Mind Over Matter


I have a new table decoration. Every morning I cover my countertop with my supplements (and prescriptions). The multivitamin is gray. The fish oil is clear yellow. The turmeric is dark orange. The tri plex is white. The baby aspirin is a tiny pale yellow.  Then I get the treat of my chewable calcium in caramel. Yum.  Oh! And my probiotic is also white but it is next to my cereal bowl.

I’m supposed to drink more water and I get my first dink every day when I take my pills.

Do you have a line up like this? The whole process began slowly enough about 20 years ago when I was past menopause and I started with Centran. Then, of course, I read things about all the other things that help prevent colds, improve memory, and stop heart attacks. Well, you get the drift. You read that stuff too.

The whole regimen ramped up when I started getting arthritic pain in my hip and knee. I’d tried things before that didn’t work. Thing is, I didn’t take enough. Now I line those puppies up and swallow the lot.

It takes longer for these things to kick in now than it did before.  After two months of 4 pills a day my hip improved (no pain at night). After 6 weeks my knee improved (less pain climbing stairs).  But then again. Are they working because I WANT them to work? Is it the pills or is it mind over matter? After all, there are no controlled research studies on supplements. No one has enough money to pay for them.

Some people our age say they feel like they are 40. Well, when you have 9 pills staring at you first thing every day you have a tangible reminder that you are not that young and supple any more.

I was at a yoga class yesterday (trying to get the “matter” stronger). Several times we were coached to sit in a comfortable position and “let your knees touch the floor.” Who is she kidding? My knees are up in my armpits! My hip abductors are so tight I can’t get anywhere near the floor. My comfortable position is legs straight out.  Of course, I am surrounded with people my age who have been practicing yoga for decades. They can not only get their knees to the floor but wrap them around their necks.  But, to be fair, there are some people almost as hopeless as I am. Our instructor was showing us the 3 warrior poses. The man in front of me kinda rolled over on his back and giggled. I told the class that this was the “dead warrior pose.”

I loved that man at that moment.

Oh well, maybe all this aging stuff has kept me from writing the last few weeks. Maybe my mind is too full of minerals and herbs to be creative and funny. Maybe I have no time after shopping for all this stuff.

Or maybe I’m just too lazy after getting myself peeled off the floor from yoga.



The days of Secret Santas and giving every relative a Christmas gift are long gone. I’ve pared down my shopping to my son, one name on our family gift exchange, and a great grand niece who is two. Even Dave and I have given up on each other and gift each other a winter away in warmer climates.

This year I was lucky enough to draw Libby Archinal, my grand niece, as the recipient of my Hite Christmas gift. Libby is nearing the time of becoming a practicing family doctor. She now needs lots of career clothes that aren’t purchased for going to class and getting down on the floor with her daughter. Her heart goes to loose and funky but her patients come to her expecting tasteful and tailored.

Where in Cleveland can you find clothes and accessories that are stylish, up to date, yet classic? We headed to Tremont and Evie Lou.smitten1

Mind you, I hate to “shop.” Instead I’m the kind of person who knows I need a top to go under a jumper and will look only for that. After two attempts to find it locally, I’ll go home and order something on line. This makes me an outcast from the female shopping sorority. Going into a fitting room and taking off all my clothes is a loathsome job. After an hour, I’m done. This makes the offer of shopping with Libby the extreme sacrifice (except I get the gift of her time.)

Meanwhile, the people I love, including my husband, love to shop and try on clothes.  This is what happened at Evie Lou. I did my honest best by going through the racks and looking at dresses, tunics, and leggings. I admired boots, socks, and funky hats.  I saw lots I loved but where would I wear it? I live in jeans, yoga pants, and T shirts and sweaters. So after my shopping I sat and watched Libby and Noelle try on clothes. I not only commented on their outfits but got to chat with other shoppers as well.

Where do you like to shop? Do you enjoy going through the selection and do you get ideas about outfits? Do you turn over your wardrobe every two to three years and keep maybe 5 classic tops, coats, and boots? Do you have a summer, fall, winter, and spring wardrobe? Do you go to the same 6 stores where you know they’ll have your size and style? What are they?

And do you reward yourself with a sundae after your effort like I do?

Thank you Sweet Moses for being there for me.



While on the road in the past month, I’ve been eating out a lot. I love to eat out. I get to taste things we don’t cook at home and, with the advent of “small plates,” I get to sample lots of flavors.

Anyway, recently I was in Vermont visiting Noelle at her newly finished summer home. On the last night we went to a restaurant in nearby Barre. We got excellent service from an older than usual man. Noelle noticed a slight accent that had eluded me. We asked him to repeat a lot of words to see if we could pinpoint where he was from. He patiently agreed. We were inaccurate on all our guesses. Turns out he had a combination of New Jersey and eastern Massachusetts accents.

After he left our table, we tried to guess his name. Again, we were off. All the ensuing conversation lead to Noelle interviewing him about his work experience, his family, and his career moves. We also shared with him that wait people get more tips if they discreetly touch their customers. Lou already knew this and mentioned that I had touched him on the wrist first so HE owed ME money!

We left the restaurant feeling that we had shared more than just food and ambience. We now had a new acquaintance and a more personal relationship with a person that made the whole experience better.personalized-service-restant-waiter

On the way back to Ohio, I picked up Margy in Deerfield Massachusetts and we drove on to New York. We stopped for the night in a motel and walked to dinner. Tracey was our wait person that evening and we started a conversation about beer. Turns out she had won a trip to Colorado for selling the most Sam Adams beer in the region! During that interview Margy and I found out she was a former high school teacher. She didn’t know about the touching and tips connection and thanked us on the way out the door for the information.

Both of these wait people were older, mature, and intelligent. It really showed. They were prompt, helpful, friendly without being intrusive, and had great people skills. They wrote down our orders instead of trying to memorize them and getting it screwed up or asking us to repeat.

I’ve had the range of experiences in restaurants with people. One spilled gravy over a new hat in a bag. I didn’t discover it until I got home. Dave and I were at a place where the entire table got served and were eating and he was still waiting. Turned out they messed up his order and started again without telling us. I’ve had lots of experiences with mixed up orders, waiting overlong for someone to bring condiments or utensils, and even rudeness.

Waiting tables is a hard job. I’ve heard the more upscale the place, the more demanding the job and the more impatient the customer. Fortunately, upscale places have competent people who usually get big tips.

Have you ever waited tables? What is your experience? Would you ever try it? My feet and hips ache just thinking about all that time standing. I’d pity my customers because I am so clumsy and forgetful. All of my tips would go to paying for the dishes I’d break.

Perhaps cutting these folks more slack and being  more conscience of “walking in their shoes” will make me more patient.