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 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.|
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!