#18 – The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

29 02 2008

Hankering for a mystery, I selected The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen from the pile of library books that looms on my nightstand. Gerritsen did not disappoint, I had no idea who-dun-it until the end.

Julia Hamill purchases a run-down historical home after her divorce. While trying to put in a garden, she uncovers a skeleton that has been buried for many years. The novel alternates between the present day and 1830 Boston. I enjoyed both the historical and contemporary story lines. Most interesting is the theme of early 19th century medical practices. Thankfully, physicians wash their hands now and bloodletting is no longer a common practice.

If you are looking for a light read and a little suspense, this book would be right up your alley.





Fie! Bah! 100 Calorie Snacks…

28 02 2008

On my way home from work today, I stopped at the Big W, to pick up a few things. Going through my coupon book, I noticed a coupon for $.75 off of a box of any flavor of Hostesses 100 calorie muffins.

Weighing my options, I decided upon the banana streusel muffins. Cinnamon coffee cake and blueberry are also available.

My stomach was growling, an uncommon occurrence. I couldn’t drive the five minutes from the Big W to the Annex without having a snack. It had to be the banana streusel muffins. I opened the box. There were three muffins per pack. Much to my chagrin, these were the smallest muffins I have ever laid eyes upon, at 1/3 ounce per muffin. They were good, just as good as the 400 calorie version you can purchase at any gas station, but with portion control.

When I got home I had another package. Now I’m up to 200 calories and I’m not full.

When the first 100 calorie pack snacks came on the market, I thought they were a great idea. Then I realized that I was paying an exorbitant price to have my food put into little packages. I have a food scale. When I am not in an expansionary period, I weigh my food out.

I am always so disappointed when I finish my bag of 100 calorie snacks. There is never enough in the package! Most nutritional labels list the average serving size of snacks to be around one ounce or twenty-eight grams. Several of the 100 calorie snacks on the market are half that size! They are not satisfying.

There is something to be said about volumetrics. Three ounces of carrots (1 serving size) is only 35 calories, a very filling snack.

This is my 5th consecutive successful day of dieting. I am restricting my calories to 1700 a day. How sad it is that those muffins took up 12% of my total caloric intake!





Some Guys Have All the Luck

27 02 2008

Twice this week, I have been exposed to situations where people could win prizes of great value. First was the 50/50 drawing at the Junior League’s Dueling Pianos event on Saturday. Last night at the Taste of Home Cooking Show, there were drawings for many great door prizes.

Both times I could have won. Imagine my anticipation as the winning ticket is drawn. I could definitely use that $450.00 from the 50/50 raffle to assist with the upcoming tax bill. And, that stainless steel refrigerator wouldn’t look great in my kitchen, but it would have replaced one that makes frequent sounds like an elephant.

Okay, I wasn’t a winner. But, does that make me a loser?

In my life I have one a few things, but never anything life changing.

Last year I won $40 on a scratch off lottery ticket. I figured that I had more than recouped all of the money had spent on the lottery in my lifetime, so I am quitting while I am ahead.

When I was in grade school, I won a 6-foot tall stocking full of toys from a drug store. The toys were the type that you would expect to buy at Dollar Tree, not very high quality, but I was excited to win this Christmas prize.

When I was in junior high school, I won a $25 gift card to Books N Stuff, a book store that used to be in East Peoria. I no longer remember why I won this, but this was at a time when $25 bought a lot of books and I was ecstatic!

My high school had an event after graduation called Project Graduation. This was an all night party at the school, designed with the intent to stop kids from driving drunk after graduation parties. There were a lot of prizes to be won, televisions, video game systems, computers and much more. I won a curling iron and a free night’s stay at The Hampton Inn. When I tried to redeem my stay at The Hampton Inn, I was told I had to be 21 to use it. This begs the question – why did they donate a free night’s hotel stay as a prize for the class of 1995?

Perhaps I will win a large prize in the future. I don’t think I’ve used up all of my luck yet.





St. Louis Trip

26 02 2008

Every year, my husband’s company provides a company trip. This year it is to St. Louis. We will arrive on a Friday and return on a Sunday. Does anyone have any ideas as to what we should do?

I want to go to The Big Bang, a piano bar I have been to before and really enjoyed. I have never been in The Arch. We are staying at The Adams Mark which is downtown.

There is no work-related event that we are required to attend, though I am sure we will spend some time with my husband’s coworkers.





The glorious Dodge Omni

26 02 2008

Yesterday my husband and I were talking about people named “Jack”. This led to a discussion of cars that I have previously owned.

When I was fourteen, my Uncle Jack passed away. He left me a car in his will. It was a 1983 two-tone brown Dodge Omni – a fine machine for a new driver.

For those of you who actually know my mother, you will find it shocking that she actually let me drive when I was fourteen. Of course, it was in Fondulac Park in East Peoria on Sunday mornings, but she did indeed let me drive without a permit or a license several times.

Other than my Sunday morning excursions, the car sat until I was sixteen and developed some mechanical problems. Aside from the mechanical problems, it possessed some other unique qualities, such as the hole in the passenger’s side floorboard. When going over a large puddle, water would splash on to the pants of the unsuspecting passenger. Another fine feature was the tan cloth meant to cover the ceiling of the car. It hung down in billows. There was no radio, so I used a boom box.

It may sound as if I am complaining about this car that was willed to me. But, I am not. I was so grateful to have a car, as my parents could not afford to buy one for me, and until I became an adult I was known for being a spendthrift, so there was no way that I was going to be purchasing my own car. I am just trying to paint a picture for you, oh faithful reader.

My friend, Kristy and I both worked at Foster and Gallagher at this time. Every day I would pick Kristy up for school and we would ride to school and then work our 3:30 – 7:30 shift at F&G, telemarketing magazine renewals for such quality publications as Playboy, Nursing Magazine, Time and Runner’s World.

One winter day, we were going through the Hardee’s drive through when a strange noise started coming from the front right part of the car. Mechanically inclined individual that I am, I attributed it to snow in the wheel well and went about my business, driving on to school. As we left the school and headed to F&G, the noise got worse, sounding much like a helicopter as we drove upwards of 50 mph down Caterpillar Trail (N. Main Street) in East Peoria.

As I took Kristy home, the noise continued to get even worse. When we got to a stop sign at the bottom of Bloomington Road in East Peoria, I exclaimed “I’ve got to get this snow out”, and decided that the best way to do so would be to turn the steering wheel all of the way to the left and then all of the way to the left. This method would surely loosen the impacted snow.

The entire wheel promptly fell off.

My parents believe, to this day, that my estranged boyfriend came to our house in the middle of the night and loosened the lug nuts in an attempt to kill me. I would like to think that I didn’t have such poor taste in men. Faithful reader, you decide.





Sunday Mornings

24 02 2008

Sunday mornings are one of the highlights of my week. This is the only day I get to sleep in with my husband.

We had an extraordinary day together. We didn’t do much, but we were together and highly in tune with each other.

I love that man.





Ode To The Public Lending Library

23 02 2008

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the public library, East Peoria’s to be precise.

My grandma lived across the street from the library. We would walk over there and I would get my weekly quota of books. My mom would take me to the library and let me wander the stacks. When I was older, I walked or rode my bike.

My mother was a reader too; she understood the need to browse. I thank her for instilling the love of books in me from an early age. I have had many adventures and come to know many different worlds through my love of books.

I always participated in the summer reading program, earning many a kid’s meal from Rax Roast Beef, housed in what is now the East Peoria Post Office building.

Let’s digress. I loved Rax! Those kid’s meals came with alligator shaped plastic cups. Some Internet research shows that only 30 Rax remain in the U.S., primarily in Ohio and Kentucky. I will keep that in mind for future travels, though this could be a matter similar to my recent rediscovery of Beverly Hills 90210. What if they don’t have the alligator sippy cups anymore??!!

There was always a party at the end of the summer reading program. One summer I came in second for reading the most books. Another summer someone from Glen Oak Zoo came to the library party, bringing along some friends of the furry and scaly variety. My neighbor, Lindsey, and I were on the front page of the East Peoria Courier in the summer of 1985 or 1986. We were shown petting a skunk.

Today I went to the East Peoria library. I got 12 books from the list of books that I want to read. Yes, fair blog-readers, my love affair with Borders is over. The public lending library and I are back together and things are going well.