29 April 2010

Writer's Workshop

I am blocked on what to write. So I went to MamaKat's site to see what the prompts were this week. I pretty much read them every week and have yet to link up. That changes today.

I chose topic number 3 - List five things you would do different if you started blogging today.

Now if you've been reading for any length of time, you'll know that I've reinvented this blog at least twice after long breaks, including about six months ago. Lately, I'll been thinking about things I wish were happening here.

First - I would have chosen a niche. Or at the very least figured out what I wanted to write about now that I'm not nannying, rarely babysitting and unable to find a job. "Life" is too generic and I struggle with what to write without constantly being depressing. I have to figure out a way to write about teaching, maintain anonymity and keep this as a safe place. This might actually involve creating a new blog - or using one that I've had set aside for some time now.

Secondly - I would have bought a domain a LONG time ago. And probably not from google. Because since I have? I've been indescribably frustrated with blogger. And I have no idea if/how to make a change.

Third- I would implement a different commenting system. This one sucks. I'm constantly getting tweets/emails from people who say that the commenting isn't working. Suggestions welcome.

Fourth - I would make a choice about ads. Do I want them? I'm so unsure. I think about adding google ads but don't think I have enough visitors to make it worth my time.

Fifth - I would comment more. I say this all the time. I read a ton of blogs. I am terrible about commenting. Some weeks I feel like I'm doing better and then the next, I make none. I know that in order to expect comments I should make an effort. If I were to start over I'd hope to care less about what people think about my words and just say what's on my mind.

There are my five. What about you? What would you do differently if you started blogging today?

27 April 2010

Marching on

I was lucky enough to spend my weekend in LA with a large percent of the people I talk to on Twitter.

We got up early. We drove to the university from varied distances. Some of us were early enough to avoid traffic, while others sat at the off ramp forever.

We introduced ourselves. Most of us by two names. And then we laughed.

We watched a kid with a purple mohawk get dangerously close to police bicycles. Until the officers called him over. Then he got shy.

We gazed at a baby. We took group pictures. We put faces to names.

We walked. We talked. We raised money for an important cause.

We met up for dinner where we were entertained by a small aspiring drummer and his new friends. Heather taught him new tricks. We laughed. We cuddled the baby.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I'm so glad I went. I'm so glad I didn't talk myself out of dinner as I almost did.

I'm already planning next year.

22 April 2010

My name is not Anya

Four and a half years ago I wrote a post explaining why I chose NannyAnya as my name for this blog. As I have added more people on Facebook who I've met through my blog and on Twitter, and I've stopped posting my real name whenever possible, it's caused a bit of confusion. Therefore, I decided that I need to repost it! It should be noted that I say it Ann-ya, but my friend has a little girl named Anya who's name is pronounced On-ya. So here you go.

The story behind my blog name.

So... the 2 1/2 year old I take care of at least 2 days a week (plus a lot of weekends and evening hours) is language delayed and about 6 months ago, I decided that she needed to have something to call me, since until then she was mostly saying 'aaaah' when she didn't have a word. Knowing that Angela was too hard (that hard g/j sound doesn't come to most kids until late in language development), I realized that my brother called me Anya 'til he was about 3 or maybe even older and that K had all the necessary sounds to say Anya I decided to work with her to call me Anya...

It only took a couple days and she picked it up, however, it was interesting that she wouldn't say it in front of her mom, until the day we went to MarineWorld and the JellyBelly Factory. I had waited in line to buy Jelly Belly's for my family and they had gone ahead to get ice cream and then go play outside while waiting, but mom decided that it was too windy to play so they waited inside, which I wouldn't have known except for the fact that K called out "Anya" and I knew that she was calling me!

13 April 2010

500th Post! And a giveaway!

This is my 500th post. It took a while to get there, but that's exciting!

It's also a giveaway and review!

A couple months ago, I won a Vapur water bottle from my friend Katie. I saw that the company was asking for reviewers and emailed asking what would be involved and received four bottles in the mail!

I have two to give away to you guys!

Vapur calls its bottle the Anti-bottle. It's flat and flexible and you can roll it up and put in in your pocket, purse or backpack. But once you fill it will water (it holds 16 oz), it stands up just like a regular bottle. You can freeze it and it's dishwasher safe.

I truly love my bottle. It's easy to use, it's nice that I can put it away in my lunchbox, making it the one left behind at school least. I took the first one on my trip to San Francisco last month and "lost it". Turns out I'd rolled it up and put it in my backpack pocket and forgot! I'm excited to freeze it this summer and have cold water while teaching (it's been so cold that I haven't had a chance to do this yet, but soon!)

Vapur bottles come in pink, blue, smoke, purple and green. They cost $8.95 (pretty much the lowest price I've seen for a BPA free reusable water bottle!) and you can buy a family pack of four for $29.95, along with extra spouts and caps at their website.

You could also win one here!

To enter: tell me which color you'd prefer (I have a purple or smoke, which is black to giveaway!)
For an extra entry you can send a tweet sharing this contest (1x day) - leave a separate comment each time you tweet so that I can count it!

Please make sure to leave your email or twitter name or some way for me to contact you if you win! Thanks!

This contest will run until next Thursday, April 22 at 11pm PST. Winners will be chosen by random number generator, with the first number choosing their color first!

Yesterday was nine months. Nine months since my aunt died, four days after I flew home from Canada. I'd been doing well for the most partly lately. I've come to expect that "well for the most part" is the norm. I've also come to expect that the twelfth on any month will suck.

I was doing okay while helping in a classroom for a teacher that I sub for regularly and babysit for. Sometimes she has me come in to make copies, enter grades, and all that little stuff, and yesterday was no different.

I was doing okay when I walked to the car to go pick up Chinese food for lunch. I was doing okay with the first song on the radio.

And then, Jason Michael Carroll's Where I'm From came on. I had finally hit the point where I can listen to the song without falling apart. Except yesterday. Yesterday I started crying and couldn't stop. Which is lovely when you're walking into a classroom.

I can't believe it's been nine months. I can't believe that in three months it'll be a year. That days bound to be difficult. I'll be teaching summer school then. Here's hoping I can do "well for the most part" until then. And avoid songs that make me cry.

07 April 2010

For Maddie

One year ago Maddie left this world. One year ago, I learned that a little girl can change the world.

At that time, I'd only read her mother's blog a handful of times, and I don't remember if I was following her on Twitter or not. All I know is that suddenly, the beauty and power of connections made online became stronger and more evident.

Since that day, I've not missed a post from Heather or Mike. I've not spent a day without thinking of Maddie and how much she should be here. She should be loving on her baby sister, she should be doing all those things 2 1/2 year olds do that drive their parents crazy. Instead, she's frozen in time as a 17 month old.

A little girl I never met, whose parents I never met, changed the way I look at this world. Changed the causes I find important and things I stand up for.

In a little more than two weeks, I will be walking with the March for Maddie team in LA. I will then come home and walk here with my friend and her little girl who was born prematurely last September. Today on the anniversary of her death, I'd like to encourage you to make a donation to March of Dimes.  Another option is donating to Friends of Maddie, a program that provides support packs for families with babies in the NICU.

04 April 2010

Today is hard.

Easter has always been special. I've also always gone to church for this day. This year is different.

Since my aunt died almost 9 months ago, I have gone to church only two or three times. One of those times, not one person acknowledged me. Not one person out of 200+, many of whom I'd known for years. This hurt more than I can express and I haven't gone back.

I need to find a new church. I should be posting "He is risen" here and on facebook. I have typed and deleted that sentence at least six times this morning.

I feel very lost. I don't like this - I can't live like this anymore.

I know that when I'm in Denver this summer there a couple churches that I would like to check out (is it weird that I've already researched that?) - I'm just hoping that I am welcomed to one of these places, unlike the place I had been calling home.

For now, I'm going to accept that today is hard. There are going to be many more days that are hard, especially as we approach a year - but it feels promising that I can acknowledge that and know that having a community to turn to would be very helpful.