It’s been a tough month. For the most part our family was able to find joy in being together and grateful to be in good health over the holidays. But the last few days with my arm sore from the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and being fatigued kind of wore me down more than I expected. But the bright side of things is that I’ve started picking up litter around the HMO parking lot, and there is so much litter that it’s very quick to fill a bag. It’s oddly satisfying as I don’t have to walk as far. This gives me more time at home to focus on other things. I’ve committed to picking up 20 bags a month, and this month I finished early and I’m really proud. I’m going to end the month totals today.
The news just keeps on getting better and better. The COVID-19 UK strain is in our area and was identified in a young 30 year old who did not travel. Maybe that is why it’s so bad in Southern California right now? The side effects of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are wearing off. I’m a pretty tough cookie and this is the first time in my life that I’ve had side effects. I take it to mean that the vaccine is working. My deltoid is still sore, still fatigied and a bit of a headache. I avoided the tylenol and motrin, and just drinking coffee at 530pm because I just woke up from a late afternoon nap and coffee cures everything right?
There is certainly hope now that the vaccine is being deployed to front-line workers, and plans to roll out more. But if this pandemic has taught me anything, is that no one knows nothing. We are in for a bumpy ride. A lot of people are sick, are stressed, are worried. They are sick and stressed about having COVID, about having had COVID, about where they are in line for the vaccine. Everyone is still worried, and it’s been 10 months of this worry and it is wearing on people. I just texted some friends just to check up on how they are doing. Everyone has a different dramatic tale unfolding in their lives.
I have to confess something. After I got my Moderna COVID-19 vaccine but while still wearing facemask and faceshield, I had to hold a baby in clinic to help the mother. The baby already had covid. I had to hold the baby because I was doing a procedure. But I can tell you, I held onto that baby for a few more seconds than I should have. That baby felt so good in my arms.
The light seems so far away right now. The darkness comes quickly now by 5pm. It’s cold even in Southern California. Although we need the rain, it’s damp and it’s seeping into our souls. There is hope as people on the front-lines are mentally preparing for their turn to get to the vaccine, but I can tell you as someone who got in 24hours before most people in our department – it is emotional. The months of suppressed emotion kind of bubbles up. Be ready for it. And be ready for the waning of the side effects and waning of the euphoria, and we are still in the middle of the pandemic facing the world that we share.
Just some thoughts at the end of the day that has been off for me due to being fatigued from the vaccine. Just some thoughts as I’m virtually sending hugs to some friends who are going through their tough times. At the least the HMO parking lot will be cleaner when this is all done.
I got my COVID-19 Moderna vaccine yesterday on the 30th of December in the year of our lord 2020. My mantra in life is to be honest and I was honestly happy and I posted on my facebook page just personal one about my happiness and the requisite picture. It was a happy day because the four people I had worried about the most got it in the first group about probably a week before the rest of the department.
It was interesting that some people said congratulations. I’m not sure what they meant but it was in a positive way. But why do we congratulate those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in the first wave? Is it for some reason they are more deserving? Or did they do something special to get the vaccine first? Someone posted outside of our department that they are grateful to be one of the first 2 million to get the vaccine? I absolutely did nothing to deserve to get the vaccine yesterday. I texted and sent messages to advocate for four MDs and their corresponding nurses to get the vaccine in a timely manner as befitted their risky work situations. I made no mention of myself. I heard nothing from upper management after my messages as Assistant Boss on behalf of those four people, but I know that my messages were part of a cacophany of messages they were receiving. This drama is playing out all over the country. The roll out has been interesting, but really we are just part of a large system and all of us are trying to make sure we are recognized and acknowledged as part of the system. But the slow wheels of the big machine are moving and everyone will get vaccinated lickety-split.
I’m just living my life. Living my blog life. LOL. I’ve been up since about 5am and had my first cup of coffee already. I’m naturally an early riser. Yesterday when I left clinic, I was already decently caught up on my charts and patient results. I will of course log in again today and clean things up. But this morning, I went through my actual personal inbox and attended to much of life things. Finished more board questions, and still have 10 more to do but I have 2 more days. Did a question on HIV testing, and remembered when we all were worried about an HIV pandemic in the early 2000s and it ended up being a COVID-19 and a plastic pandemic instead that threatens our common annihilation. This makes sense why we weren’t taking as much environmental action, because we thought HIV was going to wipe out the population. Who knew it would be plastic instead?
Thought about the upcoming Girl Scout meetings that is an Environmental Journey, and sent emails already to some women professionals who will be on a career panel, and I have a meeting set up to talk to our student Co-Founder of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air later today. After we finish doing this youth education module for my daughter’s actual Girl Scout Troop, I’ll reach out to our council and make SDPCA available to speak to other troops if they need a professional speaker. Youth education is very important.
I was riding a high after the San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air website went live. https://sdpediatriciansforcleanair.com/ But I know myself that everytime something really good happens and a goal has been accomplished, I have this transient unease that is the down after the high. I kind of was ready for it, and modulated it as my emotions were coming down yesterday. I was probably a bit irritable afterwards as my daughter and I spoke about the upcoming Girl Scout meetings. But after watching a few mindless innocent Amazon prime Christmas romance movies and sleeping last night, and then just having freedom to think and let my wind wander this morning – everything is better. Wow, the quiet does so much for one’s brain and spirit.
What Grew? What Didn’t? I thought it was a catchy title given the pretty picture. Girl Scout Troop. My own children. The children in our Children’s Art Council from the AAP. Our three premedical interns, Our one graduate student intern. Other MDs who are part of the two committees, AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health and San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air. Dr. Plastic Picker website. SDPCA’s new website. Succulents in my makeshift container garden doing great. The parsley that got bug ridden because I watered it at night. The composter that I’m still learning how to master. I think it’s working but sometimes a mushroom pops up in there, and I need to add more kitchen scraps. What Grew? What Didn’t? I think it’s all kind of growing. All the seeds and little movements toward a greener world. I’m not too worried. It seems to be all kind of growing and isn’t that what a healthy ecosystem is, growth and decay, trial and error. My environmentalism is not orderly but than again neither is nature.
Someone I love very much after a socially distanced and masked walk as I walked mostly 12 feet behind. The older I get, the more I realize I am so much like him. I did some yoga last night trying to center myself.
This blog is a mishmosh of trash art, cooking, climate activism, self-reflection and personal finance blogging. It’s a jumbled mess because that is what my real life is, a jumbled beautiful mess or people, committees and tangential things I think about in the early mornings as I blog. I think mostly I come to the blog to clear my mind by putting my often jumbled thoughts into prose, and somehow it makes the world make more sense.
Okay. I wasn’t sure what to blog about today or whether to blog at all. I enjoy the process of writing and it helps to order my brain. I edited a few of my past blogpost. Thanks for having patience with my grammatical errors. I reread old posts often and correct things as I go along. I was going to write a treatise about why one shouldn’t pay for financial advice, as I’ve never paid for financial advice. I would usually ask the person trying to give me financial advice, “What is your savings rate? What is your networth? If it’s better than mine, than maybe I’ll consider it.” Well, to be honest – I never said those EXACT words but I did say the essence of them. But I figured that blogpost was not kind and might alienate people, and honestly if people want to give other people money to give them advice about money – it’s actually not any of my business. It’s actually a carbon-free transaction assuming neither party starts flying everywhere around the world with their new found savings. But that was probably the reason they were in financial distress in the first place right? Hyperconsumption of prepackaged experiences. Hyperconsumption of things. Hyperconsumption of plastic experiences. Don’t even get me started on the wastefulness of the entire plastic surgery and beauty industry which is personified by the Kardashians.
It’s not too late to create your traditions. The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were always a painful time of year for Mr. Plastic Picker and myself. It may have been for you as well. When we lived in Boston and had our son, we were still immersed in the university life and still trainee physicians. We had the MDs but not the salary nor the marketable skills, nor the scheduling freedom. Little did we know that scheduling freedom is really a mythical unicorn and does not exist. But every holiday the grandparents would disappear from Boston to New York City, as Mr. Plastic Picker’s sisters were in New York with their chaotic lives and the chaotic cousins.
On the holidays if one of us was actually off, someone would stay home with our then one child. If either was working, we sent our son with his grandparents to be with the chaotic cousins. I remember distinctly this one Thanksgiving when he must have been about two, when we both had Thanksgiving off and the grandparents were gone. We lived in a very small apartment and of course we didn’t know how to cook yet. Free Thanksgiving Dinner was provided by Crimson University at a select number of dining halls and we went to Adams House. This was Mr. Plastic Picker’s old undergraduate House at Crimson University. Honestly the dinner , although well made and delicious, was always kind of sad. Crimson University for all it’s glory was still a faceless institution, and we sat there eating with our toddler son as graduate advisors with a roomful of other sentient beings living their lives and really wishing to be with others that were not us.
Winner winner, vegan dinner!!! Or it could be a lunch or as hearty side dish. In the midst of a non-ideal Christmas Eve when Mr. Plastic Picker and I both worked part of the day and our youngest daughter woke up with torticollis – we still were able to cook a surprisingly easy dish that was good for us and the planet.
I hope everyone had somewhat of a normal Christmas Eve and Christmas this year. I mean this is what upper management gave me.
And inside the bag was a KeySmart key chain with a fancy metal thingamajiggy that helps you open doors without touching the handles. I found one on the beach as well and had gifted it to my father-in-law. But the one I received was purchased for about $25. I gave it to my father-in-law and took back the one I found on the beach. The one I found on the beach is not as fancy but it has a beer can openener on it as well. Plus I found it.
I’m looking at yesterday’s trash art piece and I’m still blown away. This is going as a set to someone but as I look at it more there are layers and layers of meaning. When I make the trash art, I have to be in the right mindset and then it just comes. I honestly don’t know or understand what I’m making until it’s done. And then I relook at it and sometimes I get scared or awed at what my subconscious does.
This is the High Priestess and her two insectoid supplicants. They are bonded together by the wooden knitting needles which is my daughter’s which was broken and I carefully salvaged. The bodies are upcycled wine corks. I didn’t realize until I was discussing the pieces with several colleagues yesterday (I had randomly texted them the pictures of the pieces while we were discussing our institution’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout) is that I was really intriqued by each person’s eyes. Each eye is different and none of them are normal. The High Prietess has tunnel vision and is looking inward and her one eye socket is deep. The one eyed insectoid has an innocent wide eyed mouth, but sharp ends to protect the High Priestess. It also has a purple felt half heart and purple is the color of valor. Half a heart, is what we should bring to work. Then there is the insectoid supplicant with the disconjugate gaze. I now understand that this one is me. Looking looking everywhere. Scanning. Scanning with a visual field different than humans. Blunt arms ready to protect and defend the insect colony.
I absolutely cannot believe it’s Wednesday again, and I cannot believe Christmas is in two days. I had chatted with an old high school friend a few days ago, gathering donations for Toys 4 Tots, and she mentioned that someone told her that “it’s okay to be off.” Dr. Plastic Picker completely agrees. It is absolutely okay to be OFF, and this Christmas everyone is a bit OFF. Case in point, the kids have no desire to decorate our thrice-handed down artificial tree with their hand-made school ornaments that I’ve always cherished. It’s one of those moments that I love and always post some pictures on Facebook. They were into making the Gingerbread House which looked like someone vomited on it, but not the tree. Tells you something about being a tween/teen, and the state of their dystopian minds. I tell you, their generation is different – very dystopian and I think very much due to the state of the planetary ecologic collapse.