Till next time, Charlie.

I guess you and I got off on the wrong foot.  You were not very friendly and I was not very patient. However, destiny put us together and later we discovered that we were meant for each other.

All charles1those years of getting up at 5.30 in the morning to go training made our bond stronger. We liked being the first ones to arrive and have all the training court for ourselves. When we were alone, you would perform all the exercises with an incredible happiness and energy. However, when the training court was filled with more people and their dogs, doing the exercises stopped being fun. Instead, training became a stressful and, sometimes, a scary activity.

I totally understood you since we had a lot of things in common. One of those things was that we never liked being surrounded by people or crowds, and being social was not one of our strengths.  Nevertheless, I still believed we could do something great one day. One of my dreams was to participate in a competition in which we could be alone, with no other dogs, so we could prove our real talent. A talent that most of the times was hidden because of fear of being close to other people or dogs.

At home, we both had a different personality. We were the kings and did not show any fear at all. Sometimes you and your biting habits caused me serious problems.  Therefore, I could never have you unleashed when we walked in the park; a park that you believed was just yours.  So, even though training with other dogs was not your thing, it was your only charlie2chance to run freely, play and release all your energy. And despite having to be with other people and dogs, I could tell that you loved getting in the car and going there because we always managed to find time to play just the two of us. I still remember that you would always get crazy when you heard  Doc’s car (Doc is a friend who always drove us to the training court) and as soon as I opened the front  door you would jump into the car like a bolt of lightning.

Then, one day, I got a job and we could no longer continue with our training sessions.  I had to work from 7am to 2pm, so our routine changed dramatically. I started taking you out for a walk as charliesoon as I had come home from work, even before having lunch. But it was not the same. It was not enough. Since I started working, your activity levels got reduced to just two walks in the park and always with a leash. Soon you began to accept your new but rather passive lifestyle; however, I was aware that you were bored and unhappy.

Fortunately, that situation was not going to last for long. Suddenly, you were offered a new place to live in. This place was bigger and it had lots of green areas. This place was as large as our park and there you were going to run freely again. It was going to be your new home. You were going to have a new family that loved dogs and that was going to give you as much love and care as I did. Of course, I gave it a lot of thought, and even though I knew I was going to miss you a lot and it was going to be hard and painful, my heart knew it was the best thing to do. You were going to be much happier there and have a better quality of life.

charlie22222Finally,  a decision was made and you moved to your new house in the country. Yes, you had your own country house. I wish I had a house like yours. And you, who never liked other dogs, found yourself living and playing with other four-legged peers who soon became your new siblings. You always felt you were the special one, and you did receive a special treatment because you arrived before the others. There was only one old dog that was there before you, but then he passed away and you became the king of the house.

Since your new place was a little far from the city, I could only visit you once a year. However, time and distance didn’t seem to matter. You would always recognize me and 260062_10150212338484125_5461454_nwe would play together like the old times. Even though you moved to that new home, I still considered you my dog an35039_100401160015276_8003236_nd would talk to people about you as if you were still my pet.  Even your new family would say you were my dog. And yes, that owner-pet relationship never got broken.  That was so obvious when I visited you. We never had to “break the ice.”  We had the magic to reconnect as soon as we saw each other, as if we had never been apart.

We indeed had a strange relationship, but we never stopped being best friends. Now, you’ve moved again.  Goodbye Charlie, run freely in heaven.

Vocabulary

1. get off on the wrong foot (exp): start something badly. Ex: I got off on the wrong foot with the new neighbor, but after a while we became good friends.

2. bond (n): a close connection joining two or more people. Ex: Mothers and their children have a special bond.

3. unleashed (adj) : without a leash (leash: a long piece of leather, chain or rope used for holding and controlling a dog). Ex: In some parks it is forbidden to have dogs unleashed.

4. bolt of lightning (n): lightning that appears as a white line in the sky. Ex: The house was struck by a bolt of lightning.

5. the country (n): any area outside towns and cities, with fields, woods, farms, etc. Ex: We spent a lovely day in the country last weekend.

6. four-legged (adj) : something that has four legs.  Ex: Dogs are four-legged animals.

7. pass away (v): die   Ex: His grandfather passed away in 1999.

8. break the ice (exp) :  to say or do something that makes people feel more relaxed, especially at the beginning of a meeting, party, etc. Ex: They played a party game to break the ice.

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Do you have a pet? What kind of pet do you have? What do they mean to you?

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in_at_on21

WOULD for repeated actions in the past

People sometimes refer to events that happened repeatedly in the past but don’t happen anymore now. A good way to describe these actions is by using the modal verb WOULD. Let’s take a look at WOULD to talk about repeated actions in the past.

Examples:

  1. When I was young, I would always play soccer with my friends on the weekends.
  2. Every time I was in a party, I would smoke.

Here, the person is talking about things that he or she did many times in the past, but now they don’t do them anymore.

This is the principal function of WOULD. However, it cannot be used in some situations:

1. When we talk about repeated events in the past, we cannot use WOULD in questions.

Examples:

  • When you were a kid, would you play soccer with your friends on the weekend? INCORRECT

 Instead we can use ¨used to.¨

  • When you were a kid, did you use to play soccer with your friends on the weekend? CORRECT

2. We cannot used WOULD with some verbs such as live, be, have, etc.

Examples:

    • We never say:X

I would live in Lima when I was a kid. 

  • Instead, we say:green-tick

I used to live in Lima when I was a kid.

  • We never say:
    X

I would be bored when I was in class.

  • Instead, we say:
    green-tick

I used to be bored when I was in class.

  • We never say:  X

I would have a cat when I was a kid.

  • Instead, we say:green-tick

I used to have a cat when I was a kid.

NOTE:

Neither ‘used to’ nor ‘would’ can be used to refer to single actions in the past. 

In 2002 I went to Miami. (one event in the past)

In 2002 I would go to Miami. (WRONG)   X

In 2002 I used to go to Miami (WRONG)  X

The Power of the Imagination

Your day breaks with the sound of your alarm clock which was set for 6 o’ clock. So it starts to go off and you stop it as usual. Then you take a shower and have breakfast and there you are. Your routine has just started. Now you are probably in your car or on your bus on your way to your destination, but let’s stop and change our routine for a moment and start to recall the years when we were kids. Let’s remember those days when playing around and using our imagination were our delightful routines.

Do you remember the time when you loved to imitate your favorite heroes you watched on TV? Perhaps you were one of those kids who wore the table cloth on their backs as if it were your cape and imagined you were Superman or maybe you were that kid who enjoyed climbing walls simulating you were Spiderman. I can continue with the list of superheroes. The question is what if just for a moment, we could play those games again or even better make those games become true and real.

I know it sounds crazy, but just let’s use your imagination and visualize yourself having one of the powers of your favorite heroes of your childhood. Imagine you can fly.  You would be able to avoid traffic. I am very sure some people would like to be invisible, so they could escape from some undesirable people. Some people would use that power to eavesdrop some conversations. Others would like to have the speed of Flash to go as fast as a beam of light. With that power people would be in different places in just a few minutes.

Another power that looks appealing would be the ability to stop time. With that power, I would stop time to take my friend’s pants off and he would end up without pants in the middle of a meeting or, even worse, in front of the girl he likes. The list of powers is endless and maybe at this moment you are thinking of what power you would like to have and what things you could do with it.

You may also be wondering at this moment what it has to do with our routines. Well, nowadays, there is more and more stress due to work and lots of people have lost their ability to use their imagination. Some people might say, ¨it is part of growing up.¨ I think it is an erroneous statement. The reason is simple and the fact is that we have a kid inside but we deny it. We don’t want the rest of the people to see that kid. You shouldn’t let that happen. Instead, allow yourself to dream and go beyond your everyday routine. You’ll enjoy it.

Vocabulary

Be set for: When you program your alarm clock for a certain hour. Ex. Even though my alarm was set for 6 o clock, I couldn’t hear it.

Go off (v): To start to sound. Ex. The burglar alarm started going off when the thief broke into the house.

Recall (v): To remember. Ex. My grandmother still recalls the time when she was young.

Undesirable (adj): Not wanted. Ex. Some medicines are effective but they have undesirable effects such as nausea.

Eavesdrop (v): To listen to a conversation by spying it. Ex. The maid eavesdropped behind the door and heard the entire plan.

Beam (n): A line of light. Ex. A laser beam can cut steal.

Appealing (adj): Attractive. Ex. The idea of earning money with that business was appealing to the old man.

Endless (adj): When something doesn’t have an end. Ex. How the world was created is and endless discussion among scientifics.

Erroneous (adj): Not correct. Ex. To say that global warming is not a consequence of pollution is an erroneous conclusion.

Who was your superhero when you were a kid? What would you do if you had one of those super powers now? Do you still let your ¨ kid inside¨ imagine?

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THE SECOND CONDITIONAL

We use the Second Conditional  to talk about imaginary situations or things that are unlikely to happen.

If I were invisible, I would listen to other people’s conversations.                      (imaginary situation)

If I won the lottery, I would quit my job. (that’s very unlikely to happen)

THE STRUCTURE OF A SECOND CONDITIONAL SENTENCE

        IF CLAUSE                                        MAIN CLAUSE (RESULT)

If + past simple                                            would + infinitive

If  I had a car,                                    I would go to the beach more often.

If the  IF CLAUSE comes first, we should use a “comma”. However, if the IF CLAUSE comes second, we don’t need a “comma”.

I would go the beach more often if I had a car.

 We can also use COULD, MIGHT OR SHOULD instead of WOULD.

If Tom had a million dollars, he could go to Paris every weekend. (but maybe he would not)

If  I were you, I shouldn’t worry about the problem.

If Susan weren’t so annoying, she might have more friends.

As we can see in the various examples, with the verb TO BE we always use the form WERE whatever the subject.  (However, we may find people using WAS in informal situations)

When we use the verb TO BE in the IF CLAUSE, we can also use inversion.

If you were my son, I wouldn’t let you buy those shoes.

INVERSION: Were you my son, I wouldn’t let you buy those shoes.