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, September 11, 2023

Up to Snuff

 What have I been up to?  A whole lot overall.  First a bulleted list, and then some other thoughts:

  • Last Thursday, I was ahead of miles so I ran fewer both on Thursday and on Friday..... I would have to look more specifically at my journal log, but I think I ran 8.4 miles (~13.5 km) on Thursday and 6.7 miles (~11km) on Friday to complete the needed 50+ miles for the week. 
  • This morning, I ran 10.1 miles (~16 km) at 5:15am in beautifully dense fog.  It was strange running with my headlamp through the fog.  Rather surreal.  
  • I have been writing, rewriting, editing, fussing & finessing my grant application.  I need to submit by Friday, so at least there will be a cutoff point soon and I can forget about the damn thing. The thing about grant writing that is both a blessing and a curse is that they always have page limits.  It is a blessing as I could write a grant application that is usually 4-5 times longer than allowed which would take up a helluva lot of time.  The curse is that TRYING to get as much dense, well worded detail into a prescribed number of pages means that MOST of the time in writing is an effort in CONDENSING as many ideas as possible into a small, finite space... and yet make that writing clear, coherent, DETAILED ENOUGH for a broad audience, and highly polished so that the powers-that-be take a shining to your story enough to give you money.  An unfortunate truism is that the "polish" is sometimes more important that the significance of the idea... especially when grant readers sometimes have only scant understanding of the potential importance of the various proposed experiments they read about.  
  • My SIL has had some challenges again that have made this past weekend a bit upended for my wife and I as far as plans go as well.  I am glad that things are generally good at the moment, but the weekend was rather chaotic as a result of these challenges she faced.  
  • I went to Mass at a closer Parish this past Saturday.  Usually when I have gone to this parish on occasion previously, there was a limited sense of fellowship, learning, and family.  However, due to priest rotations in our Diocese, this Parish has a different priest than previous.  The whole mood of the Parish was different..... the fellowship felt vibrant and strong, I learned a great deal from the Homily, and it felt very much like a family.  Obviously, the major importance of the Mass is being able to participate in the Sacrament of Communion, so all Parishes do accomplish this.... but this particular Mass felt really wonderful.... and had an almost "Capuchin" feel to it even though the priest was not Capuchin.... and you do KNOW I feel a special kinship to the Capuchins. I may write more about the Homily later this week.  I have been thinking about it a great deal.  

I am still very much thinking about and remembering my Dad.  My thoughts have broadened considerably though and are not focused only on the time of his passing.  In fact, my thoughts have broadened and deepened to be about both of my parents.  I seem to be in a mood of reminiscing a great deal about memories of them, especially memories of my youth and all the wonderful ways they nurtured and guided me.  Even though it does not do much good, I am for some reason feeling especially deep emotions about missing them both lately.  Do not get me wrong.... I have always loved them both and missed them.  But after over 30 years since my Dad's passing and after over 15 years of my Mom's passing..... the pain of missing them generally is well worn and I am used to it.  But during the last week or so the emotions and feelings of loss have intensified again.  They are quite strong.  

I have also been actively at a 9.5+ score on my old PCS "pipe craving score" system.  The call of my pipes and pipe tobaccos gnaws at my mind all the time.  Whether it is old memories as a kid or memories as an adult, or old memories of only a few years ago.... pipe memories abound.  Even though I am still not really great at remembering dreams.... I have been during the last several days recalling small snippets of dreams, and invariably they always had a pipe in some way within the dream.... either prominent, ancillary, or circumstantial.   

My mind is rather "of its own mind" at times, it seems.  I try to wrestle it into submission, but I can only do so much it seems.  

So, generally, I am relatively "up to snuff".... meaning I am doing adequately.  Just a lot of little prods poking me along on the day-to-day.  The phrase "up-to-snuff" is an interesting one.  In its most traditional sense the phrase means "up to a generally recognized standard".  And that is how I used it in the above.  But, snuff, as a tobacco product (from which the phrase was derived) is an odd, strange beast in-an-of itself too.  In the image I show, there are three versions that folks call "snuff".  In my manner of thinking, though, SNUFF is really only the dried tobacco powder shown in the middle.  Folks would take a small pinch of this and sniff it into the nasal cavity.  I remember finding a small can and trying it way back in graduate school.  I tried it perhaps three times.... but never really enjoyed it.  To me, it is not really pleasant.  On the left image, you see what some folks call "snuff" but I suggest the more traditional moniker would be "chew" or "chewing tobacco".  The canister shown contains what is finely cut chewing tobacco that some call "moist snuff".  There is also a more broad-leafed, looser chewing tobacco (think of "Big Red" brand common for baseball players).  For me, I tried both the fine cut and looser chewing tobaccos a few times when experimenting in graduate school.... but like with dry snuff.... never found much of interest in it. On the right is what is called "Snus" which is actually moist snuff that is encapsulated in a small fabric sac.  Apparently it is popular now as it is apparently easier to keep in the mouth than is the traditional loose chewing tobacco.  



Blogger Margaret said...

Taking a pinch of snuff is common in my Brit lit reading. I guess I didn't realize that it was tobacco. Duh. I'm happy that you found a family feel at the close parish. I'm all for proximity! It makes involvement in activities so much easier.

Monday, 11 September, 2023  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I didn't know that it went up the nose. I am not sure what I thought.

Tuesday, 12 September, 2023  

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