My 2012 Kentucky Resolutions

Earlier this week, Sarah posted a brilliant list of her 2012 Kentucky Resolutions. Her list got me thinking about my own goals for the New Year. How can I find new ways to enjoy being a Kentuckian in 2012? I wondered. I've already perfected my own beer cheese and bourbon ball recipes. I've seen the Commonwealth's major tourist sites, I've been to Derby and Oaks, and I've joined in the frenzy following a National Championship win.

But, of course, there are always new ways to enjoy the Bluegrass State. Here are a few goals I came up with for the upcoming year.  I tried to keep them realistic; I'm probably not going to become BFF with Mark Badgley and James Mischka this year (but I'm not going to stop hoping for that...)
  1. Shop(and Eat) Kentucky.I lived in Louisville's Highlands neighborhood for years. Now, when you live in the heart of the Keep Louisville Weird movement, it's pretty easy to have locally-sourced meals and locally-crafted products within your reach. But, recently, I've found myself gradually backsliding into more suburban, mainstream purchasing habits. Over the holidays, I was reminded how delightful local products can be when my aunt gave me a sampler of coffees roasted in-house at Lexington's Coffee Times Coffee House. The Big Blue Blend was so bright and sunny, but with a spicy bite -- it started sweet, like mocha ice cream, but finished with almost a chicory note. I was instantly smitten, and reminded that good things are often made just around the corner!
  2. Tour the Bourbon Trail; learn to place Box and Wheel bets. Yep, I resolve to do some sinnin' this year, but I want to learn to do it well. I want to see where my favorite bourbons are made -- I've driven past the distilleries hundreds of times, but I've just never taken the time to stop for the tour. And, I want to learn to make the kind of sophisticated bets that yield high payouts -- the kind that come from a deeper knowledge of horses and wagering. It's been a long time since I took a statistics class, but I think this will be a fun skill to acquire.
  3. Get involved with Kentucky politics. It's been way too long since I contacted a Congressman about an issue I believed in, volunteeered with a campaign, or generally gotten involved. I kind of miss it.
  4. Publish a story or essay set in Appalachia. As a writer, I've frequently struggled with how to include my hometown in my work while preserving my own experience. I love so many cultural elements of Appalachia, but I really hate some of the imagery of poverty and ignorance that so often emerges in Appalachian fiction. This year, I want to write a piece that is set in Eastern Kentucky, but which doesn't involve bad stereotypes, trips "to the Walmarts", or exploitative dialogue. 
  5. Finally see Western Kentucky.  To be a lifelong Kentuckian, I've spent an embarrassingly brief amount of time west of I-65.  I need to visit The Quilt Museum, eat some barbecue, and visit Abe's house.
What "Kentucky Things" do you want to do this year?