I Know What You Did

I know wha you did, secret, crank callThis time, I choose to not answer the phone call.

I’ve had 13 of them, one every morning, at precisely 10:59 a.m.

The number does not identify the caller, so it’s no one I know. 277-453-6657.

When I take the call 13 days ago, I figure it’s a solicitation, but then again, it could be from Hollywood, accepting the screenplay to my latest book.

But instead, a deep, husky male voice proclaims: “I know what you did.”

Then, a click and silence. Continue reading

Leaving Behind (Tissue) Crumbs

http://hip2bmom.com/2011/08/21/trail-of-breadcrumbs/Getting lost is a hazard in my everyday life. Thus, routine can feel safe and cozy.

Normally, when I leave the house with my brain wired for, let’s say – “grocery store” – I barely think about how I turn left out of the driveway, right down the hill, and then left onto the Boulevard. Instead, I concentrate on work (shoot, did I send off that e-mail to the Board?) or family (should I buy the grandkids the wacky whale t-shirt, or will my daughter-in-law hate it?) or my guy (anniversary coming up – can I convince him we should celebrate with a weekend trip to ‘fill-in-the-blank’?).

Before the answer forms, I’m parked in front of the grocery store.

But now, we’ve just moved to a new state, a new town, and a million ways for me to get lost. Continue reading

Cell Phone Abuse and Miracles

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

Many of you know that I delight in the early morning joy of walking my heart out, and my lungs and my muscles. This week, during my normal 7 a.m. routine of walking the S.F. bay area shoreline with my four-legged companion, Henry, I note that I see more top-sided humans than I used to (compared to, say, a few years ago).

walking with cell phone, texting

Top-sided human, eyes down to cell phone.

Remember when, back in the day, people strolled the neighborhood – sidewalks or nearby hills – and nodded to one another as they passed, maybe even calling out a cheery, “good morning,” or “so good to see you out and about, Mr. Brown!” Well, no more niceties now during the Age of Cell Phone Abuse. Nearly everyone has their heads turned down to their cell phone, to… what? Peruse the latest e-mail from a friend? Read their newspaper, check out the gossip on Facebook, twitter a quote to a stranger?    But look what they’re missing right in front of their noses, if they’d only pull their noses, and eyes, front and center. In the early morning mist, pelicans cavort like babies in a bouncy house, racing back and forth, diving deep down and then soaring upward, to savor the school of visiting herring. 

dog, golden retriever, walking along San Francisco Bay

Henry, chuckling.

A woman with her two little bichons passes me and my big monster of a dog (to a bichon, an 11-year-old golden is a big bad scary beast). The white furry animals bark like seals in heat (and yes, I know that sound, since in the spring I hear the randy seals by the bay shore rocks, barking away).

The embarrassed woman gets out her big guns, a spray bottle, and I hear the swish swish of water aimed at her doggies as Henry and I leap by. I swear Henry’s head twirls toward them, chuckling at their humbling discipline.

And then there’s the man sitting in his car at the depot museum parking lot, reading his newspaper, which is propped up over his steering wheel.  I notice him almost every morning, and make up a story. His wife kicked him out, again, and he’s getting his early morning coffee and front page read before he goes back home and asks for forgiveness, again. When my imaginings are more creative, he’s a C.I.A. agent who knows that soon a spy for the ‘other side’ will be passing secrets at any minute, here, in front of the bay and the pelicans and the seals, threatening world peace unless he’s stopped.

railroad museum, SF Bay, walking, miracles, trains

Railroad Depot Museum, at dawn.

But sometimes I just listen to my footsteps on the concrete path, tapping in exercise mode; Henry’s paws on grass, muted and happy;  the hundred pelican wings swishing in harmony, ethereal and magical; tiny dogs barking in the background and a woman’s soft voice chastising, “quiet now, quiet.” Swish Swish.

Can you hear those sounds, while your head is down, perusing your cell phone?

Does a tree make noise when it falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it?

What magic do we miss, when our eyes aren’t front and center of the everyday wonder occurring right in front of us every second?

I ponder these thoughts as I peer through the small museum’s windows, windows that overlook the bay and the creatures who live in and around it. To my surprise, I spy a tiny Santa’s elf, playing with the big toy trains that are tooting around and around the platform.

I snap a quick picture – will it turn out, or is he a figment of my imagination – and continue on my magical walk.

Cell phone in pocket, eyes straight ahead.

magic, Christmas, Santa's elf

Santa’s elf!

Pressing Matters

Pressing, iron, texting, mother, sonI call my son Sean on his cell phone, at work, 11 a.m.

I don’t usually call my boy during the day. After all, he works, in the big city, in a big high-financing job that I understand absolutely nothing about. I hear his explanations of investing, solar, banks, corporations, tax credit, energy, but to be perfectly honest, at banks and tax credits my brain gets fuzzy and my eyes roll back so I just nod my head and say “Ohhhh!” as if I’ve understood every fast-speaking, super-intelligent thing he’s said.

But today, I just want to hear his voice. I miss that, now that he’s not the little boy who absolutely and completely loves his mother, buying her flowers when he’s driven her close to distraction, and offering a huge smile and hug every night until he leaves for college.

My son is MINE until he meets his match, his sunshine, the chink to his armor, the woman he’s dreamed of before he ever met her — his wife.

Now he’s hers, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be, the way I want it to be.

Until I call him at 11 in the morning and he doesn’t answer his phone, and I think, “Sean doesn’t have time for me right now.”

mom, son,family,children, love

Before pressing matters.

The truth is, he doesn’t, not now that he’s married and the father of three little boys and commuting to the big city and worrying about bills and pre-schools and property taxes and how to celebrate each anniversary (at their third, he discovered the traditional gift is leather – and by god, he bought his love … a leather bracelet).  By the type of man he is, the husband he is, the father he is,  I know I did good. But I just want to hear Sean’s voice and let him be my little boy just for a minute.Please!

But five minutes after I call, I receive a text. Let me explain that I am at work myself, so I’m happy to see a text, since I really can’t take the time from work to talk then anyway – ah, the vagaries of motherhood.

But the text takes my breath away.

Here it is.


“In meetings all day. Can we talk tomorrow? Anything pressing?”


“Like an iron,” I text back angrily without thinking.

When, oh when, did I get to the point of being a person in my son’s life whom he has to find a schedule for, whom he can only talk to if it’s “pressing,” whom he…

“You’ve been married too long to dad,” he texts back.

I smile. My man is known in our family circle as a frequent (though not necessarily accomplished) person-who-puns.

I pause. Sean did text back soon after my missed call. He did make sure I was okay, then asked if we could talk later.

son, baby, family, love, mother

Sean with one of his pressing matters.

I text him a funny face  :+)  and let go of my loss.He’s still my son, but he’s not my little boy.  He still loves me, but he’s expanded his heart to love a wife, three children. He’s made a life, a family, and where do I fit in?

I’m his mom.


Illustration thanks to Pam Rubert, http://pamrubert.com/about/press1/


spa, relaxation, stress, mother/daughterI seize the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon at the spa to spiff up and stress down.

I succeed, sort of.

My visiting mother, always full of zip, is a bit reluctant, but my friend Dee urges us to take the time to R E L A X. So we arrive eagerly, quickly getting into the mood by wearing the spa’s over-sized plush robes as we sit in front of a warmed pool in the dazzling Sausalito sunshine.

We’re each called away by our trained de-stressors. Mom’s facialist is a warm Hawaiian woman who sooths her at ‘hellooooo.’ Dee expects a woman masseuse, so when a handsome young man leads her to her massage, I whisper, “just think 50 shades.” The shocked blush-red expression on my friend’s face starts me giggling, even as my massage begins– not the best way to let my muscles go limp. As strong fingers push open tight tender back muscles, my stomach bops up and down in suppressed laughter.

An hour later, warm lavender tea in front of a roaring fire as the fog swirls amidst the sun’s rays continues the amazing effects of a splendid afternoon at the spa.

Until we’re back in the car, coasting out of the driveway, and I think out loud, “Where’s my cell phone?”

My foot drops on the brake as my mind searches for the last time I used it.

Then I get a sinking feeling: “Oh NO!”

Just in case I’m wrong, I empty the contents of my purse and my book bag as Dee, sitting in the passenger seat, calls my phone on her cell. She figures if we hear the ring, we’ll find the phone.

Too late, we realize I’d turned the sound off while we were sedated and pacified at the spa.spa, relaxation, stress

“I know where it is!!” I yell, blood pressure already rising, pupils dilating. “Don’t move!”

I jump out of the car and race up the long walkway back into the sweet peaceful spa.

“I need to get back in there,” I roar as gently as I can, pointing my finger toward the curtained rooms beyond.

The two tall lithe women behind the desks, the ones who dress in loose black silk and talk only in whispers, just stare at me as if they’ve never seen me before, then nod their heads. I suppose I look different than even 10 minutes earlier, when I’d floated out.

I try to walk, not run, to the elegant locker room, where we’d changed back to our ‘regular selves’ and plopped our spa bathrobes into big wicker baskets.


Not one used bathrobe in the room.

An attendant notices my wild eyes and directs me down a hallway to a well-hidden cleaning room. A man and a woman are sorting the bathrobes into HUGE bins for wash.

“I think I left my cell phone in the pocket of my robe,” I explain breathlessly.

The woman laughs (yes, laughs!) while nodding her head toward the pile of many, many thick cream robes. “That will be like finding a needle in a haystack,” she says.

“I’ll look in every pocket,” I exclaim, and the man slowly begins to look himself.  As my heart pounds, I ponder:  I have just wasted an aternoon’s worth of de-stressing.

But before I can even get to one pocket, the woman shouts, “You have good karma!” and yes, in her hand is my lifeline to the world (and all my contacts)– my cell phone.

I take a deep breath and smile as broadly as the California sun.

Ahhhh, a splendid day at the spa.