Friday, March 29, 2013

kim friesen, you're a rockstar. and a happy birthday to you.


 
  today my mother turns... well, yet another year older (you can thank me later, mom).  to say my mom and i have a unique relationship would be an understatement (if you know us at all, you know what i'm talking about).
     in moments of high stress, anxiety, happiness, joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiousness, you name it, mama kim is always a quick phone call away.  that two and a half hour drive seems like nothing once that woman wraps her motherly arms around me.  my mom and i talk often not because we're codependent and clingy, but because we truly care about each other.  we don't have to.  we choose to.  as vivid communicators, that's just the way our relationship works.  
      sometimes we run around the house acting like we're ten, singing&dancing, pointing&laughing, eating froyo&drinking diet coke.  other times we discuss my future and what it means to be a woman of faith, integrity, and value.  her genuine insight and wisdom is truly something that keeps me grounded in this life.  our conversations challenge me in so many ways. we discuss books, politics, religion, food, geography, love, commitment, music, education. you name it, we discuss it.  i never leave a conversation of ours without feeling bettered.  she's shown me i have a voice- a voice that deserves to be heard- and guided me in forming and shaping that voice in order to leave my mark on this crazy, wonderful world.
     as a single mother, she displayed what it means to be a confident, independent, hard-working woman.  as a wife, she's displayed what it means to be a committed, caring half.  as a mother, she's displayed love, care, and affection for each of us from the very start...through the exciting, joyful times as well as the not so exciting, joyful times...valuing each of us for our individual personhood.  as a daughter,  she displayed what it means to respect family (the keepers and the ones ya wish you didn't know), and cultivate relationships until the very last day.  and as a entrepreneur, she's displayed how to use your creative mind to value your future.  as a woman of faith, she's displayed God's love in more ways than i can express... always there with an open ear and an insightful word or two when i have questions, concerns, and doubts.
     and she's not afraid to correct me.  something i need every now and again (more now, haha).  the other day she and i were in the car and i unconsciously made a rude comment towards someone we drove by.  she took one glance at me and said, "you don't know them.  you don't know their story.  don't pretend to know them, Rachel.  you've been blessed in more ways than you know and you walk around judging those who haven't been given equal opportunities when it isn't their fault at all.  take time for those people.  get to know them. pray for them.  and stop being so stuck-up and ignorant while you're at it."  i said nothing.  not one word (RARE).  because she was right on the money.  i'm so grateful for the loving correction she provides.
     a close friend of mine and i talk often of how great our mothers are and how blessed we are.  and ya know what, that's oh-so true.  having a mother who doubles as a best friend is pretty dang neat.
     today, we celebrate my mom.  a dynamic woman who truly makes a difference in the people, community, and world around her.   a woman i'm blessed enough to call my very own mama Kim.

mom, i hope you feel celebrated no only today, but every day. 
thanks for bringing such life to our home. 
and passing down your sass to me. 
we love you oh so very much. 

love always, 
     xoxo,
         Rach 

Monday, March 25, 2013

pow wow time.

     Last spring in the honors program we spent time learning about the Wenger Mennonites along with the Hasidic Jews.  Now, we're onto the Lakota Indians.  So, a few weeks ago a friend took our Friday night and went to a local pow-wow. No, not the Mt. Lake, MN pow-wow (if you get this, you are awesome), but a real native American pow-wow.  with zero expectations in toe, we were totally unsure of what to expect & quite honestly, a little nervous.  and let me tell you, it was awesome.  from the dancing, to the singing, chanting, and homemade food & gifts, it was an enlightening experience.  we stayed for three hours, but the party was just getting started when we decided to peace out.
     i so enjoy learning about other cultures.  it's so interesting to hear their history, stories, sorrows, and ideas... We're reading Kent Neburn's Neither Wolf Nor Dog right now, and it's turned out to be a favorite of mine.  The book is centered around an Elder on an Indian reservation who asks Neburn to write a book about his "thoughts."
Nebrun writes...
"I'd be honored to help you with this."
"Good. I want it all fixed.  I want things to sound right."  
"It sounds good now," I told him 
"No, not the way I want. I've been thinking about this for a long time.  There are things you white people need to hear.  I want them to sound good so people don't say, 'Oh, that's just an old Indian talking.'" 
"Well," I laughed, "you are an old Indian talking."
"Instantly I could feel I had made a mistake.  He turned and looked away from me.  Without looking back at me he spoke very slowly. 'White people have always tried to make us into animals.  They want us to be like animals in a zoo.  If I don't sound good, like a white person thinks sounds good, you make me into just another animal at the zoo.'" 

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and ya know what the coolest part is? 
learning about other cultures has really allowed me to learn more about myself. 
here's to you diversity, you never cease to keep life interesting.  
xoxo, 
     Rach








i fell in love with this little guy.  










Tuesday, March 19, 2013

and a happy tuesday to you!









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today after class, i stopped by one of my very favorite coffee joints in st. paul, nina's coffee cafe.  i wrote about it in a previous post, so it may ring a bell.  i then parked in a random local neighborhood and walked around ooing and ahhing at the houses.  
i mean look at these things. 
move me in. 
right now. 
so fantastic. 
and the people who live in the neighborhood are just as cool. 
my kinda people, i tell ya. 
the entire time i kept wondering if a resident would come out and ask me what the heck i was doing taking pics of their house!
is it illegal to take pics of houses?
if so, i'm so done for
i mean, i guess i kinda did look like a creeper in my black hat, black coat, hood up, etc. 
maybe i shouldn't do that again... 
then again, knowing me, i'll pry be down there doing this exact same thing next week.
st. paul, you've captured my heart. 
stay classy. 
xoxo, 
rach 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

spring break 2013: phoenix, az, day 3 (last day)








thanks so much for letting us stay with you, uncle donn & aunt sharon.  you two are gems.  

it was a wonderful trip.  
    ....but it didn't start out that way. not going to lie, tears were shed the night before departure.  not just tears, but like sobs.  lesbihonest (pitch perfect, anyone?), i was bawling like a freakin baby.  mama's lap and all.  the whole shenanigans.   Al was making me a little crazy and all i could think about was "why did i think it was a good idea to take my spring break to travel with my brother?" i've always been called the "mom" of the kids (only girl probs) and suddenly this became my biggest fear.  i didn't want to "mom" the entire trip.  I wanted to have a good time, dangit!  without any extra worries...hence the word vacation.  anyway, mama kim worked her magic and in about twenty minutes we were sitting in dairy queen where i was back to my normal self (OBV. dairy queen, people).  
      and ya know what?  my mama was right. i had a splendid time.  getting to know some of my family even better made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  like one of those things where you're smiling ten minutes later all by yourself in a room.  where people point, stare, and question your sanity.  we told story after story, laughed about past times, and joked about the crazy cats we call family.  the best part though?  i got to know my grandma even better.  no, she wasn't there.  she passed away two and a half years ago.  and as many of you know, she was one of my very best friends.  not just go over for a meal and/ or cookies kinda grandma.  but a tell-everything-to, do-everything-with kinda grandma.  those last days i had with her seem like yesterday.  doing her nails,  watching tv, joking about how much she disliked men and how getting old really wasn't "the golden years," continually repeating myself 230948320498 times because she couldn't hear me.  i wasn't ready to give her up.  
     i still struggle with the loss.  my great uncle donn is a spitting male image of the great woman i was privileged to call gram for seventeen years.  he has the same nose, the same dry sense of humor, and the same crude quirkiness (if you knew my grandma, you know what i'm talking about).  late one night during my stay in AZ, uncle donn and i were talking about gram and he told me that he lived with her for several years when he was a teen.  their home life was far from ideal and he helped with her many children and housework as payment for a bed & food.  "she wasn't just my sister, Rachel, but my very best friend. to this day."   
      man, i miss that woman.  but she's gone now and all i have left of her is a couple pictures, a handful of memories, and her family.  and if i can get to know some of her family even better... well, i think she'd really like that.  so, here's to you gram.  i hope to God you're smiling down on me from heaven.  
miss you. 
love you.
xoxo, 
    Rach 


thanks for adventuring with me al.  you're pretty neat.  



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

spring break 2013: phoenix, arizona, day 2

yesterday we got manis and pedis (al included!) in the am
and went to the pool in the afternoon.  
it felt great to get a little vitamin D (yes, ginger skin needs vitamin D too!)
then we grilled out and told stories and laughed about old times.   
life is great. 
and i am blessed. 
cheers to spring break 2013.  









///plus some randoms/// 

aunt sharon & uncle donn, al & i 

cousin lynne, al, and i

my aunt and uncle thought it was pretty funny that i took a pic of "trash"

look at that door people, just look at it.