Archive Page 3

Trader Joe’s Exposed

Trader Joe’s always seemed so American to me: from the plentiful free samples, to the friendly and knowledgeable staff (who actually appear happy to be working there) to the free stickers and lollipops for kids.

So I was surprised to read that it is actually owned by German supermarket kingpins.

Even though it’s a chain, Trader Joe’s comes across as a quirky neighborhood shop, thanks to the Hawaiin shirts the employees wear, and the unique items on offer (pumpkin pancakes and low-fat chocolate yogurt come to mind).

I am now eager to take a trip to Germany to visit some other shops owned by the Albrecht family. I can only hope that free lollipops are the international norm.

US Visa Woes

After years of filing visa applications and waiting for work permit papers in the UK, I feel for Piers Morgan, if it’s true that his CNN employment is on hold until his visa comes through.

I’m quite sure that getting legal clearance to work abroad didn’t used to be such a lengthy process. When I moved to the UK in mid-2001, I waited about two months for a work permit to come through.

I wonder if Piers would have better luck if he married an American, and scored a green card…

We have to vote AGAIN?!

Another month, another election here in Georgia. I can’t get over how often we registered voters are expected to cast ballots here. The last election was just a month ago — and this isn’t even a Presidential election year.

As someone with a bad case of voter guilt, I will head to the polls (again!). I almost envy people who blow off election days, without giving it a second thought. My parents were always hard-core voters, so I would really struggle to sleep at night if I missed one.

I can only hope that enough people turn out on Tuesday, so we don’t have another run-off. Three elections in three months would just be too much, even for hard-core voters like me.

A Child’s Choice at Starbucks

In London, when visiting Starbucks with our kids, we always ordered the babyccino — a fancy name for (free!) frothed milk in a mini-coffee cup.

Here in Atlanta, where we’ve been living for a year and a half, we discovered that Starbucks employees have not heard of the free cup of frothed milk for kids. They would gladly pour and froth milk for us, but it would come at a price.

But now, thanks to a friend who is also a mom, and a frequent Starbucks visitor, we have discovered a new drink: water, with a splash of passion fruit tea. The lovely pink color will delight Starbucks fans with daughters.

And sometimes, like the babyccino, it’s free.

If a Tree Falls…

A massive limb fell across our front yard this morning, entrapping our car, which was fortunately empty at the time.

But what was eerie about the collapse wasn’t just the sheer size of the limb. It was the fact that it had looked so sturdy. It snapped out of nowhere on a sunny, windless morning. I thought that tree limbs fell because of storms, or strong winds.

It doesn’t seem to be all that uncommon an occurrence in tree-filled Atlanta. Several neighbors who walked by to observe the carnage said that the same thing had happened to them. They nodded sagely and said that Bradford Pear Trees were usually to blame.

I was impressed by how quickly the City of Atlanta came to saw up and take away the fallen tree. We called them at 8:30 AM, right when they opened for the day, and they arrived within the hour.

After assessing the damage, the foreman of the cutting crew said: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to take down the entire tree.” His tone implied that I would be dismayed by this diagnosis.

After watching the carnage caused by a tree that did not appear to be damaged, or hit by any lightning or other force of nature, I couldn’t wait to see the tree come down. In fact, I wanted to suggest that they take a few others down too, while they were at it, but they seemed ready to move on.

They suggested that I call an “arborist” from the city to check the health and safety of the other trees. I never thought I would use a word like arborist in a sentence, but I guess that’s what living in a tree-filled city for a year will do to you.

Cameron Flies Commercial

I am impressed that Britain’s new Prime Minister flew commercial on his first trip to the US in his new role.

The question is — which airline?

No More Spill?

Can it be? After a mere three months?!