I am sitting in the area that is designated as my "office," a desk up against the window next to our dining area. I am usually not here at this hour, but today I've adjusted my work schedule so I get to enjoy the pleasures of our house in the morning. Right now, it's just me and the dog, a black lab mix named Franklin. I can see out of the window, our neighbor's pepper tree and the two beige stucco apartment buildings just beyond their yard. On the window sill is a tiny photo of our previous dog Rex, who was also a black lab mix. Underneath the window sill, I've taped a drawing that my daughter did of me. I had to rescue it from her garbage can, as she'd crumpled it up last week because she was angry with me. I don't recall why. Next to the drawing is a color print out of Mr. Rogers that some former colleagues gave me after I got "downsized." Below that, a black and white photo that my friend Roger created: a close up of an egg on a stovetop gas burner. On the little bookshelf next to my desk are the following books: "Spanish-English dictionary," "AP Stylebook," "The Elements of Grammar," Copperud's "American Usage and Style" and my father's hardbound Roget's (so weathered that you can't read the spine). Living with three other people, this is the only area in the house that is "mine" and I make the most of it when I can. I don't need much.