Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

How Sweet the Brew

Coffee, tea, hot cocoa  - yum- yum, each carries with it an aroma and goodness that is possibly only surpassed by pure chocolate! Different tastes call for indulgence in different brews so What is your brew? Regardless of your preference, it is coffee in the spotlight for celebration.

September 29 is...

Are you one of the millions who will celebrate? Start by sending a free Coffee Day eCard and then find out where you can go to get a free cup of joe. There are number of local and national businesses offering free or discounted cups of coffee to celebrate Coffee Day 2014.

Some of the National Coffee Day deals include: 
  • A free small McCafé coffee during breakfast hours at participating McDonald's. 
  • Krispy Kreme is giving away a free cup of joe to any customer - no purchase required - on Monday at participating locations. 
  • At Dunkin’ Donuts, get a free small hot or iced coffee  when you show the National Coffee Day offer under the “My Offers” tab in the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app.

    Keep an eye out for other local offers!

So, where did coffee come from and how did it become so popular? According to legend, a sixth-century Ethiopian goatherder named Kaldi discovered his goats frolicking from one coffee shrub to another. He realized the coffee berries had a stimulating effect, and he began to experiment with the seeds. A century later, brewed coffee emerged in Arabia and the popularity of coffee grew at an exponential rate.

Today, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil.

A Bit of Coffee Trivia...

Okay, all you coffee lovers, what is your knowledge of this aromatic, acidic drink that begins your day, uplifts your afternoon and often times lends itself to sleepless nights? It is so-o-o-o-o g-o-o-o-ood to some of us that we indulge on a regular basis regardless of the day or night! It's hard to believe that coffee has not always been the pleasantest of brew. Who do we thank for the elimination of the coffee grounds in every cup and when did coffee reach the shores of America?

Ways of the World (Merci Beaucoup)
Having reached its way to America in the seventeenth century, it was not until the eighteenth century, when the French introduced infusion brewing, did one enjoy a cup without the coffee grounds.
Oh, those clever French
Whose aromatic scents
Tickle the nostrils
Without any dissents 

First to boast coffee
No grinds in the cup
Found a linen bag
Steeped it just enough

Then there’s the Dutch 
With a gift to the king 
One tiny sprout 
Did millions it bring 

Oh-so desired coffee plant 
That one tiny sprout 
On to the Caribbean
Yea, there and about

Then to the Americas 
In ships on the high seas 
Highly sought-after seedlings 
 Become the drink to please

Black coffee
Cafe au Lait
Cappuccino, too 
 Alluring while steaming hot 
Even iced will do

Mmm! To the French I say 
 How sweet the brew 
For a great cup of coffee 
Merci beaucoup!

  ©2013 Awakenings

 “Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee…”
JohannSebastian Bach (1685–1750)
 Don't like to drink coffee? Why not EAT it...in a recipe, that is!


7 Enticing Coffee Recipes for National Coffee Day

 Happy National Coffee Day!

Don't forget to take a coffee break (or two) to celebrate this historical and important beverage! 

 Is your mouth watering yet?

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!



In the Groove

Today in Music History: September 28

Even in the 21st century many music lovers find themselves Stuck in the 70s. These were some Groovy Times! Remembering the 70s brings on memories of the mads, glads and the fads. This was also the era of enjoyable bands of the Sound of Soul world. So, if you find yourself in the groove, then, the spotlight today will be at the top of your music list.

http://www.andykimmusic.com/about_andy.phpAndy Kim, legendary rock indie pop singer/songwriter: Andy Kim was inspired by the Beatles, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Bob Dylan. At just 16 years old, he found fame when he wrote 'How Did We Ever Get This Way?' Andy Kim is a true Canadian son winning numerous awards with the JUNO Award (the country's top industry honor) for outstanding achievements in the record industry being at the top of his list not once, but twice.

1974 Canadian singer Andy Kim went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Rock Me Gently', it made No.2 in the UK. Kim was the co-writer of The Archies 'Sugar Sugar'.
Here again It is awesome when a successful artist of eras past is still performing in the 21st century.
In early 2010 at the supportive urging of friends and fans including American rock/pop legends and today's hottest indie artists, Andy Kim will release 'HAPPEN AGAIN'. This is an album of 10 brand new songs, each true to his passionate belief that "those who chase their dreams succeed only through sheer determination and a steadfast belief in the power of the individual to influence a multitude by speaking from the heart." Throughout his career, Andy has always maintained an unwavering and unconditional love for his music, believing that "art is more important than the artist." His new music possesses the timeless, transcendent and transforming qualities of his songs before, while giving us a very personal look into the artist's take on love and change. Songs such as "3 Days in Heaven," "Someday", "Without You," and "Happen Again" express the faith in love, life and the importance of personal strength to enduring change. (Source: About Andy Kim)

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ready for a Beer?

There are quotes about beer, jokes about beer, stories about beer, lovers of beer and haters of beer. Nonetheless, football games, barbeques and beer, whether you like them all or in part, became icons of American culture, along with baseball, hot dogs, Chevrolet and apple pie.

Meeker, Colorado Saloon, 1899.
In the days of the wild, wild West. . .

Longhorn saloons' piano tunes
Invited one to mosey up to the bar
Whiskey and sarsaparilla called
As stagecoaches arrived from afar

But for those parched and dusty
The volumes of beer did boast

Knock it back in a hurry, boys
No time for even a toast

September 28 is...
Drink Beer Day

Visit Dr. House Cleaning
Raise a pint and toast to one of the oldest and most popular beverages in human history. There are hundreds of different varieties of beer, but they all fall into one of two categories—ale or lager. Historians believe that humans have been producing beer, or some form it, since the Neolithic Era. The oldest continuously operating brewery in the world is in the Bavaria region of Germany. The Weihenstephan brewery began producing beer in the year 1040. 

Today, the company exports fourteen different brews all over the world.


A Bit of Trivia: 

. . .The art of brewing is as old as civilization. Read MORE. . .

. . .Ale is "one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC and recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia." Read MORE. . .

. . .As a rule of thumb, the colder the state, the more beer consumption. Many Americans may now be unwinding by uncorking a bottle of wine, but by and large the U.S. is still a beer-drinking nation. Read MORE. . .

On the lighter side...

 A squirrel guards the bud light...

Is beer popular? Ask the owner of this gasoline, OOPS! beer pump!
Location: Somewhere along the highway
 Does beer tempt your palate or do you prefer a fine wine or perhaps maybe even a cold glass of iced tea (Southern or Long Island)?



Too Wild for Kansas

This Day in (Old West) History: September 27, 1869

Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill Hickok, Legends of America
The days of the Wild West boasted of drunken brawls and gunfights. Local citizens were tired of the destructiveness brought on by the hard-drinking buffalo hunters and thirsty soldiers who literally 'tore the town apart' every night. Enough was enough and the townsfolk looked to Wild Bill Hickok as the ideal man for sheriff of Ellis County, Kansas. Was he up to the challenge? No question there. Whether the citizens could remain impressed with his methods is a totally different question.

Wild Bill Hickok lived up to his name 'Wild' yet at the same time expressed a humble nature. 

.. Wild Bill had his faults, grievous ones, perhaps ... He would get drunk, gamble, and indulge in the general licentiousness characteristic of the border in the early days, yet even when full of the vile libel of the name of whiskey which was dealt over the bars at exorbitant prices, he was gentle as a child, unless aroused to anger by intended insults. ... He was loyal in his friendship, generous to a fault, and invariably espoused the cause of the weaker against the stronger one in a quarrel.

Captain Jack Crawford, who scouted with Wild Bill before they both followed the gold rush to Deadwood. (Source: Old West Legends)
Wild Bill, Texas Jack Omohundro,
and Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873
 "Wild Bill was a strange character, add to this figure a costume blending the immaculate neatness of the dandy with the extravagant taste and style of a frontiersman, you have Wild Bill, the most famous scout on the Plains."  - General George Custer, writing about Wild Bill Hickok.
On this day in 1869...
Just after midnight on this day in 1869, Ellis County (Interim) Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok and his deputy respond to a report that a local ruffian named Samuel Strawhun and several drunken buddies were tearing up John Bitter's Beer Saloon in Hays City, Kansas. When Hickok arrived and ordered the men to stop, Strawhun turned to attack him, and Hickok shot him in the head. Strawhun died instantly, as did the riot. Read the rest of the story...
Wild Bill Hickok proved himself capable of 'cleaning up the town' but not by methods pleasing to the citizens of Hays City. Was he too 'wild' for Kansas? He lost the regular election the following November for sheriff to his deputy, which meant his first attempt at being sheriff lasted only three months. However, that was NOT his last!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What is your ancestry?

Embrace the past, empower the present, enrich the future. You are not an isolated individual but a thread binding together with countless other threads to create a rich and colorful tapestry of life. From the far reaches of America’s past, we can all, in some way or another, connect to someone who set foot upon America’s soil looking for a land of promise. It is through laughter and tears that the yesterdays of centuries past paved the way for today’s future. (Source: Awakenings from Then 'til Now)
September 27 is...
Ancestor Appreciation Day

The lives and times of our ancestors are often obscure when it comes to understanding from whence we came. The impact they have on us today is embedded in long forgotten traditions and links between generations. Habits, traditions and values alive today just did not occur overnight. They evolved through the course of time being passed forward from one generation to the next.
Can you fill in the missing blanks of your ancestry?

Each person should complete the picture of relatives and their history,
which will promote a greater appreciation for life,
thereby forming a better understanding
of the individual journey a family has endured.

With the celebration of Ancestry Appreciation Day, there is a chance to take time out of your busy schedule to gather new insight into those who came before youthe chance to reflect on your ancestors, learn more about them and the ways in which they influenced each life before that knowledge fades away. In other words, your ancestral history slips away with each passing generation if you do not take the time to listen and learn from those that came before you.

What is your bloodline?
Did someone in your ancestry sail across the ocean on the Mayflower or move overland during times of Western expansion? Anyone in your ancestry a gunslinger? Perhaps the other end of the spectrum, an Indian chief? Are you a relative of Jesse James? Do letters or diaries of the Civil War bear family connections with stories of pain and suffering? Did a family member serve his/her country in WWI or WWII? Gulf War? Vietnam? Is there record somewhere of a relative traveling as a passenger on the Titanic? Are you of French, Italian, Irish descent? The questions are endless but the results are the same: They define you.

How much do you know of your ancestry? Spend this day with relatives, especially the aged. Ask a LOT of questions, listen to their stories and learn about previous generations whose roles in life made you what you are today. Learning about your past can be used to preserve such history in written, recorded or video form. Don't delay for once the memories fade the knowledge is gone...forever.

Just one online source to start your online research!



Service Without Question

Here we are in the month of September relishing the splendid changes within nature's landscapes. The crispness of the air infiltrates our nostrils while visions of majestic changes in color mesmerize our senses. Yet, it has not always been this way during the autumnal season. Nor is it so pleasant for all everywhere at this time.

There have always been times of war. Biblical war. Civil war. World war. Cold war. Unnecessary war. War is WAR! War is hell. So many lives taken. Young. Old. Age knows no boundaries when it comes to war. The visions of war are woven with bloody images and broken bone. Within battlefields reside ghosts of our ancestry.

Today let's embrace the past taking steps back to the American Civil War ...

Footsteps of History
While the American Revolutionary War created America, the Civil war of 1861-1865 determined the kind of nation America would be. There is difficulty in fathoming a war where father is pitted against son, brother against brother, but it happened. In America. This Civil War was America's deadliest war, World War II its bloodiest.
The [Civil] war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution: whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the largest slaveholding country in the world. (Source: A Brief Overview of the American Civil War)
The Importance of Letters
As with any war, contact from home was invaluable becoming on many occasions the highlight of day. One must remember these were times before the development of rapid communications, such as those prevalent in the 21st century. Letters from the homefront were such a delight and to think these were hand written, painstakingly hand written. They spoke of times back home, bleak times, where women and children were left alone to fend for themselves. As soldiers fought on the battle field, wives and loved ones fought their own battles of survival. 

The reverse is also equally as painstaking (if not more so): the letters home from the soldiers. These serve as footnotes of history for many were written in the shadows of a battlefield. The poignant words did not find their way easily onto paper presenting a vivid picture of what was happening on a daily basis, not a very pretty picture. Then, the day finally came...the journey home. There were no luxury buses, no direct flights, no waiting trains, no plush limousines...just two feet and a vision.

Walk Among the Wild Flowers
A soldier’s life far from home is a lonely life in the sense of family ties and times. It encompasses dreams of one day returning to the life and loved ones left behind.
My journey home was a walk alone
A knapsack upon my back—
My only companion

Days were long and nights were cold
Tattered clothes, laceless boots—
My wardrobe companion
Memories kept my will alive
Belief in my only rightful love—
My true companion

Plans remained deep-rooted in my mind
Clear visions of future anticipations—
My crystal companion

Darkness succumbed to daylight
Dawn of a new day for me—
My faithful companion

Wounds were deep, blood visible
Faith in a better tomorrow—
My healing companion

Desire to live and see you again subsisted
Hope to walk among the wild flowers—
My constant companion
  ©2013 Awakenings

"There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending."
~Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865)

From punk to pop...

Today in Music History: September 26

There are numerous all-female bands of all genres. These consist exclusively of all female musicians, distinctly different from a girl group in which the female members are solely vocalists, though this terminology is not universally followed. Many "all-girl" bands were popular during the Jazz Age (the 1920s ending with The Great Depression) rising in popularity through the 50s. Groups composed solely of women continued to emerge with the advent of rock and roll. The 1980s, for the first time, saw long-sought chart success from all-female bands and female-fronted rock bands.

The Go-Go's An all-female American rock band formed in 1978 (Los Angeles, CA) known as The Go-Go's made history as the first, and to date only, all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. The Go-Go's have sold more than seven million albums.

From punk to pop...
Guitarist Jane Wiedlin explained the band decided to make the move towards pop music: "We, from the beginning, were always kind of enamored with the pop/punk style, like our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was The Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style. So that was kind of what we were going for from the beginning. And for the first few years when we were just learning how to play, I think we sounded probably a lot worse than we meant to, just because we didn't know what we were doing. And then, slowly as we learned to play, the songs started coming out more and more. It was always trying to sort of straddle the line between pop and punk." (Source: Songfacts.com)


In 2013, Belinda Carlisle described what each member brought to the band. "Charlotte had a certain guitar sound," she said. "Kathy had a rock 'n' roll sensibility. Gina's a really solid drummer with a distinctive sound. Jane [brought] her songwriting and her quirkiness. And the blend of my voice, which isn't a great voice but it's distinctive." (Source: Songfacts.com)
1981 The Go-Go's started a six-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Beauty And The Beat', which is considered one of the "cornerstone albums of (US) new wave" (Allmusic), breaking barriers and paving the way for a host of other new American acts. The LP sold in excess of three million copies and reached triple platinum status, making it one of the most successful debut albums ever.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Legend of the Apple

Johnny Appleseed,
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1871
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

The apple, ah-h-h-h! From the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden to Johnny Appleseed and onward through time, the apple identifies with religion, mythology and folktales, along with its absolute deliciousness. Only a few days ago we celebrated Apple Time while back in June was celebration of Cherries & Apples. Apples have even shown their shiny faces among the American Classics

America loves apples: the state fruit of New York, Vermont and Washington is the red apple along with the state muffin of New York being the apple muffin, the state beverage of New Hampshire being apple cider and the state pie of Vermont boasting scrumptious apple pie; Minnesota, the Honeycrisp apple; Illinois, the GoldRush Apple; Rhode Island, the greening apple; West Virginia, the Golden Delicious apple, and the state flower of Michigan and Arkansas is the apple blossom. Where there are blossoms, there will surely be apples! It is really not surprising that the apple appears yet once again, this time related to legend.

September 26 is...

Fact or fiction?

Johnny Appleseed definitely was a person (September 26, 1774 - March 11, 1845)...a generous and well-traveled individual. As Johnny Appleseed traveled west, he planted apple trees along the way, and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew.  

Johnny's real name was John Chapman, an American pioneer nurseryman. He introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present day West Virginia.
A Little About the Legend:
  • John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) was born on September 26, 1774.
  • He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania.
  • During the life of John Chapman, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.
  • John Chapman was a deeply religious person He was known to preach during his travels.
  • According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received.
  • It is believed that he died on March 11, 1845, from what was referred to as the "winter plague". The actual date of his death has been disputed.

Enjoy the apple today and all the tomorrows to come. After all, 

Don't forget September is...National Chicken Month (among other things)! How about putting smoked applewood chicken on tonight's menu!

Recipe of the Day:  Spiced Apple Pie Cupcakes

 Is your mouth watering yet?

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pow! Slap! Whack! Zonk!

With rapid changes in technological resources running rampant, the days of the comic book are pretty much in the past. In fact, by the latter part of the 20th century, they had already become matters of note as collectible items. For those of us growing up during the Golden Age of Comic Books, we will always remember Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. So, let's celebrate!

September 25 is...

National Comic Book Day
1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1,
it features Superman lifting a car on its cover.
Original cost 10 cents
These creative and inventive books have been entertaining both children and adults for more than 200 years! However, the first comic book did not appear in the United States until 1933 and then as a reprinting of earlier newspaper comic strips. American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman.

One of the entertaining aspects of the comic book are the printed word sound effects. These are used at strategic points throughout the book. The villain might get a punch in the nose (Pow!), a strike across the face (Slap!), a hit on the head (Whack!), fall down a flight of stairs (Zonk!), etc. Each represent the special effect necessary to make the reading come to life.  Vroom! Here comes the superhero to save the day!

While comic books have quite a storied history, it was in the late '30s when they reached massive popularity. By the mid '40s, comic books were outselling traditional books. From Spider-Man to Batman to Superman, something special touched the heart through these sketched panel books.
    To celebrate National Comic Book Day, take a few minutes to catch up on your favorite comic or watch a movie based on your favorite comic book series!