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, June 19, 2019

Ran Like....

When I returned home last evening, I was still feeling quite aggravated about the person I spoke of yesterday.  So, I decided to try to change my mindset for the evening.  What I did was to go out and do a five mile run where I ran like hell, pushing myself HARD. 

I did not time myself, so I am not sure of how long I took in this endeavor, but I did measure my heart rate at the end of the five miles and I knew I had pushed myself.... I had a heart rate of 165 bpm. 

Normally when I am running, I aim to have about a 140-150 bpm to try to keep up the cardiovascular benefit of my running.... so, getting to 165 was a clear indication to me that I was pushing myself hard. 

Luckily, the extra hard workout did not make me more sore this morning.  I did get up and ran my five miles this morning... at my more normal 140-150 bpm pace.

Yesterday's intensity of 165 bpm DID help me to put aside my frustrations at that person I mentioned, and I was able to have a really nice, pleasant evening with my wife.  So, it did the trick.

As I sit here, mid-day, typing on my computer, I find my heart rate is at a steady 54 bpm.  This was even after I have already enjoyed a very large (24oz) deep, very dark and strong coffee that I finished about 2 hours ago .  :)


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cheese Grater

There is this one person that is at the U that I unfortunately have to work with to some degree.  The unfortunate aspect is that this person annoys the living hell out of me in so very many ways.  Generally I am a very congenial fellow and get along well with folks of all sorts. 

But this ONE person, this one person... makes me feel like I am rubbing my face on a cheese grater every moment this person is in my vicinity.   And the conundrum is that I need to figure out a way to interact with this person more successfully.  But, at the same time, I am not sure if our interactions are because we do not communicate successfully with each other.... OR.... if this person is just ego maniacal and is so damned bull-headed and damned pushy that the person is just a truly bad person. 

Also, this person NEVER, EVER shuts up.  This person talks INCESSANTLY.... usually in ways that (to me) seem very, very pushy and annoying.

Yes, this person is the same one that has been at least a big part of my bad moods for the last few years.  But, I am trying to figure out a way to cope better.  I want to *try* to have a conversation with this person.... but I also have to figure out a way to get my points across to this person WITHOUT flying off the handle and telling this person how very MUCH I dislike this person and what I tend to think this person's real motivations may be..... mostly because a) this likely would not do any good, and b) it would more likely than not hurt me.  And, there is *perhaps* a small chance ( less than 0.03% is my estimation) that I may be incorrect about this persons real personality... this person *might* actually be a nice person.... even though I sure as hell doubt it. 

I had to get this off my chest, so that I can attempt to figure out a way to approach this nasty person more effectively.


Sunday, June 16, 2019


At Mass this morning, a sizable amount of my thoughts were related to my various fathers I have had in my life.  I miss them all:

My Dad, for whom this Father’s Day will be his 25th one in Heaven.... I miss you and our times together so very much!  Important conversations, silly conversations, fishing, Coney Dogs, your love and your guidance, your insights, your inspirations for us and our family, and for the hobby of pipes.  You are still a motivating and inspirational force in my life each day!

For my Father-in-Law, for whom this Father’s Day is your 2nd on in Heaven... I miss you and our fun, relaxing times at your home, at Deer Camp, our long conversations, our celebrations together with beer and a little bit of whisky, and our pipes.  You too have been a true father to me, more so than the “in-law” moniker suggests.

Catholic Frs. David and Greg.  Fr. David, you have been in heaven now for 22 years, and Fr Greg, you have been in heaven for 24 years.  Both of you, I thank you for your guidance and your insight.  You each helped me further understand and deepen my Faith and helped me to realize how my faith is always a part of how I work and navigate in my daily life to try to be a server, a servant to others.  You helped me to better understand how, while I do like and enjoy being recognized for working hard to try to do a good job in all facets of my life, that recognition is truly unimportant, and that it is the work that really matters.

For two of my very valuable uncles, Chester and Cap.  Cap, you have been in heaven now for 25 years, and Chester, it has now been 20 years since you have been in heaven.  Your love and kindness, your friendship and guidance have meant the world to me.

I fervently hope that all of you look down upon me and are happy with my work, my efforts in my family, in my faith, in my work at the U.  You each have been and continue to be so very important to me

Addendum:  I foolishly forgot to add my two academic “fathers”, my graduate school mentors, who shaped my focus as a scientist. Raymond (now in heaven for 25 years) and Lyn (now in heaven for 7 years).  Both of these men helped me to take my interest in science and find a passion in my specialization.  I owe both men a great deal of gratitude for their guidance in shaping who I have become.


Friday, June 14, 2019

16 Complete Months

It has now been 16 complete months since I began to refrain from smoking a pipe. 

Am I proud and excited about this accomplishment?  Nah, not really.  In many ways I am ambivalent.

Am I going to go back to smoking a pipe?  I cannot say for sure, but I can say it seems illogical for me to do so, even if I think it would be enjoyable to do so. 

I do wish I felt proud or happy about this goal in the same sort of way I feel about my increasing days of walking and/or running.  But, again, I feel neither good nor bad about the accomplishment.  Just ambivalent. 


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Subs & Grinders

I would tend to say that push-come-to-shove.... one of my very favorite things to eat are submarine sandwiches.  Luckily, I have a variety of places to choose from and each has its own distinct flair.  From the ubiquitous  "Subway" sandwich to a whole array of local establishments that offer unique twists on this wonderful sandwich.  

These days, I tend to try to have my sub sandwiches be as healthy as possible (to help me maintain my weight loss and normal BMI).  That usually means I get a sub that is without cheese, and is often vegetarian, or if I "indulge" I may get turkey on the sandwich.  Usually I use mustard as the dressing.  They are good, and they are filling.  BUT....

Back when I was in graduate school.... there was this wonderful, amazing shop that built the most delicious, huge, decadent baked subs (grinders) around!  I remember getting these gigantic subs plastered with four different types of cheese, four different types of meat, baked to perfection and slathered with enough sauces to ensure dripping into my beard and mustache and down the front of my shirt!  I so frequently got these subs, that the owners knew my name (like on Cheers) and would have my order nearly in the oven before I got to the counter.  I used to polish off this enormous monstrosity with a huge basket of crispy golden fries, and a truckload of cola and often a few beers to boot.  Then I would be nearly (but happily) catatonic for the remainder of the evening. 

Such a damn good sandwich.  Sadly, I was able to visit my old graduate school a few years ago, and unfortunately, the grinder shop had gone belly up. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Pat & GaP

Pat and GaP both wrote some comments about my pipe smoking conundrum last week when I found my "ratpipe".  Their comments and suggestions made a lot of sense and I have been thinking about them.  As many of you can realize, I do often think about a return to my pipes. 

I am not sure, though, if I should, even though it is very tempting.  Until I can make a definitive decision, I guess the best bet is to stay the current course until I know. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Exhaustion describes how I felt yesterday.  I was feeling a mixture of sadness, and also feeling a little bit under the weather.  It was a challenging day.  In the evening, I even felt a bit feverish.  

I tried all of the things I normally try to pull myself out of a "mood"..... I tried to push myself while running.  I ran 7 miles yesterday in 59 minutes and tried to push myself to get extra sweaty and to shed stress hormones.  I watched the very cute film, "Paddington 2" with my wife to try to feel happier, and I went swimming with my wife as well.

Still, it was a challenging day emotionally.   I ended up going to bed at 9:30 to try to get more rest and tried to cocoon with extra blankets (this often helps me when I feel a bit physically under the weather (feverish)).  

Fortunately, things seem to have gotten considerably better.  I do not feel emotionally sad this morning (I am not overjoyed... but I feel rather neutral), I ran my normal 5 miles at 5:00am, and I do not feel feverish or exhausted.  So.... all things have improved a fair amount.

Hopefully work will be decent today.


Friday, June 07, 2019


Finding my long-lost "ratpipe" has stimulated my dreams to have pipes and me smoking pipes in them much more prominently than that had been in a few months.  Last night, for instance, my somewhat hazy dream revolved around me and my family living in a small town in the late 1800s.  I ran a small grocery (and general mercantile) store in this town, and it was in the middle of hot summer.  I remember walking home down Main Street after I closed up the shop, and walked quietly into the house and poured myself a drink.  Strangely (for that time period) my drink of choice was Diet Pepsi with ICE and a few shots of whiskey (obviously this made no temporal sense).  I then went out with drink in hand, and sat quietly on the front porch of our home.  I pulled my pipe out of my shirt pocket, filled the bowl with dark crumbles of leaf and ignited the leaf with a wooden kitchen match. I then began to read a book I had with me.  

In the middle of reading, my alarm went off an brought me back to the real world.


Thursday, June 06, 2019

Doctor's Visit

I accompanied my wife to a doctor's visit (specialist) yesterday.  She wanted me there for moral support.  Fortunately, the appointment went reasonably well so it was not too rough.  In terms of her health, things are as we anticipated.  There is plenty of reason for optimism if my wife becomes comfortable with "consistency" in terms of actions regarding her condition. 

While consistency is a behavior pattern I have been comfortable with (in fact, I can be somewhat "stubborn" about my own consistency at times).... I follow a plethora of routines..... my wife has more of a personality type that balks at consistency and routine.  So, she will be on a learning curve.... but if she wants to, she can do this. 


Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Still Contemplating....


I am still contemplating the conundrum of my "ratpipe".  I am feeling rather torn between the two choices I see. 

One (potentially/somewhat) good thing about my personality is that I tend to not be rash quickfire (pun intended) in my actions.  I often find no response is a better alternative when I am undecided than is a hasty response. 


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Lost is Found!

Hmm.  It has been an exceedingly interesting last couple of days.  The image above is of a Dr. Grabow pipe.  These pipes were/are inexpensive pipes and not always the best quality.  I have had several over the years and they are generally decent.  

But, the particular Dr. Grabow pipe I want to tell you about has a long, interesting story tied to it....

The pipe originally looked like the one above, but over the 25+ years I have owned this particular pipe, it has become what I kindly refer to as a "ratpipe".  Basically, it is a pipe that has been beat up and "treated roughly" over the years.  It has become rather rough looking and shows its wear abundantly.  When I first acquired this pipe, I remember the first incident that started the pipe on its journey to be a "ratpipe".  I had been out-of-doors golfing with a few friends and had been smoking the pipe while golfing.  I needed to knock out the ashes from the bowl so that I could refill the pipe with tobacco, and without thinking started to knocked the pipe on the heel of my shoe.  This is something  I did sometimes when out-of-doors... especially if the pipe was just an "average" pipe.  Well, I wasn't really thinking about it.... but because I was golfing I had on golf shoes with metal spikes (common back in the day).  Even though I was not particularly harsh or aggressive in knocking out the ashes, I must have struck a spike just right... and a sizable chunk of the outer edge of the bowl broke off.  The bowl remained intact.... but it was an ugly looking chunk missing.  This was the start of the pipe becoming a "ratpipe".... a pipe that was used when appearance of the pipe did not matter in the least.  It became my primary pipe when doing yard work, puttering around the garage, gardening, painting various parts of the house, or doing anything that was messy or likely to involve a lot of dirt or grime.  

Over the next few years, this pipe became more the worse for wear.  Fairly heavy teeth marks like the stem from where I had clenched onto the pipe more robustly than I should have while navigating around branches and low hanging bushes while cutting the lawn.  The bowl became more scratched and rough looking from occasionally clattering to the cement garage floor while I was working on things.  It really looked like hell, but it did not really matter... it was my "ratpipe".  And, it was nothing but an average smoking pipe....

In fact, and this was probably about 15 or so years ago... I had let the pipe sit for probably a few weeks on a shelf in my garage, and had forgotten to knock out the ashes when I had set it down.  Because of my carelessness, it had acquired a rather stubborn plug in the shank near the bowl.  Wanting to use the pipe, but not having any pipe cleaners handy, I tried to disldge the "plug" with an awl (too big) and other long, thin objects I could find (such as trying with the inner shaft of a Bic pen (too broad again), a long pine needle (not long enough to reach without breaking and further complicating the issue) and even a drill bit (just a bit (pun intended) too damn big as well).  

I then suddenly had the "brilliant" idea that I could actually drill out the plug with the bit in the drill.  I figured... what the hell... it was nothing special, if I messed up and broke it... no real big loss.  So I did.  And I did not break the shank.

And, lo-and behold... increasing slightly the diameter of the draw hole through the shank of this little, fussy, Dr. Grabow "ratpipe".... ended up transforming the beast into one of the most reliably pleasant smoking pipes I had!  It was not fussy and rarely if ever needed much in the way of cleaning, and it produced the richest, thickest, coolest smoke.   From that time, I truly appreciated and enjoyed my little "ratpipe" with all my around the house tasks!  It was both ugly AND beautiful now. 

That is.... until three Summers ago.  I had been cutting the lawn with my "ratpipe" and I was pretty certain I had stuffed it in my shirt pocket while I was doing something or other in the yard.  I then didn't think about it for a few hours, but when I did.... it was nowhere to be found!  It was NOT in my shirt pocket.  I remember being in the garage for a bit, so I looked around on my workbench.... it wasn't there either.  So then, I thought for certain that (horror) it fell out of my pocket while I was leaning over somewhere in the yard doing some yard work.  I spent many long hours tracing my steps all throughout the yard, hoping that I would find the beast laying in the grass somewhere.... to no avail.  I never saw the pipe again.  I presumed it had been crushed or run over by the lawn mower, or perhaps it was accidentally fell into a bag of long gone collected leaves or other yard rubbish.  

That is what I had presumed.... until Sunday afternoon.  

I was working on some additional cleaning in the garage, and I decided to try to sweep a bit better around my one workbench.  I nudged the workbench a bit, and heard a clatter onto the floor.  I presumed it was a screwdriver or something similar that had been sitting on the bench, but....

it was the "ratpipe"!!!!!!!!

Apparently, I had set it down on the edge of the workbench those three years ago and it must have fallen off the edge and gotten stuck between the side of the bench and the wall I had the bench up against.  When I nudged the bench a bit for sweeping, it was enough to allow the pipe to fall free!!!!!!

Ever since yesterday, I have been thinking about my ratpipe.  I must admit, finding it has awakened some pretty deep yearnings to smoke a bowl or two of burley leaf.  

I just do not know.



Saturday, June 01, 2019

Only 7

I initially was thinking I would perhaps strive to run 12 miles this morning, but then I started thinking about how much work it will be to try to tackle the garage.  I decided to stop at 7 miles instead.