Category Archives: News


20150906-mandy-hornbuckle-tattoo-IMG_8646 I started designing my tattoo about a year and a half ago. I didn’t want to make this decision emotionally. Or in the middle of the darkest grief. I wanted to make sure I wanted it. I wanted to be rational. I wanted to be sure.

When I mentioned it once, a friend of a friend replied “A tattoo is just a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.”


And the thing is, with all due respect to her, because she had good intentions, she was dead wrong.

There is nothing temporary about this feeling. There is nothing temporary about being his sister. There is nothing temporary about his being my friend. There is nothing temporary about wanting to make him proud. There is nothing temporary about his being gone. There is nothing temporary about his being a part of me.


And I went into the tattoo place on Friday, nervous but sure. I went into the tattoo place holding her handwriting. His name. A perfect combination.

He would have hated it. I know he would have. He probably would have called me a dolt.

But as much as I always wanted him to think I was cool, it’s not for him. It’s not for anybody but me.


And for me, it’s perfect.

In which life has changed

Sometimes I have so few interesting things going on that I have nothing to write.

And sometimes I have so many interesting things going on that my brain can’t register them all and I have also nothing to write.


Here’s the thing: taking a toddler you like to Disney World is WAY BETTER than not taking a toddler you like to Disney World.

Usually I’m a professional cynic at Disney world. Everything costs so much money! The stupid people are many! LEGGINGS AREN’T PANTS!

But bring the kid with me? And all of the sudden I am Julie Andrews on that mountain, arms splayed and singing loudly because THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MICKEY!

My buddy met Mickey Mouse, is what I am saying. And it was magical. Magical, I tell you!

Exhibits A-H:





If you have made it this far in the nephew gushing, congratulations! You must be quite bored and therefore have earned the next set of news that will likely not really interest you all that much unless you are my mom, in which case you already know this and are therefore wasting your time – get back to work helping the children, Mom!

So anyway, this is the definition of burying the lede, but I quit my job at the radio ministry and started a new job at a web company today. I was at the radio ministry for almost seven years, and I’m really thankful for the time I spent there and the people I worked with. I feel really at-peace with the decision, but I also felt a little homesick today when I was the new kid at the new school.

The new school is incredible, though. It’s a place that will grow me and challenge me and give me a tummy ache for all the right reasons. And they are a family too, one that will accept me (and has already!) with open arms. I believe a lot of good will come from being there. I am overwhelmed, and I haven’t really felt that for a while.* These are really impressive people, and I would very much like to impress them with something I do too.

So I’m going to go read my HTML books. And maybe, day-by-day, I will get smarter and less overwhelmed.

Or maybe I will just bake them cookies.

Everybody likes cookies.

*Not technically true; I was very overwhelmed last week when I spent a night in the hospital with Jack, who was admitted for his bulging discs in his back. HOLY PAIN, Batman. He got a steroid shot in his spine and will eventually need surgery. He is still recovering from that and I am recovering from a stomach flu that took me down all weekend and kept me from attending my first day at New Work. All of that was overwhelming too.

Seriously. I am the worst at announcing lots of news. I should have done bullet points.

On the first day of Christmas, my small dog gave to me…

A puddle in the bed, yep, pee.

Merry Christmas Eve to us.

Apparently the dog has some issues with storms and anxiety and too many people in our house and too much stimulation and INSANITY IN GENERAL.

Good thing Jack gave me regular maid service (not a-milking, as far as I know, though I support their right to a-milking, yep, even in public) for Christmas. Via an adorably homemade “gift card.”

Oh, the cute. Also? I AM SO EXCITED.

Is it okay to hug cleaning ladies when they come over? Maybe, like, a small kiss on the mouth? I just want to know the protocol before they arrive. I don’t want to make them feel awkward or anything.

In other, more beautiful news, it snowed in Texas. On Christmas. IT WAS MAGICAL.


(Also, that’s what Jack calls out every time he throws wadded-up receipts onto the floor when he’s doing the finances. It’s both adorable and enraging.)

The actual snow was a little prettier.

Our poor cleaning ladies.

(Don’t worry. I’ll make it up to them in spooning time.)

Anyway, it was not quite our first white Christmas (though our last was a little lame), but it was the first white Christmas for Jack’s pretty new friend:

So, yeah. This week we bought a truck. Jack has been saving for a while now and they had some good incentives before Christmas, so he finally got a real live big-boy truck. With a backseat and power locks and everything. Woot woot.

Jack keeps telling people that I got him a truck for Christmas. Which is hilarious, because I work for a nonprofit. That’s like, a company that doesn’t make a profit. And also, I couldn’t get them to give me the big bow so it doesn’t count.

So, it was a pretty good Christmas for all of us. You know, minus the urine on the bed thing.

Jack also got me a breadmaker so the next time you see me I’ll probably be 800 pounds.

Worth it.

And now I need a wand

“I am a genius. I have judged you and found you acceptable. Congratulations! Will you be my godmother? I’m afraid you’ll have to: 1) Let me poop on you whenever I deem it appropriate. 2) Watch Dr. Horrible with me on a loop. 3) Love me a lot. 4) Take me to a Broadway show. Say yes or I’ll be stuck with someone who doesn’t understand sarcasm.”

Because being a regular godmother just isn’t fancy enough for me.

(Got this photo request in an email from Ellyn last night, which made me feel good because, you know, she wanted me to be her kid’s godmother. But way more importantly, she edited this photo (With words! On the photo!) all on her own, without my help. You’re on your own for blog designs now, El. Clearly you’ve been holding out on me.)

(And yes, the child did already poop on me. And, for the record, he’s the second McCall to poop on me.)

Just call us Aunt Mandy and Uncle Jack!

During the week of September 5, I went on a cruise with my family.

When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and met my brother and sister-in-law at the hotel, I knew something was different about Cassandra. At dinner, she didn’t order a drink (not that she always does; I just happened to notice). She touched her belly a few times while we were walking on the beach, which I thought was odd for her. And most notably? Well, um, parts of her were… well, more noticable.

(You can read the rest over at!)