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, January 31, 2016

First Week of February...Bon Appétit!

The first week of February begins on a Monday since January celebrated 31 days. Let's take a look at the foodie celebrations plus some extras for February 1 through February 6. Stay tuned with daily visits for historical trivia and music spotlights that will appear intermittently throughout the week. We are just two weeks away from Valentine's Day, which will actually be the first celebration for week three. Better get started or we'll turn around to suddenly realize another month has gone! Time to...

February 1 is...foodie fun plus some!

Naturally loaded with goodness bordering on the bizarre and weird making it a day filled with foodie fun and lots of humor. It's a day of sharing and caring with family and kids at the top of the list. And, it is not without its share of quirkiness! Get ready! Get set! Go for one or go for all in celebration of the first day of February, the month of love! 
First up on February 2 is...not a foodie but time to Meet Br'er Groundhog!

Early spring perhaps? Meet Br'er Groundhog...

Are you READY for one of America's quirkiest holidays, Groundhog Day? Groundhog? Do you mean woodchuck, whistle-pig, or land-beaver? No? You say a groundhog is going to forecast the weather? What kind of folklore is that? Um-m-m-m-m? Let's look a little deeper into this weather hound.

Foodie wise February 2 is...
  What is your idea of 'Heavenly Hash'?
Leftovers thrown together in a casserole? Hash browns, cheese, eggs, & lots of bacon scrambled together? Grandma's classic fluffy white fruit salad swirled with yummy stuff? Candy made with chocolate, walnuts & mini marshmallows? Heavenly hash cakes & brownies? Classic heavenly hash ice cream? It's all of these and so much MORE...
February 3 is...

Have Your Cake & Eat Your Veggies!

Carrot Cake has been made since the Middle Ages, when sugar & other sweeteners were rare & very expensive. So, people used sweet vegetables to flavor puddings. This technique became practically obsolete for several hundred years resurfacing in the 20th century. During WWII, the British government rationed many luxury foods and household staples including sugar. To appease the nation's sweet tooth, the Ministry of Food promoted recipes for carrot puddings, carrot-filled pies, & carrot cakes. 
February 4 is...a dual celebration!

There is hardly anything more comforting in the Winter months than a hardy, healthy bowl of piping hot soup! Some areas of the country offer their own specialized soups. Thank A Mailman Day gives you an opportunity to say a polite ‘thank you’ to your postal courier, parcel service, and good old mailman. Take a pot of homemade soup or chili down to your local post office for the postal workers to enjoy!

February 5 is...a chocolate duo!

Chocolate Duo...Dip & Spread!
No one knows who created Chocolate Fondue Day, where it was first celebrated, or why it is celebrated every year. It is one of those bizarre yet fun days that has appeared unannounced on our calendar, inviting us to enjoy a chocolatey celebration: dipping our favorite fruit, cakes, cookies and marshmallows into a pot of delectable melted chocolate. Nutella is a creamy chocolatey hazelnut spread that continues to be a favorite guilty pleasure of chocoholics around the world. It's different, it's nutty, it's smo-o-o-o-o-th.

February 6 is...

Frozen Yogurt Day
Eat it like ice cream

Frozen yogurt can be eaten the very same way that ice cream is eaten. You can add delicious topping like fruit sauce, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut or whipped cream and your will love it just as much as you love ice cream. Yogurt is a bit tart in taste but a lot lower in far. Frozen yogurt is a healthier alternative to ice cream.

Lookin' Back to Plan Ahead plus more to come!

There is MORE to February than just Valentine's Day...

Welcome to month #2 of 2016! While Valentine's Day is at the top of the list for celebration this month, something is happenin' and being celebrated on a daily basis! Lookin' back, What's Happenin' kept you updated on funny days, weird holidays, foodie fun and celebrations during the month of February in 2014. The date of 'holidays' designated as specific days of the week change each year but the celebrations themselves do not change providing choices on what to celebrate or not

Many of the past celebrations will remain relatively the same while others will change according to the times, i.e., Superbowl Sunday, which this year falls on February 7. So, even though you have a chance to look back to plan ahead, be sure to stop by daily for the accurate and possible new celebrations.

What will you celebrate in February, 2016? Just remain mindful there is so much MORE to celebrate than just Valentine's Day. Check out what's on the calendar & plan ahead. In fact, it is not too early for a Prelude to Valentine's Day: The Day of Love

In addition to daily events, there are month-long festivities:

Berry Fresh Month
Celebration of Chocolate Month
 Great American Pies Month
National Cherry Month
National Fiber Focus Month
 National Fondue Month
 National Grapefruit Month
 National Heart Healthy Month
 National Hot Breakfast Month
 National Snack Food Month
 Potato Lover’s Month

 on the Foodie Days!

♫Pocketful of Sunshine♫

To encounter brothers and sisters who have been successful recording artists is not totally out of the question. Awakenings spotlighted Twin Souls, The Carpenters, on January 25. But to have a brother and sister experience chart toppers at the same time is not so commonplace. In 2004, a brother and sister were the first to have separate solo UK No.1 hits. The spotlight for today is on the sister.
Daniel Bedingfield’s younger sister and self-proclaimed “powerful woman” Natasha had won a $1.8 million record deal, her debut track, Single, was at number three in the charts and Daniel had a Brit award under his belt. It was 2004, and at the beginning of the year, Daniel had survived a near-fatal car crash. Read MORE...
 Today in Music History: January 31

Welcome into the Spotlight...

Natasha Bedingfield Gallery

Natasha Bedingfield: sultry combination of good looks, husky voice and charming personality 

It's difficult to find any other singer who possesses such great energy to represent women empowerment and create good music, other than Natasha Bedingfield. She released her debut album, Unwritten, in 2004, which contained primarily up-tempo pop songs and was influenced by R&B music. Bedingfield managed to break both UK and US markets in a short interval of time with her pop/R&B signature songs.

Songfacts: This empowerment song was featured on the third season's finale of MTV's The Hills. Another Bedingfield song, "Unwritten," is the reality show's theme song. Bedingfield also performed this on the seventh series final of the Canadian teen drama TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation. "Pocketful of Sunshine also featured on the soundtrack of The Sims 2 Freetime computer game, Bedingfield recording a version in the unique language of The Sims called Simlish.
On this day...

2008 Natasha Bedingfield entered the US chart at number three with her album Pocketful of Sunshine, equaling the record set by soul singer Sade in having the highest-ever US chart debut for a UK-signed female. The British singer sold 50,000 copies of the record in its first week of release.

Bit of Sunshine humor...

This song was a running joke in the 2010 movie, Easy A, where Emma Stone's character gets one of those greeting cards that plays a song when you open it, and "Pocketful Of Sunshine" plays. After dismissing the song, she spends the next weekend sitting around the house constantly listening to it. Bedingfield's manager William Derella told Billboard magazine that he had reservations when he first heard the pitch. "They sent me the part of the script where the star of the film says the song is awful, so we turned it down," he said. "But then they sent me the rest of the script, where the character can't get the song out of her head and winds up loving it. I approved it, and we've seen a nice sales boost for the track."
[Source: Songfacts.com]
No.1 singles on this day...
[Click on the No.1 image and select a year to visit or click the year below for all the songs that hit number one on the charts in the US during that year.]

  • 1970 The Jackson Five went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I Want You Back'. The song was originally written for Gladys Knight & The Pips and was the first of four No.1's for the group. It made No.2 in the UK.
  • 1981 Blondie went to No.1 on the US singles hart with 'The Tide Is High', the group's third US No.1, also a No.1 in the UK.
  • 1988 Janet Jackson started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Together Again'.


2007 Jim Morrison was enlisted to help fight global warming more than 35 years after his death. 'Woman in the Window', a previously unreleased poem written and recorded by The Doors frontman shortly before he died in 1971 was being set to music and used to publicise the Global Cool campaign.

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

Wintertime vs. Winter Time

Here we are, the last day of January: the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 1/12 of the year gone, 334 days remaining until year's end. Winter is in full swing, especially for those across the country who are amid severe weather outbreaks or horrendous blizzards. Visions of hope for an early spring have already begun buzzing around in their heads. That implies looking ahead wishing time away, packing up boots, heavy coats and jeans replacing them with flip flops, tee-shirts and shorts. 

Ah-h-h-h, the essence of time. Time can't hold us down but moves us forward, keeps us on our toes and immerses us in memorable scenes of the past, present and future. It is our best friend, often our worse enemy. We have too much time on our hands, not enough time to do the things that need to be done or just barely get by as time flies without warning.

Winter time is slow time...avoiding driving in the fast lane, pausing for a hot cup of cocoa, stopping to warm by a fire. It is time indoors more than outdoors, more time to search within, quietude without the blossoms of springtime yet within thoughts of a balmy sunny day! 

Wintertime is the coldest season of the year for most parts of the country, some being milder than others, some being beyond any reasonable perception of cold. Winters come, winters go. They will always be a part of the cycle of life beginning a season of dormancy awaiting rebirth. Yet, within bleakness lies a pristine side of Winter. Mosaics on frozen ponds and lakes stretch outward in all directions, cracks and crevices revealing life thriving underneath. One tree hangs on to its leaves while others stand barren baring scarred limbs naked to the earth and sky. Gone are the plush and green replaced by shades of gray often covered in blankets of white.

We live the Winter with thoughts of "I can't wait until Spring arrives!" Thus, when wintertime arrives, do we simply wish away the winter time?

Animation of snow cover changing with the seasons
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Wintertime vs. Winter Time

Winters of the past
Aged not forgotten
Images frozen still
Long ago begotten

Time within winter
Slowed to a crawl

Breaths unlabored
After toils of Fall

Winters of the present
Snowy fields impart
Stormy times ahead
Yet stillness of heart

 Time within winter
 Spans hours inside
 Hopes and desires
Lay calm fireside

Winters of the future
What truly lies ahead?
Without needless worry
Living the moments instead

Time within winter
Ensues time well spent
Without a single moment
Wond'ring where time went

Wintertime, any time
Past, present, future
Build upon images
Visions that nurture

©2014 Sharla Lee Shults


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hello, Brandy! He? or She? Maybe Neither!

When one hears the name Brandy Alexander, a person might readily come to mind with question as to who is he or she? Of course, for anyone familiar with cocktails knows it is not a person at all but still may wonder who was the eponymous chap named Alexander known worldwide as a specialty drink. Definitely not Alexander the Great for Alexander III of Macedon did not carry the first name, or any name part for that matter, of Brandy.

January 31 is...

National Brandy Alexander Day

Decadent delight on a cold winter's night!

Classic Brandy Alexander
2 oz Cognac or other fine aged brandy
1 oz Dark crème de cacao
1 oz Cream
Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg
Glass: Chilled Cocktail Glass

WOW your friends with a Brandy Alexander Pie!


Tempt the taste buds with Brandy Alexander Cupcakes!

Is your mouth watering yet?

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!

'Masked Rider of the Plains' Rides the Airwaves...

"Hi yo, Silver, away...A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-Yo Silver' … the Lone Ranger!"
Not sure about you but I just love learning trivia facts about the heroes I grew up idolizing. This one is really special - the 'masked rider of the plains' known none other than The Lone Ranger. My fondest memories rely on my observances via television and the movie screen of his fighting injustice joined by his trusty steed, Silver, and his loyal Indian scout, Tonto. Hail to the Cowboy & Westerns of the 20th century but NOT the depiction of the Lone Ranger and Tonto in the 21st century version. One thing for sure, Jay Silverheels gets top billing as the true Tonto! Of course, film nor television claims where this pair got their start.

This Day in History: January 30, 1933

Farmer Listening to Radio, 1933.
Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture,
1839–1981, Record Group 16, National Archives.
With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful 'masked rider of the plains' led the fight for law and order in the early West. 
It was on this day, January 30, 1933 eighty-three years ago when The Lone Ranger debuted on WXYZ (Detroit) radio station. Yep! He made his first "appearance" on a radio show! His character was based on a former Texas Ranger. The book "The Lone Star Ranger" by Zane Grey had been dedicated to Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes in 1915. Some believe the original character was inspired from experiences of Capt. Hughes. Others think the character was based on US Marshal Bass Reeves. In either case, the show was a hit!

Behind the Scenes at the Radio Station
 Catchphrases (Kemo sabe, faithful friend, trusty scout), the Ranger's trademark silver bullets, and the theme music from the William Tell Overture have become tropes of popular culture.
There are many hallmarks that have followed The Lone Ranger well into the 21st century. Remember the music? The William Tell Overture. Once established there wasn't any other musical score that would ever take its place. It became iconic. Then, since we are in the days of the wild, wild West, there were definitely guns involved and the Lone Ranger's gun shot silver bullets. Also notable because of Western modes of travel overland there was the need for a horse. Not just any horse. This horse was a white stallion.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!
Keep in mind we are still talking about a radio program. There was no wide open range or even live horses. Just sounds...sounds presented as authentically as possible as though you were there. The voice of Tonto reflected a mono-syllabic tone of a Native American with his most memorable word being "kemo sabe." The Lone Ranger was portrayed by Brace Beemer from 1941 until the show’s final episode in 1954.

Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Silver
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Jay Silverheels as Tonto
Source: findagrave.com
A face was finally put with the name when the show transitioned from radio to television. A couple of Lone Ranger serials were released by Republic Pictures in the late 1930s. It was throughout the 1950s when The Lone Ranger television series (1949-57) made the "masked rider of the plains" an American institution. It became ABC network's highest-rating show throughout the decade. While geared more to children, the show was equally enjoyed by adults!

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels played the Lone Ranger and Tonto, respectfully, in all eight seasons of the television show, as well as in both the 1956 and 1958 feature-length movies. The Lone Ranger was revived in the 21st century with the making and release of a "new" version.
 The Lone Ranger (2013 film)
How does the Armie Hammer/Johnny Depp version measure up? 

Doesn't look anything like the Lone Ranger and Tonto I grew up knowing and loving. Guess I will just be content with my grandfather's radio hero and my own television memories!

 “To have a friend, a man must be one; all men are created equal; and everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world. God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself, a man should make the most of what equipment he has, that ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always, that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.” (The Lone Ranger Creed)

Related Article

♫Echoes of Doo-wop, Philly Soul & Motown♫

The legendary 80s were amazing...the hair, the clothes and especially the music. Just awesome! New musical styles emerged as electronic instruments became mainstream amid the 80s Music Mania. It was during this time when a musical duo could do no wrong and the release of Rock 'n Soul became a snapshot of the duo at their finest.

Today in Music History: January 30

Welcome into the Spotlight...

Daryl Hall (left) and John Oates (right) 

Hall and Oates: Blending genres of soul, rock and pop to create a uniquely catchy brand of sound 

When Darly Hall and John Oates harmonize, out come angelic echoes of doo-wop, Philly soul and Motown – three defining influences on the duo from early boyhood to the present day. During the mid-eights, they were declared the most successful duo in rock history. Their ability to cross stylistic boundaries has allowed them to be respected for decades by various artists. In the US the American duo has sold a certified 13 million albums and 6 million singles (Hall & Oates discography).
1982 Hall and Oates went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I Can't Go For That, (No Can Do)' the duo's fourth US No.1, a No.8 hit in the UK. This bridged the gap between the black and white charts, which is a rare achievement for a white act. It hit #1 on the R&B charts as well as the US Pop charts.
Songfacts: John Oates elaborated on the song's theme of individuality and personal choice in a Billboard interview: "The theme is sort of ongoing with us, that people should think for themselves, do what they believe. They shouldn't act or do things just because other people do, or because the government says to do it or because their fathers and mothers say this is the right thing. People have to be able to assess each situation, based on their own beliefs, and not just follow along."
No.1 singles on this day...
[Click on the No.1 image and select a year to visit or click the year below for all the songs that hit number one on the charts in the US during that year.]

    1943 Tommy Dorsey - There Are Such Things
    1958 Danny and the Juniors - At The Hop
    1961 Shirelles - Will You Love Me Tomorrow 
    The Shirelles became the first girl group to have the number one song on the US chart when 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?' reached the top. The song peaked at No.4 in the UK.
    1973 Elton John - Crocodile Rock
    2001 Lady Gaga feat. Colby O'Donis - Just Dance
No. 1 Single + Album on this Day...

1999 After spending 11 weeks on the chart Britney Spears started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with '...Baby One More Time.' Britney's debut album also went to No.1 on the US chart on the same day.  


2013 Mick Jagger was named the most stylish rock star of all time by lifestyle website Complex. Jagger lead their top 50 list ahead of Prince, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious and Keith Richards. Complex stated “Even today, he wears silk scarves and suits with more rakish appeal than most men – and he’ll reach 73 summer of 2016.”

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