Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Was it a month ago

that I posted about how I needed to stop neglecting this blog?

Um. Yeah. Well.

It's too late for NaBloPoMo but that's no reason I can't run a one-woman version in January. I think part of the reason I don't post here, while I post plenty of status updates on Facebook, is that the longer I go without posting, the more I feel the need for a substantial post. But if I post every day, they can be dinky. Right?

When all else fails, lower your standards.

Hey, want to know what I did yesterday? I went to get Shanna at the airport! Did you hear about that El Al flight that was stranded at JFK for nine hundred million years, ten hours of which were spent with a fully loaded plane frozen to the tarmac? Shanna, her husband, her 3 yo twins AND her in-laws were all on that plane. Seriously, people.

So after a day of IM'ing her as sympathetically as possible, while continuously updating and canceling babysitting plans, I went out to the airport last night to meet her with carseats, snacks, child entertainment, knitting, and NO CHILDREN OF MY OWN. It was very very strange. The last time I was at an airport without children, I was pregnant with Barak and it was January 2004 and I was coming back from visiting my grandmother. These days, a trip to the airport is a major military operation involving CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Yesterday, I went to the airport, I sat down where I could see the arrival sign, I bought a Diet Coke (8 shekel!! some things are the same in airports the world over) and pulled out my knitting. The first half hour was heavenly, but then I started to get hives. It was just so completely weird. I felt much better once they'd arrived and Shanna and her husband had gone off to pick up the rental car, leaving me with two overtired children to chase around the arrivals hall. More like life as I know it.

Oh! And something totally unrelated that I have not yet posted about! The cheese counter. Oh, my, the cheese counter. Yes, it did take me four months to discover a supermarket cheese counter, because none of the three supermarkets closest to us has one. But the one near Barak's school does, and because they had a special on Ben and Jerry's last week I went there, and people, did you know that cheese when you have it sliced at the cheese counter costs exactly half of what it costs if you buy it packaged in the refrigerator case? As in, NIS 40/kilo instead of NIS 80? Even the cheapest cheese here is not cheap exactly but this is a huge improvement. Not only that, but just the experience of buying cheese like that--saying, I'd like 200 grams of that sliced please, and a piece about this big of that, and 150 grams of that, grated--is one I have not had since I was 22 years old, living in southern Hungary, and buying smelly sheep's milk cheese for my lunches. (I bought smelly French cheese today--just a little piece, because it was expensive, but oh, yum.)

Food in grocery stores: wonderful.

Food in the dining hall: going south rapidly.

All the lunches have a main option containing dairy or soy, such that half of my children can't eat it. There is exactly one cereal--cornflakes--available at breakfast that I am willing to permit my children to eat. To give the allergic boys cereal I have to buy rice milk, which costs NIS 16 a box (oh Trader Joe's how I miss you) so most mornings they have rice cakes with peanut butter and apple slices, which is probably better for them anyway. And the dinners, which are meat and we had assumed would be no problem, contain a tremendous amount of soy. As of last week they started labeling the menus in advance so at least we'd know when it was going to be omelet night; it was getting really, really hard to show up at 7 pm with everyone only to discover that the meat, green beans, and sesame noodles ALL contained soy, and dinner was going to be raw vegetables, hummus, and bread. Again. I've talked to the woman in charge a few times but she is focusing on feeding 300 people, and if I ask for something specific--green lettuce, for example, instead of iceberg, or Cheerios instead of sugary cookie cereal--she says, just buy that item yourself. But we are buying easily half of our food now--probably more--and this was not in the budgetary plan.

Okay, that's enough for today. As of Monday, DoNuThreePlonyMo begins! Alert the media. And crack open a diet coke.


Alisha said...

I think some of the price differential between the cheese counter and the packaged cheese may have been because of the particular sale they were having at the time, although not all. And yes, isn't it awesome to be able to choose what and how much you want that way?? BTW, there are cheese shops in the shuk which offer a similar luxury, and at least one in particular where they will offer you slivers to taste until you decide which you want. :-)

uberimma said...

No, I went back there this morning and it was still NIS 4/100g for emek. The cheddar was 12, as was the really fancy stinky French cheese I bought a teeny little bit of and shared with Marika for breakfast. :)

OneTiredEma said...

Def cheaper at cheese counter. Not half price, necessarily, but enough to make it totally worthwhile to buy at cheese counter.

And OMG you MUST get off that meal plan. I hope you are plotting your way off campus come summer.

LC said...

SO glad that someone got it right - I've been reading comments about those *4* YO's, and all of a sudden realized, wait, it isn't even January yet. (Regards to Shanna's crew)

My dad was telling me about max tarmac times and laws, people! (I had mentioned Shanna - *was* most of that about the plane being stuck in ice? Yikes.

Yay for chese counters! (and fresh pita!)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had stopped checking your blog more than once in a blue moon because it never seemed to move past the "gotta stop neglecting this" post. No blame, you understand: I know you are terribly, terribly busy, and we do keep in touch on FB. So now I am procrastinating dealing with our too many NYC pix and lookit what I found!

I, too, bought a piece of rather expensive cheese recently, but it was worth it as it was exactly what I'd been yearning for (it was an aged Gouda, with crunchy little salt crystals formed in it). Alas, I left it behind at my folks' when I came back! Luckily, I know it'll be untouched: neither of them likes any hard cheeses.

The meal plan sounds like it's not worth it to you guys. Can you be given the equivalent in cash?

Poor Shanna and her family. That was really really awful.

~ Jasmin