Write we must

November 29, 2001

You'll have to forgive us if we've been a bit behind in our correspondence these days; Straight from the biting-off-more-than-we-can-chew department comes our participation in National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo) in which Roni and Glenn have each pledged to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. This has proven to be no small undertaking as we try to fit our authoring time around full-time jobs, shopping trips and sleep. NaNoWriMo's organizers emphasize quantity over quality, which may sound odd at first until one considers that most novels never see the light of day (or the electrons of the computer screen) because their creators get hung up on making the plot right and the words perfect. By imposing a deadline and a 50,000-word quota, NaNoWriMo forces the creative process into high gear. It's write fast, write a lot, and write

NOW! The national project began at midnight Nov. 1 and ends at midnight Nov. 30. You can track our progress at the NaNoWriMo Web site. (www.nanowrimo.com)

The past few weeks have been filled with highs and lows for our family. Starting on the down side, we lost a good friend and one of Roni's longtime clients with the sudden death Nov. 8 of Zachary Brandstetter. Zachary operated a mortgage loan business with his wife, Dorothy, and Roni had assisted them with advertising mailings since 1997. It was a daily part of Roni's routine to visit Zachary and drop off the mailings, during which time she came to know him as a warm, hardworking person with deep convictions and plenty of insight into the human condition. We attended his funeral service on a rainy Monday in Colma. His son Jeff delivered a memorable eulogy that alone made the experience worthwhile. We'll miss you, Zach.

Ben had his own downer this month when he tripped in his bedroom and cut a six-inch-long gash in his right arm that required eight stitches to mend. He was the patient from hell, but his doctors endured his bad mood and he made it through the unpleasantries with some hand-holding from Dad and a game of "guess that object" played during the wait in the doctor's office.

Halloween was pretty much of a bust this year, as far as holiday spirit went. The somber and fearful environment that has been America since Sept. 11 spilled over into the trick-or-treating, prompting many parents to keep their kids at home rather than risk the possibility that rumors of another terrorist attack on All Hallows Eve might be well founded. Undaunted, we let Ben don his Ash Ketchum of Pokemon costume and make his usual rounds of our neighborhood. There were a few more darkened houses than normal years, but Ben later proclaimed that this had been the best Halloween ever, so that was all that really mattered.

Roni's sister Jacki, our brother-in-law Kevin and niece Kristi Coughlin join us for a Thanksgiving Day supper. Photo by Glenn.
Our house work continues and we have begun to question whether it will ever truly be finished. The tile is down in the master bathroom; grouting was completed on Halloween night. The baseboards are taking a bit longer, but at least we have use of our toilet again. The writing project has taken Glenn away from time that might otherwise have been spent cutting and nailing baseboards into place. December is just a few days off, however. We have also been painting the living room and dining area, a project that was completed only the other day. After testing a variety of paint colors, we came up with a two-tone paint scheme that might best be described as "daring." We faux finished some of the walls in an English mustard color and alternated with a lover's gold on the remaining walls. The trims, once they are complete, will be in basic white. The biggest change by far was the painting of our fireplace, which also was faux finished. The mantle and hearth were painted white. We haven't used the fireplace in 10 years anyway, so the plan is to put candles inside it for nights when we want a romantic light in that corner of the living room.

Amid all the aforementioned activities, Glenn had a chance to visit his longtime friend from high school days, Glen Campi, on Nov. 5. The visit marked the first time that Glenn was able to meet Glen's daughter, Aylen. The day included lunch, one-on-one basketball and a viewing of "The Prisoner" on DVD.

We close this month by wishing everyone a pleasant holiday season, knowing that it will probably be well underway by the time you read this. During these troubled times, say a prayer for those who have been lost and keep a place in your heart for loved ones who may be far away.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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