SCHOOL: Her family speaks English, Urdu, Pashto, Hindi, Punjabi, Persian and Arabic. Met the dazzling Faraz Khan for coffee and a chat about her life in Austin and her work with the Citizens Foundation of Pakistan. Khan is vice president for finance at Seton Healthcare Family. She grew up in Pakistan, blessed with a family that believed in a fine education for girls. She now helps with the fledgeling Austin chapter of the Citizen’s Foundation, which schools 125,000 kids in Pakistan. Darn amazing work, not unlike Jamie Amelio’s Caring for Cambodia and the Indian literacy group, PrathamUSA. Every day, Austin is more connected to the rest of the world. (Expect a profile of Khan soon.)

FOOD: It’s always a pleasure at Gateway Guesthouse. There, life-loving couple Blaise Bahara and Bess Giannakakis run a boutique bed-and-breakfast with top-quality cuisine. I met Bess and Blaise a couple of years ago reporting on a Gateway Guesthouse dinner to benefit Project Transitions. Since then, we’ve exchanged dinner invitations back and forth. Last night, we were joined for a Florentine meal by food sharpies Paula Biehler and Pat Sharpe. The fun started with white bean panzanella, followed by a light carbonara dish, then enormous, rare Tuscan-style steaks, finished off with ricotta cheesecake. Bess and Blaise regaled us with stories about their recent culinary adventures in Tuscany. (Heaven.)

ARTS: Heartwarming to see the past and present trustees — and staff — all in the same room. After the Page 1 story by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin about a $9 million gift from the Betty and Edward Marcus Foundation to transform Laguna Gloria into a fabulous sculpture garden, the Contemporary Austin gave a large lunch at its downtown Jones Center venue. Stalwarts — including past directors Lawrence Miller and Sandra Gregor — were in high spirits as they listened to new director Louis Grachos spell out the future of the glorious lakeside site. Wouldn’t have happened without Contemporary board leader Melba Whatley, also the chairwoman of the foundation. She saluted the late Betty Marcus, her role model, for arts leadership in Dallas, while relative Richard Marcus memorialized Edward. (Looks like everything is going their way.)

LAW: Seems Austin is just beginning to live within its means. Reported in the Statesman by Sarah Coppola. "The Austin City Council OK’d a $3.3 billion budget Tuesday and, for the first time in five years, cut the property tax rate. The rate will drop from 50.29 cents per $100 of property value to 50.27 cents, but most homeowners will still pay more in city taxes next year because property values are rising. The owner of a median-value home of $185,133 will pay $931 in city taxes next year — about $34 more than this year. The lower rate — a unanimous decision — was a victory for Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who pushed for a rate at or below this year’s rate, saying Austin’s economy is booming and the city shouldn’t have to raise taxes in prosperous times." http://shar.es/ihiOc (Like the increased help for parks upkeep. Long overdue.)

SPORTS: I know this looks like a food story, and it is, but tailgating is a sport, too. Reported in the Statesman by Addie Broyles. "For some football fans, the tailgate is as important as the game. At the core, it’s an opportunity to hang out with friends and fellow fans and eat and drink before watching a game, but for some, tailgating is not just about throwing out a few fold-up chairs and cooking hamburgers and hotdogs on a mini kettle grill. Each game is an excuse to haul out a generator, flat-screen TV and a satellite dish, a traveling bar with a couple of kegs and a $10,000 custom-made smoker on which to cook enough briskets, pork ribs and sausages to serve every person who stops to ask what smells so good." http://shar.es/ihKpF(Recipes included.)