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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Triple Fun Day!


Do you enjoy the outdoors? Ready to hike along a wooded trail? What about a picnic? Like to grill or enjoy grilled food? Bring on the rest and relaxation away from the stress and busyness of the hectic workday. The coming celebrations are definitely reminders of having the cake and eating it too! What a grand way to end the month of August and celebrate over the Labor Day weekend, not with just one named 'day' but three...

August 31 is...
Eat Outside Day


Prepare to set the table on the porch or patio, or spread a blanket on the ground. If you prefer to dine out, be sure to choose a restaurant where you can eat on an outside deck. This is the day to enjoy some fresh air hopefully without sweating too much in the sweltering, unrelenting August heat. With it being the end of the month, temperatures should be cooling down somewhere but unfortunately not everywhere. Find a good shade tree or maybe head out of the house in the early morning hours before the day's temps begin to rise. Um-m-m-m? Who said eating outside could not commence at breakfast time! However and whenever you decide to celebrate just don't forget the knork and be sure to make the day family time! 

While deciding where to go and what to eat, keep in mind...


August 31 is also ... 
International Bacon Day
aka Baconmania!

Ah-h-h-h...the aroma of bacon baked or fried, the sound of bacon as it sizzles in the oven or pan, the feel of choppin' bacon for a salad or placing bacon strips on a sandwich or burger, and of course, the taste of bacon as tastebuds become absorbed in flavor bursts of pure delight. Are you craving bacon yet? If not, you should be...so get it ready for the picnic, grill some bacon burgers or be sure to include bacon in one of your menu items if dining out. Ever tried frying bacon and eggs in an iron skillet on the grill? Yum! Bet it's breakfast time somewhere around the globe!

Bacon is celebrated every year with the photo at left maybe going a bit overboard but the point well taken: A toast to bacon! Did you know that bacon originated in China? What about in the year - 1500 BC during the Shang Dynasty? That's a long, long time for people to have been enjoying bacon and solidifies the fact that bacon has been consumed for centuries upon centuries upon centuries. Whether cured or fried extra crispy, its decadent, rich, indulgent flavor calls for more, more, more! Did you know the average American eats 17.9 lbs of bacon each year? That is just one of basic 17 Mouthwatering Facts About Bacon...

The third and final celebration for this day is a snack that can be enjoyed throughout the morning or afternoon while preparing to eat outside or prepping the bacon.

August 31 is also...
National Trail Mix Day
aka GORP Day

There is always the need to have snacks available any day, any time of the day. One of the best between meals snack is Trail Mix, aka GORPGood Old Raisins & Peanuts, which can be purchased at the store or made fresh at home.
In New Zealand, trail mix is known as scroggin or "schmogle". The term is also used in some places in Australia but usage has only been traced back to the 1970s. Some claim that the name stands for Sultanas, Carob, Raisins, Orange peel, Grains, Glucose, Imagination, Nuts or Sultanas, Chocolate, Raisins and Other Goody-Goodies Including Nuts; but this may be a false etymology. Source: wikipedia.org
As for GORP, it doesn't have to stop with just the raisins and peanuts, no, sir! Toss in the Chex, sunflower seeds, favorite cereal, M&Ms, chocolate chips or chunks, pretzels, dried fruits (banana slices, pineapple chunks, cherry bits), dates, coconut flakes, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, whatever tickles your nose or fancies your taste buds. Since August 31st is Eat Outside Day and International Bacon Day, plan a hike outdoors and don't forget to toss in some crispy fried bacon pieces into baggies of Trail Mix to snack on along the way.

Recipes to be enjoyed at some time throughout the day...
Click the image or the name of the recipe!

For Eat Outside Day...


For International Bacon Day...

Add bacon to the Juicy Grilled Burgers or

Wondering what to have for dessert?

Click HERE for recipe!

For Trail Mix Day, enjoy a munchie between meals...




Friday, August 29, 2014

Oh, Pretty Woman

Today in Music History: August 29, 1964

It is not unusual for a novel to become a movie. Many classics have resounded their presence decade after decade upon the silver screen. Among the greats are Gone With the Wind, The Great Gatsby, The Last Picture Show, To Kill a Mockingbird, just to name a few. There are also movie series, such as Harry Potter and Twilight. Less known are the songs that have been made into movies. A few that immediately come to mind are Stand By Me, La Bamba, Walk the Line, Cold Miner's Daughter and The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. The song in the spotlight today is still going strong 50 years after its release with the movie being an all-time favorite.

Roy Orbison, also known by the nickname The Big O. Roy Orbison was an American singer-songwriter, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads with a typical theme of heartache. Music scholars have suggested that Orbison had a three- or four-octave range and his powerful, impassioned voice earned him the sobriquet "the Caruso of Rock." In fact it is claimed that The Big O and Enrico Caruso were the only 20th century tenors capable of hitting E over high C.

 1964 Roy Orbison's 'Oh, Pretty Woman' was released in the US. It went on to reach No.1 four weeks later. In the UK, Orbison was the only American artist to have a #1 UK hit, and he did it twice - with "(Oh) Pretty Woman" and "It's Over."

Orbison co-wrote 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Bill Dees in 1964 in tribute to Orbison’s first wife, Claudette, after the two had separated, divorced and then reunited. Speaking about the song’s genesis on NPR in 2008, Dees said: “[Claudette] came bopping down the stairs and said, ‘Give me some money’. ‘What do you need money for?’ [Roy] said. She said ‘Well, I’ve got to go to the store’, and as she walked away they were whispering and kissing bye bye, away from me. I stood up at the table, and he came back to the table, and I said ‘Does this sound funny? [singing] Pretty woman, don’t need no money’. He laughed, and he said ‘There’s nothing funny about pretty woman’. He right away started, [singing] ‘Pretty woman, walking down the street’. By the time she got back, we had it written.” Read MORE...

Orbison received a posthumous Grammy in 1991 for the live version of 'Oh, Pretty Woman' from his 1987 Black & White Night concert, which was aired as an HBO television special in January 1988. Featuring an star-powered backing band including Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, kd lang, T Bone Burnett and Bruce Springsteen, it’s a mark of Orbison’s presence and status on stage that the focus always remains on him.
Fifty years on from release, Orbison’s best-known song and defining classic still sounds fresh. Bill Dees recounts how the distinctive growling cry of "Mercy" came about: "I can't do that growl like Roy, but the "Mercy" is mine. I used to say that all the time when I saw a pretty woman or had some good food. Still do." Reflection on Roy Orbison...Mercy, indeed. 

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

Welcome to Labor Day Weekend!

How is Labor Day celebrated?

The Labor Day celebration exploits the backyard barbeque, much like the Fourth of July, with patriotic decorations dominating the scene. Since its inception in the 1880s it celebrates a means of honoring workers for all their efforts. In that spirit, the backyard barbeque is often laden with hammocks, comfortable lounge chairs, lawn blankets and even lots of huge pillows! Tiki torches, twinkle lights and candles in hurricane lamps keep the atmosphere cheery and bright until well into the evening. For some areas of the country, this holiday brings with it a slight chill in the air, which might warrant that first sweater or jacket of the season.  

Whatever you have planned, whether you are traveling, reached your destination, or simply staying at home, have a safe and enjoyable holiday! Remember America's past and the sacrifices for her freedom. Otherwise, there would be no Labor Day celebration.

What is Labor Day celebrating?

Labor Day is the last holiday of the summer: wearing white will go out, school will be in and a change in season is just around the corner. Do you know how it came about, what it means, its founder, the establishment of the first Labor Day? In other words, what is The History of Labor Day? What is it celebrating? On Labor Day rests celebration of the contributions of the working class, attainment of a safe working environment and fair wages/benefits.

In short,. . .

Labor Day celebrates the American worker.

Embrace the Past. . .

September 5, 1882, one hundred thirty-two years ago, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City. Why the celebration?

What are your plans for celebration?

Plans for Labor Day should NOT include slaving away doing laundry, cleaning house, cooking, sewing, mowing the grass, working, working, working! Well, why not? The day IS all about LABOR! Of course, that is totally the wrong perspective! Labor day is a celebration...a holiday...a day of festivities!

Empower the Present. . .

Labor Day now carries less significance as a celebration of the working people and has become more about one last cookout or trip to the beach before weather turns cooler. However, it is part of our past and what makes America strong. Schools will be closed but hopefully prior to the weekend break lessons were taught and learned that made this celebrated day possible as a national holiday. 

Various government officials, merchants and farmers take this day as a day away from the daily routines of toil and labor. Many, on the other hand, keep businesses thriving as doors open in compliance with advertisements of Sale! Sale! Sale! Hopefully, each of these businesses will honor the true meaning of the day with the flying or display of the American flag. 

Enrich the Future. . . 

On Labor Day, take a moment to remember and reflect upon those who came before you toiling and laboring in harsh environments with little wages as compensation and without benefits enjoyed today. Inspire and support younger generations in their quest for justice in future employment and ultimately retirement.

Halloween in August?


When you hear the name Frankenstein, the 'monster' image probably appears as a mask for Halloween or any of the many movies of which he was/is the star: the silent film era, 1910-1921; a film series by Universal Studios, 1931-1997 (plus TV); a film series by Hammer Film Productions, 1957-1974; other adaptations, 1973-2015; plus the loose adaptations (mostly spoofs), 1958-1985. He has indeed been (still is) one popular 'man-made man' so to speak. Of course, movies are not his origin. He was not cast from some screenwriters imagination. Rather, the horror novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was the inspiration behind the scenes. But why mention Frankenstein in August? 

August 30 is...

Frankenstein Day

There are actually three known "days' of celebration for Frankenstein, and as a result, a little confusion. Days of horror honor for our monster icon include Frankenstein Day, Frankenstein Friday, and National Frankenstein Day.
Frankenstein Day is on August 30th of each year. This day is in honor of author Mary Shelley (née Wollstonecraft Godwin) who was born on August 30,1797. Shelley is the author of the original "Frankenstein " published in 1818. This day honors her birthday.
Frankenstein Friday is the last Friday in October. Some references trace its origin back to a website on Frankenberry cereal, which suggests a commercial connection. Recently, the creator came forward and told us about this special day that he created. More on Frankenstein Friday.
National Frankenstein Day shows on Google as October 29th. No verification has been established that this as a true National Day. Latest research suggests this day is really Frankenstein Friday.
NOTE: So much contradiction on the Internet makes one wonder what to believe or celebrate. Click HERE for another site with some reversals of the 'day' names and dates. Regardless of what the day is called, "Happy Birthday, Mary Shelley!" At least her birth date is correct...hopefully!

The most well-known image of Frankenstein's monster in popular culture derives from Boris Karloff's portrayal in the 1931 movie Frankenstein, with makeup created by Jack Pierce from possibly crucial sketched suggestions by director James Whale (credit for Karloff's look remains controversial). Karloff played the monster in two more Universal films, Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).
 Actor Boris Karloff, the monster, 1931 version of Frankenstein 
Frankenstein  . Edgar Winters Group . 1973

 New Frankenstein movie, January 2014

 Let us not forget the Mel Brooks smash hit in 1974...

Young Frankenstein

If you have not seen the movie Young Frankenstein, watch it in celebration of Frankenstein Day for you have missed a classic! If you are among those who have watched the movie, what a great day to see it once again.

 Happy horrors to you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shakin' up the Flavor!

When it comes to preparing your favorite dish, there is always cause for seasoning, the first on the list being salt. Why? Because salt brings out the flavor in meats, vegetables, casseroles, etc., even desserts. BUT...caution is aired for the amount of salt that is added. Too little, the food is bland, tasteless. Too much, the food is not edible. There IS a way around the salt for shakin' up the flavor!

August 29 is...

More Herbs, Less Salt Day

Herbs and spices are the heart of a great meal. Cooking with either can be tricky but when used in the correct amounts matched with the proper food(s)...Oh, my! The results are yummy! Get ready to stimulate the senses: perk up the taste, enrich the smell and impress your family and friends who will admire the results. Furthermore, the outcome will be much healthier. Everyone knows a heavy dose of salt is not a good thing...a little goes a long way.

It takes thought, time and effort to prepare fresh and nutritious food, as well as understanding which herb or spice goes with which food(s). After all, less healthy options are often much easier and more convenient! Of course, shakin' that salt shaker has always been in the picture since Grandma's days. Before venturing further, a question is in order: Do you know the difference in a herb vs. a spice? 

~Herbs are considered to be the leafy and greener portions of the plant, whether dried or fresh. Examples are parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme, basil and chives. 

~Spices are harvested from the other parts of the plant - the seeds, bark, roots, etc. Popular spices come from berries (peppercorns), roots (ginger), seed (nutmeg), flower buds (cloves) or even the stamen of flowers (saffron).
More Herbs, Less Salt Day does not mean eliminate salt but instead encourages taking a simple step to re-align the salt/herb balance. The use of herbs in home-cooked dishes in place of excess salt provides the much needed flavor enhancer keeping the food healthy at the same time. It doesn’t take much room or effort to grow a variety of fresh herbs, and a little rosemary, thyme, mint or other herbs can do just as much to enrich a dish as that heavy-handed shaking of salt.




A Bit of 'Herb' Music Nostalgia...

The lyrics are about a man trying to attain his true love. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage.