Why We Usually Run Out of Ketchup

English: A bottle of Heinz ketchup

English: A bottle of Heinz ketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s just not on my radar.

I live in a house of ketchup eaters.  Of which I am not one.  At all.

I grew up with them too.  Sister loved ketchup so much she would eat it on everything from eggs to the Friday night fishsticks.  (We didn’t have them every Friday, but when we did have them it was usually a Friday.)  I don’t remember how old I was when I turned away from ketchup, but I do remember why.

Ketchup is red.  (Well except for that weird phase they went through about ten or twelve years ago where they marketed purple and green ketchups, yeah, RED.)

Blood is red.

In my very young mind, I could not comprehend that vessels contained the blood in our body.  I figured that it was all just in there hanging out together.  I also didn’t understand that our food wasn’t in there free floating.  Put it all together and I decided not to eat ketchup because how on earth would the doctors distinguish the blood from the ketchup if I got sick?

Ummm okay, did I mention that I was very young?

That same youth and lack of comprehension about how the world worked was what made me afraid when I realized we were not inside the dome of the earth–that we were actually standing on the outside of the planet and the only thing holding us in place was something called “gravity.”  All of a sudden I felt so small and vulnerable.  And very hopeful that gravity would never stop working.

Fear is an interesting interpreter isn’t it?  Fear that comes from not knowing, not understanding.  It filters everything through the unknown and comes out on the other end creating stress and worry and exhaustion.  And strange habits.

Like not eating ketchup.

Oh sure I’ve eaten it since then.  And occasionally I find it tasty.  But mostly I don’t care for it, and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t because a tiny bit of that worry from when I was small still lingers.  Not rational, but maybe.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of our Princess sniffling.  I’m afraid she’s gone from allergy symptoms to a full-blown cold.  (Can I say how unfond I am of ragweed?)  It was then that I noticed that my bedroom door was only opened about six inches.  Hmmmmm, I thought, that was odd.  My bathroom door was near about closed. Even odder.  I went to check on Princess, found her awake, and asked her if she had pushed the doors to.  Waiting for her answer, I was thinking, “Please say yes.  Please say yes.”  But instead she answered in her sleepy voice, “No.”

Oh boy.

I spent the next hour, in the darkness, fighting fear with common sense.  I knew that no one had broken in, but the darkness and the unknown kept pushing the common sense and what I did know back against a wall.

Fear.  It’s why I Iose sleep some nights.  It’s why I often don’t try new things and why I avoid old ones.  And once upon a time, it was why I stayed indoors and tried not to go outside very much at all.  Fear is why I avoid my front porch when Aragog’s successor’s web is visible, and it’s why I panic when our Princess starts getting sick.  Fear, it is the impediment to living life fully.

I have spent many years working on the fears that come along irrationally.  And not all fears are.  (To paraphrase my Mama, “Sometimes if you aren’t fearful, you don’t understand the situation.”)  It’s the irrational ones that I want to eke out into extinction.  When even my plans and dreams get filtered through the lens of fear, it is time to do something.

I love this story.  It is endearing and eye-opening and heartbreaking all at the same time.  And joyful--there's joy in there too.

I love this story. It is endearing and eye-opening and heartbreaking all at the same time. And joyful–there’s joy in there too.

I’m reading a book recommended by my friend and wonderful writer, Karen Spears Zacharias–“Whistling By the Graveyard” by Susan Crandall.  The main character, nine-year old Starla, tells it like this: “Whistling past the graveyard.  That’s what Daddy called it when you did something to keep your mind off your most worstest fear.”

Whistling past the graveyard.  Yes.  I know what that feels like.  Only usually for me it’s a way of breathing.  Or whispering the same words over and over to bring me peace and comfort when I’m most afraid.  Or it’s picking up the phone and calling……Sister, Mess Cat, Bubba, my Aunt, a friend, someone I love and trust.  Just to keep me distracted long enough to get over the wave of fear and worry that can come without a moment’s notice.

It’s time I start whistling more and worrying less.  Let go of those fears that cripple me and my ability to take the next step in whatever it is.


I love this quote by John Wayne.  Yessir.  That’s what it is.  And I’m thinking after all the times I’ve given in to the fear in my life, it’s time that I learn to saddle up.  There is not right or wrong in the trying; it’s just important that I do it.

So in addition to finishing the book I am reading, I need to learn to saddle up regardless.  It might be scary and it might be way out of my comfort zone, but that’s what true courage looks like.  In the face of fear, not in its absence.

Oh yeah, and one more thing for that to-do list.   Add ketchup to my shopping list.  I think we might just be out.  And tomorrow is very likely going to be fish stick Saturday, and goodness knows these folks can eat some ketchup.  I might even have some myself.

Anxiety Girl and the Hemp Seed Yogurt

Y'all remember my superhero?  I mentioned her here.

Y’all remember my superhero?  Anxiety Girl by artist Natalie Dee www.nataliedee.com

I got an e-mail in the past couple of weeks warning of the contents in Chobani Greek Yogurt.  This triggered my superhero within, Anxiety Girl, whom I’ve introduced to you before. Her superpower is quite accurate—”Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound.”


The problem is my children LOVE Chobani Greek Yogurt.  We only buy it when it is on sale.  When it is, we stock up.  They are great for snacks or with a meal.  And yummy.  (No, not getting reimbursed here—just wanting you to know how much this e-mail stressed me out.)  I’m a label reader from way back.  I have to be.  I have a child with severe food allergies.  It is my job to be vigilant.

So this e-mail suggested that the folks addressed in it should cease and desist from eating Chobani as it contained hemp seeds, which could trigger a positive result on a drug test.

Say what?

Now I know about hemp and marijuana—same species, different set of dogs.  But to think that I might possibly have been feeding this to my children?  Without realizing it?  No. Way.

I found myself doubting me.  And my abilities to feed my children.  I panicked.  I HAVE to be a good label reader. There is no other option. My child’s life depends on it.  Wouldn’t I have seen that?  Wouldn’t they have to label it properly?  I hoped for a snopes.com story about this rumor but no.  So I did what has come naturally in recent years.  I looked it up on the internet.

My friends and I were talking about this yogurt yesterday--and then I found it in our local grocery store right after that.  Yes, the "hemp seed" yogurt has made it to middle Georgia!

My friends and I were talking about this yogurt yesterday–and right after that I found it in our local grocery store. Yes, the “hemp seed” yogurt has made it to middle Georgia!

It was on the Chobani website itself that I found the story about their new flip style yogurt being released.  These are square-shaped containers that have yogurt on one side and granola or fruit or hemp and chia seeds on the other.  You literally flip them over into the yogurt, stir, and enjoy.  One of the new ones is called “Blueberry Power” with chia and yes, you got it, hemp seeds ready to be mixed in.

Relief.  I can laugh about it.  Now.

No surprise ingredients--I had been reading it correctly. Thanks for that scare, Anxiety Girl!

No surprise ingredients–I had been reading it correctly. Thanks for that scare, Anxiety Girl!

Just to be sure, I re-read  for probably the 100th time the label on the Chobani we had at home.  (OCD much?)  We were okay.

That’s good.  Because I don’t know if my family could handle me if I didn’t get to have my little cup of Chobani Bites Coffee Yogurt with Dark Chocolate Chips.  Every day.  (but who’s counting?)

Anxiety Girl shows up at the oddest times.   Sometimes I hear a noise I’m not sure about, and I will be fine.  Then I’ll hear the story about the international young people going around selling books and trying to get in people’s houses for nefarious reasons, and I’m all about not unlocking the door for anyone.  There’s not really a rhyme or reason to what my anxiety locks in on and obsesses over–it just happens.  I can worry over something one day and then the next day it’s on to something else.

Ours is a society that feeds on anxiety, isn’t it?  Some people seem to love fear mongering.  The news folks like to share these stories that have us all convinced the next “bad thing” is going to walk right in our front door and settle in for a good long time.  And hog the remote.  Nothing you can do but prepare the guest room and sit and wait.  Which isn’t stressful at all. *sigh* The anticipating all the bad than can happen–seriously, that’s really exhausting.  Some call it hypervigilance, I just call it survival–it’s how I roll.

This way of thinking, this pattern of worrying over that which hasn’t happened yet and might not ever–it’s something I have got to break.  It’s a struggle.  I have my good days and I have my bad.  I have tried to pinpoint triggers, and I think I’ve found a couple.  1.  Sleep.  When I don’t get enough sleep, it’s easier to be irrational in my fears.  2.  Change.  When life delivers a big old bowl of change or loss or disruption to what might look like normal, I get all discombobulated and the stress is there to make sure things stay that way.  It’s hard to fight the waves of panic and be rational when things are uncertain and hard to deal with anyway.

I saw this quote the other day.  I smiled, but the truth in it resonated with me and has hung around in my head for days.

picture courtesy of GypsyNester.com

picture courtesy of GypsyNester.com

I do love my rocking chairs.  Inside, outside, in between.  But to give the time I could be sitting, rocking, and listening over to stress, worry, and anxiety?  I’d rather not.  I’d prefer to sit and rock and listen to the sounds of the hummingbirds zipping around (sounds just like the light sabers in Star Wars–sorry we’re a little obsessed over here–still), or the delighted squeals of the littles as they catch another frog or “Hoppin’ Joe.”  Just sit and soak in life rather than let it be chipped away and cracked by the anxiety and worry of what might could happen.

But please hear me say this.  There are some forms of anxiety and panic that are NOT a case of mind over matter or changing patterns of thinking.  There are legitimate chemical imbalances that can cause these attacks which require professional treatment and possibly medication.  And I’m one who believes in therapy.  With a good therapist.  Please don’t let anyone make you feel like you are weak or a failure if you can’t fight it alone.  It’s okay to ask for and seek help. *steps off soapbox* Thanks.

In the end I think the yogurt e-mail was a result of someone else jumping to conclusions.  Rather than realize that it was just this one yogurt, they were all prepared to not have any.  I think anxiety can cause us to do that–we miss out on so much because of one fear or past experience.  Instead, if we can and will do our research and not automatically jump to those worst case scenarios, we will begin to live and enjoy life a little more.  And hopefully one day a lot more.

After all, Anxiety Girl’s a cutie, but she’s a real drag to have around.


***In researching tonight I found out that Chobani will be removing the hemp seeds from their Blueberry Power in the future.  So if you’re wanting to try it, you need to put it on your list and head on out to your grocery store.  Let me know how you like it.

Also if you are interested, my friend Baddest Mother Ever and some new blogger friends are linking up to share responses to the question, “What’s a Challenge You Are Facing?”  If you are interested in reading more takes on this question, please visit Flotsam of the Mind and find other links at the bottom of her post.  Thanks!