Sunday, December 23, 2007


a few years back, nacho and i started a christmas tradition that i have come to love more than any other part of the season. forget the gifts, the cards, the parties, i'll take our puzzle any day of the week. it started by accident. anyone who knows me, knows the story of my troubled relationship with my sister. a fantastic byproduct of our parents divorce, was that my sister and i stopped talking to each other for about 8 years. as with so many things, the why came to be less important year after year. finally, after dating nacho for a year, we had to go home to Florida for a family emergency. during that visit, my sister and nacho hung out. i mean, at this point, nacho has now spoken more to my sister than i have in 10 years. i'm convinced, to this day, that my sister, like me, felt horrible for the time wasted, but just didn't know how to make it right. nacho was that channel for us. just being his nacho self, he got my sister to finally start talking to me. within a couple of years, we had started taking what we now proudly call Family Vacations. nacho and i go home to hang out at the beach with my sister, brother, nephew, and my sisters significant other (i cannot call Jim her boyfriend). we call that first trip, The Vacation that Never Happened because nacho and i didn't tell anyone besides this "family" we were coming down. it turned out to be the best decision we'd ever made.

it was an AMAZING weekend and i found myself stepping back and watching things from a distance, literally. taking it all in. i could not believe that after all that time and heartache that i was not just talking to my sister, but i was hanging out with her and really enjoying it. the highlight of that weekend came when i stopped to savor a major moment.....all of us sitting around a table doing a puzzle. if someone had asked me 10 years prior if i ever thought that would happen, i would have bet everything i owned against it. it floored me and took everything i had to keep my composure.

i enjoyed it so much that i decided then and there, that nacho and i would start our family tradition of doing a Christmas themed puzzle every year. we try to do it during the 12 days of Christmas, but that doesn't always work out. but the point is, we sit together, Christmas music blaring on the stereo, wine in glasses, no tv, no phone, and just do our little puzzle. as i said, it has become the highlight of Christmas, and quite honestly, my year. i'm also proud to say, that i've passed that tradition on to my sister. when i told her about our puzzle, she loved it. so each year, when i finish a puzzle, instead of putting it away or dropping off somewhere, i mail it to my sister to use for the next Christmas. it's usually minus a piece or two thanks to The Monsters, but she doesn't mind. it's just cool knowing even when you can't physically be in the same place, you can still carry on a family tradition together.

Merry Christmas everyone and here's this year's puzzle as we continue to work on it with the help of our very best friend Korby!

Monday, December 3, 2007

not bad for an old lady

while the weather outside was frightful, i managed to stick to my only race a year, the Jingle Bell Run. Peoria has managed to re-route this fantastic run right past the public housing. whoever thought that made for an awesome route is probably also behind the proposed IMAX theatre. if you managed to make it past public housing and thought you were out of the woods, think again. you then had to contend with the un-salted walking/running/biking path. only in Peoria! despite all of that, i managed a decent finish:

                     FEMALE AGE GROUP:  35 - 39
1 Daphne Scott-Henderson 37 IL 24:41
2 Denise Antonacci 38 IL 25:59
3 Natalie Fortin 35 IL 27:29

there you have it folks, in black and white. i am officially the first loser!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

tanks for nothing

well, after 3 days of fighting it, nacho finally got the tankless water heater installed and running - check it out here. he started Sat and finished yesterday (Mon). we had to take a day off from work not so much for the job, but because we had no running water all day Sunday and no way to shower Monday. i think we would have been asked to leave work had we gone in. so now there is all this room in my laundry room. hmmm what will i do with all that extra space? bowling alley? jousting pit? game room? torture chamber? the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

mom made the best!

although we didn't use crushed red pepper. Happy Gobble Gobble!!!

A Southern-style turnip green recipe with salt pork.


  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds turnip greens
  • 1 pound salt pork, rinsed and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • a dash of crushed red pepper, optional


Cut off and discard tough stems and discolored leaves from greens. Wash greens thoroughly and drain well. Cook salt pork in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and brown. Add the turnip greens, water, onion, sugar, pepper, and crushed red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 40 to 45 minutes or until greens are tender.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with vinegar or pepper sauce and cornbread.
Serves 6.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

i hadn't thought about this in years!

while working until 1am last night/this morning, a co-worker showed me a blast from the past!

i have to check with my bro and sis, but i'm almost positive we had one of these when i was a kid. or maybe i knew someone who did. i did alot of cough medicine when i was younger (aka up until 10a this morning) and i swear we had one. what i'd love to find is a picture of an even better toy that my bro and sis had when they were babies - some "walker" contraption that was a crab with claws that clip clopped on the floor when they would push around on them. oh, i should mention, my siblings are twins, so any gift that was given was given in two's. my mom railed about those damn crabs for year. i'll see if i can locate something on them. in the meantime, you can find this baby at a very reasonable $29.99 at Toys'R Us.

Monday, November 12, 2007


today at work:
D - why do i have to log into the wiki wtih my domain id now?
B - cuz E changed it.
D - but i liked my denacho account.
B - E likes domain accounts.
D - but if i use my denacho account, people ask what the denacho is for and i get to tell them about the fabulousness that is denacho
B - wow! i don't think i've heard the fabulousness of denacho
D - well, not only are you hearing about it, but you're lookin' at it!
B - well now

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

shoot the moon

i'm really liking shooting the moon right now. i guess cuz the challenge for me is to get a picture that looks the most like what i'm looking at at that moment in time. well, this didn't cuz the sky was actually still lit up (purple and pink hues). BUT, i purposely adjusted film speed to get something that only highlighted the moon. so for me, this was cool cuz i made it look dark outside when it really wasn't - the opposite of what i'm used to trying.
Exposure Time = 1/500 sec (Shutter Priority Mode)
ISO = 250
Aperture = f/5.6
Focal Length = 240mm (that's the max of my lens)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

custom railing

well, it's taken some time, but we finally have the railing up! yeah, right! i guess this will hold us for the winter. at least it will keep Matrix from jumping off - he actually did this past weekend. oh, and yes, this was taken with the camera that was part of the massacre last week. but the lens is a loaner from a friend - thanks Joe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

End of Summer

well, we're off to Florida for the weekend to visit my family. here's one last look at a summer sunset cuz when we come back, summer won't be here. until next year!

Monday, October 8, 2007


we leave this week to go down to Fl so Nacho can hang with his P's and deep sea fish, and i can hang with my family. i called my sister yesterday cuz i remembered that i need a place to stay and they'd probably like a heads up that i'm coming - i'm sure there are parades to plan in my honor. it never fails to amaze me about where we are and how far we've come. that post could go on for pages. but suffice it to say that there was an ample amount of time (almost 10 years) where my sister and i didn't speak to one another. i mean, we'd be in the same room, right next to each other and not speak. i have so many friends that can't fathom how you can do that....and neither can i. and thanks once again to my awesome Nacho, that bridge was finally built and crossed and we have a great relationship now. when we do go home, she's the first to know and that's where i stay. i've watched us both move from being very cautious with one another, to finally being the sister we always wanted for one another. AND i get to see my favoritest nephew play soccer. HOW AWESOME IS THAT PEOPLE!!!

mom would be proud! i'm sure she is!

Monday, October 1, 2007


i rather enjoy Nacho's industrial slant

Friday, September 28, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

things i wish i thought to ask - Part1

what was my first word?
what was my first oufit?
was i always this scared?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

no really, thanks

so i'm swimming last night and some guy mistakes me for some swim team member. he stops me during laps to ask if i'm "swimming with anyone". i mistakenly took this to mean he needed a lane. he clarified that he was impressed with my swimming and more impressed that i was self-taught. okay, so if this was a pickup line, i'll take it. oh, and i doubled my kick turns last night.

i know it's shameless self-promotion to even be posting about this, but if you knew how slow and clumsy i am you'd understand why i feel the need to brag about this. i mean, i fall going UP stairs. i bump into everything and i'm famous for cutting myself on sharp objects - and not intentionally! i consider myself the living Mrs. Magoo! so when the opportunity arises for something that i've actually been able to accomplish, well, i'm all over that shit!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

why thank you

i got an interesting complement today. i was telling my co-workers that while swimming laps last Friday, i decided to teach myself kick turns. it's pretty common knowledge among my friends that i taught myself how to swim in college.
like most kids i knew how to "survival swim". my dad threw us out of the boat in a pond when we were kids and it forced us to learn how to swim. in an ironic twist, while an undergrad at UWF, i worked at the pool. don't worry, i was just in an admin job. anyway, to add to that irony, i dated a lifeguard. so the sign was clearly there. after hours of watching the guards and the local swim club, i decided that i wanted to learn to swim the right way. it would make a great form of exercise and could save my life one day. so i spent the next several weeks not actually swimming, but sitting in the stands watching the swim team. i'd pick one swimmer and practice "breathing" with them. so when they'd take a breath i'd take one. finally i put myself in the water, and after what seemed like months, i began to show signs of an actual swimmer. i sucked up a TON of water. but i finally got....sort of.
i believe in the piecemeal approach. so instead of tackling the whole thing at one time, i used a kick board and fins to practice kicking. then i'd use pull buoys to practice the stroke and breathing. the only problem was, i never really practiced putting it all together. and i'd just tag the wall and turn around when i was done with a length.
this went on for years. and i never even tried turns. then, the year i got married, i decided to do a mini triathlon. well, they won't let you use pull buoys so i had to learn to put it all together. so i taught myself that. more water consumed. i got it down enough to struggle through the event. but again, i never really tried turns.
that was until this past Friday. i won't go into all the details, but for some reason, i decided it was time. and i patiently tried again and again, talking myself through it. i practiced flipping up close to the wall, then incorporating a turn. i'd then back away from the wall, take off and flip, later adding the turn. finally i felt i had it enough to swim an actual lap and add the turn at the end. AND I DID IT!!! as a matter of fact i did 5 laps continuously! much water was consumed, but i stuck with it. so much so i'm excited about swimming tonight.
so after detailing this to my 2 office mates, one commented on how impressive that was, no really, that's awesome! but more than that, he commented that he's really impressed at how i'm always working to figure something out - mental, physical, emotional. and he felt like a lazy blob compared to me. he's not, but can i say that's one of the nicest things i think anyone has ever said. thank you very much!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

phase 1 complete

kudos to nacho for working so hard this last week to get the decking done. that completes phase 1. now onto phase 2, stairs. and he swears phase 3, railing, will be done before the end of the year. well, i'm living on borrowed time anyway so what's 4-5 more months. good job babe!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


i do practice on more than just lightning....
just a couple of daisies - my favorite flower!

and Katie's Japanese Passion Vine. i have to steal some of this when she's not around!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

a little more lightning

okay, this is the last of them, i promise. and, believe me, i feel for everyone who's gotten hit by all this bad weather last week. really. my entire beach is under water so i feel some of your pain. but i just couldn't resist more lightning pics last Thurs night.

manual focus
Focal length = 34mm
ISO = 250
Exposure Mode = Manual

manual focus
Focal length = 34mm
ISO = 250
Exposure Mode = Manual

Saturday, August 25, 2007

today's subject - hummingbirds

since the bulk of the bad weather has passed, i'm out of chances for more lightning photos. although i did take some more cool ones Thurs night - i'll post those later. my subjects for today are the hummingbirds that have started coming around. mind you, i didn't have a feeder, but apparently my red glass candle lanterns attracted their attention. so, of course, i had to go buy a feeder. i am now a hummingbird feeder home owner. what's next? cooking magazines? i can see the domestic goddess in the distance - but will not photograph her. enjoy these!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


my first practice shots of lightning - thanks to this blog for getting me started. taken last night around 9:30pm. there's more thunderstorms over the next 2 days, so i'll have more time to practice. next stop....remote cable!

manual focus
Focal length = 28mm
ISO = 250
Exposure Mode = Appeture Priority

manual focus
Focal length = 50mm
ISO = 250
Exposure Mode = Appeture Priority

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sunrise Tree

another experiment with White Balance

Date/Time: 08/01/2007 6:06am
Focal Lenght: 50mm
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Aperture: F4.8 - 1/320sec
White Balance/Exposure Comp: -1.7EV
ISO: 250

Sunday, July 29, 2007

practicing with my D80

nacho was overly generous and gave me a Nikon D80 for my birthday this past March. thanks nacho! well, it's taken some time for me to get brave enough to play around with it. but thanks largely to Joe, i'm really starting to get into the swing of it. so Joe taught me the White Balance button this past weekend and here's some pics i took last night for practice. i really like where this is going! oh, and these were taken about 10p last night in complete darkness. you wouldn't know it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

this thing is getting out of control

okay, this started as a VERY belated gift to me, but the chaise is gettting the kind of attention i never intended.

glad everyone likes it so much. i've had lots of questions about where i got it from. the story goes......2 years ago i found the matress on sale through PotteryBarn. i think it went for $200 originally but i got it for $90. stupid me, at the time, thought that was the price for the matress and the frame. didn't see the $700 tag for the frame. when only the matress arrived, i decided to check their site again and, sure enough, it was just the matress. fine. it only took 2 years for Nacho & Co. to build the frame. but can i say? it's been well worth the wait! i've gotten my 2 years worth out of this thing in just the past 2 weekends. now i'm on recon for 2 more people to find this same matress so they can build one. geesh! if i knew this thing was gonna generate work......

Monday, July 9, 2007

i can almost taste it....

well the boys made significant progress on the deck this weekend. we now have something that i can see taking shape. this thing is gonna be huge. and it's gonna be awesome!!! the boxers are a little confused since their normal entry/exit has been moved, but i think they'll adjust. check out the progress of NachoDeck

Friday, July 6, 2007

somewhat finished product

i guess i forgot to take a picture of the somewhat finished chaise. we will need to redo the reclining support. the guys were in such a rush to beat the deadline that we didn't really think this part through. and korby and i decided that we need the pivoting casters on all 4 corners instead of just 2, so we'll fix that too. but it works and very well at that! thanks again guys!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

a Southern tradition

the only thing i've been wanting for longer than the chaise are these crepe myrtles. crepe myrtles ARE the South. i grew up in the South but moved away in 1993. all that time and i miss 3 things (in no particular order): my family, the beach, crepe myrtles. thanks to my husband, we live on the water in Illinois so i kinda have my "beach". and i talk to my family often enough that it suffices. but the crepe myrtles have eluded me until this year.
a new nursery in my town advertised they have winter hardy myrtles. we'll see about that this year. but so far so good. i bought 2 of them with the intent that i'll move them to large planters eventually and be able to keep them outside. for now, their temporary home are these 2 plastic containers. but they have done great - thanks i'm sure to the fabulous, nutrient-rich Illinois river water. one is in full bloom and the other is on it's way.

Monday, July 2, 2007

my chariot - aka the double chaise

i have asked nacho for 2 years for this. i found the cushion on Super Sale through Pottery Barn and couldn't pass up the amazing price. i remembered thinking "how hard could it be to build the frame? it's just a fancy pallet." apparently it is more than a fancy pallet.

after 2 years of hearing me complain, nacho finally started it yesterday (July1). and tonight they have pretty much finished it - well, i'm giving nacho some slack cuz they worked so late tonight. a little sprucing up the support and some wheels and the thing is done!

thanks nacho, korby, tucker, and bob. and everyone else for listening to me bitch about this.

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