Tag Archives: Musings

The Condition: The Bell Tolls for You Dog! Will You Answer?

21 Sep

Pavlovian Conditioning DogsLast week, I talked about the power of creating positive habits, but months, if not years, before I pondered over how easily we are conditioned and wondered if certain stimuli have the power to not only control us but consume our lives. Pavlov used a bell and food to perform his conditioning research with dogs, but many of us live by the bell, the chime, the whistle, or whatever sound we have set up for our phones or gadgets.

As cell phones started to become more prevalent, I vowed not to live by the bell. Even today I still have a pre-paid phone, yes a prepaid! This way I only use my phone for emergencies since I pay by the day. I am not consumed with constantly checking my phone to see if someone called or sent me a text message; as a result,  I have more time on my hands.   For most, the idea of having a pre-paid cell phone or just using it for emergencies is absurd, and I understand that line of thinking.  But I ask you to consider how many minutes or even hours in a day do you devote to responding to that bell which may chime several times a day?

Though I thought I escaped living by the bell, I must admit that I have not.  My iPad has been my vice.  I use a wonderful app called Baby Connect which allows me to set up alarms and timers for when it is time to feed my baby, when her diaper was last changed and even when she last slept.  I have found that I rely heavily on this tool and sometimes allow the bell to dictate when the baby can have her next feeding. Sometimes it is necessary to just use common sense if the baby is crying and showing signs that she is hungry rather than waiting for the bell to chime.  What’s interesting is that I believe the baby is starting to associate the bell chiming on my iPad with feeding time.

Amazingly, many of us, including me, are guilty of stopping in our tracks when the bell chimes to see a Facebook status update or comment, a reminder to complete a task or go to an appointment, a text message or a email message.  Even if there is an intense conversation, a heart to heart moment or just something requiring all of our attention, some of us are controlled by the bell and must stop to see what it is about this time.

I’ve been purposefully reconditioning myself to not necessarily ignore the bell but to not feel the need to immediately jump up and respond to it as soon as it chimes.  Is the ding controlling your life? Will you be able to resist the urge to drop everything and respond the next time the bell tolls for you?

All the best,

Tanya

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Do I Have to Spell it Out for You?

31 Aug
Misspelling

Where is the “Cutomer” Service Desk?

While many people, especially those forty and under say, “Why do I need to know how to spell? I got spell check and auto correct,” I am trying to come up with ways to get students under my “spell” stressing the importance of not only spelling correctly but proofreading for often confused words and grammar issues as I prepare for the fall 2013 semester. It really can impact one’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Of coarse, sum people take it fir granite that spell check will catch there miss stakes. Than they submit there resumes wit misspellings and wander why they don’t be gettin called in for intervues. They might be gud at wat dey do and have a grate work ethic, but the resume screener ain’t gonna get past the spelling issues cuz ain’t nobody got time fa that!

Even if you get the job u mite confuse costumers with ur mis spellings, text language and confused wurds like dis photo of da advertised posting i snapped looking to hire people at the local supermarket. We all know that auto core (this was supposed to say’ “auto correct,”but that is what auto correct came up with ;-)) don’t be always sayin wat we wanna say, so why not proofread? or is it that people be bein lazie and say, “u no wat i mean!”

Is spelling correct a dying art along with grammer, mechanics and basic proofreading as moor and more people simply except misspellings as da nu standard? Admittedly, I think its cool to use slang and text language cuz it is a language in and of itself, but the ability to cold switch, composing documents free of misspellings, grammar an mechanical errors for professional purposes or even to git ya point a cross clearly, is essential.

i refuse to believe that i am a loan wit dis concern and dat standard english and spelling words correctly will one day be considered archaic and that I will than be come a english historian providing in cite on wat once wuz. u kno wat i mean?

Best,

Tanya

PS. I hope you noticed the plethora of misspellings and grammer issues in dis post. Wich ones did u spot? Were there times wen u paused to figure out wat i meant cuz of the misspellings?  Du i got u under my spell?

Please! Say Thank You for What?

24 Aug

Thank-you-post-it“Excuse me sir, sir…” He sped up his pace as though I was a criminal trying to accost him. Out of breath and panting a little as I hurriedly moved up the aisle on the Regional Rail Train, I gestured with his nearly $200 monthly trail pass in my hand, “Your trail pass sir, you left your trail pass!” Finally, he turned around upon reaching the exit of the train, took the pass out of my hand and headed off of the train without a smile, a thank you or even a head nod to suggest that he was grateful for my act of kindness.

Though this was a few years ago I still can recall how upset I was. Actually, I was angry; the nerve of this man not offering me a sincere thank you! But then I thought about one of the vocabulary words I learned from my sophomore year in high school: altruism, which is the act of giving and being kind for the sake of giving, not because you expect anything in return. I can’t do things, be they small or large, expecting gratitude from others but because it is in my heart and the right thing to do.

As much as I try to embrace this line of thinking, it is not always easy to abide by it. Yes, it makes me feel good to help someone out, but it makes me feel even better when the person acknowledges it. I wonder, am I the only one who gets a little annoyed when I hold open a door for several people, and not one person says thank you. What about when there’s a lot of traffic, but I slow down to let that one car in as traffic is merging and do not get the “thank-you-for-letting-me-get-in-hand-wave?”

Sadly, I am finding that more and more people are far from gracious or do not deem it necessary to offer a thank you. Some people have the, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality and choose to meet rudeness with rudeness. I understand this take, but instead I have chosen to be even more gracious and come up with ways to demonstrate it and be a shining example for my daughter and anyone with whom I may come in contact because I want her to learn that please and thank you can go a long way.

Thanks for reading 😉

All the best,

Tanya

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

Baby I Got This: Watch Me Handle My Goals!

17 Aug

Quinn V. Franklin

“Sometimes you’ve got to think outside of the box,” people say.  This especially applies to achieving difficult, new or what seems to be unattainable goals that require a steadfast approach, but many of us do not actually apply this concept.  Is this because the ability to “think outside of the box” is innate; either you are adept in this area or not?

Watching my baby girl Quinn tackle one of her first goals of getting her pacifier back in her mouth is what got me pondering about this.  Though she is three and a half months now (15 weeks and one day to be exact), rather than just put the pacifier in her mouth when she cries and screams for it, I will guide her hand to put it in her mouth or put her hand on the pacifier while it is in her mouth to hold it there, which is something I observed her doing for the first time when she was just a little over a month old.  I will say, “You hold” or “Use your hand” to help her make the association with words. The idea is to give her a chance to figure it out on her own and to see what she is capable of doing.

Quinn V. Franklin

Quinn holding in her pacifier all by herself

However, in the past few weeks, I noticed that Quinn was not simply using her hand to retrieve the pacifier, but she was using her bib or receiving blanket to assist her with pushing it back in her mouth, which is something she has been doing more and more frequently on our morning stroller walks.  How creative is that!?  If I automatically just put the pacifier back in her mouth, I would not have witnessed Quinn’s innate ability to “think outside of the box.”    No one taught her this technique she uses to retrieve the pacifier, and she certainly did not see another baby do it.  She just reached a point where she either did not want to wait patiently for someone else to put it back in, was acting out of frustration or just said, you know what, let me see if I can do this on my own.

When it comes to achieving goals, regardless of how small or large, I typically follow what I was taught to do.  Even though this is not necessarily a bad thing, I wonder how much more successful I would be at achieving my goals if I went more with instincts and what comes natural?  There truly are some benefits to being new to the world and seeing everything with fresh eyes.  Come to think of it, babies do not have to think outside of the box because they do not even know that this “box” exists!  Thanks so much baby Quinn for helping me consider new, innovative ways to achieve my goals!  I just had to share this epiphany with others and hope this idea has you (potential readers of this entry) thinking outside of the box too!

Best,

Tanya

Smile? I’m a Natural Born Frowner:

3 Aug
Baby Quinn Smiling

Baby Quinn Smiling

Hurry, grab the camera! The baby is smiling again! I have been obsessed with seeing my baby smile for the first time and every time after that. Interestingly, little Quinn had absolutely no problem frowning or making a face to display discomfort immediately after birth accompanied with a piercing cry. But with eager anticipation, I waited about two months for that first “real” smile (Not from gas or in her sleep).

Why aren’t we natural born smilers? Is it that we have nothing to smile about at birth and are miserable? My husband and I discussed this, and he deduced that it is all about survival instincts, and smiling and laughing will not get a baby fed, but frowning and crying will. I’m sure he’s onto something because feral children who were severely neglected and had little to no human contact typically do not know how to smile and must be taught through human interaction.

Seeing my baby smile for the first time and now smiling each day has me thinking about what a major milestone it is. Imagine going through life and never smiling or not even knowing how to smile. I’m sure we all know someone (Hopefully you are not that someone) who always has a frown or sour look on his or her face or might even have a permanent frown upon reaching a certain age from constantly putting a frown on his or her face in the past. When you were a little baby, someone’s face lit up upon seeing you smile or hearing you giggle, so why not make a more conscious effort to smile as adults? Some people may say, “I don’t have anything to smile about.” But having the ability to smile should be reason enough.

Though I was not always a smiler, especially during that awkward adolescent stage from preteens to early adulthood, I have learned the significance of smiling, and seeing my little girl smile has reinforced that lesson. I always greet her by happily saying, “Good Morning,” and she usually responds with a big smile. This has confirmed for me that how we start off the day and how we greet others is very important for us as well as the people with whom we come in contact. Whether it is a big teethy smile at my students in the morning, a small one at a passerby during a morning walk or at the cashier as I pay for my items, my smile just might brighten up someone else’s day. Have you smiled today? If so, how many times? The more the better is my philosophy.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S.  Keep Smiling : – )

Life Quickly Moves in Slow Motion

27 Jul

Tanya Harris FranklinWho hasn’t heard the phrase, “Life is too short” or “Time just seems to fly by?”  I’ve even uttered it myself on numerous occasions, but after setting up a dropcam for my baby girl’s nursery (Side note: this is an excellent gadget and can be used for far more than a baby’s nursery. It allows you to a view footage from anywhere on a wifi connection on your iPad, iPod, Android or computer) I have started to become a bit obsessed with watching the footage and question those very statements many of us say repeatedly.  There was one instance in particular when I was watching past footage of my husband and I getting our daughter ready for bedtime.  As he was putting a onesie on her, I was “quickly” straightening up the bathroom and putting her little tub back in its rightful place leaving my husband to fend for himself with our feisty little two month old.  What was actually forty-five seconds to a minute at best seemed like an eternity when I watched the footage. I questioned myself wondering if I was taking too long to straighten things up.  Why does it seem like it was much longer than it was?  I guess that’s why many of these “reality” shows have so much footage edited and removed because watching real life with no edits can be quite slow moving and even boring to some people.

As a result of watching random videos of my life going so quickly in slow motion, I have began pondering over rather life is indeed too short or if time is significantly flying by, or am I just not making every moment of my life count and simply wasting time on unproductive activities?  Why is it that life tends to move more quickly when we are active participants, whereas, it can move at a turtle’s pace when we are mere observers?  I am still figuring out the answers as I compose this blog post, but what I do know is that watching this footage has given me an epiphany: every hour, minute, second and millisecond of not just my life but the lives of those I love and care about matters, and I must sometimes slow down my pace yet be quick on my feet to enjoy life, the people and things that matter the most to me.   Please feel free to share any thoughts you have on one of my random musings.

All the best,

Tanya

Profound Hip Hop Quote #37: How Native is Your Tongue?

1 Oct

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on A Tribe Called Quest to celebrate their documentary coming to DVD on October 18, and it got me thinking about the collection of positive-minded, “real-talk” rappers whose voices were prominent in the 1980s and 1990s: The Native Tongues.  Even though there are a sprinkling of artists presently doing their things who are on the same vibe, during the 80s and 90s is when they actually received consistent radio play and were able to get that positive message out there. So I thought, why not dedicate a post to reflecting on some of their profound quotes.

“Buddy” is a song that represents a few of the Native Tongue members.  Check it out!

  1. Black SheepBlack Sheep, “The Choice is Yours:” “You can get with this, or you can get with that.  I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at.”
  2. Jungle Brothers, “Beyond This World” “Confused, no landing, no understanding.  But I knew not to give what life was demanding.  Found a new tab, thought I’d take a grab.  Tired of brothers who feign to backstab”
  3. De La Soul, “Stakes is High:” “Man life can get all up in your ass baby you betta work it out.  Let me tell you what it’s all about.  A skin not considered equal.  A meteor has more right than my people.  Who be wastin’ time screaming who they’ve hated.  That’s why the Native Tongues have officially been re-instated.”Jungle Brothers
  4. Queen Latifah, “U.N.I.T.Y.:” “Instinct leads me to another flow; Every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho.  Trying to make a sister feel low.  You know all of that gots to go.”
  5. Leaders of the New School, “Understanding the Inner Mind’s Eye “Word is bond and I give my, Life before my word shall fall.  Do me a favor listen up y’all.  We got to activate social;  Activity for one common cause,  Cherish your mind or you will perish.
  6. Brand NubianBrand Nubian, “Wake Up:” You see, the answer to me is black unity .  Unification to help our bad situation
  7. A Tribe Called Quest, “Oh My God:” “Listen up everybody the bottom line.  I’m a black intellect, but unrefined; with precision like a bullet, target bound, just livin like a hooker, the harlett sounds.”De La Soul
  8. Monie Love, “It’s a Shame:”  “Get back on your feet please.  I’m beggin you to check out all your own needs.
  9. Large Professor, “It’s About That Time:”   “There’s a whole lotta rappers in the world today; Some good, there’s some that gotnothing to say, Some fake, some false, some imitation, But I’m the uncut raw for your generation.
  10. Fu-Schnickens, “Ring the Alarm  ” You can tell I’m a lyrical prophet from the words spoken and broken up.  In these books and scrolls that I unfold.  The knowledge I use does make me bold.  The intelligence in my system converts itself and becomes wisdom”Monie Love

The Limitations of not only ten songs but ten artists with ten specific lines from those selected those ten songs is no easy task; there’s so many more songs I could reference.  Who’s your favorite artist from the Native Tongues?   Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin


Profound Hip Hop Quote #35: Imagine Beats, Rhymes & Life Without A Tribe Called Quest

17 Sep

A Tribe Called QuestWhen they left their wallet in El Segundo, we empathized and went along for the ride to retrieve it. We rooted for them to be put on by Bonita Applebum. They taught us how to check the “rhime.” Interestingly, they asked repeatedly if they can kick it when of course anyone plugged into hip hop during the late 80s throughout the 90s can attest to this group’s ability to come with that butter flow in any scenario and bring that electric relaxation to take us on that long overdue award tour. If you have yet to figure out who I’m referencing, then you are missing one of the prototypes who represents authentic hip-hop.  During the summer of  2011, a documentary, by Michael Rapaport, entitled, “Beats, Rhymes & Travels: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest”  was released in select theaters.  Unfortunately, by the time I and many other interested viewers were made aware of the film, it was no longer on the big screen.  Nevertheless, all hope is not loss.  This documentary, which has received praise, will be available on DVD on October 18, 2011, approximately one month from now, and I plan on being one of the first people to obtain my copy.  A Tribe Called Quest has always been one of my favorite groups.  I love their jazzy vibe beats, the delivery of their rhymes and their topics about daily life occurrences that range from record label headaches, to date rape to just partying and having a good time.  They will always be on my top ten list of best rap groups. So,  I’d like to not only celebrate the pending release of the documentary but my love for these artists by providing a playlist of some of my favorite ATCQ songs and lyrics.

A Tribe Called Quest

  1. Check the Rhime“Rap is not pop, if you call it that then stop.”
  2. Butter: “Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true.  And if you really loved yourself then you would try and be you.”
  3. Award Tour: “The wackest crews try to dis, it makes me laugh. When my track record’s longer than a DC-20 aircraft. So next time that you think you want somethin’ here. Make somethin’ differ, take that garbage to St. Elsewhere.”
  4. Bonita Applebum: “Hey, being with you is a top priority. Ain’t no need to question the authority. Chairman of the board, the chief of affections. You got mine’s to swing in your direction.”A Tribe Called Quest
  5. Jazz “Stern firm and young with a laid-back tongue. The aim is to succeed and achieve at 21. Just like Ringling Brothers, I’ll daze and astound, Captivate the mass, cause the prose is profound.”
  6. Buggin Out: “I never walk the streets, think it’s all about me.  Even though deep in my heart, it really could be.  I just try my best to like go all out.  Some might even say yo shorty black you’re buggin’ out”A Tribe Called Quest
  7. Oh My God: “Listen up everybody the bottom line.  I’m a black intellect, but unrefined; with precision like a bullet, target bound, just livin like a hooker, the harlett sounds.”
  8. Lyrics to Go:  “A Tribe Called Quest we on the run for whatever. Trials and tribulations that we have to endeavor”
  9. Scenario:   “I could give a damn about a ill subliminal.  Stay away from crime cause I ain’t no CRIMINAL.  I love my young nation, groovy sensation.  No time for hibernation, only elation.”
  10. Show Business:  ” So you still wanna do the show business?  And you think that you got what it takes?  I mean you really gotta rap and be all that…And prepare yourself for the breaks

It was extremely difficult to not only limit myself to ten songs but to only include specific lines from those selected those ten songs.  What’s your favorite A Tribe Called Quest song?   Please feel free to share.  Also, if you saw or plan on seeing the documentary, share your thoughts as well.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin


Profound Hip Hop Quote #28: Ready to Self Destruct?

16 Jul

“I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I’m sayin’
Or we’ll all be on our knees, prayin’
.” 


—Stop the Violence Movement, formed by KRS One, quoted lyrics by Heavy D “Self Destruction”

Self DestructionAccording to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 176 homicides this year (including July 15, 2011).  (Crime Maps & Stats)
Of course, this data does not account for other violent crimes such as armed robbery, rape and aggravated assault.   Is there something about the summer or hot weather that causes people to be even more violent than in the winter?  Is it that more people are just outdoors, so they are bound to resort to violence to address issues of contention they may have.

What about when it comes to people of color?  Are some people innately more violent than others, or does the environment in which people are raised or presently residing play significant roles in how they behave?  Last year, there were 306 homicide victims, as reported on Philly.com. Interestingly,  60 of the homicides involved people who were classified as white, and 242 of the homicides involved people who were classified as black.  This means that nearly 20% of the senseless deaths were white people, and nearly 80% were black people.  I am no sociologist or statistician, but this information is alarming.  In regard to neighboring counties and townships, many of them do not have “murder maps” because homicides at the rate they are occurring in Philadelphia would be considered an anomaly in those areas.

What conclusions would you draw if you just went according to the data and did not get to really know the people involved, their plights and struggles? (Not that this in anyway justifies the actions of these violent acts)  “Self Destruction” is a classic rap song where KRS One brought together some of the most renown rappers of the late 80s and early 90s for the “Stop the Violence Movement.”  Even though some of the slang terminology utilized in the song and some of the allusions may be dated, this song sadly still reigns true today.  Most people have heard the phrase, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”  Heavy D uses this very same message in his lyrics, “They call us animals mmmm  mmmm I don’t agree with them. I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them.”  I’ve heard people refer to blacks and latinos animals.  There are even teachers who do not think twice about using such a derogatory term.  Perhaps you don’t care about what “they” think, but do you care about your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. who may eventually wind up on their knees praying and mourning the loss of a loved one?  We’re all in this together, or at least we should be.  Don’t let our people, neighborhoods, towns, cities and nations self-destruct!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Heavy D chose to drop the “g” from the words “sayin” and “prayin” for dialectical and meter  purposes.