CHARITY: On manners, education and activism from the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League: "She waited near the window. Crisp suit. Soft smile. Softer voice. LaVonne Mason had arrived at the South Congress Avenue eatery more than 20 minutes before her scheduled interview. "I learned always to get there early," says the former Texas Woman’s University regent, Austin Area Urban League co-founder and creator of the Etiquette Authority. "Making a good impression is very important. That could make or break you." Speaking with considerable precision, Mason explains why she recently started teaching etiquette from her home. "Our children and youth today are missing out on social skills that will move them forward professionally as well as socially," she says. "It seems etiquette is a lost art. I wanted to see if I could make a difference if I had the opportunity." http://shar.es/itZdI(Honored to interview this role model.)

FOOD: If you crave authentic, MexNet Alliance guarantees authentic. As you probably already know, because co-chair Monica Peraza is a stylish force of nature, the Authentic Mexico Gala is right around the corner. The main meal on the Long Center stage is Monday, Sept. 16 and benefits MexNet Alliance, which shares entrepreneurial skills with Mexican immigrants. This year, the group is flying in six chefs from Mexico, one from New Yokr and four chefs from Austin are participating. Honored will be Cynthia Martinez and her Purepecha master cook Benedicta. There’s a whole Semana de Authentic Mexico with classes and talks at Whole Foods Market and the University of Texas. Go here for more info: http://authenticmexico.org. (Only Monica could accomplish all this, start two nonprofits, run two international businesses and raise a handsome family to boot.)

SCHOOL: We all receive an extra glimpse into universe because we live in a research city. Reported by James Barragan in the Statesman. "University of Texas researchers are helping to make a case for exploring Europa, a moon of Jupiter that scientists believe has potential for sustaining life. Their research has contributed to a study that sets goals for a potential voyage to the Jovian moon and knocks more than $1 billion off previous cost estimates, which have hovered around $4 billion. Exploration of Europa, 485 million miles away, has been on NASA’s short list for the past two decades. Ten years ago, it was considered equally important to the exploration of Mars. But while the Curiosity rover has been exploring the surface of Mars for the last two years, a mission to Europa has remained nothing but an idea. Since 1979, when Voyager 1 first flew by Europa and sent photographs back to Earth, scientists have grown increasingly interested in the icy moon." http://shar.es/itAIo(I could spend the rest of my life wandering around the UT campus learning stuff.)

SPORTS: Thanks to the Longhorn Network, I can follow volleyball even when the games are sold out. Reported by Albert Alvarado in the Statesman. "For the Texas Longhorns, the Nike Big Four Classic didn’t just come with one last chance for volleyball fans to celebrate the 2012 NCAA National Championship, but it also came with the first big test of 2013. The No. 6 Longhorns (4-1) passed that initial challenge during their first home stand of the season after downing No. 2 Stanford (2-2) 3-1 (29-27, 18-25, 25-16 and 27-25). "I can’t script it any better than to play two of the top teams in the country and have to deal with the emotional status of being able to play one night then playing well the next night," Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. The Longhorns cap a weekend at the Big Four Classic during which they beat the No. 1 and 2 teams in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s latest poll." http://shar.es/itk85(Same weekend: Tough, winning UT volleyball team and weak, losing UT football team.)

SPORTS: You need water, restrooms and a little bit of quirkiness to create an ideal Austin walk or run. Column by Pam LeBlanc in the Statesman: "What does it take to create the quintessential Austin walk or run? Someplace to get water, definitely. A bathroom comes in handy, too. But quirky highlights and beautiful scenery are what really make us forget our burning quads and flagging energy. We took a look around the city, then checked in with some Austin runners to come up with this list of places to incorporate into your own epic Austin running or walking route." (The list of sights and amenities is worth keeping.)