In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Life Lesson Number One:

You never regret a swim.
So pack your bathing suit whereever you go. Cold water, warm water, chlorinated, salt, somewhat questionable water, quarry, stock tank, river, lake, pool, ocean (I draw the line at ponds, because I grew up in Florida and you’re pretty much asking for an alligator attack in a pond) – in whatever body of water you choose, it punctuates your day.

To wit:

check out for ideas. And if you are in the Baltimore area, go to Beaver Dam Swim Club before it's turned into condos. There's a trapeze/rope swing! And logs you can practice log rolling on like a logger! And, most spectacular of all, the hole in which you swim was emptied by men cutting giant slabs of marble for the Washington Monument. It's super creepy and wonderful to skim across the top of the murky water and think of the 55 feet of emptiness below you. And George Washington, whose Farewell Address established American foreign policy for, like, the next 150 years.

You're welcome.

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