Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Room With a View

By Marilyn Baron

If where you work is a reflection of who you are, then I must be a mess. To say I’m a pack rat is a bit of an understatement. People often compare my work space to the desk of 60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney. In the old days (before advancing age syndrome struck) I could stick my hand in the pile and find any piece of paper I wanted. I knew exactly where everything was. In my mind, my desk was organized. That’s no longer the case.

I need to do some housecleaning. I tried it once. I moved everything into boxes and stored them in the basement. Then our basement flooded and all of the cardboard boxes were destroyed and had to be hauled away. Turns out I never needed that “stuff.” I don’t want another flood, but something of Biblical proportions needs to be done about my work space.

My desk is just a repository of paper and junk. I can’t sit at the desk, there’s no room to write there. And then there’s my husband’s desk. Most of the time when he’s not at work he’s on my computer. I can’t understand why he has to use my computer when he has a laptop he can use when he’s not at work. When my younger daughter visits and she wants to catch up on some work at the office, she uses my computer. When my older daughter visits from New York and she checks in at the office, she also takes over my computer.

Actually, I can understand why my office is where everyone wants to be. My office is bright, the walls are painted a soothing lemon yellow, my curtains are a yellow and blue striped and floral pattern and the rug is a diamond-patterned yellow hue. Hanging on the wall is my framed 2005 Maggie certificate for Third place in the Single Title Category for “The Colonoscopy Club.” I think I need to write a sequel because soon I’ll have to have another one of those procedures. A Bermuda print, called “Shutters,” depicts a pastel yellow cottage with a stepped pristine white roof against a blue sky background.

Probably one of my favorite things about my office is the view from the windows that open up to my backyard. When I’m not writing, I’m daydreaming, getting inspiration, talking on the phone and looking outside, and I can always count on seeing a lively squirrel chase; birds, ranging from red-headed woodpeckers and blue jays to hummingbirds; roaming coyotes and most often deer, sometimes five or six of them, walking on the trail by the stream in back of my house.

As far as inspiration, I don’t need candles. I don’t have a sense of smell so I would probably burn down the house and never realize it. I love music, but I don’t generally play it when I’m writing. To get me started, all I need is a phrase, an intro, a thought, a name and that sparks an idea and generates a story.

As far as the state of my office, I probably won’t change, not at this late date. I like order in my life and the rest of the house is in good shape. But my office reflects the chaos, ideas, creativity and excitement in my head. So maybe that’s not so bad.

What is your favorite thing about your office?


Debbie Kaufman said...

Marilyn, one of my biggest problems is usually keeping others off my computer. I don't mind the occasional intrusion, but I'm really protective of my baby.

Anna Steffl said...

I understand the paper pile thing. I get huge piles going -- start to sort them -- then get the piles mixed up. Argh. So, I don't write at the desk.

My favorite thing about my coffee house office? The plain, black coffee.

Marilyn Baron said...


I know how you feel. My computer seems to be the place to be for everyone.


I might go to a coffee house but I don't like coffee. I guess I could order hot chocolate.


Cyrano said...

You're post really resonated with me. Like you, my family seems to think my computer space is theirs too.
My daughter asked for a lap top for Christmas and I thought my days of sharing my desk with her were finally over. But alas, I was wrong. She got her lime green laptop and still she uses mine when she's downstairs. The whole point of a laptop is that she can take it anywhere. Does my 13 year old do this? Um, no. She says its too much trouble.
My husband does the same as yours too. Why don't these people that I love use their own dern computers?
I also like that you provided a picture of yourself along with an image of your office. You have such a friendly smile. I just luv ya.
Oh, and by the way, are you watching 24? I seem to remember you're a Jack fan, "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR!!" is a line that makes my husband and I smile. Just love that show.
And I loved your post.
Have a great day,

Sally Kilpatrick said...


I'm just glad to find another candidate for Team Oscar. Now, I'm farther down the spectrum than you, but my future office is the way it is because I try to keep some order in the rest of the house.

I know all about trying to beat people off the computer I'm trying to use. Fortunately, I have my own laptop (finally!), hubby has his work laptop, and then the archaic desktop takes the rest of the abuse (a lot of Lego.com)

Somehow I missed the Colonoscopy Club. I may need to speak with you on how to create a better title. : )

Marilyn Baron said...

Tamara, Sally,

My husband also has a laptop in our dining room but he still prefers the computer in my office.

YES, I am watching 24. I'm so glad Jack is back.

I'm also watching "Chuck." Any Chuck fans out there?


Tami Brothers said...

This is great! I love your messy office and you make it sound so inviting. I can relate to the sharing of the computers. We have two and it doesn't matter which one is open for me to use, it's usually the other one I need (you know, those darn saved files and the laptop is ALWAYS faster at downloading something than the desktop). It can be kind of frustrating...

My favorite part about my office is exactly what I find the most frustrating. It's the center of everything. I don't feel closed in or seperated from everyone. Maybe one day I'll want that seperation, but right now I like being a part of the family...

Thanks for sharing!!!


Michelle said...

Marilyn - I love that you have the Petit Fours site up on your monitor for the picture.

Maxine Davis said...


A girl and an office after my own heart! I like that you included your picture. I would have, but I saved it wrong . . .

I'm lucky. I do not have to share anything with hubby except the other half of the room. We've never drawn the line, but it seems to exist.

I like your paragraph about order in your life and rest of house and the office reflecting chaos, ideas, & creativity.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Marilyn, fun post! And I can relate all too well, except... You know how you said it turned out you didn't need a lot of that stuff after all? I'm sort of the opposite. I'll hold on to some random thing for years, throw it out and then immediately have use for it. Which, sadly has reinforced the pack rat tendency, much to my husband's extreme dismay :-)

Marilyn Baron said...


My office is actually at the back of the house so it's pretty quiet and that's nice. It's actually messier than it looks, I just didn't show that part. But I feel very comfortable there.

I purposely put the Petit Fours picture there. Glad you noticed.


Glad you liked the post.


I have had that happen where I needed something too and then it was gone, but I have so many other things to replace it. Or it will be lost in the pile and then I'll find it, but much later and by then I don't need it anymore.
And most of the important things I need are on the computer.

Thank you all for visiting.


Dianna Love said...

Marilyn -

They say Yellow is a happy color so that makes sense everyone likes your office and you're happy in that space. I can totally understand the "organized in the rest of the house" but chaotic in the creative area. I think our creative side likes to know it can leave all the toys out at night.

Marilyn Baron said...


Yes, that sounds like a good explanation.

Actually green is my favorite color and everything else in my house is some shade of green or blue green except my office.

Thanks for commenting.


Susan May said...

Can I come live with you? You have the most interesting office, kids and your husband's job is ever fasinating. How can you not have material to write about? You're a great person too.

Tammy Schubert said...

Lemon yellow is the perfect color for an office. I'm feeling creative just imagining it.

The view from your window is awesome!

Marilyn Baron said...


Yes, you can move in if you want.
My husband is an expert witness and one of his clients just gave him a book for Christmas called,
"Death of an Expert Witness." I can't remember the author but when I saw it I thought, Wow, I wish I could have written that. It's such an obscure profession and I would have had plenty of material on the subject.


Yes, I love that lemon yellow color.

Actually that picture of a deer was taken out of a front window because all the pictures of the four deer who seem to live in my backyard didn't come out very clearly. They are so well camouflaged with all the trees in the backyard, you can hardly distinguish them from the background. And if I showed the picture of my backyard windows, my desk would be included and it's too messy to show so I just showed my computer table.


Darcy Crowder said...

Great post, Marilyn. I love Dianna's take on your creative environment. :) I used to have the same problem with everyone using my computer, desk space, sticky notes - you name it. They helped themselves. It was a great relief to finally get my own room.

Marilyn Baron said...


This is supposed to be my own room and I have it during the day, but at night my husband uses it too.


Ana Aragón said...


You are my twin! Everyone makes fun of me because I hold onto stuff. But, boy, they shut up when I pull out that paid bill or picture they're looking for. Of course, it usually takes me awhile to find it underneath the piles!

Love your picture of the deer. I haven't seen a deer in my back yard (too many barking dogs in the neighborhood!) But I love watching the birds and squirrels.

Thanks for sharing!


Kitty said...

I love all the cubby holes in my desk that I use for storage...they are great to stay organized!

Linsey Lanier said...

Marilyn, love the picture of you at your desk. And you've got our blog on your computer! I don't know about the packrat thing, I can see a lot of bare space on that surface... Just kidding. You are definitely one of us. And so is Tanya! Yeah for us Oscars!

Here's a tip about your computer. When you're done using it, unplug the keyboard and lock it in a drawer. It works wonders. :)

Congratulations on your Maggie certificate! You deserve it. ("The Colonoscopy Club" sounds hysterical!) Hope you get another one soon. (That's a contest win, not a colonoscopy.)

I love the picture of the deer! How cool to see such a graceful creature right outside your window. Hope he doesn't eat anything you're trying to grow.

My favorite thing about my office? It's mine. Hubby never touches my computer unless his is down from a virus, LOL.


Marilyn Baron said...


The deer are running wild in my neighborhood. I love them but some people don't because they eat plants and flowers.


Thank you so much for commenting. Your desk sounds great. I don't have that kind of desk. The desk drawers I have are narrow and stuffed. I do have a great cabinet in the kitchen where I keep important papers, bills, etc. There's no room for that in my office.


Marilyn Baron said...


You don't see the mess because I wasn't showing the desk (with the mess on it and under it).

Yes, I love watching the deer out the window. My immediate backyard is fenced in because we have a pool so they don't eat the plants in the pool area, but they sleep and play right next to the fence which is is surrounded by trees so they're not eating my flowers. They do eat some of the flowers at the mailbox.


Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Marilyn,

Chiming in late, but wanted to let you know that I love the blog and the pictures of you at your computer.

What do I love about my office? It's mine and I can relax in it. (which is a good thing since I spend so many hours here every day.)


Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks, Sandy. I appreciate your comment.


Carol Burnside said...

Organized chaos? Sounds like I'd be right at home. My fav thing about my office is it's mine, all mine. :-D

Marilyn Baron said...

Organized chaos. I like that concept.