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Pollen and anxiety ratchets

Progress. I have working versions of all 3 talks written and now I only need to come up with a super-stylish R demo for Friday's talk - enough of a demo to show everyone R's capabilities. The other two talks are blaring reminders that I really need to get more of the leafcutter data published, sooner rather than later. The data are all high-quality and much could and should be written around them. I'm on the verge of having a solid draft of the discussion written for the next leafcutter paper, at least, but it remains difficult to juggle that work with the cricket work. I don't have finely honed laser focus, especially when people are talking and playing music in the background in the lab.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and out to the lake this morning, despite a lingering, low-level sinus headache. My housemate J is my pollen barometer because his allergies are about 10 times worse than mine. K's are pretty bad, too, but she seems to react most strongly to cat dander. That doesn't keep her from touching Creature and Emma, though. Even B was sniffling.

When I reached the lake, the overall conclusion was that I could turn around and go home. Instead of going straight in to campus, I decided to go back to the house and work from home for the morning. That's perhaps the chief luxury of this job, at the moment - being able to work pretty much anywhere. The house is blissfully quiet in the middle of the day, while J and K are at work and B is at school. No mechanical hum of refrigerators and freezers, or loud phone conversations.

When I have a lot to get done, the loud sounds compound my sense of anxiety, and I feel myself slipping up and over the top of the inverted U-function that describes the relationship between anxiety and productivity. I wish I knew the best way to tip myself back in the other direction. If only the answer involved chocolate I would be all set.

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March 2019


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