THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Manic Monday

Sometimes my mind feels like these wild onions on Mondays. But I never know which one I will get. The one in focus and electric in the foreground or the unfocused and fuzzy one in the background. Actually cancer gives you a bit of both each day. It helps you sort out what is important in life and focus on those things. But at the same time it defused everything else. Time becomes kind of twisted. You have trouble focusing on the task at hand. Sleep becomes erratic. The mind is like an overtaxed race engine running at peak rpm in a race that doesn’t end until everyone collapses in exhaustion.

A wild onion and his friends. Photo by Mike Hartley

A wild onion and his friends.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The thing that I have noticed in this round of cancer is that I find it affecting my patience more. I used to try to find a middle ground in situations but now I find myself standing at the extremes at times. And I don’t care to be there because I don’t consider myself indifferent or aggressive.

And while I couldn’t be more impressed with the state of medical technology/knowledge/experience and all the treatments that are offered, I have learned that each one of us is like our own individual medical library or more precise “Experiment”. For each of us are so unique and the possibility of infinite variables even in the “known” areas is staggering.

I marvel at the skill and knowledge and constant progression a medical career takes. It makes me think of the dedication it takes to keep treating each patient as an individual and not as a number on an assembly line.

But what I marvel at is there is NO certainty that anything you have done medically is completely effective or without many risk. You learn those things clearly when you go through “the process.” You know, I think that needs to go in the book as one of the top things that can happen in life. For someone to go through LIFE and skip “The Process.”

Howard County FOOD – 

We have been eating at The Canopy the last few decades and have always enjoyed it very much. Well technically we don’t eat at the Canopy because its pretty much a carry out, but you get the drift. I’ve sampled just about every menu item they offer and its all very good. Of course I’m a fan of the pit beef but I also have favorites in the pit ham, baby back ribs and beef ends in BBQ sauce. And of course the Ocean FRIES. I always order my fries “crispy.”  The coal slaw is great. Oh yeah, try the wings and potato salad.

About the only thing I haven’t had there is the crab soup. And I think I’ll remedy that next week. But if you want the cream of crab, that is only on Friday and Saturday’s.

The Canopy  Photo by Mike Hartley

The Canopy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random thoughts for Monday June 15th.

  • Don’t ever forget to tell your family and friends how much you love them. That would be a horrible regret to have at the end if you miss the opportunity.
  • You don’t learn by walking away from problems.
  • While it’s always nice to look ahead and think about all the change and wonder in the future, I prefer to live in the here and now.
  • Now that I’ve worked 5 decades I’m left wondering what the hell these management schools are teaching people?
  • Driving is very fun. Driving to DC is not fun.

Another slide from my parents below. I believe it was dated 1953.

Lady Liberty Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez

Lady Liberty
Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez


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Baltimore on a Sunny Monday morning

Had a few minutes between some medical test this morning and decided to shoot a few images around South Greene St and Redwood. It was a warm and humid morning, typical of Maryland weather. I’ve been spending a few more moments down here recently after discovering I’m going to have another fight with cancer. But as a friend said to me when I informed him, “you beat that shit before and you can whoop its ass again.” Now this guy is a Marine, so I guess I shouldn’t argue with him.

I’m hoping to change my luck and had breakfast at my good luck spot Kirbies.

This recent diagnosis had left me kind of stunned. And it paused me from doing the work I like. Writing and photographing. Because it was all I could do to keep up with appointments, my job that pays the bills and trying to go on as normal which is always busy in the spring with the yard and home chores gearing up. But really it was taking my spirit away. So after shooting some for 3 days straight I feel like I’m starting to get on with life again. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when shooting. Writing on the other hand is still an adventure, but now I’m inspired again to finish a couple of writing projects I started the first time I was told I had cancer.

Anyway, I did a few street shots to go along with the two buildings I’ve spent some time in and will be in the near future. The two buildings Physicians Center on Redwood and the University of Maryland Medical Center house some special doctors, nurses and staff. And I thank them for my past care and future care.


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Cancer, I curse thee

Lost my brother in-law today who was diagnosed with brain cancer recently. He had a great laugh and one that won’t be forgotten. He had an energy when he spoke to you that you could feel. He had a passion for his work and pride in it and went at it over 100% all the time. He had an opinion on everything and had the ability to cut through crap.

He was a character, and one that could sometimes cause you pause, or leave you in stitches with laughter. We were both a bit edgy so maybe that is why we got along well. Shared things like weddings, passing of parents, children’s health issues, married life and work stories all filled the last 3 and a half decades. He was an easy person to talk to. When we would catch up it pretty much ran the whole list of what we were up to.

He was far to young, but cancer knows no age limits. It takes young and old. It’s a non discriminating disease. It can take you in an instant or over a period of time. So the best revenge one can have is to live the best possible life each day. And I will try to remember to do that in his name and others, this year and in the future.

 


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Cancer and Laughter

Tonight, I went to visit an old friend at Howard County General. Another friend called me and suggested it and I’m so glad he did, as we met there shortly after. She is fighting cancer and just had surgery today. She is a beautiful person and I’m sure she will beat this. The older I get the more people I know are fighting this illness. It’s a fight I also had at one time and hope to never do battle with it again. I know many people who cancer has taken also and I think about them often and give thanks that I have been one of the very lucky ones.

But the thing that struck me tonight was how laughter helps. And to have laughter you have to make the time to spend with the person. And those two things are one of the best gifts you could give or receive in your life. And not only should you make this time and laughter available to your friends and family when they are ill, but also when they are healthy.

I remember the first visit I had from my friends after my surgery. Those laughs left me feeling better and positive about the next day. Because it reminded me that good times could be ahead again despite the current pain. Making time for others and sharing laughter is something I must do more of in the future. It’s a blessing and gift I have to share and I feel such a great reward myself. I can’t let how tired I am or the number of chores in front of me or the job get in the way of helping those closest to me.

And don’t forget to try to brighten the spirits of the medical staff while at the hospital. Those are some hard-working people who are dedicated to caring for your loved ones, and maybe you someday.

So the next time you get a chance to go see someone who could use a laugh. Do it because it will be just what the doctor ordered. For both of you.

 

 


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Another goal to add to 2014 for TME

Through both my personal and professional lives I hope to be able to give more to charities. Well one landed on my doorstep that will not only help me but help those that it serves if I’m lucky enough to be accepted. The charity is called the The Magic Hour Foundation and it’s two things I love. Photography and helping improve lives of people who have been touched by Cancer. 

Well you ask, how will it help me. Portrait and people photography are not my strengths right now. That is the goal, for this organization has to accept you as a professional photographer with people skills and portraiture. If I can prove to some professional photographers that I have the ability to contribute to this effort I’ll have achieved half the goal.

The second half of the goal will be the reward of being called upon to help a family and give them images that can be cherished and personal for a long time to come. I’m a cancer survivor myself so I think I might also be able to relate and capture special things and moments. 

So hopefully by mid 2014 I’ll have enough of a body of work to show them that I’m capable of contributing to their cause. And if you other photographers who come across this sight are charity inclined, it might be a good thing for you to check out yourself. And don’t be spooked by giving up copyright rights to your images. If so your doing this for the wrong reasons.