September 2023 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: September 2023

Awesome social media ad for tomorrow’s event

September 27, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I haven’t really been as active on the blog as of late. The readership has trended down. This is my emotional journey through climate work, and that is actually a good thing. Last year around this time, there was a lot of excitement and drama and expectations around my daughter’s first homecoming dance and she was only 14-years-of age. It was actually such a wonderful time. But after a year, it’s naturally winded down and run it’s course for now. I’m not sure what happened last night? I fell asleep in our bed while chatting and giggling with our 15-year-old daughter. Mr. Plastic Picker was again reading xrays at his work station, which is actually in our master bedroom. And the two girls were giggling, and then I woke up early this morning and she was gone and my hard-working husband was sleeping. I’m a naturally an early riser, and it feels good to be up again writing my thoughts and the house is quiet and it’s just me and my matcha green tea soy latte. (let me make it now).

My body feels good. I was having some plantar fasciitis (can you believe how many letter i(s) are in that word!) on my right foot. I think I had too vigorous of a walk in shoes I need to change out. But I know now you to do some yoga and stretch out that foot, and it’s better. I ate an apple at noon yesterday, and 1/2 cob of corn. I had some slice of nectarine that were thinly sliced by my pretty daughter. I think we should mark each day by how many servings of good fruits and vegetables we eat. Isn’t that really the mark of a great day? How many fruits and vegetables one eats, and if you ate it with someone you love?

So tomorrow Dr. Dear Friend and I fly up to UC Berkeley to speak with their premed society. This instagram post cross posted with their large network and my social media handle @drplasticpicker. It was really an excuse to see my son and show off to him, since he is a freshman at UC Berkeley right now. He’s taking his first midterm in an upper division psychology class, and having some normal freshman year struggles. It’s probably good that he’s a bit far from us, as he is going through this stuff. I think it would cause a lot of anxiety for my husband and myself to have him too close. It’s the right time for him to go through these things, and I’ll be seeing him tomorrow anyway.

So just wanted to let you know that I’m still here. I’m still trying to move the needle on climate change, and for many of you – you are intimately involved in this effort. We only had 3 people show up for our actual San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air meeting, but the loose coalition of 50 and beyond that hundreds that are connecting, are doing things. We are doing so many things. I still can’t believe I’m going to get help with the AMICUS brief with Our Children’s Trust! That is just too cool, and my new friend Dr. Shira Abelas is going to help mobilize the experts we need. Our HMO is readdressing where we buy power again. I’m reached out to San Diego Community Power about getting a list of all the schools that have signed up for 100% renewables. And we are going to help mobilize Sweetwater Union High School District to try to be the 2nd school district in the country to truly decarbonize.

I also wanted to let you know, I do worry about my friends. I’m friends now with Prof Adam Aron, and it’s been gratifying to be acknowledged by him to be a serious climate and health advocate. There is something still about trying to get attention from those that are doing the real work. And for him to acknowledge me? It feels good, because I’ve come to admire him. He’s kind of weird? I like that. I like interesting people and most die-hard climate folks are kind of off beat? He’s coming back soon to San Diego, and Mr. Plastic Picker actually wants to have dinner with him. Which is totally rare. And then my friend Dr. Elizabeth Friedman is doing better. She was having a mini-crisis and I was happy to text back and forth and offer my support. She’s an overthinker and I’m an over-clarifier. But she found a cool new friend and they were talking about the struggles of neurodivergent people together. She’s really smart and a good friend, and my daughter really loves her now. She loves her because I love her. We will see each other soon. I can’t really go more than 4-6 months without seeing her.

And I also wanted to let you know that I’m still here, and there is not one boy that has asked my pretty 15-year-old to homecoming. I actually don’t want anyone to ask her, as that would be complicated. And it’s better if she goes alone. But she and all her friends are very normal pretty sophomore girls, and they are wondering if there is a surprise handsome junior boy that will suddenly appear (with appropriate GPA and activities of course!) and ask them to the dance. It’s boring here at our house, and we are okay with boring. But the memories of the excitement of last year, are so sweet.

Creme Puffs, 3rd batch was filled with laughter.

September 17, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m not sure exactly what happened when I started going to be beach most days and listening to the cadence of the waves on our shore. When I started picking up trash along the beach, I kind of started listening to myself and listening to the universe more. I started listening to my patients, my family and began to understand. I used to read a lot as a young girl, and now I don’t actually read for pleasure that much. I like to write out my thoughts, and I like to think. I like to feel.

And two Fridays ago, things were so odd in clinic. I felt like the universe was a bit off that day. It was somewhat the weather, and I think I was slightly dehydrated – and I was literally walking into clinic a bit off balance. All the children I saw that day, their issues and treatment plans were a bit unusual as well – but it all worked out and I healed that day and the adjusted minor things about my routine that day and the world came back in balance.

Do you feel that sometimes? Like something happens and perhaps something you did, and then everything tilts a bit? You feel like a change was made? I get that feeling more often these days. I used to feel so sure of things, that I was on the right path. And I know at the end of each day I’m on the right path, but during the day sometimes I have to listen to myself, the earth and the universe a bit more to make sure I’m doing the right things or feeling the right way.

I feel it more often after I know I’ve done an impactful thing for climate, or met another person that is the link in this climate work. It’s a more unsettling feeling, but powerful. I literally feel that sometimes an act, or a chance encounter, or a thought – can change the course of where we are heading. And that is a good thing, because where we are heading projected to the amount of global heating is not good.

Friday was an epic climate day and it’s all explained on Instagram reels. I spoke at the NEXUS panel on building electrification, and the talk landed well. I prepped for the talk by listening again to my friend Christine James’s webinar on building electrification. I made sure to look my part and put on primer and concealer and brushed my hair extra long to give it some volume. My daughter and being on the news more, has taught me that optics are really important. I think the active listening and the panel went well, because of the authentic open hearts that were there. Climate work can be intense, because what we are doing – everything is at stake.

But mostly this morning I need to finish a presentation, and do some finance stuff. Our son is home for a brief visit and it has been so wonderful peeking in on him sleeping in his own bed. But his place now is up at UC Berkeley to figure out himself at college. He’s had a good adjustment and today was really more for us than him. I think he knew he needed to see him, and his father is so happy to have him back in the house. We spent all day together yesterday. He got his flu shot. He got breakfast with his father. We went roller skating at Skate World, and had dinner at a Korean restaurant with his grandparents. We laughed a lot and his sister wore mascara for the first time. Well, maybe not the first time- but one of the first times. She is not allowed to wear it usually, but she did yesterday and she was very cute. I won’t post it here since you can see it on Instagram. She is so adorable.

Who knows what will happen with the climate? I know I’m doing what I can and what I can, is actually sometimes even amazes me. But I know I’m one of thousands of pediatricians who can do the same. That gives me hope for sure. Oh, and the adorable 15-year-old with the fluttering eyelashes ? She made creme puffs and they were delicious. There are some people who don’t like sweet things. But most people do. Most people like creme puffs. It’s not a deal breaker though. LOL.

Our son at UC Berkeley’s VSA intro meeting.

September 14, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I honestly don’t know what I’ve been doing? I think it’s too much climate work. We’ve had so many big wins that sometimes I get overwhelmed with it all. It gets addictive and I need to stop at some point, and remember that I am a real human being and not a super eco-avatar. Its not so much the blog, since here I just type out my thoughts. It’s more on Instagram when I put things to REELS and everything is so much more dramatic when there is music put to it. I’ve been on and off crying watching the REELS I’ve been making of the climate work, my daughter and my son and our lives. It is reality, but then it’s not. Then I just watched half an episode of a new kdrama, and OMG it’s too melodramatic. The step-sister just ran over the protagonist (who is of course the innocent and dutiful and smart and quiet and beautiful Korean girl) to prevent her from embracing her childhood love. So essentially the sister committed manslaughter for a boy who has been overseas for the last 10 years? Is that even believable? Really I had to turn it off. No boy (even if he owns an amusement park and is chaebol) is not worth that. And honestly, the boy in this kdrama wasn’t even that good looking. The girls were much prettier.

So it’s the afternoon but really I never blog in the afternoon. But here I am blogging at 336pm. I need to stop being so melodramatic. I was asked to speak at a California wide state webinar on leaded aviation fuel pollution project, and talk about a paper we published about a year ago. And then we are organizing our own webinar for that same week on leaded pollution of school drinking water for San Diego. Both are part of International Lead Pollution Week that is sponsored by the WHO. (let me take this opportunity to register our talk. Okay I registered the talk on the WHO website, and this is the second time! So I hope it goes through!) I learned that our HMO is phasing out gas leaf blowers (which is HUGE) after a flurry of emails from physicians in our group who were concerned. I sent an organizing email about the first post-H3SD summit meeting we are having tomorrow and bought a $300 surveymonkey subscription to get everyone’s input, since I couldn’t figure out google forms. Google forms and google docs are so complicated for people over 40! So far we’ve gotten a few more RSVPs for the planning meeting, but only 1 surveymonkey response. We shall see.

Anyway, the big thing I need to do in the next two hours is get our SDPCA/AAPCA3 September newsletter out. And then also prep Dr. Melissa Campbell’s and my presentation for the AAP CA3 School Health Conference. It’s just a 30 minute talk so it should be pretty easy as half of the slides are done already. But I wanted to jot down some thoughts this afternoon. It’s always good to come back to the blog. I both get very creative, and also very grounded.

I honestly don’t know why I’m being so dramatic about my daughter’s life. The girl hasn’t even had one date (and she’s not allowed to) nor even had a crush! She is too busy with speech team and her academics right now. I think it’s just that she’s such a good girl, that I wanted her to have some fun and excitement. But honestly, when your are 15 years of age and a pretty and smart girl – maybe boring is best. That’s what I am wishing for us this sophomore year. BORING BORING BORING. No more melodrama for me. Sometimes I know I’m half crazy living in my imaginary world. But guess what???!!! The melodrama was good because my real life husband and former college boyfriend (and indeed only boyfriend I’ve ever had) now is paying more attention to my daughter and myself. He is taking us to Book of Mormon, and planning out date night for his two special girls. See, we don’t need any boys because we have Mr. Plastic Picker. And its for the best because he needs to stop working so much.

I think this picture is super funny. He doesn’t do that when I hug him, because I’m the wife. The daughter that is melodramatic like me? Well. You can’t make up that expression. LOL.
So Pretty. My daughter. Keeps me going.

September 2, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 6:46am and I was tossing and turning last night a bit. I know I can be silly at times, and I made my 15-yo upset with my silliness. But I’ve stopped the silliness completely and when you do it on Instagram, it’s kind of final – if you know what I mean. She deserves to make choices in her life. She deserves to feel the emotions she feels. She’s deserves to remember her 14-year-old self and the heartbreak of homecoming, and the her current 15-yo is still hurt and mad. I don’t need to make excuses for anyone, because it’s her life and her emotions and her experiences. It’s kind of like discrimination training, it’s the experience and perception of the person that is important. And the extenuating circumstances is just circumstances.

But I am reminded that I share so much about my daughter intertwined with the climate work, because both are infused with love. And in the end I know love will win. She’s doing this project with the safety subcommittee for the Youth Advisory Council for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and it’s on child trafficking. That’s she is able to participate in these kinds of activities is amazing, and we are grateful. One of the non-profits that she is researching and has a meeting with the Executive Director soon is called Love Wins. Just looking on a quick google search, this is a very important issue right now. She was up last night working on her convocation poem for her school, and honestly – it’s an amazing, loving, poignant, and innocent poem. She’s a poet in her heart and as a artist, they feel more than others. And as her mother, I am there to help her temper and center her emotions.

So much goodness has resulted from the H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit. I am just following up with projects and threads of activism, as the beauty of that day is reverberating. It’s funny, but yesterday morning after sending a flurry of emails – I felt the universe move a bit. I felt things shift. When you throw love out into the universe without reservation and with complete abandon, sometimes you are rewarded. And that is what I did when I met a very cute 15-year-old boy in clinic and asked that innocent boy to go to homecoming with my daughter and the same love is what I did when I finished 5-months of furious organizing to get H3SD completed. Do I have regrets? I absolutely don’t because I know I’m just existing in this world and living each beautiful moment with you and myself, and sometimes it’s on Instagram and sometimes it’s on this blog. And definitely if you are my actual patient, you can be witness to how wonderfully present we are all together in our hallway. Love is one of the greatest adventures, and there is nothing to be afraid of. And climate change, and addressing this existential crisis has to be 100% won through love. You have to throw it out there, with your entire being and with abandon.

So the projects that resulted from H3SD is reshuffling of the Public Health Advisory Council, Climate Actions Campaign Co-Chair position. I’ve been upfront with the leadership and my co-chair, and I’ve learned so much from being a former Assistant Chief. Leadership is better if it is shared. It was originally intended to be a 2-year term, and I will step down this next summer. I will always be involved in the PHAC board, but it’s time to make room for younger leadership and to build someone else’s skillset. Both positions will be shifted and we will take the year to make sure it’s a solid transition.

And then there is my now friend Prof Adam Aron. He’s scheduled to be speaking at Harvard Medical School. I really think it’s the right thing to do, and I’m part of organizing and trying to get him there. But really brilliant academics like Prof. Adam Aron and my friend Dr. Elizabeth Friedman, they are both kind of high strung – to be honest. I have to kind of cajole them and prod them to go where I think they are meant to go. I hope this works out. I have faith and I’ve put in the planning work to get him there, and planting the seeds to make sure it’s an impactful meeting. He really inspired the attendees at H3SD, and he leveled up my climate work for sure.

And the last thing, is Our Children’s Trust that is leading the fight in the federal lawsuits against the various state and the federal government on behalf of children – as the government has simply not protected the planet for the children – they reached out to me. Isn’t that crazy? Our Children’s Trust reached out to me for help, and I have a meeting scheduled next week. They told me that I don’t need to prepare anything, but I’ll do whatever I can. I reached out to my climate mentors and I include Prof Adam Aron in that group now, and he said that this would be impactful work.

Lots of other projects in the works, but these three above are the most important. H3SD is definitely going to happen next year. The region is beginning the planning meetings and grouping all the players together, and I get to attend these cool meetings (on my own time) and help make sure the 2nd iteration of h3sd happens. It will be different but it will be equally as impactful, because it will be sustainable and a group effort. Actually, this afternoon I get to go to my friend Dr. Luis Castellanos’ house to have a fancy lunch! To meet some of his friends and talk climate and H3SD.

Just organizing my thoughts for my upcoming climate projects, and I got to show you the beautiful picture of our daughter.