March 13, 2017: Oscar’s 4th birthday

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Today my little boo-boo turns 4! He’s a rescue so it’s a made up date, but I imagine that on March 13th he was probably brought into that ASPCA by the police officers that found him tied to a tree/post outside. The ASPCA probably figured out he was approx 2 years old based on his teeth, and made March 13th his birthday. So while this is his “birthday” it is also his “I’m saved!” day. This would be the day that his rehabilitation began and transformed him into he love bug that he’s meant to be, and surrounded him with people that love him. He’s made my life infinitely more meaningful, and I’m so grateful to have him as my little boy.

March 10, 2017

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I have to say, as much as I miss Los Angeles, this is still really freakin pretty to me. There’s nothing like the silence of snowfall, and it somehow makes everything really quiet and peaceful. Of course now that it’s late in the day the snow is starting to melt. It’s loud again, and the day goes on as usual.

This weekend in Connecticut is expected to be really cold which really bums me out. I’m so longing to be outside hiking, and moving up hill. Well this will give me a chance to figure out what that smell is that’s coming from my fridge (it’s really bad) and hopefully cross something off my “things to see in CT that are indoors!” list. Aquarium? A museum? Something with a big fireplace to sit in front of?

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Last night I attempted to visit the Nasty Women New Haven exhibit at the Institute Library downtown. The opening event ran from 6-8p, and I arrived around 7:15 to not just a packed gallery but a packed street leading to the gallery.

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The closer I got the more congested it was. There was a long line to enter the event, and there’s nothing I hate more than a packed exhibit (makes it way too hard to really see the artwork). I’m glad it was packed, as that shows just how much New Haven cares, and from images online I’ve seen of the art, it was a very entertaining exhibit. I did not wait in the line and decided that I would come back, not on opening night, so I could really see the pieces in the exhibit. It will be running until April 8th!

Hike: Bells Neck Conservation Lands

This past weekend (March 4th to be exact) my parents and I ventured out into the freezing cold winds to get some exercise out in Cape Cod. After a week of 60 degree temps, we were SO COLD doing this walk (as you can see from our Michelin Man layers). I feel like the photos show how cold it was, but don’t convey just how windy it was. We are lucky none of us were blown into the West Reservoir of Bells Neck. I’m sure Ill do this walk again in the summer and share the differences!

We started by parking at the lot on the right of the map and then we worked our way around the water clockwise. I want to note that this was a pretty easy walk, 50 minute walk. From the parking “lot” (only room for a handful of spots) to the Fish Ladder, it was a pretty wide path, not much close brush and had pretty views throughout. The loop from the Fish Ladder back to the car, that north side is more woodsy, and a much tighter trail. In the summer I can see this being over grown and scratchy/itchy on bare legs (in shorts), which clearly wasn’t a problem today in our arctic layers.

Difficulty: EASY level #2 (1 being a paved path – 5 being an intense up hill hike)

Length: 2.75 miles according to the website, but I imagine it depends which route you go. It took us about 50 minutes, and we stopped for pictures and to look for birds.

Best Time to go: This will be busy (limited parking) + over grown in the height of summer (ticks!). Slightly off season is probably best. Spring/Fall. It’s also a great place to kayak!

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Map Provided by the Harwich Conservation Trust

For the original map + official details about the hike click HERE. Above is my version with the pink path showing you the route we took.

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Look at the level of layers required! I think we just had an especially rough day, wind wise.

The map up above has “B”s marking the benches along the loop. It’s probably more fun to sit when you aren’t being blown over into the water.

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The plants and branches were frozen to the water along the edges.

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This is the view of the Herring River on one side of the fish ladder.

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Above is the view of the West Reservoir. So peaceful. Given the cold temps, I think we only passed one person on this trail (and another person along the bike path). So still.

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Above and below are shots of the fish ladder, currently unoccupied by herring fish but soon will have fish jumping along the ladder.

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After the fish ladder we continued on to make this a loop along the water. This route takes you by privately owned cranberry bogs. Such a fun punch of color in a wintery landscape. Keep an eye out for “trail” tags marked on the trees showing you were to jump back into the woods along the path.

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These two images above show you that the wide path snakes along the edge of the property untimely meeting up with the bike path.

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Here’s the entrance to the bike path, which also has a map of the area posted for reference. When you reach the bike path take a right and continue on the path until you see a clearly marked path back toward the water, also on the right.

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This is the view along the path- pretty!

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Above is my Dad in giant layers trying to hide behind a tiny map. Can you spot Waldo? This is the path heading off from the bike path. You can see, it’s easy to spot.

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This part of the path gets a little narrower, and you can see that poison ivy+ticks might make this part tricky in the summer.

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We did an added little loop on a peninsula that juts out into he water, and then made out way back to the car.

I was with my birding parents, so they were constantly on the lookout for birds and we did end up seeing a massive blue heron. It was good at hiding among the tall grass by the water, so I don’t have a photo of it worth sharing. Keep a lookout for them when you’re exploring the area.

As windy and as cold as it was, we were really happy to get out of the house and get some exercise along a woodsy path (that cuts down on the wind!) and with pretty views of the water. I’ll for sure be doing this walk again during a different season and show the contrasting images.

 

March 7, 2017: Zumba

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Last night at 6:50p, I impulsively decided to try Zumba for the first time. I was already in work out clothes and debating going for a jog when I realized Zumba class started at my (very) local gym at 7p. Remembering my 2017 resolution of doing more new things, I impulsively ran over to my gym and joined the class.

I have never done, or even googled Zumba. I just knew it was dance-type exercise. Turns out a lot of people in the class go every week and had the music and dance moves memorized. Thankfully the back half of the room (where I was) was filled with clearly newbies who also had no idea what they were doing. I was basically Elaine doing her Seinfeld dance… except I was calling it Zumba. I also learned that if I’m trying to mimic a teachers dance moves, if my feet are doing the right moves then my hands, arms, and hips aren’t. I’m only able to control one area of body movement at a time… not ideal for Zumba. But it was good exercise (I sweated) and made in a good step count.

Was it humiliating? Yes. Is being embarrassed sometimes okay? Yes. Was it freeing to go make a fool of myself in a room full of people also looking goofy? YES!

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.