My to-do list: a work in progress

You’d think by now, more than a year after I was downsized, I’d have it all figured out. I’m pleased with the way things are evolving in terms of my writing, but,  honestly, I thought my to-do list would be shorter, and hoped that my house would be perfectly organized.

I know that houses and to-do lists are works in progress. No matter how many items you cross off your list, there’s always something else to be done.

Last week, I decided to figure out why my to-do list seemed to be unusually problematic. I’ve been keeping it on my iPhone, and the list has gotten so lengthy that it’s inconvenient to scroll through.

I decided to copy the list and transfer it to a Word document on my computer, so it would be easier to read. I was horrified to see that it took up more than a dozen pages.

It took time to sort out. I think the biggest challenge is keeping the important items at the top of the list. As other items are added, older ones are more likely to fall through the cracks.

My list also gets longer when I start a task, but only finish part of it. When I email someone but haven’t heard back from them yet, I make a note beside the original item.

I also found some items that didn’t really belong on my to-do list in the first place: books to read (I have a separate list for that), credit card transactions that I don’t have a receipt for (so I’ll know they’re legit when I have to pay), and blog ideas that I may not even end up using.

But there are enough legitimate items that I wonder if I need to put more effort and creativity into plowing through them.

I try to focus on one item at a time, but sometimes it helps to pick three smaller tasks to complete in succession. It’s not an intimidating number, but finishing three tasks feels like an accomplishment.

In the end, I think about the famous Nike slogan. Just do it.








Chocolate Sunday – Chocolate Show in Toronto/Chocolate Fun in Niagara!

Toronto’s fourth annual Luxury Chocolate Show is coming up November 2, and I probably won’t get there. Sigh! I enjoyed it so much last year. It’s the final event of a larger chocolate festival, which includes chocolate high tea at the King Edward Hotel.

There are also coupons available if you click on “Chocolicious” (under events) on the chocolate festival page. One of the coupons in particular caught my eye – the one for Criveller, in Niagara Falls, Ontario – because it ties into what I wanted to write about in this post.

Last Sunday, my husband and I rented bikes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and planned to cycle the wine route.

We added an extra stop to our route when we learned that there’s a chocolate factory in St. David’s, about a 12-km ride from where we started. It opened in 2005. How did I not know this before?

Much to my chagrin, my husband – who was leading the way – overshot the chocolate factory. Pretty much everyone I know cycles faster than I do.

chocolate f:x factory

If you don’t want to go right past Chocolate F/X like we did, this is what it looks like.

I caught up with him near the entrance to Ravine Winery, and we decided to check it out before heading back to Chocolate F/X.

We had a light lunch (soup and a sour cream/chive muffin), and after tasting a couple of wines, headed to Ravine’s “grocery” store to try an oversized, over icing-sugared doughnut.

chocolate mousse doughnut ravine winery

Ravine Winery’s chocolate mousse-filled doughnut – decadent!

I wasn’t particularly tempted by it until I found out that it was stuffed with… wait for it… chocolate mousse. Whoa! It wasn’t just a doughnut; it was an experience! Messy, fun to eat, and more than enough for two people. We got lucky with the chocolate mousse, because they rotate fillings.

While we were waiting in line, we spoke to a local woman, who recommended Criveller. We’ll have to check it out next time we’re in Niagara Falls.

At Chocolate F/X, we took a 20-minute tour. More fun, and a variety of samples. We bought some milk chocolate maple walnuts and two dark chocolate peanut butter cups. We were advised to hold the peanut butter cups upside-down to eat, because the chocolate top is thicker than the bottom. Delicious!







What I did on my summer (blog) vacation

Now that it’s mid-October, I absolutely can’t pretend I’m still on summer hiatus from blogging.

I believe that starting this blog was the best thing I did after being downsized last year – it helped me evolve and keep writing – but it was good for me to take a break.

Not blogging for the past few months has allowed me to devote more time to my other writing, and to explore new types of writing.

In the spring, I started freelancing for The Canadian Jewish News again. I’ve also spent more time working on my book, and even tried my hand at children’s fiction.

I made a note whenever I had an idea for a post-hiatus blog post, and – to my surprise – the list has more writing-related ideas than food or chocolate ones. We’ll see where that goes. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, but I’ve been using a lot of tried-and-true recipes that are already on my blog. Time to get more creative in the kitchen again, not just at the computer.

One last thing I’ve been thinking about – earlier this year, I made a family history book as a gift for a young cousin. A couple of people have suggested that this is something I could do for other people too, professionally. The project was a labour of love, but it drew on my journalistic skills, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I’ve been looking into how viable it would be to add it to my freelance repertoire.

So I have a few new directions to consider, and I’m also thinking about where my blog is going.

Until this summer, I was posting on a fairly regular schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays about writing, journalism and being downsized; Fridays about food; and Sundays about chocolate.

I may scale down a bit… or not. I might not post four days a week every week, but I plan to stick to my designated topics and designated days.