The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald

Many people start to study Engish when they are making a big change in their lives. Maybe a partner is taking more education, a parent has remarried and moved, home feels too dangerous, or your marital status has changed.  This is a great article about 6 people from Calgary who had to make job changes.  Your identity changes a lot, along with your employment status and where you live.  Read for some good ideas about how to “reinvent” your life.

We talked to six Calgarians up to their necks in the messy, but necessary, business of professional transformation.

Source: The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald


Winter words: vocabulary for winter equipment

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Edmonton winter can start very early some years, and very late other years.  However, this year, our winter has already started! On Friday, the beginning of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the snow started to fall, all the way from Edmonton … Continue reading


Edmonton transportation: videos

It’s interesting to watch videos and TV shows that are filmed in your hometown, when you can recognize many of the landmarks and objects in the video.  Here are some videos that were filmed in Edmonton.  They are very useful for reviewing a lot of the vocabulary that relates to different kinds of transportation.  Enjoy!

Edmonton Airport Below Zero

The TV show was all filmed during one day at Edmonton International Airport, and shows many of the different problems that happen at an airport.

Martin Kerr’s music video was all filmed on the LRT train system in Edmonton, as well as at some stations.  People from Edmonton should be able to recognize many familiar locations.

The Road To Impact – BioLite

I have mentioned previously that I’m very excited about my BioLite cooking system that I use for camping and for BBQ. As soon as I saw this great new innovation, I needed to have it! In the beginning, it was a little bit frustrating, because you need to use wood for your cooking, and the wood at a campsite is often wet, and hard to start. However, I learned to carry dry kindling with me, and once a fire ignites, it is easy to keep the fire going with the generator and fan. Food cooks and water boils quickly and conveniently, and I don’t need to buy or carry fossil fuels, in order to enjoy my camping meals. This video shows you a little bit about how the technology is being used to improve the lives of families in developing countries, where cooking is often a dangerous and difficult activity. When I think of creative solutions, BioLite is often one of the first products that I think of.


Ready to make a dried meal

An honest look at the business of change and what it takes to bring Energy Everywhere. Learn how your purchase has a direct impact on our mission.

Source: The Road To Impact – BioLite

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

Coming soon: Round Dance, Books2Buy, Ice Castles, etc.

20160130 University of Alberta Round Dance

I have posted information about round dances previously, and I really recommend that you visit at least one, if you never have.  There are always a lot of ceremonies prior to the actual dancing: the pipe ceremony, the feast, and a lot of prayers.  The dancing and singing is likely to begin around 7, or later.  This is a very convenient location, easy to reach on foot, by bicycle, bus, or LRT.  There is also a lot of parking at and near the university, but it’s not cheap, and you have to pay any time of day.

University of Alberta Round Dance 2016

The very best deal in town for people who love books is the Books2Buy sale that the Edmonton Library holds several times a year.  Collect books, CDs, and DVDs for only $1-2 each.  Go early for the best selection, and go on Sunday to fill a big box with materials for only $10!


  • Friday, February 19: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 20: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, February, 21: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m


  • Stanley A. Milner Library

2016 February EPL Books2Buy

I may have already mentioned this, but there are many events during the Edmonton winter, and one that’s really unique is the amazing Ice Castle that has been built in Hawrelak Park.  Everything is created from ice, and you can explore inside the castle, enjoying the beautiful lights, inside and outside.

Edmonton Ice Castle


Enjoy your winter.  It’s more difficult than summer, but it’s really interesting and exciting in a different way!

The Best of Edmonton

The students in my low intermediate class are studying about shopping, and they have learned a lot about using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here, they share some of the best places that they have found around Edmonton.

I like Edmonton because the society is relaxed. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname, Canada’s Festival City. In Canada, it’s the most popular city for festivals.

Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction in Edmonton, which is the largest living history museum in Canada by area.

If you stay in a hotel, the most expensive is The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and it has four stars. The price is $228.44 and that doesn’t include taxes and service fees of USD 28.03.

Here in Edmonton, you have to pay more GST (like VAT or HST).

If you want to buy the least expensive fruits and vegetables, No Frills is the least expensive grocery store.

If you want to visit a mall, West Edmonton mall is the biggest in Edmonton. Before, it was the biggest in the world but now it is only the most popular. You can find anything, you like there.

Hello! I’m from Brazil. Now I live in Edmonton, and I have stayed in Edmonton for five months. I haven’t had a long time to make great suggestions, but I’m enjoying my time a lot. Edmonton has a lot of great festivals in the summer. You should go to the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton or Fringe Festival Theater. Most festivals are amazing for families or on your own. Taste of Edmonton and Heritage festival both have food, but Heritage doesn’t have drinks with alcohol. Taste of Edmonton has a specific location for tasting wine and beer. Heritage has a lot of different traditional food and dances from all over the world. This is fantastic because you can learn a little about the culture of other countries. At the Fringe Theater Festival you should watch a presentation of arts on the street, for example, magic, acrobatics, or juggling outside or inside. If you watch theatre inside, you paid too much money. You can see pictures, handicrafts and snacks if you take more time.

I have some other suggestions for the best restaurants, nicest hotels, best department stores, most unusual markets and the most interesting museums. The best restaurant you should try is Rick’s. If you can spend more money, you could try Lux steakhouse. I don’t know a lot of hotels, but you could try Matrix Hotel. This hotel is downtown, and it has breakfast and a nice environment. The best mall you could visit is Southgate because it has a lot of stores, clothes, house, shoes, sports and others things. If you like to walk and have time, you could go to South Edmonton Common. The most unusual market you should go to a farmers’ market on Saturday on 104 Street. The most interesting museum near Edmonton is in Drumheller. You should visit Telus World of Science or Drumheller Museum to see the dinosaurs. In Edmonton, there are a lot of different places for you to visit.

When you arrive in Edmonton you should go to West Edmonton Mall. In West Edmonton Mall, there are a lot of cheap shops and expensive shops, so it depends on what suits you. In West Edmonton Mall, you can buy whatever you like. You can buy all kinds of clothes, electronic products, toys, souvenirs, and food. Also in West Edmonton Mall you can spend your time pleasantly. The most unusual markets are Costco and Sobeys. I always go there. The best Chinese restaurant where I was is, “Double Greeting Wonton House”. This restaurant looks ugly, but there is good food! In my opinion, the nicest hotel in Edmonton is the Hotel Macdonald. I was there for a moment and I saw a cool dog there. In the lobby, there is a model Hotel Macdonald building built with Lego. I was at one festival in St Albert. This festival was about old cars and a lot of people brought their own old cars and drove them around my street. For me, this was amazing because cars in Poland are different than Canadian cars.

Places to visit when you are in Edmonton:

When visiting Edmonton, you shouldn’t miss:

If you visit with children you can’t miss the most interesting park, “Fort Edmonton Park”!

Another park is “William Hawrelak Park”, and this is the most beautiful park in summer and in winter.

The best and the nicest Hotel is “Fairmont Hotel Macdonald” but it is also the most expensive.

The most interesting market is the “Farmers Market” in Old Strathcona. But there are many other interesting markets in the city in the summer.

“The Royal Alberta Museum” is the nicest museum in Edmonton.

But if you want to buy something, you can visit the biggest mall in America: “West Edmonton Mall” and after that, you can eat in the best restaurant in Edmonton: “Sorrentino’s Restaurant” or in the most unusual restaurant, “Louisiana Purchase” where you can eat crocodile.

I hope you enjoy your visit.

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics |

A lot of my students are very interested in fashion, shopping, and makeup.  There is a LOT of vocabulary about these subjects, but you can learn it pretty easily if it’s important for you.  I recommend that you look for English fashion magazines, which contain a lot of photographs.  Generally, there will be a very detailed description of each of the styles that are in the book, including colours and styles.  Many women’s magazines also contain a lot of ads and articles that relate to cosmetics.  Take some time to browse, if fashion is important to you!

Aaron’s Phrase Mix covers a lot of English expressions and idioms, and you can follow Aaron on Twitter @phrasemix

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics |


Roots and English Words

One of the reasons that I have chosen to teach ESL as a second career is because of my lifelong fascination with words.  Words have brought me so much joy in my life.  Reading has always been one of my favourite activities, first in print, and more recently in audiobooks.  When I listen to music, I’m only drawn to songs with interesting lyrics.  The harmony and melody are very important, but I’m only really interested when the words of a song are meaningful in some way.  I only took Latin for 1 year, but I’ve always been grateful that my early teachers took time to point out the patterns in the English language.  They helped to notice prefixes (word beginnings) and suffixes (word endings), and to recognize the roots of many common words.  When we know a little bit more about the origins of a word, we can understand much more about its meaning, as well as pronunciation and usage.  As I studied to teach ESL, I was fascinated to learn that most of our food and government vocabulary came from the Norman French when they controlled England.

I hope that this webpage will help you a bit in your journey to understand new words.  Often, the new word will have some clues that will help you to guess at the meaning.

Roots and English Words.

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Farmers and gardeners are very worried about the lack of rain and high heat in Alberta.  These 2 news stories talk about the conditions.  See what new vocabulary you can find.Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation.

Parkland County east of Edmonton has de­clared a state of agri­cul­tur­al dis­as­ter.

A com­bin­a­tion of drought and grass­hop­pers have dev­as­tat­ed crops in the re­gion, the county said in a news re­lease Tuesday.

County of­fi­cials will re­quest a dis­as­ter re­cov­ery program be set up by both the prov­in­cial and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments.

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library

Many students ask me how they can improve their vocabulary, as well as their writing, and in my opinion, the best way to do that quickly is to read as much as you can in English, about subjects that interest you.  New books are expensive, and if you borrow books from the library, you may find it hard to finish them within 3 weeks.  An excellent way to learn about many new things is to visit the Books2Buy booksale, which is held several times/year at the Stanley A. Milner Library, in downtown Edmonton.  It’s just upstairs from the Churchill LRT station.  The best selection is available early Friday morning, and the best deal is available on Sunday, when you can fill a whole box with used books for only $10!  For only $1-2/book, I recommend buying a good selection: some children’s books, non-fiction, English learning, and books that teach you how to do something new.  Don’t miss this opportunity!

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library.

Injured on the ice!

I didn’t stay around for the group picture on Friday!

Short Story:

Friday I fell on the ice and I broke my wrist. I visited 2 hospitals and 2 clinics to get help.  It was a bad break.  Doctors tried to stretch my arm to fix the bone, but that didn’t work.  I stayed in hospital 3 nights, and I had an operation to fix my arm.  Now, I have a cast for 6 weeks. 

Long Story:

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to meet my friends from November Project Canada for a workout, 3 mornings/week at 6 am.  Friday mornings are hills at Emily Murphy Park.  Thursday night was rainy and it was warm (+5) on Friday morning, so I assumed that the sidewalks would be clear, and I wouldn’t need to wear spikes.  When I arrived at the hill, several people said that it was slippery, and they said to be careful.  For some reason, though, I started running and I wanted to keep running.  I have always had trouble with slipping on ice, so I’m usually very careful when it’s icy outside.  I went up and down the hill 3 times, but the third time, I slipped quickly, and I went straight down and landed on my bum.  Unfortunately, my right hand was underneath me when I fell. I knew right away that my wrist was broken.  Many people offered me help, but I wanted to sit still for a little while before standing up.

It was still before 0630 hours when I drove away, to the University of Alberta Hospital (the U).  I parked at a meter but I couldn’t even get coins out of my purse.  I checked into the emergency room (ER) and waited, and waited.  I could see that more and more patients were arriving, but no patients were going to see doctors, even after the day shift arrived at the hospital.  I asked, and the nurses said that all of the beds in ER were completely full, so the doctors couldn’t see anyone until some of those patients had been discharged.  Since I believed that I only needed an X-ray and a cast, I felt it would be best to go to a walk-in clinic.  After asking a few people I learned that X-ray was available at Allin Clinic.  Unfortunately, when I arrived there, I learned that they didn’t have a walk-in clinic, so I went to the Medicentre on Jasper Avenue. First, I got a coffee and loaf at Starbucks.  It was almost school time, so I phoned work to make sure they got my message that I wouldn’t be in.  One of the receptionists at the Medicentre began to shout at me for using the phone in the clinic, even though none of the doctors had started work yet.  I tried to explain that I was just quickly calling work, and I couldn’t open the door because of my broken wrist, but she was too busy shouting to hear what I said.  Finally, I saw the doctor and got an X-ray requisition, and my wrist was very swollen.  I returned  to the Allin Clinic, waited and got an X-ray, and they sent me back to the Medicentre with a disc (CD) that contained my X-rays.  When I saw the doctor again, he was at his computer.  He showed me that my bone was chipped away at the wrist, so I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon.  He recommended that I go to the Royal Alexandra Hospital (the Alex).

At that point, it was about noon, and my phone was dead.  I had sent text messages to my kids, to let them know what was going on, but we couldn’t reach each other.  I stopped by home to get a drink of water, to change into clothes that would be easy to manage and to get my laptop, so I could recharge my phone.  I was able to phone my kids once I parked my car at the Alex since I was using my car charger.  My son checked online to see what the waits were like at all the hospitals around the city: more than 3 hours everywhere!  I decided to stay at the Alex, since I had already paid for 24 hours parking, and it was closer to home for me.  I waited about 1/2 hour in the lineup to see the triage nurse.  When they saw that I already had X-rays and I had been waiting all morning for care, they said they would try to get me in faster.  I was in a bed in ER in less than 1 hour, and I had an ECG and a lot of bloodwork done, but it took a few more hours before they had enough people available to try to improve my arm without surgery.  Finally, there was an ER doctor and resident, and anesthesiologist and resident, a nurse, someone to cast my arm, and a respiratory technologist in the room.  They gave me “conscious sedation”, medication that only put me to sleep for about 2 minutes.  During that time, they yanked on my arm, to try to bring the broken bone into the correct position for casting.  This is called a “reduction”.  Following the procedure, I had many more X-rays.  After reviewing those X-rays, an ortho Dr. and her resident told me I’d definitely need surgery.

The good news was that I was permitted to eat.  My daughter picked up my car keys and brought me some extra clothes, and the charger for my laptop.  She also brought me a meal from Wendy’s.  When she arrived, the ER was on “lockdown”, so nobody was permitted to enter.  Luckily, a security guard delivered my things to me.  Soon after that, I moved to the orthopedic surgery unit, across the street.  Much to my surprise, I had a private room, with lots of space.  Soon, I was on IV fluids, not allowed to eat or drink anything for the whole day.  It’s pretty boring when you can’t eat or drink, and you can’t go anywhere.  Luckily, I was quite sleepy, and I slept a lot, listening to an audiobook or music while I was awake.  Sometime after 7 pm, the nurse brought my tray and said that I wouldn’t have surgery that day.  The food was quite bad, but I ate some of it, and then went to the food court, to get a meal from Tim Horton’s.  At midnight, I was back on an IV.  Sunday was the same, no food or drink, but in the evening, they arrived to take me to surgery.  It was about 7 again when I returned to my room and had a meal.

The next day, I needed to take antibiotics twice, to prevent infection.  All of my tubes were removed for the last time, and I was given a prescription for pain medication.  I went to the main building to get my pills, and for my son-in-law to pick me up.  Finally home again!  Fortunately, I don’t have too much pain, except at night, when I’m at home, and I can take medication.  It’s inconvenient to be unable to use my right hand for now, but I will probably have this big cast off in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, I’m avoiding driving and other tasks that are difficult with only one hand.