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.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Trying to NOT Take Things for Granted

I sometimes feel that I am an ungrateful, petulant, slob.   I get so caught up in the day-to-day work hassles and challenges that I do not reflect adequately on good things, on positive things, on people I should be more appreciative of.  I sometimes feel that the myriad of stresses I have to wade through day-to-day are really reflections of my failing as a person.  Everyone has hardships.  Everyone has stress.  Everyone has rough things happen to them.  But, I believe in my heart that if I could only muster up enough strength, enough fortitude, enough resolve.... to look beyond all the "crap" I would be a far kinder, more helpful person and be better for those around me.  That I do not work up that strength in myself makes me frustrated.  Sometimes I think it is because I feel tired, but that is really only an excuse.  I need to work harder to be a better person.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring May Be Here

In my region, yesterday afternoon was the first day in a helluva lot of months that I could not see any snow, anywhere I walked, ran, or drove.  It may be truly the start of spring here.  I hope so.


Thursday, April 26, 2018


Still not feeling particularly verbose at the moment.  However, I can report that today is the 72nd day I have consecutively refrained from smoking a pipe.  I do think about pipes every day still.  But, I have to say that much of the time, the desire to smoke a pipe, while present and desired, is not overwhelming. 

However, this is not true all of the time.  Sometimes the feelings are very powerful and consume most of my thoughts.  The most recent instance began roughly a week ago while watching a play.  The play had no direct correlation to my pipe, but while watching and enjoying the performance, I did have a very strong sense of anticipation to have a pipe when I returned home that evening.  The anticipation and the desire for a pipe grew as the play ended and became stronger on the drive home.  At home, as my wife went upstairs to change clothes into her pajamas, I took the dog out for her evening constitutional and reached for a pouch of my pipe tobacco and a pipe.  As I sat outside while waiting for the dog to accomplish her "tasks", I meticulously filled the bowl of my pipe and eagerly brought the pouch of tobacco up to my nose and relished the delightful aroma.   Holding the stem of  the pipe in my mouth, I had my lighter ready and even spun the lighter's wheel to create a flame.  I really had every intention of smoking my pipe, but I hesitated. Not because I did not want to smoke my pipe, but because of the guilt I know I would feel inside because it was not what I had willed myself to do.
 I kept debating back and forth with myself about this for probably 20 minutes before I put the filled pipe away and went back inside with the dog and went to bed.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018


I have been away from writing for a while.  My lack of interest in writing here stems from a sad situation I have experienced.  A friend I have known for damn near 40 years passed away unexpectedly and it soured my thoughts and my inclination to do much other than the necessary to get through the day for a while.  He was only 73.  He was a very nice and robust person, somewhat bombastic at times, but a good fellow who stood for what was right very staunchly. 

I do not have much to write about concerning my friend at this time, other than to say that I will miss him. 


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Numbers & Such

I thought I would take a look back at what I have been attempting to do thus far in terms of being a healthier person.  I have not reported on this aspect of my thoughts in a while.  Here are the numbers that I can report:

3484 - the number of days in a row without missing even one day where I either walked or ran 5 miles.

My current weight = 171 pounds (77.5 kg (12.2 stone))

Ten years ago I used to weigh 285 pounds (129.3 kg (20.4 stone)), but I have kept my current weight for roughly 9 years now.

My current BMI = 22.0 (right in the middle of "normal")

BMI from 10 years ago = 36.6 (well above the 30 mark indicating "obese")

Resting Pulse Rate this morning = 57 Beats per minute

Resting Blood Pressure = 110/75 (taken a week ago)

Number of Days RUNNING 5 miles a day (8 km a day)  = ~1.75 years

Number of miles accumulated RUNNING thus far :  2600 miles (4184 km)

Number of consecutive days thus far of not smoking a pipe = 50 completed 

So, in order to keep my desire for my pipe away today, I am trying to focus on all of the above numbers.  While they may be insignificant to anyone else, and athletically inclined folks definitely do a helluva lot better..... for an old, formerly obese, lazy, slovenly and frumpy professor... the above numbers are not all that bad.


Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Nicotine and E-Device

First, thank you all for your comments.  Especially comments currently referencing my "inner dialogue" post.  They have been helpful to me in many ways and I have commented on those in the comments section.

Pat asked about lozenges and "e" device usage.  As I stated when I first started my Lenten journey, I was going to stop smoking a pipe during Lent but because of my worry at the time, I gave myself a caveat where I *could* if I felt it was needed to help me complete my Lenten vow.... utilize a nicotine lozenge or an e-device UP TO four times a day (which was the number of pipes I had weaned myself down to prior to Lent). 

During Lent, I *did* utilize the "four" rule during the first few days.  While it gave me some nicotine, every aspect of the lozenge and especially the e-device was horrible, so I quickly found myself avoiding both except during the most dire occasions during Lent.  I found that I used these options only very rarely after that first week of Lent... at critical junctures where I thought I might break my Lenten vow.

Because I knew (and know) that I would be in a rather precarious period after Lent (as my "inner dialogue" attests to).... I had previously decided that I could still have the option of the lozenge or "e" device if desperately needed for some unspecified period of time after Lent.  Monday was an especially tough day for me in this regard so I did utilize this option two times on Monday.

I am not saying these crutches are something I should utilize.  And as I try to work further to stay away from my pipe, I am hoping that they will continue to fade further and further away as crutches.  But, for me, their occasional use if it helps me to cope successfully with the loss of the hobby I have always loved and still do love.... then it will have served a useful purpose.

I do not like anything about the lozenge or the "e" device.  But, I do feel their limited, very occasional use has helped me cope with the real sense of loss I am trying to learn to deal with and overcome.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Inner Dialogue

Now that Lent has concluded, I can say that my pipe "efforts" have changed considerably.  Below I give you a glimpse of the inner dialogue that has developed and recirculated in my mind repeatedly since the conclusion of Lent at NOON this past Saturday:

Self:  "Wow!  You did it!  You refrained from smoking your pipe during the entirety of Lent!"

Other Self:  "Yes, I did!  I am surprised and happy that I was able to complete this vow!"

Self:  "Yeah, it was not something I thought you could do."

Other Self:  "You have that right.  But, I have to admit that while there were SEVERAL difficult challenges I faced, I felt committed to working to complete my Lenten Vow."

Self: "Yep, Lenten Vows are important.  I am happy that you had the inner strength to accomplish it."

Other Self:  "Well, for me it was important for me to stick with it since I vowed this as part of my faith (Roman Catholicism).  To NOT do it would have left me feeling like a failure, or at least feeling like I do not value my faith. 
Self:  "Well, that is great!  Now Lent is done.  Let's have a pipe!"

Other Self: "Uh, well…."

Self: "It is perfectly "ok" now, Lent is done!"

Other Self: "Right, but part of me was trying to commit to the Lenten vow, as a way to trick myself into being better able to quit the pipe for good."

Self: "Ugh.   But, is that realistic?  That seems so very, very sad."

Other Self:  "It is sad.  I feel sad to think of NEVER having another pipe."

Self:  "What is the point?"

Other Self: "Well, the point is that if I do stop, I will have done the best that I can right now to try to reduce my risk for development of a horrific smoking related disease."

Self:  "What is the point, you are too old and have already smoked for a helluva long time."

Other Self:  "The studies suggest that anyone, regardless of age or length of prior smoking can have LOWER risk by stopping."

Self:  "Bah."

Other Self:  "Yes, I agree… 'Bah' … but it is still true."

Self:  "A pipe would be very pleasurable and enjoyable, wouldn't it?"

Other Self: "Yes, I fully agree and admit to that."

Self:  "One wouldn't really hurt, now, would it?  Think of it… you have gone more days without a pipe than you have ever done previously since you were a kid.  It will be AMAZINGLY wonderful!  It will feel much like it did when you were a kid!"

Other Self:  "That is true."  

Self:  "Mmmm… think of the gentle brown crumbles you would be able to fill into the bowl of your favorite Dublin pipe!  Pressing them gently but firmly into the bowl.

Other Self: "Mmmmm.  Yes, that would be wonderful."

Self:  "Think of that first lighting of the bowl!  So beautiful!  Think of the pleasure you have with the flavors of the vanillia tinctured burley leaf!  Think of the thick, beautifully chalky texture of the pipe smoke!"

Other Self:  "Mmmm….. Such wonderful ideas!  So many wonderful memories."

Self:  "Let's do it!"

Other Self: "Ugh.  I really should not."

Self: "Come on.  Let's just have ONE bowlful."

Other Self:  "No, I better not.  It took a helluva long time to get to day 48 (today).  I do not know if I want to have that "number" go back to zero.  I keep thinking I should AT LEAST try to get to 50."

Self: "What for?  Does it really matter to get to day 50?"

Other Self:  "I do not know if it REALLY matters to get to day 50.  But, I do know I will feel guilty and upset TODAY if I give in.  So, I really think at the moment, I should keep on "keeping on" with my fast.

Self: "That is just foolish hyperbole!  You have been holding that empty pipe in your hands and missing it for a LONG TIME.  I can really give you kudos for doing something for your faith.  I grant that was an accomplishment of sorts.  But, hell, it is done, you did it!  You do not have to agonize about it any more."

Other Self:  "In a perfect world, you are right.  I would RELISH and ENJOY every additional pipe I would very willingly have, and I would, given my druthers, have many.  But, this is not a PERFECT world.  There are costs.  Potential added risks to my health, societal pressures that I grow tired of. 

Self:  "Yeah, yeah.  Who cares?

Other Self:  "Unfortunately, I do… at least to some degree."

Self:  "Bah."

Other Self:   "Yes, Bah.  But, reality."

Self:  "I would say, you should live in the now!  Live in the moment!  Be a damn hedonist for once in your pitiful life!"

Other Self: "Hah.  Being hedonistic sounds wonderful, it truly does.  Sometimes I get so tired of this sort of inner dialogue.  I *would* like to just do what feels right in the moment.  But it feels selfish to do so.  I have responsibilities.  I have a lot of folks who count on me."

Self:  "That is stupid.  You are being a fool!  Wake up and live in reality."

Other Self:  Ugh.  I am getting a headache.  I need to quit thinking about this crap."

Self:  "I agree.  Quit thinking, and just DO IT!"

Other Self:  "I think I am going to TRY to wait.  I am going to try to POSTPONE starting again."

Self:  "Damn fool."

Other Self:  "You may be right."

The basics of the above have percolated through my mind at least a dozen times during the last 24 hours.  It may sound foolish, but it is a lot harder now that Lent is finished.