Saturday, October 3, 2009

“May you be safe; May you be happy; May you be healthy; May you live your life with ease.” Buddhist Teaching

Yesterday was one of those days where I spent a great deal of time in the car going from one appointment to another. I sometimes change the XM radio channel from music to talk radio….particularly the Broads…they are hysterical & talk sometimes about things that are typically not discussed on the air waves. When they’re not on I might hit the Oprah Channel.

(Bear with me now ‘cause I am going someplace meaningful with this…) There are days when I could listen to XM talk radio and not hear a thing…nothing that hits me or is inspirational. But I must have had my ears on yesterday because every time I got in the car there was something on that made me want to stay right there…”Oh, dang!…I have to get out of the car to go into the client’s house??? You have to be kidding me…I’m going to miss this…and that??? “

Dr Oz was on Oprah's XM Channel 156 and was interviewing Marci Shimoff….someone whose name I didn’t know but believe that I have seen on TV several times. I’m certain that I have heard interviews with her before but never really HEARD her premise until yesterday. The snippets that I caught on the radio were enough to make me Google the Oprah XM channel when I got home to try figure what was on yesterday and to somehow find out who this person was.

I found it!!!! …. and then spent the bulk of last evening Googling ‘Marci Shimoff’…listening to her radio interviews, taking page upon page of notes, etc.

I believe that it has tremendous value for each of us in our business and in our personal lives. See if you don’t agree… click on

And if this site caught your attention the way it did mine here are two additional websites in the same vein that have additional information and will continue to inspire…. It’s a radio interview so you’ll need about ten minutes of peace & quiet to listen to it…. .... and a blog…

Good information like this that has positive value needs to be passed on… and I have, probably to the dismay of some of you that get my emails and check out the various ways that we/I commun icate with the outside world. I put it on my Facebook page, sent it on to our wonderful SSI designers and now figured that our blog was a great place further broadcast what the world needs to hear today and everyday.

Hope your Saturday and your weekend is a great one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What We've Been Doing for the Past Few Months...

Check out if you wondering what we've been doing with our spare time in the last three months! Lots of pictures of The Chic Chateau!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Family Fun & Faces! Summer 2009

Amazing that so much time can pass so quickly since our last post! Our lives seem to get busier the older we get & one month rolls into the next! We took some time over July 4th to visit our summer camp in the Adirondacks on Lake Eaton...a secluded family haven that's provided a beautiful vacation spot for four generations of the Fenton side of the family. Many who know us are aware that there are no roads around to lake to reach our camp... the only mode of transportation to and from (other than by foot) is via boat.
Electricity is provided by solar panels and a 12 volt system. Telephone cables were dropped on the lake bottom only twenty years ago and indoor plumbing arrived about the same time.
Dick and I had not been to camp in about 15 years so this was not only a vacation but a journey back in time. As much as the 'outside' world has changed, the surrounding area in the Adirondacks remains pristine and virtually untouched! As you'll see there were many happy family moments!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Left Behind

This morning's New & Record, our local newspaper, contained an article about a sale that is taking place at one of our local colleges.... UNC Greensboro. This university-sponsored sale, called "Cram & Scram", is held annually after the students take their exams; after graduation is over; and after they have packed their cars to head home for the summer. It's a catchy name which means little unless, and until, you comprehend WHY the school has a need for such an event.

Each year students leave behind EIGHT tons of STUFF....books, televisions, clothing, appliances, shoes, furniture...according to the N & R article even an electric wheel chair! Eight tons of stuff! Think about that.... EIGHT tons of stuff! EACH year! I think that there are about 10 colleges and universities within our county and I cannot even begin to fathom what the grand total would be.

I came into work this morning still reeling from the thought that the students whose education we are subsidizing in this great state of North Carolina, are allowed by their parents and by the university to leave such a mess behind! I'm amazed that these students may be the very ones who stand on the front of the picket lines to protest an unavoidable tuition increase but don't understand that it takes money to dispose of the things that they leave behind. I'm shocked that the college doesn't charge an exorbitant room deposit fee that is refundable only when the vacated room passes a final inspection. And I'm really disappointed that the students themselves...some of the the very ones that lament about how the older generations have littered their world... have so little respect for how they leave their "home away from home".

My grandmother always used to start with stories about how life was back in the good 'ol days. I'd roll my eyes and try to find some excuse as to why I needed to leave the room because I really did think that her stories were archaic and non-revelent to the current day. Well today, while people like myself who are in their sixth decade don't look anything like what our grandparents did when they were in their 60's, I do feel like judgmental senior citizen.

When we went to college there was a room deposit which was not refunded if your room wasn't clean. When we packed to go home I wouldn't have thought about leaving things behind for someone else to pick up because you just didn't do that. Belongings had value; students had scruples; colleges had rules, and parents had expectations. If asked today what was one of the most important things that you learned from your mother I'd have to say that "Leave a place better than you found it". That can be interpreted many ways (...a kinder world.... a cleaner environment...a neater room). She was 'about' all of these things.

And so am I. I rearrange furniture when I visit hotel rooms because I know that it works better when the sofa is here rather than there. When we are housguests I often clean the bathroom and change the sheets before we leave. And I'll often try to declutter a client's house because I know what a demoralizing and depressing effect that has upon the lives of the people that live there.

So the idea that young women and men care so little about who has to pick up after them is something that simply ticked me off this morning. What was an innocent article about the sale where everything had a fantastic and unbelievable pricetag of just 50 cents an item...even the wheelchair... sent me into this thought process about the magnitude of having to dispose of the discarded belongings from maybe half of the campus population of 17,500 students.

I have pondered over this all day and find that I just had to get out the soap box. I'll read it again just to make sure I'm not crazy....

OH, WAIT!.... I am so relieved!!!! I just reread part of the article and this year's sale has only FOUR tons...down from the eight in years past! Thank goodness! For a minute I was worried....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Miss Kira

I often get a chance to write about our Greensboro 'munchkins'...Olivia and Gabe because they are local but because I don't see Jeff and Vicky's daughter frquently I never have enough pictures of Kira who is now getting close to her third birthday.

Kira is the comedian...she's the actress. As an infant only weeks and months old she'd close her eyes or cover her face when she saw a camera come her way. She knew she didn't like the bright light flashing in her eyes.

What a difference a couple of years makes! This girl now seems to love the attention of the camera! Kira is all-girl...loves makeup and dress-up as you can see by her 'flapper' outfit. She's an amazing mix of Jeff and Vick... she has her mother's sweetness & kindness and her father's sense of humor...(maybe this is good?) . She's the resident ham and, as Jeff's loving parents, we happen to think that the "chickens have come home to roost" for Jeff.... Heh, Heh, Heh. (Sorry Vick...)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two of the Best Moms I know!

How blessed we are to have them as the mothers of our grandkids!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

"What's this for doing?"

Mornings might be my favorite time of the day while JR & Rebecca are still living here. Olivia & Gabe are always full of smiles and giggles and, Lord knows, it helps to smile before I head off to the unknown day's adventures at the office.

I usually get an early morning visit from Olivia who tiptoes down the stairs and tries to surprise me while I'm fixing breakfast or sitting in the tub. (Yikes!) Sometimes I'll sit her up on my vanity while I'm putting on makeup & she'll gaze at the non-magnified side of my mirror while I'm working on the other.... "What's this for doing", she asks as she handles everything from a hair comb to mascara. "What's this for doing"? I try to put on eye shadow. "What's this for doing"? as I show her an eyelash curler. All efforts to figure out life's meanings for the simplest things!

I love the disjointed sentence, the innocence and the amazement as seen through a child's eyes, and I'll probably remember and steal her "What's this for doing" phrase as I go through the rest of my life!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Once we get past January we approach 40 years of knowing one another and 39 years of marriage! While remembering alot of things is a feat, I do recall that February 7, 1970 like it was yesterday!

We had (and still have) a D.C. brother-in-law, Joe, who swore he wouldn't travel north to a remote town like Corinth, NY for a wedding, especially after a 12 inch snowstorm had innudated the area; another brother in law, John (our best man) who drove the day of the wedding with a fever and the sniffles and had us passing tissues across the altar as the priest was saying mass; three....count-em... three very pregnant sisters-in-law who at the time couldn't be in the wedding because that wasn't 'kosher' at the time; and the very grateful parents of the bride who worshipped their new son-in-law because he had 'saved' their daughter from a life of misery had she partnered with her previous beau!
Hmmm...who is that guy with hair to my left? Better yet...who is that fox?
Thirty-nine years; four children, three grandchildren, and five dogs later we are still happy together. What more could we want? Life has blessed us, no doubt!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Trip to Vegas

We always love these trips to Vegas...the weather is always great; there's always plenty to do (as long as you're winning $$$) and this time it was exciting to be staying at the Bellagio.
Did I mention that it RAINS in Vegas? And that it RAINED for the four days we were there? We managed to keep dry by sticking to the hotel casino, however, and once again came home with money.

The pictures in no particular order include Olivia trying to hide in our suitcase so she could go with us; The Bellagio's exterior, lobby, hotel room, view from our window at night and the fountains which we got to see once in between rainstorms; The interior of the Paris Casino and hotel which looks like we're outside because the faux skies are so realistic. Yes the Frenchy-looking street scene is really inside the Paris Casino!

Sherckle Awakes from Winter Hibernation!

I cannot believe that we (I) haven't blogged since January 31st when we were about to head to Vegas to celebrate our 39th anniversary and nothing since then! One would think that we had joined the Elvis look-a-likes and found gainful employment on the strip! So much has happened since then but I will try to catch up in the days to come in a chronological order!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work, Dogs, Kids & Random Thoughts

Okay, Okay, Okay....I realize that it's been weeks since our last post. Life, as is our norm, has been busy since New Year's. Days filled with work; nights with "live-in" munchkin kids; American Idol (...yup, we're addicted), Biggest Loser (love watchin' those people lose half their weight! ...there we are glued to the set wonderin' what good snacks we've got stashed in the pantry! LOL).

Work at the office has pretty much slowed to a trickle due to the poor builder situation, although we are still blessed to still be hanging on and to have all designers still with us. The nice part of having a 1099-type of business is that we don't have to go to anyone and tell them that they are laid off. They pretty much operate their own businesses under our SSI umbrella. The good news is that they still have a job; the bad news is that there isn't much business out there right now. People are scared to spend money and decorating and design isn't at the top of many lists.

I have gone back to teaching design 'how-to' classes, which is the way I started this business back in NY. I had a "Staging to Sell" class for realtors and people that want to sell their home last week that was sold out. We have 5000+ SF of office space and my income in the past was pretty much dedicated to paying the rent, so I've had to be creative about how to keep the business afloat and returning "to my roots" seemed like a good alternative. After all, even in a recession people still love color and design. What better way to gain clients but to teach them more about what they love? I have always enjoyed teaching but never seemed in the recent past to have enough time to plan the curriculum and pull together the pictures needed for a power point presentation. So now's a good time!

Jeremy and Rebecca have just closed on the cutest little Cape Cod-style home in an older classic Greensboro neighborhood. Tall stately trees, a huge back yard and an adorable 4 bedroom house are all things that make this the perfect place for their family. It was built in 1946 which means it has the plaster walls; outdated wiring and plumbing but with a little TLC this will be a fabulous haven for them. It's had only two owners for all of these years; one of them for nearly 60 years so the walls are filled with the secret memories of a family life now long past, and you can almost feel those amazing vibrations when you enter! I'm sure that their blog will have more details and pictures soon.

And our Dweezle who is now in her 16th year as our resident pooch appears to be on the down-slide of her life. She's aged alot in the last several weeks/months. She barely hears anything anymore, and it's obvious that cataracts have clouded her sight. She woke up one morning this week hardly being able to stand on her hind legs. The vet x-rayed her and said that her spine is OK and that he, because of her advanced age was reluctant to put her under for an MRI so she's on Prednisone which has allowed some improvement but there are still concerns that cause us to be evaluating her quality of life on a day-to-day basis. (sigh).

So despite the economy, depite the media's doom and gloom, life goes on. We're headed to Vegas next week to celerate our 39th together (this might be Dick's favorite place on earth!) and, providing that he still has this aura of luck that seems to surround him in casinos, and providing we can afford the cab fare back to the airport,we'll post some pics after we return! Oh, and by the way, we're staying at the Bellagio...for FREE. How cool is that??? I could stand in front of their 'dancing' water fountains FOREVER!