The Weight is Over – Week 51: We Lose Some

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 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 in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. 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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23 Responses

  1. You are so lucky to have a “packing editor” in the family – everyone needs one of those. Wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving —  looking forward to the pictures and the stories.

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Packing editor/guru/slasher — great idea to have one handy.  As my well-traveled uncle said back in the day of traveler’s checks, “Take half the clothes and twice the money.”  These days, I guess it would be more like, “Take half the clothes and increase the limit on your credit card.”  Be safe, have a wonderful time, and thank Joe from all the ANC readers for what he does for us.

    • Your uncle is correct. And I keep reminding myself that when I’m home, I pretty much wear the same thing, so why should it be any different when I travel? (Joe will see your comment, so he knows how much you appreciate him. 🙂

    • Joe Domke Joe Domke says:

      It’s my pleasure 😉

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Joe and Marie, have a wonderful time with your Mama and Auntie.  I can smell the wonderful food you’ll be sharing at Thanksgiving — and it will probably be a healthier version of what you’ve enjoyed in the past.  But you gotta have pumpkin pie!

  3. Avatar Karen C says:

    Doni, you and Shelly are going to have a wonderful time.  Enjoy, be safe, don’t forget to exercise by walking everyday to see something new!   That is always fun!


    Take lots of pictures so you can share with us when you arrive back home.

  4. Avatar Mary Willmon says:

    I’m with Shelly!  I pack very light, as clothing can be washed.  We are spending a month over the holidays in Normandy, France.  I’m carrying on a suitcase, because we have a tight connection, as well as a small daypack.  No checked luggage for this gal!  Enjoy your time with Joe and Marie.  We loved seeing them when we drove through their town in 2008.   As to the election, I have been receiving condolences from friends in Europe.  They are very concerned.

    • You have a great time in France! You’re smart to do a small carry-on. I’m not that evolved yet. Someday.

      And yeah, the post-election responses from around the world are telling, too.

  5. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    Since you brought up the events of this past week, I want to share with you and everyone what my daughter wrote to me from Vienna yesterday:

    It’s 3am, and I must rise for an early flight. At this rate I may never come back to the US. I’m only joking. We have to stay with the ship and play our instruments as it goes down. Gotta keep bringing light, love, kindness and music to our world, otherwise the idiots win. Love,J’Anna 

    Made me cry . . .. how did I happen on this wise child??!!

    And, BTW . . .. I’m OFFICIALLY (or is that officiously?) jealous that you will be doing thanksgiving in FIRENZA!! Now, that’s just wrong on so many levels . .. . only because I won’t be there too, you understand! LOL!!

    And about packing. My travel buddy, who also serves as my travel editor, has this rule: Lay everything out on the bed. Then, only take the tops the will go with three pairs of pants and only the the pants the will go with three tops. Pretty stringent . . . but it works . . . . most of the time! Here’s the thing. If you forget something, or don’t pack somethings, you can usually buy whatever you need wherever you are. I’ve bought deodorant and shampoo and warm vests everywhere from Sariselka, Finland to Guilin, China.

    All the best traveling wishes. May your flights not be full and your plane changes be convenient!!

  6. Avatar Darcie says:

    Okay you know how proud I am of you and all the work (50lps!!!!) but I can’t stop going back up to the meme and laughing!

  7. Avatar Gerrine Peckenpaugh says:

    A friend brought wine in her suitcase to L.A. The bottle broke and she had red wine all over her clothes. Hopefully you have a good system for protecting the wine. The airlines DROP suitcases from one floor of the airport down to the loading floor. The good new is that you will have extra space in your suitcase on the way home. Enjoy!!

  8. Jon Lewis Jon Lewis says:

    Safe travels and happy Czech turkey day (or happy dikuvzdani as I like to say)

    Speaking of the election and Facebook, the two combined to lead me to this from Leslie Knope of Parks & Rec fame. I found it funny and helpful:

  9. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    Adrienne, I like that packing tip, & am unpacking my suitcase to see if it applies.

    Ahem, Doni, you won’t be the Only American woman working out at the Czech gym.

  10. Avatar Jorgib says:

    Be safe and have a wonderful time and a joyous visit with family.

  11. Avatar Marilyn Traugott says:

    Good packing advice from everyone, Doni. Here’s another tidbit: Other countries don’t recognize TSA locks, so if they want to inspect the contents of your suitcase, they will go to any lengths, including cutting off the lock or cutting off the locked zipper pulls. Both have happened to me. A handy alternative for locking your suitcase and minimizing or hopefully eliminating damage from zealous inspectors is to use small cable ties where you would otherwise put the locks.

    Have a wonderful time.

  12. Lynne Wonacott Lynne Wonacott says:

    Greetings from Ronda Spain where we are having such a great time on our Portugal\Spain adventure.  Clothes over here are bright and cheery so plan to shop.  Glad to be away since the election except that every one here wants to asks us about it!  Food and wine are so very lovely…Enjoy your trip.