I know I should be posting about how much my life has changed in the past 7 weeks. I will. It will be the longest darn blog post you'll ever read, but trust me it will be entertaining. If I haven't talked to you in person, some major drama went down and I was in a bad living situation. I have since moved and started working, and life is SO good right now!!! Let that be known. For now, in honor of Thanksgiving, here is a list of 20 things I am thankful for most in my life. I could technically make a list of a million things, but then I'd be here all night.

20 Things I'm Thankful For:

20. Modern Technology
         Can you imagine our lives without computers? The internet? Cell phones? iPods? GPS? Ok, maybe it's imaginable, but is it desirable? Not to me! I love that I can keep up with friends from elementary school without having to track down their phone number to awkwardly call them or scope out mundane gossip. I love that when I am bored stiff, sitting in a quiet waiting room, I can text with my friends. I also love that every single time I make a wrong turn or miss one in this huge new city, my GPS "recalculates" with a British accent, and gets me there. And I'll just come out and say it... I couldn't live without my iPod! I have to be listening to music at all times, and my old ghetto 1st edition iPod is my best friend! "I really love technology. Always and forever."
19. Modern Medicine
         Same kind of deal here. Have you ever watched Little House On The Prairie or played Oregon Trail? Those people died from the common cold! (Or Dysentery... did anyone ever find out what that was?) I don't like to take medicine unless it is absolutely necessary, but I am so glad it exists for when it is. Sorry boys, but Midol, I LOVE YOU! Tums, thank you for existing. Thank you anesthesia. I really didn't want to feel that root canal. Fifty years ago, 75% of us would have had lobotomies. Say thank you to psychiatric drugs! I could go on and on and on...

18. Moments and Memories
         I'm so thankful that we can hold on to the good times we've had. Focusing on the present is key in life, but little moments and fond memories are what got us here. I have some incredible memories, and have had some amazing moments in my life. I am so grateful that I can keep those in my heart and that they're not gone forever. They stay with us, and I think that is such a cool part of living. Yes, we also have the misfortune of holding onto painful memories, but we can make the effort to outnumber the bad memories with new, meaningful ones. Think of wonderful memories from the past and how they still make you feel. That feeling should drive us to attempt to make every present and future moment meaningful. Make every moment mean something, because those are the ones that will live with you forever :)

Groomsmen/family snowball fight on my brother's wedding day
Towing my uncle's car out of the neighbor's yard that same morning
17. Words
          I'm thankful for words. I'm thankful that we can put words together to sound beautiful and meaningful. From poetry to song lyrics to stories, we have the power of putting words together to ignite feelings and emotions. Words have the potential to be powerful, and when put together in the right (or wrong) way, they can change lives. I don't think we think about this often, but language, words, and writing are incredibly strong forces, and affect us in ways we don't even think about. Advertisements, songs, books, scripts, and blogs, even. It's amazing!

Lyrics to my favorite song, "Everlong"

16. Living With No Fear
         It took me a long time to get to this point in my life where I realize I don't need to be scared of the possible, and I am so thankful that I got here. I spent 20-something years of my life in constant fear of everything. Death, especially, was this terrible anxiety-inducing fear that I couldn't shake. I don't know what it took for me to be on such good (maybe too good) terms with death or whatever negative things could be handed to us in life, but I got there. I'm not scared anymore. I mean, I definitely don't invite any of those things to myself or others around me, but I've come to terms with the fact that life is temporary, and it's happening fast. Things are going to happen, good things and tragic things, but it's all temporary. Why spend so much time fearing what could happen? Living in fear and worry all the time will turn your life into a tragedy anyway. I'd rather live with open arms to whatever gets thrown at me and deal with it when it comes. In the meantime, live it up!
Found this on Google. Yes!
15. Love
         (I had a whole write-up for this section, that somehow was deleted... I'll fix it later)

14. Forgiveness and Second Chances
         Everyone makes mistakes, overreacts, and is completely wrong sometimes. Or what seems like all the time. Can you imagine if every time you messed up or hurt someone, it was over? You were done? Not to sound like a complete screw-up, but if people didn't believe in second chances, I'd be an orphan with no friends or family. Forgiveness is one of our greatest gifts and qualities. It humbles us. It's very important that we are forgiving, too. Not just to others, but to ourselves. I'm very thankful for forgiveness, and very thankful that I have a forgiving heart. Nobody is perfect, so forgiveness is key.

"To forgive is divine. So let's have a glass of wine."

13. Red, White, and Blue
         I know the economy sucks right now. I am a prime example of someone who has been screwed by our current financial system, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a great country to live in. I like having access to clean water and I like having a say in who is in charge here. I like that I don't have to cover myself from head to toe and keep my mouth shut, just because I am a female. I like that I can marry whoever I want or not marry at all. I enjoy heat and air conditioning. I like the occasional McDonalds Happy Meal, for crying out loud! I like being allowed to work and I like being able to write this on my blog. America has flaws, and I'm suffering for some of them right now, but considering a lot of the alternatives, I'm so grateful to live here.

Dad getting interviewed after stepping off the plane from his tour in Iraq
12. Accomplishments and the Continued Drive To Accomplish
         So I have this 5 page typed Bucket List, and I love marking things off of it. I love to see what I've done in my life, and I also love that I have the drive to do more. I've accomplished so many things that I've wanted to do, or not even known that I wanted to do, and it makes me feel good. I've bungee jumped 3 times, visited the Kennedy Space Center, road tripped across the country, gone streaking, touched my favorite rock star, met my teen idol, been on the news, TP'd houses, stole street signs, got my nose pierced, had pink and purple hair, got invited backstage and on tour buses after concerts, cliff jumped, attended a Broadway play, had a poem published, survived Lollapalooza, worked at a film studio in Hollywood, won money in Vegas, stood at the top of the Empire State Building, sat in the actual coffee shop set from "Friends", went skinny dipping, snow boarded on Mt. Rainier, and helped raise over $5,000 for charity by organizing and putting on a large scale concert, among so many other awesome things. My life has been amazing, and I can't wait to keep crossing things off my list!

Oh just me and my teenage love, Taylor Hanson :)
Hanging on the Central Perk set! 
11. Expression Through Art
         I would die if I couldn't express myself. I would die if others couldn't express themselves. Thank you Art! Painting. Writing. Sculpting. Singing. Rapping. Dancing. Acting. Playing an instrument. Drawing. Sewing. Crafting. Designing. Building. Whatever! I'm so grateful that I can do it, and I'm so grateful that others can do it so that I can benefit from the results. Creating is a huge part of my life. Call it right brained or whatever, I have to have some sort of creative project going at all times. It's therapy. Usually I work on a bunch of ideas all at once, and it gets crazy, but I'm so thankful for creativity. Art makes me happy and I'm grateful for what it means to me.

Designing screen-printed t-shirts for the Hanson show
Finished products!
10. Having A Job
         I know this is cliche, but I'm thankful to have a job! No, being a back-up nanny is not what I really want to do with my life, but I'm good at it and the paychecks are awesome. I'll start looking for something more desirable in the spring, but I'm grateful that I got any job this fast. Not only am I thankful for having a job, but I'm thankful for being able to help families through my job. I don't know why I'm really good at getting babies and young children to do things their parents can't get them to do, like taking naps or eating, but I am. I've been able to help these parents and give them new ideas. I get so much gratitude from them too, so I know I've helped. And I can't lie, it feels good that all the families I've worked for in the last few weeks have told me that they loved me and would be requesting me again. I've already had one family ask me to work for them full time (they have a nanny) and I was at the mall playing with a baby this week, and had a random mall parent offer me a full time job on the spot. So, not only am I thankful to have a job, but I'm thankful that I'm making a difference in the lives of these families. You can't say that with every job.      

My lovey-pup <3
9. Laughter
      I'm addicted to funny. I'm so thankful for comedy, humor, and laughter! I can't get enough. I can find funny in almost all situations. I can't even tell a lie without laughing. 99%  of the TV shows and movies I watch are comedies. My favorite celebrities are either rock stars or comedians. My favorite friends and family members are the funniest ones. A hilarious guy gets like 2 extra numbers on the hot scale, and if you can hardcore banter and keep up with my funny, you get 2 more. Funny is the best. Laughing is the best. Bring on the laughter!

Tom Haverford... Self-explainatory

8. Health
      I'm very thankful that I don't have any serious health problems. There are people everywhere dealing with health problems that I can't even fathom. So many people are stricken with cancer, HIV, amputations, Autism, Alzheimer's, mental and physical handicaps, blindness, deafness, and on and on and on. There are way too many serious illnesses, and I am so grateful that I have been spared thus far. I need to be more thankful sometimes. I whine about my thighs, yet I have a beautiful friend who is younger than me and has tumors in hers. These tumors prevent her from walking or being on her feet long without a cane. She's had nine surgeries in a year, and I'm whining about how my butt looks in my jeans. I need to reflect on what good health I have been blessed with more often. I'm very thankful for it.

My kind of workout!
7. Bipolar
      I know I just went on about my health, and maybe this doesn't make sense to some, but I'm thankful for being Bipolar. I'm also thankful that I'm still alive despite my Bipolar. I wouldn't be who I am today without having gone through such dark times. One day I'm going to write a whole blog post about my struggles with the disorder, but here I'll just say that I'm thankful for what it has made me. I've been through disturbing times that you wouldn't believe, but it has fueled a fire to reach out to others in similar situations. Because I've been there, because I've been there alone, and because everyone around me was too scared or selfish to help me or reach out, I have a burning desire to help those that are suffering and share my story. I'm just now getting to the point in my life where I can and want to share my story. It took a lot of years of pain to get here, but it has been worth it. My experiences have already helped a couple friends get through hard times, and seeing my pain turned into good, makes me want to help more people. There's a reason I came out of the darkness alive, because I shouldn't have. I'm determined to save lives and help those who are alone. Most people can't imagine the pain people deal with every day, but I can. I can help, and I am beyond thankful that I can take my rock bottom and turn it around to reach out to others. I'm incredibly grateful that I'm not one of the MANY people who are ignorant about mental illness and addiction. It's upsetting that most people choose not to reach out and turn their eyes from those who are hurting. It happened to me, and I'm thankful that I have the heart and knowledge to help.
Me in my prime emo days. Thankful that is mostly over!
6. Chasing Dreams
      I'm thankful that I'm finally brave enough to chase my dreams. I've been wanting to move to Seattle for six years, but was too scared. Change is scary, even if it is for the better. I am grateful that I have finally reached a place in my life where I'm not scared anymore. If I want it, I have to at least try to get it. So here I am: Dream chaser extraordinaire! One dream down, and ready to chase some more! I'm thankful that I'm finally doing it.
Me and Dad, my first night in Seattle.
5. Music
      Oh wow, what can I say? Music is my favorite thing in the entire world. I would have made it #3, but I feel like my family and friends would take offense. Haha The right music makes me feel like nothing else in the world can make me feel. A world without music, to me, would be the worst possible hell. I need it like oxygen. Maybe more. I have to be listening to music at all times of the day, if I can. If I can't, I'm listening to it in my head. It's never silent, which is great, because I hate silence. It just means so much to me. I am more than thankful that I am a "music person" and that I have the ability to feel songs, because I know a lot of people don't. Some listen to it for entertainment, and it's not important to them. That's why popular music is what it is. I'm glad I'm not like that. I'm grateful that music is a passion of mine and that I have such a strong reaction to it. I feel sorry for those that don't because they'll never know what they're missing.

Sasquatch Festival
4. Friends
      My friends are extremely important to me. I would do anything for them! You get to a point in your life where you realize who really matters and who kind of doesn't. You start to realize that being there for or spending time with those few, really good friends, is more important than spending meaningless time trying to keep up with a bunch of people that you don't care that much about other than what they do socially. You start weeding out the drama-prone, the Debbie downers, and the ones that never call you back.  You also start to notice that, oh hey, so-and-so has been such a great friend to me all this time. Why am I not spending more of my friend energy on that person? I've been through that. I've realized who my real, true friends are, and I am so thankful to have them. My friends mean the world to me! Whether I've known them since kindergarten, or met them last week, I am incredibly grateful to have them in my life. Thank you to all my friends! I don't know why you like me, but thank you!!!

The night we found an adult moon bounce :)
I love this picture and these girls
West Coast buds
3. My Family
      I can't even begin to express how much my family means to me. I don't even know where to start. I have the most incredible parents. They've been married for 30 years, and still like each other... a lot. I don't understand this, because they're polar opposites, but for some reason it works. My parents would do anything for me, and have. Now that I'm older, I've noticed that selfless parents aren't that common. It's not just a thing that happens when two people have kids. They don't automatically devote everything they are to their children. Some parents don't attend every game, performance, awards assembly, or event you're involved in. Some parents don't go out and buy you 500 bottles of Powerade because they were on sale and you like them. Some parents don't send you care packages, call just to say "hi", or drive across the country with you to chase some crazy dream. They don't, and I didn't realize that until I got a little older. Now I really appreciate everything my parents have sacrificed and done for me. Now that I'm around the age they were when they had Trey and I, I realize how imperfect they were. They're real people. Nobody is perfect, which means there are no perfect parents. I realize that now, and I am insanely grateful for them.
    I'm also thankful for my brothers. I always complained about not having a sister, because it seemed like all my friends had them and they were best friends forever. Now I realize I would have hated having a sister. I would not be who I am today if I had grown up with a sister. Another girl in my spotlight? No thanks! And I'm so glad I grew up surrounded by boys. There were very few girls in my life growing up, and now I'm kind of thankful for that. I love being a girl and girly things, but I love that I can also hang with and keep up with the guys. I can thank my brothers for that. And for teaching me many sneaky ways to say the word "pubes" in public.
    I'm thankful for my extended family, too. I have a huge family, full of cousins that I'm very close to, which I have also learned isn't common. I still have all four of my grandparents, and while all of them mean so much to me, my two grandmothers have influenced me in ways they'll never know. I have the most amazing, wonderful, female role models in both my grandmothers, and I am so very thankful that I was blessed with them. They're inspiring women.

Me and Mom
Me and Dad
The tallest boy is me :)
Brothers. We's weirrrrd.
My family with my wonderful grandmothers
One of my favorite places to be with some of my favorite people.
2. God
      I don't know how He puts up with me or why He gives me the time of day, but I am so unimaginably thankful that I have God in my life. He has never given up on me, and keeps pulling me out of these holes I've dug for myself. God has impacted my life in such purposeful ways, that I just can't imagine life without Him. I can't imagine a life without faith, to be honest. There have been times in my life where I have begun to drift away a little bit, and He has shown Himself to me time and time again. It's not like He has to either, but He does and He has. I wish I was as faithful to Him as He is to me, but I'm trying. I am thankful for nothing and no one more than I am thankful for God. He is SO good to me!!!

Gotta love having a photographer cousin :)
1. Being Me
      I never thought I would say this in my life, but I am finally thankful that I am me and nobody else. I'm thankful for the life I have lived. I'm thankful that I look the way I look. I'm thankful that I like the things I like. I'm thankful that I laugh at everything. I'm thankful that I love music and going to concerts. I'm thankful that I'd rather watch the X-Games than the Superbowl. I'm thankful for my crazy curly hair. I'm thankful that I can write, draw, paint, and sing. I'm thankful that I think every Youtube video is funny except the ones where people get hurt. I'm thankful that I'm creative. I'm thankful that I love kids. I'm thankful that I'm not afraid to be silly. I'm thankful that I have opinions and a voice. I'm thankful that I'm an insomniac because I do my best thinking at night. I'm thankful that I grew up in a small town but moved to a big city. I'm thankful that I'm a Christian, yet accepting of everyone. I'm thankful that I'd rather eat at Red Robin than Ruth Chris. I'm thankful that I'd rather play in the rain than sit inside. I'm thankful that I have a passion to help and be there for people. I could make a list a mile long, but I'm just really thankful that I'm me.

What are YOU thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

<3 Whitney
I know I'm slow at this... gah! Get off me already!

Ok, now that I've apologized for taking forever to update me bloggie blog, here's the scoop: From October 1st to October 4th, my dad and I road tripped from Salem, VA to Seattle, WA to move my lovely car, Artex, and as much of my stuff that could fit in him, to my new house. We needed to drive over 2,800 miles in four days. We were going to be stuck in a car for at least 11 hours a day. Add bathroom breaks, meals, gas getting, de-bugging the windshield, and the occasional scenic view, and we were looking at being on the road a lot longer than Mapquest likes to let on.

Not our actual route, but an idea of how far we traveled.
I'm not going to lie. (<-- Overused phrase? Waa, waa, waa.) At first I was a little worried. I definitely wanted my dad to come on this trip with me, but his initial attitude toward how long the trip was, was somewhat discouraging. I was anticipating a trip filled with major grumpiness from the both of us, mixed with a few exhaustion-induced arguments. Dad came home from work one day and said he was going to book hotels for the three nights on the road. He got on Mapquest and mapped out perfectly even driving times for each day and picked three boring cities that happened to fall in between. Talk about lame city. I was hoping we could make it, at least, a little fun, so I noticed that Mt. Rushmore was kind of on our route and I brought it up to him. He thought that could be cool, and then some awesome work friend of his, (let's call him Darryl) told him about this amazing cross country road trip he went on with his son and how much fun it had been. Thank you Darryl for turning on the little light bulb above my dad's head, because he then came home from work with four travel books, a buttload of maps, and a TripTik from AAA. His perspective of the trip had completely changed and we were going to make it fun now! Bonding to the max!

High Five!
After sitting over a kitchen table full of maps, computers, and travel books for days, we finally planned our rockin' road trip. We were limited on time, because we only had four days, but we were going to fit as much in four days as we possibly could. And we did! And it was argument-free. Here's a little rundown of our trip:

Day 1: Salem, VA to St. Louis, MO
States visited: Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri

We left my hometown of Salem at 6:00 am, grabbed some Starbucks, and hit the road. We made it to St. Louis that evening, and only got stuck in city traffic for a few minutes. Dad wanted to do it big in St. Louis and I wasn't going to argue with that, so we stayed at the Hyatt, which is right in front of the Arch and down the street from the stadium. We were so bummed when we found out the Redskins were playing the Rams there the NEXT day! If only we had known... Oh well. Anyways, there were a ton of Skins fans walking around, which was pretty sweet. There was also an old people convention in town. We were starving by the time we checked in and ate at a sports bar called Brewhouse. We went there to chill out and watch some games, but ended up ordering the most amazing chicken tenders in the history of chicken tenders! Oh.my.gosh, they ruined all other chicken tenders for me. Hands down, the best I have ever had in my entire chicken-tender-eating life. The bar was really fun, and afterwards we went to check out the Arch and walk around downtown. The late night hobo situation was a little skeezy, so we went back to the hotel.

St. Louis at night
Day 2: St. Louis, MO to Deadwood, SD
States visited: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota

We got up really early in St. Louis to take some pictures of the Arch in the daylight. We had an unexpected, really fun time! We tried to take all these cool pictures, and Dad actually laid on the ground to take the coolest pictures of me with the Arch. It was hilarious and a lot of fun, and we got attacked by the park sprinklers on the way out. We hit the road again and drove to Deadwood, SD. This was the longest driving day yet. We had 14 hours of just driving time, but I was so excited to go to Deadwood. There was a TV show called Deadwood that was about the actual town, but we had never seen it. I have my grandfather Funderburke's wild west, Cherokee blood in me, and I LOVE the old west and the whole cowboys and Indians era. You can Google "Deadwood", because I'm not about to teach a history lesson here, but it is a really neat place with a lot of history. It has obviously been restored since the 1800s, but the buildings were required to look exactly like the original, so it's pretty legit. Too legit to quit if you ask me. We rolled into Deadwood exhausted after 1:00 am, bypassed the hotel casino, and went straight to bed. I also have to mention that we stopped at some rando Ruby Tuesdays for dinner, and had one of the greatest meals ever! Maybe it was because we were starving and had lived off of potato sticks and peppermint patties all day, but I had the best tilapia, potatoes, and grilled zucchini I have tasted in all my years.

Trying to get a pic that looks like his finger is up that statue's butt.
(Maturity at its finest)
That awesome ground laying shot :)

Day 3: Deadwood, SD to Missoula, MT
States visited: South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana

We woke up in Deadwood and got super touristy. It is the coolest place! I want to go back for a couple days in the future, because we definitely didn't have enough time there. We learned the history of Deadwood and its famous residents, did a little shopping, and hit the casinos. I happen to be an old lady, and penny slots are my jam. I played $1 in a few different penny slots and lost it all, but then I heard the Cleopatra machine calling my name. I've felt a little bit of a connection with Cleopatra lately. I've been reading a historical novel about her, and she keeps randomly popping up, so I took the existence of a Cleopatra slot machine as a sign. In the grand scheme of gambling, a $20 win isn't a big deal, but in geezer-status penny slots, it's the jackpot! The lights and the alarms were going off the chain! Thank you Cleopatra! I left Deadwood $17 richer. Roadside lunch at McDonald's was on me! After lunch, we hopped in the car and drove all day to Missoula, stopping in Boseman to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Missoula wasn't that exciting, and it was really late, so we went to bed when we got there.

Deadwood, SD
Famous saloon where Wild Bill was shot
Cashing out! Big money-moneeey!!

Day 4: Missoula, MT to Seattle, WA :)
States visited: Montana, Idaho, and Washington

We slept in until 8:00, and had a relatively short driving day. When I say short, I mean, like, only eight hours. Haha! Scenery-wise, this was my favorite day to look out the window. I had a feeling Montana would be my favorite state, solely from watching Legends of the Fall (my 2nd favorite movie), and boy was I right! Montana has the most incredible views! I've never seen such a beautiful place, and pictures do it absolutely no justice. Wow. I could totally live out there in the wilderness for a year. I loved it so much! Getting back on track, we drove all day until we finally reached the Emerald City! Hello, Seattle!! We were welcomed by the rain, but were so excited to finally get there. We moved my stuff into my new house, headed to IKEA for dinner and furniture, and then Dad headed to his hotel to crash while I hung out with my new roomies.

Montana sunset
Just beautiful
This is actually in Washington, but how amazing!

Day 5: Seattle livin'

This was my last day with my dad. Before this day, I didn't have a fear or a worry. I was so ready to move, and the concept of being away from the people I love wasn't resonating yet. I woke up with the painful thought in my head that my dad would be leaving in about 24 hours, and it made me extremely nauseous, which I had not expected to happen. We put furniture together for most of the day, and then headed downtown to Pike Place Market to get a little touristy. It was my dad's first time in Seattle, and I wish I'd had more time to show him around, but we'll have plenty of time in the future. After we walked through the market, we went down to the waterfront and ate at Ivars, a Seattle favorite. Dinner was delicious, the view of the water was gorgeous, and I totally cried like a baby. But some sort of a breakdown was inevitable, I guess.

Pike Place
The original Starbucks store (with the original logo)
Dad's name up in lights! (aka: Seattle Art Museum)
Day 6: Bye bye (sad face)

I dropped my dad off at the airport pretty early. It was heart wrenching. I was questioning everything I had wanted for so long, rethinking my decision, and convinced myself that this whole thing was the worst idea ever. Moving across the country seemed so scary to everyone else, but I had never questioned it at all before that day. It was such a sudden, overwhelming feeling. I dropped him off with a river full of tears, drove back to my empty house, cried to some R.E.M, and went back to bed. I couldn't take the emotions and thoughts running through my head, so I slept them off. When I woke up, I was just okay. Not good and not bad. I took advantage of the moment, and I accepted that I was here and there's no turning back now. I couldn't change where I was, but I could choose between wallowing in regret the whole time or taking control and living this decision to the fullest. Either way, I would still be here, so it would be more beneficial to everyone if I made the best of it. I decided to give myself one sad day, and that was it. Thank goodness that momentary freakout didn't last long!

After dinner at Ivars
I have now lived here for over a week, and I am so darn glad I'm here! After the initial "what am I doing?" fiasco, I am so excited that I'm in Seattle and look forward to having a routine and a life here. This city has so much to offer and I know I'm supposed to be here. This is a good place to be young. This is right. This is right now. I may not stay forever, but definitely for a while. And although that day of sheer terror and regret was really scary, I'm glad it happened. It showed me how important my family actually is to me. Obviously, I love my family and they are very important to me, but before I left I thought the distance wouldn't be a big deal. I thought I could just move to the opposite coast and that phone conversations, the internet, and a few holiday trips would be enough. I now know that maybe it's more than that. The availability and the possibility of seeing my family whenever I want, makes a difference when it comes to comfort. I didn't realize that before now, and it's good to know for the far future. But for the meantime, here I am. Let's get ready to rumble!

Bring it, big city!
Um, why is everything I write so freakishly long? Hopefully I have friends that like to read! I'll wait a few days or so to update on my actual life on here. There's nothing too exciting going on yet, but so far it's going really well. I don't have a job at the moment, but I'm working on it. No worries. Mo' money, mo' problems, or so I hear. I'm just really glad I'm here. This is definitely the right thing, and I am supposed to be here. I can't wait to see what life has in store for me in Seattle!

Let's do this!
Oh! And I'm kind of loving pen pals right now. Let me know if you want my address so we can write! Fun times in old lady land :)
*P.S. The first person to come visit me gets a prize!!!
Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana's iconic album, Nevermind. I've read a gazillion articles on how the album single-handedly changed music and a generation, which is very true and super interesting, but I want to talk about the impact it had on me, myself, and I. Yes, Nevermind changed everything from music to fashion to the attitude of young people around the world, but on a much smaller scale, it changed me. It made me. 

Looks like this post isn't rated G.
I was 7 years old when Nevermind first popped into my life. It was Thanksgiving 1991, and we were feasting at my aunt and uncle's house. My older cousins, who I thought were the coolest, always thought it was funny to get a rise out of our sweet and super conservative grandma. (Out of pure love, of course!) The Nevermind album cover was pretty controversial at the time because it featured an infant's tiny, yet uber offensive, wee-wee (penis). The 90's obviously didn't know what was coming! Because of this sinfully naked baby, my cousin decided to show Grandma the album cover too see her reaction. That moment was the first time I laid eyes on Nevermind, and I remember the scene vividly to this day. After passing around the cover, my cuz decided to play the ever popular "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the stereo, and I had never heard anything like it! I didn't want to like it, but I did... at 7.

Fast forward to 15 year old, teenage Whitney. A little blonde cheerleader with a CD collection full of Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Destiny's Child. I dressed up as Britney every Halloween, and made more Mariah Carey music videos (starring myself) than I'd like to admit. Then, as fate would have it, I met the coolest guy I had ever met at that point in my life. We were on a week long youth group trip, and he was there from another state. Okay, it seemed like he was there from another world. While my high school was full of football playing, Nascar watching, American Eagle wearing, clean-cut boys... this guy was dirty. Good dirty. He had long hair dyed with different colors and wore clothes he bought from thrift stores. He was beautiful and really cool and he didn't even know it. He sat around by himself with his headphones on most of the time, and I finally got the nerve to talk to him. I guess I played it cool, (doubtful) because we quickly became friends and he let me listen to his CD with him... Amazingly, it was Nevermind. He told me, with a lot of excitement, that Nirvana was one of his favorite bands. Number 2, to be exact. He was so passionate about their music, and had me listen to more and more and more. It was amazing and awakening! For some reason, at that confusing point in my life, I needed Nirvana bad, and all of the sudden, there they were. They were throwing themselves at me through one little ear of the headphones we were sharing. They were raw and they were real. It was music I could feel in my bones and my insides. It was scary, yet incredibly necessary. Essential. Vital. I had never really been exposed to that kind of music before, so I was unaware that I desperately needed it! My glittery pink robot bubble had been burst, and I was finally alive. From that moment on I was hooked, and there was no throwing me back. I was ready for the ride. I wanted to know everything! Soon we had to go back home, but thanks to having my own phone line (pre-cell phones) and AOL, we talked all the time and he fueled my Nirvana interest into a full grown obsession. I truly believe it was fate that we met, because Future Whitney would need Nirvana to literally save her life in a few years time. (Specifically, the song "Lithium", but that is a-whole-nother story!)

Me in all my white eye shadow glory, that very enlightening week :)
After attempting to analyze why Nevermind pulled me in, I think it all comes down to the music and the combination of each musician's unique style. It's extremely rare to observe such deep emotion in a singer's voice. I think that's where Nirvana first got me. Listening to Kurt sing, I almost feel guilty, like I'm reading his diary or eavesdropping on his most personal moments. He bleeds his emotions through his voice and his melodies. His vocals are so intense and raw and blistering. His songs play with the dynamics of loud and soft, and fast and slow. The verses are soft/quiet and the choruses are fast/loud, or vice versa. I love that a song like "In Bloom" will start out slow and sing-songy, and then build up to this bellowing screaming chorus that you can't help but scream along to yourself. Loudly. Then it slows down again so you have to wait for that powerful release once more. And it's so worth the wait. Gosh, that's totally what I love about their music! When Kurt is singing, it's so beautiful and perfect, yet so imperfect at the same time. Then when he screams, (on key, may I add) he screams with such intensity and explosiveness, that it engulfs your entire insides and makes you feel what he feels. I feel their music, which I can't do with most other artists. Listening to one of their songs is a physical and mental experience, as opposed to background noise or entertainment. Not to mention, Dave Grohl is one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Nirvana's drum sound (since Dave joined the band) just blows my ever-loving mind! Dave is a beast behind a kit, as is Krist Novoselic slapping a bass. The bass sound on Nevermind is just as incredible! I honestly never paid attention to bass in music (sorry) before listening to Nirvana. Krist gives you no choice but to notice the bass, and it's deep and dirty in a non-Metallica way. Just add a lot of guitar and feedback to that mix, and Nirvana is IT for me! 

"In Bloom"

While Nevermind is not my favorite Nirvana album, (In Utero is) it is so important and dear to me because it was the bait that hooked me for life. I don't know if I would have dug any deeper into Nirvana if the first album I had heard was In Utero or Bleach. Those albums are grittier and louder than Nevermind, which I love now, but at 15, going from bubblegum pop to rock, Nevermind was perfect! It's an album that genuinely means so much to me. It, and he who introduced it to me, changed my life in a whirlwind! They were it, and I am beyond thankful for both! I can't imagine my life, and getting through the things I've been through, if I only had processed, mass appeal, "pop" music to keep me going. There's absolutely no way I would be who I am today without Nirvana, and it makes me sick to my stomach thinking about the alternative. Nevermind gave me the desire to discover more about Nirvana. My love for Nirvana led me to discover R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins, Bikini Kill, Hole, Foo Fighters, Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Meat Puppets, Pixies, Sonic Youth, and more. All of those bands helped me figure out what styles and sounds speak to me the most so I can seek out current bands that make me "feel". Hakuna Matata! It's the circle of life that all started for me, with Nirvana's Nevermind album. Happy Anniversary!!!* 

Pretty cool: Breaking down the recording of "Something In The Way"

*I don't know if I could successfully give the perfect tribute to Nevermind on it's anniversary. Maybe with a new language consisting of more meaningful words than the most meaningful words we already have would convey my love and appreciation for this album better, but we're all stuck with what is here.  
I honestly don't know where I'm going with this post, but I'm going none-the-less. For seven years now, people have asked me over and over why I like Seattle so much and why I would want to live there. And for seven years, I have B.S'd cliche answers of "it's pretty" or "there's a lot of music". In reality, I can't put my feelings for the Pacific Northwest into words, and I'm not sure that I even understand it. All I know is I went out there for the first time in 2004 and I never looked back!

Picture from the one time I sat in a window seat.
I'm thinking I'll just go over a few reasons why I love Seattle:

  1. There's a real live rock music scene. I'm obsessed to the max with music, and Seattle is swarming with rock bands. And hot rocker boys. (Schwiiing!) There's an actual scene, and they're obsessed with music too. I can go to shows all the time and not be known as the girl who "spends all her money on concerts", because it's normal there! And people will actually know what bands I'm talking about. We can have multi-person conversations about the music that I like, because they like too, and it will be amazing! I can have serious talks about music... Just thinking about it, I feel like I'm skipping through a meadow and twirling in circles with my arms out, just smiling! Plus, Nirvana was from Washington! If you really know me, you know that Nirvana is my golden rock band, and that "obsession" is a very weak term for what they and their music are to me. Between Sub Pop Records, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and many other bands of the 90's and 2000's, there is a rich rock music history in Seattle. That makes me happy! 
  2. People are outside a lot. Seattle is a walking city. Whether they're walking to the grocery store, to one of many coffee shops, or to a park, they're outside a lot. It's one of those places where you're constantly seeing people riding their bikes or paddle boarding on the lake. There's also plenty of hiking, climbing, camping, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and hanging out at the beach. I'm really excited to get more adventurous!
  3. The city is wonderful. I love downtown Seattle! I know it's touristy and trafficy, and maybe I'll hate it after a while, but I highly doubt it. There are parks, markets, beaches, shops, restaurants, museums, venues, malls, piers, hotels, fountains, sculptures, brass pigs, carnival rides, gum walls, ships, and that big Space Needle, among other sites. I'm already planning on getting a membership to the EMP and frequenting the farmers markets all the time. 
  4. Seattle weather. Crazygirlsaywhaaaat?? There's no way she just said "Seattle weather!" Yep. I said it. One time my aunt told me that when moving, you had to think about things that were important to you. She said for her, weather meant a lot, and that was a big reason in why they moved to Florida. When I say I like the weather in a very rainy city, people think I'm nuts. I guess I am, because I love rain! Particularly, I love Seattle rain because it's so light, unlike Virginia downpours. I've always liked rain. I constantly beg people to play in the rain with me, and very few have. Sometimes I will just stand out in the pouring rain, and it's the most amazing feeling to me. I don't like umbrellas, and my hair is curly, so it works out. What can I say? Oh yeah, they have a lot of sunshine too!
  5. My kind of people. I have to first make it very clear that I LOVE my friends and family in Virginia and wouldn't trade them for the world!! That being said, I never feel as comfortable or more like myself than when I am with my Washington state friends. I don't know what it is. Maybe we have more in common and I feel like I can say whatever I'm thinking because they're just as weird as me. And they usually know what I'm talking about, which makes me happy. My humor is often lost in Virginia. Here, I'll talk about a movie or TV show I love, and nobody will know what I'm talking about. The same thing happens with bands or songs I'm into. Or snowboarders and competitions. Then I will talk to my friends in Washington, and they will not only know what I'm talking about, but they love those things too! I'm not that weird there, and I don't get frustrated that nobody gets me out there, because they somehow magically do. Virginia has a huge place in my heart, but it feels like a different universe in Seattle. A universe that I belong in.
A lot of the appeal to me is a mystery. The things I like about Seattle can apply to a lot of other cities, but it's not the same. I don't know why, but I am so happy when I am out there. Everything just feels right, and although I tried to explain it a little, I really can't put it into words. Everything I said is inadequate, but I think I owe it to people to say at least something. It's a feeling. It's a sign. It's just right.

Here are some of my favorite memories from pre-citizen Washington! (And although I love it, notice that there is no rain in these pictures... Gossip!)

First visit to Pike Place Market.
Hiking to "Shipwreck", our secret camping spot.
Ghost hunting.
About to get kicked out of a playground in the middle of the night.
My forever faves.
Disguises in the Pirate Store.
Cigars and sing-alongs with my buds.
Being tourists.
Gosh, I love that view...
The Booster!
Espresso By The Bay coffee shop!
To the left is the first Starbucks EVER.
Pike Place Market!
Late night bonfire.
Inappropriate housesitting.
80 degrees at the bottom of Mt. Rainier, and snow at the top!
Olympia, WA.
On top of the Space Needle.
Snowboarding at Crystal Mountain.
Friends <3
I guess that's all I can say on the subject of moving right now. I'm kind of tired of talking about it, and ready to just do it! Haha :) I leave on October 1st, and will be driving across the country for four days with my dad to my new house. That should be a fun entry. Left coast is the best coast!!

Woolie, OUT!