THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Late Drive

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

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

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

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

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

Hoping everyone had a great day.

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Yes to fun

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

Along Route 99 west of Rt 32.

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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



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

Kent Narrows. Photo by Mike Hartley

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Pick a path

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

Which path? Photo by Mike Hartley

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

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

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

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

Cast the right shadow. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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I wish I was at the shore

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

The early bird gets the fish. Photo by Mike Hartley

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Sound replacement

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

Yep, it’s BIKE WEEK at the shore.

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

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Get your java moving

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

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

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

Sunrise and coffee. Photo by Mike Hartley

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Tough as nails

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

Somedays take a lot of courage. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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


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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Pause and remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Red lines

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

Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling it

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

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

Food Thoughts

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

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

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

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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Calm after the storm

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

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

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

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

Along Woodstock Road. Photos by Mike Hartley

It felt great to get out and shoot for a few minutes after a decent night’s rest. Today’s work will tax the body but I hope I have something left in the tank to do some more shooting later.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I judge storms by how long it takes to clean up and how much it costs to repair.
  • Weather is like life. Beautiful and ugly. Inspirational and deadly.
  • Each day is like the beginning of a new race.
  • I believe the sounds of the day will be leaf blowers and chainsaws.

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Head or tails

A busy traffic day for the deer. A group of 6 this morning and another 3 this afternoon including an 8-point and 6-point bucks. It’s the only shooting I did today with the exception of a few shots of my granddaughter.

So I really feel I should go out after the rains and do some night shooting but I’m pretty tired from short sleep nights this week. I think I’ll flip a coin.

Well, it’s tails, And the tail on this BLK ROSE car below wins. I wish I could have captured the paint on this better. I’ll have to figure out angles to capture the various colors they throw off in different lights. But back to head and tails.

Low and lower. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s that day that we usually give a choice. We had our 4-year-old granddaughter today and the day is about choice. What to eat, what to play, where to go, what to drink, what to draw, what fantasy with the doll house, and towards the end of the day “what time will Mommy be home?”

Chrome. Photo by Mike Hartley

And at the end of the day, two worn-out grandparents who will probably crash early on a Friday night.

To the piece of crap that did the bomb threat to Arlington National Cemetery today. May Karma visit you in getting caught and again at trial and especially in prison.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I remembered how to play hopscotch today with my granddaughter.
  • I don’t mind being outside in this weather.
  • Tommy Tuberville, senator of Alabama, should be removed as a threat to national security.
  • At one time in history, people fact-checked themselves.
  • It felt great to spend a few minutes in the hammock today. A real treat.

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Truckin by the Grateful Dead just happened to be the first song I listened to today. I looked at the monitor and the last photos I was editing mid-day yesterday were the following so I thought it was too much of a coincidence not to post them.

From a show at Turf Valley. Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t worry, it’s supposed to rain the next few days so I won’t be adding to the collection of 4 wheel images. I have to say I’ve enjoyed a few car shows this summer and plan on attending more as I tinker with my own ride.

Attention to detail is always sweet. Photo by Mike Hartley

Opportunity knocks and I’m going to respond. I have my health, well most of it. I have a few hours over the next few days, the job that pays the bills ended for the week, and now it’s hobby/craft time starting tonight.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Sometimes when I think I know someone, I’m sometimes proved wrong.
  • I’m looking forward to the smile and hug of my granddaughter tomorrow morning.
  • Most of us get pretty good at recovering from disappointment over our lifetimes.
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were a tight band.
  • Everyone has a combination. Twist and turn them, push the right sequence of buttons and one of two doors will open. If you have been good to that safe, it will reward you. If you haven’t that’s called Karma.

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Going Green

This guy is way ahead of us in going green. I almost didn’t take this shot because he was walking up the back doorframe that I’d sanded a few months back, but not painted yet. But the reason I posted this is because it pointed to the simplicity and opportunity that my cell phone provides that my cameras didn’t.

Shot with my iPhone 13. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve always carried my cameras with me no matter where I went, long before cell phones and to this day. But I don’t walk around the house or everywhere with them all the time. But I seem to have my cell phone with me a majority of the time now and have that camera for quick captures like when you open a door and see this guy at eye level.

I never made much use of the camera on my old iPhone. I have a newer one now and I’m reading up on it and giving myself an education. And I’m finding it quite useful. The more I know the less of a novice I am. But then again, I have no issues with being called a novice or an amateur in my field now or when I’m retired.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • At one time in my life, I used to think the late 60s and 70s were a time of great uncertainty. Well, I think we may have topped that.
  • I miss having a cat fall asleep on me.
  • Seems like you develop more patience as you get older when it should be the other way around.
  • I see a pizza in the near future.
  • Most days it’s difficult to find two weather forecasts that even agree on the next 24 hours.

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I was reminded life can be short today. That health is important and to not miss saying what is important to people you love.

I might stand a little further from the curb. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My Hump day is always Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
  • Someone said I would know when it’s time. They were right.
  • The proper mindset can accomplish quite a bit.
  • I’m so tired.

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Figured I’d supply the sun this morning even though the real one wasn’t up here in the northeast when I started this. Sunshine always gives me inspiration. I hope to spend a lot of time in it today. I’ve got a good plan and all I need to do is execute it.

Unfortunately, I’m laboring last night and tonight. The number of holidays I might have to work yet are down to just 2. So I’ll power through.

I love decorative suns, but nothing touches the real one. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll have to be careful with the amount of sun today. I love soaking up some rays during summer. I believe today is one of those days that a snowball is in the cards. Maybe two if I decide to stay there and try to get some pictures.

We all have a chip in the game – I’ve been trying to follow the Howard County school busing fiasco. For a bit, I thought what does it matter to me? My kids graduated long ago and our grandkids don’t reside in this county.

But then I quickly realized all those tax dollars I pay to live here go towards education. And if we are paying more and getting worse service and eliminating county jobs and small businesses to go with some company on the other side of the country then I take serious issue with that.

I don’t think the gravity of this is being addressed. And I don’t think the people that are responsible for this situation should be in office and I’m going to do my best to ascertain the person/people accountable and do my part to vote them out. I don’t care if they are Democrats or Republicans, they failed the kids, they failed the parents and they failed the taxpayers and it sounds like they did their own business community wrong. Sort of like going 0-4 at bat. But we aren’t playing baseball here, are we?

I read the statement from the County Executive and it seems to point in the direction of the BOE but I view this kind of thing as not being able to clear the roads in a snowstorm. He also seems to confirm we are paying a lot more and have been for some time for what appears to be a cluster F. And now that we are into our second week he needs to step in and kick some ass or just take control of the situation. That is what leaders do.

Found this article on Zum apology and explanations. Hey, you take the job/contract you better be able to pull it off. To me, the county should go after some of that money they paid them.

On paper, they say there will be an improvement from week one to this coming week. This article from WTOP says 11 of the 20 routes are restored for this coming week and provides the list of bus routes/schools still out of service. Again they should figure out what percentage of the school year they are having poor service and demand a refund.

I don’t know for a fact but I’m guessing those new drivers for those new “fixed” routes don’t even live here or know the area or routes. Probably haven’t even had a test run. So even if it is restored don’t bet there won’t still be issues.

Where is my bus? Photo by Mike Hartley

This is where a community paper would be good and finding out a lot more about it and maybe increasing the pressure on both the county and company to remedy the situation faster. But we have just turned into a bunch of individual voices. But we can still make our presence felt at voting time.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I like being up before sunrise.
  • I should get to bed being I’ve been up all night.
  • Time to detail the ride today.
  • I wish I had the joy of seeing my grandchildren wake up more than when we are on vacation together. But I do a fair job of imagining it every morning along with their parent’s smiles.

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Chillin competition

It’s going to be a competition to see who can be Chillin The Most the next several days because it’s going to get HOT HOT HOT. Well, not the southern part of the country hot but plenty hot for the mid-Atlantic region. Actually, it has been a fairly mild summer with only 29 days above 90 degrees in Baltimore.

And yes that is 4×400 on the back. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll be headed out the door to wash the car in a few minutes. A cruise later and maybe some time in the hammock before we start work in about 12 hours.

Speaking of Chillin, there was a loss in the field of that style of music with Jimmy Buffett’s passing. Think I’ll go give a listen again to a tune or two.

Condolences ParrotHeads. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Having a hard time wrapping my mind around working tonight and tomorrow night.
  • I have to get out and visit my parents soon.
  • Starting a new effort in communication this month. I’ll let you know how it works out.
  • No shoes or socks today, just flip-flops.

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I love to listen and take in my children and grandchildren. Feeling the joy and laughter as well as their trials and tears. We had a wonderful day together and the family cookout had me all smiles this evening. It’s not often we can all get our schedules together. And this one wasn’t complete but we will all be together soon again.

Now that is what I call taking a breath. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m starting to feel like a strong machine again. At least from time to time. This weight loss helped and I might be on the verge of moving under the 180 lb threshold. Probably been 3 decades since I’ve seen 170s on the scale. Now if I can relocate that 10 lbs around the midsection to the shoulders and arms I’ll be cooking with juice.

I’ve been working hard this week while on vacation. Probably on the wrong things but hey, that is behind me now. I do feel good about the homestead starting to look better. It did need some work and still does but the important things are getting addressed. Once we get the chimney fixed we will be set to use the fireplace this winter.

And speaking of the fireplace, Mother Nature is about to light a fire under us this week. High temps and high humidity. You won’t hear any complaints from me. I’ll be out and about in this heat because I LOVE SUMMER. Time to Tan.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is always a solution, it’s if we are willing to first look for it. And then if we allow ourselves to see it and finally if we can accept it.
  • Stepping out from the background is good for the spirit, but also risky.
  • I can’t wait to go through those gears the first few times after I wash the go-cart tomorrow morning. I mean it does need to be air dried.
  • Time for my last good night’s sleep for a bit.

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Coming into the light

Many a night I am awake all night working, but being on vacation the last few days I’ve been able to flip my sleep to nights. And some more hours per night, and boy does that make a difference in both physical and mental health.

I’ve so enjoyed rising just before sunrise and being able to enjoy the SUN all day instead of having to sleep through half or more of it depending on the season.

Catching the first rays of the day. Photo by MIke Hartley

Nights have always been part of my work schedule to some degree. That is quite disruptive to sleep schedules, not that I’ve ever had one, with the exception of maybe my first few years of life. I guess with the end of full-time work in sight it’s making this last year a little more challenging.

Then again it could be the age thing trying to sneak up on me. Regardless it’s now a struggle at a few or many points in the evening. My eyes get heavy, my body aches, my concentration isn’t what it was and I just get tired.

I have to keep reminding myself, I’m in the home stretch.

I like Ruffles in my Roads. – Give me the back roads of rolling hills and twisty turns all day long. I’m going to let the younger crowd have their way on the big state and interstate highways. A lot less stress and more enjoyment on the back roads.

Homes, neighborhoods, and farms dot the route instead of concrete barriers and super hot asphalt. Cruising speeds are more enjoyable because you’re not surrounded on each side and back.

I’m looking forward to my Sunday morning cruise. Photo by Mike Hartley

I hear the Maryland Miata group is meeting tomorrow morning and if nothing more pressing is going on I’ll swing by and see some fellow 2 seaters.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The first sad day in Margaritaville ever.
  • I’m going to make this a strong 4th quarter.
  • Several forecast days of 90+ degrees after Labor Day should indicate summer is far from over.
  • I’m assuming the role of grillmaster today.

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Full Friday

What a great day! I woke up and got busy with some chores and setting up some hobby work. The weather is beautiful, my better half is smiling, and my friends are contemplating taking advantage of early out Friday.

Wildlife of some sort is always active in my yard. Photo by Mike Hartley

Getting ready for a cookout this weekend and contemplating the menu. I know we are doing some scallops on the grill. I’m sure several other meats and veggies will cross the grates and my better half has several salads ready to feed the family.

That sky was beautiful today. The shade was nice from time to time. Photo by Mike Hartley

With the effort this week the homestead is looking good and I’m wondering if the company will notice. Regardless, I feel good about it. I really like that power washer.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Just because this was my first random thought recorded it was far from my first random thought.
  • Wish I could be celebrating my mom’s 100th birthday with her this month. But very few get that wish.
  • August flew by didn’t it? I met a few of my goals and continued some positive changes but more effort will be needed in September.
  • It’s that time of year again to put a really good coat of wax on the ride.

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Stretching out

Stretching out today both physically and mentally. Trying a few new techniques in both areas. The physical part wasn’t successful. The mental part was. Time with my better half that wasn’t rushed at any point of the day.

Knocking out some paperwork together in the morning. A few chores in and out for each of us. Then off to a wonderful lunch at LeeLynn’s followed by a walk at Centennial Lake, a short cruise, and prescription pickup. Then home for a relaxed evening which I needed because my body wasn’t in tune with my plans.

We really like this place, always a great meal and service. The Mahi Mahi fish tacos were mine and very good. We also love the Cream of Crab soup so 2 were ordered. A Seasonal Salad for my better half and then we shared a great piece of KeyLime Pie which I wolfed down before taking a shot of it.. Photos by Mike Hartley

I need to be less concerned with the images I’ve taken and more concerned about the ones I haven’t shot yet. So I got up and immediately charged all 3 cameras and I’m looking forward to a lot of shooting this weekend.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wish the best for our southern neighbors in the states.
  • The amazing thing that happens to me when I’m on vacation. When I feel tired I go to sleep.
  • I might have to move my office outside the next two days it’s going to be so nice.
  • Our county government has some splaining to do after the bus fiasco and now kicking the farm museum to the road in 90 days.

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Midweek evaluation

I have a few more days off before I return to work on Sunday so this is a good reflection point at the midway point of my vacation. And my first thought is why do I want to return to that madness? And then I came to my senses and thought about a few bills and resigned myself to a few more months.

Now that is a front end. I like the heart shape formed with the hood up. Photo by Mike Hartley

Good judgment isn’t always easy to come by. Rarely is it the easy path. We make judgments every day. Some right, some wrong, some that just are. I’ll be making a judgment on a great number of things in the coming few years.

But today’s judgment is that I had better use the remaining time off wisely. So off to bed, I go so I can rise early and plan which trip I’d like to take tomorrow.

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Little things

I had lunch with a very important friend today. We met many decades ago at work. But it’s one of those relationships that just became very special. I think of her as a sister. We hadn’t been able to catch up in a while so it was very good to bring each other up to speed again on our lives and dreams and all the things we find humorous which is quite a lot. As well as the tests and difficulties we all experience along the way in life. We share a lot.

It was near the end of our long lunch that I saw something I hadn’t seen in her for some time. I saw that spark I used to see at work that would ignite such energy, enthusiasm, and insights within her that just spilled out like a tsunami that would inspire those around her.

We might have walked out of there together embarking on another journey and joint effort to create something special. I know I’m excited and came home and worked on some more ideas. Then again life may overtake us. But I have a feeling this one might move ahead. Time will tell.

Looking at the Spa Creek Drawbridge into Annapolis MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

Who knew such a cloudy, overcast, drizzly day would turn out to be such a ray of sunshine? It has kind of inspired me with a few more creative thoughts for my own projects.

Had a great lunch at Carrol’s Creek Cafe today.

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Here we go again

Another fresh week is under way and I’m loving life this morning. Many accomplishments before the sun is barely over the horizon. Great way to start the week. There is a lot to fit in between now and the family cookouts for the coming holiday weekend.

I’m going to plant some wildflowers next year in part of my yard. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll celebrate a little extra. This is the last Labor Day I will be laboring at the job that pays the bills while everyone else is off. But that is next week and this is this week.

This week marks the return to school in our area, so just another reminder to please be careful on the roads. I believe more kids are walking this year from what I have seen reported in the Howard County news on busing.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A haircut always makes me feel better.
  • At some point in history, we have to stop passing down all this hate to the next generation.
  • I get more done when I break it into smaller pieces.
  • Tonight we pick up the pace.
  • The people demanding perfection from the school system on the first day aren’t living in reality.

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A time and place

I’ve heard there is a time and place for everything. Boy would I like to see that in my lifetime. Then again, I can’t complain, my life has been pretty full. And today’s another day to help fill the list out. A day of vacation so it’s not my normal dreaded Sunday night.

Come to Papa. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll be able to grill out later and be able to rest after dinner instead of jumping into the hot seat at the job. I could try to get a good night’s sleep or just stay up and work on my hobbies. Oh, the day can’t come quick enough where every day is vacation.

I had better get back to the job that is only half complete, moving a cord of wood on a warm sunny day. With this humidity, I’m guessing some rain can’t be far off.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There are times in life when it’s about what others want. Other times are for what the others want that you missed the first go-round.
  • It’s amazing how many times in a day I can be very happy and very unhappy on the same day.
  • I’ve really changed my sports viewing habits this last decade. I haven’t watched NASCAR since Junior retired. I haven’t watched golf since Tiger stopped playing. I’ve watched more baseball this year because the game got quicker. I always watch a ton of college basketball but the pro game has less viewing time each year. I still can’t get into soccer that much. My pro football interest is less and for college, it’s just following the local team. A lot of pro sports are getting out of the range of a lot of people to see in person.
  • The number of people bitching about what is wrong has exceeded the number trying to fix what’s wrong by such a margin that I’m not sure we can recover from it.

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You can start slowly. You can start like a ball of fire. You can start late or on time. You can start today. You can start tomorrow. As long as you start, things will get better.

Yesterday my intention was to get out early. I was up before sunrise and wanted to get out and do some shooting. Finally, I got my behind in gear and out the door at 8 a.m. I was going to a car show down in Fulton but that didn’t start till 10 am so I went cruising and on my way home I cut through Turf Valley.

Aflame. Photo by Mike Hartley

And low and behold a car show in their parking lot. So I spent a few minutes wandering through and grabbing a few images I’ll bore you with from time to time.

The day after that was a blur. Some time with my son’s family and then a long drive home, a few minor chores and I was done. So done in fact I laid down and passed out for the evening without publishing something. Such is life. Now here I am in the middle of the night finishing up a piece I started yesterday thinking about taking a very early morning ride and maybe a few photo ops.

The Bird is the Word. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love 3 a.m. in the morning. It’s so quiet outside. But only when I take these headphones off.
  • I think I’ll put the ping-pong table back up when I retire.
  • Infants are the most honest people I know. They have no problem telling you how they feel.
  • Time to fire up that engine and put the top down. Later I’ll fire up the grill and put the top on.

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When you run into a closed door, just look for another open one.

I like the doorbell on Main St Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Breakfast is my favorite meal.
  • When you see a smile on someone’s face, it doesn’t always mean they are happy.
  • Transition planning from one stage of life to the next is both fun and scary.
  • If you want to know someone, just listen to them and then watch their actions.
  • Any week I get to see both my grandchildren, it’s a winner.

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I have the scoop

There are few things better than waking up and realizing you’re starting a week of vacation. And while it’s not the best weather forecast for the first day it will be a good day regardless.

Who’s got the scoop today? Photo by Mike Hartley

There is some fun planned in between many important tasks. Actually, I hope to squeeze in a ton of fun. Some quality time with my better half. A few happy hours with friends. Maybe a few road trips or just some aimless cruising on a sunny afternoon. Better yet a 3 am cruise when nobody is out on the roads and enjoy the wonderful highways most people just inch along on.

I’m so thankful my children live within a drive where we can be part of their lives and help with the grandchildren when needed. Those times are so precious but it also reminds me how fast life moves. But vacations allow me some more opportunities which we always take advantage of.

Kids grow faster than the weeds in my yard, and that is saying something. The time to be part of their lives and support system is so short. I think I’ll try to complete a few projects I’ve been working on for them this week.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Time to cut loose. I love manual transmissions.
  • Everybody wants a piece of somebody.
  • Sometimes you have to look a little deeper for the good in people.
  • It’s funny how in business, if you got 3 out of 10 questions right your days of employment are numbered. But if you play baseball and are successful 3 out of 10 times at the plate you are a superstar.
  • I worry about some foundations that I thought were very solid.
  • I really like this version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

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I want to read

I’m going to grab a book this afternoon and kick back, read, relax, and reflect.

I love reflections in windows. Photo by Mike Hartley

Then again, these kids were having a ball yesterday fishing. Maybe I should find an outdoor activity.

Water levels were pretty low, but spirits were high. Photo by Mike Hartley

Since it’s another great day outside I think I’ll shoot for another hour today. Let me go look at the map and pick a destination.

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Can you dig it?

Green Onions by Booker T and the MG’s is a nice way to start the morning. Followed by many classic rock tunes have my feet and hips moving this fine day. Low 80-degree range with a slight breeze. Where the hell are my car keys, I can hear that convertible top yelling at me to put it down.

What a day to cruise and walk. Photo by Mike Hartley

So a shower and then I was mobile. It’s a discount Tuesday at the gas pump for hightest fuel so I filled that puppy for some cruising today.

And as you can see from the above photo, I wasn’t the only red convertible out tooling around Howard County. Actually, I felt like I needed a walk so I did the town of Ellicott City. Always one of my favorite places to walk the streets. I have a lot of fond memories of waking it with close friends, family and really long ago memories of being in town with our parents.

Engine 21 returning to Ellicott City’s Main Street. Photo by Mike Hartley

It felt good to do a few loops from the top to the bottom of town and back again. I even managed to carry the heavy Nikon without back issues. Life is being good to me today.

Gives me inspiration to get out and exercise some tomorrow.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There are a lot of unhappy people who have nothing to be unhappy about.
  • As I sort through my parent’s things and slowly let go of pieces I wonder what will become of my belongings.
  • I don’t think the frame is as important as what it contains.
  • When you see Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel at the airport, do you find out his destination and go the other way? Worse yet what if you don’t see him till your flight is taxied out to the runway and about to take off?

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I need to form more of a structure for the work I do. I started to restructure my office today and it feels good. I’ve been thinking about bringing some structure to my shooting. Maybe daily assignments would work in increasing my focus.

Montreal Canada. Photo by Mike Hartley

If you’re going to build something big you need a nice foundation. So let me get to work on that thought.

Ran over a cicada hornet’s nest today. Supposedly they don’t bother humans. I don’t think humans with lawnmowers count. They seemed plenty pissed off to me and I wasn’t sticking around to see if the adage was true.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Loving tacos today. I know, it’s not Tuesday yet. I couldn’t wait.
  • I always feel good when I felt like I’ve had a productive day.
  • I can’t believe it’s football season already.
  • Stepping outside on a warm summer night is my idea of a pleasant evening.

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Beat the heat

Going to be a warm one today in the mid-Atlantic and I love it. I’ll work on my tan while doing some yard work. After that, I plan on moving the hammock to the shade and maybe doing some reading. Whatever you need to do to beat the heat by all means do it.

Boating is a popular option to beat the heat. Photo by Mike Hartley

When going out to lunch yesterday I showed my better half a trick to enjoy the convertible on a hot day. There isn’t any rule against running the A/C with the top down. You can still stay comfortable cruising around with that combination up to 90 degrees easily.

I got a feeling after moving that wood pile today that a snowball would be a great way to beat the heat. And that reminds me I have to get the splash pad out for the granddaughter this week.

Shade and food. Photo by Mike Hartley

This is the kind of summer lunch I like above. Belly Busters in Ocean City. I love their rockfish tacos and the steamed crabs and shrimp have been good. And it’s one of the few places around where I’ve gotten conch fritters and they were very good.

We used to stay right across the street from them so we have had most of their menu over several years and always been happy.

To all the Teachers

May your rooms be blessed with ears eager to listen, minds open to learning, supportive parents and administrations, and facilities that will keep you warm and cool when needed.

May you get the support of family and friends when things aren’t going well. May you still see the humor in situations. May you be blessed with the wisdom and skills to help with all the needs kids have that aren’t being met on the outside that filter into your classrooms.

May you feel the admiration that many have for your profession and abilities, this year and throughout your careers.

May you be granted extra patience and love for your own children when you get home, to equal out the stresses of dealing with 20-30 of them all day.

Remember that when you make learning fun, the ones you teach will never forget you. Have a great year to all. Especially my daughters.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feeling that sense of urgency again.
  • I like finding something amazing each day. Living near nature helps a lot.
  • It’s time to shake up the basement production facility.
  • The nation hasn’t hit an intersection like this in a great many years.

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Not going to worry about yesterday and the uncomfortable thoughts a memorial service gave me. Not going to think about tomorrow and the return to work. I am going to make good use of this day.

Oh, to be on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this fine day. Maybe next week. I’ll have to hope my friend sends me a text today with a photo from Kent Island.

Green Grass and High Tides. A song from a group called The Outlaws. Also a view of the Eastern shore. Photo by Mike Hartley

But first, the yard needs cutting. Hope everyone is having a good morning.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hope I can do something special today. Either for someone else or creating something good.
  • Remember having to say “present” when the teacher called attendance. Ops, may have just dated myself. I have no idea why that popped into my head and provided today’s title.
  • Finally felt like stretching and some morning exercises helped the back after many failed attempts at the same thing the last two weeks.
  • These last two mornings have been unusually cool for August.


A quiet Saturday

I was going to reflect but then a wave of uncertainty crossed my mind.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think I’ll listen to my body and mind and see if I can catch up on some zzz’s
  • I have one of the sweetest sister inlaws. She needed our support today.
  • You can be poor, but rich in friends.
  • I find it more and more challenging to attend memorial services.

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Catch up

I caught up with an old friend today. A very old friend from my childhood. I found some shots of a couple of our friends who are no longer with us. He was the best man at one of their weddings. And I had a shot of him and John in their suits. And a few more of us at The Who concert back in 2002 which I made prints of for him. I think we first saw that band together in 1970.

He was at the one where The Who and Led Zeppelin played together at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 1969.

We promised to get together for a few Maryland basketball games this year and I’m sure we will follow through with that.

Here is another catch. We have had a few good meals here at this spot in Fenwick Island Deleware called Catch 54.

I like their shrimp and grits. Photo by Mike Hartley

I tried to catch my wind today. And I did a good job of it out in the convertible and working in the yard. Tonight I catch up on sleep.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Salad for dinner may be smart but it isn’t satisfying.
  • There is an unusual chill in the air outside tonight.
  • It’s remarkable how easy it is to fall into old habits.
  • I got some good Maryland sweet corn. I think I’ll try a test tomorrow on how I like it best on the grill. One straight on the grate. One wrapped in foil and one cooked in the husk.

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Gearing up

I’m gearing up for the stretch run of Summer. Yesterday was a nice way to kick off the weekend. It’s amazing what a good night’s rest will do for you. It’s kind of a treat for me. I hear that beach calling me before the fall season is upon us. And I will heed that call from the waves and sands.

Guarding beach and country. Photo by Mike Hartley

A couple of day trips are planned. A weekend with my better half and it will be another year in the books for the beach season. It also marks the last year the job will get in the way of fully utilizing summer which is a really pleasant thought. If gas prices aren’t outrageous it will be a regular thing.

Wow, I just had the thought of what it might be like to spend 2 weeks or more at the beach in a row. I’m beginning to see this retirement gig next year filled with endless possibilities.

Breakthrough – I think I found where the time goes.

I know time flies by. I know I blink my eye and time is gone. I know time passes. I know I lose time all the time. It scares me when time goes by so fast. I know I’m always strapped for time. I’m always surprised when it’s time to turn the page on the calendar. I know time disappears. I know time doesn’t last. I know I can’t delay time.

And then I looked down at my hands and I saw some wrinkles I hadn’t noticed before. I looked in the mirror and suddenly there are more grey hairs. I get measured by the doctor and somehow between 20 years old and now I’ve lost 3/4 inch in height. I know when I get out of the shower I see a lot of surgical scars.

And I say to myself Ah time, there you are.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Before this month if you said the word Hawaii, people’s heads would rise and a smile would cross their face. Now heads are bowed and lips pursed.
  • Keeping it simple isn’t always the best, but it works a lot of the time.
  • I used to wonder what people were thinking. I stopped because I started to find out.
  • I got to see both my children in the last 2 days. Life is very good.

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All smiles

One of my goals always has been to just keep people around me smiling. Sometimes I’m good at it, sometimes not so good. Life can’t be all smiles but it certainly can be mostly smiles. I remember walking the streets of DC and making an effort to smile and make eye contact with people.

Not the easiest thing to do in that town. And almost impossible now with everyone’s face buried in a smartphone. But anyway I did enjoy that I could make a difference. I was able to get many smiles from people. Strangers and merchants would return a smile.

Shelly the smiling seashell. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love humor and making my friends laugh is like a high for me. And most of them have a good sense of humor and it just feeds on itself. Lots of times we leave each other with tears in our eyes. Not from sadness of parting, but from laughter.

There is so much good comedy available now it’s incredible. I could and have spent hours getting lost in laughs on YouTube. Sometimes when I’m down it’s a nice way to bounce back.

I love days I can just smile. Some days it’s hard to find them when I get in the wrong mindset but today isn’t going to be one of them. I got to see my son and his family for a few minutes which was great. They picked up their dogs today which we had been watching. They are wonderful with the exception that I lose my spot in the bed when they are here. But I get to return this evening again.

This is going to bring some smiles to some young people. Photo by Mike Hartley

I might spend a few minutes in the seat of the go-cart tonight and get the cameras out where ever I end up. Might be a little cooler this evening, so I’ll take a sweat jacket.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A surprise is in store for an old friend tomorrow.
  • The more weight I lose the louder the ice cream talks to me.
  • I’m concerned about another very good friend of mine.
  • Pets are like children who never grow up.
  • Beyond tired is falling asleep while typing.

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Driving into the future

I’m trucking into a long weekend after tonight’s work. Should be an interesting time. The weather looks promising. It’s been so dry I might be able to skip cutting grass. Got some important decisions to make on how to use some free time this month.

Drive’m till the wheels fall off. Photo by Mike Hartley

I do know the first thing I’m going to do at sunrise tomorrow. I’m going to pull the cover off the car and wipe any dust off and take a ride with the top down.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s disappointing when people aren’t interested in communicating.
  • Why are so many MLB pitches outside that box they put on the screen showing the strike zone called strikes?
  • You can’t always count on others for happiness. Just remember to be happy yourself.
  • Someone seems intent on burning this country to the ground if he can’t get his way. Seems like I remember my parents telling me about a similar person in history over in Europe.
  • Good pizza, but if you can’t get my order right and skimp on the toppings, a next visit is unlikely. Goodbye, Grotto.

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Still running

Lots of old things still run well. Look at all of us seniors running around. This beast below was still running. Even a new set of headlights it appears.

I’m glad I’m still running. Well, I’m walking at least. Days of running are behind me. Unless the guys decide to play some pickup basketball. I’m tempted to try some tennis with my son but that isn’t running really.

Made to last. Photo by Mike Hartley

So another day to see what we can accomplish. I’ve reassembled the team of me, myself, and I again. I’m going to assign “I” a photo assignment each day to capture a few new images. I hope to get “me” to do the editing and then I’ll assign “myself” the task of doing two posts a day with some good content.

But being time is short today I think I’ll try to find something interesting inside the house to photograph.

Several years ago I started sort of an unofficial countdown. I kept a post-it note on my monitor and each week I would decrease the count by one. I never told anyone what it was. When I left the office for good when Covid started I was still in the hundreds and I think there was a row of 3-4 post-it notes with decreasing numbers.

But now much time has passed and I’m looking at the number of weeks left and it’s a double-digit number. Of course, any plans that far off can change. Who knows what the next few months will bring? But that is the plan and the working days full time left between now and then are few and to be appreciated.

I got to work again last night on more documentation for my teammates. The calls I make in the coming months might be the last time I talk to some people. And then there are some close people that I want to carve away some time to speak to at length and thank them.

Driving a distance to DC for over 2 decades was something I didn’t realize the toll and time it took out of my life till I didn’t have to do it. I haven’t been downtown in years now working remotely. But I find myself drawn to the office to visit some of those people face-to-face in the coming months. To shake hands, to give a hug, to wish them much success and happiness.

I’d like to walk through the Springfield printing plant another time and say goodbye to a few people there. I’d like to meet my new boss in person and thank him and wish him well and also my old boss.

They tell me my desk is still there and my things the way I left them so I’ll gather that stuff up. And then someday to HR to make things official.

As I sit here I think I may have underestimated the change that will bring. While I have numerous things planned to fill the time that I enjoy doing, I still will miss not being part of that daily cycle. To see the news as it’s happening.

To illustrate this point I’ll refer to the horrible day of 9/11/2001. I worked many many hours that day and night and into the next day if I remember correctly. I was working in the area where systems I managed included the wire services for news and photos. I also had our own internal publishing system.

I was seeing things before they even hit broadcast tv or print. And that is the way it is even today and even more intently today with things on the web being updated in real-time all the time. It’s a nice perk to the job being kind of a news junkie.

My better half pointed out today that I’m working all the time. Always have been, even when I’m off. And I can’t disagree with her. I only hope I can keep it up and transfer that energy to my own efforts and not get lazy.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I liked Frosted Flakes as a kid and I like them today.
  • The trick is to always give 100% even though you may feel like 50%.
  • Some things about the way I live bother me. Like the amount of plastic, I use and throw away each day. I’ve got to find a good use for that.
  • This is the least pain I’ve been in for a few weeks. Which brought a smile to my face as I typed this.
  • Having a lot of ideas on how to best help others when I have more free time.
  • I feel a productive night coming on.

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Morning comfort

I can’t wait till every morning is comfortable. On days I don’t work, mornings are great, I’m relaxed and cheerful, and excited. The days I have to work the night shift morning are filled with apprehension, concern, and resignation. I know that Sunday morning starts this cycle. It’s one of the few work mornings that I wake up relaxed but quickly realize the reality of the long day and night ahead.

Maintaining this dual lifestyle no longer works for me. It might work part-time, but full-time puts too much strain on the body and mind. The limit to the madness has been reached. Come hell or high water it’s coming in months this strain will be over.

One of our favorite places to stay when at the ocean. Photo by Mike Hartley

I never did sleep well during the day and the normal activities of people can wake you easily. And starting each week off by being awake from 6 am Sunday to 7 am Monday is a trick I don’t need to be pulling.

Then the nocturnal schedule for a few more days and then flip back to a normal daytime one like the rest of the family and friends. Well, it’s time to make the best of it again for another week.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Few are feeling better than a grandchild running into your arms.
  • Determination adds strength.
  • Relationships that can handle change have a leg up.
  • I feel like swimming.

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Saturday cooling

Nothing cool outside today in central Maryland. Either the team below is opening a snowball stand or plans on a big party with lots of mixed drinks. Either way, they are prepared with close to 20 bags of ice.

Chill out, man. Photo by Mike Hartley

I limited my outdoor chores and time outside this afternoon but I hope to get out this evening and do a little shooting.

I was reading a blog by photographer Leanne Cole I follow and she wrote an interesting piece on “My bad habits when it comes to photography.” There were a couple on that list that hit home with me. Being lazy and not stopping to take a photo were two that are certainly in my wheelhouse and caused me some honest reflection.

I kicked myself in the behind for not stopping and shooting something good I see so many times that I’m finally starting to break myself of this horrible habit. The I’ll get it later attitude doesn’t get it done and it took me a long time to realize that.

Photography for me has been a catch-as-catch-can proposition for many decades, not being my primary or even secondary job. Rarely am I out just shooting. It’s in between errands, out on excursions with the family, or on my way from A to B.

Recently I was reminded of this fact about taking the opportunity when it presents itself because time will move on and change things. I had gone back to photograph this old home I had only gotten a shot or two of before but the light wasn’t that good. I went by last week and it’s been torn down.

Looking up to a bright future. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes doing it right is a tall order. Shooting more is the easy part. Learning the craft, relearning editing tools, knowing spots and angles and light. Learning to capture people as well as places.

If I’m honest with myself I’m lazy with the free time I do have. I’ve been making some strides but I know I can do a lot better. That will change when I retire but I’ve been slowly making shooting more of a priority each day.

I could make a long list of the many deficiencies I have. But those two things on her list I need to fix first for myself.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The difference between dogs and cats is if you give a dog a ton of love, you get a ton of love in return immediately. When you give a cat a lot of love you get some love at their time of choosing.
  • There is a great deal to be said for a great deal.
  • A child’s smile can touch your heart. That’s why I take so many pictures of my grandchildren.
  • I was practicing patience today.

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A great day

I don’t know why I chose the title, a great day. I was and wasn’t extraordinary at the same time. A number of unrelated events made it special. For instance, I was out mowing this morning and wishing I was out riding in the 2 seat fun machine instead of this chore.

Thankful for a sunrise and sunset in my life today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Just then I made a turn and looked straight at the window in the family room. For some reason the memory of me looking out at someone cutting my grass for the first time after my first cancer surgery many years ago. And that memory reminded me to be thankful for the opportunity to cut the grass each time. Not just being here, but physically capable and out and about.

Then some special moments with my grandson. Discovery, joy, eating, and of course the game of grabbing Papa’s glasses and many more. Some more chores and then a few minutes to relax.

There were some warm hugs from my better half and my daughter-in-law and a nice talk with a new neighbor.

Now a few minutes to create and make a few prints for some friends.

Maybe I’ll put the top down and take that ride late tonight.

There is a great deal to be learned by listening intently. I got away from this, but I’m returning to this style because it’s much more revealing. Especially when you ask the right questions.

We have a very interesting new CTO – Chief Technology Officer at our company. It will be interesting to see the changes he will bring and believe me there will be changes. I’ve worked in IT/Publishing for almost 5 decades. I think his reign might be the most dramatic of all of them.

Well, at least that is my first impression of him along with a number of others. In some ways, I wish I was sticking around longer to see it from the inside but I’ll have to live vicariously through word of mouth from people still there after I retire.

I used to love riding a motorcycle. Probably one of the most relaxing and exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. A nice warm day like today would have been perfect.

My son is a chip off the old block. He calls the other day asking if we have the spare crate for his young dog. We looked and said no. He calls back today asking if we can double-check because he can’t find it. I look again, (it’s kind of big and hard to hide) but I do bend under beds and into closets and into the basement while on the phone. No luck again. I hear him pause and say, “Maybe it’s in my car”. So he wanders out and yep, it’s in there.

I told him my friends would give him a penalty shot of liquor for something like that. I said I’ll take a snowball for the wild goose chase and making me get on my hands and knees looking for it.

I finish this day searching for the right words for an old work friend who lost his life partner. Thinking how lucky I am and at the same time scared to even think about what he is facing.

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A little rain must fall

I guess things have to balance out, and that means it’s time for some moisture from the sky today. Not the best conditions for the start of my weekend but I can cope.

I think we will do some car detailing this weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Found an old clip of The Stones from 20 years ago in 2003 doing Gimmie Shelter. A great version but thinking these guys are still touring is incredible.

But the days are catching up with a lot of them. Robbie Robertson of The Band passed yesterday. I think they said he was 80. This means days could be catching up to me being I’m on the heels of these guys. So I had better make good use of the day ahead.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s wise to redefine what priorities are all the time.
  • I wonder if I’ll run out of random thoughts one day.
  • The more I write the more I learn about grammar. And boy do I have a lot to learn. My English teachers wouldn’t be proud. No wonder my Mom was so upset with me. She was a proofreader for part of her career.
  • Share time with those that share love with you.
  • I choose to be happy this afternoon. Tonight should be even better.

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I find if I look at all the things I should be appreciative of each day, the things that didn’t go right or that I didn’t have or didn’t experience don’t mean all that much.

What better place for a morning stretch? Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m trying hard to get my body right. I don’t know why it’s giving me such a hard time lately. It’s a better week than the last one so I’ll take small victories.

My better half has returned from her mini vacation with my daughter and granddaughter. I guess I’ll have to keep the music down tonight.

The weekend will start in about 10 hours. Life is good and after work tonight, I intend on getting to it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • How do you not like a photo of a child smiling?
  • Don’t worry beach, I hear you calling me. I’ll be on my way soon.
  • Walking into a spider web outside is frustrating. Walking into one inside really frost me.
  • I had a hummingbird fly up to a couple of inches away from me while sitting on my porch. Those things really do hum.

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Take the time

I rave about the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but the central and western parts of the state are quite beautiful also. Twisty back roads with cornfields as guardrails dotted occasionally with farms. And the further west you go the elevations start to play a wonderful game of can you top this view.

On my return trip from Westminster. Photo by Mike Hartley

We loved going out to Rocky Gap, Frederick, Hagerstown, and Cumberland. We have done it far less than the coast but that might change. I love the roads out west. Less congestion and once past Frederick, less rude drivers.

Even though I was running an errand it was great getting out but chores called and I responded. Tomorrow is another matter altogether. Another warm sunny day that I plan to pretty much spend outside enjoying myself till it’s time for work.

I’ve got to drop some photos off with an old friend, maybe hit the county fair and have a good lunch out.

I love fresh corn during the summer. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll have the time to grab a lot of images, maybe even get the Dremel tool outside and create some dust.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hope to do things that make me smile all day tomorrow. Well, at least until work starts.
  • My daughter got me a gift card for my favorite sub shop. I’m going to have to fast a little bit before going there for the steak and cheese sub.
  • OK, everyone in Maryland, a big cheer for the linemen/women on the job fixing everyone’s power.
  • I try not to get mad at the job taking so many hours away from all the things I love.

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Running out of Summer

Time is quickly disappearing for the Summer season. I have so much to fit in yet and here we are entering the second week of August. So why not schedule some time off? So that is what I did. A total of 6 nights off the rest of the month. Now that is a way to make August count.

Now what to do with those wonderful hours of freedom? So many things leap to mind. A day trip with my better half, maybe a solo trip to the ocean, or most of the day in the hammock on the old pool patio. Should I spend an entire day carving on a piece of wood?

The Dog Days of Summer are dwindling. Photo by Mike Hartley

Each day the sun rises a little later and sets a little earlier. I’m already seeing leaves fall from the trees. The warm waters will be with us a bit longer but the nights will start to cool in another month.

I’m feeling the pressure to make the most of every warm-weather day now before they slip away into the fall.

But it’s funny, after hurting badly last week all I want to do is feel healthy and whatever else comes my way the rest of the summer is fine with me.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • As I prepare for this line of strong storms I realize I’m low on working flashlights.
  • After not being accountable all your life it’s hard to accept it late in life I guess.
  • There is a lot to be said for the word, bliss. But you don’t hear it often because the person is so happy and joyful.
  • Some things are better with time.

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Why not

Usually, I can find all kinds of reasons not to play, just looking at the to-do list will squash those thoughts. But lately, even after I got that immediate list of reasons not to play, I’m starting to ask myself, why not. I think that is because I’m in the later stages of life and priorities have shifted.

Like today for instance. So what if the lower backyard by the woods needs cutting? The only person it used to bother or maybe ever bothered was me. Doesn’t bother me today so I’d rather go for a ride in my nice clean Miata than push a mower and swing around a string trimmer.

Photos by Mike Hartley

When faced with alternatives or just remembering that I do have alternatives now that I didn’t before is kind of enlightening. Kind of freeing also in a way that a change of pace includes my priorities and wishes. And after taking that afternoon ride I know I made the right decision. Even though it was 90 degrees and humid the top was down, shame on you convertible owners with the top up and A/C on.

And now that it’s cooled off I’ll throw the cover on it before the storms this evening and tomorrow.

Why not clean out? It feels good to do it. You get more of your home back. We are still working our way through family items. Yeah I know, it’s taken years. We recently just pulled a lot of things out of the attic. My better half took some to the church this afternoon for their sale this summer.

Next on the list is a big chest of items. Photo by Mike Hartley

I started with a file cabinet and now have a huge pile to shred but a pile went in recycling and some to trash. Tonight I’m going to work on cleaning out the office a bit.

I asked myself why not at least try. Why not Paint? Why not Skulpt? Why not Carve? So I will.


The Howard County Fair is underway. If I’m lucky I’ll get there on Tuesday – Senior Day and take some new fair images.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s possible these are the best of times. So have fun today and tomorrow.
  • My better half makes killer Sunday dinners.
  • Today is the best I’ve felt in a week and I’d say I feel about 50%. But there is tomorrow.
  • My creative thoughts that had been squashed recently are beginning to return.

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Half full

Despite the forecast for a very cloudy day, I’m looking at it the other way. There is no rain predicted, so I can live fine with some clouds. That will make mowing much easier later today. And while not optimum for shooting those sunflower fields I planned on I still might venture out and see what I can capture today and tomorrow.

My neighbors always have several out front this time of year. Photo by Mike Hartley

Had a wonderful dinner last night at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill In Frederick Maryland with some very old friends. It was a wonderful time and proof that people with different political beliefs can still have a really good time together and still have a lot of common and shared interests. I had the Blue Cheese Filet with parmesan mashed potatoes which were excellent. The Ahi Tuna and slaw app was very good also. My better half had a special lobster tail and Filet.

The mind has set forth a good number of goals today and I hope the body is willing to cooperate. If not we might have a power struggle taking place. The body will take so much pounding from the mind before it says to the mind, no more. Well usually in not so polite terms. I wish those two could get their acts together because it’s plenty painful lately.

One of my best friends has some bad back issues and swears by a chiropractor. I’m going to check my insurance and give it a shot because PT hasn’t touched it much before. And being pain has stepped up it’s game, I need to do the same.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think about my kids and grandkids every morning. I wonder what they are doing. I think about their smiles as they wake up each day. I think about when they are really young and hungry in the morning and how they let you know if you’re not getting breakfast in front of them fast enough. I think of the warm and strong hugs they give their parents and the smiles that cross my children’s faces when that happens.
  • If you’re going to eat red meat, make it a really good steak.
  • My baby, ops sorry, my car needs a bath badly and today is a good day for it.
  • I need to grill out more this month.
  • Time to downsize my office space footprint in the house. I hope my daughter can use the spare desk we have. If not I’m sure her daughter will need it in another year or two.
  • If I’m lucky I’ll crank out another blast or two today here.

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A different shade of blue

Finally getting back on track here. I blotted out the pain last night and slept a bit. So here is to a productive and happy Friday. Even though the weather is dreary here in central Maryland this morning my spirits are high.

I never knew the joy of a convertible till my purchase of the Miata in 2016. I will never own another hardtop again. I so wish I had discovered it earlier. Then again a lot of years on the motorcycle were probably why I didn’t think about the need for a car with the drop top.

Powder Blue is the name of the color that pops to mind. Photos by Mike Hartley

I think my better half has fallen in love with the convertible aspect also. The top is rarely up when I’m out and about with it. I have road a motorcycle for a lot of years but never without a helmet. This is sort of like that without the hat.

In some ways, it’s still like riding a bike. A small car gets only a little more respect than a bike. And sometimes a blast from the pipes on the bike would be enough of a warning. But in a small car without those young man modifications like superchargers and headers, it’s just a matter of being seen.

Now that ride in the pictures is one that would get some respect with its size and bumpers.

Time to charge the batteries because there might be a few minutes to squeeze in some shooting today. I’m hoping some blue sky’s come out to play sometime today.

The Globe in Berlin Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve never been to The Globe but I know we are going back to this wonderful town on the Eastern Shore.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Everyone should be taught compassion for animals at a young age. It (compassion) transfers to people as we get older.
  • We get to hear from the new VP this coming week. Will be interesting to get his visions.
  • There is a winning moment every day.
  • That was a good Thursday night vigil last evening with my best friends.

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I feel like a movie set director this morning yelling ACTION to the crew and cast. The trouble is I’m the only one up. So I’ll get me, myself, and I in gear and see what the cast can accomplish.

The first order of business is to make sausage gravy and biscuits. Boy was that good. Now I have to do a cleanup. Always the worst part of cooking. A part I used to do when I was young working at restaurants.

I’m taking some biscuits and gravy to my grandson who I’ll see today. Might be too spicy for him. I’m sure his dad will consume it if so.

Listening to the song Lucky Man by ELP this morning. A live version that has me drifting back in time. It also is appropriate because I’m feeling lucky to be here. My better half just shared a photo of a friend’s husband in hospice.

The youngsters are at it again. I thought I heard this one the other night. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mental over physical. Nice concept that I haven’t fully perfected but I’ll keep trying. Pain is a nice adversary. One that only gets stronger as I age. So I have to keep upping my game at the same time both physically and mentally.

It’s never too late to make some positive changes. Long ago a friend suggested morning stretching and I adopted some of that routine. Recently I’ve cut out a lot of sodas and bad snacks which resulted in a nice weight loss.

I’m walking more this year than any in the recent past and using the treadmill when I can’t get out. But more steps are needed and why not get going on them?


Well, I did it again. I passed out and broke my daily streak of posting. I think it was around 120 days this time. I’ve passed 200 before but illness or pain of some sort usually catches up with me at some point and I’ll sit down for a few minutes and I’m out cold. This time I had the 3 previous days where I had only slept maybe 10 hours combined.

My reaction to messing up my daily streak is different this time than in the past. I know I do this daily. I work on my photography daily now. I work on education daily in my crafts. I work on making things for loved ones or friends daily. I look to upgrade my writing daily. (I know it may not appear that way on this one). I’d love to do more woodwork but that might have to wait till next year to be added to the daily list.

So I’m working daily on more and more things important to me all the time. And that is my measure of success. And doing that at the same time while still working full time plus now is difficult at times, it’s still a ton of fun.

So I forgot to hit the publish button before sitting on the couch. No big deal. Another streak begins today.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Holding a grandchild yesterday. Holding another grandchild today. Life is good.
  • I’m a big fan of history. That is why I watch events so closely each day.
  • I finally found an internal voice that balances out the one that says I LOVE FOOD.
  • Anytime I have a few free minutes, it’s happy hour time.

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Power through

A rough week so far. Hopefully a little recovery tonight. I’m in dire need of some rest. But till then a new image or two and some thoughts.

Nature always has the best patterns and colors. Photo by Mike Hartley

I promised myself I wouldn’t work when I was under the weather. Well, it took me a few days to admit it but I did today. Only my second sick day this year. Hopefully today I’ll be as bright as this creature above.

I was so tired last night I forgot to hit publish on this. A while back this would really upset me but hey, I do the best I can and, sometimes that isn’t much after the other responsibilities.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Surround yourself with people who make life fun and happy.
  • I think people have lost the ability to be grateful or show it. Either way, it’s a loss for all of us.
  • Each time I hear (Wish you were here) I think about how much I miss my parents.
  • The last two days of pain have got my attention in a big way.
  • Isn’t it ironic that the most recent indictment of 45 is 45 pages?

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I believe this one is from a 68 Chevelle below. I fell in love with cars from that era. A friend took me for a ride in a 69 302 Camaro a few years before I had my license and that was it. Feeling that thing go through the 4 gears sold me on driving a manual shift for life.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I enjoy driving as much today as I did then. And as I’m getting older that feeling of freedom and sometimes having the time to cruise to nowhere in particular opens up as it did in my youth from time to time.

I really wanted to get out today but tomorrow will have to make due. Luckily the weather is supposed to be a repeat of today.

Just had a thought. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we all could get along on the roadways? And imagine if we overcame that obstacle and started working together on other things.

Remember the purpose of a grille is to keep things cool. So let’s all keep cool.

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Maybe Monday

Let’s start the week with a splash instead of going into it with trepidation. My 4-year-old granddaughter just reminded me through a few photographs of her at preschool this morning to go forward with both confidence and conviction.

Incoming. Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess it was wildlife day and they were discovering snakes and turtles. She confidently held the both while her classmates seemed to be hesitating to get near. I’m so glad they get exposure to creatures that we should be sharing the earth with. And I’m glad to see her interacting with nature.

These two photos are of each side of the inlet at Ocean City. Photo by Mike Hartley

As a youth, my friends and I spent a lot of time outside. Every day outside and being this was a rather rural county at that age we discovered many snakes, turtles, and other wildlife all the time. Building forts in the woods, walking through streams and creeks, climbing trees and hills. And doing it every season.

Then someone would get a football and a baseball and basketball and we would still be outside all day playing. Just about all of it was a pickup with neighborhood kids with a small part being organized sports.

I know my kids got a lot less of that than I did even though we had woods behind our house. We didn’t have the modern distractions they had. Not that they didn’t get outside, it’s just a different era of play and technology. Just like it will be now for their children.

So I’m moving forward with confidence and conviction today. Glad to see some things carrying on and thinking about how I can do my part to give them some of the older experiences I had.

It’s time to get lost in some music. Lots of it. Music from long ago that revives the young man in me. Like plugging in an EV for a charge, music does that for me.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thinking I should call my sister today.
  • I miss having my own pet. I’m going to go do some time at the shelters when I retire.
  • Insurance – I’ve realized (too late) that insurance has become like employers. You got to move around if you want the best deal.
  • I get tanned pretty well working outside in the summer. But the best tan I like getting is when I’m not working and soaking up the rays.

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It’s special

Each day, each opportunity, each conversation, each sight, and sound. Each feeling or smell, each touch, and taste. They are all so special. Each interaction with a friend or man’s best friend.

Always use caution when using a crosswalk. No photoshop here, just reflections. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m feeling good today. Had a good weekend with my better half and friends. And while the workweek looms large over this Sunday evening a summer grill of hamburgers and hot dogs and trimmings brightened the late afternoon and sent me into the evening with at least a full stomach to power me through the evening.

One of my friends went for a ride on one of these last week. I swear that smile hasn’t left his face yet. Photo by Mike Hartley

There is a full schedule with little free time this coming week but I’m intent on making every second count. The weather should be fine and it’s going to be a good productive time. So time to power up my engines.

The smoke from lighting the charcoal has cleared. The food is cooked and consumed. I’ve got two nights of work to cram into one but tomorrow is another day and opportunity.

I love those chimney devices for getting your charcoal hot. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • You can’t make a difference until you think you can.
  • I was slack and didn’t take a cruise today. I won’t make that mistake on Monday
  • They say one minute is like the next. But nobody can tell me certain minutes of the day aren’t better than others.
  • People might continue to play golf. But the professional TV ratings point in the wrong direction for their games.

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Two a days

I wonder if they still do two a days, 2 practice sessions a day in sports. The preseason prep for the regular season. Well, I think I’ll give that a go here. The time between now and my retirement is preseason and then the regular season begins next year.

It’s quarterback season. Photo by Mike Hartley

Having the daily routine down I’m hoping to get into the morning and evening blast from mission control and post two a days. Sort of like the old days when your daily newspaper had a morning and evening edition. Now all I need to do is create interesting content and designs.

Time for that last blast of fireworks as July is about to be in the rearview mirror. Photo by Mike Hartley

Old Man Inside/Outside

Time to be outside today with this wonderful weather. If there is an eject button on the couch use it today if you’re in the mid-Atlantic area. I’ve been up and cleaning the grill for later and putting up the umbrella and patio cushions.

Keeping it simple with burgers and hot dogs tonight. As we approach the midday hour remember to moderate a bit, it’s still warm out. As I was quickly reminded after a little time behind the push mower.


Had a wonderful dinner at Pachanga Cocina Mexicana on Rt 40 in Ellicott City last night. My better half had the Burrito Maria Grande and I had the Crab and Shrimp Burrito Grande. Both were excellent with rice and black beans. A Fried Ice Cream for dessert and all was well on a Saturday night. Oh, and the service was great.

We will be returning again soon.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feels good to have a functional workroom again.
  • Time to schedule some time off in August.
  • Is it wrong to eat your leftover burrito before 8 am the next morning?
  • I wonder what percentage of people cut their own yards? I guess the guys who sell home lawn equipment know because I’m guessing they have seen their numbers dip in this area.

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I measure success by lots of small things as I’ve gotten older. I could look at very productive days in the past and think I failed because I didn’t complete some list, for many years. Spent a lot of useless time beating myself up and in turn maybe even doing less.

Today success will be felt in many ways. From my work here to the yardwork and maybe polishing my ride. Talking to my kids and friends, maybe finishing a book.

Seats compliments of one of my best friends. Thanks, buddy. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was looking at another example of success last night. And it got me thinking about sports and what is success in that business. For sports are no longer a game. It’s an event that is measured in bets and wagers on runs, winners, how many errors, and whatever anyone can think of to bet on. Oh, they play games, the fans like me come and cheer.

It’s an event to be seen at or do your selfies at. But for plenty of fans, it’s an out-of-reach event. Tickets, parking, and concessions will gut you quicker than a slaughterhouse. The player salaries and the owner’s wants are making this kind of thing a much more selective choice. I’ll continue to go to the University of Maryland basketball games but pro sports and the cost associated with it has gone beyond what I think is reasonable.

All this focus on the betting aspect makes me wonder what kind of lessons we are teaching our kids. Many still love the game for what it is, a game. And I’m guessing most who play it, play it for the enjoyment of the game and being a professional. To be part of a team, to do something special with and against your peers.

But the money has really altered the experience. Just look at all the arrangements between teams and betting organizations. The list at the top is by the team and the bottom by leagues and all their ties by SportsHandle and their partnership tracker.

Don’t let the above make you think I don’t still enjoy “The Game.” Because I do very much and always will because I’ll remember it as I grew up with it. I mean who sits out a 2-hour and 30-minute rain delay and then stays just about the entire game? A person who loves a good game. Remarkable efforts, drama of natural form, and the crowd getting more and more into each play as it’s 0-0 through 8 innings.

It rained in sheets on a sheet. Photo by Mike Hartley

Unfortunately, my Yankees fell to the O’s again 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth. But in the rain delay before the game started, the Governor of Maryland appeared in the Orioles jersey below.

You can’t be the GOV without taking in the Orioles game once in a while. Photo by Mike Hartley

So today was a success for many reasons. The main one is a family member who really needed a boost and got a big one today. I managed to get some work done in the heat and we had a nice dinner tonight which I’ll extoll the virtues of tomorrow. I lost track of time watching the Yankees/O’s tonight which looks to be a much more favorable result for me than last night.

On the way to the parking garage in downtown Baltimore. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I love the thought of pointing the car east this week.
  • Nothing like experimenting. Sometimes you learn a lot.
  • I love warm summer nights.

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Too hot to move

Now this is warm, even for me who loves the heat. The deer aren’t even running away, I guess conserving energy.

I won’t bother you guys, go ahead and chill, sorry the front yard is so dry. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m still recovering from yesterday and the emergency run in the middle of the night to my son’s home to help with the dogs. Had trouble sleeping this morning so I got up way too early. Did take care of the haircut and a few errands before noon.

If it was a reasonable day outside I would have cut the back yard. I won’t worry about that till Sunday when it cools off.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feeling kind of different physically the last few days.
  • You do what you can do when you can do it.
  • Ideas are starting to flow again. Must mean I’m turning things around.
  • Doesn’t feel like I’ve had a long weekend. I must need more time off.

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I went out for a ride this morning around 4 am. A very peaceful time on the roads, you just have to watch out for the deer which are plentiful this time of year. One was about 10 feet from meeting my car this morning as he sauntered out in front of me. I wasn’t in any hurry and only doing about 35 in a 45 (there was no traffic) on Rt 40 at that hour behind or in front of me.

Just before dawn this morning along Woodstock Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

So it wasn’t any problem to avoid him but a few seconds difference or speed it would have been very close. I’ve never hit one before. Many close calls. One jumped over the hood of my car once. I guess he knew he had to jump or just run into the side of my car.

A bit warm today but you won’t find me complaining. The news does enough of that. I don’t find it to be a very warm summer so far. June was rather cool and till this week I would say we have been in a normal range for July. Of course, this is some extreme heat for our area so it’s good to take the precautions they are saying to keep on keeping on.

You don’t have to add charcoal today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow is even going to be warmer so I think I’ll see if I can get some good shots of the heat and people dealing with it.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Life feels good when you have your ducks in a row.
  • Think of yourself as an engine. Keep it maintained and it will run for a long time.
  • Do you ever feel like you don’t matter or count?
  • I think I’ll hit the beach soon for a day of fun and relaxation.
  • I managed to part with a few things for the Purple Heart collection. I’m proud of myself.

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Midweek mayhem

A very uncomfortable morning impeded my progress but there are ways to overcome that. So let’s crank up the engine and see what we can come out with today.

I read #1 regret of retirees was starting with a vague financial plan. So I’m doing my best to avoid that one with some effort. I’m a person who likes knowns. I can plan with knowns. Therefore I can also plan for unknowns as best possible at a point in time.

Typical photo crew argument – Which one is going to carry that heavy tripod back to the van? Photo by Mike Hartley

Sports Commentary

Hey hey hey, get your Cotton Candy here. I’ll be getting to the ballpark sometime in the next few series to catch the Baltimore Orioles. That is a special team they are building. Fun exciting baseball with young talent that is meshing together nicely and very quickly. Good manager who they stuck with as they rebuilt.

I’ll have to remember to pick up one of these for the granddaughter. Photo by Mike Hartley

Most preseason predictions had them in 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Here they are in 1st place 101 games into the season. And my team, the Yankees in last place. That is OK, I expect they will make a charge yet. But it’s really nice to see this area excited again living right outside of Baltimore.

Only time will tell if this season turns into something special. This will be the 40th year since they have won a World Series title. There was a special young talent (Cal Ripkin) on that team, but there were a number of veterans also. Pitching seems to be a common thread with these two teams also.

This area would go insane if they won it this year.

Movie Review – Oppenheimer – First of all it’s a good movie to go see. Very well done and a good cast. But the story itself is the driver. For we are still dealing with the ramifications of this event today. And probably for man’s foreseeable future.

The age range in the theater was interesting. There might have been a few people in there that were alive when the atomic bomb was developed and used. There were also young teenagers in there. Actually, all age groups were represented. I thought I saw what might have been a 3 generation set of guys. One elderly grandfather, one guy just a bit younger than me, and what looked like his grown son.

I’m wondering if the young people knew the history and story before this. Maybe they saw the NBC documentary a short while back. I’m finding myself wondering what thoughts people have on this period and events in history.

Man has been developing weapons since the beginning of time. We just got very good at it and now can kill everyone if we so choose. Or if a few people choose which is unfortunately the reality of it all now.

It’s also a good example of science getting ahead of man’s ability to put the Jeannie back in the bottle. We might be looking at something similar today without realizing it. Could artificial intelligence be our next atom bomb?

It also reminded me that things need to be put in perspective because of timeframes. Decisions these scientists made were done when the world was at war. They were smart and knew they were working on a devastating weapon.

The ethical/morality issues along the way are handled interestingly in the film. As was what happens when the wrong people in governments are in charge. Also a good example of how revenge can go wrong and a number of other interesting lessons along the way.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Your editing the moment you look through the lens.
  • There are a few degrees between hot and uncomfortably hot.
  • I didn’t get out and photograph last night as I hoped. But I did get some much-needed rest.
  • Trust can create great things. Lack of trust destroys all.


Tuesday Thunder

Nobody is stealing my thunder today. I have a vacation day from work so that time sucker won’t be in the picture. At least that is the hope. My partner returns from vacation today and I hope his plane isn’t delayed because of the weather. I told him I was home in case of emergency but I hope to hell I don’t have to work tonight.

I had a wonderful time today with my daughter and my better half. It was a short visit and lunch but a great feeling and time together. We ate at an old favorite place we hadn’t been to in a while in Westminster Maryland called RockSalt Grille.

It didn’t disappoint at all. Good food, good prices, good service. I had the Rocksalt Oysters (broiled with parmesan cheese and bacon) and Mahi Mahi tacos. My better half had the Scallops and my daughter the Shrimp Salad sandwich. They shared what looked to be a piece of lemon cake. I was in a food coma so I wasn’t paying close attention for fear I might order something.

Photos by Mike Hartley

Thank you notes – I saw a long discussion on if a verbal thank you was enough acknowledgment of giving a gift I believe it was for a High School graduate and not a thank you card. Some answers were a strong yes, a thank you card was needed but a lot of people acknowledged that it might be a generational thing for some of us who were older. I remember doing thank you cards. My better half still sends them out today.

But for the generations after us, I think it’s more optional and even becoming the exception instead of the rule. I was surprised about one thing in the discussion. Everyone seemed fixated on a thank you card as the solution. I remember my Mom telling me that it’s more important to follow up with the gift giver personally (by phone or in person) on how you used the money or gift in your life and how special it was or what it meant to you. I believe those personal interactions are far more important than any piece of paper. Even though it’s still nice to get the occasional thank you note. And we do get them from our kids. So maybe the tradition will live on beyond my generation.

A free night – I’m like a giddy kid this evening. Normally I’d be sitting behind another computer at this time beginning my usual 11-12 hour shift. I will probably stay up late and work on my hobbies but just the thought of when I get tired I can lay down and go to sleep is so much of a stress relief. Because it’s a vacation night. No having to power through the body and mind’s overwhelming desire to get horizontal and shut the eyes.

Working an overnight shift is just too hard on my body and mind anymore. I’ll power through the next several months of it on a full-time basis but the days are numbered. But tonight is a GOOD NIGHT.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A special birthday for a special family member today.
  • Eating like a king can break the kingdom.
  • Think I’ll finish reading that book tonight.
  • Waiting for that rain to pass before I go get some night shots.

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After Dark

For the next few evenings, I’m hoping to take advantage of what will be some warm summer nights to do some night shooting around the county. I’m not an expert at shooting in the dark but experience is a good teacher.

Chesapeake Bay after sunset. Photo by Mike Hartley

I do have a lot of experience being out and about in the dark though having some pretty weird work schedules. I already know I’m going to try to shoot some of the roadwork going on Rt 29 at night. Then venture into Columbia and maybe Ellicott City to do some night lights. I’ve got a ton of ideas and some time to get to them.

Bridge support. Thank you for bringing us to the Eastern Shore. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll throw a few tripods in the car, fill the tank up, and cruise to various spots. I could also use some exercise so I’ll try to get some walking/hiking in. I’d like to get a few miles in on the treadmill when it’s raining this afternoon.

So here is to a very productive day ahead once I catch up on a little rest.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’ve got to find ways to reduce all the plastic we use.
  • There are some carvings I need to return to and finish.
  • I’ve made the mistake of worrying about something instead of doing something.
  • The cloudy morning matches my clouded mind. Hopefully, a few hours of sleep will clear it up.

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Other way guys

The fish are the other way guys. Right behind you, the Chesapeake Bay.

That grass doesn’t look too deep Fred. Photo by Mike Hartley

Another start to the workweek. Can’t wait till that phrase is in the rearview mirror. But then again I’d better be careful what I wish for with all the changes going on at the job that pays the bills. All I know is that I’m frustrated with the job. And that isn’t a good mindset. I’ll work on snapping out of that later.

But that is a small part of life and there is so much more to be thankful for. Waking up this morning is always a good start, even though it was earlier in the day than I had hoped for.

The first thing I did was go check on a baby bird I almost ran over with the riding mower yesterday. The thing moved just a second before it disappeared under the mower. I slammed on the brake and looked under and I was about an inch before hitting it with the mower deck. I backed up and turned it off.

I managed to get it to the garden because I think it had fallen from the next or tried to fly and failed. It didn’t seem hurt. The wings sometimes extended and it would occasionally hop. I never touched it but managed to put a small dish of water next to it. I saw it change spots a few times. And I saw the parents with another baby helping it to fly later in the day. I’m hoping the same happened for this one because he was gone this morning.

I guess nature took its course one way or another. I’ve almost hit turtles a few times but thankfully have seen them at the last seconds. I had a cottonmouth try to strike the mower once as I was cutting along the woods. Natures retribution. I’ll stop and move frogs and praying mantis when I see them.

We have a place up the street called Friskies that does wildlife rehabilitation. I’ve never had to take an animal there but I hear they do good work.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m meeting with a financial planner because I hear fools and their money are soon parted.
  • A warm breeze is refreshing. A cold breeze incites cursing.
  • Trying not to forget to throw in some good events each day.
  • I just don’t get Mike Pence. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to offend the Maga base but he is going nowhere anyway so what is the purpose of running and not confronting Trump? Even if 45 is denied from running both sides agree on one thing. Pence is gutless.
  • Logic is in the eye of each person. Sometimes there is very little overlap between people.

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This weekend was

As the boat’s name says.

Near Kent Narrows. Photo by Mike Hartley

But as usually happens in life that is balanced with concern for a loved one. A very special one that is going through some tough times. So the concern never leaves my mind. The wishes for comfort and happiness were sent over the waves. The support emails and calls. But only time will make this better.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Do you know what you want to do tomorrow?
  • And then there is what you want to do and what you can do.
  • Of course, there are unplanned interruptions and tasks to do that get in the way of what you want to do.
  • But if you don’t lose sight of what you want to do, other things are just interruptions.

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I raise you one bridge

Almost looks like one sitting on top of another. I just had a second to grab a shot as we were leaving the Owl Bar at Kent Narrows yesterday. I love when I get a few seconds to grab an image or two when out and about.

One of the major bottlenecks getting to the shore many years ago. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m always conscious about not holding up the group or being separated from them for more than a few seconds. Like this shot when they had to hit the restrooms I wandered to the end of the parking area to snap this and was back at the car when they were.

It feels good again to have my cameras in my hand.

I would like to edit and share some more images but the grass needs cutting and we have company coming later today so off I go.

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I spent Friday and Saturday with my two best friends—just us at my friend’s home on Kent Island. Lifelong friends of 4 and 5 decades. I can’t tell you how much we all appreciate that time and fun together. We sat on his front porch and watched the sunset over the bay directly over the Annapolis area from our angle on Friday evening. I’m not sure which I like more.

Any day on the water is a good day. Photo by Mike Hartley

We hit the Owl Bar and then Fishermans Inn at Kent Narrows for a great meal and drinks before the sunset. Lots of boats out this weekend and if you had one and weren’t out on the water shame on you.

I think the sun is thinking about going bowling. Photo by Mike Hartley

We shot some hoops, walked the beach, laughed at old stories and recent screwups, and shared thoughts about retirement and travel. Only one of us has a parent left alive, we discussed them as we always have through life. Of course the updates on our own children and their children now.

We hung a few Craftsman tool cabinets in his garage, fixed a breakfast fit for kings, and enjoyed some beverages throughout the day. It was a little rough on Saturday morning for Kayaking but we will get to that sometime in the future.

I was going to put it politely and say it was a very good time, but it was a F’ing great time. We rarely get to spend time together like that. All our schedules are packed. And while we get together every week for a few minutes usually it’s always wrapped around work and family obligations or our own chores.

So here is to keeping that great feeling rolling throughout the week. And as we all get closer to retirement spending days like that might get a lot more common.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A cool brisk morning in the middle of summer is a nice change of pace.
  • I’ve got a ton of work to fit into the next 24 hours.
  • Felt good to get a chance to do a little shooting this weekend.
  • I love when mother deer stomp the ground when they are protecting their young.
  • There is nothing better finishing off a weekend than a few hours with my children and getting a hug when they leave. It’s kind of like a coat of armor against the trials of the upcoming week for me.

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Every once in a while

The unexplained is always around us. Just keep your eyes open and you’re bound to see it. Like this pair headed to the Milkshake Bar on Main Street. Maybe get him a double, he could easily put on a few pounds. Also, get him some flip-flops.

Your guess is as good as mine. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I have a ton of shooting to download and edit. And I’m happy as a lark.
  • Worked on my tan again. I’m a well-done father and grandfather.
  • Celebrating a special person tomorrow.
  • I always find myself in better spirits when I know I have a shorter workweek ahead.

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Friday Funday

I hope to incorporate a ton of shooting this weekend. The job that paid the bills throttled that effort for the early part of the week but I will not be denied now. Scheduled time with family and friends will fill out a great time in the next few days.

How to make your Postal worker happy. Photo by Mike Hartley

This has been a pretty good summer so far but as one of my best friends would say “It’s time to turn it up a notch” so here we go.

There are a lot of celebrations in June and July. The family vacation is during this period. Lots of fun indeed. But this coming month and next a few trips to the beach alone, not with family or friends. Not on anyone’s schedule but my own.

Not in a bulky SUV loaded to the brim. I’ll be traveling with the top down instead of the hardtop roof, the music of my choice on the stereo with a volume more to my liking. A change of clothes in the trunk (glove compartment) of the go-cart (Miata) a beach towel, my cameras, and a few dollars for food and drink.

A little under 3 hours to cruise each way. It was a little much on a motorcycle on some hot days but in a car it’s no problem. I’ll leave before sunrise. Maybe early enough to catch the sunrise at the ocean, but if not to see it coming up as I cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

A quick breakfast at Bad Monkey. I’ve been wanting to hit this stop because I heard it’s good and they have their own bakery. Then spend the morning shooting around town. Hit the beach for a few hours, shower and change, and do some more shooting. Hit the boardwalk for a few things for the family, do a little cruising (sorry it’s an old habit I never broke), head to Fagers Island for a light dinner, and watch the sunset on the bay from the deck or gazebo.

Then point the car back west and home. I’d like to do a few more trips and shoot Assitique Island, Bethany Beach, and Fenwick Island. So let me get planning when all this is going to take place otherwise another summer will get away from me.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Isn’t anticipation great?
  • Work hard with the tools you have. Many have achieved greatness with very little.
  • I’ll drink water, but I’d rather have a Coke.
  • I think see food might be on the menu tonight. If I see food I’m going to eat it. At least a crabcake.

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Backup plan

I have a weak backup plan for a number of things now that I look at myself. Flowers seem to be great at it. Seems like every time I see one I just look and see more. Part of my old role in System Administration a decade ago was backups. Huge tape library systems and many disk-to-disk-to-disk systems. I’ve been out of it for a while so I’ve forgotten some very important lessons. Two are not enough backups if that information or system is that important.

Strong start today again. Just not on my hobbies. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll start one here by trying to get some blog posts ready a few days in advance. I never know when events of the day will overtake me. Plus it might get me thinking about better and more interesting content. Now that I have my own phone I’ve downloaded the WordPress app and might give that a whirl soon. That is a last resort because I hate typing on my smartphone. But at least I have an alternative now.

My cameras have made me think about backup there also. I’ve got a card reader now so I can get the images off my Nikon so that is still my primary. My old Kodak now is flaking out in the transfer of image so I’ve switched to reading that card also. But it has other issues that are showing its days are numbered.

The iPhone has taken the number two spot on visual capture devices. And then there is the computer. My largest exposure to risk, I only have one. Well, I do have two work computers here but I’ve always kept personal/professional separate. So time is nearing for that purchase.

I believe this is a Callo Lily. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m starting the weekend this morning. No, I’m not taking days off, my workweek finishes at 6 am EST Thursday mornings. Just finished a 12-hour shift. Sore, tired, and burnt crispy are just a few adjectives that might make a good description of me right now. Not going to let work or chores or other obligations get to me even though it’s been a brutal week, I have a lot of work to do before I get to some enjoyment.

I’m just in the weekend mindset and spirit. So I put the headphones on because I’ve been too busy to listen to much of any music the last few days while waiting for the morning dew to lift from the grass and thought I’d knock out a few words and images.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’ve got about two months of prime weather to take advantage of.
  • Some mornings listening to some old Van Halen this early might seem counterintuitive. But that ripping guitar has me ready to run through walls and the sun hasn’t been up for more than a few minutes.
  • Can’t wait to put the top down for a ride today and go through that set of gears a few times. But first the mowing. Still riding and a convertible also but not as much fun
  • When I go to the dermatologist soon I’m sure I’m going to hear crap about my tan. I’ve gotten really dark this year.

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Two the point

“Two the point” is what I thought of when I saw this shot below of the two roofs. Then again, I’m tired and punchy so it’s probably a bad pun.

At Boordy Vineyards. Photo by Mike Hartley

Another great day is upon us. One filled with new tests and challenges. I guess I was due for some more significant ones. Things had been going smoothly so life exerts its balance and throws a few wrenches. I’m also thinking about a loved one very much today.

Such beauty to just be smashed. Photo by Mike Hartley

I had a chance to grab just a few shots of the Boordy Vineyard while there for a birthday party. A very good place for an outside event and beautiful grounds. I’ll have to return to this area for some more photographs. I was so busy photographing family and children I didn’t get much of the place. I also heard some nice comments about the wine. I’m not a fan of the grape unless it says Nehi on the bottle.

Barrels and barrels of fun. Photo by Mike Hartley

I believe there are a few vineyards in the area of Hydes Maryland.

They had some good musicians there that day. On break, unfortunately. Photo by Mike Hartley

Tomorrow I venture out locally and grab some shots in Howard County.

A treasure in Maryland I’ve missed before. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I have a 100% chance of being right that it is National something or another, day today.
  • The wheels of justice turn slowly. But turn they do. Or at least that is my hope.
  • I wonder if I can cram 3 days of work into one?
  • Hoping for peace of mind for someone very important.

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Saltwater 75

We were branching out this year and I’ve been watching the construction on Saltwater 75 since they took down the old BJ’s on the Water Restaurant in Ocean City. So I had to try them when they opened this year. And it was a great family experience.

Beautiful photos inside and out like this one on the exterior of the building facing the parking. Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t let the pictures fool you, it did get crowded, we were there a bit after 4 pm because we had 2 young ones. I wish I had more time than to snap a few on my way in, but with large families, you move with them.

I love bayside restaurants with a view. Photo by Mike Hartley

This is one we will probably be putting on our regular stop list. The food and service was great. The decor and views were also great. The selection and prices should make many happy.

A fair amount of outside dining space also. Photo by Mike Hartley

I started off with one of the best Cesear Salads I’ve had anywhere. The main course was the McFaul Scallops – blackened dayboat scallops over succotash bacon hash and potato puree. Topped with jumbo lump crab and finished with tomato scampi butter. And yes it was great.

The Crew seemed well-trained and good at their task. Therefore a big tip was left. Photo by Mike Hartley

The cocktail and draft list satisfied my son and his better half.

Other hits were the Crabcake, the Salmon Teriyaki, and the 75 Caprese. The old man’s memory makes me forget the rest but everyone left happy.

I’ll have to venture to the upstairs seating on my next visit. Photo by Mike Hartley

My thoughts when I share food reviews. I will not post a review or one based on someone else if it’s a poor experience. I might share positive observations from friends, family that also match mine. Obviously, I also might not share a place in a list of ones I like because I haven’t been there. The number of people out there complaining about bad experiences already takes care of any need in that area so I don’t need to add to it. And sometimes people just don’t have a good day. That can happen in any industry.

And don’t forget the percentage of people who are never satisfied and are just, well you know.

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Start me up

I did my good deed yesterday. I’ll just say I was being neighborly. Now back to my own activities. I’ve got to find a power grid to plug into because this kid is beat and I got 3 straight days of long hours ahead. Then again I should look inward.

I’m finding that creative spark adds a lot of energy. I found positive thoughts can power me though a lot of time. I’ve always been aware of appreciation and that also makes the body and mind happy and sound.

Finding my lines of energy to tap into. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ah to be young again. I may be young in mind but the body reminds me those days have passed. That is ok because we make due and still am probably more active than most people my age. And I’m getting more active by the day. Before long I’ll be long jumping like the little one below.

Youth on the move. Fuzzy Photo by Mike Hartley

The day is filling up with obligations fast but I’m going to squeeze in a few minutes of fun and shooting I hope. And who knows, maybe another good deed.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Do a few things, then do a few more things.
  • Don’t just look around, make sure you are seeing.
  • I believe an early morning ride is in order.
  • The most dangerous thing about the times we live in is all the different realities people see.

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I’m imagining a lot of possibilities this day. One of many accomplishments and that rewarding feeling at the end of the day. Of course, imagining and making things real are two different things. So I got up early and I’m off to a good start making things a reality.

Sometimes though I imagine things to help me get through the day. Things that make me smile during the tough times. Things that help me keep working every day. Things I can look forward to that bring me peace of mind.

We don’t need a net. We imagine it’s there. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve spent too little time and too much time imagining in my lifetime. Now I imagine and take action. I think I finally got the right balance going.

I’m imagining a more wonderful world that I can leave for my children and grandchildren. But I do have to get to work on making that much better than it is today. So let me get going in that pursuit today.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When you are taught to think on your own without instructions or education or someone to help you is when you really learn some good lessons.
  • When there is love in a family it is a strong family.
  • Greed is killing this world.
  • The wonderful thing about photography is the next shot.

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Free wheelin

Choosing the mode of transportation is important. So many new and modernized forms are available now with electric-powered devices seemingly becoming very popular. I still prefer the old ways myself. My feet, a bicycle, or a gas-powered car.

I can ride these equally as well. The difference is how fast we get up when we fall. Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I’ll need to adapt someday but it won’t be soon. I’ll be keeping my gas-powered go-cart (Miata) for some time. Getting a bike when I retire is a priority. And I’m walking more than I have since my very early youth.

Plus that new technology comes at a cost. I believe those Onewheel devices are between 1-2 grand. Electric scooters are between $300 to over $3,000. And electric cars still cost more than their gas-powered alternatives by thousands of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, I think we have to do something about our climate, and anything that helps reduce our negative footprints I’m behind. But I haven’t either educated myself enough or heard a convincing argument addressing concerns about this technology.

What do we do with all these batteries, I assume they run out at some point. What about all the added weight of these vehicles and the excess wear and tear on our highways? Do we even have enough materials/minerals to make all the batteries needed to replace all the gas-powered equipment? And if so what is the impact of mining all these materials both in cost to extract them and environmental concerns?

And again I’m no expert here but where the hell is all this new power coming from to keep these gazillion batteries recharged? I thought areas in this country were already struggling to meet power demands and we want to add what percentage to it for electric vehicles and equipment.

Luckily having grown up in the muscle car era and now at the end of the combustion engine vehicles, I will probably be able to still get a gas-powered engine and stick shift even if I have to buy a used one if I can’t keep the Miata running another decade or two.

What a wonderful day it has been celebrating my grandson’s 1st birthday party. Few things in life have made me as happy as my two grandchildren. Their innocence, happiness, their expressions, and laughter leave me smiling long after the day is over.

On the other hand, I’m filled with stress and worry about a good number of things. Things like the health of those closest to me. Things like am I making the right timed decision on when to leave the workforce or will the new management regime terminate it before I’m ready? Things like should I think about back surgery or put it off again? And many more.

But that is life and while tough at times, it has its high points also.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Tired doesn’t do what my eyelids are feeling justice.
  • I’m finding the biggest challenge in losing weight was still getting started at it in the first place. Once you get going it seems to be something that you keep going on because you look and feel better.
  • I discovered a new part of the state today.
  • Advice from experienced and knowledgeable people is easy to find. Sorting out the wannabes and the real deal is the trick.

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Before the lights go out

I was out for that early morning ride yesterday and swung by Ellicott City around dawn and found some street/store lights still on. I hoped to get out early today but that didn’t happen. Pain sometimes slows my morning plans.

I will get out and do some fresh shooting this afternoon and maybe this evening also. At least that is one of the goals of the day. So is fixing a clogged gutter and power washing some siding and concrete.

Photos by Mike Hartley

I need to do some walking today so I think I’ll hit the train tracks down by the Woodstock Inn and put in a few miles.

I saw someone make a proposal for an underground tunnel for wildlife to cross Marriotsville Road because of the traffic. I suggest removing all the development in Waverly Woods and Turf Valley. The animals and we were just fine before them.

The Howard County Fair is from Aug 6th-13th. I think I’ll go shoot some events this year.

Can’t get enough of those summer peaches at the fair. Photo by Mike Hartley

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Good morning

Had another model for portraiture work show up early today but she was very shy and left as I said hello. I’ll have to work on my approach.

We are having a dispute as to whose property this is. Photo by Mike Hartley

Unplanned maintenance was completed yesterday. The yard service that a few neighbors hired to do their lawns we also had doing our lower back yard. The part I used to do with the push mower and string trimmer because it’s so steep.

Well, it has been about 6 weeks I figure since they came. I wasn’t going to wait for it to get so long that I was going to have trouble. It still took me a while because the spots were so high. On the good side, it saved me a few bucks. All that dry weather helped save a cutting also. Plus it’s a good workout, I’m sure I lost a pound or two doing it.

And we’re halfway through the season so I’ll just take care of it this year and hopefully find a reliable young man to do it next year. The 3/4 acre in the front and upper back are enough of a job already.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Woke up kind of conflicted about what I’d like to do today and what I want to do today and what I need to do today.
  • Sometimes I feel rusty with some tasks. Not with power tools.
  • Love is in actions, not words.
  • I wonder when I do multiple posts in one day if I should label them “More Random Thoughts of the Day.”
  • Rarely in life do you find everything you need. Don’t forget to still be happy when you don’t have what you need.
  • I used to enjoy sitting in a waiting room. People would make eye contact. People would exchange pleasantries. People would strike up a conversation. Now everyone just sits slumped over looking at their smartphone. Another reason we are forgetting to really communicate with each other.

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What the hell

Rolling with the changes to start the day. As we should each day because change is the only constant in life. Lots of changes at the job for what is hopefully my last year and none of them were on my agenda before now. I’ve survived many changes at the top before so why not now.

I’m hunting also, just for some new images. Photo by Mike Hartley

On the lookout for new opportunities early this morning so I hopped in the Miata and put the top down and cruised because poor weather is on its way and the cover will be going back on before noon today.

I was too tired to stop and do night shooting last evening so a few shots this morning before and at sunrise. I love being up early in the morning well before daylight when I’m not working night shifts.

Woodstock(left), Wallas Park(top right), and EC (bottom right) this morning. Photos by Mike Hartley

I’ll download the shots from the other cameras later because I think I’ll try some foul-weather shooting this afternoon.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Why not have some fun today?
  • I get way too much email but when work is out of the equation it might be manageable again.
  • I’m learning you don’t find time to shoot, you make time to shoot.
  • I’ve learned though that you still have to find time to edit.
  • Life has some hard lessons that you just keep to yourself.

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I’ve got some gull

I was thinking about working on some portraiture and this willing subject landed on my railing. I have to work on that part of photography. But with people of course. One of my several weak areas in this discipline.

Given this model was so patient I had to give it some exposure despite people’s dislike of gulls.

Are you looking at ME? Photo by Mike Hartley

The subject was very professional and moved to different posses on its own and then bowed and bid goodbye. Photos by Mike Hartley.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m going to start on the next 10 lbs I would like to shed from this body. This includes the discipline of exercise. I can hear my mind getting ready for the rebuttal in this debate.
  • A late start today. I’m going to become an illusionist and “make up time” today.
  • I’ve been able to keep a more productive spirit and effort in my work since returning from an enlightening vacation.

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Floating Tiki bar

Whatever floats your boat can be found at the beach. I know I’ll be pointing my car east to Ocean City again soon. One of these sunny midweek days. Leaving before sunrise and returning well after sunset. Just a day alone in thought and with the cameras. A few hours on the beach after I wear my feet out walking the town. A couple of light meals, an ice cream soda, and then watch the sunset from a bay establishment.

The floating bar. Photo by Mike Hartley

As I was laying out on the deck today feeling the light breeze the only thing missing was the sound of waves and laughter of children. That sun was warm but felt great. It relaxes me and my racing mind slows to a comfortable leisurely pace when out there alone.

I haven’t picked up the camera as intended yet but have been a printing press for the family. I was surprised my daughter took all the photos I had of them. Usually, I overwhelm them with prints. I’m glad it will give them memories.

Riding the breeze into the weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I caught some rays, played with my granddaughter, had a snowball, and was able to help someone. It’s been a great day.
  • Last workday (night) of the week ahead. Life is good because the weekend is here again at 6 am tomorrow.
  • I’m sure there was a very good reason behind some of the madness in my life.
  • My granddaughter found a picture of a rose my mother had taken. I liked the way she admired it intently and asked if she could have it. Of course, I said yes and told her who took it.

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Timing is important. I know because I didn’t get the lightning shot I was hoping for below. I know because I’ve missed many shots because of poor timing over the decades. It takes time to get the timing down.

I’m using the tripod more for that heavy Nikon and zoom which makes it more comfortable. And that will come in handy now that we got some warm summer evenings ahead, I’ll be doing some night shooting.

The weather was ready to rock. From OC looking west. Photo by Mike Hartley

A while back the interface connection on the Nikon to the computer broke. I was bummed because having to send it off to Nikon and the shipping and repair was going to set me back. Then I thought, why not just read the card? The reader device came in today and it works fine and dandy. We are in production again. Not as convenient but workable.

I think it’s funny that time is going to come to an end for another one of my cameras. An old digital Kodak Z812iS which I purchased in 2007. A true workhorse, but when I went to set the date again after charging the battery, I noticed the year stops at 2025. So if I take pictures with it after that it will be as if time had stopped.

I’m trying to get my timing down so I can possibly get 2 posts a day completed.

But first I have to spend some time shooting today. It’s a top priority.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Each time I challenge myself I surprise myself.
  • I’m tapping my energy reserves way too early in the week.
  • There is rest and there are naps.
  • I’ve made a ton of prints from the family vacation. I’d love to bore you all with them but my children are private and I don’t blame them.
  • It’s going to be a hot one today. Oh yeah, I love it. Put the top down and take an hour’s cruise later.

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Crazy Thoughts

They almost got me. Those big numbers on the lottery games. Hundreds of millions of dollars. But nope, I resisted yet again. I’d rather buy my grandkids snowballs. I’d rather throw on a few extra dollars on a tip for good service to someone who needs it.

I’m wondering how everyone is doing with all the sports gambling. Well not really wondering, it’s a fact the house is going to take most people’s money. And hey, if you got the money and get the enjoyment from it and it makes you happy, the more power to you. But, we all know people are going to get in over their heads.

I might gamble on this at the Howard County Fair next month. Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t throw any stones because early on I made a few gambling mistakes. No huge losses just a good lesson. That doesn’t mean I won’t lose $20-40 in a casino if I’m there with family which may be once every 5-10 years. And I throw a few bucks away on March Madness pools. I just know some limits now.

Another crazy thought I had today was in regard to changes in the job and technology overall. There is a big push in emerging technologies and I’m wondering if I might be replaced by AI before I’m through. We got a new leader that has been involved in it for some time now. It will be interesting to see what the new direction is.

I always enjoy the change each new CTO brings. I’ve seen so many different styles and personalities over the decades.

I’ve had the crazy thought of getting a pickup truck. I saw this beautiful pair of Ford Platinums in OC at the Lazy Lizard last week. Hey if you’re going to get a truck, get a TRUCK. Now that is a crazy thought for me as my little Miata would probably fit in the bed of one of these with room left over. Then again very few vehicles on the road will want to play chicken with you in one of these.

Go big or go home. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If every time a new VP came in and it was suggested that we be ready to go into hyperdrive I’d be the greatest space traveler ever.
  • Another gadget in the toolbox was added today.
  • A fairly good trip to the doctor today. Only 2 referrals.
  • Feeling more fit each day.
  • With the doctor’s appointment and catching up on some missed sleep cycles, I didn’t feel that sense of accomplishment today.

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Knock out the difficult tasks early, and the rest of the day is a cakewalk. The fewer things I move around my to-do list, the better I’m doing. I’m trying to do more things that I’m not sure if they will work or not. But it helps to move my boundaries.

After being off for a while and living a normal schedule, flipping back to a night shift is physically and mentally rough the first night or two. And then it gets really difficult.

This was at the entrance of our condo we stayed at in Ocean City Maryland. Photo by Mike Hartley

Making progress breeds more progress. Change things up. Rearrange the office. For instance, I have been in a rut making a number of 4×6 prints. I saw a couple I liked and a couple more and I’ve made many 8x10s in the last 24 hours. My kids are going to need a bigger house with lots of wall space. I’m running out of it here.

We tipped very well this past week while on vacation. Every place we went did a great job and I appreciate that service. I also saw people on very good behavior for one of the most crowded weeks of the year at the ocean.

One thing that again caught my eye was the trash. This town and community take pride in keeping this place as clean as possible but for some unknown reason, some of us are just PIGS. Come on people, don’t litter no matter where you are.

A blog on unique homes in Delmarva gave the following description of what I finally photographed below. –

This home on 78th Street in Ocean City is unique because of the observatory on the roof, added by the owner of the property in the late 1980s. At that time, a 16-foot-long refractor telescope with a 12-inch lens was installed, which was then one of the largest privately owned telescopes in the country. 

As I was walking some bayside streets near our stay I observed an observatory. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Mmmmm – grilled corn.
  • Painting a new picture to progress.
  • Instead of trying to find the path to success, forge your own.
  • Hopefully a less costly solution to a big problem with take place tomorrow.
  • Time for another overnight shift.



Do I miss the vacation breakfast, you bet I do. We began the first day by stopping at a favorite across the bridge called the Easton Diner. Great food, great service, old-time feel. Many booths and tables are available in addition to counter service.

I used to stop at a local place called the Forest Diner on Rt 40 in Ellicott City with my son after we had haircuts together. Whoops, I’m reminiscing, but that’s what us old guys do.

Anyway, this is one of our go-to for the morning meal on the way to the beach. Pass up Cracker Barrel and Panara hit the da Diner.

The counter at the Easton Diner. Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, the next one has been a family favorite for years and that is Happy Jacks Pancake House. We had to stop by for breakfast and pay our respects to the staff for the loss of their owner. As always great service and food.

Another favorite but you really got to get there early or be very patient is Barn 34. I love their food. Nice atmosphere also.

But old and faithful and GOOD also is a place that has staying power like Laytons on 16th.

OK, I didn’t get out of town without a doughnut from the Fractured Prune.

This morning I’m back to work. So the nut bar and a bottle of water will take the place of the omelets and pancakes and waffles and bacon and sausage and home fries and fresh fruit. When I retire breakfast is going to be a ritual of good food.

Time for some sleep, been up for over 24 hours. Catch you all later today.

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Shoot for the Stars

Why not shoot for the stars? They say the joy is in the journey and I imagine it’s a long one to even the nearest star. So the journey begins.

The inspiration to do more is back. And what a wonderful feeling it is. Rediscovering that creative feel and thoughts.

I’ve enjoyed making a number of prints today for the family. I’ve charged all the cameras because I hope to get out and shoot tomorrow.

You can be a star, by just working like one. Photo by Mike Hartley

And with a beautiful weather week ahead it’s going to be a fruitful and rewarding one. I’ll get to work with my granddaughter on Wednesday on an art project. I made some progress on a dolphin woodworking piece for her also.

I have a shooting plan for each day. I have to write a couple of food reviews. Tomorrow we are grilling out and I hope to throw that Eastern Shore sweet corn on the fire also.

Looking forward to the daily walk and I can’t forget to work on my tan for a few hours.

Salt and Pepper stars. Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I had a revelation of sorts on vacation. That I was putting in a half-assed effort on my own work. That I was capable of much more if I put my mind and backside in gear. We will see how that flies when the full-time workweek is playing roommate for the next year. Somehow that doesn’t even phase me because I’m focused in a different way.

But before I get ahead of myself, this fine day has a lot of time left so let me go again. Lots more images to edit from the last few days. Plus I smell something good cooking upstairs now.

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Remember and wonder

This morning I find myself thinking of what my father would think of my family now. Or what I’ve done in my career. And how I took care of mom and my sister after he was gone. Maybe the friends I have or the home I live in. Maybe his feeling about me not following his footsteps into the Navy.

I wonder a lot about what his perspective would have been to those and many more things in life.

The early years. Photo by Mike Hartley

He passed this day many decades ago. It’s one of those days that gets etched permanently in ones mind as a youth. It’s painful, it’s like a reel of film from that moment to his burial. The images and words and memories associated with that event are easily replayed today as if it were then.

I’m going to spend some time in his old slide cabinets of his time at sea and different stations. There are also some letters and other papers of his. I’m finally going to put that on the agenda to sort through this year and hopefully get some more history and feeling of the man and make sure my family has that as well as the memories of my mom going forward. It’s good to document.

I loved walking to the beach before sunrise. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I miss the sand in my toes already.
  • If I’m not mistaken my mindset has changed a bit.
  • The camera is clicking again.
  • Feels great to get a good start on the day.
  • The storms be coming. Hunker down Marylanders.


Just peachy

Peaches from Wright’s Market. One of our favorite stops on the way home from Ocean City. We also picked up corn, preserves, nuts, dressing, and a few other things that will leap to mind later. It’s loaded with good things.

It was a wonderful drive home from the shore and only minimal backup before the Bay Bridge.

Thank you, farmers. Photo by Mike Hartley


A wonderful week of vacation at the beach with the family was good for my soul, my tan, my spirit, my appreciation, my taste buds, my need to be a fish, and a few photos.

Forgot the lens tissue this morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

But most of all to be a father and grandfather for some dedicated time. To share my good fortune and love. To get beat the first time and of many more to come at miniature golf by my granddaughter.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s difficult to work at an unfamiliar desk.
  • I thought my old John Deere was going to give up the ghost today but it recovered and the property is looking good again.
  • I love being away. I also love being back home.

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Back to work

While on vacation the negative things that affect me during the normal workweek seem to disappear quickly. All of a sudden regular and restful sleeping patterns return. The mind is not filled with the chaos of running from one task to the next. My eating habits improve and I’m able to fit in some regular exercise.

In other words, I’m probably going to be much healthier when I leave the job. But why wait? I can’t change my hours but I can certainly keep the exercise going and try to eat better. As far as easing the chaos of the job that is also somewhat in my control. I have sick time that I never take. Some twisted logic of mine from the old days says you don’t get sick.

That peaceful easy feeling. Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s getting very difficult to think about continuing to work for someone else when all I want to do is concentrate and work on what I want to do. And while the sun is setting on this vacation I can’t help but think about my permanent one coming next year.

But tomorrow the return to the regular grind returns but I hope to put a different spin on my remaining days at the job that pays the bills.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Nature is the best color palette.
  • Already planning for the next vacation.
  • I’m finally convinced the U.S. is going further down the rabbit hole before it starts to recover. But at that point, it might be too late.
  • Times change, families change, friends change. It’s nice when they can change well together but that always isn’t the case.

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Beach town

One of my many favorite towns in Maryland is Ocean City. I love it for many reasons. From coming here as a child to playing with my grandchildren on the beach this year. My favorite month is September when the water is still warm but the crowds have cleared out and streets and beaches aren’t packed.

We tend to do a week in the summer with the family but spring and fall are wonderful also. The town used to close up after the summer season pretty much but things are staying open much longer now before and after the summer season.

Always a nice sight pulling into town. Photo by Mike Hartley

I know a ton of people don’t like it. I’m kind of glad those who don’t like it don’t come. I’m into positive waves during the summer, not negative ones. But apparently, a lot more do love it because it’s always packed during the summers and even into the off-season. We have met some wonderful people who are year-round residents.

I love eating down de ocean. The food here is great. So many different styles and of course fresh Maryland blue crabs. Some of my favorite ice cream shops like Dumsers. The things for the kids to do is endless. From shops, the boardwalk, amusement parks, and games.

I love the beach, it calls me all year long. But the pool is also a nice change of pace and being I don’t have one any longer it’s a real treat to swim in one again.

But it’s the dedicated time with family that really counts in my book. Be it playing a game together or a daily walk and meals in addition to the beach and pool time. Seeing the smiles. Hearing the laughter. Watching kids discover or be amazed or just jump for joy when they are playing miniature golf.

It’s a wonderful place in my life and I hope I have many more days with family in the coming years to enjoy it again.

3 generations of my family. I’ve been talking about weight loss a bit recently. I finally saw a picture of myself and I’m no longer looking pregnant. Photo by my Daughter in Law. Thank you.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I never joined Twitter and ever since Musk purchased it I certainly would never consider it now. I’m no fan of Zuckerberg either but I might give this Threads a try just to see what those apps are about. Probably a time waster and if so I’ll quickly jettison it but trying to live and learn as I go.
  • I have a taste for pizza tonight.
  • People who have no interest in the truth are not people I want to be around.

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Smiles and tears

My son’s family left today to return home. Having such dedicated time with both my son and daughter and their families is what keeps me going throughout the year. So much fun while were together which makes it so hard to leave each other.

As they were leaving I noticed this anomaly in the garage where they parked. I think someone needs a lesson on directions. Maybe if they put a U-turn line from one arrow to another it might have made sense.

If you followed the arrow into this you would see the no parking sign. So that arrow out is a bit redundant, isn’t it? Photo by Mike Hartley

For me this week has been a return to normal. No overnight shifts, eating better, and getting more exercise and sleep. Kind of makes me think about not going back. But that isn’t in the cards so I will return on the predetermined date.

But when I do return to the job I’m thinking about broaching the topic of not working any more holidays. I’m tired of it. I do several each year. Sometimes up to 7 or 8. And if it doesn’t work out there are always alternatives.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Time is short, don’t worry about what you can’t change.
  • Trying to make more eye contact with people and smile at the same time. I like the results.
  • The better you plan the more palatable the alternatives when encountered.
  • Just once I’d like to get my physical and not need more tests. We will see this coming week.

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Morning bottle

I was sitting here with one of my pleasures in life. A nice cold bottle of Coke. It’s part of my morning ritual. I never drank coffee so a soda first thing in the morning has never been strange for me. One that I took for granted and abused by drinking 6-8 sodas a day.

A few months ago I changed things up and now I only have one each morning and the resulting weight loss is great. I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with this plan going forward. For a dozen years in my life when I had a problem with another bottle. One with a little more punch to it.

I was reminded again of this recently when someone I knew in my youth hit me up on FB on my birthday asking if I was still alive. Not the first time I’ve had that reaction. “Wow, you’re still alive” When someone from my youth sees me, has happened a few times.

Time for SUMMER. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was a pretty hard drinker from about 14 to 26. I guess I drank like I had a death wish to some. Maybe I did. That was a pretty reckless period for a lot of things in my life. Yeah, I was a rum pirate. “The BAT” as we used to refer to it. Bacardi and Coke were the specialties of the day. Usually in the form of shots with a Coke chaser if any.

Those days were something. I’m so thankful I never hurt anyone physically during those days. Yes, I’ve driven when I shouldn’t have. I did hurt some people mentally with the problem. One of them was my own Mom. She was horrified that I was following in my Fathers’ late years and going down the same road.

And then there was my better half. She didn’t realize the issue I had with the bottle when we were married. And I have her to thank for helping me stop. But those few years I certainly didn’t earn any points in the marriage and I’m sorry I put her through that.

I stopped completely for a few decades. Didn’t touch a drop. Today I might take a sip of fine rum my friends drink now but that is it.

As I grew I talked about this with my son. I’ve always been worried that this might be hereditary and warned him of the dangers. Fortunately, he is much smarter than his father and hasn’t thankfully had any issues.

I’ve thought about speaking to youths about this issue and maybe I will in the future. I’m just thankful I was able to get it under control.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Someone shooting off fireworks at 3 am this morning was a rude wake-up call.
  • There are many shells in the sea. So the ones we are making a necklace for my granddaughter with won’t be missed.
  • A relaxing 4th of July is ahead today. Good family, good food, good time.
  • I must have a lot of backbone. Because it hurts often.

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Morning blast of energy. I was up well before sunrise today and decided to take a long walk. Easily put on several miles. Feels good to get some regular exercise again and it helps keep me in better shape. Building up my aerobic activities I hope adds to my years.

Blue Sands. Photo by Mike Hartley

I manage to do some shooting yesterday and got some fireworks shots and some of the storm moving across Maryland yesterday. Those will be shared later because my connection from my Nikon to the computer is broken. I’ve got to get a card reader to transfer photos now and see if that will work because I can’t afford the repair or a new camera body at this time.

I’m into color. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was thinking about participating in that Monochrome Madness post but I haven’t shot B&W since the 70s. Back then I had no choice, I couldn’t afford color film or processing. I could do B&W and had my own lab but color was out of reach.

But seeing images in B&W has kind of piqued my interest again. I think I’ll start to experiment with that again sometime this month and see if I can add to that mass of beautiful work by others.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I saw a quote on Leadership and it went – “The most important thing you do as a leader is how you take care of your people.” Unfortunately, that lesson hasn’t reached a lot of management from many conversations and experiences.
  • There are a few days a year I miss having a pool. But only a few.
  • Being off today I think I’ll incorporate a nap.
  • I hope to finish reading my first book this month today.

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Strawberry parking

Woke up this morning to overcast skies but thankfully they cleared up and the sun is back out to start this wonderful Sunday morning. A morning walk and small breakfast and I’m ready to go. Time to finish reading that book today.

Strawberry fields. Photo by Mike Hartley

I saw a daily writing prompt asking the question if you ever had surgery. Well yes, many times but I’m not going into the past this morning. I’m thinking of the future because I’m looking forward. I started to have back problems around the first time I was diagnosed with cancer about 16 years ago.

So at that time back pain became a far secondary problem. Cancer and the surgery freaked me out so much that I didn’t want to spend any more time in a hospital. I wanted to be out living each day. Even though they said they believed they got it all, continuous testing for a few years had me on edge.

After a few more years passed and test results confirmed the doctor’s view I began to think about it again but another cancer developed in another area about 8 years ago and more surgery and radiation. I’ve been pretty dead set against having back surgery since then but the pain in recent months has been getting to me.

It affects my sleep. It sometimes keeps me from strenuous activities. It can make my eyes water from time to time. There are days I can work like a mule and it holds up fine. There are days I lean over once and I’m in pain the rest of the day.

I’m hoping I’m just in the middle of a bad stretch and fighting the discomfort a lot of the day, but that it will pass again.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I like rising before sunrise when I’m not working.
  • There is nothing wrong with relaxing. It just takes me a while to realize that.
  • I’m a fan of Tootsie Pops.
  • Young people really test my endurance levels.

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Holiday weekend

Finally, I’m able to enjoy a holiday weekend. Put the chores on hold. Fire up the grill. Everyone into the Pool or Ocean. For me, this means time with family. And regardless of the activity, it’s going to be wonderful.

And what a week to cruise. A wonderful time to put the top down and sport around town. And I certainly would mind cruising in this old classic below. A 289 Ford Mustang, I believe a 1965 model year. The top and paint both looked great and I was dying to hear how it sounded but haven’t yet.

Pony Up. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day (2nd edition)

  • Let’s try to limit the calls we need for emergencies this weekend. Fire and rescue likes a holiday also.
  • Felt good to get some reading and walking in today.
  • Sometimes you think you know someone, and then you realize you really don’t.
  • Smart choices lead to a happier life.

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Saturday early start

Sometimes the pain is productive. Had to rise early to stretch out and try to get comfortable again. Once that was accomplished I was wide awake and it was 3:30 am. I guess that is a good start for the new month.

That peaceful easy feeling. That is what I’m looking for this month. It’s good to have goals.

Along Rt 144 in Howard County. Photo by Mike Hartley

I hope to start off the month strong. I have several goals in addition to the one stated above. For instance, I want to get from 1 to several quality images each day. I’d like to upload 100 images to my Zenfolio site a day from past shoots. Also, spend some more time organizing and labeling there.

Maybe I’ll challenge myself to do more people shooting which has always been an issue for me. I also feel I’ve gotten stagnant creatively. That I also need to cure. Another goal is to finish 2 woodworking pieces I started for my son and granddaughter a while ago but I haven’t wrapped up.

It’s a shell game. Photo by Mike Hartley

So here’s to a good month ahead.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could celebrate Independence Day together instead of being divided?
  • OK, I’ve had enough of the rain. I’d like to place my order for SUN, please.
  • The more you pay attention the more in focus things become.