Thursday, June 30, 2016


Friends are people who run with you more than once.  I'm blessed with some of those.

Persons who provide the motivation to be somewhere at a certain time to put in 5 or 6 miles.  It's a commitment that friends make and keep.

I view running as a five times a week adventure that I like to share with friends.  That's why I like to run different routes all the time.

It's okay to get lost occasionally and have to backtrack or go out of your way a long way.  You're a runner after all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Western Union man arrived.

During WW2, parents with boys overseas fighting dreaded seeing a Western Union messenger coming up the walkway.  It almost always meant that their son had been killed in action or was missing in action and their first notice of this was a telegram from the war department.  "We regret to inform you…"

In my precarious situation where my three sons were turned against me as minors by predatory adults (you know who you are) in a classic case of Parental Alienation Syndrome (a form of child abuse) and haven't spoken to me (or any Lamberton) in years, I have always feared the Western Union man,  What I mean is that if anything tragic ever happened to one of them (beyond being stripped of a parent by insidious adults), I have no doubt that their mother, who lives two miles away from me, wouldn't tell me.  Two years ago when I encountered her on the street, I asked her about the welfare of each of them (including this question for each of them, "Is he alive?") and her cold, marble nature showed when she answered each and every inquiry with stony silence.

Occasionally I"ll run into old acquaintances in town whose boys I coached when they were growing up and I'll ask about their kids.  As I initiate the conversation, I live in dread of one of them breaking out with, "I'm so sorry for your loss, Peter!"  Because I always thought that that would be how I would find out bad news about any of them, maybe months or years later.

Do you have children?  Try living like that for a decade, and that will show you how lifeless my ex-wife is.

It finally happened this month.  Out of the blue, I received a bereavement card in the mail from a casual acquaintance that told me how sorry he was for the loss of my family member.

I reflected on my family members.  All of my siblings were doing well, and if anything tragic had happened in their families, somebody would have called me.  It could only be about one of my children.

I would have been absolutely frantic, with no place to turn for further information, except for one piece of fortuitous luck that had occurred mere days earlier after all these years of silence about my children.  I had encountered an old acquaintance, a best friend of my ex-wife, who although complicit in extrajudicially wrecking my paternity, is made of sterner stuff than the lifeless nature that infuses my ex-wife.  She answered every question I put to her about my three sons, and that is how I found out that last year my youngest child had married a girl named Laura.  She had also said that the middle child and oldest child had recently broken up with their girlfriends and were in various states of devastation about the break ups, so I assumed that with this recent news, they were probably okay unless one of them was suicidal about it.

I made inquiries where I could and learned that the casual acquaintance had been searching on the Internet and come across a news report that a Peter Lamberton had been in a car accident in which his wife was killed.  There are other Peter Lambertons in the world, and perhaps such a tragedy befell one of them, for which I am sorry.  This casual acquaintance reading the news report, being a genuinely nice person, had dispatched a pro-forma bereavement card to my house, perhaps ill-advisedly so.

I have been living on the edge for years.  You should be so lucky as to never have such a situation befall you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Life in general or problems in particular

It struck me recently that I haven't been out of DC yet this year.  I planned a trip to visit the Gettysburg battlefield, but that never came to fruition.

But there are a ton of great places to visit in the DC area, especially if you're a runner.  Like the peaceful Japanese American Memorial Park.

Or either FDR Memorial, or the numerous war memorials.  Or the brooding MLK, Jr. statue.

I'm going to do five more miles on the Mall in a few hours with a running buddy.  The miles will roll by abetted by some easy conversation about life in general or perhaps some problem in particular or recent political upheavals; I can hardly wait.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Memorial Day

I ran a self-timed 3K race in my home town on the morning of Memorial day this year, finishing the 1.86 miles in 16:24 (8:48 pace).  This was a bittersweet day because although it was a holiday, it was my last day of "work" because the next day I was retiring after twenty-six and a half years of service with the federal government.

Since it was a holiday, I partook of my usual lunch at the local pizzeria in the hopes that my three estranged sons would appear after a decade of non-communication.  I knew they wouldn't, and they didn't, so I invited a friend I had recently been running with to join me and we enjoyed a pizza pie during the noon hour.

We passed by Rolling Thunder as I drove her home and we also stopped in at the Air Force Memorial out of respect to members of the armed forces for their service.

Next up, boys, is the Fourth of July, which falls a week from now on next Monday.  Maybe you'll join me for lunch then at the Lost Dog Cafe in Westover.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

When I'm 64 Part 2, or Unanticipated Guests Arrive.

On my birthday this year, as usual, I presented my three estranged children the opportunity to reconnect with me by very publicly being at my favorite pizzeria in Arlington for lunch.  Four very welcome and gratifying guests appeared during this lunch.  (John and his new wife Riza joined me to wish me a happy birthday and bought me lunch.)

My friend John called around noon and said he knew it was my birthday and that he had read on FB that I was having lunch at the Lost Dog Cafe and if I wanted company, he and Riza would be delighted to join me.  I welcomed them to come, and we ordered a large pizza when they showed up, enough for the three of us and more.  (Then two totally unexpected guests suddenly arrived.)

Well, two more additional guests did arrive, rendering me thunderstruck.  Shortly after the pizza arrived, I glanced out the window and was astonished, and deeply touched, to see a co-worker, Lisa, walking towards the entrance carrying her three-week old first-born, Jacqueline.  (Though adorable, let sleeping babies lie.)

I had recently worked closely with, and came to admire, this excellent lawyer on several difficult matters at work before she suddenly went on maternity two weeks early because the baby came then.  It was the mother and daughter's first outing in public and she came to cheer me up, also having read about my lunchtime intentions on FB, and as John observed later, it was apparent that there was a good working chemistry between us as we easily and animatedly discussed public matters at work over lunch while the baby slept in her car seat nearby.  (Practicing at grand parenting with my friend's newborn.)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

When I'm 64...

The Beatles sang about it on their Sgt. Peppers album in the song, When I'm 64.  "Will you still need me?"

In the case of my job, the answer came down unmistakably, a month after the fact, from a manager either acting on his own or in tandem with the rest of the managers in my shop, in the form of an, uh, in-person communication from him that indelibly said, "No."  So last month I retired rather than report to an increasingly hostile and untenable work environment each workday.

After more than 25 years of outstanding service, it's a shame.  But that's the way the game is played these days, whether it's legal or illegal, by mid-level managers fighting to advance their careers above all else, when dealing with workers a generation apart from them.

The above is only my opinion, of course.  This particular manager announced shortly after I left that he was leaving to take a job elsewhere.

He'd been there 7 years, the last 3 as a manager, and he didn't want to "calcify," he reportedly said.  He needed new challenges.

In my opinion, he had way too much recent baggage to stay, being the chief henchman in driving out workers two decades older than he.  His fingerprints were all over two of the three sexagenarians in my former shop being forced to leave in the last year due to age discrimination, one via a forced transfer and in my case, a precipitous retirement.

He certainly never met the challenge of being an effective manager.  In my opinion, it was management by bullying.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Waiting for Godot

Where was I on the penultimate day of February during this leap year?  At my favorite pizzeria having lunch, as usual on any of my sons' birthdays.

No one showed of course.  It's a little ritual I have, because maybe one of them will show up someday.

This one, Danny, as I found out this month, is now married.  Good to know.

He coulda brought his wife, or his brothers, or any combination.  Welcome to the family, Laura.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I've been runnin'

I've got the card reader in the Mac, some time on my hands and I'm ready to upload!  Yeah, I been running' this year.

I run 5 times a week.  The mileage isn't important, the number of days running is.

Five times.  In the late spring, when I was still working (being overworked), my weight ballooned to 195 as my run days were cut down to two days a week because of the unrealistic demands at work (do more with less and we [a new generation of management] will advance ruthlessly on your back).

Now that I'm no longer working (yeah, I'm pointing directly at you Chris), I run five times each week.  My pre-run weight has settled into the high 170s.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dad's Day 2016

I had a nice Father's Day on Sunday.  I went out for a run, four miles of somber reflection on the past decade of Father's Days without any contact with any of my children.

It's called PAS.  It's real.

A friend called and invited me out to coffee and bagels.  I always enjoy being with her.

Another friend who is about the age of my children but who is light years ahead of those three in compassion and maturity emailed me wishing me a happy day.  My best friend from high school who is in the same exact situation with his children as I am with mine called to wish me a happy day.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Throwback Thursday Post

I had posted that I recently found out that my youngest son, Danny, from whom I am sadly estranged, got married last year to Laura, whom I have never met.  Here is one of the last pictures I have of him, taken in 2002.

Here is a picture of him from around the turn of the century, a shifty fullback for a McLean football team, who could break off a long TD run.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Few Faves

I have a few favorite pictures from running around the District in past years.  This shot I caught early one morning showing a striking reflection in the water under the Key Bridge.

This photo shows my all-time favorite flower, a delicate circular purple ball of blossoms in a flower bed  lining the Mall.

This picture was taken by a friend from atop the Washington Monument during Cherry Blossom time, looking past the Tidal Basin towards the Virginia shore.
Here's one of my favorite posed shot from a couple of years ago, eavesdropping outside one of the Smithsonian museums.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

For today I'm gay

49 tragic deaths in a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday.  A mentally unstable, wife-abusing US citizen who was on the FBI's radar screen was able to easily buy an assault rifle and put it to horrific use.  Only in America.

He was a homegrown terrorist who was either a homophobe or perhaps a self-loathing denier.  This situation has nothing to do with religion.

I donated double red cells on Friday, and I like to think that if my donation wasn't put to good use in my area, then perhaps it was sent to Orlando for use after that mass carnage.  I am O+ so my blood is useful for almost everyone (except for the rarer O- people).

For today, I am gay in solidarity with my slain and wounded brethren and sisters.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Still Waiting

It's time to update my profile picture, which currently is from a HM I ran in September 2014 where I was elated to break two hours (actually, I broke 1:55).  The new one is from the noon hour on November 11, 2015 (obviously a holiday) where I'm having lunch as usual with an empty chair at the Lost Dog Cafe in Westover in Arlington, Virginia.

Someday maybe one of my three wayward sons will show up, who knows?  I am glad to have recently received news from a neighbor that my youngest son Danny, now 27, got married last year, apparently to Laura.

Not only is he alive, apparently he is well.  I wish them well.  (A picture of Dan, with Laura Madsen, that I pulled off his now de-activated FB page when he turned 18.)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

He Wished He Had The Guts To Just Run Me Down

I went out on an adventure run of six miles yesterday, running through Tysons Corner from the Spring Hill Metro Station on the Silver Line back to my house in Falls Church.  The Silver Line is the newest extension of the Metro system, pushing it out a dozen miles to the west, where it will eventually reach Dulles Airport, if the system doesn't totally fall apart and close down first due to forty years of serious maintenance neglect.
I have run home now from all of the new elevated subway stations on the Silver Line save one and each run has been memorial in its own way, primarily due to the bewildering series of new roadways and controlled-access highways out there, making it in places a nightmare for runners unfamiliar with the area.  Pedestrian-friendly the area is not, and I immediately got seriously lost in an asphalt wasteland valley hemmed in by towering steel canyons within blocks of leaving the station twice, although I had studied the map long and hard each time plotting a course home.
Yesterday's adventure brought with it an encounter with road rage, where li'l ol' me running across an intersection on a circular green light (for my direction) but also contrary to a Don't Walk signal for me (the Walk signal doesn't ever come on without the pedestrian pushing it first, perhaps in the next cycle) so enraged an overweight male SUV driver coming up behind me at speed to make a sweeping right turn because he had to slow down a bit because I was there in the roadway running across (well ahead of him) that he almost ran me down in his quivering self righteous indignation.  As mentioned, I had the steady green light (but also a Don't Walk signal) as I ran up, all crossway cars were stopped, no opposing cars were turning left into my way and I glanced backwards to ensure that no one was close behind me that was going to turn right, into me as I crossed.  Nothing was amiss and I ran across the intersection on my steady green light (no green arrows) but in opposition to the non-functioning (unless you pushed it) Don't Walk signal.
I had passed these type intersections before on this very four lane highway in traffic-friendly, runner-unfriendly Fairfax County, where you get a walker advance signal only if you stop to push a cross-button and wait for it to take effect.  Not busting across those intersections when it was safe to do so, after watching its elements as you ran up upon it, including glancing behind you for immediate danger as you entered the roadway, would make for a very long, chopped up run indeed.
When I was 4/5 of the way across the immediate crossway lanes, just about to cross the centerline and run past the stopped cars waiting upon their steady red light (my light was still steady green, I could have made it across easily even if my light had turned yellow at that point), I heard a long honk. Behind me the aforementioned SUV had come up at speed and made a sweeping right turn into the lane tat I was possessing and he had to break (hard) to avoid possibly running me down.  I turned to see who was honking at me and this quivering mass of lazy, soft corpulence inside his steel and glass 2,000 pound beast was pointing in rage at the Don't Walk signal.  He had almost ran me, a mere 185 pounds of flesh and bone, down from behind.  I pointed out the steady green light which was also mine and told him in two words exactly what I thought of him and the situation he had created by his excessive speed, recklessness and lack of appreciation for anything outside of his steel cacoon (he was probably texting too).
He honked again, long and loud at me, and pointed even more emphatically, stabbing the air in the direction of the Don't Walk signal.  I noticed he didn't roll down his window, the coward.  I repeated my imprecation, in case he hadn't heard it the first time, turned and ran on.
It's always a pleasure to run in Fairfax County, where they don't take kindly to pedestrians or runners.  But I did run past Long John Silver and I topped off my run at the end with a serious hill by doing the six ramps in the WFC Metro Station parking garage.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Wedding Wish

Dear Dan and Laura,

Congratulations on your wedding last year.  A neighbor told me you were married.  I'm sure you'll be very happy.  And Laura, welcome to the family.  Although I have never met you, I'm sure you'll be a wonderful wife to my youngest son.  Enjoy the cooking mat!  And Dan, good luck and I hope the shirt fits!  Since I don't know your address, I'll throw these items in the box of your stuff that I keep in the basement for now.

As ever,


Friday, June 10, 2016

An Adam Henry?

I was running with a friend telling her my latest intel on my 3 estranged sons whom I haven't had nary a word from in almost a decade.  It turns out that the youngest one, now 27, got married over a year ago.

"You mean he got married and he didn't invite you to it or even inform you of it?" she asked.  This woman is as sharp as they come and as good a Christian as I know, but she is also a loving parent.

"What an asshole," she muttered.  She had just pronounced judgment on the boy's (now a man) actions and attitudes for the last decade and a half.

It was the first time this good friend had offered an unsympathetic outlook on any of my children.  I think her point was that this adult, regardless of how he had had his will maliciously overborne as a minor by adults during the divorce, was now a fully mature adult responsible for how he conducted himself and he had squandered a chance to effect a change in the hateful nature of the relationships in his life.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Open House

My house is old and run down so sometimes I go to open houses in town in contemplation of moving.  My neighbor across the street is a realtor so I often pass by houses he has for sale and sometimes chat him up about them.

I went to an open house on Sunday and ran into a person I used to be friends with whom I hadn't seen in 15 years.  She's a great friend of my ex-wife; during the time I had visitation with my children, hers was the house they always wanted to go to on pre-arranged sleepovers with her children instead of on scheduled weekends with me.

Whenever I encounter townspeople from way back when, I always ask them about what they currently know about my three children (now adults) because I haven't had any communication with them in almost a decade.  The divorce, you know.

This woman answered all my questions, bless her (in contrast to my children's mother, who stonily kept silent when I encountered her on a street two years ago and asked her about my children's welfare).  It turns out my two older sons have recently broken up with their girlfriends so that tells me they're alive at least, I infer, and the youngest one got married a year ago.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What's Up?

Lots of things going on.  It's been a busy, possibly momentous year already and it's only half over.

I hit my mid-60s.  I still run five times a week, 15-25 miles each week, mostly during the noon hour although busyness at work sometimes reduced my running total to two times per week.

I have a great circle of running partners.  I have a great venue to run in, the District, with something amazing to run by practically every quarter-mile.

I am trying to keep myself abreast intellectually and technologically, so I have been reading Victorian classics of literature, I purchased an android and I have stated texting a little.  The Victorian novels are taking me about two months to read because I don't have much time to devote to them, and someday soon I'm going to charge the Samsung up and swap the phone chip out of my dumb cell phone into it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I read only ten books last year, my lowest total in 35 years.  But on the positive side, I started reading classical literature after decades of reading mostly history books.  Here's how I would rank the half-score of books I read, in order of their importance to me.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, published in serial form around 1861.
This is a fabulous book, all about Pip's coming of age and his ultimate change from an ungrateful and foppish dilettante into a worthwhile man.  Who could forget the aging yet frozen-in-time jilted bride, or the beautiful but cold and heartless Estella.  And there are two endings to choose from.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, published in 1847.
The perfect love triangle, also a sort of ghost story, set on the unforgiving Scottish moors.  Heathcliff and Catherine are unforgettable and inseparable in both life and death.
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature.
The novel depicts New York City's upper-crust society in the 1870s, exposing its sycophantic, seething and unseemly nature, plus it is a great revenge piece.  Wharton's well-deserved prize made her the first female recipient.
  • Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck, published in 1954.
Cannery Row's sequel, this follow-up novel is a sweet rendition of the unforgettable new girl in town, Thursday.
  • The Missing of the Somme by Jeffrey Dyer, published in 1994. 
A haunting evocation of the somber and reflective memories evinced by the many monuments and memorials populating the WWI battlefield at the Somme River, where in 1916 the flower of English manhood was slaughtered as it walked in straight lines into German guns.  An ethereal travel-guide.
  • The Apostle: A Life of Paul by John Pollack written in 1972.
Everybody should know more about the life of St. Paul than the abridged version that is taught in bible class.  After all, he is at the center of Christian doctrine.
  • The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 by Robert Citino, published in 2012.
The German will to carry on their barbaric war after it was obviously and irretrievably lost by 1943, and the tenacity and skill with which they did so, are astonishing.
  • Winston's War: Churchill 1940-1945 by Max Hastings, published in 2009.
This was a great man.  Utilizing his great oratory, he single-handedly propped up the British will and ability to resist.
  • Hitler's War by Edwin Hoyt, published in 1988.
The Germans lost the war in this book too.
  • Quest for Decisive Victory: From Stalemate to Blitzkrieg in Europe, 1899-1940 by Robert Citino, published in 2002.
Most people don't know anything about the series of post WWI Balkan Wars.  These conflicts were the petri dish where the form of war known as blitzkrieg, so successfully used by the Germans to conquer most of Europe by 1942, was developed.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Busy at Work

I haven't been keeping up with this blog because I was being kept busy at work.  You know, do more with less.

It is my opinion that becoming a sexagenarian makes a person a target for job removal.  It's illegal, it's age discrimination, but it is my opinion that it goes on all the time.

I believe that with any subtlety, it is easy to get rid of an older worker and replace him or her with a younger, cheaper, more technologically facile and harder-working person.  Experience, know-how, wisdom, the ability and willingness to mentor younger workers and institutional knowledge bleed away in torrential geysers in such occurrences though.

In my opinion, some managers improperly, deliberately and in collusion give a bogus rating to the older employee which is lower than anyone else in the heavily subjective annual review process, then set up a series of ridiculous tasks with artificial, unrealistic deadlines, demand completion of the most unimportant and least advanced tasks first, paper the situation with "confirming" emails, and wait for the employee to fail or be said to have furnished an  "unacceptable" product.  In my opinion, unless the manager is a complete ham-handed boob, the method is tried, true and unerringly applied by many ambitious modern managers who are a generation or more younger than the employees they are actively purging.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Terrible Dream

I was dreaming about my 3 children again, estranged from me since the divorce 15 years ago, and the younger 2 were following me around, in their pre-teen forms, the same as the last time I had any association with them the year before their mother filed a stealth divorce petition after she took them out of town under false pretenses and refused to come back until I left the house (I "abandoned" it).  In my dream, although it has been 9 years since I have heard anything from any of them, and well over a decade since any Lamberton has had contact with them (typical PAS stuff), I had had a brief visitation with them shortly before that I remembered, feeding off a prior dream I had many months ago.

We were up on the local high school playing grounds.  I was walking slightly ahead of a tiny knot of little people and dogs, and Johnny and Danny were a small ways behind me.  I don't know where Jimmy, the oldest child, was, except that he was in the gym which we had just left to take a short walk outside.  We had rounded a corner around the bleachers and were headed back to the gym and the event inside it.

Somebody yelled out my name and hollered, "Run!"  As I looked up, I heard emergency klaxons sounding and the storm-tossed horizon above the gym was quickly filling up with fast approaching giant birds of prey, winging quickly towards the playing fields on a mission of destruction.  This was a deadly, imminent peril and people near the gym were running into it and safety.

I was 100 yards from the gym and I looked around behind me for my 2 children but all I saw behind me was a little dog.  The rest of the children had fled back behind the bleachers and, I supposed, were cowering underneath them, exposed to the depredations of the deadly claws of the giant birds.

If I ran straight for the gym I could make it there and get inside just before the predators arrived.  I was swept with indecision.  I knew I had to go back around the bleachers and find my children and try to protect and shield them from the death-dealing talons.  I stood rooted in my spot.  Already it was too late to get back to the gym.  My options were turning more and more fearsome for me.  I remembered the last visitation I'd had with my children a few months earlier, a short happy interlude.  But somehow, I argued with myself as the birds bore down on me, I know I haven't seen any child of mine in years.  I was remembering another dream within a horrible dream.

I forced myself to wake up rather than be destroyed by the airborne giant host as I ran to find my hiding  children.  As I lay in bed, in the darkness I could see dancing across the white ceiling a pattern of swiftly moving dark shapes, cast there by the dim light inside the display on my alarm clock,  projecting its customary blinking "12:00" because I never re-set it after the power last went out.  This was the source of the approaching birds of destruction filling the sky.

That was the worst dream I've had in several years,  I still remember it vividly days later.