Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PS: NaBloPoMo??

I think YES. Who's with me?

(For the uninitiated, NaBloPoMo means a post a day for every day of November.)

Oman 2012.2: The old

This most recent trip to Oman was our fourth one, not counting inconsequential hops across the border to Buraimi. We just keep going back...and we just keep going to the same places. There's a reason these places are our favorites! This time, we had the added bonus of two other families traveling with us, for a grand total of six adults and nine children (ages 10 months to 12 years) in three vehicles.

Wadi Shab
Not counting the border crossing, this place is a cool six-hour drive from Sharjah. Yes, you have to put up with Oman's annoying road infrastructure that consists of either a) 120kph highways segmented into 10km stretches, delineated by roundabouts; or b) poorly signed megafreeways that are awesome, if only you could find them. But once you get past Muscat it's a nice drive through mountains that open up onto a stellar view of the coastline and the tiny villages that run up and down its length.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

YA + Cocktail Hour

A bit heavy on the YA this month. Yeah. Maybe some of you who are home-bound because of Hurricane Sandy can find something good to read!

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the first of Clare's books that has been a chore to get through! I wasn't even planning on reading it but the library was supposed to have Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness but then they didn't so I checked this out instead. :(


Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maybe slightly lower than four stars. This book is very different from its companions. It was almost a psychological thriller. I enjoyed it for most of the book but I felt like the resolution wasn't as rich as it could have been. Still, I think Cashore is brave for writing a book that deals with some intense mental health issues as well as the larger issue of what to do with a country that has emerged from the 35-year reign of an evil tyrant. Not your average YA, that's for sure.

SweetheartsSweethearts by Sara Zarr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the more thoughtful YA books I've read, that's for sure. There is something in this book to identify with for everyone:

-Your best friend from third grade who was the only one who really understood you.
-Your best friend from third grade who moved away after that. :(
-Things you go through when you're a kid and never tell your parents about until you're older.
-Sometimes putting on a show to make friends...and then having to keep that show up, always.
-Putting away a version of yourself after a move or other big life change.

In the end, this book went somewhere different than I thought it would, which made me lower my rating a little. However, I think the author took the high road by SPOILER ALERT having things NOT end up happily ever after with Cameron END SPOILER.

PS - now that I think about it, there are themes I identify with even as an adult. For example, raising kids while you're going to school and working - are you giving them enough attention? Can the lack of attention during one period be made up during another period, later on, when you have more time? Etc. Very interesting.

Monday, October 29, 2012

First and last

We're back! Here are the first and last photos of our trip to Oman.

 First: the sun rising in Hatta, just before the UAE/Oman border crossing - Thursday morning.

Last: Magdalena all funned-out, just before the Oman/UAE border crossing in Al Ain - Sunday evening.

We went to some new places this trip (Muttrah Souq and Wadi Dham) in addition to old favorites (Jebel Akhdar and Wadi Shab), and I can't wait to post all about it! After I take a nap, that is. Because, camping.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eid Mubarak

Hey dudes. It's been a super busy week. Tomorrow is the start of the Eid holiday so we have some time off work/school. We're headed to the wilds of Oman first thing in the morning. See you next week! And Eid Mubarak.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MA field trip

Yesterday I spent the morning at Sharjah Police Headquarters with a few of my new police officer BFFs. That's because I'm taking a course called Curriculum Design. Basically, this course consists of me designing an English class from scratch (topic, syllabus, materials, everything) for a particular audience. I've chosen to design a course called Law Enforcement English for Women. I figured since I spent all that time familiarizing myself with the Sharjah Police Academy over the summer, I might as well extend it into designing a course that could be taught there. I decided to design it for women specifically since they are separated from the men in the Academy anyway and their program is a different length.

It's been a lot of fun (and work) designing this course. The highlight was my visit to Sharjah Police Headquarters. After being bounced around from department to department, I finally got the message through that I wanted to speak to a female police officer. They brought me to a female, but she was a receptionist, not a police officer. Also, it's possible that they were under the impression that I was trying to apply to be a police officer. AWKWARD.

Anyway, I finally got sent to the office of the right person and I got to ask her all my structured interview and task analysis questions. Maybe when I'm done designing the course (in January) I'll tell you more about it. For now, I'm mostly excited that I got to ask her a question that's been on my mind for years: do all policewomen just happen to wear the hijab, or is it compulsory? Turns out: it's compulsory. Isn't that fascinating? If you are a woman who wants to be a police officer and you do not currently wear the veil, you a) do not become a policewoman; b) take on the veil for the purposes of becoming a policewoman; or c) submit to wearing the veil only as part of the police uniform.

Here is my new BFF.

I posted this picture on fb and I got a few comments asking how effective a long, skirted uniform was in police work. Good question! First of all, this particular officer has a "desk job," so to speak, so it's not really an issue. But second of all, it kind of is an issue because even non-desk-job policewomen dress like this. I think you can get a lot done in a skirt if you set your mind to it. Pioneer women got a lot done while wearing dresses, didn't they? Plus, women in conservative Muslim societies have grown up wearing long skirts their whole lives, and they're probably used to them. What are your thoughts? (Jeremy doesn't think hijab-as-a-uniform is particularly singular. I think that means he's lived here too long.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fun with grammar

One of my MA classes this semester is Advanced English Grammar. But wait - aren't I a native speaker of English? Yes. But for the most part, the non-native speakers in that class kick my butt. They already know how to talk about English as a foreign language, since that's what it is to them. For native speakers like me, it can be difficult to take a look under the hood of the automatic and almost effortless process that is speaking English.

For example, when was the last time you (assuming you are a native speaker of English) thought about these issues? These are the kinds of things we are learning about in this class.

1. Why do we say "I went to school," "I went to church," but not "I went to home," hmm??? WHY??!?

2. How many tenses does English really have? Does English even have a future tense?

3. Speaking of tense, do you know what "aspect" is? If I said to you past perfect progressive, would you know what the heck I meant?

4. Have you ever noticed that there are different kinds of verbs? For example, there are verbs ("activity verbs") that describe an ongoing action: run, walk, swim, study, etc. Then there are "accomplishment verbs," that describe an activity that has a well-defined end point: paint, make, build, write, and (according to my book), grow up. I love that last one - well-defined end point, indeed! How about "achievement verbs" like recognize, realize, and find? These are things that happen in a moment, not a process. Finally, there are "stative verbs." These I had heard of before. Stative verbs describe ways of being, indefinitely, and they include verbs like have, contain, seem, want, and like. One of the commonly taught aspects of stative verbs is that they don't take the progressive aspect (be + ing). However, language can change over time, and McDonald's slogan violates this "rule" about stative verbs: "I'm lovin' it."

5. Did you notice that the second sentence of this blog spot contains "aren't I"? Shouldn't it be "am'nt I"? Or "ain't I"?

6. Try to dissect the shades of meaning in "Stan sells vacuum cleaners," and "Stan is selling vacuum cleaners." How about "Did you go to Yankee Stadium?" and "Have you gone to Yankee Stadium?"? Or "She has completed her homework" and "She completed her homework"? And why can't we say something like "William has bought it last Saturday"? Why is it more polite to ask someone, "Could you close the window?" instead of "Can you close the window?" Use grammar to back up your answers.

And that's the most difficult part of this class - at no time is the correct answer "just 'cuz."

Thank goodness I have a background in linguistics or I think this stuff would truly be gobbledy-gook to me. I'm looking forward to the day when a student asks me why English does this or that and I can answer him/her with confidence...perhaps after checking my super jumbo size textbook (from which some of the above examples were taken): Celce-Murcia, M., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1999). The Grammar book: An ESL/EFL teacher’s course (2nd ed). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19th, outsourced

Enjoy this Halloween season even more with this year's installment of really scared people. I can't get enough of these.

However, I may have had more than my fill of these "hidden mother" pictures. CREEPY. [HT Jessie]

Speaking of hidden mothers: I'm sure you've seen this everywhere already, but - The Mom Stays in the Picture.

Here's a supercut of famous actors/actresses on Law & Order. I totally remember that one with Clare Danes.

This is something that happened to friends of ours in Qatar (they are the authors of the article, too). Yikes!


27 reasons why kids are actually the worst. I can't even pick a favorite. [HT Crys]

Saudi Arabia recently denied a request that two of the five prayer times be shifted farther apart to allow for a more flexible evening schedule. Interesting.

This is pretty much my new favorite video EVER. Read the original fb rant, then watch the video. Then tell me your favorite line or two or three or ALL OF THEM AND THAT ACTRESS IS THE BEST AND SO IS THE BLUE WATER.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AfPak

Today I drove around a significant portion of northern Dubai looking for the Philippine Consulate. And you know what? Not a single person on the street that I stopped to ask for directions spoke English or Arabic. Reason number #38 why it would be nice to speak Urdu/Hindi or Farsi or Pashto or Dari. What a linguistically/culturally crazy place this is.

SPEAKING OF. There's a giant swath of Sharjah that Jeremy and I refer to as "Pakistan," because when you are there, you might as well be IN Pakistan. Or, depending on the exact block, Afghanistan. Shalwar kameez far outnumber kandura and every other restaurant is named "Peshawar Kitchen." After my scenic, stressful (but ultimately successful) tour of Dubai this morning, I drove over to Pakistan-Sharjah to try to get our windshield wipers fixed. The traffic was so bad that I didn't make it all the way over to our usual repair shop, so I stopped at a random shop on the roadside.

I walked in and saw the proprietor jump awake from his nap behind the counter. As he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, I asked him if he could fix the windshield wipers and he asked what kind of truck I drove. Huh? I told him I had a Toyota Rav4, and then he looked at me weird and told me that this repair shop was only for heavy-duty trucks. Then I asked him how on earth he had initially thought it was possible that I was a big-rig driver. Then he laughed and laughed and said he was relieved to know that smallish American women had not taken up jobs driving trucks in the UAE.

When he was done laughing, he had his guys look at the windshield wipers to see if they could fix them, even though small cars is not what they do. They couldn't fix them because of a missing part, but it was so kind of them to try. As I went on my way, the proprietor made me promise that if I ever get a job driving trucks, I will have them repaired at his shop. With all the driving experience I'm getting, that might not be such a bad idea.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I "relish" the thought of going to the dance with you

I was watching this and it brought back some memories about creative date ask-outs in high school. I'm surprised I haven't thought more about the strange practice of elaborate set-ups staged for the purpose of asking someone to a dance. I have a pretty vivid memory for stuff that happened a long time ago, but creative dating somehow fell right off my Flashback Friday radar.

No more! Here are creative dance ask-outs that I participated in. I went to six high school dances in all and frankly, I am shocked I can't remember all the ways in which the asking/answering happened (see vivid memory, above).

"In case you were 'wondering,'...yes, I'll go to the dance with you." This was printed on a roll of paper concealed inside a loaf of Wonder Bread (the center of each piece of bread had been cut out with a cookie cutter), and then left on the boy's doorstep.

The box of Alpha-Bits. See, the way it works is, you take out a Y, E, and S (or N and O, I guess), color them with dark permanent marker, and then put them back in the box. Then you give the box of cereal to the person who asked you to the dance and they have to figure it out.

Sticky stars. I snuck into the boy's room while he was at school and spelled out MORP? in sticky colored stars on his ceiling. When he answered, he spelled it out on my ceiling in glow-in-the-dark stars. No star-related puns were employed, as far as I can remember.

The series of coordinated fake-outs. This is my favorite one. One day during math class my junior year, just before prom (I think), something like four different guys came in over the space of an hour and asked me with feigned sincerity to go with them to the dance. I think most of them were even named Chris, which was a nice touch. They each had flowers and everything. The first guy to ask was so unexpected that I suspected right away that it was a setup for someone else asking me...and I was right. Good thing I didn't say yes to the decoy! Instead, I had to be embarrassed and say no to each one until the guy who was actually asking me came in and asked me in front of everyone.

I wish I could remember the rest! As ridiculous as it seems now, it was usually a fun tradition to take part in. I don't even think it was a distinctly Mormon practice - I seem to remember lots of people participating in it.

Sometimes the creative asking bordered on the destructive/annoying, though. I recall legends of bedrooms filled to the ceiling with crumpled newspaper that had to be unwrapped or balloons that had to be popped to find the answer. Or the bathtub filled with pee and a note that said, "Ur-ine-vited to the dance with me!" OK, maybe my friend Julee and I made that one up...

What creative ask-out practices did you participate in?

Monday, October 15, 2012

The spice wars

In August, I posted about More Weird Stuff in my House, and I included this picture of some seriously ancient oregano:

Over the next few days, @jessiejensen and I engaged in a spice war via Twitter. I suck at Twitter so I'm not sure I got all the tweets, but it went something like this:

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12th, outsourced

If you don't at least crack a smile at this, then we can no longer be friends. "She doesn't know what I do, but she knows who I AM." You go, Daniel Craig. [HT Cat]

Girls at a Utah high school were turned away from the homecoming dance, because of "inappropriate dresses." I get that there need to be standards but take a look at the pictures of said "inappropriate dresses" - this is ridiculous.

10 Words you Literally Didn't Know You Were Getting Wrong. I referred to the i.e./e.g. example just yesterday! [HT Jen]

Also from Jen - and I hope you can all see it - is this lovely, hilarious picture. I think it would make a great Explain This Image if taken out of context. [Edited to add: I don't think you can see it. So Jen emailed me a genuine copy of the photo - Thanks! Her caption: "Fact #1: Sometimes hawks circle my parents' house eyeing my mother's chickens. Fact #2: Sometimes all my mother can find at a moment's notice to scare away said hawks is a light saber. Fact #3: It's awesome."]

Ten McDonald's items you won't find in the US. That Paneer Wrap sounds DELISH.

"The mythical creatures, the unicorns of politics" - black Mormons on The Daily Show. [HT Andrew]

Fans of This American Life will love Ira Glass' AMA.

You make bunny cry, Lance Armstrong.

Beautiful pictures of weddings around the world.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

But you can never leave

In the fall of 2004, I was teaching English to pre-teens and teenagers at Amideast in Damascus, Syria. One day, one of my students (an accomplished musician, at the tender age of 15ish) brought his guitar to class. In exchange for allowing him to leave early to attend a rehearsal, I had him play us a few songs. The other students and I gathered around to listen.

One of the songs he played was The Eagles' "Hotel California." I could not believe my ears when I heard that song, sitting there in an apartment converted into a school in the center of Damascus. After a while, he started singing along to his own playing - who even knows all the words that song?? Well, this student of mine did. And at the chorus, the whole class - all these Syrian teenagers - joined in. It was a watershed moment for me - the moment when Syria was no longer Other.

Well, in early 2005, Jeremy came to visit my class and we recorded this same student playing "Hotel California" (he doesn't sing in this version). Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arabian snow

You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and the light coming in the windows is just a little bit brighter? And outdoor ambient noise seems a little muted? And you just know in your heart that it snowed overnight? So you and the kids run to the front door and throw it open to bask in the beauty of freshly fallen snow?

Well, we don't have that here, at least not the part with snow. But what we DO have is freshly rolled-in fog.
And it has the same glowy-through-the-curtains effect as snow does. And the kids were certainly excited about it. They know that the 100% humidity fog that rolls in this time of year means that autumn and cooler temperatures are on their way. Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A pronunciation question

Quick: How do you pronounce "Iran"? How about "Iraq"?

OK, now read this (HT Andrew). What does your pronunciation of those two country names say about you? Or rather, what are some theories about what it says about you? Do you agree with the article?

Personally, I pronounce them Ee-rahn and Ee-rahk. But that's because when I hear the names of those countries, it's usually being pronounced by a native speaker, and that's pretty much how they say it if they're speaking in English. So technically, the article's conclusions hold true for me, even down to some details - I live and work and am married to academia (predicting Ee-rahk) and I have knowledge of foreign languages (predicting Ee-rahn).

What about you? Just wondering.

Also, I love this video.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Speeding ticket, undone

A few weeks ago we went to Dreamland Aqua Park with a bunch of friends. The speed limits out toward Omm al-Qawain are extra capricious, and Jeremy and I constantly monitored his speed as he drove, him on the speedometer and me via Lady Edith, our new GPS. I thought we made it ok without getting flashed by any of the speeding cameras, but a few days after our trip he got a text message informing him of a speeding ticket incurred in Omm al-Qawain on the day we were there. It was disheartening because we'd been so vigilant about staying below the speed limit.

Well, what can you do? Nothing. It took a while, but we got used to the idea of having to pay a speeding ticket next time we go renew our car registration.

But then we met a bunch of friends for breakfast on Saturday - much the same group that had been at Dreamland, in fact. Jeremy and our friend Joe were talking and somehow it came up that we got a speeding ticket in Omm al-Qawain. That's when Joe put his head in his hands and said sadly that no, that was HIS speeding ticket. Jeremy and I immediately turned to each other and high-fived in spectacular fashion.

You see, over a year ago when Joe moved here, he borrowed one of our cell phones and listed it as his number at a few places. When he got his own phone, he changed companies' records where he could but even I have no idea how you go about changing the phone number on file with the police. So when we got a speeding ticket in Omm al-Qawain on our way to Dreamland, it was actually Joe getting a speeding ticket in Omm al-Qawain on HIS way to Omm al-Qawain. Also, it was TWO speeding tickets - one on the way there and one on the way back. (Jeremy had received a second text alert about a speeding ticket but since the date was the same, he thought the police were just being jerks about the one ticket.)

It feels so good to NOT have received a speeding ticket (or two), of course just 'cuz, but also because we were so cautious in obeying the speed limit that day. Hooray for undone speeding tickets!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Age Change

In case you haven't heard the news a thousand times already, it was announced yesterday that Mormon men can now go on missions at age 18, and Mormon women can go at 19 (the previous ages were 19 and 21, respectively). I can't recall the last time some established practice of the church was so drastically changed, unless you count the time a few weeks ago when the church stated unequivocally that caffeinated pop is actually not forbidden.

So what does this mean? SO MUCH. Several countries have been sending out 18-year-old men on missions for a while now, but the global change will mean more boys going on their missions straight out of high school, and more girls going on missions, period.

(Peripheral question: What about people who, by design, held their youngish boys back from starting school at a certain age specifically in order to ensure they didn't qualify for a year of goof-off college before their missions?)

What I can't help thinking about is how this change would have affected my own life, way back when. And the answer is...I don't think it would have. I certainly would have been more likely to consider a mission seriously if I knew I could go at 19. But the truth is that I came to the realization that a mission wasn't for me right around age 18. Here's the simple test I used, aside from pondering and praying: I asked myself if I'd still want to serve a mission if my call were to somewhere like Wyoming. The answer was no - I really only wanted to serve if it was a foreign-speaking mission, overseas. So I went to Japan on a study abroad instead. It worked out well for me.

But for so many young women, right now, the idea of a mission probably just got REAL. And I'm so glad for that. Being allowed to serve a mission only at 21 sent the message (maybe not genuine, and maybe not intentionally) that a mission was something you could do, maybe, some day, especially if you were able to sacrifice to take a break from whatever else might be going on in your life. Now, the message is so much more encouraging. Graduate from high school and then go!

Any thoughts on why they made a point of lowering the age all around but made the girls' standard 19 instead of 18 like the boys? Edited because the FAQ here addresses that question...kind of. Apparently it just works better? Any other thoughts on why this might be the case? I'm sure it wasn't a decision they came to quickly or lightly, so there must be a reason.

And how might this policy change have affected your life, years ago?

Friday, October 05, 2012

October 5th, outsourced

Ooh, the new National Geographic photo contest finalists are here. I need a follow-up picture for #12, though...yikes. [HT Jessie]

My students will love this: a Zinedine Zidane headbutt statue is now in Paris.

Great unsolved mystery, great write-up: The Body on Somerton Beach.

I cannot imagine who at IKEA thought this (airbrushing women out of the Saudi-edition catalog) would be a good idea. (In the UAE, we have women in our catalog - I just checked.)

Here's an article about the perils Indian schoolchildren face on their way to school.

The amazing historical sites that Syria's civil war is destroying, and the destruction of Aleppo.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

British American English

Last week, Jeremy missed a spinning class because he was sick. When I got home, I told him, "Elina (the spinning instructor) asked after you today." Jeremy looked at me a little weird, and replied, "you mean she asked about me?" Yeah...I guess.

Yesterday, Miriam had a homework assignment where she had to survey everyone in the house re: their favorite sports, then draw it up in a graph. Jeremy told her his favorite sport was soccer, but when I checked her homework later, she had written his answer as "football." When we asked her why she changed it, she said, "well,  that's what they call it here."

With all the Britishisms creeping into our speech here, it was with great interest that I read this article (written by someone named Cordelia Hebblethwaite!!!!!). Those of you who are in the US, have you noticed this supposed increased British influence on American English? I was surprised by some of the terms mentioned in the article - I have never had the sense that "will do" was anything but American. Same with "sell-by date" and "go missing." Am I just out of touch?

On the other hand, I absolutely use the word "university" instead of "college." It takes a little effort, because (at least in my dialect) most casual references to that period of my life I would instinctively phrase as "in college," or "when I graduated from college." In front of my students and other acquaintances not familiar with the US, I always use "university," even though it sounds unnatural. It's at least clear.

I also use the word "ginger" to describe red hair. That's what everyone calls it here, so I fell in line. Do people really say "ginger" in the US now, too?

Anyway. Here is a response to the article from one of the professors quoted in it, Geoffrey Nunberg. And here is a blog about Britishisms spotted in the US. Finally, here is a list of the changes that were made in the first four UK Harry Potter books, for an American audience. Stuff like "jumper" and "revision" I get, but I think maybe we could have handled "lavatory" and "wonky"? Maybe?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Church oddities

The idea that life is more of an adventure in a foreign country also holds true for church. Church is more of an adventure in a foreign country. For example:

1. (This happened a few months before we moved here.) Twice a year, all the Mormons in a given area ("stake") meet together for a conference. In the US and other places where there are purpose-built Mormon church buildings, that's where this conference takes place. Here in the UAE (and in Russia), we rent out a hotel ballroom for the occasion. A couple of years ago, hundreds of Mormons showed up at the Marriott in Dubai for stake conference and it turned out that the hotel provided a free buffet brunch as part of the ballroom rental package. By all accounts, it was the best stake conference EVER. However, this has never happened again since it was actually a mistake - the church paid for that buffet brunch because someone didn't look over the rental quote very closely. Too bad, really.

2. At the most recent stake conference, held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai, some attentive hotel staff member took the time to arrange the complimentary water bottles in a shape that spelled out JESUS.

3. These are words that I have heard spoken over the pulpit in my ward: pornography, menstruation, period, breast exam, masturbation, prostitute, LBM (="loose bowel movement"), vomit/vomiting/vomited, "kick his a**," "I went to wake him up and he was covered in blood," "trying to get pregnant," "my mom has a better job than my dad," and ghost. And those are just the ones I can remember. Fast and testimony meeting is a wonderful thing.

4. Since we meet for church in a rented villa, the facilities aren't always the greatest. Sometimes the bathrooms don't work, or the AC is broken, or the power is out.

5. One of the benefits of being in an overseas ward is that we have something called the "summer church schedule." AKA, church is only two hours long for July and August (they cut out Sunday School). Let me tell you, it is niiiiiice. However, it is really hard to switch back to the whole three hours in September.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Dirty Jobs

On Saturday, Miriam's school had a "Curriculum Morning," which I think is kind of like Back-to-School night in the US. As I walked through the lobby to the auditorium for the Grade 2 meeting, I felt like the 19th-century owner of a house in the English countryside, showing up to inspect the grounds and servants after a summer absence. The school was spic-and-span and all the staff were turned out to welcome the parents with smiles and grace.

My favorite part was when I got to see some samples of Miriam's work on display in and near her classroom. Just outside the classroom door was where I found this gem:

"If I met Plop I would tell him dark is fun! Becaus we get to play games at night. and peopol can't see me. When we play games we like to play Clue. and we get to wat(c)h some dirty jobs. When some wone named Mike Row looks for peopol who arnt afraid to get dirty."

Ahem, yes, we DO watch Dirty Jobs sometimes as a family. I have to wonder what Miriam's teacher thought of this. She's from Scotland so I can't imagine she knows what the heck "dirty jobs" is. I'm sure the seven-year-old female demographic is not exactly what Dirty Jobs caters to, but they've got a big fan in Miriam!

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