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!)

Only thing to do is jump over the moon

I’ve been keeping a secret lately. At least, from the internets. We’ve been working on something very big lately, and even as I’m writing this, I’m not allowed to actually publish it. I’m not really sure when he’ll let me. To be honest, I have a feeling he doesn’t want me to “jinx” it (not that we believe in that kind of thing).

It all started August 11. That was the day Jack had a meeting with his bosses asking whether he could purchase the taekwondo school that he manages. It was kind of an all-or-nothing kind of meeting for him. Jack had gotten to a point in his career where he just couldn’t see himself working for someone else any longer. It has been his dream to own his own taekwondo school since he was 12 years old, and that just wasn’t happening.

The first time he tried to buy it, the leasing company wasn’t on board and it fell through the week before our wedding.

The next time he tried to buy it, about a year and a half ago, his bosses said “no.” The school was making too much money and was supporting the other two schools, so they didn’t want to sell it.

The doors just kept closing on us.

But like I said before, this was it. Jack couldn’t work for somebody else any longer. He was unhappy, and uncertain about his future.

And unlike a year before when he asked, his bosses said “yes.” Not because it was making less money, but I think probably because they knew they couldn’t keep him much longer as an employee if they didn’t sell it to him. Which was true – he was ready to update his resume and move on if this didn’t work out.

We were so excited. But cautiously so. After all, we had gotten this far before. In fact, we had gotten a lot farther than this before. And there were a lot of obstacles.

We had to come up with a rather large down payment. But then a perfect financial partner showed up, interested in investing.

Then, we had to find a new location with more space and a better landlord. And we found one right across the street and got approved for that as well.

Then we had to get a loan with the business plan and school’s financial history. And the bank approved its part of it.

We will have to get the new location built out. And the new leasing company offered to pay for most of the big stuff there.

We had to get the business appraised for both the loan and the lease for as much as the asking price in order to get a big enough loan. And it came in way over the asking price.

So far, everything has fallen into place, and we have gotten farther than we ever have in our previous purchase attempts. Currently, the purchase agreement is being looked over by our lawyer and the paperwork has been filed with the SBA. We were hoping to have the school purchase completed by the end of December, though the SBA is kind of backed up, so it may be the end of January before we get the final approval.

But today, Jack signed the lease at the new place. The five-year lease which had to be signed before the SBA will actually loan us the money.


I believe this is what you call a “leap of faith.”

But it’s happening. This fabulous school, full of amazing, kind, generous, wonderful people who have become family to us, is about to be ours, God willing. And I do mean that “God willing” part. It’s very much up to Him at this point, and this entire process has been a test of our patience and faith, as I’m sure actually being small business owners [OMG] will be.

So far, for the first time, the doors have been swinging wide open for us.

Hope you have a bullet-proof vest

GET IT? BULLETS! Holy cow, I am so clever.

  • I miss blogging, but there are quite a few really great things keeping me from blogging. Like blogging, for example. I know. Ironic.

  • Glee is weak this season. Modern Family, however, is not.
  • BikeMS registration opened yesterday. I am so excited and so nervous to be leading a team of about 150 people this year. I’m concerned about sponsorships (Ps, I will shamelessly advertise for your company if you’re willing to sponsor us). And coordinating 150 riders. And countless volunteers. And training for my own ride. And not being able to clip out of my pedals in front of my team. But good news! I get to worry about that for the next 7 months! Ulcer, here I come!
  • (Ulcer or not, I’m still really excited about doing this again):
    Ahhh, spandex bike shorts. You and I are going to get to know each other again soon, aren’t we?
  • I am not a web designer. By any means. My blog design business is a glorified digital scrapbooking business and a neglected one at that (I’m sorry, clients! I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise! It’s the BikeMS registration week. It sucked up every spare moment I had, including time I usually spend sleeping.) Anyway, I have been modifying a horribly complicated (for me) template for my BikeMS team’s website and now? I’m really glad I work in broadcasting. I am much too dumb for web design. But as Jack said: “At least you’re pretty!” He also said “Well, I didn’t marry you for your brain.” (True. He married me for my spandex bike shorts. Chicka chicka padded butt. HOT.)
  • My Ahhh Scrap store opened yesterday. I can hardly believe it. A real digital scrapbooking store. I’m thrilled. I have not had a lot of time to wrap my mind around that one. It’s just sort of there for now. But I am excited.
  • My friend Eric brought a GIANT RICE KRISPIE TREAT to work today. I mean, for serious. He found it at a gas station, of all places. I could have wrapped it around my entire head. I didn’t though, since I didn’t want my coworkers eating things off my head.

    I couldn’t stop staring at it. And I really wanted somebody to pick it up and take a big bite out of it, as if they were a giant. Or, I guess, a teeny tiny person, since the ratio was actually the other way around. (The thoughts in my head are attacking me.)

  • Speaking of treats. Pumpkin spice latte? YES YES YES OH GOSH YES I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING I LOVE FALL. My mom bought me one this morning on the way to work. Which means I like her best now, obviously. (See also: my love can be purchased.)
  • Last Friday, Jack and I woke up together at 10 a.m. with our windows open. And it smelled like Fall. And the dog got on the bed and rolled around and cuddled all excited-like and we took a super-blurry picture of the three of us with my cell phone and then I made pancakes and coffee and we spent the day holding hands and walking around our favorite outdoor shopping center in the 70-degree cloudless weather with our happy little dog on a string.

    I mean, honestly, you should be dry heaving by now; we are so disgusting and adorable.

    And now this blurry picture is my phone’s background and even though it may very well be the worst photo I have ever taken, it is now one of my favorites.

     Because happiness is blurry sometimes, I guess.

The thoughts in my head

  • I seem to write blog posts in little bursts of two or three. And then there’s a long break. And then there’s another two or three. I have lost the ability to spread out my thoughts. And I’d better write them down when they happen or they’re not going to stay in my brain for much longer. So I’m going to have this automatically publish tomorrow afternoon, after you have all read my hilarious monkeys on the bed story.

    But every time I auto-publish in the middle of the day, I become concerned that my company (the one that couldn’t care less about my blog) will look at the time stamp and say “This is heresy! You have written a blog post in the middle of the work day, when you were supposed to be working!” And I will say “Nay, company, nay! I did not write this blog post in the middle of the day, for behold! The technology allows me to publish it in the future as if by magic!” And they will say “Surely this is witchcraft, woman! We shant stand for this!”

    And then they will burn me at the stake. And is it really worth being burned at the stake for a few more comments on my previous post?

    Evidently so, because I’m still going to do it.

  • I am very excited about TV premiere week. Welcome back, my DVR friend. Once again you are useful. I’ll just delete the reruns on you and we’ll start from scratch, okay?
  • The other day, I was driving across the street from the sandwich shop to my office after picking up lunch. My friend Owen was in the passenger seat, and as I waited to turn left on a arrowless green light, I glanced over at him.

    “Why aren’t you wearing your seatbelt?” I asked him, in my best stern-mom voice.

    “No, we’re not going very far,” he replied.

    “What?” I said. “No, you have to buckle up. It’s the law, you know. You’re going to get a ticket. Do you want a ticket?”

    Reluctantly, Owen grabbed his seatbelt and buckled it. I saw an opening in the oncoming traffic and pulled out, and in the middle of the intersection, I glanced up to see that the light had turned from green to red. Owen wasted no time.

    “Mandy!” he lectured ironically. “Running a red light is against the law, you know! You’re going to get a ticket. Do you want a ticket?”

    So I killed him.

  • On Monday night, Jack kicked a kid in the elbow (while sparring… he doesn’t just randomly walk around and kick kids in their elbows) and came home with a very swollen and black foot. He went to see the orthopedic doctor today and was told one of his bones was displaced. He’s not allowed to run for the next few weeks. He doesn’t seem to be terribly upset about that part.
  • I found a new game. Do a twitter search for “1 follower away from” to see the tweets (to the people who already follow them, mind you) about how they’re one follower away from a certain number and they want that one person to follow them. (Let’s go ahead and add that one to the already long list of Mandy’s pet peeves.)

    But because I’m a giver, I will be that follower! And then I will unfollow them after they notice that they made it. So congratulations, @RIPSTAH_VIP! You’ve earned yourself a temporary follower. Congratulations on 600.

  • My digital scrapbooking stores open in less than a week. I guess I should design some more stuff for that.
  • We started decorating for Fall. It’s fantastic. Warm colors suit our house so well. And the weather is becoming cooler. It’s only in the 90s now. Which I am quite sure is a direct result of my decorating for Fall. Powerful decorations, I have. Yoda, I write like. And I have darker hair now. Which probably also helps in creating the cooler weather. Yeah. It’s the hair and the decor that does it.
  • BikeMS registration opens in less than two weeks. I am captaining Team HP this year without Jimmy. In the past seven years, this team has raised about a half a million dollars. Last year, we had 150 riders. This is an impressive team. And we’ve always had an impressive captain. But our impressive captain moved to impressive Florida and now I’m going to pretend to be impressive this year in his place. Sponsorships, fundraising, jersey designs, social events, training rides… there are 7 months to do it all.

    This is concerning.

  • Today, as I was putting a lasagna into my car on the way to deliver it to somebody, I dropped it on my garage floor. I actually screamed “NOOOOOOOO!” all dramatic, like in the movies, as it was falling. But it landed right-side-up. Which is good, because it was kind of the only lasagna I had and they were expecting it and all.

    So I picked it back up. And took it back inside. And fixed it. And I still delivered it. And I kind of felt bad, since I dropped it on the floor and all. It wasn’t as pretty as it could have been. But not everything I cook is pretty anyway, I guess. Here’s to embracing the flaws in our dinners and ourselves, I guess.

    And don’t worry – I licked all the dirt off of it before I delivered it.

  • My friend Angela is coming to see me this weekend. And I’m going to see my friend Ellyn in less than a month.

    And life is good, so good with those things to look forward to.