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QUESTION: Hi Amy
I'm back with another question.
Please rephrase this for me: "Melanne and I started calling her shop the Pet Rock Office and kept on working."


In one Washington Post article about our efforts with women in Afghanistan, an unnamed senior administration official sniffed, “Gender issues are going to have to take a backseat to other priorities. . .
. There’s no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down.” I wasn’t surprised the official was afraid to be named making a comment like that. Melanne and I started calling her shop the Pet Rock Office and kept on working.


Hossein

Hossein Saeedi

ANSWER: Hi again

a pet rock is a sort of an useless or time wasting endeavor, so

"Melanne and I started calling her shop the Pet Rock Office and kept on working."

would translate into

Mellane and I started thinking of her shop as a waste of time and kept on working.

Hope that helps.

~Amy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Amy

What is the relevance between "shop" and "Pet Rock Office" ? I think there is a  connection between the columnist who was an official and the her "Pet Rock Office". So I can not understand whether it is about an act (wasting time as you said) or something else.

Answer
Hossein,

I found fragments from the book you're reading on Google, and after reading a larger paragraph (more context) I have a better idea now.

The article in the Washington Post criticized Hillary for wasting time on small, "insignificant" projects (the so called pet rocks). Despite the criticism, Melanne and Hillary continued to work on those projects, as they considered them important. They jokingly referred to Mellane's shop/office as the "Pet Rock Office" since it was seen by some as wasting time and energy focusing on less important projects.

Shop here actually means office, business establishment, or center of activity.

Does it make more sense now?

~Amy

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

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BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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