So Very Many Words

Well, I guess we have some catching up to do.

Last week Alex was in science camp, and I had imagined that every day of camp I would drop him off, go to a coffee shop, write hundreds if not thousands of words, pick him up, cook a delicious supper with lots of fresh vegetables, visit with D, write a little bit more, then fall into a peaceful slumber for upwards of nine hours.

Unfortunately, the week was more like a comedy of errors, partially because I decided on Monday that I was never going to write anything else for the rest of my life. It’s been a year since my book came out, and I determined that was enough distance and perspective to read through some reviews. By and large people have been overwhelmingly wonderful and nice and kind, and I’ve tried to have a pretty healthy attitude about the review stuff because logically I know that the book isn’t going to appeal to everybody – that just goes with the territory. It’s a collection of essays, not a linear story, and I write like I talk, which is totally annoying to some people.

But I’d spent most of the previous weekend feeling vulnerable because of a chapter I was writing for the new book – and discombobulated because of some stuff that was going on in real life – and those emotions (combined with hormones) should never, ever scroll through reviews, whether the reviews are positive or negative or neutral.

Those emotions should also never have access to potato chips or other simple carbohydrates. Hypothetically.

Tuesday I ran Alex to camp and then stayed in my pajamas all day and napped and caught up on the DVR. I honestly don’t know when I’ve accomplished less. I finally changed out of my pajamas late that afternoon because because Alex went home from camp with a friend and they were bringing him home at 5:00 and I didn’t want them to think that I’d been in my pajamas all day. Which of course I had been. While I watched an embarrassing amount of Bravo.

Wednesday I got over myself and decided that it was time to try the whole writing thing again. I could pretend like I had some moment of steely resolve and determination, but really it was just that Hazel got spayed and was at the vet all day and I had some time and around 10 or so I opened the laptop and thought, Oh, why not.

I ended up writing about 60 or 75 words that were just super inspirational.

I trust you can detect the sarcasm.

As for Miss Hazel, she did great after her surgery even though she was groggy as all get out (wait! here’s my favorite picture!) –

– but by the time she woke up Thursday morning, she’d harnessed the energy of 15-18 small race horses. I spent most of the day trying to confine her and asking her to calm down and please don’t run and CAREFUL WITH THE JUMPING, but the only thing I could do to make her settle down was to sit on our yellow couch (it’s low, so she could climb on and off it pretty easily), let her snuggle up right beside me, and provide her with an endless supply of chew toys.

For what it’s worth: it’s almost a week later, and we’re still in the same spot. This may be our summer tradition.

Late Friday afternoon Alex and I drove to Mississippi while D stayed home with Recovering Puppy. My daddy’s side of the family was having a reunion in south Mississippi, and I’d been planning to go ever since Daddy called to tell me that my cousin Amy was driving down from Kansas City. Amy and I are about the same age and were big-time pen pals when we were teenagers, but we live so far apart that we never really get to visit. Plus, Alex went to the family reunion with Daddy last year, and he thought it was pretty much the greatest thing ever because the dessert table usually ends up looking something like this.

photo 2

So early Saturday morning we woke up and got dressed and drove from Mama and Daddy’s house to Bay Springs, Mississippi. The reunion was at City Hall, but before we got there, Daddy turned down a side road and gave Alex a tour of the area where so many of our relatives lived when Daddy was a young boy. We had a great time at the reunion, and I loved getting to catch up with Amy and her girls (not to mention my aunts and uncles on Daddy’s side, who are some of the most dry-witted, flat-out hilarious people you’d ever want to meet). Before we left Bay Springs we drove over to my great-grandmother’s old homeplace, where one of my cousins has built a replica of the property’s original shotgun house. That land is where we used to have family reunions when I was a little girl, and I’m so glad that Alex got to walk through the house and see a little bit of the land. It was a good day.

We drove back here Saturday night so that we could celebrate Father’s Day with D on Sunday, and while it was a little bit of a haul to do so much driving in 24 hours, it was totally worth it. Sunday ended up being super-relaxing, and I’ll give you one guess about where we ate lunch after church. Here’s a hint: it starts with “Ch” and rhymes with “Louie’s.”

I hope you’re still awake, by the way. This post is endless and also ramble-y. I do apologize.

Yesterday I woke up and thought, If nothing else, I will catch up on this laundry. I haven’t washed everything in the house, mind you, but I’ve washed most of the essentials and folded everything that I washed. I realize that most people accomplish this feat on a daily basis, but for me it’s so rare that last night I looked around the house and felt like the guest room bed seemed weird without a pile of clean clothes on it (and I could say the same the wingback chair in the room off of the kitchen).

In the midst of all the laundry, I managed to write a little bit and watch a big chunk of The Mindy Project, which Melanie and my friend Merritt had assured me that I would love. I hardly ever watch sitcoms anymore because, well, I don’t even know why, but I blazed through season one of The Mindy Project and have now started season two. I also got way too emotionally invested in the USA soccer match yesterday and at one point had it on two different TVs so I didn’t have to miss anything as I put away clothes.

It just occurred to me that of all the adjectives that someone might use to describe my personality, “even-keeled” probably isn’t one of them.

Today is going to be Errand Day (capital “E,” capital “D”), but it’s taking me longer than usual to get out of the house because last week I got my hair cut and asked for a lot of layers and BOY HOWDY, I got them. So now I’m a little iffy about how to style my hair, and even though my sweet stylist told me to call or stop by if I had any trouble with the styling, I think that I’m just gonna put some texturizing cream in it and pretend like I was going for the tousled look. This is my plan.

So. I think that is all. Except that I just thought of three – no, four – things that I left out.

We will save those things for another time. I think you’ve endured enough for one day.

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  1. Stephanie C says:

    The Mindy Project is wonderful! Just finished watching both seasons in the last week. You’ll love it!

  2. Anotherlisa says:

    Endured enough?! Please. I love the tone of your writing; I can imagine hearing you speak, and that is a gift! Ramble anytime. That’s why you have so many friends (readers) whom you’ve never met. Your gifts of accessibility and transparency motivate me.
    And keep cheering for our US men’s team. Brad Davis is on the bench, and from our own Houston Dynamo. Love our team’s chances. They are fearless!
    Sorry to ramble, myself. Keep using your gift and write, because you bless us!

  3. Molly F says:

    Well, let me just say a big ‘ole honkin’ “POO-EY” on all those people that would give you even a tad bit negative review because I LOVED your book!!! Probably because I write like I talk too & actually, my friend, YOU write like I talk! I loved it ever so much that I actually read OUT LOUD the chapter about your momma tootin’ to MY people at a family gathering. Every last one of us was in complete & utter tears (even the New Yorkers that were visiting. Not sure they got it all…they may have been laughing because all the southerners were laughing but that still counts)! And, let me also just say that stayin’ in your jammer-doos all day is heavenly because everybody needs a jammie day every now & again. Love you, love your people, love your writing…keep it comin’! :)

  4. We love The Mindy Project! So clever.

  5. Leigh in Houston says:

    LOVED your book!! So much so, that I bought it for my mom and my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day! I loved the humor, but even more, the lessons about family and the love of God. I have also been listening to the Big Boo Cast while I work in my yard, or sew, or fold clothes, or walk the dog, etc. I started at the beginning and finished last week. I don’t watch reality TV or college sports (I have 4 kids who all play every sport known to man. My motto is if I’m not related to anyone playing or coaching the team, I don’t care about watching it.) But I still found the podcasts to be very entertaining and hilarious. I got a few looks from people as I was laughing out loud on the walking trail! Keep writing. I can’t wait for your next book! :)

  6. Family Reunion Food is my favorite category of food. And you write about it and going to your family’s homeplace in a voice that is genuine to those of us from this corner of the world. The world needs that. So keep going! Just as you are.

  7. Dry-witted and flat-out hilarious? You left out plain-spoken. :-)
    I forgot to tell you that while I was in Memphis, Cousin A told me, “Oh, Sis, you’re not FAT! Just sort of pleasantly plump!”
    Law me…I had to laugh right along with with him. :-)

  8. Again, it was a treat to meet you on Sunday at the Ch-rhymes with Louie’s/
    I’m personally waiting for the next book, bc you do write as you speak, which is fantastic.

    Enjoy your summer, stay in those pjs!

  9. I loved your book and I love your writing. People tell me that I write like I talk, so maybe that’s why I relate to your writing so well. Even tho I’ve never heard you speak (apart from the occasional pod-cast you and Melanie put together), I feel like I can close my eyes and hear you talking, and it’s funny and soothing all at the same time. Like home.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing a great work already…being a wife and a mom and a daughter and a friend.

    Thank you so much for sharing part of your life with all of us. :)

  10. So, I had to go check what some reviews say. Girl, all those five star (almost 200) and several four star and you let those 2 one star comments get you. Isn’t that the way we always are? All those people left five star comments and are cheering you on and all you hear is the heckler sitting in the back booing. I think we do this in all areas of our life, but especially when it comes to our value as women. We don’t believe what God says we are, even though He has gone thru great lengths to tell us, show us, die for us, etc. We are real quick to believe what the Enemy tells us though. We will let the Enemy camp in our head for a long while and let it consume us.

    Sorry about that, I have this annoying thing that I do where I think of basically EVERYTHING with a God perspective.

    I read your book and I loved it. I am so excited to read your new book. Oh, and I was so excited to read the really long post today.

  11. Haters gon’ hate (says the lily white suburban mom). I loved your book. Keep those words coming!

  12. Sheryl Turner says:

    Here’s the scoop. I personally volunteer to come to your house to dog-watch (I am not an animal person….ask all the fish I’ve killed), wash clothes, clean house, etc, etc, etc. because Becca, Liza, Erin and I are kinda ready for the book to be finished because we need you and we miss you. Plus, we could all go to Chuy’s and laugh a lot and you wouldn’t have to write while you are there. The End.

  13. You, my dear, are gifted with the words and your many readers are thankful that you use your talent!

  14. Natalie says:

    You have FIVE STARS! On the Amazons!!
    You are probably the single most loved writer in the blogosphere.
    Translation: You must never stop writing. Ever.
    Thank you. That is all. :)

  15. Karen Beymer says:

    I’ll have a slice of that coconut cake please!
    Just got my hair cut today, I wasn’t even planning on it, but I saw the lady ahead of me
    With the cutest cut & I said “I’ll have one of those please”. My 7yr old grand daughter gave it a side ways thumb, not up not down, oh well. What does a 7 yr old know except Nana has to
    Always look the same.

  16. Debbie W. says:

    You never fail to make me laugh and I so wish I knew you in person. It would be a blast having you for a friend! I love that picture of Hazel. It only needs the right caption to be on one of those Hallmark cards featuring someone’s pet. Priceless:)

  17. Kristin says:

    I hadn’t even read your blog prior to the day that I picked up your book. It was about a year after my GG (grandmother) had passed away and Sophie it made me laugh and nod and tear up in so many good ways. You might as well have been the shoulder I leaned on during that time. I appreciate that you shared your love of your precious family.
    And I’m looking forward to your new book :)

  18. Ohhh, sweet Hazel. I hope she’s now pain-free and feeling better. It sounds like you’ve been having a busy and wonderful time. I never tire of your writing.

  19. Heather says:

    Speaking of hairdos…today I had to run to a friend’s Mama’s visitation at lunch. (Bless!) There was this lady in front of me as we exited the church. (Oh, and by the way…it was about 100-degrees and 100% humidity here today.) At that point, she turned back to me and said, “Whew, Gussie!” and started fanning. I realize it’s not appropriate to laugh at a funeral, but that did it! What happened next was a conversation on the merits of anti-humidity hairspray for perfectly coiffed, very red, well-teased hairdos in this kind of weather…think BIG! Aren’t you glad we’re Southern…hairdos and all?! ;) I’m sure your new ‘do is beautiful!

  20. It ain’t a southern family reunion if the dessert table isn’t as big as or bigger than the real food table ;) Can’t wait for book #2, keep on keepin’ on!

  21. Whitney S.K. says:

    I can imagine that reading those reviews is similar to reading the comments on an online news story. Please know that you and ALL OF YOUR WORDS are loved by many. However, when your writing is a work of your heart, it’s completely understandable that negative comments would cut deep.
    Keep on, keepin’ on Sophie!

  22. Tracey Knight says:

    this feels like an appropriate time to tell you that both my mother-in-law & my mother LOVED “a little salty…” that I gave them both for Mother’s Day. my MIL is “about to go through the recipes.” my mother – who before now has vowed to never read another book b/c it just couldn’t measure up to the Mitford series – told me she loved your writing so much that she just believed she would go back & read it again. your rambling is DELIGHTFUL. carry on. :)

  23. Melissa says:

    Sophie, your posts lift me up and make me laugh. I have recommended your book to many people and have loaned my copy to so many friends that now I need to buy a new copy for myself. I plan to read that book over and over. Thank you for sharing your life with us. :-)

  24. Sarah P says:

    You are a joy! Your writing blesses my heart!! Keep it up :)

  25. Opinions are like bellybuttons: Everyone has one, and some are cleaner than others!

    I like your writing! I feel like I’m reading an e-mail from a friend when I read your blog or when i read your book. :)

    And side note: I wouldn’t get anything done if I had that sweet puppy face next to me all day! ADORABLE!

  26. I love your book and the fact that your family is from JASPER COUNTY. I hope that dessert table had at least one coconut cream pie from Bayless Restaurant.

  27. I went on a getaway with some girlfriends earlier this year and I was browsing the bookstore before I left to pick up some beach reading. Truthfully, I was looking for Dan Brown’s book but alas, it was not to be found. I was determined, however, to Have A Book, and it suddenly occurred to me that “Oh, yeah, didn’t Boomama write a book?” I nabbed the very last one from my Barnes and Noble and oh my word. Am I ever so glad I did. I read it during the 14 hour car ride there. I read it on the beach. I read and finished it on the way back and then I had to turn my head toward the window so my fellow passengers wouldn’t see me cry. Had I been alone, I would have bawled. BAWLED, I tell you.

    I grew up in the church but had been having a mighty hard time with it the last few years, and hadn’t even stepped foot in a church for over two years. But reading “Salty and Sweet” (my name for your oh so precious book) and your sweet stories about your family, your faith and your friends just rekindled something in me. For a long time, I was counting on The Church or a particular doctrine or particular branch of theology to tell me how to think, how to act, how to be. I forgot all about just letting God be God and reading your book reminded me of that and reawakened a longing for the truth. So I know it can be hard sifting through other people’s negative or neutral reviews, and you are probably right that it isn’t for everyone, but I hope you know that at least in one instance, you didn’t just entertain or amuse — your words inspired and maybe even changed one little ol’ reader here. Thank you, truly, for that.

  28. I love your words and your heart.

  29. I love youre blogs and look so forward to your next book. Humor is what we all need and I love that you mix it with faith, family and having fun in life! Keep it coming