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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

31 flavors of wonderful

Know what's awesome about birthdays? Um, everything.

I went for a morning swim today. For my birthday, I allowed myself to be late to work and staff meeting so that I could be weightless and wonderful for a half an hour. It was worth it.

I thought about all the birthdays I've swam on. Which is most of them. (My birthday's at the end of freakin July. Its hot. And I love swimming.) The year I swam hard and fast laps in St. Louis before I ended up getting drunk enough to ask my husband out. Before he was my husband I mean. Before he was anything but my friend. And being my friend was huge. But friend crushes are scary. I remember I heard a song in the gym pool that morning that made me think of him. I had planned to out myself and my crush and the morning swim helped me fortify myself in my plan. Or the years when I was a kid and would go to the town pool. I remembered the year I went with girlfriends to a water park.

Its been a lot of good birthdays. I have spectacular birthdays really. There are some that really stick out in my memory. I remember my 5th birthday when my parents gave me the tags for my cat Morris. He was the best cat ever. Used to walk me to school and leap into my arms if I called him and let me hoola hoop with him in the garage. He slept with me every night for almost 17 years. That year we saw the Muppets at the movie theater and I got to invite more friends than my parents meant to allow and it was just perfect.

I remember turning 16 and the diamond earrings my dad got me that are still hanging out in my ears today 15 years later. Next year I'll have been wearing them 1/2 my life. 16 and taking a float trip and camping with a girlfriend. There might have been some doing drugs on a high school cops lawn back in those days, but I wouldn't swear on it.

21 and my brother flying to StLouis to be there for it. And going to the same bars he'd been sneaking me into for years but getting in all proper. That was 10 years ago. Is that really possible?

Then there was last year: dirty 30. When I got to score the winning goal in a soccer championship PK shootout. And went camping and got wiinebriated and went to Six Flags and went out for sushi.

This is 31. 31 flavors of wonderful. 31 years of memories. 31 years of preparing me for what my body is doing right now. Sometimes I feel like I look at my life through a prism. Like each time I see a new refraction, a new angle, a slightly different colored view. Like this year I think of my previous birthdays much more than the current one. And I think ahead to the birth of my own child. I think of my mom being pregnant this late in July and how badly she must have wanted to be done and how I have this history of all awesome birthdays and parents to thank for that. I think how happy I'll be to celebrate my own child's birthdays. I think how my baby feels in my belly this far along and how beautifully big and round my belly looks.

Lately, I've been enjoying being naked more than ever in my life. How's that for odd. I like looking at the changes and how magical that belly is in a mirror. How it can be held up by abs or let loose like a water baloon.

It doesn't really feel like me this year. Because its not entirely just me. I guess I'm sharing my birthday quietly this year. Introspectively.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ever think about what rules you follow and why? I do. Sometimes I really want to break rules just because I'm in that sort of fuck-the-system mood. Which is weird since I work for the system. Sometimes anyway.


I generally follow driving rules because I think they're based on safety and I'm scared of dying in the car. It seems like a really likely place for death. It certainly factored in to my decision to have a homebirth. I didn't want to put my 10-minute old child whose bones haven't calcified into a deathtrap and drive home. Just seems like dangerous to me. But then other people feel like its dangerous to have a baby at home. As in NOT in a hospital. Its such an assumption. Everyone just assumes they'll have a baby there. And that you'll have your baby at a hospital and that I'll have my baby at a hospital. But I'm not really planning on going to the hospital. I'm planning on pacing my house and listening to music and cutting up vegetables and playing my piano and stretching and relaxing and bathing and having my husband rub my back through labor.


That's an assumption more than a rule, I guess.

Another assumption is that of "supporting the troops." What does that mean exactly? I'm willing to bet no one with yellow ribbon magnets on their cars has really been spending their time designing equipment to keep troops safer. Or in all likelihood, has even sent a deployed military member a letter. I feel really funny about this assumption because when I hear "support troops," it feels like I might mean backing sending teens and twenty year olds to die. And I know that there are plenty of peace keeping missions and things that our military does that I can get behind, but my association immediately is of supporting a violent institution. And I just don't feel good about that. Again, I know there are times when our military is distributing bottled water after a disaster, but the main purpose of a military is fighting. And I'm a pacifist. So, don't say it too loud, but I guess I maybe don't support our troops. I feel more like supporting our schools or our elderly or our planet, you know?


I don't like the rules of wearing seat belts on airplanes. Seems like there can't be research to support that I'm somehow safer attached to the plane than not. They can't have done collision or impact studies all the effectively on that. If the plane plummets from the sky, I'm going to die, seatbelt or no.


I work for the government which you mostly knew. Child Protection, adult protection. That sort of thing. We have lots of rules. Mostly I think the rules are right on. I think they protect people. But the black and white of procedure and the fact that you can call 3 different people and get three distinct, different, self-assured answers makes it hard to put stock in the rules.


Lately the local government's been suffering financially. We're mostly funded by sales tax and property tax. The problem with that being that not as many people have bought as much so sales tax is down. And properties values have gone down a smidge so that revenue's down too. But roads still have to be plowed and children still get abused and buses still have to run and all that other governmenty, rule-abiding stuff. Throw all the tea parties you want, it doesn't fix drug problems or repair bridges. Both of which are going to cost your community money one way or another.


So since the money's not aflowin, the thought was to bring in a consultant to tell us who to fire. That's not how they say it but its definitely in the equation. Where is the inefficiency? What can be cut out? Let's clean out the old clothes and cobwebs and find some spare change in the sofa somewhere.


I'm sure its there somewhere too.


I'm sure its in the afternoons when the computers go down and we can't get anything done. Or the dead of winter when we lose power for 3 hours and the schools have close early. Or when their testing the fire alarms for a 1/2 an hour. Or when the phones don't work for three days. Or when your emails bounce back that had vital case information in them. Those would be some inefficiencies I could see saving us all some money.


But please don't tell the government that. Or we'll end up with another rule, another form, another law suit, and another bit of minutia for meetings we already don't pay attention during.


Rules that I like are those that say that adults can make bad decisions. It doesn't make it an adult protective issue. If you want to live in a pile of your own crap or eat only once a week and only things you managed to grow yourself- none of my business. If that's what you want. And you're not senile to the point where you think the food you're eating is daily and well balanced and just don't know your making a bad decision. If you want to drink until you die, off you go. Adult protection workers don't want to tell you how to live your life. Lots of people who work WITH adult protection workers are another story. I just want to make sure that IF you're at risk and IF someone's taking advantage of you, we stop it. So if you're loser son is still living at home and beating you to convince you not to throw him out, I'll likely try to help out there. Or if you're 3/4 of the way in the grave and want to have more help in your home, that someone safe comes to help you out. That's rules I can get behind.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I like peeling things. Sunburn, paint. One time pepto spilled behind a shelf in my bathroom and I didn't find it until god-knows-how-long-afterwards and it was a solid piece of pink stuff that you could pick up. I took pictures and posted it. I think it was on myspace though. Seems like a lifetime ago. I like peeling the lint from the dryer. The other day when Rob was doing crap in his mancave/the garage, he came inside and handed me an old paint tray. There were about 4 layers of blue latex paint that had dried and you could peel the whole thing in one sheet. He said he pictured my face ahead of time, knowing how excited I'd get to peel it.

When I was a kid I would get really excited to get things in the mail. Even if it was junk mail. Just seeing my name in print on an envelop was exciting. I'd read whatever it was. Now I'm more selective. I don't get exciting mail a lot. Usually just bills and statements and netflix. The netflix is a little exciting. It doesn't hurt that it comes in a RED envelop. I love red.

The really exciting personal mail, like a letter, almost never happens. So when it happened twice in one week I felt like a princess.

I got a couple of things in the mail from my good friends who moved away in December. I was really close with their kids. Their daughter just finished Kindergarten. I got a handwritten note from her that said: "Hi. Karin. are you doing good? Is your baby doing good? I just wantid to know becus I havint seen you for a while"

I got a couple of candles from Gina along with baby stuff we needed but didn't expect. And the best part was the note. There are certain people who write notes in their normal handwriting. They don't dress it up or make it pretty. They write the way they write. And I love it. Gina has messy handwriting. So does my dad, and my friend Aarti. I like when I see it because its the real them. Handwritten is best then.

I try to write nice but it doesn't really work. Its legible which is the idea, but it doesn't look like a font. I have another friend whose handwriting looks like a print font, its that neat and pretty.

I like people who eat messy too. That are just so excited to eat that they eat however they eat no matter who is sitting at the table. Not that they're slobs or gross with manners, just excited and wipe their mouth with the back of their hand. Maybe a little hunched over their food to cut down on hand to mouth time. Or my cousin who eats her bowl of ice cream and then licks the bowl no matter whose looking.

Its been special like that lately. With people saying and doing nice stuff. Rob's been especially helpful and trying to do everything in his power to set up our lives before the baby comes. And then over the weekend, my brother ditched plans with his family to come along to run errands with us. Errands. It turned out to be really helpful because he drove which took a huge stress off of both me and Rob who are the worst errand-avoiders ever and both hate to drive. Plus, I knew he really wanted to hang out with me if he was willing to ditch out on a free lunch with his in-laws to drive around in the 95 degree heat to go to freakin babiesrus.

I love when he focuses in on what Rob has to say. Rob doesn't do a lot of talking, he's more of a listener/observer type. So when Rob speaks up, (my brother also LOVES Rob,) he gets my brother's full, undivided attention. Generally if Rob pipes up, he's worth listening to. So I appreciate that my brother notices this.

That's what's in my brain bucket today. I'll pour out more another day. Maybe after a good swim. Is there anything so wonderful in all the world (especially while pregnant) as a good long swim?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Quotes

"For once, somebody may call me "Sir" without adding, "... you're making a scene.""

"Felt like there was more flopping than usual in this mornings ESPN World Cup coverage... then I realized I was watching Bassmasters."


"A day off with a migraine is like the first day at fat camp."

"Do you have me on speaker phone or are you in the bathroom... you're calling me while you're taking a shit right now aren't you?"


Bad Librarian Pickup Line

"Do you have any overdue books, because you have fine written all over you."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Putting your eyeballs on sideways

Ever lay on the couch and watch crap for so long that when you stand up, your perception is all off and it makes your eyeballs feel funny? Like they're on sideways.

I was at the police station today watching an interrogation and it was kinda like that. Only with more nausea involved. On account of the angle of the cameras and the weird way the digital images didn't flow but jerked. And the echo. En espanol. It was a little surreal. And nauseating. But I mentioned that.

The deal is the guy was accused of touching a four year old. Which is why I was watching the interrogation. He denied it of course. Its no fair being four. Or three or two. You can't tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Its like your stories have their eyes on sideways and can't get out the whole in your throat. And none of us can be sure of your story when its all Alice-in-wonderlandy. The story's true, its just hard to see how the parts fit together.

Cops want me to have the answer. They want there to be a black and a white and a good guy and a bad guy. They go after the bad guy. But its not so simple. Their view is all slidy and confusing too. Because sometimes people are on the right side or the wrong side and they switch hit for the other team, or just trade sides or hang out in the middle like Sweden all selling arms to one country but refusing to get involved in the war. That's more like most people.

Cops want me to be able to tell if he did it or not. They use their tricks and intimidation and training in lying to try to make a picture of whether he did or didn't do it. And we sit and talk and talk about it, trying to get it into some crisp photo focus that shows the answer equals 9 or 10 or 13 or yes or no or black or white. But I don't know.

My eyes are still on sideways from being all tired and unmotivated and spending too much time reading and watching movies. I've been all skewed viewed and mopey. Sometimes I get too focused and can't remember to have fun. Its been the worst summer ever for that. I'm so busy trying to make sure the kitchen's repainted and the baby room is set up and the energy audit and the new insulation and getting the carpets cleaned and my caseload cleaned up and prepared that I've been forgetting to be me. The fun, goofy me. The one who can drop things easily in order to make a snide comment or whimsical remark. Ok, they're a lot snarky sometimes, but normally they slide effortlessly off my braintongue.

Its summer. Lay around. Swim. Spend a long evening talking as the sunsets on a deck with friends. Go for a long walk without knowing when you'll be home or where you're headed. These are instructions for me. I'm allowing myself 2 more days to be hyper focused. Then, its summer. And I'm going to make myself remember who I am, reintroduce whimsy, let the focus out and shift and meander toward an easy ride to the end of wherever.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Having Babies at Home

My whole life, I've heard the story of my cousin Anna's birth. And her sister's too. But I hear more about Anna's.

My aunt didn't exactly have a lot of love for the medical profession. And her first baby had been a horrible experience. She'd had him wrenched from her at least as much as she "gave him up" for adoption by nursing staff who leered at her and called her unpleasant names. And she loved him when he was born. And she found him when he turned 18 and loved him till the day she died.

When she had kids for keeps, she did it differently. She read books and assigned duties and had them at home. She was brave and surely faced many people who disagreed with her decision. But she stuck by her convictions and her desire for a natural birth and won 2 beautiful girls.

My mom was there when Anna was born. So was her sister, Kristina. They both still get this sparkle in their eyes whenever they talk about it. My mom says it was one of the most beautiful things she's ever seen. Kristina says it was probably the best day of her life. She was 7; that says a lot. Rarely does a family gathering go by without mention of their births. It was that memorable and beautiful and peaceful.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to have a homebirth too. I know there are family members and friends who love this idea and who are scared about it too. But we did our homework. It is not scary, or dangerous. At least not statistically. Especially not compared to our nearly 1/3 of births in hospitals being C-sections. I'm not high risk in any way. The neurologist officially cleared me of the one risk factor we were worried about saying that I no longer have seizures and that he would grant me the same risk of a seizure during birth as a person who has never had one.

My husband took more time coming to the decision than I did. Some girls picture their wedding day long before the groom arrives into their lives. I dreamt of having babies long before that was a possibility. And I want to have my baby at home. With the smells of my baby's home and the sights and the calm and the lighting and the obnoxious dog and the kitchen and bathroom and all the things that are ours. I don't want hospital shoes and whites and germs down the hall or epidurals or antibiotic infused products. I just want my husband, my midwife, me and the baby. Not necessarily in that order.

I don't believe in god. I don't not believe in god either. Its just not my thing. I like the adage "God?: I don't know and you don't either." But I think thoughts and prayers and meditations (I almost wrote "medications", funny,) have power. They certainly never hurt anyone. I think when a group of people puts positive energy toward something, it has impact.

So in that spirit, I'm asking people to send white candles with a prayer, or intention, or meditation, or thought with it for a healthy, safe, home birth. I like it for the energy it'll surround us with and the reminder of the support. Plus, it'll be pretty to give birth in a candle lit room, I think. I'll let you know how it goes.