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.

Friday, April 28, 2017


I am going to a wedding today with my family for my nephew.  Many of my relation has not seen me in a while and I anticipate excessive comments about my now fairly big, fluffy (dare I say, luxurious?) beard I have been letting grow freely for four months.  

I find it surprising how manny comments (90+% positive) about my beard right now.  Keep in mind that I have worn a beard and moustache continuously ever since I was 19 (many, many, many decades ago).  I had always kept it shortish probably about 1 inch in length, and sometimes about 1/2 inch immediately when I would trim it.   

Now, it is perhaps 3 inches in length, so it is not really a helluva lot different in my opinion.  It is fuller and to me I like it.  I have a look that to me is something I am liking.    Sometimes I think I look a bit like a Civil War General, or perhaps late 18th century scholar (Darwin, perhaps) or like Jack Elam, the character actor in a lot if westerns.  

So, since my more distant relatives will be "shocked" at my new appearance and will comment on it extensively (they tend to be very opinionated), I have decided to meet them head on with a bit of self deprecating humor:

I am planning to tell various folks in a joking fashion as soon as they mention it one of the following... imagine a deadpan expression with just a hint of humor in my voice, "Yeah, well, you know... I'm planning to audition for the role of (X) in the University play production this Summer."  

Depending on the person and what will strike them as most humorous and recognizable, (X) will be one of these:

Teveya (from Fiddler on the Roof) for those relatives that know and like that play.

Don Quixote (from Man of LaMancha) for those folks who know it is a typecast role as I am rathe the absent minded professor in real life.

A homeless person (for some unnamed play) for the relatives who I know will be more negative about the beard no matter what (these are the especially intense relatives).  

With those three different options, I should be able to navigate through there ample comments with humor and grace. I might throw in a Jack Elam reference too occasionally or a Victor French reference for the couple of relatives who may know those character actors.   A part of the humor will in itself be in my saying I am going to audition for a role in a play itself.  As a biologist, and a generally quiet person, the thought of me auditioning for a role in a play will seem shocking and humorous to my relatives and will tend to diffuse the comments into a less pointed fashion.  

As this is a wedding, I am also steeling myself for the usual routine with my wife. I KNOW she will want to stay to the very end of the reception.   She knows that is not my preference, but, it does always go that way.  I will likely have more to drink than I will wish I had come Saturday morning, but I will try to be as moderate as I can muster.  But, as the hours keep passing and passing while I wait for us to go home, I will likely end up drinking a few extra glasses out of boredom.  Or, maybe I will be schnockered enough that I will dance and act even sillier than usual?  Only time will tell.  


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beautiful Morning

It is an immensely pleasant and beautiful 50 degrees Farenheit (10 degrees Celcius) here at 7:15am!!!   I truly believe that Spring may have arrived!  My 5 mile run this morning was so very pleasant as well!  I pushed my heart rate and it was at 150 when I checked it at the finish.  I knew and was purposefully pushing myself on this run because it felt good and I do want to try to get stronger.  My resting pulse this morning when I awoke was 54, so that too was nice!  

My elderly father-in-law is STILL in the hospital, which is sad, but he is getting stronger.  We are hoping he may go home within a week.  

My wife and I have been watching a show called "This is Us" on On Demand, and we are glad we started watching it.  We do not really watch much television, perhaps if we are lucky, one hour a day.  But, this show is exceptionally well done, and is a really creative and nice take on gamy life and family dynamics.  It is really the only true drama we watch lately.  

We went to see "The Zookeeper's Wife" this weekend at the theater.  It was beautiful, tragic, and immensely well done.  It was about a Polish Zookeeper that ended up saving around 300 Jewish folks in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation.  The film really put into perspective how silly and foolish most of our modern "problems" are.  

I am finishing my first pipe of the day as I type this, and my dog has done her "business" as well.  So, I should probably head inside and shower and head off to the U.  


Tuesday, April 18, 2017


My wife was a grouch at me this morning and it really has set the day off right (sarcasm).  Who the hell knows what is in store for the rest of the day.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I Do Not

 Even though I have tough times occasionally, I rarely, if ever want to skip whole weeks.  But, if I had my druthers, I would skip the next 9 days if I could.  This time of the year is usually very busy and chaotic at the U.  But, this year is magnifying this time of year in intensity about 10 times that of a normal year.  There are so many different things that must be done for the U during the next 9 days that I cringe and fear for my sanity.  I hope I can make it through the next 9 days, mostly unscathed.   I am fearful though it will be worse than even anticipated.  

Even though I did not want to this morning, I did run my five miles.  That is likely to he the highlight of my day.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Ethereal Mindset

Of course there really is never a bad time to be allowed "activity" with my beloved wife, I must admit that I find an especially strong fondness for such activity in the early morning hours.  The stars were fortunately aligned this morning when I awoke at 4:30 am.  My wife too had awoken, and as we started to cuddle a bit and talk, one thing led to another and we were soon finding ourselves in a delightfully passionate course of "activity".  As such "activity" inevitabally leads back to cuddling and pleasantly groggy additional rest, my run for the morning was delayed a bit.  I did not get out the door to begin my five mile run until 6:15am.  But, I have now completed the run, and it was far easier to focus on the run itself.  Usually, in addition to praying the rosary during my run, I usually end up with my mind side tracking to concerns about work in the day ahead.  This morning, no such drift occurred an I stayed clear in my prayer and in my contemplation on how to become a better husband, father, and person which is what I try to stay focused on durin my run.  

As I sit out here on the back porch now, enjoying my first pipe of the day while the dog eats and does her "business", I still feel a wonderful sense of serenity, relaxation, and yes, even a focus, although it is admittedly a bit ethereal in nature.  

When I soon head in to get ready to go to work at the U. I hope to maintain this surreal, ethereal feeling of tranquility.   

I went to a special Mass yesterday where there was special time alloyed for individual and communal penance (for those of you unfamiliar with Roman Catholic practices, special masses of this sort happen frequently as we approach Easter, even though penance can be conducted anytime through the year).  I was glad I could fit the added Mass into my excessively hectic Tuesday, yesterday.  To confess all my wrongs with a sincere heart and to ask for forgiveness was quite freeing to me.  It had been almost five weeks since my last confession, which was far longer than I should have gone, so I unfortunately used a great deal of time with the priest.  However, he was able to help me shape my focus so that I do feel I have a path I can use to try to become the better, kinder person I do wish to be.  I just have to keep trying and trying to be better, and I have to be more aware that even incrimental steps in the right direction eventually add up (much like my exercise) and that I should be more cognizant of my failures, but also aware more on how I am in some small ways becoming more the good, kind, helpful person I wish to become.


Saturday, April 01, 2017


Well, today I decided to count up where I am at currently.  Today marks the 3,115th day in a row that I have walked or ran 5 miles a day for exercise in a row without missing a single, damn day!!!!   I am very glad for the consistency I have been able to show.  Even more exciting for me is that I am still running.... 28 miles a week!   Some days running is not really all that fun, but truth be told, most days I am happy about it, and especially happy when it is done for the day!  :)

My elderly father-in-law is still in the hospital with his pneumonia.  He also had a procedure to dilate part of his esophagus which is something that he needed because constrictions in the esophagus seem to run in his side of the family.  Overall, he seems to be doing well, but it is anticipated he may end up going to a rehabilitation facility for a week to 10 days prior to coming home to help him further regain his strength. 

Work is the same b*llsh*t as usual.  But, I have been persevering as best as I can and have been keeping on top of things, so that aspect has been going ok.  We had a day-long Department Meeting yesterday (nightmarish as you might envision.... 7 damn hours with non-stop nonsense).  At the tail end of the meeting, when I needed to go with a subcommittee in our Department to visit the Provost for another damn meeting, one of the subcommittee members piped up "Why didn't you tell him that we were in a retreat?" because this member just LOVES being in a "retreat".  I just about blew a gasket and was wanting to curse this person out.  Instead, I said through gritted teeth, "Uh, well, you are a member of the subcommittee and I am not.  I forwarded to you the meeting not set by me by by the Dean and Provost.  If you did not want to have the meeting or time, it was your responsibility to contact them, not me.  It isn't really all that valuable for me to attend this meeting as it is about YOUR subcommittee."  And, then I left it at that and went to this meeting.  The members of the subcommittee did show up, and that is fine, but I was still feeling royally p*ss*d at the one member.    But, afterwards, I worked to let it go.

I must say I missed going over to visit with my elderly father-in-law for pipes and libations yesterday too.  It is always such a nice way to end the workweek.  But, I did visit him in the hospital, which was nice as far as ANY visit occurring in a hospital can be. 

We may get weather in the 50s this week!!!!  It seems like so very long since nice weather has happened.  I am looking forward to having all my running occur outside again!!!!  I am also feeling eager to try to pick up the winter related detritus from the yard and get the yard ready for Spring and Summer activities outside!!!!  Planting of the garden is only two months away too!  I definitely am planning to grow a lot of herbs (Plans so far are for at least two types of basil, oregano,  cilantro,  sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, and dill.) and I also know for sure I want to grow several tomatillo plants.  I am nearly out of the incredibly delicious roasted tomatillo verde salsa I made last fall and froze in pint batches.  I am negotiating with my wife to perhaps have more tomatillo plants rather than tomato plants (Our tomatos have been good, but I'd rather have more tomatillos!).  Other items we will plant are still being determined, but I think I would like to grow popcorn again for sure, and probably kale and some bell and hot peppers and kohlrabi.

Even though I am not in the market for a new vehicle (well, a used vehicle), I sometimes get in the mood to look at cars and trucks that interest me.  Lately, I have been enjoying looking at small vehicle offerings and thought each of the following would be fun:

Chevrolet Sonic
Jeep Renegade
Fiat 500

Although I know none of the above is in my future at this time, I think I have been attracted to them because of my remaining about back when I was a lot younger and in graduate school and into my first position.  I had a series of four different vehicles all of which were very small for their day:

Ford Falcon
Volkswagen Beetle
Chevrolet Vega
Volkswagen Rabbit

Each of the vehicles was fun and enjoyable in its own way.  I miss driving them to a degree, and I think that is why I have been looking more at today's smaller vehicles.  But, again, I have no real plans to change anything.