English practice for beginners and advanced, that will inspire and refresh the anxious language student. Download the text and grammar notes for a complete language experience. You really can learn English well with this clearly spoken and delightful course.
An Inspiring Day Out.
A week ago I went on a drive to explore an area of Eastern Washington that I'm not familiar with at all. It was the rolling countryside north of where I live, near the little town of Manson. The geography here is dry like Wenatchee, but lower, wider, and full of rolling hills. These stretch miles into the distance towards the East. It seems like a very rural, mainly uninhabited area, but actually, as you explore, you quickly realize that there are houses even in the most remote looking areas, little pockets of human life here and there. I think that they type of people who live in these areas are either retired, work remotely from home, or really need the peace and energy that the quiet countryside can give. Driving up a lonely, winding road, suddenly there was a flash of color above that passed over the car. Of all things it was a peacock. What on earth was it doing in this remote area. It seemed really out of place. It flew from one side of the road to the hill on the other, joining about eight others that were already there, enjoying the sun. Their colors were brilliant. And yes, even though they seem more suited to palace gardens, they were totally comfortable in that terrain. They are, after all, very much like pheasants, just much more beautiful. Someone nearby must have bred them. I could only see one female; of course she wasn't as spectacular to look at as the males. Her plumage was much more like the grass and rocks of her surroundings. These little day trips always seem to bring surprises, even in remote areas, there is always something that will prove to be unexpected.
The New York City Marathon.
Hello happy podcast listeners, I've missed you! However, I have resurfaced, as I have done in the past, with exciting news. I am going to run the New York City Marathon in November. I am both nervous and excited. I'm not actually a long distance runner; this is a new endeavor. I used to sprint, which means fast, short runs. At this point in my life, though, I would like to attempt something very special, and the New York Marathon is definitely that. It happens to be the 50th anniversary of the run, so the size and atmosphere of the race will be above average. It's a bucket list item, you could say. I am hoping that my 50 year old joints will cope with the impact of running 26 miles, especially as I have a little hip injury. So wish me luck while I get prepared. If any of you run, I would love to hear some good advice; I am all ears! One other reason why I am very excited about participating in this historical event, is that I'm doing it to raise money for The World Wild Life Fund. This is a very worthy cause which supports and funds educational programs that teach communities sustainable farming, land use, and life style, so people can eat what they grow for a long time, and develop an efficient and productive relationship with the land. Preserving our water sources and having food security, are the keys to global health and less wars. The charity does its part for plant and animal life also, so we can preserve this beautiful, fascinating planet. The NYC Marathon is obviously an international event with professional, and olympic runners competing from countries like Ethiopia and Kenya, amongst others. It has been limited to 33,000 people because of Covid, but thankfully is still due to take place, unlike others that have been cancelled. The winner's prize money for both men and women is $130,000. Well, I certainly won't be seeing any of that; I will just be happy to be there, and fingers-crossed, cross the finish line. I will certainly do a podcast to let you all know what happens. As I am doing this to raise money for charity, I would really appreciate any donations any of you can make, even pennies would help. Just head over to and click on the super-cute baby elephant if you'd like to do your part for this very worthy cause. If you donate, you will know that we worked together for charity in the 50th NYC Marathon. Thank you in advance for your help.
A Lunch Break.
What do you do on your lunch break? Some people barely have one; they have to quickly grab a snack, eat for a few minutes, and then continue working. This summer, as my teaching job is over, I have been working as a medical interpreter in a local hospital, in rehab. I love it there. This job is such a contrast to teaching, and, of course, the environment is completely different! The day is divided up into 45 minute blocks of time when different therapists each visit the patients and work with them. Some of these patients only speak Spanish, so that is where I come in. I'm the interpreter in the middle, trying to be as accurate as possible. Most of these patients are recent stroke victims. Our task is to get their mobility and speech back to as normal as possible. The encouraging thing about the rehab department is that we see tremendous recovery every day. But the work is intense, even the interpreting. So a good lunch break is welcome, believe me. Thankfully, I have an hour! The hospital is located not far from the center of town, so in a short walk, you have access to shops and restaurants. However, my favorite place for lunch when I work there is in the hospital gardens. It is a medium patch of grass surrounded by trees, with a well maintained zinnia patch. Yes zinnias! If you have listened to my podcast over the years, you will know that they are one of my favorite flowers. They are hardy, and tolerate these dry, hot conditions. So, I sit in the hospital gardens, eating my food, and watching the bees make their rounds in the flower patch, a bit like the therapists visiting the patients.
A vaccination for teachers.
Since my last podcast, I have started working full-time at a middle school. I am an eighth grade ELA and Social Studies teacher. ELA means English Language Arts, and is basically all about essay writing and critical thinking. Of course I feel very privileged to have this job, especially (1)in this climate of high unemployment! It's not (2)all smooth sailing, however. The hybrid system of teaching in person part of the time and via zoom the rest of the time is still evolving, so the curriculum is something we are having to develop from week to week. This might not sound like a problem, but, believe me it is a real headache. Also, we only have half of the students in school at a time. I cannot complain, though. (3)I am more than happy to be back in a teaching environment, and am slowly bonding with the students. There is talk now about the whole student body coming back to school full-time. We will find out in a week or two if that will happen. It seems that, as more people are vaccinated, the government wants to get young people back to a normal, learning routine as soon as possible. In order to do that safely, we will have to follow certain protocols, and, of course, be vaccinated. I had the first vaccine by Pfizer about three weeks ago, so I am due to have the next one today. Exciting.... I don't mind vaccines; I certainly believe in them. I see this next one as a gateway to getting back to a normal life, so I certainly don't mind a poke in the arm, even if I get a few cold-like symptoms for a few days afterwards. When I had my first vaccine, it was a drive-through situation where I didn't have to get out of my car. Afterwards, I had to sit in line and wait for 15 minutes before leaving, just so the nurses could see that I didn't have an allergic reaction. I didn't have one. So, it looks like I'm on target for being 'covered' as we say today. I will be less likely to get infected and less likely to infect. That gives me great peace of mind. I am encouraged by the news of the many different types of vaccines for Covid that are now available, and the numbers of people who are receiving them each day globally. 1. In this climate of ..... means in this general atmosphere/ condition of society. It is used figuratively. a. In this climate of political divide, it is refreshing to be able to debate amicably. b. In this climate of apparent accountability, I hope we can all be more transparent. 2. 'Smooth sailing' or 'it's not all smooth sailing' are wonderful idioms to show ease or the lack of it. a. After we organized the wedding and sent out the invitations, everything else was smooth sailing. b. Running your own business is not all smooth sailing. You might have more control and independence, but you have all the responsibility. 3. 'To be more than happy to..' is obvious in meaning, and a great addition to a sentence. a. I am more than happy to help you; just tell me what you need. b. We are more than happy to help that charity because it does so much good for the community.
Frost and flowers.
Winter is a special time. I suppose all of the seasons are. I find winter to be a struggle with disappointment which is relieved by exciting and meaningful moments. The main reason for this is the climate I live in. Wenatchee is a semi-desert region, so it is very dry. However, in the winter we get a lot of snow. The surrounding mountains give us the opportunity to play! Skiing it all its variety is available, and many people take advantage of it. I, at the moment, am really enjoying skate skiing. I plan to do some downhill skiing as well, that is, if I can find the time. So what did I mean when I said that winter is a struggle with disappointment? Well, sometimes there is no snow, and therefore no skiing. At times, we just get the cold, dreary, grey weather, and none of the white, fun stuff. When it does fall from the sky, however, it is magical. It transforms everything that you see outside into another world. The celebrations during winter also create moments that are very special. Diwali, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Chinese New Year just some of the many holidays that are celebrated in winter around the world. We humans are very connected to the seasons, and see them as representing meaningful parts of our own lives, as well as being part of the natural world. As we approach February, I see small signs of spring here and there. In the shops, a few flowers have appeared. They were grown either in other countries or 'forced' to grow early in greenhouses. Either way, I appreciate seeing them in their rows in the stores. They contrast with the snowy winter conditions; they really seem out of place. But you know me: I love flowers! I'll buy them in any season. So when it is a disappointing, dull, snowless day, I can cheer myself up by looking at the flowerpot on the kitchen windowsill.
The frosty days of early winter are here, so most people are staying indoors. Covid, of course, has made that worse. However, everywhere I see people making an effort to get out of doors at some point so they can exercise. Our days are short now: at five o'clock it is dark. So, if you want to exercise in the daylight, you need to go earlier in the day, otherwise you won't get any rays at all! For a few days, I got up and actually went for a run. Now, that sounds impressive. It wasn't. I basically managed about twenty minutes to half an hour around the nearby neighborhoods. I felt great afterwards! As I stretched my hips and thighs I felt very proud of myself for doing something so crazy, especially as the mornings were frosty. There were other benefits that I found from jogging as well. I discovered a couple of lovely streets: Dogwood lane, and Castleview drive. These are very neat, elegant residential areas that have attractive homes, nice front yards, and mature trees. No all streets have those, so it's refreshing when you come across some that do. So, it was on Brandi lane where I discovered a type of maple tree that still has not lost its leaves. That is very unusual for deciduous trees here; they are all bare now because of the cold, but not these. I am aching to find out what their names are, because they stand out and look fabulous. It was a joy to run past them, and under them, with their masses of red and pink leaves hanging overhead, glowing in the sun. Whoever planted these along the road either knew how they would add to the beauty of the neighborhood, or that person simply got lucky. Either way, until all their leaves fall and they become bare, Brandi lane will be a road that I jog through quite happily.
Short,sweet,nice review of vocabulary