Tag Archives: Friends

We’re All Made to Matter: Tribute to My Dear Friend Sandy

23 Aug

Four_Fundamental_States_of_MatterEverything around us, regardless of how large or small it may be, truly matters.  To demonstrate this, if you take the preposition in the title of this post “to” and change it to “of,” it completely changes the meaning of the sentence. Even the definition of matter depends upon the context of the sentence.

Matter can be a solid, liquid, gas or plasma; this of course includes humans. However, I am intrigued with the idea of matter mattering. Let me explain. I have seen how my actions, be they simple or complex, can impact someone’s life in a positive or maybe even a negative way (of course this is never my intention) and how people can do the same for me.  This is especially true when it comes to family, friends and coworkers.

Sandy and Me

Sandy and Me at her Son’s First Birthday Party

Someone who mattered to me was my dear friend and office mate Sandy.  Sadly, she lost her two year battle with colon cancer late yesterday evening, and when I think about how she lived her life and how she impacted the lives of others, I find it hard to believe that we, as well as our actions, do not all matter.  She was such a caring person who willingly showed me the ropes when I was first hired as a full-time tenure track professor and welcomed me to the office, literally, with open arms (she gave me a big hug) saying, “It’s so wonderful to meet you Tanya.”  That interaction alone mattered as I was feeling anxious and intimidated as a tenure track faculty member and trying to find my way. Inviting me into her home to meet her family and to even film the first birthday parties of her two little boys also mattered.  Coming into the office to a surprise box of marshmallow peeps (one of my guilty pleasures) courtesy of Sandy made me feel like I matter. There are many more instances, but I will keep it at these three.

She, being the selfless, humble and giving person that she was, never thought twice about helping me or anyone else out. How brave she was as she fought the great fight, never complained and always looked on the bright side!  I often told her how inspirational she was and how I admired her positive outlook on life.  It breaks my heart that I will be starting this semester without my friend and office mate and that her husband will be left without his wife and her two little boys will be left without their mommy, but I am grateful that I was able to tell her how much she mattered to me while she was still here. Please be sure to tell those you care about how much they matter to you. Though I am certain that you, along with your actions, matter to someone too, if no one has told you how much you matter, then allow me to say, “You do matter!”

All the best,

Tanya

He’s More Than Just A “Baby Daddy” Ten Songs Representing Different Fathers

19 Jun

Unfortunately, Father’s Day cannot hold a candle to Mother’s Day!  Father’s Day is comparable to the boy scouts trying to compete with the girl scout cookies by selling tubs of over-priced popcorn. (Side note: I purchased a small tub of popcorn to support the boy scouts for $10, and when I asked the troop leader why the prices were so high, he remarked, “The girl scouts have monopolized cookies and we don’t have a choice but to sell our goods for much higher prices just to make a small profit.)  Whenever I take my mother out for mother’s day, I must book my reservation months in advance and still endure that standing room only crowd at the restaurant’s mother’s day brunch.  Conversely, reservations are not always a necessity.  On one particular father’s day, my fiance, his siblings and I took his father out, and I repeatedly stressed the importance to him about making a reservation well in advance to ensure that we would not have a long wait.  Upon arriving at that restaurant, I was surprised to see so many empty tables and booths.  I thought, “Where are all of the fathers and their families?”

On Mother’s Day, I compiled a list of R & B and rap songs celebrating moms, so it’s only right to put together a list of songs celebrating dads.  There’s only one problem though; most R & B and rap songs I located don’t necessarily celebrate dad but acknowledge his absence and unwillingness to be a father.  Of course, not all dads are “dead beats” who don’t provide for their children.  There are many who are wonderful role models who even become father figures to those children and even adults who are fatherless.  Please be sure to praise your fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles, nephews cousins, best friends, etc. who are exceptional fathers.  Musicians do excellent jobs producing songs that reflect societal and familial issues, and this list of memorable songs representing the plight, journey and love of a father does just that:

  1. Father & SonThe Loving Father: “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross“When I and my mother would disagree, to get my way I would run from her to him. He’d make me laugh just to comfort me, yeah yeah. Then finally make me do just what my momma said.”
  2. The Unconditional Love Father: “Daddy” by Beyonce: “Even if my man broke my heart today, no matter how much pain I’m in I will be okay cause I got a man in my life that can’t be replaced. For this love is unconditional it won’t go away.”Father & Son
  3. The Wise Father: “Joy” by Talib Kweli featuring Mos Def“Unless your language is relating to what they going through so busy ignoring them, you can’t see what they showing you.  And you wonder, why we called baby-daddy’s and baby-momma’s when we grow up, we can’t act like adult mothers and fathers, yo. I’m so blessed to have a boy and a girl, everyday they bring joy to my world.”
  4. The Protector Father: “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith: “From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms I knew I’d meet death before I’d let you meet harm.  Although questions arose in my mind, would I be man enough?  Against wrong, choose right and be standin up.”
  5. The Grateful Father: “The Day” by Baby Face “It was like falling deep in love.  I heard the angels cry above.  I felt a blessing straight from God the day that you gave me a son.” 
  6. The Admirable Father: “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele: “No one loves me just like you do.  No one knows me just like you do.  No one can compare to the way my eyes fit in yours.  You’ll always be my father.  And I’ll always be your joy.”
  7. Father & DaughterThe Stand-Up Father: “Be a Father to Your Child” by Ed. O.G. & Da the Bulldogs: “Be a father; if not why bother son.  A boy can make ’em but a man can raise one.”
  8. The Cycle Repeater Father: “All for You” by Little Brother:  “So the next time it’s late at night and I’m laid up with the woman I’ma make my wife talking ’bout how we ‘gon make a life, I’m thinking about child support, alimony, visitation rights. Cause that’s the only outcome if you can’t make it right. Pissed off with your children feeling the same pain. So, Pop, how could I blame cause you couldn’t maintain. I did the same thing…The same thing.” 
  9. The Denying Paternity Father: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson:   “Billie Jean is not my lover. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one.  But the kid is not my son.  She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son.”
  10. The No Good Father: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations:  “Hey Mama, is it true what they say, that Papa never worked a day in his life?  And Mama, bad talk going around town saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.  And that ain’t right.

What type of father are you, or what type of father do you have?  To all of the positive fathers, Happy Father’s Day to you.  Please enjoy this R & B and rap father’s day playlist, and feel free to share your favorite song representing fathers with me.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris


Mission Accomplished! Acting on my dreams…

14 May

“You should be an actor!” is what family, friends and even some of my students tell me.  I used to act when I was younger and loved being on stage, so I have been exploring my theatrical abilities by taking a college level acting class during the spring 2011 semester. Considering that I am an English professor at the college where I was taking the course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Interestingly, it was a great experience!

Signing up for an acting class was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.  I’ve learned so much and have truly enjoyed every moment.  I’ve performed a monologue from “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” written a drama analysis on “The Cherry Orchard,” performed a radio story, which I plan on posting as a podcast in the near future  and ended the course with the ultimate challenge for me.

My professor assigned me and my classmate a scene from John Patrick Shanley’s play, “Women of Manhattan.”  Bille, played by Lisa Claypoole, is a native New Yorker, and Rhonda Louise, played by me (Tanya Harris), is from the Deep South.  The setting is a Billie’s apartment and an evening without men. They are both “slightly” inebriated as they tackle friendship and relationship issues. I’ve never been drunk let alone had alcohol before, so this was a major undertaking for me.  My character also has no filter when in comes to how she feels, so she uses some profane language, which is absolutely out of character for me.  I had a lot of fun with this role and am saddened that the semester has ended.  Nevertheless, I am looking forward to taking a future acting classes and developing my skills.  There’s something invigorating about acting and being on the stage; time to set a new goal!  I wonder what it should be?  Got any ideas?


Please check out my scene performance on Youtube.  Keep in mind that my scene partner and I are both novices, so please be gentle with us yet provide constructive criticism.  Thanks

Best regards,

Tanya  aka Anonomz

“Momma Said Knock You Out:” Ten Songs Celebrating Moms

7 May

Every so often, a musician decides to write a song celebrating his or her mom, and I would like to provide a top ten list of my favorite “mom” inspired rap and R & B songs to acknowledge my mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends and any mothers with whom I have come in contact.  Here’s a playlist just for you!

  1. “Dear Mama (You Are Appreciated)” by Tupac Shakur“There are no words that can express how I feel.  You never kept a secret, always stayed real.  And I appreciate, how you raised me. And all the extra love that you gave me.”
  2. “All That I Got is You” by Ghostface Killah: “All that I got is you, and I’m so thankful I made it through.”
  3. “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men“Mama, Mama you know I love you.  Mama, Mama you’re the queen of my heart. Your love is like tears from the stars.  Mama I just want you to know lovin’ you is like food to my soul.  Yes it is, yes it is, oh, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is oh”
  4. “Super Hero” by Raheem DeVaughn: “Some think that super heroes climb buildings and fly through the sky.  Well I beg to differ.  Mama you’re the reason why.  Some may think a role model strikes a home run or a touch dow, but mama’s always been a soldier back then and right now.”
  5. “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell Pray God you can cope. I stand outside this woman’s work, This woman’s world. Ooh, it’s hard on the man,  Now his part is over.  Now starts the craft of the father.
  6. “Momma Loves Me” by Jay Z: “Momma loved me, pop left me. Grandma dressed me, plus she fed me banana puddin, what’s in the hood then.”
  7. “Hey Mama” by Kanye West: “(Hey Mama), I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I’m so proud of you. Let me tell you what I’m about to do, (Hey Mama). I know I act a fool but, I promise you I’m goin back to school. I appreciate what you allowed for me. I just want you to be proud of me (Hey Mama).
  8. “Momma Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J:  “I’m gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
    Mama said knock you out (HUUUH!!!)”
  9. “I Love My Momma” by Snoop Dogg:   “The first one to hold me. The first one to scold me. You never cease to teach me. And always try to reach me. Took me to school the first day. Taught me how to kneel, down and pray. You learned me how to count from one to ten. And never forget, where I’ve been Momma..
  10. “Sweet Sadie” by R. Kelly:  I Love you mama. I just can’t forget how you gave me love oh no If there’s a Heaven up above I know she’s teaching angels how to love. It’s a mean world
    Without ya.  And I surely miss you much mother. And now that your gone I’m gonna carry on

Happy mother’s day to you.  Please enjoy this R & B and rap mother’s day playlist, and feel free to share your favorite song celebrating mothers with me.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris


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