Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
My Own Domain

Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Saturday, June 02, 2001
Jenn, Mia, and I have been on a brief vacation, at Jenn's mother's home. While I was there, I played golf. Jenn's step-father is a member of the Elmcrest Country Club, a private 18-hole golf course.

I'm not a good golfer yet. I am more of a golf driving range rat. I'm more comfortable hitting buckets of balls, than subjecting myself to the real test of an actual golf course. I played miserably over the past few days. But I did hit only the second birdie of my life, on the par-3 6th hole. I hit a 6-iron as purely as I've hit one, and it landed six feet from the pin. I sank the putt, and was thankful I had a witness.

My other golf accomplishment: I kept the same ball for almost thirteen holes. I promptly lost three others after that first lost ball.

Monday, May 28, 2001
I just wrote a review of Five-Finger Discount, a book I recently finished. It's the memoirs of a young woman who grew up in Jersey City. I gave it a fair rating.

If I were to ever write a memoir, Jersey City would have a prominent place in it, because I grew up there from 1971 to 1986 (when I left to go to college). My mother had planned for me and my brothers to live in Jersey City all our lives, because it had everything: church, schools, lots of decent work, and so close to New York City. Alas, when I left for college, I never really came back. Jersey City shaped my sensibilities though. I loved growing up there.

I knew the sounds of sirens wailing in the wee hours. I know what it's like to walk to the corner deli, or catch the PATH to New York City. Jersey City had everything a growing boy needed: great schools, big parks, lots of playmates, and a diversity that I simply took for granted. Whenever I go back with my wife, I marvel at how much has changed. Downtown, near my high school, is a transformed community. But my folks still call Jersey City home, and that makes every trip to Jersey worthwhile.

Sunday, May 27, 2001
I dusted off two tall book cases in my den. There were six shelves worth of books, the rest of the shelves piled high with clutter. I cleaned off each shelf, and dusted it with Pledge. I then took some time to deal with the clutter.

A few weeks ago, I read an article by Penelope Kramer about cleaning out your clutter in Utne magazine. She writes that clearing your clutter "clears a path to the soul by creating a serene space in which to foster your dreams and plans."

I have to admit that now that I'm almost finished cleaning off the shelves and throwing out the junk (I filled two kitchen garbage bags), the room feels more serene. More importantly, I feel more serene.

One of the things I threw out was an old paperback dictionary. I had owned it since high school. I used it so frequently, that it split down the middle. I managed to keep both halves of this dictionary together. Why did I keep this for so long? My wife has a bigger dictionary, plus there are dictionaries on-line. On page 265 of this old dictionary, a high school classmate wrote his name: Luis Freire. The page had the words between diva and division. The hardest word on this page looks like diverticulitis (inflammation of a tubular sac branching off from a canal or cavity). I can't imagine what compelled him to write his name in my dictionary. But it doesn't matter now, does it? I threw out this old reference book, seeking more serenity.