THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Hey, how are you?

You should ask people, especially those close to you, “How are you?” Its a really tough question for anyone to answer and at the same time it holds lots of issues for the asking. Most the time you get, “fine, how are you?”  Or maybe a “note to bad, but things could be better.” That middle ground answer is tough because how you respond is now in question. Do you stop and reply, “is there anything I could help with” Or just a, “hope things improve” and keep walking?

How are you doing?
Photo by Mike Hartley

And then there is the cry for help. When you ask “how are you” and the reply ranges from “horrible”, “life sucks or is over or I can’t cope with it”, “my (parents, job, spouse, boss, kids, other drivers) are crazy”,  “I’m sick and I have this illness” or “someone close is sick”. Those separate us all. I’ve responded to these in many ways. I try to think that I’m a compassionate person, more so than most I hope. But I have regrets about some of my reactions as we all have had.

Sometimes I’ve misread the next reply as its private and they don’t want to talk, when in reality they have wanted to. Sometimes its my own uncomfortable position that mutes my reply. Most of the time I believe I do the right thing. Like listening to people. Like helping offer solutions or ideas. Sometimes helping them refocus or weigh whats bothering them with a more objective scale. It could be putting a few dollars in their hands.

I know I can’t save the world, or at least that is what the head of HR told me as a manager a long time ago when I had the complex that everyone was good and that I could turn them around if they weren’t good. For people whose life is constant drama because of the decisions they make, are not going to drag me into a mess. I wish them the best. I will even help if I can. But it gets lower on the priority list.

But when it’s not those people and those genuine souls that need assistance, what to do. And it’s not even that. The decision to help or not can go both ways for the closest friends and family to total strangers. That time I stopped at 3am to ask a couple of bikers sporting colors, stopped on a country road, if they need help, hoping they are nice guys. And they were, I think I surprised them by just stopping my car and asking if they were ok or needed help.

Hell, it doesn’t take much to ask a stranger that. Especially when you see people struggling. I’ve learned that in just passing people in the streets or in day-to-day life that a simple smile can turn around someones day. It has mine. Sometime just a few minutes listening to someone explain how tired they are or what the kids did can make a difference.

Sometimes its going to be an ongoing commitment when you ask that question. Things like illnesses. Or deep financial issues. Or loves that are lost. Things that one conversation don’t turn around. But that first step is a simple “Hey, how are you?”

Random Thoughts of the Day

I had two or three good random thoughts and then I heard the refrigerator calling me and by the time I got back downstairs they were gone.

Brown sugar and Old Bay on Grilled salmon. I can eat that all day.

I hope I don’t realize the importance of sleep too late in life.

Help someone feel loved each day. Even if its yourself.

I bet if I did these when I wasn’t so tired, they would probably make sense.

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Its calling

I can hear the waves of the Atlantic ocean. I can feel that sand between the toes. A little guy standing on my shoulder with a beach towel and sunglasses yelling at me to get off my ass and drive to the beach. Well I might just listen to that little voice and hit the road there in the coming days.

Bayside OC sunset.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ah to be sitting at the outdoor deck at Fagers Island listening to the live band, soaking up the breeze off the bay as the sun sets to the 1812 Overture.

So time to check the oil, gas up the toy, put the top down. Of course a nice bath and shine will be in order before the trip. Can’t go cruising in a dirty ride. At best it will be a full day trip. One that starts before dawn and ends around midnight. Then again maybe crashing on the beach for a few hours before dawn and the early morning ride home will be the call. I’m learning to be more flexible as I get older. Allows for some more enjoyment at times.

Getting the long part of the drive over when it’s not at FULL BAKE temps of the day is best. Of course I’ll put some miles in during the heat. I love summer but I know the body has limits when getting up in years, just like it does when it’s very young. I probably won’t use the A/C at all though.

Might even take a ride down to Assateague Island. But I hear the squitos are man eaters there. Well, I’m going to make this happen sometime in the next 2 weeks.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Life is a beach, get to one asap.

Oh the dreaded election season. High pressure at the job that pays the bills on tap.

I’m going to make a pact with myself that I talk to my children at least once a week no matter how busy we get. I know I feel better for it.

For as much as I talk about and love the beach, you would think I live there.

I’ve got to get my car camera installed. You can’t believe the stuff I see on the road.

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I’ve got nothing-but I will try anyway

I tried to start a post earlier today but had to run to a doctor’s appointment. And now work is in the way. Tomorrow it will be something else but the need to power through is with me now. The desire to just keep plugging away each day regardless of circumstances. The hope of putting something together each day that spurs some interest.

But I get uncomfortable when I force myself to be creative. My open mind closes in. My ideas seem to dry up, my drive seems to be affected. So the key is to just keep going. Don’t let lack of confidence deter my drive to produce. Yeah this isn’t going to be one of my best post. But what ones really are.

Ride Light Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll try to get to the fair on Friday. Good chance to practice my people shooting skills. Kids are great to photograph and I guess I should start to get some practice in case I’m blessed with grandchildren someday.

Today I looked at an old camera I’m still using and had the thought it might be time to start thinking about a replacement. It is at least 10 years old and starting to show signs of real wear. But it’s still a quick and handy tool that is good when the weather is iffy or that I don’t have to fret over taking to the beach if I desire.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Going it alone requires a lot of self-confidence.

If I can convince more people to vote in the next election I will feel a sense of accomplishment.

It used to be that stepping on the scale (weight) at the doctor’s office was at least one good piece of news. Till today. I’ve got to limit my sodas.

But on the other hand my blood pressure is very cool. And any day you can walk out of a doctor’s office is a great one.

I’m thankful today for the love of my family and friends. Something I sometimes forget to remind myself of.

Well enough rambling on. There is real work to be done and I had better get too it if I want to post tomorrow.

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Sunday mornings

I had a flashback this morning. To when I was a paper boy (yeah the kind that road a bike with baskets and a huge bag around the neck) delivering Sunday papers in my neighborhood. I learned a lot from that first job. That doing it well and on time was very important. And that people would let you know if you didn’t.

I also learned that some people are never happy. I learned that some people are deadbeats. I learned that there are good people. I learned about collecting money. I learned how to stand up for myself, well at least a few times. Most of the time I just listened to them complain about the price.

I learned how to outrun the dogs that hated paper boys, and deal with the ones I couldn’t out pedal.

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

But just like this beautiful start to the day, the summer delivery on a Sunday morning gave me a sense of accomplishment. One the papers were huge and heavy. I had to double time it because I just could hold all the papers on one trip like I did on weekdays. And it always felt like that was the end of the week.

So as I stretched out in bed this morning, sleeping in till almost 9am. I thought of the exhaustion after I was finished that task of the Sunday delivery. And as I see the guys in the car speeding up and down my neighborhood throwing papers out going way to fast, I know they won’t have the same satisfaction I had.

Random Thoughts of the Day

If I retire at the Social Security eligible age for full benefits, I only have 272 work weeks left to put in. Looking at it that way, gives me some energy today.

I eat enough nuts to be considered nuts.

I miss my better half already and she hasn’t left for vacation.

I’m going to stop looking at the long term weather forecast, its too depressing.

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Almost sidetracked

After a few weeks back at the grind and the small stuff that goes along with life, I find my vacation karma is about gone. Now my fight is to regain that peace and thoughtful relaxed look and ability to experience and enjoy life. Yes there is lots on the agenda. Yes work is getting busy and mother nature is waging a war of wars this year with all the rain. But I will overcome

So I’m going to end and start this coming week on a high note. Tomorrow I’m going to try to squeeze in a ton of shooting. Also going to check out making it a short work week if the weather is good on Wednesday, I might take a day. If not I’ll just save it for a later date.

Severn River Sunset
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m finally learning that keeping that positive attitude and outlook makes the difficult times much easier to power through. A lesson that is far overdue for me getting in the tool bag. So here is to a long and prosperous week ahead. May each remaining sunset this summer end this way. I’m tired of the dinnertime thunderstorms.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Someone put a bunch of gravel in my neck. At least that is the sound it makes when I roll my head around. Sort of like a truck driving over gravel.

Funny how the Atlantic Ocean calls me all summer. I must respond soon.

If you don’t know how important it is to spend time with your children even when they are grown, then you’re missing out.

Howard County Fair opened today. I need to go out and be inspired by our youth and farming roots of the county. Plus some junk food and maybe a few old friends passing in the crowd.

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I didn’t accomplish squat today. And it was fun. Had lunch with an old friend and tinkered around the house. Now I find myself up late at the keyboard having a go at coming up with a topic to pursue. Pursuing my interest of mixing words and images. Throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. Well, not throwing today because I’m kind of relaxed.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Relaxed enough to give my concerns about the direction of things a short reprieve. Again its good to have balance. For without it you might just run out of energy and give up the effort. Anyway it will run its course and hopefully we will see our country come out stronger. If we get back to working together we can stay a strong tree instead of laying in pieces.

Random Thoughts of the Day

When you give a gift, that becomes a tradition that is loved, its gives a pride and satisfaction that comes from thought and effort.

Your only in trouble when the wheels come off.

It feels good to complete this goal each day. I’m looking at it a bit differently now which is making it easier to accomplish.

Do you know where your next meal is coming from? Be thankful.

One of these days I’m going to review all this old work and be proud of the start I had.

The more good blogs I find the more I realize I have a lot more work to do. But that is a great thing. All my life I’ve known and run across many wonderfully talented and brilliant people. And while I’ve used it to inspire and work to make me better professionally, with the exception of my creative work that I’m now trying. I used to let that intimidate me or keep me from trying or experimenting in this area. But no more. After many years of work I hope to be an inspiration for my own children to do something like this or another challenge they would enjoy.

I guess I should revise the name of my “To Shoot List” to something less threatening like “photograph this”.

I guess I should get some rest, word is the sun is coming out again this weekend.


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The finish line

It used to be work weeks had a finish line. For some of us I think there still is one. Sometimes it just going from one job to another. Sometimes transitioning from all the work you do for the job that pays the bills to the work you do to maintain a home and family and help friends.

Sometime thought it’s the main job that now just seems to continue though what little time you have before you return to the office or back online for 10+ hours of the day. I’m somewhat glad I got off that crazy train. Well your never off it if you’re in IT but I’ve got it under control for the most part.

So as one finish line is reached, another race begins. And just like previous weekends, it’s a wet track again. This is really cutting into my convertible top down time.

Morning ride along Tridelphia Mill Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Lazy, yep I’m lazy. Well probably not in most people s eyes but by looking at one self deeply, I can say I’m either a bit lazy, or lack motivation to make the best use of time. Maybe because time is so precious that when I waste it not working or creating something I feel like I’m not doing my best.

So Friday I’m going to be up early and get out to do some shooting regardless of weather.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Do you sometimes get that feeling? If you don’t you may want to adjust your look at life.

Things of the greatest value are invaluable. But to the next person they may be worthless.

Power corrupts.