Monday, January 02, 2006

Nappy You Here--Part I

And we’re back! Glad you’ve returned, too.

Revvin’ up for 2006. I had a splendid two-week break in our Coeur d’Alene home. Each morning hubby and I woke up whenever we felt like it (what a treat!), fetched fresh-ground coffee that was set to go off automatically, and laid in bed, talking and gazing out the floor-to-ceiling (well, almost) windows at the lake. I didn’t do much e-mail, didn’t write at all. Toward the end of the break, I did spend a day and a half plotting the rest of Coral Moon. I knew I really needed to get back into work with full energy, and to make each day’s page count, I needed to be clear on the building of scenes.

Didn’t get the whole book plotted. As usual, I know the ending but not quite how I’ll make it all come together. But at least I know what I’m doing for the next 3-4 weeks. I was really faltering toward the end of last year. Just couldn’t seem to get a real sense of the book—and fear was really trying to hone in on me.

Honest moment—fear was honing in on me.

So now I’m back in my northern California office. Um, in case you haven’t heard—it’s raining here. Evidently it’s been raining since we left. Today it’s finally supposed to clear.

How considerate of the weather, dumping the worst rains in my absence.

We’ve established a new tradition in our family for New Year’s Eve, ever since we began spending the Christmas holiday in our Idaho home (four years now). We gather around the fireplace in our great room to discuss resolutions. Playing a major part in this process is, of all things, the mantel.

According to the builder of the house (it was constructed in 1992), the original owner who hired him hailed from back east, where he owned a large estate. Apparently he didn’t mind moving from the estate, but couldn’t bear to leave the house’s exquisitely carved mantel in richly colored wood. (Sure wish we knew the origin of the mantel. Made here, or created in Europe? I wouldn’t be surprised to discover it’s the latter.) The mantel has carved posts on the sides, intricate flower patterns running across the shelf’s front piece, then continues on up with more of the same, framing a large mirror above the fireplace. The top of the mantel, some twelve to thirteen feet from the floor, curves inward toward a central round ornamental piece with curved perimeter, about another foot in height.

Although the builder didn’t add details about this mantel, we’ve surmised from his story that our entire house was built around it. The same deep color of wood is seen throughout—on the hardwood floors, on all the wainscoting, and surrounding the windows.

Apparently the huge thing was shipped to Idaho in two pieces—the mantel shelf and below, and the framed mirror part above. Between these two parts, where the back of the shelf meets the upward section, is a slight space. More of a crack, really. Just enough room to slide a piece of typing paper into.

Strange how such piece of paper disappears when slid in sideways, even though the depth of the mirror piece is less than 8 ½ inches. It's almost like magic. The first edge that goes in evidently curls downward back where mantel meets wall, making room for the rest.

It is in this discovered hiding place that my inventive husband first thought to try storing our new year’s resolutions—and found that it worked. The paper remains there all year long, untouched, its edge nearly invisible. But we know it’s there. It now has four years’ worth of resolutions written upon it.

And so around the crackling fire we gathered—hubby and I, 22-year-old son and his new fiancée (who was present as girlfriend last year), and sixteen-year-old daughter and one of her friends, who’d flown up for the weekend.
Mark pulled out The Paper, and we prepared to review—and renew.

Two things I should mention at this point. One—I don’t make resolutions lightly. I’d rather not make them at all than make them and fail. Two—I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d resolved last year.

Not a good sign.


Robin Caroll said...

Happy New Year, Brandilyn! May you be richly blessed in 2006!

I make more of an aspiration/goal list instead of resolutions. It's fun to look back in December and see if I actually hit anything I aspired...I can never remember them, either! LOL

Jason said...

Welcome back Brandilyn. Hope you enjoyed the break! I may have been quiet lately, but I'm still a-reading.

And you're back in fine form I see - more cliffhangers...


C.J. Darlington said...

Yay. She's back. What a fun and thought-provoking way to start the new year, Brandilyn. I've made New year's resolutions for the past few years, and usually when I go back and read them I find I've greatly exceeded one or two, but then completely ignored others.

Cara Putman said...

I never really made New Year's Resolutions till my husband kept bugging me about what mine were. The great thing is most of the time I hit them, and am better for the effort. I do need to make time to pray and make resolutions for this year. I have such anticipation about the New Year but want to make sure I am focused on the areas God wants. No time to waste effort :-)

Stuart said...

Welcome back Brandilyn! Interesting tradition and history behind the fireplace. :)

Look forward to a whole new year of blogging suspense and intrigue. :D

Domino said...

Hi Brandilyn! Glad you're back.

If I want to make a change, I make a change, not a resolution. I don't write out resolutions because I can't remember where I put the paper. I'm still trying to find a Christmas gift my husband bought for my daughter. We hid the DVD really well- somewhere in the house. (Don't worry, she had other gifts.)

I love the stories behind old furniture. Have fun starting off the new year.

Sally Bradley said...

I'm a day or two away from writing down my new year's resolution, but here's one I can take care of now--to come our from lurkdom (or whatever you called it a few months back)! I've been reading the blog, trying to catch up, since August, but life keeps getting in the way. No more! I've enjoyed your posts, Brandilyn, and will make it part of my day. I'll catch up when I have a few spare minutes. Happy New Year!
Sally Bradley

Pammer said...

Happy to see you haven't lost your talent for good hooks. :0)

I can't wait to see what your resolutions were.

I used to do resolutions, but I figured out I only made them and then did my best to sabotage myself, go figure!

Great to have you back. Hope the rain stops before you need and ark. :0)


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I gave up on making them twenty years ago! Now I just try to go when and where God leads.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh, I was so excited I forgot to say Welcome Home! I see we have you scheduled for the Blogging Book Tours!

rose mccauley said...

Happy New year to Brandilyn and all! Like Sally I am coming out of lurkdom after finally catching up on Brandilyn's posts for the past year. One of my resolutions is to check out this site at least every couple of days when not traveling. Maybe i will even learn to post a photo someday! Here's to more great learning from one of the best! I've read her Getting into Character 3 times already so the blogs have been a great refresher course. rose mccauley

Camy Tang said...

Happy New Year! Actually, I love making new goals for the year, even though I know I probably won't fulfill all of them. They're more like challenges than goals, but they do work. I did most of my challenges/goals from 2005--more than I expected. 2006 will be a good year!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hi Branilyn! Welcome back. So glad you got to relax. That piece sounds gorgeous! You should use that in a book, a place to hide evidence. A murder plot. Something big! LOL! Happy New Year!