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  • Apparently Lycopene Does Not Enhance Memory

    April 3, 2008

    You know what the worst part of getting older is? It’s not that I don’t recognize my face in the mirror in the morning. It’s not that I have to work out twice as hard just to stay even. It’s not even the chin hair. It’s going to my pantry and finding five large bottles of ketchup.


    When you find five large bottles of ketchup in your pantry that means that at least four times you’ve gone to the store only to discover you have no idea why you are there and the only thing you can think to do is buy a large bottle of ketchup. The upside to having so much ketchup in the house is the potential eBay windfall should Heinz go out of business. And the lycopene! Should ketchup suddenly become unavailable, all of our lycopene needs will be met for years to come. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to put my head on my pillow at night and not have to worry about that.


    Ironically, before I had a child, I had a great memory. Up until four years ago, I could name all the kids in my kindergarten class. I could remember all kinds of useless information like what the six flags of Texas are, the periodic table and the geologic time scale. But now that I have a kid and actually need my memory to do useful things like remember to buy stuff at the grocery store that is not ketchup, I’m tapped out.


    The other day I was on the phone with the mother of one of Sean’s classmates, setting up a play date, and I asked her what would be a good time to come over. She said 2:30. I said that sounded great and then she gave me her address. Before I had finished writing down the name of the street, I had no idea what time I was supposed to be at her house. And had to ask again.


    I think I will bring a 36-oz bottle of ketchup as a hostess gift. If I remember to go.


    1. SG says:

      You so remind me of me…but you are way funnier1 🙂

      April 3rd, 2008 at 2:02 am

    2. Jeana says:

      Hey, at least…what was I saying?

      April 3rd, 2008 at 4:03 am

    3. Jim says:

      At least they are not all the same style and size. I really like the ones that stand on their lid and are ready to squeeze. “multiple” choice……I’m sure Sean can relate to that.Also;you did remember to tell everyone, it just wasn’t on Monday. Glad your back !

      April 3rd, 2008 at 4:46 am

    4. Brigitte says:

      My husband used to admire my geeky braininess, he is now SO disappointed!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 5:28 am

    5. Damsel says:

      ROFL b/c I feel your pain… Except I did it with peanut butter. Yep. We currently have six HUGE jars of it… and that’s down from nine. NINE. Like I thought we were facing Armageddon or something. I mean, there are two adults and a three year old living in this house. NINE JARS of peanut butter is going to last for-freaking-ever.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 6:40 am

    6. nan says:

      You could have my youngest son over and he would drink up that ketchup in no time. Whatzizname again?

      April 3rd, 2008 at 6:47 am

    7. Sue Cramer says:

      Right there with you…it’s a good thing that we just have one small child to keep track of isn’t it?

      In my 20’s I left one of my kids at church and I was devastated. If I had 3 little ones now, I am sure I would need to sew their names and numbers into their clothes.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 7:05 am

    8. Sue says:

      Years to come? Just wait till Sean is a teenager. That much ketchup would last our family about two months at most!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 7:11 am

    9. Wendy says:

      I am right there with you! I was probably doing pretty well up ’til the time our grandson came to live with us (over 6 years ago). Then suddenly I was transported back to when all 4 of my kids were little & I couldn’t remember if I combed my hair!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 7:28 am

    10. Heidi says:

      As fun as it is, I’m convinced motherhood kills brain cells.
      I am thinking of opening a homeless shelter with all the excess groceries I accidentally stocked up on last time I went to Sam’s club. I do not know how we will go through 3 thirty ounce jars of grape jelly, 4 40 ounce jars of Jif peanut butter, 45 small bottles of gatorade (ok, got that one covered) and a case and a half of 100 calorie pack chips. I mean, even teenagers can only eat so much of that stuff.
      And yet, I forgot vegetable oil.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 7:50 am

    11. AB says:

      Ask me how many times I ask my 13-year old each morning if he’s brushed his teeth. Then ask me again because I will have forgotten about the first time you asked. Right there with you, sister.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 8:29 am

    12. bee says:

      We need to get together! I went to make a recipe last night and found that I was OUT OF KETCHUP. I mean, really?? Who runs out of ketchup??

      April 3rd, 2008 at 8:46 am

    13. canadacole says:

      I’m with you, singing in the forgetful mommy chorus…which I will be late for (again) becaue I forgot (again) that that was today and also forgot to do the laundry (again) so I won’t be able to find anything to wear (again). But I’m with you. Wherever it is you said we were going.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:01 am

    14. Susan J. says:

      The great sage Gigi says that afterbirth is actually brain matter. She may be onto something.
      I am not sure I have overstocked any one particular thing, but I have certainly gone to the store for something I needed and gotten 14 other things. And that would not include whatever I went there for, because I forgot that item.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:23 am

    15. Mombo says:

      But you know, ketchup has natural mellowing agents. “Ketchup, Ketchup, Ketchup.” from the Ketchup Advisory Board (KAB)

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:26 am

    16. CircusKelli says:

      Don’t worry. Sean will remind you. 😉

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:37 am

    17. Big Mama says:

      For me it’s cream of mushroom soup. I’ll trade you a bottle of ketchup for some soup.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:54 am

    18. Amy says:

      My family and I traveled to China in 2007 and I apparently left my mind there…

      Let me explain. I have a 22 year old son is is serving as a missionary in Southeast Asia – this keeps my mind preoccupied quite a bit. I have a soon to be 15 year old son that is a Freshman in high school and knows more than any other person in the world (just ask him, he will tell you!) – enough said, and in May of 2007, at 42 years old, I traveled, along with my family to China to adopt our now, almost 2 year old daughter and the joy of our lives. The best that I can figure, I left my mind in China. Oh, we are blessed beyond measure with our little princess – she fill my life with joy and exercise! I wasn’t that forgetful before I was in my 40’s with a toddler, but now, with leaving my mind in China and all, we are blessed with love, laughter, and lots and lots of ketchup!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:55 am

    19. Shalee says:

      You were doing pretty good. I had my first child at 25 and I couldn’t tell you what I had had for dinner the night before… But I’m sure it involved ketchup (and fries). That’s mostly wishful thinking on my part. I don’t really remember.

      Here’s the kicker. I go to the store with a list and I still forget to pick up some of the stuff on my list. I’m a lost cause.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 am

    20. Starnes Friend says:

      For us it’s butter. Lots and lots of butter. You always need butter…We finally kicked that and now it’s milk. Just this week we had 5 gallons of milk in our fridge. 5 GALLONS of milk. At least the ketchup (catsup) will keep.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 10:20 am

    21. Expatmum says:

      I did a Costco run the other day, came back with two flagons of ketchup (we already have about a gallon in the pantry) but nothing to eat for dinner that night!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:05 am

    22. Kim says:

      I think it is fear. The fear of running out of ketchup (or Ranch Dressing at our house) is what makes us hord and stockpile the condiments as though our life depends on it.

      What kind of horrific dinner tragedy would unfold if we attempted to feed our preschoolers without it???

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:35 am

    23. Rhen (yestheyareallmine) says:

      Our children go through ketchup like many go through candy. They put ketchup on the strangest foods and then suck the ketchup off of it. Ewwwww! #6 has not figured out the “wonderfulness” of ketchup yet but I am sure the older ones will have her addicted in no time.


      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:35 am

    24. zoom says:

      My overstocked item is pine-sol. I have a freakishly large bottle that I bought at Costco with a coupon. It has to live in the garage because it is too big to live in the house with other 4 bottles of pine-sol. It is so big that I have to hoist it up like one of those giant water bottles and then pour into smaller bottles with a funnel.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:49 am

    25. jennP says:

      i so know what you mean about a mom’s memory being shot.. i gave my memory away while i gave birth to my daughter 6 years ago.

      Actually, if I show this post to my husband… he will leave me and try to get you to marry him! That supply of ketchup would only last a month in our house…. and it’s not because of my daughter… it’s because of the hubby!!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:51 am

    26. Antique Mommy says:

      Kim, it’s not a matter of hording, it’s a matter of not remembering I already have a life-time supply of ketchup! If I were to stockpile something, it would be something useful, like chocolate.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:52 am

    27. Quirky says:

      Oh, I am in so much trouble! I can’t remember things now, and I’m not even a mommy! They’ll have to commit me if I ever have kids…I’ll be the crazy lady bathing in the park fountain because I’ve forgotten how to get home.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:57 am

    28. A&EMom says:

      Can I offer you some pickles with that?

      Today I actually thanked our pediatrician for the reminder call, because without it we would’ve arrived at this morning’s appointment tomorrow at 9:30.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:59 am

    29. Photochick (Amanda) says:

      You should use them as prizes for your super-awesome-fun-exciting contests! Either that, or your could decorate sock puppets & put them over the ketchup bottles. Then you could have a little sock puppet army!

      Oh, yeah – I’m like that with bread. “Do we have enough bread? I think I should pick up some bread” “Amanda, we have 3 LOAVES of bread – we don’t need any more!” “Are you sure? We might run out…”

      April 3rd, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    30. aggiema says:

      I believe that when you give birth to a baby, they throw out your long term memory with the placenta. Once I had my daughter my memory was shot. Actually, I think it is just that Mom’s fill up their minds with all the important stuff of being 100% responsible for their children that there is no room for anything else in their brains. Oh well, make a donation to the local food bank, they may need some ketchup!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    31. Linda says:

      I have been there myself. See but you make it hilarious!

      Now that is a great idea…to stockpile chocolate! Yum!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    32. Tracy says:

      I am SO there (as my hubby would attest). He asked me the other day why there are four boxes of Raisin Bran in the pantry when he’s the only one who eats it?? ; ) No one tells you when you become a Momma you have to surrender 100% of your memory to the job. It’s ok, though. I bet none of us would trade it for the ability to recall names, appointment times, phone numbers, or exactly what’s on the grocery list (that we forgot at home). Great post!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    33. jeanne a says:

      At least when they do the next food drive by the Post Office, the church, the scouts or whatever you won’t have to wonder what to give them! I’m sure the soup kitchens go through lots of whatever people have too much of.

      I don’t think we ever have too much of anything with 5 kids–3 teens and 2 almost teens.

      My lost memory goes for other stuff—because I’m always hearing—“I already told you________whatever.” And forgetting to stock up on a needed item.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    34. Kacey says:

      So, you’re the one who financed John Kerry’s run for president in 2004! How easily we forget.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    35. gretchen from lifenut says:

      That’s hilarious and I can definitely relate.

      I am famous for buying oatmeal at Costco when we don’t need it. I have enough Quaker Old Fashioned Oats in our basement to feed a Clydesdale. For a day, maybe, but it’s a lot for a family of 6 oatmeal haters and 2 who actually eat it.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    36. Suzanne says:

      Oh my, I can so identify. I’m sorry to report it doesn’t get any better the older the child gets. 🙁

      April 3rd, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    37. Laura says:

      Quaker Oats Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    38. Jane says:

      I had an aunt that lived to be over 80 and she could tell stories from when she was 5 years old. She would tell her stories exactly the same over and over and could remember the exact dates something happened. When I was a teenager I asked my mom why my aunt had such an amazing memory, my mom said, “her husband died when she was young and she never had children”. After she died we found sheets and sheets of paper where she had written things down such as names and dates of births of all the babies in our family, and marriage dates with the names beside it. She not only wrote that name once, but she would write it several times so she wouldn’t forget. I have kids and a living huband so I can’t remember anything anymore.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    39. Kimberly says:

      Ketchup (4 bottles), PB (7 jars), ziploc bags (five boxes in basement pantry).

      And my son is only 19 months old.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    40. faithful chick says:

      I’m with ya. At one time, I had 10 boxes of aluminum foil in my pantry.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    41. happy Mommy says:

      I think we just lose to much blood at birth that is why we just can’t remember anything!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    42. Stephanie says:

      I’ve done this before, except with salsa, apple juice and apple sauce. I also did this at the holiday sales with butter a few Christmases ago. The only solution to this problem I’ve found is to look in the pantry as I make the shopping list and then actually remember to take it to the store LOL I’m going to blame it on the kiddos. We have to remember so much stuff for them, that there isn’t room for all our regular stuff …..

      April 3rd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    43. Tom says:

      Young children erase parental brain cells faster than any sort of dietary supplement could ever hope to abate. I’ve graduated to the level where I can be in the store, look at my list, and in 250 microseconds forget what was next.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    44. Marian says:

      Recently I finally got to the next (of the several that had been standing in line) jar of Dijon mustard, and found that it was past its expiration date…

      At least I’m confident about those 2 big boxes of salt. If salt can’t preserve itself, what good is it? (hey, loosely paraphrased, that’s Biblical even)

      April 3rd, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    45. Mrs. Who says:

      I forgot to pick my daughter up at preschool one time. 12:00 rolled around, I was messing around at work, suddenly realized and dashed over there. She was the last kid there, standing with the teacher waiting for her mom. Oh, the mom guilt.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    46. Roses ArePink2 says:

      With me it’s salt. My brain vacates my head when I enter the grocery store so, if I don’t have a list, I tend to go for staples like . . . salt. I have about had to empty a whole shelf for salt and you would think the next time I encounter a box at the store, I would remember–but no. The real me and the shopper me are apparently not related!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    47. Jill says:

      I don’t know, I still vote chin hair.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    48. Kathy says:

      Oh honey. I meant to tell you. Brain fog after a hysterectomy. I have 5 bottles of mustard in my frig.

      April 3rd, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    49. Deanna says:

      Didn’t they tell you that brain cells die at an alarming rate when they cut the umbilical cord? Yup! They do!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    50. Jill says:

      Mine is hot dog relish! We don’t even have hot dogs very often ~ maybe, MAYBE once a quarter. Maybe semi-annually. (This is not to say that I don’t love a good hot dog, because I do, but apparently I REALLY love the relish!

      April 3rd, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    51. Tammy/Photography for Fun says:

      I can soooo relate!!! Come talk to me about this again though when Sean is 16, the age my daughter is now. I forgot something today and just told her “I’m crazy.” She replied, very seriosly, “Mom, you are crazy.”

      April 3rd, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    52. Becky says:

      Hmm. Now where is that recipe for ketchup soup my gran used to make…it was quite tasty as I recall…

      April 4th, 2008 at 1:47 am

    53. Everyday Mommy says:

      Oh, yes…I fear I’ve driven up the cost of ketchup with my stockpiling.

      April 4th, 2008 at 8:18 am

    54. shayne says:

      Mine is flour. Never mind that I don’t cook anything unless it comes from a box or a can…I gotta have flour! Four 5 pound bags of it and no less. Not for me…no way!

      I think we should start a 12 step program. “Hi, I’m Shayne and I can’t remember why I’m here. (sob)”

      April 4th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    55. Antique Mommy says:

      No salsa is a different story – that I stockpile on purpose. Some people stockpile antibiotics in case of a national emergency, but I’m going with salsa. If it’s made right, it will kill/cure anything that ails you and if not, at least you’ve had a decent last meal. Currently I have 4 jars of AD’s wimpy salsa and 2 jars of my “real” salsa in my pantry.

      April 4th, 2008 at 8:55 am

    56. Sarah S. says:

      We do mayo here. Except it isn’t because I keep buying it, but it generally comes free with some glorious “Meal Deal” at H-E-B, and who can pass that up?? And don’t worry — in 6 more years, Sean will be in 4th grade Texas history, and you will, once again, know what the 6 flags of Texas are (or, in my case — not a native — learn them for the first time!)

      April 4th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    57. Nancy says:

      Oh, I hear ya! I do the exact same thing and each time my son asks why I bought more ketchup. It’s never on sale when I buy it either so it’s not to save money. And we hardly ever use ketchup. Go figure.

      April 4th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    58. Betsy Bird says:

      LOVE this post!!! I do this with poppy seeds, crushed tomatoes, and garbanzo beans.

      April 4th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    59. Jammie J. says:

      Is it appropriate to admit here that I have a note in my Yahoo! notepad entitled “Words I always forget”?

      I even have the word “aphasia” in there, just in case. Let’s hope I never forget the word “forget”, because that’s the keyword I use to search for that note.

      April 5th, 2008 at 12:26 am

    60. Sally says:

      I totally understand. I can’t remember anything anymore.

      April 7th, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    61. Maureen says:

      Ha! Great post… love your writing.

      New reader, but I’ll be back for sure!

      April 7th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    62. Ruthie says:

      Why are you still buying Heinz. You should buy Hunts and quit giving Theresa more money. She is sure missing my $4.00 a month!

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    63. Ruthie says:

      Not to scare you. That blob that came out after you gave birth…they told you it was placenta…it was brain matter.

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

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