Your Summer Reading: What I’ve Been Doing


1979608_10100176721510797_952924039_nIt’s summer in Utah, so you know what that means. I am nowhere near bikini-body ready; I’m sweating beer out of the pores on my face, and I make an effort to spend at least 97% of my time either in front of an air conditioner or somewhat immersed in a body of water. Unless I’m standing in eye’s sight of a cactus, or checking-in with a coyote – I tend to forget the reality that I live in a desert and it is generally hot as hell.

I realized the other day; that it’d been precisely two months since I last wrote and that I also couldn’t even remember what I had previously written about. Being one who fancies themselves a wordsmith, and relies on said medium to maintain a level of sanity in an otherwise chaotic world – this is problematic. The good news is that my absence hasn’t been because I was kidnapped or in the midst of an existential life crisis; I’ve just been really busy having fun and being happy.

Yes – I been preoccupied with eating my weight in barbeque ribs, engrossed in taking tiny dogs to the tops of mountains, I’ve been diligently floating rivers, unavailable whilst attaining enlightenment, meditating on sunshine, and spending time with my ever-growing network of phenomenal people I somehow manage to keep acquiring and collecting. I recognize that sharing your happiness may be as obnoxious as all the ‘Save The Dates’ and Baby Announcements that adorn my fridge, but I honestly have zero fucks to give on the matter. In ‘Into the Wild’ Jon Krakauer said this: “Happiness is only real when shared.” So here I am. Life kind of rules and I’m going to talk about it and it’s your choice whether or not you’re going to listen.

I thought a good way to catch everyone up would be to take a quick tour of what my world has looked like through the magic of pictures. It may seem like a cop-out, like a lazy lady’s version of an update – but hey! Let’s call a spade a spade. I’ve already exerted 340 words in this blog entry as it stands, and I’m not even completely sure you deserve that. Without further ado, What Tanya Has Been Doing – AKA your summer reading.

photo(3)I went to a Bluegrass Festival. The Ogden Bluegrass Festival to be exact. When I used to think of Bluegrass music, I thought of inbred hillbillies playing “Dueling Banjos” in the movie ‘Deliverance.’ However, after spending nearly six-and-a-half years total living out West, I finally not only succumbed – but truly grew to love this great genre of music. There were two reasons that this particular festival was an extremely epic occasion. The first was that my friend Celia’s amazing (not to mention Grammy nominated) band Della Mae was playing; and I got to surprise the literal shit out of her by showing up at her autograph signing after there had been many years and miles between us. The second kicker was that the grounds of the festival were by far some of the more interesting ones I’d ever seen. Located outside of Ogden, Utah and nestled in the thickets adjacent to the Weber River – all I can say is this: swamp people. Not only did I feel like I was in the Bayou and at risk of spontaneous alligator attacks but algae infested waters aside; it was like the population of the music festival were a gaggle of hippies who either teleported straight from 1993, or hippies that also like an occasional experience with crystal meth. All in all, it was fine holiday fun. I attended with one of my best Nutmeg State gal pals – Heather, and my lovely lesbian lady lovers Jess and her partner Kristi. Besides enjoying alliteration, I also enjoyed a lot of fiddling and banjo picking, and enough booze to purchase a Native American Medicine Bag. At least now I have a way to discretely wear sage around my neck.

Speaking of the Weber River, let’s talk more about that. I remember the first time I was ever propositioned by my Utah friends to float this beast. I’m a simple girl from a small state where “floating a river” is akin to riding the lazy river at any second-rate water park. The Mighty Weber is a whole other story. Yes friends, you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize unless you want to run into a rock, get stuck in an eddy, or in my most recent case – eat shit out of your tube and watch helplessly as your bag of beers detaches from your tube and floats away. Luckily I was partaking in this adventure with a fellow brewery employee so we were pretty covered as far as the libation situation went. The tales of my saga enticed other friends so much that we planned a trip the next weekend and at this point in the summer: I already have two Weber floats under my belt buckle.10514584_10100229810075887_4255792142984627052_nphoto 3

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It was Tia & Tamera Mowry who were ‘Sista Sistas,’ talked about a two-way twister, didn’t know how much they missed ya (i.e. each other.) My sister and I both moved out West, independently in 2007. While it was seemingly random, I think it was probably just the universe letting us know that the max distance we’re allowed to be separated by is approximately 518.2 miles. While I’d like to condense that by 517.2 miles, it’s good to be close. And I was graced with not one – but two visits already this year that involved wearing wigs, the purchase of an inordinate amount of blue kyanite, and of course – handstand contests that went on for days.

10505533_10103028057814669_7386488417548948665_nIn the spirit of talking about people that you don’t always see, that you really enjoy seeing – let’s talk about that time it took me 27 hours to get to New York and how it was totally worth it. When I was invited to the nuptials of my High-School Bestie Samantha, and her wonderful partner Melissa; I promised both myself and them that I “wouldn’t miss it for the world.” While I was gung-ho on this plan, the universe apparently; was not. Which is how I found myself with a cancelled flight, stranded in the Dallas, Texas airport. I didn’t even know they could do that, cancel flights? Delay, of course – but to just ax a flight from air travel existence? I considered hitching the first flight back to Salt Lake City.

In the five-hour rebooking line I had begun to lose faith as I heard my would-be in-flight passengers coming back with rescheduled tickets that would get them into LaGuardia Airport by 8 PM. As my wedding was at 5 PM, this essentially rendered my trip utterly reprehensible. I called my friend Kelly, who I was to be staying with, in tears. Between hiccups I explained my situation to her and instead of compassion, and empathy – she cackled at me: “Are you really crying that hard right now!?” I was flabbergasted, my friends are always accommodating, almost to a fault. Heck, my inbox was already full of text messages of friends who were checking-in with me to make sure I was okay and emotionally intact. However, Kelly’s completely unsympathetic response made me realize two things: 1. I was experiencing extreme first-world white people problems and it probably wasn’t the end of the world regardless, and 2. I had a choice. I could trust that crazy old universe like  I do and try to haul ass to Brooklyn, or I could be a pussy and head back to Salt Lake. While I was very tempted to do the latter, as it was comfortable and safe, I decided to challenge myself. Wouldn’t you know that I made my stand-by flight that left from Dallas to Chicago but was delayed in Chicago for mechanical difficulties that happened on take-off for two hours? And then my cab driver got lost in Manhattan? So instead of getting to Brooklyn at 11 PM on Friday, or 12:30 PM on Saturday…I made it to Kelly’s apartment at 3:15, threw on a dress, legit ran to the bus stop, and walked into the wedding at 4:59 PM and got to be a part of this:

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I extended my trip by a day and spent some serious time in New York that may or may not have included: visiting the Brooklyn Brewery, celebrating Pride, eating amazing Dim Sum in China Town, visiting three lesbian bars in one day, and possibly giving myself prison tattoos. I’ll leave you to separate fact from truth.

Speaking of things that are good:

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If Nora Jones and I were in a Facebook Relationship, it might say that it’s complicated – but at this point we have both been committed to one another exclusively for about a year. Yes, this Chihuahua-Beagle (#cheagle) and I met and then had a steamy romance that ended in adoption just last summer. It’s truly a story of lust, woe, adversity, and heart. I first met Nora in the biergarten I was working at, we were part of a weekly festival – and one of the ‘pop-up shops’ that came down weekend after weekend was the Humane Society. I encouraged them to bring their dogs down to our spot as to give them more exposure, not to mention that a few drinks may make embracing a new, fuzzy family member more appealing to individuals.

The first time I met Ms. Jones she jumped into my arms. She didn’t want a thing to do with anything else, and it kind of made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want a tiny dog – I was used to a mountain dog; who looked regal without even trying, who bounded up mountains with the confidence of a goat, who looked better than me most days. However, life doesn’t always work out the way we see it in our heads. She came back weekend after weekend, very un-adopted, and extremely cute and sad and in dire need of whatever my arms had to hold for her.

I had a mental dialogue with myself about all the reasons I didn’t need her in my life – and trust me the cons, far outweighed the pros. After three weeks, and a rainstorm in which I made  bed for her inside of our bar; I caved. And we’ve been together ever since. The first month I had her she didn’t bark. I considered the fact that maybe I was Mother Teresa and adopted a handicapped dog. She was probably deaf, and maybe blind – she was like the Helen Keller of dogs. Then Stella got her groove back, and it was nowhere near the likes of a Taye Diggs, Angela Basset, and Whoopie Goldberg kind of way – she just eased into what was her new life that included barking excessively at everyone always, taking tiny poops, and requiring a lot of attention and energy. Deficits aside,  she hikes like a beast, settles into my side each and every night, and is the swan song to my every day. I adore my little sack of excrement.

What else has happened this summer?

I also went to PRIDE with a gaggle of beards:

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Because for someone who complains about not getting laid, ever. This is the group you should roll in with for the only weekend you get to be super, mega-gay. At least we banked with this shot of me in front of the Mormon Temple:

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Don’t mind my socks that say ‘Gay’ and my shirt that says: ‘This Is What An Awesome Lesbian Looks Like.’

I am elated to report, as you could probably tell, that all is well and copacetic in the Salty City at this point in time. If I know anything about an SLC summer, I know that I will be sweating my balls off until October, and desperately and flawlessly making the the best of it while living the dream. So if you need me, I’ll be super busy going down thousand foot water slides, camping under the stars, or gallivanting around in one of several canyons. How blessed I am, to be amongst the people I am, in the place I’m at. I’m barf in the face stoked on it. And I’m totally sorry, but not sorry, to deliver the news that: life kind of rules and I’m going to talk about it and it’s your choice whether or not you’re going to listen.

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