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.

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.

Wollaston Beach in February

people walking on Wollaston Beach

The sunset was stunning tonight. Driving by Wollaston Beach. Looking at the sky and the water. The colors took my breath away. I was reminded again why I love Quincy.

Just a few moments drive from home and I’m by the water. I got out and walked around. The wind was biting cold, so I didn’t stay out for long. But I enjoyed these serene scenes.

Wollaston Beach with lights in the distance

Lights twinkling in the distance beyond the soft sand. Breathing in the fresh air. Noticing that it’s still light after 5:00pm.

sunset colors on Wollaston Beach

No filter needed. Sometimes reality is beyond beautiful.

Photo Exhibit: As We Rise

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted about my day trip to Salem. Strolling around the city during the holiday season and enjoying a local cafe.

The reason for the trip was to see the photography exhibit, As We Rise, before it left the Peabody Essex Museum. It was wonderful and I’m so glad that I got to see it before it ended on December 31st. The description of the exhibit on the website truly intrigued me.

“Explore Black identity through a compelling compilation of photographs from African diasporic culture. Drawn from Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Wedge Collection in Toronto, a Black-owned collection dedicated to artists of African descent, As We Rise looks at the myriad experiences of Black life through the lenses of community, identity and power.

Organized by Aperture, New York, the exhibition features more than 100 works by Black artists from Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, the United States and South America, as well as throughout the African continent. Black subjects depicted by Black photographers are presented as they wish to be seen , recognizing the complex strength, beauty and vulnerability of Black life.”

The exhibit shows ordinary Black people living their lives and reminded me of my own family photos. The exhibit acknowledges the importance of these pictures. Yes, we as a people have been through a lot. There has been struggle. And the struggle continues.

But we are just like any other people. We live our daily lives and have families and friends. We take pride in our work.
We enjoy the simple things and glamour. We are bold and beautiful.

It feels wonderful to see these people just being themselves and living their lives, just like me. It means something to see oneself, depicted in this way. It means something to see oneself portrayed at all. To show that we existed and continue to exist. And that we will exist.

I remember as a kid watching TV shows like Star Trek and being happy that there were Black people in the future. To a certain extent, it’s silly. It wasn’t real. Even so, it mattered.

The text in the picture above, “Identity as Seeing Ourselves” resonates with me in a similar way.

“These photographs are not only about seeing ourselves and our place in the world, but also picturing where we are going.”

This picture above, which represents refusal, is quite interesting. Not something I would display at home. But I like the idea of us as a people being able to have control over whether we are seen or not and how we choose to be seen.

And last, but not least, As We Rise shows Black people at rest and leisure. I loved this portion so much! What’s the point of life if not to enjoy ourselves and relax at least some of the time? Have we not toiled enough?!

An Instagram post by The Nap Ministry for the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says it best.

“The teachings of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have been a North Star in my life since I was in elementary school and obsessively wrote every paper for any class on him until college. I’ve read everything he has written and his work grounds my ethos as a Black Liberation Theologian. As the country honors his legacy and celebrates his birthday, I am deep in meditation about leisure for Black People.

Leisure and the right to simply exist without the constant weight of having to be a tool for production is something Black people have been denied for centuries. It is our divine right to simply be and embody leisure as a human right. These photos of MLK, Jr. on vacation in Jamaica in 1965 are a balm and deep breathing. Radical inspiration for our rest practices. We Will Rest!!”

Roseadela’s in Salem

Roseadela's front counter

When I visited Salem recently, I took inspiration from a vlogger who often shares her many day trips from where she lives in Seoul.

I’m not a morning person. For me, that means that I like to lounge around at home and have nice slow mornings, even if I get up early. On weekends, it takes a lot for me to leave the house in the morning. But that’s what Cari does! It would also mean that there would be less traffic for the hour long drive from Quincy, so maybe I could get there quicker.

Also, I usually avoid driving in the rain or snow. It rained the night before, but there were only supposed to be passing showers in the morning and it would dry out by the afternoon. So I figured I’d go. I really wanted to see the art exhibit, As We Rise, and it was going to close the next day.

Neither of my assumptions ended up being true, but I’m still glad that I went. The exhibit was wonderful and will be a separate post. I was stuck in a couple of downpours while driving and there was way more traffic than I expected. But as I walked around Salem, it was great!

breakfast at Roseadela's

I hate rushing through breakfast, so I didn’t eat before leaving home. When I arrived in Salem around 10am, I was starving and needed caffeine. There was plenty of street parking, but I chose a parking garage near the museum. When I came out of the elevator on the street level, I saw a small cafe and shop called Roseadela’s. It’s the cutest place with such cozy vibes!

There was so much to choose from for a sweet or savory small breakfast. I ended up getting a simple egg and cheese sandwich and a latte. Both very good and hit the spot!

I ended up coming back again when I was going to get my car to leave. I would have loved to buy just about everything in there. Since that was not possible, I picked up a few things that I really liked to gift to some people. They have an online store as well where you can purchase some of their many offerings.

Roseadela's shop wall

The photograph on the wall is stunning and I asked the owner about it. It looks like it’s from another time and place. But it’s actually her and her daughter posing at a photography studio located in the same building!

Stopping at Roseadela’s was a great way to start my half a day in Salem and I was ready to head to the museum next!