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Ten Things: A Celebration of Women

31 Mar

Tanya Harris, mother and sisterDuring Women’s History Month, most people acknowledge well-known actresses, political figures and activists for their accomplishments and all that they have done to help women in the past and present, but what about the others who often go unrecognized.  It is the last day of Women’s History month, and though we should celebrate women year round, I could not allow this Women’s History Month to go by without celebrating women who have made a direct impact on my life.  Unfortunately, I cannot name everybody because it would be never-ending, but I would like to pay homage to some that immediately come to mind.

PS.  If your name is not on the list, please note that it doesn’t mean that you haven’t positively impacted my life or had a major influence on it.  I have much love and respect for everybody who has ever supported me directly or indirectly.

  1. My mom: She has always supported me and instilled me with values and ethics.  Also, she knows the importance of a good education and kept me motivated about all of my endeavors.
  2. My sister: Even though our personalities can be night and day at times, we’ve developed such a strong bond over the years.  She has been there for me, gives me sisterly advice when needed and accepts me as I am.
  3. My grandmothers (Maternal and Paternal):  It was such a blessing to be able to grow up knowing my grandmothers.  Interestingly, they were polar opposites, but I learned a great deal from both.  They taught me so much about life, struggles and overcoming obstacles.  Also, I learned how to bake cakes and cookies from my paternal grandmother.  I miss them both dearly.
  4. My best friend: Since grade school when we realized we had the same beauty marks between our eyebrows we have been like sisters.  It’s great when we get together and share goals or just have girl talk.
  5. All of my female relatives (Aunts, Cousins, nieces): Yes, I must group these relatives because I couldn’t dare exclude one.  They all have either had a hand in raising me, growing up with me or making me the person I am today.  Family is important to me, and I love when all of us women and girls are able to talk and enjoy each other’s company at family functions.
  6. All of my female teachers and professors:  Without them, I would not have such wonderful people to emulate.  Many of their teaching strategies and techniques I have employed in the classroom.  Something that most of them have in common is that they love what they are doing and display a caring nature.  Even though many of them may have retired, I’m sure they still expound wisdom.
  7. Former Supervisor at Rosemont College: She taught me so much from my time as an undergraduate  student then employee of Rosemont College.  She has always been encouraging and made it very clear that she was proud of me when I received my Master’s degree from the college.  I’m glad we still have a relationship today after my departing from Rosemont.
  8. Friend from my former place of employment (I’ll refrain from naming the place as a courtesy):  When the environment became extremely toxic and I found myself in an emotional turmoil, she really supported me and prayed with me regularly.  Though it was a difficult situation, I didn’t feel alone, and I thank her so much for being a friend and confidante during my time of need.
  9. Former direct supervisor at Delaware County Community College:  This woman is so sweet and caring and genuinely wants what is best for the college, especially the students.  She took a chance on me as an adjunct instructor with only a year experience, and within a year requested that I come on as a temporary full-time faculty member.  Without her, I would not be in my current position as an Assistant Professor of English for which I am so grateful.
  10. The Mystery Women:  There are so many people whom I have yet to meet or have met briefly who will have a positive impact on my life.  I would like to thank you all in advance and hope that I have been and will be as influential as these wonderful women have been and will continue to be for me.

Please feel free to share your comments.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

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Ten Things: People Past and Present I’d Love to Meet

28 Mar

Tanya HarrisYears ago in grade school, my teacher gave us an assignment: write an essay about someone you would love to meet and why?  Of course, I selected someone  famous because who wouldn’t want to meet someone who’s famous right?  Then in high school, the very same question was posed again.  However, this time we were to develop a list of interview questions and this “person” about the impact he or she has made on society.  For me, this would be more than a famous person but a person whose existence clearly impacted the world or just me on multiple levels in a positive or negative way.  Most recently, I posed this question to one of my classes, and it made me start thinking again about who I’d love to meet.  Of course, there are more than ten people, but these are some people I’d love to meet for both selfless and selfish reasons listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Common (Lonnie Rasheid Lynn)
  2. God*
  3. Langston Hughes
  4. Martin Luther King Jr.
  5. Maxwell
  6. Michael Jackson
  7. My Great Great Grandmother
  8. Oprah Winfrey
  9. President Barack Obama
  10. The Childhood Version of Myself

*Of course, God is not a person, but who wouldn’t want to meet God and have a relationship with him prior to actually dying?

Who we want to meet and why we want to meet them says a lot about ourselves.  Please stay tuned for detailed reasons behind my selections, and feel free to share your thoughts and selections with me as well.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya

Ten Things: Are Smart Inventions Making Us Dumb and Lazy?

2 Feb

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzWow!  We’ve come so far in the last few decades.  Life is extremely different than it was twenty years ago: even ten years ago!  We have been blessed with so many technological advancements to make our lives easier and more productive.  But sometimes I wonder, are all of these so-called “fabulous” inventions going to have a negative impact on our lives long term by making us and the humans of the future dumb and lazy? (Yes, I am guilty of using all of these inventions mentioned below)

1.  Price Check Machines in retail stores: These wonderful inventions make it convenient for those who are not good at figuring out what 30% off of a shirt that is $40 would be.  But how many of us pay a visit to this machine even when we know how to do the math in our heads?  Here’s a quick tip: Drop the zeros, and multiply the numbers to get the amount off.  In this instance, 4 x 3 = 12, so it’s $12 off.

2.  GPS Navigation Systems/Map Quest: Are you planning a road trip?  Why make it complicated by reading and following a map when a navigation system, Map Quest or Google Maps can do the hard work for you?  Yes, I do own a navigation system, and I love it because I do not have the best sense of direction.  However, I do wonder if there will come a time or if that time is now that people do not know how to determine if they are going, north, south, west or east without consulting their navigation device.

3. Spell Check and Grammar Check: Who needs to know how to spell or write well anymore when the computer will proofread it for them right?  Wrong!!!!  Has a red line ever come under your name letting you know it was spelled incorrectly?  Would you correct it because the computer told you it was wrong?  Sometimes  your word is not even misspelled but misused, like to, two and too…and these days “2” even appears in people’s formal documents as a result of text language.

4. Microwaves: Just pop it in the microwave!  How many people prepare or even know how to cook a decent home-cooked meal without using the microwave?  Of course, I do use it occasionally for popcorn and a quick heat and eat meal when I am on the go, but I wonder what will happen when the matriarchs and some patriarchs of families pass on and take their cooking skills with them.  Who really wants a microwaved Sunday or holiday dinner?

5.Televisions: Who hasn’t found themselves getting sucked in to the latest reality show or sitcom marathon: lazily wasting hours that could be used for something far more productive.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy watching a television show or two consumed by its alluring glow.  But I started to think about how lazy it made me and how I needed to do a better job at exercising my brain and body.  When is the last time that you plopped in front of the television for hours when you planned to do something else and wondered, “Where did the time go?”

6. Speed Dial: Who needs to memorize anyone’s number when there’s speed dial?  Do you know your significant other’s number or close family member’s number by heart?  We rely so much on cell phones and home phones to do the work for us.  I may be one of the few who still uses the key pad to store people’s number in my brain rather than the phone alone.

7. Processed / Pre-packaged Food: I’m not an ultra health nut, but in the past few years I have made a conscious effort to eat healthy and get my daily nutrients.  But I just can’t resist  purchasing processed or prepackaged food.  Honestly, who really has the time to make their own apple sauce or to bake their own multi-grain bread?  I surely don’t, but I have read several articles and health books which suggest that people should try to avoid these processed foods.  They tend to make us sluggish and can have an impact on our brain power.

8. Cars: Why walk to the corner store which is about a five to ten minute walk when you get hop in your car, and waste gas to get there?  People wonder why Americans are one of the most overweight nations.  If forced to conjecture, I would have to say that driving everywhere may have something to do with it.

9. Escalators/Elevators/Airport Conveyor Belts: Who are elevators really meant for?  People with disabilities?  Those with strollers or too much to carry up or down the stairs?  When it is five or more stories to climb?  Or for those able bodied people who get on at the first floor and take the elevator to the second floor?  Is there a rule that says you mustn’t walk down or up an escalator while you are holding on the rail?  Have many of us just become accustomed to having these machines do the walking for us?

10. The Internet: Of course, the world wide web is fabulous!  Why else would I post a blog?  There are many attributes, let us not forget some of the flaws.  The internet gives us information right at our fingertips which is great.  But many people have become self-reliant on the internet and take the information as “gospel.”  For example, students are more prone to plagiarize because of the temptation to copy and paste thereby making them dumb.  Not that plagiarizing is ethical or the right decision, but many of these students are too lazy  to type out something they read in a book which makes it even easier for them to get caught.

Do you have another smart invention that might be setting us back in one way or another?  Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Ten Things I Miss About “Childhood” Snow Days

27 Jan

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz in the Snow1. Trying to catch snow on my tongue.  If I tried that now people would look at me like I was crazy.

2. Full body snow suits.  Even though they might have been a hassle putting on and taking off, they really kept me warm and helped making snow angels much easier.

3. Snowball fights with the neighborhood kids was always fun.  Now most kids have simulated snowball fights on their Wii or Xbox.

4. Attempting to build the biggest  snowman ever.  Today, I just created a big mountain of snow by digging out my car.  Looking at  my hard work is cool, but it’s just not the same.

5. Homemade snow cones with fresh-fallen snow and a fruit punch Kool-Aid pack.  I know I’m not the only one who did this…am I?

6. Sledding at the neighborhood park with the sturdy wooden sleds with handles on the side.  It was so much fun, but  now I’m concerned about sliding down hills or getting stuck while trying to go uphill in my car.

7. Playing hide and go seek in the snow by tracking people’s boot prints.  It was always fun trying to throw someone off the tracks by either covering my tracks or walking all over the place.

8. Helping my mom and grandmother shovel the sidewalk while sneaking a taste or two of fresh snow…yes, I confess… I was addicted to eating snow when I was younger.

9. Simply admiring the beauty of the neighborhood turned into a winter wonderland rather than have parking spot wars with cones, chairs, recycling bins and anything else people use to hold spots.

10.  Homemade hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows prepared and served with love by my mom after playing out in the snow for hours. Yes, I can make it for myself, but it’s just not the same, and it’s usually not after playing in the snow for hours.

I can’t wait to have these experiences when I have children.  Let’s hope they want to do more than play video games and watch TV.

Do you have any snow day childhood memories?  Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz

Ten Things I’ve Got Planned for 2011

1 Jan

Tanya Harris' Vision Board1. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the ideal body.  Therefore, I will keep working out four to five days a week to be nicely toned for the summer of 2011.

2. My intellectual, spiritual and creative journey is essential for my well-being, and I will be sure to submit a blog entry at least once a week.  Stop by when you can to check out my new entries.

3. I have many gifts, and writing poetry is one of them, so I will relentlessly assert myself to become synonymous with the spoken word and poetry slam circuit.  Who knows, I may complete enough poems to publish a chapbook or have some choice entries in major publications.

4. People often say, “It’s a small world,” but many of us have yet to leave our own neighborhood, city, or state, let alone the country or continent for that matter.  I plan to travel more extensively this year and hope to visit outside of the country…perhaps for a destination wedding.

5. Everybody is busier than ever and cannot spare a moment for family and friends even though vast amounts of technology are supposed to help people get more done and have more time,.  I will make a more conscious effort to reach out to family and friends and demonstrate my appreciation and love for them the” Old fashioned” way: the occasional phone call, letters, visits and tokens of my appreciation.

6. I love writing and refuse to die with my many stories being left untold; as a result, I will begin working on and brainstorming about  other literary ventures such as colorful stories and children’s book ideas and see where it takes me…maybe to the best seller’s list one day!

7. Health is necessary for longevity.  To continue  improving my financial, physical and spiritual health, I will conduct research and keep working on the economical game plan, exercise regularly and meditate , and read and apply spiritual and motivational literature on a frequent basis.

8. “You should be an actor!” is what family, friends and even my students tell me.  I used to act when I was younger and loved being on stage, so I will explore my theatrical abilities by taking a college level acting class in the spring 2011 semester starting January 10.  It’s going to be interesting potentially being in class with some of my own students, but it will be fun I’m sure.

9. As a person who  has finicky eating habits, family and friends jokingly say, “A fancy restaurant for her is a place that serves pizza, chicken or turkey burgers.”  I enjoy fine dining and feel guilty that people are limited in their restaurant selections when going out with me. In an attempt to break out of this habit, I will try at least one new food item every other month…once a month if the mood strikes me.

10.  Lastly, in recent years I’ve learned that I cannot be everything to everyone, but year after year I still try to make family, friends, students, and colleagues happy sometimes at my own expense: monetarily, physically and emotionally.  To use an analogy, I love filling up their glasses of water, but I have to make sure my pitcher of water remains filled too in 2011.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

All the best in the new year,

Tanya

What things do you have planned for the new year?  Please feel free to share.

Ten Things I Accomplished in 2010

30 Dec

Oftentimes people establish New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year but don’t take the time to reflect on what New Year’s resolutions they accomplished from the present year.  What did you set out to do in 2010? Did you accomplish your goals?

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz1. Consistently did Pilates and other aerobic exercises for at least three to five days a week for the entire year.  Got the flat abs down…just need a little more definition

2. It’s more than maintaining a healthy weight.  Having healthy eating habits is just as important: at least four servings of fruit and vegetables and tons of water 90 percent of the year.  Despite the backsliding around the major holidays, I’ve been doing really well with selecting healthy alternatives.

3. Refrained from watching television during the week days throughout the duration of the fall semester (August – December) in an effort to get more accomplished and it worked…it really worked!

4. Completed twenty-five poems and still counting…not to mention the handful of short stories.  Regularly entered poetry open mic nights and slams and came in first place three out of four slams.  Let’s see if I can make it to the National Slam in 2011 and submit some of the poems for publication. (Check some of them out on You Tube under Anonomz)

5. Began practicing meditation, which is far more difficult than I expected, and becoming more spiritually grounded through exploration and writing in my gratitude journal faithfully….I’m on my fourth composition book.

6. Vacationed in California for the first time: one of the many places on my push pin map of “Places I Must Visit”

7. Made it past the probationary period as a tenure track faculty member and came up with a fabulous tenure track project…just two years to go until I’m tenured!

8. Created a blog in December as part of my writing journey and effort to find me: ready for the lifelong journey.

9. Finally got engaged to the man I respect, adore and love: Hopeful that the marriage will be an accomplishment for 2011

10. Experienced an overall happy existence, surrounded by family, friends, students and colleagues.  Absolutely grateful to see and feel how much God has blessed me.  Looking forward to more in 2011.

Best wishes in the new year,

Tanya

Ten Things I Miss About “Childhood” Christmas

24 Dec

Tanya Harris1. The annual tree farm day trip with the entire family to select and cut down our own Christmas trees is a distant memory.

2. No more perusing  the “Best” catalogue, Kiddie City and Toys “R”  Us circulars and folding down the pages of the toys and games I just have to have.

3. A hopeful letter to Santa just doesn’t serve the same purpose. Though the butterflies are still there when I see him in the mall, I’m beyond the age of excitably waving at him and taking a picture on his lap.

4. Decorating the Christmas tree and singing along to the Jackson Five Christmas songs isn’t the same.  The family togetherness I felt when I was younger is missing.

5. Gone are the days of attending the school’s Holiday Bazaar and making the ten to twenty dollars I saved really stretch in order purchase gifts for my family.

6. The absolute feeling of glee from watching every single Christmas television show, movie or special has sadly faded.

7. Baking cookies in the shapes of reindeer, Santa, Christmas trees, jingle bells and angels sprinkled with green and red sugar is not as fun without with my mom, sister and brother. Not to mention, the cookies are not especially made for Santa.

8. There’s no point in forcing myself to go to sleep early on Christmas eve in hopes of Christmas day coming sooner.  No late night conversations using the gift wrap rolls to talk through with my sister in the bed across from mine to express my anticipation.

9. Why run down the stairs with amazement no later than 4:00 a.m.? There are no gifts under the tree from Santa, and my cookies will remain untouched until I bring them over to my mother’s house.

10. Going over my maternal and paternal grandparents’ homes and playing with my cousins  and sharing Christmas morning stories  until the delicious Christmas lunch and dinners were ready hasn’t happened in years. Everybody has their own families now and have left the memories of Cabbage Patch Kids, Speak and Spells, Hand held games and Rubik’s Cube behind.  Well, I haven’t…

My dearest “Childhood” Christmas, I truly do miss you.

Love Always,

Tanya

Do you have something you miss about “Childhood” Christmas?  Please feel free to share, and leave a comment.