Three days a week I run a conversation class for English Language Learners at our local community college. The students have already spent three hours in English class and join me for another two hours of conversation and writing practice.
They show up in class, eager to learn, but weary. It’s very tiring to focus and concentrate on another language for several hours. I do my best to make it ‘fun’ and relevant. We’ve played Bingo using world capitals, we’ve written postcards, we have talked about marriage customs and school uniforms and middle names.
But the most enthusiasm I have had so far was when I pulled Bananagrams from my bag. No one had played the game. I dumped out the tiles and explained we needed to turn the tiles over so we couldn’t see the letters. Blanca turned them over, Afsaneh turned them back up so we could see the letters! Once we sorted that out, we played. They made terrific words, really concentrated and kept asking to play one more time!
Bananagrams is my friday favourite!
My sister and I are Netflix binge watchers. I think you know what I am talking about. Gone are the days of watching one episode each week at a set time. Netflix makes it easy to sit down, get absorbed and before you know it, two or three seasons are done!
We both binged our way through Shetland a BBC Scotland crime drama that takes place on the Shetland islands…“where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.” The series is based on the novels by Ann Cleeves.
The incredible scenery caught our attention and we both started reading more about the archipelago that is located just 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle. We discovered Shetland Wool Week, a celebration of northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands. We’ve been talking about a trip to Shetland, in the meantime, we can at least make the official Shetland Wool Week hat with the free pattern on their website. Join us and make the hat and send us a picture!
HAR & CJR
Bowling is one of those retro, fun things to do on a winter day. I admit it would be even better if I didn’t have to wear someone else’s shoes…but it didn’t stop me from lacing up.
We visited our local bowling alley between Christmas and New Years and had a blast. I have no idea how to score, I have no idea whether the ball will hit the pins and I laugh alot.
The place hasn’t changed since it opened which appears to be sometime in the 50s.
Next dreary weekend, check out your local bowling alley. Hopefully the one in your area is automated so you don’t even have to keep score. You can thank us later for the fun you’ll have!
We grew up on euchre. A fast game. But bridge. Well, that was something you had to mature into. A strategic form of euchre that involved a lot more counting, and remembering, and counting.
these are some serious, experienced bridge players
I started playing bridge about eight years ago. Among a few hiking friends, we decided that a mental math game might be a way to keep our mind as fit as our physique! One patient soul in the group had been playing since she was 12 or so, and set out to teach four novices how to play bridge.
Do you play the short club? Five card major? Get your kiddies off the street. Strength to the right, weakness to the right. Lead the fourth highest in your longest and strongest.
I don’t pretend to remember what these mean, at least some of the time, or understand the nuance as the cards are skillfully laid down with finessing, ruffing and other things I’ve forgotten…towards the (hopeful) making of the contract. But I love the fact that there will always be something more to learn about this game. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to play in public with pros who know. But it’s sure fun to spend an evening, or entire weekend or just happy hour, counting cards and having a mysterious conversation in code to try and get close to a slam.
We grew up during the heyday of Saturday Night Live. Gilda Radner, Steve Martin, Jane Curtin and Chevy Chase. Their jokes becomes our jokes. We practiced their accents to see if we could say “wild and crazy guy” or “it’s always something…” in the same hilarious tone.
This past week’s opening act – a poignant change from the usual comedic monologue – was particularly fitting for a few different reasons. In case you haven’t watched the clip…we offer this.
CJR & HAR
Who hasn’t belted out a song in the car when no one is watching or listening?!? Come on…admit it. You release your inner rock star and sing!
The Late Late Show with James Corden has a feature called Carpool karaoke.
He invites guests in his car and they drive around singing along with the radio.
It’s hilarious and worthy of a friday favourite!
I got hooked on the podcast Serial last fall. My millennial son told me about it which seemed intriguing since you just listen to a podcast. No graphics, nothing fancy, just listening, not something that I thought would appeal to millennials…who knew?!
Season 1 of Serial, was produced by public radio’s “This American Life,” and re-examines the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a Maryland teenager, that resulted in the conviction of Adnan Syed, her former boyfriend. It is compelling listening, so much so that I often found myself sitting in the car at my destination just so I could finish an episode.
The same millennial son just informed me that Season Two of Serial is available. It is about Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years. I just downloaded it and can’t wait to get in the car tomorrow and start listening. I like the car for the total immersion it provides me – no distractions (other than the other cars on the road!) just focused listening.
Another podcast that has got my attention lately is Happier with Gretchen Rubin. A quick, smart production about habits and happiness done by two sisters.
Tiny Desk Concerts are fun to have on your playlist. Described on the NPR website as intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
Once you get started, you keep finding more. That same millennial son sent me a link to a Huffington Post list of Great Podcasts for Road Trips and Long Weekend Traffic Jams. Take a look and see what interests you. Let us know what you are listening to!