Recognize, Refocus and Recommit

I haven't blogged in a very, very long time.

So I'm starting again with a weight blog . . . because in the past year and a half, I have gone from being at my goal weight to gaining 20 pounds.

Yes, TWENTY pounds. I just wished my *oh, shit!* freak-out would happen at the 140 pound mark and not the 150 pounds.

I've always recognized that I was gaining weight. Heck, I'd go to my Weight Watcher meetings and watch the numbers go up and up. But that didn't change my mindset.

Oh, part of my problem was that I wasn't on board with the 'new' program. I'd been successful with the old point system and I didn't want to relearn a new one!

So I didn't.

And I kept gaining weight.

Fast forward to last Saturday. Hubs had also been very successful with the old WW program, losing weight and feeling much better. He also had gained roughly 20 pounds.

He rejoined WW, which in turn forced me to refocus and recommit to the program.

Enough time had past--with me gaining weight--that I was ready to join him in losing weight.

Last Saturday, via my Fitbit scale, I weighed:  151.1 pounds

Er, no one of my short stature should weigh this much. Just saying.

Today, I weighed: 147.2 pounds

I'm down by 2.7 pounds.


I will mention that the first week was the hardest. It always is.

I cut all forms of sugar from my diet, except for natural sugars in fruit.

I decreased my processed carbs to almost nothing.

And I decreased as much fat as possible. You need fat for brain function, but not too much. When I need a protein infusion, I would eat a hard boiled egg--2 ppv's--with the yolk.

The first five days I was thinking about food, constantly.

I wandered around the kitchen wanting to dive into the peanut butter, but the message on top helped keep me out of it. 2Tbls = 6 ppv.


I only have 30 ppv / day. Do I really want to waste them??

So, I have successfully recommitted to WW and walking 5-6 days a week.

I'll keep y'all updated. And if you are getting soft around the middle, or your joints are aching, or you become winded walking up a flight of stairs, maybe you should start thinking about your long term health.

Later, Peeps!


Living the Dream

Here's a macabre short story.

Living the Dream


Margaret A. Golla


Life was good. I was living the dream.

Athletic, good-looking, and smart. Who could not love me, right?

I blew through high school without having to open a book. When you are the star of the team, people do things for you. I simply took advantage of their motivation.

Was there anything wrong with that?

Girls flocked around me like a rock star. I had my chick pick after every Friday night game. Though my mother would be ashamed of me, I took advantage of their desires.

Universities courted me. The perks of being the star of the team came in small packages: steak dinners, weekend trips to any place, and the little red Corvette sitting in my driveway.

Of course, they had to do some creative financing to cover up the bribes.

What did I care? That was their problem. I just simply enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

I picked a University far away from home. I didn’t need my parents or friends getting in the way of living my dream.

I worked hard, ate well, and was very good at my job on the team, but I wanted more. I wanted to be the star.

But the team wasn’t doing as well as everyone expected. And when the star of the team disappeared, Coach said he went home because he was so disappointed in his failings.

This opportunity gave me a chance to be the star in the Homecoming Game. This game was pivotal. Win and our team got endorsements and money from the alums. Lose and we would have to run with the bulls. I didn’t know what that meant, but it couldn’t be too bad, right?

We lost.

Running with the bulls was a little different than I expected. It should have been called running with the flying bots. The entire A squad was on the run.

That was when I found out what happened to the previous star player.

He’d fed us . . . literally.

A bot cornered me in a dead end. Sweat sprung from every pore of my body when I realized this thing had my death written in its software. I’d failed my school and had to pay. The University took advantage of my dream, but when I didn’t deliver, well, let’s just say they cut their losses.

And I was their star loser.

The bot lowered its sights for a good, clean head shot. It wouldn’t want to destroy the meat on my good-looking, athletic body, right?

I just wondered whose dream I would be feeding now.


No More Goblin's Apprentice

After much thought, I have decided to remove all my book titles from Amazon.

If you find my stories anywhere, then they are being issued without my knowledge or permission.

If you would like to read one of my stories (check the tab under The Goblin's Apprentice for the blurb), feel free to email me at Margaret . golla @ gmail . com  to request a PDF file of a story. I will send it to you. I love these stories, and always will, but with the current glut of stories available, my small tales are hard to find unless you specifically look for them.

I am still writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, the Mystic Elements, and the odd techno-thriller, but I'm not actively trying to publish them.

I want to get back to my writing roots and the publishing end of the business stressed and depressed me.

Who knows?

Maybe, I'll start posting my new stuff here . . . which is where my stories got their life, starting with LOST LEPRECHAUN LOOT.

Later, Peeps!


Lose Ten Pounds in Ten Seconds!

That got your attention, didn't it?

And actually, what I'm about to tell you can do just that . . . IF YOU PAY ATTENTION!

Remember those days of schlumping on the couch watching the Bugs Bunny cartoons?

But then, we countered the effect by playing outside, and at my house, not having excessive amounts of food.

Well, those times have changed with the advent of computers, video gaming systems, and high-fat, high-carb diet. In fact, there's a whole new job classification called ergonomics that address this issue in the workplace.

Pretty soon, humans devolved to look like this:

bad posture cartoon 300x287 bad posture cartoon
Courtesy of CartoonChurch.com and Dave Walker
And if you're the typical American, add between 30-70 pounds per person in this cartoon. 
So how do we return to looking like this

oImage result for swimmersor this

Well, okay, most of us won't ever look like the people in either of these picture.

Let's get real.

BUT you can improve your image, lose weight, gain self-confidence and improve your attitude in less than ten seconds by do a couple of simple things.

1) Stretch your entire body--unless the government approves the Medieval rack torture device into a viable heightening machine, I won't grow beyond my 5'1" height--and that's if my hair isn't squished down. I'm in my 50's so all I can look forward to is shrinking more due to normal aging spinal compression.

So how do you stretch your body?

It's easy to do. Pretend a string is coming out of the top of your head to lift you up. Now, let's focus on the pieces involved, starting with your head.

No, don't tilt your head back, lift it up. Be proud. Be confident.

Don't jut your chin forward. You look like a chicken looking for food. Your neck should be relatively straight up and down, not angled forward.

There you go. Your chin is level with the ground. And, hey, you only have one double chin, not two! Good for you!

Shoulders should be back and down. When you stretch up, the tendency is to lift your shoulders--DROP THEM. Do a small shoulder roll toward the back. When you do this, you should feel your shoulder blades in the middle of your back. This movement places your upper body over your pelvis where is should be along with your arms at your sides.

This should have also gotten rid of that computer hump on your upper back. Keep working at it. You'll get it.

Breath deep. Stretch tall. Shoulders back. . . hey, your stomach is flatter! Lookie there! Simply improving your posture pulled your stomach into place with all your guts sitting in your pelvic cradle where it's supposed to be!

Now we're looking good!

Watch yourself in the mirror when you start this technique. Normal, slumpy-dumpy, depressed, brow-beaten, hang-dog you instantly changes into a supremely confident, taller and more fit version of you.

Voila! Ten pounds lighter!

Now, comes the hard part.

2) Do this ALL the time--when you sit. When you stand. When you walk. When you drive your car. ALL THE TIME.

Eventually, it will become second nature.

All it takes is a little bit of practice to look and feel better.

Later, Peeps!


Happiness is . . .

Being the best ME I can possibly be.
So many people go through life unhappy.
I'm too fat.
I'm too short.
I'm too ugly.
My nose is too big.
Heck, there are a couple of industries (plastic surgeons, to name the main one) that prey upon the population who thinks 'fixing' stuff will make them happy.
In case, you wondered, IT DOESN'T.
Happiness has to come from inside yourself.
Other people can't make you happy. And it isn't your job to make others happy. Oh, your new positive attitude might help make others happy, but don't take it personally if you're shot down or called a Pollyanna.
So how does one become happy?
It really isn't hard.
All you have to do is focus on the positive things in your life. Reduce the negativity in your own thoughts, words, and around you.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "One bad apple will ruin the whole bushel." Well, there's a reason, it's sage advice . . . because it's true.
Have you ever people watched a group trash-talking their spouses? Or making mean comments about various people? Yes, I have to say that women tend to be the worst instigators of this.
Negativity breeds negativity.
So how does one become HAPPY?
The first step is to try to remove outside negativity. If you have a friend that tends to be negative or causes you to stress out every time you see her, then you need to distance yourself from this person. Remove them from your contacts. Block them on your texts. Hide their Facebook messages, or even unfriend them.
YOU DO NOT OWE THEM A REASON. You need to worry about your mental health and happiness. Do not allow them to undo the positivity your are sowing by opening the mental door to allow them back in.
The second step is to try to change your own mindset. If you are unhappy in your job or school, then find the positive things at your job or school to keep from dwelling on the negative aspects.
Perhaps you don't like a particular teacher's teaching style? Just try to figure out what they want from you as a student and provide that . . . And get a calendar to count down the days that you have to deal with this particular teacher.
Now, it's time to look inward and meditate over what aspects of your life that make you happy.
Focus on the simple things.
Here are a couple of things that make me happy: walking, making candy, my rose garden, gardening, crocheting, reading, writing, and when I was able to ride--my horse.
When I'm walking I enjoy nature around me. The sound of birds, the burble of the creek, the wind through the trees . . . just nature in general.
Gardening is back-breaking labor, but I can reap the reward of enjoying my backyard oasis.
Making candy is also back-breaking, but it makes me happy making others happy when they eat it. Erm, I wished more people would stroke my ego by telling me how good it is, but I can't have everything, right?
And the list goes on . . .
An interesting change happens when you become happy--more people want to hang with you, your self-confidence sky rockets, your visage and posture change reflecting your inner happiness.
You discover that all those things you hated about yourself don't really matter any longer. You start caring about your health, which in turn, allows you to lose weight. You start exercising because it makes you happy, not because you have to.
And just like negativity breeds negativity, the opposite is also true.
Positivity breeds positivity, which is the secret to happiness.
Think about it.


Amusement Park Walking

As you might have guessed from the title of this blog piece, I've been on vacation--at a couple of different amusement parks.

Actually, vacation was three mini-vacations in one. And by the end of the two weeks, we were EXHAUSTED!

In my infinite wisdom, I thought it would be an ingenious idea to go to WDW (Walt Disney World) and UF (Universal Florida) immediately after school was out for the summer. Actually, the idea had its merits, considering I found out that many Florida school systems and numerous northeastern states (winter weather days) were still in classes until June.

I had forgotten to factor in the entire southern section of the country, the fact that the UK was on it's mid-term breaks, and a whole slew of South American residents were enjoying their breaks. . . oh, and those lucky, lucky kids who lived close to the big amusement parks to have their 8th-grade/senior/band trips there.

In other words, it wasn't even summer yet and everything was crowded.

Here are a few simple suggestions for going to big amusement parks.
  • RESEARCH and READ about the park and the rides. If you have a young family, then your ride choice will be different than a family with grandparents or teens. Find online maps of the parks.
  • PLAN your day--Disney allows you to make three Fast Pass reservations 60 days prior to your vacation if you stay at an on-site property (30 days for off-site hotels). Do this with the rides you definitely want to ride.
  • GO EARLY. Yes, I know this is vacation, but unless you love crowds, heat and humidity, then go to the parks early as there are fewer people there. Now, this doesn't mean there aren't any people, oh, no, it will be crowded, but less crowded with less 'hangry' (hungry, angry, i.e. tired) people and kids.
  • ACKNOWLEDGE that it will be crowded and you probably won't be able to do everything you want to do.
  • PARADES--If you don't want to see the parades plan to be in line for a big ride because many people start camping out along the parade route 1-2 HOURS before the parade. We actually rode two Thunder Mountain rides while people were pushing for position for the Electrical Light Parade. We were heading to Pirates (there's a cut through near the edge of Liberty Square) when we stopped about three people deep and watched the parade.
  • CHARACTERS--If you want to see characters, then you can Fast Pass the lines, or do a character meal. Princesses are found in EPCOT's Norway along with Cinderella's Royal Table.
  • PAY ATTENTION-- I lost count of the times groups of people would randomly stop in the middle of walking to have a conversation. Take it to the edge, People! It's too crowded to be oblivious of the other guests. We all paid money for the park, be considerate of others. It's not hard. All you have to do is be conscientious.
  • SMOKING--I don't smoke. My family doesn't smoke. Smoke triggers my asthma. All amusement parks have provided smoking areas. USE THEM! Quit being selfish for once in your smoking lives and think about how your smoke might effect others.
  • BIG STEPS AND LITTLE ONES--I might have walked over 20,000 steps daily, but many times they weren't active steps. Nobody walks at the same pace. Some people are slow. Some groups string out effectively blocking the entire walkway. Learn to shoot the gaps. People are oblivious especially in large groups. Take a chill pill and figure out how to make it work without getting frustrated.
  • NOT BATTERING RAMS--Look, I know strollers and electric scooters are big and unwieldy. The least you can do is to NOT use them as battering rams. My hubby had his Achilles tendon rammed hard enough that momentum caused the stroller to lift up in the air. It's not nice. It hurts. Learn to be patient.
  • WINE--helps. After you leave the park. Enjoy an adult beverage. Just sayin'.
I've talked about all sorts of do's and don'ts with amusement park fun over the last several years. The main thing to remember, especially in the Florida summer, is to keep hydrated. You don't have to buy a bottle of water, you can just go into a food place and request a cup of water.

Chill out. Enjoy time with your loved ones. And realize that you probably won't get to see or do everything you want to see or do. Even 'off season' isn't very slow any more. Just plan to return again. . .
Because in 2016, Disney's Animal Kingdom is scheduling the opening of Avatarland. Just saying.


Summer Reading Freebies

Since school is almost finished for the year, and parents will be desperate for kids to do some summer reading, I'm putting books up for FREE!

Download now. Load your Kindle. Load your computer. Give your kids something to read instead of playing games on their phone/Ipad/computer/etc.

Download the FREE Kindle app.

The books are listed below in chronological order with a short blurb under each book.

They will be available FREE from May 21-25.

Kindle download only. Spread the word.

If you liked, didn't like, or were indifferent about the stories, then do me a favor and write a short Amazon review. It will be much appreciated!

To Gnome Me is to Love Me
Book one, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
When Kyte Webber finds a very real garden gnome, her life will change forever. Gnomes aren't supposed to be real, are they? But Kyte's gnome is in danger of becoming the last ingredient in a witch's magical Mythical potion and she's the only one who can save him! With the full moon tonight, Kyte must save the Mythicals, destroy a witch, and get home in time for supper!


The Fast and the FAERIEous
Book two, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
Kyte Webber's life is turned upside down on day two of the sixth grade when she rescues a faerie princess from her nemesis, Lisa Morris. But when a water nymph nearly drowns Lisa's sister, well, everything gets complicated. It doesn't help matters when Lisa tags along with Kyte to the faerie's kingdom and nearly starts a Mythical War of the Worlds!


A Maze of Monster Mix-ups  
Halloween short story/prequel to book three, The Goblin's Apprentice
Halloween is a little different in the country, and this is Kyte Webber's first Trunk-or-Treat Carnival. It has everything from a Jupiter Jump to a goblin dunking tank to a haunted corn maze. Problems arise when a few 'unexpected' guests crash the party. 

For Whom the Bell Trolls
Book three, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
The war for Celestia isn’t going well—for the good guys, that is. But Kyte Webber is more concerned her missing Celestian friend Mike, who disappeared on Halloween night. After experiencing a Night Mare, she knows what she has to do to rescue Mike. It’s simple. She has to break into Mike’s house, find his journal, travel to Celestia and rescue him out from under the noses of a garrison of trolls stationed at Castle Dragonskull.
Easy-peasy, right?
Book three, The Goblin's Apprentice

Sugar Plum Disaster
Christmas short story
Amazon Kindle
A squillion frantic faeries awaken Kyte Webber from a sound sleep on Christmas Eve. The Sugar Plum Faerie is missing! Kyte will never get to sleep with all their zipping around and sprinkling faerie dust on her when they collide, she agrees to check it out. When the faeries fly Kyte to the Sugar Plum Faerie’s kitchen, she finds a crime scene worthy of investigation.  

Lost Leprechaun Loot
St. Patrick's Day short story
Three leprechauns need eleven-year-old Kyte Webber to find their pots-o-gold, but this adventure isn't as straight forward as it seems as the leprechauns want their gold and the reward they promised Kyte, too. They will try every trick in the book to deceive Kyte, but she has a few tricks up her sleeve and plans to beat them at their game.
Enjoy your summer reading!