Tag Archives: spanish

Help for learning Spanish

7 May

Here is the Spanish post I promised.  The one that has taken a different direction than my usual Spanish posts.  (If you have read very many of my posts you will find that I change direction quite often.)  The direction is different, because this Spanish post will be written in English.

I won’t be writing the post in Spanish because I just can’t cover this material with my current Spanish skills  (notice I didn’t say my lack of Spanish–I’m still working at having a positive self-image).  I am going to tell of some of the different ways that help me  learn the language.

The best way would be to live near Spanish speakers, but there aren’t any living near me.  Another way, if one had the time or the money would be to take a Spanish class at the university or on CD’s.  But that isn’t a option for me at present.

I found, instead,  a small informal class that meets weekly at our local library.  We visit  sites on the internet and are slowly learning.  The following are the sites we use most often:

www.123teachme.com  This site is filled with Spanish courses, tests, games, and other resources.  We each progress at our own level at home, then do some of the lessons in class.  We frequently use the ‘English to Spanish’ and the ‘Spanish to English’ translator.

www.spanishdict.com  Although, not filled with as much content as the Teach Me site, this one has a translator with audio, Word of the Day, a featured article and common words in both English and Spanish.

http://en.childrenslibrary.org/  We use this site to read children’s books in Spanish.  We select ‘Read Book’.  When the page appears  we select set the language for “Spanish”and select ‘Short Books’.  Some books are in both Spanish and English, which is helpful.  Some are in Spanish and other languages and others only in Spanish.  We have to pick and choose to find the ones that are best for our beginning level.

From http://www.gutenberg.org we have been reading two books until we progress to a place where the language is beyond us.  Occasionally we return to the site and are pleasantly surprised by how many more of the words we have learned.  The two books we read are  “An Elementary Spanish Reader” and  “A First Spanish Reader”

In addition too the class and these sites I like to find Spanish blogs, newspapers, and websites.  Some of these I return to again and again.  I am always looking for new ones that are not just lessons, but actual writings of people posting on their blogs.  Ones that aren’t too hard for me.  I like it best when I can get the gist of the article without looking up the translation of words too often!  From my college Spanish class and in our little informal one, we find that we can often understand the story even if we don’t know all the words.

These are some I have found helpful:

www.spanishspanish.com  Lots of information on this site.  Audio, flash cards, vocabulary, grammar, textbooks, etc.

homeschoolspanishonline.com  As the name indicates, this is a home school Spanish course.  Lots of material, music, and some stories in Spanish

When I visited www.marisamontes.com today I learned that the author has died.  The site is being kept as a memorial to her.  I click on Links” and choose  ‘Ónline  Resources for Children’.  This displays a page with several websites for Spanish.

One newspaper that I continue to try reading from time to time is elsur.mx.  It is from the Yucatan Peninsula.  As with the books, I seem to get the gist of the articles.  I still need to translate many words, but my progress, though slow, encourages me.

Most generally I find sites through internet searches.  I try to remember to bookmark the good ones I find.   I have found that using different words in my search brings up different sites.  I’ve yet to find the best words for what I want, although I still seem to stumble onto some good sites at times.

Sometimes I find a blog I like from a search, yet when I go back to the main site page, I have a hard time finding the blog.  It seems, from what I can gather, that some of the Spanish blogs are connected to a main site page.  I suppose I just haven’t learned how to navigate well enough yet.

But it is frustrating.  Today I stumbled onto a blog I liked and noted–but sadly didn’t bookmark– the site.  I thought, www.hola.com, easy name, I’ll remember that.  And I did remember it, but when I went to the site later, I found it doesn’t seem to be the site of the person’s blog I had read.  It seems instead a collection of various writers, maybe bloggers?  I’ve yet to find the one which I was looking at earlier and wanted to mention in this post.  If my Spanish understanding was sufficient, I believe the blogger was a retired woman who visited different places and made videos of them.  It was a video that I watched.  The whole ‘hola’ site has a tremendous amount of material, but hopefully I will stumble onto the one I liked again sometime.

While searching www.hola.com I found another video that was interesting.  It was a video about art and food.  And there was something about the hands.  When I realized I had to have the translation it meant a trip to www.123teachme.com.  I was surprised to learn it said árt and gastronomy go hand in hand’.  I also learned that Reino Unido mean the UK.  It was good to be clear about the content of the video.  But I was still happy that I got at least part of it on my own.  I know I will return to this site over and over.  From the Food section, with help from 123TeachMe, I also learned that ‘paso a paso’ means step by step.

In trying to find a blog about gardens written in Spanish, I found this site  www.buenastareas.com/ensayos/Jardin-De-Ni%C3%B1os/6681595.html    I have just copied the whole link.  I’m afraid if I try to just enter the main site I won’t be able to find the article again.  Although I didn’t read very much of it, I plan to return.

Another way I learn is by writing in Spanish.  In our class we are now each writing a paragraph something about our week and then reading each other’s in class.  Reading, listening and writing Spanish really helps me.

So I stumble along in this blog, in most of my Spanish posts, writing in my own level of Spanish.  Struggling but keeping on for some reason.  I feel, like a member of our class who said, “I really don’t know why I want to learn Spanish, I just do”.  And really, do we always need the ‘why’ of something?  Can’t we just do it because we enjoy it?


Technology frustrations

29 Aug

Often, I find that things that stump and frustrate me can be really simple to fix.  I just have to research and learn or ask the right person-one who already knows.

Take this posting for example.  I am STILL learning the mechanics of this blog.  I had thought that what I type was saved automatically every several seconds as I type.  I know that I have seen that message run across the bottom of the screen.  So, when I was interrupted after starting this post, I didn’t even think about saving it.  I’ve only saved the draft a few times.  (Usually I finish a post in one setting.). Well, when I returned, after logging in again, I found the post was gone!  I certainly hadn’t expected that.  After reading and experimenting, I’ve found that the automatic saving only occurs after the draft has been saved.  So now I save whenever I leave the computer.  It an easy fix that only takes a second.

Another technological thing that has been frustrating me was the Maps on my iPad.  For several months, whenever I tried to get directions it would give me a message of ‘no transit directions’, even when I entered exact addresses.  I tried rebooting but it didn’t help.  I wondered about re installing app but was reluctant to do it since Maps was factory installed.  So I waited, using the internet and mapquest instead, still frustrated.  This went on for several months.  Then when I was at my son’s I mentioned it to my daughter-in-law.  She looked at it a few seconds, then told me I had it set for bus route.  She showed my the little icon (or are they called widgets now?) at the bottom.  I had never really noticed them before.  There is one for car, bus, and walking.  How simple!  I was so glad it was a quick fix and very happy to have Maps working again, though I did feel a bit silly.  Sure glad I waited on the re-install idea.  I wonder when/if I will ever learn to think about how might be the one causing the problem, instead of something or someone else?

Just now, in previewing this post I realized I need to learn what a widget really is.  My grandson was the one that told me about them, but he really didn’t know the ‘icon’ terminology so didn’t know if they were the same or not,  So back to researhing.  Not wanting to spend a lot of time, I just read a few sites explanations.  As I understand it, a widget is an app icon that can indicate whether the app is active or not.  They are on the widget dock of smart phones.  And that is all I really care to know about them.  Just enough so that I know what my grandson is talking about.

Back to the iPad, I just learned to type the word correctly.  I had been typing IPad and kept getting the red wavy line for a misspelled word.  If I had been using an old operating system I could understand it since the iPad is fairly new.  But I have Windows 7.  So I tried different ways and found that the capitalization is a bit weird.  Apple named it the iPad.

While traveling with one of my sons, I learned that Maps on my iPad is run off GPS.  Now I understand why, even though I don’t currently have a data plan, the map app still shows me where I am.  But maybe that is only the case when I have previously run a direction route while connected to WiFi.  I’ll have to check that out.

I also learned something very helpful to me about the iPad.  I really just stumbled on it.  One day I was typing and noticed a little round globe like symbol.  This was after the Maps episode.  I guess that caused me to be a little more observant of detail.  Anyway, imagine my surprise when I realized it can change the keyboard so I can type in letter accents!  That will be so helpful on my Spanish posts.

After reading my last technology post, my daughter commented that there is a built in tape recorder on smart phones.  I was going to have her show me when we got together, but nether one of us remembered.  I asked by daughter-in-law, but she didn’t know since she doesn’t use it.  So I researched.   I found my IPhone has a built in app for audio record.  I looked at my phone but didn’t see the icon.  I finally found it in the productivity folder.  (I like to create folders for my apps, so it doesn’t clutter my screen.)  I must have put it there when I first got the phone.  I plan to use it next time thoughts come to me when I’m driving.   My phone is a 3G and only has about a half hour of time, but it will still be handy.  The 4G have much more run time.

When publishing my blog,, one thing that I tend to overlook is the tags.  I am usually so interested in getting the post completed and published, that I forget about the tags.  But I have learned how to add them, using my laptop, after I’ve published the post.

Another thing I just learned which made me feel really silly since the fix was so simple.  I switch from my iPad to laptop a lot.  Sometimes I have my posts open on both.  I usually have other tabs open with other sites I’m looking at too.  One day when I was switched back to working on this post on the laptop,  I noticed that the left side of my screen, where the mechanics of the post are located, was larger and was overlapping the post.  I couldn’t understand what had happened.  I tried shrinking them, but couldn’t.  I tried closing down other posts on both iPad and laptop and logging in again.  It was still like that.  It wouldn’t have been so bad-even though it overlapped where I type-except I really don’t have much luck adding the tags with the iPad and typing is easier with the laptop.  So I have been switching back and forth.  Frustrating.  When typing today, I suddenly thought about the maximize/minimize on the laptop.  Often on sites with smaller print I maximize the screen.  So I tried maximizing the screen.  Sure enough, my screen was back to normal, except that the layout was crazy from where I had moved things around trying to correct the overlap,.  But after some time spent moving them around, I now have the mechanic tabs again on the left where they are more handy.  So even though I felt silly, I really learned two things–the minimize/maximize and how to move tabs around on my post screen.

Well this  is one post I certainly didn’t finish in one sitting, not even in a day.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned how to save.  Ive been working on it a couple of weeks!  When I  started this blog I really wanted to do a post a week. But as is often the case, life has a way of changing my plans sometimes.  So I’ve had to do this blog in bits.  Glad to have it completed now, and I’ve even added the tags!  Now I just have to publish this.  Oh, and post my new blog address to facebook.

Practico español

18 Jul

Entiendo los verbos presente pero aprendo los verbos pasado.  Trato usa la configuraciòn en mi IPad ‘Spanish’.  Pero el IPad configure en el verbo corecto y no entiendo las polabras.  Entonces, leo en el Internet que cuando apreto  las tecias del el IPad, las lettras el marca acento aprece.   Una problems usa este mètodo es el iPad corecte las polabras automatice y es necesario escribo despacio y con cuidado.

En esta semana voy a la granja de mi hija los màs jóvenes. Ella y la familia vamos en la vacaciòn.  Cuando en la granja doy de comer de los granos a las animalas.  Las animalas de mi hija son las gallinas, los gallos, los patos, los gansos, los caballos y una canejo. Me gusta voy de la granja de mi hija pero mi gusta mas cuando las tempuratura no es tan caliento.

Yo solicito las correciones en esta carta, por favor.

My changing interests

8 Jun

Life has a way of changing desires and plans.  So often things I have liked or been interested in briefly at one time, will resurface later-sometimes years later.

One of these interests that has returned is knitting. I learned to knit many years ago while in high school.  As is common with me, I wasn’t content to start out small so jumped right in and attempted to make a cardigan with cables.  It had a kind of bubble type stitching.  It wasn’t easy, to say the least!  But I finished it.  I didn’t know anything about blocking (or possibly I read about it and it seemed too much trouble?).  Anyway I had my completed yellow sweater.   I wore it at home and was proud of it, but didn’t really want to knit anymore.

But a few years ago my interested resurfaced.  At first it began as a pastime while waiting in doctor office, etc.  This time I had sense enough to start out small.   (One thing about me is that I do seem to learn from my blunders.)  My project was a one skein scarf kit with furry type yarn.  I was hooked!  I discovered so many, many different, marvelous kinds of yarn.  All I knew before was the old acrylic standby.  And needles!   Not just the old metal ones.  But wood, plastic, double pointed, and amazingly circular!  They looked so strange and I wondered how anyone could ever learn to use them.   But since I am not afraid to try new things-indeed I tend to thrive with new things-I decided to be brave and attempt it.   Needless to say it became my passion.  I now knit almost exclusively with circulars!   I recently was given a set of the plastic circular, and though I didn’t think I would like plastic, I have have enjoyed working with them. I have found I like differentkinds of needles with different yarn.

I have several young grandchildren.  They are so forgiving.  I can knit things for them even with mistakes and they love them!  I have experimented with different kinds of yarn.  I even learned how to unravel old sweaters for yarn.  I found one can quickly go overboard buying on eBay. I have a huge stash that I am slowly working through.

My most difficult and rewarding project was a fingerless glove with flip over part to make a mitten.  They took me much longer than I expected, but I learned so much.  I want to do another pair.  Guess I should start soon if I want them completed for this winter.

I have attempted socks, but just can’t quite get the hangs of it.  For now I’m content with making top, dresses and scarves for grand kids.  I just completed a skirt and working on another.   It seems I usually don’t follow the pattern exactly.  Sometimes I find a mistake and don’t want to redo all so I just change the pattern a little to make it work.  So all my pieces are originals!

Another thing that has resurfaced is my desire to learn Spanish.  I joined a small informal Spanish lesson group.  So if you see some of my text misspelled, don’t freak out!   It is just my attempts to learn the language.  If any of my viewers know Spanish, please jump in and help out.  I mostly know only the present tense Spanish.  And since I haven’t had formal training for over 10 years I have forgotten much.

Well, the day is calling,  so I’ll sign off for now.  I hope to get some response from these posts, but even if I don’t I enjoy writing them.  It seems to fulfillby need for expression!

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