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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Write it, Stamp it, Mail it!

Today's History Lesson...postal service

Awakenings provides historical insight to embrace the past, empower the present and enrich the future. As you turn back the hands of time, opportunities are afforded to make new discoveries and reflect upon old ones. With ever-changing, mind-boggling expansions, it is always interesting to examine humble beginnings.

This Day in History: July 26, 1775

Embrace the Past...

On July 26, 1775, members of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, agreed
That a postmaster General be appointed for the United Colonies, who shall hold his office at Philadelphia, and shall be allowed a salary of 1000 dollars per an: for himself, and 340 dollars per an: for a secretary and Comptroller, with power to appoint such, and so many deputies as to him may seem proper and necessary.

That a line of posts be appointed under the direction of the Postmaster general, from Falmouth in New England to Savannah in Georgia, with as many cross posts as he shall think fit.
This simple statement signaled the birth of the Post Office Department, the predecessor of the United States Postal Service and the second oldest federal department or agency of the United States of America.

Colonial Times

The backdrop for a unique form of writing during Colonial times
reflected a dimly lit atmosphere absorbed in pungent aromas from the kitchen.
Puritan life was harsh with very few amenities.

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Jump back in times past
Before the typewriter
Even ballpoint pens
Pencils or paper bags

 File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

With the quill of a goose
Dip the sharp tip in ink
Scratch out a meager note
On paper made from rags

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

 Fold the paper closed
Tightly smooth each edge
Seal with drops of wax
Press with a brass stamp

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Visualize this early writing
Visualize this early writing
Under the faint glow from burning fat
Where leftover grease saved for lighting
Renders your colonial day lamp
File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Imagine tapping coded messages
Flicking beads upon an abacus
While tantalizing, pungent aromas
Hover lazily throughout the air
File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

 Jump back to colonial times
Find a place in the kitchen
Freshly baked breads, spicy fruit pies
Invite you to take a chair

 ©2013 Awakenings

20th - 21st Century

"A rural mailman travels up a creek bed toward Morris Fork near Jackson, Ky., in August 1940.;
 K. Ng rides a Segway on his mail route in July 2002 in San Francisco."
Empower the Present...
Rate increase/decrease:
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has implemented two rate adjustments in 2016. The first rate adjustment took place on Sunday, January 17, 2016 where prices of several USPS shipping products and services were impacted. The second rate adjustment occurred on Sunday, April 10, 2016 that focused on price reductions for USPS mailing services. [Source: stamp.com]
April 2016 update: First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) rates will decrease from $0.49 to $0.47 when purchased at the Post Office. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
Personal letters and hand-written invitations are rapidly being replaced by e-cards, e-invitations, e-this & e-that. With the growth of online bill paying, fewer and fewer notifications are being stuffed into mail boxes.
Side note: The click of the mouse may be much faster than the mighty pen but there is empowerment when the message is personally written and stamped! 
Enrich the Future...

With the influx of electronic forms of communication, the postal service is in jeopardy. We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing society. Will the postal service survive? Only time will tell. How can you help? Write a letter today, then, just stamp it and mail it! Of course, don't stop with just this one day!

"It's going to be a much smaller postal service in the future but the goal is to make it a profitable postal service." ~Victor Dubina, Chicago Regional Communications Manager 

Related Article:

The Evolution of Mail and Postage Stamps

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bliss in a glass!

Do you like coffee, chocolate ice cream, salted caramel sauce and whipped cream? What about coffee ice cream, strong brewed coffee, Kahlúa mixed together topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings? Um-m-m-m...is a combination of coffee, vanilla ice cream, a banana and whipped cream more to your liking? Perhaps mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate syrup, cold strong coffee, Andes mints and whipped cream tempt your palate? Oh, my! Looks like celebration is definitely in order!

July 26 is...

Click HERE for recipes!

Any of the combinations mentioned above fit the category of 'bliss in a glass'! Summer isn't over yet with plenty of hot days remaining where anything that cools you down a bit is surely welcomed. Coffee? To avid coffee drinkers, this beverage is enjoyed any day, any time of the year, hot or cold. Ice Cream? True, it too is enjoyed year around but definitely considered a coolant during the summer. Put the two together (with whatever else you like) and a wonderful balance of coffee-creamy goodness appears!

 S'mores Coffee Milkshake Recipe
This one was featured in June for National Dairy Month. Now, it is being reintroduced in July, which is National Ice Cream Month. Guess what? It will be up for grabs again since August is National Coffee Month!
 Espresso Coffee Milkshake Recipe
Have a Happy National Coffee Milkshake Day with an Espresso Milkshake with Whipped Cream, Chocolate-Espresso Syrup and Pecans!

But WAIT! You do NOT have to use cold, leftover coffee or hot brewed coffee at all!

Cold brewed coffee is essential for a tasty coffee milkshake. Cold brewed coffee IS NOT hot brewed coffee that has been chilled. Cold brewing calls for an entirely different but very easy process: Combine ground course coffee with cold, filtered water and let sit for between 8 – 24 hours then strain when finished. Now you have coffee that is slightly less caffeinated, with less acid resulting in a less bitter taste. Blend with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, vanilla or hazelnut syrup. If you are of a mind (and of age) you can add a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua. Enjoy! [Source: Last Night's Parties...]
 Are you ready for a coffee milkshake? Get to work & get it made!

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!


$1 to view a whiskey-soaked severed head...

Today's History Lesson...American West

Pioneers ventured west by the thousands traveling for months, on foot and by wagon train, to complete a journey that today only takes a matter of hours. What they sought was opportunity...a chance for something new, something better. What they found was a land of violence...cowboys, Indians, outlaws, a few good law men and some really unique stories.

Today in the Old West: July 25, 1853

Petty larcenist, horse and cattle thief, bank robber, rapist, murderer, brother of Zorro or Robin Hood of El Dorado? Such is the mystery surrounding frontier bandit Joaquin Murrieta...in life and death. The truth surrounding history is often elusive with facts becoming distorted dependent upon their source.

Joaquin Murrieta legends are shrouded in mystery where he has become one of America’s most interesting examples of myth creation. Today's history lesson focuses on the killing of Murrieta and the gory exhibition of his severed head.

Early on the morning of this day in 1853, Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Harry Love and his rangers attacked the outlaw camp where they were told Murrieta was hiding. Caught by surprise and badly outnumbered, eight of the bandits were killed, including Murrieta and his right hand man, Tres Dedos (also known as Three Fingered Jack). To prove they had indeed killed Murrieta and deserved their award, the rangers cut off the head of the outlaw. They also took the distinctive hand that gave Three Fingered Jack his nickname. The rangers preserved the gory body parts in whiskey-filled vats until they could exhibit them to the authorities in Stockton. [Source: History.com]
It is questionable to this day whether the severed head was actually that of  Joaquin Murrieta. At the time, a party or gang of robbers guilty of cattle rustling, robbery, and murder were commanded by five different bandits all carrying the name Joaquin. Harry Love and his rangers did claim the reward however. Love further profited from the deal by taking Murrieta's head on a tour of California mining camps, charging $1 to see it. Eventually, the head ended up in San Francisco Museum, where it was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1906.

 (ca. 1832–ca. 1853)

Such was life in the Old West. Can you imagine an exhibition of punishment for crime being of such gory nature today?

Related Articles:

The Legend of Joaquin Murieta

Joaquin Murrieta: Literary Fiction or Historical Fact?

Joaquin Murrieta - Patriot or Desperado?


Biographical Notes Joaquin Murrieta

♫Electrifying Dylan!♫

In many ways, listeners find music electrifying. This impact on music jolts the senses rhythmically, vocally, instrumentally. Musical identities forge their way across the country. New styles and varying influences thus create some incredibly exciting sounds in the moment as music's mojo takes on each listener individually.

Today in Music History: July 25, 1965

Bob Dylan plays a Fender Stratocaster at the 1965 Newport Festival
On this day in 1965, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan rocks the world of folk music when he performs at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island and abandons his acoustic guitar for an electric one. By going electric, Dylan eventually moved rock and folk music closer together. He also infused rock and roll, known then for its mostly lightweight lyrics, with a more intellectual, poetic sensibility. [Source: History.com]
When one is accustomed to a performer's music style, that is what one expects given the opportunity to hear favorite tunes performed live. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI, most attendees of the concert expected the same from Bob Dylan as experienced a year earlier at the annual event that had given him his first real national exposure. Even the introduction by Ronnie Gilbert, a member of The Weavers, failed to enlighten the audience of changes they were about to witness. In Gilbert's words, "And here he is...take him, you know him, he's yours." The fact is...they did NOT know the Dylan they were about to hear!
It had been only five days prior to the Newport Festival when Bob Dylan recorded the single, 'Like a Rolling Stone', that marked his move out of acoustic folk into the idiom of electrified rock 'n' roll. Most of those attending the festival were completely unaware of what lay in store for them. Neither did the festival organizers. Bulging eyes were the signs of surprise as Dylan's crew set up heavy sound equipment during sound check.
When Dylan took the stage along with guitarist Al Kooper and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing him, he launched into an electrified version of 'Maggie's Farm'. What happened next was a shock to Bob Dylan...jeering, yelling, even booing! The music was overly loud in general mixed so poorly that Dylan's vocals were unintelligible. The downright booing stemmed from Dylan's style change since most were totally unprepared for the singer's new artistic direction when he electrified the audience with the now classic 'Like a Rolling Stone'.
It is well known regardless of Newport, Dylan's popularity continued to soar as his musical style continued to evolve. He became known for his innovative, poetic and sometimes cryptic lyrics. Bob Dylan, who has a reputation for being reclusive and mysterious, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Today, he is a music icon whose successful career has endured for over 40 years.

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hot diggity! Hot fudge!

Oh, my! Another chocolate celebration to add to an ever-growing list! Of course, for chocoholics, there will never be enough chocolate. This time it is 'hot' paired with something 'cold'. Since July is... Ice Cream Month it doesn't take a genius to figure out the perfect dessert (or treat) combination for a sweltering summer day or night.

July 25 is...

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

For all you lifelong chocoholics and incurable ice cream addicts, this just might be your favorite day of the year. Start with some cold (really cold) tantalizing vanilla ice cream. Pour a generous portion of warm, 'fudgie' goodness all over the top. Slather with fresh whipped cream, toss on some chopped nuts and top it off with the proverbial maraschino cherry. What you have is nothing shy of delightful, delectable and delicious! You may not want to stop there...add some crushed pineapple and maybe sliced fresh strawberries.
Several record-setting sundaes have been documented in the Guinness Book of World Records. Serendipity 3 is renowned as the home of New York City’s most expensive hot fudge sundae: the Golden Opulence Sundae carries with it a pricey tag of $1000.
 The $1000 Golden Opulence
In 2013, White Bear Lake, Minnesota broke the previous Guinness world record of the longest ice cream sundae set by Cavalier, Nevada.

To celebrate National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, you don’t have to go to such great lengths. Just treat yourself to a scrumptious hot fudge sundae with all of your favorite toppings! 

 Click the image! Someone has already scoured the universe
for the most delicious hot fudge sundae recipes and
have gathered them all for your hot fudge sundae enjoyment!

 Easy Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes Recipe
 Is your mouth watering yet?


  yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!