A few days after writing my last post, I hopped in a car with my friend, Jewel, and talked her ear off for 8 (? 7? 9?) hours straight. We drove through sunshine and snow, flat land and mountains, and finally arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah!

I want to tell you about it and share some of my pictures, BUT FIRST.
Before I forget: Trenton has taken to calling cat litter “cat glitter” and I couldn’t be happier.
“Ugh! Stupid CAT GLITTER all over my shoes…”
Let it here be recorded that if anyone -ANYone -tries to correct this, I will become aggressive. Don’t take my happiness, man.

Secondly: because of life and How It Is right now, we had to do our big grocery shopping trip last night… at 9 pm… with three children. 13 hours prior to what will go down in Deets Family History as one of our most monumentally chaotic family outings, Lacy gave Trenton a pencil. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time…
But 13 hours later at 9 pm and again -14 hours later at 10 pm -Lacy decided she wanted the pencil back.
And the scene in the backseat went exactly like this:
(please understand that this ALL HAPPENED EXACTLY AS I’M RECORDING IT.)
Lacy: (in full-on, streaming-down-her-face tears) I WANT THE PENCIL! I ONLY SAID BORROW! I SAID IT QUIIIIIIETLY BUT THE PENCIL IS MINE!
Mom: Lace, we will talk about this in the morning after you’ve had some sleep. If you want to be upset and cry, that’s okay. But we aren’t going to talk about it until tomorrow. We can talk about anything else…
Lacy: BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PENCIL! IT IS MINE! I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!
Trenton: (pencil smugly in hand) Lace, quit complaining.
Alice: Lee Me! Guy Me! Wah bee sigh me! Heh me…

She always gets stuck at “help me.”
The irony is not lost on me.

It’s trips like that -the 25 minute jaunt to Wal-Mart with 3 very tired children under my wing -that make me doubt my tolerance of travel. But I was able to cruise with Jewel for hours upon hours with no bumps. Lots of laughs, lots of jokes, lots of music, lots of free-roaming livestock… but no stress. Even in the darkest of dust storms and snowy roads, I felt remarkably okay.
I think traveling with children has somehow callused me.

As the photo above accounts: We drove through sunshine and snow to get to Temple Square and then we drove through wind and dust to get back home.
And I’d do it again in a heart beat.

Once in Salt Lake, I stayed with my best friend from infancy, grade school, high school, college, and PROBABLY the pre-existence… Tia.
Tia is really the highlight of Utah in every way. Not everyone knows this, but I do. She’s like Utah’s best kept secret.
I hate leaving her home always and have -in very fact -made definite plans to return with Danny next month. I didn’t know I was so big on Utah until recently… Tia’s bewitched me, or something.
With Tia, everything is calm and simple and beautiful and wonderful. It’s a wonderful gift she inherently has. Trips to visit her are never fraught with obligation or schedules or stress, but laughter and easiness and good, solid sleep.
She texted me a few days before I came asking if we should go thrift shopping… meaning she texted me and asked me -without my telling her -if I’d like to do the ONLY thing I really wanted to do (other than attending the Women’s Conference and hitting up a temple session) up in Utah.
D.I.

After spending a morning alone walking around Temple Square, doing a session, snapping pictures, and traipsing all over Brigham Young’s house, I went thrift shopping with Tia.


While walking through DI, I remarked on the mass amounts of pastel blouses and khaki… everything.
“You know that outfit at Dillards you passed up thirty years ago?” Tia’s husband replied, motioning toward the merchandise, “Now’s your chance…”
And at SUCH reasonable prices!

After a solid round of Cafe Rio and a good night’s rest, Tia’s electricity was turned off for maintenance.
So we went outside and stuff.

And then my brother picked me up and took me out
to hike! I’ve always wanted to hike, but I have kids and live in flat land. I was thrilled to go on a very mild hike (you have to go easy on beginners) up Ensign Peak.
It didn’t take me but a few feet to start feeling like I wanted to puke, but I kept going. Except when I quit and then we’d set and rest.
Set and rest awhile.
But I persevered because that’s what cow folk DO… and eventually made it to the peak

After taking in the sights and climbing down -incidentally, the peak was significantly shorter in descending mode -we ate at a vegan restaurant and, overall, felt very healthy about the whole experience.

Steve sent me home with a lovely gift of decorative, speckled Robin’s eggs… which my niece was very interested in when she saw them.
“Easha, are deese REAL?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with wonder.
“No,” I shrugged.
“Are day CHOCOLATE?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with hope.
“No, sorry. They’re just for being pretty.”
“Oh,” her shoulders fell, all hope and wonder vanished…

That very evening, I went with Tia to the Conference Center for the First EVER General Women’s Meeting. Tia had some tickets, and a gaggle of us gathered together and enjoyed a landmark experience.
The seats were second row seats! It was unbelievable to take in the Conference Center from the front… to hear the choir’s powerful sound bounce off the back wall, to watch the women file in: mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends!
There was perfume and pumps and Chevron print EV-ER-EE-WHERE.
But most of all, there was us.

Jewel and Ju Ginger.
That’s what I’m going to call them now…
Heather -a fellow music major from college who has managed to look younger and lovelier with age (how the heck? amazing!)
and Mean Tia.
Meaning… me and Tia.

FLASHBACK TO 1993
Big Brother: Who is going to be there, Alicia?
Me: Me n’ Tia.
Big Brother: I didn’t know Tia was mean. Meeeeen Tia… hardy har har
Me: I WANT MY PENCIL!
(I don’t know where Lacy get it…)

Conference was so moving, so brilliant, so filled with lessons that I’ve since spent hours recording my thoughts and impressions. I will say that I didn’t make it but three single NOTES into the opening song before I was just weeping outright.
The sheer volume. The power behind the sound of ALL the women. It was something I will never -ever, in this life or beyond -forget.
To feel the reality of being in the presence of so many sisters… and to be there with my own sister and Tia who has been a sister to in every way save the blood way! It was an experience for the books.

The entire trip has taken me several sit-down “process” sessions because I learned and gained SO much. It was truly a gift of a trip.

And to complete this post, I’ll gift you with a little bit of Tia.
Here’s what happens when we try to take a selfie and put Tia in charge of snapping the picture because
1) she has the longest arms
2) we trust her.

She still has the longest arms, but the trust? Miiiight have been broken in the best possible way. I invite you now to look at Ju -so wonderfully unchanging through it all.
And then compare her to Tia.
And then laugh out loud like I do every. dang. time.
Time lapse: approximately 10 seconds. maybe. prolly 9.