Testing Personal Limits (or, The Great Snorkel Epiphany)

About a dozen years ago, I found myself on vacation in Mexico.  I was traveling with my then-fiance, my parents, and my very active, outdoors-y brother and sister-in-law.  Toward the end of our trip, we went to Cozumel, and I had the option of going snorkeling for the first time. Now, I love swimming, and I’m fairly confident of myself in water.  At least, that is, in a swimming pool.  I have almost no experience with ocean swimming. ...

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Return From Paradise (Costa Rica Edition)

::waving madly::  I’m back!  (Yeah, yeah, with all the holiday craziness, I know you were barely aware I was gone!) About three years ago, my parents decided that they wanted to take the family on a big extravagant trip to mark their fiftieth anniversary.  My father, who missed a career as a stellar travel agent, did a lot of investigating and a ton of planning and we all intended to meet up in Costa Rica.  Alas, events intervened, and...

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Why Retreat When You Can Write Full Time?

Last week, I drove two hours north to the Pennsylvania woods, where I rented a cabin with Maria V. Snyder for a week-long writing retreat. I suspect some of you are wondering why I’d do something crazy like that.  I mean, I have the luxury (and the responsibility) of writing full time.  Why spend a total of four hours in the car to go to a place where I need to carry in bedding and pots and pans and food, all to write, just like I write...

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What a Way to Celebrate!

Well, I’m a year older now. Okay, technically, I’m a day older than I was yesterday, and three days older than I was on October 12, my official birthday.  But you know what I mean. This year, we decided to take advantage of a relative’s kind offer, and we spent my birthday (and a long weekend!) at the beach — Duck, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.  We typically go down there once or twice a year, usually in the heart...

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9 Uses For a Flip and Tumble

Flip and Tumble — brand name for a light cloth bag that folds into its own pouch and can easily be tucked into a purse or, in a pinch, a pocket.  (First pointed out to me by Justine Larbalestier!) Hold snacks purchased for early morning flight from Washington DC to Albuquerque (by way of Minneapolis, because why shouldn’t one fly north to end up south?) Hold rental agreement on “compact” car, which turns out to be a...

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