March 6, 2017: Locked Out

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How was everyone’s weekend? New England had a blustery weekend after such unseasonably warm weather for February, March rolled in and so did the cold WIND! This was a knock-me-over weekend of wind, for sure. I spent my weekend out in Cape Cod.. doing my best to get in some good walks/hikes (more on those later this week) while trying not to freeze. I’ve got lots outdoor Cape posts to share!

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My ride back and forth to the Cape is typically uneventful, but this visit was different. Since I drove separately from my family, I ended up arriving at 8pm on Friday (my 3hr ride had an extra 1 hr of traffic). I didn’t mind the extra traffic because I am listening to a FANTASTIC book on tape, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and I was so engrossed in listening to this book that the time flew by. I highly recommend it for a long car ride. When I do a March book recap of what books I’ve read and listened to on tape this month, I will definitely include a write up on this piece.

Any who, back to the drive. I arrive at 8pm in Cape Cod only to find that the batteries are dead on the garage door key pad needed to enter my parents house. I also learned the hide-a-key-rock was now deeply buried due to a driveway renovation (sorry would-be-robbers). Crap. I was locked out.

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The back of Oscar’s head as he stood guard on my lap in the car, while we waited for my parents to arrive in Cape Cod with the house key.

With my puppy Oscar in tow, I couldn’t just go to the nearest pub for some dinner (and a badly needed restroom break) so I drove to the nearby Public Library just to wait in the well-lit parking lot for my parents to arrive. Thankfully my parents arrived around 9pm, so it was only an hour of waiting in the car on a cold night. This just felt like CLASSIC Bethany unlucky behavior. I did my best not to let it put a damper on the weekend getaway.

See some new changes at Life Absorbed? Now that the new header is up, Im trying to update the blog and hope you end up liking the changes. Today I added buttons along the right side of the screen to help direct new visitors to blog posts covering these topics: East Coast (covering all of my New England adventures and local explorations), Lifestyle (creative inspiration/what Im feeling at the moment/ and life updates), Hikes (+walks, to help be a guide for locals looking for a detail guide of local trails), Travel, Comedy, and Los Angeles (linking to my posts from when I lived in LA). It’s super hard to organize the posts (especially old posts) so Ill do my best to organize them from now on.

March 3, 2017: Trolley Trail Branford, CT

How do you like the new logo? Thought it was about time I jazzed it up a bit, as it hasn’t been touched in 2 years.

One thing that I miss  about my LA life is doing fun activities and blogging about them, which I stopped doing due to lack of time now that I’m on the east coast. I also noticed that I have a hard time finding important details about hikes on the east coast. I’m channeling my inner MODERN HIKER and sharing a post about a fun outdoor walk in Branford, CT called the Trolley Trail.

The Trolley Trail is a very easy, flat outdoor trail along the water in Branford, CT… specifically the Thimble Island area. The views are excellent and this one-way-out, one-way-back trail is pretty short so you can add on laps in the neighborhoods on either side of the walk (obeying privacy signs) to make it a full workout. Super easy, super pretty, so bring a camera and a picnic lunch 🙂

The Map:

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There are two areas to park (“P”). One lot is by W Point Rd & Thimble Island Rd (by a baseball field) and the other is at the end of Tilcon Rd. The walk stretches between these two lots. In my images I start by the baseball field, walk out to Tilcon Rd, and back (adding on an extra walking loop down Thimble Island Rd for more exercise). I imagine on a really nice summer day, parking would be harder to come by, but I was surprised at how generous both lots were.

Check out the RULES:

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The walk begins by taking you over a bridge (fun photo op!)

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There are excellent views throughout the walk, so be sure to look up while you stroll. See the Thimble Islands off in the distance? Bring binoculars for birding/gawking at gorgeous homes.

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A chunk of this path is even PAVED (and there are benches to rest!). I should note that there are some additional trails that go off into the woods from this trail. We didn’t explore this, but families with children were heading off to snack on the rocks overlooking the trail.

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This was a surprisingly sunny (but chilly) Sunday in February at low tide, so it wasn’t the most colorful time for plants and trees (dullsville) but there’s still something beautiful about dried muted plants.

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At one point we went under a bridge and there was a well dressed graffiti artist working his magic. I’m not sure what he was adding to these walls, but it had to be Banksy. I’m sure of it 😉

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After looping back, this is the view heading back over the bridge to the parking lot.

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On our way back to the car (just beyond the bridge) is a little trail with a tree swing and a spot to get closer to the water.

TRAIL EXTENSION:

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So to make this a longer walk (although I guess you could just do laps back and forth along the Trolley Trail if you wanted) I suggest leaving your parked car in the lot and walking into town along Thimble Island Rd. This above is a view from a little sandy beach front. If it’s warm, put your feet in!

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Above is the view from the dock where you can take a ferry boat around the Islands (in the summer). I will 100% be doing this in the summer, and I’ll share the deets with you when I do. I suggest walking down the little side streets, stop at the deli by the water for lunch (or pack a picnic and eat it on the beach) and enjoy the pretty views and gorgeous houses.

 

February 24, 2017

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I just LOVE this and it’s in keeping with the February black history month theme. This little 5 year old girl (Lola) is learning from her mom about black history and part of their learning involves dressing up and emulating the people she’s learning about. What a great way to cement this information into this littler girls mind, as it’s hard to forget about a history lesson where you get to become the person you’re learning about! It’s also teaching this littler girl about positive role models and her teacher has said that she’s become more confident and talking more in class. Female empowerment! This story just made my day.

February 23, 2017: Michelle J. Howard

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Michelle Janine Howard is the first African American Woman to command a US Navy Ship.

Michelle Janine Howard is the first African American Woman to be a 4-star admiral.

Michelle Janine Howard is the first African American Woman to command operational forces of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa.

Michelle J Howard has held so many commands and has gotten so many awards for her service. She also played an important role in rescuing Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. She’s a great current example for all of us, and she’s still serving her country at 56 years old. I wonder how many more “firsts” she will achieve before she retires.

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February 20, 2017: Henrietta Lacks

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Henrietta Lacks has been in the news lately because Oprah is playing her daughter in the HBO film “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” along side Rose Byrne. Henrietta Lacks died from cancer in 1951. Tissue samples from her tumors were harvested without her permission but ended up leading to scientific breakthroughs. Her sample is now known as the HeLa immortal cell line used in contemporary biomedical research. These cells were used to develop the polio vaccine, research cancer and AIDS as well as current studies. According to wikipedia scientists have grown 0ver 20 tons of her cells and they are used in over 11,000 patents.  I’m sure the HBO film will cover topics like race, poverty and the use of patients cells for commercial purposes (leading to a bigger conversation about privacy and patients’ rights). The HBO film will premiere at 8pm on Saturday April 22.

February 14, 2017

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One of my 2017 resolutions is to read more, and for Christmas my sister gave me this hilarious book (which I highly recommend). “What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding” by Kristin Newman, is a funny relatable woman with a unique job (tv comedy writer) that allows for extended breaks between projects and uses that time for travel. Each chapter is dedicated to a different trip and it’s in sequential order, so you can follow along on her wild vacations and her in-between trip home life. Her “normal” life is consumed with work, so when she vacations she lets loose and does things she’d never let her “normal self” do.

This book is super fun, and motivating, and given our political climate has inspired me to “get the hell outta Dodge”. I’ve got a 2 week work vacation in the summer and last year (in an effort to save money) I did a camping trip to Shenandoah and rented a cottage in the Catskills for a few days. This year I’m leaving the US for as close to the full 2 weeks as possible. Where am I going? No clue yet and suggestions are welcome!

I made a list of the things I want out of the vacation. I love the idea of spending an extended time in one place, as most of my vacations involve a lot of moving around and usually stress goes along with that type of trip. I’m looking for low stress. I’m also willing to pay a little more if it means that someone plans/organizes/leads the entire thing. I just want to show up and to have no worries. I like the idea of doing it with a tour group- the risk is being stuck with a boring group but the joy is getting to meet and travel with some really great people. I’m willing to take the risk. I’ll let you know what I decide to do but suggestions are welcome… I’ll tell you I’m leaning toward 10 days in Croatia + 3 days in a layover city that I can explore on my own. Has anyone been? Suggestions for a good layover city?

February 1, 2017 Part 2: Black History Month

Today is the start of Black History month (which deserves WAAAAY more than 1 month) and feeling so inspired from watching Hidden Figures, I want to dedicate many posts this month to other female hidden figures that we can all look up to and thank for their behind-the-scenes roles in some important parts of our lives.

 

Images from HERE, HERE and HERE.

Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson is starting off this series because she is one smart scientist and is still alive today kickin’ science ass. She grew up in Washington DC and graduated as the valedictorian in 1964. She went on to MIT where she was one of only 20 other black students attending the school at the time.. this really wasn’t that long ago which is blowing my mind. She went on to be the first African-American to get a doctorate degree from MIT, and only the second African American woman in the US to get a doctorate in physics as of 1973.

Shirley didn’t just excel at science but specifically physics and subatomic particles. After stints with prestigious labs she ended up traveling around Europe as a visiting scientist and lecturer. I read about a lot of the work she did and most of it goes way over my head, so I can’t even begin to explain it. She worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories where she contributed a lot to fiber optic cables. She’s credited with scientific research that enabled others to invent fiber optic cables, solar cells, the touchtone telephone, portable fax and caller ID/call waiting.

She’s gotten so many awards and has been the chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (picked by Bill Clinton) and was appointed by Obama to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She is currently the 18th President of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she’s making bank for all her hard work. Even at 70 she’s teaching, fundraising for scientific research and inspiring the next generation.

Thank you Shirley Ann Jackson!

(Info form HERE, HERE, and HERE)