Brookline’s Attempt to Prevent Smoking

designated smoking area sign

A few weeks ago, I was watching a YouTube video about Americans visiting France. One of the hints for Americans was to not be surprised by a lot of people smoking cigarettes. And further, not to complain when encountering it, because it’s a cultural difference.

I was a bit surprised and wondered just how much more the French smoke compared to Americans. According to World Population Review, 34.6% of people living in France smoke as opposed to 24.3% of people living in the United States. That is a pretty big difference.

Maybe we have more restrictions here on where people are allowed to smoke? I would think by now, that most people all over the world know the dangers of cigarette smoking. But it’s possible that the dangers have been more publicized here because of tobacco litigation.

Smoking never appealed to me. My mom used to smoke and I remember waking up to the smell of it. I hated it. I tried smoking once and didn’t like the taste of it either. My mom eventually quit smoking and I’m sure that it’s added many years to her life.

Since so many of us are on board with not smoking, getting people to never start smoking is key. It’s so much harder to quit later.

Here in Massachusetts, the town of Brookline went next level with their attempt to prevent people from smoking. The sale of tobacco is not allowed to anyone born on or after January 1, 2000. The ordinance went into effect in 2021 and was upheld by the state’s highest court. So other cities and towns in Massachusetts could soon do the same to limit the sale of tobacco. This tobacco ban is apparently the first of its kind in the country.

I’m not sure if this is the start of a trend, but I would be surprised if it remains the only locality to try this. It will be interesting to see if and how soon other places may follow.

And for those young smoking tourists from France, if you visit Brookline, you’ll have to get used to the cultural difference.

Time, Seasons + Planks

pocket watches telling time

So did you enjoy having that extra day last month? But then miss the hour we lost last night? Thinking about both changes in time makes life feel more arbitrary and random than usual.

In the natural world around us, we see the seasons change before our eyes. But the way humans interpret and manipulate time is based on the choices of very few people. The rest of us just go along with it.

I’ve always liked the idea of Leap Years and enjoy having more light in the evenings once Daylight Saving Time begins. But it is odd when you really think about it. Time is a social construct.

Time is also our most valuable resource, precisely because none of us knows how much we actually have. It is so precious. So how do we want to spend it?

If more of us thought deeply about this, I think we might choose to spend our time differently. The more time we get in life, the greater our appreciation for good health.

I’ve been making many changes over the years to improve my health, both physically and mentally. The latest tiny change that I’ve started is doing a daily plank. Like the late great RBG.

Once I blog something, I have a greater chance of sticking to it. So here it is! My goal is to do at least one plank every day for the rest of my life! And be able to keep increasing the time I can hold it.

Along with my language learning goals, it will be interesting to see changes over the next few months and years. This is another post to look back on and follow-up!

Capo Restaurant in South Boston

This blog post isn’t turning out as intended.

My friend and I planned to meet for lunch at a restaurant in South Boston that had corn and crab chowder. I was really looking forward to it and was planning to bring back The Chowdah Project.

I got to the place first and it was wall to wall people with blasting music. I hadn’t been in a place like that since dorm parties in my college days. No thank you! I walked out with no intention of returning.

Oh, and parking was an absolute nightmare. It took close to a half an hour to find anything and it was a somewhat problematic space. I’m not used to South Boston and didn’t know the area. Now I better understand all the stories about people getting so upset when there’s snow and people remove their space savers. I cannot even imagine trying to park there when there is snow.

Anyway, my friend found a spot and then we walked around a bit and ended up finding Capo Restaurant. Unfortunately, there was no chowder. But I may have had the best squash ravioli of my life. It was perfect.

A light cream sauce. So much squash filling that you could really see, taste and feel it. Perfectly seasoned with brown butter and crispy sage. The restaurant is very spacious and airy with ceiling fans going. Lots of space between the tables. Just a nice vibe.

I definitely recommend Capo Restaurant. But leave your car at home.

Language Learning – Update 2

In the last post, I mentioned that I’ve been struggling with a lot. So I’ve had to realize that I cannot keep up with the pace of language learning that I’d like.

The Coursera class didn’t work out as I’d hoped and learning Hangeul is on the back burner at this point. My focus is on French.

I’m still using Duolingo every day and have other forms of French immersion that help. French Teacher Carlito‘s newsletter is great! Plus, I’ve loaded up my YouTube and Instagram feeds with wonderful bite-sized French lessons from several people.

With all that I have on my plate, that’s about all that I can handle. After reading a recent blog post where I encountered an English word that was new to me, equiponderate, I decided that I need to cut myself some slack.

There is no deadline for becoming fluent in French. I have a goal and I’m doing the best I can. It takes a lot of time and practice to become fluent in another language. Life is throwing a lot my way right now, so I can’t progress the way I could if things were different.

I’m fluent in English and have a fairly decent vocabulary. It’s taken decades to reach this point and I’m still learning new English words. New English words keep being invented. Language learning is a lifelong journey, so I have to keep reminding myself to be patient.

Maybe you’re going through something similar. Remember to be patient with yourself and keep going. There is no race and live life one day at a time.

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Image: Wordnik