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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trying to Be A Better Person

One of the major efforts I am trying to consistently focus on is trying to be a better person. How do I define "better" you may ask? Well, for me, becoming "better" involves trying to more fully live my life in a way that has me trying to be as kind and considerate to others as I can be.

Sometimes, I find that I can be impatient, and right now I am finding that at those times I have typically been impatient, I have the most obvious chances I can identify at becoming "better". I have been working for the last week or so at stopping many of my impatient actions and instead working through better ways to interact with others around me.

I am still striving to do this more and more often. A case in point is illustrated by a failure I had this morning. On my way to work, there is a fairly busy 4-Way stop intersection. Because of the large volume of traffic, it is often very slow moving through that particular intersection. In the case of my own travels to the U, I need to make a right turn at this intersection. Today, when I finally arrived at the stop sign to make my right hand turn, the fellow 90 degrees to the left of me had the "right of way" as it would be his turn next to go (again, think of all four lanes around this 4-Way stop being backed up considerably). As is often the case, people are not paying particularly good attention, and this fellow, whose turn was before my own, was not moving at a pace that was in keeping with people in a rush hour style "hurry" to get to work. I waited one, two, three intervals for the fellow to move, and then I too my turn instead. Just as I was taking my turn, he started to gradually enter the intersection for his turn. So I kept going and ended up ahead of him on the same road going to the U.

My impatience had me move out of turn. Granted, the fellow could have moved faster to keep traffic flow moving, but just because he did not move at a desired pace, DID NOT mean I should have cut in front of him in the rotation. Immediately after I did this, I felt guilt, and I wished I had not done this. And, even though it is a common occurrence for many to do this when encountering distracted or slow to respond drivers, I wish I would have exhibited more of the patience I have been focusing on.

I do not know the driver who followed me into the U. But, in my mind, I did apologize for driving out of turn. It really did nothing for him. And, he probably did not even notice my cutting ahead in rotation as a problem or difficulty... he was distracted doing other things. But, I apologized, not because I expected a response, but because I felt it was wrong for me to cut ahead of the rotation.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fighting Gloom

Once again, I am fighting to get myself out of the doldrums. I feel harshly ineffective and pointless. Yet, I am trying to keep myself going through the motions of day-to-day life in as normal a fashion as I can so as to hopefully have this sadness dissipate.

I feel like I am a failure of immense proportions, yet I know in my mind that I am just an average person with an average life. Yet, it does not feel that way. I wish I could find my inner "Don Quixote" again where I felt I was working to make the world better and that I was putting up "the good fight" to do what is right and good... and that my life had meaning. I miss that illusion.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mildly Interesting Observation

I am now proctoring my first exam of the semester, and as I watch the kids struggle through the exam, I find it interesting how strong a desire I have currently to smoke my pipe.

I typically do not feel this sort of "romantic" longing and desire to smoke my pipe, for I am only infrequently in a situation of this sort. In most of my day-to-day activities, I am fairly busy and also fairly free to do what I want. So, I will occasionally smoke my pipe during the day, although there are many days when I am busy and active all around campus where I do not smoke my pipe until I get into my truck and leave for the day to go home. My "longing and desire" scale does not seem to relate to how many pipes I have had during a day, but instead seems to relate to how much "thinking time" I have. When I am busy and rushing around, my mind is task oriented, but when I get time to think, contemplate, and hypothesize... that is when my desire for the beauty, charms, and camaraderie of my pipe is strong and vivid.

So, here I am with an hour to be quiet and contemplate (I am proctoring an exam), and I day dreaming about when I will be able to enjoy a pipe later today. The sense of yearning is palpable and pleasant.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two Years Today!

A brief note to highlight that today is the completion of TWO FULL YEARS of walking outside each and every single day for 4-5 miles without missing a single day! I have walked in the rain, in snow, ice, blizzards, and when it has been -20 degrees outside. I am happy with my accomplishment.


P.S. I am still contemplating a bit how I wish to return to my regular posting. I suspect in the next few days I will be up and running as usual.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Due to a myriad of different factors, I am working through in my mind some significant changes I wish to make for myself personally, and for this blog and my writings in particular. I would like a) to become a better person... more kind, more considerate, more caring, b) a happier person... less prone to sadness, less morose in general, and less tired moment-to-moment, and c) a more interesting blog to read... by having more interesting writings. I am tired of being caught up in different emotionally draining issues from work, politics, and other aspects of life. In my wildest imagination, I would have never guessed that in my day-to-day life, everything would get so emotionally draining. I always envisioned life to become more and more about showing love, sharing love and working hard to try to make our own little pieces of the world better.

I will be thinking about the above issues for the next several days, and I may or may not be posting for the first few days. However, if you have any comments or suggestions, I would be glad to hear them.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Hurt Someone's Feelings

I am writing this blog post because I have hurt someone's feelings in a very significant way. At this point I wish to keep the details ambiguous because the person I hurt has not said whether he/she would want me to give a detailed apology.

What I did, is repeatedly do something to this person that I did not realize would casue him/her stress and hurt. What I did was not a good thing to do, but I did not realize it would cause so many problems. For these actions, I am truly sorry, and I sincerely apologize to that individual.

Unfortunately, before I knew I was hurting this individual, I also did something more. This additional action I took was meant to show that *I* had felt hurt by this individual, but it backfired in that it hurt the person further. My action was meant to show to the person, in a sarcastic manner, that I felt hurt. My action did not succeed in doing this, but instead was only hurtful to the person.

I am not proud of my actions. On the contrary, I am ashamed that I did these things. My initial actions were not done to purposefully hurt this individual, but that is not an excuse. They did hurt this individual, and I regret having done them. I also regret the "sarcastic" action I took as well. It was not appropriate, and again, I am sorry.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Busy, Busy, Bathroom, Bees

I got it in my head this year that I am going to strive to "live life large". This is somewhat different than my prior feeble attempts to "live life large" but in a small way.

What I am doing this time is setting out to try to stay so busy and filled up with things to do that I wring out every minute of the day until I sit down for the evening (probably around 8:30 or 9:00 pm to relax a bit before bed). What is especially different though, is the notion that in the past, much (most) of what I did to fill my time was WORK. Work at or for the U. My efforts now are FOCUSED on doing good work, but minimizing work, and leaving it at work, and FOCUSING on doing things much, much, much more tangibly for the FAMILY and for MYSELF. At first read, many of you may say:

"Damn, that sounds rather selfish and/or hedonistic of the old professor, doesn't it?"

I can concur that it does indeed *sound* that way, but I truly think it is not really the case in the long run. After thinking through ideas a lot this Summer, and observing how other people live and behave, and in exploring more about what I *mean* when I say to myself I want to "live life large", I think this will really do the trick.

By focusing "full speed ahead" on doing tasks, doing *things*, even if those things will become MORE and MORE for my family and myself... I think I will feel a greater sense of accomplishment, a greater peace, and have much greater a drive, ambition and success... and this will in effect spill over into work as well. Now, do not get me wrong... I do think I am a pretty decent professor in terms of teaching, research, and service. But, I think I have the potential to be a BETTER teacher, a BETTER researcher, and a BETTER man of service, all in a MORE EFFICIENT manner in terms of time. This efficiency depends upon my level of HAPPINESS, and that is what this whole process I am working on is about. In the same vein, I need more HAPPINESS to become a BETTER husband, BETTER father, BETTER sibling, BETTER friend, and BETTER son as well.

I really think I am onto something here with this approach. I am going to leave soon and go paint a bathroom in my home, and hunt down and hopefully annihilate some bees (actually paper wasps) that are trying to nest in my soffits. Live Life Large!

So, put that in your pipe, and smoke it, as the saying goes!