THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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An hour of smiles

Yesterday was the car show at Mikey and Mel’s in Maple Lawn in southern Howard County. A very nice mixture of cars and owners. Given the list of chores back at home I didn’t spend long, about an hour just up and down each aisle and I’m sure more cars came in after I left so this is a small sampling. I really should have shot more. The sun came out more on my ride back home.

Classics to contemporary were found here. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was glad I took the time to go see some of these works. I love the arts and I see design and art in every car creation. And just like all art, some is better than others but even the attempts are good works because you don’t get great on your first attempt.

A trio of Speedsters. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes it’s maintaining a classic car and body style. Others are massive modifications to classic or current platforms. Both can be stunning to me. I guess that is a bit of the old youthful enthusiasm I had for cars. Big American muscle cars.

The old Chevy phrase on the front panel there says “The Heartbeat of America.” Well, I bet his neighbors at least know when he starts that Heartbeat up. Photo by Mike Hartley

The reinterpretation of original design. The use of color and textures. The brilliance of chrome or width of a tire, the smell of leather or high octane fuel, the sound of a wonderfully tuned exhaust or open headers, it’s all here.

This might have been my favorite of the show. Nice Foose rim choice. Photo by Mike Hartley

The hidden arts of engine building and tuning. The underside of frame suspension and brakes. Yes being able to stop is nice. The vehicle can be a masterpiece on so many levels.

The chrome is even more impressive if it has some get up and go underneath it. Photo by Mike Hartley

This was a nice break and I’ll look for future events like this in our area because this kid needs to get out and about more. Plus the next one I’ll haul one of my best friends there with his Vette. I know I’m going to go check the calendar because I’ve always wanted to attend that Cruising Ocean City event in the fall. Oct 7-10 this year I believe.

The car’s front tires were wider than most rear tires.

I think I’ll post the rest another day, for there are many chores still on the list today. But some of them are fun like grilling out so I won’t complain.

Nice American Grafitti replica. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Why does my mind draw a blank with the statement from my better half “do you need anything at the store” and then remember when I’m unloading the groceries from the car?
  • Another workweek begins. I think I’ll resume my countdown. That is one thing when I moved from the office to the home office that I didn’t continue. I had a few post it notes on my monitor that had a countdown of weeks to work left. Maybe because I didn’t have to make that drive and was reminded how much I hated it when I finally sat down at my station. Now the commute is much better.
  • My thoughts today have been filed with teachers returning to school. Because I’m a parent of teachers after I was a parent myself. I’m going to say a few extra prayers in hopes of a better year for them.

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Back to back sunny days here in central Maryland on Saturday and Sunday morning had me in a sunny mood. No pressing emergencies and a few free hours to work on my crafts so life is good as my tee-shirt says yesterday morning. Well, that was the situation before my neighbors tried to light the hood on fire with an open burn that got out of control. Thankfully it only burned structures on their property.

In todays postWishingPitifulRandom Thoughts of the Day

Fire out, Its an new week. Photo by Mike Hartley

Wishing – Only a few hours before the workweek starts anew. I remember the days the time before a new week would form a lot of anxiety for me. Almost to the point of panic attacks at times. Sometimes the pressure was of my own making in my own mind. I can be pretty hard on myself. Other times it was external pressures from managers and directors. Today I have none of that.

It’s not like I’m afraid of pressure or doing difficult things or taking responsibility or driving/doing something myself. But I was always afraid of judgments of others be they fair or not so I would always overprepare and overwork it so everything would go right.

Most of it was my own problem. People had much more confidence in me than I did in myself. And yes I worked hard to earn it but never gave myself credit along the way.

And then at some point, all this changed. I don’t worry about the work or what people think or judge my success by the words of others. Frustration with superiors or coworkers has disappeared. I just do my thing and look forward to the weekends. It’s a nice freedom I haven’t had most of my career.

Pitiful – What do sick children and sick animals have in common besides looking pitiful? Neither can communicate what is wrong. That is one of the most frustrating things in life. I’m seeing my granddaughter get sick every so often as every child does and I remembered that fear.

But what is also pitiful are adults without any common sense and complete disregard for the law or others. No, I’m not going to talk politics here I’m going to talk about one of my neighbors. They have had several illegal burns over the last year. They had one so close to their house that the brick is black in sections from the fire. I gave them county regulations on it and that didn’t matter. I threatened to call the fire marshal and that didn’t matter. So yesterday morning they started a huge pile of brush, branches, and logs about 5-6 foot high and lit it. I said as soon as he lit it they were too close to their bird coops. Sure enough one catches fire. And of course, the plastic sheeting covering the metal frame goes up but there are plywood and hay inside so it’s got lots of fuel. Tweddle de and Tweddle dumb were out trying to put it out bucket by bucket and all it was doing is getting worse so I called the fire department.

No, normally I would have suggested to anyone else that it was too close to other structures. I would normally immediately try to help them put it out. But these are not normal neighbors. They have proven over and over they don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else. So I sent the county the videos of previous burns they did that I videoed and I’m calling the fire department if I see them outside with a match. I’ll also continue to file the zoning complaints because they are now constructing another building too close to the property line and I feel it’s going to be used for the birds again which they were forced by the county to move once already. So it’s just a game to them.

Well obviously they have no idea with they are F’ing with.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wonder if CopperFit makes a full-body sleeve. Because some days everything seems to hurt.
  • Do Sunday mornings seem quieter?
  • It’s depressing taking Christmas lights down.
  • I’m dreaming of summer vacation.
  • How bout Dem TERPS.

Random Political Thoughts of the Day

  • So the new Right-wing chant is Hang Mike Pence. Really nice guys. Summary executions because you don’t like someone doing their job.
  • Let me get this straight. The current president preaches law and order but LOVES the people who killed a Capital Policeman?
  • I’m all for free speech but running into a theater and yelling FIRE or standing up on an airplane and yelling bomb is still a CRIME. Inciting a riot against one of the branches of government that leads to the death of a policeman is a CRIME.
  • Guess what America. Those angry, hateful, threatening people on video all went home someplace. And most of them weren’t from the DMV (DC, MD, VA).

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Trial and Failure

In this post below – Trial and Failure – Howard County TodayRandom Thoughts of the Day

Trail and Failure – I’ve been pretty harsh editing the last few days and thrown out a lot of shooting. That used to bother me but I’m trying to challenge myself to better the quality of images. So really I had nothing from last night’s shoot. But this shot reminded me there is a new dawn coming tomorrow and I should keep trying and not let failure stop me or slow me or affect me other than to learn from it.

It’s a hard thing to overcome, a failure that is. I guess we all should be used to it because everyone has some failures in their lives. I’ve failed a great number of times. And I’ll probably fail some more. It doesn’t feel good when it happens. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of. I know at times in my life I’ve been afraid of failure enough to not try. And that is a bigger failure in reflection.

I’ll do better next time. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes it’s all in how you look at it. For instance, I wanted to do some more sanding today and only got to spend a few minutes on that goal. It looks like I’ve got nothing done and failed at this task. I felt successful because I didn’t blow it off entirely because of limited time today.

I remember failure as a young baseball player. I was just more comfortable playing pickup. Put a uniform on me and people on the side and I was a basket case. I wasn’t horrible, I just wasn’t able to do my best because I was too afraid of making a mistake. I got tense and nervous.

It’s easier as you age to separate failure from trying. Professional baseball players strike out, they make errors. That feeling of failure from a single plate appearance is nothing. But losing the ability to come to bat the next time thinking hit and an average of .500 is another.

So like I stated the other day I’m going to be trying things with this blog. I’m sure I’ll have many failures on top of the many examples already.

Howard County Today – I thought I’d start a section about the wonderful county I live in. Growing up we used to refer to it as Hazard County. But really it was a wonderful place to grow up myself and then raise a family. It’s a place I will probably pass one day from this earth. I was 3 years old in late 1960 when we moved to the southern part of the county.

And except for a 4-year stint in Catonsville, I’ve been in this county all my life. Even when I lived in Catonsville I worked in the county. So we were here before Columbia and saw that great change. We have seen multiple floods in the area. We have experienced the continued explosion of the population and land being swallowed up at alarming rates.

Just out of high school I was lucky enough to land a job with the Times Newspapers. This allowed me a wonderful and expanded perspective of the area for a few decades. It was wonderful experiencing the people of the county. Seeing their stories and photos grace the pages of local papers. Meeting them when they would come in to pick up shots of their sons or daughters at this or that game or award. I would meet them at the Times Information booth at the Howard County fairgrounds and other events each year. I could see new places through the lens of our photographers.

But now it’s time for me to start documenting the county and maybe mixing in some older shots along the way where it’s of historical interest.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I like writing in the mornings, but it’s a little tougher after being up all night.
  • Watching basketball makes me want to get outside and shoot. Someone page me when the temps hit 60+ degrees again. Go Terps
  • Learned about anchors today. Not the kind my Dad would think of being he was in the Navy.
  • That was an interesting call between Orange Julius and the Georgia election officials. It reminded me of a few conversations I’ve had in my life. And as I recall one of them, my statement to the VP was “I don’t care what that manager asked me to put in the report, it wasn’t the truth so I didn’t do it.”
  • Tip the people who work in your community. We are getting back in the habit of giving something to our recycle and trash teams. Buy a patrolman a coffee or the guy plowing your neighborhood streets. Maybe a bag of cookies for your mailman. Stop by and say hello and thank you to the guy opening and closing our parks and rec areas each day.
  • If I keep creating sections in this blog to fill with photos, I’ll be a happy camper.


Thank you and Condolences

I learned of the passing of a member of my newspaper family yesterday. Bob Moon was the husband of Jean Moon, the General Manager of the Patuxent Publishing Newspaper chain located in Columbia Maryland. An Architect, Bob designed the Flier Building in Columbia where I worked for 17 years. His death has triggered a lot of memories for me and I’m sure many others.

Patrick’s Entrance for us old timers. Photo by MIke Hartley

I had started with the Times Newspapers when they were in Ellicott City on Main Street in an old run-down building that now houses LaPalapa, SuCasa Furniture, and Main Street ballroom. Yes, this was back in the ’70s. The age and character of the building matched the wild personalities on the inside. The place was blue-collar, rough, and tumble old school. Some might even say a bit of old country Howard County.

This was a full production facility. Pressroom, Mailroom, Engraving, Typesetting workers in production and with Editors, Writers, Designers, Salespeople, Truck drivers out front. The place was loud and dirty and it constant chaos. But I did love it also.

The Flier building view from Little Patuxent Parkway. Photo by Mike Hartley

In 1979 Patuxent Publishing purchased several of the Times papers, others closed or were sold to other buyers. The Times building was sold along with most of the equipment and like the Clampets we packed up our bags and headed to Columbia.

The Flier Building. I was beautiful with a flag on that pole and that tree in front blooming pink blossoms. Photo by Mike Hartley

There were many difficult days when this transition took place. First, we lost a lot of old friends. If memory serves me right before I look at the newspaper clipping I have on the wall of the sale we had a few hundred employees in EC. I think only about 60 of us were hired by Patuxent.

We had our tail between our legs because the competition had won and bought us out. Soon to be gone was the place where I learned my trade and a lot of people I loved working with. This transition was rough on both sides and took a lot of adapting by all involved. But two very different cultures and backgrounds soon developed into a new community of people working together. It was a wonderful transition to something that we all cherish dearly to this day even though decades have passed. Sometimes when your being handed a pass to Camalot you don’t really know it at the time.

Home for a few decades. Photo by Mike Hartley

The two buildings couldn’t have been any more different. Main Street was old and falling apart. The Flier building was brand new constructed in 1978 I believe. Main Street was dark and dirty. It was a brick building covered in many years of ink and newsprint dust. The Flier building was WHITE, clean, and pristine and didn’t smell bad. It has so many windows, some floor to roof, and skylights letting the days light and added a beautiful feel to the space inside. It had angles on top of angles, big staircases, and tall open ceilings in much of the upstairs.

Photo by Mike Hartley

There were planters filled with trees and flowers in a vast open lobby in Columbia. Kind of ironic if you think about it. The only trees that came into Main street were in the form of Newsprint rolls that weighed around 2 tons each. If you brought a plant into the Main Street office it would have been dead in 24 hours due to the chemical and ink smell, lack of light, and covered with the newsprint lint. The bathrooms were clean in this new office. You didn’t worry about ruining clothes by accidentally brushing a wall or door as you did on Main Street. It had air conditioning which that old drafty and dirty location in EC only had in the front offices. In the summer we would sweat like pigs and in the winter we would freeze our behinds off.

The new building was one of the first things I warmed up to. Maybe because it actually did have heat and A/C. But in meeting Bob I could see where his inspiration for the remarkable design of the Flier came from. He would always give me a warm smile just like the skylights scattered throughout the building did. He would stop and talk or invite me to his office which was next door to our photography/reproduction area to look at new architectural drawings. Bob was a talker. I know because they say it takes one to know one, and I am one. I think one of my first visits to the building for my interview for a job, Bob was out in the lobby and introduced himself with a welcoming smile. He wasn’t part of PPC but he was in a special way.

Photo by Mike Hartley

The longer I was there the more it felt like home. New friendships were made and many have lasted to this current day. It was a special place to work. With Bob’s design and Jean’s spirit that place was as alive as anything, I’ve experienced. Jean was a driving force for that organization. And their spirit was infectious to many who worked there for many years.

Thankfully many people above me allowed me opportunities that allowed my career to flourish. And in that, I got to work and touch many areas. There might be only a small handful of people who know that building better than I do. I think I crawled and worked in every inch of it several times over. I was there day and night so I got a great view from it. You always knew what the weather was because there was a window or skylight everywhere. Well, not the restrooms but everywhere else.

You could see your friends coming in from a good distance so you could prepare pranks on them. You could see who was having a rough day and was out walking or sitting in the parking lot or deck behind the building. You could look out the back windows at the huge daycare facility and watch the hundreds of little tykes in their Halloween costumes doing their annual parade around the parking lot. You could go up the ladder in the loading dock to the roof with a folding chair and look out over Columbia. Oops, that part wasn’t well known.

The old Editorial area. Photo by Mike Hartley

The place had a grand lobby. It was where we would gather for our company photos. It was where half my crew would be caught trying to chat up the receptionist of the day after dropping off reproductions to the design departments.

I lost count of the times the interior space was redesigned for our constant expansion. And Bob seemed to be part of that process often. The whole building felt like my home. It was small enough where you knew all the inhabitants but large enough to not be a mom and pop shop. We were the second-largest publisher in the state of Maryland behind the Baltimore Sun which eventually purchased the company shortly after I left.

Light from above. Photo by Mike Hartley

They say the tone of a company comes from the top. Well, Bob and Jean created a beautiful place, filled with a beautiful spirit, a ton of ambition and dedication. And that feeling seemed to trickle down to everyone who walked through those doors to work there. And when I left there I had some tears in my eyes because I knew something special was passing.

Bob faced some daunting and huge medical challenges in his life but that smile remained.

So thank you Bob for designing a wonderful home and to you both for making it feel like a real family lived there. RIP Bob.

PS: Please forgive the quality of these pictures. I had the opportunity to visit the building after it closed and the staff had moved downtown Baltimore. So it’s far from its pristine and beautiful days. Especially when it was filled with a lot of great people doing wonderful work and having fun together.

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But for how long

I was down in Ellicott City taking a few shots and I saw the Bar Open sign on the Manor Hill establishment and I thought for a second for how much longer. I see our Governor did an update the other day because like most states our numbers are climbing again. I like his frankness when he said “Just wear a damn mask.”

Bar Open for how long? Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m guessing it won’t be long till we are reverting back to some rules we had earlier this year if things don’t improve. I know I’m going to start scaling back again. But at the same time, I hope to get out more for a little exercise. This holiday season is a good time for me to work on the beach body. Not that this has been a successful effort the last few years but I’ll always keep trying. At this age, I’ll settle for a 4 pack.

I really don’t like the sun going down so early. Photo by Mike Hartley

Yesterday’s walk was nice because I was able to wear shorts and a tee-shirt and that weather will make it a nice few days ahead also. And this Friday didn’t disappoint at all.

No twisted traffic today in town. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Today I put on my yard maintenance hat again and see if the body holds up to the day’s activities. Got the front half done yesterday. And if I’m fast about it I might take a walk with the camera later today. I also have to spend some time carving this evening.

Do you go to Happy Feet before or after the Distillery? Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my best friends just gave me some great news. I’m so happy for him and his wife. During these times it’s good to appreciate the good news of any type. Because life is about focusing on good moments.

Trees aren’t the only colorful thing in town. Photo by Mike Hartley

So I hope everyone is having both a healthy and good weather day to enjoy this wonderful Saturday.

I should blow up the part of the woman inside peering back at them. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Felt good feeling that sun on my skin yesterday. Would have felt better on the beach but I’ll take it while sitting on the tractor.
  • More sun and fun today. The top is coming down. High test in the tank. Traction control OFF.
  • I’m on a mission again. Feeling positive and challenged.
  • You know what is really funny. I see Trump’s family is asking the GOP to have some backbone. Don’t they know their father removed their spines long ago?

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A few minutes

Went out to drop my ballot off this morning and was lucky to catch the sunrise at a corner near my home. I’ve got to make a practice of getting out around sunrise because it just starts your day right.

Photos by Mike Hartley – from corner of Woodstock and Rt 99.

It gets me in a productive state of mind. Let’s see if I can keep the momentum going this fine Halloween Day.

Random Thoughts of the Morning

  • I have discovered I need much less shampoo than when my hair was longer.
  • As the leaves fall this time of year, it reminds me I have neighbors through the woods behind us.
  • Working through difficult times makes you stronger. It does come with scars though.
  • I feel bad for the kids this year in regards to Trick or Treating. On the other hand, there may be more candy in the house.

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Decisions decisions, I wonder what the fall will bring. Will I have to return to the office next year? When will I feel comfortable eating inside again with many people? Will the country break out in civil war after November 3rd? What will the Christmas season look like this year? Will the flu shot be effective? Hitting the PAUSE button. Reset mind. Think of the sun setting on Summer and enjoying the last few warm days of the year.

Seasons changing soon. Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, the choices I make today are enjoying the beautiful weather. Love those around me. Maybe take a few photos. Make a charitable contribution. Take a ride with the top down. Knock out a few chores and maybe a nap before my work week starts this evening.

As I was telling a friend the other day one of the things I’ll really enjoy about retirement is being able to have a holiday weekend. I’ve missed many over the years because of work. Such is life though. You would be surprised at how many people work on holidays and weekends. Think about the services you need 24/7/365. There are lots of them, aren’t there. A tip of the hat to all those working with me this holiday weekend. And to the day we can celebrate with the rest of society at the same time.

I’ve dried the morning dew from my ride and headed out and grabbed a few frames in one of my standby places. Old Ellicott City. They are having a sidewalk sale this weekend so it’s a good spot to go out, enjoy the weather, and support local merchants. Of course, I was there too early for them to be out so just a few joggers, cyclists, and couples out for a morning bite to eat and coffee.

The last Times Newspapers building when I left it in 1979. Photo by Mike Hartley

What a beautiful morning. A sweatshirt was needed with the top down because the temp on the car dash said 59 degrees as I cruised from my home to EC.

This used the be the loading dock entrance to the Times Papers. I unloaded many a truckload of newsprint there. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s a special town in many ways for me. It was my first job in my lifelong chosen profession. My wife is from this town. I started my own business in this town. I got married in this town.

I never get bored shooting this town. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve enjoyed shooting this town in good times. I’ve had to photograph it after floods and fires and it broke my heart. Sort of like life. Good times and difficult times.

I wouldn’t mind cycling into town. It’s the hills getting out of it I’d have an issue with. Photo by Mike Hartley

Everyone who moves from this area says how they miss this town. I can see why. There are a lot of friendly people here. Especially the locals and merchants.

Back in the 60s and 70s this was the firehouse. I believe they are still putting out fires, just with a different liquid. Photo by Mike Hartley.

It’s funny that the attachment still feels so strong. There has been so much changing there. Businesses I’ve loved gone. Important people passed or moved on. And now with the flood mitigation, the look of the town will change yet again when some buildings come down.

You can find it all here. Photo by Mike Hartley

It can be a challenging town to walk. Sidewalks aren’t that wide at points. But do venture up and down the side streets also and up to the courthouse area. Hell explore the whole town.

Might have to go visit this store, we will be looking for area rugs soon. Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I’ve shot enough of this city for a while. I think I’ll venture to a new town in Howard County tomorrow.

Welcome center and mural. Photo by Mike Hartley

Wishing everyone a great Labor Day Monday. Be safe.

Get up and GO. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is no such thing as a bad nap.
  • Nothing like good weather to lift the spirits.
  • Having come from a military family I find comments of Losers and Suckers so disturbing and offensive that he should be barred from any military installation and cemetery. If he goes to Arlington I’ll be meeting him to tell him he is the only Loser and Sucker on these grounds.
  • I’m recharged, I saw my children this weekend.
  • To all the teachers. If Tuesday is your first day back I urge you to treat yourself to a relaxing and enjoyable day on Monday.

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Hump day observations

Don’t you miss being part of a huge crowd at a concert with everyone moving in rhythm to the music and singing in unison together?

I miss seeing people smile. But then again I don’t miss all the people with snarls on their faces.

Boardwalk expressions. Photo by Mike Hartley

I miss feeling comfortable around people.

Does music seem more important now?

Memories keep drawing us back to dangerous behavior.

I suggest taking all the empty shopping malls and turn them into schools.

I saw some leaves falling today. I almost screamed NOOOOO. It’s far too early for fall.

Duchess Sandwich Shop

Sweet simple and satisfying. We went to this EC mainstay for a quick snack today being we put off our day trip to the Antinum battlefield. We got two sandwiches, a birch beer, and a chocolate shake. Oh yeah, a bag of chips all for under $15. Took it down to the parking lot B behind the building we started a business many years ago and looked over the river and had lunch with the top down. I sucked down the shake before I had a chance to take a picture of it.

Photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I read from WJZ that the Annapolis Capital Gazette is closing its offices. They will continue to publish it says. I wonder what fate awaits me, back to the office, or work from home next year.
  • I’m very sorry to see the Maryland fall sports postponed/canceled this year but I believe it was the right decision for the safety of the kids and community.
  • I’m so tired today.

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Doing OK Today

Never wait to say what is in your heart.

I may be the luckiest man on earth for the wonders I’ve been given.

Get it together, help others get it together, help them help others get it together.

To my better half. I’m sorry I haven’t provided all the joys of life you so richly deserve.

I’m sorry if anyone feels I haven’t been there for them.

Time to relieve the pain.

I was catching up on some reading of events while I was on vacation a few weeks ago and read that Fernand G.M. Tersiguel passed. I can’t say I was a frequent diner but when I did it was a great meal and his smile and staff made it a great evening. Ellicott City will miss him.

Fernand Tersiguel standing outside his establishment. Photo by Mike Hartley

Good thing you guys don’t rely on me for breaking news.

There are few things as satisfying as a cold Coke in a Bottle. Especially after working outside in the 90-degree heat. I don’t know what it is about a bottled Coke but it is different. Maybe just colder, I don’t know but its better. I’ll go to Google it later. I’m sure there is an opinion or an actual reason.

So why don’t I buy it in bottles? I have no answer. I got a bottled 4 pack from my Son as a gift recently and I save them like a vintage wine. It’s almost ceremonial. When I have one, that is what I do for the next 10 minutes. I don’t open it and walk away, I don’t get up and go to my desk with it and sit it next to the warm computer. I kick back on the couch and sit it on the glass table in front of me. I lean forward and take a sip. Of course, that is followed by a belch and I lean back. This act is repeated like that plastic bird that would bend over and dip its beak in water and then bounce back to an upright position. Life’s simple pleasures. Well, back outside to work.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I believe basic practical skills will once again be in great demand.
  • Time for a random donation today.
  • I’m conflicted. I’m beginning to like my hair long again but it’s not too popular with my better half.
  • If at any point in your life you discover how blessed you are no matter your circumstances, and you are able to just feel thankfulness, is the day you are alive and at peace. I don’t mean this in the religious or spiritual sense but just in life.

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Morning drive

Got moving before daybreak which is always nice. Especially when it does not include pain waking me up. And being it’s my favorite season its a pleasure to head out early and put the top down. Had to dry it off first because of the dew early today.

Sunrise in Woodstock. Photo by Mike Hartley

Being a holiday morning few were out and about which was also nice. I love the quiet of mornings except for a little nature here and there.

Over the hills at the Howard County Conservancy. Photo by Mike Hartley

This area is still as beautiful as it once was. It’s just so busy you can’t stop to enjoy much of it except for at odd times. Daybreak and before are really it. How many times can you just stop your car in the street and grab a frame or two? NEVER. Unless you’re nocturnal like me.

Sometimes I have to check which way is up. Photo by Mike Hartley

This virus continues to turn our world upside down. As I saw the sun coming up over Mt Hebron HS I thought would this empty parking lot still be the same in September? This really is a no-win situation. If I were a parent of a young child I’d be very hesitant to send them off to school. On the other hand, if they are not in school how can we go to work? And maybe the worst part is we are still going to be determining these things on the fly and differently in different areas.

Sunrise over Mt Hebron HS this morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

Actually I’m the parent of two teachers which has led to having to worry about the situation like I had my own children still of school age because they are with those kids of school age all day long. It’s of course about the safety of children. But we also have to think about the teachers just as much. Not all of them are young. I have no idea how this is going to happen. But instead of discussing if bars, nightclubs or beaches are going to be open, we should be coming up with some possible solutions to kid’s education because if they aren’t in school two bad things happen. Parents might lose jobs. Kids might be left alone. The economy will suffer.

Everyone enjoys the 4th. Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, the dog days of summer are upon us. Isn’t life grand? I’m going to have to schedule some more long weekends this summer. I love being off during the summer months. I can hear that day trip to some Maryland destination calling me.

EC was pretty quiet this morning. A few bike riders and some walkers. Must have been shift change at the police station because 3 of them followed me to the office complex at the top of the hill.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July and stays safe.

At the corner of Rt 144 and Toll House. Photo by Mike Hartley

Enjoy a beverage but do it in moderation.

I think they missed a spot or two where another sale poster can be added. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Hell, I just looked at the to do list and I’m going to be busy as a bee today so let me get my behind out of this chair.

Photo by Mike Hartley

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What a beautiful Friday and Saturday. Actually got a little more sun than I intended. I should have just used some sunscreen but it was so pleasant I didn’t feel the burn till today. Luckily its nothing serious. But that sun those two days did revive me a bit. A ride in the car with my better half for a few hours did us both good.

We toured the rural part of the county out by Clarksville and Brighton Dam and then drove through Rocky George, Fulton, Ellicott City, and Catonsville. A short window visit with my father and mother inlaw also felt good to do. I’ve always been fairly good at appreciating the small things in life. I think that makes getting through these times easier.

It was good to see everyone keeping a distance and masked up in EC. The only thing that was bunched up was the traffic through town.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I really enjoyed that series on Jordan and the Bulls.
  • I scheduled a few days off in the coming weeks and I’m really looking forward to it.
  • I’ll be glad if the weather forecast is off for the next 6 days because all I see is clouds and rain.
  • A few burgers from the grill today have me grinning.

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Good morning HC

I finally got my behind in gear and got out early today. I should have been out yesterday for the nice sunrise because clouds were the scene this morning. That was OK though, it felt great to be out and warm enough for shorts and not having to put on sweats to start a day.

Morning in Woodstock. Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, I wasn’t just out and about snapping a few images. I had to get some gas for the mower which is being fired up today. And that leads me to my next comment. I almost never go to the Waverly Shell because they RAPE you on price but I will fill the gas can there because it’s the closest. Well, they weren’t open shortly after 6 am so I had to go to Rt 40 and St Johns Lane where the price per gallon is 30 cents cheaper than Waverly. And that the St Johns station isn’t the cheapest around either. It did cement one thing in the future for me. I’ll never even fill the can there again just out of principal.

The early bird catches the fish. I guess he didn’t like his picture being taken because he had quite a snarl on his face this morning. The pond at the entrance to Waverly off Rt 99.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It used to be you could tell the day of the week by the traffic. Now every morning seems like Sunday morning.

The morning dew having trouble burning off without the sun.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even though I have over an acre of land, I feel like I need more space between my new neighbors and myself. For the peace and quiet, we once had is shattered by roosters and geese. That’s ok though, I got some rock and roll for them today.

Nothing jumping here. Except for that snake, I saw slither away as I approached the water.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So my mission this summer is this. I’m going to try to get out and shoot a spot in this county every day. I think this will be possible because I just got the news from my employer that I’ll be working from home all summer.

Random Thoughts of the Morning

  • Smile at someone you don’t know. Wave to someone you don’t know. Tell someone to have a nice day that you don’t know.
  • Figures when I get home the sun would finally emerge from the clouds.
  • Like someone recently said – VOTE.
  • It would be good to stop thinking a day ahead and more like months or years. There is more hope that way.

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Finding fun in the sun

Well, cabin fever hit today so a quick ride in the convertible with my better half soaking up some rays was a nice treat. I put the old camera in the cab and away we went. We stuck to the back roads and a few neighborhoods we hadn’t traveled through before. And when I say neighborhoods in the west part of the county you are talking about big properties and little human contact chance.

Along Rt 99 in Howard County
Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, our trip started along Route 99. A good road to lean into a few turns like the one above. By the way, that’s not camera distortion, that’s a curve. This one brought back memories when I had my motorcycle and the enjoyment of the back roads of the county gave me. If it wasn’t the expansive views it’s the sweeping turns that can add to that smile on your face.

It’s been a while since having the top down and I can tell you I thought about what’s going on when I went to pull the handle to retract it. Do I have to be scared of the air I breathe now? Well yes in some situations I guess.

Don’t fence nature in.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Many neighborhoods nestled in between expansive farmland. And by the way, I love the FARMLAND FOREVER Signs I see hanging by their entrances. I hope that never disappears from our county. So much has changed and been lost already I can barely cope with what little we have left.

Not a worry in this pasture today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

That ride changed my mood today for the better and I’m glad we got out of the house. Especially with the rains coming tomorrow. It’s hard to determine when to go out. We have been really good about staying in and having no contact with people and will continue to do so.

Today felt like living.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I also discovered today that given the season it’s impossible not to touch my face. Such is life. I’ll do my best but pollen is pollen and it will do what it does. At least I’ll have a mask to sneeze into. Wait, that’s not a good idea either.

Out here your voice had better carry when you say “hi neighbor”
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m thankful my workweek ended a day early. I had a comp day left so I decided to get that out of the way. Not that I’m in any danger of not working but just needed a mental break. Just trying to get ready for the long haul.

This person had the biggest smile on their face when I blew image up. I’m glad they were enjoying the day also.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And yes I socially distanced in my car as I went by anyone. That is why there are two lanes. That was some ride today. I kind of let the car point itself. When I got people behind me I turned down another road. A slow cruise in the country. A day when driving was a complete and utter joy.

As you can probably tell from these I really never stopped the car to take any of these images. Guess convertibles are good for many things. Well, tomorrow the top stays up and I’m staying indoors to work on my studio setup. Once I get the junk out of the way.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hope our youth is watching who the brave ones are in this crisis. Not the ones wanting credit every day. The heroes are too busy doing the job. And when this is over support your medical professionals.
  • Feelings expressed even though FaceTime is incomplete when it comes to your close friends and family. But that and the video chats are still the best things around today.
  • I see the Governer designated our county (Howard) as a hot spot today. Yeah, we rock. Whoops, not a good thing.
  • Be safe, tell those you love that you love them. And if you feel like it, tell a stranger.


How much

When you hear the words how much, most people think of the monetary cost. Today when I wrote that title I was thinking of how much I can cram into this day. Not a bad thought being there are so many options and opportunities.

It’s not there yet, but the strength is returning to this town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well at the end of the day I can say I crammed a lot into one day. A mixture of work and enjoyment. After playing yard man we took a trip to the Ellicott City Main Street Music Festival for a few hours. We walked to the city and saw all 3 outdoor stages. The bands sounded pretty good and it was so good to see this city alive again. We had a quick bite to eat in town and then went for a cruise till dark.

The temps were hot, the music was cool.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll make this an annual event to attend in the future. And I hope it continues to be a great success for the city. If the crowds on the street and in the shops and parking lots were any indication it was.

Packed sidewalks bring a smile to my face.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The day was filled with the sounds of classics to modern.

A bit of something for everyone.
Photo by Mike Hartley
I couldn’t believe this was a Honda Shadow. I used to ride one of these for decades.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Behind the Old Howard County TImes building. I always have some great memories of working in this town.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Next to the Wine Bin. What would you expect? A crowd?

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was very glad to see the youth of the world concerned and making their presence felt by voicing global climate issues/effects. Maybe they can inspire some adults.
  • Weather-wise it was a good week to be off of work.
  • I need to work on my patience.
  • Do you believe the nonsense and all the wasted time with that Storm Area 51 crap? Proof that a dumb ass idea or thought can go way too far.


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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Be ready to pivot

Had to alter plans today. It’s always good to be ready to pivot. Don’t let a set schedule imply inflexibility. Everything is flexible. Well most everything. I’m finding the more flexible that I am, the happier I am. So today I adjusted plans a few times. Yeah I got less done than I hoped for but Sunday is a day of rest isn’t it?

Be ready to pivot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Was just playing around shooting a few frames of my tripods and I might not get out to shoot that beautiful moon this evening so these will have to do for the day’s post. Maybe I’ll get the chance to shoot some in the morning.

But have a firm base to pivot from.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just finished watching football. I’m not encouraged to even watch the Super Bowl this year. But I’ll probably pivot from that decision also.

Swivel when you can.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

Life is a hell of a lot easier when you know some people love you.

I wish I could find the perfect gift for my better half each day.

If you want to know what cold is. There is a good example right outside your front door.

Today is a good day for layers.

Hope everyone has a good holiday. And to those of us who work holidays. Have the best day possible.

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Stormy Saturday – rise before the rain

Stormy Saturday – Well the forecast says so. But for me being out and about early in the day I’ve gotten a few shots and stayed dry. When I saw the possibility of 2-4 inches of rain I thought oh crap. They just opened Main Street. I wanted to ride down there anyway to just walk and maybe catch some early morning activity.

The sun struggled to come up this morning and did its best to fight through the clouds but it was a losing cause. But cruising with the top down is nice regardless. I stopped at the Snowball stand and the Howard County Conservancy for a shot or two.

Sunrise this morning in Woodstock MD.
Photo by MIke Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I headed to old Ellicott City for a morning stroll I discovered there was someone more tired than I was who planted this sign upside down at the entrance to Town and Country apartments. I wonder if they still call them Town and Country. Well that’s what they were several decades ago when some friends lived there.

Someones world is upside down this morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

In the time it took to drive from Woodstock to EC the sun had vanished behind clouds. As I enter a town with my first drive down main street in months the flashing caution lights with the dark clouds were not a combination I was hoping for.

Not the skyline this city needs.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I expected I found beauty and destruction. But more progress than I though possible actually. One of the things I’ve always liked about this town is the wildlife it has. No not the people. You can step out and look at a stream and see ducks, fish, blue heron and the occasional snake, fox or deer depending on the time of day you’re in town.

An early morning fisherman just under the bridge. These are some big birds. 
Photo by MIke Hartley

There was an awful lot of this also.

This sign isn’t really needed. The town is evidence enough.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder how many of these have come and gone.

I can’t imagine the pain of losing your work.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We liked eating here. So if your hungry or thirsty next weekend on the 28th, think about attending the EC Strong Festival.

Think about supporting the EC Strong Festival.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Help raise these in people.

Disasters seem to happen every day. Help raise someones.
Photo by MIke Hartley

And give them.

Photo by Mike Hartley

And live by.

Words to live by.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even in a town hit hard, there is beauty to be found.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I need to get to the range. You never know when that practice will come in handy.

Did something change with the crust at Ledo pizza? The last two I’ve had have been thicker and rather doughy. That thin and crispy is what I like. And I’ve seen this from two different shops.

Rain = Sleep

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1pm Veterans Day parade in EC

Veterans Day parade in Ellicott City today at 1pm. Didn’t know till I drove down to take some early morning shots and saw the people setting up and banners. Wish I could get back down for it but some chores await me. Did get a lot of other shots which I’ll share later. Felt great taking a walk through the town. I need that kind of exercise every morning. And only one person is going to make that happen so I’ve got to find a mirror to keep me accountable.

Even though it’s a bit cool the town was hoping 4 hours before the parade. I love this town, I parked behind my old Newspaper building. Well the first one that I worked at in EC which was Stromberg Publications or as people know it “the Times Papers.” Lots of good memories there before Patuxent purchased it and moved to Columbia. But even better memories were made there so no complaints. But if given the choice of towns to work in, I’d pick EC.

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Saturday signals

What a great day. Grand dog is visiting and getting a few chores done. Relaxing is one of them and that is going fairly well. Grabbed a shot below at the Pink Cabbage yesterday after a bite to eat next door. It reminded me of this weekend, a little caution on either side and full speed ahead in the middle. I was going to try to get up to the Fairgrounds but that is looking iffy. Probably just make a donation and skip the relay part.

Pick a bucket and roll with it.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m very glad we finally stopped by the Town Grill at Foster Country Store on Rt 144 and Triadelphia road. I think I’ll give it a shot for breakfast this week. I’ve been looking for a new place to stop in the morning. But anyway lunch was great and I love the service and small feel of the place. Plus is prompts me to take a ride down Triadelphia road, which is a nice cruise.

Yep and its good.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love the back roads of Howard County. But its troubling to see every space continued to be filled. Speaking of that we went past Wallace Park the other day and lo and behold that beautiful field on the left that seemed to go on forever is being developed it appears. When will it stop? Anyway I’ll let you know how breakfast is here soon.

Town Grill
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m counting on a day that the body is all on the same page.

Pushing myself to learn more than I did today, and each day.

Can you smell what Mother Nature is Cooking?

Thoughts to those who just need a positive one.

And that’s all she wrote for this post. Whoops, I guess that should technically read “That’s all he wrote for this post.”

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Monday flashback

Ah the simple days of working on Main Street. Started in 1976 near the top of the hill at Stromberg Publishing (aka The Times papers).  Started dating my better half who lived up the road during those early years. Fell into a career I had no idea I was interested in. And now 41 years later it is decision that I’m glad I stuck with.

Mr Yates was a fine merchant. I patronized him often.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I do miss working so close to home and in such a town that felt like family. Well lots of them were family at Stromberg. Hell if there were a policy on nepotism then over half the company would have been let go. But even if you weren’t blood family, you we’re part of the company family. I’m sorry that so many young people miss out on that feeling now.

I miss the nickel Popsicle’s from Mr. Yates store. I miss the feel of that small town. Especially being I commute to a large town (DC). And the company I work for doesn’t feel like family anymore. Then again that’s not a knock at it, most companies don’t have that feel. All I know is I miss the close relationships I once had at work.

I got to see my daughter on her birthday. Took her some flowers and a balloon. She is so precious. I’m so glad my children settled fairly close to home so I can still do these things.

Well, didn’t get a chance to shoot today but hope to this fine Tuesday that is almost upon us.

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Take a minute

Wow, adding that 10 hour work day at the job that pays the bills back into the schedule really crimps my free time. Such is life. I did take a minute today to grab a frame at the Howard County Conservancy. And another from the entrance of the Conservancy looking up to Woodstock and the famous Snowball Stand.

 Howard County Conservancy Photo by Mike Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yep the stand is close for the winter. But we made it through January and I think we’re at least half way to spring so I’m starting to think about what flavor my first snowball of the season will be.

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I also took a minute to look at the sky today. Something I used to have time to do and enjoy as a youth often. Not so much now and I miss it. And I think I figured out why. You see as I’ve aged I’ve watched the generation before me age. And men seem to go through this morphing at a certain age.

All your life your standing at 90 degrees. At 50 you feel the sudden inertia behind you pushing you forward, sort of like a stiff wind at your back trying to fold you in half. At 60 you’re slouching forward at a 80 degree acute angle at least half the time and you didn’t even notice it till you see a photo. Yeah your neck still works fine and you can see the sky.

At 70 years of age your listing forward at 60 degree angle and even if your neck is still fully functional your only able to see about a 1/3 of the sky. Your starting to see more ceiling fan in the bathroom than clouds.

At 80 years of age you’re at a 45 degree angle forward and basically looking at the pavement and shoes. If someone speaks and you get your neck to move upwards you may be able to make eye contact but seeing their hairstyle is probably out of the question. That is why old men are always in trouble, their wives go to the salon and expect them to notice the new dew. Well they always miss it because they can’t see it.

At 90 you’re so bent over you’re looking at your own behind. The sky is a reflection in a puddle. That is why I don’t take puddle reflection photos now. I figure I’ll have time to do it when I’m older.

At 100 you’re going back to your youth. They have scooted your bed out to the porch so you can stare at the sky all day and night. Well I can dream of living to 100 years old.

  • Boy, you blink after the New Years Party and its the end of the month.
  • My barbershop raised their price by a $1. Now I’m going to have to ask for a raise or become a hippie again.
  • Do you think its wrong to (fill in the blank). Never mind, I don’t want to add to the political discourse today.
  • I know I should give up drinking Cokes. But the label almost matches the color of my car and I love sugar.
  • Take a deep breath. Now repeat. Add exhales as needed.

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A New Years eve dinner

What a great evening last night. A fun time and dinner with a couple of our best friends. But I have to comment on a business that closed its doors last night in Howard County. I’ve always liked their entrance. It says “Love, Laughter and Friends. Always Welcome Here.” So it’s with a heavy heart that I see another HoCo business close. Baltimore Sun article about it here.

This establishment, Luna Bella is no more. It’s located very close to one of my best friends homes and its a restaurant we have patronized for some time. Both dine in and carry out. Great food and great service, gone from the community.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

It was wonderful hearing the stories of the staff and owners last night. Some real good people. We and many others were there to wish them well in the future.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

The sign says Welcome Sit, Relax and Enjoy. And we did “sit, relax and enjoy” many a night.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

And while there were many tears of joy, there was also a sadness.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

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Goodbye growing season

Almost time for that dormant winter season. Not that I’m any expert on growing anything but given the season in the northeast its pretty much planning for next year I’m guessing. Of course these guys could really answer all those and more questions at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Maryland Research Branch along Folly Quarter Road.

Along Folly Quarter Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Folly Quarter Rd.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love traveling that road. Well the bike riders who like it complicate it at times and people not paying attention but its a much better ride than Route 29 if you got the time and want to see some country. This U of MD site along that road is well maintained and I’m always looking at what they are growing and how well it’s doing.

But this looks like the final cutting of the year so I’ll just look forward to spring and the coming of the Green Again. In the mean time I had better get out and try to capture some of the fall colors. Were going to be subjected to that grey of winter all too soon.


Sweet Saturday Mornings

Nothing like getting up early and quick walk. Also got a haircut which always makes me feel better. Saw this scene on the way home from that task. It seems like the winds have taken a lot of the color away here in central Maryland. I’ll have to see if I can still find some later. Been marveling at all the wonderful images that other photos that I follow have caught. Some amazing shots of fall.

Pond along Rt 99 near Waverly. Photo by Mike Hartley

Pond along Rt 99 near Waverly.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m really going to start pushing myself this coming year to work on my many crafts and finally get proficient with the tools, learning to edit both words and images better, and put some design into this blog. I still waste too much time on unimportant things. And while I’d love to invest the time and money into Photoshop, I think I’ll first get better at composing and capturing the best images I can. Plus I enjoy getting out more behind the camera than I do sitting at my desk.

A beautiful morning in Howard County. But aren't they all? Photo by Mike Hartley

A beautiful morning in Howard County. But aren’t they all?
Photo by Mike Hartley

I also find that if I’m happy with a days shooting the words and stories come more easily because the images usually inspire some kind of drivel from me for good or bad. Hoping I can get out and shoot some more between the days task and do a few post.

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Someday again

Found a few shots of Ellicott City from this year before the flood that I hadn’t posted yet. Longing for the days the town returns to the unique visit it was. Special restaurants, shops businesses and residents. My home away from home. Where I started my career in the newspaper business. Where my wife grew up. Where I got married. Where I returned to as a partner/publisher on our own newspaper. Where I go for a good walk. Where I go to photograph. Where I go to eat.

A fixture of Main Street. Took this in early July. Photo by Mike Hartley

A fixture of Main Street. Took this in early July.
Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my favorite intersections in town.

Its green and the town is trying to get going. Photo by Mike Hartley

Its green and the town is trying to get going. I shot this photo the morning of the flood. 
Photo by Mike Hartley

Store front window.

Store Window. I'm sure the contents were gone shortly after this was shot. Photo by Mike Hartley

Store Window. I’m sure the contents were gone shortly after this was shot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess the clouds were a sign of things to come.

Clouds over EC in late June. Photo by Mike Hartley

Clouds over EC in late June.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I see slow signs of life. I heard Tersiguels is opening this week again. Best of luck to them in helping the town recover.

Tersiguels is open again. Old Photo by Mike Hartley

Tersiguels is open again.
Old Photo by Mike Hartley

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Time to pump it up

What a beautiful day for mid October here in the northeast U.S. Spent a few hours cruising northern Howard County and then a walk around Ellicott City. Felt great to get some exercise and feel that warmth of the sun. I’m both excited to see so much is done in such a short time. It really is amazing. But I’m disheartened with distance so far to go for many owners and businesses. This one was a sea change for our town. I’m going to try to do my part to help it return to glory again.

Hand pump. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hand pump.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Saw this barn off Rt 144 just past Lisbon I believe. I bet this is interesting in the morning sunlight also. I’ll have to stop back and see.

Barn through trees. Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn through trees.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I miss the days of endless farms throughout the county. Yes its still a beautiful area but already over developed in most part of the county now. I guess it’s the price for having such a good area and services. No wonder everyone wants to move here.

Barn off Rt 144 by Lisbon. Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn off Rt 144 by Lisbon.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wish I had taken my time today. Rushed a lot of images and didn’t like most of what I shot today. Such is life. Sometimes those are the ones that are most popular though. So what the hell. I get a few of EC up tomorrow at the latest.

Barn and Silo Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn and Silo
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway, it’s to beautiful outside to sit in front of the laptop. I’m headed back outside for a few minutes.

Color changes are starting here. Photo by Mike Hartley

Color changes are starting here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Have a great day all.

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A lap around the lake

Just a few shots from a walk around Lake Elkhorn in Columbia.


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Nothing like getting outside and taking a walk. Did it today and hope to do it tomorrow. Of course the Saturday walk won’t be with my better half which won’t make it as fun but I’ll power through. Did the loop around Lake Kittamaqundi and captured a few shots. Should have done many more miles, but wasn’t feeling 100% today and it was a lot hotter than I anticipated.

Dragonfly or bi wing plane? Photo by Mike Hartley

Dragonfly or bi wing plane?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t see all the wildlife I was hoping for but there was still a few guys out there.

Showing off in the mirror. Photo by Mike Hartley

Showing off in the mirror.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And some color.

No fall color here. Photo by Mike Hartley

No fall color here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Some were doing a quiet read during lunch.

A good book on a nice day on patio of Whole Foods building. Photo by Mike Hartley

A good book on a nice day on patio of Whole Foods building.
Photo by Mike Hartley

An iconic fountain. This town was voted #1 Best Place to live in 2016 by Money Magazine.

Town Center fountain. Photo by Mike Hartley

Town Center fountain.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t worry, I’ll go for a walk in a few places on Saturday so not to bore you all with the same area.

Water Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

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Thinking ahead

So cooler temps are on the way. I’m just hoping the sun makes an appearance for most of the weekend. I feel like getting out and walking a few miles for the exercise each day and to see what I can find in my viewfinder. Lots of plans and a short time to do them in but, whats new there.

Shot from old Woodstock Post office. Photo by Mike Hartley

Shot from old Woodstock Post office.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But those storms last night are not encouraging. Good thing they were fast movers. Speaking of fast movers, I saw an old Cobra while cruising last Sunday morning. Those are nice cars, never driven one but with that small weight and monster power plant its got to be entertaining.

Cobra on Old Frederick Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Cobra on Frederick Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, here is hoping I can come up with some entertaining work in the next few days. I’ve gotten a bit sloppy lately. My goal in August was to post every day. Well I missed 4 which was better than the 5 I missed in July but what the hell, its improvement. As far as the quality well that is always a subjective thing, but I’m going to try to make a marked improvement in that area also.

But its time to set my goals a bit higher. Maybe 2 post a day and each with its own sections. Sort of like a morning/evening edition. Its project time and I hope to kick off September with my review of BBQ in the area. I’ll be starting a series of the Eastern shore of Maryland. I’d like to take a few days at Arlington National Cemetery this month also. Mom’s birthday is coming up so I have to take her some flowers to her and Dad. I’m also going to try my hand at some more night shooting. I was video taping some lightening last night and might try my hand at more video work. I do have to learn the editing part more. Got a million other ideas and thoughts so I better get to work.

  • randomthoughtsYou know if I retire at 65 I only have a bit over 1500 days of work left. When I look at it that way, it evokes a smile.
  • Why do I waste time listening to a 5 or 7 day forecast when the batting average of the forecast even 24 hours out is shaky.
  • You got to love happy hours. No matter where they are or who you’re with.
  • Attitude is everything. And mine is improving so there is room for hope.

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Riding with the Heroes

Was lucky to catch the Motorcycle ride pulling out onto Rt 99 heading towards Rt 32 this morning in Howard County. I got on a hill by Marriots Ridge school and shot the procession. The Riding with the Heroes run Sponsored by Howard County Police and Howard County Fire and Rescue. This was the 2nd one and it looked like a success to me and the route it takes is something I’m going to try in the car soon. Of course with the Top Down.

The head of the line. Howard County Officers. Photo by Mike Hartley

The head of the line. Howard County Officers.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Here’s hoping it was a safe ride for everyone.

Hand signals. Long time no use. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hand signals. Long time no use.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t get a count but it looked like a few hundred bikers were part of it.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Next time I’ll do a quick video.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

For pictures don’t incorporate the sound you need.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

2 wheels, 3 wheels, it’s all good.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

The flag was proudly displayed on several bikes.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

From what I could see just about every brand of bike was represented.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

And what a beautiful day for a ride.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Some days I still miss riding. But I’ll take my convertible now and be happy.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

For my vehicle is still a two seater, just like a bike.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

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A good reason to rise early

Nothing like early mornings. Then again I seem to love every part of the day and night. Doesn’t bode well for my sleep patterns but I do get a lot of perspectives. Sometimes the morning air is so clear and crisp. This time of year is great to enjoy our outdoors. And with the National Park Service celebrating their 100th year it is another good reminder to go see a lot of what makes this country great.

A peaceful morning at Rocky George  Photo by Mike Hartley

A peaceful morning at Rocky George
Photo by Mike Hartley


A lazy morning

Did some shooting this morning. Actually did more driving than shooting. Which was fine because it was a beautiful morning indeed. And being the driving wasn’t towards any city of any size like it normally is, the roads I chose were great and scenes were very nice. Sometimes as I’m driving looking for new shooting spots, I find myself enjoying the view too much and forgetting to stop and shoot it. Such was the case this morning after I caught myself saying I should have stopped there and grabbed a few frames for the 5th time.

Window at the Pink Cabbage store on Route 144. Photo by Mike Hartley

Window at the Pink Cabbage store on Route 144.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But that is the good thing about shooting locally. You can go back and back with ease. And each time you do you see something different or new if you got your eyes open. That is a gift I think I’ve gotten back from trying my hand at photography. I stop and pause to look at things a bit more. Composition, color, contrast, texture, angles, feelings and all kind of things.

Mom is yelling at me from above because I don't know what this flower is. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mom is yelling at me from above because I don’t know what this flower is.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’ll have to go back out and take another stab at some shots today while we have sun because Sunday looks like it might not be so good. Plus time gets tight after this evening anyway.

The Pink Cabbage along Route 144. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Pink Cabbage along Route 144.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So don’t forget to add a little water to your system today because it’s still going to be a hot one. Be safe, have fun, enjoy the weekend.

Watering can Photo by Mike Hartley

Watering can
Photo by Mike Hartley

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Found a gem

Found this photo below of Main Street Ellicott City from Saturday morning 7/30 before the flood that evening and thought it was a good thing to look at and hope for the future of this wonderful place. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in this town. From working there a few years at 2 newspapers to eating, shopping and just walking in. And thankfully many wonderful photo ops along the journey. My wife and family lived right up the street. We got married in this town.

I’m going to miss this landmark for a while I believe. I’ll miss the people and meals and exercise and great images it provides. Not the ones I’ve seen first hand and shared recently after the flood, but ones that show the great town it is.

Its funny, I had no idea that this image would be the last I took of the town before this disaster. To have snapped it that morning is special to me. I never get tired of trying to capture a new angle on this place. And while this image Saturday morning wasn’t anything special, it reminds me how each moment is special in life. And how any minute it can change in a flash. So here’s to rebuilding this wonderful small town of America.

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phonenix Resturant onto Main Street. Had the top down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this. Photo by Mike Hartley

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phoenix Restaurant onto Main Street. Had the top down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this.
Photo by Mike Hartley

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Limited access but a few good frames

Went down to Ellicott City this morning and police had just about every angle blocked off but I did manage to wander around and snap some 80 images of flood damage. Nothing much downtown Main street except for a few shots from Church Street. I heard they were doing a press walk through and I probably could have faked my way into that but decided to hike up the street a bit where the cameras weren’t but there was still damage.

No support here.  Photo by Mike Hartley

No support here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

If you can help these people they are certainly full of appreciation. Found this link for Preservation Maryland to help Ellicott City.

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Wishing a quick recovery

Found this wishing well washed into the street last night with the flood waters. Thought it was a fitting image for the town as it try’s to recover this sunny Sunday morning.

Wishing Well washed into middle of the street.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Wishing Well washed into middle of the street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A view I didn’t think I’d see.

No Services this Sunday in Ellicott City.  Photo by Mike Hartley

No Services this Sunday in Ellicott City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wasn’t a nice sunrise in town today. And this huge trench that started in front of the old Post office, wiped out the alley between Yate’s old store and got deeper as you went down the street.

Excuse me, but whom took the sidewalk? Photo by Mike Hartley

Excuse me, but whom took the sidewalk?
Photo by Mike Hartley


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And another loss

With all that rain many trees are down in the area. Unfortunately one nice one along Bethany lane was down this morning. I heard it was a county protected tree over 100 years old.


Reflecting on Ellicott City

As I walked around town taking flood pictures this morning I was able to capture this reflection in a window of the old firehouse top and it made me think about all the good images I have of Ellicott City in both my mind and on film. A good friend said this could be worse than Agnes in the early 70’s. So I’m going to start this day with a nice image of the town because what little I saw broke my heart.

Reflection of Old Firehouse top.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of Old Firehouse top.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Then the people I talked to, broke my heart. I’ll have to keep a good track of Ho.Co. Blogs and get down there to see who needs help. And the question is again, Will EC triumph over Mother Nature?

Flooded motorcycle. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flooded motorcycle.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll post some more images later this morning and a link to the full set also once I upload them.

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Wheel me up Scotty

Just a random shot down in Ellicott City this morning. Clouds made the morning less than optimal but it was nice to be out tooling around the county. Took a drive down College Avenue and I couldn’t believe how much it had built up. Every time I take a trip down a road I traveled long ago all I see is new development. Well, that at least answers the question of “where did all these people come from?”

Cart in Courtyard Photo by Mike Hartley

Cart in Courtyard
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m still getting used to this new lens. I love it but I really need to get that tripod. Think I’ll look for one this coming week. Need that for sharpness.

One of my favorite corners. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my favorite corners.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Still hoping for the sun to break through sometime today, but it’s looking doubtful. I need to practice my indoor shooting anyway.

Home along College Avenue.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Home along College Avenue.
Photo by Mike Hartley


  • randomthoughtsThe more I get out and shoot, the more I want to get out and shoot. Pictures that is. In today’s world that is worth clarifying.
  • My new goal is to shoot 100 frames a day. Easier said than done.
  • Being older it is still hard to click away with total abandon. When you have shot so much film, you trigger finger is still conservative.
  • My wife better get home soon. Were almost out of Coke. And we all know that this guy does not shop.
  • Today is a gambling day. I’ll let you know the results Sunday morning.
  • I like creating things that make people pause. Once I master that trick, I’m going to repeat it.

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Morning sunning

Found this boy floating just under the surface at Scott’s Cove. Well he did poke his head through the surface when I snapped. While he looks small he’s actually at least a foot and a half. He was out in the middle of the reservoir and I used all the zoom I had 300mm without a tripod. I’m going to spend some time down in this area trying to capture a bit more nature.

Turtle floating in Scotts Cove. Photo by Mike Hartley

Turtle floating in Scotts Cove.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m also going to have to set up and watch some fisherman and see if I can capture that moment of action. Now that can take patience and I’m hope I’m capable of that. It’s not one of my best traits. Like the shot below. I saw the guy drop off his boat and I didn’t even wait for him to come back and paddle out.

For those about to FISH. We salute YOU. Photo by Mike Hartley

For those about to FISH. We salute YOU.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I do hate taking my car down there because paved parking does not exist there. It’s the land of pickemup trucks and large SUV’s. But I will power through that restriction and still venture there.

Pickup City Photo by Mike Hartley

Pickup City
Photo by Mike Hartley

I like going here in the mornings. It smells so fresh. And that quiet is very calming. The shutter seems so much louder here.

Breakfast time. Photo by Mike Hartley

Breakfast time.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, enough for this post. I got to get shooting again and the heat is building already. Here’s to another great day. Because my Monday was a great starter day with family.

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Smoking Saturday

Got together with some friends and started the day off with laughter. What a great way to begin the day. A warm one out there and I got a bit too much sun with the top down. Combined with yesterdays ride I’m toast. But its good to be out and about. For I think back about a year ago and I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere. I was just thankful to be out of the hospital.

This weekend at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Mike Hartley

This weekend at the Fairgrounds.
Photo by Mike Hartley

That is one of the things I try to think of when I start feeling down because of the small stuff. How good it felt to walk out of UMMC and get in that car and go down Russell street to go HOME.

I got so busy this afternoon I didn’t get out to see if they are serving jerk chicken at the Fairgrounds for the Jamaican Fest. And just a reminder about the upcoming county fair in August. I hope the family will want to go together again. So many fond memories of the fair. Both working at it for the Howard County Times papers with great friends and attending with family and friends.

Its nothing special, just a county fair like a gazillion others. They always have done a nice job on improving it every year. I’m really going to try to get up there and get some good shots this year. One eventual goal is to go every day and try to put together a project of it but that is grandiose thinking for sure.

Not so big. Photo by Mike Hartley

Not so big.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So its off to get some more images this evening. First a plan. Nah, not my normal operating mode. I’m more a go out and see what strikes me. But if I’m going to be effective, I have to start planning and putting more complete works up.

That goes for both my writing and photography. So I’m going to begin with making the post more organized by section so with all the different things I might ramble on about can at least catch some of the people who might not be interested in my whole rant but might like a food review or my random thoughts.

Also going to try to enhance the design a bit. Maybe start to incorporate some graphics to break up the grey and photos. Hell I’ve worked for hundreds of designers over the years so I should have picked up a few things. But I have a tendency to go overboard when simpler is better. That is why I picked this simple theme.

I know one goal of posting each day is becoming reality. Like that little train to my left. Just need to keep up the pace and prepare some things in advance to post when I’m busy. I’m discovering there is a lot of time needed in creating good content. Well at least it is for me. And obviously by the lack of that here, you can see time is sparse to say the least. But I’m working at it more and loving it more.

And thankfully the more time I get to work on it the more I think of to do. That is a blessing I guess because at times before starting this I thought I’d have enough to write about for maybe two days.

  • randomthoughtsIt’s Saturday July 16th 2016.
  • Is this the day the world takes a turn for the better?
  • I’m dog sitting this week. You know I don’t think that is a very good term for it because I seem to do a lot less sitting when I’m watching pets.