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, September 29, 2017

Somewhat Better

I am feeling somewhat better today. I do not have a fever (that may be due to taking two aspirin last night).  During the three days of illness so far I have taken a total of three aspirin tablets and two Sudafed tablets.  I feel that was an ok amount of medications across the three days.  It was not excessive and no where near the highest recommended dosages of any of the medications.  That makes it feel safe to me.  I try to not take any medications because I think they are often more troublesome than they are worth.  I am not required to take any medications by my doctor.  But the things I do take daily are a multivitamin, a few vitamin C tablets, an echinacea tablet and a few fiber capsules.  These are my "medicines" so-to-speak.  Except of course my nemesis of indulgence on pipe tobacco and 2-3 strong libations a week.  It does not seem overly excessive, except for the damn pipe tobacco, of course.

I think I am definitely on the mend.  I ran the full five miles without having to stop twice like I did yesterday when my fever and severe nausea had my run my five miles in a 3+1+1 arrangement.  I know I was slower than usual, running about a 9:20 mile pace, but for how sick I have been, I am accepting of this slowness.  Hopefully by next week sometime I will be fully back up to snuff at my normal running pace.


Thursday, September 28, 2017


The damn malady going through our area hit both my wife and me yesterday.  I am very sick, with a fever of 100.3, achy all over, phglemy, coughing and sneezing.

I was bound and determined to keep running although this morning I did my five miles in a pattern:  I did three miles, then because I was exhausted and hurting, I rested about five minutes and did another mile, then rested and did the final mile.  Today was the first day in a long time that I absolutely did not want to run at all.  But I needed to force myself so as to keep going.  I am glad I did, although I had to modify it to a 3+1+1 pattern.  That still counts as five.  And for how badly I currently feel, it was the best I could do.

I am going to take an aspirin and lay down for an hour.  I have class to teach, but it is not until 10:30 today.  I can let some of the b*llsh*t paperwork I had planned to do this morning, slide for a bit.  But, of course, I have to also get crap ready for the Department Meeting tomorrow most all of the rest of today after class.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pipe in Hand...

My favorite pipe looks dam near identical to the image above.  I probably use it 95 % of the time when I reach for a pipe.  It has been a trusted friend for a lot of years. 

Part of me wonders if I should smash it with a hammer?  Would that be the impetus I need to stop?  Or would it simply cause me frustation and anger? 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Potato Chips

Because of the extremely hectic schedule we have during September and early October (due to work/school functions, meetings of various sorts for committees and community groups and other things) we often have at least one or two days a week where we end up buying some sort of convenience, fast food to help us out with dinner.  It is always VERY nice when about October 10th rolls around, for then the schedule returns to a more manageable business, and we no longer have the fast food based meals so frequently. 

Our "go-to" fast food destination typically is some sort of sandwich shop, and because of convenience and location, the place we go to most frequently is, Subway.   I bring that up, because I have grown fond of having with my sandwich when we go there, a bag of baked chips.  There are now four different baked chips available at Subway, and while I enjoy all of them, I tend to find original (pictured) and sour cream and onion my favorite two. 


Monday, September 25, 2017

The E

The e-device seemed to work ok for the first day, but then it developed an odd flavor to it, so I stopped using it.  I am going to take it to the store today and see what they say.

It has truly been Indian Summer here in my region.  I have been able to run for a whole week without a shirt on at 5am in the morning, because it has been at least 68 degrees every morning, sometimes warmer.  I am still surprised at how I am keeping up with running AND how many days I really enjoy it (not every day, but many).

I was thinking about this the other day, and I realize that gradually over the last several years, I really have lost most interest I once had in a) news, b) politics, and c) history.   And, I have theories as to why:

Sure, I will listen to the news on NPR, and will occasionally watch CNN or MSNBC if there is some sort of "big" news event happening.  And, again, sure, I know the basic things going on in politics.  BUT, the thing that changed is that I USED to think about the news and politics more, used to be passionate about the news and politics and liked talking with people about these topics, and I used to enjoy thinking about them quite a lot every day.  Now.... meh.  I listen and absorb the news and the politics, but then basically I go about my life and ignore it because I do not really think it makes one bit of difference for me to focus on it, and I do not really like to discuss news or politics with folks because so many of them are not really interested in DISCUSSION, but a helluva lot of people have begun to act more and more like the pundits who basically rant and rave about most things. Or, worse, they act like some folks do who are on-line, and write simply to inflame disharmony.  In my opinion, my life and my time is far more valuable to me personally than to interact with folks who are "fire and brimstone" in their actions.

As far as history goes, the reasons for my decline are a bit different.  I used to be voracious in reading and watching and thinking about historical accounts.  Over the years, I have had strong fascinations with a bunch of different folks.... Hemingway, Steinbeck, Darwin, Roosevelts (first Theodore and then Franklin),  Ghandi, Melville, and far, far many others and also about specific other historical events (Civil War, the Old West, to name two) or time periods than I would want to try to list.  But, and this may seem odd, but the waning I believe began after my mother passed away (now almost 11 years ago).  I did not really notice the waning in interest in history until 5-6 years ago, but I believe it may have originated from closer to when my mother passed away.   The best I can figure out is that the loss of both of my parents (my mother was last, my father had passed away, now almost 24 years ago).... the loss of both of my parents created some sort of disconnect in me about any real interest in the past.  I am not sure how to explain it other than that.  It is almost a feeling of disinterest.... a feeling of why bother thinking about what has gone on before?  I know that the adage "those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it" is true, but I guess for me as an individual, I feel now it bears no effect on me individually whether or not I think about or pay attention to historical facts or ideas.  I know there have been at least 4 new Hemmingway biographical analyses that have been published in the last five years, and I haven't nary a single one of those even though prior to that, I had amassed and read nearly every book on him I could find (This is one example, I did similarly for most of the historical interests I had.).

I do not know if I am better or worse.... or happier or sadder.... or what given this distinct change in interest in news, politics, or history.  I am not really sure.  I just DO know it is gone.... at least very much gone in the passionate way I previously had those interests.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lots of Busy

There was lots of "busy" for me on Thursday and Friday because I volunteered to help out at some simulations at the U that necessitated me getting there around 7am.   They were good simulations to help students learn about issues associated with social justice, discrimination and the poor, so it was woth it.  But, it neesesitated me adjusting my morning routine in terms of timing and blog posting slipped by the wayside.  I ran though!!!  I did my run on Thursday at 4:00amand on Friday I hit the pavement at 3:45am.  And, today I had a "luxuriously" late run start time of 5:45am.

I am happy I found a way to keep up the running even with the changes.  And, the volunteering did not keep me from all the myriad of regular teaching and chair duties either although I do have a little bit of catch up for some things this weekend, but they were not essential to complete on Friday, luckily.

I have put the e-device aside for a bit while I figure something out about it.  More on that later.  Now I am out back With the dog, with my pipe, and letting her do her thing.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017


The e-device was used.  It may help, not sure yet.  It is an odd thing.  But, I guess smoking a pipe is a pretty damn odd thing too.   I am substituting it for one pipe a day currently.

My mind is sort of unfocused today, other than thinking about work.  Nothing much to say.  If anyone else watches the television show, Big Brother, today is the finale.  I hope Paul wins.  He deserves to win, IMO.

I played my tenor sax some yesterday.  I am rusty, but I have a few weeks before I may rejoin the band.

My run was nice!  It was 70 again... at 5am!  No shirt again.  That almost feels like I am naked..... only shorts socks and shoes!  I always worry though that there will be reports of a "Sasquatch" roaming the running trail when I do that, but I must admit I enjoy the odd feeling of being nearly naked while running.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Damn Pipe

So, now to look at the bad.   The most significant bad thing I do right now that I need to fix is that I smoke a pipe.  I know I should not do this.  In my thoughts about this over the years I never thought I would have such a hard time at this.  I believe that there are two factors at play for me in this.... 1) the consumption of nicotine is addictive and I do need to deal with that.  But, there is a second aspect that is proving a harder aspect to get a handle on.  B) Smoking a pipe has some deep psychological aspects for me that I am not really sure how to deal with.  Those of you who read my earlier posts about my starting to smoke a pipe have a glimpse into a little bit of my psyche in regards to this.

What to do?  I am not really sure.  But here is what I am going to try today.  I am going to purchase a damn e-nicotine device of some sort and my initial plan is to have it substitute for one of my pipes I have during the day.  I will do this for a while figuring out what the e-device can help with and perhaps understand a bit better what are the real triggers for the real pipe.  After I do this for a while, I will then figure out my next step.  I hope this leads me on a successful path.

I did run today. It was 50 degrees this morning so I had on sweats.  I was not overly energized, but I forced myself to get it done.  I am out in the backyard again with my first pipe and letting the dog do her thing.  I feel sort of out of sorts this morning. Somewhat disgruntled.

I have so many ways I should be able to grow and be a better person, but I feel I am weak.  I feel ineffective.  I feel like a failure.  I wish I could figure out how to be the better person I want to be.  I wish I could overcome my lack of inertia in working to improve.


Monday, September 18, 2017


In looking at my start point of exercising 5 miles a day of walking (and now running), today is the 3,285th day of my consistently walking or running 5 miles a day.  This is EVERY day.... no holiday breaks, no illness breaks, no birthday breaks... NO BREAKS. 

For me, the CONSISTENCY is the key for me.  If I were to take a day off, then I would be very prone to finding pretty much any damn excuse to take a day off and then I would be sunk.  I know that from my personality, I could easily (especially at 5am, when I usually work my walking/running in) find a myriad of ways to say, "To hell with it, I'm not going this morning!  I am too tired, or I am too angry, or whatever."  So, for me to really do this effort to try to improve my health, I have to do it every, every, every damn day.  But, I am glad I have done so.  Even the time when I was sick with the flu, and I brought along a bag in case I would vomit.... that day was one of the worst, but I have to admit that even on that day (I was walking only at that time, which was a few years ago.), I did feel BETTER having done the walk.... even as I crawled back into bed with my fever and slept away the rest of the day. 

So, my current stats are as follows.  My typical heart rate when I wake is now usually 58bpm.  My blood pressure typically is around 110/65 at rest.  When I get done with my run, I have usually boosted my heart rate up to between 144-150bpm, which for me is strongly into the zone to promote cardiovascular health. 

I typically drink an average of two gallons of non-sugary fluids a day (mostly water, but also a hefty amount of coffee, some PowerAid (sugar free) and some soda (my favorite is Diet Dr. Pepper, followed by Diet Pepsi).  I do not restrict my foods in any way other than I try to eat appropriate portions, and I try to avoid consuming most fatty foods... at least as much as I can easily and reasonably manage.   I eat meat, but it is not an everyday thing.  I probably have 3 or 4 meals a week that have some sort of meat.  I mostly eat chicken, turkey, or fish.  I personally dislike pork, so that is no hardship to avoid, and I generally am not overly fond of beef, so I may perhaps have once or twice every few months some thinly shaved roast beef, and perhaps once every year or two I may have a tiny steak.  Steak (unlike for many) is not something I crave or even enjoy particularly, so it too is easy to avoid.  I greatly enjoy eggs, and will readily have them scrambled, coddled, or hard boiled.  I probably have about 4-5 eggs a week.  My wife makes a variety of awfully damn good frittatas as well, and when she will occasionally make me one, my egg consumption is much bigger that week!

So, I did exercise for my 3285th day this morning (running).  I now sitting here on the back porch with my first pipe of the day while the dog does her "thing", I am pleased with some of the progress I have made in terms of trying to stay healthy, but I do have many things to work on of course.  Tomorrow, I probably will try to talk about at least some of those things.... the things I still should do in regards to my wellness.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hectic Morning

Just a short post today because of a lot of b*llsh*t meetings I have to get to at the U.  But, I can say my energy level was more normal this morning, less feeling tires and I got on the trail for my 5 mile run at 5:15am which is only 15 minutes later than what I aim for.  The run was very nice too.... it was much, much warmer this morning (60 degrees!!!) and I ran in shorts and a t-shirt.  That felt nice.

Unfortunately, that is about all I can get on paper at the moment.  I have been having my morning pipe, and the dog now has done her "thing" so I have to head to the U.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

So Sleepy

The tiredness was again present this morning.  I attribute it to the time of the year.  Weather changes, the full thrust activity level returning at the U, and chaotic, albeit rigorous and rigid schedules that are back for both my wife and I are major factors.  I again was late hitting the trail to run my five miles (truth. E told, I did not want to run today), but I forced myself out there and again finished my five miles.

There was a documentary at the U yesterday called "Deconstructing the Beatles Revolver Album" that I and my youngest son went to see.  It was pretty amazing.  It was a lecture of sorts, almost in the style of a TED talk by a professor of music, where he literally deconstructed different tracks is the song on the album and talked about the creative processes that occurrrd to produce the art of those songs.  I have always enjoyed the Beatles because of the uniqueness of their music, and for me, I have always felt that personally "Revolver" is their best work, although others disagree.  It was wonderful to have the speaker in the documentary take a very scientific approach to analyze the creative process on this art.  It helped make the songs even more meaningful to me.

As usual, during this brief blog writing time, I am having my dirt pipe of the day while my dog does her "business".  We are in the back yard, and as usual, she is easily distracted from her goals.  Today, it it an errant squirrel chattering up in a tree that makes her "accomplishments" slow to arrive as she would rather bark and yammer at the squirrel than do her "duty". But, it gives me a little bit more pipe time and writing time here so that is ok.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Tiredness

I am not really sure why, but I woke up very tires this morning.  I do not think I slept poorly, for I do not recall much other than getting up once in the night to urinate (pretty normal as I try to really stay very hydrated and usually get up once or twice for such matters).  But, the end result is that I ended up getting up later and did not get on the road to run until 5:45am.  To try to make up for some of the lost time, I pushed myself a bit, and I ran the 5 miles in just about exactly 45 minutes.  That is actually a few minutes faster than my usual speed, so that was a happy surprise.  After my run, I timed my pulse at 150, so I was in the range for good cardiovascular effort.  My resting pulse this morning before I got up was 54, so that was decent as well.

The film my wife and I saw yesterday was "Home Again" with Reese Witherspoon.  It also had  a dice Bergman in the film as well.  It was billed as a romantic comedy, but it was really an odd little film.  Nothing was horrible about the film, but it also was rather limited in plot.  It was enjoyable, but did not really do or say much, and was really sort of a snapshot of just a bunch of LOs Angels folks doing seemingly normal Los Angeles things for the most part.  Not much drama nor comedy in the film.  Again, it was an enjoyable afternoon, but it was truly an odd little film.  My wife had a pretzel during the film, and I had a partial roll of Necco Wafers.  Necco Wafers, a very old fashioned candy, are a particular favorite of mine the last several years.

After I got back from my run, I cleaned up "poop island" which is the area our dog does her "business" in the back yard.  I bagged it all, and took it out with all of the other trash to the curb as today is trash pickup.  I cut up some more boxes and put them with som cans for recycling and took that to the curb as well.  I am now out in the back porch/backyard with the dog, having my morning pipe and writing this brief post before I head on to shower and head to the U.  I am lucky I have my first class start at 9am today because it gives me a little bit of extra time due to my late start.  After teaching, I have a lot of research paperwork to wade through, and a never ending pile of paperwork for my Department Chair duties, but hopefully I can get a good reduction on that ever growing pile.  I am trying to get some additional writing time, for my research, as I have a grant deadline coming soon that I want to apply for funding from.  This grant is one where I am hoping to get funds for a study looking at how specific SSRIs in synergy with exposure to antimicrobial agents affects the development of the brain.  We shall see how the grant writing goes.


Monday, September 11, 2017

New Monday

Today I am hoping to have a pleasant day.  I plan to get a lot done at work, I plan to get as prepared as I can for the whole week, and if I am lucky, I may be able to go see a late afternoon movie with my wife.  She loves romantic comedies, so we are thinking to go see the new film with Reese Witherspoon that just opened.  My run this morning was very nice and it was abbot warmer too... 49 degrees!!!


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Too Many

I am only one person, but I have so much to do that I need to be three people.  Today and Friday will be hard at work.  It is tiring.  My success????  I did run my five miles and that was not something I wanted to do today when I got up at 5am.  It was 44 degrees.


Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Because of the Labor Day Holiday our trash pickup slid a day and today is trash day this week.  Therefore I have been going through my usual routine for trash day of getting garbage to the curb, cutting up boxes and putting them out for recycling along with other recyclables, picking up a week's worth of puppy poo, etc.  Those things are now done, and yes I ran my five miles first.  Now I am having a pipe before work, going to go on to shower and head to the U.  I have a lot of work to get done before class.  I am also in charge of dinner tonight as my wife works late.  I am making a Mexican casserole of three kinds of beans, cornbread, a vegetable side dish, and salads for us all.


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Tuesday Stuff

After the long weekend, I am not feeling like doing much, but I must try to get back into the groove.  If I succeede in getting several things done today, my week will be a lot smoother.  This morning, after my run, I went to a cod house with my wife.  I had a sugar-free, skim mocha frappachino and a fat free bran muffin.  She had a regular decaf mocha latte and a slice of poppy-seed binder cake.  It was nice having an early morning "date" with her.


Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor Day Musings

All right!  It seems I am able to post again without having things go belly up every time I try to correct something.  And thus far the feedback suggests it is also readable for you too.

This being Labor Day, I am reminded about how fortunate I have been in that my parents belonged to a Union.  The Unions they respectively belonged to over the years did indeed help us to have a decent, middle class upbringing as kids.  And, I am thankful the U I work at is one that has both faculty and staff Unions.  They really help the regular person to get a deal that is at least fair.  I have some relatives who work in non-union occupations, and they all end up having a great deal more stress and anxiety in their jobs.  I feel especially sorry for folks who work at the various Walmart stores nationwide.  For the work they do, they really are not treated with much kindness nor respect.

Unions are not perfect, but they are very helpful for the regular men and women of our nation.


Sunday, September 03, 2017

Trying Again

 It has been very frustrating, over the last several days, trying to post something to this site. I am not sure if this is going to work this time, but I am more hopeful. Hopefully things will be good.

If  this works then maybe I will have solved the issue and can get back to blogging my normal way. Let us keep our fingers crossed so that it will hopefully work this time. I am writing an especially long to post, to see if it crashes during my typing like it has been doing for the past 10 or so days.

 Not a whole lot is available for me to talk about at the moment, because I am worried that if I get into a long post, it will just disintegrate like it has the last several days every time I try to type a post. So I apologize, but today's post is all about posting.