by mom-friend Usa (who is originally from Thailand) and drplasticpicker
Dr. Plastic Picker: Our youngest daughter is in her 6th year of Girl Scouts, and I am in my 6th year as her Co-Troop Leader. We have a cohesive and very involved troop and set of parents, which makes it much easier to run the troop. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season and all of our Cadette Girl Scouts are canvassing their neighborhoods and selling cookies. We had a wonderful meeting last Friday afternoon on Valentines, as we went over women leadership and gender inequality that still exist in the workplace. We were surprised that this topic very much resonated with them, now that they are in middle school. What followed was a lively discussion.
The great thing about this blog, is that @drplasticpicker can write whatever I want. And what I want to do is save the earth and the oceans, save my patients and their families, and for everyone to be healthy and equal. Is that too much to ask? One way I can get what I want, is to expound upon the objective truths I know as someone who has been a pediatrician for over 15 years. The cause of a lot of the worlds’ problems is that kids have learned to snack on foods that are too processed, too high in salt and too high in sugar. Processed foods with too much salt and too much sugar lead to Taste-Bud Dysfunction. I have coined a new condition. You, the many toddlers in my practice who are picky eaters . . . Yes You, the teenagers who are prediabetic. Many of YOU have Taste-Bud Dysfunction. Something is wrong with your Taste-Buds that you can’t taste the natural sweetness of an apple or the natural flavor of unsalted food. This is not your fault, it is the fault of big corporations that have fooled at least two generations to think that packaged food is food. Indeed most packaged food is not food, it is junk, and for drplasticpicker – it is also trash that litters the beach.
Happy Friday morning! There is so much to do in the world. I have a full day of clinic today and then it will be the glorious weekend. The Sweetwater Union High School Board is threatening to eliminate @drplasticpicker’s beloved International Baccalureate Program at my alma madre Bonita Vista High School. I try to stay out of politics, but I will take some time away from the environment to help attend a school board meeting and advocate for this program. I was going to write a ranting post about ineffective local officials and why ineffective systems pushed me into management and environmental activism – but I thought, better to channel my energy this morning into the Arroz Caldo post that I have been meaning to write. This evening, I will compose the letter and make calls to the school board members.
It has been four months of this journey. And this journey will last 10-12 years. That is about how long we have to avert catastrophic climate change. I have boasted before that I am determined and hyper-focused, but yesterday I admit to feeling somewhat lost. I am on my 122nd bag of ocean bound plastic and 540th salvaged item recovered from the half-mile stretch of beach I clean – and I wonder, is it enough? The ocean plastic picking has been incorporated into my life. The brisk evening wind yesterday and the clean packed sand I now need as much as I need my cup of coffee at 5am. So for that I will forever be grateful for this journey, because going to the beach and cleaning let me regain my wellness back.
It’s 11pm and Mr. Plastic Picker woke me up. He was putting away the folded laundry very martyrish. Please know dear readers that it is his parents that do the laundry, not him. Then our daughter could not find her PE shorts, and between Mr. Plastic Picker’s antics and wanting to make sure my daughter had her shorts – I got my drplasticpicker body up out of REM stage 3 sleep and went to her room. I turned on the lights and the bright light shocked my cortisol up and my melatonin plummetted and I cleaned out her whole closet in 7 minutes and found her shorts.
It’s 6am and my circadian rhythm is set and drplasticpicker is up! I am an early riser especially now that my sleep is more restful. Our family is in Las Vegas for a brief night at the New York New York hotel. When the plastic picker children wake up, we will head out and drive to our final vacation destination. We decided to drive rather than fly, as we take the climate crisis seriously. Mr. Plastic Picker is driving our trusty red Prius which averages 50 MPG on the highway. We don’t need to rent a car when we get there! Ca-ching ching! The 1500 mile round trip from our home to our mountain destination would have expelled 1.12 tons of carbon if we had flown, instead we will contribute 0.23 tons of carbon. Driving expels only 18% of the carbon of an equivalent flight according to carbonfund.org since we have four in our car. And this adventure of environmentalism has given us new experiences. Let me describe how choosing to drive and not fly made the Impossible Burger possible, but reminded us the home-cooking is best for our health and the environment.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, our family spent a quiet day at home. I had gone out Ocean Plastic Picking early in the morning, and quickly picked up 2 bags of ocean bound plastic and hauled home at least 10 items. Interestingly enough it was a monetarily high yield salvagable day as I found one almost new Corkcicle water bottle which retails $32.95 and a pair of Men’s Arizona Slide Sandals by Birkenstock which retails $44.99. I never had heard of Corkcicle before until my recent interview with Dr. Craig Canapari who uses this brand of water bottle https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-craig-canapari-pediatrician-and-environmentalist-2/. Those items have been carefully washed and I will regift them soon and deploy them back into the circular economy.
Happy Thanksgiving and Indigenous People’s Day to everyone from the Plastic Picker family. Today was one of those milestone days. Like riding your first bike, aceing an organic chemistry midterm or draining your first abscess – today drplasticpicker cooked my first Turkey! It was a 7 1/2 lb bird and it was glorious!
One of my middle management friends is male, older and wiser and always says, “For those that have great strengths, they have great weaknesses.” My great weaknesses are some of the practical matters in life. I became a good driver late in life, and now in my mid-40s I cooked my first Turkey and I am beyond bursting with pride.
Being a second-generation American and married to a first generation American, Thanksgiving was always a complicated holiday for me. I grew up watching Thanksgiving on TV with those 1980 sitcom families, and that was what I thought “Thanksgiving” was supposed to be. Then going off to college, living away from my nuclear family for 15 years, marrying a first-generation immigrant from New Jersey whose family also did Thanksgiving a bit “off” compared to TV shows, and then having children while still doing medical training and feeling that I should be providing them a sort of tradition that I never had myself.