Dr Plastic Picker – Page 2 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Author: Dr Plastic Picker

Pretty hair. Pretty 15.

December 8, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 6:53am and I just have a few minutes before the day starts. A day of getting the little one up and off to school. She’s busy this weekend with a speech league tournament and she us up again against a certain rival speaker that has dark themes (now somewhat humorous). Her original prose and poetry piece is stronger for having worked on it with her coaches. I am forever grateful for the mentors that have landed in our lives. Through her speech team and through school, she is surrounded by accomplished and compassionate adults that help anchor our society. Judges and non-profit leaders and those that shine forth with goodness in their hearts. For a 15-year-old that is what one needs right now, those stabilizing adults that give them hope in these troubled times.

I wrote a heartfelt post yesterday. I didn’t share it on facebook Dr. Plastic Picker but I left it up. It’s important for me to remember yesterday and the emotions of yesterday. I never try to hide things anymore, and my emotional journey is so open and raw these days.

My world and universe was out of balance yesterday. I was dropping otoscope covers and ear curettes. My stethoscope , it took a few times to land where the ventricles are. I eventually did what I needed to do, but I was off balance. And the reason I was off balance because I realize that my job is try to protect all children, but that I need to focus on my child and I needed to let another one go. In my heart I had come to love this child /this boy like my own. But he has a perfectly good set of parents that will guide him in life. And today on this blog, buried in a post where only I’ll refer to – I wanted to say goodbye.

I wish you the best. I thank you for being an adorable 15-year-old when I met you, who listened to a crazy pediatrician go on and on about her daughter. I wish you health and happiness. I wish you joy and love. I wish you passion and purpose. And I know in my heart that you have an amazing journey in front of you, that you will go on to do amazing things. Dr. Plastic Picker, I am a good judge of character. When I met you, I knew there was something special about you and I thought that meant that I would get to see your journey in the years to come. You have wonderful parents that are accomplished, but it was always that as a pediatrician I saw something special in you. They were side-characters in this story.

I will worry about you from afar, just like I worry about all the patients that have come across my path. And I from afar like toward all children, hope that you will be protected from the forces out there that seek to distract you and push you from your destined path. Be safe and I hope the earth and universe surrounds you with love and protection and caring. You deserve it, as you were the kindest and most adorable 15-year-old I have ever met in clinic.

And with that, this is my pediatrician good-bye to you. Because I realize I am not your parent and I have to parent my own daughter – who in the center of my world. Just like you are the center of your parents. You will do great in life. And make good choices in those that surround you, that is my pediatrician wish for you. I am so grateful to have met you in this big world.

Green hugs, Dr. Plastic Picker

Pretty pictures of the teen.

December 7, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Thank you for following along my emotional journey of this climate work. I’m just here sitting at the kitchen table and it’s 6:15am. I’m drinking my matcha green tea with a splash of soy milk, and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. And I’m feeling hurt and disappointed. I’m including recent pretty pictures of our daughter to make myself feel better. I can’t and don’t need to go into details, but I’m feeling hurt. Opening oneself up to the world and trying to fundamentally address the climate crisis and improve environmental health for our collective children has meant opening myself up to all sorts of experiences and people and situations that I’ve never been in before. I have climate friendships now that I never thought possible. I’ll be seeing Dr. Elizabeth Friedman soon, and she is one of my most favorite people in the world. She is a Pediatric Environmental Health Specialist from Kansas City, Missouri. But it has also meant taking risks and today feeling hurt and disappointed.

I’ve learned that I need to let the hurt and disappointment sit. I guess she wasn’t enough for a picture, and someone else was enough to work on an entire project together. I am hurt because I feel like my child was excluded when I purposefully include as many other children/youth as I possibly can in projects that I think up. That’s it. I feel like my child was deemed not good enough for something that she is uniquely qualified for. But I know after talking to her that for the specific project she actually has no interest in it. It’s completely irrational my feelings of hurt, but they are there and today I’m going to enjoy wallowing in them. My love and affection were real, so very real. And therefore my hurt and feelings are real.

But you know what I learned yesterday when my daughter was comforting me in my make-believe drama? I know she loves me and she was comforting me, and I know no matter what that in the end she realizes how much I love her. We got to talk about so many things. About family values and future aspirations. About boys and that’s its best to wait for the first of everything until it’s the right person. And I’m honestly glad that she’s going to wait on everything for many more years. My daughter realizes her Dr. Plastic Picker mother can be irrational and silly, and this climate work has changed me. She hugged me yesterday and looked at me and said “Mommy, I’m only 15.”

Yes, you are. You are a gorgeous 15 and honestly there was never a boy that was going to be good enough. I’ll let you find your own but I’m going to allow myself to wallow and feel hurt today.

Alpaca at UC Berkeley, sent by the oldest.

December 2, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I have many beautiful photos of the little one in her speech dress and heels from last night. She was practicing her Original Prose and Poetry piece and she looked beautiful. She’s upstairs right now and it’s 5:46am, getting ready for the Winter Classic Invitational Speech Tournament. This is her life at 15-years-of-age, and she’s been prepping all week for the tournament. She had a nightmare last night regarding the Japanese occupation of Korea, but that is the weird advocacy world that she lives in. She’s writing poetry and thinking about the world, but wants to look pretty for herself and for the future-husband that at some point will come into her life. But she’s more focused on school and high-school academic competitions than boys, for which I’m forever grateful.

As for our oldest? He sent us a picture of an alpaca that is on the grounds at UC Berkeley! I have no idea why there is an alpaca on the grounds of UC Berkeley – but there it is. It’s “dead week” where the kids there have finished classes and are studying for finals. Two more weeks until he is home for a good stretch for Christmas/Holiday break.

I’m trying mostly to give the little one her privacy. I’m exerting self control and not sharing her little stories and her most beautiful pictures on Instagram. It’s her life and her image, and she’s right that it’s time for me to step back. She started her ceramics instagram account, as she’s been studying ceramics now for now almost 5 years. But the reason why the stories of my two are woven into the climate work, is that they are my why. Just like likely your children are your why. It’s hard for me to explain what’s happening with the climate work without talking about the children, because it’s so interwoven that it’s almost impossible to separate the threads from each other.

The most important thing I’m working on right now is helping students in the Riverside area try to start and push forward a school electrification proposal. It had been done in San Diego, and I had a bit part. But most importantly I know a lot of people and connected some key high school student leaders, UC Berkeley and Riverside premedical students, and experienced policy experts from San Diego that can help the Riverside students. Kian Chou who our premedical student up at Berkeley has put out a WhenToMeet poll and I’m hopefully that next week we can meet, and I’ve secured a speaking spot at Kaiser Riverside pediatrics to talk up this issue.

I mostly need to put our our newsletter, as there has been so many developments that I haven’t been able to update our 60+ pediatrician/premedical student listserv. We are mostly focused on legislative priorities this year and have our pediatrician, medical student and premedical student teams. I just need to explain that in the newsletter. And then I have to finish a draft of the American Climate Leadership award application and send it to our co-authors so we can submit it, and try to get some money to expand the H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health Summit idea. We are awaiting word regarding the first abstract we submitted regarding extreme heat and youth sports, and hoping to gets accepted as a work in progress at the region 9 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting.

But mostly this weekend I’m going to worry about my son up at college, and hope he continues to make good choices. He calls home most nights and checks in with us. We are proud that he’s been taking his classes seriously and doing well on his exams. He’s looking into lab /research positions for next semester, so we’ll see how his next semester goes. And mostly I’m be judging other high school speech competitors both today and tomorrow. And thinking how beautiful our daughter looks in her dress that she’s worn before. But honestly, her confidence level in herself and her accomplishments has grown so much in just one year. The 15-year-old is very different than the 14-year-old last year, and I’m so grateful that as much as one is able to – it’s been such a slow year. I’ve lived every moment and enjoyed every day, mostly because I write to you the blog readership and to some friends via email about how she changes day to day.

Wishing the blog readership and my real friends a wonderful and slow and intentional and sustainable weekend. Okay, got to sneak in a pretty picture for you! But just for you and not Instagram. Instagram was getting a bit too exposed for sure.

They called it “white coat energy.” Yep 100%. Harvard-trained white coat energy, home-grown.

November 17, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Its 6:01am. I’m somewhat better this morning. It’s been an exhilarating climate week but also an exhausting week. I’ve realized that I’m fundamentally a more emotionally even person, and I don’t like the highs and lows. But when I dived into climate work, honestly it comes with really trying to address decarbonization. I have to help try to get big climate wins, and when those wins happen and I truly realize the ramifications – then the emotional crash happens. So I crashed last night after devoting so much emotional energy to helping with the Sweetwater Union High School District Electrification District win and trying to help spread that nationally. I had spent also a good amount of time over the last 2 weeks preparing a talk for the UC San Diego School of Medicine students as well. I appreciate the speaking spot from my dear friend Dr. Luis Castellanos and we did good work yesterday at the medical school. The talk landed well, and it forced me to update my thinking process and my legislative plans for the year. We recruited a good number of medical students who are interested in advocating.

I won’t go into details, but I was able to incorporate one of our undergraduate premedical students and one of the local high school students in the presentation. I think many in the room found it inspiring. I am grateful to be in that role, to be able to inspire medical students. But it’s exhausting and I feel oftentimes I’m performing. Everything I say is heartfelt but being that open and passionate, takes it’s toll.

The amazing day on facebook and Instagram.

It was an amazing day. But I need to finish my charts which I did not finish yesterday. Our son is coming home this weekend early from UC Berkeley, and I honestly just want to hug him and look at him. I want to see my daughter try some new recipes, she wants to try making hand-made ravioli. I want to see if she wants to climb a bit, she’s taking it up as a new hobby since she finished with volleyball. And the fortunate thing is that this climate work is by choice. It’s all volunteer. So I’m going to try to turn it all off for a week while our son is home. Even deep in the weeds climate activists need a break.

So I hope all of you take a break as well. Take a break from me, and I’ll take a break from you. Even when you love something so much, sometimes it’s okay to step away.

The title slide.
Pretty and innocent picture.

November 11, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Okay. Okay. I’m off Instagram Reels or at least weaned from them. Definitely making so many reels for the last few months did something to my brain. I was living in my own alternate reality, essentially making music videos with the random pictures on my iPhone. It happens that I have a pretty 15-year -old daughter and subliminally I was trying to manifest a certain destiny and making a lot of reels of her, to the background of kpop music and some love songs.

But I’ve taken all her home-coming pictures off Instagram. Here is one, because the blog tends to have actual readers and not the netizens of the social media ilk. It was just weird, because some of the Instagram reels with her pretty pictures were getting thousands of plays suddenly and I got really scared. I put my account on private and took those pictures down.

The blog has always been a safe place for me, so I’m trying to live a quiet life and do some climate work. I have to work on a presentation for UC San Diego School of Medicine on my advocacy. I’m excited about going to UC San Diego again to lecture. But I just wanted to come on the blog and remember why I took the Instagram reels with my daughter down. And also that my brain is rewiring after making so many Instagram reels. I realize I don’t need to expose us as a family as much, as most of my climate work is about advocating and I know all the people I need to know already to push the next year of projects through.

So weird. Our daughter doesn’t look like that picture most of the time. She’s actually more lovely in real life, and that was just for the high school dance. She’s right now wearing a pony tail with semi-greasy hair and making cheese biscuits and pasta for the family. She’s innocent and 15, and she and our son are our big why of why we are climate advocates. Okay. Lots of climate work to do, but I don’t need to tell you everything nor am I able to – because there is just so much. But I need to rest my brain a bit this weekend, and just take one step at a time. Were you dear readers making a lot of Instagram reels as well? So weird.

We look happy and are happy.

November 5, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I think this picture represents us. We were so happy last night Mr. Plastic Picker and myself (Dr. Plastic Picker). Sometimes I think of things and just go forth and do it, and trust in the universe that it’s going to work out. And honestly, it did last night. I had this idea that we must sing Karaoke at a party and bring together the H3SD San Diego’s Heat and Human Health speakers and volunteers. It was an idea, and there was only one Saturday that my friend Dr. Luis Castellanos and his family could make it. So we sent out the evite and asked my dear younger brother permission, and we did the event. We invited a lot of people who spoke, mostly physicians, and administrative level type people. We invited the premedical students and the high school volunteers as well. The actual Climate Karaoke (which I’m totally taking credit for!!!!) ended up very different than I imagined. It actually ended up better, if you can believe it.

Just wanted to document that it was such a beautiful night, and this is the email I sent to the older folks who last minute could not come.

“Just wanted to thank you for supporting h3sd, and let you know that climate karaoke ended up so different and more fun than I imagined.  It was essentially Luis, 2 pediatricians, 1 pediatric psychiatrist, and Jack Shu and his wife (he is the one who presented us with the award from San Diego Air Pollution Control District) supervising UC San Diego premeds and high school students mostly from the southbay (with my nieces and nephews and their friends all mixed in) having a very innocent and supervised teeny bopper like party. The kids were belting out Hamilton and Little Mermaid on the karaoke machine which was surprisingly going all night. The high school students were excited to mingle with the UCSD premeds who were excited to have the two med students there. The premeds were making fun of Sed for being born in the 1990s since they are all firmly millenials and they were riding my parents elevators up and down. Everyone naturally wandered up to the 3rd floor roof deck and we watched the sunset together and a lot of selfies together.  I was mentioning to my younger brother who lives in my parents house for now how fortunate we all are, and our family forgets how amazing the sunsets are. It brought us back to the time our family and my parents first finished building their house. And honestly having a safe excuse to share this home with these wonderful young people, and feed them and allow them to mingle and get to know each other and sing karaoke was an evening I will never forget.  Mr. Plastic Picker is so bogged down in the nitty gritty of managing a bunch of sometimes fractious radiologists, and it brought us back to the time we were premedical advisors and tutors at Currier House at Harvard college, and those happy days when we mentored.  

So thank you for supporting these various students as their professors, advisors, and mostly supporting H3sd which was the reason we all know each other and met.  The joy and community and love was palpable again in the room. I have a gazillion pictures and snippets of the karaoke songs (some of them were really really good!) but the students asked about their professors and the other doctors and leaders who were part of the summit, and I told them that you were taking much needed time for your families or had last minute emergencies.  I was honestly so thankful to stand in proxy for the collective you, and made sure the kids were all taken care of and no one under 21 drank.  A few parents of the premeds actually drove down from OC  and stopped by, and it was such a beautiful moment as we welcomed them to meet the other students. We were so glad to open up our home to this event.

Much love to you all and wanted to share just a few pictures and know that we collectively moved the climate work forward with CLIMATE KARAOKE!  

So many smiles today, and my daughter got to hang out with these great kids too and for that I’m incredibly grateful. And I hadn’t sang in over 2 decades so started reusing some parts of my body I had forgotten work!

Big green hugs!!!”

And that’s the green truth. Thank you for following along on my climate journey. Last night was a night to remember, CLIMATE KARAOKE!!!

Dr. Dear Friend and I visited up there the other day.

October 28, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

The parking lot rooftop guerrilla gardening planter project is mainstream now. At some point, the official administrative HMO people found out and a gardener comes up and kind of semi-cleans up my succulent gardening. It’s a beautiful place now and more of us walk up there and get some air and take in the view. That there are interesting succulents to look at are a bonus for sure. At some point the HMO I’m sure will be putting up solar panels, but for now I wander up there when I need to get some exercise.

I hadn’t really talked to Dr. Dear Friend for a good week. We had been in the same building and said hi and working in parallel hallways, but we hadn’t really talked. We are good real friends and clinic besties, and it was important to catch up on each other’s lives. I shared my stories, she is always so patient and loving to hear me prattle on about my daughter and son. I am truly listened to her stories and her stressors and what is going on with her beloved families. We swapped hopes about what our weekend plans would be. We thought we might have been able to hang out on Sunday together, but she has concert tickets with another friend and will do that. Caring for friends from work, truly caring, is something I’ve come to late in life. I really care about her, and the other doctors in my clinic. It’s a gift that burnout gave me. I’m not alone, and none of us are – who practice medicine. We just have to reach out to our friends and share. Medicine is not an individual sport, it’s a team endeavor which none of us were adequately taught in medical school nor training (at least when I trained).

So Dr. Dear Friend and I wondered up to the guerilla gardening parking structure planter area, and we gazed at all our plants. She has a cactus that is her baby, and it was overshadows by a few other succulents, but we pushed back some of the plants and saw her cactus. It’s doing fantastic and has become five larger cactus humps? I don’t know another work for them. But they are doing well, and I’ll prune some of the overgrowth later.

But how that garden has grown! It gives me this radical hope when I’m up there. I was there the entire time and documented it on Instagram. I would initially bring bags of compost, and hay and bunny poop and compost tea. I had to revitalize the soil and that took a season or so. When there were just a few plants, and can to try to cool down the soil with rocks and mulch. All the plants are extra cuttings from our garden, and mostly from my parents rooftop succulent planters that were overgrown in La Jolla. It was initially watered by saved shower water I would lug in from home. I made it a game for myself, I wasn’t going to spend any money on it, but just my time and things I found around the world. I was going to get exercise while doing it, and it was going to get me out during lunch to at least take a walk up there.

And now it looks like it looks now, and it makes me happy. It makes me hopeful. It makes no radically optimistic. Because I helped bring life back to these essentially dead planters, and there are insects up there now. I know birds visit once in a while, because they peck away at home of the succulents. I know some humans wander up there to get exercise. I know that some of the water from the rains were absorbed by the roots of those plants. I now some friends have taken some cuttings and propagated some more succulents. If you go to a gardening store, those succulents aren’t cheap! You are welcome to go up there and take a cutting or two!

Just happy and wanted to show you how big this wonderful plant has become! Have a wonderful weekend dear blog readers. I really do care for you. I care for the earth. And I’m going to care for myself this weekend, because my 15-year-old is still blessedly 15 and hanging out with me. We are going to try to catch the Taylor Swift movie Eras at fashion valley, and I heard there are very large Dios De Los Muertos decorations there. So we will go try to get some pictures and maybe have dinner there. It’s just us and I joked around at work that the Koreans left for Berkeley. So the technically full Koreans (Mr. Plastic Picker and the the grandparents) left this morning to visit our son up at Berkeley. The little one is home with me, but this weekend I’ve determined that she will be Vietnamese. She can morph into a kdrama star later. But I’m going to make her be a demure Vietnamese young lady this weekend, and no boys allowed. Just mommy and daughter, and lots of silliness. Sometimes the thought of teenage boys in our life (other than our son) does cramp our style.

One of the webinars.

October 27, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s the end of an epic week for me. For some reason after committing to cleaning the beach and trying to address the plastic pollution crisis, I stumbled upon lead pollution advocacy work. Honestly when I started learning more about the pervasive lead pollution in aviation fuel and then in school drinking water, it just was really irritating. It’s such a basic thing that we need to address as a society, and that needs to be done. I’m just doing my part and I have these premedical students anyway that need some straight forward projects to work on. So thus I became one of the main lead pollution advocacy persons in the state of California.

That’s it! I just wanted to let you know that this last week was a few months of preparation to be part of two webinars we gave on lead pollution. And I’m proud of myself and the team that we assembled to address it.

It’s Friday morning and I mostly think of climate at our house. But it was a busy week and I was pretty awesome in clinic yesterday. And I’m going to just hang out with the teenager this weekend. I figured out how to deep clean out bathroom yesterday and dealt with some fundamental issues, and feel really empowered now. It’s odd, but being able to pick up trash and then clean the bathroom – it gives me strength to help clean the air and the water of lead!

Quick power point I sent my friend.

October 21, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I actually have the blessed weekend off, and worked the late staggered shift last night. I still was home by 750pm and came home to a beautiful dinner our 15-year-old daughter had prepared. She’s a really good girl, and such a hard-worker and conscientious. She also happens to be absurdly pretty and photogenic. It’s weird actually how pretty she is, which is why I post a lot of pictures of her. But I know she’s definitely mine because she’s bright.

So here to sort out my thoughts. I did so much climate and environmental health work this week, while still working essentially a full time job and made it to all the kid events. I overslept part of both volleyball games but was their for the important parts. Lets see what I did?

  1. International Lead Pollution Week: which is next week! Our team is giving two separate webinars and had to meet and help prep for both. So that was powerpoints and emails between me and the CME/CE folks at our HMO, and also dialoging with outside advocacy groups like Children NOW. I also had to exchange emails with the California Department of Public Health. Having the CDPH emails had it all really legitimate! This also gives presentation opportunities to one premedical student, and also two medical students. So invaluable for their professional development!
  2. San Diego 350.org Event in Chula Vista: Invited for the 2nd year to speak at this San Diego 350.org event on climate change and human health. I sent someone else to speak last year. This year, I’ll show up myself since they asked me and I’m bringing along an amazing high school student and we will speak together. Plus she needs this kind of big presentation on her resume! She’s fantastic and has 100% showed up for our advocacy team.
  3. Sweetwater Union HS Rally and Electrification Proposal: This one is huge! We will try to get Sweetwater Union HS district to electrify and would be only the 2nd school district in the state to do so. It’s in our backyard and we are preparing for the rally and to mount the support. Let me send messages to the kids that I want to be there. Let me send them an email now telling them to save the date. Okay just emailed them all.
  4. WRITING AND PUBLISHING: Started the email chain on writing up the Extreme Heat and Youth Sports Project. There is a small regional conference here in San Diego, that we can prep the abstract for and present. It makes a lot of sense since we won’t have to fly to that conference. So excited about this one!

And lots of other work. But you know what? It’s 655am and I worked the late shift last night and nearly finished all my charts. I finished my taxes (minor miracle) and actually overpaid the federal government (I know! I know! I lost some interest). And I did my part to help stop this existential crisis. And I think I’m actually going to go for a jog and head to the beach to clean up. This weekend I’m just going to try to clean the house, and my really smart and pretty 15-year-old? She actually doesn’t remember how to swim. So we are going to try to find a pool to practice swimming and I have to buy her a rash guard. And getting to do that mommy stuff this weekend. I absolutely love it. Enjoy your teenagers to those who have teenagers. Enjoy every moment with them. At some point we’ll have to share them , but for now – she’s mine!

Carrot from the garden. From Grandma Plastic Picker.

October 19, 2023

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I was thinking of emailing this carrot picture to my H3SD friend group, or really organizing committee. But I still have some work I need to do and I don’t need to clutter up their inboxes right now. So I’m showing it to the group that means so much to me – the blog readership. I’m back! I know I’ve been on Instagram more, but I really need to stop having those earworms in my head. It’s fun, but it’s definitely changing my brain.

But you know what has fundamentally changed me? You. Climate work. Blogging. Writing. And these carrots. I can’t explain it fully. I’m not the same person that started this journey. I’m so wired differently now. My husband gave me flowers for my birthday and the smell of the flowers is so fragrant and they are so lovely. I would never have noticed them that much before. I’m a different doctor. I know that each day we change, but the amount of personal growth and joy – I can’t truly explain. It’s been now four years of this, and I’m looking forward to the next decade of continuing to address the climate crisis.

There are infinite amount of projects we have to do. There are some really big ones especially getting a board resolution done at the Sweetwater Union High School District which would be the only 2nd in that to electrify, and to help Our Children’s Trust with the 2nd federal lawsuit and the AMICUS brief. So I’m going to do that today. Work on those two.

But I wanted just to tell you hello! And I wanted to show you the carrot that came out all organic from our garden. And it’s really big too!