29 August 2008

Summer Mix

I recently went through and organized my millons of cds and I noticed an interesting trend. I unknowingly have a burned cd for the past 5 summers! I literally have 5 separate cds all labeled Summer Mix XX--starting with '02 and ending with '07. I knew I was a creature of habit....

During my college years I loved making mixes. You could always tell who my friends who because their cds collections had at the very least 7 mixed cds by Jen Neill. Unfortunately, I've fallen out of practice. Thus, I unknowingly broke the Summer Mix trend. There is no Summer Mix 08! So I decided I would blog my Summer Mix 08. And let's be honest, I'll probably end up making it anyway!

So here it is, in no particular order, Summer Mix 08. Better late than never!

1. Pocketful of Sunshine
Natasha Bedingfield
2. I'm Yours (Acoustic Version)
Jason Mraz
3. Taking Chances
Celine Dion
4. Stronger
Kanye West
5. The Heart of the Matter
6. Her Eyes
Pat Monahan
7. Misery is Business (Acoustic Version)
8. All America Girl
Carrie Underwood
9. Your Love
The Outfield
10. Seek Up
Dave Matthews Band
11. Alone
Celine Dion
12. Bleeding Love
Leona Lewis
13. The General
14. Lucky
Jason Mraz f/ Colbie Caillat
15. Save Roome
John Legend
16. Details in the Fabric
Jason Mraz f/ James Morrison

27 August 2008

Michelle in 2010?

My dear friend Gina G pointed me towards the following Today Show clip with Michelle Kwan. When Anne asks her about Vancouver in 2010, Michelle definitely does not shoot down the possibility! Michelle says she has been thinking about it and will continue to think about it!

Kwan + 2010 = gold?

Only time will tell! Check the vid out:

19 August 2008

Parentals Visit!

Greg and Sherry made their annual weekly visit to the Emerald City this past week. It is definitely something that I look forward all summer long! They come and literally take over my 697 square foot apartment and I sleep on the hide-a-bed in my living room. But I absolutely love having them here.

This visit was a bit different because my 9-year-old niece Michael came along for the adventure. And because of this pint size addition we did a few more touristy activities as this was little Michael's first trip to a big city. Which was great because I got to a few things I had never done either.

We did the Ride the Ducks tour. It was pretty fun even though I was a bit hesitant to do the whole hybrid-water-land-automobile thing- the way I see it is do one thing and do it well. But Michael really enjoyed it and I learned a few things about Seattle as well.

Once we returned to dry land, we hit up the icon of the city, the Space Needle:

We headed down to the waterfront to check out life at the Seattle Aquarium. It was my first time and it was pretty awesome. We got to catch the feeding of the resident octupus, Everett. And my favorite were the little otters. They were so cute!

The highlight of our little tour de Seattle was I finally got to the see the famed trolled that appeared in my favorite movie, 10 Things I Hate About You
They left this past Monday and my apartment seems so empty and quiet! As usual, we had a really fun time just hanging out. My mother deep cleaned my apartment and cooked some great meals.

There is only one thing that I hate about living in Seattle.
And that is that my parents don't live here.

12 August 2008

Funny Article

I found this article written by Mindy Kaling, the actress who plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office. She has some insight on the reality living alone and some of her descriptions hit pretty close to home.

Living Alone Is Hard

By Mindy Kaling

Here's a true story about me: I keep a plastic bottle of water near my bed at night so I can stay hydrated. Hydration is the key to great skin and being thin and lots of life's other happinesses, according to the many, many women's health magazines I subscribe to.

So, one night, I drank a big gulp of water from my water bottle, turned off the light, and went to sleep, very pleased with myself.

In the middle of the night, I heard a gunshot and immediately peed my pants. Well, to be accurate, I peed my pajamas. For those of you who haven't had the experience of peeing yourself, it's not just for children and the elderly. It can happen to anyone who is terrified and thinks that they will be murdered shortly.

Well, it wasn't a gunshot. It was an indentation in my plastic water bottle un-indenting itself, loudly. It made a loud, plastic-y crack,, which I mistook for a gunshot. When I realized this, I felt relief ... then a deep foolishness.

Living alone is hard.

Don't get me wrong, living alone can be wonderful. I listen to the same Jordin Sparks song on repeat and no one tells me how irritating that is. I don't have to wear deodorant. I can wear granny underpants, my hair can be stringy, and I can eat directly from containers. I have autonomy. I'm like a Lost Boy from Peter Pan.

Since I have to be in makeup at 6 a.m. every morning for work, having no one see me when I get home is an amazing freedom. Also, by not having a roommate, I avoid friendship-ending arguments about house messiness (to be accurate, about how I am largely responsible for the house messiness).

But since I'm a chatty, tactile person, it can also get incredibly lonely.

When my New York–based boyfriend, Ben, is in town, this solves a lot of loneliness problems. But not danger problems. Ben is great, but he looks like a thinner version of Beck (himself a pretty skinny dude), so he's not a huge insurance policy against prowlers. Since I moved into my house, I've had some massive fraidy-cat moments almost daily — people knocking on my door to welcome me to the neighborhood, children trying to sell me magazines or cookies or get me to sign something.

So I've had to become a little more brave. Mostly I pretend I'm Jodie Foster in Panic Room.

Or Jodie Foster in any movie. Jodie Foster is always single-handedly fending off baddies. I also learned two key self-defense moves, about which I'm not going to go into detail lest people learn my secrets (hint: One involves groin damage, the other, arm-socket damage). Last, I bought a deafening alarm for my key chain, which I've set off when riffling through my purse, and it scares the living crap out of me, so I'm confident it will work in a time of duress.

As frightening as it can be, I treasure my time alone. Why? I can be as self-interested as I please. I'm 29, and as I feel myself drifting toward marriage and kids, I'll look back on this time as a delicious, tiny window where I got to do whatever I wanted. Including, as it turns out, peeing my pajamas in terror.

05 August 2008

Big Sky Country

9 days seemed like a long time when i originally booked my flight home. in reality, those 9 days flew by so quickly! i worked at the starbucks in billings for 4 days--definitely a different experience than what i've been used to. not bad, just different. then the neill's loaded up the truck and headed west into the beartooths for a little camping action. the place were ended up was a new place for us--we had never been to this side of the beartooths. we are red lodge campers, but due to a large forest fire that is literally taking over the red lodge side, we thought we had better find an alternative camping location. the one we found ended up being absolutely fantastic. we were situated in this great canyon with nothing but mountains around us. the 360 degree blanket of mountains is such a comfort to me. my dad and i spent the first night at camp gazing up at the stars. it has been a long while since i had seen the stars that pronounced, that alive. we could even see the outline of the milky way. it was pretty incredible. on day two, we found a trailhead and took a switch back trail up to woodbine falls--a gorgeous display of the natural cycle of the annual snow melt. i unfortunately did not have my camera on me, so i was forced to make a mental memory of the falls. my brother sean drove down from bozeman to join us--it was really good to see my big brother.

Here is me standing near the river that ran right by our site:

And my niece admiring the view as well:

additionally, by pure chance, my friend whitney happened to be in town from boston as well. we were able to hit up our usual spot, mackenzie river pizza co, for a catch up session. (btw, mrpc sold out to the corporate level. a huge disappointment). it's always so wonderful to see whitney. i keep in good contact with 2 people from high school and she is one of those constants. and i appreciate her friendship more than i think she'll ever know.

other than that, most of the time was spent hanging out with my amazing parents, my niece michael and my g'parents. nothing is better than sitting on my parents' porch on a lazy montana evening, watching the stars come out and enjoying the big sky country.