Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kindle Highlights - a useful tool and much more

I'm a bit slow when it comes to technology. I've had my Kindle for nearly 2 years I believe, and only recently did I become aware of how to actually use the highlighting tool. Of course, it should come as no surprise that I DID KNOW this tool existed. And what's even more silly is how I first became aware of it. I'd come across a quote that readers had highlighted from The Ghost in Me, and it brought me pause because I didn't really remember writing those words. BUT obviously I had, because there they were, noted clear-as-day by other readers.

And here it is, as I saw it on Amazon.

Popular Highlights (What's this?)                
  1. “We all have our beginnings, Myri. We are born with them, and we die with them, too. We carry them with us wherever we go. They keep our future open and unwritten… like blank pages waiting to be filled at the beginning of a journal, or those that lie waiting at the end of a book.”
    15 Highlighters    
    After the initial confusion passed, the realization of my reality was followed by another equally silly idea, as I went on to think, Well that's pretty cool. I actually wrote that.

    Uh, yeah.

    As I said, I can be a bit slow, or daft, or absent-minded at times. But I'll also give myself some benefit of the doubt by saying that my life is full. I'm busy with my own kids--not to mention 180 other high school biology students, so it tends to be full of distractions. Plus, it seems perfectly reasonable that words I've strung together in the past have been shuffled to the side in order to make way for the new books that are working their way into the creative space occupying my mind.

    But back to the point of this post: Kindle Highlighter as a Tool. For those that have to read and write analytical papers on novels, this is a handy way to keep track of text that moves you or relates to your paper topic. Other blog posts and web articles are available on how these highlighted texts can be downloaded by Kindle readers for use in such papers.

    Kindle Highlighter also serves as another communication tool that readers can use, because readers can share text (just be kind and avoid sharing spoilers). For example, I was able to tweet a short passage that I liked recently as I was reading The Dress by Sophie Nicholls. Here is the tweet I sent, courtesy of Amazon as I was highlighting the prose on my kindle>

    TWEET: Passages like these are just simply beautiful to read. And the author does this again and again:     
    Ella watched her disappear then, watched her gaze travel far away, out into the air somewhere above her head, where she imagined that she could almost feel the shape of the past shimmering and pulsing for a moment. -- The Dress by Sophie Nicholls

    I also noticed that my kindle offers subtle highlights on popular passages that have been selected by other readers. I can see these in the background of the prose as I'm reading. It was neat to pause and reflect on how this lovely novel was connecting with others, and if we were have similar or different experiences with the book.

    All in all, if you are a student who has to write an analytical paper, or a reader who simply likes to share books you like, the Kindle Highlighter offers another interested way to connect with other readers.

    I look forward to seeing how I use kindle highlighter in more of the ebooks I read, both as a reader and a highlighter.  

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Better Pasta Salad and Music for Sunday (pre-SuperBowl Sunday)

    It's Superbowl Sunday! Are you ready for all the activity? I've found some beautiful Native American Flute Music for you to enjoy this morning as you get ready for the day ahead.

    Before the game I am hoping to get some snowshoeing activity in with my daughter. But first I'm sure I'll be busy prepping some sort of food for the festivities and the week ahead. One of those is a Pasta Salad. This is a great dish to share with a group of people you are hoping to impress. Better yet, you can bring any leftovers with you to work for a simple lunch. As a teacher, I am always looking for simple but satisfying (and no, a Snickers bar just doesn't cut it despite what the commercials say).

    So, if you're looking for a great and easy meal, scroll down to the recipe below. It takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. It can be served fresh-made with hint of warm still lingering, or chilled after being set in the fridge.



    Better Pasta Salad

    8 ounces of BowTie pasta (1/2 of a 16 ounce bag)
    6-8 ounces of broccoli (frozen or fresh)
    1/4 of a red onion, chopped
    1/2 cup cranberry raisins (crasins)
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    6 strips of cooked bacon (chopped) OR 1/4 lb deli ham (sliced for sandwiched and then chopped by you)
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

    1 cup mayonnaise
    2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    2 Tablespoons sugar (I use pure raw sugar seen in the photo here, but granulated works just as well)

    salt/pepper, sprinkled to taste

    Cook the pasta until just tender, drain and set in your salad bowl.
    Cook the broccoli until just tender as well (don't let it get mushy or too soft). Drain the broccoli and add to the pasta in the bowl.

    If you are using bacon, cook that as desired, then cool and chop.
    Or, if you are like me and prefer a less fatty, ready made meat, go for the deli ham and chop that up instead. Add the meat to the pasta bowl.
    Add the remaining ingredients (onion, almonds, cheeses) add stir together.

    In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar with spoon until smooth. Pour this over the ingredients in the pasta bowl and mix to distribute throughout the salad.

    Top with a bit of fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.

    Chill or serve as is.

    Serves about 8 generous portions.