Monday, March 26, 2012

Mockingbird (Mocks Your Need To Go To Sleep)

I'm still working on everything that I told you about in the post from the other day, but I had to share this because of how utterly absurd it is!

Here in the Southeastern US, we skipped winter entirely and are breaking records left and right for unseasonably warm weather (6 straight days of temps above 80 degrees F, and it's March!!!), as well as for pollen count.  I read somewhere that 1,500 was dangerously high/piratically highjacks your sinuses.  Atlanta last week had 9,000 something.  No lie.  But as insane as that is, that's not the absurd thing I wanted to share with you...

This is a Northern Mockingbird:

We have our own resident mockingbird.  This bird is hilarious.  The pair moved their nest to the front sasanquas after the overgrowing one in the back patio area was cut down.  (We did it in the winter while they were gone, so don't worry about any eggs or baby mockingbirds.) But before they moved, that tree grew right outside of my mom's room and the male would sit and learn the ring of her telephone.  Then later it would warble an imitation.  She would hear it from the kitchen (also near the tree) and run upstairs thinking it was her phone.  Mom would arrive upstairs to find the phone hadn't rung at all- no messages or call backs or anything- and the mockingbird would pretty much cackle at her from his sasanqua outside her window.

This went on for months until finally mom stopped using that phone line and just has her cell phone instead, and eventually Gran did decide to cut down the tree before it took out the corner of the porch.

The bird would also mercilessly taunt my cat through the storm door at the front of the house.  We'd open the big front door and let Ashley bask in the sunshine and watch the outside.  The top of the storm door is wiring and mesh, and the bottom is glass, of course, so Ashley could hear and smell everything outside, but there was no getting out to it.  Ashley'd be laying there soaking up a sunbeam and the mockingbird would hop right up to the glass and "meow", "hiss" and cackle at him, fanning his tail-feathers the whole time in an obvious show of "Nyah nyah, you can't get me!".  No matter how Ashley would growl, hiss, carry on or bat at the door, that bird wouldn't leave him be.  He couldn't catch it, and it knew it!

Now that he lives in the Sasanqua tree at the front corner of the house, he happens to be more or less directly below my bedroom windows.  He shows up in the spring, and stays until October or so.  I don't know where he vacations, but he always comes back to us.  I know it's the same one, because he has a distinct little white blotch under his right eye and he is fiercely territorial of that tree.  Every spring I watch him dive-bomb other, younger males in the yard and giving them what for.  (He always wins.)

Last April when I was sewing for the Hydrangea Festival, he arrived from his vacation, staked out his tree and proceeded to tell the entire world that it was springtime.  Loudly.  And with gusto.
He serenaded me from 6 a.m. each morning, all throughout the day and well into the evening before finally settling down around 9:30 p.m.  He did this daily, even as I was getting last minute things together on June 1st.  (Every bit as loudly as in April.  And with twice as much gusto.)

This odd, early spring weather has brought him back and he's so blessed excited about BEING A BIRD(!) that he hasn't shut up since we got home at 7:30 tonight! (I have no idea how long he'd been going before that- we were gone all day.)  I recorded this at 11:50 p.m.  It's 5 full minutes of audio- him just going to town.  Check it out:

It's now after of 2 a.m. (yeah, I'm up late working again; not that he's letting me sleep anyway...) and I think I only caught his warm-up at midnight, because the repertoire that's happening outside my window at this very moment is unbelievable! LOL

According to this Wikipedia article, "Northern Mockingbirds, in addition to being good mimics, are also some of the loudest and most constantly vocal of birds. They often sing through the night or when the moon is full."  NO FREAKING KIDDING! o_O

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Up, Moon-pie!

I'm still here!  I'm just REALLY busy with a lot of good things!!!  Such as:

  • Lucy Jane orders are pouring in which is AWESOME, so if anyone seriously needs me, I can usually be found at the sewing machine with both it and my iPod blazing full speed ahead!  Some new things just done will be posted on the Lucy Jane blog very soon.  Hopefully by tomorrow.
  • Also Lucy Jane related, she's been booked for a hurrah-and-to-do Art thing in Marietta in August, so we have that to prepare for! :)
  • Cute Gremlin #4 turned 4 years old yesterday!  (Picking myself up off the floor from the reality kick of that one.) We're having her party on Saturday so that Husband can be here from working out of town. (Still. More. Again.  This majorly sucks.  Lots.  SO grateful he's back for the weekend at least.)
  • Cute Gremlin #2 is being inducted into Beta Club tomorrow afternoon! :D  For her big project this year she's getting me to teach her how to sew a basic skirt.  Cause she's awesome!
While I do all of this, I manage to do regular life on some level.  Groceries.  Laundry.  More fun things (than groceries and laundry), like letter writing and taking the Cute Gremlins to the Zoo.  

I'm trying to keep caught up here too, and I discovered this week that The Modest Peacock just hit 40,000 pageviews!!!!!!  WOW!  Y'all keep me amazed!  I'm humbled and grateful, especially since I have been neglecting a regular blogging schedule.  I promise to work on that, particularly with the A-Z Challenge and my 4th blogaversary coming up in April!

I have still been frequenting the library and reading amazing books, some of which have prompted a new scheduled feature here very soon (when I get the Lucy Jane stuff down to a dull roar and figure out the time tables.  It's all a delicate balancing act...).  Also while at the library, I've been borrowing the completed seasons of the TV show "The Big Bang Theory".  If you've never seen it, please do!  It's hysterical!  I identify with the Penny character on a lot of levels (I even just figured out how to do one of her super cute hair styles!), but there is a huge part of me that is a closet nerd too, so it's a great way to de-stress.  I especially love this clip*, which is what I'm going to leave you with as I fall in the bed and get back to my sewing in the morning.  I still have to clean up my messiness of scraps and thread and pattern pieces and whatnot before Husband gets in at lunchtime! 

*YouTube has disabled embedding, so you can watch it by following this link. Enjoy the clip!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Illustrator Tuesdays: A New Weekly Feature

I'm addicted to children's books.  Sure, I leave the library with a stack of novels from the grown-up sections, but it's the children's section that really draws me in and invites me to get lost in a good book (or 8).  As I happen to have 4 Cute Gremlins, this is encouraged by the librarians, my friends, and by society in general.  I have taken great delight at browsing the shelves with them and exclaiming things like:

"George and Martha!  I loved to read those when I was a kid!"

"Pinkerton!  He was always my favorite!"

"Here are the Bill Peet books!  Look, here's Prewitt Peacock!"

"What do you think Little Bear will do next?"

My second post ever, on this blog, was on Donald Hall's "Ox Cart Man".  (Worth the click!)

The illustrations in all of these wonderful books just don't get enough attention.  Seriously.
So I've taken up the hobby of featuring a children's book illustrator each Tuesday as part of my regular posting schedule.  I realize, sometimes I get behind due to work and kids and life and have to retro-post on occasion.  I'm hoping I won't have to do that too much and can schedule posts when I have writing time eked out of each week.

I hope you enjoy this new feature!  Give me some feedback- what are some of your favorite children's books/illustrators?

Monday, March 19, 2012


JOY FM Friendraiser update:

We did it, fellow listeners!  The Friendraiser ended two hours early on Friday and the goal was met 100%!!!
The goal starting last Monday morning was 1000 More than Music Mission Partners (people who donate $30 or more a month), and $360,000.

At just before 5 p.m. Friday, the grand total was 1,007 new MMMPs, and a total of $362,356!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving and helping to keep such a wonderful ministry going!
If you didn't get the chance to join in the Friendraiser fun, but still want to give, you can do that on the website!

I love listening to the JOY FM every single day!  From me personally:


It's officially spring!  And this past week has certainly shown us better weather!  The trees are all blooming out and everything is starting to be covered in pine pollen! (Pass the Claratin and Allegra, please!)

It's so pretty out, though!  Here is a photo I took of the view from my room last week:

Sorry if it's a bit pixelated- I took it through the screen.

In honor of springtime, and it still being March with reminders of St. Patrick's Day everywhere, I thought I would spotlight another Irish lass for your Music Monday.  Here is Orla Fallon singing the traditional Irish song "Mo Ghile Mear".  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bring Someone JOY!

If you're just getting to know me through The Modest Peacock, it should be immediately obvious how important music is to me.  Music that affirms my faith and lifts my spirits is that much more valuable.  Here in Atlanta, the radio station that more than meets my daily need for uplifting and encouraging music is WVFJ, The JOYFM at 93.3.
The JOY FM transferred to not-for-profit status just last year, which means they are LISTENER SUPPORTED.  They can't operate without the support of the community.  Twice a year the station holds a Friendraiser- a week of asking for your commitment to support them and keep them on the air as a blessing to as many people as the airwaves can reach!

My family is on a super tight budget.  Husband's job, while we are grateful that he has one, leaves us reallllyyy reaching to make those ends meet.  But here is something super cool and utterly amazing- they always do.  Somehow or another, God pulls out all the stops and the money is there.  (Very often down to the penny.  So awesome!)  Last fall during the first fundraiser week, I felt the Lord moving my heart to give.  I was sitting in the van on my way to a temporary job that I had taken.  I had J93 on the radio, of course, and this is how the conversation with the Lord went:
"Jenny.  Call the station and give."
"Lord? You know we don't have the money."
"Yes, you will.  Call."
"I don't understand."
He was so patient with my doubt.  "You don't have to understand.  Watch what I'll do.  Call."
I fought and I struggled with the math in my head.  We had enough for a one time gift, though.  (I mean, we keep some in the account.  We're not broke at a zero balance.  We just have to manage what is there very carefully.)  I balked and resisted.  He just held my heart and kept insisting.  I knew I had to obey.  It was hard.  But I knew I needed to.

So I dialed the number. 1-888-933-9330.
As the volunteer answered, the prompting in my heart was super strong.
I didn't give a one time gift.  I obeyed the Lord and set up $30.00 a month.  I knew we had it for about 3 months- after that I didn't know where it would come from.  But you know what??  We have been SO BLESSED.  It's been 6 months, and the money is not only there to give at the first of every month, we've had MORE than enough to cover it.  The Lord comes through in so many ways- more hours for Husband at work.  A seasonal job for me.  Our tax refund.  GOD PROVIDES!  It has been amazing!!!

What can you give?  Will you take that leap of faith and give?  They need us to stay on the air and bring not only the encouraging music, but prayer time and the message of hope and Jesus' love to a hurting world.  Please call them right now, or GIVE ONLINE.  This is so important!

Husband's job has kept him in South Carolina for 6 weeks now.  The kids and I haven't seen him for a month and a half.  This is on top of our already very serious marriage problems that need help.  February and March have been SO lonely.  I can't tell you how The JOY FM has been a constant reminder of God's presence and love.  I'm NOT alone and I am so loved!  The music on The JOY FM has kept me praising and trusting Him.  I don't know what's going to happen with Husband's job in the next while.  It's not bringing in enough to get us back on our feet in the way that needs to happen, and I am often on my knees in prayer for something to change and heal our broken family.  EVERY time I turn on The JOY FM, there is a song that addresses the very need I am struggling with.  That's not a coincidence!  That is the Lord God Almighty!

PLEASE, PLEASE give whatever you can.  Maybe you can give $30 a month like I did.  Maybe you only have $10 for a one time gift.  Whatever it is, please call them or donate online!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Irishness


I haven't posted a Video Wednesday in a while, so I thought it would be good to get the day rolling with some Riverdance!  Happy St. Patrick's Day week, everyone! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music From the Emerald Isle

In honor of St. Patrick's Day this week, here is a double feature for Music Monday!
Both performed by Celtic Woman, these fiddle tunes are sure to put an Irish Jig in your step this week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

52 Weeks of Mail: Weeks 21 and 22

I know I missed posting another 52 Weeks batch on time (again), but I didn't want to retro-post it in case it got covered over in the blog feeds and you missed seeing the awesomeness that waltzed into (and out of) my mailbox over the last fortnight.

Week 21- Incoming:
Gorgeous postcard from Tish in TX, and what is this arrived from airmail?...
AMAZING package from Rin in Australia!!!  Rin writes the blog Papered Thoughts
Red card and striped envie with awesome stamps is from Mavis in China,
long envie and blue paper is from Randi T. over at My Happy Mailbox,
and pink envie and peacock card is from Darice M. in FL (a fellow
Lettermo-er and peacock lover.)
Week 21 outgoing:  None.  Yes, I missed a week entirely.  But I kind of made up for it in Week 22...

Week 22's outgoing:
3 bird envies going out to fellow Lettermo-ers, plus my
booth fee for the Hydrangea Festival in June, and a donation
to the PVA.  They send me the prettiest return addy labels.
4 more Lettermo bird envies!  Well, the top one is a resend,
because the lovely USPS ripped the addy off of it the
first time out.  They ruin the prettiest mail art sometimes. :(

Week 22 incoming:
Only one this week, but it was a doozie that made me so happy!  Check out this peacock perfection from Rose L. (also a Lettermo-er):

She also used an encoder and wrote a quote for me to decipher!  So cool!  I'm working on a reply. :)

I hope you've been getting lots of good things in your post box!  I'm off to write more letters!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March, Mars and Music Monday

March is here.  It is the third month of the year, which means that 2012 is a quarter of the way over.  (YIPES.  I have to step up my working pace...!)  March is the third month in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and derives its name from Mars.  But not actually this Mars:

4th planet from the sun and one of planet
Earth's closest neighbors (as compared to,
say, Neptune.)
It was named for Mars, the Roman god of war.*

This dude.
But I was never much interested in Roman and Greek mythology, so it may as well be the planet Mars.  Planet Mars brings to mind a piece we played in band these 15 years ago.**  For your Music Monday entertainment, I give you the "Mars" movement from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  Turn up the volume and enjoy!

*According to bits and pieces from Wikipedia and the Internets
** It also brings to mind one of these:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Random Stuff That Happens on a Saturday...

I took Cute Gremlins #2 and #4 to Marietta Square to attend a friend's baby shower.  After we had said our goodbyes and were leaving, we walked out to find this happening in the square!  Very cool. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Gratitudes

February has come and gone!  It was a busy month, filled with good friends, letters in the mailbox, and so many blessings to be thankful for!!

  • 2.29- Cutie Pie Emily making me smile every 5 minutes!
  • 2.28- Dayquil
  • 2.27- Voting
  • 2.26- All the bills paid up
  • 2.25- Inspiration for new projects and creative goodness!
  • 2.24- Fish legs is tasty noms! :)
  • 2.23- a whole day to myself to move furniture around, get organized and clean things up
  • 2.22- Taking Gran out shopping
  • 2.21- Fun time with kids, making green slime :)
  • 2.20- Friend's surgery went well
  • 2.19- Getting GRACED by 2 wonderful friends. You two are such blessings!!!
  • 2.18- Good doctors for my Grandmama
  • 2.17- Musical Numbers
  • 2.16- Fantastic Bible Study time!
  • 2.15- Half price chocolates/Valentine's candy
  • 2.14- Friend who sent me Mr. Darcy in the mailbox and made my Valentine's Day not so horrible
  • 2.13- More letters in my mailbox
  • 2.12- Email about things relating to The Other Me that made my entire year!
  • 2.11- Heat and warm blankets as the temps drop super fast outside.
  • 2.10- Two people I love have a Birthday today!
  • 2.9- A few questions answered
  • 2.8- I found a few awesome treasures at the thrift store!
  • 2.7- Letters in my mailbox
  • 2.6- My brother-in-law, who has a birthday today
  • 2.5- Someone who came to church
  • 2.4- Strong headache medicine
  • 2.3- The freedom to make a few long term plans
  • 2.2- Pretty paper to write letters on
  • 2.1- Meeting new friends through the Lettermo challenge