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, October 02, 2023

Pins & Needles

Not really sure what to say.  Things have been rough.  I feel anxious, and on edge, and always waiting for the "other shoe" to drop, whether it is from work folks who are rude and hurtful, or from that which I do not talk about, or some relative's health issue... it seems my like has again migrated back to me perpetually feeling on edge.... 24 hours a day.  It is an abomination.  

Unfortunately, there isn't a helluva lot I can really do about any of it:

  • I would like to quit.  But, that lets the bastards win, as the saying goes.  And, I actually truly enjoy teaching and researching. But, those two are are poison.
  • I would like to ignore "that which I cannot talk about", but that is not the right thing to do.
  • I would like to run away from all the impending death and extreme decline that is happening to relatives, but I cannot abandon them, no matter how much this hurts to go through.

The difficulty at the moment (at the last nearly two weeks) the pain of the above, the anxiety of the above is that it is UNRELENTING.  It is from morning till night.... other than when I sleep. Sleep is the most peaceful time I have in life at the moment.

What else?

  • I have kept up with my damn miles.  At the moment, they are the LAST thing I want to do in the morning, as it pulls me out of the peace of sleep. And, I feel very resentful about not sleeping.  But, I know it is essential to run....  to breakdown my damnably sky high stress hormone levels to try to keep even-keeled and the hormones manageable.  
  • I fall asleep dreaming of smoking my pipes.  Just routing my brain into those memories helps me drop off to sleep faster than making "Minute Rice". 
  • I am not really sure if I gave in at the moment and just went back to my pipes, if even THEY would be enough to manage my stress.... but I would not mind trying and seeing if it would help.  
  • And, yet, even though I do suspect it would help me to SOME degree, I think going back to them currently would further complicate my life as well.  I do not think I could withstand any more complexities at the moment.  

Thursday, September 21, 2023


I am feeling very emotionally low.  All the sh*t related to this past several days has killed any sense of happiness I felt.  So, tomorrow, Friday.... is bound to be filled with sheer joy (sarcasm):

  • I get to present the already agreed to initiatives to the damn department for additional "discussion" after I had previously been given verbal approval and the go-ahead to do all the sh*t work on them since March.  It is very possible that NOW, after they were agreed to in March, that the nasty duo will figure out a way to kill all that work and effort.  Not knowing what will transpire makes me on edge.  My anxiety levels about this are catastrophically high.
  • That which I no longer speak about is having a "thing" on Friday that could be very upsetting to my wife and I.  Not knowing what will transpire makes me on edge. (Brief note for Pat.... the "thing" is not illegal, as you had worriedly postulated, it is just very, very hard, discouraging, and hurtful).  My anxiety levels about this are catastrophically high.

I do not have much more to say that the above.  I feel hugely burdened.  I despise my life as it is.  I want to take my wife and simply run away.  In my dreams before sleep, I imagine winning the lottery and then getting all my financial ducks in a row over the span of 2-3 weeks.... and then telling an especially selected set number of folks (hint.... the folks mentioned and also the "no longer mentioned" above) what I actually think of them and their various actions/behaviors.... then writing a brief, two-to-three sentence e-mail to the pertinent folks at the U telling them I quit.  Then I would shut the door and walk away from the whole lot of them.

Life is not meant to be like this.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023



Shortly after I wrote yesterdays post, a new tornado arose in my life..... brought about by the two "lovely" (sarcasm) individuals at work who have treated me so very shabbily other times.  It is difficult to write about generally because the details are challenging and odd.  But, generally, these two folks have basically sabotaged a curricular initiative I am working to get adopted at the U.  The two "delightful" (sarcasm) folks.... words cannot describe how hurt and annoyed I am at them.  

Here's the issue.  Curricular initiatives require a helluva lot of a) finesse, b) careful planning, c) endless hours of busy-work minutia, d) lots of hoofing around to various departments, committees, and chairs of committees, and so much more.  Here is where I am awfully damn mad at these two "cherished" (sarcasm) members of my Department...... way, way back in late MARCH, I came to the whole Department, and spoke at length to the WHOLE Department about the specific curricular initiatives.  I had documents, PowerPoint slides, and basically every duck in a row that I could have in a row for this Department Meeting.... seeking their approval to begin this process.  

AND... EVERYONE in the Department AGREED fully with the initiatives!!!!!! EVERYONE.... including the two "superlative" (sarcasm) folks I have been talking about.  THEY DAMN WELL AGREED!!!!!!!

Now, when I spend the time since late March talking with the other departments, committees, etc.... and have the damnable initiatives also formally written into the damn clunky, but required electronic submission program at our U...... NOW, that we have to add the Departmental Vote to the submission program..... NOW.... they are saying no..... instead of the YES they earlier gave back in March.  EVERY OTHER DAMN VOTE IN THE DEPARTMENT IS YES, except for those two stellar (sarcasm) individuals.  

What's the deal you may ask?  Having a Department that submits an initiative with any "no" votes sets off a whole helluva lot of red flags in the governing committee.  They will then begin to question, and question, and question.... and I will have many, many, many more hours eaten up for b*llsh*t.  And.... it may make the initiative be at risk for not being adopted.  

They are "benevolent" (read... petty), "kindhearted people" (read "distal end of the digestive system"). 

So.  I was very grumpy at the end of the day......

  • went swimming with my wife, which did not really help unfortunately
  • I had to go to band rehearsal... and did NOT want to go.  But, I went.  Rehersal did help a little bit.  
  • Sleeping was a huge help.  At least there, I was ensconced in happier thoughts of pipes, etc.

I got up this morning......

  • pounded out an aggravated and hurt 10.3 miles (~16.5 km)
  • Taught in "big voice" for 4 hours
  • BUT, in the middle of teaching, the damn emergency system was activated on our campus and I and my students had to evacuate our building. In total, three buildings had to evacuate.  
  • about 45 minutes later, we were given the "all clear" and allowed to re-enter.  
  • The situation turns out to have been an electrical short that occurred in the wiring of the building next door (but we are attached by a walkway).  The short automatically set of the warning system in the three buildings.  
  • So, with the 45 minutes lost, I had to try to condense, and to accelerate my teaching in the class that experienced the alarm situation so that I would stay on track.  I am close, but no cigar.  I will have to continue at the accelerated pace a bit more next class If I hope to get back on track someday.  

I am hoping and praying no additional b*llsh*t befalls on my today or across the foreseeable future.  


Monday, September 18, 2023



As you know, I like words with multiple meanings.  The list I am providing below is of course a list (
a number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, typically one below the other) but is also representative of the listing emotions I have experienced since turning in the grant of Friday.  In this second use of "list" I am using the definition of list as illustrated by my image of the ship above (a nautical term to describe when a vessel takes on water and tilts to one side)... which is not a good thing:

  • Thursday and Friday of last week I did run 10 miles each day (20 miles total (~32 km)) to reach my 50+ miles (~81 km) for the week.  
  • After turning in my grant Friday and doing some other odds and ends, I went home.  I really thought a beer or two would taste wonderful, but I was still feeling a rather strong trepidation about doing so because my resolve to refrain from my pipes was/is still at a very, very low point at the moment.  
  • Then.... as luck would have it.... my SIL and BIL (her husband, of course) were able to come over.  For about a year or perhaps a bit more now, we have been trying to get together at least once a month on a Friday to play Euchre.
  • So, I high-tailed it down to the liquor store and picked up a six pack of beer (glass bottles, not cans).  Neither my wife nor SIL drink and my BIL is similar in drinking to me, so a six pack would be plenty.  I was really in the mood for an IPA, so since I had not been to the liquor store in probably a year or more, I thought I would look around to see what they had.  And, I was delighted to see one IPA that I had had the opportunity to try at one of the research conferences I presented at about a year or so ago. I remembered it very fondly!  It was named "All Day" IPA and I recognized it immediately by the interesting label that I remembered from those I had at the conference. It is delightfully robust in deep, dark, malty/hoppy flavors!  
  • When my SIL and BIL arrived, it was quite fun.  We played Euchre for a number of hours.  We played (as usual) husband & wife teams.  As a husband and wife team, both teams are equally adept (perhaps I should say inept?) so we are pretty evenly matched.  In my team, my wife is the stronger player of the two of us.  In my SIL's team, her husband is the stronger player.... but as teams we are  evenly matched.  We ended up wining 1/2 of the games we played and my SIL & BIL won 1/2 of the games.  
  • I allowed myself the privilege of having ONE "All Day" IPA and it was even more delicious than I had recalled from the research conference.  My BIL did not choose to have any as he was taking some sort of new medication and he was not sure/didn't want to chance any odd interaction until he knew more.  
  • I do admit that the delicious/delightful "All Day" IPA *did* in fact make me so very much more tempted and desiring of having a pipe.  I did not do so, however, because a) I would have had to step outside (not good to expose my SIL nor BIL to my pipe smoke.... and hell, not my wife either... due to their medical challenges), and b) I did not really have TIME to do so as we were playing Euchre which does not really have "down times".  
  • As I KNEW we would be playing Euchre steadily for a few hours, THAT WAS WHY I felt reasonably safe in indulging in the delightful bottle of beer.  If we had not been playing Euchre, I do know the pull to my pipes was strong enough with one beer that I may likely have indulged.  And, if I would have had a second beer..... the probability would have been even more likely.  I calculated that the gentle, pleasant, "fuzziness" of the one beer would likely have completely dissipated by the end of the Euchre tournament, so I felt the probability was high enough that my feeble resolve would have built up enough by the time we were finished to not have much worry.
  • So, it was a beautiful evening.
  • The next morning, my wife and I went to meet "that which I no longer talk about here".  And, surprisingly it was a *reasonably* pleasant time.  It was not "kum by-yah and roses" by any stretch of the imagination.  But was nice.  
  • My wife and I were amazed and very pleased.  We decided to go swimming. Swimming was relaxing and invigorating simultaneously.  
  • We then went to the nearby parish for Saturday Mass. It is starting to feel rather home-like for both of us.  But, we are still trying to determine our best parish to commit to and have a few more to consider.  
  • Then, late on Saturday evening, "that which I no longer talk about here" decided to drop an enormous, new bombshell on us.  After receiving this news.... I was hurt, angry, and furious.  All I wanted to do was holler, curse, yell, etc.  But, this would not be fair for my wife.  She too was hurting.  Her typical way to try to dissipate the hurt is to watch mindless television programs.  That does not work for me and only increases my agitation. I excused myself from her company and went to my den, where I proceeded to work on grading of papers until ~2:30am. 
  • I then went to bed, but could not sleep.  I tossed and turned for a couple of hours.  In my mind, I realized that it was fruitless to try.  Instead, I got out of bed at ~4:30am and dressed up in my exercise clothes and decided to pound out 10 very angry miles.  This was Sunday morning.  I had already met my needed 50 miles (like I stated above).  And, the official tally week for running begins on Monday.  So, in effect, I actually ran a damn 60+ miles (~97 km) this past week.  It was not what I WANTED to do.  I had been looking forward to the rest days of Saturday and Sunday.  But it turned out to be what I NEEDED to do, as I pounded out with my feet some of the anger, resentment, stress, pain, sorrow, and aggravation as ran out those 10 damnable miles, cursing under my breath the first 6 or so miles and eventually tiring out enough to dissipate that anger into trying to pray the rosary for the last 3-4 miles.  
  • When I got back, my wife and I made breakfast.  We were still very hurt, sad, etc.  But... I was feeling my emotions were more manageable.  The television and sleep helped my wife feel her emotions were similarly more manageable.  
  • The rest of Sunday was pretty much a blur of not much.  We just both tried to stay emotionally even keel and not fall back into the deep pit of despair. 
  • Sunday evening’s definite high spot was that as a part of our dinner my wife and I each had a small piece of salmon.  And, my wife baked the salmon to utter perfection.  It was by far, the best salmon I have ever had..... restaurant or home.  My wife was even surprised at how damn near perfect it was.  
  • Today, I got up at 5:00am.  I pounded out 12.3 miles (~20 km).
  • I have big lectured for the last 4 hours.   

That is about it.


Friday, September 15, 2023


The damnable grant is in!  And, I had 90 minutes to spare before the electronic submission deadline!!!!

I think it turned out quite well….. will likely hear back about it in January.  I will keep my finger’s crossed!  

Now, I feel much more relaxed.  I MIGHT have a beer or two when I get home to celebrate.  But, I will have to assess the situation because my resolve to refrain from my pipes is still quite low.  A beer or two could eliminate the minimally remaining resolve I have.  So, I am not sure IF I will have a beer when I get home or not.  

But, regardless, it is a great feeling to have the damn grant out in my paws!!!!


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Quick (Quik)


Quick post today as  my day is filled to the brim with teaching (4.5 hours of big voice), several meetings, curricular applications, the grant application, and more.

  • 10 miles (~16 km) on the indoor track today.  It felt too cold and windy and dark at 5:00am.... so I acquiesced and instead ran on the indoor track at 6:00am.  I probably should have toughed it out and ran outside, but I knew how busy the day was going to be, so I took the easy way out.
  •  Wednesday is typically the hardest day of the week for me because it does not feel like the weekend is near, and it often feels like I am just slogging through things. 
  •  I have been appreciative of the comments I have received.  I am thinking later this week I will again have a day's post be mostly answering those comments and others that may arrive before then.  

Pipe cravings abound like crazy.  Not sure if they are a result of a) the cooler weather, b) the stresses of the grant writing and other work, c) the chaos of what I do not mention here, or d) just the fact that pipes and pipe tobaccos are wonderful, enjoyable, and fully pleasing creatures and products.  Probably a mix of all four, I presume.  


Tuesday, September 12, 2023



I am tire...."d'..... TIRED.  I am so tired, I did not have the energy to put the "d" in my title.  😀

With band rehearsal last night going until late, I was looking very forward to getting home to relax, eat, spend some time with my wife and then go to sleep.  The evening did not turn out quite like I envisioned: 

  • My wife decided to attend a movie while I was at rehearsal.  That is good, and the film she picked was an interesting documentary she wanted to see.  
  • But, instead of it being a good time, when she eventually arrived home (~15 minutes after I did), she was distraught.
  • That which I no longer talk about here caused quite an emotional ruckus with my wife with a phone call during the film.  
  • The information about the causer of my wife's ruckus was explained to me, leading to me being also in an emotional ruckus.  
  • We attempted to address the causer and help, but have been met with radio silence.
  • That is where we still reside.  As a result neither I nor my wife went to bed until roughly 1:00am.  
  • I could NOT force myself out of bed at the appropriate 5:00am to complete my run.  
  • Eventually, I literally FORCED myself out of bed by 5:45am to begin the damn run.   I was exhausted the moment I awoke.  The last thing I wanted to do was run.  But.... I forced myself to do so.
  • I forced myself by shear grit (no joy) to get the whole damn 10 miles in (~16km).
  • I have been working like a dog ever since with lots of big voice lecturing interspersed by lots of meetings (Zoom and also in-person).  

Maybe folks are right and I should just say "to hell with it" and go back to smoking my pipes however, whenever I would like?  It would initially be a far easier decision than the decisions I make multiple times every single day to continue on my pipe-less journey.  A pipe would nourish my mind.   Long term, however, I fear my worries would eventually return as well.... at least some day down the road.  

Off to do more editing on the damn grant application.