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I know that technically it isn’t summer yet, but since the temperatures have already reached the low 90s here (not to mention the fact that I’ve worn white shoes) I think it’s safe to say that summer has reached Texas. And, since everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, right now we’re having one hell of a storm. We’re talking about a shaking apartment with thunder and lightening shattering the skies less than a second apart, and torrential downpours that have made even this brave Seattleite frightened of venturing outdoors*. So, I’ve spent the morning knitting. I’m up to the Lily of the Valley border on the Swallowtail Shawl, and am almost done with the latest Mindless Baby Knitting project. Next up I’ll tackle Jared Flood’s Koolhas hat (for coffee shop knitting) and this Rauma pattern for more intricate knitting.

This sudden summer storm also has me smitten with Lucy of Attic 24, who makes me desperate to begin crocheting brightly-colored afghans and run off in the Volvo with a vintage trailer in tow**. Summer dreaming, folks. It’s that time of the year again. I’ve got another two weeks of school-free bliss, to be followed by 15 hours of 4.0 GPA maintenance before diving into a fall of math and science. Is it naive to think that some finished knitting projects, a clean house, cheap afghan yarn, and a road trip will help?

*For the record, I’m not scared of driving in the rain. I’m scared of Texans driving in the rain.

**Someone is snorting at the idea of attaching a trailer hitch and a camper to my station wagon. Someone should know by now that snorting only makes me more determined, no matter how ridiculous the idea. Hmph!

This morning, my delightful, lively, and always totally off-topic Freshman Composition class got on the subject of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) testing that apparently takes place in K-12 schools every year. (We had been reading about the Declaration of Independence, which led to mention of Thomas Jefferson, and in turn brought up the terrific Texas Board of Education’s recent idea to avoid any exploration of Jefferson’s philosophies or purported philandering.) Anyway. While I do remember taking a few standardized tests as a kid – especially in elementary school – the Texas version of making sure that learning is not occurring, at least according to my classmates, is to focus almost entirely on testing.

This single-minded focus is allegedly so intense that schools encourage their educators and students to wear “motivational” TAKS tee-shirts during testing season. Since the only education-oriented motivational shirt I’ve ever seen is one that a guy named Adam craftily spray-painted for an AP European History exam back in 1999 or 2000, I had a hard time believing that mass-market, test-oriented clothing existed. However, my trusty friend Google confirmed this, providing me with multiple TAKS-related clothing sites, including this one, which has the above gem for sale. Your’s for the asking? Are you fucking kidding me? I might be willing to dismiss the your’s as a placeholder for “‘s for the asking” were it not for the fact that said placeholder already exists on the design.Dear Texas, please shut up. Sincerely, history.