Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

If you want to read some very good quality writing, as well as learning about all kinds of amazing adventures around the world, then I highly recommend that you look for “Outside Magazine”. This article is very long, and includes a lot of information that might be confusing, but it’s the best analysis that I’ve seen for how various eating choices affect the environment. If you are planning to take a language proficiency exam, or if this is an interesting subject for you, I recommend that you read this article. Maybe you might want to read a couple of paragraphs/day, instead of trying to read the whole thing in one sitting. Get the main idea first, and then look up words that are unfamiliar to you.

The endless cascade of nutritional information—about localism, vegetarianism, veganism, organic food, the environmental impact of eating meat, poultry, or fish, and more—makes the simple goal of a healthy, sustainable diet seem hopelessly complex. We talked to scientists, chefs, and farmers to get the ultimate rundown on how you should fuel up.

Source: Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

10 Signs You Are Enjoying Your Work

I have been very lucky in my life.  There have been brief periods when I had do a job, just to make money that I needed.  A lot of people are happy with this situation, especially if they work with people they like, or if they earn a really good salary.  However, I would be really unhappy about living this way for a long time, since I really see my work as a very important part of who I am.  My work as a social worker was much more stressful than my work as an ESL teacher, but I still had many joyful times in that job, and I always felt that what I was doing was valuable and important.  I was proud to do the job.  If you are still looking for your dream job, I think that this list will give you a good idea about how work should make you feel, when things are going well.

10 Signs You Are Enjoying Your Work.

Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferris is a very popular author, blogger, and podcaster.  He’s a person who’s described as a “life-hacker” because he’s constantly trying to find a more effective way to live.  I really admire his high energy, his enthusiasm and energy, and his zest for life.  His books, “4 Hour Body”, “4 Hour Work Week”, and “4 Hour Chef” are all best-sellers.  I don’t read or listen to a lot of what he publishes because he writes and speaks a LOT.  However, I’m so glad that I took the time to read this message.  I encourage you to take some quiet time when you aren’t surrounded by curious people, to read what he’s written here.

Suicide affects everyone.  Even if you are one of the very rare people who has never wanted to give it all up, you know people who have.  Tim was planning to be one of those people at a very stressful point in his life, and he was systematically planning the end of his life.  Take time to read about what and how he changed his mind, and what helps him to avoid that plan on an ongoing basis.  What he says here is really important.  Even if you are “high on life” right now, reading what he says can help you to help someone who is depressed and discouraged.

Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss.

Some more useful resources:


I believe that everyone should take suicide prevention courses, just like almost everyone takes First Aid at some point in your life.  You never know when you will be the “first responder” who finds someone who is actively suicidal, or who has just attempted suicide.  It doesn’t take too much time (about 2 days) to take a course, and you will be so glad that you have learned about what to do and say.  I know that I have probably been in this situation at least a handful of times.

Traveling Internationally? Do These 20 Things First | Travelzoo

Traveling Internationally? Do These 20 Things First | Travelzoo.

There are some very good tips for travel planning here.  Something else that I often think about is the location of flight transfers.  I really prefer to arrange about 2 hours for my flight transfers, so that I have time to walk around, take a bathroom break, pick up something to eat, and look at what’s different.  Some airports, like Seattle, are very comfortable, with excellent services, like a seated massage, and delicious food.  I can relax more on my flights, if I know that I have a little extra time to make my connections.  What about you?  What’s important.

5 steps to achieving your New Year’s resolutions |

I’ve included a lot of posts on my blog about setting goals, and establishing good habits.  Aaron has an amazing blog with a new English phrase or expression every day.  One excellent English-learning habit would be to take 5 minutes every morning to read about the phrase of the day, and then see if you can use it in conversation by the end of the day.

For me, I have a couple of big goals: adventure and socializing.  I can often combine them, by being a part of groups/clubs, like November Project Canada, Ceyana Canoe, and various Meetup groups.  I want to maintain my habit of physical activity at least 5 days/week.  Since my fitness application (MapMyRun) says that I did 412 workouts in 2014, this has been going pretty well for me.  Quite a few of them included biking or walking to work, but each trip was a mile (1.6K) long, so it all helps me to stay active.

It’s important to identify barriers to achieving your goals, so that you can build habits to eliminate those barriers.  I have a bad habit that interferes with socializing: I let my dirty dishes pile up for a week or more at a time.  It’s pretty gross, but I can ignore it a lot of the time.  So, one of my first resolutions is to wash my dishes every day (at least 5 days/week) for January.  Hopefully, that’s long enough to establish the good habit.

Why is learning English important to you?  Does it break down barriers for some of the big goals in your life?  If it does, think of small habits that you can build, to help you to achieve your language-learning goals.

5 steps to achieving your New Year’s resolutions |

Most university students’ English skills at rudimentary levels – News VietNamNet

Most university students’ English skills at rudimentary levels – News VietNamNet.

When I taught English in Viet Nam, I saw that most students had very weak communication skills.  Often, I could hear their other classes through the walls of my classroom.  I noticed that most Vietnamese English teachers taught “English class” entirely in Vietnamese!!  Students were very familiar with English grammar rules, because they spent most of their class time focussing on grammar.  However, it was nearly impossible for them to focus and understand the simplest questions or answers.  Because there is so much international business, there is a strong awareness that communication skills need to improve.


The Age At Which Learning a New Language Stops Strengthening The Brain — PsyBlog

The Age At Which Learning a New Language Stops Strengthening The Brain — PsyBlog.

The good news is that learning another language is always good for your brain!  Go to a coffee shop, store or restaurant where you can hear another language.  Change your browser settings on your computer to another language.  Listen to radio ads in a new language: it’s like vitamins for your brain!!

7 Language Learning Tips They Don’t Teach You In School | Lingholic

7 Language Learning Tips They Don’t Teach You In School | Lingholic.

There are always new ways that you can improve your language learning, if you feel like you are stuck.  For a movie to learn, I strongly recommend “The Princess Bride”, one of my favourite movies of all time.  It’s currently available on NetFlix in Canada, so you ca watch it again and again.  There is some challenging vocabulary (“Inconceivable”), but everyone speaks fairly slowly and clearly, there is a LOT of action, some very memorable lines, and there’s a little bit of everything in the movie.

Princess Bride


A polite song about Canada

Canadians are very proud of our astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, who has lived in space, recording music while he was there.  His brother Dave is also musical and they collaborated on a musical tribute to Canada.  They make reference to a lot of things that are uniquely Canadian, like our habit of ending sentences with the word “eh”!  Listen and enjoy, it’s a very pretty song.  Check out the other videos too!

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library.

Several times a year, I make sure that my students participate in this excellent book sale.  The Edmonton Public Library fills 3 large rooms with books, and sells them all for $1-2!  The sale usually goes for the whole weekend, and they keep adding to the books through that time.  You can even fill a whole box with books for only $10 on Sunday!  For students who have already visited this sale, they are usually looking forward to the next one, because there are so many great bargains available.  I especially recommend checking out the children’s nonfiction books, since they cover many topics and they’re really full of beautiful illustrations.  Take some time to look around the downtown (Stanley Milner) library while you are there, and pick up your free library card, if you don’t already have one!


Order of adjectives

There are many different skills to master when you’re trying to master a new language. One thing that native speakers rarely think about is the order for adjectives, when you are listing several in a row. This is very common. It will be very confusing to a native speaker if you list the number after listing everything else, or if you begin with origin. These were a couple of the charts that I found, and there’s more information available online.

Think about this: Three beautiful, big, pink, plastic flowers.

What order should you use for adjectives?

21 Clever Writing Prompts That Will Unleash Your Students’ Creativity

21 Clever Writing Prompts That Will Unleash Your Students’ Creativity.

Many students feel that it’s very difficult to improve their writing.  We frequently use speaking, listening, and reading, if we’re living in an English-speaking environment.  However, many people rarely write, even in their first language.  This means that it will take you much more practice to improve your writing.  Fortunately, I believe that you can improve your writing much more rapidly than you can improve your other skills, because your work is right in front of you.  When you have corrected errors in your writing, you’re likely to remember those errors much more easily than a speaking error, and you’ll try harder to correct it.  What should you write about? You should write about anything and everything, what you did during the day, your plans for the future, arrangements with friends and family, instructions, anything.  These ideas are all a lot of fun.  Try them out some day, and see how your skills improve!