I miss my parents. It’s been almost 9 months of quarantine due to COVID-19. My parents live just about 2 miles from us, and I’ve stopped by to exchange food and drop off things. But it’s a hurried exchange and I’m always masked. My mother remembers to put her mask on now because I’ve scolded her enough. My father stays up on the 2nd floor and doesn’t come down. Life is just different. I’ve been strong this entire time and refused to see them, or come in to eat with them. It’s because I love them and I’m the most likely person to infect them given that our kids are back at school and I’ve worked every day of this pandemic seeing patients.
I’m not listing all the environmentally friendly activities that I’m doing as much on the “Secondary Environmental Net Positives.” I will publish that blog series maybe every other month now. The entire reason I had that series was to motivate me to make those small environmental changes and to give myself “credit” on the blog. It seems like these changes are just happening naturally, and I’m just going with the flow of life.
I’m not sure when drplasticpicker.com became a semi-food blog, but it has. I’ve been motivated due to the deliciousness of my creations and also various cooking projects have let me to new and different ingredients. Yesterday was likely the first time I ever created my own dish. I call it “Costco Rotissierre Chicken and Cous Cous and a Whole Lot of Stewy Vegetables!!!” It was really good and even Mr. Plastic Picker loved it (he loves Jambalaya type dishes). My mother-in-law was asking me about the recipe.
I’m not sure how I developed the dish. I got home after a decently busy day in clinic. It was just an off day for Dr. Dear Friend. She had 3 complex cases in the morning. I was busy but with the normal outpatient pediatric issues. I empathized with her so much that I went to the coffee cart and picked up lunch. Wearing my mask and a faceshield, I got in line and bought way too much plastic encased food. I bought the chimichanga, tuna on whole wheat, pesto pasta salad and a soy latte. As I was carrying it back to Pediatrics, I walked by one of our RN-workers and I confessed, “I bought the whole cart. ” Dr. Dear Friend was still talking to Child Protection Services when I brought in the booty. We split the lunch as she finished her call and we chatted about her complex cases. She’s had COVID already which is why I eat with her. I have to eat with her first before other doctor friends try to snag her as a safe lunch companion.
I honestly thought I was the only one who was a bit off these days. I chalked it up to post-election euphoria dysphoria. You know the feeling after being so happy, and then you crash emotionally. I was it a semi-catatonic state and only able to blog and tend to my vinegar and plants (which since I’m planting radishes – doesn’t require much of anything). I was able to finish clinical care, but my imagination and motivation for bigger projects both at work and with the climate began to ellude me. I became incapacitated with worry two nights ago because I worried about my right 2nd toe. The medial side of my toe had a paronychia and it had became inflamed. I was worried it was becoming infected and upset at my feet for once again giving up on me (I have had plantar fasciitis and achilles tendon issues and chronic ankle instability). Why was middle-age doing a number on my poor toe? I have been trying to treat my feet well with good shoes including two sturdy pairs from Goodwill and a new Nike Air-Pegasus sneakers? Was it the litter-picking? Was trying to get an extra bag that morning while street picking too much for my toe? I was mad at Mr. Plastic Picker for not caring about my toe, and glared at the puppy for loving Mr. Plastic Picker more than me. That night, I just scrolled through Instagram and worried about my toe. I could do nothing more for the earth nor for work, because of my right 2nd toe paronychia. I ended up applying some peroxide to the area and trimming the nail, and went to bed.
One of my favorite posts from Mr. Money Mustache is his “Pizza Delivery is for Millionaires.” https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/11/18/pizza-delivery-is-for-millionaires/ If you don’t know Mr. Money Mustache, he is one of the most popular FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) bloggers out there. He has a cult-like following and I used to read him semi-religiously. But life moves on and we reached our FI (Financial Indepedence) Number and decided not to retire. I will always appreciate the years of entertainment and inspiration his blog gave me. I sometimes check in on his blog, but he doesn’t actively blog much anymore. His blog is still generating probably hundreds of thousdands of dollars of revenue, but he lives a ridiculously simple life so doesn’t really need the money. What I do admire about him, is his closet environmentalism of his blog. The cult following I could do without. It’s a very masculine testosterone drive part of the internet, so I had to find somewhere else to go. But definitely check his blog out because the way he thinks about sustainable living and money is really interesting.
I ran into our Co-Founder of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air yesterday morning, and member of the AAP -CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee. We caught up very briefly about the environmental work she has been up to. Things are going fantastic for her and SDPCA. I guess there was already a steering committee member on the Air Pollution Control Board that is an MD, but she will be the alternate member. Having a pediatrician on the board is huge, and one of our Co-Founders of SDPCA nonetheless. She also is in contact with another residency talk to give a Clean Air and Pediatric Health lecture at another local program. This is fantastic. We have to log this into the Medical Society Consortium of Climate and Health. [Pause]. Done. Logged in that activity and let the two other Co-Founders of SDPCA know.
Almost a year ago we had our first environmental campaign. It was a hyper-local small project called “Save the Persimmon Tree.” It was a request by one of “our lead nurses that his sister was considering chopping down this tree that is flourishing in the middle of Long Beach, California.” He had written “It hardly requires any water and no maintenance. It produces delicious fruit by the boxful. It would be such a waste to cut down.”
Our campaign was successful as I posted the original blogpost https://drplasticpicker.com/save-this-persimmon-tree/ and on Instagram. The social media pressure was enough to convince said sister-in-law to keep the persimmon tree. Yesterday I received a beautiful fruit from the persimmon tree. I’m sure it’s 100% organic and locally sourced from just an hour or so north of us. The persimmon fruit is on my counter next to my two stuffied chickens named Marilla and Rachel Lynde (yes after Anne of Green Gables fame). I am going to sit and look at it and enjoy it for a little bit. It’s still not quite ripe to eat. And indeed Dear Readers I have grand plans for my special persimmon fruit. I am going to make it into HOME-MADE PERSIMMON VINEGAR!!!
I Ecosia (not googled) searched “Stretching Calming Youtube Video Hawaii” last night. I had the video on and the calming beach sounds while I did some simple stretching for 10 minutes. I had just a normal busy day in clinic. I had extended myself to doing bi-monthly VIDEO sessions with a family that is at a crisis point due to a common pediatric psychiatric diagnosis. The patient is in with the therapist but the appointment is not for another month, and it’s frustrating for both the family and myself. I happened to have a psychiatry book on this topic in my house. It has vetted therapy techniques to “Improve Your Daily Life and Take Back Your Peace of Mind, Calm Anxiety, Diasable Panic Triggers, Prevent Relapses and Setbacks, Manage Responses.” The author I just checked is the director for mental health training at our sister HMO up north. Now I definitely know I am in good hands!
I am sending to the family short lessons from the workbook for their child, and just checking up with them and seeing how they are doing. It is through the secure portal. I’m doing it for them, but I’m also doing it for myself. I’m getting to learn something so valuable that no one has ever taught me. I desperately need to learn for myself and for my patients. How do we heal ourselves?
The vegetarian cornbread is in the oven. I think this is my third batch of cornbread and I’m sure this one will be good. The second batch was a bit of a disaster because I mixed the dry ingredients beforehand and left it on the counter. Something happened to the baking powder and parts of the cornbread were very baking-powdery. This time I made sure to mix everything well, and followed the instructions. I refer to this blogpost https://drplasticpicker.com/non-vegan-cornbread-just-cornbread/. I was inspired to make cornbread because I was rereading that blogpost, and I reread this entry. I had been working through some emotional issues that stemmed from a complicated work relationship. I’ve worked through those issues, and today’s I’m just making cornbread because I want something a bit sweet. Rather than coconut flakes, I threw in chopped walnuts as a foodwaste project. I was going to make another batch of home-made walnut pesto, but our tween daughter indicated that she was pestoed-out. So the chopped walnuts went into the cornbread.
Did you know that Salvia rosmarinus or Rosmarinus officinalis commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary I had known these shrubs on my walks around the parking lot, and I had seen bees around them. But for some reason yesterday I really noticed the plant, and broke off a few branches to smell the leaves. Indeed, it smelled like Rosemary. I thought they were native, but they are a transplant from the Mediterranean that has a very similar climate to our little corner in Southern California. This is a wild growing cultivated plant. Just reading the Wikipedia page there is a long history of it’s journey during Greek and Roman times, through Europe, and finally “Rosemary finally arrived in the Americas with early European settlers in the beginning of the 17th century.” Then at some point it arrived in a little hidden corner of our HMO Parking lot.
I know that the particular non-descript HMO complex I work at was built about 30 years ago. Rosemary plants can live about 30 years. I wonder how old this plant is? I wonder who planted it? I love Wikipedia. It details the history of Rosemary and “In Don Quixote (Part One, Chapter XVII), the fictional hero uses rosemary in his recipe for balm of fierbras.” What is the balm of fierbras? “According to a chanson from 1170, Fierabras and Balan conquered Rome and stole two barrels containing the balm used for the corpse of Jesus. This miraculous balm would heal whoever drank it . . . Don Quixote mentions to Sancho Panza that he knows the recipe of the balm. In Chapter XVII, Don Quixote instructs Sancho that the ingredients are oil, wine, salt and rosemary.” When Don Quixote drinks the balm of fierbras, he vomits and sweats and is healed from it. Sancho gets diarrhea and is nearly killed from it.