THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


Made me think

I captured this image on the deck at Fagers Island Restaurant on the deck in Ocean City. I almost went right by it with that brutal sun in the middle of it but I started looking more closely. I thought of all the things people might interpret from a shot like this.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I purposely left the two cups in front of each of them because each of them was with someone so they were not alone. I could have easily cropped out the second drink in front of them. But the shot somehow conveys that to me with them back to back and no visible partner even with the glasses in front of them.

I remember now how my mother would sometimes say when I would ask what she was having, “Oh, I don’t know, it’s not much fun eating alone.” And we always lived nearby and would eat with her as often as we could. But I certainly understood her feelings. I could really see it with all the people that are in independent or assisted living. I would go several times a week and she would point out the ones that were always alone with nobody visiting. And it was no small percentage.

Being a senior I’m sometimes at restaurants where I see individual diners. I might have to draw up the courage to see if some of them want to join us in the future. There is a lot of loneliness in the world. That is not a good thing. Families have been too splintered.

Remember, smile at someone you don’t know. It might make their day or change their spirits. Offer a kind word to someone, hold a door for someone, and say I hope have a nice day as you check out at the register and a thank you for your waitress.

A Day with My Grandson

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my grandson. What a joy that was. And being he is a little over a year now and walking it takes a ton of energy to keep up with that little guy.

My son and his better half had a chance to go to the Orioles playoff game which provided my opportunity. It’s been a while since my granddaughter was this young and it’s been a while also in watching them alone. My better half is usually involved anytime there is an opportunity but she had plans with our daughter.

I know yesterday made my weekend. Those smiles, the hugs, when he crawls into my lap or stands between my legs with his arms outstretched over them as I sit on the couch watching the game for a few seconds with a half eye and the other 1 and a 1/2 on him. I know his dad must be watching games with him because if the crowd got excited he would start to yell and raise his arms.

But we played and played for most of the day with his toys, went for a stroller ride around the community, and did some laps on the deck.

He seemed to really like boxes. I had brought some toys from home that I know he likes and some he hasn’t seen yet. He dragged that empty box around for several minutes from one end to the other. Suddenly he stopped and stood there, looked at it, and started to get in and then sat in it, looked around inside it, looked around outside it, and then looked at me and let out a shriek of happiness with a big smile.

So I crawled over and pushed him around the house for about 20 minutes on my hands and knees and he was so happy. I said Papa has to take a break. He was out of the box for just a minute or two and I was sitting on the floor in front of the couch and he wanders over and just lays across my legs and stays there so I started to rub his back. Even at that age, they know ways of saying thanks. Either that or I wore him out somehow. Too much excitement maybe?

I also forgot what eating machines they were at that age. They warned me that he is sloppy and a thrower at meals. But I didn’t have any issues. He seemed intent on getting all of it into his face. There was one small piece of mac and cheese and a small piece of blueberry on the floor but nothing else and the tray was pretty clean.

I was exhausted and when I got home, I snacked for 5 minutes, laid down, and was out in 5 minutes. He waved goodbye as I was leaving last night which was one of the first things I remembered this morning. Grandchildren have made me very happy getting into my senior years. They remind me of the important things in life. Learning, happiness, and love.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Deserts are one of the sweet parts of life. Old fact, when I was young I worked in an ice cream factory for a summer. I was on the half-gallon line. I guess that is why I don’t mind having ice cream in the morning because that was my shift.
  • Important expectations, lessons, limits, and rules are not being taught and enforced at a young age. At the same time, it’s hard to expect that as a standard for those living on next to nothing and surrounded by negative examples once they step out the door no matter how much their parents support them.
  • Sports are fantastic in their genuine form, the game being played itself, at any level. Watching or as a player. It’s all these other pregame, prediction, gambling, fantasy, and fluff shows surrounding it that I can do without. Halftime entertainment is fine. Also, give me school bands instead of DJs at college games, please.

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Off to the races

I was holding my 11-month grandson yesterday and he is off to the races. All of a sudden he is very mobile and gaining strength quickly. He’s got a nice stiff arm when he decides he’d rather be held by Dad or Mom. Thankfully he is quite content in my arms but when I put him down his crawl is gaining pace. But in no time he’s going to be on his feet and a whole other ballgame starts.

Is that one leash or two? Photo by Mike Hartley

When they crawl for the first time it’s about the speed they had when discovering how to roll side to side and even when they slowly pick up speed you can catch them either with a long reach or one step. It’s still a crawl and easily contained. Then they discover things that help them get vertical but can’t fully do it on their own yet.

Then those first steps. I can even see his mind turning when he’s standing up against something. The legs still look like one of those air balloon figures you see outside the car dealerships but that is a short time before they get their coordination and strength and they then are off like the toddler above.

I can’t believe the speed that his first year is going. Just like I couldn’t believe it with my granddaughter a few years ago. I’m so glad to be part of their lives and I hope to be around for many milestones of theirs.

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Have a seat

A soggy Friday ahead.

Having a bad hair day in that weather. Photo by Mike Hartley

No problem I have that ray of sunshine of a grandchild here today to brighten even the darkest of skies. I’m not sure what is on the agenda, it’s always fluid with her. And that is the way it should be with young ones. Let them live a little before the pressures of the world get in the way of enjoying life. Let them discover skills and likes and friends. Let them make choices before rules take over and fold us into nice packages.

Take a load off and sit your butt down. Photo by Mike Hartley

Encouraging different activities. We were painting the other day. Of course, I was overtraining but that is just me. Holding the brush, not mashing the bristles, mixing colors. But she still had fun despite me. And so did I because I paint also. And I felt honored she wanted to take mine home as well.

It’s funny that when we go to a playground and I’m watching her like a hawk but encouraging her to try things I worry about injuries. And then I think back to us swinging on these structures of scaffolding piping like monkeys. Swinging on the tri-level bars from one to another usually falling. Unwittingly sending someone into the air or crashing to the ground on the see-saw. Oh, how bout that merry-go-round disk with the metal bars you would hold onto till it got going so fast it would fling you off?

Those metal slides about 20 feet high got boiling hot during the summer months. Going down one in shorts required keeping your legs in the air. And the swing sets, BIG swing sets that must have been anchored 10 feet into the ground and the top bar is at least 12-15 feet high. This means you can swing 14-17 feet high and launch yourself into the air. Made for some interesting landings. Actually, now that I think back, that was probably the beginning of my concussions throughout life.

And then I look at the equipment my granddaughter is on and I relax a lot.

I might have to revive something I used to do for my kids when we went to the beach. I’d go out at sunrise and make something for them in the sand. I wish I had taken some pictures of others. But now my grandchildren are getting to the age where they might enjoy it also. I know the little destructor of a granddaughter will enjoy knocking it apart.

An early attempt at a sea turtle.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A honkey tonk morning. Was listening to T for Texas by Lynyrd Skynyrd this morning at 4 am.
  • Each time I pass a skatepark I kind of chuckle and remember those thin boards with the thin wheels we would ride on huge hills. Back then the trick was staying on it and not killing yourself. Helmets and pads were decades away.
  • I believe someone who likes to create doesn’t think of it as work. At least I don’t. Yes, some things require a ton of effort but it’s a labor of love or fun or both.