These days in Texas, we all celebrate July 4th with as much vigor as those in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. We love a good picnic with loads of fireworks, and our grilling can beat out any other state’s. But if we’re going to be historically accurate, Texas wasn’t even in the picture in July of 1776. In fact, we didn’t get in on the American Independence Day celebrations until after we first declared our own independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, and had existed as the Republic of Texas for about ten years.
It’s the middle of baseball season and fans are lathered in sunscreen and sporting sunglasses to support their favorite team. Devotees of the sport are betting against each other, trying to predict outcomes, while less enthusiastic watchers made it a day-outing for some fun entertainment. But for the baseball fanatics and the casual viewer alike, it’s always fun to hear a bit of backstory on who the players were before they hit the big league.
Summer has officially begun and what better way to spend it than road tripping across the great state of Texas? And what’s the most important aspect of taking a road trip? The many different places to eat of course! Unfortunately, visitors and locals alike are traveling around Texas with little to no knowledge of great Texan eateries, so they often just stop at a Sonic or a Dairy Queen. Don’t be that person. Instead, you can read John DeMer’s Follow the Smoke: 13,783 Miles of Great Texas Barbeque and learn about 119 delicious barbeque joints that are across smokin’ Texas.
In early May each year my mother creates her annual summer calendar: a filing folder, on the interior of which she meticulously delineated rows for each week of the summer and filled with our activities (color-coded, of course). The calendar began clear and full of free time, but quickly cluttered with lines and abbreviations representing our family vacations, sports camps, jobs and activities. At its completion, it read like hieroglyphics. For many people, summer provides a few free months that are ripe for doing the things you can’t do during the year. A few free months that flash by, that we greet in May with excitement, and to which we wave goodbye in August, shocked at the speed with which they passed.
As we approach the summer solstice on June 21, we can recall many literary classics inspired by and set around this time of the year . Fans of early British literature may think of Edmund Spenser’s intricately wrought poem “Epithalamion,” in which Spenser riffs on the classic Greek marriage songs. Epithalamium were originally written to be performed for a couple on their marriage night, but Spenser changes things up a bit by writing in celebration of his own marriage that he poetically sets on the longest day of the year: the summer solstice. For Spenser, the day seems eternal, as if he’ll never reach the long-awaited marriage night with his new bride.
In 1971, I was in second grade. My school’s library was in a temporary building that had been in place since the early ‘50s. It was a magical place, with three shelves of orange biographies, the requisite rainbow of World Book encyclopedias, and all my best friends: Beezus, The Great Brain, The Littlest Witch, Dorothy Gale, Laura Ingalls, Lucy Pevensie, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and the rest of the gang. A cool, calm respite from the confusion of yo-yos, clackers and competitive jacks outside the doors, the library provided a real haven.
Explore the Spiritual Side of Your Yoga Practice
Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga by Monette Chilson
Author & yogini Monette Chilson will read from and discuss her award-winning book, Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga (Bright Sky Press, 2013) at BookWoman, Austin’s legendary feminist bookstore. Her talk will focus on using the practice of yoga as a spiritual tool for recovering the lost feminine divine. Books will be available for sale and signing following the discussion.
Oolong. Guffaw. Bellicose. Lollygag. Onomatopoeia!
So many words, but so little time.
Did you know children’s vocabulary nearly doubles between grades 3 and 7? Help your kids learn new words with an activity inspired by Chris Cander’s The Word Burglar. Grab those magazines piling up on the coffee table and start creating your own dictionary.
Summer is right around the corner and kids are already squirming in their desks, ready to leave learning behind. But you can keep that growing brain engaged, even after the final school bell rings. Invite your child to put on “math goggles” for all the activities in Robin A. Ward’s book Math + Art = Fun. Together, you and your wiggly one will learn about artists around the world, recreate famous paintings and sculptures, and keep those math concepts fresh.
Here’s an example of what mathematical magic can happen when you look at art with “math goggles” on.