That Time That Butterflies Explained it All.

I was walking along, minding my own business, enjoying the sweltering humidity that is a June-Day-Between-Thunderstorms, when I all of a sudden found myself in a deeply philosophical place.

There was a flutter of activity, and I looked about. Butterflies. Blue butterflies. Green Butterflies. Orange Butterflies. Busily flapping about and clearly engaged in an important task.

Then I noticed that two landed on the ground near each other. I needed to get my camera ready!

Then a third!!

Oh, this was a regular butterfly convention happening. Thank goodness I was present to record the moment for posterity.

I got down on my knees and held the camera to my eye, which is when I realized what exactly they were all so excited about.

180613 Red Mountain Park IMG_0122 s

They had all landed on a nice, fresh pile of dog poo and were busily sucking away at it.

This was more than I wanted to know about the dietary habits of butterflies. About the origins of their bold colors and their graceful flying abilities. About the tastiness of dog poo.

Yet, this moment seemed to offer so much wisdom. I found myself involuntarily creating new Southern Colloquialisms – an unavoidable past-time in Alabama, because we do love a memorable saying…

For when that annoying person is really getting on your last nerve…

“Three butterflies could land on that turd and he’d still stink.”

For when your kid has had an exceptionally whiny day…

“He’s three butterflies short of a turd party.”

When there’s that perfect Mom with the perfect hair and perfect nails and perfect outfit and perfect makeup and perfect kids and perfect house…

“She may look shiny and bright, but I guarantee you she’s sitting on a pile of dung somewhere in her life.”

When you’ve had a spectacularly pleasing day…

“I’m as happy as the first butterfly to a fresh dog log.”

For that person who always seems to make the worst choices…

“She could’ve had every flower in the forest but she chose to slurp on a turd.”

 For when you’re trying to look at the bright side of a bad situation…

“They say you can’t polish a turd, but you sure can land three pretty butterflies on it.”

To remind yourself that the fifteen dollars worth of Taco Bell you’re about to eat is totally normal….

“No matter how pretty and tiny you are, sometimes you just wanna eat like crap.”

When things are going too well…

“There’s dookie somewhere under all these butterflies.”

So go forth out into the world. Bolder and more confident. Having gained the wisdom of butterflies who make poor nutritional choices.

Ten Steps to a Southern Snowfall.

The unfathomable has happened.

We The People of Alabama have gotten two measurable snowfalls in the same winter.

Ten Steps to a Southern Snowfall.

I’ve always said that I want to experience one True Northern Snowstorm, but I also believe that every one of you northerners should absolutely experience one True Southern Snowstorm.

Because Southerners react to snow with a fantastic mixture of awe and hilarity.

I already told you how it goes down if we don’t know it’s coming. But when we do know it’s coming, it’s a completely different event.

Here are the steps to a True Southern Snowstorm.

1. 72 Hours Beforehand: It looks as if there might be snow!!!! Perhaps even two snow events back to back!!!!!!! All news anchors and meteorologists bring their sleeping bags to the studio, and the Governor goes ahead and declares a State of Emergency while it’s still warm out – just in case he’s unable to get to his Easy Button when we need him.

2. Forget school for the rest of the week, as well as medical care (except emergencies), eating out (except Waffle House), and any Church or social functions. We didn’t get snow until Wednesday night, but I didn’t leave the house from Sunday to Thursday – because there was nothing to do.

3. Wait expectantly for 48 hours, kids home from school and playing outside in the mild but snowless weather.

Finally, snow starts falling, resulting in wall-to-wall news coverage, weather radios blaring out warnings, families quickly bundling into their waiting snow gear, and general ecstatic hysteria.

Snowcitement m“The snow is deep enough to leave FOOTPRINTS!!!”

4. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds immediately multiply to hundredfold of their normal rate, vomiting photos of measuring tapes and rulers in the snow (some up to the four inch mark!!), deck furniture coated in white, trees covered in snow, and children with looks of ecstasy that could only be justified by Publisher’s Clearinghouse showing up at their door.


Okay, parents too.

5. News anchors fill up their continuous coverage (sometimes even forgoing commercial breaks due to the urgent nature of their information) excitedly switching between camera views of cities throughout the state and viewer photos of snowmen, snow angels, and bikini-clad women and shirtless men* laying in the snow.

(*Bikini-Clad Women and Shirtless Men are always in separate photographs, obviously. This is The South, after all.)

6. As the snow keeps falling, the news anchors begin using statements such as,

“Look at the football field in Slap Out, Alabama! It must have an inch of snow covering it by now. That looks more like Lambeau Field in Green Bay than a High School in Alabama!”


“Can you believe these pictures? I’d think they were taken in Antarctica if I didn’t know better!”


“I think we can expect a penguin to waddle through this LiveCam shot any minute.”


“The Mayor has announced that he will put in a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics!”

4. If it happens to snow at night, you either let your children stay up late or wake them up in the middle of the night to play in it, taking photos of adorable midnight snowmen.


7. After finally making the kids go to bed, parents stay up way too late, romantically gazing at the magical white ground covering.


And then they wake up super early and drag the kids out to play in the snow before it melts.


8. Southern Snow Play includes a frenzy of activity of every type of snow activity we’ve ever seen on television. In less than one hour, we can make a snowman, have a snowball fight, sled, make snow angels, have snow cream, walk around the neighborhood, take dazzling photos of the white magic, and in general feel like our life goals have been met.




Did I mention what expert sledders we are in the south?

Yes, that sled is being pulled by an extension cord. Isn’t that normal?

9. Before lunchtime, it goes back to fifty degrees and our snow melts away, leaving barely a trace of evidence of that which shut down our entire state for nearly a week.

10. Within 48 hours, we’re back at seventy degrees.

And all we have left are the memories. And the fifteen hundred photos. And the piles of laundry. And, if we had the forethought to build in the shade, a mostly melted, dirty, sad remnant of a snowman.

But we will never forget.


So Maybe I Talk Weird.


Dictionary de Rachel

Last Saturday, I tweeted and Facebooked a passing thought about how to pronounce “pajamas”, thinking that most people would agree with me.

They did not.

And I learned something that day: more people should talk like me.

Okay maybe not. But I did decide that I should at least list out the rest of my speech idiosyncrasies for you all to mock.

Let’s start with the original issue at hand…

Pajamas should rhyme with Alabama, never llama. Unless you’re talking about Obama’s Pajamas, then it would be impossible to not make it rhyme. But then again, who has the right to discuss the president’s nightclothes? But the thing is, saying Pajama in that wrong way does something peculiar to my jaw (an unhinging?) and makes me feel like yawning. Which, I suppose, would be rather convenient…

My defense on this issue was going to be that I preferred the quirky Australian Cartoon Bananas in Pajamas significantly over the obnoxious book Llama Llama Red Pajama, but then I listened to the theme song of Bananas in Pajamas and realized that Australians pronounce pajamas and bananas to rhyme with llama.


Let’s move on.

It’s a washcloth. Never a washrag. Because who wants to wash with a rag? Then it’d become a filthy rag, and we all know what that is.

(Cloth Vs. Rag is the recurring argument that Chris and I have every time bathe the kids. Which thankfully isn’t that often.)

“Buggy” is the correct way to pronounce “shopping cart.” Because shopping cart is a total waste of breath! That’s like, an entire syllable longer than it needs to be.

It’s y’all, y’all. Not you all. Not you guys. Definitely not your all. Never Yous Guys. Why can’t everyone recognize the superior efficiency of y’all?

I don’t wear trousers, slacks, blouses, bodices, shifts, or frocks. I wear pants, shirts, and dresses.

I also don’t wear drawers or britches.

(But I might refer to Noah’s every now and then.)

Tump is a word. (Even if it does have a red squiggly line under it when typed.) Tump means “to spill or turn over, usually accidentally and often by a child,” and is an important part of the southern lexicon.

We don’t drink soda, pop, cola, or soda pop. We drink coke. Even if it’s a Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, or Ginger Ale. It’s still coke.

Chester Drawers – My Dad kept his clothes in these when I was a kid. He might have been saying “Chest of Drawers”, but down here that sounds a lot like chester drawers, so I assumed his drawers were made out of chester wood, which I now realize is not actually a thing.

I carry a purse, not a handbag.

My grandmother, however, used the term “pocketbook” and confused me endlessly as a child. I always expected her purse to look like miniature reading material.

It’s a bathroom. Not a washroom, not a restroom, not a powder room, never a water closet, and certainly not a lavatory.

(Because lavatory sounds like there are experiments going on in there. Experiments that I want to know nothing about.)

Crayon has two syllables. Although when I was little, I totally learned that crayon was a homonym with crown. In fact, I assumed for years that those bible verses about getting “Crowns in Heaven” were actually talking about a Crayola Big 64 Box.

(And the 120 Crayon Tower for Billy Graham.)

Lawyer should be pronounced like it’s spelled. Law. Yer. Never like a loiterer.

Syrup should never seer up. It rhymes with stirrups. But don’t think too long about syrup-covered stirrups.

Pecan should be pronounced puhcon. They’re not peecans, puhcans, or peecons.

Roof should rhyme with aloof. And so should poof. The Snooki pronunciation of poof is not a sound that exists naturally in the human experience.

Route should rhyme with drought. Not boot. Unless referring to Route 66, the only exception.

I go to the grocery store, not the supermarket, and definitely not the “grocer” (that sounds like grosser.)


Sometimes, I realize the errors of my pronunciation and work hard to fix them. These are words that I’ve consciously adjusted over the years:

Illinois – I used to pronounce the s, but I have since dumped it, after being mocked by an Illinoisian. (Illini? Illinian?)

Anyway – I also used to add an s here – “anyways.” That one took a while to jettison, but I don’t miss it.

Orange – This is the worst word I ever butchered. As a kid, I said “are-eeeenje.” I recall this with humility every time I have to mention that color.

Salmon – I know how to properly pronounce this fish. However, it is impossibly difficult to form the word with my mouth. But I manage to muddle through very carefully.


And finally, there are a few words that I regularly swap up my pronunciation – because what’s life without whimsy?

Either – Some days it’s eether. Others it’s eyether.

Theater – The “a” has multiple variations of long, short, and medium pronunciation.

Caramel – Sometimes I care, sometimes I car.

Caribbean – This word legitimately does have two variations depending on context, right?

(Think “Going to the Caribbean” versus “Pirates of the Caribbean.”)

Data – I usually go with the long a Data to pay proper homage to ST:TNG, but if I’m feeling especially intelligent, I’ll short my a.

Niche – I hate saying “neesh”, even though I know it’s correct. It sounds so ridiculously 90210. So I say “nitch” anytime I think I can get away with not being mocked.


Your turn – weigh in. Tell me how wrong I am.