THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Power through

A trait of my best friends. They power through regardless of obstacles. I do my best to emulate that trait myself. My better half is very strong at it. There are so many trials in life that basically you meet and power through or get stalled by or never make it past. And that is just the way it is.

Sometimes we are powering through our own self-inflicted trials. Many suffer through significant personal loss or massive health challenges. Powering through comes in many different ways. An addict says one day is enough and stopping a substance problem and never going back to it. Or someone coping with the loss of a child day by day for the rest of their lives. People power through chemo and surgeries every day.

I thought of powering through this morning when I woke in some serious discomfort. I get this mentality that I can overcome it and need to find the right stretching exercise or combination that works.

Open headers always will signify some power. Photo by Mike Hartley

I cruise through summer but I have to power through winter in both the elements and phycology. It’s the dark season so the lack of sunlight ruins some of my spirits. Going outside is a chore instead of a joy.

A lot of us have to power through holidays which can be very difficult times. May I repeat, very difficult times for a lot of people! So many including myself will have a moment or two or three or more, where you are brought to tears. Maybe happy ones, maybe sad ones, maybe both. May those times be balanced with love and companionship.

And now it’s time to power through the work week ahead.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thinking of a good friend whose spouse is ill.
  • Really had a nice weekend. Love the way it ended.
  • Can’t wait till tomorrow and get a chance to go shooting for a bit.
  • I wish money wasn’t the factor it is in retirement.
  • Starting the week off with a sleep deficiency isn’t the way I intended.

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Worked hard

I worked hard on everything else but this today. I’m out of oil and about to go dark for the day.

My Uncle Frank worked for Dietz Lantern. In addition to being at Pearl Harbor on December 7th on the USS West Virginia. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • No feeling or just tingling in my left arm and hand makes typing a challenge.
  • I can’t believe the great start the Maryland Men’s basketball team is off to this year. Keep it going. Fear the Turtle.
  • It always feels much better putting up Xmas lights instead of taking them down.
  • I’m on a mission to make everything else longer than the workweek.

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Better days

I used to look back at days and think about better ones when I was having a bad one. Now I just look forward. What each day brings is wonderful even if it’s not the best of days.

Fishing on the bay. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A lot of pain is dealt with in silence.
  • Learning some things about people can be disappointing.
  • A hug from a 3-year-old can make a grandpa feel young again.
  • Karma is really overdue in some people’s cases. Maybe they will get an extra dose when it’s time.
  • It’s time for some music to raise my spirits before I get depressed and listen in the wrong way.
  • I have a tremendous amount of hope for society. I just don’t have much faith in some of it.

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That sinking feeling

That is an interesting title for the problem I have. That lift cylinder on my office chair is becoming shot. So every once in a while I’m sitting here and “that sinking feeling” starts and before I know it I’m much lower in the seat. So we quickly get it back to the top with the lever and spin the base because it seems to go down quicker in two or three spots.

I just got rid of another old office chair. I believe this one is a hand-me-down from my father inlaws old office. Regardless it’s seen better days. So someday in early 2023, a new office chair will be purchased. And here you thought with that title of today’s post it might be something of substance.

Going down? Photo by Mike Hartley

A fellow blogger Sheree of View from the Back asked if I was looking forward to retirement yesterday and I responded rather affirmatively. In some ways, I’ve planned for it all my life and in others, I haven’t given it a thought. I’ve never had a firm date or goal year. I’ve always taken that as it comes. Far too many factors along the way influence those decisions.

I know when I did start thinking of it about 2-3 years ago, it became harder to give all the extra hours I used to. It’s not like I don’t give them more than a full day’s effort every day but due to a number of circumstances, it is far from the joy it used to be. As a matter of fact, what we used to do (make Newspapers) is a dying thing. Not the information and entertainment, just the way in that you consume it. And that is part of it. We now work for a media company that is mainly online. Oh yeah, we print some papers, and still have a plant with huge buildings and equipment floor to ceiling in them. But the days are numbered.

Also, my career changed about 8 years ago. A senior UNIX admin in a company that was restructuring and I had a choice to change employers or change roles and duties. It’s not like I hadn’t done this before but it was always a step up and this was a step down. I could look at this two ways. That was high pressure and high stress and a lot of on-call. And I had done years of it. Or maybe lower level stress and challenge. In most ways, I’ve been happy with the latter decision.

But, it’s become a job instead of a passion. And that is OK because it’s always been a job. But sometimes along the way we made it much more. But back to retirement.

It’s so interesting to see the different takes on retirement that my friends, family, and acquaintances have. I spoke to one friend this weekend and we never speak about retirement because I know he probably never will because he hasn’t prepared for it in any way and will be working till he can’t. I have some others that don’t seem to want to retire for fear of not having anything to do. And of course, others who just enjoy their jobs so much that it’s become their lives.

But I have seen some lately who I thought might work longer think about retiring because the people around them retiring have made them take another measure of life.

Personally, I’m looking forward to more family and friend time. Time to develop and work on interests I had as a youth that I didn’t follow up on. I have new interests that I’d love to explore and create. I’d like to relax and get a good night’s sleep each day. When I get in the car I’d like it to be with no direction or destination in mind. I’d like to cook more. And I’d love to see more of this beautiful country.

So I’ll have no problem filling my remaining years. The only question is when do I transition from working stiff, to that crazy grandpa who’s always making things?

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wonder if I have a magic number?
  • Being a good business owner doesn’t mean one has to be greedy. And may karma visit the ones that are.
  • Does anyone know where the last 11 months went to? Oh yeah, history.
  • To all those stressing out. Be happy with yourself, be happy with your effort. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is your time, interest, and love.


Which one

Either I’m slightly younger than most of my contemporaries at work or they planned better than I have. Probably a little of both but an awful number of people I’m close with have or are retiring now. Which makes the job seem very different and not as much fun as it once was.

I noticed this trend about a decade ago when a number of people began retiring. Either people at my current job or longtime friends I’ve worked with. And yes a lot of them are slightly older. But today I was talking to someone my own age, another multi-decade newspaperman, and he is retiring. I was congratulating him on a significant company award and he shared the news.

Well, all I can say is it gets more and more lonely each year. Not that I don’t like the youngsters, it’s just we don’t have a history as I did with so many oldtimers.

I was looking through old photos and I was looking at this one when I heard Christine McVie passed today. I really liked her song “You make loving fun.” I always thought of my better half when I heard it. Photo by Mike Hartley

You make loving fun video from 1977.

Felt like I needed a little color today. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Music again reminds me of the importance of living in the moment. And the ability to let myself go with the flow.
  • The wind is nature’s way of sweeping.
  • That will be me you hear cursing the cold at 5 am when I’m taking the trash out.
  • Time to go Christmas tree shopping. I hope I don’t forget the smelling salts when I pass out from the price of trees this year.

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Did you get the shot

Talk about limited time today. Played car mechanic for a bit and then had a craftsman in for a warranty repair that wasn’t as easy as they thought. And of course, that needs parts that might be months out. That is ok, I can go with the flow.

Just playing. Photo by Mike Hartley

If tired was an Olympic event, I’d be on the podium. If complaining about it was an event I would probably finish in the money there also. So I’m headed towards some good rest tomorrow, at least that is the hope. Rainy days are good for that. They are also good for sorting out which Xmas lights work and which don’t. That is always the way you start, so you can add that to the hardware list early before your selection is limited.

I don’t know of any electrical device that dies a more premature death than Xmas lights. And yes I have even gotten some dead out of the box. At least I save receipts. I used to keep many old sets just for the spare bulbs but I’ve cleaned a bit.

I’ll wait till those 40 mph wind gusts tomorrow pass by before trying to hang any lights.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I believe donating to charity is a good thing. And on this giving Tuesday I’ll probably make a donation or two but I hate to be hounded to death by some of them.
  • Hawaii is beautiful I hear. Till you’re covered in lava.
  • Putting decorations up is starting to get me in the holiday spirit.
  • I don’t know why I’m thinking about changes for next year when there is so much more of this year to be lived.
  • Sometimes you find out a person’s importance to you in unexpected ways.

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I like “When”. It’s the kind of word that inspires motivation. I ask myself when a lot more now because I’m trying to do more. So I’m saying to myself when can I fit that in? When can I get off my ass and start more woodworking? When is the best time of day today to head out and take a few shots? When is the best time to do my blog post? When is it time for a design change?

Sometimes “When” can be fun. When will the first snow be? When will I pick a date to retire? When did they have the baby? When is our happy hour this week? When is our next vacation?

Right time, right angle, right day. It’s easy when someone else sets up the still life for you. Photo by Mike Hartley

I imagine “When” can also be sad. When did he pass? When is the next train, I just missed this one? When will gas prices go down? When is he going to jail?

When is a versatile word and can be used in many ways. So before I go too far and you ask when will this mindless stream of thought stop. Well, when I’m ready.

Onto the next topic on this fine Monday, which is the day’s challenge. I am setting up a new iPad with my better half. I used to love Apple products. Probably was my primary OS for a few decades but Windows and UNIX have been in the last few decades. I’ll get her moving this afternoon and RTFM tonight myself so I can try to answer questions when they come up.

What a surprise, just like everything there is no manual, it’s all online help. I’ll still read up tonight and offer some suggestions throughout the week. I’m just so glad she has a larger screen to work with.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I watched the sun come up in Ocean City this morning. I just wish it wasn’t online. It was still a good feeling.
  • I’m sorry, I’m already tired of turkey. When my better half said she was thinking about a spiral ham for Christmas a wave of relief hit me.
  • It feels good when a day has been productive, decisions made, and actions taken.
  • Feeling inspired to decorate a bit more this holiday.

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Doing something daily can be a challenge. Some are easy some are more difficult. For some having a cup of coffee or tea is a daily ritual. Some used to follow that with reading a daily paper or news. There are lots of things we do daily but I’m thinking of something that takes some effort and time out of your normal daily processes.

Something like working out every day. Or cooking a new dish each day. Or create a blog post each day. Or work on some craft or tangible creation each day. I don’t think everyone appreciates the effort and focus to do it every day long term. I never fully appreciated it till I started at a daily newspaper almost 25 years ago. I’d worked in weekly chains before that which was pretty intense but something that is done daily is a different animal.

How much longer will the sight of a Newspaper on the sidewalk be visible? Photo by Mike Hartley

When I started the blog I thought daily was a piece of cake. 8 years later I’m finally doing it. So many factors come into play when trying to do something of substance daily. Your own health is a good start. If you’re going to do something on both good and bad days it better be something you love and have a passion for.

There are so many pitfalls when attempting to do something daily. If you rely on equipment do you have backups? Do you depend on materials, do you have the proper inventory to sustain supply disruptions? Are there ways to prepare in advance if unexpected difficulties arise?

There is the true will you have behind the commitment. I would also like to practice photography every day, but I don’t. I hope to change that but that is the will I have at the moment. Working out each day would be healthy, I just can’t seem to keep it going in any substantial way.

But thankfully change is possible. And I think the key is not to be discouraged and pick it up the next day and start a new streak. So that is what I’m going to do with some important things, I’m going to try each day to keep the ball moving forward.

Here’s to a bright start tomorrow after a day of rain. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love rainy days. Especially when I don’t have to go out in them.
  • I feel a sense of urgency but am not comfortable with why I feel that way.
  • I have an ill feeling about this winter.
  • I’m going to be much more productive this week. Now if I can convince the body to play nice we might have a chance.

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Back in service

I went with the title “Back in service” because my back released me from that vice grip of serious pain I was in for most of Friday afternoon and into the wee hours of Saturday morning. Therefore this body is in motion and ready to get production underway again. The sunshine outside this wonderful morning had me doubly inspired.

Saturday morning on the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Mike Hartley

On the other hand, I feel totally unfocused because I’m so tired. Just starting this I find myself making a lot of typing mistakes which aren’t usual. Grammer yes but not spelling for the most part. So the synapses between the brain and fingers need some work this morning to get back in sync.

And that is why I take some notes when I can to reflect on when I’m so unfocused. So when I’m so tired I’ve given areas I might be going to some forethought. Or remember a theme I started and wanted to flush out more. Or to focus on some street shots and not so much nature. So each time out I can fill some voids in my shooting experience.

And I think it’s time to get out tomorrow and see what gaps I can fill.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wonder how the police are making up for all the lost revenue from issuing tickets.
  • Family in a lot of cases is a fractured term.
  • I have such a love of food and indulge myself from time to time. I also believe in supporting the Maryland Food Bank and World Central Kitchen.
  • Grandchildren aren’t just another phase of life. They are your second wind in life.
  • Just saw a commercial for Coors Light. I haven’t drunk a Coors in decades but from what I remember it was light before they made a Coors Light.

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I call this one below my girlfriend. She loves me so when I come calling on her at one of my best friends’ homes. I love pets and we no longer have one, so I live vicariously through my friend’s and family’s pets. We even watch some from time to time. I’m thinking about spending some time at the shelter walking or playing with some animals. That is assuming they allow that. I don’t think they would turn down free help but there may be rules I’m not aware of.

I’ll stop by and see, this coming month. At a minimum make a donation while there. Animals have so much love to give in such a short period of time. Pets have been so special in our lives and the pain of losing them is unbearable at times in life. But you can’t get much better friends in life.

I’ve been told to watch my licker this weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Yes, they are takers. They demand attention but on their terms. They expect that food and will let you know if it’s late or not up to standard or better yet why are we not having what you’re having attitudes. They want to crash where they want to. Even if that means between the two of you and the least favorite might just get the short side or edge of the bed.

They can’t believe you’re not taking them with you every time you leave. And are upset and at the same time elated to see you when you return even if you’re just bringing in the trash can. And go away without them for a day or week and if they could call 911 you would be charged with abuse even if you have made the most loving arrangements for them.

What got me going on this Pet wave of thoughts was the disappointment yesterday from my granddaughter that my son didn’t bring his dogs for Thanksgiving. And this morning the first shot I looked at was my wife and my first pets.

Pets are like adding a permanent child to the home. One that will add work, care, cost, and time. But rewards make those seem inconsequential.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Turkey sliders – doing my part to eliminate leftovers.
  • Finally a free Friday. Figures feeling 100% wasn’t in the cards.
  • The smile of a 3-year-old just coming out of the bedroom in the morning and seeing you with a fresh box of doughnuts is something that will stay with me for a long time.
  • There is a fine line between full and oops. Glad I know not to cross that one.
  • My better half says the stores were really crowded. I’ll take her word on this one.

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A stream of love

Nothing like having your children home for the holidays. I wish that was possible for everyone. There are a lot of families still separated by service. Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Hats off to all those Police, Fire, Medical, and Service Members here and abroad that keep us safe and healthy today and on every holiday.

Tomb Guard. Photo by Mike Hartley

I complain about working holidays but these people have a much more important job than I do. And most of them don’t complain. Nor do they complain when they are so short-staffed that people treat them like crap or disrespect them. They aren’t well paid compared to a lot of professions that aren’t as important and life-saving. They do it because they have a strong will and belief system internally that a lot of people will never know.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wish everyone could feel as relaxed and loved and at peace as I do now.
  • For those about to do some more gambling just because it’s easier now in Maryland, think about taking that same money and helping someone have a meal on a holiday as you have.
  • To those special souls that can’t celebrate any longer. You were remembered and missed today.
  • Well, I was doing good till dessert was served.
  • My sister’s first Thanksgiving without her children. She was a very brave person today.

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Nothing Nada Zilch

I have nothing left today. Work and a 3-year-old took what remained of the energy reserves I had. And I still have a full night of work ahead. Off at 6 am and then 3-4 hours of sleep before the company starts to come. Life is fun. No complaints this year. People around me have their health, We will have food in our stomachs and a roof over our heads.

The Bird is the Word. Photo by Mike Hartley

So the likelihood of me slipping into a food coma tomorrow are high. I used to get excited about watching football but that also has diminished. What I’m excited about is the possibility of relaxing a bit, and ignoring chores, phone calls, and work.

I do have the cameras charged and ready to go for tomorrow. Might do a little food shooting before it gets devoured. Maybe some family and toddler shots.

I’m staying out of the weekend shopping madness. As I said, my plan is nothing, nada, and zilch.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s a good time of year to think of those less fortunate and act on it.
  • Sometimes when I think too fast I miss the obvious.
  • Nobody has told me to knock off early for the holiday in decades. Another perk you lose when working nights and holidays.
  • To all the travelers. Drive so we all can get to our destinations safely.
  • It’s hard to catch Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade when you work all night. I so look forward to that when I retire.
  • Not everyone is blessed with marrying a good cook. I’m one of the lucky ones.
  • Sometimes I feel like a cat. I feel like I’ve been given a lot of lives.
  • I don’t care how positive a person you are, all this killing has to give you pause.

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Even though

Even though things might not be perfect it doesn’t mean you can’t will them to be as good as possible.

When you’re limited on advertising dollars, cheap but effective. Photo by Mike Hartley

Even though my age number says old, my internal number still yells back, YOUNG.

Even though it’s the coming Thanksgiving Day holiday it still doesn’t feel right without our parents.

Even though it’s been much cooler than normal I won’t retreat to the mancave for a few more weeks.

Even though people complain about getting concert tickets now they didn’t have to sleep out in a parking lot in front of a stadium waiting for the box office to open.

Even though I’ve been a Laker fan for decades recently I’m rethinking that alliance. And if the Yankees don’t resign Aaron Judge (all Rise) to a new contract that relationship might be very damaged.

Even though I have a relatively short time to go on the job, it still seems like a long time.

Even though I had time to be productive today I wasted a lot of it.

Even though I started out with this idea and thought I could run with it, time again is ending this rant. Thank goodness for deadlines.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’ve never kicked myself for taking too many pictures. But I have, for too few.
  • There is something to be said for saying something.
  • Just when I think I’ve seen it all. I go to work.
  • Ladders should come with age-limit instructions.
  • I apologize for the laziness today.

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Fun and Reorg

I’m on a roll this day with inspirational music in the background. The Beatles music is timeless as I sit and listen to the Blue album 67-70. It was 1966 when my dad died in front of me at 9 years old. I was already wise beyond my years at that point because the previous few years were turmoil, despite some great efforts of my mom to shield us from things.

Health challenges and addiction are not something a toddler knows what to do with. Around 6-7 years old you realize there is a lot more activity at night in your house than in others. You know what the police look and sound like and see their cars from your bedroom window.

I remember escaping into music when alone after he passed. Headphones on. A lot of the music I was into fueled an anger that was inside me. The Who, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, The Doors, Jimi. But listening to The Beatles always brought a calm or positive feeling. It was easy to lay back on the bed and relax and think.

Drum set in the window of Bill’s Music in Catonsville. Photo by Mike Hartley

As I was listening to it I was reminded of The Beatles music playing in my high school art classes every day. The teacher Mr. Perrine was a lover of their tunes. Again it was the calm in the middle of the storm as I was developing my own problems. That was another place where I could relax, express what little creativity I have in this body, and feel at peace with things. A place where I had only myself to impress.

The fact that music draws so many memories and feelings out is special to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like living in the present but sometimes its nice to reflect and feel something you felt many decades ago. Days that I don’t incorporate music just aren’t as good.

Holiday week here in the states

Anticipation of a good week ahead. A lot of people call it a holiday weekend. Well none for this guy, I’ll be working till 7 am that Thanksgiving morning. Yes, I’ll have a family dinner later but I’ll be whipped from working all night.

Reorg time

No not at the job that pays the bills. Not yet at least. This could be when a new VP is hired to replace the one who recently departed to Google. No, the reorg is at home trying to figure out how to best use limited space with all the things I have going on. It’s also to finally make some decisions on old family items.

Of course, a reorg would imply I was organized in the first place. That is very debatable but I’ll take the side that that was some organization in the chaos. I’ll also consent that a lot more is needed.

Reorg of physical photo storage – Display, gift, trash. Reuse of old frames which we have a ton of. But the first thing is to sort that mess out.

Reorg of Carving projects – Consolidate to my office. They were scattered around my workroom and various cabinet tops. Organize all my bits for the Dremel tool and clean the workbench surface.

Old Cameras are Displayed – instead of taking space in boxes, I thought it might be a good display. This was a rushed setup. I’ll get something nice later.

Some of my family’s history of cameras ironically shot with my old iPhone 5. Photo by Mike Hartley

Technology – Old CDs – I must have had a few hundred of them. And them being old OS disks for IBM Solaris, RH, Netbackup, and many more which were 1-2 decades old. They are now shooting targets.

The Office – It’s been some while since I’ve changed the layout. So nothing drastic in here except for purging a bit. Well purging a lot.

Home family mementos – It’s time to move on from things in boxes and let someone else enjoy them. Most of this stuff is from my birth family home. Taking a few boxes to the appraisers next week and going from there.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m a pack rat. Not a hoarder, there is a difference.
  • I love how the dogwood tree in front of our family room window breaks up the light of the sun setting in the west. Well, at least when the leaves are out.
  • Sure I have creative differences. But the nice thing is that me myself and I always seem to work them out.
  • I actually feel sorry for the person that takes my job when I retire. It’s not the work, it’s the nights and weekends, and holidays that are missed.
  • A very fun video to watch of our local police department in action today. Bet it was their best call of the day.

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Not yet

Yeah, it’s a good day. Almost any day I’m feeling healthy is good. That sun was deceiving today with some unusually cool temps and very windy. Then again I’m not in upstate New York by the lakes on this day. But as I looked at that I wondered and thought to myself I need to be better prepared for weather extremes.

Tracks by the Woodstock Inn. Photo by Mike Hartley

My parents were from upstate New York so I’m very familiar with the area of Lake Ontario. Visited Sandy Creek, Pulaski, and Syracuse many times in my youth. It does get cold and snowy. Pictures of my parents when they were young show multiple feet of snow.

So I need to get busy getting some wood split. The generator needs to be readied and the grill by the back slider in case I need to cook under the cover of the deck. Well, those are chores for tomorrow, just too cold and windy today.

I was sorting through some old prints yesterday and came across one that was the sun just peeking through a horizon with some palm tree tops. For a second I paused and as usual, the moment came back to me that I took it, the location, the temp and warm breeze blowing, that it was morning and not sunset, who was there, and what we were going to do. None of the other pictures around it indicated anything about it.

I was from a fishing trip in Florida, it was early morning and we were saddling up before sunrise to hit the docks from our hotel. That is a repeated joy I get from photography. Memories of moments, a gazillion of them. Many times they take me back to that moment.

A reminder of the cold chill visits me like the shot above on a very cold morning trying to catch a shot of the train that just passed on one of the tracks that don’t have any snow on it.

Capturing moments in life. It’s a great exercise.

It was nice seeing the Terps men’s hoop team get a victory over a decent opponent yesterday and again today. Let’s hope they can keep the great start rolling. I’m sorry, I can’t help myself, I love college hoops.

Best state flag in the country. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Unfortunately, sometimes smiles can be deceiving. Both in the ones you give and the ones you receive.
  • I’m trying to think of ideas on how to use or create with all the plastics we seem to send to landfills. Very small percentages are recycled I’ve been led to believe.
  • I feel inspired to write tonight. But I have to work. So I’ll write the nightly report instead.
  • Lots of things are very apparent in life. They are just very hard to recognize and accept sometimes. And our minds hold out hope when none should be there.

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I don’t understand

I don’t understand a lot in this world. I’m probably not alone in that either. Let’s take a simple one. If you polled all the people in the world that want war, I doubt you would get many takers. But for some reason, we have constant wars going on. If we took all the money everyone spends on war we could probably solve most of the issues of the world.

A man and his best friend. Photo by Mike Hartley

I don’t understand TV Reality shows

I have too much fun living in reality than spending time watching reality tv. Plus those shows are not really any true reality. They’re made to make money and drama which creates more money. Some of my family was into contest reality shows for a while like Survivor or the Big Brother shows. That has faded. I was about to say I’ve never seen any reality show. But then I realized I’ve spent a few minutes on those cops shows, but I’ve stopped that also. There are so many of these shows out there. How could you avoid not hearing about Kardashians or housewives of some city or bachelor or bachelorette shows?

Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people who enjoy that entertainment, it is entertainment, I just don’t understand the popularity and hysteria about it. As I try to remember each day, to each their own.

I don’t include things like American Idol or those types of shows as reality. Those are talent contests.

I don’t understand management

So many management decisions have boggled my mind over the years. I’ve been in management and I’ve been the worker bee. After all these years I’ve figured out a great analogy. Think of professional sports. Management wants a team, they want spirit, they want your total dedication, and sacrifice, they want to win, and they want your best. You give your best for a decade or two. Then they will throw you out like that scratched helmet when you are not in their plans or direction or because you’re not the same or we didn’t win you have to go. The irony is if the team is still winning you might hold on. But if things go slightly off through no fault of your own, you could be out.

Oh, not all businesses are like this but the ones that aren’t are the exception instead of the rule.

And in a lot of ways, a general statement is kind of unfair. What I believe is that each individual manager I’ve had made it a good or bad experience. There have been some very difficult times and trying times but some managers can still keep the focus, inspiration, and fun despite the chaos around them. Others are chaos themselves and make for a very difficult ride even when the company may be doing well. The quality of the managers a company employs determines its success or failure many times.

I don’t understand drivers in this area

I’m started to come to the conclusion that the number of selfish F**K’s in this area may be starting to eclipse the sharing people. Is just staying alert and not texting or talking on the phone or doing hair or nails or reading or eating or fighting with someone else in the car too much to ask? Or if you want to air out your nice car do it someplace else than the beltway moving in and out of cars at very high speeds near rush hour.

And to those extraordinary pricks who pass on the shoulder or exit and entrance lanes and do exit diving routines on a regular basis or tailgate all the time. If there is justice in this world Karma will pay you a visit. And if you hit the wrong person I’m sure that may happen. Because many people are getting tired of it. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes the lives of their loved ones seriously. So think twice before you hit the ignition next time.

I don’t understand why the weather forecast takes up so much time on the local news

Only in the time of pending storms should it take the time that it does. Otherwise, it should be a very small part of the broadcast. Now you ask why is it. Well, I’m guessing it fills time they can’t because they don’t have many of their own reporters. That is why most are partnered from time to time with other local news organizations. That is also why they run the same stories every 30 minutes because they don’t have the content to fill the air time is my guess.

Everyone has access to the weather on their phones or multiple 24-hour weather channels. I tend to do my old tried and true, step outside, and look up for precipitation possibilities. If cold put something more on, If hot take something off.

I don’t understand people in Waverly Woods

I don’t understand people who choose to walk in the street when there are pristine wide sidewalks available. Could be the same people who pull out in traffic from there without looking onto Rt 99.

I could go on and on because the list of things I don’t understand is long. But I seek to understand things. Because when you understand sometimes it enlightens you. But also be prepared to shake your head and move on at times.

Cold weather shot of the Morning Frost.

A very chilly morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s never too late to be what you always wanted to be unless you give up.
  • Nationwide isn’t on my side. They are behind me. Almost time to change positions.
  • Can’t wait to watch the Terps men’s basketball against a strong opponent today.
  • I wonder if I’ll have sticker shock when Xmas tree shopping in a few weeks?
  • My house is a relative term, even if you are finished paying it off. I have my spots.
  • Isn’t it interesting how families are redefined over time?

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All down

We are officially in the grey season. The season of bare limbs and grey tree trunks. A good season for black and white. I haven’t shot B&W for decades. I should give it a go.

I love Fridays because we get to watch our granddaughter all day. She is about 3 1/2 and that is a great age. One where they are learning but still innocent and love to have fun. And when they say “I love you Papa” after playing all day, it can make the worst day or week melt away.

But she is gone home now and I’m kind of down again. Just like this carpet of leaves on the forest bed. I’ll turn it around and I’m already making many plans for tomorrow. Time to work hard tonight till I’m so tired that I have to crash. And that won’t be long being the sleep deficit I’ve built up.

I don’t understand what Elon Musk is doing with Twitter. From all appearances to this far from brilliant businessman, he seems intent on killing the company quickly. I mean making cuts is one thing, but gutting your company and leaving anyone left behind completely demoralized and important things completely without transition or support. And who would want to come to work there after seeing what has transpired? This guy doesn’t care about people, then again many companies don’t.

But this is so far from common sense that it leaves me thinking about ulterior motives. Does he need a huge tax write-off? Did he really not like the platform and just decided to kill it? Obviously, the most money doesn’t always mean the most intelligence. And this has been proven over and over but on the face of this, it’s insanity.

If he does kill it quickly it will be interesting to see who profits from that void. Will Bezos have something in the wind to slip in its place? Will it be a shift to other existing platforms? It’s going to be fun to watch it play out.

Regardless of what his intentions were with free speech, if the platform isn’t available, none of his (tweeters) is speaking. I hope I used the right term there.

Working in IT and former UNIX system admin, in my far from humble opinion – you might be able to leave that stuff alone for a short period of time and it might run as those good engineers set it up in the first place to do. But those engineers weren’t just sitting on their asses having a good time not working, they were there for a reason. And you are going to find out when it goes BOOM.

I never was a Twitter customer so I have no skin in the game. And I don’t take glee in other people’s difficulties, especially all the innocent people that have been hurt in this takeover. And given the irony of how things work out, he will probably end up making a ton of money and ruining society even more than it is today. But if this goes the way I’m thinking, it will end badly. And given what he has done to people I hope he losses his ass.

I’ve read some recent articles about all the history that could be lost if Twitter shuts down. Well, don’t act like it’s the first time. I’ve been watching newspapers shutting down for decades now and incredible amounts of history in print have gone to the dump or up in flames.

Oh, and if it does shut down it’s a win for society if people get their faces out of that phone and in front of REAL people more.

I salute all those Twitter employees who were given an ultimatum and gave the bird to the chief bird.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The lack of accountability of the people with means is astounding.
  • The lack of moral compass of the people with means is more astounding. Power and money corrupt all.
  • Being lazy is easy, till the bill comes due.
  • I love power cords, no not the extension type, the Guitar ones. Especially when driving a stick shift.
  • Who’s going to live longer Ozzy or Keith?
  • You know I get the same visceral reaction to my classic rock now listening to it in my mid-60s that I got when I was a teenager.
  • Believe me when I say that I feel guilty for not keeping up with others’ posts as I should. I just run out of time some days. Well, most days. Isn’t being busy wonderful? I promise I’ll get busier interacting again very soon.

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The Zone

Isn’t it nice when creativity flows?

Now, this is nice work. Photo by Mike Hartley

When you can get the time for some uninterrupted production.

When you don’t feel pressured by some artificial or real deadline.

When you run into nice people along the way.

When you get a dozen good images out of a single shoot that you thought was nothing.

When you look at a piece of wood and the grain shows you the design it needs to be.

When the fingers move on your keyboard and words flow with the grace and elegance of Elton John or Stevie Wonder at a piano.

When you make something you’re so proud of you couldn’t care less if another person in the world liked it or not.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m glad I don’t work for Twitter, I don’t always respond well to ultimatums.
  • Let your heart grow, and be generous this holiday season.
  • Each year it’s harder to get that real tree. First is the rising cost and second I have to haul it back and set it up. Then again I’m in love with the smell of a fresh-cut tree.
  • This cold weather is good for one thing. When I’m going to bed at daybreak I don’t have that longing that I’m missing something outside.

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A few more steps

A few more steps and I’ll be finished with the job that pays the bills for the week. Kind of tired to pull another all-nighter but I’m looking at the reward at the end of the night.

OK, who walked across my NICE CLEAN SAND? Photo by Mike Hartley


Let’s see what crosses my path this morning. And by morning I mean 1:30 pm. I’m trying to force myself to get 6 hours of sleep a day. I’ll say it’s a work in progress without much success but working towards the goal is the reward. I got close today with five and a half.

One problem is the schedule. I’m nocturnal 4 nights a week and a daywalker the other 3.

Another issue is trying to sleep during the day when people are doing normal daytime activities. Trash trucks, mailman, deliveries, people mowing lawns, trimming trees, washing cars, having fun. Oh, and lest I forget, it’s LIGHT OUT. Now you smart ones might say yeah, it’s not so tough, I take naps all the time during the day. Well, that is what sleeping is like, a friggin nap, at best.

So here is to a good night’s rest tomorrow morning. At least that is the hope.

Cold Shots of the Day

Detach hose and bring inside – close off internal feed – open faucet. Winterization complete. I wonder how many ways I can illustrate cold without snow or ice? I’ve got a dozen or so ideas but I’d like to keep it going for the whole season. No help, please. I got to learn how to think again.

I should have done this a week or two ago. Photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Will he try to burn it all down? You know he will.
  • I took my mom’s old artificial Xmas tree out of the attic. The first time it’s seen the light of day in over a decade. I guess it will be thrilled when I start to decorate it.
  • I stored the leaf blower and string trimmer. Put the push mower away and the pruning sheers. But I refuse to pull the snow shovels out of the shed this early.
  • On top of the world one minute and about to have a breakdown the next. Don’t you just hate those days?

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Wow, I’m in need of an adjustment period and not to be thrown into the heart of winter. But I’ll try to adapt and as my friends say embrace the Hawk. I guess I’ll have to because I have some outdoor chores remaining this week.

Coming to a field near you soon. Photo by Mike Hartley

Wow, college basketball is off to its usual strong start and I’m looking forward to enjoying another great season. I’m drawn to the college game more than the pros. Oh, the pros have more of the spectacular but college has the spirit and the MADNESS.

Wow, only 40 days till Christmas. Then again, I’m working so it’s a muted event. But this will be the last Christmas I work. So there is a bright side to this one. At least I hope it’s my last one working.

Wow, I’m glad I belong to a group of people who in some way cancer has affected their lives. I hate saying it but I feel blessed not to have to endure what some are challenged with.

Wow, I’m now blessed with watching the joy on my children’s faces created by the joy of their own children. Makes me think of a new life goal. Watching those children repeat it with my great-grandchildren. I know, but it doesn’t hurt to dream big. I’d rather have that than hit one of those big lotteries.

Cold weather shot of the day

I like photography, it makes me think. Like today I got thinking that I have to do a lot more winter and cold weather-type shots for my collection. How do I illustrate cold without snow and ice around? Time to jot down some thoughts and ideas. I did read a tip about taking extra batteries. That will have to wait till I got some more funds to buy more. Another tip that I can use is fingertip-less gloves. And you know would be perfect in that, my old leather summertime motorcycle gloves.

So I’m going to try to find ways to illustrate cold without the typical snow or ice shots like above.

I put its coat/cover on with 5 minutes to spare before the cold rain started falling this afternoon. Photo by Mike Hartley

And this is my first lame attempt today. A lame one it is but I did work on a list of ideas I hope to illustrate the feeling of cold without the obvious. Let’s see how far I get with that idea. At least it will hopefully get me outside more.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m convinced that sports gambling is the next Opioid epidemic.
  • I can eat Thanksgiving dinner knowing I helped someone else have a meal. It’s much more enjoyable that way.
  • It’s a good idea to seek, just be careful about what you find.
  • Life is about moving on from the discouraging parts.

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Good start

Some may not associate a good start with someone who slept until 1:30 pm but that was just what I needed. A good night’s rest and a good attitude to start the day. The downside of that the precious few minutes I have free are even less to work on my crafts before the job that pays the bills starts.

Well, maybe not a good start when I start reading the news and see Amazon might have a huge layoff. Not the kind of news one likes to hear when employed by the owner of that company. I hope I can work another year or so without any layoffs. Been through so many before in life. Never touched by one, but it’s like this giant knife swinging over everyone’s heads. Not too comfortable.

Brush off the small stuff. Photo by Mike Hartley

The plan for the day is to finish prints for a project in Cambridge Maryland. Also to start work on another collage I finished making prints for on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to the holiday season. Sorting out some of my mother’s things and seeing some old holiday items has me thinking back and missing that connection. As I was unwrapping some I could tell you exactly where they were in the house. And my better half also remembered some. We both miss our parents very much.

I’m thinking of giving myself a cold-weather challenge. To see how many days in a row I can get a new photo outside for the next 4 months. Now some of you might think that is easy. Well if you know me given the choice of going outside when the temps get below 50 degrees and not is an easy one. NOT. Let alone some of the teens to 30s we get in winter.

So maybe I’ll start tomorrow. I see the cold is already here with the gauge at 33 degrees now.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Winter temps in the fall. Mother Nature trying to ruin my holiday spirit early.
  • Finding historical trinkets from my past is interesting. Talk about contrasting parts of life I found a bunch of concert ticket stubs from the 70s next to my cub scout camping cantine. Can you believe I was in that organization?
  • Helped an older gentleman today at the store. It’s getting harder to find people who fit the description of older gentlemen. He clearly qualified, he had an oxygen tank and I don’t need one of those yet.
  • I was getting down about a few things but I see some opportunities to find joy elsewhere. Ain’t life good when you use your head?

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Excited and scared

I’m excited about all the opportunities and scared that I might not have time to complete them all. That is pretty good motivation, isn’t it? So I’ve been busy creating and planning and learning. I have a feeling it’s going to be a productive week.

Some days are funny, especially Sundays when I’m on a creative bent and then I have to start the workweek that evening and I’m pissed because it cuts badly into that process.

The morning frost. Coming to a frozen windshield near you. Photo by Mike Hartley

At least the election is winding down. The holiday season is busy till a few days before Christmas and then it slows down for a month. But the next two months are performance reviews and goal setting for next year and see what changes the new manager brings.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • You got to love people. Try to guess which way I mean that today.
  • There is a lot less appreciation being shown versus what is actually needed.
  • The older you get the more annoying the ticking of a clock is.
  • An old pile of concert tickets appeared today and brought back some great memories.

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That’s a wrap

The next season is making its presence known early. Today might be one of the last days I’m wearing shorts outside for a bit. I guess the suntan season is really over. And I’m on the lookout for cold fronts. Seems like the body just needs to hear those words on a weather report and it starts to ache.

Some don’t like being hot. I don’t like being cold. I’ll venture out early tomorrow for a few errands and see if I can withstand the first real change in the season. I remember riding a motorcycle one winter. Might have been the coldest I’ve ever been. No, I didn’t have the money to get the right gear.

Hopefully, it will be a sunny morning and I’ll grab a few shots while out and about.

This is one reason I no longer ride, this region is too crowded. Photo by Mike Hartley

Can’t believe I have a free evening to tinker with my hobbies. Hope I can make some progress. I’d love to get some more prints made so I think I’ll make that my priority.

Excuse me but Lola Brigida is ahead. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • What is the most important thing I can do today? EVERYTHING
  • It’s easy to get moving when the right attitude is available.
  • Headaches can impede the right attitude.
  • You got to know right from wrong before you can do right.
  • If you wake up tomorrow it’s a great chance to get to those things you haven’t been getting to.

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Veterans Day and other thoughts

First of all, I’d like to honor Veterans Day by expressing my appreciation and gratitude for all service members past and present. Including my father and many other family members. Also to my son-in-law Bruce.

Thank you Dad for your service.

Just like our Medical, Police, Fire, and EMTs, our service members are overlooked too often. The type of service a lot of them perform changes their lives forever. And in some not-so-good ways. If things were fair we would be honoring these people’s service in a better way.

Lots of water today, the trouble was it was from the sky. Photo by Mike Hartley
I love the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m glad I have good knees, it makes it easier to bounce a 3-year-old on.
  • It’s a sleep catch-up day. And what better than a rainy day to make it happen.

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Some more oldies

A beautiful day filled with love. I think my infant grandson loves me if making him happy is any measure. All is right with the world after having him in my arms today.

Get climbing. Photo by Mike Hartley

And then some time with one of my best friends and now some work on my hobbies. Life has been very good for me today. And I hope to repeat this feeling for the next few days also.

Does anybody know how to drive this thing? Photo by Mike Hartley

I was sorting through some images that I don’t believe I have used before. Yeah, it’s lazy, I didn’t shoot anything new today. Then again I only got 3 hours of sleep this morning.

No sun tomorrow. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wonder if I’ll say something noteworthy someday.
  • I had to take the Baltimore beltway today. There are a lot of you who can’t drive worth a lick.
  • Some jobs have incentives, some don’t.

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Drained from too many intense hours. I was giving the job extra effort and keeping up with my hobbies and all of a sudden I’m in a sleep deficit again. Guess I’ll have to try the catchup method again this weekend. The nice thing is that I’m in good spirits still and feeling good actually. Even with another night of work ahead almost feel a second wind coming on. I’ll need it to get to sunrise tomorrow.

My two favorite flags. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m really looking forward to the weekend and really getting my home reorg going. I’ll write more about this tomorrow. But the process has begun.

Don’t know why I seem to be on a flag theme today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow will be a great day. Some family time, some friend time, and some photo time. I couldn’t be more excited. Tomorrow I’ll put together something fruitful here.

Which bridge do you want to take? Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • That sunshine coming through the window this morning was inviting till I went outside.
  • The song “Wish You Were Here” always makes me think of loved ones who passed.
  • I’m losing my confidence already about being able to deal with winter.
  • One of the hardest things for some people is deciding what to do with the possessions of loved ones who have passed.

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Take a breath

I like sitting with my better half. Being it watching nature unfold in front of us at a park or on a bench on the boardwalk in Ocean City people watching. The relaxed feeling I have when we first sit is great. I usually take a deep breath and exhale slowly and melt into the seat I’m in, sit back and smile and occasionally reach for her hand.

A good spot to take a breath. Photo by Mike Hartley

I like the moment I pull out of my driveway on a sunny day with the top down. After reversing out and shifting into first gear I’m becoming part of that bucket seat and that smile comes to my face, I inhale deeply through my nose and exhale as I start to exercise my neck.

You may ask what exercising my neck has to do with driving. Well, I have found that having my head on a swivel is not only good in photography but surviving on the road. It saved me yesterday when a car came into a traffic circle without looking and would have T-boned me on the passenger side and bad because she was coming fast in a big sedan. I hit the brakes hard because I picked up she wasn’t going to yield to me (already in the circle) and sure enough she just went through almost not making the turn to the right out of the circle. Oh yeah, the big surprise on her face as she looked and saw me as she barreled through the circle on Columbia Road and Hemlock Cone Way realizing she had SCREWED UP.

So I took a breath and mumbled a few expletives and relaxed and prepared myself for the next idiot. Of course, driving in this area you don’t have to wait long for another to come around. There is enough to fill a book every day. So driving is actually a good breathing exercise also while at the same time testing your patience.

Anyway, I’m taking a deep breath this afternoon before working another election night. This will be my 23rd (general and mid-term) working at a newspaper. It could be my last one. Time will tell. The years go by fast. At the most, it will be 24. My role has changed several times over the years and even though I still work in a fairly high-stress area (especially when things go south) it’s not as bad as some of my previous roles like being the leader of the group that manages the editorial system or a senior admin in the UNIX group managing most all their systems and storage. Those were pressure-filled times. So I’m going to take that deep breath when the shift starts and enjoy the ride the next week will provide.

I hope you all have a chance to take a breath today. One that refreshes and relaxes. One that brings some calm into the hectic lives we all power through each day.

Random Thoughts of the Day (afternoon edition)

  • Spend time making decisions. Just don’t spend time justifying the wrong ones.
  • I’m baffled why people spend time on election day standing in lines when early voting with no lines is available.
  • All financial decisions are hard. Even the ones you don’t pull the trigger on.
  • Sometimes things aren’t as difficult or as important as they seem with a change of perspective.

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I’m buckled up, multiple computer screens ready, got my caffeine, and I’m ready to roll with the day’s events. Of course, work will be exciting, challenging, and maybe even brutal. It could also go very well because things are well-tested and stable. I’ll be rolling through the day regardless of the direction it takes which is out of my control. What is in my control is how I react to it.

At work, it’s easy, I can keep my cool in very stressful situations. I believe I can extend that to the rest of the day. Hell, I never got that excited about the results of an election before. It was what it was. I would always do my part and vote. But how things have changed.

Rolling hills, no longer hidden. Photo by Mike Hartley

But I’ll roll with that nonsense also. And by roll I mean let it roll off my back. It’s just another Tuesday. Much more important things on my mind. Some of the family is under the weather which makes everything else small stuff. I’m dreading how much the next oil delivery is going to cost.

I should have used part of that beautiful day yesterday to wash the car and cover it up. Maybe later in the week if we can see the 60s again be it so briefly.

Hoping it’s a peaceful day and that you get a chance to exercise your rights. I’ll try another post later today.

Did early voting to avoid the rush of today.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s going to be great to stop seeing those repetitive political ads on the telly.
  • Don’t wait for someone to give you an attitude adjustment, try it yourself.
  • I’m going to have to work on some new images today. I think I’ll challenge myself with just indoor items.
  • Time to break out the hot tea and hot chocolate.
  • I’m going to try the true test of someone with back issues and two surgically repaired shoulders. Yep, it’s wood-splitting time.
  • When people spend multiple millions getting jobs that pay in the low hundred thousand range you know where the term bought and paid for came from.

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Wonderful ride

A great day it was. Unfortunately, work started to change it up but I’ll remember that warm ride on a record-setting day of 81 degrees and sunny. Judging by the number of people riding motorcycles together and a lot of tops down on convertibles and some old classics out and about I’d say there were more than a few people playing hooky from work today.

Along Route 99. Photo by Mike Hartley

The shorts will be put away for a bit now. And maybe a sweatshirt over the tee shirt. I’m already fighting the urge to barricade myself in the man cave and not come out till March 2023. But I promised my friends to give the cooler seasons a chance.

I’m going to miss those warm sticky mornings we have had lately. After some rain in the evening and the temps in the mid-60s with some fog. Working nights during the summer is nice, you can still step outside and be comfortable. Not in the winter, you just stay inside, or if you do dip your toe outside it’s just for a few seconds unless you want to get dressed for it.

It’s getting harder for wildlife to hide in my lower backyard now. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When appreciation isn’t there, it’s hard to sustain the effort.
  • I feel like I need to treat myself to something.
  • My one gambling weakness was when the Mega Millions or Powerball would get really big 500M plus, I’d always break down and buy a ticket. Well, this Powerball I’ve been able to resist wasting money on and I hope to continue it no matter how big those things get.
  • I hope everyone just leaves their anger at home and just votes. It used to be a happy day. I wonder what happened?

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I’ve earned a day of rest. Well, it won’t be a true day of rest, got to work overnight tonight but kicking back during the day is on the agenda. It feels kind of selfish. I’m not used to it but expanding my horizon. But this means ignoring the multiple TO DO lists. Sometimes I can ignore one, maybe 2 but not all 3.

The morning ride was put on hold because of the rain. I’m glad I had a few minutes to cruise yesterday. Tomorrow will probably be the last of the temperature gauge hitting the 70s here for some time to come. So you can bet I’ll be out and about with the top down for at least an hour or two.

I’m sorry, I’m just drawn to 2 seat convertibles. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Boy, it was tough seeing it get dark at 5 pm. When you work nights it makes it seem longer than it is. I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up. Last year I was thinking 2-3 years. Now it’s more like 1-2. So this could be my last election and certainly the next to last at the most.

It’s a shame people will never know a career in this industry. It’s morphed into something else in the past few years already. But I’ve certainly enjoyed the ride. I’ve started working on some observations, tips, and words of wisdom for my co-workers. Not that I’m a great life expert but working in an industry for almost 5 decades you learn a few things about people and business. And a few technical things along the way. Tonight I’m writing about the mentors I’ve had over the years and the differences in their styles. Also in the many ways and things they taught.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feeling good about the few things I was able to accomplish today.
  • It’s dangerous for old men to work their asses off. They don’t have much of one left at that age to start with.
  • Despite the coming day being Monday I’m going to make it one of the best days of the week.
  • Actions always speak louder than words. So does inaction. I guess I should get busy.

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How does one develop a new and interesting title for each post? Usually, the first thing I do is add that title line. When I started writing a few years back I always had the title first and rarely changed it. Now I bet over 50% of the time it gets changed. I guess it’s the first thing that comes to mind and I go with it. But then I start writing and another topic or a better idea for the title rolls around.

Sometimes a photo I decide to use influences me and changes my title. I haven’t published some posts because I thought they had the wrong title. Sometimes I’ll change a title two or three times.

Which Title to choose today? Photo by Mike Hartley

In some way, I’m tempted to go back through my 2300+ posts and see if I repeated any. I’m sure it will happen if it hasn’t already because I really don’t go back and check for identical titles.

Lately, though I’ve just started to write a bit differently and let thoughts just flow and then go back and flush some out more thoughts and then add a title as the last thing.

I think I do much better at photo caption writing than a headline. Well, it gives me another thing to add to the list to work on harder.

What a beautiful day. One that had some seat time in the convertible after the chores. No, this one below isn’t mine. I do like the color but glad I don’t own something like this. Would always be worried someone would steal it or dent it.

Used to be you would never see a car like this in the county. Now they and many more are commonplace. Photo by Mike Hartley

I stood outside a while this morning watching some deer in my back yard and it was quite still with no breeze. I noticed the sound of what I thought was rain. Then I realized it was leaves dropping through the trees hitting branches on the way down and hitting the ground against other leaves. What a peaceful sound it is. Of course, it has a limited timeframe and most are down already. And after those winds, this afternoon not many are left clinging to branches.

This weekend was definitely the last cutting of the year. It had better be, of course, I thought that over a week or two ago. My better half caught me looking at riding mowers online. I thought my daughter could get a few more years out of it and save her some time and energy and I could get a new one. Busted.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Suntan in November. Life is good. My neck is a little tender though.
  • The more closely I look at my home the more work I see I have to do.
  • I just discovered what was wrong with this week. No naps.
  • We went back and looked at our first home this evening. Interesting memories.
  • Entitlement is out of control.

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Blink and the day is gone

The morning fog didn’t deter me. A child’s laughter has inspired me. The back pain didn’t stop me. The sun prevailed. So it was a fine day filled with hard work and a granddaughter’s love and laughter.

This just made me think of the great day it was. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’d like to put in another hard day of labor tomorrow but that might not be the wisest move. Time will tell. Either way, it will be a productive day. And one spent outside because it’s going to be warm and sunny again.

It’s been far too long since I got my better half some flowers. At least that is what this photo made me think so that is probably a gentle reminder from Karma to show some appreciation. I think I’ll remedy this tomorrow morning. I’d like to head out early and get some nighttime shots and then some sunrise images.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m tired of all the political commercials.
  • I thought about getting involved with a mentoring project on the job. But I’m having too much fun doing it with my grandchildren. So that is where the effort will be made.
  • I bet the Chief Twit isn’t too popular with the rank and file.
  • Alone can be a quiet place unless you like talking to yourself.
  • I wish I was in better spirits but the day didn’t end on the best note.

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We all do it. Jugling all those balls in the air at the same time. Some of us paniced at the thought of dropping one and others challenged by it and asking for another one to add to the air. The photo below somehow put the thought of multitasking in my head when I started to look for today’s topic.

Some of us multitask to our great advantage or driven by possible great need and great things come from it. Others multitasking becomes this great burden and sometimes great depression because we can’t do it all like we hoped or by some measure of what we see others doing.

Ready to roll on the floor playing with your children with all the toys on the left and on the other side ready to take your leg off if you mess with the cash and gold. True multitasking. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve always been pretty good at multitasking. Mostly out of need. My better half is even better. In some ways multitasking is living. Long ago I had this idea about my senior years and retirement. You know, kicking back, maybe getting a good nights sleep, have some breakfast, hit the deck and report to the hammock. But now that its almost here my vision of it is changed.

This thing called grandchildren and its joys have descended upon us. My better half who is retired is just as busy as she was when working. I can’t describe how lucky I feel to have our children and grandchildren still in driving distance and be part of their lives. And aid them because they are certainly multitasking with careers and parenting.

To me, grandchildren are my surprise retirement bonus. I can’t believe how much joy they have added to my life. And by that fact they probably are helping me live longer. Be it busier than I was thinking.

But back to multitasking. The trick is to know your own act. How many things can you effectively keep balanced without dropping most of them or all. We would all much rather see someone juggle 5 balls successfully and maybe a trick once in a while with them. We don’t want to watch someone get 8 balls in the air and continuously drop them after only a few seconds of success.

I’m not saying don’t shoot for 8 if you can but know what your effective range is. Not knowing my own range or striving for too much at times has been an issue for me. It lead to many times not enjoying the journey because I was too frustrated on what I was dropping and not focused on successes. Lots of times I got unbalanced in terms of energy I was devoting to tasks. I would expend too much at the job and not have the needed reserves for other and more important tasks.

It’s a constant adjustment in life. For the first time I’ve had to admit that I can’t do some task, physical things I used to. And it still pisses me off because I’m only in my mid 60’s. It’s not that I don’t have the energy. Or the drive to do some things. It’s just that it gets too risky with age.

I’m beginning to get my range in regards to balancing life which is employing multitasking. I focus on the priorities but add a lot to the mix. Like my hobbies which laid dormant for years or decades in some cases. And knowing that range of abilities has been a key to being happier.

At times in life and the number of tasks seems totally out of your control. And at times it may be. People in caregiver roles. Single parents and many others things people face in life demand multitasking sometimes to the detriment of your life for a period of time. And having survived a few trials along the way myself I know that it was very hard, it was doing what was needed at the time. And that I always wished I had been able to do more in retrospect but also very happy that I did all I did.

So best of luck to you all as you run around tending to the dozens, hundreds of tasks you balance in the air.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I have never had a McRib sandwich from Micky D’s and I love ribs. And no matter how many times they bring it back, it won’t make a difference, I’m not buying it.
  • Typically I don’t celebrate New Years. Mostly because I’m working.
  • Make work fun. If you can’t find someplace you can.
  • I’m feeling creative and I think I’ll put that feeling to use this evening.

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No problem

November is here and we have temps in the upper 60s and low 70s, that’s NO Problem with me. I can adapt.

Take the time to soak in some life. Photo by Mike Hartley

I hear holiday travel prices are very high. No Problem, I’m going to combat that by staying home. Friends and family, come see me if you want.

I wonder if geese see in color? Photo by Mike Hartley

I was dreading this workweek before it started. Now I’m on my last night and it’s No Problem at all.

I noticed the Sunday NFL morning game from London was on subscription channels. Just like the beginning of the Thursday night football season on Amazon. Well No Problem, I watch too many sports anyway, and decreasing that where it’s out of my control is even better.

I might have to try recreating this in pastels. Photo by Mike Hartley

When you visit your cancer doctor and he says No Problem found, there are few sweeter words said.

There are a few moments a year when exercise doesn’t look all that bad. Photo by Mike Hartley

Somedays when I sit to write it’s No Problem at all.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Perception, instinct, feeling. All good things to rely on. Does it sound and smell right? Does it look right? Does it feel right?
  • I don’t know about you but my contacts will be more limited since I’m around an infant and toddler.
  • You know when I’m faster at creating content it gives me more time to create more content.
  • You know when I’m faster at creating content I make a lot more mistakes, but it gives me more time to make more.

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A few left

The cruising season is coming to a close. I was talking to one of my best friends who was taking his beast out for a ride this past weekend. There is nothing like a warm sunny day and a convertible. And luckily today and the next several days are made for the top-down.

But beyond that, the weather will be kind of hit-and-miss. And more often than not, the day will start out like the one below with frost greeting you each morning.

I think we might need some de-icing before liftoff. Photo by Mike Hartley

So I hope to enjoy the coming warm streak, look for the roads with some twisties and enjoy the last few leaves clinging to branches before falling to the ground.

Along Folly Quarter Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

And while out exploring the wonderful roads of Howard County I hope to find some final images of the fall season of color.

Rolling hills, farms, undeveloped areas. They are getting too far and few between. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m glad I still am not at the edge of the development madness, but it’s approaching fast as it always has been. Living at the southern edge of the county for decades in my youth and now at the northern edge, it’s at least a little peace and quiet. But as soon as you step in your car you know it’s caught up to you.

I believe I got one more cut to do also before I put my tractor away for the season. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Writing is fun. Then again I don’t subject myself to reading it.
  • I think I’ll get more of a charge donating a few dollars to the Maryland Food Bank than dreaming about what I would do with Powerball winnings and wasting money on losing tickets.
  • It is wise to guard against greed.
  • There is a lot of shivering ahead if your staying put here in the old-line state this winter.
  • The level of entitlement in people is out of control.

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Thinking again

Thinking about how things change so fast. I accept the fact that things change. But jeez the pace of it is beyond me at times. And I look forward to being further behind the times in the future. I don’t need to keep the pace or intensity of a young me. Or march at someone else’s pace at the job. Or even to others’ expectations of what I should be or shouldn’t be doing.

Didn’t get this sunny shot today. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll have to see how that merges with the new management coming in. Life is full of challenges.

The tunes were flowing through my veins this morning. I woke to a home-alone situation so the headphones were unplugged and the speakers turned up. Some classic R&R queued up. The funny thing though is when I shake my head violently today I don’t feel that hair hitting me in the face anymore. Well, things change but that music still sets me in motion like the day I heard it.

It’s always good to start the day in an inspired way. Usually, it’s to say I love you to my better half but she is out. Now I’m sitting here swaying back and forth listening to Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton play “Something” live and relaxing for a few seconds before I have to get moving. Whoops, a tune from The Who came on, no more relaxing, time to crank up the windmill.

It’s voting day for this kid. Not going to wait for the crush on Election Day, plus I’m going to be plenty busy at the job anyway. Elections in newspapers used to be fun. First on a local level for a few decades and then on a national and local level for a few more decades.

I was going to vote over the weekend but time got away from me as it often does. But my better half said I shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time to rest. So there you go.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m proud I haven’t raced out to get the winning Powerball ticket. I’m sharing the wealth with someone else today.
  • I disagree that time marches on. I’d say they are running at a good pace.
  • I wonder what percentage of the population goes to bed at daybreak?
  • Personally, I’m on a self-checkout boycott.

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You bet

Happy as a lark today. Don’t know what that old phrase popped into my head. Probably something I heard my parents say. But it is a happy day. Nope, no particular reason, just glad to be alive, it’s a sunny day, and spent some time with the family yesterday so I’m still glowing from that. Isn’t life simple at times?

It’s been a great weekend so far. Unfortunately, that comes to an end in a few minutes. Yep, back to the full-time plus job this evening. And my partner is on vacation so it’s the trio of me myself and I manning mission control.

End of the day fireworks. Photo by Mike Hartley

That is ok because I’m starting the week in an upbeat mood. And I’ve gotten the shooting bug again so I just finished charging both batteries so get ready tomorrow. Have a good night all and a great start to your week.

Random Thoughts of the Day (more)

  • If you can be happy with your lot in life throughout your life you are the definition of happy.
  • If you can move to a place where there are more good feelings in memories than pain over the loss of a loved one, you are finally at the place they wish you to be.
  • I worry about some people. Their happiness seems elusive.
  • I wonder if I can continue to do two posts a day. If I just start to run an image once in a while I guess I could manage it.
  • An anniversary of a very close couple.

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Frosty morning

This morning, I had to pull out my insulated vest over the sweat suit. That cold weather is on the way. And as my friends say “embrace the hawk” translation – enjoy the cold. Who knows, maybe I should have a change of attitude towards winter. My normal instinct is to hibernate inside and if I have to go outside hide the women and children because the curses fly continuously.

Frost on the fields and everything this morning along Sand Hill Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Despite the temps in the 30s, I was surprisingly okay with it. Then again I didn’t spend a long continuous time outside. But it was refreshing in some ways in the short burst. Not on my lips which are chapped because I forgot to start the daily chapstick routine. Another thing about winter I could do without is the dryness.

The World Series is still on. Why not little league games at Kiwanis Wallas Park? The sunrise hadn’t cleared the hill yet. Photo by Mike Hartley

I hope I get the opportunity to get out again and snap some more images and colors before the season changes the look of everything. But that creates new opportunities also.

So I’m wishing you all a beautiful morning and day ahead. Mine is about to get busy.

Earth to Sun, come up, please. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I got lost in the beauty of the season a few times while driving around and missed a few good photos because I kept enjoying what was over the next hill so much.
  • I made my very young grandson laugh hard yesterday, my proudest moment of the day.
  • I find it hard to say some things. I know that is difficult to believe for as much as I ramble on.
  • Props to my better half for sticking with me for 42 years. It’s hard, to sum up, the effort that probably took in words but “I love you” always was a good start for both of us.

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Catching up

What a deceiving phrase catching up is. In my old mind, I was always catching up. Because my ideas, goals, wishes, and dreams are always far ahead of my reality. So instead of chasing that elusive idea of perfection or success or recognition, I just go for happiness at the end of the day.

I know I fall short of my lofty ideas all the time. I used to beat myself up with a lot of guilt for not doing more. When really I was spending a lot of time not getting started. Or not finishing up. Or not following through. Like this blog for instance. My original goal was to post daily. Only this year have I been successful.

The season makes it easy to supply color and contrast. Photo by Mike Hartley

The only time I think about catching up now is when I stop to snap a quick picture and my better half is still walking I’ll run to catch up with her. Like I did yesterday a few times. Or maybe catching up with an old friend from the neighborhood.

As far as I’m concerned I’m all caught up if I’m active. The more I do, the more active I’m inspired to be.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s a family afternoon. Life is good.
  • I didn’t flip my calendar to October this month. I refuse to acknowledge the year is passing so fast.
  • I’m spending less time thinking about whether I retire at the end of next year or the year after because so many other factors will probably determine it along the way.
  • Speaking of work, a new VP on the way should make it an interesting new year.
  • I need to make that photo printer next to me sing like a newspaper press this evening. I have the paper- I have the ink.

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A fan and Not a fan

I’m a fan of classic cars. And someone is restoring the beauty in this one. But I’m not sure what the hell it is. The rear has a bit of styling from the 40s. Almost a Lasale or Special Deluxe style, but the front is nothing like those. It has a Chevy emblem on the front bumper but someone is going to have to help me with this one.

Photos by Mike Hartley

It seems to have the FleetMaster-style rear taillights from the late 40s. It also has some styling from a car called the Kaiser Darrin. I should have spent some time looking closely for clues as to its origin but we were celebrating some time together and had our own convertible to put the top down in and ride.

I’ve never joined Twitter and I don’t intend to because I’ve never been a fan of mosh pits. I’m sure it has its good points as almost all social media does. It’s when people twist it in the wrong ways that it becomes a detriment to some or a lot of people.

I’m also no fan of Elon Musk who appears to me to be a pompous ass. That is very unfair because I’ve never met the man but after reading the Forbes article in Feb of this year about his past donations I do consider him a greedy man. And boy do I dislike greed.

So to me, the best way not to help his new business is to continue to ignore it. So if you’re a news organization I don’t give an F about what anyone Tweets. I just don’t care. Especially the ones intended to just build useless drama or hate or division. Those take away focus on real problems and solutions.

Regarding this Student Loan forgiveness program, I’m not a fan. I’m all for giving people who have had circumstances beyond their control like floods, fires, hurricanes, and tornados destroy their family homes. Or things like serious medical issues or loss of life from cancer or pandemic of parents or other family members where life circumstances change for the whole family. There are a lot of individual circumstances I’d be accommodating in.

But to give this freebie to people who can afford to pay it back is BULLS**T. Total bull and I’m pissed off about it. Where is my free ride? Do I get 10s of thousands of dollars in tax relief? Better yet just send me the CHECK and I’ll cash it and decide what to do with the money my family spent on education. My kids took loans and paid them back in full and early. I took loans for their education and paid them back.

I’m not rich so of a bitch and I scrimped and saved and worked my ASS OFF so my kids could have an education. Would I love to have that money so I could have a secure retirement and maybe quit at a reasonable age? You bet your ass I do. So kiss my backside on this one, Joe. We have more pressing needs for that money than bailing out some irresponsible people. Not all of them but a big majority I’m guessing.

And while this rant might seem like some angry Republican it’s not. I’m a liberal Democrat. So get your act together on this.

I’m not a fan of all the wires running through Ellicott City. Photos would be so much better without all those polls and wires if they were buried.

Tunnel vision. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There are only so many minutes of fun each day. Don’t let them slip by without using them.
  • I’m a big fan of leftovers.
  • The only bad day is the one where you don’t wake up. The rest just have a few difficulties to deal with.
  • Did I mention I hate cold? So waking up to no heat in the house again is pissing me off. My furnace company is on the thin ice with me so if I lose it again they are OUT OF HERE.

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Early to rise and enjoyed a quiet morning. And then a day outside to enjoy the fall beauty. I sat here early hoping my feet and back hold up to long winding walks so I can snap away at will. They did hold up but I took the feet to the edge and now I’m going to have to ice them down.

It was a very rewarding day together. We started walking Ellicott City in the morning. We saw the new Waterwheel sculpture at the corner of Columbia Pike and Main Street. Well, it was new to us. I don’t think it went up that long ago.

Nice touch for a Mill Town. Photo by Mike Hartley

We then ventured out to New Market for lunch at The Derby which was excellent. Then back to Columbia for a walk around Centennial Lake. It was relaxing and good exercise and that is what we both needed. Plus we got to take the Miata on a sunny day so the top was down.

Looking up Main St and Columbia Pike. Photo by Mike Hartley

A relaxing evening at home and Raven’s victory and it’s a pretty complete day. That and about 40 more photos to edit, a little music, and another Coke to finish a wonderful day.

I look at that wheel and think. The water may be temporarily divided as it flows through it but it’s always really together

Tomorrow is another good chance to get outside and get healthy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • In some phases of life survivor mode is an effective tool.
  • You can build it but a 3-year-old can destroy it. And in the next breath be so creative and build something they want. I guess my style is too traditional architecture for her. She is more of a modernist.
  • I didn’t do one chore today. And it was planned that way.
  • Difficult decisions ahead. But that is the case every day in life, isn’t it?

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I was rather disheartened about several things today. I guess every day can’t be great. Too many things are still out of my control. So what to do on a day that has left me disappointed, in a lot of ways?

Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, it’s what I’ve learned to do better late in life. Recover and move on. Find something else to make me feel good again. I used to make the mistake of being mad or depressed about situations. I used to waste a lot of time in frustration with others. Not that others still don’t frustrate me, it’s just that I learn from it, shed it quickly, and move on.

So that is where I’m at this evening. Moving on.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Sometimes it feels like I’m speaking with a mute button on.
  • I’m glad the sun will be out tomorrow. Gives me something to look forward to.
  • No time to waste must sleep.

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So young

I guess I work for a fairly large company. Not the biggest but certainly not small. A while back a number of us who have battled cancer or battling it or have a spouse or family member afflicted by it formed a chat group.

We lost a very young member of this group yesterday and I can see it’s given everyone pause. It’s the rude reality of cancer. It’s one we don’t talk about much. Treatments, medical insurance issues, the trials of recoveries, shared tips on what works and hasn’t, and many more. But death isn’t there till it happens.

Where I go. Photo by Mike Hartley

Just before that announcement, I was going to add a post to the group about having a good checkup recently and being moved from every 3-month monitoring to every 6 months because my scan was good and bloodwork had stabilized. It seems so irrelevant and out of place now.

Not all of us in this cancer chat have worked with each other or even met. As I said it’s a fairly big company, but we are linked. And when that happens words are hard to come by. Even for some of the professional writers in the group. No matter how strong you are, when you hear that news it stops you in your tracks.

And it activates that dormant box of fear we all carry and keep pushed way down in a place we don’t try to acknowledge, from the time the doctor says to you that you have cancer. The fear you might not be a survivor.

All I know is it breaks my heart to see a 35-year-old taken like this.

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Zoom Zoom

No not the Zoom-Zoom Mazda commercial. No not the meeting application. A zoom lens for a camera is what I’m thinking about this day. And in particular the one I purchased for my D7100 Nikon years ago. I got greedy and went for longer zoom at a price. An 18-300 3.5-5.6 that I both love and hate.

Going to give this some exercise tomorrow. Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh don’t get me wrong, this is the best equipment I’ve ever owned. I’m very thankful to have it. Especially when my other digital camera is about 15 years old and nowhere near the quality. Truth be told I haven’t fully utilized the equipment I do have but I’m striving to do better.

When I purchased it weight wasn’t an issue. It’s become more of one with my back. I also used to be a pretty good human tripod. Those days aren’t as common anymore and I know I don’t have the steady hands I used to. So I’m going to have to get used to using a real tripod for a change. In some ways, I think that will both help and hurt my shooting.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I like to move around but I also need to think more before shooting and maybe picking a few angles instead of looking at all of them will help me do better with my compositions.

I’m no expert judge on the quality of this glass but I do like the sharpness in good light. Low light leaves a bit to be desired but with the range comes to some sacrifices.

300 focal length. Photo by Mike Hartley

The zoom gets very tight in cold weather. Almost unusable if out for any long duration. Overall I’m pleased with it but I wonder if I should have held out for faster lenses and fixed focal lengths.

At the time of purchase, it was exactly what I thought I needed. And given that same criteria and time, I probably would have done the same thing. But today What I do know is I’m going to wear that thing out in the coming years. But my next lens will be much faster.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Before I ask you “Who are you” I should first know “Who am I.”
  • I love working with people smarter than me. Even the 3-year-old granddaughter has no problem telling me when I’m wrong.
  • If we were really interested in health care we could be fixing our sick medical system.
  • The looming crisis. Not enough health, police, and teachers. It’s bad now and about to get worse.
  • Maybe these coming crises will be the thing that pulls us all together. I mean people don’t ask about politics as they get out to help a car crash victim. We don’t ask the police dispatcher which party affiliation they might be sent to deal with someone breaking into your home. Or our doctor before they surgically repair your knee. I don’t care what party the teacher is from as long as they are a good person, a good imparter of knowledge that inspires learning, is supportive and one you would be proud to have your child look up to because of their kindness and compassion.
  • As you can tell I had no time for today’s post. It makes me wonder if I should skip some days instead of rushing things.


Mishmash of thoughts

I’m not burdened by creating that magical lead sentence or paragraph to grip the reader and draw them into the post. Mine is to create an image that could eclipse any words I could or have used and speak many more.

Yesterday I was reminded to think of design without norms. Actually, it was a 3-year-old playing with Legos that reminded me.

I will never figure out the puzzle of why it’s so easy to write some days and for others, it’s like nothing is there.

That really was a clean white fence. Photo by Mike Hartley

I look at a photo on my wall of my better half and I in our pool on floats what must have been 3 decades ago but it feels like yesterday. Well, maybe last week.

If ever there was a period in time to work in the Newspaper industry I think I luckily hit exactly the right decades.

I’m not satisfied with a lot of the photos I might post. But if I used those criteria and just rambled on with words, it wouldn’t be much of a photo blog.

I love the morning light. Photo by Mike Hartley

If the amount of shows devoted to gambling on tv doesn’t scare you it should. We aren’t seeing the true cost yet but they are growing out there. They are people gambling more than they can afford to lose.

I need to pull the trigger on a new firepit purchase.

Where would society be without screwups like me?

Being a perpetual student in life is a wise course to pursue.

I’m exhausted and the workweek is just beginning.

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What an important job. There probably isn’t a role more challenging or demanding. I had the pleasure of watching my granddaughter yesterday. Usually, I do this in tandem with my better half but she was sitting with our infant grandson at his home.

Each time we watch her it reminds me of the awesome responsibility that comes with it. The opportunities to teach and encourage. To love and laugh. To discover and share the wonder. To support and nurture. And what a wonder it is to spend the day with a 3-year-old and share all these things.

A slight morning mist and reflection. Photo by Mike Hartley

And then at the end of the day, she is curled up asleep on the couch next to me waiting for her Mom to come home from the wedding of a college classmate. And I’m whipped. I forgot the energy needed for this job. But I also remembered a few other things and that is the stress and pressure you feel as a young parent. It is the fullest of full-time jobs.

It’s mentally challenging and physically draining. Now as a grandparent the mentally challenging part is much easier to deal with. If they throw a fit because they got too tired or are learning important lessons like patience or sharing or the bazillion other things that will drive them to the point of insanity. And that YELL will come. But it’s like grandparents have this immunity to that whereas a parent your body tenses, your mind is wanting to yell SHUT UP. That immunity is calm in the eye of the storm. Both in your response and ability to not internally stress and come up with interesting ways to teach them lessons along the way in life and calm them at the same time.

Nice pink socks. Photo by Mike Hartley

The physical part of keeping up with that younger ball of energy is more challenging as a grandparent now, but it’s still pretty physically draining on parents also. I forgot the role of MULE that goes along with being a parent. Packing/unpacking the car. Figuring out what they picked up and you have to return to your parent’s house.

No wonder we forget stuff when we get older. We were doing all the remembering for (# of children you have) and yourself for decades. And all that thinking uses up too much brainpower and we aren’t left with enough to get by.

Which brought the memories of the stress of being a parent and working and surviving. Being a parent is a lot of sacrifices. So many, you give up a lot of yourself for a very long time. And that is the deal a lot of parents don’t go into it understanding. How you come to make those sacrifices and sharing that load is very important.

But as you age as a parent and if you’re lucky enough to become a grandparent you realize that deal of many sacrifices has so many payoffs along the way and at the end that bring joy and completeness to your life.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It could be one of those lazy Sundays. Cloudy outside with a chance of rain. Work this evening and a body that is yelling at me for overuse. Watch out couch, here I come.
  • Then again my next thought is I should make use of this day and get to work finishing and or starting a few projects. The ideas are flowing so maybe I’ll go this route instead of visiting Lazytown.
  • My chimney needs some masonry work and I’m dreading the cost of it.
  • A cold Coke in a bottle can’t be beaten.
  • Less drama – more happiness.
  • Oh, the photos on today’s post were taken yesterday. No sun this morning.

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A morning ride

Only had a few minutes this morning but managed to get a few frames in. I hope to edit some later and maybe grab a few more while watching my granddaughter today. This will be my first full day with her so Papa might be a little tuckered out later.

I love going west in the county. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t wait really, she is such a wonderful child. I hope I have many more years to impart what limited wisdom I have to all of my grandchildren. Most of that wisdom in the early years is having fun. And I hope to make today a fun day for her.

Not quite ready for winter. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Every time I start thinking about what I should have or could have done I just get busy doing something now.
  • The more I shoot, the better I feel.
  • When we say I got to write that down do we really, or just enter it in the phone or computer?
  • And I’m thinking some night photography might be in order this evening.

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My drafts for the blog have gotten out of control. I started trimming today when I noticed it hit 400. I know, it’s an embarrassing number. I’ve only spent an hour or two and cleaned out almost 100. But I’ve stumbled on a few pieces that have promise.

I’ve also stumbled upon a few pieces that are now dated and no longer relevant. A few timely pieces that I wish I had published but went undone. Missed opportunities. A good reminder for me to be a better finisher.

I’ve run across a few with a good title and a few germinations of thought that need some attention. I’ve run across some total crap, some mostly crap, but sometimes a line or a thought that would be good for a future post.

Cleaning up on Main Street. Photo by Mike Hartley

And while I clean up that electronic mess (already down to about 300 drafts) I’ll get busy on my office mess. Sort of like a fresh start.

At least I can say the yard outside is pristine from a lot of hard work today.

Random Thoughts of the Day (late edition)

  • There always isn’t another day so use each one wisely. I felt good about today but I can always do better.
  • One of these days I’m going to drum up the courage to stop drinking Cokes for a week or two and replace it with water and see how much weight I lose.
  • I just remembered I have a short workweek ahead. Life is good.
  • Getting through a day of physical work without the aches and pains is nice. Though I do feel a little stiff.

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Friday Funday

Been a long time since we had a free Friday. Well, free is a relative term if you looked at my to-do list for the day. I hope to accomplish a lot (last mow of the year, yard treatment down, leaf blower, caulking) and a trip to the hardware store for more supplies just to mention a few.

I have to get out and enjoy the season. Photo by Mike Hartley

I intend on having some fun also. Shooting some fall colors, and exploring my area on foot. I need the exercise. Who knows, maybe a few-minute ride with the top down with my better half. All I know is I’m off to a flying start today at least with the chores.

Photo by MH

The evening is also open so let’s make way for a wonderful weekend.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My day is always better, the more I’m thinking about what I can do for someone else.
  • If there is a shortage of poll workers for the election why isn’t early voting encouraged more? If it’s spread out you don’t need that crush of workers on Nov 8th.
  • The HEAT is working again. Both in the furnace and outside.
  • Have you noticed how people are really getting into Halloween big time with decorations and parties this year?
  • Sunshine feels so good.

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Good morning

Yeah, I know it’s the afternoon now. But when you get to bed at 7:30 am, it’s a good morning when you sleep past noon. Time for a shower and heading out to catch some of the fall colors I hope. Waiting for the furnace repair service to appear because the house had a real chill to it this morning when I went upstairs and we noticed the heat hadn’t come on.

I miss these already. I’ll be raking a few million before they are all gone. Photo by Mike Hartley

Do you remember raking leaves? Actually using a rake instead of a leaf blower (which wasn’t around when I started). The object wasn’t really to clean the yard of leaves even though that was the end result. It was jumping in the pile of leaves before you took them to the compost pile or hill in the backyard.

Kids, dogs, and even some young at heart adults would dive and disappear only to reappear with big smiles on their faces and laughter in the air. Now you have teams descending on properties with the blowers and huge vacuums attached to the back of a truck that mulches them into the truck.

No more teams of kids pooling together and doing several yards. No coming inside at the end of the day leaving some many leaves on the floor that you could have been a tree yourself.

Times change, not always for the better. It’s sad when simple pleasures aren’t passed along.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel so much better with some rest. Maybe there is something to this sleep thing.
  • Time for some music to set the proper spirit for the evening
  • I really like the Monte Cristo at Mathews in Catonsville.
  • Precious few days left to work on my tan.
  • So much for catching fall colors today. The furnace guy came very late but I’m still glad he came because I hate COLD. And the house was cold.

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Sleep and other stuff

I tried to cure that sleep deprivation I was having due to working at night and having appointments during the day. As I woke this morning hearing a report on the idiot box about how 7-9 hours of sleep was recommended for older adults. That less can lead to serious issues like cancer and heart and something else that I can’t remember because I’m still a little tired.

Fading fast. Photo by Mike Hartley

You don’t make up for rest all in one night at this age. And I guess I’m a living example of poor sleep maybe resulting in a few cancers. I don’t know, I’m no doctor but many with degrees are studying this and making connections with poor sleep and serious health issues.

So it’s never too late to make changes. I don’t know if I’m too much in the hole to turn things around but I think I’ll focus more on proper rest.

Local photography. I haven’t gotten out and photographed the local area I live in enough. Think I’ll get out tomorrow and try to correct that.

Sunrise over the local high school fields. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My day is the reverse of most of society I suspect. I get up and shower and have 6-7 hours before I start work. I work 12 hours and then go to bed.
  • It’s a good feeling when you get good news about your health.
  • Time for weekly sticker shock when I hit the gas station tomorrow.
  • I’m mentally nowhere near ready for winter.

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I got the tiger by the tail again. It’s always a good day when your cancer doctor says, see you in 6 months instead of 3. Not much else about today could bother me. Hopefully, I’m done with doctor’s visits for a while.

I’m in the clouds tonight. Photo by Mike Hartley

So it’s time to get on with life again. Not that I stopped but sometimes when there are unknowns, that causes me to spend more time in thought instead of doing.

I didn’t have time to shoot anything new but I found an old folder buried with some very old images from San Francisco that I shot with a Kodak DC50 (one of the first digital cameras from I believe 96 or 97) that I used. Crap for resolution and slow. I believe I shot this while at a conference in SF in 2000.

Photos by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My friends and I talk a lot about retirement but none of us have yet.
  • Sorry if you heard me cursing when I went outside this morning but you know my feelings about cold weather.
  • Working on a nice sleep deficiency.
  • Time to reach out to another old friend tomorrow.

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An old voice

I heard from an old childhood friend today. It was great catching up again. We have always stayed in touch but in the last few decades much less frequent. Partly due to careers, families, and health and we didn’t make it the priority we did in the past.

I think both of us had such a good time talking today we will probably both be stepping up our effort to get together. I think I touched him as soon as I picked up the phone. I saw his name and called him by his old nickname. He paused for a second and then said, you are the only friend I have still alive that calls me that. From there much laughter ensued except for the few updates about some more friends passing.

At Hershey Park for The Who concert 20 years ago. Photo by Mike Hartley

One recent death was from his class that just had its 50th high school reunion and whom he had kept in touch with over the years. Another few names that passed were recalled. And I guess at our age life has transitioned to that time of loss. And being alive each day makes you appreciate that fact much more. Do not focus on loss, but live each day.

Today was the day if you were thinking about an outdoor dining adventure. Unless you are into the chill in the air, then the next few days will be right up your alley.

I like outdoor dining myself. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s gratifying to write something about a person and they really appreciate it.
  • It’s gratifying to put my hand on my wife’s side and have her grab it and pull it tightly around her.
  • It’s gratifying to cross some things off my To Do List.
  • Tomorrow is a special day. I hope I’m grateful for the outcome.

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Sunday salutations

Another great day on tap in many respects. Feeling good to start helps with a positive attitude. Basking in the joy of seeing some longtime friends yesterday. And also the weather forecast for today has my spirits soaring.

So far, so good. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can think of a hundred things I need to do today but none of them fall into the category of what I want to do. So I guess we will try to find the proper balance of chores and fun today. Right now I got a good guy on one shoulder and a bad guy on another whispering in my ear what I should do.

All I know at this point is that it’s a day for a pair of shorts and a tee shirt which suits me fine.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I don’t mind shirts with holes in them. They have character. Also air conditioning.
  • If you have hesitation with upcoming doctors appointments you have been very sick before.
  • Warning, a major bitch session is about to unfold when the temps dive this week.
  • I need to hear my children’s voices today.
  • Well, let’s get this party started. See you all later today.

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Never too old to go picking

I was attending a surprise party for a good friend of mine. His kids planned this and it was a wonderful afternoon. Which has left me little time to work on my hobbies today. So I’m going to use a few photos from last weekend and then get out early tomorrow and do some fresh shooting.

Pumpkin hiking. Photo by Mike Hartley
Preparing for the pumpkin shotput competition. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My better half has been after me to give up Cokes. I think I’ll tell her I agree, buy me Cherry Cokes from now on.
  • When you can acknowledge someone who has been very important in your life it’s an opportunity that should not be passed up.
  • I really should feel better about things than I do.
  • It used to be the mansions in this county were the exception and not the rule. I’d say that trend has reversed big time.
  • There are only 22 hours before I return to work. Weekends go by way too fast.

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Set sail

What a great day! Started off feeling healthy, the sun was out and a little girl is keeping me laughing. Toddlers are so much fun in how they discover things. I like how we just make up games together. We played hard this morning because she took a nap this afternoon and that hasn’t happened in a good while. She reminds me of my own daughter sleeping at that age.

Not many more good days on the water left. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love watching the mind of youngsters work. Thinking without limits at that youthful age. Inventing all the time. Emotions are worn on their sleeves. You won’t have to do any guessing on what they like or don’t. I so hope I can be around for a long time for my grandchildren.

I didn’t see as many butterflies this year. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day (second helping)

  • Do you ever wonder how many more sunsets you have?
  • I think I’ll do early voting this time. Election day at work is always busy.
  • A few hours of pain can really change your feeling about a day.
  • Feeling alone.

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A ray of light

It’s always a good morning when you can open your eyes and get out of a horizontal position to a vertical one. You have half the day whipped at that point. If you have food, water for drink, and washing you have another 25% of the day in the bag. Now you’re free to spread some love, create something wonderful, work hard, and make the world a better and safer place. Make sure to hug your family and friends and help share their joys and ease their burdens.

Looking for those rays of sunshine later this morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

See how easy the day can be. I don’t know why I overcomplicate things each week but I do. I fall into traps. I get overly tired and lose focus. I spend time worrying about things that don’t matter. I miss prioritizing what I should be doing.

I let the small stuff bother me. Then I realize I’m behind. Then I’m pressing and not enjoying the day. And then I’m at the end of the day realizing the mistakes along the way I made and I have a restless few hours of sleep.

I’ve learned better (late in life) not to let one bad day run into the next. Sort of like a reset and clean slate start. But at the same time trying not to repeat the mistakes of the past. How I choose to live in the future each minute, hour, and the day is an opportunity.

Sorry, didn’t mean to be all preachy this morning, just feeling good.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I believe this is the earliest in the day I’ve started a random thought.
  • In 60 minutes a three-year-old will run into my arms with great expectations and the energy of the middle east to power her engine. At the end of the day, I will be so tired. But it will be a very good tired.
  • I had a great time last night with one of my best friends.
  • I love finding a photo I like but haven’t used from an old shoot. But I love finding a photo from today’s shoot even better.

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Coming and going

I’m smiling because the workweek from the job that pays the bills is over and the music is pumping through my veins. Yes, a storm is coming later today weather-wise, but that doesn’t bother me today.

Hard to see him waving with that black glove but he is. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s time to raise a little hell and have a little fun. Even though my body keeps reminding me I’m no teenager anymore, I still think like one every once in a while, and it’s liberating as shit. Be it turning traction control off and leveling the rear tires to dancing out the front door and maybe playing air guitar and duck walking all the way to the mailbox to retrieve the mail.

Maybe ignoring a yard chore like putting down the fall treatment like I did yesterday and rescheduling it. Maybe thinking creatively without all the experiences, judgments, and standards developed over decades influencing it. Maybe ignoring political correctness and laughing at things that are just plain funny.

Maybe I’ll ride again someday. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll drift into my early years for a few minutes here and there but mostly I live in the reality of the moment. But going back reminds me of a sense of freedom, spirit, wonderment, and exhilaration that makes me feel alive.

Tomorrow my 3-year-old granddaughter arrives to make me feel even younger and more alive.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Each time a family member or friend recovers from covid I pause and give thanks.
  • I have to hook up my old sound system someday soon.
  • I always like that more robust and more powerful hug that I give and receive when seeing friends when too much time has passed between seeing each other.
  • It’s a Doobie Brothers afternoon.

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Ellicott City is full of angles. I liked this one because it was right out the back door of an office on Main Street we used to have. It’s one of the few angles you can get this shot without wires in the way. That town is full of angles that I love.

I’m finding it’s good to look at life from different angles. I think it’s helping me prioritize better. I know it’s helped me this week. And better decisions seem to be leading to a better life. Who would have thunk it?

Castle Angelo, I believe it was called at one point. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve started working on photographing with different angles more than in the past and I like it. Especially low angles but for this questionable mainspring in my back, I have to choose carefully where and when. I’ve started to take my small flexible/bendable tripod with me. It works well with that older digital that is still refusing to give up the ghost.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • You are capable of doing beautiful work even without the optimal tools.
  • Yes, I heard and felt that earthquake last night. I don’t know how people live on the west coast.
  • I’m making better progress this week but I still need to step it up.
  • Take the time to have a meal with each of your children individually every so often. It’s a wonderful way to strengthen the bond.

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What do I want to share today? What insight could I bring to the table? What would be timely or interesting? What unique perspective or angle to a topic or image? What observation or nugget of wisdom could I give?

I hope everyone got outside today even if it’s work. Photo by Mike Hartley

Late to bed and early to rise leaves sleep in your eyes. Well, it’s early and that is all I could come up with. And here you were looking for some inspirational words or vision. Nope just me here experiencing life one day at a time and learning how to live each day better.

We each discover our own pearls of wisdom along the way. Some we learn by experience. Some lessons by watching others. Take for instance loss. Yes death, each of us has experienced this or will. But not all losses are equal. The time of life you lose a parent. A parent losing a child. A child losing a sibling. Losing grandparents. Each is unique to each one of us. The love of these people touches us in such a personal way it can’t be explained to others. Ultra personal events that have effects on you for a lifetime.

How these deaths/events are explained, interpreted, understood, and lived with are so personal that there is no blanket solution except the one you come to yourself. And that is how you get from one day to the next, and somehow make it better than the previous one.

I’d like to take the time to share a bit more wisdom, especially on a more upbeat topic but the hours of the day run short. So short we are down to minutes. So till tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The trick to life is to not let its disappointments keep you from having a good outlook each morning.
  • I like the spicy chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A.
  • Really questioning a few long-term business relationships. Changes are on the horizon.
  • Looking forward to a special meeting tomorrow.
  • So far so good so says me.

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The end of the cutting season

After cutting the yard yesterday, I thought that maybe 1 or 2 more times would be it for the season. And another year of reliable service from my 2+ decade-old John Deere. As we are into mid-October already I’m sure I’ll blink my eyes and it will be time to wish someone a happy new year.

Some days I feel like I’m out of my gourd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Luckily, I made time to do a few things today for me like a haircut and a short ride with the top down. I saw several other convertibles with the tops down also, despite the temps in the upper 60s. It’s my guess is there are a number of people thinking like me that the days of good weather for a convertible are numbered so we will brave the chill in the air.

I saw a beautiful black 57 Chevy convertible at the light of Rt 144 and Rt 32 heading towards the fairgrounds. I thought I had seen almost all the hotrods in this area but this gem has escaped me till today.

I think about those days in January or February when we get a warm day in between winter temps. I’ll uncover the car and put the top down and go for a ride those one or two days it might get into the 50s. It won’t be a long one. I’ll probably cheat and turn the heat on and maybe put the windows halfway up. But you would not believe how that changes my outlook and gives me a sense of hope that spring will come soon.

The month of orange. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can already feel that sense of depression creeping in. I work nights and having that connection to the day that when I start work it’s still light out means a lot. Somehow in my mixed-up mind, it is just like a shorter shift when I get to see the sun when I start work and when I get off.

In the winter where it gets dark well before the start of the shift and is still dark when I get off SUCKS. The night feels longer, and it’s a slap in the face reality that my dumb ass works NIGHTS.

People and pumpkins have a lot in common. All different shapes and sizes and in many different colors and textures. Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, it’s too late to change that at this point so I’ll cruise through the last year or two (employer willing) and then return to the normal cycle that has illuded me for parts of my life.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Stress is unavoidable. Keep it in perspective. Keep it in its place and time. Keep it from preventing the good times and rest needed to balance it out.
  • Race, religion, and resources. How we come to terms with these things will determine a lot of our future.
  • Personally, I’m into the flu and covid vaccines. And I think I’ll get both this week. They are becoming like getting a haircut, just less often.
  • I found a lot to be optimistic about today so there was a smile for the majority of it.

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I have to learn how to use my time and tools better, to utilize what I have been given. Both of those things (time and tools) are gifts. And gifts unappreciated are a sad thing to waste. So this week I hope to push myself a little harder in my personal endeavors and see if we can increase production. We, being the team of me, myself and I. One of us for each 8-hour shift of the day.

Not quite the purple I was looking for on this Ravens Sunday. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve learned over time that any new effort needs a positive attitude to start. So I have my smile on, and my enthusiasm high. I also know that if I start to make it part of a routine it is easier to accomplish over the long haul.

I got a good start yesterday. Spent a few hours shooting and managed to download it all and start editing. Also made a few prints for the family and for my family wall.

The first thing I’m going to utilize is my printer. I’m way behind on the prints I want to get completed and it’s time to catch up. I also want to start working on a new collage or two. I have a wealth of paper and ink so the press is starting.

Flower fireworks. Photo by Mike Hartley

Next, I’m going to pick up the cameras every day and try to get at least an hour or two of shooting done. More if possible but at least practice and learn even if I don’t get something great every day. I need to carve out part of the day to upload and organize my Zenfolio site which is out of date.

I didn’t intend an entire color theme but just found a few images from yesterday that seemed to go together. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Of course, I want to continue to write and explore what I can do with words and ideas. A mixture of both good visual and written content is the next step. Content is king they used to say in the Newspaper business. I believe the same adage holds true for our digital media also.

So here is to a great fall season and a strong close-out of the year.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I am so ready for the Yankees to go on a great run this postseason.
  • I love strong hugs, especially from my children.
  • Night shift people. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Those temps in the 30s this morning were unwelcomed. So was that frost on my convertible top.
  • I like cheese bread. Toasted is even better.
  • Excuse me, I’m being patient. But where the hell is my Indian summer?

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Love of images

I love taking photographs. And the more I do it the more I love it. I thought about it as a career when I was in my late teens but never pursued it. I thought I would. I started a year in college as an Applied Art and Design major, with an emphasis on photography. I picked up what was supposed to be a part-time gig doing photo reproduction for a local newspaper chain mid-first semester.

Here I ran into some young and very talented photojournalists. I immediately knew I didn’t have the skills with the tools and interpersonal confidence and abilities to be a working newspaper photographer. And then that part-time gig turned into a 60-70 hour workweek, college ended after year one and here I am in my mid-60s still cranking out newspapers and online presence.

I feel like I’m about to break off some rust. Photo by Mike Hartley

Between the full-time plus gig that pays the bills, the chores of home ownership, and an acre of property. Between maintaining several close relationships with great friends and spending as much time possible with my own children and grandchildren the time to pursue my photography interest is limited at best.

95% of the pictures I probably grab are on the go or on the spot. In other words, I’m always doing something else than photography while trying to take pictures. I try my best and I feel successful in not impeding the group to and from wherever we are going. Sometimes I may stop for a quick shot on the street while walking but I always run and catch up and it’s only a few seconds pause.

I’ll get to places early if possible to take a few shots and be on time for the festivities. But most of the time it will be like today when we head to the pumpkin patch as a family and while I’ll snap a few generic shots, I really won’t want to take my attention from my own children and grandchildren.

Oh, I’ll take a ton of shots of them. But I don’t share here much to respect their privacy and I didn’t want this blog to be a family presentation, because I take a lot of family photos. I make a lot of prints for them because when they get older I want them to discover the joy of having prints to pull out an old box of when their kids were young and be struck so hard by the memories when they pull them out it brings a tear to their faces and lots of joy.