For the few of you who randomly check in here, I've started a new blog: http://baggageclaimed.tumblr.com/

It's not much different from this one, just less about my day-to-day goings on.

See for yourself.

(You may even recognize these fools in my first post.)

(And please, please keep reading. It's very much appreciated.)



It's been a while since I updated, but it's not entirely due to the winter slog or general slack. I'm actually working on a new blog, not much different from this one, just slightly more focused. Or as focused as I can be. As you can see, I'm having a hard enough time trying to be concise with this explanation, which can probably best be summarized by saying: Stay tuned.



I've been staring at snow all day.

Why? Because I have a lot of work that needs to get done. And I don't get to stare at snow very often.

What a hammock looks like covered in snow (far right).


Things that may just prove I'm on my way to being a certified New Yorker:

- I keep a fair pace when walking to the subway, but lately, my pace has been increasing dramatically as soon as I reach the stairs descending into the station. It's like a trigger in my brain goes off once I see the turnstile. All inner monologues cease and I am overwhelmed by the fear of possibly missing the train by a mere second. My body goes into flight mode. I take off in a mad dash for the platform (only to be underwhelmed to find the train is nowhere in sight).

- I've become masterful at running in heels. (See above.)

- I stop at the corner bodega at least once a day for something. But I couldn't tell you the last thing I bought.

- Several nights ago, I wore ear plugs to bed.

Things that prove I'm still an Oregonian:

- When I was walking down the street the other day, a guy in front of me threw a soda bottle in the vicinity of a trash can and missed. I zigzagged into the street to pick it up and throw it away.

Other things I didn't know before moving to NY:

- It's hard to pull up skinny jeans over footless tights. Much bunching ensues.

- Like the rest of the country, people stay inside when it snows. Schools and government buildings shut down. Streets, stores and restaurants are fairly empty. It's becomes a good excuse to slow down.

- Do not go into Williamsburg when you are PMSing. You will be very annoyed by the obnoxiously fuzzy earmuffs, oversized plastic-rimmed reading glasses and see-thru tights worn by hipstaburglers on a 32-degree day.



New York is the land of overachievers.

Case in point: If a New Yorker wants to indulge in mindless entertainment, she'll watch The Daily Show, listen to NPR's "This American Life" and read, well, The New Yorker.

Last night, I caught the finale of Jersey Shore. Then after contemplating picking up a book, I decided instead to watch old episodes of The Real World: Hollywood online. Which prompted me think of my time in LaLaLand (and therefore, make judgmental comparisons between my new home and my former home).

When I lived in LA and used to eavesdrop on coffee shop conversations, I'd usually hear people talk about wanting to produce something, or the possibility of writing a script, or the search for searching for an agent. Sometimes, I'd hear friends compliment each other's headshots.

In New York, I've sat next to a woman who produced Def Poetry Jam, a playwright who's working on her third off-Broadway show, and an editor for a fashion magazine who just got back from France.

In other words, in New York, if you make time (note: not "have" time) to go to a coffee shop in the middle of the day, you're conducting business, not writing blog entries with the hope that a publisher will stumble across said blog entries and give said blogger a book deal.



Spend any amount of time in a gym locker room and you'll realize this: Women like to complain.

It's as though bitching is a form of bonding.

- Why is the temperature of the pool never consistent?
- Yeah, it's so cold today. I mean it's freezing! Freeeezing!

- I'm so tired. I just can't get enough sleep lately. I think I'm going to go home and take a nap.
- I wish I could take a nap. I have to go the restaurant at three today. Ugh.

Complaining is the go-to common ground women use to fill the silence in an awkward situation. I prefer food (discussing it, eating it, judging people based on it, whatever). Nutella, candied pecans, thinly sliced prosciutto, chocolate chip cookies with a hint of sea salt--it's the stuff of happiness.



To me, love never feels familiar. It feels brand new every time. I'm not sure if it's because as we get older, our meaning of love changes. Or if our our awareness of ourselves and our chemistries are heightened, or if we are able to appreciate another generous, beautiful human being more wholly and truly. Like not taking for granted the kindness you see in his eyes, or shying away from the vulnerability projected in your own--the wide, open promise that you would, if you could, give this person the world. Or how whether lying on the couch or standing over the stove, the curve of your body falls magnetically into his. And how, at least for now, he finds most of your quirks not only laughable, but charming. And in the times when you find yourselves apart, you think of ways to express this gratefulness and the joy that you'll see him very soon, but not soon enough.


When you're 32 and have lived alone for two years, you tend to be a little picky when comes to choosing a roommate. Deal breakers include:

1. Owning a rat and two parakeets. The possibility of the vermin escaping from said roommate's room is less of a concern than the thought of what kind of care, grooming and quality time happens between the adult female and her rat behind the closed door.

2. Being quarantined to my bedroom during meal times and Jeopardy! Having space is one thing. I also get being old and finding solitude in your favorite programs. (I too enjoy a quiet, uninterrupted evening with a jar of Nutella and The Jersey Shore.) But only being allowed access to my bedroom and the bathroom is a little extreme, especially since my favorite home activity is eating, and eating only happens after a mess is made in the kitchen.

3. Having friends over to play online video games. A group of twentysomething dudes sitting on a faded sectional sofa, huddled over their laptops, screaming, "Slay the droid!" is not only irksome, but downright emasculating and a discouraging glimpse into the future of the male species.

4. Being against your roommate getting laid. When "no overnight visitors" is the first demand out of a potential roommate's mouth, you can't be surprised when she adds, "and no cooking meat." No sex and no bacon equals misery and no one wants to live with misery.



My iPhone forecast for the last week I was in Hawaii: 82, 81, 80, 80, 81, 80.

My iPhone forecast for my first week in New York: 21, 26, 29, 20, 27, 19.

By the time my monthlong stay ended in Hawaii, my friends and family were applauding my tan, saying that my current state was the tannest they'd ever seen me. (Note: I went through a goth phase in college.)

Let's see how long it takes for my tan lines to fade:

Week One in NY
(Thought I'd spare you the more obvious tan line options.)



Christmas at the Machados' has always been anything but traditional. (For years, our most honored ritual was drinking pina coladas on the beach on Xmas morning. The simple reason being: "cuz we can.")

This year our family decided to forego buying presents for each other (with the exception of my 18-month-old nephew), as well as sitting down for some cliched turkey meal. (This was after conceding that no other food could possibly interest us as much as the shortbread cookies sitting on our kitchen counter, and therefore, we'd be wasting our time pretending to care about protein.)

All in all, it was a wonderfully self-indulgent Christmas. See highlights below.

- My Christmas Eve dinner: A few slices of processed ham and a handful of Doritos. And of course, shortbread cookies.

- My favorite present that wasn't mine: My nephew's rocking horse. It has the mechanics of a mechanical bull (i.e. it's bouncy and creates a rubberband-like, circular, back-and-forth motion), and is therefore, ahem, very pleasurable.

- My Christmas day entertainment: Two hours of "Teen Mom" on MTV. My stepmom, brother and I gathered around the television to critique the disfunction of the reality show's characters, relishing in the fact that they put our own disfunction to shame.

- My Christmas evening: In lieu of a crackling fireplace, my family and I sat in front of a 70-foot screen at the Ward Center Megaplex for the new George Clooney movie, followed by wine, maitais and a discussion about cougars (the women, not the cats).

In conclusion, it was a very blessed holiday indeed.