So, my new workflow uses mosh, tmux and XPRA to accomplish great things.
On work machine:
xpra start :7 && DISPLAY=:7 tmux new -s remote
which will start an xpra server on display hook 7, and launch a new tmux instance with name 'remote' that is attached to said display device. This ensures that whenever we try to launch an X instance (i.e. 'ipython --pylab' ) it will be able to attach to an X device
xpra attach ssh:<hostname>:7 & mosh <hostname> -- tmux attach -t remote
This will have xpra attach to the remote X session display, and run mosh for a persistent ssh connection to my work machine, and once connected attach to my remote tmux session which already is connected to the xpra display, and I have a working, fast persistent ssh + X forwarding connection to my work computer.
What this means is that I have a connection to my work computer that behaves transparently as if it were my work computer, plus will fix itself if I put my laptop to sleep and wake it back up. So I can plot things in ipython all I want without a care in the world.
For extra fun, alias those commands on the respective machines to make your life easier.