The Weight is Over – Week 51: We Lose Some

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There’s a meme I love of Kermit the frog typing. It always makes me laugh. The meme is what my twin says I look like when I get all riled up on the keyboard.kermit-typing

That’s how I typed as I started this column. I got 326 words into my frustrations about the election before I hit backspace and deleted every word.

I’d already impulsively spouted off on Facebook yesterday morning and wound up embroiled in a major splatterfest that ended with a flurry of unfollowing, blocking and unfriending (of me and by me)

As one of my young acquaintances observed on Facebook,  “You sure have some unfriendly friends.”

What’s left for me to say about the election that hasn’t already been said? Nothing.

What’s done is done. Like it or not, come January, Donald Trump will be our president.

Half of the country is shocked and disappointed, and the other half is shocked and delighted.  If I shared my opinions today about the election, generally speaking half of you would feel validated and included and the other half would feel pissed off and excluded. I really do my best on this site to be as inclusive and non-polarizing as possible.

Although we’re two sides of the same reality, together we make up the whole that is this messy melting pot we call America – living, loving, thriving and working side by side. Lord knows we won’t all agree on politics, but we must agree to be the best citizens possible for the sake of each other and our country. I’m on board for that.

As Hollyn Chase illustrates in her column today about her book club, despite the fact that she and her friends are not always in political agreement, together they still share the love of reading, conversation, lunch and each other.

Meanwhile, I’m leaving the country soon, and no, it has nothing to do with the election. I have a round-trip ticket, so I’ll be back, much to the chagrin of some of my former Facebook friends.

My twin and I will travel to the Czech Republic to visit my son – and A News Cafe.com webmaster – Joe, and his wife Marie where we will join her family in creating an American Thanksgiving, complete with a turkey (a Czech rarity), pumpkin pie, yeast rolls, and homemade cranberries, which I’m bringing inside my checked luggage, in hopes they won’t be confiscated. (Cranberries are not a Czech staple.)

The last time Shelly and I traveled to Europe we each brought 50-pound suitcases (apologies to strong men Joe Domke and Doug Cushman who helped haul those beasts). This time she and I have challenged each other to pack as lightly as possible. Everyone needs a packing editor, and Shelly is as ruthless a packing editor as she is a home de-cluttering editor. She is the unwavering voice of reason who ensures everything in my suitcase is packed with her approval.

I confess I have packing issues, which became abundantly clear after Shelly made me ditch five black shirts. Why? Because even with the five left behind, that still left me two black shirts, not counting two black scarves, black leggings and black boots. Not all my winter clothes are black. Some are gray. Or black and gray.

Shelly Shively, packing editor.

Shelly Shively, packing editor. Thumbs down on this summer scarf.

My proliferation of black clothes aside, Shelly made some other interesting observations about my clothing choices. For one thing, she pointed out that even though I’ve lost weight and inches working with Matthew Lister at Align Private Training, I still tend to pack CYA (cover your ass) items. This is a habit I’ve had all my life, to cover my butt, since I always believed it was too big. That’s why Shelly made me leave behind all the items I’d packed that served no other purpose than to cover my behind.

All that suitcase editing leaves me lots of room to bring other stuff, like California wine for our Thanksgiving dinner, and workout clothes, since Joe and Marie found a gym near their apartment for me.

I think it’s a fair bet I’ll be the only American woman there. Of course, that will only lead to curious questions about the election, and Trump, which I will artfully dodge by working on my 50-pound single-arm rows. I hope you caught that. This week I worked out with 50-pound hand weights.  Matthew started that set with my working with 35-pound weights, and then 40. Finally, because we didn’t have a 45-pound weight handy, we made the leap to 50-pound weights. Come on! Fifty pound single-arm rows! I’m a stud!

This week Doni accomplished the feat of doing 50-pound single arm rows. Photo by Matthew Lister.

This week Doni accomplished the feat of doing 50-pound single arm rows. Photo by Matthew Lister.

I’ve changed so much since the last time I was in the Czech Republic, Christmas of 2014. Then, I looked like a completely different person.

Doni has changed a lot since her last visit to the Czech Republic. Here she is with Czech friend Veronika.

Doni has changed a lot since her last visit to the Czech Republic. Here she is with Czech friend Veronika. She agrees this resembles a JibJab card.

In fact, I’ve lost so much weight, and am so much more healthy and fit than my list trip to Europe, that I’m concerned  I’ll be hassled over my passport photo, which looks nothing like me now, right down to my hair color, which I lopped off nearly 2 years ago as I stopped the maddening cycle of dying it to remain brunette.

Doni’s March 2014 passport photo on the left. Doni today doesn’t match her 2014 passport photo.

Doni’s March 2014 passport photo on the left. Doni today doesn’t match her 2014 passport photo.

Luckily, I’m traveling with my twin, who can vouch for me.

In the meantime, I’ve invited some special guest writers to take over this column while I’m gone.  I have no idea what they plan to write, but I’m sure it will be good.

One thing’s for sure, there will be no politics involved.

You’re welcome.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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