25 March 2009

Vacation Blues

Whew. Vacation is really great. I love vacation. I haven't quite found the balance though between writing and vacation. I don't consider writing a chore or "work". I truly love it so it's not that I feel that I need to take a vacation from writing. I would really like to learn how to balance the two.

If you read an earlier post of mine, you know that we all headed south to sunny Florida where I grew up to visit my parents. And if you read my past post, Back in the Swamp, you may get a sense of how much I love Florida.

On the way home about an hour into the swamp, we found a classic rock radio station. Classic rock just goes better in Florida maybe because I was a kid running around barefooted and full of imagination when all that classic rock wasn't so classic.

There's something about hearing songs by Grand Funk Railroad, ELO, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Guess Who, Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. that elicits feelings of freedom and wild abandonment in me. At the time these artists were creating some of their best stuff, I was a kid, so I wasn't into drugs. I know now as an adult that drugs were a staple for listening to music like this. Having experimented with drugs mostly in my college years in Florida and listening to classic rock, I know what feelings this music evokes. When I hear this genre of classic rock, I am eleven years old again mixed with those drug induced college years. And it's fucking great. I forget that. I forget how great classic rock music is, how great Florida is and when you mix the two with a margarita and a sunset...you get a Jimmy Buffet song.

It's no wonder that as we exited the swamp and Grand Funk Railroad's, "Closer to My Home" played that tears streaked my face. I felt the magic of my home behind me as we rushed at 75 mph heading north on I75. And Florida is magic for me.

The nature of Florida is so completely lazy with Her transitional forests of oak, pine and palmetto. I love being out on the river swimming in Her clear cold water or watching the manatees. I love paddling out to the brackish marsh to see bald eagles soaring, ospreys suspiciously watching, and great blue herons nesting. Some areas, like the narrow Alligator Alley during low tide when water levels sit lower than the reed covered banks, illicit feelings of vulnerability as I sit in my kayak in nothing but a flimsy swimsuit wondering if a gator will be sunning itself on the bank around the next bend in the river. I feel a rush similar to the anxiety that you feel before cresting the first hill of a roller coaster.

Most of my cell memory, in this lifetime, still holds Florida as home. I lived in Florida longer than I have been gone from Florida. I'll be fifty-four years old before the time is equal for years lived in Florida and years not lived in Florida. By the time I'm fifty-five, maybe the scales will tilt towards Tennessee or where ever I end up, but I doubt it. Until then though, I can fairly continue to call Florida home and cry when I leave Her.

Buffalo Bleu

There aren't many things in this life that I crave. I have developed a fair share of discipline and will power through the years, but this warrior definitely has a weakness. Potato chips. And not just any old chip will do. My favorite potato chips in the world are the Kettle chips. The first time I tasted the salt and pepper chip, I never looked at another brand. That was about five or so years ago.

If there were more flavors back then, I don't know because five or so years ago, our local food co-op carried only two or three flavors. Granted, now they have most of the flavors, and I thought that I had tried them all.

I was at the, gulp...I hate to say it, Kroger big chain grocery store to buy something for my son who is ill. Since Kroger has some of the same foods that our food co-op carries, I decided to take advantage of making only one stop and picking up a few things that were also on my co-op list.

Chips topped the list. Imagine my surprise when I saw a new flavor in my favorite Kettle Chips. I usually am not a flavor potato chip kind of girl. I really like them simple with light salt or my favorite of all, salt and pepper. The flavors don't really woo me, but every once in a while, I enjoy a tasty flavored potato chip.

The new flavor, Buffalo Bleu, sounded interesting. The concept is a spicy buffalo wing type flavor with a hint of bleu cheese. "Okay, I'll bite," I thought.

Yum. Saliva builds in my mouth as I hold my first Buffalo Bleu chip in my hands. My mouth gets juicier as I bring it past my lips and crunch down on it. Crunch. Crunch. Hmm? Crunch. Crunch. Hmm?

Nope. Don't like it. There's just too much stuff going on. The flavors are good with a tangy and "brazen" spiciness and hint of bleu cheese, but the flavors would be better if they were separated. First of all, the flavor powders cover the chip so you can't even see the chip. The only reason I'm sure the chip was there was due to the characteristic crunch of a Kettle chip.

Second, there's just too much shit on the chips. The company would have been better off putting the spicy chips in one pile and the bleu cheese chips in another pile and mixing the two pile together in the same bag.

There is no third except to say that there's too much crap on the Buffalo Bleu chips. I don't like 'em. I hope you read this and believe me and spend your three dollars on the classic salt and pepper.

Even though I didn't care for the chip, I ate a few more to make sure. Yup, me no like Buffalo Bleu. But that's okay. My husband will. And I'll remember for a few months not to stray from the classics.