A little piece of serenity

One of my brothers is staying with me. On Friday, I volunteered to give him a ride to work Saturday morning. It was good for both of us. He didn’t need to take the bus and then run from the bus stop to work to get there in time and it forced me to get out of bed at a normal time so that I could get an early start on my studies.

My brother works about a 25 minute drive from my house. We stopped and got coffee on the way, and by 9:00 I’d dropped him off. It was a beautiful morning and I really wanted to be outside enjoying the glorious summer weather. I had my textbook and notebook in the car, so Instead of going home to cuddle with a kitty while reading, I decided to go to my favorite Bellingham place to study: Lake Padden park.

Several years ago (shortly after I returned to school), I had worked out with my boss so that I could take a day off every other week. On those days, I would go to the park (as long as it wasn’t any more than misty) and find a picnic table or nice dry piece of grass and read. I would bring my laptop, with assignments and supplemental reading downloaded, so that once I’d finished reading my text I could move on to writing papers. I even borrowed a broadband wireless card from work any time I one was available so that I wouldn’t need to leave the park.

Often, once I was done studying or when I needed a break, I would slip my books and laptop back into the car and go for a walk around the lake. During that time, I also visited Lake Padden every two or three days just for a brisk walk around the lake. The trail that loops around the lake is 2.6 miles and very hilly. It is mostly in the shade of trees and is well maintained, so while it is a good workout for couch potatoes like me and it is also so serene that it doesn’t feel like work.

Studying at Lake Padden was always a nice way to make homework less work and more relaxation. Yesterday was no different. The laughter of a little boy on the dock learning to fish, happy dogs jogging along the trail with their humans, and the chirping of birds were the only sounds over the rustling of leaves and the small lake-waves on the shore.


A student’s appreciation for Google Books

One of the things I’ve always hated about writing essays is trying to find the material that I want to reference. Often, I know the basic gist of the excerpt I want to quote, I know it was in a specific section of the book, but I don’t remember exactly where it was or exactly what it said.

Today, I had exactly that happen. I was writing a paper on Corporate Social Responsibility for the Ethics course I am taking this quarter. At some point early on in the text, I am certain that the author said something about people starting businesses because they believe in the product or service rather than to get rich.

I wanted to use that quote in my paper but I’m horrible about highlighting (I either over do it or under do it). I flipped through the book without finding that I’d highlighted the quote, and then went directly to Google books and typed the ISBN of from my textbook in the search box.

Google books, being the amazing Google search engine that it is then allowed me to search within the book. I searched every key word from what I remembered of the statement. With each search the results would display a snippet of the text from where the word or phrase was found.  If the publisher has given Google permission to share the full text, the preview can be clicked to show the full context. If not, at least you have the page number so you can find the quote in your physical book.

In the past, this has saved me countless hours of flipping through book after book . Trying to find that one pesky quote from three quarters ago that I really wanted to use. Trying to find a chapter from a book that I read two years ago that might be relevant for this paper. Even when I’ve read something for school that would be great to share with a coworker.

Today, Google Books didn’t help me find that one special quote. On the bright side, searching for what I thought the quote was helped save me from misquoting based upon memory.