I have no idea why anyone would want to read this ridicullious c*&@ that I write because I am bored, but this blog is about stuff. You know Israel, cooking, family life, politics, entertainment...stuff. Whatever is on my mind! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Grocery shopping

Prior to our departure from Baltimore, I went into Seven Mile Market to get some nosh for our return trip. Last night I went to our local kosher grocery store. How depressing!!! The contrast is stark.

Seven Mile was well lit and crowded with people (clearly of varying hashkafos), saying, "hi" to each other. Ours is dimly lit, and all ten of the people there were either looking down trying to avoid eye contact, or blatantly looking everyone else up and down with out so much as a "hello."

I couldn't buy the cheese that I wanted because every single package was moldy (and you don't have to have a sharp eye to find the mold), even though the expiration dates were several months in the future. Once I pointed that out to B, he was looking for expired products. He found a dozen throughout the store. In the freezer section there is NO variety to speak of, and once you get your products home you ALWAYS find ice crystals, implying that these products defrosted and were refrozen at least once (this is thankfully no an issue in the winter).

Yesterday was no exception to the norm, and I had to keep revising my menu throughout the trip to the store because many of the ingredients I needed were not in stock (and probably wont be for months).

The worst part is the prices. The Jewish community of Motown is a VERY frum community, and the people here have very large families. Money is an issue, even for many of the professionals in the community. I really marvel at how some of these families manage (and yes I know many of them get public assistance, but many don't. Besides, that's an entirely different issue I have with Chelm, to be addressed in a future post perhaps.)

Whenever anyone tries to get to the bottom of all of these issues, they are always blamed on the poor financial management of the former owner, the size of the community, or the fact that our food is shipped all the way from NY (another big why??? Where is Chicago getting their food from???)

So if you live in a community with easily accessible, edible, somewhat affordable kosher food, consider yourself lucky. In the meantime I will consider my self tested by Hashem (G-d), because it's a real nisyona (test) to keep kosher in a town like this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Family Vacation (AKA When Tractor Trailers Collide, AKA Cleveland Does Not Rock!)

Well we are home from our trip to Baltimore.

First, I would like to thank the weather for cooperating so nicely the last several days. Unlike our previous road trips east, we encoutered no severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, snow squalls, or 100 degree weather. It was apparent from the water on the ground that we just missed at least 2 rain storms, but in the end all we encountered on the road was a brief drizzle. The weather in Baltimore was also quite nice for this time of the year while we were there.

We had a great time, went to a fantastic wedding, saw some sights, did some shopping, and caught up with a few friends. Unfortunately we did not get to see everyone we intended to see - sorry. There's always next trip - right?

Yesterday we went to Hershey Park. E hemmed and hawed the whole way there, saying that it's out of the way and the kiddies won't appreciate it, etc... I am happy to report that that was not the case. Not only did he kids love it, we adults also had a blast! I really felt like a youngster again. I took the kids on some of my old favorite rides and (of course) everyone enjoyed the factory tour. I even took Y on the ski lift-like sky ride, and taught him that you have to call down every generic American names to see who looks up (ex - Bob, Mike, Dan, Stacy...) We found a Dan and Jeff. We ate dinner at the kosher stand on our way out, and E bumped into an old Yeshiva friend there. It was a really fun day.

Last night I drove the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Harrisburg to the Ohio line. I am always amazed at how those trucks handle the downhill, high speed, narrow, turns in the mountains. They come so close to each other, yet rarely collide. The whole night I was watchng them, saying, "These two are going to smash right into each other," yet it never happened. The only accident we saw he whole trip (Thank g-d) was in the opposite direction while we were on our way there. I do believe that was a truck collision, so I guess they do hit eachother sometimes.

We were originally going to spend the night in Pittsburgh and do something there today, but the All Star game ruined those plans (no local hotel rooms) Instead, we spent the night last night at the Country Inn in Youngstown, Ohio. Definitely a place to keep in mind for future trips. The rooms are suites, and are were more than ample. The room cost roughly $100, and there were 2 double beds in one room and a sofa bed in the other. Each room had a TV (so we could watch what we wanted and the kids could watch cartoons), it was clean, and there was a ton of closet space. The staff was really nice, and we were able to scrounge up enough kosher food at the free breakfast. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a shluff off of the Turnpike.

Today we drove the rest of Ohio, and after spending at least 1-1/2 hours listening to Cleveland radio stations, all I can say is "Cleveland does not rock!"

Now I am back home, in Chelm, probably should be getting back to my laundry and unpacking. It can't always be vacation right?