Saturday, August 9, 2014

Getting Pea Married

My niece got married in Portland over the Fourth of July weekend.  It was nice to be able to spend time in the city, I only made the acquaintance of the great Northwest recently when I spent a week in the summer of 2012 touring Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  (The happy moment at the West End Ballroom, as taken through a mirror in the corner.)

I remember thinking then that this would be a great area to retire to.  Fit, liberal people, beautiful landscape, lots of interesting history and great cities in Portland and Seattle.  (Mount Hood in 2012.

I was taken aback by the beauty of Crater Lake.  A must see for anyone.  (A stunning vista at Crater Lake.)

But aside from seeing a baseball game in Seattle and ascending the space needle, I didn't spend any time in any of the cities that week, which was pretty much one long car trip.  But last month I got to see Portland the best way possible, by running through it on two early morning runs.  (From the Burnside Bridge.)
  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Portlandia

My friends tell me there's a cable offering that mocks the over-the-top green attitudes of Portlanders (the Left Coast variety) that's screamingly funny.  Undoubtedly.  (Abe is there.)

I traveled to Portland over the Fourth of July weekend to attend the wedding of my twenty-something niece, who lives around there with her significant other.  Now that they're married, are they still Significant Others, or are they husband and wife?  (The mother of the bride and one of my other four sisters conversing before the ceremony.)

Everything good is "sustainable" out there, whatever that means.  The wedding photographer summed it up on his website by saying that he appreciated being asked to shoot the wedding of the couple because their union is "sustainable" (I suppose so if they don't get divorced like half the couples who get married do) and the three of them started out the happy day by going to a state park to get some shots of the two because the park offered "cool locations" and it was "sustainable" (was it suspected of going somewhere?).  (In Portland, you can run over the many bridges over the river, which is cool.  Here is a sign on the Steel Bridge which establishes the pecking order, and in fine print Prohibits you from hurling yourself from the bridge.)

I was only there for two nights and one day (two mornings) but I got two runs through the city in.  It's a great city.  (In Portland, the water faucets are always On, spouting water needlessly and endlessly.)


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, a time for remembrances.  I miss my children, I miss my parents.

Dad served at Peleliu in 1944,

and Okinawa in 1945,

before he left us in 1986.  Mom was with us for another 13 years before she passed on.

JJ&D, be well.

Happy Memorial Day to all.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new

As a former president of the DCRRC (2009), I want to congratulate my friend Lauren Bullis (pictured below completing a relay race in 2009) upon his election as president of the DC Road Runners Club.   Lauren replaces the divisive and controversial outgoing president who had this to say in a Washington Post article last year about the vast majority of runners in DC:
Brian Danza, president of D.C. Road Runners, divides runners into two groups: the competitive subset, who run for time, and the participatory or recreational group, or “people who do it to check a box.” Speaking on behalf of his running club, he said, “we firmly promote the sport of running in a competitive manner.”
Running a marathon just for the sake of completing one, said Danza, isn’t worth the effort. Danza cites “the advent of social media and bragging” as fueling marathons’ increased popularity. “The way to one-up each other — ‘I’m thinner than you, I’m better than you in various ways, I also checked this box’ — has really perpetuated the growth of the sport.”
Lauren has an attitude about runners, inclusion and participation that is diametrically opposed to that expressed on behalf of the club by Mr. Danza.  I am delighted with the new, promising direction taken by my former running club.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mom

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  You were a classic.

Small Colorado prairie town girl, opinionated, scrupulous, intense, you went off at 18 or 19 from Yuma Colorado to San Diego to work in the war industries during WW2.  There you met Dad at a USO dance, just before he shipped out to fight the Japanese, and married him.

And I am here!  He came back from two terrible Pacific battlefields unscathed (somehow) and I am one of six.  (No, we're not Catholic.)

A family staple story is the time he was quivering in bed asleep and you touched him and he woke up instantly and surrounded your neck with his strong fingers, ready to choke you until he realized he was not in a foxhole on Peleliu.  You were terrified, he was horrified, I feel so sorry for what both women and returning men went through in those days.

The world was saved from the Nazis, at a price the two of you paid.  What was the price your six children ever paid for anything?

I don't know.  I know I loved you.

I remember in the tumultuous 60s you driving along the streets on Nantucket (where we had a summer house) looking for a strong willed young man who had been at our house (seeking a date, obviously, with one of my two older sisters) who left with no place to go, to bring him back to our spacious house at 40 Lily Street so he would have a place to spend the night and get on with trying to change the world on the morrow.

Then time ran out.  Dad died at age 61 and you died in 1999 and, well, everything changed.  A ruinous divorce costing a quarter mil (only in America), 3 estranged children who haven't communicated with a single Lamberton in a decade (classic PAS) and I can only hang on the beautiful image of you and Dad to justify my 62 years.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Got Intel Today

None of my three sons of has spoken to me in over seven years or to any Lamberton in over ten years, classic Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).  She won't even tell me if they're well or even alive (can you see why I don't regret being divorced from her?).
Today I ran past our old house a few miles away and spoke with a former neighbor I spotted who told me she had heard that my oldest, now in his late 20s, has or had made a lot of money in on-line gambling.  Since he never went to college (I own a prepaid tuition plan with him as beneficiary which pays 100% of his tuition & fees, which the IRS has threatened to vacate this year for non-use due to its tax preferential treatment) I guess, if true, it's good he's "gainfully employed."
And with Obamacare, now he can get health insurance too.  Is this a great country or what?
It was a great run, going into Arlington through parks and past the two houses we used to live in.  And it's always beneficial to hear news, any news, about your children.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

B Strong

Meb.  The mere 3-letter name says it all.

Pure American.  Runner-extraordinaire.

He won Boston, watching an insurmountable end of the race 90-second lead be reduced to a mere six seconds in the last mile.  As a world-class elite Kenyan runner valiantly tried to haul him down on Boyleston Street he hung on and won, repeating to himself, "Boston strong, Boston strong, Meb strong, Meb strong."

You see, tragedy visited this great race, the Boston Marathon, the oldest continuously run marathon in the world, last year when two immigrant men planted bombs upon its course and killed and maimed people as was their sole intention.  Men who had come here as boys, benefited from all the advantages our great country has to offer, and found hatred inside of themselves instead of reaching for greatness as Meb did.

You see, Meb came here as a boy too, as a war refuge, ran track in high school and then at UCLA where he won national championships, became an American citizen and continued on to greatness as an American marathoner.  His name goes up there with other great American male marathoners such as Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers.

It's no secret that Africans are the best marathoners in the world currently, with Kenyans especially standing out.  No American had won a major world marathon in decades (London, Berlin, Chicago, New York and Boston); a Kenyan usually was standing atop the podium.

Until Meb astonishingly broke through in 2009 and won New York.  The Africans let him get far out front and then couldn't bring him down at the end.  (My former running buddy A met Meb the night he won New York.)

Meb outran all his pursuers at New York, they were asking each other what his strengths and weaknesses were and nobody in the chase pack knew, so lightly did Africans regard Americans.  He was strong, Meb strong.

His time has never approached 2:05, which is a time which the elite Africans regularly reach and once, an American (Ryan Hall).  He PRed yesterday at 2:08 (at age 38), his prior best was a 2:09 when he won New York a half-decade earlier.

He is a consummate professional, unfailingly polite and gracious, and a master tactician.  He won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and came in fourth at the London Olympics two years ago.

I personally thought that was his swan song, at age 36 he had won an Olympic medal, an American major and he outdistanced a world class field at London save for the tight lead pack of 3 medaling African elites.

I came in from a noontime run yesterday and immediately googled "Boston Marathon 2014 winner."  When the name Meb immediately popped up I was astonished and proud.  (I have met Meb twice at DC races.)