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

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I realize I don't talk about skiing enough on this blog. Its just a given. I go skiing. Pretty often. Not as often as I like or as I should, but pretty often. I went this weekend and this week. I go downhill skiing, park skiing, cross country skiing. I take friends who are newer to the sport and help them get better, or hang out with my guy friends and make jokes on the lift. Sometimes I go by myself and just feel good in my skin. Sometimes I go and end up helping someone who has fallen on a run. Sometimes I meet high schoolers or old schoolers on the lift. My guy friends tell me things on lifts they might not have mentioned if we were face to face. In mixed company. There's something about having a helmet and goggles on and being with someone you'd trust your life to that just opens things up differently. I love the relationships. I love my relationship with the mountain. Its ever changing states. The winds and views and different snow conditions.

A gal I know wrote recently about thinking that people who are parents and do extreme sports should reconsider when they become parents. I'm not sure I agree. Maybe to a point. But it would be like asking an artist to give up her palette for me to stop skiing steeps. To not take a chance here and there. Maybe its something you just can't understand if its not what you love. What you live and breathe.

I love the feel of skis beneath my feet. I mean, love. The feel of skis beneath my feet. I step into my skis and instantly become me. I love pushing against the ground and feeling my muscles making their presence known in my fun. Its exercise and cool and strong and confident. I don't have to pick out my outfit. I don't put makeup on. I just go. And fast. I love floating on a powder day. How you feel your skis lift up and down to turn instead of leaning side to side.

I love sharing it with others. I love to teach them and watch them grow in the sport. I like thinking about how to explain what you do with your body in simple terms that help someone get better. Help them access an ability they didn't have a moment ago. I love when they used to be afraid but they're not anymore: they're excited. I love that people feel confident they'll get better when I'm around and want to ski with me. I even slightly enjoy when men get over-confident thinking "well, if she can do it." Its resulted in more than a few broken bones and humbled egos.

I like that its a slight counter culture. A break from the rat race. Its cool and easy and full of slang. Sick, yo. That outfit's steezy. Did you see him throw that switch 9? Sicky, illy, powpow!

I love being outside. I love the quiet of the snow and the woods.

I love looking down the mountain and thinking creatively about my line. I love to think of the way water would flow and follow it. I love sticking my line and feeling like water. Strong and indestructible and smooth and beautiful. Its calming and exhilarating all at once. It is yin and yang. It is nearly a religion for me. A form of prayer and communing with others and with nature.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What I said to Magnus last night as I was putting him to bed:

May the love in my heart be in your mind
protecting your thoughts, making them kind

May the love in my heart protect your body
keeping you strong, healthy and mighty

May the love in my heart live in your soul
making you good, keeping you whole.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lora blogged about the bugs that come out of the woodworks post-exterminator. You can imagine how horrifying it is. Spindly, scary numbers of feelers and legs and hairiness that lived in your floorboards and under your tile that you never knew was there. Suddenly dead out where you can see them. Most of them were not meant to be seen by the light of day. I remember a girl telling me in 5th grade all about the bugs (see also, microorganisms,) that live under your nails and in your eyepits and all over your body. That there are literally thousands on every surface you can think of, you just need a strong enough microscope. I remember spending lots of time when I was supposed to be listening digging under my fingernails and thinking about it.

We have this desire to think we are alone. That we, as a species, are exclusive. The only ones allowed to live in our house. The only organism. Lots of people don't even believe themselves to be animals. We forget that since we have all these bald skin patches instead of fur, we're subject to living in the same critter-infested food web as the microbiota on our skin or in our guts. Some of them help us out, some of them just exist. But we'd rather not think about them.

We don't want to think about the drug addicts or the whores we live in the midst of. We move out to the burbs where there are no rats or drugs. Yeah right? They live in the woodwork too. Sneaking around dropping their kids off just like everyone else. Sometimes they slip. My dad's friend did. So did mine. My dad has been visiting one of his closest friends in the hospital lately where he's spent some time strapped down detoxing from heroin. My dad's the hoity toity type. Operas and nice restaurants. He's a loyal friend too. I'm less so. I dismissed my friend. She stole from us. And has tried for 15 years to contact me about it. Heroin's involved in her life story too. But I keep her under the floor boards. Especially until I exterminated the Social Services out of my life recently. Now old things are floating to the top of my mind.

I've been thinking about all kinds of things we don't usually think about. Like what happens to our piss and shit after we flush the toilet. I know when you throw a diaper away, it sits in a landfill mostly NOT decomposing for a few hundred years. I know it slowly leeches chlorine and that its basically a packaged biohazard sitting there waiting for flies to carry its disease around.

I've been looking into starting a cloth diapering business, see? So I've learning all the ins and outs of peeing and pooping and composting and whatnot. They make compostable diapers now. Did you know? Probably not, and you probably didn't want to. Because who the fuck composts their own diapers? How do you safely do that?

I don't want to. But I want to stop seeing so many people put gift-wrapped biohazards into landfills for future apocalypsing. So I'm trying to figure it all out.

Composts don't want to touch human waste. Except our landfill has a fantastic composting program. They want to. But its an expensive venture. Thing is, they're kind of already doing it. They accept all the piss and shit already from the sewer district. The guck they pull out after you're through with your flush, it can be composted. In my community it is composted. But they treat the shit out of it first.

Its weird though when you think about it. How afraid we all are. How squeamish. I'm cool with digging a trench and pooping into it. Or using an outhouse. I don't want to see ground water contaminated or anything. And I don't want to see the bugs that crawl out from places. But there's a reality in that grime, piss, and shit. That our stuff exists. We poop. We eat from soil that's had poop in it at some time or another. We share our environment with bacteria and fungal flora and hair and knee caps have it too. That's just how it is.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I’ve spent a lot of time lately taking care of myself and its really paying off. I didn’t do that very well for a long, long time. I stopped recognizing myself when I looked in the mirror. I was all flat and grey and blank. Its like my soul has been having a spa day/week/month. I skied yesterday with my sister-in-law then had dinner with my mom. I took my son and my nieces for the morning today. My husband and I managed to get the house clean. I mean, sheets washed, dried, and put back on, laundry done and put away and there’s scored grapefruit in the fridge for the morning. I have ideas again for writing projects. I’m making jokes again and thinking of clever cheeky things to do and say. I played piano for an hour today while my son and husband played with Legos on the floor. I remember again that life is good. Not just know it intellectually. I feel it in the moment, in my bones. Deep down feel it. Life is good.