Where iz ur cat be at?
On having a boy

Letters to Grocery Stores are a Sign That Perhaps a Small Part of Your Soul Has Died

Dear Trader Joe's:



You have won both the battle AND the war.

I cannot deal with your wafer-thin shopping bags with the handles attached by Post-It glue. I cannot deal with begging you to double-bag my groceries, with watching the face of the perky cashier (who was just raving about your delicious store-brand pear sauce!) go dark and angry when I out myself as an  earth-raping double-bagger (who does not DESERVE your delicious store-brand pear sauce!), when all I want in the world is to get my groceries to the car before the handles break off and the bottom gives and the pear sauce goes splat.

I cannot quit you, Trader Joe's, and I think you know that. You know I am a hopeless yippie (huppie?) who cannot bear the thought of my child consuming partially hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup or non-organic milk. You also know that I cannot live in a house that does not contain at least one full bag of potato chips. You know I cannot live without your pizza bagels and you know my child would have a wicked case of scurvy by now if it were not for your gross-looking (yet delicious-tasting!) green plant juice. You know how I tremble in fear that you will discontinue that juice and panic every time you move it to a lower shelf or stock slightly less of it, causing me to buy three or four bottles just in case it's gone next week.

I know that you move that juice every week just to fuck with me. 

Anyway. I give up. I now own your stupid 99-cent reusable grocery bags that I will carry with me to Gymboree, because THAT'S not weird at all, except on the weeks when I will forget them at home. 

I'm glad we had this talk, Trader Joe's. See u next Wednesday squee!




(To say that my life has been slightly boring -- so boring that reusable grocery bags are seriously the only topic I could come up with; so boring that you need to pronounce it borrrrRINNNNG like a shrill old-timey telephone -- would be quite an understatement. I went to Gymboree and two different grocery stores, I picked up the drycleaning, I used a coupon for paper towels and I gained 5 pounds. That is it. That is all my news.)

(Oh, and I lost my engagement ring AND wedding ring, and then while I was looking for them I found Jason's wedding ring. The one we thought was gone forever and I already replaced for Valentine's Day. Gargh. And also: I am so fucking dead if I don't find my rings, because guess who was supposed to add them to our insurance policy? A TOTAL FREAKING IDIOT, THAT'S WHO.)   

(There are some totally pointless photos of my kid after the jump, for those of you who have not lost interest now that he's all big and boy now. He still melts my heart, is all.)


Lean, yet still delightfully chompable.


Watching a yane fly overhead. Yanes kick ass.


More yane-related excitement.


Plotting his sudden and eerie transformation INTO THE SPITTING IMAGE OF HIS FATHER.


Clearly underwhelmed by lunch. Trader Joe's? I BLAME THEE.



Glad to hear you're just feeling boring and not something much worse.

Kisses, etc.


Noah didn't put your rings in the VCR did he? I might've heard of such a thing happening before...


At least you HAVE a Trader Joe's. That yummy yippie food, the great cheap wine...sigh - none available AT ALL in Vancuover. Your child is adorable even if still full of stickers.

Nothing But Bonfires

If you haven't mailed that letter to Trader Joe's yet, could you please add a small PS from Disgruntled In San Francisco? It should read "I love you, but please do not sell me chicken that is OBVIOUSLY past its sell-by date, even though it SAYS it's not past its sell-by date, but, oh boy, just SMELL it, would you? Also, good work on the organic Medjool dates and the sharp Canadian cheddar."

Thank you. I'll send you a stamp.


I'm with you, eva. If we HAD a Trader Joe's here in Salt Lake City, not only would I gladly purchase their reuseable grocery bags, I would purchase enough store-brand pear sauce and green plant juice to bathe in on a daily basis. Why hast thou forsaken me, Trader Joe's?!?

Amy M

Yanes rock!

And we FINALLY got a Trader Joe's a month ago. I can't believe I've existed almost 3 years without one nearby! I use the free totes I get in the mail from charities. So I go to stores with ASPCA bags, Humane Society bags, Nedrobo's bags (from my wedding), etc. At least they hold together decently!

I've been afraid to try the green plant juice, but maybe I'll pick up a bottle next time. Thanks!


Shorts? On a child? Why oh why must I live in the north east where it is 39 degrees and raining, when just last week, it was 70?


Your kid is absolutely edible.

Also, NYC now has a Trader Joes and all everyone drinks now is Two Buck Chuck and it's grand and all but I feel like I need to bring both Xanax and a baseball bat in order to survive the insanely crowded shopping experience. Hence, why Whole Foods still has my love and devotion. And half of my paycheck each week.


Dude, I lost my ring Monday and slept for maybe two hours that night cause I was FREAKING OUT. Then a nice lady at work handed it to me Tuesday. May the same happen for you.


not boring! the most exciting thing that happened to me today was a nice man at the coffee shop re-making my latte so it was just right. nice, but also boring.


He is a delicious munchkin. I love his little shoes.


not boring! the most exciting thing that happened to me today was a nice man at the coffee shop re-making my latte so it was just right. nice, but also boring.


not boring! the most exciting thing that happened to me today was a nice man at the coffee shop re-making my latte so it was just right. nice, but also boring.


I am with you on the bags. BUT - if you bring your own at my Trader Joe's you get entered in to win someting like $13.86 in free groceries. So, there's a plus.

My new favorite thing is at one of our grocery stores they've replaced the cardboard wine caddies (we buy in bulk, it's um, more "economical", and also, we're drunks)with "reusable" ones. I will tell you this. I cannot show up at the store with my resuable wine caddy. That just says something about me. Can I just continue to use the cardboard and promise to recycle it each time?


Wow, Alison had THREE lattes today! Heee heeee.


maybe if you stop giving him the plant juice, he will stop getting so big?


love the pics of sleeping in the high chair, my son used to do that all the time and it never failed to crack me up.


Wow, could your kid get any cuter? I swear, he's the most adorable kid I've ever seen.


I love that you can make boring so interesting. I have the talent of making boring...so incredibly BORING.

I also think Trader Joe's provides such bags so that you will BUY their reusable ones...the evil Commies.

Also...I really, really hope you find your ring.


Looking at his pictures makes my ovaries hurt! I totally want one!


Ok. I've had three lattes today too. I'm biting my tongue and amending my comment.

I totally want one *someday that's not too soon!*


You think you're bad...i bought about 10 of the 2.99 canvas bags. Those rock.

Daily Tragedies

I look like that right after lunch. Too bad I'm at my desk and not comfortably seated in a high chair!

Katie Kat

OOOOOOOOO... yummy Noah pictures! SQUEE! He's just too dang cute.

And, didn't you hear? Being boring is the new THING. So you are SO totally up to date and hip. Go figure!


delurking to ask how does he keep those shoes on? mine has a pair and he walks right out of them..and they are sooo cute!



I have to know where those shoes are from! My son Joey Neeeeeds them. Haha, well maybe I just really want him to have them.




I'm sad to say, I have never seen a Trader Joe's, though once each month I drive right past one. I'll be near one again on the 18th and think I should just bite the bullet and take 2 toddlers in there with me. At least I will have a good reason for a cartload of wine.

Since no one ever tells you, I must say that Noah is just so cute. And I love those little blue shoes.

Lisa Ann

The TJ's here is always so freaking crowded I always wind up walking out w/o buying anything. What does the plant juice taste like?

Love Noah's yane! excitement. When my nephew was that age it was "durds" (birds for the uninitated). I kinda expected Noah to be wearing black Chuck Taylors though.


dude, when did he get so freaking BIG?! good lord.

also, we don't have TJ out here in tejas (I find that I am pissing away a large portion of my advertising-whore paycheck to whole foods instead)...

so please stop posting about it and making me jealous!



Hmm. Sadly I know nothing of Trader Joe's, being in Texas as I am. But I do know about cute little boys and Noah is definitely one of them! The "yane" pictures are adorable.

P.S. Good luck finding your rings, I would be freaking right the hell out.


I went by to pick up one thing the other day and ended up with a whole basket full of stuff and an armfull to boot (because the basket was full...)

And, my bag's handle sheared off on the way to the car. :<


Dude! What is up with Trader Joe's and the discontinuing all the good stuff? They had these wasabi peanuts that were amazing and now they are gone. They had good fruit leather and now they only have bad fruit leather.

If they get rid of the chicken apple sausages, we are doomed.


Ah, rings! I'm currently sporting wedding ring #2 and engagement ring #3 and my husband is on #2 as well, but it was almost #3 until he found it in his pocket yesterday. I'm considering a tatoo.

I have to send you a link to two of my friends' blogs, because it must be a "thing" this week.



For those of you without Trader Joe's - come out to Chicago! I can think of at least *four* that are in the north 'burbs, and I know there are more. They've become the Starbucks of insanely good grocery stores (and cheap, too!).


Did he really fall asleep in his highchair? Were you able to move him to his crib?

I want a kid like that. My 2 year old can only fall asleep in his bed, if it is dark out.

Fairly Odd Mother

Your life is much more exciting than mine since you actually can GO to a Trader Joe's, while I can only weep silently on the other side of this computer and try to will Trader Joe's to pleasepleaseplease come a wee bit closer to me. I promise to even buy your reuasable bags and green plant juice.

I'm off to chomp on my little boy's legs since Noah's reminded me how chompable they are. You see, up here in New England, we have not yet had 'shorts' weather and it is sleeting outside as I type. How can the universe be so unfair?


TJ's gets rid of the good stuff when they can't buy truckloads of it at a good price anymore. It's the, heh, "price" you pay for the low prices - unpredictable selection.

I am dismayed to find yet more photographic evidence that the mythical children who fall asleep anywhere - in highchairs, on playmats, using the dog as a pillow - actually exist. I completely missed this boat with my son. How does this "sleeping without strict, unfailing rocking/reading/singing routine" happen?


Oh the highchair photos...I just squeed myself!


I am tempted to buy those bags every single time I go in the TJ's. Especially those nifty insulated ones because who knows if my 100% Organic Whole Wheat Vegetable Lasagna will survive the 5 mile car ride home in the middle of August?


About 10 years ago, back in Boston, I LIVED on TJ's Black Eyed Peas dip and baby carrots. When I FINALLY moved somewhere that had a TJ again, did they have it? Of COURSE not. Now I live in GA, and there is not a TJ in all the land. I cannot afford Whole Foods, people. I weep for TJ, they make it hurt so good.

PS: Those pics have made my ovaries explode. I'll send you the bill.


LMAO at the highchair pics. A must-have in his wedding-day photo montage (you're working on that, yes?).

I posted a pic of my son asleep under the dining room table the other day. Of course they're cute... but when they fall asleep in strange places, the cuteness explodes, exponentially! It's some kind of physics law...

My life is as interesting as yours. I too bought reusable grocery bags just last week. AND I was excited about it. I didn't blog about it, but I was indeed excited, feeling all "We are the world" and crap...


Ahhh...Evan fell asleep in his high chair at THANKSGIVING DINNER one time. He didn't even have time to push his chair back and loosen his belt. I just inclined him in his seat and went on eating.

I miss having a little boy...

Margarita Mama

you need to gain some more weight. then your rings won't come off and you won't lose them ever. Mine have't been off since my 3rd pregnancy. She's turning 5 in a couple weeks.


I have to thank one of your past posts for turning me on to the Green Plant Juice in the first place. Not only wonderful for getting vegetable matter down the gullet of Mr. "I Only Want Beige Foods This Week" but also dynamite as a mixer at Halloween parties.

Should you ever find yourself juiceless (or in the barren wastelands where there is no TJ), the V8 "V Fusion" line isn't bad; several flavors of fruit/vegetable goodness.


Organic milk is a racket. I can go on and on as to why, but you can rest assured conventional milk is just as safe and nutritious as organic milk.

Hope you find your rings!

shy me

OK, I love, love LOVE the sleeping at lunch ones, super especially the middle one! LOVE!


we have no trader joe's within a reasonable driving distance (closest one? 45 muthafucking minutes away from here in hooterville) AND I MISS MY TJ ORANGE CHICKEN and ever-so-Dee-lish-us vegetarian chili!!!!!! (I'm not hostile, or anything) I seriosuly need to enroll the girl in gymboree - that too is 45 muthafucking minutes away.

never-ever move to hooterville...not even for the nice big backyards and ample places for the child to play on without fear of sticking his or herself with used drug needles. Your neighbors will be all "Dat dere giint (Giant) be da fanceee gro-shee sto. Whatcha gonna trade fer gro-shee anyaways? yer babee. herherher" (hate hootervill - HATEHATEHATE)

Amy H

still no picture of Noah in his "Don't Mess with Texas" shirt? C'mon! Throw me a freakin' bone.

And also? send Noah on a search for your rings. Kids always find that stuff. Its amazing.


Ok, totally off-topic here, but did anyone else notice that all the ads under Project Sellout to the right involve bereavement or death? I guess that's what you get for blogging about a bit of your soul dying...

Awesome post, BTW, as usual. :)


Al Gore made me feel guilty about paper (single or double) bags, plastic bags and life in general. I haven't used anything but Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Gelson's (L.A.) reusable bags since An Inconvenient Truth. You do get used to their inconvenience. After unpacking, I hang them on the front door knob, thus never forgetting to put them in the car. And, lest you think I have complete control of my senses, I then leave them in the car, do all my grocery shopping, then leave my groceries, run out to the effing car, grab the bags and ultimately check out. (feeling way virtuous and silently thanking Al for allowing me to ever feel that way).

Your boy is perfection.




A lost wedding ring? Dude, that is news. Please find it fast. Before Jason finds out.

Oh, we have Trader Joe's out here in Seattle. But none by us. Only a Whole Foods. And damn that place, one trip for "a few things" will empty your grocery budget for the entire month.


Pointless photos? Of children? NEVAH.

Um, I am so addicted to ICANHASCHEESEBURGER. Thank you.


get that boy some green plant juice!!

i'm still holding out hope that you all move to CT one day, so one of my girls can marry noah... when they are 43, of course, let's not rush things too much.


They still sell fucking fried pb&j here. I ache for a Trader Joe's. I can't beieve he is in shorts. It's snowing here! love his shoes.


Oh, that is one chewable little Noah! So cute!

I had a diamond once. A carat and 16 points, very fine, mine-cut diamond ring that was my great-great-great grandmother's. She was married in 1890. It was the most beautiful ring EVER. Really.

My mother, rest her soul? Gave ME that ring, when I was 18. ME! Irresponsible, forgetful, space-cadetty me. Or maybe I whined till she parted with it. Anyhow... I somehow held onto it for quite a while, against all odds... and then... one hazy, lovely weekend, filled to overflowing with homemade pina coladas and ham biscuits and probably plenty of bong hits... oh, oh, I can barely bring myself to say it... I. LOST. THE. RING.

Lost it. LOST IT. And never found it again. That was a decade and a continent ago. I think it's probably lost forever.

I will now silently pray for the safe recovery of your love bling.

Melissa Wiley

Oh, Amy. He has gotten so big since I saw him in September! That was like last week, right? And suddenly he's this BOY. Where'd the baby go?

Too totally cute.

But my romance with Trader Joe is too fresh, still blooming, for me to bear lightly any criticism against him. The bruschetta, oh my. And the fizzy pomegranate juice. I am addicted. I pretend it's healthful because pomegranates are magic, right? Or sometimes I get the fizzy blueberry instead, and then it's like drinking the carbonated filling of a poptart.



My friend lost her rings for about a year and found out that her child had somehow put them inside the leg of the dining room table. It had a hollow part and her daughter thought it looked like a good hiding place. I still have not found the remote my daughter hid when she was two. She is sixteen now, I guess I should stop looking. I have also never found the nickle her brother ate. I swear it never came back out.


Oh no! I am going to refresh your site about a zillion times a day now until you update that you've found your rings!

Would you be offended if all the Catholics in the house prayed to St. Anthony? You know, "Tony, Tony, look around, something's lost and must be found"?

And have you checked in Noah's crib and the clothes hampers? You know, places where you'd point your fingers down into folds of cloth. That's where I'd check. Good luck!

Oh yeah, very scrumptious toddalah pics!


Dear Amy,
I think it may be necessary...dare I say required by God for you to have 4 or 5 more children to rip the oddly ebedded mommy fear that you have for crayons, stickers, balloons and-I believe-breathing. I have only one child as well and after reading your EXTREMELY witty blog I think they are around the same age. However, I walked into the living room yesterday only to see her remove a tortilla chip from her bum crack and chuck it into her mouth. At which point she turned to me, nodded and said "mmmmm". (It's only Toddler poop, can't be that poisonous!)
Sincerely, a blogging fan


I thought this was a great entry, even if you found the topic boring. It just goes to show what a great writer you are if you can write about shopping bags and still be interesting.

On a related note, I lost my engagement ring several months ago (on public transportation, I think) and have accepted the fact that I will never see it again. Still very sad, though. :(


Yeah, I'm the queen of losing things. Seriously. I am not to be trusted. I lost my engagement ring (but not the wedding ring homehow) a week after I got married, and on the day we were dropping the dogs off at the pet hotel before going on our honeymoon. After spending about 2 hours searching the house and then having one of the dogs x-rayed (seriously, he'll eat anything) we gave up. Two weeks later my neighbor found it. In the street. So anything can happen!


I use grocery store bags to put my cat shit in them. They are perfect for that.

Oh no about the wedding rings. Mark lost his when we went on vacation to Punta Cana in the ocean. It was the worst timing ever because it was near Christmas and it was going to be our first Christmas without Ava so we decided to head south to help code, you know, with copius amounts of alcohol. Anyhow, we stayed at a resort that was on the Altantic Ocean side of the coast and the waves were huge and vicious and he put his hand in the water to retrieve a surf board and a wave ripped his ring right off his finger and sucked it away into a deep dark ocean oblivion.

I still cringe thinking its gone forever.


I was just thinking about your last TJ post earlier this week when I noticed that they don't give out balloons anymore. I think someone on the inside is reading your blog. I'm sure the stickers will be the next to go.

And I lost my engagement ring in Dec '05 and thought it was gone forever until I found it about 6 months later under the driver's side seat in my car. That was pretty awesome. I hope you find your ring sooner than I did though.


Those who can make the ordinary interesting have a true gift. That's writing, sister...a trip to Trader Joe's that can make me giggle. Alpha Mom indeed.


Sadly, no Trader Joe's in Frederick either. Maybe someday.

Noah sleeping in the high chair is adorable. That green plant juice must be potent stuff!


I agree with a prior comment, gain a couple pounds and it is a wonder how they never budge again. Your son is beautiful, it has been such a pleasure watching him sprout up!


LOVE Trader Joe's!!! You have to try the cheese with the cranberries and nuts on it...soooo yummy!!! OMG and Noah is ADORABLE!!!!

Just have to tell you...So I am a newly Amalah.com blog reader follower! I have found myself on the train during my commute (1.25 hours on the train) reading up on your archives (starting with '03 and I'm up to April '04) on my Treo. You are hysterical...I giggle at what your posts and the other commuters stare! I totally feel your pain about the hurdles of getting pregnant. We just had our first baby this past January, but had been trying since '04 and had one ectopic in between...but now have a beautiful baby girl.


That's so weird that they give you crap about double-bagging. I'm in San Francisco, and here they voluntarily double-bag everything. So much so that I actually started feeling guilty for all the dead trees and now carry a bag of grocery bags in the back of my car to re-use at TJ's and other grocery stores, which will remain unnamed (Rainbow and another co-op in the City), who really do give you a dirty look if you didn't remember your own stupid bags.

The Other Ali


I have just discovered my own Inconvenient Truth. TJ's does not exist in the *entire state* of Florida.

Now that you have me addicted to a store I've never been to, I cannot get to one.

Grocery tease.

Wacky Mommy

Oh the g.d. green juice. Can't get away from that here, either. Thanks for the pix -- adorable.


The TJs in Gaithersburg double bags without being asked to, and it's great watching them bag the stuff - like watching a giant jigzaw puzzle being put together super fast. We always forget about the weak ass handles and use the bags for paper recycling, then go to take them out to the curb and pick the bags up by the handles. Unfortunately, there is the rule that they can't break immediately, but must wait until one is about 2 feet from the curb to break, usually on a windy day, thus spreading all of your newspaper and mixed junk mail to the ends of the neighborhood. Fun stuff!

And no more balloons? My kids got them a couple of weeks ago, hmmmm.


Look under your oven. That's where I found mine after 6 months of panicked looking!


Ha! We too are slaves to the TJ's green juice (called Elmo Juice around here because of the preferred cup to use to drink it). You know they'll eventually get rid of it, that's just how TJ's works (although I have seen some products there for YEARS, and I've been shopping there since close to the beginning, since they started in my hometown, so there might be hope!).

Also, my dad has a back-up wedding ring, since he seems to lose his frequently. So now, Jason has his very own back-up and he'd better not lose both! ;-) Good luck finding yours!

kate b

amalah, your everyday life is so interesting! never a boring post - you are too funny to be boring. the rest of us have everyday lives too, and sometimes its nice to hear and share the mundane.

and the babalah! so freaking adorable!


Go through the laundry. My toddler is obsessed with my rings and buried them in my hamper. On valentine's day, no less.


I live in Connecticut, so I can't even get the two-buck Chuck at TJs because only SPECIAL stores can sell anything besides beer. And not after 8pm. Or on Sunday. Or any holiday, like a long Memorial Day where maybe you're having people over to grill out. Sorry. Drive to New York.

Also, I might be checking the poop for somethin' other than stickers, given the missing rings issue.


I've just spent days reading through your archives, I'm totally a new fan, and...all I have to post about is TJ's.

We asked about the fruit leathers a couple weeks ago, and a cashier explained that the manufacturer had been bought up by some large conglomerate, and they raised their prices so far that TJs couldn't offer it within their own price range.

This is very frustrating, but...part of my love for TJs is the prices. Whole Paycheck just costs so much. I'm not about to wish that TJs would stay consistent if it means a jump in prices.

I'm curious to know how those red bags work. I bought a canvas one, which I like a lot (mostly because it doesn't scream "grocery bag"!). My Whole Foods bag often works better, though, because of the flat base.

Good luck on the rings, that's not fun.


Uh, yeah. I fell for the bag bait at TJ's as well... the only problem is that everytime I need to run in and replenish my son's supply of the OMG SO INCREDIBLY YUMMY I WISH I COULD PUREE IT AND MAINLINE IT FROZEN THREE CHEESE MAC AND CHEESE, I mysteriously do not have the slick highfunctioning bags in my car. so, its the trickhandled shortbus paper bags for me again! ARGH.


Have you even seen these?


They were (now sold out) selling in the UK for 5 euros (10 USD). They are selling on ebay for hundreds. (shamefully hangs head – i bid for one.


It's amazing how you can make an entry about how boring things are make me get in trouble at work for laughing too hard.


Long time lurker here... love the site, love you!

Trader Joe's does such an amazing job of messing with your head, doesn't it? One week they'll have ten tons of edamame, the next week it will be like it never existed. And when it's actually in stock, every shopper has at least two bags in her cart. It's like crack.

(Have you tried the canvas bags at TJ's?)

Also? Noah is amazing. He makes me miss my niece far away in Michigan.

Heather B.

oh my gosh...you know what I love that's new from Trader Joes, that I first umm, kind of sampled from your freezer, those veggie masala burgers. Love them. And if they discontinue those, I'll die.


Again, Noah Storch raises the Toddler Cuteness Bar impossibly high.

Ugly toddlers all over the country are weeping.

Could totally eat him for lunch.


"he still has not pooped out the ones you gave him last week" is the funniest sentance I have ever read.

Or it was. Until I looked over at your blogads. Bwah!!!


Love the dimples in Noah's elbows.

I hope you find your rings soon.


My name is Sasha, and I am a Joe-aholioc.

I turned down a job in Florida once, only partly because there are no TJs there. Seriously, that weighed in the decision.

They were still giving out balloons at my local TJs on Monday.


Definitely cute kid. But I didn't really notice at first because all I could focus on was how CLEAN your floors were under those Trader Joe's bags... Traitor. Huppie traitor. Buying organic AND Swiffering? You must be stopped.

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