THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Earrings

Do my Earrings match? I call them Cowvid 19. Sorry, I’m just very tired and I get a bit silly in my old age. I’ve heard my children’s voices the last few days and I’m a pretty happy camper. Simple things cheer me up so, and their voices are at the top of my list.

Photo by Mike Hartley

What hasn’t made me happy is my chronic back pain has returned recently. But time to look past that and get back to work. I finished a photo project for a neighbor today and they liked it which made me happy also.

I’m going to watch the sunset party for Fager’s Island tonight and enjoy the sunset in Ocean City from afar in Woodstock. This place was built in 1975 the year I graduated high school. I’ve enjoyed it every year since. Nice deck, great fine dining, and good bands. Looks like sunset is off to a cloudy start though.

I should have taken advantage of today and the bright sunshine and gone out and taken some images. Who knows, if my better half crashes early I might head out for some night shots.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • People are behaving more badly than in the past which is even more troublesome.
  • To those who did the blood drive with the Baltimore Orioles today, big cheers for you. I’ll have to make a donation to the Red Cross because I’m still a bit nervous giving blood with my health issues.
  • I’ve got to remember to do something positive each day for someone else. I’ve been getting slack lately.


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Holiday weekend

Beautiful headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A start to the Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Mine has started already but it’s still just like any other weekend in some regards. I’ll have to work part of it (Sunday) but I do have the holiday Monday off for a change of pace so it’s not a total washout.

Tomb Guard
Photo by Mike Hartley

Speaking of washouts today is WET. And forecast for continued WET. That is OK though, I’m happy inside today after working out in the yard yesterday. I’m finishing up a small project for my neighbor who has a nice garden out front that attracts a ton of butterflies on the flowers and bees for the sunflowers. So I’m making them some nice prints of images I’ve taken over some years.

Seemed like a fitting shot for today’s events. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m using some photos here today to honor Memorial Day for those who died in the active military service of their country. So remember to pause for a minute on Monday at 3 pm to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom we live under. Maybe add a prayer for their families.

Young and old are touched by this.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So this weekend is also the unofficial start of the summer. My favorite season is on the cusp of beginning. It’s certainly going to be a different summer and I’m going to have to learn to adapt to appreciate it fully.

First I’m going to make music a big part of it. Every opportunity I get I’m going to have some tunes going. Working outside, cruising, working at the computer. Music keeps my spirits positive.

I’ve got the summer wardrobe today already. Flip flops and shorts. Its a bit chilly though so I put on a tee-shirt.

Flip and Flop Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll practice my hippie throwback look and just let the hair continue to grow. I’m in no rush to hit the barber.

Next is the commitment to get my behind back outside and take some new photographs.

So here’s to a great summer ahead.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The best time of day is each minute you are enjoying it.
  • Time to purge a few things in this office.
  • I saw an article with the headline “How Covid-19 could change the way we fly.” Well I don’t even have to read the article because I won’t be flying for a few years at least.
  • How do you know bad advice, consider the source carefully?
  • I’m fine without a haircut and I don’t need to go to church to pray.


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Thinking

My mind a swirl of thoughts. So many, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at times. Concern for loved ones. Thoughts about my job and future. Trepidation about things opening up again. Worry about the future of our country.

Sometimes I find the video meetings make me miss my friends even more. My mind keeps wandering to what we could do to safely meet, but that would be painful also because everything that is important to us like that firm handshake and hugs and high five or wrestling around would be lost.

I worry about having to make a decision on vacation this year. But then I think about being thankful that I might be able to take and afford a few days.

Which lead me to my next thought. What if I don’t have a job that will last me till I’m ready to retire. So I’m thinking about what I might be able to do if that were to happen. In some ways its very exciting and other ways very terrifying. One because of my age, mid-’60s will certainly hold me back. And of course, with so many others losing their jobs it’s going to be a crowded field of competition.

I’m not afraid of competition, but the realities of it at this stage lead me to think I might be at a disadvantage. So I’ve been thinking for myself on what opportunities I could begin on. With the world changing so fast now, there are certainly a ton of people thinking about the next big thing or the next big needs and how to fill them.

One thing that energized me was watching some of the spirits of the 2020 grads. It also got me thinking about offering some mentoring but then I started to doubt my worth in doing something like that. Then I thought, well I’ve never been unemployed so I must have some skills. I’ve worked for a very small, medium-sized, and large company. I’ve worked in production, technical, sales, management, and even an owner in companies. I’ve learned a lot along the way also.

I’ve learned a lot about people and management styles. Working as teams and individuals, drawing people’s skills and ideas out. I’ve learned financial responsibility. I’ve learned a ton about communications which is one of the most important things to a company in so many different ways.

I’ve started to rethink a lot of things. In some ways, I don’t want to fully return to what was normal before. I’m not saying I like or would welcome the death, illness, or trouble that it has caused for so many by this virus. I’m saying I’ve got my priories in better order now. Making life and death decisions will do that for you even if it’s as simple as staying at home. Cancer did that for me a few times over the last decade also.

So I’m thinking and thinking about how to bloom like these flowers in the sun.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s going to be strange when I start going out again to have someone point a “name your price tool at my forehead for a temp check.”
  • I feel guilty when I don’t post every day. Sort of like I’ve wasted an opportunity.
  • I was thinking how the education system has changed so drastically in such a short time but the real changes are yet to come I believe. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could share in the teaching?
  • I’m tired of people who use knowledge for power instead of sharing it.
  • It might be good for children and adults to know that to gain the knowledge you desire, you have to get busy doing something.


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Recoup

What a beautiful Friday and Saturday. Actually got a little more sun than I intended. I should have just used some sunscreen but it was so pleasant I didn’t feel the burn till today. Luckily its nothing serious. But that sun those two days did revive me a bit. A ride in the car with my better half for a few hours did us both good.

We toured the rural part of the county out by Clarksville and Brighton Dam and then drove through Rocky George, Fulton, Ellicott City, and Catonsville. A short window visit with my father and mother inlaw also felt good to do. I’ve always been fairly good at appreciating the small things in life. I think that makes getting through these times easier.

It was good to see everyone keeping a distance and masked up in EC. The only thing that was bunched up was the traffic through town.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I really enjoyed that series on Jordan and the Bulls.
  • I scheduled a few days off in the coming weeks and I’m really looking forward to it.
  • I’ll be glad if the weather forecast is off for the next 6 days because all I see is clouds and rain.
  • A few burgers from the grill today have me grinning.


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Difficult

Each of us has experienced days in our lives that will be ingrained in our memories forever. Sometimes they are good events and sometimes bad ones. This day is one of the bad ones for me.

I was so excited this day 9 years ago that I had gotten off of work early and I was beating the afternoon rush hour home. I was cruising along slower than normal because I had time to get home and do a few chores before going back out to visit my Mom. It was almost an identical weather day to today. Bright, sunny, warm, and a nice breeze.

I was coming up Rt 29 in front of Columbia and I glanced over at Lake Kittamaqundi when my cell phone rang. It was my mother’s nursing home and they said she wasn’t responsive and on her way to the hospital. That moment and the few days that followed was the beginning of the end of her life.

Everyone’s Mom is special. But my Mom had taken on a duel role in my life because my Father passed so early. So this day and the 12 that followed were some of the toughest in my life.

I took this shot of my work computer in her room the night she passed. The warning boxes on the weather map of the storm that came when she passed.
Photo by Mike Hartley

After a few days in the hospital, the doctors told me she had maybe a day or two because of the massive stroke she suffered. So we began hospice care and to my shock, she lasted 9 days. I was thankful that I had the chance to say a lot of things while staying with her. I was thankful that I was there with her at the end. I was thankful that she wasn’t suffering any longer because I know she didn’t want to exist like that.

The night she passed there was a severe line of thunderstorms going over. It finished and then she was gone. Almost like it came to sweep her up with them. After a few hours with hospice people and a phone call to my sister, I headed out at daybreak. It was still damp but the morning sun was trying to come out from the remaining clouds. I remember carrying the flowers out that I had gotten for her.

Each year this series of days are kind of tough to remember but I do because sometimes the tough memories are hard to forget. But I also remember the many marvelous days, weeks, months, and years she gave me. I find the pictures of her smiling and I look at those when it gets tough to remind me of the person I cherished and not the ones of her in her final days. I went to visit her on Mother’s Day last weekend and I’ll be back over in several days to pay my respects again on the day of her passing.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My better half and I took a ride with the top down today and it was beautiful. There were a lot of people out and about and I was glad to see just about everyone wearing a mask.
  • I feel much better now after scheduling a few days of vacation from work. Yes, you need vacation if you work from home also.
  • What a weekend weather-wise.
  • Time still goes by quickly in the stay at home era.
  • Images of the beach have me both excited and scared. At least I have some more time to make up my mind if we are going this year.


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Good morning HC

I finally got my behind in gear and got out early today. I should have been out yesterday for the nice sunrise because clouds were the scene this morning. That was OK though, it felt great to be out and warm enough for shorts and not having to put on sweats to start a day.

Morning in Woodstock. Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, I wasn’t just out and about snapping a few images. I had to get some gas for the mower which is being fired up today. And that leads me to my next comment. I almost never go to the Waverly Shell because they RAPE you on price but I will fill the gas can there because it’s the closest. Well, they weren’t open shortly after 6 am so I had to go to Rt 40 and St Johns Lane where the price per gallon is 30 cents cheaper than Waverly. And that the St Johns station isn’t the cheapest around either. It did cement one thing in the future for me. I’ll never even fill the can there again just out of principal.

The early bird catches the fish. I guess he didn’t like his picture being taken because he had quite a snarl on his face this morning. The pond at the entrance to Waverly off Rt 99.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It used to be you could tell the day of the week by the traffic. Now every morning seems like Sunday morning.

The morning dew having trouble burning off without the sun.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even though I have over an acre of land, I feel like I need more space between my new neighbors and myself. For the peace and quiet, we once had is shattered by roosters and geese. That’s ok though, I got some rock and roll for them today.

Nothing jumping here. Except for that snake, I saw slither away as I approached the water.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So my mission this summer is this. I’m going to try to get out and shoot a spot in this county every day. I think this will be possible because I just got the news from my employer that I’ll be working from home all summer.


Random Thoughts of the Morning

  • Smile at someone you don’t know. Wave to someone you don’t know. Tell someone to have a nice day that you don’t know.
  • Figures when I get home the sun would finally emerge from the clouds.
  • Like someone recently said – VOTE.
  • It would be good to stop thinking a day ahead and more like months or years. There is more hope that way.


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Buddies and Brothers

I had a nice talk on a Zoom meeting with my best friends this evening. It seems like an eternity since we had our normal Thursday night happy hour. And it’s showing a bit. Yes, we laughed and talked. Caught up with all the family, friend, and work updates. But the stress is clear in all of us for a number of reasons.

FISH ON Photo by Mike Hartley

But its a strange time. It’s impossible to cut loose like we do when together. The hugs and high fives are missing. Clicking a few shot glasses, laughter that takes you to the floor as you roll off your chair. Playing with the dogs, going out for food, and having a meal together.

I look at the pictures of people going to bars standing elbow to elbow that opened in Wisconsin and even though I don’t understand their desire to do that now, I do understand the desire. I miss my friends greatly. They are part of me as close as brothers.

That is one reason I worry about the near future. So many are ready to bust loose and resume normal activities. But we can’t be careless, We can’t take the senseless risk. We have to be smart about how we do this. To go from 0 to 100 in seconds seems irrational unless we all gave up and said let’s all get this and then the survivors move on.

All of us are older, have had some health issues, and in high-risk groups. Yeah all of us seem strong now. And in a second could be a dangerous team but this fight isn’t with something we’ve encountered before. Science is still trying to figure it out on the fly.

We have to find a way to exist with this now because the hardships will just continue to increase as time passes. I don’t have the answers but I’m going to try to come up with suggestions.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I think I’ll make a donation to the MD food bank again to try to feel better.
  • Tomorrow is the first day of the year it’s going to be in the ’80s. Now, where did I leave my flip flops?
  • I’m noticing the telemarketers are back to work.
  • I think I’ll get out early and do some sunrise shots.


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Living

Time to get back to really living again. No, I don’t mean I’m in a rush to open everything up or lay blanket to blanket on a beach with hundreds of thousands of people. I don’t want to go to a packed stadium for a game. But there is a ton of life out there to enjoy even without those popular things.

Always action to cheer.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I got pumped up listening to some music. That and its the last workday of the week for the kid. So I got inspired and finished a few things I was working on earlier this week. Next thing I know the afternoon is gone and its time to get to work again.

Which kind of dampened spirits but then I thought of the opportunities that Thursday will provide. I think I’ll get in the car and go for a quick ride, shift some gears, maybe turn the tires a little and crank up the stereo. You know, finding something that puts a smile from ear to ear.

My kind of ride, 2 seats no roof. I might have to throw a V8 in mine someday soon.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • When governments fail to lead, people take the law into their own hands and we are beginning to see that now.
  • I forgot how curly my hair was being I kept it short for so long.
  • The Foo Fighters remind me of the early 70’s Lynyrd Skynyrd Band. The energy, the multiple guitars, female background vocals, a frontman with a great voice and energy, original music, and great lyrics. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see them live when the virus passes and before the next one.
  • Sammy Hagar and the Circle did another lockdown video of the tune “What it’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield which was cool.


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The warmth is coming

Like most people, I’m also looking forward to getting back outside. The trick will be avoiding the crowds. After a very cool April and so far May, the temps will be rising here in the Mid Atlantic states. And that means everyone is going to want to get out. After I finish chores like cutting grass and trimming some trees I think I’ll head to the woods for a walk/hike.

Coming soon. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m trying not to think too far out but can’t help but wonder how this is going to change all the small towns around me. The number of small businesses that won’t survive is going to change the feel of the area.

It pains me to think of the loss that individuals who have worked so hard to build with their sweat over the years are disappearing in a blink of an eye.

Try as we might to support our restaurants and shops, I can’t see much hope for most. We are not in control of our own futures. I hope this doesn’t discourage a generation from starting out on their own. But the scares they see inflicted now might prevent that next group of small business people from even attempting it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • For some reason, I have a hard time thinking I’m going to like commuting a hundred miles a day again for work.
  • If sports come back but take virus tests away from people who need them on the front lines I’m going to have a real issue with that.
  • I have to get out tomorrow and do some photography. The batteries are charged, and getting out will recharge mine.


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Taking a breath

It’s funny that I think about breathing when passing people in a store now. It’s funny that I wonder if it’s safer to ride with the top down on the car or sealed up. It’s funny that I wonder if it’s safe to pass someone else on a walk or jog.

Sunday jog. Photo by Mike Hartley

If I see someone else out working in the yard do I have to go put on a mask while cutting grass? A gazillion questions and lots of them with changing answers as time passes.

Then there is the need to take a breath when encountering the rage and hostility that is building in this country. And that scares me the most because I see cracks in society.

I’m finding it more comfortable and enjoyable to just stay in my home and yard.


I’m working on a very special letter for a very special person. Someone we are separated from. Someone who really needs us at this time. Take the time if you are separated from someone very important to you to write them. Pour your heart out. Let them know that the bond is still strong and there.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The incline up button on my treadmill is evil.
  • I used to think I spent a lot of time worrying about the people I love, before the pandemic. Boy was I wrong again.
  • I’m not sure we want to think about returning to the wild west days, our weapons are much more advanced now.


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Contrast

I’m blessed to be in a shelter in place mode with my better half. But we have a life of contrast now. Before this, we were both working. Now we are down to just me working (from home thankfully). While she loses track of what day it is I know exactly what day it is. Sometimes I pretend not to but I do.

I envy that because when on vacation I experience that loss of what time of day it is. And it’s great. I think that is why I look forward to retirement so much. Getting lost in time can be a wonderful thing. It reminds me of my youth.

You can spiral up or down. A lot of times its our own choice. Photo by Mike Hartley

In some ways, I’m very thankful for the schedule. The routine, the discipline, and goals. But I’m thinking I need to do a better job and be more prepared for when the day retirement comes because I want to stay busy. I want to accomplish things. I want to be motivated and challenged. Yes, I want to do that and also relax but I believe I can accomplish both those goals.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Grilling out makes me feel good. Bring on summer.
  • Aches and pains mean I need to get into better shape. So off we go.
  • Arlington National Cemetery was a very quiet and beautiful place this morning.
  • I’m so thankful for my children.
  • I can’t understand why more people aren’t up in arms about the number of people dying and doing something about it instead of just blaming China. There will be enough time for that after but I think there is a more pressing problem going on.


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Family

I saw my family today. We went to visit my mother and father-in-law. It was her birthday today so we held a big Happy Birthday sign and brought my son’s dog and my daughter’s baby to also raise her spirits. It was tough for everyone as it has been just visiting them through a closed window at their senior center for months now.

Family at JFK grave site with the eternal flame. Photo by Mike Hartley

The sadness of my better half not being able to hold them is heartbreaking to watch. My parents have been gone for a while now and I tried to put myself in her place and it is even hard to imagine. Not that my love for them isn’t there but the bond between a child and their parents is indescribable in most cases.

Tomorrow I will visit my parents in Arlington. My Dad’s birthday was yesterday and it’s Mothers Day so its a good time to pay my respects again. It will be a hard visit. I’m overdue and that always makes it difficult. At least I’ll have a lot to catch them up with. And being the cemetery is closed to the public it will be a nice private time.

I think that is why I love the picture I used today. A family at a cemetery. Both life and death. A bond that is alive but never broken in death. A bond of memories and love.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thank you Fager’s Island for the live stream Sunset again. It keeps me believing I might see it again someday in person in the future.
  • The best day of my life is always the last day we are together as a family. And that is every day, be they near or far.
  • To all those including my best friends, I mourn the absence of all our Moms but I remember each fondly.


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Turn it UP

I started this post yesterday but life got in the way of finishing it so I’ll post this and another one later if I get some fresh images to share. One of my best friends sometimes sends a lyric of a song by text, sometimes a very short segment. Sometimes I go “what” but then I relax and think, I remember the next line and I’ll text it back to him.

It reminded me yesterday afternoon to turn up some tunes here at the homestead in Woodstock Maryland. Kind of fitting I moved here many decades ago.

Smiling in Woodstock MD today. Photo by Mike Hartley

I was looking at song titles in some of the online lists I have and saw the title “Almost Cut My Hair” by CSNY and I thanked them for reminding me not to cut my hair today. I figure it looks a little bad now. But it could be worse so I’ll stick to just trimming the beard, mustache, and eyebrows. Right now I’m working on the 1960’s Beatles look. I figure by this winter I’ll have the 1970’s Let it Be look.

Then it was off to “Times Like These” by that mix of people and done by the BBC. It might be my favorite rendition of that Foo Fighters song. Now I got to find out who these artists are because they all had wonderful voices.

In the Air Tonight was the next tune on the hit parade. Sort of like a modern-day Stairway to Heaven in its slow start and then powerful ending. Even the drums remind me of Bonzo Bonham’s drum sound. And thinking of those two songs I just had to go pull out the 1977 live version of Free Bird.

Well, I could go on all night about the rest of the songs I’ve listened to and will listen to this evening because it’s getting my spirits back up and I’ll get the nice photo printer fired up and finish a few projects while I’m rocking out.

What I’m going to miss.

  • I’m going to miss the people in the videos of airline and airport meltdowns and freakouts.
  • I’m going to miss waiting in line for a good seat at a good restaurant.
  • I’m going to miss going to the doctor and teasing the nurses.
  • I’m going to miss getting a haircut.
  • I’m going to miss a certain amount of privacy I used to have but I’m willing to sacrifice it for the greater good.
  • I’m going to miss waiting in a TSA line to go somewhere on a plane.
  • I’m going to miss rude people in movie theaters.
  • I’m going to miss lots of traffic that makes highways slow-moving parking lots. For it saves us from the truly really crazy assholes who can’t drive at high speeds.
  • I’m going to miss attending live sporting events.
  • I’m going to miss shaking hands.
  • I’m going to miss lots of things the past normal/pre virus life.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Someone named Barr is trying to lower it.
  • It’s strange that I look forward to cutting the yard each week now.
  • I hope I can see that flyover today by the National Guard.
  • I feel inspired to accomplish a lot today.


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Permanent Vacation

To borrow the title of an old Aerosmith album “Permanent Vacation” that is what I feel like some of this country may be on. Only this one wasn’t chosen by the vacationers. And nor will it be a paid vacation.

I’m sure a small business I started back in the ’90s would have been wiped out with this event. And looking back now, getting under a much larger company umbrella will take me to the end of my career in newspapers. But that end date is no longer any certainty because even big businesses will be affected.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’ve started to take my finances a little more seriously and doing another evaluation of what changes and what we should do to react to it. So I’m spending time getting financial information and I’m going to meet with someone soon again. I don’t mean to give the impression I’ve been careless or haven’t spent enough time planning but things had been going fairly smoothly and being I’m near retirement age my investments were very conservative because I never felt like it was safe with this administration.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So here’s to some planning and preparation. I believe there is a saying that goes, “if you don’t pay attention to your money it will soon go away.”


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s National Nurses Day. What a better year to celebrate and honor those wonderful people. Saw an organization called Frontline Feast that I’m going to donate to show my appreciation that gives meals to those on the front lines at some local hospitals that have helped me.


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Trying

Decided to try to get back to reading more blogs again. I greatly enjoyed that and I get more positive energy from it but I’ve gotten consumed with the news. Don’t get me wrong, I love news also and always have read and watched it each day with great interest. I still enjoy it because it gives me information on making my own decisions. But balance must be maintained as to not overstress about the changes here and to come.

My friend is back.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Teachers Appreciation Week 5/4 – 5/8

Both my daughter and daughter-in-law are teachers. I’ve always been so very proud of that fact and the effort and dedication they bring to their jobs. Given the current state of affairs, their jobs have increased in complexity and stress I’m sure. Not to mention doing their own childcare at the same time as many are doing while working from home.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hear Wendy’s is not serving burgers at some of its locations because of the meat shortage. Some of you younger people might not remember a popular Wendy’s commercial back in the ’80s. Where’s the Beef
  • I see the state of Maryland is going cashless at the Bay Bridge toll plaza this year. And if I don’t get an ez-pass I’m going to get charged more because of it. Just what I need, another device in my car.
  • Pay no attention to the man behind the red tie.


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Monday minutes

The most stressful day of the week for me is Monday. I’m usually operating on minimal sleep and energy. And this week is no different. I started a few other posts this evening and those drafts are saved for work that I just didn’t have time to complete for today.

Can you tell I long for the beach?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Being I didn’t take advantage of the few minutes I had today I had to go look for another relaxing shot from the past that I hadn’t posted. I hope I can find a scene like this again this summer but I’m not sure. In watching the news you can see the pent up demand to get back outside. Trouble is if we all do it at once or like we normally do I’m worried that it may cause issues.

So tomorrow I get to work again with the cameras. Well, make that about a half-hour from now. Life is good if you make the best of it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I forgot the last few days to thank those doing so much for so many in need. Much respect and thanks to you all.
  • I long to laugh with friends in person.
  • It’s disturbing. Just pick something.
  • I don’t know if all the good people and all the good they do can overcome all the evil that is rising to the surface.


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Music saves me again

I was listening to some classic rock this early Saturday morning. And by early I mean right after midnight. And when I say some I mean a good 2 hours worth. So I had to put the headphones on because the volume was needed. It has raised my spirits so much listening and watching some old favorites on YouTube. I stumbled across a few concerts I actually attended back in the ’70s and 80s. Made the hair on my neck stand up remembering sleeping out overnight for tickets to some popular shows.

Drum set in window of Bill’s Music in Catonsville. Photo by Mike Hartley

Music is something that I would enjoy commuting back and forth to work. Being I haven’t been doing that for a number of weeks I’ve gotten away from something that used to pick up my spirits greatly. But no more. Going to make it a part of every day to counter the realities of current life. Balance out the heartache with a few smiles, some vocals, and air drums and guitar. I hope I never feel too old to enjoy music and dance a bit.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Strange listening to thunder for the first time in a while.
  • A stressful weekend for a number of reasons. Hopefully, the coming week will be better.
  • I’ve managed to lose those few pounds I put on at the beginning of this quarantine.
  • The more I see the stress of current events building in people, the less I’m encouraged about our future.


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The sea reclaims

Mother nature always wins. I love the eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware. Its a beauty with sights, sounds, and smells that give me life. I used to think that the worst thing that could happen was a storm that would cause property and beach damage. Boy was I wrong.

I can’t stop thinking about summer coming and the possibility that the vacation might be cut short or canceled altogether. I’m trying to stay positive but each day keeps going by and thousands continue to die each day in this country. And anyone who thinks we are past this or that it’s going to disappear in a few weeks has their head up their backside. But for some reason, all they seem to be concerned about is China and the FBI or maybe supporting the protesters who want to go back to work.

Everyone wants to go back to work. Everyone wants to see their parents in nursing homes. Everyone wants to see their children and grandchildren and friends again and be able to hug and kiss them. Everyone wants to return to normal. But open your eyes to what is going on around you and demand a different course of action from our leadership. I don’t give a rats ass about where it started right now. I do care that it is killing thousands and gutting this country.

I guess the sea didn’t like the steps on its porch. Photo by Mike Hartley

I look at the nurses and doctors fighting to keep people alive and I’m ashamed about even thinking about a vacation but I just can’t help it. A beach vacation is an annual mental recharge. And boy could I use one after the last few months but I have to stop thinking selfishly and just make a good call with the time comes that puts nobody at risk.

I guess I could do a day trip or two if it does open and maybe hit the beach at daybreak for a few minutes to avoid the crowds. Because I know regardless of circumstances there will be crowds. Florida, California, and Georgia aren’t the only ones with people putting fun ahead of safety.

Even if the shores do open it won’t be anything like it was. No big family dinners at our favorite restaurants. No more watching the crowds on the boardwalks. No more sitting on picnic tables with dozens of people around eating crabs. No more wandering into crowded little stores or sitting at the park watching the fireworks. No more sitting outside Dumsers eating ice cream with hundreds of other people.

So I’m going to steel myself that this might not transpire at all this year. I’m going to take it in stride and fill in that mental recharge with something else to keep me going if need be. And if it does come down to not doing it at all I’ll accept that, I’ll smile, I’ll dream of the following year and pray/hope everyone I know makes it to the next time.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Maybe some sunshine and warmer weather tomorrow will bring an upswing in my mood.
  • Ron White was right. You can’t fix STUPID.
  • We are destroying what was once a great country in record time. And we are doing it from within which is the saddest thing.
  • We are forcing the poor and public servants into life and death situations each day and it’s being done for the wrong reasons. We have the money to support them but we give it to big businesses and the rich get richer even in times of a national crisis.


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Motivation is back

I’m starting to get my motivation back and it feels good. My spirits are more positive and I’m thinking about doing what feels good and right again. Of course, I feel this way, its the start of the weekend and I’m loving it. I’ll take any small victory any day of the week. But I have to get back in the practice of finding those victories each day.

Social distancing. before it was in vogue. Photo by Mike Hartley

I find my mind wandering to the shore. I guess its a combination of the warm weather about to knock on my door and the hope/dream of a family vacation at the beach. I can’t predict what that time will bring and the decision to made because everything is day to day right now. And I’m guessing it’s going to be the same way when the time comes to go or not.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Some people spend their lives moving the goalposts.
  • Somehow I don’t envision going to see fireworks with a large crowd this summer.
  • The longer my hair gets, the more I notice the grey strands. I’m glad it doesn’t bother me. I actually giggle a bit about it.
  • VP Pence was wearing a mask. It was just over his backside which he speaks out of.
  • And now VP Pence’s wife says he wasn’t aware of it till after his visit. That makes sense because the few brain cells he does possess are also below his belt because anyone with an ounce of them knows not to walk into a hospital without a mask.

Random Links of the Day


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Hump day

I’m going suspend Hump day because the week has no definition anymore. Tuesday is more my hump day than Wednesday anyway. I’m trying each day to improve my semblance of order and structure. I’m not waiting to take a shower, I get up and get clean. I take my meds after I get dressed instead of waiting and sometimes forgetting them.

I’m going to celebrate weekends though, because I’m one of the fortunate ones still working. I’m going to get back to writing my children a few times a week. Sometimes I’m able to say things in the written word that I struggle with verbally. I have a number of other things to get me back in a more positive and regular routine.

A season lost. Photo by Mike Hartley
They might want to turn the sign off and save the power. Photo by Mike Hartley

Today I got in the car and put the top down. So instead of violating the stay at home order, I took some food to the Ho Co animal shelter. But I took a long way home. I felt compelled to pull into Wallas Park. I should be watching kids play little league ball. But I’m very glad they are home and safe instead. As for all the adults who I saw in Centennial Park even though that is closed, I wonder what message they are sending.

Can’t walk past a flower with my camera without snapping an image. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Be strong for the children. Be strong for health care workers.
  • It’s not the fake news its the FAKE Leadership.
  • I haven’t felt the need for decades that I really need a good drink but it’s sitting on my shoulder talking to me.
  • I’m guessing the movie Twister isn’t real popular in the midsection of this country.


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Terrific Tuesday

Well, terrific is relative. We are all here to enjoy another day of life and share our spirits with each other. And my spirits are higher today because half the workweek is behind me and there is a fresh supply of food here. And as always each day I acknowledge the fact that those I know are healthy. As I’ve said to friends and family. We might be looking back at March and April as the good old days, so be thankful now because Lord Doom thinks things could get worse.

There is one less person here on this Tuesday though who I think might symbolize a coming plague on us all. An ER Doctor committed suicide probably at least partially due to her work in an NYC hospital. I pause again to salute and thank all these people dealing with the incredible stresses of dealing with so much suffering and death on a daily basis. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255


The other day I had a fortune cookie that said: “Good Health will be yours for a long time.” This reminds me of a line in Caddyshack by Bill Murray: “And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

I society can clean up their act we might be able to see this again. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love sports and I would love to see them again this year. But not at the risk of even one life or taking away a needed test for someone on the front lines of the fight to save or protect others. I have no problem with sports leagues making plans if things get better, but they also need to be realistic when the time comes if it’s not right and cancel the season. Don’t let money guide your life.


Our nation’s rich need a wake-up call. Their reality is so far removed from the average person that they perpetuate a growing problem of greed and the have nots are just about at the limit. Just continue on the road we are on now for another 6-12 months and you will see the results.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • How can the Mayo Clinic be grateful to the VP when he can’t follow their own rules. Kind of sends a mixed message doesn’t it? Personally, I would have said wear the mask or stay the F out.
  • I won’t have to worry about getting a sunburn on my nose this summer.
  • Note to Gov Hogan. Your team took a functioning unemployment website and broke it. Overall great job so far but that wasn’t what you need at this time.
  • That’s funny, I haven’t heard any experts say this Virus stuff is behind us like the Big Cheeto said today. It makes you wonder what experts he is listening to?
  • Oh yeah, another note to the Federal Government. Your “Get my Payment” site sucks.


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Adapting

I feel like I’m starting to adapt to the new realities of day to day life. Of course, I have it easy so far because there is food in our home and one of the two incomes is still there along with health insurance. So we can get by fine with those things.

I’m so glad the warmer weather is on the way. Right now we are just making the best of it, looking to help others when we can and thinking about the day we can safely start to regain some sense of normalcy which will still be a big change from what we had. So get ready to hoist the sails and open a bottle of rum.

Go for it. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • What I’m not adapting to is the Maryland unemployment site and the Get my Payment site for the Federal Government.
  • If I could just shake this headache.
  • Time to get the viewfinder back to my eyes.
  • Working on a better attitude. Give me a minute.
  • Working on a video for my granddaughter.


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Soggy Sunday

Nothing like a rainy day to step on one’s spirits. But instead of letting it get me down, I’m trying to get some things done. At the same time, I’ve been fighting a headache all day and I’m having trouble overcoming that.

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

Don’t let it separate you!

Before this virus changed our world I had the joy of being able to see and watch my granddaughter 2-3 times a week. Talk about the good old days, those were memories that I’ve missed the most besides seeing my own children. My daughter said when she sees me in pictures that she puts her hand to her mouth and makes the funny noises we used to share.

After taking hundreds if not thousands of pictures of my grandchild’s first year of life I haven’t been able to see or shoot any in the month and a half of her second year. And that hurts me.

Well, I’ve decided in place of our personal contact each week that I’d try to make 2-3 videos a week to share with her and keep her grandfather in her mind as the funny strange old man she had started her first year with.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • OK, tomorrow I return to a seat that allows for proper posture while sitting at my work computer.
  • A new name for the guy at 1600 Pa Ave. Quacksalver in Chief.
  • I’m starting to find my rhythm again.
  • As I should be saying every day, thank you to our health care workers and those out taking care of all our needs each day.

Random Links of the Day

Kind of fitting for the state we are in. Times Like These


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Simple Saturday

A day spent doing a few chores like cutting grass. Nice to know this old man can still do it with a push mower. Yes I’m still trying to get the 20+ year old riding mower going for the season. Maybe next weekend if I’m lucky.

I need a mower with this cut radius. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • For some reason, I’m struggling to get my mojo back.
  • Looking forward to ending my night with a smile watching SNL.
  • The deer are back at it again eating my better half’s beautiful flowers. Living next to the wood has its perks and drawbacks.
  • Look back at other sacrifices made in history. Now how hard is staying home? The only ones suffering now are the poor and sick. Let’s all help the poor and out of work, for a change.
  • OK the NFL draft is over. You can close the sports page till 2021.


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Absence

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And in the case of blogging that is true for me. As just about everyone in the world has been doing, I’ve been also making adjustments in life. And in that end, I’ve missed some days of blogging. I’ve been in a pretty good daily rhythm for a good while now but in the last month and a half, I’ve been missing some days.

I haven’t been shooting many new photos, I feel my creativity is way down overall. There are a few family health issues that have also taken priority for the last few weeks. So today I hope to be able to begin again my regular posting and get the creative juices flowing again. The world is my oyster, so I’m going to get shucking.

Oysters Photo by Mike Hartley

We’re a month away from Memorial Day and the unofficial opening of the summer season. I’m so hoping for some semblance of a normal summer but I can see a rocky start. So it will be time to improvise a bit. Maybe different destinations for vacation will be in order. Maybe more sun on the deck instead of on the sand. Which just lead me to a funny thought. Men will all be wearing two pieces to the beach this year. Their suits and their mask. Hey, look at the benefits, you don’t have to swallow all that sand when you get rolled up in a wave body surfing and face planted on the bottom. Which reminds me I need a shark mask for the beach.

Really it’s hard to even think a few weeks out now. Nobody knows what the future holds for us this coming month or year. It’s going to play out as it likes and will be determined by a lot of factors. So I won’t pontificate anymore but take it as it comes, with an eye on family safety first.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Actually I’m not surprised at the number of selfish people in society. They’re just a little easier to spot these days.
  • Just when I get interested in cooking, watch the food shortages begin. At least I know where the crabs are and can go get some of those. Thank goodness for the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Earth day should be celebrated every day. It is our home, isn’t it?
  • For a short while, the Mayor of LasVegas took the crown as the most ignorant public servant alive. But then the president had another daily briefing and established himself, king, again.


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Time is short

I thought I was going to get more time in my week when I started working from home a good while back. I was wrong again, not the first or last time. The few hours I may have recouped in commute time savings have been overrun by other issues.

I also realized that by not driving as much my listening to music time had diminished. And that is not a good thing because it improves my mood quite a bit. So I’m going to try to get that back into my life to help destress myself.

Stress
Photo by Mike Hartley

And getting rid of some stress is my new focus this week. Of course, that is easier said than done. The daily noise from our neighbors with roosters and geese is enough to drive anyone nuts. But hopefully, the county zoning and animal control will do their jobs before I snap.

I need to get back to photographing and writing more. I’ve had a few days where I allowed myself to get overwhelmed and forgot the joy and good feeling I get from those activities. I guess my mind hasn’t been in the right place.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My best friends are some of the most generous people I know on earth. And in many ways.
  • There’s a saying behind every great man is a great woman. Well, I’m not a great man but I certainly have a great woman.
  • One measure I use to define success is being here for my family and hopefully, I’ve shown or done something that has helped them in their lives.
  • When I see people wasting days I feel very sad for them.


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Saturday salutations

A gloomy start to the day but some sunshine came in and rescued the day. I need to get out of the house a bit, even if it is to cut the grass or work outside. But those duties will be put off till tomorrow. I’ve got some indoor task to finish up first.

Time will free us.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was glad I took the time to watch the One World: Together At Home show on this evening. It was a celebration of all the people going above and beyond for the rest of us each day of our lives. What they (our healthcare workers and those keeping essential services running) are doing and being asked to do during this crisis is beyond what heroes are asked.

I made me ask of myself what more could I do to contribute to the causes of those many people stepping up and those far less fortunate than ourselves. This is something I’m going to try to remember at the forefront of every day to come.

I didn’t see the Fox channel joining in this celebration. I guess their thoughts on being a Global Citizen or celebrating those giving to much aren’t in line with what they will soon learn is the majority of this country. I can imagine with the negative image painted by them of the World Health Organization that even if some tuned in by accident they switched channels back to their home trashing everyone whose name isn’t Trump.

But back to what I can do today. As soon as this show is over I’m going to get up and make a few donations. And of course I’m staying home. That is the least I can do for others.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was hoping everyone realized the importance of small businesses but this event made me realize that we still don’t know that.
  • I refuse to watch one more minute of those briefings from the White House.
  • Had a great meal from Bare Bones this evening. Thanks for the reminder Kathy.


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It’s OK and Not

Which Direction to choose today. Photo by Mike Hartley
  • I’m working but I can’t go to work.
  • I’m talking to and seeing my children on Facetime and Zoom but I can’t hold and hug them.
  • I can see my friends in Zoom but we can’t click glasses when we toast or hug and exchange firm handshakes.
  • My parents haven’t been with us for some time but now I can’t visit their gravesite at Arlington.
  • I can have a BBQ but I can’t invite anyone to share it with as it comes off the grill.
  • I can listen to music but I can’t go to the concert.
  • I can shoot hoops in my driveway but I have nobody to play against.
  • I can go for a ride but usually, it’s to nowhere but back home.
  • I can wish someone a happy birthday but can’t share their cake.
  • I can work in the yard but nobody can tell me how good it looks.
  • My daughters can teach but there is no classroom.
  • I can go on vacation but there is nowhere to go.
  • I can watch sports but I’ve seen it all already.
  • I can watch sports talk shows but they talk about nothing.
  • I can enjoy a good meal from a restaurant but I can’t eat there.
  • I can hear birds singing and I wonder why they are so happy.
  • I can buy many things but I can’t go shopping.
  • I can go to the bank but I can’t see the teller.
  • I can play frisbee but only throwing it into the air back to myself.
  • I can look forward to retirement but I know this has delayed it.
  • I can watch a movie but not take my wife to one.
  • I can see my Mother and Father in law but only through a window.
  • I can see my hair needs a cut but I’m scared to try it myself.
  • I can be thankful for the health of my family and friends so far but I can’t stop the worry for them.

I’ve been staying a home pretty much through this whole event so far but yesterday went out to do some curbside pickup of groceries. I put a mask on for the first time and being I wear glasses I found myself fogging them up. I’ve got to get a better mask.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Good times can be had. Just not as many as before.
  • I’m enjoying reading a bit more lately. But it makes me tired.
  • I wonder how many people will want to move when this is over?


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Middle ground

It may seem safe in the middle but its an illusion. Actually the middle is the toughest place to be. Your surrounded but the extremes on both sides. You might have a majority but that majority is even split to one side or the other and these days it seems like there is no middle ground or group left.

Don’t get caught in the middle.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m going to trust that things will get better. I’m going to be more positive each day while keeping my feet planted in reality. As I told a friend of mine, this is a long haul event.

For those lucky enough to have a significant other by your side, it’s filled with opportunities. It’s actually a time that I’m using to feel even closer to her. Yeah, we have our moments. It’s stressful even for people who have been together for almost 40 years. But each day I feel a little closer to her. Yes even after all these years. And I hope it continues many more years. And to that end, we are being cautious, because we want those years.

So hang in there. Do what you can for those alone or locked down in senior facilities.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m at that midway point between letting my hair grow really long and trying to cut it myself. And even if I butcher it, I got more incentive to stay at home.
  • I wonder if I’ll ever ride a motorcycle again. Probably not unless a friend of mine buys one and lets me take it for a spin.
  • The smell of sausage cooking in the morning still doesn’t compare to the smell of bacon cooking in the morning.
  • I have a little thing I used to do where if I passed an animal that had been hit on the highway I would say a little prayer. Now that I’m not out and about I say them for the people that need them.
  • Thoughts of testing athletes for the virus so they can play games while critical workers can’t get tested is absurd and selfish.


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Monday mush

What a contrasting day outside. Rain, storms, wind, sunshine, warm breeze. A little of everything and that was good for me. A little entertainment for a Monday morning and afternoon. And some work to do when it dries out sometime later this week. Lots of branches and some washouts to deal with.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So what can we do for our fellow man/woman today? Lots of issues around the world and around your corner need help. From the poor soles in the south suffering from the storms to families out of work and hungry to those who are sick. So many issues it’s overwhelming. Yes, I can help but I also have to be careful. Only half of this household is working now. I have children with children who aren’t as close to owning their homes as I am. I’m hemorrhaging retirement savings. My company isn’t immune to this economic downturn. I don’t have a crystal ball for the future. Therefore I will do what I can and be happy with it. Think about what you can do, no matter how little. Tonight a donation, tomorrow some food to the local animal shelter.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Birds seem so happy after a good rain.
  • Ratings aren’t measured by TV, they are measured in history.
  • It’s good to still be working. Thank goodness I can do it from home.
  • I saw a very good Uber commercial tonight. It seems like a responsible company given how they are basically saying don’t use their business in this crisis.


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Yesterdays end

Early this morning I watched the video from Fager’s Island in Ocean City of the sunset and their playing of the 1812 Overture followed by America the Beautiful, the Ray Charles version I believe. It’s one of my favorite things to do in OC on our summer vacation. A fine meal with the family and then watching the sunset from the dock gazebo on the water with the music playing.

Sunset over the Rt 90 bridge from Fager’s Island gazebo last summer.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I sure hope we get a chance to visit this year. I hate to get my hopes up for this too much but summer family vacations are so important to all of us. Especially me, its sort of like my yearly recharge session. But I will sacrifice this and many other things if we all come through this healthy.

Fine dining room.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m having trouble coming to grips with this country. Our need for the haves to get the economy going over the have not’s who are already dying at a disproportionate rate. I wonder if their family members were on the front line if they would be so anxious? It’s kind of a good analogy about sending our troops into battle. Very few of those directing those actions have been there or they don’t have family members in harm’s way.


A Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wish our government could react as fast as the commercial advertisers on TV with the new realities.
  • I see some complaining about life at home with the kids. I’d give anything to be able to see mine again right now.
  • For some strange reason, I’m filled with some hope this morning.
  • Instead of looking at the number of deaths, go look at a few of the names and pictures and their stories. Then decide if you want to go out or not.


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Sounds of Saturday

Well, the day started out with some very unwelcome noise again. Roosters crowing and geese squawking. I sent the forms off to the county for code violations the other day concerning the birds but I’m not sure any of their offices are going to be open to deal with it.

All I know is that it is messing with my sleep and peace in my own home. When I can hear squawking and crowing sitting inside my own home with the windows shut we have a serious problem. It seems like small stuff with all that is going on but being home all day and night it gets old fast. And when it warms up in a week or two and I open the windows and encounter smells I’ll solve the issue myself.

Photo by Mike Hartley

The next sounds of the day were wonderful friends in a Zoom meeting. We used to gather about every 5-6 weeks but due to some scheduling issues, late last year and early 2020 we hadn’t met in a great while and our last physical meeting was put off when this health crisis hit.

The new normal of get-togethers, video conferencing is it now. Will that suffice another month or two or twelve? It will have to suffice for me because I don’t believe I’m doing much of anything till I can get a vaccine protecting me from this virus. I don’t care what the president says, or my job says or the governor says. I try to find as many medical people with knowledge in these areas and then gauge my actions.


Which means I better get busy finding lots of things to do. Because I doubt I’ll be watching live sports again for a while. And how many classic movies are there to watch again? I’m kind of looking forward to it in some ways. More time to spend on my crafts.

And those crafts might just become more important as time passes because the financial impacts haven’t yet begun to be felt. I was hoping not to start another career in my 60’s and right now it doesn’t appear that I will need to but this is a quickly changing world and I better be ready to adapt. That means looking at my financial house again and making sure that it is in order with contingencies.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s National Pet Day here in the states. Love your pets. I miss mine but hopefully will have another chance at it someday.
  • I find myself staring at pictures of my children and grandchildren more often these days.
  • I wonder if this will be a summer without snowballs?


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Few words Friday

The wind took the words out of me today.

Not everything is in focus these days.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Remember when the next days weather forecast was important.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Would it be accurate to say life is Zooming by now?
  • It was a Good Friday.
  • I wish I had finished the project I started on today. First thing tomorrow I go for it.
  • Wishing things away doesn’t make it so.


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Directions

As the man in the hat and the woman next to him below illustrates, everyone has their idea of what direction should be taken. And being a free society everyone will continue to do their own thing. Some with others and the whole in mind. Some with total self-interest leading the way. Some are guided by self-preservation because of economic circumstances, keeping a family fed and a roof overhead are strong motivators.

Its this way, no that way. Photo by Mike Hartley

Other beliefs are so strong that people will knowingly go to church and gather because they feel so strongly to their core that they are either going to be protected or that if it’s their time then it’s willed. They must be true to their faith and devotion first.

Thank goodness for the unwavering beliefs of the people that are in the front lines at peril to their own existence. Those are also so strong in most of them that many of them will get very sick and some will lose their lives but they can’t stop themselves from what they have been doing for people all their lives without the fanfare. A nurse or a doctor is as brave as any warrior we send away to the front lines and at home on our streets.

Everyone’s beliefs and value structures are different. The interesting fact is that we made democracy last this long and have been able to live together with many freedoms and advancing society without breakdown.

Being a wealthy country made that easy I guess. But now I’m worried. Our model must change. I don’t see things returning to the pre-virus days anytime soon. Yes, some things could be small in change. But many will be drastic I feel. Hell just losing the handshake is a crushing blow. And that might be the least of our problems.

I made a statement tonight to a friend that I hope I’m wrong about. I said that I think that we might look back at even just the last 3-4 weeks as the good old days. My gut tells me this is no short term event.

How do we fashion the changes that may be needed to survive? Who determines those changes. Instead of dealing with some of the serious issues, we have had to face us for decades we are now forced to confront several of them at the same time. A broken healthcare system, a breaking down infrastructure and now an economy in the tank.

Do we get lulled into a false sense of security and not plan for the next pandemic? Is it possible to get so many people who think so differently on the same page for the common good?

The thing that encourages me each day is to see all those who are trying to make this right from the people staying home to the nurses and doctors and many others keeping the essentials of health, emergency, food, systems, transportation, construction going.

I know I have to do my part, stay the F at home. I know I need to help others and be generous. I’m guessing I’m going to have to sacrifice what I thought my retirement might be and even if it might ever start. That is if there are still jobs left on the other side of this.

I will begin tomorrow with a smile and much hope. I will try to be supportive of others where I can. I will say I love you many times like I did today. I will think of better times ahead and try to make the present-day fun and have a few laughs. I will do something that makes me feel good and useful. I’ll try to drown out that chorus of doom and gloom. Trouble is they are getting in tune and have added a lot more voices.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I didn’t appreciate that chill in the air today.
  • I think I’ll make some chocolate chip pancakes tomorrow morning. I can’t believe we used to eat those at IHOP after a night of drinking.
  • I hope that the rooster doesn’t wake me up tomorrow. I hate getting an attitude before I’m fully awake. It’s in the county’s hands now unless that unfortunate bird wanders onto my property before they are told to get rid of it.
  • Every time I hear the wind howl like it is today I worry about losing power for days. And that worry isn’t without the history of having suffered through it many times before.
  • It felt great to make several friends laugh today.


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Finding fun in the sun

Well, cabin fever hit today so a quick ride in the convertible with my better half soaking up some rays was a nice treat. I put the old camera in the cab and away we went. We stuck to the back roads and a few neighborhoods we hadn’t traveled through before. And when I say neighborhoods in the west part of the county you are talking about big properties and little human contact chance.

Along Rt 99 in Howard County
Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, our trip started along Route 99. A good road to lean into a few turns like the one above. By the way, that’s not camera distortion, that’s a curve. This one brought back memories when I had my motorcycle and the enjoyment of the back roads of the county gave me. If it wasn’t the expansive views it’s the sweeping turns that can add to that smile on your face.

It’s been a while since having the top down and I can tell you I thought about what’s going on when I went to pull the handle to retract it. Do I have to be scared of the air I breathe now? Well yes in some situations I guess.

Don’t fence nature in.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Many neighborhoods nestled in between expansive farmland. And by the way, I love the FARMLAND FOREVER Signs I see hanging by their entrances. I hope that never disappears from our county. So much has changed and been lost already I can barely cope with what little we have left.

Not a worry in this pasture today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

That ride changed my mood today for the better and I’m glad we got out of the house. Especially with the rains coming tomorrow. It’s hard to determine when to go out. We have been really good about staying in and having no contact with people and will continue to do so.

Today felt like living.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I also discovered today that given the season it’s impossible not to touch my face. Such is life. I’ll do my best but pollen is pollen and it will do what it does. At least I’ll have a mask to sneeze into. Wait, that’s not a good idea either.

Out here your voice had better carry when you say “hi neighbor”
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m thankful my workweek ended a day early. I had a comp day left so I decided to get that out of the way. Not that I’m in any danger of not working but just needed a mental break. Just trying to get ready for the long haul.

This person had the biggest smile on their face when I blew image up. I’m glad they were enjoying the day also.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And yes I socially distanced in my car as I went by anyone. That is why there are two lanes. That was some ride today. I kind of let the car point itself. When I got people behind me I turned down another road. A slow cruise in the country. A day when driving was a complete and utter joy.

As you can probably tell from these I really never stopped the car to take any of these images. Guess convertibles are good for many things. Well, tomorrow the top stays up and I’m staying indoors to work on my studio setup. Once I get the junk out of the way.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hope our youth is watching who the brave ones are in this crisis. Not the ones wanting credit every day. The heroes are too busy doing the job. And when this is over support your medical professionals.
  • Feelings expressed even though FaceTime is incomplete when it comes to your close friends and family. But that and the video chats are still the best things around today.
  • I see the Governer designated our county (Howard) as a hot spot today. Yeah, we rock. Whoops, not a good thing.
  • Be safe, tell those you love that you love them. And if you feel like it, tell a stranger.


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Each day

Just keep plugging along each day. That’s what we all were doing before this. So that’s what I’m going to do. So I picked up the camera today and snapped a few frames.

I had lost a little motivation there for a bit. You know everyone’s mind is racing, including mine. So many thoughts and concerns. I could see it in my better half today. She said she cried. I had one of best friends share in a note his grave concern if his better half got ill and how it got to him.

You must take a break from it to refresh yourself. Each time you think its tough just think of the families of those in healthcare or working in grocery stores.

Little things for yourself can feel good, so take the time and effort to do a few. Then think about what you can do to help. It’s getting harder to do those things as well over the long term. But we could be faced with a very long term so let’s suck it up for another day and continue on.

Even a brief shower can be beautiful.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Today I listened to some old music. My favorite kind indeed. And by old I’m just referring to the ’60s and ’70s. It felt great. So find yourself a daily treat and keep your spirits up.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Did you ever think so many people would be glad to take a test?
  • I don’t feel like I’ve laughed enough lately.
  • When a vaccine is developed do you want to be first in line for it?
  • Looking forward to a long walk tomorrow.
  • Even when there is a vaccine, is it, for instance, more effective than a flu vaccine?


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Me 1 – Mother Nature 0

I took no prisoners this weekend in the yard. In the last few years, I’ve been very slack on managing my back yard which is half woods and half lawn. The woods half was winning big time and doing a land grab not seen since WW2.

I have thwarted Mother Nature and her attempts in this with power tools, rakes, pruners and a lot of sweat yesterday. I had enlisted my son for this task but we are keeping apart, I don’t want to chance contact. Plus he is doing something really important now also. His better half and he are fostering a dog. She is so cute. But he did say he is looking for a workout so I might let him hack away at a few things in the near future. We still would stay apart. I could throw him the key to the shed from the deck and pretend I’m General Patton directing the 3rd Army.

I was pleased with the massive progress I’m making. I’ve also discovered some more work to do because of some erosion I hadn’t seen before. It felt good to get out in the yard again and do some very physical work. Think I’ll get out there a few days later this week myself again.

Nice cut. Wished my lawn looked like this.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes plans change. Most everyone is in the midst of changing plans for the future. Some making minor adjustments and some find themselves living day to day. From the next day to the rest of the year to even retirement planning. There is going to be a lot of painful adjustments. But in some ways, it could be a time of great opportunities. I don’t mean right this minute, just do what you need to do to stay healthy and keep others healthy.

But the reality is the other side of this might look different. How we shop and consume is changed. What we shop for and consume will change. The people we get things from might change. I’ve thought for a long time this country needs to get back to making things again. This might be one of those triggers.

One thing that is in our face now and could be for some time to come is the gap between rich and poor will grow. The number of poor will grow. The middle class seems to be losing ground. I wonder how much longer that gap can continue to grow without breaking?

I hope there are numerous opportunities for people to learn new skills and new businesses and flourish again.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • People have too much time as evidenced by the increase in friend requests through Facebook.
  • Caddyshack is a good movie when things are too serious.
  • It is so easy to drink too many Cokes in a day.
  • Tried to keep it light and easy today.


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Down day

Yesterday I just couldn’t get it together. And that it was motivation. It was elusive all day. Yeah, I sorted a few boxes and trashed some things. I did some shredding and fixed a few other things. I mounted the iron eagle that was on my in-laws home on my deck facing. They like when we use things like that in our homes.

Today doesn’t feel much different. I got some things done again like cutting the grass for the first time this year. Sorting through some more family history. Fixing a few odds and ends around the house. And here it is Saturday night already and I’m starting to snap out of the funk.

Teamwork tying the Pride down.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess I’m still a little tired from the workweek. A little tired period. But every time I think about being tired I think of the professionals putting in long hours in service of others and I’m fine. The teamwork and sacrifice by others to tend the sick are what should be honored for a long time to come. Lots of medical professionals will also need to support mentally for some time to come for the trama they are witnessing.

Don’t forget the simple folk also doing their jobs with risk because they are essential. So feel fortunate to be able to stay at home. I know I am.

I don’t know about you but I could use a little sunshine tomorrow. These cloudy days are getting old. So how about it Mother Nature.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Top three sports now. Walking, Wondering and Worrying.
  • I can still mow the yard with the push mower. But tomorrow a big effort on getting the rider fixed.
  • I was getting more and more upset at those daily briefings but then I realized that is really showing who he is and what he is concerned about, himself and money.
  • I hope we can have this much hope a few months from now.
  • I didn’t like the idea of cruise ships before this virus because so many people got sick on them anyway.


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Take it as it comes

Relax

Watched a little too much news today. So I’m going to be relaxed. I’m well informed I believe. I’m taking precautions. I’ve got my better half and we are doing great so far. The workweek is done and now I can get back to some of my own interests while this plays out.

I spoke and saw my best friends tonight in a Zoom meeting. What a great time and experience. Won’t replace the firm handshakes and hugs we exchange but it was great to laugh together again after weeks absence.

So this weekend is about relaxing while being smart. It’s about turning off the worry a bit and appreciating the day and company I do have in my better half. It will be the first grass cutting of the year on Saturday. It will be a time to unwind a bit in the midst of uncertainty. I hope everyone can find the time and patience and way to soothe their minds.

Life is short, enjoy the view Photo by Mike Hartley

Moving

It’s moving to go through old family history, pictures and letters. Especially when your family lived through many difficult days. I have to pause and absorb some new information at times. Partly because my father passed when I was at a very young age. And it was such a difficult thing for the family that we didn’t talk about it till late in life so time was short and her memory wasn’t that clear in her final years.

I got to get back to sorting some more things this weekend. I just found one treasure today though. I thought the days when I had my hair long passed without many or any photos being taken. I just found a few that my mom had apparently snapped and the ponytail is down the back. And good lord, look how I was in shape. Well I’m several weeks now overdue for a haircut. Maybe I’ll go for the long hair and in shape body again. So off to the treadmill after this post.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • For those of us who are fortunate, it’s going to be even more incumbent on us to share our ability to assist others in many ways in the coming future. And that future is coming like a freight train out of control.
  • Soup and sandwich tonight reminded me of the old days.
  • I think I’ll take a ride before daybreak when its real quiet out and snap a few frames.
  • I need to get a desktop scanner.
  • I feel the need to print. And I just got a fresh supply of ink and paper so off I go.
  • Safe wishes for all.


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Tomorrow

The last night of work this week is upon me. Always a good feeling and it was a very productive week so a sense of accomplishment is felt. And that is important. Something I haven’t felt as much in recent years of my profession but something I hope to get back to in many ways.

I was also thinking about tomorrow and then kind of had a revelation of sorts. With what is going on now and how much more frightening it could be if some of those numbers of people are throwing out who may parish I’m sure it’s gotten a lot of people thinking about tomorrow in a much different way than they might have at the turn of the year.

I started to think about tomorrow differently when just over a decade ago a doctor called me and told me to get to UMMC that he had made an appointment for me later that day to be seen for cancer. I thought about how many tomorrows I had from that point on. Yes after time I started to focus less on it but another cancer several years later was another wake-up call.

Yes, I live for today but I think about tomorrow. Because I never finish all I would like to each day I think about all the possibilities of tomorrow and I get excited and get moving on it better.

Now everyone (well for the most part) is thinking about tomorrow. Will family stay safe, will they stay safe. You see those stresses in people. But you also see some very strong and positive things happening. People pulling together. People focusing on their families. People learning to make do with less and doing fine. People looking forward to a more pleasant tomorrow in the future.

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phonenix Restaurant onto Main Street. Had the top down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this. Later this day the flood-hit and the street looked like this. Tomorrow was never the same for a lot of the people along this street. Photo by Mike Hartley
I hope everyone’s tomorrow is a healthy one.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m tired, really tired.
  • I can’t remember any thoughts because work has been so busy.
  • I do know that I’m going to see tomorrow because I’m always up past midnight.
  • I loved the first family meeting via Zoom this evening.


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A simple but grand day

Was just sitting here looking at some pictures of friend and family on my office walls and thinking that I need to add, update and reorganize them. I really don’t have much room to add. They are at least 60-70% covered now. But it’s my office and I’ll cover it in the things I love.

In some ways, things are fairly normal for me. I normally work from home on Tuesday nights so this is good. And being I was working from home that 90-minute drive on the way in was used to cook some dinner.

Stuffed burgers. Photo by Mike Hartley

So I made a few stuffed burgers. Grilled up some onions and used some Havarti cheese. A few spices on the outside, the hot coals and we were off. They were quite tasty. I hadn’t had a burger off my grill since last year so it was special being the first of the season. By the way, those are half-pounders before the stuffing.

Doing something like that was fun. It seemed normal. And then you walk by the TV and know that we are far from normal. But as I learned a while back, just live each day the best you can and enjoy life.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • One good thing I’m seeing more of on local TV news is the good things people are doing for each other.
  • I would love to take a ride this week on some back roads. That is a social distance thing right? I mean I’m alone in the car.
  • Felt good to catch a major issue and fix it at the job today. This old man hasn’t lost his touch yet.
  • That first week working totally from home proved deadly for my weight. Good thing I got that eating under control and in the second week I’m back down a bit.
  • I was trying to photograph this hawk through the woods today but nothing came out well. I’m reminded of a line from Jaws where Brody says “your going to need a bigger boat.” In my case, I need a bigger lens.

Random Links of the Day

Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. I know I’m going to spend some time on this tour. I’ve been itching to go to a museum this year.

Otter Cam from the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland.


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Monday madness

What

What to do with ourselves? What do we do to help those in need? What do we cook tonight? What is the day we can hug again? What is the plan? What day of the week is it? What are the essential services again? What sweatsuit or shorts do I wear today?

What do I tell my children when they ask how long this might go on? What do I read or listen to for factual information? What area can I walk in? What day will my wife kill me? What group do we donate to? What will be the day our bills start to get tight? What day is that stimulus check coming?

What is wanting me to take a drink? What will be the state of all our jobs if this goes on? What does this mean for my upcoming retirement plans? What is really a safe distance from someone else? What good is cheap gas if you can’t go anywhere?

What is important is showing through in life now. Love of family and friends and those doing courageous work.


Listen

Listen to music, turn the TV OFF. Step outside, listen to the birds. Listen to your friends and family. Listen to your heart. Listen to the breeze. Listen to the dawn. Listen to the sound of children’s laughter.

You could hear those O’s bats last night. Photo by Mike Hartley

I usually don’t like to knock local businesses but I get an email from a local carpet store with the subject “Covid 19 We’re an Essential Service.” Telling their clients that Construction services are essential services. Well, I guess loosely defined I guess that meets the criteria. I don’t know what emergency constitutes getting carpet/flooring installed in your home.

My friend building out emergency hospital space is essential construction work. Carpet for your home, I think not.

I understand the need for small businesses to survive. And I will support the hell out of the ones that survive. But ones that I’m thinking are doing questionable things during this time, I’m no so sure.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Now those automobile ads with cars going down empty city streets don’t look so odd.
  • I miss hugging my children and grandchildren so much.
  • Mother Nature is going to provide me with 3 hours of work in cutting the yard starting this week. Way to go MN on filling the time each week.
  • Beautiful day outside here in central Maryland.
  • Can you imagine this situation without the internet?


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Sunday Thoughts

It’s the start of the workweek. And yes I’m thankful I have a job where I can work from home. One income out of two is far better than none. Plus mine is the one with the medical insurance. Long term I’m worried about that gap of a few years between now and when we are eligible for Medicare. I hope I can stay employed for that timeframe.

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

I might be wrong but I think my company will come out of this fine. I think it’s going to be a tough go for everyone and business will certainly change from this but I’m hoping to stay employed.

I feel for those entering the workforce in the next year or two. But with change comes some new opportunities that we haven’t even stumbled upon so far.


The Handshake/Handsqueeze

What to do. I’m sitting here this morning thinking about one of the favorite things my daughter and I have together. From a young age when we would hold hands, we would give each other gentle squeezes from time to time and look at each other with a smile. It was our secret for a long time. We never said anything about it, for it was just our special thing.

As she grew she would great me or say goodbye and grab my hand and squeeze it once or twice and kiss me goodbye.

Even now that she is married and has a daughter our hand squeezing continued when we see each other. We sometimes sign our notes and messages with “Hand Squeeze” at the end. But here we are in a new day and new rules and new realities.

It would probably be simple if everyone washed their hands frequently. Like after coughing or sneezing or before touching food or after using the bathroom but we all know people that don’t do this. The number of common surfaces we all touch is incredible. Doorknobs, elevator buttons, gas pumps, atm machines and on and on. We should really be washing our hands half the day.

As a society losing a handshake or hand squeeze is a tragic thought. I don’t know about you but I’m a handshake man. It’s an unconscious reaction if I see someone I know and like. It’s the standard when I meet someone new. Its a professional business greeting.

I hope we can return to the day of a handshake. I know I’ll be leading the charge is they say its safe. But rest assured, I’ll be washing my hands a lot more in the future.

No we are not going outside. Just talk to the hand. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My daily appreciation and respect for those medical and front line responders to this crisis. Their bravery and dedication to cause are above and beyond.
  • My wishes for everyone to be healthy.
  • I felt guilty not doing a post yesterday. I fell asleep early.
  • My wishes for peace of mind to those who aren’t able to say goodbye to loved ones.

Random Link of the Day

The “How to Host a Zoom call like a Pro


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Positive day

Jellies – Photo by Mike Hartley

I was reading a post from a blog I follow about “The Positive Side of Recent Weeks” and I thought I’d add my personal observations before reading any comments on that post.

  • I’m very happy that I get to spend more time with my best friend and better half who are one and the same. We have been through a lot in our lives already so if all we have to do is stay at home, we got this.
  • I’m happy and thankful everyone I know is still healthy.
  • I’m sleeping better than I have in years. No commute to work has given me a few extra hours each day to spread to different things including rest.
  • You start to sort out what is really important in life. Family, friends, health and simple pleasures. Oh yeah, a job and health insurance helps.
  • My wife and I have discovered Facetime. The need for it before didn’t exist much because we could see each of our children often. Now its a shot of life into our systems. About to discover Zoom.
  • I find myself reading and writing more which is enjoyable.
  • I’m still looking at each day as something special and something to make the best of.
  • Truthfulness and facts are becoming popular again. Fauci, Fauci, Fauci. And his many professional friends.
  • I’m enjoying driving without bumper to bumper traffic the few times I have been out.
  • My house and yard are going to look damn good if this goes on for some time.
  • Some of the worries I hear in my children’s voices for us is a very wonderful way of them saying how much they love us. We are fine kids.
  • I’m hoping for the return of the drive-in movie theater. It gives you the social distancing thing.
  • I have time to detail my car which never seems to be available.
  • Most people now realize the real heroes in the world are not our sports stars but police fire/EMT and medical professionals.
  • In the absence of sports, I’ve discovered cooking shows. But yes I admit to watching a replay of some games recently because I’m sports starved.
  • I’m saving money on haircuts. Of course, I’m starting to look like one of the Beatles from the ’60s. So I’m either going to look like Ringo or learn to cut my own hair. Right now Ringo is the winner.
  • I’m having time to sort through some of my family’s history.
  • I’ve had time to clean out a few inboxes of email. And they really needed it.
  • I’m still dreaming of having my toes in the sand and the sound of waves sometime in the future.
  • A lot more people are waving and yelling hello than in the past.
  • I have a few more minutes to listen to some music in my home.
  • I have time for a long list like this.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It felt great to detail my car today. My back said it would feel better if someone else did it. Yes, I did the SUV in addition to my little sports car.
  • I like having a few minutes to talk to neighbors. Of course at a good distance.
  • The song “In the air tonight” still makes my hair stand on end.
  • Selflessness – Retired medical professionals returning to work.
  • I find myself moved to tears more lately.
  • The advertising industry really turned on a dime with new commercials on how they are changing things like car buying and many others.
  • Remember when you used to worry about what the weather was going to be like?

Sorry to ramble on so much. I’ll get some fresh images tomorrow.


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Uncertainty and other thoughts

I found a draft I had started in August of 2015 the other day with the title “Uncertainty and other thoughts.” The uncertainty almost 5 years ago was the day or two before my doctor’s appointment to see if the surgery for my second cancer was successful. In the preceding weeks that uncertainty invaded almost every moment of life. Even if I was doing or thinking about something else I noticed my overall mode was reserved because of the uncertainty of the future. Even when I laughed it was shorter because that uncertainty would creep into my thoughts.

I never finished that draft, because the results of that appointment weren’t good. I had to do 3 months of radiation Mon-Fri every morning after working an all-night shift. I would drive from DC where I worked to Baltimore for treatments at 8 am. I was proud I didn’t miss any work over that time.

Those bad results in August followed by another bad set the next month changed my attitude a bit also. I was going into an area of greater uncertainty and if I allowed myself to get ramped up even more than I was after the surgery hoping things were going to be good I would have driven myself nuts.

I just kind of accepted and hoped for the best during that time and after. And that is what I do now. Not to say I’m out of touch with the reality of things but the reality is we have very little control. We have live each day the best. Spend each day expressing love and laughter. Practice compassion. Focus on the things that aren’t measured in monetary wealth.


We took a short ride around the county today. I hadn’t been out in over a week. And that was just to drop off prescription and food at father and mother inlaws. We were looking for someplace to get out and soak up a few minutes of the sun while walking. There were a lot of people out in the various areas we cruised to, so I thought of one that was near where I grew up that was normally quiet. So I drove down to Scotts Cove in Rocky George. I was surprised to see some people out but we managed to keep a great distance from anyone and only stayed out about 30-40 minutes.

Photos by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Today would have been Opening Day in Baseball. So I put on my Yankee shirt to mark the day.
  • I miss the Thursday night gathering with friends very much.
  • I love being couped up with someone I love.
  • I can hear the stress in a great number of people’s voices.
  • I’m starting to discover what a good night’s sleep feels like.

Random Links of the Day

Yeah, the Aquarium in Baltimore is closed but you can still catch a few live views online – Reef SharksJelliesCoral reef


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Maryland Day

I heard this morning that it was Maryland Day. And being its the state I love the most I thought I’d sing a few of its praises. I was born here and have lived here my 60+ years. I love it. To me its a little bit of every part of our country.

Ocean City Maryland Beach and Parasail Photo by Mike Hartley

We have the shore and the mountains. We have great bodies of water. We have a history in abundance. There are great cultures and food. Our state flag may be the best of all the states. The people, there are some really great ones here. Many heroes below the radar. And many common people who step up.

On a fall day with a breeze, sun and 68 degrees. Photo by Mike Hartley

It has a lot of the best educators and institutions. It is probably one of the most seasonally balanced places to live where each season is well represented. (Well this past winter was the exception). As far as huge weather events we seem to be in a sweet spot for avoiding the most tragic weather that afflicts so many parts of the country.

Memorial on boardwalk

It’s been a great state to raise a family. Full of resources and good communities. Sports are a big part of life. Some of the best hospitals in the world are here. The roads when not full of traffic are wonderful ribbons of asphalt.

B&O RR Museum Photo by Mike Hartley

You have both big city life and country life available. The Nations Capital is a stones throw away. We have accents. We have Old Bay seasoning and steamed crabs. There is Black Eyed Susan’s and

Black Eyed Susan’s and fountain in Annapolis. Photo by Mike Hartley

We have a wonderful selection of sports teams and great recreational facilities. I could go on and on for weeks on end about towns and people and the natural resources but suffice to say, I love it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If you think TV is tough to watch now. Wait another week or two.
  • It felt good to make a donation today.
  • If we could listen to professionals instead of politicians we would be in better shape.
  • Almost time to store the space heater away in my office.
  • This virus has made me think about retiring sooner than I had planned on. But the reality is I’m probably going to have to work longer. Such is life. As long as I have my health.


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Beatles

I feel like I’m about to look like one of the Beatles pictures from the late 1960s in another few weeks. Been a long time since I let my hair grow. Of course, this isn’t intentional but I believe my barbershop is closed as most everything is and I probably wouldn’t go anyway.

So away the hair will grow. Or maybe I’ll watch a youtube video of how to become my own barber.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I can hardly believe the lack of leadership at many levels. I can hardly believe the lack of common sense in people. But it is what it is as my old Marine boss would say. So we will continue to do our part and stay at home.

I am encouraged about the company that I work for, their communication and leadership and what appears to be good sound judgment so far. And yes I’ll be working from home a while longer.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The sun came out this afternoon and it felt great on the skin.
  • Instead of worrying about if there will be enough ventilators if you get sick, worry about remembering to do the steps to keep from getting sick.
  • If you think I’m taking medical advice from PT your out of your Vulcan Mind.
  • I told myself I wouldn’t do it but I do find watching some replays of old championships cool to watch.

Random Links of the Day

OK, it’s here in a few minutes. American Red Cross Day of Giving. Help out or give blood.


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Cold and wet

Yes, it was that kind of day outside. That is why I didn’t even touch the doorknob to go outside. I didn’t even feel like going outside to do a new rain photo. So I’m using this late summer shot of my neighbors garden in a drenching storm. Those sunflowers are a good 10-15 foot high.

Sunflowers in rain Photo by Mike Hartley

Last week it was panic buying of supplies from grocery stores. This week it’s a run on medicines. I see signs of panic all around. Who knows, maybe they are the insightful ones. I don’t think so but I could be wrong.

I had a lazy day, I earned it. Not really, got sucked into current events and some worry/concern. I also talked to a good friend today. It reminded me there are many normal people still working in industries supporting this emergency that you wouldn’t think of. How about the construction workers who are now coming up with these emergency facilities our doing emergency build-outs of existing ones. It’s happening in big cities and it could be happening around the country. I hope not. I hope we have a handle on it. I look for good news each day. But just realize lots of people are taking risk of helping others in not so recognized ways.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The chance of being a human guinea pig just went way up.
  • A positive of these changes is I’m getting some good rest most days.
  • This is a good reminder that there are all types of people in society with all types of attitudes and beliefs. So getting everyone on the same page, good luck.

Random Link of the Day

Carry out places in Howard County – I believe they are asking for support this Take-Out TUESDAY.


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Sudzy Sunday

Wash the hands. I’m beginning to wonder if that is like the duck under your desk in the ’60s. Yeah, I know, anything to help prevent the spread so wash your hands often. Me, I’m staying home.

So I thought I’d wash my car this morning and kill two birds with one sponge. You know, trying to keep some sense of normalcy. It felt good like it always does. A clean ride always makes me feel good. So it’s all ready for later this week. I believe I saw Thursday is the next nice day outside without rain. I’ll be looking forward to that ride the next few days.

There are some beautiful trees in our neighborhood.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Before I washed the car I saw the first trace of the yellow pollen that turns my red car orange every other day for the next month or two. Which reminds me I should get my tractor running soon. Mulch will be coming and grass will be growing. And there is that large pile of branches that needs to move to the lower backwoods.

Some things seem so normal still. But there is that uncertainty all around us even when you don’t have the news on. It’s great talking to people. Everyone letting each other know were good.

We all should be keeping in mind the people still keeping the country running. Deliveries of essential service. Security of our nation. And many others that still go on each day. That cause those individuals to be out and about in the midst of this doing their jobs. As a matter of fact, I’m going to write one tonight to see if they need me to get anything for them.

Also remember not to overtax the hospitals if you can.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • We are all going to get a good education of what our health care system really looks like now.
  • I’m discovering Facetime and I like it. Nowhere near as good as a hug from your children but really nice considering we aren’t seeing each other.
  • A lot more people appreciate each day now.
  • Today the purge has started. Relax, I’m talking about junk in my basement.

Today’s Link I thought might be of Interest

How much Toilet paper supply do you have. This calculator can help.


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Godspeed

I’m fairing pretty well in this stay at home situation. Because of my job and schedule, I’ve been away from society for a bit for a few years anyway. I think I’m doing well because my better half and I have isolated ourselves pretty much.

And I’m prepared mentally for a long period of isolation with my better half. I’m looking forward to it. Not so sure she is but I’ll try not to drive her crazy for the duration.

But the immediate things that seem so far away are the personal contact with loved ones. Seeing my father and mother inlaw through a window. Not being able to see my children or grandchild or granddog/cat. Not giving my best friends hugs. Not being able to shake hands or hug co-workers.

Those things I’m already starting to long for. But I will pause those things so all stay healthy, that is the goal now. And if we do our part we will save those medical professionals trying to save us.

Godspeed to us all.
Photo by Mike Hartley

For some reason, I feel we might look back at these first few weeks as the good old days. I worry that much harder times are coming. Obviously the financial hit will take a good time to come out of even if normal were restored next week. And we all know that isn’t happening.

But the loss of life is the real loss. The mental stress for some might turn them into a loss. The restructuring of the world and interconnection could be lost. How we survive for a year or longer until a vaccine is available and maintain this distance over that time. I don’t even want to think about that possibility yet. One week at a time.

But many things might be gained. Maybe things will be in a better perspective for us. The real heroes aren’t the guys catching the touchdown passes or the game-winning shot or walk-off home run. The real heroes are the medical, police and fire/EMT’s that go out every day and continue to do their job at huge risk to their own lives every day and earn a mere fraction of professional athletes and do it without the fanfare.

Stop and THINK, do you really need to go to the hospital.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And these medical and other public servant professionals do it every day when there isn’t a crisis like this. Lots of them save lives daily. From catching cancers early on to rescuing someone from a fire. And everything else that the public is faced with every day.

Yes, it’s fun and very entertaining to watch athletes. Yes, we should return to the enjoyment of sports and festivals and concerts. But balance that admiration and respect with the nurse or cop or fireman that lives in your own neighborhood.


I’m really enjoying having meals together again. Just my better half and I that is. Our schedules were such that eating together wasn’t the norm. But now it is and it’s wonderful. It reminds me of the old days (when kids were young) when family meals were a priority. Not everyone running out on their own. Especially Sunday night dinners.

We made a good effort of having family meals together when the kids were growing up. Work schedules sometimes interfered, but one of us was always there and we made an effort to do it as a family as often as possible.

While very different people we sure were together on a lot of things in raising our children.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My home is going to look nice this year.
  • I overate for the first week at home.
  • I miss playing with children’s toys with my granddaughter.
  • It should worry us all with the number of people buying guns and overstocking on ammo. This might be the first time I take the trigger lock-off and I’m not going to the range.

Today’s Links I thought might be of Interest

Coming soon (Wednesday, March 25) American Red Cross Giving Day. Give blood or money or both.

I hope none of us get this but it’s better to be prepared. CDC on getting your home ready.

Shelter in place cartoons. Don’t forget to laugh in stressful times.


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Special Friday

Friday was a special birthday. Our first child was born this first day of spring. I was telling her last night that I have the images of my first sight of her in my mind today. Also that I miss her greatly because we have chosen to celebrate at a later date. It breaks my heart to do that but it’s also a wise move. I was reading that story of the family that has lost 4 members within days from a family gathering.

I couldn’t live with myself if I had passed something onto a family member. Nor should they have the guilt if it was passed to us. The trouble is it’s not like it’s going to be a short term delay. I suspect several weeks if we are lucky, to several months if not. And that hurts because that not only means missing birthdays and anniversaries but random dinners, cookouts, and gatherings in between the big events. I’m getting too old to miss anything but I also need to be smart.

My better half and I used Facetime to call her. You could probably count on one hand and maybe have a few fingers left with the number of times I’ve used that. But I can imagine a much greater use will be in order in the coming days. It was a lot of fun and it made missing her a bit easier.

I hope this isn’t something I have to imagine later this year. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If you think it’s tough staying home think of how tough it’s going to be on your pets when you return to work.
  • Find the balance between keeping up on very important news and not watching too much and getting stressed.
  • I wonder if driving with the top down increases my risk of catching something? Not like I’m leaving the house much anyway.
  • I wonder if my back will hold up to the work I did on the deck today?

Today’s links I thought might be of interest:

If you thought about what can you do to support the health care works this article from Today has some great steps for each of us.

100 things for kids to do at home during school closures.

Bloom Cam for the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC – better to watch from a distance this year.

Not often you see Bourbon Street on a Friday night at 10pm empty.


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A time to help

Lots of people are stepping up big time. But the need appears to be great. Creative thinking and willing people like distillers creating hand sanitizer now. People calling neighbors or bringing the elderly whatever they need. Children calling parents to make sure they are well and limiting contacts.

One of the guys at Eakles loves military vehicles. Photo by Mike Hartley

But more can be done. It’s an adjustment. I’ve seen people in denial, some frozen in fear. Also anger or depression. Certainly, all of us have confusion over it all because of the rapid change of information. Some of that is normal in these times and some isn’t.

So how can each of us step up to help our fellow man/woman? I see the Gobinator (Governor) of Maryland has a new website called Maryland Unites. This is full of good links to help.

Also, think of your local community. I thought to myself where do I like to eat that doesn’t have a big carry out business. So we went to Shannon’s in Village Green and got a great carry out meal and left them a nice tip. The service segment of the workforce seems to always take the first hit.

I know, spending money on eating out isn’t the smartest move right now. But I’m trying to keep some semblance of normalcy. One thing that will be far from normal though is tomorrow. Well, any day is far from normal now but its the first one to hit my heart.

Tomorrow is a very special day and I can’t do the normal celebration that we do because we are supposed to limit out contact with people. And the last thing I would want to do is get someone close to me that I love and cherish ill. But it rips my heart out not being able to gather as we normally do to celebrate. I think I’ll write a note about how special this coming day is and how special they are to me.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The more time you think you have the less you get done.
  • There will be problems if a rooster wakes me up tomorrow.
  • Trying to decide if sleep or desire to create will win out this evening.
  • There is a lot less sweating of the small stuff nowadays.
  • Think I’ll make a donation to the Red Cross when I’ve finished this post.


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Another 24 hours

Only another 24 hours till Spring is upon us. A much different spring than any of us have experienced.

Washington Monument in the background of the blossoms. Photo by Mike Hartley

The beauty of spring will still be with us. But so will be a season of doubt. And that doubt isn’t from the media its from Doctors and Scientist. It’s from people working in those fields that know about things like viruses.

Views like this don’t begin to do it justice. You must attend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Who’s going to remain healthy and who isn’t. That thought will be with most of us for some time. Of course, there are those that believe this is just useless panic and overreaction and they feel the rest of us are just a bunch of dumbasses. I hope they are right. I hope this thing is gone in a week or two and not one more person dies from it. But I doubt their logic and science.

And while I’d love to enjoy the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms in DC this coming week, I think I’ll pass this year and appreciate some local beauty that doesn’t have to be shared with crowds. I’ll get out tomorrow and see what our county has to offer.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Pick a dine-in only restaurant you like and order carryout from them. And then leave a big tip if they will put it towards the wait staff.
  • Call some elderly people in your life and share a laugh.
  • I know its tempting to go back to normal. Don’t do it yet.
  • I’m looking forward to having the time to read a book in the next month. I’m a slow reader.


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Cooking with juice

Well, I wasn’t actually cooking with juice. But I was cooking today. If supplies last I hope to be cooking a lot more. I was eating out too much anyway. Not that enjoying a good restaurant isn’t a wise move, it’s just a little difficult to pull off now.

Photo by Mike Hartley

It felt good getting the grill fired up again. I put some spicy Italian sausages on the grate and slow-cooked them. Brought them back up and put them in with the onions and peppers. What a savory dinner.

Trying to get a balance between keeping up and being prepared for the future and at the same time trying to enjoy each day. I spoke to my best friends today and I think we are going to get together. A group of 3 should be safe and everyone is healthy so far. I’ve been isolated for a week so I’m fairly low risk.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I wished I stayed in bed a bit longer today.
  • This changes everything.
  • A toast to everyone’s good health.
  • I can’t wait to feel the temps in the ’80s again on Friday.
  • I love driving but I don’t miss the drive to and from work at all.
  • I don’t feel the need to tell people that I love them more because I already do it really well each day.


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Can you have a good day

Of course, you can have a good day. If you’re lucky, you can still find positive things in a day. For instance, I don’t look at this hibernation as a bad thing now. I’m trying to find things that I haven’t had a chance to get to at home. I hope to read a book. I hope to do some carvings. Maybe work on my studio photography. Take a walk with my better half. Work in the yard and on the home.

But I also understand there are many that like me live paycheck to paycheck. I’m fortunate that I can work from home so far. Who knows what companies and government agencies will be forced to do in the coming weeks and months though. So uncertainty is our new bedfellow. Will the stores continue to have enough food for all of us. Will they even be open. Which one of the people you pass is sick? You can see it in people’s faces now.

Leadership. Photo by Mike Hartley

I already know a few people in huge financial trouble. Many more will be joining them. Hell, I might fall into that someday myself. I just hope we can overcome this new bug and work hard to restore all the wonderful things we were taking for granted. It’s just going to take time and I know we have some impatient people.

But as I’ve learned over the last decade. When each day you have a health issue hanging over your head, just make the best of each day. Find something to enjoy and smile about. Find something to love. Find someone who inspires you. Find many things to laugh about. Find it within yourself to help someone else.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I don’t even want to look at my 401k.
  • The phrase too little too late leaps to mind recently.
  • I made some prints of my granddaughter today to make me feel good and my daughter when I give them to her.
  • Spend as much time as you can to make the elderly feel secure and relaxed.
  • Governor Hogan impresses me more and more each day.


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New normals

I was just thinking about my next visit to my father and mother in law and how that will be done through a window. Arlington National Cemetery is closed so I can’t visit my own parents.

Yeah I’m saving on gas but no social interaction at the job. I love having the extra time with my better half though. She’s my favorite social interaction.

I have an excuse for not going to the mall.

People Tree Photo by Mike Hartley

3 places you will find sports junkies. On the ledge outside the window, cowering in the corner or watching 10 year old replays like they are live.

I have an excuse for not going to church. And at the same time another reason to go.

I wonder what the least crowded time is to go food shopping?

If you have a lot of interest in life, the emotional strain of becoming a homebody is easier.

Oh no, I see that Casinos and racetracks and betting facilities have been closed in the state. We already have the sports junkies in a state of detox and now we are adding gamblers to the mix. If they close the liquor stores, all hell is going to break loose.

Yet life goes on so normally. A coworker passed away from an apparent heart attack. He was only in his mid 40’s. A best friend had his second grandchild. Life and death march on.

Working in the yard still feels the same. My back hurts after raking. And this morning my thighs hurt from bending over picking up the leaves.

Even though I’m working from home this week I’m tempted to go for a drive in the morning to see how much traffic differs from the norm. I will need to get out because I haven’t ventured outside my neighborhood since last Wednesday morning. And yes I’m going to avoid human contact.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Seared scallops are an easy dish.
  • I’m might scratch my cooking itch this week.
  • I found a box of my father’s history. It’s a big box. I think my Mom kept almost every clipping of his service. I also found a few old magazines. An issue of Time from 1944 and Newsweek from 1948.


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Habit

Looks like going forward, changing some of my habits might be a wise move. Like touching my face. This may take me many years to overcome. I’ve always had a beard and mustache and I believe I touch them a fair amount. If nothing less than to pick food from the beard and maybe blue cheese sauce from the wings I’m wolfing down.

Me

My nose itches several thousand times a day and I’m not supposed to touch it. I mean I touch my nose by accident every time I put my arms out. I’ve always had a nervous habit of messing with chapped lips. Another reason I hate winter. Oh and the eyes. Let’s see, I wear glasses and I’m taking those on and off or switching from reading to my normal specs. Not to mention the times I spend rubbing my eyes because of them being ingrained in computer screens for many hours a day.

And not to be ignored are the ears. While not on the hit parade very often they do get a tug or rub once in a while.

So now I have to make a conscious effort to avoid touching my face. That is going to take a lot of conscious thought cycles out of my processing capabilities. Not that the CPU running this is that bold anyway. Well, I might as well get started. Maybe I’ll make a game of it with my better half. And maybe even the kids. Like if they catch me it cost me.

You know, yesterday was the first day I felt very strange. I leaned over to kiss my daughter as she was leaving and as she was closing the door as I backed away and I wondered if it was OK to do that. It was the worst feeling to think that I had to think about giving my family a hug or kiss or hand squeeze. It almost makes me sick to think that I am going to have to change my interactions at all with anyone. It gave me such a pause it’s still with me 18 hours later. But its a new world today and I’m not even sure I can or want to change the unconscious thought I have of hugging my child when I see them because I love them. But because I love them I have to think first.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Practicing common sense is a good thing in normal times and in times of crisis.
  • I wonder if people are drinking more or less now?
  • Remember, it’s love that will get us through many tough times.
  • Call or write someone older to help them take their mind off the news.
  • I’m going to utilize some of my newfound time (hours less a week in a car commuting) to cook a little more. Being there aren’t any sports on the telly, I might find myself watching more food shows.
  • I just thought of a horrible consequence of this virus. Think of how many charity events that will be impacted. Let’s all continue to give as much as we can in the absence of these fundraising events.


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March Sadness

One of the premier events canceled. Yep, March Madness is off for 2020. I had my Maryland Basketball shirts all in order, separated by color and long and short sleeve. Some people obsess about suits. I have my Terps gear.

It has completely brought an end to one of the years highlights for my friends and I. You see we have this vigil every year where we watch the Opening Thursday and Friday games from start to finish. Yep, we are in our seats by 11 am and finish up a bit after midnight. Multiple screens and flipping around for the best games on the big screen. And we usually watch every weekend till the finals on Monday night. We take time from our jobs to gather together EVERY YEAR.

Go TERPS Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course, we do it up right. We go to Wegmans the morning before our first day and spend hundreds of dollars on food. We feast, all day and all night for two days. We laugh and chest bump and high five and fist bump and hug and yell and go OOHHHHHHH and lose our minds at the most impressive plays. Some even hit the floor. It’s total madness and fun.

It’s one of the great times of the year for my friends and me. Especially when our home team is doing well and advancing to the next round. And this year we were hoping for a chance at the final weekend of glory. As were the other 60 plus teams.

Think of how boring the rest of the month is going to be. No office pools to watch. I can’t imagine what this does to bookies and Vegas. The betting people must be losing their collective minds with all sports shut down.

I mean what is going to be the purpose of doing a sports report for the next month on the news.

All I know is that this one change in life has significantly taken much enjoyment from the country already for the next 30 days. And its thrown me into March Sadness. Also because I’ll have no excuse to avoid the yardwork the next 3 weekends in a row.

I guess I’ll go move my Lefty tie to the back and store my favorite white Terps hat to a covered position. It’s not going to be the same excitement when I walk out to the driveway with the basketball this spring. It’s not going to be the same without the competition with my Son on who is going to win the bracket pool and discussion of every minute of the Maryland game. And I really enjoy that a lot because we both enjoy college basketball so much.

I guess I’ll have to rely on the few memories of the games we attended this year together. I’ll have to hope that the pro’s come back and finish their season late. But even that will be diminished because the teams won’t be in sync like they were. It’s almost like it’s going to be a different season if they do resume at all.

I’m sure the pick-up games won’t be as well attended and of course, leagues are going to postpone games would be my belief. I just thought about what these little league commissioners much be going through. Do we get kids and parents together for a game?

We are in a new territory but its just another day again. So its time to find the joy of something new to fill the void. Today I’m going to enjoy my grandchild. Maybe go for a walk this afternoon when it clears up. Maybe I’ll talk to both of my children and tell them I love them. Maybe I’ll hold my better half tight and tell her I love her also.

See, there is always enough to do. But at 9 pm tonight when the Terps were scheduled to tip off in the Big 10 Tournament I’ll pause and think of the kids and coaches who worked for a year for this point. I’ll wish them peace of mind and heart. I have a huge hole in my heart for the loss of my favorite sporting event of the year. Till next year NCAA March Madness.


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Nothing & everything changed

The sun was out for a bit. The flowers are starting to bloom. My seasonal cough is back. The church guy called selling annual mulch and I ordered 20 bags. I went out to get the mail and bring in the trash can. I took several deep breaths of the mid-50-degree air and smiled. I waved to a neighbor returning home from where ever.

Front garden. Photo by Mike Hartley

But my first few hours were consumed by the news of the day. Most all sports, concerts and other entertainment have come to a halt. Markets are failing badly. Travel and businesses shutting down. We are entering almost a Full Stop. And now I hear schools in our state are closed for a few weeks.

Then a note from work saying to stay on a remote basis and not come to the office which I appreciate because I keep reading about the high-risk issues and I fall into a few of those. And being my cough started up I might have to cancel my doctor’s appointment on Monday.

It’s going to be interesting to see how long and how severe the changes we are entering into will impact life. I think it’s still important to appreciate the good things each day. Do you have your health? If yes you got about all you need. Do your friends and family have their health? If yes you are 95% complete.

It’s interesting to watch leadership in various parts of life step forward or fail to respond or communicate well. For instance, my job has been extremely proactive and ahead of the curve in communications, responses, and actions. I feel the Governor of the state of Maryland has been an excellent communicator.

There are others I’m very disappointed in but to avoid the inevitable hate if I get into that I’ll just leave it at that.

It’s time to keep calm, but also stay well informed and don’t take the risk. Limit your exposure whenever possible. Be safe, be well.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Funny how some things level the playing field.
  • Yesterday if I said what was an unhealthy restaurant to go to, you would have thought about the food they were serving. If I asked you that question today you might have thought about how clean it is.
  • Tell someone you love everything is going to be ok.
  • I live for March Madness so this has been a tough day. But they made the right call.
  • I’m making like a bear and hibernating.


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Think

Think about what is not only good for you but for the people next to you. That is what we are starting to see happen. And its a good thing but it’s going to be a painful thing for many. I hope I wrong about how selfish people can be. I hope I’m inspired by the ability of us to work together. I hope we can help each other and not revert to hostilities.

Steps to Where? Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m going to get real comfortable at home for a while I believe. See how this plays out. So maybe instead of walking around towns photographing maybe, I’ll head to the woods. Or maybe get the studio set up. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Times like these make you think about times like these.
  • It’s good for people to think seriously about what they do and where they go each day.
  • I’m going to call my father and mother inlaw instead of visiting.
  • Get familiar with the words “full stop”.
  • When you don’t know, Don’t.
  • Oh yeah, enjoy today and tomorrow.


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Boom

Today was the day I heard the Boom. Yeah, the disruption of normal life is under way in a serious way. Adjustments at the job that pays the bills. My better half’s work in the health industry is in high gear. I picked up a friend today who works overnight at a major food chain and he says the panic buying is under way.

Sailboat Jeopardy Photo by Mike Hartley

Just the people on the road with their minds elsewhere. Schools, festivals, political rallies and other events cancelled or postponed. The simple way we great each other changing by the day. Further changes are coming. Who know what this will do to our economy but that is the least of my worries now.

So what will I be doing. I’m not panicking, but I’m keeping a very watchful eye and will try to do that social distancing to the best of my ability. At least for a short period till this is under wraps. For someone reminded me that I’m old today. Someone my own age. And with some breathing issues due to seasonal changes and having had the big C twice I’m not as strong as my youthful counterparts.

I’m just going to try to live normally but think about what I can do to limit catching it and act on it. The next few weeks will tell how much trouble we are in I believe.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Cheap gas is nice but it you can’t go anywhere whats the point?
  • I worry about my better half working in a health care facility.
  • I bet people have a new appreciation for cleaning crews.
  • I’m excited about hump day.


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Water under the bridge

I had just a few minutes but took advantage of them and went down to Ellicott City and took a 10 minute walk. What a beautiful day outside and it seems everyone was trying to take advantage of it. Rightfully so in my opinion.

I can’t wait till this weather is more commonplace again instead of the exception. Hopefully I won’t need to wait long.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I took the old camera out and grabbed a few frames. But then it was back to the days errands and work. Life is just too short with a full time job.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • My workplace is the cleanest its ever been. I believe if I sat still for more than 5 minutes I might be cleaned with a Clorox wipe.
  • Trying to sleep during the day is difficult at best.
  • Strange that we are more concerned with the economy than public health.
  • Rode to work today with the top down for the first time this year.
  • I haven’t been told to wash my hands so much since I was 5 years old.


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A slow start, a slower finish

Just didn’t have the mojo working today. I’ll try to find it this evening so I can get a good start on Monday. Might not be the easiest thing with the work week well under way already but I’ll give it the old college go at it.

Triple the Pleasure

Days like today make me look at life and my energy levels. So just like one might chose their words carefully, I’ve got to start managing my energy a little more carefully. And no better time to start than now.

So my first step is to get better rest. That should increase my energy levels which most of the week are beyond low due to the poor sleep habits I have. So my first order of business is to get more sack time. I hope to do that by reducing my work commute time and spending less time watching TV.

So we start in earnest this week. A new plan, A new effort. Maybe a new result.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Lots of people walking around in gowns and mask cleaning our offices tonight. Kind of makes me wonder.
  • A Monday in the 70’s and sunshine. I may have to reshape my opinion of Mondays.
  • I used to countdown the hours till the workweek is over. Now I just worry about each day instead. Lots more victories than just one a week.


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Super Saturday

There are some family days that really work out nicely. Today was one of those. A celebration and 4 generations of the family represented. So many smiles and laughs shared. Affection and appreciation were given and felt. Pride and love overflowing in me tonight.

I still see some taking it for granted. Not savoring the moment. Not utilizing the time and presence of others. Sometimes it’s difficult in larger gatherings. For instance, I wish I had talked more with several people today, but I was also doing some shooting.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway, I’m spent. Rumor is in a few hours we’re going to lose an hour of sleep. Ain’t that some stuff.


That project I was speaking about the last week or so was a photo album of my granddaughters first year of life. It was fun putting together. It gave me and the printer a workout. Almost 300 images. It was a pure joy doing it though and I hope to help document every year of every grandchild I ever have.

To be close and able to help my children and their children, I’m one lucky man.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m so tired it’s hard to recall some random thoughts I’ve had today.
  • Ah, here is one. Young children get surprisingly fast, surprisingly fast.
  • Down to a few hours before the workweek starts again. It’s getting a bit easier knowing they aren’t unlimited anymore.
  • I’ve gotten away from exercising again. I should go for a long walk tomorrow morning. And take that cinderblock of a camera with me for a workout.


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Too little too late

The season is over, but Mother Nature gave it one last try today. A quick snow squall late this afternoon. And here I put the snow shovels at the back slider door to be put in the shed for the coming spring and summer seasons. One of my best friends was mad that he hadn’t been able to use his snowblower this season and was thinking about running it a few minutes, draining the gas and storing it.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I can’t say I’m sorry about this lack of snow this season. I’m sure Mother Nature will make up for it. She always seeks balance. Sometimes just using extremes though.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’ll be honest. I left no time for this blog today and it shows. But I did complete another project on time and it’s looking good. That was the priority in my life today. So you have my apologies for this few minute’s efforts.
  • I wish someone had told me earlier in life not to touch my face much. At this age having to think about that completely disrupts the flow of my day.
  • OK, avoiding people and crowds, hum, that has some positive aspects.
  • Really though, be careful, this virus has the potential to take off it seems.


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Stopped

Sometimes my work takes me into strange hours of the day. On the way home from work this morning the sunrise over the Howard County Conservancy was one I just had to stop and admire for a moment. So I pulled into the Snowball Stand parking lot and even got out of the car and caught this. I had breakfast from DD for my better half and daughter so I only had time to snap 2-3 frames.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I love sunrises no matter where they fall in my day. It always signifies a new start. And being today is the start of my weekend, it was a great way to start the day and hit the sack for a few hours rest with a nice image in my head.


Photo by Mike Hartley

So it’s time to get peddling. There is much to be done. I was wishing it would be a little warmer out but then again I really don’t have time to fire up the yard work this weekend.


You know when your children do special things to help people, animals or our environment, it gives me the most special feeling. It kind of inspires me to do more myself.

It also gives me hope for the future. It means they have their heads on straight. As a father, I couldn’t be prouder for this and the many wonderful things they are.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The day is a victory. I made a child smile and laugh.
  • Have a conversation with a neighbor. Yeah, pretend its the old days.
  • OK, I haven’t broken down and tried Coke Energy but the countdown has begun. I’m afraid I might like it.
  • The scale is my friend again. We were on the outs for a few days there.
  • Tomorrow is Employee appreciation day. It figures I’d be off.


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We are not ready

Lots of things get exposed in emergency situations. A pandemic is something were not prepared for ourselves and the supporting industries for these events aren’t prepared.

First we are a selfish people. We will not do what is needed for the safety of each other. That is proven out every day on our highways. Second our medical profession doesn’t have the number of people or resources to handle large scale events. I seriously hope this isn’t as serious as it appears now but I don’t have that sense right now.


Photo by Mike Hartley

I could go on ringing the panic bell but we will see what the future brings soon enough. So onto enjoying this fine day. The last few minutes is about all the time I’ve had to savor the day. More doctors appointments and work with a few hours sleep squeezed in filled that rest of the hours.

In another 6 hours I’ll be free from the job that pays the bills and into a great weekend. It’s a packed one and filled with great times ahead. I can’t wait to raise my camera to my eyes.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Sometimes when you work someplace for a very long time the building becomes a home. I guess that is why it gets emotional when they are torn down.
  • I have not tried the new Coke Energy but I hear it calling my name.
  • I hate seeing nice people taken advantage of. And it hardens me against those who do.
  • I’m getting an early start on taking my filter off even though I’m not an old man yet.


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Yes

What a difference a day makes when you not feeling the best and then back to normal the next day. So despite the rain this evening I’m riding the wave. And it’s going to take me through the weekend. I made some more progress on my most recent project and feeling good about the coming weekend.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Once I’m past a very busy Wednesday this week will be great. I thought next week was going to be a good one but a last minute schedule change from the job that pays the bills has thrown a wrench into that. No problem though, I can be good at last minute schedule changes also.

And this and more has made me think today about how I deal with some people. Basically as I’ve grown older I’ve been more selective about my time and the people I spend it with. And this means for some I will no longer have time for them. Especially those who don’t value it and really just waste it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It’s always Super Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. Then again at the end of the day Tuesdays Gone as Lynyrd Skynyrd says.
  • I’m losing confidence in society.
  • What some can get away with always amazes me.
  • Elitist can kiss my behind.
  • I’m less worried about the politics of health than the actual health information.


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Nothing

I have nothing left. Between a full day plus of work and medical test I’m spent. The tank is dry. Mentally I’d like to do something but after medical stuff I’m a shell of myself.

I was starting to feel guilty about doing nothing and remembered not to do that to myself. I’ve accomplished a lot today. Tomorrow will be another opportunity to do better. Although its Super Tuesday and working in the news business that means a busy day.

Photo by Mike Hartley

So Tuesday I’ll try to get baking again. Never let a day go by without learning something.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I’m no fan of barium sulfate.
  • I am a Terps fan and I hope they regain their winning ways tomorrow.
  • The priorities of the rich don’t really apply to me. In other words, I’m through working hard making others wealthy.
  • Tuesday is a rest, catch up day.


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Blank canvas

Each day we start with a blank canvas that is ready to be filled. Each day of life can create wonderful works of art if your up to it. Yes it is very easy to grab a can of black paint and just fill the frame with it. That negative mindset is a one trick pony. Maybe easy to ride and tough to get off of for some but you can make a day of it I guess.

I like to experience a range of emotions. Because no matter how positive and upbeat about my outlook, I know life has some dark colors that you can’t ignore. So I’m prepared with a full palette to work with.

Ocean City Maryland Beach and Parasail Photo by Mike Hartley

This weekend I’ve been very productive painting what I hope is a great picture. It’s a great feeling to be in a creative mode and have some time to invest in it.

I’m really excited about March for a few reasons. Obviously its March Madness which fills my nights with basketball. It’s the month the weather starts to turn to my liking so I can come out of hibernation.

I’m excited because there are a couple of very important birthdays to celebrate. I’m excited because it might be warm enough to put the top down on the car. I’m excited because the work schedule won’t be as demanding as this past month.

I’m excited because I hope to catch up with some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’m excited to take some new images. I’m excited because the grill will be fired up this month.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Once I’m past Monday, the rest of the week is cake.
  • Daily walks start today.
  • The more I do the better I feel.
  • I wonder if the mower battery will take another charge this year. Usually I pull it, store it inside and trickle charge it. I was lazy so its still in the mower this spring.


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A bright chill

Sorry, this shot was taken last fall but it reminded me of today with the clouds and bright blue sky. But what has stuck with me today is that chill. I can’t get warm enough for some reason. Maybe an extra blanket on the bed this evening.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Less than 24 hours before this week kicks into high gear. Got a good number of things scheduled, not all of which are looked forward to. But a few are so I’ll make the best of it.

I’m starting to get in a better flow of work in the last few days. Accomplishing something each day and feeling inspired to do more. And today was very successful. Well with the exception of the Terps loss this evening.

The best thing about the past week is that I’m using the inspiration of others to do things less than my own inner desires. And that is nice because that fuel is within.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Despite my age, hugs are still very important to me.
  • Almost time to pull out the grill master hat. I hear the hint of warmer weather on the horizon.
  • Ah, March Madness is only a few minutes away. LIFE IS GOOD.
  • I just decided to make some fried eggs tomorrow morning. I haven’t had any in a while.
  • Your weight set has a mind of its own. For instance, if you don’t use them and leave them lying around you will trip over them and hurt yourself.


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Nothing else matters

I was going through my drafts again and found a post entitled “Nothing else matters”. It was about something else but it made me think of some news I heard recently about an old coworker. Apparently his health has taken a very bad turn. It both reminded me that I’m not that many years behind him in age and that we both had the same cancer.

Surfer weather. Photo by Mike Hartley

It reminded me to use every day and every minute with what I hold dear. I spent a good amount of time with my granddaughter today for instance. The rest of the weekend will be with my better half. Thursday night was with my best friends. I’ll get by and see the parents soon. I’ll talk to or see my children.

Those are the things that matter. Do we have our health and can we see each other and share good times. It’s pretty simple.

It reminded me that life is so short and that I should keep making some positive body and mind changes to extend it as best I can.

It reminded me to pull out the camera every day. And today I did with a nice series of my granddaughter and my daughter. And now I’m busy editing and printing. I’m also getting back to my photo site which I really need to finish populating and organizing.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Friday night and Saturday morning are peak calmness of spirit time for me.
  • I’ve learned a lot about myself since I started blogging.
  • I wonder which people are panicking more about. Their losses in the market or fear of getting sick?
  • These times we are learning how fragile our society is and how the medical profession while advanced in many things, doesn’t know everything about everything.


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Utilize it

The IT being Time. My mindset is in adjustment about this. Relax time is getting less important and seeing progress more so. I feel the sudden urge to utilize all my time well.

Utilize IT in terms of the gifts you have been given. If you have more than others, share IT. If you have knowledge share it. If you have strength share it.

Utilize IT in terms of Love. Try having infinite compassion to share. Some have great faith to share. Be willing to share a passion to inspire others to great things.

So let me get to work on something special.

Pickets in the sky.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A tree fell in the forest today and I heard it. Because it was in the woods behind my house. I’m glad the winds have subsided.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Laughter between friends is special.
  • A special day is upon me. Of course which one isn’t special.
  • It’s been a good learning week. That always get the juices going.
  • Time is the only healer.
  • Some days I so look forward to what the future holds. And other days I look forward and it scares the hell out of me.


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Juices

No not the fruit juice kind. I’m talking creative juices. For some reason, they ebb and flow from time to time. There are times when it just feels right in some of the creative endeavors I tinker in. I’m hoping to rediscover this because I’ve been a little stagnant lately. So time to look within and revive myself.

The moon getting ready to rest for the morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I have to stop waiting for opportunities and make my own. I just have to make the effort. I have to work within what I’m given when I’m given the time.

I’m going to set my priorities and get to work. I’m excited just thinking about it now and feel committed to accomplishments this weekend. I’ll report back my success or failure Sunday.

Tonight is the last evening of work for the job that pays the bills and my job as husband, grandpa and hobby master will resume. Isn’t life grand.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The Miracle in Minnesota. Go Terps.
  • When you do something for someone and appreciation is expressed, joy is felt.
  • I was thinking about washing my car tomorrow. I see mother nature is prepared to give it a blow-dry without starting it up.
  • I feel as a father that YouTube takes away a lot of the fun of showing something to your children because they know how to do it better than you by watching videos.


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Fumes

Feeling like I’m running on fumes but I’m running so off we go. One of my best friends brought back some nice memories from our youth which really started my day off well. Yeah I know living in the past isn’t a good thing but in our case its impossible to ignore. It was such a good ride that we can’t help but reminisce from time to time.

Ellicott City looking over bridge. Photo by Mike Hartley

The fumes I’m running on are 8 hours sleep in the last two nights combined. I’ve got one more short night and then I can get back to some normal rest I hope.

Maybe I’ll try to get down to Ellicott City tomorrow and see what all the commotion is about. I hear it has to do with the EC Brewing company and Phoenix also. I think the owner brought the Brewing company and I believe they are doing some kind of makeover.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Some people who have disappointed me in the past are trying to up their game. Not in a good way either. That’s OK, karma is a bitch.
  • I’m finding those few minutes of life that keep me going each day even on the most difficult days.
  • It scares me when people I know who have the cancers I’ve had succumb to them.
  • If I could make one wish before I leave this earth its that some of the health issues I faced are not passed along to my children.


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Why

I don’t know why this bothers me. Maybe its the contrast of a comfortable pillow in a wire basket. But it’s one of the many touches my better half does with our home. I like most all of them because they are well thought out and stylish. Plus she keeps it fresh by changing things up once in a while and always adds seasonal touches thoughout the year.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course I take a lot of this for granted. I’m not a big change or decorating person. But she is constantly improving this home of ours and I’m appreciative because it always looks so nice and professional.


That was a very moving memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter today and one that had many important thoughts and goals. Live in each moment with family and friends.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • It feels good to get more done than you think you could in a day.
  • Life has a lot of lessons. But you got to go to school of life first to learn.
  • Squeeze some life into the drudgery of the mundane parts of the week.
  • I’m developing an appreciation for my 60’s.
  • I think I’ll do a little shooting today.
  • Its easy to take your health for granted till you realize you have. So appreciate any good day you have.


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Back to back

No, I didn’t go out and raise hell. Quite the opposite, I slept. Yeah slept for about 10 hours Friday night and again on Saturday night. The rarity of such an event for me does not go unstated. I’m not saying it makes up for what little sleep I got the rest of the week. I’m just saying it was a great few days of rest and something that doesn’t happen that often.

Believe me, I’m well aware of the importance of rest. And when I get some time I’m going to make sure I get some sleep each day in quantities that suit my body and mind. I’m actually trying to do better at it now even while still very busy working hard.

I guess I’ll have to start looking at it like eating. Never too late in life to start healthy habits. Well, I hope so at least. Not that I need 10 hours but the 3-5 that I average is too little.


Another back to back was family luncheons on Saturday and Sunday. A really nice treat. Yesterday was celebrate a brother inlaws 60th birthday and today was just a lunch with our son and daughter-in-law at the Sunshine Grille in Fork Maryland. I really liked this place. Very good food and service. Plus sitting outside was something I had never seen before. A Morgan 3 wheeler.

Photo by Mike Hartley
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yet another back to back coming is a tough few weeks ahead. Once I clear these next two weeks I’m going to spend some me-time. And of course some we time with my better half. But first we have to clear this hurdle. And it begins tonight.

At least I’m going into it feeling good and hoping for the best. And when things aren’t in your control all you can do is hope for the best.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • The fun in the day is finding the minutes you can savor and enjoy.
  • I’m working by my mind is with two people with heavy hearts.
  • It’s good to evaluate your priorities often. For me its easy for them to get out of sync.
  • I have a number of desk, most of them aren’t clean. But I’m working on it.


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Challenges

New neighbors new challenges. A while back the neighbor behind us builds a chicken coup. Then they populated it beyond what is allowed in the county. The new neighbors next door just created this metal frame structure, threw what appears to be a tarp over part of it. Given the sounds, I believe that one is populated now.

So far the one behind us which is in a court and we have a little woods between us, hasn’t been an issue. They maintain it well. the rooster doesn’t wake me often and there has been no smell. So all was well. But this large pen, on our property line and maybe too close to my home given the laws on the books. I have no idea how many they think they are going to put in there but its a very large pen. Twice the size of the one behind us that has 15-20 already.

Photo by Mike Hartley

To add to the complications the neighbors that have constructed their new pen don’t speak English. So I can’t familiarize them with the local laws on the books. I wish there weren’t language barriers. So right now I’m going to just see how this plays out. If it becomes an issue I might just call the county and let them deal with it.

So get ready for the poultry update from time to time. I’m not against poultry or people raising it. But a residential area and a farm are two different things.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I had a really nice luncheon with in-laws today.
  • I know when I get a good night’s sleep because its a real special event being they come around so infrequently.
  • I can’t wait till I go to D.C. for a reason other than work.
  • Each time I get a week or two overdue on a haircut I think about letting it grow again.
  • The older you get, the less performance reviews matter.


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Life decisions

I was thankful my son called me about a life decision yesterday. Everyone needs people they can trust with the really difficult calls in life. Not that he needs me for many because both my children are very capable and have made many successful calls in their young adult lives and I believe will continue to do so.

Some calls are tough. I always have a number of people that I can get very honest and frank opinions from who I respect. Sometimes I even ask someone I know who might give me the opposite of what I’m hoping for just to have a different perspective.

Photo by Mike Hartley.

Some days your toughest decision is where to eat. The next day you may be faced with a life and death decision. You don’t know what decisions you will have to make each day till that day comes. Life is a constant decision.

For instance, for the first time in my life, I realized I had to make a decision each day of what and how much to eat. For the first 50 years of my life, I could eat what I wanted and how much I wanted and I stayed at a healthy weight. Those days are gone and until I realized recently that I have to make a decision each day now about eating did I get control back. Because no decision is usually the wrong decision.

Photo by Mike Hartley

I got to thinking about the end of life decisions today. Not because I’m faced with it but I know this needs communication in the future. For instance, I think some of the simplest things don’t get communicated. Take driving for example. We have a huge population heading into the senior years. We are living longer. But our driving skills deteriorate. What is the right time to give up the keys? Typically the seniors in my realm of experience have paid dearly for not giving them up early enough.

I lost a Grandmother when my Grandfather pulled out in front of a dump-truck. And he was also injured badly and never really recovered from it. The year before when we saw them on a summer visit I remembered going to get chicken with my Grandfather and I remembered being uncomfortable with his driving. I think I was 9 or 10 but it stuck with me because its the first thing I remembered when I heard of the accident.

My own Mom was injured badly in an accident. She recovered but we agreed that she never drive again. And I should have stopped her before that accident. But being she had been a single Mom for decades the car was her independence.

Photo by Mike Hartley

A huge piece of me will die when I have to give up the keys. Driving for me is one go the great enjoyments of life. But I certainly want my children to speak up and tell me before I injure someone else our us. And I’ll have to respect that day. It will be a tough decision for them and me.

The more decisions you make the better you should get. If you learn from the ones that both work and don’t work out too well. All of them have lessons. Also, know that some decisions are different for you than anyone else. Right decisions are made in your heart and mind.

Most decisions should be made for yourself. But there are some where you might make a different decision based on others needs. At times in my life I’ve thought about job changes because situations had become less than optimal lets say, and I’ve stayed with it because it was the secure thing financially and benefit wise. Which is fine because that is a family decision at the time. So I sucked it up and lived with it. Which is fine and I’m happy with that.

People fret about what car to buy. Or where to live or go on a vacation. People are interesting in even the timing and approach to making decisions. One of my best friends might make any of those decisions in a day or two. I’d be a few weeks on the car. A few months or more on a home. Vacations are sometimes years. And you know what, my friend who makes quick decisions is one of the best decision makers I know. Sometimes I wish I’d listened to him more. But that won’t change how I make decisions because each person has their own way that is right for them.

I wish I had some wise advice that would be a breakthrough for the decision making process. Especially to pass on to my own children and grandchildren. I guess I have in some ways, because my children aren’t afraid of making decisions. They have made a lot of great ones. They seem to be well thought out. Of course I’ll defer to my better half on always being the best example in our family but I’m going to take some partial credit also.

Do what’s right. Do it with thoughtfulness. Do it with love (and this one hurts sometimes). Do it with hope. Do it with the big picture. Do it with responsibility and commitment. Do it with conviction. And then be happy with it and learn from it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Any day you can see your parents, your children, and your grandchildren is a win. And today was a WIN.
  • I used to wonder when Newspapers might no longer be printed. No I wonder when the word Newspaper will become obsolete, and it may well be within my lifetime.
  • Sometimes when I try to write something insightful I wonder if I show how little I know and how poorly I write.
  • It’s a good thing both my better half and I snore. I think we cancel each other out.
  • Drive a car that makes you feel good in some way. Well at least before you have children or after they are grown.


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Thursday Thirst

I had a thirst for music today. Well, it started on Wednesday when I realized I was having precious few moments to enjoy in the past few weeks. I also saw a few videos last night of an old band I liked who’s drummer just passed recently. In addition to being one of the best drummers of all time, he wrote very well.

I ran across this tribute to him and one of his songs performed by the US Army band. The song was called Time Stand Still. I love the lyrics to it. The focus on capturing moments alluded to in the song is why I enjoy taking pictures I believe. I look back and relive moments of my life in each one. And that moment stands still for me and allows me to soak up the feelings of it again.

But life is about real-life moments and the ability to appreciate the gift each one provides. So appreciate the small gifts throughout the day. Never discount a hug or hand squeeze or fist bump. Never forget the laughter or sincerity you feel in your heart for another person.


Car window photography. I was too tired and too cold to get out and grab a shot on the way home yesterday, so I did the next best thing, I turned the heat up, rolled down the window and took a shot or two.

Downtown Silver Spring
Photo by Mike Hartley
District of Columbia Scottish Rite, AASR, SJ on 16th street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Glad this wasn’t the year I purchased a snowblower. I’d feel pretty foolish about now.
  • My wife is more of a hardwood floor person. I’m more of a carpet person. I’m losing territory.
  • It’s time to make another run at sorting some of my parent’s possessions out.
  • If your the one making the extra effort to make things work better for friends and family, don’t look at it as a burden, look at it for the success and happiness it gives everyone.


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Grey or Gray

Yesterday in the very bright light of the company bathroom I looked in the mirror and low and behold the grey or gray that has been edging into my beard for the last few years is now making its way upward. Before I go on more about it, the fact that the hair on my head is changing doesn’t bother me. I’m not going to color it. I’m not going to worry about it if it starts to get thin and recede.

It’s not going to trigger some mid-life crisis because I’m past mid-life. I’m not going to start wearing hats. I’m not going to become a hermit. I’m not going to shave my head.

I am what I am. And at this stage of my life, I’m comfortable with myself. Well for the most part. I’m still trying to get to a healthy weight but I’m only about 10-12 lbs from that. This means 2/3 of that battle has been fought and won.

The world is so image-conscious. I can’t help but think of the damage that does to so many people mentally. I know it twisted me at times in my youth. I know it hurt my family. But today that is the last thing I’m going to stress about. Actually I hope I live a very long time to see it all go grey/gray someday.

Please excuse the scruffy look. I was trimming it short for a while and thought about going Grizzly Adams but summer is on its way and short is more comfortable. Plus I enjoy eating sloppy food so that is also a determinant. So tomorrow the beard gets a trim and the hair gets cut.

Oh, as I was looking in the mirror I thought about the word grey/gray. And I’ve spelled it both ways for many years I believe without looking up which was proper till today. So I learn its a proper to use both depending on where you live in the world. I was hoping the American version was grey but its not, its gray. To me grey looks more like the color.

Sorry about the grayness of this post. I’m going to do some shooting tomorrow and see if we can bring some light to it.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Feels good to get to the last day of the job that pays the bills this week. Now life can begin again.
  • It’s funny how most peoples definition of being “good” varies.
  • I bet pot holes would get a lot more attention if they were on politicians way to work.
  • It’s good to have friends and family that inspire you. Especially when its in the right direction.
  • I’ve stopped wondering how life gets busier as time goes on. It just does. Which shattered one of my dreams as a youth.


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Passion vs time

I could spend all day taking pictures or writing or carving. The reality of having a full time + job, being a father, grandfather, husband and trying to be a good friend to many just leaves precious few minutes in each day.

I’m thankful for those minutes though and the relaxation to take a breath and try to come up with something. I look forward to it each day and it helps take away the stress of the other parts of life. It helps me refocus and relax. It helps me think through problems and issues. It helps motivate me.

I find it’s got me so looking forward to many years of productivity into my senior years and retirement someday. It slows down to take the time to appreciate the relationships I have and how fortunate I am in some cases. It helps me scratch that creative itch I have.