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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Morris, the mouse, and me

One summer day when I was a little girl, probably 5 or 6, I go into the backyard only to find my kitty Morris, my much adored orange tabby who sleeps with me every night, playing with a mouse. This mouse is not a present for me like on previous occasions but food and entertainment for Morris. "Morris, no." I say batting him away from the mouse. First Morris tries slinking off with the mouse pretending to be in trouble for something else. Then he tries hovering over it like its not there. Finally I pick Morris up and carry him away. The mouse is seriously injured by now. Who knows how long Morris'd been playing with it.

I stand looking at the mouse trying to think how to help. I know injured animals who can't survive are to be "put out of their misery" and I know what that means. I also know I can't wield a shovel (short arms and whatnot.) So I use my most powerful feature, my little leg. I try stepping on the mouse in order to do the humane thing. Of course I probably weigh 35 pounds so its not working. I'm crying now, but I don't know what else to do. I step on him a few more times then remember how mice can flatten themselves and realize this won't work. Guilt pours in at the fact that I'm making it worse instead of putting the poor guy out of his misery. Finally, I pick it up the mouse and decide to comfort him, thinking if I explain, it will make things better. "I'm so sorry, little guy." I sob. And of course the mouse bites me.

I begin screaming hysterically, "Mom, I've got rabies! Mom, I've got rabies!"

I'm pretty sure my mom got the shovel.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shit Magnet vs. Super K

When I first met my friend Foss, he came up with two different nicknames for me: Super K, and Shit magnet. There was a long period... like ten or twenty frickin years where I was under a constant barrage of shit: people dying, health problems, you name it. But he also called me Super K, which to this day gives me a surge of "fuck yeah I can" whenever I hear it. He'd say things like, "pf, of course you ran a marathon while having seizures, that's why you're Super K."

These names were far from my mind Tuesday when I had a meltdown. I felt completely hopeless about jobs, future, you know kinda everything. I've been applying and applying and getting no where for the past 6 or 8 months. I don't have much of a chance of getting into grad school to do what I want because of my less than exciting GRE scores and my lack of experience working in a research lab of any kind. I haven't gotten calls about teaching for next year and the jobs have mostly been given out by now. And frankly, I hate doing my job cuz its boring. Health insurance situation isn't good and Rob and I want to start a family sometime relatively soon and can't do that without... you know insurance, money.... blah blah blah.

Yesterday things finally starting looking up though.

At work we had a silent auction. In it was a bunch of free dry cleaning. I bid on it, but was unable to continue bidding because I had to run the auction. One of our board members won it and I teased him during checkout that he'd bid against me.
"That was so I could clean my wedding dress." I'd said.
"Eh, don't worry about it. My wife kept hers for our daughter who of course didn't want it and it just sits there."
"No, I want to wear it again. Just around the house. I LOVE my dress. Its beautiful. I asked my husband what he thought, and he got a big grin and said I could wear it around the house anytime." (My face is now bright red as I've realized what I've said as its leaving my mouth. ) "Well, if that's what your husband says you should wear it." He paid, then later returned and gave me the dry cleaning. He would not take a payment or donation, just said, "I want you to get your dress cleaned." If that's not just the nicest thing.

If that weren't enough, I got a phone call from one of the elementary principals about a job teaching in the library. Then I got another call with a tip about a job working for the Udall campaign in Summit (for a democrat I really believe in). Finally today, I got an email forwarded from an influential member of our community about the nonprofit we're interested in starting. It basically said he's spoken with one organization about housing our group, and another about start up funding. AHHH!!!

So maybe Super K will take this battle after all.

Friday Quotes

Woman: "Are you going to start dating men now?"
Man: "No. I just like Erasure."

"I wonder if Bush's ass is Kosher?"

"We call it schnicks and giggles."

"Fuck you George W. Bush, you fucking fucked fucktard fucker."

"When god was handing out butts, I stood in line twice!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What would happen?

What would happen if while I went camping there was a revolution?
Would I be able to buy an electric car?
Would the salesman and the mayor still be the same guy?
Would there be so many beautiful empty houses, while we sat huddled in tents?
Would doctors give you options and let you make your own decisions?
Would we strengthen our squeeky voices to sing solutions together?
What would happen, if there was a revolution?

The Currant of the River: A Fable, Part IV

In the hole, the sun and the moon were both hidden. The girl could hear them whisper and sing to her children in their sleep yet they remained hidden behind the clouds of her father’s self-absorption. But she knew they were there, could taste currants in her mouth as the children danced and played to dusk and dawn songs in her womb.

The family’s new world was eerily like that of the village, but here when the girl rose to gather water, there was none. The rocks that had formed the slick ribbons before, now stood porous and dry. The snakes she’d been accustomed to hearing on her trips did not slither, they simply weren’t. The colors of the nearby jungle began to fade from lack of attention from the sun. They apologized to the girl, as she gave them all the attention she could, but it simply was not enough. The father meanwhile, had his way in all things. His will be done.

The mother and the girl thought surely the father would be happy this way, but still he was not. With his brow furrowed, he gave constant orders. Without night and day, his will was ceaseless. Without rest, he became more gruel like, less joyful, even than he’d been on earth. The animals from his “farm,” which was really more a menagerie, missed the light and searched and searched for it. They asked the girl where it was in hushed tones, but she claimed not to know. They snuck and formed languages to communicate their findings. But as no one had found anything of value: a piece of gold, a scrap of a story book, a piece of twine; they began to believe the man must have hid the sun and moon in the house somewhere. Why else would he spend so much time there? They were continually sneaking into the house to try to catch a glimpse. He would rage and shoo them from the house. One day, after seeing a weasel scamper out the kitchen door, he became so incensed, he captured the first animal he saw, a monkey, and brought it screaming and howling into the house.

That night, he invited his menagerie to the windows to watch a “celebration”. The animals were thrilled. “He must finally have realized the value of the gift (which dangerously stagnated) within his daughter. It could still be brought forth with the sun and moon and since he must have those hidden in the house...” They thought. But the man’s color had faded and grayed. His pallor was pasty and creased with an eerie otherworldliness and they became concerned as they viewed him from all the windows, that maybe he did not have the sun after all.

Suddenly, a special shadow crossed from the ceiling of the tunnel. It warned them not to watch, that they would surely mourn what they saw. But they were an optimistic lot, so on they watched. The shadow promised them one thing before leaving, “There is a way out, and the key is the girl. Without she and her lessons, you will be trapped here for all eternity.”

The mood darkened as the shadow dissipated, and the animals turned to watch the family’s ceremony. The mother and girl watched as the man brought the monkey he’d captured into the dining area. “Who has a ceremony indoors?” The animals suddenly wondered, realizing what an unnatural thing they were about to witness.

The daughter felt emptiness taking over her breast and the milk drained out suddenly, as did her hopes. Her father was to do something atrocious, of this she was sure. But because it was a world of his own mind, he could not see the women’s distress. It took hold of the animals. The monkey began screaming and desperately grasping the sides of the cage, his poor little face terrorized by what he knew was coming.

The father forcibly removed his nearest animal kin from the cage, cracked his head like a walnut and began to eat as though it were the most natural act in the world, (which in this frightening world of his making, it was.) Just as he did this, the taste of the currants in the girl’s mouth crumbled and fell. She could not hold both this moment, and her lesson in her mouth at the same time. Her jaw slack now, the knowledge nearly dripped from her mouth.

The animals hung their heads and began walking away slowly, one by one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I lie, hear my eyelashes blinking on the pillow case
blink blink
eyes widen as I listen
listen hard in the thick silence.
See, when I was six,
a man came in my house
beating silence into scary corners.
In a quiet so dangerous
arm hairs have a language on sheets
and eyelashes scream
even when you don't
And its not so much that I'm angry as
flipping coins
in and out of slot machines
pump like drugs in and out of veins; hearts; brains.
Chemicals changing so quickly I'm not sure which line I'm on
getting off the subway car.
Staggering catching my balance, my mind
you look at me in your powerful uniform
I want to pull that seal up over your head like a hockey jersey
and beat the quiet away
with the butt of your own gun.
I want power over the quiet
over me and my loud eyelashes
I rise & stand before the mirror
smiling as I snip them off.

Bullfrog's Song

He wooed like a bullfrog
lost in the sound of his burping song
not noticing her already right next to him
a frontier woman
wiping chaffed red hands on skirts
hands that kneaded trees and chopped bread
that caste the first woman's vote
all while a husband's pining words
got lost in his own ears

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Currant of the River: A Fable, Part III

I just realized I haven't posted an installment in a while. Granted, probably no one cares, but on the off chance, here's part three. You have to go back to March or so for Parts I, and II.

She went on about her water fetching, day after day, trip after trip. But each time she went she snuck to the sun dial and whispered a truth “you are always free, you belong to the world.” Her words assured the sun he’d made the right choice in folding his golden rays into her sides. The sun dial relaxed knowing she spoke the truth, filled with heat and meaning.

The father in the mean time, his usual self, had failed to notice anything of his daughter. He had a new project planned to teach the villagers civility. He would cultivate their small plot. He tried to force plants the way he had the sun, but the sun watched all around and helped the plants escape calling on the rains and birds to interfere. The birds stole the seeds and took them in their bellies far, far away. Similarly, the rains washed them away to the floodplains. Frustrated, and angry the man gave up. He yelled and planned. He began now instead to cage wild animals in hopes of building a livestock farm. The tribe was appalled. How could he do such a thing? First to pin down a piece of the sun who had so kindly given you a small amount of paint for your skin, and then to trap animals who stayed around even where no humans would? The sun too was angered.

But they all loved the girl and knew their gift to the family was not yet complete, and in this growing gift their hope remained. In the mean time, the girl began to notice her breasts swelling and as they did the air she blew with her words to the sun dial became thicker. Her words were gradually wearing away at the sun dial, rusting here, decaying there the traps of the man’s meaningless words. The day the first crack appeared she skipped all the way to the river. She allowed herself for one moment to feel the lessons she’d learned so long before. She watched the water. The moon longed for her, could sense her, begged her to wait until she could light her properly from around the corner. But the girl knew she was not permitted this luxury. She went home and found the sun dial leaning. She smiled, looked at the sun, then went inside.

Her mother looked up from her book as the daughter came in, (the same book and the same words she’d read every day since they’d arrived) and was shocked at what she saw. Her daughter was pregnant! How could this have happened? She must hide it or, or, or… maybe should could find a way to send the husband away so he would not find out. But he happened to know the daughter was back with water and came inside to drink some, so thirsty was he from his cage building.

As soon as he entered he knew. He became enraged like never before and his yelling reached new volumes. The tribes people thought surely the noise must be the lightening. “But it was uncommon sounding; there must be something wrong with the lightening to hear such sounds.” They thought.

Then, everything happened at once. The tribe realized the disdain the father showed for their gift. The girl too realized the father did not understand the goodness of her growing seeds. He could not see through his jealousy, none of his seeds had grown after all. The sun and moon knew that her babes were unloved by the people who got to light them day after day, sing and swoon for them, and became angry. The father’s anger was unmatched for that of the world around him. The lightening, infuriated by his meager imitation, struck just as the sun dial tipped and broke. And where it struck, the misunderstandings of the whole village concentrated and opened up a hole. The hole sucked the entire family, including the girl, into another world. The animals who had been caged jumped in their cages and willed themselves after the family in order to care for the girl.

They swirled down the hole, into their own cage. Theirs was a cage of the father’s own perceptions, his own selfishness, closed off from the world around them. They could no longer see the village, and because the family was so integral to the father’s tunnel vision, they were forced into the hole with him. Here he did not know his daughter was pregnant, and indeed her unborn children could not grow there. However, they stayed sheltered from his tunnel. Protected in her womb, they existed in a world of their own, a world lighted by the dusk where they were made.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Road Rhymes

You know that annoying Rhiannon song "Umbrella"... you know the one so irritating and painful that it nearly makes your ears bleed? Rob and I came up with a fun car game of coming up with new rhymes for her stupid song. Some examples:

"In Europe they eat Nutella.... ella, ella, ella"
"My cousin Kristina plays the cella... ella, ella, ella"
"I so can't sing acapella... ella, ella, ella"
"Ina streetcar named desire he screamed Stella... ella, ella, ella"

Feel free to play this game on your boring car trips as well, however, you MUST belt it out!

Ben vs. The Tomato

This is a video of my cousin's son, determined to have that tomato.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Quotes

"Breaking News: CNN advises that all gas stations will start playing porn at the pumps so you can see someone else getting Fucked at the same time you are"

: So I tried to set my password to "Penis".

Girl: [...]
Guy: It said my password wasn't long enough."

"You know Superman?
Are you aware of Garfield?"

"I'm gonna fillibust yo' ass!"

"Your boobs are awesome. But -I'm just gonna have to do this. [Pulls up employee's neckline.] Because...I just wanna dive in there. Head-first."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Linnea Sings a Lullaby

My niece singing to her doll.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The BEST picture

I took the best picture of Rob in the bath tub reading a community organizing textbook and he won't let me keep it. He says I have to delete it even though you can even see any junk or anything. Its from the book up if you know what I mean... Not only that, but he's actually smiling in the picture. A real Rob smile, not that weird face he normally makes when he sees a camera that's somewhere between scared and needing to poop while fake smiling at the god awful dickie your grandmother just gave you for your Birthday. No this picture has a genuine smile in it. Its absolutely the most excellent picture.
"But, but... pleeeeaaseee, that's why I love you."
"No delete it. Right now."
"But (whining now) please."
"But, Why?"

Booooo. I told him if he asked me again in an hour, I'd delete it. I might cry.

Diversity Paradox

This past Saturday I attended Colorado's 2nd District's Assembly and Convention. There are two state conventions: Congressional District, and State Convention. They take place over back to back weekends. Delegates and alternates attend both. Also, elections for national delegate as well as elections to the Electoral College take place at these events. More importantly, elections for the democratic candidates for State Congress, Regent, and Democratic Presidential Candidates are held. As we all know, this is an energetic time in politics and people are turning out in droves, tripling expected turnouts. These people want to be involved, desperately. Many of them want to be involved by going to the National Convention for their candidate and that's great.

Our district is comprised of mostly mountain areas but also includes parts of Boulder County, and Jefferson County (both in the Front Range metropolitan area.) Boulder county of course is where CU's main campus is located. As a result there were many CU students heavily involved in the campaign. They carefully planned a strategic way to get four of their group elected to go to the National Convention. Because there are so many rural areas in the district, however, many of these communities are upset at their tactics as it means all the representation to the convention will be from a small portion of the district. It was annoying to watch the nicknamed "Bobbsy quadrupletts," happy, rich, CU brats win all the seats. However, one woman in Summit (in my opinion) took it too far. She appeared last night at the monthly meeting of the High Country Democrats in order to present her plan for challenging the election (for National Delegates- something really not all that changing for the reality of people's daily lives) based on Affirmative Action. "How did this white woman present such an idea?" you may ask. Based on geography and age. And well that's great, but seriously with mine water ready to burst, pine beetles destroying our forest creating the promise of a SERIOUS wildfire season, and all the other real business to attend to... really?

What struck me most at the convention, beyond the arcane process and the boring lulls, (thanks to Maya for listening to me chatter,) was the diversity of candidates. Running for State Congress we have a gay man, running for Regent we had two young African American men. Speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign we had an older African American. Speaking on behalf of the Obama campaign we had a Hispanic American. Running for National Delegate we had a Holocaust survivor/Vietnam Vet, a deaf woman, a man in a wheel chair, a deaf man, a number of hispanics, a number of African Americans, we had every age group, and some garden variety whities. It was truly remarkable. So while the results of the National Delegate election may have turned out less than diverse, the running has been miraculous to watch. Maybe we will turn a corner.

In the mean time I clearly took something very different away from the experience than some people, which churns up a diversity paradox: Do you focus on the Nondiversity University of challenging nearly meaningless elections or on the power of such a diverse set of candidates? I know I've made my choice.

Besides next weekend we elect more National Delegates in Colorado Springs.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday Quotes


"Don't pee on Escalante"

"How much do clothes cost in the matrix?"

"Hey, what do you think about interracial marriage?
What, you mean like gay people?"

"Q. What experience do you have in this field?
A. I once read a book. I forget what it was called, but I figured this gave me the go-ahead to call myself an expert in the field of literature."

"Now maybe I am the favorite child for a bit. My sister thinks she is so cool ever since she pushed out a 10 pound grandson for her. Like that was harder than making a whole scrapbook!!"

Friday, May 9, 2008


Looking off in the distance

Off away from the firepit

And the future

Off in another world

Fireflies flick through earthen scented blackness

Cicadas buzz


Raise me up out of myself, my house, my chaos

Toward a now I haven’t felt

A now that fills all the velvet places

With white enamel liberty

Ability to chase dark places

Play flashlight tag

chase each other through the night

Laughing and panting with the grasses in the fields and the stars in the sky

Lightning bug go-betweens wearing dark purple ties

The memory floods my mind with twinkling first stars

Liberates my orgasm from snares

Splashes of an entire paint can poured smooth

With deliberate action against the sky

Poured pain like silhouette

Off cliffs against darkening skies

Hair flowing freely underwater

Neck relaxed, head back

Smooth splashing melodies in the Straits of Anian

Poured set free like orgasms’ song released to the sky

A fabled sexual encounter

Liberated into the pages of the real world

Real cells

Real signals flashed across the mind


Blazing through grasses in the fields

And stars in the sky

Flicking lizards skittering across

Sounds bounced off



The walls of caves cut into

The sides of jokes slaps



Between legs sprawled wide across boulders

Holding down the earth

From joining the sky

The river whispered to it

As you paddled a slab of land along the river

Said… “I reflect the sky

Shining off blue eyes.

Escalante's Upheaval

Escalante still hasn't gotten to go skiing yet, but let go control of my blog when we agreed to take him to Moab with us. Turns out he had his own agenda. Escalante can smuggle ungodly sized objects in his mouth. His plan had to do with a group of lizzards and skinks in Upheaval Dome who he's convinced are part of "la resistencia". I think there may be some confusion over the word "upheaval" He told us that the lizzards long ago rose up against the railroad blasting and the crows and created upheaval dome in a feat of reptilian cooperation! He brought them tools to help continue the fight. He promised to bring something mightier than a plastic knife next time.

contraban from escalante

I think he just scared the tiny little lizzard on the rock in the upper right hand side. Poor guy.

Karins or Cairns

Tempest, our friends' little girl, thought the piles of rocks marking the trails were Karins

Karins & Cairns

Eh, same difference. Karins, Cairns

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My best friend

Last night my brother unexpectedly had surgery. He'd had surgery a couple of weeks ago and thought all was well. However, his incision became extremely infected and he was taken in for surgery last night. During the surgery I was a little anxious so I called my friend Meghann to get my mind off it. She did the crossword puzzle over the phone with me. Then I hung up and called the hospital to find that he was out and recovering fine.