Because I Am Meaner Than You

  • 2 Comments

As time will do, when it passes by it takes little chunks of me with it. I know I wake up in the morning a lot creakier than I used to and there is swiss cheese where my remembering parts used to be.

This problem is true for both humans and animals.

And so it has come to pass that my fourteen and almost fifteen-year-old feline is having a few health issues. It’s not good, but it’s manageable.

What this means, however, is we have to give the fuzzy three different medications.

Now, this animal of ours, she does not like to be messed with. At all. The survival instinct is strong with this one, and fight not flight is her main mode.

This cat stands her ground and then some.

Many of you are probably saying, “nah, that’s just how cats are” and think about how squirmy your cat may be.

Be advised, our vet is scared of this cat. Let me drive that point a little farther in. A woman whose job it is to deal with animals in all forms day in and day out, and has been doing so for almost thirty years, has told us “you know your cat is especially wiggly, right?”

Wiggly. That sounds cute.

It’s not.

So back to these three medications. One is a drop we can put on a piece of food. Fine, that happens easily.

One is a pill. This involves prying her mouth open, which then invites a lot of biting, clawing and hostility. Occasional growling and meowing too. Once the pill is down many hostile looks are sent my way as I watch an animal plotting my death in her mind.

The third is an asthma inhaler. Delivering this medication is, to put it mildly, a rodeo. We watched videos online to see how to do this and every person who said “my cat fights it” or “my cats is extra squirmy” was the owner of the kind of cat I would love to have.

These people who think they have a wiggly cat have not wrapped an arm around Satan incarnate and tried to get the great horned creature to inhale and exhale a minimum of ten times with a rubber mask over its snout.

There have been times The Good Man and I have both tried to hold this feline beast down and administer the meds and haven’t been able to do so.

To be fair, my handsome and adorable Good Man is also a kind man. He’s a gentle soul, which is probably why he is able to put up with me.

He hates seeing his own cat suffer this much. He and that damn feline have been through a lot together, they are like survivors of the wars and he feels it is a betrayal to do this to her.

So the wet work, as they say, falls to me. May I point out the many scratches on my arms, legs and chest?

But I seem to have sorted out how to get the meds into the beast. I have tried many approaches and for the moment I have something that is working. I’m sure that smart cat will figure out a counter attack, but for now, I’m doing it.

Last night as I held that damn asthma mask on the cat and she was actually kind of still (because I had her in a wrestling lock that Rowdy Roddy would be proud of) and breathing, The Good Man looked on in amazement.

“How…how did you do that?” he asked, perplexed. “I don’t understand how you can give her the meds and I can’t?”

I replied simply, “It’s because I’m meaner than you.”

And it’s true.

As a woman of New Mexico, I have worked cattle, horses, sheep and pigs (and on one weird day, turkeys).

When you work livestock you learn more than a little about giving meds to an animal who would rather you didn’t. And how to do it without hurting yourself or the animal.

And how to grit your teeth and be a little mean about it because ultimately it’s being kind. I hope we can get this feisty cat to feeling better.

I have to admit, I admire her survival instinct. Now pass me the Neosporin.





What?!?!




Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




I doubt your bumper sticker, sir.

  • 4 Comments

Last evening, while out running errands, I found myself at a stoplight behind a shiny new black Cadillac Escalade EXT (the one that’s sorta kinda a pickup, but not really).

It was a nice ride, tricked out with big fat shiny chrome custom wheels, all the expensive add ons, and a sticker on the back window that said “Cowboy Up.”

Oh really? Cowboy up? Is that your philosophy on life? Are you sure, Mr. Driving a Luxury Vehicle in the Suburbs, that you are, in fact, ready to cowboy up?

Are you prepared to lose a thumb as you throw a loop around the head of a recalcitrant steer, dally up around the saddle horn and whoops, get a digit caught in the turn?

Are you ready to try to throw a calf while you currently nurse a broken rib, courtesy of the back forty of the calf that came down the chute just before?

Are you all set to trim a budding horn from a young cow only to hit the artery, thus shooting blood straight into your eye with force and velocity? And are you further ready to then take a hot branding iron and sear that bloody mess, leaving the smell and taste of burning flesh and blood lingering in the air?

Are you man enough to sink your arm up to the shoulder inside the back of a birthing cow to assist that mama with a backwards facing baby, and when that same mama cow prolapses her uterus out onto the ground, are you ready to shove that bloody mess back inside and stitch her up? (if you don’t know what I mean, I suggest you do a search on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, she even posted photos of this horrifying event)

And are you ready to be bitten, kicked and thrown off a horse all in one day? Are you ready the haul hay? Are you ready to pray for rain and curse the wind? Are you ready to turn your hands to hamburger from stringing barbwire? Are you ready to face birth and death and life and manure and blood and saliva and the unpredictability of the life of a cowboy?

Are ya?

Cause you know what? I betcha you aren’t, actually, ready to Cowboy Up.

I might know a thing or two about it, and even I’m not really ready to Cowboy Up.

Not even in the suburbs.

Went and got a little country

  • 3 Comments

Now for ya’ll that know me, you know that goin’ a little country is the roots of my raising.

I’m a bit more comfortable getting lost in the woods than I am in a big city. I can fathom starting a campfire more easily than finding a parking spot in San Francisco.

That said, you know I also love the urban area where I live. The art, the music, and oh the food.

So this weekend, the two sides of me managed to converge in one geography.

You see, there is this establishment just south of San Francisco called the Cow Palace. I am not making this up.

I remember the first time I visited the Bay Area. I remember driving north on Highway 101 from the airport and I saw the sign for the Cow Palace. I was like “WTF?” (I believe that is a direct quote.)

A palace for cows?

I got my first chance to visit the venerable Cow Palace about eight years ago for a car show. (Yes, I own it, I like car shows) I found it to be an odd yet intriguing place. It reminded me, on many levels, of Albuquerque’s own Tingley Coliseum.

While wandering the halls of the Cow Palace that car show day, I noticed there was a wall of grainy black and white photos of old men in cowboy hats. I was told then that the Cow Palace has hosted a rodeo for many years. “Well, cool” I thought. But then thought “the Bay Area doesn’t know nothin’ ’bout goin’ country.”

Each year that I’ve lived here, I’d see on the news the story about the kickoff to the rodeo. A longstanding tradition where cowboys drive a small herd of longhorn cattle down a busy urban street to the Cow Palace. Here’s a link to this year’s story complete with photos and video: Moo!

I always wanted to go see what was doing at a rodeo held at a palace for cows, but due to a lot of circumstances that don’t bear explaining here, I spent a lot of time alone in those days (despite being in a relationship). I was never brave enough to go to the Grand National Rodeo by myself.

This year is different. I am in a relationship with The Good Man. My Brooklyn-born, City raised fiancée. There is no way I’d ever have thought he’d be into the rodeo.

Man, was I ever wrong. Another good lesson in tempering expectations, eh? (May The Good Man always be such a source of surprise for me.)

Several weeks back, TGM sent me the links to the rodeo and said he wanted to go. He’d gone to the Grand National a few times in the past and enjoyed it, but hadn’t been in a long while.

For me, come May, I’ll have lived in the Bay Area eleven years. So it’s been at least that long, maybe tack on a couple more, since I’d seen a rodeo myself.

Saturday rolled around, the last day of this year’s rodeo, and we made sure we didn’t miss it. I pulled on my fave Fat Babies, did my hair up high as the heat and humidity would allow, and we hit the 2:00 pm show. We even managed to get ourselves a couple real nice box seats.

Wow!

What an impressive show. It was a tight two-hour rodeo with great cowboy competition. In between events, they had top notch entertainment like Tenessee Walking horses, Open Hackamore reining events and the best was Tomas Garcilazo, a genuine and incredibly talented Charro (and his horse Chollo too).

I was oh so very worried about going to a San Francisco rodeo, not knowing what it would be like here in the big town. I had nothing to worry about. It was great. As soon as the first bareback rider came blasting out of the gate, I knew all about it. I was right in my element.

We had *the best* time. When the rodeo was over, we wandered the cowboy art show, shopped the mercantile, and generally took in the sights.

All of that was followed by kick ass eats at Milagros. Nothing puts the topper on a day like hand smashed guacamole…oh, and a glass of sangria.

What a great weekend…

Turns out the Bay Area DOES know a little bit about goin’ country.

Confidential to my best friend in Las Cruces:

No, it didn’t compare to that cold rainy night at the rodeo in Silver City. But then that night was more about the post-rodeo party…

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

  • 3 Comments

Happy Birfday to Tingley Coliseum. The venerable old gal is 50 years old and like an aging film star, in close up, she’s pretty much showing her age.

Doors opened for the first time in 1957 to kick of the New Mexico State Fair. Friday kicked off the 2007 Fair, and with that, Tingley ushered in her 50th festival of rodeo, cotton candy and all things New Mexico.

There is a pretty thorough article in the Albuquerque Tribune, an interview with Mahlon Love, former act who performed in the venue and also former State Fair commissioner.

In the story, Mahlon shares some memories from the long history of Albuquerque’s most well known multi-use venue.

Being a child of Albuquerque, I’ve many of my own memories from Tingley. I remember my first rodeo, with entertainment from the aforementioned Freddy Fender. We sat way up in the nosebleed seats, on the bleachers, not seats with backs (my mom always was a cheapo).

We watched the rodeo first (always the best part), then afterward watched them tow out a stage and set it up. Then the lights went down. A shiny convertible came rolling out of chutes where the livestock had just been, a shadowy performer stepped on stage. The lights came up to cheers. And as Freddy began singing, the stage started slowly revolving.

“…in 1966, a revolving stage…was introduced in Tingley.” Ah, the ubiquitous revolving stage.

Even as a kid I thought that was pretty damn rasquache.

Now, I get why they do it. Tingley wasn’t meant to be a concert venue, and no one should pay good money to look at the hindside of a famous act for two hours. However, it really is kind of ridiculous, in a way only New Mexico can be.

I remember seeing Alison Krauss there in the mid-90’s. She played one hell of a show, but made several comments throughout the night about how disorienting it was being on the spinning stage.

There has been many a great show at Tingley. The Garth Brooks show in 1996 seems to be one for the memory books. (It’s mentioned in the article.) I was there, the guest of a supplier who had an extra ticket. I do remember Garth putting on one hell of a spectacle that night, like nothing I’d ever seen. I also remember that it was raining outside…and inside. As I sat there watching Garth work up a lather on stage, I was busy trying to avoid water running out of a leaky roof. Looking around I noticed several of us scootching and moving out of the way of the variety of leaky spots.

However, one of my most vivid memories was seeing Randy Travis (who I understand is playing the Fair again this year). I had *really* cheap seats, and ended up sitting at the very tippy top row. In fact, it was kind of nice because that bleacher rail in the very last row backed up to the wall of Tingley, so I actually had a makeshift seatback. I leaned back and enjoyed the show, singing along to the faves. Not that I could actually see the performer, but…you know.

The show was rolling along fabulously when Randy started up with “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, a song that was popular then and a fave of mine. I smiled as he sang and I sang along. Now, if you are familiar with this song, Randy has to hit some pretty low, low notes and Mr. Travis has a pretty deep voice. When he hit those deep bassy notes, the wall behind me, the one I was leaning against, noticeably vibrated. I’m not making this up, I could physically feel the walls shuddering as Randy sang “Iiiiiii knooooooow” (<--deep vibrating bass) "ooooh-whoa Iiiiii knooooow, that someday you'll wake up and fiiiind…" That deep bass voice vibrated the walls, my backbone and my sternum….it was the most visceral music experience I’d ever known. I swear to God I thought Tingley was going to collapse from the strain, like a crystal wine glass in a storm of operatic vibrato. But she held, and has continued to hold up through the years for more raucous concerts than Randy damn Travis. I mean, Pearl Jam played there in 1998. If Seattle grunge angst rock can’t bring down the walls, then a country crooner certainly can’t. I wonder if Randy can still hit those low notes? I wonder if the walls will rattle like that again this weekend? Would be cool to be there again to see. Meanwhile, the venerable old Tingley still stands and welcomes a new crop of Fair goers into her rickety arms. The bulls and broncs will buck, the pretty girls will race barrels, and the crowd will look at a new cast of popular acts (spinning on a new spinning stage that comes down from the ceiling. Rasquache goes high tech). She’s a grand old girl with a lot of stories to tell and a lot more history yet to be made. Gary Roller, former backup man to Michael Martin Murphey sums it up best (from the end of the Tribune article). “You can’t go anywhere else in the state and find that legacy,” he said. “Roy Rogers opened the place, for goodness’ sake.” (post updated to remove images)

Update

  • No Comments

Well, in checking the results from the Ty Murray Invitational, it appears our local boy Travis Briscoe did not finish in the money this weekend.

I utter a strong curse word and a hearty, “damn it!” for our boy.

I look forward to following his career a little bit. Love it when a New Mexico boy makes, good…Bill Richardson not withstanding.

Oh c’mon, I was only kidding!