It's been done before, and I know why. Bloggers need topics, and a trip is an easy one. So for the next week or so, I'll tell you about my preparation, travel, and experiences relating to Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C.

Today is Planning What to Drag Along Day: clothes, books, and assorted miscellaneous items.

We'll begin with clothes. Here is my process. I think about the things I will be doing on the trip, and carefully lay out an outfit for each activity. Travel clothes will be comfortable but coordinated. Appearance clothes will be chosen to hide my figure flaws as much as possible. I always pack a black sweatsuit (which my son calls my Ninja suit) to wear around the hotel room. It's non-tight everywhere and modest enough that I could wear it to breakfast or down the hall for a bucket of ice. Then the extras get added: sweaters and/or jackets in case the weather turns cold, an extra, neutral colored top in case of an accidental stain on a planned outfit (it has happened before), and jewelry to match appropriate outfits.

Then it's on to shoes, my nemeses. After thirty years of standing/walking on concrete school floors, there is no such thing as a shoe I can comfortably wear all day, so I shoot for best available, knowing that at the conference I'll change halfway through the day to give my poor feet a break.

There. The clothing choosing is done, today's task complete. However, I know myself, as Socrates said I should. When I am actually on the road and it's too late to change my mind, I will hate every one of these outfits and ask myself why I made such stupid choices.

Except the Ninja suit. That I always like.

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