No Bull!

So the subhead for this blog is "Musings of a Texas Girl Living in Massachusetts," which makes it sound like I should be writing about the great cultural differences between Texas and Massachusetts (of which there are many). I feel like I haven't done that so far, but hopefully that will change . . . beginning now.

Today I drove out to the Burlington Mall because it has the closest Chick-fil-A to my home. I ate my lunch in the food court and then took the rest of my drink with me as I shopped. At the Hallmark store, I picked up a birthday card for a friend and walked up to the counter to pay for it. The woman at the register glanced at the Chick-fil-A cup in my hand and then saw my T-shirt (since it's game day, I was wearing my burnt-orange Longhorn shirt).

"They let you eat at Chick-fil-A with a bull shirt on?" she asked with a strange look on her face.

I panicked. Was she a Sooner? A closet Aggie fan?  A, gulp, Tech fan upset at the outcome of last week's game?

No, it turns out she really thought the Longhorn on my t-shirt was a bull. I didn't have time to explain anything and left the store slightly amused.

Thank goodness a man yelled out "Hook 'em, Horns" to me later this afternoon. At least some people up here understand the importance of Texas football.

A Town Like Alice

About a month ago, I came across a list of the top 100 books put out by the BBC (you can find the list here). One of the books on the list was A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute, which I had never heard of before. A few days later, I was visiting my local library and discovered the book on the librarians' choice bookshelf. Once I discovered that it took place in Australia, I was really excited to read it and checked it out (I loved reading The Thorn Birds last year).

The book can be divided into two parts. The first half takes place during World War II as the main character Jean Paget is forced to participate in a Japanese death march with other English female prisoners of war across the Malay peninsula. The second half takes place in Australia and follows the romance between Jean and Joe Harman, an Australian soldier she met during the war. The title of the book comes from Paget's desire to create a "town like Alice" (Alice Springs).

Some of the things I loved about the book:
  • Learning about such an interesting (and sad) part of history — the Japanese death march. Shute writes in a note at the end of the book that a death march similar to the one in the book did take place but in Sumatra, not Malaya.
  • The Australian setting. It was amazing to catch a glimpse of what life was like in rural Australia in the 1950s.
  • Jean Paget. She was such a strong female character who seemed to be able to do anything she set her mind to doing.
  • The beautiful love story between Jean and Joe. It was wonderful to read a story with an old-fashioned love story.

Sonic and Salem

This past Sunday I drove up to Peabody to try out the first Sonic in Massachusetts. People up here are CRAZY for Sonic . . . I don't think anyone back home in Henderson would believe that people would wait in line for over an hour (yes, an hour!) for the chance to try Sonic food. It just goes to show you the power of good advertising. Of course, I was one of those people waiting in line; the pull of a real cherry Dr Pepper was just too much. Since I waited that long, I also bought popcorn chicken and fries. The food was okay, but the drink was great. Now if Chicken Express would only open a branch in MA, I would be willing to wait 2 hours . . .

After I left Sonic, I drove on to Salem. Visiting Salem has become something of a Labor Day tradition. I went there last year to visit the Peabody Essex Museum. This year I ventured out a little farther and walked along the waterfront. I even got to see the small lighthouse there (Derby Wharf Lighthouse). It was quite breezy along the water, and I ended up wishing that I had worn jeans and brought a light jacket. I also decided to tour The House of the Seven Gables again. My family and I had toured it nine years ago on our PEI trip. The house was as neat as I remembered it; I just love the secret passageway. It was also amusing to be on a tour with other people.

Here are a few more pictures of my trip.

Lunch with a Seagull

During the summer, I love to go outside and eat lunch near the Fort Point Channel or Boston Harbor. Sometimes it's the one thing that gets me through the day — I know that I'll have at least one hour of "me time" to eat my lunch and read my book.

Today I had even better entertainment than any book could ever provide. This one seagull was determined to get whatever food he could from the trash can along the boardwalk. He kept pulling out lunch bags from the trash and then shaking the bag to get the contents out. I just happened to have my camera with me so I took a video of some of his antics.