Saturday, November 30, 2013

Merry Christmas, Ms Merrill

I was a lucky kid. I had excellent elementary school teachers. I was going to say "six excellent elementary school teachers" (fifth grade was team-taught) but that would be discounting my teachers from ODC, the reading teacher, music teacher, art teacher, PE teachers, office workers, librarians, and everyone else who was awesome at King's Grant Elementary and Old Donation Center.

It would really be impossible to say who was the "best" but I have to admit that Ms. Merrill, my second-grade teacher, is the most memorable.

This was a teacher who dressed up as the characters in the books we read, and pretended she was really them. For Halloween, she became Ms. Merrill's evil twin sister or something along those lines.

I remember a lot from her class. Whenever I hear someone refer to the Golden Rule, I picture the poster of it from her classroom. I still use a little counting trick that involves imagining dots on the written numbers if I need to add a lot of things quickly in writing. She taught us not to use VBOs (Very Boring Overused words) in our writing and speech, which I think of every time I replace "very" or "said" or "big" in a sentence.

You might think this is where I say she died, or something tragic like that. I certainly hope not. I haven't been in touch with her since I started middle school, and I deeply regret that. Now I don't know where she is.

But, this year, I pulled two very important objects out of storage and hung them on my Christmas tree.

I believe the one on the left was technically for my mom, for doing elementary school mom things (PTA, class mom, etc). It's a big red jingle bell adorned with festive Christmas things, and the tiny note says - in picture-perfect second-grade-teacher handwriting - "the bell still rings for all who believe," in reference to The Polar Express. The one on the right is a jingle bell wrapped in that cute little holly fabric, and my note says "to Allie" because she didn't have to explain the bells to the kids. They are both signed, "Love Ms. Merrill 1993."

And before you ask, of course I can still hear both of them.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Wait... you're telling me that not everyone plans out their NaNoWriMos like this, with what looks like complete nonsense on a dry erase board?

Well... to each their own, I suppose.

(Besides... I Pantsed the first part of the book, Planned the second part with kind of the Snowflake Method, so now I guess I'm using the patent-pending Dry Erase Method for the third part.)


29,693 words!

That's where I've been for a couple days (to figure out what I'm going to do for Part Three) but I'm still ahead of the goal line on the stats graph, so I'm doing okay. I have my dry erase board and I'm ready to plow through another 20,307 words (and then some)!