I thought this little friend I met this weekend was a Surfbird, but she’s actually a Black Turnstone. I’ll remember this past weekend for many reasons including a rare Black Turnstone that I don’t often see on the stretch of Marine Protected Area that I clean frequently. I’m at bag 655 abouts and I think I’ve made a dent. I think the world has made a dent. @drplasticpicker is above 1800 followers now and this blog continues to average between 400-1000 views a day. Who, I’m not really sure? But I have to believe that those that are following the adventures of Dr. Plastic Picker are also bending the arc of history toward a sustainable world.
I think I need to change the name of my book, that I’m writing. Maybe I should just do a children’s book? My daughter completed my computer science final assignment, and indeed dear readers it was a honest to goodness videogame about her mother!!!
I think I will write two books then. I children’s book to tell the children that pediatricians are really trying, and then a short 150 page Physician wellness book. I have enough material on the blog already. And now that I’ve been freed from the circus show that is middle management, I will have lots of mental space for it!
It’s been a moment and a half since I blogged dear readers. The last blogpost “What does 끝 (kkeut) mean in Korean? To Finish” where I essentially announced my departure from middle management on my own terms was a big moment on this blog. It will deserve it’s own chapter in my book. We headed out for Joshua Tree to take my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop camping right afterwards and I was on digital detox. I hung out with my mommy friends and we had Teslas and Priuses dropped off our gear, as overprotective Asian physician husbands hovered at a nearby posh hotel. The Girl Scout mommies were truly primative camping in tents, as 20 hour per mile winds were blowing hard enough that our tents became unstaked. The girls learned to dig primative toilets, conserve water while camping, and we made so many memories that I can close my mind and the bird sounds and vistas come rushing back. This is how much water we had for a group of 12 camping.
It was less than 24 hour at the campsite, but our troop earned three badges including the Girl Scout Natural Resources Badge which is truly beautiful and given by the National Park Service. And most importantly the camping troop reminded me that I am going to be fine. I’m going to be totally fine as I decided to 끝 (kkeut) my Assistant Boss career. I laughed and was a wife and a mother, and a climate and health advocate.
My mind is filled with Korean these days. Between living with my in-laws for the last 16-17 years to binge-watching K-dramas to having my Korean New York City sister-in-law visit this weekend and being in the center of our essentailly Korean household, I’m an observeror and participant in this life we have. My Vietnamese parents are close by but I don’t see them as much and I don’t speak to them as much, so my mind turns toward Korean words these days. Every morning I have a quick breakfast and it’s a bit of kimchi and some side dishes with rice. Plant based because most cultures were plant-based before that word was a thing. What does 끝 (kkeut) mean in Korean? To Finish. To End. And I’m at a beautiful ending in my career.
Just about 30 minutes until I have to be at one of the dwindling number of middle management early monthly meetings I have to go to. I forget why I ever wanted to be at this particular meeting when I was younger? I think back then the personal dynamics of those older that were in charge was interesting to me, just like sitting in the high school cafeteria as you watch the different cliques walk by and place them in the social hierarchy. But this particular group has lost my interest and I’ve decided to move on to more interesting people and work.
But yesterday was almost too much for me. It was an epic day. Two years of slow work an coordination and ideas flowing back and forth between my office and Dr. AF. #WeBorrowTheEarthFromOurChildren is a reality. The Youth Arts Exhibition on Climate Change was made real, as the art work was displayed and the children artists came and KPBS came.
Dr. AF was interviewed. I was interviewed. Our teenage son who headed the poetry section, and two eloquent child climate #artivists spoke about their work. It could not have gone more perfectly. I’ve rewatched my interview and the other speakers, and the authenticity and the passion and the message that climate change is real and it’s a crisis that needs to be addressed now landed perfectly. I’ve talked so much about the intersection of climate and health, and those phrases came out easily and naturally. “Climate change is a pediatric public health crisis.” “Kids understanding so fundamentally what we adults make way too complicated.” “This is an existential crisis.” “Adults need to do more, the kids showed up.” We could not have orchestrated a better session. But the funny thing, is that it was not orchestrated at all. My email to the group being interviewed was as follows.
This is Dr. Plastic Picker at about 1 or 2 years of age. I could not believe it! San Diego is still a small town, and especially if you are Vietnamese – it’s a small community. A patient family I have had for over ten years, out of the blue said “our families know eachother from Vietnam! My mom has a picture of you from my brother’s birthday party.” And indeed dear readers, a picture was sent and it was me! I was so shocked! That’s me in clairemont at my first boyfriend’s birthday party. (kidding of course to his I’m sure beautiful wife). He clearly was distinguished back then, but neglected to give me cake or a share of his presents. I don’t remember the occassion but I do know my own emotions, and I am clearly upset that I was not the center of attention and I’m sure was not offered cake soon enough!
I thought Mr. Plastic Picker was my first boyfriend who I met at 18 and started dated at 19. I always told him that I waited for him, and that when my Crimson University Freshman Formal date leaned in for a kiss – I panicked! I didn’t want my first kiss to be from this particular Crimson University Vietnamese boy. He was nice but he wasn’t the one. As an immature 18 year old, I literally ran away from the poor boy who had so nicely taken me to a sushi restaurant and danced with me all night. But kisses are important, especially to young romantic 18 year old me.
Wow. Blog traffic really picked up. I always average about 400-500 readers a day, and sometimes it goes up to 1500. Now the recent traffic is about 600 a day. I wonder why? This blog is non-monetized and really about entertaining my community and nudging readers to take some environmental action. I know it might be dizzying the amount of environmental work I do. But if you know me in real life, this is how I’ve always been. I like to get things done and projects completed, and I’m generally an effective person. Now that I’ve found climate work, which is really endless – I’ve found my happy spot and do projects that bring me joy.
It’s 551am and I’m slowly getting back to a normal schedule. Getting up early and blogging and doing climate projects in the early morning are the healthiest for me. I had a very fun detour into Kdrama binge-watching land, but I turned it off yesterday and went to bed. It was a wonderful detour. But it’s back to trying to save this dear planet of ours.
There is so much to do, but it’s important to make it sustainable and make it joyful. One of the projects I’m working on is just answering questions for a blogpost that will go up on the AAP San Diego website for Women’s History Month. I was invited to submit my profile. I need to take this seriously and do it thoughtfully, because our local AAP has been an amazing force in helping me literally clean up our local area and move climate legislation locally and state-wide.
Good Saturday Morning Dear Readers!!! It’s Saturday morning and we are not physically where we thought we would be. I can’t tell you where we are, but we are well and alive and together as a family. Sometimes it’s important to be off the grid. Just know that your local litter-picking pediatrician continues to live a sustainable life and living my truth. I drank match green tea soy latte and walked along a beautiful part of nature with Mr. Plastic Picker. We walked hand in hand, sipping our matcha green tea soy latte, and talked about the world, our family and our love.
I also made some big decisions about my own life and leadership journey, and it was the earth that guided me. I am so gloriously happy and know I am on the right path, that I smiled and laughed with joy. A patient on Friday said, “Dr. Plastic Picker! You are glowing today. Something is different. Is it your hair?” It was not my hair, although I have switched over to a vegan hair dye. It was a decision I made about my leadership journey that felt so right, that I knew it was meant to be. Much like the moment I saw Mr. Plastic Picker is the basement at one of our college dorms doing laundry when I was a sophomore. He was a junior. I saw him and I thought to myself, “that is the father of my children.” And that is the truth. We married 5-6 years later as medical students.
It really helps me to blog every morning. My mind and imagination kind of just wanders in the morning. I actually got a full night of sleep after I finished by last new-favorite K-drama. Oh My Venus – is soooo cute. Male lead, super cute and super hot. I’ve started doing some arm- weights inspired by the show. Anyway, after a good night of sleep and getting up a bit on time to blog – I get to just explore things. I started one blogpost which was good, but decided to just trash it. And then I sent some climate-emails. Then I started making breakfast for the kids, and inspired by some side salad given to us by the HMO machinery, I made a leftover vegetables vegan omelette with besan (chickpea flour). It turned out really well.
All I did was cut up the left over vegetables, added some eggplant and a small carrot. I heated everything in a bit of canola oil in the frying pan. Then seasoned with a bit of onion powder. Besan flour is chickpea flour, and you have to mix it with water to the consistency desired. After the vegetables which is a food-waste project are cooked to desired texture, I just pour the besan flour mix into the pan and cook. It cooks like egg. The only caveat is that you have to make sure it cook it all, since uncooked besan flour has a odd flavor. The key I’ve found is to really mix it before you pour it in to make the “vegan omellette.” I added some truffle powder as well.
My daughter had it this morning already and she really loved it. She has discriminatory taste. Anyway, I started wandering as I always do – how much money did I save? i searched “vegan omellette san diego” which led by to Breakfast Republic website.
OMG the vegan omelet is $20!!! I just made my kids a $20-30 breakfast and averted methane! This place is actually pretty good. But because I’ve been wandering mentally around, I’ve realized that they have a huge push for reaching sustainability. I’m going to have our premed intern Hakim reach out to them and see if they can’t try to feed us for the AAP Youth Arts Exhibit. It’s great advertising for them since we definitely are bringing in their demographic.
That’s it! I’m looking for free food for our exhibit. Because I’m trying to save the earth by being FISE (financially independent to save the earth), and this whole thing is fun because I try to be financially savy about the whole thing.