Life: Full-time teacher, part-time adventurer.


An adventure around every bend.

An adventure around every bend.

School started August 1st, and I’ve been busy getting myself adjusted to working full-time again; so the blog has been idle for a few weeks. I hope you missed me.

Since the last post (JUL 25), I’ve reviewed a children’s book over at A Beach, a Book, and a Breeze.  It’s the story of a young rabbit family who have to adjust their vacation plans because of Father’s pay cut at his job. The author weaves biblical teachings with adventure and fun. Great read for parents and elementary aged children.

Last weekend, my younger daughter and I participated in our third 5K race together at Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville, GA. She managed to eek out a third place finish in the 25-29 year old age group. As for myself, well after taking a dive around the 2 mile mark (tripped over a root, but only scratched my palms and my pride) I finished the race in 53 minutes.

My daughter has lost count of the races she has run, but this was my third. I started this madness back in January, and now, it’s a new passion. Not only is it helping me to stay fit in my “senior” years, but I have a purpose for traveling and a source for new article ideas, as well as, an opportunity to hone my photography skills. Look for updates here on the main blog and here, Georgia Adventures with Pauliana, where I write about the different places my husband and I visit around the state.

Third place finish for Brandy; Wounded Warrior award for me.

Third place finish for Brandy; Wounded Warrior award for me.

Starting Over

WEEK 1 Day 1: Determined to complete it before moving on.

WEEK 1 Day 1: Determined to complete it before moving on.

Couch 2 5k:  (C25k) I finally made it through Week 1 Day 1 without walking through half of the running prompts. If you haven’t tried it, and are looking to get in shape to run long distances, I recommend it. For me, I don’t move forward until I can complete the Week and Day that I’m currently working. It’s a little embarrassing that it took me almost a month to get through the first day, even though I’ve already completed two 5k races…you can imagine how long it took.

A new school year starts in just one week. Our students return in two. I’m ready to get things rolling. I’m sure it will pass as quickly as my summer seems to have passed.

A new challenge begins when I have to figure out a way to write part-time while working full-time.  I’ve been toying with this for 8 years, but I always seem to put the writing on the back burner until the next break in the school year. This morning, I found an old journal with many breaks in the posting. It’s like I stop thinking about queries as soon as I start writing lesson plans.

This year will be different. I am determined to earn income from writing while I am teaching others to write. Stay tuned for updates.

Oh, speaking of updates: I’ve started another blog: A Beach, A Book, and a Breeze where I am reviewing books and movies. I’ll be posting there about every other week; I read slowly. You never know what kind of books I’ll be reviewing, so sign up to be notified of new posts.

Search Party Saturday: Searching for the most interesting posts around Blogathon 2013

This week’s 5 most interesting posts around Blogathon 2013.
I’m not sure how long I’ll keep up the alliteration theme, but for now it’s helping me to stay focused. Blogging every day is not easy. I remember thinking, pish, I will have no problem thinking of what to write about. HA! I started struggling about the third day.  Having a guest post was very helpful. But then I started to panic, because I hadn’t prepared any other themes or ideas for the remainder of the month.

Mind Mapping

Then, along came Anne Headen. Her post on generating blogging ideas is a great reminder that we have a world of tools literally at our fingertips.  Another helpful post on Anne’s blog is about creating an editorial calendar using Google Calendar.  I’ll definitely be working with both these tools in the future.

Editorial Calendar

For inspiration and encouragement, I’ve been stopping by Run Tall, Walk Tall. Just knowing that someone is interested in running and has the pictures to go with the story, it’s enough to keep me thinking I can keep going.

The view makes it easier to get up early for a morning run.

I also found a lot of interesting reading at Feel Better In Your Body. I’ve finally figured out that I am not going to keep feeling like a twenty-year-old unless I start taking care of my body.

Ah! That feels marvelous!

And finally, for a bit of sanity in a world of chaos, this post from The Writer’s Clinic helps me to realize why I listen to soft music when I’m stressed; I play it in my classroom on the days I need the students to be quiet and complete written work, and I use it to help me sort out my priorities when I get stuck. Just listen:
Otherwise, I’m listening to Guns-n- Roses and the likes.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave your comments before you go.

Guest Post: Success ~ Sometimes it Comes From Setting Really Big Goals

Guest blogger, Nancy Thompson, from  JustaBackpackandaRollietakes over as we continue our look at active senior citizens and what motivates us to keep going.


As anyone who knows me will tell you, I have traveled all over the fitness map.  Sometimes there’s a plan.  Other days, not so much.  But, I have learned from experience that setting a long term goal that is a real stretch (pun intended) is often the motivation I need to keep up my exercise or walking practice.  It works for me.  Every time.

That’s me #12168 with the white visor coming into the finish lanes.

Way back when I was a young 49 year old mostly-couch-potato, I read an article about Team in Training and marathon walking.  Intrigued, I explored this opportunity to train with a team and walk or run in marathons all over the world – and raise money for a great cause.  Fortunately, I tend to jump without worrying about the details like “how far is 26.2 miles anyway”?  With the goal to walk the Honolulu Marathon for my 50th birthday, I signed up.  I walked every day starting with two miles that first week and ending my last training walk with a 22 miler from my front door in Lake Oswego to my sister’s house in Hillsboro, Oregon.  Two weeks later, I was on a plane ready to take on the full 26.2 in Honolulu.   And I did it.  And I never walked another marathon again.

But I did keep on walking.   Usually by myself.  Until recently, this was the typical evening conversation at our house.  Me:  “Honey, want to go for a walk with me?”  Hubby:  “Umm, No thanks.”

But that all changed exactly one year ago when I began hatching my plan to do something memorable for my 65th birthday this August.  I wanted to walk the last 65 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) in Spain.  I discovered a walking tour company, Marly Tours, who provide support for those of use who do not want the full Pilgrim experience (carrying everything on your back, sleeping on the ground and/or sleeping in hostels with 300 others in bunk beds).  I was so excited about this idea that my enthusiasm spilled over onto my husband.  Suddenly, he wanted to join me on walks.   Starting last Fall, we began planning our weekends around walking or hiking.  We have explored most of the City of Portland Oregon on foot and we’ve recently branched out to local hikes.  I posted about one of my favorites The Ten Falls Hike recently on my blog JustaBackpackandaRollie.   These days we do 8 to 10 miles on Saturday and then another 6 or 8 on Sunday.  Always with a stop for lunch.  We call it jogging for doughnuts.

Not too bad for a couple of almost senior citizens.  On the Camino, we’ll be walking our 65 miles over 5 days.  The 6th day is only 4 km so I’m not counting it.  We don’t know the terrain, but I’m told to expect everything from country lanes to farmers fields to hill climbs to city streets.   We walk 15 miles the first day!  Then we get up and do it again the next day, whether we’re ready or not.  Whether we’re tired or not.  Whether our feet hurt or not.

I can’t wait to get started!

Setting this long term and very large goal, has changed our lives.  We walk every day.  Hubs joined the gym.  We walk for entertainment.  We enjoy our time together.  We’re active people again and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.   In fact, we’re already thinking about walking through England or Italy next.

See you on the trail!


Nancy Thompson blogs about exploring retirement and the world with just a backpack and a rolling suitcase.  She is a blogger, travel writer and a retirement re-inventor.  One of her essays was recently published in 65 Things to Do When You Retire: Travel from Seller’s Publishing.  You can follow Nancy at


What have I gotten myself into this time?

PHOTO CREDIT: Diana Busby,
What have I gotten myself into this time?

While I was making a comment over at Loud Waterfall Photography, I got to thinking about the topic. The month of June has been a month of challenges for me, both personally and professionally.

I signed up to blog every day for 30 days.

I signed up for a 4 week course on writing for magazines.

Linda Formichelli

Write For Magazines

I challenged myself to train for the Golden Olympics.

IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of Warner Robins Patriot Newspaper

What am I thinking? With my current 5k time, I couldn’t meet the minimum requirement for an 80 year old, much less someone my own age. No disrespect intended to anyone in your 80’s; you inspire me.

I challenged myself to a 30 day AB workout… that I’ve yet to start…


I used to have abs like that… and I will again.

And finally, I’ve challenged myself to earn more as a writer by sending out 30 query letters in 30 days with Mridu Khullar Relph.

My realization is that although these challenges are quite difficult to maintain, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more ALIVE!

2013 04 02 The Color Run, Hampton, GA

PHOTO CREDIT: Brandy Busby

In an article by Sophie Lizard at Be a Freelance Blogger, I found a quote that I’ve repeated often since reading her post.

“Confidence comes from action.”

What action have you taken today to make your life better? Share your experience here.

Lessons Learned from Experience

At the beginning of 2013, I decided that I will start to fulfill a long time goal of running 5k races. My younger daughter and I entered our first race together in January. The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k, in Downtown, Atlanta.

Excited to be able to complete my first 5k, especially with my running partner.

Excited to be able to complete my first 5k, especially with my running partner.

I had great intentions of training every day, building my stamina and making a great showing in my first ever 5k. HA!

The fact is I got out and “trained” about three times the week before the race.That means I walked 90% of the time and ran the rest, sometimes.

During the race, I had to walk up the hills. Going downhill seemed easy at first, but then toward the 2 mile mark, it seemed if I started running, I would pick up too much speed and then the fear of rolling down the rest of the hill caused me to walk again.

I didn’t come in last in my age group (50-54), but I was about 300 runners away from first. It was embarrassing, but I finished. We had some great refreshments afterward: hot chocolate, fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, bananas, and a free hoodie.

Despite the goodies, my body reminded me a couple days later that I was out of shape. My calves and thighs were on fire. I tried several remedies for the soreness, but nothing helped except to rest. I swore I wouldn’t let that happen again

My next race, The Color Run, in Hampton, GA. was a race around Atlanta Motor Speedway, not on the track, but around the outside wall. This one was totally for the fun of it. Every 1/2 mile or so we runners were doused with packets of powder in a rainbow of colors. It was somewhat hazardous to your health if you suffer from respiratory issues, but other than that, crazy fun, especially the after party.

PHONE PIX 2013 06 013

PHONE PIX 2013 06 012

So I’ve learned to have fun when I run, but I’ve also learned that training (even when you are only running for fun) is important to keep that youthful feeling all year.

What lessons have you learned from your adventures? I’d love to read your comments.

Going for Gold: The Golden Olympics

[DISCLAIMER: This post was scheduled for JUN 01; however, technical difficulties created a delay in the process. OKAY! I was the technical difficulty. I procrastinated with doing the research, which put me late into the morning before getting started with the writing, and then my granddaughter’s ballet recital was at 1:00. After that there was shopping and eating; before I knew it, it was past my bedtime. So here I am at 6:00 AM on Sunday, trying to get two posts in before noon. I got this!]

My mother, God bless her, made a statement recently that made me catch my breath. She told her friends, “My children are all Senior Citizens, now.”

seniors jogging


WAH? When did that happen?

Once I hit 50, I began to realize I was getting old. Mentally, I felt half my chronological age, but physically, I noticed the changes. I felt the onslaught of hot flashes (I prefer the term “power surge”), my skin began to sag and look dry, no matter how much lotion I slathered on, and my hair was thinning.

I was in denial for a long time. I didn’t bother to change my lifestyle. I kept doing the things I had always done: exercising sporadically, drinking alcohol more than occasionally, and maintaining my constant diet of M&Ms and Diet Coke, fast food, and fatty snacks. I was overweight, but not obese, so I figured when I was ready, I would work off the excess pounds and everything would be fine.

Recently, I made a post about setting goals and holding yourself accountable. I’ve been working toward those goals, but I’ve never had the discipline to actually be a competitive athlete until I began fulfilling one of my goals: to run a 5k in every state in the United States. In the past year, I have competed in two 5K road races, and plan to complete several more before the year’s end. It’s something I started doing with my younger daughter.

I’ve always been athletic, but never competitive. When I ran (more like walked) my first 5k, I had just recovered from a nasty sinus infection and bronchitis. My time for completing the race: an impressive (not) 47:00 minutes. Although I came in ahead of about 100 other competitors in my age group, I was still 300 runners behind first place. I swore I would train for the next.

While searching online for a training program, I ran across this list of rules for training for a 5K over at [source:]  These rules are flexible and doable.

The term “GOLDEN” got me to thinking. Since I am now a “Senior Citizen” (Thanks Mom), I qualify to compete in the Golden Olympics, the Olympic games for senior citizens. So I did some more research. Turns out, the minimum performance standard time for women in my age group is just under 25 minutes. For men, it’s under 20 minutes. I have a lot of work ahead of me. The rules from are a good place to start.

Simple rules for training:

1. Be consistent – I have been consistently inconsistent with my training, now’s the time to fix that.

2. Plan to peak – I have coached youth sports, so I know this to be true. Every athlete reaches a peak performance level, and then will plateau. You want to peak when your performance counts the most.

3. Train with gradual overload – this goes along with being consistent. Start light and work your way up to a slight overload of your physical ability. This will increase your stamina and strength without making you overly sore in the process.

4. Train all year – Enough said.

5. Set attainable goals – I can’t run a 5k in under 25 minutes if I haven’t been able to run one in under 40 minutes. So I need to set goals of trimming off a couple minutes every time I train, until finally, I’ve reached my ideal time.

6. Get basic nutrition right – This one’s been tough for me. I love junk food. But, I love being healthy even more, so I’m a work-in-progress where nutrition is concerned.

7. Take recovery seriously – There’s no shame in resting a day, or reducing the intensity of your workouts. Don’t make yourself sick trying to be healthy.

8. Train your weaknesses, race to your strengths – This one is tough. Basically, you need to train the areas that you need the most help in succeeding. If it’s easy, then you don’t need to train that aspect as often. If something is difficult, you need to spend more time doing it so that you can get better.

Aging doesn’t have to be synonymous with getting old. Sign up to compete in the Golden Olympics, meet new friends, and share your experiences about aging with those who have chosen to stay active in their senior years. 

Take action to become healthy. The sooner you do this, the happier you and your family will be. It’s worth the effort.

You are in control of your health; stop making excuses and take action!