June 2020 – Page 2 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: June 2020

Retirement party yesterday.

It’s my last day of my week of vacation. It’s been a mentally exhausting week because a lot of important work issues crept up that needed to be completed. Today is my last day and I will enjoy the day with the kids. Mr. Plastic Picker said he will try to work from home. He usually ends up getting called into the hospital to do an emergency fluoroscopy study. But I am hopeful he will stay home for some of it and we can be together.

There were many important tasks I had to complete this week despite “vacation.” I am proud that they are done. They were big tasks that only I could complete because I care about them. Since it was vacation, the usual annoying issues of pediatricians essentially whining about this and that – I just ignored and punted to the managers that were actually on duty. One of our pediatric GI nurses used to have a sign on their door that said, “NO WHINING.” I loved that. At some point I’m sure someone from compliance or customer engagement made them take it down. This week I did not deal with the whining. I did receive messages about clinic issues that are meant for Dr. Dear Friend, who leads the clinic and is not on vacation. Another physician sent a message about a going away party for a graduating resident and a special caterer he likes which does not have anything to do with me, unless the other physician was subtly asking for department money for that party? But in this COVID-19 pandemic and the financial stresses we are facing in healthcare, there is no budget for that. I punted it to Dear Dr. Friend and told her I’d chip in my own money, but no departmental funds are available for extraneous costs that do not have to do with actual departmental business.


Little Half-Vulcan children. Mr. Plastic Picker and I have two.

June 18, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I have had a slight headache since yesterday and even this morning. I’m sitting at the kitchen table a bit earlier than usual at 503AM. I made myself some coffee and took 1000mg tylenol. Headaches always worry me. Neither Mr. Plastic Picker and I are prone to getting headaches, and when either of us gets a headache – I know something is off. I even wrote two posts about headaches for both of us. Here is the one about Mr. Plastic Picker https://drplasticpicker.com/mr-plastic-picker-had-a-headache/ and here is reflection on my previous tension headaches https://drplasticpicker.com/tension-headaches-drplasticpicker-cures-myself/. Blogging helps with the headaches as does walking along the beach.


Vaping pen litter that will be used to finish my trash art today.

June 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

One of the most powerful things that has happened to me during this journey of becoming Dr. Plastic Picker, is that I’ve been able to now reframe my tasks. I used to feel so busy, always so overwhelmed. Yet I wore that badge of busyness as a symbol of pride. But thinking of the world and plastic and litter and the earth and people as all interconnected, and then trying to figure out my place in decreasing the plastic and the litter and trying to help the world – has made me less busy and given me freedom. Picking up litter is the most empowering act because one chooses to pick it up or not. And knowing that it is a choice and it’s an act of benevolence and love for the earth, has spread that love to all other parts of my life. I think that is why I am happier now. This also enables me to reframe my previous onerous tasks in life as voluntary acts of love.


My older brother has started doing carpentry and is FIBS (Financially Independent Building Stuff).

June 16, 2020

by drplasticpicker

FISE: Financially Independent Save the Earth. Dr. Plastic Picker

FISC: Financially Independent Serve the Country. Brother-in-law Navy Academy Graduate actively serving his country.

FIBS: Financially Independent Building Stuff. Older brother now doing a lot of carpentry.

FICL: Financially Independent Crafting Love. Younger Ivy-League trained younger sister crafting love in all her spare time.

FILP: Financially Independent Loves his Parents. Mr. Plastic Picker keeps on working as a financial cushion in case his parents need anything.

I was approached by part of a well know FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) blog team about including Dr. Plastic Picker into a multi-blog user app. It’s one of the well known FIRE bloggers I follow occassionally who is like the Oprah of Personal Finance Bloggers https://drplasticpicker.com/blogroll/. That blog has a devout readership of millions of people, but they are kind of scary and judgy. But in all seriousness, I appreciate the personality behind the blog and the environmentalism that informs his writing. I believe that blog is a force of good in the world. I give credit where credit is due, and for me that blog was one of several that I have admired. I was approached by individuals affiliated with his blog that are trying to spread exposure to his blog through an app, and of course they will make some sort of money off it either through ads or something.


Mr. Plastic Picker had actually purchased it because it received good reviews on his fancy movie review sites.

June 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s funny how life works out. I was finding my thought processes getting sillier and sillier. I had finished my third flip flop trash art piece, and it made me laugh. I used an old blood pressure cuff and some vaping pens, and made a pretty large trash art piece called ‘Hypertensive Man.” I was even singing this catchy diddy I made up when I was hot-glue gunning him together. Mr. Plastic Picker and the kids laughed when I showed them. Then yesterday morning I found so many flip-flops at the beach and thought – do I really bring these all home and make more trash art people? I didn’t have enough room in my bag so I threw in the bin but did bring home 14 aluminum cans to recycle as they are the high-yield salvagable https://drplasticpicker.com/aluminum-cans-the-high-yield-salvagable/. At some point you have to make the decision of where you spend your efforts. The aluminum cans yes. More flip flops for trash art, maybe not.

And then Mr. Plastic Picker bought the movie above “2040” which I had seen advertised on Instagram. And I also had on my to-read list “Drawdown The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” edited by Paul Hawken. I had borrowed it several months ago and had not really read it, and wanted to return it to my friend and Co-Leader for our Girl Scout Troop today. I finally had a chance to read it and then we watched 2040 during movie night. In fact much of “2040” is based on the more comprehensive “Drawdown” and Paul Hawken is featured in the movie. Both are excellent and in short my world is rocked. I felt I was very well read regarding the environment, but really reading the impact of different measures helps me focus on again the high-yield and greater impactful part of environmental advocacy. I will still pick plastic and make trash art, but these two works reinforce what I had been focused on previously.

These are the relevant powerful sections I want to keep as reminders. I am really using this post as a set of environmental notes and reminders for myself, to refocus this blog and my environmental work. This blog had always been about my panic regarding ocean plastic and my gut-wrenching fear about climate change. What I found powerful is that my place as a pediatrician in the world, a mother, a Girl-Scout leader, and a random crazy pediatrician that picks up plastic and posts on Instagram/Facebook – enables me to help the world avert climatic disaster.

I will still make the occassional trash art series, but I have been reaffirmed to keep at what is the most impactful. Below are my notes and direct quotes from Drawdown. The whole point of Drawdown is to list the actions that the world can take, and made a evidence-based judgement at how impactful they are in reversing global warming. This is a nonmonetized blog so I think they are going to be okay with this blogpost. Here is their website https://www.drawdown.org/ and I’ve signed up for their email list as well.


We watched the documentary “Knock Down The House” about the Justice Democrats and groups who brought in new congressional candidates in 2018. The one that made it through was AOC, because the woman showed up!

June 14, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I started this post initially on Saturday late afternoon, and now finishing it up at 520AM Sunday morning. I have been getting up earlier and I enjoy the quiet of the early mornings. The breeze is rustling through our neighbors large palm tree. Those fronds hang over our yard and above the tent we pitched a few weeks ago. I napped there yesterday afternoon. The backyard birds are singing this morning. I have been blogging a lot and was intending to space out the posts more, but yesterday my mind was churning and I began a half-silly post again about Star Trek: Enterprise https://drplasticpicker.com/the-star-trek-enterprise-romance-of-tpol-and-trip-im-going-to-give-them-the-ending-they-deserve/.




Alien looking purple Kholrabi from my mother-in-law’s garden. The blog is definitely a family project.

Most bloggers have a blogroll. I am nine months into blogging and this will be my 210th blogpost and have now picked up #207 bags of ocean bound plastic. There was a blog I read briefly called No Harvard Debt which had only 113 blog posts, but made it onto multiple sites like Wall Street Journey and CNNMoney https://nomoreharvarddebt.com/media/. I remember thinking that the Harvard MBA grad really capitalized on a very catchy name, but in the end he seemed to be sincere in his journey. The site is quiet now and his transformational story is inspiring. He paid off his debt and found meaning in life outside of money. I began reading blogs when I was going through our personal finance journey, and I read mostly personal finance and FIRE bloggers. Even after we reached our FI number, Mr. Plastic Picker and I still work. And instead of starting a personal finance blog (although I have some of those type of posts included), I started this personal ocean plastic picking blog and environmental journey.

The blog is a based on a character and an avatar really. The character is real, the author behind the blog – but some of the parts of that person is amplified in a blog. A real person is more nuanced. And with that I am this real life character, almost a caricature. But the amazing thing is that caricature of Dr. Plastic Picker can get real environmental work done. I know that instagram friends are picking up litter, and readers have made little and big changes for the environment.


“Thing One” was the title of our Assistant Boss Leadership Manifesto.

June 13, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Blogging as Dr. Plastic Picker has helped my career. I was not looking to advance beyond Assistant Boss, but it’s amazing that being able to think aloud on the blog has helped me organize several important work projects. Above is the picture inspired by Dr. Seuss’s characters, and we finished a leadership document entitled “Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three” about the Assistant Boss positions. The actual document was only two pages, but summed up succinctly some fundamental shifts we wanted to make in our leadership structure. Many of those ideas I pondered in three separate seemingly tangential and unrelated blogposts on leadership, “Leadership opportunities are everywhere. Don’t just go to the blue light specialhttps://drplasticpicker.com/leadership-opportunities-are-everywhere-dont-just-go-to-the-blue-light-special/, “Raising Leaders: Random Thoughts About Work, my Kids and my patientshttps://drplasticpicker.com/raising-leaders-random-thoughts-about-work-my-kids-and-my-patients/ and “Let 2020’s Failure by a Reminder of you, You are the Leader our World Needs https://drplasticpicker.com/let-2020s-failure-be-a-reminder-for-you-you-are-a-leader-our-world-needs/. The blogs were indeed related. I’m not sure how many people read the blogposts. The blog analytics showed they were decently popular. But the best part of writing the three posts is that it helped me with several work projects. So much for running from work and picking up plastic on the beach! I’m still doing that work which is my passion, and I’m “Thing One” of the three things LOL. “Thing Two and Thing Three” are pretty amazing as well.


Beans that were in our pantry.

June 12, 2020

by drplasticpicker

One of the proudest professional moments of my life was during the year I was chief resident, the pediatric senior class at Man’s Greatest Hospital had a 100% pass rate on the pediatric boards. It never made sense to me that the hallowed institution that I trained at did not have 100% pass rate. Indeed the occupants of the chief residency position were known to make markedly less than 100%. But the year I was Chief Resident, the senior class had a 100% pass rate and I passed well over a few standard deviations as well. This was in large part because I had to delay my boards because I had a baby during Junior Year and made up some rotations. I took my exam with the senior class which was below me. So I studied with them. While I had more time and was studying and completed four years worth of PREP questions sitting in the the chief residency office, I created Pediatric Board Review power points from my notes. When there was any empty lecture time during Morning or Noon conference when the lecturing attending showed up late or the admitting team was stuck on the floor, I had multiple power points ready to go. I am proud of the legacy of that 100% pass rate.

But can you believe that in the entire 2015-2019 AAP Prep Questions there is only 1 question about iron deficiency anemia? This is the most common issue we encounter as general outpatient pediatricians and there is one question! Well this former Chief Resident and current Assistant Boss and now eco-warrior Dr. Plastic Picker is going will rectify this situation.


Sock puppet that was sadly misplaced. Due to COVID-19 I had to toss it in the trash with my gloves.

June 11, 2020

by drplasticpicker

The beach was a mess with morning. I had not been out near our stretch of Pacific coast for a few weeks. When our city lifted some of the COVID-19 restrictions, the beach was flooded even in the early mornings. Since I still have to work in patient care, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to expose myself. I have been doing litterpicks around my neighborhood instead. I’ve wandered over to the elementary school and the Mormon Temple which is a good hike from our house when I was looking for adventure. I started traveling to find certain flowers like the fried-egg poppy as a destination for my litter picking walks https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-pickers-thoughts-the-age-of-in-betweenness/. I have noticed more backyard birds like the Yellow Warbler or it may have been a lesser finch perched high on the electrical wires with a beautiful blaze of yellow against the blue sky. I was walking with Mr. Plastic Picker at the time.