Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Police Officer and Pedestrians

Thank you to the Santa Monica police officer who, around 1:40pm, Sunday, March 29, 2015, used his police vehicle's bullhorn to tell a cyclist riding on the 11th St. sidewalk (between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd.) to, "Ride in the bike lane and not the sidewalk!" For those who don't know, it's illegal to ride your bike on Santa Monica city sidewalks. It's legal in Los Angeles city but not Santa Monica (Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 3.12.540).  Also, for those who don't know, I complain about cyclists riding on the sidewalks in Santa Monica all the time.  I'm a pedestrian around Santa Monica, only rarely using my car to drive out of the city. I see dozens of cyclists on the sidewalks every day in my neighborhood and have been knocked down by a few.  I've told many a cyclist that it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk in Santa Monica only to have him/her say, "Sorry" and continue riding.  
This guy kept on riding his bike even though there's a "No Bikes" sign painted on the sidewalk at 2nd and Arizona where this was taken.
I've watched many police officers casually drive past sidewalk cyclists without a glance at the cyclists. Why would a cyclist riding on a sidewalk ever believe it's illegal if the police force ignores them? I saw a police officer stopped in his patrol car at a traffic light while cyclists rode from one sidewalk through the pedestrian throughway to the other sidewalk without so much as a look in the direction of the cyclists.
There's a police officer in his patrol car stopped at the red light (to my right) who didn't do anything about this duo cycling in front of him. 
The local paper, "Santa Monica Daily Press", police blotter feature publishes the occasions when police have stopped sidewalk-riding cyclists in the dark only to find the cyclist in possession of drug paraphernalia or burglary tools and who is often also on parole. The "no sidewalk cycling" seems like a handy way for the police to scoop up parole violators. So, that's good. I'm pretty sure, though, most of the sidewalk cyclists are not in that category.  

Broadway & 11th St.

14th between Colorado & Olympic 
11th St. between Santa Monica Blvd. & Broadway
11th St. between Santa Monica & Broadway
There are lots of cyclists who never ride on the sidewalks but those who do, create a real hazard for pedestrians. We pedestrians only have the sidewalks. We're not allowed to walk in the bike lanes and we have to carefully share the crosswalks with motorized vehicles and bicycles when we need to cross the street -- and sometimes the pedestrian is at risk there too -- especially in crosswalks with no traffic light or sign. The city's pedestrians, many of whom carry groceries/shopping bags, use walkers, canes, crutches, push baby carriages, supervise children, or, like me, walk with their dog(s), share and negotiate the available narrow sidewalk space with runners/joggers and simultaneously navigate broken and wildly uneven sidewalks, skateboarders/skaters/scooters, out-of-control tree roots and driveways blocked by parked cars. If you are a pedestrian with slightly diminished eyesight from, say, glaucoma or cataracts, good luck. 

It's important the police take a pro-active role to encourage perfectly lovely people to ride their bikes lawfully and use the bike lanes. Those of you who choose to ride bicycles, good! Santa Monica has bike lanes marked for you all over the city's streets. You're supposed to obey all traffic laws just as if your were driving a car.  Ride with traffic (not against), signal turns, come to a full stop at stop signs and traffic lights (etc.). If you think Santa Monica traffic is too dangerous to use the bike lanes and are tempted to break the law by cycling on the sidewalks, don't. Walk your bike on the sidewalks until you get to a place in the city where you feel safe in the bike lanes.  Or just leave your bike at home and become a pedestrian.  

Once again, sincere thanks to the police officer who warned a sidewalk-riding cyclist to ride in the bike lane!  If more members of the police force would take the same action more cyclists would understand that Santa Monica is serious about the city's laws, all the laws. More cyclists might obey the law and we pedestrians might just feel it's a little bit safer for us. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

UPDATE: Santa Monica Urgent Care DOES Care!

     The last thing I said in my previous post was that if Santa Monica Urgent Care changes their policy so that they accept Medicare, I'd change/edit/update my blog (and Yelp review) -- and that I hoped they would. Well, it must be a good day for wishes because I was very quickly contacted by Susan N., the office manager for Santa Monica Urgent Care and told that I'd been given incorrect information -- THEY DO ACCEPT MEDICARE (Susan also left a comment on the blog entry). I'm VERY pleased to update this blog and share my really amazing experience at Santa Monica Urgent Care, 524 Colorado Blvd..

     As I stated, shortly after I posted the Yelp review and my blog entry I got an email from Susan N. and invited to call her direct number so she could help me get the medical attention I needed. I called Susan who encouraged me to come in right away. When I explained that I was tired and would go in the morning, Susan offered to call a cab to bring me to the office (only 6 blocks away). She also offered to drive to my home and pick me up! I really appreciated the offer but felt I would gather myself enough to walk over before the end of the day. I arrived near 4:30 pm and was quickly processed and saw the doctor in well less than 20 minutes.  The office lobby is small but clean, uncluttered and wasn't busy -- which surprised and delighted me.  I was treated, received meds and left the office in probably less than 30 minutes. I have to say my opinion of this service has been turned around 180 degrees. I have no doubt the issue of what insurance they accept has now been cleared up with the staff.  As I left the office, one more act of apology for the morning's misinformation was provided (which I won't detail since it was, in my estimation, an extraordinary accommodation and not something you'd ever get from any doctor's office or hospital).  I left, very impressed, knowing I'd have no problem coming back if needed. I NOW UNHESITATINGLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND SANTA MONICA URGENT CARE.  In addition, their web site is very informative, easy to navigate and read.  I especially like that there's a link on the web site home page for new patient forms which can be printed and filled out before you get to the office, saving a little extra time.

     I walked to the office but can understand how particularly frustrating the metro line construction on Colorado Blvd. has made it for anyone who drives to SM Urgent Care. This is not the fault of SM Urgent Care.  The city of Santa Monica has made it nearly impossible for drivers to readily get to the office and then find the parking lot in back. If you do drive, I'd recommend calling the office first (310-394-2273) and ask for specifics about how to get to their parking lot.

     My first experience with an urgent care facility happened about two years ago. I was visiting relatives in Rancho Cordova at the time and had a medical issue involving sudden and unusual pain but it wasn't a life-endangering matter.  I didn't want to drive back to L.A. to see my usual doctor while in that much discomfort. Even if I did, knew I couldn't get an appointment for about 2 weeks anyway.  I went to an urgent care clinic in nearby Carmichael and was impressed with the ease, efficiency and professionalism of the walk-in visit, which is why I had no problem deciding to go to an urgent care office here in Santa Monica. As far as I'm concerned, being able to walk into an urgent care facility to get a  medical issue resolved in less than 24 hrs. is a new and exciting turn for the better in the field of patient health care.  The Santa Monica Urgent Care office is a worthy addition to our community. 

Santa Monica Urgent Care -- Doesn't Accept Medicare

Santa Monica Urgent Care at 524 Colorado Blvd, in Santa Monica may have tons of good reviews on Yelp, great staff and physicians but if you have a medical issue that needs quick treatment but is not life threatening, Santa Monica Urgent Care doesn't care about you if your insurance coverage is Medicare. 

        Here's the first sentence from their well designed, easy-to-navigate web site: "At Santa Monica Urgent Care your health is our priority."  If that were true, they'd take Medicare. They take Worker's Comp but not Medicare. They take the uninsured but not sick people insured through Medicare. If you own a medical care facility that accepts Worker's Comp or the uninsured -- like this place -- you should find a way to accept Medicare regardless. It’s shameful that a health/medical care facility that — I would assume — needs local, county and state licenses, approvals and must meet many medical standards DOES NOT ACCEPT MEDICARE.  It’s not like this place is a tavern or a clothing store providing serves or products that, if withheld from me, would harm me or the community in which I live. 

I normally would not see a doctor because of a sore throat but this one has gotten gradually worse over 5 days and today I have a fever as well. Since I've been a pretty healthy person all my life, I don't have a family physician. My options are: 1) get an appointment with a doctor I find through some Google search until I find one that accepts Medicare then wait 4 to 6 weeks for the “new patient” appointment; meanwhile the untreated sore throat creates complications that will make recovery and the associated expense of recovery even more severe, 2) wait hours in an emergency room, possibly spreading what ever I have, only to find out they don't take Medicare either or that my condition is not considered an emergency and to call my doctor, 3) pretend to be uninsured and pay Santa Monica Urgent Care for procedures covered under Medicare insurance (which won't reimburse me) or  4) just walk around with this condition and hope I'm not spreading bird flu or strep or what ever it is. 

This may not be the only urgent care facility in Santa Monica and others may take Medicare -- but IF YOU HAVE MEDICARE DON'T EXPECT MEDICAL HELP AT THIS PLACE.  Take your Medicare and money that would cover the unpaid portion of the bill elsewhere because YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE MEDICAL HELP HERE.  I see that urgent care facilities fill a real need in the community -- unless you're insurance coverage is through Medicare. 

       Besides this blog post I left reviews for Santa Monica Urgent Care on Yelp, Twitter, Facebook  If Santa Monica Urgent Care wants to change its policy so that Medicare is accepted,  I would consider changing the reviews and entries I left in the aftermath of this issue.  I hope they do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Two Dog Farms Jindo Dog Rescue Fund Raiser

Santa Monica friends, visitors and jaywalkers, you've probably seen me walking about Santa Monica with Dory, my incomparable, sweet Jindo dog. Saturday, September 6, 2014, Dory and I will strut our muttness to help raise money for the 501c3 Jindo rescue group that saved his life some 2.5 years ago: Two Dog Farms Jindo rescue. Please help me raise some always-needed funds to continue the work of rescuing these amazing dogs. You may not be familiar with Jindo dogs, but they're a different kind of cat. Actually, their temperament is often compared to half cat/half dog.  If you love cats and/or dogs -- you'll love Jindo dogs and be moved, touched and inspired to support their continued rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing through the  efforts of the only Jindo rescue group on the West Coast:Two Dog Farms (all volunteers too). Donations are tax deductible, good karma and soul-fulfilling. Thank you in advance! Now, back to practicing my strut.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


(Photo credit Elena Gerli)
Today marks the second year I've shared my life with my rescued Jindo dog, Dory. In previous posts I've detailed the saga that converged our lives to this point. Sharing life with a timid yet happy, quiet, gentle creature has been uplifting, joyful and challenging in ways that have made me a better human. Making life better for my canine companion has brightened life for me. 

Every morning Dory greets me with a wagging tail and Jindo smile. He eagerly goes with me on trips to parts unknown to him yet he jumps into the back seat when ever the car door is open, trusting that when the door opens again he will be greeted with new and interesting scents to stimulate and excite his mind.  He has sat in the passenger seat, nobly relinquishing his usual back seat, ignoring the rescued dog in the back seat who's being transported by me to another foster home.


He patiently waits when strangers, who see us on our twice daily walks, question me about Dory's breed and ask to pet him.  Interactions I'd never have had if this sweet-looking dog wasn't walking with me. Interactions that allow me to meet new people, hone my people skills and share the story of the remarkable Jindo ("They rarely bark, are clean like cats and can hold their pee & poo for 8 hours or more --  the perfect apartment dog").

Dory makes me laugh when he springs, Tigger-like, into the front yard, eager to play "chase me" in the morning or when he looks over his shoulder at me, in case I'm ready to go for a walk.

While I've always loved and cared for a variety of animals, the sheer sparkling brilliance of Dory's existence has moved me to do more for the remarkable creatures with whom we share this breathtakingly beautiful planet. I volunteer with the Jindo rescue group, Two Dog Farms, who rescued Dory from certain death at a municipal animal control facility when his time expired. I volunteer at my local animal shelter, help transport rescued Jindos to fosters, help find fosters, assist adoption events, continue to learn about Jindos and dog behavior and other elements of animal rescue.  One action flowed into another and then another until a whole new segment of life carved out a place in my life with Dory.  With every dog rescued, starting with Dory, there is a sense that this activity makes a positive difference to the lives of others who, like me, take on the care and safety of a neglected, abandoned but ever-so amazing dog. The blossoming of dogs who go from the frightening, unsure existence in a kennel to life in a home is its own compensation. In fact, it's priceless. 

Thinking Outside the Lack of Bike Racks

Today in Santa Monica, a clever bike parking option when there's no bike rack available.

Walking Santa Monica

Today and every day for the past 5 years this kind of impediment to Santa Monica pedestrians in the targeted "redevelopment" area of Santa Monica (where most of the pedestrian traffic ambulates) pop up and stay up for weeks. The signs are not at intersections, they are in the middle of the block and -- in my opinion -- are probably controlled by the construction company which is under no obligation to assure pedestrians -- who've walked three-quarters of a block by the time they've reached the sign -- safe passage to the intersection. For someone in a wheelchair or using a walker, this is a real inconvenience for them as well as the unaided pedestrian.  Just another example of how pedestrian traffic is disenfranchised and disregarded by the Santa Monica decision makers. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm participating in Srutt Your Mutt to raise money for my favorite charity, Two Dog Farms , the Jindo rescue that saved Dory. The event is on Sept. 15, 2013, in Woodley Hills, where we humans will strut our respective rescued dogs to raise money.  No donation amount is too small or too large.  ;-)  I'm asking all my friends, family, blog followers and strangers I meet on the street to donate. Each donation is tax deductible and I will send each donor an adorable photo of adorable Dory.  If you're not inclined, no worries. If you would like to help raise funds (for which I will be eternally grateful), please donate at the link in this blog entry or go to . For more information on how to adopt or foster a Jindo dog like Dory, check out the information at

Adorable Dory as seen on the streets of Santa Monica.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today at the Santa Monica Pier...

upon closer inspection...

These are photos of an example of the best of human endeavours and I'm so happy the good ship Endeavour has come to spend her retirement years in Los Angeles where she can inspire and delight untold numbers of future scientists, explorers, astronomers, teachers, artists and people like me who are just proud of what was achieved through her existence. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunday At the Beach with Dory

In a continuing episode of Adventures with Dori - scared, adorable Jindo dog extraordinaire -- currently being fostered by this Santa Monica resident, this photo essay is submitted. 
"I'm the best dog I know how to be..."
Sunday, March 4th, having made impressive progress facing fear and flinching in Santa Monica, I journeyed with bright-eyed and eager Dori through the loudest part of Santa Monica to its most congested and attractive part -- the beach.  Actually we only went to the Pacific Palisades park which overlooks the beach near Wilshire Blvd. 
Regardless of the beautiful day, clear sky, low surf, Dori Dog was none too impressed, clearly turning his back on the ocean so it wouldn't scare him.  Earlier he had been seriously startled by his shadow so the ocean scene was a bit beyond his ability to face new fears for the day. 

Walks with Dori are studded with full-body flinches and crouching plus the occasional attempt to avoid or escape.  Dogs and those on the other end of the leash are supposed to enjoy and bond during walks but walking with a hyper-vigilant and nervous dog who turtles his tail with every city sound is challenging work (to be fair, for a dog whose previous 5 years was spent alone on the end of a long leash staked in a back yard in the quite Pasadena mountains, Santa Monica must sound like he's in the midst of blunderbuss hunting season for Jindo dogs). I thought a back pack would help Dori feel more confident on his walks. So, with the help of one of Mr. BoJindo's back packs, which arrived today, Dori got a new red bag! 
"Now what?"
Dori accepted the back pack (which, empty, is about the weight of a bath towel) without fear even though it required some fiddling under his chest where the straps connect with clasps that can sometimes pinch. Nevertheless, Dori stood still while I lowered the shoulder straps over his head, the bags across his back and clicked the chest straps together.  I had to cinch the chest straps a bit since Dori is probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter than Mr. BoJindo but Dori patiently tolerated -- or perhaps enjoyed -- all the handling and physical fuss.  The pockets are filled with his poop pick-up bags and some handi-wipes or me.  When he gets some of his weight back I may add a water bottle so he'll have water on longer walks.

The back pack seemed to help Mr. BoJindo focus when he walked or hiked so he wouldn't ramble and charge off to the end of his leash after a squirrel as much as he did without it  I hope it'll help Dori feel more secure when we walk.  We'll soon find out!

Once outside with his back pack, Dori met my neighbors who patiently introduced themselves and offered a gentle hand to scratch his neck. 
To be continued...