June 2023 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: June 2023

Oregon Island National Wildlife Refuge.

June 27, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

We are back dear readers from our 5 day and 4 night vacation. It was a time to partially disconnect and reconnect. I partially disconnected from work and our lives in San Diego, and reconnected with our family and with climate friends that joined us. I like to think of it as really rewiring things. Breaking those old thought patterns that are no longer helpful, and reforming new connections and patterns. It was a transformational time away for our family. You could fundamentally feel the difference during the vacation and when we got home.

Mr. Plastic Picker and I slept so deeply. I’m not sure when, but I am generally healthier but had been getting up at night more at least once. But for three nights in a row I slept the longest stretch I’ve slept in years. My matcha green tea soy latte habit is somewhat disrupted in a good way. It didn’t taste the same anymore, and this morning is the first time I’m drinking just a bit of black tea. I told Mr. Plastic Picker that I may not even need matcha green tea soy latte anymore, it tastes too sweet and too matcha for me now – does that make sense? I didn’t even start drinking caffeine until I was 30 so after 15 years of it, I’m down to just some tea. I think that is generally healthy? I did have a matcha green tea soy latte last night to get through my late shift, but even that didn’t taste as good as it used too. I think that is a sign of healing. Everyone around me seemed to be talking too fast, I think the whole world is a bit overcaffeinated.

And it’s the first time we’ve ever gone on vacation with friends, and it was with true friends who are also climate friends. We cooked dinner together and our daughter made her famous foccacia bread. I think this is partially why Mr. Plastic Picker seemed fundamentally healed. It was experiences and conversations that we’ve never had before. Kind of awkward adult friendships that we need and are good for us, but really new. We are really good at being good family members, and I realize that I’m learning now in my mid 40s how to be a friend. My co-worker Lea is teaching me that. I never had a friend like her before and I’m learning how to be a friend, at least the kind of friend I want to be.

Our daughter is also learning about friendships. About what kind of friendships she needs, amongst boys and girls. We’ve been talking about boys so much that I realize that she really needs just to learn how to be friends with boys and not boyfriends. I need to shift that conversation with her. It’s awkward still being 15. She’s so beautiful and creative and loving. The love that emanates from that child is really difficult to explain, but she aims in directly at me. I’m the lucky recipient for now and I’ll take it, but she needs to learn how to share it with others. But it’s hard being 15.

I just wanted to let the readership know that we are back from an wonderful disconnecting and reconnecting vacation, and that it’s still been so much fun organizing H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit. It will be hard to see the entire process end. I have already plans for the next round of fun climate projects, and I’ll let the earth lead me to the next and just flow with the climate work.

You don’t have to go far to disconnect and reconnect. These beautiful places are everywhere really.

Inspiring still.

June 18, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m still in the whirlwind of climate work, and trying to still do this massive thing which is get H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit to happen. It’s definitely going to happen, and I’ve learned to listen to other climate advocates/activists, myself, and the earth to let this thing happen. I am more mindful of myself these days, as the last month was an absolute whirlwind of going to DC for the Kaiser Permanente and World Economic Forum Launch of “Connecting Climate Change and Health.” I still haven’t processed it all, and I’m not sure if I ever truly will. It was a moment that I realized I needed to be there. Traveling to DC for such a short trip and the massive emotional output and carbon output that trip entails was worth it, because it was part of the larger national conversation on climate change and health.

I was emailing someone at UCSD that I think of us as an ecosystem of climate activists, and each of us playing a different yet vital role. We are all interconnected to address this existential crisis. But as with all organisms, my own organism which is my body needs to rest. I’m not doing the furious emailing as much as many moving pieces are already in motion. We have about 2 months until the H3SD summit and an op-ed should drop soon this week regarding heat waves and human health. My name is not on the op-ed, but I had a big part in putting the writers together and they took it and ran with it. Another two op-eds are in the works that will hopefully drop in the LA Times, one on fossil fuel divestment and the other on lead pollution in k-12 drinking water. My name is on one, and the other is a team I helped put together. And then the breakout sessions for the H3SD San Diego Heat and Human Health Summit are mostly teams now linked together at least by email. They’ll figure it out, the hour they have to get things done. I’ve initiated the CME/CEU credit process already through our own HMO, and that has been a huge benefit and promise to those that are taking time out of their busy schedules to help make this happen. We should at least get some CME /CEU for it at the same time. If this summit doesn’t have educational content, than I don’t know what does?

I’ve been pushed to rethink about how we address fossil fuels, and Prof Adam Aron in an intense conversation advised that simply changing our personal banking over to Credit Unions has a huge impact https://aronclimatecrisis.net/. So I’ve started looking into switching some stock funds over and how to move things to ESG funds. I’m already trying to unravel our banking to move it away from the big funders of fossil fuels especially Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Step by step. We’ll get there. And at least my collective patients and children of the planet, and my own children know that I’ve been trying.

So I saw a big dead sealion on the beach and it was very shocking. I think I’m going to try to head over there to see if it’s still there. I need to pick up coffee grounds from my friend and drop off some lemons anyway. So I’m off my friends! Just wanted to let you know that I’m still fighting for us and our planet, but I need to be reminded of the why – which for me is when I go to the beach and get healed by the waves and the beautiful nature on this little stretch of the Pacific Ocean called Pacific Beach.

From the internet

June 8 , 2021

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Good morning dear readers! I’m back from a epic less than 36 hour trip back and forth from San Diego to Washington DC. It was an epic and carbon spewing trip. Quebec/Canadian wildfires caused the Washington Monument to be clouded in smog. But I had to spew carbon to help address climate change. It’s the paradox of climate work. But I had to be there because of who I am and where I work, and the earth called me to be there.

I’m typing this and watching the recorded live-stream broadcast at the same time. It was epic. The room in DC was packed and it was live-streamed by over 115K viewers. Likely many of them were internal within my own health care system. I’m honored to have gone, but know I did something big yesterday by playing my role and talking about my climate work.

But honestly, what did I want to let you know? I literally sat next to the Vice President of Mars, and he isn’t a martian???????!!!!!!!! LOL. I thought I was more popular than the Vice President of Mars because I got to tell over a hundred thousand people that I was a plogger!!! That was so much fun! I also told them very briefly about my journey and about H3SD San Diego Heat and Human Health Summit.

I’m grateful to have been there and got to tell my friends via email all about my adventures. I have that on record in my emails. I also received my new favorite reusable water bottle. It’s really nice. You can see it on Instagram.

I think that might have been my peak. The Green Dragon has been awoken. I think I helped wake the Green Dragon that is our health care organization a bit earlier. I still have more projects to work on, but it was hard for me. It was absolutely hard for me to go there and be away from my family. It’s not easy for me to be vulnerable and put myself out there. It’s not easy to put oneself out to be judged. It’s not easy to try to balance telling everyone about my journey and never getting to say the word “fossil fuels.” It’s not easy to use precious vacation days to travel out there, literally probably over $5000 of my own time and funds to be there and pay my own way because my time is valuable when at times I feel nickle and dimed by some. But I have the big picture in mind, and I have so much love for the place I work in a global sense. It was not easy, but I know it was where I was meant to be. I absolutely was in the right place yesterday and helped set the tone of hope for the room.

I don’t think I’ll be back there. But I’ll continue to work on climate in a smaller way. I think Dr. Plastic Picker may have peaked and I’m glad. I really am tired and I need to take care of myself. It was absolutely fun but in a “I can do this” not “true joy” fun.

But what was really fun, was this interview I got to do about wellness and decompressing. I really like Joshua Fitch from Contemporary Pediatrics! He is so nice. The Vice President of Mars was nice. But Joshua, was awesome!

Plastic Picker parents and plastic picker child #1.

June 4, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It was a big day for our entire family yesterday. For my real-life friends you’ve seen it on Facebook, all those senior moments that led up to graduation. Knowing that I’m his only mother has given me permission to take a break from climate work to do all those things that only I can do. Mr. Plastic Picker and I rushed around in the morning to Costco (had to split a hot dog) and then to Vons (to try to find graduation flowers). I was looking for a graduation lei, but we ended up with a small cute graduation sloth (that is his spirit animal) and flowers. My brother’s family ended up making us this amazing folded money lei instead that was truly unique. And then making sure I dyed my hair. Making sure we saved seats ahead for the ceremony, the reservations for dinner at Liberty Station. And even for next week, we are having a party at our house and getting the cleaning company to do a deep clean and ordering the food and sending the evite to those we consider close family friends. All those moments, only I can do and he wants to be celebrated. And it’s made me take care of myself, because I’ve always been his (and his sister’s) mommy first.

I am usually snapping pictures but yesterday I was just experiencing, and letting others snap the photos. I was just experiencing it all. The breeze was gentle and cool. The sunshades were majestic and appreciated. The colors vibrant. The happiness of the day and sadness of the upcoming parting of ways palpable. I sat at later that night at dinner with our extended family and just looked and gazed. I looked at my parents face multiple times as my father was laughing and saving his grandson’s number of his phone. I gazed at my own son’s face, as he was enjoying both sides of the table that he sat at the center. I gazed at the face of my daughter too often, as she was glowing in the center of her male cousins and her brother. She’s pretty and her prettiest is more evident when she’s the only girl. I gazed at my mother-in-law and father-in-law, as they sat in their fancy clothes eating American food, which they haven’t in a long while. I gazed at my husband and I pinched his cheeks, and then my mother-in-law pinched my father-in-laws cheeks in jest at the same time.

Yesterday was mostly about family and they realized how important the oldest and only son of the only son of the only son is to our family. He’s been this beautiful group project that we’ve all contributed and he’s turned out to be such a wonderful human being. I’m not sure if I’m really going to cry. I’ve certainly been teary eyed. But for my oldest after he was born, I had this great sense of responsibility. The feeling is very different than for our daughter. For him, I felt a heavy weight knowing I needed to raise him well. And I did. We all did.

He will have a wonderful two months off, of hanging out with friends and camping with best friends. He will clean his room. And we will enjoy these two months together before we launch him off to college this fall. There is not much time because his school starts the earliest of the UC campuses. But I wanted to thank the blog’s readership. This has been my emotional journey on these pages, and I needed to tell you that today I just feel relief. I feel relief that he had the graduation that he had. He grew up within a caring school and family community, and he’s a great human being. And I’m 100% going to wear Cal Mom gear unapologetically for the rest of my life – because I deserve it and I’m proud of him and himself. No senioritis. Had the highest grades he’s gotten in high school the last trimester, and graduated with honor roll. And he took his AP tests seriously and prepared and we are pretty sure passed, hopefully with a decent score. The most important thing to his father and me, is that he respected his school and respected the sacrifices his grandparents and parents have made for him to attend and graduate from his particular school. And that gratitude to me, is worth more than any accolades or name brand university. He’s grateful. And I’m incredibly grateful for that. The Prom King? The Homecoming Court? Now that was just cool!