Conference Lite and Other Insanities

Thanks to the efforts of Anilia and John, Jeannette, and Mom and Bill, I successfully participated (a little bit) in the SMT conference in Baltimore this past weekend. It wasn't anything like the conference experiences of my past, when I've gone to paper after paper all day long, because such things are not possible with nursing babies. It worked out quite well, though, and as an added bonus, Kent got to spend fun time with family he's already met and meet a bunch of new people as well.

Baltimore was COLD, so Kent felt an icy wind hit his face for the first time in his life, which kind of took his breath away and surprised him a bit. In all the stress of manhandling his gear and trying to keep him warm at the same time, I found myself continually frustrated by the inability of his socks to stay on. In Baton Rouge, it's warm enough that it doesn't matter so much if he's not wearing socks, but his little feet were getting very chilly when we were outside and his right sock (it's almost always the right sock — why??) kept falling off his foot. Though I've considered baby shoes to be superfluous in the past, I decided they'd actually be useful for keeping his socks on, so Anilia splurged on a cute pair of brown zip-up shoes from Baby Gap that have been rocking my world ever since.

I went to one paper a day, a breakfast meeting for regional society presidents, and most of the plenary session on Saturday afternoon, which was the best part. Rather than having a keynote speaker, they had decided to convene a panel to talk about the burgeoning field of music cognition, a current hot topic that I didn't know much about. Four scholars gave short presentations on different aspects of the intersections between music and cognitive science, and they then opened up the floor for questions and discussion. I missed the very beginning, which seemed like Death By PowerPoint (Anilia's term), and I left as the questions were starting because I knew Kent would be getting hungry, but the things I did hear (about an hour and a half's worth of presentations) were fascinating. A developmental psychologist talked about experiments she's done with babies' preference of duple or triple meter, having to do with whether they are bounced on every two beats or every three beats of a given rhythmic pattern. The last guy had a really interesting topic; he talked about musically-evoked laughter, specifically as observed in concerts of PDQ Bach's music, and how different types of foiled expectations are what causes an audience to laugh at a concert. He was funny himself, making witty jokes and quick puns during his presentation, so it was easy to see why laughter was something that interested him as a research topic.

On Sunday afternoon, we drove to Lancaster with Kent sleeping most of the way (yay!), and now we're here hanging out with my mom and helping her not go insane. In addition to finishing details for her wedding on Saturday, she's also trying to wrap things up at her school, host a rehearsal party on Friday night, help me with Kent, pack up her life to move to NJ, and sell her house. Oh, and there's Thanksgiving, but I think that'll actually be the most low-key day this week — ironic because it's so full of hustle and bustle for a lot of people.

Lauren and Alice are coming for a visit this afternoon to meet Kent, and Mom and I are picking Jack up from the light rail station (which he'll take north so that we can avoid airport traffic) tomorrow afternoon. I'm very much looking forward to the father/son reunion. Kent has started rolling over from his back to his tummy since the last time Jack saw him, and he also needs those daddy-induced giggles that only Jack can provide. Plus, my arms will get a break.

You guys know how much I love food and cooking, so Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday, especially in the midst of the chaos. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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You are one brave lady to take on all of this. It's nice you can be with your mom a few days. I hope 1 of you will post some pictures from the wedding. Take care of Kent and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wow, the conference sounded like fun--especially that music cognition session. It's too bad that Tina couldn't be there--that's something she's been really interested in for a while!
It was great to see you, Kent & your mom yesterday. Have a great rest of the holiday!
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