Archive | February, 2013

How the lime green basket my dog hates represents your life

27 Feb

Meet Joker, an almost eleven pound terrier. I once gained street cred in the neighborhood because a five year old informed me Joker was from Batman. He said I was cool.

HELLO, I’M JOKER:

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

Someone made a mess of these toys…
Wasn’t me.

If you think Joker is cute, don’t be fooled. I’m kidding. He’s awesome, and I love him. He also has some quirks that I think we can all apply to our lives.

Kids in the neighborhood always stop me when I’m walking Joker to say: “Cute dog!”

In which my first thought is: Don’t talk to strangers. Instead, I always say: “Thank you.”

Even though I’m not sure they’re really complimenting me. It feels kind of insincere to accept the praise. I have no real claim to fame for his cuteness except that I buy his toys.

Anyway, Joker has this lime green basket that he really loathes. We use it to put all his toys in so the living room looks cleaner. It’s supposed to look like this:

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

Organized toys.

It ends up looking like this:

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

What happens when Joker takes all the toys from the box.

Probably because of this:

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

Get out! Get out! Get out!
I don’t want any sass, toys.

Whenever we place all his toys in the basket, he cannot handle it. He just can’t. It is the one thing that bothers him above all other things. He hates it.

How do we know he hates it?

Because this always ends up happening:

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

This is how I roll.

This is literally sixty seconds after I finished putting all the toys in the basket.

You might wonder why we continue to put the toys there. First of all, he makes us laugh. He gets so disgruntled. I’m sorry, but it’s hilarious.

Second is that this is an analogy for the world.

There are always outside forces out of our control.

The basket is that one thing we can’t handle as individuals. It’s something different for all of us.

In life, we are the disgruntled person, fighting for change.

There are things like the lime green box that we can’t handle! The absolute annoyance of this one specific thing gets under our skin.

We seriously cannot deal.

If my dog could talk, I swear he’d yell: “I hate you, you stupid green basket!”

Yet, we must learn to deal with frustrations at every level.

I thought the basket was a good example of how life works.

Although now I’m thinking I should take the stupid basket away, because I’ve equated my dog to a freedom fighter and I am the force standing in his way.

*Feels like a horrible person*

Lol. Another good example of how life works. We can never win.

What do you think about equating this basket to your problems?

How many of us want to do a little yelling of our own? Let’s just curse the green basket. Then we’re the only ones who know who we’re really thinking about. 😉

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Joker, Terrier, Dogs, Puppies, Toys, Lime Green Basket

Leave them here and frolic off into the sunset. Seriously, do it.

I won’t tell. Your secret is between you and that frustrating, impossible, annoying, stupid, lime green box (whatever it is!).

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

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Fighting ignorance with compassion rather than anger

25 Feb

The world is full of a lot of pain. Deep rivets of fire in the very fiber of our being. Festering wounds full of so much agony, nearly anything can trigger the flashback to what harmed us.

Everyone has something that carves out their gut, every single time they’re reminded.

At least, I’m assuming so. I know I’ve got my wounds. My regrets. My pain.

I imagine that’s what causes so much anger. Every time we encounter something that dives under our skin, it’s so hard to control those emotions boiling right below the surface.

It’s so hard to think when all we can do is react. Everything inside us is too raw. With the internet and Twitter at our fingertips, the easiest thing to do is lash out.

We’ve all been there, our fingers hesitating over our keyboard or phone keypad. We’re quivering we’re so angry, so hurt, so outraged. We can barely contain the bile that wants to vomit out of our throat.

Yet we don’t see it as negative. We see it as positive because we are right. We are good. We are fighting for equality. We are fighting for safety. We are fighting for World Peace.

In our passion: we shout, we rage, we hurt.

In our need to rebel against the words spoken, we create a backlash all our own.

With anger, there is harm.

No matter what side of the battle we fight for, none of us are without responsibility.

A heavy way to start. But believe it or not, this is another one of those hopelessly optimistic posts.

We all carry our burdens. Some of us better than others. There are some days I lose the battle to fear and regret.

But I dream of a world that fights ignorance with compassion rather than anger.

The reason I dream this is because I grew up in a relatively small town. I was coddled in ways I couldn’t comprehend until adulthood. That is the very meaning of being coddled. You’re so engrossed in your own safety you don’t even recognize the possible threats.

Now, that’s not to say my town didn’t have its troubles. We had our losses, our own sorrows, our pain. Maybe not on the scale of the big city, but it was there, nonetheless.

If I offend you, it’s not because I want to. It’s because I’m not educated enough to understand why that particular subject would hurt you.

As much as I’ve tried to expand my horizons, I will always be constricted by my upbringing. I will always be a product of my past.

Unless I throw myself into the middle of nowhere and build myself up from scratch, I will never comprehend what that’s like. As educational as that promises to be, we can’t ignore that we’ve established responsibilities in this world.

Just because we aren’t throwing ourselves into a new environment to learn, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to grow. With the internet, the gateway is open.

Enlighten me. I am here to learn. The barriers are down, and I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to read about someone living there.

The world is valuable because of its diversity. But there is so much diversity that it’s impossible to relate to everyone. It’s impossible not to offend someone.

As the internet, we should come together as a community, but respect we’re all different.

There are people in the world who live to offend others. Although it might be naïve, I sincerely doubt the average person spends the time required to be that offensive.

A lot of what hits the news nowadays is thoughtless words founded on lacking education.

Just because someone believes something that hurts someone doesn’t mean they’re passionate about those beliefs. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sympathetic to your plight. It doesn’t mean they’ll never see your truth. It might simply be they’ve never been exposed to your beliefs.

I dream of a world that fights ignorance with education rather than anger.

There is already too much antagonism, too much pain. Even if we’re trying to do the right thing, let us not add to the burden. Let’s not allow the wound to fester.

Some people are stuck in their ways. They don’t know the definition of equality because they qualify it with their own beliefs.

Equality has no qualifications.

Those people might never change.

The leaders of hurtful groups are yelling the loudest, but that doesn’t mean everyone they represent is the same.

Show us the story of your journey. Show us the journey of your plight. We might decree one thing and justify it because of our upbringing.

But if you show me an emotionally charged editorial on the opposite side of an argument, I will be moved. You will change my heart, my thoughts, and my worldview.

There are people who will never be swayed, never be moved. Don’t believe that’s everyone. Don’t believe words mean nothing. They’re the most powerful tool of all.

Speak your truth. Some people will rage, but others will listen.

Let’s stop allowing the loudest voices to win us over. Let’s listen to the whisper of compassion.

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

The Shopping Cart Music Video

22 Feb

This week I found myself attempting to do a lot of deep breathing exercises.

(I was a figure skater in another life, so I’ve done yoga and pilates and just about every trendy thing that was all the fitness rage in the 90s.)

I brought my arms above my head while inhaling.

*Paused for a count of three*

Then dropped those hands back down with a nice, relaxing exhale.

After a few minutes, I felt centered, relaxed, and calm.

Or not.

Stress is one of those things that haunt us throughout our lives. Sometimes I get that fever feeling when I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to go next or how to turn.

My face burns like I’m sick, but I know it’s just the strain of the day. As much as I want to conquer that panic mountain, sometimes I can’t.

No yoga, pilates, or deep breathing will save me.

It was one of those weeks. If you had one of those weeks, I’m sorry. I know I can’t fix it, but I care. *virtual hugs*

You might be wondering how that relates to the title of this post.

While I’ve been attempting to finish my deadline book (due March 7th in case you’re wondering), I’ve also been hoping and dreaming that one of my ultimate wishes would come true.

That my super, fantastic idea might finally enter the world into existence.

Something that would solve all the universe’s problems.

Everything would be perfect.

If only…

I could make The Shopping Cart Music Video happen.

The Shopping Cart is a dance move that I really wish I could videotape. I haven’t quite figured out how to do it (mental roadblocks). I’m not entirely sure I ever will.

It’s nothing fancy.

Imagine walking down the aisle at a grocery store—with a little pep to your step—while pretending to place items into your imaginary basket.

YES, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

You might want to use fake cans like this:

Cans, Olives, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, The Shopping Cart, Dance Moves

Or, well, I guess this (since they’re fake):

Cans, Olives, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, The Shopping Cart, Dance Moves

In my mind, I rent out a supermarket and play some hardcore music.

*taps foot to the beat*

Someone plays lead and pretends to start the dance like this wasn’t planned. No, no. This was an accident.

The music comes on full force, people gather around, and then there’s that fake pause, as though no one knows what’s going on.

But then whaaat?

Flash mob!

We all do The Shopping Cart up and down the aisles.

I can see it like it’s already been filmed.

The vision makes me happy. So, so happy.

In my happy place, I am an amazing dancer.

Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and dance a little. Whether it’s a ridiculous move like The Shopping Cart, or a simple side-to-side shuffle, when life gets stressful, everyone should dance.

Life would be better if it were a musical. I wish I could sing. Laaa…

I dream about a world in which YouTube embraced The Shopping Cart Music Video.

This always makes me think of Footloose. I am such a sucker for angry dance scenes. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad. Every time, I want to yell at the screen, you just dance it out!

What do you think? How do you deal with stress? Have you ever wondered if life would be brighter if you could bust out into song?

Don’t be shy. This is a blog, so we don’t actually expect you to sing. You can even pretend you’re a great singer here. No judgment.

If you tell me you’re a great dancer, I believe you. Just like I will pretend I am a great dancer. You won’t know differently until I post a video and show you. Don’t expect a video anytime soon. Unless it’s The Shopping Cart Music Video!

Have an excellent weekend. And remember to dance.

Also, my favorite part of this blog post is when I told my husband: “I need to take a picture of cans.”

I’m not telling you his response.

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

The absolutely crucial question everyone should ask their life partner about the apocalypse before commitment

20 Feb

My husband and I have been together for seven years. Up until this point in our relationship, I thought we pretty much knew our opinions on all the importance issues.

Then he disclosed the one thing I never thought to ask. The one thing I didn’t realize could divide us on a level I never previously comprehended.

The revelation?

My husband is PRO Zombie Apocalypse.

*everyone gasps*

I KNOW. I just… can’t even…

How did this all come about? It began innocently enough with him deciding to watch The Walking Dead. A few weeks ago, we started from the beginning and caught up within one weekend.

EXCELLENT SHOW.

There were just a few problems.

I am paranoid about zombies like nobody’s business.

The show was fascinating!

BUT.

I had zombie nightmares… I dreamed about the characters… I peered out my window into my cul-de-sac, waiting for the inevitable herd invasion.

trees, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Zombie Apocalypse, Zombies

If you stare long enough, you’ll see the herd…
ACK.
I was kidding, but I freaked myself out.

To comprehend the full extent of my freak out, you’d probably have to read this post on Slaying the Worry Dragon. Apply all that to this.

Please, zombies. Take anyone else. Just PLEASE, not Earth. *holds out sword and swings with the worst aim ever*

With the new weekend approaching, I thought we could move onto something less everybody dies like Downton Abbey. I even said I think I’ll choose not to watch the upcoming shows of The Walking Dead because I just can’t handle zombies.

I’m sorry, EVERYONE. But I hate zombies with a fiery passion inside my soul. I am 100% convinced that not only is it possible to become a zombie, but that we will, in fact, have this happen during my lifetime.

I hate zombies. I’M SORRY.

I LOVE the show. I ABHOR the zombies.

Then what will be described as the largest struggle of our relationship occurred.

He started re-watching the show. AND it gets worse.

We were in the car one morning when we had this conversation.

I couldn’t comprehend his words. “What are you thinking… re-watching?!”

Then…

*pauses for dramatic effect* But also… *pauses to regain normal breathing*

He made the confession that will send shockwaves through our commitment for the rest of our days.

He said: HE WANTS TO LIVE IN THE WALKING DEAD WORLD.

!*#&$*@(!!&$(@*&$*(#!@&$*(#!!@&(#@!$*

WHAAAT?!?!?!

You want to: WHAAAT?!?!?!

I just…

Does he even know what he’s saying? To the girl who HATES zombies?

I can see now where it all went wrong. I made the simple mistake that many of you have probably also made.

I didn’t ask my husband if he was PRO or CON Zombie Apocalypse before we were married.

This will be a subject that will divide us FOREVER.

!&%!!$*(&#(^!%*(#$&(!

So please, do yourself a favor. Ask your significant other their stance on this important issue. This is more important to discern your opinions on pre-commitment than POLITICS, RELIGION, AND CAFFEINE.

You’re both either PRO Apocalypse or you’re destined to travel into the end of the world divided.

And what has The Walking Dead taught us? A divided team is herd bait. A divided section of the team gets killed off. A divided team is ripe for the plucking by the very zombies that drove them apart.

Don’t be a zombie statistic. Talk to your friends and loved ones about this very important threat.

How am I handling all this?

(You might be asking.)

Not well. Not well at all.

My husband actually said he thought living in that world would be fun. FUN.

Then I got to thinking and maybe I really would live better in a world that was survival of the fittest to an impossible degree. I wouldn’t have to worry about all the mundane things I worry about every dang day.

I would just fight to stay alive. So maybe I’m growing from this whole experience. Or at least, I think I am, until he puts the show on again and I have to see more ZOMBIES.

*shivers*

Have you seen The Walking Dead? Do you like it? I’m really a fan of the show. Some of the character exploration makes me gleeful, it’s so interesting.

I just wish they would have chosen a Vampire Apocalypse, or maybe anything… ANYTHING else (I realize it really couldn’t have been anything else).

I told someone the truth recently. You should have seen their expression.

“I LOVE The Walking Dead. I just don’t watch the zombie part.”

LOL. Yeah. Your face is what his face looked like.

Do you have something that everybody else LOVES that creeps you the heck out? Zombies have always been the thing I just CAN’T. I like the show.

*holds up hands and backs away slowly*

Easy, Walking Dead fans. I love your show. Honest.

*speaks in soothing tones*

Alright, alright! Stop yelling!

(Careful, your zombie is showing.)

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

When you realize you’re a thoughtless jerk

18 Feb

I can be a huge thoughtless jerk.

Take Valentine’s Day, for example. My husband and I didn’t spend money on presents. I knew that going in.

Even without a budget, my husband totally rocked out the day.

He was so dang thoughtful. He does this. And he’s sneaky about it! Sometimes I’m so unobservant, I don’t even notice for a while, and then all the nice things he does adds up to a gigantic mountain of awesome.

It’s probably one of the best things about him.

So on Valentine’s Day, he brought home TWO types of dark chocolate (my favorite) and pizza (my favorite). He brought out board games to play (my favorite) AND he put on Harry Potter (do I even have to say my favorite?). The sixth movie! The one with a lot of humor.

Then we started… A PUZZLE (*insert warm and fuzzy memories from childhood*).

I could not have wished for a more perfect day. And what did I do for him?!

NOTHING.

I am a thoughtless jerk. There’s nothing worse than being thoughtless.

The next day, I had to fix the situation.

No longer would I be the jerk who doesn’t do anything nice and forgets anniversaries.

I wanted to buy him a present, but that’s breaking the rules. I should be able to be thoughtful and not spend money.

Well, while we were doing the puzzle, he mentioned it would be cool to do a blank/white puzzle.

Perfect! So what did I do?

*Drum roll, please!*

puzzle, puzzle pieces, Valentine's Day, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Love, Thoughtfulness, Being thoughtful

I made him a puzzle.

And he called it THOUGHTFUL.

Yessssss…

I’m no longer a jerk. *fist pump* At least, I’m not a jerk today.

Men get a bad rap for forgetting anniversaries and birthdays, but really, I think they’re just more subtle about it. We don’t give them enough credit.

I know what I’ll do going forward. Appreciate my life partner and shower him with affection. His response will be to roll his eyes.

LOL.

Men.

Have you ever thought to yourself, I’m a gigantic jerk? I think being able to admit when we fall short is pretty nifty (I really wanted to work nifty into a blog post, AND I DID).

On a completely unrelated note, do you want to know what’s really hard to make from scratch?

PUZZLES.

They’re puzzling.

*snickers*

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. Bad joke. That was a bad joke.

This day is full of win. GO! Frolic off into the sunset. Do something nice for a loved one.

I know I will spend more time thinking about others in the future. I get so caught up in the small things, I forget to show those I love that they mean everything to me.

What are little things you do to show your family you appreciate them?

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

Love Everyday: Thorns, Leaves, and Petals.

15 Feb

Love, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Rose, Love Everyday, Thorns, Leaves, Petals

Slaying the Worry Dragon

13 Feb

I wasn’t sure how I felt about calling Worry a Dragon. It seems kind of inappropriate and someone might laugh because there is some type of scandalous context I’m missing. Suddenly, everyone’s snickering, laughing at me behind my back. I lose my credibility and they never visit my blog again. My blunder spreads through the book world and I start to cultivate a bit of a reputation. No one takes me seriously and all my lifelong dreams and pursuits evaporate into one misguided attempt at a title, which was only ever formulated in the hopes of making you all feel better about worrying. With my reputation a disgrace, my friends and family leave me, and I end up living in a paddleboat in the middle of a river. I can’t swim.

*takes a deep breath*

If you’re still with me… Welcome. And I think you can see how that ridiculous paragraph translates rather well into my topic. Worrying.

I battle Worry how I imagine I would slay a dragon.

I’d put on all the gear, sharpen my blade, and chant internally that I can do this. Nothing like a little positive thinking.

But then when I finally find the dragon’s lair, I imagine my battling going something like this:

I hold out my sword with my aching arm (well out of reach of the dragon, since I can’t actually see the dragon yet).

I didn’t train hard enough for this. I had no idea how heavy a sword could get. I’m already tired, thinking about taking a nap.

The dragon roars, and I see fire sizzle out of the cave entrance. The heat snaps me out of my daydream.

I secure my ridiculously heavy metal helmet. It has a facemask type thing, which makes it so I can’t really see, because isn’t that always how it goes?

It looks like this is it. The creature roars again, still out of sight.

The Big Battle.

The moment I show the dragon, I’m the boss.

So what do I do?

I peer somewhere off into the distance, not focusing on the cave, and I swing the sword around, hoping, praying, desperately wishing, that I’ll beat the dragon.

And that’s kind of how I slay Worry. Flailing and without a true plan of attack. In fact, I’m destined to lose.

Worry can be as big as any dragon. And it’s just as dangerous.

I am a Champion Worrier. The only part that sucks is that I don’t really get anything for the title, and I have rather long, tedious conversations in my head like I showed up above in the first paragraph.

I dwell. I cry out internally. I throw myself down on the ground in defeat (only in my head, of course. I never throw tantrums. *coughs*).

If I had my choice, I’d curl up into a ball and hide in the corner with a fuzzy blanket and music for comfort. I’d plug my ears and yell, “I can’t hear you!”

Not because I’m rude. I have a rather guilty conscience. If I do something and feel badly about it, I dwell and well, worry… for hours and hours.

I don’t plug my ears because I don’t want to hear you. I do it out self-preservation. As I think we all do at times when we’ve reached our max.

One more word from someone and we’re going to explode. We plug our ears for their own good. Of course, they don’t realize it. Ridiculous peeps.

We’re flailing and struggling, and there’s so much ANGST. I hate calling it that because I wasn’t very good at being a teenager when I was an actual teenager. But that’s really the only emotion to define the feeling.

It’s a sense of desperation, a sense of being misunderstood, a sense of yearning to be more than ourselves.

I experience these things even in adulthood, and it makes me a little irritable because nobody warned me.

All I wanted to do was grow up. Then I got here and it was like… Really? This is it?

There are great things about adulthood, but one thing that isn’t great is all the Worry.

I can’t stem the what-ifs.

All of a sudden, randomly at one point in the day, my heart stops. I’m like… I’m wearing a pink shirt. OMG. I read on Twitter that wearing a pink shirt means I hate people with blue eyes. OMG. A major news network just tweeted that if I’m wearing pink I hate people with blue eyes. OMG. Everyone at my office has blue eyes. They’re all staring at me. OMG. I’m going to get fired. OMG. They just passed a law that hating people with blue eyes is illegal. OMG. OMG. OMG.

*panic flail*

And of course, the above is really dramatic. The probability of this ever happening is slight. But this is how the Worry Dragon strikes. It starts with something simple, and then it builds and builds, until I want to scream or cry or curl up in a little ball.

There are so many things we have to patrol now. So many things we have to know to protect ourselves. I can’t help but panic at the sheer vastness. Never have we had to be so accountable for our words and actions.

Everything we set free on the internet, everything we say… It’s all there forever. A stain on us, even if what we said never had any premeditated negative connotations.

This can drive someone like me bananas.

And what’s my plan of attack? Flailing with an imaginary sword I’m not even properly equipped to handle.

The only way I can sometimes move past these mind-numbing internal monologues is to tell people. To free them into the world. Usually in person, because I don’t want a lot of this on record.

Once I’ve released them into the wild, for the first time, I can laugh. Laughter is really the only way to battle back the Worry Dragon.

Which is why I try to bring humor into this blog (you’ll note I qualified that with ‘try’).

I had a really tough day yesterday. I felt like I was falling into a pit of Worry.

The interesting/sad part is that the things that sweep me away into the Worry Sea? None of them have ever happened. Yes, several bad things happened in 2012. Horrible things. 2012 was not a good year for my family. But those things that happened? I never saw them coming.

I never worried over them. I worried about 800,000 other things that didn’t happen.

The Dragon won. Damn, Dragon. I will attack you with my lacking sword!

What do you guys think? Can you relate to all the senseless worry? Some people (like my husband, who I’m jealous of) just seem to strut through their life, never letting anything bother them (I’m not sure I believe this, but by all accounts he swears he rarely worries about things he can’t control).

I think some of us are more sensitive.

That sensitivity has the capacity for great things. But that sensitivity also has consequences, as does anything in life.

Do you have any techniques for battling the Worry Dragon?

A lot of the time I just want to take a deep breath and relax! But my overactive imagination always soars again to see another day. Instead of flying over the danger, I always plummet right into the dragon.

I would have made a horrible knight. Maybe an okay damsel. But dang it, I’d rather be the knight!

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)