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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A half a lifetime ago, I stayed up until midnight. If you were 16 with a permit, you could drive with any licensed driver. So at midnight, I got in my mom's shiny red firebird, T-tops off, and we drove all over the place until the sun came up. I snuck a nap in, then headed to the driver's license office where I got my license on an hour of sleep.

Double that, and for my birthday this year, my son slept through the night. It was just as good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A few years ago, I was at the post office after hours picking up my mail. There was another woman there doing the same thing. Except she had a bit of a panicked look on her face and was looking around at the ceiling. Turns out there was a hummingbird that had made a wrong turn and ended up frantically flying around the post office banging his head into various ceiling panes. We ended up teaming up, finding a pillowcase in the random crap in her car, turning a trash can upside down to stand on, and saving that hummingbird. We sent him out into the dusk.

There was a really nasty accident here with some out of towners. They had a heap of kids in the back. None of them in car seats or belts. None of them in the car by the time it was done rolling. Lots of people travel like this. I wish they wouldn't. Tiny humans die in cars. Or out of cars, depending. They don't always die, sometimes they're in full body casts. Have traumatic brain injuries. And then people who were too poor to afford a car that fit all their kids have kids with injuries to get to the hospital and back for PT, and OT, and meds, and and and.

My coworker ended up involved in the aftermath of the accident. On account of traveling with children without car seats and seat belts is child abuse. The parents went to jail. My coworker went out of state with a baby in a full body cast. Meanwhile back in the mountains, we fretted about her far away in a neighborhood where at 10:30 people linger in the streets without shirts and blare music from their cars. We all recognize when someone's not from around these parts.

My coworker loves her own tiny humans. This tiny human in his tiny cast has people who love him too. People far away in roach-infested apartments with spic and span kitchen floors and juice boxes in their fridge waiting for a little boy with plaster over his nipples. People who listened in wide-eyed attention as a blonde lady explained how to change his diaper and care for him.

She made it home safely. Hugged her own kids extra snug, tightened down their belts extra tight. Wouldn't you?

I'm not sure who in the story is the hummingbird and who had the pillowcase. I can say that my coworker's eyes filled with tears from the love you make all day every day for your own tiny people and how sometimes when someone else's tiny person crosses your path you can't help but give it away to him. I can say that this family's lucky if she has the pillow case, because they'll make it out of the mountains where they just didn't belong in the first place. Gently.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This morning was a gray morning. It turned into a gray day. Not outside. Inside.

You know how you want to wear a nice gray pair of sweat pants on a rainy day? And gray socks, and gray sweatshirts and t-shirts look just extra comfy. Its not a good color for me. I don't care. I love formal clothes in gray. I can wear them to court and look professionallike but feel the comfy of my sweatpants in the color seeping through.

You know how the landscape fades to gray in the background? And hair fades to gray as we age? And details fade to gray as time goes by?

Its all perspective.

This woman I'm working with on an Adult Protection case, (this is after I've been spending the morning thinking about my gray day which by this time has turned bluebird on the outside... still gray on the inside,) she recommended a book to me that's all about how you decide who to allocate resources to: young vs. old. Possibility vs. who's earned it with all they've put in.

The book's called Shock of Gray. I'll have to let you know about that one. Maybe I'll wait till my hair catches up to my wrinkles and my insides.

But the outside is calling. It might pull me out yet will all that sunshine and activity. We'll see...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wrapture your head with this material

The true winners today are the velociraptors.
Maybe that's what happened to the dinosaurs: there was a velocirapture.
It'd be sweet if there was a gangstarapture.
That'd be a good party tonight.
Way better than the saranrapture.
Quick, somebody make a joke about Christmaswrapture.
Clerk: Would you like that gift wraptured?
I don't give a crapture.
Its got to be at least 50% off gift wrapture paper today.
Wish I were a director so I could say "That's a wrapture!"
... and scene.

Friday, May 20, 2011


You ever just feel like you don't have anything interesting to say? Like the whimsy and clever are gone and you're just going through cobwebs? Like your life has taken a turn for the irritating if not mundane? Gray minutia.

The good stuff is so good I don't know how to describe it. The curve of Magnus's mouth as he whispers his new consonent secrets. The kicking when he's excited. The giggles. Soooo good. But who wants to read about my vast love for my child and his every new move. (with the exception of this new screaming, shrieking noise he's making. That I could really live without.)

Then there's the hard stuff. Adjusting to my mom living across the street and how busy life has gotten with her moving. She's had pneumonia lately, so that's been unpleasant. She's on the mend now but its a long road. There's the neighbors. Its horrible sharing walls with people who are violent. Who want to hurt each other. Who want to hurt you. Want bad things. It makes me want bad things to happen to them. I'm usually good at dismissing the toxic folks from my life. Strangely never being around where they are at a party, always in another room, smile, shake hands, nice to see you, and I'm back to being engrossed in a conversation elsewhere. But you can't get away when they share your walls. How do you keep their ick out of your soul?

We moved Magnus's room farther from the shared wall. I was really sad about it at first. I spent all this time sitting in the rocking chair in his room when I was pregnant. It was my time with him before I even knew it was him. I rocked and thought about each detail- where things would hang, where shoes and diapers and thermometers should go, what our futures would be. Ready him children's books and felt him MOVE. It felt like a small, sad, little loss to move him at first. But the distance of one room feels different when I put him to bed at night. Like there's a bigger buffer between us and them. Like his space won't become theirs. Their ick won't leak onto his solace, his learning, his loving, his secure little corner.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I was going to quit blogging but I suck at quitting stuff. I decided to quit, thinking I'd make some decisions about my professional life or possibly put some energy toward attempting to get paid for writing, but I didn't do either of those things. Also, I missed blogging. So hopefully someone will still read this because otherwise I'm just talking to myself in written form. Which is not all that far from crazy. So, you ready for a ramblingly, random post of shit-I-haven't-spouted-since-I-haven't-blogged-in-weeks?

Good. Here we go.

At a training recently, the girl sitting next to me also had a 7 month old. What're the odds? Anyway, at one point she said, "Can I ask you something personal?" I held my breath preparing for a very personal question.
"Are you nursing?"
Really? That's personal? Since when? Last I checked I'm the girl you tell that you keep a dildo in your glovebox and like to be called "bitch" during sex. I'm the girl you ask about whether since you can get milk out of your breasts, you can also put milk into them. I'm the girl who's likely to tell you I just put my underwear on inside out this morning and by the way my name is Karin. And yeah, I'm nursing.

My head it has four corners
four corners has my head
and if it didn't have four corners
it wouldn't be my head!
This is what I've been singing to Magnus lately. Because I'm an asshole like that. Oh and because his head has 4 corners. I kiss them all the time. I'm a mom like that. How many cornbread muffins do you think I can eat? Sadly, I think the answer will be 4. Because I have 4 cornbread muffins. And I love them.
my mouth it has four muffins
four muffins has my mouth
and if it didn't have four muffins
it wouldn't be my mouth!

4 cornbread muffins is nothing compared to the number of brownies I can eat. I bet I could eat a whole pan if I was really trying. My boss makes these awesome brownies and I end up eating them all day in embarassing numbers. I'm not sure if its more embarassing that I eat so many or that I've done it so much that it doesn't give me a stomach ache like it would a normal person.

Magnus spends a lot of time on his belly lately. He also makes some awesome noises like that rasberry noise, constantly. While thrashing around on the floor. Sometimes he sees you and stops, mouth open and just stares at you for a second. Then he puts his mouth right into the carpet. I have NOT called him a carpet muncher when he does this. Not even once. See what a good mom I am?

I've been thinking about stuff lately. I don't mean ideas or theories, I mean belongings/things/STUFF. I hate how it piles up and you just accumulate more and more of it. I hate how I have the amount of stuff that fits in the space I have. You know how good it feels to have an empty closet? Fuck you if you do because you're better at not accumulating and shoving stuff into closets then. I hate how it weighs me down and makes it hard to move around.

It feels so good to purge all that stuff. Whenever I leave an adult protection referral where the person is a hoarder, it makes me want to grab a back pack, burn my house down and get on a plane. I think of the times when I've lived in other countries and just had a couple of suitcases and how happy and simplified my life has been. Wake, shower, dress, study, wander, exercise, nap, run, eat, rinse, repeat. Someday I think I'll retire and get rid of everything and just wander the world. You think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I was in an addictions training last week. As an aside, a client left me several drunk messages during the training, which is just fucking ridiculous. Anyway, while I gleaned much information related to addiction, I thought I'd share some of the other details I thought about.

Apparently lots of people already know this but I found it CRAZY. So I figure I'll share in case you're interested too and also somehow missed it.

Did you know they used to inject your piss into a rabbit to see if you were pregnant? If the rabbit died, you were pregnant. Turns out the pregnancy hormone kills bunnies. To make it even more fucked up, they used to use baby bunnies for this test because they were even more likely to die. So a euphemism I somehow never heard for pregnancy is "the rabbit died." Which makes "kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit..." run through my head. Its been going on for days now.

Did you know that "hysterical" literally translated from the Latin means, "wandering uterus?" Another funny mental image to add to Elmer Fudd singing.

And also, wouldn't you have to be a wandering uterus or at least a wacko to be the first person to go "Hey, know what we should do? Inject one of the rabbits from out back with your piss!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things I'm snotty about:

- using a picture of your kid or your dog or your cat as an avatar. I want to see a picture of you. Sometimes it helps me know who the hell is talking online. I like pictures of other things and I look at them. In albums.

- posting annoying status updates. Writing a status update in all caps never SOLVED ANY CAUSE. ever. There's no one who no longer has cancer and no animal with a new home with updated vaccines because you changed your picture to a cartoon and wrote about it on FB. If you want to help, find an organization/child/pet and donate time and money. And I mean both.

- trends. I tend to like them for 10 minutes but as soon as I see them happening over and over, I hate whatever it is. See snuggies, when fiction writer's main character is a writer, smartphones, blog awards, robot vocals, etc.

- Twilight. I'm sure its very addictive or whatever. I just think you should be ashamed of your addictions. (see also Grey's Anatomy. I am ashamed. Its trash.)

Things I'm NOT snotty about

- What you wear. I probably won't notice. If I do, its because its awesome. Or what you're saying is boring. Just kidding, I won't notice your clothes if you're boring. I'll notice something behind you. I almost never notice clothes. I once had a kid in my class wear the same jeans for weeks, until another teacher brought it up, I didn't notice. The same often goes for facial hair. Unless you've always had a beard, like the whole time I've known you, and you suddenly shave it off. Otherwise, your change from a goatee to a full beard or whatever, I won't know.

- jokes. I really like dumb jokes. If you're trying to be funny and I like you even a little, I'll laugh. I encourage silliness of all sorts.

-skiing. Believe it or not, I'm not snotty about this. If you're out sliding on snow and you're having fun. Great! I don't care if you suck or not, if you love the sport, I want to hug you. Unless you suck about other stuff like throwing cigarette butts on my mountains. That makes me mean. Seriously, when I was like 19, I told a guy off in front of his kids on the mountain. Who the hell throws cigarette butts out here?

-what kind of car you drive. We have an '89 4runner that you can start with a screwdriver and that has its license plates tied on with a strand of carpet that unwound from our old place. I love/hate that car. I don't really like el caminos though. Although now that I think about the meaning of el camino, I think its pretty funny. Ok, not snotty about those anymore either. Unless you drive a gas guzzler, and then I'm all judgy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Quotes!

"yeah, let's hope i can haul my sorry hernia crotch to the house"

"Anyone have an old punching bag, or a sibling with no nerve endings, that I could borrow?"

"You know its a good tights day when one person says, "Nice stockings?" and another says "Your legs are weird. They make my eyes feel funny."

"Dear school bus full of black kids, I play basketball for the exercise. Stop laughing."

"If I ever saw an amputee get hanged, I'd just start yelling out letters."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Quotes

"I'm growing up. You'd be so impressed. Today, I gave a presentation in which I said the word "invaginated" like 5 times without cracking up once."

"That's funny. For some reason I've been seeing the word "vaginismus" a lot lately and every time I do, I wish it was spelled "vaginisthmus." It could be next to the cape of good hope."

"Reach for the stars, M!"
"Yeah, the porn stars."

"Dear tattoo artists,
Its perfectly ok to respond with, "No, cause that will look fucking stupid!"

"turns out John Wayne is a real live person, and not a character played by Clint Eastwood. stay tuned for other things I learn today by watching television but couldn't care less about."

"If, while flipping through channels I see three or more movies starring the same actor, I immediately assume said actor is dead."

"Just waited on a woman who smelled like smoky pickles. I almost offered her some body wash."

"Sign your hair is too long: it gets caught on a door handle on the way out of a restaurant."

"Oooh.. you've got a new coat and it has MAGNETS! I love it!!!"
"Yeah, except sometimes walking out of a restaurant the other day, they caught on the door."

"You know, if I were a professional fighter, I would not want an advertisement for condoms printed across the back of my shorts. That is not the impression I would wish to give."
"What's wrong with fighting for safe sex? You gotta have a cause, a reason to get out in that ring."
"Apparently its to beat up STDs."
"...And in this corn-Ah! Wearing the red and white Tampax trunks: B "The Flow" Gibson!!!Or if you want to keep the Planned Parenthood message you could go with Twinkies....Wait no, their cream filled."
"maybe he's straight with "complications""

Friday, January 21, 2011

I find myself praying lately. Which is weird because I don't really believe in god. I don't believe with any sort of certainty that there is NO god, but I tend to think there isn't one. I can get behind the idea of goodness. And I can get behind there being a possibility of a force of goodness. Maybe that's god. Or something.

Either way, I've found myself praying. Here and there. It started at an AA meeting. My dad's been in AA for 18 years now. In AA birthday years, he can vote. That's quite an accomplishment. And the way he keeps a hold on that sobriety thing that's so important for everything else in his life, is by continuing to be active in the program. And sometimes I go to meetings with him. I went most recently to a meeting with him on New Year's.

At the beginning of an AA meeting there's a moment of silence for those still suffering in the throes of alcohol. I held a client out to the forces of goodness in that moment. Which is like praying, I guess. Then there's the prayers at the end.

That client went into the hospital shortly thereafter. This morning he died.

I remember being at an AA meeting with my dad when I was in high school and them talking about alcohol killing you. I thought you died in alcohol related car accidents or maybe from moving on to other drugs and overdoses or drug related crimes or something. At the time, I didn't think of how alcohol can literally just kill you. Your organs. Liver, brain, dead. and there you go.

But it does happen. It wasn't surprising that this man died. The level of alcoholism... well, it just wasn't surprising.

But over the past few weeks, I've spent some time with this man's mother. And I'm heartbroken for this 77 year old woman who is stuck in a small mountain town, making arrangments to bury her barely 50 year old son. I'm heartbroken for his sister who lost a big brother. Someone she probably once looked up to. I'm sad for his dog who didn't care that he was a drunk and smelled funny, just loved him anyway.

I'll hold my own son tonight and hope that he didn't get that gene. I'll pray the swedish prayer I say to him at night to no one in particular. I'll pray for goodness to help save him and me from such a sad ending.

Gud som haver barnen kär
se till mig som liten är.
Vart jag mig i världen vänder
står min lycka i Guds händer.
Lyckan kommer, lyckan går,
den Gud älskar, lyckan får.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Do you have some days that are mentally stimulating? Where you just have all these interesting and seemingly novel ideas pop in your head? Like a muse has been playing songs in there all day.

I always think "oh, I should toss that in a blog" on days like that. "ooh and that too." And it'll go on all day and I'll have enough for one of those vomit-mouth mishmesh blog entries I'm so fond of. But then, half the time by the time I open the lap top to write it, I can't remember a damned thing. Its like the muse is really a children's book character that I only I can see. "I swear I had a fascinating epiphany to share! No, really, I did."

Anyway, since the really interesting ideas are probably being hoarded by that tooth fairy, muse bitch, I'll share what's left.

I was watching a documentary last night about this guy who was at a party when he was 16 and someone was murdered. He was falsely accused and lumped into a group with the actual shooters who were gun-toting gang members and they were all tried together so he went to jail. And just kept sitting in jail with all these people trying really hard to get through the legal process to get him out. It took 12 years I believe and last they knew when the movie was released, the state was going to retry him. The evidence against him was pretty weak and really he was only convicted because his attorney sucked and he was lumped in with the other two guys. He had nothing to do with the crime. He was at a party with friends and a crime took place.

I had a client some time ago who had a similar situation occur. Except she's white. And a she. And has a family with resources (see also MONEY.) She was a methhead at the time, I believe, and was present for a murder. Except she was a little more involved than this guy and intentionally didn't report the murder. She was initially charged with attempted murder and some other stuff. I don't know all the details of her criminal case but I can tell you she served less than a year. Now, I'm not saying I think she should have served more. I don't think she set out to hurt anyone or that violence was really a part of her character. She's essentially just a drug addict that's an otherwise nice person. So I don't think jail time was the answer. My point is more that our system is unjust.

I think our justice system is a great system on paper. The theory, the details... I really like it. But in practice its run by people. And the people who deliver the justice seem to have all these weird attitudes. These attitudes of us vs. them, good vs. bad, we're good guys getting bad guys attitudes. And the attitudes have bled into their behavior in a way that makes justice impossible.

Let me make this more concrete. You take a person in jail awaiting trial. Now we're supposed to have a presumption of innocence. And sometimes its a little silly, I'm not going to lie. That guy who killed the congresswoman in AR, ok he was seen shooting her, presumed innocence in that case is just a formality. But in most cases, it should be taken seriously. I've interviewed people in jail. You know, for work. And the deputies working in jail, the people, executing the system, they're not presumin' shit. Another example is the way police often have this attitude when they stop you. My general experience with police is positive. They hold our hands and make sure we're safe little caseworkers when we knock on doors to see if kids are safe and talk to parents about child abuse. But when we're doing that, we're on the side of the "good guys." And we're going to get the "bad guys." I don't think of it that way, but I can tell you police do.

My experience is that the "bad guys" are often made that way by lots of influences. Its a social system, its a socio economic system. Meaning, they aren't actually bad people. They love their kids and want nice cars and houses and to be loved and validated just like everyone else. They're less likely to be educated, more likely to have been exposed to violence, less wealthy, more likely to work more than one job to make ends meet.

There's this group in Chiapas, Mexico, the Zapatistas. They basically had a revolution and declared themselves independent of Mexico and have been developing their own social and educational systems ever since. Peacefully, too. I love them. Anyway, did I mention the part about them developing their own schools and curriculum based on the needs of their own community?

When I watched Mario Rocha, I thought, if in these communities they did the same thing, they'd have to offer curriculum about the law. I bet you could get a lot of buy-in from some ghetto kids talking about how to handle yourself when you get pulled over or interviewed by cops, or how to handle disputes with a landlord. That's some practical education right there.

In other news, I'm reading this book called, This is Your Brain on Music and its really got some fascinating tidbits. Like, the bottom key on a piano vibrates at the same rate as pictures streamed together trick your eye into seeing a moving picture. Crazy, right?