After a somewhat frustrating week work-wise, I came into a round of chanukah events.
I went to a party on Thursday night, hosted by the father of one of bar mitzvah pupils who is somebody senior in the US embassy. So that was a chance to experience some lavish diplomatic style entertaining!
I took doughnuts into work on Friday, and found that my group had been really sweet and bought me chocolates because I'd mentioned that I was celebrating my Hebrew birthday during chanukah! Then we spent the afternoon at the Nobel lecture. It's really fascinating to see the different approaches of different laureates; obviously, nobody is going to stop them saying pretty much whatever they like on that sort of occasion. Some laureates are really considerate and try to make the lecture as appealing and entertaining as possible, while others just take advantage of the opportunity of talking about their latest research without any constraints such as having to stick to the time limit or pitch things appropriately to their audience. Smithies definitely gave the first kind of lecture, a really entertaining account of his lifetime as a scientist, with all the salient information about DNA recombination casually dropped in to a thrilling and human story. He's over 80 and still active in research, and came across as a charming and slightly politically incorrect old man; I recommend grabbing the video of his lecture from the Nobel site, if you have the time. Capecchi exemplified the second attitude. He spoke, not badly but not particularly well either, about his current research interests. He just dived straight in assuming that if people had bothered to come to his talk they would automatically find his research fascinating; he didn't put it in context at all, let alone make it accessible for a mixed audience. Evans' lecture was highly polished; he sounded like a typical Cambridge don, carefully pedagogic and slightly posh.
I went straight to shul from the lecture, to help set up our chanukah party. That went extremely well; we had a good turnout, and the service as well as my children's activities went well. In between everybody chatted enthusiastically. I ran a game of human dreidl, and an ad-libbed chanukah play, which both went down well, though I feel slightly guilty about making the two toddlers play the role of Hannah's sons so that I could pretend to kill them off for emotional effect! The nice committee excused me from the clearing up so that I wouldn't be too exhausted to lead the service today, a concession I rather needed!
I'm quite pleased about how the service went, too. Again, well attended and it ran smoothly, and lots of people were complimentary about it. Yay. I led a discussion on this week's Torah reading which I think was the most successful I've yet run. This afternoon was a bit of a muddle. I had received an invitation that didn't make it clear when it applied to; I tried to phone the person who invited me but couldn't get hold of her. So I ended up wandering around Stockholm with EBH, theoretically sorting out practical details for the sibs' visit next week, but mainly just chatting.
Next week is going to be manic, but hopefully a lot of fun as well.