Visiting Ireland is high on my travel goals; reading A Week in Winter gave me a strong reminder NOT to forget. Maeve Binchy once again transports us to a wonderful place in her last novel, published posthumously.
Why do I love reading her books?
Hope. It always seems to be at the core of her stories. Hope that if you put in the work things will get better.
And that it’s never too late to make a change. That it’s always a good idea to take a stand for your dreams, and follow your heart.
It also helps that her stories are set against such a beautiful and idyllic background. Do you also see the movie in your mind’s eye as you read a book? That happens for me a lot, which makes reading Binchy titles such a delight. She has a way of painting beautiful pictures with her words. I guess when you grow up around amazing landscapes, you also learn the words to describe them well.
Have you ever seen that viral video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose? Check it out here, if you haven’t. If that doesn’t convince you to SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS, I don’t know what else will.
A few months ago, we finally got our own set of reusable steel straws. I ordered mine from @metalstrawph on Instagram. Although it has been pretty easy for me to transition to using it, I recognize that there are challenges to making this Earth-friendy transition.
Sipping thru steel
Sipping thru a steel straw takes some getting used to, specially to a straw biter like me. I mean, you could very well lose your teeth if you bite thru that. ? But you do get used to it after a couple of sips. It also doesn’t really affect the taste of any drinks, at least none that we’ve noticed.
Remember to take it with you
On a quick trip at the start of summer, I totally forgot to pack our steel straws. I think I had just washed them and then forgot to put them back in my bag. Because I didn’t want that to be an excuse to keep using plastic straws, I convinced everyone riding with me on that trip not to use any with the drinks we ordered from a fast food drive-thru counter. ?Good thing they agreed! But really, it was a bit challenging to drink from the cup in a moving vehicle. But what the hey, my car, MY RULES! ??Since then, I’ve been pretty good at keeping the straws in my bag.
Refuse the plastic straw
Sometimes, establishments still make it hard to refuse the plastics.
When we order food for delivery, we request that no plastic straws and utensils be included in the order. Sadly, they still pack them with the food.
There are also restaurants who automatically serve drinks with plastic straws already in them. Now that is just sad. Whyyyyy?
Don’t accidentally throw it in the trash!
A few weeks ago, we decided to order in for lunch. Our choice: McDonald’s. (We’ve been doing pretty well with eating balanced meals but once a week, we give in to our cravings – ugh, defensive much?)
Before going to bed, I remember seeing two large soda cups on the kitchen sink, with the steel straws still sticking out from the lids. When I woke up, they were gone, along with the day’s trash. I figured the hubby took the garbage out before leaving for work.
Did he remember to keep the straws? I messaged him to find out. Here’s our conversation:
So I left home without confirming with my own eyes that the straws were just there somewhere. After a long day at work, I came home and couldn’t help but take a peek at the trash bin outside the house – yesterday’s trash was there, and it looked like someone had gone thru them.
As soon as I stepped thru the door, I asked – “Nakita mo?” (Did you find them?). He owned up to it right away, he had to retrieve them from the bin! We still laugh about that – a LOT!
But over Mother’s Day weekend we spent time with his friends and their families at an amusement park before heading to a resort. Before leaving, he needed another drink and got us a large cold Milo. Knowing na paubos na yung Milo, and as we walked out of the park, I kept telling him – “Babe, yung straw ha,” as a reminder NOT to throw it away.
We stopped for the obligatory group photo by the theme park entrance and then left.
While in the car, he remembers too late, that he had thrown the straw away. I’ve been giving him a hard time about that, haha.
Then yesterday, it was my turn. We ordered fruit shakes with our meals – because it’s soooooooo hot you just HAD to have one. I used my straw, while he chose to drink without one. To cut the story short, I left it at the restaurant! But no worries, I called it in, and went back for it this morning.
So, don’t leave home without it AND remember to take it home too!
These challenges are all so easy to overcome, and the reusable straw options are affordable too – specially since you’ll be using them many times, and for a very long time.
There really should be no reason NOT to switch to reusable straws. As in anything else, when you do, you just have to COMMIT TO IT AND BUILD THE HABIT.
When it comes to helping save the planet, no act is too small. What are you waiting for? Reduce single-use plastic waste, and SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS!
It’s Day 34 of the global 100 day Project. In this period, I have managed 14 blog posts.
On one hand, I feel like it’s a signal telling me to give up on writing. That I really am not meant to write. Not meant to be blogging.
On the other hand though, I also feel like things are going along just fine.
That’s 14 posts in a month! The last time there was that many posts in a single month on this blog, was in September of 2012. And when else have I tried to write from the Heart, much less end up publishing the result?
Though I haven’t produced a daily blog post, this is really the most time in forever that I have spent on writing, and all the tasks related to it. When there’s a lull in my day, I think of what I should write about next, examine thoughts and feelings around specific subjects, and (try to) articulate them. Sometimes I talk to myself, mostly while driving, so I can hear the words. I write drafts, edit, rewrite.
Now, I still wonder about this platform and where we’ll go at the end of the hundred days. Do I keep the blog up, or give it up?
After all, there’s always Facebook and Instagram. I suppose I can write there too, like many others do. I’ve always craved engagement from readers, and social media is excellent for that. People really interact with the content shared on FB and IG, and there’s almost always no SPAM! Comments are preferred, but those likes (and other reactions) are good enough. And these are from people I (mostly) know in real life.
But then, that’s the thing isn’t it? Sharing anything deeply personal on social media feels a lot like leaving myself exposed and vulnerable to people I actually know. I didn’t really think of it that way before, but the truth is, I can post anything on my blogs and not worry about judgment – readers, when there are any, are mostly strangers. While anything I share on FB or IG will likely be seen by my Mom, my husband, and just about every one else I know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid that the people in my life will be too judging!
I don’t post anything I could not say to another person directly. I am almost never hateful, and I don’t care for social media posts that tend to be negative or bullying, so hindi ako natatakot that people will read something I write and be so surprised that way. Arghhh. I don’t know, it’s just, why do I all of a sudden feel so exposed?
Seems like the husband and I, we have some of our more interesting, and funny, conversations on the road.
Like today, while running errands. We had just seen a few episodes of Shark Tank on Netflix so the husband was on a business/product development frame of mind. Here are a couple problem areas he thought about addressing:
A solution to the long queues that customers have to suffer through at the bank for whatever business they have to do there. It’s such a waste of time. Today, we actually went to another bank because the first one we went to had such long lines.
Modernizing the Sorbetero so he wouldn’t have to suffer under the intense heat of the sun pushing his ice cream cart.
I can’t go into detail on any of his pitches, but here’s what I had to say: Not scalable. And for that reason, I’m out! 🙂
I like these moments. And really, any opportunity to have a real discussion.
Sometimes we also talk about the latest News (or gossip), or interesting posts on our Facebook feeds.
We also talk about work a lot. Mostly, he vents out about his work, and I either just hear him out and give advise, or I call him out on his attitude towards the issue.
I really enjoy our conversations. From the most trivial, to the more serious topics. And today I am reminded of how just talking got us falling in love with each other.
I believe that we all should maximize our skills to help make the world a better place. In the case if Debbie Rodriguez, it meant teaching the art and business of hairdressing to the women of Kabul, in Afghanistan.
Reading the New York Times Bestseller Kabul Beauty School, I could not help but think about the plight of women all over the world. How many of us take for granted the relative freedoms we experience on a daily basis, and how different another person’s normal could be really like. It is great that there are aid workers risking life and limbs to help make life a little better for other people. More importantly, I am grateful for dreamers and movers who are unlocking possibilities and opening doors where there used to be hopelessness and a quiet acceptance of the cards they have been dealt with.
I also could not stop wondering whether it is now possible to be a tourist in Afghanistan. Despite the security concerns, and the lack of first world amenities, the author painted a picture of Kabul for me that I would love to explore. I have no idea what the situation on the ground is these days, but I would like to know if it would be possible to visit someday.
13 of 100!
Kabul Beauty School is my eleventh book for this year. I set 18 books for this year’s Reading Challenge at Goodreads but it would be great to exceed that by a mile!