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, March 25, 2014

Strong Pipe Craving

The image that used to be above but is now removed was of an author I met.  The photograph was not one I took, but was one I found of him on the Internet this evening after I had thought again about his talk and the book I read of his called Spartina.  I met him when he visited our U a number of years ago.  He is John Casey, author of Spartina as well as other books.  The book I read of his is quite wonderful, and he is a nice fellow as well.  I enjoyed a pipe with him while he was waiting to give his talk.  So, if you wish to see this fellow, look for an image of him on-line. 

*     *     *     *     *

It is interesting to note that this morning upon awakening, I experienced a much deeper yearning for a pipe than I have experienced in quite some time.  It sort of caught me a bit off guard.  I was not anticipating it. 

The idea of variation to the intensity of cravings being non-linear (and being either stable or gently sloping downward to lower and lower intensities is surprising to me.  I am wondering what is the root cause? 

I am wondering if a higher stress level this week at work and at home is partially to blame?  Possibly, but it does not seem to fully explain why when my feet hit the floor this morning, I REALLY wanted a pipe.  I was probably at my most relaxed at that moment than I have been the last few days. 

Well, what this really has me thinking about is what about the future.  It was easy enough to resist even this moderate craving due to the impact of my not wanting to break my Lenten vow.  But, if the cravings can still come back in a moderate fashion after Lent, what sort of mechanism do I need to keep in my mind to help me continue to resist at that point?  Should it be the ever climbing number of days of success like with walking?  Is that enough incentive? 

I want to figure out something that will help me to succeed after Lent is over with my 97.5% pipe tobacco free existence.  I have been enjoying doing what I say I will do.  I have been feeling more enjoyment when I do indulge, and I have been feeling good about not indulging at those times I have selected not to.  But... this more moderate craving DID surprise me.  I have to think about it more. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

All the Cravings Today

I now recognize my four true craving times.  They are predictable like clockwork.  1) Shortly after waking in the morning, 2)  Shortly after "Quitting Time", 3)  when sitting down to relax after dinner, and 4) right before bed.  

Today I felt each of those, but they were mild and generally ok to get through...  even though in each case I would rather have smoked my pipe rather than refrain.


Saturday, March 22, 2014


Just like last Saturday, I did have a pipe craving when I went out on my walk.  It was a later start to the morning because Saturday is a relatively unstructured time.  The craving was mostly a wishful desire, and was relatively speaking, mild.  

I think it is going pretty well for a Saturday.  I think all unstructured weekend days will involve a few cravings as my pipe indulgences have always been about relaxing... not stimulation like some people utilize tobacco for


Friday, March 21, 2014


Again, as allowed in my 97.5% pipe tobacco free plan, I did indulge today with libations and pipes with my elderly father-in-law.  Both were nice.  But, neither was utterly beautiful nor utterly amazing.  I really think I am getting to not be so enamored with pipes anymore.  I can even envision possibly giving up entirely.  I do not think it will be soon.... As the 97.5% reduction is going well, but I can see it for the future.  It may just feel right.  

Truth be told, I never thought it would be like this.  I thought I would be pining for my pipes ALL the time during Lent.  During my prior attempt at refraining, I DID pine for pipes and pipe tobacco.  I even had an empty pipe I held in my hand as I went to sleep during my prior attempt as a sort of pacifier.  Not this time. 

I am amazed at this success.  I hope it persists.  And, I believe it actually may persist even after Lent!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just Progressing

Not much new to report.  I am simply keeping my Lenten vows.  As anticipated, the weekend was slightly challenging, meaning I had a few times I did have pipe cravings.  But, overall, they were not too bad.  During the week thus far, it has been pretty smooth sailing. 

I suspect that the primary challenge during the weekend is due to the more random schedule.  I tend to have more unscheduled,  unstructured time during the weekend.  And, that is often time I would traditionally fill with the smoking of one or multiple of my pipes.  When my time is more structured like during the week, it is easier simply to get into the routine. 

A secondary aspect to the cravings on the weekend MAY be that I had just actually indulged in a pipe the evening before.  I am not sure how much of a role that plays or  not.   But, again, as it has been rather manageable.... all is good. 

I truly do think I learned quite a bit during my prior attempt several months ago.  This effort is a relative breeze thus far.    Being 97.5% pipe tobacco free seems to be a reasonably good zone for me.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Thought I Posted This on Monday

I had meant to show this image of the Venturi pipe.  I have one just like this and this very color and shape that I have traditionally saved to smoke on St. Patrick's Day.  It is not a particularly good smoking pipe, which is mainly why it did not fit into regular rotation.  But, since I am not currently smoking my pipe except for on Friday with libations with my father-in-law, this year the Venturi stays in the drawer.

Happy St. Patrick's Day (belatedly).


Friday, March 14, 2014

Maybe I am Learning Something...

I just arrived home from a trip to see my elderly father-in-law and I feel pleasant.  I am finishing the second bowl of pipe tobacco as I write this.  It is, yes, pleasant, but it is not the amazing event I was sort of anticipating.  That may be a pretty damn good thing in reality.  Now that I am on day 10 of my journey, it seems different than my previous attempt at refraining.  Previously, I was acutely aware of every moment without my pipe, an. I longed to be reunited with it on those days I allowed it.  This time, the previous seven days were not so rough.  

It was not a chore to refrain like it was previously, nor was it a joyful epiphany to again engage with the pipe.  It was nice, but it did not feel mandatory!  

I am actually a little bit eager to see what this next week of refraining will bring.  If it is like the past week, I will be able to maintain my 97.5% reduction in consumption.  Perhaps I will find it continuing to be fairly straight forward to do?  That would be wonderful! 

Perhaps an old dog CAN learn new tricks!  I am not sure how to explain my success thus far, but I like it.  It is nice that my desire for the pipe is not a 24/7 sort of thing this time thus far.  Probably tomorrow will be a bit more challenging with it being Saturday and being also the day after indulging, but I am at least thinking it will be manageable, and I look to my desire to decline again like it did this week.  


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Same Old...

Not much new at the moment.  Busy as hell at the U.  No pipe smoking.  Generally feeling tired.  That is it.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In a Perfect World...

If the world were perfect, then I would be able to smoke my pipes and pipe tobacco's as often as I would like and anywhere I would like.  When I was younger I misguidedly thought the world was darn near perfect, and I did smoke when and where I wanted.  Many folks did.  The real world reality is of course different.

Yet, the reality of the world is that it is what it is.  I am adjusting my behavior accordingly in many ways.  And truth be told, so far all seems reasonably "ok".  It is not what I would choose in my perfect world vision, but I am making the real world more "perfect" for me to live in.  I try to do my work without angst to the best of my ability, I try to treat people kindly to the best of my ability, and now I am having pipe tobacco indulgence be as close to worry-free "perfection as my mind can currently follow.  

Today is my 7th day of my new pipe adventure.  I went from 80 pipes in a week down to two purposeful pipes on Friday with my elderly father-in-law.  I savored those two most meaningful pipes for me and eliminated the rest.  It was not easy, but it was manageable.  That was a 97.5% reduction, which is close to perfection in this imperfect world.  For now that seems good.  I shall endeavor to carry on in this way.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Rough Work Day

Today was a rough work day.  I was also feeling blue about a disagreement I had.  The work issues were mostly aggravating and required a lot of effort on my part to fix another person's mistakes.  I actually was so busy "fixing" problems that I did not get a chance to eat today either.  

In the past, I would be smoking my pipe like crazy at work, or if not at work, I would daydream about firing up my pipe when I got into my truck to head home... and I would imagine the intensity of the feeling of the heavy, thick, smoke from the most robust tobacco I have, with the lovely, richly heavy dose of nicotine traveling from my lungs into the bloodstream to quiet and quell my brain of its aggravation and annoyances.  

Yet, today, I did not smoke my pipe.  I do want to, today.  But, if I am to learn a new way, if I am to teach this old dog a new trick, I must stay the course, and fulfill what I said I will do.  I am trying to keep in mind that this deeply felt "quitting time" hunger to deeply smoke my pipe tobacco will pass, and my hunger for the leaf will decline, at least until it is time for bed.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Of Course....

I would, of course, enjoy smoking a pipe right now.  Yet, I am trying to teach myself another way.  I am wanting to think of the pipe as something akin to drinking.... an occasional endeavor.  This time during Lent will hopefully help me to shape that idea.... occasional use, not constant use, as the norm for me.  It has a learning curve to be sure. 

I do not drink alcohol every day.  Hell, I typically have  2-3 drinks once every other week or so.  I should be able to think about pipe tobacco in the same way.  It is NOT something I should enjoy every day, nor all day long.  It should be an occasional joy or indulgence. 


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Doing Ok.

I had two pipes with my elderly father-in-law on Friday as was had a few libations and talked.  It was pleasant.  I am now again back in my fast from my pipes.  From what I learned in my previous attempt, weekends have their own trials. Today was no exception, but I have weathered those tribulations adequately, and anticipate a relatively smooth evening. 


Thursday, March 06, 2014

As Anticipated...

Last night was a bear for me in terms of my pipe.  I knew it would be a challenge. Typically, my last pipe of the evening occurs along with me taking the dog out for her last opportunity to "go potty" for the evening.   Some evenings I will sit on the back porch while she runs around the backyard.  Other times I will take her for a brief walk in the moonlight.  In either event, my typical pattern has typically been for me to have one of my especially large-bowled briars filled to the brim with one of my especially dark, most robust pipe tobaccos.  While the dog is meandering, I will slowly, yet strongly ignite my pipe, and smoke from it in a slow, deep droughts.  Inevitably, the impact upon me by the time I return in with the dog is to help me feel a deep sense of quiet, a calmness from head-to-toe, and a relaxed sense of serenity that will make it easy to read a few pages in whatever current novel I am reading, and then moving into a gentle, restful slumber. 

Last night, I felt out-of-sorts and out of my element without my bedtime pipe.  Again, I did anticipate it, and it was like "clockwork" so-to-speak.   Just a clock, I did not want to follow.  But I made it through to the other side, and woke up this morning feeling like usual and generally happy. 

In my estimation during the last several weeks, I have typically been indulging in between 8 and 10 bowls of pipe tobacco each day.   There is a bit of give and take, however.   On Friday afternoon and evening, as well as Saturday and Sunday, I tend to smoke my pipe much more frequently, probably between 10 - 12 times a day.    So, in my ballpark estimate, I am probably hovering around smoking 80 - 85 bowls of pipe tobacco a week.  That is a helluva lot.  So, this new Lenten journey is a good thing for me.  I have confirmed that of those many pipes I tend to smoke in a day, that there are TWO VERY HARD TIMES:

1.  "Quitting Time" - when I leave the U for the day.  It varies in actual time each day, but would on average be between 4:00pm and 4:30.  I equate this time as roughly akin to how a large number of folks will stop off at the local bar on their way home and have a beer.  I know that this is how I typically indulge in my pipe tobacco at this time. 

2.  "Bed Time" - the sort of "nightcap" time of day for many folks. 

In actuality, the remaining parts of the day, while not without a desire for a pipe or two, are really not particularly difficult for me to handle.  I am going to think of potential strategies I may adopt at quitting time and bedtime to make this journey a bit easier.  As I write this, it is indeed, "Quitting Time" and I am in the midst of a deep, longing and hunger for my pipe tobacco again.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

So Far...

Thus far things are going as expected.  I had a mild desire to smoke my pipe when I got up to walk my 5 miles.  I knew that would be minimally challenging to ignore.  Through the working day, the desire to smoke my pipe was even more manageable with only very limited cravings.  I figured this also would be the case as my smoking pattern at work is wildly variable under normal circumstances.  Some days I do not smoke my pipe at work, other times I smoke quite a bit... but the variability inherent during the day made it relatively easy to not indulge. My first of two very challenging times has also occurred.  I would say that from my prior attempt, not  smoking my pipe immediately upon arriving home is either the MOST difficult time I have, or at least the second most difficult time I have.  

It was hard when I came home.  It was quite hard.  But, I made it through and feel focused again.  The pipe time right before bed will be the other big challenge. I love the deep feeling of mental relaxation a heavy bowl of robust pipe tobacco has on me before I go to sleep.

Please continue to wish me luck.  In addition to my five mile outdoor walk this morning (  a warm 14 degrees ),  I jogged a half a mile on the track at the gym in addition to the weight training.

I already noticed a more open and less phlegmatic feeling in my chest.  That too seems on par.  I need to focus on these and other positives when I am challenged.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Tomorrow is the Start

Tomorrow I will be starting one of the two quitting patterns.  I am still debating either the 100% quit or the 99% quit, but it will be one of them.  Wish me luck and success please.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Pros & Cons

What are the pros and cons of my decision for Wednesday?  Hell, there are a lot of them.  Some of them wise, some of them stupid.  Some of them probably a bit of both:

Pros of Quitting (at least during Lent)

1.  To give me a focus on accomplishing a goal.

2.  To give me a time to feel what it is like to not be a pipe smoker. 

3.  To give myself a structure that may help me to be successful at quitting.

4.  To potentially make me feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually (eventually).

5.  To help me be more focused in general (eventually).

(By this, I mean, that in today's world, the pipe, no matter how much I love smoking it, is a distraction, and it is an interruption in most other aspects of my day.  It used to be that smoking a pipe was a PART of the rest of everyday living.  In the way today's world operates, that is not so.  Instead, to smoke my pipe, I have to be either planning diversions away from other tasks or activities I am doing, or I have to be defiant and smoke my pipe in situations where it is no longer the norm or considered typical.  Both situations take more focus, time, and energy that I am wanting to give.)

Cons of Quitting (at least during Lent)

1.  It will entail a lot of difficulties and challenges for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

2.  I will be more prone to feeling aggravation and anger, at least for a while.  

3.  To refrain (as from my previous experience of about 20 days about 8 months ago) tends to make me VERY focused on the effort, and while my long range idea is that it would be freeing to me and I would EVENTUALLY be able to think about it less, I know that at least initially, I would be thinking about it ALL THE DAMN TIME!

4.  After the many decades I have smoked a pipe, it is actually relatively difficult for me to think back to what it WAS like to NOT be a pipe smoker.  I have been a pipe smoker for a helluva lot longer than I had ever not been a pipe smoker.  And, even before I actually started as a kid, I knew for quite a while before hand that I WANTED to smoke a pipe and that I envisioned myself doing so even before I actually did.    So, it will be an awfully damn hard paradigm shift for me in terms of who I perceive myself to be.

5.  I will miss it, and miss it greatly.

So, I am still trying to pick my plan.... a) give up the pipe completely for Lent with the hope that it sticks as a think it may and I will then refrain forever, b)  give up the pipe as a regular commodity in my day-to-day living, and only indulge on an infrequent occasions (perhaps one or two bowls a week) to maintain the ties to the activity and yet wrangle it in so that it is more in keeping with the way life now is,  or c) to embrace pipe smoking without thinking about quitting/stopping anymore and perhaps even to be more immersed in the activity.