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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Professorial Voice

My voice is plum worn out.  Summer teaching is at an accelerated pace and I spent 9 hours talking in my "professorial voice."  The professorial voice is a louder voice that is fully enunciated so all the students can hear.  9 hours of that is a lot, and I feel like being silent now.  

My wife usually hated days like these because I typically am very quiet.  It unsettles her, because I  not usually so quiet.  Oh well.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Traditionally, Memorial Day was a day to honor our relatives and friends who served in the military who have passed away.  My own father is one such fellow. He earned two bronze stars and a Purple Heart medal during his service in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II.  I also have many other relatives who served in the military as well who have passed away.

Memorial Day has grown to encompass a remembrance of ALL relatives and friends who have died.  This weekend, when I placed flowers on the grave markers of all my relatives who have died, I worked to recall all the fun times we had together.  I miss you all, and appreciate the impact each of you have had in shaping me.  I hope I am not a disappointment to you.  


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Change, a thing that happens that is different.  People react to change in two common ways... they mourned what is being left behind, and they embrace the new opportunities that may arise (this is in regard to changes a person selects).  Most people have a mixture of both emotions.  Yet, some folks tend towards one emotion predominating over the other.  For me, change, even planned for change tends to have me focus much more on the sense of loss, and not as much on the new opportunities.  I have really been that way all my life, and it has shaped who I have become.  

As I have grown more verbally aware of this facet of my personality,  I see it as more and more of a problem, more of something  I dislike in myself.  Why, through the period of change, do I have to think so negatively?  I do NOT have to do that.... I could embrace the joy of change.   But, in all seriousness, I almost always DO NOT do this.  I would like to change, but I am at a loss on how to do this.  It is a helluva lot of work, and I am awful at thinking about the positive, when a change has loss or worry or fear associated with it.  I feel like a damn loser, a pathetic person, a weak individual because I cannot figure out how to change this in me.

I wish I could make myself feel excited about the opportunities change may provide.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Busy & Busy

Trying hard to do all the right things, and that is keeping me busy.  Made flight plans for a research presentation I will give in August, called about getting my old Beetle looked at so I can sell the damn thing (tired of basically storing it and not driving the beast),  getting the dog to the vet, cleaning, preparing for Summer teaching, cleaning up my lab after the chaos of ending the last semester, writing e-mails to new potential research students, contemplating grants to write, getting old guard students set for presenting research at a state meeting in June, and other items too ambiguous to mention at the moment.  

And, on top of all that, exercising, helping my wife establish am exercise pattern she wishes to adopt, trying to eat healthy, and trying to get back into jogging instead of just walking.

Finally, I am trying to feel at peace, and to enjoy the "moment".


Friday, May 16, 2014


Reading is a large part of an academic life,  with keeping aware of current research, grading papers and what not.  Sometimes it is easy to forget reading for pleasure.   During the last two years or so, I have made a concerted effort to read fiction for pleasure and it has been a wonderful aspect of reading I am glad to have back in my life. Mostly I have been reading science fiction and detective/mystery novels.  I have often imagined myself writing a work of fiction, and now I thinking I may put forth a real effort to try to write a novel.  I am going to plan my effort during this Summer, and begin the writing process this Fall.  For me to have a real shot at doing this, though, I need to have a full fledged plan of action.  I have a half dozen raw ideas I have thought of over several years and I will be sifting through these and picking one to begin my effort with this Fall.  

I think I will enjoy the effort.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I am sitting here with a bowl of robust, vanilla tinctured burley, and am reading more about flooring.  My wife and I are considering having new flooring installed in our home.  With pets (a dog and two cats), we have grown tired of our aged carpets (installed wall-to-wall) that are in most areas of the home other than the kitchen and bathrooms.  Permanently attached carpeting is a hassel with pets because it ages quickly and never looks particularly nice after 2-3 years.  Our carpeting is currently 15 years old. 

We have decided to take a new approach this time, and have a hard surface flooring material upon which we can then have easily removable and replaceable area rugs instead.  With that in mind, there are three options that seem reasonable bets:  1)  hardwood floors, 2) laminate floors, or 3) vinyl plank flooring.  While I think true, traditional hardwood floors would be wonderful, both hardwood floors and laminate floors have issues that make them more difficult in some ways.  Hardwood floors wear and scuff fairly easily, and pet nails (both the dog and the cats) can lead to fairly significant scratching of the finish of the hardwoods.  Laminate flooring has risks too, especially with the boards fiberboard core which if it absorbs moisture of any sort (even the best dog will have an accident once in a while, or a cat will vomit out a hairball) will lead to bubbling along the seam edge of laminate flooring.

Because we both want something easier to care for, we are (much to my surprise) seriously considering vinyl plank flooring.  It looks amazingly close to real wood, and is much more wear resistant and moisture resistant than the other two flooring types.  In many ways it really seems the best bet for easy care, long term nicer looking results.

It seems so different to think of using vinyl planking, that I am wondering if there is something I do not realize about this type of flooring that makes it a poor choice?  If anyone out there knows anything about this type of flooring, please leave a comment.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Miss You

I miss you, Mom.  This is the eighth Mother's Day since you passed away.  I so wish you were here physically in my day-to-day life, and I hope you are with me spiritually every day... although I do not know... I do fervently hope you are. 

I learned and became much of who and what I am through your guidance, and I owe you such gratitude in addition to my ample love.  You would be 86 years old now,  and you could be here in body, but your heart did not allow you to be.  I tried with all my knowledge and understanding to advocate for you in the healthcare aystem every step of the way during the last decade you were with us, but eventually even my care and my efforts to keep you as healthy as possible and to navigate through the myriad of problems with the healthcare system given your medical issues was not enough and I failed.  I am sorry, and I wish I could have been better.  

Today, though, I want to think about the joys we were able to experience even during those years of decline.  I especially recall fondly you and I working together to allow you to make your traditional fruitcake and cookies for the last Christmas before you passed away.  I cut a lot of corners at work to get to be able to be with you for that, and I am so glad I was there.  The smiles and the gentle laughter we shared as we baked is a feeling and memory I try to keep vivid in my mind and in my heart. 

I love you and I miss you each and every day,