In my den -- 05/26/01
b Sean is sort of having his birthday party tonight. His actual birthday was ten days ago, but that was on a weekday. His sister had claimed the weekend before that for her personal birthday party with friends and there were some conflicting social engagements the weekend immediately following his natal anniversary, so he selected today for his party. He had to do some serious negotiating with Nancy because he wanted to have half a dozen or so friends sleep over and she was not keen on having a crowd of loud teenage boys playing videogames and making noise all night. This seems to be a two part party. His first guest (a girl from Connecticut that he knew from summer camp a few years ago) showed up around noon and others came during the course of the afternoon. They played videogames and did computer stuff and watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail on DVD and munched on the veggies and chips and dips I provided, and around five I cooked up a bunch of hot dogs and hamburgers (Sean chose the menu)... then that group mostly left and later in the evening different kids drifted by... so I'm sort of parked in the den with my laptop, out of the way but available to provide catering services as needed.

I like my den... it's the room decorated most closely to my personal tastes... lots of pictures on the walls... a rectangular room, three windows filling most of the long side looking out toward the street... a wide doorway (actually an opening about half the width of that end of the room) to the hallway/foyer. My desk, a big office desk I'd bought used for Nancy years ago (but she thought it was too big for our bedroom and she prefers to use a desk up there that used to belong to her grandmother) takes mucht of the remainder of the hallway end of the room. There's a painting by Carl Kocich hanging on the wall above the desk... entitled Good Dreams, Bad Dreams, it shows a young girl peeking out from under the covers at a group of tiny characters on the floor next to her bed -- a wizzard, a knight, a winged fairy princess, a leprachuan, and a barbarian warrior -- while out of her range of sight, a grinning troll is creeping forward out of the darkness. At one point Nancy and I were collecting Kocich's paintings (we have others). I had put a deposit down on this painting just before we got married and friends of ours pursuaded him to return our deposit, saying he had forgotten that somebody else had claimed it earlier than we had... and then they bought it and gave it to us for a wedding present. (Thank you again, Ron and Liz!) [Note: our other Kosich paintings include Family Secret, Lets Make a Deal, The Negotiator -- and he doesn't just do fantasy paintings, he has also produced some lovely New England landscapes, etc.]

The wall with the windows is on my right as I sit here at the desk. A small framed poster for a British Museum exhibit (the queen from the Lewis chess set) hangs on the wall to the left of the windows, a small framed crosstitch sampler below it ("That which cometh from the heart will go to the heart"). Photographs are on the right side of the windows. A black and white picture of me, age 21, standing next to my VW Beetle (this particular print made for me by my son Adam from an old negative he'd found). A picture of Nancy's parents. A stiffly posed picture of a youngish woman, a middle-aged woman, and an elderly woman -- they are a grandmother, a mother, a daughter -- the elderly woman is seated, holding a baby, her great-granddaughter; that baby was Nancy's grandmother. A photograph from Nancy's brother Jeff's wedding, showing her parents and her bothers and sisters and spouses... she is from a large family. Above these pictures is one of those large frames that hold many snapshots -- twenty-one in this case, mostly pictures from when Adam was a little boy, pictures of him, of him and me together, my parents, my parents with Adam, etc.

The end wall has an oil painting, a landscape, done by Nancy's sister Janet. Below it are two watercolors that I painted (twenty years ago). Just a bit off-center from the middle of the wall is a large framed poster from the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, the Art History Museum in Vienna (and what gorgeous artwork they have there! I'd love to return to Vienna if for no other reason than to visit that museum again.) To the right of the poster are four prints -- the kind you buy in museum shops -- and another dozen hang on the long wall -- purchased at various times over the years, from our honeymoon in London in '79, from trips to Washington in '80 and '81, from the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and from my trips to Vienna and to London in recent years -- Monet, Pissaro, VanGogh, Canaletto (oh, they have such wonderful Canaletto paintings in the museum in Vienna and there is one in the MFA in Boston that I stand and stare at in awe every time I visit), Turner, Homer, Sargeant Also on the long wall is a large British Museum poster, for a coins and medals exhibit that Nancy and I saw in '79.

This isn't a large room. It contains the desk and an office chair, a comfortable recliner (next to the windows, very nice place to read on a sunny day), a bentwood rocker, a small stand with reading lamps next to the recliner (so you can read there at night or on cloudy days). A series of low bookcases line most of the long wall -- they mostly contain technical books and manuals, dozens and dozens of them, along with a few cookbooks and some science fiction novels. The top shelves tend to also have a number of small framed photographs, mostly family pictures, although there is also a large group photo of the South Kingstown High School graduating class of 2000. My daughter has loved Legos since she was a toddler and she continues to buy and collect Lego building sets as a college student today -- and continues to play with them. When Lia moved in with us and Jennifer's room became "the girls' dorm" her Lego collection was displaced to my den. The far end of the room, except for the recliner, has been taken over by Legos. There is a large square coffee table (built by Sean in woodworking class) that is covered with Lego buildings (and there are more on the floor beneath it)... actually the floor on that entire side of the room is covered with lego buildings and robots and spaceships... and plastic containers filled with more Lego pieces.

While I typed this in Sean and friends went out to a fastfood restaurant to annoy a another friend who worked there, came back here, went back out to pick up another friend at a bowling alley, return here, and then some of his friends left.. He is now watching tv with two friends who are going to be sleeping over so I think my job here is done and I can go to sleep now and post this online sometime tomorrow.

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