Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Behold, Thou Art Little.

I've always loved the scripture where Lehi tells his son, Joseph, "Behold thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother." It's tender—Lehi knows his son is still growing, still learning and will need help.

I relish feeling grown-up, like I've got everything figured out. But I had several "thou art little" moments in a matter of hours. And let me tell you, I felt extremely little, and those moments didn't feel tender.

For over 6 months, I've been preparing for a new masters program with two schools in the running. On a Thursday morning, I opened my email and read the first rejection letter I had ever received in my life. I wasn't accepted to BYU's MFT program. I knew my chances were slim, but I at least thought that I would make it through the preliminary round. My initial shock cascaded into a wave of panic—I can't even make it through the first round—what if Idaho State rejects me, too?

I would like to say that I handled the news like a champ. I didn't. I cried until my face looked like it had been stung by a thousand bees. I wanted to drink away my sorrows at a bar, but I had to settle with drinking about a gallon of hot chocolate at Starbucks (thank you, free refills). And I felt little.

That night, I crawled into the covers of my bed, eager for some much needed rest. And then my phone buzzed with a notification that said, "Your Delta flight to Atlanta is in 2 hours."
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I had been planning a trip to Georgia to visit my sister and her family. I couldn't wait to see my nephews. But my flight was at 12:55am, and I stupidly mixed up the dates, thinking that my flight was the next day. I called a Delta representative, but she said there was nothing she could do. I wasn't surprised, but it was worth a try. Long story short, I didn't go to Georgia, I lost the money I spent on my tickets, my sister was sad, and I felt even littler. I made an atom feel jealous. 

That day was hell. But I still had people that helped me. Another mini crisis—my application for ISU was due on MLK day, and I had a recommendation fall through last minute. I asked my bishop to write me a last minute letter because I used to work in his department, and he saved the day.

My dad was another rescuer. After both crises, I called him in tears and felt like a child, the whiney kind. He was loving, of course, and he told me that everything would be okay. And he was right. I felt a little better about things, and he helped me research back-up schools, so I could send new applications. We went to see the Utah Symphony perform Stravinsky's The Firebird (one of my favorite pieces), and it was the most wonderful thing I've heard in my life. 

In lieu of going to Georgia, I went to Logan with Dad because he had a meeting at Utah State. It's a pretty town, and I enjoyed spending time with him and eating pancakes in the emptiest, creepiest Denny's known to mankind. When were in the car, I told him that I felt sheepish for handling my problems so poorly. But he said that I didn't handle them poorly and that I would have reacted much differently if I experienced these things three years ago when I was already in the pits. And from that perspective, I think he's right. 

I'm glad that I have friends and family who love and help me. They made my week tolerable. I'm glad that my dad was there for me, and I know my mom would have been too if she had been home. When I emailed Brigham and told him about what was going on, he sent me one of his favorite talks by Elder Holland, "Good Things to Come." And I felt so proud of him. He also said that being a grown-up is overrated. So... behold, I am little. I guess that's not half bad. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 — Top 10

It's easy to get bogged down by the past year's events. My daily ritual of listening to the news becomes more and more depressing with all of the bad things happening in the world. And I never thought that during my lifetime, we would have a president who gazes into the sun during an eclipse. Despite all of this, I had a lovely year and am grateful for the goodness my family has experienced.

1. I graduated with a Masters in English from Brigham Young University. Writing my thesis, completing a 2-hour defense, taking fascinating classes, and associating with my best friends and colleagues made me the happiest I've ever been. This picture is proof!

The graduation bell is cheesy and delightful. 

2. Heaven blessed us with two little ones. In May, the Kimbal family welcomed Oliver—the cutest, happiest, baby with droopy eyes and a billiard ball head. Before the Kimbal family moved away, I visited Ollie and Alex almost every week and loved playing with them. In December, Vivienne was born to the Burgoyne family. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Vivi yet, but I can't stop looking at pictures of her!

3. I've been published for the first time. Twice! The first was an article submission for a contest on the website, Mormon Insights, and to my complete surprise, it has been shared over 100 times on social media. And recently, my scholarly paper about Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, and Jungian archetypes was published in BYU's academic journal, Criterion.

These publications have been great starting points. Now, I'm trying to revise my thesis for publication. It's funny—when I finished the final draft of my thesis in April, I thought I produced the Magna Carta. But after setting it aside for months and returning to my work, I feel like my writing is no better than a comic strip from The Sanpete Messenger. That's the beauty of re-vision, right?

4. I cry when I'm angry, which is annoying. But few books, movies, or songs make me cry. Early in the summer, my Mom and I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas, which always makes me cry. Yes, nothing evokes tears like a creepy, deformed man who stalks his crush and murders stagehands while singing opera.

5. For this summer's family vacation, we relaxed in San Luis Obispo, CA. All of the Hood kids were together. We enjoyed catching up, eating chocolate cake from the Madonna Inn, and sitting on the deck behind the orange trees. One afternoon, we were chatting in the living room when Alex (then 18 months) waltzed into the room with a smirk on his face. He was supposed to be napping, and we had no idea how he got out of his Pack-N-Play. When we went to the bedroom, we saw the he had stacked all of the blankets and stuffed animals against the wall, so he could climb out. Smart boy.

6. I was hired as an adjunct professor at BYU. I teach freshman writing, and I love my job. I like my office, I like my copy code, and I like my file organizer. I'm excited to start another semester next week! Last semester, a student sheepishly asked me out on a date, and I politely declined. I don't know if I should be flattered or mortified that I've become "that teacher."

7. Since this summer, I worked in a crisis nursery at a Utah family and support center. At first, I wasn't looking forward to the shifts, and I even passed out during the fingerprinting process for a background check, which was a wonderful way to demonstrate that I would care for strangers' children with the utmost attention. But I learned so much, I met a lot of kids, and I became particularly fond of a three-year-old boy who called me "Mommy." It broke my heart to leave him after my final shift.

8. This Top 10 list doesn't necessarily have to designate wonderful moments. Researching new programs and applying for schools hasn't been great, but it's been important, and it has taken up so much of my time. At the start of Fall semester, I was convinced that I was going to apply for the MSW program at BYU. After months of preparation (and completing the statistics class from hell), I attended an informational meeting where I discovered that this program wasn't the best choice for me, and my chance of admission was slim. I was mad (cue angry cry), and I'm sorry, God, for that very angry prayer/rant/tantrum that I screamed from my car in the parking lot where a guy was staring at me.

I've never liked the expression, "When God closes a door, He opens up a window." A window is too easy. It's more like, "When God closes a door, he opens up the cranny that the mouse crawls through." It's been frustratingly difficult, but I think I'm in the right direction for my future now (unless God thinks the mouse cranny is too generous and wants me to squeeze through a keyhole).

9. During Thanksgiving, we went to Glendale, AZ to visit Kristin, Jon, and Theo. I haven't been to AZ in a while. The weather was perfect, I got to visit good friends at the Tempe Institute, we visited o my favorite shawarma joint, and we loved playing with Theo. We also went to a rich people part of Scottsdale where I saw the prettiest Christmas lights. Surprisingly, Christmas looks good on palm trees! People were dressed to the nines, and we were dressed to the... threes?

Dad & Theo playing. 
10. On Christmas day, we Skyped with Brigham for about an hour. He is serving in Arcadia, CA, and I'm thrilled to see that he's gaining weight. He even lifted up his shirt to display the bouncing, baby roll on his stomach. And I laughed so hard when he told us that his tie collection had expanded from 6 to 36. We are thrilled that Elder Hood appreciates variety in his wardrobe.

Even though I don't cry in books, movies, blah blah blah, I cried the most this year. Actually, I cried the most after I graduated. School gave me some permanence. And then I finished and thought, "Now what?" I feel like I've been stuck in Limbo, and Virgil hasn't gotten me out yet. One of the worst feelings in the world is to feel lost, and that's how I felt this year. But things are starting to piece together, which makes me so excited for 2018. In just a few months from now, I'll have made my decision about where I'll go to school and where I'll live. So I guess 2017 was a preparatory year. And I think it was a good one.

Happy New Year!
Love, Bekki

Friday, December 22, 2017

Semester's Recap.

What I've been reading:
The Hangman's Daughter series
Lady Hardcastle Mystery series
Murder on the Orient Express
The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman
P.S. from Paris

What I've been listening to:
Frank Sinatra
Jack Johnson
Christmas music. Duh.
NPR Politics podcast
Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell me! podcast
Car Talk podcast

What I've been watching:
The Great British Bake Off
BBC Pride and Prejudice
Mad Men

Where I've been:
Pocatello, ID
Las Vegas, NV
Glendale, AZ
And a favorite chocolate shop, of course

What I've been cooking/baking:
Christmas icebox cookies
Christmas treats for neighbors
Pumpkin sheet cake
Creamy ranch chicken*
Peasant's bread*
Chicken pasta salad

* means disaster.  My dad had the flu this last week, and my mom was in AZ with my sister's baby Vivi (who is an angel). That left me in the kitchen... which is like leaving Mr. Trump in the White House (oh wait that's real life). I was always cooking, checking timers, cleaning dishes, and I accidentally set a kitchen towel on fire. The ranch chicken was actually okay, but after 8 hours in the crock pot, the potatoes weren't cooked. I don't know how that's possible, but they were crunchy, not the potato-chip-good-crunchy. The peasant's bread was an absolute fiasco. I've made this bread many times. This bread was in the oven for about 2 hours. Of course, the outside was practically charred, but the inside was completely raw. I don't know how that's possible, either. I even let the bread rise for twice as long.

Needless to say, I'm glad my mom is home. When she pulled into the garage, I gave her a big hug and told her my culinary woes. This is why I know how to make toast in a thousand ways.

Applications Status:
ISU application: incomplete; need to write statement of intent; waiting on letter of recommendation

BYU application: COMPLETE! After writing several drafts of my statement of intent and pestering my professors for recommendations, I submitted my application and felt good. And then I got an email from the department about a video interview. A VIDEO INTERVIEW?! At first, I thought, "No big deal. I'll just regurgitate what I expressed in my statement." Instead, I had to record myself answering stupid questions and had a minute for each question. One of the questions was, "What would you do with a million dollars?" The first 20 seconds of the recording was me doing this:
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And it didn't get better. I couldn't think of anything to say and was running out of time. I stammered, "Uhhh... real estate! Savings account! FIX MY WINDSHIELD!" And yes, I yelled the last three words. I have a Master's degree in English, and I teach my students how to use rhetoric effectively, but those credentials didn't mean a hill of beans during the interview. I think I'm most embarrassed by the taco stain on my shirt that I didn't notice until after the interview.

I keep telling myself that it's unlikely I'll get into the program (especially after that stupid interview) because the MFT program is the top in the country. I still have no idea which school I should choose, but if BYU rejects me, the choice is made for me! I'm just proud that I put my best foot forward.

The School Semester:
Teaching three writing classes is a beast. I have tons of respect for teachers who take on far more classes than I do. I am nearly done grading papers, projects, reflections, and finals (which equals 600+ pages of writing).

Sometimes, my job is frustrating. I constantly review lesson plans in my mind, wondering if I could have introduced a concept more effectively. I want to barf when a student is simultaneously condescending and sickly sweet whenever he speaks to me. I want to scream when I offer feedback on students' drafts, and yet their final submission shows no change. And I am reminded of how hard WRTG 150 is for first-year students. This class is far more rigorous than my GE writing class was.

Most of the time, my job is wonderful. I actually enjoy reading students' Issues Papers because I see remarkable improvement in their writing. I adore getting to know students and having inside jokes in class. My heart is tickled when students tell me that they love coming to class because it's a fun, safe, and instructive environment.

My teaching style is much like my personality. It's engaging, organized, and slightly bonkers. So when students tell me that they love how I teach, I feel like a gold sticker has been branded on my heart. When I first started teaching, I was worried that my age would detract from my authority and class policies. Rarely, that has been the case. Instead, my students feel more comfortable about communicating with me, and they trust me. This has made them much more engaging in class, even when they know that I only accept their best effort.

During my 4pm class, my students know some really odd things about me. They know that I always run out of spoons in my kitchen and how I'm too embarrassed to be "that person who only buys spoons" at the store. Weird... I know... and I can't even remember telling them this. Well, on the last day of class, each peer review group surprised me with a brand new spoon.

I know what you're thinking... they're just spoons. But for some reason, these spoons produced a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. I got emotional... over SPOONS! And it made me so grateful for my job and the chance that I have to teach amazing (mostly amazing) students. And it feels so good to have a little validation, to feel like I am doing an okay job.

Oh yeah. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Christmas Time is (Basically) Hereeeee."

My parents have heard me say countless times, "No one loves Christmas more than I do." It's true. For me, the Christmas season starts on November 1st. Thanksgiving and Christmas are squished together into one, happy, delightful season. I know most of the words to every classic Christmas song. Mom and I practice a new Christmas duet. I drive around outdoor shopping complexes just to see their Christmas lights. Each year, I'm more and more convinced that our Christmas tree will be featured in Good Housekeeping (it never is). And I'm practically nonstop happy because everyone seems happier, more compassionate, more generous, and more hopeful.

I think Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen bring in the Christmas spirit beautifully. 
But really, Christmas is so wonderful because my family is wonderful. When my siblings and I were kids, we picked out a tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tree smelled amazing. We fought over who would sit in the trunk to guard the tree that was shoved in the back. We always decorated the tree together, too. Mom and Dad have a tradition to buy a new ornament whenever they travel somewhere new, so we don't have any of the ornament sets that you buy at the store. When Brigham helped us with the tree, he always put the ornaments with pictures of him in the front of the tree, while ornaments with pictures of everyone else were placed in the back.

When Kylie and I were little, we would prop up the tree skirt with chopsticks to make a stable for our  play nativity figures. We would always hide the baby Jesus in the tree and see who could find it the fastest (sorry, Jesus).

Mom made sugar cookies each year, and we used cookie cutters and icing to decorate them. On Christmas Eve, we always read the nativity story in Luke. We dressed up as each person in the story, and we used a stuffed animal as Jesus (sorry again, Jesus). I was always Mary... with a bowl cut. Afterwards, we were allowed to open one present, which was usually a family game or PJs. And then we would pile into the car and look at the best Christmas lights in rich neighborhoods.

We all believed in Santa, but I can't remember when we stopped. Kristin, Kylie, and I used to share a room together. I remember on one Christmas Eve, we couldn't sleep because we were so excited for morning. Kristin suddenly bolted upright and exclaimed, "Bekki, do you hear that? Do you hear reindeer hooves on the roof?" On Christmas morning, we always wondered why Santa had the same wrapping paper as we did. Mom said, "Oh, he's so busy. He left the presents for me to wrap." Sometimes, we left cookies for Santa, and I even left a letter. I was so excited to read a note from Santa in the morning, but I saw that it was in my dad's handwriting. My dad said that Santa had a hand deformity, and he dictated a message for him to write. And I believed him. (I don't blame you if you're thinking that I wasn't a very bright child).

Mom and Dad tried their best to give us a special Christmas. We always waited on the stairs together, and Brigham got away with inching down the stairs the most. We could always expect to find clementines and colored pencils in our stockings. Whenever we watch the home videos, Mom and Dad always smile at how excited we got about coloring books, Boxcar Children books, and plastic grocery carts (my favorite present ever).

It's a little sad how different things are now. Everyone is gone. Kylie has a family in Georgia, Kristin has a family in Arizona, Brigham is serving a mission, and I'm....well...obviously I haven't moved on. I decorated the tree and the house by myself, I look at Christmas lights by myself, and I listen to  Christmas music by myself. On Christmas day, it will just be me, Mom, and Dad.  I have so many perfect memories of Christmas that it makes me wish that we were all kids again. And then I think, "Man... I need to get a move on with my life!" I'm trying. Seriously.

But one day, this is the Christmas that I want to give to my little ones, and I'm grateful that my mom and dad did everything to make it special for us. I'm even okay with the fact that Dad severely handicapped Santa.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Love, a Mental Defective

I consider myself to be pretty even-tempered. Sure, little things bother me, and I sometimes dwell on things more than I should, but I am rarely angry. But when I get angry....
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On Monday, following the horrific shooting in Texas, Mr. Trump issued a statement saying, "I think mental health is your problem here." This is the part where I got angry. Actually, angry is an understatement. I exploded. Even though I stay away from political mudslingings (because, really, what good are they?), I must offer my two-cents. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this.

It's true that Devin Patrick Kelley was mentally ill, but Mr. Trump criminalized the entire mentally ill population. Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but for the man who occupies the highest office, his words make a difference, and he needs to be more thoughtful. As soon as he made the careless remark, I saw several Facebook posts and opinion editorials that jumped on the bandwagon and alienated people who suffer from mental illnesses (although it made me feel better that most of these posts were poorly written). 

I have my own thoughts regarding the shooting, and I feel so sad for the families of the victims, but I will never pretend to grasp the magnitude of the issue, nor will I suggest short-sighted ways to "fix" mass shootings. However, I will always do my best to defend the mental health community that has been marginalized for far too long. And people wonder why the fight to reduce the stigma continues?

On the bright side, Mr. Trump's statement was an impetus, a good kick in the pants. It made me want to become a mental health counselor even more, so I can try to correct such misconceptions. And I know I can do it. Last month, my parents and I drove to Pocatello, Idaho for an interview with the graduate coordinator of the Mental Health Counseling program. That meeting felt good. It felt like a step forward. I have a few schools that I'm considering, but wherever I go, I want to make a difference by counseling individuals and educating communities about the reality of mental illness. And forgive me for sounding presumptuous, but I know I will be good at it. 

And now that Mr. Trump's tweets will be twice as long due to Twitter's new 280-character limit, the issue is twice as urgent. So, Mr. Trump... from one mental defective to another, watch it. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Summer Synopsis.

Summer has been good. Here's what happened:

What I Watched:
Summer is not complete without some healthy binge-watching, although I'm not sure the word "healthy" can ever be applied to that term. 
  • The West Wing - an old favorite. The complete series is on Netflix!
  • Hogan's Heroes - what I've been watching with my dad recently.
  • Shenandoah - Dad's favorite movie, but I wanted to hit Jimmy Stewart with a 2x4.
  • The Magnificent Seven - Steve McQueen is McDreamy. 
  • Casablanca - flawless in every possible way. 
  • Wonder Woman - delightful and seriously hokey.
What I Read/Listened To:
I've read my fair share of garbage, so I'm only putting the books that I absolutely loved, loved, loved... except maybe Sense and Sensibility. I feel like that's a rite of passage novel that you have to read. I also wanted to hit Marianne Dashwood with a 2x4,
  • The House of a Thousand Candles, Meredith Nicholson
  • The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  • The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen
  • The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
  • The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (read this every summer!)
The Hoods' Music Playlist:
Every time we go on vacation, I try to compile music playlists that will appease everyone. I think the one unifying similarity between all of these artists is that they sported terrible hairstyles. Whenever I drive back to Provo, I laugh whenever people see me singing in my car. They probably think I'm singing to whatever junk is on the radio. I'm actually singing a duet with Karen Carpenter.
  • Styx
  • Carpenters
  • The Beach Boys
  • James Taylor
  • Stray Cats
  • ABBA
  • The Monkees
  • Elton John
  • Fleetwood Mac
Where I Went:
The family vacationed in San Luis Obispo, and it was delightful. We visited all of our favorite places, and we got to spend time with grandkids/nephews. Theo and Alex loved playing together. They squealed, chased each other, and threw rocks off the deck. My grandpa, who is ever so concerned about my health, encouraged me to quit my job and take up gardening or floral arranging. My parents celebrated their 30th anniversary, which is pretty fantastic. They went to a fancy steakhouse together, but I know that they were secretly yearning for my presence. 
Morro Bay—isn't this perfect?

On the Home Front:
Traveling is fun, but spending the summer in Ephraim is pretty wonderful, too. It's much cooler than Provo—stripping to just my garments is never necessary. My dad uses an oil drum that's been sawed in half as a fire pit. We make fires and eat s'mores. I don't really care for golden brown marshmallows. I prefer to consume polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that cause cancer. In other words, I like my marshmallows charred... completely black. I swear ash flies off my s'more before I take a bite. 

Ephraim has become a kind of retreat. As I've said many times before, our friends and neighbors are perfect. The natural landscape of the area is beautiful. At night, I love looking at the stars from the patio. We're so removed from civilization (seriously) that you can see millions of stars and swirls in the sky. Our backyard is perfect, too. My dad's garden is like an oasis, and he always plants my favorite flowers along the back fence... sunflowers!

Isn't this perfect, too? We live here!
What I'm Doing Now:
1 - I am preparing to teach three sections of WRTG 150 at Brigham Young University. I've been hired! I am so excited for the semester to start, but I am nervous to teach 60 students. We had an adjunct training meeting today, and I feel ready to go. I consider this my first real big girl job. I have an office, a copy code, a mailbox, a hole puncher, and a fake plant. It feels amazing

Upgrading all of my lesson material and plans!
My office! And this might be my first ever selfie.
2 - I am still working through my prerequisites. My social work class is nearly done, but I'm at a standstill because my criminal background check for volunteering at a certain agency has yet to be cleared, which seems sketchy. As far as I know, the only crime that I've committed is that I've never seen Star Wars. But I'm willing to live with this blemish on my record. 

3 - In the beginning of this week, I got a glimpse of the freshman orientation at Snow College. It was really fun to meet new students who are eager and terrified to start a new chapter of their life. I also enjoyed being my dad's shadow as he helped with various aspects of the orientation. I watched him give a little lecture, and it made me so so so proud that he's my dad. 

4 - Sometimes I feel like I dream in poetry, but my life is prose. I have massive expectations about how I think my life should pan out—career options will seem clearer, classes will go smoother, dates will be more successful, and I'll handle stressful situations more gracefully. And then, I find myself sorely disappointed when things don't go according to plan.

But today, I made a humbling discovery. Five years ago today, I had my very first day of school at Arizona State University. Five years ago, I walked through a massive campus feeling like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But it was the best decision of my life. And now, five years later, I have a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and an excellent job at a fine institution (I hope I don't sound really pretentious). I am glad that my life didn't precisely follow my blueprint, and I am glad for the unexpected twists and turns that have gotten me here. So when I quit thinking like a fool, I see that my life is the dream!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Top Things (Summer Edition).

It's been a while. Let's play catch up.

1. Kylie had a baby boy named Oliver. He's cute and squishy. I think his nose is my favorite part of him. I'm always flattered when my sister says I have the magic touch with him. 

2. Last Tuesday, Brigham re-left(?) for his mission in Arcadia, CA. I'm so happy and excited for him. I secretly hope that when he finishes, we can celebrate in... I don't know... Disneyland. 

3. Mom and I went to Vegas in June. We bought tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera in February, and it was delightful. The music gives me the chills, and I'm convinced that my heart isn't made of stone because I always cry at the end. Our trip included everything but the strip—Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Premium Outlets, Raising Cane's, and a remarkably clean China Town. 

4. I finished the stupid statistics class in record time—45 days! I'll brazenly scream to the world that I got an A- because I stressed more about this class than my entire academic career. And I'm convinced that I gained 10 pounds while studying and completing assignments. I had a system; every time the class annoyed me, I ate an M&M. I ate a lot

5. I went to the eye doctor, which seems lame, right? NOT SO. My doctor said that my eyes were exceptionally healthy, and I felt like a star. Quite different from my other doctor visits in which we acknowledge that my brain circuits and neurotransmitters are permanently fried, but everything else seems peachy. 

6. Kristin, Jon, and Theo came to visit us in Ephraim. This picture captures their personalities beautifully. Theo loved the fireworks on the 4th and our neighbor's exciting (wink) display, too.   

7. I'm trying to be more domestic. Mom is going to teach me how to sew a blanket, which might be a terrible idea since I couldn't even sew the practice paper in 6th grade. I'm also baking. I'm pretty proud of my peasant bread recipe, even though it tastes like air. I tried my hand at Philly soft pretzels, which was embarrassing. My batch looked like it emerged from a thigh master. 

8. Today, construction workers are at my house installing new windows. And thank heavens for that. The old windows are not energy efficient, and they invite the entire insect kingdom to reside in my home. And when I wake up to find a spider on my bed, I get so freaked out that I just cry. 

9. Ever since I graduated from school, I've had a bit more time to read my books... not scaffold narratives or modernist fragments or disabled feminist theory. I actually pick books from my bookshelf. AND I READ THEM. This has made me exceptionally happy, and I even celebrated by upgrading my Kindle on Prime Day. 

10. So where does this leave me now? I'm happy, despite the fact that I have a major existential crisis/breakdown each day at approximately 9:00 pm. I'm still working on prerequisites for my new program, but I'm filled with so much uncertainty about a brand new discipline. I hate feeling uncertain about my future, even more than I hate the spiders coming through my window. And my preparation for my application has been frustrating. I'm trying to get volunteer experience under the supervision of an MSW, but I'm finding that people don't respond EVER to letters, emails, texts, phone calls, personal visits, and cutesy post-it notes shoved under office doors. But I'll keep trying, and pesting, and praying that everything won't amount to a huge mistake. 

I'm feeling burnt-out. I think I need a vacation, but I'm not the kind of person who will put a chip in my bank account for a vacation. So I'll wait until my parents go on vacation, and I'll just happen to tag along with them. 

Love, Bekki