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Now that 2011 is officially over, let’s pretend it never happened!  I’ve spent a lot of time in the last several days thinking about what lies ahead for this blog in 2012. The truth is, I started it kind of off the cuff and it has been more popular than I expected–which is great! I’m not complaining.  But it sort of makes me ponder what I should do with it next.

What would it take to start getting some reader interaction, dear audience?  Is asking you enough?  Do I need to put out bribes?  I love that so many people are following the blog and getting it delivered to their inbox, but I have to tell you, my curiosity about you is seriously peaked. Throw down with some communication please. I mean I’m over here talking about throwing cats of balconies and eating a dozen corn muffins and then lying about it (did I tell that story last year?) You guys say nothing.  A girl could feel a little vulnerable, you know?

2012 should be a really interesting year on the blog.  If you’re in the mood for coming attractions, here they are:

I become more southern and more Texan with an exploration of everything pickled.

Yeah, I did just say that. JM has a client that makes her own pickles, and every year I get two jars–one sweet and one sour. They are SOOOOO good. I can think of a lot of words to describe them, like CRACK!  I’ve been torn between begging her for some extra jars (especially the sweet & hot ones), offering to buy them off of her, and learning to make my own, but since one is too many and a thousand isn’t enough, and since I’m kind of handy in the kitchen, I think this is the year I’m going to finally try pickling.  This would be a great opportunity for you dear reader, to send me your favorite pickling recipe.  And remember, I’m from California, so please explain all words Texan and/or southern.

To be or not to be: Vegetarian

I love food, and I love to cook, and I’m pretty much freaked by the industrialized food machine that propels nutrition (or lack thereof) in America, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen working with fresh whole foods. Early In 2011, I went vegetarian, and with the exception of bagels and lox (smoked salmon) on Christmas morning ( Hey, I’m a Jew for god’s sake!) crispy trout from Hudson’s on the Bend ( a dish I was literally forced into eating because the only vegetarian option on the menu was so drastically over-salted I started shriveling up as I ate it) on Christmas Eve, and a few, very few sushi meals, I have faithfully kept myself from eating anything with eyes or with a mother for almost 10 months. No one is more surprised by this than I am, since one of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles had a huge sign that said: Man did not claw his way to the top of the food chain to eat soy.

Long story short, I don’t know how I became a vegetarian. Sometimes in the market while I’m shopping, I think: Did I agree to this?  It was my kid’s love of animals to start with. They just question (so naturally) why people kill and eat things (like cows and lambs) that are so beautiful. Then there was the movie Forks over Knives which proposes that most chronic illness in America (heart disease, diabetes, strokes, ect.) is food-borne. Then there was the cultivation of my Buddhist practice and the practice of ahimsa (no harm) and my long drive through west Texas where you have never seen (or smelled) anything like the mass ranches/slaughterhouses.  I don’t know, it just evolved for me over the last year and all came together. But I still crave meat all the time!  And I wonder if I can really remain true to what I believe, or if somehow that belief will change.

JM & the homefront

JM starts his second semester, full-time, on scholarship, at UT. It should be interesting since he’s traveling to do Superbowl for 11 days followed by a possible trip to the NFL draft picks.  Oh, and add that we have officially started starting (yeah, it takes THAT much work to get a non-profit up and running) our non-profit: the Media Awareness Project, and I can only imagine what the next 5 months will look like.  At some point this year we will probably finish painting the cabinets in our laundry room and patching the paint around the back doors we replaced summer 2011…I think.

Austin Media Awareness Project

Hello and welcome to my heart, dear reader. The Austin Media Awareness Project is a non-profit organization that basically puts a video camera in a kid’s hands and teaches them to ask questions and answer those questions about the world they see around them. It’s pretty freaking cool! Basically, we’re talking about media awareness here…understanding the messages of the media, the power of the media and how to use the media to create (and demand) social change. We have our first two groups of experimentees (hee hee, participants) all set to go in Spring 2012. We’ll be working with underserved kids in East Austin and somewhere in the Travis County Juvenile Detention system. Now all we need is equipment, money, a Board of Directors, curriculum, a website, lots and lots and lots of paperwork and a whole list of other schmutz. Seriously, it’s a ton of work…and it’s loaded on top of two lives (mine and JM’s) that are already brimming over. But sometimes doors just open. Like us on Facebook to stay tuned for the website, the videos and all other exciting developments.

Okay, I could go on here, but I shouldn’t. JM tells me my posts are way too long to read. What do you guys think?  I’m trying to commit to fewer words…but I find myself challenged by brevity.