Year End Review – part five, last one

This is the last installment of my 2010 review, seeing as how it’s actually 2011 now.  Started off the year, as I usually do when I’m in the country – volunteering at the annual Bissell Center’s New Year’s dinner.  Rob came with me, as he’s done since we’ve been together.  He’s the only man who’s come with me and I love him for it.  We helped serve probably 1000 or so homeless and needy people in the inner city.  It’s a great way to start off the year

So to continue where I left off.

December 26 – Soul Food

What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

(Author: Elise Marie Collins)

{Future tool: Sark’s MicroMOVEment Support Sheets. For the next 6 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

Oh man, what DIDN’T I eat!  Having spent 6 months on the road in an RV and only having roots in AZ for a month and TX for 6 weeks made for a lot of variety in the food area.   Each new place we went to vowed to try “the” specialty of the region, whatever that may be.  Some of the delicacies we tasted include:

  • Texas fish fry (very tasty, discovered I really really like catfish)
  • Texas chili (I had one bowl at a weekend craft market)
  • Mexican everything, especially in Texas
  • Fish tacos
  • Cajun food of all kinds:  gumbo, jambalaya, etouffe, crawfish
  • sweet potato pie
  • local drinks like the Hurricane in New Orleans
  • fried green tomatoes (could take or leave them really)
  • southern BBQ
  • great Thai food in Phoenix
  • Phillie cheese steaks in Philadelphia (from 3 different places each recommended as the best).  We even put “whiz” or cheese whiz on our last one and hot peppers, mustard and ketchup and we both agreed, it was both the messiest and the best
  • Amish produce and yogurt in Amish country (Lancaster county, PA)
  • ate at the Corner Restaurant in NYC where many a Seinfeld episode was filmed
  • ate Chicago franks (special hot dogs supposedly unique to Chicago) I could have left those
  • Chicago deep dish pizza at place most recommended.  That I definitely could have left too.   Tweren’t no screamin’ hell.
  • a lobster roll (lobster meat, mayo and celery on a white hotdog-ish bun) on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.
  • cabane à sucre (sugar toffee over ice) in Montreal, QC – awesome love it!
  • Montreal smoked meat sandwich – also fab! (skipped the poutine, we can get that at home)
  • Fish and chips from a little road side stand in Seacow Pond, PEI from fresh fish probably off the boat that day or day before.
  • lots of great lunches and dinners at Whole Foods markets

So to pick one thing I ate that touched my soul?  I always gravitate to seafood and as I wrote that list I remembered the Fish Tacos we  had in San Antonio, TX at a place called the Iron Cactus, while enjoying the river walk.   It’s a small chain of restaurants in Texas and they were undoubtedly THE best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten!   We went there twice and I ordered them both times, which I don’t normally do cause I like variety.   They were that good!

December 27 – Ordinary Joy

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

(Author: Brené Brown)

{Future tool: Tara Mohr’s The Next Steps After Vision… For the next 5 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.

Is true, the small things are the best.  First thing that came to mind was sitting in the front seat of the RV, Rob driving, a cat sleeping in the sun on the front dash, and reading a book.  I got a lot of reading done on travel days and I sort miss that now.  My feet up on the dash, able to get up and use the bathroom without having to stop the vehicle, get a glass of water, and keep going.  In some ways travel days were a simple pleasure.  Then once we got to the destination, we had work to do to set up camp.

December 28 – Achieve

What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

(Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

{Future tool: Gretchen Rubin’s Start Your Own Happiness Project (and be sure to visit the Happiness Project Toolbox!). For the next 4 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

I most want to achieve more financial freedom.  What that looks like is more money and time to do the things that I most love including:  travel, donating to causes we support, volunteering, photography, reading, teaching and mentoring others, being with family and friends, learning new things.   How I’ll feel is less stressed, happy, and free.

10 things I can do to experience those same feelings today:

  1. take a hot bath
  2. meditate
  3. go for a walk/go to the gym
  4. listen to music
  5. dance or take a Zumba class
  6. sleep/have a nap
  7. help others/volunteer my time
  8. do yoga
  9. get a massage
  10. watch a comedy or funny You Tube video

December 29 – Defining Moment

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

(Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

{Future tool: The 99%’s How to Budget for an Irregular Income. For the next 3 days as you round out your year, we’ll share one tool each day to help you plan your year ahead.}

There were both positive and negative versions of this.  I’ll choose to focus on the positive and forget and move on from the negative.  Positive moments included one that actually started in December 2009 when we got a renter for our house for the winter.  That allowed us to hit the road and do our dream RV trip.  Another series of things happened in late summer when I decided to get a part-time job, and did so with one of my first applications and one job interview.  Things started falling into place in a manner that seemed to make sense after that, for both me and Rob.  I resisted getting a job for quite a while but it’s really been a good stabilizing, anti-stress thing in my life recently and that’s all good.

December 30 – Gift

This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

(Author: Holly Root)

{Future tools: Lifehacker’s Free Tools to Manage New Years Resolutions and Gretchen Rubin’sQuestions to Help You Make Effective New Year’s Resolutions.

That would have to be becoming an auntie for the second time again when my niece McKenna was born in June.  I love being an auntie and was very happy we were home to see her arrival and be part of it.

December 31 – Core Story

What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

(Author: Molly O’Neill)

{Future tool: Susannah Conway’s Allowing Dreams} Today is the final day of #reverb10. Thank you for your reverberations this month. Keep an eye on your inbox at the end of January 2011 for something from HQ.}

I’ve come to realize that my core story is that I’m here to teach.  More and more I’m being drawn to helping others, being a mentor and using my knowledge of photography and the world to teach others.  How I will share it is by starting off doing classes through McBain Camera and Metro Continuing Education, those are already set up or being set up now.  I’ve also been asked by more than one person to give them personal tutoring in photography, so that’s a possibility too.  Lastly, it will be a lot of work but I intend to create a new web site solely for teaching.  Eventually, possibly this year if there’s time and energy, I plan to write an ebook or series of them.  This is my vision and my dream.


So where to from here?  Next up is some serious soul searching and goal setting.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on my process along the way, feel free to follow along and use the same tools for setting up your goals.  Resolutions don’t work, for many reasons, but mostly they have no plans attached to them.    Goals need to be realistic, attainable, measurable, have a timeline or deadline and then set action steps to get going.  Saying “I want to lose weight this year” doesn’t do it.  An example of a good goal would look something like this:

I intend to lose 20 lbs by Easter 2011 by going to the gym or a class 3x a week, drinking minimum 1L of water daily, and eating out no more than once a week.

Is it realistic?  Sure, 5 pounds a month.  Is it attainable – sure I’ve done it before.  Is it measurable, yes it has a tangible result (a number) you can use to know if you’ve gotten there or not.  It has a timeline or deadline – Easter.   It has action steps (gym, water, eat out less) to go about it.

Who’s with me!

By the way – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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About Your Tutor

photography tutor in Edmonton

Born and raised in Edmonton, Darlene has had formal training in photography at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She enjoys portraits, fine art, and travel photography. She is a seasoned traveler having spent time in Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Peru, Thailand, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Cuba and Australia. Darlene loves exotic locales, exotic food and experiencing different countries directly through the local people and the cultural arts. Her vision is to share her artistic talents through teaching “the art of seeing”, and to spread love and tolerance through the experience of truly connecting with and understanding people of different cultures.