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, February 28, 2018

Day 15

My laptop has been acting up at home so I lost a few posts over the last few days.  Hopefully today the post will upload.  Apologies for typos, because the last two posts I lost were during my checking for typos, so I am not doing that today.

I just returned from my 5 mile run and I feel good.  I am glad that is done for the day.  It was enough above freezing that the trail was completely free of ice and I was able to run OUTSIDE without any worries!  I know that snow is in the forecast so I will end up being back inside again, but it was so much nicer running outside.

I have made it 15 days today without a pipe.  I sure do miss smoking a pipe.  I, however feel I am doing well with my Lenten vow.  I have not had any pipe tobacco in 15 days, which in the greater scheme of like is nothing spectacular, granted.  But, it is pretty damn good for me.  I have allowed myself the option to use the lozenges or the e-device up to the four times a day that I spoke of earlier. However, I really dislike both items, and have utilized them only when I have felt shaky in my resolve.  They do seem to take a tiny bit of the edge off of my longing for a pipe when it is especially challenging.  But, in no way, shape, or form are they "fun or pleasurable" like I have always found my pipes to be.  That is probably a good thing, even though I still ponder what is the difference?  It is something beyond the nicotine and beyond the rituals etc.  But what is different, I am not sure.

Even though I have a bit over a month of relative "safety" in terms of Lent.... meaning I think that I want to complete my Lenten vow successfully, which will help my resolve.... I think I need to decide on my goals for after Lent as well.  I know it will be very easy and very tempting to pick up a pipe after Lent, but in terms of long range goals, I would like to quit completely.... but a very large part of me does not want to quit as well.... and quitting forever makes me feel sad and nervous.  I need to think this through more during the relative safety of Lent.


Friday, February 23, 2018


Just a brief diversion for me today:

1.  Yes, I still miss my pipes and pipe tobacco.
2.  Yes, I am still persevering.
3.  Yes, I ran my five miles today.

But, due to a lot of anxiety I feel about work, yesterday afternoon I ended up spending some time dawdling and daydreaming to try to avoid the things I was anxious about.  So, what did I think about?!???

Even I find this odd and amusing:

I thought about CANNON.

Cannon was a truly wonderful television show that started in the very early 1970s (1971, I believe).  It was a both wonderfully serious AND comedic detective drama for its time.  I watched it faithfully. William Conrad was the star of the series and he did a wonderful job as the main character.  Even though I never had the guts for such a job myself, I have always liked and daydreamed about the life of a detective, be it a private eye or a police detective.  I tend to like most detective dramas on television and movies, and I read many books of detective fiction.

Cannon as a character, however, has always had a special place in my heart.  His success in his career was always a bit inspiring to me.  He did great crime solving, and yet I also appreciated he was an "every-man" sort of character as well.  His physique was somewhat on the "girthsome" side which was akin to my own physique.  And, added to that, he was a venerate pipe smoker through the series as well! 

I also found out Cannon is now being shown in reruns on MeTV.  I am going to have to plan to record some episodes relive the wonderful experience of this show.  

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 9

It is fairly early now in the start of day 9 of refraining from pipe tobacco. There are several thoughts I have been contemplating which I will get to in a few moments.  However, I first wanted to talk a little bit about a few other things:

I have just moments ago returned home after my morning run. As usual, I did complete the five miles I set out to do, and I am still on track for being able to accomplish my minimum of 28 miles of running (jogging) a week.  As longer time readers know, I have been exercising daily for many years.  But, I have been running a shorter period of time.   I have been running 28 miles (or more) each week for what is closing in upon two years.

I used to be quite heavy.  I was quite overweight most of my life.  Even though I have worked hard to lose 120 pounds and have maintained a normal BMI for the last several years now, I still emotionally see myself as a heavy person.  The same insecurities, and same feelings of shame, the memories of being hurt emotionally because of my weight still shape how and who I am today.

I have worn a beard and mustache continuously for many decades, literally my entire adult life (well, I grew it at 19, so technically very early into my adult life.  I did this for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because I wanted to know if I could do so initially, and as it grew in, I liked how it looked on me.  During the lion's share of that time, I kept it shortish and neatly trimmed (usually between 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length).  Over the past year, I have for the first time in all those decades decided to do something different and let it grow out longer.  Because my hair is curly, it does not really get a whole helluva lot longer in length, but it gets much fuller and much "bushier",   For me, I like it because it has given my face more of a look of "gravitas" and I have more of a look of fellows who sported larger beards in the 1800s.  It is amazing how many folks now comment on how they like my beard and how it looks.  And, I admit, I really enjoy these comments, but also in the back of my mind for several of the comments, I think.... uh, well, I have worn a beard for basically my entire life.  It just surprises me that a little added fullness made such a noticeable difference to many.

I do not really know where I meant to go with this today.  I am just rambling.  In regards to my pipe and pipe tobacco.... it is seemingly to be a time of change for me.  I believe, like for my "heavy self" and my "bearded self", I will always be in my mind a pipe smoker.  I do not think that will ever change.  Perhaps the best I can hope for is to be like with my other internal images be..... a heavy person who has a normal BMI, and I guess I may be able to become a pipe smoker who just doesn't smoke a pipe.

Nine days is by no means success, and I am not saying that in any way.  I could easily (and willingly) go back to smoking my pipe in a flash.  But, I am trying to stay with my Lenten vow and see where this will take me.  But, I think in my heart I will always be a pipe smoker even if I do continue to not smoke any longer.

Today feels very somber for me.  Lots of emotions in my mind at the moment.  The death of loved ones, the passage of time, the loss of connections, the b*llsh*t work that I have to do that no one appreciates.  The selfishness and lack of inclusiveness shown by a lot of the folks I work with.  It is just a feeling of sadness and gloom.  The darker, cloudly visage of the sky the last few days in my area, fits well my mood.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 8

Today is the eighth day since I have started to refrain from smoking my pipes and pipe tobacco.  From my perspective it feels like it has been a great deal longer, months perhaps.  And, even though in the greater scheme of things, it is really only a minor inconvenience and nothing serious at all... to me, it has been difficult and challenging.  So, as I write more today and probably into the future, please keep in mind that my thoughts and feelings are admittedly inconsequential in comparison to so many real world problems that are faced.... and I know this.  But, at the individual, personal level, my writing and expressing my thoughts, ideas and emotions as I try to take this journey are a real reflection of what I do feel in my own mind and in my own body.  Again, I *do* know that compared to so many things that are of far, far greater importance, my own qualms, discomforts, and emotions about this are wholly forgettable and insignificant.  But, my writing about them, I believe, helps me.  And, perhaps my writing about these thoughts will help me to persevere in this effort. 

Comments from friends in my Day 6 post gave me some suggestions on ways in which I may better cope with the emotional aspects of my "love affair" with the pipe and pipe tobacco.  And, interestingly enough, I had done exactly what had been suggested.... before I started this journey, I carefully cleaned thoroughly one of my favorite pipes, and used ample pipe cleaners through its stem and bowl, and have carried it around with me as I started this journey.  I did this for exactly the reasons suggested to me in the comments... to have a way to attempt to reduce the sense of detachment at the emotional level from this hobby/habit that I have willingly and joyfully participated in for many, many decades.  As could be predicted.... having the clean pipe with me does offer some modest emotional comfort, but as also could be predicted, it is incomplete.  But, as I keep it with me and even sometimes clench the stem between my teeth, it is perhaps helping me to gradually work thorough some of these thoughts and feelings that I have.

The unpleasant nicotine lozenges and equally unpleasant "e-device" have also been a part of my effort.  As I wrote a few days ago, I decided that the lozenges/"e-device" were things I would have as options during this effort if needed, but my thought was to utilize them in a way that at maximum would  be used during the four most "critical" times in a day when I have reached commonly for the friendship of my pipe.... early morning, arriving home from work, in the evening at the start of relaxing, and prior to sleep.  In thinking about my pipe hobby/habit, those were the four times I found myself MOST finding enjoyment and pleasure in the hobby/habit.... with the arriving home from work being the MOST consistent and looked forward to, and the just prior to bed being the second most consistently looked forward to. 

So, I have used the lozenge or an "e-device" at those occasions on some of the days thus far.  I had presumed the nicotine would fill the physical/physiological/biochemical/psychoactive aspects of my pipe hobby/habit.  And, it seems they SHOULD do so if nicotine is the only actual biochemical/psychoactive component of this hobby/habit.  Thus far I have found the lozenge and e-device will quiet a bit some of the physical aspects, but it is by no means a complete substitution.  It makes me still wonder if there are other biochemical/psychoactive components in pipe tobacco that my mind is more attuned to and have been the factors that I have so enjoyed and have been what gave me the far greater sense of pleasure than these substitutes provide.  My searching on-line has yielded no clues or suggestions as to what this may be. 


Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 6

Well, I did choose to make refraining from my pipe my Lenten Vow.  In order to do this, I made the vow specifically to not smoke pipe tobacco.  Well, I made this vow to not smoke tobacco,  But, in order to try to do this in a way that was not punishing to others (I wanted to do this without anger or frustration.) I decided to allow myself the use of an "e-device" and/or nicotine lozenges if I felt I needed to.  But, I also decided to only allow the use of those devices in my established pattern of what were my four primary pipe smoking times each day.... morning, after returning from work, at the start of the evening, and prior to bed.

I have been successful thus far and this is my 6th day.  It has not been easy for me.  I guess that is to be expected, since I am trying to learn to not do something I have relished doing for so many decades.  But, I have been doing it.  The "e-device" and the lozenges have been only a modest support.

It is very interesting for me to note that I had anticipated that the (up to) four usages of the support would have been sufficient for me to not have the desire to smoke my pipe.  I reasoned in my mind that they would give the nicotine that supposedly was why I smoked a pipe.   This is not really the case. 

There are, of course, psychological and emotional reasons why I have smoked a pipe.  I knew that the nicotine support would NOT address those.  However, from a chemical/psychoactive basis, I thought the nicotine support would cover those aspects, but they do not.  It makes me wonder if there have always been other chemical/psychoactive components in pipe tobacco smoke that I found enamored to?  I have searched for other possibilities in various on-line resources but none have been listed from anything I have read.  But, even when I do use a nicotine support, I do not feel that same contentment, that same pleasure, that same relaxation, that same quieting of my mind that I have always found from indulging in pipe tobacco.  It is interesting and perplexing to wonder what it may be.

Yet, at this moment, I am going to persevere.  I hope to unlearn my prior behaviors.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Potentially Putting Down My Pipe

I am seriously considering trying to force myself to put down the pipe for Lent, with the greater hope that perhaps I will do this successfully and then actually continue and quit for good.  I do not know if I have the stamina or dedication to do so, however.  I do not know if it will be a fruitless attempt.

My feelings about smoking a pipe ebb and flow.  There are times when it seems so pleasant and so wonderful and such an ingrained part of my nature that it feels a part of me and my personality.  There are other times where I curse myself for my weakness and foolishness. 

In terms of thinking about the pipe, I find there are really only FOUR times in a day where I feel eager to have a pipe, and of those four, one is FAR more the one I look most forward to.  The four times I especially enjoy having a pipe are a) within about an hour when I wake up, b) when I get home from work, c) when I am ready to sit down and relax after dinner for the evening, and d) when I am getting ready for bed.  Of these four, the one that seems the most ardently looked forward to is the one immediately when I arrive home after work. 

In thinking about these patterns, I may be able to figure out a way to deal with them better.  If, that is, I do go through with what I am considering for Lent.  We shall see.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lent is Coming

Lent is set to start this coming Wednesday.  I am contemplating how to work to try to be a better person.  I am contemplating giving up my pipe.  I am contemplating drinking only water.  I am considering other changes as well.  We will see.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Out of Sorts

For a myriad of reasons I feel out of sorts.  Work has been hard.  The death of my father-in-law has been hard.  The harsh winter weather has been hard.  People at work have been far less stellar than they could be.  Even exercise has been more of a chore than a pleasure. 

Not that it is on the forefront of my mind at the moment, but in terms of my father-in-law, we are all of course very sad and hurting that he has died.  But, a part of me is hurt and frustrated that he chose to not receive the last round of antibiotics offered to him.  Of course we will never know if they would have been the right type to eliminate his sepsis.  They might have been, but in the same way they may not have had an effect.  It does bother me that he did not want to try.  It was of course his right to not try.  But, it still is disturbing to me on a variety of levels.  It does feel like abandonment of us.  I do not think that was his intent.  But, there is that feeling in many of us. 

It also feels wrong to just keep plugging away at all the day-to-day crap we all deal with.  Because of the timing of his passing and his funeral, it ended up being easier for me to work the normal work week than to have time off which only meant I would have had to work harder and play catch up afterwards.  It was easier than my trying to find someone who could substitute for me and it was easier for my students that I just did my "stuff".  But the "easy" route also has exacted a cost... even though it was easier to just do what I had to do, it has left me on edge and somewhat disoriented.  Many in my family feel that way.  It is part of grief, but it is more difficult without as much time to work through it.


Wednesday, February 07, 2018


I am still feeling a great deal of grief over my father-in-law.  But, I am not particularly ready to try to discern what I want to say.

However, today would mark my own Mother's 90th Birthday.  I do miss her greatly.

I love you , Mom, and I hope that you are watching over me and my family from heaven.  I hope that you are happy with how I conduct my life and I hope that you are proud of me. I try to do good things in life.  And, while I often fail, and perhaps may be a lazy lout who doesn't do much of anything of merit most of the time, I *do* sincerely want to be a good person and I do want to try to make a real difference. 

I am so thankful for all that you and Dad had taught me in my life.