My single window overlooks a lonely stretch of railroad tracks, and since the western New York sky can often be dismal and gray, I keep my brightest office supplies on the windowsill to lighten things up. Ever since I was young, I've had a deep abiding love of office supplies—the cuter, the better. Now that I'm an adult, it's become a full-blown obsession. Even though I'm a professor and spend a good deal of time in the classroom, I can often be found reading, grading, prepping or meeting with students in my office. My office building is slick and new with dark corporate furniture, but I keep it cozy by displaying my great eclectic array of office supplies. The one rule I have is that they all be functional. These are not just trinkets or tchotchkes (though I do have a fair amount of those as well). I deal in paper and ink and words; I need tools!

I have a bright yellow chicken tape dispenser with an orange beak; next to the chicken sits my red and white sushi stapler, which students have reached for many times when I've groaned that they never staple their papers (a must!); just down from the sushi, my miniature silver grocery cart is parked at an angle, loaded with neon bright Post-It notes and Japanese erasers shaped like monkeys and dumplings. The Hello Kitty clock sits between it all, keeping time with each tick of her tail. Although the colorful charm of these office tools brightens my workdays, the elegant practicality of their design helps get things done.