Free Baseball: “O, How I’ve Missed You” Edition

Once an Oriole, always an Oriole.

Here are some former Baltimore Orioles playing the game. Only their uniforms have changed.

(What, you thought I’d never mention Nick Markakis again just because he’s a Brave now? And, not share last night’s baby video with you? What do you think I am, some kind of monster?)

10th Inning ~ Nelson Cruz

Sure, Nelson Cruz was only an Oriole for a season, but his league-leading 40 home runs last year helped the Orioles go deep into October. Thank you, Nelly!

Cruz took those home runs and parlayed them into a juicy, rich contract from the Seattle Mariners in the off season.

He returned to Camden Yards this week.

His reception? A warm standing ovation from Orioles fans. (The smattering of “boos” you hear are actually fans yelling “Cruuuuzzz,” just like they did all last season.)

nelson cruz

Watch here.

O’s fans didn’t begrudge Cruz his single. They weren’t quite as happy about his home run in his next at-bat, but they probably weren’t all that surprised.

11th Inning ~ Nick Markakis

I’m still sad about longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis leaving for the Atlanta Braves this season.

I wouldn’t say he’s irreplaceable in right, but so far the O’s have tucked Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, and Alejandro De Aza over there, and it’s just not the same.

Markakis is doing a-ok over in Atlanta. And, last night, after chasing a foul ball, he stopped to greet a young Braves fan. Watch here.

nick markakis

I still miss you, Nick.

Look close and you’ll see a bonus Oriole! That’s former Oriole closer Jim Johnson on the mound handily getting through a clean 8th inning in the Braves win last night.

12th Inning ~ Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta had a challenging few seasons in Baltimore. Everyone insisted he had the talent, but he just couldn’t get it together when it came time to pitch.

Arrieta is the perfect example of how a change of scenery – and a burst of facial hair – can make all the difference. Traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2013, he’s thrived as a go-to starter.

On May 12 he shut down the Mets with 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory. Watch here.

(Fun Fact: Earlier this month, the Orioles tried twice and couldn’t beat the Mets.)


If solid starting pitching isn’t your bag, try these cubs instead …


Six bear cubs at the Wildlife Center of Virginia goofing off on the live Critter Cam. Watch here.

They are adorable. Almost as adorable as that Nick Markakis video from last night.



Free Baseball refers to the extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here “Free Baseball” are the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.

Divine Discontent Gets A Day Off … (almost)

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself. … It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.”  ~ Harper Lee

First off, thank you to that reader who emailed me last night to tell me he can snap his fingers. (This, in response, to my heartfelt admission yesterday.) I exorcise my divine discontent … and for this, you taunt?  Truly? Truly?

So, what’s new in divine discontent today?


I’m not sure that it’s ok to unleash fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve/Day.  I mean, sure, set off some whistling Moonshine Bottle Rockets, Blazing Rebel Fountains with all the pretty colors, a few of those nameless ashy, snakey things. Prairie Fire cones, Nuclear Sunrise candles. Go ahead. Sparklers? Sparkle your pants off.

No, I’m talking armaments. That sound like – or could possibly have actually been – cannon fire.

I went to bed before midnight because I taught Yoga this morning.

But, I awoke at midnight to the sound of shelling. Wait, what? Grant’s marching toward Richmond again?

The booming, wall-rattling shelling was coming from our neighbor’s house, about a quarter-mile and one full cow pasture away.

Is that really necessary?

Are you trying to kill the old year … or the new one?

So, when I got up at 6:00 a.m. today, I suggested that I might go outside and lay on my car horn to greet my new year and wake the neighbors.

Editor/Husband suggested that I not do this: “They have a cannon.”

Editor/Husband would like to share this cannon joke with you. Click here

(He tried to tell it to me at midnight, but I just wanted to go back to sleep.)

Let’s start the year …

First up, baseball.

Yesterday, I exorcised my baseball discontent … giving the Baltimore Orioles’ owner some chin music for being a cheapskate, skinflint, and tightwad (these all mean different things, by the way, and he is all of them).

But, let me begin 2014 on a positive note.

I love the Orioles annual pet calendar. Proceeds support BARCS, Baltimore’s animal shelter, and animal welfare organizations are dear to my heart.

But, here’s the thing. To produce the calendar means that the Orioles must do the photo shoots and get everything to press well in advance. (Spoiler alert: teams can change, BARCS calendars cannot.)

The result is a beautiful calendar of Orioles posing in last year’s summer sun with handsome rescue dogs and bushels of adorable kitties.  (It’s clear the low-ranking rookies often end up with the kittens … don’t think Stevie and I haven’t noticed.)

I opened up the 2014 calendar today, and look at Mr. January and Mr. January!

Nick & Nate Mr. Januaries


It’s the newest Washington National Nate McLouth.

(In 2013, pitcher Jake Arrieta was traded to the Cubs just as his month as Mr. July was beginning. Jim Johnson – see, I told you I’m not done with this – had just completed his Mr. November reign when he was traded to the A’s on December 2.)

Stevie & Jim Johnson

Stevie is not happy about the Jim Johnson trade either … or the lack of calendar cats.

In previous calendars, most players enjoyed their own month. This year, there seems to be more two-players-to-a-month sharing. The size of the team hasn’t changed, so maybe the Orioles are now thinking, “Yikes, let’s just stuff a few players on the page and hope that at least one of them is still around come next year.”

But, back to being positive.

I love my Orioles calendar. (But, boy, I’ll miss Nate. And, Jim.)

Just 44 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Next up, Yoga.

I taught Yoga this morning. It was great!

Yoga Is Full Sign

And, finally, Life.

Have a great 2014.

(See, wrapped them all up again.)

Divine Discontent can have the rest of New Year’s Day off!


Lamar says “hey.”

Early Is My Friend

New Year’s resolutions generally stink.

All good intentions to get healthy, go running, or eat better go out the window when a foot of snow covers your car, knocks out your power, but you still have to go to work.

You know it. I know it.

(There’s no resolution in the world strong enough to keep me from a piece of chocolate or a Diet Mountain Dew.)

Stevie Dew

Oh, look, Stevie’s a Dewbie, too!

If pressed, my New Year’s resolution is pretty simple – make it to 2015 and write on here from time to time. Because I love writing stuff for you. Really. Both of you. You’re both wonderful and incredibly good looking.

In the spirit of New Year’s let me tell you two honest things about me:

1) I cannot snap my fingers. I really can’t. It’s not that I choose not to. I would snap all day. If only I could. (There. Just tried again. Still can’t.)

(Editor/Husband says I snap my fingers like a second-grader. A paste-eating second-grader. I’m not proud of this.)

2) The only New Year’s resolution I ever kept was years ago when I worked in an office. I used to needle a colleague all the time. (She was a very nice person, but she didn’t know who R.E.M. was, for god’s sake, how could I not needle her? I was in a very sarcastic phase of my life. I know, so glad that’s passed.)

So, for New Year’s I promised her that for an entire year I was going to be nice to her. And, I was. I was so nice, fawning over her and always asking how her day was going (often interrupting her several times an hour just to ask), that I proved to be an incredibly annoying nice person. Imagine that!

Lisa became a successful – and very nice – lawyer. I write a blog with two readers. So, as you can see, sarcasm gets you nowhere, kids.

While I see the timely need to lard up this blog with some resolution jabber, it being a new year and all, you’ve probably already realized that I’m not really the best person to go to for advice or encouragement.


Unless you happen to own the Baltimore Orioles. Here are some resolutions for you, Mr. Angelos.

First off, get us some pitching. Spend some money … you can’t take it with you and you’re not getting any younger. You can never fully redeem yourself in my eyes after trading Jim Johnson, but you can make amends.

Let’s start with a Starter, ok? I mean, a real Starting Pitcher – a mean-as-cuss, ace-of-the-team alley cat who throws both fire and finesse.

A pitcher who understands that his day doesn’t end with the words “he was roughed up, again, in the fifth inning.” A pitcher who strives for “27 outs” … in a single game, not in a month.


Mountain Lion and Dr. Perky are cheap.

He won’t be.

At the risk of seeming greedy, pony up for another bat in the lineup and maybe a strong bullpen arm to replace the one you so callously and cruelly threw away. (It may be a new year, but I’m not over this Jim Johnson thing yet.)

In short, Mr. A, let’s spend some real dough so that the rest of baseball will stop thinking we’re the class weirdos.


# # #

So, you know how this blog is supposed to be about baseball and Yoga and life? And, how I talk a good game (always aiming for the bleachers) but rarely wrap them all up together? I feel bad about that.

Let’s fix things.

Earlier this year, I came upon four particularly useful rules. Or, resolutions. Call them what you like.

They were posted by a pitcher above his locker.

I love these rules. They are good reminders for a pitcher. They are good reminders for a Yoga student. They are good reminders for life.

Here they are.

early is my friend

~ Go 0-1. Must have action. Early is my friend.

~ Get the ball down. Strikes below the knees.

~ Manage the game. Slow down. Break a bad rhythm.

~ Take your time between pitches. Take a time out and reset.

That’s baseball talk, for this: Start 0-1. Throw a strike. Be confident.

Be in control.

Take charge and responsibility for your actions.  If you’re being a doofus, change.

And, always step off the mound and take the time you need to think things through when feeling pressured or else you may do something really, really stupid.

Which in Yoga I boil down to that one simple, most important resolution of all …

Don’t forget to breathe.

Sounds good to me. Let’s do this.

Happy 2014!

Baseball’s Beautiful. But, The Off-Season Stinks.

“I love baseball. You know, it doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s just very beautiful to watch.” ~ Leonard Zelig, from the movie Zelig *

When baseball is a game, it is good. It is beautiful.

The grass is green, the sun is warm. Just a game. A beautiful, simple, splendid game.

But, when it’s the off-season, baseball stinks. Players are tucked away and resting up (some are playing golf, some are signing multi-multi-multi-million-dollar deals).

They become a commodity. This one gets traded. This one gets bought. This one is left on the shelf like a sad, dusty bottle of Justin Beiber cologne just hoping someone needs a desperation gift on Christmas Eve.

It sort of makes me uncomfortable when humans are treated like products. (I know, that’s the point of business, right? I’m awful at business.)

The off-season is like a soggy wad of hairball trapped in my throat.  (Editor/Husband does not believe that I can know what a hairball feels like, but I’ve seen my cats get all buggy-eyed, rear back, and start to vomit. I’m pretty sure I feel the same way right now.)

I hate the off-season.

The Baltimore Orioles traded away Jim Johnson, their closer, to Oakland, even though I specifically asked them not to.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Jim.

I’m a big Jim Johnson fan. I’m a fan of bullpens and relievers in general. I’m still pretty steamed over this.

(And, yes, I’m looking forward to the “I told you so” blog post that I’ll write next season when Jim has a great year in Oakland. And, I hope Oakland will fix its sewage-in-the-dugout thing before Jim gets there. Dear Oakland, he’s used to nicer accommodations.)

The Orioles let their Left Fielder Nate McLouth go to the Washington Nationals.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Nate.

Yeh, I’m kinda sore about this, too.

But, they got a new left fielder guy. A guy from the Royals. So maybe I’ll write about him next season.

The Orioles then were about to sign a new guy to be their closer.

Yay, it’s Christmas! We have a new closer under our Christmas Tree!

Grant Balfour, oddly enough, was Oakland’s closer last season. We were ready to sign him last week. Then something went wonky during his physical (which often happens when you’re a I-can-see-the-hill-but-I’m-not-quite-over-it 36-year-old pitcher with a shoulder that’s been knitted back together with pins and needles) and the Orioles pulled the deal.

And, then began the kerfuffle.

Let me share the kerfuffle highlights:

Orioles: We are not happy with the results of the physical and we are looking elsewhere.

Balfour: I am healthy.

Orioles: You are not.

Balfour: I am too.

Orioles: Are not.

Balfour: Am too.

This has been going on since Thursday.

I don’t like all the off-season shuffling and wheeling and dealing and trading and moving things around.

When I fell in love with baseball, it was when Cal Ripken was the Orioles’ shortstop. And, every day and every game and every season – year in and year out – he was the Orioles’ shortstop. I like things “just so.” I like my Cal Ripkens to be back every spring.


Now, I have nothing under my baseball Christmas tree.

But, Manny Machado’s knee is healing up. So, that’s a good thing.


“Machado’s Road To Recovery” ESPN, 12/10/13 (click to watch)

Watch Manny’s knee and his rehab here.

And, that’s the news from baseball. I’ve been monitoring the baseball tweet-and-trade machine, so you don’t have to.

Just 53 days ‘til pitchers and catchers report.

* Zelig is a wonderful movie. Woody Allen. 1983. You should watch it. (It has nothing to do with baseball. Really.)


A Therapist Airs Her Dirty Laundry

Earlier this week I posted a photo of three days’ worth of dirty massage linens – stacked up into a pile that was taller than the washing machine.


First off, kudos to those clients who recognized their linens from last week! The Lumosity is paying off!

Second off, some of you apparently think that I’m exaggerating (you are wrong) or that I have no intention of actually washing and drying and folding, and washing and drying and folding, all through the Thanksgiving holiday (you are wrong about this, too).

For those who think your massage ends when you slide off the table … a relaxed bowl of melted muscles … I assure you, I’m thinking of you as I do the laundry. Every weekend. And, when pillowcases are in dangerous short supply, often at 5:30 in the morning.

(Yes, some of your linens are warm on the table because they were in the dryer at 6 a.m. that morning. And, I swear to you, if you hustle them into a laundry basket right out of the dryer, they will hold heat for hours.)

If you are one of my massage clients, know that I love you.

That’s why I do the laundry and fluff and fold it … at dawn and on my day off. I don’t mind. Really.

(Folding linens is a much nicer and far more productive task than all those office meetings and “brainstorming” sessions I sat through in an earlier life.)

But, here’s what you may not know.

Those linens? The warm, luxurious flannels? The light cotton ones? The sweet pinky plaids? At some point you indicated that you liked them.

You like being toasty warm during your session? You get my warmest, coziest set and the table warmer is set to “high”. You battle hot flashes and want the cool light blue ones? Check! You like the pink plaid ones, because, because they are so lovable and so pink? Sometimes, I’ll hold them out of the rotation for days just so they are ready for you.


The ever-popular Pink Plaids.

I pick your sheets just for you. It’s crazy, but when I see a set roll out of the dryer, I think of you.

Some of those flannels are wearing thin. Some sets last a season, some have lasted for more than a decade (2003 was an exceptionally good year for ever-soft and resilient Wal-Mart flannels.)

Some sheets have been torn apart by our new “high efficiency” washer.

Tearing my sheets apart is not efficient, stupid Washing Machine.

So, I’ve cobbled together “new” sets with top and bottom sheets that sorta, kinda match. (If you get an unmatched set, I have decided that you are a thoughtful client who will appreciate, and maybe even be amused by, my thriftiness.)

Lately, I’ve told a few clients, “This is it. I’m not buying any more linens. When these fall apart, I’m closing up shop.”

I said it sort of jokingly, but I was surprised by the response.

One of my clients (Pink Plaids) was angry. “That’s a ridiculous thing to say.”

One of my clients (Extra-Soft Medium Blue) was startled. “Really? Really? When? What are you going to do?”

(My response: “Write about baseball.” Which requires going to games, eating popcorn, and heckling umpires. And, where “spin cycle” refers only to my explanations about why Jim Johnson’s series of blown saves last season only shows what a great pitcher he is all the other times. He really is. Please don’t trade him, Baltimore.)

OK, the linen thing was sort of a joke. But, maybe not. It seems as good a barometer as any. (OK, my elbow is probably a better barometer, but watching the linens fray away is more fun.)

A Sad Postscript … Thanksgiving Tragedy for Lime Green Cozy Flannels.

Even using “slow spin”, Inefficient Washing Machine tore the top sheet to shreds today. Shreds.


Stevie surveys the carnage.

A shame. I really liked that Lime Green Flannel set. We had some good times. She never complained and never called in sick. I’ll miss her.

But, as you can see here …


And, here …


I’ve still got a ways to go.

Baseball Free …


Things I’ve learned in the past three baseball-less weeks.

Did you know it only takes four seconds to put the toilet paper roll on the hanger in the bathroom?  I had forgotten that that’s what that little wall bracket thingy is for. Did you know that you can do that every time you start a new roll?

Now, with no baseball to watch, I suddenly have all sorts of time to do the things that I haven’t done for awhile.

Like catch up on my People magazines.


Have you heard the news? Kim and Kanye are getting married! Ahhh, precious young love. So sweet and pure and true.

(Dear San Francisco Giants, you should be ashamed … whoring out AT&T Park like that. But, don’t worry, Hunter Pence, I still love you.)

Hunter Baseball Camp2

“If you wanna be a Hunter’s Hitter, you’re gonna have a lot of movement. Like a hungry man chasing a taco.”

(Really, you must watch this. Now. I’ll wait.)

And, tidy up the workplace.

These linens don’t wash themselves.


(Warning To Future Massage Therapists: This is three days’ worth of laundry. They don’t tell you about this in Massage School, do they?  Yeh, happy folding, Sucker.)

And, look what happened while I was watching baseball … the barn is finished!

good morning barn2

And, in fairness to Barn Dude, he did finish it before the World Series, just as he promised. (Hey, Barn Dude, are you reading this? I still need a shelf in there!)

Cold, heavy rain all last night. It’s clearly not baseball season anymore. So, I was just about to count the days until Pitchers and Catchers report (78) when this Tweet from Jaye popped up.

jaye tweet

I only have a few Twitter followers, and most of them are obscure overseas marketers trying to sell me something – like saris. Apparently, I’m the only Yoga teacher who doesn’t wear a Sari.

(But, I’ll wear a Sari before I’ll ever wear Lululemon.)

Jaye is a blogger, too. And, a really good one … read her, ok?

Her Tweet reminded me that I hadn’t written in awhile. Mainly because what is there to say on a baseball blog when there is no baseball?

The bulk of off-season baseball stories are about players seeking tens of millions of dollars.

(Which is better than stories about players being bullies. So, there is that.)

Or, the Washington Nationals asking the D.C. government to give them $300 million for a retractable roof.

Which leads me to these points.

Point #1. If you can’t play baseball outside, then maybe you shouldn’t be playing baseball. (Florida and Arizona, you have Spring Training … ALL the teams are there every spring.  And, you have the Fall League! Isn’t that enough for you?) And, Houston Astros, if the Texas Rangers can play outside, why can’t you? (And, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee? Oh, never mind …)

Point #2. Really, Nationals? A retractable roof is going to put you in the playoffs? Why not spend $300 million on Robinson Cano? Or, two Carlos Beltrans?

Editor/Husband says that $300 million for a retractable roof seems reasonable to him. (This conversation really happened: Me: “Hey, you can have 30 Jim Johnsons for that.” He: “If only he were retractable.” “I don’t know what that means.” “I don’t either.”)

Point #3. The Mayor laughed at the Nats’ request. Laughed. And, someone in his office said the roof would be “butt ugly.” So, uh, I guess that means no roof?

Point #4. Editor/Husband says my stubbornness about indoor baseball is similar to the outcry over lights at baseball parks and the first night games. The first major league night game was in 1935. (He remembers this? Editor/Husband is much older than I thought.)


Lights. Clouds. Sky.

Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving? Just 78 days ’til Pitchers & Catchers report.  Happy Thanksgiving!

I Got Nowhere To Be …

I guess my beloved Manny Machado tee-shirt had a little mojo left in it afterall.


If your baseball season has to end before October – and for 19 teams the season ended Sunday – then the best you can do is hope to win your last game.

7-6 … Orioles over Red Sox.

It’s always nice to beat the Boston Red Sox on the last day of the season.

Sometimes that single win can change everything, like in 2011.  This year, it didn’t mean as much, except that the Good Guys won and Jim Johnson got the save and notched his second consecutive 50-save season.

(Not exactly pretty, but watch the recap as the O’s come from down 5-0 to win, here.)

Quick, flip the channel!

7-6 … Giants over Padres.

Another exciting comeback … a walk-off win! Apparently the Manny Machado tee-shirt is also soft on the Giants.

(Recap, here.)


But, now, I got nowhere to be until next season.

Have you ever been invited to a party that you didn’t want to go to? You don’t really know the people, they seem a little strange … you’re not going to know anyone there … they live in a weird part of town … they’re not as much fun as your friends … and all you really want to do is stay home and watch TV?

But, you go anyway, because … because …

Because oh, I don’t know, maybe there will be snacks?

Hello, post-season.

I’ve been looking for a post-season team to follow. Just a temporary, meaningless fling. Someone to pass the time with for the next few weeks. I asked for suggestions.

I have a lot of Red Sox friends. I thought they might put in a good word for their fuzzy-faced team. But, silence.

Over waffles Sunday morning, one baseball observer (who asked to remain anonymous because he has friends who love the Red Sox) said, “There’s no conceivable way I could root for the Red Sox in the post season, unless somehow North Korea managed to field a team. Actually, though, North Korea’s never really done anything to me, so I don’t know.”

(This riveting “Has North Korea really ever done anything to me?” conversation continued until it was interrupted when he went to chase the cow out of the yard.)

But, just when I thought no one wanted this lonely Oriole fan’s support, I got a couple posts from Oakland A’s fans.

OK, that’s possible. Just going from the O’s to the A’s is simple vowel-hopping.

I’ve actually been to Oakland Coliseum, though many years ago (pre-sewage).

In August, I took photos of A’s outfielder Coco Crisp before a game at Camden Yards.

A's Outfielder Coco Crisp.

A’s Outfielder Coco Crisp on the left.

(In my Yoga classes, we call this Giraffe Pose.)

I have this tee-shirt.


Alright, I’ll wear it. (But, I’m still gonna wear my Orioles cap.)

Let’s do this.

Go A’s.


(Dear Orioles, please rest up. Dear Chris Davis and Manny Machado, please rest your injured parts. We have a World Series to win next year. Thank you for a great season! Amen.)

Just 183 days until Opening Day.

Bhakti, Cicadas, & Jim Johnson

OK, first off, somebody Googled “life is meaningless and everything dies” yesterday and somehow … for some insane reason known only to the Internet … was directed to my blog.

Really? Really??? I’m very disappointed in you, Google.

For the record, life is NOT meaningless (not even for the Miami Marlins), but yes, in fact, everything does die eventually.

In Yoga there is a path called Bhakti – the Yoga of devotion. It’s one of the simplest paths of Yoga because there are no special instructions to guide it. The practice is simply seeing, feeling, experiencing, and honoring the divine in yourself, in others, and in the world around you. You know, the divine (life force, meaningful goodness, or God or the Goddess … take your pick here).

Seeing and honoring the divine in a beloved friend, a beautiful flower, or a joyful cat is a pretty easy way to rock the Bhakti path.


Hi, Stevie!

But, isn’t that a bit too easy?

Seeing the divine in the heart of an annoying person, in something ugly or frightening, or in a difficult experience … now that’s Bhakti.

Here in Virginia, thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of other-worldly cicadas have made their way up out of the ground. They’ve left their crunchy outer shells (or carcasses, if you will) all over, including dozens on my porch.

Here's a cicada, ready for anything!

Here’s a cicada, ready for anything!

After 17 years underground, they emerge like randy Rip Van Winkles to mate. Yes, finally old enough to mingle at the frat house mixer conveniently located in my elm tree.

They are known mostly for the ethereal mating song of the male – something that sounds strangely like spaceships landing in a low-rent sci-fi movie. You can listen here.

They make that sound by flexing their bellies which vibrates little bongo drums in their abdomen. (I’m not kidding. Wing rubbing is for sissies.)

The sound is considered beautiful and alluring to female cicadas. When a thousand of them get their drums going, it can get pretty loud and can go all night (which, again, seems rather frat-like). What may make a female cicada swoon can be incredibly annoying for humans.

Not to mention the fact that cicadas are rather large – 2 or 3 inches – are related to locusts, have translucent wings and enormous, kinda creepy red eyes. (They also make a terrible squishing sound when you accidentally step on one … and with thousands of them lounging on your porch, it’s bound to happen.)

It’s hard to love a cicada (unless you’re a chicken; they and other animals find cicadas to be buttery and delicious).

I dedicated the Yoga classes I taught this week to the cicada – which meant lots of core work (to activate our own abdomens), deep breathing (after 17 years underground I would think they’d appreciate some fresh air) and a lot of stretching out of the earth and out of our shells. (People were on their own for the mating thing …)

I just wanted to send a little love to the cicada. Very cool little locusts, if a bit ugly. I wanted to honor the sweet divine that rests within them, in the same way it rests within all of us.

So, Bhakti for the cicadas!

And, Bhakti for Jim Johnson, beleaguered Baltimore Orioles closer.

Jim Johnson

He blew three straight saves (as part of a six-game Orioles losing streak) in recent days.

It’s no fun watching your All-Star closer toss up batting practice and lose games in the bottom of the 9th that you thought were won.

It’s 10 p.m., the game’s winding down … you have a comfortable one- or two-run lead, time to get ready for bed. And, Jim Johnson comes out to the mound, gives up a meaningless hit (just to make things interesting) and then shuts them down. Old Reliable Jim.

We turn off the TV and go to bed happy, with dreams of the World Series in our heads.

But, when things go bad for Jim Johnson, my Editor/Husband yells at him. “Oh, no. Oh, no. No, no, no!”  Things went very bad this week.

I’m sure my husband knows that Jim Johnson can’t actually hear him. I’m pretty much the only one who can. (Well, the cats hear him, too, but what can they do? They can’t even bunt.)

It’s when players have rough games or go through a slump that you have to look beyond an external bad day to see through to the goodness within.

So we decided (and by “we”, I mean “I” decided) no more yelling at Jim Johnson. Only positive support. (Yeh, I know, Jim Johnson can’t hear that either. But, the house is more peaceful, so … progress.)

After all, we all have bad days. We all have slumps. But, it doesn’t define who we are.

On Tuesday night, Jim Johnson came out in the 10th inning and shut down the Yankees 1-2-3. So, he’s coming around.

Even when things are bad, or when people let you down or disappoint you, or strange-looking locusts crawl out of the ground to make noise and mess up your porch … you can look for the sweetness, the goodness, the divine, within. That’s Bhakti.

Seeing and honoring the divine in your loved ones is a good start. Extending that recognition to others in your world, even the ones you don’t know or you don’t understand, takes a bit more work.

It’s worth the effort.

And, life isn’t meaningless.