Author Archives: Kristy

Listening comprehension: Free time

This is a 3:06 audio clip where people discuss what they do in their free time. Listen to the audio then take the quiz below. The audio comes from the book Cambridge English Complete First Certificate.

Welcome to your Conversation about free time

How often does Patrick help around the house?
Why is Patrick unable to help his mother?
How often does Tracy do things with her family?
Who has a dad who is a fitness fanatic?
Who lives in an old house by the sea?
Who has a new boyfriend?
What does Diy stand for? (write the answer in lower case)

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Conversation about free time

Welcome to your Conversation about free time

How often does Patrick help around the house?
Why is Patrick unable to help his mother?
How often does Tracy do things with her family?
Who has a dad who is a fitness fanatic?
Who lives in an old house by the sea?
Who has a new boyfriend?
What does Diy stand for? (write the answer in lower case)

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Special request: Donations for my cat Artie

This is my cat Artie! I am trying to raise money to bring him to Spain!

Hello everyone! First I would like to tell you a little history on Artie. I found him almost dead on the street in August of 2008. He was 6 months old.  At that time he weighed 6 pounds. He had a very severe infection in his intestines and had diarrhea for at least a week that was so bad he required a bath daily. He had a fever for 3-4 days and was in the vet’s hospital for a few days. At this time, I didn’t want another cat, although he was beautiful (I already had 3) and I was fostering for a local shelter.
Here’s a pic of Artie when he was 7 months old.

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So, once Artie was healed, he was adopted through the Parkville Animal Shelter. He was in the new house for 5 days and the woman called and said that Artie was acting “funny”. My friend (who is in charge of the shelter I was working with) said he needs to go to the vet right now. Something doesn’t sound right and she said, I don’t have money to take him. So, my friend said take him to the vet or bring him back to the shelter so we can take him to the vet. She brought him back (I happened to be cleaning that night at the shelter) and Artie was just a pile of fur. He was definitely sick. So, we brought him right to the vet. His infection came back and it was bad. So, after a week of strong antibiotics and a lot of care, he was back to his old self and I adopted him myself. I didn’t want to lose him again.  By this time, he had fully recovered and weighed 9 pounds at 8 months old! Now he weighs 17 pounds! He is a very big boy!

Here’s Artie with some foster kittens. He was always a great boy with the new comers!

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All the kittens in this photo are basically the same age…but Artie looks like an adult! haha

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Here’s Artie with his sister, Ashtyn, who has since passed.

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Then, I agreed to foster a diabetic, FIV+ cat named Jonathon…and it was love at first sight for those two. They truly loved each other and it was so sad when Jonathon got sick. He lived a happy and healthy, or at least managed illness, for over 2 years in my care.

And this was the last photo of them together. Later that day, we sadly had to euthanize Jonathon. But they were friends till the end. And poor Artie mourned that loss.

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Then, I moved to Spain in 2014 and Artie stayed behind. I planned to stay for a year or a year and a half but some events have prevented me from returning to the US.  I will need to be in Spain at least another year, possibly more due to health problems I am in treatment for. I work as an English teacher here and we don’t make a lot of money. I am working extra and even working on Saturdays now but I worry that I will not have all of the money I need to get Artie here. I am working as much as possible even though I do not feel well.

I understand that some of you might think-if you want your cat, pay for it. But, the way I figure is that if someone wants to donate $1 or $5 to help out a cat be with his mother, they can do it. It’s their money. So, I have to try.

Artie has had a very rough time in the US in the last year or two. But recently he has had many changes in his little life. He lived with my mother but he fought with her cat. Then he was taken to my aunt’s house where there were problems. Then, he was given to a stranger and attacked for the 3 or 4 days he was there by the resident cat and thankfully the woman called my mom and brought Artie back. Then he went to my grandma’s house and FINALLY he is in a foster home of a friend. This friend has family in Madrid (where I live) and will come here in May or June and will bring Artie with her.

He came to her, defeated, depressed, stressed, scared and very thin.

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But now, Artie is doing very well in her home and he is recovering nicely. He has even made a cat friend!

Here is what we need donations for:
Artie needs a passport-this means he needs blood work done to show Spain that he is free of disease, he also needs specific vaccinations. The passport is not free but I don’t know the price. (The major expense here is the vet visit, blood work, vaccinations and getting that certified with the state agricultural office)
We also need to pay for his plane ticket. He also needs a special carrier to fit under the seat of airplane. My friend’s plane ticket will be more expensive because she will have to take a specific flight. Cats (I don’t know about dogs) cannot enter the UK. So, she has to take a direct flight from the US to Madrid, which is more expensive.

So, I estimate all of the tests, vaccinations and passport for Artie will be around $300
His plane ticket is around $300 as well.
And $200 for the carrier and to pay the extra charge that my friend will have to pay for the special flight. (Cats cannot enter the UK so she has to find a direct flight from the US to Madrid, which is more expensive)

If you would like to help Artie get to me, I would be so, so grateful. I cannot travel right now so I can’t go get him. This is my only chance to get my boy. I appreciate any donation! Every $1 adds up!

You can go here to donate! paypal.me/Kristy3181

I very sincerely appreciate donations of any amount! Even $1/1 euro adds up! 🙂

You can also follow Artie’s journey to Spain on his instagram page!

Thank you from me and Artie!

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You can go here to donate! paypal.me/Kristy3181

 

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Personality characteristics 1-25

Decide if the following characteristics are positive, neutral or negative based on the context.

 

Kevin is always so affectionate with his dog.
My cousin, Ashtyn, doesn't want to work so she is dependent on her boyfriend who works two jobs.
My niece is 5 years old and she is still a little bashful around strangers.
Dominic is a great athlete and is very competitive. If he loses, he doesn't get upset and will thank the other team for playing a good game.
Jackson is very good at sports. He is very competitive and gets very angry when he loses. He is a sore loser.
Kaitlyn is so adventurous! She loves to travel to new countries!
Artie is always so careless! He is always losing things!

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Immersion Day in Madrid!

Why leave Madrid and spend hundreds of dollars when you can be in Madrid learning English with a native teacher?! I have been a teacher for 12 years. 100% of my focus is on you and helping you improve.

This event is for *1 person*, for 5 hours on a Saturday or a Sunday. We typically meet for coffee and have informal conversation. Then we go a park, a museum, the movies or just go for a walk. (We can do anything you want but we will always have a plan) We also have lunch together. Everyone who has done an immersion day has left happy and satisfied. The cost is 85 euros for 5 hours. You can pay in cash or through paypal. Please send me a message for more information at winfreykristy@gmail.com. You can go here to read some of the feedback my students left for me.

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hairstyles quiz

Welcome to your physical appearance word scramble

1) ceiaatmed
2) mils
3) bleefe
4) wigethevor
5) umcsluar

 


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Prepositions: Health Care Costs Push A Staggering Number Of People Into Extreme Poverty

In this article, we will practice identifying prepositions. Each blank will be filled with a preposition.

Health Care Costs Push A Staggering Number Of People Into Extreme Poverty

There’s new — and shocking — evidence about the toll that health care costs are taking on the world’s most vulnerable. A joint report pulished in the journal Lancet Global Health this week 1.______ the World Bank and the World Health Organization estimates that each year more than 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty in order to pay 2._____ health services — meaning that after covering their health bills, their income amounts to less than $1.90 a day.

Another 800 million people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budget 3._____  health care. And 3.5 billion people — accounting for more than half of the world’s population — are simply forced to go without most essential services.

The kind of care they are missing out on is life-saving but also often extremely basic, says Tim Evans, senior director of health, nutrition and population at the World Bank Group.

Nearly 20 million infants don’t receive the immunizations they need to protect them from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis,” he says. “These are very common childhood infections that can be completely prevented through low-cost vaccination.”

Similarly, he adds, “more than a billion people live with uncontrolled high blood pressure — meaning they have no access to treatment.”

The problem is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia. And Evans says that to a large extent it’s due 4. ______ the lack of health infrastructure, personnel and supply chains to serve remote regions where there’s high poverty.

But he says just as problematic is the lack of health spending by governments. Many contribute very little toward subsidizing care for low-income people. There’s also often no viable system of health insurance.

Left to pay for care out of their own pocket, “people either don’t go when they need to, or they go too late,” says Evans.

The consequences can be especially severe when there’s a health emergency — say, someone is 5. ______ a car accident, or a pregnant woman needs a caesarean section. A hospital might agree to treat them. But a separate report by the London-based think tank Chatham House, also released this month, suggests that in cases where the patient can’t afford to pay, it’s surprisingly common 6. _______ hospitals to detain them until their families can cough up the money.

“Some of the most vulnerable people you can imagine are being kept prisoner, basically,” says Robert Yates, the lead author of that report.

“They’re locked up in a sort of secure area with security guards. They are then often not given ongoing medical care that they need, and maybe not given sufficient food. … It’s really quite brutal.”

It’s also technically illegal. That makes it difficult to determine just how widespread the practice is. But after an exhaustive review of local reports and news accounts across a large number of countries, Yates estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are subjected to this kind of medical detention each year. And once again the problem is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.

As depressing as this picture may appear, says the World Bank’s Evans, the situation is far from hopeless.

Over the last 15 years, he notes, governments of low-income countries and the international community invested heavily to ensure that the world’s poorest wouldn’t have to cover the cost of high-priority diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. The result is that “we saw some really spectacular increases in access to, for example HIV treatments. … So there’s reason to suggest the trend is moving 7. ______ the right direction.”

But paradoxically the increasing availability of care in areas where it was previously less common has also increased demand 8._____ it — even as people’s ability to pay has not.

This has put a growing number of people in an impossible position: “People need and want more care,” says Evans. “But the financing system hasn’t kept up. … So people will go to extreme lengths to afford it.”

Welcome to your Prepositions-Health Care Costs Push A Staggering Number Of People Into Extreme Poverty


  1. ________

2. _____
3. ______
4. ______
5. _____
6. _____
7. _____
8. ____

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Reading Comprehension: After Maria, Puerto Rico Struggles Under The Weight Of Its Own Garbage

This story is from NPR, National Public Radio. This is a National News channel in the United States. Below is the article in it’s entirety. Click here to also listen to the news story. (There are also some pictures on the site that show the devastation)

After Maria, Puerto Rico Struggles Under The Weight Of Its Own Garbage

Outside Puerto Rico’s capital, a three-story-high mountain of debris and waste sits smack in the middle of what was a suburban soccer field before Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Blue bleachers peek out from the edge of the trash pile, as a line of trucks rolls in to dump even more tree branches and moldy furniture. Workmen wearing yellow hard hats operate diggers to add the new waste to the growing pile in the center of the field.

Puerto Rico is struggling under the weight of its own garbage. Even before Maria hit in September, the Environmental Protection Agency says, most of the island’s landfills were filled beyond capacity and that nearly half were under orders to close.

Puerto Rico’s Solid Waste Authority estimates that the powerful hurricane created 6.2 million cubic yards of waste and debris. That’s enough trash to fill about 43 football stadiums with piles of waste eight stories high, according to a measure used by FEMA.

And it has to go somewhere.

Workmen at the soccer field say the site became a makeshift dump because the landfill for the Toa Baja municipality, near San Juan, is so flooded with trash that wait times to dump debris can be hours. When the soccer site becomes too full, the workers say waste is then moved to the landfill in trucks.

In Maria’s wake, local governments are supposed to separate tree branches and other “green waste” for composting so that it doesn’t clog up landfills, says Antonio Rios, head of the Solid Waste Authority, the agency that sets the U.S. territory’s waste policy.

That composting process isn’t happening everywhere, Rios acknowledges. Green debris is still winding up in overflowing landfills across the island, though he says authorities are trying to divert additional material to landfills that have more room. Rios points out that the hurricane also has created other types of waste, things like broken kitchen appliances and food that went rotten because of a lack of electricity.

The landfill in Toa Baja is managed by the private firm Conwaste and takes in trash from at least four municipalities. It has been deeply troubled for years.

The site is supervised by 25-year-old Lionel Ruiz. Last month, he says, it accepted 36,000 tons of waste — that’s 70 percent more than the month before the hurricane. Ruiz points to trash-filled trucks waiting in a line that stretches down a dirt road and off into the distance.

“It’s more busy than usual,” Ruiz says. “You see the line? We never have that line in normal operation.”

In 2008, the EPA ordered the Toa Baja landfill to close by 2014 because it posed an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health and the environment.” The agency said environmental inspectors found evidence that the landfill did not have a system to control liquid seeping through the garbage pile and into the ground. The agency found that this substance, called leachate, could potentially contaminate a nearby aquifer and wetlands.

In 2012, the EPA permitted the landfill to delay the closure for an unspecified amount of time. It was also allowed to create a smaller area incorporating more environmental precautions — such as a lining to prevent seepage — and begin accepting waste there.

The problems are much the same across the lush tropical island of Puerto Rico. The EPA got directly involved in the island’s landfills in 2002, and has since ordered at least 12 of the approximately 29 landfills to close, which can be a years-long process.

It’s not immediately clear how many sites — most of which are already at capacity — have actually shut down.

Rios of the Solid Waste Authority estimates that at current recycling rates, all of the island’s landfills will be full in 20 to 25 years.

Even the newly added space in Toa Baja’s landfill is rapidly filling up, Ruiz says. Before the hurricane hit, he said he thought it would take five years for that area to fill up; Maria has sped up the timeline.

And he’s grappling with immediate problems. Birds and insects circle around what is currently a hot, rancid, open dump.

“This is the active area of the landfill, you will see a lot of uncovered material,” Ruiz says. Workers would normally cover the expansive mess with earth every day to comply with federal regulations, but he says they haven’t been able to do so for a week because the private trucks they use are now being used by FEMA.

The uncovered mounds of rotting garbage is upsetting to people down the hill in the neighborhood of Candelaria, people like 83-year-old Angelo Fernandez. “The smell, the stink!” he says, totally exasperated. “Every time they leave it open, the smell is awful.”

In his 41 years living here, he’s seen mountains of trash rise from the ground, parts of which are now covered with dirt and vegetation. But the waste lies just inches under the surface.

“It is getting bigger, it is getting bigger and bigger — that was never this height — never,” Fernandez says. “All that mountain you see there is garbage!”

He says people living in Candelaria suffer from asthma and other breathing problems because of the landfill. They cough a lot.

Actually closing a landfill is expensive, costing approximately $200,000 per acre, according to Rios. Puerto Rico is struggling with more than $120 billion in debt and pension obligations, and has filed for a bankruptcy-like procedure — and that was before the hurricane.

The EPA has acknowledged that the budget crisis is making it more difficult for local governments on the island to handle the garbage problem. The municipalities “have always had limited funds to implement the environmental and engineering controls required to improve, and ultimately close, the landfills,” the agency says. And Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board hasn’t required municipalities to set money aside in case their landfills needed to close.

Another issue, Rios says, is that some of the landfills now under closure orders aren’t charging garbage trucks high enough fees to generate the money to actually shut down.

Ultimately, the troubled landfill system is “a public health issue and it’s about to collapse really soon,” says Agustín Carbo Lugo, former head of the Solid Waste Authority. He says Puerto Rico also needs to think beyond landfills rather than just open new ones. Recycling rates on the island are about half of what they are on the U.S. mainland.

“We need to look for different alternatives,” he says, particularly because Puerto Rico has limited space. That might include a number of other waste management techniques such as “waste-to-energy,” which uses methods like incineration to produce electricity and heat.

Most importantly, Carbo Lugo says, “people need to change their behavior and it’s quite complex, how you change that in a small island. But it can be done — it just, people need to understand what’s at stake here.”

Those stakes are clear to Fernandez, who lives next to the landfill. He says that if it closed for good, “I think it would be a better place to live. I know it would be.”

 

Welcome to your Reading Comprehension-After Maria, Puerto Rico Struggles Under The Weight Of Its Own Garbage

What's another way to say 'smack in the middle'?
How much trash did the hurricane create?
What does the word 'makeshift' mean?
What other types of waste were created by the hurricane? (choose all that apply)
What was found to be seeping into the ground in 2008?
According to Antonio Rios, he estimates that all of the island's landfills will be full in  ______________ years.
How much would it cost to close a landfill?
Recycling rates on the island are about ________ of what they are on the U.S. mainland.

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Immersion Day in Madrid!

Why leave Madrid and spend hundreds of dollars when you can be in Madrid learning English with a native teacher?! I have been a teacher for 12 years. 100% of my focus is on you and helping you improve.

This event is for *1 person*, for 5 hours on a Saturday or a Sunday. We typically meet for coffee and have informal conversation. Then we go a park, a museum, the movies or just go for a walk. (We can do anything you want but we will always have a plan) We also have lunch together. Everyone who has done an immersion day has left happy and satisfied. The cost is 85 euros for 5 hours. You can pay in cash or through paypal. Please send me a message for more information at winfreykristy@gmail.com. You can go here to read some of the feedback my students left for me.

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