Friday, July 30, 2021

Donna's Million Dollar Fudge

Donna's sister Jane found Donna's recipe for Million Dollar Fudge, and I found photos online that look to me like the right color.  So I'm sharing Donna's recipe online for all of her friends, many of whom immediately say, "Oh, I sure will miss her fudge" when they hear she has died.  Me, too.  I can still taste it and feel it melt in my mouth.  She loved to share it with her friends.

1.  In a large heavy pan combine:  2 cups (16 oz.) heavy cream and 4 cups (28 oz.) granulated sugar.

2.  Stir well to mix thoroughly.  Bring to a boil and then beat to a soft ball stage (235 degrees on a candy thermometer).  Do not stir again after mixture reaches a rolling boil.  Remove from heat.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine:  1 cup (8 oz.) real butter cut into chunks and 1.5 (24 oz.) Hershey bars, broken into pieces.

4.  Pour hot mixture over butter and chocolate pieces.  Beat with electric mixer until glossy.  Pour into buttered 9"x13" pan and put into refrigerator or freezer to cool.

Note:  Make with or without nuts.  Symphony bars may be substituted for Hershey bars.

That is exactly how Donna wrote it, with ingredients in bold.  She didn't make a separate list of ingredients.  Here's a separate list for you:
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) heavy cream
  • 4 cups (28 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) real butter
  • 1.5 (24 oz.) Hershey bars, broken into pieces

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Books and music

Everything, Everything ~ by Nicola Yoon, 2015, YA fiction
The story of a teenage girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she's ever known.  The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
The Sun Is Also a Star ~ by Nicola Yoon, 2016, YA fiction
Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents' expectations, unexpectedly fall in love and must determine which path they will choose in order to be together.
My friend Donna was put on hospice and taken by ambulance to a nursing home after three weeks in the hospital.  Mere days before she died, she remembered to tell her sister to return these two books she had checked out from the University City Library.  I don't know if Donna completed either book, but I was curious.  They are YA books, and Donna taught English to young adults, so I put those two books on reserve for myself.  When he called me on Tuesday, I explained the situation to David, who sends home delivery books to several of us here at the Crown Center, telling him I'll return these two books for Donna and he'll have to take her off his list of folks to call.

Music Therapy
I arrived to sit with Donna when she was on hospice care, and a young man named Brian was standing beside her bed, strumming his guitar and singing to her.  I was not aware of this kind of therapy, but he is a Music Therapist for Hospice.  Isn't that wonderful?  His card shows he has a Master of Music Therapy degree (MMT) and is board certified.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted 
by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.  To 
see what others are reading, click this link.

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Donna M. Carey
May 8, 1950 - July 24, 2021

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Here's your assignment, if you choose to accept it

My friend Diana posted a sentence on Facebook, and added this comment:
Grab the book nearest you right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence as your status, and post these instructions in a comment to this status.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual; use the closest book.
I've followed the instructions twice:  once for myself and once for Donna, since I'd brought a bag of books home from her apartment last night.  Her bagful of books were in front of my bookshelves, so both were equally close on my left when I read Diana's sentence.

Bonnie's book:
"Get on with it" — p. 56 of God Meant It for Good: A Fresh Look at the Life of Joseph by R. T. Kendall, 1986, theology.
Donna's book:
"I still recall Uncle Frank ending a story with the statement, 'And that's the truth!'" — p. 56 of Writing as a Second Language: From Experience to Story to Prose by Donald Davis, 2000, writing.
Now it's your turn.  Grab the nearest book and tell us in the comments what the fifth sentence on page 56 is.  I did one for Donna because she's in hospice and is now unresponsive.  Unfortunately, "that's the truth," as Donna's quote says.  Now I'll "get on with it" and go sit with her awhile.

Added Sunday 7/25/21

I sat with Donna for a few hours so her sister Jane could have a break and go eat supper.  Donna was responding to me when I was there and with Jane when she returned from her break.  Jane had been back sitting beside her bed for a couple of hours when Donna died.  Jane texted me at 8:01 pm, just before sunset last night:  "She's gone, Bonnie."  Now I'll "get on with it" without her in my world.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Gotcha Day ~ Clawdia is a senior cat

I may not know her birthday exactly, but the vet estimated Clawdia was about 6 years old when she came to live with me on this day in 2015.  That means she is now about 12 years old.  How old is that in cat years?  I've found these charts.  The one above is a bit more specific, but both charts indicate Clawdia is a senior cat around 64 years old.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Looking around

Donna's view out the window from her bed at the nursing home.

Looking straight out her window to the inner courtyard.

Welcome sign on her door when she arrived yesterday.

She enjoyed the butterscotch pudding that came with her meal.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Bookish thoughts ~ and miscellaneous stuff

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy ~ by Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon, 2015, philosophy

Patton and Cannon introduce us to the grand tradition of examined living.  With the wisecracking Heraclitus as our guide, we travel down the winding river of philosophy, meeting influential thinkers from nearly three millennia of Western thought and witnessing great debates over everything from ethics to the concept of the self to the nature of reality.  Combining Cannon's playful artistry and Patton's humorous, instructive prose, this book puts the fun back into the quest for fundamental truths, imparting a love of wisdom to anyone willing to grab a paddle and join the ride.

Philosophy was part of my double major for my first college degree, so I'm having fun reading this library book.  Heraclitus, our guide, paddles a canoe down "the River of Philosophy" (p. 6).  Early on, he shares his most famous observation:  "Twenty-five centuries ago, when I said that 'it is not possible to step twice into the same river' . . . I was remarking on the fact that everything around us is in flux, and change is the only constant" (p. 15).  My favorite line is from René Descartes:  "Cogito, ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am").

Am I Alone Here? : Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live ~ by Peter Orner, illustrated by Eric Orner, 2016, essays

This National Book Critics Circle Award book is “an entrancing attempt to catch what falls between: the irreducibly personal, messy, even embarrassing ways reading and living bleed into each other, which neither literary criticism nor autobiography ever quite acknowledges" (The New York Times).   As the author says:  "Stories, both my own and those I’ve taken to heart, make up whoever it is that I’ve become."  Orner reads and writes everywhere he finds himself, whether in a hospital cafeteria, at a coffee shop in Albania, or on a crowded bus in Haiti.  The result is a book of unlearned meditations that stumbles into memoir.  He writes about many authors, including some I don't know.  Amazon says this book "will inspire readers to return to the essential stories of their own lives."

If any of you have this book, please tell me how to download the companion eBook mentioned on p. 299 in the book:  When I went there, it changed to:  I tried using both my Kindle and my laptop and got nowhere.  What am I doing wrong (or failing to do)?


While checking my email this morning, I noticed a story about the minimum wage "the year you were born."  Curious, I clicked on it and discovered that in 1940 (the year I was born), minimum wage was $0.30 an hour.  Thirty cents!  When I started working in my teens, my pay was $0.75 an hour; my pay for my first full-time job was $1.00 an hour.  Do you remember your first salary?

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon
a place for us to link up and share what
we have been doing during the week.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Beginning ~ by being separated


Bergen-Belsen, Germany, April 1944
Mindel walked as fast as her little legs would carry her to keep up with her big sister.  The unfriendly men in black uniforms used their usual "Schnell!  Schnell!" shouts to propel the mass of women and children forward.

Not Without My Sister ~ by Marion Kummerow, 2021, fiction (Germany)

1944, Germany.  Two sisters seek to overcome impossible odds to be reunited, in this utterly devastating and unforgettable novel about sisterhood, courage and survival.  All they had left was each other. Until the Nazis tore them apart.  After years of hiding from the Nazis, Rachel Epstein and her little sister Mindel are captured by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen.  The only ray of light for either girl is that they are together.  But on arrival they are separated.  As she’s seventeen and deemed an adult, Rachel is sent to work in a brutal factory while four-year-old Mindel is sent into the so-called "star" camp for Jewish prisoners.  All on her own, Rachel knows her sister will have no chance of survival — unless she can find someone to take care of her.

Working in the windowless, airless factory — filling munitions casings with chemicals that burn her fingers and make her eyes sting  — the only thing that keeps Rachel going is the thought of her little sister. Because if there’s even a chance Mindel is alive, Rachel knows she must try to save her.  But separated by barbed wire and treated brutally by SS guards who do not even see them as human beings, can either of the orphaned sisters ever dare to hope that they’ll find their way back to each other?  And to freedom?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Random Thursday Thoughts

I came across the word "Mothra" as I started reading my new book and had not even the slightest idea what it was or what it meant.  Here's the sentence:

Max said, "...but maybe that's how Mothra really happened" (p. 8).

So I looked it up and learned that Mothra is a fictional monster that first appeared in the 1961 film Mothra.  The character is part of the Godzilla franchise, typically portrayed as a colossal sentient larva (caterpillar).  Okay, not something that I've ever been interested in.  Are readers just supposed to know that stuff?  Now I wonder if I should give up on the new book right now and pick another or keep reading.

I just learned that today is National Dork Day.  It's a day to celebrate all things dorky.  According to this article, dorkiness is cool now.  And this illustration I found says folks celebrated geeks a couple of days ago.

I read that there will be an online author talk at a branch library near me.  The book is about St. Louis, where I now live and looks interesting, so I put it on reserve at my library.

The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States ~ by Walter Johnson, 2020, history, 528 pages.  From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, American history has been made in St. Louis.  The city exemplifies how imperialism, racism, and capitalism have persistently entwined to corrupt the nation's past.  St. Louis was a staging post for Indian removal and imperial expansion, and its wealth grew on the backs of its poor black residents, from slavery through redlining and urban renewal.  But it was once also America's most radical city, home to anti-capitalist immigrants, the Civil War's first general emancipation, and the nation's first general strike — a legacy of resistance that endures.

Random photos I took this week:  The first one shows Clawdia wearing her name tag, with her rabies tag hidden behind it.  And do you remember when Bernie became a meme and was showing up in all sorts of places back in January?  Now Bernie is a bobblehead (shown beside the box it came in).  No, I didn't buy it, but a friend did.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Two thoughts on TWOsday


Somebody came up with a great idea for hospital patients lying in bed.  This ceiling tile carries a message:  PLEASE CALL . . . DON'T FALL.

Getting old

When I shared this on Facebook, I added my words of wisdom:  "It's especially frustrating when I just put it in a safe place a few minutes ago!  LOL.  I hate to tell you, folks, but it gets worse the older you get."  I know I'm not alone from these comments I got immediately:
  1. Me too!
  2. I've been losing things in a "safe place" for what seems like forever.  It is the thing I just had in my hand and wasn't finished using which has magically disappeared that now drives me crazy.
  3. Happens all the time.
  4. Familiar.
  5. A-yup.
I also found these pearls.  Things that used to hurt my back:
  • Jumping off of garages.
  • Crashing my bike.
  • Falling out of a tree.
  • Diving into the shallow end.
  • Contact sport.
Things that hurt my back now:
  • Sneezing.
  • Mopping the floor.
  • Washing the dishes.
  • Brushing my teeth.
  • Tying my shoes.
  • Rolling over in bed.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Salon ~ books and grocery shopping

Last book completed

Reluctantly Home ~ by Imogen Clark, 2021, fiction (England), 8/10

"As she climbed the stairs to her room, it occurred to her that for the first time in almost as long as she could remember, she was the one offering help rather than having it offered to her, and it felt good" (p. 209).
Books with bookmarks

Life outside of books

I've been to the grocery store twice this past week, once I walked over there with my cart and once I went with Sheila when she drove.  Guess what . . . I forgot to get toilet paper both times.  I still have a spare roll or two, but it made me think of people's pandemic buying last year, with their carts piled high.  I wonder if the hoarders have even come close to using all that toilet paper they bought in 2020.

    Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon,
    a place for us to link up and share what
    we have been doing during the week.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Beginning ~ with a body on a beach

'The body of a woman has been found on the beach in Whitley Bay,' the newsreader announced in a suitably sombre tone.

Where The Story Starts ~ by Imogen Clark, 2019, fiction (England)

As single mother Leah struggles to get her children ready one morning, the doorbell rings.  Standing on the doorstep of their terraced house in Whitley Bay is a well-dressed stranger, Clio, who feels an emotional tie to the house that she can’t explain.  The story should end there, but a long-buried secret is already on its way to the surface.

In some ways the two women couldn’t be more different:  Leah is a mother of two and the daughter of a barmaid; Clio is a perennially single heiress to her baroness mother’s estate.  But where Leah lacks grown-up company, Clio lacks any experience of the real world, and the unlikely friendship sparked by their curious first meeting offers both of them a welcome respite from the routine of their lives.  It is a friendship that will answer questions neither of them knew to ask, uncovering secret stories from the past that have stayed hidden for decades.  But will it also be the catalyst for them to finally feel that they belong?

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Things on my mind today

Beauty:  There are still a few daylilies growing behind the Crown Center.

Integrity:  When I went shopping for groceries on Monday, I was headed up this sidewalk to the greenway to walk home when my Schnucks bagger came running up to the fence.  She had failed to put two cans of cat food in my bags and had run (in the heat!) hoping to catch me.  She had me wait while she ran over to the other end of this long sidewalk and all the way up to where I stood waiting.

I wish I'd thought to snap a photo of her.  It was way too hot to be running, but how good of her to do it.

My dad's art project:  My dad made this trivet in high school in 1934.  I know because it has his name with that date on the back of it.  Looking at this picture, I can still "feel" the heft of this heavy thing.  I used it for many years.  Kelly, my brother's daughter, posted this photo on Facebook six years ago, when we had this conversation:

Kelly:  I've used this trivet a million times, not knowing it was made by my artist grandfather for his sweetheart, my grandmother. On the back it is engraved "Elmer Setliffe Oct 1934."

Bonnie:  Yes, I used it for years, probably during the 25 years Mom lived with me.  Did Mother give it to you?  It's definitely a solid thing that will last and last and last.  I'm glad you are excited about it. 

Kelly:  Aunt Bonnie, yes it is solid for sure, maybe almost a half inch thick.  It is in my Mom and Dad's kitchen.  As I said, I've seen it and used it a lot, but I didn't know until yesterday that he made it.  So sweet.
Bonnie:  They dated for four years before getting married in 1938.  He was only 16 in 1934, so they probably were not sweethearts when he was 15 or 16 years old (he was born in October of 1918).  That means, his mother probably was the first one to use it.

I guess I can't count, since October 1934 would have been exactly those four years they dated before getting married in October 1938.  So he may have made it for my mother.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Word of the Day #1
can·ta·ta /kənˈtädə/ noun = a medium-length narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment, typically with solos, chorus, and orchestra.
Example:  "I thought this cantata sounded a bit tinny."

Word of the Day #2
tin·ny /ˈtinē/ adjective = having a displeasingly thin, metallic sound.
Example:  "Tinny music played in the background during my lunch hour."

Jump Back Up July 2021

The Jump Back Up July calendar from the folks at Action for Happiness has daily actions about resilience and understanding how we can build skills that will help us to bounce back.  We can't always predict or control what life throws at us, but we can build a range of skills and nurture our resources to help us respond flexibly, effectively deal with challenges, recover more quickly, and even learn and grow as a result.

July 1 ~ Take a small step to help overcome a problem or worry.
July 2 ~ Adopt a growth mindset.  Change "I can't" into I can't . . . yet."
July 3 ~ Be willing to ask for help when you need it.
July 4 ~ Find something to look forward to today.
July 5 ~ Get the basics right:  eat well, exercise, and go to bed on time.
July 6 ~ Pause, breathe, and feel your feet firmly on the ground.
July 7 ~ Shift your mood by doing something you really enjoy.
July 8 ~ Avoid saying "must" or "should" to yourself today.
July 9 ~ Put a problem in perspective by seeing the bigger picture.
July 10 ~ Reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings with them.
July 11 ~ Look for something positive in a difficult situation.
July 12 ~ Write your worries down and save them for a specific "worry time."
July 13 ~ Challenge negative thoughts.  Find an alternative interpretation.
July 14 ~ Get outside and move to help clear your head.
July 15 ~ Set yourself an achievable goal and take the first step.
July 16 ~ Find fun ways to distract yourself from unhelpful thoughts.
July 17 ~ Use one of your strengths to overcome a challenge today.
July 18 ~ Let go of the small stuff and focus on the things that matter.
July 19 ~ If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
July 20 ~ When things go wrong, pause and be kind to yourself.
July 21 ~ Identify what helped you get through a tough time in your life.
July 22 ~ Find three things you feel hopeful about and write them down.
July 23 ~ Remember that all feelings and situations pass in time.
July 24 ~ Choose to see something good about what has gone wrong.
July 25 ~ Notice when you are feeling judgmental and be kind instead.
July 26 ~ Catch yourself over-reacting and take a deep breath.
July 27 ~ Write down three things you're grateful for (even if today was hard).
July 28 ~ Think about what you can learn from a recent problem.
July 29 ~ Be a realistic optimist.  Focus on what could go right.
July 30 ~ Reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague for support.
July 31 ~ Remember we all struggle at times; it's part of being human.

I "fell down" on the job of posting the calendar this month, not remembering for almost a whole week.  However, I did finally get it posted today, so smile with me.  I "jumped back up" and got it done, finally!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

TWOsday ~ two bulletin boards

Here's what we have on the Resident Council bulletin boards in our two buildings at the Crown Cente.  The top one is in my building's lobby, and the second is in the other building.  In case clicking on the photos does not enlarge them enough to read, here what the twelve little cards say:
  1. The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself. ~ Deepak Chopra
  2. Luck is predictable; the harder you work, the luckier you get. ~ Brian Tracy
  3. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. ~ Charles Gordy
  4. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise [man] grows it under his feet. ~ J. Robert Oppenheimer
  5. Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is? ~ Mark Twain
  6. Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success. ~ Henry Ford
  7. If you take responsibility for yourself, you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams. ~ Les Brown
  8. Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working. ~ Pablo Picasso
  9. The best way to predict the future is to invent it. ~ Alan Kay
  10. Failure is not the opposite of success; it's part of success. ~ Arianna Huffington
  11. Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon. ~ Paul Brandt
  12. It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, July 5, 2021

Very punny response

Someone on Nextdoor, our neighborhood listserv, lost his glasses and wrote:
"Lost sunglasses and the end of an Era.  I lost my sunglasses at the beach at St. Joe state park this weekend, and I am quite distraught.  I usually break or lose sunglasses within a few weeks of purchase, but these aviators lasted for years somehow."
This person's response made me laugh:
"I have talked to the sun, and there will be a ray ban for 24 hours in memory.  I hope it lens some comfort to you in this era when we are so polarized as a nation.  Sunglass Hut seems like a nice place for a reception, but you might try a temple or two which might be a more appropriate venue.  In any case, don’t allow anyone to throw shade on your day of remembrance."
The fellow wearing the aviator glasses in the photo above is President Joe Biden, but you probably already knew that.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Bookish thoughts

I had started reading Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clark (2021), the new novel on my Kindle, and discovered two other novels on my Kindle by Clark:

I took photos of some of the flowers growing here at the Crown Center this past week.  They're bright and cheerful, aren't they?

This Crown Care Package below was given to each resident in celebration of the Fourth of July.  There are snacks and a watermelon drink, flags, and a book of word find puzzles.

Last night, I saw a representative of the Resident Council putting out flags around the grounds, too.  How are you celebrating this holiday?

    Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon
    a place for us to link up and share what
    we have been doing during the week.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Six degrees of separation in real life

Wow, what a story Helen shared today on her blog — Six Degrees of Separation: Real Life Edition.  I've been in awe about how people blogging about books have become friends without ever having met face to face.  Like my meeting with Donna, who became my best friend.  A quarter of a century ago we joined Oprah's book club when we read Oprah's very first book choice.  That was in 1996.  What are the chances we'd ever have met?  Almost zilch.  Donna lived in St. Louis, I lived in Chattanooga, and nothing would likely have ever gotten us together.  Except we were both readers.  I've met several others from that Oprah discussion group, gone to visit in the homes of a few, met others passing through my town on their way south, etc.  Meeting other readers has enriched my life:
  • Though I've never met her in person, I've talked to Margreet in the Netherlands by phone and "looked around her neighborhood" via Google maps.
  • Jenn was living in Europe when we "met"; years later, she and her husband and son visited me in Tennessee on their way home to St. Louis from Florida.  Now they live in Phoenix, and I live in St Louis.
  • Francesca and her family stopped for lunch with me and others on this list on their way south.
  • Jelani visited me from California and sang at my church.
  • I visited Kathryn at her home in Connecticut.
  • I met Annette during her stopover at the Atlanta airport; she now lives in Oregon.
  • I visited with Nancy at a restaurant at the beach.
  • Donna and I stayed overnight with Maggie's family in Maryland when we met her in person.
  • I flew to Connecticut to visit Mary Grace and her family in 2001.
  • Stephanie was driving through my town with her family and and stopped for a short visit.
  • When my mother died, several of our close-knit, online book group sent flowers together.
  • And I also "know" Rosemary and Madge and Marg in Australia and a few more whose names I'm probably missing here.

Beginning ~ in stationary traffic


She was going to be late for court.  She had been cutting it fine anyway, leaving chambers when she did, but Dominic had said it would only take half an hour to get there once she was through the worst of the central London traffic.  Now, however, she was sitting in a stationary queue of cars watching the clock on her dashboard click over from minute to minute.

Reluctantly Home ~ by Imogen Clark, 2021, fiction (England)
Pip Appleby seems to have it all, with her prestigious job as a human rights lawyer and her enviable London home.  But then a tragic accident stops her life in its tracks, and in an instant everything changes.  Retreating to her family’s rural farm and the humble origins she has been trying to hide, Pip is haunted by what she has done.

When she discovers the diary of actress Evelyn Mountcastle in a box of old books, Pip revels in the opportunity to lose herself in someone else’s life rather than focus on the disaster that is her own.  But soon she sees parallels ― Evelyn’s life was also beset by tragedy, and, like Pip, she returned to Southwold under a dark cloud.

When Pip and Evelyn’s paths cross in real life they slowly begin to reveal the hidden stories that are holding them back.  Can they help each other forgive what happened in the past and, perhaps, find happiness in the future?