Monday, June 20, 2011

A Lady or A Tramp!

I have been having a tough time settling down to working on one project (forget about finishing one) for several months now.  I have started so many things and either discarded them or packed them in some tote to be worked on at some later date.  
Speaking of totes – before one packs away a UFO (unfinished object) one must make room in a tote for said UFO.  That’s what I was doing when I came across a box of doll parts of various descriptions.  All the parts are bisque or ceramic, 2 are Bilo Baby repros ( 1 white and 1 black) and the other were parts for a large doll that I was told was a Madame du Barry doll.
My aunt had one of these dolls which she bodied and dressed and she was a beautiful elegant sophisticated looking Victorian-type doll.
I kept the box out and decided it might be a good time to work on these dolls; after all I have only been carrying them around since the 70’s!  In the meantime I decided to do some investigating into Madame du Barry.  I don’t know about you, but to my recollection I had not heard of her and could not place her importance in history – enough so as to have a doll made in her image.

To Google I went…  Here’s her story:
Madame du Barry was born Jeanne Becu in 1743 in Lorraine France.  She was the illegitimate daughter of a seamstress/cook/prostitute.   At the age of 15 Jeanne had to find some sort of income to help her and her mother live so she traveled the dingy streets of Paris carrying a box full of trinkets for sale.
She later became employed as a companion to an elderly widow Madame de la Garde, but her extraordinary beauty began to meddle in the marital affairs of both la Garde’s two middle-aged sons so she was sent away.  She became a milliner’s assistant in a haberdashery shop, and when that job didn’t pan out she began entertaining in Madame Quisnoy’s brothel-casino.  While there, her remarkable beauty came to the attention of Jean-Baptiste du Barry, a high-class pimp/procurer.  He installed her in his household and made her his mistress and helped establish Jeanne’s career as a courtesan in the highest circles of Parisian society.
She became an immediate sensation in Paris, building up a large aristocratic clientele, and King Louis XV became aware of her identity.  Jeanne could not qualify as an official royal mistress unless she had a title, so on Sept 1, 1768, she married du Barry’s brother, comte Guillaume du Barry.  The marriage ceremony included a false birth certificate created by Jean du Barry, making Jeanne younger by three years and of nobler descent.
She was installed below King Louis XV’s quarters and became his mistress.  She had little interest in politics preferring instead to pass her time ordering ravishing gowns and expensive jewelry.  She became increasingly unpopular with those surrounding the King because of the King’s financial extravagance towards her.
After Lois XV’s death she moved on to other affairs and in 1792 she was suspected of financially assisting émigrés who had fled the French Revolution.  She was arrested and accused of treason and condemned to death.
On December 8, 1793 Madame du Barry was beheaded by guillotine.  She is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery.
She inspired a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s in London called The Sleeping Beauty, which is the oldest existing figure on display.
She was the subject of a musical by Cole Porter titled DuBarry Was a Lady.  The 1943 movie version starred Lucille Ball and co-stared Red Skeleton and Gene Kelly.
Many early films portrayed her character and her life.
So I ask you, my readers… how should I dress my Madame du Barry doll… as a lady, or as a tramp?  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!  How about we take a vote - the majority wins!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chip Update!

It's been three weeks since we have adopted little Chip, our yellow-sided Conure and it has been such fun getting to know him.

He has a wonderful personality.  He's gentle, affectionate, funny; very entertaining and comical to watch.  So much so, that I really don't seem to be able to accomplish much in and around my home any more.  Instead, I either play with him or just sit and watch his antics.

I am pleasantly surprised at how quiet he is.  I did a lot of research prior to adopting him and most web sites stressed that these birds could be noisy.  Lucky for me, I got one that isn't.  I think Churchill was far noisier as a youngster than little Chip is.

I am amazed at his ability to figure things out.  I try and set things up in the cage so he has to work towards a goal.  It usually takes him very little time to figure out what I have done.  I bought a toy that has a secret compartment to hide a treat inside.  It is not at all obvious - but somehow he figured it out in less time than it took me to stand in the checkout line to pay for the thing!

His favorite thing to do these days is hang upside down from the top of his cage with one leg, and feed himself with the other.  I have to figure out how to video this without the bars of the cage getting in the way... hummm....

I didn't really believe the breeder when she told me that these birds could be potty trained.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  But here's the kicker.  After three weeks of working with him, we are almost there.  He still needs to be prompted (like a child) to go to his box, but once there he definitely knows what he is supposed to do.  I'm sure when he finally speaks the first words we will hear will be "Chip, go poop!"  Won't that be embarrassing when guests are present?

Chip shows how young he is when he wants to cuddle.  He crawls under my chin, snuggles up and kind of coos to himself.  Of course I love this the most.  I love the soft tiny feathers on his head, and the sweet little chuckling noise he makes just before he closes his eyes to sleep. 

Yup - It's official - I love this little bird.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Speaking out against Bullying!

Everyone has had a time in their lives when they have been a victim of bullying of some sort or another.  We tend to think of such an occurrence as somehow related to children, but the truth of the matter is, adults can also experience this behavior from other adults.
As children the bullying is often seen in grade school.  Perhaps one child is not as popular as other children, maybe the child is slower, or maybe the child is smarter – in any case the bully perceives the child to be different in some way, so therefore easy prey to be picked on, however the bully see’s fit.  Hopefully the adults/parents of both the bully and the victim can identify the problem and work with both children to correct the problem.
Even with parental co-operation, bullying directed towards a child, can leave a life-long hurdle for that child to endure.
As adults we often see bullying towards others, but we seldom give it the proper attention it deserves.  Instead of addressing the problem as “bullying” we label the bullies with titles that are “suitable” in our society.  Titles like – “over achievers; keeners; work - aholics.”  I’ve even heard such persons labeled as “True professionals”.
Bullies in the workforce, often take professional titles.  Sometimes (not always) they do wear manager and supervisor’s hats - sometimes they don’t – but they really want to, and the only way they think they can – is to treat others like they are nothing of any consequence to anyone what-so-ever.
I’d be willing to bet that some adult bullies, were also bullies as children.  Realistically I believe that most would like to be more than they are, so they prey on people that they think they can take advantage of to get where they want to go.  They want to be noticed, perhaps by someone of authority.  They want to appear better than the next guy, they want to bolster their own image – so they deflate someone else’s.
I would also be willing to bet that most employers deliberately allow bullies to continue their practices because it is embarrassing to have to deal with such individuals in an “adult” environment.  After all… it’s all harmless…. Right?   And maybe in some way bullies can actually accomplish what managers can not… you know… whip the staff in shape… ensure the most productivity possible…
If you believe you are a victim of such behavior it is imperative that you protect yourself – especially in the work environment.  Document conversations and situations where you have had contact with the “bully”.  If you have someone available to talk to about your experience – do so.  Avoid the bully – don’t give them the opportunity to use anything you say or do against you.  If you have to work closely with this person – stick to business only… no idle chit – chat.  Never let them know they are getting to you – don’t show your emotions - keep cool.
Sooner or later the bully will expose themselves and you will have your day of sunshine… 
I used to hate the saying “What goes around, comes around” mostly because a bully I knew used it on a daily basis – directed at me.  The saying proved to be true – one day the bully was gone… and I reveled in the bright, bright sunshine!

The world is full of difficult people.  Unfortunately we all have to meet a few along the way... No one gets to escape the unpleasant aspects of life, but we can support each other through the unpleasant times and help those we can help. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

This That and the other Thing!

It's been awhile since I posted here, I truly have been AWOL...and I apologize to my readers for being scarce this past few weeks.

A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks.  Some good, some not so good.

First I would like to congratulate my co-worker, Corri and her soon to be husband Henry, on their recent engagement.  They met on an on-line dating site a couple of years ago and now they are getting married... I couldn't be happier for them.

Another wonderful thing happening, is our nephew Rich and his wife Kate, have announced that they are expecting their first child in November.  This is exciting news for the family.  Congratulations to both of them.  I have a little time yet to get something made, and I have already decided what I want to do.

Some not-so-good news came last week from my long-time friend, Laurie.  Their family cottage is located on Lake Manitoba which has been very unstable from the high water levels this spring.  There had been a threat of flooding for quite some time at Twin Beaches where their cottages were, and so they along with many other cottage owners diligently tried to protect their homes and cottages with sand bags and dikes.  On May 31 there was a very bad wind storm causing extremely high waves, and sadly Laurie's family cottage was lost.  This is so heartbreaking for her family, and my heart goes out to them and all the other people who lost homes and properties against mother nature this year.

We continue to have rain rain and more rain.  My gardens were looking so pathetic for so long and there was nothing I could do about it, but finally this past weekend, we had a bit of a break, so I was able to get out there and plant some annuals and start my own war against the weeds.  I still have a lot of weeds to pull, but I feel a bit more in control than I did at the start of the weekend.

Can you believe that we have had Chip three weeks already!  I have to tell you he is a great little bird.  We have so much fun with him.  He is very active - loves to hang upside down from the top of the cage with one leg, and feed himself a piece of food with the other... Upside down is his favorite position.  I could spend hours watching his antics - well who am I kidding - I do spend hours watching his antics... this might be why I don't seem to be getting much done these days!

Here are a few pictures of my garden... It will be much prettier when things start to bloom.  It's a work in progress for sure...