unwound


The past few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of activity and productivity. Sunday night was an abstract deadline, and my research group got one in shortly before midnight. (It was nearly ready to submit the day before, but when finishing involves emails among 4 people, the process can be slow. Especially on weekends. Also, one generally will take as much time as one is given to put on the final touches. There is generally a process of hacking away at the text to make it all fit the space constraints, with adverbs getting mercilessly excised, and then at the end, an attempt to re-elegantize it.) In the weeks leading up to this, I spent every free moment working on processing the data, which consisted of several thousand tokens of elicited productions of speech of specific characteristics. Somehow I managed to fit all of this in with time spent with family and friends, including a week-long trip to my in-laws and several gatherings, as well as Christmas-related activities.

I have been busy.

I thought I had been managing to still get enough sleep along the way, as I had been making efforts to get to bed by midnight. I glibly wrote in an email I sent less than an hour after the abstract submission was complete that I believed myself not to be sleep-deprived. However, yesterday, I found that the tiredness kicked in. I had a day with the kids, taking advantage of Phoebe’s day off from school to visit some friends we don’t see often enough. By afternoon, I could barely keep my eyes open (which is not great, given that I was driving). Then we still had the violin lesson. Last night I imagined myself posting something here, but I found myself tied up in my words. (I was trying to write something intelligent and meaningful, attempting to mark Martin Luther King day in an intelligent and meaningful way. It proved to be beyond me.)

Today I was unable to focus, and unable to figure out what to tackle next. (Because, naturally, there are many things I have had to put off in my mad rush of productivity.) So I puttered about online. I puttered about in my photo library. I puttered about the kitchen. Then I took a two hour nap. I guess I needed to unwind.

Hopefully I will be able to regain my productivity again tomorrow. I have lots I’d love to write about here. (Yes, including wrapping up the recaps of my Hong Kong trip!) Then there are the next steps in my own research projects.

Plus at some point, we’ll probably need to take down the Christmas tree.

And do something with the pumpkins on the porch.


These photos are of a giant spool that appeared in the hallway outside the lab where I sometimes work at MIT. I’m particularly amused by the little “acoustic level” sign that sits above the spool in the top photo. (As I got together this set of photos to post, I had a sense of déja-vu. In fact, I had vu this déja just over 2 years ago, when I had started a draft post with the post title “unwound” in December of 2009.)

12 responses to “unwound

  1. I may be showing my ignorance, but I feel the need to ask: why is there a giant spool sitting outside your lab? As an English major who didn’t spend much time in buildings with labs, this spool seems odd to me. Perhaps even– dare I say– incongruous.

    • The spool was, I believe, related to some construction going on on the floor, and not having anything to do directly with the lab. It was, indeed, incongruous. It just appeared one day, and disappeared another. (Of course now I’m going to try to imagine alternate answers to give you about the need for giant spools in speech research.)

  2. I’m glad you got that nap today. You do work hard.

  3. I’m so confused by the second photo, the one with the orange ring. Is that a melted pumpkin?

    • Ha! It’s actually just a close-up of the spool. The orange bit is a rusty bolt and nut. (I put the photos in before I wrote the post–it just kind of worked out that the last thing I wrote about was the pumpkins. The last I checked, the pumpkins were still looking remarkably round and unsquashed. Better, in fact, than some of the produce in my refrigerator.)

  4. Great photos! I love incongruous spools. Actually, I love objects that are an unexpected size, including giant spools. Plus I love objects in unexpected places, like giant spools outside of labs.
    Napping is totally productive.
    Finally, I’m glad that you are not wounded, but rather unwound. And especially glad to see a new post! :) Welcome back!

  5. Napping is always a treat. I took a glorious nap on the day after Thanksgiving and I still think of it fondly.

  6. “Re-elegantize.” Now there’s a word that feels uncomfortable in its own skin.

    Sometimes you just have to take that nap.

  7. after about 2 weeks of fairly high productivity, the last few days have been spent unwinding myself. I hope the productivity streak returns, though, i got a lot done! :)

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