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Gloria loves Ira

My mom was well into the heavy thickness of chemotherapy appointments, ongoing doctor’s visits and incremental tumor growth when she fell in love with Ira.

Sure, she had been married to my Dad for nearly 50 years, but Ira poured out his heart with an openness, that my Mother had likely never experienced with a man.

Out of the blue she started talking about Ira — ALL of the time — Ira this, Ira that. My Dad semi-jokingly took to calling him “Your Mom’s Boyfriend” Every time we spoke on the phone she regaled me with some Ira story.

I assumed that Ira was a friend of my parent’s, so I didn’t pay much attention. It was good for my Mom to have something good to focus on and she was certainly focused n this. So, I was surprised one day when she asked me if I knew him. Knew who? I asked. Ira, she said rolling her eyes, Ira, from the computer? From what computer? I asked.

Suddenly, it came to me.

When I first started doing web design, many years ago, I designed sites using a Mac, and then I’d have all of my PC friends do site checks for me. Over time, as they outgrew their old CPUs they would bring them to me in the hope that I could them in my web work. The problem was that I started getting a ton of them and after awhile, I had a line of machines in the garage. At this point, I intended to wipe them, as I had promised each of my friends, then donate them to a good cause.

I never got around to it.

My parents were leaving after a visit, Kevin was working in the garage and my Mom saw the line of computers. She asked what I planned to do with them. I shrugged, she excitedly mentioned that her church was taking old equipment, wiping the hard drive and shipping them to an orphanage they sponsored. Good enough for me. We moved their luggage into the back seat and fit as much equipment into the truck as we could. I made Mom promise, as I had, that the CPUs would be erased. She nodded, I closed the trunk lid relieved that they were out of my life, and never gave them another thought.

As it turned out, my Mom decided that one of the CPUs was better than her own, so she pulled it out of the group and replaced it with her own machine before she dropped them off at the church. The machine she kept was Ira’s machine.

Ira was my friend Ted’s father. He was a psychiatrist who’d died of cancer a few months before the CPU from his nearly new machine came to me. I’d met Ira a few times and spoke to him only once at length, on a long walk between venues.

While my mom was in a long=term marriage, Ira was long-time divorced and dating. They both had three kids close in age to my sisters and I. He was as Jewish as my Mom was Catholic; and apparently fearing no one would ever know he wrote his heart out.

My mom apparently went on a journey of discovery, she mined the computer looking for any information that she could find about Ira. She empathized about the troubles he had with his kids, She read his journal, poured over his poetry, followed the threads of his correspondence and peeked into files of photos of the semi-clad women that he dated. He was an active member of J-date, an online Jewish dating site. She got hooked.

I was always terrified that Ted would find out and be angry. That his Dad might have kept his psych client files on this machine — which would be a *huge* ethical breach. On the other hand, I’d never seen my Mother so excited about getting to know someone. Given her on-going medical drama, it was hard to see that as a bad thing.

I saw Ted this weekend for the first time in years, certainly the first time since my Mom died. During the course of conversation, I told him about the computer and my mom falling in love with his Dad. He was perplexed at first, then he laughed and assured me that the computer was his father’s personal machine not his work machine. That was a relief. After that he said something that I didn’t expect — I wish I’d known about this before, I would have loved to have had a conversation with your Mom about my Dad.

I too wish he’d had the opportunity. By the end, my mom was an authority on all things Ira. It would have been an interesting conversation. Instead we toasted to their meeting in the great beyond.

I’m glad I didn’t let the fear of his anger stop me from telling him.

Lemoncello on Labor Day!

I discovered a bottle of Lemoncello this morning hidden in one of the kitchen cabinets. Kev and I bought it one summer while staying at a B&B in Ravello, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

This trip was around 2003(?) and I was never allowed to open it when we returned, which was crazy as he didn’t drink. I’m not sure what we were saving it for but I’ve decided that we saved it all these years to be cracked open on Labor Day 2012. I’m home working and this weekend (prior to the BIG vacation) Kevin is off backpacking the Sierras with his new friends. The best part is that I’m certain that he didn’t leave it, so much as he forgot to take it, when he moved out.

So, yep, 10 year old Lemoncello still sealed in a lovely bottle is still a find as it turns out. Actually, it looks perfect and tastes like lemony summer in a bottle. I’m drinking it on the rocks with a touch of cream added and harkening back to lovely carefree days we spent tooling around the hair-raising road that ribbons along on the Amalfi Coast. That summer we spent 6 weeks wandering around Italy and Sicily. Good Times.

Anyway, Delish! Hidden booze discovered. Making the finder supremely happy for centuries now…


My friend Kris Benson and I spent hours in the empty field between our houses looking for buried treasure. Our searches turned up an obsidian arrowhead once, and another time a few old rusted square head nails.

Many years later I had a chance to join a group of marine archeologists diving for ship wreckage near Qalhat, off the central coast of Oman. Being a main producer of Frankincense, Qalhat’s been a stop along the Spice Route, for centuries. The folks running the project were marine archeologists that had just completed raising the Pandora, the actual boat that was sent to the Pitcairns to capture the mutineers from the Bounty. It went own in a storm.

Modern Qalhat is a small city about 2 miles down the coast at the confluence of couple of small rivers. The older city is believed to have been completely destroyed by the Portuguese in 1507, but it had been visited by King Solomon, Pliny the elder in the 8th Century, and Marco Polo’s in the 13th — and though it’s hostry was checkered with violence, the people had returned and rebuilt for centuries until the Portuguese poisoned the wells and then the surviving residents permanently migrated south and reestablished their village.

The main ‘find’ on these dives had been stone anchors in two very specific sizes - each carved to exactly the same dimensions - either 3 feet in length (portable?) or 15 feet in length (stationary?) - the only changes from one anchor was the varying stave patterns—where wooden pegs would be fitted through the stone. While the marine archelogists mulled endlessly over the concept of personal and common anchorages, I was totally won over by the discovery of the land ruins at ancient Qalhat.

Holy Shit! This was the E ticket experience that I had always hoped for as a kid. Within an hour, just on the surface we found - coins, fishhooks, glass bracelets, a mortar and pestle, shattered pottery with enough shards to rebuild entire pots, celadon shards from China, shards with Arabic inscriptions, Turkish pottery, and an abundance of beautiful blue glazed tiles.

We also found softball sized metal globs that had likely been dipped in tar, lit on fire and catapulted into the City from the attacking boats.

I’m from California, where we PROUDLY show off the local theater from the 1940s and call it “old.” To be in a place with this kind of history, and to see items strewn casually across the ground, that pre-date our country’s history by centuries, was quite a discovery.

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