Less of Me

Here we are well into the summer and I am late, late, late with everything.  I didn’t get my vegetable garden going until early July.  I never did a Crass Commercial Announcement for The Music Man at Arena Stage, where I’ve been playing Mrs. Paroo for weeks and weeks now.  I haven’t talked about my writing work.  “Are you ever going to blog again?” John asked me, so today I have resolved to sit down and do it.  It may be a bit disjointed so please forgive me in advance.

So first things first – a Crass Commercial Announcement for The Music Man.  We only have 14 more performances to go and there are some great ticket deals available, so I suggest you hustle on over to Arena Stage‘s website and take advantage.  The show is a lot of fun and has a great cast.  Two of them are pictured with me in the photo above:  Burke Moses as Harold Hill (bamboozling Mrs. Paroo, who seems to be delighted about it) and Ian Berlin as Winthrop Paroo.  I don’t do a great deal in the show – don’t dance, barely sing and generally just do the Irish accent and make the occasional funny – but there’s so much else going on that you won’t miss me.  The photo, by the way, is by Joan Marcus, Broadway photographer extraordinaire.

 The garden is kind of pathetic this year.  John got it tilled for me, but it was so wet in the late spring/early summer that the soil clumped up in great nasty clods and then dried that way while I was occupied with getting The Music Man up and rolling.  I finally took a hoe and bashed the biggest clumps into submission and put in a scanty version of my usual vegetable patch:  three Roma tomato plants, a Black Cherry tomato, a Brandywine and some kind of orange hybrid (the name of which escapes me now), a basil plant, a Red Cherry pepper plant, and a couple of watermelon seedlings.   This is a wee little watermelon, but I have hopes that it will be less wee in the days to come.  I must say that, even with a late start and probably owing to the combination of decent rain and absolutely vile heat in this area of late, the vegetable plants are growing at a lusty pace and I may actually get something to eat out of the patch by September, maybe.

And now the writing.  After hammering away at it almost nonstop for the past year, Book 1 is finished.  It’s an adult fantasy (and by adult I mean it’s not for kids, you dirty-minded people) and it’s tentatively entitled Kinglet.  Three people were kind enough to act as my “beta readers” for the manuscript and have given me a lot of really terrific feedback, and all three brave souls are now launched into reviewing the sequel while I tweak the first book.  Knowing full well that the odds are completely against me, I have also begun pitching agents to represent the book and have already received my first two rejections (yippee!).  I’ll pursue this Plan A until I get an agent or dissolve into an ink-stained puddle, whichever comes first, and then there’s a Plan B and a Plan C and even a Plan D.  I also submitted a short story into a competition and didn’t get squat from that, so said short story has been fired off to yet another contest and we’ll see what happens there.  Meanwhile I writewritewrite and the whole process makes me curiously happy, rejections and all.

And now, as briefly as I can (because there’s nothing more boring than listen to someone yammer about their weight), to the title of this blog post:  “Less of Me.”  Those of you who’ve known me for years and have seen me in the flesh lately know that I’ve lost weight.  No, check that:  I’ve lost a LOT of weight.  One lovely lady wanted to know if I had been sick, which made me guffaw.  No, I’m not sick.  I feel better than I’ve felt in years.  At the end of 2010 I was at my highest weight ever (210 pounds on a 5’7″ frame) and my knees hurt and I was tired all the time and I was sick of not being able to wear cute clothes.  At my request, my husband gave me a Wii Fit for Christmas and the first time I stepped onto it and it told me I was “Obese” it was like being slapped.  But I was, and it was time to face up to it.  I’d tried the Atkins diet and it had worked, for a while, but as a middle-aged and fairly sedentary lady I felt it would be a mistake to start eating all that fat again.  I knew what my problem was:  I just ate too much.  So I joined the Lance Armstrong Live Strong website and punched in my weight and height and age and it told me what I should weigh and I started recording what I ate.  Faithfully.  Every single day.  It was tough because I had to remember it until I sat down at a computer, but then I got a smart phone.  Unfortunately the Lance Armstrong folks only had an app for iPhones at the time, but a friend turned me on to My Fitness Pal, which had an app I could upload to my phone and have with me everywhere I went.  It has been a godsend.  How much of a godsend, you ask?  Well, as of yesterday I weighed in at 152.5 – which means that the Wii now tells me I am “Normal” and My Fitness Pal says I am within 12 pounds of my goal weight.  Here’s a before and after, so you can see I’m not lying:


Making waffles, early February 2011.  Now granted, I didn’t know my husband was going to take this photo, and it was early in the morning and I was wearing my sweats and an old sweater of my dad’s, but still…

Backstage at Arena, a couple weeks ago, getting ready to go to a post-show event.  Now granted, I’m wearing a dressy outfit and I’m fully aware that I’m getting my photo taken (even if the flash wasn’t working right), but still…

And no, I didn’t do a lot of working out.  I did at first, and felt better for it, but for some reason when I’m doing a show, it’s hard for me to get motivated.  Once The Music Man is closed and I’m at loose ends for a while, I’ll probably get back into some sort of program.  John gave me a bicycle for my birthday (and I should really be out riding it now, because it’s a beautiful morning) and I still have the Wii and now that I’ve lost so much weight stuff is starting to sag, but there’s no huge rush.

My major barometer for this whole weight loss process has been jeans.  I have been wearing the same style of Target Merona Fit 1 jeans for the past two years, and when I started working on dropping the extra poundage, I was wearing a size 16.  Every time I lost more weight, I treated myself to a new pair of jeans in the next size down.  Yesterday I put on my size 8 jeans and they’re a little too big, so it may be time to see if I can wiggle into a size 6.  I haven’t worn a size 8 since I was in college; a size 6 seems incredible, like something out of a dream.  I kind of wish I’d held on to one pair of the big jeans so I could do a photo of myself wearing them now, but as soon as I’ve outgrown clothes I’ve gotten rid of them so I won’t backslide.  I’ve been buying clothes from Target and consignment stores until my weight stabilizes, but I have to admit that I’m tickled over the fact that I can wear cheap clothes.  And I never, never, never get tired of being told by surprised friends that I look “FABULOUS!”


  1. Alice

    My garden is far more pitiful than yours. My zuccini is dying – do you know how hard you have to work to accomplish that? Benign neglect does have an up side though. I think I have a volunteer pumpkin. I knew there'd be benefits to hosting a jack-o-lantern carving party here last year.I wanna be a Beta reader! Also I will be beta shopping soon, – the people not the fish. Tradesies?

  2. Courtney at RRI

    Wow, congratulations on your weight loss, Donna! Going from a 16 to an 8 is quite an achievement. :)Also, don't feel bad about the tomatoes–the only types I could ever get to grow reliably were Big Beef tomatoes, which seem oblivious to all heat and water conditions.

  3. Peggy Strack

    My keyboard ready fingers are going to quickly take me to the Livestrong website. You are such an inspiration, Donna! Congratulations on your multiude of successes. ~ Peggy

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