THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Feeling FINE

You know each day I’m finding more of a spring in my step. I’m learning that no matter what is ahead its how you look at each day that allows you to feel happy, feel fulfilled, feel connected, feeling like your making a contribution and to move forward. Yesterday I finally got around to some work on etchings in stone. Felt good to create something. Felt good to get moving on a  project. Felt good to make something for someone else.

Of course with practice my skills should increase so I’ll wait a bit before sharing some of those pieces. Thinking about switching to wood just for the ease of work with the materials and that I can get quicker practice on this. I’m realizing I have to think things through a bit more before grinding away. It is exciting to just freelance at it though. Sometimes those are the things I’ve been most pleased with.

Lunch at Shannon’s. 

Took my wife and in-laws to Shannon’s today. Well let me correct myself, they treated us (thank you again). I’ve always like Shannon’s Bar and Restaurant. Its good comfort food. I’m surprised it doesn’t attract a younger crowd though. Food was excellent as always. Never been disappointed here. Today’s meal was a grilled Reuben which was great. Actually two of us had the Reuben. A tuna melt and open faced roast beef sandwich with lots of gravy rounded out the order. Service was good as always.

Random Thoughts for Friday September 18th 2015

  • So much has been given to me. I hope I’ve shown the proper appreciation.
  • I can’t wait to listen to some music an old friend created and sent me this week.
  • So many suffer each day. How can we who are healthy and safe not be thankful.
  • So much to do, isn’t it great. So little time, doesn’t that suck.
  • I love living in this county. But its on the verge of such a drastic change that I’m not sure it’s still for me.
  • I had a county office tailgating me the other day. Too bad the law doesn’t apply to all.

So I’ll leave you this morning with this smiling face below. Just playing around.

Shelly Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley



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Tuesday thoughts

I have no direction today. I’m on autopilot. I played some basketball and my mind wandered to my youth. That was till I tried that extreme reverse lay-up and my back reminded my I’m in my late 50’s. But I powered through. Work is a blur lately. So much change and chaos. Don’t get me wrong, my professional work life has been one big change. I’ve worked through the golden age of publishing in the Newspaper industry. I’ve gone through so many technology changes I could be a walking museum.

Kolache Kreations coffee and ice cream shop. Photo by Mike Hartley

Kolache Kreations coffee and ice cream shop.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yesterday I decided to see if anyone was having an early practice or game at the Wallace Park HCYP fields along Frederick Road. As I passed by the coffee shop on the corner I saw something on the sign I hadn’t seen before. “ICE CREAM.” So I’m guessing I’m going to give this a try for the pastries and other treats in the morning and stop by in the evening with my wife for an ice cream or shake.

To bad the fields look quiet again. I miss those days of helping coach little league. Helping young kids learn the game and sportsmanship is, a wonderful thing to share. And the joy the kids display is more than any paycheck could give.

This coming weekend I’m going to be a shooting fool. I hope to get so much work done photographically starting Friday that I’ll be boring you with photos from it for months to come. It’s not often I get to spend hours in a day shooting for a few days in a row.

Bug - one of millions gracing my property. Well I should say OUR property. Photo by Mike Hartley

Bug – one of millions gracing my property. Well I should say OUR property.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So another few days at the job that pays the bills and then a glorious weekend. I sense the last swimming weekend of the year might be upon my. I also have an itch for something I haven’t had all year. Well I’ve had a ton of crabmeat but I haven’t PICKED any crabs this year. That is almost grounds to be ejected from the state of Maryland so I had better get on that horse and get a dozen or so of those bay dwellers.

So as this day winds down, I look forward to reflecting on how wonderful it was. How much fun it was to be able to get out and about. How lucky I am to have a great partner in life. How my stomach doesn’t ache for a meal.

Other random observations:

Through the abundance of chores, through the time spent on the job that pays the bills, through the endless appointments, through the endless commute, through the restless nights. My hammock cures all. Well as least for as long as the nap last.

Was it me or was every 3 out of 4 commercials for either Fan Duel or Draft Kings during football games this past weekend. That is not right. We are going to have a massive gambling problem in this country before long.

Random Thoughts for Tuesday September 15th 2015

  • You know I think my worth will be measured in what I mean to others.
  • It’s nice having a snowball stand right down the street.
  • How does one know, how many seasons lay ahead.
  • Predicting the coming snowfall season will be a big one. Hey, I got as good as a chance as any weatherman I know.
  • The cool nights are upon us. Where is that quilt?

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Sunday shells and stuff

Those were some rains yesterday and last night. I should get my backside outside in that and learn to shoot foul weather pics. But instead I decided to tinker around in my basement which becomes my makeshift studio. Never really thought or practiced studio shots before. I’m hoping to learn by shooting more. Anyway I also found a few close-up filters that were so old I had to clean them a few times before even using them. I’d say they had to be about 45 years old to be exact. And being I didn’t have much money back then the quality of the glass is suspect. I even stacked them at one point, but its good to experiment.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Seashell Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Well lets see. I’ve misplaced (forgot where I stashed them) the different color background paper I had. Strike one. Lights, still don’t have that setup. Strike 2 and no shutter release – strike 3. Guess I could use the timer option but I don’t know that function on the camera yet. Tripod-check, table-check, camera-check, seashells-check. So you get what you have above.

Lets see if I can so something more creative in the future.

I was a little slow and didn’t have enough lens to catch this guy well over in Columbia at the lake the other afternoon. Guess I’ll have to concentrate on the Hawks up this end of the county.

I believe this is a Blue Heron cruising over Lake Kittamaqundi

I believe this is a Blue Heron cruising over Lake Kittamaqundi

And I see I left out a few other shots of the walk around the lake also. So to bore you further.

Beside me lays the output of a book I started to write about 6 1/2 years ago. I like the concept, I like the stories and ideas. I like the reason I started to write it. I like the effort I put into it till I forgot why I was writing it. Then it languished in never-never land till I output the contents of what I had to date to paper last week. The reason for writing it was re-inspired recently and this time it will not languish in never-never land. For today I begin again anew. And that is probably better because the first draft needed a lot of refinement.

Random Thoughts for Sunday September 13th 2015

  • I wish I had published Saturdays Random Thoughts below Yesterday.
  • Stop dreaming and take action.
  • Each time I go to the doctors, I see a ton of people who must feel like me thinking  “If I could only stay away from the doctors.” And that in itself is a very odd thought because they are wonderful people who only want to heal you.

Random Thoughts for Saturday September 12th 2015

  • Yesterday 9/11 would have been my Mom’s 92 birthday. I miss the excitement I would feel about that day and seeing her.
  • Yesterday 9/11 was a great day of tragedy and triumph for the USA.
  • Yesterday I did as Jim Valvano suggested in his quote – “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
  • Yesterday is a Beatles song I downloaded Yesterday.
  • Yesterday I loved my wife. Today I love her even more.

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What is the perfect day

Was just thinking about what makes up the perfect day, if there is such a thing. That day on the beach, that Christmas morning as a child, the day I got married and I let my mind continue wandering that path for a bit. Then I realized that they are all perfect so far. For if I look at small victories or pleasures each day I’m alive it’s a great experience. Even my worst days for the most part I have a lot to be thankful for.

I slept in Friday. I rarely do such a thing. It felt great. I also went for a walk in Columbia with my better half. We don’t get a chance to do that often with our schedules, so that is wonderful. Time to talk, laugh and cry together. We hugged, we kissed. We came home and shared an evening together. We shared our home which we worked so hard for.

Lake Kittamaqundi Photo by Mike Hartley

Lake Kittamaqundi
Photo by Mike Hartley

I have enough to eat today. I have a roof over my head. I have my health (sort of) but for the most part I’m good now. The sun was out and in the low 80’s so weather was perfect. So it was another in a string of wonder perfect days I’ve had. I’m glad I have the ability to see that now.

Today we even might go to Soft Stuff for an evening ice cream. I know, it’s not the best thing for me and it doesn’t set the right example if you’re trying to be healthy. But as a good friend of mine who uses words sparingly says “F it”. But what better thing to do on a rainy Saturday.

Thinking about the perfect day is a mindset for me from now on. Yeah there are things that piss me off throughout the day. Poor drivers mostly but I’ve learned to appreciate so much lately that I feel kind of guilty about any complaining I’ve done about life before this. For it showed the ignorance I had for the simple things or just the fact that I’m lucky enough to draw breath for another day. But now were on the right track.

For simple things like hearing my children’s voices on the phone. Sunshine hitting my back. The ability to go for a walk. Seeing friends and family are much more special.

So back to our walk in Columbia. Even though I’ve lived here before Columbia was a concept in James Rouse’s head, I hadn’t taken a walk around Lake Kittamaqundi on that new path they put around it. A very nice job was done on that project. Lots of benches to grab a break on or just relax and let the quiet surround you. A nicely paved and wide path all around it with a few nice bridges. And it’s pretty much level walk.

We did see some older folks. Some walking and some on bikes. There were also some young people. Of course the two kids with the Jehovah Witness church interrupted the zen feeling of the walk and sights and talk we had, I kept it very short and didn’t get rude but it was an unwanted interruption none the less.

It was funny as we strolled around the lake remembering the early days of the lake with skating or hockey games going on in the winter, fireworks from the roof of your car sitting on the medium of Route 29 and then walking over to the lakefront and back again. Parties, festivals and concerts. Taking a boat out to the small island near the north end and for nefarious activities. Oh the days of youth.

So below is a gallery of the walk and things I was able to capture and share today. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of that blue sky today but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

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Free time and it RAINS! But its football season

Not sure if I want to get outside and shoot the elements this evening or work on setting up my studio in the basement? Maybe both if I’m not to tired from watching the game later with the boys. For its FOOTBALL season and that is a good as an excuse to get together and raise some hell as any.

For our group it’s more about the time together than the game most of the time. We love the game of football, but were not your fantasy guys or the overly loyal or over-zealous fans. We have our teams we follow and support. We stay up with what is going on with teams and players but it’s about the friendships and laughter and catching up.

It’s about the BBQ and beverages. It’s about the ability to stay up till the end of the game and not be photographed sleeping with a beer balancing on your stomach with your hand on the mug. It’s about keeping one of our members from getting in a 3 point stance. It’s about sharing a gripe about the job or traffic.

It’s about what is going on health wise. It’s about what our spouses are up to and how happy we are or aren’t from time to time. And when you have been married as long as this group has, you have some war stories. It’s about what your siblings are up to or aren’t doing.

It’s about catching up on what are kids are doing and the last time we saw them and what we did. It’s about sharing stories from the past. It’s about planning trips for the future. Its talking about the few days left in our scheduled that the wives haven’t booked already to get together. I call that part counter planning. But of course women are better at it than we are.

It’s about a team that gathers together to celebrate life but never talk about that fact itself because we are too busy doing it. It’s a strange collection of men who I call my Brothers. I owe them so much. I cherish their friendships. If there is anything positive in me they helped shape and form it. A toast to my Brothers, no matter what sports season it is, or how misguided their sports loyalty’s are.

Cool, animals. Photo by Mike Hartley

Cool, animals.
Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, I know I’m a month ahead of time with these but with the way time is passing the trick or treater’s will be upon us again.

These are some old shots. Very old shots, I think that they may have been shot with that old Kodak D50 digital camera.

I think these were out at Landing Road Cider Mill Farm. Well of course I had to go Google it before wasting a ride down there to see if it still there. But this web page says the farm is now a housing development. Kind of sad. It does give some history about it and some good cider tips.

Wow, another old-time pleasure of the county lost forever. That place used to attract a huge crowd in the fall on the weekends. And the kids loved it.

King of the hill. Photo by Mike Hartley

King of the hill.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I know which pumpkin has the best face. Photo by Mike Hartley

I know which pumpkin has the best face.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You looking at ME? Photo by Mike Hartley

You looking at ME?
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m starting to feel like this shed, a bit weathered.

Feeling a bit weathered Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling a bit weathered
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Thursday September 10th 2015

  • I once got a fortune (yes from a cookie) that said “you have the ability to touch the lives of many people.” I really believe that is true, I just hope its in a positive way.
  • I wasn’t always at peace with myself. And I might not always be at peace with myself in the future. But I can say I’ve had some days finally that I feel that way.
  • When I look at my family, I feel like I was a lottery winner. One lucky SOB.
  • Professional cultures vary like the number of businesses in operation.
  • I finally realized I can do a lot. And all I need to do is keep that confidence to do more.

Time got away from me yesterday but won’t let that happen again anytime soon.


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Equal time

Being I have to spend part of my day working in the city I figure its only fitting to spend some time away from it when I’m off. So today I took a drive down a local street (Henryton Road) that I haven’t been on in a while. A beautiful spot that is just a long dead-end. It used to be a through street till a flood took out the bridge a long time ago I believe.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m going to be walking this road a good bit in the future. For not only is it littered with beautiful woodland, it has streams snaking through it all along the road. When you enter it there are farms on both sides of the street. As I drove down the street its like my dead-end street, people wave and smile. They watch but they trust.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s so quiet down here also. As I got out of my car a few times the only thing I could hear was the water in the streams and occasional squirrel jumping from branch to branch. I’m going back on Wednesday to measure out some distances in the car. Then I’m going to walk it a few times this coming fall to see what gems I can find. And I’m going to bring my tripod along.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Tuesday September 8th 2015

  • War was the great killer of our previous generation. Food will be this generations downfall.
  • I don’t know how this country can throw out millions of $$ worth of food each year when people are starving.
  • I could never tell my wife I love her enough, but I really try to each day.
  • Health can’t be over rated.
  • Looking through the lens of my camera give me insight that I don’t have if the camera isn’t in front of me.
  • You know you like life when you bolt out of bed regardless of how little sleep you got and your ready for business.


Morning ride in the county, under the clouds

A Saturday morning on a holiday weekend and out before the crack of dawn I go. I’m all excited because the weatherman says its going to be beautiful out. So out I got at 7am and it’s cloudy as hell. But I’m not deterred so I head out to a spot I thought about yesterday because I haven’t been down there in many years.

Brighton Dam Rec area. Photo by Mike Hartley

Brighton Dam Rec area.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So down Ten Oaks road I head to Brighten Dam road. I remember going out there with my Mom a few decades back to look at the azalea’s blooming in the spring.

Well today the lower area of the dam is not accessible. So I walked over the bridge a bit and caught some early morning fishing going on.

And as I stood there I was still in awe of what I just drove past. I now know where the “Have’s” live. The homes in this area are just stunning and huge and every other description you can come up with. On the way down I was passed going the other way by a Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW and other high-end rides. I thought there was something special going on till I saw some of the estates.

Very impressive building and landscaped properties, so if your inclined to take a peek at the affluence in the area take a drive out here. I’m going to make sure I go back when things are in bloom around the dam to get some good color along the water.

Brighton Dam fishing. Photo by Mike Hartley

Brighton Dam fishing.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I leave this spot and head down Highland road. Just before the intersection at 108 and 216 this little gem caught my eye. I have no idea what it is beside military so I’ve got to go look this up or stop someday and ask some questions on this. And of course Google is your friend and I found a picture below it of in action. Never had seen this type vehicle before today. Being my Dad was a WWII vet I might have to go meet the keeper of this toy.

WW2 troop carrier. Photo by Mike Hartley

WW2 troop carrier.
Photo by Mike Hartley

gde-fon.com1680 × 1050

gde-fon.com1680 × 1050

Just after this shot of the vintage vehicle, I notice the sun trying unsuccessfully to break through the clouds. So I figure if it does Rocky George might be a nice close spot to get a few shots. Plus I needed to take a walk and get some exercise. And while I was enjoying my musical selections, I needed to get up.


So as soon as I’m walking down a short path to the water this guy takes off on the other side. Oh how nice a long lens would be at this time.

No problem, I’ll get it someday and then he will be as sharp and beautiful as some of the other images I see out here. But they are still majestic birds so I had to put this out there anyway.

The water level was low so I walked along the shore line. I’ll take the wooded trail another day when I get my better half to go along with me.

There were few people out this early which was a bit surprising. I guess people were enjoying sleeping in. With the overcast I was beginning to feel like I should have been one of them catching more shut-eye.

That blue heron wasn’t the only one going fishing this fine morning. There was a father/son team I ran into that hadn’t had any luck yet but the youthful enthusiasm wasn’t deterred one bit.

Father Son fishing on a holiday weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Father Son fishing on a holiday weekend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh, free photographic tip. Anytime you catch someone launching a boat, take pictures. While most like this one are successful you never know when your going to catch someone taking an unexpected swim or making their SUV into a submarine.

Reflection of canoe Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of canoe
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I stay out for 2 1/2 hours hoping the clouds will dissipate and I get maybe 2 minutes worth of sun peaking between clouds. Well when I pull back into my driveway it decides to come out for good. But now its work and chore time so there goes that. No problem, I’ll pick up later today when I have to run some errands.

The thing about photography is taking your hardware with you at all times and being open to seeing things. So I didn’t let the clouds get me down and upon reflecting like the canoe above, it was a great morning.

The weight if its mighty bloom bows as the summer holiday weekend signifies the end of our summer season. Thanks to my neighbors Bruce and Marcie for their wonderful garden.

Sunflower bowing as the final holiday weekend is upon us. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sunflower bowing as the final holiday weekend is upon us.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Saturday Sept 5th 2015

  • Is it me or are spiders actually getting larger?
  • This is the first year in memory I didn’t see a Box Turtle.
  • I think I saw the Michael Jordan of fish jumping earlier today, he even switched fins.
  • I get to take care of my grand dog  for a few hours today. Life is good.
  • It’s never too late to start a new career. Never give up on your dreams.
  • You ever notice how doctors always aren’t on the same page?
  • Can you dig it said the hippie, with a shovel said the farmer.
  • I’m getting better at turning work off when I’m done with it. Wish I learned that 30 years ago.