Saturday, October 31, 2015

Flu shot

Last Friday I got a flu shot and then Wednesday night I thought I was coming down with something.  Sure enough, Thursday I had a fever of 101.7 in the late aftrenoon.  I decided to take my temperature after I went to bed and tried to warm up under lots of covers.  Friday I felt better but now this morning (Saturday) I woke up with a relapse of the fever.

I think the same thing happened last year but I don't have it documented.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Carrot and Ginger Bisque

Carrot and Ginger Bisque

Larry had this soup on our NCL cruise and it was so good that I wanted to make it.
This is the recipe that was adapted from here.

3 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
1 apple peeled and sliced
3 large strips of zest from an orange (or not)  I like it better without

Salt and pepper

1 Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and carrot, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions or carrots brown. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the carrots and onions as they cook.

2 Add the stock and water and the ginger  the strips of orange zest. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots soften, about 20 minutes.

3 Remove the strips of orange zest and discard. Working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth.  I waited until it was fairly cool.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Could vary by adding cumin for more zip.

Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or herb of your choice if desired.

P.S.  I went to my recipe index to add this recipe and saw that I had a Carrot-Ginger Bisque recipe there from 2012, guess I never made that one.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Larry pointed out this article to me this morning since I am guilty of multitasking - and never accomplishing anything.  I read it and thought it had a lot of good points so I'm putting it here as a reminder to myself.

The original article appears here

Why multitasking is a waste



Reality check: We live in a busy world where a million things are happening at once. For many of us, multitasking is a way to keep up with the grind. From checking email at brunch with friends to finishing a status report during a staff meeting, a lot of us are trying to accomplish a lot — all at the same time.

Here’s the problem: Only two percent of us multitask effectively. That means the remaining 98 percent of us are running around like headless chickens in the name of “productivity.”

So what to do? It’s time to put down your smartphone, lift up your head, and actually listen to that funny joke your friend is telling or that question your boss is about to throw your way. Increased productivity is available to us all — and surprisingly, it may come in
 form of doing only one thing at a time.


Just so we’re all on the same page, multitasking means trying to do more than one thing a time. In the era of smartphones, tablets and laptops, it’s easy to multitask without even realizing it. After all, most of us have checked Facebook in chemistry class or during that long conference call (at least once). Multitasking with a phone (or iPad, tablet, etc.) is so prevalent that one study called it the “epidemic of distraction.” Contrary to popular thought, addiction to mobile electronic devices may actually impair multitasking, lower performance, and result in cognitive overload. Guess we aren’t as productive with that iPhone as we thought, huh?


As it turns out, our brains aren’t very good at doing more than one thing at a time. One study found that the brain may get overwhelmed when faced with multiple tasks. Researchers found that when we attempt to multitask, the brain “bottlenecks” the information and quickly moves its attention from one thing to the next, instead of addressing the items simultaneously. Rather than becoming more productive when faced with multiple tasks to accomplish at once, this suggests we really only become more frazzled — and thus less able to handle the challenges of a high workload.

While most of us are susceptible to multitasking, research suggests people who have a harder time blocking out dis
tractions and focusing on a single task are more likely to be multitaskers. And those who multitask usually overestimate how successful they are at doing so (sorry, guys). 

But there’s hope yet. Once you’re willing to accept that multitasking isn’t doing you any favors, follow these tips for focusing on one thing at a time — without sacrificing productivity. 

1. Put down your phone (or tablet or laptop … ) 

Block out distractions while you work, hang out with friends or play the guitar by turning off the phone, TV and anything else that draws you away from what you’re actually doing. 

2. Get into a routine. 

This can be helpful if you spend a good chunk of your day on the computer or working from home. Instead of diving in to tasks willy-nilly, set up a schedule that tells you what to work on and when (and be sure to incorporate some breaks into the day). That way, you’ll know what to expect from yourself each time you sit down to work (and you’ll be less tempted to goof off on or tinker with household repairs). 

3. Set goals. 

Know what you’re going to do before you start doing it. If you have no clear path, distractions can come easily. Before starting a new task, take a few minutes to plan out the steps you’ll need to complete and in what order — that way, you’ll be less able to wander. An important step of goal setting? A quality to-do list. 

4. Eat a good breakfast. 

Turns out taking a second to chow down on a healthy breakfast can help boost concentration and focus. Bonus points if that meal includes some protein. 

5. Meditate. 

Studies suggest that regular meditation can boost brain function and is associated with better focus and attention. It can also help reduce stress when a massive to-do list is looming. 

6. Block it out. 

Can’t beat distraction with willpower alone? Don’t worry: There are applications out there that will shut down distractions on your media devices. An app called Dark Room transforms your computer into a focused writing space. For $15, the app Anti-Social will stop you from checking social media while working. And Rescue Time allows you to block select sites and track the amount of time you spend on various activities, so you can adjust accordingly. 

7. Listen well. 

We’re not being the most productive when we’re half listening to someone while checking our phone, Facebook and LinkedIn all at once (also, it’s just plain rude). To be a better listener (and get the info you need the first time), face the speaker and look him/her right in the eye, and stay present with the conversation. Who cares if you have 12 unread emails? This person deserves your attention. 

8. Cut out clutter. 

To help avoid distractions, stay organized. Find a place for everything on your desk, and keep your paperwork in order so you’re not wasting time searching through piles of files (say that five times fast). This goes for your desktop too: Keep files organized and close extra browser windows and tabs so you can work with a clean screen. For an extra boost, apply some feng shui principles to your workspace. 

9. Give yourself a break. 

Catch yourself staring at your computer? Literally, just staring at it? Probably time for a break. Studies show taking brief breaks during a task can improve focus. So walk around the block, get up and do some jumping jacks, or take five minutes to face the wall and breathe deep. 

10. Read about it. 

Want even more tips? There are plenty of books available that will help you develop strategies for achieving better focus and deeper concentration. Check out this list to get started: http:// It may not be easy to quit, but science says multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Staying focused and concentrating on one task at a time is worth a shot. And who knows? We may end up getting more done — a