Tag Archive | Art

Whirlwind Days

Panhandle Pride Picnic at Memorial Park ~ © 2018 Veronica Fite.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me. Two weekends ago, I attended my neice’s quinceñera on Saturday. That was a lot of fun. I took my friend Jessica as my date. She didn’t know what a quineñera entailed, so I thought taking her would be a lot easier than explaining it to her.

The following day was Pride. Panhandle Pride hosted a picnic at Memorial Park in Amarillo. Last year was the first time I had attended. It was also the day I kind of outed myself to everyone at work. This year wasn’t as dramatic for me, but it was fun.

Again, I took Jessica. She was eager to go. We wandered around the park, taking a look at what was available. A law firm was handing out free beer, with proof of age. We had to show our ID, get our hand stamped, and then we were allowed a beer. It’s a little weird to be walking around in public with a cup of beer. Amarillo PD was roaming the park, which made it weirder.

The afternoon was pretty chill. We looked at booths of merchandise. I saw the ex-president of my alma mater, West Texas A&M University – Go Buffs!, – Dr. Russell Long and his wife. They had a booth promoting their books. I was interested in his, Jessica in hers. I plan to look them up on Amazon and get us those books!

I ran into my friend Veronica while there. Home Depot also had a booth, hosted by my former store manager from store #6831, Amanda. Talked with her a bit. Jessica ran into a lot of old friends. It was a fun day, until the combination of alcohol and heat got to me. I was probably close to suffering heat exhaustion. We ended up leaving and going to my apartment for a bit just to cool off.

Last weekend, I began my vacation. I picked up my best friend Amy and headed to Corpus Christi. My mom’s side of the family had a family reunion. All my siblings were there, except my sister. She had to work. It was a draining weekend, one with driving in from Amarillo to DFW on Thursday, DFW to Corpus on Friday, reunion on Saturday, and back to DFW on Sunday. I slept almost all day Monday!

On our way to Corpus, we toured the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX. I had always wanted to go, or at least have wanted to go for over twenty years. It was a neat experience. I can’t believe how popular the tour is! Afterward, we drove to Aransas Pass, got on a ferry – the first time I’ve ever been on a boat! – and went to Port Aransas. We visited the beach, but didn’t go swimming. We then made it to Corpus.

We got to do a little bit of swimming on Sunday, on our way back to DFW. Again, we went on the ferry, except this time I drove my car onto the boat, found a place to park, and got into the water. I haven’t gotten into the ocean since…, well I don’t know when. It might be close to thirty years since the last time I swan in the ocean. I had a blast and actually laughed joyfully, without reservation.

After our swim, I drove back to DFW. The brief swim at the beach wore me out. Made the drive back extremely difficult. I had to stop a few more times than I would have liked just to keep from falling asleep.

After coming back, well it was a pretty tame week. I finally met someone I’ve been talking to for the past couple of years on Twitter. She has a trans daughter and I believe we found each other because of this blog. I only wish I could have met her daughter, but she was out of town. I hope I can meet here the next time I’m in town.

I brought my friend Amy, who was not too keen on meeting my friend. But I was apprehensive about going alone, mainly due to my social awkwardness. She’s a lot better at dealing with people. We met at a place on the square in McKinney called Square Burger.

Lisa was there, along with her husband, Ray. It was not some run down burger joint, which I would have been okay with, but a hip bar that specialized in burgers. Not much else, but the burgers were out of this world, and the beer was cold and refreshing. So glad they suggested it!

Our conversation was primarily about me and my journey, which seems a little egotistical. In reality, I think they were curious as to what I went through in order to help their daughter. She’s a lot younger than me, but already out and living life. There’s still some anxiety about it, which I can relate. I tried to explain how I got to where I am in order to help them see how she she might improve.

Lastly, I said goodbye to my stepdaughter. My ex-wife, her husband, and their children, moved to Arizona on Saturday. I don’t know when I’ll get to see her again. It was a surreal moment for me, to say goodbye to her. I know I only see her a couple of times a year, but DFW is only a 6 hour drive, one that I do regularly. I don’t know about going to Arizona.

It’s been a hectic few weeks. I got to spend a lot of Stefani time, enjoying the freedom of being me. I spent my last day at my friend’s sketching on the couch. I created a new blog for my artwork, Artistica Girl. I hope you check it out, and follow me. I would appreciate it.

At the moment, I’m helping Amy with a few things. I have to finish packing, put everything in my car, and begin the trek home. As much as I don’t want to, I also can’t wait to get back. I miss my friends. I’ll get back to work tomorrow night and who knows when I’ll get another vacation. When I do, maybe it won’t be as hectic as these past couple of weeks have been.

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Stefani Adventure: OKC

Driving to OKC

Driving down the highway. I-40, to be exact. ~Stef~

I didn’t know if I would have the guts to actually do it. I almost didn’t, chickening out before I got out of work, running later than I had wanted to, but in the end I did. I left work almost an hour late, drove to my friend’s apartment to pack my things, get showered, dressed, and put on my make-up. I drove in as “Steve,” and an hour later Stefani emerged, ready to embark on the my first trip en femme.

That had been my plan from the beginning, to enjoy a full day dressed up, to go out and mingle with the world without, leaving the mask I wear daily, and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I wanted to explore a new city, visit the sites, go shopping, and have lunch. I wanted a day instead of a few stolen hours. I wanted to know what it would be like to live a woman’s life.

This trip to Oklahoma City was the closest I could get. I had one day off, Tuesday, to fulfill my dream, so I did. My friend rode with me, and I drove the four hours until we got into town. I stopped once for a bite to eat, not having time to grab anything before we left. The people at the drive-thru didn’t bat an eye at me. Same goes for when I stopped for gas about an hour from OKC.

I thought for sure the people at the hotel would look at me funny, especially when they asked for my ID. No. They gave me my keycard, wished me a pleasant stay, and that was it. I unpacked the car, then headed for a convenience store for a snack. After the late-night snack we fell asleep.

***

17

At the OKC MOA. I forgot to switch out my glassses!

We woke up a little later than I had wanted to on Tuesday, but the day before had been a long day, what with a full day’s work, then a long drive. We got up and readied ourselves for a long day. I stopped at Payless Shoes to start the day. I needed a pair of walking shoes. My heels weren’t going to do it for the long day ahead. Afterwards, a quick stop at Walmart was in order to buy myself a decent purse. The one I was borrowing just wasn’t up to the task.

After a quick lunch at The Olive Garden, my first meal out in public as Stefani, we headed out to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. We discovered that there was an exhibit entitle Maltisse: In his time, featuring works from Maltisse, Picasso, Renoir, among other contemporaries. I got to see a real life Picasso! It was so close I could touch it! How exciting is that?

We walked the Maltisse exhibit, which was on the second floor, and which was incredibly crowded, and the headed upstairs to discover a gallery featuring Chihuly‘s glassworks, which is all kinds of amazing! On the same floor, there was an exhibit of modern art. Back on the first floor, here was another gallery of art, which was worth seeing, but nowhere near as impressive as Maltisse.

From there we headed back to the hotel. It was hot, and I was feeling tired. We took a short nap before heading back out.

***

6

Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Feeling refreshed, we talked about what to do next. We settled on driving to the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory closed at five, and we didn’t arrive until almost six, but the grounds were open, and it was free to look around, so we did.

We looked at the fauna, and the beauty of the grounds. We saw several people walking around, their noses pressed to their phones, playing Pokemon Go, but at least they were out and about.

We spent almost two hours looking around, looking at the planets, enjoying the water features, gawking at some of the buildings surrounding the park in downtown OKC.

All the while, walking around the park, people greeted me with a smile, never remarking that I was clearly a man wearing women’s clothing. They were polite, if the acknowledged me that is, which really boosted my self-esteem. Soon I took off my this sweater and allowed myself to walk around in my sleeveless blouse, which I had been too self-conscious to do before.

We made out way to the bottom level, where there was a pond filled with koi and ducks, before making our way back to the car, and ultimately to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. We made a quick stop at The Home Depot before heading back to the hotel, getting ready to settle in for our last night in town.

***

We woke up on Wednesday and got dressed quickly, packed, and took everything to the car. I check out and then headed to gas up, and then we hit the road. I left OKC as I had arrived, dressed up as Stefani. I wanted to end the trip, enjoying the whole experience en femme. It was a bittersweet experience to arrive back in Amarillo, having only enough time to wash the trace of my identity from my face, and my nails, and put on my mask so I could go to work.

It was quick depressing to dress in drab again, and as I tried to get to work, I felt the depression weighing down on me. It may have been the exhaustion of the trip bringing me down as well. For almost 48 hours, I enjoyed my time as Stefani, reveling in the experience, wanting to do it again

Next time I want to go to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. A co-worker is wanting to take a trip to Taos, which may or may not happen, but I hope it does. She’s okay with me going as Stefani, so I pray it does. There’s so much to see and do, and I can’t wait to go out on another Stefani Adventure.

If you care to scroll through my photos of the trip, please visit my Flickr.

An evening with Cheech

20160117_213804Life’s been pretty drab on the dressing front. My last chance to get all dolled up was about a week and a half ago, when I visited with my cd friend for dinner. Since then, I’ve been busy with work, writing, and I just haven’t had a chance to dress up.

But I did have the opportunity to go to a presentation on Chicano Art last Tuesday, hosted by the Amarillo Museum of Art. Cheech Marin is a vocal supporter of Chicano Art and a collector and AMoA has his collection on display in Amarillo until March 27. They also brought Cheech in to talk about his collection, his passion for finding new pieces, and to act as an ambassador to a style that had heretofore been scorned by the art elite.

True to his persona, it was a funny at times, his wit at humor on full display, though what he was speaking to was evidently his passion. He is an ardent collector, in love with the colors and the styles, and he knows each individual artist by name. He looks for them, is discerning in his selection, pick out pieces that speak to him and a visceral level.

The crowd that showed up was as diverse a menagerie that I have ever seen. There were serious patrons of the art, dressed accordingly in slacks and blazers, dresses, and the like. Then there were fans from the other extreme, stoners in ripped jeans and t-shirts, obvious fans of Cheech and Chong, dressed as if they wanted to see Cheech the comedian instead of Cheech the art collector.

But everyone listened with rapt attention, drinking in his words, imbibing his passion, learning about an art form many of us never knew existed. It’s rare when two different worlds come together, united by a singular individual, and it was a glorious evening.

I’m not an artist, and though I don’t know much about the subject, I understand his take on what moves him. He’s moved by Chicano Art, while I am moved by portraits, some serious, some light-hearted, but all with a darkness beneath the fascade.

But that’s me. We all have different tastes, and we are all moved by different things. I’m glad I decided to leave the house to see the show. I’m glad I could witness the eclectic assembly before me. It was a pleasure to see and hear what moves a man many regard as a stoner folk hero, surprised that it was something as intellectual as art.

And that’s what I took away from the evening. You can’t judge a person by what you see on screen. Yes he’s a comedian, but he pursues something that can elevate the human spirit, and make someone see something through different eyes. That’s what art is, a snapshot of another person’s reality.

I would like to think we all grew a little that evening. I know I did. I learned a little about Cheech Marin, but I came away with some new truths about myself as well. I should take advantage of those opportunities more often.