THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Sunday sleeping and taxes

Slept in this morning a bit. Did the same thing yesterday. Of course when you crash the am side of the clock, sleeping in is relative. What I do know, is that both days that decision thwarted my plans for some early morning shooting. But the rest was needed. Burning the candle at both ends just leads to a meeting of the wicks.

Being its cold out this morning I didn’t think you would mind another snow shot from early in the am from a few weeks ago.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And I have a bad habit of starting off the work week with a sleep deficit. That probably leads to a lot of useless stress on both my mind and body. Took me to the age of 60 to understand something that simple and try to do something about it. Old habits are hard to change, but I’m working on it.

Though today my excuse as I thought to myself was those warm covers on a cold April morning feel too good to open the other eye so I shut the one I peaked out of and rolled over.

Interesting concept taxes are. If people stopped to think about what they pay in taxes they might just be that more involved in the governments that take them. I’m really surprised we are all so nonchalant about it really. Maybe because we have others doing it and those numbers aren’t in our faces. Sort of like paying with a credit card instead of ticking off $20 bills for a meal. Well anyway we decided to do our own taxes this year. It was something my wife and I started out doing together when we got married.

Those early days were some stressful moments at times. And then one day we started to farm it out. I’m not sure when we did but that lasted for a lot of years. Till this year when we said uncle, at the cost it had risen to. But then I picked up the packets my wife had brought out to the dining room table. Yeah we needed the space.

And I thought to myself and I believe she had the same thought, what did we decide to do? Well we just dove into it. And a few hours later with no blood drawn, voices raised or ill feelings, we were done with the Federal. I know I was surprised. Not at those things though, what surprised me is that we made it in an afternoon. Yep a few hours of work and stress paid off in my mind. And then the states which went even easier.

My guess is we will continue to do them ourselves again. It’s always difficult to figure out when to spend, how much to spend and what services to spend money on. For instance I learned a very important lesson a few years ago when I wasn’t able to cut the yard. Well we had to hire someone for the first time in my lifetime. I’ve always cut the grass. And by always I didn’t ask my kids to help with it. I don’t ask my better half, its something I do.

It drove me nuts after surgeries watching someone else do my yard. Also it drove me nuts to pay for it. At first we used a guy that a lot of the neighbors used and it was what I thought was a fair price. I have a fairly large yard with a nasty hill out back and lots of weed whacker work. Well even at every other week it was a sum I wasn’t comfortable with as I got healthier. So I started back and then another physical setback and we hired it out again. This time to someone who cut the cost in half.

And we kept it to the every other week and I cut it the week in between. That has been a good deal because we enjoy our summers so much more now that we have a weekend every other week that we can do things. I’ll probably continue the service even though I’m healthy enough to do it each week. But if my back pain rears its ugly head, I know I got a backup plan.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Finally a Yankee victory over the O’s on Saturday. I was thinking that I would take an immense amount of abuse if we had been swept at home. And then we get beat in the final today in the 12th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out and we can’t get a run in to tie it or another to win. Such is life, lots of the season left.

Do you see it? Do you feel it? Do you hear it? Yep, it’s coming. Change

I’m getting interested in everything. A lazy mind is a waste of epic proportions.

On a more or less serious note. Sorry I have nothing.

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Are you anchored to your smart phone?

I’m probably one of the lucky ones. My vision has gotten worse over the years and now I need reading glasses if I want to use my smart phone beyond a phone or text device. So my normal inclination is if I’m going to use the web, I go to my computer. But over time I found myself becoming more and more wasteful with my time looking at that smart phone for a number of things I don’t need to be spending my time on. Not games, normal information crap.

Anchored to a cell phone?
Photo by Mike Hartley

So this week I’m un-chaining myself from that anchor and trying to return to the day where it was a phone or text device only. I’m going to see how much time I get back. Not reading work email alone when I’m off should give me lots of time. Not looking at the breaking news of the day, or what the market is doing or that cute video.

One has to prioritize what is important in life. And it’s not in a 5″x2.5″ screen. So look up, look around, make eye contact. say hello or have a nice day. Who knows, you might get a real like, and that is a genuine smile from someone.

Random Thoughts of the Day

It’s a lot easier to go to sleep when you feel like you might have accomplished something.

Doubt is a ever-present partner. It helps you get better at the things you know you aren’t sure of.

It’s okay to move on in most cases. Just don’t forget where you have been and where your roots are.

Danger = When both sides think that there is an imminent threat from the other side.

Safety = When both sides listen and talk and work out problems together.

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For Dad

There was a birthday party for my father in-law a while back. It was a wonderful time and event. I’ve never heard my better half’s family sing a happy birthday so well and loud. But it went way beyond that. The kids put together a photo and video series that was wonderful and filled with personal messages from each. And each person shared something special from gifts from the heart and handmade items, to words of thanks and appreciation. I shared a few words below.

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


  • First of all is the eternal thanks for giving me your daughter’s hand in marriage. That is a gift that just keeps on giving.
  • Second is thanks for accepting me into your family so much. I didn’t just gain in-laws, I gained a family.
  • Next is thank you for making my Moms years fun and including her so much in events and parties. And for being there for her and me at difficult times.
  • You have continued the lesson of what my own parents taught me, in that family is a precious thing and not to be taken for granted.
  • Also that living is important and not to be taken for granted.
  • I didn’t have the chance to get to know my own Dad well. But I did get a chance to know you and I have great respect and thanks for all you and Mom have done for us and how you supported us throughout the years.
  • Despite my outspoken nature and less than mature start in life you trusted me with your daughter and I thank you for looking beyond that time.
  • You have always thought to share tidbits of life and experiences and how to look at things from another point of view at important times.
  • I’ve enjoyed your chuckles at the things we experienced that you experienced many years before.
  • You had a good work ethic which I admired.
  • You are a compassionate and caring person. Both you and Mom.
  • You showed me how the most important thing in life is the commitment to your partner in life.
  • You are grandparents and parents of many children who should be honored to be bestowed the love you share.
  • After my parents departed, you helped greatly in filling that void.
  • I sometimes think my parents would be at ease knowing how much you love and care for me. I always tell them how you’re doing when I visit.
  • I know I’m a better person for knowing you.

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G Game

Being its Masters weekend, and the majesty of golf is on display, I thought what the hell, share a few thoughts on the matter. I played a few times (less than 10) as a youth on actual courses. I’ve gone to the driving range maybe once or twice a year on average. I play put-put golf once a year with the family at the ocean. But a few years ago one of my best friends got the bug.  I played a few times with him but then my shoulder gave out and surgery last year put a hold on the game I was trying out again.

Throwing shade
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve rarely felt so conflicted about a game. First off I’ve enjoy playing it no matter if its put-put or on the actual links. The few times I’ve played on actual courses its been very enjoyable, challenging and relaxing. I would love to make it part of my life. Its a game where my age and fitness aren’t such a detriment as they are on the hoop court. I’ve always enjoyed wandering around the woods and that is where most of my shots land so were on par there. Sorry for the pun.

My friend gave me a bag of clubs to use so the cost of getting started was low. But it’s still an expensive and time-consuming sport. And there is the rub. While I enjoy it greatly, clearing that much time and $$$ probably isn’t in my budget just now. So I’ll have to continue to play a few times a year and not worry about the score. Because this game takes practice. It takes concentration. It takes good hand eye coordination. It helps if you’re in shape. But I’m up for the fun and relaxation part.

I’ve never been a big golf watcher either. But I do check out the Masters each year. Its like of like the Daytona 500 of golf. I probably watch as much golf this weekend as I do all year-long. And by me watching I mean maybe an hour or two a day this weekend, if time allows.

There is one sad part about golf. There are a great number of people who will never experience the joy of it because of its cost.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I wished I spent more time in thought as a youth instead of just reacting. I might have made some better decisions.

Its good every once in a while to go back and read that speech from Jim Valvano at the ESPN awards.

You know some people are so out there that its just not worth the time or effort to reel them back in, even if they are a family member. If you got that much hate and hostility towards me, then have a nice life. I’m too old and life is too short for nonsense. Life is to be happy and enjoy.

I’ve realized I want to be more than a photography business in my next career. That will be part of what I hope to do but not the end all.

Safe travels to those at the Bourbon Beer and BBQ fest today. The ones I know going have a DD or Uber’ed. Be smart.

OK, I’m inspired again, the next post will be better.

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The kisser

This is my Son and Daughter in-laws baby. Every once in a while when they vacation or do a day trip we get to watch her. And what a pleasure that is. As my better half says to them, “we clear our schedule when she comes to visit.” She is the focus and its so much fun, that when we have to give her back its gut wrenching and the home again feels quiet.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I like being around animals because their love and affection is so genuine. You see the trust the bestow on you. You see the comfort and security you provide them. You see the appreciation for the treats. You see the warmth and affection you give them returned several fold.

And this one loves to kiss. She’s so affectionate and glad to see you acknowledging her that she has to thank you. I love to watch her wake my wife. It’s hard not to spoil her but I abide by her parents wishes, and my wife holds me to it also.

I wish people were as honest and genuine as most animals seem to be.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Best matched song title and song. Smooth by Santana.

Challenge yourself, its good for the spirit. If you fail, learn from it so you don’t repeat. I have to write this one down for myself.

Best song title for my best friend with the supercharger.  “I can’t drive 55”

To be, or not to be. That is the question.  I beg to differ. To leave Facebook or not to leave Facebook. That is the question.

Song that just came on and the thought it gave me.  “Wish you were here”  My parents.

I wonder if the tears you shed in sadness for those no longer here, turn into tears of joy when you’re no longer here?

I’m going to have to learn to speak another language to learn more words and terms to use about the current resident in the White House. Hows this for a start?

Watashi wa Howaitohausu no inu no funben no yoko ni natte iru bubun ni shōjiki ni dōi shinai.

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Timeless. That his what I am today. I’m out of time. No time because I didn’t make time. Sometimes I’m a master of time and other times is a master of me.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Think I’ll get up early tomorrow and do some shooting. Looks like I had better find my coat and maybe my winter coat on Saturday. And I hope someone turns off that gigantic fan running outside bending and breaking trees.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I enjoy life better when I push myself. I just have trouble with the brake.

Soul Sacrifice by Santana is a rocking tune. Especially the live 1969 Woodstock version. I love and relate to that youthful energy, even at 60 it inspires air drums.

A haircut makes me feel all new again. And I’m glad I still have hair to cut.

Even a poor person can appreciate how lucky they may be. Maybe more so than a rich person.

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The color in this photo made me think of getting my pastels out and trying some drawing again. Don’t know why. Probably just the color of the sun going down on this steeple. Maybe I’ll try some pastel pointillism again. I enjoyed that and though some of my earlier pieces using that were better quality. Takes some time but creating anything worthwhile can take time.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Then again, sometimes creating something worthwhile can happen in an instant, like the click of a shutter. Or in my case lots of clicks of the shutter. No really I fall into the trap of always forgetting I don’t have film in the camera. Back when photography used to be a bit more expensive and turnaround was lab and a week or processing yourself which wasn’t instantaneous either. So you were frugal in what you shot. But I’m starting to adapt and snap away.

No enjoyable ride today ahead. A long drive in the rain in traffic isn’t fun. Hopefully it will be a better ride in the morning. Most of the time I enjoy the ride. That’s till people start doing stupid stuff around me. And when you go to DC you get a lot of stupid, plus the occasional insane every other mile. That has become one of the real negatives in living in this area.

People have realized they can do what they want most of the time and get away with murder on the highways. Such is life. I’ll try to be a good citizen and share the road instead of driving like I own it.

After listening to my home phone ring off the hook with crap calls, I’m seriously considering either pulling the plug or changing and or modifying that system. I rarely answer it unless I recognize the caller. It seems the “do not call list” is working anymore or guys have got around it technically. Which leads me to the number spoofing that seems to be going on and getting worse. Yeah you got caller ID. But that number that pops up isn’t where that call is coming from.

Random Thoughts of the Day

If you have time to have Random Thoughts, I encouraged you to have more.

Who do you call when your mirrors need adjustment? I just walked in front of one and didn’t recognize the person standing in it. Not only that its got this problem of a huge shadow. Someone must have snuck in and changed them out to carnival mirrors as an April fools joke. Oh my work is cut out for me before the beach season begins.

I used to watch news and worry about all the foreign governments. Now I watch news and worry about my own.

Instead of ruling together we seem to have decided to rule separately.