November 2022 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: November 2022

From Instagram and real friend @flavors4wellness

November 30, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Yesterday was a wonderful climate day and just a wonderful day in general. I was sitting having a quick lunch with Dr. Dear Friend. I often just go into her office and grab one of her prepared meals (yes, we are those kind of friends). I was sitting crossed legged and walking around in my socks (I’m Asian) in her office, and we were catching up. Dr. Dear Friend was busy multi-tasking making phone calls at the same time. I told her, “I’ve been truly happy since May 24, 2022.” Dr. Dear Friend kind of paused and said, “Have you been really happy?” I looked at her, and yes this is in the midst of one of the busiest respiratory seasons of the century and life is crazy for everyone and I haven’t really given many of my overtime shifts away, and I looked at her and said, “Yeah. I’m truly happy and I kind of feel guilty because everyone else is kind of sad and stressed.” I happily finished my meal, and said good-bye to her as she finished her phone calls. It was my off-time and I certainly was no longer being paid to do my clinical work, and I had worked the late shift the night before. So I left. I left the office when my allotted work time was done, and I left to be a parent.

It was certainly busy yesterday. I was amazed I was able to do all my afternoon errands which is a mix of climate work and parent work. I picked up scout patches for the Green Team IRC clean up event in early December. I’ll interoffice it to my program coordinator friend. I picked up my daughter’s Silver Torch Award for Girl Scouts at the same time. After leaving the Balboa Girl Scout Campus, I headed to pick up my daughter but stopped by a local Starbucks near her school. I felt so luxurious and bought a $5 matcha green tea soy latte, and I sipped that warm cup of goodness and I was so happy. I then picked her up at her school on time. She was happy and we went off to DSW to shop for shoes. She’s going to a speech tournament the Winter Invitational at La Costa Canyon High School. We bought the cutest pair of boots for her. She has a burgundy wrap dress, and the small little boots have a little heel and she feels very pretty in them yet professional and they are comfortable enough to run to the events. I even signed up for the rewards VIP program, because we expect to be buying other fancy shoes as she explores being a “fancy lawyer lady” (her words) which warms my mommy heart.

I was even at some time in between all this had time to get gasoline (we are not fully electric yet) for our plug-in hybrid. And we stopped by CVS to get two shades of nail polish to match her dress. (yes she is much more girly-girl than I am, and I love it).

And after we settled at home, I spent two hours in climate related virtual meeting. Riley Gilbertson , one of our premed interns, and I spoke at the Youth Advisory Council for the UCSD Refugee Health Center. It was a worthwhile presentation, and oh yes – I had in the morning spent about an hour updating a presentation for them. And then we spent an hour delivering the presentation and leading the discussion. And then our SDPCA and AAP group met, and it was a joyous and time efficient meeting lasting 30 minutes. Lots of discussion and work and projects planned out. I need to kind of sort everything in my brain, and then I’ll summarize things this afternoon and send out the updates.

And during this entire time, especially when I’m with our daughter running our errands and having her live her 14-year-old beautiful cocooned and safe life, I have lingering thoughts and smiles and sadness and curiosity regarding our family’s own Kdrama. I see pictures pop up on Instagram once in a while of someone, and I think about emailing someone I admire that I still think would be a wonderful person to be related to. But I stop myself and realize that it’s not my Kdrama but belongs to two young people. I still think there is destiny and fate, but I’ll let things happen or not happen and just be the shoe-shopping chauffer for a super cute 14-year-old.

But it was too much last night. The solar panel inverters were fixed. I saved thousands of dollars managing our finances correctly by electing to participate in AB150. I can’t believe my fellow physicians did not partake. It was a lot of money. And our children went to bed semi-reasonable time. I went to bed early and got a good amount of sleep. And then everything became not too much, but just enough. My mind is so clear in the morning, especially after blogging.

I sometimes am not sure why I am happy these days. But I’m grateful for it. I get to type out thoughts to myself and do meaningful climate work, and live in world filled with youth and students and be the encouraging cheer-leader to my climate friends and to my own children. We had two papers rejected yesterday and I was kind of peeved at the editors, but our two respective teams are going to resubmit and we’ll get it done. Those editors have NO IMAGINATION. None whatsoever, and are so scared of the world. Little do they know, that they have actually moved the climate work backwards. But there are so many of us now green warriors and we are SO POSITIVE and HEALED, that we will push forward because there really is not choice. Our motivation in these papers is simple. It’s really to avert cataclysmic climate change, and advocate for children’s health.

I whispered to Mr. Plastic Picker several times last night, that I still think our family pseudo Kdrama will in a decade be what I imagine. But certain people are growing up and we hope that they will meet again when it’s up to them. At least they know each other exists. Mine is super-cute wearing a burgundy wrap dress and low heeled boots to the next speech tournament. She is so cute! We are too busy in our house for actual boys, but not too busy to dream innocent dreams of saving the world and future cute little grandchildren. I think I’d be a really good grandmother, after she finishes graduate school and wins a bunch of fellowships of course. We dream big at our house.

Much love to you and my rambling thoughts and dreams of your local litter-picking pediatrician.

Just a snippet from Storyofstuff Instagram Account.

November 25, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s been quiet on the blog and on Instagram @drplasticpicker relatively. Still picking up trash. It’s been relatively quiet in my mind too. If I look back at what this blog and eco-avatar adventure has meant to me, that would be one of the most meaningful. I got myself back. Does that make sense? I used to daydream a lot as a child and in high school. I would swing on the hammock in our backyard with my own fluffy white dog named Jingle, and I would just dream. I was an awkward Star Trek loving teenager and I had beautiful dreams.

And now I am dreaming again, and just thinking thoughts on the hammock.

It’s been a wonderful holiday week. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving in our house due to the complicated nature of it being a false holiday and the pain of the indigenous people in the Americas, but we do practice gratitude. And yesterday we said our gratitudes and had a festive meal that my brother brought over. It was low key since Mr. Plastic Picker was working triple extra shifts, and I was still recovering from COVID Moderna Bivalent Booster. Wow, this one was a doozy. Not as bad as #2 but worse than #3. I’m still glad I got it, but needed an entire day for my body to kind of deal with the vaccine. I haven’t officially had COVID yet, but I’m sure at some point in the last three years I had it? I follow the rules though and masked when they told me, and washed my hands, and only traveled when public health said it was okay. I think it helps that we are a relatively introverted family. It cuts down on the social contacts you know.

It’s been a quiet and purposefully restful week. Our oldest is almost finished with his University of California applications. He is applying to 5 campuses, and we encouraged him to finish before the last day. We heard the system always crashes as everyone is submitting at once. I am proud of him, as he has been chipping away at his applications diligently. He finished the trimester off strong, equal to his performance in the previous years. We could not have asked more of him. We moved back to California in large part for his education and for him to be able to apply to the University of California system as an instate resident. And now he has, and we are glad.

Thanksgiving was actually warm in San Diego, and there was a light Santa Ana wind. It was unusually windy yesterday as I was sitting on our hammock. I remember buying that hammock maybe 5 years ago, and wanted to make sure that our two children knew how to swing on a hammock. To me, that was very important. Neither knows how to ride a bike well nor swim, but my children – they know how to swing on a hammock. It’s a very important skill in life.

And we’ve been together as a family a lot this week. We’ve had unexpected lunches at local eateries. My daughter and I tried to find donuts at the local Donut Bar (semi-famous) and were disappointed. We saw a movie at our local theatre which was really good, and we built up more memories of minor teenage tantrums and moodiness. Our daughter painted her nails for hours. Our son was in his room half applying to college/half gaming for hours. And I have been just here. Just present. Just enjoying them being 17 and 14 and together as a family.

The reminder that they are growing up and growing away from me is always there. But it’s all been so gloriously slow since I decided to step down from Assistant Boss a year early in late May 2022. I am so grateful I made that decision. It literally again slowed time down to a snail pace compared to the madness that was administrative work. Sometimes I wonder if my former colleagues in that alternate universe I used to inhabit realize how absolutely convoluted that world is? I sent an email to someone and did not receive a reply. I was hurt but mostly annoyed. But honestly when you are a hamster on a wheel, it’s hard to understand the big picture.

But I’m so grateful to be the hamster on the hammock. Let me see if I can find an imagine of it.

Found one.

Honestly how I’m feeling these days. Okay! Still doing climate work! I’m getting a fiery speech ready to try to block the Mitsubishi Cement Plant from running diesel trucks in Barrio Logan! Much love from our clean air family to yours. Wishing you clean air and a hammock to swing on.

The protagonist.

November 20, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s been an epic week at our house and family. But come to think of it, I can say that most weekends now when I reflect. Perhaps it’s truly because we are living very mindfully in the present and take joy in the present. I was at our daughter’s first Speech Tournament yesterday which brought back all kinds of memories from my high school days. I judged three rounds (they have parent judges now), and one of the speeches from a Varsity Orator was on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It was a powerful presentation and one that will make me think for a while.

The speaker used this same image in her presentation.

How does someone so young have so much wisdom?

I’m continually amazed and grateful for the young people in my life. And of course as the readership knows, the star of my real-life walking Kdrama – our daughter. She was at her first speech tournament yesterday at Canyon Crest Academy. She won several awards for which I’m inordinately proud of her. But I’m most grateful for the experience she had yesterday and that I was able to share in that experience. She dressed up in a beautiful elegant sheath dress with high heels, and looked like an elegant human rights attorney. Her pony tail was high and smooth. She delivered her oratory with a bit of flair, as she was doing poetry. She won 1st place in the Novice Declamation category. But most importantly she got to spend the entire day with her good friends, and live through the ups and downs. I’m typing a text message that I want to send to a mommy friend, but I think she is tired and it’s more my thoughts so I’ll just share them with you.

I’m just reflecting on yesterday and it was such a beautiful day. The kids got to spend the day together doing something they prepared for, and are passionate about. They got to go through the ups and downs of advancing or not advancing to semi-finals and finals. We got to get a glimpse into their lives and how they process and handle these challenges. Our daughter had a meltdown last night despite winning because her feet hurt so much from the high heels, and I’m sure your son was exhausted after such a long day. We (mommies) got to talk and share stories, and see a new school that we have never seen before. Thank you for spending the day with me.”

The award ceremony.

And in this mass of children who were competing, there were new faces and new interactions. Each time our daughter delivered a speech, she learned something about herself and the other speakers. Every time she met a new person, it made her reflect on the people she already knows and those she has chosen to love.

I had started this blog post with the title a few days ago. I’ve since deleted the content but I’ll keep the title. I don’t think you ever meet the wrong person. For her she met an important person and it didn’t go well, but I honestly think it was meant to be and a learning experience. She’s now found an outlet where she can wear a beautiful dress with high heels, and have plenty of people listen to her. She talked to a good number of cute boys yesterday that were interesting but honestly not that romantically interesting to her right now. She practiced her Korean, and had a fun interaction with another boy competitor at another school and it made her think of another boy that goes to another school – that is not in the speech world for sure. And it’s all safe and truly like a big giant playdate, where kids are learning about themselves and learning about each other.

Watching and judging the speech tournament, reminded me how articulate and smart but also how young high school students are. They are so young. And this activity is the perfect outlet for our high-strung daughter right now. She’ll see these fellow students including some boys here and there, and they will be weaving in and out of each other’s lives. I still have dreams but I realize they are my dreams, and she is having her dreams and dramas in her own head. We’ve just introduced many more characters into her storyline.

But in the end of the day, as her parents she’s our protagonist. And this is the image I’ll remember. Tired and exhausted, and had a temper tantrum because her feet hurt because she felt entitled to it – because she won two important speech awards and is invited to an invitational speech tournament.

using this for a Crimson University presentation!!!

November 9, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Yes! I’m still picking up plastic, albeit at a slower pace. The goal really is to get to 1000 bags of trash and I’m kind of getting nostalgic the closer I get there. This has been truly a transformative journey. As I tell people openly and honestly. Litter doesn’t lie!!!

So how many bags did I gather of ocean-bound plastic pollution on the shores of Pacific Beach???!!! Drum roll please ………………………… yes 14 bags!!! Not bad Dr. Plastic Picker. And here are the things I picked up.

#732 Lifetime Total!!! 1973 Items Salvaged!!!

Sept and Oct 2022 Totals! – 14 BAGS

Aluminum Cans5Recycled
Plastic Bottles6Recycled
Glass Containers1Recycled
Sand Toys2Reused
Office Supplies7Donated

Yes! And the midterm elections are not as bad as we thought. The world is shifting and there is still much more work to be done in the next 2 years if not really 7 years. I promised a decade of climate action and I think it’s been two years or three years???!!! In addition to picking up plastic, I kind of co-chaired our Public Health Advisory Council meeting for Climate Actions Campaign. I’m excited about the new initiatives we are championing which is Climate Action Plan Implementation and Building Electrification. We are looking at climate resiliency which unfortunately we will have to deal with. But for now, we are trying to get the GHG to plummet as much as we can. I’m speaking at my old training home at Harvard next week to try to inspire and recruit more climate and health advocates. Really working on the slide deck carefully to craft something just for them.

Fun new slide I made!

This week I should hear about the outcome of the Retirement Committee election. I really think this is where I need to be, because getting investments out of fossil fuels and toward ESG investments is the most impactful thing I can do from the place I occupy professionally.

I did let myself feel sad yesterday. I know this is buried amongst 800 blog post so I feel free to express myself. I’m not sure if our family’s pseudo kdrama is going to end with the two protagonists together. I’m not sure. And I’m letting myself be sad. You can’t force people to love a certain type of person, and maybe I was completely wrong. I’ll allow everyone their privacy but I was so sad.

But I’m going to be an adult and find joy where I can. I’ll treat some patients today, continue to try to save the earth, and I’ll go for a quick jog right now and plog and be happy the midterms weren’t as bad as we expected.

Much love to the readership.

Bought the premium limit login attempt apps a few months ago.

November 6, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Begone you hackers!!! Not sure why you are trying to hack my site. This site is free entertainment for my patients and friends, and curious internet denizens, to try to save the earth! I’ve been offered money for my site but I REFUSED. I could advertise on this site, but I REFUSED. And I now REFUSE your attempts to hack my site because what I do here is important to me personally and to the world. I’m sure you need oxygen to breathe and trees to shade you. You likely don’t want to live on a Vulcan-like world!!! So if you are actually a thinking person you should back off!

But I know you are likely just an algorithm. So I bought the limited login attempt upgraded version almost 5 months ago but I’ve been so busy, I didn’t have the mental space to try to get it onto the blog. But after having to delete at least 20 messages from the site about more hackers, I DID IT!!! I DID IT THIS MORNING. And now I won’t have to see those annoying messages!

And now looking at the site there were over sometimes a million hacking attempts a day! Geez! They should just try to pick up trash instead!!!

Origin of the hacks

And that is it. Just proud of myself for taking time to protect something that means a lot to me. I protected the site!

Wow. This one was game changer!

November 5, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s true the best things in life are simple. And this biscuit recipe was so simple and easy. We had run out of yeast at our house. So I couldn’t make pizza dough. My home-made pizza dough is honestly really good these days. We ran out of pasta. We ran out of bread. We ran out tortillas. We weren’t in the mood for rice. We had 4 chicken sausages we wanted to eat, and needed to use the asparagus up – but needed some kind of carb/bread on the side. I had looked up a few biscuit recipes and had taken a screenshot of this one. I’ve made biscuits in the past. I’ve definitely made the boxed biscuits from Bisquick, Red Lobster and the Pillsbury refrigerated ones in the past. I used to think I loved biscuits, and remember when pregnant with our oldest walking 2 miles in the snow in Cambridge to KFC to get some of their biscuits.

But now, I have found MY BISCUIT RECIPE. It’s so simple and easy, and it’s going to be staple in our house. I just made us that much healthier, because these biscuits are really good and much healthier than the store bought and definitely better than KFC. It just really pulled dinner together, and it’s honestly going to be a great food waste recipe. I’ve realized that if you carb is healthy and homemade (like my pizza dough), I can use the bits and pieces from the fridge to create a healthy and fun meal. So here is the biscuit recipe that is now my go to!


2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup oil

2/3 cup milk


  1. Sift flour and baking powder. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Put in oil in measuring cup and add milk (can use plant-based), Do not stir.
  3. Add to dry ingredients.
  4. Mix lightly to moisten ingredients and knead one or two times to form a ball.
  5. Roll out on a flat, clean surface, until about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut into 2″ biscuits (used a cookie cutter for fun!)
  7. Bake on an ungreased pan at 475F for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

And that my friends is it! This recipe works for us because we always have oil, and I can sub in plant-based milk. And we paired it with the left-overs in our fridge to have this wonderful dinner. We saved money and it’s healthier. I heated up a biscuit right now with almond butter and had it with my matcha green tea soy latte. We definitely save in plastic as it’s homemade and no packaging. All the prepared biscuit mixes have palm oil in it, so this definitely helps the orangatangs.

dinner last night.

And with dinner last night, although we had the chicken sausage, my daughter sauteed it with canned pinto beans and added some more spice. So that cut the carbon footprint of our “protein/meat.” And the sauteed asparagus was really good.

So we are happy with our new best biscuits ever recipe! Sometimes the best things in life are simple, and this recipe is simple and matches our palate. I’m looking forward to using all our various cookie cutter shapes to make different biscuit shapes!

Wow. They renamed the place. Not sure if that was a good idea?

November 3, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

This is a big moment for me. I’ve been invited (albeit virtually) back to Harvard to give Grand Rounds at MGH later this month. Just finished filling out the attestation form and seeing Mass General and the partners address was kind of surreal. And was just invited to speak in April at the 2nd annual Mass General Center for the Environment and Health (CEH) symposium as panelist for “Exploring spheres of influence to achieve health and sustainability for planetary health.” As a former resident and chief resident, who left Harvard because we were trying to figure out life with two kids – this is honestly a big moment for me to be recognized at my training home. I wish it were in person because I would 100% fly back, but I’ll take the virtual invite! Just sharing my joy and my journey, and that what we are doing at Kaiser San Diego is important and impactful. “

Just reflecting this morning. I did post this on my actual personal facebook and also my professional social media accounts. I hadn’t had really time to process everything and realize how important these two invitations to speak back at Harvard meant to me. At some point I’ll take down the blog and write the book and maybe I’ll just name it my talk title, “The Power of Joy and Mentorship in Climate and Health Advocacy: A Burn Out Story @drplasticpicker.”

The actual first talk at MGHfC isn’t for another week of so. I have a talk tonight at our Bonita Optimist Club, and that presentation is all done. I’m doing that talk with a student Ashley Teo and it should be a friendly audience. The Bonita Optimist website and the audience were really inspiring, and I think I’ll just use this title for a while. I have so many talks now, as I try to update the talks to focus on what my current climate projects are. Tomorrow I think I’m giving a talk at the Regional Asthma Symposium? I need to check with the organizers as I hadn’t heard confirmation and I don’t have a microsoft teams invite?

Intro slide to the Bonita Optimist Club Talk.

I do have to say for the MGHfC talk I have to wake up at 5am!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the Bonita Optimist talk tonight I am missing dinner with my kids (but they are feeding us). And tomorrows regional asthma symposium talk which is an internal HMO talk, I had to use 1/2 vacation day. But it’s all worth it and I am master of my own time and finances. No one pays me or gives me time to run this whole operation, except the earth and the universe. The universe pays me back so much in love and positivity, as long as I put our children and the earth in the forefront.

I wonder if MGH and Harvard will allow me to promote myself? I have friends in San Diego who want to hear my talk live. Although I’m not sure if they will wake up at 5am to hear me? You can hear my all over the internet.

Ooohh, here is a pretty slide I’m using. I love this slide.

My premed students and their beautiful faces.

Its 644am and I’m drinking my matcha green tea soy latte. I’m grateful for all of this. It’s still a planetary code, truly a code red for humanity. So I’m going back home to where I trained to let all my residency friends know about the planetary code to see if they can’t lend a hand.

Oh, and our family’s pseudo kdrama? It’s all good. We are all firm friends now and hopefully will be going to dinner at some point. We’ll let the protagonist grow up and decide for themselves. I’m pretty sure they’ll meet on the streets of New York as young adults and realize they are perfect for each other. But until then, we’ll keep them firmly in the friend-zone. Two adorable kids with crazy Crimson University (really Harvard University) neurotic parents. Actually, I’m the only off-kilter one. The rest are absolutely wonderful, beautiful and good hearted people.