The Pacific Northwest

by Chansoda on September 12, 2016

We took a trip out to Seattle, visited my family and explored the area. Great hikes, great coffee, fun city, beautiful outdoors. So much to do and see.

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ChansodaThe Pacific Northwest

We are Bee Keepers!

by Chansoda on May 9, 2016

Karla and I are official beekeepers now! We are starting off with two honey bee colonies. I built my first two top bar hives from scratch following some plans and learned a lot while trying to advance my woodworking skills. I think the hives I built came out looking alright, the bees are taking to it. It was hard finding the time to build and breathing in all that saw dust in the musty basement was probably not good for my health. At least they got done.

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ChansodaWe are Bee Keepers!


by Chansoda on August 11, 2015

Second annual trip to northern Maine. We did the 10+ hour trek to Madawaska again this year with a short stop to the mid-coastal towns of Rockland, Rockport and Camden. Beautiful and charming little towns that I would have liked to explore more but time was limited. We had brunch in Rockland at the Home Kitchen Cafe, which was mobbed with people but a nice place to grab a bite. There we met a nice recently retired couple that were doing a trip across the states and camping out in their RV, very cool to talk to them about their adventures traveling.

Then we continued on to our Madawaskan adventure. Set up camp on Long Lake, meaning we pitch a tent on our friend’s lakefront. It’s so nice to sleep outside and listen to the loons, but have the convenience of an actual house, my kind of short-cut camping. (I’m actually not a big fan of real camping)

The weather was a little tricky this weekend, cloudy, chance of rain, then sunshine, it was unpredictable. We connected with Denise and Brigitte and went on the trails with the ATVs, got caught in the pouring rain. Ended up really cold and wet but it was so much fun! Next time we know how to dress for this kind of stuff. We spent some time on the water but it was too cold to go swimming. Explored a little bit of the neighboring towns, had dinner and conversation with fun people. Shirley and Angelo’s wedding anniversary was also that weekend, so nice of them to host us and include us in their milestone. It is a great place to get away, all in all a relaxing weekend.

I still have not seen any moose though. Next time, hopefully.

(check out our pictures from Maine 2014)


We woke up before the sunrise to get started on our trip.


Sunrise on i-84 as we passed Hartford, CT.


Stopped in Rockland for brunch.


Camden, Maine.

Arrived and set up our camp on Long Lake a.k.a. Shirley's front lawn.

Arrived and set up our camp on Long Lake a.k.a. Shirley’s front lawn.


Exploring neighboring town Fort Kent




ATV time!


Denise and Brigitte were awesome to take us for a ride.


ATV trails.


Shirley and Angelo got the most dust.


Beautiful marsh, no moose.


We got caught in the rain, but this rainbow came out


As the storm cloud rolled past, the sun was starting to set.


Then the sky took a really dramatic turn, so beautiful.


A pensive one.




Pretty happy here.


Love the sunsets up here.


Waking up to fog over Long Lake


Over the fields a wall of fog


Yup, still looking for the elusive moose at dawn.


More fog.


Still so much to explore…

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The Walkway

by Chansoda on June 24, 2015

After the garden, we tackled the walkway leading to it. Wanted to add some interesting landscaping to the yard, because you know… we didn’t do enough digging and hauling with the garden already (sarcasm).

But seriously, it looks much better. And the digging, nope, did not get any easier. But we did it! The first original home owners were big in to their landscaping, but it got lost and overgrown throughout the years. So working in the yard always feels a little bit like an excavation. We unearthed a lot of hidden belgian blocks in the ground that use to line their gardens and walkways and were able to gather them up to line our new gravel walkway. We even got a bit of a history lesson on them. The community was founded by a group of Jewish NYC firemen who wanted a summer home/camp for their families. When the streets of NY were being ripped up, the cobbled pavers removed to make new roads, these guys decided to grab them and use it up here in their homes. So, original belgian blocks from the streets of New York City, literally.  Pretty cool.

After the digging was done, we thought the hard part was over. It would have been had the gravel been delivered right next to the walkway. But instead it was dumped on the driveway… which is fine, at least it wasn’t the wrong driveway.

Shovel. Wheelbarrel. Haul. Dump. Repeat until we eventually used up the two yards of gravel.

No more (big) landscaping projects after this.

As for our garden, it’s growing very nicely.

And the sound of pea gravel beneath our feet is soothing to hear.













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ChansodaThe Walkway

Adirondack Winter Adventure

by Chansoda on February 22, 2015

We headed up to Minerva, NY for a small Adirondack Winter Weekend with Karla’s Caramoor crew. The weather was frigid but we had a great time exploring a little bit of the area and staying in this cozy house playing games with some fun people. Late nights with Cards Against Humanity, Lunchbox, and some improvisational songwritng. Karla and I had to head out early Sunday to celebrate a best friend’s birthday, but it was a wonderful weekend. Definitely coming back for some real adventures next time. Highly recommend this wonderful Adirondack Getaway that we stayed at.


Karla and Morgan. Daria. About to head out to explore a little bit of the area.

How excited does Morgan look?



The most adorable couple: Steve and Emma.




Attempting a karate kick.


Let’s walk and experience the tundra.

A frozen Lake George.

A frozen Lake George.


My darling Karla, smiling, but really saying, “it’s bleeping cold out here!”

Me on the frozen lake, I would like to hop on one of this snowmobiles.


It’s chowder time.


Serving up cold at the ice bar.


Ahhh heat!! Let’s warm up with some whiskey.


Dylan and Daria in for a pose. But I missed it with a poor light setting.


Found a heart on the ground. Look at the lovebirds working together to stack the pool balls.


Venturing back out in to the cold.


Ice sculptures. Karla loves Olaf.


Let’s all pet the snow elephant.

We’re being “those people.” 🙂


Yay! Let’s just check out any open stores here.


Running to the car. Headed to the Sagamore.


Then decided it’s best to stay in. Warmth. Food. Games. Friends.






Finally, a picture of Christine and Tim.


Pretty awesome mosaic in North Creek.


Some animals on a farm.


The sun came out on our way home, gorgeous winter day. This was up by Bear Mountain on our way back.



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ChansodaAdirondack Winter Adventure

Perfect Fall

by Chansoda on October 28, 2014

This fall has been beautiful. The weather has been great and the leaves have been perfect. The colors are brilliant and it makes me so happy to live in New England in this time of year! Enjoying the fall sunsets also.

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ChansodaPerfect Fall


by Chansoda on October 12, 2014

Karla, Tom and Skip decided it was a good idea to go camping, in the cold rainy October month, on my birthday. I have to say, I really didn’t agree with this. I much prefer sitting around the fire in the comfort of my own home, with my own shower, soft bed, and a full kitchen to cook my meals. Holly and I both prefer that set up, we don’t mind the outdoor walks, but when it comes to warmth and sleeping, my own home is so much better! I was so happy to finally head home, so was Holly. It was a beautiful place to go camping, if you’re in to that kind of that thing, it also allows dogs, if your dog is in to that kind of thing. Tolland State Forest in Massachusetts. We used Reserve America to book our stay.

Walking around the grounds.

The camp ground was very nice. 

The beautiful fall.

The beautiful fall.

I love the colors.

I love the colors.

The lake at Tolland State Forest.

The lake at Tolland State Forest.


Fallen leaves in the water.

Holly was not a fan of this.

Holly was not a fan of this.

Holly prefers being in the tent.

Holly prefers being in the tent.

Tending the fire.

Tending the fire.

Siting around the fire.

Sitting around the fire.


more tending to the fire…

more sitting around the fire, apparently, that's all it is to camping.

more sitting around the fire, apparently, that’s all there is to camping…

Let me in the tent.

Let me in the tent.

Morning of freedom from camping.

Morning of freedom from camping.

Couldn't have been a more gorgeous day.

Couldn’t have been a more gorgeous day. Happy Birthday to me.

Hurry home, I need to shower.

Hurry home, I need to shower.

But this crazy thing happened on the ride home. A car with a bicycle strapped to it’s roof was driving ahead of us, unfortunately not so tightly strapped. The bike comes flying off the roof on I-84, and hits our car, bike goes flying, luckily no one was hurt. Scary, but it was all good. Lady should definitely double check how her bike is mounted on. Not cool.

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Trip to Maine

by Chansoda on August 12, 2014

Madawaska, Maine! God’s country, because there are more cows than people.

We took the 10+ hour trek up the the heart of the St. John Valley to visit our friends Shirley and Angelo (they spend part of their summer in Maine, winter in Florida, and the rest of the time, down the street from us in CT). Karla and I seem to have a thing for only vacationing with retired people 🙂

Madawaska is Shirley’s home town and we really wanted to see it. She was excited for us to come up during the Acadian Festival to show off her roots. Angelo was excited for company, he’s a very social Italian man. They are also celebrating their five year wedding anniversary (they are quite possibly the cutest couple I have ever met).

We left really early in the morning and made a quick stop in Ogunquit, Maine to take a walk along Marginal Way and grab lunch. It’s quite breathtaking, the coast is absolutely gorgeous and the walk was very easy, relaxing and scenic. We even ran in to a friend and her husband from Connecticut on our walk who were vacationing in Maine, such a small world. Then we continued on towards the valley into the backwoods to Shirley’s cottage on Long Lake.

We literally camped out on Shirley’s front lawn, sleeping right at the lake front to the sounds of the loons. It was perfect! Still had access to the shower and bathroom and Shirley’s delicious cooking each day. We spent time exploring the St. John Valley, tried to do a little house hunting for our other retired folks, boating, and had lots of laughs. It was a great time! We met Shirley’s family and became friends with her neighbors Denise and Brigitte. The weather worked out perfectly, it really doesn’t get too warm up there but there was a bit of a heat wave that gave us clear blue sunny skies everyday perfect for boating and swimming. We saw bald eagles, fields of potatoes and wheat, and trails everywhere, but no moose!

Since our trip also coincided with the full moon (supermoon), I was able to get some practice with night time moon photos. Was very excited to set up for that.

Looking forward to coming back again


Entering Marginal Way.


Looking out from Ogunquit, Maine.


Beautiful sea.


More scenic intake on Marginal Way.


Another stop along the road to check out Mount Katahdin view.


Mount Katahdin is some where out there… I think.


Set up our “camp.”


Yup, nice view.


Started off with breakfast here. Awesome bread!


It was a little shop and breakfast place. So cute!


Explored a nearby church.

_MG_3241 _MG_3253-Edit


Fields everywhere.


He had a beautiful garden and gave us fresh produce from it!




How cute are they?


Us on the overlook to Long Lake.


One of the four corners of the U.S. Madawaska, Maine.


These heads are fun.


The causeway to the island.


Morning walk to the island.


But watch out for cars… and the dust they bring.


Wheat field in the middle of the island.




Boating time.


Relaxing on the water.


Pretty and undeveloped.






A smooch.


St. Agatha at the Lakeview restaurant.


Crab apples! (A favorite cambodian snack)


Sunset portrait of Karla.




And the full moon.


Happy Anniversary!


3 a.m.


Calm lake water in the morning.


More boat time.


Finally, a group picture.


That’s a bald eagle!




And more fields




Another sun set portrait.




Early morning rise.


Traveling back through the fog.


Portland, Maine for lunch at Central Provisions. So good!


Karla didn’t know how to focus the camera but Life is good.

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ChansodaTrip to Maine


by Chansoda on February 23, 2014

February dumped so much snow on us, creating a beautiful snow globe of a winter wonderland. It also meant a lot of shoveling as our place became covered in over 2 feet of snow. The lake is frozen and serene.  Such a pretty time of year, but, I do look forward to being able to swimming in the water again, rather than treading on the frozen surface.


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Foggy Winter

by Chansoda on December 3, 2013

The fog was very heavy on this day, and by chance these canoes were floating on the lake so perfectly as I drove by so I grabbed my camera. I love how the fog hides all the development on the lake, making it seem so endless and mysterious, as nature intended.

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ChansodaFoggy Winter