Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sorry I Left You in a Fog...

It was dark and white all at the same time.

I just had to follow the headlights in front of me because the snow was caking on my windshield and forming into a sheet of ice even with my windshield wipers at full speed.

I could neither speed up nor slow down because the foot-high packed snow was slick and slushy and scraped the bottom of my not-for-blizzard-driving car.

I only had one headlight.


I had a car about 10 feet in front of me and another car squeezed in behind me about 3 feet!

My hands were clenched to the wheel, my head tipped sideways and to the right to see past the ice sheet, and my leg was cramping from holding it steady on the gas and break for the past hour and a half.

I wanted to cry.

There were semi-trucks that had slid off the road in every direction and in every crevice. Cars that had run into another car and people risking their lives trying to help others get out of their predicament.

I tried to focus on the reason I was going through this... I had to get home to my family. My 6 hour drive was now at 10 hours and I was becoming anxious. Trying to focus on getting home was causing my hands and legs to cramp up and I needed to relax.

(Dream sequence motion and sound inserted here)

I drove all by myself to Las Vegas!

I had been planning on going down there to meet an old, yet very new, friend, who was coming from Paris to Las Vegas and I was driving 6 hours to meet her there (I figured it was easier than flying to Paris... although, I'd rather be in Paris...).

The drive went off without a hitch. I was smiling, singing and reminiscing the entire way. There was one point where I was listening to the old songs my mom recorded when I was 12 and I couldn't help but tear up a little bit when I heard my 12-year-old voice singing the song my mom wrote, "Hug Me." I remembered when my mom wrote that song for me. I was sitting on the stairs of our split-entry home and solemnly admitted to my mom that sometimes I just need her to hug me and spend more time with me—so she wrote a song. Just for me. I sung my heart out to every single one of the songs my mom wrote for her CD's that were downloaded to my phone. I sung some of them twice.

I couldn't stop thinking about how blessed I was to have grown up with music around constantly and a mother who encouraged it.

I hadn't told my mom about my trip alone to Las Vegas because I knew she would worry way too much. So, even though I wanted to tell her all about the nostalgia I was feeling as I sang out loud to songs like, "My Farmer," "Teardrop Waltz," and "Keep on Rollin'," I just had to remember to tell her about it later.

I got to Vegas happy and on a high of how wonderful my life has been and decided to visit the Las Vegas LDS Temple. I had plugged in "Las Vegas Temple" in my GPS and called it good and I ended up on the South side of Vegas on a street called "Temple Drive."


Let me plug the right stuff into my phone and take a 45 minute jaunt the other way just to realize that I had missed the chance to go inside before it was closing.

I was on too much of a high to let wrong directions and a 45 minute u-turn get me down so I decided to take some pictures from outside and be happy about that.

I've never seen the Las Vegas LDS Temple before so it was neat to see it all lit up at night.

After getting a few shots on my phone I got back into my car and headed to my aunt and uncle's house where I was staying for the weekend.

I was tired from a long day, but happy to see them so we talked for a bit and then I went in to bed.

I was so glad to be on my own.

Does that sound bad?

I guess I like being on my own sometimes.

Maybe that sounds surprising coming from and extrovert... anyway, it was nice to be alone with my thoughts and watch a few Jimmy Fallon clips and then go to bed.

Sunday morning I slept in and then blogged for a bit... That's when I wrote my last post a month ago... remember I left you in the fog...

Anyway, after being lazy and alone I decided to seek out some company with my family and talked with my Uncle Eric for a while and enjoyed our conversation and learned a lot about him and about politics...

I went and got ready for church. I was excited to attend my aunt and uncle's ward, but got even more excited when my aunt Lori informed me that the "Nashville Tribute Band" would be performing the Sacrament rest hymn! She then further informed me that there was going to be an interfaith concert that night at their church building that they were putting on for the community. I had heard lots of great things about this band and was so excited to be involved and to hear them sing.

The song they sang in Sacrament meeting was beautifully and spiritually inspiring about the Prophet Joseph Smith. My heart was touched and I was now even more excited to hear their concert. It was also so great to be sitting next to my aunt and uncle in church and I was happy to jus the there.

After church I went with my aunt Lori to help her prepare the dinner that the band members would be eating before the concert. Then we were off to the church to get the dinner all together and get the dining area set up. I had to get a picture to commemorate the experience.

I laughed at how much bigger my head looks than my aunt's... ha!

Not too shabby for just a church building classroom.

Before the dinner and after their warm-up I just had to ask for a picture.

You can't tell I was excited or anything!

They did not disappoint in their performance and it was so awesome to hear their words of inspiration and to hear their impeccable harmonies. My heart had been lifted this whole weekend and I was just on a life high!

I didn't have a chance to see the entire concert because I left early to meet up with my friends at the KÁ Theater at the MGM Grande.

This is where I got a little intimidated.

Driving along in the center of Las Vegas and The Strip traffic rattled me just a little, especially when I got turned around by the security keeping the route for a local run open for the runners... that threw me off a bit, but I made it to the parking garage of the MGM.

As I was driving through the enclosed parking area I was getting a little more nervous as I drove past big, burly, scruffy men who made me feel like I wasn't going to be safe walking to the hotel lobby alone.

I found a parking place and said a little prayer after I parked that I would be safe while I walked along in the parking garage to meet my new/old friend, Manuela.

I say "new" because I have never met her in person over the years I have known her and I say old, because I have known her for a few years through Facebook and our mutual friend, Thomas.

When I stepped out of my car and started gathering things I wanted to take with me and leave in the car I heard a french accent exclaim, "Rachael?!"

I looked up, and there in front of me was my friend, Manuela and her 3 three friends she had traveled from France with! My prayer was answered and I was not only feeling safer in numbers, but was so excited that we didn't have to work too hard to find each other!

We hit it off immediately and her friends were a joy to be with too. We all had a great time walking to the theater together and I tried really hard to pronounce all their names with a French accent, but was not succeeding.

We had met together to see Manuela's brother, Stéphane Fio in the Cirque Du Soleil Show, KÁ. This was my third time to see it and I was very excited to see Stéphane again too. This was a big night because it was Stéphane's last week in the show and I was so happy to be part of all of it.

When we were seated I took this picture of Manuela and I and couldn't stop laughing when she said, "Aw, I'm too black, you can't see me." I just couldn't stop laughing.

After the amazing show, and I do mean amazing! It was better than the other two times I had seen it. It was epic.

Of course we had to get a picture with some of the cast and Stéphane gave us all a backstage tour.

I'm always so excited to meet these performers, but I am so sad that I didn't think to get a picture with Stéphane this time.

Me and Manuela! We love each other to pieces and it felt as if we had known each other forever! We were instant "sisters."
Here I am trying to get a bad selfie backstage... I succeeded!

We hadn't had enough fun yet so we decided to get Stéphane back to his apartment to change so that we could all go out to Denny's for food. I mean, it was only midnight... we still had to get our party on! So off to Denny's it was and we talked and laughed and ate... actually I mostly laughed and ate. They were speaking a lot of French so I just enjoyed hearing the beautiful language I did not understand.

And then I decided to take another bad selfie...

At least I tried.

I got back to my aunt and uncle's house at 3 am and had heard about the bad storm that was about to hit on my drive back to Utah.

I debated just leaving then because I was wide awake, but decided it might not be wise to drive without sleep.

So I slept until 7am and then got up to pack and get ready to leave.

The reports were sounding pretty good about the commute so I wasn't too worried and decided to stop by Stéphane's place where they were all staying so I could at least say goodbye.

I love this girl!

Then I was on my way home. 

I decided to take pictures every often in case the weather did get bad that you could see the changes:

Beautiful weather in Nevada and it stayed beautiful until I entered Utah and then it got a little gray, but it was all clear.

I took a picture to show that there was no stress involved even though it looked like the weather was going to start changing.

And it did.

Still wasn't too bad, though.

OK, here it was getting a little hairy.

And then, it was awful.

I was glad I had all these great things to reflect on while trying to stay positive during my frightful drive.

Once it was finally safe enough to exit I pulled over in Fillmore at a gas station and filled up with gas and chipped the inches of ice of my car and left side of the windshield. Then I went into he restaurant and ate and sat for a while to calm my nerves.

The rest of the way home was clear with no snow piled on the roads and no ice collecting on my windshield.

Twelve hours later I was safe at home.

Both Marc and I were glad I was back safe and sound.

And, now I am excited to start blogging regularly again. I fell off the radar for a month because of life and experiences, but because of my long hiatus, I have realized how much I miss the therapeutic rambling of my heart and soul. I really do feel better about my life when I can tell you all about it.

Free therapy... I'll be attending my free session, hopefully, tomorrow...

Writing about 318-320 Days of Up on the 350th Day of my 365 Days of Up Challenge

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