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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Decent vs Descent

The letter "s" is all that differentiates visually the words "decent" and "descent" but that one little "s" packs a helluva punch as far as the meaning of the words if used to describe mood and feelings.

I am glad to report that I am currently in the midst of a "decent" period.  I attribute this to a few things:

1.  I  believe the major reason I feel much more like my ordinary self is due to the changes that I have had in regards to work.  The two folks who I find annoying and hurtful are still not my "best buds" by any means.... but, I was finally able to reach an EQUITABLE and FAIR "resolution" of sorts with them, so that I no longer feel frightened, upset, angry, and hurt and worried about these two.  Do I trust them or their judgement?  HELL NO!!!  But, am I now feeling safe from their b*llsh*t?  Yes.  I believe my "safety net" is strong and real and will protect me and my feelings and my emotions, and my efforts in work.

2.  The very significant relief of that unrelenting stress mentioned in #1 has allowed me to venture back into several aspects of my life that had felt "lost" to me because I rarely if ever did them any longer.  I play more music now, I have worked more extensively and WILLINGLY on house projects, I have been cleaning and doing some organizing of areas I wanted to make better for a long time (garage, basement). I have been getting some repair issues done in a bathroom upstairs, as well as other projects. 

3.  I feel much more relaxed in general. 


Monday, April 29, 2019

A Cold 6.2

Hah!  No, I am not talking about a beautifully robust IPA style beverage  (even though that sounds good).

My 6.2 refers to the number of miles I ran this morning (10 Kilometers) in the cold rain.  I made a vow with myself to have at least one day each week in 2019) be where I run a minimum of 6.2 miles in a sitting.  I have done this since January 1st... and on a few weeks, I ran 10K four or five days in a given week. I made this vow with two ideas in mind:

1.  It would help me reassure myself that I could run a 10K road race without feeling like a complete failure and fool.... if I so choose to do so this upcoming Summer (so I can get a t-shirt that says I did it!).

I am not sure if I will run a race or not, even though I would really like the "trophy" of a t-shirt that says I did it.... because... truth be told.... even though I have been at a normal BMI for over 10 years now, I still see myself as the "chubby" nonathletic buffoon I perceived myself to be as a kid.  In the races I did last year (5K races), I was a bundle of nerves for the 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before the race.... not because I had not proven to myself daily that I could run far more than 5K.... but because I felt extremely self conscious about being in the "presence" of "real" runners.... and I was just a fake.  I know that those same feelings are things I will need to overcome again if I choose to enter a race. 

2.  In the back of my mind, I am thinking that I will make my own "celebratory" t-shirt that says something akin to "I ran 52 10Ks in 2019!" or something similar to that.

T-shirts as "trophies" of a sort, probably sounds strange to a lot of folks, but they are meaningful to me.  As a chubby/obese kid (I weighted 220 lb (~100kg or ~12 Stone)) when I graduated high school) and as an obese adult (at my heaviest was just a little bit under 300 pounds (~128 Kg or ~20 Stone).... the exercise and weight loss journey I embarked on has helped me to experience a different sort of reality than I thought was possible for me..... namely that I am becoming a bit "athletic".

I never wore t-shirts as a kid or as an adult when I was heavier because a) they tended to remind me of how heavy I was, and b) I did not "do" sports in high school because I was slow and heavy and embarrassed.... and the "cool athletes" were rather unkind to those of us who were of atypically large circumference.

*     *      *     *   

I have been contemplating also trying some morning this Summer when no one else is out and about, trying to see if I can run my own "personal" half marathon (13.1 miles (21 km)).  Maybe I will make a t-shirt for that too if I do it. :)


Thursday, April 25, 2019


As I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago, there are many days where I do not have much of any strong yearnings for a pipe.  I suppose that is progress.

Today, however, the yearning and thoughts were stronger and more pronounced.  I have not really noticed any rhyme or reason to be able to predict when such a passionately strong yearning will occur, however.  It is such a curious thing.

I do know, that if it were fifty or sixty or more years ago, and I was my current age, I would not be refraining... the sense of normalcy in the behavior, the sense of comaraderie, and of entertainment would have it be such a part of my everyday world that it would never have crossed my mind to refrain.

But, sadly it is not 1949, nor 1959, nor 1969.... it is 2019, and times are vastly different even if I were to prefer they were not.  So, I do refrain.   Because to refrain in these times is truth-be-told, today's norm.  And, for better or worse, it is more comfortable being within the norm at times.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019


When I look back on my life, there have been so, so very many things that I have stored in my mind.  Fortunately, most memories are beautiful and happy, and relatively few are harsh.  But, I must say that 25 years ago.... the year itself was one of the hardest damn times I have ever experienced in my life. 

In 1994, it felt like death hung around every corner.  Here is a partial list of the deaths that came into my life during 1994.  From my manner of thinking, 1994 was the worst year of my life and I hope no year I have left ever approaches the level of grief I felt during that year:

1.  My Father passed away after a brief illness. 

2.  TWO of my favorite Uncles passed away... one after a brief illness, one unexpectedly.

3.  One very close aunt passed away.  

4.  My most important mentor from my days in graduate school developed inoperable cancer and died within that year.  He was my major advisor in graduate school and was a major influence on my and the direction of my academic life.... and he also became and exceptionally important friend as well. 

5.  My young niece, only in her late teens, committed suicide that year.  

6.  A very long-standing family friend (for more than 40 years) passed away from an unexpected heart attack.

7.  One of my very deeply loved pets passed away.

8.  My mother was diagnosed with her first form of cancer that year.

*     *     *     *

With another series of NPR stories having played on the radio yesterday on my drive home about the 25th year of the suicide death of Kurt Cobain.... in 1994.... the program washed my mind back to that very horrible year and all the sadness and loss that occurred in my family.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Just Keep Swimming

There has been a whirlwind of required work and activity since my last post.  This time of year tends to be that way in my neck of the woods.  But, I can give you highlights of the most important parts:

1.  I have continued in my running.  I am always hitting my minimum goal and usually end up running about 35 miles a week currently (~56km a week).

2.  One day (last Thursday) I pushed myself to run a full 8 miles (~13km) in my daily run and it was actually pretty enjoyable.  I feel almost prepared to try to enter an actual 10km road race where I will be running with others and perhaps earn a t-shirt to prove I did it. :)

3.  I am actually thinking I may plan to push myself to run for my morning run the equivalent of a half marathon one of the days after the semester ends.  I *believe* at the moment, that I think with grit and determination I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles without stopping (~21km).   There is no way in hell I would enter an actual half marathon at this point..... but I would like to see if I could force myself to run that long all in one setting. 

4.  I have not indulged in my pipes.  I actually have found that lately I do not have any strong, yearning pangs of desire for my pipes like I often have had.  Do not get me wrong.... I do think about them.  And, I still do think it would be fun to smoke them.  And on evenings when my wife is sleepy and heads to bed before me, when I eventually go to bed, I will lull myself to sleep with images of pipes and memories of smoking a pipe. 

5.  In regards to my mood.... I have found that I feel more "even" if that makes sense.  I was quite down for a while, a lot of it having to do with significant annoyances at work.  But, now I feel more my old self. 

6.  In regards to work, that too has become better.  I have found a workable solution for what was driving me into a very rough mood.   And I have even been trying hard to be able to be more interactive with the person whom I am not fond of in my Department.  I believe the solution I found for what had been making me feel very hurt, very angry, and rather despondent during the last few years at work.... has been the key to the turn around in my mood.  I sincerely feel like my regular self again, and it has been wonderful.  As long as my workable solution holds (and it seems likely to work and hold).... I should be "ok" and not have to feel anger, fear, and hugely hurt feelings. 

In regards to #6.... do not get me wrong... I still think there are many impolite, unfair, uncaring, and unpleasant things about the person I speak of.... and I think this person's actions were what drove me into my negative emotions for quite a while.  But, with my solution, I feel safe and can move on.

If I were to analyze this person's actions.... I believe now that this person is not PURPOSEFULLY trying to hurt or harm me and my role at my U.  I just think this person has a VERY different manner of thinking about things than I do.  And, I do not think this person's thought processes are actually useful or appropriate ones for working in groups or for being in a societal sort of setting like at a U.  This person's mentality is basically of the style that could be coined "my way or the highway".  This person sees ONLY this person's perspective and is blind to other's points of view.

I guess this is enough for today.  But, I wanted to write and have been trying to get on to write for a number of days.... oh, damn that also reminds me of the last thing that has been happening.....

7.  There was a problem with my home Internet service for the last several days.  Fortunately the problem has FINALLY been fixed (yesterday), and that kept me away as well as I traditionally do my blog writing from home.


Friday, April 05, 2019


This morning, while I was lying in bed, a story came on NPR that was about the 25th Anniversary of the suicide death of Kurt Cobain.  For those of you unfamiliar, he was a musician who was prominent in the "Grunge" movement in rock in the early 1990s.  He was the lead in a band called "Nirvanna". 

While I knew of some of his music at the time (as it received heavy airplay on the radio), I was not really as aware of him until he committed suicide. But, the reason for this greater knowledge came from reading excerpts of a diary my niece left behind when she committed suicide at the end of that same year, 1994.  She mentioned him extensively in this diary. 

Just hearing about this anniversary has stirred memories and increased my melancholy.  Suicide is so, so, so utterly horrible.  My extended family has never been the same since the day my niece died.  She was such a nice young lady with plans to start college and study for a career in teaching.  She is still so greatly missed.  Yet at the same time, many in my family also still feel anger or other forms of pain due to this suicide.  These emotions do not easily subside.

All I can say is.... even though it is understandable to potentially have thoughts and sadness that may make the idea cross your mind, suicide is never, never, never the answer.  All it does is cause the spread of hurt, the spread of sorrow..... to family and to friends that you love.



Tuesday, April 02, 2019


Still struggling a lot.  Could not force myself out of bed early enough to get in my damn run, so I went to work, and worked feverishly on all the crap I needed to do.  Then I lectured for three hours which was the highlight of my day.  I then talked with one of the people who are hurting me and tried to get this person to understand my perspective.  It was very rough, and I have no idea if this person "got" what I was trying to get this person to understand.  By the end, I had tears rolling down my face, and I ended up going into an empty room and sobbing uncontrollably for about 1/2 an hour before I could get a semblance of composure back. I then worked on paperwork for another couple of hours and went home.  I forced myself to run the damn five miles I did not do this morning, and now I am writing this.


Monday, April 01, 2019


I am still just existing.  I get up.  I run.  I resist smoking my pipes. I go to work.  I come home.  I go to bed.  And, I repeat.

I hate work.  I detest two people there for what they do to me and the Department.  I hate being there, even in the same room with them.

I like teaching my students.  I try to stay focused on that.  I love my family.  I try to stay focused on that.

But I hurt, all day long.  I so dislike what these two people do.  I wish I could be somewhere else and not have them anywhere in my life.  If I could, I would find somewhere else to be just to be away from them.  I have looked and will continue to look.