In Which I Find A Renewed Appreciation for Parenthood

November 10, 2014

A huge highlight of Wednesday and Thursday was a chance to see someone from home. Dad. He had arrived a few days early before his conference in center city, in order to spend a little time with me and therefore I freed up my schedule as much as possible. Pretty much every meal we managed to spend together (with one or two exceptions).

Thursday afternoon was pretty busy, I first had a meeting with the director of Penn Global as part of ISAB. The meeting left me with more questions than answers but things were going in the right direction. Following the meeting I rushed off to the Annenberg Performing Arts Center to see a performance of Sweeney Todd presented by Penn Singers, the university’s light opera company.The performance was really fantastic and quite minimalist too. Two of the leads were the sole accompanists for the show, taking turns on a piano played centrally on the set. The stand out performance was that of Genna Garofolo, playing Mrs. Lovett. Nearly pitch perfect and full of character, she helped to carry the show. Another special mention to Eric Lifland who played a chilling impression of Mr Todd.

Friday was again packed full. Class, followed by a meeting with Nadia, lunch with dad, a rehearsal and then finally a sort nap and off to Hillel to meet Dad. Hillel was fairly deserted for dinner that night but Dad and I found company with a few others who had remained behind.  I tried to get to sleep early that day but I was restless and couldn’t sleep for a few hours.

The next day I woke up late, still a little sick but a little bit better. I met Dad at Hillel and we talked to Rabbi Levi from Chabad for a bit. Lunch was with Ariella and Moe, and we mostly talked about differences between Australia and the US. My afternoon was quite delightful as I had the chance to read a book for pleasure, “The Rosie Effect”, gifted to be my Abi for my birthday. I really enjoyed the book and even finished it in time for a nap after.

After Shabbat Dad and I had dinner together and then went to see “Gone Girl” at the local movie theatre. While I quite enjoyed the movie, it was a little too gratuitously violent for dad. More than anything I enjoyed the sound design and scoring which mixed calming classical notes with staccato electric tones to provide a constant high tension, on-edge  feel to the movie.

Afterwards, I worked for a little and went to bed well satisfied with my weekend thus far.

In Which I Enjoy Variations In My Path

October 29, 2014

Today I woke up late again, 9AM, after stupidly staying up too late the night before. I hurried to my lab and got a minor amount done before rushing off to my quantum mechanics lecture. The lecture today was really interesting with a introductory discussion leading into Richard Feynman’s path integral formulation of quantum mechanics.The basic idea behind it is that the location of a particle at an arbitrary time is determined by a summation over all the possibilities of the places it could have been in each small slice of time prior. It’s very fundamental to the structure of the universe and was a very exciting insight as it ties together Newton’s (more technically Lagrange’s) understand of the universe, with modern conceptions of it.

My afternoon was filled with meetings. First the security reading group, followed by a piano lesson, and then finally the dietitian. After that I was a little drained so I took an hours nap.

Following the nap I raced off to a lecture with the esteemed Dr. Emil Pitkin of the Wharton Department of Statistics. He was giving a talk on ‘garbage statistics’; common ways that statistics are misused. It was as expected, a most wonderful lecture and I found myself being held to attention for the entire time.

The rest of the evening was occupied by Glee post mortem and various other discussions related to club business. After that it was back to my room and then a little sleep.

In Which I Could Fast Better

October 15, 2014

Friday night marked Yom Kippur, and after a Penn Pipers rehearsal in the late afternoon, I felt extremely rushed getting ready on time. Dinner at Hillel before the fast however was quite enjoyable as I sat next to someone with whom I had a great many friends at home in common.

After dinner, it was home to change into my good clothes and awkward canvas shoes (one doesn’t wear leather on Yom Kippur) and headed to Houston Hall for the expanded size service. One thing that was particularly enjoyable about Yom Kippur on campus was that a lot of Jews both came out of the woodwork and came from out of town, so I was able to sit with a good few more people I knew than usual. My only disappointment was that Adriel Koschitzky wasn’t conducting any of the services. However, Elan Kiderman’s Kol Nidrei was beautiful and I was eager to hear more of him over the course of the holidays. Aside from being a wonderfully kind and creative person, he also had a beautiful voice that soared above the rest of the minyan with dynamics appropriate to the occasion.

The next day was a little harder. I didn’t arrive too late to minyan, however I already felt tired when I got there. Being sick and fasting wasn’t working out too well. By the afternoon however I was positively exhausted but still made the mistake of going for a walk along the boardwalk with some of the older students. When we got back it was time for mincha (the afternoon service) but I felt so weak and exhausted that I crept back to my room to sleep for two hours.

I managed to recover sufficiently for Neilah, the closing service of Yom Kippur, but felt like falling over towards the end of the service. When fast ended I practically collapsed into a chair with a doughnut. Break fast took place at Naomi Hachen’s with her graduating class, and was really nice and chilled. However, I couldn’t stay long as I had PhD commitments over at Peter Ballen’s  (one of the other PhD students’) house. I stayed only for an hour or so before going home to sleep, thoroughly exhausted.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney