THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Sweltering Sunday and a few thoughts

Summer Thoughts on a Sweltering Sunday – Boy do I love the hot summer days. My favorite season of the year. The time when I throw on a pair of gym shorts and flip-flops and I’m fully dressed. The time when I can ride with the car windows open. The time when you can go swimming OUTSIDE. The time when people take vacations. The time when traffic is low because schools are out. The time when a holiday marks the beginning another one square in the middle and one signifying the end of Summer (Memorial, 4th and Labor Day).  The time when you play basketball outside that the ball doesn’t lose its bounce because of the cold. The time when there is color everywhere from nature. The time when fruit is sweeter and fresher. The time when you can sit by a fire pit and not need the warmth of the fire to be outside.

Ready for the water today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ready for the water today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I even loved summer before I rode a motorcycle, which also is the favorite season of all cyclist I believe. But my season is quickly coming to an end again. So I had better get away from this electronic device and get my behind outside again.

Selfies – must be a youth thing? – I’m not sure I understand this. Mainly because I guess we never had this option much in the days of old technology. Some advanced cameras had a time delay and if you could find a flat surface to hold them (not everyone carried a tripod), you might get in a group shot. Actually I’m a bit self-conscious doing something like that. Don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem natural. So that is why I said its a youth thing, because it’s not something this old-timer is comfortable with.

A guy doing a family selfie downtown Baltimore. Photo by Mike Hartley

A guy doing a family selfie downtown Baltimore.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Glory Days Grill – Ellicott City – Had a wonderful experience their last night. I was wondering how prepared they would be after just opening recently but who ever has done the training did a good job. Service and food was great. Comfortable booths and good views to many TV’s. I opted to just not do the sound in the both to a specific event because I enjoy talking with my other half. Well most of the time. Except when she is really mad. But I digress. I’ve had two different burgers here and they have been top-notch. Cooked to order and delivered as ordered. The Blue Cheese and grilled onion burger last night was great. Fried pickles were good also. My wife had the Shrimp taco which she also enjoyed very much. Looks like we will be back.

Random Thoughts for Sunday August 16th 2015

  • A lot of my tough times have taught me great things.
  • I have been blessed with wonderful parents. And also again with wonderful parent in-laws.
  • Today I’m cancer free. Tomorrow they will tell me if that is still true.
  • I believe in making my office a place for personal comfort. That is why I fill it with photos everywhere.
  • I’m no longer taking responsibility for others at work. See, there is one way to get rid of stress.

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Hump Day – feeling peachy

Actually I’ve lost track of days of the week, being off and pretty much home bound for over 2 weeks. But the calendar says it’s Hump Day, so be it. And in some ways it does feel like crossing a hump. The last two days have been the first in weeks that I’ve felt somewhat comfortable in a number of ways. Yesterday I tried driving again. Kind of strange when something you do at a clip of over 100 miles a day easily, to none at all for weeks, I felt a bit rusty. But being a veteran of the Washington/Baltimore madness, it only took a few minutes of orientation. So with that milestone I’m feeling just peachy again. Even though my better half insist on rest and healing.

Feeling just peachy.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling just peachy.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I had a co-pilot on my first drive out, just in case I had any issues, but the drive went fine. So after a good lunch and Snowball, I took the opportunity to get my better half a dozen roses to surprise her with when she got home from work. It’s the least I can do for a wonderful partner in life.

Still can't touch the beauty of my wife.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Still can’t touch the beauty of my wife.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Like I said we went to lunch:

Howard County FoodBare Bones Bar and Grill

My daughter kindly came over to go to lunch with me and run a few errands.  I suggested Bare Bones in St Johns shopping center. Close by and always pretty good quality food and service. And it was a wonderful lunch. I had the Rockfish Fingers with corn fritters and coleslaw. Melissa had the crab pretzel and corn fritters also, and both meals were great. I like their menu because it always offers a good variety. The shrimp salad sandwiches are always spiced to my liking. The cream of crab soup is another one of my favorites.  My wife has always been a fan of the Bare Bones Special Salad. I’ve only tried the BB BBQ burger and Chili Burgers but both were great. Also the BBQ Pork and NY Strip steak sandwiches were tops.

The salmon, crab cakes and ribs have passed before me many times. But I just realized I’ve never tried a steak here. Well, we will have to make sure that it taken care of this year. And I already see the one I want. The Brewmiester Steak. Guess I’ll have to take the family next time to have my Son and Son in-law do a beer sampling/review. I’ve always enjoyed taking our parents and kids there so it covers the range of needs. And I’m guessing everyone knows about the bar side because that place always seems to be hoping whenever we go in.

Random thoughts for Wednesday July 8th, 2015

  • It seems like every commercial during the day is trying to take advantage of some older person for final arrangements or some kind of medical coverage. For middle-aged people we have the accident chasers or medical malpractice. And for the youth the promise of a great job through this or that online school.
  • It is better to be able to appreciate things in life, than have adversity set you back to make sure you have the proper perspective and respect for everything.
  • It was nice to pick up my camera again to FOCUS on an image instead of the pain and recovery issues. Even those will be there a while. I now have the ability and desire to shoot again.
  • I’m writing again. YES – lets see if I can sustain it again.

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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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A Mary (crab) land, or is it?

I love this great state of Maryland. One of its wonderful resources is the Maryland Blue Crab. I love them. I like to catch them, I love to eat them and eat them and eat them. So therefore I am part of the problem and solution I guess.

Actually I had just intended to post a picture of some crab balls we made recently at a friend’s home. That was to go along with the rockfish we caught that day. I’d love to go on and on about the different styles and techniques of cooking or using crab in many types of dishes but I think I’ll take the opportunity to remind us all that mother nature isn’t attuned to the supply and demand needs and nor is the general public good at adapting to mother natures change.

Maryland Crab  Photo by Mike Hartley

Maryland Crab
Photo by Mike Hartley

What triggered this though was the report from Mitch at Exploratorius. This got me thinking about the responsibility we all have in helping nature along because it for most part is our food supply. Yeah you can set catch limits. But what accounts for people poaching or kills from run off and pesticides. Then there is industry and the number of people the region can support threatening the bay all the time.

So while I will eat my favorite crustacean, I will be mindful that I may have to decrease my intake in coming years. Prices alone may take care of that. And hats off to Mitch for making us aware of this issue. And lets hope that it’s a great season coming up and its our science of measurement that needs improving. But I don’t think so unfortunately.

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Food – Catonsville Gourmet

Good meal, good friends, freezing temps. Well restaurants can’t control the weather outside or the friends you have but they certainly have the reigns for the food. And Catonsville Gourmet does a great job. Both the service and food are very good and it seems to be evident with the crowds that were there.

The place was hoping and they were slinging the food. The wait and kitchen staff seem to be like a well oiled machine. I’ve had both seafood and steaks here and you won’t go wrong with either but I would suggest the seafood because of all the specials they have and various ways, styles, sauces you can combine. The seafood itself is wonderful and whomever is picking it or the place that they get it from is doing a great job. The BBQ bacon wrapped shrimp skewers was a great start. The Grouper St Martin entrée was one of the best I’ve had ever. And I’ve eaten a lot of fresh caught Grouper fishing in Florida so I know the freshness, preparation and style was perfect.

Desert was an Amaretto/Raspberry cake which was also the tops. This was our 4th visit there and each time I very impressed and I keep having meals that top the last time which is hard to do being I’m very pleased each time I leave. Trying new things always comes out great.

I have to mention the service again. Very knowledgeable, very attentive and very good at keeping you posted on progress and checking on the quality of each dish. Refills were always coming before I even gave it a thought.

To me the place has a homey feel. It can be a little loud when packed. I thought it was great they had a space heater right near the front glass windows when the temps were in the teens and it would have been difficult to keep the temperature balanced for all people but that was a good touch. I didn’t even notice it till we were ready to leave.

I’ll certainly be returning.



  • Call ahead seating (30 minutes) take advantage of it.
  • Parking can be tight. There is a thin alleyway on the side and a good number of spaces right behind the building. It can be tight if you have a big vehicle.
  • You won’t feel rushed. There can be a wait, they are getting more and more popular.
  • You have to BYOB. Liquor store right across the street in case you forget.
  • They have a great number of oysters and ways of preparing so if you like them, get them.
  • Try the seafood.
  • Good list of specials each day.
  • Save room for deserts. Get up out of your seat and walk back to the case they have some of the cakes/pies and other treats in. Can you say Sugar Bakers Bakery and Smith Island cakes? They can.
  • Oh. almost forgot the great start – the bread is excellent.
  • Enjoy please.



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Howard County Maryland – Food

We had the pleasure of going to the Shanty Grille twice this summer. And both times were wonderful. I was hoping for that because we were always regular customers of the Crab Shanty for decades. We had one bad experience when they first changed and it caused us to take a break for a while. And to be fair it was near the opening months.

Anyway on both times this summer, we have come early where the dining room wasn’t open yet (5pm I believe). And that is not a problem for me at all because the bar and booths are wonderful. Very comfortable and good views of TV’s and the great looking bar.

The service was great both times. Fast, friendly, seemed to check with us as soon as that thought entered my head, had refills without asking. Knowledgeable of the menu and made some good suggestions. And the food both times was great. We always did appetizers, entrees and or small plates and deserts. Each was wonderful for both parties. Very fresh, perfectly cooked, well spiced and generous portions. I know we will be giving the dining room a try again this winter. Think I’ll take the family.

And the reason I’m likely to keep coming back is because of the generous menu selections. Unique combinations, and a million and one things I like. This has the potential to become one of my regular places again.

Please be careful driving there. That corner off 40 is busy and its a quick turn into a busy and small parking lot. Also with most well established food landmarks in Howard County this one has some older and slower moving clients from time to time, so be patient when they are  making their way to dinner. But I’m sure this place also attracts a young crowd also.

I think their upcoming Bourbon and Bacon Dinner is a wonderful idea.

Give them a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed at all.

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Howard County Maryland – Food

Last night was we had another great pizza from Ledo Pizza. The one we visited was in Columbia off Oakland Mills Road. There are 4 locations in Howard County as far as I can tell from their locations Map. I usually use the one on Rt 40 Normandy Shopping Center. But we started at the original on University Boulevard in Adelphi. I believe that original restaurant moved a few years back to College Park, but I read they have 100 locations now and are becoming a force in other states.

Everyone’s love of pizza is different. Thick or thin crust. The endless varieties of sauce. The variable of cheese and toppings are endless. But for this guy Ledo pizza is my favorite. Everything comes together and its consistent and its done with a smile and good service. And this is a company that gives back to local communities. Everything I like in a pizza is in theirs. The constancy in the variety of toppings I try with their pizza is tops.

May favorites are the pre cooked bacon. I also go for the sausage and pepperoni. The green pepper, onion, mushroom is fine for those not meat inclined. The Hawaiian pie (sorry pies are round and Ledo pizza is RECTANGULAR). Let me try again. The Hawaiian pan is also a favorite.

To me their ability to franchise and train and maintain the consistency while also doing good things for the communities they are part of, leads me to believe this is a good organization. One I have supported for many decades now and one that will continue to get my business.

Oh, my other half wouldn’t be happy unless I mentioned their salads which are great along with the house dressing. And now that I look over their online menu I see a few things I would like to try so looks like next week they might be getting another visit. That Sweet Baby-Q Chicken one in craft pizzas looks like a winner.

Also wouldn’t be right to not mention the Calzone and Stromboli. The meat lovers are great.

Hope you enjoy your experience if you decide to try. And if your a Facebook junkie, they have contest pretty regularly for various things.

Don't forget to get gift cards for your pizza lovers. Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t forget to get gift cards for your pizza lovers.
Photo by Mike Hartley