The Rest And The Relaxing

I know that I don’t write about my work – and I’m not about to start because, well, BOUNDARIES – but last week was, to put it mildly, FULL. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it was full, primarily on an emotional / spiritual / mental level. So by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I wanted to sit outside and NOT THINK and look at some trees and NOT THINK and maybe hang out with some friends and – you got it – NOT THINK.

Which is how we ended up here.

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And no kidding: a high school baseball game was the cure for (almost) every single thing that was ailing me. The little guy and a buddy threw a baseball to each other for the better part of two hours. There was plenty of time to visit with friends, to look at the trees, to breathe a little bit and soak up some end-of-the-day sunshine. We had a delightful time.

We went to Five Guys after the game, and by the time we got home, I felt like I’d been hit by a wave of BONE-WEARY TIRED that demanded I proceed straight to bed just as soon as I had my standing appointment with this stuff.

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Listen. I KNOW. It’s awful to be 109. But the fact that I have a standing appointment with the Icy Hot is indicative of the fact that I have not yet found my dream pillow. Oh, I bought a very nice pillow at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and everything about it seems like it should be perfect (side sleeper, synthetic down since I can’t do the feathers, very plush but still somewhat rigid), but when I put my head in the center of the pillow, it doesn’t give me enough support. For the first three or four days I thought that I had found a winner, but then it was Neck Discomfort 2.0. So the search continues.

Saturday morning I woke up way earlier than I expected, but that was totally fine because I got to write in my new journal.

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Isn’t that SASSY MCGEE? I got it at a bookstore here in Birmingham, but it isn’t on that store’s website. So here’s a link if you’re interested. It’s just as cute on the inside.

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(Just FYI: the paper is lined.)

(I know that some of you are probably unlined journal people.)

(Free spirits. DEVIL MAY CARE-ISH.)

I spent most of Saturday working on some book-related stuff, but I took a break around 11:30 to cook lunch for my fellas. Normally I don’t do a whole lot of cooking on Saturdays, but I had pork chops and squash that I bought earlier in the week, so I decided to fix some rice, too, and just go ahead and serve what my mama would call a big ole country dinner. So I made a squash casserole, cooked some rice, pan seared the pork chops, then put the pork chops in the oven to finish cooking. I figured I might as well make some gravy to go with the pork chops and rice, so I pulled out all my gravy-related ingredients, grabbed the pork chops out of the oven when they were done, and as I was taking the pork chops out of the skillet, I somehow forgot that I’d just taken them out of a SCALDING HOT OVEN and grabbed the skillet handle with my left hand.

Here’s my biggest understatement of 2013: ouch.

You know how sometimes you stub your toe and it takes your brain a few seconds to process that OH YES MA’AM THIS IS GOING TO SMART? That’s what happened when I grabbed the skillet. I stood still as a stone for what felt like thirty seconds, wondering WHY IN THE WORLD DID I NOT THINK THAT WAS HOT? And then I started to feel the burn, but in an entirely different way than Jane Fonda intended back in the 80s. I made some sounds to the effect that SWEET FANCY MOSES I HAVE HURT MYSELF, and D came running (okay. maybe not running. maybe more like walking really fast.) down the hall to see what he needed to do to help. By then I was holding my hand under some cold water, so he made me an ice pack and cleaned up everything that splattered when I dropped the skillet. He also made sure that I didn’t require any medical care, and then he said, “Is there anything else that you need me to do? Can I finish making lunch?”

And y’all, I don’t know what came over me, but in that moment I felt as determined as I’ve ever been in my life. I assured D that I could still take care of lunch, so I rubbed a little salve across my finger tips, put the skillet back on the stove (with my right hand, of course), and by diggity I whipped up a batch of gravy. My left hand was holding tight to that ice pack, but my right hand mixed flour with pan drippings, poured in some beef stock, adjusted the temperature, and whisked for upwards of ten minutes. I did have to ask D to twist the pepper mill for me there at the end, but other than that I made that one-armed gravy all by myself.

Honestly, I felt like I was in some sort of impromptu Southern Woman Olympics. And while I had suffered a setback with an unexpected minor burn that was all better within a few hours, I would not – I could not – let that injury get in the way of my gravy. Oh no ma’am. I have trained for way too many years.

(I was so tempted to say “gravy trained” in that last sentence.)

(Clearly I exercised remarkable restraint.)

(And I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.)

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  1. Gravy trained!!! Oh what restraint. Where do you get it? You have made my day with your tale of Southern Women Olympics.

  2. I admire the tenacity! And also that you have a DH who helped and then asked if he could help more ;-)!

  3. Oh, this is hilarious! “by diggity”- love it. When I bought a mattress recently- which entailed lying on about 50 mattresses until I was blue in the face- I landed on the one I eventually bought and lo and behold, this pillow was on the mattress at the mattress store. I told the mattress man I was going to also need the pillow with the mattress, and sadly he replied he’d love to sell it to me but could not. Apparently everyone that lays on it wants to buy it, and the mattress man said his commissions would reach new heights if only he could sell that pillow. But the mattress store wouldn’t allow it. He had no idea why but said he was working on the home office to change their minds, he’d had so many customers request it. Well, I did not stop at my local mattress man’s “no.” I used my millenial generational-ish skills and got on the Google to search and destroy. I eventually found the elusive pillow. It’s a little out of my budget currently, but I have not forgotten it because the experience of lying on it was a little bit of heaven on this earth. If you have a Denver Mattress where you live, stop in and tell them you need to try this pillow out- and you will fall in love :)

  4. Puh-lease devote at least one post to Southern Woman Olympics. PLEASE! And the gold medal goes to… the Southern woman with the biggest hair! The Southern woman with the most beautiful drawl! The Southern woman with the best pan gravy/cobbler/pork chop/butter-basted food item! The Southern woman with the most monograms! The Southern woman whose children wear the most smocking!

  5. Glenda Motes says:

    While you are waiting to win the lottery so you can buy one of those pillow…try this. I feel your pain about the neck issue and this is what works for me. Take a bath towel, fold it in half and roll it up to form a nice little neck roll. Keep messing with it and rolling it up until you get it just right for your neck. Hope this helps.

  6. Christine says:

    I am SO GLAD to hear I’m not the only woman in her early[ish) 40s who looks right at a pan I know darn good and well is hot as a rocket and grabs it with my bare hand! Like I’m some sort of culinary supper hero who scoffs at oven mitts as a sign of weakness! And my husband comes in all concerned until he realizes I’m not bleeding all over the meal, helps fix me up and teases me the whole time! Round of applause from me for completing that one-armed gravy challenge! The southern woman Olympics…hee!!

  7. I wish I could help you with the pillow thing, but alas, I cannot find another like mine. Which makes me a bit nervous for when mine finally gets old and no longer works for me. It has helped me so much with my neck and those nagging three vertebrae that were always out in my upper back. :( I’ll scour the net again, but I’m afraid I’ll still come up empty.

    As far as the pan thing, well, I feel your pain. Well, not now, but I have done a similar thing before. Me no likey when my brain kicks off for a second. I think I did the exact same thing too, grabbed a hot pan out of the oven and got it halfway to the stove before I realized I’d forgotten the hot pad. I’d committed that far so I finished however I did fling that sucker right onto the stove top. I sat for the rest of the evening with my hand in large bowl of cool water.

  8. Oh, I am sorry about the burn. BUT YOU ROCK the gravy boat, my friend! We love you!
    Holly (and Chris, who likes me to read your post aloud when I happen to see one).

  9. Icy Hot where have you been all my life??? Thank you for opening my eyes to the divine. Amy

  10. Allison says:

    I’m pretty new here…I just love this tale of kitchen heroics and spontaneous casserole and gravy training!!

    For the hubs bday last year-I decided a new pillow would help his neck/back pain/complaining (note: I had a 4week old)… So I went to BBB to get him a new pillow….$119 bucks on one pillow later, my dog got a new bed.

    All hail Icy Hot! (and the folks that market those high dollar pillows. Well played, marketeers, well played.)

    Thanks for sharing, I hope this week is a tad less full for you!

  11. Annette says:

    I guess you heard the loud OUCH from my end of the reading. Oh, how many times have I done the same thing. What I want to know is, where did you place the gold medal for winning THE SOUTHERN OLYMPICS?? Pssst , Icy Hot is a wonder for me also!! Thank you for this!!

  12. I also have grabbed a hot skillet handle bare handed and yes, OUCH!!! Many years ago someone told me that if you will put some ice or ice water on the burned area (minor burns that don’t need medical attention) for a little while and then smear some regular non-gel toothpaste on the whole thing for several minutes it will greatly reduce the pain and stinging while it heals. I’ve done it many, many times and it really does work! I’ve never been able to figure out why we feel the need to enter the Southern Woman Olympics when we’ve hurt ourselves but we sure do it.

  13. Gravy trained, yes ma’am, from a young age. That is funny stuff. LOVE the journal, I think I will use the cover idea as one of the prayer flags I am making…LOVE!

  14. I don’t think any of the comments has mentioned this. Chiropractor. Expensive? Yes. Time consuming? Yes. Worth the price of not waking up in pain every morning? Yes. Some insurance companies cover chiropractic care. I started last fall with a sound in my ear that is the same one that happens before you have to pop your ears in an airplane. That sound was my constant companion for several months. A few weeks in with the chiro and I was great. I’ve continued all winter and can now stand up straight when I wake up in the morning pain free. Call around and see if you can find one with a monthly plan instead of a fee each time you go. Makes it much cheaper those first weeks when they want you to come in several times a week.

  15. I’m with you on a high school baseball game being the cure for a LONG week. Up here in the great white north…also known as Michigan…simply being OUTSIDE is a fabulous remedy. Throw in a high school sporting event, and life doesn’t get much better!

    Your pan-grabbing story had me laughing out loud. I, alas, have done the same myself. Glad I’m not alone, but sorry for your pain. I’m sure your gravy was EXTRA amazing!! :)

  16. GRAVY TRAINED!!!!! Nothing short of brilliant.

  17. Sorry about your burn, but “Yeah” for the gravy making comeback.

    At Easter I was caramelizing sugar for a pie and decided I burned it, so I stuck my finger in it to taste it…ouch! You’d think at 41 I would have realized that wasn’t a good idea, but no.

    Hope you find your perfect pillow!

  18. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that you, Sophie, are SUPERWOMAN! And I’m loving that journal. Cause it has my name on it of course! LOL Hope you have a wonderful week…

  19. Emmelie says:

    I did the same thing last week when I thought I’d be fancy and pan sear some chicken and then transfer said pan to the oven. I took it out of the oven (475 degrees, thank you very much) and said OUT LOUD – “Em, do not touch that it will burn like the dickens” and not ten seconds later, grasped the handle. What in the world!? I, too, had to carry on and finish dinner (I was home alone). The chicken was cooked perfectly, but my hand looked medium rare. Hope yours is feeling better by now!

  20. Sallie Belle Howell says:

    Not to be-little the minor injury you suffered on Saturday, but I was out shopping with the oldest girlie on Saturday. We ran into said journal that I had briefly seen you tweet about. Oh my glory, after hours of pain staking shopping & bag carrying & arguing over said shopping items, I told her I wanted the journal. It was just my style & would inspire my words to page. She took it from my hand and placed it back on the pile saying that was not what we were doing today. Heart crushed & determined I will return for the journal of JOY of which I have named it. Hugs.

  21. Hi, Sophie,

    Oooh, sorry about the burn – just the thought of what it could have been…. So very glad it wasn’t worse!

    Anyway, I’ve been having pillow issues, too. I think I’m going to try some Icy Hot. Did want to mention, though, that on our big radio station here in STL they’ve been advertising a “wonder pillow” more or less from a website called Our friend has one and loves it. Maybe you could check that out. I need to investigate it, too.

  22. Heather says:

    Mustard is the absolute best pain reliever for burns. Yes, I know it sounds all kinds of shady, but just trust me. My brother in law used to flip burgers in high school and he said that was the secret ingredient for the inevitable burns. I was just as skeptical as you are. He was right. I was wrong.

  23. I am laughing – not at your burn – but at your telling of the tale! When I burn myself (just like you described), my daughter says, “Mommy, that’s just like when I was 2 and you told me not to touch the pan and I did it anyway”. The apple falling in reverse! Hope you are healing quickly!

    The pillow: After pain that I was sure was the “c” word, my doctor told me to get a wedge & a new pillow. No more pain! The pillow is from “Relax the Back” & is called a PureContour Dual Pillow and comes in 3 handy dandy heights. Mother’s Day is right around the corner, ya know!

  24. Sophie, what is this magic salve you if which you speak? I have done this same thing on many occasions and it does not feel better in a few hours. Maybe I am just a big baby! Impressive southern Olympics! I’m so sorry you burned yourself! Nothing worse (well yes there is, but at the time it doesn’t feel like it).

  25. Southern Woman Olympics! I laughed so hard at that. It could be a whole chapter in your next book. Just thinking of all the possible events makes me smile. Fastest Meal Delivered to Family in Need, First Dish Wiped Clean at the Potluck, Most Hearts Blessed…

  26. Michelle Vance says:

    Please let me know when you find that pillow that beats all pillows. My husband is manly man but when it comes to his pillow, he acts like a little girl. I have probably spent hundreds on pillows forhim…makes me crazy!!! Right now we are day 6 of one I found at TJMaxx by Smith and Foster (isn’t that the dog company, so I could be wrong). He is 87% satifisfied so far…

  27. So you like Icy Hot huh? I have this hip/upper side pain that I can’t get rid of. I saw on How I Met Your Mother that Marshall had dancer’s hip and I diagnosed myself with that. Although I looked it up and most people get it from doing a repetitive motion like exercise and that made me laugh because that is NOT my problem. So anyway, maybe I’ll get some Icy Hot for my hip. Okay, this concludes my 85 year old old lady post. Thanks Sophie!

  28. Cari Hudkins says:

    I am coming out of lurking to share my pillow joy. You make me smile with every post, and I can’t wait to read the book!

    My chiropractor suggested I try a buck wheat pillow two years ago. It took a bit over a week to get used to it, but I’m hooked. Getting the standard pillow is fine. You would probably have to pour some out when you get it as they come over stuffed. You make an indention for your head, and your neck, etc are all supported. I poured my extra into a travel sized pillow protector and use it as my travel pillow.

    This is the site where I ordered mine.

  29. Temperpedic…feels hard as a rock…but really soft to sleep on and does not sink in

  30. Margaret says:

    Buy some foam pieces, you can get them by the bag and a king size pillowcase. Stuff the pillowcase with the fian, pin it so the foam won’t get loose,( believe me, it goes everywhere) adjust as necessary and then sew the pillowcase closed. My pillow has a bunch of foam and my husband is barely full. We take them everywhere we travel.

  31. You would had so won Chopped with that gravy. Iron Chef America…here you come!

  32. Erika Rasmussen says:

    Side Sleeper Pro

    It’s $26 and it’s a life-changer. My sister and I both swear by it. And 2 girls from NC wouldn’t lead you astray.

  33. I recently found myself on a pillow-quest as well…the “okay” one I was using went flat seemingly overnight and I began experiencing neck pain. In two weeks I’ve purchased 3 pillows, and still not completely satisfied. The fancy gel one from local wholesaler feels wonderful but is just too tall (still think maybe I can sit on it for a week to de-plump it); the contour foam (also from the same wholesaler) is too hard; the feather one I borrowed from my guest room is too “crunchy”; the traditional cheap fiberfill one from same guest room is not “bendable” enough; hoping that the one I ordered from Hampton Inn — always seems to sleep so well at their hotels and love the pillows — arrived yesterday and seemed to do pretty good overall. Not sure if it’s not too squishy, but the half feathers/down and half synthetic seem to be a pretty good mix. My husband said it feels like he’s living with Goldilocks! Good luck to you, so glad I read the post and comments…I’ll have other resources in case this one doesn’t work out!

  34. you just reminded me that I need a new pillow!

    and I do the same thing with pans in the oven. The cooking industry needs to come up with quick-cool handles! ;) LOL