just that I look funny or she could just like the sound of my voice then, she is still very young. But the timing of their names and her smile just for that second or two were them saying hello and it was ok. I had made the correct call. While its right to honor and show respect for those past, its always important to keep them living in the present.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

Happiness and contentment.

Exhaustion and calm.

Hungry and watch out kitchen, here I come.