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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Brief Saturday

My plans are to throw myself into a frenzy of work today to try to alleviate my mood. I am going to buy some sod to further fill in rough patches, clean and clear the patio area, the deck, the mulched areas around the home, and a variety of other tasks.


Friday, May 30, 2008

What is in Store?

Readership is damn close to zero. Only one friend seems to read regularly anymore and post comments. I am a bit concerned that he thinks my blog is "old school... "1999"" in his timeline. I am not sure if he meant my actual blog design or actually someone else's, but I guess it could be true that my style is not particularly "in" any longer.

I am unsure what to do anymore. It used to be so easy to "go with the flow", to have fun and enjoyment in whatever I did. The idea of having things be easy, fun, care-free seems like such a distant memory now.

Work as a professor seems stressful now, after so many years of loving the role. Now I have some damn puppy who will be nipping at my heels over every damn thing I do and he will be willing to take over and surpass my every move with his "cool trendiness".

Everything seems like too much work. The idea of striving to do anything seems beyond my energy level.

Sleep is a beautiful respite... except at night when I toss and turn unable to embrace that quiet rest.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

All Rolled Into One

I am angry. I am sad. I feel like crying. I feel like taking some object and smashing it into a thousand little pieces.

I am feeling the way I do because:

1. I have some business (four items) that I need to take care of concerning my mother's estate. I do not want to do them and every time I try it gets me emotionally in turmoil.

2. The arrival of the "mini-me" who is younger, athletic, and better looking is fast approaching. I hate and despise all the members in my Department who voted to hire him.

3. I do not want to teach class in the morning. I am fed up with the nine hours of talking and fussing with them every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition, I have an added four hours every Tuesday for the other damn class I am teaching which I also do not want to do. That is 13 hours straight of teaching on Tuesday and nine hours on Thursday.

4. I am sick and tired of doing projects around the home, but if I stop, things stay the same or simply get more chaotic. It is too damn overwhelming.

5. I am tired that no matter where I am, it seems people are always needing me to help them. This too is utterly daunting and overwhelming and makes me irritable.

6. I am so damn sick and tired of the members of my Department who find it "great" to give me all sorts of busy work, paper-pushing b*llsh*t work "for the good of the department", but when I want to have a particular schedule or a particular goal or space of my own, I am not being "reasonable". It is such a damn, two-faced bunch of b*stards that I work with that sometimes I seethe with rage at the thought of interacting with them.

7. I am so tired of working and working and working, to try to solve the needs of everyone when no one gives a damn about me.

8. I am p*ss*ed as hell at the constant barrage of people invading my own timetable and disrupting every waking hour.

9. I do not understand why things have to be this way.

10. I am angry that people think it is "ok" to take the flowers people bring to the grave sites of their loved ones.

11. I am appalled at the various people I try to rely on who are so damn slow as molasses, but if I am not INSTANTANEOUS in my efforts I get badgered. The molasses folk include auto mechanics, dentists, workers at the DMV, administration at the U, accrediting bodies for Departments for which I teach service courses for, people who set unreasonable deadlines, and the list goes on and on.

I want to crawl into a hole and stay there. No, that is what I feel I want to do to protect myself. What I would like is to feel relaxed, feel happy, feel content, and feel successful in what I do. I have been working to implement all the items I have talked about and have tried to shy away from all the negativity. But unfortunately, today was one of those days where it was utterly impossible.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Relatively low emotions. More later.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

So Many Chips

I was going to entitle this essay "So Many Things" but thought "Chips" sounded more interesting and because I am hungry.

I have wanted to sit down and write several times over the last couple of days but the times when I am free to sit at the computer are very oddly scant the last few days. So, here is an abbreviated description of the things that interested me:

1. Exercise has continued well... in terms of me DOING the exercise. I was exceptionally sore from the weight training I did at the gym the first day. So sore, in fact, that it was painful to write with chalk or dry erase markers on the boards the next day in class. I am not sure if the students noticed or not, my very gingerly soft interaction with the boards.

2. Food is much more enjoyable when exercising. I have an easier time eating healthy foods, and I enjoy ALL the foods I eat much more when I am actively exercising.

3. I am pursuing some new serious grant writing efforts this Summer. It feels akin to a "mission" and is (at least currently) an exciting process.

4. I had an argument with my wife yesterday about a small freezer we were being given. The argument actually stemmed from when and how to retrieve the freezer from the donor. One of my wife's statements struck me the wrong way and I was hurt, frustrated and angry. This created a very difficult argument between us. However, the argument dissipated relatively quickly and we both learned some valuable information from this particular argument about communication. I was wholly to blame and at fault in the argument for reacting due to my hurt emotions and not looking at the reality of the situation, my wife's INTENTIONS, and the actual size of the problem we were disagreeing about. What is good, however, is that we talked through this much of the afternoon and came to realize we both have this tendency to react to statements emotionally.... when if we can just step back a moment, we KNOW neither of us MEANS to use hurtful words with each other. The problem stems from different styles of communication we have. My method is long, detail oriented, and a bit didactic and filled with all sorts of qualifiers. My wife's method is short, brief, and pointed. Each method CAN trigger hurt feelings on the part of the other without us even being aware of it. This was useful to figure out and may help us avoid discourse the next time it happens.

5. I am not sure if it is the exercise, or the grant work, or what, but I have been extremely interested in my pipes the last few days. I may indulge a little bit more, but not really anything significat. But, what I *am* finding is that I am examining each pipe smoking experience more deeply and enjoying each bowlful more than typical at least recently.

6. I think my spotty writing has driven people away. I have to figure out a strategy to get people to return... and to draw in more readers.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Worked Out

I worked out for roughly two hours today (walked briskly for an hour (roughly 5 miles)), and weight trained for another hour. Then I went home and spent 3.5 hours cleaning the garage.

I made a curried Indian chicken dish for dinner that is a family favorite. It has diced chicken in a sauce made of tomatoes, apples, apricot preserves, bullion, lemon, with a grand amount of curry and pepper. It is served over a flavored rice and topped with raisins and peanuts. It is wonderful.

I have to say I feel better today. I am not sure if the exercise affects my mood positively, or if I am just too exhausted to think. But the end result is the same... calm tranquility. So, perhaps if I can run myself ragged each day, I can be happy?

I watched the "House" finale tonight. It was interesting, but not as amazing as other episodes have been.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trying Again

Today was a very difficult day. I felt so tired and exhausted, I slept and did virtually nothing all day. I also felt sad, but not about any particular thing. Just sad, tired and forlorn. I have all myriad of different aches and pains... jawline, ear, feet, forehead region.

My wife baked a braided bread stuffed with sausage and various southwestern seasonings for dinner. It was very tasty. We had baked potatoes, broccoli and cheese, salad and creamed asparagus soup along with it.

My heart isn't really into it, and I do not know why. But, I am going to attempt again tomorrow to start back on my path toward exercising. I think the activity helps me to feel better about other parts of life. At least I hope that it will.

Right now, I am at a loss on how to find my way in life. I feel things may be just like this for the rest of my life... feeling lost, sad, forlorn. Feeling utterly exhausted, tired, and sleepy... of course until I go to bed at night when I toss and turn for hours unable to rest. I feel like a failure in so much of life.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Damn Dogged Tired

Starting a new schedule this week with enormous teaching loads on two days a week. And today I spent 12 hours evaluating and judging a K-8 School's Science Fair. I am utterly exhausted. Hopefully I will be able to write more on Thursday.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Ship Adrift

Mother's Day had both its good and bad elements. My wife was pleased. My attempt at a new Italian/Hispanic fusion food main course was well received. We went and bought a variety of bagels this morning with four different cream cheeses and had a grand morning following mass.

Yet, I feel very listless, and I feel very much a failure. I seem to only survive and not live. I seem to be buffeted from one task to another, never finding joy in what I do, never getting to a point where I am finished with what is required. I became angry while shopping at the local Target this past evening. I bought a pair of shoes to attempt to renew my vow to exercise regularly again. Yet even as I paid for the damn shoes, I knew there was little chance in hell that I would screw up enough gumption to use them on Monday. Therefore, my mood was very sour.

I miss my mom, especially on this Mother's Day (it is only shortly after midnight on Monday so to me it is still Sunday). Tomorrow morning I shall make the long trip to the opposite side of town to retrieve (?) the flowers I placed on my mother's and grandmother's graves for Mother's Day. I wrote the bracketed question mark because unfortunately there is a high likelihood that one or both of the potted plants will have been swiped by some unscrupulous people who seem to take pleasure in stealing flowers from grave sites. This has been something that has gone on for at least 15 years that I know of. My beautiful mother would become so sad when flowers to my father or to her mother or father would be stolen.

In honor of her, I buy the same exact type of plants that she preferred to leave on the graves. In honor of her I buy flowers for all the people that she brought flowers to as well as to her. If these potted plants are still there on Monday morning, I will bring them home and water and care for them to bring them back (and buy others) to put out on Memorial Day weekend to place on the graves of my mother & father, my grandparents, an aunt, four uncles, and two cousins.

I wish I could feel a sense of order, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of happiness. Yet, life typically feels too overwhelming... and all I feel instead is an ability to scurry from one mandatory task to another, pushing back my desires and hopes and goals.

I do not know what or how what I wrote is pertinent to anything. Perhaps this simply doing what is necessary and forced each day is what everyone does in their life, and I was too naive to know any different. If that is the case, I wish I could go back into my naive dream state where I thought I worked hard but also played hard.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Upcoming Holiday

I am on a mission for the rest of the day to shop (blech). Shopping is not my favorite task. However, I need to shop for a few additional presents for my wife to surprise her with on Mother's Day. Additionally, I need to buy some flowers to put on my beautiful mother's grave.... and also my grandmother's grave. The flowers for my mother will be a much larger arrangement than my typical single flower I bring to her grave each week.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Microwave

The new microwave oven is in place and looks grand in the newly spiffed up kitchen. I was able to get 90% of the items I had planned for the minor makeover done AND (MORE IMPORTANTLY) get the kitchen cleaned up and back in order before my wife arrived home (only minutes to spare).

She was very pleased.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quiet Day? Hah!

I had thought today would be a quiet day. But I was wrong. My plans were to lay low and spend time making a surprise for me wife in a mild makeover in our kitchen.

Instead, here is what I did:

1. Worked for 4 hours on preparation for my Spring course starting next week. This is approximately 2 more hours than I had anticipated working on this material.

2. Worked for 2 hours shopping for materials and supplies for the gentle kitchen makeover. This is about 1.5 hours more than I thought the shopping task would take.

3. Worked for 1/2 hour on actual prep work in the kitchen that would be unnoticeable to my wife when she came home, but that would help me in my new, revised idea of pulling off the transformation on Thursday afternoon instead since I could clearly see I was not going to have the time needed.

4. Had a two hour, grant meeting I had forgotten about in the late afternoon. This is another two hours I had not thought I would lose.

5. Carried out all the other day-to-day tasks I normally do... eating, exercising, etc.

Please do not get me wrong. I am not ANGRY about any of the above. Things like this happen. I am simply trying to put down these ideas so that when I look back at what I have "accomplished" and think to myself, "You didn't do a damn thing, and look at all the time that has past again!" I can instead reconfirm with my list that I was not being a slovely bum who did nothing, but instead I simply had a day where my time tables were not able to be realized due to other pressing needs.

It is not as if other people do not have the same sort of days themselves. I just needed to see it in writing, because I am prone to castigating and berating myself for my lack of accomplishment, when at least *part* of the problem is I am getting pulled in a myriad of other important (not as important as my goal, but important) tasks.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Grades Are Done!

As stated above, grades are done, marinated, and turned in. Sadly, roughly 15% of my students earned an "F" grade. That is roughly about the same percentage as those who had earned either an "A" or an "A-" grade.

In actuality, I appear to have a very good bell-shaped curve this semester. Besides the above grades, I have roughly 20% of the students in the "B" range, 30% in the "C" range and another 20% in the "D" range.

Now, I am not sure what to do with my time. I should at least straighten my offices, straighten out my lab, and empty the various beakers, ashtrays, etc filled with spent pipe tobacco leaves. I should try to organize my plan of action for the next while as well.

It is an odd conundrum... I have freedom, but I feel I should not experience said freedom yet because I need to clean and organize. If I brought my office and labs back into order, I could experience a more extensive freedom when finished.

So, should I experience freedom NOW, with it being just slightly muted by the cleaning and organizing I should do? Or, should I postpone freedom for a bit by bringing the offices and lab back into order before taking a while to play?

Maybe I will sit back for a moment, eat lunch, play on the computer a bit, reach deep into the back of my lower file cabinet drawer in my back office for a bit of "flavor" to add to my coffee, and think about which of the above should be my plan.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Perhaps the End is Near?

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I may finish grading sometime today.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ragged & Shaggy

Two items for Saturday's post:

1. I am feeling a bit forlorn today as both my wife and I are a bit out of sorts each with a myriad of work hassles. We are struggling to communicate well, and it ends up having me feel lonely.

2. While I always wear my hair and beard and moustache in a neatly trimmed manner, I do enjoy briefly venturing just bast the neatly trimmed beard and moustache into a slightly bushy, shaggier look. I am just approaching that these last few days and am contemplating if I should give myself my in-between haircut, touch-up jobs to the moustache and beard as I typically do, or if I should let myself go further down the path of shagginess and embrace a new me?


Friday, May 02, 2008

Wiped Out

I am wiped out from grading and determining grades. Thus far, I have my two upper division courses in the "marinade" stage... all grades are in and recorded and I am letting them sit as I contemplate if I should give any sort of a curve. Assignments from the lower division courses are still being graded, but I hope to have them in "marinade" as well by Sunday at the latest.

I would relish going to have a few drinks this evening, but likely will not as there are other pressing matters to attend to as well outside of grading I should focus upon.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Myered in Exams

If you were to try to peak in at me in my back office currently, you would have a hard time seeing me as I am buried under mounds of papers and exams. From one vantage point my secreatry said it looked as if there where a paper volcano in my office... I was hidden behind the papers from her view and it gave the impression of a volcano with the wisps of pipe smoke arising from the volcano itself (as I graded behind the mound).

I will keep pushing on.