THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Tuesday startup

I’d like to lay back and relax, but I can’t. I barely have time, to write this rant.

If I sat down, I would probably doze. Again affecting the time for brilliant prose.

So I will gently peel the eyelids back. And avoid the temptation to return to the rack.

I’m awake, upright and in pain. I’m looking for that light switch, to engage my brain.

Ah there it is, hiding under my beard. I pull the cord, and liftoff is cleared.

I turned on the news at various times. And all the talk was of the many crimes.

So I turned that down, and the music way up. Now what was half full, is an overflowing cup.

Our times are full of chaos and strife.  That’s the reason it feels so special to hug my children and wife.

We tend to lose sight through the confusion. So much so that it results in a deep brain contusion.

Don’t lose hope, just keep plugging away. For hope is the little deeds we do each Day.

The garage just called, my car is ready so I have to run. I’ll resist the urge to turn traction control off and have fun.

To hell with the snooze. Its time to cruise.
Photo by Mike Hartley

One thing I used to enjoy was occasionally writing some rhymes for friends at work. I don’t think they are much of anything but it seemed people enjoyed them. It always felt good to make people laugh and maybe look at things differently. I love it so when I can get others to laugh. And when I can, it feels great on the inside. It’s like a drug.

I admire a lot of comedians. For some strange reason I relate to their lives in what I perceive to be the great feeling of making others laugh and on the surface seem normal but at the same time feel real alone on the inside. I’ve been able to break free of those feelings for the most part but those tunnels certainly never close down.

No matter your speed. Get them wheels turning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

It’s so disappointing and depressing when people steal, even the little things.

You know why there is peace on earth at this time of year. We’re worn out from fighting the rest of it.

I can’t listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It’s like watching Lucy trying to get Charlie Brown to kick the football.

Does toeing the line mean you can pass the sobriety test?

I’m surprised how many strong people I know, really strong people, than still have struggles making it through life’s situations. What separates them is they don’t give up. So now we all know the secret of being strong. And as usual, I have my best friends to thank for this enlightenment.


Not a normal Monday

And why isn’t it a normal Monday? Well its my last day of work this week. So in some ways it’s a Friday. Yep, cut my work week in half because I had some vacation to take before being lost in the wind. I did that a few times and I’ve never stopped kicking myself in the ass for it. No more though. Every minute is MINE.

V mode
Photo by Mike Hartley

Funny thought that I don’t associate vacation and this time of year. When I think vacation I think of the scene to my left. Yep – sun – sand – surf. I’ve never been one of these that head to the mountains and snow for the ski season.

I don’t like cold. I don’t like heights. I don’t like slapping two long sticks to my feet and going down a steep hill out of control. I don’t have a broken bone so far and I’m in no hurry to check that one-off of the things medically wrong with me.

Being that it’s too cool for the beach chair and the only thing the umbrella would be good for is keeping the cold rain off me, I guess I’ll find something else to do. Oh yeah, Christmas shopping might be a good start.

This was my favorite plant to work at. The old College Park facility.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But before I can revel in the thoughts of having some time in my day to use as I see, I must get to the job and help put out tomorrows news in print and online. I can still say there is never a dull moment in this business. Even the slowest of days can seem out of control.

It’s evolved over the years as have I. And by that I mean I started off in a weekly newspaper business. Yeah we had more than a dozen and they didn’t all publish on the same days but I thought that was hectic.

Then our weekly chain expanded and we added other products and multiple monthly local phone directories. And coupled with a boom of huge papers and profits, I thought it couldn’t get any busier.

Then I took a step back but became busier because two good friends and I started our own weekly paper. Another level of busy all together being a small business owner.

Then it was off to a daily newspaper and I learned about consistency and strength and staying power. I’ve worked more hours per week at the daily than any other type.

And now we are not only a daily paper but an online news organization. Those operate 24/7/365. My department is open 365. We work 365. Our department is open 24 hours a day.

You know what. I enjoy it and probably have become addicted to it. The unstructured chaos and change and instantaneous nature of the business is like a shot.

The area I work in is like the emergency room nursing unit if I were to use an analogy. We track the patient all the time. Which means you can’t take your eyes and ears off the monitors and patient.

And that patient is the IT systems. A very visible and important cog in the wheel here. So it comes with its share of pressure but I guess I’ve always been lucky in dealing with that aspect.

So today should be a piece of cake. Because there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Random Thoughts of the Day

There is little quality control on the production of Xmas string lights.

We are seeing a good example of what people will sell their souls for.

I like that my children look forward to seeing our home decorated for the holidays. I hope it reminds them of good days in their youth.

I always feel like a million $$ after a haircut. Even though I walk out of the barber with a dollar or two in my pocket.

Someone took something of mine without asking. That is not a good way to end a day.

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I guess I start every post with kind of an unknown idea, thought or objective. Some days I jot down a few random thoughts early. Other days it’s the last few things I’m thinking that day. Some days a photo inspires a train of though, or takes me to a different time and place which comes out in some emotion.

Ellicott City looking over bridge.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I got into this blogging to exhibit the few photo skills or luck I’ve had so far with my photography. And as a tool to keep me motivated. But lately its words that have captivated me. Yes I still love to make images. Yes that is still my main priority.

But the writing is something of an unexplored area. It’s a lot easier to edit my photos than it is my words. Hell I really don’t have much time to spend doing either.

I probably need an editor. At least to learn from them, if not keep the crap out of these post.

Some days the words just flow, others are more difficult. Like today, I had no idea what I was going to start with. So I went looking for a few photos. I found some really old stuff and the first two I picked out we’re night shots.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I thought that was fitting being I’ve got a night shift ahead of me. Yeah the dreaded darkness. Well actually I don’t dread the dark. I find some interesting things in the dark. I hope to get out and shoot some at night this week.

Of course I do have to get shopping. There is a deadline fast approaching. Guess I picked a bad week to put the car in the shop for some maintenance. Such is life. My better half is going to lend me her car while at work so I can run some errands. Teamwork.

Lots of emotions this time of year for lots of people. Great joy and sometime great sadness and in most cases mixed together at various points in one’s life. I’m better at focusing on the here and now and less on some of the sadness.

But you never know when its going to come. You really don’t have control over it. Sometimes its a sound or smell or sight of something that triggers memories. Sometimes its well intentioned people going too far to remind you of some things that are very personal at the wrong times. All I know is that it is tough for a lot of people.

Whatever it is, do your best and think how you can make special positive memories for someone else and maybe you will discover a few more for yourself.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I could be busier, if I cloned myself.

Time for the last haircut of the year.

I got a few things I’d like to shut down but the Government isn’t one of them. None of us win in that effort.

I’m turning off the days of the week for the rest of the year and pretending its my time.


It was not a Dog Day Afternoon

Raining like cats and dogs
Photo by Mike Hartley

The outdoors are not fit for man nor beast today. So indoors I stayed. Looks like it’s just going to rain all weekend. Hey, those are the breaks. As they say, in everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. It looks like everyone moved here this year because we certainly have had a record year of the wetness.

I’ve been waiting for the gators to start swimming through my yard any day now. Hope that pattern of monsoon rain slows down for next year.

New pet.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Xmas lights are now on both trees and ready for decorations. Did a few other chores but nothing major.

Tonight though there are big goals. While I’m cranking out some prints for gifts and my office, I hope to do some more decorating and making my workroom more functional. Yeah its time to purge some of that junk.

This has been a good year for me. Feeling more positive than I have is a while. The cancers seems to be behind me. I have more good days physically than bad. But even if they were bad I worked through them and stayed more positive. I’m still enjoying blogging and have finally made a sustained effort the last few months of following my original intent of posting each day.

So I think I’ll skate into the new year with a good wind at my back and a great group of people by my side.

Rock Square
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

Isn’t it interesting how long and short a day is by what day of the week it is?

I was troubled to see Individual #1 at Arlington Cemetery today.

OK, I’m going to get the camera out and get some fresh images.

I hear they were smash and grab crimes out in front of my workplace. Not the first time and certainly not the last. Another reason I hate working in the city. Yeah I know it can happen anywhere but it hasn’t so far in my neighborhood.

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Looking for that silver lining

Looking for a silver lining in a cloudy damp day. I may have found it in the image below. Of course it was a few degrees cooler today than when I took this shot. The thought for me in looking at the photo is, he will not be denied or deterred from the mission. And that mission is optimism. One that I haven’t always followed. I’m sure you could speak to a few people and some may say I even stray to the negative side. Well ok, more than a few.

Not much competition.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve tried to change and spend more time looking for the right things. To be happy and joyful as possible. It’s not that I ignore negatives, I just look to turn them around quicker, maybe ignore what I can’t change, just make my best effort at making each day better for those around me.

Easier said than done some days.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I think someone realized today that they made a mistake a long time ago with us and that it has cost them money.

My favorite electronic device for this time of year is my space heater.

I feel like I could sleep a week.

Individual #1 is right about one thing. The Chief of Staff will be acting.

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The search is on

OK, I’ve got a few weeks to execute some small and big things. Its time to replace a vehicle so off to a few dealerships to decide on brand and model. We’ve got it narrowed down a good bit already but these are big decisions. We aren’t rich and typically our cars last a decade or more and certainly hit that 200k milestone or close to it before we sell it used for a few hundred $.

Front porch
Photo by Mike Hartley

Then the search for the Xmas gifts for my better half. Always an adventure. I have both success and failure in this endeavor. Most of the years I do pretty good, at least she lets me believe so. I hope I do.

I’m also searching for one of my favorite things. Our Christmas Tree. Yes I’m late, I usually have that done last weekend. But I’ll venture out tomorrow and pick one out. My family gets a lot of joy about seeing what tree we get. I’ve got a bad habit of picking the largest tree possible that will fit in our house. Using several shoehorns I get it in and it always looks great. I love having a lot of space for lights and decorations but also still being able to see the real tree.

I’ll be searching for some time to keep posting here. I’m on that daily cycle now and can’t be stopped. What I’m getting short on is fresh photos. So I got to get my behind in gear with that. And who knows, the few days I do have off around the holiday maybe I’ll write something useful.

I’m thankful for the time and opportunity and spirit to do these things.

Random Thoughts of the Day

I’m so at peace when I’m home.

Its time, time to rhyme, but its late and I forgot to dine, there goes that old mind of mine.

I saw a thread on Facebook of a group I follow because is around where I grew up. Due to a recent passing someone was bring up others in that neighborhood who had passed. I saw a lot of names I knew. Way too many. It gave me pause and reminded me to use each day better again.

You know what is important to parents. Knowing that you made the effort to spend time with them while they were here. So in that thought we will take my in-laws to lunch tomorrow.

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Disappearing Diner

I used to so enjoy having breakfast with my Son at the Forrest Diner along Route 40 after we got our haircuts on a Saturday morning early. It was like the old diner we would go to in Laurel and on trips out-of-state in my youth. I still like Chick and Ruth’s in Annapolis. And while that is called a deli it reminds me of the diner feeling. Actually that is where I took the shot below.

Disappearing Diner
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder what type of memories our children will have. For some reason I don’t think they are going to have the substance or feeling that ours did just like our parents probably thought for us. To me a diner represents something. People at the diner used to great each other, because they knew each other. They would talk and disagree and go back to work or home for the evening.

I was going to go all nostalgic but time has gotten away from me again. Actually it didn’t. I just prioritized it well. I had a wonderful dinner with my daughter and my soon to be grandchild. I did a few things at the house and I had to work. And work has been brutal and taking up a lot of time the last few days.

So maybe I’ll finish this train of thought another day.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Remembrances of Christmas’s in my youth are getting harder to come by. I need to go look through some old photos.

I hear a rumor of more food orgies in a couple of weeks.

My senses love the smell, feel and sight of a fresh tree. My back wants nothing to do with a real tree even if it is only the trip from the top of the car to the deck and into the family room.

I saw the most fitting headline the other day.  “The Presidents distrust of intelligence expands.” That explains a good bit now doesn’t it.

I wish I had seen Genesis, especially in the 80’s. There live concerts looked like fun and I’m discovering and rediscovering some of their music.

I must be getting old. I actually missed a shift today. I may have to adjust my retirement account for transmission work if that trend were to continue. And no I’m not going to drive an automatic.