If one must work from home, a place like our home office is not such a bad place to be cooped up in for several hours a day. It used to be bedroom, but when our oldest flew the coop we transformed and its gotten some further retransformations over time. Once upon a time there was carpeting covering the floor. Without rancor I will make this statement: some teenage boys are pigs. If you spill Coca Cola or Pepsi (it was a dark soda) behind the bed clean it up huh? In any case the floors are now hardwood. Much easier on the allergies and a dream to clean. The walls are still the same cedar. Logs cut from our farm property, handled by my hubby dozens of times (cut tree, saw lumber, stack etc etc etc) and is darkening at a lovely pace as real wood paneling’s will do. The wall décor is pretty simple – a couple pieces of framed art, and a black bear shoulder mount.

Against the west wall is a huge shelving unit. The bottom shelves are filled with assorted toys and books (it’s sort of part office/part playroom, there’s a kid’s diminutive rocking chair Rick built for our daughter. It used to be a black and white panda, it’s now bright red – a cinnamon bear according to granddaughter #1) and the upper shelves filled with photos and mementos. Lots of photos, all of various family members and mementos, gifts from family or friends.

Then there’s my desk. It’s huge. An L-shaped job finely crafted by our very good friend John Smith out of cedar with a black inlay top. It’s a thing of beauty. It’s also usually a mess. Family photos, family mementos, a red lamp with a white shade, a bowl full of seashells collected from the Pacific Ocean. A jar full of seashells and sand called “a trip to Hawaii”. My mom always wanted to go there so it sits next to a photo of her young self. Sadly, she never made that trip. There’s another jar filled with part of my childhood marble collection. I was pretty good at marbles so my collection is extensive. My brother liked the cat’s eyes, I prefer the aggies -- and somewhere in there is a big ol’ steelie. Rick’s childhood pocket knife is inside and there is also a photo of me at about age 4. My hair is short and I’m in fancy dress and shoes so it was probably Easter time. It was pre-parental house remodel for sure, the vintage linoleum on the floor shouts that loud and clear. There’s a school pic of Rick in the jar too. First or second grader in a plaid shirt, that everlasting crooked smile on his young face. There’s a tag on the jar lid written in blue script “childhood in a jar”. Next to that is a gigantic soup mug from NYC. By a photo of my dad and uncles are the tiny burro and friends purchased on a long ago trip to Mexico. Then there’s a seashell with a face painted on it. Artwork gifted to me by my little sister a million years ago, well at least 50 years ago. This is mostly my stuff; the stuff that Karen treasures. But because this is also a working office there are notebooks, papers, journals, file folders, three small under-desk filing cabinets, clip files, the internet router. The whole place is a thing of beauty when I need to get down to business or just think. Oh yeah, I forgot the scattered pens and pencils that are supposed to reside in the NYC cup. Ooops. My chair is secondhand with a rag rug underneath it so I don’t scratch the hardwood.

Not a bad place to be cooped in. And I can fly off whenever I’ve a mind to. But its nice to work amongst remembrances of people I love and who have loved me in return. I almost forgot. There is a huge P in one window pane and a huge E in the other these days. There are four matching windows on this end of the house you see, and if you look at the letters in all four windows, right to left, you will see the word HOPE spelled out in heart-shaped cutouts. There’s a lot of that in this office too. Hope that is. Maybe next I’ll swap out the H and the P for an L and a V, since there’s lots of that herein too. Yup, this old hen truly loves her coop.

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