Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Quotes

“I think I might have PMS.
Well… I’m bloated, feel fat, ate a lot of chocolate today, and I’m crying.”

“For dinner, what about… rotinni with rotinni with white sauce with ground beef and tomatoes, and waffle fries.”

“Something about a gay guy from Howard Dean’s campaign talking about the battle ground in Idaho just struck me funny”

“So I looked on our meeting room schedule today at the library and it read: Central California Hookers. Hmm, and I thought the meeting rooms were for not-for-profit groups only.”

“A judge has denied an Iowa man’s claim that he shouldn’t have been fired for repeatedly requesting help to procure a prostitute.”

”I saw a commercial tonight where the world was covered in bubble wrap and it made me think of you :)
I swell with pride.”

“I picked him up at his dorm the other day.
At least you didn’t have to pick him up from his mother’s basement. Or wait, will you have to do that over the summer?”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The best lesson I ever taught, at least I think it was, was at the beginning of the book A Wrinkle in Time. In the story there is a black thing that hangs over the planet earth. The black thing in the book lurks attempting to take over earth and make it a “dark planet.” It is used to explain the pain and suffering in our world. Anyway, to get the kids to view it in a personal way, I had them each draw stars on the board. When they put up their stars though, they had to say a hope or dream. They were reluctant at first but really got into it. They made elaborate and creative stars and confessed that they hoped for a permanent home, to get better in treatment, to see their parents again, to reunite with brothers and sisters, to graduate from high school… all kinds of things. My classroom staff and I participated as well adding our hopes and dreams for our own families, worlds, the kids. My board covered in all those stars was the single most inspiring thing I’ve seen in teaching. It took weeks before we finally erased it. Even now I feel a lump in my throat when that vivid picture sits in my vision.

Yet, when I think of my dreams, I know there is a black thing that blocks me from seeing the brightness of their stars, and I don’t begin to have the fears and failures of those amazing individuals.

After drawing their stars, I gave out cut up pieces of black butcher paper and gave them 5 minutes to write what they felt blocked them from their hopes and dreams.

Fear. Doubt.

In yoga tonight, I entered in my natural state. I was not tired, I was not stressed. I was not overly energized or draggin ass. I was just fine. At least I thought I was. Somewhere in the class, though, I started to feel myself slip. This is the opposite of what normally happens, no? I began to feel the stress I must’ve held without knowing, want out through tears. It really became obvious when we tried hand stands. I have never done this and was too afraid to kick my feet up really at all. This is unlike me. I just couldn’t get over my fear of kicking the window, falling, I don’t know what. I failed. I hated myself. I feared. I doubted my strength.

When we talked in class about what got people to get over their fears, and doubts in order to access their dreams, what got them through the black thing again, they said unwaveringly love. Love. Love. I was so proud to know them that day. So grateful for the gift of that class period. I knew, somewhere in them, they knew love. They knew the way to access their dreams.

I know the stress in my body was there the whole class. It had been building. Yesterday, I’d feared jumping off a rock while skiing. A fear I knew was unfounded. There was powder everywhere. The worst case scenario was that I’d fall.. Who cares! But I skied another way and didn’t do it. I let the fear block my hope. I’d felt the sudden inexplicable disorientation that warns that I’m about to have a seizure over the weekend while driving. I’d pulled over and Rob had to drive. I felt the worry that comes with what will follow. The sadness at knowing I don’t know; the confusion that takes over my brain while the seizure takes place in my body. Then today I learned that a former student from Tennyson is advocated for by a worker from my CASA office where I just started this week. I thought of all my worries for her, all her fears for herself, the chaos of her internal self, the basic belief she held that she was bad. The layers and layers of fear and hatred and doubt that blocked her from the dream of the worlds offered to her. And I felt them. All over again. If only she could know the loving kindness that was all around her, probably still is. The innumerable people who hoped for her all the time.

But as I tuned out my yoga teacher, I knew exactly why she could not see it. I can’t see it sometimes. I had to tune her out. I simply could not hear anything but my own voice saying “you are afraid. You are a wimp. Why didn’t you jump? Why don’t you do any of the things you say you want to? Why didn’t you do a handstand? Why don’t you get up earlier, get more done? Why do you let yourself have seizures?” My mental fears are nothing compared to hers. How can she hear me? And then I tuned back in. “Inhale the hope of a life of ease, exhale the wish for all beings to have a life of ease. Inhale safety for yourself, exhale a wish of safety for all living creatures.” I could not stop sending all my hopes for her way, and hope that with enough love, she’ll see her hopes and dreams. And with enough patience with myself, I’ll feel the love of those around me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Screw Like Bunnies

Because of my mother’s love of and interest in animals there were occasionally exceptional and strange animal situations at our house. There was the scorpion my brother brought home from college. There was the dead raccoon he found on his paper route that my mom and he dissected in the back yard. There was the iguana I was allowed to keep for the summer in high school who would whip his tail at my boyfriend but no one else unless there was cantaloupe in the room. But nothing was so memorable as the bunny we had one summer when my mom was in vet school.

He was an experimental bunny which piqued my interested immediately. Experimental? “What was the experiment?” I asked. It seems our bunny was from a litter which had been taken out of their mother’s uterus and spent time in artificial uteruses inside male mice. Yeah, weird. They spent a week incubating in a male mouse then were moved back to the mother and born. Some survived, some didn’t. Bunny Foo Foo survived. Ostensibly this experiment was performed in case some woman needed to go drinking in Mexico for a week while pregnant. With new research, your fetus could be safely stored during your ski week in British Columbia.

My mother carefully explained and repeated several times that he would only be staying with us temporarily for the summer and then he’d be going back to the student who owned him. I knew I would get attached, as my mother worried, but vowed to do my best not to. As it turned out, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d imaged to keep my distance. The rabbit spent every moment not in his cage jumping around the basement popping out an seemingly endless supply of feces. It was disgusting. Hop, poop, hop, poop…stare…hop, poop, poop. Yes sometimes there were two poops per hop. He seemed to have no redeeming qualities. He could not be trained, was not cuddly and on top of that pooped everywhere which became my brother and my jobs to clean up. Finding the pellets of poop sucked all the fun out of letting him out of his cage (especially because our cats weren’t allowed downstairs while we did,) but occasionally guilt forced us to cave in and let him out to poo his way around the basement. As a result I began to near disliking him.

One morning I sat bored watching him, disliking him, and then immediately felt guilty for disliking him. I decided once and for; I would find a way to like him. I would play with him. I would not let him out of his cage, as this would only serve to frustrate me. Instead, I went and got a pile of stuffed animals to put on a pet show for him. I began dancing various stuffies before his twitching nose, singing and devising elaborate plots for him. Sunshine bear pranced before him offering friendship, a teddy bear I didn’t particularly like told him he’d be his new roommate. They danced in pairs, they had weddings, breakups, fights, and finally enter Ewok. Ewok was the final straw for my relationship to our bunny. Foo Foo leapt atop him, even through the bars of his cage, and began furiously shaking. He had a new vacant bunny look different from his previous vacant bunny looks. The light began to dawn on what he was doing to my Ewok. I ran upstairs, “Moooooo-oooom!” I yelled as I headed up. “Look! You’ve got to come look what the rabbit’s doing!!!”

She came downstairs and I repeated the Ewok dance, the same thing happened. The bunny immediately went to town on my Ewok, “Mom… is he doing what I think he’s doing?”

“yeah, peanut, he is.”

I didn’t like that bunny any more for our afternoon together but did learn where ‘screw like bunnies’ comes from. For once I didn’t get attached and when he went back to his home I was simply relieved not to have to clean up any more rabbit pellets.

Friday Quotes

“ I can drink for a really long time. I’m really impressive.”

"Everybody was feeling each others', and nobody would feel mine.""

“Never play gay chicken with a guy whose dad is gay.”

“All unproved beliefs ought to be rejected.

“All unproved beliefs ought to be rejected,” is an unproved belief.”

Sex among the hijras isn't completely inexplicable, but it's still pretty weird.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ok ok, some shoutouts too

In balancing my Fuck You's I feel the need to send some ShoutOuts
A ShoutOut to Gina
For teaching me how to use flickr to upload pics into my blog... more to come
A Special ShoutOut to
Heather for getting me all kinds of involved in politics in Summit County.
A Very Special ShoutOut to
Linnea's (niece) nana who taught her to say "Ohmmmmmm" and bow while she says "Namaste." She inexplicably knows who Buddha is.

Fuck You, Special Fuck You, and Very Special Fuck You

At the end of the book I just read the author points out how at the end of books there's often an acknowledgment section and how maybe there should also be a corresponding fuck you section. It is in the spirit of the anti-acknowledgment that I issue the following fuck you's.
Fuck You
To the asshole on ebay who sold me a fancy iPod with no cords. None.
A Special Fuck You
To the asshole on ebay who sold me an ancient printer (which I picked intentionally knowing its a good ole reliable one) without any cords. Leading me to spend an hour and twenty minutes alternately chatting with and talking on the phone with more assholes at HP in India in order to get them to sell me another cord for the same cost as the stupid printer. I HATE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!
A Very Special Fuck You
To the fucking asshole at the rec center yesterday who stole my shoes. What the hell?!!???!!! Who takes someone's shoes while their swimming. Much less their covered-in-road-salt-kid's-skate shoes?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

That one day after Friday Quotes!!

Allegedly this is Friday Quotes where I attempt to assemble the best quotes I've heard over the course of the week.

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
If you have a date for Valentine's Day
I hope he gives you herpes"

"I went to a restaurant and ordered a dessert called 'Death by Chocolate', but it only made me stronger."

"…feeling a little oogly and fogley, but it may just be the sloodge in her froodle."

"A lot just happened in my brain in the last 25 seconds. I had an argument with myself which I won."

"She's her own one-person telephone game."

"Haikus can be fun,
but sometimes they don't make sense.

"Without money or power, winning is useless."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Friday Quotes

FRIDAY quotes!

"If it sucks ever again- I am not driving until it un-sucks!"

"Let's see how long before 50 cent uses a word with more than two syllables. Oh and Escalade and motherfucker don't count. Proper nouns if you will."

"I once said "that's so gay" in front of my gay dad. I wanted to crawl inside my own skin and die."

"It moved me in ways I can't describe to you.

Probly in the butt area"

"Gay men took some good things, like rainbows and parades. You know what!? I really like rainbows. I'm takin em back."

"Man, I rode my ass and my balls off.

What's gonna be left for Tina?

There's one thing left for Tina."

"Your poems are good

Your poems are great

Leave me alone

Or I will call the police

Its kind of like a haiku but without regard for syllables"

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hope is Beautiful

Thoughts on Born into Brothels

From my world swept over by gray and cream and beige

Watch a boy in a ghetto paint a different picture

Framed the way he wants

that captures the colors

In between each wrinkle of an eye

Sneaks in the sadness

Doesn't lie

Elegance is without domain

Veiled by his father's hash smoke screen

How does his Technicolor world look from red rimmed eyes?

Perhaps he is making duck calls

Hunting home the food that will save them

Muting the colors of all but textured mallard green

Missing the last of hope his son pours from a bucket

Into the sea

Where it may find a better home

He snaps a picture of it as it leaves him

And it is beautiful

Boring beige sand

With accents of bright exciting tshirts

of the people stepping

Across all oceans hope is beautiful

Friday, February 1, 2008

Each Felled Sparrow

I remember running in a world with only family

My feet pouncing on the asphalt

My step father, the night before, agreeing to a spontaneous race after dinner

His heavy work boots whapping

A time when god knew me before I was born

When he knew each sparrow that fell

I saw a felled bird on my path

Through the smoky mountains

I watched as it rose suddenly from its side

And flew

I wonder if god knew?

I wonder if I will rise from the deaths around me

Shake off the stunned silence of falling

Descending into nothing

Sleeping without dreams

Will I wake and fly?

How will I continue down my path without all those people to ask for directions

Those people who like god knew me before I was a thought

Who like god loved and watched me fall and learn to walk

Will I wake and fly?

Will I wake and fly?