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Columns

Editor's Notebook: Personal items make workspace more inviting

This piece of original artwork (far left) hangs in Editor Kathy Balcazar's office. It was painted by her husband.
This piece of original artwork (far left) hangs in Editor Kathy Balcazar's office. It was painted by her husband.

Since I began working in offices, I’ve always found it interesting what personal items people keep in their workspace.

When I was an intern at CNA in Chicago in 2003, I even wrote a piece for a company newsletter that highlighted what one co-worker kept on his desk.

Framed family photos, work awards, plants – those seem like typical items people use to decorate the space they occupy for a good chunk of their lives.

Pondering this topic, I took stock of what I keep in my own office. Three items really stand out to me.

The first one is a framed painting of a typewriter that my husband painted. I love its green-blue and off-white coloring, as well as the texture of the paper spitting out of the machine.

It’s pretty cool to have a piece of original artwork in my office.

The second item is more subtle. It is a ceramic pen holder that my sister made for me in 2006. It’s primarily burgundy, but also has white accents at the top and bottom. Man, can the thing hold pens!

Rounding out the list is a 10-year anniversary certificate from Shaw Media. I received that two years ago, but it really puts in perspective how long I’ve been with the company.

What notable items do you keep in your office? I’d love to hear about them and share details in a future column.

Thanksgiving recap

For those of you who read my column last week, which was about how I was hosting Thanksgiving for 20 people, here is a brief rundown of how the gathering – and the food preparation – went.

Our group wound up totaling 17 people, so the food stretched even further than expected. I made the turkey and mashed potatoes. The turkey was a hit. (I make a butter-seasoning mix and put it under the skin of the bird, which makes the meat super moist.)

And I barely had any mashed potatoes left at the end of the meal, so I don’t need to worry about so many leftovers!

All of the other food turned out great as well. I think the only main item that was store-bought was the stuffing. (My sister let that cat out of the bag at the end of the night!)

I’m starting to wonder … might the new family tradition be Thanksgiving at my place?

Kathy Balcazar is weekly group editor for the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove Herald and Suburban Life Media, and is a member of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kbalcazar@shawmedia.com or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at ninaonline.org.

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