Monday’s Notes: UPDATE

When I first began Monday Notes, I had 221 thoughts written down. In fact, I began Monday Notes for that very reason. I thought it would be a way for me to purge and delete. Well, months later, as of the day that I’m writing this post, I have 358 notes. That’s 137 more than what I began with!

Here is what’s in these notes:

img_5198#1: Remembering things that we want to buy. Dwight and I recently purchased a home and realized that certain furniture must go, like sofas and such. Of course, that means that new furniture must be purchased. Eventually, it gets to be too much, and I whip out my phone and start taking notes. Maybe I should’ve just added them to a Pinterest board.

img_5199#2: Future Facebook posts. There are a lot of passive-aggressive, petty people on social media. They range from the chick who broke up with her boyfriend and kinda wants you to know, but doesn’t want to tell all her business, to the guy who wants you to know that he makes a lot of money, so he shares an image of his check (real story). I don’t want to be like that, so instead of posting my first thought about my life, I just write a note.

#3: Current projects. I always have something that I’m working on. Currently, it’s an anthology that includes all women writers, who share similar challenges. My notes section helps me keep things straight, such as who needs a revision, who hasn’t responded, where the copy editor is, and when I’ll begin marketing. I’ve seen apps for these types of things, but I just can’t stand to download one…more…app.

#4: Students who do not participate. Three of my classes are online. As I evaluate work, I also keep notes on who hasn’t participated so that I can see if there’s a pattern of behavior that I need to mention to them. For example, if Suzie hasn’t completed Quiz #1 and Discussion #5, then I reach out to her and remind her of these things. I could just filter the online gradebook, but I find keeping notes way easier. I just have to remember to delete them when the semester is over.

img_5201#5: Blog ideas. Oftentimes, I read other blogs and become inspired by what they’ve written. This happens frequently. In order to actually ponder and write about it, I keep notes on what was said and by whom. My intention really is to write as an extension of their thoughts, but it rarely happens.

img_5202#6: Numbers. To be honest, sometimes it’s a password. I know. That’s bad because someone who wants to steal my identity might hack into my phone, and then they’ll know my passwords, and then my life will be in shambles. But probably not. Because most of the time, it’s just a number. Like this. I have no idea what 8097 means now lol

africans#7: Stuff people have asked me to read, watch, or listen to, like this YouTube channel/show my oldest daughter asked me to watch…in August. It’s called Africans, African Americans, and West Indians. I wrote it down, with the best intentions, but here’s the thing. People are always suggesting I read, watch, or listen to something. Many times, I just don’t make time to do it. I’ll either get better about actually doing it, or better about telling the person, I’m not interested. Either way, I need to delete the note.

Do you use your Notes section or something similar? I’m starting to feel like a digital hoarder. Is that a thing? As you comment, I’ll be cleaning out the 2,000+ photos I have stored on my phone.

♊44 Lessons♊


Today is my 44th birthday! You might remember this from last year. I’ve added a 44th lesson: 

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  1. Pay attention to nature. 
  2. Some friends don’t last forever. 
  3. Physical life doesn’t last forever, but death will continue to surprise you.
  4. If you don’t like the life you’ve created, then make steps to create a new one.
  5. Be yourself. 
  6. Love yourself. 
  7. Be nice to people you don’t know. 
  8. People will let you down. Learn how much letdown you want to tolerate from any one person.
  9. Learn when it’s time to let go.
  10. Learn when to hold on. 
Change. ©2016. K E Garland.

11. You always have a choice.

12. No one owes you anything.

13. You don’t owe anyone anything.

14. Sometimes friends act more like family.

15. Be honest with yourself and others.

16. Kids are not a do-over. They are individuals with their own experiences.

17. If you want more love, compassion or empathy, then give more love, compassion or empathy.

18. You can’t make people like you.

19. It’s never too late to grow.

20. Change is inevitable, whether it’s biological or spiritual.

Change2. ©2016. K E Garland.
21. Be grateful for all the so-called bad stuff that’s happened.

22. Apologize.

23. Accept apologies.

24. Folks will fill in the blanks of your life AND make up their own stories about it; so what?

25. Mistakes are inevitable; try anyway.

26. Institutions look out for themselves.

27. You will attract people and experiences that reflect how you feel about yourself, whether you believe that concept or not.

28. Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if you don’t think they’ve done the same.

29. Nothing is finite.

30. Recognize how you feel in situations.

Crescent Moon Love. ©2016. K E Garland.
31.You can’t blame your parents forever.

32. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age.

33. Listen to your children. For a long time, they are a reflection of you.

34. Don’t try to convince people that their belief system is wrong, stupid or inaccurate.

35. Fear nothing.

36. Know yourself.

37.One way to avoid manipulation is to be clear about who you are and what you want.

38. Judging does not equal caring.

39. Treat the homeless as you would your own mother.

40. Exercise so you can continue to move your body in ways you enjoy.

41. Learn something. But figure out if you need to pay for the knowledge or if you can Google your way through.

42. There is no correct way to live life. transient2

43. We’re all connected.

44. Be of service.


Monday Notes: 10 Songs that Depict Black American Culture

I wanted to write this two years ago when I first started blogging.

Initially, the idea was to post in honor of Black History Month. February came and went. Twice. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about how “black” I wanted to be on my blog. Two years ago, I was tired of being the “black hire,” the “black prof,” or the “black colleague,” and my blog felt like a place where I could just be, no matter my racial identity.

Somewhere between Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, I decided that if I was going to have a platform, then my black experience would be an integral topic every now and then. February 2017 would be the time when I would finally post specific songs that I listen to because they represent voices of understanding.

There were only two challenges. The first is I wanted to share a few lines from each song, but then that made everything too long. The second is I couldn’t think of a good title. The songs don’t really inspire me as much as they illustrate through great lyrics what some of us have observed or experienced being so-called Black Americans.

So without further ado, here are the ten songs I’ve chosen, with the artist, the title and a few lines. Of course, if you want the full effect, you’ll have to click the links.

Janelle Monáe Tightrope
“When you get elevated,
 They love it or they hate it
 You dance up on them haters
 Keep getting funky on the scene”

Kanye West Spaceship
“I’ve been workin’ this graveshift and I ain’t made shit
I wish I could buy me a spaceship and fly past the sky”

Solange’s F.U.B.U.
“When you know you gotta pay the cost
Play the game just to play the boss
So you thinking, what you gained you lost
But you know your shit is taking off, oh
When you’re driving in your tinted car
And you’re criminal just who you are
But you know you’re gonna make it far, oh"
Talib Kweli Get By
“We sell crack to our own out the back of our homes
We smell the musk of the dusk in the crack of the dawn
We go through episodes too, like Attack of the Clones
Work ‘til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone”
Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) Umi Says
“My Umi said shine your light on the world
Shine your light for the world to see
My Abi said shine your light on the world
Shine your light for the world to see”
Angie Stone Brotha
“You got your wall street brotha
 Your blue collar brotha
 Your down-for-whatever-chillin'-on-the-corner brotha
 Your talented brotha, and to everyone of ya'll behind bars”
Erykah Badu Other Side of the Game
“See me and baby got this situation
 See brother got this comlex ocupation
 And it ain't that he don't have education
 Cause I was right there at his graduation
 Now I ain't sayin that this life don't work
 But it's me and baby that he hurts
 Because I tell him right he thinks I'm wrong
 But I love him strong”
Janelle Monáe (featuring Erykah Badu) Q.U.E.E.N.
“Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?
Say will your God accept me in my black and white?
Will he approve the way I’m made?
Or should I reprogram, deprogram and get down?”
Common Misunderstood
“She thought back to when she was at Howard and
Dreams of doing scenes with Terrence Howard and
Broadway plays and dancin with Alv and them
The ones that make it ain’t always the talented”
Kendrick Lamar Mortal Man
“Do you believe in me? Are you deceiving me?
Could I let you down easily, is your heart where it need to be?
Is your smile on permanent? Is your vow on lifetime?
Would you know what the sermon is if I died in this next line?”

That’s my list. What or who would you add?


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Afthead invited me to participate in this challenge. I am very excited to create a list. But I’m not going to tag anyone else because I’m unsure if these challenges really work. So feel free to compile your own list and pingback to me if you want. The challenge is to list ten things that I hate and ten things that I love. Here goes.

Hate is such a strong word, so I decided to describe 10 dislikes and 10 likes. Beware though; there’s a bit of judgment below.

#10: I dislike screaming/crying children in public restaurants. As far as I’m concerned, if a child is screaming or crying, then that means something is wrong. And if the child’s parent is nearby, then that means the person should know something to do, a tactic, if you will. I know this sounds terribly judgmental, but really and truly, a screaming/crying child wrenches at my core soul. I want to go save the child and offer help. But usually I don’t. My #10 like is children who know how to eat at a restaurant without screaming or crying. These children must have practiced at home or something.

#9: I dislike team-building games, a lot. I don’t want to catch you and I don’t expect you to catch me. We’re co-workers. I don’t want to create a Haiku in five minutes (last year’s ice breaker) and I don’t want to listen to someone else’s Haiku. My #9 like is getting to know co-workers in more natural settings: lunch, coffee, hanging out, etc. I’ll look out for Bob because I know he has a wife and three kids to support, not because we feigned catching each other <sigh>.

#8: I dislike analogies. When I taught high school, I had to read a book called Who Moved My Cheese? The purpose of this book was to get people acclimated to change. It was an entire parable about what happens when you don’t change with the times. Guess what happened to the mouse that couldn’t find the cheese? That’s right. He died. Isn’t that awful? This leads me to my #8 like, which is just tell me what you want me to do and let me decide if I’m down or not.

#7: I dislike indirect interactions. I’ve learned this is strange. I’m a pretty direct person. For the most part you’ll know how I feel about you and what you’re doing. It seems that quite a few people are indirect and passive aggressive. They’d rather spare your feelings; they’d rather spare their own feelings. People would rather do anything other than simply tell you the direct truth. And I dislike this. Consequently, my #7 like is people who are direct. I surround myself by these witty, tell-it-like-it-is folks.

#6: I dislike Florida’s bugs. We’ve lived in this state for nearly 20 years. Here you’ll find something called Palmetto beetles, but if you Google them, you’ll see that they’re part of the roach family…just BIGGER. Much bigger. That’s just one example. All of Florida’s bugs are entirely too big, thus scary and messy if you kill them. My #6 like is regular sized bugs. Seems strange because I don’t necessarily care for bugs at all. But if there are gonna be some hanging around, then I’d prefer them to be small.

#5: I dislike dependence. Interdependence is one thing. Independence is totally self-sufficient. But if you’re physically and mentally capable, then dependence seems unnecessary. Kind of like #7, I’ve learned that I’m more independent than most, but still I think that everyone should be able to do something that shows self-sufficiency. My #5 like is independence. Maybe you won’t be 100% independent, but I think you should be able to take pride in knowing you can do one thing by yourself.

#4: I dislike the countryside. Trees, grass and streams are all well and good for a while. I admire different dialects, local cuisines and diverse people. However, my #4 like might come from being born and raised on the West side of Chicago. I like cities. Big ones. Small ones. If your city thinks it’s a city, then I like it. I like the noise. I like the diversity. I like the energy that a city brings.

#3: I dislike reality TV. And then I got caught up in RHOA. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to watch R&B Divas Atlanta, then LA. And it got more ridiculous and eventually redonkulous with each episode. It seemed more and more staged with each feigned minute. So I stopped watching. I’m down to one, The Braxton Family Values. This leads me to my #3 like: OWN. That stands for the Oprah Winfrey Network. I watch Super Soul Sunday. Oprah had a series called Life Class. And there was Master Class. Either way, I felt as if I was becoming a better person with each show.

#2: I dislike the idea of binge watching TV. I wrote an entire satirical post about the binge-watching phenomenon. I refuse to watch more than one show at a time now. In fact, I figured out a way to watch Orange is the New Black without bingeing: I watched one show each day for 13 days. And I still saw the entire series in less time than network offers. Think binge watching bothers me because it shows a lack of self-control. My #2 like is finding something else to do, other than binge watch TV.

#1: I dislike excuses. Whether it’s why you cannot reach a dream, or why you treated someone badly, excuses are no bueno. An excuse is an excuse, is an excuse. And no one wants to hear them. They want to hear how you plan to succeed. People want you to own up to your part of treating them poorly. No one wants to hear an excuse. My #1 like is taking ownership for who you are in each situation. You chose to do “X,” so you have to temporarily live with consequence “Y.” It’s okay. You can own up to it and then choose a different action.

Can’t wait to see what your list looks like!