Chowing down with college chums

The past several weeks have been especially busy at my work, partly because of the latest reorganization of our editorial staff. Still, I’ve managed to get out to lunch a few times while the weather was nice.

I finally got to Solea on Waltham’s Moody Street. It has been a long time since I’ve been to Dali in Somerville, but my co-workers and I liked Solea’s tapas just fine. The Local is a decent American bistro near Blue Ribbon Barbecue in Newton, Mass.

On Saturday, 27 July 2013, Janice and I drove out to the Lowell Folk Festival, which we chose over the Boston Arts Weekend since we had gone into town recently with Damon F.P. and Carlo R. We liked both the postindustrial, art-friendly city of Lowell (which is similar to Waltham but larger) and the festival itself.

There were a lot of great musicians, as well as crafts vendors, family activities, and, of course, food. I was pleased to try a wide range of ethnic cuisines, including Greek, Polish, and even Filipino! It might not be my mother’s cooking, but it’s as close as I’ve found in New England.

Janice and I also explored the New England Quilt Museum, which happened to have an exhibit of items from the past 200 years from eastern Pennsylvania, which is where Janice’s family lives. In addition, we stopped by at Larry’s Comics. There were enough other restaurants and galleries that I’d be curious to visit Lowell even without the festival.

This past weekend, I got to see some college friends. Stuart C.G. visited Boston on his way back to New York from business travel in Singapore. We enjoyed the Boston Comic Con. I wasn’t able to dine with him, Thomas K.Y. & Kai-Yin H. on that Friday or Sunday. However, Beruk, Janice, and I did join them for dinner at Smith & Wollensky on Saturday, Aug. 3, near Stuart’s hotel downtown.

Seafood bouquet
Kai-Yin, Thomas, Gene, Janice, Beruk, and Stuart in Boston

The food and service at the steakhouse were superb, as I recalled from one of Stuart’s previous visits. I enjoyed the shellfish bouquet we ordered as an appetizer, and the roast rack of lamb was good (if a bit challenging to cut apart).

On Sunday, Aug. 4, I visited yet another SUNY-Binghamton alumnus, Ron J.K., at his brother’s home in Brookline, Mass. As always, the family was very hospitable, and Ron’s niece Anna showed off her pet iguanas and knitting skills.

On Tuesday, Aug. 6, David I.S. stopped by on his way home to Upstate New York after his travels, which included a cruise to Bermuda, meeting friends in Manhattan, and hiking in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, he had picked up a respiratory infection in the process, but we managed to grab a bite to eat at City Streets, one of Janice’s and my go-to restaurants nearby.

In the coming weekends, Janice and I will be traveling to Virginia for my parents’ birthdays and to Pennsylvania for a wedding of a cousin of hers. We’ll need another vacation by the time summer’s done!

Belated weekend outdoors

On Friday, 19 April 2013, Janice and I worked from home, partly because Waltham, Mass., was among the communities under lockdown because of the manhunt after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. After a tragic and tense week, we were relieved when the second suspect was caught. I hope that justice will be served.

That evening, college chum David I.S. arrived from Upstate New York with his lady friend Sandra K. Even though the Boston Comic Con was postponed indefinitely, we resolved to make the most of our weekend together.

On Saturday, April 20, Janice, Dave, Sandra, and I went into town for sightseeing. On the way, we visited Outer Limits Comics and had a buffet lunch at Kabab & Tandoor in Waltham. We parked at my office in Newton, Mass., before catching the “T.”

We walked from Back Bay, through the Public Garden and Boston Common, to Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall, and the North End. Lots of Bostonians and tourists were enjoying the nice weather and recovering from cabin fever.

We later met Thomas K.Y. and some of Sandra’s friends for dinner at Nourish in Lexington, Mass. The food was good, but conversation was difficult because a musician was competing with Dave’s stentorian voice.

Although we didn’t get to watch any movies or genre television together, Dave, Sandra, Janice, and I enjoyed discussing travel, food, work, relationships, and religion, among other topics. If just Dave and I had met, we would have stayed up even later analyzing comics, games, and more.

The next day, we went hiking in the Blue Hills Reservation after Janice’s weekly stint at the animal shelter. I was the slowest of our foursome. After stopping by Pandemonium Books & Games and Cambridge Bicycle, we met Thomas and more of Sandra’s friends for a good dinner at the Asgard. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Thomas’ girlfriend Kai-Yin H., who was returning from a conference.

Hiking trails south of Boston
Blue Hills Reservation

Dave and Sandra left on Monday morning, and I’ve been catching up on work and other stuff since then. This coming weekend, I’ll be traveling to central New York for a wedding. So much to do, so little time!