27 December 2005

missing home

Yesterday evening I had dinner with my very good friend R. I saw him last in Calgary in June, where we had a really good visit at the AAPG. I was looking forward to seeing him. We had a couple of beers at his house and looked at a manuscript he is reviewing, which quite frankly appears to be unintelligible, probably because they are not communicating what it is they are trying to do very well...or because what they are trying to do does not make sense. Or perhaps both.

On the way over to dinner we drove through Bound Brook, and somewhat typical central NJ town. I really miss the houses there - they are all different, and all have some character to them. At Christmastime it looks especially cozy and inviting. It was really pretty this year. Had there been more than the residual snow from last week, I probably would have started weeping... I miss little shops here and there, like a bakery or a butcher or a liquor store. It feels like a community, with a history and a personality. Where I live right now in Houston does not have that. The Heights, where I plan on moving to, does have that. Both places have something in common: occasional gaudy/overdone Christmas lights, like this winner on 28 in Bound Brook:

We went to Tumulty's in New Brunswick. We had many a good meal and drinking session there when I was in grad school, both with friends and just us. Our little waiter sucked... but the food was as good as ever, and I of course had to have their signature wedge o' lettuce. The place has gone a touch more mainstream and less pub-ish or local - they actually have menus now rather than placemats as menus, and their food is less pub-ish... but the atmosphere is pretty much the same, though they have downsized the trains. They have little electric trains that run on tracks suspending from the ceilings and turn them on once an hour or so for about 5 minutes. They used to be long trains, now they are just single streetcars! Feh!

Anyway, it was a nice dinner and R and I had a really conversation about stuff personal and professional. I miss my friends from home, and intend to keep in better touch with them in the coming new year.