Gray day reflections as the fall semester ends

betty ming liu Art, Inspiration 0 Comments

Brrr. Outside, it’s snowing slush balls. I’m glad to be cozy warm at my desk, wrangling with grade sheets and student papers. The boom box is set to Hot 97 and blasting hip hop. Minty sits purring on my desk. Since we’ve got tons to do, I’m procrastinating by thinking about a million other things…

I know exactly where my focus should be. This weekend has me locked down with school stuff. After all, just two more weeks before my various classes wrap up. But I’m distracted by random thoughts. Maybe if I blog them out of me, I can clear enough space to get my work done. Okay. Here goes:

  • My sister called last night to say that our ancient, diabetic 92-year-old mom is in worse shape than ever. Sis went to see her at the nursing home and Mom didn’t recognize her. Our bedridden, frail mother has lost six more pounds. Sad. But you know what? For the last 20 years, we’ve been steeling ourselves for Mom’s imminent demise. Yes, 20 years! My former therapist used to say that I could either kill Mom off every time I see her. Or, love her and mourn her passing just once, when it really happens. Meantime, once the semester ends, I’ve got to make that two-hour drive to visit my kinswomen.
  • It’s been six months since I’ve dated. So far, one nice, single man has offered to be my “rebound guy.” Another nice, single man recently told me he’d like to get better acquainted. They’re both friends of mine. Both times, I fled in the other direction. Why do they show up when I’m least interested?! But for all my tough talk about wanting to enjoy my independence, I have a confession. This week, I suddenly realized that I’m terrified at the thought of getting involved again. I don’t like the odds: Risk the safety of singlehood for a 1% chance at happiness vs. a 99% likelihood of pain. No thanks. Not now.
  • More and more, I’m revolted by meat. And I haven’t even seen “Food Inc.” yet. But I’ve read enough of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” to understand the horrors of big factory farms that supply our supermarkets. Everyone loses — we get crap groceries and the animals suffer. I really felt ill after reading yesterday’s New York Times front page article about a new cattle vaccine. This one is to create E. coli bacteria immunity. Ugh. Why not just literally clean up the cow shit plastering slaughterhouses? (If you want background, click on the underlined words to get links about the Times’ cow vaccine story, “Food Inc.” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”
  • I’m still thinking about another front pager, also from yesterday’s Times. It was about a Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart (click here to read the story). He’s taking over the mission of providing late-term abortions from Dr. George R. Tiller, who was murdered by an anti-abortion gunman. Carhart has reorganized his whole life to protect himself and his family. They’re so brave. Years ago, I had a second-trimester abortion that made me appreciate what these doctors do. I’ve never written about this issue from a personal perspective.

But I want to stop fearing the critics; I can’t let the Carharts of the world stand alone.

Hmmm, just re-read what I’ve written so far. Too much grim talk here…

This was fun to paint

Wait, I can’t end yet. I need to show you the painting I made in art class yesterday…

Next to the crystal champagne glass is a snack-y Chinese “bao,” a steamed bun that usually has a meat-and-veggie filling or, a sweet bean paste in its center. The background is a gold bamboo pattern on satin brocade.

“One glass, one bun,” I said to my classmate Jean. “Not sure if this is about independence or loneliness.”

“Can’t have one without the other,” she replied cheerfully.

“I love painting with all that red,” I told my teacher Karen with great enthusiasm. “It’s like I’m painting with blood.”

“Oh!” she said, sounding uncertain. “Okay, go for it!”

So. I guess I’ve finally gotten to my point. On this cold, wet, gray weekend, I’m seeing red. Looking for life blood.

 

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