Death, Sex, and Money  

"Death, Sex, and Money" host Anna Sale joins us for stories about all these subjects. Lydia Davis contemplates the right words for death in "Grammar Questions," read by David Costabile. An unfaithful husband is in crisis in Anne Enright's "Until the Girl Died," read by Kathleen Chalfant. A game of make-believe gets out of hand in Joe Meno's "Animal Hospital," ready by Becky Anne Baker. Amir Arison reads "The Silk Handkerchief," by Sait Faik Abasiyanik, in which a young thief risks everything for the perfect gift.

Anita Dobson  

Anita Dobson's acting career spans more than forty years. She found fame in the 1980s playing pub landlady Angie Watts in EastEnders. She has starred in television, film and theatre productions as diverse as Hamlet, Follies and London Road. She talks about her career and growing up in the East End. Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer who has cycled around the world and walked a lap of the M25. He pioneered the concept of micro-adventures (adventures close to home) but has now turned his attention to 'grand adventures'. He explains how adventures great or small are within everyone's grasp. Fifty years ago, a group of boys from the Kettering Grammar School Satellite Tracking Group discovered a new and undiscovered soviet space launch site. To celebrate, Leicester's National Space Centre is holding an exhibition. Mike Sinnett, a former pupil talks about the discovery and how it catapulted the boys into the media spotlight. Bookshop owner Stephen Foster has a licence to fill shelves. He has provided books for film sets such as James Bond's 'Spectre' and 'Skyfall', 'The Danish Girl' and 'Mr Holmes'. He talks about his love for old and rare books and explains how he chooses the books to fit the character's personality. The inheritance tracks of the actress Rachael Stirling who chose Bob Dylan's 'Lay Lady Lay' and Ella Fitzgerald's 'Too Darn Hot'. Kate Recordon has been finding out about how the interaction with our dogs can be life-changing. Anita Dobson is in conversation at St James theatre, London on 20th March at 3pm. Alastair Humphreys book 'Grand Adventures' is out now. Rachael Stirling stars in 'The Winter's Tale' at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London. Producer: Dianne McGregor Editor: Karen Dalziel.

The Past Continuous - AIRC88  

If you are a new listener to this award-winning podcast, welcome!
With over 40 years of teaching between us, Reza and Craig will help you improve your English and take it to the next level.
Grow your grammar, vocalize your vocabulary and perfect your pronunciation.

Reza is 'blowing his own trumpet'!

In this episode: The Past Continuous


Más podcasts para mejorar tu ingles en: 

More podcasts to improve your English at: 

Listener Feedback: Javier from Burgos

This is Javier from Burgos. I am a lecturer of environmental chemistry at the University of Burgos.
I would like to congratulate you on your podcasts. I have found them very useful to improve my listening skills.
I am quite used to reading and writing in English due to my job (mostly scientific papers writen in an academic and formal style)
but my oral and listening skills are not at the same level.

The other day, my eldest son got the "Play Station" as a Christmas present.
He was playing a game where the characters were speaking in American English.
They talked so fast and probably used a lot of slang that I could hardly understand a thing. It was so frustrating!
I know that your podcasts have an educational purpose and you make an effort to speak clearly and more or less slowly.
I understand you reasonably well when you speak but the event regarding my son's game left me shattered (destrozado, destruido).

Well, I guess that it is all a matter of time (spending time listening and listening) and never giving up.

Finally, I would like to tell you that your podcasts are a good fun and you are funny too.
I have seen your photos on your podcast webpage and you "have a face of good people"
(I am afraid that I have not translated properly the Spanish sentence: "tenéis cara de buenas personas" - you look/seem nice).
But, who is Reza and who is Craig in the picture?. Who is the one wearing glasses and who is the one holding a cup (of tea, I guess)?
(Reza's the one wearing glasses and Craig is drinking tea)

If only one of you were eating biscuits, I would know who it is, ja, ja. Sorry for the joke!

Kind regards from Burgos,

Listen to a wide variety of English accents to improve your listening (BBC, CNN, VOA, TV series, FIlms in original version, video games, songs in English, our podcasts! and TED talks:

When do we use the past continuous?

At the beginning of a story:
This morning, when I went out to get some milk, the sun was shining, the birds we singing, people were driving to work and walking to school...

To talk about something which happened at a particular moment in the past, often starting before that moment and continuing after it.

Example: What were you doing at 10 o'clock this morning?
At 10 o'clock this morning Craig was working on his computer.
Reza was having a shower.

I was making tea when Reza rang the bell. (compare with:”Reza rang the bell, he came in, I made tea, I took out the biscuits.”)

Use the present continuous when two actions are happening parallel to one onother in the past:

As I was making tea, Reza was telling me about his weekend.

While Reza was preparing the dinner, his girlfriend was watching TV.

I was dreaming about this beautiful girl when suddenly my alarm clock rang.

What were you doing at 9 o’clock last night?
Where were you at 11 am yesterday morning?

¡OJO! Not all long actions in the past are expressed with the past continuous tense. ("Reza lived in Salamanca for two years." - Past simple)

Italki ad read:

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Italki gives 100 italki credits (ITC) to each paying student that registers. - click on ‘start speaking – find a teacher’
We want to say thank you to italki for sponsoring Aprender Inglés con Reza y Craig


We also use the past continuous:

for something that was happening again and again:

I was practising Spanish every day for at least an hour.
He was having an affair with his secretary.
They were always eating in expensive restaurants.

with verbs which show change or growth:

My two daughters were growing up quickly.
My Spanish was improving.
My hair was going

#546: Trainwreck / Top 5 Comedy Ensembles (Revisited)  

It-Girl Amy Schumer falls for potential Manic Pixie Dream Guy Bill Hader... but will Adam and Josh swoon for the Schumer-penned/Judd Apatow-directed TRAINWRECK? Plus, the movies' Top 5 Comedy Ensembles.

This episode is brought to you by MUBI.

:00-3:49 - Billboard / MUBI

3:49-25:40 - Review: "Trainwreck"

Jason Isbell, "It Takes a Lifetime"

27:04-37:11 - Notes / Polls

Jason Isbell, "24 Frames"

38:29-44:00 - Donations / Promo: Sound Ops

44:00-1:10:54 - Top 5: Comedy Ensembles

1:10:54-1:14:30 - Close / Outtake


- Jason Isbell


- Grammar Girl on 'whole nother'

- Josh's "Trainwreck" review

(THE SLY SHOW 05-15-15) Fri, BB King, Grammar Police, Pauly Walnuts, CM Punk, Pamela Anderson, KTSF, Errie Indiana

Warriors Friday
The Bitch ass clippers
R.I.P. BB King
Blues, Ribs Foods
We getting ready for game 6
Grammar Police
The Girl at the shopping Mall
If Facts were wrong
Got the wings
Pauly Walnuts
Looking like CM Punk
Gourmet Coffee
Quentin Tarantino
Pulp Fiction
DVD Started skipping on me
2 New Sly mixes
+Golden Biz
15 sounds better then 14
Sunday starts the week
White Lab Coats
Pamela Anderson
Tommy Lee and Tommy Lee Jones
Kazoo Sound
Children talk
When i woke up from Life
Thot Creek Road
Coca Cola Commercuials
SEO Game on lock
errie Indiana
Digital Mishaps
Fuck Facebook
People are Angry at Wal-Mart
Stans, Celebs
Nando The Segment era
Quotes from 2005
That was fucking hilarious
Bitches that Sly has had on-air
Sly talking fast
Baby Gibberish
DJ Cleve wants to put an album out
Exclusive to The Sly Show
Bitch in your car
Kurt Cobain Documentary
Quick Fix
We Turning up on a friday
Money to live, burn, smoke
We be cussing
We create
you engage
Soundclouds are German Pieces of Shit
Profanity Sly Show
Sly Show Conspiracys
Hip-Hop Music Fans
Sean Donahue
Maurice Malone
Black Girls who listen to The Sly Show
Magic Convention
It is so big in your mothers Cunt Hole
AOL instant Messanger
1990s shit
Sly fucking a bitch
Sly doing some Heroin
Kurt Cobain Doc breakdown
I would never dye my hair red
Needle Sick
Montage of Heck
Drugs with Kids
Courtney Love
R.I.P. Kurt Cobain
Not the 1st time since we seen Courney Loves Titties
Tony Clifton
Hustler Magazine
The People vs Larry Flynt
The Good Die Young
Sly talks about The Jacka
Patsy Cline
Boots are made for walking
American IDOL is done
Sly says he's a nice guy
19,999 bitches - Too Short
40 year old bitches on IG

Mansion Interviews Grammar Girl  

Puedes ver las notas de los episodios de nuestros podcasts en 

You can see the show notes of all our podcasts at  

Sounds of The Summer Kavos 2014 - Bonus Edition  

Tracklist Gorgon City ft. Laura Welsh - Here For You Second City - I Wanna Feel Jess Glynne - Right Here Shiba San Vs Marlon Hoffstadt - Okay, Shake That (Charles Bootleg) Josh Butler - Got a Feeling (Pleasurekraft vs. Bontan Remix) Ferreck Dawn Redondo - Love Too Deep (Original Mix) Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On Duke Dumont - Won't Look Back MK - Always (feat. Alana) [Weiss Remix] Cloud 9 Do You Want Me Baby (Dusky Remix) Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill - Gecko (Overdrive) (DJ S.K.T Remix) Sage The Gemini - Gas Pedal (Motez Edit) Waze & Odyssey vs R. Kelly - Bump 'N Grind) Gorgon City - Real (feat. Yasmin) Gorgon City - Ready For Your Love (feat. MNEK) Breach - Everything You Never Had (We Had It All) Wankelmut & Emma Louise - My Head Is a Jungle (MK Remix) Hot Natured - Benediction (Lxury Remix) AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It - Tchami Remix Ten Walls - Walking With Elephants - DaLoops & Freejak Edit Paloma Faith - Can't Rely on You (MK Remix) Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, & Tyga - Loyal (James HYPE Shake That Refix (Dirty) Eddie Thoenick - Freak N You (Chris_Moody_Remix) Route 94 - Forget The Girl (Original Mix) Redlight - Basscone Redlight - 9TS Audien & Route 94 - My Love Elysium (Jay Robbo Mash Up) David Guetta & Showtek ft. Vassy - Bad (Short Edit) Steve Angello, Dimitri Vangelis, & Wyman - Payback (Short Edit) Stadiumx & Taylr Renee - Howl At The Moon Calvin Harris & Alesso - Under Control (Extended Mix) Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix, & DVBBS ft. Aleesia - Gold Skies Avicii - Lay Me Down (Avicii By Avicii Remix) Tujamo & Plastik Funk ft. Sneakbo - Dr. Who Calvin Harris - C.U.B.A. Third Party - Everyday Of My Life Avicii vs Eminem - Levels Without Me (Dj Alijas Mashup) Zedd - Stay The Night (James HYPE Deeper Refix) Mr. Probz - Waves (Robin Schulz Remix) Klingande - Jubel Larse - So Long (NiCe7 Remix) Kant - Ey Yo Watermat vs London Grammar - Hey Bullit (Jack Eye Jones Club Mash) Rozalla & Chris Malinchak - Feels Damn Good (James Hype Mash) Kiesza - Hideaway - DJ Klutch Gecko Bootleg Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill - Gecko (Overdrive) YG - My N#gga (feat. Lil Wayne, Rich Homie Quan, Meek Mill & Nicki Minaj) [Remix] Lil Jon - Snap Yo Fingers - Lil Jon & DJ Kontrol Wiggle Blend (Clean) Rick Ross - Stay Schemin (Feat. Drake & French Montana) [Prod. By The Beat Bully] Drake & Lil Wayne - Right Above It Drake - 0 To 100 (The Catch Up) (Dirty) Wiz Khalifa ft. Snoop Dogg & Ty Dolla S -You And Your Friends (Dirty) Kid Ink ft. 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Chris Brown, & Trey Songz - Show Me Remix (Dirty) Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Tyga -Chris Brown - Loyal (Dirty) Tyga - Faded (feat. Lil Wayne) Trey Songz ft. Nicki Minaj - Touchin', Lovin' (Dirty) Ja Rule - Put It On Me (feat. Vita) Paul Wall ft. Kid Ink & YG - Gettin' Tho'd (Dirty) Will.I.Am ft. Miley Cyrus, French Montana, & Wiz Khalifa - Feelin' Myself (Dirty) End Credits Vs Wonderwall - Chase and Oasis (Glenn D Mashup)

Strawberries and Cream.  

Easter Sunday, a day of family, celebration, and fun. Today, after church, my family and I got together with my in-laws in the East Wenatchee Country Club for lunch. The club is actually for golf, but even if you don't golf, you can go to the restaurant which is really very good. For special occasions, their kitchen puts on quite a spread. Today they had lamb, ham, and chicken with mushrooms. Often they will serve prime rib beef which just melts in your mouth. And for those of you who are vegetarians, they also have a variety of egg and bean dishes with lots of fruits and vegetables. We dressed up a little more than usual for this lunch; it's a tradition, I suppose. While we ate, the children had an Easter egg hunt on the golf course. It was so cute to see little girls running around in their pretty dresses carrying baskets, and the boys dressed up like little men, all searching for the plastic eggs that had been hidden by the club staff. As we ate, we chatted away, and finished up with dessert. As usual, there was a choice of about six different desserts: cheese cakes, brownies, tiramisu, and some other rich chocolatey thing that I have no name for. It was a time for indulgence! Everything looked so good! I scanned the table to see what everybody else was eating, so I could make my choice. I noticed that each of my children had chosen about three things. "Well," I thought to myself, "it's Easter; I'll let them this time." As I chose my desserts, I made a quick trip to the table where they had fruit, cheeses, and pastries laid out. I piled a few of the freshest looking berries on my plate and headed back to our table. When I got there, my children noticed the strawberries on my plate and said, "Hey, good idea, Mum," so they went off and got some. What can I say? There was too much to choose from, and everybody was being greedy. Before I knew it, my kids were tucking into plates of strawberries and cream, as if their lives depended on them. It really is the perfect combination of tastes and textures for an Easter dessert. Grammar notes. Common expressions: as if their (his, her etc) lives depended on it (them), to put on a spread, to melt in your mouth, to tuck into. 1. The girl clung hold of her balloon as if her life depended on it.   OR     They ate their hamburgers so fast, as if their lives depended on them. 2. My grandmother is such a good cook. She always puts on quite a spread at Christmas. 3. How did you make these cookies? They melt in your mouth! 4. The hungry travelers tucked into the stew because they hadn't eaten in such a long time. Please rate my podcast by clicking the following link. Thanks! Click here to buy or rate my app // Tweet //   //  

128: geeettttt oooouuuuutttttt...  

First off, THANK YOU ALL for voting in the Podcast Awards and winning us an award for best Entertainment podcast in 2013!!! Woo hoo! We did it!! We were up against some heavy competition (Star Trek, Kevin Smith, and Taylor Swift), and winners in other categories included some of the podcast greats (This American Life, Radio Lab, and Grammar girl, to name a few). So thank you, and congratulations to you guys too, because we're all in this together :)

Join us this episode as we celebrate and talk future plans for the podcast. We also review The Conjuring, the popular, critically lauded spooky ghost flick from this last year, and of course we go over the latest news about The Walking Dead and respond to your feedback.

  Get The Walking Dead 'Cast for free in iTunes


Dance Anthems 23 - The Mr Blue Lips Podcast  

The biggest floor-filling anthems packed into a DJ mix set. Exclusive remixes and the latest chart hits are in this edition of the ever popular Dance Anthems series. With Christmas dinner still digesting, you can keep yourself warm with this high-octane, big vocal megamix. The hottest remixers and DJs complete this free to download mix set. Track listing: Don't Let Go - Mot & Krid Loving You Is Easy (Durrant & More Remix) - Union J Elastic Heart (Steve Pitron & Max Sanna Remix) - Sia Feat. The Weeknd & Diplo Nightcall (Freemasons Pegasus Club Mix) - London Grammar I Believe I Can Fly (Cutmore Club Mix) - Curtis Moore Concrete Angel - Gareth Emery feat Christina Novelli Of The Night (Fix8 Extended Mix) - Bastille Who's That Girl (7th Heaven Club Mix) - Guy Sebastian Feat Eve This Kiss (Digital Dog Remix) - Carly Rae Jepsen Part Of Me (Freemasons Club Mix) - Katy Perry Dance Upon The Ceiling (7th Heaven Club Mix) - Trilogy Project feat. Rebecca Ferguson You're The Best Thing (That Ever Happened) - Sleazesisters Chains Of Love (Almighty 12" Definitive Mix) - Erasure Reset All (7th Heaven Club Mix) - Tina Arena Life On Mars (Almighty Mix) - Obsession Only If I - Kate Ryan

108: How To Improve Your Writing With Grammar Girl and Grammar Pop  

A number of people who listen to this show want to be better writers, since I’ve received a few requests for this topic. On this episode, how to improve your grammar and usage so you can communicate effectively in writing…and who better to teach us than Grammar Girl. Guest: Mignon Fogarty a.k.a. “Grammar Girl” Producer […]

The post 108: How To Improve Your Writing With Grammar Girl and Grammar Pop appeared first on Coaching for Leaders.

A SMNTY Chat With Grammar Girl  

In this episode, Cristen and Caroline interview Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl. Listen in to learn if men and women pay attention to grammar differently, and if it's acceptable to refer to women as girls.

April 2011  

Aprender ingles gratis con La Mansion del Ingles. Un podcast para mejorar la gramatica, el vocabulario y la pronunciacion del inglés. Una leccion del ingles con ejemplos y ejercicios.

Learn English free with podcasts from La Mansion del Ingles. Improve your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. This English lesson contains examples and exercises.

Hello and welcome to another Mansion Ingles podcast from How are you? It’s good to be back with you again, and thank you for downloading this podcast, recorded for April 2011.

En el nivel básico este mes habían adjetivos que van con sustantivos, como a fast car – un coche rápido, a beautiful girl – una chica guapa.  En inglés, normalmente se colocan el adjetivo delante del nombre y no detrás como en español. Escucha y repite:

A fast car. An expensive car. A Ferrari is an expensive car. It’s made in Italy, It’s an Italian car. Is George Clooney attractive? Is he handsome? Where’s he from? He’s from the US. He’s an American actor. New York is a big city. It’s a busy city. The Eiffel Tower is French. The North Pole is very cold. It’s a cold place. - hace mucho frio – It’s a cold place. Where’s Mount Kilimanjaro? It’s in Africa. It’s African. - It’s African, it’s high and it’s very impressive.

Escucha los siguientes adjetivos en español y intenta decir los en inglés antes que yo. Ready? ¿Listos?

pequeño   small

frío          cold

bueno      good

rápido      fast

sucio        dirty

triste       sad

alto         high

difícil       difficult

nuevo      new

caro         expensive

rico         rich

gordo       fat

fuerte      strong

aburrido   boring

largo        long

Well done! – ¡muy bien!

In the intermediate section this month, we studied some pronouns and descriptions of vocabulary. Remember, we use who for people, where for places and which for things. Whose –W-H-O-S-E means de quien. Whose is this 50-Euro note? ¿De quien es esté billete de 50 Euros? – It’s mine!

Listen and repeat some examples:

A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat.

A microwave is a machine which cooks food quickly.

A bus stop is a place where you wait for a bus.

Whose dog is that?

Also in the intermediate section, we looked at the pronunciation of the –ed endings for regular verbs in the past. The pronunciation rules, las reglas, are explained in the newsletter, in the cuaderno, but there are 3 endings: a voiced ‘d’ sound, an unvoiced ‘t’ sound and an ‘id’ sound. There isn’t much difference between the ‘t’ and the ‘d’, between ‘listened’ and ‘hoped’, for example, but there is a difference if you make a mistake with the ‘id’. There’s a difference between travelled and travel-ed and between arrived and arriv-ed and between called and call-ed. The only time you pronounce the –ed as /id/ is when the last sound of the verb is a ‘t’ or a ‘d’. For example start – started or end – ended. Now listen and repeat some verbs in their groups:





























A Manicure Fanatic.  

My daughter is obsessed with fashion. She is only six, and it comes as a surprize to me that she is so fashion conscious. She is not so concerned with the seasons' colors or styles, but she does like to know the 'pop' fashion. I think it comes from her being very musical. When she hears a pop song, or sees artists sing on television, she really takes notice of what they are wearing, and their general style. Also, she is influenced by her girl friends at school. If so'n'so has a pretty, new jacket, she will want one that is similar. She won't necessarily get the jacket, but she will certainly talk about it a lot, and try her hardest to get what she wants. So, she started to become interested in makeup. You know, you can find little girls makeup sets that they play with at home, and with their friends. I went along with this, thinking that, as long as she keeps it at home, but washes it off before going out, then it was okay. However, sometimes we would be going out, and without me realizing, she would have eye shadow on, or blusher. Once, she even got into my makeup and put on mascara which looked ghastly. So, I decided that I had to do something about the situation. My thinking was, if I could transfer her attention away from her face, and onto something else, it should help. So, I came up with nails. I bought her a collection of cute nail polishes, and she immediately took the bate! This now has developed into a habit. She'll paint her tiny nails, and go to school and show her friends. We're both happy. So, the other day, I took her to V-tech nail salon for a special, professional manicure. They didn't actually do much. Her nails were short anyway, and clean, so they only had to paint them. Plus, her nails are so small, that they hardly had to use any nail polish. She sat down at the table with the lady and picked out some nail stickers that would go on each nail. Then the lady set to work. She applied one coat of pink, carefully placed the stickers, and then applied a clear coat to keep the stickers on, and to add shine. Domini felt very special and grown up. She had to hold her nails over a dryer, and then place her hands in a UV machine that quickly sets the polish. The salon was packed, with nail technicians working away, beautifying ladies' nails and toe nails. It was warm and colorful, and there was a buzz of conversation from these happy females. Grammar notes. Related vocabulary: to take notice, so'n'so, to go along with something, eye shadow and blusher. 1. He was very angry, but I didn't take any notice. 2. So'n'so is an example of someone who you don't know, a nameless example. 3. The group played a joke on my friend; I went along with it to really trick her. 4. That eye shadow really brings out the color of your eyes, and the blusher makes your cheeks look healthy. Tweet // //

A Commercial for Crunch Pak.  

My sister-in-law called me the other day and asked me if two of my children would be interested in taking part in a commercial. "I think so," I replied. I thought that it would be an exciting, new experience for them. One girl and one boy were needed. They would be brother and sister to my nephew in the commercial. We arranged the date and time. When we turned up at her house, I didn't know what to expect. There was only one camera man, and that was it. He has done work in the past for the company called Crunch Pak, so he was in charge of telling the kids what to do and say. I must say, he handled all of the kids really well. He has four children himself, the youngest of which is only a couple of weeks old, so he is used to lots of movement and distraction. Crunch Pak is a company that sells bags of sliced apples. They also have Mickey Mouse shaped plastic containers that have three sections for different, healthy food, including fruit. The filming started in the kitchen. One by one, the children had to walk to the fridge, open it, take out a packet of Crunch Pak, and put it in a brown paper bag, as if they were packing it as part of a home made lunch for school. That went well. They had to do a few retakes because the kids looked at the camera when they weren't supposed to. My daughter got quite excited about being on film, and started to show off a bit, but the camera man said that they could edit out anything they didn't want. Then it was time to go outside and play a little basketball. Cass was filmed shooting hoops and dribbling, so was my nephew Boone. Then Domini had to ask the boys if she could play. The story behind the commercial is that Domini ends up beating the two boys, dunks a basket, and is left hanging from the hoop, saying, "Can someone get me down from here?" Very cute. Two hours later, we were finished. The kids were very pleased with themselves, and are anxious to see the finished product. "I'll send each of your kids a little payment in the mail," said the camera man as we left. That made them doubly pleased. Grammar notes. Related vocabulary: To take part in, to handle .../it, to dribble, to shoot hoops, to dunk. 1. My children took part in a play in the local theater. 2. It was a difficult situation, but he handled it very well. 3. In basketball you must dribble the ball. That is when you bounce the ball while you run. 4. To throw the basketball at the basket and get it in is to 'shoot hoops'. 5. If you get really good at basketball, you might be able to dunk the ball. That means to jump up, put the ball in the basket, and then hang on to the rim or the hoop. Tweet // //

Stars on ice.  

I have never really been much of an ice skater. When I was a teenager, I would go indoor skating with friends, mainly to have a good laugh. When people are wobbling and falling down on a regular basis, it can be amusing! My friends and I never practiced enough to get really good. And that, I'm sure, makes all the difference. When you see someone who really skates well, it is like looking at good art. I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to see world class skating. A friend of mine had bought tickets to see 'Stars on ice'. Well, I had heard of the show, but didn't really know any details about who would be performing. I assumed that it would be a group of ice dancers, so to speak, but not anyone you could consider a champion. How wrong I was! The whole group of dancers were Olympic and World gold and silver champions! I couldn't believe it! They had come all the way to little old Wenatchee! You might recognize some of the names: Kurt Browning (4 times World Champion from Canada), Evan Lysaceck (Olympic gold medalist from U.S), and Ekaterina Gordeeva ( 2 times Olympic gold medalist). The performance lasted about 2 hours, with a short intermission. I took my little girl, who was mesmerized by the acrobatics and the beautiful dresses. And the stadium was packed, as you can imagine. There were cheers and claps all the way through as the stars spun in the air and landed flawlessly. I'm sure that young people in the audience were inspired to rent some skates, and go to the next public ice skating session, to wobble around and imagine themselves as stars.   Grammar notes. So to speak, mesmerized, flawless. The wedding cake she made was a triumph, so to speak. The ladies were mesmerized by the diamond rings in the shop window. This antique vase is flawless; it doesn't have any cracks, or even one scratch. Tweet // //

Breakfast in Nice.  

A double treat for me during my week's vacation, was to visit my dear friend, Lorraine, in Nice. I hadn't seen her for eleven years, which, of course is far too long. But, as you probably know, when you get together with a great friend, even if you haven't seen her for a long time, it is as if you haven't been apart for very long. We stayed up until late, catching up on eachothers' news. Since I had seen her, she had had a little girl, started her own business, and moved several times. We chatted late into the night, and it felt like old times. The next day, although I only had a few hours, she took me out for breakfast. She chose a patisserie that just about blew my socks off. It's display case was so attractive that I asked the owner if I could take a video. Everything was presented so beautifully. And there was just about everything you could imagine, when it comes to baked goods. Believe it or not, I actually didn't have a pastry with my coffee! I know, I know, it was an opportunity that I shouldn't have missed, but I like savory in the morning. So, I had a delicious ham and cheese baguette instead. This time of year in Nice is perfect; it's sunny but not hot, so we sat out and enjoyed the view while we chatted. Afterwards, Lorraine drove along the coastal road, pointing out famous landmarks, and showing me the different areas where she used to live. Nice is so clean and pretty. For someone coming from the cold and dark, it was like a large dose of medicine. We went down to the port, where lots of yachts are moored. She showed me where the Microsoft yacht is. It's massive of course. Lorraine took my photo next to it, just so I can show off and tell people about it. I actually don't know what I would do with a huge yacht like that. It would be a nightmare to clean! I would probably sell it, and with a small portion of the money I'd make, I would fly all of my friends and family to Nice for a two week tour of all the patisseries. Grammar notes. Expressions: When it comes to, to show off, to get together. 1. She is a master at arranging flowers. When it comes to decorating entryways, she is the most creative. 2. He is such a show-off! He is always talking about his latest purchases and how much they cost. 3. The reunion was a real success. It was a get together that we will all remember. Tweet // //

Sock soup.  

Muddy, brown water. A couple of wiffle balls. An old, dirty snowman toy. A plastic Dora the Explora figure that has been buried in the earth for over a year. Add to these things a stinky sock and a few sticks, and you have the perfect recipe for 'sock soup'. And of course you have to mix it all together in a wheel barrow. That is what took place today in my vegetable garden. I was peacefully planting some seeds, and making sure that everything was just right, when I heard some little monkeys come running in my direction. "Uh-oh," I thought to myself, "here comes trouble." Robert and Domini were wanting to get involved in the garden, get their hands dirty, do no work at all, and make a huge mess. You know, like kids normally do. So, I gave them a few rules to follow, and then let them get on with their project. I think they were pretending to be scientists. They stirred the chemicals carefully, and immersed their patient, the snowman, in the mix. It was very serious play time. This experiment would change history. As I watched them, I was reminded about a similar occasion, when a little boy (my brother) and a very little girl (myself) were also mixing a very important cocktail. We were at my grandparents house in the Summer. They had chickens, and some how my brother and I had got hold of the corn feed. We mixed it with water in a very large watering can. And we invented a chant, "Corn and water, water and corn. Corn and water, water and corn." We were so happy, mixing and chanting, chanting and mixing. We could have continued for hours. However, my very traditional, serious, and a little impatient grandfather was trying to sleep on a lawn chair nearby. He tossed and turned, and tried to ignore us. But then, suddenly, he just couldn't take it anymore. He sat upright, and barked like a bull dog, "For goodness sake, would you be quiet!" Surprised, and a little amused at how cross and red-faced he was, we fell silent for a few minutes. But then we started whispering our chant, instead. How kids love to mess about. It's great. I let my children get on with it, and use their imaginations, until it gets too messy. Then we call it a day. Grammar notes. Related vocabulary: a wiffle ball, to call it a day, a watering can, red-faced. 1. A wiffle ball has lots of holes in it, and makes a sort of whistle when you hit it with a bat. 2. I'm tired. We've been digging all day. Let's call it a day. 3. The water flows gently from the watering can and doesn't break the tender flowers. 4. The teacher was so cross that we was red-faced. Tweet // //

Learning how to bike.  

'Prevention is better than cure' is a saying that I fully believe in. Similarly, using the correct tools for a job, or wearing the correct protection, is just as smart. I've been thinking about this recently because my little girl has been learning how to ride her bicycle without the training wheels. If it were up to me, I wouldn't teach her yet. However, my husband is confident that she is ready to take this big step. Each afternoon for about a week, they have been practicing on our driveway and around the cul-de-sac. He has given her plenty of coaching about all the things that you need to bear in mind: watch for traffic, get your balance, put the pedals in the right position, don't go too fast, give yourself time to make a turn etc etc. And, you know, she is doing very well. She is completely safe because from head to toe she is protected with pads of all kinds, and then, of course, she has the crowning glory of the all important helmet. Not wearing a helmet is looked upon as being seriously unintelligent in this house. My husband is a serious bike rider, and even some of his veteran riding buddies have had serious accidents. In some of their accidents, if they hadn't worn their helmets, they wouldn't be here today. So, our kids know that you cannot get on the bike without putting your head protection on first. But once that is taken care of, it's time to have fun. I love watching my daughter's sense of achievement show on her face; she's such a tiny little thing, but now has freedom on wheels. I suppose being five is actually a big thing; you learn to read, you learn to ride your bike, and you start school. Gosh, those are big steps! Grammar notes. Hypothesis and speculation using the subjunctive + related expressions: to bear in mind, from head to toe, veteran, the crowning glory. 1. If he doesn't bear everyone's efforts in mind, he could become quite unpopular. 2. If you had been protected from head to toe, you wouldn't have got hurt. 3. If the war veterans received a decent pension, there wouldn't be a need for their charities. 4. If the architect's plans for the new park were approved, it would be the crowning glory of the whole city.

Starting to read.  

Helen the hippo is my friend at the moment. My little girl is learning how to read, and Helen is the type of character that is helping her to do so. It has been wonderful and fascinating to see the transition from knowing the alphabet to putting words together. Today, in the car, while we were waiting outside of the music school for my oldest son, Domini picked up some books that we keep in the back. To my amazement she slowly started to spell out the words, reading slowly. Every now and then, she would get a word wrong or guess it, but I noticed that she would recognize the first two letters in each word, and often the last one or two. In English, you have to use tricks like that because we have so many odd spellings: the silent e's, the silent gh's, the ph's, and the wh's that can be anything from 'what' to 'who'. Believe me, native English speakers have a hard enough time learning how to read English, not just the non-natives. My daughter squealed with delight when I would say,"Yep, you got that right." Her sense of satisfaction is tremendous; at last she can tell her brothers, who are all readers, that she too can do what they do. Good for her! Now I can get out the series of beginners books that I have used with the boys, and they can be kept in her room. Helen the hippo comes from this series, along with Olive the octopus, and Suzy the snake. The books work their way through the alphabet, introducing what we call 'sight words', those common English words that have to be memorized because they are essential, and a lot of them are irregular. Some of these words that you will be familiar with are: there, their, who, what, one, two, eight, night, and the list goes on. I've noticed, when I volunteer in Robert's class, that children's books use a lot of patterns, rhyme, and humor or surprize to keep the children's attention, and to make the words memorable. You'll find sentences like:                      Zoe the zebra likes to cook,                     she gets her instructions from the book. This is a good technique for those of you who are learning English. If you make up some sentences that rhyme and have a pattern or are funny or bizarre, the chances are that you will easily remember all of the vocabulary and how to use it. So:                       If you follow these podcasts it will not hurt,                      the world will say you're an English expert! Grammar notes. Common expressions: at the moment, every now and then, good for (person), the chances are. 1. Professor Penguin is busy at the moment; he will be available shortly. 2. Every now and then, Lucy the lion will visit her neighbor Betty the bear for a cup of tea. 3. David, the doggy detective, cracked the case. He solved the crime, good for him! 4. If you play roughly with the kitten, the chances are you will get bitten. Begeebees. Similar in meaning to completely, utterly, the tar, or heck. Examples: 1. I rubbed the begeebees (heck) out of the stain on the carpet, but it still wouldn't come out. I rubbed the stain on the carpet completely, but it still wouldn't come out. 2. The boxers beat the begeebees (tar) out of eachother, and had to be taken to hospital. 3. What the begeebees (heck) do you think you are doing?

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