Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Lots Of Play Today

My wife’s off this week and that means I usually end up playing when I can. Tonight we played some cards with our son for about 1/2 an hour. Actually, she and he played that much before I joined in. Then a little later she and I played for 2/12 hours. This game is brand new to me and it is a little frustrating as it seems like there’s a lot of luck involved. Not that there’s no skill, but if I want a game that’s a good combination of luck and skill I prefer Texas Hold’em.

We had a good time tonight and hopefully that also means I’ll have more time to write tomorrow after I get to the weeds.

As I looked at what I’ve written so far in my hidden blog I think I’ve decided that I’m going to make the switch to the older science fiction story that I’ve had in my head. I think I’d like to write in first person and that story lends itself to that much more than my aliens taking over a swath of land story.

I don’t know if you have a bunch of stories in your head that you’d like to share or if you just have one and when that one’s finished you get another. I have several stories in my head and these two are the most prominent.

Something I’d like to point out about having a private blog. You can share it with people you feel comfortable with or share it with no one at all. If you haven’t used WordPress yet, you should give it a try. I absolutely love this back office format and right now I’m whizzing along even though I’m more tired than I’ve been in days.

There’s a nice bright light overhead because the cover is broken and a new one won’t arrive for a couple weeks. We finally figured out what the brand is from the remote control. Before we bought this house it hadn’t occurred to me that you would need a remote control for lights in your bedroom. Once we figured out that it wasn’t a certain brand that only Home Depot carries we had a little more latitude in where to go to get the replacement part.

This house has been interesting. We have a TV in the bathroom with a video player attached right next to the bathtub. The remote doesn’t seem to exist and we can’t change the channel so it’s MSNBC all the time in the bathroom. Neither one of us have ever had a television in the bathroom OR the bedroom for that matter. I just never got used to the idea of a TV anywhere other than the family room or living room. Maybe I could see having one in the kitchen if you really got into cooking a lot more. And I might.

Recently I’ve been making greek salads with cucumber, red bell pepper, olives (not greek, actually), a little organic celery (you know that nonorganic celery is the absolute worst thing to eat nonorganically, right? Remember that experiment in school where the celery sucked up the dye in a few days? Same thing happens with chemicals so you get more than a full dose!), very small (grape or cherry) tomatoes and high quality feta cheese. You can use olive oil as dressing or try different salad dressings. I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Goddess the last few times. AND, I’ve been amazed to discover that I don’t need to have meat or chicken every day.

This is especially good news if you’ve had gout like me. No meat for a day or two or three gives your body a rest from all that uric acid buildup.

OK…the tiredness is really coming on now. I just heard the dog sigh. He’s set for bed. Since we moved here my wife insisted on letting the dog sleep on a cushion in our room on the floor. I would never have suggested it and I guess I expected that we would get a dog house. It’s a little weird sometimes but mostly he makes noise sometimes at night licking himself. Not a problem if I’m asleep as I’m a sound sleeper. I don’t think he’s ever awakened my wife with those sounds either. But when I’m awake it can sometimes keep me awake and I don’t want to say anything to the dog on the chance that I’ll wake my wife who is generally a light sleeper.

So I’m laying there hearing those sounds and I know it’s got to be the dog licking himself. I try not to focus on it, but late at night when everything else is quiet my ears really pick up the sounds. How long can you do that? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Isn’t the dog’s jaw getting tired?

My wife says he’s more like a cat which I really find unusual for a labrador mix. He really does like it when you scratch just above his tail and he will put his head down when you do it just like many cats will.

One of our cats will only let me do that with my feet. He doesn’t care if I’m barefoot or if I have shoes on or socks only. But no way does he want me to do it with my hand. Weird.

We really like our little house. OK. My wife LOVES it. There are some great things about it. A backyard, though there’s not much left after the pool. Of course, the pool is great when the water gets warm. Soon.

Some of our plants in the front yard are doing really well. We just need to get more of them so the weeds don’t have any room to grow. the neighborhood is quiet. So far it’s pretty crime free, though we heard that someone about 3/4 mile away was killed at a party 6 months ago or so.

My opinion on something like that is that it’s so bizarre that it’s not part of a regular level of crime. Apparently, some guys got drunk at a party and actually stabbed their buddy. I guess there was a big argument and who knows what it was about, but that sort of thing is so out of the ordinary that it almost can’t be figured into crime measurements in a neighborhood. I’m not trying to be funny here, but I guess I would just be careful whose parties I go to and we don’t go to many.

When I think of crime I typically think of someone breaking into a house and stealing something or maybe a mugging or someone selling drugs, but what can you do about crimes of passion?

My strategy would be to not get drunk in the first place.

I haven’t heard about anything being stolen from anyone since I’ve been here and I don’t hear about any trouble. The worst thing I think I’ve seen nearby is people dumping trash near what used to be a trash bin for a restaurant that went out of business. They finally closed one entrance on that block which makes it much harder to get in there and now I don’t see trash being dumped there.

This is just a little suburb and people seem to keep to themselves like they do in a lot of America today.

Maybe it’s time to meet the new neighbors.



One Last Appeal For Kiva

Several weeks ago Reid Hoffman donated enough money for 38,000 people to make loans of HIS money at Kiva. I’ve been loaning money to entrepreneurs all over the world through that site for nearly 2 1/2 years. That’s using my own money. It’s sort of like charity except you get paid back at zero percent interest. You could theoretically lose money that you lend, but in this case you would be losing Reid Hoffman’s money. Who is Reid Hoffman? He’s the founder of LinkedIn. He’s a multi-millionaire or perhaps billionaire, so $950,000 isn’t as much to him as it is to you and me. That’s right. He is letting us loan $25 of his money. That is, 38,000 of us who aren’t already registered at the site are free to register (for free) and loan his money.

So YOU can’t lose money. Just Reid. I’ve been grateful that some people have taken me up on this offer, but I still believe more people would like to participate if they truly understand that this non-profit is doing some real good and they can be a part of it. No risk to you except for your time. Please don’t be cynical. Don’t miss your chance to see the impact of this website around the world. Out of 38,000 spots, there are now around 2400 left as I write this. I am amazed that it has taken this long to exhaust the money. Don’t miss your chance.

A road diverged in the woods…

Follow the link in the first paragraph. Now I’m done with my urging you on.

This writing is getting better and better. Do you find that? I guess I should say easier and easier. I’m not sure how you view the quality.

Whether tired or sleepy or wide awake or relaxed or keyed up, just keep on track. That’s what we all have to do. Keep on track. Again and again. If you fall off the horse, get back on and ignore the cliche. Just do it!

Shopping at Sprouts today I realized that they’re not as good a deal as Henry’s used to be. I think I’ll go to the other store whose name escapes me right now. Some of there stuff is just more expensive than other stores. Is it better? I can’t say that that is the case. Trader Joe’s beats them on a lot of products.

Maybe I just look for stuff that not everbody buys. We get goat’s milk and have for nearly 20 years since we figured out that our son can digest it more easily than cow’s milk. Trader Joe’s quart is $2.99 I think. They only have the Meyenberg(?) half gallon for $7.98. That’s a big jump. That’s not the only example.

More and more these types of price comparisons are available through applications. Soon you’ll be able to check nearly every store in your area to compare prices over your phone. I’m just not sure that a lot of these stores understand that. Maybe they are depending on a customer base that is old enough to largely be ignorant of these new possibilities. I don’t know.

I’ve also noticed that Trader Joe’s really, really tries to keep their checkout lines moving. They seem to be opening new lines all the time when they aren’t operating at full capacity and they actively come by and say, “I’m open over here, sir.” I don’t see Sprouts or Vons or Stater Bros. or Albertson’s or any other “old-fashioned” stores doing that. Between Costco and Trader Joe’s we can get most of what we need.

It’s like the old stores don’t pay attention or don’t care. But they aren’t really doing much to compete. They do have their “clubs”, but they take extra time in the line and they seem to operate like a factory in a way. There’s no real time for conversation and they expect you to answer their perfunctory questions and do what you have to do with your club member number as well as debit card or whatever and move right through. On top of that they are often verbally or electronically soliciting donations. I don’t recall that happening at Trader Joe’s or Costco.

They just seem not to get it.

Several years ago Vons employees went on strike and I supported them in their efforts to retain their pay and benefits, but they essentially lost. Things really haven’t been the same since. I realize that I’m getting older, but so many of these employees seem so young. Many of the employees I used to know and would have short conversations with are long gone. They simply got fewer and fewer hours on the schedule versus the younger employees who are paid less and many left on their own.

A friend of my son’s commented a few years ago that I seemed to know the names of many of the cashiers I encountered on a daily basis. I still strive to learn their names but we are moved through the lines so quickly now that I don’t know as many of them by name.

I wonder if it’s just a matter of time until Albertson’s combines with Ralph’s or Stater Bros. or Vons. How can they survive the way they do things? They can’t cut their employees pay much more, can they?

When I was around 20, Vons and Safeway combined and all the stores in our area are called Vons. I think only a few Safeways survive anywhere.

But, back then I don’t know if Trader Joe’s existed. I do know that there were none around here.

You also have the march of technology. At Albertson’s you have some checkout lines that are automated and usually I use those if I don’t have very many items. They also have those at Home Depot. It’s an interesting twist.

While that seems like it might be the inevitable march of progress, there’s something else that makes it slightly better than simply eliminating jobs. In my opinion, it’s a step up that the stores can trust customers to scan their own purchases. That seems like a good thing. They do that with headphones at Virgin Airlines in the pre-boarding area. You pay something like $2.00 for the headphones and they simply trust you to put the money in the slot. Part of that is Virgin simply being practical. It does take more time to have someone to police that and you would have to pay them to do that. Instead, they enhance the relationship with customers by trusting them and making it convenient for them.

Maybe grocery stores could look to Virgin’s example. Of course, I guess there will always be some neighborhoods where the stores wouldn’t trust the customers as much. Maybe not, though. Maybe the customers would respond to the trust.

What If You’re Sick?

When you do the morning pages you do them every day. If you don’t do them in the morning, then do them sometime before you lay your head down on the pillow at the end of your day. And, when you are sick – do them anyway.

Right now I’m missing my niece’s birthday party and I hope she and the rest of her friends and family are having fun. Or maybe they haven’t quite started yet. It’s just a little after 5.

Not only am I sick, but I’m really tired. So I’m moving a little slower right now. When I pause as I write this, the pauses are longer than usual. So I better keep writing and not get lost in a pause.

It’s pretty amazing to be in my family and to be my age (49) right now. It’s almost unbelievable that my niece should be in her thirties and have a son who is in double digits. I’ve been a great uncle since I was 38. This kind of thing happens when your older brother has a child.

I remember that my girlfriend in 4th grade (what does that even mean at that age?) had an uncle who was my brother’s age. She was in my grade and her uncle was in my brother’s grade. He was 5 years older than his niece. Seems pretty wild when you’re a kid.

Boy, am I tired.

For those of you just joining us, this writing is an exercise. You write what comes out until you’ve written the required amount. No matter what comes out. Some people have suggested that the three pages recommended by Julia Cameron equals 750 words. Is that true? My range has been around 750 words to around 1700, I think. I am also trying to be a little encouraging and a little instructional to those who might like to try this.

Do it. Really. All you have to do is not judge yourself. Then you are free to write. I promise that if you start out writing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and blah that that will eventually change. I suggest writing in your native language. It might be fun for me to try this in Spanish sometime, but not today or this week or this month.

Heck, I might continue doing morning pages every day for as long as I can to see what happens. I soon (tomorrow) will start writing much more every day and ultimately I want to get to writing at least five hours every day. I’m sure I can turn out some books at that rate. I’ve got to be better than infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters, don’t I? At least there will be less gobbledy-gook (Is gobbledy gook hyphenated?) to wade through. Presumably.

I just have to keep going today before I fall asleep. It’s only approaching 5:30 and I am ready for bed. I must be sick.

Reminds me of something funny, but I’m tired enough that that thought left my head.

Does that happen to you? I’ve been amazed how much that has happened to me in the last five years or so.

I go into a room and forget why I went there.

Not always. And I wonder how much of it is programming our unconscious by saying that we do that. Better to observe and not pass judgement. Or do the opposite of what my dad used to say when I was growing up.

When we forgot what we wanted to say, my dad would say, “Well, it must not have been very important.” Not extremely negative, but kinda sorta negative.

I’ve learned to replace that with, “It will come to me.”

You know what? It often does. Not every time, but mostly.

Just discovered some cookies at Trader Joe’s made with cherries and oats. Good stuff.

Since I had gout almost two years ago I have been paying attention to some things that most people aren’t necessarily in the habit of thinking about.

I know cherries are good for me as well as sweet potatoes. I look at that word just to make sure ever since Dan Quayle. Oh, right. It’s the plural.

I avoid spinach. I used to love spinach in my salad. Who knew that it had these things called purines in it that contribute to gout.

Meat I have to watch and I’ve even learned to go vegetarian a few days ever month and recently a little more every month.

As long as you are putting good stuff into your body, you won’t miss it much. And I do feel better. Just not so much right now. Today.

Marianne was sick a couple days ago, so maybe this is that.

She’s my wife. My honey. Honeybunny.

Do you have little pet names for your spouse or significant other?

When she was pregnant I called her Booper. And our son was Little Boop before he was born.

I don’t know if he even knows that. I know she remembers.