June 2021 – Page 3 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: June 2021

It’s always been about the number of bags!!!

June 5, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s 5AM and I had a slight headache waking up this morning. It’s because of this cheesy broccoli processed mix that was part of a disaster survival kit. Someone gave it to my mother-in-law and she put it in the pantry. We are all about averting food waste and random kind people drop off things at our house. It’s kind of all parts hilarious and most of it we do eat. Usually it’s home-grown food and good things like bagged lentils or split peas. But the disaster dehydrated food packets? I should have known. The ingredient list was unreadable and it had MSG. But I made it and added some eggland, mushrooms, and chicken. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. The kids thought it was okay, but I could taste the preservatives and it was too salty. The first time in a long time I wanted to throw it all away to become methane in the landfill. That is what I’m blaming my morning headache on, that bad dinner. I’m taking all those disaster kits and going to donate it to the food bank. I think they will throw it away also, but it makes me feel less guilty. I usually donate things that I think will be useful, but this was passed on to us by someone else. If there is a disaster, I’ll be up in Oregon on our farm eating rainbow trout from the the nearby reservoir and eating organic eggs from our chickens – not that cr@p.


Chair I’m working on! I rotated the picture several times and this is the least disorienting.
Six chairs “rescued” from the alley. No police yet at our house. I promise officer, it was in the alley for 3 days! I saved it from the landfill. It was going to become methane!
The going rate for new chairs. Mine are going to be nicer!!!! Equivalent to $1600!!!! Ca ching! Ca ching!

June 4, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I really just wanted to show you the pictures of the new-to-me rescued chair project I’m working on. I saw them in our alleyway as the neighbor two doors down is moving away. I think it’s actually their renter that is leaving as there is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in the back. I think that is what it is called? They have been leaving things in the alley for people to pick up. This set of chairs has been there for 3 days and I’ve always wanted to try to refurbish furniture and I decided, why not???!!! In the dark of night (actually it was about 8pm) I walked over to their part of the alleyway (which is safe folks) and transported three of the six chairs over to our house. I left 3 thinking I only wanted to try three. Next afternoon when I got home, my father-in-law had grabbed the other three! LOL LOL LOL. I honestly know that it would have been discarded. The paint was pretty worn. But the wood underneath – these are solid furniture pieces. Nothing loose. Made of solid wood. I’m really excited! I started sanding them yesterday just to try, and it’s working out great. But without the proper equipment respiratory and proper safety googles, I stopped.


Lots of work to do.
Beautiful people. Pediatrcians.

June 3, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m still processing it all. Yesterday afternoon was a big day. It was a long-time dream by my environmental mentor Dr. Bruce Bekkar. He’s traveleled all over the world speaking and working on climate issues, but in our own home town of San Diego and our own medical group he finally brought it home. I’m sure yesterday was particularly meaningful for him. Eco-America arrived through Rebecca Rehr and other speakers, and 40 San Diego area mostly physicians were trained as Climate Health Ambassadors. I’ve been through multiple trainings before, and this one was very good and definitely worthwhile. And 40 pretty influential health care sector professinals are now inspired and now feel like they have the professional and moral license to go forth, and do some advocacy. It just takes one. One can make a difference. The 40 people yesterday were engaged, inspired, creative and the dialouge was powerful. And above is the picture of my four people including myself. Four of us from the American Academy of Pediatrics Climate Change and Health Chapter and San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air. We were a part of it, and it made me so proud.

I’ve posted on social media , on multiple Facebook Groups and on Instagram. I’ll write a blogpost for the AAP-CA3 maybe this weekend. But for now, I’m just resting and still coming down from a pretty amazing climate work high (not that I’ve ever done drugs). I know I’ll emotionally crash later and I’m ready for it. But for now even after a good nights sleep and walking around the block last night working off some energy, I’m still sitting with a content sense of rightness and that I helped do something yesterday.

That is it. I realized pretty early in this blogging adventure that my role for now in the climate movement was to make some noise. I run around the blogsphere and Instagram making people notice me, the weird previously burnt out and now happy me – drplasticpicker. And then I try to inspire them. Yesterday was even easier though. They were already inspired, and I just connected them to a great training and a great group of activists where they were given tools to begin to enact change. I just showed them where the meeting was, and laughed and was happy and encouraged them. Isn’t that amazing? That’s all I helped to do and it was so huge. And seeing how content and happy my environmental mentor Dr. Bruce Bekkar was – was pretty amazing too. He’s been on this for many many years. And now we have more people. It’s going to be close folks to avert climatic disaster. But I think we can do it. Let me know if you want to join in. Trust me, there is enough work for everyone. But joyous and righteous and inspiring work.

Even compoting. That is powerful. Give me your nitrogens!!!
This one was kind of inspired. Growing on me.

June 2, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’M STILL HERE!!! I’M STILL ASSISTANT BOSS!!! If that bothers you or you are wondering if I’m throwing in the towel and going back to clinic full time, then you are NOT MY FRIEND. If you encouraged me to step down when I was at a moment of weakness and frustrated, then you are NOT MY FRIEND. No you are not. And this art piece reflects how sometimes I feel. Battered by life, my eyes assymmetric and red due to blepharitis at 3pm every day but cleaned up and although clearly dented and not quite right – I HAVE MY KNIVES OUT and READY TO FIGHT! LOL. LOL. LOL.

Almost 500 bags of litter, and this is what I’ve become. Really strong. Really well. And with an entire new skillset I never knew I could possess! My right leg was very achy last night as I was trying to get to bed. I had spent the entire Tuesday very exhausted just emailing and trying to coordinate work projects and climate projects. But being fundamentally well and knowing that I’m not to blame for the world’s and department’s problems and we have to solve both together as collective communities had enabled me to google two simple “yoga for sleep” youtube videos. I did them both about 10 minutes total, and my leg felt better and I fell gloriously to sleep. What a wonderful and deep night’s sleep.

And so I will go to work today and I will think about the earth. Lots of amazing climate projects we are doing today. We have 30 MDs from healthcare organizations through San Diego meeting to do Eco-America training. Meeting scheduled with our Area Medical Director, the Area Assistant Medical Director for Physician Wellness and three impassioned climate activist ready to talk about what we as a healthcare organization need to do for climate change. Climate change and health rotation, and climate change and health /sustainability fellowship. It’s all kind of crazy.

Then in terms of fiscal health dovetailing with financial health, we are finishing our refinance of our primary home for a 15 year fixed at 2.75%. Finished the rental property finance already. In total saved about 400K in interest over the lifetime of both loans. At 58 I will reach pension and house is paid off, so I will at that point say good-bye to my workplace and I have decided that likely I’ll stay in pediatrics but probably volunteer to work in the Indian Health Services in Oregon or San Diego. That has been a longtime dream. Invested in two businesses, two commercial properties, and buying a farm in Oregon (home inspection due this week). It’s all kind of crazy and wonderful, and we have that money simply because I decided that due to the housing crisis, it seemed like I should sell one of the condos so that someone else could become a home-owner and I could buy with a family member this huge property as a vacation home and help be a steward for 90 acres of forest.

And that is my crazy life. Making funny trash art that made me laugh and put in context these minor work issues when someone supposedly didn’t come in for work but in actuality it was that people did not ask directly, and when it’s filtered by someone else’s preception of it – the entire situation gets completely garbled. It took me all day to figure it out, because I actually sent two text messages and talked to people. Most people want to do the right thing, and most people’s misunderstanding of other’s motives and words is due to their inability to listen to others. And this is Dr. Plastic Picker ready for a full day of clinic and climate work, and trying to be a better listener! I finally understand patello-femoral syndrome in adolescents too. Just took the time to fully read a consultants note. There is so much to learn in the world!

Someone gave my mother-in-law a hat. It will be perfect for our farm!
So excited! I’m hoping to go in June and July.
View from yesterday’s plog.

June 1, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Wow. How did it become June already? I think I’ll post my monthly bag totals later this week. I did make it to 20 bags and have in total collected 464 bags and salvaged 1617 items. I’ve added a new category called “organics” when I find fallen fruit or the odd banana peel, and if it inspires me – I’ll bring it home and throw it into the composter. Yesterday was a large bread bag full of plastic waste along Tourmaline to La Jolla, and mostly plastic bags that floated back onto shore. I noticed so many little crabs yesterday along the rocks. The cactus that sits framing the view of the cove along the outlook was blooming yesterday. I’ve never seen those cacti bloom. I wonder if it has to do with climate change?

It’s funny how the math works out, and how life has a rhythm to it. In about 2 months right at my 2 year blogging anniversary I’ll about reach bag 500. My goal is to blog for at least another 2 years, and get to bag 1000 while still working and living life. The plastic picking and ocean cleaning and the blogging, is about giving me time to reflect and write about silly things for fun. Often times the blogging has been painful but necessary, and I thank you for following along this journey. At some point I’ll take it all down from the internet and sort and choose what to put in a book. Then keep those special pieces just for myself. For now, I’m living this journey out loud in hopes that it helps my fellow physicians and also the earth.

It was another beautiful 20 bags. I have to believe each bag makes a difference. I saw someone yesterday also cleaning the beach in my remote corner in the early morning, and it was such a beautiful sight. I waved to him. He waved back and had a Gold Retriever with him. His bag was green.