where the writers are
Saturday at Baker Beach

When I'm not wailing about the glacial pace of state assistance or bemoaning the vagaries of fate, I like to people-watch, and do it wherever I go.

At our library recently, I got to watch two English lessons.  Each lesson had a young Hispanic person being tutored by an older white person, with the English learner reading out loud as the tutor corrected his and her pronunciation.  I love to see things like that, someone with a skill or talent sharing that skill or talent, and someone who wants to learn finding a way to do that.

Then at a McDonald's here in the city, I saw a young Hispanic woman sitting with a young Asian man.  The lesson there was on how to access the internet and how to use email.  The twist there was that it wasn't the Asian man teaching the Hispanic woman, it was the other way around.  That was lovely to see--the children were eating their meals while I watched that young man's eyes light up as he figured out which buttons to push to get the email working.  I wondered who he'd be emailing, then figured it would be the folks back home, as his English was quite accented.

At the beach today, there was a fisherman who had two fishing poles stuck in the sand.  He spent the entire three hours we were there wandering around and between the two poles, stopping occasionally to cast out his lure on the one of them; the other one, he didn't touch at all.  I wondered what he thought about, spending all that time walking around those poles and watching the ocean, if he was having fun, if he actually expected to catch anything, if he had no other way to fill his day.  At one point, he stopped to chitchat with a kayaker who was taking his craft out of the water; I couldn't hear their conversation but could see they made a friendly, albeit temporary, connection.

The kayaker pulled his little boat up on the sand past the surf, then went to get a pair of wheels that he somehow attached under the boat.  He then pulled the boat across the beach towards the parking lot, looking for all the world like an oversized boy pulling a bath toy.

Two other kayakers were out, paddling in a desultory manner just beyond the waves.  They moved almost as slowly as the state assistance agencies KidThree and I are waiting on, floating back and forth as though all that mattered was that they were able to be bob-bob-bobbling along in the sunshine.

Two women with a girl were flying a kite, or, rather, one of the women was flying it and the other two were laughing and shouting directions.  The kite hit the sand nose-in just a few yards from where I was sitting with GirlTwo, startling us but nothing more.  After that crash landing, the woman flying the kite got it airborne and the three of them went running off down the beach, heading straight into the wind with the kite sailing behind them.

A man was walking along in the surf, carrying a baby girl tucked under his arm as though she were a football.  The baby didn't seem to mind being held sideways--I could see her face, comically like his, and she was laughing as they went along.

There were a lot of people walking their dogs.  A Weimaraner raced past with its Labrador companion; two little balls of unidentifiable fluff raced into the surf, daring it to come any further up the beach; a fat puppy explored the sand for the first time; while two elderly corgis took their constitutional while ignoring the lesser canines on the beach.

There were Americans of all shapes and sizes and colors, from girls in bikinis sunning themselves to immigrants dressed in the attire of another country, quite formal for the beach but still out enjoying the day and the weather.  A raven marched by on its way to investigate a pile of seaweed while seagulls squawked overhead, wheeling and diving but not daring to bother the raven. 

Here in the city, the daddy left today on a business trip.  For a treat, I made a dozen chocolate cupcakes, which the kids then frosted and decorated (three each).  What a mess!  Strawberry frosting and chocolate frosting, along with four kinds of sprinkles.  You know who is going to be mopping that floor first thing in the morning; it's covered with chocolate cake and sprinkles crunch beneath my feet as I walk across it.

Right now, all four kids are on my bedroom floor.  Since it isn't a school night, they get a slumber party here in my room, with all their blankets spread out and each on his or her own pillow.  GirlOne is helping BoyTwo do a puzzle of the United States, GirlTwo is playing with a toy from a Happy Meal, and BoyOne is the only one watching the video they chose.  In a few minutes, GirlOne will make the younger three popcorn, even though she can't eat it herself because of her still-new braces.

GirlOne and her friends found out this past week what high schools they're all going to.  GirlOne goes to a costly private school and most of her friends there are continuing to costly private high schools, but GirlOne got into Lowell, an excellent public school here with a competitive entrance exam.  The guessing and the excitement are just like high schoolers getting their college notifications, or medical students on match day.  BoyTwo got enrolled in kindergarten at the same school BoyOne attends, thank goodness.  He's very excited about going to that school and can hardly wait.  GirlTwo remains in her happy fog, sure that at three and a bit, she is also going to be going off to kindergarten in the fall.  She just can't conceive of her brother doing something without her, as her life to date has been following in his footsteps, doing everything he does half a second after he does it.

I can't tell KidThree goodnight tonight, as our phones did get turned off.  Blast--I hate being out of contact.  Tomorrow night I go back home, then the next morning head up to the hospital to spend the day in the waiting room of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation clinic until someone with some semblance of authority breaks down and comes out to talk to me.  I'll be the one who won't go away, who just keeps crocheting while watching everyone go in and come back out again.  Just call me Madame Defarge.

4 Comment count
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More people watching...

Maybe we will get another great people watching blog from your wait.

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Madame, a colourful collage

Madame, a colourful collage of beach life - m

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Hang in there, Susan!

Susan, I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Hang on, my dear. Have courage and know that this, too, shall pass. Wish I could do more to help.


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Hi Marsha, Yes, it will

Hi Marsha,

Yes, it will pass--I just wish it would pass a little faster.  Right now, we're behind $3,500 from the state, for services rendered and reimbursement for medical expenses.  The thing that seriously fries me about the delay in this is that in Medi-Cal, this sort of delay is illegal.  Previously, Medi-Cal recipients moving from one county to another were to notify the new county, which was then to start up their case as it was and only do a review/renewal when it was actually due.  Because this involved the former county having to make physical copies of cases and mail those copies to the new counties, this rarely got done--the former county's personnel didn't want to go to the copiers to do the work.  So, the new counties would, in frustration, just start entire new cases from scratch, which involved people getting reviewed before their year was up, which was illegal.  SO, the state came down heavy-handed and set it up so that counties would be penalized for not sending the paperwork to the new counties--they made it illegal for the former counties to turn off the Medi-Cal UNTIL the new counties had picked up the cases.  No matter how long it took the new counties to pick up, the old counties couldn't shut down the cases.

But for IHSS, our old county was only required to process the payroll for sixty days, this being the time allowed for the new county to pick up the case, review it, and get it going.  Not quite.  We didn't even hear from the social worker until that sixty days was passed and the money was cut off, and now this delay from the doctor.  It is unconscionable.  If KidThree had been an elderly or disabled person without someone willing to go bankrupt for her, she'd have lost her home and be in a state-funded institution today because of this disruption in her aid.  Last week I realized I was going to have to give up and file bankruptcy, not something I wanted to do but at this point it just doesn't matter anymore.  It wouldn't be so bad except for the pressure from you-know-where, pressure that is unrelenting.  At least with the phones off, we're spared calls from that quarter.


p.s.  I'm hoping to see Lynne tomorrow after going to the clinic, unless I'm actually in the clinic for the entire day.  Fingers crossed.