Tag Archives: mom

So Long, Mom, and Thanks for All the Comments

I was on mile seven of my Saturday morning run when I got the call. People don’t usually call me during this run, so I was pretty sure what it was about. And it was quickly confirmed. My mother had passed away.

The event was not unexpected; Mom had declined rapidly. For the last few weeks she’d been awake less and less often, finally slipping into a coma from which she rarely stirred. The night before, we’d had Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house, where Mom lived, and spent the evening with her. We’re very grateful for that final opportunity to include her in a family event.

We’ll hold a celebration for her during the holidays. In the meantime, life continues, as well as this blog, from which I’ve lost a dedicated reader. So this post is dedicated to her and the support she gave me in documenting my adventures on the web.

Mom's 80th birthday party last year.

Happier times: Mom’s 80th birthday party last year.

Growing up, Mom’s main contribution to keeping me and my siblings fit was kicking us out of the house on nice days. When I took up cycling, Aikido and running in my forties and began blogging about them, she became one of my first readers. Like the movie Julie and Julia, the first comment on my blog (then Fitness at 50) was from Mom. She continued to follow my posts and submit comments for over three years, until she was no longer well enough to use her computer.

She enjoyed the stories about the people I met and towns I visited on my long bike trips (click here for one in particular). Not so much with my race recaps. “Another one of those, ‘I did this, I did that’,” she’d say, discounting the idea that the blog was supposed to be about my personal adventures. Talk about tough critics! But I wrote more “color” stories as a result.

Mom's handle was "rhgramma" (rh standing for Red Hot).

Mom’s web handle was “rhgramma” (rh standing for Red Hot).

Here are a select few of her more colorful blog comments. You may get an idea where I get some of my sense of humor – and love for all things dark chocolate…

Oh! Usain Bolt is a man — a very fast man — I thought it was a name for a runner’s super drink. oh well . . .

Regarding Mr. Jurek’s book: — is “Eat and Run” anything like the signs you see along the country roads — “Eat and Get Gas’?

42 times the personal pronoun “I” appeared in this last blog. Only 8 (eight) more and you could have hit the 50 mark and added it to your goal of 50 things to accomplish. Oh well, there’s still time!!!

Have you considered giving up your day job and becoming a chocolate reviewer. Me — I’ll just go on being a chocolate “conna-sewer”: eating what I like and not eating what I don’t like. And right off the bat we can discard white “chocolate” and milk chocolate and any chocolate that has nuts or other ingredients that interrupt the chocolate flow ….

Stay tuned for a NEW BLOG! What it’s like to be Jeff’s mother — starting 50+ years ago.

Finally, I have Mom to thank for a great insight. I once wrote a post about going out one cold morning for a run, and how what started out as a slog turned into a terrific run as the sun came out and I warmed up. I wrote about how grateful I felt to be out there that morning, and it was almost like praying. Here’s the key paragraph from that post:

After six miles, the sun came out full and I shed my jacket. Conditions for the last twelve miles were perfect for running, and I was now grateful for choosing the morning to run. And while I was in the mood, I also took the time to be grateful for the other things that allowed me to be out there – for being healthy enough and strong enough to run, and having the freedom, both political and economic, to do so. It wasn’t a specific prayer; I just let myself experience the feeling of gratitude for a minute or so. I recommend this practice. It does a great job of making minor discomforts disappear for awhile.

Mom responded to the post by writing, “Gratitude IS prayer. Amen.”

Right on, Mom. Rest in peace.

Celebrating the New, and the Longstanding

I JUST GOT SOME EXCITING NEWS from my recently departed Aikido instructor, who has settled into his new place in Middlebury, Vermont. Today I got an invitation to visit the new Aikido Yoshokai Vermont Facebook page. Classes begin in September!

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

(By the way, if you visit that page, the current main photo is from our Rec & Ed class. The new Vermont dojo sensei is second from right, and our new Rec & Ed instructor is leftmost. Yours truly is second from left.)

Another recent milestone occurred last Sunday, as mother celebrated her 80th birthday. It also happened to be Bastille Day, another excellent reason to sit around and eat stuff. Vive La France et passe le chocolat!

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

Naturally, I wanted to suggest we all go for a refreshing five-mile run, followed by dinner at a nice vegetarian place with lots of nutrient dense organic goodies, with yummy carob tofu pudding for dessert. (Those of you who want to believe that, please stop reading here.) So after stuffing our faces at our favorite Middle Eastern place, we repaired to our house for cake and ice cream.

This most definitely does not show up in any "10 Healthiest Foods for Runners" list. Tough rocks.

This most definitely does not show up in any “10 Healthiest Foods for Runners” list. Tough rocks.

This plain yellow cake with a thick, fudgy dark chocolate frosting is her favorite cake and was also my favorite cake growing up. The frosting is made with lots of butter and confectioner’s sugar, and leftover frosting can be eaten by itself as fudge. It gets laid on thick so we can eat the cake layers first and leave the frosting standing by itself. Can’t beat it.


Now I can’t say that Mom is the same kind of exercise nut that her son might be, but she does get around.

"It's the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township"

“It’s the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township!”

Thanks again, Mom, for bringing me into the world, and for not taking me out those times I most assuredly deserved it.