How I (sorta) tried to save a butterfly, but didn’t

Diana Fritillary butterfly
Diana Fritillary butterfly

Imagine our surprise last week when we wheeled into the driveway and piled out of the car for the after-school dash. Backpacks, check. Water bottles, check. Morning warm milk cups, not stinky yet – score! Shoes, socks, purse, check. Phone, check. Piggy and Bunny, check. Things 1 and 2, check and check.

Run, run, run! Only have about 45 minutes to get it all inside, put it away, change Baby Girl for dance, refill her water bottle and pack car snacks.

“Whoa, Mom! Mom! Mommmmm!”

“What? Don’t drop my phone, why have you stopped? Come on, Son!”

“But look!”

“Look at what? We don’t have time … .”

And there it was.

This huge, beautiful black and blue butterfly, trapped on the ground somehow. It couldn’t fly, only sadly flap its little wings in a desperate attempt at lift-off.

Little Son was instantly moved to nurture it. And by nurture it, I mean pick it up very gently and thrust it to me for closer inspection. But I don’t do bugs. Even the pretty ones. Yes, it was beautiful, but when it touched me with its long fuzzythick black feet I nearly wretched. Holy cow, that was AWFUL.

I stifled a scream and fought the rising bile.

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Graduation Speech

(From teacher Mary Stotts’ graduation speech tor her pre-k class in May 2014.)


This a great day!  The end of one great adventure and the beginning of another, a 13-year adventure which seems like a long time, but will be very short.  It will seem like only a few days and you will turn around and it will be time for high school graduation.

I have just two pieces of advice: One, as our beginning song says: “Let Them Be Little.”  They will grow up enough, learning will come as they grow.  Don’t get caught up in the comparison and competition of the parenting game.  Let your child be who they are and just be a kid.

Two:  The most important lessons you can teach your children are lessons of character. Continue reading

THANK YOU teachers!

Mrs. Rendi and Mrs. Mary with Bodacious.
Mrs. Rendi and Mrs. Mary with Bodacious.

It’s that time of year again. My Pinterest feed is overflowing with suggestions for classroom decorating tips, reading readiness exercises, cute and comfortable workday outfit ideas, low carb lunch suggestions, and easy ponytail and bun tricks for busy morning hair. That’s right – it’s time for my teacher friends to head back into the classroom!

Dear friends and to the thousands of you in the trenches: please let me be the first one to say thank you! Thank you! Thank you SO much! I do not know what I would do without you!

I lack the patience and the smarts to homeschool, so I really need you. In a big way. And there are other reasons I could never be a teacher. I like kids, but I don’t like big groups of kids. Especially kids I don’t know. They’re always needy. And sticky. And snotty. Seriously. Why are all kids snotty?

So I think it is amazing that there are people who actually want to teach children, especially children that they have no familial interest in.

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Like father, like daughter

I am my father’s daughter.

No statement could make me more proud. I adored him, and he was my favorite person in the whole world. My life was shattered when he died and I haven’t quite been the same since. That was 19 years ago, more than half of my life.

My dad
My dad, Tim, and I, relaxing poolside. As most great salesmen do, he loved to play golf , and his favorite cookies were Oreos.

As I get older, I realize that he left little pieces of himself behind. Lots of little pieces. In me. In my children. My son Little A has my dad’s amazing crystal blue eyes. I have the same desire to constantly hug my children and tell them I love them. This habit of my dad’s used to drive me insane, but now I would give anything for one more bear hug. His absence makes me want to grab my children and never let them go. I want them to know how much I love them – always. It is my mission to make them understand.

My dad was also a really funny guy. He was caring and loving, but super funny. He was the dad who would walk into my bathroom as I was curling my bangs (yes, I just said curling my bangs) and say casually, “Did you know that xx% of ninth-graders are sexually active?” and then stare at me dramatically to see my reaction. He wasn’t going to let me get away with anything and I knew it. This is probably why I was too terrified to kiss a boy until I was 15. Continue reading

Old lady shorts, cords and undies

My sporty knit shorts from
My sporty knit shorts from

When the Hubs and I got married, we went to London and Ireland for our honeymoon. We packed light. I brought a skirt, some shorts, t-shirts, a bunch of impractical shoes and two pairs of pants, one of which was a faboosh pair of hot pink knit capris. I loved those pants. They were so soft and comfortable. So comfy in fact, that they doubled as pajama pants. Pretty smart packing, huh? But the Hubs HATED them, and he literally groaned every time I wore them out and about. I was finally hounded into trashing them.

I have some tactile issues and prefer to be comfortable over fashionable. I don’t know what it is, but ever since I was a kid, I have hated certain clothes. Specifically, clothes with big “cords” or big seams inside. The year my mother forced me to wear a velvet, long-sleeved shirt for school pictures is still stuck in my head. I was miserable. One, the flip side of velvet just feels wrong. And the cords in those sleeves were monstrous, making my skin crawl every time I moved. Mine was red. My brother in a matching velvet shirt of blue. What can I say, it was the ’70’s.

I also hate denim. Just the word – “denummmmm.” Yuk. Talk about cords! And the way the waistband of jeans feels against my skin, chafe chafe chafe. So I embrace it every few years or so when leggings, jeggings and even stirrup pants roll around!

Plastic headbands or the elastic ring ones for workouts? Impossible to wear! They make my head throb. Bathing suits with foam cups, panty hose and shiny underwear – creepy and cannot do it. No way, no how. And this will be way more than you want to know about me, but I wear my underwear inside out, so the cords are on the outside. My friends make serious fun of me, and keep telling me thong panties would solve all my problems. I don’t think they understand my issue with seams – how could a piece of elastic or string there be less … offensive? Continue reading

Letter to my 18-Year-Old Self from my 37-Year-Old Self

Dear Self,

Cherub tattoo image via
Cherub tattoo image via

First of all, don’t get that tattoo. Just don’t. Right now your stomach is all cute and flat. But you’ll have babies … big, beautiful 9 pound babies. That cute little cherub angel tattoo on your bikini line will get big … REAL big. Like basketball-sized big. Nobody tells you this when you’re 18 and you’re certainly not thinking this far ahead. There will be a stretch mark through the wing. It’s not cute. Truly. Having babies will wreck your tattoo. It now looks like a drunken troll. You will pay a lot of money to get it removed.

You’re about to start that process. Don’t do it. I beg you.

You will kiss a lot of frogs. More than you really want to know. I’m sorry about this. You will date some real asses. You will get cheated on. You will learn hard lessons. This will make it easier to identify Mr. Right when he comes along. You don’t meet him until you’re 26. Again, sorry. You’re kind of an idiot when it comes to choosing men. I blame losing your dad at 18 and the “daddy issues” that loss produced. I also blame spending many of your Continue reading

With a spoon: The Fire Extinguisher Grill

Here is one of the uniform options we considered for the master chefs. We ultimately chose the yellow turnout pants with red suspenders.
Here is one of the uniform options we considered for the master chefs. We ultimately chose the yellow turnout pants with red suspenders. HOT, right?

My home town of Midland, Texas, is getting in on the trend of breastaraunts! So, I am currently seeking investors for a new restaurant venture there, The Fire Extinguisher Bar & Grill. The motto will be, “If you can take the heat, it’s time to get into our kitchen!”

Not to be undone, I mean outdone by other themed restaurants, this unique spot will also embrace a concept. Our theme is HEAT, literally, with a special focus on public servants and fire safety.

Many of fire fighters, EMT’s and police personnel must work two jobs to afford living in the Permian Basin. As Midland’s newest restaurant, The Fire Extinguisher will give these able-bodied men a chance to have a fulfilling and fun way to earn that second income. The flexible hours and exciting atmosphere will also attract many young, tender-hearted – but hard-bodied — and impressionable college students. Imagine your sons, brothers and young hottie dad friends working in such a cool, action-packed hangout! Getting paid to have so much fun? Well, you can hardly even call this work people!

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

I am looking for fun people to fill positions.  I will focus on enthusiasm, personal appearance, grooming and personality. Personality is essential to The Fire Extinguisher. Because it takes a certain kind of errr… personality … to wear one of the uniforms!

The Fire Extinguisher embraces the personal chef experience, because I know patrons are looking for that one-on-one contact. Diners will be seated around a number of individual grilling stations, or “Hot Spots,” in the Grill’s lingo. Our master chefs will prepare succulent steaks, moist chicken and tender grilled organic local veggies cooked to order. Special attention has been paid to the chef uniforms for maximum interaction and fire protection. All chefs will wear traditional fire helmets, yellow “turnout” pants with red trim, and the Hellfire Lug Boot in black, yellow and white. Safety on wet and slick kitchen floors is paramount, and these boots take safety to a new level! To tie the ensemble together, our chefs will wear bright red suspenders in support of their turnout pants. Not only does the color red signal “safety” and that something is HOT, the vibrant color will really make their bare midriffs snap, crackle and pop!

Fire Me Up brief by Candyman
Fire Me Up brief by Candyman

Each Hot Spot also has a server to assist the chef with orders and drinks. In keeping with the fire safety theme, server costumes are flame retardant briefs. With flames. And the Hellfire boots, of course.

There are plenty of positions for HOT women as well. If you know a woman who has excellent people skills, understands inventory, money, and the rules of supply and demand, there are several key management positions open now!

One of the things I am most proud of is The Fire Extinguisher menu – this is NOT just another wiener joint or beef cake bakery. We have polled extensively and conducted tons of market research and know our customers want prime beef, rich desserts and top quality drinks! It’s not just about the costumes here. Our appetizer menu is extensive and includes tapas, philo dough wrapped brie with fig compote, fried goat cheese with sautéed Pecos onions and local honey, a decadent white queso, and a luxurious fruit and hard cheese platter.

Entrees will include steaks topped with blue cheese, grilled lobster and salmon and of course, chicken. Desserts are also sizzling at The Fire Extinguisher – our servers have mastered the art of flambés and caramelized crème Brule. Our Brown Sugar Bourbon ice cream is handcrafted with Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon and the most authentic tiramisu in all of West Texas rounds out the sweetest fare. Plus my personal favorite, chocolate icing cups.

Careful attention is also paid to the drinks at The Fire Extinguisher. Only premium spirits, wines and champagnes will grace our delicate stems. Enjoy pomegranate margaritas, Bad Boy Martinis (they’re extra dirty), Veuve Cliquot Demi-Sec White Label NV, Moët Grand Vintage 2004, and a hand-picked selection of the world’s finest craft beers, including Nebraska Brewing Company’s full-bodied Belgian-style golden ale – it’s aged in barrels used to make Chardonnay.  It truly is delicious.

And like all of the best restaurants, The Fire Extinguisher has a premium Bose sound system installed by experts from Los Angeles, and 35 of the best and brightest hi-def big screen televisions you have ever seen. They will air non-stop sports and games, including figure skating, football, ballets with Mikhail Baryshnikov, male body building competitions and UFC cage fighting.

Chocolate frosting shots are on the desert menu a The Fire Extinguisher Grill!
Chocolate frosting shots are on the desert menu a The Fire Extinguisher Grill!

This will be a one-of-a-kind eating experience! Especially for the women of Midland – where else can you eat chicken, drink champers and watch ballet on the big screen? We’ll even have a regular Mother’s Day Out special that begins at 4 p.m. If you’re looking for a spot to meet some really cool new people or have a girls night out, The Fire Extinguisher is the place for you.

And guys, this will be your favorite spot too! The Fire Extinguisher Grill will satiate your inner caveman’s need to protect AND eat a whole lotta meat! Where else can your children, brothers and sisters work in such a safe and exciting environment? Our HOTTIES will discover their full potential in this fun environment of respect and empowerment! All this while they serve you the best steak in town!

So, if you are interested on getting in on the ground floor of my latest investment opportunity, just let me know!

3 sizes too small? Mack Daddy gets a triple bypass

photo(1)Editor’s note: Mack Daddy is off the oxygen and has been moved to a private room! They have a sitter with him during the night. They’re afraid he will get up on his own!

So I started to write about patience and children. I have a sweet friend struggling with teaching her 2-year-old to wait a gosh-darned minute, but instead, my thoughts keep turning to patients. One patient in particular.

Houston, We’ve Had a Problem

I learned Monday that my dad’s bazillionth stent procedure was now escalating into a shave him down like a newborn and crack him open like a walnut triple bypass surgery.

He suffered some pretty traumatic injuries to his heart due to the kickback of constant machine gun fire during Vietnam. All these years later, about half of his heart muscle no longer works. And we learned this week that three of his major arteries are shot, and the rest are blocked between 60 and 80 percent. So a specialist in Houston will harvest three veins from his legs and chest, then clean out and stent the rest.

“The doctor said he will have me feeling like a million bucks!” Mack Daddy was in high spirits that night on the phone, seemingly unconcerned. I squeaked out a complete, “I love you, Pops.”

“I love you, too, Melanie. I would love you more if you brought me a steak though.”

I Came in Peace

After his last “cardiac event” a few years ago, we went fishing. I didn’t want to fish, I wanted to talk. He didn’t want to talk, he wanted to fish.

“I have lived more than most men ever get to. I’ve done every thing I ever wanted to and then some. Every day I’m alive is gravy. Don’t worry, let’s fish!”

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