The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Late Run

Due to work constraints, I found it necessary to delay my run until late this afternoon.  It is interesting that I feel a bit edgy and out of sorts.   Not sure if it is just from breaking my routine, or if it is from not having run already.... or both.

I will be glad when I get my run in.


Monday, August 19, 2019

6.2 Miles Done!!!

I finished my 6.2 this morning so I am already done with that goal for the week!  For me, it helps to try to not procrastinate on these things.  I hit the trail at 5:15 am. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Holy Day of Obligation

For those of us who are Roman Catholic and practice our faith, yesterday was a Holy Day of Obligation.  It was the feast in our faith called "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary".  Please know that I know folks of other faiths or no faith have a lot of differing opinions on those of us who are Catholic.  That is all fine and good, and I am fine with differing opinions... no problem.

But, what I can say for ME, is that attending Mass yesterday and thinking about what I was able to learn for myself related to this specific Holy Day for my faith, was helpful, useful, and emotionally centering for me.   I am glad I was able to go.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Visit

I had set up a meeting with an incoming Freshman student for yesterday who wanted to speak with me and see some of my research.  She is coming in as an Honor's student and is interested in my research and would like to volunteer in my lab.  She is a very nice young girl, who shows a pleasant level of interest and understanding of the practice of science.  I am looking forward to helping to guide her and having her work in my lab when she comes to campus this Fall.  Right now she is thinking she wants to go into medicine, but that is what a majority of biology majors initially say.  She has a long time before needing to make her final decision on what to do after graduation from her undergraduate college experience.

She is from a town that is about 3 or so hours away from the U., and she came with her mother and father.  She is the youngest of their children, and they are both in their late 50s or perhaps even a bit older.  The mother works in a pharmacy in their town and the father is a furniture maker.

When they arrived, I greeted them, and noticed that the father was a pipe smoker (I could see the stem of a pipe sticking out of his shirt pocket and I could detect the pleasant secondary aroma of the pipe he had indulged in earlier.  It had a bit of a note of burley as well as virginia leaf and had some bit of aromatic topping it as well.  I am not 100% sure about the aromatic, but it more of a mild "nutmeg" sort of topping I was not immediately identifying.

The meeting and tour lasted about an hour or so, and the young girl seemed very excited and enthused.  After I showed them around a bit, they then left and were then planning to walk around  more of campus and head to the bookstore to look at some of the texts she will need for Fall.

I spent the rest of the day working at my desk, but I have to admit that a sizable portion of my time was spent daydreaming about pipe tobacco.  The enormously pleasant aroma lead me to feel very introspective and nostalgic.  I drifted back and forth between editing a syllabus and thinking about some of my very favorite tobacco blends I have had the pleasure to indulge in through the decades. The memories were beautiful and almost akin to viewing paintings by the Impressionists in  my mind's eye.  The colors vivid and fluid, the imagery beautiful, ethereal and gentle.

Now, this morning (well actually, a bit earlier this morning, when I was running), I realized that yesterday marked 18 complete months since I started to refrain from smoking my pipes. I guess that is a milestone of sorts.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tomahawk Steak

My wife and I were watching an episode of "Master Chef" the other evening, and the episode happened to feature a competition where the contestants had to grill some form of beef.  One of the options they had to choose from was something I had never heard of or seen before, called a "Tomahawk Steak".   It was a rather shocking form of beef that is apparently VERY expensive and apparently highly sought after by beef aficionados.  As you can see from the image, it is a nearly circular piece of beef to which a cow rib is attached.  It apparently is something that the rich really enjoy.

When I was a kid growing up, my family did not each much variety in terms of meat.  For budgetary reasons, the meat that was prepared in my childhood mostly consisted of hamburger, chicken, and bacon.  But even in my childhood, meat was not the MAIN part of the meal.... but only a part.  My parents always had meals that were more diverse than just the meat dish.  This was different from how my wife grew up, where in her family, meat was the main focus of every meal. 

In the modern day, meat is an even smaller part of my diet that it was even in childhood.  I typically have one, perhaps two meals with meat a week these days.... and it is usually turkey or chicken (once in a while, fish).  I do not really enjoy hamburger or bacon any longer.  I have never been a big fan of pork in general.  The last time I had a steak was, I think, about 8 years ago... a Filet Mignon.... and it was nice... but not really anything I crave. 

My decreased consumption of meat (from the already relatively modest levels consumed in childhood) is NOT due to any sort of sociopolitical nonsense about eating meat that some vegetarians and vegans state.  Nor unfortunately is my decreased consumption of meat attributable to an altruistic idea on my part (the environmental cost of meat and its effects on the world's hungry) even though I realize eating less meat helps reduce my carbon footprint and helps to make more food available to others who are food deprived.  Truth be told, my decreased consumption of meat in my adulthood is attributable to my profession.... as a biology professor.... one who is intimately aware of anatomy and physiology.

Because of my working knowledge of the construction of the bodies of animals (including humans)... I very easily see and identify (and name in my head) the bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, etc.  in meat that is for consumption..... be that meat raw or cooked.  Seeing meat (especially when it is on the bone), even when cooked.... first by its ANATOMICAL PART and then second as food..... does not drum up a lot of enthusiasm from me to eat it.  And, for whatever reason, it is difficult for me to NOT automatically name and identify the parts in my head and just focus on the meat as food.  So, gradually over the years, I have naturally just drifted away from eating much meat.

The lack of meat in my family's diet really never crosses my mind much... except when we eat and dine with other people not in my immediate family.  When I eat/dine with others.... because I tend to forgo most meat items and focus on the other aspects of what is available in the meal, I often receive a lot of comments about what I DO eat.  My in-laws find my choices on the "odd" side (not meat focused), and at work, some folks have assumed I am vegetarian or vegan (which I am not).

Further compounding this situation is that the ONE thing that I do TRY to do to the best of my abilities is to try to avoid fried, high-fat, oily foods as much as possible.  I do this because of my weight loss efforts.  I have been successful for around 10 years now at having a normal BMI, and that purposeful avoidance of extraneous fat in food has been one of the easiest ways for me to stay at a normal BMI.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

10K Done for the Week!

In my endeavor to keep myself working hard on trying to achieve new goals, I made sure this morning to run 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).  Last December, I was trying to think of a things I could do that would test me and would try to force me to become better in my exercise efforts.  In addition to my running a minimum of 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) a week, every week... I also wanted to strive to run at least one day each week where I went a minimum of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).

I have managed to keep up that goal, and in many cases I have run not just one 10K during the week, but I have ran several.  If I keep this goal through the end of the year, I want to make myself a t-shirt as a "reward" of sorts that says something akin to:

"52+ 10Ks in 2019" or some such thing.  It is a silly goal and a silly reward to be sure.... but I think it helps me to keep trying to do things that help me to grow and become healthier and stronger.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Bullies and Their Ways

I think most of us are used to the traditional example of a "bully".... usually a young, punk kid, perhaps 13 or 14 who picks on kids younger than himself. 

But, sadly, bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  And, their ways of behaving change too.  I have come to realize more fully that the two people who I regularly am angry or upset about because of their behavior and attitude.... are in reality..... adult forms of bullies.  Both of these individuals work very vehemently to push through their wants, plans and neither of them really gives a damn how it affects others around them. 

Having the new label I can use to think about these two individuals.... helps me to better understand my own anger, sadness, and worry I have had about these two individuals for quite some time.  It helps me to better understand WHY I feel so angry about these two people.  When I was very young (perhaps 9 years old), there was a pair of classic bullies that tormented me.  It was my first encounter with such behavior and I remember feeling very hurt and confused and angry at them.  Eventually, the situation resolved itself when I was younger by the bullies (siblings) moving away.  But, I still remember the hurt and confusion I felt. 

It helps for me today to realize that the two people I have struggled with here at the U.... are pretty much the same damn thing.  The naming of their behavior helps me to better put their nasty ways into perspective.  Hopefully, as the new Fall semester approaches, it will help me when these two truly awful folks are back around and I have to unfortunately interact with them more often than I would like.  By recognizing them for what they are.... I may be no closer to getting them to stop their asinine behavior, but I may be able to better recognize and deal more successfully with the emotions that typically come to the surface when dealing with those two.