Dr Plastic Picker – Dr. Plastic Picker

Author: Dr Plastic Picker

Succulents that are at an undisclosed location at the HMO.

April 20, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This is my final word on Vitamin D deficiency. This is meant for my pediatric patients and their parents. If you are not my patient, than please read for entertainment and kindly go to your own doctor. I realize that I was spending a lot of yesterday following up on lab values yesterday and all my labs are almost down to one screen, but there were a lot of low vitamin D levels. Its important for me to check, but my advice is standard and the same now. Also I was overdue to put something in the Pediatric Advice column.

Did you know that Dr. Plastic Picker did two years of pediatric endocrine training? Yes I did! I did it at Man’s Greatest Hospital. I DID NOT GET KICKED OUT OF TRAINING. I left fellowship in good standing and with high marks on my inservice exams and good reviews. I left because we were trying to figure out life and Mr. Plastic Picker who is a doctor too found a job that he wanted as a specialist specialist in my home town. I had the option of finishing training here in San Diego and actually did talk to the program director, but also had a job offer at HMO San Diego. I had enjoyed endocrine training but it was mostly type 1 diabetics, and honestly being a general pediatrician paid more, I could start right away, no call, and it was easier. I was done taking super long exams after over 20 years of taking exams. I didn’t have a huge urge to memorize the synthetic pathway of cholesterol. I wanted to take care of kids, raise my own kids and I needed money. So $60K to be an endocrine fellow versus $160K to start a real job that was less hours and spend time with my children, seemed back them a no-brainer. And now looking back, not finishing fellowship was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. This is why I admire pediatric specialist so much (the ones that finished) because I promise you, they are not making the big big bucks relative to generalist at least in pediatrics. Maybe pediatric GI, pediatric allergy and intensivist but certainly NOT pediatric endocrinologists. Anytime we have an issue in our pediatric endocrinology department, I do feel guilty that I didn’t finish – but only for a second. Not finishing fellowship and starting work resulting in at least me being able to maximize my retirement contributions an extra 38K even one year earlier over the lifetime of my career until 65, is at least $378K in retirement savings accounting for compounding growth in a regular stock market. So if you ask me now do I regret not finishing pediatric endocrine fellowship, HECK NO! Remember Dr. Plastic Picker is all about the bottom line and the bottom line is that I had to make the decision that was right for my children and marriage at that point, and the higher paying easier job where I was still practicing medicine with more flexibility is the one I chose. After a few years in general practice, I realized I loved the variety of general pediatrics and the time came for me to decide to forgo the credit of the two years of endocrine training – and I without hesitation and I waved bye-bye!


All gone! This dinner is a winner!

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Just wanted to share a surprise dinner win last night. This has so easy, it’s definitely going to be on the rotation for now on. Lots of veggies! I looked at www.twosleevers.com which was the first site that comes up if you Ecosia search instapot eggplant and pasta. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/ Click here for the original recipe that was modified for what we usually eat.


  • 4 cups Eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatos, 14 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons of pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 cup onion diced (we opted out of this tonight)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1/2 package of spaghetti or 8 ounces uncooked Penne Pasta
  • handful of whatever cheese you desire (or omit if you are going vegan)


  • Place eggplant, tomatoes, pasta sauce, dried Italian seasoning, salt, oil, onions, garlic, and water into the Instapot and stir.
  • 2. Add pasta, and stir. Original author said “I know it doesn’t look like there will be enough water to cook the pasta. Just #trustUrvashi, because the vegetables will release a lot of water.” This was true. There was enough water. Press PRESSURE COOK on HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. Allow the pot to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes and then release all remaining pressure.
  • Mix in whatever desired cheese you have.
  • The eggplant doesn’t get slimy when pressure cooked, which is another perk of making it this way.
  • In addition, the bitterness of the eggplant doesn’t come through because the acidity of the tomatoes counteracts that and breaks it down while cooking.
  • No, you can’t tell there’s eggplant in this dish.

Please click on the original link for the original author, where I modified this recipe. I simplified it since I’m a simple cook. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/

It was really good. I’m putting in more on the blog so I can refer back to it. So much eggplant and tomatoes and they kids loved it!

Lots of plants in here!
Mix pasta in.
Yummy! It was all gone and a big hit at home!
54 attendees to the Oregon Pediatric Society meeting, authentic connections.

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I am proud of our teen son this morning. I’m up later than usual at 6am. I was watching “The Crown” last night, and it’s okay. I don’t consume much media or popular entertainment these days, because I think the life in the real world and trying to save the earth is more interesting. But I did watch a few episodes, and was up just a bit later than usual. In about an hour, I’ll plog to the rec center. Surfrider is cleaning PB this morning, so with all those people there – I’ll go where it is more neglected and applaud them on Instagram.


Green felt butterflies.

April 17, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We had pan seared salmon last night. It’s such an easy dish and so delicious. Then I did potatoes in the Instapot again for the second time, and again its so easy. I’m not sure what I was doing the last forty years. I guess Instapots only came out a few years ago, so maybe that is why. But the Instapot potatoes became mashed potatoes to compliment the pan seared salmon so easily. I didn’t even realize we had a masher. Not sure where we inherited it, but it’s such a useful thing to have.


It was meant to be! I found a UC Berkeley Tshirt on PB!

April 16, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m at bag #432 today lifetime plogging totals. At 9am Pacific Standard Time, but 12pm Eastern Time – the Sustainable Pharmacy Project Student group from VCU is having their #lesslittermorehealth unveil for their winners. I’m their spiritual voluntary non-university affiliated faculty advisor! I offered to fund their project but they found money! They are great students. I think this summer I need to travel out to Virginia to visit them, as my sister also lives nearby and I actually own a rental house there. So we are really connected through litter, healthcare and real estate. Bag #433 will be around the Residence Inn at the Marriot in Temecula. We are finishing our short vacation in Temecula Wine Country and it has been a good break. We went to three wineries yesterday, bought some local gifts for our son’s friends, ate great pizza outside socially distanced, appreciated sustainable traveling and marveled at all the trees and pollinator friendly plants around the wineries. We even went to the Walmart across the street, and I bought a Vegan Instapot approved cookbook and a romance novel. I read a lot less romance novels these days because I enjoy blogging so much, but I bought one and I’ll read it later today. We played card games last night, and I was able to teach my daughter spit/speed which is a game every child should know how to play.


It’s kind of anonmymous right? The Picture.

April 15, 2021

by drplasticpicker

These are my two kids. They could be any two asian-american children. I used one of those portrait apps to make the picture cool. It was taken during our trip about a month ago to Boca Chica Ecological Preserve in Orange County. We are on vacation again, and about the same distance as Orange County – just about an hour from home across the county line to Riverside. We are going to explore the wine country here and go on a few hikes, and stayed at a very nice Residence Inn, Marriot. I am hoping to go on a social media detox. It’s good to disconnect for a while. But blogging has always been for me a creative outlet, and a source of renewal.

Other than really really needing a cup of coffee right now, and I’m not sure where to get a cup of coffee at 447AM at the Marriot – I’m otherwise very happy and reflective this morning. During the National AAP Legislative Advocacy Conference, the plenary session by Stacey Abrams is still resonating with me. She was simply inspirational. She said in one part about her journey to a public life, that education was transformative for her family. Her parents were methodist ministers and raised them to know fundamentally the value of service. Service to others was never about giving back, service to children especailly is about survival. Never use the excuse that you have nothing to do nothing. So many phrases that resonate. I had never listened to her speak before and now I am inspired.

Another line she said that is resonating is that education was transformative for her family. This is giving me so much creative space to think about life and environmentalism, and even with my children. Mr. Plastic Picker speaks about his schooling the same way. That his education at the Pingry School was transformative. He grew leaps and bounds as a scholar and as a person during his high school years. I felt the same during my high school years. That metaphorphisis I felt again during the first few years of pediatric training. And then life became dull and lifeless. Petty almost. But we were worried about the mechanics of life. Job, housing, kids. That transformative time I’m feeling again these last two years after embracing climate activism.

And I think that is what we all want for our children. Transformative education happens everywhere. We are getting closer to the time that our children will be applying to colleges, and honestly I don’t think about it so much anymore. I used to worry so much about whether they would be able to get in to Crimson University. But deep in my heart now, I know that worrying about the tomorrows and the what ifs really does take away from the today and the right now. They are on their path and each day and each challenge at school, is an opportunity to learn and to grow.

The medal our tween daughter earned. It is special because I know how much work she put into it. For her that project was transformative. She submitted her film documentary to the State competition and we are waiting to hear back about Nationals. I’m looking most forward to watching it with our extended family, whenever we know when this project will reach it’s natural resting place whether it be state or nationals.

Our beautiful wholesome AAP-CA3 Legilstaive Advocacy Group for Climate Change and Health.

April 14, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This is the picture I’m most proud of this past week. Three friends together who naturally came together to work on climate change and health policy. It’s been two years to reach this point, then AAP San Diego Chapter Leadership told us – you need to go to this conference. Here is the money. As co-chairs of the Climate Change and Health Committee, we had already been working on moving legislation. But now we had their seal of approval, and off to virtual DC we went.


Not yet ready for prime time!

April 13, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We are almost there. This morning I’m testifying at the National AAP Legislative Advocacy Conference, and will make brief comments when we speak with Representative Scott Peters Office. I have to make sure I shower and look presentable for Senator Padilla’s meeting as well. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the National AAP Legislative Advocacy Conference, but I am impressed and inspired and honored to have been voluntold to go. The three members of the AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health Committee now have a broader skillset to apply to stopping this climatic disaster that still looms ahead of us.

I think the thing that differentiates me from others that are dabbling their toes in climate work, is that I’m existentially terrified. I know deep in my heart what is looming if we don’t act now. So that’s why I’m running around work, the blogsphere, and now the AAP trying to do whatever I can to recruit more people to help. Honestly, I don’t have the answer. I’m completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training, finished Project Drawdowns video modules, immersed in the Climate Change and Health advocacy world – and I don’t have the answer. The reason I don’t have the answer, is the answer is all of us. Literally all of us have to do something, anything and we are already late to the game.

But I also understand people, and people need to be inspired. So I’m just running around the world trying to inspire people and putting people in positions where I think they can help save the earth. That is it. I’m good at completing project and connecting people, that is my super power. Litter connects us all.

That is why I’m really excited about having almost pushed across the finish line the Youth Art Contest. I’ll be posting the details soon. It is drawing together a lot of people in authentic connections, and it will go live soon. No matter how many entries it gets, it will be a good thing. And that is it. Just proud that the site was completed as a group effort of several people, and now the kids are going to get to comment on it. The site will go live soon and the pictures will start rolling in.

The light filtering through the leaves of this tree.

April 11, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m sitting this morning in a hotel room in the middle of the desert. For various reasons, I’m sitting living my life as a wife – as Mrs. Mr. Plastic Picker. I am appreciating the depths of a particular childhood friendship that started in New Jersey during the angst of adolescence and has endured. It’s a comfortable coming together of two couples who have known each other over decades.

But as four outwardly uber-successful adults having dinner and catching up on years of family and children and professional news, I am reminded that each of us needs to decide what we do with the outward trappings of wealth and power and privilege. How will we decide to leave our impact on the world? How does one find meaning in life? Even with close friends with similar political leanings, we each have a great ability to enact change. And unfortunately with positions and influence, we have more ability than others.

I’m always tempted with the siren call of FIRE, Financial Independence Retire Early. We could FIRE now. But retire into what? Into a world slowly descending into climatic catastrophy? This is why I talk about FISE, Financial Independence Save the Earth. We have made strides toward #fightfor1point5 for sure, but we have at least another decade of action to catch up. Time is of the essence. So with that, I am also reminded to those that much is given, much is expected.

So I will continue on my path, and enjoy our friends at the same time. It is not mutually exclusive. And I am reminded that the sense of connection and community, is one of the most important ways to fight for climate action. When you feel connected to a communtiy and to the earth and to the literal trees you sit beneath, than you will fight to protect them. The picture is a tree that sits at a park across from the house that I grew up. And it is a beautiful tree and a beautiful moment when the light was filtering through the leaves. I noticed it because I love this park, and I had just finished picking up a bag of trash.

Best bag of the month!

April 10, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I received a very touching message from a reader, about how a certain blogpost resonated with her. Those messages are the most meaningful to me. I never believed that I could reach people I know and do not know through writing. No matter how long this eco-avator / Dr. Plastic Picker journey lasts, I will always treasure the writing the most.

But let’s get down to business! A teenager I know emailed me and asked me if I thought she should start blogging. I am unsure what to tell her. The writing part is the best, but the blog has to have a point. And this point of this blog is to pick up plastic!!! So let’s let the esoteric ephemeral stuff for another day and get back to business. Through this blog, I write for fun. I write about picking up plastic pollution, and in lieu of meaningless consumption – I donate some of my extra bucks to the earth.